Community Voices

Young Observers Early April 2023

Teen Observer by Francine, 11th grade

Tired of the Perennial Hectic Pace? Try this Interesting Antidote

If being a high school freshman gets you all geared up to prepare for college, wait until you reach junior year. This is when everything hits a frenetic pace. Many students take more challenging courses like APs and IBs. Extra-curricular activities crowd their already busy schedules. Even though not required in many colleges, a number opt to take the PSAT and SATs, hoping that with higher test scores, they might have a better chance at their preferred universities.

Even the upcoming summer break may not even be a break at all, with some rising seniors trying to land internships and summer programs that they think might help even more with college preparation. The pressure is relentless, and it has never been this real.

I am one of these juniors. I never realized I was feeling so much pressure until one quiet evening in the wilderness, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, with no device to hold onto for the first time in a very long time. I felt like a mountain load of pressure was taken off my back. It was a great relief. I was with other teens, but each of us was left to explore our inner space, the immaterial dimension of our lives.

We were all participants in a three-day retreat to prepare for an important rite in a Catholic teen’s life – the Sacrament of Confirmation. We were born and raised in the Catholic religion. In a couple of weeks, we will officially confirm our decision to continue practicing our faith. But, Catholic or not, I discovered an immense value in the concept of spiritual retreat.

Beyond religion (such as the organizational structures that people of similar beliefs are identified with), my experience with going on a retreat for the first time has brought awareness to that “something” that brings consciousness or “life” to my body which many refer to as our spirit or our soul. It is like a magical moment that made me realize that besides the apparent external life, I have an interior life that I need to nurture. It brings self-knowledge, a sense of peace, and an aspiration to connect more with what truly matters, like love, compassion, kindness, and being at peace with myself, my family, and my friends. I feel renewed.

For three brief days surrounded by nature, it felt like I had gained a higher self-knowledge and revitalized my mental health. If you’re feeling tired of the perennial hectic pace of school or life in general, you might want to try this great antidote – a spiritual retreat. You may plan your own retreat, or you may reach out to family and friends for a referral to one that is professionally organized. For my retreat, I went to the Santiago Retreat Center in Silverado, Orange County, California, a 40-minute drive or less from Fullerton, nestled in an idyllic wilderness.

Back to Basics by Declan, 7th grade

Our Body Needs it, but We Often Take it for Granted

From commonly being an ignored drink when there are sweeter options like juices, to being a daily necessity, water is required to be consumed by every human.

According to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), water regulates the human body’s temperature and lubricates joints while protecting sensitive tissues like the spinal cord. Without the quenching liquid, fatigue would kick in and the extreme thirst will lead to organ failure. However, not drinking enough water causes constipation which initiates severe pain in the lower stomach and abdomen.

Water flushes out waste through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements. Not absorbing enough water, the human intestines will be blocked, not allowing anything through unless laxatives are used. The human intestine is around 15 feet long and waste continuing to block this important organ with nowhere to go would explode or cause injuries to the body. The only way to prevent this catastrophe is to drink around a dozen cups of water for adults and 8 cups of water for juveniles, a simple daily routine that will save torturous pain.

Viewpoint by Irene, 11th grade

In Hot Water

Following a wave of concerns that TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, may be accessing user data and therefore enabling propaganda made by the Chinese Communist Party, American politicians have introduced new legislation to restrict the use of foreign-based technology companies and platforms, including TikTok. With over 150 million active U.S. users, according to CEO Shou Zi Chew, these efforts set a dangerous precedent for the future of our First Amendment rights.

There’s no doubt that the platform has its fair share of defects. From misinformation to mental health concerns related to social media use, TikTok faces challenges that any other online platform is naturally subject to. But at its core, this initiative made by U.S. politicians is a blatant act of xenophobia and a modern-day example of the Red Scare. As government officials attempt to regulate our access and use of online platforms, they also restrict the flow of crucial information. After all, TikTok is a powerful tool for members of our generation to share their creative talents, build communities and actively advocate for real-life problems that otherwise go largely ignored.

