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February 20 Edition

Hey Pumas! After an extended break and a few delays, we are back with the February edition of the Puma Press! In it are a variety of stories, ranging from politics, to sports, and even to entertainment.
However, we also have a surprise; Puma Press is getting its very own website! Soon, you will be able to head to a designated web address and follow our journalistic efforts, covering even more topics and issues. Our next edition will be released on this website, and all succeeding editions will be released there as well. 
By Angie Lyng
ms kern
        It is with great pleasure that we embrace two more faculty members this semester: Ms. Jasmine Kern, co-teacher, and Ms. Chloe Campbell, who has recently become a certificated English teacher after student teaching for Ms. Duran last year. We asked both of them a few questions:
Ms. Kern, Co-Teacher, Room 207 

Question: What influenced you to be a teacher?
Answer: My love for education influenced me to be a teacher, as well as the multiple family members who are also educators.
Q: What is your strongest asset?
A: I would consider my strongest asset to be my ability to relate and create connections with my students.
Q: What do you know about our school that you would consider a strength?
A: The collaboration among faculty members is a huge strength of this school.
Q: What made you want to work at NAHS?ms campbell
A: I appreciated the school culture that boasts inclusivity.
Q: What do you consider the most important reason(s) for you, personally, to become a teacher?
A: My love for education and creativity. I want to make a difference in the lives of my students.
Q: What do you like about working with students?
A: Every student is an individual that I get to learn about and from.
Q: What has been your experience in working with students of color? LGBTQ students?
A: This is my first experience as an educator, however being both Filipino-American and a member of the LGBTQ+ community myself, I feel I have a lot of understanding and connection to working with these communities.
Q: How do you keep yourself organized?
A: I keep myself organized by making my routine fun and aesthetically pleasing.
Q: How do you develop a positive relationship with students in individual teaching?
A: I do my best to develop positive relationships by being understanding of their individual needs. Everyone has their own learning needs and styles that I want to both encourage and expand upon.
Q: Any other things that would help NAHS know more about you?
A: I am so excited to be here and I look forward to growing with you all.
Ms. Campbell, English Teacher, Room 207

Q: What influenced you to be a teacher?
A: I have always loved reading and writing. I also have dyslexia, so I had to take speech classes when I was younger. I started reading to improve my dyslexia and it was life-changing. Because of this, English quickly grew dear to me.
Q: What is your strongest asset?
A: I hold a lot of creativity and passion and I am enthusiastic about what I do in life.
Q: What do you know about our school that you would consider a strength?
A: The culture of this school is strong and there is a lot of inclusivity and awareness. NAHS definitely feels very connected.
Q: What made you want to work at NAHS?
A: I first started out at NAHS as a student teacher for Ms. Duran and as I watched her teach, she quickly became one of my biggest inspirations to become a teacher.
Q: What do you consider the most important reason(s) for you, personally, to become a teacher?
A: I believe in fostering the belief in kids that they are capable of more than what they think and that means a lot to me. I hope that even if they don’t grow to love English as much as I do, they at least grow an admiration for it.
Q: What do you like about working with students?
A: I believe that you can build bonds with students, not just academically but on an emotional level, as well. The connection with students is the best part for me.
Q: What has been your experience in working with students of color? LGBTQ students?
A: As a pansexual woman, I love working with students of all identities and ethnicities. It broadens my way of looking at students and the world around them.
Q: How do you keep yourself organized?
A: Technology and coffee are my best friends.
Q: How do you develop a positive relationship with students in individual teaching?
A: I meet with students one-on-one. If I have the feeling individual students may be affected by something, whether that be through their academic performance or simply by their demeanor, I will always let them know that they can talk to me (if they are comfortable doing so). These conversations don’t always have to be something regarding a negative manner, but rather something that is more casual.
Q: Any other things that would help NAHS know more about you?
A: If students ever want to talk about video games, Manga, painting, and things alike, I am more than willing to converse with them about said things.
