For Lucas’s AP English class, we have had a daily journal for the past few weeks where we reflect on our time here at Arcadia and write about our expectations for the future. Today’s prompt was to make a bucket list of to-do’s for the summer. Here is mine so far…
Hike to the top of Mt. Wilson
Hike to the Hollywood sign
Go to MOCA and LACMA
Go to the beach….. a lot (while I can!)
See a musical at Pantages/Ahmanson
Go to a Cal Phil Concert on the Green or a concert at Hollywood Bowl (or both!)
Write letters to all of my close friends going to college (let’s get to it, Irene!)
Go on long bike rides
Start doing Bikram Yoga again
Catch up on TV shows
Catch up on movies
Go to Six Flags
Go to Disneyland
Read more books
Complete my “technology famine” (more on this later)
I’m still adding to the list, but this is what I have so far. I can’t wait for summer :)
I’ll admit that it is a bit embarrassing to be posting these videos, but there was something about the camaraderie in that class that was different from all my other high school classes. Although it was a difficult class, ultimately I didn’t mind the long hours spent on homework and projects because we were just having so much fun :)
Day 8: Favorite book you actually read for English class
Poetics by Aristotle.
I think it would have to be The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. We read that book in Sophomore year and not only was it hilarious, but it was also a very different read from the novels and Shakespearean plays that we traditionally read. It was concise, witty, and entertaining….and we got to do skits :P
Day 7: A time you cried (or felt like crying) at school
Last year, AP Physics was a very difficult class for me. After one particularly difficult test, I became very emotional because I began to feel like no matter how hard I studied, physics would always prevail over me. I was very upset at how hard it was for me to understand physics, and as I walked to my next class after that test, I just became more and more upset and emotional. I teared up, and my Mandarin teacher could tell I was upset so she just didn’t bother me. It was the first and only time I have ever cried over school.
I honestly love all the dances I go to because it’s such a unique and fun event!
But if I were to choose one, I would have to choose Senior Prom. There was just something about it…maybe it was the less stress, or the fact that it was senior prom, or my date, or having a sleepover after, or my friends, or the combination of everything that made it more special, more memorable, and more fun :)
This is a short one! :D I’m powering through this challenge….gotta finish by graduation!
Day 5: Your favorite teacher and how he/she has impacted you
It’s crazy to think about how influential teachers are upon the lives of their students… like the others who have written this post, I really can’t narrow it down to one…. so I’ll try to name the most influential few:
Ms. McGrath and Ms. Donoghue (1st-3rd grade) taught me how to interact with others, how to be inquisitive, and learned to deal with how rebellious Clark and I were in a productive manner by channeling it into positive energy.
Ms. Holcomb(8th grade) really believed in me in her class and ultimately inspired me to try out for Speech & Debate. Without her guidance, I really wouldn’t have joined the team, and I would be an entirely different person.
Ms. Cordero (10th grade) is someone I still go to today to seek advice and ask for help. Her class was definitely my favorite class throughout high school. She pushed me hard to help me realize my full potential, and is one of the most inspiring teachers I have ever encountered. I still visit her several times a week, and I will definitely stay in touch with her in college.
Mr. Woodin (11th grade) has the best personality out of any of the teachers I have ever had. He is truly dedicated to helping kids, and I will never forget how he met me at Starbucks around Christmastime last December to help me edit my college essays. He knows when to be silly and hilarious, and when to be serious, and although I joke about calling him a sage, he does offer sagely advice. I will miss his quirks greatly in college.
Ms. Galloway (11th grade) was probably the most energetic and enthusiastic teacher I have ever had. She truly has a passion for history, and it came through in every aspect of her class, from lectures to discussions. Her room is always open at lunch for students to mingle in, and her warm and inviting persona makes it impossible for anybody to not love her. She recently went on maternity leave, and I can’t wait to visit her next year to catch up!
Ms. Wang (10-11th grade) is the most enjoyable teacher to talk to. Sometimes, I go to her room after school and we end up talking until like 4 PM without realizing it. I value her advice greatly, and she always provides a unique and important perspective on everything. From what I know about her very secretive life (Ms. Wang is so secretive!), she will be retiring soon, and I was very sad to learn that because she has been an amazing teacher and mentor.
