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The Viking Voices

A Celebration of Student Writing

Students interested in submitting their writing for publication should email their submissions to We accept many types of submissions, including creative writing pieces, news reports about important happenings at MHS,  advice columns, opinion pieces, feature stories, movie and book reviews, etc.

March for Gun Safety

By Cora Logan


On Wednesday March 14th some of Montgomery’s high school students along with many from around the nation participated in the walkout in support of the most recent school shooting. However the walkout wasn’t just for Parkland High; it was for everyone who has suffered from school shootings, students who are scared to go to school because they no longer feel safe, and students who want to stand up against the gun violence that has plagued our school system. On Wednesday at 10:00 AM students met near the quad and began to march and chant around the school. Many students participated, and teachers joined with posters and videotaped our march. As we marched and chanted around the front of the school there was man with a flag across the street crying and supporting us, there was a woman with a #enough sign who honked and shouted in support, along with other drivers who honked as we stood up for what we believe. It is not just high school students, but adults, parents, teachers, board members who see a problem in today’s society. This is not the first march and definitely not the last! In no way is the walkout we participated in a movement for the abolition of guns; it is for the advocacy for the safety of the student body in this nation.


The Harmful Effects of Gender Stereotypes

Jennifer Alamilla

Gender stereotypes have been around for ages and are a huge factor in society’s views. These stereotypes depict how males and females are “supposed” to act in order to fit in. They bring hardships that most people prefer to not acknowledge, but in recent times these stereotypes are being broken. The genders are affected in a way that not only affects an individual, but also affects those around them. Males face struggles of having to be this so called “macho man,” and females have to be these perfectly innocent angels to fit into the standards that have been set into place. Gender stereotypes prevent society from moving forward by creating a stigma over certain qualities a gender should or should not possess, and in many cases, they can be very harmful – even dangerous.

Male stereotypes create an expectation for men to be a paragon of power and bravery. Men play a dominant role in society and it is not uncommon for them to feel threatened when something or someone seems to challenge that dominance. Men resort to violence to show that they are the ones with the power because that is what has been seen as the normal way for men to resolve problems. Even as young children, they will fight physically, and parents or other adults will say they are just being boys. This brings another example of how male stereotypes are rooted into the minds of young children. Boys are usually being taught to be tough emotionally, and of course, physically. They say boys should be obedient, should not cry or show any other emotion that is deemed weak, and this is immensely toxic to their developing minds. During a TED Talk, “Why I’m done trying to be ‘man enough,’” Justin Baldoni mentions “hypermasculinity,” and how it is wrong and toxic. Hypermasculinity affects men at an emotional and psychological level and there are many statistics suggesting that this restrains men from expressing themselves. That restraint causes a build-up of everything they feel that they are pressured to bottle up or keep to themselves in fear of being disapproved of, or being seen differently because of what they are experiencing. Men are pressured to fulfill the expected stereotypes thrust upon them even with the known statistics showing how unhealthy and damaging they are.

Female stereotypes are viewed as the opposite of male stereotypes and depict women as weaklings and overly complicated with respect to their personalities and emotions. Women are never really told to contain their emotions like males, and because of that society labels women as people who cannot control themselves as efficiently as males. This exhibition of emotions is considered weak, and because women express their feelings, they are judged for not being able to control or handle themselves. This double standard on women and violence allows her to get by without drawing so much attention to herself. The stereotype of women being weak or nonviolent is a mask covering the true reality that is caused by the pressures and hardships they have to face from a very young age. The extent of this damage from stereotypes is very extreme and can be deadly at times. Society as well as communities or families have the power to influence a person with just a few words or an action and that can greatly create a disaster in the future. Both genders are affected on some psychological level that could potentially break them apart at any time of an individual’s life. Stereotypes are one of the main factors of people developing a mental illness. A few examples would be eating disorders, anger management issues, or anxiety. Young boys and girls are at risk of developing a mental illness because of what they are told they have to be, or what they believe they have to be in order to be accepted. An example is the fact that women’s beauty standards require them to be thin, toned, have no body hair, or have specific facial qualities, and this can be toxic to a young child because they should not have to worry about diets or other physical flaws at the age of seven years old, or any age, for that matter.

Men’s open violent history shows that most violent crimes are being committed by them. For instance, is the current shootings that have been happening in the U.S., which have all been caused by men with supposed mental illnesses. Stereotypes can also create future abusers from those that have been abused already. Men that are made into callous or physically strong potentially try to push those expectations onto their sons, whether consciously or subconsciously. This power and influence that the gender stereotypes hold can take away the freedom that individuals need in order to make it in the world we live in today. The harmful effects that have been caused by these underlying factors are proving to be a major issue in America, as they greatly influenced how people view others and themselves. These stereotypes need to be removed or broken because the longer they are around the longer individuals have to feel the need to conform to these rules. Without these stereotypes males and females can finally be able to express themselves and/or get help with the damage that been caused to them.



