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December 19, 2017

Issue 4 Vol. 112

Eighteen-year-olds can now call themselves out of school in accordance with the education code BY PRISCILLA JIN

Business Manager

After inquiries from the Burlingame B, Principal Paul Belzer has reviewed the California Education Code 46012 and has decided to bring back the former practice that allows 18-year-old students to call themselves out of class, effective immediately. The code states that “for purposes of any procedure for verification of absences from school, a student 18 years of age or over, with respect to his own absences from school, shall have all of the responsibilities and powers which, in the case of a minor, would be charged to the parent, guardian, or other person having charge or control of the minor.” At the beginning of the school year, many senior students were disappointed to find out that the attendance rule that previously allowed 18-year-olds to excuse themselves out of class had been suspended. Senior Steven Giammona, who turned 18 this November, expressed his frustrations with the new rule.

“I found out that the rule would not be used right when I started my senior year,” Giammona said. “Since then, I haven’t tried to call myself out. However, I think students should be allowed to sign themselves out when they’re 18. When you’re 18, you’re an adult.”

dents need to be cleared by parents,” Belzer said. “However, the administrative regulations do allow for 18-year-olds to call themselves out.” Belzer detailed how the administration had come to the conclusion at the beginning of the year

ministrative regulations actually allow us to continue the policy, so we decided to bring it back.” The returned policy stipulates that students must receive signed permission from their parents in order to use the privilege. “We value attendance,” Belzer

“For purposes of any procedure for verification of absences from school, a student 18 years of age or over, with respect to his own absences from school, shall have all of the responsibilities and powers which, in the case of a minor, would be charged to the parent, guardian, or other person having charge or control of the minor.” California Education Code 46012 The administration explained that there were many students who had abused this rule in the past and absences had spiked significantly for students who had reached the age of 18. Once Belzer realized the contradiction that was posed by the new rule, he decided to once again allow 18-year-olds to verify their own absences. “The board policy says stu-

to ban 18-year-olds from calling themselves out. He explained that administrative regulations depend on how the board policy is interpreted, which can often be stricter than the overarching education codes. “When we were discussing this in the summertime, we decided to stick to the board policy because we felt we were out of compliance with it,” Belzer said. “But the ad-

said. “We want to see our students be responsible for themselves, but we also want to honor the communication between parents and students.” Despite the discrepancy between school policy and the education code, Giammona understands the rationale behind the administration’s decision to bar the “18-year-old privilege.” “I can totally see how students

WHAT’S INSIDE Sadie Hawkins reopens discussion

of gender roles versus tradition PHOTO BY DARRION CHEN

Page 3 - Get up-todate on all of the holiday drives going on at school By Logan Turner

Page 5 - The district established a new homework committee to review policies

By Charles Chapman

Sophomores at last year’s formal. This year’s will he held on Jan. 27.



Pages 6-7 - Read about interesting alumni and how they are giving back to the school By Stella Lorence

Page 10 - Two students have started a pipette company By Sasha Benke

The excitement surrounding winter formal always begins early, with talk of corsages, dresses and, of course, dates. But this year, the buzz has been more focused on an unofficial possibility of this year’s winter formal becoming a “Sadie Hawkins” dance; this would mean that girls would be asking boys to be their dates instead of the traditional guy-ask-girl format. “[Sadie Hawkins] started in 1937 from a comic book strip,” senior cabinet advisor Erik Bennett said. The comic strip that Bennett is referring to is one of Al Capp’s illustrations as part of the Li’l Abner comic strip. The Sadie Hawkins dance was created from the character named Sadie Hawkins with the idea that women should be able to ask the men to the dance.

In the 30’s and 40’s, the dance was a symbol of women empowerment and a movement to break down traditional gender roles. Sadies was, to young women at the time, seen as the only time it was socially acceptable to ask a male to a dance. “Obviously these days girls don’t need a rule allowing them to ask someone out - they can do that themselves any time,” senior Ellie Feder said. “And yet, we still have Sadies because it is not quite the norm yet.” Many students believe that Sadies has been an every-four-year tradition at Burlingame and that this year’s winter formal became a Sadies and girls asked boys to be their dates. “I do remember [my older sister’s] Sadies dance,” senior Hannah Sarwar said. “I think her and most of her friends had a lot of fun being able to ask for formal

one year and it was fun for them to be able to plan it out instead of being the ones asked for once.” Though Bennett said that he doesn’t believe that any official tradition has really ever existed, yearbook advisor Michelle Riley explained that the tradition is more of a cultural, unofficial one. “Sadie Hawkins is an unspoken but strong tradition at BHS where every four years, the girls ask the boys to the winter formal,” Riley said. Differing viewpoints and a lot of contrasting information has made formal into another gender controversy that has altered Burlingame traditions in the last three years. After changing the name of Powderpuff to Homecoming Bowl, removing the words “King” and “Queen” to be simply Homecoming Court and switching to all red graduation gowns last year, students are beginning to group formal with that trend. “Whether people like the idea of [Sadies] or not, it shouldn’t limit who asks who,” Sarwar said. “Anyone can ask who they want to and it shouldn’t be a problem. That being said, I don’t think Sadies should be taken away from the school as it has been a tradition for so long.” Other students, Feder included, believe that Sadies is still needed to encourage girls to make the ‘anyone-can-ask-anyone’ format a regularity. “Guys still traditionally ask girls to dances and girls usually expect to be asked,” Feder said. Continued on page 2

might abuse this power,” Giammona said. “In my opinion, there should be a set list or restriction that if a student is showing a trend of being absent all the time and a trend in their grades, they can have their privilege revoked.” Since the rule had been suspended in the beginning of this school year, the attendance office has seen a positive change in the students’ attendance. “The main reason why we don’t like the rule that allows 18-yearolds to call themselves out is because a lot of students were taking advantage of it,” campus security Randy Williams said. “They weren’t really sick or had doctor’s appointments. The number of students that were leaving was just too high. Now that the rule has been taken out, the number has definitely dropped. Students are still leaving, but it’s with their parents permission, so there isn’t a dramatic number.” Now that the privilege is back, the attendance office predicts that the trend of absences with second semester seniors will return.

‘Senior Spotlight’ variety show to be held in spring BY LILY PAGE

Senior Reporter A committee of parents is currently planning Senior Spotlight, a variety show event for the seniors that will take place on April 14 next semester. There will likely be a showing at 3:00 in the afternoon and 7:00 in the evening. Tickets will cost around $25. “We wanted to start a new tradition at BHS,” Alli Murdoff, one of the principal organizers, said. She envisions it as a “funny, high energy” night with musical numbers, dances, fashion numbers, and students playing instruments. “It’s not really about talent, just about having fun,” Kim Gelman, another adult in charge, said. According to Gelman, the event will be divided into three types of numbers. Some students will perform loosely-choreographed dances (created by choreographer Noah Hayden), model rented clothing from local businesses like Sam Malouf and Vineyard Vines, and, if they want to do any other type of number, submit something else for review. “There’s really a place for everyone in the show,” Murdoff said. “We would be thrilled if we could get 40-50% to participate.” Continued on page 2



December 19, 2017

Iron Panthers robotics team hosts FTC competition PHOTO BY ALLIE KENNEDY

The red alliance, composed of the team RoboKnights and the team Kuriosity Robotics, works to place a yellow plastic relic outside the walls of the field in the final seconds of a match. PHOTO BY ALLIE KENNEDY

Engineers on team 13223, the Lime Loops, fix their robot. PHOTO BY ALLIE KENNEDY

Senior Serena Haddad and juniors Nicole Louie, Christopher Sung and Erina Yamaguchi compile a music playlist for the competition.


