Executive Disorder: Trump immigration and travel ban causes a week of turmoil in Yolo County

Note: I worked for a week on this project after President Donald Trump instituted the travel ban. My team and I found narratives to tell each day of the week following the executive order. We integrated photo, audio and graphics to explain how Trump’s actions affected community members.  Access the special report here.

(Published on on Feb. 5, 2017)

DHS hosts annual Halden Invitational, thousands of athletes compete

Note: Each year, my high school hosts a massive track meet. So, during my senior  year, I decided to mix up my school’s coverage of it and create a multimedia package. The resulting product, with the help of my fellow student journalists, includes photos, videos and audio elements. The package also placed second in National Scholastic Press Association’s 2017 Multimedia Sports Story of the Year competition. 

Davis High athletes gather around the Blue Devil tent on the infield during the annual Halden Invitational. (Photo: J. Moddelmog)

The Davis High track and field team hosted its annual Halden Invitational on April 22, attracting nearly 2,000 athletes from across Northern California. Winners of each event received backpacks, and the top three finishers in each heat were awarded water bottles.

At the end of the day, head coach Spencer Elliott declared this year’s invitational “the first perfect meet we’ve had,” meaning none of the cameras malfunctioned during any of the races.


The field events, shot put and discus, promptly at 10 a.m.; however, due to traffic, some athletes did not make it to the meet, according to junior Tazio Rosenberg.

“There are a lot of guys who can throw 50 feet, which is a really good mark for high school and only one of them came,” Rosenberg said.

Regardless of the competition, the junior placed third in varsity men’s shot put with a personal best of 46-03. Senior Wesley Romer placed ninth in 40-06 and senior Bobby Scott placed 14th with a mark of 36-07.25.

Scott explains how shot put works and how to warm up:

In varsity women’s shot put, junior Isabella Campos placed eighth with 26-04. Seniors Hannah Herrgesell and Jaz Brayton threw 23-11.75 and 23-11.50, respectively.

Rosenberg also took third in the varsity men’s discus with a throw of 145-06.5. And although Herrgesell claims her worst event is discus, she placed fifth in the varsity women’s discus with a throw of 85-04.

She describes a typical day at practice:


At the same time throwing events started, the track events kicked off with the varsity women’s 4×100 relay team finishing in second in 50.26 after St. Francis. The Davis team consisted of seniors Abby McIntyre, Tessa Malone, Julia Curtis and junior Brooke Rubinstein anchoring.

“It went well. We had some blips with some of our handoffs but most of them went really well. Everyone on the team ran a super fast leg so I think it says something good about our future races that if we just fix that one little problem, we can be super fast,” McIntyre said.

The men did not compete in the 4×100. However, several male athletes competed in the varsity men’s 110-meter hurdles.

Senior Andrew Roessler came in sixth at 16.67, and the remaining three Blue Devils finished within half a second of each, junior Hao-Ju Chen rounding it out at 17.97. Senior Mimi Miyamoto was the sole 110-meter hurdler for the women’s team. She finished third in 16.41, about a second after the winner finished in 15.34.

“I clipped a hurdle at the beginning and because of that I did four steps in between instead of three steps. Three steps is the ideal amount of steps for optimum speed, and I did four steps because of that,” senior Brandon Hein said.

The varsity 400 meter dash yielded a single Davis competitor for men’s and women’s races, each finishing around the middle of the pack. Junior Delaney Seward finished 13th with a time of 1:05.33 and junior Jeremy Falk finished ninth in 53.52.

Three of the 4×100 team members returned to race individually in the 100-meter dash, led by Rubinstein in third (12.64). The men were led by junior Jack Hoal, who finished in 13th (12.01).

Senior Lilja Jelks and junior Claire Deamer raced each other in the third heat of the varsity women’s 300-meter hurdles, with Jelks finishing a few seconds faster at 51.74. Roessler repeated his sixth-place title (42.71), this time behind junior Andrew Vallero (42.66).

Rubinstein (25.92), Malone (26.01) and Curtis (27.29) also ran in the varsity women’s 200-meter race. The sole runner in the men’s varsity 200-meter race was junior Jubilee Emojong, who finished 23rd in 25.55.

Finally, Rubinstein returned to race for a fourth time as a member of the winning women’s 4×400 team, along with seniors Julia Curtis, Bailey MkNelly and Alyssa Lengtat. They finished in 4:08.34, several seconds ahead of second place.

