Labeled as reefers, hillside group hopes to break misconceptions

Commercial music major Jair Culberson (left) and former student Iese Maiava (right) perform an impromptu ukulele rap piece. The two have a musical chemistry together after playing music for so long.

Commercial music major Jair Culberson (left) and former student Iese Maiava (right) perform an impromptu ukulele rap piece. The two have a musical chemistry together after playing music for so long.

Kristopher Carrasco

On the Cerritos College campus, there are a lot of different hang out spots for a variety of different people.

If you like to dance, join the dancers on stage of the Student Center; If you like gaming, you can hang out with the card/ video gamers in the student center.

There’s a bunch of clubs and cliques on campus that house very diverse interests. However, where do you go if your diverse interest is marijuana?

There are groups of people on campus that hang out at the hill by the Falcon Square Amphitheater, that have become known by many for one thing, smoking marijuana on campus.

Although a common interest, the use of marijuana at the hillside group, as referred to by students in the area, has mislabeled a number of students as the pothead community on campus.

“Yeah, I’ve heard that they smoke there,” said engineering major Freddy Tolleto. “I mean, If [they] want to smoke and stuff, that’s fine, but you can’t make it that location. They need a different one.

“Obviously you can’t do it on campus…getting in trouble for that can be really bad. If you smoke weed, you smoke weed and that’s fine. It’s all in an individuals own perspective.” Tolleto said.

Tolleto says that he isn’t against people who smoke marijuana, but that the school should do more to control it before it gets out of hand.

According to the Cerritos College 2015 Annual Security Report, there have been 10 drug related arrests on campus from 2012-2014.

IMG_4739Aaron Lorde, undecided major, checks his phone in between hits. He keeps his lighter and pipe at hand.

 

The people who relax at the hill on a regular basis are mostly Cerritos College students who are in between classes.

This is not a green light for students to smoke marijuana on campus.

While there are many students like Tolleto who have heard the rumors about marijuana at the hill, former student Iese Maiava, who was even referred to as ‘King of the Hill’, feels that the community has a misconception of the people there.

“We don’t see ourselves as what they proclaim us to be. We see ourselves as a group of students who like to enjoy a good time with music. Yeah we smoke weed, but not on this campus,” Maiava said.

IMG_4731Animal science major Hansel Carmenaty (left) sings to the flow of Iese Maiava’s (right) ukulele playing.

“I’m no singer, I just go with the flow of the music,” Carmenaty said.

“Call us what you want to calls us; that’s not who we are. We make more of a hill side type of family where you can come be yourself,” he continued.

Maiava mentioned that the group is so big and close that he likes to see them all as one big family.

Maiava also mentioned that even former students from Cerritos College return to hang out at the hill.

IMG_4736Undecided major Aaron Lorde meets up with Commercial music major Jair Culberson and other friends once class is over. The group was catching up after a long day go school according to Lorde.

 

He said that he welcomes anyone to come by and hang out because in the past, he’s had people such as athletes and other music students admit to being intimidated at first due to the rumors.

“We hear from football players sometimes ‘Oh! We thought you guys were weirdos’ and I would say ‘ What’s so weird about a group just hanging out?’”

The biggest value that a lot of the diverse group shares happens to be music.

A lot of the friends there like to play music out loud as a way to relax and a way to bond.

“They’ll talk whatever they’ll talk about us, but at the end of the day, we don’t care. This is all we do, hang out and play music. We don’t try to bother anyone that walks by, people walk up here and feel like it’s a spot to smoke and nobody messes with them.”

 

IMG_4707After a rapping/ ukulele performance, Culberson and Maiava start talk discuss their future in music. This is a relatively small portion of the hillside group.

 

“With what we do in our lives, a lot of people are going to mess with us,” he said.

Where does one draw the line between a group on campus, and illegal activity?

Other members of the clique feel that the hill shouldn’t be labeled as a place for potheads, but as a place for aspiring music students.

Jair Culberson, commercial music major, says that their friendship isn’t even based on marijuana, but based on the music.

“I think from outside it’s kind of hard to understand. When all a student hears and sees is ‘oh these kids are smoking weed’ that’s all they learn to see,” Culberson said.

“They carve this false perception of us messing up… we’re here, we’re honor students, we’re playing sports, we’re just all really good people here of all types.”

According to Culberson, everyone comes from a different background and story, but although each person is unique, everyone is still really close.

Both Maiava and Culberson both have acknowledged that a lot of people who come to the hill are students who are well on their way to success.

“We know what we like to do and what we need to do here, and if nobody likes us, well then sorry,” Maiava said.

IMG_4727Maiava (left) and Oscar Escobedo (right) both go at it with their string instruments.

“I don’t get what’s so weird about us hanging out and playing music?” Maiva said.

Mauve said that on April 20, which as most people know is one of the biggest days of the year for smokers, the group will probably have a big music jam session where he invites anyone to come along to join and have fun in the experience.

Disclaimer: This article does not condone or encourage the illicit use of drugs or illegal activity. Furthermore, we remind our readers that marijuana is an offense under Federal law.