News From the Students, For the Students

The Griffin Gazette

News From the Students, For the Students

The Griffin Gazette

News From the Students, For the Students

The Griffin Gazette

The four Los Al students pose under a tree before heading off to NYC.
Los Al drama students perform at Lincoln Center this week
Sydney Forsyte, Section Editor • February 16, 2024

LOS ALAMITOS, CA -- Four students from the Los Alamitos High School - Leo Athy, Eva Parhami, Brooke Singleton, and Ali Valenzuela - left today,...

Los Als frosh softball team in the middle of playing their game.
Girls Frosh softball team dominates their first game
Reese Neiger, Staff Writer • February 16, 2024

LOS ALAMITOS, CA -- On Tuesday, Feb. 13, Los Al's Girls Frosh softball team played their first game of the season. The team played on the Los...

Los Al sophomore Stewart McCaleb will be in Miami Feb. 17-24 competing in the Olympic Team Trials for sailing. It’s more about the experience than actually trying to win,” McCaleb said.
Los Al sophomore to compete in Olympic Trials for sailing
Bella Kim, Editor-in-Chief • February 16, 2024

LOS ALAMITOS, CA -- Under a clear, blue sky on open, choppy water, Stewart McCaleb picks up speed, expertly handling the lines on his Laser with...

A freshman’s perspective on GWAM

My experience at Griffins With A Mission last week
Freshmen+students+had+the+greatest+time+at+GWAM%2C+their+first+class+retreat.+
Francesca McCall Hokama
Freshmen students had the greatest time at GWAM, their first class retreat.

LOS ALAMITOS– Los Alamitos High School had its yearly GWAM (Griffins With A Mission) freshman retreat last week, Sept. 27-28 at Weaver Elementary.

The day started off strong with all the freshmen meeting in the gymnasium with curious minds and huge smiles. Students waited in line to get their wristbands and to give staff permission slips. After all the students got their wristbands and settled down in the gym bleachers, two experienced GWAM leaders took the microphone to hype up all the students for a day packed full of fun. They also organized us into groups with other GWAM leaders.

When they called my number, I felt so excited. My friend and I stood up and walked to our group. The leaders were so friendly and welcoming, but I had no idea who 80% of the students there were. Our leaders started with everyone saying their name and a fun fact or hobby about them. I’m usually a very social person, but I started to feel nervous after playing the “get to know each other” games.

The two adult leaders called each group to leave the gym so we could all get on the bus. My group was called first, so there were no struggles walking out and boarding the bus. At first, I was sad that I didn’t get any of my friends in my group, but I knew the feeling later on would go away.

Students group up together to talk about mental health (Los Al weekly newsletter)

After we arrived and got off the bus, each group walked to their own classroom at Weaver. When we walked in, we grabbed chairs and came into a circle, where we started to talk. It felt like a space where no one was going to judge you or make fun of you for opening up or sharing your opinion.

After that, we had a lunch break with Costco pizza, chips, and water. It felt nice to group up with all of my friends and talk about our experiences so far at GWAM.

When we got back to class with our group, we watched two educational videos about mental health and empathy for others that left everyone speechless. It showed that someone could be going through something that you could be oblivious to. 

Then, we all walked to a spot in the room with posters hung up that said “Age, Class, Ability, Gender/Sexual Orientation, and Race.” Our leaders asked us questions like “When people look at you, what do you think resonates with you ?” and “What part of you do you struggle with?” and we proceeded to pick the poster that answered the question best.  It was both difficult and easy at the same time because you had to think deep down about certain questions.

We ended the fun day by playing musical chairs and having one more final group conversation, digging even deeper into our feelings. While leaving and getting on the bus, I thought the whole time about everything I learned about and how it truly made me grow and look at things from a whole other perspective.

What came to me was that we all go through struggles, so we all need to be there for each other to help people to get through it. I would recommend GWAM to everyone because of the great discussion topics that can be strong but light-hearted, the amazing environment, and the awesome leaders.

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About the Contributor
Francesca McCall Hokama, Staff Writer
Francesca McCall Hokama is a freshman starting her first year of journalism. She loves music from artists like Tyler The Creator, David Bowie, and Kendrick Lamar. A food she enjoys is shrimp scampi pasta from her favorite restaurant, Hoff's Hut. A subject Francesca enjoys is English. She wants to make a change and write about things that are not as known at Los Al. In her free time, you can find her riding her bike around with her friends.
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