December 2019 Issue - News

NEWS

Check the left drop down menu for other articles from this issue.

Click on the links below to jump to certain articles on this page:

1ST ISSUE CORRECTIONS

  • Correct name for a tennis player (pg. 7) Celina Mac

  • Spelling for front-page story byline: Michaela Mesler

  • People in the Halls (pg 15): Madeline Rogers (not Rodgers)

 

CALIFORNIA FIRE IGNITES NEGATIVE EFFECTS FOR LINCOLN COMMUNITY

By: Michaela Mesler

Destruction caused by the Tubbs fire in 2017 which burned over 36,000 acres

Photo Credits: Frank Schulenburg

California’s yearly devastating fires have persisted, continually testing the states management and solutions for ending these deadly infernos. Fires have become the new normal for the Golden State in the autumn months, as we have seen this past October. These fires have detrimental effects on towns and cities all over California, including the community at Lincoln High School in San Francisco. 

The Kincade fire just over 80 miles from San Francisco lasted for 13 days and spread to a total of 77,758 acres. 

First responders took precautionary measures for the safety of nearby communities by announcing mandatory evacuations including a large portion of Sonoma County, according to a CAL fire news release.

Many students and teachers at Lincoln High have family or friends living up north, and were concerned for their loved ones safety. Valentin Wanderkauven, a junior at Lincoln, visits his father on weekends up in Pleasant Hill, so when Wanderkauven left his dad’s apartment to go back to school in the city, he found out shortly his dads apartment was out of power.

“My dad went three to four days without power...I was kind of afraid, I didn’t know where he would live in the meantime.”

In addition, the smoke and dust of the blaze travel down to the Bay Area, making the air unsafe for many, especially sensitive groups such as young children, those with asthma or other respiratory problems. 

Wanderkauven states, “My lungs aren’t the greatest and the air from the fires did have an effect on my breathing.” 

These perilous conditions raise the question, ‘When is it time to cancel school?’ According to the California Department of Education, “On October 30th alone, 666 California schools were without power. Of those, 222 remained open. That same day 370 schools — some without power — were also closed because of wildfires.” 

Last year, the smoke was so harmful that Lincoln high school announced its cancellation late on a Thursday afternoon, after weeks of students and teachers inhaling the poisonous air from the Camp Fire Pacific Gas & Electric started in 2018. 

Because of warming temperatures due to climate change, the combination of dry vegetation and powerful winds cause fires Californians have had to deal with for years.

Valerie Ziegler, Green Academy teacher, says “...higher global temperatures means snow melts earlier which can lead to drier/hotter conditions. That said fires are normal (they help forest health) our urban sprawl is also an issue. The more land we use, the less space for nature to do its thing.”

On top of this, bankrupt PG&E is under fire for its inability to manage dysfunctional power lines that pose a threat to the state. 

Like PG&E, monopolies such as The College Board acted as a stressor for students planning to take the SAT but could not because of schools’ evacuations. The SAT date was set for November 2nd, and since classrooms fill up quickly for students to take the standardized test, many students have to sign up to take the SAT miles from San Francisco, and in this case, up north where schools were completely evacuated. 

This was one of the last opportunities for seniors to complete the SAT, and when no email from The College Board addressing the fires or date change for makeup was announced, students began to worry.

Ziegler was agitated that a company designed only for students was not taking into consideration the thousands of kids who were displaced in a time of crisis. Ziegler spent hours on the phone with College Board, speaking on the phone for hours with its workers, to discuss a retest date for students that were assigned schools that had been evacuated. 

Ms. Ziegler says “The College Board is the barrier to entry into college - only they offer the SAT. Same for AP tests. If they are going to control access to college they must do better to serve students. That said, I am not convinced they will - no real incentive to have these plans and do the extra work except a moral one.”

A couple days later, a notification was sent out to students in their College Board account that a makeup date for the SAT would be made for November 16th.

 

 

BACKLASH FOR RAUCOUS CAUSED BY DRUM CORP

By: Michaela Mesler

Sam Hua and Vince Villanueva supervising drum corps practice on the tennis courts late Wednesday afternoon.

