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Volume Forty-Nine, Issue 4

Thursday, DeCEMBER 10, 2009

Aragon now in Program Improvement district BY KRISTYN IKEDA NEWS

As of this school year, the San Mateo Union High School District has been identified as a Program Improvement (PI) district. Under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001, any school district that does not meet the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirements for two consecutive years is marked as a Program Improvement District. The test for a district being marked as a Program Improvement district depends on the grades: The High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE), is a way to measure proficiency. The requirements for AYP include participation rate and percent proficiency for a number of subgroups, as well as graduation rate and Academic Performance Index. A subgroup is defined as a “numerically significant for participation rate if it has 100 or more students enrolled or 50 or more

students enrolled who make up at least 15 percent of the total enrollment.” For a subgroup to be deemed proficient, “100 or more students must have a valid score, or 50 or more students must have valid scores and make up at least 15

percent of the total valid scores.” Of the seven subgroups in our district, Asians, Filipinos, Latinos/Hispanics, White, Socioeconomically Disadvantaged, English Learners, and Students with Disabilities, which account for 28 of the 32 total criteria, only the Stu-

dents with Disabilities subgroup did not meet the criteria needed to pass in 2008. In 2009, only the Socioeconomically Disadvantaged subgroup, consisting of students who participate in the free or reducedprice lunch program and students


Special Ed. Math Teacher Julie Suess is tasked with the challenge of increasing proficiency by ten percent.

whose parents or guardians have not received a high school diploma, did not meet the percent proficiency standards. One slightly controversial topic is whether it is fair to make students with disabilities, who are defined as students who receive special education services and have a disability code or who were previously identified as special education, take the same test and achieve the same standards as others. Special Education math teacher, Julie Seuss, comments, “With this test, they’re trying to fit all the students into a square hole. But not everyone is a square. ” Senior Darren Mullins agrees, saying, “They’re put in a separate category that’s [defined] as needing a little more help, so they should get a little bit of extra help on the test.” The special education classes CONTINUED ON PAGE 4

Aragon slated to go solar in summer 2010 By Rebecca KORFF NEWS

On November 12, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to install solar panels at six district schools, including Aragon. The schools that are involved in this plan are Hillsdale, Mills, Burlingame, San Mateo, Capuchino and Aragon. Though all schools will be receiving solar panels, each will be receiving varying amounts of panels due to their architecture. The major form of money used to install and provide maintenance to the panels is through bonds and contracts with various banks. Most of the funding A blueprint of possible solar panel placement on Aragon from 2007. will come, however, from Mea- were needed in order to pass the was a major proponent for solar sure M. plan. panels. His grassroots advocacy Because Measure M funds After three prior Board of began with his many discussions have already been delegated to Trustee meetings and about a with the board and meetings other projects, the introduction year and half of presentations, with Deputy Superintendent of of solar panel funding has been analysis, and discussions with Business Services Elizabeth Mcthe center of some controversy. the SMUHSD, the decision was Manus. McManus had been indeThe November 12 funding was passed. pendently investigating the use of one out of many meetings that Aragon graduate Jason Bade solar panels at high schools when

its risks. Aragon teacher and Aragon Environmental Impact Committee (EIC) advisor, Amy Holloway, explains that, “The plan is good but I am a little worried about the money involved as we are talking about millions of dollars.” She further explains “although the up-front cost of the solar panels is expensive, the long-term benefits are there. Aragon’s electricity bills should be reduced and rebates can help lower the cost of the solar panels.” Recylcing Club advisor Doug McGlashan thinks it is an “excellent plan,” explaining that, “There are huge financial benefits for the disPHOTO COURTESY OF EUROPA TECHNOLOGIES trict that make the initial investment very worthwhile.” Bade contacted her. They were Aragon students also see little both able to introduce the idea to flaws in the plan. Senior Julia Borthe district. den, president of the EIC, believes McManus describes her relathat the time frame of the instaltionship with Bade throughout lation is not an issue because she the solar process as “very collab“would rather get the solar panels orative and powerful.” There is mostly strong support in two years be installed well for the plan, though it does have CONTINUED ON PAGE 4




Are song lyrics being used in a degrading manner? Turn to Page 10 to find out!

Religion, what does it mean to Aragon? Turn to Center spread to be enlightened.

Find out more about the Aragon’s basketball team on page 16.



Volume 49, Issue 4 December 10, 2009

Key club raises money to help train doctors Club donates $1,650 from jacket fundraiser sales

By Wendy YU NEWS

Key Club is a nation-wide, student-run volunteer organization that is solely focused on aiding others. Aragon Key Club meets every Thursday at lunch in Genevieve Thurtle’s room 120. They aim to fulfill the official Key Club vision statement: “To develop competent, capable and caring leaders of tomorrow through the vehicle of service,” by finding and participating in charity and volunteer opportunities. Junior Tiffany Siu, Key Club President, explains, “We attend meetings and events at other schools every month and we have a service project like beach cleanups and other volunteer opportunities every month.” In addition to their meetings and monthly services, Key Club also hosts a yearly, ongoing fundraiser for a particular cause. This year they are focusing on the Pediatric Trauma Prevention and Pediatric Emergency Medicine. These two organizations were established by the Kiwanis CalNev-Ha Foundations in 1994 to develop local projects to reduce the number of children in the California, Nevada, and Hawaii district from being killed or injured by unintentional accidents. PTP and PEM accept dona-

tions to provide funding to train pediatric doctors, nurses and first responders, to purchase medical equipment and to build and expand such outreach programs. This year, Key Club’s fundraiser is known as the “American Apparel Hoodie Fundraiser.” Along with many other schools in the area like Mills, Lowell and Sequoia, Key Club orders the jackets directly from American Apparel. Key Club charges $25 for the jackets, which is 41 percent off the regular American Apparel store price of $42. American Apparel sells their jackets to all participating schools for only $20, so Key Club earns $5 from each jacket sold, and all proceeds are then donated to PTP. With just a few months into the American Apparel Hoodie Fundraiser, Key Club has sold 330 jackets and made $1,650. Aragon’s Key Club, (part of Division 34 North), is ranked in the top five divisions for the most money raised in Northern California. Key Clu met success with publicity for the fundraiser, which has been important to sales. They have made flyers and put them around school campus. Creating a Facebook event page has been their most effective method. “We made the invite and invited our friends, and our friends invited

Key Club meets weekly to discuss results of sales and plans for the club and its members.

their friends, and so on, till hundreds of people knew about it. People all the way in San Francisco and San Jose have reached out to us about these jackets!” says Siu.“I found out about the American Apparel Hoodie Fundraiser because there was a Facebook event sent out to about everyone. So, after, I bought some jackets because of the bargain and the fact that it went to a good cause,” says senior Chris Cheung. Junior Key Clubber Justin Mao adds, “I bought jackets because American Apparel jackets are really stylish and I wanted to sup-

port Key Club.” In the beginning of the year they had started out with only four members, but now Key Club has expanded to about 70 members. Junior Lewis Young says, “Being in Key Club is really good because you get to hang out with friends while also helping the community and learning good skills like team-building. You also get to try new things and meet new people from other schools while all efforts go to charity.” Freshman Jennifer Li says, “I joined because I wanted to do something to help the commu-


nity and being in Key Club is a good way to get involved.” Junior Lauren Nakasako, Key Club Vice President, adds, “Key Club opens a lot of doors for you. You get to participate in a lot of volunteer opportunities and meet new people. ” Recently, Key Club has been greatly impacting and helping in the U.S. and even internationally. With all of these efforts combined across the world, Key Club has over twelve million volunteer hours a year, which makes a huge difference in a world where many people are in need.

Navigating student loans in the uneasy economy How to avoid getting ripped off by loan providers


In 2007, a scandal broke wide open when Andrew Cuomo, New York’s attorney general, began investigating possible illegal payments to universities made by lending companies. Cuomo found several prominent universities entangled in activities with certain “preferred” lenders. In one scenario, the financial officials at Columbia University, The University of Texas at Austin, and University of Southern California were all found to have sold shares of the parent company of Student Loan Xpress. These schools all listed Student Loan Xpress as a “preferred” lender even though the company was found to charge higher interest rates than some others. These officials were essentially ripping their students off in exchange for personal financial benefits. The moral of the story is that students must be skeptical and shop around when it comes to student loans. Instead of going to the “preferred” lenders, students and their families are advised to review all possible options.

Two-thirds of American students borrow money to pay for college, and in recent years students have taken out around $85 billion in loans have been taken out. The current state of the economy has only caused these numbers and uncertainty about borrowing to increase. Defaults on student loans are at their highest rate since 1998. Despite the fact that there are several different types of loans granted to students, shopping around might not be necessary if certain measures are taken into account. There are two types of federal loans: those di-

rectly from the government and those that are made through banks and other lenders. However, if the federal loans are guaranteed, many people wonder why they are using banks as a middleman. This system is costing many students to pay more money than necessary when it comes to their loans. Unfortunately, this is not currently an option for students due to the recent political quarrel regarding the student loan system. The Obama Administration is now seeking to eradicate private lenders from federal aid and shift to direct federal lending. On September 18, 2009, the House of Representatives passed the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act. This Act is essentially the same as Obama’s proposal, and under this law, all colleges would be required to switch to the federal Direct Loan Program by July 1. The Act has encountered opposition and resistance. Many Republicans and private lenders have criticized the plan as a government takeover that intrudes upon consumer CHENWEN HWANG choice. Senator Lamar Alexan-

der (R-TN) denounced the plan, saying, “[Obama] wants another Washington takeover – this time of student loans.” He cites the lack of choice that makes the legislation so detrimental. The New York Times wrote, “The lender subsidy program [current program] is wasteful and all-too-corruptible.” Even private lenders are beginning to foresee the downfall of their industry. Sallie Mae, private lending giant, endorsed the Obama administration’s plan. If passed and enacted into law, the Act would be a huge relief to students. In the mean time, students should choose carefully when confronted with financial

aid options next year. Despite the current scandal, many students are still unaware of how the loan process works and how to avoid paying more money than necessary. Photography teacher Aimee Reed is going back to Notre Dame de Namur for her Master’s degree. Reed explains, “After you fill out your FAFSA, they give you your loan choices. You have to choose which ones you want, and then they send you a list of banks. Then you basically shop around.” She also pointed out that the loan process is foreign to many students, and this can cause them to become confused and easily deceived.