I love almost all my teachers :) they deserve more recognition for the amazing work that they do, and I hope they continue to teach, lead, and inspire.
I honestly haven’t ever “officially” gotten in trouble minus like getting my phone taken away in 9th grade by Ms. Brown, but…
If I were to pick an incident, it would be this period of time earlier this year after college apps were over and I was just getting pretty lazy. I started slacking because I felt like everything was done and Ms. Novak noticed, got worried, and teamed up with Ms. Lucas to have this “come to Jesus” talk with me. I’m thankful they did that because although at the time it seemed harsh, it helped me realize that I have to keep working hard no matter what, especially since high school is only a microcosm of what the real world and real life is.
Moral of the story is stay focused and don’t slack off! Being lazy is a terrible way to throw away years of hard work.
My weekend started off with going to the Rose Bowl Swim-a-Thon to deliver my senior speech as a last hurrah to Rose Bowl. Going to the Rose Bowl is like second nature because I have driven there nearly everyday for the past ten years. It was really nice to see all my teammates and coaches and it made me realize how much I will miss the team.
I posted the video and transcript of speech I gave earlier today, and it pretty much sums up everything I want to say about the sport of swimming. Even though we went through ups and downs, ultimately swimming has changed my life for the better and I would not be the same person without this sport. I have learned and grown so much and a part of me wishes I could continue to swim competitively, but my time has come and gone.
Thank you Coach Jeff and Coach Kristine for inspiring me and pushing me to be better day after day.
That night, Ivana and I had dinner at Azeen’s Afghani Restaurant in Old Town…we decided to try something new! It was surprisingly very delicious…it’s good to be adventurous!
Saturday started off with Novice Champs!! It was my last speech tournament ever :(
Starbucks in the morning! :P
It was so nice to be back with the speech team at such a chill tournament, and it was just so fun. Everybody was happy and excited to be with each other, and that defines the atmosphere of speech tournaments.
The results were impressive and after the tournament, we all went back to our default dinner place, CPK. And that was my last speech dinner :( so many lasts…
Some of my friends were hanging out that night and luckily…it was at the mall! I didn’t have to drive. I walked across to Wood Ranch where they were having dinner (but obviously didn’t eat anything because I was so full)
Daniel just always makes the best faces…
We wanted to play Monopoly but were too lazy to drive to somebody’s house so we just sat down in the food court like it was no big deal :P
Afterwards, we watched Bridesmaids which I would recommend to anybody! I LOVED IT!! I rarely love comedy movies but Bridesmaids seriously blew me away. I was so impressed with how they retained a good storyline and content without sacrificing the comedy that was both smart and slapstick…and it was so touching at times too! I don’t go out to watch movies that often in theaters, but this is a definitely must-see movie if you are thinking of going out anytime soon.
Sunday was very relaxing. I met Carpus at Border’s to work on our documentary. We made a lot of progress and I am looking forward to how everything turns out!
Busy weekend prefacing a busy week. 12 school days left!
Day 3: Homecoming- what it meant to you and your memories of it
I understood the meaning of Homecoming for the first time in Sophomore year at the Homecoming football game. It was amazing to see the 2008 graduating class come back and reunite, and there was this unexplainable sense of Apache pride and camaraderie. Homecoming is one of the rare events when a large portion of alumni return, and it is always fun to catch up with old friends. I honestly consider not being able to come home for the Homecoming football game a downside of going so far for college….but oh well :P
Homecoming also includes the dance, and I went my sophomore, junior, and senior year. Sophomore year, I went with Tiffany Lau and it was at this club in Long Beach. The venue was small, but nice, and it was fun because a lot of the ‘08 grads came back so it was like one giant party.
Junior year, I went with Kate Zha and that location was really nice- the science center in LA. It was the second dance I had ever been to, but the first one where the limo and stuff wasn’t last min and awkward (I knew like 5 people in my sophomore year limo LOL) so yay!
