Category Archives: small schools

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.”

Back to the future: the secret world of BART

BART1

Story and photo by Anthony Beron

It was a glimpse into the future of BART: its new, New Zealand-designed  40-mile an hour cable car that’ll zip riders to the Oakland Airport.

About 35 McClymonds’ STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) students were treated to a behind-the scenes tour of BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), along with a cameo on local TV news Tuesday.

“We learned how trains function and all the careers associated with BART,” said junior Kardel Howard.

The trip was organized by BART and Kathryn Hall, who heads the STEM program at McClymonds.

McClymonds sophomore is fatally shot in front of Boys and Girls Club

denzelphotoposter

The wall at the Boys and Girls Club on Market and 24th Street commemorates Denzel Jones.

photo and story by Anthony Beron

McClymonds high school students were shocked by the shooting in front of the Boys and Girls Club on Market and 24th Streets Saturday night, in which McClymonds sophomore Denzel Jones, 15, was killed along with a 35-year-old man.

“It’s a dangerous corner,” said freshman Jasmine Vilchis. “It makes me think about safety and worry about the killers, still on the loose.”

Vilchis was within earshot of the shooting, and recalls gunshots “ringing in the night, leaving everything silent.”

Spanish teacher Elsa Ochoa described him as having a lot of friends and as a student who presented a reserved resonance. “We’ve lost another youth to violence in Oakland.”

Several grief counselors were available Monday to help students sort out their emotions.

His family asked the public Sunday to help find the gunman who killed him. Police told reporters they have no suspects and no motive yet.

Jones, nicknamed “Beans,” had only attended McClymonds since winter break. He had transferred from Oakland High School and said he most enjoyed math. His sister, Sharda Macon, a psychology major at Laney College,  told KTVU, “We just really need a lot of support right now. It’s hard losing a kid. He’s just a baby.”

Debate coach and journalism assistant Pamela Tapia saw him as a student full of potential and fraught with academic talent, and as someone with a strong work ethic.

“He was genuine, intelligent and mindful. It’s so horrible that he had so much talent that wasn’t harvested; he always turned in the best work and was one of the best students I’ve had.”

In front of the Boys and Girls Club, bystanders stopped to sign two enormous posters and light candles. A huge teddybear and red and white balloons — his favorite colors — also were placed nearby.

“He was hecka quiet,” said freshman Nicole Funes. “He looked smart,  like he was capable of doing good work.”

Will New Gun Laws in Oakland Make Mack School Students Safer?

130114_SCI_Guns_jpg_CROP_rectangle3-largeby Anthony Beron

Will tracking guns reduce violence? Or is this just another unworkable solution?

In Oakland, guns appear and multiply. And get used, over and over again.

At McClymonds, students feel mixed about the effectiveness of proposed assembly bill number 180, sponsored by Rob Bonta, D-Alameda that allows the city of Oakland to pass its own gun regulations. Would it have any impact on the street violence that Mack students witness?

“As younger people in the streets get guns, they don’t wanna settle out a fight with their hands- they just kill with a gun,” declares a solemn-looking Lee Benson.

Gun control remains a major problem in Oakland, especially West Oakland.  Five McClymonds High students and alumni were shot in 2012, which is just a fraction of the 1,594 total shooting victims in Oakland last year.

Three hundred and sixty crimes occur per square mile in the “hella” city, which is 320 above the national median according to the website neighborhoodscout.  The Business Insider ranked Oakland as the second most dangerous city in the United States as of 2012.

“The main problem with this is if we track guns that will just give people another reason to use them more quickly,” argued Kardel Howard, “they’re defiant, and there’ll be more violent if rules and deadlines are forced onto them.”

Others feel that you just do the math. “Less guns means less violence,” said Jacob Miles, Mack senior.  

“’The opponents like to paint it as some unreasonable restriction on gun ownership,’” said California senator Darrell Steinberg to the Sacramento Bee. “’And these bills are anything but. They are drawing a very careful distinction between gun ownership for sport, hunting and even self-defense – versus these guns that by definition fire dozens or hundreds of rounds indiscriminately and kill people.’”

Will restrictions work?  We will see when (if) this new proposed assembly bill is signed by Governor Jerry Brown by October 13th.

School’s out, but Mack students still angry over Trayvon Martin

trayvonrally

McClymonds students (left to right Jacob Miles, Lee Benson and Anthony Beron) take part in National Hoodie Day in support of Trayvon Martin.

by Anthony Beron

School’s out, but McClymonds students are closely following the Trayvon Martin trial, now in jury selection.

Several students, including juniors Jacob Miles and Lee Benson, took part in a National Hoodie Day, in support of the 17-year-old Florida high school who was murdered after buying Skittles and Arizona iced tea inside a gated complex in Sanford, Florida.