The men’s 4×400 team, consisting of seniors Simon Ford and Andrew Roessler, junior Jeremy Falk and sophomore Juan Zarate-Sanchez, were unable to match the women’s finish, landing in fifth in 3:46.09.


Sophomore Will Ewens warms up for pole vault. He competed in the Frosh/Soph division. No Blue Devils competed in the men’s varsity division. (Photo: M. Bobrowsky)

No Blue Devils competed in the varsity men’s pole vault; however, two DHS women did: seniors Emily Meyer and Kate Miller. Meyer won by a margin of six inches, finishing at 11-06. Miller placed third in 10-0.

Miller described pole vault as “basically high jump with a stick except you’re supposed to go over the bar stomach side instead of on your back.” Other than that, the event runs the same way: three attempts at each height, she said. “Miss three in a row, and you’re out.”


Lybbert’s extreme arch over the bar earns her first place in the varsity women’s high jump. (Photo: B. MkNelly)

The varsity women’s high jump left all of its athletes with season bests.

Sophomore Hannah Lybbert placed first with a jump of 5-01. Mknelly and junior Laura Young placed third and fourth respectively with jumps at 4-11, a three inch personal record for Young. Lybbert’s success in the high jump left her was optimistic about the rest of her season.

“Now that I’m able to jump 5-01 I think it can just go up from here and just get better towards the end of the season,” she said.

The varsity men’s high jump wasn’t quite as successful; however, sophomore Aidan Doms neared his personal record with a 5-09 clearance earning him fifth place overall.

Long jump resulted in more impressive jumps from the men’s side rather than the women’s side.

Junior Jack Hoal sits in midair and prepares to end his long jump. (Photo: A. Cui)

Junior Jack Hoal placed second with a jump of 20-01. Juniors Ty Wilkinson and Tommy Aquino both set personal records.

On his first attempt, Aquino scratched an 18-foot jump and was disappointed, fearing he would be unable to jump that far again. But on his last jump, he surpassed 18 feet with a jump of 18-02, breaking his past record by over a foot.

Junior Annie Cui approached her record placing eighth in the varsity women’s long jump in 15-10.5.

Cui and senior Aaron Moore both placed fourth in the triple jump.


As the meet wound down for the sprinters and field events, the Halden Distance Carnival began. From 4:40 p.m. until the invitational ended at 8:40 p.m., the track was dominated by nonstop distance races. The four hours saw multiple heats for both men and women of the 1600, 800 and 3200-meter races.

“We want to have a lot of pride and do a really good job in hosting this meet,” distance head coach Bill Gregg said, “And I think it went very well.”

Gregg and other distance coaches with the help of Davis volunteers made sure the carnival operated as smoothly and quickly as it could, getting the next race going as soon as the prior race ended.

The Blue Devils showcased their own talented distance program at the meet, with many runners racing their best times. Top Davis runner and Stanford commit Michael Vernau won the 800-meter race in 1:56, with teammate senior Nicholas Leacox coming in close behind for fourth place in 2:01.

The 3200-meter was an interesting race for returning race champion Vernau, due to a burst of energy from competitor Omar Maklaf in the second-to-last lap of the race.

“I was scared,” Vernau said. “I thought he was a sprinter or something and I was totally going to have haul for the last 400.”

Vernau was relieved when Maklaf abruptly stopped at the finish line, believing it to be the last lap. Vernau went on to win the race easily in 9:29.

The Davis runners also achieved numerous personal records in the 1600-meter race with freshman Zeno Castiglioni, sophomore Tristan Sturm and senior Kyle Tran all running their first sub-five minute mile.

Juniors Sam Blakewell and James Brunette, along with sophomores Bryce Gregg and Kyle Henricson, also all ran the best times of their high school careers.

On the women’s side, junior Olivia O’Keeffe captured victory in the 800-meter race with a season record of 2:18. Freshman Auden Marsh-Armstrong ran a personal record of 2:30.

O’Keeffe, coming off an injury, also ran well in the 1600-meter race, coming in fourth at 5:05, one second behind third-place finisher senior Sofia Castiglioni.

Senior Abbey Fisk and sophomores Sophie Lodigiani and Annie and Ruthie Mitchell dominated the final and fastest varsity women’s 3200-meter race. Fisk and Lodigiani took third and fourth while the Annie and Ruthie took seventh and ninth, respectively.

The team’s success at the meet after racing three days earlier against Monterey Trail has Gregg feeling confident about the future.

“We saw some really good stuff today,” he said. “I think we’re really in the spot we need to be in to make some noise at the League Championships.”

