Issue 8 Magazine News

Home Sweet Hospital

If you know me, or at least know of me, you are probably aware that I’ve been absent from school for over a month. No, I did not flee the country. No, I did not drop out. No, I did not transfer to a different school. Believe it or not, I’m actually still alive! I don’t know how or why I’m still breathing today, but here we are. This school year has been hell for me, to say the least. I’ve been having a plethora of health issues, both mentally and physically, and these heavy burdens have made school more difficult than I ever thought it could be. As the days of the year passed by, the weight became heavier, and I began to lose my strength. I was weak. I was hopeless. After months of having panic attacks, breakdowns, nausea episodes, chronic stomach pain, and a constant dread of the future, I finally decided that enough was enough. It was time to get the help that I had been avoiding.

Towards the end of March, I was put into an outpatient mental hospital at John Muir. I was hesitant to set aside time for myself and to put my health before my responsibilities, but I wouldn’t change my decision for the world. I don’t know if I would still be here today if that crucial decision hadn’t been made. After missing so much school from my time in the care facility, along with all the days I missed from my health issues, I was starting to get concerned about the stacks of assignments and tests I was missing. A sense of hopelessness came to me once again, but luckily I found out about the option of doing my work through the magic of Home and Hospital. If you don’t know what this is, Home and Hospital is basically where a teacher comes to your house, or wherever you two decide to meet, and you both do academic work outside of a school setting. Many students take this approach when having health issues similar to mine, and it has helped a lot of people stay on track with their studies despite the challenges that they face. It’s self paced, flexible, and an absolute blessing for students like me.

I’ve only been in the system for a couple weeks now. I don’t have a ton of personal experience with this, but I am definitely getting used to it, and I have found many academic benefits by doing Home and Hospital. It’s very flexible with my schedule at John Muir, and I never feel a sense of pressure when doing my work or studying. My teacher, Megan, is very nice, and she is always understanding if I am unable to finish an assignment or make up a test. It’s also a very easy way to keep in contact with teachers and receive missed work. It may not be the same as wandering the halls of Las Lomas with a bunch of slow walkers, but it’s definitely what I need right now in order to heal and move forward from the dark situation I am getting out of.

(This is article is the first part of a series. For the rest of the series, go to the Las Lomas Page website at


Independent Study: What is it?

Most of the youth of this country are molded by the hands of the education system. From the first day of preschool to receiving a high school diploma, the experiences and academic skills of a student have a pivotal effect on their future. It is no secret that the educational system in the United States is flawed. Many people want to distance themselves from this system and have found independent study as an affective alternative. Duke University’s website says, “Independent study enables a student to pursue for course credit a research or other academic topic of interest under the supervision of a faculty member.” This gives the student the power to be their own teacher and study their own interests outside of a classroom setting.

Many find this to be a helpful and reliable form of education because it gives students room to breathe and not be limited by a strict school environment. Many forms of independent study involve intense research about the subject the student has chosen to study. This research is typically used for the end goal of writing a report which analyzes what they have learned from the course. Other courses, known as just Independent Study, don’t involve the same amount of research but rather are directed by the student with the permission of a faculty member. Both of these forms of study result in a finished project having to do with the academic course. This project shows what the student has learned and how they will use this knowledge in the outside world.


Caught in a LoopMail

You know that little envelope icon you see when you go to your School Loop portal? For the few people who don’t know what this is, this is called LoopMail. This is School Loop’s own little version of email, used as a communication platform between students, teachers, and staff. Sophomore Audrey Allen described it as “an easy way to contact teachers and receive important emails about information that’s all in the SchoolLoop app.” Many teachers use this to have reliable communication with their students at any place and time. LoopMails often consist of information about upcoming tests, online documents for homework assignments, a quick heads up that the teacher will be out sick, and much more.

Unfortunately, not everybody uses this helpful tool to their advantage. I’m guilty of this myself, as I’m horrible with responding to people, and I’ve found this poor habit to be inconvenient in many situations. I’ve missed many important announcements from my teachers on LoopMail and I often rely on my parents to fill me in on what they read from my messages. I know I’m not alone in this, as I’ve seen many of my teachers having to repeat what they’ve already said on LoopMail to the class during the following days.

Luckily, many students know how to use these helpful opportunities thrown their way. Freshman Andrew Martinez Cabrera said, “It saved my grade once. It was a mishap with my online math homework, and it made me get a 70% on the online homework despite me getting it right. So I emailed my teacher, and he gladly fixed it, and I got an A.”

If you haven’t been taking advantage of this, please do! I’m telling that to myself as much as I’m telling that to you. Having good communication with your teachers and the Las Lomas community is essential for being the best Knight you can be. Don’t sleep on the important things your teachers have to say and always stay in the loop.


Numb and Number

Here’s a profound discovery: It’s cold outside. We’re deep into a winter of goosebumps and runny noses. I think anybody can agree that having to stand outside in the cold is not an ideal way to spend time, especially when the sun is just peeking behind the hills. Many students, myself included, have PE or practice for sports early in the morning or late at night. As you can imagine, it’s not the best thing in the world when your body tenses up into a knot from the cold. Hands become stiff, and fingers become useless; it’s a mess. An anonymous freshman said “My hands get cold, since it’s winter, and they feel really stiff and sometimes hurt. It’s a bit of a bother.”

