The Oracle (Apr. 2013)
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Barron Park donkeys profiled. Reporters reveal how to relieve muscle soreness. Constructing the high speed rail is an ill-advised maneuver. PGS. 20 FEATURES PG. 21 SPORTS PG. 10 FORUM Palo Alto Unified School District Henry M. Gunn High School 780 Arastradero Rd Palo Alto, CA 94306 NON-PROFIT ORG THEORACLE U.S. Postage PA I D Permit #44 Palo Alto, Calif. Henry M. Gunn High School http://gunnoracle.com/ Monday, April 8, 2013 Volume 50, Issue 7 780 Arastradero Road, Palo Alto, CA 94306 Acceptance on campus: How Gunn measures up Cooper Aspegren and Catalina Zhou News Editors The recent focus on the Office for Civil Rights case involving a middle school bullying incident highlighted the presence of intolerance within the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD). In response, The Oracle decided to examine the level of acceptance the Gunn community fosters with regards to its diversity. Acceptance vs. tolerance For Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) President Andrew Schroeder, “tolerance” and “acceptance,” although often associated with each other, have completely different meanings. According to Schroeder, tolerance implies that a person endures the presence of another person or thing viewed as undesirable; acceptance entails the embracement by society of a unique person, difference or viewpoint. “The level that we want to be at is accepting,” Schroeder said. “I think we’re at a fairly tolerant level already, but we definitely need to get to the point where just because someone’s sexual orientation or race is different doesn’t mean [he or she] needs to be tolerated.” For lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students, GSA intends to provide a community that accepts and understands them. “It’s that protected environment where they can say whatever they’re feeling and it’s okay,” Schroeder said. Campus discrimination Special Education Instructional Supervisor Shivani Pulimamidi finds Gunn to have a highly accepting school environment. However, she also believes some forms of prejudice occupy a latent presence within the school community. “At Gunn, discrimination Gunn Figures 33 » Carolyn Zhou is rarely overt,” Pulimamidi said. tional discrimination because of levels. “I think it’s really unfair “However, there is a more subtle their stark differences with other because you definitely have peoform of discrimination evident students. ple who fit that category because sometimes and it may be because Discrimination also exists in they are extremely intelligent, most people are not aware that the Gunn community in the form but I don’t think it’s because they what they are doing may be in of racial stereotypes. Students are Asian,” Tention said. “I think fact, be discriminating.” who identify themselves as Asian, it kind of discredits their hard Pulimamidi work.” oversees a departHowever, acment that serves an “The level that we want to be at is accpet- cording to Dean estimated ten per- ing. I think we’re at a fairly tolerant level of Students James cent of the student Lubbe, the usage of body. According to already but we definitely need to get to racist and derogaPulimamidi, many the point where just because someone’s tory terms does of the students inusually occur sexual orientation or race is different doesn’t not volved in the proon school gamgram and related mean [he or she] needs to be tolerated.” pus. “Racial terms support programs, Gay-Straight Alliance President senior come to mind, but such as Focus on Andrew Schroeder it doesn’t happen Success and Engoften,” Lubbe said. lish Language Learners and Op- who according to the Student “I’ve never noticed that one race portunity, face subtle forms of Profile make up 22 percent of the is picked on more than another discrimination in classrooms and student body, have been frequent race.” elsewhere on Gunn campus. She targets. According to Diversity Although many students find believes students in the Special Commissioner Justice Tention, Gunn to be a comfortable enviEducation program are targets Asian students are often labeled ronment, others such as Chrisof both intentional and uninten- and judged for their intelligence tians, feel the contrary. “Gunn 68 percent of freshmen feel that they are part of Gunn percent of juniors have had sexual jokes, comments, or gestures made to them by other students at school 69 74 percent of juniors feel happy to be a part of the Gunn community percent of juniors have never been made fun of for their appearance says it’s accepting and open, especially during Not In Our Schools week with the LGBTQ community, but in reality, I feel like a lot of the things that go around the school about acceptance doesn’t really apply to accepting Christianity,” Christian Club co-President senior Anita Chan said. According to Christian Club co-President senior Grace Lee, Christian students think most Gunn teachers respect their religion, but they find that some extremely liberal teachers say unpleasant and insulting things. “Some teachers go out of their way to contradict Biblical verses,” she said. “They make it seem as if all Christians are gay haters when that isn’t necessarily true. Instead of respecting our beliefs, they say that those students are just flat out wrong and should be taught to know the correct truth.” According to Lee, one girl a few years walked out zof a classroom very upset because she spoke out against her teacher’s gibes against Christianity and became involved in a heated fight. In addition, some Christian students feel left out from their fellow peers. “Sometimes, students joke insensitively about Christianity, or they think that we wouldn’t enjoy doing something because we’re Christian and that we will judge others,” Chan said. “Also, some people feel that the Westboro Church is what Christianity is, which is completely false.” President of the Jewish Student Union (JSU) Mark Gorelik recalls one incident of hate crime directed against a Jewish student on school campus, in which the hood of the student’s car was keyed with a profane, anti-semitic remark. Cyberbullying Of the very few cases of bullying Gunn has seen, cyberbullying is the most prevalent. Head of Technology Ronen Habib conducted a survey about cyberbullying this year. Although the results of the survey are still undergoing ACCEPTANCE—p.4 94 percent of juniors have never been physically harmed at Gunn 29 percent of freshmen have had mean rumors spread about them California Healthy Kids Survey 2011-2012 Report News Monday, April 8, 2013 2 Teachers ask for changes to salary NEWS BITES Presidential Scholars nominated This year, 12 students were nominated as Presidential Scholars to be part of one of the nation’s most prestigious programs for high school students. Established in 1964, the program serves to recognize up to 121 students for academics and 20 students in the arts nationwide every year. For academics, up to 3 million candidates are first nominated because they have high SAT/ACT standardized testing scores. Students are then filtered by state down to 2,600 candidates, who then must apply and be reviewed by a committee that selects students as scholars. For the arts, only 7,000 students are nominated nationwide, and only 150 students can compete for one of the 20 available honors slots. Senior Spencer Miner, a nominee for the program, believes that any student can be nominated through hard work. “I think my effort and focus in school helped me to get a good score,” he said. Tim Wang New elementary school planned Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) has recently made plans to add a 13th elementary school. The district decided to make this addition when it realized that the current 12 elementary schools were reaching enrollment capacity. Four parents and four PAUSD staff members were selected to serve on the Elementary School Site Location Advisory Committee, which will provide input on selecting a location for the new school. This advisory committee represents the north, west and south regions of Palo Alto. The selection of this location will be based on the 13 core values the district follows, such as safety of the students. The two locations currently being considered are Garland and Greendale. This change will affect the boundaries for school placement, but these changes will not be made until after a location is chosen. Once a location is selected, the school is planned to open in 2017. Waylond Fong Bands to perform at music festival The Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra will perform at the annual California Music Education Association Festival (CMEA) on April 12 and April 13 at Gunn. Each state is split into sections and Gunn is in Area 5 of the Bay Section along with many schools in Santa Clara County. Gunn students will be playing with 30 high school and middle school bands and orchestras. This year, Gunn students will not only perform but also run the festival, meaning the students will serve as guides for visiting schools. Each year, the bands prepare for the festival. “As we’re preparing for it, it becomes an intensified rehearsal process because we know that adjudicators are going to be listening with a critical ear,” band director Todd Summers said. The students are focused on playing well. “I think they’re most nervous about wanting to represent our school and our program at the highest level they can,” Summers said. The time needed for rehearsal proves to be significant as well, according to senior Anna Jaffe. “It’s a challenge to learn the new pieces considering how much time we’re given between the past concert and CMEA,” Jaffe said. Gunn students will be evaluated on three pieces and their ability to sight read. One adjudicator will score the sight reading, which gets added to the other three scores and averaged for an overall rating. Gunn students have traditionally received the highest ratings. “To the best of my knowledge, I don’t think we’ve gotten below Unanimous Superior,” senior Jackson Burris said. Although three judges will rate each band or orchestra from one to five, the feedback is more important because it will provide improvements for the future, according Summers. Diana Lee Though the school board does sidering their financial position. for a raise. “Over the past four not have a teacher pay raise sched- “At some point, you just don’t feel years [teachers] knew the econouled for this year, teachers are valued as an employee when your my was bad for everyone and we speaking out at board meetings employers are saying, ‘We’re just understood that we would not be for a salary change. According to not going to give you anything.’” receiving a raise or cost of living Palo Alto Employee Association Living costs for teachers have adjustment,” she said. (PAEA) president Teri Baldwin, recently gone up, with the cost However, according to Bowthe potential increase is still in of residency in Palo Alto rising ers, with the passing of Proposinegotiations between PAEA and by 7.6 percent and teachers hav- tion 30 in the fall and a general the district. Neither party can re- ing to pay for part of their health stabilization of the economy, the lease specific indistrict is now in formation about a more more sethe raise yet due cure place finan“Employees have understood the district ’s cially to confidentialthan it has tough economic position in the past few years, been in several ity. If their re- but now that we see a light at the end of the years. PAEA quest is granted, Chief Budget teachers will tunnel, [the district] may have an opportu- Officer Cathy have their sala- nity to provide teachers with compensation.” Mak’s recent ries raised for report on the the first time Human Resources Assistant Superintendent district’s budsince 2008, Scott Bowers get also revealed when they rethat property ceived a 2.5 pertaxes are due to benefits. “Right now, I couldn’t cent raise. In January of this year, recommend that anybody become go up this year. “Employees have teachers were given a one percent a teacher,” Paley said. “The start- understood the district’s tough bonus, but no changes to the base ing pay is okay, but even if you economic position in the past few salary were made. want to have a house, a family, years,” Bowers said. “Fortunately, According to Baldwin, teach- and a vacation once in a while, we can now see a light at the end ers from kindergarten through two of those three things will be of the tunnel, and the district has 12th grade gave direction for the very difficult to afford.” an opportunity this year to proPAEA Negotiations Team to foAccording to Human Re- vide employees with a salary incus on a cost of living raise. Mean- sources Assistant Superintendent crease.” while, at the December, January Scott Bowers, an increase in their The school board is currently and February board meetings, salary has not been a major topic looking at specific language that eight teachers spoke out in favor for the board, mainly because of might be used in a salary change of a salary change. the district’s financial position contract for teachers. However, For computer science teacher during recent years. “Budget cuts according to Bowers, the Board Josh Paley, who spoke at the board and a generally struggling econ- needs to balance salary proposimeeting on February 26, 2013, omy necessitated that the board tions with other important prothe continued lack of a planned make some sacrifices with its gram needs at the school sites raise for teachers and rising living money,” he said. and within the district, such as costs for Palo Alto finally pushed Regarding teachers, Baldwin increasing site discretionary dolhim to voice his opinions. He felt also saw that the economy kept lars and adding to the staffing althat the district has not adequate- teachers from calling out strongly locations. ly compensated for teachers, con- City plans renovation of avenue an additional plaza. A multi-functional plaza between Birch and Ash streets will be able to convert from a For more than two years, the regular street to a location for public Palo Alto city government has been events, like the farmer’s market. A planning the California Avenue quieter plaza will be located at Park Streetscape Improvement Project Boulevard near the Caltrain Station that will transform the street beand will feature tables, benches and tween El Camino Real and a sculpture. “The current the Park Boulevard Plaza plaza will be widened and into a more pedestrian and transportation-friendly The current plaza will be wid- enhanced,” project managarea. A few of the changes ened and enhanced. We’re add- er Shahla Yazdy said. “We’re adding trees and landscapinvolved include new street ing, and the fountain will be ing trees and landscaping, and furniture, street touch-ups and separate turn lanes at the fountain will be replaced.” replaced.” One of the most recent all-way stop intersections. projects the council unaniProject Manager Shahla Yazdy According to the Palo mously voted on was addAlto City Council website, ing $1.2 million to install at the future of California Avenue is lane change would actually create least 37 streetlights from El Camino one of the top three priorities the more traffic problems. Though he Real to the California Avenue Calcouncil will focus on in 2013. The opposes the lane reduction, Shuchat train Station. “The lights, along with ambitious project was unanimous- supports many of the other compoly approved by the City Council nents of the Streetscape Project. “I other changes, will create a safer and approximately two year agos on feel traffic movement is very good more aesthetic street for the busiFeb. 14. “The California Avenue on the street now,” Shuchat said. ness district,” Yazdy said. In total, the cost of the project, Streetscape project was formed “There’s no reason to make it two including the cost of lights, will be when City Council staff identified lanes.” Those who support the change over $4 million. The project received specific details like streetscape improvements and lane reductions,” argue that the benefits of having a $1.8 million in grants, and $1.1 milPalo Alto City Council member Gail two-lane street improved safety for lion was provided by the Santa Clara Price said. “The detailed concept pedestrians and bicyclists and ad- Valley Transportation Authority was submitted as a grant application ditional on-street parking. “We also (VTA), while $700,000 came from to the Metropolitan Transportation thought this type of project would VTA’s car-registration fees. With the be a good contender for securing a grants it currently has, the city will Commission.” One of the most debated propos- grant,” Price said. “We look forward continue progressing with the plan and begin construction this fall with als in the project has been the deci- to these improvements.” The controversy has simmered the ultimate goal of dubbing Calision to switch from a four-lane street to a two-lane street. The idea has down with a few additional chang- fornia Avenue the “second downbeen faced with lawsuits from com- es, including wider sidewalks and town” in Palo Alto. Emily Yao Managing Editor plaining merchants and business owners, including those of Mollie Stone’s supermarket, Antonio’s Nuthouse, the California Paint Company and Keeble & Shuchat Photography. Terry Shuchat, the owner of Keeble & Shuchat Photography on California Avenue, believes the News THEORACLE 780 Arastradero Rd Palo Alto, CA 94306 (650) 354-8238 www.gunnoracle.com Editorial Board Editor-in-Chief Utkash Dubey Managing Editors Boot Bullwinkle Emily Yao News Cooper Aspegren Zoe Weisner Catalina Zhao Forum Ben Atlas Leon Cheong Features Rebecca Alger Chaewon Lee Centerfold Eileen Qian Stephanie Zhang Sports Mitch Donat Wayland Fong Entertainment Misheel Enkhbat Ellen Lee Lucy Oyer Photo Michael Wu Graphics George Hwang Monday, April 8, 2013 Hybrid classes to be expanded next school year classes and supplement this with resources posted online. According to Tuomy, hybrid courses are intended to give students more For the 2013-2014 school year, Gunn will control over their own learning and time. offer eight hybrid courses, including Basic “Students in Palo Alto are incredibly capable College Skills, Senior Projects, Advanced of attending school in a different way,” he said. Placement (AP) Economics, AP Computer “With hybrid courses, they can take more of Science, Programming for Mobile Devices, an active role in learning than a passive one.” Teachers will use History of the Cold War, Schoology to upload Living Skills and Philosophy Through Literature. “Students in Palo Alto are in- the majority of online supplements. AccordUnlike conventional classes, hybrid courses combine credibly capable of attend- ing to Coordinator of face-to-face classroom in- ing school in a different way. Educational Technolteraction and online supple- With hybrid courses, they can ogy Nancy Pang, sylclass outlines, asmental information in order take more of an active role in labi, signments and extra to deliver content. Palo Alto Unified School District first learning than a passive one.” supplements such as video links can all be began to develop hybrid —Social Studies teacher posted on Schoology. courses as part of an effort Brian Tuomy A discussion board on to explore different ways of the website will also alteaching. The coming school year which features seven added hybrid cours- low students to interact with each other outes will be a crucial, pilot year in the develop- side the classroom. The meeting schedules of hybrid courses ment of hybrid classes, according to social offered at Gunn will differ depending on the studies teacher Brian Tuomy. In hybrid classes, teachers meet fewer than teacher and class. History of the Cold War will the normal four times a week in conventional meet once a week after school on Wednesday. Klaire Tan Copy Editor Regina Tran Asst. Business Manager The cafeteria will be adding various new lunch options such as barbeque items, sushi, Teriyaki Chicken Bowls and noodles to their menu this semester. According to Student Nutrition Services Field Supervisor Veronica Arias, these new additions will be prepared fresh with organic ingredients. “Now we are looking into what we can prepare fresh, and [students] love it. [Students] say that now they are going out with the best food ever,” Arias said. Teriyaki Chicken Bowls have been offered at the cafeteria twice in March and due to the popularity of the item, the cafeteria is planning to make it a permanent option on the menu on Mondays. The bowls will consist of organic chicken breast with teriyaki sauce, broccoli, onions, tofu, red, green, and yellow peppers and a choice of brown or fried rice. According to Nutrition Services Director Alva Spence, the The Oracle strongly encourages and prints signed Letters to the Editor and Comments. Comments are generally shorter responses, while Letters are longer pieces of writing. Please include your name, grade and contact information should you choose to write one. Graphics Artist Jasmine Garnett Adviser Kristy Blackburn cooking from scratch for students so that the entrees are freshly prepared and the ability for students to see, and smell the products cooking,” Spence said. In April students will be able to purchase noodles such as Pho, Vietnamese noodles, along with sushi as well. “We will be preparing the sushi in house with the Student Nutrition Services crew preparing,” Spence said. “We already have the rice cookers in place and Nori sheets and ingredients are arriving this week for us to practice this week.” Letters and Comments may be edited to meet space requirements and the writer is solely responsible for the accuracy of the content. Letters to the Editor and Comments and ideas for coverage may be sent to email@example.com or posted on our Facebook page. These letters need not be from current students. I think The Oracle can add an “Ask Abby” section like the San Jose Mercury News does, because it can give kids advice on problems that they have, and maybe if another student has the same problem, they can use the advice “Abby” or someone gave to the other kid. —Noa Shadmon, 11 Photographers Stephanie Kim Audey Shen Anthony Tran Reporters Sam Acker, Pooja Belur, Lena Campbell, Shawna Chen, Nabeel Chollampat, Aayush Dubey, Kush Dubey, Anuva Ganapathi, Lisa Hao, Emily Kvitko, Diana Lee, Rachel Lew, Christine Lin, Noa Livneh, Alex Man, Matt Niksa, Kavya Padmanabhan, Roy Shadmon, Henry Siu, Tim Wang, Erica Watkins, Danielle Yacobson, Andy Zhou, David Zhu, Katherine Zu cafeteria is also thinking of implementing a barbeque-style format on Fridays. There will be a variety of items available such as Honey BBQ chicken breast, chicken skewers with vegetables, pineapple and brown rice and hamburgers with either regular or sweet potato fries. They will also be offering Spicy Black Bean Patties for those who are Vegetarians. The food will also be cooked fresh on a grill outside the cafeteria to attract students. “We wanted to tackle two things that have been asked for with this new format- INBOX Copy Lawrence Chen Klaire Tan Business/Circulation Erica Lee Shireen Ahsan (Asst.) Regina Tran (Asst.) Other classes, such as Living Skills, will still meet during the regular school schedule. Nevertheless, hybrid courses will give students more freedom and choices in their education. “The district expects online hybrid classes to offer options to students,” Pang said. “Students will be able to study more at their own pace, respond to discussions in more depth and with more thoughtfulness” According to computer science (CS) teacher Josh Paley, who will teach the hybrid AP CS class next year, the district’s use of hybrid courses will allow both students and teachers to better allocate their hours. “Why do students have a commitment to a specific time four times a week? Those hours could be better used for other classes or even to get some rest.” Paley said. “With hybrid classes, the district has acknowledged that student schedules are complex and that a fixed schedule is not something necessary for everyone.” While hybrid