By Natalie Gutierrez
          The district decided to start giving out I-Ready lessons and diagnostics starting September 2023. Schools are required to have most students at grade level and above. Therefore, LAUSD decided to help support students to meet those goals by giving them educational support and guidance. 
          Many students wonder what I-Ready is, as it has been introduced to their homerooms. I-Ready is a learning program that monitors students' progress throughout the year and determines where they need improvement. I-Ready is broken down into two programs: the I-Ready Diagnostic and I-Ready personalized Instruction. The I-Ready Diagnostic is a digital assessment that adapts to how a student answers the questions to determine where they are and what lessons they could benefit from. The I-Ready Personalized Instruction is a paced lesson given out to students accommodating their needs. I-Ready covers both reading and mathematics lessons. 
          The I-Ready diagnostic works in a simple way. Every time a student answers a question wrong, the questions get easier. Vice versa, every time a student answers the questions right, the questions get harder. The initial question would start at the student’s grade level and then move up and down the difficulty scale based on their answer.  After the diagnostic, the test sees what areas need improvement or work on and gives personalized lessons to the students.  This helps find the best way to support students in areas they are not well versed in. These lessons go the pace students prefer so they can go the pace they need to benefit them. I-Ready gives students coins to play games on the online program once they finish their lessons to help motivate them to continue. 
          As many of the students and homeroom teachers know, I-Ready English and Math lessons are assigned to the students in the homeroom. Many might be asking, why it is mandatory to do these lessons. Some wonder whether it is useful for students or just another program put in the curriculum. A student named Justine Relona claimed, “I do not see any improvement in mine or my classmate’s learning”. Two other anonymous students claimed they have not witnessed any knowledge gain but it can be useful if used accordingly.
         I spoke to Ms. Sandoval, Instructional Coordinator at NAHS and she said, “I think the students can benefit."
By Anaiah Greene
school lunch
          Lunch is an important meal for everyone because it gives us the energy we need to continue through the rest of the afternoon. Students from NAHS were asked about their opinions on the school lunches here, how often they eat them, and what they think the district can do to improve it.
          Sofie Tigranian said, “I eat school lunch sometimes and it’s not that bad, I just feel the district could put more money into it. At the end of the day, kids are coming out of a two-hour class period.”  
           Arya Javashi stated, “I eat school food often. One time it gave me food poisoning and I think they should give us less vegan stuff, and add more meat.”      
          Xavier Brown answered, “I sometimes eat lunch and I don’t really like it. They should make it more organic and enjoyable.” 
           Christian Madamba said, “I eat school lunch all the time and I think the school should add a bigger variety to the options.”
           The cafeteria workers are critical to the educational process by providing students with nutritious meals. When asked about the behind-the-scenes of how each meal is prepped and chosen, cafeteria worker Maria Antekelian was happy to explain it. The Los Angeles Unified District (LAUSD) downtown picks the school lunches, makes the recipes, and prepares the menu for each year. The school cafeteria workers have no say in what they serve students. Antekelian also stated, “We follow the rules. Whatever the menu tells us to make, we follow it with the instructions from the cookbook the district gives us.” If students and parents want to contact the LAUSD Food Services the link is: https://www.lausd.org/page/852
By Kailey Trujillo
         Last October, California State University Northridge was announced as the No.2 Public University in California and No.12 in the nation by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). The WSJ's updated method places a specialized focus on student outcomes. CSUN was also ranked fifth-best university for social mobility and twentieth for student experience. In an astounding achievement, among California public universities, CSUN is second only to UC Berkley, and above all other CSUs.
