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Aragon High School 900 Alameda de las Pulgas San Mateo, CA, 94402

Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Permit No. 782 San Mateo, CA


Protests abroad rattle world BY ANDREW LYU NEWS

Starting in mid-December of 2010, a wave of protest and revolution has spread throughout the Is-

lamic world in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Incidents have taken place in 18 countries, and in two countries, Tunisia and Egypt, heads of states have already been overthrown.

This wave of revolution started on Dec. 17, 2010 when the self immolation (setting oneself on fire as an act of martyrdom) of fruit merchant Mohamed Bouazizi sparked the Jasmine Revolution of Tunisia. Follow-

ing protests, 28 days later on Jan. 14, President Zine El Abadine Ben Ali of Tunisia fled the country. Eight days later, on Jan. 25, Egypt saw its large protest in Tahrir Square, CONTINUED ON PAGE 3

Pursuing passions: career day

Visit within the next few days for expanded coverage of today’s event! BY BRANDON LIU NEWS

Today, students will have the opportunity to watch Career Day presentations, with experts in various professions visiting Aragon to explain aspects of their jobs. This biannual event will feature over 60 guest speakers of different occupations and will be open to all students. The presentations will take place over several hours after shortened first and second periods. Speakers will be located in classrooms hosted by teachers and presentations will last around 25 minutes each. Students will have the opportunity to hear four different speakers before resuming a normal schedule. This tradition started many years ago, but was suspended until 2007 when it was reinstated. This event has been planned through collaboration with the Parent Teacher Student Organization (PTSO), which has been working diligently to organize and coordinate with speakers. Counselor Laurie Tezak has helped the parents coordinate with the school. She feels excited about this event because of the effort and enthusiasm put in, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Turn to page 6 to check out a feature on the Oscars, including a list of the top winners!



Construction Update BY KATHRYN DEWITT NEWS


Turn to the center spread and learn about exotic and unique cuisines!

In 2006 San Mateo County voters approved Measure M, allowing the San Mateo Union High School District to use $298 million dollars to renovate the district’s high schools by upgrading the safety of buildings and replacing aged facilities. Aragon students can see these renovations at their school in the form of a new pool, theater, and solar panels. Originally slated to finish on Jan. 24, 2011, the pool was finally completed in the first week of March in time for the opening meet of the swim season. The swim team has returned to their home pool, after having to practice at the College of San Mateo during the month of February. In another aspect, Aragon’s new roof solar panels are expected to finish by the end of March if the project is not delayed any more by rain. Similarly, the new theater is set to finish construction by December 2011. Other planned construction projects at Aragon include the biotech building and the gym CONTINUED ON PAGE 3

Head over to page 16 to get a preview of Aragon’s varsity baseball & softball teams! CASEY FITZGERALD


volume 50, issue 06 March 3, 2011

District awarded $25 million Math marathon draws 140+ middle BY PETER ZHAN NEWS

Quick Facts $848 million

total value of tax credits issued by federal government as part of stimulus package


number of school districts in California recieving money from stimulus package

$14.3 million

expected cost of Aragon’s new performing arts center

school participants


The San Mateo Union High School District has been awarded $25 million in federal Qualified School Construction Bond (QSCB) tax credits as a result of Obama’s stimulus package, which could save district taxpayers $6 million, according to Elizabeth McManus, District Deputy Superintendent of Business Services. According to a recent district newsletter, Tom Tolarkson, California state superintendent of public instruction, announced on Jan. 14 that 61 districts in California would receive money from Obama’s stimulus package, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). In total, the federal government issued $848 million in tax credits. The stimulus was passed to help the economy, explained McManus, who applied for the money in October. The QSCB tax credits are meant to be spent for construction purposes only. “The $25 million from the federal government for QSCBs will only go toward the building of three projects in our district, including one project at Aragon—the building of a new performing arts theater. The $25 million will be split roughly evenly between these three projects,” she said. Stephen Rogers, president of the SMUHSD board of trustees, explained further how the QSCB tax credits work, stating, “Selling bonds is like borrowing money. When the district sells bonds, there is a principal amount plus interest that the district must pay back. Usually, taxpayers pay the district in property taxes so that the district has money to pay back. In this case, the federal government is saying that it will pay for some or all of the interest, meaning the taxpayers do not have to pay as much for the interest. The net result is that the district can borrow money at a lower interest rate; this creates a savings for taxpayers.” School districts usually pay annual payments to the lenders. However, a qualified school construction bond’s principal is paid off in one payment at the maturity of the bond. McManus added, “The San Mateo Treasurer’s Office will most likely set a tax rate so that we set aside a fund for 17 years, so that the money exists to repay the federal government. That way, we don’t have a tax hike in one year to pay off the principal amount.” According to the district newsletter, the interest of a bond can be worth as much as half of the total price of the bond. McManus estimates that savings to taxpayers

could come out to about $6 million. “It is important to note that we are not getting $25 million in free money. Rather, we are borrowing $25 million as a principal amount. This money, however, will come at a reduced interest rate, saving taxpayers $6 million that would have been paid if the federal government did not agree to pay the interest.” Even if the district had not been awarded the money, construction would have continued, she said. If a school wants to go forward with a construction project, it must first be approved by the Division of the State Architect, or the DSA. “Because the stimulus package wanted to provide work quickly, it gave districts extra points on the application if they had DSA-approved projects. In other words, the stimulus preferred districts with readyto-go projects. Since I applied for the money using all pre-approved projects, all three projects were prepared before we received this money” said McManus. Rogers added that the Board of Trustees must approve the construction and give financial approval before the project can begin. Although $25 million was the limit for how much money a district could apply for, McManus noted that there are other ways of financing projects. She used construction projects at Aragon as an example. According to McManus, Kurtz and other Aragon administrators have already received $1.4 million from state CTE grants toward the construction of a two-story industrial arts and biotech building. For comparison, the new performing arts theater is expected to cost $14.3 million. The district also applied for government bonds for clean energy for solar energy, but was not rewarded money for it. As a final note, McManus said, “We always try to save our taxpayers money.”

The Bowditch Middle School Team won the “Team A” and “Team B” group competitions. BY KIRA BRENNER NEWS

“The marathon was a lot of fun. There’s not much else to do on a Friday night… [I would have been] just playing video games,” said Anthony Cabuslay, an 8th grader from St. Timothy’s Lutheran School. Not only did Cabuslay have an activity other then video games to do on his Friday evening, but he also won multiple awards at the Aragon Math Marathon that took place on Friday, Feb. 25. The Aragon Math Marathon ran from 4:00-8:00 p.m. An astounding 142 students from nine different schools participated in the competition. The competition, run by the Aragon Math Club students, was for middle school students in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. The following schools participated: Abbott Middle School, Bayside STEM Academy, Borel Middle School, Bowditch Middle School, Crocker Middle School, The Hamlin School, Odyssey Middle School, St. Timothy’s Lutheran School, and Zion Lutheran School. The student-organized contest was the product of Senior Amrit Saxena and other dedicated Math Club members’ hard work over the past few years. Math Teacher Andrea Gould said, “Discussion for the marathon started back when the seniors in the math club were freshman… It took until last year to host the first marathon.” Many of the Aragon Math Club students participated in math competitions while they were middle school students, and so they know what the content of the problems should be. In addition to prior knowledge, Gould said, “They had a professional contest consultant to help with the level of difficulty.” This year, in addition to a team round of the marathon, a relay round of the competition was held. Unlike the other components of the competition, in the

relay round, students competing on the same team worked on the same problem, but were not allowed to communicate. Every member of the group completed one section of the problem without consulting the other team members. The relay round at the Aragon Math Marathon 2011 was by far the favorite part of the competition for students. Students from all participating grades enjoyed the unique design of the round. Sidd Viswanathan, an 8th grader from Bowditch Middle School said, “The relay round was just different. I have never had each team member do a different part of the problem. We didn’t communicate to solve the problem.” The relay round was a test of trust, almost as much as it was of math skills. Jenna Smith, a 7th grader from Abbott Middle school said, “I was working with others by relying on them. We just had to hope for the best.” Smith said, “As a whole, [the marathon] helped me learn about math in a new way from others in my group.” The awards ceremony closed the marathon. “The kids loved to be recognized,” Gould said. Trophies, medals, and certificates were given out, and parents cheered for their children’s schools as loudly as is heard at a champion sports game. Although all of the schools demonstrated strong skills and ability during the marathon, Bowditch stood out at the award ceremony. Bowditch took home more awards than any other school. Bowditch also was noted to have swept the competition last year. Although some students arrive holding onto the negative stereotype that math is boring, Saxena said, “It shows [the participants] that math is really fun and not boring like some students think. Apart from organizing it, my favorite part of the marathon is seeing the legitimate joy on the faces of the students by the end of the competition. It is very fulfilling.”

Career day brings more than 60 speakers to Aragon CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 saying, “There are more speakers every year. They way they do it, on a large scale, it takes about a year. We’re even getting offers from speakers coming to us.” Service commissioners and leadership students will meet and host the speakers upon their arrival, and leadership will be in charge of publicizing the event. Parent co-chairs Sue Blockstein and Gale Borden have been leading this outreach to the community. They have been contacting many guests through personal connections and previous participation and are trying to create a diverse assortment of jobs. There will be many professions from areas like the arts, public services, sciences, technology, business,

health, and trade. Borden is very enthusiastic about this opportunity for the students. They do not hold it annually because she says, “They get to see it twice and will not be bored as opposed to seeing it every year. Kids can develop and find their interests through this preview.” She also stresses that students will have multiple opportunities to explore their preferred career. Borden says, “We want people to know they have another chance, and we want them to open up to different professions.” Borden encourages that students have preferences in mind, but teachers and counselors will also be around to provide options for students. As an improvement this year, there

will be bigger maps to help stu- will discuss why she chose to be a doctor, and what it means to dents find speakers. Each speaker will be offering her. Hassid says, “This is a fantastheir own presentation, includ- tic opportunity for students who ing information such as pros and think they may have an interest in cons, educational requirements, a particular field.” Jeff Jacobs, Vice President of and job prospects. Past speakers have often used PowerPoint Chemistry, works at the biotechnology compresentations to give students an pany Ardelyx, “There are more speakoverview, along ers every year. They way and has been in with a question they do it, on a large scale, the industry for and answer pe- it takes about a year. We’re nearly 20 years. riod. even getting offers from In past years, Grace Hassid, speakers coming to us.” he has received M.D., a doctor classes, -Counselor Laurie Tezak full for the Departand says, “It’s a ment of Public great concept. Health, was a prior speaker two Students have the opportunity to years ago and has the highest re- get exposure to options. It’s also spect for the students and teach- a way to give back to the high ers. For her presentation, she school community by spreading

interest in science.” Having presented twice before, Jacobs says he always tries to pick a topic to talk about that would be popular. Previously, he has discussed obesity and performance enhancing drugs. Jacobs believes that it is important to be engaging and interactive with the students. After receiving successful participation in past years, Career Day has been again made possible through much coordination between the administration and the PTSO. This year will feature even more guest speakers, and interest is growing for this promising event. Visit for more content!


volume 50, issue 06 March 03, 2011

An Egyptian man carries a flag in protest in Tahrir Square, followed by a crowd of protestors.

