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Flour baby project irritations teach students about teen pregnancy

By Ben Sheh

Photo taken by : Ben Sheh


A flour baby is neglected and left at school.





Ask any student at Lincoln High about flour babies, and you’ll generally get an informed answer. Since Health is a required subject, most students will eventually experience this project. Even if they haven’t yet, they have likely seen other students carry their flour babies all around campus whenever the project is active.


The concept of flour babies dates back to 1986 in the US, and was introduced as a way to teach students about responsibility and human compassion. Somewhere along the path, the focus turned to educating adolescents about teen pregnancy.


This may be because US teen pregnancy rates are higher than that of many other developed countries. Nearly 150,000 young women become pregnant per year in the US, according to “U.S. Teenage Pregnancy Statistics: Overall Trends, Trends by Race and Ethnicity And State-by-State Information” by “The Alan Guttmacher Institute.”


Teen pregnancy is definitely a problem that needs to be addressed, but many students question if flour babies are an effective method to accomplish this.


The project first involves buying a five pound bag of flour, then making arms, legs, a head, and a face to make it appear like an actual baby. After that, a shoebox or other container is used to carry the baby and supplies such as milk bottles and toys to and from school. The student must also have teacher signatures every period to prove that the baby is with them at all times, and never left unattended. Essentially, the guidelines act as if the flour baby was an actual infant. After the project, the flour is collected and donated to a charitable organization.


Lincoln High junior Brandon Hom says, “It’s useful, but it has its downsides.” He goes on to explain that carrying around the baby, especially to and from home, is a pain. “The public perceives you as an awkward student.”


Another Lincoln High junior, Gabrielle Palomo says, “A baby is probably much more responsibility.” She finds the project annoying, and doesn’t think that it really helps her learn what it’s like to be a parent. “I like bringing the toy around. Not the baby; just the toy.”


The Health teacher herself, Ali R. Mayer, is aware of these complaints. She says, “They get frustrated, they get cranky--that’s a good thing because if it’s hard or inconvenient to carry a flour baby, it’s going to be hard to be a real parent.”


Mayer firmly asserts that these pains and frustrations are the core of the project. The point is to enlighten students about what it would be like if they had a baby at their current age. Many cases of high school pregnancies result in students being unable to continue school or perhaps pursue a career they wanted. This is why she chooses to assign the project and requires students to take the “baby” wherever they go, as well as making the project worth a hefty 200 points.


The strange looks from onlookers that Hom mentioned are also an intentional part, as Mayer wants discussions to spark between students and the public. She even encourages that the baby be created as a different ethnicity than the flour parent, which is likely to draw even more attention and thus discussion opportunities.


Wearing a keen smile on her face, Mayer closes with, “Whether they’re in a relationship or not, having a baby is a whole different ballgame and a huge responsibility. I’m hoping that they learn to hold off on getting pregnant until they are financially, educationally, and emotionally stable. The flour baby project is nothing in comparison to being a real parent--being a real parent is ‘on the job training.’ It’s the most undervalued position and should receive more credit where it is due.”

Juma Ventures strives to help youth into college

By Sina Leniu



Photo courtesy of Juma Ventures and Michael Rivera


Sophomores take a photo before their first game last season.




“Juma strives to break the cycle of poverty by paving the way to work, education, and financial capability for youth across America,” states the Juma website at


Juma is a non-profit organization that helps low-income students be the first in their family to go to college (first-generation college student) and high school sophomores  to also achieve their goal of going to college. Their buildings are located in many major cities across America such as San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Clara, Sacramento, Atlanta, New Orleans, Seattle and New York.


“Juma is made up of three aspects: education, employment and financial capabilities. Juma provides students with a job working in concessions at local sports stadiums, as well as a matched savings account that provides funds for college. We also provide financial literacy curriculum to help students be in control of their finances. In addition, Juma helps students by providing resources for students to be academically successful in high school and to help them get into college,“ says Sabrina Jueseekul, a San Francisco Juma Youth Development Coordinator (YDC.)


As a student of the program, I really enjoy working at AT&T Park for the San Francisco Giants because it helps me with my communication and social skills. I have had the opportunity to work different roles in concessions such as vending and working as a barista, and I also enjoy all the workshops the YDC provides us because it gives more knowledge on what to expect for the future and it brings all the students closer.


Juma helps by providing students “with individualized support from their Youth Development Coordinator (YDC) in the form of one-on-one meetings as well as workshops on academic skills, general testing and college applications to help students attain a college degree. We also host professional development workshops and take students on college and career tours to allow students to explore different options,“ Jueseekul says.


