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Sawyer Kroll with Josh Berenbaum

Editor-in-Chief & Sports Editor

Justin Leff ‘17 started as a dark horse in arguably the most important presidential election of 2016. It was a combination of an effective grassroots campaign and creative speech that catapulted him into the most powerful student position at Milken: President of Student Government.

Leff has been a part of the Milken student leadership scene for the past two years. He served as the VP of Finance in 10th grade and a Student Government Representative in 11th grade. One of his greatest accomplishments was the successful Mrs. Fields fundraiser which raised about $900 in 2014.

However, Leff wants Student Government to expand beyond its routine of only undertaking established events like Homecoming, Winter Formal, and Color Wars.

“I think student government has really done a great job at bringing more spirit to Milken the last few years. I want to take it a step further and make some changes that provide students with more opportunities to pursue their passions and share it with the school” he explained.

One of the main reasons Leff wanted to be President was to have the influence to help execute his ideas. Among other plans, he hopes to create a student radio station that would give students the opportunity to voice opinions.

“Students could talk about student life, politics, movies, clothing — anything that interests them,” he said.

Broadcasting from home, students would be able to play music or talk during a block of time from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays. Leff also hopes to implement a floating quiet room (“The quiet room is not big enough”) and buy more furniture and outdoor games like cornhole.

Leff is in favor of lowering the price of pizza which has long been the main source of revenue for Student Government and of complaints among students. Student Government will meet next Fall to make more official changes.

Brandon Pourmorady ’18 is Leff’s Vice President. While some questioned the strategy of running with a Sophomore, Leff’s unorthodox gamble clearly payed off. Leff believes that Pourmorady is a great partner.

“Pomo and I became close on Student Government last year,” Leff said. “I loved his ideas so I’m very excited to work with him.”

Leff has also brought a few others onto Student Government with him. Under the Milken Student Government Constitution, the President is allowed five appointments (Leff believes in a loose interpretation which may allow him additional appointments). So far, he has appointed his opponents in the election, Lauren Cohen ’17 and Jonah Cohen ’17, and also newcomers including Max Ptasznik ’19, Sam Bloom ’18, and Saba Amid ’17.

Ultimately, Leff wants to leave a legacy of a changed student body. He wants students to be more unified and excited about coming to school.

“I want people to say that I come to school and have a good time,” he said.

Also, Leff would like to clarify that the clock change right after his election speech was a mere coincidence.

“I can assure you that with practice, you will be able to read [the clocks],” Leff added.

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Sawyer Kroll

Editor-in-Chief

This past week, Milken students participated in the New York Tiyul where they explored several aspects of the New York theatre scene. Led by Mr. Menna and Ms. Frangipane, 15 students took part in a week of musicals, plays, meetings with Milken alumni and industry experts, and just experiencing the city.

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The group saw five shows in their five days in New York, including both straight plays and musicals. Some favorites included The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, a Tony Award-winning play about a boy with autism, and the smash hit Hamilton, a musical about Alexander Hamilton with an innovative hip-hop soundtrack. Hamilton has become a cultural phenomenon; millions of fans, talk show hosts, and even President Obama have hailed writer and star Lin Manuel-Miranda as a genius. So it was quite the opportunity for participants to witness the original cast of this monumental show. Students were ecstatic about seeing Miranda from only a few feet away after the performance.

Throughout the week, students had the chance to meet with people involved in the theatre industry. Many were Milken alumni, including John Behlmann who has had a successful acting career with roles in movies like The Wolf of Wall Street and on Broadway like a starring role in The 39 Steps. He talked to students about his experiences in the industry.

“It was really cool to talk to him about auditioning for a big movie versus theater,” said Sam Bloom ’18.

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But the tiyul was not just theatre. Students also visited several favorite New York City spots including the Empire State Building at 1 a.m. and Ground Zero. Another highlight was a tour of NBC Studios.

Other less standard highlights were fueled by the fun group of people that were on the tiyul. One favorite was when Mr. Menna and Daniel Yadegar ’18 missed the subway that left with everyone else.

Brandon Ptasznik ’17 said, “I learned that the theatre industry is a vibrant and exciting community.”

Students took away many things from the tiyul, from their theatre experiences to the great moments they had with each other.

“It was a great to experience New York from the shows to the food to the great people,” explained Bloom.

photos courtesy of Sam Bloom ’18

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Micah Chasen and Natalie Pashaie

Co-Editor-in-Chiefs

After four years of intense studying, social development, and all-around frenzy, it is what some would call “the end of an era.” The Milken class of 2016 graduated Sunday morning, and although the farewell was bittersweet, we know that their futures lie bright ahead no matter where they choose to continue their journeys. Without further adu, the Milken Roar presents: The 2016 College List.

