How Did Da Vinci Spend Break?

As every student at Da Vinci knows, right around Thanksgiving there is a week with no school.

Although every student gets the same break, what they do with it differs greatly! From staying at home to traveling cross country, every student can agree that the break is greatly appreciated, and a nice rest from the stress of the school year.

Every year, sophomore Jonathon Huneke travels to Manteca with his family to celebrate Thanksgiving at his grandma’s house. While they are there, he enjoys watching football and seeing his grandma. As well as traveling during the break, Huneke played a lot of Fortnite, watched Disney Channel shows with his little sister, and hung out with his friends.

Senior Samantha Sheridan also left Davis for the break and drove to Lake Tahoe with her friends. They rented their own Air Bnb and while they were there they made pizza, ate cake, and played lots of board games. Sheridan said, “I was very grateful to be able to spend time with my friends as well as my family and for my wonderful group of friends. It was also really nice to be able to get out of Davis and into the wilderness.” She and her friends also have a tradition of doing a Friendsgiving celebration every year which is “Very important to me.” Sheridan notes.

Although Thanksgiving break is over, the holiday season is just getting kicked off! With Winter Break and then the New  Year not far out of sight, all students are excited for what’s to come. For now, however, the Vitruvian has collected data on what types of the pie the students of Da Vinci like to eat the best. This data will be viewable in a – you guessed it! Pie chart. This chart is as punny as it is informative, showing that apple is in the top spot with pumpkin and pecan not far behind.

Although Thanksgiving break is now over, everyone at the Vitruvian is wishing the students of Da Vinci a wonderful finals week,  Winter Break, and holiday season overall, and a very happy New Year!

Secondhand Smoking?

In late November of this year, air quality in Davis reached unhealthy levels, prompting many schools to cancel classes until air quality improved. UC Davis was one of the first to close its campus due to health concerns on Tuesday November, 13th.  While DJUSD closed campuses on Thursday of that week. What are the health effects of smoke, and why do they warrant closing down schools?

The fact is that particulate matter in the air can potentially be very dangerous, even with only short term exposure.Nathan Kwan, Da Vinci Environmental Science teacher, recommended that if you are bicycling in smoke you should try to get to your destination as quickly as possible without over exerting yourself. He also highly recommended purchasing a filtration mask.

The smoke made the air hazy and apocalyptic.

Two main types of mask seem to be popular, both produced by 3M: the N95 and N99. Their names reflect the approximate percentage of pollutants of a size .2 microns or larger, 95% for the N95 and 99% for the N99. While this is good, it was estimated by the EPA that around 50% of the toxic particles in the air were smaller than that and also more dangerous.

The smaller particles can penetrate much deeper in the lungs than the larger ones and pose a threat to both healthy and unhealthy people alike. Some side effects include aggravation and swelling of the lung aolia. While a very small percentage of the side effects are permanent or life threatening, the EPA’s top recommendation is to stay inside as much as humanly possible.

Enter the Dragon’s Den

Davis, you’ve seen Shark Tank and Dragons’ Den on TV, but are you ready to see this action in your own hometown? Right in your backyard, at Da Vinci Charter Academy on December 14th from 6:00-8:00 pm, there will be a display of business pitches, ranging from foods to virtual reality.  Da Vinci’s seniors have been working on creating their businesses since the beginning of October. Now, they are ready to show the community and the Dragons all of their hard work – and to see if it is enough for local businesses to invest in.

If you come to this event, expect to see a wide variety of businesses and ideas presented by some of the most well-spoken seniors in Davis. In the past, seniors have created pet sitting companies, food delivery services, restaurants selling smoothies and even doughnuts, all with their own comprehensive business plans that include everything a legitimate business developer would need to know.

As Dragons’ Den is in its 15th year since its conception, it has been developed and refined greatly during that time. It was originally much less impactful than the project that it has grown to be today, with students only needing to apply for a loan and pitch to their class. While engaging students’ creativity, the Dragons’ Den project is also teaching them about economics and financial planning in a way that is beneficial to them in their lives outside of school.

