The Puma Press https://uprepmedia.com The Student News Site of University Prep Fri, 10 Dec 2021 03:25:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.2 UPrep Looks Back On Intensives 3 Years Later https://uprepmedia.com/4984/news/uprep-looks-back-on-intensives-3-years-later/ https://uprepmedia.com/4984/news/uprep-looks-back-on-intensives-3-years-later/#respond Fri, 10 Dec 2021 08:15:22 +0000 https://uprepmedia.com/?p=4984 As we near winter break, students and teachers are beginning to prepare for their winter intensive. Being introduced to University Prep just
four years ago, the Puma Press finally decided to look into intensives where they came from.
Looking for an innovative way to strengthen their curriculum, UPrep faculty came across the idea of intensives. After many meetings and surveys, Richard Kassissieh, Assistant Head of School for Academics, realized one of the main issues that they were trying to solve was students’ workload and stress levels.
“Once we had our goals, students were telling us [the past] seven-period days had got to go,” Kassissieh said. “Students said, ‘you know, we’re all struggling in all these different classes, it’s kind of stressful,’ we don’t really get to enjoy our winter break because we still haven’t taken our exams yet.’”
As a result, faculty began to look past their local community and set up the Intensives Design committee to visit other schools and find inspiration. When visiting the Hawken School in Cleveland, Ohio, the committee realized that this program solved many of the issues they were trying to fix.
“Students get to focus on one class instead of constantly juggling a whole bunch of homework,” Kassisseh said. “Part of the feedback we got was that we did a good job of instruction on campus, but we could get off campus more. [Intensives] remove the barriers to getting off campus, remove the barriers to interdisciplinary courses, make it easier to do all those things, and finish the semester before winter break.”
Similarly, in 2016 at the Bay School in San Francisco, a group of teachers including Nettie Kelly, Dean of Academics and Innovation, was struggling with finding ways to get students to learn within time-restricted periods.
“We played around for a couple of years with different types of schedules to try and give teachers and students a way to have just more flexibility in connecting with people outside the building,” Kelly said. “[The intensive program] was ultimately the schedule that we chose.”

But I feel like since you are learning the information so quickly the retention of that information is a lot worse in the format of intensives rather than a semester course.”

— Kellen Davis

Both intensive programs drew on projects and off-campus learning. A goal of this program was to create a more project-based curriculum where students and teachers had the opportunity to dive deep into one subject area.
The Bay School thought that math and science would not work in a project based learning style so they decided to keep their math and sciences as semester formats. Even though UPrep does not offer certain academically intense courses like calculus, physics, chemistry and pre-calculus, they still implemented courses like biology, intro to statistics and geometry.
“For classes like pre-calc, you have to get through a week’s worth of material each day,” Kassissieh said. “But in statistics, you’re doing it more through a project-based learning model, contrary to semesters where you’re doing more tests and quizzes.”
Senior Theo Barton voiced similar concerns, believing all content-heavy courses like math should be taken in a semester format.
Students like senior Kellen Davis, who has taken both the Geometry and Statistics intensive, felt both the benefits and consequences of taking an academic intensive.
“During academic intensives, I have a better grasp on the material since I’m not focusing on learning new material and doing the homework from five other classes,” Davis said. “But I feel like since you are learning the information so quickly the retention of that information is a lot worse in the format of intensives rather than a semester course.”