          Not only did CSUN rank No.2 in the state as a public university but also No. 2 for awarding bachelor's degrees to Hispanic students by the Hispanic Outlook on Education magazine, which focuses on Hispanic education in institutions of higher learning. The magazine additionally, ranked CSUN as 20th in the nation for the number of master’s degrees granted to Hispanic students. As of Fall 2022, 55.4% of CSUN’s student population is Latinx. This supports the university’s recognition as more than half their population accounts for their achievements. CSUN also accepts a high number of students from the high school on their campus, Northridge Academy High, which has a high percentage of Latino students, compared to other schools in the area, which might be credited to their relationship. 
          Northridge Academy is privileged to be able to reside on CSUN’s campus and have a partnership with them. NAHS students can visit CSUN’s library and check out books, a privilege not other high school students in the area have. Students here commonly visit the college campus for various activities, visits to their journalism and math departments, or shows at The Soraya, their performing arts center. NAHS is proud to be partnered with CSUN to help students advance further in their studies.
By Olivia Muñoz
          With the advent of the new year comes award season, and a whole host of ceremonies dedicated to honoring various movies, TV shows, and other media. This past year was an exciting one for the entertainment industry, bringing new pop culture events such as BarbenHeimer, the dual premier for movies ‘Barbie’ and ‘Oppenheimer’, new heartthrobs, such as actors Jacob Elordi and Jeremy Allen White, and a fresh start for industries that were effectively shut down by the pandemic. 
          The past few years have been decidedly rough for Hollywood. The COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 put a halt to all productions, and only in 2022 did we see a comeback with the reopening of theaters and the newfound popularity of streaming services. Then, this past year, the SAG-AFTRA and Writer’s Guild of America strikes additionally slowed many aspects of the industry down, and highlighted the issues that were present within it. 
          However, 2023 was the first year since 2020 that we saw the resurgence of visual media. According to CNN, the total gross of box office revenue from this past year was about $9 billion dollars, the highest since the pandemic. Heavy hitters like ‘Barbie’, ‘Oppenheimer’, ‘Spider-man: Across the Spider-Verse’, ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’, and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ raked in millions of dollars, and offered a boost of morale for those that lost faith in entertainment. 
          The beginning of January officially kicked off the award season, where within the first few months of the year several ceremonies are held to celebrate the best media of the past year. The first notable ceremony, The Golden Globes, occurred January 7th and set a trend for the winners; notably, ‘Oppenheimer’ took home five awards, ‘Succession’ swiped four, and shows ‘The Bear’ and ‘Beef’ pulled several others. Subsequently, the Critic’s Choice Awards took place a week after the Globes, with many of the nominees and winners following the same pattern; ‘Oppenheimer’ once again won eight awards, ‘Barbie’ six awards, and ‘The Bear’ four awards. The Emmys, which were postponed from September of last year, were just as predictable, with ‘Succession’ and ‘The Bear’ coming out on top, snagging six awards respectively, and ‘Beef’ following close behind with five awards. 
          After this flood of movie and TV award shows, the 66th GRAMMY Awards took place on February fourth to culminate 2023’s music season. This resulted in many surprise wins, such as Record of the Year going to ‘Flowers’ by Miley Cyrus, Album of the Year to ‘Midnights’ by Taylor Swift, and Song of the Year to ‘What Was I Made For?’by Billie Eilish for the ‘Barbie’ soundtrack. 
          However, one of the largest and most well-known ceremonies is just on the horizon. The 96th Academy Awards, set to be aired on March 10th of this year and hosted by entertainer and comedian Jimmy Kimmel, have released their full list of nominations. Some significant snubs were ‘Barbie’ director Greta Gerwig being excluded from the Directing category, and Margot Robbie from the Actress in a Leading Role category. 
           Needless to say, it has been an eventful year for media of all types, and these shows work to recognize the talent of the people that create these projects. 
By Rafaelle Cordero
         As the 2024 Presidential Election furthers, former president Donald Trump takes the lead in the primary elections so far for the Republican party. Last month in Iowa, Trump won 51% for the Republican primary election and Nikkie Haley in third place with 19% of the votes according to CNN Politics. Biden is overall the leading vote for the Democratic party for the primary elections.
