C Magazine Vol. 7 Edition 3

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Vol. 7 Dec . 2018

arts & culture

Sleep Tight

page 26

letter from the


Dear Readers,

We hope you enjoyed the topics our staff-writers examined in our second issue of the 2018-2019 school year. We deemed it necessary to apologize for the spelling mistake that appeared in this last issue, as seen on the front cover and in the table of contents. Unfortunately, the mistake reflected poorly on our professionalism and inaccurately represented the work of the writers that composed the story. Instead, we look forward, aiming to avoid small mistakes that take away from our staff’s great accomplishments. We hope that you, as readers, can continue to enjoy our issues, in which we attempt to provoke imaginations and spur creative ideas. Yes, we know that it was an unfortunate mistake to misspell 'business,' however, we have agreed that it’s really none of your buisness how we run our magazine :) As we move forward into our final issue of the semester, we are excited to share several pieces that work to emphasize the wide breadth of artistic concepts in today’s culture. First, the cover story for this issue delves into the uniquely innovative narrative of the unconscious mind presented through one of humanity’s most unsolved mysteries: the purpose and content of dreams. Through riveting narratives, staff writers Ellen Chung, Ellie Fitton, Isabella Moussavi and Tyler Varner explore some of these theories and intricacies. In efforts to highlight the recent musical occurrences on campus, staff writers Natalie Schilling and Fiza Uzman exclusively interviewed members of Willy and the Four Boys, one of Palo Alto High School’s up-and-coming bands, for Artist Of the Month. This feature serves as an update regarding the direction the band is taking in terms of their performances, music and fan base. Additionally, staff writers Jack Callaghan, Isabel Hadly, Claire Moley and Maddie Yen examine the history behind Palo Alto’s Driftwood Deli and Market, a popular lunch spot cherished by those who have the ability to make the trip down El Camino. The transformation of this deli in response to cultural changes within the Palo Alto community is one that is intriguing to follow.

thanks to our


Happy reading! Ryan Gwyn, Grace Rowell. Lia Salvatierra, Rosa Schaefer Bastian Editors-in-Chief


Alexandra Scheve Alyssa Haught Andrew Moley Ann & Rob Schilling Ann Stern Anna Zigmond-Ramm Amanda Hmelar Barbara Cottrell Bob Rowell Bob Stefanski & Lynn Brown Bridget Cottrell Cathy Moley Celeste Bates Dana Wideman Denease G. Rowell George Purtis Gregg Rowell Jeanne Giaccia Julie Gerhardt Jacob Jan & Monte Klein Jane Varner Jennifer Wald & Steve Weiss Josh Rowell Juliana Lee Katie Look Kathy Sinsheimer Kenneth & Melissa Scheve Lynn Brown & Bob Stefanski Molly & Harry Ackley Nora Bohdjielian Ron & Marilyn Schilling Sara Wood Sarah Correll Simon & Sarla Wright Susan & Warren Gelman Virginia Fitton Will & Kristen Yen

EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Ryan Gwyn, Grace Rowell, Lia Salvatierra, Rosa Schaefer Bastian

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Charlotte Amsbaugh



STAFF WRITERS Katherine Buecheler, Jack Callaghan, Angie Cummings, Sophie Jacob, Karina Kadakia, Chloe Laursen, Claire Li, Theo Lim-Jisra, Isabella Moussavi, Claire Moley, Tamar Ponte, Natalie Schilling, Hazel Shah, Raj Sodhi, Mahati Subramaniam, Fiza Usman, Gigi Tierney, Tyler Varner, Neive Wellington, Jessica Weiss


ILLUSTRATORS Charlotte Amsbaugh, Bo Fang, Tyler Varner ADVISER Brian Wilson COVER Charlotte Amsbaugh, Claire Li

CONTENTS table of



High School

Heartbreak Club

The familiar, charming storyline commonly used in coming-of-age films is not only unrealistic, but is also harmful to the mentality of students as they become increasingly susceptible to fabricating comparisons between what they see in real life and what they see on screen.


f you’re anything like ‘most high schoolers,’ you’re probably having the time of your life. You’ve got a significant other who happens to either be a star football player or the captain of the cheer team, many friends, parties to attend and important decisions to make — whether you should allow more time towards keeping up with the latest fashion trends or helping co-found another club. With all of these responsibilities, you somehow still manage to excel in your academic and athletic pursuits; by the time senior year rolls around, you are accepted into one of the most prestigious colleges across the country, and one coincidentally happens to be a mile away from the college your sweetheart attends. You go off to college in a long committed relationship and live happily ever after, all thanks to those four glorious high school years. In today’s teenage generation, many have become immersed stories similar to this. As young kids our imaginations can be swept away by high school love stories, leaving us with the recurring thought that we would all have a relationship synonymous to what was depicted on our TV screens. But when high school comes around, reality hits. What was thought to be the time of our lives turns out to be a big misunderstanding as the love stories similar to those in the movies “High School Musical,” “To All the Boys I’ve Ever Loved Before,” “The Kissing Booth” and “Mean Girls” are nowhere to be found. These four movies, and many more, have received countless praise but have also undergone much criticism for their common misconception of love and inaccurate stereotypes of students in high school. The teens in coming-of-age movies are known to use cliques to form a social hierarchy. Some of the familiar cliques are the ‘jocks,’ usually portrayed as popular delinquents, the

4 • ARTS

‘nerds,’ generally depicted as friendless and weak, the ‘populars,’ who can be perceived as judgmental and mean, and the ‘goths,’ who are often seen as intimidating and dark. Usually, many of the students do not intermingle among other groups, promoting an extreme lack of diversity. The broad physical generalizations of these students can also take away other aspects of characters’ personalities and can have adverse effects on viewers who may feel some sort of connection to these attributes. These established stereotypes can cause teenagers to analyze each other critically without getting to know someone beyond their exterior and social status. It can also distort a teenagers’ perception of how high schoolers really behave and normalizes the idea of exclusion. After viewers form internalized biases due to the ever-present concept of cliques, it can be quite shocking to find that this is often not the case. Palo Alto High School junior Sophie Stier has come to terms with how our reality contrasts with those in movies. “They make high school seem like it’s all about popularity, partying and getting a boyfriend,” said Stier. “In real life, high school is much more about getting good grades, preparing for college, and trying to [maintain] good mental and physical health.” Because of their wide reach, movies depicting high school are also able to instill this fantasy where the most popular guy at school, generally a jock, falls in love with a timid, usually very smart, sweet girl. After watching stories like these unfold, high schoolers are under the impression that this is the norm for high school and that if this does not end up happening, there must be something strange and abnormal about them. Paly junior Eve Donnelly describes

TEXT AND DESIGN BY SOPHIE JACOB, TAMAR PONTE AND MAHATI SUBRAMANIAM • ART BY CHARLOTTE AMSBAUGH AND MEGAN ANDREWS her tendencies of falling for what is seen on the screen. “I always catch myself thinking that certain events could play out like scenes I see in movies but then I remember they’re movies and I’m delusional,” Donnelly said. On top of this, the protagonist is usually portrayed with an incessant need to have a significant other in order to feel validated and happy. A social hierarchy is created, in which couples are placed at the top and the non-couples are placed at the bottom. This social structure, however, is far from reality, impacting how many high school students perceive themselves and the experience they’ve longed for all their lives. They may feel as though their lives are mundane and lacking something, when in actuality, there are much more important things to dwell on than getting asked to the prom. Many Paly students visit the Wellness Center in hopes of alleviating their relationship and friendship struggles. Because teen movies often fail to portray the many problems that occur within a relationship, multiple aspects of students’ lives can be impacted. Paly’s Mental Health and Wellness Coordinator Elizabeth Spector has dealt with many relationship related problems with students.“Relationships are such a huge part of an adolescent’s life and learning to navigate relationships is an important skill,” Spector says. “It’s easy in high school to be susceptible to cliques because people are trying to find their identities and a sense of meaning, purpose, and belonging.” Consistently watching romance movies in which unrealistic “happily ever after” endings can significantly harm students who are prone to comparing themselves and their own relationships with those in the theaters. “Movies do tend to romanticize these relationships and can place unrealistic pressure on adolescents,” Spector says. As a result, students feel enormous pressure to morph their lives into the lives they see in movies, which can ultimately contribute to mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. Spector also discussed how struggles with mental health can greatly impact relationships and that those who may have mental health issues often stay

in unhealthy and harmful relationships solely to gain social status. They often neglect their own mental health and even sacrifice other relationships in their lives in order to live up to the idea of having a ‘high school sweetheart.’ Spector stresses the importance of healthy relationships and how students should learn to be aware of themselves and their mental health while in a relationship. “It’s important to learn about what it means to be in a healthy, mutual relationship,” Spector says. “It’s also important to maintain friendships and other relationships while in a romantic relationship.” It is difficult to not fall into the trap of teen movies, yet is crucial to students’ mental health to be able to form stable, healthy relationships. While swooning over the grand romantic gestures and desiring to be a part of the exciting popular clique seen in iconic ‘rom-coms’ is a fun, entertaining way to pass time, what is portrayed in movies is far from reality. Realistic friend groups are more diverse, filled with students of different interests and needs in life. Moreover, relationships are much more than an instant attraction, requiring a great amount of dedication and commitment in order to flourish. Films with nonrepresentational and romantic tales of high school leave many anticipating the experience unaware of what their reality holds, and how they can find happiness in ways that deviate from these ‘conventional’ experiences.

ARTS • 5

Winter Break book club Ann Patchett’s

Bel Canto

A diverse collection of thrilling reads to enjoy during your winter break!

Lulled not by its political purpose, but by the promise of an extraordinary performance, Ann Patchett’s “Bel Canto” recounts the unforgettable story of Japanese electronics mogul Katsumi Hosokawa, who finds himself held hostage at his own birthday celebration. During the pinnacle of the evening, on the final note of the sixth aria of an opera performance, the prominent gathering of international figures find themselves resting in fear on the cold floor, as terrorists have invaded the building. Defeated on the original intent of capturing the president of a Latin American country, the terrorists are left with a loose plan: releasing only the women and disabled, and keeping famed soprano singer Roxanne Cox as an alternative token of interest. As days move forward, the importance of anything outside the walls of the vice president’s’ home recedes and with it the borders between hostage and terrorist, foreigner and foreigner. Becoming an unlikely self-dependent community, the individuals settle into the company of one another, communicating across various languages and united by the token captive’s alluring voice. Romance develops, including between Cox and the ultimate opera connoisseur, Hosokawa, and characters build upon one another, stripped of the life that awaits them at home. The plight transforms from one of danger to one characterized by fear of loss; the individuals all soon desire anything but escape, for this life has somewhat become an oasis for love and a greater respect of one another’s’ humanity. Recently developed into a movie, the reader will find themselves wanting to retreat back into the pages of the original novel filled with greater nuance, lust and passion.

A.J. Finn’s “It’s not paranoia if it is actually happening.” This psychological thriller follows the life of Anna Fox, an agoraphobe who has not left her house for almost a year. Since her fear prevents her from leaving her house, she finds entertainment in watching her neighbors from the windows of her home, reading the same books as her neighbor’s book club or intently watching her neighbor lead her contractor to her bedroom. When a new family, the Russels, moves in, she is immediately drawn to watching them and understanding their background. One night, while flushing her medication down with multiple bottles of wine, she sees something she shouldn’t. However, when she reports what she saw to the police, she is told that what she saw was just paranoia or a side effect of the empty wine bottle sprawled across her coffee table. Frustrated by the lack of action from the police, Anna decides to take matters into her own hands to try and figure out the truth behind what she saw. The gripping clues that are revealed throughout the novel produce hints regarding what actually occurred and whether or not Anna was just imagining it. As secrets are revealed and pasts are brought into the present, the story of November fourth has endless layers that will keep the pages turning. Pulling you into this world of mystery, “The Woman in the Window” consists of many smaller stories that all tie into one, keeping you entranced by the words in front of you.

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Woman in the Window

Winds are howling at speeds upwards of 80 mph, temperatures have plummeted below freezing and snow is falling so thickly that it is impossible to see more than a couple feet in any direction. This horrifying tale of two expert mountaineers’ perilous journey up the unclimbed west side of Sulia Grande in the Peruvian Andes would be captivating as told by any author. In his book, “Touching the Void,” amateur climber Joe Simpson describes first hand his harrowing neardeath experience. The gripping account of Simpson and his partner Simon Yates achieving the impossible against all odds is a well-written representation of the power of human will and the ways in which our bodies are capable of much more than what our minds initially believe. In this mountain range, reaching the summit of Sulia Grande is only half the journey. On their way down from the 20,000 ft peak, the pair find themselves in a life or death situation, and Simpson is left behind. The detail with which Simpson describes this event is only plausible coming from the person who lived through it in reality. Through deep crevasses, merciless winds and bitter cold, “Touching the Void” makes for a bone-chilling winter read that will keep you on the edge of your cozy armchair by the fire.

