Category Archives: Uncategorized

Movie Review: A Boy in Striped Pajamas

by Zion Reyes

Plot Synopsis: Bruno, a naive, young boy from Berlin during WWII, is confronted with the news that he has to move to the countryside because of his father’s promotion and reassignment in the German Army. He finds himself homesick and bored, having lost all his friends back in Berlin and spends his time exploring the expanse of his estate. Before long, he finds the hidden reason why his father has been relocated; a large concentration camp is only a few miles from his house, but Bruno doesn’t know the real reason why they’re there and only believes that he has found a farm filled with strangely dressed farmers. There he meets a young Jewish boy named Shmuel and becomes fast friends with him, going to great lengths to hide his everyday excursions to the camp to hang out with him from his family. Meanwhile, Bruno’s mother discovers the truth about about the concentration camp and takes the news harder than naive Bruno did. Bruno’s mother has many arguments with Ralf, Bruno’s father. Eventually  the arguments culminate in Bruno’s mother, Bruno, and his sister all moving to Heidelberg with Ralf staying at the camp to watch over it. Bruno, saddened by this, decides to adventure with Shmuel one more time, but it leads him to a gas chamber where they both die.

Movie Review: The subject matter of WWII is constantly rehashed by Hollywood, what with so many movies such as Dunkirk, Inglourious Basterds, and Saving Private Ryan, but this movie is quite unique. Unfortunately, with great potential comes great responsibility, and in my opinion I feel that this movie isn’t as good as when I first saw it many years ago. After revisiting it with a different mind than what I had in 8th grade I found the acting to be stiff, for lack of a better word. The movie is overall quite well done, for a setting of the countryside there is little in the way of modern noises or distractions that would have detracted from the movie experience, and the soundtrack of mostly classical music is a nice touch. But throughout the movie I couldn’t help but feel like something was off with all of the characters, especially from the children. Come to think of it, the adults in the movie were quite good at acting. If the movie was mainly focused on them then the mediocre acting of the children could have been overlooked, but since much of the movie was focused on Bruno, an 8-year old, there was no avoiding the “off-ness” of his acting, which seemed to have rubbed off onto the other actors as the movie went on. Perhaps his mediocre acting had somehow overshadowed any of the decent acting of the other actors. Bruno speaks in a strange combination of having too much emotion and no emotion at all, which cancels each other out into whatever comes out of his mouth. He also uses a facial expression throughout the entire movie as if someone were dubbing in his dialogue for him, even though he was clearly the one speaking. It’s a melting pot of everything that you shouldn’t do as an actor and any theatre teacher can attest to this. But despite his amateur acting, the ending was really something to behold. I won’t spoil anything, but if you’re willing to drudge through one and a half hours of one looks like the acting of an elementary school play the ending is worth it.   I give it 7/10.

BEAT: Administrative and Counseling

by Gianna Creighton

Mrs. Baker is the Vice Principal at school, meaning she works with students whose last names end in A-G. She also oversees different responsibilities like attendance, the Learning Center, state and district testing, and Unity Days. Outside of the learning environment, Mrs. Baker enjoys reading Epic Fantasy and Sci-Fi novels, but also appreciates reading the classics. A general day in the office consists of meeting with students, working on upcoming events, responding to emails, talking to parents, supervising at break and lunch, and helping students and staff. Mrs. Baker states, “ I really enjoy interacting with students. I know APs deal with discipline, but we do interact with the kids all the time in positive ways. That is the best part of my job.”

Mrs. Bean has been working at West Hills for 16 years. Before she became a counselor she was a math teacher for 8 years so this will be her 8th year being a West Hills counselor. One of her favorite things to do outside of school is have fun and hangout with her little boys. Mrs. Bean’s favorite memory is from working with the women’s volleyball program as a coach and being able to interact with the girls from the various teams. Mrs. Bean explained, “I love getting to know students and helping them navigate through the sometimes tumultuous high school years. I also love helping students with college applications.”

BEAT: Counseling

Anna Parrott

The job of counselors is to assist students with anything they need. Whether that is switching out classes or asking for advice on college, counselors are there to help. They offer guidance and can answer any question that is thrown at them. The counselors are located in the offices above the library and are available throughout the school day so their assistance is easily accessible.
One of the main responsibilities of the counselors is to take care of class schedules. Also, if a student is in a class they do not like, the counselors will do everything they can to switch the class out. Secondly, the counselors have guidelines and suggestions for each grade to help students do what they need to do and to get through the year successfully. Specifically for seniors, the counselors provide resources on financial aid and scholarships for college as well as internship opportunities to help seniors find their passion. A major aspect of the counseling department is providing information about testing such as the PSAT, SAT, ACT, and even AP tests; so that students can easily have access to details. Counselors also check in on students who may not be completing all of the required courses for graduation or college to make sure that they are on the right track.

