Category Archives: writing

Macho can mean macaroni (and cheese)

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Opinion Piece

by Luckie Lovette

When I was nine, I scorched myself when flipping French fries:  bubbling grease splattered onto my face. LESSON LEARNED: never stand close to hot grease.

I used to cook with my mom, but now the tables are turned and I’m the only person who cooks in my household. My menu is growing as I take this responsibility seriously, cooking for my aunty and brothers: I’ve graduated from old standbys like Mac and cheese on to more gourmet teriyaki chicken, vegetable medleys, baked chicken and meatloaf.

It’s not what you’d expect of a high school senior, who should be focused on homecoming, senior ditch day and prom. Not many MALE students at McClymonds become master chefs; we don’t even have a barbecue club like at Berkeley High and at Bishop O’Dowd. Only 16 percent of high school males know how to cook.

 

The first time I cooked something was when I was 6 years and dreamed of IHop, so what did I make:  big golden fluffy pancake. Not messy, sticky or runny. Unlike other kids, I succeeded the first time around. My future was sealed.

 

I began paying close attention to what my grandmother would whip up: soul foul,  fried chicken, greens, potato salad, hot water cornbread, roast beef, fried fish, and macaroni salad. Grandma Gina inspired me to take risks, get dirty. She would chop celery, onion and bell peppers and throw them into the meat, with me by her side, staring.

 

What I like most about cooking is company, community. Sitting down at the table, I share (jokes, ideas, and stories) and food with my family and chew over the day. The meal is what binds us together:  even the cats get involved, nibbling on leftovers.  And they are clever – they smell and hear me cutting onions and gather around, because they know that meat is coming next.

 

I’m not very talented in working with my hands so this gives me an outlet for that, because I don’t stress when cooking, my main focus is to listen to the sizzle, to inhale the garlic.

 

I love good food but that’s not why I cook. Cooking is my artistic expression. Even though I cook for the entire time I’m at home, I feel recharged at the end.

 

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.

In a small school like McClymonds, love takes different forms

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Stories, photos and illustrations by students in Journalism 1

Not everyone has a “love” on campus at McClymonds, a school of 270.

People have different passions, too: sports, video games, rap music, flowers, art, fashion, food and chocolate.

Here are the stories and photos we collected:

“‘You’re over my head…I’m out of my mind..’ Every time I hear Classic by MTKO, I just snap my fingers, sing along. That song makes me really happy and brightens up my whole day. I listened to it after I had fallen down the stairs at school, hit my head, and then went to track practice in pain.”

Jaden Nixon

For Rayana Delaney, her first love was lit inside her during a balmy, summer day, at McClymonds High.  At first sight, he seemed like the “one”: charming, funny, caring, loving and overwhelmingly attractive all described him well. Fortunately, for both, they were coincidently students at the same summer school.  Delaney recalls a latent excitement after smiling at him and a requited love-struck stare, immediately prior to an exchange of introductions.

“We became friends right away,” said Delaney. “He was really cute, and he showed a lot of interest in me.  After around two months of being friends and a quick spread of my attraction toward him through my friends, we finally had our first kiss, at school; it was magical.”

Since then, they have both been in an intimate relationship, and are planning on having their first date soon—at a local movie theater.

Delaney’s Valentine’s Day gift to her boyfriend is a card with hearts on it and some chocolate.  His match: a card with a picture of a teddybear on it and pink balloon.

Rayana Delaney, as told by Anthony Beron

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“Jessie was walking around her new high school and lost her way. A senior named Chris noticed her immediately and offered to help her. He walked around and around, and was so hooked he wouldn’t let her go home. There was a click between them. “We’ve been together ever since.'”

as told to Jasmine Vilchis

“My grandma makes us feel special: she brings us all together, we all sit on her bed and she’ll tell us a story. We’ll laugh and feel a special bond. We are family.”

J’Mya Gray-Martinez

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 “I love hamburgers because they are always there for me, whenever I need food, hamburgers are always there with melted cheese, a juicy patty, crisp buns, and delicious pickles. Every time I’m down and out, I have a hamburger.”

Parrish Kendricks

Ink of Art

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By Luckie Lovette

For most students at McClymonds, tattoos represent overcoming trauma or celebrating memory. The tattoos range from symbols like ankh to dates, names of loved ones or flowers.

Ask any student at McClymonds why he or she decided to get a tattoo and the responses range from remembering loved ones to celebrating newborns.

As for its legality, none of the students knew that in California, it is illegal for anyone under 18 (with or without parental permission) to get a tattoo. Most Mack students have had their tattoos done by friends or at tattoo parlors that cater to minors.

There’s nothing new about tattoos. Look at Japanese art and you’ll see warriors with tattoos of their battles or Polynesian tribes where the word tattoo derives from tatus.

Tattoos are trendy today, especially among teens.  With or without parental permission, some kids sneak out and get tattoos, hiding them with long sleeve shirts.  Or it could be a simple “ink hook up.”  In most cases, people preferred their name or that of their loved one to be inked on their body. People chose to get their arms, hands or shoulders designed in special cursive letters, graffiti letters, or fun letter and number fonts.