courses will give students more freedom than conventional classes, the material should not differ, according to Tuomy. “It’s the same scope of information and the same rigor,” he said. “Teachers are just taking a portion of the material and choosing what would be best delivered online.” Cafeteria to provide new lunch options this month Staff Tech Alvin Wang 3 March 4, 2013 I really like the interactive components in the March issue including the “finding your outdoor adventure” article because I could connect to it. Elaine Lu, 10 The graphics and writing are really good. The writing is simple, yet humorous and intellectual. I also like how the topics seem to interest lots of people. —Haley Nieh, 11 I enjoyed the article about how Chemistry Honors will lose its weighted grade in the UC systems. It was very interesting because I am currently enrolling in sophomore science classes, and I was curious about the status of Chemistry Honors compared to Chemistry 1. —Aaditya Divekar, 9 I like reading the Faces in the Crowd, they’re fun to read. I would like to see more short blurbs on people like in features for athletes. —Amanda Xia, 12 I really loved it. The effort put in by The Oracle staff is evident in their excellent work. The new issue of the article really impressed me. —Aren Raisinghani, 10 I really enjoyed the NIOS debrief spread with photos. Centerfold was interesting and informative, but very creepy. —Vanaaisha Pamnani, 11 Maybe you can add some internship opportunities or things relating to outside of school. —Emily Li, 12 I enjoyed the abundant usage of pictures, which made it reader-friendly. —Irene Jeong, 10 I would like to see more humorous advice columns including a “Dear Abby” section in The Oracle. I would also appreciate it if the editors would spend a little more time being “politically correct” to some extent. In the cycling club article, I did not appreiate the use of bikers because I find bikers to be a crude term for those riding “Harleys” and “Choppers.” —Andy Kidder, 11 I really enjoyed the video game section, because it reminded me of the video games I played back when I was in elementary school. —Anatole Colevas, 11 4 News THEORACLE Gunn community applauds acceptance, but also calls for improvements ACCEPTANCE—p.1 analysis, according to Habib, the preliminary look is better than expected. However, Gunn still faces some cyberbullying and has seen situations of this intolerance in varying degrees. According to Habib, common forms of cyberbullying that the school is aware of include embarrassing and damning pictures of people on Facebook, “slut-shaming” and a hurtful wall post or status about a certain individual that garners multiple inappropriate comments. A few years ago, an especially serious case of cyberbullying rocked the district when a Gunn student created a fake Facebook profile of a girl, contacted a basketball player at Palo Alto High School (Paly) via Facebook, flirted with him and continued to lead him on. During the Gunn-Paly basketball game, a member of the Sixth Man Club told the student that the girl was not real. “This case was a lot more premeditated and malicious,” Habib said. “We’ve seen the psychological effects and trauma that happens from cyberbullying, and it stays online.” What Gunn has done Not in Our Schools (NIOS) Week cofacilitator Todd Summers finds Gunn’s implementation of NIOS Week an effective measure towards combating community intolerance. “I think it’s been really good,” Summers said. “Over the past ten years, I’ve definitely seen improvement in how students are able to be themselves.” While NIOS Week earned widespread acclaim from members of the community, some believe it can be improved to raise a greater level of awareness for minority groups. The Day of Silence stands as one aspect of NIOS that some believe can be improved. “I have had people who shared that at the Day of Silence, people don’t take it as seriously as they should, and that if somebody’s participating, their friends took that as an opportunity to then try to get them to speak,” GSA advisor Daisy Renazco said. “They felt like it was more of a game.” In addition to NIOS Week, student groups like Reach Out Care and Know (ROCK) aid in bringing together diverse groups of students into an integrated network. “The main goal of ROCK is to decrease boundaries that naturally form among groups of students and to increase the feel- was seeping out into our culture because ing of connectivity across groups,” ROCK of the huge positive response that we got,” advisor Paul Dunlap said. “I think it is good he said. “Ten years before that, pre-Not in to tighten the network under students so Our Schools Week, that definitely would not that nobody is lost and that everyone have happened.” is connected.” Gunn’s success in promotGunn’s diversity extends to ing an accepting academic religious groups, including sevenvironment is reflected eral SEC-sanctioned clubs. in results from the most Gorelik finds Gunn to be recently administered a highly open and acCalifornia Healthy cepting school. Using Kids Survey, his own club as an which found example, he that a large stated that percent3% of 9th graders and 4% relig iouslyage of stuof 11th graders report being based clubs dents have cyberbullied 4 or more times even make never been in the last 12 months an effort to harassed incorporate on school 23% of students members property in 9th grade who do not in the last and 25% of 11th practice the twelve graders report associated remonths being harassed ligion. on basis at least once on “It’s not a of diverschool property solely Jewish sity in the in the last 12 club,” Gore2011-2012 months lik said in a school telephone year. interview. “I *Source: California think we’ve AdditionHealthy Kids Survey 2011-2012 even had half al courses of of the people action who’ve come Habib benot be Jewish lieves that Gunn and just be there should incorpoto hang out with rate the Facing friends and learn History in Ourmore about Jewish selves program, culture.” an international Summers points educational proto the picketing by gram that assists in the Westboro Baptist delivering curricuChurch, a religious delum to teachers, to nomination widely desolve cyberbullying, fined as a hate group, at whether through ofGunn in early 2010 as an fering an entire class event that demonstrated or just focusing on it Gunn’s high level of acin a few class periods. ceptance. In response “This is a course that George Hwang to the picketing, Gunn really gets students to students and staff members launched a get in touch with what’s counter-protest. going on with them emotionally,” Habib “The counter-protest to me solidified said. “It produces personal empowerment the fact that the work that we were doing for them, so that they won’t bully others.” Gunn Statistics The administration currently plans to have a student-only focus group on cyberbullying in April that will be run by a professional facilitator. Members of student minority groups find some popular school events to be limited in terms of raising awareness with regards to diversity. One such event that received criticism for its subtle enforcement of gender stereotypes is the Sadie Hawkins Dance, for which a female student traditionally invites a male student. “I think that reversing the traditional gender roles on some level and having the girl ask and whatnot is really cool” Schroeder said. “But also, that reinforces the gender roles. It’s not so good to have the roles enforced by having to reverse them.” Renazco shares Schroeder’s opinion and finds the dance exclusive to LGBTQ students. “Just in the dance itself, you have the idea that heterosexual couples is the norm simply from the way it’s promoted,” Renazco said. Renazco believes that an effort to discontinue the Sadie Hawkins tradition serves as a conversation worth opening. To address any bullying or intolerance, Lubbe supports more discussion and expansion of current programs, such as ROCK and Camp Everytown. “I think that without having the discussions about intolerance or racial inequality, we cannot make any progress,” Lubbe said. “What makes Gunn so special is that we do a lot of work on this.” Lubbe also applauds certain teachers that have discussions in the classroom about racial inequality that help students understand to accept people’s differences. Gunn has room to improve its culture of acceptance, but members of the school community already find it in a good position. “Students and staff have made a commitment to putting diversity at the center of school culture,” Assistant Principal Trinity Klein said. While student leaders praise efforts by the administration to promote and accepting school campus, they believe that members of the student body should work to initiate a more positive effort. “I think it really has to start with the students,” Tention said. “At the end of the day, the students are the ones that have to take initiative and change the culture.” Palo Alto City Council votes to implement carbon-free policies supports the new plan implemented by the city. “Becoming resources, but it can be very expensive to do that,” Katz said. carbon neutral is a great positive change to strive for,” Park “The person selling them knows that all the short-term buysaid. “As a smaller student community, we hope to be able to ers are desperate for that energy. However, buying short term renewables will be our first choice if we can think we The Palo Alto City Council voted on Mar. 4 to imple- aid this bigger plan and get more involved.” However, until all the contracted, solar power plants have can afford it.” ment a Carbon Neutral Plan for 100 percent carbon-free been built, the city will supplement the current carbon-free The recent, decreasing costs of renewable resources has electricity, effective immediately. According to Communications Manager of Utilities resources at hand by purchasing either short-term renew- also been a contributing factor to the city’s decision to become carbon free. With the energy Debra Katz, Palo Alto City Council can decide to use only able resources or renewable energy certificates prices being at an all-time low, the 100 percent carbon-free electricity because the city owns all (RECs) along with carbon-based power. RECs its utilities. “Since we own all our utilities, we get to decide are certificates equivalent to the green value of “Palo Alto is proud to be city was impelled to implement the carbon free plan now and lock in where we buy our power from,” Katz said. “Our ability to be- clean energy sold by renewable energy plants. By buying RECs, one of the very first to be- the low prices. “Solar power used come entirely carbon neutral right now stems carbon-free and to be very very expensive,” Katz the city can cancel come from a combination of this fact and that we out the use of any hopes to lead by example.” said. “However, the cost for solar have been purchasing increasing amounts of or carbonpanels has decreased drastically renewable resources for a long time.” “Becoming carbon neutral “brown” based power and —Communications Manager of over the years, so the cost for soCurrently, a majority of Palo Alto’s electricbelar power has become much much ity already comes from renewable resources, is a great positive change to immediately Utliities Debra Katz lower. The most recent contracts such as non-carbon emitting hydro-electric strive for. As a smaller stu- come 100 percent we’ve been signing having been generators, wind farms and solar arrays. As dent community, we hope carbon free despite still using carbon-based electric- substantially lower than anything we’ve ever seen before.” part of this plan, the city will be contracted to With the passing of the Carbon Neutral Plan, Palo Alto additional carbon-free solar power plants in to be able to aid this bigger ity. According to Katz, the city has become one of the first cities in the world to become the future which can provide long-term clean plan and get more involved.” will try to purchase short-term entirely carbon free. “There are a lot of places around the energy. This clean energy will replace any enrenewable resources rather than United States and the world who have carbon neutral goals, ergy from carbon-emitting plants currently —Green Team President senior renewable energy certificates but saying you’re 100 percent free starting right now makes being used and allow Palo Alto to become Wonhee Park (RECs) due to their true, green us fairly unique on this planet,” Katz said. “I only know of entirely carbon free. status, but the unstable and po- one other city in the country that is both carbon neutral now According Green Team club president senior Wonhee Park, limiting the city’s carbon footprint is an tentially high costs of short-term renewable resources may and committed to staying that way into the future. Palo Alto important step for a greener future. While the Green Team become an issue. “Rather than buying renewable energy is proud to be one of the very first to become carbon-free did not take part in the city’s Carbon Neutral Plan, the club certificates, we would prefer to buy short-term renewable and hopes to lead by example.” Klaire Tan Reporter News Monday, April 8, 2013 5 Guidance Advisory Committee gives recommendations for improvement Ben Atlas forum editor On Mar. 19, a report by Gunn’s Guidance Advisory Committee (GAC) was presented before the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) school board to provide recommendations for general improvement of the school. The report, authored by a group of 17 students, teachers, counselors and administrators provides a host of 41 suggestions to better the quality of life on campus. Each suggestion was unanimously approved by the committee members. According to the GAC report, “GAC was charged to work together as representatives of diverse constituencies and viewpoints to recommend what it collaboratively believes to best support the academic, social-emotional and post-secondary needs of all Gunn High School students.” Recommendations for school improvement are organized into six categories: Support Structures, School Environment and Culture, Communication, Connection and Curriculum, Improving Outcomes for All and Leadership. A group of administrators including Principal Katya Villalobos presented possible plans of specific practices to implemented designed to promote social, academic and emotional wellness. Villalobos characterized the report as “framed to look at the strengths and weaknesses of our guidance system.” According to Villalobos, the administration will take an approach that involves goals for each of the upcoming three school years. According to PAUSD Director of Secondary Education Michael Milliken, recommendations were based on expert opinions, focus groups and surveys of Gunn students and successes of other local schools. Assistant Principal Tom Jacoubowksy outlined three major points of implementation over the next year. The administration will create two additional assemblies: one presenting Gunn’s adolescent counseling services and another illustrating general ways for students to create a more emotionally stable community. The second assembly will include ways for students to give and seek help as well as ways to refer troubled friends to capable adults. According to Jacoubowksy, the coming school year will also entail the extension of Titan 101 for one to two meetings for sophomores. Lastly, a new counselor will be introduced whose duties are strictly oriented around collegiate admissions. This “college and career counselor” will be able to focus exclusively on giving juniors and seniors advice about what to do after graduation. As part of a larger long-term approach, the administration will be examining potential changes to the daily schedule. “Our current daily schedule, which has not changed in 20 years, makes it difficult for us to accommodate some of the GAC objectives,” Jacoubowksy said. According to Jacoubowksy, time for social and emotional help usually comes out of tutorial, class time or department meetings. Thus, altering the schedule may provide an easier path to integration for certain GAC objectives. The report was published on Feb. 26, and was presented to the school board on Mar. 19. “We believe these goals are very doable. It’s a lot of work, but we can easily take action,” Villalobos said. Exerpts from Guidance Advisory Committee Recommendations 1. Support Structures • with respect to guidance services establish well-define roles for ......every adult on campus and provide an effective mechanism for feed ......back and evaluation • establish specific roles for all adults on campus and provide an .... ......effective way for feedback and evaluation • establish a wellness center or student support center 2. School Environment and Culture • define clear mechanisms for soliciting and receiving feedback ......from all constituents • create and maintain a welcoming atmosphere throughout the ......school 3. Communication • effectively communicate established roles and responsibilities for ......adults on campus and to whom those invidividuals are accountable • more integrated digital infrastructure between Schoology and ......Infinite Campus • develop ways for the College and Career Center to deliver ....... ......supportive, efficient, effective and timely services to all students 4. Connection and Curriculum • expand the Titan 101 program beyond freshman year • establishing a mandatory tutorial that would be during the ...... ......beginning of the day rather than an optional one at the end 5. Improving Outcomes for All • establish a coordinated program under the guidance department, ......designed to support students who have transferred to Gunn 6. Leadership • provide effective system of acountability and support to ensure that ......recommendations are implemented in a meaninful and sustainable ......way 6 News THEORACLE Administration dismisses cheer team coaches after field trip violation Boot Bullwinkle and Rachel Lew Managing Editor and Reporter Cheer team coaches Dan Callanta and Andy Logan are no longer district employees following an incident at the cheer team’s national competition sponsored by the United Spirit Association (USA) in Southern California held from Mar. 15 to Mar. 17. During the course of the weekend, Callanta and Logan found cheer team members violating the school’s zero-tolerance alcohol policy during a field trip for a competition. But according to cheer team members, the coaches did not follow proper protocol at that time. According to the Student Behavior Expectations form, which is required for all district field trips and is signed by students and chaperones, possession or use of alcohol should result in the immediate return home of the student, accompanied by a chaperone via public transportation. According to Callanta, the cheer coaches did not report the incident immediately because they did not want the rest of the team to be impacted. “I’m very passionate about the program, and I didn’t feel like the fact that [some] cheerleaders were drinking should affect the rest of the program,” he said. “We spent a lot of money, time and effort, so I waited to contact [the administration] until the day after we got back.” The cheer team members were allowed to stay on their field trip, compete in the finals of their competition, and ended up placing third. According to one of the cheer team members, as initial punishment Callanta told them not to leave their rooms or go to Disneyland. Although the incident happened during the weekend, Assistant Principal Trinity Klein did not hear of the issue until Tuesday, Mar. 19. A week and a half after the initial incident, Klein held a meeting with all members of the cheer team. “The purpose of the meeting was to inform the team that we are in the process of finding replacements for the coaches, and that the coaches were no longer district employees,” Klein said. Students who the administration determined had violated the policy were suspended for two school days. In addition, Dean of Students James Lubbe supervised the dance team members during their USA Nationals competition on Mar. 29 and Mar. 30 in Callanta’s and Logan’s place. According to a member of the dance team, Callanta had indicated his dismissal from the job in a Facebook post to the private cheer team group the night before the announcement was officially made by Klein. Some cheer team members feel the coaches’ dismissals were appropriate. “I think it was right for them to be dismissed, because they did just as much wrong as the other members of the cheer team,” an anonymous cheer team member said. “I’m glad that it wasn’t as one-sided and that both [students and coaches] were punished equally.” Federal resolution requires Gunn to conduct anti-bullying lesson Aayush Dubey Reporter Due to the recent Office for Civil Rights (OCR) finding, Gunn will be conducting a school-wide lesson on discrimination-based harassment before the end of the school year. The OCR, which is an agency of the United States Department of Education, found that a PAUSD middle school did not follow the correct procedures concerning the bullying of a disabled student. According to the settlement, all students have to be instructed on the impact of bullying and the procedures to follow when encountering a bullying situation. Gunn, along with other schools in the district, is mandated by the settlement agreement to educate all students about discriminationbased harassment, including its definition, its effects and how to report such incidents. According to Principal Katya Villalobos, the bullying lesson plan, which should be finalized after spring break, will meet the OCR requirement because it will focus extensively on raising students’ awareness of bullying on campus through educating them on the topic. In addition, Villalobos said that the lesson should make students feel more welcome in the school and encourage them to treat each other fairly. “Because a person is different, it should not make them a target of any kind of harassment or bullying,” Villalobos said. Villalobos believes that the idea of accepting everybody at Gunn is mostly already in existence and that students are generally very accepting others in this school. “We as a school already engage in a variety of ways to make sure that students feel connected and feel welcomed,” Villalobos said, referencing Not In Our Schools Week as a key example. However, Assistant Principal Trinity Klein feels that students should know and acknowledge when a student crosses the line between joking and actually bullying, whether it is a face-to-face interaction or cyberbullying. “It’s so easy to say nasty things, especially in the electronic environment,” Klein said. According to Villalobos, the lesson serves to remind and teach students more about how unacceptable and inappropriate bullying is, and tell them how to formally report a bullying incident. “Students know that this is not part of our culture and climate,” Villalobos said. “It makes sure that the community would know how to report [bullying] if they see something like that.” Another plan that was considered ear- lier this semester to address the settlement was an anti-bullying assembly. According to Klein, the assembly was not because there was no time available to fit an additional assembly in the Gunn schedule. The Student Executive Council is generally in charge of an assembly’s content and it ultimately elected to keep the election assembly instead of replacing it with the anti-bullying assembly. “It felt like it needed to be a studentbased decision,” Klein said. Villalobos stated that the lesson plan will provide a better experience and education on bullying than the assembly because it would incorporate more direct contact between students and teachers, and allow for a level of safety about the conversations. According to Klein and the Gunn calendar, the lesson will be conducted for 25 minutes in early May. What is your COLLEGE dream? Whatever it is, FLEX can help! Senior Packages Class of 2014 • College list research • Full review of application and essays • Interview workshop • “Majors” Research • And many more! SAT I Program Intensive SAT I Program College Counseling Prepare for the SAT Critical Reading/Writing and Math test with: Expertise is drawn from former college admission officers including Stanford, Yale, UChicago, Berkeley and more! • SAT strategies and techniquevs, • Homework, diagnostic tests, • Progress report and feedback Sign up for a Free 1-on-1 Academic Counseling Session SIGN UP FOR A FREE DIAGNOSTIC TEST! 