Movie review: Moana

By Chloe Yeager

 

Claimed to be one of the best Disney Movies, Moana, casts an amazing twist on the traditional princess story. Within the whirlwind of events that takes place, Disney gives a compelling insight on the struggles that Moana(Auli’i Cravalho) faces, with obeying her parents but also fighting for what she believes in. Along the way she meets an overly confident demi god named Maui (Dwayne Johnson) who helps guide her on her journey to return the heart of Te Fiti and restore her island’s health.

Directors Ron Clements, John Musker, and Don Hall did a wonderful job with this creation of a Family film, filled with a mixture of Adventure and Fantasy that entered theaters in 2016.  Personally I have taken a strong liking toward this movie and believe that it is a refreshing change to the overused idea of stereotypical princess movies. The movie takes place on the fictional island, Motunui, and begins with the storytelling of Maui and the legend of Te Fiti. Unlike the other children, Moana is thoroughly intrigued and longs to learn more. Moana is being raised to be the chief which conflicts with her attachment to the ocean and its forbidden elements. This Disney movies is packed with catchy songs, one specifically mentioning Moana’s struggles and her draw to the ocean.

Moana learns that she is still the only hope this island has, but the pressure her parents put on her to become a great and honorable chief overwhelms her in more ways than one. Struggling to find a a solution to their problems; when the island’s coconuts become rotten and a lack of fish occurs, she mentions fishing past the reef. Her father quickly disapproves. She is not quite sure of the reason.

Toward the middle of the movie Moana’s grandmother, Tala (Rachel House) tips her off about her family’s background and their past as voyagers. This makes Moana more intrigued and she sets off on her journey past the reef. When Moana finally reaches the open ocean she gets caught up in the harsh waves and due to her lack of sailing experience she finds herself trapped on an island where she finds Maui. After a while of persuading, Maui finally agrees to accompany Moana along her journey. While on their journey, the two face obstacles and Maui threatens to leave Moana. When Moana realizes she will have to fight Te Kah and restore the heart of Te Fiti on her own, she heads off to do so.  Moana eventually comes full circle and and ends on a happy note. This movie is definitely one I recommend for all ages.

Movie review: Tangled

By Anna Parrott

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have 70 feet of magical hair? Probably not but the movie Tangled will make you wish that you had such lusciously, long locks. Tangled, a movie directed by Byron Howard and Nathan Greno, follows the story of an 18 year-old named Rapunzel as she journeys to see the floating lanterns that are dedicated to the Lost Princess and befriends some dynamic people along her way. She is faced with danger, action, fun, and romance that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Rapunzel, having been kept in a tower all of her life by her malevolent mother, yearns to see the floating lanterns that appear in the distance every year on her birthday. By a fortunate series of events, she encounters Flynn Rider whom she then uses as her guide to see the lanterns. During their journey, her mother discovers that Rapunzel has escaped and she starts to chase after her. Rapunzel and Flynn make friends who help them later in the movie like Maximus the Palace horse and the ruffians from the Snuggly Duckling. As Maximus, Flynn, Rapunzel, and her chameleon named Pascal finally reach the kingdom, they participate in the exciting events of the ongoing festival. After the festival, all the townspeople head to the boats to release the lanterns for the Lost Princess. While the lanterns are floating in the air, Flynn and Rapunzel realize that they love each other; but, their romantic bliss is interrupted by Rapunzel’s evil mother who takes her back to the tower. Rapunzel realizes that she is the Lost Princess and Flynn tries to save her. When he gets to the tower, Rapunzel’s “mother” stabs Flynn and before Rapunzel can heal him with her hair, Flynn cuts it all off, consequently ripping it of all its magic and killing him. But to Rapunzel’s surprise, the tears she shed over the loss of Flynn still contained magic so she was able to bring him back. She was reunited with her real family and they all lived happily ever after.

