FILM REVIEW: Captain Marvel exploits humorous dynamic between Nick Fury and lead in blend of action and comedy

By Christopher Poz, Profiles/Features Editor

Disclaimer: Minor Spoilers Ahead

Marvel’s Captain Marvel was released on March 8, 2019, and it can still be seen in theaters for a short period of time.

Captain Marvel is the first film lead by a female in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).  Captain Marvel is portrayed by actress Brie Larson.  Larson does a great job of bringing the character to life on the big screen.

Captain Marvel’s appearance in the MCU was first hinted at in the post-credits scene of 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War.

Alongside the title character is a young Nick Fury, portrayed by actor Samuel L. Jackson.  Another vital character in the film is Yon-Rogg portrayed by actor Jude Law.

Captain Marvel is regarded as the strongest character in the MCU, and this film truly displays why this is so.

The film is an origin story of Captain Marvel.  The main plot focuses on Captain Marvel trying to remember who she is while also dealing with Skrulls, or shape shifters.

There is a humorous dynamic between Captain Marvel and Nick Fury, and their relationship is an entertaining and pleasing aspect of the film.  The origin of their relationship that is revealed in this film is important because MCU fans were left with questions as to how Nick Fury knew Captain Marvel when the post-credits scene of Infinity War was shown.

The film is a perfect blend of comedy, action, and pleasant storytelling.  The plot is appealing, and not quite what is expected at first.  However, the origin story falls a bit flat as the film does not go too much in depth with it.  More could have been done to truly develop the origin story aspect.  The visual and special effects are creative and pleasing to the eye.  While the film is good and entertaining, it ranks among the middle tier of MCU films.

Captain Marvel is a great character to be the first female lead in an MCU film as she displays courage, strength, and determination.  Many audiences were thrilled to have such an empowering female character and superhero as the lead.

Captain Marvel’s next appearance will be in Avengers: Endgame coming to theaters on April 26, 2019.

The following are reviews from Verbum Dei’s finest:

Eddie-Joe Vieyra, Theology Department

It sort of not-so-overtly deals with the common experience of women in some ways.  There’s an instance at the end when a man, [Captain Marvel’s] commander, is trying to trick her into proving herself to him.  If you ask women, men will always do that in places of business.  You would not ask a guy to do the same thing.  She puts herself into situations where she can be ridiculed by men.  She always overcomes that, so she overcomes the stereotypes that are part of the limits that guys put on her all throughout the film.  It’s very liberating for women to watch and for young girls to watch to see that they are more capable of doing much more than whatever stereotypes we’ve had for women for a long time.  I thought it was okay.  Of the Marvel films, I don’t think it was one of the best, but I think it’s one of the better Marvel films.  It feels like it was a bit rushed in terms of the background.  I would’ve liked them to do a bit more – like flesh her character out a little more.  You have the first female lead in a Marvel film, I think they could’ve spent more time with it. All in all, it was cool, and the fight scenes were cool.  I like Brie Larson – she’s great.  I’m excited to see what she does in Avengers: Endgame.

Gerardo Santos, Junior

It empowers women; however, they did nerf the character from the comics.  She is a lot stronger in the comics.  Overall, a good movie though.

Clifton Dutton, Senior

I noticed it was a movie based upon women’s success and how women also have the ability to do whatever men are able to do.  In fact, even better by the way Captain Marvel was able to take on her own crew who basically raised her to be able to control her powers.  She was able to overcome them and to defeat them by herself while also protecting a whole world of people and keeping them hidden and safe. Basically, it goes against sexism and shows how women can also influence society today just as much as men can.

Mayra Rodriguez, Student Counselor

I enjoyed it.  I like movies that have action and a superhero, especially because the superhero was a woman.  It was a great movie. It kept me interested the entire time.  The story – even though sometimes a little predictable – it wasn’t at some points. It was surprising to learn the new things as the movie evolved.  The effects were great.  Overall, I think it was a good movie.  It wasn’t too much talking, it was 50/50 action and talking, which I really enjoy.  I thought it was a great movie, and I hope they keep making movies like that.  Women can be superheroes too.  It was a good role for her, and the actress did a really good job.  I was happy to see a woman was playing a role like that, and she was tough.

Anthony Valentine, Senior

The movie overall was pretty good.  They made Captain Marvel pretty cringy at times though.  She tried to crack too many jokes.  Besides that, the plot was good, the rising action was pretty good, and the twist was pretty good.  Pretty good movie overall, solid 8.5.

