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Is Obama’s healthcare plan on the right track?

How does envy affect the plans of the ambitious?



How is the economic crisis affecting students this year?



the charger account Leland High School

6677 Camden Avenue

San Jose, 95120

Vol. XLV

No. 1 September 23, 2009

Dr. Perez to crack down on “hooligans” Ryan Chow and Jeffrey Meng staff writers


fter 15 years away from the school, Dr. Robert Perez, Assistant Principal of Discipline, has decided to rejoin the Charger community. Perez was last a part of the school in 1993. When he returned this school year, he took over the position of Daryk Tenorio, who is now the Assistant Principal of Guidance. Over his 32 years working in school settings, he has been principal of five schools: two high schools, one middle school and two elementary schools. “I worked here years ago, back in the day, when I had hair. I’ve had good memories here,” Perez said with a smile. Much has changed at the school, but he still recognizes the strong work ethic that has been characteristic of Chargers throughout the years. “I’m really impressed with the focus the kids have at the school. They have little trouble getting to class on time, but things can always get better,” Perez said. “I’m really enjoying myself, because I love working with kids. [Students] are energy to me,” he said. When it comes to discipline, Perez has a simple and effective approach.

“You know the rules, and I know the rules. I’m not going to play.”

“It’s all business. Nothing personal,” Perez said. “You know the rules, and I know the rules. I’m not going to play.” That being said, Perez is a very understanding man. Unless a student purposely goes out of his way to create trouble or break a rule, he or she will find Perez to be very sympathetic.

Outside of the office, Perez loves to interact with the students. “I’m always outside, having fun, cracking jokes. It’s important to bring humor to the environment.” While he is impressed by the focus of the students on grades, he stresses the larger picture, and the need for students to apply those grades to the real world. After high school, Perez served in Vietnam. “I never really understood why we were fighting. To avoid that, you’ve got to be globally aware, so you know where these As and Bs will take you. School is your job. However, there is a larger world out there,” Perez said. Perez also notes the increasing gravity of the issues that students will face in the future compared to when he was in high school. Again, he highlights and stresses the importance of putting all the grades and hard work that students have earned into context, which sometimes goes beyond college. “There are a lot more critical issues, ones that are more important than ever before, like global warming,” Perez said. If there is anything Perez would change about the school, he would enhance the students’ understanding of the world by encouraging students to read newspapers and magazines. “I want all of you to start learning about the world issues,” Perez said. “Just keep in tune to where the world is heading.” We can be sure that in the meantime, Perez will be taking care of business.

Nguyen Photo

Club Day connects students with mutual interests Catherine Hsu staff writer


n Sept. 18, music pulsed through the quad as club members passionately waved banners high, vying for the attention of curious students on Club Day. “The moment I walked onto the quad, I was a bit overwhelmed by everything that was going on, but I [thought that it was] really exciting. It’s interesting to see all the different types of clubs and to meet new people,” Freshman Morgan Mornhinweg said. Clubs went to many creative means to attract members. Some clubs, such as Jars of Clay and the Guitar Club provided live music and several other clubs showed off their numbers by having members don creative club shirts. The Hip-Hop Club made use of the stage and its members showed off their dancing skills, while the Science Fair Club decided to go to the students, carrying a project display board around the quad and handing out flyers. Meanwhile, the Robotics Team operated its numerous contraptions, attracting aspiring technicians. This year, the school has approved numerous new clubs, including Adopt A Child From the Wild, the Asian Food Club and Accent. One new club, the Make A Wish Club, which is based Wang Photo off of the Make A Wish Foundation, recruited as many Junior Jeffrey Xu holds up a poster for Key Club International. as 70 interested club members. Key Club, Entourage

news in brief

BACK TO SCHOOL: On Sept. 3, many parents visited the school in order to acquaint themselves with their children’s new teachers in preparation of the coming school year.

HOMECOMING: As a prelude to the dance, all grade levels started to practice for their homecoming skits, which will be performed the week of Sept. 28.

and other popular, established clubs also garnered a high number of eager participants. In order to found a club, club officers needed to attend a meeting and fill out a club packet in which they stated the purpose of their club, their objectives and meeting times. Also, throughout the year they must consistently turn in roll sheets to prove that the club is active. Club Commissioner and Commission Head of Campus Life Junior Brooke Mills, Assistant Principal of Activities Victoria Kim and Associated Student Body (ASB) Secretary Senior Sam Pandey worked hard to approve a total of 43 clubs and make Club Day possible. “[Campus Life] stayed in a lot at lunch and had meetings with Ms. Kim. During fourth period, we would pass out call slips and type up information for advisors. It took a lot of organization and time-and probably more for Brooke Mills and the other people in charge,” Sophomore Lochan Shah said. Overall, students had a positive impression of Club Day. “I felt that ASB did a good job of putting it up because they played music and the setup without chairs got club leaders more engaged,” Senior Ayushi Roy said. However, many students expressed a desire for Club Day to be longer than one day, as it has been in previous years. “We should extend the time for Club Day to two days because one day wasn’t enough for people to decide which clubs to join,” Senior Cheyenne Yankish said.

S&D FUNDRAISER: Yesterday, Speech and Debate members gathered at Carl’s Jr. to hang out and eat food during their first fundraiser of the year.



SEPTEMBER 23, 2009

Career Center Bulletin

Career Center Bulletin

Date 9/24 9/24 9/28 9/29

Period 3 5 2 3

College Visiting University of Southern California (USC) New York University (NYU) UC San Diego Stevens Institute of Technology

All students are welcome at college presentations. Obtain a Career Center Pass and have your teacher sign in before the day of the presentation. Oct. 10 Nov. 7 Dec. 5

SAT & Subject Tests SAT & Subject Tests SAT & Subject Tests

Seniors: • Letter of Recommendation Packets for independent colleges are available at the Career Center Web site at, Early and Regular Admissions due on Oct. 2. Please limit to six letters of recommendation from teachers and administrators. • College Application Packets will be available in early Oct. • Senior Calendar will be available in early Oct. in the Career Center and at • UC Personal Statement Assistance: Help is available at the Career Center on Wednesdays during lunch, fifth and sixth period during Oct. and Nov. See Mrs. Albers during fifth or sixth period if you need an individual appointment.

Teachers revamp method of choosing Project A Julian Crown staff writer

This year, for the first time, sign-ups for the AP US History’s (APUSH) Project A were done through a raffle method, rather than through the traditional early morning sign-ups.   Previously, students signed up for Project A by showing up at school early in the morning, where they formed a line and topics were given out on a first-come-first-serve basis. However, because of recurring problems with students showing up far too early, and with one student showing up last year at one in the morning, this method was canceled. As a result, the new Project A sign-ups have been implemented to prevent this incident from re-occurring. As part of a new policy to prevent mishaps regarding the time of arrival for sign-ups, students filled out slips of paper with their top seven choices for Project A, and then had their slips placed into a bag. Later, APUSH teachers got together to draw slips at random from the bag, determining students’ Project A topics. Reaction from the students has been mixed.  Some students find the new way to be a “fairer” system for determining who gets what topics.  Rather than early morning sign-ups that determine students’ topics based on how early they showed up, the new system gives everyone a fair chance. “The old way favored people who don’t like sleep.  Now I get to sleep and still have a fair chance of getting my topic,” Junior Mihir Bhaskar said.  While there is obviously fairness in a completely random raffle, some disagree and argue that the old system was fairer because it favored those who were dedicated to their topics.  “The old system was fairer because people who wanted a topic more than other people would show up earlier, and had a better chance.  This new method doesn’t take into account work ethic, just pure luck,” Junior Sharon Chitayat said. Overall though, most students recognized the new method as something that has eliminated the well-revered tradition of Project A.  “I think it works well, but it discontinued the tradition of Project A sign-ups,” Junior Claire Pfeiffer said. “The new way for signing up for Project A is boring. I wanted to get the whole Project A experience of camping out with friends the night before,” Junior  Matt Dielman said. The tradition of waking up early in the morning for Project A sign-ups will be dearly missed by incoming APUSH students, but the new system offers a different and unique tradition for future APUSH students and Project A.

