Category Archives: success

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.”

macksmack staff racks up 10 state journalism awards — 1st place in environmental reporting

 

anthonyawardphoto

Anthony Beron, editor of macksmack, accepting one of 6 journalism prizes

by Janaya Andrews

Winning 1st place award in environmental reporting, macksmack journalists swept a total of 10 awards in the California Press Women high school journalism contest.

“What an awesome win,” said Pamela Tapia, one of the blog’s advisors and a McClymonds graduate.

“We were competing against the wealthiest, best-funded, most tech-savvy suburban, private and parochial high schools in California,” she added.

First place in environmental writing went to Sana Saeed, a 2013 graduate, who tackled the toxins in lipstick in her piece “Is My Lipstick A Lethal Weapon?” Her story was also entered in the National Federation of Press Women high school contest.

Two seniors won top photo awards, Jonae Scott with a 2nd place in sports photography and Luckie Lovette with 3rd place in feature photography for a photo essay on tattoos.

“We pulled it off with the least expensive cameras — sometimes borrowed — and without high tech devices, lighting equipment or digital enhancements,” said Tapia.

Senior Lee Benson won 3rd place in environmental writing for writing “Eco-cool”, which discussed a rising trend in students bicycling to school.

Macksmack editor Anthony Beron racked up six awards, including 3rd place in news writing for a piece on the murder of classmate Denzel Jones in February. He won 2nd and 3rd places in environmental reporting, 3rd place in sports for a piece on the lone male cheerleader at McClymonds and 2nd place in opinion writing for a piece on vegetarians eating in the school cafeteria-

He also won an honorable mention in feature writing for a piece on the digital divide hurting student grades.

The awards ceremony took place at UC Berkeley’s School of Journalism on March 12.

 

 

Why we’re late to school — long commute, need more sleep

lateness

opinion piece

by Nicole Funes

Daily agony: my alarm rings, as I stumble out of bed at 5 a.m. way before the blue jays start to squawk. Shower, dress, quick juice and race five blocks to the bus stop. That run downhill gets my heat beating.

It’s now 6:45 and if I’m lucky I’m on the first of two buses that cross Oakland from East (south) to West (others have to transfer twice). It’s an hour and 20 minute ride and I have to be lucky — the buses have to be on schedule and follow their route without “incident” for me to make it to school on time.

There are a handful of us loyal to the West: we were displaced by gentrification but we identify with West Oakland and its community spirit and “family-like” feel.

Nevertheless, school administrators greet us with curt remarks “Late again?” and stony stares, as though we stopped at the corner store for a chat or overslept.

Anywhere between 12 to 40 students arrive late to school every day, said Will Blackwell, who teaches manhood at McClymonds. Tardiness can affect grades, other teachers said.

It’s clear that we need more sleep and less stress about the commute.

Just look at the newest study: a study by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement showed that later start times for high school students are better. The three-year study involved 9,000 students at eight high schools in three states.

Earlier studies in Minneapolis showed that later start times (and more sleep)produced higher graduation rates.

Even McClymonds students recognize that sleep deprivation affects their school work.

“I’m tired and irritated in the morning,” said Kaya LaForte, a freshman at McClymonds, who is an A student but feels she could do more if she were not so tired.

Part of her problem is the long commute. “It can take an hour or more. The bus driver could be making a lot of stops. Some people might have to take 2 more buses, and BART, then have to walk sometime and then might not make it,” she said.

Like others, she often skips breakfast.

She feels targeted when she comes in late. The response to the bus saga at school: “That’s not an acceptable excuse. You need to leave 5 minutes earlier.”

Sleep affects performance, the study showed. More sleep, researchers found,  improves grades and standardized test results.

“We did find that there was statistically significant improvement in their grades in English, math, social studies and science, all the core academic areas,” said Kayla Wahlstrom, director of the University of Minnesota Center and the study’s author. “And we found improvements on standardized tests, like the ACT test.”

The study showed that schools with start times at 7:30 a.m. had just 34 percent of students who reported getting eight or more hours of sleep, while schools with  start times of 8:55 a.m. had 66 percent of students getting eight or more hours of sleep.

Wahlstrom also said coaches told her that the athletes were more able to remember plays and could perform better physically with more sleep.

“It’s easier to get up in the morning when you get enough sleep,” said Anthony Beron, a sophomore who played JV football and is a long distance runner. “When you’re rested, you can run faster, longer and compete harder.”

What Queen Latifah means to us

Queen Latifah

by Selena Williams

She’s big and bossy. And what we like most about her is how she knows how to relate to people — with her touch, her eyes, her music.

To all of us in West Oakland, she’s more than glitter, she’s real.

She speaks her mind. For instance, she supports gays and lesbians, and rode in a pride parade. In her hometown in New Jersey, she offers scholarships to minority students in honor of her brother who died in a motorcycle accident.