Photo By: Michaela Mesler

Abraham Lincoln’s JROTC program has been a part of the high school since 1941 and has provided drum corps (D.C.) as an extracurricular activity since the 1980’s. The vibrations of the bells and drums can be heard blocks away from wherever they perform, reminding folks of the school pride and legacy that drum corps attains through their resounding music. However, drum corps’s thunderous melody is loud, and this music can become a disruption and interference, specifically to the teachers educating in the new building. 

The contractional work day for teachers to be at Lincoln is from 7:45am-3:30pm, so on block days like Wednesday and Thursday (when students are dismissed at 2:17pm)  educators must remain at school, usually using this time to grade student work, plan curricula, or host meetings with other teachers, including department meetings. Simultaneously, students stay after school to participate in clubs and sports. 

For D.C.,this means practicing outside on the blacktop, just a few feet from the new building. 

D.C. students prepare all year for their spring competition, working ten hours a week after school and overtime on weekends. 

Joe Wu, a junior and Deputy Commander for D.C. says, “The time we put in up there [the blacktop outside the new building] is our whole competition, it’s what we work for all year...” 

The D.C. team has had to move several times from their designated spot of ten years because of complaints from new building teachers relating to drum corps’s distracting noise. This means adjustments and confusion for players must be accommodated for. Sam Hua, Executive Officer for Drum Corps and senior at Lincoln, listed all the suggested alternative locations (new building teachers made) for D.C. to make use of. This includes the parking lot and walkway outside the south gym, tennis courts, soccer field, and even off campus, all of which drum corps has attempted to obtain, but other clubs and activities, like weight lifting, dragonboat, tennis, and lion dancing already occupy.

Currently on block days, the team has been squeezing in where the football field goal ends and the track begins. Meanwhile, football, baseball, track and field, cross country, flag football and soccer all require the space for their practice. Drum corps needs a larger place to rehearse because of the formations they conduct, and they feel they cannot be effective in their small section of the field. 

“If other teams could practice why can’t we?” asks Wu.

Despite D.C.’s attempts to relocate, the blacktop continues to be a spot they utilize. However, new building teachers claim this to be an interference with their work.

Paul Cameli, an English teacher in the new building, is negatively affected by drum corps’s loud volume. So, even if D.C. students must practice on the blacktop, he’d prefer they wait until at least 3:30pm, when the contractional work day is over. 

“The noise makes it impossible to stick around. Once it starts, I can’t even think. Blasting my own music over it is okay if I’m hanging things on the walls, straightening books, sorting colored pencils, or otherwise housekeeping, but I can’t do any planning, reading, correspondence, resource organization. This is the case for other teachers too, and — like me — they split when it begins.”

However, drum corp  finds time an issue as well. Hua describes the difficulty of starting practice at a later time in the day. Since Colonel George Ishikata has to leave at 5:30pm, supplies need to be back in the R.O. room beforehand, which ends practice around 5:15pm. Having to transition from the tennis courts or any other place and move back to the blacktop for more space is a hassle for them which wastes precious practice time. 

Administrators saw this growing complication and decided to have drum corps students speak at a recent faculty meeting to present their concerns. Vice Principal Lance Tagomori says the goal of this meeting was to “make sure the lines of communication were open..”

On November 7th, leaders of the drum corps team met with new building teachers in the library to establish a possible compromise where all parties could have their thoughts and feelings heard. D.C. students were given five minutes to explain to the staff their team’s history and to acknowledge the problem. 

Both students and teachers agree that this initial statement was not straightforward and did not lead to the alternative options students had hoped for. Towards the very end of the meeting, Ishikata and student leaders were able to restate their concerns and ask for possible solutions. 

Teachers felt conflicted about their stance on the issue. While many want to support their students, teachers also believe in order to provide the best learning environment, teachers must have a quiet and productive place to work. 

Leon Sultan, located in NB3, has been head of the Social Studies Department for ten years and teaching since 2007. Sultan states he has never complained about Drum Corps’s volume, but when D.C. was asked to relocate by an increasing number of staff, he claims the relocation“...made it a lot easier for me to do my job during the time that I am obligated to work.”

This was not the case for all teachers however. Kristy Erickson, a health teacher who’s been educating in the new building for the past three years, believes, “After school is for kids activities...we have to be flexible as teachers.”