Skit preparations well under way Edward Yang staff writer

The arrival of fall brings much anticipation for the traditional homecoming skits that will begin on the week of Oct. 2 during lunch. As one of the last homecoming festivities, the homecoming skit has always provided student-produced lunchtime entertainment for the school’s student body and faculty. Led by their newly elected class officers, students from all four grade levels met after school and over the weekend in order to practice their own individual skits. Competition between grades escalates over time as freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors are pitted against each other in fierce competion for the title of Homecoming Skit champions. Confident in their chances at becoming champs for the second year in a row, the senior class has high expectations for their skit. “The skit is going really well. The new class officers got a really good start on the skit and they have some great ideas. They set up a solid practice schedule and are working diligently on trying to become homecoming skit champions for the second year in a row.” Senior Zade Shakir said. Meanwhile, the sophomore and junior classes are more than ready to overthrow the seniors with their own plans. “The Sophomore class is definitely going to win this year! We have the better idea, the most interesting students, and I’m confident in our success,” Sophomore Chandra Basu said. Despite their reputation as the natural underdogs, the new freshmen class officers refused to give in and confidently stated that they had as much of a chance of becoming Homecoming Champions as the rest of the upperclassmen. Needless to say, the competition became increasingly fierce as the annual homecoming game approached and time began to run out. As anticipation over the homecoming festivities grew, each individual class worked even more diligently to finish up final touches on skit technicalities. However, regardless of grade level, each and every skit participant is giving it their all to try and produce what they believe to be the most memorable homecoming skits of all times. The only thing left to do is wait and see which class will come out on top.

Freshmen vote for their new class officers J effrey Meng and Julia Montgomery

Campaigning for a position as an Associated Student Body (ASB) Freshman elections held on Thurs., officer requires much preparation Sept. 3 in Peter Park’s, English Dept., and successful advertising. An room determined who would become array of posters, flyers and pink the new Freshman Class Officers of the duct tape covered the J-Wing wall school year. nearest to the Quad. Posters with The new Freshman Class Officers creative phrases involved the names were announced during the in-class and pictures from recent movies rally on Fri., Sept. 4. Freshmen Phoebe such as Up! and Transformers, Hsieh, Laith Shakir, Rushil Patel while others utilized rhymes and Gary Lin are voted as the new and other witty slogans, such as president, vice-president, secretary and “Have Faith in Laith!” treasurer, respectively. However, posters were not “I hope to encourage the freshman the only way of advertising the class to be more spirited and be more candidates used. Campaign videos excited for school events like spirit days are a way to show that the candidates and rallies like the upperclassmen,” have a sense of humor as well as an Hsieh said when asked about what she enthusiasm for the position they are Flores Photo hopes to accomplish as class president. running for. It is estimated that around 80 percent Freshmen Phoebe Hsieh, Laith Shakir, Gary Lin and Rushil Patel pose as new officers for their class. “Brittany Nguyen’s video caught of the freshmen class showed up to vote me and my classmates attention the for their fellow classmates. Voting took place during lunch and after school. most [out of all of the campaign videos],” Freshman Sheena  Meng said. The other candidates were Freshman Krishna Kandula for President, As their inaugural year in high school begins, the four officers have the role of Freshmen Brittany Nguyen and Vruti Desai for Vice President and Freshman planning the fundraisers, keeping the class budget up-to-date and planning events Mandy Mogannam for Treasurer. Patel was alone in campaigning for the position such as the Homecoming Skit performance.  “We want to make sure that all activities of secretary. are on time, beneficial, and most importantly, fun,” Patel said. staff writers


the charger account


Spirit week provides creative outlet for students to show spirit Sarah Kho and Catherine Hsu staff writers

From Aug. 31 to Sept. 4, students had a chance to display their pride during the school’s first spirit week before the first home football game against Prospect High School. “[Spirit week] brings more fun to the school, rather than doing the same thing everyday. It gives people something to look forward to and work on something that is not school related,” Sophomore Class Secretary Melissa Carl said. During spirit week, students were encouraged to have some fun and get involved with school events. By participating, students had a chance to rack up spirit points for their class. Monday was Leland Gear Day, where students showed off their new school apparel. The next day was the more colorful Tie Dye Day, then on Wednesday, students showed their creativity and playfulness by dressing up for Superhero Day. On Thursday, students adorned themselves in red, white and blue for Patriotic Day and finally, on Friday, a sea of school colors splashed on campus for Class Colors Day. On Friday, the campus was engulfed in a sea of yellow, white and various shades of blue as the inhabitants of the school battled for class dominance in the ultimate show of school spirit.  Charger themed

Tsai Photo Seniors show school spirit by wearing Charger colors.

paint decorated and masked faces while noisemakers burst out triumphant calls at every chance. Spirit Week also ended with two in-class rallies during third and fourth period, pumping students up for a kickoff football game against Prospect High School on Friday, Sept. 4. “I’ve never seen anything like this in middle school.  It is definitely a lot more exciting. They had a lot of interesting events and I thought that the in-class rally was great,” Freshman Christopher Nicholson said. “My favorite one is always class color day. It gets people pumped up for the rally,” Sophomore Chanel Chen said. The rallies were organized by the school’s Associated Student Body (ASB). In both rallies, the classes competed for more spirit points. Students exhibited much competition and rivalry between classes throughout the week, but the rally ended with a feeling of unity and spirit. Although some may say that school spirit, rallies and competitions are unnecessary distractions that divert students from the real purpose of school, they may not realize the significance of having Spirit Week. “It’s a great thing. It gets everybody spirited and hyped for the football game to really support their school. That’s important,” Daryk Tenorio, Asst. Principal, said.

