Homepage 5, 2023

By Emi Gruender

Have you ever taken a look inside one of the many trash cans that dot our campus? If you have, you’re bound to notice the major component of the contents: food. The cafeteria serves the same items every day. The burgers, chicken teriyaki box, benefit bars, and of course, the unpopular and therefore virtually untouched organic food. These food scraps could continue to decompose in dumps unregulated, and create methane as a byproduct, or Westmont could take steps to prevent it. 

My name is Emi Gruender. I am a worker at the cafeteria, and as a result of my close proximity to where the food comes from and where it goes, I have noticed the sheer amounts of unregulated waste on our campus. Before continuing, I want to clarify that this is not a pessimistic article. I do not aim to discourage or scare the readers of The Shield about the enormity of climate change; on the contrary, I want to provide an attainable solution for Westmont’s waste discarding system. 

And there’s a way you could be a part of it.

This Day in History: January 3

  • 1777 – General George Washington’s revolutionary army defeats British forces at the Battle of Princeton, New Jersey.
  • 1870 – Construction work begins on the oldest suspension bridge in the U.S. the Brooklyn Bridge.
  • 1892 – English author and scholar J.R.R Tolkien best known for The Lord of the Rings was born in South Africa.
  • 1925 – Benito Mussolini dissolves the Italian parliament and proclaims himself dictator of Italy.
  • 1938 –  U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the National Foundation of Infantile paralysis to find a cure for polio.
  • 1939 – Canadian professional ice hockey player Bobby Hull, the “Golden Jet,” was born.
  • 1957 – The first electric watch is available.
  • 1959 – Alaska became the 49th U.S. state.
  • 1961 – The U.S. breaks diplomatic relations with Cuba.
  • 1969 – John Lennon releases his album Two Virgina.
  • 1977 – Apple Computer, Inc was founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozinak.
  • 1987- Aretha Franklin is the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
  • 2001 – Hilary Clinton became the first lady in U.S. history to win elective office when she was sworn in as a U.S. senator from New York.
  • 2004 – NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover, Spirit, landed on Mars to study the chemical and physical composition of the planet’s surface.

Fun Facts About January

  1. The Roman deity Janus, who had two faces and could see both ahead into the future and backward into the past year, inspired the name of the month, January.
  2. On January 1, 1892, Ellis Island opened, and over 20 million individuals were able to immigrate as a result of the opening
  3. Since 1890, the Rose Parade has been conducted annually in Pasadena, California. Since then, it has been televised globally and is generally seen in more than 100 nations.
  4. January’s birthstone is garnet
  5. Considering January was the month when famished wolves would come in search of food, the Anglo-Saxons called it “Wulf Monath.”
  6. The second ruler of Rome, King Numa Pompilius, is credited for adding February and January to the Roman calendar in order to make calendars equal to a lunar year.
  7. The birth flowers of January are both the carnation and snowdrop.
  8. The first ever Emmy Awards were held in January 1949.
  9. When Queen Liliuokalani was forced to step down in January, the monarchy in Hawaii came to an end.
  10. The zodiac signs in January are Capricorn and Aquarius.

Ever wondered if Santa might not be real after all? 

If your answer is yes, you would probably understand the pressing question that troubles young Susan Walker in Westmont Theatre’s production of Miracle of 34th Street. 

Miracle on 34th Street tells the story of Kris Kringle, a man hired as a Santa Claus at a Macy’s Department Store, who claims to actually be Santa himself. His insistence of his true identity confuses Susan, who’s mother, Doris Walker (Kringle’s employer), taught her not to believe in Santa. As Susan regains her faith in the father of Christmas, grown-ups around her grapple to ignore their once-assured doubt in the man who rides a flying, reindeer-drawn sleigh. Questioning Kringle’s mental state, skeptical adults aim to hospitalize him by taking him to court. However, the exhibit of hundreds of Santa-addressed letters from the post office proves Kringle’s legal validity, and a judge rules in his favor.

The cast and crew express nothing but appreciation for Miracle on 34th Street.

Senior Shiloh Martinez, who plays Kris Kringle, values the show’s impact on the community, expressing his gratitude for “more opportunities to build camaraderie and Christmas spirit in the theatre department.” Martinez’s charisma and wit on stage charms his audience; he embodies Kringle’s caring nature.