Joe Simpson’s

Touching the Void

Like a bitter orange succumbing to its internal acidic juices, Frances Jellico finds herself surrendering to her memory; it works to erode her mind as she lays dying in a hospital bed. Her most destructive memories are derived from the summer of 1969, when Jellico, recently freed by the death of her oppressive mother, accepts an assignment as an architectural surveyor. In this psychological thriller, novelist Claire Fuller initially provides the audience with a beautiful, summery backdrop formulated by an effective use of prose — a country house in rural England and later offers readers a magnifying glass formed by descriptive language that allows them to further delve into the decaying nature of the home and its occupants. The additional temporary residents include Cara and Peter, a couple hired to assess the internal state of the home. As the summer continues, the trio becomes close, and when Jellico discovers a hidden peephole that allows her to spy on the lovers, she yields to the pervasive nature of curiosity and becomes entangled in the diverging secrets that are shared in conversation and through the peephole. Joining the numerous thrillers that use an unreliable narrator as a mode to communicate the concept of infatuation, “Bitter Orange” excels in its examination of central themes that prove to be essential components of the human experience. The confrontational nature of the language juxtaposed with the seamless storyline leaves intangible traces of skepticism and mystery that the readers rapidly consume and apply to their intrinsic human experiences, leaving them to question their conscience. As Fuller explains, “[Cara and Peter are] beautiful on the surface, but look a little closer and everything is decaying, rotting, falling apart,” — a TEXT BY RYAN GWYN, GRACE ROWELL, LIA statement that readers will consider accurately expressed within society SALVATIERRA AND ROSA SCHAEFER BASTIAN • ART as they begin to understand the profound symbol that is a bitter orange. AND DESIGN BY CHARLOTTE AMSBAUGH

Claire Fuller’s

Bitter Orange

ARTS • 7



AOM th •••• mon •• he

• artist of t

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Each member of Willy and the Four Boys brings a different attribute to further complement the others through their personal stories of how music made its way into their life. Each member brings a unique aspect to the aesthetic of the band

the boys' idols...

the guitarist

“The person that I have always been most inspired by in the music world is Bob Dylan. I named my daughter Dylan, you know. Not necessarily just because of that; we also liked the name.

• Brian Wilson

“Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page. I love to play the guitar... and I want to be like the best guitar players in the world.”

• Grant Blackburn



rant Blackburn, government and economics teacher, not only has a passion for teaching but also for music, as it consumes a major aspect of his life. Growing up, music filled his home; and his love for it at a young age drove his desire to play an instrument of his own. After trying to figure out what instrument would be his best fit, he was influenced by a high school peer who taught him how to play the electric guitar. He immediately fell in love with his instrument. Once Blackburn became a teacher, however, he lost much of his free time and began to only play for himself. “It’s easy for me [to balance], because I have been doing it now for 18 years as a teacher and playing the guitar for 35 years,” he said. “I think it was more difficult in the beginning of my career than it is now. When I am at work, I just focus on getting my work done, so that way when I go home I can pick up the guitar and

rock out.” Blackburn has maintained this mentality and will continue to as he finds happiness in both teaching and music. He and the rest of the band dedicate an immense amount of effort to making their performances stand out. Though their busy schedules only allow them to practice once a week, they do not let it jeopardize the band and the music that they perform. Blackburn enjoys the experience of performing for others; even though they have only had two performances they have both been very sentimental. “Our first real gig, not as teachers at Palo Alto High School, was at Cafe Zoe in Menlo Park,” Blackburn said. “That was the first time people showed up just for us, [and] by the end of the show people were jumping up and down and screaming their heads off and singing and it was really cool. I’ve never felt that great in my life.”

“David Bowie. He’s always been my idol... I just love the fact that almost everything he did was different.”

• Rod Satterthwaite

“Two of my favorite bands in the past were Led Zeppelin and Radiohead. I listen to a lot more than just rock and roll.”

• Richard Rodriguez “Prince’s first album came out when I was in high school...the guy could rock that guitar like no other.”

• Steve Sabbag ARTS • 9

ARTS • 10





the DRUMmer

the GUITARist

Aside from his journalistic abilities, Brian Wilson loses himself through persistent rhythms created by the tapping of his drums, coinciding with the instruments of his bandmates. Music has had a large influence on his life since middle school Wilson began his personal journey with the drums at age 14, which further translated into his high school life. During those four years, he was in a few bands, saying, “I played in a series of really terrible heavy metal bands when I was in high school, like horrifically bad, but it was super fun.” For Wilson, it was more of a fun pastime than a serious activity, and more effort was put into picking the band name than the set list itself. It wasn’t as put together as his current band, as the names casually ranged from Silent Demise to Death Perception to Toys of Revolution, which Wilson still thinks is “pretty sweet.” On his journey from Michigan to California, Wilson was faced with limited living space, resulting in him being unable to play the drums, ultimately losing touch with his drumming and moving farther and farther away from being able to pursue music. Teaching actually drew him back to music, as he performed at talent shows. After moving to Palo Alto, Wilson met others who, like him, enjoyed living the double life of being both musicians and teachers, later becoming his bandmates. “I got here and started connecting [with] Mr. Blackburn and Mr. Sabbag here and started playing talent shows in different configurations,” he said. “I didn’t have that close group, and when we started doing this it was like, this is my group. It’s that solid bond with other people.” This connection, Wilson believes, is one of the many powers of music. It brings people together and lets them release stress, something that there is no shortage of in Palo Alto.

If Richard Rodriguez was faced with the predicament between music and teaching, he wouldn’t hesitate to drop the textbooks and essays for the irreplaceable feeling of music. Though as a teacher he currently works in an entirely different environment than that of a recording studio, he still recognizes the significance of music. Its influence has been largely emphasized due to his family also being musicians. “Most of my life I played one instrument or the other. I settled on guitar,” Rodriguez said. He has continued to play ever since. With his exposure to singing and playing the guitar, Rodriguez is able to bring a lot to the dynamic to the band. He adds a laid-back, easy going energy to the group. It was when he met Blackburn that he played with someone else for the first time. It initially began as a fun hobby, but soon changed once he was heard by the others during his performance at a Paly concert. “That was the first show and it just kept going from there. Next thing I knew, I was in a band with these guys and the band had a name,” Rodriguez said. His interest in the band will continue to grow as long as they do not lose touch with their original purpose, which is to be able to all come together and play music and have an enjoyable experience.

the lead SINGer

Steve Sabbag is relatively new to performing, but music has been in his life for a long time. “[Music] is major,” he says. “It always has been ever since I was a kid. I’d ride up in the hills at night with my headphones in.” His 50th birthday party was held at a local bar where he routinely participated in karaoke, and that night Blackburn heard him sing for the first time. Following the party, Blackburn asked him if he wanted to perform together. “We decided to do a song for the fundraiser for the Rise Together choir concert,” he said. “Then their band reconfigured and they put me in the band and we got Mr. Rodriguez in the band and then we became Willy and the Four Boys.” At their first gig together at Cafe Zoe, Sabbag recalls the overwhelming energy of the crowd. This was one of his first real performances, as he was fairly new to singing, and it helped him realize his strong passion for it, becoming a major part of his life. “I was just giddy, uncontrollably giddy,” Sabbag said. “I was so happy it was almost too hard to sing.”

the BASsist

Rodney Satterthwaite has also always had a love for music; as a child he collected albums and tapes, and listening to music has always made him feel alive. Satterthwaite finds balancing his musical career and teaching very difficult, as he has an obligation to his family in addition to his work and band obligations. Satterthwaite works hard to try and balance all of his responsibilities, saying, “The best way to balance it is my calendar on my phone. We try to schedule rehearsals at least a week in advance and then I have to go home and try to figure out family schedules and try to work it around that. Whenever I have some free time, I try to make a point to try and get together with the band, but that’s definitely the hardest part about what we do.” The band has not performed publicly very many times, only twice thus far, but they are hoping to continue to play for others in the near future. Satterthwaite reminisces on their first performance for a live audience that did not take place on the school premise. Satterthwaite described playing at Cafe Zoe as transforming, and at the end of their 20 song setlist, the crowd began to chant “One more song, one more song, one more song.’ And we were like ‘crap we don’t have one more song’,” Satterwaite said. “A student or somebody in the audience yelled out play ‘Smells like Teen Spirit,’ so we started playing it and people in the audience were just bouncing up and down, people were screaming the lyrics, the band was jumping up and down. It was like one of those moments that kind of gives you goosebumps.”

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Interested in advertising with C Magazine? email: kaileec82@gmail.com

ARTS • 12

Optimal Offices of Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley offices are rapidly evolving from a sea of lifeless desks to bright, interactive spaces, boosting productivity and the overall atmosphere for their employees



he celebrated television series “The Office” depicts bleak cubicles, bland floor arrangements and undecorated walls, a style that greatly deviates from the advancing office design revolution that has been visibly mobilizing within Silicon Valley. This movement, stemming from a combination of influences, both situational and forward-thinking, has allowed for Silicon Valley to become home to some of the most

contemporary, collaborative and lavish workspaces. The stylistic transition includes open floor plans, residential style ancillary spaces, purposeful and locally reflective art installations and a general push towards attractive and collaborative environments for employees. Silicon Valley spaces are not only designed beautifully because of the business’ superfluous funds or personal style desires by the

companies leaders, but are also used to draw in tech’s greatest talents. Tracy Hawkins, Twitter’s Global Head of Real Estate and Workplace, explained how the office spaces help build the company from the inside out. “I think there are a lot of companies that are not pure tech that are taking this [movement] on because it’s the fight for talent, and so people just don’t expect certain comp and benefits, they also expect a certain environment,” Hawkins said.

ARTS • 13

1 1 In order to design an environment that best fits those who utilize it, both Hawkins and Lauren Gallegos, the Design Manager at LinkedIn, aim to formulate an office space that genuinely represents the local area. “The way to build a great space is to sit down with the people who need to use it,” Hawkins said. First, her design team asked employees about the places they usually take clients or where they go after work. After utilizing design inspiration platforms, such as Pinterest, to highlight style preferences, the employees “gave us a really good idea of the type of space they wanted to be in, not the type of space we wanted to force them into,” Hawkins said. According to Hawkins, global offices also seek to source their interior furnishings and decor locally, creating a sense of local pride within their employees. This can be seen through the use of pieces by local carpenters, tile-makers, and artists. These artisans are another way to institute pride within employees, incorporating individualized pieces created throughout the walls, floors and outdoor areas. The Twitter headquarters in San Francisco recently renovated their seventh floor and incorporated a variety of pieces that speak to both the internal San Francisco community and also to the mission of their company. One of the murals on this new floor, titled “Bringing Her to Light,” inspired by the #SheInspiresMe initiative, formed by an employee resource group at Twitter aiming to elevate and include women at the company and wider tech industry. The Piece depicts ‘female disruptors,’ the specific figures chosen by the individuals of the Twitter Women initiative themselves. The center displays the three women who restarted the #BlackLivesMatter campaign, uniting the mission of Twitter, the team’s emphasis on women’s equality and simultaneously championing local artists. At LinkedIn, an Environmental Spaces team works on implementing both pieces with longevity—for those looking at them each day—but also rotating installations by artists from the immediate community. “Our environmental graphics program is very conscious of creating something that might not look the same every time you look at it and then finding the right space for that,” Gallegos said. Large companies have had the opportunity to bring forth these local artists in a setting


where their work is being viewed by many. “A really big value that LinkedIn has is the value of transformation, and when it comes to art, that is a really great opportunity to raise up people that are local,” Gallegos said. To move forward with this, one of the team’s leads is working on fostering an internal arts program that is attempting to display the art from the companies global employees. Aside from these wonderful visual elements, the functionality of an office space is essential, particularly in Silicon Valley where square footage is sparse and pricy. An open floor plan, featured in all Twitter offices, is not only more spatially efficient, allowing for various project teams to move around effectively, but also fosters synergistic conversations and ideas. An arrangement of desks that are surrounded by conference rooms creates a type of neighborhood, serving as an interactive community within the larger office. Additionally at both office spaces there are carefully designed accessory spaces that have specific “personalities,” providing a platform for choice in how an employee will spend their workday. Innate cafés, libraries and outdoor terraces serve as hubs for creativity, personal space and focused work. The crown jewels of Facebook’s campus are considered to be their rooftop gardens. Verdant and spacious, the gardens act as space for people to gather their thoughts and ideas. The gardens are home to primarily native plants, but also flowering trees and art installations. “You basically have this huge park on top of these buildings,” Dan Zigmond, Director of Analytics at Instagram, said. Flooded with trees and flowers, this garden acts as a perfect getaway that ads to the outdoor aspects of the office. The accessibility and centralized location of these spaces, allow for casual interactions between individuals that bring collaboration into the company. “I think having these causal interaction places where you can grab a coffee and run into someone, or have somewhere to sit when you just come up with an idea is really important to the business as well, it’s where all of the great ideas come from,” Hawkins said. These spaces offset the absence of the old, isolated offices, attempting to characterize a residential feel that creates a comfortable atmosphere

spaces & art

1. ‘Bringing Her to Light’ 2. Twitter Library 3. Facebook Garden 4. LinkedIn Space

