By Emily Corona
On October 31st, seven members of the Science Academy Debate Club took on their first Tri-County Forensics League (TCFL) Novice Speech Tournament with great success. The Debate Club consists of the high school students at the Science Academy, sponsored by Mr. Brooker, who have had prior experience with debate in their English classes. Now, these students have taken the initiative, using their skills developed from intramural debate, and dove into the competitive sphere against other school teams. The students participating hailed from a myriad of schools across the district, and were assigned number scores to determine their overall placements. The tournament itself, held over Zoom, consisted of thirteen different categories, two of which the team participated in on Saturday morning.
The team did incredibly well, with three participants from the Science Academy ranking in the top five in Spontaneous Argumentation. The argumentation was impromptu, and the students had no prior knowledge of the topics given. In this form of debate, participants are given one minute to prepare after the topic is presented, and after must argue their given stance. Some of the featured topics given included TikTok and its potential threat to national security, teachers sharing political views in classrooms, and sports teams and political slogans, according to Sarah Lane. Based on their argumentation and overall performance in comparison to other students in their breakout room, participants were awarded points. Sarah, an 11th grader and Debate Club historian, proudly placed first in the Spontaneous Argumentation event, netting over 289 total points. Leila Muney, tenth grader and Debate Club vice president, placed second and earned over 282 points for her performance. Mary Sarukhanyan, a 10th grader and current president of Speech and Debate Club, placed a close fourth in the event, as well, gaining 280 points.
One of the team members also placed in the top three in the Original Oratory event. Gregory Kislik, an 11th grader, placed third for his speech about misinformation, scoring an impressive 272 points. Greg was kind enough to provide portions of his oratory, which was to be prewritten and prerecorded for judging at the tournament. Greg’s speech, “An Untrue Truth”, talks about the need to be correct and how reliable sources can be subject to bias, as well as how misinformation has even permeated the scientific community:
“Researcher bias and error is a factor which can mislead the public because of the researcher’s perceived authority over a certain subject. Errors such as publication bias, in which publishing is based on outcome, reporting bias, which is the reporting of only positive outcomes (and neglecting negative ones), as well as spin (how the data is framed) are commonplace throughout research.”
Greg’s speech is an insightful look into the realm of misinformation, and how it affects everyone down to the sources thought to be unquestionably credible. The witty humor, coupled with the informational sources, provide an interesting take on something we often pay no mind to in the scientific community. It’s easy to see why he received such a high placement.
Overall, the team performed exceptionally well for their first official Speech and Debate tournament. Taking the majority of the top five of spontaneous argumentation, and securing a spot in the top three of the original oratory, club president and representative Mary Sarukhanyan is proud of her team. Mary commented on the team’s performance and experience going into their first tournament with the TCFL, saying:
“Everyone on the team was really nervous going into it, being our first time and over Zoom too. But we made a splash with our standings and even received comments from the co-president of our circuit. The team is thrilled with what we achieved and we’re preparing to kill it at our next event.”
It’s safe to say the Science Academy community is incredibly proud of how the team did in their tournament, and excitedly awaits the next one!Read More
by Ava-Ray Pributsky, Mariia Grigoreva and Desmond Devine
As we prepare to celebrate the holidays, it’s wonderful to recognize the diversity of winter celebrations: Hanukkah, Advent, Las Posadas, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, the New Year, Epiphany/Three Kings Day. So many ways to celebrate and honor traditions and cultures from around the world and through a large expanse of history. Here are a few of the ways some of these holidays are celebrated by our Journalism Club students.
Mariia’s Holiday Traditions:
Very soon, more than 2 billion people will be celebrating Christmas. Some honor it as a religious holiday, while many more will celebrate it even if they are not Christian. Here are my family’s holiday traditions:
In most families in Russia, Christmas is actually celebrated on January 7th, because this is the date considered to be Christmas by Orthodox Christians, who use the Julian calendar, which predates the modern Gregorian calendar. However many families, including mine, combine it with the New Year holiday and celebrate them both on one day, December 31st.
Around 3 weeks before Christmas, we decorate the Christmas tree. We put many candies on the tree as decorations and every day before Christmas, we can eat one. If not all of them are gone, we eat what’s left on New Year’s Eve night.
