Community

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Sophia Ghadoushi

Staff Writer

On Wednesday, April 5, 2017, the Milken Dance Team performed a year’s worth of hard work and elegant choreography on stage before a live audience. This was goodbye for the two seniors, Isabel Bina ‘17 and Lila Hanish ‘17, and after attending the performance, The Roar created a list of highlights from the show:

In a performance titled “Mind Games” with choreography by Andrew Rincon, Isabel Bina ‘17 took control of the stage for her last solo as a part of the Milken Dance Team. In a sparkly black one piece, all eyes were on Bina throughout her beautiful twists and turns.  

Lila Hanish ‘17 had the second senior solo of the night in a performance titled “Near Light,” choreographed by Andrew Rincon and Lila Hanish. Her embroidered silver dress shimmered in the spotlight as she touched the audience with her sophisticated choreography.

After watching the girls’ senior spotlight videos (in between each of the dances), the show’s theme of self-love was evident. The junior officers of the dance team, in addition to Lila and Isabel, spoke about what self-love means to them, a pivotal topic to touch on. Responses included “be who you want to be” and “accepting yourself for your flaws.” Across the board, the varsity dancers exhibited how crucial it is to love yourself.

In addition to the beautiful senior and junior solos, there were incredible group performances. Some of the eye catching group dances included “Sway” performed by Isabel Bina ‘17, Sofie Bina ‘18, Lila Hanish ‘17, Talia Shakib ‘18, and Kayla Yedidsion ‘18. The upbeat performance, “Fembots,” performed by the whole dance team, grabbed the attention of the audience and elicited enthusiastic applause by the end.

The finale was flawless. The white flowy dress, chic mirrors, and vivid emotions moved the whole audience. These angels concluded the theme of self-love in a piece titled “I Am.” Thanks to the creative mind of Andrew Rincon and Neaz Kohani, and Brian Byrne for making ideas become reality, the show couldn’t have been better! Congratulations to the 2016-2017 dance team on an amazing year!

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Justin Leff

Editor-in-Chief

Milken junior Jordan Pardo ’18 didn’t expect to become a viral hit when he attempted to follow the senior class in their Heely shoe revolution. For those not familiar with Heelys, they are a shoe company that makes shoes with wheels, allowing users the option to roll instead of walk. While the trend was popular in 2005, Milken seniors have brought it back to Milken in 2017 by wearing Heelys on Fridays.

Now whether it was bad juju for reaching above his class and infringing on a senior tradition that brought Pardo to the ground, or just poor coordination, you can watch the original video below to decide for yourself. Below the original video, you can find the meme that is going viral, made by former Milken student Jeremy Becker. The fall has become a huge hit at Milken and has drawn the attention of the famous comedy Instagram account Hoodclips and the Youtube channel The Best Fails. An interview with Pardo on this whole experience follows the videos.

What motivated you to go heeling?

Well, I’ve always seen people wear them and I wanted to give it a shot. I asked Adam Krekorian for his and he gave them to me. You know everyone makes it look so easy, so I thought I could do it. [Jordan] Kalman ’18 told me not to do it because they are hard to ride which motivated me to do it even more. I always love to prove the haters wrong. So I took a shot and it clearly failed.

Did it hurt?

It did for a second, but I have experienced worse hits than that.

When did you realize this had the potential to become viral with meme videos?

I knew this was gonna be big right when Kalman got it on video.

Do you like the meme videos being made?

At the end of the day people can make whatever they want. I like them because they are funny and even if it wasn’t me, I’d still laugh. It’s all sh*** and giggles. From what I understand people aren’t laughing at me, they are laughing with me.

What have you learned from this experience?

Believe it or not, when I fail I always try again. I never give up on something and right here is the perfect example of me not giving up. I have been working on it and will soon be able to do it. The major thing I take away is safety. I know we are able to laugh about this now, but I easily could have fallen on my head and cracked it open. I have to be more careful and try to not put myself in danger. I’m glad this was able to be very funny and everyone is having a good laugh. We need to be able to laugh and have a good time. One of my favorite quotes is from Jim Valvano: “If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day.” We should build off this and incorporate it into our lives.