In order to receive funding, the seniors must show that their business would thrive in our little city of Davis. They demonstrate this by conducting market research and considering the business climate of Davis to decide on a product that would really be beneficial and succeed in Davis.

This is where the Dragons (and you) come in! They are a group of local business owners and teachers in Davis that have the same job as the sharks in Shark Tank. After listening to the short pitches presented by the seniors, the Dragons must decide whether to make or break this business by either giving or withholding their investment. Even if you are not part of the group of Dragons, community members can vote on which business that they like the best and that will succeed the most in Davis.

We invite you, a citizen of Davis, to join us once again at 1400 E 8th St. on December 14th from 6-8 pm to help support our seniors in their business ventures and to spend a night to see what it would be like to hold someone’s future in your hands. Thank you in advance, and we sincerely hope to see you there!

The Pipe Bomb Scandal

As pipe bombs are delivered to many political leaders as well as news sources in America, Da Vinci students weigh in.

Throughout the past week, October 22-26, thirteen pipe bombs were mailed to different public figures and news outlets. Luckily, all of the packages were intercepted before detonation and none of the intended recipients were harmed. Some of these recipients included past presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, actor Robert De Niro, and senator Kamala Harris (D- CA). Other state representatives, news analysts, political donors and vice presidents were targeted by these pipe bombs.

Some of the packages did not solely include a bomb; the ones that were sent to Barack Obama, Maxine Waters (D-CA), former CIA director John Brennan and political philanthropist George Soros included a photo of each target marked with a large red “X”.

One of the packages containing pipe bombs sent from the address of a Florida senator

On Friday, October 26th, law enforcement officials arrested Cesar Sayoc, a Florida man who was arrested numerous times before and had a history of making bomb threats. FBI agents discovered Sayoc based on a single fingerprint. With this evidence, as well as his extensive background of criminal behavior, it was clear that the officials had found the culprit.

Many Da Vinci students had already heard of the events, as the story has made national news.

When asked what they knew about the bombs and how they felt, the students had different ideas as well as views that were common throughout the group. Junior Clark LiWang says, “Personally, since I support Trump, it kind of puts a bad reputation on Republicans because not everyone is going to send bombs to people – if we’re going to have an argument it’s going to be a civil discussion.”  

Other students thought that the access to media that everyone has nowadays could have led to his radicalization. “I would say that the internet is a big component in this,” senior Eleanor Jacobo-Becker said, “It spreads ideas that…can be harmful to people and it helps people that might have otherwise been considered crazy, it kind of reinforces them like ‘Oh I’m not crazy other people think the same way I do.’”

As for the way it made them feel, most students were not worried for their own safety. Junior CJ Fabionar said, “It’s not like I’m going to see a bomb when I open the mail from now on, but it’s scary to think that there are bombs out there.” Senior Ramiro Cabanillas-Lesdesma said, “It doesn’t particularly scare me, it just surprises me.”

Luckily, the suspect has been caught and this string of attacks is over. It is unknown what kind of events like this will occur in the future, but one thing we can count on, is the fact that Da Vinci students will be well informed!


Seniors Take On Early Applications!

The early application deadlines for colleges across the country have just passed.  On November 1st, seniors from every high school in the United States submitted applications to their schools of choice.  

In these college applications, the students are required to submit their transcripts, standardized testing scores and essays on various topics.  To normalize the application process, many colleges, from Harvey Mudd to Woodbury, accept a set of essay prompts known as the ‘common application.’  This year, there are seven different prompts, each with a word limit of 650 words. In order to stand out among the sea of applicants, students try to give a unique point of view without going over the word limit.  

Describing a common issue in responding to these prompts, senior Bailey Robinson Burmester said, “I had some serious writer’s block with the common app personal statement and then overshot the word count by over 1000 words. It was really painful to cut all those words.”

It is recommended that when writing an application, anyone should be able to pick it up on the streets, read your essays, and understand who you are. Through these personal statements and essay prompts, these students try and paint a picture of who they are.

While many schools exclusively use the common app, some schools also require additional information. Colleges such as Stanford require two essays, three short essays, and seven short response questions in addition to the personal statement and writing about extracurricular activities and leadership.  