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Museum art trip options considered for art students and others

By Gerardo Leon, Staff Writer

An art field trip was originally scheduled for April 17; however, a hiccup of overlapping trips led Allison Kennedy and others reschedule. The hosts of the event will be Alison Kennedy, Brandi Odom Lucas, and other staff.

The field will either be in two places:  the first option is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, and the second option is The Norton Simon Museum, 411 W Colorado Blvd, Pasadena.

The specific appeal of LACMA is the Charles White Exhibit. If the Norton Simon Museum is selected, the draw will be the American Paintings and Sculpture Exhibition. Organizers will decide the destination museum after considering the Verb’s student calendar and the museum’s hours on select days.

Since this is a school fieldtrip, students from art class, art club members, and other  interested students are invited to attend, and should see Kennedy for additional information.  If the field trip is scheduled for a school day, students who want to attend the trip will have to get activity permission from their various teachers.

“The purpose of the field trip, like all art field trips, is to engage and introduce students with the professional art world,” said Allison Kennedy, Fine Arts Teacher.  “Artwork in a museum is a formal setting for art to be celebrated, socially discussed/deconstructed, and to be seen.”

“The art field trip is meant to get students out of the classroom to see and stand in the place’s art conversation occur to better encourage them to think professionally when looking at art in the classroom, or elsewhere,” said Kennedy.  “Students are to be able to see art, to make connections with the artwork, and to gain a deeper understanding of communication through non-verbal methods.”

Transportation will be provided by VDHS vans.

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New senior CWSP workplace presentations to begin in May

By Brian Hernandez, Staff Writer

Students at Verbum Dei High School are all required to work throughout their four years in a corporate environment under the auspices of the Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP). Last year, a senior presentation at the job site was incorporated into the CWSP curriculum as an assignment.  Each senior student has to create and deliver a presentation about his plans after high school.  The audience for these presentations is the supervisors and coworkers at the student’s job site.

“I feel a little anxious due to how busy my office gets,” said senior Cristian Rodriguez.  “I’m a little worried that there will be no time for me to present –  on top of that I’m also just nervous about having to present in front of people.”

“The first step for seniors is that they need to practice their presentations with CWSP in the next couple of weeks before spring break,” stated William Liu, CWSP Program Manager.  “We want to see what their plan are for the presentation before they do it before their supervisor.”

The real presentations, using a PowerPoint, at work will be throughout the month of May,” said Liu. “Preferably not the very last work day because that would be difficult, so at some point when the seniors work in May, we want them to present.”

“It’s a way of evaluating the growth of a student before he leaves our school” said Liu. “Something we look at here at CWSP is how students have grown as workers. I think it’s good for students to reflect on their experiences at a company, and I believe that these presentations are a good way to show supervisors how [students] have grown and what [their] future plans are.”

“A lot of students may not have ever presented in front of this many adults before, in a professional setting,” Liu said.  “I think it’ll be a good learning opportunity for many students, while simultaneously giving the supervisors of these students a lot of good feedback about how they’re performing as supervisors at work.”

“The senior CWSP presentation assignment is a good way for us to build presentation and communication skills, so we can go out in the world and have better opportunities,” said senior Shawn Loera.

“All seniors are required to complete this senior presentation,” said Liu. “It’s the final assignment of the year; supervisors have already been notified about this assignment, and it would hurt a senior’s final grade if he doesn’t do it.  It’d also be pretty disappointing just because it’s something we’re really looking forward to.”

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REVIEW: “Old Town Road” meme akin to a student project

By Hector Arrieta, Editor in Chief

Country. The genre of country music is home to famous legendary stars such as Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, Willie Nelson, and Hank Williams. However, people considered as “city slickers” tend to stray away from the genre and prefer more contemporary genres like rap or pop. Yet, one artist has mixed aspects of both rap and country to take the internet and music industry by surprise. Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road (I Got The Horses In The Back) surprisingly combines the sounds of rap and lyrics with aspects of country life to create a catchy song.

One line, in particular, has been chosen by the meme community as the beginning of “city slickers” becoming cowboys. The line reads, “I got the horses in the back / Horse tack is attached / Hat is matte black / Got the boots that’s black to match.” The meme typically involves a person wearing regular clothes, then as the beat is about the drop, their attire changes to country clothing. As an added bonus, some of these videos often feature a person drinking from a cup labeled “Yee Yee Juice” before their transformation. The term “Yee Yee” being a stereotypical joke on the sound people from the country are said to make.

