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Archive for June, 2010

Giving Back: The Greatest Gift

June 11, 2010 Leave a comment
By Varsha Ranjit
Want to make the most of  your holiday season?  Use this winter break as a chance to give back to your community.  Not sure where to start?  Donating to these charities is not only easy, but donating and volunteering are also fun and rewarding experiences that will make your break even more memorable.
Selected products from Best Buy will support this national fund, which benefits teen programs to enrich the youth population nationwide.  Not only is this a wonderful program to take part in during the holidays, but it’s simple and easy.  The @15 gift listings can bee seen at Best Buy’s website, and are available for purchase through the internet or in stores.  A percentage of any gift purchased between now and January 15th, 2010 will go to benefiting this fund dedicated towards helping teens, like ourselves, nationwide.
ABC7-Safeway Share Your Holiday food drive
This annual food drive is a great chance to help out your community: all you have to do is donate non-perishable food items at the Share Your Holiday food barrels at Safeway to help feed those who are less fortunate this holiday season.  This food drive will support the San Francisco Food Bank, and will continue until January 1st–it’s never to late to help out!
Want the ultimate experience of giving back to your community?  Volunteering at the San Francisco food bank is a great way to start.  While there may not be enough volunteering opportunities this holiday season, those who are interested are still able to donate to this local charity.  They also provide a list of other easy ways to give back to the food bank without having to volunteer or setting up a food barrel–from spreading the word to buying a CD:  every action helps.
Remember unwrapping the toy that was #1 on your Christmas Wishlist?  Now you can help kids who are less fortunate experience that same joy as well: through Toys for Tots.  National toy drop locations are located at local Toys ‘R Us and Babies ‘R Us stores, which makes this donating to this charity accessible, but fun as well.
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El Camino’s Student Wishlist

June 10, 2010 Leave a comment

Absences Increase During Flu Season

June 10, 2010 Leave a comment

By Brandon Joe

With the flu season right around the corner, the rising illnesses are something worth looking into. The intention was to determine whether the flu would be more severe this year than the previous years with the H1N1 virus on top of everyone’s minds. Ms. Egan, an attendance office administrator, said that the sicknesses have come earlier than previous years. The illnesses at El Camino were evidently higher at this time this year than it was last year. After searching through attendance, the numbers of days students were absent this year with illness as compared to last year turned out to be 2551 this year compared to 2325 last year. With consideration to El Camino’s population, there is a 9.7% increase of illnesses, which displays that there is an increase of sicknesses at this point of the year than there were last year.
When students were asked about their thoughts on the sicknesses at El Camino, Marco Acayan said “I’ve noticed a lot of my classmates getting sick more. It seems to be symptoms of the flu.”
This year, students and administrators of El Camino should be careful and take care of their health because it seems like sicknesses are as inevitable than ever this year.

With the flu season right around the corner, the rising illnesses are something worth looking into. The intention was to determine whether the flu would be more severe this year than the previous years with the H1N1 virus on top of everyone’s minds. Ms. Egan, an attendance office administrator, said that the sicknesses have come earlier than previous years. The illnesses at El Camino were evidently higher at this time this year than it was last year. After searching through attendance, the numbers of days students were absent this year with illness as compared to last year turned out to be 2551 this year compared to 2325 last year. With consideration to El Camino’s population, there is a 9.7% increase of illnesses, which displays that there is an increase of sicknesses at this point of the year than there were last year.
When students were asked about their thoughts on the sicknesses at El Camino, Marco Acayan said “I’ve noticed a lot of my classmates getting sick more. It seems to be symptoms of the flu.”
This year, students and administrators of El Camino should be careful and take care of their health because it seems like sicknesses are as inevitable than ever this year.

