Meet Your New Vice Principal: Ms. Tanya Baker


Veronika Hayes
Staff Writer

I’m sitting outside the Mrs. Baker’s office. She’s running a little late for our interview. Finally, she arrives. Her secretary informs her that I’m here, and she immediately meets me with a smile and apologizes. We go into her office, and  I sit down as she sits behind her desk. She looks comfortable, confident.  

She grew up in Los Angeles with her adoptive parents. Her parents were also working in education.  In high school, Baker wanted to be “either a business woman or tv weather person.”

“I like speaking in front of people” she says with a smile. She also liked math, or moreover, analytical thinking, and “in business I could be strategic.”

Though she’s new here to El  Camino, Mrs. Baker isn’t new to the school district. In fact, this is her 20th year with San Juan. Before she was working with the district, though, Baker was working retail management but “it wasn’t meaningful… I wanted to make a difference.” She went to three colleges in California: La Verne where she got her masters in counseling, UC San Diego, where she majored in Economics and minored in European Studies, and Sac State, where she earned her Teaching and Administrative credentials. Baker taught for eight years, was a counselor for seven and a half, and her current occupation, a vice principal, for three and a half.

I ask her what attracted her to this job.

“Seeing things I wanted to change, but didn’t have the authority to do.” She wanted to be able to work with teachers and change things.  Her goal here, she says, is to work with teachers to align classes to what they need. “Are we offering the right classes…” she exampled.

Baker says the most rewarding thing about her job is seeing students grow. Like seeing a ninth grader go from being a spaz, somewhat, to maturing and growing.

What’s the most compelling challenge with today’s education system, in your opinion, I ask her. She pauses for a moment. “Poverty. And so many children; it makes it harder for them to be successful. They’re just as smart as everybody else, but it’s harder for them.”

On a much lighter note, Mrs. Baker is a “crazy food person.”  She thinks about her favorite kind of food, and says abruptly, “cheese. I love cheese.” She also loves to cook. “There’s probably no food I haven’t tried”, she adds. She enjoys all types of different food.

I ask if there’s anything she’d like to add, and she thinks for a second. “Nope..don’t think so.. I’m a crazy food person.” we laugh. I thank her and she says, “no problem.” With a smile.


“Kiss Me Kate!” play review

Aidan Byrd
Graphics Editor

The El Camino drama team put together their spring musical this year and it’s very unique and well done. The play is based on and named after the 1953 movie ¨Kiss Me Kate¨ which is based on Shakespeare’s ¨The Taming of the Shrew¨. The musical is an accurate movie remake, but pretty far from the original Shakespeare play if that’s what you were looking for.

The Story of the play follows a group of actors performing “The Taming of the Shrew” and their adventures on and off stage involving comedy, romance, Italy, gangsters, and more. The two main characters, Fred and Lilli, are divorced and playing the two leads in the play. They have similar problems behind the scenes as their characters in the play, Petruchio and Kate. The second main couple in the play, Bill and Lois, are younger folks and have younger folks problems. Many other characters make up the cast with a few popping in and out throughout the play. It’s a funny, wacky adventure that translated pretty well to the stage.

The drama team did a pretty good job of recreating the movie while making a few changes that make the musical feel different while still providing a comparable experience to an old movie. They pretty much copied all the lines and songs from the original script word for word, except for the lines from scenes removed altogether. They mostly chose the right scenes to remove (for length I assume), but I felt like someone who hadn’t seen the movie would be easily confused at the beginning of the play when characters are darting around, talking about their past, then jump into a theatre set all of a sudden. I feel like the setting should’ve been better established before the action started, but it’s not hard to figure it out a little later. Another change I like is what they did to one of the main characters, Kate. Lilli, when in Kate mode, was a defiant, rude, and stubborn character in the original movie. In this version, Kate was a total Nutjob that I was afraid could jump offstage at any given moment and run through the crowd screaming. That was probably my favorite change, and an excellently convincing actress really brought the character to life.

Speaking of actors, the cast was great. All the characters in the foreground told the story in a very smooth fashion, but I felt like the background actors were a little out of character. Even a few actors in the foreground seemed a little bored while singing or delivering a short line. Fortunately, a good percentage of the cast were even better singers than they were actors, which gave the original movies’ soundtrack a fresh new vibe. The music, by the way, was played live by a band and sounded marvelous. The music was probably the best part of the play.

The drama team did a great job overall, and should improve upon this formula in their future productions. It was a very nice play.

