Noah Simon: An Involved Senior  

Q: What inspired you to start a podcast?  

Simon: I wanted to find a way to continue connecting with people while we were in COVID lockdown

Q: What topics do you cover in your podcast and who is in it?   

Simon: I talked about how school had impacted the person who people have become. I talked with friends, upcoming music artists, and social media influencers. 

Q: What responsibilities do you have/ what is it like to be the treasurer of NHS? 

Simon: I work with my other cabinet members to create community service opportunities for the club and run meetings to make sure everyone is actively participating as a member of NHS.

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Q: What inspired you to start helping the homeless club? 

Simon: I wanted to become a leader at LCC and was always empathetic towards those who I saw struggling, so I combined those two aspirations to create the club

Q: What have you been doing with the club?  

Simon: We have been conducting food drives and dropping food off at homeless shelters in San Diego. 

Q: What is baseball practice like for LCC? 

Simon: We stretch/throw, field either fly balls or ground balls, then hit in the cages and eventually hit batting practice on the field.

Q: How do you manage your time with all of these activities? 

Simon:  I make sure to stay focused and try to write out schedules of what my day is going to look like.

Olivia Pacheco: Talented Twirler 

Q: How long have you been baton twirling? 

Pacheco: 10 years and 8 competitively

Q: When you first started performing at LCC football games how did you feel?

Pacheco: At first, I was nervous because I wanted to make our Maverick Family proud, but as soon as I got out on the field hearing the cheers, I knew I was home. 

Q: What are you currently doing to practice during the pandemic? 

Pacheco: My sport allows me to practice outdoors. My neighbors are always ready for their 5 o’clock show. 

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Q: How do you calm yourself down when performing in front of a large audience, how do you stay focused? 

Pacheco:  I take 5 deep breaths and know that whatever happens I’ve done my best. 

Q: Additional Comments 

Pacheco:  I have been taught by wonderful coaches who are amazing role models, and I would like to pass this sport onto younger girls.

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Q: What is one thing you want people to know about baton twirling? 

Pacheco: Although it’s a competitive sport, it’s friendly competition. 

Q: How do you feel when people reference you as "the baton girl"? 

Pacheco: Proud! GO MAVS!!!

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Artemis Fine: Producing Prodigy
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Q: When did you start producing your own music?   

Fine: I started producing music probably back in middle school, as a part of my piano lessons when I still took them. I had finished the majority of my learning material so we moved on to making music outside of it. 

Q: What inspired you to get started? Do you still have the same inspirations?  

Fine: I was mostly just curious about recording music, but I learned that I enjoyed it a lot so I kept going with it. 

Q: Where do you want to go with your music?

Fine:  I'm not sure exactly where I'd like to go with my music, though eventually I'd like to release some publicly.  

Q: How would you describe your style?

Fine:  My style is a little bit all over the place, it really depends on what I'm working on. Generally the ones I spend the most time working on and improving are more pop-style songs, though I do also enjoy making songs in jazz, electronic, and other genres. 

Q: What do you use your music for? 

Q: What program do you use to create music? How was the learning process?

Fine:  The only recordings I've used publicly are the two I did for both LCC Theatre's showcases that have been run this year, both of those recordings being covers of songs. 

Q: How long does it take you to finish one piece? 

Fine:  I use Logic Pro X to make most of my music, but I also will sometimes use Cakewalk by BandLab if it's not convenient to use my mac for it. There's definitely a learning curve to every program available, I still haven't scratched the surface of many of the features available, but through youtube videos and forums it wasn't too hard to pick up enough of the basics to at least make something that I was happy with. 

Fine:  To finish one project depends on how much I want to polish it. Generally to get something to a state that I am happy with, it might take around two or three weeks. Usually I take time to think through it and get a general idea of what I want it to sound like, then I'll take a bit to get the basics like chord progressions and melodies down, after that I take the rest of the time to polish it and put in the smaller details. 

Sydney Evans: Take Me Gnome  

Q: What is the business that you have?  

Evans: My mom and I started a gnome business called Take Me Gnome. 

Q: What inspired you to create it? 

Evans: We have always loved gnomes and used them as decorations in the house and one day decided to try and make our own!

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Q: How are you selling your products? 