ARTS • 14

for employees. “You are moving folks out into the open plan because it is more efficient,” Hawkins said. “But then at the same time you are trying to make a space that people want to be in, so they don’t feel as they have been forced out of their office; so what do they get in exchange?” This compensation also comes from the fact that people no longer operate on a typical nine to five schedule. “If you’re somewhere and you’re spending more time at the office than you actually are with your own family… it’s almost that home from home,” Hawkins said. Modeling this blueprint, Palo Alto’s HanaHaus is a hub for innovation and creativity, offering a space with the same emphasis on focused thinking and networking, but open to the public. Led by the vision of Hasso Platner, co-founder of German software company SAP, HanaHaus provides a world-class coffee experience, while fostering a notable environment of community and networking. Much like Twitter and LinkedIn, the community’s needs did not go without consideration. “The SAP team working on this project [did] a lot of customer research to find out more about what would be valuable to the community here,” said Lara Redmer, Leader of Business Development at the Palo Alto HanaHaus, said. “They identified having a combination of a coffee shop and a workspace, kind of taking having a cup of coffee to the next level.” Along with Twitter, SAP also desired the same local representation in the HanaHaus and they ultimately decided on partnering with Blue Bottle Coffee. Blue Bottle made their first appearance as a single cart at the Oakland Farmers Market and gained multiple investors, becoming an international presence with their minimalistic design and caffeinated creations. Down to the last paint swatch and white board marker, SAP’s talented group of designers honed in on the atmosphere and experience they wanted to create. “It’s almost calming the way you walk in, especially with the fountain that we have,” Redmer said. “The courtyard is very open, then you have the free seating in the cafe area. You move inside the workspace and it gets more private as you [go] into the meeting rooms, [which is] exactly the idea.” The 1920s building boasts a minimalistic design, combining the century-old architecture with modern concrete floors. Lively pale green trimmings accent the white walls, along with the abundance of natural light that floods in from all directions. Versatility is a prominent component as well, as the open concept accommodates everyday walk-

ins along with larger corporate events. HanaHaus offers a wide range of workspaces, from an interactive congregation of couches nicknamed “Community Corner,” much like Twitter’s desk configurations, to various styles of boardrooms for a quieter and private space. Nonetheless, their equally open floor plan strongly promotes interactions and networking between strangers. “It’s easier to reach out to people because everyone is interested to get feedback and learn more about what people are working on, so I think that it doesn’t feel that intimidating to reach out to someone,” Redmer said “Everyone inside here is equal because they’re just working, there’s no hierarchy.” Redmer said that they hope their customers will bridge the gap normally present in many working environments, and take advantage of their open space to connect with others. “In a traditional office, it can be very intimidating, but here it feels natural,” she said. “Having a more collaborative setting, and the noise level and bustle is also very different from a traditional office setting. It’s so easy here to network and reach out to people and just get to know someone new on a daily basis.” HanaHaus works to further contemporary brainstorming methods. “We provide white boards, sticky notes and we have IdeaPaint in all of the conference rooms so people can actually write on the walls,” Redmer said. Due to the booming success of their first and only location, HanaHaus plans to bring their forward-thinking designs and ideas about productivity and networking to Southern California. As they continue to gain popularity, Redmer projects that other companies will follow their lead, as “HanaHaus has this buzz and life to it that’s unlike any other workspace.” The pull of these contemporary collaborative office spaces may be enough to force other companies to rethink their design. “When I walk out of Silicon Valley, I still see a lot of the old style, and people are scratching their heads as to why they can’t keep people,” Hawkins said. Although price is a glaring factor limiting the redesigning of many office spaces outside of the Silicon Valley, companies may begin to align with this stylistic movement as newer generations begin to fill their desks. Relating this to the wider role that these design teams play, Hawkins stated that non-traditional tech companies are “reaching out because they want to emulate this type of environment.”

“it’s where all of the great ideas come from” Tracy Hawkins



ARTS • 15

Slightly Sampled

As sampling becomes an integral element of the ever-evolving music industry, legal constraints and technological means play a large role


n the radio, Drake’s new song, “Don’t to create a new sound. These techniques allow Matter to Me,” begins to play. As Drake’s producers and artists of the modern music world, soulful, melodic vocals fill the car, a especially in the Hip Hop genre, to open doors to a recognizable voice overtakes the track and the different time period or genre and integrate classic reality nearly seems impossible. Is that Michael pieces into their new, original work. Jackson? How could the “King of Pop,” who passed Although developing technology has made away nearly a decade ago, be singing on Drake’s sampling easier for artists, the increased popularity new contemporary R&B track? This is the power of this style has also prompted more legal of music sampling. constraints. An artist can legally use other music Music sampling is a tool that has played a for inspiration, but the new version must have no major role in shaping the genre of Hip Hop, as it substantial similarities to the original track. Many has allowed artists to take a classic piece of music people know the song “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla from the past and rework it into their own, unique Ice, but surprisingly, the background riff, with the creation. exception of an added beat between two notes, Producers use instruments called samplers to is originally from the song “Under Pressure” by generate music from recorded instruments or Queen and David Bowie. When “Ice Ice Baby” was vocals. The first sampler tool, the 1960s Mellotron, released, Queen and Bowie threatened a copyright used magnetic tapes to convert electrical audio into infringement lawsuit against Vanilla Ice for his magnetic energy, allowing a song to print onto a lack of permission to sample a portion of their moving tape. It was song. Though it never ended has infiltrated in a lawsuit, Bowie and Queen only until the late Sampling ‘70s and early ‘80s, music in nearly every way eventually received songwriting when vinyls and credits on the track, and “Ice Ice DJs became integral and is a unique process that Baby” became a collaboration parts of pop culture, connects modern music song that the two artists’ never that sampling began initially asked to join. to explode within with decades of past music. To prevent stealing of music, the Hip Hop genre. artists must now go through a DJs manipulated the sound of vinyls through process called “sample clearance” in order to avoid techniques like changing turntable speeds and issues of copyright infringement. However, arguing repeating the breaks in funk music in response a clearance is a difficult process — many artists fail to the crowds’ enthusiasm toward those parts of to do so either because they are unable to reach the song. The 1980s introduced samplers like the the other artist’s music publisher or they can not Akai S900, which allowed producers to store up meet the upfront fee for the sample. In addition, to 32 samples; this era allowed machines to push the artist who has ownership over the track may the boundaries of music through creative styles of demand a percentage of the song’s income in looping, slicing and splicing recordings. exchange for the sample. Today, with the help of modern technology, Despite these legalities, artists have alternative producers continue to redefine music by methods of sampling without receiving sample integrating existing melodies, loops or beats into clearance. With enough manipulation to the their songs rather than making completely new sample, artists can argue that it is an original creations. Additionally, producers no longer go creation, thus not requiring sample clearance. It through the long process of converting audio from becomes hazy with situations like the case between electrical to magnetic. Everything exists on the Vanilla Ice and Bowie and Queen, where one computer, making it efficient to simply search for side claimed that the sample had no substantial loops within existing material in order to create similarities to the original and the other side new compositions. In addition, producers can disagreed. manipulate the pitch and rhythm of each song; Legal or not, sampling has infiltrated music by altering or focusing on specific low or high in nearly every way and is a unique process that frequency pitch limits and applying a wide range of connects modern music with decades of past music, audio effects, the song elements can be rearranged which would have been impossible in the past.


Kanye West - “Fade” (2016) - “Crazy In Love” (2003) 1. Beyonce 6. Sampled Song: Mr. Fingers - “Mystery of Sampled Song: Chi-Lites - “Are You My Woman (Tell Me So)” (1970)

Love.” (1988)

Lamar - “B**** Don’t Kill My 2. Kendrick Vibe” (2012)

- “California Love” (1996) 7. Tupac Sampled Song: Joe Cocker - “Woman To


Drake - “Nice For What” (2018) Sampled Song: Lauryn Hill - “Ex-Factor” (1998)

Khaled - “Wild Thoughts” (2017) 8. DJ Sampled Song: Santana - “Maria Maria”


Eminem - “My Name Is” (1999) Sampled Song: Labi Siffre - “I Got the…” (1975)

Sampled Song: Boom Clap Bachelors “Tiden Flyver” (2008)

Cole - “Work Out” (2011) 5. J.Sampled Song: Paula Abdul - “Straight Up” (1988)

Woman” (1972)


Minaj - “Anaconda” (2014) 9. Nicki Sampled Song: Sir Mix A Lot - “Baby Got Back” (1992)

Miller - “Knock Knock” (2010) 10. Mac Sampled Song: Linda Scott - “I’ve Told Every Little Star” (1961)

MUSIC • 17


SUCCESS Study music is a unifying element in Palo Alto High School’s community, and there is more to the seemingly spontaneous styles that one chooses during an individual study session


t’s grind time. Headphones on, Spotify open and then what? A huge decision beckons: pump up, peaceful, instrumental or vocals? The majority of the time, one’s choice in study music is a personalized and important selection that can fully affect the productivity of the work being done. Study music is an individualized genre, essential to many students in providing motivation during long hours of focus and diligence. Now, music has become an integral part of school, with students wearing headphones between classes and while studying. Music can greatly influence academics, as it guides our mood between states of high and low energy. Though music taste is subjective, the ideal songs to listen to when studying are a style that hits a happy medium between the two extreme states of high and low energy, cultivating a sustained session of productive work. Many people have a specialized taste and compose a study playlist that can align them with a perfect state of mind. Some students choose

18 • MUSIC

instrumental tracks or classical music when working on subjects like English or Social Studies. According to Paly student Audrey Kernick (‘21), when she does her English homework, she tends to pick music that does not have a focus on the lyrics. “I primarily listen to movie soundtracks, words can be pretty distracting when I’m doing my serious stuff [...] my current favorite being Ladybird,” Kernick said. On the surface, listening to instrumentals seems to be the clear choice for the least distraction from the task at hand, but research has proven that it goes far beyond than that. Classical music has been found to be most helpful during study sessions. However, instrumental music almost works just as well. In 2007, researchers at Stanford University used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans of volunteers’ brains to monitor their activity while listening to a 200-year-old piece of music. The researchers found heightened activity in areas of the brain associated with paying attention and remembering and predicting events. So, despite the feeling of spontaneity of choosing a random classical playlist, the benefits

“When I’m listening to my music, it makes mindless activities a lot more fun.” - Ryan Strathearn

are numerous. Instrumental music will help keep you on a grind for longer and will be advantageous in the future when it comes time to remember all the textbook notes taken throughout many sleepless nights. If instrumental music is not for you, there are alternatives, as upbeat songs with lyrics can help with focus and attention in more numerical subjects like math and sciences. In math and subjects that require similar nonwriting related tasks, faster and more upbeat music may be more useful. Lyrical music may be less distracting during non-writing tasks because the listener does not have to multitask between listening to an artist’s vocals while writing with their own voice. In addition, pump-up music can elevate one’s mood and therefore make the task one is doing seem shorter or less strenuous than it is. “It is a lot easier to listen to my favorite songs when I am doing busy work, like math. When I’m listening to my music, it makes mindless activities a lot more fun,” Ryan Strathearn (19’) said. Generally, songs with higher beats per minute, about 130+, are great energizers. However, it is critical to select a song that is personal and well-liked by each

individual. Instead of shuffling through Pandora’s radio stations or Apple music’s top ten, it can be quite beneficial to create a playlist for a specific activity or subject you are trying to conquer. With the soothing and uplifting sounds of classical music, you are retaining more information and thinking more cognitively. Math, often considered a difficult subject by many, can be overpowered by upbeat and energizing music that frees the technical parts of your brain. Whatever style of music you are looking for, remember to choose music that brings out the creative, logical or studious side of you. With the help of these beats, you are furthering your ability to prosper and thrive throughout high school and in future academic ventures. Keep in mind, this is about you finding your productive study space, with whatever music playlist that may be.

