C Magazine Vol. 8 Edition 3

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January 2020 • Volume 8, Edition 3

Dear Readers, We are proud to present the third edition of C Magazine this school year, and we believe 2020 will bring ever-growing content and creative designs to our readers. We hope you enjoy the intriguing stories and designs that fill this issue and are looking forward to what this new year will bring. Through the holidays and into the new year, our staff decided to dive into the topic of immigration to remind our readers and writers how fortunate we are to live in a land of opportunity and freedom. In our cover story, “The American Dream,” writers Leslie Aboytes, Katherine Buecheler, Sam Mutz and Libby Spier follow the journeys of four individuals who immigrated to America. America promises safety and freedom but it’s not as simple as that, and our four profiles dissect the sacrifices and struggles of not only getting to America but also staying. Artwork done by Kyla Schwarzbach enhance the spread design to help our story come to life. For the cover, we featured old photos from our sources, showing that America is a melting pot of real and diverse stories. Through our story, we hope that you come to appreciate the vastly expansive cultural and personal backgrounds of American citizens you may come across in your day-to-day lives. This issue, we’d like to shine the spotlight on figure skater Amy Liu (‘20) as our Featured Artist. Her passion for dance combined with her dedication clearly sets her apart from other students as a rising artist and athlete. Writers Alexa Gwyn and Atticus Scherer follow Liu’s skating journey and provide insight into the adversity and obstacles for those in this sport. In the arts story “80s Revival,” writers Tamar Ponte and Zander Darby explore the recent resurgence of the lively and vintage trend. Bringing out the voices of Paly students, social media influencers and a fashion historian, “80s Revival” serves to provide insight into nostalgia and new modern twist of a trend that reflects the values of a new generation of youth. To wrap up this decade, “Top Albums: 2010s Edition” presents what Paly students consider to be the best albums of the past 10 years. Writer Theo L.J. provides his own commentary on underrated albums that readers should give a listen to. Close the door on the 2010s and step into a new decade by checking out these top albums! As this issue explores themes of cultural and national identity, we hope that you take a moment to consider the significance of being an American citizen and the life stories of those who immigrated here. With this issue, we look forward to the start of a new decade with our readers and will continue to expand in content and quality. Happy reading! Ellie Fitton, Ashley Guo, Chloe Laursen and Hazel Shah Editors-in-Chief

thanks to our



Anne & Billy Spier Annie Funkhouser Barbara Cottrell Bridget Cottrell Bridget Cottrell Brin Jisra Charlotte Amsbaugh Chris Lillios & Jinny Rhee Craig Dumas & Ranne Rhee Clara Fox Daivd Scherer Dan Zigmond Danielle Laursen David & Shantel Ferdman Deni-Kay Freier Emil Stefanutti Faith Chow Gadi & Henriette Ponte Gigi Tierney Grace Rowell Holly Lim Illuminate Plastic Surgery Inder Sodhi Jack Callaghan Jack Stefanski Jan & Monte Klein Jasleen Sahota Jennifer Mutz Jody Domingos Jonas & Alexandra Olsen Karen Gould Kathy Mach Katina Lillios Leela Vakil Lisa Borland Liz & Don Darby Liza Baskind Lois & Dave Darby Maria Aboytes Maria Afzal Mary Lynn Fitton Mea Rhee Michael Romano Mike & Juliet Helft Mimi Veyna Moon & Hwa Rhee Phyllis Mutz Pietro Stefanutti Robert Wilson Rochelle & Stan Ferdman Rosa Schaefer Bastian Ryan & Andrea Helft Ryan Gwyn Stanley Chow Stella Laursen Sue Kim & Won Rhee Susan & Warren Gelman Sylvia Chavez Teresa Chen Terri Brown Tony Lillios Theresa McCann Trudi & Jeff Zelikson Victor & Teresa Chung Virginia Fitton Wendy & Gary Hromada Xavier Shah

Editors-in-Chief Ellie Fitton, Ashley Guo, Chloe Laursen and Hazel Shah Creative Director Natalie Schilling

Creative Adviser Tyler Varner

Managing Editors Katherine Buecheler, Sophie Jacob, Kimi Lillios, Isabella Moussavi

Copy Editors Kailee Correll, Theo L.J., Mahati Subramaniam

Online Editor-in-Chief Ellen Chung

Digital Design Editor Claire Li

Online Creative Director Tamar Ponte

Web Design Editor Raj Sodhi

Business Managers Karina Kadakia, Fiza Usman

Social Media Manager Sukhman Sahota

Staff Writers Leslie Aboytes, Faith Chow, Zander Darby, Alexa Gwyn, Lindsey McCormick, Sam Mutz, Bridget Packer, Ellie Rowell, Atticus Scherer, Libby Spier, Emma Stefanutti Illustrators Ellen Chung, Natalie Schilling, Tyler Varner

Cover Katherine Buecheler, Ellie Fitton, Natalie Schilling

Adviser Brian Wilson

Publication Policy C Magazine, an arts and culture magazine published by the students in Palo Alto High School’s Magazine Journalism class, is a designated open forum for student expression and discussion of issues of concern to its readership. C Magazine is distributed to its readers and the student body at no cost.

Printing & Distribution C Magazine is printed 6 times a year in October, November, December, February, April and May by aPrintis in Pleasanton, CA. C Magazine is distributed on campus and mailed to sponsors by Palo Alto High School. All C Magazine stories are available on cmagazine.org.

Advertising The staff publishes advertisements with signed contracts, providing they are not deemed by the staff inappropriate for the magazine’s audience. For more information about advertising with C Magazine, please contact business managers Karina Kadakia and Fiza Usman at businesscmagazine@gmail.com.

Letters to the Editors The C Magazine staff welcomes letters to the editors but reserve the right to edit all submissions for length, grammar, potential libel, invasion of privacy and obscenity. Send all letters to eicscmagazine@gmail.com or to 50 Embarcadero Rd., Palo Alto, CA 94303.


arts 8

Inclusivity in Art


Featured Artist: Amy Liu




80s Revival

culture 22

Double Sided Thrillers


The American Dream


Off the Beaten Path


The Intuitive




Featured Artist: Amy Liu pg. 11


Women in Hip Hop


Top Albums: 2010s Edition


Music Without Borders

g lasses urban outfitters • earrings thrifted



shirt thrifted•shorts & jacket adidas Text and design by TYLER VARNER • Styling by TYLER VARNER • Photos by NATALIE SCHILLING • Model FRIDA RIVERA

INCLUSIVITY in art Awareness to inclusivity in art has increased through the creation of interactive pieces and exhibitions. This industry is becoming more accessible through art centers supporting the creative aspirations of artists with disabilities.

Text, design, and art by ELLEN CHUNG and ISABELLA MOUSSAVI



om the creation of art to its presentation, traditional art has predominantly focused on providing entertainment for those without disabilities. Art is often seen as solely a visual experience, but this attitude is beginning to change as artists are creating art that is accessible to those with visual impairments. Efforts made by museums and artists are helping shape inclusivity in art to reach everyone regardless of their ability. One such artist, Roy Nachum, has gained international attention for his album art for Rihanna’s acclaimed album “Anti”. His piece is partially covered in red paint, depicting a boy with a golden crown covering his eyes. In a series of paintings with similar depictions, Nachum explores the idea of blindness and values. In his Fire collection, Nachum employs the use of braille and ash with a focus on blindness in pieces such as “Powder Blue” and “Violet Fire”. In their creation, Nachum wanted to engage blind people, and as they touched the paintings, marks from their fingertips left traces on the ash. With the purpose of shedding light on the blind experience, Nachum has created pieces that have been experienced by those with visual impairments to bring awareness to them. Kenyan artist Tina Benawra has also dedicated her life and work to creating art that is accessible and can be enjoyed by the blind. Given that the art scene has been an almost entirely visual experience since its creation, Benawra hopes to include the visually impaired on the art experience through a more physical approach. Her colorful pieces include different textures and imprints, allowing for a hands-on and interactive expe-

rience with the layered artwork. As a final touch, Benawra adds braille to her canvases to explain the different components of the art, giving a chance for people to understand and interpret the meaning of the art without needing to look at it. Not only are individual artists working to increase inclusivity in art, but art studios and exhibitions are also taking part as well. Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, California, is an art studio and exhibition where those with disabilities can create and display their art pieces in a supportive profes-

“Many times, these perceived disabilities are complemented by different art processes, so it can be a very therapeutic and relaxing experience.” — Steven Ferrera

sional environment. The studio includes materials for mediums of art such as ceramics, drawing, woodworking and printmaking for artists to create pieces with a variety of supplies. Works of art created at the Creative Growth Art Center have been displayed at museums worldwide such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian Museum and the Studio Museum of Harlem. In an environment that truly supports the inclusion of artists with developmental, intellectual or physical disabilities, this art center has created a space in the art industry for artists to create and thrive regardless of disability. Creative Growth has touched

the lives of many viewers through art shows, collections and exhibitions. Steven Ferrera, an art teacher at Paly, has attended many of their art shows and has always been amazed by the art created there. Having taught and worked with students with an array of disabilities, Ferrera’s experience with art is one heavily involved with inclusivity. “I’ve been to many of [Creative Growth’s] art shows,” Ferrera said. “I am always amazed at the art being created there.” In his classroom, Ferrera has seen his students excel regardless of disability. “Many times, these perceived disabilities are complemented by different art processes, so it can be a very therapeutic and relaxing experience,” Ferrera said. Leia Hwangbo, a Paly art student, also believes in inclusivity in art. Some artists are now using methods such as incorporating braille in art to ensure art can be available for everyone to experience and enjoy. This allows more people to enjoy works of art that they would otherwise not be able to enjoy. “If people with disabilities find this method to be helpful and respectful, then other artists should adopt techniques such as this one,” Hwangbo said. “Art should be available for everyone to enjoy and taking steps to make art more inclusive is necessary for the community.” Stepping into this new cultural era, the art world is expanding its sphere of influence into one that will introduce more varying styles. As more artists continue to create inclusive pieces that allow those with disabilities to enjoy their work, modern art will better serve the purpose of reflecting humanity in all its forms.