Editorial: Behind the Ban

June 10, 2010 Leave a comment

By Lauren Eberle
Why is it that for students it seems as though there is no time in the day to even breathe? That life is being consumed by school work, homework, projects, and papers? No matter the amount of effort, students are still frequently up until two in the morning blearily trying to finish their outlines and wrapping up conclusion paragraphs. But is this problem really due to the amount of homework, or is it due to time being consumed by other responsibilities?
In the Colt Quarterly’s recently surveyed 1,066 students out of the 1,480 that attend the school. Homework hours per week averaged out to be 7.8 hours of homework for freshmen, 9.7 hours for sophomores, 11.5 hours for juniors, and 7.8 hours for seniors. This means that at the most, the average student would receive between 1 and 1.6 hours of homework per night. How can someone complain about approximately one and a half hours of homework a night, especially students who, when asked, stated that the ideal amount of work would be two hours a night on average? But we do complain, not because of the amount of homework, but because no one seems to take into account the numerous other responsibilities students have.
Take as an example the Junior Class. With a grand total of 54 hours of out-of-school responsibilities such as homework, sports, and work, they are the busiest class. If they spend 35 hours a week in class, 54 hours a week on other responsibilities, and get a full 8 hours of sleep every night, they will have used up approximately 145 of the 168 hours in a week. That leaves the student with roughly 3.25 hours of free time a day. But is this time truly free? These numbers do not take into account time to eat and time spent traveling to and from school and other activities. Those three hours slowly shrivel to nothing, leaving students frustrated, stressed, and exhausted.
What can be done to help struggling students? One solution is management of homework quality. More and more, it seems like teachers are dispensing “busy work” rather than helpful assignments. If a student feels an assignment is unimportant, it is much easier for a student to blow it off than if the assignment held true quality. From personal experience, I’ve found that coloring maps and website searches have little to no value, and can take twice as long as a meaningful assignment such as chapter outlining or personal research. So when it’s two in the morning and students are running on Red Bull and Monster just to finish their work, that vocabulary terms crossword puzzle should be put aside for the literary analysis. More quality assignments and less quantity from teachers can help make homework feel more worthwhile instead of a drain on time.
Teachers need to think about what they want students to get out of their homework. Does every assignment have a purpose? Or are they there just to garner points and give the appearance of progress? If a student cannot even recall the point of an assignment, then said homework is a waste of both students’ and teachers’ time. Homework can be a vital part of the learning process, but only when it effectively and efficiently works in accordance with class lessons.
Students have always had to deal with the burdens of school, homework, and life. But in our fast-paced, jam-packed existence, time management has become more and more difficult. Homework is essential to school. But for success to be possible, students and teachers must find a happy medium between quantity and quality that can fit into everyday life.

Students Behaving Badly

June 10, 2010 Leave a comment

By Varsha Ranjit

A cell phone sits on her lap. He boasts about his weekend as the teacher is lecturing. They whisper to each other during the test. As the teacher places a detention on the student’s desk, do you: a) storm out, b) throw it away, c) blow it off, or d) argue against it?

If you answered “all of the above”, it would surely prove how student behavior has taken a dramatic turn for the worse.

Students’ negative actions dramatically overshadow their positive actions when they act out in class. Truth being that no one can be the perfect student, students still engage in behavior that portrays not even the slightest relation to “model behavior”. Not only do they lose their dignity as a student, but their peers suffer, and the teacher must focus more on being alert for behavior than to do their job- to teach.

Students may see no direct negative effect upon their classroom environment due to this poor conduct, but El Camino teachers and staff see a significant domino effect. Negative student behavior, if it continues to occur more often than it already does, may start to seem ordinary and expected: lowering the ideal standards of how students should behave in class because of how frequent and common certain negative actions are. Therefore, if students do not realize how their behavior has an impact now, it could worsen to the point where it does not seem out of the norm for such outbursts often.

It is inevitable that teachers are most affected by this, and are the most willing to work towards changing student behavior. However, other students are similarly impacted by student misconduct as well. This behavior has an evidently significant correlation between the teacher, the student being disrespectful, and other students. Not only is the learning environment is tremendously impacted, considering that the teacher must cut class time to keep things in order, but the students are also deprived of valuable time they could spend learning.

Negative student behavior encompasses all that can make the classroom environment unstable and disruptive: from cheating on a test to bad-mouthing the teacher, from texting and tweeting to sleeping during class—they all represent how small factors ultimately cut into the time teachers use for lessons which are prepared well in advance.

