Tag Archives: history

Winning students’ films explore Black Panthers and homelessness

By Anthony Beron

A 17-year-old Skyline sophomore’s video based on an R & B song by Moria Moore that uses footage of the history of Black Panthers won the Judges Award last week at  Project YouthView.

Lily Yu, a Chinese immigrant who plays jazz bass, created the R&B film Limitations, which revisits the Black Panther Party’s lasting presence in West Oakland.  She won a $500 cash prize, a Kindle and and a private screening of her film and luncheon at the Dolby studios in San Francisco.

Organized by Alternatives in Action, Project YouthView, which took place last Thursday at the Alameda Theatre in Alameda, screened films by nine finalists. “Human,” a film by Fremont High School graduates Andy To and Dara So, which tells the story of a local homeless man, won the Audience award.

For Yu, film was a new venture. “I really love music,” Yu says, “I’m in my school’s jazz band. I had just started in film, and I didn’t know much about it, so I decided to do a music video.”

Since filming Limitations, she’s contributed to three videos for KQED chronicling the Oakland dropout crisis.

The Skyline High School student came to film through the Bay Area Video Coalition, or BAVC, a group that organizes classes, events, after-school programs, and resources to help students. Yu found her inspiration in BAVC member, Moria Moore, who has since moved to Los Angeles.

“[Limitations] talks about African- Americans, and it came from Moria Moore’s album, History in the Streets,” Yu says. “I used found footage from documentaries about the Black Panthers, and I decided to focus the video on that. You’ll see [Moore] in the spots that the Black Panthers were in many years ago,” she told Oakland Magazine.

Yu said she did not show her family the video until it was completed, as it was so different from anything she’d created before. “I didn’t know if they’d understand,” she said. But they did.

Her BAVC mentors helped her shape her story. ” I had to write out locations for each shot—‘Where do I imagine this part of the song?’”

Why iPads Would Help Us — A Tale of Unkept Promises

Checking topography for science class -- a dream without iPad!

by Silvia Cardona

(with reports from The New York Times)

As a ninth grader at McClymonds, I was excited by the promise of being among the first students in the district to use an iPad to learn algebra, keep track of homework and email my teachers.

That promise never came true. At least not this year.

Once again, at McClymonds, we are behind the times in the use of technology and in educational innovation.

Just look around. The New York Times says that  a growing number of schools in the country — most in wealthy districts — are using the iPad to teach algebra (using a Houghton Mifflin only for iPad program) as well as history.

That was the plan at McClymonds.

In an email response, principal Kevin Taylor told macksmack: that the alumni and administration made a commitment to secure the iPads and that the alumni association raised over 80 percent of the funding. Teachers were planning to use them in conjunction with the SMART boards and the iPads were to be used in the classroom.

So what happened?

Two problems arose, says Taylor. Bureaucracy or the need for signatures outside of McClymonds. And then, of course, “security” for the iPads.  “We don’t have the funding to properly secure the ipads here on campus. ” It makes sense with computers and cameras stolen out of classrooms. Recently a student’s iPod disappeared off her desk. Another ‘s shuffle was stolen last week.

In the meantime, students are grumbling. “What a major let-down,” said Astlee Carver, a 9th grader. “”It’s not fair for anyone who is less fortunate and doesn’t have access to technology.”

“Having an iPad would mean that we wouldn’t have to carry a ton of books,” says Khristian Antoine, a 9th grader.

Besides saving students’ backs and serving as research tools, iPads can make a difference in classroom learning. Roslyn High School in New York  gave 47 iPads to the students and teachers in two humanities classes. The school district plans to hand out iPads to 1,100 students.

The iPads — at $750 apiece –are used in class and at home during the school year to replace heavy textbooks, to email teachers and to turn in papers and homework.

Not everyone believes that technology improves learning. The New York Times says that educators disagree over whether giving every student a laptop makes a difference academically.

While schools are cutting programs and laying off teachers, should they spend money on  iPads? What if they’re free?

“There is very little evidence that kids learn more, faster or better by using these machines,” Larry Cuban, a Stanford professor emeritus, told The New York Times.  Cuban feels  that the money would be better spent to train and retain teachers. “iPads are marvelous tools to engage kids, but then the novelty wears off and you get into hard-core issues of teaching and learning.”

First Alumni Day: stories of sports, struggles, pride, success

at work

by Carmen Cummings

I knew nothing about Mack’s history until the Alumni Day — the first we’ve ever had at the school.   I learned about Mack’s past history of basketball dominance (Bill Russell, Antonio Davis, Hook Mitchell) and its ties to the Black Panther party in the 1960s.

I didn’t know we had a school song.  I thought they would sing it, but nobody did.

We had panels about college, the Black Panther Party, and school traditions. The Black Panther grew after they led a protest after a school-age boy was hit when there were no traffic lights in the neighborhood.

I didn’t know that J.W. McClymomds was a school superintendent in Oakland . Also,  I found out that students call the lunch “Patty” because it was the last name of the woman who served lunch at Mack and also free lunch for students everywhere. The little things that I’ve learned today helped me imagine how Mack used to be and still can become.

People outside of our community only hear the bad things about McClymonds but never know the history and how we strive through our everyday struggles.