Staff Reporter

On Dec. 9, the robotics team, the Iron Panthers, held a competition on campus. Sixteen teams from across northern California attended, including four teams that won World Championship titles last season. The Burlingame Qualifier lasted from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m, and the alliance composed of Team 12635 (Kuriosity Robotics) and Team 5220 (RoboKnights) won. The two teams are now guaranteed to move on to regional competitions. The competition was for FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) teams. In the competition, middle school and high school teams form alliances, each composing of two teams, to complete a specific task designed by the company called FIRST. This year, the challenge is “Relic Recovery,” and the objective is to have robots stack foam blocks, called glyphs, into columns, place a yellow plastic figure, called a relic, outside the walls of the field, and balance on a wobbly platform. They have 2 minutes and 30 seconds to complete these tasks for points, and the alliance that scores the most points wins the competition. At Burlingame High School, the FTC team is considered a training team for FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). In FRC, teams have only six weeks to design and build a robot to complete a certain task. The FRC season has not yet started, but teams do know that the challenge will have an oldschool arcade theme. Because the Iron Panthers were hosting the competition, the team could not compete. However, the Burlingame High School FTC team has excelled this season, winning multiple awards and qualifying for regional competitions.

“The FTC team has done great so far this year,” said junior Katherine Mohr, the co-captain of the Iron Panthers team. “We recently competed in Saratoga in November where we were the winning alliance captains, Innovate award winners, Inspire award finalists, and Connect award finalists.” Each team had a station where they could make last-minute adjustments to their robots, and people huddled around their stations even after the competition began,

“I’m excited to see

how well other teams can perform. It’s a good way to learn from them. It’s also a good way to interact with other teams and share our passion for robotics.” Connie Nong quickly trying to solve technological problems as they arose. However, most of the work was done prior to the competition, with teams investing hundreds of hours into their robots in the months leading up to the event. “Usually our team meets three times a week, and those meetings last for about three hours, but this week we ramped up before the competition and met every day of the entire week until really late. Last night we were working until 9 p.m,” said sophomore Ryan Ngoon, the public relations lead for Team 8404 from Leland High School. “We have about four meeting a week, lasting four to six hours each, and that’s been going on

since September,” said junior Callum Keddie, a mechanical engineer for Team 8381 from San Mateo. The Iron Panthers also put in plenty of their own time organizing the competition. The event took months to plan, and the team spent many hours Friday and Saturday setting up and making sure everything ran smoothly. Volunteers were needed to sell concessions, play music, inspect the robots, serve as announcers and clean up once the competition was done. Christina Wade, the teacher advisor for the Iron Panthers, also needed to reserve the gym for the event, work out financial logistics, and reach out to all the attending teams to compile a program. Despite the struggle to organize the competition, the Iron Panthers still find it valuable to host competitions. They are good outreach events, and it lets the Iron Panthers connect with the greater Bay Area robotics community. “Hosting a competition is the best way to get to know all the teams around here, and I’m excited to see how well other teams can perform,” said junior Connie Nong, who is the captain of the Iron Panthers FTC team. “It’s a good way to learn from them. It’s also a good way to interact with other teams and share our passion for robotics.” “Hosting these events is a very unique way for students to get hands-on experience at being a leader, working on project planning, going through all the ups and downs that people do in the real world when they actually do big projects,” Wade said. “We hope that we’re able to host these events in the future to continue having these great opportunities for students.”

Senior-centric performances are commonplace around the Bay Area. Saint Ignatius College Preparatory holds an annual event showcasing around 300 students, while Menlo-Atherton High School (MAHS) has held an annual senior fashion show for the past thirty-six years, which is also their PTA’s largest fundraiser. “[The fashion show] was something that all the seniors did.” Gelman’s niece and MAHS alumnus Haley Harrier recalled. “Everyone was super excited. [Tickets] would sell out during the lunch-time hour.” Harrier was in the semi-formal clothing section of the performance. She and the other girls wore dresses, and the boys wore khakis and button-down shirts. Her section’s “gimmick,” as she called it, was to carry bouquets and throw individual roses into the crowd.

“I know my niece enjoyed being in it, and all the extended family went to watch,” Gelman said in a description of her attendance of the event. “We thought it was great.” The emphasis on fundraising is one notable difference between the proposed format of Senior Spotlight versus the MAHS fashion show. During the time that Harrier was a student (she graduated in 2005), families could pool around $800 to buy a table at a luncheon before the show. Because the spring performances of Senior Spotlight will be test-runs, “[possible revenue] is a little hard to forecast,” Murdoff said. Instead, the organizers foresee the event being a final hurrah for the seniors before graduation, more memory-maker than money-maker. “Ours is more geared towards senior bonding and creating good

Continued Sadie Hawkins

“Until that is no longer normal, we still need someone saying, ‘Okay girls, it’s your turn to ask.’ It’s a weird thing, but I feel like that’s just where we are right now.” Whether or not winter formal is being called ‘Sadies’ or not, the unspoken tradition will seemingly continue this year. “I think most girls will definitely want to ask guys this year

anyways because the tradition that been going on for so long. It’s just to be able to carry [the tradition] out and keep it going, and also to switch things up for once,” Sarwar said. Members of the senior class cabinet explained that telling students which gender should be the ones to “ask” for dates is not up to them to decide.

memories, giving them a nice send-off,” Gelman said. Murdoff and Gelman would like Senior Spotlight to leave such a positive impression on the community that it is continued in subsequent years, much like the events at SI and MAHS. “Other schools, they’ve done it for so long that [participation] is a given,” Gelman said. The challenge, however, is to raise enough student participation in this first year to kick it off. “The theater holds around five hundred people. If we can fill the theater for two shows, that would be awesome,” Gelman said. “That’s our goal right now.” Preparations are already underway. Murdoff and Gelman recently met with choreographer Noah Haydon; they gave him a tour of the auditorium, and he was introduced to drama teacher Cindy Skelton. With a smile, Gelman

“There has been no formal discussion about a Sadies Hawkins dance,” senior class president Eliza Van Hamel Platerink said. “It’s never been a senior cabinet thing.” “Dates have always been a social thing that is something the student body does,” senior class treasurer Oliver Nix said. “Class cabinet and the planners of the event play no part in that whatso-


Continued Senior Spotlight

Senior Spotlight, a variety show event to celebrate the senior class, will be performed twice on April 14 in the BHS auditorium. referred to Haydon as their “se- commence at the beginning of the cret sauce” because he has choreo- spring semester. graphed the SI event for the last The organizers put special emseven years. phasis on including as many stu“We are going to hit the ground dents as possible, seniors on stage running in January,” Murdoff as well as underclassmen working said. The committee of parents in behind the scenes. charge plans to begin advertising “It’s really just to have fun and and recruiting students for posi- build community, not just for the tions in stage management, light- seniors, but for all of BHS,” Geling, and other roles. Recruitment man said. for senior performers will also ever.” Platerink asked students to omit gender as part of the equation when it comes to finding a date for formal. “Our senior class cabinet is promoting that everyone just ask whoever they want regardless of student demographics,” Platerink said. “We believe people should ask whoever they want.”


A story in the November issue incorrectly stated that Justin Entenmann is a student at Burlingame University; he is actually a sophomore student at Burlingame High School.