Volume 49, Issue 4 December 10, 2009

Feds relax on medical marijuana laws, is this beneficial? By Peter ZHan News

In 2005, medical marijuana user Angel Raich came before the Supreme Court in order to defend her right to use marijuana for her health conditions. She described her health history, saying, “In late 1997, my doctor felt cannabis would be an effective medication to treat my many complicated and complex medical conditions. I was in a wheelchair from January 1996 to August 1999. Cannabis was responsible for getting me out of my wheelchair and restoring mobility on the whole right side of my body.” Raich’s testimonial gives a glimpse at the benefits of medical marijuana, a drug which has just recently received safety from federal prosecution under the condition that the user is complying with state laws. Recreational usage has not been legalized. All forms of marijuana in the United States are currently illegal under the Controlled Substances

Act of 1970, which proclaimed marijuana a high risk substance with no medicinal usage. This federal law prohibits all possession, usage, purchase, sale and cultivation of marijuana. However, over a dozen states have decriminalized, or reduced the penalties for, the possession and personal use of this drug. In 1996, California passed the Compassionate Use Act, allowing doctor-prescribed marijuana to be used. This discrepancy has created controversy, as marijuana still remains a federally controlled substance, making distribution and possession illegal. Doctors who prescribe marijuana say it helps their patients with nausea and vomiting and stimulates hunger in chemotherapy and AIDS patients. Junior Ashley Mah says, “I think that medical marijuana should be legalized because it

helps people feel better. I do feel, however, that there should be close supervision of the patient by the doctor that prescribes it. Even though marijuana can be dangerous, it can also be helpful.” Several Bay Area doctors h a v e even prescribed m a r i juana to teenagers with atten-

Yuzo Makitani

Yuzo Makitani

tion-deficit hyperactivity disorder. The state’s medical board questioned a Berkeley doctor who authorized marijuana for a 16-year-old with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. The doctor was not disciplined. In addition, 20 clinics in Oakland have treated as many as 50 patients ages 14 to 18 who had ADHD, and a clinic in Santa Cruz says two dozen of its registered clients are minors. “From Marijuana to Medicine,” an article published in Issues in Science and Technology, pointed out that, “Most of the identified health risks of marijuana use are related to smoke, not to the cannabinoids that produce the benefits.” CNN’s resident medical doctor, Sanjay Gupta wrote a article published in Time

magazine, which said, “Marijuana isn’t really very good for you. True, there are health benefits for some patients … Frequent marijuana use can seriously affect your short-term memory. It can impair your cognitive ability and lead to long-lasting depression or anxiety.” California’s medical marijuana system has been criticized by former supporters. In a press release, Los Angeles based Reverend Scott Imler said that though he at first felt the legalization of medical marijuana was the compassionate thing to do, the laws resulted in “pot dealers in storefronts.” He explained that medical marijuana was intended to be intensely moderated, and only given to the seriously sick, and also argued that many people were not using the drugs for their intended purpose. Similarily, junior Shaziana Ali says, “I think that the legalization of marijuana, even for just medical purposes, would lead to more people trying to abuse the system.”

Student takes on Obama’s freshman year in office By Sabrina Imbler News

“He is a man of many dreams, and he had the courage to change the country. However, Obama is not Superman. We can’t expect the impossible from him,” says junior Joe Kwon. When Barack Obama took office in January, he inherited a maelstrom of social and financial problems. The U.S. was embroiled in the worst economic credit crisis since the Great Depression, stuck in a deteriorating position in Afghanistan, and with a determined minority demanding drastic health care reform. Obama has tackled many of these still outstanding issues in his first year as president. Nevertheless, many people feel the impossible is not too much to ask from the president. Freshman Amy Pisoni says, “He claimed he was going to fix this economic situation. I think he has a grasp on what to do to stimulate the economy, but he’s just not doing it. At least, I don’t see it, especially with his bailout.” Junior Emily Zelter agreeingly says, “In regards to the economic situation, he’s done a pretty good job. His bailout saved thousands of people their jobs, but thousands aren’t enough. If he plans

on actually making a big impact on America, I want to see more creation of new jobs.” In response to the financial crisis, Obama suggested and Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The $787 billion stimulus package aimed to galvanize the U.S. economy and create and save jobs to fight the growing unemployment percentage. However, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is comprised of around 35 percent tax cuts and 65 percent spending. “I think it’s a good idea that people who might not have money can have a plan they wouldn’t usually be able to afford,” says sophomore Megan Kain, “But our economy is in a bad place now and his spending could deepen our recession. ” On November 7, the House of Representatives passed a

health care bill intended to overhaul the current U.S. health care system. The plan proposes coverage of 36 million more people in the next ten years, reducing the 17 percent of people without coverage to four percent.

but they’re not getting the attention they deserve because of their financial status.” Sophomore Andrew Lyu says, “I would support a public option but it would have to be extremely highly regulated. The problem with ‘socialized medicine’ in other countries is that it will destroy many private companies. Basically, I support the public option to the point where it acts as competition in order to raise the standards


“Universal health care is a good idea,” Zelter says, “But where are we going to get the money for it? Is it going to fall from the sky? No! Obama needs to remember that we are in a recession.” On the contrary, senior Kristin Chan says, “I completely support it. Health is a lot more important than money, and we should look past our capitalist ways to actually help our fellow Americans.” However, his plan still has flaws in its early stages. Pisoni says, “Other countries [don’t have their citizens] pay for health care. Why can’t Obama do something like that? So many people need it,

of private companies. I don’t support it if it’s intended to become the country’s main source of health care.” The health care bill passed only after the House members prohibited federally subsidized insurance plans from offering their clients abortion services. “It would have been a good idea to include abortion services for the sake of rape victims,” says sophomore Sophia Wienbar. In February, Obama announced he would end combat operations in Iraq within 18 months.

35,000 to 50,000 troops will remain in the country to train and advise Iraqi security forces. Wienbar also believes that Obama should deploy troops elsewhere, saying, “I agree with Obama about pulling the troops out of Iraq. We went into Iraq for no reason. I mean, why not go to Sudan to help stop the genocide instead?” President Obama has also decided to redirect some troops from Iraq to strengthen the U.S. force in Afghanistan. He hopes to continue to wage the war on terror, but on a different front. Regarding international affairs, Obama has emphasized diplomacy and development to strengthen the U.S. global image. Kain says, “Obama’s doing a great job reversing America’s global image under Bush. He’s really helping relations in the Middle East and Russia, which is good because they’re all powerful.” Another Bush policy Obama has rescinded is the former limitation of funding for embryonic stem cell research. Sophomore Linh Luu says, “I don’t support embryonic stem cell research, because you’re taking the life away from the fetus! If they would only test pluripotent [able to become any other cell] stem cells, then I would support their research.” “In general,” Lyu says, “Obama’s had a good first year. He’s been subject to excessively high expectations, which is why there has been so much disappointment.” Pisoni continues, “He still has three more years ahead of him!”


Volume 49, Issue 4 NEWS December 10, 2009 Aragon labeled as PI school

Jabberwocky is back!

Jabberwocky president Ella Riffenburg leads a meeting. By Sam Alavi News

After two years, Aragon’s literary and arts magazine Jabberwocky is back. Jabberwocky president junior Ella Riffenburg and the rest of the members are working hard to get the club up and running once again. Junior Amanda Holl, vice president of Jabberwocky says,“So far everyone involved has mainly been focused on rebuilding the club so we have everything we need to get a magazine published.” Because Jabberwocky has not published anything in the past two years, not everyone knows what Jabberwocky is. Holl explains, “One of our biggest concerns has been getting interest in the club because many of the current students, especially the freshman and sophomores, do not know what Jabberwocky is so we have been trying to reach out to them. We are planning to have our first issue of Jabberwocky out by the end of this semester. In the process of relaunching Jabberwocky, we have relied mostly on art created by one of our club members in order to showcase the talent of Aragon students.” Senior Dylan Houston, the lead artist for the magazine says, “We’ve come out of the gates kind of slow, but I really want to see this thing come out.” As lead artist of the magazine, Houston does most of the art and drawings for the magazine and designed the flyers encouraging students to contribute to Jabberwocky. English teacher Vicky Daniel says, “I love Jabberwocky. It is great chance for students to share their love of creativity.” Aragon students are asked to contribute to the magazine to show their talents and express themselves. They may do so by


submitting their work to the yellow envelopes in the English classrooms. Senior Wendy Urena, the secretary and treasurer of Jabberwocky says, “People can contribute to the magazine by entering their art, stories, poetry, and photographs to express themselves in the yellow envelopes in the English classrooms or they can join Jabberwocky.” She also adds, “Jabberwocky is also a great thing for people to express them self if they can’t do it with other people.” Houston explains, “There are flyers placed in the English and art rooms throughout school. They’re the ones with the dragon on them. Behind them in folders are submission forms.” Aragon students are definitely looking forward to see how Jabberwocky turns out. Senior Sarah Steffen who enjoys art says, “I’m looking forward to Jabberwocky being published and seeing other people’s artwork who aren’t my immediate friends. It’s interesting to see the different styles and kinds of artwork. It helps me find people who, I believe, are even better at drawing, or painting, or just art in general, than me.” Houston also mentions, “I’m super excited about this club. I am not from here and my old school really didn’t have anything like this.” Jabberwocky is a great place to get work published whether it is a short story, poem, drawing, photograph, or artwork. All Aragon students are encouraged to submit their work so that they can express themselves through many different mediums. Jabberwocky now has a rolling deadline and it will give the students a taste of some of the amazing talents in the Aragon student body.