“Juma has helped me by providing me a tutor for Pre-Calc and that’s really helping me. Now I’m not failing the class; I straight up have a B,“ Lincoln High junior Marcos Ruiz says proudly.


Many of the Juma staff members were former Juma students.  “What made me come back was mainly seeing the growth of the students I grew up with: Alvin Yu --Director of Venue Operations-- who was in my grade, I saw him really excel past being a high school student, and when I saw that I was like ‘Man there’s a lot of cool people still there that I know. A lot of it was my old YDC; she gave me that support and understanding that in order for me to give to the community I need to help out and come back to my roots. That’s one of the reasons I came back,” states Randall Flores, another San Francisco Juma YDC.


Everything that Juma does and provides for their students has brought everyone closer together. “To me, Juma is more like a second family,” says Lincoln High Junior Melvin Osorio.


Ruiz agrees, saying, “I think of Juma as a little family.”

“The Future Project” transforms students’ lives

By Nicole Chui

Photo taken by : Jessica Li


The dream team gathers at their first meeting to invigorate their inspirations.




“Instead of focusing only on school performance, graduation rates, college matriculation and job placement, I wanted to get to the root of the problem,” stated Andrew Mangino, CEO of “The Future Project.” “The Future Project” is a nonprofit organization for motivated students to share their interests with the world, use specific skills that are required for their interests, and transform other people’s lives.


Too many students these days are trapped by the idea that grades and test scores are what define their success, but SFUSD has strived to change that perception by launching “Vision 2025.” This vision is deeply committed to improving academic, social and emotional outcomes for a better future for all SFUSD students, schools, and--by extension--the Bay Area.


Since launching in Washington D.C., New York City, New Haven and Connecticut in 2011, the organization has spread across seven American cities, including Philadelphia, San Francisco and most recently Detroit. At the beginning of this school year, Abraham Lincoln High School, along with the Academy of Arts and Sciences, San Francisco International High School and Downtown High School became involved with “The Future Project” movement. Lincoln’s program mentor or “Dream Director, Jessica Li, is one of the 50 Dream Directors in the U.S. who guides through young people’s passions to make them come alive.  


Out of 108 Lincoln High applicants, 20 students are selected to become a part of the Dream Team, marking the beginning of their journey to success. The word “success” does not merely mean receiving a high grade point average or test score. Instead, with a diverse multitude of ideas and one vision, the “Dream Team” simply defines success by making the world a better place for everyone.


Psychologist Marilyn Price-Mitchell asserts, “Success is the ability to be self-reflective, action-oriented and connected to work that improves the lives of others, in which it can’t be measured by quantitative terms.”


It’s time for students to defeat the fears of grades and test scores and to release their motivation in reaching their dream goals.


“I hope the students on the ‘Dream Team’ as well as the entire student population  realize that anything they believe in can come true. It’s about looking at the possibility that they can relate to in terms of what they’re passionate about,” says Li.


The big ideas of possibility and dream are the backbone to motivating students toward their impactful accomplishments that can potentially empower other young people to achieve their own dreams. “The Future Project’s” ambitions for motivated students begin in the school building but don’t end there.


“This opportunity has given me a chance to experience my interest in entrepreneurship as well as trained me to listen to myself in the sense that I can do whatever I want,” says Kirsten Wong, a member of the Lincoln High “Dream Team.” She adds, “Your GPA or SAT score won’t matter as much in your future career, instead we need to embrace our ideas and personality as part of our success.”


With a passion of traveling, Dream Team member, Anton Arellano hopes to achieve his dream goal for the better of the world.


“ I want to go to South America to produce a film that captures a perspective of despair to make fortunate people appreciate their luck and find substantial ways to help the less developed area,” says Arellano. He added, “I found a translator who’s willing to come along with me and we are continuing to apply for more grants to fund my trip.”


President Kanya Balakrishna of “The Future Project” upholds, “People define success on their own terms and this is where the ‘Dream Team’ stems from.”



Race alters disciplinary action in Abraham Lincoln High School



By Jose Dominguez


Photo taken by : Jose Dominguez


The Dean at work.




Nearly 2,000 students  attend the Abraham Lincoln High school. Sixty five percent of them are Asian, 17% Hispanic and 7% Black and many are not at equal risk of facing harsh disciplinary actions because students’ race is playing a big role.