During this meeting, Erikson asked the turning point question to other teachers ‘if department heads could move their meetings elsewhere’, to which counselor Omar Campos suggested the conference table in the counselor’s office as a meeting place to use at their disposal. 

Campos said in an interview, “I like the kids in drum corps...I feel that kids’ activities need to be prioritized in this space. Period.”

The meeting concluded when Brendan Furey, AP World History teacher and member of the Union Building Committee, declared that more attention and time was needed to discuss the topic.

The problem is, even with a handful of teachers moving their meetings, there are still teachers affected by the noise. 

When Sultan was asked if he was open to moving his department meetings, he replied, “Already done. I discussed this with Colonel Ishikata after the staff meeting and offered to move my Social Studies Department meeting in the spirit of compromise. I moved my meeting today [November 14]...to room 205...In doing so, we displaced another student group who was planning to conduct a meeting at that time in that room...Despite me moving, there was an English Dept. meeting in the new building at this time 2:30-3:30 AND a city college class being taught! The new building is constantly being used by a ton of people during these times. At 3:30, however, meetings are over and most people go home.”

Teachers have deeper concerns that this conflict has created a tense environment between teachers and students which they feel is unnecessary. Teachers like Cameli believe the conflict must be resolved between administrators and New Building teachers only.

It was inappropriate for the drum corps students to be put in front of a faculty meeting, as recently occurred. Pitting students against teachers that way seems inimical to a student-centered philosophy: students are learners, and teachers are here to facilitate their learning — and anything that interferes with teachers’ capacities for doing their best possible job effectively marginalizes students. It does not put them at the center.  It was dismaying to see the students being used this way; I think they were made to feel that they are ‘unsupported’ when that’s not the issue at all. It felt, too, like an effort to stigmatize teachers for wanting to have working conditions that will make their teaching better and more effective. I find that bothersome and difficult to understand.”

However, drum corps students disagree with Cameli when it comes to who should be deciding a compromise. D.C. believes they should be included in the conversation since it’s their practices and team that are being impinged on.

Senior, Steven Hum, JROTC’s Battalion and District Commander, says, “We are student led; we’re self funded; we work hard all year for that five minutes...that one drill.”

Many D.C. students expressed their feelings of feeling forgotten by the school. 

Hua says, “We feel like it’s unfair because we’re a team like any other [team] at this school. They all have a place to practice. The football team has a football field, tennis has the tennis courts, volleyball has the gym, etc. That has been our spot for years and to have it taken away is unfair..”.

Hum says, “Lincoln drum corps is part of the community…[This conflict] is limiting us to be our best.”

Questions continue to remain on students and staffs minds about what and who determines which clubs and sports get priority in certain spaces.

Teachers believe administrators should be doing more to resolve this plight in a fair and equitable way for all parties. Sultan says, “What we need is for the school leadership to take charge and help facilitate a compromise that does not frame students against teachers. That isn't what Lincoln should be about. The teachers who work here do so in order to serve students. That's why we do this job.” 

Principal Shari Balisi and Dr. Tagomori both believe “school is for the students”. Balisi supports all extracurriculars at Lincoln stating,

“It’s a buy in for the students. It’s going to be part of their legacy after Lincoln...you want to have good memories when you leave…

Tagomori says, “...We respect the teachers in terms of their value and input because we want them to be well prepared for the students the next day. We want them to be collaborating and meeting together…”

However, at the same time remembers his first thoughts on all of Lincoln’s opportunities and their importance,

“When I first came here it was like music to my ears it really exemplified what a high school should look like...during the day we have academics, during after school we have academic support, we have cheer going on, what have rehearsals and dancing in the hallway, we have athletics [on the field], and drumming [on the blacktop]...anyone would be impressed and inspired by what was going on”

Balisi’s focus is to be “solution minded”, where teachers and students can communicate together to find a resolution instead of emails back and forth.

The current compromise stands, where drum corp will practice on the tennis courts, Wednesdays and Thursdays after 3:30, however, when spring sports begin next semester, a new solution will be required.

LATER SCHOOL START TIME LAW WILL BE SET IN ACTION BY 2022 AT THE LATEST

By: Alisa Romagnoli

Sleepy student dozes off mid-work in their morning class.

