Samohi’s playoff run ends

SAMOHI — Santa Monica’s boys’ basketball team scored only 11 points in the third quarter and fell to the Rancho Cucamonga Cougars, 74-56, in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 1AA playoffs on Tuesday night.

Sophomore guard Jonah Mathews led the Samohi Vikings with 20 points while senior guard Ray Mancini added 17.

For the Cougars, senior forward Daylan Lawrence led all scorers with 25 points.

The loss marks the end of a season in which the Vikings finished with an overall record of 17-10, going 8-2 in Ocean League play.

Samohi head coach James Hecht recalled only positives when he looked back on the year.

“I thought we had a good year,” Hecht said. “I think we learned a lot. I think we grew a lot as a team considering the number of players that we had new to varsity basketball.”

The Vikings got off to a slow start and were forced to take a time-out after Rancho Cucamonga held an early 8-1 lead by capitalizing on Samohi’s turnovers. Late in the first quarter, Mathews scored off an assist by Mancini, which brought the Cougar lead down to four.

Mathews, who only had two first-quarter points, got going in the second frame, scoring eight of his 10 first-half points in the quarter. The Vikings were able to cut their deficit to two after sophomore forward Mikhail Brown made a layup, bringing to the score to 25-23 in favor of the Cougars.

Rancho Cucamonoga led at the half, 40-32.

Then the third quarter happened. The Cougars started off by opening up a 13-point lead after senior guard Victor Joseph converted a layup. Samohi answered with two back-to-back 3-pointers from senior guard Chris Johnson and Mathews, but Rancho Cucamonga ripped a 16-4 run down Santa Monica’s throat to end the frame with a 62-43 lead.

“A lot of our turnovers unfortunately led to baskets by them, and I think we got a little deflated,” Hecht said about his team’s third-quarter struggles. “I called time-outs, tried to calm us down a little bit. But I just think some of those turnovers that led to baskets for them were momentum killers.”

The Cougars kept their foot on the gas in the final stanza and wouldn’t let Samohi get close. On one Vikings possession, senior guard Nick Culver started a Rancho Cucamonga fast break with a blocked shot which led to a one-handed throw down by Lawrence at the other end.

Mancini said Samohi’s high turnover rate in Tuesday’s game had more to do with their offense than the Cougars’ defense.

“We were rushing a little bit too much,” Mancini said. “We were trying to be one-on-five instead of sharing the ball. We were just trying to go too fast and trying to shut the crowd up.”

On Friday, Samohi torched the Montebello Oilers by 31 points in the first found of the playoffs. Mancini said the difference between the two games was the team shared the ball more.

“The first game, we had three, four players in double digits,” Mancini said. “We just played freely. We cared for each other and just played for each other.”

Hecht said when the dust of the loss settles, his team can take a step back and look fondly at their success throughout the year.

“I think we could be proud of what we accomplished,” Hecht said. “Third year in a row winning league, second round of the playoffs. We fought the fight.”


Not all condoms are created equal

After a romantic dinner and a hand-in-hand walk down the beach, you and your date are back home and things are getting steamy. Right before the moment of truth, you reach into your pocket and pull out your protection: a condom. All systems go.

But for those who either have never used a condom during sex or have never had to buy one themselves, the choice on which type is best can be daunting. Condoms come in enough different shapes, sizes and colors to confuse even the most promiscuous Don Juan.

Here are five kinds of condoms, rated on a scale of 1-5 (Rubber Rating), which could help you make the right choice for you and your partner.

Trojan Classic

There are three words every man wants to hear when it comes to managing his manhood: reliable, comfortable and solid. A classic choice, the garden-variety Trojan is simple, yet effective. It’s sturdy enough not to break and there is minimal slippage. The only gripe about these is they are a little on the thick side, leaving it less pleasurable for the wearer. Opting for the spermicide-coated version could leave your hands smelling pretty funky and partners won’t want that stuff anywhere near their mouths. Still, for those who are looking to make their first condom-buying experience a positive one, you can never go wrong with a classic.

Durability: 4

Pleasure: 2.5

Package opening time: 1-3 seconds

Overall Rubber Rating: 4

Trojan Her Pleasure

The name says it all. These condoms were made for achieving the big O. With two different areas of ribbing, this condom will have your partner wondering when you became such a stud in the sack. When you put it on, it looks like the condom doesn’t fit because there is some extra material in the top-half, but little does your lover know that this is what is going to make their toes curl for the latter half of the night.