MUSIC • 19

Got Goals?

The sky’s the limit when it comes to what is possible to accomplish at the Riekes Center, a community built around inclusivity and diversity that pushes people to achieve their dreams MUSIC • 21


eyond the distinct red doorway and old warehouse walls that characterize the lobby of the Riekes Center lies a community built around promoting individual goals and greater missions of “human enhancement.” Located in Menlo Park and founded as a nonprofit in 1996, the Riekes Center offers a wide range of programs concentrated on creative arts, athletic fitness, nature, the outdoors and community service. The center allows for locals of all ages to pursue their interests in these various fields with no limits to what they can accomplish. Although traditionally nonintersecting fields, the Riekes Center has created a community where excellence in physical fitness and art are achieved side by side. From recording an album to athletic conditioning geared towards a specific sport, the center offers support and assistance to turn students’ dreams into reality. Their signature slogan “got goals?” encourages students to pursue their passions and realize their potential. Gary Riekes, the founder of the center, moved to California to play football for Stanford University in 1969, but when he sustained a near-debilitating back injury during his sophomore season, he was forced to seek therapy. Although s o m e treatments w e r e successful, Riekes never fully recovered and ultimately was not able to return

to the football field. In an attempt to refocus his energy and interest in the sport, he began creating training regimens for some friends who were preparing to go to the National Football League draft. Riekes’ developing interest in personal training and his inherent need for a source of income soon led to the creation of the non-profit. What is now known as the Riekes Center began with a simple premise: Riekes trained anyone willing to pay for his services and employed those interested in supporting him, using the earned profits to pay his staff. Today, Riekes works to brand the center as a supportive community where he often emphasizes a crucial statement: “We want you to treat people a certain way and for them to return the favor.” Kayla Stitt, a Palo Alto High School junior, has been taking voice lessons at the Riekes Center for over a year. Aside

“We want you to treat people a certain way, and for them to return the favor” - Gary Riekes

22 • MUSIC

from her private lessons, Stitt has also taken part in a few of the monthly performance recitals that the center holds, giving her opportunities to perform live on stage. During these concerts The Riekestra, the center’s house band, will fill in for other instrumentals and accompany s t u d e n t s ’ performances. The center makes an effort to promote a caring and nurturing Gary Riekes environment that is noticeable among the staff members and students the instant you arrive. “The community is very accepting and friendly, [and] everyone’s smiling when you walk in,” Stitt said. Whether she is on or off the stage, Stitt receives constant encouragement from the employees at the center to pursue her range of interests. “They just want you to get better at whatever you’re passionate about and there are so many things you can do there,” Stitt said. There are many ways the Riekes Center is inclusive, including an adaptive fitness program that works to accommodate handicapped individuals through personalized workouts and specialized equipment. Steven Toyoji,

manager of the adaptive sports program and former paralympian, has been working at the Riekes Center for two and a half years. Toyoji is highly involved in the center’s paralympic sports club, which him to pursue his interest in athletics and other related programs. “Working at the Riekes Center has allowed me to combine a bunch of different things I’m passionate about into one job,” Toyoji said. Although he was initially attracted to the Riekes Center because it would support him in his paralympic training efforts, Toyoji stayed involved and became a staff member because of the center’s inviting atmosphere. “The guys [on the wheelchair rugby team] were super welcoming,” Toyoji said. “All the staff and all the students were wonderful [...] so I just kept coming back over and over.” Now as a leader of the adaptive sports program, one of the aspects Toyoji enjoys most about the center is its sense of community. He recognizes the diversity among the students and how everyone is there to s u p p o r t

one another, even if they are not participating in the same programs. At the Riekes Center, no one is labeled or limited in their capacity to achieve their goals. “It’s a place where even on your worst day you come here and feel better when you leave,” Toyoji said. The uplifting spirit of the center is not only evident among the members but also in the way the facility was designed. Along the walls are pictures of past and present students playing instruments, training in the gym or participating in one of the many other activities the center has to offer, illustrating their growth and personal successes. Toyoji notes that his favorite thing about working at the Riekes Center is being able to watch s t u d e n t s improve and develop in whatever

program they are taking. “You get to see people grow, even if it’s so microscopic, it’s fun to watch, to be a part of that and witness that,” Toyoji said. All are welcome at the Riekes Center, and thanks to the constant positive support from peers and staff members it is no doubt a place where dreams become a reality. Walking through the red door and lobby is the beginning towards an

“It’s a place where even on your worst day, you come here and feel better when you leave.” - Steven Toyoji individual’s “human enhancement,” and whether those dreams are set around learning a new skill or picking up an old hobby, the possibilities are endless. So, got goals?


MUSIC • 23

The music of the groundbreaking psychedelic rock movement of the 1960s has proven it’s relevance in today’s culture and politics TEXT BY THEO L.J. AND RAJ SODHI • DESIGN BY THEO L.J., RAJ SODHI, AND PATILLE PAPAS

On August of 1969, 400,000 people descended upon a farm in more colorful and pattern-heavy art perhaps were the biggest effects the rolling hills of upstate New York for what many consider the the movement had on culture. With America’s developing taste in greatest music festival of all time. Woodstock, a festival advertised the arts arose a shift in their views. America’s draft for the Vietnam as three days of music and peace, exhibited some of the greatest War in the 1960s caused many controversies; many young adults musicians of the time: Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Santana, Janis Joplin, were sent to Vietnam to fight, many of whom never returned home. who all performed live sets. By the time the final encore had ended, The anger directed towards the war promoted peaceful protests two ladies had given birth and the venue was left in tatters. While where activists would stand or sit in public places, holding signs and Woodstock was not the first music festival ever held, it is generally shouting chants. These protesters dedicated themselves to fighting for thought to have launched global interest in these newfound musical political change, and the results were incredible. Leaders began to step retreats. down from offices of power, acknowledging the power of the people. Woodstock not only serves as a sanctuary for those familiar Musicians saw these waves of anger and channeled them into protest with the emblematic anthems of the 60s, but it is also recognized songs, championing problems of the day and using their concerts to as the pinnacle of psychedelic rock. This musical movement campaign for social changes both at home and abroad. inspired peaceful protest against political corruption, in Currently, these political and musical narratives are turn yielding to new approaches towards music, art beginning to show an eerie resemblance to today’s and fashion. In today’s tense political climate, those societal issues. Since the election of President who appreciate this music can easily identify various Trump, Democrats have felt the need to voice parallels between 1960’s rebellion and modern their anger and concerns and as a result, protests politics. have spiked. Psychedelic culture has also made Bands of the British Invasion propelled psychedelic a big resurgence in another way, with raves and rock into the music scene. Groups such as The Beatles contemporary music festivals such as Outside and The Rolling Stones were traveling the world on Lands and Rolling Loud taking on the same tour, being introduced to a new way of life that they principles as Woodstock did almost 50 years ago. “Musicians had never experienced in industrial England. Some Psychedelics still make the rounds, with Ecstasy saw these waves of anger and of these new events included trying mind-expanding being the drug of choice for many festival-goers. channeled them into drugs such as Marijuana and LSD. Their experiences The music is still alive too, with bands like Tame protest songs, with these substances affected their production of Impala, Babe Rainbow and Radiohead playing music, causing them to write and perform in more championing problems of at sold out shows and whose songs are beloved the day and using their innovative ways. Other musicians in the genre by young people everywhere. New psychedelic began to branch out instrumentally, using horn and concerts to campaign for songs aren’t as socially conscious as they used to social Eastern string instruments, sounds seldom heard be, but the same positive vibes, spacy soundscape in Western music before. They also experimented changes both at home and vivid storytelling still remain. and abroad.” mechanically, messing with tape recorders, and switching Musicians of the 1960s psychedelic movement the speed of the tape, allowing them to speed up, slow down or certainly were not the first to speak to a generation of play parts of songs backward. Most apparent was that lyrics in songs people, but they were the first to influence so many aspects of pop ultimately changed, becoming much less subtle in their delivery of culture. Not only did they inspire a wave of more vivid storytelling, controversial topics. The previously taboo concept of drug use began but the bright fonts and bouncing colors coupled with reformation to appear in the melody of songs, depicting dreams with euphoric movements also changed American culture in a way that hasn’t been experiences involving their surroundings. This coupled with evidently replicated since.

Best Psychedelic Musicians of the 60s

1. Grateful Dead 2. The Doors 3. Janis Joplin

Best Psychedelic Albums of all time

1. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band (1967) 2. In Rainbows (2007) 3. The Man Who Sold the World (1970)

Best Psychedelic Musicians today

1. Radiohead 2. King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard 3. Tame Impala CULTURE • 25

What drives the sleeping mind to fabricate vivid narratives that may reflect aspects of our lives? This remains one of humanity’s most intricate mysteries, revealed through compelling personal stories




he brain’s inclination to dream is one of life’s most compelling and open-ended mysteries. Sleep is a necessary function of the human body, and as something that consumes up to a third of our lives, there is still much that is left for speculation. Why do we dream? What do these dreams mean? Where do these images originate within our minds? Many scientists have attempted to respond to these questions through theories regarding the enigma of dreaming and the basis of sleep. Despite the fact that most scientists are approaching the mystery from alternative angles, they often reach a similar conclusion: one of the most effective ways to understand the complex variations of disorders and unusual experiences linked to sleep is through the chilling, emotional, and powerful personal narratives of individuals.

is eyes shoot open from the brightness of his room. His grip tightens on his bedsheets as he gasps for air and is caught in a whirl of mindnumbing panic. The remaining dampness of tears stream down his face, sweat soaking into his mattress and clinging to his back. Suddenly, a face of concern appears above him, shouting his name over and over, snapping him out of the realm to which he had been transported. The face materializes—it’s his mother—and she grabs his shoulders, reassuring him that he is safe. The voice falls flat as his mind surfaces into the present, but he is still frozen with fear. A night like this is not uncommon for Paly graduate Oliver Miller, whose name has been changed for this story. Miller has had night terrors for years. “My terrors usually tell me a lot about the stress I’m going through,” he explained. Miller struggled with heavy childhood trauma, and as a result, his physicians determined that his nightmares are the form that the loneliness he experienced as a teenager had taken over time. “I have found that loss and being alone has developed into my biggest fear.” Miller has been haunted by a recurring dream that slips its way into his mind every so often. “I walk into a house with desolate surroundings with my immediate family. We all walk into a small room: bleak, dark, and bare. This room is huge, with vaulted ceilings, no furniture, and only dimly illuminated through one small window. Suddenly, the bedroom door slams behind me, and I immediately start to realize my family is fleeing from the house. I try to get out of the room but there is no longer a door; the room is completely sealed. I sprint to the window to see my

family walking away. I punch through the window as hard as I can, kicking, and doing everything I can physically do to get out. I am abandoned.” The dream often ends abruptly as he curls onto the floor and the house sinks into the ground, leaving Miller in tears. The sense of loneliness prevalent throughout his teenage years is represented in his dream through this apparent abandonment. This observation correlates directly with the work of Sigmund Freud, a widely-established neurologist. One of his many eminent contributions to the world of psychology is the development of his book, The Interpretation of Dreams, in which he introduces his theory that humans dream in order to satisfy their unconscious desires, thoughts and motivations. Freud believed that traumatic events experienced in one’s childhood had immense long term effects, later presented in our adult lives. According to Freud’s theories, one’s mind can be compared to an iceberg. At the tip of the iceberg, or the conscious mind, exists all the emotions and perceptions that one is aware of. However, underneath the water, the mass of the iceberg represents the unconscious mind, housing unseen fears and desires. However, these fears and desires surface not through real world actions, but rather through dreams and lurking thoughts. Like many, Miller has experienced isolation in the past, however his innate fear of loneliness has arisen from his unconscious mind in the form of dreams.


