Category Archives: News

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.


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.

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.


When Will It End?

Sarah Bollinger
Staff writer

From the time kids are put into school they are labeled. The smart one, or the dumb one. The loud one or the quiet one. The ugly one or the pretty one. The nice one or the mean one. While most kids keep these comments to themselves, others feel the need to make sure their peers feel bad about a part of themselves. Unfortunately, nobody can really know why these kids perform these mean acts. Maybe it’s from a home life situation, or they have been bullied in the past. But those are no reason to put another kid down.

Throughout the past few years, there have been many cases of suicide from bullying, and probably many more that go unnoticed. One of the cases, back in October 2012, was Amanda Todd. She was cyber bullied to the point of suicide after making one stupid mistake with a guy over the internet. She made a video, which is still on YouTube, telling her full story. At one point she says people posted pictures of bleach telling her to drink it. Keep in mind this young teenager had never done anything to these people, so why do something as terrible as pushing someone to take their own life?

One of the more recent cases, which has spread like wildfire and has spread a lot of awareness, is Leelah Alcorn. Leelah Alcorn was very young, like Amanda Todd. Leelah Alcorn was born a male, but she didn’t feel right in the male body so she wanted to make the change to a female. The problem was that her hardcore Christian parents didn’t approve at all. She was sent to Christian conversion therapy, where they constantly told her that what she wanted was wrong and not right. When she outed that she liked boys, her parents took her out of school and revoked social media access. In Leelah’s suicide note, she states how she felt lonely and that she wanted to raise awareness for people who want to switch genders as well. Since her death in December of 2014, people are trying to pass a law called “Leelah’s Law” which is a ban on conversion therapy in the U.S.

One of the cases that has blown up on all social media at this time, is the death of Conrad Roy, back in July of 2014. Roy Carter was a young man, just like all the other victims. Roy was seriously depressed to the point of wanting to take his own life, and the only person who knew was his friend Michelle Carter. You would think that Michelle would talk to his parents, or get someone else to help him and talk him out of this. She did the opposite. Evidence from police shows that Michelle encouraged his suicide over texts and phone calls, and when Roy started to change his mind she talked him into getting back into his truck. After his death she shared on Twitter about her grief of his loss and started fundraisers, which many people think was just for attention. Michelle is facing manslaughter charges, but surprisingly, there is word that they might be dropped.

    These three teens are just few of the many who have taken their life from not getting the help they need, or being unhappy. But obviously this is not enough to really convince teens, and even adults that things need to change. So, when will it end?


You Wouldn’t Pee-lieve It

Branson Kane
Staff Writer

In a recent leak of information, Martin Sanchez, a Yosemite national park worker, urinated in the San Francisco reservoir. This report trickled out on February tenth. The reserve holds 674 when full, the action didn’t affect public health but it was a waste of productive time. The water was treated with chlorine and UV light, this action was just a nuisance to everyone. You should know that if you commit such a nuisance that urine a lot of trouble. There is no doubt that the credibility of the San Francisco Utilities Commision has surely gone down the drain. By the time there was time to digest the situation, the report showed he urinated in it several times. The flow of the reservoir was interrupted while they are trying to assess the situation. In my opinion, I hope they let loose on him and listen to the stream of people who want him fired. Many people believe that they should, “close the lid” on this story and let it go. Many are on the edge of their seat as they can’t wait to see the weenie punished. There is a rumor going around that many other employees  have done the same, but it appears Sanchez has drawn the short stick. It is quite unfortunate that Bear Grylls lives in Pittsburgh, because Sanchez has made the water quite enjoyable for him. Martinez was on hold for a promotion when his chances were liquified. Many say his chances of a state job are now, “wiped clean”, while others believe that the situation will all flush over. This event wasn’t the first number one in the water reserve. There isn’t a huge defense of the area, so any common Willy could do what Sanchez did.  When asked what he thought about the subject, Bane Krayden voiced his opinion, “Gee whiz! I never thought that this would happen”. The Government worker should be relieved for relieving himself.