Durability: 5

Pleasure: 3

Package opening time: 1-3 seconds

Overall Rubber Rating: 4.5


You get what you pay for. These babies can be found on the way out of your friendly neighborhood women’s clinic and at our beloved Klotz Health Center on campus — for free.

But don’t let the easy access fool you. This brand of condoms are by far the worst form of “protection” for any couple. They slip off often and break easier than an iPhone screen after a date with the pavement. When you can’t have a decent night of sex without worrying about a trip to Planned Parenthood the next morning for a quick hit of Plan B and penicillin, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate your lifestyle.

Durability: .5

Pleasure: 2

Package opening time: 3-10 seconds

Overall Rubber Rating: 1


Slightly more durable and just as easy to obtain, these condoms are the slightly hotter cousin of Lifestyles. Much like Trojans, Durex condoms come in different styles and varieties, which makes them more consumer-friendly than the aforementioned red-wrapped disasters. But wearing them is a slippery slope, as they too can come off easily with even the tamest of kinky nights. However, they hardly break.

Durability: 3.5

Pleasure: 3

Package Opening time: 3-7 seconds

Overall Rubber Rating: 3

Trojan Ultra Thin

Made to feel like you’re doing the deed without a condom (even though you are), these condoms definitely feel the best for the one wearing a latex hat on his Johnson. The thinner design also means more pleasure for the partner. However, less is not always more. These condoms are so thin that they’re prone to slipping. However, true to the Trojan brand, they are not in danger of regular breakage.

Durability: 3.5

Pleasure. 3.5

Package Opening time: 1-3 seconds

Overall Rubber Rating: 3.5

Remember, lube is your friend

Usually associated with dry nether regions, lube can serve as a useful tool in any couple’s bedroom bonanza. A drop of lube in a condom adds another level of pleasure for men during sex, and adding lube into the mix reduces friction, thus reducing the chance of a broken condom and a ruined evening. Arousing lubes, such as KY’s Warming Jelly or their Yours & Mine Couples jelly, provide a warm zing that can get partners tingling. Desensitizing lube is another option for men who want stay in the game longer than usual.

When choosing a lube, it’s important for couples to know what they want — water, silicone or oil. Water-based lubes tend to be free of chemicals and easy to clean up, but require more applications during sex. They’re also great when paired with toys. If partners are looking for a lube that’s one application only, silicone is their answer. Silicone should  never be used with toys, due to silicone-on-silicone chemical reactions. Due to its sticky base, silicone lubes tend to stay on longer, but are a lot harder to wash off of bedding – so beware of stains, and stay off the couch with this one. Finally, oil based lubes such as vaseline, are thicker and not to be used with condoms, as they break down the latex. This method is best for handsy couples.

It’s important for partners to test the jellies on sensitive areas of the skin in order to avoid an unsexy infection. And as with any sexual act, it’s important to know what your partner wants.

Taylor Villescas wrote section on lube. 


CalStateTEACH program adopts new Common Core standards

An online teaching-credential program has revamped their curriculum to reflect the implementation of the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for K-12 education in California

“We were ready for the Common Core when the Common Core came,” said Sharon E. Russell, systemwide director of CalStateTEACH, an 18-month online program that allows students to earn their teaching credentials virtually.

The CCSS focuses on children understanding what they are taught and being able to explain their answers out loud in the classroom.

“That is one of the things we have emphasized,” Russell said about the program’s attention to the CCSS. “We have totally rewritten our literacy program to reflect the Common Core and then the change in mathematics is profound. We have embraced the Common Core.”

The program

CalStateTEACH is a multiple-credential program that is offered in four regions in California – Fresno, Fullerton, Los Angeles and Monterey Bay, said Daba Asemebo, the program’s coordinator.

Each region has a director which holds an office in their respective CSU campuses. Students can go to the directors if they need assistance other than what is provided by the program’s regular faculty advisors, who give assignments in the online modules which will help track academic success.

Through the program, students will be able to obtain credentials that will allow them to teach in general education classrooms in the state of California.

Along with the online courses the program offers, students must also go out into the field and put into action what they have learned through “student-teach positions” where they are required to practice techniques they have learned in an actual classroom setting. They must complete a certain amount of hours in a classroom setting each term.