Entrance Advisor helps you: • Build a powerful extracurricular resume • Choose an academic course load that will highlight your strengths • Navigate processes of standardized tests • Secure impressive summer jobs, programs, and internships • Develop your list of prospective colleges • Convey a unique personal narrative in your applications • Craft powerful essays that will help you stand out • Prioritize activities and manage time to reduce stress


Text and design by ALEXA GWYN and ATTICUS SCHERER All photos courtesy of AMY LIU

Amy Liu’s ice skating journey began almost 14 years ago in China. Her consistent determination and eagerness to succeed has allowed her to become one of the top skaters in the United States.


ressed in a bedazzled, flowing dress with dramatic, swan-like eye makeup, Amy Liu steps onto the ice as the San Francisco Ice Theater team is called onto the ice rink to perform. The cold air brushes against her powdered cheeks as the music begins, the soft tune of Swan Lake filling the arena. Emotion radiates from skater to skater, rising and falling to the music. When the last note is played, the only things left on the ice are the ruby red petals from airborne roses. “We were placed low at worlds in April,” Liu said. “But then, after making a whole new program within two months, we won [nationals] and surprised everyone.”


Amy Liu competes at the Silicon Veley Regional Qualifications for Solo Ice Dance at the Ice Oasis in Redwood City.


Liu began her figure skating journey at four years old while she was living in China. By the time she was eight years old, Liu was skating competitively under the Chinese Olympic Team. The team was highly competitive and, in figure skating, presentation is just as important as the technical skills involved. Liu recalls that the team promoted unhealthy habits in order for the members to meet the body image and skill level expected by the coaches in an attempt to win at all costs. “There were a lot of eating disorder problems, the coaches were not nice and there was a lot of pressure there to be the ‘next sprout’ that’s going to revitalize figure skating,” Liu said. After seven years with the Chinese national team, Liu and her family moved to Palo Alto, California where she resumed her figure skating career. She now participates in three different forms of ice skating: traditional figure skating, solo ice dance and theatre on ice. Liu has national and worldwide titles in all three forms of ice skating, including placing 6th in the 2019 Nations Cup in France, as well as winning at the 2017 US National competition with her theatre on ice team. Even after moving, Liu found that participating in a sport where one’s appearance, make-up and ability to convey emotions are pinpointed and judged can cause the athletes to have an increase in insecurities. “I believe every single athlete has insecurities,” Liu said. “For me, I didn’t fit the single type of image for figure skating and that was always really hard for me.” Liu has overcome adversity, defying the unhealthy body standards that ice skating promotes. Many ice skaters suffer from many eating disorders to try and fit the expectations but still, Liu managed to stay true to herself. “I powered through my obstacles and that’s out of the norm,” Liu said. “I feel good about that.” To become an experienced skater, Liu has had to dedicate a great deal of time in order to reach her potential, but her connection with the ice has allowed her to enjoy the sport even through hard times. “Once I step onto the ice it’s refreshing, it’s therapeutic, it’s like I empty my mindset and I focus on skating,” Liu said. “It’s a place where I can dump all of my problems

and just skate.” While figure skating is often a solo endeavor, one of the most important attributes of a successful figure skater is the ability to work well with a team. The camaraderie and relationships between teammates is

skater, Liu is uncertain of her future in the art.“I want to go to a four year [college],” Liu said. “I want to go to a big city [and] I want to study medicine, which is very different from figure skating.” While her future goals might not encompass a figure skating career, Liu wants to continue to pursue the art and potentially end up teaching and coaching alongside whichever profession she chooses. Liu has been skating for most of her life, watching herself and her friends grow into the artists and performers they are today. “You can see how the sport really changes people for the better,” Liu said. Ice skating is not for the faint of heart or uninspired, and Liu has persevered through many obstacles and setbacks to bring her to the level she is at today. While she may not continue to skate as rigorously as she has for the past years, it is an experience that has made her a better person and sets her apart from many. “Figure skating was the only thing that has always been constant, and I think that shows that my love for figure skating overpowers the difficulties of it,” Liu said. “I could have stopped multiple times but I didn’t; I always chose to stick with figure skating because it was always there for me.”

“Once I step onto the ice it’s refreshing, it’s therapeutic, it’s like I empty my mindset, and I focus on skating” - Amy Liu oftentimes a key factor in the success of any sports group. Naturally, this translates into figure skating, whether the routine is a group or solo endeavor. “If you’re waking up at four in the morning every single day, you are going to develop really true relationships,” Liu said. “You’re with your teammates day and night and you get to see different parts of yourself that you couldn’t necessarily see with your school friends.” Success through positive encouragement between teammates has become apparent to Liu. She notices the effect it has and works to lift up her teammates in every practice and competition. “I would say from the amount of time we spend together, you can see our off days and our good days. You get to see each other improve and have setbacks and you are still always there for each other,” Liu said. “Yes, I compete against my best friends, but that doesn’t really change us because there may be competitiveness, but there isn’t tension.” Not only does Liu have her teammates and coaches to guide and teach her, but she is constantly learning from those who she looks up to and is inspired by. “There were always people in my club who were older than me and were my role models on the ice,” Liu said. “Just seeing how much they persevered and continuously practiced and worked hard made me want to do everything like them.” Despite her success as a figure



Finding the right words is one of the trickiest parts of journalism. Use one wrong adjective or punctuation mark, and suddenly your intended message is lost in translation. A photo, however, can capture what words cannot. While there’s still room for the viewer’s interpretation, a picture can tell a story full of emotion and underlying messages that the artist is hoping to convey to their viewers. Photojournalism uses a sequence of images to relay a story to audiences, and is truly a special form of art. Over-tourism is a multi-faceted issue that many landmark locations face as tourism is on the rise. New York City is one of the world’s most visited cities, with its enticing culture, timeless attractions and some of the best food in the world. However, with more and more people coming to visit, the city’s focus on tourism shifts as it brings in economic reward. These images depict how society is responding to this pressure to entertain in addition to how tourists are treating and viewing the city they admire. Although overtourism is often associated with a negative connotation, it also provides jobs that would otherwise be nonexistent.

Women dressed in festive attire grab a drink after posing for photos with tourists



Naked cowgirl converses with strangers wandering through Times Square

A crowd gathers around the World Trade Center Memorial


A Coney Island trash bin shows the dire effects of tourism on our environment


An unidentified Coney Island dancer works to gather a crowd for her upcoming performance


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The 1980s was an electric decade known for its bold colors, funky patterns, and permed hair. Recently, however, signature 80s inspired looks have made a comeback with a twenty-first-century twist. 19


neon, multi-colored windbreaker lays on top of an AC/DC graphic tee. Paired with light blue mom jeans and bulky white sneakers, the look is complete. This outfit, while a popular look for teenagers living in the 1980s, reflects a style that has recently been revived in adoration from a newer generation of youth. Numerous social media influencers are pioneers of this comeback; Violet Sky, a singer-songwriter who goes by the Instagram handle of @glitterwave80s, is known for bringing back authentic ‘80s trends into her life. “I incorporate basically all of it, nothing is too outdated or too outrageous,” Sky said. Since 2016, Sky has presented her take on the ‘80s decade through thrifted finds, covers of popular 1980s songs and bold outfits which she posts to Instagram. Because second-hand clothing gives a more authentic feel when representing ‘80s fashion, thrift shopping has risen in popularity. Sky has partaken in this fad and prides herself on thrifting ‘80s clothing pieces. “I’ve thrifted a lot in the past years and revamped my wardrobe so most of the things I have are vintage,” Sky said. This cultural movement of cyclical fashion allows entire generations to adopt old fashion trends. “In the late 20th-century, fashion revivals as second-hand goods tend to appear in the markets and are then reclaimed as fashionable thrifted styles by

younger generations who did not wear the clothing in the first cycle,” fashion historian and lecturer at the Fashion Institute of Technology and NYU Sarah Byrd, said. Sky has noticed that while her style is an extreme homage to ‘80s fashion, many of the trends that were introduced in the decade have come back more subtly and to a large part of the public. “I definitely think that some ‘80s style is coming back, like fan-

had the same jacket!’” Sky said. People are drawn to things that make them feel sentimental, a large factor in the revival of vintage clothing. “Nostalgia is a big influence in recycling fashions,” Byrd said. “The 1980s were full of past fashion revivals too, so it’s really a process of revisiting the past and tweaking the components to appear fashionable in the present moment.” Many feel that the rise in technology in recent decades has created a dramatic change in social dynamics. This has led to the 1980s now being commonly regarded as a simpler time with a greater sense of societal togetherness than today. “We live in a world of technology and social isolation to a degree so I think people romanticize the ‘80s because it was one of the last generations that didn’t have the communication gap we have today,” Sky said. Besides the aesthetic, the confident connotation of the decade’s fashion inspires enthusiasts to exemplify confidence. “In the 1980s, people weren’t afraid to stand out or be themselves,” Sky said. “People could wear loud makeup, have really big hair and wear bright colors, having their own style but also still fit into the trends because anything went.” The decade’s style has also become popular on Paly’s campus, serving as an inspiration for students’ fashion choices. “I mix a lot of different eras together because most

“In the 1980s, people weren’t afraid to stand out or be themselves,”


- Violet Sky ny packs and high waisted jeans,” Sky said. “A lot of people watch the show Stranger Things and have been inspired by it to try and incorporate a vintage look into their wardrobe.” Even though ‘80s fashion is coming back into style, Sky still receives the occasional judgmental looks and negative comments in reaction to her flamboyant style. Still, she mainly experiences positive feedback on her outfits. “I get a lot of support and nice comments from people, especially adults who lived through the ‘80s and tell me, ‘Hey, I

of my clothing is thrifted, but the majority of my clothing is late ‘80s and ‘90s inspired,” junior Marina Buendia said. “I buy whatever catches my eye but I wear a lot of high waisted jeans, headbands, hair accessories, chunky earrings and big sneakers.” Buendia’s interest in ‘80s fashion started when she went through her mom’s photo albums and old magazines. “A lot of the clothing really stood out to me,” Buendia said. “I just think it’s so colorful and unique, especially now that it’s a bit harder to find. It became something I thought was really cool.” As alternatives to second-hand shopping, new brands that put a modern twist on ‘80s trends are emerging. In 2011, Chubbies, a clothing brand known for its men’s shorts and flamboyant clothing, was established and has since become popular for many college and high school students. On top of their shorts, Chubbies also sells bathing suits, loungewear and many other flashy clothes.

