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We have a smoking problem at Lincoln High

By: Donna Li


The new trend for smoking is this hand-held device called a JUUL .


Student smoking at Abraham Lincoln High School has become a serious problem, and is well enough known that on March 8th, Lincoln High was featured in a video on ABC 7 news, and in an accompanying article to the piece that was published online. In the article, students were interviewed and talked about the easy and consistent use of a hand held device called a Juul.

The Juul vaporizer is a new trend we currently have on campus. It is an alternative to smoking tobacco, instead using an e-cigarette that looks like a long usb drive. To use a Juul, students only have to attach a flavorful e-liquid cartridge (which is also the mouthpiece) onto the top part of device, then just take a drag, and vapor comes out. Buttons or switches aren’t involved and the Juulpod can actually be plugged into a computer/laptop to be charged. It is also small enough to hide in a enclosed hand, which is why most adults are oblivious to this new device.

A spokesperson for Juul said to ABC 7 news that, “We strongly condemn the use of our product by minors, and it is in fact illegal to sell our product to minors. No minor should be in possession of a JUUL product.”

This means that by owning a Juul students are not only breaking school rules as our campus is smoke and vape free, but they are also breaking the law, as they are too young to own one legally.

“[If a student is caught smoking] we make sure that we contact the families. We also have the student go through a Wellness Center counselling to support our students so they can make better choices for their lives,” explains Lance Tagomori. “Sometimes there are consequences in terms of in-school suspensions, community service, or sitting with families and adults, but our main goal is to support the student. We try not to [suspend them] especially if it’s their first time [getting caught smoking] but if its chronic then we will.”

Administrators know that suspending a student won’t do anything for them, as it doesn’t help them improve. Wellness center is getting more referrals than they can handle for kids whos teachers who suspect their usage.

“I’ve seen people ask to go use the bathrooms, but really they just bring a Juul, a vape, or a wax pen in there to take a hit.” says senior Anson Liu. “It’s so easy to smoke in the school bathroom because the teachers and faculty members don’t know anything about it.”

There is a school policy that specifically states that student cannot be punished for using the bathroom and teachers are legally not allowed to say no or question a student when they ask to use the bathroom. It seems like such a innocent thing that teachers shouldn’t even have to question, but certain students just abuse their privileges.

“We have security cameras, we have counselors, we have our Wellness Center, and we have our deans [who try to prevent student from smoking],” states Tagomori. Kids are smoking just as much but they are just being more coy about when and where they smoke.

“We get complaints from different neighbors about groups of kids smoking on their property right before school starts,” states Joel Balzer, “So the teachers knows that the kids are high, but they just don’t smell it. ”

“How do you give somebody the heart to be a real student?” says Balzer. “A lot of these kids don’t feel invited to the classroom and its not their fault. And that is the whole thing. That’s the real issue.”


ALHS and SI offer identical experiences despite different approaches

By: Tifffany Bui


Both Lincoln High and Saint Ignatius have large campuses and draw from historic namesakes.


Saint Ignatius, or SI, is a college preparatory high school located in the Outer Sunset. It is a private Jesuit school that shares a community with Abraham Lincoln High School (ALHS).  From the outside looking in, SI and ALHS may look very different, but both schools have similarities regarding academic skill, sports, school community, extracurricular activities, and most importantly, preparing students in achieving standards to tackle the real world. Some staff members here at Lincoln High have worked at SI in the past and vice versa. Various students have experienced swimming lessons, summer camp, and even took the SAT at SI. Let's traverse the profound mentality of a private school.

According to ALHS’s School Accountability Report Card, Lincoln High holds a reputation for maintaining high standards of academic achievement, when compared with San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) averages. SI also has a reputation for academic excellence. According to SI’s school profile, 98% of students graduate and attend a four-year college. Lincoln High has a graduation rate of 92%.

Shari Balisi, the principal at ALHS, states, ”Lincoln shares SFUSD’s mission to have students ready for the twenty-first century.”