t’s a shooting star!” A young girl gasps in unadulterated excitement. A cheshire smile spreads over the expanse of her face, cheeks tinged pink from the cold and glistening eyes that reflected the stars gracing the sky above her. Slowly, she rolls onto her side as her eyes skip past her mother and glance at the two figures resting besides her on the grass, their bodies still with fatigue. A father and sister, sleeping quietly in comfort. But as her eyes begin to trail back to her sleeping mother beside her, they instead find empty space. Redwood High School student Julia Smith, whose name has been changed, has had the same recurring nightmare since the first grade. Once a week, the same image of her family’s death is replayed, and the blame falls on Smith in each nightmare. She lifts one foot in her dream, experimentally taking a step towards her home and testing the stability of both the Earth and her own body. Her feet repeat the action until she reaches the entrance. Inside, her home is shrouded with silence, void of laughter and conversation. Slowly, she leans against the nearest door as the wooden frame begins to creak open. But suddenly her body shakes with violent force and she drowns in terror. A body lies near the entrance to the small room. It no longer radiates heat or energy or warmth and instead emits nothing. Her quivering eyes cast downward and rip their gaze from the figure in a desperate attempt to erase the image imprinted on her retinas, only to read an accusatory note that sets her entire body on fire. The girl scrambles to her feet, wiping at the burning tracks of tears that spill along her cheeks. She wills for her legs to move faster, for the muscles that threatened to cramp and collapse to

carry her body back outside and away from the bitter sight that now plagues her thoughts. But she is only met with the still bodies of her father and sister. Not from sleep anymore, but rather from lack of breath, and with the same horrific message etched onto them. “Written on both of [my father and sister] is ‘You did this,’” Smith said. “[The dream] always ends with me being taken away and held in a cell.” One can’t help but question what causes the emergence of such graphic and vivid nightmares. What is their origin, why do they reappear throughout one's life and how can one liberate themselves from the weight of these horrific visions? Typically, recurring dreams appear as a response to unresolved stress. In Smith’s case, an everlasting fear of loss is recurrent in these nightmares, as seen when her family is taken away within each dream. This separation from her family also elicits self-blame, as Smith is held accountable for the deaths of her loved ones, although she is unaware of the reasons why the blame is shifted in her direction. The origin of this recurring delusion is unknown to Smith, and hinders her ability to find the cause and amend it. Consequently, these weekly dreams continue to haunt her, regardless of the countless methods she attempts in an effort to stop them. “I’ve tried several different forms of therapy, such as individual, group, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), and several others,” Smith said. “I’ve also done several sleep studies and have been on medication.” Many use therapy as a means to solve or discuss their issues, often gaining a clearer mind after a session. But with Smith, therapy, along with medication, have not been successful in preventing these grisly dreams. This suggests that the fear is deep rooted, and given that these nightmares appeared in her early youth, it could extend to an issue that made an impact on Smith as a child. “The meaning of a dream doesn’t just depend on symbols and content; it depends on a person’s individual experiences, their feelings and views, and the timing of the dream,” said Dr. Rubin Naiman, a professor and dream specialist at the University of Arizona. Not only do these nightmares take a toll on Smith’s quality of sleep, as she would consistently wake up in tears, and occasionally scream in her sleep as the nightmare progresses, but her daily routine is also disrupted. “[The nightmares have] made it hard to get up and have a normal day, especially with school,” Smith said. “[The nightmares] also just put me in this weird haze, making it hard to interact with others. t was just one or two would wobble, and they’d fall off.” A single tooth twitches then twists, sending shooting pain through his jaw. The tooth scrapes against his surrounding

teeth then tears itself away from the gum, dangling by a thread. Metallic, tangy blood blossoms across his tongue. The first tooth tumbles out, then two more follow, tumbling out of his gaping mouth like raindrops landing softly in his palms. His tongue frantically flickers over the holes, feeling out the new, unfamiliar landscape of his mouth. Tooth after tooth twitches and detaches from its root, rolling out like small pebbles into a pile. He chokes on the teeth, spitting them out and desperately running his tongue over his bare gums. Suddenly, he jerks awake to a blanket of still darkness. He props himself up, feels teeth sliding down his shirt and immediately looks down expecting to see bloodied teeth, but sees nothing but the smooth fabric of his shirt. He coughs and forcefully swallows, trying to wash away the strangling feeling of something stuck in his throat. “These dreams became so real that [when] some of my teeth would fall on my shirt or in my throat, I will wake up feeling something,” said Bob Zhu, a Paly junior. His hands maneuver their way through the darkness, reaching up to his mouth and neat rows of teeth until he is confident they are present. Recurring dreams of losing teeth carry various meanings and are one of the most common dreams. “Dream Motif Scale” a study by Calvin Kai-Ching Yu conducted in 2012 aimed to find an assessment tool for measuring the incidence of dream motifs; 39 percent of respondents reported that they had experienced their teeth falling out in dreams at least once. These dreams are thought to be associated with feelings of anxiety; as teeth are a significant part of one’s physical appearance, losing them can be linked to anxiety regarding the way others perceive you. Negative emotions such as pain, guilt and stress could also be the cause of these dreams. They started occurring when Zhu’s golf season began and, with both golf and schoolwork, his schedule became packed, causing him to become stressed. During this time, Zhu started experiencing additional recurring dreams filled with enormous waves. He opened his eyes to find himself standing on the edge of a cliff. The frigid icy wind pushes him backwards and he falls, scraping his elbows on the jagged crystalline rock. As faint drops of water meet his eyelashes, he looks up and immediately reels backwards at the colossal wave looming above him. Moments later, the water careens downwards, and all he can do is stare. The wave crashes on the edge of the cliff, inches from his toes, rebounding and showering sheets of water over him. The numbing water seeps through the cloth and his skin, seeming to touch bone as his teeth chatter, rattling in his skull. He squeezes his eyes shut as he shivers uncontrollably, engulfed in darkness and numbing water until the darkness slowly gives way to airy yellow light. His eyes flutter

“These dreams became so real that [when] some of my teeth would fall on my shirt or in my throat, I will wake up feeling something.”

Bob Zhu



open and warm yellow rays of sunshine illuminate his face in the early morning light. He gently touches his arm, still tingling from the icy water, and combs his fingers through a tangled mass of hair, surprised to find it’s dry. He slides out of bed, rubbing his head and pondering the dreams he had that night. “In the language of dreams, water often represents our emotional life, the feelings we have under the surface, while the solid ground represents what we knowingly communicate to others,” writes Cynthia Richmond in her book, Dream Power: How to Use Your Night Dreams to Change Your Life. Water is one of the most common symbols found in dreams, as large waves and tsunamis are associated with overwhelming and threatening negative emotions that have been ignored. These emotions may swell up after being suppressed, eventually taking on the form of a huge wave related to the dreamer’s anxiousness over perceived negative future events. “The joy of realization woke me up,” Zhu said. These two dreams occurred over and over again until one night, in the midst of the chaos, the unlikeliness of the events dawned on him. Convincing himself it was only a dream, he woke up and found himself back in reality. After this realization, the dreams suddenly stopped. The impact of influential dreams extends beyond the lives of singular individuals. It has also played a role in the origins of various world religions. Freud’s theory of dreams includes the aspect that religious beliefs are a result of dream-stimulated illusions and delusions. In many spiritual and religious contexts, dreams are celebrated and are seen as a connection to a “greater force.” These mysterious and mystical experiences generate a sense of awe and wonder, particularly when theses dreams include visitations from the dead. Deep existential questions typically arise from this, including ones about the soul, the afterlife and supernatural realms. This leads to the personal interpretations of these dreams which shape individual religious beliefs as a form of explanation. These religious connections can also generate fear and reluctance to sleep for those who experience terror in their dreams. For instance, in the Catholic religion, a recurring nightmare can be seen as an interaction with the “devil.”


or Jane Rennen, whose name has been changed, a combination of a recurring nightmare, featuring a shadowed boy with an inhuman smile, and sleep paralysis has haunted her since childhood, souring her relationship with sleep. Seven-yearo l d

Rennen sits upright on her bed, tense as she waits for her mother to dip her fingers into a bowl of holy water. Finally, the familiar coolness of the water meets her fingertips and, with a flick, her mother sprinkles drops across the pale walls of her bedroom. The water trickles down the walls, pooling into rivulets and collecting in the corners of the room. After a quick kiss goodnight and a reassuring smile, her mother walks out of her bedroom, leaving Rennen to pray for just one peaceful, terror-free night of sleep. She lays on her back for almost a minute before her trembling hands dare to reach out and pull the covers up to her

chin. Now she closes her eyes, and immediately the darkness seeps into the back of her eyelids, imprinting itself on her brain. Suddenly, her eyes are open again and she catches a flicker in the corner of her eye. She desperately tries to yell, but she can’t move, can’t stop her rapid breathing and can’t do anything but watch as the shadow flickers once again before emerging from the folds of darkness. “It’s the thing that made me an insomniac; I would rather stay up all night if it meant I wouldn’t have to experience the horrors of the night,” Rennen recalls. Sleep paralysis sufferers, can see and feel all of the emotion that comes with a nightmare, but they are unable to control their movement and breathing, leaving them to watch their own nightmare. It is a horror to experience the same nightmares over and over, while being forced to simply watch the experience. Left without an escape from her nightmares and unconscious sleeping, Rennen briefly turned to religion as an explanation and a coping mechanism for her condition. “I thought it [the boy] was the devil coming to get me, which is why I prayed every night. It got to the point of my parents sprinkling the walls of my room with holy water,” she said. When Rennen was younger, she would often get a glimpse of a little boy with a sadistic smile, who would walk closer and closer to her until he was leaning directly above her. The vision does not stop there, however, as she would also experience the boy wrapping his shrouded fingers around her, as if to choke her. But, her relationship with the experience has changed over time. The shadow has expanded from solely being a little boy to taking other forms, such as grown men and women. She does note that they all have glowing eyes and lean so close to her face that she could practically feel their breath on her skin. Simply learning more about her condition has also changed how Rennen experiences the dreams. After her diagnosis, she knows that she suffers from sleep paralysis, but that knowledge still does not help her during the nightmares. “It’s all I can see, all rational thought escapes me and I just want it to be over,” she said. While the terror of the moment is consistent with what she experienced as a child, Rennen has also learned to adapt to the condition and lead a relatively normal life by using coping mechanisms to ward off the nightmares. “I actually sleep a healthy amount now, and I usually cover my head with blankets to keep myself from experiencing [the dreams],” Rennen said. Although covering her head with blanket usually blocks out the shadows that frequently haunted her sleep, there are still instances where the figures once again invade her sleep and fill her with the all-too familiar terror. As she has matured, she has shifted her mindset on the disorder. “I think a lot more rationally about it and remind myself it’s normal,” she adds. Despite the adaptability some people possess, those with sleep

paralysis often experience terrifying moments that lead them to even fear sleep, as demonstrated in Rennen’s earlier experiences. “Not being able to move or speak or do anything while you feel like someone’s choking you or whispering scary things in your ear is hell on Earth,” she said.


ow, imagine that your paralyzing dreams and muted screams occur in a place other than your bed. Instead it is in the light of day, as paralysis abruptly consumes every muscle and bone while you walk down the street with your friends or stand in line for coffee. For 36-year-old Palo Alto resident Arun Wright, this is the reality of dealing with sudden cataplexy attacks, which strike at unpredictable moments throughout the day. Cataplexy is a subcategory of the broader sleeping disorder narcolepsy, which refers to the chronic neurological disorder of excessive and uncontrollable daytime drowsiness. The common symptoms of cataplexy describe an attack on the body in which strong emotion, particularly joy, causes the sudden collapse of the limbs and muscles while still remaining conscious. Wright has been living with this disorder since his midtwenties and regularly takes medications in order to limit these types of cataplectic attacks. “For me, it happens when I think I’m being really witty and getting positive feedback from others,” he said. “Usually, if I’m standing up I will literally just crumble to the ground. Like a rag doll. And I’m fully conscious the entire time but I can’t control anything. I can’t speak, I can’t open my eyes. My eyes usually roll back. People say it’s really creepy looking.” According to National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the condition is caused by a lack of the chemical transmitter hypocretin in the brain, which is responsible for regulating the sleep-wake cycle. Often, the deficiency occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the portion of the brain responsible for producing this chemical transmitter. “You’re literally trapped in your own body,” Wright said. “It’s bizarre.” Like many with cataplexy, Wright has had to search for work that cooperates with his sleep schedule. This has proved a challenge, as he has to make time for multiple naps throughout the day. However, he occasionally experiences episodes while functioning regularly, although he is technically in a sleeping state. “If I were to fall asleep while talking to you, I could continue having the conversation,” Wright said. “And then I would wake up and have no idea what we were talking about. This happened recently: I was visiting my parents in North Carolina and fell asleep in the passenger seat on the drive home.” He remembers sleeping, but his parents recall having a conversation the entire time. Although these disorders have majorly impacted Wright’s life and have led to an extreme alteration in his lifestyle, he has been able to achieve a state where the symptoms are controllable. “I’ve had it for so long now, but the last years have been pretty stable because I’ve found a routine,” he said. “But it was definitely jarring at first.” There is a common correlation for many between the

“I walk into a house with desolate surroundings. I am abandoned.”

