Tag Archives: youth

Mack alumna tackles foster care in film in Project Youthview

That Family Thing

 

by Danenicole Williams

The subject is personal, the perspective is introspective and the filmmakers are a 13-year-old from Bayview and McClymonds alum, Bonita Tindle, now a film student at San Francisco State.

The poignant video, “That Family Thing”  which explores Bonita Tindle’s experiences from foster care to rediscovering her own family, was selected as one of twelve finalists in a Project YouthView, a Bay Area competition that creates a venue for youth to tell their stories.

“The film  breaks stereotypes,” says BAYCAT program manager Zara Ahmed, who mentored Miguel Rivera and Tindle. “Bonita’s personality – of a fun, intelligent, thoughtful young woman – erases any negative stigma about foster care.”

One of the more poignant moments comes as Tindle describes reading Harry Potter and waiting for the letter from Hogwart’s to arrive.

This is not Tindle’s first video. Three years ago, she made the finals with her fanciful video, “Dancing Robots, which followed a man’s  dreary robotic routine at work. All that changes when the man meets another man who plays music in the elevator and then exits on a floor where everyone is happy.

The video will be shown May 2 as part of Alternatives in Action’s 10th annual, a one-of-a-kind youth film festival now held at the Paramount Theater in downtown Oakland.

In a mock interview while still at McClymonds, Tindle said her biggest challenge as a filmmaker was “carrying around 120 pounds of equipment on BART, boom lights, tripods and cameras”

The 12 selected youth-created films were chosen through a competitive process by industry and community judges from over 45 pieces submitted by youth throughout the Bay Area.

These shorts focus on topics from restorative justice (by Sunce Franicevic) to “Pressure” ( by Lily Yu) to Life is Living Festival at DeFremery Park (by  Emmanuel Pereida)

WHEN:         

Friday, May 2th, 2014 at 7 pm. Doors open at 6.

WHERE

Paramount Theater, 2025 Broadway, Oakland

Information and Tickets available at www.alternativesinaction.org

Aside

Dear, Naya My parents told me this scary story about some kids who went missing when  they were camping.  It begins with 6 kids camping in the deepest woods, called “witches’ ground.” As they come upon a house in the middle of … Continue reading

Why “Licks” was powerful: it’s based on a true story

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by Janaya Andrews

It was no ordinary Friday afternoon at McClymonds, as 25 students and community members talked to the Berkeley director who filmed the award-winning “Licks.”  He was with two of the actors, who both grew up in the Lower Bottoms.

The event was organized by Alternatives in Action and featured a panel on “manhood.”

“The movie shifted between humor and sadness and anger,” said freshman Dazhane Labat, who attended the event. “It had moments of redemption; like when the baby is brought to a family to save him from his drug-addicted mother.”

The movie hit home. It actually shows us  teenagers how  life is  in  Oakland and how  things work out; with the realistic scenes of places you know, and dialogue that rings true, you recognize how the  hood works.

The movie follows guy named “D”, as he moves back  to his hometown Oakland where he was charged with robbing a store and wielding a gun.

The most compelling scenes centered on personal relationships. At home with his girlfriend, she told him,”Promise me you wont hit up no more places. His response: baby, look i’m with you now and  she  expresses her doubts and warns him not to bring back his stolen merchandise.”

In his oustside life, friends become more prominent, asking him, “Are  you ready to go make hit this lick.” He answers, “Yea, man let’s go to their approval, “alright that’s my boy.”

Minutes later, they drove to a meat market and went in the store with a black masks on.  Then they  told  the  store clerk to  get on  the  floor;  they held his  head down  on  the  counter making  sure he couldn’t get  a  good  look  at  their faces.

“Licks” touched us all, because of the real hard times we face and the choices we make: the film shows, with  great compassion, that thugs have problems with money and only rob because they are trying to get money for their families.

For Jonathan Singer-Vine, a 24-year-old writer and director who was born  and  raised in Berkeley, California, “Licks” is  his  first feature film. It opened in Oakland’s Parkway Theater in November and won several awards.

He said the film was aimed at 16-year-olds because they will understand how and why the movie was made and its real message.

Ask Naya: why a male best friend acts so weird?

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by Janaya Andrews

Dear Naya:

My  best friend   always   said  he will be there for me  to  the  end  of  time,  but then  turned  his  back  on  me when  I  needed him  the  most.

We’ve been friends since he threw crayons at me in pre-school. We used to get in trouble for gossiping about our teacher when we were supposed to be adding and subtracting.

He started hanging out with my close female friend and I thought nothing about it. Until…he told me he had a crush on me, which I minimized and told him, we should just continue to be friends.

Bam. He started flirting with my female friend and then I found out they’d been secretly dating. Behind my back. He didn’t bother telling me.

What should I do?

Double Loser

 

Dear Double Loser

Obviously this young man is more confused than you are. He likes you and wants your attention. So instead of understanding that your friendship is precious, he hit on your best female friend.

This is more drama than you need in your life.

 

Keeping the peace at McClymonds: Peacemakers in the classrooms and halls

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by Janaya Andrews

It is a tough third period English class; there is loud bantering, students jumping out of their seats. Sitting quietly in the back, Rhonda Jones stands up and walks around the room calmly. She puts an arm over the shoulder of a particularly irate 9-grader, who is disrupting the class.

“What’s bothering you today and how can I help?” she says. She sounds stern, but her gentle spirit somehow calms the student and redirects his focus to academics.

Jones is a Peacemaker, one of seven at McClymonds High School this year. The program, new to McClymonds, focuses primarily on the needs of 30 students who are on probation, helping them adjust, monitoring their ups and downs, monitoring attendance, assisting them as mentors and providing academic support. The program also has an impact on school culture. The group includes Jones, John Ivy, coach Michael Peters, Hank Roberts and Keith Walters, site manager. It is funded through a grant by Alameda County Probation Department.

“They’re supposed to bring extra support for our neediest kids,” said assistant principal Dinora Castro. “They’re still in the process of structuring and organizing. It’s still a new program.”

“We put kids first,” said Walters about the program. “The  reason  we  wanted  to  come  here  is  because there was  a  high number of  students on  probation who need mentoring in school and after school mentoring and enrichment.”

Peacemakers also  provides support in the classroom, crowd control and academic support. “We  respond  to  the  students in a calm professional, enlightening, proactive manner,” he said.

Students have noticed the impact of Peacemakers. “Some like the fact that they’re there. Those who don’t enjoy acting out,” said Carliss Le Roy, curriculum adviser. “I guess people are more quiet,” said senior Ibraheem Muhammad. “In rowdy classes, you need to be on your best behavior.”

Behavior changes do occur, said Peacemakers’ Hank Roberts. He repeats what he says to students with whom he works. “I say simply, ‘This is where the change begins.'”

Ready to argue? The fearless join Mack’s new debate team

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by Anastasia Walton

After a two-year break, Urban Debate is back at Mack.

Leading the new crew of debaters is Wyllene Turner, a 20-year-old community college student who graduated from Street Academy, where she was a debater in the Urban Debate League and won the Oakland district poetry slam in 2011.

“I really want this team to prevail because I’m from West Oakland and I really want to see people from my community succeed,” says Turner.

As a first exercise, she split the 12 students into  two groups and had them debate which candy was better: Hershey’s or M&M’s. Anthony Beron, a 10th grader, looked up how many calories were in each candy to sweeten his argument.

“I want to help contribute to this year’s debate team,” said Beron.  “ I also want to hone my debating skills.”

Debate is not new to McClymonds. In the past, the school has had a strong debate team and debaters. In 2010, alumna Tanesha Walker, now a student at UCLA,  was runner-up  in the National Urban Debate League. That same year, the McClymonds’ debate team won 1st place in the Bay Area Urban Debate League.

As regional coordinator, Turner helps several teams from the East Bay — Envision, Emery, and Oakland Tech. She said she was happy with the initial turnout and hopes more students will join. Debate, she argued,  is a good prep tool for college. And Mack students are natural debaters, she added.

J’Mya Gree-Martinez, a 9th grader, echoed that thought. “ I believe debate will give me a chance to interact with new people, and plus, I like to talk,” she said.

Some students like 9th grader Kaya LaForte developed a taste for debate in middle school. “ I like to argue, and I participated in debate my 8th grade year at Kipp Bridge and loved it,” she said.

The debate team meets every Monday right after school in the 2nd floor computer lab.

Why Students Smoke Weed (or Don’t)

OPINION PIECE

by Lee Benson

Is weed a problem at McClymonds High School? Does it lead to absenteeism or cutting class?

Apparently less so, this year, so far.

Geometry teacher Elise Delagnes says,” It was a big problem last year and I had many students come to my class high, but this year it has gotten much better.”

In fact, no students have been suspended for being high at McClymonds. “Weed is not a problem at McClymonds,” says Principal Tanisha Hamberlin.

The changes at McClymonds reflect what is going on nationwide. Statistics show that the percentage of students who smoke weed in high school has dropped from a shocking 8.2% in 2002 to 7.3% in 2009.

As teens begin to smoke weed at a younger age, we would like to know the reason why this is happening. Why smoke instead  of going to class, getting good grades and going to college? In our interviews with several students at McClymonds, we discovered that many students react to stress by coming to school high.

First of all, most students won’t admit that they smoke. They can’t smoke at school because hallway cameras record comings and goings of students. “This is prison, they have cameras everywhere,” says junior Quadry Wesley.

Most students also say that sports and drugs don’t mix. At McClymonds, most students play at least one sport.

“I don’t smoke weed because I don’t want to let anybody down who is important in my life,” says Miles Mitchell, a junior and a tight end on the football team.  “I feel like it is a bad influence on little kids. Another reason why I don’t smoke is because I play for the varsity football team and I am trying to get a scholarship so I can go to college.”

Emoni Fountain, a senior and the starting quarterback agrees.  “I don’t smoke weed because I’m an athlete and it makes you have bad lungs, I don’t feel like weed is something that will help me get to where I am trying to be in life. I see people smoking around me all the time and I see the effects of it and I don’t want any part of it.”

In my opinion, students smoke weed  for different reasons, to relieve stress, because it’s cool, to fit in.

Those who do smoke say they work as hard as they play. “I smoke weed because it’s fun. I like to chase the high. It’s kind of relaxing and everything is way more funny than it would be when I am sober,” says junior David Smith. “Just because I smoke doesn’t mean that I don’t get my work done,  I still have above a 2.0, so I really don’t see a problem with it.

Sophomore Jasmine Richardson agrees. “I smoke sometimes because it is funny when you’re high, also I smoke because I want to and it keeps me occupied.”