Category Archives: rigor

Friday Night Lights, Warriors Casting Shadows: McClymonds Beats Bradshaw Christian 71-14

Bradshaw Christian

McClymonds vs. Bradshaw Christian: First quarter score. August 29th, 2014.

Photo and story by Anthony Beron

The deep contrast produced by the lightning-white field lights illuminating McClymonds’ football stadium and the jet-black shadows of the wizened  football coaches from Bradshaw Christian reflected the disparity between the monstrous offensive and defensive Mack Warriors and broken and dysfunctional Bradshaw “Pride”.

It was also the first game for Mack’s new quarterback, Kevin Davidson — another import but this time not from another Oakland high school or an African-American family that had moved to suburbia.

The new quarterback is Caucasian at a school that is 86% African-American and prides itself on combining sports and tutoring through SPAAT (Student Program for Athletic and Academic Transitioning) to propel students to better colleges.

“We try to get the athletes geared up for college so they can succeed in academics and not just sports,” said Ilalo Kalika, a training specialist at SPAAT.

“He [Davidson] came here and we just accepted him. He has a good attitude during practice and has a steady head,” said Taivion Foster, who also had 11 tackles and five assists against Bradshaw Christian.

Lavance Warren of McClymonds rushed for nearly 200 yards and contributed to Mack’s 1,487 total number of all-purpose (passing and rushing) yards. Bradshaw Christian only had 335.

Davidson, a junior, and running back Lavance Warren, a senior, played with intense focus and mechanical efficiency- shooting down the field in a couple of plays during each possession- and racked up a majority of Mack’s 71 points. Over 230 yards, resulting in the other chunk of the final score, were gained by short, bullet-like passes and returned fumbles.

McClymonds High’s offensive and defensive styles showed an equilibrium between jukes and chugs as they used their youthful style to avoid congested Bradshaw scrambles, and insurmountable mass to effectively wall-off the banana yellow goal posts and lime green endzones the Pride barely touched throughout game-time. Keawe Efhan, the running back and weapon-of-choice for Bradshaw’s offense, suffered from endless crushing and decisive hits performed by Mack, all of which sapped his gusto quick into the first quarter.

During the second half after a few effervescent pep-talks, Bradshaw still kept a stale offense. Kicker Dani Lawson of the Pride only scored two field goals throughout the game, tacking on two points to the ultimate score of 14.

For McClymonds the only anticlimactic event of the night was when Anthony White, number 12, attempted his only field goal, but fell short because of a poor snap.

The Warriors historically have had faulty kicking teams. Last season, only a handful of field goal attempts were made in total. None were successful. During the 2013 California Interscholastic Federation playoffs for northern Californian high school football teams, McClymonds lost to Central Catholic, in part due to not having an adequate kicking squad. No field goals were scored by Mack, yet several were made by Central Catholic. McClymonds lost that game, 17-14.

“We could improve our kicking,” said Decarlos Anderson, Mack football coach. “But it’s all good as long as we score enough points. The main reason (for) why we lack kickers is because McClymonds hasn’t had a soccer team in years, but other schools do. They can just pull kickers. We can’t.”

With the addition of the Advanced Sports class, taught by Anderson, many athletes take almost an hour-and-a-half out of their routine class schedule to lift weights.

“It’s a contributing factor, but we’ll see how it works later on since we’re only in the beginning of the year,” said Anderson in reference to Advanced Sports.

Mack senior, Rahquille Menefee- a 250-plus pound offensive guard and defensive end- grinned about weight training. “It gives me the greater advantage so then I can overpower everybody in my face. It gives me a mental edge, too.”

“This year’s new quarterback, Kevin (Davidson), who is also a transfer student, outsizes any Mack quarterback from the past three years,” said Anderson. “The Warriors are something stronger, something a little bit new, but with just as much talent.”

Warriors face next big challenge: #1 seed

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After winning the OAL championship, the Warriors win two playoff games

by Anthony Beron

The Warriors (21-8 with 12 straight wins) are hoping that Danville brings them luck.

After all, that’s where they beat #4 seed San Ramon Valley 57-48 in the CIF Northern California Division 1 quarterfinals Saturday night.