Senior year, I went with Ivana Wang and it was at the Natural History Museum in LA which was also a pretty cool location. It was really fun because I knew the people in my limo better and I had a great time because I had a great date :3
I’m gonna miss those football games and those dances next year :/
I remember getting dropped off on Campus and walking onto school as I crossed the street at the traffic light. I wasn’t scared because I don’t get scared/nervous easily but I was a bit uncomfortable because it was a new environment and I was the youngest. I made my way over to the pavilion area and gathered awkwardly around the other freshman trying to see where my first period class was. That huge poster thing is dumb and inefficient, but I remember seeing my first class was Williams in E3. I saw a few people I recognized at the poster and on the way to class, but it was so new and foreign- way more people and they were all strangers!
Looking over all your applications, I cannot be more excited to put together the team for the 2011-2012 season. Over the next week, we will be conducting interviews where we will try our best to get to know you. We are spending a great deal of time with each of the candidates because we think it is worth it.
That being said, the best thing you can do for yourself in the interview is to be yourself. We’re not necessarily looking for the most poised, or smartest, or most outgoing, etc. We are looking for honesty and genuineness. We want to see that you care and are just as excited as we are to be a part of Mock Trial.
The last and most important thing I want to say is that this process will be very difficult for me personally because I know over half of the people trying out, and it is logistically impossible for us to accept all the interested candidates. We are trying our best to accept as many of the candidates as we can who we think will benefit from this experience. But it’s a fact that not everybody will make the team. Just know that this decision is not personal.
In the end, don’t be nervous and have fun :) that is the mock trial motto after all!
Honestly, there are so many feelings that it is confusing to know what I am feeling. It’s really just overwhelming, but I’ll try to articulate my emotions…
I’m excited because of the endless opportunities that await me and the new experiences. I can’t wait to live in a different environment (minus the weather :P) and learn new things each and everyday.
I’m scared of being in that new environment because it is not what I am used to. It won’t be as comforting and easy, and life will be completely different. I’m scared of that change just as much as I am excited for it.
I’m happy because I love where I’ll be.
I’m nostalgic because Arcadia is an amazing place full of amazing memories. After living here for all 17 years of my life, I know I will miss Arcadia and everything about/in it. It’s sad to leave behind many things I love: most of my friends will be back in California, I won’t be on Arcadia Speech & Debate or Rose Bowl Swim, I will no longer have good Asian food….(this one is very important), the list goes on.
But most of all, I am ready to start fresh, study hard, meet friends, and make memories. Everything is moving so fast, but it’s honestly so exciting and fun! Change is scary, but change is good.
This is going to be one long post summarizing some of the things that happened in the past few weeks….. -deep breath- … here we go…..
In the last week of April, we had Senior Seminars since we didn’t have to take the CST’s. Senior Council put on the ASB Seminar, and a few of us were part of a “beauty pageant” almost for pure entertainment, complete with a fashion show, dancing, and Q&A sessions.
"Formal fashion show"
"Wacky fashion show"
A few of the guys went to rent tuxes together and we all agreed to get white tuxes since it was, according to Jon Ma, the “last socially acceptable time we could wear white tuxedos.”
Anyway, the ASB seminar was so much fun to put on. In the beginning I wasn’t all that excited because of the extra work and thought needed to be put into it. And it was hectic running back and forth, changing between wacky outfits and formal outfits, and figuring out what to do for both the Charleston dance and a freestyle dance….but in the end, it was just so much fun to put on the show and perform, especially since it was silly!
Carpus and I received a pleasant surprise during Senior Seminars. As we were signing up, we realized that there was a seminar labeled "C-SPAN Documentary" and the description indicated that we were hosting a seminar to “watch and discuss” our short documentary. We were initially confused, especially since we didn’t even know about it, but things always seem to turn out for the better….
Turns out C-SPAN sent their production bus to our school for students to tour….
Mayor Kovacic, Time Warner Cable, and C-SPAN came out to recognize our documentary and hold an official award presentation. It was humbling and Carpus and I are both looking forward to our future film projects :)
That same week was Senior Panorama.