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 also follow a different curriculum so that when they take the CAHSEE, they have not yet taken geometry as a class, despite the geometry on the test. As a result, Suess usually has to cover new topics from geometry, as well as review algebra, for her classes before the CAHSEE. Meeting the requirements becomes more difficult with each year due to the ten percent increase each year for every subgroup. This increase will continue until the 2013-2014 school year. As a result, the SMUHSD has been deemed one of the many Program Improvement districts. Students have not yet really seen the effects of this change— Sophomore Alexa Cajthaml, along with Mullins, had heard nothing about the change. Suess explains that, “Teachers in the math department have decided to do more CAHSEE review in January. As a department, we’re planning to devote some time to CAHSEE review of certain topics, not something we’ve done much of in the past.” These changes will make program improvement a more prominent change. In the English department, the Common Assessment test will provide essay preparation. According to English teacher Jennifer Wei, “Mltiple-choice practice will be slightly more intense because of the pressure from the district to raise scores.” Regarding changes at the district level, Assistant Principal Jim Coe comments, “It hasn’t really sunk in yet. But pretty soon, it will. Each school just sent representatives, and representatives from each school are going to the district to meet again. The improvement plans will then probably be sent to the Board.” Math teacher Andrea Gould attended the meeting as the representative for the math department and learned about the recommendations made by a specialist who works both with the district and the state. One of those recommendations is to use the same calendar for all of the Algebra 1-2 classes in

“With this test, they’re trying to fit all the students into a square hole. But not everyone is a square. ” - Julie Seuss

the district. Gould wonders, “I’m not sure how having a common calendar throughout the district is going to help … the specialist said she had evidence, but didn’t show us any.” Not only is a common calendar a recommendation for Algebra classes, but also for freshmen and sophomore English classes, which Gould believes to be a much more difficult task. Wei, however, comments, “Most freshmen teachers are all on the same calendar already … You lose a little room for different teaching styles and methods, but it’s all essentially the same material.” Another change that will be implemented in the 2010-2011 school year is the return of certain support classes. Some support classes, such as Algebra Support, were cut due to lack of funding, but will be reinstated. According to Gould, “That’s probably a good thing.” Other requirements for first year PI districts include teacher training for textbook and collaboration and mandatory notifications must be sent to parents, including a transfer option to a non-Program Improvement District,. Sophomore David Santos has a brother who attends Bayside S.T.E.M. Academy, formerly known as Bayside Middle School. Santos has observed the changes made to Bayside after being placed in the PI program— teachers, district officials, and parents collaborated to design a

program. It is now a magnet school. Santos, however, comments, “I don’t really think it’s all that much better, just different. They got new textbooks, and have to wear uniforms, but overall, it just seems like they’re putting more restrictions than there needs to be.” Although the current changes in the SMUHSD are very subtle, with most students not even aware of the districts new PI status, if SMUHSD continues to be deemed a PI district, more drastic measures will be seen. A third-year PI district might call for government intervention as far as staff replacement or reassignment, or a switch to being a charter school. Coe does not believe this will happen to Aragon. However, it is possible that the SMUHSD could experience some of the changes implemented at Bayside. Coe comments that Aragon, along with Mills and Burlingame, usually tends to raise the district’s test scores, which brings up an interesting question: should the PI title be for individual schools, or entire districts? Cajthaml thinks, “It should be district-wide thing since all the schools in a district are part of the same category.” Mullins, on the other hand, believes, “It should be by a schoolby-school basis. Every school is a different group of people, and should be measured that way.” Program Improvement status can be removed if it meets the minimum requirements for AYP for two consecutive years. Wei believes, “The district is doing a good job at letting people know what we need to do.” However, Coe sees the SMUHSD struggling with meeting the requirements to do the ever-increasing standards. Coe predicts, “Not only will the SMUHSD have a difficult time getting out of the program, but due to the rapidly increasing standards, in a few years, 90 percent of districts will probably be deemed PI.” Gould echoes Coe’s opinion, “At the meeting, our parent representative said, ‘Program Improvement is like Half Dome. It will be here forever.’”

Solar panels become a reality for SMUHSD

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 than get them in six months and have them installed poorly.” Junior Sarah Hosokaw explains that, “At first, I was unsure that the district would be able to fund the installment of solar panels, especially because of the California budget crisis that has affected schools statewide so adversely.” However, as McManus says, “The school district can reduce utility by a million dollars a year which can ultimately provide money to use in different areas of the schools and to further educate

our students.” Aragon will be receiving the most amounts of solar panels and generating the most amount of electricity out of all the schools that will be receiving them. According to Bade, “[Solar panels are] the cheapest per installed panel at Aragon because Aragon has the flattest roofs, a lot of open sun, and perfect orientation.” Before the actual installations can begin, Aragon must undergo reconstruction of its roofs in order to ensure the best use out of the solar panels.

Reconstruction of the roofs and installation of solar panels is expected to occur as of summer 2010. Not only will economic and environmental benefits come through solar panels but the introduction of them as a major part of the curriculum will also be very visible. Holloway explains that, as an Environmental Science teacher, “Different classes can utilize the data from the solar panels such as with math problems, environmental advantages of solar panels versus fossil fuels for electricity,

and debates in English weighing the pros and cons.” McManus points out that “There will be test panels in schools such as Hillsdale that can be used to further research and study the panels throughout the classrooms.” Schools and students can only wait and see how the outcome turns out but as Borden says, “What is there not to like about solar panelse?”


Volume 49, Issue 4 December 10, 2009

arts & Entertainment Animal Collective: Fall Be Kind EP 11/25, now available Genre: Experimental, Neo-Psychedelia

Since their formal arrival on the music scene with “Sung Tongs” in 2004, Animal Collective’s presence has been growing. Their newest EP, “Fall Be Kind,” reminds many why they love their music so much. The album is unexpected and raw, but at the same time it has the band’s signature cut-up vocals and hypnotizing synthesizer and drum beats. Their addicting avant-garde approach to music is strongly shown in their newest release. If you like Grizzly Bear or The Dodos, you will like Animal Collective.

Avatar Released 12/18 Genre: Sci-Fi

Modern Family ABC, Wednesdays at 9 pm Genre: Comedy

Filmed in mockudocumentary style, this show is about three related unorthodox families. There’s the Delgado-Pritchetts, Dunphys, and the Pritchett and Tucker family, who are a gay couple with an adopted Vietnamese daughter. This hilarious show depicts their everyday struggles and how they get through life together.

The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to The Sports Guy by Bill Simmons Genre: Sports, Humor

Jake Sully, played by Sam Wothington, is a Marine’s veteran who is paralyzed from the waist down. To be able to walk again, Sully join an Avatar program. From there, his life changes as he gets involved with Pandora, a moon with many extraterrestrial life forms. Adventure, love, and an intense battle will determine not only his destiny, but an entire alien population’s.

Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Kareem AbdulJabbar, Bill Russell, and Michael Jordan. Those names are enough to catch your attention. ESPN columnist Bill Simmons does just that with “The Book of Basketball,” which addresses the history of the NBA with a mix of pop culture. However, this book is not limited to just basketball enthusiasts! Make sure to grab this book off the shelves for an entertaining read.

Western Spaghetti by PESfilms

Stop-motion animation has been a technique that has been dazzling audiences since the 1960s. However, director Adam Pesapane, more commonly known as PES, has been taking the art to a whole new level with a modern twist. His video “Western Spaghetti” is of his own hands making “spaghetti” with dice, Rubik’s cubes, and rubber bands. It is the 2009 Sundance Film Festival Winner and TIME magazine has voted it the second “Viral Video of the Year.” The video is cleverly made, truly amusing, and worth watching.

Events in the Bay Area ourtney Junius C Big Band What: A jazz concert by the e Junius Courtney Big Band. Th er band, led by drumm Nat Courtney, is known to give powerful performances with a full on swing. Where Yoshi’s 510 Embarcadero W, Oakland. When: Monday, December 21 at 10 pm. Price: $8

Sonic Youth What: Formed in 1981, New York based rock band, Sonic Youth, pioneered the American noise rock movement. They are definitely a band worth to check out live. Sic Alps, a local noise pop group, will be opening for them. Where: The Fillmore 1805 Geary Boulevard, San Francisco. When: Sunday, January 10, 2010 8pm Price: $53 BY SANGWON YUN AND PHOEBE CHAO

Aragon Artist Spotlight: Junior Martin Contreras


He says: “It was drawn with pencil and a little bit of red pen. I drew the arm and the rose separately. Later that night, I was thinking about them, because I thought they were really cool. So, I drew them together. It took about an hour. This drawing is one of my drawings that people like the most from my work.”


Do nald J udd and Sol LeWi Co nceptu tt: al Color i n Print

What: An exhibit featuring work from the minimalist and conceptual art movement by Donald Judd & Sol LeWitt. Where: The de Young Mun seum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garde Drive, San Francisco. When: October 17, 2009 – at February 20th, 2010 starting 10:00 am


Features Kwanzaa



High school dating: First Impressions


The kinara is used during the celebration of Kwanzaa as a way to represent the roots that African-Americans have in continental Africa. BY CHRISTINE KALIFE FEATURES

Between all of the Christmas presents exchanged and Hanukkah wishes given, Kwanzaa is a holiday unfamiliar to many. The week-long holiday of Kwanzaa, usually celebrated from December 26 through January 1, is typically honored by those with an African heritage. People celebrate Kwanzaa in many different ways, varying with each family, but almost always with song and dance in tune with the African drum. Days are filled with storytelling and readings of poetry, ending with a large, traditional family meal, similar to Thanksgiving. On each of the seven nights, a candle is lit and one of the seven Nguzo Saba principles is discussed. They are designed to bring together the family and reinforce the importance of community among African Americans. Junior Charles Grant, whose family celebrates Kwanzaa, explains, “These principles include: “Umoja, Kujichagulia, Ujuma, Ujamaa, Nia, Kuumba, and Imani. They all have different meanings, like Umoja means unity, Kujuchagulia means self-determination, Ujima is responsibility, Imani means faith, and Nia means purpose.” In the Grant household, “The children organize everything and set up the program. The kids are the ones performing the rituals of Kwanzaa,” says Grant. Unlike other religious holidays, individuals or families that celebrate Kwanzaa do not attend any sort of mass or church-like gathering. Instead, “We trade off at different houses. One day it would be at our house, and the next day, someone else’s,” Grant comments. “I remember dressing up in my African outfits, gifts that my mother would give me for Kwanzaa for the different principles. [I also remember] just being with the family. Kwanzaa is a family celebration; you have to have a lot of unity.” “[Kwanzaa] helps you practice good skills you want to have in your life, like unity and creativity, things that help you grow,” says

Grant. Instead of being a more religious holiday, Grant adds that it is more about self-improvement, and agrees that it is similar to New Year. Because this holiday is easy to relate to, he believes that “anyone can celebrate Kwanzaa, not just African Americans.” Symbols are also significant in celebrating Kwanzaa. For example, the seven candles are utilized as a representation of the sun’s power and as a source of light, while a stalk of corn represents fertility and the future of new life. The mkeka, or placemat, comes from Africa and acts as a symbol of African history, a foundation that supports the lives of all people. “Kwanzaa is important to me mostly because it is a way to tie back to Africa and its culture,” Grant states, “because most African Americans come from slavery.” As well as honoring the African heritage, a collection of fruits, nuts and vegetables are the visual representations of the result of collective work, community and unity, proving the effectiveness of community and the importance of Thanksgiving. The candleholder, the kinara, is carved very intricately and symbolizes ancestry that remembers and honors the ancestors of the family. The unity cup is used on the sixth day of Kwanzaa and is employed as a way to bring blessing towards the family in the same way Communion does in Christianity. On the last day, gifts (zawadi) are exchanged between immediate family, especially the children, and handmade presents are encouraged. The gifts are meant to promote self-determination, creativity, and purpose. People usually have differing opinions on how schools should educate the masses. “Schools are not supposed to promote religions or holidays, but they are supposed to educate you about the background of them,” says junior Hannah Hibbs. While schools try to educate the students of the many holidays out there, what aspects of the holiday they have experienced themselves tend to be the deciding factor.


socks, I definitely know that I would not date him. On the other hand, one ear piercing is attracWhile women tend to have tive.” differences preferences in men, Senior Courtney Wang comthere tend to be commonalities ments that the manner of wearing between all of them. “He has to be pants for a guy may be essential, polite to my family and friends,” saying “I think my guy should just says senior Shayna Pascoe. “He dress nicely but should have no has to be funny and have some- sagging, because when my parwhat good style.” While qualities ents see, they definitely will not such as these tend to be like it.” However, in some consistent among all unique situations, some women, differences in girls such as Junior Rita opinions still remain Huang likes to only a factor. What peodate “pale, buff and ple believe to be nice arms guys from attractive qualities Hong Kong.” can be drastically From a male’s different from the point of view, junior truth. Kevin Phoerdian Undeniably, the says “it’s the smile physical aspects of and eyes that always each admirer are almake the first imways the first to be pression on me.” taken under considSenior Andrew eration and usually Peckham says that, after, the personality. CHENWEN HWANG along with friendly Senior Sandy Chen says eyes and a cute smile, a “Not to be superficial, but the girl should also “ideally be shorter person I’m looking for has to be than me, [be] good looking and good looking, otherwise there will have a good sense style to present be no chemistry. The guy definite- herself.” ly has to be taller and have good Sometimes skin tones, hair teeth.” length and even race may also From a girl’s perspective, looks come into consideration. Sophoare almost as important as their more Jerhicho Enriquez describes personality. Senior Jackie San- that he would like to date an tizo says “The shoes a guy wears “Asian girl, preferably with long tells almost everything about that hair but also look quiet and nice, person. If he wore flip-flops and [so he] could help her open up.”