December 19, 2017

Clubs promote season of giving through charity drives

Staff Reporter

Every December, the Students In Action Club embraces the giving spirit of the holiday season by organizing the annual toy drive. The annual drive is in collaboration with the organization Moms Against Poverty that was founded in 2008, with the mission to “nurture and educate underprivileged children to their fullest potential so that, one day, they can contribute and lead within their own communities; thus breaking the cycle of poverty.” For the past eight years, the club has worked to encourage the school community to help those in need and collect toys for underprivileged children residing in Oakland, East Palo Alto and San Francisco. The toys go to the annual gift wrapping event Mothers Against Poverty holds yearly, where the community comes together to wrap gifts for children in need. “I feel that this promotes not only a sense of community and giving back; it also teaches the young people in society how fortunate they are and how giving back, even if its one simple toy, can put a smile on a child’s face,” said

SIA co-president Jasmine Samsami, whose mother runs Mothers Against Poverty. Throughout the year, the club meets at least once a week, organizing various events that serve the community, and they have been planning and promoting the toy drive for over a month. They have created flyers and put announcements on BTV and the parent group newsletter in order to increase the amount of donations going into the two large bins they have placed in front of the theatre. While the holiday season is notorious for giving back, the SIA and other clubs at school embrace the spirit of charity throughout the entire year. The Opening Doors Club is another club at school that works to serve the community, specifically homeless youth living in Oakland. The Opening Doors Club was founded in 2016, by senior Annika Furr. Most recently, the club put on the Necessity Drive and collected basic necessities to donate to the Oakland location of Covenant House California, a non-profit shelter providing housing and support for homeless youth from the ages of 18 to 24. “I was really impressed by the




SIA works with Mothers Against Poverty to wrap toys and donate them to underprivileged youth. club and their necessity drive because it was in reaction to an amazing speaker who came and said that while money is important, what the homeless youth really need are basic necessities like t-shirts, underwear, and toiletries,” the club’s teacher advisor Annie Miller said.

The drives and charity events put on by the SIA, Opening Doors Club and other clubs around the school such as ODFL, UNICEF and Key Club promote philanthropy throughout the school community and help the students to stay aware of the less fortunate and how they can make a differ-

ence. “I think that the best part of raising money and getting donations for this club is that it makes the students at school who have a lot more than the homeless kids feel more appreciative for what they have, and in turn want to give back even more,” Furr said.

CEC begins internship program with high school students BY SOFIA GUERRA

Chief Photographer

The Citizens Environmental Council of Burlingame is offering a paid environmental internship program for high school sophomores and juniors next semester. In a partnership with the city of Burlingame, the eight-year-old nonprofit is ramping up community outreach efforts, especially among teens. Supported by a grant from the Morris S. Smith Foundation, the program will provide hands-on education about transportation, water and waste management and energy use as it pertains to school

campuses and beyond. As of Dec. 11, Burlingame, the Nueva School, and Junipero Serra High School have submitted applications. The application deadline is Jan. 15, 2018. In 2014, the CEC advocated for the city to hire a sustainability coordinator. Since then, Sigalle Michael has filled that position and served as the CEC’s liaison with the city. She will be a mentor for the internship program. With eight years of experience at the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and a University of California-Los Angeles environmental studies degree, Michael hopes that

her knowledge will inspire action among teens. “I’m looking forward to connecting with high school students and learning what inspires them around sustainability,” she said of the CEC’s new internship program. As a mentor, Michael will “create content for the sessions and guide student interest in finding real projects and solutions to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” Mike McCord is the program’s second mentor. He is a founding member of the CEC and served on the city’s Green Ribbon Task Force at former Mayor Terry Nigel’s request. He filled the position PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CITIZENS ENVIRONMENTAL COUNCIL OF BURLINGAME

The CEC club is helping the non profit coordinate a student film festival to take place in March.


Teacher Adviser: Melissa Murphy

Webmaster: Vishu Prathikanti

Staff Reporters: Tekla Carlen Madeleine Greene Editor-in-Chief: Chief Photographer: Claire Hunt Maggie Murdoff Sofia Guerra Tyler Idema Allie Kennedy Managing Editor: Copy Editor: Moya Liu Charlie Chapman Jilly Rolnick Ben Neuman Hanna Sato Design Editor: Senior Reporters: Annie Sun Stella Lorence Sasha Benke Caden Thun Darrion Chen Payton Toomey Business Manager: James Lowdon Logan Turner Priscilla Jin Lily Page

after teaching mathematics at BHS for 35 years. McCord isn’t the only former faculty member participating in the program. Matt Biggar, a former teacher and administrator in Palo Alto and a principal of BHS for six years, will be an adviser of the program. Since earning his Ph.D. from the Stanford University School of Education, he has worked as a consultant specializing in education, social change and the environment. The CEC has drawn diverse volunteers and employees since becoming an official stand-alone nonprofit in 2016. Before then, its formation was spurred by Burlingame’s 2009 Climate Action Plan. It became a tax-deductible nonprofit when it became a fiduciary program of the Palo Alto nonprofit, Acterra Action for a Healthy Planet. Since then, it has been supporting regional efforts like Bike to Work Day, Peninsula Food Runners and the Peninsula Clean Energy program. Every year, it also presents a series of six lectures, workshops and films on topics like climate change, energy efficiency, plastic pollution in oceans, water conservation, food waste, recycling and composting. “Two years ago we began offering scholarships to Burlingame

graduates who wanted to pursue careers in environmental sciences and related fields... [and] we contributed money to the leadership class’ refillable water bottle project,” McCord said. Their next campaign is “Opt Up,” a push for local businesses to move to 100 percent renewable and carbon-free electrical power through the Peninsula Clean Energy system. “It is quite simple to do, and it costs the typical family just a few dollars a month more than they now pay for electricity,” McCord said. Sophomore Jonathan Choy is president and founder of the CEC club at school. The CEC club partners with the formal CEC nonprofit of Burlingame, using creative advocacy and student film festivals as a way to rally teens to fight climate change. The club’s first event is a film festival, which will be held in March. “In my work with CEC it has been a pleasant surprise to see how many people have environmental careers with nonprofits, private businesses and all levels of government,” Biggar said. “You can work to save the planet and get paid for it, and I think that is a noble aspiration for young people.”

Policy Statement:

The Burlingame B is a student-run newspaper with the sole purpose of providing an open forum for student expression. Anything printed represents the opinion of the writer, but not necessarily that of the The Burlingame B staff, the administration or faculty of Burlingame High School, or any person affiliated with the San Mateo Union High School District. The Burlingame B does not discriminate against race, political orientation, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability. Although The Burlingame B will never refuse to publish guest submission based on the aforementioned factors, we reserve the right to edit or not publish them. Letters to the Editor: Disagree with the writers? Bring your letters to the room A120 or email them to <>. Letters may be considered for publication. The Burlingame B reserves the right to edit for clarity, length and accuracy. We welcome all comments.



December 19, 2017

The man behind the microphone: John Horgan PHOTO BY PRISCILLA JIN

Horgan (second from the left) announces at the 41st annual Burlingame Lions Club Invitational Basketball Tournament. Horgan has been announcing Burlingame High School games since 1982. BY PRISCILLA JIN

Business Manager Football and basketball games are staples of Burlingame culture. At the peak of the fall and winter sports seasons, a student’s typical Friday night usually consists of cheering on the players and following the games. Many different groups from the Burlingame community come together to ensure the success of these games, Another essential component to the game who may go unnoticed by many students is announcer John Horgan, who has announced at

BHS games for the past 35 years. Horgan announces varsity football games in the fall and boys’ varsity basketball games in the winter season, occasionally announcing for the girls’ varsity basketball team as well. As an announcer, he understands the importance of relaying the correct information to the spectators and prepares thoroughly before each game to ensure that he is announcing accurately. In fact, he has a routine to get ready for the games. “I always print out the rosters a day before the game and under-

line names that may be difficult to pronounce,” Horgan said. “I try to get to the gymnasium or football field at least forty-five minutes or an hour early so I can talk to the coaches about the correct pronunciation of names, the players’ numbers and any new additions to the team that I might not know about.” Horgan outlined what makes a good announcer. “You need a good voice and you need to have confidence,” Horgan explained. “You also need to know the game really well.”