(Published on on April 23, 2017)

California students gather for Muslim Day at Capitol

Note: After attending Muslim Day, I met my same day deadline; that package is displayed below and linked here. I then worked together with my editor to transform the story into parallax mode, which enables text over photos and auto play videos. Below are all the elements. To see parallax mode in action, click here.

SACRAMENTO — More than 600 students, activists and politicians gathered at the California state Capitol Building in Sacramento on Monday to talk about a worrisome increase in Islamophobia and lobby for legislation supporting Muslims nationwide.

Students gather for workshops during Muslim Day at the Capitol. Photo by Jack Hennessy.
Students gather for workshops during Muslim Day at the Capitol. Photo by Jack Hennessy.

The 5th annual Muslim Day at the Capitol, sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, drew elementary through high school students from all over California.

One focus of discussion was the Safe Place to Learn Act (AB 2845) which would amend existing anti-bullying protections outlined in the California Education Code to promote strategies and programs to address bullying of students who are Muslim or those who are perceived as Muslims, for example, Sikhs, or students who are from the Middle East.

The bill was triggered by a 2015 report by CAIR that found 55 percent of California Muslim students have been bullied in school. The figure is more than twice as high as the national average, according to CAIR.  

That report and the Safe Place to Learn Act are more than just paper to 14-year-old Aya Hazzawi, a student from Rancho Cucamonga.

While Hazzawi said that she has not been personally victimized because of her Islamic beliefs, she knows of a friend who was bullied for wearing her hijab to school:

Other bills that are being supported by CAIR and were discussed at Muslim Day included the Truth Act (AB 2792), which would require local law enforcement to decide in advance with city council or county supervisors how to report the arrest of an undocumented person to federal Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities, and the Police Investigation, Transparency and Accountability Act (SB 1286), which would require public access to police records on use of force and misconduct, and force civilian review boards that oversee police to hold public hearings.

After registration and keynote speakers on the steps of the Capitol, participants were directed into the Capitol building where they attended workshops and legislative briefings. Lunch was marked by a dhurh (noon prayer) on the Capitol lawn.

Room 447 was packed for the legislative briefing on “Islamophobia: Impacts on California,” put on by the Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the Sikh Coalition and CAIR, where 27-year-old Amandeep Singh shared his experience of being bullied and suspended during high school:

Muslim Day this year came amid a backdrop of heated rhetoric in the GOP and Democratic presidential primaries, including a call by Republican contender Donald Trump for a ban on travel by the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims to the United States.

“Education is one of the biggest things,” said Hazzawi, who is a member of Muslim Gamechangers Network, a four-month-old CAIR initiative to promote social justice among teens.

“To avoid all of this is knowledge. Knowledge is power.”

(Published on on May 10, 2016)

Scripps Over-Enrollment Forces 38 to CGU Apartments

Note: In addition to writing this article in an attempt to hold my college accountable for over-enrolling my class, I produced a video, going more in-depth into one student’s experience living off-campus her as a freshman.

When Emilee Manske SC ’21 was tired, lost, and wanted to return to her room after a late-night orientation event near the Scripps College gym, she called Campus Safety and asked for a ride back to where she lives – the Claremont Graduate University apartments.

The 5Cs “encourage all students, including those who reside in the CGU apartments to use [Campus Safety for rides],” Director of Campus Safety Stan Skipworth wrote in an email to TSL. “The requests coming from those students [have] not placed any extra burden on our staff or our services.”

But Manske said Campus Safety told her that since she lived in the apartments, 0.6 miles north of campus, she had to take the shuttle that runs until 2:00 a.m. every night. After several minutes of debate, Campus Safety eventually sent someone to take Manske and her roommate back to the apartments. But she was unsettled by the experience, and now does not feel like Campus Safety is reliable.

“They’re supposed to take you anywhere anytime, especially if you’re a Scripps student and you want to go back to your dorm,” Manske said. “They should be able to take you back.”

Manske is one of the 38 Scripps first-years who lives in the CGU apartments, which are a 12-minute walk from campus, as a result of Scripps enrolling its largest class ever – 329 students.

Watch: What it’s like to live a shuttle ride away from The Princeton Review’s #5 Best Dorms

“We know that our applicants often have many great offers to consider, so we aim to admit enough students to meet the enrollment target,” explained Laura Stratton, Scripps director of admission, in an email to TSL. “What we didn’t anticipate was that more students would accept our offer of admission than we expected.”