However, personality and dating etiquette is not to be forgotten. In addition to handsome looks, junior Mei Fukuhara says “He has to be ambitious and artsy and have a passion for something he likes to do.” Furthermore, both individuals need to be comfortable around each other and not worry about their surrounding peers. Junior Lexi Ramil comments, “He definitely has to act the same around both [his and my] groups of friends and not be afraid to express himself.” Peckham emphasizes, “I don’t worry about what other people think when we’re together, because if she’s nice, my friends will like her.” To make a girl happy, Santizo advises “It’s the little things that count—little surprises such as a small kiss on the cheek and letters are really cute.” However, Fukuhara confirms, “no flowers, because they will eventually die.” In the end, the success of a person’s true feelings for someone else comes down to the answer of one very important question. People can concoct very interesting ways of carrying this out. “[Alex Dobron] gave me a talking bear that I sleep with everyday and it said ‘Shayna, would you go out with me?’ says Pascoe. “Thats how he asked me out.” No matter what the answer may be, the asker must be prepared for any eventuality, expected or unexpected.

Sibling Situation


Junior Chris Engelmann never asked to be in the same school as his sister. However, that is precisely what happened and he has really enjoyed it. “I think it’s really cool to have a sibling at the same school because it’s fun to process what goes on in school with someone that you have grown up with and trust,” explains Engelmann. The immersive relationships between siblings are as meaningful as they are wonderful. “[My sister and I] will always be life-long friends,” Engelmann says. But for many brothers and sisters like the Engelmanns, their interaction enters a whole new level once they enroll in the same school. “Siblings in the same school support one another,” says senior Omid Dastgheib. For freshman Saliman Pasoon, his brother provides someone to confide in and trust. “We can share whatever problems we have in our lives and whenever something comes up that I don’t know about, I can always ask my brother because he may be able to assist me,” states Pasoon. Also, Pasoon’s brother has helped him with more than just well-being. “Once I had a C+ in my geometry class, and I really didn’t like that because I usually have Bs and As,” says Pasoon. “I [asked] my brother at school if he could help me. He just went to the teacher and asked him for extra credit for me. The teacher told my brother that since I was the only one to turn



Volume 49, Issue 4 December 10, 2009

Junior Charlie Pai and his freshman sister Tina Pai display their common interest in music among the family.

in all of the 59 homework assignments, he gave me a better grade,” Pasoon asserts. “Whenever I have problems with my friends and I can’t talk to many people about it, it is useful to have a sibling around who I can talk to because they go through a lot of the same issues,” Engelmann says. Sometimes it takes time for the feeling of normalcy to develop between siblings and it can often be overlooked in the beginning. “Sharing a locker [with my sister] isn’t the easiest thing, but this year it finally worked,” says junior Michael Miyahira. “I can trust her and there are always ups and downs with that, but for the most part its pretty enjoyable.” This instance of mutual respect and understanding among siblings at the same school repeats itself with much more regularity than many people tend to realize. Having a sibling at the same school is not without its down-

sides for some other people. “My best friend is going out with my sister,” says junior Yi Lu. “I get mad sometimes when they are kissing in front of me.” Sources of conflict among siblings take many forms, although normally not to such an extent. Many people tend to overlook the potential benefits of having a sibling at the same school. “We aren’t competitive with sports or grades because we are individual people,” Engelmann claims. As long as the siblings recognize their own uniqueness, sibling rivalry is often not a concern. “Sometimes it is awkward to have siblings interact with the same group of people as we do,” Engelmann jokes. Siblings in the same school can be a blessing in disguise. “High school friends come and go, but siblings are with you forever,” Engelmann says.



Volume 49, Issue 4 December 10, 2009

Top 10 Winter Movies


Fargo Love Actually

Starring Keira Knightly, Hugh Grant, and a hand full of other English stars, Love, Actually is a movie that showcases a variety of different love stories that all take place in the same time. “It is a movie perfect for all genders,” comments sophomore Dominique Herbert. “It talks about first loves all the way to end of relationships. The movie is also hilarious! The beginning the movie goes around to many different people, but in the end, you realize how close people are.”

This dark, yet strangely hilarious comedy follows an inept attempt at crime that ultimately leads to multiple murders. The antics result in a pregnant policewoman investigating the dark and utterly entertaining murders. Junior Will Randick loves the film, saying “It’s directed by the Coen brothers, and [thier movies] are almost always really good.”

The Santa claus series

South Park Christmas Special

These comical movies star Tim Allen as a single and somewhat clueless father who find himself forced to be Santa Claus after he puts on Santa’s suit and finds himself subject to the “Santa Clause” of a contract. Freshman Jessica Breenbaum says, “I liked the special effects ... the robot [from the third movie] was creepy.”

Though it may not be a movie, Sophomore Lexi Cooperstein insists that the South Park Christmas Special is “by far the funniest Christmas movie ever!” Filled with tons of bathroom humor and innuendo, this special revolves around Dr. Seuss’ How all the South Park characters and their silly Mystery, the Grinch Stole antics. Cooperstein says, “Something alaska Christmas about dancing poop is enjoyable for Mystery, Alaska tells the in“Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole people of all ages. It‘s disgusting, spirational story of a small-town Christmas is a great way to kick off yet amazing. ” ice hockey team from Mystery, the holiday season,” exclaims freshman Alaska and its quest to beat the Skylar Assaf. Normally referred to as “The famous New York Rangers. Senior Grinch,” this movie is about an evil creature Home Alone Derek White, who loves this move, who tries to steal away Christmas from the “The first time I says, “It’s a hilarious hockey comrest of the Who’s, hoping to avenge his watched Home Alone I was edy ... it has a great ending.” painful Christmas memories. Senior ten. I thought it was hilarious to Nicole Gentry says, “[This movie] see grown men getting their butts is great becuse Jim Carrey is kicked by a kid my age,” says sophohilarious.” more Elian Boukhail. This film is about Cool a young boy who has been forgotten at The Polar runnings home for Christmas and uses ingenious Happy feet Express Bobsled teams do not traps to keep burglars at bay. “After This sweet movie is all A young boy who is losing faith usually come from the warm about Mumble, an adorable watching the first movie, I tried to in the existence of Santa Claus takes and tropical Jamaica. However, recreate some of the traps that he emperor penguin who only a hectic train ride to the North Pole to this movie tells the true but epic tale had set up ... It didnt work out wants to dance, despite the expecmeet Santa. The Polar Express uses cutting of the Jamaican bobsledding team that too well,” says Boukhail. tations of his family. “Happy feet is edge skills to produce a film that gives the debuted at the 1988 Winter Olympics. a good movie because it explores viewer an experience like no other. AccordSenior Jordan Epstein says, “I love human emotions and relationing to Sophomore Bryn [the bobsledding team’s] bright ships, but they’re penguins, so Mitchell, “There’s a scene where the colored parkas when they come it’s funny,” says senior Sandy character is on top of the train and you out of the airport—It’s so Chen. feel like you’re on a roller coaster funny.” as you watch it. It’s truly magical.”


Commercials advertising the best necklaces for moms, catalogues promoting perfect sweaters for dads, and Internet ads marketing video games for brothers are constant during the holiday season. Clearly, the holiday season is fast approaching and with that comes the thrill of finding a great gift for friends and family members. The simple gesture of passing along a present is one that evokes feelings of appreciation, love, and friendship. Gift-giving is often stressful, because finding the perfect present can be time as well as thought consuming. To simplify the process, thinking of personal experiences shared with those that are receiving the gifts can often help narrow down choices or, on the other end, expand them. “I think the best gift is a creative gift,” says junior Felix Borovikov, “like [when] somebody that knows you well gets a gift that only they know you would like. That’s special.” Not only are personal gifts imaginative and easier to think of, they also are more memorable because of their sentimental value. “[Once, my friend and I] were talking about how much we loved fortune cookies, and so for

The art of gift-giving Christmas she got me a huge [take out] box and filled it with fortune cookies … That was my favorite,” says junior Jessica Frankel of the most unforgettable personal gift she has received. Getting well considered and personalized gifts also tends to leave the receiver feeling appreciated. “If it’s really personal, then it makes me feel good, because then you know … they have actually put thought into the gift, and thought about a moment you two shared,” says sophomore Maya Grossman. Gifts do not always have to be bought. Baking cookies and making hand-made cards are both fantastic ways to show someone that they are cared about. Freshman Laynie Mitchell thinks one of the best gifts

she ever gave was “A spa day for my sisters and my mom … like a massage and painting nails.” Mitchell gave a present that her family was able to enjoy, without the stress of going to the mall and spending tons of money. Homemade gifts or favor gifts reveal the extra time and

ephant exchange. In a White Elephant, every participant brings a wrapped, unlabeled, inexpensive gift that is put in a pile. Guests draw numbers and whomever has the number one gets to choose the first gift, which is immediately unwrapped for everyone to see. The next in line may choose to pick a wrapped present from the pile, or steal one that has been previously opened. White Elephant exchanges are less about the individual receiving the gift and more about the group as a whole. “We … have a White Elephant for JANICE PANG my big family, thought that went into like my uncles and the present, because of the actual aunts,” says Frankel. “There’s alphysical labor involved. ways a theme, so last year’s theme There are ways to make gift was [as seen on TV]… and a giving slightly less personal. For bunch of people bought Pedexample, there is the White El- Eggs for feet… and some people

bought [Chia pets]. This year it’s ‘something white.’” This entertaining approach to gift giving allows people to buy absurd gifts that will hopefully bring laughter to all participating members. Another unique way of exchanging gifts is to organize a Secret Santa, where each participant randomly picks another participant to get a gift for. The key that makes exchanges like this so enjoyable is that no one knows who is getting them a present. Secret Santa exchanges can result in some pretty exciting presents. Grossman once received “a really cute bag, and a two pound chocolate bar.” Secret Santas are great because it is up to the gift giver to decide between funny or functional, so everyone is always surprised. They also prove a practical and emotional purpose. “This way, everyone in your group can feel included, and it’s also a fun way to bond with your friends,” says sophomore Andrew Perotti. Finding the perfect gift is by no means easy, but by using personal experience and creative exchange ideas, it can be a lot of fun. No matter what the gift is or how it is given, a present that has involved thought and affection will likely be received with appreciation and love.

