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
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
by Hayley Yoon
The Science Academy offers a wide range of clubs. Clubs can be described as one of the highlights of school, especially during this time of distance learning, which is why students are encouraged to participate in them. They can be centered around a variety of subjects, including those that match up with students’ passions. By joining a club that you are passionate about, you can learn more about the topic, meet people who share your interests, and gain various experiences, including serving the community. For students interested in the medical field, the Science Academy has two clubs to offer: the Red Cross Club and the Pre-Med/Future Doctors of America Club.
Red Cross Club
The Red Cross Club is designed to provide students with various information on understanding and preparing for natural disasters, along with opportunities to take action as a volunteer. Students who participate in these activities learn more about the world of emergency assistance and develop strong leadership skills that can be applied in all situations.
Most students will be familiar with American Red Cross as a large, public organization, but many may not know about the programs available to them. This club was established to inform other Science Academy students about these opportunities, and allow them to gain valuable volunteering experiences from them. Students who would like to study in the medical field would benefit greatly from this club by gaining a variety of experiences while following their interests.
Members of the Red Cross Club take part in a list of activities, from learning about Red Cross’ efforts to alleviate human suffering all the way to First Aid and CPR training. Information about all types of services including services toward Armed Forces, training services, blood donor services, disaster services, and international services. They also attend meetings held by the Glendale Youth Corps, allowing the students to speak comfortably with peers while earning volunteer hours. The club also hosts events like fundraisers and donation drives to aid in humanitarian issues. Last year, the club hosted a Veteran’s Wishlist Drive, earning many donations that were gifted to Los Angeles area veterans.
High school students may be looking for volunteer opportunities among the clubs, which the Red Cross Club provides. All activities affiliated with Red Cross allow students to gain volunteer hours, and club members are also invited to participate in events held by other youth corps, especially in the Glendale area. Although the pandemic prevents students from volunteering in person, this club allows students to take advantage of online volunteer events such as educational courses, fundraisers, and drives.
Pre-Med/Future Doctors of
The Pre-Med/Future Doctors of America Club is another Science Academy club students may be interested in. Joining this club would allow students to be educated on current events and opportunities regarding the medical field.
This club was created for students who had a passion or interest in the medical field, or students who simply were curious and wanted to learn more about it. The founder of the Pre-Med club believed it was important for students to be able to pursue their interests at school, and opened up this club as a path for students like herself.
In the Pre-Med Club, students learn about current issues and topics in the world of medicine, such as the effects and implications of COVID-19 on healthcare. This club has a variety of activities and plans, including plans to invite guest speakers including medical students or doctors, debates regarding medical controversies, and remote volunteering opportunity information. When asked how remote learning had affected the club, the club representative replied that the effect was actually positive. Before, large numbers of students had to gather in a single classroom to watch the powerpoint presentations, which was a difficult task and process. However, thanks to online Zoom meetings, presenting slides and setting up meetings has become easier.
Volunteering opportunities have become difficult to find due to the virus. The Pre-Med Club is looking into remote volunteering opportunities related to the medical field so that students can earn service hours as well as experience what kind of work is related to the area of study.
To join either or both the Red Cross Club and the Pre-Med/Future Doctors of America Club, visit the Science Academy Clubs website (available in the S.A Student Body Outreach Schoology group) and join the Schoology group of the club according to the code provided. The meeting dates and time for both clubs can be found on this website as well.
ASB is proud to announce Supernova Spirit Week from Friday, March 12th to Friday, March 19th with many special events planned throughout for students to engage in. Kicking off Spirit Week will be the celebration of Pi Day on Friday, March 12th with activities including a Pi Memorization Contest during Advisory and the sharing of pies of all kinds via social media. Our ASB officers are excited to share what they have planned: “During School Spirit Week, students can celebrate their school pride by participating in activities related to the school’s sports teams, wearing school colors, and competing in special Spirit Week contests.” Be sure to check the SA Student Body Outreach group on Schoology for updates, and get ready to participate in events, win prizes, and have lots of fun!
As many of you know, Pi Day is traditionally celebrated on March 14th because pi begins with 3.14; however, since 3/14 falls on a Sunday this year, we’re celebrating on 3/12. Pi is the symbol (𝛑) used to represent a mathematical constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159. Pi is unusual in that it is an infinite, non-repeating decimal, which makes memorizing it challenging. The current Guinness World Record is held by Lu Chao of China, who in 2005 recited 67,890 digits of pi. Pi Day is an annual opportunity for math enthusiasts to recite pi, talk to their friends about math, and to eat pie. You can show your 3.14 spirit by designing, decorating, or creating your own pie, whether it’s pizza, fruit pie, quiche, tart, pot pie, or cookie, and then share your masterpiece with your fellow Supernovas on Instagram with #SupernovaPiDay. As ASB president Jaden Penhaskashi said, “We want to relive our favorite memories of Pi Day, even if it is in a digital format!” Don’t forget to join ASB during Advisory period on Friday, March 12th for some fun Pi Day activities.
Supernova Spirit Week continues the following week with fun activities planned for each day. Monday, March 15th is Crazy Hair Day. This competition is to find who can create the craziest hairstyle. Using your camera or profile picture, show us your wild hairdo! Tuesday, March 16th is Happiness Day! In this positive event, show us what makes you smile! You will be able to submit phrases and poems on what makes you smile and ASB will make a gallery. On Saint Patrick’s Day, Wednesday, March 17th, turn on your camera and wear green, or have a profile picture of anything green. There will also be a Mad Libs activity at 3:30pm in an ASB Zoom. March 18th is Decade Day! Wear an outfit from your favorite decade or have a profile picture of anything related. Lastly, Movie Night! On March 19th, middle school and high school students will watch their selected movies on Zoom at 7:00 pm. There will be a poll posted in S.A. Student Outreach to determine which movie is the most popular for middle school and which for high school. Spirit Week is a fun way to celebrate Science Academy school spirit and participate in many exciting activities!Read More
By Milan Riley
On Tuesday, January 19th, 2021, board member Kelly Gonez made an announcement for the Board District 6 community. The BD6 3rd Annual Art Contest is now open! This year, the competition will be completely virtual because of the pandemic. All Pre-K to 12th grade students attending a LAUSD school in Board District 6 (BD6) can participate.
Students can create one original piece of artwork based on this year’s theme “Hope and Resilience”, which was inspired by the pandemic. Artwork can be hand drawn or created digitally. Participants can turn in their artwork here, using Google Forms. The deadline for turning in artwork is February 14, 2020!
The Officer of Board Member Kelly Gonez will have permission from those submitting the form to share artwork and/or use it to promote the BD6 art contest with marketing materials such as social media, virtual exhibit, and more.
Students are encouraged to spread the word and visit their website here . If anyone has questions about the contest, they can call their office at 213-241-6388 or email them at email@example.com .
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 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: