Famous Poet Speaks to Skyline Students

By Noah Mitchell

DSC_0435
Carlos Andrés Gómez

Carlos Andrés Gómez came all the way from New York to perform some of his popular works of poetry for select Skyline students during 5th and 6th period in the library.

“My primary medium is poetry, but a lot of my life is just going out and interacting with people performing stuff that i’ve written,” Gómez said, in an interview just before his May 9 presentation.

Gómez is an award-winning poet as well as a speaker, actor, author, and a writer. While being most known for his viral poems, which have millions of views on YouTube, he has also co-starred in Spike Lee’s Inside Man with Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster, and Clive Owen, and appeared on shows such as HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and TV One’s Verses and Flow.

“The most exciting thing I’ve ever done [in poetry] is I got to read a poem I wrote for my sister and I performed it for her for the first time at this festival in Berlin. It was a really really special poem about her struggles with dyslexia, and I had a really hard time learning how to read. It was a singular moment in my life to be in this room with her, and to gift her this poem that she didn’t know existed, in front of all these people in this really exciting moment of my life is my best highlight,” he said.

When it came to giving students advice on how to become a poet and write compelling poetry, Gómez commented, “When I think about a poem I think about, ‘What is nobody talking about? What’s the most urgent thing you are grappling with?’ And that’s where you should start when it comes to your process. Things that make you scared, unmoored, or disoriented. That’s a good place to start in your creative processes because there’s a lot of electricity there and those are the stories we need to tell.”

“I’m here to do some poems and then I’m going to chop it up with students,” added Gómez. One of the students he talked to after his performance was sophomore Eleanor Wikstrom. “I thought [his performance] was really good. I’ve seen one of his performances when I was in middle school, so I wasn’t really sure if he was going to do the same material or different. He did one of the same poems, but of course it was still good two years later. I like the content, I feel it is really relevant considering that a lot of things that are happening in today’s political climate and social climate. So it was nice to hear him tell his stories.”

Mr. Bloomfield, the school librarian who helped organize the visit, also got to talk about his experience hearing Gómez’ poems. “This is the second time that Carlos has come to speak to students here at Skyline and both times he’s shown himself to be an absolute professional. He captivates the room quite easily while being able to work with our weird Wednesday bell schedule, and it seems as though kids walk away from his presentations excited about poetry in a way that really you can only get if you’re seeing it live from the poet himself. He has excellent delivery and writes about things kids are interested in and I really hope he comes back next year.”

“Two years ago when he came, kids came up to me after and said, ‘Hey can we get him to speak at our graduation.’ Unfortunately, like now, it was in May that he came to speak, so it wasn’t enough time for him to be able to do that. However, he does speak at graduations, so for future students reading this article right now let me know if you are interested and I’ll contact him earlier in the school year,” commented Bloomfield.

You can visit his website @http://www.carloslive.com for more information on Carlos, his poetry, social media, and his performances including times and locations.

Partial Block Schedule Next Year

2 days a week to have long periods

By Devon Nutting

For several years, debate has been ongoing among Skyline’s administration, faculty and students about whether to change the school’s schedule to some form of “block” schedule, with longer periods and fewer classes per day.

Now, with the announcement that the 2018-19 school year would have a hybrid schedule with two days of block each week, the school’s leadership has finally taken the leap.

However, since the administration has said this schedule is “transitional,” it leaves the big question of what schedule will be implemented in later years.

“For the 2018-19 school year, this is a transitional schedule and a positive way for all of us to learn what works well for students while also allowing us to adjust our instructional practices in a block,” wrote the administration team in an letter to the school’s staff on March 13.

“The 7-period hybrid block schedule will also allow us to gather essential data next year on block days vs non-block days that will be used to determine a final schedule for Skyline.”

The major advocate for the move to block has been the district and school administrators, who have argued that that extended periods in each class and fewer transitions between classes will lead to more academic success.  

Both representatives of the teachers union and the administration also released at the same time several surveys of teachers and students which showed widespread support for the hybrid schedule over an innovative but controversial alternative plan championed by OUSD officials and known as “four by four” (4×4).

The approved schedule will see two out of the five school days (either Tues./Wed. Or Wed./Thurs.) swapped with an “A/B” block format. On one of these days, students will follow the “A” schedule which may involve for example periods 1, 3, 5, and 7. On the second block day of the week, students will follow the “B” schedule that include periods 2, 4 and 6. On block days, each class will be approximately 90 minutes long.

The other three days of the week will remain unchanged from what they are now. Each course will remain at the current two-semester length, unlike the 4×4.

In a 4×4 schedule, students would have taken a full year’s course in a single semester, four at a time for a total of eight per year.  (Some yearlong classes could be fit in a 4×4 if you allow a block to be cut in half.)

