by Emily Corona
The Science Academy has some excellent clubs focused on culture to offer the student body, all aiming to create a welcoming and educational environment. The clubs themselves are open to everyone from all backgrounds and are all outstanding learning opportunities. The clubs serve to provide a space to empower students of different cultures, all the while unifying the rest of the student body. Students have the opportunity to attend three different cultural clubs: the LatinX Student Union, the Jewish and Israeli Club, and the Christian Club. Each club offers a helpful insight into their respective cultures with their affable leaders and community members. Students are encouraged to visit these clubs and explore the unique cultures of their peers.
The LatinX Student Union, headed by 11th graders Chloe Montalban, Yedid Vargas, and Natalie Mendez, aims to empower and unite the LatinX community here at the Science Academy. The club is open to all students and is an enriching opportunity to learn about multiple aspects of LatinX culture, which includes the cultures of Mexico, Latin America, South America and Spain, as well as the experiences of Latinos and Latinas in the United States. One such meeting focused on the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. An educational presentation about the holiday was presented to club members, detailing traditions like sugar skull painting and the cultural significance of celebrating the dead. Not only that, but the club also spreads awareness regarding issues the community itself faces in contemporary times. The club itself meets weekly and is sponsored by Ms. Huyler.
The Jewish and Israeli Club is another one of Science Academy’s cultural clubs, teaching the history of Israel and neighboring Arab countries. The club also explores Jewish culture, examining important religious works such as the Torah and the Christian New Testament. Club President Jaden Penhaskashi, an 11th grader and the current Science Academy Student Body President, leads the club in a multitude of different discussions alongside club vice president Gregory Kislik. Founded three years ago, the club was intended to educate the student body on the many similarities and differences between Judaism and various other cultures. Many members of the club aren’t Jewish themselves according to Jaden, as he explained:
“I love the fact that there are so many people in our club who do not identify as Jewish or Israeli, and are simply there to learn and understand another perspective!”
The most recent meeting featured a presentation on the Capitol riots and the role antisemitism played in them, as well as a lesson on the current parliamentary system in Israel. The club meets twice a month, with Ms. Herrera serving as club sponsor, and alternates meetings with the Christian Club.
The Christian Club is represented by Jacob Chow and Melissa Mouchamel. It, too, welcomes students of all faith backgrounds as a venue for sharing perspectives. It provides a safe place to learn about and discuss Christianity through life experiences and study of the Bible, as well as learn about the life and teachings of Jesus. As Jacob and Melissa stated:
“In Christian Club, we aim to be a place where people, both Christian and non-Christian, can learn about and discuss Christianity, Bible stories and lessons, as well as life in general. We work hard to stay open to different viewpoints and interact with our members. Being online has been a challenge, but we tried our best to involve everyone in our meetings and are looking forward to meeting in person next year. This year, we have talked about the stories, misconceptions, and values of Christianity. Having the opportunity to share the principles that are so important in our lives and learn about diverse opinions is the reason why we wanted to lead this club together.”
These cultural clubs are incredible opportunities for all members of the student body to learn about the various different cultures of those on campus. They serve to empower those of their respective culture, all the while providing a welcoming learning environment for others to educate themselves. The Jewish Club presents unique opportunities to learn about both Judaism as a religion and Israeli culture. The LatinX Student Union provides in-depth discussions regarding Latino culture and tradition, as well as insight into issues faced by the Latino and Latina population. The Christian Club provides a forum for exploring the many denominations of Christianity and its rich history. Joining these clubs allows students to learn more about the numerous cultures celebrated throughout the Science Academy student body. The Schoology group join codes can be found in the Club Resources folder in the Student Outreach group.Read More
By Scott Oberholtzer, Sarah Lane, and Emily Corona
As the year comes to a close once more, we look again to the future to see what is next. The 2020-2021 Science Academy Associated Student Body, though it has made great changes to the school environment, including club sign-ups and adding new events, still has wishes they hope can be addressed by next year’s ASB members.
