Tag Archives: Berkeley High School
We should all be savoring the end of summer, looking forward to a new school year together, but right now we are in mourning for four members of our extended family.
The mother of a 23-year-old woman killed last week by gunfire spoke out Wednesday about her daughter’s innocence, her hopes for a music career and her devotion to her family.
“Marne’e did not like violence, she did not like arguing,” said Kenitra Love, mother of Berkeley High graduate Marne’e Maxine Karen Causey. “She wouldn’t argue with anybody. She would walk away first.”
The day Causey was killed, Aug. 9, she had just dropped off several of her younger siblings at her mother’s home. She’d watched them for a couple days to give her mom a break after the family had met up for a birthday party. She’d also dropped off her father at a job interview, and had planned to pick him up later. In the meantime, she was going to meet up with her brother, Bones, so they could go to the music studio together.
They made a stop at a cousin’s home in the 7400 block of Fresno Street in East Oakland. Police say someone opened fire on the home at 3:10 p.m. Causey was hit. She collapsed on the porch and was later pronounced dead at the scene. No arrests have been made.
“My daughter was not targeted,” said Love, who said Causey had no affiliation or involvement with gangs. “That bullet was not meant for my daughter.” … Continue reading »
Friends and family gathered around the East Bay on Sunday to celebrate the life of Terrence McCrary Jr. (known to many as Terrence Mack).
Mack, who was 22 years young, was born and raised in Berkeley. Also known as TMack, Sweet T and Lil BadBadBad, behind he leaves a cohort of friends and family who are dedicated to ensuring that his legacy lives on.
Mack was shot and killed early Sunday morning, along with 20-year-old Craig Fletcher-Cooks, while attending a birthday party at Prime Development art gallery in downtown Oakland.
Friends worked quickly to organize memorials in Mack’s honor: a celebration at Lake Merritt in Oakland during the day, and a candlelight vigil in Berkeley’s San Pablo Park on Sunday night.
A fundraiser has been set up to help the family.
Mack’s longtime friends, Nicco Piña and Winn Child-Phillips, organized the Berkeley vigil to acknowledge and remember him.
Piña — also known as Neek Levy — and other friends and family of Mack, including his mother and father, Florence and Terrence McCrary Sr., met at San Pablo Park for the vigil.
Florence McCrary said she was overwhelmed by the love and support people have shown for her son, and that it was beautiful to see everyone come together in his name.
Terrence Sr. took a moment to address the crowd. He voiced his appreciation for all the kind gestures from the community, and finished his talk with powerful words: “My son was going to change the world.” … Continue reading »
Update, Aug. 20: Scroll down to the bottom of this story to see the memorial flyer created to honor Craig Fletcher-Cooks. Memorial information is included.
Update, Aug. 16: A fundraiser has been launched to help pay for funeral costs for Craig Fletcher-Cooks. A memorial is also being planned. Learn more on the GoFundMe page.
A fundraiser to help the family of Terrence McCrary Jr. has also been set up. Learn more.
Original story, Aug. 15: Another young man who attended Berkeley High School has been identified as the second person fatally shot outside a birthday party in downtown Oakland early Sunday morning.
Friends and others who knew him have identified the young man as 20-year-old Craig Fletcher-Cooks. He and 22-year-old Terrence McCrary Jr. were fatally shot shortly before 1 a.m. Sunday after disputes reportedly broke out between groups at the Prime Development art gallery at 322 15th St.
Police have said a third man with gunshot wounds was taken to the hospital for treatment. … Continue reading »
Update, Aug. 16: A fundraiser to help the family of Terrence McCrary Jr. has already raised more than $12,000. Learn more.
A fundraiser has also been launched to help pay for funeral costs for Craig Fletcher-Cooks, and a memorial is being planned. Learn more.
Update, Aug. 15: Both young men killed Sunday outside a downtown Oakland art gallery during a birthday party were Berkeley High alumni. See the update.
Original story, Aug. 14: A 2011 Berkeley High graduate was shot and killed Sunday morning during an altercation at a birthday party, one of two Berkeley High School grads killed this week.
Another man also died in Sunday’s shooting and a third was seriously injured, according to Oakland police.
The names of the victims have not been released, but Berkeleyside has learned that one of those shot was 22-year-old Terrence McCrary Jr., a Berkeley resident and a 2011 Berkeley High graduate. McCrary was known to many as Terrence Mack.