As a high school junior, in this past school year alone, I have learned more things on TikTok than I have within my classrooms. Platforms like TikTok allow younger generations to demonstrate the power they wield. Politicians are afraid of this. They fear the momentum that we create. But rather than making an effort to outright ban the app, legislators must take more significant measures to protect users’ privacy by introducing new legislation that limits how personal information is sold and used across all platforms.

Government bans on TikTok will only exacerbate censorship rights across the country.

Historical Perspective by Mateo, 9th grade

A Double-sided Day The Pranksters and the Fools

Just a couple of days ago, on April 1st, one of the most anticipated holidays for jokesters and pranksters alike occurred; April Fools’ Day. Each year on the first of April, many people spend the entire day executing a variety of deceptive tricks on friends and family to embarrass and humiliate them in a fun, playful way.

These pranks can lead to a bunch of hilarious reactions from their victims, which is what the pranksters aim to achieve with their mischief. However, the large collection of tricks that are committed on this day begs the question: Why is April 1st the most popular day to prank others? Why don’t we execute these funny acts on another day instead?

Let’s dive deeper into the origins of April Fools’ Day to see how it has evolved over the years. Although nobody knows for sure how April Fools’ Day came to be, historians have a solid assumption as to where it originated. They believe the holiday dates all the way back to the year 1582, when the Gregorian calendar took the place of the Julian calendar in France.

One of the major differences between the two calendars is the beginning of the new year. The Julian calendar year starts around April 1st, while the new Gregorian calendar starts on January 1st. Many people realized that some citizens either had not heard the news of the calendar change yet or refused to acknowledge the new beginning of the year, meaning that they continued to celebrate the new year on April 1st. These ignorant people soon fell victim to a barrage of hoaxes and were thus named “April fools.” Some of these pranks involved people placing paper fish on the backs of April fools, symbolizing their gullible nature.

Historians also speculate that April Fools’ Day is linked to the ancient Roman festival Hilaria, where crowds got together in late March and dressed in various costumes to mock other citizens, as well as to the Vernal Equinox, where it is said that Mother Nature fools unsuspecting people with its crazy weather on the first day of spring. April Fools’ Day spread to the United Kingdom in the 18th century, where people sent others on crazy quests and kicked other peoples’ bottoms.

Ultimately, the culmination of all these events and celebrations led to what we now know today as April Fools’ Day. Nowadays, most pranks can spread quickly and affect millions due to the media. For example, in 1998 Burger King began promoting a new food item known as the Left-Handed Whopper, which drove many people to their drive-thrus requesting the fake meal.

Of course, if you prefer the more traditional pranks such as loosening the salt container or placing a whoopee cushion on your dad’s chair, those are always viable options for smaller groups. So, now that you know a bit more about April Fools’ Day, you have the entire year to plan out your attacks for April Fools’ Day. Just make sure that they will not harm anyone or break any federal, state, or school/home regulations. Most importantly, have fun and stay alert!

Rosie LeeAnimal Trivia & Featured Pet by Rosie, 6th grade

monarch butterfly

Photo- Joe Schelling

Q: Are monarch butterflies poisonous?

A: Recently, those colorful butterflies have been appearing less. Plummeting 99.9% since the 90s, they are officially on endangered status. 1,914 butterflies survive. Known for their long-distance migration, monarch butterflies can travel 2,700 miles. Eating poisonous milkweed as a caterpillar, they emerge as a butterfly with poison in their veins. Harmless to the monarch butterflies, but foul for predators. Once a predator snacks on a monarch, they will remember the distasteful experience forever.

Meet Oslo

Meet one-year-old Oslo, a Staffordshire who just wants quality time with a large bunch of human friends! A love-able goofball, Oslo is very affectionate and enjoys the everyday walk. Staffies look like a pitbull but they are actually milder and friendlier. Oslo would sit for treats and let you enjoy his company.

Animal ID#: A1802774

Call (714) 935-6848 to schedule an appointment today! (Walk-ins welcome) visit