Two nights before the picture, almost all 30 of us gathered at Jon Ma’s house to cut felt and make the shirts.
"On a scale of 1-10, we’re 11!"
Earlier that week, Kate, Alex, and I went to Foothills Middle School to promote Speech & Debate and answer any questions students might have regarding the tryout process…
A pretty good number of kids came out to the lunch meeting which was fun :) It’s so crazy to see how small 8th graders are and to think that we were there not too long ago…
A stack of applications to pass out…yay for speech tryouts!!
^that picture marked the beginning of the selection process. In the end, over 125 people tried out and we accepted 55. It was tough to decide because I hate to be the person who tries to make a prediction or judgement of a person based on a short audition and interview, but it has to be done. The list was released last week, and we are very excited to see the new team blossom :)
That same week, we held our Mock Trial Info Meeting in the lecture hall. Over 100 people have expressed interest in trying out, which is very humbling and exciting! Tryouts begin this week :)
We were watching the vlog I made for the county competition :P
The next week was League Prelims and Finals for high school swim.
The Burbank pool looks so nice! Varsity Boys and Girls both got 2nd in league which is decent but expected. Mixed results, but all-in-all, a good last league meet!
After my last Saturday practice at Rose Bowl, we went out for a team breakfast at Heirloom.
This picture only includes a few of them, but I will really miss my Rose Bowl family in the coming months. And because she asked for a personal shoutout, Katie- thanks for being annoyingly persistent about going to Mix ‘N Munch. Even though we still make fun of you for it, I have to admit that the Rock ‘N Roll Circus Crunch bowl of cereal is pretty good….and I’m going back soon to try their grilled cheese :P and I’ll miss making fun of you, so when I come back to visit, be prepared for an onslaught of insults!
Because of the Words With Friends app on iPhone/Android, my friends have a very sudden fascination with Scrabble (it’s just like Words With Friends, but original and actually physically with your friends!)
The first Scrabble night was pretty spontaneous…Celeste, Irene, and I met at TeaBar late one night to play a game after a day of studying for AP Stats.
The second Scrabble night happened at my house a few days later. Ultimately, ten people showed up and we played in teams…my house was very lively- filled with screams of anger, frustration, and joy. It was really nice to have everybody together in one place. And even though the game ended around 10, people stayed until midnight talking and reminiscing and just having a good time. I’m going to miss these moments the most in college.
That week was also AP Week! Definitely not as stressful as last year though…
Our school came up with a hilariously creative fundraiser- AP Grams. Irene sent me this one and I just love the heartfelt and thoughtful message…. LOLOL
We had a pre-AP Stats exam breakfast at IHOP! Last minute studying (and bonding) over pancakes and omelettes :D
After school on senior ditch day, seven of us went to Guppy Tea House in Hacienda Heights to eat their famous shaved ice
Yay group picture!
The enormous and delicious shaved ice: fresh strawberries, mangos, and bananas with condensed milk and ice cream over ice….
Last Friday was CIF Southern Section Prelims at Belmont Plaza. I swam the 200 Medley Relay and my breaststroke split was my fastest ever (non-suit).
It’s funny because my first championship meet was held there when I was 8 (SCAA Champs or something like that), and now, my last championship meet was also held there. It’s crazy how things come around full circle.
I got to lounge on the beach afterwards :P
That night, Michelle and I went to the Gab Speech Showcase to support our friends and watch their beautiful speeches :)
It was very nice to sit back and watch the speeches I have been competing with all year in a non-competitive setting. And it was another reminder that speech is over! :( but very fun nonetheless :)
Prom was the most recent event! I didn’t take many pictures :( but I do have vlogs LOL (post later!)
Anyway, Ivana and I took pictures at Mrs. Lee’s and then went to Starbucks to join Celeste/William and catch the last few minutes of Frappuccino Happy Hour. After, we went to the Yao’s house where we took lots of pictures and finally boarded our limo to dinner. We ate at Banana Bay (yummy Thai food) before arriving at the Grove in Anaheim. The venue was pretty nice and I thought it was a well-put-together dance and I had lots of fun!