(This map is interactive. Feel free to move around, zoom in and out, and click on the red markers to see what school each student is going to!)




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Lauren Mokhtarzadeh

Wildlife Editor

This year, 32 students got the opportunity to go deep into the Amazon Rainforest and experience what most people don’t get to see in a lifetime, making it a popular tiyul choice. The Amazon tiyul included many activities: bird watching, piranha fishing, community service at a local village, hiking, canopy walks, visiting a shaman, trading with local villagers, visiting a sugar cane factory, learning about the Yagua lifestyle, and collecting scientific research.

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There were many highlights on the Amazon trip, but here are some of the most memorable events of the trip. Piranha fishing was one of the activities that all the students got to do; it was so popular that the students got to do it twice. Piranhas can bite your finger off in an instant, so fishing for piranhas is pretty exciting. Students like Samson Isaacson ‘17 and Jake Rosenfeld ‘17, caught several piranhas and had the opportunity to eat the piranha they caught for lunch or dinner. Another highlight of the trip was the sunrise canopy walk. After waking up at 4 a.m., students got to experience the sunrise from at least 100 feet above the ground. Despite the rain, students got to go to the canopies with their friends to see their last sunrise in the Amazon.

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Another highlight of the Amazon tiyul was the community service project that the group got to be involved in. Students went to a village along the Amazon River where they built tables, painted walls, and played with the most adorable children. Students felt that spending the day at the village dancing, assembling tables, playing soccer, and swimming in the Amazon River was an experience that they will never forget. Another highlight was the viewing of bioluminescent fungi. On the last night, all the groups went on a night hike to an area of the rainforest where they could see the sky over all the tall trees. After looking at the star-filled sky, the guides told the groups to look down. When the students looked down, the whole ground of the rainforest was glowing.

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Students that went on the Amazon tiyul gained an appreciation for the world around them and for what they already have. The world of Peru introduced the students to nature, education, religion, and people of Peru. Students on the trip were surprised about how friendly the people living in the Amazon were,  how resourceful your creativity and body can be, the wonders of nature and animals, and the mental and physical strength of the villagers living alongside the Amazon River.

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Danielle Lewis

Spotlight Editor

The 33 students who participated in the City of Angels Tiyul were given the opportunity to tour various organizations that work towards providing residents of Los Angeles with the help and resources they require to live. Advisors of this tiyul had the intentions of opening the eyes of Milken students to the throwaway culture of their own city, a culture not often exposed.

Overview

The tiyul began with an insight into a whole other side of Los Angeles. Participants of the tiyul convened at the Culver City Metro Station where they used public transportation to arrive at Union Rescue Mission, a nonprofit organization that supports the homeless. They set up camp on the roof of the organization and split into two groups, one serving members of Union Rescue Mission and the other serving those of the Midnight Mission organization. That night, they heard the captivating stories of multiple residents of Union Rescue Mission.

The next morning, the two groups got the chance to serve the mission they had not yet served. For lunch, they headed to Homeboy Industries, an organization that helps former convicts and gang members “redirect their lives” with resources and job opportunities. They got a personal tour and reserved seating for lunch at Homegirl Cafe.

The third day brought the students to LA Kitchen, where they learned the power of repurposing food that would have been thrown out, such as produce that does not meet cosmetic standards. Students washed, cut, and bagged vegetables to be later transformed into healthy meals and snacks. The next stop was Ron Finley’s garden, a source of fresh produce for a neighborhood in South Central considered a food desert in which quality fresh food cannot be found for miles. Despite the city’s opposition, Finley uses the government grass in front of his house to make his street not only beautiful, but also a source of healthy food. The last day had a theme of water conservation, giving the students a tour of two water treatment facilities that repurpose wastewater for agriculture.

Highlights

Although the trip consisted of countless meaningful moments, there were a few personal and inspiring ones that stood out. While serving dinner at both missions, students especially recall the gratitude of the patrons. By just placing an apple on a tray, Milken students heard multiple people respond with “God bless you” or “thank you, man.” This left students feeling fulfilled. Students were then given the opportunity to hear heart-warming stories from mission patrons about hitting rock bottom and bouncing back with support from sources like God, family, and Union Rescue Mission. This inspired their own table conversation reflecting on the stories, discussing God, homelessness, and Judaism, leaving students thinking deeply about the power of community and religious passion. The next day, students were in awe of Ron Finley’s enchanting grass strip garden. He expressed vast generosity by sharing life experiences, lessons, and words of wisdom with the group while allowing them to eat from the plants he grew. Finley then gave each one of us a sunflower plant to care for and grow on our own and sent the students on their way back to Milken, minds filled with inspiration and an overwhelming admiration for Ron Finley.