An Introduction to the Summer Search Program

by Amelya Madrigal


Nominations for Summer Search have come in and I want to help students learn about this amazing opportunity. I joined Summer Search as a sophomore like every other Summer Searcher out there wondering whether this would help in college, but it did much more than that. Summer Search is a national leadership development program that helps deserving students to see the world for themselves, builds students’ confidence, and helps kids prepare for college.


As a sophomore I always wondered if there was a program out there that would give me opportunities to get me in into college. Summer Search opened the doors I was looking for.


The great thing about this program is they let me have the opportunity to go on fully paid trips. In my sophomore year I went on a wilderness trip with other summer searchers around the country and the experience was like nothing I expected, in a good way. I loved my Colorado expedition trip because of the diversity of the people who eventually became my family in those short three weeks. Going out there to see the wilderness for myself was a lifetime opportunity. It changed my view of the world and made me see there is so much I can do. I never thought it would do that for me. I know this sounds too good to be true, but it is. The application process may sound like a lot, but if I had not put in that effort, I don’t know what kind of person I would have been.  I changed my attitude towards myself and to others, I am more optimistic and see everything from a different angle. I am a Summer Searcher because I did follow through and took this opportunity, and I'm glad to be a part of Summer Search.


If you are a sophomore who was nominated for program, I urge you to apply. If you are a freshman who might like to get involved with it next year, talk to your counselor or see Ms. Holmes in room 54 for more information.


Xenophobia, Racism, and the Brexit

Written by Ashni Verma


Due to the recent upheaval in American politics, many people, in and out of our school, fear the potential repercussions of the exclusive and hurtful rhetoric that has dictated the direction of our most current election. Many of the promises of the President-elect reflect a dangerously xenophobic mindset common to the American people. Our President-elect preyed on the people’s fear of the country’s changing demographic to acquire this position. The results of the election have been incredibly jarring for many, but they nevertheless reflect a growing trend among countries across the world. In order to truly understand how we got ourselves into this situation, and how we will move forward, we must understand what is happening in America within the context of what is happening in the rest of the world.


The growth of xenophobia internationally, spurred on by people’s fear of globalization and our rapidly changing world, is threatening to undermine societies, institutions and governments globally. The Brexit, Great Britain’s vote to leave the European Union (EU), is a prime example of hyper-nationalist rhetoric having an impact on global socioeconomic spheres. The results of the referendum, significantly swayed by such rhetoric, surprised the international community, because it was thought it would have a negative impact on Britain’s economy. Since the vote in June of 2016, there has been a sharp drop in the value of the British pound and a dramatic increase in racially motivated hate crimes. To combat this rising xenophobia, we need to increase national and international conversations on the topic of human rights through the media and our educational institutions. This important issue is currently being addressed by the United Nations World Programme for Human Rights Education. I believe we should support more human rights education in our schools, in higher education, and in the media to increase our understanding of this universal problem.


The Leave campaign emerged victorious from the referendum despite the many studies that showed the Brexit would negatively affect the British economy. While the initial post-Brexit financial hysteria has subsided, the economy is still extremely volatile, and many fear the economy will worsen during the Brexit negotiations in the coming years. A recent Economist article indicated that enough people who voted Leave regret their vote, that if they could recast their vote, the referendum would have very different results.

Thus, the only real gains from the Brexit vote were political in nature. It allowed the right-wing populist UK Independence Party (UKIP) to gain more political influence. The UKIP, and prominent leaders such as Nigel Farage, used fear tactics about mass immigration to persuade people to vote for the Brexit. As many Leave advocates employed anti-immigrant propaganda such as Farage’s infamous “Breaking Point” poster, it is clear that they relied heavily on hyper-nationalistic rhetoric to spark a fear of the EU policies as a social and political threat. In the first months following the referendum, a BBC article reported a 41% increase in hate crimes towards religious and racial minorities, and many immigrants are worried about repatriation. The jingoistic tone of the Leave campaign is taking a heavy toll on Britain’s minorities.


Some of the circumstances that led to the Brexit results are the misrepresentations of current events in the media. Like in America with the Donald Trump campaign, people in Britain are vulnerable to unsubstantiated fear-mongering, and for this reason it is imperative to incorporate human rights into our education systems, so that people have the tools and knowledge to make informed decisions on global issues. Trump’s populist rhetoric also exemplifies the negative anti-immigration positions of the UKIP, and the similarities are extensive. A greater emphasis on human rights education will also direct national attention to the issue of universal human rights. The first phase of the United Nations World Programme for Human Rights Education focused on primary and secondary education and inspired countries across the world to action. The success of this UN program in the global community extends to journalists and the media as well. Eventually, the implementation of educational reform programs such as this will help people become more tolerant of different cultures and advance reforms in their countries.