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Cairo, and this time the world took notice, now the most populous country in the MENA group had entered the fray. All eyes were set on Egypt. As one of the most influential countries in the region, Egypt set the tone for the current events in the MENA area. In Egypt and throughout the Middle East, protesters called for changes. Politically, the people demanded freedom of speech and legitimate elections. In many MENA countries elections are corrupt. Often, the same President is in power for decades. In Egypt’s case, President Hosni Mubarak was in power for 30 years. Economically, the people called for more equal distribution of wealth. The poor and middle class suffer high unemployment, food price inflation, and low minimum wage. One of the leading factors of unrest is the high percentage of youth unemployment. In many MENA countries, the youth com-

Three army officers monitor Egyptian protests, a welcoming sight after brutal police assaults on civilians.

Khaled El Sawy, an Egyptian actor and activist, inspires a crowd to protest against Mubarak’s rule.

prise of a majority of the population. In Egypt, approximately 52.3 percent of the population is under the age of 25. By comparison, approximately 28.5 percent of the US population is under the age of 25. Another striking characteristic of the revolution is the use of social media. The first protest in Egypt was organized by Google executive Wael Ghonim via a Facebook page. While press is heavily restricted by the state, dissenters have found power in less government controlled mediums such as Twitter and Facebook. Media has struggled to shed light on the conflicts because foreign powers have been the target of hate; journalists have been attacked trying to report on the ground. The internet and television access are shut down in many countries during protests. Egypt for example, fell silent to the internet world on Jan. 27 when the state shut down all network connections. On Feb. 11, after 18 days of

protest, Mubarak officially resigned as President of Egypt. Currently the Supreme Council of Egyptian Armed Forces is in control of the government and the Egyptian constitution is being revised by an eight person committee of legal experts. Now that the revolution is in its finishing stages in Egypt, people wonder how the outcome of reform will affect the world. On a small scale, the Muslim community has been shaken and impassioned by the event. Even at Aragon, there are students who have been affected by protests MENA. One Aragon student who has family in Iran says, “[My family is] very lucky because a lot of [my] family fled to Europe or the US [during the revolution in 1979].” The student continues, “Currently my family is fine because I don’t really have young cousins there. It’s more older family members there, so they’re not involved in the [protests].” Meanwhile, junior Elian

Boukhalil, who has family in Lebanon, says that “[Her cousins] were extremely calm. My cousin Lucianna even recently went to a party in the capital.” On a larger scale, successful reform in Egypt has caused more unrest in the Middle East. Still, many people are pessimistic about change. Boukhalil quotes one of her cousins who says, “‘every other year some Muslims decide they want attention so they start making problems, but nothing ever happens.’” The feeling that revolutionary change will not take place is a common sentiment. However, it seems that change is contagious. Protests have broken out in several countries including Yemen, Iran, Bahrain, Algeria, and at the forefront of these, Libya. Many protests have resulted in violence and refugees are fleeing countries where protests rage on. A fear in Egypt is that the end of Mubarak’s regime may bring further instability. There is no real central head figure rising from the

tion between two people about the problem at hand with the ultimate goal being an arrival at a resolution. Regarding the mediation sessions, Korsunsky says,

tion is a definite solution for conflicts at Aragon. Korsunsky says, “If it is not working, then we don’t [do it].” The most mediation sessions Korsunsky has had to facilitate for one group, though, is merely two. Though the sessions

chose to be passive in order to avoid a confrontation.” Though there are many options in dealing with conflict, the counseling of-

Conflict Resolution between Students at Aragon


For violating the student code of conduct, students face consequences ranging from serious talks from teachers, to social probation, to suspensions. Many of these violations stem from conflicts that students face in and outside of school. Though the term “conflict” does encompass a broad variety of problems including firearm possession, family problems, sexual assault, and drug possession, a very common one at Aragon is relationship conflict between friends. It is important to note, however, that conflicts are not all similar and they differ from student to student. A majority of the information concerning fights, suspensions, and overall conflicts at Aragon is kept strictly confidential by school administration for privacy reasons. Statistics, experience and direct consequences stemming from past conflicts are not publicly disclosed. Likewise, conflicts and the way they are dealt with are a touchy subject amongst students. However, safety and health counselor Sarah Korsunsky is open about her management of student issues. Following a conflict, students are sometimes required by the administration to have a mediation session with Korsunsky but sometimes talk with her by choice. During these mediation sessions, Korsunsky facilitates conversa-


“[We] do it as soon as a conflict starts happening.” There is a pattern amongst these conversations. Korsunsky notes, “[Oftentimes] one person thought something had happened when it hadn’t. Many conflicts between friends are from misinterpretations, not what the person intended.” There still remains the problem with conflicts that are begun intentionally. Yet, Korsunsky says, “[Conflicts] between friends [are] even more intense; when you know someone better you know how to hurt them more.” However, she also states, “[Between friends there is] more motivation to work on relationships.” At times, students brought in for mediation sessions may come in resistant to conversation. Korsunsky says, “[It] does end up being a choice private conversation; once students understand that, they feel more comfortable.” That is not to say that media-

may become emotionally heated, the sessions are otherwise kept peaceful. Korsunsky says, “[I’ve] never had students hit each other [during mediation].” Students have also looked to other methods to help resolve their conflicts. Some students have resorted to the administration and police in order to attempt remediation of their conflicts. Others have chosen to “remain passive” or have merely forgiven and relinquished their problems without the need for heated confrontation or mediation sessions. Others have chosen to “remain passive” or have merely forgiven and relinquished their problems without the need for heated confrontation or mediation sessions. Junior Vincent Tong says, “I felt an infinite amount of rage,” after his lunch was knocked over by a classmate nearby. He says, “He just spontaneously knocked over my bowl. I had multiple suppressed arguments within me.” Though agitated, Tong says, “I


is open to all seeking help with any personal problems or issues with others. Overall, Korsunsky says of conflicts, “Change, if it is lasting, has to come from within. That is why I work very closely with administrators.” Be sure to check out for other articles and webexclusive content!


Protests in the Middle East proliferate

revolution. Political talk in Cairo is fractured with talks of liberal nationalism, “Arab Socialism”, Pan-Arabism and so forth. Many pessimists feel that the end of Mubarak’s regime just signals another military autocracy or single party rule by the Muslim Brotherhood the major opposition faction to the Mubarak regime in Egypt. This same concern is felt in other countries as the people have broken out against the oppressive government, with little plans for the future. In any case, the US is surely wary of the outcome of reforms in Egypt and all of MENA. The US, after all, brokered the Camp David accords which led to the current Egyptian-Israeli peace. While Mubarak supported the peace treaty, a country led by the Brotherhood might not be as cooperative. Overall, anxieties in both Israel and Washington are on the rise as a more democratic Middle East may in turn mean a more anti-Israeli and anti-American Middle East.


CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 remodel, both of which have yet to start, due to the backlog of the State Department of Architecture, which must review and approve all designs. The construction of the biotech building should begin in 2012, according to Assistant Principal Joe Mahood. Students and staff alike have dealt with challenges from construction such as the lack of outside basketball courts needed for intramural sports due to theater construction, noise of solar panel installation, and parts of school being closed off due to general construction and concrete pouring. To compensate for the basketball issue, a temporary, portable basketball hoop has been set up in the tennis court area. When sections of the school are blocked off, teachers recognized that change in pathways could affect students’ timely arrival in class. However, the future completion of all construction projects should provide a major upgrade to the school.


volume 50, issue 06 March 3, 2011

Improv Olympics: a clash of titans

The second annual Improv Olympics will take place on Friday, March 4, and Saturday, March 5 at 7 p.m. in Aragon’s theater. The Improv Olympics involve Aragon’s Improv Team and Hillsdale’s Improv Team performing in a friendly competition between schools. Last year, Aragon hosted one day of the Olympics, and Hillsdale hosted the following day. This year, however, Aragon will host both days because Hillsdale’s theater is under construction. Senior improviser Nina Prentiss says, “We’re all in it for a good show, but there’s a little hidden bit of school rivalry. When you’re acting for an audience, it’s easy to get caught up in it.” Last year, the Hillsdale Improv team, also known as the HIT squad, hosted first and won that competition. Aragon hosted the second day and won the second battle, tying the competition. Improviser Lisa Rowland, who coaches both teams, says, “With both shows at Aragon this year, the home court advantage might play a bigger role.” Rowland will moderate the competition, challenging both teams to fulfill a specific challenge

in the form of a scene or game. Because each school’s team is so large, each will be split up into teams of roughly six improvisers so that everyone will play. To avoid a tie, there will be a panel of five judges: two from Hillsdale, two from Aragon, and one neutral expert judge. The judges will raise either an Aragon or Hillsdale placard, the winning team receiving one point in a round. Prentiss says, “The show will be amazing. I have faith in my fellow improvisers and the audience too. Big audiences are usually good audiences.” Senior improviser Melissa Cruz says, “We are prepared, because we get together on weekends and practice, which helps in doing this. We get to play with others, and it helps us perform.” Nevertheless, the nature of improvisation stipulates that instinct, not preparation, is the strongest asset to a player. Prentiss says, “You can never be truly prepared. I think we’re going to have fun, and we’re as prepared as we’re going to be.” The Improv Olympics started out as joint practices between the Aragon Improv Team and the HIT squad, under coach Rowland. It was Rowland’s idea to join both schools in an Improv Olympics. Rowland says, “The competi-

Senior Alina Polishuk opens a letter of blackmail while juniors Dani Cutts and Sabrina Imbler, along with sophomore Rachel Van Heteran, watch the scene unfold.



tion seemed like a natural development. Hillsdale and Aragon are rivals in so many other arenas, and here they are with two improv teams. It makes a lot of sense to have this sort of show.” Rowland continues, “Part of improv is the skill that goes into creating scenes on the spot. Another part is showmanship and performance. We work on both.” Prentiss agrees, saying, “The show is the biggest priority, but you need to have fun to make a good show.” While the Aragon Improv Team features many returning members, the HIT Squad is comprised of many new members. Prentiss comments, “The team has gradually gotten bigger since I came on in sophomore year. The enthusiasm to spread improv has grown. The dynamics between the team members always change, but this is the best year because there are so many different people.” Drama director Shane Smuin says, “Based on last year, it was really successful. Everyone had a really good time. I think it will go swimmingly this year.” Rowland says, “The teams both bring really exciting improv to the stage and I can’t wait to see it all in one place. It is certainly going to be a show worth seeing. Anything could happen.”