Horgan also explained that announcing teaches people more than stats of a game or how to pronounce players’ names. In fact, he said that many schools prefer students to announce to the games because it teaches them confidence and eloquence. Horgan’s own experience as an announcer started when he was a junior at Serra High School where he played on the basketball team, but also announced at the football games. “It was a good learning experience; it’s really just public speaking,” Horgan said. Although Horgan’s passion for announcing started when he was in high school, he didn’t start announcing BHS games until 1982, when he was coaching his own daughter’s basketball team. While he was coaching, he noticed that there was no announcer for the games and offered his experience to fill the vacancy. He volunteered time in hopes of creating a more legitimate environment for the team. “Of course, in this day girls sports are huge,” Horgan said. “But back in those days, girls sports were just becoming routine. I don’t think anyone had even thought about announcing for those girls, but I thought it’d be a good idea to formalize the games. It gave more credibility to

the game-- it seemed a little more professional.” Looking back, Horgan is glad that he volunteered to announce and contribute to the changing attitudes on girls sports. Horgan’s experience proves that it takes simple measures, like volunteering at his daughter’s games, to take steps towards a bigger change. “Like I said before, most girls teams did not have an announcer,” Horgan said. “So when other girls teams-- like from Carlmont, or San Mateo, or Cappuccino-- came to Burlingame for a girls game and there was an announcer. That was a big deal for them. The girls got their names introduced and their plays recognized. I think it helped these girls feel a little more important. By the time my daughter graduated, the girls teams were becoming a big deal.” Horgan’s role and enthusiasm as an announcer has evolved since he began announcing for his daughter’s games. He continues to announce 35 years later to encourage sportsmanship during matches between high school teams. “I like to see competition,” Horgan said, “where two teams that are evenly matched are playing against each other, and it’s a fair fight. I really like to see that struggle.”

An interview with subsitute teacher Roger Migdow BY MOYA LIU

Staff Reporter

What is your teaching background and experience?

What is something that surprised you about BHS so far? “I really pleasantly surprised how easy it was for me to fit in.”

time is Galaxy Quest, it’s like a funny sci-fi action movie”

If you could speak to all students, right now, what would be the most valuable lesson you could offer?

What are your first impressions of BHS?

What is your favorite subject? “My favorite subject is math for sure.”

What is your favorite animal? “I’m a real big cat lover.”

“Everyone just seems to be so happy. From a staff point of view, everyone seems to be happy to work here. And students too, we have fun in my classes, we laugh. There’s a connection here that I really enjoy with my students.”

How many cats do you have?

What do you like the most about teaching math and leadership?

“I love to watch British detective series.”

“[Teaching] leadership is a very great opportunity for me,

“My wife and I have four persian cats.”

What do you like to do in your free time? What is your favorite movie / book? “My favorite movie of all

doing school work, you have to see it as a means to an end, because it is going to open up a lot more opportunities when you are older. So I would just say make sure their kids are on top of their school work.”

“I would remind them that things seem so important and overwhelming to them now, won’t seem that way when they are older, that you might not even remember them well. So try to live day-to-day, not get to bogged down by the interactions you have with other students. Because things change pretty quickly as you leave high school and go to college.”

Describe yourself in What is the best sinWhat are you look- three words. gle piece of advice you ing forward to this year “I would say I am an optimist, can give parents of at BHS? humorous, and relaxed.” high school students? “I really enjoy doing leadership, but that’s going to end now. I am excited to take over Mr. Edward’s schedule. I am looking forward to having a long term teaching experience here, I really like the school. I feel like I just fit here for whatever reason.”

stay on top of their school work. Every kid has an iphone, and every kid is watching movies and playing video games till late at night. That should be more of a reward for your hard work. Even though it seems hard for young people to get their minds around


“I started teaching full time five years ago actually in the San Mateo district. I was at Capuchino [High School] and Aragon [High School] originally. But I am from San Jose, so I ended up teaching in San Jose for a few years. And then I had an opportunity to come up here again, I’ve been kind of wanting to get up here, because I like this school district. And It’s just seems like a perfect timing to come back here since Mrs. Berglund was on maternity leave.”

because I wasn’t a teacher originally. I used to be in marketing and advertising. I moved from that career into teaching. And leadership is a lot like marketing, promoting events, managing people, and meeting deadlines. So it’s nice to reconnect with that part of me, the creative part. And math, I’ve always had a connection with math, I’ve always enjoyed the way numbers represent the world around us.”

“I would say make sure they

Roger Migdow helps his student with math during lunch in D107.

Dennis J. Murphy

Your Peninsula Neighbor 415.310.7956 |



December 19, 2017

New district committee investigates homework

Local Burlingame businesses donate surplus food to charities



Copy Editor The holidays are not the only time to give back to the community. In fact, many local food businesses donate their extra food at the end of the day to charities all year long. The Samaritan House is a popular charity of choice for businesses such as Safeway, The Cakery and Kara’s Cupcakes. The neighborhood nonprofit has been working to improve life in San Mateo county since its inception in 1974, forming close bonds over the years with businesses and school districts. The charity opened its Samaritan Family Kitchen in 1985 and has been accepting food donations ever since, often preparing 400-500 meals per day, making it the largest food distributor in San Mateo county. “We are grateful to have the support of the entire community, including our neighbors in Burlingame,” Samaritan House CEO Bart Charlow said. “Be it Burlingame residents lending a hand in our kitchen or food donations from Burlingame businesses – we take pride in these relationships that allow us to serve our neighbors in need.” The local Safeway on Howard Avenue contributes “food that is close to the end of shelf life,” according to Matthew Johnson, a manager at the store. These perishables typically include breads, donuts and other pastries that are picked up daily by volunteers from the Samaritan House. This both decreases Safeway’s food waste and helps the community. In addition to donating leftover foods, Safeway also takes part in

The Cakery donates leftover pastries and bread everyday. a seasonal food drive to benefit es former substance abusers and Second Harvest Foodbank from convicted criminals to help them Thanksgiving through New Year’s. get back on their feet. Safeway places large bins in front “It’s a good cause,” manager of its local stores where patrons Maria Katsanos said. “We’ve been can either bring food from home doing that for years.” Previously, the bakery donated wreath cakes for the Books and Breakfast to benefit the school, and has supported the Burlingame Aquatic Center in various activities. They also have made and packaged cookies for various Burlingame School District events. Kara’s Cupcakes has been very involved in helping the neighborhood for the past eight years, donating extra cupcakes at the end of each day to the Samaritan House or buy food in the store to donate. and baking for school, church and When the bins fill up, a volunteer other community fundraisers. from Second Harvest Foodbank “Rather than being wasteful, picks the donations up and en- we would rather give [food] to sures their distribution. people who will eat it,” manager The Cakery also donates left- Erica Land said. “Ever since we over breads and pastries through- have been part of the community out the year to local schools, we have tried to help out.” churches and the Samaritan House. While Kara’s Cupcakes does In addition, the 20-year-old bakery not give monetary donations to gives food to events put on by the charities, the bakery gives away Delancey Street Foundation in San $2,000 to $4,000 worth of baked Francisco, a nonprofit that hous- goods each week.

“Rather than being wasteful, we would rather give [food] to people who will eat it,” Erica Land


Managing Editor As part of a multi-year initiative to combat student stress, the San Mateo Union High School District Board of Trustees has established a committee with the primary goal of reviewing the district’s homework policies with the possibility of recommending district-wide guidelines. The committee is comprised of administrators, teachers, parents and students who will come together four to six times over the 2017/2018 school year while continually updating the trustees on their findings. Deputy Superintendent Kirk Black updated the trustees on the committee’s goals, organization, preliminary findings and its proposed timeline during the Sept.