In my family, we like to change the menu, but there are two common salads that we always eat on New Year and Christmas: “Olivie Salad” and “Herring under a Fur Coat”
Olivie Salad Recipe:
2 medium carrot
1 chicken breast
1 can of peas
5 salted cucumbers
Bake the chicken (30min on 350 degrees), Cook and cut eggs, carrots and potatoes into large dice. After the chicken has cooled somewhat, cut into large chunks. Chop up the rest of the ingredients and mix all together. Add mayo and your perfect salad is ready to eat.
Note: usually served cold, so put in the fridge before you eat it.
While my sister, my mother, and I prepare food, we usually have 2 very old movies playing, which we watch every single year: The Irony of Fate and Ivan Vasilievich: Back to the Future.
On the 31st of December, while the clock is striking 12 am, the adults make a wish. They write it on paper, burn it into a glass with champagne, and drink. Some just make a wish and drink, but everything has to be done while the clock is striking midnight. That is an important part of the tradition.
After everyone eats, we call all our relatives and give our best wishes for the New Year. Afterwards, we open the presents and listen to Christmas/New Year songs. In my family, we don’t wait until morning and open our presents around 1am.
Ava-Ray’s Holiday Traditions:
Decorate the House:
In my family, we celebrate Hanukkah, but we also put up a winter tree with lights and ornaments. Many of the ornaments are handmade. Each year we make a new ornament to represent the year. What should it be for this year? Maybe a mask or a vaccine syringe?
Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows:
A mashed sweet potato with butter and maple syrup topped with melted marshmallows. This is what my Grandmother and her mother made during Thanksgiving and the winter holidays every year. It reminds me of sitting with my family at the table, being together and eating wonderful food. This dish is very sweet and is often served as dessert in my household. A sweet dish to remind me of sweet memories.
Lighting the Menorah:
Every year in my family, we light the Menorah and say the prayers of Hanukkah. My dad tells the story of how the Jewish people did not have enough oil to light their temple lights because the temple had been raided and ransacked. They found only a small amount of oil in the rubble. They thought it would only last for a day or two, but it lasted 8 full nights. That is the Hanukkah miracle, that there was light during the darkness, during the pain. We have latkes and corned beef sandwiches and then we get our Hanukkah gifts. The holiday is about comfort, good food, and games. We each try and think of our reasons to be thankful and how we have made it to this Hanukkah.
Latkes and Applesauce:
Savory potato pancakes (almost like hash browns) with sweet apple sauce on top. When I was really little, my favorite part of Hanukkah was the latkes. Savory, buttery, potato goodness with sweet applesauce for dinner? Yum! My family would gobble down 3 latkes each at the very least. I would stuff my face with yummy food until I could not eat any more and then sit down on the couch and fall asleep.
Baba’s Latke Recipe:
6 large potatoes, grated
1 large onion, grated
2 eggs, well beaten
2 tablespoons of flour
1 teaspoon of salt
A pinch of pepper
4 tablespoons of oil
Peel the potatoes and onions. Grate potatoes and onions or use a Cuisinart and drain the extra juice. Add eggs, flour, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Heat oil in a large skillet and drop the batter in by spoonful. Fry to a deep brown on both sides. Serve with applesauce, sour cream, or vanilla yogurt. Geschmack! (Yiddish for licking the plate goodness!)
Prayer on the first night of Hanukkah: Praised are you, our God, ruler of the universe, who has given us life and sustained us and enabled us to reach this season. I am so thankful to be with my family on this Hanukkah. I know there are many people across the country and around the world, including in my own family, who have not made it to this Hanukkah. I think about them and say a prayer for them.
Have you ever wondered why our calendar is the way it is? Why certain holidays are recognized on specific days? Sure, Christmas was the day Jesus was said to have been born and the 4th of July is the day America declared its independence, but what about the other ones? Is there any deeper reason why holidays are celebrated at a certain time in the year other than “tradition”? Let’s consider the celebration of the New Year and my proposal for a more scientific and seasonally accurate date for the holiday.
Our calendar, along with many other aspects of our culture, stems from Roman civilization. On December 31st, Romans would have a feast and celebrate Janus, the god of new beginnings. He was said to have two faces, one looking to the past and the other towards the future. This evolved into our New Year celebration today, but to be honest it doesn’t make much rational sense and feels a bit arbitrary as a date to start the year. A more practical celebration would be on Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, since this is when our days start to become longer again and the seasonal cycle of Earth resets. Recognizing Winter Solstice as New Year’s Day would give the holiday an astronomical purpose and might make us more mindful towards the cyclical nature of our solar system.