Sunday at approximately 12:53 a.m., Oakland police rushed to the 300 block of 15th Street after a report that shots had been fired. Police saw a large number of people fleeing the area, according to a press release. When they arrived, officers found two men suffering from gunshot wounds. Officers conducted first aid until paramedics arrived, but both men were pronounced dead at the scene.
Police found another man with gunshots a few blocks away, according to a statement released by OPD. He was taken by ambulance to an area hospital for treatment. … Continue reading »
Bay Area rock band The Blondies have grown up together, working their way up from summer camp stages to venues like the Stork Club in Oakland and Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco. The members, some freshly graduated from high school, are navigating the adult world, and it’s reflected in their music.
The Blondies released “Just Another Evening,” a self-described “coming of age album,” earlier this month. The title track is a comment on rape culture and the pervasiveness of sexual assault and harassment.
“Unfortunately, I see that kind of stuff going on around me all the time and I was really fed up with it,” said lead singer and songwriter Simon Lunche, who graduated from Berkeley High School this month.
The band members who are already in college were disturbed by the level of sexual assault and harassment on their campuses as well. The five members of The Blondies, all male, felt compelled to make a statement about it. … Continue reading »
Several hundred community members came together at Berkeley High School on Saturday evening to remember 17-year-old Efejon Ustenci, who drowned Wednesday in Placer County less than a week after he graduated from BHS.
The theme of the vigil, said photographer Ted Friedman, who attended the event on behalf of Berkeleyside, “was to ‘live Efe’s legacy.'”
One friend told Friedman that Efejon, known to many as Efe, would be remembered as someone who was nurturing, humorous and fair-minded. Others have described him as a natural leader looked up to by many, a talented athlete, and a kind and loving young man.
A fundraiser to help collect money for burial costs has raised more than $16,000 since it was created Friday evening.
Wrote Chris Young on the memorial page, “In my work with BIHS [Berkeley International High School] I see students names a lot and meet most of them as seniors. After visiting me once, I noted that Efe carried himself with maturity and kindness. At graduation he thanked me, though I hadn’t done much to directly serve him. Efejon Ustenci! His name jumps off my list of graduates. Yes, Efejon Ustenci. That’s that humble young man who stands out as a beautiful example of strong character for his peers and teachers. Surely, he will inspire us into the future.”
Several photographs from the memorial appear below. … Continue reading »
The Berkeley Unified School District has announced a vigil and fundraiser for Efe Ustenci, who drowned earlier this week in Placer County while on a trip with friends.
The fundraiser to help pay for the 17-year-old’s burial costs has already raised more than $3,600 in approximately an hour. Its goal is $10,000.
A vigil at Berkeley High School has been planned for Saturday, June 25, from 5-6-30 p.m. in the courtyard. The school district had counselors on campus Friday to help offer support.
Wrote BHS Principal Sam Pasarow in the email about the vigil and fundraiser, sent Friday at 9 p.m.: “Please join us as we mourn the loss of Efejon Ustenci, and also celebrate his life.” … Continue reading »
Update, June 24, 10:11 p.m. Read about the vigil and fundraiser that have been set up for Efe.
Original story, June 23, 2:07 p.m. The Berkeley community is mourning the tragic death Wednesday of Efejon Ustenci, who graduated with his Berkeley High School class less than a week ago.
Placer County sheriff’s office spokeswoman Dena Erwin said the 17-year-old, who lived in Berkeley, died in Long Lake. The lake is near Soda Springs, west of Lake Tahoe. She confirmed the teenager died from an apparent drowning and said his body has been recovered, but said no other information was immediately available because the coroner’s investigation is still underway.
Berkeley Unified School District spokesman Mark Coplan said mental health counseling services will be available at Berkeley High on Friday for anyone who needs to drop in for support.
Scroll down to the bottom of the story to read BHS Principal Sam Pasarow’s message to the community.
Efe had been planning to attend Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo in the fall, according to his Facebook page.
Friends mourned Efe’s death online.