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These funds come from the class account money raised through class fundraisers such as Stanford parking, pearl milk tea sales and jar wars rewards. Because of these subsidies, the regular price of a prom ticket is now $95 regular price, a drop of $15 from last year’s ticket prices. The price drop also reflects subsidies from Homecoming and Sadie Hawkins Dance profits. Without any subsidies, the cost to students would be $129.54. “Since the juniors and the seniors benefit the most from prom, we thought if we wanted to bring the price down any further we needed to have both the classes subsidize,” Student Activities Director Lisa Hall said. The class councils’ votes were overwhelmingly in favor of the subsidies, though some members believe the cost should be even lower. “I think that the [Junior Class Council] subsidized price is a step in the right direction because somehow it sounds a lot better to ask students to pay an amount under $100,” junior class council member Maytal Abramson said. “I still think the price is a bit high though.” The cost for prom tickets must cover the venue rental, food and other attractions that Dance Commissioner senior Kirsten Baird helps select, such as hiring a strolling magician and a caricaturist. Prom tickets at Gunn are priced significantly lower than those of many other high schools, including Palo Alto High School, where a prom ticket costs at least $110. If the ticket price is too expensive for a student, scholarships are available through Assistant Principal Trinity Klein. Because the tickets add to other expenses such as dresses, tuxedos and corsages that students purchase for their prom experiences, the cost for the entire event can run very high. “The ticket price is making me really reluctant about going [to Prom] since it is so expensive,” junior Joseph Nicolls said. “To be honest, I know it’s a nice venue, but I’d rather have it in a cheaper venue like a community center and have the cost be closer to $50.” SEC members expressed that they understand these concerns and hope to continue lowering the price in the future. “It definitely turns people off if the price is too high,” senior class president Nitika Johri said. “We want high attendance wherever we go and we want people to enjoy all the stuff we put into prom.” 7 Current calendar has positive responses Kush Dubey Reporter The Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) Calendar Advisory Committee released a survey in January for students, parents, staff and teachers to collect information and opinions regarding the calendar change, which moved finals before winter break. Calendar Advisory Committee Director Scott Bowers and student and parent representatives concluded that a significant percentage of students preferred taking finals before winter break after reviewing data collected in March. The survey, conducted in January 2013, indicated that approximately 85 percent of about 1,400 students approved of the calendar change—a 15 percent increase compared to the approval rate in the April 2012 survey, where approximately 70 percent of about 450 students favored finals earlier in the school year. In addition, roughly 3,700 parents and 500 high school, middle school and elementary school teachers reviewed the influence the change had on their curriculum and lesson plans. The results will be presented at the PAUSD School Board meeting on April 9. With next year’s calendar also including finals before winter break, the Calendar Commit- tee is looking forward to making recommendations for calendars for future school years. “Once we thoroughly analyze the responses, the Calendar Advisory Committee is going to look at different possibilities for the 2014-2015, 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years,” Bowers said. According to Bowers, once the Calendar Advisory Committee collects all of the information from students, teachers and parents, a separate committee called the Calendar Committee, proposes a calendar for the PAUSD School Board to approve. During Calender Committee meetings, members consisting of district representatives, and Palo Alto Employee Association and California School Employee Association representatives give feedback to the Calendar Committee’s recommendation. If changes are made, the Calendar Committee presents the modifications for future negotiations until a consensus is reached. According to PAUSD Coordinator of Research and Evaluation Diana Wilmot, the Calendar Advisory Committee will present an information item to the Board on Apr. 9, and the results will be posted online afterwards. According to Calendar Advisory Committee student representative Sarah Dukes-Schlossberg, a majority of students supported the calendar change despite having less time to study for finals. “It overwhelmingly came in favor of finals before break, and the most frequent response was that the benefits of a stress-free winter break were worth some of the challenges of having finals earlier than usual,” she said. According to Dukes-Schlossberg, the survey’s purpose was to provide the Calendar Committee with a foundation for deciding the location of finals for future school years. A variety of people were surveyed to give them a greater understanding of how particular groups evaluated the benefits and disadvantages of the alteration. “The goal with the survey was to receive the public’s opinion, and to find out how specific groups of people were affected with the calendar change,” she said. According to Wilmot, the survey included questions oriented towards the preferences of students in terms of alleviating stress. Parents were surveyed on their experiences with students and what they noticed. Seniors assessed the impact of the calendar change on the completion of college applications. In addition, the Calendar Advisory Committee looks to survey the School Board to assist its members in administering calendars for future school years. 8 Forum EDITORIAL: The Opinion of The Oracle Advisory Committee recommendations for Titan 102, tutorial impractical After almost a full year of research and collaboration, the newly appointed Guidance Advisory Committee (GAC) recently released a report containing recommendations for the school to consider in planning its future. Though most of these recommendations are well-reasoned and likely to yield positive results, the suggestions of making tutorial mandatory and in the middle of the day and creating Titan 102 for sophomores is not only impractical, but if implemented, will only negatively impact students’ abilities to make decisions for themselves and decrease student productivity. For students, moving tutorial to the middle of the day and extending Titan 101 to Titan 102 makes little sense. Obviously, shifting tutorial will mandate a schedule change, which will require months of debate and deliberation. And regardless of the methods used, mandatory tutorial will be almost impossible to enforce. Closing the campus will not guarantee that students go into classrooms; many will most likely wander around campus or sneak out anyways. Having a system like Palo Alto High School’s in which students sign into classrooms will mean restricting students who need help in a variety of areas to one classroom. In the end, trying to keep students in the right classroom at the right time will be a logistical nightmare. Also, if the school makes tutorial compulsory, it will be sacrificing student self-reliance and positivity for a limited amount of greater academic success. Students will essentially be robbed of the opportunity to make their own decisions about their academic careers. The fact is, that some students need to go tutorial every week, some need to go occasionally and some don’t need to go at all. The key point is that students should be allowed to determine for themselves which category they fit under. As for students who need to go to tutorial but student excelling in their studies yet lacking in extracurriculars should be able to spend tutorial time pursuing non-academic activities or just relaxing to reduce stress. Students will come to see tutorial not as a useful resource for succeeding in school, but as a restricting agent. choose not to, a more effective way of making sure they get the help they need will be having teachers ask students specifically to come to tutorial when needed. If students are not allowed to make even simple decisions like whether or not they need extra help in a subject, then administrators will be sending a wrong message to students that their grades matter more than their maturing into responsible and independent members of society. In addition, it makes no sense for students who do not need additional help for their classes to be forced to attend tutorial. A If tutorial is relocated to the middle of the day, students will lose opportunities to make the most of their short day. Currently, students who do not utilize tutorial can leave school to work on various activities, such as a job. However, with tutorial in the middle of the day, students who have no need for extra help will be stuck on campus with nothing to do. Titan 102 will have many of the same fundamental issues that a compulsory, midday tutorial will have. Extending Titan 101 will be highly impractical for administrations. More teachers will be required to oversee students in these Titan 102 sessions, which will compound the already existing problem of teachers missing important meetings after school because of Titan 101. Most importantly, sophomores are far more independent and busy than they were in freshmen year. They neither need nor have the time for Titan 102 sessions. By their second year of high school, these students do not need to have their academic and social progress in high school checked up on by teachers, which is the aim of Titan 102. Time effectively wasted in Titan 102 would be far better spent exploring the new opportunities presented by sophomore year. Altering tutorial to make it compulsory and in the middle of the day and expanding Titan 101 into Titan 102 will not resolve the issues of each program; instead, it will only hurt student independence and workload while causing problems for the administration. If GAC wishes to improve the two programs, then it should more closely consider the student opinion. For example, many students complain of teachers not being present during tutorial. In that case, the administrators should work on accountability for teachers to be available to their students. Many students also criticize Titan 101 for being unnecessary and time-consuming. Perhaps the best course of action should then be to downsize the program rather than expanding it. These are the types of solutions that the school should research and promote for future years. —Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of the staff (assenting: 45; dissenting: 1; abstaining: 2) Palo Alto’s carbon-free program eliminates harmful emissions Rebecca Alger In the wake of recent natural disasters and extreme weather, the Palo Alto City Council voted unanimously to approve a 100 percent carbon-free electric portfolio on March 4. The plan is incredibly important because it has the capacity to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than 100,000 metric tons per year. According to the city council, Palo Alto’s carbon-neutral electric-supply portfolio will demonstrate annual net-zero GHG emissions. By establishing a program that relies solely on the city’s existing renewableenergy sources in the place of standard, fossil-fueled energy, Palo Alto becomes a leading force in the push for American cities to get rid of carbon from their electrical operations. Global warming brought about by carbon emissions led to the melting of polar ice caps, which hold the very small amount of fresh water available on Earth, provide a natural habitat for vari- ous species of plants and animals and reflect heat and sunlight back into space, thus regulating the temperature on Earth. If humans neglect to alter their habits and make significant changes in how they create energy, the destruction of the environment on all spectrums will continue. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions comes from the combustion of fossil fuels for electricity. In 2009, electricity accounted for 40 percent of all U.S. carbon emissions. If the human race continues to impact Earth at the current rate, the average temperature, sea level, acidity of the oceans and amount of precipitation will steadily increase. It is necessary to make long-term changes as soon as possible in order to make a positive lasting impact on the environment. Palo Alto would greatly reduce its impact with the carbon neutral portfolio. According to City Manager James Keene, because the City of Palo Alto already possesses its own utilities, residents will not need to pay more for electricity than those in areas charged by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company. The average cost increase will only be between $2.60 and $4.20 more per month according to Carbon-Free Palo Alto, a grassroots citizen-activism organization. Last year, the Utilities Department issued a survey asking residents if they would be willing to pay more for renewable energy. 73 percent of the 948 respondents said they were willing to pay anywhere from $2 to $10 per month, or even more, proving that the change in pricing resulting from carbon-free electricity would not be a problem for citizens who would be directly impacted. Carbon dioxide is killing people and making it harder for people to breathe each and every year, and it certainly is not happening slowly. Through c ar b on - n e ut r a l ity, Palo Alto reduces the effects carbon dioxide has on health. By lowering air pollution, the new portfolio is making the serious changes necessary to save lives all over the world. Palo Alto’s program for a carbon-free electric system will be able to make serious changes not only in the immediate area but also all over the world. The changes being made currently will benefit the planet both now and in the long run. In the past seven years alone, Palo Alto brought its GHG emissions down through local renewable energy sources. As other cities and counties follow Palo Alto’s lead and amend their current supplies of electricity, the world becomes a healthier place for all. —Alger, a junior, is a Features Editor. Dave Zhu Monday, April 8, 2013 Paly’s block schedule is superior to Gunn’s rotating schedule PRO Tim Wang Palo Alto High School’s (Paly) block schedule differentiates from Gunn’s rotating schedule in that students take fewer classes or periods per day and instead spend a significantly longer time in each period. Gunn and the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) have already undergone significant changes this year by shifting the school year. However, Gunn should consider adopting a block schedule, as it has been shown to help both teachers and students perform to the best of their abilities. Block schedules often offer a significant logistical advantage for both teachers and students. According to Principal Katya Villalobos, a teacher in a block schedule often needs to prepare for fewer sessions each day and can focus his or her time on the classes he or she will teach that day. This leads to time being used more productively and greater success in individual classes. Also, because classes meet less often, tests and homework assignments are often much easier to handle. This helps students reduce the stress of their workload and the alleviation allows them to focus on their immediate classes each day and utilize their time more efficiently when trying to get things done. Science and history classes especially benefit from the block schedule. Science classes get more time to complete complicated labs in one sitting, letting them cover more material while using less time each day for review purposes. Right now history classes struggle to fit in large simulations, with most of the class time dominated by lectures with a few group discussions and projects thrown in occasionally. A block schedule gives history classes the opportunity to incorporate such simulations and projects, allowing them to be much more interactive. In addition, interactive activities have already been shown to significantly improve academic ratings as opposed to a normal lecture in a study done by Carl Wieman in 2001. Furthermore, the average class size has been shown to drop when a block schedule is in use. According to the Palo Alto Weekly Paly has a average class size of 28.5 while compared to Gunn’s average class size of 30. A smaller classes has been proven, through previous studies such as one done by Tennessee’s Project Star, to increase achievement by a significant amount. A smaller class size allows teachers to devote more of their time to individual students, helping to increase student success rates. The increased time that is allowed per period thus also allows for a closer bond between student and teacher and helps make the class more enjoyable for both parties. The current schedule provides many benefits, but it still does not accommodate all of Gunn’s needs. According to Paly’s principal Phil Winston, Paly has been having great success with their own block schedule ever since they adopted it, as it allowed them to have increased staff collaboration and student support. A block schedule is one such schedule that could improve efficiency and promote academic excellence at Gunn, and the Gunn community should seriously consider utilizing it. —Wang, a junior, is a reporter. Katherine Zu High schoolers at Gunn and Palo Alto High School (Paly) benefit from similar course offerings, opportunities and school programs. However, one main discrepancy lies in the daily schedule. Those at Gunn are on a rotating schedule, while those at Paly are on an alternating A/B block schedule. Under this schedule, students at Paly sit through all seven classes on Monday. For the rest of the week, three to four 90-minute classes occur each day. Because of elements such as shorter class periods, greater class frequency and less severe consequences of missing class, Gunn’s rotating schedule is better for students than Paly’s block schedule. Paly’s longer class periods negatively affect the students. Sitting through an hour long lecture is hard enough. According to the George Lucas Educational Foundation, teenagers have an attention span of roughly 20 minutes. Although students at both schools might spend some of the period daydreaming and out of concentration towards the end of the period, students on the block schedule will be less focused for a larger percentage of the instructional duration. More time spent in class does not necessarily equate to a proportional increase in learning. To make up for this shortcoming, the burden is put on the teachers to keep the class engaged. Assistant Principal Kimberly Cowell noted that filling a 90-minute period that truly engages students for the full time requires that there be several activities and transitions, and that 90-minute lectures are not optimal for 9 CON high school students. A switch to the block schedule will require Gunn teachers to readapt their teaching style and curriculum. Gunn’s rotating schedule also offers more meetings between teachers and students. Some classes particularly benefit from the daily practice and reinforcement that the rotating schedule emphasizes. Subjects like music and foreign language gain from reviewing the material daily. According to Professor Stephen D. Krashen, a study found that those who were exposed to the foreign language more have increased language proficiency. The block schedule decreases foreign language exposure because classes meet less often. On this aspect, the rotating schedule trumps the block schedule because classes meet more often on the rotating schedule. In addition, the block schedule increases the negative effects of missing class. If a Paly student is absent for a period, they will miss 30 minutes more than a Gunn student. Also, those who miss a block day will miss a considerable amount of material in those classes, particularly when those classes go at a quick pace and cover a significant amount of new material. Although students missing a class at either school miss roughly six hours of instruction, the consequences of missing class at Paly are more severe. Those missing a class at Paly would miss an additional half hour of class. Also, at Gunn, when one misses a science lab, there is a only one hour to make up for. However, at Paly, one must make up a 90-minute lab. Due to shorter and more frequent class periods, Gunn’s rotating schedule is superior to Paly’s block schedule. Students have already adjusted to a rotating schedule that has no evident negative consequences. —Zu, a senior, is a reporter. Reactions to Office for Civil Rights findings unhelpful Utkash Dubey In April 2012, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), an agency of the U.S. Department of Education, found that a middle school in Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) was not satisfying a federally-mandated procedure concerning the issue of studentto-student discriminatory bullying. The allegations against the district focused mainly on policy and procedures taken. The agency and the district collaborated and reached a resolution that invokes a revised PAUSD bullying policy, more staff training and builds on student engagement, according to an email sent to parents and legal guardians by Superintendent Kevin Skelly. While the issue was seemingly resolved and the district should be allowed to move on from the incident, recent public comments and reactions towards the OCR’s finding have been inappropriate, exaggerating and scattershot, ranging from complaints about the false yet preconceived notion of extremely high bullying rates at PAUSD schools, to the rarity of this bullying incident and the extremely few number of districts with similar accusations from OCR. Because OCR has already worked with the district to resolve any problems, and because this issue was an isolated and largely insignificant recent event, community members and media outlets alike should refrain from criticizing the district for the mistakes and instead focus on being proactive about the progress soon to come. The most prevalent criticisms regarding PAUSD’s handling of the OCR allegations are pointed towards Skelly, primarily for his decision to not publicly announce OCR’s findings during a district board meeting in a timely manner. While accusations against the district superintendent are warranted to some degree, most public comments have taken a harsher and accusatory turn, rather than an active and constructive tone. These need to stop. Reprimanding a public authority for making a blunder on an issue that doesn’t merit the attention it’s getting doesn’t help the situation whatsoever. Instead, outlets would be constructive and suggestive, not primarily aimed at to offending or exposing those involved. In the midst of allegations that PAUSD is dealing with an unhealthy and unsafe environment, it’s important for community members to realize that all survey Because OCR has already worked with the district to resolve any problems, and because this issue was an isolated and largely insignificant recent event, community members and media outlets alike should refrain from criticizing the district for the mistakes and instead focus on being proactive about the progress soon to come. it fosters a seemingly endless and definitely pointless political battle. If the community had any respect for the work district officials in general did, all comments at school board meetings, in online forums and through other media data and reports clearly show the district’s proactive stance against bullying, and that bullying is not an overall major issue at any PAUSD school. Relative to California state averages and other Santa Clara County districts, PAUSD fares very well when it comes to students’ sense of security and their perception of it. According to a slideshow presented at the Feb. 12 school board meeting, California Healthy Kids Survey and Sources of Strength data both indicate bullying rates have declined across schools. However, public comments, which often explain aggravation towards the board and the district, choose to hone in on insignificant outliers of data, and don’t focus on the big picture. Public comments and community opinions are an important aspect of the majority-based democratic process that the district runs by, but if those comments and opinions are not going to be constructive and instead insist on attacking district officials for the sake of politics, they’re best kept private. —Dubey, a senior, is the Editor-in-Chief and the Gunn School Board Representative. 