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Sara Stolzenberg-Myers

Staff Writer

What used to be the Milken Amphitheater (also known as the Senior area), has now become the new hot spot for a quick and casual game of beach volleyball. Student Body President, Justin Leff ‘17, has recently made it his duty to convert our regular campus into a more exciting and inviting “pad.” Students no longer dread walking into school everyday because with Leff’s new area takeover, each designated grade area will be supplied with activities and games to keep freshmen through seniors engaged and active.

If all goes according to plan, the freshmen, sophomore, and junior areas will soon be equipped with smash ball, bowling, and yard pong, respectively. Along with the upgraded areas, a new hammock is set to appear in the zen garden within the next few months. Meanwhile, the underclassmen are anxiously waiting for their own activities to arrive based off of the positive feedback coming from the seniors. Michael Bolour ‘17 happily reported that since the volleyball net has arrived, a significant amount of bonding time has opened up to the class of 2017. During his free period, Bolour no longer feels drawn to his computer. Instead, he feels happy to participate in a game of volleyball with his peers. The net encourages him and fellow students to step aside from technology, and engage in a more active lifestyle.

As Leff wraps up his presidential term and final year at Milken, he continues to make his last efforts at making campus a more wholesome and beneficial environment for the students. When asked what the intentions behind the games and activities were, he replied, “I think it’s important to have a campus in which we do not only worry about academics, but a place in which we have opportunities to be outside, get some fresh air, and do something fun with friends.” Rather than encouraging the high-stress, high-pressure, competitive environment that many high schools have been burdened with, Leff wants to do just the opposite. With these casual, pleasant, and grade-bonding activities, he hopes to bring together the school and cultivate a relaxing and stress-free setting for all.

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Ben Chasen

Staff Writer

There was something special to this year’s Milken Student Government Elections. Sure, the typical campaign posters were put up all around Milken’s brick-clad campus. Students asked each other who they were planning on voting for and friends campaigned for each other. But something was definitely different. This year’s presidential race had some flash to it. Student Government member and All-CIF point guard Aaron Harouni ‘18 used his connections to get a campaign video cameo from triple-platinum recording artist Post Malone. Current Student Body Vice President Brandon Pourmorady ‘18 gave a campaign speech with a Daft Punk parody, rap performance, and even an appearance by members of the Milken Dance Team. And, of course, Noah Cohen ‘18 made the long expected revelation to the public that he was the student mastermind behind the infamous @m1lkenmemes_2.0 Instagram account. As the campaign Town Meeting concluded, there was anticipation around Milken about who would become the next leader of the student body.

The ballots were cast, and the students spoke. In doing so, they chose to elect the former meme king, Noah Cohen as the next Student Body President of Milken Community High School. The man who led the account that once drew negative attention from the Milken administration found his way onto the ballots and into the highest ranking student office at Milken.

The Roar also found out some of the other students soon-to-be President Cohen will be working on student government. Clara Pitt ‘18 used a creative video and the campaign slogan “CP for VP” to win her new title of Vice President, while Josh Afshani ‘18 won the race for Treasurer after promising the student body that he would represent their best interests. Despite their campaign video being censored by the school and not shown at the campaign Town Meeting, Aaron Farahnik ‘18 and Eli Novian ‘18 promised that they would stand up for students’ rights to speech and won the joint office of Social Chair. Last of the schoolwide offices, Hannah Lande ‘18 and Avi Bernat- Kunin ‘18 were both elected for a second term as Mazkirim.