“I feel that what the man (George Zimmerman) did was out of pocket and the court should give him (Trayvon Martin) justice at least,” says Jacob Miles, a junior.

Zimmerman argued that he was in imminent danger of being attacked by Martin, who was at the time unarmed and pleading for his life, according to CNN.

“I’m angry.  After all, this is just another example of how Black and Latino youth are targeted because of their skin color,” said Rafael (who would not give his last name), a Hispanic male in his 20’s from East Oakland, who was the apparent organizer of the rally.  Rafael added, “We need a revolution!”

“I think George Zimmerman should serve a long sentence in jail, because he killed an innocent person.  It was racial profiling: he just killed Trayvon since he was an African-American male, wearing a hoodie, just walking around,” argued Kardel Howard, a sophomore.

Zimmerman claimed to have been attacked by Martin before shooting him, and later took photos of himself with a broken nose and several cuts and bruises.  The slug of the fatal round Zimmerman fired at Martin was lodged in the teen’s left chest before  paramedics arrived and attempted CPR on him.  Martin was later pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting.

Zimmerman’s defense team allegedly tried to form a jury with the least number of minorities as possible.  They denied the allegating: “Absolutely not, but if there isn’t a black juror, that doesn’t mean anything either. It just means that we chose the best people based on their answers to their questions,” according to the New York Daily News.

“I feel like it’s not fair to choose people that are not minorities who can’t relate as much to Martin,”  said Howard. “With more minority jurors, they can relate to racism and oppression better; it should be more balanced.”

Mack Earns Home-Field Advantage But Has To Play At Its Rival’s Gym

OPINION PIECE

by Anthony Beron

The victory dance should have taken place HERE last Thursday. The championship game should have been in the McClymonds gym.

Yes, the McClymonds Lady Warriors made history by winning the Oakland Athletic League for the first time in 38 years. And the boys team, the Warriors won and were undefeated in the OAL.

So what is the pay-off for their hard work and higher seeding in the CIF playoffs: WE HAVE TO PLAY AT OAKLAND TECH, our rival school, instead of playing in our OWN GYM.

And the school is abuzz with that sad reality. “If I had an option,” said boys’ basketball coach Brandon Brooks, “I’d definitely have our team play here because of our strong, enthusiastic fan base.” He thought it was moved to Oakland Tech because of the smaller size of our gym.

Colleen  Piper, Spanish teacher, called the move to have McClymonds play at its rival’s gym “unfair” and “uncool.”

Teacher Relonda McGhee, who favored playing at Laney College, where the Silver Bowl was played, said that “Playing at Tech is risky, because it’s our rival.”

Most students agreed. “We should play here, on our home field,  because we are the champions,” said Danny Sola, a senior.

But some expressed caution. “Playing here can be dangerous,” said Luckie Lovette, a junior. “In the past, the fans have caused a lot of problems.”

While McClymonds students mentioned the unfairness of the situation, the athletes just practiced for the game.

“As long as we have a court and a hoop,” said Lady Warrior Romanalyn Inocencio, “I’m cool.”

Mack lures transfer students — with sports and community

Breannie Robinson Aronisha Smith, 16 College Ready

by Anastasia Walton

Most transfer to McClymonds for sports, but others yearn for community, after feeling lost in the shuffle of students on bigger campuses like O’High, Tech or Skyline.

Some even come from afar: Vallejo, Manteca, or even San Francisco.

Jenero Rodriguez, sophomore, wakes up at 7:30  am,  gathers his backpack and books and heads for the door.  If he catches the 8:10 am bus from North Oakland he might make it on time for Spanish class.

Rodriguez is starting a new school year at a new campus with new faces, 33 of them (out of 265 students). After wearing a Bulldogs uniform for one year, he proudly dons a Warriors orange and black jersey.

According to the Oakland Unified School District’s student assignment office; there were twelve 9th graders, eleven 10th graders, three 11th graders, and seven 12th graders who transferred to Mack this current school year.

Like Rodriguez, Louis White, junior, 16, switched from Tech to McClymonds and to Mack’s Silver Bowl winning football team.

“The teachers at Mack really care.  They take the time to help you and make sure you get the material, unlike the teachers at my school [Tech],” stated White.

Who are these new faces you might ask? Well it was a question I was asking myself as well. I wanted to know whether the transition was easy and how they adjusted. The main difference, students said, was the encouragement from staff to prepare for college.

Jermaine McCann, an 11th grader said “The staff really pushes you and talks about college, where at my other school, they barely even brought up college.”  “Mack is  one big family,” he added.

Students who leave McClymonds are usually looking for more AP classes and more extracurricular activities, says Rolanda McGhee, Care Manager.

Fitting in at McClymonds may be easier than integrating elsewhere. Principal Kevin Taylor  said, “Students at Mack are very friendly and open so it isn’t hard for new students to settle in. As for the staff, I don’t really think they mind helping to teach a new mind.”