On one hand, the meme’s format allows people to demonstrate their creativity. People can choose which clothes they will wear, how to drink the “Yee Yee Juice,” and how they will perform the transformation.  These selected options are then accompanied by the catchiness of the song.

On the other hand, the song itself does a great job combining rap and country. The song’s main instrument is a banjo, a common bluegrass and country instrument, playing at a moderato beat, which is accompanied by a triple hi hat, a staple of rap sounds,  at a prestissimo beat. In addition to the beat, the song features rather contemporary lyrics through a country lens. Lines such as, “Ridin’ on a tractor” and “My life is a movie / Bull ridin’ and boobies / Cowboy hat from Gucci / Wrangler on my booty.” The song even earned a spot as the leading single from the Hot Country Songs chart from Billboard.

Overall, the rating of this meme is a B-.  This meme is like a group project where one student does all the work. The song does the majority of the work for the meme, while the videos themselves simply add a little spice to an already hot hit.

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March 7 Spring Gala recognizes Joe Viola and Class of 2019

By Joshua Papaqui, Staff Writer

Verbum Dei High School held its Spring Gala on Thursday March 7, 2019 at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.  The graduating Class of 2019 was honored at the event alongside Joe Viola, who has been a active supporter of Verbum Dei for over 12 years.  Many corporate sponsors, benefactors, and donors shared a sumptuous meal and were able to socialize while meeting the graduating students.

The Spring Gala was our most successful to date.

“We raised more money and hosted more guests at this Gala than we ever have before,” said Ms. Annie Levine, Individual Giving Officer.

The evening began with a VIP event.   At  7:00, the senior students were assigned to their various tables for dinner with sponsors and donors.

“I enjoyed the dinner,”said senior Jamie Partida.  “I’m glad that we had [an etiquette] class to learn how to eat because I felt like I belonged at my table.”

Students Christian Aguilar, Gallo Dioum, Armando Zurita, Khalid Nelms, and Arturo Ramirez read prayers that they had written in their theology classes.

Over $600,000 was raised for scholarships for the Fr. Michael Mandala Adopt-A-Student Scholarship Fund.  It was a celebration of what success looks like when young men who have dreams and are willing to work hard to achieve them are surrounded by a community that supports and believes in those dreams.  Viola who raised over $200,000 for the Adopt-A-Student Program.

Arturo Ramirez, the student speaker for the evening, said, “Without the help of the supporters here tonight, the Verb would not have been able to open its doors to me, or to the other Verb men that sit beside you.  When my family and I first visited the Verb campus, we learned that I would have the unique opportunity to work at a corporate job and that 100% of the students that graduate from the Verb get accepted into college.  I’d get all of that, and my family would be able to afford it. We decided on Verbum Dei for high school, and I’m so grateful we did.”

“Thanks to the people in this room who care for us, even though they don’t know us, Verbum Dei is able to exist. And thanks to Verbum Dei, we get to keep our hopes and dreams alive,” said Ramirez.  “Tonight, on behalf of my Verb brothers and our families, I would like to celebrate everyone in this room and your commitment to our mission. Personally, without the support of you all, I don’t know if my college dreams would have become a reality. But as I stand here, I can truly tell you that the Class of 2019 and I can say,”We are going to college.

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Eagles baseball falls to Saint Genevieve Valiants 10-1 and 14-1

By Rafael Villalobos, Staff Writer

In a hard fought battle between Verbum Dei High School and Saint Genevieve High School, the Eagles’ varsity baseball, unfortunately, lost 10-1 to the mighty Valiants.

Heading into the game, the Eagles came in confidently playing in their own home terrain; however, the Valiants came in strong scoring two in the first inning.

Verbum Dei caught on their heels ultimately lost, yet this is an achievement when considering other factors.

Having been revived one year prior, the Eagles varsity baseball program is still fronting a young team.  Verbum Dei faced the Valiants  three days before this game and lost 14-0.  This indicates that the young team is improving day-by-day.

The main issue facing the young Eagles is their lack of offensive batting at the plate. Verbum Dei’s squad seems to have its share of difficulty connecting the bat with the ball. With focused batting practice, Verbum Dei’s young team will prosper.

“[When] comparing the first year with the second year, we’re just about the same team,” said senior Hector Arrieta.  “There hasn’t really been much improvement; however, I can’t expect improvement in just one year. It usually takes four years for a team to actually improve and begin to win. As we work through the process, I do believe further down the line, maybe even this season, we will improve as a team.”

