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The return of Lincoln alumni!

By: Savinie Lin

 

 

A new school year means seeing the faces of new students and returning ones as well. It’s time for school once more. Welcome back Lincoln students, and welcome back Lincoln alumni — correction, they’re now Lincoln Staff!

    Many staff members at Abraham Lincoln High School are also Lincoln alumni.

    Gabby Gomez, the new attendance lady, describes her experience at Lincoln as difficult at first. Only two people from her middle school attended the high school, both of whom she did not talk to. But with the help of teachers and the abundance of clubs Lincoln had to offer, Gomez quickly adjusted and met several people.

    Gomez states that despite teachers focusing on their own subjects and lessons, they were  inviting when it came to the clubs that they were sponsoring. She explained that they would invite students to join the club or tell them more about it.

    “I think Lincoln is just a great community. I think the teachers here, in general, are very proud of what they’re doing,” Gomez explained on what made her return to her former high school. She admits, “I miss it here. It was great to be here for four years, and I love the people here.”

    Current Lincoln teachers she had as a student that are still here include Sara Falls, Koichi Sano, Asya Landa, and Shamira Gratch. Gomez described it as weird to work alongside the teachers who once taught her surreal in the beginning to be on a first name basis with her former teachers. However she has now grown accustomed to working beside her fellow staff members.

    But Gomez isn’t the only Lincoln alumni working as a part of the staff. Alongside her is Japanese 1 and 2 teacher Arisa Hiroi. Though she is not a new staff member, Hiroi graduated from the class of 2008.

    Before becoming a teacher at Lincoln, Hiroi worked in Japan for one year as an International Relations coordinator. She was a preschool assistant and was about to graduate school at the same time.

    She describes her high school experience at Lincoln to be positive. A few teachers who taught when she was a student are Zieglar and Sano. Hiroi explains that it was easier to come back to work at Lincoln instead of another high school because she felt secure returning. Hiroi says her return was because of how welcoming the staff are. Part of the reason was Zieglar and that she was a very influential teacher for her as well as Sano.

    “It’s been really nice to work with teachers who I already knew and are always looking out for me. It’s been a very supportive place to be,” Hiroi explains.

    What Hiroi liked about the staff during her high school years was that she had teachers who seemed to care about their students. It was more than caring about if those students were doing well in their classes, but in their lives in general.

    “I’m Japanese. There are really only a handful of Japanese kids at Lincoln. And the culture club was somewhere that I could really just express that part of me and have it be embraced, and Mr. Sano really let me do that. And so it was a really welcoming place to be, and I knew he cared about me as a person and not just as an academic student.”

Hiroi explains one example of hardship for the staff during her years, “I feel like when . . . there isn’t enough staff to go around to teach subjects that they [teachers] actually know, or when a teacher is worried about whether or not they’ll have a job next year, we as students, we can kind of tell ‘cause these topics will come up. And we can tell when a teacher is not actually into teaching a subject.” Hiroi says after explaining that during her time here at Lincoln pink slips were given to teachers. A warning that those teachers may get fired due to lack of funds.

Hiroi explains that it was a tough time with budgeting and had a long time substitute when her teacher left halfway through the year.

    These are only some of the few Lincoln alumni who have returned to Lincoln as a part of the staff! There are staff members who are still teaching and have even taught a few of the staff members now.

 

Math teacher finds new change of pace at Lincoln

By: Benjamin Sheh

 

Walking the halls of Lincoln High during school hours, one may bump into a bald, tan man wheeling a cart with geometry shapes and his lunch from classroom to classroom. This quirky, charismatic man is Alex Wong, a new math teacher at Lincoln.

Wong used to teach eighth grade algebra at AP Giannini, a middle school down the hill from Lincoln High. He was famous for subjecting students to intimidatingly long equations written all over his whiteboard, but also for being a fantastic storyteller at APG. Middle schoolers loved his easy smile and familial mannerisms.

One of his former students, senior Janet Lin, says that Wong is “very bald! Okay, so he’s one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. He’s very wise, and taught me that there isn’t necessarily one road in life, that I should always experiment more.”

After this summer break, however, Wong chose transfer schools to teach at Lincoln High. “It was time for a change,” says Wong. “I tutor a lot of high school students, so I want to test my skills.”

Wong had spent the past 11 years teaching at AP Giannini. When deciding to try something new, his credentials limited his options: they allow him to teach only 7th through 12th grade students. But despite his finite possibilities, he was content.

“We live a privileged life where we can choose what we want to do. So before I became a grumpy old teacher who blames other people for their problems, I need excitement,” says Wong, reflecting on his choice.

He now teaches four Algebra 2 classes and one Geometry class. Wong doesn’t have his own classroom, though. As a new teacher at Lincoln, he holds the status of “travelling teacher,” meaning that he goes from room to room for all the periods he teaches–just like a student. Hence, the cart one can often see him rolling around carries all his supplies.