Super Drought Cause for Super Annoyance

Jimmy Archer
Staff Writer

As known to all members of California, the state is about as dry as an overcooked piece of chicken. Restrictions are already being put on water usage, with the consequence of fines for not complying. The state has been no stranger to sporadic weather, for it always seems one day it has the characteristics of mid summer, and the next, there are rain showers. Still despite past experiences, this drought is the worst the state has ever seen. California’s planting is a definite target for suffering from the drought, so the lack of water for use could certainly hurt their production. Of course with low agriculture production, it will also affect the economy of California. Many people look at the drought as something merely affecting only their personal lives, but the range of affect such a drought could have is much more extensive, only making the reality of the situation that much worse. The drought isn’t necessarily going to be stopped merely by conservation of water, but if the people of California do make effort to save water, it could prove very helpful for the state. The state of course has had a history of not gaining much water, and it has such a large population’s thirst to quench.  Nevertheless, the citizens of California should recognize the true hardships of the current drought, and do their best to conserve water.

Who’s Replacing Tom?

Meredith Young
staff writer

As some may know, Tom Delonge, the lead vocalist and founder of the band Blink-182, has recently been “slammed”.  This came as an outrage to many long-term fans for Blink had been together since 1992.  These fans also wondered what was going to happen next?  Were Travis and Mark continuing on their own?  Was someone replacing Tom?  Or the worst of them…. was this the end of Blink forever?

First of all, Mark and Travis did, in fact, reveal that Tom had not been wanting to participate in Blink functions, but rather non-musical endeavors.  They say that Tom was not brave enough to quit on his own so they did the job for him.

Almost immediately after Tom’s departure, he was replaced for the Musink Tattoo & Music Festival, which would be held from March 20 – 22 in San Diego, California.  Who replaced him?  Matt Skiba.  Lead singer in Alkaline Trio.

Tom will forever be remembered by loyal, original Blink fans, but is still continuing to make music with his own band Angels and Airwaves who started in 2005, and has recently released their 5th studio album in December of 2014.

11 Reasons Why How I Met Your Mother is better than Friends

Theo DeRosa
Sports Editor

  1. Neil Patrick Harris. The former child star of Doogie Howser, M. D. is easily the most notable and outspoken actor on the show, as evidenced by his perfect portrayal of the womanizing Barney Stinson. His many mannerisms capture the essence of the character, and hilarity always ensues.
  2. It’s more subtle. On Friends, most of the humor is clearly out there, pandering to a less intelligent office. HIMYM creates subtle and clever humor by hiding many of its jokes beneath the surface in double entendres and background humor (writing on posters, text on Internet sites) that can be found by the observant eye.
  3. It’s more romantic. Apart from sheer comedy, the convoluted story driving HIMYM provides more emotional twists, touching moments, and overall emotion than its counterpart in Friends.
  4. The music is better. One of the biggest underlying strengths of HIMYM is its relatively unknown, often solemn and brooding music, which always creates an apt background setting for some of the funny and emotional moments in the show’s run.
  5. It’s less played out. The exaggerated hysteria on Friends (for example, when Ross is hit with a hockey puck that makes a whirring sound as the camera focuses in on its path–I mean, COME ON) creates an overly melodramatic effect that sure gives the impression of corny humor as a result of uncreative writing. In contrast, HIMYM relies on misdirection to get many of its jokes across, hardly ever being predictable enough to be cliched.
  6. It’s more current. By no fault of its own, Friends’ jokes and cultural references are outdated and not prevalent in our society when compared with those of HIMYM. Though this is naturally due to the order in which the shows premiered, (Friends ran from 1994-2004, HIMYM from 2005-2014) this truly detracts from the impression Friends makes on its many viewers.
  7. Its storyline is better. HIMYM is all about “a starry-eyed romantic on a noble quest for true love,” as protagonist Ted Mosby himself explains. Ted explains the emotional and long story of meeting his future wife to his teenaged kids from the year 2030. Such a unique perspective is far better than what Friends has to offer. Oh cool, it’s a bunch of friends who hang out. Stop me if you’ve heard this before.
  8. Its characters are deeper. On HIMYM, the five central characters are all multifaceted with multiple aspects to their personalities (Except Lily, who remains annoying and conniving). They change over the course of the seasons; for example, the horribly misogynistic Barney in Season 1 grows to be far more honest and respectful by the series finale. From what I’ve seen of Friends, most of the characters are very shallow, caring only for themselves, and don’t appear to change much (granted, they may as the series continues).
  9. It’s just…funnier. HIMYM’s clever and subtle humor definitely trumps the contrived jokes of Friends, which are clearly indicated by overdone acting. The whole point of a sitcom is to make people laugh, of which HIMYM certainly does a better job.
  10. It feels more real. Jokes told in HIMYM are punctuated by the obvious amusement of the characters themselves, giving the show far more verisimilitude than Friends, which has stilted jokes for the benefit of purely the audience (the characters don’t react viscerally, and just stand there waiting for the laugh-track to conclude).
  11. It’s more well-made. Though a lot of the variation is simply due to the stylistic elements and the difference in time period, it shouldn’t be hard to see that HIMYM has a clear advantage in its production. Many are nostalgic for Friends because they saw it first or remember it from their childhood, but it’s clear that when compared, HIMYM wins sitcom gold.