10 Forum THEORACLE California’s high-speed rail system ill-conceived Catalina Zhao This summer, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) will begin construction of the United States’ first high-speed rail. CHSRA, the organization in charge of planning, designing, building and operating the rail, has planned to build it to connect San Francisco to Los Angeles by 2029. It will travel bet ween the two cities in two hours and 40 minutes at over 200 miles per hour. The final goal is to build a system that spans 800 miles to include Sacramento and San Diego. Although the CHSRA and supporters of the rail claim the rail will be beneficial, California should not build it because it will hurt California’s economy, will not reach its desired level of utility and will not significantly help the environment or traffic congestion. Once fully constructed, the high-speed rail will have a major negative impact on California’s already poor and fragile economy. According to the Huffington Post, the projected price tag of the San Francisco-Los Angeles route is a hefty $68 billion. The governments of both California and the nation will have to dig to their already in-debt treasuries for the project since it is publicly financed. CHSRA has received an initial $8 billion for preliminary construction from state legislation that could have been used in better places, such as in education. Moreover, the rail’s actual operation will cause California to lose more money. According to Director of High-Speed Rail at the International Union of Railways in Paris Iñaki Barrón de Angoiti states that high-speed rails are not profitable and that only two high-speed rail routes in the world, France’s Paris to Lyon and Japan’s Tokyo to Osaka, break even. The other routes in 11 different countries all lose money in operating the rail and require taxpayer dollars to function. Republican State Senator Ted Gaines of Granite Bay said in a statement that building the rail would push California over a fiscal cliff, requiring endless subsidies and blasting a huge hole into the state budget. Democratic State Senator Joe Simitian of Palo Alto also questioned the stability of the project’s financing and additional commitment of funding. With this project, California will lose taxpayer dollars and any subsequent economic improvements. From a cultural and utilitarian standpoint, California’s high-speed rail falls short of its predicted benefits because it does not suit America’s geography and culture. Its successes in countries such as France and Japan cannot be applied to the fundamentally different America. The United States lacks the high population density, smaller area, geographical features and low car-usage that make high-speed rails so beneficial in other countries. According to William J. Mallett, a transportation policy specialist at the Congressional Research Service, these factors are why a high-speed rail network is not feasible. California’s population is more spread out and more dependent on cars. In places like New York, a high-speed rail can thrive on the heavily concentrated areas and success of the existing subways, but not in California. A fully-built rail will not be fully used because people will still rely on cars. Most Americans are used to driving as their main mode of transportation, and HSR Facts 2/11 switching to high-speed rail would require them to alter their lifestyles. Cars are convenient and give people the sense of freedom and independence that public transportation does not. Furthermore, a lack of transportation connecting the high-speed rail stations to people’s homes makes the line inconvenient. It is difficult for people to get to the actual rail, as shown by the troublesome breaks along routes in California’s current Bay Area Rapid Transit and CalTrain systems. To get to the rail, people will have to drive their cars or take a taxi, which is often more time-consuming and inefficient than driving to their destination. People will be inclined toward the latter, which will leave more empty seats on the rail. The high-speed rail will never attain its desired utility and success because public transportation is not prevalent in trans-California culture. Supporters of the rail commend the ability of the high-speed rail to help the environment and decrease traffic congestion. However, the rail does neither, for construction of the rail system greatly contributes to pollution, with the necessary machinery and industrial processes. According to the CATO Institute, the high-speed rail would reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions by only 0.7 to 1.5 percent, and the prerequisite to that small decrease is high levels o f their cars rather than riding the high-speed rail, the supposed benefit high-speed rail has in decreasing automobile pollution will be greatly weakened. But even if people use the rail, according to American public policy analyst Randal O’Toole, it will not stop the growing trend of automobile driving, as evidenced in Japan and France. O’Toole also finds that no high-speed rail system in the entire world has been shown to noticeably reduce congestion. California’s high-speed rail would not help the environment or traffic congestion; on the contrary, it could affect the environment negatively. Although advocates of the high-speed rail say that the system will save people time once completed, the time saved is not significant enough to warrant billions of dollars spent. There is a time threshold, and many people might not meet it, given that not everyone will use the rail. Moreover, not many people want to travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles so often that they would prefer the rail over an airplane. Others praise the jobs the CHSRA will create with the project, but California can invest billions into other necessary sectors to create the same number of jobs. Ultimately, it is important to abandon building the high-speed rail before California becomes too deeply involved in it. The high-speed rail will hurt California’s economy and receive unfavorable ridership levels because it does not fit America’s conditions or culture and could worsen environmental and congestion problems. This project nobly intends to reform and modernize the state’s transportation infrastructure. However, because building a high-speed rail falls short of meeting these goals and may actually bring negative effects, California should look to other methods and projects to reach goals of environmental protection and job creation. —Zhao, a junior, is a News Editor. ridersh ip. Low ridership would actually eliminate any pollution reduction and energy savings. Generating the electricity that powers the high-speed rail burns a lot of fossil fuels. Even if the electricity is produced with green energy techniques, fossil fuels will remain a major source. If people continue driving Georg e Hw ang Faces in the Crowd Should California continue building the proposed high-speed rail? High Speed Rail systems that turn a profit 68 Billion dollars to pay for the San Francisco-Los Angeles line 2013 16 2029 Years until the completion of the San Francisco-Los Angeles line “Although it is environmentally friendly, it is obviously not cost efficient.” Somina Lee (10) “I don’t think there is a real need. To spend that much money is worthless in my opinion.” Wesley Russell (11) “The high-speed rail is really effective. You would otherwise have to fly to get to L.A.” Peter Kim (12) “I don’t see the point in a high speed train, since we already have the Cal train.” Yukie Hikida (Japanese) “The time for it has come and gone. The high speed rail would have been a good idea two decades ago.” Christopher Johnson (Social Studies) “We need to take a look at our budget and see if we can afford it.” Jordan Huizing (English) —Compiled by Leon Cheong 11 Monday, April 8, 2013 Wall of Rejection provides a reality check Boot Bullwinkle It’s decision time at Gunn High School. Emotional breakdowns are occurring regularly as we all wait for a simple e-mail, college sweatshirts are rarely worn in fear of jinxing chances or offending a rejected peer and classes are spent wondering if it’s all even worth it. But in the midst of this plight and despair is an edifice that example is what Gunn is really about: The Rejection Wall. The students at Gunn are particularly exceptional: with many extracurricular activities and awards framing high SAT scores and shining GPAs, it’s widely expected the average student to get into a prestigious university. Being the impatient and decisive individual I am, I made haste to apply to many schools early, certain that I would go there if I got in. In the middle of F period on Nov. 6, I got my first rejection e-mail from Tufts University. There went my number one. It was okay, though I was determined to make the best of whatever school I went to. Two days later: a rejection from Northeastern University. A few anecdotes later, New York University, Lewis and Clark College, Denver University, University of Cali- fornia, Davis, Boston University, Boston College and George Washington University joined the list. Nine college rejections is admittedly a lot, and people are often bewildered as to why I so openly publish that information. I often have people pity me, and sometimes I’m negatively judged because of my “failures.” Most of us here at Gunn know that a college rejection is not a failure, and “The Rejection Wall” is a perfect example of that sentiment. Seniors openly in the same boat. It’s no secret that the peer pressure and expectations at Gunn are abnormally high, and as colleges sent out letters, stress was at an all time high two weeks ago. But in the end, I found that the students were accepting, regardless of what school I got into. But there was something strangely exciting about posting my many letters of rejection. My friends and I gathered all the letters we had and quickly darted over to the Student Activities Center to be the first to have our letters published. I was glad that others could feel more comfortable about their own rejections by seeing the many that I had accrued. I did end up getting into three colleges, so I’m not in a complete pit of despair. I fully believe that a person has the potential to make the best of any college you get into, and I’m Advait Kalakkad ready to have fun and continue my education display their rejection letters for in college—something most the whole school to see, and thus people never get the opportunity to the school can sip a strong cup of real- do. Even if they weren’t my first choices ity: not everyone gets into the school of (or second, or third), I’m still glad that their dreams. I ended up being happy with my differWhile this may seem like a dark and ent options—and that Gunn is equally harsh reality, it’s far from that. When it supportive. seemed like everybody’s achievements and scores outshined mine, I felt far —Bullwinkle, a senior, is a less inferior knowing that others were Managing Editor. Tech reliance harmful to student well-being Shawna Chen The hashtag #firstworldproblems categorizes problems of technological dependence. One has #firstworldproblems when he or she is frustrated because there is no Internet connection, the phone screen is frozen or there just isn’t any service for texting. On a small scale, technology can aid in productivity and work. But the unnoticed impacts ing effects on our health. The Department of Labor reported that the average American spends 2.7 hours a day watching television and therefore resigns to laziness. It sounds harsh, but every moment spent vegetating is an opportunity to exercise the body and brain wasted. Additionally, studies have shown that lights from devices can disturb a good night’s sleep. The more one stares at his or her iPhone, the more the light tricks the brain into thinking it’s daytime. Without the adequate amounts of exercise and sleep, a student cannot function to the best of his or her ability. Technological reliance has taken its toll on social life as well. Only 33 per- Copying an answer from Google does not force students to actively analyze course material as they would by learning from the textbook. The consequences of such dependence have the potential to be disastrous. of repetitive technological #firstworldproblems include increased health risks, antisocial behavior and loss of concentration and analytical thinking. Yet little action has been taken to wean ourselves off the massive cloud that is technology. According to an article from the New York Times written in 2010, children ages eight through 18 spend an average of 7.5 hours a day using technology. 7.5 hours is more time than a school day and about one-third of an entire day. Technology is taking over our lives. Our increasing dependence on technology is causing inactivity and alarm- cent of the texters surveyed by the Pew Research Center said that they actually talk to friends face-to-face on a daily basis. While it can be effective for short notice, texting has caused deteriorating communication in person with family and friends. Naturally, multitasking has also increased because of technology. Dr. Larry Rosen of Cal State University wrote that most teenagers perform, on average, seven tasks at the same time, including texting, using Facebook and watching television. Although multitasking may seem to save time, it actually results in decreased concentration. With ten tabs open on an Internet browser and a phone sitting to the side, one is more likely to forget about the homework he or she needs to finish As the number of tasks increases, focus rapidly decreases. Most importantly, technological reliance decreases the need for critical thought. Google is just a few clicks away, and because of that, we are too frustrated to think through a problem. The Internet is a quick way to get homework done without autonomous thought. Thus, one is no longer learning the lesson, enjoying the class or getting his or her desired grade. Copying an answer from Google does not force students to actively analyze course material as they would by learning from the textbook. The consequences of such dependence have the potential to be disastrous. If one uses Google Translate instead of carefully reading through the French textbook, he or she unfortunately won’t understand the material. Of course, no one is asking you to move to Antarctica and live like a caveman. Technology can be helpful in moderation. However, if we excessively utilize technology, the consequences will outweigh the benefits of efficiency. So the next time you move towards your TV, think about taking a walk instead. Next time you pick up your phone to text, consider holding a face-to-face conversation. Next time, choose your textbook over your laptop and resist the urge to look at your phone. It’s up to you: you can give in to the temptations or try to find a balance between moderate technology use and an otherwise healthy lifestyle. —Chen, a freshman, is a reporter. Prom tickets overly expensive Steve Yang The traditions of prom are treasured across all of America’s history and geography as stepping stones of life, setting the stage for the proverbial caterpillar’s metamorphosis. An important component of the big night has always been unusually lavish spending: most couples will spend more than $500 together. There are many perfectly justifiable expenses, such as prom dresses or the renta-tux, but the one that is most unfair is arguably the most important: the prom ticket. It is a breathtaking expense; $85 dollars for those with an ASB card, and $95 for those without, if they are purchased early. An easy way to think about it would be:” Nah, it’s not too expensive, it’s prom after all!” Actually, it’s crucial to think about what this money does buy, and this information can be found in the 2013 prom budget. Primary costs for prom are standard and expected: about $13,000 for busses, which is a great deal considering how many people they will transport. Right after these costs come the other big investments: catering and venue costs of renting the Pavilion—and after catering and venue costs are factored in, Gunn will spend around $65,000 for them. Overall, these costs, mixed in with the smaller ones for caricature artists, photobooths and photographers, will add up to about $75,000 total for prom. Many ignore the truth of spending for prom, which is swept under the rug as people tend to do with unpleasant facts. The truth is, the expectations of prom given the amount of money spent for the night are always going to be greater and better than the actual event. There is the misleading idea that the more you spend to do something, the more you’ll enjoy it, but the opposite is true more often than not. Why? It’s because there is always a tendency to become too fixated on the price and getting one’s “money’s worth” for the night, which in the end detracts from the whole experience. Just like going to an all-you-can-eat buffet, if you stuff yourself trying to get as much perceived “value” as possible, you’ll feel awful and bloated at the end if money is a big factor in the equation (or as Mr. Karas would prefer, big variable). This is not to say that prom could be cheap enough to the point where people won’t be shelling out much more than they would for a normal dance, yet it’s important to consider how else money can be spent. The price of prom is titillating when considering what a prom-table size group of couples could enjoy if they spent the money elsewhere. Ten people using their prom budget could buy a lot of other wonderful things with the money, which adds up to more than $2500 begging to be spent to the heart’s content. This could mean a ski cabin down in Tahoe for a night and ski tickets, or an awesome paintball party at a paintball arena of your choice for five tables’ worth of people. In all honesty, paintball is just a cheaper prom, except instead of boutonnieres and corsages, there’s none of that plain vanilla white-tie stuff and plenty more adrenaline, paint and bruises the next morning. (Either that, or I’m going to the wrong prom.) Prom is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it should be exactly that; go once, and save yourself the money the next time and do something more awesome instead. Gunn is wonderful enough to offer you two proms throughout high school, and doesn’t differentiate between junior and senior prom, which means it’s perfectly okay to miss one. In summary, I believe my former English teacher Ms. Grall said it best: “Prom is like marriage: if you do right the first time, there need not be a second.” —Yang, a senior, is a guest columnist. 12 Features Monday, April 8, 2013 SAT Graduation Driver’s License ACT Relationships Grades It’s the best It’s insane to think that we are already third-quarter freshmen. However, while second-semester seniors are probably startSophomores of times, and it’s What? I know, I know, it doesn’t have the charming ring of “second- ing to relax, the stress has just caught up to the freshmen. have it rough. It’s the worst of times. semester seniors,” but making it to the third quarter is an achieve- In high school, it seems that weekends are just weekdays not always easy as Let’s start with the ment in its own right. Just think, we were awkwardly thrust into with more time for more homework. We’ve survived our a tenth grader, and good news: senior prom high school seven months ago. Luckily, for the most part, I first finals, but we aren’t too excited for our next brush preparing for junior year is quickly approaching, believe most of us have figured it out. We’ve learned to face with grade-threatening tests. I probably shouldn’t is not making it any easier. high school is almost over our fears by asking that special someone to a dance. We’ve be complaining, but in addition to worrying about Academic pressures comand grades don’t matter. Well, learned to prioritize, and we have figured out that Titan boys, sports, friends, family and life in general, bined with trying to squeeze they still matter to colleges but 101 is definitely not an efficient way to spend an hour stressing about grades seems a little much.