For Tommy Hall, a junior at Paly, Chubbies is a brand that provides options that match his ‘80s style consisting of high socks, color windbreakers and high shorts. “I thought their clothing items fit really well with my personality,” Hall said. “The brighter colors appeal to me because that’s the kind of person I am, bright with a lot of energy and my clothes help reflect that well.” In addition to the patterns and design, the success of Chubbies is primarily credited to their short shorts. Many other brands such as Lululemon and Bird Dog have implemented the shorter style for workout shorts and swimsuits. With the rise of second-hand shopping and nostalgic media, the modern era of fashion has been heavily influenced by the iconic styles of the 1980s. “I don’t think ‘80s fashion is coming back, I believe it is already back with a 21-century twist,” Hall said. “[80s fashion] allows every person to add their own touch to what they wear.”

“80s fashion allows every person to add their own touch to what they wear.”

- Tommy Hall


double sided thrillers From tackling issues of race and social class to poverty and mental health, directors reveal deeper societal messages within recent movies such as "Joker," “Us “and “Parasite. “



US Jordan Peele A fter director Jordan Peele’s success in the film “Get Out,” which won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, he returns with another eye-opening thriller. “Us,” featuring Lupita Nyong’o, who plays the main protagonist Adelaide Wilson, follows her family on their trip to Santa Cruz which makes a turn for the worse when the “tethered” come out of hiding in the tunnels in which they’ve lived and start terrorizing families on the surface. In both movies, Peele shows how marginalized groups in society rebel against injustice for revenge. Throwback scenes to Adelaide’s past show the audience a traumatic experience that occurred at the Santa Cruz beach when she was a little girl but doesn’t completely fill in the audience on the events that occurred at the beach. Only by the end of the movie does it reveal the twisted events that happened to Adelaide on the beach many years ago.

The introduction to the movie is a prolonged zoom-out of bunnies trapped in cages in an isolated futuristic white room. Later in the movie, it is revealed that the bunnies are their only food source. Critics believe that the bunnies symbolize the innocence that is consumed by the doppelgangers. Peele includes many other themes that are often missed but hold strong and powerful messages. In the movie, the doppelgangers are also bound to the main characters, yet their brutality highlight another theme: all people have a dark, more sinister side to them that they cannot rid themselves of. This is further demonstrated when the doppelgangers rise up together and link themselves, strengthening the idea of violence and darkness that can easily accumulate and unite people, if one allows it to overcome their morality and humanity.

By highlighting the doppelgangers as not an inverse personality, but rather an innate part of each person, Peele brings up the terrifying idea that no matter what one does, it is hard to fully let go of their darker, more brutal side. This implies that if one is not careful, they may be turned to the hands of violence and evil. Aside from addressing many uncomfortable themes of society and individuality, Peele creates a cinematic masterpiece. The periodically long silences create uncomfortable tension that leaves viewers wondering about the next jump scares or plot of the movie. The movie is aesthetically pleasing — the movie successfully brings together harsh light, deep shadows and unnatural colors to once again reinforce the tension as well as leave viewers captivated by the beauty on the screen.

Parasite Bong Joon-ho lack comedy thriller “Parasite,” a South Korean film directed by Bong Joon-ho, tackles the same themes of poverty and the class divide present in “Us,” propelling it to one of the most popular international films of 2019. The story of the Kim family begins with son Ki-woo telling his family about his new job. With the recommendation of a friend, Ki-woo poses as a university student and infiltrates the wealthy Park household as an English tutor. Seeking to attain higher-paying jobs, the Kim family engages in a series of schemes until the entire family is working for the Park family but pretending to be unrelated to each other. All too quickly, however, their tangled web of lies catches up to them, and it becomes clear that no amount of cunning will elevate them from their positions in poverty.


Paralleling the Kim family’s lower class with the cockroaches that scurry from the light into the shadows, their struggles juxtaposed with the Park family’s first world problems highlight the class differences in South Korea. This humorous film takes an unexpectedly dark turn as the Park family takes on their own “parasite” and both households crumble. With each plot twist, small details and symbolism emerge as the audience observes both a physical and social difference in altitude: with the Parks living on a hill and the Kims deep down in a basement, it is clear that no matter what face the Kims try to put forward to the Parks, they will never be the same. The film’s messages of classism and poverty paint the unfortunate truth of how the problems of those in poorer circumstances are more often swept under the rug while the

rich live in the light. While the Kims are left to waste away in the shadows, unseen and unheard, the Parks are blissfully ignorant of the struggles that the poor have to experience until a very rude awakening. “What makes ‘Parasite’s’ take on class warfare so special is how focused and straightforward it is while not coming off as sentimental or boring like many grounddeep movies do,” Paly junior Tim Hung said. Maintaining humor and shocking elements throughout, “Parasite” keeps audiences engrossed in the plot, while its obvious thematic statements are easily readable yet not flagrantly displayed. By means of all of its comedy and thrills, “Parasite” conveys on a deeply truthful and poignant story that resonates with critics and audiences worldwide. “I hope more movies like ‘Parasite’ come out that can shed light on our society in a widely appealing way,” Hung said.

The Final Word

Joker Todd Phillips fter months of high anticipation, “Joker” was finally released in October, reinventing the tale of Gotham City’s villain in a tragic light. After coming to terms with a traumatic past, Joker transforms from simply a party clown to one more sinister villain, dedicated to overthrowing the unfairness of society. Director Todd Phillips intentionally sets an unsettling dynamic to emphasize the tension and the spiraling mental control of the Joker, played by actor Joaquin Phoenix. Matched with Phoenix’s uncanny ability to mirror the drama and spontaneity of the Joker’s persona, the movie truly is a masterpiece that sheds new light on the character’s background and evolution. The movie follows Arthur Fleck, who would later call himself the Joker, and his captivating performance as he breaks away from the isolation and pain he has experienced throughout his life. Many enjoyed the movie, as it included more background about the Joker’s evolution in comparison to other movies featuring the Joker, like the Batman series, which only portrayed the Joker as the antagonist who committed crimes without justification. Living in the rundown streets of New York, Fleck learns how to stand up for himself against adversity. Exposing deep family secrets and lies, Fleck’s persona shifts from one that was once was fostered by his mother to an artistic, creative and independent individual. Some, however, found that the movie was too dark. “While it was interesting to see a new take on the Joker films, I did not enjoy it because of the violence and the way it portrayed mental health,” Mountain View High School junior Arushi Singh said. A recent interview on Jimmy Kimmel’s “Saturday Night Live” brought to attention the extreme amount of weight that Phoenix lost for the movie. Certain scenes in the movie show close shots of Phoenix’s shockingly skinny body. After this interview, many voiced their opinion on the unhealthy way that he was forced to lose weight for the movie. Phoenix was not the only actor cast as Joker who underwent substantial mental and physical effort in order to transform into the character. Heath Ledger, who played the Joker character in previous films passed away at age 28 after filming “The Dark Knight,”



the 2008 movie in the Batman series. It was concluded that Ledger may have died from an intentional drug overdose. Many speculate that his death was partially a result of the level of emotional immersion Ledger had with his character, who suffered mental turmoil. “Joker” speaks the tragic story of a character crushed for years under society’s rules due to his differences. As a result, he rises up and throws the city into anarchy. The movie is marked by the motif of inequality — through the press, comedy shows and ideas on mental illness. It highlights a truth that in society, those who are suppressed by societal rules may turn to violence to reach retribution. With the recent mass shootings over the past couple of years, many hesitated before its release, fearing it would motivate and empower those who felt marginalized to act out in response to the movie. Many have a lovehate reaction with the movie and its strong messages of embracing anarchy as a means to escape the harsh realities of life. “Honestly, with messages related to mental health and mass killings, I did not see any positive messages,” Singh said. “I guess it was trying to spread the message of how the common, underrepresented man that is ignored by society should speak up against injustice.”

espite following very different genres, “Joker,” “Us” and “Parasite” tackle similar societal issues through commentary. Touching serious themes of mental health and the class divide, all three films comment on the marginalization of people based on disability, race or social standing. Especially in today’s social climate, the significance of pointing out the divisions between groups through the widespread medium of film sends a strong message to audiences. Human nature makes many people quick to call out the “other” and be afraid of anything they cannot understand. Modern efforts in social activism have sought to smooth out this issue, but complicated sentiments arise when differences are brushed over rather than celebrated. “Film has the ability to get marginalized voices out there and give us a way to look back at our history and reflect on it,” Hung said. These themes resonate deeply with wide audiences because of the ease of access to film, especially due to the adoption and increased popularity of streaming platforms. Film has the uncanny ability to both show and tell a story so viewers can interpret layers upon layers of meaning despite not necessarily having an extensive education in film analysis. Because of this, film is a powerful force that can bring attention to significant issues that we have unwittingly allowed to plague our society today. Providing audiences with an outsider perspective to a world behind a screen, movies provoke deep introspection and hold up mirrors to our own world. Like many media influencers, those involved in film use their public platform to address important issues, which usually spread positive conversation. With actors using their celebrity status to call attention to issues that matter, viewers around the country can be included in the conversation surrounding these controversial topics. As film continues to evolve and tackle new societal matters, it is clearly a powerful platform to promote global conversations among audiences all over the world.