Evans: We have an instagram, @take.me.gnome, where we take orders through direct message. We were also recently selling our valentine gnomes at Indigo Home+Dry Goods and Hansen's Surfboards.

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Q: How has this business with your mother impacted the relationship between the two of you?

Evans: It has really brought us closer together and improved our communication. We have always been close and that’s why we chose to start the business together but Take Me Gnome has brought us even closer. 

Q: What have you learned about owning a business?  

Evans: One of the biggest things I’ve learned about having a business is how much work there is that no one sees. It takes a lot to make all of the gnomes but on top of that there is the task of communicating with customers, packaging orders, buying supplies, tracking costs, and so many little things that add to the amount of work.

Q: What advice would you give to people who want to start a business? 

Evans: For anyone looking to start a business, I would just say don’t wait until everything is perfect to start. Once you put your product out there you will find new things you need and changes to make so the longer the wait the more opportunities you’re missing out on. 

Additional Comments: 

Evans: So far we have been focused on making holiday gnomes but we are excited to announce our new custom college gnomes! People can pick the school they want and send the name of the recipient and we will create the perfect gnome for them. A great gift for graduates, teachers, or just someone looking to show their school spirit!

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Sydney Weaber: Good Humans 

Q: What is Good Humans ?

Weaber: Good Humans is an initiative that was started by a group of teachers at LCC. The goal of the group is to have a forum for teachers to discuss ways to create a more welcoming, accepting, and safe environment for all students at LCC.

Q: What inspired you to create it?

Weaber: I have always been passionate about creating a safe and accepting environment for all students at our school, so I was very excited to be a part of the process of creating the group. I have also been a part of the GSA since sophomore year, which creates a safe space for LGBTQ+ students and allies. What inspired me was the goal of every student feeling seen and safe at school and I feel that Good Humans has the ability to bring us closer to that goal.

Q: How do you want Good Humans to spread to the community? 

Weaber: Even though Good Humans is a teacher led group, everyone has the potential to make an impact on our school that can change it for the better. I hope that Good Humans allows people to see that no matter how small they think an act of support or kindness is, they are directing LCC, and our community as a whole,in the direction of positive change. I hope it leads to people seeking to understand, accept, and support each other no matter their gender, race, sexuality, or religion. Anyone and everyone can make a change.

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Photo Credits: Sydney Weaber
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Photo Credits: Sydney Weaber

Q: How was the designing process, did you have any inspirations?

Weaber: The design process for the logo was long, but very fun and rewarding. After I made the base logo, I made different configurations for shirts and stickers, which ended up becoming a huge Adobe Illustrator file organized into all the different configurations. Then we chose which ones we wanted to use for stickers, shirts, and bags. It is one of my favorite projects I have worked on. My inspiration was to make a logo where each student could find themselves represented in. 

Additional Comments

Weaber: My greatest hope with Good Humans is that it inspires people to use their voice and actions to make not just our school, but the world a better place for everyone, especially people who have previously felt alone, unaccepted, and excluded for who they are.

Angelina Mkrtychyan: An Armenian Advocate 

Q: What is happening right now?

Mkrtychyan: Right now, Artsakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh is being attacked by two of its neighboring countries, Azerbaijan and Turkey. Artsakh is an ancient country, centuries old, and indigenous land to Armenian people. During the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin illegally gifted Soviet Artsakh to Soviet  Azerbaijan. At the collapse of the Soviet Union, the people of Artsakh had a democratic vote for independence and self determination. 

Azerbaijan, a country only 115 years old, is pushing the narrative of taking back “their land” as a cover to kill Armenians. But, they are not only attacking this land. They have also attacked villages on Armenia’s border and even sent war drones to Yerevan, the country’s capital (which was thankfully shot down before it could do any damage). 

This is an extreme humanitarian crisis. There are many signs that prove this was a calculated attack while the world is busy with COVID-19 and US elections. 

Why is this a big deal? If they take Artsakh, they will absolutely try to take Armenia. President Erdogan (dictator of Turkey) has said “we will continue to fulfill this mission, which our grandfathers have carried out…” He is talking about the Armenian Genocide of 1915 where 1.5 million Armenians were killed and which is still denied to this day. People aren’t helping because they don’t think it affects them. Turkey does not plan on stopping at Armenia. They are looking to expand their reach to gain full control of the Caucasus, which will have detrimental effects across Europe and America. There are already terrorist attacks in Vienna and France and they have already made unofficial threats to America… Where will it end?

