Tag Archives: ecology

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.

 

 

EcoCool: Why Some Mack Students Bike to School

bikingtoschoolphoto

by Lee Benson

His gold bicycle shines in the sunlight, as Shaquan “Sip” Washington locks it outside of McClymonds High School. He is one of only a handful of students and teachers who ride their bicycles to school. “It’s not just eco-friendly, it’s practical,” says Washington.

Today is different: no lock, so the sophomore rolls his Schwinn inside and parks it in Officer Humphrey Garret’s office on the second floor.  In West Oakland, where Bikes 4 Life founder Terry Coleman helps kids fix bikes on 7th Street and sometimes organizes Rides for Peace, bicycles take on a different meaning: they are cheap transportation but they can also be also dangerous.

Two bicycle riders were robbed near West Oakland BART on May 8 (and blogged about it).

Just six weeks ago, McClymonds student Frenswa Raynor was riding his bicycle near the downtown area when police mistakenly identified him as a robbery suspect. He was shot in the jaw.

And there are plenty of bicycle thefts. Just a few months ago, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon broke up a major stolen bicycle ring. Police say most of the stolen bicycles are sold at flea markets in Oakland.

So why do McClymonds students (and teachers) ride their bicycles to school? Necessity or style?

“I ride my bike to school everyday because my parents work and do not have enough time to drop me off at school,” says Washington.

For Rahquille”Roc” Jackson, a sophomore at McClymonds, “it’s way more convenient than walking.”  He adds, “I live down the street.”

For Kelton Reynolds, another sophomore at McClymonds, it’s a way to stay in shape. “As a varsity football player, I look for ways to exercise and strengthen my muscles. This is as effective as me running the track around the football field.” Long term substitute teacher Michael Curry claims that ,”I ride my bike to school occasionally because gas prices nowadays are too high to drive to school everyday.”

Billy Stevens, a freshman on the McClymonds basketball team says that it has double benefits for him, too. “I ride my bike to school because I need to save money and I can get my exercise as well.”

Not all students agree. Luckie Lovette, a junior at McClymonds, prefers to walk. “It’s better exercise and I don’t have to worry about where to park it.”

Two Mack students win in Northern California journalism contest

Image

Pamela Tapia won several awards in 2011 for environmental and feature stories. Here she is pictured accepting an award from Betty Packard at last year’s Northern California Press Women Association awards’ ceremony.

Now a community college freshman, Tapia again won 2nd prize in 2012 in environmental reporting for a story on cleaning up West Oakland. The story first appeared in macksmack and was published in the June 2011 issue of  Oaktown Teen Times.

Stephen Vance, a senior at McClymonds and a summer intern at the Rose Foundation in 2011, won honorable mention for a story he wrote about the Greening of West Oakland.  The story first appeared in macksmack and was published in Oaktown Teen Times in December 2011.
 
 

The Greening of West Oakland

photo by Quailyn Scott, Skyline High School

photo by Quailyn Scott, Skyline High School

By Stephen Vance

Greening West Oakland. Less cement, more parks and even ponds stocked with fish. More foot traffic and public transportation. And most of all, mixed income housing and retail. Those elements were part of a blueprint for West Oakland that 13 Oakland students created during their summer internship at The Rose Foundation.
“This was the first time students from McClymonds, Mandela, Oakland Tech, Oakland High, Street Academy and Skyline came up with their own vision of a healthy, sustainable community,” said Jill Ratner, president of The Rose Foundation.
“After all their work identifying the sources of pollution in the neighborhood and testimony about diesel fumes, they were able to present a truly beautiful blueprint for what they really want in their community,” Ratner added.
The blueprint was developed in response to Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) – a planning process, which will guide use planning for the next 25 years. It will reduce greenhouse gas emissions per person as required by California law SB 375 (SB 375 was adopted by the CA legislature in 2008 and aims to reduce per capita greenhouse gas emissions  to 1990 levels by 2020 — and by 80 percent by 2050).
Two local agencies — Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Association of Bay Area Governments — are preparing  workshops in January, and will  release a scenario  for public comment in March or April.
The summer project also coincided with a pilot project by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to clean lead pollution at several West Oakland locations. For the first time, the EPA used a less invasive and less costly technology that uses fish bones to chemically bond with the lead, making it harmless to people.
The idea was to go beyond identifying toxic elements, health issues like asthma, and pollutants, which students at McClymonds tackled as part of the school’s Law & Government Academy’s focus on environmental justice. McClymonds students, who testified before the EPA and state and local boards, won an award for their community service last year.
“The summer was devoted to making West Oakland sustainable and empowering the voice of the youth,” said Ratner.
“Working on sustainability taught me to rethink urban planning and how that affects the community, ” said  Taneka O’Guin , a senior at Oakland Tech.

 In order to create a blueprint, students visited the self-reliant house at Merritt College and heard from a number of experts on sustainability and environmental technology. One of the speakers, Dr. Paloma Pazel emphasized the “six wins” necessary to make a sustainable community: better health; end of gentrification and displacement; affordable housing; reliable transportation; economic opportunity and community activism.
Over the summer, students learned how to make informed, responsible, and healthy decisions when it comes to the vision of sustainability in their community. They put their dreams and vision to work.

macksmack Editor Wins Three Journalism Awards

P

Pamela Tapia, editor of macksmack and a writer for the Oaktown Teen Times, has won three journalism awards in a contest for high school journalists in Northern California.

The Northern California Press Women’s Association held a ceremony for the winners on May 11 at the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley.

Betty Packard, CPW executive director, said they were over 1,000 entries in 17 categories and lauded the quality of the work submitted.

Tapia won second place in feature writing for a story that explored the difficulties that girls experience when they leave gangs. The piece appeared in The Mosaic, a newspaper published by Mosaic, a summer minority journalism program at San Jose State University sponsored by the San Jose Mercury-News and several Bay Area media groups and foundations.

The other two awards were for stories which appeared in Oaktown Teen Times. Tapia won second place in environmental writing for a piece on the creation of YouTube videos by McClymonds students opposed to Proposition 23 and its impact on clear air in West Oakland. “Good use of sensory appeal and  good use of perceptive personal observations,” wrote the judge.

Tapia also won third place in feature writing for a story that explored restorative justice at McClymonds, an alternative to youth court and suspensions.

“What an honor to be recognized!” said Tapia.