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West Signals

The School Newspaper of West High School

West Signals

The School Newspaper of West High School

West Signals

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The highly coveted Oscar trophies illuminate on the display ahead of the 96th Academy Awards. This year, late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel reprised his role as host.
The 2024 Oscars: A Bold Year for Film
Anthony Parker, Entertainment & News Editor • March 28, 2024
In a surprising move to many, West Capitaneus, the school yearbook publication, will be discontinuing the popular, longstanding tradition of senior quotes. Citing logistical concerns, the West High administration has maintained this restriction, prompting petition by nearly a quarter of the student body.
Say Goodbye to Senior Quotes
Cyrilla Zhang, Editor-in-Chief • March 21, 2024
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Jodie Cheng’s “Lyrical Call of Nature” Honored at 2024 Rose Parade

 

   Entering the cavernous facilities of the Fiesta Parade Floats amid the cold January weather of Irwindale, Jodie Cheng (12) marveled at the spectacular 35-foot long display of twisting paper mache trunks, explosive orchid arrangements and towering orange-green hummingbirds. What had started out as a penciled rough draft on an 8.5×11 inch paper had become a fantastical float, complete with a miniature running waterfall and 4,000 bright yellow roses. Capping at 16 feet of height and 18 feet of width, lentils and tree bark intertwined with bushels of white and pink flowers to create the City of Torrance’s 2024 Rose Parade Float. Mere weeks before, the warehouse was a hub of bustling activity with flurries of volunteers and construction equipment scrambling to bring Cheng’s vision from her sketchbook to life. Submitted for an art assignment, her float design beat out 16 other high school contestants in the citywide competition to represent Torrance in the 2024 Rose Parade. “It was so surreal to see something that I designed transform from a simple concept to an actual float. It was mind blowing, and I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve walked around it,” Cheng described with awe. 

   Marking the 67th year of Torrance’s participation in the Rose Parade, the float is aptly titled “The Lyrical Call of Nature” in accordance to the 2024 Rose Parade theme “Celebrating a World of Music: The Universal Language.” It portrays a mother hummingbird and a nest of her children crying out for her. “Every year we get a hint prompt for the upcoming theme for the Rose Parade. The theme was when words fail music speaks. When I thought of that I thought of baby birds in a nest,” Cheng explained. While the world possesses a dizzying myriad of unique cultures and linguistics, the universal language of music bridges contentious differences to celebrate diversity. However, music isn’t strictly limited to the sounds of man-made instruments and vocals– Cheng wanted to ensure that the beauty of nature’s melody was not forgotten. “When baby birds are born, they’re born blind. Because of that, their only way of communicating is through their speech, which we perceive as music. It’s this back and forth that creates this song in nature,” she added. 

   Undoubtedly, volunteers played a vital role in the development of the Torrance float. Upon the start of Decorating Week at Fiesta Parade Floats, dozens of volunteers worked to arrange, paint, and assemble it. In a statement to Torrance CitiCABLE, Torrance Float Supervisor June O’Neal recounted how such a grand final product was the result of collective efforts: “It’s very much a communal art project, and it’s cool to be a part. You might start out doing something very menial, like gluing a seed on one-by-one, or crushing coconut or cutting straw flowers, but then in the end all these little contributions from all these people come to make a Rose Parade Float.” Cheng herself recognized how much work was needed to create even the most minute details: “As crazy as this might seem, a float that’s less than 35 feet is considered small.  They need to have hundreds of hours of work, volunteers, and energy put in just to make the float even conceivable.” Evidently, their dedication was not overlooked; “The Lyrical Call of Nature” won the Princess Award for the most outstanding floral presentation among entries 35 feet and under in length, a testament to the stunning design and the fruitfulness of their toil. 

   In spite of such an immense achievement, Cheng confessed to initially lacking confidence in her design. “I thought that because my design was so simple it wouldn’t win anything,” she admitted. Ironically, however, the judges had “chosen it because of its simplicity.” With the city’s moderate financial means, Cheng realized that “making a huge extravagant design would probably not be in the best interest of the city of Torrance,” pointing out that a less elaborate float was “easier to modify, and you can get the point of the float across much better if it was a simpler design.” However, Cheng still encouraged future applicants to not allow the budgeting limits to constrain their creative outlook, highlighting the program’s accessibility to all applicants: “The process is open to any high school student residing in Torrance. You don’t have to be an artist, you just have to submit a simple concept sketch.”

A conceptual render of the float, “The Lyrical Call of Nature” won the Princess Award for the most outstanding floral presentation among entries 35 feet and under in length, a testament to Cheng’s stunning design. Photo courtesy of the City of Torrance.
Cheng beckons proudly towards Torrance’s 2024 Rose Parade float, “The Lyrical Call of Nature.” Submitted for a school art assignment, her design beat out 16 other high school contestants in a citywide competition to represent Torrance in the 2024 Tournament of Roses on New Year’s Day. Photo courtesy of Jodie Cheng (12).

 

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About the Contributor
Natalie Ou, Sports Editor
Natalie Ou is a junior at West, currently serving her second year on West Signals as Sports Editor. As a first-year editor, she aims to write articles with clarity and conviction, believing that journalism is one of the greatest ways to give students a voice through writing. In her free time, Natalie enjoys all water-related activities, hand lettering, and trying out new culinary destinations (unfortunately, she usually finds herself in the financial predicament common to many broke teenagers and relies on her brother to foot the bill).