Do students think of the consequences? Do they consider how their teachers or peers feel?  Teachers seem to hold students’ own qualities accountable: those who are motivated to learn, and those motivated to earn attention in class, regardless of the consequence that follows. This is evident when it comes to inappropriate jokes thrown out during class: the recognition and self-confidence the student has at that moment is heightened instantaneously, but in the end, it’s not all fun and games when a referral appears on a desk.

The topic of student behavior revolves around a constant “if”: if students are acting this way, what causes it? If this continues to grow worse, what can teachers do? IF there is nothing that can be done about negative and offensive student behavior, should we just consider it as an inevitable feature of the teenage learning environment and move on? If something is done, an intervention to help students realize how it impacts them as much as it affects teachers, would change really occur?

What if?

If only we knew the answers to these questions.

Then again, we wouldn’t learn if we asked the person next to us.

Categories: Opinion Tags: , , , ,

Bad Student

June 10, 2010 Leave a comment

By Steven Hansen

I wake up at 7:51 as usual, after staying up all night cramming in my homework – most of it, at least – at the last minute, as usual. Scrambling to get to class on time, I put on some clothes, grab my backpack and I’m immediately out the door, without breakfast, and just barely reach first period in time. Yesterday I was ten minutes late.

Today I do get into first before the last bell, but I’m definitely not prepared. We have a test today, and I didn’t do my homework, let alone study. The teacher offers us a five-minute grace period for some cramming, so I quickly search through my backpack, looking for my class notes. Unfortunately, I don’t keep my binders up, so I spend the entire five minutes looking for the actual notes, which are now useless to me. For the test questions I don’t know – the majority – I simply write in the first celebrity or musician names that come to me head: Bradley Cooper, Stevie Nicks, John Goodman. It’s like the time I filled in “To eat babies” as the purpose of the mitochondria way back in Biology class.

With that disaster finally over, I track down some friends during passing period. We decide to run up to the vending machines at the top of campus for something to much on during second, stopping and chatting with acquaintances along the way. Late to second again. Might as well have not shown up, given that I forgot my binder with the day’s assignment.
By the time third period rolls around, I’m glad to have reading period available as a break where I can either take a much needed nap or, more often, rush to get homework done that I didn’t get to finish the last night (Or really, really early morning, I suppose). After nodding off through half of fourth, lunch finally rolls around where I can just hang out with some friends, mess around, and chow down on some food.

I’m already checked out for the day after lunch hits – fifth and sixth seem to drag on forever, but they eventually end. Finally, school’s over and I can make like a baby and bounce. On the way home, I catch some Jack in the Box before a text message arrives and my friend wants me to head over to his house for a while. Since I already ate, might as well go mess around at his house; maybe watch some TV or something. Definitely chow down on some more snack food.

At about ten o’clock, I decide to cut out and head home. When I get there, I raid the fridge for some more food and head up to my room to watch some TV and use the computer. By about eleven, I figure it’s time to start my homework. I get about one fourth of it done by midnight, when I go to take a quick shower, and another fourth done by about 1:30a.m. At that time, I figure it’s getting a bit late, so I pack up the books and head to bed and finish watching whatever I was watching on television. By 2a.m., I’m asleep. I’ll finish the rest of the homework tomorrow in class before its due, or the next afternoon. Maybe.

Categories: Opinion Tags: , , ,

Idol-ly Worshipping

June 10, 2010 Leave a comment

By Steven Hansen

Idol worship. Perhaps none are guiltier of this irrational act than teenagers. From their Twilight-based apparel to their Harry Potter-influenced screen names, the imprint the media has had on developing minds is as impressive as it is disturbing.

The idea of a role model, especially for youths, is a good one. Given the impressionability inherent to teenagers, having a positive influence to emulate is a fantastic prospect. The problem lies in who teenagers choose as their role models, thanks in part to who the media is marketing as such. Then there is the extent to which these people are idolized, which reaches such points that people are willing to forgive or blatantly ignore misdeeds.