Oliver Miller


frequency and vividness of one’s dreams and the amount of sleep they dominate. It has been said that the less consistently one sleeps, the more graphic and extreme one’s dreams will be. This is because of the body’s natural sleeping cycle of rapid eye movement, or REM, which is when dreaming and increased brain activity occurs. This cycle typically occurs every 70-90 minutes after one falls asleep, however a lack of sleep can cause the cycle to start much sooner in order to make up for lost time and to intensify the dreaming process. Cataplexy causes the muscles to collapse, while maintaining consciousness due to strong emotions. On the contrary, insomnia sufferers have trouble falling asleep, and those with it often lie awake at night for hours. In the case of insomnia, the dark doesn't offer the same comfort and rest that it gives to others. Rather, it almost resembles a prison cell, the night consisting of tired eyes pointed towards the ceiling and a desperation for the soft hush of sleep to eventually wash over.


uning in on the sound of your clock’s hand ticking becomes routine, the faint click humming through the air. You’re surrounded by darkness that’s only seen when your eyelids flutter closed, and yet here you lie, trapped in a facade that, at first glance, appears like sleep—but is instead fatigue. Lifting your head slightly, you glance at the circular device. 3:43 a.m. it reads, and you can’t help but slam your skull against the flattened pillow, its cushioning capability diminishing as every minute drags by. Every bone in your body aches for the pull of sleep, but your brain will not allow it. Restless nights filled with tossing and turning makes for a torturous cycle of living, a cycle induced by a common sleep deprivation disorder affecting 30 million Americans per year: chronic insomnia. In contrast to acute insomnia, which only presents itself at times of distress, chronic insomnia relates to disrupted sleep occurring at least three nights per week for a minimum of three months. Abby Sullivan, a junior at Gunn High School, has experienced chronic insomnia for around two years, but was only fully diagnosed last May. For her, the inability to fall and stay asleep impacts many different aspects of her life. “Insomnia has made my life really hard in a lot of ways,” Sullivan said. “It’s hard on my mental health. My doctors and parents are always on me about how much sleep I get, but I feel like it’s something which I can’t completely control.” She adds that she tends to wake up from sleeping anywhere from two to seven times per night, ranging from around a few minutes to over an hour. “I used to have trouble falling asleep, but now I have trouble staying asleep. I went through a period where it didn’t matter if I went to bed at 10 p.m. or 3 a.m., I would still wake up at 5 a.m.” The National Sleep Foundation has reported that most insomniacs experience several different symptoms as a result of their lack of sleep, including mood disturbances, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and a decrease in energy and performance throughout the day. Sullivan's sleep troubles aren't that uncommon, of course, nor are any of those documented here. Healthy sleep, like

any precious commodity, is sometimes difficult to find. And restless nights often lead to sleepy days. "I'm really just constantly exhausted," Sullivan said. "It's like an iPhone. If I only get a 35 percent charge, I can only do so much with that small amount of energy."

Scouts Honor Boys and girl have participated in scouting, a popular activity among younger kids, but why do high schoolers continue to participate? TEXT AND DESIGN BY JACK CALLAGHAN, LEON LAU AND PATILLE PAPAS • ART BY CHARLOTTE AMSBAUGH, LEON LAU AND PATILLE PAPAS


or over 100 years, scouting programs have instilled in youth the values of the Boy Scout Oath, Law and the Girl Scout Promise. Today, these values are just as relevant in helping youth grow to their full potential as they were in 1910.However, the intended age for these activities has shifted towards younger individuals. While scouting remains a popular activity among elementary and middle school students, few continue to participate in high school. Through activities such as digging a trench to stay warm in the cold Tahoe weather, trekking through the forests of Yosemite or building robots, scouting helps participants develop academic skills, self-confidence, ethics, leadership and citizenship skills that influence their adult lives. Although these various outings and adventures teach basic skills and promote leadership qualities, scouting also encourages youth to acknowledge a deeper appreciation for service to others in their community.




or the past 12 years, Jenny Tseng has been a Although she was nervous about selling cookies, dedicated Girl Scout. She has participated she knows that being taught to communicate with in a robotics team called Space Cookies for strangers at such a young age and being pushed out most of her high school career. Space Cookies has a of her comfort zone has benefited her. partnership with the NASA Ames Research Center “I’d definitely say that Girl Scouts has made and Girl Scouts of Northern California, has become me more comfortable talking to new people and Tseng’s second home. “I spend so much time in improved my communication skills,” she said. our robotics lab,” Tseng said. “The program really “Even more so when I joined the Space Cookies in is time consuming. If I’m not at the lab I’m at home freshman year.” Since then, she has become a captain planning for a meeting.” of the team, where she is in ““...girl scouts Tseng used to feel lost in charge of outreach for Space has made me the male-dominated STEM Cookies. Because there are world but Space Cookies so many girls out there who comfortable helped her find her footing in are interested in STEM but talking to new don’t know get involved, she the competitive environment. “I remember when I was little, to encourage younger people and has works it was really intimidating to girls and minorities in the improved my do STEM-related activities community to join STEM if there weren’t other girls more specifically coMMunication programs, around because it is just not robotics. Tseng says that skills.”” a comfortable environment,” their goal is to “reach out to Tseng said. younger girls and teach them jenny tseng Although her time has been how interesting and fun invested to the Space Cookies robotics is.” She also expresses for the last four years, Tseng still remembers her how Space Cookies has helped her explore STEM adorable Brownie Scout days, when selling cookies because “It was a group of welcoming girls that were was her number one priority. As a second grader, also like-minded individuals.” Her commitment she was expected to introduce herself and her troupe to her robotics team is extremely impressive and and give a sales pitch for the organization she was exhibits her passion for the issues she is actively raising money for. “I was really scared [about going advocating for. Tseng says that the experience has out and selling cookies] because if you think about taught her to “be more open-minded because a it, I was a second grader going to a whole new lot of what Girl Scouts is about is recognizing neighborhood and knocking on some strangers door and embracing differences and appreciation for and asking if they wanted to buy cookies,” she said. diversity.”




aughter is a typical response Seattle Hmelar on social and family events. receives when he tells other students A major reason behind why people choose to that he is a boy scout. The only people continue scouting are the advantages they gain in who seem to appreciate this Paly senior’s work are college admissions. Being a scout for the Boy Scouts adults or other scouts, who congratulate him on his of America not only shows commitment but also commitment and dedication. shows appreciation for community and services. In sixth grade, Hmelar originally joined Portola “College definitely played a role in why I continued Valley Troupe 64 because of his love for the scouting,” Hmelar said. “This wasn’t my main outdoors. What he didn’t expect was that scouting motivation, but it definitely did play a role.” would do much more than fulfill a craving to be For Hmelar, while college admissions motivate in nature. “Serving the community is the main skill him to stay in scouting, he genuinely likes being I’ve learned,” Hmelar said. “I’ve in the outdoors. “I had a lot of also learned first aid and some fun going camping and rafting,” “College other skills that may seem kind Hmelar said. “They have a lot of DEFINITeLY of irrelevant, but you never know fun activities that we do. On top played a when they may come in handy.” of that, I’ve always wanted to be This year, Hmelar obtained the role in why an Eagle Scout, so I set my mind Eagle Scout rank, which shows to that and I didn’t stop until I I continued reached that.” engagement and dedication. As the highest rank a boy scout can Although he has made friends SCouting.” achieve, it’s very prestigious and through scouting, most of the kids Seattle Hmelar in his group are younger, which he requires an extreme commitment to scouting and community service. sees as a downside to his troupe. The In order to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, scouts youngest kid is 12 while the oldest is 18, creating a must put many hours of community service into an significant age gap. “I wouldn’t say it’s a tight-knit “Eagle Project.” community,” Hmelar said. “I am one of the oldest For his project, Hmelar built a storage deck for scouts in my troupe and was around lots of younger the Palo Alto Children’s Theater, which they use to guys, so I had been in their shoes before, but they house equipment for their shows and productions. hadn’t been in mine. They couldn’t really relate to “To reach the Eagle Scout rank, you definitely gotta my life, and the age difference was too big.” be extremely committed,” Hmelar said. “There are Hmelar feels that his decision to join and stick other members in the troupe who don’t have the with Boy Scouts has greatly benefited him. “Through goal of becoming an Eagle Scout so they just hang scouting, I feel like I’ve built a lot of character,” out.” Because of the dedication the project requires, Hmelar said. “I’ve been provided with opportunities Hmelar spent a month focusing on his, missing out that wouldn’t have been given to me otherwise.”



after the


ockets of wondrous nature still exist in Silicon Valley, making it the perfect playground for those in love with the outdoors, such as Paly junior Will Moragne. Moragne has spent almost his entire life acquainted with the outdoors through fishing, hunting or simply enjoying what nature has to offer. These activities are uncommon for someone living in an urban environment such as Palo Alto, but he finds them to be an outlet for all of the stress that surrounds living in the heart of Silicon Valley. “I spend more time than I probably realize in the outdoors,” said Moragne. “Outside of sports seasons, I really enjoy being able to fish and even hunt after school some days. For many people where we live, that wouldn’t even cross their mind.” Moragne loves the adrenaline rush that comes from these outdoor activities; he constantly seeks out new places in order to experience the excitement that these activities have to offer. “The environment means everything to

me because the outdoors is a big part of who I am,” said Moragne. “I am truly passionate for the outdoors.” Many people have a strong belief that those who hunt or fish are mindlessly harming the environment without second thought. Moragne refutes this belief by expressing how deeply he cares for the environment and how his actions are, in fact, the doing the opposite of harm. “Most people don’t realize, but active hunters and fisherman are a huge part to conservation.” he said. “I like to do a lot of land management, especially for waterfowl.” With his deep love of nature and all that it has to offer, Moragne tries to maintain a level of preservation, doing his part in keeping the environment from being irreversibly destroyed or ruined. “People have a backwards idea on what active outdoorsmen do for the environment,” he said. “I enjoy the outdoors so much, it’s why I give back in many conservational ways.” Morgane has struck a balance between his love for nature and the importance of preserving it by simultaneously caring for the Although the iconic hashtags of viral social movements brought nationwide attention to environment and exercising the wondrous activities it has to offer. their causes and left lasting effects, when they fall out of the public eye, many are left

# MeToo

unsure if they have brought about substantial change.

The iconic #MeToo movement first went viral on Twitter in October 2017 as a way to share experiences and jumpstart the conversation around the ever-so-taboo topic of sexual assault and harassment. Tens of thousands of people supported the cause, including celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and Terry Crews. The heavily publicized Larry Nassar case only further fueled the #MeToo movement, with more than 160 victims, including Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, finally finding justice. “The #MeToo movement has undoubtedly had a profound impact on the way women and survivors in general feel about their experiences,” Palo Alto High School junior Emma Donelly-Higgins said. Although many who spoke out did not the receive closure they deserved, the process of sharing their stories contributed to the formation of a supportive, online community of women, many of whom were finally able to voice the damaging and terrorizing experiences of their own lives. Now, in 2018, the use of the hashtag has greatly died down, but there have been several concrete efforts against sexual assault and harassment due how widely recognized the movement is. The program MeTooK12 was created, in response to this viral phenomenon by the

group ‘Stop Sexual Assault in Schools’, with the goal of ending sexual abuse in education. “#MeToo also initiated an important discussion not only online but also in face-to-face settings and in everyday life,” Paly alumna Ida Sunneras Johnson said. “There’s a newly found awareness and a sense of solidarity for people who have previously felt alone in their experiences and trauma.” The hashtag’s impact extended far past social media, as the U.S. House of Representatives passed a #MeToo bill in February with the Senate following in May. It would remove a multiple-month-long waiting period for federal government staffers who want to file a complaint against a congressperson, establishing personal liability by ending previously secluded sexual harassment settlements to victims. Congress, however, still has not acted on the bill, and with limited legislation days left in the year, the process may have to recommence if a final bill is not passed by January 2019. Having left a legacy in the U.S., this movement has now spread globally. China is currently experiencing its own #MeToo movement, where women, in a culture that commonly objectifies women’s bodies and belittles them in the workplace, are speaking out against

The Outdoorsman



their abusers and advocating for gender equality. Through this new movement in China, many men, some of whom even claim to support equal gender rights, are exposed as abusers. With many high-profile men admitting to accusations, an awakening to the reality of sexual assault has swept through the globe. Although room for social activism is diminishing in China today, women have bravely stepped forward in an effort to establish gender equality in an otherwise patriarchal society. “This movement has done so much and it continues to empower women today and the next generation,” Donelly-Higgins said. “It has also added significantly to the notion that sexual harassment is simply unacceptable.”

