East Oakland to the East Coast: Student Application

Click above to apply online!  

All returning Castlemont juniors are eligible to apply for this all-expenses paid tour of East coast Colleges.  

Application due by June 5th at 5 pm!  See Ms. Shorall or Ms. Sheffer for hard copies of the application, or if you have any questions!

Note: Online application must be completed in one sitting.

Fund a trip for 5 deserving Castlemont students to go on a East Coast College tour!
Check out the Indiegogo campaign, “East Oakland to the East Coast” at: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/east-oakland-to-the-east-coast-college-tours-for-deserving-seniors?c=home

Pictured: Sponsoring teachers Claire Shorall and Marguerite Sheffer, along with current Castlemont seniors, celebrating their application the Questbridge scholarship program.

Fund a trip for 5 deserving Castlemont students to go on a East Coast College tour!

Check out the Indiegogo campaign, “East Oakland to the East Coast” at: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/east-oakland-to-the-east-coast-college-tours-for-deserving-seniors?c=home

Pictured: Sponsoring teachers Claire Shorall and Marguerite Sheffer, along with current Castlemont seniors, celebrating their application the Questbridge scholarship program.

Correction: Block Schedule better for student learning

The aricle “Block Schedule better for student learning” by Monica Lockett was corrected on Feb. 26, 2013.  The initial article reported that 57 students graduated from Castlemont in Spring 2012.  However, this number represented only the graduates of one of the three small schools that then comprised the campus.  The article was revised to reflect that 150 students graduated from CHS in Spring 2012, according to Michael Scott, then-principal of CBITS and graduation-coordinator.  

Correction: Castlemont Needs Sex Education

The aricle “Castlemont Needs Sex Education” was corrected on Feb. 25, 2013.  The initial article reported that 30% of young women were pregnant or had a child.  This article was revised to reflect the fact that this statistic is a rough estimate based only on the author’s personal associates, not the overall Castlemont community.

Romney unpopular due to position on Dream Act, education

By Micaela Ortega and Ana Ramirez

Cartoon by Micaela Ortega

Obama wants to help those who do not have an opportunity to study in the United States. The reason citizens chose Obama over Romney is because Romney wants to stop the legal rights of immigrants issues, stop gun control, stop abortion rights, and lower taxes.  

Mr. Burnett, Castlemont History teacher said “when I was watching the elections I felt a little nerious because at first I thought that Romney was going to win  because of the points that he had.  But the at the final moment they said that Obama won I felt happy because he had won and it would be possible that he could make happen what he had promised in this upcoming 4 years.”

Burnett continued: “We…need the Dream Act to make our dreams come true.  Its a great idea for Obama to win, because we can have more dreams come true.”

In the election, Obama was hurt because many no longer believed in him, because he had not fulfilled his promises.  Romney was hurt by because many considered him to be racist, and that he wanted to cut education and jobs programs.  

Cecilia Cruz, Castlemont junior, said ”Since we the Latinos want the stuff Obama wants to give us, we had to vote for him. There’s also a lot of hispanics that voted more.  In my opinion, I didn’t want Romney to win because he was very racist to us Latinos.”

Cruz continued, “He wanted to discontinue the Dream Act, which would’ve helped us for our future.  I saw on the news that he wanted to send all of the immigrants back to their homelands…who does he think he is to come and change something that we already built?” 

Erin Cunningham reported for the news site GlobalPost that “Egyptians say Obama has failed to deliver on his promises of peace. But they also said Romney would of have been worse.”

Castlemont views on Marriage Equality

By Cecilia Cruz

Castlemont students all have different feelings about marriage equality—some are with it, some are against it, and some don’t really care.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, at www.hrc.org/marriage ”State and federal law concerning same-sex marriage, or gay marriage, has a relatively brief history, beginning with the first lawsuit seeking legal recognition of a same-sex union in 1971. While federal law defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman, for purposes of taxes and other federal matters, marriage is primarily governed by state law.”

Officially founded in 2001, Marriage Equality USA is a volunteer-driven national grassroots organization whose mission is: “To secure legally recognized civil marriage equality for all, without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity, at the state and federal level through grassroots organizing, education, action and partnerships” according to the www.marriageequality.org website.

Kateri Dodds-Simpson, English teacher at Castlemont said “ I think the government should provide equal rights to everyone. If churches want to discriminate and not allow gay marriage, that’s their right, according to freedom of religion, but the government’s job is to provide equal opportunities to all people.”