Some students apply to many schools, while others wait for the normal application deadline.  Burmester applied to Stanford during early action applications, and is planning on applying to Harvard, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and the University of the Pacific for the normal admission. Senior Grace Range decided not to apply for any colleges in the early action period because she wanted to improve her essays before submission.  

After experiencing the application process, the seniors have some advice for the juniors and sophomores. “Do not procrastinate. I know you hear this all the time, but really,” Burmester said. “Start writing as soon as you can access the essay questions. If you can finish, or at least make a good headway before school starts, you will experience a lot less stress in the beginning of your senior year.”

While it is important to work on your college apps and think about your future, it is also important to enjoy your senior year. “Senior year is your last year of high school,” Range said. “So make sure you make time for the people and things that matter.”

With the normal application deadline rapidly approaching, most seniors will continue to work on their essays to maximize their chances of getting into the college of their choice.


A Review of DHS’s Little Women, The Musical

On Friday, November 2nd, DHS’s production of Little Women opened its doors to the public. The play is based on Louisa May Alcott’s novel and featured several Da Vinci students, such as senior Neil Das as Roderigo and Mr. Laurence, senior Samantha Sheridan as Marmee, and senior McKella Van Boxtel as Meg. The play chronicled the lives of the four March sisters and their mother, growing up in the Civil War era, with their father away in the army. The audience comes to understand the similarities and differences between Meg, the girly grown-up; Jo, the ambitious tomboy; Beth, the gentle sweetheart; and Amy, the precocious child. Jo, portrayed by DHS senior Jordan Hayakawa, leads the story with brilliant vocals and excellent delivery of lines. Sweet Beth is played by DHS senior Savannah McCoy, and childish Amy is wonderfully portrayed by DHS junior Lily Linaweaver.

The story begins with a flashback to Jo’s experience in New York and her attempts to land a publishing deal with a New York company. We then jump back to the March home. The several transitions and flashbacks of this type can be a tad misleading for those unfamiliar with the story, but a little context clues help tie it all back together. Throughout the two and a half hour long production, the audience follows Jo’s quest to travel and write, Marmee’s difficulty raising four ‘little women’ alone, and Beth’s ultimate death of scarlet fever. As the actors took their final bows at the very end, the crowd was on their feet.

The production value was very well done, with excellently designed sets and beautiful vocals from each of the actors. In one scene, Beth and Mr. Laurence (Das) sing a tune called “Off to Massachusetts,” which I would rate as the best song in the entire musical. McCoy’s voice mixed beautifully with Das’s, sending chills down my spine. In addition, I was happily surprised by the sheer vocal talent from each of the actors. One can only expect so much from a high school musical, but the cast of Little Women exceed those expectations.

The musical continues the weekend of the 9th, and will finish its run on Saturday, November 10th. The cost is $10 at the door, and $10 well spent. I highly recommend taking a couple of hours out of your evening to support the kids of DHS and Da Vinci in their production of Little Women.


Pete Davidson Under Fire

On the final episode of Saturday Night Live (SNL) before our November midterm elections, the show trotted out Pete Davidson for another election special. During the skit in question, Davidson was tasked with giving his first impression of a batch of midterm election candidates. After mocking incumbent Republican governor of Florida, Rick Scott, he compared Republican Representative of New York, Peter King, to a cigar.  

Next on Davidson’s hit list, oddly enough, was yet another Republican. This time, it was Republican challenger Dan Crenshaw. It would be worthwhile to add some important context to Davidson’s comments. Dan Crenshaw, during his third tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2012, had his right eye destroyed by an improvised explosive device, and his left eye was badly damaged. After several surgeries, he regained eyesight in his left eye. After regaining sight, he returned to the Navy to serve two more tours, once more in Afghanistan, and another in South Korea. Crenshaw attempted a sixth tour, but was medically retired due to injuries to his eye.