Wong feels comfortable with the transition to high school, as he did teach high school for a short time before teaching at APG. He was a bit anxious because it had been a long time ago.  He sees both high school and middle school students in the same way, however: “I think I just see kids as kids. Everyone’s a little immature. Adults complain about the same thing as kids, except they know when to complain.”

To Wong, the difference between middle and high school students is that high schoolers become less dependent and are more aware of their future.

“Middle school kids… haven’t quite learned how to channel their energy. So when they’re bored, they have to act out,” says Wong, smiling. “While high school students are too savvy for that; when they’re bored, they just ignore you… They have been around the game too long.”

Wong plans to keep teaching at Lincoln for the foreseeable future: “I don’t consider it my job to make students like school. My job is to make students have a healthy relationship with education. They should come to school and be safe, both from a physical and mental standpoint.”

There’s a new store on the block

By: Zev

 

 

Every lunch period, students of all grades head over to Uncle Joe's with a couple bucks in their pocket and an empty stomach. As students rush the store, leaving almost no space for movement, there are smiles on faces, talking amongst peers, and music and positivity in the air. A place which was once considered by many to be a dark and sad establishment, over the course of the summer, has been rejuvenated and turned into a necessity in many high schoolers lives.

    Just last year, fewer and fewer students were going to the then named Lincoln Market due to the ownership said junior Shakur Blaylock. “They were rude and only cared about the money.”

New owner Uncle Joe has a very different attitude though, saying, “I love working with kids. It keeps me young.” Over the course of the summer Joe completely renovated the place and turned it from a space that was “filthy and nasty” into a place deemed by most customers to be an upgrade.

Joe had to have a lot of persistence to obtain the store. At first he sold pizzas to the previous Lincoln Market, and helped the store stay afloat; but as business went down Joe tried to buy the store. Despite being rejected at first Joe continued to ask, until the previous owner came to him, saying he was ready to let it go.

The most popular item at the new store is chicken tenders and fries. Joe says “I knew it was gonna be a hit. I wouldn't go into business without knowing that it was gonna be a hit or not. I knew this place was going to be great that’s why i'm here.”

Unlike the other store, thievery isn't a problem at the store. “It's never an issue. Because I leave no temptation.” Even if a kid tried to steal Joe says that he would let the kid pay him back at a later date. Joe says this helps him build respect and trust between him and the students.

So far the experience has been great, “I have no negative stuff about this place. Anything negative I try to block it off and make it positive.” The year is going well for the store so far, and Joe expects nothing less as it continues.

 

Drama teacher works to give students the best experience

By: Gordan Liang

 

All around San Francisco, many people go unrecognized. Elaine Walenta, Lincoln High’s Drama and English 1 teacher, is one of them.

Her goals as a teacher are to facilitate students to have exciting and enriching experiences and to show her students new things.

Walenta student taught at Lincoln, then left and taught at Marin, but came back in 2001. When she came back, she took over her master teacher’s job and was the sponsor of the Drama Club instantly.

For 16 years, Walenta has been impacting lives of her students. She helped one of the actors in the school musical, Sophomore Raziel Ruiz, re-find his passion for acting.

Ruiz said, “ I’ve always had a love for acting. When I joined Drama, [Walenta] was the director, and she kind of rekindled that fire that I’ve always had, that I never knew still existed.”

But Ruiz isn’t the only person Walenta has ever made an impact on.

Greta Gurvits, another actor, said, “[Walenta] has made a lot of impact on me… It’s because of her that I’ve discovered what I want to do with my life. And she has shaped my identity in a sense.”

Not many teachers spend over 6 hours a week for their club. But Walenta goes from spending three to six extra hours most weekdays organizing the school musical, to planning the Drama club trip to Oregon each year, Walenta’s is really dedicated to making the Drama Club fun.

Walenta wants her drama students to get the best experience in drama as possible.

Walenta started her acting career in high school. During Walenta’s four years in high school, she had three different drama teachers, and she says that she doesn’t want that for her students.

Walenta has directed around 33 theatre productions for Lincoln High School. It may not seem like a lot of time is spent on theatre productions because are two to six shows, but in reality, a lot of time is put into these theatre productions. An actor stays until six o’clock or nine o’clock for rehearsals.

But not all actors have to attend rehearsals everyday, just Walenta. She says that each year has an unique set of actors, each with their own unique set of talents.

Don’t be afraid to join Drama club because you’ve heard rumors that Walenta is a mean teacher. According to actors in the Drama Club, Walenta is one of the nicest teachers in this school and tries to be as inclusive as possible.

“Ten,” said Gurvits when asked how nice Walenta is on a scale from one to ten, “People may not think she’s nice, but I think she is. She wants the best for every student.”

Julian Abergas, a former student of Walenta said that if he were to graduate today, he would say, “Thank you for everything. I’ll remember you when I win my first Oscar and Tony,” to Walenta.