“The idea is good,

and in theory, beneficial to students.” Jason Shevach

14 meeting. The creation of the committee was a result of a 2017/2018 goal to “create a district wide homework policy with broad input from stakeholders.” English teacher Michael Ferguson said the committee is “less focused on policies and more focused on learning than the district as a whole is in terms of homework policies.” Ferguson did admit that the focus of the committee may shift with time, but warns that “it will be slow going, probably one to two years.” The committee will “survey teachers, students and parents” in addition to reviewing outside research and current policies in place at various district campuses to access the need for new guidelines. The committee will also work to “consider quality control practices for homework,” which they hope will reinforce the idea that homework should be assigned in an effort to “reinforce class

learning,” which the committee claimed was an acceptable reason for teachers to assign homework. The committee’s goals and preliminary findings that were presented to the board during the September meeting were derived from research conducted by universities and experts in the educational field. Cited sources spoke to both the educational impact and the social and emotional impact that excess homework has on students. According to Jeffrey C. Valentine’s 2001 article in the journal “Educational Psychologist,” which was cited in the committee’s presentation, “HW should be no more than 10 minutes times grade level per weeknight.” An independent spreadsheet developed by Denise Pope’s organization “Challenge Success” broke down the average amount of homework per class. This research has been presented to District parents and employees during her presentations. Her research found that the average student who participated in no more than two Advanced Placement classes would far exceed the aforementioned guideline. The committee presentation suggested the possibility of “homework free holidays” being part of their recommendations to the board and the administrators of individual schools. Burlingame principal Paul Belzer instructed teachers to refrain from assigning homework over the Thanksgiving holiday. The success of this initiative was questioned by students who have mentioned unintended consequences of such an action. “The idea is good, and in theory, beneficial to students,” junior Jason Shevach said. “The problem is that teachers frontload students with work and tests in the time leading up to the break to make up for the lack of assignments that could have been assigned over the break.” The committee’s research will seek to balance student wellbeing and academic performance, ensuring continued student learning and success while reducing stress. The committee has met twice so far this year and will convene again after winter break.

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Coming Full Circle

For the full story, check out


From there, Adrouny said she “worked [her] way up the ladder,” and eventually back to Burlingame. Phil Hazelrig, class of 1965 Program Manager and pilot at NASA


One day, Adrouny came in for her internship and the assignment editor had quit. Adrouny ended up taking over the position, which, after three months of working without the formal title or job position, resulted in her “first real job”.

Stephanie Adrouny, class of 1990 Vice President of news at NBC Bay Area


Not sure whether she wanted to go continue in radio, Adrouny took an internship with a local television station during her sophomore year.

“I wanted to go to a place that would give me a good education and let me try a lot of things,” Adrouny said.

He also completed a Masters of Business Administration degree at Chapman University.

He chose the Naval Academy because it offered an active program where he would have the chance to be involved in a wide variety of programs and activities, including football. It also gave him a chance to fly planes: his ultimate goal.

Adrouny hosted a field trip in Oct. 2017.


Hazelrig spoke to Mr. Karshan’s class on Oct. 20, 2017. After a 30-year career in the Navy as a fighter pilot – during which he rose to the position of Captain – Hazelrig retired, but still wanted to continue flying.

“NASA is so fun and exciting that I call my job at NASA ‘adult space camp,’ ” Hazelrig said. “I only applied to UCSB and UCLA because I had already committed to UCSB for cross country before the applications were due,” Crawford said.

Crawford spoke to Winn spoke to Mr. Mr. Karshan’s class in Karshan’s class in Feb. 2017. Nov. 2017.

Winn then got a postbaccalaureate in communicative disorders from Utah State University.

She worked at Deloitte and Touche for two years in Audit, but knew that wasn’t what she wanted to do in the long-term.

Katie Crawford, class of 2006 Director of Global Omni Planning at Banana Republic

Crawford currently works as the Director of Men’s Global Omni Planning at Banana Republic. This means that she and her team analyze global retails trends and decide what should be available to purchase for the next season.


Alyssa Winn, class of 2006 Speech Language Pathologist at TALK

Winn majored in psychology at the University of California-Santa Cruz but still didn’t know what she wanted to do yet.

Winn then got a Master’s degree in communicative disorders from San Francisco State University.

Her favorite part of her job, she said, is the feeling she gets “when something clicks within them,” for example a client’s first word.



December 19, 2017

Binge drinking culture in the U.S.


Staff Reporter

American teenage culture is often characterized by excessive partying, beer kegs and the infamous red solo cup. Yet our country is one of few to have drinking age as high as 21. By labeling alcohol as forbidden, we also label it as dangerous and the act of drinking it, rebellious. America’s strict restrictions on alcohol have the opposite effect of what the law intends: they make it more appealing to teens and, in turn, promote teenage binge drinking. In 1984, the National Minimum Drinking Age Act was passed, which penalized states that did not raise their drinking ages from 18 to 21. If they did not comply, states would lose a portion of their federal highway funds. Within four years, all 50 states had raised their minimum drinking ages as a result. However, there has since been debate about the sensibility and effectiveness of this law. “If you’re going to take on the responsibilities of being 18,” senior Grace Colson said, “shouldn’t you

be responsible enough to control your drinking?” In contrast, in other countries with fewer restrictions on alcohol, adolescents binge drink less. Students who participated in the Italian trip last year were surprised to see a very different culture surrounding alcohol, in a place where you can have beer and wine at 16 and all alcohol at age 18. “[The Italian kids] seemed very comfortable around alcohol,” senior Isabelle Metzcus said. “They never seemed like they needed to have any. People are seeking it out in América. It’s dangerous. It’s something that’s cool. Something that’s fun. Where as for them, it’s more of a normal thing.” “In Italy, teens don’t binge drink because it’s not rebellious,” Colson agreed. English teacher Sophie Abitbol described similar experiences growing up in France. In her youth, she frequently had small amounts of alcohol at family gatherings and social events but she never perceived it as dangerous or rebellious. “It wasn’t something that I did in secret,” Abitbol said. “And it wasn’t

something that I did to get drunk.” In coming to America at age 15, she was shocked by how differently people drank. “All of a sudden it was this thing that people did to get drunk,” Abitbol said. “It wasn’t part of the social activity, it was the social activity. It was the point.” According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, teenage alcohol abuse is a major issue, one that kills 4,700 people each year. I do not believe that we should simply ignore this problem. However, with the nature of teenagers in mind, the more we forbid alcohol, the more interesting and exciting it becomes. Telling teens they can never have a sip until age 21 is not a solution. “The more you make it be an age-based decision, the more there is an emphasis to do it before that age,” Abitbol said. By making drinking seem like a normal, everyday thing that doesn’t need to be done in excess and by increasing education about alcohol and its effects, we can begin to fix the drinking problem of America’s teens. VISUAL BY BPOGI AT ENGLISH WIKIPEDIA, CCBY-SA 3.0,

The map above shows the minimum drinking age for countries worldwide, illustrating America and other countries with a drinking age of 21 in red.

A moderate’s view on PC culture BY VISHU PRATHIKANTI

Senior Reporter

As students living in the Bay-Area, many of us have grown up learning to be respectful of each other, and most of us have heard in the news and in our own lives the phrase ‘PC,’ or politically correct. Students at schools like University of California-Berkeley have appeared in the news boycotting conservative speakers in the name of being PC. This has led many to question PC culture as being helpful or harmful. Currently, most conservative thought is grouped as ‘hate speech’ which is extremely harmful to the free flow of opinions in society. PC culture originated in the 1980’s and 90’s, and defended against those minorities or otherwise disadvantaged groups in the world. Words and phrases then became ‘politically correct’ as to make sure no group is discriminated. This use of PC words and phrases has now led us to develop ‘PC culture,’ or a culture that effectively stops offensive speech. Although PC culture was originally meant to protect minorities from what they deem as offensive language, it has a modern day result of victimizing left-leaning thought and in effect condemning thought they disagree with. While originally meant to stop offensive speech, it has now become an idea limiting offensive thought and ideas with safe thought being more left-leaning and unsafe being right-leaning. “There are so many people now that have positions of power that are PC and influencing people that might not be,” junior Matthew Zell said. “We’re kind of reshaping the way we see things just for the sake