After Prom, about eight of us slept over at my house. We ate, talked, and watched Easy A before falling asleep. We woke up around 11 and had the laziest morning ever- made breakfast and did nothing until around 2 when Ivana, Irene, Celeste, and I went to grab boba and lunch. Fun weekend :) thanks Ivana<3
Wow. That was long. Sorry for those of you who had to scroll through this on your Dashboard :P
Three more weeks of school + finals before graduation! It’s scary stuff… I’m anxious, but excited and ready :)
These past few days/weeks have been pretty hectic, so blogging has been kind of slow :( I have a lot to post in the next few days but today is….
Prom will be at the Grove in Anaheim and I am excited for my last high school dance! I love dances because it’s probably one of the few times when almost everybody comes together for a large social gathering.
The young men and women of America’s future elite work their laptops to the bone, rarely question authority, and happily accept their positions at the top of the heap as part of the natural order of life
It’s a topic we constantly discuss, and this article takes a deep introspective look into a lifestyle many of us here in Arcadia can sympathize with.
Grr, I’ve fallen behind on blogging. Sorry for the lack of posts, I haven’t had the time to sit down and write anything well thought out….let me try to catch up a little with some quick updates…
It’s May! Last week, we held our Mock Trial Info Meeting for next year’s team, and almost 100 people showed interest! That’s very exciting, and we are looking to grow the team so I’m super excited to see everybody in tryouts. We did release the tryout application earlier this week and people have already signed up for interviews!!
If you’re thinking of trying out for mock trial but are not sure, let me just say once again that I think everybody will benefit from the team, so if you will be dedicated to the team, you should tryout. Also know that we don’t give any preference to people on Speech or who we know (that would be too many people anyway), the number of people who make it is determined by the size and talent of the applicant pool, and our coaches are heavily involved in selecting the new team so the process gives everybody an equal chance.
On a similar note, Speech tryouts are almost over…they started on Monday and end this coming Monday. Judging speech tryouts has been an interesting experience, and I will write more on that later, but choosing the new team is also very exciting here.
Arcadia Swim had our League Prelims and Finals this week…it was my last high school league meet ever! I remember league meets so distinctly all the way back to Freshman year, and this one is no different. My results were mixed, but ultimately, the big meet is going to be CIF which will be next Friday! As a team, we did pretty well and took 2nd place (no surprises though, we went in ranked 2nd).
Extracurriculars will dominate most of my time until late May, so I’m not completely free yet! And I still have to study for my AP Stats exam this coming Wednesday. I can already smell Panera’s chai tea latte and warm french baguette :P
You would think that AP week is a dreaded part of the year that is full of stress and anxiety….
But it’s really not.
That time of the year is back! I remember one year ago when all of us were cozying up at Starbucks and Panera with several Barron’s books, furiously scribbling on that off-white, grainy paper that is characteristic of test prep books.
The funny thing is that remembering the AP Exam weeks from last year actually bring back fond memories. Despite long hours spent studying, anxious for our exams, I can’t help but remember the breakfast that Susanna, Celeste, and I had at 6 AM before the AP Calc exam at Noah’s. Or standing outside Mr. Woodin’s car in the racetrack parking lot as he wished us luck with breakfast and juice before the AP English exam. Or milling outside talking friends on the bleachers during break. Or the feeling of accomplishment after writing the period of the last sentence of the last free response question. Or going to lunch off campus (legally) with my friends feeling like I had no care in the world. Or walking out of the testing room on Wednesday after AP English and literally jumping with joy because “Junior year was over.”
And I had 8+ hours of sleep per night and I was hyped up on caffeine…..but that’s besides the point :P
To the Juniors, the best advice I can give you is to relax. You’ve studied all year (hopefully) and there’s not much you can do now. Go over some key concepts, maybe review a few practice tests, but don’t kill yourself by cramming. Sleep early! Eat a good snack. Don’t be nervous (this isn’t life or death)!