- in time for driving school and not to us. Sadly, with this happiafter school (I love my group, but someone had to say But even though academic stress seems sports make for a nasty combinaness comes second semester slump, it). We’ve learned how to avoid trouble, and we’ve unbearable this year, we all know that the tion, but here’s the good news: we unexpected rejection letters and the learned that a fight is never a good homework load is just bound sophomores are pretty much all sufferpossibility of getting rescinded. I have idea if Sanchez is nearby. For the most to get heavier, and the ing the same pains. At this time of year, unfortunately taken relaxation for granted part, we’ve learned to identify with material we learn the class of 2015 is facing some common and am currently struggling with the conbeing Gunn students. will get harder. milestones. sequences. Constantly using the careless secSeeing friends get their driver’s licenses has ond semester senior stereotype as an excuse to caused us all to have conflicting emotions. I feel procrastinate on schoolwork has sucked me into a happy that my friends can drive, yet I’m also jealtornado of trouble: weeks of book homework for AP ous that I can’t actually drive yet. Half the pictures Chemistry need to be turned in and Mr. Hernandez or posts on whatever social network I’m on is of a car, (as well as Shakespeare) would be disapor something to do with a car, or perhaps pointed to learn that I am behind even a picture of a picture of on my “King Lear” reading. a car with a caption saying, The laziness could mean “MY CAR!” (with at least only one thing: I have a fifty likes). bad case of senioritis, and Sophomores are also it has reflected in my goi ng t h rou g h t he not-so-decent grades. d readed cou rse When third quarregistration ter grades arrived, gauntlet. The it was definitely a word “AP” is reality check for me. f lying everyThough I want to enwhere, a nd joy my last year of high students are school, it’s not going to spitting out be all fun and games. course selection The thought of getting advice or opinrescinded gives me ions 24/7. Chooschills, and it would ing which classes suck to throw away for junior year all of my hard work. is no easy task, Speaking of rescisas it’s very hard sion, college decisions to change once are constantly on the you’re in the class back of my mind. D-Day and junior year is is something I and a extremely imporThe Oracle staffers reflect on lot of my fellow seniors tant for colleges. where they are in high school and dread, and it’s nerveBut let’s be honwhat they have learned so far. wracking when decisions come out the est: choosi ng same day you have a programming test which classes and an in-class essay for English. Forto take is still tunately, I know how to deal with the fun, especially if undesirable results. If I get wait-listed, it starts with “AP.” I eat chocolate chip cookies, and if I Our early academic birds might be get rejected, I eat even more chocolate struggling through SAT prep in order chip cookies while going through a few to get a headstart on the rest of the boxes of tissues. I’ve gotten a lot of good class. There are many students who are news too though, so I have yet to decide where currently prepping for the SAT in order to take it I’ll be next year. earlier and focus on classes during their junior I’m excitedly counting down the days year. A smart strategy, but it’s hard to muster until graduation, but at the same time, up the will-power to follow through with I’m not sure if I’m actually ready to Junior year is scary, it’s stressful, and so it actually is okay to calm down something that seems unnecessary beleave. I’ve met so many amazing it’s pretty darn intimidating- no matter and remember that you are still a teencause it’s a year early. friends and teachers that I don’t how much your counselor tries to prepare ager. Even though junior year is pretty Fortunately, a year from now, want to say goodbye to them. and comfort you ahead of time. And unfortu- demanding it’s still important to let your hair most of us will have our licenses. I still have to get AP testing nately it’s unavoidable. Junior year is supposed to down— and what better a place to do that than We’ll have chosen our courses, over with and raise a few be the turning point in high school, the year where (most likely) your first prom. studied for SATs, and be burof my grades, but I want you finally figure out who you are supposed to be and This school year’s other firsts might not be as ied waist-high in hometo spend as much time what you are supposed to be doing with the rest of your exciting as prom, but they’re just as important, if not work. So let’s enjoy only with my friends belife. Your regular response of “I don’t know” to questions more so. Never before have acronyms taken over such as having to step over our fore we part our about where you want to go to college and what you want to overwhelming portion of your life—SAT, ACT, AP, the list homework instead of ways. For now, major in is no longer a valid answer. Relatives and your parents’ goes on and on. Whether you are preparing to take a test with a having to wade in I w i l l f ind colleagues simply try and conceal their disdain by hiding behind score out of 2400, 5 or 36 it seems as if that one little number will it, because after a b a l a nc e a fake smile and politely telling you that you have plenty of time. dictate the rest of your life. I’m certainly not one to be giving out all, we only get b e t we e n It’s important to not let the adults, or other students for the mat- advice, but I can tell you that you are not a number. Everybody knows to be sophschool ter, get you down. Between, homework, extracurriculars, test prep and that the only number that actually matters is the number of days until omores work. countless hours spent at school in class, you’ve got your plate pretty full, summer break anyways. once. Photos by Stephanie Kim and Anthony Tran Rejections College Applications Senioritis Prom AP Tests Features Monday, April 8, 2013 Underclassmen compete in music events Pooja Belur Reporter Freshmen Young Hye Lee, Vivian Sheen and Lisa Liao and sophomore Kyoko Inagawa all began playing classical music around the age of five. However, as the girls continued learning the nuances of their respective arts throughout elementary and middle school, their hobbies developed into deep-seated passions. For the girls, playing the violin or the piano provided the opportunity to escape from the stresses of daily life. Hoping to get further musical exposure, Inagawa and the other girls decided to enter in competitions. “I love performing in front of large audiences,” Inagawa said. “When I enter competitions, I get to perform more.” All of the girls also hoped the chance would give them the opportunity to further explore the music industry and meet people with similar interests. This February, the four girls joined the 2013 US Open Music Competition, a competition involving 1200 classical music enthusiasts from around the country. The competition featured individual and duo classical music events for children ages five to 18. All four girls left with awards recognizing their talent and hard work. Inagawa took first in the intermediate instrumental solo division for her outstanding violin performance of “Carmen Fantasy.” Lee left with fourth place in the advanced open solo division for playing a seven-minute recreation of “Vieuxtemps Violin Concerto No. 4.” Sheen and Liao received second for their outstanding piano duet of “Danse Espagnole No. 1 and No. 2.” During the weeks leading up to the competition, they practiced for multiple hours per day. “I definitely practiced a lot more frequently,” Lee said. “I would sit in four one-hour intervals each day to practice my instrument.” The practicing involved playing their instruments, as well as researching the composers’ histories, listening to previous performances and developing their interpretations of the piece. “When you play a song, you are responsible for putting your own spin on it,” Lee said. Despite all of the preparation, Sheen remembers feeling anxious when she entered the competition room. “I was very nervous walking onstage,” Sheen said. “There was also the added worry that I didn’t want to let [Liao] down.” As part of the competition, the girls had to play their pieces, memorized, in front of at least two judges and musicians. These included professionals such as the conductor of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra Dr. Duane A. Carroll and founder of the American Philharmonic Dr. Charles Sepos. Because of their musical success, some of the judges were intimidating. While playing, Lee was incredibly conscious of her surroundings and everyone in the room. “I was very aware of all the judges’ reactions, and I really wanted them to love the piece,” Lee said. The experience differed for many of the other participants. Once Inagawa began performing, the music was all she could focus on. “Once I start playing, it is like I am in a dream,” she said. “It is almost as if I was not in the room anymore. All I could focus on was my playing and the song.” Unlike Lee, Inagawa had no idea what the judges thought of her playing when she had finished and was extremely surprised when she was selected to be the first place winner. Lee believes that her stressing and diligent practicing paid off. Being selected from all of the applicants gives her a new level of confidence in her ability as a violinist. “I was extremely surprised. I never expected it,” she said. “It made me proud that I could play music beautifully enough that the judges felt it deserved an award.” Liao is also happy with placing second in the competition. However, she has set much higher goals for herself in the future. Liao hopes to eventually place first in the U.S. Open. “I definitely want to start working more on solo pieces,” Liao said. “It would be incredible to come first in any [event],” Liao said. She also aspires to compete in more elite competitions in the future. She believes that these are key to taking the next step in her musical career. Lee’s goal differs slightly. Instead of aiming for achieving higher rankings in future competitions, she hopes to personally improve her skills. “For the future, I would like to think beyond the letter placings and go beyond the competitions,” she said. “My goal, instead, is to just enjoy what I play and create the most beautiful music that I can.” All four girls agree on one thing: it is not the idea of winning that drives them to pursue their instruments, but rather the love of the craft itself. Inagawa is also unsure whether she will play professionally after high school, but she is positive that violin will always have a place in her future. “I will probably never ever stop playing violin,” she said. “It is something I hope to continue throughout my life. I may even choose to minor in it at college. I love it that much.” 13 Courtesy of Young Hye Lee Courtesy of Kyoko Inagawa Courtesy of Lisa Liao Top: Freshman Young Hye Lee poses with her violin. Middle: Sophomore Kyoko Inagawa performs at her violin concert. Freshmen Lisa Liao and Vivian Sheen smile af ter per forming their duet on the piano. Students win local newspaper’s creative writing competition Alvin Wang gives the reader the perspective of a disabled child through her adventure. Guo wrote her story On Feb. 28, sophomore Andrew to shed light on the difficulty of Briggs won a $100 gift card to living with an impairment. Guo Bell’s Bookstore for his first place invokes sadness and sympathy as story in the age 15 to 17 age group. the story traces the relationship Sophomore Gemma Guo placed between Ella, a girl with hearing third place in the short story conimpairment, and Jenny, her childtest, and received a hood friend. As $50 gift card to Bell’s the two grow up, Books. t hey a re presBriggs’ stor y sured by society “First, Do No Harm” to find different was inspired by the types of friends. controversial disSocietal stereocussion of the Aftypes and prejufordable Healthcare dices are emphaAct and the health- Junior Andrew Briggs Sophomore Gemma Guo sized in Guo’s story. care system in the “I drew inspiration U.S. during the 2012 elections. moral messages hidden within from my sister, who is hearingThe story is set in a dystopian, each book. impaired,” Guo said. “She strugdisease-ridden world, exploring Briggs has always been inter- gled to find friends when she was the bleak state of health care and ested in writing and likes to write younger due to her disability.” a doctor’s internal conflict between about social issues. This is the first Guo planned out and wrote his conscience and the medical writing contest that he has won. her story over the course of three principles he has to follow. Faced An avid fan of computer sci- weeks. According to Guo, her crewith making a decision that could ence, he sees himself exploring a ativity and fascination with writsave a life, he justifies his actions career in the field in the future. ing developed starting from a very with his mantra “I simply do my However, Briggs will continue to young age and improved gradually job,” while agonizing over the write on his own. “Writing will as she went through middle and consequences. always be a part of my life,” he said. high school. “I used to make up The issue that troubled Briggs Guo’s story, “Paper Airplanes,” stories with my friends when I was the most was health care, which is set in the modern world and in elementary school; we would act Tech Editor gave inspiration to his story. “The idea behind the story was a reaction to the debate on the commercialization and ‘commoditization’ of healthcare,” he said. Briggs also drew inspiration from John Steinbeck. Briggs admires many of the books written by Steinbeck for the social and them out during recess,” Guo said. “When I was in middle school, I started writing stories for fun and I have been doing so ever since.” She enjoys writing because it is a way for her to express her personal views and be taken seriously by others. “I like having a place to store my thoughts and say whatever is on my mind,” Guo said. “Writing is an outlet for me and helps me to relieve stress.” Though Guo thoroughly enjoys writing, she is still undecided about whether she wants to pursue a career in the subject. 14 THEORACLE How to help the Volunteering at Shelters Every time I walk down University Avenue, my eyes always wander to the many homeless people sitting beside the street. As I stare at their ragged clothes and smudged faces, I can’t help but to feel sorry for them. My mind jumps to the various ways in which I could help them: run into the nearest cafe and buy them a sandwich, or simply Stephanie Zhang just sit down to talk to them. But I find myself always too “busy” to ever follow through with these ideas. It wasn’t until last month that I finally kicked myself in the butt and decided to take action to help the homeless around my community. When I went to search for volunteer opportunities around my area, the first place that caught my eye was Innvision Shelter’s Family Program. The job required volunteers to help out at their Children’s Center after school to look after the children and to help them work through their homework. These children grew up in families that were previously or currently homeless and whose parents were finding work after school. I love working with young kids and couldn’t wait to see what skills I could offer them. The first day I visited the shelter, I was a bit overwhelmed by all of the screaming kids jumping around the room. However, as the day progressed, I found myself making emotional connections with these children. Throughout the day, I was able to engage these kids in fun activities while helping them work through their homework. Many of the kids were having trouble with their multiplication table, so we concocted a reward system as motivation to memorize their numbers. Near the end of the day, one of the kids, Helen, shared with me how much she looked forward to coming to that day-care center because she always learned new things and had fun with her friends. Although I was exhausted by the end, it was so rewarding to be reminded that, in a small way, I might have equipped these children to be better prepared for the competitive society that approached them in their future. Helping out at the Innvision Shelter really opened my eyes to all of the people, young and old, that need help around my community. Although it only took three hours of my day, I could see that just helping the children with their simple fractions gave them a better idea of how fun learning can be. —Zhang, a junior, is a Centerfold Editor. Eighteen years of ignorance has made me numb to the lives of homeless people. I knew this when I first stepped into the Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACL) building. After I received my name tag, I was sent to a playroom and greeted by about a dozen confused faces. For Wayland Fong the next six hours, I tutored and played with these children. Helping the homeless has turned into a cliché. People have lost sight of how much of an impact they can make. It was bittersweet to realize that I could come home at the end of the day without worrying about having food on the table, but that these children did not have that same privilege. Growing up, I didn’t have a worry in the world. As I looked at the younger children, I saw that same bliss in their eyes. They played with donated toys and interacted with adult volunteers. When I looked at the children who were a little older, however, I saw their mild unease. I approached one of the middle school boys and started helping him with his math homework. Looking at his blatant disinterest and exaggerated expressions of boredom, I saw myself at his age. His name was Travis, and he lived with his baby sister and his parents. There was something about him, either a courageous optimism or maybe a simple calmness, that stood out from the other kids. When I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, he replied, “a doctor because I want to help people.” I never truly understood the financial circumstances of those children, but it was endearing to see kids with such enthusiasm for life. Knowing that Travis was a boy with financial problems because he was homeless, wanted to help others in need made me rethink what I could be doing. I came to help that day with the intention of giving back, but only afterwards did I realize how much I really gained. Helping out at shelters not only aids these families, but helps people gain a different perspectives on their lives. Through my experience, I became more grateful for my life and began really thinking about how I could help people like Travis in the future. —Fong, a senior, is a Sports Editor. Half of all homeless women and children experienced physical violence 92 percent of homeless mothers were victims of physical or sexual assault Statistics Courtesy of www.thechicagoalliance.org Graphics by Anton Oyung 43 percent of children living with homeless parents are under the age of 6 Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been taught to treat others the way I would like to be treated. That was the golden rule. But helping the homeless? No, that never really hit the mark, not until my parents took me to visit an unnamed homeless shelter. I was 10 years old, and along with my dad’s colleagues, Shawna Chen I spent the afternoon cutting up vegetables, washing fruit and preparing dinner for the homeless. Although reluctant at first, I soon found myself enjoying the experience. In my house, I was famous for destroying recipes. Dumplings, soup, rice– I could ruin it all. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that making hot dogs and chili stew were relatively manageable with my skill set. Then the time came to serve. A long line of ragged, worn-down people bundled in blankets and thin clothes stood waiting for us to open. But even in the wintry cold, warm smiles lit up their faces as they moved one-by-one down the buffet. Almost every person who walked by me thanked us for our service with a simple, “God bless you.” Their grins and gratitude gave me a taste of true happiness. They were freezing, probably distressed at their situation, but still they found joy in our service. They were living in the moment; they were happy. I definitely didn’t bring them out of their struggles, but the appreciative looks on their faces showed me that my simple act of kindness reached out enough to inspire a rainbow of smiles. I could’ve donated to a charity or attended a fundraiser, but physically helping them gave me the chance to connect and tell them face-to-face that I want to help. And at the end of the night, I believe that by directly going out to help the homeless, I showed them that people are willing to give and assist. —Chen, a freshman, is a reporter. e homeless Food Handouts When I was a kid, my dad and I would occasionally pass by the a torn-down Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) near our home. There used to be one Erica Watkins homeless man who had set up camp there, and my dad would always make an effort to talk to him or help him out. He seemed to be in his late 60s; he reminded me of Dumbledore. He seemed very intelligent compared to other homeless people I had met before. One day, my dad decided to give him money and offered to buy him something from KFC. The man told us what he wanted, and we proceeded to go inside the restaurant to order just that. When we went back to give him his food he had completely disappeared, leaving me with diminishing faith in the integrity of the homeless. It was clear that he only wanted our money and did not actually need basic necessities like food. As a kid, I did not understand why he turned down the food. Now I realize that he probably used the money on alcohol or drugs. That day, I learned that there are there are homeless who are struggling to afford a house and food and accept help from others, and others who are stuck in a life experimenting with different types of drugs and eventually becoming addicted. The latter of the two is the kind who need the most tender loving care. From my experience, I’ve concluded that giving money directly will not help them, but people taking an interest in their welfare will. 15 Welcome to Cambridge: Home of the homeless Utkash Dubey Homeless Percentages: 44% are unsheltered 59% are single adults 41% are persons living in families 23% are chronically homeless —Watkins, a sophomore, is a reporter. Money Handouts On any given night, approximately 750,000 people are homeless in the US Monday, April 8, 2013 I have given money to homeless people on the streets many times in my life, but it was always an unplanned, spur-of-the-moment decision. This was the first time I would go out of my way to find someone in need. Although I was anxious, I was also excited that I would be making some Zoe Weisner difference in someone’s life, albeit a small one. I began my search on University Avenue by scouring for people who resembled a typical homeless person, ready to hand out the 10 dollars I had stored in my pocket for safekeeping. Surprisingly (or perhaps not), I found a man with a sign asking for spare change outside of a boutique within the first five minutes of my search. He was seated in a wheelchair with a blanket on his lap and looked absolutely miserable. I headed straight towards him. As soon as I gave him the money, he smiled and thanked me profusely. I felt so proud of myself, I went to celebrate my charitable act at a nearby frozen yogurt store. As I was contemplating my actions, I randomly decided to look outside the window at the spot where the man in the wheelchair was sitting—and was completely appalled. The man was standing straight up while smoking a cigarette and talking on his cell phone. At that moment, even though I had given it to him mself, I felt as if I had just been robbed of my money. For the following days, I felt so disgusted that I swore I would never give money to the homeless again. But then I realized that the actions of one person should not deter me from urgently helping the ones in need—that there will always be people who abuse the kindness of others. Personally giving out spare change to the homeless is something everyone should strive to do every once in a while, because the action is much more immediate. Although I am still deeply shaken by this incident, I know that there are many people in the world that truly do need our help and money. We just need to go out and find them first. —Weisner, a senior, is a News Editor. I’ll be honest: Palo Alto is not a homeless hub. Within the PA Bubble (Area = ~25π), I’ve never actually had to deal with those living in extreme poverty and seemingly nonexistent prospects. So when I headed to the Harvard-MIT area for a math tournament in February, I was in for a chilling reality check. In 25-degree weather, the frosty-wet steel in the subway was one hell of a bed for some residents. In the city, building corners, door thresholds, fire hydrants and dumpsters were the homes of hundreds of Cambridge residents, and seeing fellow Americans in that state of hopelessness was overwhelming and demanded change. Quite literally, though. They asked for my spare change. My first exposure to a homeless man’s personal financial disaster was not as abrupt as the entire experience, but was nonetheless a wake-up call. A man wearing torn cargo pants, a few layers of house-elf quality shirts and two half-socks (or one leg warmer ripped in into two pieces) was cheerfully singing to himself while holding a wet, takeout-stained cardboard sign that read, “Obama promised ¢hange.” Admittedly, that stroke of comical genius was the only reason I took a second to edge my toothless, bound-to-be-conservative companion. I never actually figured out how to not awkwardly approach him, so instead, I made an attempt to noticeably stop, recognize his clever political portrayal of our president and commend him for his utter brilliance. I made every attempt to initiate friendly conversation. The cold-shoulder gist of the area was forgiving, as my super-eloquent verbal acknowledgement of his sign, “I like that sign,” was received well. The black-gummed homeless druggie proceeded to preach anti-Obama sermons, and I dropped him a dollar for the pleasant encounter. To my dismay, I later noticed an assortment of empty beer bottles and needles that definitely weren’t for legal medication next to him that had been shrouded by his ragged half-blanket before. Now, as I reflect on that experience, I can’t help but wonder what my dollar was used for. Surely a man as interesting as him wouldn’t disrespect my charity—but then again, our conversation could have set my standards for him too high. After all, he was clearly a jobless drug addict. I resolved that day that homeless gentlemen would no longer fool me. But the next day, as I strolled to Mr. Bartley’s (only the best burger joint in Harvard Square), my second experience was on the way. My attention and feet were now on the pants of a ground-dwelling, beer-bellied derelict. Motivated by the smell of well-done beef, I scurried straight over his trouser and knotted my foot in an awkward position in the process. I was going to look back, give a sincere apology and get out of my predicament without endangering myself. However, my escape was poorly-planned, and I spent a good 20 seconds trying to unravel my size 13 shoe from the mess of cloth. It took far too long for me to just ignore the guy—I had to, at the very least, treat him like a human being. I was in for a chilling emotional low-blow. The man had no legs. He held a shabby cardboardsharpie sign that read, “Gulf war veteran, God bless.” My thoughts, facial expressions and immediate reaction are altogether a blur of desperate apologies, pathetic 50 cent donations and an overall sinking feeling. I’d even call myself sheltered if I didn’t have an amputee-encounter before, but to think that a man gave up half his body for our lives, and that the country he serves can still leave him in the state he was in was chilling to the bone and inevitably scarring. —Dubey, a senior, is Editor-in-Chief. 