Storm In New England

Max Arbogast
Staff writer

Through out the history of the world there have been many devastating acts of nature and catastrophic storms.  The next of which will hit the United States starting on January 26th.  New England alone is projected to receive two to three feet of snow over the course of the storm.  The timeline of this blizzard is projected as so; Monday will bring light snow of 2-3 inches and not much more.  Later that night the storm will reach the warm ocean and the change in air pressure will cause a snow band to form and the Blizzard will form over New England.  The following day, snowfall will increase to 3 inches per hour and wind speeds are projected to reach anywhere from 50 to 70 miles per hour.  At this point power surges will be common and freeways will be crippled with stuck cars.  The historic blizzard will still be going strong as it continues to Nova Scotia, but the snow will die out around Philadelphia and New York.  The next day will be met will strong winds and a sub-zero wind chill from the still raging storm, and may be a dangerous day for those with no power.  In preparation for the storm, travel bans have already taken place in the North Atlantic and New England.  Five thousand flights have already been canceled and major airlines warned that many flights most likely won’t be leaving. Anyone near or around this area should be making plans and preparations to weather this storm.


Are You Ignorant?

Sam Feineh
News Editor

What are you doing to stay informed?

So many of us high school teenagers often stay within our closed off world centering on school, extracurriculars, and family. Sometimes, the overwhelming rush of all these events in our lives makes us forget that there is an entire world around us, with critical events shaping public policy every single day.

For instance, how many of you know significant details of the latest terrorist attack in France? Much of what we hear is condensed in small tidbits of information through Twitter stories, CNN headlines, and other (primarily American) news outlets.

Is this truly the best way to acquire news?

It is important to know that when absorbing current events in the world, we take in multiple sources from a cross-cultural perspective prior to forming a definitive stance on sociopolitical or geopolitical issues.

The most prominent news outlets in America, building around ABC World News, Fox News, MSNBC, NBC, and CNN each have its own inherent bias toward reporting the news. It’s well-known that Fox News leans heavily to the right side of the political spectrum, often interviewing many Republican strategists to shape their news stories. To the contrary, NBC news tends to be more liberal in its delivery of news.

The first step to gain a global perspective on news is to branch out to world news outlets. Sources such as Al Jazeera, BBC, and Sky News report on global issues much more than American outlets. Al Jazeera has stations in Qatar, Singapore, and more in an effort to report the stories that nobody covers.

Al Jazeera reports a plethora of short documentaries that focus on world issues of each type: from the spread of Trachoma in Ethiopian villages, to China’s economic boom.

BBC and Sky News are just as prominent, and deliver an outstanding quality and quantity of news, allowing citizens to become more informed.

Given the substantial opportunities to absorb and reflect on world news, the responsibility lies on you to seek out the free flow of information.

“What if I’m busy? I don’t have any time. I’d rather talk to my girl/boyfriend. I don’t care. It doesn’t affect me.”

These common excuses to be uniformed represents a choice to be ignorant. Ignorance in this situation is certainly not bliss.

Start out by just Googling “News” during those spare minutes in class when your teacher is babbling on about this and that. Then try watching the evening news programs at 6 PM on PBS on the weekdays, and branching out to more news outlets. You’ll be surprised by what you can learn in just a few minutes.

To be, or not to be ignorant. That is the question.


Protesters Rally Against Racial Injustice: Can You Breathe?

Sam Feineh
Staff Writer

“Hands up! Don’t shoot!” “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” “I can’t breathe!” “Eric Garner, Michael Brown, shut down!”

These were some of the cries of furious protesters participating in a die-in at Grand Central Terminal on December 4.

Never before in our Nation’s history has the effect of racial injustice and negative media attention impacted the American populace as it has in the past few years.

Since the explosive non-indictment decision of Darren Wilson by the nine white and three black member Grand Jury in Ferguson, MO, hordes of protesters have rallied across the nation, shouting at the top of their lungs “Black Lives Matter,” “Hands up! Don’t shoot!,” and a slew of other chants.

18 year old Michael Brown was shot dead on August 9 after Officer Darren Wilson discharged his firearm a total of 12 times. The autopsy revealed Brown was shot in his forehead, chest, arm, and forearm multiple times.

After Prosecutor Bob McCulloch revealed the Grand Jury’s non-indictment verdict, he was met with aggressive resistance outside the police station as protesters mobilized as the initial flurry of emotions set in.

Many protesters in Ferguson and people nationwide heard the news and were vastly disappointed, angered, frustrated, or numb.

Hundreds of protesters were met with tear gas by retaliating police forces. Buildings, stores, and police cars were set on fire as a swarm of angry protesters rushed in like wild animals.

Michael Brown’s family, along with the President, called for peace among protesters.

Brown’s father, Michael Brown Sr., commented, “Hurting others, or destroying property is not the answer… I do not want my son’s death to lead to death” (CNN).