In class rallies pump up the school with healthy class competition Alison Lee sports editor Class rivalry and competition swept through the school during the first inclass rally of the year, which took place on Sept. 4. The Associated Student Body (ASB) had only three weeks to prepare for the rally. Junior Emily Wang, head commissioner for ASB’s Charger Passion commission, was in charge of the logistics of the rally, but all the other ASB members were heavily involved in the planning as well. “Because of the shorter time we had to plan the rally compared to last year’s second semester rally, it was difficult to organize,” Wang said. However, thanks to all the ASB members, were were able to have a successful rally.” The rally began as soon as students sat down in the crowded, decorated gym where the rally MCs, Senior ASB Secretary Sam Swift and Senior ASB Vice President Zade Shakir, were introduced. “Being a MC was exhilarating. I was really proud of all the ASB members for doing their part in the rally and I was really happy with the outcome,” Shakir said. Swift and Shakir then asked for volunteers for the first relay activity. Sophomores were victorious in the freshman and sophomore rally and the juniors won the relay in their rally against the seniors. After the relay, the Robotics Team exhibited their robot by shooting t-shirts out to the crowd. This stunt was followed by another class competition, in which students tried to move rubber bands from the middle of their faces to their necks. During the freshman-sophomore rally, the sophomores won once again while the seniors came out on top in their rally.

Neon lights bedazzle at mixer

Jennifer Park and Florence Wong staff writer and news editor

Students adorned in bright neon colors attended the annual Back to School Mixer on Aug. 28 in the cafeteria, marking the first event of the new school year. This year’s mixer differed greatly from the mixers held in previous years because rather than being organized and hosted by the school’s Associated Student Body (ASB) the cheerleaders took over the preparations for the first dance of the school year. “Traditionally, we’ve always [taken] charge over the Homecoming dance and ASB took over the mixer. This year they switched dances with us, so we did the best we [could] to make [this dance] a fun event to welcome the students back,” Senior Sonora Vanderberg-Jones said. The cheer squad decided to plan their dance around a neon theme. Multicolored balloon bouquets were spread throughout the cafeteria ceiling. Six black lights used during the dance revealed the hidden splatter paint designs upon the black walls. Meanwhile, each class received a specific color to wear to the dance – seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen dressed in neon green, hot pink, neon orange and bright yellow, respectively. Unlike in the past, this year’s mixer provided students a chance to help their class earn spirit points by attending the dance dressed in their respective colors. The senior class had the most attendants at the event and won the spirit points rewarded at the dance. This year’s mixer proved to be more successful than mixers in the past with approximately 450 students attending the event. The cheerleaders started selling their mixer tickets for five dollars during registration week in front of the bank. “The mixer was a lot of fun because it was super spirited and the music was much better this year. It was cool to see everyone all dressed up. Everyone looked so cute,” Sophomore Lauren Kim said.

Next, Entourage, the school’s spirit club, showed their annual spirit video, a humorous mini-film encouraging students to attend the year’s first home football game Moreover, teachers were included in the rally activities for the first time when they engaged in a game of tug-of-war against a group of volunteers from the crowd. Though the teachers were defeated, their involvement in the game increased the enthusiasm of the students and promoted inter-class unity. “It was fun to watch the teachers against students in the game of tug-of-war,” Wang said. Overall, most students enjoyed the rally. Yet there were mixed reviews regarding the event as well. “The rally this year was nowhere near as awesome as last year’s second semester rally,” Sophomore Oomong Varma said. However, freshmen who have not been to a rally enjoyed it a lot. “This is the first rally I’ve ever been to and I thought it was really cool and loud. I can’t wait for the next one,” Freshman John Teh said.

Quotebox: What was your opinion of the year’s first in-class rallies? “It was very loud and spirited.”

- Junior Dat Pham “It was exciting and the air horns almost made me deaf.” - Senior Beeta Modarressi   “I thought the rally was great and we [could have] used more spirit.”     - Senior Alec Chou “It was good, a lot of energy, creative.”

- Freshman Payton Palazzolo “It’s a great way for students to have school spirit.” - Senior Tiffany Wu   “It was fun and very spirited.” - Freshman Gary Lin   “I thought it was cool.  It was my first rally and it was exhilarating.” - Freshman Kevin Villa “I was deaf afterwards.” - Sophomore Surabhi Madhvapathy   “It was a good idea for the students to play tug-of-war against the teachers.  It was interesting to watch.” - Junior Tammy Lin “It was cool beans.  Yay!”

- Junior Jonathan Fu

“It wasn’t as intense as last year’s.” “Entourage videos impress me every year.”

- Senior Douglas Hu - Senior Meghan Garrett

Compiled by Mary Gong and Alvin Tseng Staff Writers


opinions SEPTEMBER 23, 2009 Political Pundit: Palin’s Party

the charger account PUBLICATION The Charger Account is published by the advanced journalism students for the Leland community at: Leland High School Booster Club Leland High School 6677 Camden Ave. San Jose, CA 95120-2142 DISCLAIMER Views and opinions published in the Charger Account reflect solely those of their authors. All unsigned editorials are the collective opinions of the editorial board. EDITORS IN CHIEF Janet Hsueh, Karen Lee, Nikhil Subramaniam, Ingar Wang NEWS EDITORS Krithika Chennapan, Florence Wong, Stephanie Yu OPINION EDITORS Kairav Sinha, Wooju Kim, Ashwath Chennapan VIEWPOINT EDITOR Raymond Liu FEATURE EDITORS Eileen Chen, Annabel Liu, Lynn Kang ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR Sue Kim SPORTS EDITORS Alison Lee, Janice Yip LAST WORD EDITOR Kimberly Tseng BUSINESS MANAGER Sue Kim EXCHANGE/CIRCULATION MANAGER Alison Lee ART DIRECTOR Joyce Chen PHOTOGRAPHY DIRECTOR Grace Koh COMPUTER TECHNICIAN David Kang ADVISER Elizabeth Taylor COMMUNITY CIRCULATION (PARENT’S CLUB) J.F. Lue COPY EDITORS Janet Hsueh, Karen Lee, Nikhil Subramaniam, Norris Tie, Kimberly Tseng, Ingar Wang

Kairav Sinha swim

The Republicans are desperate. Again. Voted out of the White House and out of Congress, the Grand Old Party has been forced to abandon the “grand” in favor of more down-to-earth (read: weird) strategies. So the party of Palin is becoming more and more like her; resorting to scare tactics and immaturity to get its point across. Palin blew us off our feet all summer with multiple front page appearances, starting with her resignation. Later, the hockey mom from Al. felt that the healthcare debate in Wa. deserved her attention, so she explosively accused Obama of setting up “death panels” that were “downright evil. ” Palin didn’t seem to mind everyone’s shock over how she completely blew the facts out of proportion and out of context. The Republicans didn’t seem to mind either, seeing as they began to use the very same scare tactics as Palin did. The former governor said with her usual candor that “only dead fish go with the flow,” and the Republicans began to enthusiastically

upstream, madly flailing everything they had (not really much anyway) against the Democrats. John McCain hyperventilated about a “government takeover” of healthcare. Senator Chuck Grassley, Republican of Io. went a step farther and told crowds that they should start worrying now about Obama’s healthcare plan “pulling the plug on Grandma. ” The Republicans are claiming that being truly bipartisan means winning a whopping 80 votes in the Senate, something they conveniently forgot about when they were in power. You can tell that Obama isn’t used to this kind of attack. He made a feeble speech asking – almost begging – people to ignore the scare tactics. When he said he’d be bipartisan, he obviously assumed that he’d be dealing with sensible people. But the Republicans are anything but sensible – and they’re a lot crazier when they’re not in power. When Obama announced his plans to give a speech about the importance of education, multiple right-wing talk-show hosts warned parents to keep their children home from school when it was aired, worried that their children would be exposed to the terrifying big-government, ultra-liberal,

latte-driven value of… getting a diploma. And when faced with the debate of how to get that message across to their children, Republicans decided to waste an entire school day to ship them off to oil-funded Cowboys Stadium to watch ex-President W prattle away. Talk about desperate. The Republicans fretted over their children turning socialist and lost all sense of dignity when Representative Joe Wilson yelled “You lie!” to Obama during his address to Congress. Outraged public? Who cares? The Grand Old Party is scrambling to be Grand again, but all its efforts are making it look even more foolish than usual – and it still isn’t winning any votes. In fact, after losing their supermajority with Ted Kennedy’s death, Democrats in the Senate are already quietly looking for ways to bypass the filibuster and pass parts of the healthcare bill with a simple majority. If this happens, the Republicans will lose without a doubt. Compromise is now not only the Republicans’ best option, but their only one. If the vast majority of the party doesn’t try to find some common ground with the Democrats right now, they will be hurt come the midterm elections. Because no one wants a majority of Sarah Palins in the Senate. I hope.