In 2016, the entire nation rallied behind the terrible crisis afflicting the residents of Flint, Michigan as the use of #FlintWaterCrisis exploded with updates on the city’s terrible water situation. When the water source was switched to Flint River, officials failed to take the necessary measures to screen for corroded pipes, high lead levels, bacteria and carcinogens. This massive health crisis prompted President Obama to declare a federal state of emergency in Flint, raising awareness of the important public health issue of lead exposure, particularly in young children. Lead, a heavy metal neurotoxin, causes almost 10% of intellectual disability and can have permanent effects. The consequences of widespread lead poisoning in Flint caused a pediatric epidemic of which an entire population of children was heavily affected. With bacteria, chlorine and countless other contaminants in the water, the residents of Flint were unable to bathe or shower for risk of rashes, hair loss and eye irritation. People relied on bottled water for drinking, and many had to turn to office shower facilities or the homes of friends or family to bathe themselves. When people started speaking out about the disaster, the state simply brushed aside their complaints and discredited researchers who investigated Flint’s water. In an effort to garner attention to this epidemic, residents of Flint turned to social media as a platform for their voices to be heard properly. When #FlintWaterCrisis began trending on Twitter, with a steady stream of updates regarding the situation, celebrities and social activists started providing their utmost support by calling for awareness and donating to the cause, raising more than $30 million to aid those affected by Flint’s poor water quality. Almost three years later with a somewhat forgotten hashtag, Flint’s water crisis is still unresolved. In June 2017, several state officials were charged with involuntary manslaughter due to a disease outbreak from the water system that killed at least 12 people. In April 2018, Michigan ended a free bottled water program in Flint, claiming that the water quality has been restored. This three-year-long crisis, however, has resulted in a loss of trust by Flint residents, as many are hesitant to believe that their water is safe to drink yet. In fact, no sooner than 2020 will all of the lead pipes in Flint be replaced. In the meantime, many residents of Flint are still distrustful of their drinking water and are enraged at the many health complications they have had to endure in the past few years. Although the use of #FlintWaterCrisis is no longer prevalent in media, the crisis certainly is not over yet. “Without things like social media, without that awareness, these disasters could have just been pushed under the rug,” Paly teacher Alicia Szebert said. “A lot of times these disasters are more likely to happen in low socioeconomic areas so having things like social media to get the word out is very beneficial.”

Without social media, without that awareness, these disasters could have just been pushed under the rug. Alicia Szebert

# FlintWaterCrisis

# NeverAgain

On February 14, a devastating shooting occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. It was shocking news to some but overwhelmingly commonplace to many Americans accustomed to the normality of mass exhibitions of gun violence. Rather than waiting for adults to make long-overdue changes, students were propelled to take matters into their own hands. Twenty students formed an action committee to advocate for tighter gun regulations, promoting their protest online through the viral hashtag #NeverAgain; the committee initiated many marches, protests and nationwide walkouts. Only five days after the shooting, the #NeverAgain movement garnered a staggering amount of support. More than 3,000 people participated in the first march on the Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee. It did not take long for the movement to trend nationwide, and students all over the country began to march and promote #NeverAgain to advocate for tighter gun control. On March 14th, more than one million students in schools all over the country walked out of class for 17 minutes, one for each Parkland victim, marching out of anger and pain to call out for widespread change. More than two million Americans participated in the “March for Our Lives� event which took place on March 24th. Along with #NeverAgain, #MarchForOurLives and #EnoughIsEnough were commonly used in the nationwide protests. On the day of the march, both hashtags were used in more than 30,000 tweets, receiving growing support and momentum. Even though the movement faded out of the public spotlight, it profoundly affected gun politics and altered the gun laws in many states. In March, Florida passed a bill titled the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, which was the first time in 30 years that Florida had passed any gun restrictions. It raised the minimum age for gun purchases to 21 years, provided a program for the hiring of school police and established background checks and a three-day waiting period. States across the country have enacted 50 new laws restricting gun access, with more than two-thirds of the U.S. population supporting gun control. Though there is yet to be any national legislation regarding gun control, the debate of gun violence has become increasingly significant as more than 300 mass shootings have occurred in 2018, and the country is seeing more division between political parties concerning this issue. Despite fading out of popular media attention, the #NeverAgain movement is still going strong, having caught the attention of the government and introducing gun control as an important conversation involving both students and lawmakers.

# LookBack Although there are yet to be concrete resolutions to each of the issues brought up by #MeToo, #FlintWaterCrisis and #NeverAgain, these movements have achieved widespread popularity through social media and are exceptionally responsible in their role in shifting global attitudes and igniting conversations. Today, these movements are still pushing forward, aiming to make changes both nationally and globally to support victims of sexual abuse, ensure clean water and stable infrastructures for all cities and protect students from gun violence. Although the hashtags may be dormant and presence in headlines have since faded, social activists can rest assured that progress is made through these powerful simple words that have united across nations to bring change to devastatingly ignored or overlooked social issues.

Working women

“C-suite” positions such as CEO and CFO require a lot of persistence and dedication, especially for women seeking such titles. Hard working female executives throughout the Bay Area have forged their own paths to reach these powerful positions



raditionally, men have dominated the majority of the available power positions, requiring women to work even harder to open C-suite opportunities for themselves. However, as the years have progressed, women have begun taking on larger roles in the workforce, entering the C-suite. The C-suite is the

term used to classify those who have higher ranking positions such as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) in their respective companies. Many women in these positions struggle to combat the deep-rooted gender prejudices that are present in today’s workplaces. Yet, through hard work and persistence, many women have continued to persevere and defy these gender biases.

Jessica Rothenberg-Aalami


hile it would have seemed unimaginable years ago, there has been a tremendous amount of advancements in women’s equality in society, resulting in leadership teams of many prominent Bay Area companies primarily consisting of women. One such individual is Jessica RothenbergAalami, founder and CEO of CellEd. Founded in 2013, Cell-Ed is a mobile technology company that allows workers to easily retain information over any mobile device cheaply and quickly. However, just because she claimed a distinguished place in the business hierarchy

does not mean it was an easy journey to get there. After graduating from University of California Berkeley, and earning a Ph.D. at Harvard University, Rothenberg-Aalami spent more than 20 years working in over 40 different countries within the field of Technology Development and Impact before eventually founding her own company in Palo Alto. As if a rigorous education and demanding hours of work experience were not challenging enough, Rothenberg-Aalami also had to face the reality that she was a woman entering a male-dominated field. “Given the statistics for women in tech, in executive leadership and in receiving venture capital for startups, the odds that I would be where I am

are undeniably low,” RothenbergAalami said. Determined to make a difference and help underprivileged workers worldwide learn literacy, language, and many other skills, RothenbergAalami did not give up. However, in today’s day and age, RothenbergAalami has found herself feeling significant pressure that stems from sexism. “From my perspective, I don’t have the luxury to fail like my male counterparts,” Rothenberg-Aalami said. While she has established herself as a credible and reputable individual in her line of work, RothenbergAalami knows that she must constantly make this fact known so that she is never underestimated within the C-suite.

“Given the statistics for women in tech... the odds that I would be where I am are undeniably low” - Jessica Rothenberg-Aalami


“There will always be the seeds of doubt if she secured the role because of her gender or her qualifications.” - Jessica Flechtner Jessica Flechtner:


hile raising two teenage boys is “by far [her] most proud accomplishment,” Jessica Flechtner has many other achievements, including becoming the Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) at Genocea Biosciences, a small company that works to develop personalized cancer immunotherapy for patients. As CSO, Flechtner is responsible for setting and executing the scientific strategy of the company, leading the scientific teams and some operations, developing and filing intellectual property or patents, and articulating their science to the public as well as potential investors and collaborators. After receiving an undergraduate degree in Animal Science at Cornell University, Flechtner longed to become a veterinarian. She applied to the Cornell’s veterinary school but was rejected multiple times, redirecting her interest to technology research. She decided to assume the position of a research technician at the school, in which she spent her time studying horse fetuses. Her interest in her findings led her to transfer to the university’s Ph.D. program; she then majored in Cellular Immunology and minored in Immunogenetics and Reproductive Physiology. This led her to attend Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for postdoctoral training with a primary focus on exploring different immune responses. This experience led her to the realization that she did not want to continue

to pursue academics, and led her to find a place in the vaccine industry where she has remained ever since. In rare cases like Flechtner’s, an endless amount of hard work can counteract the crippling effects of gender discrimination. “Overall, I have never felt overt biases that impeded my progression in my career. For the most part, I have had incredible professional support and mentorship from multiple men,” she said. Though Flechtner has been successful in her current profession, she was initially exposed to gender biases and the obstacles that are associated with them. While attending Cornell, Flechtner had a professor openly announce in a lecture hall that “women had no place in his classroom.” This type of sexism is one that is not tolerated in any of today’s universities. Though this statement may have left many women doubting themselves, it seemed only to push Flechtner further into her determination to do something she loves. These early acts of gender discrimination were followed by many others within her professional life. In the past, Flechtner explained an instance in which she was accused “of being a dictator” and other offensive terms, while her male colleagues who had similar traits to her were acknowledged as “confident leaders,” which she references as her first real negative experience with gender discrimination within her workplace. This instance, however, was followed by one that was much kinder. At a previous job, a new boss gave her an unexpected

raise. “He identified that I was being underpaid relative to my male counterparts with the same title in the company,” Flechtner said. “I had been biased against in my salary because of my gender, but thankfully someone came along and made it right.” W h i l e sexism can have a toll on a person’s m e n t a l i t y, Flechtner did not let her past negative experiences affect her, and continued to pursue her interests, with grit and determination, eventually making it all the way to the C-Suite as a female scientist.



hile the journey has been long and delayed, women are finally beginning to take on larger roles within their respective companies, giving hope to the younger generation of

future female leaders. The prestigious C-suite positions have become more accessible to those who are willing to put in the effort and deal with the mental and physical necessities in order to reach them.

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the ‘wich sitch @ D r i f tWoo d M A R K E T

DRIFTWOOD IS one of the most popular lunch spots for Paly students. BUT IT’s more than JUST a market, it’s a community




nyone driving down El Camino in and purchase milk... but then they would go the deli counter, offers numerous unique Palo Alto could easily miss the turn straight to look at the magazines!” meals. Initially, Driftwood only had three Driftwood also underwent a considerable chalkboards displaying sandwich options, off into the tiny parking lot of the hidden gem, Driftwood Deli and Market. transformation regarding its central purpose; but this all changed when a customer In fact, one might even mistake it as a part Mendieta explains the concept of the deli named Jimmy asked for a personalized of the neighboring hotel. But once entering that Driftwood is today. “Back in the day it order. Mendieta recalls when this customer the store, you may encounter a crowd that used to be a grocery store, then it switched ordered what has now become a popular fills the small building. Driftwood’s raving hands and became a butcher store, and over sandwich offering at the deli. “He ordered popularity, apparent in the constantly time it started to become a deli.” [his sandwich] so many times that he started The man who led this transformation is telling his friends saying, ‘I have a sandwich lengthy lines, may deter potential customers; however, at Driftwood, the wait is worth it. Steve Rezvani, who gained ownership of the at Driftwood, you should go try it,’’ Mendieta Now a hot spot for many local high school business in 1987. Rezvani is responsible for said. students, Driftwood has not always attracted overseeing the significant changes, including His friends began to come to the deli, the same crowd; in the 1950s, the deli asking for Jimmy’s sandwich, and it store was considered a “Mom and Pop” became so popular that Driftwood grocery store. Roberto Mendieta, a “When people come here, employees decided to name the sandwich Driftwood employee for over 19 years, “The Jimmy’s”. “We didn’t have enough I want [them] to feel like who first started working at the store room on the boards to put it up,” [they] are not just a when he was 27 years old, reminisces Mendieta said. “So we added another about the store’s history: before it was customer, but that [they] board for new sandwiches.” Similar to a popular place for Palo Alto teenagers, “The Jimmy’s,” another popular sandwich feel welcome.” it was merely a neighborhood deli that among Paly students, The Kevin’s, has a promoted a sense of community in many similar origin. “Kevin, who [worked] for ways. Merrill Lynch, used to order a different Mendieta reflects on the ways in which the making the beloved lunch spot for high sandwich every day,” Mendieta said. “But location has responded to changes within the schoolers, businessmen and visitors alike, one day he came in and was like ‘I want a community. “Over time it has changed quite leading Driftwood to its current success. barbecue something.’” a bit. Back then, [the usual customers were] One thing that makes Driftwood such an Together, Mendieta and Kevin created neighborhood people, old timers, [and] they iconic part of Palo Alto is its stagnancy in a sandwich with barbecue beef, bacon, have already moved away,” Mendieta said. the community. The shop has remained in mayonnaise and hot sauce. After tasting his “All [their] kids grow up and have kids and its same location next to The Creekside Inn new creation, Kevin, similar to Jimmy, shared eventually move away as well.” since its beginning, surviving a rotation of it with his coworkers. “They would come Within 40 years of its initial opening, businesses that surround it. in and ask for what Kevin likes,” Mendieta In addition to this crucial aspect, said. Soon after, “The Kevin’s” joined “The Driftwood’s crowd had already shifted greatly. In contrast to the more grocery- Driftwood is most famously known for its Jimmy’s” on the Driftwood boards. oriented customer base, Driftwood’s crowd product—the sandwiches. Mendieta states These two sandwiches are not the only was primarily comprised of men stopping that there isn’t a specific equation to the customer creations that appear on the menu. in after their workday to take advantage invention of their well-renowned sandwiches Sandwiches such as “The Cable Car” and of Driftwood’s specialized inventory. “We but instead many of them come from the “The Heaven on Earth” are also popular actually used to sell adult magazines,” customers themselves. Their extensive menu, sandwiches created by regular customers. Mendieta said. “We would have dads come which covers the entirety of the wall behind Driftwood employees love to create new

sandwiches and encourage customers to come up with their own as well. “If any customer comes up with a sandwich and it’s good, we put it on either the menu or the special of the

day,” Mendieta said.