Gradually, tattoo lovers started exploring new ideas.

However, most students says they have been discriminated against and profiled because of their body art; adults think that a person who has a large tattoo must be affiliated with gangs and violence, which is not true for most people. Some argue that it’s just art, and not prison related.

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Monte Smith, a senior

Smith says his arm tattoos represent “Family, reminiscence, lost loved ones and prosperity.”

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Jermaine McCaints, a senior

Says his tattoos represent “Family”, with special colors of roses, which cost over $300 “Family is important to me because we all stick together as one,” said McCaints.

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Lavance Warren, a junior

His tattoo reads: “Rose.” He dedicated his art to his grandmother to remember her.  “I got my tattoo to remember my grandmother for making a big impact on my life,” said Warren.

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Luckie Lovette, a senior

His tattoo reads “1800”. Which is the block of 18th street and Linden.  “It’s home,” said Lovette.  Although the tattoo is designed in a style of a gang banger, it was transformed to remember his childhood home. “It give an appearance of an illusion to make people think twice what am I?” said Lovette.

DSCF2422Erin Nicholson, a senior

Her tattoo reads “De’miyah” which is the name of her niece.

“She’s my love, she’s my first niece, and she’s my little angel. I got her name tatted so I can remember her everyday,” said Nicholson.

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Jonae Scott, a senior

Has a tattoo of her niece’s name “Ja’dore.”

“It means I own my skin, and I love my niece, she means everything to me,” said Scott.

DSCF2421Shamiela Watkins, a senior

“It just simply means a symbol of life,” said Watkins .

“Some get tattoos for the heck of it but I got mine to enjoy the quality of a positive life,” said Watkins.

“It didn’t hurt as much, but it was worth the cost,” said Watkins.

Why the second amendment offers me no protection

2ndopinion piece

by Nicole Funes

Just a year ago, a 16-year-old African American teen from Stockton lay on the ground, shot , just a few steps from my house. It took hours for an ambulance to come — shocking even for neighbors immune to the violence in West Oakland. Would this happen in Montclair or Rockridge?

More than 21 children have been shot and killed in Oakland since 2011, all of them in the poorer neighborhoods, according to the San Jose Mercury-News.

Just last week, riding on the bus, I witnessed a 16-year-old Oakland High student get into a fight with a girl, who wouldn’t refused to move backpack from the seat. “I get mad too fast. I got anger management problems,” he yelled at the girl, who refused to budge. “I’ll shoot everyone on the bus,” he said, clicking his gun.

By the next stop, I was off the bus. As were seven other passengers. “Smart move,” an older woman told me after I exited the bus.

But this is my reality. The threat of violence haunts me. Every bus ride feels like a risky adventure, during which I’m far more alert than during my school’s fire drill.

The dangers of gun use make me question the validity of the Second Amendment. How does it protect me to have guns of all sorts readily available in Oakland?

My peers are divided on the issue of gun control. “I feel good about guns, if they’re registered,” said Tyrone Spivey, a senior at McClymonds. “If someone comes into my house, even if my gun’s unregistered, “Pop, Pop.” It’s going down.”

“It ‘s too much black on black violence,” said Travon Godfrey, a 10th grader at McClymonds.  “Too many kids are finding it easy to get guns and taking {other}teens’ lives.”

FLY takes off at McClymonds: boys to men

by Janaya Andrews

A boy calls a girl a b**ch after arguing about rumors going around school.  He grabs his backpack and knocks over a desk in frustration.  Before the teacher can stop him and calm him down, the boy is down the hall fuming in anger, swearing at the walls.

The newest guys-only club at McClymonds — First Love Yourself or FLY — addresses such issues of disrespect toward women, confidence and responsibility in a more social atmosphere than the Manhood class for 9th graders, says Lovell Ruffin Jr. , case manager at Alternatives in Action.

The brainchild of Jareem Gunter, community programs manager, the program was launched to help male students talk about these issues, bond and develop self-respect. So far, about a dozen male students, mostly freshmen, are attending.

 “I need a person I can look up to,” said Hosea Wade, a 9th grader.

The reasons for joining FLY range from a desire to bond with other guys outside of sports teams to a need for a safe place to ask questions and get information.

“Some of the guys don’t know how to tie a tie,” said Gunther. “Others need to  respect girls or women.” The current trend — to disrespect women — began 10 years ago and is reflected in rap music and culture, he said.

Some of the freshmen realize that it’s time to confront sexism. “I want to be in the men group to be more mature than I am now,” said freshman Desmond Crump.  “I want to be more polite towards girls, my parents and any other adults I talk to,” said freshman Quentin Garrett.

So far, the focus has been social. But the three adult leaders have written a pledge they hope to teach club members: to honor themselves, to hurt no one, to build community.

Engineers with Swagg: the New Mack Look

kardelbackpack

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.