A-Typical Nighthawks

David Rodriguez

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David Rodriguez

Easy going student by day and stage diving punk rocker by night, David Rodriguez is not, by any means, your typical nighthawk. However, one conversation with David and you will be thoroughly convinced otherwise. He is one of the most mellow and calm of people. He plainly agreed with this when asked to describe himself and said, “I guess I’m an easy going person most of the time.” His daily hobbies even seem ordinary, including taking naps, merrily strumming his guitar alone in his room, or watching YouTube videos. Although this description paints the picture of an average lethargic teenager (or even a sloth), you would be surprised to learn his favorite past time: punk and hardcore rock concerts David is an avid participant in the punk/hardcore rock scene. However before you conjure up a stereotype of what a punk/hardcore rock fan is like, please consider the previous paragraph. Nevertheless, these concerts include wild and energetic music accompanied by young people that also wild and energetic. There are countless stage dives, mosh pits, and people climbing onto rafters. David might be the most eager person at the concert to climb onto the stage and then plunge faithfully into a sea of upraised hands ready to catch him.  In fact, one of the craziest things David admitted to doing was “front flipping into a stage dive”. At these concerts, David’s mellowness described earlier completely evaporates into pure energy and adrenaline.  These wild gatherings invented by youth culture bring some of the most interesting characters out of David. While the night and day transformation of David Rodriguez is admirable, the real praise should go to the balancing of this double life. His love of the stage and the music is clearly seen when you learn David attended 20 events just this past year!  Unfortunately, many of these concerts are on school nights. David, as the devout concert-goer he is, attends the late night events, but still finds a way to attend school the very next day. Imagine showing up to school with “five to six” hours of sleep after an exhausting night. Not only is he tired, but he is usually covered in bruises and cuts from the mosh pits. Now imagine showing up to first period on a test day or even finals week. Both of these seemingly insurmountable tasks were completed by David, who is able to realize the importance of both school and his love of concerts. His passion for attending concerts and listening to punk and hardcore rock is met with responsibility and accountability. David described concerts on weekdays as “extremely inconvenient but absolutely necessary”. In fact most of these concerts are quite untimely for a busy teenager, but that’s what sets David apart from the rest: he achieves the best of both worlds.  Written by Rafael...

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Indira Lofflin

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Indira Lofflin

Every year, children across the nation choose the flute as the instrument to play in their elementary school band. However, only a handful of them go on to be professional musicians playing with world-renowned symphonies, let alone continue playing through their high school careers. Indira Indira, a junior at Del Norte, is part of that handful. Indira is a part of Del Norte’s Concert Band and has been involved with one of San Diego’s most prestigious music ensembles, the San Diego Youth Symphony’s (SDYS) Wind Symphony and Concert Orchestra. She said, “It was a very tough decision whether to go with a symphony that has a prestigious name to universities or one that is just starting, but I figured I’ll grow better as a musician at New Youth Orchestra (NYO),” Indira says, referring to her decision to leave SDYS and join NYO, where she is currently the principal flutist and piccoloist. Recently, she won a San Diego Flute Guild competition for 10th graders in the San Diego area, and hopes to compete at VOCE next year, which is a flute competition where flutists from all over California come to compete to win the big cash prize. “We did these fun little exercises, and [my teacher] finally got me to make a sound out of the flute,” Indira says, talking about how her teacher, Vivian Bergova, became her inspiration. Indira remembers when she went in for her first lesson as a seventh grader, she couldn’t get her flute to make a sound. Her teacher was the one to help her get past this obstacle. Ms.Bergova also exposed her to different symphony orchestras that Indira says she “really, really, really fell in love with”. She wants to go to a music conservatory, such as USC’s Thornton School of Music, Curtis Institute located in Philadelphia, Rice University in Houston, or Juilliard in New York. Other than music, Indira is interested in psychology and creative writing. She expresses her love of music through singing as well, and plans to release an album of music she has composed during her senior year of high school. Del Norte is truly fortunate to have such an accomplished individual as Indira. Written by Frank...