You can probably see the light at the end of the tunnel….so it’s almost over! Just relax and have fun :)
Obviously, the biggest news story tonight centers around the death of the most wanted man in the world, Osama Bin Laden.
I first heard the rumors on social media sites. On Google Realtime, I watched the Twitter feed explode with tweets regarding the death of Bin Laden. Following Obama’s speech, celebratory Facebook statuses, joking tweets, and internet memes on Tumblr consumed my newsfeed, homepage, and dashboard.
Amidst the hurrahs, one Facebook status by my friend Shelby stood out to me:
Well played America. Singing the National Anthem and God Bless America in front of the White House in celebration of a death?? I don’t care who was killed. Please act with dignity. Show the world that you are made of something better.
It made me think about how we were supposed to react to such news. What kind of message do our celebrations send? Are we being immature? Is it going too far?
After trying to articulate my thoughts for some time into a blog post, I found an article posted on The Huffington Post by Rabbi Schmuley Boteach that summarizes how I feel, and provokes an interesting discussion about how we all should react, and why hatred will never lead to peace.
A few moments after hearing that the United States military had killed Osama bin Laden, I quickly tweeted congratulations to President Obama, the American military, and the American people for having neutralized this monster. I added a second tweet that quoted the Bible, “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles” (Proverbs 24:17). I mentioned that Bin Laden’s death was not a cause for celebration or parades but rather a time for thanks and gratitude to God that evil had been rooted out and that innocents had been protected via the elimination of a cold-blooded killer intent on murdering the defenseless.
Within minutes my close friend Rosie O’Donnell tweeted to her followers, “Do rabbis condone violence — war — murder?”
The exchange between me and Rosie sparked a huge debate over Twitter. It’s an important debate and I want to clarify my position as well as offer the Jewish values take on bin Laden’s death.
Judaism stands alone as a world religion in its commandment to hate evil. Exhortations to hate all manner of evil abound in the Bible and God declares His detestation of those who visit cruelty on His children. Psalm 97 is emphatic: “You who love God must hate evil.” Proverbs 8 declares, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.” Amos 5 demands, “Hate the evil and love the good.” And Isaiah 5 warns, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil.” And concerning the wicked King David declares unequivocally, “I have hated them with a perfect hatred. They are become enemies to me.” (Psalm 139) Hatred is a valid emotion, the appropriate moral response, to the human encounter with inhuman cruelty. Mass murderers most elicit our deepest hatred and contempt.
On the other hand, the Bible also says that we are not to celebrate our enemy’s demise. We do not dance over the body of a murderer like Osama bin Laden. Indeed, at the Passover Seder we Jews, upon mentioning the Ten Plagues, poor wine out of our glasses ten separate times to demonstrate that we will not raise a glass to the suffering of the Egyptians, even though they were engaged in genocide. Likewise, after the Red Sea split and drowned the Egyptians, Moses and the Jewish people sang ‘The Song of the Sea.’ Yet, the Talmud says that God himself rebuked the Israelites: ‘My creatures are drowning in the sea, yet you have now decided to sing about it?’
We wish there never was evil in the world. It would have been far better for there never to have to been a Pharaoh, a Hitler, or an Osama bin Laden. When Hitler blows his brains out in a Berlin bunker we give thanks to God that his unspeakable evil has finally come to an end. But who could possibly rejoice after so many innocents have died?
The same is true of 9/11. Three thousand people died. Are we now going to jump for joy that their killer has been brought to justice? No. This is a time to give thanks to God and show gratitude. But who can celebrate? Their families are still bereft. They are still missing. American soldiers continue to die in Iraq and Afghanistan. We do not gloat over the triumph over evil because its very existence must forever be mourned.
Many readers wrote to me that on Purim Jews celebrate the death of Haman. Incorrect. We celebrate the deliverance of an innocent people from genocide.