Walking in, Driftwood might be mistaken as a family business due to the vibrant welcome of employees who seem as close as a family, “[Steve and I] have been working together for so long that we have started to sound and look alike,” Mendieta said. Something that Driftwood and its employees take great pride in is the continuously welcoming atmosphere that the shop holds. “I think it is the family atmosphere, because everywhere else is a chain store, as [the] Starbucks down the road,” Mendieta said. Mendieta always picks up the phone-in orders and if he can recognize the caller’s voice, he greets them warmly. “When people come here, I want [them] to feel like [they] are not just a customer, but that [they] feel welcome.” Over the past 10 years, Mendieta has seen Driftwood take off. While the shop has experienced longtime success, in the age of the internet and Yelp reviews, its business has increased at an exponential rate. People visiting Palo Alto or Stanford University that are looking for fast and easy meals are immediately drawn to Driftwood, as it boasts an astounding 4.5 stars and a plethora of ravishing reviews on Yelp. With such booming business, the owners have considered expanding; “[The business partners] did want us to open up another one,” Mendieta said. “But the thing is if we open another one then [customers] would want to see us there, but if [they] don’t see [the employees they know], I think people would be disappointed.” For constantly returning customers, it would be hard to let go of the family feel that Driftwood provides. Employees take pride in the fact that they can easily recognize customers and remember their specific orders, and they don’t want to lose the sense of community that stems from those interactions. While Mendieta and his team are still considering branching out and opening another store, it would come with many costs. “You have to hire new people and teach them the ropes and how to talk to people,” Mendieta said. “I think it would be cool if we could actually venture out on another bigger project but right now, Steve and myself don’t really have time to do that.” Though the idea of expansion is tempting, Mendieta is attached to the rhythmic nature of the deli. “I [kind of ] want to keep it the same as it is,” Mendieta said. “I feel like we could move to a bigger place but it wouldn’t be the same.” Though the future of Driftwood is unclear, the Palo Alto community will not be losing Driftwood Deli anytime soon. Like in many other towns, Driftwood fills the role of the ‘one shop’ that embodies the livelihood of the people around; the town would not be the same without it. The employees that work at Driftwood care about the little things, like checking if their customers want more toppings on their sandwich or asking about their families. “When you order here, we make sure to double check and I think that makes a difference,” Mendieta said. This sense of unity Driftwood has instilled in the community has led it to become a pillar of the Paly and Palo Alto experience for generations to come.

It's like

De ja Vu Vu

...all over again


Many have experienced the vivid yet ambiguous feelings= of recollection that can occur in a split second. This mysterious phenomenon that is Déjà Vu HAS RESULTED IN many startling experiences which have been explained by intricate theories that still remain unproven verything feels normal until your consciousness staggers; the present moment has triggered a sense of familiarity and presently causes an obscure sensation. This unexplainable experience, known as déjà vu, causes a brief moment distorted reality. The occurrence can be triggered by a smell, taste, conversation or



encounter that one believes has occurred in the past. There have been many different theories that attempt to explain why this feeling occurs, but information on the experience has been inconclusive when it comes to discovering the mystery. The term déjà vu, is derived from the French language that means “already seen." Although

more than 70% of the population have encountered this phenomenon, it is rarely discussed. Science currently can not explain much about déjà vu, but the feeling is so common that it is compelling for people to understand why these real-life experiences occur. Despite the number of people who have

encountered this indescribable feeling, scientists are unable to confidently specify where or why it occurs. So far, it has been concluded that déjà vu takes place in the temporal lobe of the brain; some scientists theorize that mini seizures in this lobe cause the intuitive experience. Déjà vu’s enigmatic qualities are heightened, acting as a puzzle waiting to be solved. Although discoveries regarding déjà vu have been sparse, scientists have recently discovered that younger generations, specifically those between the age of 15 and 25, experience déjà vu most frequently. One of the most interesting observations scientists and researchers have made about déjà vu is that the feeling allows them to predict future events. Other scientists argue that when their brain triggers the feeling of familiarity in a certain moment, they are able to predict what will happen next. Although scientists say déjà vu is strictly based on previous memories we store in our brains, these contrasting observations promote a controversial argument regarding the perception of déjà vu. So, is this simply a coincidence or is it a beacon for something much bigger that is yet to be discovered about how our minds work? Many theories have been constructed about this biological process, but no definite conclusions have been made. Some of the most well-known and successful philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle and Socrates were not focused on solving the mental illusion of déjà vu, instead occupying themselves with the theorems of calculus and discovering the elements on the periodic table. Because of this, the first spike of interest in this anomaly didn’t occur until the 1800s. Because this sensation cannot be scientifically measured, researchers are limited to producing conclusions through a few primary theories that are entirely based upon the observations of those who have experienced it firsthand. Just like the smell of pine can bring back memories of the holidays, tastes, situations, and interactions can bring someone back to a past experience. Some believe that this is the basis of where déjà vu comes from. But the hole in this theory is why déjà vu often times brings back memories that never actually happened in one’s past. Imagine you are having a conversation with your friend, and he or she mentions a specific topic or key word that provokes

something extraordinary. A wave of reminiscence gushes over you and you just sit there in awe of this bizarre experience. Déjà vu can be further explained through the peculiar and unorthodox theory of parallel universes. Those who support this theory claim that déjà vu occurs when we have “crossovers” with a parallel version of ourselves, possibly doing a similar action simultaneously in a completely different universe. Precognitive dreams are a different type of psychological concept that can be used to explain déjà vu. Some believe they are able to make conjectures about the future through a intuitive sixth sense; it often happens when you recall living through a certain moment in your dream that then occurs in your real life. To help prove this

"Though we know we had never been there before, we knew we had been there before." Margaret Atwood hypothesis, aeronautical engineer J.W. Dunne conducted an experiment in 1939 using Oxford students as test subjects. After numerous trial runs, he effectively concluded that 12.7 percent of his subject’s dreams were similar to future events. More recently, in 1988, researcher Nancy Sondow had similar results with about ten percent similarity observed between events in the subject’s dreams and their real life. Because dreaming is not a conscious action, it makes sense as to why we don’t remember exactly how and why we are reliving that moment, but rather that the moment has an eerie sense of familiarity. The “glitch” theory is often considered the most unconventional and peculiar theory that attempts to explain déjà vu. The theory is loosely based on Albert Einstein’s

proposal that there is no such thing as time, but rather that it is a human creation specifically designed to provide structure and order in society. It works to describe how déjà vu is a momentary breakdown in this philosophical framework of time. If time is a fantastical societal construct, then it is possible we are living in the past, present and future at the same time. Therefore, when déjà vu occurs, we are perceiving a deep level of consciousness where we can live through more than one experience at a time. This eccentric theory perfectly captures how confusing déjà vu can be, and how complex the theories can get. Now that you understand the relatively nonexistent nature of scientific findings regarding déjà vu, let’s delve into the experience of it. At its most severe levels, déjà vu can save or ruin lives. For most, déjà vu does not occur very often; it is short and sometimes sweet. But for others, déjà vu can be an extreme and ravenous everyday experience that can severely affect their life and well-being, positively or negatively. Pat Long, a journalist at the Times and the Sunday Times, is currently writing a book about his brain cancer’s effect on his memory and personality. Long’s experiences with déjà vu are so extreme that he lost touch with where reality ends and déjà vu begins; his visions put him in unusual places that he believes he has been in before, even though he hasn't. Déjà vu has severely affected his life and his perception of who he is and what is real in the world. Déjà vu has always been and will continue to be a mystery. As poet Margaret Atwood wrote in her poem "Procedures For Underground", “though we know we had never been there before, we knew we had been there before.” Déjà vu manages to pass through many of us. Although we know the feeling of it, few of us know the meaning behind it. Despite the fact that scientists and philosophers will continue to produce theories about déjà vu, there will always be holes in its scientific explanation. Although one may not fully understand what déjà vu is, it can be an enlightening experience to be more aware of when it occurs, giving you the opportunity to strengthen and expand your imagination. So, next time déjà vu hits you, stop, ponder, conceptualize and share. The more we scrutinize, the more we can discover.


culture 46 • CULTURE



The fact that I’m not my parent’s biological child sometimes slips my mind, so after 16 years I’ve finally taken the time to stop and think about my Chinese culture, as well as what my adoption means to me


ait. You’re adopted?” A look of confusion and shock flash across people’s faces when I tell them that I was adopted from China when I was 11 months old. I guess it’s surprising because I look enough like my parents that I could pass as their biological child. Being adopted has never bothered me, and it rarely comes up in conversation, so I don’t talk about it much. Since I never put in the time to learn more about my past, it’s just a reality that I accepted as I grew older. Growing up, I always knew that my mom and dad were not my birth parents, so I never asked any questions, nor did I feel the need to. From the start, they felt it was important that certain parts of my Chinese culture were implemented in my life and decided to do so by having me Chinese by celebrating Chinese New Year. My mom is half Chinese and has always worked to maintain a strong connection to her culture, so she wanted me to value my heritage as much as she did. Whenever we travel to China, our trip always keeps a few days to visit family in the city, which not only allows my mom to reconnect with our relatives, but also gives me a chance for me to experience the local side to life in the country. Aside from visiting the country, speaking the language and celebrating its holidays, my family also holds an annual celebration where we get together to celebrate my adoption with other families who also adopted their daughters from China. When I was younger, it used to be a chance for us girls to spend time with and bond over our unique shared history and gave our parents time to chat amongst themselves. But over the past 16 years, I feel as though our group has matured and become closer, since we have been able to connect over more in-depth issues. Out of the seven other girls in my adoption group, there is only one other person who has been learning Chinese in school, which initially made me question whether I had remained connected to my Asian heritage too much. Now, looking back, I realize that being enrolled in a Mandarin immersion program in elementary school and picking it back up at Paly has had the effect my parents hoped for, making me feel connected to my Chinese culture, and I finally see that there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, I am proud to be able to translate emails from our Chinese relatives for my mom. Despite my periodic protesting and objection to putting in the effort to learn the language, I realize its value. When I was 10 years old, my mom and I flew to China with

a large group of other families who had adopted from the same orphanage as me, an entirely different set of people from our Family Day group. Out of all of the places we went and things we did, the one that stood out to me the most was the day trip to the orphanage we had all once been in. Meeting the main caretaker, the same woman who brought us in as infants and took the responsibility of raising us, was an experience that I never thought I would have. Being able to communicate with her left me feeling thankful for my parents pushing me to learn the language. My knowledge of Chinese creates these kinds of moments, ones that have brought me closer to the life I could be living. It’s fascinating to me that there was a substantial chance I could have been adopted by another family and possibly leading a completely different life compared to the one I have today. Or that I could still be in that orphanage in China, probably with little to no hope left, knowing that I would remain there until I was an adult. By being raised in Palo Alto, I’ve had plenty of opportunities and experiences in my extracurriculars or academics that have helped me become the person I am today. The fact that I’m adopted isn’t something I can change, that is the way it is, the way it always will be. I have a unique story to tell and am proud to tell it, all you have to do is ask.