Quotebox: Is President Obama keeping his promises? “Yes, he is. We spent another 100 billion dollars for that budget thing. He’s kept his promise.” – Senior Julian Lin “For the most part yes, but the Republicans are basically trying to stop him.” – Freshman Colin Aitken   “Do we really expect anyone to keep all their promises?” – Senior Amy Zhang “He sure set high expectations for himself. I’m not sure he can meet them.” – Junior Kyle Olivo

“Stem cell research is growing, but Obama hasn’t gone through with his economic promises.” – Sophomore Chandra Basu   “I think it’s too early to tell.” – Senior Grace Wang   “Presidents don’t keep promises.” – Junior Charley Yan

 “He’s keeping most of them, to my knowledge.” – Sophomore Kalvin Lee “What are his campaign promises?”

– Senior Samantha Ho

“Yes, I think he is doing his work because the recession is plateauing.” – Sophmore Vivek Krishna

“Despite the fact that he is working to underscore his promising words of change and hope, I’m not so sure this is exactly the change I was looking for.” – Senior Ayushi Roy

“I don’t even know what his campaign promises are.” – Junior Ninh Khuu “Yes, I think he’s doing the best he can in such a situation. I’m still hopeful. He will bring great changes to America.”  

– Mireille McNabb, Foreign Language Dept.

Compiled by Albert Wu and Edward Yang Staff Writers

Much-bemoaned summer homework helps, not hurts Mary Gong and Alvin Tseng staff writers

Despite the idea that it takes away time meant for relaxation, summer homework is necessary to give students a solid academic foundation as they start the new school year.   Every returning student had mandatory reading homework to complete over the summer whether they took regular, accelerated, or AP English. Standard English summer homework included reading a book from a pre-determined list and then taking a test at the beginning of the school year. “I actually enjoyed summer homework.  I only had one book to read,” Senior Linden Wu said. Meanwhile, Accelerated English 3-4 students were asked to read two books and write an analysis about them. AP English classes had even more extensive reading and writing assignments. Robin Jankowski and Jennifer Touchton, English Dept., assigned portions of the Bible, East of Eden and two essays by James Baldwin and George Orwell for their AP English Language students. AP English Literature students were assigned 1984, Candide, My Name is Asher Lev, Sula and The Glass Menagerie by their teacher, Kimberly Kelley, English Dept., and were then required to write a four to seven page reflection on their thoughts about the summer reading novels.   “Reading gets you rolling right away and gets your brain ready for the school year,” Sophomore Patrick Kim said. The reading assignments over the summer were followed by assessments, which began immediately after school started.

Summer homework is also especially helpful for Advanced Placement courses, which often cover more material than can be fit into one school year. Assigning summer homework also eliminates the need to review old curriculum and allows teachers to start presenting new material immediately. Summer homework also ensures that students grow intellectually during summers which are generally devoted to television, fun and video games.   Lambert Woo, Science Dept., assigned summer homework for his AP Chemistry classes.  Woo had students self-study and read the first four chapters so he could quickly cover other necessary material and prepare them for the upcoming AP test. Woo gave several tests on the summer homework in order to make sure that students were qualified to be in AP Chemistry. “I give summer homework to reduce stress at the beginning, since it can be so overwhelming, and [to ease] you into the workload. Plus, it gives students an idea of the work required for the class,” Woo said. AP Biology students were required to review first-year biology material, read A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson and conduct a “biological scavenger hunt.” AP Environmental Science students were similarly assigned The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan and were asked to review biology and chemistry concepts over the summer. “Summer homework was painful, but I learned a lot about Biology and English,” Junior Robert Huang said.


The Charger Account


Running In Place: Me vs. my parents

Bernadeta Baktashian

Just a few short months until I have to turn in college applications that will decide my future, I have just realized that I missed the deadline to sign up for a test given in Sept. that is an essential part of the application process. It is in situations like this that I wonder if it would be easier if I had a different set of parents. Clearly, the fault is my own. I make mistakes often, but I am at least willing to take responsibility when I realize the error in my ways. However, I do not doubt that I would have made the deadline if I had the kind of parents that hounded me over school and college. Had they been checking the dates, writing them down and signing me up before I could gather my thoughts, I would be all set for Sept. 9. Despite the fact that I will now only have one shot at a decent score on the test before applications go out, I am still grateful that I was given the opportunity to mess up on my own. I have friends whose parents still check their homework every night and access the Parent Internet Viewer (PIV) multiple times a day to stay updated on their child’s progress, and I know that works for some. However, a lot of the time, that situation can lead to resentment, and unwillingness to actually get the work done. This is not to say that parents do not play an important role in the development of their kids’ desire to learn, but there is a fine line between encouragement and control.

My parents have done a number of amazing things during my upbringing that I am ridiculously grateful for, but one of the most outstanding things that they have done is raise me to enjoy learning and imbue in me the desire to excel in school. Somehow, through the years, they have effected a turnabout, so that I am the one who forces myself to do homework each night and to obsess over PIV, but now because I am afraid what privileges I will lose if I get anything less than an A. I understand that a student having their hand held through, for example, the entire college application process can benefit a lot from the experiences of their elder and the extra help may even help decide their fate. In the long run, however, it is likely to transform into a handicap, and not necessarily because they were not required to do the work, because it is not difficult to find someone to walk you through a process. The problem is that once the parent who decided the student’s future is out of the picture, the motivation to work hard and excel disappears with them. Growing up, we would have projects to take home and on the day it was due, it was clear who had adult assistance. In the fifth grade, I showed up with my homemade solar power oven, version three, having spent all weekend revising it in my garage. Granted, it was not capable of roasting a four-course meal like the oven the father of the girl next to me had constructed for her, but I was proud of the humble meal of melty nachos I cooked because I had done it myself. I could be proud of the work I had accomplished on my own.

Quotebox: Did Cash for Clunkers help the national economy get out of the recession? “No, [Cash for Clunkers] is impractical and it didn’t do much.” “Yes, [Cash for Clunkers] incited people to buy billions in fuel-efficient cars.”