[Roman God Janus]
Whichever holidays you and your family celebrate and however you celebrate them, we are all so happy for our health, our family’s health, making it through the 2020 Fall semester of The Science Academy, and the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines. We wish good health and happiness to all, and look forward to a very happy, hopeful, and healthy New Year!Read More
By Barrie Komsky
December 15, 2020
On October 27, the Los Angeles Dodgers erased decades of frustration and disappointment by winning the World Series for the first time since 1988. They beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 in the sixth game of the World Series to bring Los Angeles their second championship of the month. As the great Dodgers announcer Vin Scully once said, “In a year so improbable, the impossible has happened.”
The 2020 baseball season was unlike any other. For the first time in baseball history, the World Series was played at a neutral site, the Texas Rangers’ Globe Life Field, which the Dodgers made their home. It was played in a bubble with only 11,500 fans in attendance each game. Teams played only 60 games, rather than the typical 162. But the Dodgers rose above these challenges and did what nobody thought was possible: going the distance after years of falling short.
The team could not have come so far without the help of Clayton Kershaw, who has been a staple of the Dodgers organization since 2008. He had every honor and achievement in baseball aside from a World Series ring. He took home the National League Cy Young Award in 2011, 2013, and 2014, when he also was named Most Valuable Player. On June 18 of that year, he pitched his first career no-hitter, arguably the greatest in baseball history. He has constantly dazzled in the regular season, but quickly became known as a “playoff choker,” showing barely average statistics in the month of October. This year, Clayton Kershaw changed his legacy forever. There are no more missing pieces for the future Hall of Famer. His 4-1 record combined with a 2.93 ERA and 37 strikeouts, all career highs for the 32-year-old ace, gave him all he’s truly wanted: a championship for his team. “We won the World Series. I don’t care about legacy. I don’t care about what happened last year. I don’t care about what people think…The 2020 Dodgers won the World Series. Who cares about all that other stuff?” the veteran ace told Bill Plunkett when asked how he felt about his success.
Perhaps the only Dodger with a more impressive postseason than Kershaw was Corey Seager, whose eight postseason home runs and .328 batting average led to being named MVP of both the World Series and NLCS, a nail-biting seven game series against the Atlanta Braves. Seager was only the eighth player in the history of Major League Baseball to bring home both awards. “This team was incredible all throughout the year, all throughout the postseason,” Seager, known for his modesty, stated. “We never stopped. We were ready to go as soon as the bell was called. And once it did, we kept rolling.” He drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning of the game, after Rays’ manager Kevin Cash controversially removed Blake Snell, who, through 5.1 innings, struck out 9 and allowed only two hits, one of which resulted in a run, from the game.
Both Kershaw and Seager dazzled throughout the regular season as well, but no impact was greater than that of Mookie Betts, who was traded from the Red Sox in February. In 55 games, Betts accumulated 16 home runs, 39 RBIs, 10 stolen bases, and a .292 batting average. Betts won the National League’s Gold Glove Award for his position of right field for the fifth consecutive year. He became a finalist for MVP, along with the Braves’ Freddie Freeman, the eventual winner, and the Padres’ Manny Machado. Betts took home the award in 2018 with Boston, when his team beat the Dodgers in the World Series. In the postseason, Betts batted .296 with 8 doubles, 6 stolen bases, and an eighth-inning home run in game 6 to extend the lead. He also scored the go-ahead run in the sixth inning, taking advantage of the Rays’ decision to remove Blake Snell from the game. “I think at that point, I was like, ‘I got a chance,’” Betts said of the situation following the win. “Snell was rolling… I wasn’t asking any questions, though. I was just like, ‘Hey, your manager said you gotta go, next guy’s coming in.’ At that point, I tried to put an at-bat together and go from there.” In addition to his brilliance on offense, Mookie Betts made an impact larger than any other on the field, making seemingly impossible plays nightly.