In the Oakland Educators Association online survey, teachers were asked to rank the hybrid, the 4×4, and the current, traditional 7-period day. Of the 58 responses, half chose the hybrid, nearly 40 percent wanted to stick with the current schedule, and only one out of eight supported the 4×4. [See graphic, above]

The administration’s own survey, which 62 staff members filled out did not give the current schedule as a choice, but the results were otherwise similar, with only 4 out of 5 choosing the hybrid over the 4×4. A survey of 41 students split almost identically.

At the end of the previous school year, according to Mr. Scheer, Principal Bloom had told teachers at the year’s final staff meeting that the school was definitely going to a  block schedule by 2018-19 and that teachers who didn’t want to teach in such a schedule should look for jobs at different schools.

There are numerous methods of organizing a school’s schedule, and the two presented as finalists by the administration offered a contrast. The schedule chosen, in fact, was less dramatic a change than an earlier finalist which would have had four block days each week and two minimum days. However, a cost analysis by AC Transit claimed adapting to extra short day would lead to between $1.3 and 2 million dollars in extra charges, so it was replaced with they hybrid, which would keep all start and end times the same as the current schedule.

Along with the longer periods, lunch and passing periods will likely be longer on block days, although no exact version has been released.

As the dust cleared, students and teachers interviewed generally were breathing a sigh of relief as the potential problems of the 4×4 block were being avoided altogether. When asked to compare the two finalists, several students concluded block was the better way to go — but also dismissed the situation as “not a big deal.”

English teacher Ms. Vu is excited for the new opportunities the change may bring. She is hopeful the change will provide more time in class to experiment with activities such as seminars and community circles in order to provide a more intimate and detailed experience for students.

The teachers union is pursuing a grievance based on claims that the school staff was not adequetely consulted about the change. If the grievance is affirmed, it could roll it back.

As the general consensus of the schedule change are mixed, Assistant  Principal Camarena is one of the Titans that takes a more hopeful view of the situation.

“Block schedule can be effective if the students and staff are behind it,” he said.

 

Crazy Titan Drivers

Rules are there for safety, but nobody follows them

By Gisell Hernandez Noyola and Rejanea Rhone

At Skyline High School, every student must have a valid driver’s license and valid car insurance in case of any emergency. Every student driver and staff must buy a parking pass, students are to be parked at the bottom parking lot while teachers are left to park at the top parking lot.

Although there aren’t as many car accidents, all students are asked to drive safely and cautiously at all times. Even though in reality, most teenagers drive extremely fast outside of school. At times many teenagers don’t realize the dangers they put themselves and others when it comes to driving.

In some cases some students prefer to speed up a bit more than others and drive in extreme conditions. “Some students are safe some are speedy,” says Rodney Kirkpatrick, describing how he sees students driving skills. This is not only dangerous to them, but other students and other people. Although every student is encouraged to drive safely, there are others who follow their own rules

“Depends of what type of mood I’m in, Saturday/Sunday Funday we don’t stop, we drive recklessly,” says Hector Galan, a senior.

More than 32,000 people die every year in car accidents. Only 7 percent of those were teen drivers, however they accounted for 11 percent (about $10 billion) total cost of motor vehicle injuries.

Skyline student drivers are to drive safely coming up to school and leaving school. When asked about their driving habits, many students chose to remain anonymous because of their reckless driving.

“When I participate in sideshows, sh*t be wild,” a senior said.

Many teens participate in events called sideshows because of the style of the driving and to show off their driving skills.

When it comes to “swinging it” or “doing donuts,” many students would be graded with an A+ when it comes to stuff like this.

The majority of students at Skyline have not been in accidents thankfully, but they should be encouraged to always drive safely and follow the rules of the road.

 

The Spring Fashion

CYMK cropped boy in blueMichael

Where do you like shop?

It doesn’t matter the store. If I see something I like something I might get it

Who/What inspires your fashion?

No one

How would you describe your style?

I describe my style as different, I try to buy things that other people don’t wear or don’t have

CYMK girl in overalls blouse

Amia

Where do you like shop?

LMAO I like to thrift shop

Who/What inspires your fashion?

I guess Kehlani cause she just wears what she wants and doesn’t care what other people think about her outfits

How would you describe your style?

Just comfy I guess. I kinda just wear whatever feels good to me even if it looks weird

CYMK justin

Justin

 

Where do you like shop?

I like to shop at H&M

Who/What inspires your fashion?

Asap Rocky

How would you describe your style?

My style idk i just wear what looks good on me.

CYMK girl w guitar

Kyla

 

Where do you like shop?

I go to Forever 21, Crossroads, H&M, and ROSS! Never underestimate Ross LMAO them prices are unbeatable

Who/What inspires your fashion?

No one really inspires me I have my own style

How would you describe your style?

My style is just whatever comes to mind. Like sometimes the weirdest combinations turn into something cute as hell

 

The ‘Black Panther’ Experience

Look if you haven’t seen “Black Panther” yet then I don’t know what to tell you, besides GO SEE IT

by Noah Mitchell

The international box office numbers of over $1 billion should prove that everyone and their momma went to see that movie.