School president, Jaden Penhauskashi, when asked about what he hopes to see changed in the school, shared this:
“My hope is that next year, it will be much easier to run both spirit events and fundraisers, and that being in person will facilitate much greater participation. I would say that I look the most forward to having certain things we previously took for granted like Mr. Lauchu as Santa Claus or even watching a mock Science Bowl competition! I am confident that no matter the challenges ASB faces next year as our school reverts to in-person, they will rise to the occasion and make the school greater than it ever has been.”
The ASB as a whole is excitedly anticipating the coming fall school year when we can get back to in-person fundraisers and events, and possibly rekindle some former school-wide hits, like the Teachers v. Students Science Bowl and the Pi Day Festivities. Jaden expresses the desire of all members of the ASB and the student body when he explains his wishes to regain some sense of normalcy for school events.
Rachel Lee, ASB secretary, responded that:
“The one thing I would say is having more participation from our grade representatives. There are a few students that give a lot of input, but it would be nice to hear what everyone has to say. I think part of it is to find ways to make it less intimidating for them to share their ideas and hopefully when we go back to school, it would be easier for the ASB officers to communicate with the grade reps!”
Encouraging participation from grade representatives allows for the general student body to better communicate with ASB members, and Rachel highlights this in her statement. Hopefully, with the coming year, representatives will have a larger presence in the ASB while in in-person club meetings. In-person meetings could lessen the intimidation reps seem to face, as described by Rachel, in the virtual meetings.
Vice President Thomas Kim, when discussing upcoming shifts in the student body, mentions that:
“Better communication and leadership skills for both ASB officers and representatives is something that I hope will change for next year’s ASB. Additionally, ASB has to become more independent and more smoothly run by the officers and the representatives; we need to make everything much more elegant and timed, rather than choppy. Lastly, we as ASB need to find a way to make our activities and works more spread across the school, building the school’s culture, and most importantly, a community.”
Thomas’ focus as Vice President largely revolves around club management and creation, a job that requires constant communication with officers, especially the President. As such, he is the first to know when communication is a difficulty, and when intervention needs to be made. Communication issues will hopefully be a topic of resolution for next year’s cabinet, allowing for a smoother and more efficient overall Student Body.
Overall, it appears that the upcoming ASB will have big shoes to fill, as they have many different topics and issues to address within the 2021-2022 cycle of the Student Body. Make sure to vote in all upcoming elections, readers, as you can help to make the right choice for The Science Academy STEM Magnet’s future!Read More
by Sarah Lane & Scott Oberholtzer
The Science Academy High School speech and debate team has just closed out a very successful first year of competition. The team as a whole prospered in every competition, consistently placing at or near the top, with one student making it all the way to the state competition.
The team engaged in its first novice competition on Halloween, with Sarah Lane, Leila Muney, and Mary Sarukhanyan all placing within the Top 5 for Spontaneous Argumentation, as well as Gregory Kislik placing in 5th for Original Oratorical Speaking. The team was congratulated by the League President, Bobby Lebeda, for their high placements in their first competition.
The second speech competition for the year, and the first advanced speech competition for the team, came on November 19, 2020. Sarah Lane, Nicholas Carone, and Cristiana Phelan all placed within the top 10 in Spontaneous Argumentation. In addition to this, Sarah Lane also placed fourth in Impromptu Speaking.
On January 16, 2021, the team conquered its first-ever debate competition. Multiple students competed in a myriad of team and individual events. Gregory Kislik competed in the Lincoln Douglas debate and earned a superior award, while Leila Muney and Cristiana Phelan competed in the Public Forum debate, also earning a superior award. Parliamentary debate had the most entries from the team, with two teams: Rhonen Harris and Sarah Lane, as well as Nicholas Carone and Leila Muney. Both Parliamentary entries earned superior awards at the open debate competition.
In the spring open speech competition on February 20, 2021, the team had an impressive showing in the Spar and Impromptu events yet again, with Leila Muney, Rhonen Harris, and Xander Ashtrafi all placing within the top 10. Rhonen Harris also placed 6th in the impromptu speaking event at the competition.
The team then entered into the debate state qualifiers, on February 27th. At these qualifiers, Mary Sarukhanyan and Leila Muney made it all the way to the finals in Public Forum debate. The team eventually placed 7th in the event.