Sophomore Karan Narasimhan, who also took the geometry intensive, expressed a different type of distaste for content-heavy courses.
“If it’s a course where there is a lot of content and you are forced to learn the whole time, I find myself just sitting in the same place for hours losing focus due to the boredom,” Narasimhan said.
Many students fail to see the abundance of work it takes to teach an intensive. With a need for six hours of content every day for three weeks with no breaks, many teachers find themselves overworked.
English teacher Kim Gonzales felt this pressure when she joined the UPrep community last year and was assigned to help teach both the creative writing and radio lab intensives.
“You’re teaching all day and if you’re teaching writing, you have to have time to read the writing and respond to it. So, if you don’t build in time during the day to do that, you’re working constantly,” Gonzales said.                                                                                                                                                                   It is not just academic classes that teachers find themselves engulfed with work, visual art teacher Ty Talbot agrees with Gonzales, voicing the effort involved in teaching a class such as painting.
“​​For those three weeks you’re teaching, it’s pretty intense because you don’t really have prep periods,” Talbot said. “You’re kind of on all day, and even if you take a break and somebody comes in to cover your class, it’s not really a break, you wind up checking email or doing other kinds of administrative things.”
However, teachers’ stress does not dissipate right after their intensive ends. With just a day of transition between the winter intensive and second semester, English teacher Kim Gonzales believes it is difficult to plan.
“You go right from teaching the intensive into teaching something else and then you have another class coming,” Gonzales said. “So if you are teaching an intensive, you kind of have to have your second-semester class dialed in a little bit before the intensive even starts.”
Even with the increased pressure that intensives bring, Gonzales enjoys the freedom it gives to her class.
“We have a lot of time for students to actually dig into whatever they’re doing, shutting out all the other distractions, getting feedback, revising, editing, and really just creating something cool,” Gonzales said. “This is often something that we just don’t have time to do during a 70-minute class.”

Teachers are not the only ones that enjoy the looser time restraints. Senior Peter McCormick, who took Gonzales’s radio lab-intensive, enjoyed the immersion that the three-week class provides.
“It really gave me the feeling of actually working at a radio station. We were assigned to have a project done by the end of the day, and we had to like four to five hours to record, write, edit, record and produce an entire podcast,” McCormick said. “I thought that was a really well-done way of forcing us to use our time effectively like you would in the real world.”                                                                          Similarly, Barton, who took Gonzales’s creative writing intensive, expressed his love for the depth that intensives give.
“Six hours of writing a day, although tiring, allows you to devote more time to each step,” Barton said. “When you’re really focused on a few pieces of writing, you’re thinking so much more about them and they develop much quicker than when you have five other periods that you’re also working on.”        Junior Ava Durbin cannot be happier with the program. Her favorite intensive has been the humanity intensive since as it captivated her attention throughout the three weeks.
“I really appreciate having intensives as a part of the school year because I love being able to explore a topic in-depth,” Durbin said. “Having time dedicated to one thing has made the experience one that is low stress, and I can ensure that I’m putting my best work into the project that I am doing.”

Surveys show that the implementation of intensives has ultimately been a success.
“Year after year, the student ratings are extremely high. We’re talking about a 90 plus percent satisfaction rate and in my experience, students tend to be pretty critical and have high standards,” Kassissieh said. “90 plus percent blows me away because I’m like, wow, we’re doing something right.”
Even though the feedback has been predominantly positive, there is always room for improvement. Theo Barton thinks that it would be beneficial if there was more communication early on explaining the content of the intensives before deciding which intensive to take.
“I think the intensive preview is fine, but it doesn’t really give people the broad scope,” Barton said. “It would be good for people to do the intensives preview during the sign-up period for classes because I feel like in certain intensive previews, I didn’t really know which intensives I needed to take to balance my out schedule or fill certain requirements.”
As intensives have become a key part of UPrep’s term structure, Kassissieh believes that the intensives program will not undergo any major changes in the near future. However, if there are any changes, they will most likely revolve around the intersection of intensives with other UPrep programs, rather than intensives as a singular focus. For example, there have already been conversations regarding changes in the 11th and 12th-grade elective programs.
“The English teachers are talking about [changing the English electives] and we might see [history teachers] making some small changes in the way that US history is done,” Kassissieh said. “When they decide what they want to change, part of what they’ll have to consider is what does this mean for our English intensives or our US history intensives. I think you’re more likely to see little adjustments to intensives that are really not about intensives, they’re more about the other programs.”

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LEAD-ing the Way https://uprepmedia.com/5021/news/studentlife/lead-ing-the-way/ https://uprepmedia.com/5021/news/studentlife/lead-ing-the-way/#respond Fri, 10 Dec 2021 08:13:51 +0000 https://uprepmedia.com/?p=5021 University Prep students have participated in three LEAD conversations this year, leaving them wondering how it differs from the previous Community Conversations program.