at Religion and Family M

any students have supportive, open families that encourage following an independent path to finding religion. Lang says, “My parents are there if I need them. I’m independent in my decisions.” Klebe adds, “I don’t find religion by sitting in a service. I find it through morals and ethics.” However, some do not have the luxury of forging their own paths. Many are born into their religions, and some choose to accept those views while others feel they are bound against their will. Rudolph states, “My family is very Christian. I’ve been going to church since I was a baby. I’ve been scared into it. Forced, I guess. If my family didn’t believe, I would

Religion and Friends R

eligion has the potential to strengthen many friendships, in particular among friends of the same religion. Guan says, “Christianity has greatly strengthened my friendships, especially with my Christian friends. It’s allowed us to move beyond a superficial level. We truly support each other in a way you can’t find anywhere else.” Agreeing, Lang adds that her friendships with her fellow Christians are “stronger and a bit more personal.” However, religion can also cause tension between friends or prevent friendships from growing to a deeper level, especially between friends of different religions. Guan comments, “With my non-Christian friends, I find that we don’t always see eye-to-eye on things, so it’s harder to forge deeper friendships.” Lang adds that she doesn’t “share common

be cut loose.” On the other hand, Bolaria shrugs her shoulders and plainly states, “I was born into it,” clearly accepting of her family’s beliefs. Unfortunately, religion can be a major source of family tension, especially between family members of different beliefs. Kennedy comments, “Half my family is atheist, and the other half is devoutly Christian. The Christian side definitely does not support this; they find my views offensive, which is regrettable.” However, religion can also create family unity. Engelmann says, “Christianity helps us overcome conflicts. We do more activities as a family, such as volunteer during the holiday season.”

core beliefs” with her non-Christian friends, leading to weaker relationships. Others find that religion is not an important factor in friendship. Kennedy, who enjoys having friendly religious debates with friends, says, “My talks with my religious friends have brought us closer together.” Sophomore Jackie Slong sums up the views of many, stating, “I have a lot of friends from different religions. It doesn’t really matter to me.” Some must work hard to maintain their religious values and beliefs amidst unavoidable peer pressure. Senior Charlotte Taufalele, a Mormon, says, “My faith is tested from peer pressure. Like not drinking or smoking. At a party, I had the moment. Should I drink? And I said no.”

Aragon’s Religious Atmosphere M

any view Aragon as accepting of different religions, whereas others believe both students and teachers should be more sensitive to religion. Many students experience religious prejudice, or must censor themselves to avoid discrimination. Many find Aragon extremely accepting of different religious views, even amidst the polarization religion sometimes causes. Senior Nicole McDonald states, “Nobody judges my views. I’ve gotten in a few arguments with strongly religious people over issues such as Prop 8 but they accept my atheist views.” Sophomore Jackie Slong finds that in general, “[Religion] doesn’t seem like it affects [Aragon students] socially.” Many cite Aragon’s diverse array of religious clubs as evidence of it’s accepting environment. Although some find Aragon to be an accepting environment, many still experience religious prejudices. Klebe recounts, “I’m president of the Jewish Club, and two members were bullied for their beliefs this year. Jewish social workers had to come in. It’s shocking that this still happens today, especially in this community. But at the same time, it’s almost unsurprising.” Khemici says, “People who miss-phrase something may come out as ignorant. I haven’t received any stereotypes beyond people asking me ‘Do you believe in this?’ [referring to off-base questions about

her beliefs].” Many find themselves censoring their views so as to fit in and not be judged. Guan says, “Here at Aragon, my Christian views are marginalized. I sometimes feel that if I say what I truly believe, people will look down on me.” Kennedy finds that he must censor himself because “I have radical views [compared to most other atheists] and most people don’t want to hear it.” In addition to prejudice outside of the classroom, some feel that Aragon could be more sensitive to religious actions and beliefs during lessons. Engelmann states, “It’s a pretty accepting community. Sometimes, though it seems like we only dwell on negatives. Christianity has done a lot of good, like build hospitals, but schools focus on things like the crusades.” Saxena disagrees, saying “We should discuss more about the atrocities religion has committed, so that we don’t repeat them, such as religion-backed genocides or religious imperialism.” Rudolph believes that teachers should change their approach to some sensitive topics. “In science, when talking about evolution or the big bang theory, teachers don’t say that it’s just a theory. They say ‘this happened.’ I don’t agree, but I don’t say anything.”

Religion and Future Expectations R

eligion has the potential to affect one’s future. Bolaria says, “My grandparents say I should become a doctor, or someone who makes a lot of money.” On the other hand, Guan states, “I will have a much different outlook on life. I’ll be concerned about pleasing God rather than the American Dream.” Sophomore Jackie Slong believes “that God has a plan, and so I have some faith in that.”

The Panel Sam Kennedy (12)

Tory Lang (12)


President of Christian Club

Mona Khemici (12) Chris Engelmann (11) Jack Guan (11)


Christian, son of a pastor


Article by Julia Borden Layout by Ari Brenner Polls by Amreet Aujla and Dan Fu


heightened awareness of religion and its significance often accompanies the holiday season. This spread examines how religion impacts the lives of Aragon students. Along with collecting individual interviews, The Outlook sponsored a panel discussion between 10 Aragon students identified as presidents of religion-related Aragon clubs or as having a unique angle to bring to the topic. This article includes quotes from those who spoke at this panel (whose pictures are at the bottom of the page) and other Aragon students.

Challenging and Changing Beliefs M

any find their beliefs challenged by others who hold contrasting beliefs. Guan explains, “I’ve been challenged quite frequently, and I try to answer as best I can. I can see where others are coming from, but I can also see the flaws in their views. These challenges have made me stronger in my faith.” Binns says, “I used to have many arguments with old friends, and they told me I would go to hell with my beliefs.” Some are challenged not in their beliefs, but in the way they present them. Kennedy says, “Ms. Wei helped me to change the way I presented my beliefs. In an older essay [about atheism], I wrote, ‘I type to offend.’ I now realize that this is extremely derogatory and mean, and I’ve changed.” Others challenge their own beliefs. Sophomore Jackie Slong, a Catholic, states, “I’ve never had other people challenge my beliefs, but I’ve challenged my own. Whenever I had a family member die, I would pray and think it would help, but it doesn’t.” Rudolph finds it challeng-

ing to accept some of the beliefs of her religion. “I don’t really like [some Christian denominations] because [they’re] against gay people and that’s extremely wrong.” Others have never been challenged in their beliefs. Klebe says, “I feel I don’t have to censor myself. If [religion] comes up naturally in a conversation, I will say my opinions. I’ve never had to hold back, and I’ve never seen a negative effect.” Saxena agrees, “Life wouldn’t change so much for me because I’m bound by my own morals and beliefs.” Whether challenged or not, many have experienced their beliefs change as their level of faith changes. Guan recounts, “Before Christianity, I was selfish, arrogant, and intolerant. After I became Christian, I changed. God helped me become more tolerant, merciful and forgiving. I am able to see my own flaws. Sometimes my faith wavers. But when my faith is stronger, I’m a better person.” Khemici agrees, “When I wasn’t super religious, I wasn’t super driven to do things for myself. I’m happier in general when I have faith.”

Religion and the Individual I

n most cases, the individual feels religion’s strongest effects. Whether religion is a personal struggle, a burden, or a source of strength, many feel their everyday lives impacted by their beliefs. Like many others, Guan states, “I struggled a lot when I chose to become Christian. Lang says, “I found my faith through personal experiences, things I’ve seen and read.” Binns sums up the feelings of many, saying, “I’m choosing my own path; I’m still learning.” For some, religion is a burden. Bolaria says, “I’m morally conscious

in everything I do. I don’t like feeling guilty for bad actions.” Many find happiness through religion’s good morals and values. Engelmann states, “I think Christianity has helped me become more happy and compassionate. When I’m struggling with something, I can pray and the answer will show its way.” Sophomore Jackie Slong agrees, saying, “It gives you a faith that keeps you going and motivates you.”

Aragon Student Poll

Are you part of an organized religion? Which one?

Number of People

Rate the impact religion has had on your life

Do you believe in God?

1: Lowest, 5: Highest

Tiera Rudolph (11)


Gurjote Bolaria (11) Seth Klebe (12) Amrit Saxena (11) Ivy Binns (11)

Sikh, Indian Club VP

President of Jewish Club



10 THE ARAGON OUTLOOK: Mission Statement The Aragon Outlook staff publishes a monthly newspaper created for the students to express themselves on issues of interest and importance to them and to provoke thought and discussion within the Aragon community.