          With Trump on the lead for the Republicans, students and faculty are asked how they feel about this. Mrs. Nelson, a social studies teacher here at Northridge Academy High School, gives her say about this latest news in politics. “It horrifies me because I believe Donald Trump is a flat-out fascist, Nikkie Haley is a better choice, but I think Trump is totally mentally unfit to be president.” With Trump’s previous actions, such as influencing the Capitol raid in Washington on January 6th, 2021, it is reasonable that Mrs. Nelson believes that Trump isn’t the best candidate to be a president.
            From a student’s perspective, Carlos Altamira believes the same thing, stating “If he wins, he will be a lot more daring and angry than he was, I do not support his political values. Why would a leftist vote for a fascist?”
           The January 6th incident was obviously caused by the former president. So, it raises the question: are our students and  faculty scared of another uprising against the government? Many fear that this event might happen again if Trump gets re-elected for president.
          However, it seems clear that many people believe that Trump is a bad choice, but what do other
people here at NAHS think about him? Shenod Lasz, vice president of class of 2024, gives his honest opinion on the primary election. “I hope things will go back to how it was before Biden, there isn’t really a good candidate here, as it’s either Biden or Trump.”
          Some students have different opinions about Trump. Joseph Emerick, another student, states that “Trump is definitely going to reopen domestic oil production, and Americans yearn for cheaper gas.” Ever since the war between Russia and Ukraine, the US and many other countries placed sanctions on Russia, which increased the prices of gasoline due to Russia being the US’s provider.
          Despite the divided opinions, NAHS studetns respect each other’s views and opinions, because that’s how we can learn from one another. Not respecting our views causes more political and societal disruption, our society can be more divided than it already is.
By Aaron Hernandez
          In this year alone, there have been four school shootings in the USA. In the year of 2023, there were 346 school shootings nationwide.These incidents raise the question, how is LAUSD able to prevent these types of catastrophes and what is the protocol for these probable and petrifying situations? What is our school, Northridge Academy High School, doing to secure the safety of our students? What would the protocol be if a student were to find themselves in this disturbing situation?                                 
          In order to answer these fervent questions, the Department of Homeland Security created a three-step protocol. The first step is to evacuate. During these events, be sure to have several escape routes in mind and ensure evacuation even if others refuse to comply. Try to help students along the way if possible or prevent students from going where the active shooter may be. If you happen to reach local law enforcement, make sure your hands are raised and visible to the officers and follow their instructions promptly. If law enforcement has not yet arrived, find a safe place and contact your local law enforcement. 
          Second, if you are in a circumstance where evacuation is not an option, find shelter or hide. It is important during this situation to find a place where the active shooter does not see you. Find a place that can also provide solid cover from where shots could be fired. If you find yourself in a classroom, be sure to lock the doors and help form a blockade consisting of heavy furniture with the help of your fellow peers. It is also important to be silent if the active shooter is near you. To secure the utmost discreteness, turn the lights off and close the blinds.
           Step 3 should be a student's last resort. If you can not hide or you can't run and you are close to the active shooter. Your last resort is to attack or divert the active shooter. Although these steps may seem drastic there is a possibility of this kind of situation. 
          Fortunately Our school has not experienced anything like this before. However, we can do more than just prepare individually. We need to prevent it. A 2002 study by US Department of Education identified 69% of those committing violent acts as between the ages of 10- 19. It also reported 78% of school shooters had a history of suicide attempts or suicidal ideals. Most of these attackers have a history of having bad mental health. Does our school have a good mental health awareness for our students? Northridge Academy's Psychiatric Social Worker (PSW) the head of Mental health of our school, Mr. Choi provides some answers on how to keep us safe. He states, " I wish we could do more to promote mental health awareness." He further says "Although we talk about mental health in advisories and health class we need more ways of promoting mental health awareness. I think if we keep adding the focus of mental health in our classrooms, our everyday conversations, our digital communication, and creating relevant psychological education on campus, we will improve mental health awareness at Northridge Academy High School."