In the Upper School, LEAD is a program aiming to engage students in difficult conversations. 

“In an increasingly divisive society, there are very few spaces where students can come together and practice listening and responding to each other in authentic ways,” English teacher and LEAD’s faculty advisor Angie Yuan said. “The student LEADers learn how to facilitate and be present in a discussion without overpowering it— a lifelong skill.”

In addition to helping the student facilitators practice leadership skills, LEAD seeks to give students a place to practice engaging in difficult conversations and build authentic communication skills.

Yuan, juniors Julia Cappio and Max Rubenstein and seniors Parisa Harvey and Hermona Hadush comprise the executive team. Over the summer, the four executives decided to change the previous Community Conversations to LEAD. 

“We decided to rebrand this year because Community Conversations and Facilitators had a bit of a bad rep,” junior and LEAD executive Julia Cappio said. “So we decided to reinvent ourselves as LEAD.”

According to Yuan, Facilitators is the previous name for the students who lead the conversations. 

Senior Mattias Keaunui had been a facilitator for two years and believes that last year’s Community Conversations and this year’s LEAD conversations are largely similar, especially the cadence of the meetings throughout the year and the topics of conversation. He does see a difference, however, in the way the current LEADers run conversations.

“I feel like [LEAD] is a bit less structured,” Keaunui said. “We try to engage the students more this time.”

Cappio agrees that this year’s structure tries to focus more on participation.

“We’re hoping that LEAD conversations can center a little bit more around student experiences than Community Conversations did. We’re really trying to make sure that our community is able to engage in hard conversations,” Cappio said. “I think that that’s something that Community Conversations in the past lacked a little bit.

We’re really trying to make sure that our community is able to engage in hard conversations. I think that that’s something that Community Conversations in the past lacked a little bit.”

— Junior Julia Cappio

According to Yuan, the executive team decided to change the role of the faculty supervisor in the room from a co-facilitator to an active participant. She acknowledged that different peer facilitators have different levels of experience and comfort level leading the conversations.

“We have some more experienced LEADers than others and so the dynamic in each room is different,” Yuan said. “It is going to be inevitable that some conversations simply go better than others. But that’s ok. We are practicing and there will be progress.”  

Despite their best efforts to increase student participation, both Keaunui and Cappio still find it difficult to engage students in the conversations.

“I would say student enthusiasm [lacks],” Keaunui said. “I’m leading the juniors and it seems like a lot of them are not very enthusiastic to be there.”

Cappio noted that the LEAD executives have been reflecting on this issue and the importance of their work.

“We know that some students decide to engage in these conversations more than others,” Cappio said. “But as students, we know that there are conversations happening all the time [within the community]. And students wish that we had more tough conversations within the UPrep community and really talked about hard topics in a productive way.”

The executives hope to bring many different identities into LEAD conversations.  

“We’re hoping to partner with more affinity groups like we did last year with the Queer Student Union,” Cappio said. “We just want to continue to have conversations that revolve around identity and what that identity means to the community.”

Cappio also hopes students will fully buy into these topics and actively engage in the conversations. 

“I hope that students really engage in the conversations,” Cappio said. “We’re really open to constructive criticism if any students want or have ideas in order to make the program better, but the program can’t be anything without involvement from students.”

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Dribbling Pandemic Risks https://uprepmedia.com/5014/sports/dribbling-pandemic-risks/ https://uprepmedia.com/5014/sports/dribbling-pandemic-risks/#respond Fri, 10 Dec 2021 08:11:44 +0000 https://uprepmedia.com/?p=5014 University Prep’s 2021 basketball season looks different than the seasons that took place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This season, in order to participate in basketball practices and games, student athletes are required to get a COVID-19 test twice a week. Whether they have or have not received the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to Rebecca Moe, Uprep’s Director of Athletics, many voices and opinions were considered when planning the COVID-19 protocol and regulations for the school’s basketball season.

“Being the athletic director, I work collaboratively with the covid task force and with our league as well,” Moe said. “We constantly take guidance from the WIAA and the department of public health, and what we have now is what works best for our school as a whole in terms of following the covid-19 safety guidelines.”