Pete Davidson understood this well, and went on to mock Crenshaw and his wounds sustained during combat. Davidson joked that “You may be surprised to hear he’s a congressional candidate in Texas and not a hitman in a porno movie,” Davidson, resisting a laugh at his joke, expanded upon his comment, stating, “I’m sorry, I know he lost his eye in war, or whatever. Whatever.” Crenshaw handled this more professionally than anyone could have, taking to twitter to share a “Good rule in life: I try hard not to offend; I try harder not to be offended. That being said,  I hope SNL recognizes that vets don’t deserve to see their wounds used as punchlines for bad jokes.” In a video obtained by TMZ, Crenshaw took the high road, saying “I want to get away from this culture where we demand apologies from people every time they misspeak. […] I don’t need to demand an apology from them, they can do whatever they want. They’re feeling the heat from around the country right now.”

I am far less willing to give Davidson the benefit of the doubt. Davidson has been a long time liberal, in December of 2017 he went as far as to tattoo former Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton onto his right leg. Davidson was targeting Republicans, and alluded to it himself when he said “Here’s a Democrat, so I look fair,” before proceeding to mock Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo. Finding little to mock in a young, handsome, passionate NAVY Seal, Davidson went straight for the lowest hanging fruit: a decorated SEAL’s disability. One of the byproducts of the politically correct cultural moment that we find ourselves in, is that some things can’t be joked about. Regardless of how you feel about the situation we’re in, we’re in it. And if anything deserves to be off limits, It’s the mockery of disabilities sustained in conflicts, won by people like Crenshaw, who defend the freedom to mock him in the first place.

If we were to remain consistent in our principles, Davidson crossed a line, and is now no-longer suitable for employment. In theory, Davidson should be treated no different than James Damore, Roseanne Barr, or Bill Maher. Either offensive things said in the public domain are subject to punishment, or they aren’t. SNL, in recent years, has taken a turn to the left. They were recently under fire for a skit called “Kavanaugh Hearing Cold Open,” which portrayed then Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who was tasked with defending himself against a 35 year old allegation, as an angry drunk. SNL had little to no empathy or understanding of the situation Kavanaugh found himself in. SNL is easily America’s most recognizable, late-night, comedic TV show. As such, SNL must be held accountable in mirroring and upholding the political moment that we live in. It is unfair and hypocritical that Davidson be let off the hook, but others suffer consequences of jokes and statements made in the past. It is either okay to make jokes about touchy topics, or it isn’t, and SNL can’t have it both ways. SNL and It’s platform could be a tool used to dismantle this black & white paradigm, but until they do, Dan Crenshaw deserves an apology and Pete Davidson deserves punishment.


How Does Da Vinci Celebrate Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is coming up next Thursday, giving students both time away from school and time to spend with family and loved ones! Although Thanksgiving itself stays fairly traditional from household to household, Da Vinci students have their own ways to honor Turkey Day.

Senior Samantha Sheridan loves Thanksgiving and recalls it as a family-centric holiday. “I spend it at my house and all my family comes over,” she said, “It’s kind of a tradition. We move everything out of my living room and rent tables. My siblings and I will wake up really early to watch the parade, and our job is always to decorate the table. It’s really wonderful.”

Principal Millsap also spends his Thanksgiving in a traditional way. In fact, he has two. “I do Thanksgiving with my side of the family on Thanksgiving at my house,” he said. “And then, with my wife’s side of the family which is much bigger, we go to a cabin in Kyburz and that’s a big old Thanksgiving in the mountains, which is pretty cool.”

However, turkey and mashed potatoes isn’t what everyone is chewing on next Thursday. Psychology teacher Brittany Rosenberg and her mother are both vegetarian. “I’m a vegetarian and so is my mom, so we get a turkey for my dad and husband, but we usually have sweet potatoes, and sometimes mac and cheese, and a salad and rolls.”

For junior Justin Yeung, even potatoes aren’t on the menu. He spends his Thanksgiving with family eating dim sum, but he still has his favorite Thanksgiving traditions. “My uncle and aunt do not like garlic or onions. We order this chicken dish with fried garlic, and my uncle was eating it, and he was like, ‘This is pretty good,’ and then his son said, ‘Hey Dad, you see those little things that look like rice? That’s garlic.’ Then he stopped eating it.”