But for those who go further and quote to me Jesus’ injunction that we are to love our enemies, I respond that to love murderers is to practice contempt against their victims. Those who do not hate bin Laden have been morally compromised. A member of the Taliban who cuts off a woman’s nose and ears or an Al Qaeda terrorist who flies a plane into a building has cast off the image of God from their countenance and is no longer our human brother. They deserve not amnesty but abhorrence, not clemency but contempt. And since humans cannot bestow life, neither can they act in the place of God and forgive those who take life.
To my Christian brothers and sisters I say, as a Jew who has just completed a book about Jesus that is thoroughly sourced in the New Testament, that Jesus never meant to forgive God’s enemies. He words are specific. He says to love your enemy. Your enemy is the guy who steals your parking space. God’s enemies are those blow up airplanes. Likewise, in advocating turning the other cheek Jesus never meant that if someone kills 3000 American citizens you are to allow him to kill 3000 British as well. Rather, Jesus meant to forgive petty slights rather than monstrous evil.
I do not believe in revenge, something the Bible explicitly prohibits. The ancient Jewish understanding of the Biblical injunction of ‘an eye for an eye’ was always financial restitution for the lost productivity of an eye rather than the barbaric taking of an organ itself. But I do believe in justice, and forgiving murder or loving a terrorist makes a mockery of human love and a shambles of human justice. The human capacity for love is limited enough without us making the reprehensible mistake of directing even a sliver of our heart away from the victims and toward their culprits.
Ecclesiastes expressed it best: “There is not just a time to love but also a time to hate.” I hate Osama bin Laden but I will not rejoice in his death. It would have been better for the world had he never been born. But once he was, and once he directed his life to unspeakable cruelty, it was necessary for him to be stopped and killed. And for that I give thanks to God and the brave soldiers of the American military for making the world a safer, more just, and innocent place.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is the author of ‘Judaism for Everyone’ and is founder of ‘This World: The Values Network’, which is now launching ‘The American Institute of Jewish Values’ to promote universal Jewish teachings in American media and culture.
This post is weeks late, but I want to get it out before I forget everything!
Thursday, March 24:
The day we left, Team Neptune presented us with balloons that matched the ones we got during LA Top 16 and a beautiful poster :) I posted about this before, but once again, it was a perfect team moment that demonstrated the love and support we have for one another.
Checking in the hotel was a big pain. I had yet to deposit the money into my checking account so my card didn’t go through to check in. Barclay’s bank also denied his card, so we were kind of stuck. With about three minutes to spare before bank closing time, we rushed to the nearest Bank of America. We got there just a few minutes after the doors were locked, but after knocking on the glass door and pleading for help, the bank manager decided to come over and talk to us. We explained our situation but she said that she couldn’t legally open the doors for security reasons.
So we did what any reasonable person would do in a situation like this…. stuff a dozen checks through the cracks in the doors. The lady was so nice and did all the transactions for us and everything was good :)
We spent a while wandering in the Mission Inn part of Downtown Riverside. For those who haven’t been there, it’s actually really pretty- kind of Old Town Pasadena-esque. We walked to many restaurants but they were either full (of mock trial kids) or too expensive ($50 a person??).
We ended up eating at Cafe Sevilla, this authentic Spanish restaurant where we really had no idea what to order. I ended up getting the safest dish on the menu- seafood pasta (except some spanish translated version). Some people were more adventurous and ordered what sounded interesting….
We went to CVS to buy groceries and pretentious water (1 Liter Fiji bottles), and then went to Starbucks. After returning to our hotel, we had a rehearsal before going to sleep.
Friday, March 25:
We slept in until 10 and woke up to a nice brunch in the Concierge Lounge on the top floor (thanks to my dad!). It was quiet and a good way to start the day. We then rehearsed again before heading to Orientation!
There were so many kids there for State Finals…. almost one thousand I believe, and they were all county champions! (minus two wild card teams). And the other thing we discovered was the traditional team cheer at roll call. We had never been here before, so we didn’t know what to do but be our obnoxious selves…watch the vlog to see how that turned out :P
After orientation, we walked back to Mission Inn to have lunch at this pizza parlor. Little did we know we would return there about three more times….
Around 3 PM, we suited up for Round 1. We were to be Prosecution and it felt good to be walking in suits with the team again. It just felt so good to be back and competing.