The next state qualifying event was for speech on March 19th, 2021. Many competitors from the team went to compete against some of the best speakers in the state, with two students from the Science Academy Team placing in finals. Michelle Dupont placed 7th, just short of qualifying for states in the program Oral Interpretation event, while Sarah Lane placed 6th and qualified for the state competition in Impromptu Speaking.
The CA state competition took place over multiple days, from April 19th to the 25th. Sarah Lane ended up competing over three separate days in Impromptu speaking, eventually making it to the semi-finals for the event. Sarah placed 13th overall out of 50+ state competitors.
Team coach Mr. Brooker, club President Mary Sarukhanyan, and the entire team are extremely proud of their stellar performance this pioneering season. With Mary stating, “I’m astonished at how far our team has come, especially since it was all done through a screen. Mr. Brooker and our team members worked really hard to get here”. Both Mr. Brooker and the team hope to return next year even more successful than the last, sending more competitors to state in both Speech and Debate events.
The team has also expressed a desire for new members, as stated by Mr. Brooker. The team is open to all high schoolers, including current 8th graders who will be starting 9th grade with the Science Academy next year. If you’re interested, please reach out to Mr. Brooker via Schoology message. Hope you will consider joining us!Read More
By Ava-Ray P.
The Science Academy hosted guest speaker Kenny D. from Tree People to talk about composting at home for our February 19th STEM Talk. There was great interest in the subject amongst the student body because of the ways composting can not only help create rich soil, but can be used to recycle food scraps and yard waste, thereby reducing landfill usage and the creation of greenhouse gases. Below is a summary on the topics covered during the STEM Talk as well as where you can get materials to start composting yourself.
First of all, what is composting? Composting is a mixture of various decaying organic substances, such as dead leaves or food waste, used for enriching soil. We can use composting to recycle food waste, which lessens its impact in landfills, and use it to fertilize plants to help them grow. With the right supplies and methods, you can create compost at home.
Creating compost is fairly simple. To start, you will need both “browns” and “greens”. Browns are materials like dried leaves, twigs, paper bags, torn newspaper, etc. They are the non- perishables. Greens are perishables like fruit and vegetable scraps, garden waste, etc. With a 50/50 combination of these materials, you can start composting!
You should also have the tools to start composting. The LADWP offers composting bins for you to start composting, (link) and you can get other supplies at most nurseries (link to local nursery). When you start to compost, you should layer the materials on top of each other. Starting with a first layer of twigs, and alternating layers of brown and green layers.
Composting can be surprisingly beneficial. It diverts waste away from landfills, and it adds microbes and nutrients to soil. Organic matter in landfills breaks into methane, a greenhouse gas. Sadly, 40% of the food we buy is wasted, with most of that going into landfills. If we use composting more and more, we can start to move our economy to a circular system, where we can make products, use them, and recycle/compost them to be used again.
STEM Clubs at the Science Academy STEM Magnet
by Milan R. and Muaz R.
At Science Academy, we have a wide range of clubs, all focusing on a variety of subjects, skills, and potential occupations. In this article, we take a look at three of our STEM-focused clubs: StellarXplorers, the Applied STEAM Club, and Math Counts. Stellar Xplorers and Math Counts are sponsored by our wonderful assistant principal, Mr. Rosenthal, while the Applied STEAM Club is sponsored by Mr. Bradfield and led by fellow students Zygmunt R, Nikita A, and Oliver P. All of these clubs feature the use of many different skills in science, technology, engineering, math, and more.
Stellar Xplorers is a high school space-based competition, founded by the National Air Force Association (AFA), that encourages students to use their skills in mathematics, science, and engineering in order to solve real-life problems. Students must grapple through many different computer-generated scenarios, while keeping in mind all the variables that could affect their aircraft, such as launch speed and orbital velocity. Working and familiarizing themselves with these concepts allows pupils to gain a greater advantage when applying these skills to real-life jobs in major organizations and companies such as NASA, JPL, and SpaceX.
In order to get a more personal overview of what it’s like participating in the club, we interviewed Zachary M. (8th) on his experiences.