16 Cente Garden with a passion because heal Spring time has finally arrived. Itâ€™s a great opportunity to take advantage of the warmer weather an are home-grown vegetables and fruits healthy and delicious, gardening is also a great way to enjoy junior Stephanie Zhang provide instructions on how to grow your own garden this season. Best times to planting from sprout: End of March or early April 1. Go to your local Orchard Supply Hardware (OSH) store and buy cherry tomato plants from the nursery. 2. Transplant the sprout into either a pot or soil, making sure that the soil is loosened and healthy. Tomato plants love heat and light, so make sure to plant them in open spaces where they can get lots of direct sunlight (approximately eight hours per day). 3. Water the plants every day, especially during hot summer days. Ensure that the soil is completely saturated, as tomato plants love water. 4. Fertilize once every two weeks. An easy way to make effective homemade fertilizer is to save up eggshells and crush them into powder form. 5. Distribute the fertilizer around the roots and water. 6. Tomato plants grow rapidly and will need frequent trimmings; this will allow the fruits to receive more nutrients and help the plant grow bigger. O T A M O T Y R R CHE Best time to plant: April to early May 1. Corn must be grown in warm weather. Plant in an area where it will be constantly exposed to sun, and make sure that the soil is rich. 2. Because the weather is not consistently warm around here, buy corn plants from a nursery and replant into the ground. 3. Thin the corn plants when they are around three to four inches tall. Spread compost over around the roots and leaves to prevent weed growth and maintain moisture. 4. Make sure that your plants get lots of water (at least one inch per week). Water as close to the ground as possible to ensure that the pollen doesnâ€™t get washed away. 5. You will only need to fertilize three times during the season: when they stalks are 10 inches tall, when they are 18 inches tall and when the tassels emerge. Corn plants consume lots of phosphorous and nitrogen, so if the leaves start to yellow, spray the plant with manure tea or fish emulsion. 6. It will take approximately 90 days for corn to mature (it will mature sooner if planted during warmer seasons). 7. When the husks are dark green and the silks are dry and brown, you may harvest. It will take around 20 days after the silk appears. 8. Be careful while harvesting, as many corn roots are close to the surface. CORN Best time to plant: March to April 1. Loosen the soil to ten inches deep and mix in compost. Dig holes of about half an inch deep and plant the seeds one inch apart from each other. 2. Pat down the soil to make sure it is firm. 3. Seedlings will appear in about three to seven days, and when they do, thin the plants to three inches apart. 4. Do not water too much, but keep the soil consistently moisturized. 5. Radishes mature quickly, so for constant harvest, plant every two weeks when the weather is cool. Do not grow in hot weather, as hot weather and insufficient water will cause the radish to develop a spicy taste, similar to that of horseradishes. 6. About three weeks after planting, the radishes will be ready to harvest. Harvest immediately after the plant has matured, as prolonged periods in the soil will cause them to become dry and unsavory. 7. Following harvest, cut off the leaves, put the radishes into cold water and store in the refrigerator. Graphics by Jasmine Garnett RADISH 17 erfold Monday, April 8, 2013 althy is in fashion nd begin a new hobby such as gardening! Not only the sun. Centerfold editors senior Eileen Qian and Best time to plant: July or early August 1. You can find healthy eggplant seeds at your local OSH or your local nursery. 2. Before planting, immerse your seeds in water overnight in order to trigger germination. 3. Find a patch of well-fertilized soil and plant the seeds in a one-fourth inch deep hole. 4. Plan so that the weather is around 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the first ten days after planting. 5. Once the sprouts reach three inches, carefully transfer the plants into pots and keep them at around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. 6. Allow plants to grow for six to nine weeks or until eggplants reach eight to nine inches. T N A L P G EG N O L E M R E T A W Best time to plant: June to August 1. Find a spot where the soil is rich and well-drained. Try to maintain at least six hours of sun exposure per day. 2. Plant seeds about two inches apart and one inch deep into the ground. Use three to five seeds per spot. Make sure the soil is rich and well-drained. 3. It will take a week for the seed to germinate. Determine which seedlings are stronger and weed out the weaker ones. 4. Keep the soil moist during the germination stage. Apply compost to prevent weeds from developing, help retain moisture and prevent the new roots from being overcooked by direct sunlight. Weed around the roots and leaves frequently. 5. When the flowers bloom, water every three days. Donâ€™t water too often, as the plants donâ€™t require too much water. 6. It takes about 80 to 100 days to mature. Tap on the melon and listen for a dull sound to confirm ripeness. R E B M U C U C Best time to plant: June to July 1. Cucumbers need a lot of sunlight to grow, so the weather should be around 70 degrees Fahrenheit when you plant the cucumber seeds. 2. The most basic cucumbers to plant are lemon cucumbers. The seeds can be found at your local OSH. 3. Once there is ideal weather, find a well-fertilized patch of soil with a pH value of around seven in your garden. 4. Depending on how many seeds you want to plant, dig holes around one inch deep and six to eight inches apart. Carefully place one seed in each hole and cover with dug out soil. 5. Cover each planted seed with a berry basket or a gardening net in order to keep pests out of your crop. 6. Cucumbers are very easy to take care of, so just water each seed with one inch of water a week. 7. Harvest the cucumbers after around three weeks when the cucumbers are approximately eight inches tall. 18 Features THEORACLE International Week Opening Ceremony and World Language Awards Monday International Week kicked off with an opening ceremony on the quad at lunch, where students carrying the flags from various countries all over the world marched to the blare of the Olympic anthem. More than 30 students representing their native countries participated in Gunn’s very own Parade of Nations, which was intended to recognize the diversity of the student body. Later that day, over 300 parents and students attended the World Language Awards ceremony held at 6 p.m. in Spangenberg Theater. The awards ceremony honored students for exemplary performances in their language classes. The night began with multiple performances from AP French class students and was followed by a reception with complimentary food and drinks. Audey Shen Tuesday Club Food Fair Celebrating the different cultures represented on campus, Tuesday’s lunch consisted of a Cultural Club Food Fair. Foods of many cultures including French, Japanese, German, and Spanish language clubs sold food on the quad. People could pick from a variety of international cuisines such as delicious French crepes, Chinese takeout, and traditional German frankfurters. As students munched on their food, African drummers provided live background music as entertainment, filling the atmosphere with life and spirit. Led by a professional musician, students paraded around the quad playing different traditional instruments such as African drums. Students could freely choose to join in with the fun and try their hand in making cultural music. Anthony Tran Study Abroad Information and Celtic Music Wednesday Celtic performers sang and played music on the quad during lunch on Wednesday while dressed in traditional French clothing with accordians and bagpipes. The guest performers alternated between singing French classics and playing folk music while the students on the quad listened and watched the entertainment. Study abroad programs were available to students as well, in order to provide awareness and information about possible foreign exchange opportunities. Through these life-changing experiences, students will be able to spend various lengths of time in a different country, experiencing the local culture while still developing their foreign language skills. Audey Shen Thursday PTSA International lunch Thursday’s lunch was an International Potluck, run by the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA). Tickets for the event were sold a week prior as well as at the event itself for $5. Students were given a plate which they filled with as much food as it could hold. Parent volunteers served food from America, India, China, Japan, France, Germany, Greece and many other countries. Both teachers and students enjoyed the wide range of international cuisine. Volunteers cooked and barbecued fresh hamburgers and hotdogs on the quad. An entire station of desserts was set up, overflowing with delicious treats. Different types of brownies, pies, donuts, tarts, and giant slices of rich chocolate cake were spread across the table for the students to satisfy their sweet tooth after the carb-loaded meal. Audey Shen Studio Kicks Martial Arts Friday To embrace the cultures and different activities and sports of the world, a martial arts form called Wushu was demonstrated on the quad at lunch on Friday. Wushu, a type of Chinese fighting style, has been developing in China for centuries. It’s literal translation, “martial arts”, accurately portrays the sport’s full-contact nature. Students from a local dance studio called Studio Kicks performed cultural lion dances. These included broadsword and straightsword form demonstrations, cudgel forms, and hand forms. A part of their act included warping around the quad underneath a traditional Chinese dragon costume. Among the performing students were four freshmen, Varun Singh, Rahul Sharma, Neil Sharma and Milla Jovovich and two juniors, Neeka Gorgani and Cedric Linares. Stephanie Kim —Compiled by Emily Kvitko, Christine Lin and Klaire Tan Features Monday, April 8, 2013 19 Courtesy of Zee Peng Left to right: Two artists pose in front of their pieces. A group of students dance at the opening ceremony. A citizen introduces two student musicians. Students present artistic expressions for public viewing Dave Zhou Graphics Artist Palo Alto City Hall and the Palo Alto Art Center hosted a viewing of student artwork to help teenagers express themselves and connect with the community. Held from Mar. 9 through 24, the “Youth Speaks Out” exhibition displayed 114 pieces of art and was organized by Visual Arts teacher Deanna Messinger and Carolyn Digovich, a mother of a Palo Alto High School (Paly) alumnus. Sponsored by the Palo Alto Youth Collaborative, the anonymous studentcrafted expressions of personal experiences cover the walls in the form of photographs, paintings and prints. Each piece is explained by a short narrative explaining the background and theme of the art. In 2010, the Palo Alto Youth Forum called attention to the stress and pressures local youths are exposed to. Teens at the event described what was important to them and compiled a list of grievances to allow adults to better understand their personal troubles. Inspired by the event, Messinger and Digovich came together to organize an art show that would allow Gunn and Paly students to artistically express their frustrations. The first “Youth Speaks Out” exhibit was held at City Hall in 2012. This year, the event was expanded to accommodate the increase of submitted student artwork. For Messinger, the goal of the exhibition was to “[give] students a community venue to show work” and to “offer them the opportunity to send a message to the community.” Messinger aims for the art show to be a “format for [youths] to express how they are doing without judgment.” As an art teacher, Messinger believes that artists, as they communicate for the rest of the community what is working well or otherwise in their societies, are the “oracles of a culture.” “For most artists, it’s not a question of choice,” she said. “They have to make art.” For the exhibition, several art classes at Gunn and Paly were chosen to submit art, and every student in those classes could also choose to have their art displayed. According to Messinger, this method of choosing the art allowed for more expression from a wider range of students than selecting the artwork individually based on skill. “Everybody’s voice matters, regardless of their skill or their ability,” Messinger said. Gunn sophomore and artist Patricia Lin had her work exhibited at the Palo Alto Art Center. By having her work shown, Lin hopes to communicate her own social pressures artistically to let locals “live [her] experiences” and to increase “awareness for adults as well.” According to Lin, the various struggles and hardships local youths endure can sometimes only be expressed through art. “There are a lot of things words cannot describe that art can only describe,” Lin said. “I feel like, as a young adult in Palo Alto, there’s a lot I want to say so I rely on art to express it.” According to Messinger, the feedback from Palo Alto parents and youths was constructive and powerful, and Messinger plans to continue to see that this exhibition occurs annually to allow adults to “[keep] a tab on the health of our students.” Coordinator Carolyn Digovich felt pleased with the caliber of the art and the reception by the community. “I think it’s a great turnout,” Digovich said. “It is a sensitive approach to sensitive content. The well-being of our young people is the most precious thing [to us].” Artist of the Month: sophomore Young-jae Son The Oracle: Why did you start singing and when? Young-jae Son: My family is pretty musical so technically I had always been singing since I was around...8 or 9? However, I didn’t join choir until 8th grade, and I didn’t really like it that much. Out of loyalty to my father, I continued on during high school. I began taking voice lessons at the end of freshman year, and after little under a year, my ability has dramatically improved. Now, choir is, all hands down, one of my favorite subjects, and I intend to take it all four years. TO: What are you currently working on? YS: I am working on “Sonntag” by Brahms. I believe that it’s a German Folk song that was arranged by Brahms to use as a work of classical music. The song is about some dude who has this crush on a girl at church, and he’s just mooning over how great he thinks she is, and how he looks forward to every Sunday so that he can stare at her. I’m also working on “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” from the musical “Oklahoma” which is a pretty well known song about a guy marveling at the beauty of nature and the countryside. TO: How often do you practice? YS: I practice every day, about 30 minutes, doing breathing exercises and working on sight reading, though in some cases I may do more. I also take weekly vocal lessons which are about an hour in length. I sometimes neglect to practice on days when I am really tired or am super busy, but usually I’m able to make enough time to practice. My practice involves listening to diction tracks, watching YouTube clips, doing weird little exercises and all sorts of other crazy stuff. TO: Who do you look up to? YS: I really look up to my dad who got me into singing in the first place and who has supported me in this art. I also look up to my vocal teacher Mrs. Chowning who has helped me grow so much. And there is Thomas Hapson, a lyric bariton, whose music I listen to all the time. And, of course, I also look up to several other unnamed people. TO: Do you want to continue singing after high school? YS: Yes, I intend to sing for the rest of my life. Singing has just become such an integral part of my life, it’s hard to imagine stopping. TO: Where do you receive inspiration? YS: I do not know. I suppose that the simple ability to make music is enough. I want to keep getting better and better until I cannot stop. TO: What do you love about singing? YS: It’s just great fun and gives me a sense of freedom. It’s sort of liberating to be able to just make music on the spot. I also enjoy the positive energy that I get when performing in front of people; it gives me confidence. TO: Do you want to continue singing professionally, or do you want to sing as a hobby? YS: I think singing professionally would be great, but again, I’m not sure if I will ever reach that kind of level. Given the choice I would sing as a career. TO: What are your goals in singing? YS: I have no idea. I suppose I just want to get as good as is humanly possible for me, and to keep singing for the rest of my life. I do not have any ambitions other than that. I secretly hope to become a professional singer, but I do not know if I am that good, or that ever will be. But I guess I just have to see what happens in the future. TO: What was your favorite performance? YS: My favorite performance was the Gunn StaffChoir Musical earlier this year. It was really fun, with high energy levels, and I can not wait for next year’s winter show. The rehearsals were boring, but when the show actually came to pass, oh boy, it was like drinking a gallon of Red Bull. That is, until the day after when I was really tired. TO: What kind of music do you typically sing? YS: I usually sing classical music and folk songs, though I will sing musical theater here and there. I have sung in Italian, Latin, German, French and English, though it’s quite difficult to sing in a foreign language. TO: Has has singing affected different parts of your life? YS: Overall, singing has done nothing but improve all aspects of my life. Singing has given me the confidence to be the person I want, without worrying about how I am perceived. It has made me more willing to try new things and to not be afraid to risk failing. —Compiled by Erica Lee 20 Features Bol Park Donkeys : A piece of Palo Alto history Perry Every Sunday at 5 p.m., children residing in the Barron Park neighborhood and beyond flock to the Cornelis Bol Park preserve where two donkeys, Miner Forty-Niner and Perry, spend their days. Donkeys have been a tradition of the Barron Park community since the 1930s, living in an enclosed area adjacent to the Bol Park bike path. Perry, a 19-year-old donkey whose full name is Pericles, was used as a model for a computer-generated imagery (CGI) character in the 2001 film “Shrek.” Dreamworks, the company that produced the film, had a subsidiary that came to the park and tracked his movements as a basis for the character Donkey. One of the lead handlers, Barron Park Association Board Member Doug Moran, recalls watching the movie and recognizing his friend. “We could tell it was him from the way he held his head, from the way he cocked his ears,” he said. “He was incredibly recognizable in the movie.” Perry moved to Bol Park when he was three years old in 1997. In September and November of 2012, Perry suffered two attacks from the same German Shephard. After the second one in November, he was hospitalized for five days after suffering a major loss of skin on his right cheek. “The cheek was largely torn off and skin was hanging off,” Moran said. According to head handler Robert Frost, the dog was removed from the city due to the dangers it was causing to both the donkeys and the local residents. “The city of Palo Alto and animal control were all informed about it, and eventually the people decided that he had to be taken away to a different area,” he said. Moran describes Perry as the more mischievous animal of the two. Shortly after Perry had arrived, the city council inspected the pasture to decide whether or not to keep the preserve. “He wasn’t used to having a lot of people not pay attention to him, so he bit down hard on my arm,” Moran said. “But I couldn’t scream and let them think he was dangerous, so I explained that a normal characteristic of donkeys was to bite down on their protector’s tail.” Graphics by George Hwang, Photos by Audey Shen Miner Forty-Niner While the prestige of movie stardom always belongs to Perry, Miner Forty-Niner was, in fact, the original choice for the 2001 movie “Shrek.” After being led down to the Bol Park grass area by Dreamworks animators to record his movements, Miner was eventually passed over in favor of Perry; Miner was kicked off the set for attempting to eat the producer’s shoes, according to the Barron Park Association Board Member Doug Moran. At 30 years old, Miner is the older and larger of the two. He was brought to the Bol Park reserve shortly before Perry in July 1997. “When it was clear that it was Mickey’s [one of the previous donkeys’] last year, we looked hard and got Miner,” Moran said. When he was 16 years of age, he was donated by a Los Altos Hills family on its way to Colorado with no place to keep him. Miner, as Moran describes him, is the calmer and wiser of the two. “Miner thinks he’s much more a part of the human crowd,” he said. “He’s a much mellower one, and he’s just big and friendly.” Head handler Robert Frost attributes the difference in Perry and Miner’s personalities to their different upbringings. “Perry was born a domesticated animal,” he said. “Miner, however, started off as a wild animal growing up in the desert.” The care of Miner and his companion comes solely from volunteers. Twice a day, various members of a volunteer group dedicated to the Bol Park donkeys feed the animals, check up on their water and clean up the manure. The donkeys’ well-being is funded by the Acterra foundation and various local citizens. —Compiled by Nabeel Chollampat Sports Monday, April 8, 2013 21 Unique alternative cures mitigate muscle soreness For any athlete, sore muscles can be crippling and have an inhibiting effect on performance. In addition to stretching, athletes can take natural supplements to relieve sore muscles and get back to beating their opponents. Yet, unlike the pad, the rice sock changes shape easily and can be used while the user sleeps. Create your very own rice sock buddy with the following steps. First, fill a sturdy sock with rice. Second, tie the sock up tightly to prevent rice from spilling out. Lastly, heat up your creation for two minutes in the microwave and it’ll be ready to go. Tart Cherry Juice Drink tart cherry juice If you’re sick of the typical, bland sports smoothie, why not switch to tart cherry juice? Tangy in taste and high in antioxidants, cherry juice will soothe muscles and whet taste buds. Research from the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports showed that 20 marathon runners that drank tart cherry juice before and after their race complained of significantly less pain than