- Sophomore Timothy Zhang - Junior Nick Wu

“We were thinking about trading our car in, but it didn’t qualify; but I heard they made a lot of money.” - Freshman Sanskruti Pontis

“It was a good program to stimulate the sales of new autos, although the new cars purchased should have had higher gas milage.” - Lon Walton, Science Dept. “Yes, it helps because it stimulates the economy by encouraging people to buy cars.” - Senior Phillip Moehrke “Yeah. The incentive Cash for Clunkers provided helped.” - Sophomore Ahon Sarkar

“It’s an interesting idea, but we need the money for other things.” - Freshman Olivia Neumann

Compiled by David Kang and Ryan Chow Staff Writers

The Search: For the Winner in Everyone Ryan Chow

Apparently, I’ve got all the characteristics of a loser. I worry more about my grades than what I wear, I think more about my homework than about the opposite gender, and when it comes to hanging out, pretty much everyone has learned not to bother asking me. Oh, and those little things called “iPods?”  I’ve never owned one.  Besides, what kind of loser writes his column about being a loser? Despite the glaring evidence, I wasn’t going to accept my “loserhood” so easily.   I figured my own family would find some reason to explain how I was most certainly not a loser.  After all, we can usually count on our family to provide some level of support, artificial or not.  So I asked. Unfortunately, all I got in return was a big fat yes. You are indeed a loser. Sure, I could accept the “fact” that I was a loser.  But my mind isn’t trained to allow people take stabs at my pride so   easily. I figured this was merely a test of my mental fortitude, and I was very determined to convince myself that I was a winner.


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STAFF WRITERS Marissa Ayala Bernadeta Baktashian Ankur Bhagat Lauren Chang Leon Chen Kevin Choi Ryan Chow Julian Crown Mary Gong Charles Hsiao Catherine Hsu David Kang Sarah Kho Alice Koh Annie Lee Jeffrey Meng Julia Montgomery Neda Moosavi Christine Nham Jordan Olmstead Jennifer Park Shyam Pinnipati Celine Ryan Alvin Tseng Rachel Wagner Albert Wu Edward Yang Christine Yen PHOTOGRAPHERS Lauren Flores Marvin Lo Jacquelyn Nguyen Alex Tsai

“Sure. Even though the effects may have been limited, Cash for Clunkers definitely helped.” - Senior Alvita Tran

the charger account

It turns out that, like most things, “loser” is a rather relative description. The reason I care so much about grades, more so than whether I wear American Eagle or some other “popular” brand, is because I understand their importance.   All the walking advertisements for Hollister can laugh now, but like Bill Gates said, “Be nice to the geeks. You might end up working for one.” Coming from a guy who makes 300 dollars a second, you would do well to listen. By the way, did I mention he used to be called a loser?  But it takes more than self-confidence to be a winner. You must act like a winner as well. True winners carry a positive aura around them, maintain the feelings of all people around them, and demand mutual respect. It is not so much what others think of you that creates your image, but what you think of others.  We can all learn to treat everyone politely, something that would not be of great cost or effort. A simple “no big deal” in place of a “you suck” can make the difference in preserving others’ dignity and self-esteem. From my own adventure in loserhood, I’ve learned that whether you are personally a winner or not is actually unimportant. What matters is that you can recognize the winner in others.

ARTISTS Jessica Chen Kaitlyn Craft Emilie Jehng Jessica Lee Alyssa Paredes

The Charger Account has been awarded first place since 1991 by Quill and Scroll and was awarded The George H. Gallup Award in 1997. The National Scholastic Press Assn. has consistently awarded the Charger Account an All American rating with four marks of distinction every year since 1993, and the Columbia Scholastic Press Assn. named the Charger Account a gold medalist publication in 2009.

opinions SEPTEMBER 23, 2009 180°: Is Obama’s healthcare plan the answer? 6

Pro: President’s proposal cuts cost, insures millions Julian Crown

staff writer

With the world’s 37th worst healthcare system and  the industrialized world’s largest number of uninsured, it is clear the United States needs to find a solution to its healthcare crisis.   President Obama’s healthcare plan offers that solution. By combining reform of current government-based healthcare with a competitive new healthcare company (the government), Obama provides a new competitor to the insurance market, forcing private insurers to put an end to abusive policies and start providing healthcare, lest they risk losing their customers. The first problem Obama faces is current governmentbased healthcare policy. Legislation enacted by Congress during the Bush Administration, including Part D of Medicare, eliminate the government’s ability to bargain with pharmeceutical companies regarding prescription drug costs.  The Congressional Budget Office estimates that every year, these policies that severely undercut the federal government’s bargaining power cost taxpayers anywhere between 62 and 280 billion dollars.   By eliminating these costly policies, the government can expand coverage while saving hundreds of billions of dollars wasted on overpriced medicine every year. The first step is to lower the cost of government healthcare programs by removing Medicare Part D, allowing the government, instead of the pharmeceutical companies, to control drug prices.

The next problem Obama faces are greedy healthcare corporations with overpriced insurance costs.  Healthcare coverage costs have become so expensive that over 50 percent of American bankruptcies are caused by them. 75 percent of these bankruptcies were filed by individuals who initially had health insurance, but later had their policies retroactively cancelled by their providers. The next step of Obama’s plan is the most critical: he creates a competitive healthcare model to ensure that companies either start lowering prices or losing customers.  Rather than trying to force new rules and regulations on the private sector, Obama has made an offer to the American population for a better, fairer, and cheaper healthcare system. Unlike European countries that use a single-payer system riddled by government inefficiency, Obama embraces the best of both public and private sectors. “Simply put, Obama’s plan for our healthcare system is good because it reduces uninsurance,” Junior Adil Majid said. Through his competitive healthcare model, Obama ensures that healthcare companies start offering better coverage at a cheaper price, while still maintaining the freedom of private insurance, without actually having the government intrude in the free market. His plan warmly embraces the idea of competitive capitalism while simultaneously paying attention to social welfare, allowing the United States the opportunity to finally see effective change.

Con: “Obamacare” empties coffers, misplaces focus Albert Wu

staff writer

As the public debate over President Barack Obama’s healthcare reforms escalates, the drawbacks clearly indicate that the President’s plan should not be enacted. In recent months, Obama has come under fire for his bold declaration of establishing a public health program.  Neither side of the political spectrum can come to a consensus on this increasingly controversial issue.  The disagreement has caused the debate to turn away from the healthcare reform; instead, the Republicans are using it as a platform to attack Obama’s morale.  However, the political squabble is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to problems with the reforms. The immediate problem is the cost.  To ensure that every American family can access medical benefits, Obama plans to create a governmentrun alternative to private insurance companies.  The healthcare reform would also lower the cost of existing healthcare programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.  Although the average family would have greater access to cheaper insurance programs, the issue of funding proves to be an immense obstacle. “There simply is not enough funding for this reform,” Senior Katrina Chang said. The two aspects of the plan that make it so enticing also make up the problem.  The expected increase in demand of public healthcare programs would result in the government spending even more money than it already does.  The Obama administration projected annual costs of an additional 60 billion dollars on top of the existing 682 billion dollars allotted for Medicare and