Jasmin Carrillo, a student who attends to Castlemont said “I personally feel that marriage should be granted to everybody equally, because people don’t choose who to fall in love with they are just born that way…plus who gives people the right to not let other people of the same sex get married and live happy just like a consider normal couple would?  I myself believe that everyone is equal and should be able to marry whoever, being male or female, that they love.”

Sexually active teens and abortion rights

By Tamiera Allen and Marlisha James

Editor’s Note: This is the third in a several-part series on the issue of teen pregnancy.  This entry is an editorial on the debate over abortion rights for teenagers.

“I am 16 and I am keeping my child for a very special reason”

The legality and morality of abortion for teens, ages 14 to 18, is currently a huge debate in Oakland.  We interviewed Castlemont students on their views.

Cecilia Cruz, 16, said “ I have not been pregnant before but I disagree with abortions because there are accidents, but if the child already developed and is still growing, it’s not the child’s fault..so why end their life before it starts? If you weren’t ready then why have unprotected sex?”

According to Children’s Hospital, The Department of Adolescent Medicine, “ surgical abortions are nearly 100% effective…for most women surgical abortion feels like strong menstrual cramps.”  

A anonymous junior from Castlemont High School said, “I would be in-between disagreeing and agreeing on teens getting abortions depending on their situation, but young women should’nt be having them too early because it could cause long term effects..also I feel children are a gift from God, so if you can keep it, keep it.”

As senior Jashilin Hampton said, “I would also be in-between disagreeing and agreeing, because I feel there are many other options that would be better for the baby also. Though, I do feel young women can do whatever they please to their body.”

Alqulino Rivera also said, “If I were to ever get a female pregnant as a teen I would tell her to get an abortion because I’m a teen myself and I’m not ready or stable to be a father, and I wouldn’t bring a child into this world when I’m not ready to take on the responsibilities of having a child…when I’m a child myself.”

Throughout the interviews there were some of agreements and disagreement on whether or not teenagers should get abortions . Most male teens felt that a young women should be able to do what she feels is more comfortable for her situation.  On the other hand, females we interviewed thought that a young women shouldn’t be sexually active without protection if they can’t accept the consequences.

Overall, we authors agree that a young woman that will soon be a grown woman should have the right to choose what she thinks is best for her body. Her choice should be private because she is going to be the one most affected throughout her life by her decision.

Castlemont students seek balance between work and school

By Maggy Vega, Castlemont Crier Staff Writer


Some Castlemont students want jobs while others want to focus on school.

According to Yane Farias, a 11th grader from Castlemont, “If I had a job right now, I think it will change my life because it will take my free time after school and I wouldn’t have time to focus on school.”  Obviously Yane thinks that education is more important than having a job.

Teenagers from the ages of  16 and older want a job because they want to have money for themselves and to save money for college, or even to help their parents out economically.

According to 16 year-old junior Odalys Marquez, “Friends of mine  are seniors  and they are struggling because they don’t have enough money for college so therefor they have to work.”  She notices friends of hers wanting to go to college but in order to do this, they have to find jobs. Even now, the economy still hasn’t improved much, which makes the chances of a young adult to find a job even harder.

Monster, at www.monster.com, is a website that helps teenagers from across the country find a job near their location. This resource allows people to find jobs from all job types and companies. The majority of teens apply to fast food joints for example In-and-Out Burger and McDonald’s.

17year-old senior Berenice Vega said, “ Finding a job is never easy, especially when you are a undocumented student wanting to pay for college and help out at home.”

This is another barrier for young teens that attend school and want to get a higher education in college.

Castlemont students try to prioritize their education, but at the same time  worry not being able to attend college because they do not have money, they cannot afford college and they do not have a job.

California animal ownership laws questionable

By Jacob Mathis and Abraham Moreno

Research reveals that since the year 2000 there were only 13 fatal alligator attacks in the United States compared to the estimated 443,000 deaths a year from smoking cigarettes which is legal in the state of California.

In the state of California ownership of many animals considered exotic is unlawful.  According to California State Fish and Game Code.  “Restricted species includes: Ravens… anteaters… rabbits… (Except domesticated races)… goats, sheep…snails… slugs…” etc.

Although there are severe exotic pet laws in California, there are many states with laws that are looser. Ohio, for example, allows “nondomestic” animals into the state only if they are “accompanied by a permit issued prior to entry and certificate of veterinary inspection”.  In the state of Ohio only 3 animal attacks resulting in human death has occurred since the year 2000 although no exotic animals are prohibited, according to bornfreeusa.org.

In the year 2012 alone approximately 18 deaths have been caused by dog attacks.

Why is it legal to smoke cigarettes and own dogs but not alligators and lions?