Many will compare Betts’ remarkable first season as a Dodger to that of Kirk Gibson in 1988. After a successful career with the Detroit Tigers and a World Series win in 1984, Gibson, a free agent, signed with Los Angeles. The team, against all odds, found themselves in the World Series, set to play the powerful Oakland A’s. Kirk Gibson, having injured both legs in the previous series, was set to sit this one out. In Game 1, the Dodgers found themselves down 4-3 with two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning. Dennis Eckersley had just walked Mike Davis when Kirk Gibson, barely able to walk, hobbled up to the plate, hoping for a miracle. When the count reached 2-2, Mike Davis stole second base, knowing that Gibson would be unable to run. On the very next pitch, Gibson launched his legendary home run to right field, giving the Dodgers the Game 1 win. The Dodgers would go on to win the series in five games. This year’s Dodgers, just like the 1988 team, didn’t have an easy path to success.
The team won a seven-game battle to make a World Series appearance, beating the Atlanta Braves after losing the first two games and three of the first four, something that had not occurred since 2004. Games 5, 6, and 7 games included a Will Smith home run off of Will Smith that gave the Dodgers a lead and more defensive heroics from Mookie Betts and the rest of the Dodgers’ outfield. In a nail-biter game seven, Atlanta took a 1-0 lead in the first inning and extended it with a Dansby Swanson home run in the second. In the third inning, a Will Smith single tied the score at 2, but Austin Riley’s RBI single in the fourth gave the Braves a 3-2 lead. Freedie Freeman would have hit a home run in the fifth inning if not for Mookie Betts. Then, Kike Hernandez hit a game-tying home run in the sixth inning, and Cody Bellinger put them in front in the seventh, a lead Los Angeles held on to thanks to three perfect innings from Julio Urias. “We’re resilient,” said Bellinger of the win. “I think when you see every day the lineup we have—we can do this. Why can’t we do this? We’ve won three games before, all the time.”
The win did not come without controversy, as Justin Turner, who’s pregame COVID test came back inconclusive, was pulled from the game in the 8th inning when a positive result was received. When the game ended, Turner and his wife Kourtney made their way to the field, unmasked, and were seen hugging teammates. Turner even participated in taking a team photo and holding the trophy. Following the celebration, Turner tweeted the following: “Thanks to everyone reaching out! I feel great, no symptoms at all. Just experienced every emotion you can possibly imagine. Can’t believe I couldn’t be out there to celebrate with my guys! So proud of this team & unbelievably happy for the City of L.A.” After careful consideration, the league agreed that Turner should not be punished for his actions, as the bubble they created was unsafe. Turner released an apology which called his actions inexcusable, claiming to have been caught up in the moment.
Despite the controversy and excuses by other fans, however, the Dodgers used their talents and nothing else to win their first World Series since 1988, and that’s all that will be remembered years from now. Congratulations to the 2020 World Series Champions Los Angeles Dodgers!Read More
by Hayley Yoon
Every year, on the 10th of December, we celebrate the rights of all humans, no matter their race, religion, color, gender, language, or political opinion. On this day, back in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), after the end of World War II. This document proclaimed the permanent rights that every human on the Earth was entitled to. The UDHR is the most translated document in the world, and it is available in over 500 languages. It is composed of a preamble and 30 articles, which cover the 30 universal rights and freedoms of all humans. An illustrated version of the UDHR is available here.
Unfortunately, many people in different countries of the world are suffering from their rights being neglected. Article 04 of the UDHR states that “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.” However, it is estimated that about 40 million people are imprisoned in modern slavery, a quarter of which are children. The most common forms of modern slavery include human trafficking, debt bondage labor, forced labor, and child labor. Several organizations are currently working together to free people suffering from their stolen rights.
Human Rights Day is a perfect day to celebrate and take part in protecting our rights. There are several ways to celebrate this day, even at school or at home!
- One way is simply to spread awareness. Many people don’t know about some of their rights, or that their rights are being neglected. By writing an article in the school newspaper, posting a short message on social media, or educating your friends about their rights, you can spread awareness about this basic, yet essential topic.
- Pass a resolution, whether it be for school, a club, or just your household. You can also use this opportunity to educate your fellow students on Human Rights Day.
- Donate to a Human Rights charity! These organizations work together to protect and fight for the rights of humans. Some well known ones are Human Rights First (HRF), Human Rights Watch (HRW), or Amnesty International.