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Photo Credits: Angelina Mkrtychyan
Photo Credits: Angelina Mkrtychyan

Q: How does it personally affect you?

Mkrtychyan: It affects me because most of my family lives in Armenia and are currently in danger. Some of my cousins have even been drafted into the war. But they’re not the only ones, Armenians around the world are being attacked (including in California) so I am even in danger. Last week in France, Turks marched down the streets of Lyon and Dijon looking for Armenians. It is the worst feeling to wake up every morning, check the updates and hear that more young soldiers have died, more civilians have been bombed, and still no one helps us.

Q: How is history repeating itself, and why do you think it's happening?

Mkrtychyan: In 1915, Turkey commited genocide and killed 1.5 million Armenians. When the Soviet Union was formed, Turkey made a deal with Russia which led to the creation of Azerbaijan. But Armenians lived in peace with Azerbaijan, even though part of that land that made up their newly formed country was Armenian. Then, in the 1980’s anti-Armenian hate rose and the killings started again. My parents and their families BARELY made it out alive. My mom is still close with a few of her childhood Azeri friends and one of them, who still lives in Azerbaijan, was trying to explain to her son that Armenians are good people and that the government is brainwashing you, but he wouldn’t listen and called his own mother a traitor to the country. This deadly history keeps repeating itself because the Armenian genocide hasn’t been recognized; Turkey has gotten away with it and does not think anyone will stop them if they try to finish it. 

Q: How are you using your voice to advocate?

Mkrtychyan:  I am of course posting lots of information and attending every peaceful protest but the problem is that no one cares. Since I started posting, 250 people have stopped watching my stories, which is insane. I understand they may be tired of seeing something that’s irrelevant to them, but I’m tired of seeing my people die. 

Q: What do you want people to do, how can the youth take action?

Mkrtychyan: There are a few things that people can do to help. First of all, educate yourself on what is really happening, but know that there will be lots of false information from Azerbaijanis, Turks, and the companies they have paid off. There are only 10 mil Armenians worldwide and 135 million Turks and Azeris worldwide, so it’s very easy for them to outnumber us with misinformation. If you can, donate to @armeniafund , we are incredibly outnumbered and underfunded. There are also many petitions to sign and you should also contact your representatives and demand them to stop aiding Turkey (dm me and I can tell you exactly what to say).

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Photo Credits: Angelina Mkrtychyan

Q: Why do you think there is a lack of media coverage within the United States? 

Mkrtychyan: There has been a lack of media coverage on this topic because it’s not “trendy” and people don’t care because it doesn’t affect them. First, I would like to say that in any English or History class, everytime we talk about something like the Holocoust, we say “how could the world stand by and watch millions of people get murdered?” Well, that’s what’s happening now. Have you ever heard of Assyria? No? It’s because they don’t exist anymore. Turkey wiped them out and is trying to do the same to us, again. Armenians posting about Armenia won’t do enough, but non-Armenians posting about it will hopefully open people’s eyes to see how serious this really is. So please, use your influence to be part of something good. Second, as I mentioned before, the Turkish government will not stop at Armenia and is a danger to the world. This does affect YOU. 

Additional Comments: 

Mkrtychyan: I just want to let everyone know, we are suffering greatly. Many of our brave soldiers are between the ages of 18 and 20, as all men must join the military for two years due to our small population. So many of them have already died that they had to start recruiting older generations, even with the thousand of people across Armenia and the diaspora coming home to fight. We have lost so many and are losing more every day. Mothers dread the day they find out their son has died. Children don’t know where their fathers went. And through all of this, Azerbaijan has a $100 reward for every Armenian head. What’s happening to my home country is inhumane and illegal. Azerbaijan has committed numerous war crimes and nothing is being done to stop them. Please help us before it’s too late.

 My great grandmother faced extinction, my grandmother faced extinction, my mother faced extinction, and now my cousins, sister and I face extinction. So I am on my hands and knees, begging, please help us. If you have ANY questions at all about what is happening, how to to help, want me to explain in greater detail of what’s going on (because there’s a lot more to explain), or anything else, feel free to contact me @angelina.mkrtychyan

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  Ava Burnett: A passion for fashion

Q: How did you get into fashion?

