Category Archives: UCLA

In and Out of Shadows: A Play About Undocumented Youth Hits Home

Felix and his momHomero Rosas plays Juan Two

by Romanalyn Inocencio

Watching In and Out of Shadows at the Marsh Theater in San Francisco was like sitting in my living room listening to my Mom. The Filipina mother in the story threatened like my mother, giving you a choice of what household instrument you can get hit with.

It hit home because I’m Filipina and these life stories — focused on fears about the police, stress over grades and college — reflect the anxieties of my undocumented cousins and friends.

Some significant details are different of course. The stories of crossing the border into the United States from Mexico, when one kid had to be drugged because he could not learn his fake name,and another had to crawl through the sewers, are harrowing.

The musical builds on a familiar theme: college application.  In it, the undocumented teens are preparing their personal statements for an AB 540 conference at UC Berkeley (AB 540 allows DREAMers to attend California colleges at in-state rates).

 We meet Angel, who arrived in the US alone via a sewer when he was 13. And Juan who, as a determined six-year-old, had to be drugged with cough syrup during the crossing because he adamantly refused to take his cousin’s name as his own. We watch a newly urbanized “vato loco” (crazy dude in Spanish) teaching an undocumented Chinese friend how to speak street Spanish.

Running through the entire musical is the fear of deportation. Many families in the  play  have deceptive status – undocumented parents who lie to their children about their papers (often telling their children they have papers, when they don’t)  and who live in constant fear of separation.

Even under AB 540 or President Obama’s recent two-year deportation deferral program for certain undocumented youth, students who get to stay may suddenly be left alone with nobody to take care of them. The diverse group of young actors, many whom are directly affected by the issue, mix English, Spanish, Tagalog and other languages as they examine the unwieldy human effects of this messy political issue.

Inequality: Why Mack Needs To Be More Academic

by Stephen Vance

Will there be more academics at Mack next year? I certainly hope so.

Even though I was admitted to Cal Berkeley, I would have welcomed more AP classes, such as the ones proposed now by McClymonds alumni and the New McClymonds Committee. They proposed adding two AP history courses, two English courses, AP Calculus, AP Spanish and three AP science classes, as well as Environmental Studies and three computer science courses.

I would have benefitted greatly; these classes would have given me the opportunity to satisfy Cal’s requirements. Unfortunately, there was only one AP class available in my four years at McClymonds — AP English.

As these groups point out, we students at Mack are getting an unequal education — fewer AP and honors classes translate into lower skills, lower GPAs as we compete for college admissions, scholarships, and fewer opportunities. We also have fewer courses to choose from: 21 courses at McClymonds, compared to 72 at Oakland Tech. And we are the only high school in Oakland that is overwhelmingly African American.

As I look around me, I see students struggling to graduate because they are missing required courses, partly because they dropped a course along the way or never found a science course they liked.

However for the most part, some students can’t take the course because it is full. Consequently, these students will have to attempt to satisfy the requirement next year.

Personally, I took Pre-Calculus my junior year, but was unable to take Calculus in my senior year, because we do not offer the course. The pickings are scarce. I’ve seen the offerings shrink in my four years here: Environmental Science, Forensic Science, Media Studies, Video Production, Drama, African American Studies, and the closing of the Law Academy.

Mack alumn Donald Layne: what I learned in high school; what I wish I had

"Wish I'd read more books in high school"

by Angelique Villasana

His blue and yellow knitted hat may say UCLA (prank gift from a friend), but Donald Layne’s  a happy freshman at Long Beach State University, where he hopes to major in social work.

“I wish I’d read more books at Mack,” he says, reflecting about his high school days.  He also wishes he’d spent more time studying for the ACTs, had taken the SATs, had written more papers and learned to type better.

What he learned at Mack that was most helpful: researching and writing a senior project; learning Power Point so well that he teaches it to his friends for free and to others for a small fee.

“College is a lot harder than high school,” says Layne, 19, who has a 3.2 GPA and takes advantage of tutoring programs, studies with friends and participates in BLC program that helps with every class.

The reason he chose social work as a major was to help the West Oakland community and other struggling communities. Once he was accepted at Long Beach State, he says he was self motivated and also ready to start his new life in college.

“It’s different, even better to be away from home,” he says. The “better” things are beaches, museums, Rosco’s Chicken and Waffles, warm weather, “people who aren’t negative” and diversity. His new friends include Latinos, African-Americans, Pacific-Islanders and Asians.

The scariest moment was….paying his own bills. Layne has $3,000 in loans and quickly learned to budget.

Top debater — now a UCLA freshman — visits Mack

by B. Tindle and Miriam Neal

UCLA freshman Tanesha Walker, 19, came back to McClymonds Wednesday to visit the debate team, which she led last year.  On Tuesday, she spoke to the 10th graders about her experiences at UCLA and adjusting to diversity.

“I’m involved in community service, in building a stronger Black community on campus,” said Walker.

Walker has had to give up debate because the focus at UCLA is on parliamentary debate, not urban debate.

She plans to major in mathematics.

“Coming from McClymonds, you’re behind and you have to catch up,” she said.