Tomorrow, they play the #1 seed, Monte Vista, who beat them 65-24 in December.

Teamwork, strong defense and a slam dunk at the buzzer by OAL Player of the Year Deion Ellis sealed the deal for McClymonds. Ellis, a 6-foot-4 senior, had 18 points and Mike Walker, a 6-foot guard, had 10.

“We expect them to come out hard, but we have every piece of the puzzle this time,” said Tyrone Spivey, a senior.

“The last time we played them they beat us by 40 points, but that’s because we wouldn’t cooperate and some of our players couldn’t play,” said Spivey. “It was also the day after when our old head coach was fired.”

Why I miss San Francisco

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  Even the new Bay Bridge can’t compete with views from San Francisco

opinion piece by Marlena Younger

I miss the views. Stunning vistas, dotted hills, the blueness of the Bay, Ocean Beach with its limpet shells and sand dollars.

And then there’s the mobility of living in San Francisco: the buses are cheaper and it feels safer, less violent.

On a typical morning on Potrero Hill, I could jump out of bed and race down the street to Potrero Hill Neighborhood House to take a Zumba class. It’s high energy dance with samba music, Latin jazz, Cupid shuffle. Cafés like JB’s Place open in the wee hours. People mill around Safeway on 17th and Potrero street.

My neighborhood in north Oakland (ice city: “we ain’t no squares we polar bears” Mistah Fab) is less lively and more dangerous. There’s a gang injunction that limits the freedom of lots of youths and people in their 20s in your neighborhood.

My job in San Francisco was where I danced — helping people do the homework and teaching hip hop dancing. I combined strong academics — I don’t even have Spanish this year. And although the pay is the same, my after-school job in the East Bay is in San Leandro, an hour and a half from my house.

It’s fun living in north Oakland, but I also miss all of  my friends and family, and on top I miss being in the hood. I miss going everywhere and knowing everybody.

What clowning taught me about life

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by Nicole Funes

To be a clown is to create a fantasy, make children giggle, and take risks.

It also means falling on your bottom, again and again. Like the first time I was in 3rd grade and riding high on stilts, but stopped a second to catch my breath and tumbled backwards onto my butt. You see, like in life, you have to keep moving on stilts.

In life and as a clown, I’m a good juggler. I juggle oranges on weekends and homework on weeknights.

When I first saw my sister balance on a tight-wire while wearing a pink tutu with a red nose, I decided I had follow the family tradition of being in the circus.

However, to actually be in the circus and perform in shows, clown trainees have to be qualified in at least one trick or specialty, whether it be juggling, uni-cycling, acrobatics or globe – a painted ball of clay on which you have to jump.

After training for seven months, I knew how to do most of the tricks but couldn’t get qualified to perform them because I would get nervous.  Despite this, I decided to stay with the circus and overcome my stage fright. Soon I successfully qualified in juggling, acrobatics, and stilts.

After two years, my time in the circus came to a curtain.  By sixth grade, I was too old to perform  since they have an age limit but was invited to participate in summer shows and mentor incoming trainees.

At the end of the summer program we had four big shows in one day at the Alice Arts Center.

 People never see the blood (yes, when you fall hard!) , sweat ,and tears.  They just see your performance. You honk your nose, take your bow and disappear. 

Buzz, Mix, Rap and Shoot at Legacy Studio

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photo by Nicholas Basta

by Khristan Antoine

Stroll into Legacy Studio at McClymonds, and you’ll be captivated by the bright orange, blue, green colors that form a warm, calm ambience.

The buzz will get to you: within the newly refurbished studio resonates the sound of the recently-installed audio mixing equipment–a combination of old and new technology, and a new-school turntable.

This is the domain of Nicholas Basta, 27,  Alternatives in Action’s new multimedia director.  Basta briskly opens the lock to the barred doors of the newly renovated Legacy Studios.  He turns on the sound-mixer, puts on sound-canceling headphones, and sits listening to the sounds and rhythms of his students’ progress. It’s a musical home to a half dozen or so up-and coming student DJs, mixers, rappers and song writers.

This year, the focus is less on rapping and more on digital story telling, even though Basta continues to teach beat making twice a week. On Monday and Wednesday, Basta teaches community media, filming, and digital story telling.  Tuesday and Thursdays are dedicated to beat making, sound engineering, music production, and vocal recording.