the 20 runners in the control group. Drinking just 10 ounces of this magical juice will reduce overall pain in affected areas, allowing for more enjoyable workout sessions. Epsom Salts Coffee Drink small amounts of coffee As long as you drink it in small amounts, coffee can actually help reduce muscle pain and fatigue after exercise. According to a study done by professors from the University of Georgia, the caffeine in coffee stops the action of adenosine, a chemical that sends pain signals to the brain and causes inflammation. However, if taken in large amounts, coffee can produce some adverse side effects, such as jitteriness or sleep disturbance. Just keep the daily dose to under three cups, and you’ll be able to sustain longer and more intense workouts with less pain afterwards. Take a bath with epsom salts Wash away muscle soreness along with your post-workout grunge in an epsom salt bath. Epsom salt contains high amounts of the magnesium that your body needs. By sitting in water with epsom salts, your body will absorb this magnesium, leading to increased blood circulation and decreased muscle pain. Just mix about two cups of the salt into warm bath water, and soak in it for at least 15 minutes. For optimal muscle relaxation, aim for three epsom salt baths per week. Oil Massage Get a massage with oil Want to be pampered? Why not relax your muscles with an oil massage? Massages help cure sore muscles by nourishing cells and enhancing metabolism. In addition, they calm down the body and mind to make for more pleasant workout sessions. Gently rub any affected areas, using the thumb and forefinger for thinner areas, like the arms, and the palm and heel of the hand for larger areas, like the back. For the best massage experience, blend the essential oils of arnica, Calendula and St. John’s and rub the mixture into the painful area. Foam Rolling Roll on a foam roller As long as you are willing to go out and buy one, a foam roller will eliminate and prevent muscle knots. Like the name suggests, the foam roller is a foam log that can be rolled across sore areas. By putting gentle pressure on sore muscles, the foam roller triggers myofascial release and a breakdown of scar tissues. With arrays of available exercise, you can literally stretch any part of your body. Each exercise is tailored to the muscle it targets, but in general, apply light pressure and roll the log back and forth across the sore area. Ginger Eat small amounts of ginger For centuries, people from all over the world have benefited from ginger’s healing properties, which include reducing swelling and damage in muscle. A study by the University of Georgia revealed that taking a daily dose of 30 milligrams reduce muscle pain by as much as 25 percent. In addition, eating ginger does not have any of the side effects (e.g. ulcers) of consuming common anti-inflammatory drugs. Whether eaten raw or cooked, ginger will make exercising a far more enjoyable experience. Herbs Apply herbs to skin For a more traditional approach to healing soreness, look no further than herbal medicines. Many herbs have medicinal properties that relax aching muscles and accelerate the healing process for damaged muscles. Have any black cohosh, mint or chamomile in the garden? Just apply them topically to sore areas. Stocked up on some nettle, Oregon grape, rosemary or skullcap? Just brew them into a tea and drink up. With the massive variety of herbs, the possibilities for muscle treatment are literally endless. Ice Bath Immerse yourself in ice water for a short time If you can stand a few minutes of intense cold water, consider taking an ice bath to ease your muscle pain. According to research in “The Cochrane Library,” an online health website, bathing in ice cold water reduces soreness by about 15 percent after a workout. The cold water helps soothe pain by constricting blood vessels to reduce swelling. For the best results, try to get your bath water to reach a temperature of around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it’s there, just jump in; there’s no need to subject yourself to pneumonia either—one to five minutes in the bath is more than enough. Heated Rice Sock Make a heat applier with a sock and hot rice If you’re short on money, there’s no problem. The homemade heated rice sock can save both your muscles and your wallet. The sock works like a heating pad by increasing blood circulation in sore muscles. —Compiled by Chaewon Lee Faces in the Crowd Graphics by George Hwang “Do you even lift, bro?” “No.” Ryan Araghi (9) “Yes.” Somina Lee (10) “Hell yeah I lift. See me at the J.” ‘Paco’ Covarrubias (11) “Dude, everyday. 50... on each arm.” Sigonee Madan (12) —Compiled by Henry Siu 22 Sports THEORACLE Spring sports teams progress through season with Baseball The baseball team is well into its season and looking to repeat their leagueclinching performance from last season. The team, however, has an 0-7 record in its new league, the Santa Clara Valley Athletics League (SCVAL) De Anza Division, and a 4-10 overall record. According to coach John Harney, the team’s rough start is due to a number of factors. “The league is a lot tougher than last year’s,” he said. “And this year, there are also more players who are not as baseball-experienced.” According to senior Chris Rea, the team is still in a good position to make the playoffs. “We have some pretty good chances making the postseason,” he said. “As long as we can win some more league games, we’ll be in good shape.” Harney’s, his main goal is to just see the team improve. “What I’m looking for is to just see us play better baseball,” he said. “We can’t lose because of silly mistakes, and we need to improve our fundamentals.” The team’s next game is Monday, Apr. 8 at Gunn at 3:30 p.m. against Monta Vista High School. 1 2 Badminton Though the badminton season just started, head coach Marc Tsukakoshi is confident in the new group of athletes. “I think overall the athleticism and motivation are pretty high,” Tsukakoshi said. The team currently has a record of 1-3 in the De Anza Division. Tsukakoshi and senior Koji Habu both believe the level of athleticism of the newcomers is the team’s main strength this season. “I think for some reason the interest in the sport is a bit higher this year,” Tsukakoshi said. “In the past, we’ve had a lot of people who were cut from or dropped other sports—but this year I think the interest specifically in badminton is pretty high, so I think that will help with their improvement.” Tsukakoshi’s goals for the remainder of the season are for his players to be able to improve their time management, athleticism and self-confidence. Their next game is on Thursday, Apr. 11 at 3:30 p.m. at Gunn against Monta Vista High School. Stephanie Kim 3 Diving The diving squad is off to a flying start this season in the SCVAL De Anza Division with a boys’ record of 2-1 and a girls’ record of 1-1. The team has a group of talented divers, including freshmen Vivian Zhou and seniors Emma Wiszowaty and Miko Mallari. “We’re definitely showing some improvement compared to last year,” Mallari said. According to head coach Brien Arakaki, the team is adjusting to all of the new divers this year. “We have four new incredible divers,” Arakaki said. “Freshman Vivian Zhou has qualified for west nationals and is projected to finish on the podium in Central Coast Section (CCS)—she’s an amazing diver.” Boys’ captain Miko Mallari is optimistic about the incoming divers. One of the benefits the diving team has enjoyed is the support of new assistant coach Doug Schwandt. “He’s helping us out a lot,” Arakaki said. “With both our different coaching styles, our divers become more well-rounded.” The diving team’s next meet is at Gunn on Tuesday, Apr. 9, at 3:30 p.m against Homestead High School. Anthony Tran Anthony Tran 4 Boys’ Golf Hard work has definitely paid off for the boys’ golf team, and with a current record of 5-1-1, winning the league title and qualifying for the CCS finals are in its future. The boys won their league opener 190-250 against Cupertino. Junior Zack Tevanian hit a 2-under 34, and senior Avinash Sharma hit an even-par 36 to help the team prevail. One of the key goals for the team this season is to beat long-time rival Palo Alto High School. “Both teams are very good this year,” senior Curran Sinha said. “It’s going to be a very close match.” According to Sinha, the strength of the team comes from the fact that most players have returned from last year; nine out of the team’s members are returning. “We have all really improved from last year,” Sinha said. The team’s next tournament is against Cupertino High School at the Sunnyvale Golf Course at 3 p.m. on Thursday, April 11th. Audey Shen 5 6 Boys’ Lacrosse The boys’ lacrosse team is doing well in the El Camino league with an overall record of 2-4 and a league record of 2-4. “Our team has a lot of good players who perform individually, but our struggle this year is being a team,” captain senior Joe Hinton said. “During the off season, very few of us played together, so we currently lack team chemistry, but that will definitely come later in the season.” Despite lacking the teamwork, Hinton is not concerned for this year’s team: “We had few seniors last year, so there wasn’t a lot of coping that our team had to deal with.” Hinton is confident in the team this year, and he believes that they will excel above most of the other teams in their league. “Being in the El Camino league, we can really give teams in our league a run for their money if not blow them out, so playoffs are a hope for this year,” Hinton said. The boys face Leland High School at home on Wednesday, Apr. 10 at 4 p.m. Girls’ Lacrosse The girls’ lacrosse team started the season with two ties against Menlo-Atherton and Oak Ridge and a 15-7 loss against Sacred Heart Prep. The girls rallied to win their next three games against Notre Dame, Leland and Pioneer. As of Mar. 28, the team has an overall record of 5-3-2 and 4-2 in the SCVAL Foothill Division. Captain junior Victoria Nguyen does not have many concerns for the team’s in general. “Our team is doing very well,” Nguyen said. “Right now, all we need to work on are some plays.” In addition, outside of team play, the girls’ lacrosse team has been working itself hard. “Our athleticism is really helping us during the games,” Nguyen said. “We are much more athletic this year because we have been training a lot.” The girls’ next game is Tues., April 9, at Los Gatos High School at 7 p.m. Anthony Tran Stephanie Kim 1. Freshmen Reid Kovacs takes his breath as he makes his next stride. 2. Junior Simon Han smashes a shuttlecock. 3. Senior Claire Klausner swings at the oncoming ball. 4. Junior Langsi Wu comes up for a breath while performing the butterfly stroke. 5. Senior Ben Sampson prepares to catch a throw from a fellow teammate during practice. 6. Freshman Jason Steinberg hits the water after performing a dive. Sports Monday, April 8, 2013 23 impressive records, look to qualify for CCS playoffs 7 Gymnastics 8 The girls’ gymnastics team started its season with high hopes and enthusiasm, with their sights on the Central Coast Section (CCS) Championship title. Their competition season started with two meets on Tuesday, Apr. 3 and Monday, Apr. 8, and practices are showing the team’s potential. According to freshman Monica Boerger, the team’s biggest challenge this season has been learning skills in short periods of time. “We have had to get our routines down very quickly,” Boerger said. Boerger also feels that the team members have their own skills to work on, but altogether the team is showing outstanding potential. The girls’ gymnastics team has coped well after losing last year’s seniors by finding strength in their new freshman players. “To be honest, I think we have a pretty strong team,” Boerger said. “Our freshmen this year are all fairly good, each with their own strengths.” The team is optimistic about their chances this season, and the girls are working hard to hone their skills in order to bring home CCS title. The girls’ next meet takes place on Wednesday, Apr. 17 at 6 p.m. at Twisters Gym. Softball Michael Wu Stephanie Kim 9 The girls’ softball team has swung into action, and the season is off to a promising start. The team has a 3-2 record in the SCVAL De Anza Division and an overall record of 4-8. Coach Matt Maltz admits that the team has its holes. “We need to work on confidence at the plate,” he said. “We have a young team, and that’s probably the biggest thing we need to work on.” Sophomore Natalie Oda says the team has worked well together so far this season. “The freshmen are actually mixing in really well with the rest of the team, and we have really good chemistry,” she said. Oda believes, however, that the team has some room for improvement. “We pop up too much in games, and our outfield needs some work,” she said. Maltz feels that the team’s performance hasn’t been consistent. The team had an impressive 15-1 win against Fremont High School, but the girls experienced a shutout loss against Woodside High School as well. “It’s been an up-and-down ride so far,” he said. The team’s next game is against Palo Alto High School (Paly) on Thursday, Swimming The swim team’s season is off to a great start in the SCVAL De Anza Division. After beating Los Altos in their first meet and continuing the trend against Saratoga, the boys’ and girls’ teams have a strong record of 2-1. According to head coach Mark Hernandez, the team has had some talented new swimmers step up. “We lost a lot of incredible seniors from last year’s girls team,” he said. “But underclassmen such as [sophomore] Jenna Campbell have really showed promise.” In Campbell’s first meet, she nearly qualified for an All-American time, and is now in the discussion for a championship in the CCS 200 and 500 yard freestyle. Even after such a strong start, senior team captain Krystal Feri sees areas for improvement on the team. “We need to work on finishing hard in our races,” she said. According to Hernandez, there are still some holes in both teams. “For the boys, we need to figure out the best sprint freestylers,” he said. “And for the girls, the best distance freestylers. There’s still a long way to go.” The team will compete in its next meet at Gunn on Wednesday, Apr. 10, at 3:30 p.m. against Homestead. Anthony Tran 10 11 Boys’ Tennis The boys’ tennis tam is off to a great start and has remained undefeated in the SCVAL El Camino division with a league record of 9-1. According to head coach Jim Gorman, the singles lineup is strong this season. “They’ve been solid and very reliable,” Gorman said. “[They] have been winning most of their matches and have been doing a great job.” According to Gorman, the doubles team could use some improvement. “It’s just they’re all new to doubles, so trying to get them to the net has been a tough one,” Gorman said. According to junior David Lin, the doubles are good but the team keeps changing. Lin also believed there are other key factors that could greatly improve the dynamic. “I would have to say attendance is quite a weakness,” Lin said. After a 4-3 non-league loss to Los Gatos earlier in the season, the boys made a comeback to defeat Santa Clara 7-0, Wilcox 5-2, Mountain View 5-2, Fremont 5-2 and Milpitas 6-1. The team’s next game next game is on Tuesday, Apr. 9, against Homestead at the Cubberley Community Center. Track and Field Track and field starts out the season near the head of the pack. The team currently has a 4-0-1 record in league. The last win came in a meet against Lynbrook High School on Mar. 21, in which freshman Gillian Meeks won the 800-meter, mile and 2-mile races, senior Eric Price won high jump, long jump and triple jump, and freshman Maya Miklos won high hurdles, 300 hurdles, 400 and four-by-one relay. Some members of the team were chosen for the selective national-level meet: the Stanford Invitational. Meeks, sophomore Jessica Lua, junior Sarah Robinson and senior Wyatt Eberspacher were all participants. Junior Thomas Rasmussen believes their new coach has been a big factor in their success. “The team has been doing a lot better with her coaching,” he said. “If people continue to listen to the coach and do the workouts to the best of their ability, we’ll get a lot better.” The team’s next meet will take place at Gunn against Saratoga High School on Thursday, Apr. 11 at 3:15 p.m. Stephanie Kim Michael Wu 7. Senior Francesca Gencarella gracefully performs a split leap. 8. Senior Amy Creasey cradles the ball as she attacks the defense. 9. Junior Anatole Colevas (left) attacks as Sophomore Jared Gencarella (right) defends. 10. Sophomore Alex Matthys shows some veins as he serves the tennis ball. 11. Senior Curran Sinha calmly chips the golf ball. —Compiled by Lena Campbell, Lawrence Chen, Nabeel Chollampat, Mitch Donat, and Henry Siu. Sports 24 Teachers, students make NCAA final four picks THEORACLE Chris Redfield “My final four picks are Louisville, Indiana, Duke and University of Miami Florida. I watched every single NCAA college basketball game, and after analyzing every single team and the probability of them winning, I chose the team that isn’t projected to win.” Rajeev Virmani “I think University of Louisville will win it all this year over Indiana University, because they play an up and down, high pressure press with some great athletes. Also in my final four are the University of Florida and Ohio State.” Janet Titzler (11) Nicole Menache Alex Gil (9) * “For my final four, I picked Marquette University, Michigan State University, Ohio State University and University of Michigan. I don’t really know how to pick teams, but I usually do pretty well.” * Ari Wayne (10) “I predict the University of Indiana, Georgetown University, Louisville and Ohio State will make the final four. In the end, Indiana will win it all because of their tough schedule and experience in big games; the way you learn to beat a good team is by playing good teams.” “My final four picks are Florida, Duke, Miami and Gonzaga. My strategy was picking some random upsets, and after that, I went and looked at the ones I had no idea about: for these, I chose the mascot that would win in a fight.” * “My strategy was listening to SportsCenter a lot, and listening to the advice they had. For the final four, I picked Indiana, Michigan, Gonzaga and Duke, with Gonzaga winning it all.” * —Compiled by Mitch Donat and Roy Shadmon Gonzaga and Georgetown have already been eliminated. Graphics by George Hwang, photos by Michael Wu Spend your summer with Ivy Tutors SAT Prep, Preview Courses, Writing & College Essay Summer SAT 4-Week Course 1st session ~ 6/3 – 6/27 ~ Mon – Thurs 10:00am – 1:00pm OR 2:30pm – 5:30pm 2nd session ~ 7/1 – 7/25 ~ Mon – Thurs 10:00am – 1:00pm OR 2:30pm – 5:30pm Summer SAT 2-Week Course 7/29 – 8/8 ~ Mon – Thurs Boys’ Basketball Most Valuable Player (MVP): Sean Barry (12), Patrick Skelly (11) Girls’ Basketball MVP: Zoe Zwerling (11) Most Improved Player (MIP): Sarah Klem (12) CA: Nora Shevick (12) 10:00am – 1:00pm OR 2:30pm – 5:30pm Math & Science Preview Courses Boys’ Soccer IVY TUTORS CAN HELP YOU RAISE YOUR SAT SCORE 200 – 500 POINTS Girls’ Soccer Algebra I & II/Geometry/Trigonometry/Calculus/Analysis AP Chemistry/AP Physics/Chemistry H/Physics H For the full 2013 Summer Schedule please visit www.ivytutor.org or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Wrestling Tutoring MVP: Richard Bullwinkle (12) CA: Ben Sampson (12), Guy Kasznik (10) MVP: Caroline Anderson (11), Adriana Noronha (11) MIP: Bella Harbert (11) MVP: Eric Cramer (12), Cadence Lee (11) CA: Stephen Martin CA: Spencer Miner (12) College Essay Support College Counseling SAT ● ACT ● AP SSAT ● ISEE CALL TODAY for a Free Consultation! 442 S. California Ave, Palo Alto ● 650-494-3883 www.ivytutor.org ● email@example.com Cheer MVP: Emily Cottle (12) MIP: Leigh Mercer (12) CA: Eileen Xu (12) Song MVP: Tina Wang (10) CA: Maytal Abramson (11) —Compiled by Matt Niksa Sports Varsity game: Swim vs. Los Altos In its first meet of the season, the swim team crushed Los Altos High School with a combined difference of 121 points. Los Altos obtained only 125 points compared to Gunn’s 246 points. The girls scored 133 points and the boys scored 113 points. Overall, Gunn had a total of 20 times that qualified for the Central Coast Section (CCS). Both boys and girls placed first or second in each relay event and had CCS-qualifying times. In the 200-yard individual medley, senior Tommy Tai posted a time of 2:01.76 minutes, while sophomore Jennifer Campbell posted a time of 1:52.17 minutes in the 200-yard freestyle. The boys’ 200-yard medley relay posted a time of 1:42.54 minutes and qualified for CCS. The girls placed first and second in the 400-yard freestyle, while the boys placed second and third. “We started off really well and I think it will be a good season this year,” junior Jarrod Mock said. Monday, April 8, 2013 25 Junior Varsity game: Tennis vs. Homestead MONTHLY AWARDS Mitch Donat The boys JV tennis team, currently undefeated with a 7-0 record, faced fierce competition for the first time this season on Mar. 19, when they won a home game against Homestead High School with an overall score of 6-1. Freshman Dillon Yang made a comeback after losing a set in a singles match and beating out strong competition in his third set. “It threw me off because I was expecting an easier opponent,” Yang said. “My opponent pushed me to play better, and it was a really fun match.” After dropping the first set, freshmen Kevin Lee and Kush Dubey tied their second set and won their third against more experienced opponents. Even with a hard-fought victory under its belt, the team still has room for improvement. “We hope to improve our game, have fun, learn about teamwork, leadership, the value of hard work as well as to help [the player] move up to varsity next season,” coach Jake Vu said. Varsity athlete: Jesse Wang Junior Varsity athlete: Jack Jaffe Junior Jesse Wang won his first singles varsity badminton match of the season against Lynbrook High School. Despite the team losing to Lynbrook 13-17 overall, Wang beat Lynbrook’s Jeffrey Yang two games to one. “It was really close in the beginning,” Wang said. Yang won the first game, but Wang made a comeback and won the last two. With the loss of many veterans over the year, the team is looking to improve. Wang feels that there is much speculation as to how the rest of the season will go. “I’ll find out by the end of the year how everything will end out,” Wang said. This season, both varsity girls’ and boys’ teams are looking to improve with the loss of many players. “I think that it is the goal for all teams to improve regardless of the loss of players or not,” Wang said. Sophomore Jack Jaffe has the third best scoring average on the boys’ golf team and the best scoring average out of all the sophomores and freshmen. On Mar. 12, he was a co-medalist in the match against Fremont high school. According to coach Chris Redfield, Jaffe has played consistently well in all matches since the beginning of the season and is a key player in the strongest line-up. Jaffe is optimistic about the future for himself as well as the team. “My goal is to shoot 75 in the league tournament and hopefully at CCS,” he said. “Our team has a really good chance at making CCS, and if we do, we will definitely do better than last year.” Audey Shen Michael Wu —Compiled by Alex Man and Shireen Ahsan BRING YOUR FRIENDS AND SAVE SPECIAL OFFERS PROM PRICES ST AR T AT : 39 while supplies last $40OFF $40 off coupon good toward a regular priced complete tuxedo/suit prom rental. Requires new rental order and $20 down payment at least ten days prior to use date. Not good toward budget collection and retail items.May not be combined with other offers, discounts or specials. No cash value, no cash back. Restrictions apply. See stores for details. Coupon Code. 40PROM 13 PALO ALTO (650) 321-2770 Other Locations: HAYWARD (510) 538-7733 SAN FRANCISCO (415) 362-1133 SAN MATEO (650) 342-4149 PLEASANT HILL (925) 798-2214 SANTA ROSA (707) 575-3212 CAMPBELL (408) 559-4114 26 THEORACLE Sports Entertainment 27 Monday, April 8, 2013 SPRING FASHION: Staple Items Junior Luis Schubert and senior Susannah Knox model different fashion trends for the upcoming season. k c ne flor al top v- pastel skinny jeans khaki pants Audey Shen Co nv canvas shoes ers e Audey Shen —Compiled by Ellen Lee Out with the winter, in with the spring Emily Kvitko Reporter As Gossip Girl from the hit TV series once said, “They say a leopard can’t change his spots, but some things do change.” When the seasons shift, the fashion adaptations that we may forget to make can become like a heavy, uncomfortable coat (no pun intended). And whether you’re freezing your calves off in the bipolar weather or sweating it out in layers, no one does spring and summer like us Californians. Grab your shorts and your shades, because it’s going to be a fun transition. As we dressed ourselves in thick jumpers, keeping our cool and trying to stay snug, our bodies were covered with pounds of fuzzy jackets and jeans. Although we must admit that staying warm was quite the challenge, dressing in luxurious, cozy boots and hats was thoroughly pleasurable. Our cheeks rosy, we sat bundled up in coffee shops sporting navy knitwear with a steaming mug of hot chocolate . This past winter, the color oxblood was everywhere; in fact, it quickly became the season’s hottest hue. Men had the option of throwing on a burgundy blazer or baseball jacket, while women modeled maroon skater skirts and sweater dresses. But unlike big, oversized coats and chunky pullovers, oxblood is a winter trend that we don’t have to say goodbye to—at least not yet. Smoothly transition with the shade by pairing it with lustrous pinks, purple florals or bright blues for the quickly approaching warmer days. As spring blooms and blossoms, we can wave a farewell to winter’s slightly colorless fashion until next year. The time has come to peel off some of the abundant layers that the chilly, biting weather has enclosed us with. Remember those denim overalls you used to wear as a child? Well, they’re back and as chic and current as ever. Maybe childhood nostalgia got the best of us, but there is nothing like a pair of noteworthy overalls. Wear them with an alluring button-up shirt and a pair of ankle boots for a fresh, unique look. Now who would have thought that someone would want to wear a suit to school? In fact, spring’s sophisticated yet playful shorts suit is perfect for hanging out with your friends. Top the look off with confidence, and you’ll have an outfit that will definitely make up for arriving 20 minutes late to class. And for you fashion-conscious guys out there: don’t hesitate to abandon those skater sneakers for a pair of quality loafers or boat shoes. If you are looking to catch the eye of that special someone, consider sporting a dark-wash pair of jeans with a clean top. Dress up your look by throwing on crisp khakis or an appealing button-down. Stay fresh, cleansed and classy. Trust me, most girls would agree that these are important tips to follow. On a side note, it is never a bad idea to smell nice. 28 Entertainment Boy Schedule Diy: Corsage MATERIALS: Leon Cheong 1) Green Stem Wrap Tape 2) Ribbon 3) Three flowers with stems 4) Scissors 9 a.m: Sleep in. Why wake up when you don’t need to? 10 a.m: At this point, when the alarm rings I’ll yank the cord out of the wall. More sleep. directions: 11 a.m: I groggily wake up, take a shower, eat breakfast, and get dressed in my regular clothes. 