Advisor Scott Silton

Co-Editors in Chief Amreet Aujla Ari Brenner

News Olivia Bocanegra, Dan Fu and Catherine Riviello, editors, Sam Alavi, Kristyn Ikeda, Sabrina Imbler, Katie Jensen, Rebecca Korff, Allie Patawan, Russell Roeckel, Ryan Yu, Wendy Yu, Peter Zhan

Features Philip Dimaano, Brian Kawamoto and Rachel Marcus, editors, Paniz Amirnasiri, Jessica Barney, Alice Bebbington, Alexia Carrosco, Meredith Charlson, Eric Ding, Yvonne Hsiao, Christine Kalife, Wassim Khemici, Sarah Kim, Alina Polishuk, Sangwon Yun

Photo Julia Borden, editor, Shelby Barthold, Charlotte Braxton, Kenan Chan, Ashley Lentz Alyssa Lim, Missy Loeser, Sabrina Perry, Eric Torres

Arts and Graphics Phoebe Chao, editor, Martin Contreras, ChenWen Hwang, Yuzo Makitani, Janice Pang, Julia Riviello, Emily Yip

Technology Editor Mark Sherwood The Outlook would love to hear from you. Email us at or visit us at


Volume 49, Issue 4 December 10, 2009

Re-examining flu season etiquette By Ari brenner co-editor in chief

With the media intensity about the spread of swine flu fading away, it’s necessary for us to now take a step back, and double-check our approach to flu season and sickness in general. As with every societal response to the sudden presence of a problem, nationwide we have made corrections to cope with swine flu, spreading awareness and modifying behavior and habits. Recommendations to the public about healthy habits and recognizing flu symptoms have come from a variety of sources, from the Obama Administration to the Aragon PTSO. The public was receptive to the advice and people have made many modifications to their behavior that they perhaps didn’t last flu season. However, now we should assess where there may be an overcor-

rection, and make sure that our behavior isn’t over-the-top. Sensitivity to healthy habits is great, but when that borders on paranoia there’s no real benefit gained. Here’s an example: you walk up to your usual group of friends, announcing that you’re not feeling well. Now’s a moment when you could use a few sympathetic gestures from your friends, but, unfortunately, they awkwardly scoot away from you, almost subconsciously, thinking of you as tainted. Suddenly, you’re a pariah, unwanted. There’s no malice intended from your friends, but you’re a bit hurt nonetheless. The urge to be as far away from a sick person as possible is a natural one. It’s hard-wired in our DNA—but not all instincts are to be blindly obeyed. Putting more space in-between you and your friend is reasonable, especially when doing so while still displaying concern for him

or her. There’s no reason to go sprinting in the opposite direction, though that may assuage some discomfort. Furthermore, acting panicky about someone’s sickness accomplishes nothing, though it’s tempting with intimidating words like “pandemic” floating around in the public mind with regard to swine flu. At the same time, there’s an onus placed on the sick to be responsible and keep their friends safe. Though it’s not pleasant to say or hear, the phrase “No, I shouldn’t hug you: I’m not feeling well, I might be getting sick” is doing the right thing for your friends and family. And, of course, the right thing is also to stay home if unwell, at the sacrifice of missed schoolwork, socializing or extracurriculars. There’s almost a reciprocity between the sick ensuring that those around them are kept well and their friends and family, who return the favor

by empathizing and helping during recovery. When the sick are responsible and proactive about keeping others healthy, friends will be more inclined to lend a helping hand, knowing that their unwell compatriot is making that effort. In this way, our attitude toward sickness matures. We can cope directly with a problem, without panic or alarmism. Truly, it’s when the chips are down, sometimes due to the common cold or swine flu, that one’s relationships are strengthened. In this way, the aggravation of sickness can allow us to appreciate the support that is provided in relationships. Because, hey—everybody gets sick. It’s one of those burdens that we face as a community, a state, a nation, as humankind. The way we handle these problems is what displays our mettle and our care for one another.

Integration of degradation into music? BY ALICE BEBBINGTON FEATURES

“I’m trying to find the words to describe this girl without being disrespectful.” “Everybody rides her just like a bus route.” “Play secretary I’m the boss tonight.” The above “Sexy Bitch,” “Empire State of Mind,” and “Stronger,” are all chart topping songs with catchy beats. However, behind their sometimes-indiscernible lyrics, it is not hard to find sexual innuendos, put downs, and derogatory terms directed at women. A study done by researchers at Pittsburgh University suggests that such derogatory music with sexual lyrics encourages teenagers to start having sex at an earlier age. The results of that study on 711 teenagers conclude that those who frequently listen to music with sexual lyrics (about 17.6 hours each week) were two times more likely to be having sex, shown by the 45% of frequent listeners who had sex, compared to the 21% of occasional listeners. Knowing these facts, why are such controversial and possibly harmful songs still being played at school dances (per the discretion of the DJ), frequenting the radio, and making it on the top charts? Junior Margaret Kelly’s offers an answer, saying, “You have to take it with a grain of salt. I think there’s more to the music than the things they say about women.” Dance Team member and junior Kalie San Felipe says, “I mostly like [music] for the beat ... If the beat is really good then the lyrics don’t matter as much.” As junior and member of the Dance Team Sharlin Warran puts it, “It’s just music, and they’re just saying it.” Sophomore Kate Blood offers

a different perspective. “I feel that even if the beat is fun to dance to, if you listen to a song enough, the lyrics get etched in your mind, and lyrics do matter,” she says. Blood described a time when her views of derogatory music as “vulgar” clashed with the views of her friends, who often “don’t really care about what the lyrics are saying because they think that the beat is cool.” She recalls, “I was at a friend’s party once, and they were playing so many songs that made me feel uncomfortable. Because of the lyrics … I left that area to go talk to another friend.”

Prominent Bay Area DJ Jerry McNeil, who shows videos at his dances to accompany the songs, says, “I’m noticing, just from these dances, that these girls all mimic what they see in the video, in terms of the movement … I’m not sure, if these young kids [are] going to grow up with that same sort of attitude, looking down at women in that way. But the stage is kind of set for them to think that way.” But freshman Daniel Gorn disagrees, and does not see derogatory terms affecting most people. “I don’t think [teenagers] get their moral guidance from Eminem,”

he says. “But there are some songs that … you just want to turn … off, [that are] not fun to listen to.” Freshman Jose Ruiz also does not like music with a negative portrayal of women. “I think that if [others] like it … it’s their opinion,” he says about those who listen to music with a negative portrayal of women. “This is the United States [with] freedom of speech … But I don’t think the singers actually believe in that. [They] just sing it because they think its popular and the kids will like it.”

McNeil, who has a sophomore son of his own, says that most parents do not understand what their kids are listening to “unless it slaps them in the face” but he feels “they should be more aware, especially of the videos.” Yet music has always been served as a barrier between kids and their parents; Elvis Presley’s hip swiveling was seen as so controversial that he was only shown on television from the waist up. Much as the songs of today spark tensions between generations. McNeil comments on the frequent controversy he faces playing for middle school dances, describing how a mother’s reaction to his choice to play Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” once caused tensions with the supervisors of San Mateo Parks and Recreation for a video, even though McNeil “didn’t see anything that would warrant this woman to a make such a big fuss about it.” Yet he does sympathize with her, saying, “And that’s where the fine line is … just listening to the words; sometimes it’s Martin Contreras not even just the video. It’s just [parents can get] upset about what the Despite this popularity Ruiz content of the song is about.” speaks about, most students said So how do the derogatory lyrthey would not feel comfortable ics of some contemporary musharing their music with their sic truly affect today’s society? parents. San Felipe describes For most people, rap and hip how her parents “don’t love it at hop music today simply have a all,” and junior Gabe Cortwright toe-tapping beat and irrelevant said he would not like to play his lyrics. But should society be afmusic aloud “because some of it fected by such a negative porcovers some topics that would be trayal of women? Simply turn embarrassing to listen to with my on the radio, check out the top parents.” Warran says, “It’s some- charts, or sing contemporary lyrtimes awkward when [singers] ics to anyone over 40 to get inare…swearing, because my par- volved in the heated controversy ents are really against that.” that today’s music has evoked.

Volume 49, Issue 4 December 10, 2009


The Rise of Sci-Fi By Meredith Charlson Features

A few years ago, when the most mainstream choice would have been a romantic comedy or an action loaded suspense, today a science fiction thriller complete with plenty of aliens and robots is just as popular of a choice. According to Los Angeles film critic, Steve Biodrowski, there have been over 40 science fiction and fantasy movies released in 2009 alone. People have begun to wonder why more science fiction is being produced, and what the possible effects are from inserting so much of the genre into popular culture. Freshman Kimberly Hilby theorizes that the increase in sci-fi entertainment is due to new technology. “Recently [films] have been very technological,” Hilby explains, “People like to see the progress of new technology, and they want to look at how far it will go.” As the ability to create special effects becomes more advanced, more and more people become drawn to the myriad of new and

incredible methods to entertain the masses. However, some students claim the proliferation in science fiction entertainment is due to more interest in the genre itself rather than the technology. “Because more sci-fi is being seen, more is being made,” states sophomore Sophia Weinbar, “For some [movies] like the remake of Star Trek, people watch it because it reminds them of their childhood. People are also probably getting sick of drama. There’s enough drama at school and in our lives, and people want to see something different.” Weinbar also comments on the benefits of having science fiction being more mainstream saying, “I like how more people are watching scifi because I don’t look like such a geek while I’m listening to the Transformers soundtrack.”

Sophomore Miranda Ashlock also claims they would probably see kids from all over the social spectrum in the theatre. Film critic Biodrowski comments that the 2009 sci-fi mov-

ies lack originality. Biodrowski writes, “Most of them are franchise efforts: sequels and remakes. Few are attempting to break new ground or to inspire that allimportant Sense of Wonder: the intellectual and at the same time visceral buzz that comes from having your perceptions expanded by truly great cinematic achievement.” Unfortunately, the abundance of science fiction entertainment take away from the originality the genre has been known for. Ashlock also agrees, “In terms of getting science fiction to be popular, it doesn’t matter the quantity as much as the quality.” Ashlock then recalls the BCC hit series Dr. Who, a sci-fi program about an alien time traveler that achieved its success because it was a new and original show. “It YUZO MAKITANI was one series that was


great,” she states “People loved it because it was smart and had a good plot.” She concludes that if there was one great science fiction program as opposed to twenty mediocre programs, science fiction would achieve even greater popularity amongst television viewers and movie goers. The popularity of science fiction does allow its fans to become more mainstream as more people start to be attracted to their favorite genre. As long as an interest in sci-fi continues to be present among all types of people, producers will continue to make more movies in an attempt to increase profit. “Movies like 2012 are made just because it’s what people think is thrilling and will sell the most tickets,” Hilby comments. As a result, the quality and originality of the films may be suffering as films are rapidly churned out to meet audience demand. But whether or not it is the new special effects or the thrill from the movies, sci-fi is making its mark on popular culture.