The Riverside judicial district is BEAUTIFUL. I didn’t know what to expect but it was honestly just so unbelievably pretty. And that day was sunny, 70, a little breezy, and just gorgeous….a perfect day for a trial.
We hit Riverside Poly in our first round and it was a good trial. Both of our teams had our own strengths and weaknesses, and it was just awesome to be in court again. I was so proud of our performance that day, and after the trial, we were once again in our post-trial euphoria.
No place was open except that pizza parlor, so there we were just a few hours later, eating some delicious pizza. The lady remembered us!
That night, we had a short rehearsal before going to sleep.
Saturday, March 26:
This was a long day. We woke up at 6 AM because we were leaving around 7 AM for court.
And of course, we hit Starbucks! :D
It was raining, but that couldn’t stop us!
That round, we hit Dos Pueblos HS from Santa Barbara and that was also a very good round. They were excellent and it was particularly difficult for us because we had never done a trial in the morning. The entire LA County competition is done at during the evenings of November, so morning was a new experience for us (especially saying Good Morning, Your Honor instead of Good Evening, Your Honor). But again, the experience was amazing.
We were particularly drained after that round and as the trial finished, Judge Fisher ushered us out quickly to our team corner we had secured on the second floor. The entire team just collapsed on the ground as the coaches ran out to grab food and drinks for us. It was so physically and emotionally exhausting, and honestly, I was doubting our ability to do three trials in one day.
But of course, I was wrong. We went to our third trial and we picked ourselves up right from the start. It was good to see everybody alert again because I was very worried about our team’s physical state. But I have learned to always have faith in this team<3
We returned to our team spot, and the team collapsed on the ground again. The coaches knew that we couldn’t continue like this, so we decided it would be best to go outside to get some fresh air. Mr. Fisher quickly went to the store and picked up some Starbucks and snack foods for us to keep us energized. And before we knew it, we were walking back into court for our fourth, and last trial.
That round was just dedicated to giving it our all since it was our last trial ever as a team. Every time we stand up in court, I am more and more impressed because we keep improving, and everything just went so well. I loved everything about that trial, and our opponents were so nice! (especially since we actually had time to socialize a bit after the trial).
And of course….traditional silly picture :)
As we left the courtroom, we couldn’t stop hugging each other. We were just so happy and proud of how far we had come as a team. The court security kept trying to get us to leave the courthouse because they were trying to close up, we were just too happy.
We returned to the hotel quite late, and only got to catch the last bit of the state dance. We also discovered that it is customary for teams to have a “theme” and all the team members from respective counties dress up to their team theme. Next year! :P
At the end of the dance, they announced the advancing top 2 teams to the championship round. We weren’t called, but we weren’t expecting much, and we were just too happy to be there, so that didn’t matter.
We ordered pizza (from the same pizza parlor), walked down to Mission Inn to pick it up, and returned to our hotel room to eat and talk. It felt good to chill and hang out for once :)
Sunday, March 27:
We slept in on Sunday and packed unwillingly. Packing to go home is always the worst part of any trip, and this was no different.
We walked back to Mission Inn (and that same pizza parlor place LOL) for a small brunch before awards.
Beautiful day :)
Awards was amazing for our team. We got 13th place and won three individual awards!
The courtroom artist from LA (who doesn’t go to our school, but hung out with us) won first place! Her drawing of Michelle and Patrick will be on the cover of next year’s case packet!
Alex Ethridge won the Best Witness award for playing Detective Frankie Cooper and I won the Best Prosecuting Attorney award. Three state champions out of the twelve state champion awards given…. I think our school did pretty well :)
We were all so sad to leave Riverside, but it had to be done. On the way home, we stopped by this Cajun restaurant called The Boiler to reflect on our trip and just hang out :)
We returned to Arcadia in the late afternoon. Meeting in the teacher parking lot, we had one last hug as a team, sang our “Pirate” song at the top of our lungs, and did one last team huddle. It has been one long and amazing journey for Arcadia Mock Trial.