Tag Archives: jobs

Back to the future: the secret world of BART


Story and photo by Anthony Beron

It was a glimpse into the future of BART: its new, New Zealand-designed  40-mile an hour cable car that’ll zip riders to the Oakland Airport.

About 35 McClymonds’ STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) students were treated to a behind-the scenes tour of BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), along with a cameo on local TV news Tuesday.

“We learned how trains function and all the careers associated with BART,” said junior Kardel Howard.

The trip was organized by BART and Kathryn Hall, who heads the STEM program at McClymonds.

Epochal STEM Meeting: How Will Mack Students Benefit?


by Anthony Beron

Behold, the 12-inch, green and grey robot, heralding change at McClymonds High School.

The floors of 226 were waxed, the equipment shined, the bright posters hung as McClymonds prepared to kick off its new STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) curriculum at a meeting tomorrow at 5:30pm in the Malcolm X room on the 2nd floor.

“This program is supposed to enhance engineering learning by providing hand-on experiences,” said Kathryn Hall, engineering and math teacher at McClymonds, about the program developed by Project Lead The Way.

Hall has been teaching a STEM elective at McClymonds this year. Kardel Howard, a sophomore (who will be there tomorrow) said that he enjoys the computer work, which helps him learn about himself. “Our teacher is not yet able to answer all our questions, but that’ll change,” he added.

In addition to students taking the STEM class, speakers are to include Principal Kevin Taylor, Oakland superintendent Tony Smith, Janet Auer from Chevron Global Partnerships and Programs, and Duane Crum of Project Lead The Way.

“I’m hoping that in the next couple to years, people will be hearing about our engineering and robotics programs,” principal Kevin Taylor told The Oakland Tribune.

On its website, Project Lead The Way says its curriculum reaches 500,000 students in over 4,700 schools in 50 states.

Robert Boege , executive director of Alliance for Science and Technology Research in America, told macksmack that West Oakland was selected after U.S. News and other media groups identified those schools that needed STEM the most. “The future economy will be dependent on our youth,” he added.

Chevron partnered to provide funding to support the program, which will be launched in three schools in West Oakland, Martin Luther King elementary school, West Oakland Middle School and McClymonds, creating a “West Oakland STEM education pipeline,” said Hall.

Violence, Curfew, and the Future of Mack: Students Lead Forum With West Oakland Candidates

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photos by Breannie Robinson

by Selena Williams

Move over, Hofstra University. You have competition in hosting debates: students at McClymonds High School ran their school’s  first Election Candidates Forum last Thursday.

About 60 people attended the forum, including first-time voters like senior Carlos Valladares. “I sense that all  these candidates want to make West Oakland a better community,” said Valladares after the forum.”Tough choice.”

There were few disagreements, unlike the second debate between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. One candidate — Lynette McElhaney — left early and school board candidate Richard Fuentes could not attend because he had to work (for the Oakland City Council). City council candidate Alex Miller-Cole said he would be “one politician whose cell phone number you have” and candidate Larry Lionel Young Jr. stressed that he understood youth issues better because he was young.

The political forum grew out of interest by students participating in Alternatives in Action’s YOLO Youth Organizing Leadership Opportunities. Senior Donte Jackson asked many of the questions about safety, violence, jobs, a proposed teen curfew and McClymonds’ future.

City council candidates included Nyesha DeWitt, a youth dropout prevention specialist, Lynette Gibson-McElhaney, director of a housing non-profit (who left early), Alex Miller-Cole, a small business owner, Sean Sullivan, who works with homeless youth, and Larry Lionel Young, a realtor who ran for mayor in 2010.

The candidates are competing for Nancy Nadel’s seat. Nadel announced that she would step down after four terms representing West Oakland.  All contenders describe themselves as liberal or progressive. They all support community policing and oppose gang injunctions, and youth curfews.

Also speaking were school board candidates, incumbent Jumoke Hinton Hodge and challenger Benjamin Lang, who said he was the only candidate who has spent no money on his campaign and has accepted no donations. Candidate Richard Fuentes, who has the support of the teachers’ union, could not attend.

Among the more striking statements, Sullivan said that better lighting in Emeryville made the streets there safer and cleaner. And Young kept using slogans to push his candidacy. “Vote LL: Oakland will be well.”

Mayor Quan Kicks Off Summer Jobs Fair at Mack

by Stephen Vance

Her dream was to fight fires and save lives.

Daileesha McDonald got a step closer to that dream Wednesday when Mayor Jean Quan brought a summer jobs fair to McClymonds High School in West Oakland. “How exciting to find out that a summer job was available in the fire department,” said McDonald, a 9th grader at Mack.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan held a press conference at McClymonds to launch a summer jobs program for youths that complements her 100 block initiative, a program that focuses services and enforcement  on the 100 blocks in Oakland, to reduce crime in the 5 percent of the city where more than 90 percent of the shootings and homicides take place. She introduced staff members and McClymonds principal Kevin Taylor.

About 75 students picked up forms and chatted with representatives from Oakland’s fire, police, public works, and parks and recreation departments. Some were from Bunche, Oakland High and Oakland Tech. The city will hold a similar fair at Lockwood Gardens tomorrow and at Willie Wilkins Park on Saturday. 

“It’s so much easier for me to apply for a summer job right here at school,” said Desire Combs, an 11th grader.

Mayor Quan  told the press that she wanted to reach youths at every level, whether they want to “build a skyscraper or get a doctorate.”

When she walked around the Lower Bottoms, said Mayor Quan, she met a teenager who told her, “If I had a job, I wouldn’t be selling on this corner.”

Her goal is to create 1,000 jobs for youth, most paying a stipend. The city’s parks and recreation department alone is planning to hire more than 200 youths for the summer.


Mack Students Help With Bay Bridge Closure

copyright photo by Benjamin Kimo Twichell

Bay Bridge s-curve:  copyright photo by Benjamin Kimo Twichell

by Joy Scott and Harold Halcomb

They canvassed in downtown Berkeley and Emeryville. They stuffed and licked envelopes. And this weekend, McClymonds students were the only teens on Treasure Island, organizing and handing gear to construction crews working on the Bay Bridge.

Work progressed well. The bridge reopened ahead of schedule Sunday night.

“It was kind of exciting,” said Thoresha Branner, a senior at McClymonds, who canvassed in downtown Berkeley and near the campus for five hours and was scheduled to work on Treasure Island.

Wearing a yellow vest and name tag, Branner walked around and handed out flyers about the closure, answering questions. “Some people were surprised and didn’t know about the closure despite all the radio and TV news,” said Branner. “Others were relieved to know that BART would be running extra trains.”

Students at McClymonds were the only high school students from Oakland hired by Caltrans to canvas, stuff envelopes and work on the bridge during the closure.

Matthew Mayne, college and career coordinator at McClymonds, said that 13 students worked on the project after school. Students were paid $12 an hour.

“Caltrans was pleased with the energy and enthusiasm of our students,” said Mayne.

Over the weekend work, workers realigned and rapaved the approach from the toll plaza to the bridge, and connected it to a new detour to a widened incline section.

Workers also made cuts in a portion of the bridge deck that will be demolished to make it easier to remove.

The westbound lanes were closed at 8pm Friday and reopened at 7pm Sunday.

BART ridership was up 25 percent on Saturday.The bridge carries on average 270,000 vehicles a day.