Growing xenophobia negatively affects the world on social, political, and economic levels. The fear of change in a country’s demographic may dramatically alter the decisions a country makes, and ultimately destabilize the nation for years to come. Despite the overwhelming evidence to refute the logic of leaving the European Union, some people in Britain lashed out against the incoming refugee population in order to fuel their campaign. Because of this, minority populations in the UK feel more marginalized than they have in many years. The social, political, and economic security of the country is in jeopardy because of people’s xenophobic beliefs. In order to lessen the effects of nationalistic propaganda in such significant decisions, countries must incorporate human rights education into their school systems and their media. If respect for human rights can become embedded in our societies as a core cultural value, then the people of all nations will be more inclined to reject xenophobia and embrace a vibrant pluralistic conception of identity and national citizenship.



50 to 3650

50 to 3650

By: Taylor Wang

*The Asian Pacific Fund hosts a scholarship essay and art contest every year, and this is Taylor’s essay submission which won Best in Class in this year’s contest. The theme of this year's contest was: Giving the Gold Medal to Someone in honor of the 2016 Rio Olympics. Montgomery had two winners this year!

            When my dad was diagnosed with Stage IV Pancreatic cancer on my mom’s birthday, he was given three months to live. At the time, we owned a small Chinese restaurant where I spent my childhood, running around and talking to customers, soaking in the hectic vibrancy of those years. To my parents, having immigrated to the United States with absolutely nothing, this was their American Dream. 

            This story, however, is about a person during this entire time that has shown me the most important things in life. Because of this person, I believe in willpower and the importance of self-reliance in making all things possible, someone truly deserving of a gold medal: my mother.

            After my father’s diagnosis, his parents suggested he stay with them so they could take care of him. But as the months dwindled down, he only became weaker and more bed-ridden. One day, they brusquely kicked him out of their home; they were afraid he would die in their house and curse their entire family. I later learned that ancient Chinese traditions warn that the bad omen of death lingers even after the person is gone.

            Four months after he was diagnosed, my dad died one Tuesday morning. His parents and siblings did not show up to the funeral or the memorial service – and they never called.


            It rained for fifty days after he died.

            During those fifty days, I looked towards my mom, who in spite of all that was happening, continued to look ahead, with grace, determination, and strength. She saw their absence not as an obstacle, but as another reason to continue fighting even harder, with even more resolve. Even during those dark fifty days, she would say to me, “The sky will never fall; the sun will shine again tomorrow”. And as the sunshine slowly crept in after those fifty days of pouring rain, I realized, she was right.

            Day 3650—It’s been ten years this February 24th since my dad passed away, and my mom is still my greatest supporter, my greatest role model, and my best friend. Anyone that knows of her knows her as the “supermom”, the woman that in spite of it all faces each and every day with even more vitality and enthusiasm than the day before, and always in style. Undoubtedly, the sacrifices she has made for both my sister and me are countless, but it’s what I’ve learned from her that will continue to guide me in the years to come.


            Her fearlessness in times of the unknown, both in her own life and in mine, has helped me understand that some things cannot be solved in a matter of fifty days - or even three thousand, and that’s okay. If I’ve learned anything from my mom, it’s the meaning of courage and integrity in light of all challenges.


            My mom has given me all the gold in the world, and now, it’s my turn to give the gold medal to her.

Are Gender Stereotypes Harmful?

By Heran Arefaine

            A gender serotype can be harmful if it limits men’s and women’s ability and personal choices in life. Gender serotypes are prevalent in today’s society—they’re in TV shows, books and even in determining jobs.

            Gender stereotypes lead to double standards that cause women’s violence against men to be neglected. Recently an incident was caught on video of Beyoncé Knowles sister, attacking her brother-in-law, Jay Z. This video sparked controversy not because Jay Z was being assaulted, but instead because he got “beat up by a girl”. Just because a man is considered physically dominant, being attacked by a girl is considered humorous and embarrassing for the guy.  Women’s violence against men isn’t taken seriously, even though it is undisputable that most acts of violence are committed against women. The U.S. Department of Justice sponsored a National Crime Victimization Study in 2007, and found that “75.6 percent of all offenders were male and only 20.1 percent were female.”  What about women’s domestic violence? According to Time magazine “women are at least likely as men to kill their children—more so if one counts killing of newborns—and account for more than half of child maltreatment perpetrators.” The fact that women are capable of committing  violence is rarely discussed due to gender stereotypes. Still, violence committed by women is still considered a crime and by no means less harmless than men. Traditional stereotypes such as females being harmless and innocent have led to double standards that cause violence instigated by women to be ignored. People who brand themselves as feminists, those who want to be equal to men, should recognize that women’s violence against men, children and other women must be taken into consideration.