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Class of 2019 sets Prom and Grad Nite dates near year end

By Rafael Villalobos, Staff Writer

Verbum Dei High School’s Class of 2019 will be hosting its Prom on Saturday, May 11 from 6:45 – 11:00 P.M.  The annual Grad Nite for graduating seniors is set for Thursday, May 30, from 10:00 P.M. to 6:00 A.M.

All eligible seniors are encouraged to attend both Prom and Grad Night, and to enjoy what many consider to be the ultimate high school experience.

Prom will be held on the Regent Sea Yacht at Marina Del Rey, while Grad Night will take place at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia.

To attend prom, seniors must pay a fee of $225 per couple or $125 for an individual.   The individual cost for Grand Night is $100.  Seniors must turn in both fees for the events by April 12 to Mashanda Finn, who is charged with coordinating senior events.

Students who were told that their senior privileges were revoked as a disciplinary action will have to right to appeal their senior privileges by writing a letter to Finn.  Such a letter must include a request to have privileges reinstated, the reason(s) the privileges were revoked, and which privilege(s) are to be reinstated.  Ultimately, Finn will make  determinations on these matters.

“As a senior, Prom and Grad Nite are two of the most looked-forward-to nights – maybe of all four  years of high school,” said senior Anthony Valentine. “I am beyond excited, and have been preparing specifically for prom, by making sure I know what exactly I am going to wear and who exactly I am going to take. But most importantly, I have been trying to prepare mentally to make sure I make the most out of both nights, since they are once-in-a lifetime experiences.”

“I think the situation is a bit unfair because my punishment for being late should only be what I missed in class during that time I was late,” said senior Christopher Poz, who will appeal the loss of his senior privileges. “It’s also unfair because sometimes I’m only a couple minutes late, and it doesn’t make sense to take away something I’ve waited for and worked towards for four years. Although I am late often, I still work hard at school, and I still do my best. I do plan to appeal because I have been doing better at getting to school on time, and I think as a hard working student, I deserve to go to prom and grad night.”

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OPINION: “Seniors Only”? MPR lunch line reduces wait for all

The room is filled with the sound of shuffling feet and many yelling voices, and a line, longer than a DMV line, forms. Without knowing, one may mistake this ruckus for a party in the Multi-purpose Room (MPR);  however, this is no party:  it is more like a war room where Verb juniors and seniors wait to purchase their lunches.

In the 2018-2019 school year, the Verbum Dei administration implemented a new senior and junior line in the MPR to alleviate congestion in the exterior serving line.   Upperclassmen can now order their lunches in the MPR rather than wait outside with the sophomores and freshmen. The outside line is jam packed with many Verb students, and there is always a staff member posted to supervise the lengthy line.

“The whole point is to cut down on the lunch line outside,” said Dr. Brandi Odom, Chief Academic Officer.

However, some students believe that the MPR line doesn’t make a significant difference in the length of the exterior line or in what can be a lengthy wait time.

“Making the line in the MPR isn’t really a benefit,” said senior Christian Aguilar.  “It only adds on to what makes the lunch line bad.”

Although the intention was to cut down on the line outside, the new line just added another cluster at another location.

“[There are some days where the] wait time in the MPR is longer than the regular line,” said senior Ivan Avila.

Some contend that current senior and junior line should be reserved exclusively for seniors – that it should come in the form of a senior privilege.

“I would love to [accommodate that request],” said Odom, regarding the designation of the  line as “Seniors Only,” but she also wants the lunch line to be “more efficient.”

The idea of making the new line for seniors exclusively is a possibility, said Odom.

“It depends on the numbers,” stated Odom.

However, Odom feels that the whole point of the alternate serving location is to make the lunch lines more efficient. It is hard to make the lunch line in the MPR efficient when everyone bombards the MPR to try and get a spot in line. Yet, the idea of having an accessibility split between the upperclassmen and underclassmen is good way to try and fix the issue of the overcrowded lunch line.

Among the Class of 2019, there is support for an exclusively senior line in the MPR, but for the sake of the entire student body, it may be in the seniors’ and juniors’ best interest that they learn to coexist in their shared MPR lunch line.

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Imposing Eagle’s Nest: focal meeting point for many events


“It’s the biggest place on campus” – The 23-year old Eagle’s Nest brings community together for athletics, liturgies, and other events.  Image by Brian Hernandez



By Brian Hernandez, Staff Writer

The most imposing structure on Verbum Dei’s campus is the school’s gym. It was built from the ground up in 1996 – for those who aren’t math junkies – the Eagle’s Nest is about 23 years old now – making it older than all current students at Verbum Dei and many of  its recent alumni.