While the 11th grade representatives have not been elected due to issues collecting votes from students in Israel on Tiferet, the 10th and 12th grade reps were also determined. In the 10th grade, Dani Kashfian ‘20 & Adam Kingsley ‘20 were the victorious candidates, while Stephanie Afari ‘18 & Lauren Halimi ‘18 were the winning candidates in the race to represent the 12th grade in student government.

Election Day also had one other important event: Student Body President Justin Leff ‘17 gave his final address to the student body speaking fondly of the year he has spent at the helm of Milken’s student government. Leff recapped his proudest accomplishments as President, including: running the most successful Winter Formal in Milken history, establishing KMSR (the Milken student radio network), lowering the price of Friday afternoon pizza and adding pizza options, and enriching grade areas with beach-themed games.

Now, it is up to Cohen and the rest of the newly-elected student government to build upon the successes of the Leff administration.

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President: Noah Cohen
Vice President: Clara Pitt
Treasurer: Josh Afshani
Social Chair: Aaron Farahnik and Eli Novian
Mazkir(a): Avi B-K and Hannah Lande
10th Grade Reps: Dani Kashfian & Adam Kingsley
11th Grade Reps: (waiting for tiferet, sorry for the suspense)
12th Grade Reps: Stephanie Afari & Lauren Halimi
Congrats to the new 2017-2018 student government!

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Sara Stolzenberg-Myers

Staff Writer

It is that time of year folks! The time in which the school comes together in order to elect the future leaders of the student body, and members of Student Government. The Roar took the time to get to know the three candidates for Milken’s Student Body President. Brandon Pourmorady ‘18 (otherwise known as Pomo,) Aaron Harouni ‘18, and Noah Cohen ‘18 gave us some insight as to why they are running for this position and shared a bit about their personal lives as well.

 

Why are you running for President?

Pomo: I am running for president because I would like to give more to the students. Our students are hard working and they deserve rewards. The more we can reward students throughout the day, the better our campus will be.

Harouni: I am running because I believe I can make school fun and give students the high school experience we deserve. I believe I am qualified for this position and am liked by my peers.

Cohen: I am running for President because I really believe that I have the ability to change this school for the better. I want to make this school a place that people are excited and proud to go to, not as a stepping stone to college.

What’s your favorite thing about Milken?

Pomo: The women are beautiful.

Harouni: My favorite thing about Milken is how tightly knit our community is.

Cohen: I’ve been to many schools in my life, but I’ve never been to a school where the administration really cares about the students. If my grades start to slip, they notice, and they ask to help me. It’s really just a great place.

What do you plan to do if you take office as Milken Student Body President?

Pomo: Bring 21 Savage to formal.

Harouni: I plan to improve our formal, homecoming experiences, and our school spirit; as I did on the basketball team.

Cohen: First of all, I want to increase communication between all the grades and Student Government. Color Games needs to be revamped and changed completely because it has definitely lost its excitement. I also think more spontaneous activities and fun things throughout the year will help reduce stress and make life in high school more fun.

Why do you think you are the right candidate for us?

Pomo: I’m the first person to ever be a vice president running as president. I am technically the most qualified person who has ever run for president.

Harouni: I am the right candidate for this school because I am hard working, dedicated and always keep an open ear to others.

Cohen: I love this place. I got years of experience on student government. Melinda gives me her full approval. What more could you want?

 

Let’s get to know you.

 

Who is your celebrity crush?

Pomo: Lang Lang, the pianist.

Harouni: Kate Upton.

Cohen: Emma Watson. Well, Hermione Granger, and then Emma Watson.

What would your last meal consist of?

Pomo: Khoresht.

Harouni:  Burger, fries, and a drink.

Cohen:  Whatever my dad, Menachem Weiss cooks for me.

If you could be one teacher at the school, who would you be and why?

Pomo: Dr. Brown, he is a fantastic pianist and orchestral conductor.

Harouni: Rabbi Shawn, she seems like she’s got it all figured out.

Cohen: Menachem Weiss. No explanation needed.

Do you have a secret talent, if so, what is it?