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Haley Underwood

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Haley Underwood

Haley Underwood is a talented individual when it comes to using cameras and Photoshop. She has the experience to be able to take senior pictures, and even wedding photos! As a student twice nominated for The Nighthawk Festival of Art, a staff-picked participant from Jones Soda Company,  PTA reflection “The Merit” award winner, and  blue ribbon winner of the Del Mar Fair, Haley has proven that she has much more ahead of her in her life. Her accomplishments make her feel “happy and grateful that someone took time to notice the effort [she] put into [her] work”. The way she likes to do “things that are artistic and out of the ordinary” makes her an inspiration to many around her. During our interview session, she expressed her realization of the change in our culture when she said, “We are becoming a generation whose main sense is sight. So why not do photography and then create something pleasing to the eye. Why not help the world see the amazing earth, the amazing people, the amazing places I see.” As we all know, a picture is worth a thousand words, and Haley truly lives by this motto. She considers this her way of expressing herself and showing the world the beauty she sees in it. Haley said that an object to describe her would have to be anything antique, because she has the bit of class and mystery that antiques seem to have. This is fitting, as you never know the things she’s thinking. The words she speaks are so mystical and deep, only philosophers could understand. She loves adventure, and making others happy: “a genuinely good soul”, one of her friends adds. Haley says, “To be honest, I think the biggest accomplishment is when I do a photoshoot with friends and they are able to look back on their pictures and realize they are beautiful and how much value they have.” Besides her photography, she participates in the theater program and the Pencils for Peru club here at Del Norte. Some of her favorite books are the Harry Potter series, Book of Mormon, and Fahrenheit 451. Haley also loves to learn random facts. During our interview, she taught me that Tiana and Mulan are both left handed and there are more chickens on this earth than people. Haley shows her potential as a great photographer, but also as a great human being, as her work is able to do more than relate the beauty she sees in the world: it is able to bring others joy and the ability to find beauty within themselves as well.  Written by Madison...

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Brian Crow

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Brian Crow

Brian Crow, an outgoing and outspoken 14 year old freshman, has been able to achieve many things people do not expect such an individual to accomplish at such a young age. Brian comes from a very athletic family. His mom was a cheerleader in highschool and his dad baseball player and wrestler. Brian enjoys video games,biking, and swimming, but he is mostly a dedicated baseball player. During a baseball tournament in Arizona, where over 300 teams and over 1000 kids participated, Brian ran the 9th fastest time in the 60 yard dash (7.2 sec). Brian claims that even he was surprised at his ability when he heard the news. Brian explained that he started playing baseball in kindergarten, and started playing competitive baseball when he was 13 years old. After many years of work, Brian was asked by the coach of the San Diego Lookouts to play for his team. He couldn’t reject the offer and played 1 year with the team until he joined a new team called MIT (what is this?). Brain mainly plays as pitcher and outfielder. However, he stated that he doesn’t just focus on baseball; he is also very into his academics. Brian was able to finish middle school with an astounding 4.0 GPA. Brian would like to play baseball for Del Norte and eventually go on to play baseball in college at NC State. Other than becoming a major league baseball player, Brian is interested in becoming a lawyer or an investment banker. Brian’s ability has shown, even in his young age, that he is capable of success in the future. Written by Taylor...

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Bongi Makatini

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Bongi Makatini

Sibongile Makatini, aka Bongi, is a current senior at Del Norte and the apex of nighthawks “created and not born”. This first generation South African-American, Jersey-born, ex-Hawaiian is unique in not only her background, but in her history as well. Her life embodies the the classic story of a little girl overcoming life’s obstacles. After traveling over three thousand miles and through three time zones, Bongi descended in San Diego the summer of 2013, just in time to begin her junior year. The demanding academic environment of Del Norte came as a cultural shock, and imposed a saturated stress foreign to her past high school’s poor performance. She said, “junior year was upon us, and I wasn’t prepared for it at all. Just so you know, Hawaii has one of the lowest ranking public education systems in the nation, so coming to Poway Unified was a massive leap in terms of schooling. I was constantly stressed about school which eventually led to a period of time where I was always getting excruciating headaches or just completely breaking down in the midst of my workload from being so overwhelmed. Eventually, I adjusted and pushed myself to endure the year, and thankfully, I made it.” However, the fact of “high school beginning all over again” never stopped Bongi from making her own deep imprint into this school and as a nighthawk. Within a year, Bongi has accomplished and grown in various ways, such as her dedication to the Nighthawk goals of being college ready, future focused, and globally aware. In joining the music department, she has grown in her violist skills. She has also developed a well-rounded music education by joining the Winter Drumline as a bell player and continuing in the Pit Percussion of the 2014 Del Norte Marching Band. Last year, Makatini was one of many National Honors Society, or NHS, event coordinators, and serviced the community’s needs.  She has even earned her place amongst the incredibly honorable and competitive position of Nighthawk Ambassadors, to be a role model for young children around the community. Part of the reason she was chosen was due to the fact that she is a rockstar student, beloved by teachers and students alike, for her welcoming, kind, and open-minded personality. Bongi continues to thrive in the Nest and prepare herself for senior year’s daunting college application season. She plans to pursue the medical field and hopes to one day learn amongst Ivy league halls. In conclusion, Makatini continues to resolve the notion that at Del Norte, our nighthawks are made for success. Written by Abeygail...