And of course, you have to respect Director Hazel Behl’s talent behind the scenes. Though Miracle is Behl’s first time directing, she does a phenomenal job. Behl explains, “It’s definitely been an experience . . . everyone has been really nice to work with and just really respectful.” 

Incredibly unique, Westmont’s rendition of Miracle on 34th Street modifies the show to be a vintage radio play, including fan favorite sing-along carols scattered throughout the production. As myself and others can attest, the lively show was a blast to watch. 

Furthermore, the Walker family, daughter Susan and mother Doris, face challenges when their views on Santa start to contrast. Senior Alex Gryciuk plays the enthusiastic little girl. Gryciuk carries such a passionate energy, and her animated expressions bring a smile to the audience’s faces. 

When watching senior Kailey Topping as Doris, you constantly see her reacting and immersed in the scene, even when she isn’t “in” the current conversation between characters. She stands out on stage no matter what she is doing. Topping reflects on her involvement in the play: “I’ve had a lot of fun in this show! The rehearsal process was very quick; we only had about two weeks to prepare, but rehearsals were always a lot of fun!”

Unlike other adults, both Mr. Macy, who works with Doris, and Fred Gailey accept Kringle’s claim to be Santa Claus. Responsible for Kringle’s success in court, Gailey brilliantly delivers stacks of dropped-off letters to the North Pole that recognize Santa as a legitimate person. Kenzy McDowell is incredibly dignified as Gailey!

Senior Matine Nejad does a wonderful job as Mr. Macy. Macy, though technically an employer of Kringle, testifies Kringle’s honesty when questioned by judge Leef Orr. In the holiday spirit, Orr offers a playful quip on their time in the show: “Everyone sleighed.”

A firm non-believer, Mr. Mara testifies against Kringle and his supporters. Junior Kaleb Ma shares Mara’s anti-holiday cheer; when asked about his thoughts on Miracle, Ma claimed (in his audience-loved country accent) that “there’s no such thing as Santa Claus.”

I argue against Ma’s argument, for Miracle on 34th Street completely and utterly restored my once lost faith in Santa. 

 We talked with several of the firefighters, but one challenge persisted: the hours. Many nights are spent at the station waiting for an emergency, which can be tough for those with young families. During the fire season, they can spend up to 21 days out on the job, with no time to see their loved ones. The season can cause high tensions for the firefighters as they deal with the exhaustion and fatigue of always being on call. Their hard work and dedication are highly admirable, and we are so thankful to have such spirited firefighters looking out for the community. We finished off our trip by asking the fire chief, if he had any advice for seniors making their transition into the adult world, to which he responded with, “There are so many things to do, so I would start with narrowing down what you don’t want to do, that’s what I did.” Although simple advice, it reads true. We are so thankful to have been able to visit the fire station and hope to continue learning and educating about the importance of fire safety.

Pronounced “chin-qway tay-ray” this alluring travel destination is as beautiful as its name. Having visited Italy multiple times, this is by far my favorite place to visit for its location, architecture and vibrant culture. At first glance, the city is a collection of warmly colored buildings nestled into Italy’s coastal hillside, however a stay in this sunset-colored village promises so much more than a stunning skyline. 

Located on the Italian Riviera, Cinque Terre is a two and a half hour drive outside of Florence, and can be accessed by train or boat. Unfortunately, these picturesque seaside towns are overlooked for their gentrified counterparts. Cinque Terre sees approximately 2.5 million visitors each year; Rome, 25 million. However, visiting the right locations can ensure a much more relaxing stay and an escape from rampant tourists (and tourist traps). Here’s what I recommend, if you plan to visit the seaside gem of Cinque Terre.

The Shield is an independent publication of the Journalism class at Westmont High School. Editorials reflect the opinion of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Westmont High School, its Board of Trustees, faculty, administration, or students. The Shield welcomes all opinions, editorials, poems, artwork, complaints, pictures, advertisements, and letters to the editor. Submit all material to Room 58 and/or aevans@cuhsd.org. We appreciate articles from students, faculty, parents and subscribers. The Shield, Westmont High School, and CUHSD do not endorse any advertisements that run in the newspaper.

Page Editor: Olivia Pocat