The Am erican Dream Almost 90 million immigrants have come from all over the world to live in the United States. Whether they came by boat, car, airplane or even on foot, each has a story full of challenges and sacrifices, leaving their homelands behind in search of a brighter future. These incredible stories reflect the array of “American Dreams” existing for people living in the U.S. today.


Pedro Rivas Lopez


edro Rivas Lopez, a current bay area resident, grew up with his parents, five sisters and three brothers in Cumuatillo—a small town in Michoacán, Mexico. People stood on the side of the dusty roads and sold mangoes and lemons to the cars that passed. Church bells rang and the cows roamed the land. “The next thing you know, I’m getting a haircut, I’m getting new clothes, I’m getting jewelry, I’m learning this new language, and it’s all very sudden,” Rivas Lopez said. At age five, he was forced into a new identity; his mother kept telling him his name was now Robert and to forget his past as Pedro. His next memory was waking up on a bus surrounded by his family and other immigrants. “As I looked to my left, I saw my mom’s hands clasped together, holding the rosary, and she was just praying and I just heard prayers bouncing off seats,” Rivas Lopez said. Continuing to look around the bus, Rivas Lopez remembers meeting the eyes of other confused children while their mothers prayed for their lives. “Then I heard that we were going to have to hide and have to run a lot,” Rivas Lopez said. The further the bus drove away from his home, the more worried he became. Rivas Lopez suddenly woke up in the


backseat of his aunt’s car with his cousin and six-year-old brother. His father was in the passenger seat. “I remember being afraid because I didn’t know where my mom was or where my other siblings were,” Rivas Lopez said. As they approached the border, Rivas Lopez recounts seeing swarms of vicious

"Dogs were barking on chains and helicopters were hovering.” dogs and men in uniform. “That’s when the documents came out,” Rivas Lopez said. “And that’s when everything started to make sense.” While they successfully crossed the border, Rivas Lopez still did not know where the rest of his family was. He soon found that his mother and siblings were illegally crossing the border, through mountains and mud, on foot; they were forced to hide during their arduous journey. “My mom said that she was hiding under a ditch, and it was muddy and it was cold,” Rivas Lopez said. “There were rats

lurking. Dogs were barking on chains and helicopters were hovering over them.” Despite the incredibly horrific trek, they managed to make it past the border. Upon arriving in Fresno County, Rivas Lopez and his family of 11 lived in a rundown, abandoned office for a month that was full of spiders and snakes. He wondered why their family left their decent home in Mexico to reside in such living conditions. After a month of living together in the one-roomed office, his family moved into a real house in the same town. That’s when Rivas Lopez and his siblings began going to school. “We were told that in America we were going to have an equal opportunity to go to school and to get a career going for ourselves,” Rivas Lopez said. Even at his young age, Rivas Lopez began to understand that his parents were putting their family through this dangerous journey full of sacrifice so he and his siblings could get a good education and become professionals in the workforce. His parents wanted them to have a life where they were financially stable and had ample opportunities. Only a few months passed by, however, before Rivas Lopez’s dad pulled his older siblings out of school. “They needed to go to work to make money so that we could survive and actually live in America,” he

said. One of his older brothers was determined to receive a good education, but during his sophomore year of high school, he was forced to drop out as the family needed more financial help. His dad bought a grocery store in hopes of bringing their family to a place with more financial comfort, but even after that, his family was unable to make ends meet. Their idea of the American Dream, the one they had sacrificed so much for, began to diminish right in front of their eyes. They were becoming desperate. “So my dad started to sell drugs,” Rivas Lopez said. Instantly, his family was able to buy things that they not only needed but wanted. His dad didn’t tell Rivas Lopez, nor his siblings, about selling drugs, and they didn’t question the sudden influx of money as they assumed it was from the success of the grocery store. While the money provided their family with more flexibility, the associated luxuries didn’t last for long. “My dad was caught, and then he was incarcerated,” Rivas Lopez said. For seven years, his dad served his sentence in a Texas federal prison and missed various important milestones

throughout Rivas Lopez’s adolescence. “My dad didn’t see me graduate from my middle school graduation. My dad didn’t see me graduate from high school, nor did he see me in college,” he said. “But every graduation I dedicated to him.”

In 2007, Rivas Lopez’s father was deported back to Mexico following his release from prison. Soon after, his mother decided to move back to Mexico with him. Ri-

vas Lopez remembered his mother saying “F**k the U.S.. That country has raped me and my family and I’m not going back.” Rivas Lopez’s parents often call him, telling him to come back to Mexico. “So I ask them, ‘What about all the sacrifice that you made for me to come out here and find this American Dream?’ And my parents say, ‘Well we didn’t find it’,” he said. Rivas Lopez often visits his family in Mexico but does not plan on moving back to Mexico anytime in the near future. A large part of Rivas Lopez’s dream is to be financially comfortable. It’s about not having to worry about who is paying the rent or about how to pay for the next meal. He dreams of not having to worry about any of the things his parents were burdened with throughout his childhood. Rivas Lopez is now living in East Palo Alto and is one of the new program directors at Dreamcatchers—a tutoring resource for low-income students in the Palo Alto Unified School District. He plans to continue working hard to live comfortably and attain American freedoms. “I think that America will give you freedom, but I think you have to work really hard for it.”

Kate Lee


orn in South Korea, Kate Lee’s journey to the United States began at Stanford University, 15 years before she would move there permanently. She first traveled to America with her husband as a foreign exchange student— studying as an undergraduate for one year while her husband got his Ph.D.—before returning home. Her life then continued in South Korea, starting a family with her husband, until two years ago when she decided it was time for a change. “There were only four major reasons, three of them were primarily family reasons,” Lee said. “I didn’t get to see my husband, except just one day a week. After I became a mom, my little children didn’t get to see their daddy, except Sunday. And I thought that this is not worth it, you know, we don’t live to work.” South Korea is notorious for a rigorous and exhausting work culture with employees expected to work long hours, which ultimately comes at the expense of time with

family or friends. For Lee, family was more important than any job. “I wanted to raise my children with my husband,” she said. Another concern for Lee was the intense expectations placed on children in South Korea. “There’s too much pressure on little children when they are not even elementary school students,” Lee said. “Asian parents were thinking that it’s important to train your children as soon as possible, as early as possible, which means that you start tutoring math when your child is six years old and I thought that was insane.” Although Silicon Valley is known as a hub for academic pressure in the United States, by Korean standards, the expectations are considered lenient. Her children’s health and happiness were being threatened not only by the academic culture in South Korea, but also by the air quality. “The air quality in Korea was getting worse and worse because of China; when the wind blows from west to east, all of those polluted airs were coming to Korea,” Lee said. “When I was looking

at my little children, I wanted them to have a good childhood and be able to play outside whenever they want to.” Though her family has always been her first priority, Lee’s own professional career factored into the decision to move to the United States. She had been working for Google in Korea for eight years and decided that she needed to explore new opportunities. “When you’re working in one thing, for many years, you have to broaden your horizons to expose yourself to a new set of opportunities or challenges,’’ she said. “Opportunities opened in the [Google] headquarter office, which is in Mountain View.” After she received the position, she and her husband agreed to move their family across the world, uprooting their lives in South Korea. Their eyes were set on the future, with Lee’s heart and mind firmly grasped by the prospect of raising her children side-byside with her husband.


Kiana Tavakoli


acking up their entire lives, Kiana Tavakoli and her family left South Africa in search of a more prosperous and safe life in the United States when she was just eight years old. Leaving behind family members, friends and the beautiful city of Cape Town was difficult for her family of five, but they were willing to leave to start a better life. Because of how young Tavakoli was during her move, she did not fully grasp what was occurring but was overwhelmed with emotion when it was time to leave. “On the day we left, we drove up a big hill to get to the airport,” she said. “I distinctly remember looking out the window while crying because I saw the ocean and the buildings that I would never see again.” Leaving South Africa, Tavakoli’s parents inevitably sacrificed the lives they had built for themselves there. “I think it was hard to leave my childhood friends behind, but it was harder for my parents because they left behind all their businesses and hard work that they had built over the years,” Tavakoli said. “They left behind their friends that they’ve known for so many years and family.” In South Africa, her parents owned three properties that were located next to each other: a hotel, their home and a block of apartments. Around these properties was a fence that acted as a boundary. “Because it was unsafe, I never walked or played on the streets alone, so I was really lucky to have this a huge space that was enclosed so I could still be creative and have fun in nature,” Tavakoli said. While this little piece


of paradise within the fence may seem surreal to a little kid, her parents knew that as the children grew up, they would need to venture outside the safety of their property and have space to experience the world and grow—something that they could not easily or safely do in Cape Town. Years before the Tavakoli family left Cape Town, they felt the desire to move from their unfriendly neighborhood but decided to wait longer in the hope of seeing

"The economy was unstable, and the politics were unstable, so you never felt safe.”

a change in their country. “The economy was unstable, and the politics were unstable, so you never felt safe,” she said. When their country’s conditions failed to improve over time, they began their journey to the United States. While it would be their first time going to the United States as a family, Tavakoli’s father had previously made the journey from Iran to America at 16 years old. “My dad’s American Dream was to come here and get a good education, get a job and become wealthy, but when he moved here, he had no money,” Tavakoli said. Because he could not afford to pay for his education, he chose which college to

attend based on the scholarship they could offer. Tavakoli’s dad ended up with a full scholarship and lived with his coach for the school’s gymnastics team, who provided him not only a place to stay but also meals every day. After college, Tavakoli’s father moved to San Francisco to kickstart his aspiration of starting his own businesses. With hard work and dedication, he was able to achieve this dream. A few years later, he moved to South Africa, where he met his wife and proceeded to build businesses together and created a steady life for themselves in Cape Town. Unfortunately, the unstable economy and lack of safety forced the Tavakoli family to make the 10,000 mile move to the United States in 2011. Tavakoli’s parents gave up everything they had in South Africa to provide their children with a better, safer future. “[My father] wanted us to start out with the resources that he didn’t have, and wanted us to have a good education,” Tavakoli said. Because of the sacrifices made by her parents, Tavakoli has been given the opportunity to explore her passions and discover what she dreams of achieving one day. “For a lot of people, the American Dream is just making money or having a family, which are good things, but I feel like, for me, there’s not one dream,” Tavakoli said. “I just want to be happy and be able to explore and experience a wide range of things.”