By Raymond Liu

Medicaid. This 11 percent increase in the healthcare budget amounts to an extra 600 billion dollars in ten years.  More recent figures estimate a cost of one trillion dollars for a ten year time span.  The costs would put a strain on the government and, as a consequence, American taxpayers. “Obama can’t gather enough funding for this healthcare overhaul without stretching the limits,” Sophomore Kalvin Lee said. The second problem resides with the actual healthcare.  Obama plans to provide healthcare coverage for everyone in the country.  Stretching the existing medical resources and applying it to the entire country would only degrade the quality of healthcare. Risks of malpractice would become quite high, as hospitals would be required to treat more people.  Medical equipment would then be used sparingly, even meagerly.  Even though everyone would have access to healthcare, the care itself would be barely sufficient at best.  It is likely that in many cases, the stringent use of medical equipment would lead to inadequate treatment, prompting future visits to the hospital and consequently requiring more money and resources to offer a diminished quality of service. Medical malpractice suits, now being filed against individual hospitals and insurance providers, would now be against the federal government, causing problems by tying up the legal system and incurring further heavy costs to the healthcare system, at the expense of the federal government. Although President Obama tries to achieve noble goals with his healthcare reform, the result is an idealistic plan that would only create more problems. “Obama is concentrating the wrong efforts on health care,” Senior David Fujii said. Our nation today faces a multitude of challenges, including fighting wars on two different fronts and pulling itself out of the economic recession. The last thing needed is a faulty and hastily created healthcare system.

IR - wealth

The Charger Account


This issue’s Investigative Report (I.R.) topic, wealth, was researched by Lauren Chang, Wooju Kim, Jessica Lee, Nikhil Subramaniam and Albert Wu.

Perceptions of wealth: Determining how we see money It may be hard to believe, but in some places, buying a car can be more expensive than buying a house. A quick summary: here in Almaden, an area with higher property values compared to other parts of the country, we are conditioned to believe that houses cost from 800,000 dollars and beyond. On the other hand, a Lamborghini Murcielago costs around 450,000 dollars – about half as much as a house. It is not always that way, however; in Ind., the average listing price of a house is around 200,000 dollars. That comes out to around two houses per Lamborghini – not a bad deal, right? That is a completely hypothetical scenario, of course. A Lamborghini is a luxury, while the average family car costs around 20,000 to 30,000 dollars. And a home is a necessity. Nevertheless, it is a sufficient illustration of how different people would perceive a luxury purchase. Bill Gates might think of it as a worthy investment and drop the near-five-hundred large, but Joe the Plumber would be confined to merely ogling at a poster. There are people like Gates, the consummate squillionaire whose wealth is most accurately measured in nations. While on the other end of the spectrum, there are those who struggle to make ends meet in an economy that has suffocated the working class. In 2007, the median income per household was 50,233 dollars. A dollar amount that would go farther in the midwest if you were looking to buy home. The

average home price is 305,000 dollars. In essence, the average household would have to put every cent of their income towards their house and that is impossible. Another way in which one perceives wealth can comes down to standard of living. In Hawaii, where they import everything this side of coconuts and mangoes, milk runs around five dollars a gallon. Compare that to around three dollars in Calif., one of the premier milk-producing states. Hawaii also happens to be the one state whose median home price is greater than Calif.’s – so having a million-dollar house doesn’t really mean much when comparing the two states. The economics of wealth are somewhat confusing – one has to take time, location, and the mentality of the people into consideration. Further examining the median home prices of Calif. and Hawaii, where Hawaii’s homes are more costly, one would assume that Hawaiians are wealthier simply because products cost more. On the other hand, the average salary of Californian employees is at least 20,000 dollars higher than what workers in Hawaii receive. So while being in the highest federal tax bracket in other states is an indication of wealth in itself, in Calif., it does not mean nearly as much. There is no clear line between wealthy and not wealthy. Perception of wealth actually depends on what you perceive as valuable. For some, any kind of home is plenty if it has family and welcomes friends. Meanwhile, for others, a 100-room mansion and solitude is fine. So while Bill Gates cruises around in his brand-new, low-slung, rocketpowered hypercar, we will just stick to gazing longingly at our posters, but we are enriched if it is what we want.

“It doesn’t change my perception of them as long as they don’t show off or act like a snob.” – Junior Omana Margapuram

“If having money changed who they are, it would also change the way I feel about them.” – Junior Katie Mitchell

Nikhil Subramaniam and Wooju Kim editor-in-chief and opinions editor

Quotebox: If someone is wealthy, does it change the way you see them? “No, it would not change my perception of them”

– Senior Philip Choi

“I don’t think that being wealthy changes anything about a person, but you do get to buy a lot of stuff if they’re your friend.” – Sophomore Hildenaro Figurella “Yes, but in a very limited way.”

– Junior Michael Ezaz

“People with greater amounts of money tend to care only about themselves.” – Freshman Ray Nishijima “I’d be their best friend.”

– Senior Dexter Tan

“Not really. It depends on how I viewed this person before I knew their financial status.” – Junior Mihir Bhaskar “No, unless they give me money. Then I like them more.”

– Senior Vincent Kim

“Yes, it does. It’s because they’re either really hard-working or really lucky.” – Sophomore Kazi Najib

“Yes, because I would expect the person to be really spoiled.” – Junior Connie Chang

Compiled by Lauren Chang and Nikhil Subramaniam Staff Writer and Editor-in-Chief

Staff Editorial: Happiness – Not so Priceless The phrase “money can’t buy happiness,” beloved by parents, teachers and wise old men, is slowly losing its meaning as people find new and innovative ways to do just that. Traditionally, happiness has been “value-resistant” such that no one could ever put a price on it. The American dollar, or any form of currency for that matter, could not purchase this intangible idea of happiness—that is, not until the late20th century, with the invention of the credit card. Fast forward to the new millennium and these thin slips of plastic are just about everywhere. The power of plastic opens up a whole world of purchasing possibilities, and it does not disappoint. For those who find joy in wandering the mall for countless hours only to end up buying a few articles of overpriced clothing, the credit card takes on the role of the new best friend. Happiness comes in many different forms, and a shop-tillyou-drop ideology is apparently one of them. Of course, while money now has newfound ability to buy happiness, it is important to remember that money can now buy depression as well, particularly in the form of an encyclopedia-sized credit card bill. Shopping for clothes is not the only way to buy happiness either. Happiness has long been a quality found in friends, and the local pet store is the perfect place to buy man’s best friend. No matter the preference, pet stores have plenty of friends just waiting to be bought. Buying a furry companion is not cheap, however; it is important to remember the pet food, the chew toys and anything that will ensure happiness. In the end, the despair that comes along with this jaw-dropping bill will be forgotten in the hours of fun with the other new best friend. If friends and clothes aren’t enough, money can also purchase happiness in the form of the American Dream, also known as a home of our own. Houses these days just keep getting bigger and better, provided that the paycheck keeps getting bigger and better as well. The American family has come a long way from the crowded tenements of New York to the seaside mansions of the California coast.