Coach Lisa Rowland leads Aragon students in an improvised song about the beauty of rain. Rowland coaches both the Hillsdale and Aragon Improv teams.

(Top right) A mad scientist, junior Dani Cutts, cackles in awe of her monstrous creation, senior Jessia Hoffman. (Bottom right) Junior Alice Bebbington sobs.

In-Concert begins on a sweet note


On Saturday, March 5, there will be a district-wide musical concert that will include all of the best high school musicians in the area. Students from Burlingame, Hillsdale, San Mateo, Capuchino, Mills and Aragon High School will be performing. Here at Aragon, band director Troy Davis and orchestra and choir director David Martin are involved in selecting musicians to participate in the EMILY YIP 14-year tradition. Each director from the schools has a part in choosing the songs and musicians. As for the songs, Davis says, “The songs are a mixture of classical literature, choir masterpieces and jazz, among others.”

For orchestra and choir, Martin says, “The songs for the performance include folk, classical, and cultural music pieces.” Four different musical groups— jazz band, sy m-

phonic band, choir, and orchestra—are involved with the In-Concert performance. Each of these groups differs slightly in how students are chosen to perform in In-Concert. Jazz band is one of the most difficult groups to play in because it is an audition-only band. On the other hand, symphonic band has auditions for principal chairs in each section of the band. The other musicians will be recommended by their band directors. In choir, the students are se-

lected by the director, and in orchestra, there are auditions for principal chairs in each section. The musicians have practices all throughout February and part of March. There are three night rehearsals leading up to the concert that go from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. A final all-day rehearsal, on the day before the concert, is from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. This culminating practice happens at the San Mateo Performing Arts Center, which also serves as the location of the In-Concert performance the next evening. Two-year participant and sophomore Anthony Privatera says, “I did the concert last year and I liked it because it had really good players. I was a little nervous, but we prepare very well.” Likewise, junior and three-year participant for In-Concert Alex Lew says, “I like that there are better players than in normal band. I get nervous on the stage and it takes more concentration because there is more pressure.” “I liked meeting new people and also playing in an honor or-

chestra because it’s a lot different from school orchestra,” says sophomore Sam Bunarjo about his experiences from last year. “The experience is a lot more lively because everyone in the honor orchestra is really passionate about music. Martin and Davis always strive to help out participating students with expert advice. Each year, Martin says, “A guest conductor from a college or university, or a local professional musician helps with the performance. This gives a good opportunity to the students who normally don’t have this type of experience everyday.” This year, Andrew Mogrelia, the Music Director of the San Francisco Conservatory Orchestra, serves as a guest conductor at In-Concert. Mogrelia is an internationally renowned conductor who conducted many leading orchestras in Europe before returning to the US. In-Concert will take place on Saturday, March 5, at 7 p.m. at the San Mateo Performing Arts Center.



From February 8-28, all students were asked to donate one dollar by placing it in designated boxes in their 5th period class as part of the One Dollar For Life campaign at Aragon. The 5th period class that raises the most amount of money will receive a pizza party from Aragon Leadership. One of the event organizers, leadership student junior Danielle Cutts, heard about the event from a classmate who attended a leadership conference where the One Dollar For Life (ODFL) organization was mentioned. Other local schools, such as Burlingame and Capuchino, have participated in past fundraisers; such fundraisers have generated money for the purchase of school desks, as well as the actual construction of new schools in other countries. One Dollar For Life takes donations from American students and directs them to qualified non-government-organizations (NGOs) for projects around the world. Past projects include building schools in Africa, Central America, and Asia, providing earthquake relief to Haiti, and giving cows and bicycles to people in Africa for food and transportation. For school building projects, the NGOs are encouraged to use local labor to reduce the cost of building and to help involve the community by developing local skill sets. Since ODFL is a non-profit organization, which receives grants from private foundations to fund their staff and overhead costs, ODFL can forward all the money raised by students to people in developing countries who need it the most. Another of the Aragon event coordinators, leadership sophomore Keaton Moe regards the fundraiser as “…probably the simplest charity [event] that we’ve held, but I hope it’s the most effective… [because] students know where their money is going.” This particular fundraiser plans to help build a school in rural San Ramon, Nicaragua. The ODFL organization has partnered with NGOs to build many successful schools in this Central American country. Surrounded by coffee-growing hills, the current school houses the local coffee harvest, leaks during the winter, and is overcrowded with 110 students from grades 1-8. The project is estimated to cost around $12,000. Volunteer community labor will reduce costs by approximately a quarter and will give the local residents pride in their accomplishments. Don’t forget to visit for articles, pictures, and web-exclusive content!

volume 50, issue 06 March 3, 2011



volume 50, issue 06 March 3, 2011

And the Oscar goes to...


In the chaos that is known as showbiz, the peak of an actor’s career is the reception of an Oscar. This 13.5-inch statuette acts as the culmination of a fantastic year for the winners from all categories. With all of the action-packed movies, animated films, and stunning performances by A-listers, as well as up-and-coming actors, choosing the best of each category might prove a difficult task for the Academy. The Oscars may have already passed, but here are Aragon’s thoughts on what should have won.




- “I think the King’s Speech. Movies like the King’s Speech are the type of movies that win best picture.” - Junior Eric Mee - “The Social Network was sick. I mean everyone has a Facebook, I just think it will probably win.” - Junior Ariel Magnum - “Either Inception or The King’s Speech because the King’s speech was really intellectual and really explained the troubles of leading, and I liked how [the main character] had a stutter problem and had to figure it out. [Inception is] emotional, it’s dramatic, and it’s full of action. Overall, it’s a really good film.” - Senior Jonathan Lam



- “[Natalie Portman] is so hardcore because she played the part really well, and I think it’s hard making those scenes in movies.” - Junior Camila Lastrilla - “Natalie Portman ... because I heard she was really good. It wasn’t the type of thing you would expect her to do, but she did it, and she did it well.” - Senior Alex Catiggay BEST ACTOR - “Colin Firth is simply the best. He does the stutter, which is appealing to the Academy voters, [depicting] people with struggles.” - Junior Suzy Swartz

- “Probably Jeff Bridges because he’s old, and they always win.” - Junior Ariel Magnum


Other Oscar predictions and results~

- “Alice in Wonderland [for visual effects]. I mean I want to say Harry Potter Seven because I love it, but it’s not going to win.” - Junior Ariel Magnum - “For visual effects it would be Inception. If [it] doesn’t win, then there will be riots in the streets.” - Junior Eric Mee

VISUAL EFFECTS WINNER: INCEPTION - “Best Supporting Actor is Christian Bale, and Best Supporting Actress is Melissa Leo.” - Junior Suzy Swartz



Oscar Night Match Up~ Match the celebrity heads to their red carpet attire.


1. Russel Brand 2. James Franco 3. Mila Kunis 4. Helena Bonham Carter



d. a.



ANSWERS: 1.b. 2.d. 3.a. 4.c.




- “I think Jeff Bridges. He’s just amazing.” - Freshman Quinn Bredl





BEST ACTRESS - “Natalie Portman is a really good actress and I think she did a really great job in Black Swan because I think she’s a really happy person and she had to play a very opposite character.” - Freshman Vienna Auerweck



BEST PICTURE - “Inception better win because it’s awesome and ... mind-blowing, because the plot line is so intricate.” - Senior Conor Stanton

For more articles and photos, including webexclusive content, visit


volume 50, issue 06 March 3, 2011

Teachers, politics, students and the classroom school. “Teachers, especially in history classes, usually input their own opinions into the lesson. It’s Teachers can have a significant the easiest way to get their point influence on how students form across.” opinions about the world. While “Politics seems to come up a the vast majority are not dicta- lot, even when we’re not in a histors bent on brainwashing their tory class,” says Oppenheim. “And students with their own political since we’re in the Bay Area, there views, some do discuss political seems to be a strong liberal bias.” issues to varying degrees. Sophomore Clayton Nagle is English teacher James Daniel exposed to politics occasionally in occasionally incorporates politics history, “but not intensely [or] for into his classes, either as a humor- any real period of time,” he says. ous sidebar or in the context of “For the [gubernatorial] decourse material such as existen- bate, as an example, when Jerry tialism. Brown won, the students were “You’d have to be pretty thick talking before class about it and to be my student and not real- history teacher Ron Berggren ize which way I swing. [But] I’m added a few of his opinions, but not trying to persuade anyone to nothing negative about Whitman share those beliefs,” Daniel says. and nothing overly persuasive,” On the other hand, history says Nagle. “My teachers try to teacher Doug remain pretty “I think if someone’s teach- unbiased if McGlashan says, “I seldom ing government or history, it’s they bring up talk about my more important for them to political isviews, either in appear more impartial.” sues at all.” class or not in Te a c h e r s -English teacher James also have conclass. Definitely Daniel not in class.” trasting apSenior Aaron Oppenheim proaches to the role of politics in says that he is exposed to politi- classrooms. cal discussion “pretty much every History teacher Jim Smith dislesson,” particularly in Govern- cusses current events in his class ment class but throughout high in the context of his history lesBY ANTHONY LU FEATURES