ALHS and SFUSD are preparing students for the future by adopting Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) standards for science including Common Core standards for math. These two curricular shifts show a change in focus to highlight different options students have after graduation.

Balisi continues: “The goals for the staff are to make sure every child gets a diploma and gets support to go to college, or go to the workforce to give them necessary tools. We want our students to go to college, but there are some students at the moment that may not feel like going to college for four years. So we give them options. We want our students to achieve.”

Kevin Woodward, a former AP computer science, and Conceptual Physics teacher at Lincoln says, "SI has a whole application process and some academic standards they are looking for. The students are going to be more, on average, academically driven.”

Kyle Mcauliffe, a junior at SI states, "SI helps students get to college by providing more resources. SI puts a lot of effort towards their College Preparatory curriculum. Students narrow down their list of options, learn how to write good resumes, and how to focus on grades. I feel that  at a public school level, it's more like get students through the school system, but here at SI it’s more like to get the students to college. At a public school, I think the goal is to receive good grades, get your homework done on time, while here at SI our end goal is to graduate and get us students directly to a four-year college. Because of this, we are going to build habits where we can be accomplished. Here at SI, it is mainly about focusing on the student."

After learning about each school’s vision, it’s clear that both schools care most about their students’ future to a position where they feel most comfortable to settle at.

Woodward states: “The fact that SI is a private school means that students are coming from different backgrounds. A public school is gathering students from all over San Francisco, and students at SI are coming from all over the Bay area; the Peninsula, Marin, East Bay. Lincoln is going to have more like a San Francisco city vibe than SI will, so it is a cultural difference. Although SI has been in the city longer, it still doesn't feel like the SI students would be in San Francisco."

At SI, more than half of the school population is Caucasian. However, there are many other significant ethnic groups. Both schools have enhanced their diversity throughout the years with improvements to the enrollment process. The diversity seen at both ALHS and SI is vital because many would want to learn others’ backgrounds and their aspect of life.

Lisa Westlund, a former counselor at SI and a current counselor at  Lincoln, explained, "Students at SI have extra pressure from their parents because they are paying thousands of dollars for their child to go there to perform.”

At a private school, if students are not focused and motivated, it does not make sense for their parents to pay much money for tuition. Parents have a lot invested in their child’s future. Otherwise, they would just send their children to a public school that is free.

Mcauliffe adds, “There`s much financial aid here because SI is a Jesuit school, and the Jesuit mission is helping others. Yes, it is a private school; there's a lot of wealth and donation, but they use that prestige to give back to the kids.”

Westlund continues: “(SI) is a smaller school, surely not over two thousand. There are small classroom sizes; teachers have fewer students per class, so I would assume more time is given to each student since the teachers have less enrollment compared to public schools like Lincoln.”

Martina Reyes, a junior at SI explains regarding luxuries, “I feel like [students at] SI have good resources with teachers and counselors for help. In the libraries, we have handy websites. Most devices are iPads which make schoolwork and assignments easier to turn in.”

“I cannot compare [my teachers] to any other high school, but my teachers here I’ve loved since freshman year. They are all open and always willing to help as long as you ask. If you are a good student and take notes, the teachers are willing to help with any question you have, as long as you do the homework. You cannot abuse your work; you have to study, know the material a bit, do the work and they will ask you specific questions. They will help you; they are super nice. Teachers are lenient, but not all of them are, it depends,” Reyes said.

Chad Evans, SI’s assistant principal, says this about SI: "We try to balance the three areas of the school; academics, co-curricular, and spiritual formation. We want our students to engage in all three areas. We try to help our students grow in all those areas. So also as a classroom teacher, I am expected to be a coach, and I am likewise supposed to be honorable with all our students. So, for example, my student Kyle participates in activities, studies, and ministry; all those say who we are.”

There are many sports teams at both ALHS and SI. However, ALHS offers some sports that SI doesn't, like fencing, badminton, and flag football. There are also some sports unique to SI, like Lacrosse and Water Polo. Reyes said, ”Since SI doesn`t have a badminton team, I play that sport outside of school. I wish SI had a badminton team, but it's possible to start a club. It's just harder to compete with other teams and find the time.”