Anna & Mark Meyer


orn in 1923, Anne Meyer grew up in Vallendar, Germany, a small town in the district of Mayan-Koblenz. Meyer had a comfortable upbringing with her parents and sister and often recounted fond memories of her beloved childhood home. While she passed away in 2018 at the age of 95, her story is kept alive by her loving son, Mark Meyer, and the memoir she published in 2012. At age 12, Meyer and her sister, raised in a jewish household, left their hometown and joined the Kindertransport to escape Nazi persecution. Throughout World War II, she hid in various homes as she struggled to escape and survive. Ultimately, she would become the only one of her immediate family to survive the Holocaust. Meyer traveled from homes to churches and beyond to escape the same fate that the rest of her family tragically faced. In her memoir, Meyer recalls a time when she had an encounter with a Nazi soldier. As he attempted to converse with her, Meyer responded in fluent French instead of her native tongue. Only able to speak German, the soldier could not understand her and left. In 1947, at age 24, Meyer learned of a first cousin who lived in San Francisco, California—she finally had a way to escape her past and start a new life full of hope and opportunity. “She didn't have anybody else, or anywhere else to go,” Mark said. This family connection gave Meyer the means to leave Germany and start a new life in America. For Meyer, America meant opportunity and the chance for her to be a part of something bigger than the fear she faced in her home-country. “Her

dream was safety, security and the ability to do whatever she couldn't do when she was growing up,” Mark said. That was her American Dream—to have the ability to do whatever she felt like doing, be free and not be limited by the government because of her religion. Soon after arriving in America, Meyer realized that the next step in her journey would be to apply for citizenship so she could continue living a life of freedom. “It was a big deal for her to get her citizenship, she took all the classes and did all the

studying she had to do to take the test to become a citizen,” Mark said. Meyer considered gaining citizenship as one of her greatest accomplishments in life because she was now able to vote and hold an American passport. With all that America represents, she was finally able to call it home and accept everything it had to offer. Soon after, she met her husband, Joseph Meyer, and they had two kids. Meyer had successfully started a new life, one with security and safety. Mark is a first-generation American and was born into a life of safety and freedom— one his parents did not have the privilege of growing up with. As a child, he did not

have to worry about who he was, living in fear that he or his family might not see the end of each day.“When I was growing up, we didn't know what it really meant to be first-generation Americans,” Mark said. “We didn't know any better, we were just regular people.” Throughout his adolescence, Mark always viewed his life as normal. While his parents spoke German to one another, nothing seemed out of the ordinary with his family. “[My parents] wanted us to speak English,” Mark said. “I did take German in junior high and high school, but there really was no pressure to not speak English.” His parents had worked so hard to create the life he was living, but their complicated and extensive backstory didn’t mean that much to him until he was able to understand what it really meant to be an American. “I appreciate what it means to be here far more when I am over 50 as opposed to when I was 15 or 20, and part of that is what's going on today with politics, but I also had the benefit of living outside of the United States for a long time and traveling a lot,” Mark said. “You appreciate what you have.” Over time, Mark has come to understand what his parents went through to come to America and he now appreciates the fact that he is living out their dream. As his life plays out, Mark understands the desires his parents hoped to fulfill in America. “I think for my parents [the dream] was to have a family and a house,” Mark said. “For me, it is something similar, but I also think [the dream] is feeling like you are making a contribution.”


America is a country of freedom and opportunity, extending its invaluable privileges as a beacon of hope for those suffering elsewhere. Many can only wish for such opportunities, but for some, this dream is willed into reality. Defined by perseverance and inspired by hope, the American Dream manifests itself in ways that make the greatest of feats appear within reach, waiting to be grasped.


Life after high school may seem like a one track road to a traditional four year college, but in reality, it is a journey with infinite diverging pathways waiting to be discovered. Text and design by SOPHIE JACOB and KIMI LILLIOS • Art by KIMI LILLIOS



nfluenced by his father, free education and a guaranteed job after graduation, Darby Felter decided to attend the United States Military Academy, widely known as West Point, after graduating from Paly in 2018. The application process for West Point is unlike that of traditional colleges and universities spanning the country. Apart from submitting test scores and transcripts, applicants are required to submit a congressional nomination and pass a Candidate Fitness Assessment, consisting of numerous physical standards that are intended to optimize candidates’ preparedness for the military. “Although I did not enjoy all the work involved in finishing the application, I’m glad that it’s so comprehensive,” Felter said. “West Point cares about more than just your grades and test scores. Physical aptitude, displaying leadership skills and getting a nomination help make potential candidates more competitive.” Once accepted, all freshmen are put through an intensive military training summer program, nicknamed BEAST, which teaches students basic soldier skills such as operating weapons, first aid and land navigation. Throughout the year, students receive a traditional education with the exception of required army classes and military training on the weekends. However, as Felter points out, many people are unaware of the significant benefits that West Point offers. “The main benefits of coming to West Point include a free $250,000 education, unparalleled leadership training, an automatic job out of college as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army, and the connections and network it creates between classmates and old graduates,” Felter said. One major cause of hesitation for high schoolers while considering West Point is the five-year requirement of active duty upon graduation. “In all honesty, before coming to West Point, I was not too excited about serving in the army for five years after I graduated, but that attitude has since changed,” Felter said. “Even though I’ve only been here for a few months, I’m already much more excited about serving in the army and see it as another exciting opportunity instead of a necessary evil.”

This experience changed Felter’s perspective of what it meant to attend West Point and the stereotypes he had encountered in high school. “My biggest misconception before coming to West Point was thinking that everyone here was a different breed of person and that I wouldn’t fit in with the ‘army’ crowd,” Felter said. “Having been here for a few months now has really altered my preconceptions because the vast majority of the people here are some of the most caring, intelligent, funny and allaround positive individuals to be around.” Approaching graduation, many choose not to apply to military academies because of the misconception that academics are not a priority at West Point or the lack of military presence in their hometown. Felter, however, encourages high schoolers to research West Point as well as the Air Force and Naval Academies and all of the associated opportunities. “West Point has a lot to offer individuals who decide to come here,” Felter said. “I can’t think of a better institution in the country to go to after high school.”

“I’m already much more excited about serving in the army and see it as another exciting opportunity instead of a necessary evil.” ­— Darby Felter 32



aly parent, Grahsem Ebrahimi has fond memories of growing up in the heart of Iran’s capital city, Tehran. Ebrahimi attended school religiously, but when he was a junior in high school, his education was cut short. “At that time, [Iran] had a huge revolution between the king and the Muslim regime, and they closed all the schools, which is why I was forced to quit,” he said. “I wish I had finished school, but the situation was really upside down and no one knew what was going on.” After leaving school, Ebrahimi went straight into the workforce to help provide for his family and earned enough money for his family to immigrate to the United States and pursue the American Dream. Once in America, Ebrahimi started buying and selling cars independently and eventually tran-

sitioned to a position at Honda Anderson, a job that has allowed him to support his family and lifestyle in Palo Alto for over a decade. Despite his well-earned success, Ebrahimi has encountered struggles in the past due to his lack of a high school diploma. “Especially around Silicon Valley, educated people have better jobs and earn a higher income,” Ebrahimi said. “Not graduating high school has shaped me a lot and I understand that I have to work harder.” Successfully joining the workforce without a “traditional education,” Ebrahimi emphasizes the importance of experience and the knowledge held by those around him. “I have a lot of experience regarding business and I was able to gain this knowledge through working next to successful people,” Ebrahimi said. “You can then apply these ideas to your own projects.” Given the circumstances of the political climate of Iran at the time of his high school years, Ebrahimi utilized experience as a method to compensate for not being able to complete his education. Even though Ebrahimi did not have the means to graduate high school, he continues to value the importance of education, whether it be from schooling or working. “Especially with today’s new technology, people must have knowledge about everything they do,” he said. “I think it’s very important to be educated.”


fter her high school graduation, Paly Social Studies teacher Mary Sano planned on attending the University of Colorado. But soon after she arrived on campus, Sano realized that college wasn’t the right fit for her at that time of her life. “I didn’t know what I wanted from university and I wasn’t mature enough to deal with it, so I dropped out of school,” Sano said. “That’s when I started traveling.” Sano first visited the Mediterranean and fulfilled her lifelong passion of experiencing the ancient classics. “My time in Greece has taken me back again and again because of a connection to it that was really forged through my love of the history and literature,” she said. She later traveled to Africa and endured a treacherous hike. Filled with foreign insects and difficult terrain, Sano hiked through the thick jungle until finally coming face to face with the majestic creature she had traveled over 8,000 miles to see. “Coming upon the silverback gorilla, standing up in its full length, beating its chest and making funny noises at us was such an amazing experience and something I will definitely never ever forget,” she said.