Takeaway

City of Angels put a whole other side of Los Angeles on display for Milken students to experience. It popped the Milken bubble by exposing the prominent throwaway culture of the city. Not only does the city throw away 40% of its food, but it throws away people, water, and opportunities for improvement. By witnessing the enormous homeless population and hearing their tragic stories, students saw the unjust ramifications of being raised in poverty or developing an unhealthy addiction. They also saw how the city does not provide enough resources for support, but instead throws these people into crowded and dangerous neighborhoods like Skid Row, leaving thousands of homeless people in the care of a few organizations. After seeing how precious food is to these people, students were then exposed to how much those with sufficient food supply waste. While repackaging food, they thought back to the many faces they saw lining up to eat a free hot meal who would have utilized the wasted produce. After meeting Ron Finley, the students were enlightened by the ability of one man and one strip of grass to create something lush and useful instead of letting the land go to waste. Water waste is also especially prominent in California and with the establishment of powerful treatment plants, students saw how Los Angeles works to decrease the amount of water wasted. The tiyul left the participants with a sense of obligation to change the throwaway culture of their community.

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Justin Leff and Samantha Behar

Editor-in-Chief and Spotlight Editor


Last week, Milken students who participated in the Righteous Conversations Tiyul had the opportunity to meet with Holocaust survivors and create meaningful public service announcements, photographs, and original compositions that document and build off of survivors’ stories. Students documented the lives of the survivors through photo journaling, and their public service announcements carried the conversation further by addressing the issue of unequal learning opportunities. The musical pieces composed attempted to express the emotions of the survivors as well as those who perished during the Holocaust.

One highlight of the week was the tour of the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust on the first day of the program. Each participant was given a headset so they could listen to a information about the Holocaust and other firsthand accounts. The participants also had an opportunity to visit the children’s memorial and write a message to a child victim of the Holocaust. Touring the museum allowed the participants to view artifacts firsthand and get a better overall understanding of the events that occurred during this time.

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Another highlight of the program was that each day at lunch, the participants shared an object that had meaning to them. Some of the Holocaust survivors brought in objects from the war, giving the participants a glimpse into what life looked like for Jews at that time. One of the survivors, Harry, brought in a picture of his extended family from before the war; many of the individuals in the picture were murdered during the Holocaust. Since he was young at the time the Holocaust, he can only remember his family members that passed away through the pictures that remain.

A third highlight from the Righteous Conversations tiyul took place on the last day, during the presentations. Participants had the opportunity to showcase their photographs, public service announcements, and musical compositions they had worked on throughout the week. Parents of the participants and other guests joined the participants to celebrate their hard work and creativity.

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Students in the Righteous Conversations project learned the importance of being an advocate for the Holocaust. As the few remaining survivors get older and older, it is more important than ever to carry on the memories and the realities of this terrible, not-so-distant tragedy. Many Holocaust survivors dedicate their time and energy to help Righteous Conversations students with their projects. They know the participants will leave having a newfound connection to the Holocaust, and want to be a part of that process. Not only do the students leave as witnesses to the horrors of the Holocaust, but they also become advocates for problems going on in the modern world. The participants learned the importance of standing up to injustice in the world and the danger of staying silent. The students who created the public service announcement picked a current problem to learn about, then worked to a create a video using the information they found. The tiyul left a lasting impression not only on the students, but on the Holocaust survivors who were able to connect with the students and work together to make the world a better place.

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Josh Berenbaum and Michael Schulman

Sports Editor and Staff Writer

Over Tiyul week, a group of Milken students journeyed into the vibrant, eccentric city of New Orleans to continue rebuilding the city that was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina eleven years ago. In addition to rebuilding, students had a chance to experience the distinct culture found in New Orleans by way of music, tours and food. The students saw the damage done by the hurricane, and the dire need to finish the rebuilding project.

The service aspect of the New Orleans Tiyul was done with the Saint Bernard Project, a local organization that was started by New Orleanians in response to Katrina. Students on the tiyul worked on houses that were rebuilt, and in the final stages before a displaced family could return to the New Orleans community.

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New Orleans Tiyul group at one of the work sites on DeBore avenue.