Both ALHS and SI offer many clubs for students to join.  Some clubs, like the Black Student Union and Asian Student Collison at SI offer opportunities for students to represent and be proud of their different ethnic backgrounds. Lincoln offers a variety of ethnic clubs like Latino, Polynesian, Black, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Hawaiian, and Middle Eastern club. All of these clubs express their cultural ethnicity throughout the BSA performance along with acting and dancing contributions. Each school also features service clubs, hobby clubs, and sports clubs.

Furthermore, both SI and ALHS keep traditional rivalries against other schools. For football, our school holds the Bell Game tradition against Washington, while SI continues on the Bruce-Mahoney Game tradition against Sacred Heart. Both schools hold high expectations of achieving in sports; therefore throughout history, both schools have usually won over their rivals.

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Caption: Both schools have large campuses and draw from historic namesakes.


SF Chronicle managing editor pays Lincoln a visit

By: Benjamin Sheh


Michael Gray gives a presentation in Lincoln High’s library to Sara Falls’ Writing for Publication class and Edmond J. Sullivan’s English classPhoto by Zev Curiel-Friedman


A man with shining, gray eyes and similarly gray hair clears his throat as he contemplates how to respond to a question from Lincoln High’s own journalists in Lincoln’s second floor library. He sports a formal jacket adorned with the yellow visitor pass but casual jeans, and speaks with a halting voice—likely choosing his words carefully as he touches upon controversial topics. Coincidentally, considering his appearance, the man’s name is Michael Gray. He works as the managing editor for enterprise and investigations at the SF Chronicle newspaper.

Michael Gray, Edmond J. Sullivan's second cousin, grew up in Berkeley and earned a degree in journalism, working 40+ years for various major newspapers throughout the US including the Wall Street Journal. He eventually returned to the SF Chronicle after previously working as the paper’s deputy business and enterprise editor.

Gray didn’t originally plan to be a journalist, however. He was instead aiming to be an athlete, playing in Junior Varsity in high school. When he was unable to make the Varsity team, he happened to see an available position for a sports writer in the school’s newspaper and took the opportunity. As they say, the rest is history.

Gray describes a journalist’s job as “putting something together that is credible and useful for readers around the world,” stressing that curiosity and drive are the marks of a good reporter. “People want to tell you their stories.”

While he no longer works out in the field, he enjoys reading the articles his co-workers write as part of his job editing and laying out the SF Chronicle.Photo caption:

Lockedown Porcedure

By: Maya Benmokhtar


A threat was written on a bathroom wall stating "If you read this I will shoot the school."


SFUSD lockdown procedures state that in time of an emergency, teachers should lock their doors and hide with students so they can't be seen. However, is this safe for students? In the latest school shootings, most students lost their lives from “hiding from the shooter.” Is there a better lockdown procedure that could prevent students from losing their lives in a mass school shooting situation?


“There is no safest way, there’s no real pattern, there’s no one single way,” says Dr. Lance Tagomori.  “Students should do whatever it takes: run, hide or even fight back.”


After asking Tagomori why SFUSD has so few drills for lockdowns per year, despite the increasing number of mass shootings occurring in Americans schools, compared to the number of yearly earthquake drills, he stated his belief that the San Francisco School District does not have enough lockdown drills. “SFUSD only requires one to two lockdown drills a year.” Tagomori also stated that in the past 25 years there have never been a death from a fire, compared to 100 deaths from shootings.


Abraham Lincoln High School had a lockdown drill on Thursday March 22nd during sixth period. Teachers and students were encouraged to react the same to this lockdown drill as they have to the others; lock doors, cover windows, turn off lights and hide.

How can ALHS students prevent a school shooting from happening? “ A lot of the times it’s people struggling, sometimes the signs come from social media or unhappiness with peers and adults,” says Tagomori. “Students know first; if any signs are shown report the problem by telling an adult.”