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The Student News Site of North Hollywood High School

The Arcade

The Student News Site of North Hollywood High School

The Arcade

The Student News Site of North Hollywood High School

The Arcade

Anatomy of a Blackout


On Wednesday, November 1st, sixteen teachers arrived at the north bungalows, and noticed the lack of electricity in their classrooms. A week later, on Monday, November 6th, teachers in Randolph experienced the same issue.

9th grader Raymond Ouma was affected by the outages, and feels that, “There shouldn’t be power outages in school.” He elaborated, “[In] a high school…people really need power, like for AC and computer work…and it’s really important for the 21st century.” 

Kevin Santiago (He/Him)

He explained the recent power outages “…make [him] feel like there’s gonna be power outages every single year.” 

An anonymous 12th grader stated that in one of their classes, “It was so warm and humid…it was a sauna, I couldn’t, I could not go in the class it was so bad.”

Power outages are not a new issue. They have a variety of causes from inclement weather to human error. At NHHS, outages have been happening frequently with little explanation.

There have been multiple short-term solutions that were provided, including the generators and the lanterns that were given to classrooms in the bungalows, as well as the option to be given space outside to teach. The generators in the bungalows were removed on Wednesday, November 8th.

Ouma stated, “We were happy after they brought generators because it was really hot.” 

Xavier Chavez, the vice principal, explained the causes of each power outage.

There were three power outages. One outage was caused by the construction going on near the new gym, with the other outage happening over the weekend. The third outage happened on Monday, likely due to vandal activity coming into the school and stealing wires from the old Kennedy building. 

The first outage was caused by construction workers hitting old existing power lines under the old gym at around 8:00 that morning. Hitting that powerline was not dangerous to the operator of the machinery or anyone else on campus. Chavez stated, “They are repairing it but because it was such a deep dig and because the lines are so deep it’s harder to fix because they were, I think, over ten feet underground.”

Mr Chavez explains the causes of the blackouts

The administration was not aware of the first power outage in the bungalows until teachers began arriving at school. Teachers notified the administration about the outages. 

The contractor company supplied the generators to the bungalows, as they were responsible for the outage.

LAUSD and the contractor are in dispute over the financial responsibility of the outage.  The second power outage affected the cafeteria, due to its proximity to the downed powerline on Magnolia.  That area is the only one with an LAUSD generator. 

The third outage, the one that affected Randolph, was likely caused by vandals on either November 4th or 5th. The power lines in Kennedy were used at the time being used to power Randolph. According to Chavez, “When they vandalized the powerlines in Kennedy it caused Randolph to lose power.”

Power was supposed to be switched to the newer buildings, but LADWP had NHHS as a low priority on the waiting list. No danger was posed to students or staff due to the vandalism taking place on the weekend. 

LAUSD assured Randolph that generators were supposed to be installed during the first period. However, there were delays in the district’s Maintenance and Operations. This wing owns the generators outside Randolph and the cafeteria.

A temporary generator

After the vandalism of the Randolph powerlines NHHS was moved to the top of the waiting list for utilities.  The Randolph building relied on a generator by the Chandler entrance until LADWP could complete the transfer.  On November 6th, LADWP built a metal pole with new power lines. This pole will be powering the buildings closest to Magnolia Blvd. LADWP also transferred power to the new transformers built where the previous student store after the outage to Randolph.

The school is not expected to have power outages caused by vandalism or construction. The integration of the all-new transformers and electrical vaults dug underground. This eliminates the chances of outages caused by things on campus directly. 

When asked about the worker that damaged the powerlines, Chavez stated: “no one was at fault per se, ” and later clarified, “According to the construction company,  there were no power lines where they were digging,” implying that the cause of the error was the outdated blueprints, that showed no power lines, that LAUSD provided them with.

Chavez stated, “We have to rely on the district to get the generators as quickly as possible and they’re expensive items.”

For some, the outages have disrupted school heavily, while being a minor inconvenience for others. Both Randolph and the bungalows did not have access to wifi, air conditioning, or light, during these outages. 

Mrs. Trejo, a 9th and 11th grade English teacher stated,“ I was really unprepared because I do pretty much everything online…My lessons are almost 100% technology-based because I teach really big classes. It is just not practical, especially with the construction to have to print a bunch of stuff.” 

Students in Mr Gough’s class working during a blackout

Mrs. Trejo felt, “Spotlights were a little more disruptive than they were helpful,” but she also stated, “I think they tried their best,” and, “I appreciated the support.” 

She feels that “We need clear updates,” further elaborating, “We don’t want to be left in the dark literally or figuratively either.”

Mr. Silveyra feels, “It really wasn’t that big of a deal,” and, “It just put a pause on what I wanted to do that day.” 

Being closer to the brown bungalows,  allowed Mr Silveyra to access their wifi. He stated, “The only thing that was really annoying was that by period six, it was pretty warm here…It was very clear that they were working on it,” and that, “they did their best considering what they were dealing with.”

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I am in 12th grade and want to write articles that will lead to a better school environment.
Kevin Santiago (He/Him), Photographer
Hello, my name is Kevin and I am a photographer for the arcade. I am a senior at North Hollywood High School and a member of SAS.
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    Raymond OumaNov 24, 2023 at 10:51 AM

    This is amazing