“I feel so lucky to have had those times because I feel like a lot of my travels meant that I took off from the path that is most expected of us,” Sano said. “Traditionally, you go through four years of college, graduate school, then get an internship, next a job and eventually start working and I disrupted that system so many times along the way. But if I hadn’t, I don’t think I would have ever done those things in my entire lifetime.” This nontraditional pathway was a monumental decision in Sano’s life, but few high schoolers today seriously consider this an alternative to immediately entering a traditional college. “While you’re in high school, the options are limited but after that, there is every option available in the world,” Sano said. “And it bums me out that some kids feel that pressure to not even look at all the possibilities.” While students may or may not be successful in finding alternative post-secondary plans other than attending a traditional college, Sano believes that people should be more receptive to these ideas. “There is definitely something to opening yourself up to possibilities and you just can’t do that without taking a new orientation on things,” Sano said. “I wish that more kids, to the extent that they can, would really follow what fills them up and for some that might mean traveling.”


The Intuitive Over the years, the role of psychics has diversified, branching out into the spectrum of health and wellness.


he room is dim, with neon signs and flickering candles serving as the only source of light. Seated across a table with a red table cloth draped over it, the psychic awaits. Carefully, they lay out the intricately drawn tarot cards, explaining each caricature in the context of your life. Their hands run across the iridescent crystal ball, reading the cosmos and calling upon spirits. While holding your hand and delicately tracing the lines of your palm, the psychic explains your past and also predicts your future. This scene is often the expectation when one pictures a psychic, sometimes called an intuitive, at work. Popular culture and media portrayals depict psychics as often being eccentric and mystical. This common stereotype, however, is not true for all intuitives. In the past, psychics were widely known to profit off of claims of being able to predict the future and supposedly communicate with the dead. In modern times, the presence and awareness of psychics have increased to become more incorporated into therapeutic practices. Many celebrities, such as Gwenyth Paltrow and her brand GOOP, have begun endorsing psychics. Psychics such as Tyler Henry have risen in popularity on social media, communicating with past relatives of well-known influencers. Both celebrities and viewers are shocked to see how accurately Henry can communicate past events and moments with deceased loved ones. When watching psychics like Henry in action, skeptics and viewers often question the legitimacy


of these predictions and statements, and are left wondering how much of it is real? While it comes with its misgivings, seeking the help and insight of a psychic can have the potential to be beneficial. 34-yearold Alex McCormick found herself in this very situation. McCormick saw an intuitive recently out of curiosity. “I lost my dad when I was 12 really suddenly… I felt like I needed some kind of closure,” McCormick said. “I thought maybe that [seeing an intuitive] would give it to me.” She was able to meet with an intuitive named Misty Stam. The process of setting up the appointment was similar to making a doctor’s appointment. The only information McCormick was required to fill out was her name and phone number. When it came time for her session, McCormick didn’t wear any makeup and took off all of her jewelry including her wedding ring— she presented herself in a neutral way to disband any giveaways from her appearance about her person life. Immediately, the psychic said that two people were trying to enter the room. “It became obvious that the two people were my dad and my nana and she was saying things that were absolutely impossible for her to know, something I hadn’t even thought about,” McCormick said. Many of the details Stam shared were not accessible through the Internet. For Example, Stam was able to perfectly recount experiences of McCormick’s father. “My dad died of an asthma attack. She [Stam] was reaching for her chest and telling me how her chest felt tight,” McCormick said. “Misty said he was showing her how he couldn’t breathe.” With no prior knowledge of how McCormick’s father passed, Stam was able to

gather all of this solely from communicating with her father. Stam was also able to accurately describe details of his state at the hospital, down to the oxygen mask on his face. Although she was skeptical at first, McCormick’s experience proved to be different than what she expected. The nonchalant nature of the session made the experience more natural. “It was like a doctor’s office or a consult room,” McCormick said. Regardless of one’s beliefs, McCormick stresses the therapeutic potential of the experience. “It’s good for people just to get closure. I never got to say goodbye to my dad or my nana. It just gives you peace of mind.” Stam has practiced energy work for 10 years, currently practicing at Revitalize Integrated Body Systems, a chiropractor facility located in Menlo Park. Energy work is the practice of healing by harnessing the energy within the body. Stam describes energy as an internal force found within everyone. She began practicing energy work after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. She


spent a lot of time meditating, and in time began to heal herself and her body from this disease. During this journey, she felt that she opened up her senses. But this did not start when Stam got sick. Stam said, “When I look back, I realize that I was pretty intuitive and could tell what people were thinking, but I just thought everybody did. I didn’t know what to do with it,” When describing her profession Stam distances herself from the label of “psychic” and instead identifies this aspect of her profession as an intuitive. She describes the intuitive session as therapeutic and healing. “As a message is being delivered by someone on the other side, the person here receiving could be hearing the message they wanted to hear their whole life,” Stam said. Frequently the spirit will come into the session and ask if they can take all that energy they left on that person that is still here. Stam says she often sees this occur between deceased parents that are contacted by their children. Mediumship gives the parent a chance to say things they never got to say to their child. Stam explained that when you die you can see your entire life before you, which provides a time for reflection. “They will say something like, ‘I was not the best parent, I am sorry,’ then they will give details of a behavior or habit,” Stam said. “Then they will want to move that energy off because it

is not even the person who is living or their energy.” Stam’s abilities are not limited to herself. She believes that the intuitive ability can be accessed by anyone, specifically manifested in the form of instinct. “Some people are better at hearing things, knowing things, sensing things. A lot of people want to have that clear voiance and see, but that can be tricky. I always teach, use your gut instincts,” she said. Stam describes her abilities as far-reaching. “I can reach those hundreds of years back, deceased animals, people with Alzheimer’s,[and] people who check out spiritually,” Stam said.

memories were remembered again but in a less harmful way. While that experience was partially negative, it allowed Lawrence to self reflect on her life. Similar to McCormick, Lawrence was able to connect with a deceased relative. Although Lawrence’s deceased grandmother passed away when Lawrence was very young and she doesn’t have many memories of her, Lawrence was still able to connect with her grandmother. Through this session, Lawrence’s grandmother said that she loves Lawrence, and she mainly spoke of her relationship with Lawrence’s mother. Lawrence said that her grandmother spoke of a fruit tree, and Stam was able to see that she and her mom had the same eye color. Soon after, Lawrence messaged her mom to tell her that her mother way sorry and was unhappy with the life she was living. The profession of being a psychic or intuitive has become more broad, going beyond the common misconceptions of being overtly mystical. Intuition has the potential to be therapeutic, benefiting individuals. “It’s just like thinking spiritually, it is really beautiful,” Stam said. Intuitives, like Stam, prove that those within the profession are just normal members of society.

“The person could be hearing the message they wanted to hear their whole life.”

Misty Stam

When meeting with clients, Stam begins by feeling the specific person’s energy. Their energy can lead the session, as well as other guiding forces such as what Stam calls “Guardian Angels.” The spirits she communicates with do not appear in the full-fleshed form, but in an outline of energy, similar to the energy that radiates off of the concrete street on a hot day. With her clients, Stam includes intuition as well as some glimpses into the future in order to instill a positive outlook. Although psychics can help people reconnect with themselves, they also can reopen memories locked in your subconscious that your brain has worked to suppress. While on a retreat in Thailand, Katie Lawrence, another client of Stam’s, partook in craniosacral therapy, a type of therapy that uses human touch on synarthrodial joints and promotes a cure for many health conditions. “I don’t know what happened, but it unlocked a bunch of really bad memories of mine that I had suppressed, and I forgot about it,” Lawrence said. Then 12 years later in a recent session with a psychic, these


Under Dressed

Many schools enforce dress codes, claiming that revealing clothing distracts from student learning. After past PAUSD incidents regarding student attire, progress has been made to ensure that clothing is an outlet for expression, not judgment.



“There were 20 of us just lined up and we were all sixth graders. I don’t even think we [had] learned what the dress code was.” Sophie Kadifa he first day of school can be nerve-wracking for anyone. But being singled out by an authoritative figure for a dress code violation just adds to the stress of a new school year. Paly juniors Sophie Kadifa and Hana Erickson, for example, recall being dress coded for wearing shorts deemed too short within the first week of middle school. “I was wearing jean shorts,” Kadifa said. “It was on the second day of sixth grade and [the vice principal] had a line of girls behind her. She walked down the hallway and started pointing at girls [saying] ‘Get in line, get in line.’ There were 20 of us just lined up and we were all sixth graders. I don’t even think we [had] learned what the dress code was.” For a school to establish a dress code, the aim is to shift students’ attention from their classmates’ exposed skin to their schoolwork. However, the effort to enforce dress codes has unintentionally placed clothing under the spotlight and detracts from the learning environment, particularly targeting girls. “It was our first day at Jordan on our own, and we had just finished Jaguar Journey,” Erickson said. “She made us write down all of our names on a piece of paper. I think it was just to scare us.” Often, shorts, spaghetti-strap tank tops and crop tops fall under the inappropriate section of a school’s dress code, limiting acceptable clothing to only modest and conservative styles. Schools without restrictive dress codes often issue mandatory school-wide uniforms, revoking students’ freedom to wear their regular clothes. Generally, schools have established dress codes under the presumption that revealing and inappropriate clothing will distract from learning. The infamous “finger-tip rule” ensures that students’ shorts are longer than fingertip length when held to one's side. This regulation is often coupled with a two-finger-width strap rule and prohibiting shirts that reveal the midriff. Students are punished for wearing these improper clothes and forced to change into loaner clothes — something more appropriate — until the school day ends. In middle school, however, these aggressive policies on clothing can seem shocking to children who are just beginning to explore their own clothing choices and self expression. This raises a new issue where students are forced to conform when they don’t under-