of being PC, and that’s not good because it’s being disingenuous, trying to force PC culture on others.” A major issue with PC culture is rooted in its separation of those who are politically correct as morally better than those who are politically incorrect. The result often ends with radicals on both sides arguing their viewpoints and endangering lives that should be protected. A prominent example in modern day is the militant leftist group Antifa fighting white supremacist groups on the right, causing violence and bloodshed. Although some believe that at Burlingame we are unaffected by PC culture, school is oftentimes where we start to flesh out our political identities, and where many of us take a stand in politics. To some students, PC culture is seen as an indoctrinator in school, limiting thought as a result of shielding sensitive students to facts. “A lot of PC culture does not like to accept facts for what they are,” Zell said. “At the end of the day, facts don’t care about your feelings, so the best way [to teach is] to stop indulging people on how they feel and instead teach facts.” Oftentimes when we discuss how words can hurt others, we simply say, “well that guy needs to toughen up. It isn’t my fault that this is how the world works.” However, when we fail to empathize with others, oftentimes points that have justification fail to be made. For example, when discussing with someone living in the US without papers about immigration, if you call them an ‘illegal alien,’ regardless of anything you have previously said that person will denounce you as a racist.

As society and language evolves, we as fellow humans have a responsibility to adapt to those changes. A while ago, it was fine to call an African American a Negro, but if you try and call them that today, you would certainly be denounced as a racist, regardless of the topic presented. But at the same time, to stop discussing serious issues simply because they aren’t ‘PC’ would be living a life of lies. It is completely possible to have a healthy discussion with an ‘illegal alien’ about the immigration issue and not sound racist- if we use language intended for them. School can be seen as a melting pot of different people and groups and part of being a respectful person is to treat them with kindness. “Our job as teachers is to challenge discussion, but in a safe place,” government teacher Joshua Gnass said. “[We] try to have a lot of debates in [our] classes that allow different viewpoints as long as you’re not being rude and obnoxious.” In our society, PC culture can be a double-edged blade; it can be a useful tool to make others feel comfortable, but it can also prevent differing points of view and healthy discussion if used incorrectly. As human beings, we must encourage both conservative and liberal thought in society, but use our language appropriately with different groups of people. PC culture shouldn’t limit perspectives, but instead allow us to converse freely with each other with a standard of respect. It’s a careful balance, with too much PC thought leading to an ignorant society, but not enough resulting in a disrespectful one.

The law of conservation of problems BY DARRION CHEN

Senior Reporter

In the field of science, there is a fundamental law called the law of conservation. Though there are many variations of this law, for instance, conservation of energy and conservation of mass, their central idea is the same: things (in this case energy and mass) cannot be created or destroyed within a system. For example, in a lightbulb, electric current excites electrons, which change orbital levels, thus emitting light. In this case, energy was not created nor destroyed, just converted from electrical energy to light energy. But I believe that this law of conservation also applies to problems in reality. Problems cannot be created nor destroyed. They merely change forms or are transferred

worthwhile is open to debate, but the point is that it happened and it clearly exemplifies the law. Additionally, this rule can give people an idea of the magnitude of a problem. Let’s say you drop your pencil. That could be labeled as a problem, since you are no longer in direct possession of your pencil. But then, you bend over and pick it up easily. Problem solved. In this case, there is a small transfer of problems when your muscles deform to pick up the pencil. But this is negligible, taking only a small amount of your energy. Therefore, the problem of a dropped pencil is minute. With the law of conservation of problems in mind, we can clearly differentiate huge problems from small problems. So when you think of the “problems” in your life, what really is a problem, and

Problems can neither be created nor destroyed. They merely change forms or are transferred from one person to another. from one person to another. One example of a major problem simply changing form and ownership is the process of college applications. The original problem is the large amounts of human labor needed to process thousands and thousands of applicants. In response, a numbers-based system of standardized tests were put in place. Although branding a number to each student is convenient for admissions offices, it places a handicap on all students, all of whom have nonstandardized skills in one form or another. These are things that can’t be measured, like maturity, worldliness, personality or basic living skills like cooking. The problem of inefficiency was solved with standardized testing, but it resulted in the devaluing of the human part of the student. Whether or not this tradeoff was

what really is not? Specifics aside, the law can help us understand the reality and magnitude of problems and the essence of problem solving on all scales. It states that problems never really go away from the world. Thus, in reality, “problem solving” is not the act of completely eliminating problems. Instead, effective “problem solving” is actually “problem neutralization;” something along the lines of mitigating the problem via dilution among the people or changing the problem to a more recognizable form. With that in mind, people can use this rule to evaluate and weigh the consequences of their choices. When you “solve” a problem, you should keep in mind to whom or to where you are passing the problem on to.

Random scribbles BY DARRION CHEN

Senior Reporter

Student Life

December 19, 2017


The definitive guide to movie-watching this holiday season A Bad Moms Christmas BY HANNA SATO

Staff Reporter

In this sequel of Bad Moms, three moms struggle to live up to the expectation of creating the perfect Christmas. As their own mothers drop in unexpectedly, they crack under the pressure and rebel against the idea of the “pic-

ture perfect Christmas” that other moms of the community have seemingly created. According to New York Times reporter Jeanette Catsoulis, this comedy film did not live up to expectation. Catsoulis found the film had very few redeeming qualities, which included the casting of

Christine Baranski and Kathryn Hahn. Rotten Tomatoes agreed with Catsoulis’ review, giving the film a low 27%, saying the film fell short compared to the last one. However, sophomore Julia Doherty did not agree with either review and found the movie to be a great continuation of the first film. “I thought the movie was really funny and a lot people would really enjoy it,” Doherty said. “It was hilarious and a funny way to start the Christmas season.” In the end, audiences must decide for themselves about what these characters bring to the holiday season and if Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis and Kathryn Hahn can continue to show the world what it means to be a “bad mom.”

Star Wars The Last Jedi BY HANNA SATO

Staff Reporter

The much anticipated eighth film of the Star Wars series will be released on Dec. 15. This film will follow protagonist Rey’s journey to master “the force” under the guidance of Luke Skywalker, the last Jedi remaining. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares to battle the infamous Kylo Ren and the First Order, under the guidance of General Leia Organa. Hopefully, the film will answer the questions left unanswered in the last film. For many, the seventh film ended on a bittersweet note, as they witnessed the death of the beloved Han Solo, but saw the return of the legendary Luke Skywalker within the last few seconds of the film. The 2015 film previous

Rise Pizzeria Rise Pizzeria is a great place to go to appease a post-final appetite before an afternoon of studying. The upbeat yet peaceful atmosphere of Rise Pizzeria provides a short break from the chaos and stress of school. Although they do not serve single slices, a single pizza is a perfect lunchtime meal for two people, or one famished person. A variety of toppings allows for much choice when selecting a meal. If you are looking for a tasty pizza, look no further than Rise Pizzeria. Asian Box After a lengthy delay in the opening process, a promised “Summer 2016” debut of Vietnamese street food restaurant Asian Box occurred last January. Since then, it has been serving healthy, customizable meals in compostable cardboard-esque boxes to students and people on


manji” is set to be a nail-biter that adventure seekers and fans of the An highly anticipated sequel to previous film will find fascinating. the 1995 film “Jumanji”, which starred the late Robin Williams, is set to come out Dec. 20. Like the original, the movie is based around a game that becomes reality and takes a dangerous turn. But the sequel contains a modern twist. Four teenagers are drawn into a video game, Jumanji, where they have taken the form of avatars played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Kevin Hart and others. The players then have to survive the treacherous game filled with perilous obstacles. They have the help of a few other people during their adventure inc played by well-known actors playing including the former Jonas Brother, Nick Jonas. “Ju-

