Category: Feature

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Traumatized

It was a quiet day. The squad car ambled down the road with its windows down, sirens off, music playing softly in the background. The police radio let out a short, static sound interrupting the calm;  it was a report of an individual armed with a gun, in the middle of a street close to the cop car. The music disappeared, the windows went up and the sirens blared as the car picked up speed. The tales of police  always begin the same: a cop involved in a shooting, a person, injured or dead, sparks an investigation. Police shootings affect everybody involved: the individual, his or her family, bystanders, witnes...
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Let’s Break It Down: North Korea Tension

In 2010, the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea openly declared its possession of a nuclear weapon. The isolated Asian nation, lead by dictator Kim Jong-un, has dedicated itself to expanding the size and precision of its nuclear program. The nation’s weapons serve as a protection against the threat of regime change brought by the U.S., its greatest enemy. North Korea has strong reason to believe the U.S. State-controlled North Korean media regularly delivers warnings to Japan and South Korea, two economic and diplomatic allies with the U.S. Also, both Amnesty International and the United Nations have dubbed K...
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1 in 2,568: Erica Hwang

She takes a deep breath. In, out. In. Out. She reviews the piece mentally, ensuring that her solo piece is memorized, the notes ingrained in her mind. She then steps onto the stage. While everything is memorized, it will not stop her from doubting her every passage. Erica Hwang (11) was accepted into the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, or NYO-USA, a youth orchestra organized by Carnegie Hall Weill Institute, in February. For now, she waits for July 1, when she will arrive at the residence hall at the State University of New York, or SUNY, at Purchase, where she will practice the pieces she wil...
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The F-Word

Every other Thursday, a group of about eight girls gathers in an otherwise empty classroom to scarf down lunch before starting to use the F-word.  But how much chit-chat can be made on the topic of one single word? “They make judgements about who you are by just this one word alone,” Gabi Gonzalez (12) said. She and Zoe Catz Johnson (12) serve as co-presidents of a TPHS club dedicated to the F-word. They facilitate those bimonthly meetings so that club members can have a place to voice their opinions around like-minded people. No, this is not a forum for etymology enthu...
The Stepenskys

A Family Affair

After meeting on a blind date in Mexico City and getting engaged only three weeks later, Pepe and Deborah Stepensky packed up their belongings and moved to San Diego to pursue new careers, unsure of what their lives would be like in a completely foreign place. Decades before, Deborah’s father traveled to Venezuela, a country he had never set foot in, after being rescued from a concentration camp during the Holocaust in Poland. Their own forays into the unfamiliar led to more opportunities and better lives for Pepe, Deborah, and Deborah’s father. According to Pepe, the Stepenskys became the third family to own the Po...
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Distracted Infographic

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The Butterfly Effect

In her sophomore year, Grace Lee (12) was frustrated by trying to select a topic for her English classes’ research paper. But, Lee was regularly engaged in Korean culture and media, having moved from South Korea at age 11. Headlines about comfort women, a euphemism for Korean sex slaves who were used by the Japanese army during World War II, sparked outrage in Lee, who decided to further research the topic for her essay. After writing her English essay, Lee still felt connected to the topic and wanted to take her advocacy further.  “As I got older I became more aware of social problems,” Lee said...
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1 in 2,568: Rayhan Tabani

At Public Square Coffee House in La Mesa, the focus is not on the drinks or the food; instead, much of the attention is directed toward the live performances and local artists. The stage, illuminated by red and purple lights and surrounded by late-night customers and musicians, is set up in the center. Jazz bands, soul artists and folk singer-songwriters have already taken the stage, but there remains one more act to supply the crowd with its nightly dose of rhythm and blues: Sugar Ray Ray. Rayhan Tabani (11), who is originally from Orange County, has been singing his whole life. Known by fellow Falcons as “Sugar...
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Let’s Break it Down: Supreme Court Nominations

In 1801, former President John Adams lay awake late at night, signing federal judge appointments on the very last day of his presidency, appointments that went down in history as the “midnight judges.” However, in 2016, Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died, and former President Barack Obama, with a full 11 months left in his term, was not allowed by Congressional Republicans to appoint the next Justice. The president is the only person who is authorized to nominate a Supreme Court justice. Once the president makes a nomination, the Senate Judiciary Committee votes on the potential judge. If t...
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The Write Education

As he listened to his aunt share stories of volunteering at underfunded schools in India, Ishaan Patel (9) was struck by the realization that not all students are afforded the privilege of sitting at a desk in a classroom. “I was really surprised because when I compared the schools that she went to volunteer at and the school that I went to, there was a big difference in the quality of education that they got and how they got it,” Patel said. “The students were sitting on the dirt ground and they only had one chalkboard and one teacher for like 60 kids ... When I saw the big difference that there was ...