sons, such as elections and “issues of government response to problems,” he says. McGlashan instead focuses on reinforcing the historical context that students need in order to evaluate politics, rather than the current issues themselves. “I don’t get the feeling that many [of my students] read the news a lot. Some do,” says McGlashan. “I think most juniors in high school don’t know a lot about U.S. history or U.S. politics.” “I see my role as giving them a strong foundation in U.S. history so they have a basis for evaluating [political issues],” says McGlashan, “so in government class they know the background and can enjoy wrestling with current issues.” Daniel says, “I think if someone’s teaching government or history, it’s more important for


them to appear more impartial.” While he does make personal comments, he is mindful of his target audience, taking care not to offend those who disagree with him. “We live in the Bay Area, and it’s likely that most people here will agree with you,” Daniel says. “[If I was teaching elsewhere] I wouldn’t be as quick to make fun of Sarah Palin. You just have to be careful.” Smith says, “If you’re a social

studies teacher, you really have to discuss politics. And you really need to make everybody’s ideas respected. “I occasionally make my own views heard, [but] usually toward the end. I generally try to keep it without my opinion so kids are free to share their opinions.” Smith believes that political discussion is valuable. “It’s a social studies class. Where else do they have an opportunity to discuss such things?” Oppenheim also sees value in his teachers discussing politics, even if it may influence his opinions. He says, “I think it helps students really think about an issue, even if they don’t agree with it. Plus, it also gives the student a lesson that might not necessarily be in the textbook, and it provides a real world example.” Teachers differ in how much they permit their own opinions, and students differ in how receptive they are to them. But as a whole, the school forms a healthy environment for developing minds and developing viewpoints. For more articles, photos and web-exclusive content, please check out!

The Grapes of Wrath: a preview BY HEIMANA VAEA NEWS

Aragon’s drama department is now preparing for a new challenge, “The Grapes of Wrath.” Originally written as a book by John Steinbeck, Aragon’s actors and actresses will transfer the famous author’s words from the page to the stage. “The Grapes of Wrath” circles around the story of the Joad fam-

ily living during the Dust Bowl and the struggles they face moving from the state of Oklahoma to California. Director Shane Smuin says,” It is a great story, a personal favorite, it is part of the English curriculum in the San Mateo High School District and it involves a nice big cast which means more options for the kids.” Playing Jim Casy, one of the play’s major roles, senior Alex PHOTOS BY MARTIN CONTRERAS

Phinney says, “Rehearsals are different from any other production I have been a part of. As opposed to being light hearted, it’s all serious. The focus is more on acting than lighting and costumes. It has a more solemn nature.” Many of the same actors and actresses who were in “Curtains,” Aragon’s fall semester musical, are also involved in “The Grapes of Wrath.” Sophomore Kevin Dwyer played a supporting role in the “Curtains” and says, “I have learned from seniors and other older actors and actresses and I want to put that in to the show.” It is freshman Erik Harden’s first year as a part of Aragon’s dra-

ma department, and he says, “Rehearsals are fun, especially when were in the process of getting inside the truck because it’s so tight and crammed. It’s a scene that is always fun to do together. Preparing for the play means constant memorization, but some days rehearsal can just be really quiet.” Sophomore Eli Mayerson says, “We have rehearsal after school everyday except Friday, and it may seem like a lot but I love acting so I don’t mind at all.” Dwyer also commented on preparation for the show saying, “Usually rehearsals are really relaxing and fun but five minutes before we all start, everybody mellows down and a lot of people

start listening to depressing music. This helps people get into the mood of the play because it’s really sad and depressing. It gets you into character.” Smuin says, “My hope is that the play is well received by the community. My hope is that people understand that it’s not just an 80-year-old story, but that it has relevance to our current culture.” Aragon’s production of “The Grapes of Wrath” will premiere on Thursday, March 24 in the Aragon Memorial Theater. The play will run for four days up until Sunday, March 27. Tickets are now available online at

Left: Junior Kate Blood as the Proprietor tries scam Tom Joad, played by senior Andrew Cohen, into paying her for an open camp site. Right: Senior Alex Phinney poignantly observes as his fellow actors starve to death in Hooverville.

Best Sandwich

Best Ice Cream

1.) Mr. Pickles 2.) Subway 3.) Esposto’s

1.) Coldstone 2.) Baskin Robbins 3.) Ghiradelli

Best Yogurt

Best Cereal

1.) Yoplait 2.) Gogurt 3.) Clover

“Coconut juice with real coconut shavings.” -Samantha Wong (10)

Best Fast Food 1.) In-n-Out 2.) Taco Bell 3.) Burger King

1.) Lays 2.) Ruffles 3.) Doritos

Best Candy Bar

1.) Cheerios 2.) Cinnamon Toast 3.) Lucky Charms

“Sushi; I love the way hamachi melts in my mouth as I sink my teeth into a soft, sweet heaven.” -Haluk Muratoglu (12)

“Wheat grass shots.” -Jasmine Huang (12)

Best Chips

Best Soda

1.) Twix 2.) Snickers 3.) KitKat

1.) Sprite 2.) Dr. Pepper 3.) Ramune

“Italian because there is a large variety of meats, spices, and sauces.” -Kirsten Ho (11)

“An Indian drink called custard apple.” -Anjana Amirapu (12)

“Sweet Rice Krispies that taste like marshmallows!” -Steve Gomez (9)

“Jellyfish; when I was young, my parents lied to me and said they were rubber bands.” -Jaclyn Lai (11)

“Ambasha is a type of sweet, doughy bread often eaten with tea.” -Winta Bairu (12) “Pupusas are made of corn flour and have cheese, beans and pork inside.” -Jacqueline Cortez (12)

“Don tots are Chinese egg custards that are crispy, warm, and yummy!” -Kimberly Ho (12)

“Steamed porkbuns because they’re delicious!” -Bob Ruan (12)

“Brownies make me happy all the time!” -Victoria Patton (11)

“Rice doesn’t have a lot of flavor so I won’t get sick of it.” -Shorhon Gong (12)

“Chicken heart; it tasted like chewy chicken!” -Garrett Tan (10)

“Frog; I thought it was chicken.” -Jacky Chavez (10)

“I once tried cow tongue in Mexico.”

-Rex Manu (10)

“Black bottom cupcakes!” -Danielle Tong (12)

“I once stewed salty pig blood.” -Melissa Cruz (12)

“Pineapple upside-down cake!”

-Kathy Shields (12)

Center Spread by Rebecca Hu Restaurant Reviews by Outlook Editors

10 OPINION View of the parenting spectrum

volume 50, issue 06 March 3, 2011

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.

Adviser Scott Silton Co-Editors in Chief Philip Dimaano Daniel Fu News Editors Olivia Bocanegra, Sabrina Imbler and Ryan Yu News Writers Kira Brenner, Justin Ching, Kathryn DeWitt, Bailey Godwin, Landon Hart, Brandon Liu, Andrew Lyu, Heimana Vaea, Taylor Westmont, Wendy Yu, Peter Zhan

With the release of the memoir “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” by Amy Chua back in January, the stark cultural divide regarding the parenting styles of the East and West has been brought to the forefront of national attention. Instead of the intense disagreement that has ensued, parents and students alike must realize the importance of keeping an open mind regarding the expectations versus the reality of parenting. Since day one, Chua’s daughters were never allowed to have a playdate, watch television or get any grade less than an A in any class except gym and drama. There were other restrictions, but all of them stemmed from her belief that children must work to become successful, even if it means parents must do whatever is necessary to override their preferences. Chua identifies the critical

Photo and Technology Editor Eric Torres Photo Staffers Kenan Chan, Kore Chan, Martin Contreras, Casey Fitzgerald, Alyssa Lim, Kayla Solomon, Samantha Soon, Erika Wang Arts and Graphics Editor Janice Pang Arts and Graphics Staffers Brian Barch, Chenwen Hwang, Luna Lynch, Yuzo Makitani, Natalie Palter, Emily Yip Center Spread Editor Rebecca Hu The Outlook would love to hear from you. Visit us at: or: E-mail us at:

push for academic success that seems to have transformed the schooling process for both the stressed students and the concerned parents. Both the film and the memoir present very convincing arguments in support of their methodologies and have considerably different ways of defining the term “successful.” While one sees financial stability as a major factor, the other considers the happiness that is found from within an individual that does not necessarily correlate to high monetary status. The role of the school in this debate also becomes a point of contention between the two sides. Each educational institution is designed to prepare a student for the next level of academic rigor and also acts as a time for students to try various things in order to find a niche. Upon high school graduation, students should have a

good idea regarding their likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses which should be the determining factors in their life and occupational decisions. As for the relationship between parent and child, it is wise for both sides to reevaluate exactly what their expectations are both parties involved. There must be a degree of mutual respect and understanding with one another that takes into account the reality of the situation that develops over time. Parents possess the knowledge and experience in life that they can use and teach to their children while they are growing up. The two ends of the parenting spectrum are merely differing levels of how far parents should go to influence the life of their children. Any fundamental disagreements can be overlooked if the common goal of doing what is best for the child is realized.