Who inspires you?

Burnett: I’ve always loved Fashion. When I was younger I would always dress up in my mom’s clothes and have fashion shows with my older sisters. I would say I am inspired by my grandma and my older sisters. My grandma is epic and  I love her gardening outfits. 

Q: How would you describe your style?

Burnett: This is kind of a hard question for me to answer because I think that my style changes almost every week. I love vintage clothes and grandma fashion but I also think that 90’s and 2000’s clothes are super cute.

Q: Do you feel that your style is an accurate representation of yourself? How do you feel about people making assumptions about people based off of the way they dress

Burnett: I do think that what I wear reflects my personality because since I make a lot of my clothes it's like I'm wearing something perfectly customized to me and what I like. I think that society tries to make people hate on each other based on what kinda clothes and aesthetics they like, which I hate. I think that if someone wants to wear something different or something that isn’t part of today's beauty standards than that awesome. We shouldn’t judge anyone for what they wear. Clothes are meant to express who you are, if everyone is wearing the same things from the same stores then what's the fun in clothing.

Photo Credits: Ava Burnett
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Q: Where do you get most of your clothes?

Burnett: I sew a lot of my clothes from scratch, which I love doing. It's really cool wearing something that you know is completely unique to you and that no one else will have. I also thrift probably 70 percent of my closet, I love vintage clothes and there are always some super cool things that you can find at a goodwill or the DI (Deseret Industries). 

Q: Do you ever feel pressure to maintain your style/ always have cute outfits? If so, how do you deal with it?

Burnett: I honestly don’t feel pressured to wear certain clothes. I came to the realization a while ago that the most important thing to wear is your confidence. No matter what you wear there will always be people who don’t like it. So you might as well dress in what makes you happy and comfortable. 

Photo Credits: Ava Burnett

Q: What advice would you give someone who is trying to branch out to a new style?

Burnett: Some advice that I would give to someone would be to wear whatever you want. Whatever style makes you happy is the perfect style for you. And if you're scared that someone is not going to like what you wear you have to remember to prioritize your confidence over someone else's thoughts, because what other people think of you is none of your business. As long as you're confident then you definitely have an epic outfit on. 

Photo Credits: Ava Burnett
Bereket Denslow: Racial Equity Club 
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Photo Credits: Bereket Denslow

Q: Tell me about the Racial Equity Club?

Denslow: Our Racial Equity club consists of strong-minded individuals who best represent the cause of this club...to educate our community and push for equity and social justice. 

Q: Why did you start the club?

Denslow: My sister, Genet Denslow, and I really wanted to start some form of BSU last year and create a club that really focused on Black Americans and the history behind all the systemic racism. At La Costa Canyon, we realize that our school is not the most diverse. We worried that students who are black or people of color didn’t have a way to connect to each other. Ian Collins, Genet Denslow, and I decided to create a club with the hope of bringing a more real community and understanding to our school. 

Q: Why do people need to know about this club?

Denslow: Learning about Black history and going deeper into slavery and the Jim Crow Laws is pivotal for students who do not have an understanding of how horrible it was and how certain laws are still practiced today that affect Black Americans. Many students at LCC don’t realize how the things they say and do greatly affect black students and people of color. A lot of the behavior makes other students uncomfortable. Implementing ways to help the students and staff at LCC understand more and the ability to openly discuss it in classes, and at our club meetings is very important.

Q: How do you think this club will better not only LCC, but our community as a whole?

Denslow: This club will not only improve LCC but the attitude in our communities. We hope more people are willing to learn about history that is not taught in school, learn about current events and stand up to microaggressions and social injustice. This will make ALL students, especially black, hispanic, and other people of color, feel more included and safer on our campus. 

Q: What do you do during club meetings? 

Denslow: In our recent club meeting, we discussed current events such as the latest on Breonna Taylor’s case, news of Derek Chauvin’s release, the officer who murdered George Floyd, and Indigenous People’s day. 

Q:  What are your goals for this club?

Denslow: Our main goal is to address the biased Eurocentric curriculum which ignores the history, oppression, and stories of people of color. High school is an optimal time to incorporate anti-racist narratives into the curriculum and into our discussions because it is the last time students will be enrolled in mandatory schooling. We want to make a difference and make LCC a better place.

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Photo Credits: Bereket Denslow