Staff Reporter



broke several box office records movie will continue to feature ac- Staff Reporter including highest-grossing film in North America in 2015 and made roughly $2 billion in box office. Audiences expect their high standards from the previous films to be met by director Rian Johnson. The

Food Recomendations BY CADEN THUN, TYLER IDEMA AND BEN NEUMAN Staff Reporters The number of food purchases made on Burlingame Avenue fluctuates throughout the week. Typically, the street’s busiest days are on weekends. But during finals, Mondays and Wednesdays see just as much business as Saturdays and Sundays. Every time the school day ends before lunchtime, hungry students flood “The Ave” in search of a good place to grab lunch with friends. With an abundance of restaurants to choose from, deciding where to go can be overwhelming. Here are some places that whip up quick, delicious meals for prices compatible with low student budgets.


their lunch breaks alike. Boxes are around $10, and there is no shortage of bases, meats, and toppings to choose from when creating a box. Asian Box is definitely worth a look for students in search of a wholesome, casual lunch. Cherimoya The small hole in the wall called Cherimoya is a great place for delicious, low budget Vietnamese food. There is a variety of food to choose from, like spring rolls, sandwiches, and boxes of beef and rice. $10 can get you a full meal at Cherimoya, making it one of the best low budget take out restaurants on Burlingame Avenue.

Drinks Tpumps

One of the most popular destinations for Burlingame residents, Tpumps is synonymous with boba and devastatingly long lines. Its wide range of tea flavors ensure a perfect drink for any mood. If you still have not been, make sure to check it out. That extra sugar could very easily provide a boost into your next final. Baskin Robbins While it will not be the number one place to go on Burlingame Avenue during winter, Baskin Robbins will still satisfy your craving for ice cream. You can buy a milkshake, create a sundae, or just get ice cream on a cone. Whatever you desire, Baskin Robbins is there to reward you for your studying.

tors from the first films, released as early as 1977, including Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa).

Standing at number one in the box office, the Disney-Pixar movie, “Coco” has been a hit since the time it was released in theaters. Based on Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), this movie is about an adorable boy named Miguel with a passion for music and love for Ernesto de la Cruz, a famous singer, despite his family’s ban on all music. Soon, Miguel finds himself in the lively Land of the Dead where he reunites with old family members and learns some new facts about his family’s past. Families of all sizes and shapes would find this movie wonderful due to the strong family aspect throughout the film. As Miguel looks more into his history, audiences find a new sense of family and the meaning behind it.

Full of rich music and lively comedy, this movie is truly a holiday film that parents, children, grandparents, and much more would enjoy. “The colors and music were well chosen,” junior Kaitlyn Ngai said. “It beautifully represented the culture.” This movie is truly a way for the younger generation to become intact with a culture that is underrepresented in today’s society. The movie is receiving rave reviews from critics as well as many recognition in the award season up ahead. “Coco” has been nominated for Best Motion Picture, Animated and Best Original Song for “Remember Me” in the Golden Globes. The song “Remember Me” was written by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez and performed by artist, Miguel.


Student Life

December 16, 2017

2017 in review: a year of spirit, tradition, and politics BY LILY PAGE AND SASHA BENKE

Senior Reporters

On Jan. 21, 2017 hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered for the Bay Area Women’s Marches, with an estimated 50,000 marchers in San Francisco alone. The marches were in protest of President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Computer science teacher Christina Wade won the Teacher of the Year award for the 2016-2017 school year. Asst. principal Terrence Lien attributed the win to her contributions in bringing computer science and robotics to BHS and to the district.

The 2017 prom was held at Hotel Nikko in San Francisco on April 22. The theme was ‘When the Lights go Down in the City,’ and was put on by senior class cabinet. Students danced, ate finger food and enjoyed a photo booth and casino games.

The class of 2017 graduated on June 1, 2017. These students were the first to wear solely red robes, instead of the traditional red robes for boys and white robes for girls. Despite controversy, Belzer believes all-red gowns help unite the senior class.

Relay for Life was held at Washington Park on Oct. 7 and raised over $40,000 for cancer research. It was the first year since 2014 that the event was overnight. Survivor winner and BHS alumnus Adam Klein was present at the event.

The varsity football team won their ninth consecutive LBG against rival San Mateo High School on Nov. 4. The Panthers won 20-10, and the event was complete with a traditional and high-spirited halftime show by the cheerleaders and band.

Seniors create a new dynamic pipette for biotech researchers


Senior Reporter After pursuing a research internship over the summer at the Bivona Lab at the University of California-San Francisco, senior Saurav Shroff wanted to find a way to make science more efficient by creating an automated pipette with the help of his friend and fellow senior David Tarazi. A pipette is a lab tool commonly used in science, biology and chemistry. However it is not the original plastic tube, but a gun-shaped automated tool that increases productivity as well as provides a safer lab instrument. “Our main goal was to make an automated and efficient pipette that makes life easier for biotech researchers,” Shroff said. “Theoretically, the faster the pipette is the faster you can find a cure you are looking for.” Tarazi and Shroff improved the old pipette by making a more streamlined mechanism that takes samples digitally. The pipette internally memorizes the liquid level by measuring the distance from the top to the liquid, making it easier to take hundreds of samples in a much smaller amount of time. After months of research and the help of teachers and resources at Burlingame, Tarazi and Shroff created the pipette model using innovative materials like the MM wave radar sensor, CAD (comput-

er-aided design) and PCB (printed circuit board) design. “The MM wave radar sensor is a small high precision proximity sensor made by Texas Instruments which is the same company as your everyday graphing calculator,” Tarazi said. “I’m part of robotics so I have access to the 3D CAD modeling which is what we used to create the entire casing of the pipette. [Ian Hovander] taught us about PCB design and how to use basic softwares.” In terms of profit, Shroff and Tarazi discussed the possibility of selling to the biotech research lab at UCSF. “I presented the pipette model to Trever Bivona, the head of the research lab, who said that he would buy 200 pipettes if it was successful,” Shroff said. “Which would be a profit of about $40,0000.” “Branding is really important,” Tarazi said. “We want to sell it for a low margin and a low price so we can expose ourselves to newer labs and new buyers. Establishing brand reliability and having initial customers is our priority.” After working at UCSF and noticing the problem of efficiency in the lab, Shroff took on the issue with a goal of making life for researchers much easier. “Ultimately,” Shroff said, “the pipette was created to reduce error; science consistency is more important than accuracy.”


December 19, 2017



Wrestling shows strong start despite lack of members

Assistant coaches Adam Bunzel and Ricky Condon demonstrate to wrestling members techniques and strategies to use during a match.

The girls’ basketball preseason has started with a non-conference game and intense slew of neutral non-conference tournaments away from home. After facing off against Wilcox and Westmont High Schools in neutral tournament games, the team came to Half Moon Bay on the weekend of Dec. 8. Although the girls lost the nailbiter 37-35, they triumphed over their next few opponents. On Dec. 12, they triumphed over Balboa with a steady offense and a 46-31 score. These tournaments were the closest the Panthers have played to home. The first home game will be on Jan. 3 against Leland High School. “Our preseason has consisted of a lot of early practice and workouts,” said senior

The Panther wrestling team has witnessed a good start to the season, with many of its players with majority win records so far. “My current record is 8-2,” junior Scott Atkinson said. “Our team is off to a good start. We just need to keep working hard and keeping the intensity up.” However, this year the wrestling team is surprisingly shorthanded, with only 18 members. This is resulting in serious consequences; the team is in desperate need of heavy weights - 180 lbs or higher. “One major weakness in our team is the lack of members,” junior Ibrahim Yaldiz said. “We need more people to come out and try the sport before they make the final decision on whether to continue or leave.”