        Lastly, If you or anyone you know is attempting to hurt themselves or hurt those around them please go to a trusted adult. Mr Choi says encourages students to talk to a teacher, counselor, administrator, or some staff member. This is the first step. It provides protection for people in an unsafe environment. Helping them connect to people and resources that can help them. Mr Choi also provides advice for complex situations like depression, self harm and inflicting harm. "Depression is a complex mental health condition, and having a conversation with a medical professional, counselor, or social worker can be helpful to learn more about what might be going on, and how to get connected to supports that may help."  Using these methods will help improve mental health and help individuals make healthier goals.
         If you or anyone you know are going through depression, inflicting self harm, or threatening to hurt others, call hotlines such as the Suicide Prevention Hotline (988) or Teenline (800-852-8336).  I know these problems can be hard to discuss, but it's important that we as a society take our mental health into serious consideration to avoid any unwanted consequences.
By Johann Anderson
          ChatGPT has been an incredible change since its introduction in late 2022 to the Internet. But recently, Open AI has introduced a new ChatGPT Store where anyone can create their own AI based on the frame- work of ChatGPT.
           As of January 7th, anyone can submit their own GPT (Generative Pre-training Transformer) in the online store and potentially earn money for their creations on the store. These GPTs can vary from being a cooking assistant to an online tutor and creating them requires no experience in AI technology. The new store can be a source of passive income for anyone looking to earn money from a side hustle. However, as of now the exact amount of money creators will receive from the store is unknown and to keep a GPT on the store requires a $20 per month subscription.
          This new platform can potentially combine the abilities of AI from the internet into one source. People have to go to different AI websites to assist in tasks such as photo editing and voice modeling, and helping with work. Students here at Northridge Academy High School use it.
          A potential concern to creating new types of chatbots to solve problems can lead to less certainty and credibility online. Here at Northridge Academy High School, Mr. Matheny, the English Department chair, states that it makes him suspicious of his students when reading an essay. “I want to read an essay and say it’s a good essay without thinking about if they used ChatGPT.” The credibility of writing can now also be applied to other fields of work that custom GPTs can specialize in. There might even start to be AI generated cooking recipes and clothing designs.
         Overall, ChatGPT Store can be a powerful tool for assisting with everyday life and another source of passive income. But the concerns of more types of AI generated content on the internet can be an issue. The ChatGPT store is still new and subject to change overtime. Users should be wary of new developments that can show up from user created GPTs.
By Kailey Trujillo
          Some students have seen our school dances this school year as unreliable and untrustworthy in whether or not they will happen. Our students have seen neighboring schools in our community creating school dances that are an instant success with many buying tickets and selling out. The dances are later posted on social media only bringing a stronger desire for our students to have one just as great. Northridge Academy is the only exception as we’ve had two dances canceled and a whole new idea of a Valentine’s dance. This Valentine’s dance has wavering thoughts on it by the students.
           Junior, Yadira Galindo, commented, “This new dance just doesn’t sound fun compared to Winter Formal from past years or homecoming that other schools have. I don’t think I will be attending if I’m being honest.” This supports the thoughts of other students at the school about the constantly changing scheduled dances and ideas.
          Even though Northridge does not have a football team, it does not mean basketball can’t be a substitute for the main homecoming event. Back in 2007, Northridge had its first-ever homecoming basketball game. As said in the 2007 yearbook, “We created our own traditions. Even without a football team, we still had a homecoming rally, game, and dance on January 26th, 2007. We started a tradition with our basketball team that will last forever.” The homecoming dance theme was the Masquerade Ball, which was held in the gym with beautifully decorated tables and many handmade and store-bought masks as part of the student’s semi-formal attire.