Do African-Americans Hate Themselves?

Samuel Feineh
News Editor

My Editorial in the last print issue titled “Presidential Burdens” has come under fire from some vocal critics. In essence, I spoke about how unfair it was for America to place such a great burden on President Obama’s shoulders to radically change the justice system to alleviate some racial tension in the political justice system. I argued that time is his greatest ally, and significant change cannot be brought about in an 8 year term; in comparison, the Civil Rights’ movement was a product of over 200 hundred years of anguish.

One critic sent me the following message: “You think America is a place an African man should be? The same people that thought your ancestors were 3/5th of a person are still in control, its their grandkids now. Nothing is going to change for black people until Africa changes… We need to focus of the exploitation of our own land. The thing is African-Americans hate their homeland and if you hate Africa you hate yourself. They need to find out the history of Africa.”

After some consideration, I sent him the following message:

“First of all, if you’re going to reference the Constitutional Convention as evidence, you must include historical context. The Founding Fathers convened for the sole purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation (which soon became a complete revamp). They were not there to debate the merits of slavery; only to ENSURE that the South didn’t overpower the North for taxation and legislative purposes after the Connecticut Compromise was passed creating the bicameral government we have today. Slavery was not debated thoroughly for its merits and Civil Rights infringements/violations until Lincoln’s presidency, nearly 100 years after the 3/5th Compromise was passed. You made a hasty generalization when using the 3/5 Compromise as “evidence.”

Do you mean that white society is exploiting America, which I assume you’re calling “your land?” You bounce between ideas that don’t follow any type of logical order. I’d argue that many African-Americans don’t HATE their homeland; rather, many are unaware or choose to be ignorant of their origins. Inspiring African-American youth to seek their cultural heritage isn’t an easy task, but I’m sure they don’t hate themselves for being unaware of their history. Once again, you are making another hasty generalization through an argument from ignorance because your claim that African-Americans hate themselves is naive and extremely difficult to prove.

The only point I agree with you on is many African-Americans (for one reason or another) are deprived of knowing their intricate cultural roots. I’m sure many would respect their origins, however a place in America is not reliant on respect for your origins. We have always been a country of immigrants, and over time have built a system of rights and privileges (albeit faulty and contradictory at times) praising the democratic process. This (justice) system needs a lot more work, but if it didn’t require work, we’d live in a utopia. That sir, is not quite possible in today’s American democracy.”

Fortunately, this critic brings to light the diverse perspectives and complexities of racial relations within the United States. While there is no way to prove that increased knowledge of black heritage within the African-American community would decrease crime rates or increase mutual respect for one another, one cannot deny the powerful history African-Americans have endured. We owe it to society to learn from our past and progress into the promise land.

Music Taste at El Camino

Meredith Young

There are many different types of music; country, hip hop, oldies, pop, indie, punk rock, funk, classical, etc.  What kind of music one listens to can depend on what beats they like and what the lyrics mean to them.  There is a huge variety of music that high schoolers listen to.

Freshman Victoria Yefremenkov states that she likes hip hop and pop the best.  Her favorite artists are Rae Sremmurd, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, and Bobby Shmurda.  She likes the songs No Type by Rae Sremmurd, I Don’t Mind by Usher, This is How We Do by Katy Perry, and Adore You by Miley Cyrus.  She likes this music because it energizes her, puts her in a better mood, and gets her “turnt”.

Another student from El Camino who has requested to stay anonymous in fear of being judged for their music taste says, “I listen to country music when I’m alone because all of my friends listen to rap,”.  Their favorite artists are; Blake Shelton, Toby Keith, and Lee Brice.  Their all time favorite song is God Gave Me You by Blake Shelton.  They believe that the words and meanings in country songs are really meaningful and sweet.