stand that their clothing is a problem to start with. “It was weird because I was twelve — so I was a baby — and I never thought about people staring at my body before,” Kadifa said. “The incident made me self conscious because I realized that I was supposed to cover up so that boys wouldn’t stare at me.” Unlike many public schools, Paly does not enforce a serious dress code on students, which is reflected in the school handbook. Under the “Appearance and Dress” section of the “Palo Alto High School 2019-2020 Student Handbook,” students “must be within the limits of decency, cleanliness, and appropriateness for school, and shall not interfere with teaching and learning.” The only additional enforced dress code exclusions are displaying illegal substances, alcohol, hinting at gang-related actions or inappropriate outfits, which is specified and defined with the line “bathing suits are not proper attire for school.” With no further clarification of appropriate clothing, students are left to interpret a blurry line between what is acceptable and what is not. Recently, district parents expressed concern about the alleged difference between the established middle and high school dress codes. There is no major difference between the dress codes at Paly and Greene Middle School because both schools’ nonspecific policies. As written in the “Greene Middle School 2019-2020 Handbook,” the school’s main expectation is “that students dress in a style that is conducive to learning.” The handbook also identifies that students’ clothing should be age-appropriate. Notable changes that made Greene’s dress code policy what it is today were prompted by dress code accusations against former student Eve Donnelly and her response to the situation. “The first teacher I denied to change [clothing] to was furious,” Donnelly said. “She called my parents, made hurtful personal remarks that had nothing to do with the situation and made me feel scared and judged.” After this incident, Donnelly noticed that the regulations consistently limited and called out female students more often than their male counterparts, which became more than apparent during an assembly about school expectations. “They literally said that the boys could ‘tune out’ the dress code presentation because it didn’t


apply to them,” Donnelly said. “They verbatim used the phrase ‘boys will be boys.’” Believing the dress code was outdated and specifically targeted female students, Donnelly was compelled to change the rules. “Being called out on my ‘inappropriate’ outfits made me feel gross, objectified and angry,” Donnelly said. “That’s what made me want to take action because I couldn’t just allow this to continue.” Despite facing backlash from adults in the community, Donnelly did not stop her campaign for a new clothing policy. She continued headstrong and proposed to a few teachers that the handbook needed some revisions. “[One of Donnelly’s teachers] came to the conclusion that just because she may feel uncomfortable that someone is dressed a certain way, that it is her own judgment and she can’t decide the way a person dresses,” Donnelly said. Though her dress code protest was successful, it took time to develop and execute. She talked with teachers, other students and the assistant principal in attempts to create change without much success. After persistently advocating for an adapted policy, she was able to change the dress code for future students. “The dress code before was the two-finger-width straps rule, no midriff, [and]

shorts [or] skirts below fingertips,” Donnelly said. Now, the Greene Handbook explains the dress code is focused on allowing students “to feel comfortable and express their individuality,” while also encouraging “students to keep their focus on learning [while] maintaining age-appropriate expectations.” While dress codes may limit students’ self expression, they replicate a professional workplace that students will face as they approach adulthood. By instituting these guidelines in junior high, students are able to be more conscious of their clothing when they begin higher education or enter the workplace. There are societal norms that have been ingrained in our community, but as a preteen it can be hard to understand what is socially acceptable to wear in public and what is not. This causes the need to regulate specific wardrobe choices among students who are not quite mature enough to make these decisions themselves. The effect of establishing a dress code and requiring appropriate clothing is not a question of how it impacts students' learning, but more of what is generally tolerated to wear in a public setting. As Kadifa said, “If someone is so distracted by what someone else is wearing, then they need to be taught a lesson about respecting people.”

“Being called out on my ‘inappropriate’ outfits made me feel gross, objectified and angry.” Eve Donnelly

In a largely male-dominated industry, a small number of female rappers have become successful against all odds , inspiring future generations of women and paving the way for more inclusion in hip hop.



ince the rap genre first went mainstream in the ‘70s and ‘80s, the hip hop industry has been a male-dominated field. Male rappers such as Notorious B.I.G and Ice Cube topped the charts for years while female rappers were far less popular. However, courageous women in the industry have worked to break down these cultural norms. Artists such as Blondie and Lauryn Hill are two of the few

women who dared to defy these odds and challenged the expectation of what a successful rapper looks like. Today, modern hip-hop artists like Nicki Minaj and Lizzo, influenced by a generation of women before them, have also climbed their way to the top and are proving themselves in an industry that has traditionally been wired against them.


ith her iconic sharp cheekbones and platinum blonde hair, Deborah Ann Harry, more commonly known as Blondie, is one of the most recognized female hip-hop artists of the century. Throughout her career, Harry produced several hit singles that sparked the American punk rock scene and was behind the first rap song to reach number one on the Billboard Top 100 Singles Chart. Before achieving success as a solo artist, Harry was part of a band named Blondie, which took off in the ’70s and became one of the biggest bands in rock by combining genres such as disco, rap and pop. In 1981, Harry split off from the band but kept the name Blondie as her renowned stage name, and her solo career peak-

ed in the late ’80s. Her career took a turn when she was diagnosed with depression and had to take time away from music to care for her partner, Chris Stein, who had an autoimmune disease. During this time, Harry turned to drugs and even considered herself a drug addict for a few years. Harry got better with time, and Blondie officially reunited in 1997. They released several new hits and even went on a world tour. Their renewed success prompted Blondie to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. Although Harry has endured a lot throughout her career, she will always be known for kick-starting the punk rock scene for women which has since taken the world by storm.


rom the beginnings of her solo career in the mid ’90s, Lauryn Hill has become recognized as one of the most influential rappers of all time. Her soulful voice, catchy tunes and relatable lyrics have inspired countless other female rappers to follow in her footsteps. Hill began her hip-hop career when she formed a rap group trio called Fugees with Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel at the age of 13. In 1994, when Hill was 18, they released their first album, “Blunted on Reality,” to mixed reviews. Their first real taste of mainstream success, however, came with the release of their second album. Their 1996 album, “The Score,” won them two Grammys and sold 17 million copies, making the trio the highest-selling rap group of all time. With the newfound success of the Fugees, Hill was cast into the spotlight, with her unique, soulful vocals drawing attention from critics and leaving fans wanting more from the young artist. Hill’s supporters finally got what they asked for with the release of Hill’s first solo project, 1998’s “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.” Featuring hugely successful singles such as “Doo-Wop (That Thing)” and “Ex-Factor,” the album


sold an astounding 19 million copies and won five Grammys, a Billboard Music Award and an MTV Award. “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” was Hill’s coming-ofage story of sorts, where she tackles emotional issues such as trust and distrust, her pregnancy, love and self-esteem. These were all issues that were rarely discussed in the hip hop scene, much less from a woman’s perspective. In addition, Hill fused traditional rap and R&B style vocals together and proved that the two genres could be seamlessly intertwined. Hill paved the way for more versatility in the hip hop industry, inspiring artists such as Kanye West and Drake to experiment with more vocals and emotional themes in their music. Hill has become emblemized as a hero for women in hip hop, paving the way for some of the most successful women to emerge in the rap scene, like Queen Latifah, Lil Kim and Nicki Minaj. She has reshaped and redefined the way people view hip hop, proving that there is power in showing emotion and fusing aspects of different genres, and most importantly, that women can make it in hip hop.



ince the start of her career in 2007, Nicki Minaj has expanded her title of a rap artist, to a world-renowned rapper, singer, songwriter, actress and model. Her career took off in the late 2000s after the release of a few mixtapes that caught the public’s attention and skyrocketed in 2010 following the release of her first studio album, Pink Friday. Minaj credits her eminent success to her damaging childhood. Following her move from Trinidad to Queens, New York, Minaj endured several years of psychological abuse stemming from her father. Minaj’s father was a severe drug addict and was very abusive to her mother. This experience growing up inspired her to focus on female empowerment. She believed her strength could empower other women to become stronger and change their lives for the better. “I’ve always had this female-empowerment thing in the back of my mind,” Minaj said in an interview with Details Magazine. “I wanted my mother to be stronger, and she couldn’t be. I thought, ‘If I’m successful, I can change her life.”

After her initial acting career failed, Minaj was determined to make it in the music industry. She began by taking on smaller roles as a background singer for other performers and eventually started writing her own material. She was discovered by Young Money Entertainment and signed to this label in 2009, becoming their first female artist in history. Since then, Minaj has grown to be an international pop sensation. She has won more awards for her music and has appeared in the Billboard Hot 100 charts more than any other woman in history, and became the first female rapper to sell over 50 million copies of each of her albums. Minaj’s empowering lyrics continue to circulate around the world, providing her fans with a sense of strength. Similar to how Blondie and Lauryn Hill were able to reach out to their listeners by talking about their struggles in life, Minaj has conveyed through her music that even within hardship you can find strength.


elissa Viviane Jefferson, better known by her stage name Lizzo, has recently become an instantly recognizable figure in the hip hop world, emblemized by her bold personality, extravagant clothing, and the confidence her music has instilled in her fans. However, her newfound success as a female hip hop artist comes as a product of hard work that had been years in the making. Jefferson’s musical career began at age 20, when she first moved to Minneapolis in 2011. Jefferson immersed herself in the city’s music scene, and after years of performing with several local bands, Jefferson released her first solo album, “Lizzobangers,” in September 2013 under the stage name Lizzo. The project was met with widespread acclaim and led Lizzo to gain even more exposure within the mainstream hip hop scene. Lizzo released many more singles, EPs and albums over the next few years, but it was the release of her 2019 full-length album, “Cuz I Love You,” that propelled Lizzo into the spotlight more than ever before. The album featured a diverse collection of songs that fused old-school and new-school hip hop with the soulful, almost gospel-like vocals seen in the R&B genre, similar to older artists such as Lauryn Hill.