The smartphone takeover

Senior Riley Glusker comprises part of 12% of Aragon students who own an iPhone. BY JESSICA BARNEY FEATURES

“I am still in love with my Blackberry Curve 8310,” says senior Andrea Vilchez. “Before buying it, I basically spent hours, daily, reading reviews, watching YouTube videos and checking out the prices of this phone! I was in love, what could I say? Anyways, with all the research I did, my parents saw my commitment to it and when our contract ended, they bought me the blackberry. I made them rush to the AT&T store before closing time at 9. It was 8:30. I wanted this phone so much I could not bear to wait an-

other day” Unlike many phones, such as the iPhone, that only come with one phone service provider, the Blackberry is versatile as it is available through AT&T, T-mobile, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, Alltel, and Nextel. One of the oldest and most popular smartphones, the Blackberry Smartphone has a wide array of functions such as a detailed calendar system, camera, internet exploration, e-mail, and more. Vilchez says, “It is basically a pocket sized assistant that doesn’t cost fifty dollars an hour…it’s an amazing little critter.” Tending to be pricier than ba-

sic phones because of the monthly costs of additional data services have not stopped smartphones from being purchased by many individuals. People are willing to pay for advantages smartphones have over other phones, but are their convictions justified? Junior Joel Vasquez shares “people with iPhones and Blackberries are always bragging about how they are so much better than other phones, except all phones have their flaws. The Juke…is more durable when it drops on the floor.” When Apple came out with its first “iPod” in 2001, the technology behind such a small portable mp3 player was ground-breaking. Sold originally for $399, this amazing little piece of technology had a 5GB hard drive and could hold up to 1000 songs. Nearly a decade later, Apple released the iPhone. For many students, this technological mutt is the means of cellular communication, portable music and more. But students are not the only ones at Aragon. Biology and leadership teacher Catherine Williamson is one of several teachers sporting the iPhone. “My iPhone is a great organizational tool with its calendar and the ability to check e-mails and the internet whenever the need arises,” she says. AP Biology and Biotechnology teacher Katherine Ward thinks “the iPhone has not been leveraged to its full advantage yet. If I had a class list with all my students in it and it was cross referenced with all the standards they are supposed to know, then students could provide a video portfolio of all the skills learned this year [to show they have met the standards]. These are Apps that

need to be written. There should be a whole section for teachers, so if someone’s got the know it all and there where withal, then I get ten percent of what they make, because it was my idea.” One of the emphasized aspects of the iPhone is its “App” technology where the owner can customize there phone by adding different downloadable “Applications” in addition to the basic “Apps” already on it. Apps can range from professional to entertainment uses, and as Apple advertises in its commercial, “there’s an app for just about anything.” Senior Amanda Rosas “love[s] the fact that [she] can look up directions when [she] gets lost or … check out a new restaurant before [going] it.” In addition to the day to day assistance, there are a number of applications for fun. Rosas shares “my favorite app on my phone is scrabble; it helps me kill time.” Williamson adds “one of my favorite apps is Ping which allows me to text friends out of the country at no charge.”

Of course something so luxurious and extravagant must come at a price, and in the case of smartphones, this price is not only the price of the phone up front, but also the price of the monthly service. A Smartphone is a pricey ticket item, especially for students paying for it on their own; Rosas who paid for her phone herself shares “the next day I wasn’t able to put gas in my car.” There are hidden costs in just about any type of cell phone plan such as “special monthly rates” that only last a few months. If one does their research they can calculate what all of the costs will be. “The sales representative at AT&T was right when telling me how much I would have to pay per month,” says Vilchez. As technology constantly advances, smartphones as we know today will likely become the norm in the society of the future. New devices and applications will constantly be developed and updated indefinitely as mankind and its inventions progress ever further.


Volume 49, Issue 4 December 10, 2009

Mark Sherwood

Mark Sherwood


Senior Diana Li, president of Poetry Club, junior Dina Marshalek, president of Slam Club, and junior Emma Walsh, vice president of Slam Club, kick off the Poetry/Slam Club mash-up session at the San Mateo Library on December 7.

Members of the poetry and slam clubs listen intently to their peers’ poetry. The event was open mic, and included musical performances, rap, poetry and much more.

Poetry Club and Slam Club Mash-Up Junior Dina Marshalek, president of Slam Club, explains, “Slam is performance poetry. It has an emphasis on the spoken word. It is also competitive. In a normal slam competition, each poet is given a set amount of time on stage and then judged by five judges. Slam is all about the immediate reaction where as written poetry is more about the lasting impression.”

Missy Loeser

Ashley Lentz

Senior Diana Li, president of Poetry Club, says, “The poetry club meets every Tuesday in Ms. Daniel’s room, 134. Once a month [we] hold a poetry café in order to express [our]selves through writing.’” Poetry Club found its beginnings in poems Li posted to Facebook. She received many positive comments, and others such as senior Victor Hung began posting poetry too. Inspired, the two founded Poetry Club.

Seniors Marcela Nadel, Sammi Ichikawa, Courtney Wang, and Ariana Recidoro explore the streets of San Francisco during an AP Photo field trip on November 19. The AP Photo students visited an exhibit on photographer Richard Avedon at the modern art museum, and worked on their portfolios.

Alyssa Lim

Freshmen Skylar Assaf and Sophia Koutsogeorgas use pipettes to measure some blue dye during a practice lab in Biology 1-2. The lab prepares them for a DNA lab they are going to do in January.

Varsity and frosh-soph boys basketball practice their daily drill routines together.

Volume 49, Issue 4 December 10, 2009


PHOTO Soccer Photos by Kenan Chan

Senior Stephanie Woo enjoys practicing with her fellow varsity soccer teammates.

Senior William Chidyausiku keeps the ball away from his opponent during a varsity boys practice scrimmage.

A frosh-soph player shows perfect form as he runs to kick the ball.

Will Colglazier, head coach of varsity girls’ soccer, demonstrates how to properly block the ball.

Senior goalie Carlos Lopez, who is on varsity for the fourth year, does a drill to practice blocking balls hurled at him during a game.

Grass shreds fly during a hard-core scrimmage between members of the frosh-soph boys soccer team.



Winter break, the time to chill


Just a few more minutes, thinks freshman Brittney Chew, fidgeting in her seat as the unbearable final moments until winter break drag on. Excited to be traveling to Disneyland in a few days, “I’m looking forward to going on Indiana Jones, my favorite ride, and getting to spend time with my cousins who I don’t see that often,” says Chew. School has its perks, but after hours of studying for finals, every student looks forward to the short vacation for many reasons: some are eager to travel out of town to their favorite destinations, while others plan to simply vegetate, sprawled on their couches, across from the television. Vacationing appeals to most people when it comes to ways to spend winter break, and those lucky enough to leave home for a vacation return with unforgettable memories. “The food was delicious and the Eiffel Tower looked amazing when it was lit up,” says freshman Lauren Chan of her visit to Paris, France three years ago. Discussing a location miles away from Paris, but just as breathtaking, “[I’ll never forget] when I went on a cruise to Hawaii with my whole family,” says Chew, “I got to be with all of my cousins, aunts, uncles, and my grandma. It


w a s really nice getting to spend a whole week with my family instead of just sitting down for dinner for a couple of hours.” Skiing and s n ow b o a rd ing are among the most well-known winter sports. After a long day of moving around, a relaxing break is necessary to cool down. “Hanging out in a cabin with my guy friends, sitting around a fire and drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows,” says senior Victor Fong of how he likes to spend this break.

Exploring shops in areas outside the community with a group of friends or family is equally as amusing. “I love shopping in San Francisco because it’s something I don’t have time to do during school days. They have all sorts of different [shops and restaurants] there so you can be entertained all

day,” says sophomore Niki Anderson. Many times, relaxing days turn out much better without preparation. “I wait until my friends call me and ask me to hang out because I’m too lazy [to plan anything],” says freshman Daniel Jiao. “If you plan it, then you have to be

Volume 49, Issue 4 December 10, 2009

on time and I’m always late… unless [my friends] are with me, then I make them late too.” A truly tranquil day would require all plans to be set aside as each individual tries to “go with the flow,” creating a day of nothing but ease. Gathering all at once can be difficult with everyone in the family either at home, at school, or at work. However, during winter break, there is no excuse for avoiding family time. “It’s the season of being together, and [it allows you] to see the brighter side of your family,” says sophomore Valeria Beltran. Finding an activity that everyone in the family enjoys is key to having a great time together. Luckily, the holidays surrounding winter break are a great time to gather around with loved ones and learn to appreciate spending time with those who bring laughs and memories. “It doesn’t matter where I am as long as I’m with my friends and family, and there’s a lot of laughing and a lot of jokes,” says sophomore Joseph Chua. No matter how each student chooses to spend winter break, there is one thought all students have in common: the holiday break never lasts long enough.


Girls’ Soccer Kicks off against Palo Alto in the quarterfinals BY ALLIE PATAWARAN NEWS

Senior Derek White demonstrates his prowess as he glides across the ice and slaps the puck for a goal.

What’s Hidden Under the Ice


time because of the specific seasonal weather conditions needed. In addition, winter sports such as hockey, speed skating, and ice skating are exceptionally difficult to play if there is not a nearby public ice rink. If so, athletes must travel to nearby ones or travel to areas where snow and ice are plentiful. “There are difficulties all year as ice time is hard to come by, so we take late night practices or early morning ice slots to try and get the most ice time possible. It would be very difficult to train, as hockey conditioning is so much different than any land conditioning. Long-distance travel just adds to the time commitment of hockey” says White. Training to become a better athlete takes time and lots of practice. But once one truly understand the sport, the rest will come naturally. “We learned the basics first, just to warm up. Then we took to the slopes and we were just gliding” says Tovaro. Similarly, White has seen progress through his ten years experience playing hockey. “My proudest moment playing hockey was when my team won the San Jose Winter Classic tournament. It felt good [knowing] that you were the best team and [that] your hard work and dedication paid off,” says White. Although winter sports may be scarce, the passion athletes feel towards them is no different. “My inspiration comes from within. When you love something, you do your best so you can continue in it. I don’t know why I love hockey, but I think it’s because it’s unique and involves brains and skills to succeed,” says White.

The tryout process for the girls’ varsity soccer team began November 2 and ended on November 11. The process proved very beneficial for several players such as freshman Ashley Lentz. “Being a freshman, it opened up my eyes to see how serious everyone is about playing. I am really looking forward to getting to know everyone on the team and developing my goal work,” says Lentz. Returning junior Andrea Cardona is looking forward to more than just getting out on the field. “I’m [also] looking forward to all of the ‘secret sister’ gift exchanges that we do for each game.” This year, the team has a few ambitious season goals. “One of the main team goals is beating Burlingame, a big rival, and to make it to CCS.” says Cardona. Coach William Colglazier says “my biggest coach[ing] goal is to make sure these girls are contributing and having fun in a competitive environment. If at the end of the season, they had a fun year when they felt that they were a piece what we did, what we succeeded in doing, I’ll be very

happy.” The team has made CCS in the previous nine out of ten seasons, yet last year they did not make the cut. Coach Colglazier comments, “I think there are some teams in the district that have said, ‘Okay, they’re on the way down.’ I would say the exact opposite. I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people.” Varsity Scrimmage, Nov. 24 Girls’ varsity won against San Mateo High School in the scrimmage, 5-0. Coach Colglazier felt great about their performance, saying, “We achieved our goals. Our offensive goal was to score off a set piece, and we did that in both halves. Defensively, we had achieved our goal of not letting them have a goal off a set piece.” Senior Elizabeth Maggi felt that there were several challenges throughout the scrimmage. “I think it was more about us and what we could do. We had to adapt to [San Mateo’s] play style.” The scrimmage’s high points were being able to finish off a free kick and being able to score well. However, the downside was that the team needed closer defending because the team could have easily

been attacked in many situations. Aragon vs. St. Francis, Nov.30 The first ten minutes of the game went well for Aragon when junior Kathryn McAuliffe scored the first goal. However, as time progressed, St. Francis advanced, pushing the score to 2-1. The second half started with St. Francis still in the lead. St. Francis advanced later, winning one extra point at 3-1. Eventually, Aragon senior Rachel Bradley-Haas scored, leaving the total score at 4-2. The Dons had trouble adapting to St. Francis play style. “They played a different offense than we usually play. We weren’t very used to it. But we did a good job passing. We communicated well, we moved off the ball,” says Maggi. St. Francis is one of the top teams in the WACL (Catholic School division), so Aragon faced some athletic challenges. Coach Colglazier says, “Something I certainly emphasize is trying to compete at a high level versus tough opponents.” The season is bound to bring many new challenges with games against Burlingame and Woodside, top athletic teams.