A large majority of protests remained peaceful around the nation in places like Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York; however the few violent protests have filled our television screens nonstop, for what seems like twenty-four hours a day.

This fanfare unfairly and disproportionately creates the image of “nationwide hysteria” that seems to occur more extensively than it truly does. Media filters information, allowing them to paint the picture they desire for their news broadcasts, tainting the authenticity of the raw news.

What should be done with the incessant media coverage which only degrades the national image?

An entire shift in media culture would be required to change the focus from manipulating the news, to a more neutral, old-fashioned response system which simply reports breaking news events without unnecessarily amplification of events.

Eric Garner, a 43 year old man living in Staten Island, was choked to death by four police officers who slammed him down on the ground as Garner, stifled, croaked what would be the cry of a revolution: “I can’t breathe.”

The life-changing video depicting officers, specifically Daniel Pantaleo, using a chokehold (forbidden and outlawed by the New York Police Department) to bring down 6-foot-3, 350 pounds Garner, is excruciating to watch.

After Garner cried for air, the officers nonchalantly called EMS, completely relaxed and undisturbed as Garner struggled. There was absolutely no sense of urgency as Garner was lifted onto the stretcher, only to die from cardiac arrest in the ambulance.

Is this case about black versus white? Legality? Or does it symbolize America’s rising racial inequity dilemma?

In Ferguson, the racial divide is significantly more visible.

“Of the 53 commissioned officers in the Ferguson Police Department, four are black” (NYTimes), yet 67.4% of the Ferguson population is black and 29.3% are white (

These numbers highlight the discrepancies between equal populace representation in law enforcement and overall demographics.

How is a 7.5% black police force representative of a majority in Ferguson?

With the shooting of Oscar Grant in 2009, Trayvon Martin in 2012, Michael Brown, Eric Grant, and Tamir Rice (12 year old African-American shot and killed by a policeman) this year as well as hundreds of other cases, America is fed up with the stagnant justice system punishing African-Americans. No matter what your beliefs are, there are certain facts that cannot be disputed.

It is a fact that more than 10% of black men in their 30s will be incarcerated at some point during a calendar year, compared to 2% rate for whites (TIME).

It is a fact that the black unemployment rate (11.4%) is more than double the white unemployment rate of 5.3% (Washington Post).

It is a fact that African-Americans comprise nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population (NAACP).

I’m not stating that the issue in Ferguson represented by these critical numbers is solely about race. I’m not stating that solely because a white man shot a black man, Darren Wilson should suffer the dire consequences.

But we cannot ignore the pertinent race issues taking over American society. The law is the law, however corrupted it is. I am saying that Americans need to voice themselves strategically and peacefully in order to address rising racial tensions nationwide which played a key role in both Garner’s and Brown’s cases.

It’s disappointing how virtually the same story is repeated over and over again. Yet nothing has been done legislatively to radically reduce racial disparities in law enforcement.

In order for this racial divide to end, African-Americans must become the change they seek in the justice system. This process can begin with positive external forces which help individuals form an intrinsic drive to strive for the best, work hard, and play by the rules. In Ferguson’s 67.4% black population rate with only a 7.5% black representation in the police department, one way to promote equal representation is to encourage more African-Americans to become police officers, lawyers, and other professions within the justice system.

This is not a simple endeavor. Nationally, many African-Americans grow up absorbing derogatory values teaching them that drug dealers should be lauded and that women are “ho*s” to be used for their bodies. One way to combat this overarching mentality is through increased community based programs, which serve as safe havens for a troubled youth to have access to computers, do their homework, and read more.

Once our African-American youth recognize the priceless values of knowledge and articulation, only then will inequity within the justice system greatly diminish.

Protesters call their efforts an “uprising” for a reason. The unfiltered power represented through protests and die-ins nationwide are soon to be on par with the March on Washington in 1963.

“I believe that the system is working perfectly fine in terms of it being one that’s about injustice… It’s time for change,” said Tiffany McFadden, a protester in New York (MSNBC).

If we voice our concerns civilly, yet forcefully, America may see a new dawn for race relations. History has shown us that we need a compelling force to embark upon this abstract concept of “change.” Change always requires an extraordinary figure.

So where’s our new MLK?


The Hong Kong Protests (Occupy Central With Love And Peace)

Jacob Holden
Staff writer

The Hong Kong protests began on September 27, 2014 when a large group of students and citizens demanded universal suffrage (the right to vote for all adult citizens) for their city.