Varsity girls basketball player Paris Buren believes Uprep’s sports department has handled covid well when it comes to setting regulations for the basketball season.

“They require us to take covid tests Monday and Thursday of every week which can feel really tedious, but it is really clear that they are being careful with taking the proper precautions”, Buren said. 

Sophomore Zak Mohamed is a part of the JV boys basketball team this season. Mohamed is getting used to the new regulations that differ from the regulations that were set for Fall sports.

How do basketball players at Urep feel about the Covid-19 regulations? (Photo: Ilham Mohamed)

“I was just a bit confused, my friends who played soccer or ultimate from what I remember did not have to take covid tests twice per week. I am not complaining, I am just curious”, Mohamed said.

Varsity Basketball Coach James Johnson shares that although he understands the confusion, the reasoning behind why the regulations differ from sport to sport are quite direct.

“Cross country, nobody is touching anybody. Ultimate frisbee, played outside,” Johnson said. “So when you have an intimate sport like basketball where there’s a lot of people sweating on each other, a lot of people breathing on each other, it’s understandable that there would be more protocols in place for our student athletes,” Johnson said.

Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, multiple teams were able to utilize the gym for practices at once. But in order to prevent the spread of covid, there is a shift in how practices and games look for students who play basketball. Due to this issue, significant changes to practice times have been made.

“This year we will have practices starting at 5:30 pm and not ending until 7:30 pm which means a student can very easily be here from 8’ o’clock until 7:30,” Johnson said.

Varsity boys player Faysal Farah lives in Renton. Farah finds these late practices challenging for students like him who live relatively far away from UPrep.

“Practices tend to start very late. I do have some time to do homework before practice starts, but I live very far away from the school and I tend to get home around the time that I would usually go to sleep. So if I have very big projects to complete the next day, I have to sacrifice my sleep,” Farah said.

Moe understands the challenges that may come for students with the strict regulations that have been set to prevent the spread of covid during basketball.

“Although the athletics department acknowledges the exhaustion that comes with these late practices, the schedule we have now was created with us taking a lot of factors into consideration,” Moe said. “What we have now is a result of our best work to accommodate all student athletes.”

UPrep is 1 point down with 2 seconds left on the clock. Can you make the game-winning shot? (Photo: Ilham Mohamed)
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The Way the Cookie Crumbles https://uprepmedia.com/5019/entertainment/the-way-the-cookie-crumbles/ https://uprepmedia.com/5019/entertainment/the-way-the-cookie-crumbles/#respond Fri, 10 Dec 2021 08:10:03 +0000 https://uprepmedia.com/?p=5019 Although this may come as a shock to the wider University Prep community, the staff of the Puma Press works very, very hard. When the staff’s lovely, hilarious, talented Graphic Editors, Ethan Matsubayashi and Sydney Goitia-Doran, were put in charge of this issue’s experiential, we knew one activity would be perfect: winter cookie decorating. Cookies are delicious and decorating them is undoubtedly an art form. The fast-approaching winter break and our desire not to dominate our experiential with any specific winter holiday led to our decision of a winter theme. From there, we organized a cookie evaluation rubric, split the staff into four teams of three, and set out to buy the perfect materials.

 

Four editors were chosen to judge the results of the competition: Sydney Goitia-Doran, Ethan Matsubayashi, photo editor Matthew Sage and advisor Scott Collins. Each judge was instructed to grade each team on complexity, uniqueness, presentation and teamwork. The judges were not necessarily unbiased. They could assign a max of five points for each category, adding up to a maximum total score of 20. However, cookie decor cannot adequately be judged by a handful of categories; the subtle nuances of the decorations add depth to the pieces. Because of this, each judge could either add or take away a total of five points from any team. 

In the end, the winner was Team 4, with an impressive 17.13 points. Teams 1 and 2 came in a very close second and third, respectively, with Team 3 also placing highly.