The sense of community in New Orleans is strong, and the tiyul group saw a community event firsthand when Mr. Lee, a 94 year old World War 2 Veteran and grandson of a slave, returned to his rebuilt home, courtesy of the St. Bernard Project. The “Welcome Home” party took place right on Mr. Lee’s new front lawn. Neighbors, friends, family and spectators, about 200 people in all, gathered for a ceremony in honor of Mr. Lee’s return. Abby Zuckerman ‘17 was very moved by the ceremony and thought “it was touching to physically see someone’s life change. Mr. Lee has such great character, and it was wonderful to see that the work of the St. Bernard Project payed off.”  

Michael Schulman '17 with World War 2 Veteran Mr. Lee receiving his new home.
Michael Schulman ’17 with World War II Veteran Mr. Lee receiving his new home.

Vibrant culture was also present for the students in New Orleans. Students had ample opportunity to eat beignets from the famous cafes, such as Cafe du Monde and bakeries in the French Quarter. Additionally, students were treated to a concert in the famed Preservation Hall. After waiting in line for two hours, the group sat on the floor and heard five songs from the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. “I’m not a fan of jazz,” said Lila Hanish ‘17. “But I really enjoyed listening to some of the best performers there are.”

The airboat tour across the swamps of Louisiana was a thrill-seeking adventure that students will never forget. Wildlife experts, Arthur Matherne and his sons, took the group on an exciting ride through the marshes, and encountered plenty of alligators- big and small. Students were introduced to a 13 foot, 1,000 pound alligator named “Big Al.” Big Al and his friends were not afraid of their guests, some even had the chance to climb aboard the boat. Some significantly smaller alligators were let on the boat, so students could hold these beautiful creatures. Aaron Harouni ‘18 said, “It was a scary and nerve-racking experience, but it was really cool to hold the baby alligator.” While these reptiles may seem viscous, the group learned that these baby alligators have only a five percent chance at survival. Students left the swamp with a newfound appreciation for the wildlife and unique ecosystem of New Orleans

Britt Jacobson '17 holding a baby alligator.
Britt Jacobson ’17 holding a baby alligator.

Even after eleven years, the people of New Orleans still need help. Aaron Lawrence ‘17 was deeply affected by the Tiyul, explaining “I now understand how much damage can be done by natural disasters, but as large as the damage is, I now know that I can make a difference.” While the group’s efforts did not rebuild the entire city, their hard work and dedication to service made a difference in the lives of people affected by the hurricane. They now have a hand invested in the rebuilding effort.

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Natalie Ahdoot and Lauren Pakravan

Staff Writers

The Float On Tiyul was a unique experience where students had the opportunity to experience an intensive five day sailing course. This allowed them to earn their ASA 101 and ASA 103 sailing certifications. ASA 101 allows the student to charter and skipper sailboats up to 22′ that do not have an auxiliary engine, and ASA 103 allows the student to charter and skipper sailboats up to 33′ that have an auxiliary engine. Students were not only able to become more familiar with sailing, but they were able to learn the proper instructions to sail the boats themselves. The students were taught about the different parts of the boats and their functions.

Additionally, they were able to learn various techniques about  how to properly draw in the sails. Students were able to solo-sail a 33′ boat on the open ocean after only 4-5 days of lessons. On the last day, after intense sailboat lessons, the students had the privilege to take their boats out of the marina, into the ocean, and race.

This particular tiyul was very technical and detailed, but the students were able to come out of the experience able to say that they know how to sail a boat. Ask them to “prepare to come about” and you will see them spring into action, as they are able to adjust the mainsail and jib as the skipper yells, “Helms Alee,” and cuts through the wind for a new track. Our Milken peers were able to discover just how many adventures someone could have on a boat. Besides learning about sailing and boats, the students were able to grasp an even more important lesson: they were able to see that there is so much more in the world to experience that is inaccessible by cars and unavailable in big cities. The tiyul opened their eyes to the beauty and simplicity of just being on the water, able to experience true serenity.

 

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Mira Berenbaum, Lauren Cohen, and Jordan Brenner

Social Media Director, Community Editor and Voices Editor

Milken’s delegation of 12 students and two faculty members went on the Hopi Nation Tiyul on a Native American Reservation in the middle of the Painted Desert in Arizona. The main purpose of this tiyul was to learn more about the unique and isolated culture and traditions of the Hopi people. After a 10-hour train ride and an additional hour car ride, the delegation found themselves in a very different environment than they were used to, one that consisted of very few establishments. The Milken representatives camped in the front yard of their hostess’ house for four nights where they could look up at a sky lit with stars and be one with nature.

