Class of 2018 cuts loose at Panther Beach

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very year, seniors across the country participate in senior ditch day, meant to celebrate the near-completion of high school and the beginning of a new chapter in students’ lives.

This year, while some chose to spend the day in San Francisco or elsewhere, the main event took place at Panther Beach on May 11, with hordes of seniors gathering to play beach games, eat and enjoy one another’s company before graduation.

Senior Ashley Pae was among those in attendance, and said the experience was a nice way to end senior year and spend time with her classmates before parting ways in the fall.

“I thought it was a good experience overall, because it’s one of the first times our class could get together and hang out outside of school, regardless of our cliques and friend groups,” Pae said. “Everyone could have a good time and take a day off for once in our four years.”

However, she said there were also some downsides to attending the event, as most teachers advised against students participating in ditch day.

“Some teachers still assigned and planned important things, which was frustrating because ditch day is a tradition and it’s something that everyone should be able to participate in … even if the school doesn’t endorse it,” Pae said.

Though many students chose to kick back at the beach, some seniors, such as Danielle Yoshida, opted to remain at school, whether for assignments or to avoid an unexcused absence.

“I chose to come to school … to watch tapestries [the final project for contemporary literature],” Yoshida said. “Although I wish I was at the beach, it was important to me to watch my classmates’ presentations, because I know how hard I had worked on mine and I wanted to be there and support them.”

With the end of the year approaching, ditch day provided seniors with a chance to let loose and relax together before continuing on to their future endeavors.

 

‘Everyday is Christmas’ cheerfully kicks off the holiday season

Although I enjoy turning on the radio in December and singing along to the classic Christmas carols as much as, if not more than, the next person, I must confess I get tired of hearing the same played-out covers my grandparents likely listened to in the 1940s. By late December every year, my reaction is the same: if I hear one more sappy remix of “Baby it’s Cold Outside,” I will scream.

Amid a genre prone to unoriginality, Australian singer Sia’s new album “Everyday is Christmas” shines like a string of holiday lights. Released Nov. 17, the album contains ten tracks, ranging from ballads like “Snowman” to the cheerful, bouncy “Candy Cane Lane.”

The album begins with the instant hit “Santa’s Coming For Us.” Though the title sounds more fitting for a Christmas-themed horror film rather than a song, I enjoyed its joyful tone and reggae-style beat. Though I could only understand around two-thirds of the lyrics — as Sia is not known for enunciation — I still found it catchy and fun to listen to.

However, not every song featured on this album deserves to be added to your Christmas playlist. I especially could have done without “Puppies are Forever.” Despite its important message, the song’s repetitiveness gets old quickly, and its serious subject matter contrasts sharply with its peppy melody.

At times, the album seemed to be a veritable grab-bag of seasonal cliches, brimming with snowflakes, snowmen and candy canes. There is also a glaring, almost lazy tendency of repetition that is hard to write off. For example, “Snowflake” and “Snowman” both reflect on temporary love, and two of the songs are titled “Underneath the Mistletoe” and “Underneath the Christmas Lights.”

Overall, Sia deserves credit for not simply churning out another cookie-cutter Christmas album. Her vocals are undeniably excellent, and she managed to create ten holiday themed songs that still sound very much her own with a little festive twinkle. If you are a fan of Sia’s powerful, unconventional style, you will likely enjoy these songs just as much as the Christmas classics.

 

Release Date: Nov. 17, 2017

iTunes Price: $9.99

Length: 33:07

Rating: 3 stars

Spotlight on new staff

Not pictured: Nicole Zambrano

Learning skills teacher Nicole Zambrano came to HHS after studying culinary arts for several years. When she is not teaching or in school herself, Zambrano loves to spend time with her rescue dog and watch “The Walking Dead.” You can find her listening to country music or watching old movies like “Casablanca.