          To create interest and increase student participation in school dances, Northridge needs to use traditional named events to draw in students. Leadership student, Dayhani Zamora, stated, “This school year’s dances have not turned out as we’ve hoped, we’ve faced low student interest, low sales, and not enough time to organize them thoroughly.” This is true as our disinterested students have led to a major decline in ticket sales and desperate actions by the ASB board like lowering prices and extending the deadlines to buy tickets. As a solution to this problem, many students such as senior, Alyssa Fernandez, stated, “People like free things and incentives which I think would help motivate students into buying tickets for events. Maybe free food or free activities would help increase student participation. Speaking of food, the food need
         Northridge should put more time into planning out events and spending more money on a high-quality-oriented dance with activities like professional photo booths or food that is freshly made during the dance instead of cheap cold pizza. 
By Joseph Adwani 
          In today's digital age, screens surround us, from televisions to laptops, phones, and desktop monitors. While these devices offer convenience and entertainment, their usage comes with potential implications for eye health. Understanding how screen technology has evolved sheds light on the various factors influencing eye strain and discomfort.
I. Television Screens
A. Blue Light Emission
The blue light emitted from television screens can disrupt the circadian rhythm, affecting sleep-wake cycles. Exposure to this light (especially before bedtime, ) may suppress melatonin production, impacting sleep quality.
B. Glare and Reflection
Glare and reflections on television screens can strain the eyes and contribute to eye fatigue. Prolonged exposure to glare and reflections may lead to discomfort and an increased risk of eye strain.
II. Phone Screens
A. Blue Light Exposure
The blue light emitted by phone screens can interfere with circadian rhythms, potentially causing sleep disturbances. Extended use of phones may increase the risk of digital eye strain due to prolonged exposure to blue light.
B. Close Proximity
Holding phones at close distances can result in eye strain and discomfort. The proximity of phones to the eyes may contribute to dry eyes, especially during prolonged usage.
III. Laptop Screens
A. Blue Light and Sleep
Blue light emitted from laptop screens may disrupt melatonin production, impacting sleep quality. Exposure to blue light before bedtime from laptops can negatively affect the circadian rhythm.
B. Viewing Angle
Poor viewing angles on laptops may lead to neck and eye strain over time. Maintaining an ergonomic setup is crucial to minimize the risk of discomfort associated with prolonged laptop use.
IV. Desktop Monitors
A. Size and Resolution
Inappropriate monitor size or resolution may contribute to eye fatigue and discomfort. Adjusting font size on desktop monitors is essential to ensure comfortable viewing and prevent eye strain.
B. Brightness Levels
Adapting monitor brightness to ambient light conditions is important to reduce eye strain. Avoiding glare and reflections by adjusting brightness levels contributes to a more comfortable viewing experience.
V. Light Bulbs
A. Color Temperature
The color temperature of lightbulbs, particularly blue light content, can impact circadian rhythms and sleep. Choosing between warm and cool lighting based on color temperature is important for creating a conducive environment for various tasks.
B. Intensity
Inappropriate lighting intensity may contribute to eye strain and discomfort. Optimal lighting conditions, considering intensity, are essential for reducing the risk of eye strain during various activities.
VI. Pre-1950's Screens
          Early television screens, primarily using Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) technology, had distinct characteristics compared to modern screens. They emitted less blue light and had lower resolutions and image clarity. The limited programming and broadcasting hours resulted in reduced overall screen time, potentially impacting eye health differently than today's prolonged screen use. The materials used in early screens may have had different reflective properties, affecting glare and reflections. Additionally, the absence of advanced screen coatings and filters, along with limited color capabilities, might have influenced eye strain differently than modern screens.
          While pre-1950s screens had distinct characteristics, the available historical data on their effects on eye health is limited compared to contemporary screens. Today's screens incorporate advanced technologies like anti-glare coatings and blue light filters to enhance user comfort. Understanding the evolution of screen technology provides insights into the factors influencing eye health and emphasizes the importance of responsible screen usage and ergonomic setups to mitigate potential risks.