Naturally, when your hands go numb, it’s hard to do anything with them. Freshman Isabelle Lecha said, “There was one time in particular where I was trying to write my name after I had been in the cold for a long time, and they just barely wrote the first few letters.” Luckily, there are many solutions available if you face this problem. You can wear gloves when you go outside in the morning, you can tuck your hands into long sleeved sweatshirts or jackets, or you can put your hands on the back of your neck when they feel stiff. Until the time comes where temperatures become warm and inviting again, we have to adapt to the unforgiving chills brought by the winter.


A New Semester and a New Beginning

A new semester is on the calendar, and the previous one now resides in the history books. If we ignore our messy and procrastination-ridden past, we’ll only hold on to our mistakes and not be able to improve ourselves. Freshman Isabelle Lecha said, “I think the best part of the new semester is feeling that any mistakes you made last semester can be fixed. It gives you this new hope that things can change.”

There are many things students at Las Lomas can work on. Freshman Clement Nabeta-Osouf said, “This time going into the semester you know your teachers and their policies… It’s easier to focus on what you really need to do.” We all have our own shameful mishaps with poor test grades or lackluster projects that we waited until the last minute to complete. It would be impossible not to change after such mistakes, but how do you make these changes?

First thing’s first: listen to your teachers. Many students find the most success from using their teachers’ guidance to their advantage. Having good communication with your teachers can change everything. Secondly: write everything down! Use a planner, be creative with your notes, elaborate with answers on homework, and maybe even try writing fun reminder notes to yourself!

Studying differs from person to person. Science teacher Jason Tong said, “For studying for tests and quizzes… I would just say in general to find out what works best for you. That’s going to take some tinkering. If you tried something last semester and it wasn’t effective up until this point, then it’s probably not going to be effective.” Overall, most people can agree that studying over a long time span is the most effective strategy. Review your notes every night, do extra homework assignments for good practice, and constantly quiz yourself to make sure you understand the content you are learning.

Setting high goals for yourself is very admirable. It is important to keep these goals while still maintaining good self care. Wellness Center advisor Cheryl Stanton said, “Think about what’s happening right now in the present time and move forward. That way it gives you a fresh start and something to look forward to and not regret what has happened before.” A lack of balance between your school life and personal life can lead to a decline in your mental and physical health.

Self-improvement leads to a better tomorrow, but attempting self-perfection leads to a damaging life-time. Working hard for good grades and education is important, but you can’t beat yourself up for not being as perfect as you wish. Make mistakes, learn from them, and move on. Just keep growing.


I CARE; do you?

The cold December air swept through the hallways. Students and staff alike were overflowing with emotion. December 3rd through December 7th was the highly anticipated CARE Week. It was a time for everyone to shine and show Las Lomas what they have in them. Activities of bingo, game shows, poetry slams, and everything in between were scattered throughout the week. Every day invited a different theme of dress with cultural and personal expression. The initial idea of a week about spreading love and kindness sounds wonderful at first glance, but did CARE Week hold up to this standard of sunshine and rainbows? It surprisingly had a turnout that most of us may have not expected.

The CARE in CARE Week stands for compassion, acceptance, respect, and equity. There are various reasons why Las Lomas has an event like this. Mark Lewis described it as “…students that feel like they want to raise awareness about people that are different in a variety of ways and better understanding the differences among us.” We tend to lose sight of the challenges that others face on the daily. CARE Week is designed for this community to think outside of the box and discover new perspectives of people all over the spectrum. “A lot of people at Las Lomas kind of live in a bubble,” Sara Mya explained, “They’re not really aware that racism, sexism, and homophobia is still very rampant.” The intentions of CARE Week are very pure and good spirited. The execution of the event, however, has brought some concerns.

Lori Gieleghem‒a self proclaimed frustrated idealist‒had this to say: “I’m a little conflicted about it. I recognize the need for something to make us more caring about one another in an increasingly fractious world. At the same time, the very people who should be taking care of themselves so they have the energy to care for others—teachers—are being asked to do even more than we already do.” She is concerned about how the execution of CARE Week has placed an extra burden on teachers around campus as bonus parents for students in distress. Other teachers will say otherwise. Marlene Miranda said, “I’m very proud of the students who are doing this work.” These past few weeks have been turbulent for students around campus. Teachers regularly guide students through their troubles, but this needed attention often brings even more stress and responsibilities to the teachers who already have so much on their plates.

Another concern with CARE Week involves the lack of attention and participation among the student body. I conducted a survey to get a statistical perspective, and the results were shocking. Only 3 out of the 34 kids I surveyed participated in any CARE Week activities. That is roughly 9% of anyone having some role or attendance to the events that so many people worked so hard on. Several of the students were not even aware that CARE Week had happened. Sara Mya‒one of the leaders of the Gender Sexuality Alliance Club‒also had this to say: “Sadly, a lot of people take it as a joke. It’s not taken very seriously. A lot of people don’t even know the dress days. For Homecoming, a lot of people dressed up. You don’t see anyone caring about it.” The intended audience of this event was supposed to reach a better level of understanding of the disadvantages that other people face. The audience has unfortunately dismissed the message of CARE Week because it may not apply to them. We can’t force people to care, but we can at least try.

A polarized political climate and a selfish nature in our world has definitely taken a toll on our communities and standards of respect. Las Lomas combats these demons of hatred with ideas like CARE Week. The next step in the right direction is to improve the execution of a week of such importance. We can’t abolish division by telling others what to think or say. We should broaden the message of CARE Week to more people in the community and the administration should spread more awareness about it beforehand. Families and friends all connected to us should know why we have CARE Week. Our student body would be better off with more listening and compassion by regarding CARE Week more.