Combined, these species only caused 14 human deaths since 2000, the most recent being October 22, 2008 in Broken Arrow Oklahoma when a 32 year old woman was feeding her liger in a non-accredited zoo.

No Winter Ball this Winter?

By Elijah Jones and Marcel Robinson

Interpretation of the 2012 Winter Ball (drawing by Elijah Jones) 

Winter Ball 2011

This winter there seem to be no plans for a Winter Ball at Castlemont High School. However, students are excited at the idea of a winter dance, and some are even willing to participate in helping create this Winter Ball.

Junior Leah Silva agrees with the notion of having a Winter Ball. She says” it would be fun; we could get a break from all of the school work.” Leah would be willing to talk to Principal John Lynch and the student government about having a Winter Ball. She is also willing to help with decorations.

Why are school dances important? Well, as the article “School Dances and the Impact They Have on a Child’s Life” states, “at a school dance, the students are confined to a single space and have to interact with each other. Imagine, 2 people’s favorite song is played and from opposite ends of the gymnasium 2 people meet for the first time and start a conversation while dancing. They dance together for most of the night and talk about their likes, dislikes, and everything in between. They exchange information and start the path to a new friendship.” 

Editorial: Castlemont students want off campus lunch again!

By Carla Lee and Zambreah Waters

  An illustration of a student asking Principal John Lynch  for off campus lunch

Off-campus lunch was cancelled due to students leaving and not coming back to campus.  If we had off campus lunch we wouldn’t have students cutting across the school grounds to go and get lunch, which is a small problem at Castlemont.  We want Principal John Lynch to be on our side and be able to have trust in us students at Castlemont High School that we’ll be able to come back within the five minute bell to get back to class on time and get working hard.

Castle Crier interviewed Castlemont students, asking: How do you feel about off campus lunch? Would you allow off campus lunch? How does the cafeteria’s food taste like? And should Castlemont allow off campus lunch again?  Their opinion was very positive.

 Nikya Harris, a junior at Castlemont High School,  said that she would enjoy it if Principal Lynch gave us the opportunity to get our lunch off campus and come back five minutes before our classes start. She said since “all the students want it…I would allow off campus lunch.”  Harris also said the cafeteria “food is not good, I guess it is edible though.”

Off-campus lunch would save money and it would be more tasteful.  Castlemont junior Moniqu Hatcher said “I feel students should have a choice, and some students might be allergic to the cafeterias lunch food.”  On Castlemont cafeteria food, Hatcher said “it sometimes makes me sick, so I bring my own food from home, like salad, rice etc.”

 There wouldn’t be that many kids that cut class or skip out on lunch.  There are people who are allergic to many different foods and we don’t know what’s really in the food that is served and given to us. if we go off campus we can pick and choose what different foods and drinks we like.  It doesn’t even have to be junk food all the time.  It’s even better that we have a place next door at Youth Uprising, so we would be on time for class.

Castlemont students would be very pleased and excited about off-campus lunch.  We students need home-cooked meals, not packaged meals with no telling what’s inside it.

The Dangers of Facebook addiction

By Daniel Alvarado

         A teen using Facebook on her mobile phone.
For about 4 years, facebook.com has taken over theminds of teens, distracting them from their normal lives. With Facebook in their life everyday, it is hard for teens to let go of this social site.

Facebook is a social media site where you can chat online and have “friends.” Also you can access it on the go in your mobile phone.  You cannot simply get away from Facebook; it can become addictive as friends post status updates. Facebook is all about having friends you personally know on your friend list and also having people you don’t know but arecopen to meet. Without friends, there is no point of having an account. 

College Track tutor Dannille states, “You know you are addicted to Facebook when you live a cyber life, and are always in your phone during class and don’t live a normal social life such as talking to people in person in a daily basis.”
 CNN.Com reports that Facebook “Lets us share information with many people simultaneously. Facebook allows users to share personal information with others more efficiently and with potentially better “net etiquette” than other forms of online communication. For example, rather than spam the email inbox of everyone you know with vacation pictures, the same photos can be posted on Facebook for friends to view if they choose to.”
GED Student Guadalupe Anaya from OUSD states ”I’m really affected with my social skills, I enjoy more talking to people on the go in my blackberry. It ruins my relationship with friends and family because I’m too busy looking in the phone.”