I even have first-hand experience after seeing it twice opening presidential weekend at Grand Lake Theater and AMC Bay Street.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many African American people in one place and both times, might I add, I saw at least five people from Skyline and other OUSD schools. And the screaming when OAKLAND came up was such a surreal feeling for everyone!

 

The Story (SPOILERS AHEAD)

Black Panther is about to be the newly crowned King T’Challa, while still mourning the death of his father King T’Chaka, a week after the events of 2016’s Captain America: Civil War.

When Ulysses Klaue, a vibranium stealing public enemy of the Wakandan nation, is found working with a mysterious new enemy it’s up to Black Panther, his family and surrounding tribes, as well as Agent Ross to defeat an unlikely enemy that may have closer ties to Wakanda than they think.

 

The Protagonist

T’Challa is really not a relatable protagonist on the surface. Let me explain. He loses his father and becomes the king of a highly technological east African country while also becoming it’s sworn protector who runs around in such a tech savvy cat suit that it would make Iron Man drool in amazement.

Now that’s what makes his character so great, is that despite all of that he is still able to relate to audiences. He wants to live up to his parents’ legacy, not disappoint the people he cares about the most; he strives to keep his loved ones safe, and continues to not only help his own people but humanity as well.

These qualities mixed in with a little humor and family drama, coupled with the tough decisions he has to make that challenges him to become a strong man as well as a strong king is so enticing for anyone to watch while rooting for T’Challa.

 

The Villain

Killmonger, portrayed by Michael B. Jordan, is one of if not the best villain Marvel has brought to the silver screen to date. You know you have a great antagonist to the main hero when the villain’s reasoning for conquest makes themself look like the protagonist of the film.

What I mean is Killmonger’s backstory of his father’s death at the hand of T’challa’s father (the original Black Panther) influences his motivations so much to fight for the African race as a whole all over the world and give them the tools to better themselves that Wakanda has been hoarding for so long.

Even though Killmonger chooses death and to forfeit his plan, in the end what he was fighting for ended up coming into fruition when T’Challa opened Wakandan’s resources to the UN. This shows that despite the way he chose to try and achieve it, there was good intentions behind his actions, good intentions he was willing to die for.

Supporting Characters

Black Panthers supporting characters all have a distinct roles add that helps to move the film forward.

Zuri’s backstory and eventual sacrifice to save T’Challa, General Ross proving his loyalty to Wakanda repeatedly, W’Kabi desperately trying to catch Klaue while dealing with his wife, M’Baku and his gorilla tribe aiding in the final battle, Okeye and the Dora Milaje and the sacrifices they are willing to make to protect their country, Nakia and her mission to help the rest of the world while dealing with her relationship with T’Challa, Shuri and her essential role in developing tech and supporting T’Challa, and just tons more!

There wasn’t a single character who shouldn’t have been on screen.

 

Final Thoughts & Criticisms

The visuals in this movie are stunning, even subtle touches like how Wakanda is usually bright and has more exposure, while the other locations in the world they travel to are dark and have low light to symbolize Wakanda keeping to themselves, and out of unruly world affairs.

The African costumes and rituals are odd to watch at first, but becomes extremely interesting as you begin to understand the depth how rooted they are in the culture.

The quote on quote “white” people in this movie have a nice balance of letting the African actors be prominent throughout the movie at the foreground (as it should be), but not only being in the movie as a butt of uncultured white people jokes or just plainly labeled as ‘colonizers.’

Some knit-picks I still have with the film are how Vibranium is basically a fix-all magic plot device; why did Zuri have to die if there was Vibranium that could have saved him; and wasn’t there a third Black Panther suit — used in Civil War and then discarded for Shuri’s revamp — that could have been used in the final battle against Killmonger?

I give it a 9/10 because with “Avengers: Infinity War” coming out this year and it already passing Black Panther’s presale records in like an hour, I’m positive Infinity War will be a 11/10.

Skyline Walks Out Against School Shootings

Staff, students make signs, hear speeches

By Noah Mitchell

In light of recent events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, students from all over the United States joined together to rally against gun violence. In a sense to walk out and say, ‘We will not tolerate this anymore, this issue must stop!’

During 3rd period, teachers gave 15 minutes and supplies to students and the outcome was ammazingly creative, loud, expressive posters, banners, and picket signs with #Enough as an overall slogan. Then all students and staff walked to the field and held their artworks proudly as ASB president, Nadia Brooks, gave an extremely heartfelt speech dedicated to those who lost their lives and how it is never ok for anyone to have to deal with fear of violence in schools.

She also spoke about the laws that need to be changed surrounding guns in today’s society, and even broke into tears while speaking about why she hopes this never happens to her brother or anyone at Skyline.

Overall this walk out was needed, not only to support students all over the world or open the eyes of Skyline students to these threats, but to help end the generations of mass shootings in schools and to provoke change.