Take the phenomenon surrounding Michael Jackson, for instance. With his recent death, fans have been coming out in droves to celebrate his life, whether through buying his albums or wearing his memorabilia. While that’s all well and good, what of the slightly less recent child molestation charges brought against Jackson? Of course, there are those who will immediately turn to the “Acquittal!” rebuttal, all the while ignoring the vast sums of money he gave in order to quiet the situation. But, for their sake, let’s just recognize that, whether or not those claims were true, it is true that Jackson ended his life a creepy recluse with a penchant for plastic surgery and dangling his baby off of a balcony. His negligent, downright disturbing behavior will forever be an asterisk on his accomplishments as a musician, much akin to that of the asterisk on Barry Bonds’ homerun record.

How does death suddenly erase any wrongdoings?   It’s a strange residual effect of the death of many stars; a sudden increase in popularity and an air of infallibility, akin to that of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain. Simplistic guitar riffs, drugs, and suicide do not a role model make. Should not, at least. Or how about the Tupac-Biggie Smalls quarrel; two young artists with loads of potential and ideas, they both got caught up in the nonsense of living the “thug life”, and both ended up pumped full of lead, dead, in their prime.

So why do celebrities have teens frothing over and striving to emulate them? It’s due in great part to the media that establishes those personas as a chic, social norm. Idol worship is always centered on some pop diva, talentless heartthrob, moronic rapper, or person of downright ill-repute, because those people are in the public’s eye or “hip”. There seems to be an enigmatic stigma regarding looking up to a typical, everyday hero. Why strive to emulate, say, Michael Vick, who brutally tortured and murdered dogs, over the ASPCA members that rescue them from poor living conditions and find them loving homes? Why idolize the egotistical, award-interrupting Kanye West over the humble old lady down the street who greets everyone “Hello” with a smile and occasionally brings over a fresh plate of cookies? Or any of the heavy, riot-inducing rock/metal bands over the people sacrificing their time to rebuild homes in the still-ravished New Orleans? Or how about the people directly in your own life you should be looking up to? Perhaps parents who came to this country as immigrants and worked as hard as they could, and are still working as hard as they can to give you a better life than the one they were given?

So we’ve covered the poor role models in the limelight and the underrated local influences, but there remains another category worth delving into. Fictional characters are not people, people. They don’t exist. Edward Cullen is not going to whisk you away and make you his immortal love-muffin so you can whisper god-awful dialogue like “You dazzle me” into his ear. First off, it’s quite an anomaly as to how anyone could regard Twilight as either a great piece of literature or film, but even more disturbing is the obsession with the characters in that poorly written/poorly acted book/movie. Obsession is unhealthy enough, but when it’s centered on characters that are invented, it has reached its peak of creepiness.

Another unhealthy aspect to the common idol worship is a need to be accepting of every part of a personality. With Michael Jackson, again, it’s okay to like his music – though his actions reasonably tainted it for many – but not like him for whom he was (once more, a creepy, baby-dangling recluse). There are definitely some people who may have certain aspects of their personality worth admiring, but many more worth ignoring. You can idolize Ernest Hemmingway for his literary genius and ability to manipulate words with such ease and understatement, for example, yet remained turned off by his blatant racism and sexism.

What people need to realize is most of those they idolize aren’t worthy. As much as professional sports, for example, attempt to hold their players to high standards to a degree where they could be considered role models, most professional athletes aren’t worth emulating. Being athletically gifted doesn’t negate poor decision-making skills or personalities. For every Kurt Warner and Derek Jeter – generally good role models – you have a “Pacman” Jones making it rain and shooting up strip clubs or Tim Lincecum getting fined for marijuana possession. Those in the limelight typically aren’t worth looking up to; there’s a good reason why plenty of amazing actors, musicians, and so on don’t make the tabloids, – it’s because they’re the normal ones, the ones that aren’t dysfunctional, battling drug addiction, on their fourth marriage, or going to jail. Teens need to step back and take a good look that they’re so ardently supporting and attempting to emulate, while also recognizing the unappreciated heroes all around them.

Categories: Opinion Tags: , , ,