Clearly, everyone has their own taste in music.  This is especially true in high school because there is a lot of soul searching going on there and people finding themselves.  No one should judge or be judged based on what music they listen to.

History of St. Patrick’s day

Jacob Holden
Staff Writer

Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated around the world by the irish and the irish at heart. Green color is over everything, a clover printed on every sign and restaurant door, and corned beef and cabbage is all about. However, St. Patrick’s day wasn’t always a massive celebration of irish culture and heritage. It started as a simple feasting day to celebrate the patron saint of ireland. How could one man deserve such a festive and widely celebrated holiday? Well his history is a pretty big hint. St. Patrick was the man who spread christianity to ireland, but he had more… humble beginnings.

Saint Patrick was born in england in roughly 385 A.D. His father a Roman deacon and his mother a close relative to St. Martin of Tours, he seemed destined to live a life of religious fervor. However, he was not actually heavily focused on religion by his parents, nor was his education stressed, much to his embarrassment later in life.

At the age of 16, the young Patrick was captured by Irish pirates and sold into slavery where he was to tend to sheep. Patrick saw this as God testing his fate and he grew increasingly devout as his time in captivity went on. His dream was to free ireland from druidism, the primary religion at the time. After six years of captivity Patrick got his idea for escape in a dream. He managed to convince several sailors to take him aboard their ship. The sailed to france where they abandoned their ship and went separate ways.

Patrick went to Auxerre, France to where he entered the priesthood. He never lost sight of his goal to convert ireland as time passed and vowed to return. And return he did, as in 431 A.D. he returned to ireland, after being named a bishop by the pope himself, and began to spread christianity. He was met with hostilities at first but he soon hat the minds and hearts of the people and converted great swaths of ireland through blessing, preaching and performing countless baptisms. He died in 461, but not after establishing churches, monasteries, and church officials all throughout ireland, and earning his place on the list of saints.

Sweet Sixteen Amongst the Madness

Jenner Anderson

As you may already know, March Madness is well underway. Last weekend, a total of 48 teams were knocked out of the prestigious tournament. Included in those 48 were favorites No. 2 Kansas and No. 1 Villanova, and both teams were upset in the round of 32. The overall number 1 Kentucky still has its dream of doing what no team has ever done before and go 40-0 in a season. At this point they are 36-0, and they need just 4 more wins to complete the perfect season, which is easier said than done. However, many fans and spectators have Kentucky as their team to win it all. Other notable favorites are Wisconsin, Duke, and Notre Dame. Wisconsin is led by Player of the Year candidate Frank Kaminsky, who leads the team with 18.4 points per game and 8.4 rebounds per game. Wisconsin will have to be at the top of their game if they want to win it all, as they play North Carolina on Thursday, and if they make it to the Final Four that could set up a potential classic between Wisconsin and Kentucky. Duke’s path to the Final is not as difficult, as it has a matchup with Utah in the Sweet Sixteen and a likely matchup with Notre Dame in the Elite Eight. Besides Notre Dame, Duke should be heavily favored to advance to the Title game. However, it is called March Madness for a reason. One can never be too sure about anything or any team. With that being said, watch out Kentucky.

How Students Feel About Dress Code

Meredith Young

In El Camino High School’s dress code, there are many things that students feel should or should not be permitted.  Certain aspects such as the rule that shoes must be worn at all times are just obvious, but others are considered restricting.

Freshman Kellan Fisch claims that he thinks that muscle tanks should be allowed to be worn at school.  “They aren’t inappropriate because I’m not showing anything off.”  Fisch doesn’t think there is anything wrong with muscle tanks and doesn’t understand why they are not permitted.  However, he does agree with the no sagging rule because he highly dislikes when he sees people doing that.

Multiple girls believe that short shorts should be allowed as long as they cover everything up, but if they barely cover you at all, they should be forbidden.  Freshman Jayla Perry states, “Spaghetti straps should be allowed, it gets too hot here to wear t-shirts all the time.” She does not believe that spaghetti straps are too revealing so long as they cover you up and you don’t have excessive cleavage.

Sophomore Danielle Harrison is against the no pajama rule because “When you’re in high school, sometimes all you want to do is sleep so it is easiest to get right out of bed and go to school”.  She understands that it isn’t really professional, but why does it need to be?  “They’re comfortable and warm and it’s easier to learn when you’re comfortable.”

Clearly, the dress code is pretty reasonable, but there are certain things that the students would like to change about it.  Most would agree with these fellow students, but most are also content with how the dress code is now.

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