As with friends, there are many homes to choose from. With all the different shapes, sizes, colors and locations, it is now possible to customize happiness as well, as long as it is all paid for at the end. Now, when dealing with money, someone always has to pay the bill, and happiness racks up quite a sum. Many will say that digging a deep pit of debt makes it harder to climb out. But the optimist, as always, will somehow find a way to turn even the largest negative numbers into positives. After all, the more bills, the more happiness. Of course, when talking about happiness, it is important to know first of all what happiness is. Every person has a different idea of happiness, whether it is success in the business world or winning a few dollars in poker. The common theme is that it can all be paid for. There are those that would rather deny this than indulge in a purchasing frenzy. The general rule, an important part of the kindergarten curriculum, tells us to shun buying happiness, denouncing those who do as coldhearted, inhuman devil-worshipers. While emotional satisfaction is all very well, it is hard to deny that we buy happiness when we buy food, video games or the winning lottery ticket. Some people find happiness in choosing the perfect outfit, others find joy in spending time with pets, and still others find satisfaction in living in their dream house. Sometimes money can buy those things, sometimes it can not. Sometimes, money can even take happiness away, particularly in the form of monstrous bills. In the end, the possibility of buying happiness depends on the person, and dropping a few Benjamins can make that happen. The old saying serves as a reminder that “money can’t buy happiness,” but that has hardly stopped people from trying, and to great effect. Wealth can buy a lot of things; perhaps it can buy happiness, too.

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Christine Yen staff writer

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Money 7% Looks 6%

Brains 19% Popularity 2%


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With Obama in the White House, envious, power-hungry Republican radicals have exerted their envy by trying to bring Obama down with anything from wild accusations to downright lies. Rather than working with Democrats to achieve constructive reform, radicals have tried to shatter everything Obama has created. Instead of proposing alternative solutions to Obama’s plans, radicals are only trying to tarnish his image and inhibit solutions from being passed at all. From the moment of his inaugural address, the issue of the legitimacy of his presidency has been contested. When the Chief Justice fumbled his words during the presidential oath, the right made an outcry claiming that Obama’s presidency could not be recognized. As their aims proved futile, political commentators such as Glenn Beck turned to the issue of Obama’s birthplace and brought forth the idea that the “ineligible” president was born on foreign soil. Although the Hawaiian government provided his birth certificate, they refuted the claims on grounds of the “Certificate of Birth.” After Obama issued the new healthcare plan, the anger and resentment that had been simmering boiled over and swept through the nation. Influential speakers such as Sarah Palin egged on the Republicans by spreading paranoid misconceptions of the healthcare plan. Alarmed by the “deathpanels” Palin had fabricated, many uncivilly shouted down the representatives and voices of reason at town

hall meetings, spoon-fed by the web of lies she had spun. According to the Huffington Post, Senator Chuck Grassley told a crowd of over 300 people that “the government will pull the plug on grandma.” The deathpanels coined by Sarah Palin were just misconceptions spun off of Obama’s idea of optional end-of-life counseling. The counseling was simply meant to help families determine what the best option would be if a relative was in a critical condition. However, Palin took the opportunity to spread hysteria among the people and acquire some limelight. Even though criticisms circulating around the incompetence of government-run programs were brought forth, those criticisms could not provide any market-based solutions for improvement. “This is ridiculous. All this chaos and anger is getting our nation nowhere.” Sophomore Olivia Zhang said. If the right truly cared about all the “Joe the Plumbers” out there, ther they would stop focusing on their discontent and cooperate with the left to bring a beneficial reform to the country. With the economy deteriorating and healthcare in shambles, Republicans need to put aside their petty envy to help the nation get back on the path to recovery. The strife between the two parties can wait.

Imagine a life in which one feels inadequate with themselves regardless of the circumstances. Such a life is a loose definition of failed success. Although one strives to achieve their full potential, success is such an ambiguous, vague word and it can be taken in various directions. To put it simply, success means reaching ultimate happiness over accomplishments. Given that definition, envy does not lead to success, it leads to unhappiness. Unfortunately, many people, including adults, consider success a matter of striving to possess more and better materialistic, superfluous goods. This scenario is derived from envy. It is a false notion that one becomes happy by being superior over another in any given situation, whether financially or materialistically, or will find themselves to be successful. This feeling of false-hearted success is a ubiquitous, ongoing problem. The envied display their accomplishments, tangible or spiritual, and the envy epidemic ensues. Thus, envy is, in essence, a virus that spreads and infects easily, but is difficult to recover from.

Li u

Envy infiltrates American politics

Alice Koh






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timately, envy slowly s one’s faith in oneself, ng them until they are almost to their own individuality. onally, caught up in the tumult y, people start focusing on what ack and consequently lose all they o live and be thankful for. We are d with a solid education, a home urn to and food at the dining table day. We indeed have the potential to me successful, but, along the way, allow o take control of our lives. ome insist that envy “gives them centive” to accomplish more in life. ttably, the human spirit would never be quenched with simply the tangible onents to success; rather, it longs for ejuvenating bliss that is coupled with success. This is unfortunate because destroys the feeling that makes mplishment worthwhile in the end, with the fleeting happiness so valued easured while it lasts. he secret to optimum success mply to ignore all regrets over us mistakes and start anew, for possible to truly accomplish ng without a clear mind clean slate (or tabula f you will).

Beating a universal plague Annie Lee staff writer

Quotebox: Who do you envy?

’m a runner so I envy people that are really fast.” - Sophomore Sean Flaherty

Superman because he can fly.”

- Senior Nicholas Polussa

People with all As. They’re lucky.”

- Junior Nick Lee

Junior] Ashwath Chennapan because he’s really…smart?” - Junior Deepti Prabhakar

Debaters because they work hard.”

Pikachu because he’s adorable!”

- Freshman Nicky Nadalaf - Sophomore Michayla Hart

Senior] Norris Tie because he’s tall.”

- Senior James Nguyen

envy Angelina Jolie’s and Brad Pitt’s adopted children.” - Sophomore Shayan Mahinfallah

No one. Envy is one of the causes of human destruction. It should ot be instituted in any mind.” - Sophomore Alicia Varghese envy myself because I am the best.” - Lambert Woo, Science Dept. Compiled by Alice Koh and Jennifer Park Staff Writers

Envy is not something we can get rid of at the touch of a button. It can arise for the simplest, most insignificant reasons and become a lifeconsuming obsession. However, there is always a way to overcome envy. Ridding oneself of envy can be quite difficult, especially when there may be no definite cause of envy in the first place. Envy can be easily defined as the desire for something that another possesses which one does not have. That “thing” he or she may want can be anything, ranging from simple talent to another’s fortune of wealth. Envying others for such reasons may look harmless, but that is not always the case. From time to time, envy results in strife and even violence. When a man jealous of another’s possession, position or any other quality, cannot control his envy, he may end up hurting others emotionally or physically in a feeble attempt to satisfy his desires and frustration.

An English proverb dictates that “envy shoots at others and wounds itself.” Therefore, envy must be overcome and as difficult as it is to beat this pervasive sin, doing so is essential to living a healthy life. Rather than fixating on the possessions of others, one should seek to improve themselves, and, at the same time, learn to be satisfied with their situation. “Envy can be overcome by avoiding such thoughts and feeling that you are not at a ‘lower level,’” Sophomore Surabhi Madhvapathy said. Overcoming envy is a matter of self-control. If people considered the consequences of envy, many would choose to control their thoughts of self-degradation. More so, overcoming envy is a matter of self-appreciation: rather than obsessing over what one lacks, appreciating what one has can be a simple, yet effective solution. Yes, envy can sprout from anything. Humans may frequently deal with it, but at the end of the day, with the right mind, envy is, without question, a conquerable force.