Joel Balzer said, “ I don't actually like suspending students”. In fact he said that Lincoln is trying to take different measures of discipline that does not involve suspension to insure better behavior from students.


During the past three years Lincoln has tried to make a change. In 2012-2013 2.44% of students were suspended. In 2013-2014 1.38 % of the students were suspended. And in 2014-2015 1.07% students got suspended. As you can see the percentage of students who have been suspended in the past three years has decreased. The amount of students that are being suspended is decreasing but that does not change the fact that the scales are tipped toward Black and Latino students.


According to state laws if a student is caught with drugs or alcohol they must be suspended; this is mandatory. However, the biggest reason for which students are getting suspended is misbehaving.  Joel also commented that student behavior may be linked to issues that may be coming from an individual's home: caring for younger siblings, a lack of role models, the way the are raised or even the neighborhood in which they live.


When students are introduced to a different atmosphere they react in a negative manner until they begin to adapt. This may be because of what students are being taught or the lack of communication at school.


Black students and Hispanic students are being taught or are seeing only  the dominant narrative of history or of what is going on around them. Society is failing them because the counter narrative of every issue is being covered up. Students want to know that there is more to their past than what a historian has recorded. They don't react well to this and feel uncomfortable speak out.


Joel our dean referred to the big five : Possession of drugs/alcohol with intent to sell, possession of a gun, brandishing a knife, sexual assault, and possession of fireworks m80 or bigger. Students who act on any of those five will be given mandatory five day suspension according to the state laws. However, Joel also said, “Suspending a student would just give them a chance to do what they were doing somewhere else during their suspension period”. There are times when suspension is required by law but according to Joel in many cases suspending students is not the right move to make.


It is imperative to not have a racial bias when it comes to suspending a student, but the real issue is with suspension in general. Luckily, Lincoln is trying to change the suspension rates and the racial bias, not by suspending students but instead going over the issue of unnecessary suspensions. They are communicating with students, parents and staffs about all these issues. Hopefully these actions will change how suspension is viewed, resulting in a decrease in the amount of Black and Latino students who are suspended.

Student store shut down at lunch

By April Woo

Photo taken by : April Woo


Senior Erin Ichimura walks away with her student store purchase. 




The bell rings and the quiet murmur of students leaving class turns into a loud cacophony of shouts, locker slams, and the pitter patter of 4,000 feet when entering the hallways. During this time of freedom, a majority of the students take advantage of off campus lunch. In the previous years, another place students went to that was the most convenient and cheap was Abraham Lincoln High School’s student store. It  has since been shut down at lunch. This has affected the eating ritual of many and has left them to find lunch elsewhere, leaving only the mystery of why it closed.


The student store’s opening in 2015 was a major success. The line went along the walls outside the building and students purchased items such as “Cup of Noodles” and chips. Because of its popularity, convenience of being at school and low food price, the store experienced a dramatic increase in the number of student customers up to a point where problems occurred. The rule of three students at a time in the store was not followed. Lily Mok, a PTSA member who is frequently helping out at places in school such as the student store says,


When I turned around I could not watch everything at once, especially when I had to focus on giving back change.


The money received in total for a day did not match the expected amount due. This shed light on the fact that the change collected was not correct.  The increased number of students in the store resulted in the ASB volunteers and Mok trying hard to focus on preventing stealing, which still occurred. Students would crowd the store and a shoplifter would be able to be hidden by bodies, grab something and go. There is no security camera in the store so supervision and word of mouth is the only way to know if someone is responsible for stealing.


Controversial issues with the ASB members running the store were also a factor, in which snack distribution to friends without permission was prevalent. Also, it was noticeable that littering was more common and the packages from the items in the store could be seen on the grounds near it. Trudy Harris, one of the custodians remarked

“There was so much trash everywhere flying around.”


These issues created a snowball effect that resulted in the ultimate decision to close the store at lunch.


A positive side to the closure of the store at lunch is that it is still up and running after school on all days. Mok is now the sole volunteer who operates the store, and even though it’s not open at lunch it is a popular attraction for a hungry passersby going home, to evening school, or to practice who need fuel. The store not only has food in stock but school supplies at an affordable price in the colorful shelves. Even artwork is displayed from the ceramics class and is for sale.  Senior Erin Ichimura states,


“I like how the store provides a lot of different products. There is something there for everyone, and I think this diversity of products is a great attribute for a student store for a school as big and diverse as Lincoln.”


So, the mystery has been solved, and farewell to the student store during lunch hours.