12 p.m: I go to lunch with friends and discuss preparations for the upcoming dance. 2 p.m: I cluelessy struggle to hastily put together my tuxedo. 3 p.m: Go to pre-party and take what feels like a million pictures. 5 p.m: The wheels on the bus go round and round, all the way to San Francisco. 7 p.m: Delicious dinner at the harbor that I spent $190 for (it better be good). 1) Gather all the materials necessary to make the corsage. 2) Cut the flower stems to about one to two inches in length. 3) Gather the flowers into a small bouquet and wrap the green stem wrap tape around the stems to secure them together. 4) Tie a bow of your color preference around the stem. Make sure that you cut enough ribbon that after you tie it into a bow, you can bring the tail ends of the bow and tie them around your wrist. If you prefer, you can make the bow bigger by cutting several pieces of ribbon and tying them together in a bow formation. —Compiled by Noa Livneh A look back at the “We all got nervous when my girl didn't show up on time.”But during the dance, it was really fun since everyone was watching.” —senior Eric Cheng “I felt kind of scared because so many people were watching and I had no idea what was going on!” – —sophomore Somina Lee – —Compiled by Alex Man 9 p.m: Dance until my feet fall off, then dance some more. 10 p.m: Prommin’ 12 a.m: Depart for the after party. 1 a.m: Party like we were born to do it. —Cheong, a junior, is a Forum editor. Courtesy of Eric Cheng Senior Eric Cheng and sophomore Somina Lee take a picture after Cheng and friends perform a dance on the quad in order to ask potential promdates. Entertainment Monday, April 8, 2013 Diy: boutonniere 29 Girl Schedule MATERIALS: 1) Floral tape 2) Scissors and/or flower clippers 3) One rose 4) Ribbon 5) Corsage Pins Kavya Padmanabhan 11 a.m: Instead of the beauty rest every girl deserves, on the day of prom, I’ll be stuck taking the ACT. directions: 1) Choose a rose for the boutonniere. 2) Cut the stem so that it's about two inches. 3) Wrap the floral tape around the stem of the rose, making sure not to leave any part of the stem bare. 4) Cut the tape when the stem is completely wrapped. 5) Cut a piece of ribbon to the desired length. 6) Tie the ribbon around the stem, and tie it in a bow. 7) Stick two corsage pins in the stem for later. 8) When applying the rose to the suit, put the pins through the stem and the fabric. Make sure that the rose is secure. —Compiled by Sam Acker best prom askings “"We had a pop quiz in class and a lot of the questions were about Channing Tatum, who he knows I really like. Then, Christine Lin told me that all of the answers spelled out my name and when I looked at the over-head projector there was an embarrassing picture of me and the answers to the test. The next slide was asking me to prom."” —junior Anuva Ganapathi —Compiled by Sam Acker 12 a.m: Ah, freedom. Finally, I’ll be able to start my transformation into a princess. 1 a.m: Obviously, my frizzy hair will be blow-dried until it achieves a sleek perfection. 2 a.m: After showering away the remains of my bad morning, I’ll depart for my friend’s house. 3 p.m: It’s practically a rule that there must be plenty of giggling as we girls get ready. Like, a lot. 4 p.m: Pictures are required of course, so there will be a lot of cheesy grins as we arrange ourselves into “classic” poses. 5 p.m: After anxiously waiting all day, we will go (in a caravan of cars) to Gunn and board the infamous prom bus. 7 p.m: At the pavillion, we will gorge ourselves on the array of food. 12 a.m: Prom night is now, unfortunately, over. Anthony Tran Senior Utkash Dubey and junior Anuva Ganapathi pose for a picture in The Oracle classroom after Dubey gives a fake pop quiz in a creative asking. 1 a.m: Time to start the second part of the evening—after party! —Padmanabhan, a junior, is a reporter. 30 Entertainment THEORACLE Elle Woods sings her way to Harvard Anuva Ganapathi Reporter music so it was interesting to see when the themes were repeated,” orchestra member junior Beni Ran said. “The audience was able to enjoy the music because, even with all the changing genres, the music stayed pretty cohesive, and it was pretty catchy.” Along with the cast, crew and pit orchestra, the show consisted of a variety of talented singers, dancers and artists, who all worked together well. “I’m so lucky to be part of such a talented cast, and to be working with such an amazing artistic team,” Bontemps said. “One thing that was great about this whole experience was that not only were the cast members extremely talented and hardworking, but we also had fun putting this musical on, and I know I’ve loved every minute.” The Performing Arts Department presented “Legally Blonde: The Musical” from Mar. 14 to Mar. 23. A spin-off from the movie, the show centers around Elle Woods, played by sophomore Sondrine Bontemps, a sorority girl from California who attends Harvard Law School in an effort to re-kindle a romance. Though she appears to be a stereotypical “dumb blonde”, she tries to prove her worth and gain the respect of her friends and teachers. “[Elle] is so bubbly and friendly, but she is also a very strong young woman who knows what she wants and won’t let anything, including her image, get in her way,” Bontemps said. The cast was also comprised of many other colorful characters who were not originally in the movie, such as Elle’s sorority sisters, who contributed to the plot line with their fun musical numbers. In addition to the noteworthy cast, the show also owed much of its success to the tech crew and musical pit. “At Gunn, we’re not only lucky to have an awesome theatre program, but also an awesome tech class,” Student Director junior Sivan Spector said. “The show really can’t happen without tech.” According to her, the crew put a lot of effort into building an extravagant set and making sure the stage was set up properly for all the different scenes. The pit orchestra Courtesy of Julia Nelson rehearsed for many hours to perform various songs that added to the play’s Sophomore Sondrine Bontemps (right) and upbeat themes. “The composers gave her co-star Tatiana Boyle (left) discuss their certain characters themes in the boy problems while hanging out at the salon. “Dead Man Down” Niels Arden Oplev’s “Dead Man Down” stands as a heavily underrated crime drama that rises far above its 38 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes to serve as an effective meditation on the nature of vengeance. The film focuses on a criminal (Colin Farrell) who seeks to exact retribution on the ruthless mob boss (Terrence Howard) who tore his life apart in a manner not to be revealed here. While Oplev’s direction seems unrefined at times as the narrative progresses, the acting across the board ranks as phenomenal. Alternating from a provocative, noir feel to a riveting, action approach, “Dead Man Down” is a decent gangster film that far surpasses 2013’s early star-studded dud “Gangster Squad.” “Oz the Great and Powerful” Sam Raimi’s “Oz the Great and Powerful” registers as a fun, family-friendly adventure film with an evocative psychedelic feel before stumbling in its over-ridden, embarrassing epilogue. James Franco stars as the professional magician Oz, who, much like Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” “escapes” from his unremarkable life in Kansas to the fantastical kingdom of Oz. Upon his arrival, he must combat an evil witch in order to secure for himself the title of king and seemingly endless wealth. The film is a highly entertaining and well directed, if also formulaic, treat of a film. By faltering in its final minutes, however, “Oz the Great and Powerful” comes off a bit like a letdown. “Admission” Paul Weitz’s “Admission” benefits from its likeable cast members but fails to utilize them in any meaningful manner over the course of its 117-minute runtime. The film’s plot concerns an ambitious Princeton admissions officer (Tina Fey) who falls in love with a progressive school director (Paul Rudd) in typically bland, rom-com fashion. Karen Croner’s screenplay manages to elicit a few good laughs, but none of the jokes could divert the overall narrative from concluding in a bizarre and confusing fashion. In the end, however, the greatest sin of “Admission” lies in its failure to delve deeply into the modern college application process without devolving into the clichés with which most Gunn students are already familiar. Overplayed songs on the radio 1. “One More Night” by Maroon 5—By now the group has had 300 more nights and doesn’t deserve second chances. 2. “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore—Macklemore has made thrift shopping mainstream. 3. “Diamonds” by Rihanna—There just aren’t any diamonds in the sky. 4. “I Knew You Were Trouble” by Taylor Swift—Taylor never learns. 5. “Beauty and the Beat” by Justin Bieber—Nicki Minaj’s part is far too short. 6. “Some Nights” by Fun—The song just makes you depressed because he never figures it out. 7. “Locked out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars—The distressed situation described makes everyone uncomfortable. 8. “Heart Attack” by Demi Lovato—All of our hearts need a break from her emotions. 9. “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers—You eventually feel like the band is screaming at you. 10. “Scream and Shout” by Will.I.Am—Kudos to Will.I.Am and Britney Spears for remembering their names while at the same time screaming and shouting. Entertainment Monday, April 8, 2013 31 College Advice: Dormlife Edition Gunn alumni and current college freshmen Monica Cai, Samantha Donat and Shang Yip, bring back their college dorm experiences from across the country back to their hometown of Palo Alto. Monica Cai Samantha Donat When it came to living situations, I didn’t trust the system. I was sure I would end up with a nightmarish roommate who didn’t believe in showering, trash cans or personal space, so I chose to protect myself by picking a roommate beforehand. After the housing deadline had passed, I breathed a sigh of relief knowing exactly what kind of living situation I was getting into. Naturally, the system still found a way to mess with me. Somehow, I ended up in a suite with six girls I didn’t know and in a single, which I was less than pleased with. I’d imagined late night talks, sharing clothes and uploading instagrams of the two of us (#roomiez) and felt like I was missing out on a key experience of dorm life. I might as well say now that this is a classic story where I expected the worst but ended up in the best situation ever. After getting over the usual orientation week awkwardness, three other girls in my suite and I became best friends. Together, we comprise basically every possible personality feature, which should make us clash, but somehow it works, and we fit together. Living together has allowed us to see each other at our best and worst, and while it’s not pretty sometimes, it’s definitely made us very close. I can easily see us being friends for the rest of college and even living together again, despite all being in different majors and different sororities. Having my closest friends right down the hall satisfies any craving I have for social interaction, but at the same time, if I need to get work done or just want to lie in bed and watch a movie, I have the privacy of my room. It’s essentially the best of both worlds—I can be with my friends whenever I want, but I also get some me-time. I never would have put the four of us together, but I’m so incredibly glad the system did. When incoming college freshman first imagine what dorm life is like, they typically picture two small twin beds and matching basic wooden desks and dressers all cramped into a small room with one—if not more—other person. Well, this is a relatively accurate representation of dorm life at most colleges. It’s not great. But, at the same time, it’s not terrible either. Of course, it doesn’t compare to life at home on any level. The beds are never as comfortable, there’s never enough space (especially for a shopaholic like myself), and you’d have to be crazy to enjoy showering in a communal bathroom. In short, appreciate the alone time that you have left in your own room, with a stocked kitchen right down the hall, and free access to a washing machine Here in the Big Apple, I’m living the sweet life compared to some of my other friends away at other colleges and universities. My bed isn’t terribly uncomfortable, I lucked out with an absurdly large room, and NYU doesn’t have any communal bathrooms. The icing on the cake is that my room has air conditioning, as not all dorms do. Some people can see half of Manhattan from their dorm. But even if you end up with a terrible roommate and room, there’s still something special about dorm life. Sure, at home you can throw your clothes on the ground and eat home-cooking every day, but dorm life is a humbling experience that forces you to grow up and learn how to moderate with other people. Everyone else in your dorm or hall is going through the same struggles as you, which—forgive me for being cliche—can lead you to create some amazing bonds with other people. You’ll miss your alone time, but the communities and relationships you create are priceless.I can assure you though, you’ll never take sleeping naked for granted again. I am a freshman at the University of California at Berkeley (Cal). Since Cal is such a huge school, the vast majority of students who live in the dorms is made up of freshmen. After freshmen year, almost everyone moves out to look for co-ops, fraternities and mainly apartments to live in, so dorm life is quite a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Dorm life is dramatically different from life back at home going to Gunn. My dorm is like my bedroom back at home, but at the same time there is another guy with all of his belongings living in the same room. Everything is shared: the kitchen, bathroom, TV, utensils, etc. It takes a while to get used to people who you’ve never met before and trusting them with your possessions is a whole other thing, but that’s all part of the dorm experience. They say your roommate is your best friend, but I personally think that as long as you get along with him or her, it should be more than fine. As for my floormates and those on the other floors of my building, I have gotten to know them well through bonding activities in the beginning of the year and as well as through mutual classes. But even if you aren’t the best of friends with them, dormmates are serious life-savers. They help you with your work and go to the dining hall with you when you have no one else to go with. They also often become the people who you go out on the weekends with or just hang out with. Not having anyone dictate you around the house is a tremendous feeling, but at the same time living in the dorms means that dorm life is what you make out of it yourself. My advice is to get as close to your roommates as possible and get to know everyone on your floor and other floors because at Cal, they eventually become your best friends. —Donat is a freshman at New York Univer- —Yip is a freshman at UC Berkeley. —Cai is a freshman at Cornell University. Shang Yip 32 Entertainment THEORACLE HOROSCOPES A s p i r i n g a s t r olog i s t s a nd T h e O ra c l e s t a f f e r s j u n ior Luc y O ye r a nd s e n ior E l le n L e e evaluate the upcoming astronomical phenomena for the month of April to compile horoscopes. ARIES: TAURUS: GEMINI: This April, grab life by the horns. It’s the perfect time to try something new, and since Aries are known to be adventurous, this won’t be hard for you. Perhaps you will try one of the new barbeque items at the cafeteria or maybe you will join YCS and find your calling in service. But whatever you choose, don’t let that excess masculine energy get the best of you. People will follow your lead without you even having to ask. All you crave is a stable relationship and this month you can find it. Though you may be apprehensive about spontaneity, you’re just going to have to let go if you ever want to find the girl or guy of your dreams. It just so happens that Spring Fling is in April, and who knows, maybe you’ll find just that while cheering on your friends at Powderpuff or enjoying the carnival. Well, let’s face it, you’re the talk of the town. Geminis easily attract attention and find that people gravitate towards them. Unfortunately you’ve lost your rhythm and your fans have noticed. Use this month to try new things. Spice things up and take a walk through the new language building. The new architecture will bring a little excitement into your life, something that you so dearly need. CANCER: LEO: VIRGO: Stop being so needy! While it is only expected for you to crave the reassurances of others, this month you need to just forget about what everyone else thinks and go for it. Step out of your deep pool of emotions and into the dance room on Mondays at 3:50 p.m. to give yoga with Ms. Ichikawa a try. Perhaps this will help calm your hyperactive nerves and allow you to reflect on what really matters. You are a shining superstar. You know it. I know. We all know it. You are on top of the world, and you really can do anything. But like all great men (and women), you have a weakness: criticism is your kryptonite. So, this month, take a step back to gain a little perspective. Volunteer with disadvantaged felines at Nine Lives Foundation or help sort donations at InnVision shelter. This will help you to appreciate all you have. You, my friend, are a great person. No matter how many times you fall off the horse, you just keep getting right back up. Unfortunately, because of your good nature, people are constantly trying to take advantage of you. Don’t let them. Next time your friend treats you badly, don’t apologize for their mistakes. Demand an apology, and while you wait, maybe you should consider attending a spring sports match. LIBRA: SCORPIO: SAGGITARIUS: Easy street is where it’s going to be. You seek simplicity and stray away from complications. However, get ready for the month of April, as some unsettling situations storm your way. But don’t worry, your ability to express your emotions and evaluate situations will be of aid. And don’t be afraid to seek help at the Adolecent Counseling Services (ACS) office in the library. You sting like a scorpion and buzz like a bee. People might try to bring you down, but it’s only because they are intimidated by your sheer power. April, however, is the month where you’re going to need to make a decision between pursuing your love of power or succumbing to the power of love. Do you go after the girl or guy of your deepest desires or do you throw love aside to take over your world? You’ll have to decide. Your free spirit is contagious and makes the rest of us jealous. While you go with the flow and often don’t seem to care, you want to make a difference. Try participating in Relay for Life and raise money for cancer research. Not only will people respect you, but you will attract followers who will help the cause. Use your influence wisely. (March 21- April 19) (June 21- July 22) (September 23- October 22) (April 20- May 20) (July 23- August 22) (October 23- November 21) (May 21- June 20) (August 23- September 22) (November 22- December 21) CAPRICORN: AQUARIUS: PISCES: Let’s be honest, you crave attention. And that’s not a bad thing at all since you work hard to earn the approval of others. But the month of April has set things out differently for you. This month, you should use your hard-working attitude in an outlet that isn’t typical. Go out of your comfort zone and join Reach Out Connect Know (ROCK). Responsibility and admiration are two things you seek, and peer counseling just might be in your cards. You’ve lost your flame and need a new spark. You do best when they have something to believe in, find a new activity that excites you. Maybe Relay for Life or Open Mic are some things you might want to consider. Channel your inner trendsetter and forget what people might think of you. You’re known for trying new things, and although they might not always run smoothly, people respect you for your efforts. With all of stress that inevitably follows the season of winter, you’ve become far too dependent on others—friends, significant others, pets, etc. Take some time off for yourself, relax a little and learn to love yourself without the words of others encouraging you. Plop onto a big bean bag in the SAC during your prep, reflect on your progress and practice a few breathing exercises until the new, harmonic bell rings to end the period. (December 22- January 19) (January 20- February 18) (February 19- March 20) Graphics by Paige Anderson, Allison Paley and Dave Zhu