 

 

 

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Dough for Dough https://uprepmedia.com/5037/news/studentlife/dough-for-dough/ https://uprepmedia.com/5037/news/studentlife/dough-for-dough/#respond Fri, 10 Dec 2021 08:09:29 +0000 https://uprepmedia.com/?p=5037 Each day, students at University Prep purchase food from the Commons Cafe. Sophomore Naz Kuti has been at UPrep for 2 years, but often does not know the exact price of the items she is purchasing. 

“Most of the time I just get something and I’ve either gotten it before and know how much it costs or I just get it and find out later,” Kuti said. “I don’t know going into it how much it’s going to cost.”

When students returned to campus from the previous hybrid schedule, the Commons Cafe switched up their way of charging students.

In previous years, students would weigh their food and pricing was set to 50 cents per ounce. Currently, each bowl has a set price: $7 for the small bowls and $11 for the big bowls.

“We decided this year, especially with the pandemic and in trying to get everybody used to going through the lines fast so you could go outside, that we would do the two bowl prices,” Commons Cafe Owner Felicia Lindholm said.

In addition, the commons also sells snacks such as chips, cookies and occasionally candy.

“I think some things are overpriced such as the small snacks,” Junior Grey Oor said. “But then when I think about it, I think they should cost more so kids don’t end up getting them.” 

According to Lindholm, they try their best to keep prices fair. If one student gets a small portion of food in a large bowl, Cafe staff will not charge the student the large bowl price.

At the Cafe, Lindholm always makes sure to buy fresh and high quality ingredients for the meals.

“Other than soups and marinara, we pretty much make everything. The mac and cheese is all made from scratch” Lindholm said.

According to Lindholm, some of the high prices are due to the higher quality.

We try really hard to keep prices low, [including] the cost of the quality of the ingredients we feed you. If we won’t eat it, you’re not going to get it.”

— Commons Cafe Owner Felicia Lindholm

“The chickens’ all fresh, we try not to buy frozen. When you have burgers and stuff it’s all angus beef, it’s from Chicago,” Lindholm said.

Lindholm balances these market prices, to-go containers, labor costs and other business expenses while still aiming to make lunch affordable. 

“We try really hard to keep prices low, [including] the cost of the quality of the ingredients we feed you,” Lindholm said. “If we won’t eat it, you’re not going to get it.”

Lindholm is always looking to improve, so she has opened a suggestion box, located near the pasta bar, and encourages students to drop their ideas and recommendations for the Commons Cafe.

 