One of my favorite scenes in Tangled is when Flynn and Rapunzel are out on the water as the floating lanterns are released. What makes this scene so captivating is the fantastic animation of the characters and the background. The animators perfecting capture the reflection of the hundreds of lights on the water and in the nighttime sky. Also in this scene, Rapunzel and Flynn sing “I See the Light” together which is a beautiful and emotional song where they are finally realizing that they love each other. My favorite character in the movie Tangled probably had to be Maximus. Although he is just a horse and doesn’t have any actual lines in the movie, he provides comic relief through his feud with Flynn. Maximus is sweet and an extremely likeable character in the film.

Overall, I would give this movie 5 out of 5 stars. Tangled is the perfect family movie that is great for children and Disney fans of all ages, like myself. The characters were casted superbly and the soundtrack is beautifully composed and is so much fun to sing along to. In terms of the animation, I have never seen such complicated and gorgeous graphics. The plot is exciting as it takes the viewer through both heart-whelming and intense scenes but also end happily. Tangled is my absolute favorite movie and is definitely worth the watch.

BEAT

by Jayden Moreno

In this week’s beat I chose to ask three people from the Best Buddies club a couple of questions on the club. The questions are: why did they chose this club, what is their favorite thing to do in that club and how does this club benefit them.

The first person I ask said this is her first year and she is in the club because her sisters made her, but after a couple of weeks she started to enjoy helping the kids and getting to know them and also his favorite thing about the club is the pizza parties.

The second person who I ask said he is in club because he wants to get into a really good college and for that to happen you have to have good grades, which he does, but also colleges like to see that you participate in school club. His favorite part about the club is meeting new kids.

The last person I ask chose this club because he wanted to help the kids with special needs. He said this club benefits provides him with a better chance of getting accepted into college, and lastly his all time favorite thing about the club is the pizza parties.

Beat-Katie Willoughby

by Katie​ ​Willoughby

The West Hills club drive is today! There are a variety of clubs here at West Hills. All students are welcome to join any club of their choosing. There are academic clubs, social clubs, clubs that focus on the environment, and clubs that focus on the well being of others. Good candidates for clubs are people who would like to be apart of something bigger than themselves or people who want to meet new people who have the same interests as them. Anyone can join a club no matter who they are or how they feel. Clubs can help people who are new to the school to feel welcomed and feel a sense of community. Clubs also help create friendships that can last a lifetime. My club experience was a short but a sweet one. I was in the club Friday Night Lights for one semester of my freshman year. I loved the sense of comradery that was brought on by my club it made me feel welcome and important as a freshman. Friday Night Lights is a club that shows the bad side of drugs, alcohol and especially smoking tobacco. It shows teens that you can have fun without the use of illegal substances and I found that to be very influential in my life and the lives of those around me. Clubs are an important part of the “high school experience” and all people should give them a try.

App Review: Sky Guide

by Gianna Creighton

My name is Gianna Creighton and I am affiliated with West Hills High School Journalism. The name of the app I am reviewing is called Sky Guide: View Stars Night or Day. The version of this app is 6.2.3; the developer of this app is Fifth Star Labs LLC-fifthstarlabs.com. The platforms for this app include: on IOS 9.0 or later and can be bought on devices like iPhones, iPads, iPod touch, and Apple Watch. The price for this app is 2.99$. There is no free or lite version available but when looking up sky guide in the App Store I was able to find other free apps that provided the same use as Sky Guide. Sky Guide does offer in-app purchases.

Sky Guide is an app that allows app users to learn about and study the different types of constellations and stars that are in the sky above them. Sky Guide is designed for all ages four and up and can be used by astronomers ranging from beginner to intermediate. People who may be interested in finding a certain star may be drawn to the uses of Sky Guide. When you first buy the app, steps and directions are provided that are easy to read and understand, which make the app easy to use when new to Sky Guide. The app is very easy to navigate because it matches your location with the stars around you, so when you are looking at a comet in the actual sky the comet is appearing on your screen at the same time.

Sky Guide keeps the user interested with its playful sounds that you hear when you click on a star. The hotter the star is the higher the pitch. The larger stars have louder volumes, so based on sound the user could easily figure out which stars are bigger than others.

Sky Guide is fun to use because of the images that are shown with each star constellation. When you rotate the screen and stop at a constellation lines are drawn between the stars and  an image is shown in the background of what the stars are supposed to look like. This feature is especially fun to use. Sky Guide is visually very appealing. The app uses bright colors like purple, pink, yellow, and orange to represent planets. The Milky Way, stars, comets, and satellites brings an exciting tone to the app that invites the user to investigate.

