Tag Archives: AC Transit

I’ll just watch the movie “Prom” on prom night


by Luckie Lovette

Prom is a few weeks away, and everyone is getting ready for it.  Except for me.

Prom is one of those school events that everyone says they don’t care about but secretly do.  For me, even if I wanted to, I can’t go.  Tickets, transportation and tuxedos exceed far more than the $100 advised to spend in the once in a lifetime night.

On top of that, being a guy, I’m supposed buy my prom date’s ticket and pay for dinner.  Realistically, we would ride AC Transit to a Denny’s and split an order of nachos, but that doesn’t sound as luxurious as the movies make it seem.

I’ll just stay at home and watch the movie “Prom” on prom night.

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


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.”

Why I miss San Francisco

san fransico                      

  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.

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.”

From the East to the West — And Back


by Khristan Antoine

As the bus approaches 82nd Ave in front of Walgreen’s, everybody crowds in, anxious to get a seat on a full bus. As I enter the revolving doors and show my AC Transit plastic bus pass with my scratched photo, I zero in on a  seat next to the window. I put my feet up on top of the seat across from me and reach for my iPod and tune to my favorite song, Poetic Justice by Kendrick Lamar. Different faces — sad, tired, blank and mostly bored — stare or focus on the cement, or at KFC, or at McDonald’s or at corner stores, still locked shut at dawn.

It’s a long, long ride for me — almost an hour — so I brace myself for the stares and glares and the rowdy high school kids (who have shorter rides than I) in the back of the bus.

The bus is my second home — I spend two hours a day, ten hours a week, one quarter of the time I spend at school, trying to go back and forth, on four buses.

I live in the East but attend McClymonds High School in the West, because I feel at home in the West. I was born and raised in West Oakland and so I feel loyal to these streets and the community. So if it takes 2 buses to get to school every day, then it’s worth it. I want to graduate from McClymonds to become a part of a great legacy of legends and be a Mack Warrior.

And so the bus is the means to graduation from Mack. And a known factor. Already as a kid, I felt comfortable on the bus. My mom has been AC Transit driver for eleven years, so I am familiar with the routes,what buses come out of the different stations. I’ve been to the bus yard where all the buses are lined up in the parking lot, like toy Legos. If there were an SAT test on East Bay bus routes and which landmarks they pass, I’d ace it.