Photo By: Alisa Romagnoli

On Sunday, October 13th, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law the authorization for California to become the first U.S state to mandate later start times. Questions for how this change will affect Lincoln may arise. Will this policy have more pros or cons? What changes will come along with it? Will it even be at all adequate? 

According to Lincoln’s Vice Principal, Lance Tagamori, SFUSD will give schools the go-ahead to implement 8:30 am start times by July 1st, 2022 as the deadline. This means there is a possibility the change may begin by the next school year. Tagamori says the busing schedule dictates the change because all SF schools, from elementary to high, will have to be in sync with transporting students on the school bus.

Research proves that early school start times have significant negative impacts on the teen brain and body. According to Calmatter.org, “...A body of research shows that starting school later reduces rates of depression, suicide, obesity and sleep deprivation among adolescents because they better align with their circadian rhythms and get a higher quality of sleep. Some studies also show later start times lead to higher student learning outcomes.

Julie Reis, Lincoln AP Psychology and Biotech teacher, seconds this evidence stating that teens’ circadian rhythm is different and that they do need more sleep. However, after being asked if she agreed with the later start time policy, Reis responded saying, “Honestly, I don’t think a half an hour is going to make a difference...I think we’d have to really radically change it and start at about 10 [am], radically change the schedule and do a full block schedule; it would involve radical change.” 

Reis adds that even then she’s still not convinced it actually would work because most students are staying up on their phones or laptops and until screen usage changes and students understand the absolute necessity of sleep for physical and mental health, setting back start times by a half-hour would not make any difference at all.

On the topic of students sleeping in class, Reis says she will generally ask sleepy students to go to the back of her class to sleep as they are a distraction to other students and to herself. However, with that said, Reis affirms that she understands they are sleep deprived and that they need sleep.

Reis goes on to explain how even with the half-hour change, people late to their first class will still be late to their first class and how it all boils down to the use of electronic devices at night. “Basically our brains are hardwired to get sleepy when it’s dark. And the problem is, it’s never dark” 

Reis touches on the cons and “disruptions” that the policy will bring about stating how she thinks it will be difficult for afterschool activities (particularly athletics and drum core) because of it getting dark later. Reis states that she thinks it will disrupt the school schedule in general, “The benefit will not be great, and the disruption will be great.” 

AP Psychology student, Ella Fino, gives insight from her 12th-grade perspective indicating that even though 30 minutes later isn’t a huge difference, it’s still a step in the right direction. She concurs with Reis in that teens’ circadian rhythm is different and that they do indeed need more sleep. “Teenagers’ brains don’t function properly at eight in the morning so it makes no sense that we start at eight,” Fino states based on proven studies. 

Fino explains that when you look at your phone, it gives off a “blue light” which makes your brain think that it’s daylight, making it more resistant to sleep. 

Fino says that her opinion on students sleeping in class is subjective to the individual’s situation. “Some people could be staying up late doing homework which is a valid reason, and some people could just have bad self-control.”

Tagamori’s greatest concern with the change, like Reis’, is after school athletics ending later particularly in the fall and winter when it gets dark early. This raises safety concerns for students who will have to commute home at a later time. 

“We’re moving in the right direction. I’m glad the state is giving to district two years [to implement the law.]” Tagamori, like Fino, states about the change.

The varying opinions for the inevitable 30-minute setback will only foreshadow the laws future effects on Lincoln. 

PEOPLE IN THE HALLS

By: Alisa Romagnoli

Photos By: Alisa Romagnoli

What ice cream flavor would you be and why?

“I would be black sesame because it’s really underrated and I’m small like a sesame seed.”

-Alexis Gomez, 12th grade

 

If you could time travel to any era, where would you go?

“The Roaring 20’s because it was free, fun, there weren’t any rules and you didn’t have to take the SAT to get into college. Also, I would basically be Jay Gatsby.”

-Gage Cross, 12th grade

 

How do you feel about the chance of the Bell Game Rally being abolished?

“Getting rid of that is like getting rid of the one thing people are interested in.”

-Jennie Lee, 11th grade

 

What will you miss the most about Lincoln?

“The people. Although school can get frustrating with the work and pressure, the community has allowed me to keep it together.”

-Julian Abergas, 12th grade

 

 

Return to top of page