Pomo: Winning presidency is a talent.

Harouni: I am a good long-distance runner.

Cohen: I can write a speech for President in fifteen minutes. Is it a good one? Check back Friday.

Any last words you would like to share with the Milken Community?

Pomo: Get to the polls on March 24 to VOTE POMO. Just remember y’all: I’M WATCHING YOUR BACK!!!!!

Harouni: Let’s make next year great. Make the right decision.

Cohen:I love you” – Patrick Star, Chocolate Selling Episode.

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Britt Jacobson

Editor-in-Chief

As they entered the theater Tuesday, teachers and students gaped in wonderment at the breathtakingly intricate sets and flipped excitedly through glossy programs. As they left, sniffles, tears and high-praises were ubiquitous. Having had the pleasure of viewing many Milken plays and musicals in my four years at this school, I can say with ease that Les Misérables is the best performance I have seen. Each show has its own personality – Advice for Astronauts was quirky and atypical. Macbeth was dark and sinister. With Les Mis, the Milken Performing Arts department has done a fantastic job of executing an intense tearjerker that successfully captivates the audience through two long acts. Following the interwoven paths of Jean Valjean, Fantine, Cosette, Inspector Javert, and other characters in Pre-Revolutionary France, this musical will steal your heart, one soulful serenade at a time.

Milken’s production of Les Misérables charms the audience with beautiful costumes, jaw-dropping sets, and live background music. Though the teacher preview had some kinks to work out – the occasional stumble, bump, or mistimed microphone sound adjustment – they were incredibly minor. It is nearly impossible to keep your eyes off of star, Ethan Eliafan ‘17, due to his natural performance as Jean Valjean. His soothing baritone and passionate facials successfully engage onlookers. One faculty member commented that they “forgot to breathe” when watching the performance. Equally attention-grabbing is the work of Alexis Ribakoff ‘17 in her role as Mme. Thénardier. Her goofy and sassy outbursts are the focal point of every scene she appears in, and is perfectly complimented by the “Master of the House” Thénardier (played by Stevie Gordon ‘17).

Abby Yadegar ‘21 plays her role of Fantine with grace and maturity, navigating her character through unspeakable tragedies. Incredibly laugh-inducing is the Napoleon-esque hat worn by Inspector Javert, played by Sawyer Kroll ‘17. It is extremely fortunate that the singing of the prisoners was so loud and anguished, because it covered up the giggling of my own immature amusement. Despite the remarkably imposing hat atop his head, Kroll’s expressive eyebrows and dazzling vocals persuade the audience of Javert’s character development. Brandon Ptasnik ‘17 conveys profound commitment to his cause as Enjolras and sprouts a natural man bun… I mean, emanates charisma.

Simi Benisty ‘17 flawlessly executes her character’s backstabbing of Fantine. The similarity to Queen Bee, Regina George, from Mean Girls is uncanny. Her icy, hostile takedown was delivered with a merciless smile and chilled me to my bone. Noah Daniel ‘17 and Hannah Lande ‘18 make crowds swoon as they play lovestruck Marius and Cosette, respectively. Daniel’s singing awes the crowd and as Jonah Cohen ‘17 said best, “Noah is so cute!” Audiences were torn between joy for the two lovers and melancholy for heartbroken Éponine, formerly played by Giselle Etessami ‘17 and now by Megan Larian ‘19. Etessami’s beautiful voice sang anguishly over her permanent spot in the friend-zone, and broke our own hearts. Larian stepped in and filled the role beautifully and naturally while Etessami sits out to rest her voice.

This musical and it’s heart-wrenching plot, so well-executed by our peers, had one or two college counselors wiping aside tears, and English teacher Amy Frangipane, remarking that she was “in no state to drive,” and that she “should call an Uber.” Many hours were poured into preparing for this show, and it was well worth it – mazel tov, mazel tov, mazel tov!