“The Shay Family Foundation was responsible for funding the gym back in 1996, so the school didn’t spend anything on it,” Jeff Bonino-Britsch, Vice President of Operations said.  “[However,] we slowly have improved it: we’ve made improvements on the roofing and on the sound system.”

“The only reason we have a gym and some of the classrooms on campus is thanks to the Shay Family,” said Bonino-Britsch.  “The gym was a part of a 4.1 million dollar renovation project which took part back in 1996.”

Bonino-Britsch believes that the gym is tremendously important to the campus.

“We’re an all-boys school, and guys need an outlet for their endless energy,” said Bonino-Britsch.  “Guys can hang in there, play sports or do training if they’d like.”

“It’s a fun place to be, due to the fact that there’s a lot of space,” said senior William Torres, a longtime player on Verb’s basketball teams.  “I believe that the gym is well designed. I really love the school pride you feel in there, due to the fact that  it shows off Verb’s athletic accomplishments in the form of banners.”

VDHS’s growing enrollment has necessitated the use of the gym for a variety of activities and events.

“It’s becoming more of a multi purpose place anyway. We used to do our liturgies in our actual Multi-purpose Room, but we’re just bigger, and it’d be too crowded to have our masses in their now,” said Bonino-Britsch.  “We use the gym now for events and masses.”

“A lot takes place in the gym, such as masses, school events or assemblies,” said senior Kaleb Dean.  “We spend a lot of time in there – I really feel as if the gym has helped to strengthen the community here at Verb. It’s also, probably, the nicest spot on campus.”

“It’s just one large collection place that could be fun, or in an emergency could be a place where we house people,” said Bonino-Britsch.  “It’s a very important place; it’s the biggest place on campus.”

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English teacher Stradley to lead day hike in San Gabriels

Eight Verbum Dei freshmen, John Stradley, VDHS English teacher, and Ana De Castro, former VDHS Spanish teacher, pose for a group photo at the trailhead of Mount Baden Powell in the San Gabriel Mountains on the first of what has become a semi-annual event for VDHS.  Image by John Stradley


By Nathaniel Zelada, Photo Editor

Intrepid students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to join English teacher John Stradley as he again hosts a day hike in our local wilderness on Saturday, May 4, from 7:00 A.M. to approximately 6:00 P.M.

Morning and end of school announcements will encourage participation in this year’s hike, and will notify potential hikers of a pair of informational sessions to be held prior to the hike.  At either of the required sessions, students and interested faculty and staff will preview the hike, learn what to wear and what to bring, get logistical details, and receive permission slips.   A nominal transportation charge is the only cost of the trip; however, participants are encouraged to bring money for dinner should a meal stop take place on the return to campus.

Stemming from his love of the outdoors, Stradley has had a history of hosting such hikes.  Students who have been enrolled in Stradley’s English III, AP English Language and Composition, or Journalism classes know of his love for skiing in the snowy mountains of California, Utah, Oregon, and Europe.

“We’ve held four of these trips now. I usually get a good turn out when it comes to students – usually around 8-20 join,” said Stradley.  “It’s nice as there aren’t too many students; it would be much harder to manage a larger group,” said Stradley.

This year’s hike will take place at the Sam Merrill Trail to Echo Mountain in the San Gabriel Mountains within the Los Angeles National Forest.  The trail at times follows the former roadbed of the Mt. Lowe Railway, an 1890s railway that carried tourists to the “White City” resort that was built atop Echo Mountain, high above Pasadena.   The resort has long been gone, but there are foundations and some of the historic machinery present on the site, said Stradley.

“I have led two groups to Mt. Baden Powell in the San Gabriel Mountains,”  said Stradley.  “A few years back, our largest group of about 30 students hiked the Beaudry Loop Trail in the Verdugo Mountains above Glendale.”

Former VDHS Spanish teacher Ana De Castro served as a chaperone for two of the four hikes.  Prior to her ascent of Mount Baden Powell, she had never done any hiking.  In the intervening years, DeCastro has become an avid hiker and outdoorswoman.  Stradley plans to invite his former colleague to join this year’s hike.

Two years ago, the smallest group, composed of only two students and two adult chaperones, hiked to Henninger Flats on the trail to Mount Wilson in the San Gabriel Mountains, said Stradley.

“None of these hikes are very difficult, but they still add some variety to life as they are out of the city,” said Stradley.  “Many students have never had the opportunity to experience God’s creation in our local wilderness areas, and it is an eye-opening experience for many that such free recreation is so accessible.”

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