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Early Bird Gets The Worm https://uprepmedia.com/5044/news/studentlife/early-bird-gets-the-worm/ https://uprepmedia.com/5044/news/studentlife/early-bird-gets-the-worm/#respond Fri, 10 Dec 2021 08:08:56 +0000 https://uprepmedia.com/?p=5044 As students across the country fill out applications for college, seniors at University Prep faced more pressure than ever to apply via early decision by early November.
Most schools’ early decision application deadlines were November 1st. If a student applies and is admitted through early decision, they are required to attend that college and cannot apply to any others.
Britten Nelson, associate director of college counseling, worked as a college admissions officer at the University of Puget Sound for seven years before spending the last 15 years at UPrep.
“Historically, I would only encourage early decision if a student had visited and knew it was their favorite school. I didn’t want students just applying early decision just for the sake of it if they’d never visited or if they hadn’t visited enough schools to really know they truly liked that school,” Nelson said.
In recent years, however, Nelson has realized the advantages that early decision can provide.
“I think schools are often not very transparent that their admit rates are much higher for the early decision candidates than they are for the regular decision candidates,” Nelson said.
While Nelson would previously only recommend early decision in select circumstances, her mindset was heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I had a lot of students who enrolled at schools they never saw in person. They did all their college tours virtually, but it worked out,” Nelson said. “So knowing that students could still make an informed decision without actually stepping foot on campus shifted my mindset a little bit.”
According to Nelson, approximately 50% of this year’s seniors applied under early decision. Peter McCormick is one of those seniors; he was choosing between three schools before settling on Tufts University in Boston, MA.
“I was set on New York University’s film school,” McCormick said. “But as soon as I felt that I’d made that decision and filled out the application, it didn’t feel right anymore.It wasn’t just that I was unsure, but I felt that if I were to apply ED to NYU, then I would be hoping that I wouldn’t get in so that I would have the chance to apply to the other schools that I was also interested in. From there, I decided on Tufts, and that did feel right.”
Despite such a difficult time deciding on where to apply, McCormick never doubted that he would apply early decision.
“It almost felt like it was never even a question,” McCormick said. “My counselor was always asking me, ‘so, where do you think you’ll apply early decision?’ and my parents as well. It was always the question was where, not if, I was going to apply ED.”
McCormick said he noticed an interesting difference between UPrep students and those at other schools — both public and independent — in the area.
“Almost everybody that I’ve talked to at UPrep decided to ED somewhere,” McCormick said. “But then compared to my friends that go to other schools, very few of them decided to apply early decision to any school; it feels like that kind of pressure or expectation isn’t present at public schools.”
Senior Jack Nielsen considered applying early decision, but ultimately chose not to.
“I thought it was a good move, but I’m not a super decisive person, so I was having a lot of trouble choosing schools,” Nielsen said. “I didn’t have the gut feeling I think you should have when you’re going to commit to going to a certain college.”
This decision stressed Nielsen stress after researching the difference in acceptance rates between early decision and regular decision.
“ED is definitely a good thing strategically if you have a place you really have your mind set on, but that’s not everyone’s path,” Nielsen said.
Senior Maylin Gasga also originally planned on applying early decision, but no school stood out enough to make her decision.
“I felt like I was still learning so much about schools,” Gasga said. “I felt like it wasn’t the right time to decide what school I would go to. There are so many factors that go into such a huge decision, and these things can change at any moment.”
After speaking with others, Gasga became even more confident in her decision to not apply under early decision.
“After applying, some of my friends realized they are unsure if that was the school they want to go to,” she said. “I don’t have to second guess my decision; I have more time.”

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Culture Corner https://uprepmedia.com/5017/news/culture-corner/ https://uprepmedia.com/5017/news/culture-corner/#respond Fri, 10 Dec 2021 08:08:45 +0000 https://uprepmedia.com/?p=5017 This year, the Diversity and Community Office is dedicating each month of the school year to celebrating the unique cultural identities that represent students and faculty on campus.
The celebration of these months was started by the Diversity and Community Office in an effort to increase student leadership in diversity equity and inclusion at University Prep.
“Over the summer, [Director of Diversity and Community] E-chieh [Lin] and I had a conversation about how we could get more affinity groups and members of our community that represent different affinity groups involved,” Diversity and Community Program Manager Patrick King said. “We really wanted to center students in these celebrations and give them an opportunity to do what they want.”
Senior and Latine Student Union leader Adriana Hernandez planned an event for Hispanic Heritage Month in October.
“Many adults in the community like E-chieh and Patrick reached out to us about whether we wanted to do something to celebrate,” Hernandez said. “They were very willing to help and support us in whatever we chose to do.”
With the help of UPrep faculty, LSU organized a school-wide event to honor Hispanic heritage.
“Día de Los Muertos is a major Mexican holiday that happens in October so we wanted to plan something around that,” Hernandez said. “We decided on sugar skull decorating which is a common tradition within the celebration.”
LSU is proud of their hard work.
“This was our first school-wide event and took a lot of planning, but I’m really proud of the outcome,” Hernandez said. “Many people showed up and it was overall a great experience.”
In addition to event planning, the Diversity and Community Office also provides other ways for community members to express their heritage. According to King, students are given the opportunity to teach their cultural identities by writing a blog post or partnering with the Commons Cafe to serve food.
Preptalks, the UPrep community blog, started the Listen to Learn Series this September.
“For each month, a member of the community that carries that identity will write a blog post sharing about their heritage,” King said. “It is a way for members of the community to learn more about different cultures and lived experiences.”