Chris Farrell reports in the American RadioWorks documentary “War on Poverty: From the Great Society to the Great Recession”: “Back in the 1930’s, President Franklin Roosevelt created big programs like social security, public housing and unemployment insurance. He called it a ‘new deal’ for average Americans who lived on the edge of poverty because of the Great Depression. Those New Deal programs were aimed mostly at middle-class Americans.” The poverty in America has improved, statistically speaking, since the middle of the 20th century. According to the National Poverty Center, the poverty rate stood at 22.4 percent in the late 1950’s, dropped to a low of 11.1 percent from the 60’s to the 70’s, and rose to 15.2 percent throughout the 80’s and 90’s. Today, according to the 2009 American Community Survey released by the US Census Bureau, the national poverty rate stands at 14.3 percent, representing 42.9 million Americans. Quantifying Public Awareness Martin Ravallion of the World Bank recently published a column discussing humanity’s “awareness of poverty over the past three centuries” using a curious method of evaluation: the number of references to the word ‘poverty’ in books published since 1700. His analysis reveals that there were two instances of a “Poverty Enlightenment”. One of took place between the years of 1740 and 1790 while the other began around the 1960 and has exhibited a relatively consistent upward trend through 2000. He writes, “The last three centuries have seen a shift away from complacent acceptance of poverty, and even contempt for poor people, to the view that society, the economy and gov-

ernment should be judged in part at least by their success in reducing poverty. There are a number of possible explanations for this change. Greater overall affluence in the world has probably made it harder to excuse poverty. Expanding democracy has given new political voice to poor people. And new knowledge about poverty has created the potential for more well-informed action.” Initiatives in our community Junior Ali Imani currently serves as the president of the Poverty Project at Aragon High School. The club focuses its energies on hosting fundraisers for the purpose of raising money to donate to various philanthropic organizations to be determined by the club members vote. Imani says, “The Poverty Project mainly does fundraise and donate, but it is an avenue where people can find opportunities to help out themselves and help out the communities around them.” Imani himself has volunteered at the Saint Anthony’s Soup Kitchen in San Francisco. He reflects, “St. Anthony’s is one room. There’s a line one side and the other side is where people sit down and eat. There’s a wall toward the entrance, and it’s a cubicle almost. And there’s a piano. The guests there are allowed to play it if they want, and you might see someone walk behind that cubicle, and suddenly you hear the most beautiful piano music that you’ve ever heard in your life.” “To think that the person playing such a beautiful piece is living such an ugly life is really heavy. Most of all, I think the significance of that is it humanizes the homeless…. It shows that homeless people aren’t animals; they’re not all drug addict, alcoholics, bums.

They can be capable of amazing things, but again, don’t have the means to carry them out.” Initiatives like the Poverty Project and Saint Anthony’s Soup Kitchen all serve to embody the same rhetoric manifest in Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty and Ravallion’s analysis of poverty awareness: that compassion and empathy are observable all around us in our lives. They serve to remind us that we are accountable for ourselves and our community, and that the success of our society depends in large part upon our capabilities of supporting the most disadvantaged constituents of it.

Perspective on poverty in the U.S.

Features Editors Alice Bebbington, Alina Polishuk and LuShuang Xu Features Writers Sam Alavi, Paniz Amirnasiri, Will Eckstein, Jan Marini Galabay, Camille Halley, Derek Han, Jack Herrera, Christine Kalife, Wassim Khemici, Anthony Lu, Jason Mai, Sangwon Yun

differences between the parenting styles of the East and West including how Western parents are too overly concerned with the psyche of the children. She asserts that children should spend their lives repaying their parents by obeying them and making them proud since parents such as her know what is best for them. The results of such a practice are certainly telling. Daughters Sophia and Louisa are considered piano and violin prodigies that have performed in many prominent venues including Carnegie Hall. Their stellar academic performance and mastery of the performing arts are attributes commonly associated with a child that has experienced such an upbringing. In many respects, Chua’s memoir can be considered a rebuttal to the documentary “Race to Nowhere” released in September of last year. The film highlights the


“It does seem to me, being the wealthiest country in the world, shameful that we have people who don’t have enough to eat in this country,” said history and psychology teacher Jim Smith. “You see the great abundance of our society, and the fact that there are so many people who go to bed hungry is unconscionable. “I think of Julius Nyerere, who was the president of Tanzania. He said that a society should not be judged by how many millionaires or how much wealth they generate, but how they take care of the most dispossessed, the most disadvantaged of society. And if that’s how we’re being judged, I don’t think we’re doing very well.” Smith’s view is one shared by many others; the United States boasts the world’s largest GDP (gross domestic product), yet has a population of impoverished persons large enough to populate Argentina. This begs the question, “What is the state of poverty in the United States?” Historical Perspective Arguably, the most significant initiative to address the issue of poverty arose during the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson. Economics correspondent

Have thoughts about an article on The Aragon Outlook? Write a letter to the editor. You can submit a letter to us in the following ways: 1. Send us an email through our form on our website at AragonOutlook. net. 2. Email us directly: aragonoutlook@ 3. Type or hand-write your letter and submit it to the publications office, room #136. We look forward to reading your letters!


volume 50, issue 06 March 3, 2011

Spotlight on club variety and objectives


Trading Card Gamers Union


and Bren lub C Eric Torres e rs r “We o io n M se y e b v Lo igh school. rted lub was sta llenges of h nts


cha ude ore C the modern or situations which st , etc.,” The Love M h it w l a e d n students with issues , depressio Lara to help ays to deal ss, bullying club. w re t ss st u e o ’s n b it a re r a e rs w ee and A l, wheth e o v o o h L sc e teach our p h th n s ig h na re is o eal with in y first know cklace that says, ‘The RE’ ll a tu c a typically d s a dog tag ne The club w ‘LOVE MO at I wore a says Torres. e side, and th n d o n ze o li ought ’ a re … “I then e but to da and I th v n lo re r B . fo e y d d si reme we just e other name, and tters on th in capital le ’ was a much catchier o need help, ts wh More that ‘Love For studen s. e nvirr o T s y ,” sa ve school e ti si o p re ran with it o am eets every t to create ore club m or just wan M e v o L e ronment, th day in room 120. Mon

The club was formed in 2009 as current president and senior Eric Cura recalls “Back in sophomore year me and my friend started hanging out. Us and a few other people started out here [in the library] playing Yu-Gi-Oh and other trading card games.” The players meet in the morning, at lunch and occasionally gets involved in events outside of school. “We play at tournaments, some of our more veteran members like myself and a couple others, try to participate in tournaments, [consistently]. We’ve done average, we win some we lose some, usually a five- win five loss record as a team,” says Cura who’s been playing Yu-gi-oh since middle school.


There are plenty of activities for students to participate in here at Aragon, from sports teams and leadership classes to the yearbook or service commission. Aragon clubs range from ethnicity orientated to faith oriented, while others involve video games or pastimes. When you add them all up, you get 76 unique groups to choose from. Here are a few to be featured this month:

Jewish Club

SLAM Club The Students Literary Arts Movement is a club that’s been around for only two years. “Many of the members and all of the club officers are seniors this year. As of now, there are no new officers in line for next year,” says club president Dina Marshalek. The idea for this club came to Marshalek after watching a YouTube video in her freshman year English class about a slam poem. This poetry slam inspired her as well as senior vice president Emma Walsh to host the first club meeting last year. “Club members perform and share various works from Def Poetry performances to Kanye West music videos. It’s refreshing to look at the classroom as a place of student creativity rather than just a lecture space,” says Marshalek. Slam Club meets every Monday in room 125.

The Jewish club brings together people of the same faith and beliefs every other Friday at lunch. “The club has been around for a pretty long time,” says junior Jewish Club president Meredith Charlson. “We’ve had [guest speakers] come from the program ‘Abraham’s Vision’ to talk about Jewish-Muslim relations. The man who came runs the program and it’s all about Jewish teens and Muslim teens talking to each other,” comments Charlson. In the weeks ahead, the club will be hosting a holocaust survivor and former partisan who fought the Nazis in the woods of Eastern Europe.

An insight into student volunteering PHOTO COURTESY OF KATE BLOOD

addition to Aragon. They, along with other Aragon students, have discovered the joy of volunteering. Tom and Shufton go on a monthly visit to Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco. Laguna Honda Hospital is a therapeutic community and rehabilitation center which provides nursing and rehabilitation services to low-income seniors and adults with disabilities. “What we do is we take our guitars and ukuleles and we walk around to the Junior Kate Blood (second from right) and different wards and we perher church youth group perform activities form music for the residents,” including collecting donated food for the says Tom. needy. “I do it because I love muBY WASSIM KHEMICI sic,” explains Tom. “By going FEATURES to the Laguna Honda, I feel like it gives me an opportunity to share It is not uncommon to see ju- what I do with people who don’t niors Sammy Shufton and Nick get a chance to have that much vaTom walking through the hall- riety in their daily activities. Some ways singing songs to the tune of people won’t react at all. Some an acoustic guitar. Besides play- people smile and sing along. But ing for friends and bystanders, we’ve been cussed out before. these students have found a way We’ve been told that we look like to give their love of music back the Backstreet Boys—that was exto the back to communities, in citing.”

Like Tom and Shufton, sophomore Derek Leong also volunteers in San Francisco at a place called City Teams. “We put on banquets,” says Leong. “The rooms are really warm, which is great because San Francisco can be really cold. It’s a soup kitchen, except glorified.” “I go there every month, except I skipped last month, so I feel really bad,” says Leong. “City Teams is a non-profit organization that basically keeps homeless people overnight, feeds them, clothes them and whatnot. Sometimes if there is a serious case, [City Teams] tries to help send people to rehab. If someone wants to get a hold of their life, they can start this three month process when they talk to a mentor who has already gone through [similar ordeals], and they help them get through everything.” Leong’s volunteer work at City Teams includes a variety of jobs, such as singing, cooking and serving food and even going out to talk to the homeless people to try to understand their problems. Junior Kate Blood has been a part of a youth group of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-

Day Saints since she was 12. “We recently did something with the Second Harvest food bank,” says Blood. “But we generally do general service. We went to a shelter network a couple times. We baby sat kids while the parents went to a meeting and we cleaned up there. And we do a food drive every year.” Many Aragon students volunteer locally around the Bay Area, but senior Kalie San Felipe gives back to Aragon by volunteering on campus. “The club I work with is Aragon’s recycling club,” says Felipe. “The goal of the club is essentially altruistic--to decrease the amount of trash Aragon students throw into landfills and to educate students on the importance of recycling. As president, I am responsible for gathering volunteers and making sure they are diligently emptying their bins,” she explains. “Overflowing bins would defeat the purpose of the club. I also try to immerse club members in other environmental projects, one of the more recent ones being the E-waste drive.” Furthermore, members of the garden club and Environmen-

tal Impact Committee, which is the “brain” of all environmental projects at Aragon, have taken on projects like selling reusable water bottles and sandwich bags, and sending transparencies to a recycling center rather than throwing them away. Freshman Matthew Lentz found volunteer work with the help of some family connections. “My mom works at this elementary school, ‘Serendipity’,” says Lentz. “I go and I help with recess sometimes, I watch the kids, sometimes I’ll help them with their homework, and I’ll also clean the classroom. I help [the students] with their homework, I’ll help with the after-school care. I tutor them, basically.” When asked why they volunteer, every student essentially had the same response: “It makes you feel good.” “You find yourself when you lose yourself in service,” says Blood.” If you forget about yourself for a second, and help someone, you can get a lot from that.” For more articles and photos, please visit