“I first started Stellar Xplorers in the sixth grade. It’s been a great experience so far — Stellar Xplorers has taught me about the different elements of satellite design, weighing the cost-effectiveness of different crucial satellite subsystems, the six classical orbital parameters, and evaluating the data transfer from satellites to satellites and stations, and much more. I would recommend anyone who likes space and is willing to join a team to become a Stellar Xplorer. A lot of Stellar Xplorers is not only about participating in the competitions but also having a good time with your friends. It’s one of the most fun things I’ve done this year and it always gives me something to look forward to. Also, scholarships are given to the top three teams, so that gives an incentive as well. Although you probably couldn’t use the material you learn directly after you participate in a competition when you get older, these competitions can give you some of the necessary knowledge and experience required to be able to work at companies like JPL, NASA, or SpaceX. In my opinion, there is absolutely no prior experience necessary to join this club. I came in knowing nothing about any of the topics I listed prior, but after participating in the competitions and learning about satellites and rockets through this club, I would now consider myself knowledgeable on all of them.”
StellarXplorers explores a wide variety of different topics in STEM fields and allows students to exercise skills that they can apply to real-world careers. If you would like to develop these skills for a present and future occupation, or simply have an interest in what lies beyond the great skies, consider joining Stellar Xplorers! You can do so by emailing Mr. Rosenthal about your interest in the club.
Are you deeply interesting and curious about the mysteries of mathematics and the beauty it encompasses? Or are you simply looking for a way to stretch your brain and increase your critical thinking skills? Math Counts features a solution to both of these problems! Hosted by Mr. Rosenthal, the club grants a way for students to converse and solve math problems with one another as well as increase their logical and critical thinking skills at the same time. Math Counts tackles problems in many different fields of mathematics, including algebra, geometry, probability, and statistics.
In order to get a more personal overview of what it’s truly like in the club, we interviewed two club members:
Saket P. (8th): “I first started Math Counts in 6th grade when it was a small group of 6, and we just did math problems and math competitions. We entered competitions like the AMC 8, 10, 12, the Math Olympiad, and the Math Counts and Purple Comet. I would recommend anyone who likes competitive math to come to join, or if you like fun math problems. Most of the stuff you learn can help you gain an advantage in the competition and can help us beat rival schools. I don’t believe there is a need for prior knowledge, you just need to be interested in math. But if you want a list of subjects to prepare for the competition, there are algebra, geometry, number theory, and probability. Math Counts is an amazing club for anyone interested in math. I am excited to see how this club ends up in the years to come.”
Ryan L. (7th): “I first started Math Club just when it was announced by Mr. Rosenthal. The club is a great way to practice skills that you have already learned as well as develop new ones. It’s a great opportunity to have fun with math, and I was able to incorporate the math questions I have answered there with various problems on the AMC and Math Counts. I believe that some prior knowledge is needed, at least algebra. The club is there to learn and practice math. The people who already know the math are able to practice the problems, and more importantly explain how to do the problem to the other students, allowing the other students to learn and allowing all the students to gain more experience in articulating the process and solution.”
Math Counts provides an environment for students to engage in different mathematical challenges and problems with one another in order to expand upon their logical and critical thinking skills. If these activities sound enjoyable to you, consider emailing Mr. Rosenthal about your interest in the club!
Are you interested in MakerSpace, electronics and/or engineering? If so, you should know the Applied STEAM Club has been devoted to a combination of these topics since they formed in January 2021.
The Applied STEAM Club aspires to be a “community of STEM enthusiasts to showcase cool projects and ideas.” Together, members of the club collaborate on projects and work on them to perfection. Other than collaborating, students “communicate with each other in the STEAM club whether it be through Zoom or Discord”. Their Zoom meetings are every Thursday from 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM.
One of their major goals is to “acquire more members in order to make bigger projects and have better collaborations”. The club representatives are also hopeful the club can meet in person when school returns to normal, and therefore make collaborating easier.
The Applied STEAM Club is sponsored by Mr. Bradfield with Zyg R, Oliver P, and Nikita A as their representatives. To enter the club, students can use the access code from the S.A. Student Body Outreach to join their Schoology group, and they can attend their meetings.Read More