            As a result of gender stereotypes existing in today’s society, women and men are restricted into behaving according to their gender. In the 1960s and 1970s in children’s books, women were portrayed as passive, dependent and incapable of doing things; however, males were portrayed as active, independent, and extremely competent. According to the Psychology Today magazine nursery rhymes such as, “What Are Little Girls Made of?” and “What Are Little Boys Made of?” develop the ideas of girls being sweet as “sugar and spice” and boys being up to no good with “snakes and snails and puppy dog tails.” As result of these books, kids from a young age take in stereotypical behaviors. Just as harmful, and much more widespread examples of stereotypes are found in Disney movies; movies like “Cinderella”, “Sleeping Beauty” and “the Beauty and the Beast” portray the hero saving the troubled heroine. When young developing kids watch these movies, they take into action of how they are expected to behave by society.

            Gender stereotypes are one of the many reasons that cause everyday violence. Society sees men as being tough, strong and aggressive, which makes many men feel pressured into behaving how society wants them to. Male violence increases every day, according to American Society of Criminology, “men account for nearly 80% of all violence.” Men feel as though it is acceptable and even expected for them to commit violence because of gender stereotypes portraying them as being powerful and dominant. According to the Journal of Family Violence, women tend to take out their “violence on children, elders, female relatives, and non-violent men.” Society sees women as lesser than men which in turn makes them want to take their anger out on people who are weaker than them.

            Our society has always been and will continue to be defined by gender stereotypes. Typical gender stereotypes have broken and ruined the society we live in. These social chains are limiting men and women’s potential and ability of becoming their fullest selves. Stereotypes have shaped people from a young age into becoming the socially acceptable version of themselves. We need to limit and combat these stereotypes if we want to truly create a society where freedom and equality are genuine constructs that are available to everyone, rather than being insubstantial labels that continue on as facades.

Montgomery's Girls Varsity Soccer Comes to an End

By Jaxen Brazell

Our girls’ varsity soccer team lost a hard fought battle against Maria Carrillo Saturday night during the NCS championships. It was 0-0 for a while during the first half until Carrillo’s Ali King knocked it in off a corner kick.  Although the Vikings were down, they were not out of it.  They continued to add pressure to the defense and goalie of Maria Carrillo, Claire Howard.  Senior, Taylor Ziemer got off a couple of strong shots but got blocked by miraculous senior Claire Howard.  Going into the half the score was 1-0.  In the second half, junior Eden Brooker, was a standout player, adding pressure and playing strong against Carrillo. During mid second half, Carrillo senior Brook Dunbar, rocketed a shot into the goal to seal the game.  Although the Vikings did not defeat Maria Carrillo in the NCS championship, they had an excellent season with many achievements.  In their second league game, they defeated their rivals Maria Carrillo, 1-0.  This was the first time Carrillo had lost an NBL game since 2009.  The Vikings also tied with Carrillo for NBL title which has been the first time in years in which Carrillo hasn’t won it.  Montgomery finished the season 20-3 which is an incredible record.  Standout player Taylor Ziemer will be attending the University of Virginia where she will join the women’s soccer team.  Also Congratulations to the fellow seniors, Heidi Heller, Taylor Fager, and Alex Cawood for an outstanding final season.  

What to Expect When You’re TESTING: A Guide to the Old and New SATs

By Ashni Verma


This school year is unlike any other. The SAT that we all know and love is to be replaced with a new standardized test. It is of utmost importance that students going into the testing phases of their high school careers know exactly the type of information that will appear on whatever exam they wish to take, so this article will attempt to clarify some of the key differences in the old and new standardized tests. The introduction of the revised SAT does not in any way affect current seniors, but will be a matter of serious importance for the class of 2017 and all those that follow. Current Monty juniors are in a unique position, in that they have the opportunity to take both tests, but, honestly, who wants to have to study for two tests when they could study for one instead? Hopefully this guide will help juniors understand which test best fits their own individual skill sets, and help sophomores and freshman understand the test they will have to take in the upcoming years.

Here are some key differences between the two SATs:


Link here for full article


Advisor: Donna Holmes, English teacher


Hayley Simonson
Anna Eisert
Jessie Sternfeld
Elena Porton

Student Articles

Articles in The Viking View​ reflect the thoughts and opinions of individual student writers, not the opinions of Montgomery High School or Santa Rosa City Schools. 

Contact Information


Contact us at the following addresses:

Donna Holmes, Advisor –

Montgomery High School Journalism
1250 Hahman Drive
Santa Rosa, CA 95405

(707) 528-5191