“I’ve been going to the snow over the past few years [and have seen] other people snowboarding” says sophomore Oscar Tovaro. “I got into the whole surfing system, so I was like you know what, I should snowboard! I tried it and it was a great experience and I [have done] it ever since.” Although snowboarding and skiing are probably the most familiar winter sports, there are many others hidden under the radar. Senior Derek White plays hockey for a local club team called the Cougars. “Hockey is definitely on the down low, but many students support me by coming to games or wishing me luck and I hope that in the future more students will get involved either playing or watching and possibly form an Aragon team,” says White. Another sport that is hidden under the radar is figure skating. “It is not as popular as football, soccer, and baseball because skating is not very violent but it is very competitive,” says junior Otra El-miaari who has skated in competitions as well as holiday shows for seven years. Although figure skating may seem elegant and graceful, it is not. “Figure skating is different because it is a lot of leg muscles and it is not a physical sport,” says El-miaari. “This sport is unique because it is hard to land the landing of a jump or [a] spin. Also you have to have good posture and be flexible.” Although these sports may be fun to play, they have little playing



Volume 49, Issue 4 December 10, 2009

Junior Kathryn McAuliffe’s swiftly maneuvers past the defense and positions herself for an open shot.

Although seniors Sarah Jacobs and Stephanie Woo have been teammates on Aragon’s Varsity for four years, they do not hold back during practice.

Athlete of the Month: Conor Stanton ERIC TORRES

sports in general, junior Conor Stanton is showing his greatest talent and largest dedication this season: wrestling. He started wrestling with the help of his dad during his freshman year at Aragon, and also began wrestling outside of school. Every Co-captain Conor Stanton demonstrates a useful year after, Stanton move for the rest of the wrestling team. has filled his life with new goals and BY SARAH KIM achievements in the sport that he FEATURES loves. “His determination shines Although he loves to play water polo, tennis, table tennis, and through every day when he is at

practice,” says Coach Steve Ratto. “It feels great to achieve that level of fitness that wrestling requires,” says Stanton. Stanton recalls, “My most memorable match was my match for a ‘True Second’ in PALS. The number one seed had knocked me into the consolation bracket in a previous round, but the winner of the consolation bracket is allowed to challenge the second place winner to see who gets to go to CCS. I remember I made a huge mistake and ended up on my back in the first few seconds of the match, but I fought back and ended up pinning the guy. It felt great to finally make it to CCS.” Despite being a skilled and persistent wrestler, he is also a

great team support. Wrestling is a difficult sport and takes more than just skill and strength. Stanton helps cover the gap on the team with his encouraging words and extra help. “He is very supportive and lets nobody down. He pumps up the team before practice and always gives a speech at the end of practice. Overall, we admire his strength,” says senior Roy Gonda. “His leadership and desire to put the team first has helped us to bring wrestling to Aragon,” says Ratto. With new members on the team this year, “Conor has helped the team by giving them a role model to look at. He has helped me with developing the team the way I want it to be by creating the

right atmosphere and attitude,” says Ratto. While helping his team, Stanton also tries to stay positive at all times. “Whether Conor wins or loses a match, he always ask[s] right after, what he could have done better so he doesn’t get caught in [the same] situation next time,” says Ratto. Stanton will continue to work hard and add to his knowledge of wrestling because he hopes to propel himself to more difficult levels. It may not be easy, but Stanton is determined to work is way to competing at State Tournament, the ultimate demonstration of his true talent and excellent athleticism.



Wrestling: High Hopes for a new Season




This season of wrestling has brought revitalization to the team. The team has a new head coach, and a bulk of the team is new to wrestling. Head Coach Steve Ratto says, “It’s good to have the new people. It’s

nice to see so many people interested this year.” Over the course of the last two years, the lead players of the team have graduated. The team now only has about six returning members. New member, sophomore Emilia Baptista says “I joined the team because it looked like fun, and I like the aggressiveness of the sport.”

Wrestling is an intense contact sport played in a tournament setting, and because of the lack of veteran skill, the focus this year has been technique. Team Co-Captain junior Conor Stanton says “We drill technique because wrestling is a sport with a lot of moves.” The team’s practice consists of basic warm-ups, cardio, technique, and live wrestling. Team Co-Captain, senior Dylan Houston says, “wrestling practices are the most rigorous practices at Aragon.” Adjusting to a more basic training this season has somewhat hurt the more experienced wrestlers. Houston says, “the more [new players] wrestle with us. They get better, but it doesn’t help us, and we’re

Emilia Baptista pins the Assistant Coach to the mat in a training exercise.

Two members of the wrestling team practice improving their technique.

Volume 49, Issue 4 December 10, 2009 not at a point where we want to stop getting better.” Despite some frustration, Houston adds, “the coaches do well going with everyone’s needs.” Despite rebuilding the wrestling program, the team’s expectations are consistently optimistic. The entire team holds similar goals for the season. However, winning is not the first priority. “We want everyone to have a good experience, get in shape, and have fun down here.” says Ratto. He also has a goal for the team to move up in divisions, as Aragon is currently in the lower division. “It may not be this year but it’s a long term goal,” says Ratto. With wrestlers joining and returning, Ratto adds, “there’s more competition down here, and it helps for tournaments.” Many players on the team have personal expectations they wish to meet. “Everyone’s goal is to go as far as possible. I hope I do well in PAL, then do well at CCS, then do well at state.” Baptista says her personal goal is “to do 50 pushups in a row and beat people at wrestling.” Others are raising their personal expectations even higher. Houston states, “I want to be the guy who goes to state.” The wrestlers are excited for the season, hoping to get the best of it. Stanton says “I hope everybody will try their best, and see how great this sport is.” Junior Joel Vazquez adds, “I do it for fun. Most athletes play a sport because they like it, and I’m here because I like wrestling.”

Varsity Boys Basketball Preview: Lineup & League Changes, but Ready as Ever BY RYAN YU NEWS


After an impressive display of talent in a win against Lynbrook to advance to the second round of CCS playoffs last season, the Aragon boys’ varsity basketball team returns this year, more ready than ever. The offseason marked a not-so-subtle change on the team’s roster, with players such as point guard Russell Park and towering center Garret Conour both graduating. While it may seem unclear to some what effects this lineup change may have, the team is confident it will not disrupt their playing ability. Coach Arjuna ManningLaisne explains, “[The departure of Garret] won’t change the way we play at all. The only thing is, since our lineup is a bit smaller, we’ll have to run harder, which means being better conditioned.” In these graduating players’ places, many former junior varsity players have moved up the ranks, including juniors Max Liebergesell and Aaron Eder. Seniors Dom Tejo, Isaiah Harris, and Sam Tuivailala, along with junior Joe Halaufia, will resume their roles on the team from last year. “One main difference I see in this year’s team is that we are lacking in size,” Tejo relates about the offseason lineup changes. “To make up for this we will need to be able to run the floor well and be able to shoot the

ball because we’re probably going to see a lot of zone [defense] being played against us.” In the offseason, the boys’ varsity basketball program trained intently, trying to hone and retain skills. Tejo recalls, “To prepare for the season, I played basketball, and worked on my game everyday of the summer.” Junior Byron Ng tells of his offseason work, saying, “I weight lifted for an hour a day, and I did a lot of shooting drills, mainly working on fundamentals.” Besides personal preparation for the season, Aragon was also involved in summer league competition between other schools in the bay area, taking place at Cañada, Foothill, and Skyline colleges. Furthermore, a twicea-week open gym at Aragon was held, along with a month-long conditioning program ending just at the beginning of tryouts. The new season brings change to Aragon’s league. Prior to this season, teams were matched with opponents in league play based on region. Aragon concurrently played Burlingame, Capuchino, Hillsdale, Mills, and San Mateo. However, teams are matched this year with other schools of their considerable strength, based on votes by the coaches of these schools. Consequently, due in part to the large number of graduating senior players, Aragon essentially became the seventh team in a six-team power division, making it the odd one out; the Dons now


Dons duke it out with former Dons in the Basketball team’s annual Alumni Game in which a mixture of alumni return to challenge their successors.

12-10 12-11 12-15 12-17 12-19 12-29 12-30 12-31 1-9 1-13 1-15

face Hillsdale, Jefferson, San Mateo, South City, and Woodside in league play. The revered “quad” games, back-to-back matchups involving all four Aragon basketball teams, will still be held, although not as frequently as in past years. Finally, with a new season comes new goals and aspirations. Tejo explains his hopes for the season, saying, “A personal goal of mine for the team this year is to go 10-0. I feel as though we’ll be able to do this because we moved down a division and I feel like our team chemistry is improving every day.” Tejo also has high hopes for his basketball future following high school, saying, “[After Aragon], I plan to go to a community college, like Cañada, and play basketball there and see where I can go after that.” Coach ManningLaisne offers another MISSY LOESER During the Alumni Game on November 28, Sam Tuivailala lunges to block his former teammate. viewpoint about goals for the season, saying, “I’ve always tried not to put a specific number of wins as a goal perfectly: “I just want to do as best as I for a season, because I feel if we don’t reach can, and leave everything out there on the that specific goal, then the entire season court.” And if the entire team does just that, there’s no telling how far they will go. can be seen as a failure, which it isn’t.” Ng puts his goals for the season

basketball Schedule Opponent Location Burlingame Tournament Burlingame Burlingame Tournament Burlingame June Jordan Aragon Menlo-Atherton Aragon Riordan Serra St. Francis Tournament St. Francis St. Francis Tournament St. Francis St. Francis Tournament St. Francis Sequoia Sequoia Jefferson Jefferson Woodside Aragon

Time TBA TBA 6:00 7:00 4:30 TBA TBA TBA 12:30 6:00 7:45

December 2009 Issue  

This is the December 2009 issue of the Aragon Outlook.

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