Junior Ava MacDonald also has a favorite holiday tradition. “My family always does a puzzle,” she said, “We get out a really big puzzle and we do it all day.”

All over campus, Da Vinci students are preparing for their family holidays, which includes a vast majority of foods. Here’s what some of them will be eating:

“Mashed potatoes!” – Ava MacDonald (11)

“Stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, biscuits, cranberry, turkey!” – Ms. Barbie (student teacher)

“Tamales and turkey,” – Ramiro CL (12)

“Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, all the usual stuff, and then my wife’s mom makes one of those weird salads. It’s got jello with fruit in it and cream cheese on top. It’s a little weird,” – Millsap (principal).

Regardless of what will be on your table this Thanksgiving, make sure to enjoy it. From all of us here at The Vitruvian, happy Thanksgiving!

Da Vinci’s First Music Class!

Have you heard music playing during your seventh period? If so, you’re hearing Da Vinci’s brand new mariachi band! The seventh period class is currently held in the presentation room and taught by DHS band teacher Mr. Slabaugh. The band originally started as an extracurricular, but with the help of Mr. Millsap and junior Sofia Huston-Isias, it turned into a full-fledged class!

The original mariachi club is still operating, and many of the club members have joined the class. In addition, this is the only class that DHS students have to travel to!

Huston-Isais enjoys mariachi band more than other bands because, “with mariachi music, you can play around with the music more rather than the symphonic band where you are always being told what to do. But in mariachi, there is a lot of improvisation.” She also explained that she enjoys the class because it is smaller than other bands and the size allows the class to work with other people that play the same instruments.

In addition, Sophomore Zoraya Phillips says, “I like being able to express part of my culture that I do not usually express.” Phillips plays guitar, and although this is her first year playing in a mariachi band, she has played many different instruments before.

The main instruments in a mariachi band are trumpets, guitarrons, armonias (an instrument similar to a guitar but smaller), guitars, and violins. When a musician’s instrument is not playing at that moment, they will most likely be singing the lyrics to the songs. All the songs that the band plays are in Spanish, therefore almost all of the students in the band speak Spanish.

Another member of the band, sophomore Antonio Velasquez, was and still is a member of both the mariachi club and class. When asked which he prefers he said, “Definitely the class. With the class, we have a lot more potential to grow and expand.” He also noted another difference between the class and the club stating, “We’re starting from scratch, we don’t have members that have been active for years.”

Despite the fact that many of the musicians are in a mariachi band for the first time, they play beautifully and the class has already performed in front of our office staff! Exciting things are on track for this class and Da Vinci is eager to see the concerts in their future!

Breakfast at Tiffany’s? More Like Breakfast at Da Vinci!

It is a well known fact that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it’s an easy thing to forget when you’re rushing through your busy mornings. Luckily, with the new breakfast service offered here at Da Vinci, you don’t need to worry about forgetting breakfast anymore! Breakfast is now being offered in the MPR after second period.

There are a variety of options such as breakfast burritos, breakfast sandwiches, and pancakes with a side of sausage and cereal. The breakfast offered is not only a great way to stay energized throughout your school day, but it’s also very affordable. The full price of any breakfast option is 2 dollars and the reduced price offered for some students is only 30 cents. If you are still unable to afford breakfast at school, you can talk to one of the counselors that will help you receive free breakfast. 

Da Vinci students such as junior Nathan Ceppos are responding positively to the new service stating, “I really like the breakfast sandwiches. I usually sleep in too late in the morning to eat breakfast so It’s really convenient that I can get it at school now.” It’s a common theme amongst teenagers that sleeping in is a huge part of why so many students come to school without having eaten breakfast. Principal Tyler Millsap also commented, “It’s really important for students to eat breakfast because when students are hungry, it’s harder for them to focus and the brain doesn’t function at its peak. Some students don’t necessarily get proper nutrition outside of school and I want school to be a place where students can receive it if they need it.” Breakfast at school is helping to accommodate the busy mornings students face every day with healthy and affordable options everybody can enjoy.