Lizzo’s music gained recognition not only because of her powerful vocals and catchy melodies, but because of the way she uses her songs to empower all kinds of women. Lizzo has become an advocate for feminism and body positivity, both issues that have historically been unspoken of in rap. On the contrary, many classic rap songs were infamous for objectifying and degrading women in their lyrics. The lack of female perspectives in hip hop is something that Hailey Hwang, a junior at Paly, attributes to traditional sexist attitudes against women.“I think sexism and gender roles have been a part of the music culture for a long time and the music industry tolerates these themes as a form of self expression,” Hwang said. “Although I think that it’s great in music, sometimes people interpret it in their own way and it can shape society’s views.” Hwang is a fan of Lizzo’s music because of the upbeat and motivational lyrics, as well as the empowering messages behind them. “Her music really empowers strong female characteristics and encourages her audience to be confident in themselves instead of seeking validation from men,” Hwang said. “This contrasts traditional male rappers, who either don’t discuss women or discuss them in degrading ways.”


Top Albums:



Kanye West, “My Beautiful Dark Fantasy” (2010)

SM: Lorde, “Pure Heroine” (2013)

Special Mention: The Life Of Pablo (2016)



Frank Ocean, “Blonde” (2016)


Beyonce, “Beyonce” (2013)

Kendrick Lamar, “To Pimp a Butterfly” (2015)

Playboi Carti “Die Lit ” (2018)

SM: Travis Scott, “Rodeo” (2015)

SM: Solange, “A Seat at the Table” (2016)


Drake “Take Care ” (2011) SM: “Nothing Was the Same” (2013)

Special Mention: “Channel Orange” (2012)


Adele “21” (2011)


SZA “CTRL” (2017)

SM: Daniel Caesar, “Freudian” (2017)

SM: “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City” (2013)

[Based on a survey of 50 Paly students]



list courtesy of senior Aaron Chen


list courtesy of senior Laura Kim


list courtesy of senior Dean Casey

Gryffin, “Gravity” (2019)

NCT 127, “Regular” (2018)

Jason Aldean, “My Kinda Party” (2010)

Illenium, “Ashes” (2016)

f(x), “Pink Tape” (2013)

Jon Pardi, “California Sunrise” (2016)

Dabin, “Wild Youth” (2019)

BTS, “Map of Soul: Persona” (2019)

Florida Georgia Line, “Dig Your Roots” (2016)

Illenium, “Awake” (2017)

Ikon, “Return” (2018)

Riley Green, “County Line” (2018)

Said the Sky, “Wide Eyed” (2018)

Red Velvet, “Summer Magic” (2018)

Luke Bryan, “Crash My Party” (2013)

2010s Edition

Text by THEO L.J. • Design by ASHLEY GUO and RAJ SODHI

Hidden Gems!

Expand your horizon with these five underrated picks! Grimes, “Visions” (2012)

This electronic masterpiece that forges an new brand of electro-pop all its own. Disturbing themes lie under Grimes’ sweet, high-pitched voice which lends itself very well to the 80s synth leads and minimal production, as well as more modern electronic beats. Make no mistake, this album refuses to date itself to any time period. “Visions” remains Grimes’ definitive statement, a messy work of art pop that leaves everything on the table and will continue to intrigue anyone who dares to listen.

Sharon Van Etten, “Remind Me Tomorrow” (2019)

After a lengthy hiatus, Sharon Van Etten returned with her fifth album, and she did not disappoint. The Brooklyn songwriter’s passionate vocals are reinforced by production courtesy of John Congleton (St. Vincent), who drenched Van Etten’s lyricism in brooding synths, a strong contrast to the mellow indie sound of her previous albums. The tales of ex-boyfriends and drunken nights have been replaced by stories of a more mature love. “Remind Me Tomorrow” shows Van Etten becoming more emotionally grounded and upgrading her sound in the process.

David Bowie, “Blackstar” (2016)

Rarely does an artist write their epitaph quite like Bowie did. Written and recorded over a period in which he lost his battle with cancer, these songs grapple with Bowie’s mortality. Influenced by his affinity for jazz, “Blackstar” is built on rhythmic drums and dejected horns. The spacey soundscape is reminiscent of the industrial sound Bowie assumed in the ‘90s, but is much more dynamic against the acoustic instrumentation presented. Bowie’s final statement stands as the perfect conclusion of a musical legacy defined by its everchanging sounds.

Hana Vu, “How Many Times Have You Driven By?” (2018)

Don’t call it bedroom pop. Just 17 years old at the time of its release, Hana Vu’s mesmerizing vocals are layered in soft percussion and reverb-washed guitar leads. Vu’s soaring melancholic harmonies accompany her already striking presence add a heightened sense of emotion to these songs, most of which are very laid back in nature. Her voice makes the songs about usual teenage heartache movingly poetic, much more than her age suggests.

Lana Del Rey, “Norman F**king Rockwell” (2019)

In eight years, Lana Del Rey has established herself as the queen of indie music. Her debut, “Born to Die” established her as a sex symbol of American grandeur. Her later albums got darker in sound, descending into despondent trip-hop. Del Rey’s newest effort shows her sound mellowing and her lyrics taking on serious topics. Instead of recounting indulgent first-person tales, Del Rey sings from an author’s perspective, scripting vivid stories that highlight her songwriting talent and showing everyone that she will remain a force to be reckoned with.


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Without Borders THERE’S NO DOUBT Music differs from city to city. As Paly alumni begin the next chapters of their lives, they reflect on THE high school playlists THEY LOVED, and how new locations have altered their tasteS.




lost college freshman looks down at their map trying to find their first class, stumbling through the halls and pushing through hundreds of others trying to locate the right room. As they take in their new environment, they listen to the sounds of the new world that they now call home, As fellow Paly students go off to college, they not only experience a new environment but new genres of music as well. While many students hold onto the music that reminds them of home and old friends, some begin to immerse themselves in this new culture and embrace the new music that, a few years ago, they would have never imagined listening to. Popular music genres differ from state to state. With Nashville, Tennessee as the home of country music, the music scene is rich and immersive compared to that of Palo Alto. Gigi Tierney, a freshman at Vanderbilt University, has had the chance to appreciate a whole new genre of music within her first few months in Nashville. “Country is growing on me,” Tierney said. “I used to hate it but my roommate plays it so much that there are a couple of songs I like and would even play on my own.” Rosa Schaefer Bastian, a current student at the University of Toronto, describes her relationship with music as wide-ranging. “A lot of the time it would be chill music while studying, but I also get a lot of music ideas from

driving to places with friends and listening to what they were listening to,” Schaefer Bastian said. Immersing oneself amongst people who are passionate about music can allow one to expand their taste and learn a lot about what is popular in different cities. As a student in Toronto, a cosmopolitan city, Schaefer Bastian has become inspired to develop a more diverse playlist. “I want to start discovering some of the foreign music that I see people listening to,” Schaefer Bastian said. One plane ride to New York was enough to highlight the variety of popular genres across the country to Jack Callaghan, a freshman at New York University. “Since it’s New York, there are so many different types of people with different tastes, so everyone kind of listens to their own thing,” Callaghan said. The diversity across the large city of New York creates an artistically expressive society filled with people showcasing music genres they like by playing all types of music in the streets. “This guy who turned the side of his pickup truck into a piano pulled up in front of one of my class buildings and I watched him perform for a bit,” Callaghan said. Along with New York, Seattle has also been known for its diversity in music. Seattle is ranked as one of the top five largest music hubs in the United States. The result of being an artistically expressive community shows itself in animated stores and restaurants.

Jaime Furlong, a freshman at the University of Washington, believes that music is important to many cafes and restaurants in Seattle. “In all of the cafes they play popular alternative indie music and it really creates a fun, unique atmosphere so I spend a lot of time in them,” Furlong said. Being surrounded by these genres has amplified her interest in music and has allowed her to discover new artists, specifically Omar Apollo, UMI, Dominic Fike and Leisure. Regardless of what city ones in, it’s often the case that rather than classmates or colleagues altering one’s taste in music, the environment itself does. Maddie Yen, a student at Tulane University in New Orleans, shares this experience. In Palo Alto, Yen listened to rap and country music, and as she moved to New Orleans she was introduced to jazz, a genre that buzzes through the city. “I would say that, at least in the city of New Orleans, jazz is probably the most popular genre,” Yen said.

Charlotte Amsbaugh has had her fair share of change with music at Franklin and Marshall, a school located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Amsbaugh has always listened to a range of diverse and unique music, never sticking to any particular genre, and she instead appreciates the industry as a whole and the genres that come with it. “I really like Rex Orange County, Wallows, Vance Joy, Hozier and Kacey Musgraves,” Amsbaugh said. Living in Lancaster has only opened Amsbaugh’s eyes to new music that she never expected to be listening to. “Here in Lancaster, there are a lot of people who seem to very seriously enjoy country music which is definitely something new to me,” Amsbaugh said. Upon introducing her music to new friends, Amsbaugh was surprised to learn many peers from different states had never heard of the artists that are abundant throughout California. This gave her a new perspective on the uniqueness of her states music. “There are a lot of people who have told me that my music is very ‘California’ which is something I had never heard of before,” Amsbaugh said. “I did introduce some of my friends to Rex Orange County, which was really crazy to me because I feel like everyone knows him back home.” Fellow Paly students have experienced different artists and genres and have grown to love new and unfamiliar music. Moving to different states or cities, one can see the power of music and how much it can bring a city to life. Music has grown from an individual style of expression, to something that can allow entire cities to be able to express themselves with it.