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Ethan Chung

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Ethan Chung

From the exterior, Ethan Chung, a sophomore baseball player, comes off as a normal guy. But once you get to know him, he’s anything but. Ethan is an enormous class clown, able to entertain a group of people with his wittiness and jokes alone. This talent really shows in his Youtube channel, 2ACProductions, where he creates funny home videos. In an interview, Ethan explained that his channel was originally created because he was an aspiring rapper in 6th grade, but took them down because he thought they were “awful.” Ethan has many more hobbies other than making videos such as baseball, martial arts, and piano. The main one that sticks out for him is baseball, which is something he has been doing since he was four. Originally, he never wanted to do anything physical in his life, but was tricked into it when his dad told them they were to get ice cream when they were actually going to try out for the league. His father actually managed to pull this same trick off with soccer and basketball, but baseball was the one that stuck, and he still plays it to this day with a large amount of success. Through all of this, Ethan manages to maintain a balance of maturity, hilarity, and emotion. When asked what his life goal was, he responded, “Finish AP Chem and Spanish 6 with an A.” A little while after, Ethan explained in a much more serious light that he wants to “make a significant difference in at least one person’s life.” He has also put thought into the future, as he has narrowed down the colleges he would want to enroll at to MIT, UC Berkeley, or Cal Tech. Ethan hasn’t decided on what he wants to be when he grows up, but decided that it will probably have something to do with medicine, filming, or video game development and engineering. Finally, when asked about a trait nobody knows about, he simply said, “I guess the fact that I’m really emotional in private settings. Like if no one’s watching I cry about the littlest of things.” Ethan is an awesome guy. He manages to balance baseball, academics, friends, and a passion for making videos, which is no small feat even for your average high schooler. It really shows how great and unique of a Nighthawk he is, as his talents are all across the board. His YouTube channel can be seen here Written by Neil...

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Tierney Hambleton

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Tierney Hambleton

There is not a single thing about Tierney Hambleton that cannot be considered unique. From her name to her style, Tierney belongs to a world of her own. Some people know her for her wacky, colourful outfits, some know her for her past experience with track and cross country, and anyone who shares a class with her knows her for her outspoken mind and fearlessness to ask questions.   Tierney came to Del Norte from Colorado her Sophomore year and says she loves the beautiful campus and the students and staff. Though admittedly, the school can be “clique-y”, Tierney has found her place within the school and calls Del Norte “home”.   Something you should know about Tierney is that she is a diehard lunchbox collector. If it’s made of metal and has a handle, you can bet she either has it, or will buy it off of you. Tierney makes certain to rotate lunchboxes daily… to keep both the variety of the lunchboxes and her style fresh. Her collection includes artsy boxes, a box based on different Disney princesses, and her favorite: a Coca Cola box, which is different from all the other boxes in the way it opens from the top, rather than the side. Tierney takes pride in her collection and plans on adding even more lunchboxes to it over time.   If you have had a class with Tierney, you know she is outspoken. Tierney stated that public speaking has never been a fear of hers, a rather unique quality in a time when much of teenage communication is done behind computer screens. Tierney is not afraid to be wrong, either. She molds her opinions by being open to the opinions and facts of others. Her favorite class is AP Government, a class that allows her to exercise her curiosity as well as her vocality.   Speaking of vocality, Tierney is new addition to the DNHS Choir this year. She initially took the class to simply fulfill an art credit, but says she has since enjoyed the class as a great way to start her day. She is excited to see where her experiences in choir take her during her last year at Del Norte.   On a more serious and less well-known note, Tierney suffers from epilepsy. Like most epileptics, Tierney’s condition can be triggered by flashing light. This makes things like fire and earthquake drills a nightmare for Tierney. Something people might not know is that seizures can also be triggered by mental and physical exhaustion or something as simple as a cold. Tierney says that, “Though grades are in the forefront of my mind, my epilepsy is the biggest hurdle as a high school student.” She even had to give up track and cross country because of her condition. Even through grades, cliques, epilepsy and lunchboxes, Tierney plans to attend a four-year college to study food and nutrition to help people lead healthier lifestyles. Written by Cory...

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