As part of the conditions of Hong Kong’s being ceded as a British colony to China, the city was to be allowed to be a democratic system. These rights were virtually disregarded by the communist government of China. As part of the government’s efforts to suppress its people, protesters were arrested by Chinese police officers leading to a massive rallying of the people of Hong Kong.

Police have done their best to respond to the situation but weapons such as tear gas have been used on the protesters and several have been arrested. This has lead to serious unrest; however, despite all this, the police are now attempting to protect the protesters from groups of Triad (a gang in China and Japan) members as well as anti-democracy instigators who seek to stop the proposed system from successfully being created.

Further police forces seek to stop the uprising, but it’s up to the government and their actions now. The Chinese legislation has made several attempts to come up with a solution, but the protesters refuse to stop unless their full demands are met. The Chinese government continues to blame western powers, especially the United States, for this protest. This blame has lead to large amounts of tension between China and the U.S. which may lead to further conflict and protests in the future; however, this is being ignored at the moment.

The people of Hong Kong have formed several massive camps all throughout the city and have created several barricades. The people of the protest are organized and efficient, with a recycling system, free food and water for the people, and a fully functioning first-aid site. Barricades have been built in various places throughout the city and are being used to hold back police officers and anti-democracy protesters, but this has lead some to believe the protesters have a more aggressive intent.

The movement has sparked its own culture with art, music, and even monuments. Things such as the Umbrella Man, a statue of wooden blocks holding a yellow umbrella, and the iconic Lennon Wall, where various Post-it notes of different colors hold the words of the protesters, bring morale for their people. The movement even has its own anthem, a modified version of Under A Vast Sky (a song by 1990s group Beyond).

The question still remains as to which force will succumb to the other in this movement, but the protesters seem to be on the right track. Their massive organizational system keeps them happy and healthy and their culture is drawing others to their cause: the fight for democracy.


Ebola Hasn’t Gone Away Yet

Samuel Feineh
News Editor

As of December 2 in the disease-ridden countries of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Senegal, and Nigeria, Ebola has taken the lives of 6,113 individuals and infected more than 17,000 people.

The U.S. was startled with four American cases of Ebola. The first patient, Dr. Kent Brantly, was treated at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. A few other individuals who were working as missionaries in Liberia were quietly discharged from Emory as they healed from the disease. Despite the Western arrival of Ebola, problems are much greater in West Africa.

How are some people’s immune systems equipped to fight Ebola?

The 40% of people who survive this deadly disease obviously have uniquely strong immune systems which can handle Ebola’s initial impact, which “depletes the body’s immune cells, which defend against infection, said Derek Gatherer, a bioinformatics researcher at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom, who studies viral genetics and evolution (

The human leukocyte antigen-B is another marker found in Ebola survivors. This gene produces a protein which is critical for immune functions.

“A 2007 study found that people with certain versions of this gene, called B*07 and B*14, were more likely to survive Ebola, while people with other versions, called B*67 and B*15, were more likely to die.” (

What is the state of the current humanitarian relief effort?

Dr. Joseph Fair, a leading American physician in Liberia aiding humanitarian efforts said in a recent 60 Minutes interview that “…until we handle outbreaks where they occur, we are never going to be safe ourselves.”

In a one-disease hospital with a staff of about 200, run by American doctor Pranav Shetty, Ebola victims in Liberia are treated in corresponding regions of the camp: high risk, cleared, and those waiting to find out if they have the disease.

Doctors in this intensive unit stress that they need more global support to fight this disease. Most of the staff are Liberian; in order to raise spirits, they sing hymns each day before putting their suits on.

Cleaning protocols are excessive, but necessary to fend off the disease. Everywhere around the camp are chlorine centers. Chlorine kills the virus instantly. A dedicated team of staffers follow every individual that walks into the camp and sprays them with chlorine periodically to kill any trace of Ebola.

Around the camp, staffers are covered head to toe in protective gear. Dr. Colin Bucks remarked that “the tough part is that when the masks get filled with your own breath and sweat, that then it really gets hard to breathe. And you have to go to breathe. You have to get out then. You feel like you’re suffocating.”

These doctors’ valiant efforts to contain Ebola can only go so far without more global assistance. Funds and resources have been flowing in more than ever before, however there is much more work that needs to be done before the virus can be declared over, and the world can breathe a sigh of relief.