In November, Fine Arts Teacher and Theatre Manager Paul Fleming wrote about his indigenous identity for Native American Heritage Month.
“When I was in high school, I learned that I am of Cherokee Heritage on my mom’s side,” Fleming said. “Because of the threat of social stigma, my Cherokee heritage wasn’t something I explored and frankly, I wasn’t eager to make [it] part of my identity.”
It was not until adulthood that Fleming was able to understand the importance of his Native background.
“As an adult, when I realized what my Native American heritage really meant to me as a person and what I was denying myself,” Fleming said. “ All at once I felt more authentic and at the same time more disenfranchised from any one identity.”
Both King and Hernandez believe that honoring heritage months at UPrep will continue to be valuable as the school community grows.
“As part of LSU, we want to continue opening up aspects of our cultural celebrations to the entire community,” Hernandez said.
“We are a community that is growing in diversity but at the same time we are still a predominantly white institution,” King said. “This is why having the space to do cultural exploration is so important, not only for those identity groups but for all community members to be exposed.”

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Celebrity in the Commons https://uprepmedia.com/5040/news/celebrity-in-the-commons/ https://uprepmedia.com/5040/news/celebrity-in-the-commons/#respond Fri, 10 Dec 2021 08:07:49 +0000 https://uprepmedia.com/?p=5040 From Takis to Chocolate Milk, the commons has it all. The face of the commons, Michael, the lunch man, Michael Raby, spends most of his time chatting with students in the lunch line and memorizing students’ numbers. When he is not punching in numbers or answering questions, he is in the back doing the part of his job he enjoys less.
“I’m usually processing orders, doing paperwork, running budgets, resolving issues when parents contact me about allergies,” Raby said. “I also handle billing the school and catering functions and other stuff, basically the boring stuff, someone has to do it to keep the commons running.”One thing Raby is known for is memorizing nearly everyone’s number.
“There are about 750 people at University Prep which sounds like a lot of people, but if you think about the fact that my job is to interact with those people and get to know them, it isn’t that daunting,” Raby said.
After long weeks of helping students, ordering snacks and managing catering, Raby finds a way to relax.

“There’s a game called Warhammer 40k, it’s like little plastic models. I build them and then paint them like little space robots and stuff like that. Then, I hang out with some buddies on the weekends and we play a game based around those little space robots,” Raby said.
Raby believes that although the Commons Cafe has good snacks and drinks there is always more that could be added.
“I would love to add a Snickers bar or even a Payday bar,” Raby said. “And then with drinks, it’s funny because all those drinks are either things I want in there or are things students have requested, but I know a lot of people ask for coffee products.”
Raby’s enthusiasm for weird and outside-of-the-box foods helps him come up with new ideas for food in the Commons Cafe.
“Whilst on my travels I tried something called drunken shrimp, it’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever eaten. The fishermen go down to a river and catch little weird shrimp,” Raby said. “They throw them in a pot and wash them off. Then they make this concoction of an alcoholic hot sauce. Then they drown the shrimp in this sauce for a second, then put a bowl over it and serve it to you. Then when you open the bowl, they go flying everywhere.
Raby is known at UPrep as being “the lunch man”, but he had a life before UPrep.
“My career was a ‘fancy businessman.’ I was a successful salesman so I was able to sell my personality and leadership skills,” Raby said. “But I wanted something simpler.”

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Celebrating Safely https://uprepmedia.com/5023/coronavirus/celebrating-safely/ https://uprepmedia.com/5023/coronavirus/celebrating-safely/#respond Fri, 10 Dec 2021 08:06:40 +0000 https://uprepmedia.com/?p=5023
Students Thoughts

This holiday season, 60% of the 50 surveyed Upper Schoolers plan on traveling. With their plans come COVID-19 concerns.

“Get covid testing before coming back to school, stay home if feeling sick, keep washing your hands, and wear a mask properly.”

“This is going to be unpopular… but quarantining students who have traveled.”

“I think their current safeguards have been working well! If there’s an uptick in cases, testing might be applicable, but only if necessary.”

“Making sure the school/task force knows who has traveled, keeping up the procedures we are doing right now.”

“Continue to do what we are doing.”

“I think UPrep should make everyone who left the state submit a [mandorty] test.”

“Stop requiring gloves at lunch since they don’t help with anything.”