The icon of Sky Guide is probably the most eye catching  I have ever seen. The icon has a dark blue and purple background with a light blue constellation with silver and gold stars connected to the line. It really stands out when scrolling through the app store.

The sounds used in the app include high pitch sounds when you click on a hot star and when you click on larger stars they have louder volumes. The sounds are of high quality, but are non customizable. Also when using the app there is constant soft background music playing which gives a warm feel to the app.

The app does provide for users with disabilities because of the IOS that is needed when you download the app because IOS has distinctive features that helps those that are disabled. This app could have been used during the solar eclipse so you could look at the eclipse on your phone without harming your eyes. Sky Guide can also be used on a super starry night, during a meteor shower, or for a passing comet. This app is of a higher quality than its competitors; Sky Guide has easier navigation of the app, brighter colors, and interactive audio, whereas the other similar apps only have bright colors and lacks the sound and easy navigation. Sky Guide allows you to easily take a picture of a constellation you found and upload it to any social media account. This app has a favorites section where you can store all your favored constellations and then look back on them whenever you want. The app tells the user what stars they are looking at and information on those stars which many users are unable to do without the app.

App Review

by Jayden Moreno

My name is Jayden Moreno and I have been reviewing the gaming app called Crashlands by Butterscotch Shenanigans (which consists of three brothers). This game can be bought on iOS or on a PC. However so far, everyone who has tried the game on both devices recommends it to be bought and played on iOS. Crashlands was originally $14.99 but then the creators dropped the price down to it $9.99 since they have sold over 500k.
The appearance of the game is vibrant with a cool artistic style. As you first start the game it seems like the game will be calm, juvenile with little friendly aliens, but the game will surprise you as it can get violent. The plot will seem harsh but as you progress in the game it changes per player since you craft it and create your own schemes. The abstract style of art adds to the fun and desire to play further but can become dark and dramatic very quickly to enhance the fighting. Each character looks very different individually and the environments look very neat and crisp versus all of the games coming out nowadays. Crashland is a crafting and exploring game that has tons of action. This game puts you into the shoes of a delivery boy whose ship is blown up by evil aliens.
The story itself isn’t as creative as it could be, but is good enough and is very entertaining and funny. It isn’t too serious and does enough to interact with the players to keep them interested. The creator of the game did a good job making a game for kids and grown ups. All of the reviews recommend taking your time to play and enjoy this game.
The majority of the reviews are good. This game got on the top 10 chart for best new apps in 2017. From people who reviewed this game they recommended from ages eight and up are due to violence. The most talked about aspect of the game is that you can craft whatever you want and can explore wherever you want, and also they love the fun fighting experience against the aliens.

Interviewing Jordin Young

By Alex Leggate

I interviewed Jordin Young , Varsity Quarterback, about this year, and what he expects, along with how it is going. These are the questions, and his answers.

1.How do you like being the Starting quarterback on Varsity?

“It’s very fun, I have been playing football for a long time, so it’s good to finally be under the Friday Night Lights. “

2.How are you going to try and one-up last years quarterback, Hayden Roach?

“I will try to play as a team and not care about my individual status”

  1. What happened at the game versus El Centro?

“We did not play as a team and we were all so eager to finally hit other colors that we were paying for ourselves. We have many Juniors and it was their first game under the lights, so they were a little ‘Star Struck’ you could say.”

  1. What changes from the El Centro game (Lost 37-17) to the Santana game (Won 34-7)

“We played as a team, and played our hearts out to beat our rivals.”

  1. What have you brought to the team this year?

“I have brought leadership, and camaraderie for my teammates so we play more as a team”

  1. How are you guys preparing for the game this week against Mission Bay?

“We are making sure everyone knows what to do for their spots and does their job.”

  1. You guys have a pretty tough schedule this year, how are you going to prepare for teams like Helix and Steel Canyon?

“We need to make sure that we don’t let the factor of them being a tougher team get in out heads. “

  1. Since you guys got the new jerseys is there a different “feel” or “vibe” when playing?

“Not really for me, it is still the same old football; just with a better uniform”

  1. Do you think that after the El Centro game the Juniors have done their jobs and are pulling their weight?

“I definitely do! We have a lot of Juniors on the team and they are a main part of it on all sides of the ball. They have stepped up to the plate and brought their A game”

  1. Do you think the team will make it far in the playoffs if you do make it?

“I really feel like if everyone steps up we can go very far in the playoffs”