“She is like a song that never gets old, like Oprah,” said Janaya Andrews, a sophomore at McClymonds.

She’s been around a long time. Queen Latifah burst onto the scene in 1989, one of three hip-hop artists to receive an Academy Award nomination in an acting category.

From her rap origins, she evolved into an actress, jazz singer and icon of classic good taste, without ever losing her edge. “I’m not that into trends,” she says, for starters. “I do my thing.”

Unlike Wendy Williams and Oprah, she adds comedy and originality to her show.

She’s also a plus-size spokesperson for CoverGirl cosmetics, Curvation ladies underwear, Pizza Hut and Jenny Craig. She represents her own line of cosmetics for women of color with CoverGirl Queen Collection.  Latifah changed the game, becoming a role model  for Black girls in West Oakland.

For those of us who don’t look like Britney Spears or Madonna, Latifah was the artist to follow and relate to.  Black women were no longer  eye-candy in hip-hop or rap videos: they took control of the mic.  Few artists have had a bigger impact on West Oakland youth.

Now Queen Latifah returns to daytime television with a new talk show.

Co-produced by the hip Will Smith, through his production company Overbrook Entertainment, it features the  usual celebrity interviews, hot topics and pop culture tropes and top tier musical acts.

For me, Queen Latifah is an idol who shows me that you can be famous as a musician and successful as a businesswoman.

Warriors face next big challenge: #1 seed

mackOALbiggergroupboystrophy

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.”

“Griots” project comes to McClymonds

mcclymondsgriots

by Jaden Nixon

The “Griots” project made a powerful impact at McClymonds.

“It gave us insight into how Oakland teens think,” said Kaya LaForte, a freshman who saw the exhibit late last month.

“The Griots of Oakland” is the name of a book and an oral history project by five young black men who collected stories of growing up Black in Oakland in interviews with 100 Black  men aged 6 to 24. ‘Griots’ is a West-African word that means storyteller.

“It should be made for the whole school and all of Oakland to see,” said Joseph Sanford, a senior. “It makes me remember about the ‘hood, and what people don’t know about living in a different community and what we do to make it out.”

The project was launched by African American Male Achievement (AAMA), which works to empower young black males, and Alameda Health Care Services Agency created a project to allow young African American males to share their personal experiences. They worked with Story for All to recruit five young men from the ages of 14 to 18 to collect stories.

The young men were taught African American and Oakland history, as well as videography, by the non-profit.

With video cameras and 30 interview questions, the young men hit the streets, interviewed teens at school and captured on video the voices and thoughts of over 100 African American males from the ages of 6 to 24.

Interview questions ranged from “What did you eat for breakfast?” to “What is it like being a young African American man in Oakland?” The answers were sometimes alarming. While nearly 79 percent of boys under 13 said that it was good to be a young black male, 83 percent of those over 13 said that it was hard.

The exhibit at McClymonds included photos, quotes and video clips from the interviews. A book was also published.

However, for some, it is just a reminder of the ordinary. “I’ve seen people get shot. When I see this, I don’t feel anything new,” said McClymonds sophomore Billy Giddens. ” I just go on to the next day.”

griotphoto3

Twin wins: Mack shows its muscle in both OAL championship games

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

by Khristan Antoine

Considered the underdog, the Lady Warriors charged into the OAL championship game yesterday at Laney College and totally dominated an undefeated Skyline, winning the game with ease 57-21.

“They underestimated us, and our hard work paid off,” said Charlisse Flemming, a senior, about the win.

Later that evening, the No 1 seeded Warriors, undefeated in the OAL,  beat the Fremont Tigers 64-52. After struggling at the start, the Warriors pulled ahead and never looked back.

“The challenging part was beating them on the boards,” said MVP Deion Ellis, a senior. “I was able to help with low post points and to get my teammates involved.”

The Lady Warriors won their second OAL title, led by MVP 6-foot-3 junior Daisy Powell. The McClymonds girls powered into the game, with lay ups by Powell and successful free throws by Angela Lee, a senior. At the end of the first quarter, Gabby Gaines, a senior, shot two 3-pointers with ease, giving McClymonds a huge 20-8 lead, shocking Skyline.

After that, it was more of the same pattern, with Skyline unable to keep up with the pace, often missing shots , as the crowd chanted “M-V-P” when Powell led the charge and Gaines hit another 3-pointer. At halftime, it was 37-10.

Although McClymonds did accumulate fouls, that did not stop their assault, as Lee and Powell combined to up the lead and by the end of the third quarter, the die was cast with a score of 45-11.

The last quarter was by far Skyline’s best, as they eked out 10 points to McClymonds 12 points on layups by Gaines and Flemming, a Lee 3-pointer and successful free throws by Powell.

The boys’ team took control of the game in the second quarter. “We just played as a team and we played hard,” said senior Tyrone Spivey.