12 FEATURES All about being awkward Musically diverse

volume 50, issue 06 March 3, 2011


Talk about awkward: sophomore Katherine Chin excitedly embraced her friend only to realize that her “friend” was actually a complete stranger. A dead silence enveloped the room as she fidgeted uncomfortably in her spot afterwards. Her eyes searched desperately for a place to look other than at the stranger. After what seemed like an hour, she apologized for giving the complete stranger a hug, attempting to explain that she looked just like her friend. With a questioning face the stranger nodded and quickly walked away. “I just said sorry and we both blushed. And then she was just kind of like ‘oh, it’s okay,’ but you could tell she thought I was weird,” says Chin. In high school, societal awkwardness is a topic that most students can relate to. Some students choose to confront the situation, making an attempt to decrease the level of awkwardness. “This one time when it was quiet, [one student] got up and blew her nose super loud in front of the whole class. It was awkward, but then everyone started to laugh,” says sophomore Jazmin Sacchi. “The best thing to do is yell out ‘awkward’ which makes it all different kinds of awkward, but then

turns it into a funny moment.” Sophomore Ashley Koh has learned how to deal with awkward moments through past experience. “This one time I was walking to class and I was almost late, so I was kind of running. I tried to squeeze through the doors after someone opened it, but my backpack got caught on the handle so I kind of bounced back and got stuck in between the doors. It was kind of embarrassing because the people behind me had to help me out since I couldn’t turn around and free myself. But after that I just laughed it off, because if you think about it, I must have looked really awkward,” says Koh. Koh adds, “I think English class is when the most awkward situations occur, because you have to raise your hand a lot to gain participation points. A lot of times, I will raise my hand just because I’m desperate for more points and I will end up saying something completely irrelevant to the situation. It gets kind of awkward when you say something stupid or wrong and the whole class just stares at you quietly. But then you just have to laugh it off.” “One time in Chemistry, I was drooling on my textbook and all of a sudden everyone noticed. I just tried to laugh it off and make a joke about it,” says sophomore Tina Pai. Describing yet another method, freshman Alex Garcialuna says, “It’s best to just change the subject.” Other s t u -

dents utilize a different strategy by trying to distance themselves from the situation. “I’d just walk away without saying anything, and if the person I was talking to called my name, I’d pretend I couldn’t hear them. Or I would pretend my phone was ringing and say I have to go,” says sophomore Ted Yang. Preferring to use a unique method, sophomore Miles Lang says, “I try to make it more awkward and then say ‘hawkward’ while making a one-winged hawk with my hands. You have to make it more awkward so that the initial awkward level can’t compare.” Senior Gemma Alcala views awkward situations in a completely different light as she says, “I don’t really feel awkward that often because I don’t care [about awkward moments].” Awkward situations are certainly not limited to students as they can also occur between teachers and between students and teachers. “[If it’s between a students and a teacher] it’s probably one-sided. The student thinks it’s awkward, but the teacher doesn’t realize it,” says junior Jeffrey Bragg. Physical education and health teacher Barbara Beaumont says, “I am very comfortable with my students, so I don’t have many awkward situations, or I don’t perceive them as awkward. With awkward situations I just try to make myself as comfortable as possible, and try to make the others involved as comfortable as I can as well. Laughing is always good medicine if it was funny; if you can laugh at yourself it helps.” Though certainly not pleasant, awkward social situations are a common aspect of high school life. As they are difficult to avoid, it can be helpful to find a strategy one can use the next time one faces a socially awkward circumstance.




“I’ve looked up lyrics. It’s the beat and chorus that you can remember even though you don’t know Korean.” Senior Monique Beaudouin describes as she talks about one of her music interests: K-pop. Some of the more widespread music interests at Aragon include hip-hop, rock, classical and jazz, but many Aragon students, like Beaudouin, have taken interests foreign music. K-pop stands for Korean Pop and originates from South Korea. “My friends first introduced me to K-pop,” says Beaudouin. “Quickly’s . . . play[s] Korean music videos and when I saw one, I got hooked. The songs are really catchy. They’re definitely something you remember.” She describes K-pop as a genre anybody can be interested in, even though the Korean language is not as widespread as some other languages. “It’d be fun to understand the lyrics because there’s an element that’s lost in translation and it’d be interesting to know what they’re saying. A lot of K-pop is a return of boy bands. The energy of five people is different from the individuality of pop singers.” Not too far from the K-pop’s country of origin, another foreign genre is high in popularity: J-pop. Country of orgin: Japan. “I watched a lot of anime when I was a kid and when you watch anime, all you hear is Jpop,” says sophomore Derek Ngoon. “That’s how I got into it. It sounds cool, it’s a great positive feeling. When you listen to J-Pop, you think of action and anime fights. It’s awesome.” He adds, “I’m not really sure what they’re saying. It’s just awesome listening to it, I just don’t know how to describe it, I just love listening to it.” Foreign music can also bring pride to one’s homeland. Sophomore Igor Oliveira’s interest in Brazilian music connects him with his home country, Brazil. “I lived in Brazil up until I was seven years old and all they had was Brazilian music,” says Oliveira. “When I came to America, I started listening to both [Brazilian and American music].” Growing up listening to both, he points out few differences between Brazilian rap and rock. “It’s just kind of the same as American music but it’s just in

Portuguese and the music talks about situations that don’t happen in American but in Brazil,” he says. “The songs are about the hardships Brazilians go through,” he says, “It makes me proud because it symbolizes all these hardships we go through and listening to these songs, I know that Brazil is the most successful country in South America.” Sophomore Connie Ngirchemat’s discovered her interest in Hawaiian music on accident. “I was ‘Youtubing’ reggae on YouTube then some Hawaiian music popped up, started to like it from there,” explains Ngirchemat. “[Hawaiian music] is very soothing, it’s something you can sleep with. The songs are about love, getting out there and being happy. It’s very positive.” “Reggae is in a lot of languages, I listen to the English version mainly, and I also listen to Tongan and Samoan. Hawaiian is more soothing and reggae is more upbeat,” she adds. For some music lovers, experimenting with different types of music around the world creates feelings of wonder and curiosity. “I listen to a lot of different kinds of music such as French, Indian, and South American because I was born in Argentina,” says senior Joseph Kwon. Foreign music interests are more than just a hobby for the talented saxophonist. “I’m a professional musician and music is a way people express themselves, and language is a way people express themselves. There’s so many nuances in language, and I really want to learn about certain cultures, [so] I do it by music,” he says. “It’s the sweetest music I’ve ever heard. The language is just unique. For example, [take] French rap; French rappers are aggressive but don’t hurt your ears. I don’t what their saying, but it’s just beautiful,” Kwon adds. The different foreign genres, J-pop, K-pop, Brazilian, Hawaiian, reggae, and French are only few out of many types of foreign genres in the world. Foreign types of music allow individuals to gain both understanding of different languages and cultures worldwide and broaden their scope of interests. For more articles and photos, please visit


volume 50, issue 06 March 3, 2011

Junior Kimiko Petsche tries to evade Los Alto player Lauren Safai as the soccer ball is passed towards her at CCS.

Senior Kat McAuliffe dodges a Los Altos player as she takes a chance at passing the ball to one of her teammates.

Junior Kimiko Petsche gets ready to score a goal for the Lady Dons as two Los Altos soccer players flank her.

Soccer coach Will Colglaizer joins in with the girls’ varsity soccer team for an after-game huddle.

Senior Nicole Killigrew serves the soccer ball towards her teammates at the CCS game held at Terra Nova High School.

Junior Rachel Killigrew attempts to steal a Los Altos player’s ball as she goes for a goal.

CCS 2011: Girls’ Soccer against Los Altos

In a 2-0 victory against Los Altos High School, the Lady Dons stuck it through yet again with an aggressive approach. The game was held at Terra Nova High School at high noon last Saturday. This quarterfinal CCS tournament win added to their already successful soccer season. Be sure to check out the extended photo gallery online! Check it out at

Semifinal: Held Tuesday vs. St. Ignatius Final (if necessary): @ Valley Christian High School Saturday, March 5, 2011, time TBA

Photos by Kore Chan


volume 50, issue 06 March 3, 2011

Aragon badminton team looks onwards to a hopeful, optimistic season

Aragon badminton coach Linda Brown is feeling confident about the upcoming season. Her goal is to repeat the same feat as last year- win the PAL championship. Brown says, “The players are very competitive and we have a big group this year.” The tryouts were extremely competitive because there were around 90 people, and after the first tryouts, Brown cut down the number to 63. Brown says, “During the tryouts, I was looking for eye-hand coordination, background, and athletes. It’s hard to keep upperclassmen because I need to train the younger freshman for varsity. So, you have to be really good as an upperclassmen to make the team.” Brown adds, “To train my players, I have to work on their explosives. They have to work on their wrist speed and their endurance because sometimes matches

ally good team chemistry,” can go up to 30 minutes.” In Reinertson adds. “So once addition, players have to work we get into it, we start on their reaction time. working together and havAlthough many seniors ing fun. Our strength is have left, there are still that we like to goof off and enough returning players to play off when we make make a good team, so Brown mistakes. It helps us stay does not foresee encounterfocused and keeps us from ing any future difficulties. getting frustrated.” Seniors Andrea Chau and Sophomore Sam BuJasmine Huang remember narjo is a returning badthey were really nervous and minton player who was serious about their freshman on the exhibition team tryouts. Chau says, “We tried Senior Tony Zhang hits the badminton birdy last year. He says, “I feel the best we could to make a during practice after school in the small gym. good about the badmingood first impression.” good coach. She motivates us and During this year’s tryouts, as she keeps it real. She wants im- ton team’s chances of winning a veteran player, Chau helped provement and the best for all of this year because we have a good Brown scout for talented players us and keeps us challenged with- team.” Bunarjo says, “[Ms. Brown and played with some of them. out stressing us.” Juniors Jamie Moore and However, the girls have dif- is] a bit rough, but she’s a good Megan Reinertson are two best fering opinions regarding new coach because she cares for each friends who play badminton to- assistant coach William Wong. and every member and strives to gether. “Although people are be- Reinertson say, “He sees a lot of improve them.” During the week of varsity ing moved around, we still think potential in us and he wants us to this upcoming season will be a live up to that, but sometimes he’s team tryouts, Bunarjo and sophomore teammate Jaehee Park had good one and that we will con- too intense.” “Our biggest challenge is usu- a bad first game, dropping them tinue to win PAL like last year.” Moore adds, “Ms. Brown is a ally movement, but we have re- from the ladder. Bunarjo says, ALYSSA LIM


“I got really nervous and scared. Because I haven’t played with my partner in a long time, we did not have complete chemistry.” In their second match, Bunarjo and Park stepped up their game and won, resulting in their placement of fourth place on the ladder for boys’ doubles on Varsity. Freshman Nathan Zhang plays badminton outside of school and has been playing for about three years. Zhang says “I am excited about the upcoming season because I feel that the players are good.” Aragon will go up against Carlmont in its first official game of the year on March 22. Even though the team is young and fresh since half of last year’s team has graduated, the players and coaches have confidence in their upcoming season. For more content and photos, visit


Senior Cris Madrigal and his teammates line up to start stretches and drills at an after school practice. TAYLOR WESTMONT NEWS

As the Aragon varsity baseball team prepares for its season, it faces a drastically changed roster, including the loss of senior Sam Tuivailala, who signed with the St. Louis Cardinals over the offseason. The team, however, seems more than ready to approach the season with a positive mindset. “People will have to work hard to fill those spots”, sophomore Ian Barrie admits. “You try not to think about the losses, and more of the impact that the sophomores and other new players have on the team,” head coach Lenny Souza says. With the addition of so many

Sophomore Ian Barrie practices his bat swing with wiffle balls next to the batting cages.

new players to the varsity level, the starting line-up is brand new and roles on the team are still being forged. “We’re learning our field, getting to feel comfortable with each other,” head coach Lenny Souza commented,“Last year, everything was cut and dry. I could tell you after a couple of weeks the starting lineup, but this year there’s a lot of question marks.” The first five games of the season will help the team figure out the starting lineup as the coaches will experiment putting players in different positions and see how they perform. Also, the first five games do not factor into CCS qualification, taking much of the pressure off. Leading up to the team’s first game against Lowell High School on Feb. 23, expectations were very optimistic. “It’s a home game, so the players should feel more comfortable, and we just hope to see the players do the stuff we cover in practice,” said Souza before the game. As it happened, Lowell jumped out to a two-run lead and held that lead until the end of the game, when Aragon tied it up. As the final inning winded down, the game ended with a tied score of 3-3. “We did well, but it felt like we played down to their level”, says sophomore Aldo Severson. Senior Tom Sortwell scored the ty-

ing run. In addition, seniors Tyler Outzen and Trevor McNeil also scored runs. “I think we did some things well, but also some things poorly,” states assistant coach Dusty Landwehr. The team, in this sense, sees the game as an indication that they still have to figure out how their team works together. “You take the negative things that happened, and turn them into positive by looking at them as learning opportunities,” explains Souza. “The competition is going to get harder, and harder, but I think we’re going to rise to the occasion,” says Souza. The Dons’ next home game will be played at 3:15 p.m. against Mills High School on Tuesday, March 8.



Last month, with a roster virtually unchanged from last year, the boys golf team kicked off a new season with their first league match on February 28. Golf is primarily an individual sport. However, players compete for a team score, with six golfers aiming to finish a ninehole course (18 holes in championships) in fewer total strokes than the other team. “You may have an outstanding player, but if you don’t have a balanced squad, you’re not going to win the match,” says coach Guy Oling. The stroke play type of scoring differs from match play, in which players win and lose on individual holes. “That definitely makes for some big score differences,” says senior and four-year golfer Ryan Spencer. “There will be some matches where we play a team that isn’t very good and we’d beat them by 100 strokes or something.” The team typically practices at Poplar Creek Golf Course, where the team divides into small groups to play nine-hole matches. Occasionally, they also have driving range practices at Mariners Point. “We work on course strategy: how are you going to play different distance shots, what club to use, what iron or wedge,” says Oling. “Say you have a 150-yard shot. It could depend on whether it’s downhill, uphill, wind, your strength - all those factors. It would be like a soccer player deciding whether to make a long or a short kick.” “Practice is an opportunity to experiment with club selection,” says Oling. “If you’re not sure if a shot is a 6 iron or an 8 iron, you

could try it with one, and you can learn from that.” Practice also works on things like sand trap shots and difficult shots around trees. In particular, says Oling, “we work a lot on short game, right around the green.” “As an individual I’d say that right now I’m working the most on my putting,” says Spencer. “Putting is the most important part of the game, and most of your shots consist of putts. A lot of people don’t realize that.” Aragon’s home course is the Peninsula Golf and Country Club, where they play most of their matches. “In golf, you have a home course advantage,” says Oling. Unlike a basketball court or a soccer field, golf courses can vary widely, with different terrain and hazards, which can affect gameplay. This year, the team has the benefit of being able to retain their most experienced players, due to low member turnover. “We didn’t have any seniors on the team last year, so it’s basically the exact same team this year,” says junior and three-year Aragon golfer Jeremy Hardy. “So this is probably our best shot for going to CCS.” “I feel like golf is a sport that not many people play, so it makes me feel unique,” says Hardy. “And I feel like we have a good golf team this year.” As the season is just beginning, there are still numerous challenges ahead, with teams like Menlo-Atherton and Carlmont in the running for league champions. However, the team is going in with a positive outlook. “We want to do as well as we possibly can,” says Spencer. “We’re going to try our best.”


Golf season kicks off yet an- Play ball! : Aragon Baseball starts a new season other new season

Junior James Egan and senior Alex Venosa run fielding drills on the outfield while teammates practice infield skills nearby.


volume 50, issue 06 March 3, 2011

Track and field: coaches optimistic on season outlook


As the seventh period bell rings and students leave school, members of the track and field team begin slowly filtering onto the field, ready for a hard day’s workout. Although the track and



Junior Jonathan Pan runs along the track as his teammate practices pole vaulting.

field meets have not begun yet, students are training hard for the upcoming season. “This year we have over 160 students on the team. It is a lot, but many of them are veterans so we know their ability level. Those who are new, we have yet to see,” says head coach Bill Daskarolis. “Most of the team is back and I am looking forward to a really good year.” Many students are also optimistic about the upcoming season. Junior Lauren Croshaw says, “I am definitely looking forward to being with all my teammates again. All the people on the track are awesome. I am also excited about trying to break my personal records and accomplish my goals of improving.” Fulfilling personal goals and challenges that students have set for themselves is a key reason for students to join the team. Sophomore Christian Pedro explains, “I am really looking forward to going sub-4:20 in the mile and sub-9:20 in the two mile along with breaking the schools Frosh/ Soph records for the mile and the two mile, which [are] 4:27 and

9:43. Also, I’d like to win PAL finals and possibly make it to state for the two mile. It’s going to be a lot of hard work but I’m always up for a challenge. Who knows what I’ll be capable of this season.” Sophomore Sam Sokolsky has also set goals for himself. “I am hoping to be able to go sub-5 minutes on the one mile and sub-10:45 on the two mile.” Sophomore Katie Barnes adds, “I am a jumper so I Senior Aniva Nunez-Mamea practices his stance am excited to chal- before he throws his shot put across the football lenge myself and field during track and field practice. become better at jumping farther throughout the coach Frank Hunt. season.” Students also prepare themThe track team will also have selves for one of the biggest chalsome changes this year. “Science lenges in Track and Field, which is teacher Asif Rahman, who is new avoiding injury. to the school, will be coaching “My primary goal in track hurdles and jumps this year,” says this season is to not get injured.

I trained for only one week the last track season due to my injuries which caused me to miss two months of training. This was frustrating because I wasn’t able to achieve my expectations and goals. However, I have been training well and staying healthy, so this should be a great season,” says Pedro. Pedro goes on to say, “I do track because I love the competition. I like improving my times and getting faster and faster over the weeks. I enjoy racing a lot, especially when I race against people that are well known because I can challenge myself to beat them. When I win, it is the best feeling. I recently beat the number one sophomore in the state, who is Richard Ho, last Saturday in the two mile at Cal Berkeley.” With over 160 participants and events such as distance, sprints, relays, throws, jumps, and hurdles, the track and field team is well prepared for an exciting upcoming season. There will be five home meets this year and the first League Meet is scheduled for March 10th at Aragon.

Winter sports wrap up and athletes compete for CCS this has been the hardest working team I’ve ever had, they are just too inexperienced.” As for the Varsity Boys Basketball Team, they concluded their season with a league record of 2-8-0 and an overall record of 7-18-0, making them ineligible to compete in CCS this year. A main factor that contributed heavily to their unsuccessful season was the fact that their starting guard, senior Aaron Eder, tore his ACL. Manning-Laisne states, “I let the guys make their mistakes because you have to let them make mistakes and let them learn the game and from their mistakes, so that they eventually get to a point where they understand how to improve. We had a positive season throughout where we improved in each game, and we understood where we were as a team, so it wasn’t a losing season at all.” In Varsity Soccer, the Boys Team, with a league record of 2-8-


both a strong defense and offense, Dons kept Los Altos from scoring. In the 2nd half, the Dons dominated possession for the majority, but were not given many opportunities to overcome Los Altos’ defenders. However, late in the 2nd half, Junior Allison Lim made a pass to Sophomore Addy Eveslage who made the a quick breakaway and passed the defense to score, successfully ending the game in a 2-0 victory. Varsity Girl’s Soccer Coach Will Colglazier comments, “We Senior Conor Stanton stands ready for played very well and we certain- his match in the first day of CCS. ly have talent. One thing that we really possess is soccer IQ because Class. Stanton comments, “The our players play smart and are biggest highlight for me this year always at the right places at the of Day 1 was going against the No. right time.” 2 seed. I wasn’t a walk-over for On that same day, No.4 seed him at all. I wrestled to the best St. Ignatius also won 3-0 in their of my ability, and had a fantastic Quarter-Final match against Del- match.” Mar, meaning that Dons will face Then, Afuhaamango, having them in the Semi-Finals on March this past season as his only ever 1st at Pioneer High School. wrestling experience, went 2-2 This game will have been and was just one match away played too late to make this publi- from advancing forward to Day cation cycle; however, if the Dons Two in his 285 lb Weight Class. win this semifinal game, they Of the experience, Afuhaawill attempt a CCS Champion- mango says, “My goals going into ship repeat at Valley Christian CCS was to make it to the second High School on Saturday, March day of CCS and to wrestle my best. 5 against the winner of an Arch- With not making it to Day Two, I bishop Mitty v. Los Gatos match. was disappointed and relieved at From the varsity Wrestling the same time because this is only Team, seniors Conor Stanton my first year playing this sport, so and Raymont Afuhaamango both it was all new.” competed in the first rounds of As a whole, summing up the CCS on February 25th at Inde- winter season and CCS, Stanton pendence High School, but did remarks, “The lessons learned: the not move forward to Day Two of importance of discipline, good CCS. sportsmanship even if you lose, Stanton, who has competed in never giving-up, and maintaining CCS in the last two years, went a hard-work ethic. Those are what 1-2 in Day One of CCS when he I will take away.” lost his match against the No.2 Find more content on seed, Overfelt High School junior Alexis Arciga, in his 119 lb Weight KENAN CHAN

3 and an overall record of 3-12-3, did not make it to CCS. Competing in CCS, however, was actually on the bottom of With the winter season endtheir priorities list at the begining, a few choice teams received ning of the season. the opportunity to compete in Boys Soccer Coach Forrest the Central Coast Section (CCS). Brazil explains, “This year, playOthers, due to several contributing in the Bay Division, which is ing factors in their season, were a higher division, has been very not able to make it. challenging. We were in the Ocean After pushing forward to CCS Division before moving up, and Quarterfinals last year, this seait’s common that an Ocean Team son was the first time the Varsity drops back down, so were just Girls Basketball Team did not go trying to maintain our position in to CCS since 2001. the Bay Division.” The Varsity Girls Basketball Brazil adds, “CCS was not reTeam capped off their season with alistic this season because of the a league record of 1-8-0 and an graduation of players who were overall record of 4-16-0. important parts of the team, Girls Basketball Coach Analong with the much improved nette Gennaro explains, “A big quality of opponents we faced part of the reason why we didn’t throughout the season. do as well as previous years is beWhile many teams could not cause we started the season with compete in CCS this year, the Vara lot of injuries. Also, I knew this sity Girls Soccer Team and two season would be especially hard boys from the Varsity Wrestling because I had graduated four Team made CCS. starting players last year. So, while With a league record of 9-2-3 and an overall record of 13-2-5, the Varsity Girls Soccer Team, after winning the 2010 CCS Championships, made CCS while also winning the PAL Bay Soccer Title. Due to seeding within the top four of Patch’s Peninsula Rankings, Dons, as the No.1 seed, advanced straight to the Quarter-Finals on February 26th against No.5 seed Los Altos at Terra Nova. The Dons led 1-0 when Junior Rachel Killigrew scored off a pass from Junior Nicole RoJunior Nicole Rodrick battles a player from Los Altos for control of the soccer ball. drick within the first two This determination helped for the Dons to win the game 2-0. minutes of the game. With WENDY YU NEWS


volume 50, issue 06 March 3, 2011

aragon not out of the pool yet:

Despite obstacles and stiff competition, aquatic dons keep focus on the water ahead Freshman Alison Clark practices her breast strokes across the pool at College of San Mateo. While construction of the pool at Aragon wraps up, the swim team practices at the swimming pool at CSM in preparation for competition against Woodside later in March. BY JAN MARINI GALABAY FEATURES

“I own and coach a year-round swim team, and [the Otter swim club] is anywhere from six years old to 18 years old. In high school, kids are a little bit older [between 14-18] and can hold a conversation.” Junior Brianna Williams gives some feedback about their new coach. She says, “He monitors how we swim and advises us on how we can improve our personal skills like breathing, working on arms and legs.” Furthermore, it seems that the team does not have to worry about larger teams anymore. Gonzales says, “There are a lot of new people this year, probably about 75-80 kids compared to last year’s 45-50. It is nice to have diversity.” Farley says, “The new kids [mostly freshmen and sophomore] need to learn how to swim correctly and work on their stroke techniques. There are quite a few new freshmen who can actually swim and are in pretty decent shape.” In addition, other schools are also preparing for this season and are ready to face the Aragon swim team. Ruiz says, “Our most difficult opponent is Menlo-Atherton

and Burlingame High School.” Farley explains, “Historically, they are the top two schools in PAL. They have a lot of club swimmers who swim year round.” However, the team is confident and prepared enough to meet their goals this year. Farley says, “We just have to be more competitive and just try to do as well as we can and then score high at PAL and see how many qualifiers we can get to CCS.” Right now, the team is just focused on their upcoming meet against Woodside. Patton says, “Before the day of the meet, we

do starts like start of the race, real relays, diving especially and focusing on time.” She adds, “Everyone is just trying to do better than last season. I think we will be more strategic in terms of how we use our energy in the middle of the race.” Though this is just the beginning of the season, it seems the team has already planned their whole year. With their new pool and new team members, the team is full of dedication and passion to give their best this season and achieve their goals. KENAN CHAN

The swimming team continues to prepare for their upcoming meets and improve their standing at the PAL championship. Despite beginning the season with some obstacles, the team is ready to face Woodside on Mar. 17. While the pool was under construction, the swimming team went to the College of San Mateo for their practices. Junior Ivette Gonzales says, “For us it was harder because we have seventh period and we had to be there as quickly as possible.” Coach Fred Farley shares the same opinion, “Without the pool it was a little bit unsettled and the kids were having trouble getting up to CSM.” Other than the time and location of practices, the team also faced another challenge. Junior Karol Ruiz says, “Our practices were not that long. We only had the pool for about an hour [3:30 pm to 4:30 pm]. Also, we only used six lanes because CSM club swimmers used the other lanes.” Moreover, some students’ schedules created some problems with the practice routines. Sophomore Olivia Simon says,

“Others were still finishing their winter sports [when we started swimming practices] and could not make it. One of my team members could not come to the practice because she still had basketball.” Despite these setbacks, the team was grateful for having the chance to practice in another pool. Junior Victoria Patton says, “The pool at CSM was warm compared to last year at Aragon. It was also a little more professional. [But with the construction], the Aragon pool has more lanes now, so we are more spread out.” With the new Aragon pool, the swimmers will be more able to focus on their routines and not worry about the location and time of practice. Simon says, “We do mix of different strokes. We do four laps of breast stroke, four laps of freestyle, four laps of backstroke, and four laps of drill that is like a different version of a stroke.” Patton adds, “We have more morning practices but on dry land like running or weight training.” Besides the new pool, the swimming team also faces this season with a new coach. Farley just started coaching the Aragon swim team last year. He says,


Freshman David Leong begins his swim practice at CSM. The new pool at Aragon will feature improvements which will allow aquatic teams at Aragon to practice in a more professional environment.

Lady Dons softball season springs to life KAYLA SOLOMON

Sophomore Stephanie Perez fields a ball at third base and winds up to throw to first base.

With returning varsity players and many newcomers, varsity softball coach Bill Laskey is confident in his team. “They’re older, more experienced, and with the nucleus of the young girls coming up, we feel we’re going to have the potential team to win the league,” says Laskey says, “I was really blessed because the majority of my good players were sophomores last year, so now they’re juniors,” he says. “They played as freshmen for me so they know the drills.” He says that his senior class has “a crop of them that are pretty good”, but that the juniors are re-

The players are up for the chal- that the junior varsity teams around, stretch and then we do lenge, though. “We want to cream will face obstacles this season, as some drills.” well. “This year, we were thrown Senior Laura Joyce adds, “We Carlmont,” says Joyce. However, the team members through a loop because junior kind of introduce [new-comers] to the feel of our team. I feel like are still able to see the practicali- varsity doesn’t have a pitcher,” our team is a lot different than ties of their goal, and what will she says. “We’ve been trying to reother ones so you have to know be required of them to achieve it. cruit a bunch of girls to pitch. The what you’re getting yourself into.” Joyce says, “We don’t really have pitcher makes up the team.” Despite a few minor drawFrosh-soph coach Carre as strong pitching as we did last McLaughlin says, “There’s a lot of year”, but Hazelton adds, “I think backs, Laskey is confident that his talent out there. A lot of new play- we have the infield and outfield to players are ready. “It’s going to be ers and the old players came back back out pitchers up this year. We a challenge and it’s going to be a ready to play. [There are] a lot of just have to win differently than battle, but at the same time, we’re we used to. I think we have a good up for it,” he says. “Our girls know new freshmen.” what’s down the road for them As for determining members chance against them.” Freshman Erika Assoun says and we have to get to that point.” during try-outs, McLaughlin says coaches look for players that are “coachable”, meaning, “they’re willing to make the adjustments we ask them to make. We’ll take some one who’s coachable over someone who has a lot of talent but is cocky and doesn’t want to listen.” The team’s goal this year is to win the league, which they have not accomplished in the past four years. “Hillsdale took first place last year, so you always want to beat the crown,” says Laskey. “There’s some real good pitchers in our league. Some of them are already going to four-year colleges Sophomore Lauren Matias throws to first base from the pitchers mound during an and we have to beat them.” after school practice. KAYLA SOLOMON


ally his “strong point”. The season officially starts on March 1, but they have two scrimmages before that. “We have a few players that really need to show off if they can hit,” says Laskey. “You have to see how they handle themselves under pressure, how they handle themselves batting, and how they handle themselves with balls hit right at them.” Laskey says that change does not need to happen this season, but rather, “regrouping.” “It’s really rejoining the teams and trying to have them commit to what they want to do.” Sophomore Annalise Di Santo, who played catcher for junior varsity last year, agrees. “There are not a lot of changes we need to make. We all just need to make sure we are really focused on softball and our attitudes. Keeping up with schoolwork is a little hard for a few of us, but we keep each other motivated so it shouldn’t be too difficult.” Girls hoping to make either varsity or frosh-soph attend tryouts for about three weeks, until all players hoping to make the team have finished other sports such as soccer and basketball. Senior varsity captain Gina Hazelton explains a typical day of try-outs. “We warm up, run

March 2011 Issue  

This is the March 2011 issue of The Aragon Outlook.