One of the main highlights from the Hopi Nation Tiyul was spending time with Hopi students at Second Mesa Day School on the last day before summer break. The first half of the day was spent participating in field day and the second half was spent watching the school’s awards ceremony. During field day, Milken students helped run two stations and played with the students. Following field day, they met the 2016 Miss Hopi and Miss Indian Arizona pageant winners and spoke with them about their roles in the Hopi community. Following the awards ceremony, some of the participants played a pickup game of softball with some native teenagers and young adults.

Another main highlight from the trip was visiting the petroglyphs at Dawa park. The Milken students spoke with Donald, a tour guide from the Bear Clan, who told them the oral history of the Hopi migration using the petroglyphs and pictographs. The group also enjoyed learning about different Hopi gardening and farming techniques. On the first day, the Milken students spoke with Lowell—a man who works in the Hopi dry farms—and learned about dryland farming. Lowell treats his plants like people, speaking to them, touching them and dancing with them. The students also met some of the gardeners at the Third Mesa, who work in the gardens that have been passed down from mother to daughter for several generations, and spoke with them about dryland gardening and the spices they grow.

A major takeaway from this tiyul was that there is a large amount of diversity among the remaining Native American tribes. The students’ experience focused on a single tribe and more specifically, a single community within that tribe. The delegates concluded that it’s important not to say “Native Americans do ___ “ or “Native Americans say ___”; what was experienced can only truly be reflective of the Hopi culture, regardless of the inherent overlap of values between all Natives American clans and tribes.

With that being said, some interesting aspects from the tiyul were learning about the immense value the Hopi people place on life. Members of the Hopi tribe shun any participation in war and look down on any members of the community that go to war, even those who were drafted. Ari Swerdlow ‘17 described this phenomenon as “Judaism’s love for peace… But on steroids.” Students also learned that Hopi culture is highly matriarchal and spiritual- every individual is “initiated” into the higher spiritual society by the elders at some point in their life. This ceremony is similar to that of the Jewish Bar/Bat Mitzvah in that children become adults with spiritual obligations, but different in that children are not initiated at a certain age, but rather when their elders deem them ready for initiation.

Some other mind widening things were seeing the lack of funding and resources out in the middle of the desert- there is no trash collecting services that go up onto the Hopi mesas (plateaus) and there is therefore some trash laying around the reservation. Students were exposed to issues like this and were also immersed in pockets of cultural richness by speaking to different members of the Hopi community- from young children to elders and chairmen. Overall, the experience can best be summed up by Tammy Shine ‘17 who described it as “immersive, informative, and transformative.”

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Jordan Brenner

Community Editor

There is an illusion among many students and teachers that Milken does not have school spirit. Many Milken students do not show interest in the sports teams, attend school dances or participate in Color Games. Milken students often blame this shortage of spirit on the lack of school events that occur on campus which create difficulties in attending. In summation, it is clear that Milken does not and might never have school spirit in the conventional way—school dances, cheerleaders, football games, etc.

I would, however, contend that Milken has just as much school spirit as any other high school. The only difference between Milken and these other schools, in regards to spirit, is the way in which it is conveyed.

There is a sense of community pride that is unique to our campus. Milken has always expressed spirit differently, but it was taken to the extreme this year. Throughout the year, there have been numerous events that revealed the student body’s enthusiasm. This year, students were treated to a live jazz concert and a salsa dance performance, basketball and ping pong tournaments, dance showcases and art shows among much more. During these events, a large majority of students not only attended, but also actively participated.

One example of an event that exemplified our community’s passion and pride was the live performance by the Landfill Harmonic in December. The Landfill Harmonic consists of underprivileged kids from Paraguay playing beautiful music and using instruments made from recycled material and trash. The opportunity to hear these kids play was just one example of the many things that students at Milken have unique access to and how our community comes together. Tammy Shine, ‘17, recalls being able to play one of their recycled violins in front of the whole school and feeling supported by the entire student body. Shine noted, “Attempting to learn to play the violin with the Landfill Harmonic was an awesome experience; even though I wasn’t very talented, we all were able to laugh together.” The event ended with an eruption from the crowd and a standing ovation.

Another unique aspect of Milken spirit is tied to Purim and all of its festivities. Every year, students participate in costume contests and watch the faculty and senior purim shpiels. Purim is arguably the most highly anticipated event of the Milken school year. The shpiel is a huge part of the pride that each class feels—students frequently reference previous iconic shpiels to commemorate that class.

To those who quickly shrug off the idea that Milken students care about their school and show spirit, consider how much fun Milken students have access to and more importantly, how the community comes together to celebrate activities.

School spirit does not have to be confined to attending football games with cheerleaders and a school band. Milken shows that school spirit can exist by having fun together as a community in unconventional ways.