Amber Moss, who has been on the varsity team since sophomore year. “We are preparing… in the midst of finals which is stressful in itself but that’s the nature of being a student athlete.” The team is bouncing back from last year’s strong season. They lost a few star players to graduation last year but are maintaining their strong track record thanks to standouts like juniors Sophia Palacio and Jordyn Kanaya. The team is young, with four seniors taking the lead this year. The foundation is strong, according to Moss. This season, the team benefits from the eagerness of the younger players and revamped practices. “Returning players are meshing with the new talent,” Moss said after the Balboa faceoff. “These preseason games have allowed us to work on our court chemistry and we are looking forward to league play!” PHOTO BY SOFIA GUERRA

The Panthers played a nail-biting game against Half Moon Bay on December 8, losing 37-35. They defeated Jefferson High the next day.


Chief Photographer


Wrestling is a sport plagued by misconceptions every year, with many believing the sport to be dangerous and unsanitary. “In my opinion, it’s very hard to get injured and we are taught the correct way to wrestle so that we don’t do anything dangerous to our opponent,” Yaldiz said. Yaldiz added that the wrestling room is cleaned daily with a germ killing solution. Despite the negative connotations with the sport, wrestling team members remain positive for the season. “I feel that we are heading into a great season with a team that has the potential to win league this year,” Atkinson concluded. “We still have a great chance as a team to succeed.” Despite it’s low members, wrestling remains resilient and prepared for their season. As of publication, wrestling has played Palo Alto on the December 14.

Cheer gets ready for basketball season

Girls’ Basketball takes on challenging preseason BY SOFIA GUERRA


Cheer gets in the winter spirit, getting ready for basketball, volunteering, and community outreach this season. BY CLAIRE HUNT

Staff Reporter After a two week break, the cheer team is getting right back on track with practices every Monday to Thursday from 3:304:45. “I like the break between the two seasons because it gives us more time to do other activities, but I end up really missing cheer people and cheer in general,” sophomore Julia Doherty said. Since football season is over, the cheer team is practicing and preparing for the basketball games on Fridays from now on. “Basketball season is more intense to cheer for because each squad cheers and performs at two games (boys and girls) on the same day,” head coach Lynn Currie said.

However, most of the cheerleaders are up for the increased intensity of the basketball season. “I personally prefer cheering at basketball games, since they’re more fast paced, and I understand it better,” junior Gracy Burdick said. “The only difference for me is that there’s less space to cheer for basketball, compared to football.” In addition to cheering on the basketball teams this season, cheer will also be venturing to Talbot Toys to gather presents which they will deliver to the Burlingame Fire Department for the Toys for Tot program. “My hopes for basketball season is good weather, a healthy, happy squad and the teams successfully learning new dances and stunt sequences at a faster pace,” Currie said.

Boys’ basketball gears up for rivalry game against Serra Editor-in-Chief The boys’ basketball season has officially kicked off, and with a record of 0-4, the Panthers are hoping to work out any issues before quads begin in January. “So far, we’re off to a slow start, but that comes early on in the season for teams who are adjusting to new lineups and rotations,” senior Jake Scigliano said. The next, and arguably the most anticipated game for the Panthers, is the annual game against long-time rival Serra High School. The game is always played the night that students are released to winter break, making the rivalry game the kickoff for a relaxing two-week break. The rivalry between the Padres and the Panthers is largely unspoken but runs deep in the wintertime. Two years ago, the Panthers upset the Padres 66-55, resulting in students storming the court in jubilation after winning the game. “We tend to play our best brand of bas-

ketball when we’re up against [Serra] and the games are always exciting,” Scigliano said. “Going into these games, we have the mindset of dethroning the king in a sense, as they usually sit pretty close to the top of the West Catholic Athletic League. Burlingame loves nothing more historically than to take it to the teams that are supposed to easily overpower us.” The Padres are 3-1 to start their season, but with the injury of key player and senior Jack Wilson, the boys see an opportunity for their first victory over Serra since that memorable night in 2015. “This year’s game is at home, and the Serra game’s atmosphere during my sophomore year was unbelievable and something we’re hoping to recreate,” Scigliano said. “If everything aligns properly, I really think we can win.” The game is on Friday, Dec. 22 at Burlingame, with tip-off at 7:30 p.m. Quads officially begin Friday, Dec. 12, and the Panthers will play at home against Mills High School.



Senior Gavin Coleman dribbles the ball down the court in last year’s close game at Serra High School. This year’s game will take place at Burlingame.



December 19, 2017

By: ANNIE SUN Staff Reporter The girls’ varsity volleyball team went the furthest that any Burlingame volleyball team has ever gone: the NorCal semifinals. That semifinals game ended the team’s season with a loss against James Logan High School. The Panthers had over 20 wins and only five losses this entire season. Competing in the Central Coast Section Division I, the team had two wins and only one loss. “I love playing volleyball because it’s just a great experience overall,” sophomore Polina Zamalin said. “I enjoy playing on a team because I get to practice my skills and have a great time.” Since Burlingame won their league, they automatically qualified for the open division of CCS, the most competitive division. However, since the team lost the first round, they moved down to Division I where they won two games against Oak Ridge and Lick-Wilmerding High School before losing to James Logan, concluding their season. “The energy just was not right on the court in the game against

James Logan,” senior Julia Haupt said. “The energy was feeling very negative and in the end we lost.” The team was unable to defeat the team that night and they lost 3-0 in the semifinals game. “James Logan was different than the other teams we had played before, so we needed to change our mindset to adapt to our competition,” junior Caroline Smith said. “But we were not able to make the necessary adjustments to our playing that night in order to defeat the team.” Even though the team did not go to finals like last year, the team ended very strong and strides to be better in its following years. “Overall,” Haupt said, “I was very pleased with how well the team played this year and I think they will be even better next year because there is a lot of young talent.” “The team is very strong and the players are all important to the success of the team,” Zamalin said. The team has concluded its season being undefeated in the league.

Girls’ soccer starts inconsistently BY JILLY ROLNICK

Copy Editor The varsity girls’ soccer team has started the season shakily, beating San Mateo and Hillsdale but falling to Valley Christian and Fremont High School. “It’s a fine group of young ladies,” coach Phillip De Rosa said. “I just really want to work on getting each one of them to improve so that collectively the whole team will improve.” De Rosa has been coaching Burlingame soccer for twenty years and has coached club soccer priorly. He also worked as a PE


Volleyball makes historic run to NorCal semifinals

teacher at the school before retiring two years ago. Each season De Rosa looks forward to watching the players grow and advance individually and as a team. Losing just four players from last year’s lineup, the team already gels well together. “We all know each other really well and have been playing together for years,” senior Caitlyn Rusley said. The team plans to focus on improving its offensive game this season. “We are a defensive team which means we spend most of our time focusing on how to

prevent goals, rather than score them,” junior Allie Bottarini said. “So far it’s been a little difficult to get the ball on the opponent’s side of the field and keep possession there in order to score.” Additionally the team will be playing in the highest league this year and will change to playing each team three times instead of twice. “We’re going up against really good schools this year and won’t have any ‘easy’ games as compared to last season,” Rusley said. Support the team at its next home game after winter break on Jan. 9 against Woodside.


Staff Reporter Boys varsity soccer have started off very well and are looking forward to a great season. There is plenty of new talent and the team complements each other very well as the different players have different qualities. “The boys just have to commit and be dedicated to the team in order to succeed,” head coach Anthony Dimech said. So far, the team has played three games, against Mills, Jeffer-

son and Alvarez. They have lost one, won one and tied one game. “The biggest challenge that our team faces is learning to work together because there are a lot of people on varsity this year that weren’t on varsity last year,” sophomore Milan Rosic said. “Also, we have a new coach, so we need to learn how to play together in order to succeed.” The team is off to a great start and needs to work as a team in order to succeed.



Senior Grace Colson fights for the ball in a Dec. 5 game against Hillsdale.

Boys’ soccer looking forward to season

2017 graduate Brice Redmond dribbles the ball in a game last year.

December issue 2017  
December issue 2017