Sources UsedRead More
by Milan Riley
Options for LAUSD Learning Models under COVID-19:
It’s been about 8 months since Los Angeles Unified schools shut down in-person instruction because of COVID-19, and currently, the effects of the Coronavirus are still on-going. One effect is state guidelines that say schools cannot reopen at this time due to the risk of infection. Even though most officials believe no change can occur to this policy until after the winter flu season, they are still preparing for what’s to come once schools begin to re-open, especially in light of the upcoming vaccines. Therefore, LAUSD has come up with two learning models that will be put to use once it is safe enough to return to some in-person instruction days on campus. The Hybrid model is one of the systems LAUSD has prepared that allows students to have some in-person instruction days amongst some fully remote instruction days. The other system is the Online Only model, which allows students to keep on receiving fully remote instruction for school like they are now. Recently, LAUSD and the individual schools have sent out information about these two models and are allowing families to choose which model they would rather participate in once it is safe for schools to reopen.
If experiencing the Hybrid Model, students will have in-person instruction some days with a fewer number of fellow students then there used to be on campus before Covid-19. Students will also have some fully remote instruction days within the 5 days a week of school. The same group of students will learn together each in-person instruction day, and students will stay in the same classroom for each class. Daily meals will continue to be provided for families. What times students are on campus is determined by their grade; families can choose to switch from Hybrid learning to Online Only learning anytime throughout the year.
Online Only Model:
Online Only learning would have students remain in remote learning classes, giving students a mix of live teaching through technology and independent time to work. Families experiencing Online Only teaching will still have access to provided daily meals through Grab & Go by the school. Students can only switch from Online Only to Hybrid at designated points throughout the school’s schedule, which has not been determined yet.
For elementary school, students may be introduced to “Virtual Academy” and taught by teachers by neighboring schools alongside students from that school. This might be necessary based on how many families choose to learn virtually. However, LAUSD will try their best to keep students with their current teachers.
LAUSD has made guidelines of the many safety precautions each school will have to follow. One safety precaution is that the District is releasing a digital application called the Daily Pass. It is a required daily health check-in for anyone entering a campus or office. The health check monitors safe behaviors, physical wellness, and potential exposure to the Coronavirus. If someone can’t get the digital version, health checks are also available at schools or office entrances. Individuals who successfully complete the health check can get a Daily Pass to enter schools and offices.
Another safety precaution is the saliva tests and nasal swabs that will be used to test individuals for Covid-19 at certain times throughout the year; in addition, you will be able to make appointments for this online. All tests are free and show results within 10 minutes. These results will be strictly confidential. All schools will have temperature checks, physical distancing, constant disinfecting, and upgraded ventilation systems as safety precautions as well.
LAUSD has also kept programs for gifted/talented students, students with disabilities, early education students, and students learning English or standard English included with the new learning systems. Not only that, but transportation services to school will be available to Hybrid learning students if they apply for that on the form.
If a student needs extended supervision when not receiving in-person instruction, options will be available for that on campus as well.
LAUSD can be contacted by anyone with questions or concerns via LAUSD’s Helpdesk Hotline at (213) 443-1300. In addition, parents, guardians and students can contact their school for additional support or guidance. For more information on LAUSD’s Covid-19 testing program, you can visit https://achieve.lausd.net/covidtesting.
Each family is responsible for choosing which model they want their student to be in by filling out a form, they can complete their form at https://reopening.lausd.net/familyselection or fill out a hard copy that is requestable at their school. This form gives brief information on the future learning system, and has multiple sections asking questions or giving additional information. Some sections are transportation, resources, satisfaction, communication and support, but there are many more questions/sections as well.
One thing essential for completing this form is the student’s ID, though that has proven to be quite challenging to find sometimes. Therefore, families can see their student’s ID in Parent Portal (https://parentportalapp.lausd.net/parentaccess) if they are registered, or ask for this information from their school. Families may also call the Helpdesk hotline at (213) 443 – 1300 to find this information.
Families can look at all the information about the new learning system on the family guide at https://reopening.lausd.net/familyguide to decide which learning model they want, which will also be mailed as a printed copy to everyone. This form is available in multiple languages and is due by December 6th, 2020; if no form is filled out for a student, they will automatically be placed in the Hybrid learning model. In the form it is noted to families that things may also change in the future. Here’s a example of the beginning of the survey: