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Cougar Bites

AHS Votes. Will Nation Follow?

posted Oct 11, 2016, 11:16 AM by AHS Journalism   [ updated Oct 11, 2016, 11:16 AM by AHS Webmaster ]

By Eamonn Harvey

In the 2016 Mock General Election held yesterday at Albany High School, the voters elected Hillary Clinton with 76 percent of the ballots cast. Clinton bested Donald Trump (8 percent) and three third-party challengers who split the remaining votes.

Junior Mishael Hibshoosh said he, “is shocked that Clinton did not reach at least 80%.”

In the U.S. Senate race, Democrat Kamala D. Harris won over fellow Democrat Loretta Sanchez by a margin of 58.5 percent to 41.5 percent. Barbara Lee was re-elected to the U.S. House of Representatives with more than 92 percent of the vote.

An obvious question is how predictive the Albany High results will be with regards to the November 8 General Election.

The AHS Mock election, in which students voted online, was conducted by English 3 and U.S. history classes taught by Juliet Radford and Emily Surowitz and their students.

More than 86 percent of students voted yes on California Proposition 56 which would increase the cost of a pack of cigarettes by $2.

The results for the two propositions about the death penalty are surprising. Seventy-one percent voted yes on repealing the death penalty (Proposition 62), but only 51 percent of people voted no on Proposition 66 that would make it harder for inmates on death row to appeal.

One would think that the same amount of people who voted to repeal the death penalty would also vote to make it easier for convicts on death row to appeal. Some observers believe that a lot of people did not understand Proposition 66.

Marijuana legalization (Proposition 64) won by 71 percent for to 29 percent against.

Proposition 63, the one that proposes different regulations on guns in multiple ways, won by the most out of any of the other propositions with 90 percent of the votes cast.

The local measure on the Albany soda tax proposition won by 63 percent to 37 percent.

Junior Joe Rees-Hill remarked, “If it passes in the actual election, the measure will support Albany not only with extra tax dollars but also by discouraging consumption of sugary beverages.”

The voter turnout rate for this mock election was about 52 percent, with more than 600 votes cast. In the actual 2012 General Election, turnout was 57.5 percent.

AHS Mock Election October 10

posted Oct 5, 2016, 1:49 PM by AHS Journalism   [ updated Oct 5, 2016, 1:49 PM by AHS Webmaster ]

By Eamonn Harvey

Albany High School students will have the opportunity to participate in the 2014 presidential race on Monday October 10 through a mock election conducted by the English 3 - US History core classes taught by Emily Surowitz and Juliet Radford.

Surowitz and Radford and their students “encourage all students to vote and weigh in on pressing issues of the day.” The classes “want to help young people understand the importance of voting, the importance of being a more educated voter, and the impact your vote can have.”

On the election day, polling places will be set up around the school all day where students can vote online. Students will also be able to vote by themselves through email.

The ballot will include the presidential contest, the California U.S. Senate race, local measures, and select state propositions chosen by the classes. Those involved hope this mock election will closely mimic the actual voting process.

According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, in 2012, 57.5 percent of eligible voters voted. Surowitz and Radford hope for a higher turnout here at Albany. Surowitz says, “people have risked everything to ensure the right to vote.”

The junior core classes are putting up publicity posters throughout the school in order to make students aware of issues on the ballot.

Seniors - Register to Vote!

posted Oct 3, 2016, 3:19 PM by AHS Journalism   [ updated Oct 3, 2016, 3:19 PM by AHS Webmaster ]

By Anina Guerrero de Escalante

Attention AHS class of 2017 – and anyone else 18 years of age before November 8, 2016. You can still register to vote in this year’s general election!

Many young people believe that their vote doesn’t count, or that politics are not relevant to their lives or they are too busy with college applications. But, 18-year olds still have taxes taken out of their income, laws they must follow and liberties they take for granted.

In addition to the hotly contested Clinton-Trump presidential race, California voters will also elect a new U.S. senator, vote on legalizing recreational marijuana, funding for K-12 education, and many other significant measures.

Take control of your future! Register to vote by October 24th and cast your ballot this fall. You can get voter registration forms from history teacher Kevin James in room 207 or register online via website of the California Secretary of State: http://registertovote.ca.gov/

According to a report from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University, in 2014, youth voter turnout fell to the lowest levels on record. In other midterm elections for the past 40 years, an average of 26 percent of 18-29 year-old U.S. citizens cast ballots, compared to just 19.9 percent for the same age range in 2014.

A new report from the Pew Research Center found that 66 percent of young voters agree that when the government runs something, it is inefficient and wasteful.

Eighteen to 29-year olds make up 16.7 percent of the U.S. population at 45,027,505 people. However, only 8,960,474 of those people actually cast votes -- about 20 percent -- in the most recent presidential election, even though they make up 36 percent of all eligible voters, according to the Center for American Progress.

Meet Shoshana (Chief) O’Keefe

posted Sep 29, 2016, 10:23 AM by AHS Journalism   [ updated Sep 29, 2016, 10:25 AM by AHS Webmaster ]

By Dakota Bodell

Junior Dakota Bodell sat down with new math teacher Shoshana (Chief) O’Keefe. Here’s what she learned.

Dakota Bodell: What did you do before coming to Albany High School?

O’Keefe: Um, I stayed home with my kids. But before that I was a lawyer. And I also worked on the Obama campaign.

DB: How long have you been a teacher?

O’Keefe: I’ve been an official full teacher for about one month, but I was an almost teacher most of last year. But I started as a teacher intern in October of last year.

DB: Why did you decide to become a teacher?

O’Keefe: Because I realized that I really enjoy explaining math to people. I was explaining math to people all the time for fun and I realized that there was a way to get paid to do that. I was a really big hit at parties! Also, my son loves math and always asked me questions so I was teaching him a lot of math. That was very revealing to me on how much I enjoyed teaching math.

DB: What was your relationship with school as a child?

O’Keefe: I loved it. And I specifically liked high school.

DB: Why?

O’Keefe: Um, it was just a really good time in my life. I had good friends, I enjoyed my classes, and I like the feeling of it. It was just really fun.

DB: What are some difficulties of becoming a new teacher?

O’Keefe: Um, well the beginning of the year has been pretty overwhelming. Learning names of over one hundred students. And not just their names, but their personalities, their quirks, their strengths and weaknesses.

DB: Their handwriting?

O’Keefe: That’s one of them, among many. And it’s a lot of information to get all at once and it’s really important to get that to be an effective teacher.

DB: How is Albany High School different than other schools you’ve gone to or taught at?

O’Keefe: Hmm... well I can only compare it to Berkeley High, since that’s where I went. It’s smaller and more well run than Berkeley High. Berkeley High in the 90s was not well run.

DB: What is something you love about Albany High? Something you dislike?

O’Keefe: Something I dislike? Hm. Well I love the diversity of the students, and not just ethnically, but just so many different people doing different things and different kids.

DB: A dislike?

O’Keefe: Awwh. Everything’s good.

DB: How does teaching upperclassmen differ from teaching underclassmen?

O’Keefe: Classroom management is a bigger deal with freshmen, they don’t naturally behave as well. They have more energy and are less disciplined. It’s a lot more work to get them to pay attention and listen. The juniors and seniors sit in their seats and do their work, for the most part.

DB: What do you wish students knew about you?

O’Keefe: How much I love math and how much I want them to love it too. And how much I love presidents.

Meet Phi Do-Lui

posted Sep 27, 2016, 2:46 PM by AHS Journalism   [ updated Sep 27, 2016, 2:46 PM by AHS Webmaster ]

By Grace Patterson

As we welcome new and returning students to Albany High, we must also recognize many new faculty and staff additions. Coming from high schools across the state, each new teacher will add something special to the Albany High School community, and we can’t wait to get to know them in their own words. Over the next few weeks, we will feature interviews with all of these new faculty members, to learn about their past experiences and what they look forward to at AHS. Stay tuned!

For this first introduction, senior Grace Patterson interviewed new English 2 and World Problems teacher Phi Do-Lui. 

Grace Patterson: What did you do before coming to Albany High School?
Do-Lui: I was a stay at home mom and a substitute teacher for a little bit. When my son was born, I decided to stay home for a while, and one year turned into two or three. It was weird, right at the time I was thinking of returning, that was when they had all those massive lay-offs of the teachers, so nobody was hiring so I was like “oh, I guess I’ll take an extra year off.” Then it became easier to just stay home
GP: So you took a break in teaching, how long have you been a teacher?
Do-Lui: Well, I taught in West Oakland for three years before then, so this would be my fourth year, unless you want to count my student year, so four or five?
GP: Why did you decide to become a teacher?
Do-Lui: A lot of reasons. When I was really young, I loved learning. Just any subject, but my family didn’t want me to become a teacher, so I tried doing other things. I went into the nonprofit world, I managed a volunteer program and I worked with a bunch of agencies all connected with social issues, and every time we would study what was needed or how to resolve an issue, education kept on coming back as the central, or one of the central -- money and education. So when I moved from Florida to California, I had to look for a new job, and that was when...you know that whole what’s your color parachute thing? What do I really feel passionate about? It’s education, so yeah I switched careers, I went into education and worked for an an education lab. You know, it makes no sense to work in education without having been an educator, so I said “okay! Here we go, back to school,” and became a teacher.
GP: What are some difficulties of being a new teacher at Albany High?

Do-Lui: I think it’s the same as anywhere, you have to get used to and develop curriculum, you want to find that balance between what... between the expectations of what you need to teach them and how, where your student's are at. Every student is in a different place, and finding that spot where you can get them there, right? Because everyone is unique, and you’re trying to move them through *laughs* the same path basically, but actually maybe not a path, but a goal.
GP: How is Albany High School different than other schools you’ve gone to or taught at? 

Do-Lui: *Laughs* So different!

GP: Oh yeah?
Do-Lui: So different! Alright, so just before Albany High School, I taught at Kipp, I don’t know if you’re familiar with them. They have a very regimented program, you know, school uniforms, there are slogans and sayings. They have this policy of no excuses, so they restrict and control and try to organize almost everything so that the student has no excuses for not turning in homework, or being distracted. And I think that it has proved very successful for the communities they want to serve, but it limits a teacher in terms of their creative ability in curriculum, and I think think it’s that principle of at what point do you allow them to take responsibility for themselves. You want it to just be the training wheels, you don't want to be their vehicle. But Albany High School starts with the assumption that students are responsible, respectful, and I love that culture. I like that we don’t start with the assumption that you don’t know what you’re doing.
GP: Is there something you love about Albany High, something you dislike about it, something that confuses you?
Do-Lui: Hmm, I love, again the environment, the staff have been so incredibly helpful, I don’t think I could have survived *laughs* staying without it. Is there something that I’m confused about? Well I know that there is still a lot that I haven’t figured out or don’t know of yet, because every now and then something will catch me by surprise, like I didn’t know that there was a dress policy for student wear! I’m still figuring out all of the games and activities, club rush today totally took me by surprise! It was a nice surprise. 
GP: How does teaching upperclassmen differ from teaching underclassmen?
Do-Lui: They’re [upperclassmen] much calmer! *laughs* You’re much calmer, and it shows the progression students make. I joked with my seniors last year when I was subbing, I said “I’m so glad I have you, because when I look at the freshman, I keep you in mind and say that someday, they are going to get there,” and it’s just a matter of time, and practice, and experience. Not that the freshman aren’t wonderful in themselves, it’s just you can see how much they grow.
GP: What do you wish students knew about you?
Do-Lui: Oh my gosh, what don’t they know about me? Um, I don’t know if they know yet that I have a sense of humor, because *laughs* I’m generally still so anxious about everything right now. I’m hoping that when I relax, that will come out again.
GP: Anything else you want to say?
Do-Lui: Students have been surprising and delighting me since I’ve gotten here.

Club Rush September 21

posted Sep 19, 2016, 7:56 PM by AHS Webmaster   [ updated Sep 21, 2016, 2:18 PM ]

by Kalista Russell and Michelle Lee


Interested in pursuing a new hobby? Want to know what clubs are offered at AHS? Come to Club Rush this Wednesday, September 21, at lunch in the AHS courtyard!

Club Rush is the annual event for students to explore different clubs and join the ones they’re interested in. Everyone has the opportunity to learn what happens at club meetings as well as the club’s goals by talking to the leaders at their booths.

Club Rush is an extremely beneficial event for students (especially freshmen) to see what they could be interested in and what the school has to offer.

At the event, you’ll find many returning clubs such as Model UN, Key Club, and BuildOn, as well as some new clubs including The Naked Truth club. Not only can you join clubs that have volunteering opportunities, you could also perform, compete, and learn new skills.

The best part of Club Rush is that new members are always welcome! And of course, the free food! 

Cougar Bites Debuts

posted Sep 19, 2016, 7:51 PM by AHS Webmaster   [ updated Sep 19, 2016, 8:50 PM ]

by Albany High School Journalism 

Starting today this space will feature regular contributions from the Albany High School Journalism class. We will cover school news, sports, opinion, the arts and the people who make this place interesting. These “Cougar Bites” will also be part of the daily email news feed.

In addition to these contributions, AHS journalism efforts can be found at the journalism news site – www.albanyhighca.org; on Instagram at albanyhighca; and on Twitter @albanyhighca.

The first print edition of The Cougar is scheduled for later this fall – in time for the general elections and Homecoming.

Thank you for your support.

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