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All Photo Credit goes to Jordan Pardo of Yearbook

Michael Bolour
Staff Writer

Last Friday, Milken had its annual Purim celebration. As usual, students and faculty dressed up in creative costumes and went through a fairly relaxing Friday. Lauren Pakravan ‘17 says that she loves Milken’s Purim festivities because, “it’s a day that focuses on celebrating and spending time with friends, rather than just academics. All of my teachers found a way to make class chill, but still related to Purim, which made the day so much more enjoyable.” Students also took the time to snap as many pictures as possible during passing and free periods to savor the memories of the day. However, the most memorable highlights came after normally scheduled classes were complete.

During lunch, the student and faculty costume contests were the first of the school-wide Purim festivities. Teachers went head-to-head showing off their unique costumes. Rabbi Menachem Weiss came dressed as a Persian Sheik, while other teachers planned themed group costumes. Most notably, the science department dressed as characters from Despicable Me with Dr. Scoville, Department Chair, at the forefront  dressed as Gru, the film’s evil mastermind. Science teachers Dr. Shenassa, Ms. Liran, Dr. Lofstedt and Mr. Rayhan served as Scoville’s minions, dressed in yellow suits. They came out victorious – a fan favorite from the start of the competition. Other memorable costumes included Ms. Khorsandi, Ms. Jasper, Ms. Mallor, Ms. Frangi and Dr. Morgan as literary puns, incorporating novels such as Harry Potter, The Catcher in the Rye and Lord of the Flies into their attire. In addition, Mr. Walker, Art Department Chair, dressed as a safari explorer and brought his two children as a lion and a rhinoceros.


Students took their costumes to a whole other level of creativity at this year’s costume contest. Jessie McAdams ‘20 went all out, arriving on campus and entering in the costume contest as
Guardians of the Galaxy character, Groot. McAdam’s raised the bar for years to come, rocking stilts as part of his costume. These accessories allowed him to take on the full persona of the rather large, tree-like creature. Other costumes included Brian Pearlman ‘17, Michael Schulman ‘17, Aaron Lawrence ‘17 and Joshua Berenbaum ‘17 as a s’mores sandwich, as well as Idan Yohanan ‘17 and Daniel Solomon ‘17 as the varsity boys basketball coach, Michael Whiting. Many students participated in the contest, but of all of them, Shaked Salem’s ‘17 Vicki’s breakfast burrito costume stood out as the fan favorite among the crowd. Ultimately, Salem faced Yohanan and Solomon in the final round of the contest and claimed the victory, receiving the loudest crowd cheer of any contestant. The day’s festivities continued as students and faculty made their way to the gym for the performance of the teacher and student shpiels.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Students were first treated to J-Life’s annual live Purim shpiel performance. Faculty actors and actresses included Upper School Receptionist, Melinda Diner as Esther, Rabbi Menachem Weiss as King Achashverosh, math teacher Harrison Gallway as Haman, math teacher Billy Kaplan as Uncle Mordecai, and Rabbi David Saiger as the narrator. Over the course of their performance, the faculty poked at certain student traits, such as forged early dismissal letters. Both students and teachers alike got a great laugh out of the performance, including Head of School Gary Weisserman, who sat and read the long compilation of forged letters that Melinda had put together for the performance. The faculty shpiel, on the other hand, was a compilation of various memes the teachers submitted to create a short video, prior to the student shpiel premiere. Each meme resonated with each and every grade-level with themes ranging from Dr. Scoville’s difficult biology tests to student fashion choices. The dance team performed a routine in pastel colored outfits. As always, Coach Andrew Rincon joined the squad half-way through the dance. From there, the premiere of the long anticipated Class of 2017 Senior Shpiel finally began.