According to techaddictions.ca ”Facebook does not only appeal to our need for social acceptance, it also provides a forum for social comparison. Given this drive, the popularity of quizzes and personality tests on Facebook is not surprising. And of course, a large reason for their appeal is that after completion, they then allow the user to compare his or herself to others. It should be evident by now that Facebook addiction is not caused by creating and exploiting new human desires…but by providing a new way of meeting very basic human needs that have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years.”
Tita Diaz, a student at Leadership Preparatory School, states “I love taking pictures and always like to post and tag people on my Facebook account and get comments and like’s, I think that is the reason why I stay logged in.”
It appears that Facebook is not a good resource to be social.  Instead go out and party or do something productive.
Studies shows if a person does not have a Facebook account, they are more likely to study and less procrasinating on the computer. If teens want better study skills, they should deactivate their existing account

Castle needs 3-on-3 basketball tournament during lunch

 By Victor Gomez and Isaac Pittman, Castlemont Students


An image from Isaac Pitman middle school basketball team

 This year, Castlemont lunches have been boring for many students.  Some students have came up with various ideas, and we propose  a 3 on 3 basketball tournament during our lunch time.

To set up the tournament, first we will find as many students as we can and encourage everyone to finds their two other players to set up a game. If we approximately get 16 teams in this tournament, we will have an even amount of players. Every team has to contribute with some sort of small fee (approximately $9-12), a small amount that most of the students wouldn’t complain about.

The winners of the tournament will win T-shirts as a prize. The reason why we have to pay a small amount of money is because the person making the T-shirts for us, Coach Franky Navarro, has to get paid for its merchandise. If everyone cooperates and pays a certain amount of fee, the tournament will be set up with ease.

Castlemont Principal, John Lynch, commented that “I find the tournament a GREAT idea! I’m willing to announce it on the speakers.”

A student of Castlemont said, “ I’m willing to play just for fun, so its not a big of a deal if it’s a small amount of fee.”

Sociology teacher, Eric Carter Chu said, “ I’ll like to play in this tournament, I love playing basketball, I wouldn’t mind paying a fee.”

Most of the students that we’ve interviewed  are actually willing to join. However, some teachers are also welcomed to join. If we have enough people to play in the tournament, we can also set up a girls tournament

We are not trying to make the girls feel left out, so therefore if there are enough girls that want to play in the tournament, we are willing to set it up for them. However, for now we will set up a 3-on-3 boys basketball tournament during lunch.

An article called  “Better Health Channel” says, “Basketball is very popular as a casual way to exercise and as a competitive team sport.” Not only is this tournament for entertainment,it also is perfect for exercise. An article by Sarah Davis, from University of Florida says, “Participating in competitive sports teaches children and teenagers skills to compete in the real world. As they grow older they will face competition in schools, getting into college, getting a job, and many other scenarios.”

Having competitive sports during Castlemont school lunches is not only for friendly competition, but also for the students and teachers to show off their skills.

Spanish for all students

By Yane Farias

Two of the Spanish classrooms at Castlemont High School.

For he last couple of years, students at Castlemont High School have been offered Spanish as a foreign language to enhance their learning skills and prepare them for future situations that require speaking Spanish.

 Castlemont is preparing its students by making Spanish classes available for all.  Currently the school has three Spanish teachers that teach Spanish as a Foreign Language and Spanish for Native Speakers

 When asked what she thought of Spanish being taught at Castlemont, junior Margarita Vega says “Spanish speaking people can get better at it and people that don’t know how to speak,  it will help them.”

 Considering that Castlemont has different levels of Spanish being taught at its campus and students can move up a level every year as they improve their skills, students are being prepared for collage and real life.

 According to http://a2huron.org/  a study at Princeton University showed that foreign language is one of the top five skills needed in today’s job market.

 Students who take Spanish or any other foreign language at their high school are getting prepared for a better chance at qualifying for a jobs after graduation from high school. Knowing a foreign language raises the chances of getting a job, it makes students an exceptional candidate for the job.

Spanish teacher Norma Verdugo said, “Spanish is currently one of the most spoken languages in the state and is becoming the norm nationwide.”

 With a large population in California speaking Spanish, it is crucial for students to graduate high school with some knowledge on Spanish so they can interact with the Spanish speaking community.

 Castlemont High school is preparing its students so they can have a better chance of getting jobs and communicate with Spanish peaking people.

Castle Students express themselves through tattoos and piercings

By Joshua Rice & Erin Dixon

 Castlemont students obviously embrace the trend of tattoos and piercings. When you walk down the school halls you see a girl with a nose piercing followed by a guy with tattoos. Tattoos and piercings have become the new big thing in high school now and days almost everyone has one, starting from the age of 15 and up.

Abraham Moreno, Castlemont junior said the reason he got a tattoo is because it meant something to him personally. On his mom’s birthday he got a tattoo of his mom name. Moreno said there is no such thing as a “bad tattoo.”

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