One day before Scripps issued room assignments for the class of 2021, Chloe Lesh SC ’21 received an email from her primary contact dean, Leslie Schnyder, informing her of a “great opportunity to create community” and asking for the best phone number at which to reach her.

When Schnyder called Lesh, she told her that Lesh was one of the 40 randomly selected first-year students that would be living off-campus at the CGU apartments for the entirety of the year.

Two of those selected students were able to move on-campus. Audrey Simmons SC ’21 submitted a housing change request before school started. When a first-year didn’t show up after a week and a half, she was able to take her spot.

Lesh, however, never learned about the housing change request.

“When I received the news that I wasn’t going to live on campus, I was obviously disappointed and a little bit nervous because I’m a first-year,” Lesh said. “I wanted to be on campus so I can experience what a dorm is actually like.”

Lesh was sent a follow-up email which described the apartments as “very nice” with “two generous-sized bedrooms” to accommodate four students. The email said the student-bathroom ratio is “at least as good for these apartments as it is for any other students assigned Scripps housing.”

Daphne Liu SC ’21 doesn’t think her apartment lives up to its promises.

“They told me it was much bigger. It wasn’t a lie, but they embellished it,” Liu said. “They said there would be a common area and a living room area, and I walked in here and there’s nothing.”

In addition to the lack of amenities, there are no printers for the students to use at the CGU apartments, according to Lesh. When Lesh needs to print out homework, she said, she takes the shuttle to a residence hall on campus.

“It just makes it a little difficult if you know you have to print something out for class, you have to plan that into your day as well,” Lesh said.

And when she does go on campus, she brings everything she needs for the day.

“Even if you have a break in between, it’s just inconvenient to come back here if you have to ride the shuttle,” Lesh said.

Manske said she spends about an hour waiting for and riding the shuttle every day — she goes back and forth between her apartment and Scripps several times. This wait time may change when students get their promised lockers in the Scripps Student Union above the dining hall.

There is only one shuttle, which runs every 20 minutes from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., with a 20-minute break in the morning, an hour-long break after lunch, another 20-minute break in the late afternoon and a final hour-long break at night. In addition to offering the shuttle, Scripps has guaranteed a bike for any Scripps student at CGU who needs one for the academic year. The students also receive their first choice for housing next year and $2,000 for a laptop, according to Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Charlotte Johnson.

Vice President of Business Affairs Dean Calvo said housing costs at the CGU apartments are “comparable to the student room charges at Scripps. When the cost of additional amenities is factored in, the per student cost to the College is higher.”

Despite having a functioning kitchen, the students are required to stay on the 12 or 16-meal plan even though they live in alternative housing, which otherwise would qualify them for the five-meal plan, Johnson said.

“The hope is that they will take most of their meals at Malott or one of the many dining halls at the consortium, which provides students, especially first-years, an opportunity to get to know and socialize with Scripps students and students from the other campuses,” Johnson wrote in an email to TSL.

Helen Norcini SC ’21, the fourth roommate of Manske, Liu, and Lesh, started with the 16-meal plan and switched to the 12-meal plan after the first week. Still, she says she’s never used all the meals. Instead, the four roommates buy food and cook in their kitchen because it’s not worth the trek to campus if they’re not already there, Manske said.

But the kitchen sink gets clogged easily, Manske said, and the four first-years have had to wash their dishes in the bathroom sink on multiple occasions. They also experienced a severe ant problem last week, which required an exterminator to come and spray the apartment.

“There have been some complaints and adjustments made based on feedback we have received,” Johnson acknowledged in an email to TSL. “The need for room repairs and ant extermination are not exclusive to the apartments, and Scripps addresses these concerns when they are raised by any Scripps student.”

Despite the unreliable sink and tight living quarters, Liu sees a silver lining in her housing situation.

“I do appreciate having my own bathroom, good roommates, [and being able to] cook our own food.”

Pomona College also experienced a shortage of on-campus housing, but not because of first-year over-enrollment, housing director Frank Bedoya said. The admissions office was on target with their goal of 435 incoming first-years. However, a higher number of students wanted to live on campus than could be accommodated, as a result of over-enrollment in the class of 2018, Bedoya said.

Bedoya sent students an email in the first week of August offering $500 to cover the cost of a bike and other expenses for students willing to move to the College Park apartments, approximately 0.9 miles from the center of campus. Eight students volunteered to move into the two apartments, none of whom were first-years, he said.

“It’s always better if you end up with people who volunteer to go instead of forcing them,” Bedoya said. “It’s easier when they’re friends and not random people living together.”

(Published on on Sept. 15, 2017)