In years past, the shpiel had been presented in the theater behind the Hollander Gymnasium. However, this year the gym was configured with a new state of the art adjustable projector and projection screen. As a result, students now had a clear view of the screen as opposed to the smaller screen used for prior shpiel premieres. Producers and writers Justin Leff ‘17, Brandon Ptasznik ‘17, Sawyer Kroll ‘17, Niv Henn ‘17, Jonah Cohen ‘17 and myself went up to start the presentation with a few words. Throughout the day, the producers wore white hats displaying the phrase “Make Milken Great Again,” both a play on words from President Trump’s campaign slogan in this year’s election, and the title of the shpiel itself. Producer and writer Niv Henn ‘17 discussed his feelings on the student reactions to the shpiel explaining, “Let’s just say that a month before Purim, we didn’t even have a rough draft of the script. Administration thought we were crazy and they were doubtful of it even getting done. But in just the last three weeks, we really pulled it together and made it happen.” Henn continued, discussing his appreciation for his fellow creative team members saying, “Luckily, I was a part of the small group of students who were extremely determined and worked tirelessly to make this the greatest shpiel that Milken has ever seen. And the greatest honor of all was presenting our production to the school and getting unparalleled feedback.”

This year’s Purim celebration was certainly one to remember for both students and faculty, but especially for the senior class. Milken students often ask why Purim on campus is one of the most anticipated days of the school year. The clear explanation is the joyful, celebratory and festive atmosphere Milken experiences on a day when everyone gets the opportunity to express themselves and savor what our community is all about.

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(Source: Google Free Use Images)

(Source: Google Free Use Images)

Noah Cohen

Community Editor

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, around 18% of Americans, or 40 million people, have some type of anxiety disorder. In addition, around 15 million adults have Major Depressive Disorder. Many of the contributing factors to these disorders are outside influences such as school, general stress, and/or major life events. To combat this epidemic, the Milken Counseling Department is hosting the school’s first Student Health and Wellness Week. Some of the activities include essential oil-making, yoga, meditation, journaling, and the yearly tradition of playing with DE-STRESS PUPPIES!

The workshops and activities will take place from Monday, March 13 through Friday, 17. The Roar was able to gain an interview with one of the organizers of the week, Mrs. Whitney Fisch. Mrs. Fisch explained how “the idea was born out of an intense need to normalize the idea of health and wellness. It is incredibly important to emphasize that these topics are just as important as grades and other school-related matters. In addition, this week gives teachers an opportunity to show their talents that they may not have been able to utilize during normal classes. They now have a chance to teach them to students in the theme of mental health and overall wellness.” As participation in the activities is completely optional, The Roar asked, “Why should students sign up?” Mrs. Fisch answered, “There is a dynamic range of variety, with new and different opportunities for students that are all beneficial. It is thirty minutes of fun and something else to think about. At the bare minimum, do something healthy for yourself.”

If you would like to sign up for the remaining spots in the activities, follow this link to the survey: https://goo.gl/forms/st29BOk5TUpIVnfE3.

 

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by Justin Leff

Co-Editor-In-Chief

Starting after Spring Break, students will be waking up later and getting to school at the new start time of 9:30am. This radical change comes after months of research, surveys, and studies on students and specifically, acknowledging the importance of sleep for their developing brains.

Time and time again, students have shown up to school as they are still trying to overcome the dreariness that comes with minimal sleep. Head of School, Gary Weisserman believes that the later start time will not only benefit students, but also the teachers. “Who doesn’t want an extra couple hours of sleep? And no teacher likes seeing their students struggling to stay awake during class,” he said.

The new change in start time will also have an effect on the school day’s end time. School will now end at 3:45pm instead of 2:30. The day will be 45 minutes shorter, and will be accompanied by the termination of the Kehillah period. “Everyday will feel like a Friday! That is ultimately the goal,” explained Weisserman. “Fridays are so very relaxing, and that’s the environment I want for Milken.”
Many students are thrilled with the new start time as they can now get more sleep and avoid the early morning traffic they have become accustomed to. So remember, don’t come to school at 7:30 on April 24th. Take advantage of the new start time at 9:30!