Wrote Dante Ryan on Thursday morning: “I just heard seconds ago what happened, and I am mortified. I didn’t know you as deeply as I could have, but I did know what a beautiful soul you were. I was blessed to have class with you all 4 years of high school, and your positive attitude always brought the classroom up. You were always a unifying force. A smart, kind, accepting person. Always supportive of me and my dreams as I was you and yours. This is a sad morning.” … Continue reading »
“As a filmmaker, you have this unspoken responsibility to inform your audience,” says director and Berkeley High alum Maya Cueva. “You have to let people know what is happening in the world around them. Sometimes that’s good news, and sometimes it’s bad.”
Only two documentaries into her directing career, Cueva is on a mission to inform the masses. Her latest project, Undue Burden, is a six-part series highlighting the potential effects of the Texas abortion bill known as HB2. The bill is currently being assessed by the U.S. Supreme Court, but with only eight justices on the bench, the possibility of a tie doesn’t seem too far out of reach. As Texas and the rest of nation await a verdict, people for and against abortion are using this time to make cases for their positions.
Cueva, who is 22, was born and raised in Berkeley. She credits her high school teacher, Dharini Rasiah, for awakening her interest in film during media classes in Berkeley High’s small school, CAS [Communications Arts and Sciences]. Cueva said she discovered her passion for film while working with Rasiah, who encouraged her to apply to Ithaca College in New York. After receiving a scholarship to Ithaca, Cueva enrolled in its documentary studies program. She graduated with a bachelor’s in documentary studies in 2015 and, since then, has been living in Berkeley and working on her newest film.
See more from Berkeleyside’s “One to watch” series.
After winning a College Emmy for her first short documentary The Provider, the idea for Undue Burden followed. Cueva and her team started production in February, and they hope to return to Texas to finish the series once the Supreme Court makes its decision. … Continue reading »
By Geoff Holton with Finn Collom and Elizabeth Wells
On the weekend of June 4th and 5th, Berkeley High School’s club Ultimate Frisbee team, the Berkeley High Coup, piled into vans and traveled to the USA Ultimate Western Regional Championships in Corvallis, Oregon. Conditions there were grueling — temperatures hovered near 100 degrees both afternoons – and tournament directors moved final matches on Saturday into the early evening in an unsuccessful attempt to beat the heat.
Led by a close-knit group of 14 seniors, and standout performances across the board, the Coup persevered, and went 4-2 on the weekend, making the finals against the defending champions, Roosevelt High School of Seattle. As they have all year, the Coup played with skill, spirit and speed in the final. They brought a deep roster, a balanced attack, great coaching and a positive, pumped-up sideline presence, but eventually fell to Roosevelt 13-10 in a physical, emotional match. … Continue reading »
Berkeley International High School (BIHS), one of Berkeley High’s small schools, held its senior graduation Friday. While the ceremony was upbeat and celebratory, some students on stage brought up sensitive issues relating to the lack of diversity within the learning community. Earlier that day, Kian Broder Wang, a junior in BIHS, submitted to Berkeleyside the short documentary below — scroll down to watch it — that covers similar ground by talking to students of color and teachers about their experience at BIHS.
The video is timely, as Berkeley High School is considering a proposal to redesign its schedule and classes with a view to addressing some of these issues. During a conversation with Berkeleyside, members of the Design Review Committee, including BHS principal Sam Pasarow, expressed concern that certain learning communities in BHS are not diverse. There are few African-American students in BIHS and few Caucasians in AMPS, the Academy of Medicine and Public Service, members of the committee said. … Continue reading »
For the past ten months, a group of Berkeley High School administrators, teachers, staff, parents and students has been spending long hours brainstorming ways to reduce the school’s achievement gap.
While African-American and Latino students have made great strides in recent years, many are still not performing at the level of their white and Asian peers, according to school officials. And often they are not getting access to the kinds of classes and opportunities that could help them excel.
Consider these statistics:
The graduation rate for African-American and Latino students at Berkeley High is markedly higher than the rates for surrounding schools and the state, according to BUSD statistics. And they are going to college in large numbers. Eighty-five percent of the African-American students who graduated in 2013 were enrolled in college within two years of graduation; the rate for Hispanic and Latino students was 83.3%, according to Sam Pasarow, the BHS principal.
Yet white students are four more times likely to be in an advanced math class than African-American students, and seven times more likely to be in an AP science class than Latino students.
“There is still a fairly profound achievement gap,” said Tamara Friedman, one of the co-facilitators of the Berkeley High Design Team. “A value that is held in the school and the city is one of social justice. We feel we could do better.” … Continue reading »