Even the old-timers, like Luckie Lovette, have come to appreciate Basta’s style and organizational skills.

Lovette, a senior, sits down at a computer, adjusts the brightness on the monitor, and puts on headphones. His head sways to the beat of Tupac Shakur’s  bass-heavy song “All Eyes On Me.” Lovette uses music videos found on YouTube as part of a project initiated by Legacy Studios.

“For me, this [legacy studios] is a way to be creative and create something new,” said Lovette.

As Basta encourages his students to push themselves, he does encounter some resistance. Students like Justin Gilreath, 15 and a senior, would prefer a more relaxed atmosphere. This year, Basta is expecting him to produce double the number of songs. “We barely got one mixtape done last year and he wants us to do way more,” says Gilreath.

And yet, like for most students, the studio remains a lure. “Rhythm is a part of my DNA,” says Gilreath.

Ready to argue? The fearless join Mack’s new debate team

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by Anastasia Walton

After a two-year break, Urban Debate is back at Mack.

Leading the new crew of debaters is Wyllene Turner, a 20-year-old community college student who graduated from Street Academy, where she was a debater in the Urban Debate League and won the Oakland district poetry slam in 2011.

“I really want this team to prevail because I’m from West Oakland and I really want to see people from my community succeed,” says Turner.

As a first exercise, she split the 12 students into  two groups and had them debate which candy was better: Hershey’s or M&M’s. Anthony Beron, a 10th grader, looked up how many calories were in each candy to sweeten his argument.

“I want to help contribute to this year’s debate team,” said Beron.  “ I also want to hone my debating skills.”

Debate is not new to McClymonds. In the past, the school has had a strong debate team and debaters. In 2010, alumna Tanesha Walker, now a student at UCLA,  was runner-up  in the National Urban Debate League. That same year, the McClymonds’ debate team won 1st place in the Bay Area Urban Debate League.

As regional coordinator, Turner helps several teams from the East Bay — Envision, Emery, and Oakland Tech. She said she was happy with the initial turnout and hopes more students will join. Debate, she argued,  is a good prep tool for college. And Mack students are natural debaters, she added.

J’Mya Gree-Martinez, a 9th grader, echoed that thought. “ I believe debate will give me a chance to interact with new people, and plus, I like to talk,” she said.

Some students like 9th grader Kaya LaForte developed a taste for debate in middle school. “ I like to argue, and I participated in debate my 8th grade year at Kipp Bridge and loved it,” she said.

The debate team meets every Monday right after school in the 2nd floor computer lab.

Engineers with Swagg: the New Mack Look

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by Kardel Howard

McClymonds has a new class — engineering.  That means new toys, new tools, and new equipment that students can play with in their newly renovated $60,000 classroom, according to Lynn Baliff, educational consultant.

The new improvements start with the backpacks that were distributed to the Principles of Engineering class. The backpack doubles as a solar-powered cell-phone charger.  Its solar panel is sewn into the front of the backpack, and when placed under sunlight, absorbs the energy and transfers that to its solar-charged battery.  A USB cord plugs into the charged battery while the other side plugs into the phone; then it charges.

Other equipment includes a “master computer” that allows the teacher to monitor all the computer activity in the classroom.

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The engineering class also has a 3D printers that turns  models that are made on the computer to become a physical form. The 3D printer creates the model onto the platform by melting plastic filaments into a shape, and keeps tracing the model until it is no longer amorphous.

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“The class is advancing,” said Katherine Hall, engineering and math teacher.  In addition to the introductory course, Hall also added an advanced engineering course, Principles of Engineering.

“Next year,” she added, “there will be a third course for seniors.”

The engineering course counts as an elective and has a curriculum that encourages students to use their creativity and think more critically in using their mathematical abilities to solve equations.

There are 20 students total enrolled in the Intro to Engineering class and 15 in the Principles of Engineering class.  Students like Kelton Runnels, a junior, enjoy the new STEM curriculum. ” I believe this engineering class is now opening a lot more doors for us than sports,” says Runnels.

As he sees it, McClymonds is turning over a new leaf.