Methodology: Poll results come from 50 students across all 4 grades

COVID-19 cases in Washington have gone down from six hundred cases a week on August 1st to around 300 cases for the week of November 20th, according to the New York Times. With lower case numbers and lower perceived risk of contracting the virus, many have decided to resume holiday travel.
9th grader Rohan Hikel plans to stay in Seattle. “I’m [going to be] spending time with my family who lives here,” Hinkel said.
Hinkel noted that he wasn’t that concerned about getting COVID-19, due to his friends and family being vaccinated and following COVID-19 guidelines.
9th Grader Belen Sime plans on traveling out of state to California.
“My older [family] members are fully vaccinated,” Sime said. “I’m sanitizing my hands often and washing my hands, and because of that, I feel like I’m probably going to be safe.”
While 75% of surveyed people were confident to very confident that they weren’t going to contract COVID-19 over the holidays, they were more skeptical of other people doing the most they could to not spread the virus. There are also concerns over another wave of the virus that vaccines will not protect against.

Are you planning to travel for the holidays?
Blue: Yes, but within the state
Yellow: No
Red: Yes, outside of the state

Many students have ideas surrounding what to do after a potential spike in COVID-19 again, due to some anxiety surrounding the holidays. A common idea in the survey results was to go back to remote learning for two weeks after winter break for those who traveled.
Hinkel objected to this idea of remote learning.
“I did not learn anything and my mental health went down the gutter really quickly,” Hinkel said.
Meanwhile, Belen Sime was enthusiastic about going back to remote learning.
“Some sixth graders are not vaccinated, and many high schoolers have sixth-grade siblings. So I think we should do, like, 15 days of online [school],” Sime said.
Mr. Gonzales said that he can’t comment on remote learning, and whether or not it’s a good idea, or if it will happen.
“it would be a big change for us to consider going to remote learning without any particular reason,” Gonzales said.
At the time of printing, Omicron is mostly unknown how dangerous it is and has spread to five states, according to the New York Times. Due to the new variant, everything in this article could change.

Are your family members vaccinated?
Blue: Yes 78%
Yellow: Most are 20%
Red: All are unvaccinated 2%
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Students Still out of the Loop https://uprepmedia.com/5145/opinion-2/editorial/students-still-out-of-the-loop/ https://uprepmedia.com/5145/opinion-2/editorial/students-still-out-of-the-loop/#respond Fri, 10 Dec 2021 08:05:42 +0000 https://uprepmedia.com/?p=5145 Students at University Prep are still out of the loop. Last March, the Puma Press wrote an editorial about a lack of communication between the administration and the student body regarding important updates and news. Nearly 9 months later we are still being left out of these announcements that impact our lives. 

While there have been improvements such as a weekly email from the Director of Upper School Joel Sohn at the end of each week, students are still reliant on their families for news regarding the UPrep community.

Due to power outages across the city and on campus, on November 9th school the administration canceled school. The communications office emailed parents this news at 7:45am rather than students, given that many upper school students who drive themselves, were close to or already at school. 

“We made a huge mistake with the communication about no electricity at school,” Head of School Ronnie Codrington-Cazeau said.  

This lack of communication is part of a larger issue of the administration overlooking students at the times when it matters most. A month later, on November 30th students were again not informed about an important email sent to parents regarding a body found on Dahl Playfield. According to Codrington-Cazeau’s email, some students witnessed the police and ambulances arrive at the Dahl parking lot and their attempts to revive the individual before school. 

This time around, the administration’s lack of transparency with students created rumors and discomfort within our community. The students who witnessed the uncovered body didn’t know that counseling and other resources were available to them as mentioned in the email because they were not included in such communication.  

This has prompted the administration to create a system of communication that will allow students to receive text messages regarding important updates that would otherwise have been sent as emails. 

This system is long overdue and it needs to be implemented immediately.  As upper schoolers, we already do many things independent of adult assistance so it is important that we are treated with the level of communication and respect that we deserve. Especially as many of us make the transition to college in the next few years, it is important that we are kept in the loop and able to make independent decisions given any circumstances.

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