Elizabeth Ramirez, 21, education major at CSUN, feels getting practice at other schools would benefit her.

“Since we are going to be teachers and be in the field, you have to make friends and see if other schools do the same thing you do,” Ramirez said.

The program offers financial aid to its students and comes with the staple $55 application fee, making it similar to other educational programs.

However, students of CalStateTEACH take classes over three terms of summer, fall and spring, which are each 15 weeks in length. Students earn a total of 45 semester units each term, which are divided between student teaching, observation and the online coursework, according to the program’s frequently asked questions.

Each term costs just above $3,000, but if a student wants a more on-the-go learning experience, they have to shell out an extra $1,000 for an iPad, according to the program’s website.

New technology

CalStateTEACH, which started in 1999, implemented the use of iPads in its program beginning fall 2010.

“It changed everything we do,” Russell said. “We have this 21st century device that changed us from being an e-learning program to a mobile-learning program. It changed where our candidates can work and study.”

Russell said enrollment in the program has increased 25 percent since the iPad was implemented. During this spring term, 631 students are enrolled in CalStateTEACH.

Russell said that a year before the program rolled out the iPad, CalStateTEACH’s faculty had to be comfortable with it, which is something she feels not many educational programs make sure of when releasing new technologies.

“I personally think that’s where a lot of programs and implementations start off on the wrong foot, that you have faculty and students learning things at the same time,” Russell said. “That’s good in many cases, but not when you have a new technology device.”

Ernest Black, regional director of CalStateTEACH for the Los Angeles area, said the bringing about of the iPad has been smooth for students because the way they are learning has changed.

“The biggest difference is that the student has more control over how they learn, what they learn,” Black said. “So the big part of that is the choice.”

Russell feels the main benefit for students using the iPad to study is the inherent convenience of the device.

“You can be doing your work at Subway eating lunch. You can be doing your work while you do laundry at the laundromat,” Russell said. “So it’s expanded the world for our candidates.”

While Russell feels there are not many drawbacks having this new teaching tool, she said the iPad has led to a bit more administrative work.

“It changed the way the staff works,” Russell said. “The support staff in (the CSU) office are engaged in the logistics of getting the materials to the students, so it’s changed that. That’s the only place we’ve had an increase of work that before, we just sent list of names to our bookstore and they sent boxes of materials out to the students.”

Students want classrooms

While the online program could make it easier for the budding K-12 teacher to earn their credential from practically anywhere there is a internet connection available, recent studies show students feel they learn better in a more traditional setting.

In July of 2013, Millennial Branding, a research and management consulting firm, and surveyed more than 1,300 students about various topics centered on education.

In the survey, called The Future of Education, 78 percent of students said learning in a traditional classroom setting would be easier than doing so online. In addition, only 43 percent of respondents felt online education would be either the same or better quality than other forms of learning.

Karam Deep, 21, an education major, would rather be in a physical classroom than a virtual one.

“I think it is less motivating to do things online, and it is easier to see a teacher do something or explain something in person,” Deep said.

Samantha Kang, 22, also an education major, likes the in-person interaction from other students that she gets inside a classroom.

“I like getting the answer to a question on the spot rather than waiting, and I like getting feedback from other peers as well,” Kang said.

Is online better?

While recent studies suggest students prefer a classroom setting over online education methods, other research contradicts those sentiments.

In 2013 alone, 7.1 million students in higher education are taking at least one online class, according to a study by the Bobson Survey Research Group.

The study also found that 73 percent of academic leaders rated learning outcomes either equal or superior to face-to-face instruction in 2013, compared to just 54 percent in 2003.

Black said the CalStateTEACH program being online and on iPads can help students who learn in various ways depending on what works best for them.

“All of this is not necessarily available in the old stand-and-deliver classrooms where the teacher lectures and you kind of regurgitate what was lectured,” Black said.

Russell feels there is a place for both traditional brick-and-mortar learning environments and CalStateTEACH.

“I think we all have the same goal,” Russell said. “We want to help prepare the best teachers for the all the children. Our goal in CalStateTEACH is to have creative and collaborative teachers, teachers that know how to work with each other, and teachers who know how to use the right technology in the right moments.”

 Gabby Escamilla contributed to this story.