September 23, 2009

Statistics teacher brings Former student returns to school as Algebra teacher energy and enthusiasm Stephanie Yu and Annabel Liu

Janice Yip and Sarah Kho

sports editor and staff writer Joining the staff this year is former engineer Mr. Sitkewich, Math Dept., who is excited to spread his love for mathematics to high school students by teaching AP Statistics. Sitkewich decided to become a statistics teacher because of his love for both math and physics. “He is very enthusiastic and passionate about statistics, and his love for the subject shines through in his class. It is an honor to have such a learned and caring teacher.  I look forward to expanding my knowledge a n d becoming, as Mr. Sitkewich puts it, ‘statistics literate’,” Senior Kriti Sondhi said. He previously worked in the hightech industry and designed computer chips. He also worked as a senior manager for hundreds of engineers. After receiving a Master’s degree in Physics at Carnegie Mellon University, and a Master’s in Industrial Engineering and Mathematics, Sitkewich started teaching part-time at San Jose City College before retiring in 1994. He continued by pursuing a Calif. Clear Teaching Credential at National University in San Jose, Calif.

He had previously been a substitute teacher at the school. Last year, he was  asked to come back to teach math in the morning. He jumped at the opportunity to become a staff member at the school due to its high standing in math and because his wife teaches here. Sitkewich has seen many other schools, but he is impressed with the students here and strongly believes that they are well motivated and many are very capable in mathematics. One thing that Sitkewich wants to teach his students is to set attainable goals and try their absolute best to achieve them. “Leland students are very concerned about being successful [and] going to college. Think where you’ll be ten years from now, after you graduate from [high school], and study hard to achieve it,” Sitkewich said. Outside of teaching, Sitkewich enjoys bicycling, hiking and teaching at San Jose City College in the afternoon. Even though he has only been here for a little over a month, several mathematics students on campus are already excited for his class “Mr. Sitkewich is a very lively teacher. His engaging personality and interaction with students made us feel welcome on the very first day of school,” Senior Ayushi Roy said.

news and feature editors

Paymon Zarghami, Math Dept., expresses much enthusiasm not only for education but also for his return to the school, where levels of both academics and school spirit are higher than ever. An alumnus of the school, Zarghami graduated with the class of 2000 after attending nearby Carson Elementary School and Bret Harte Middle School. He then attended UC Berkeley, where he double-majored in Business and Economics. At the time, he was completely unaware of his future career as a high school teacher. On an impulse, he joined Teach for America, a national organization that focuses on providing higher education to students in lower income communities. “It was an amazing experience on so many levels,” Zarghami said. “I fell flat on my face every day at first because my idea of teaching was the traditional, teacher-at-the-blackboard method, which really didn’t work at all.” With the mission of ending “educational inequity,” the program recruits promising, newly-graduated college students to bring students to their full potential, regardless of the many difficulties that accompany poverty. “Teach for America showed me what excellent teaching was. And though I am nowhere near that right

Tsai Photo now, I’m working hard to get to that level. It’s great to be working at a school where I’m surrounded by so many excellent teachers,” he said. Zarghami himself is a very dedicated teacher who constantly experiments with new methods of teaching, such as his “80% (or above) Club” and “Proficiency Spectrum.” His love for education translates directly into his teaching, and this school is no exception. His goal is to motivate all of his students to obtain a score of proficient or advanced on the standardized tests in April. “I love the drive, the I’m-going-toget-an-A-on-this, nothing less, the determination, of the students here,” Zarghami said.

Downtown College Prepatory teacher excited for “Aha!” moments

teaching is interacting with the students and helping them learn well so he can get to know them better. With an unexpected start as a temporary substitute for “My favorite thing about teaching is when students get that Loan Nguyen in the second semester of the 2008-2009 school ‘Aha!’ moment and then this is all worth it,” Clarke said.  year, Gary Clarke, Math Dept., formerly a teacher at Downtown When Clarke worked with the students he was amazed at their effort and motivation concerning their grades and was greatly College Prepatory, did not anticipate staying for long. The opposite proved to be true when he was hired impressed with the sense of responsibility the students held. to teach Algebra II with Trigonometry and Geometry in His goals and aims for the students he teaches are to achieve place of Nguyen.  However, before he came to the school, a strong foundation and understanding of the principles taught he had previously taught at Bret Harte Middle School to them in order to guide them towards the AP track. from 1998 to 2000.  The experience gave him an idea of He hopes to guide and direct students’ potential along the path where their skills would be truly utilized and challenged. the school atmosphere. His past experience includes working as a sales Even though Clarke had been hired under unexpected representative for five years and teaching at Downtown circumstances, the past semester he spent teaching and College Prep, as well as coaching football. However, Clarke absorbing the school’s atmosphere has greatly contributed in did not imagine that he would end up teaching at the school developing the way he approaches education.  “Teaching is something I really enjoy since it makes me feel until he was hired permanently on March 13, 2009. To make lessons more interesting, Clarke encourages intellectually stimulating and I get to help students to set the students to contribute regularly.  His favorite part of paths to their future.” Clarke said.

Christine Yen

staff writer

Tsai Photo

Former Taiwanese diplomat joins school faculty Algebra and Geometry teacher Yang brings experience from all corners of the globe Jessica Lee staff writer

Always out for more learning, James Yang, Math Dept. aspires to help students succeed in his classes. When he noticed that the school had a position open as a math teacher, he readily applied. He currently teaches Algebra I and Geometry and so far approves of both the students and the school. “The parents are supportive [and] students care about education. It’s a great school,” Yang said. Before he became a teacher, Yang was a diplomat from Taiwan and studied computer science and software engineering. However, he realized that he did not want to pursue a career in industry and began to consider teaching. He then taught in an internship for one year before teaching as a teacher for two years. This year at the school is his second year. As a teacher, Yang plans to fully support his students and has high expectations for them. He hopes that as the year progresses, he will learn more about teaching and understanding his students. “He’s a very good and promising teacher,” Senior Vagelis Lambiris, Yang’s teaching assistant, said. Yang was a straight-A student in his younger days. In a

math competition held by his school in Taiwan, he placed second out of 160 competitors. He missed first place by one problem in which he wrote the wrong vector notation. Yang enjoyed playing volleyball and tennis before he hurt his leg. He also enjoyed reading books on math and philosophy but currently watches the Discovery Channel and combs the Internet for information. He has traveled to Taiwan, Las Vegas, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. A deep thinker, Yang dislikes noise and embraces tranquility. He finds watching the ocean in the morning to be a calming experience and often strolls down the Santa Cruz beach. When he finds time, Yang studies math philosophy, which focuses on how math should be constructed and challenges the foundations of mathematical principles. Nonetheless, his job as a math teacher has left him little spare time. He has remarked that he often sleeps late. “It’s a really busy first year. Hopefully I will have more time next year,” Yang said. Though Yang finds teaching challenging, his hard work has yielded results. “Although math is hard for me, he teaches it well,” Sophomore Alex Willis-Paulsen said.

Tsai Photo

feature 11 September 23, 2009 students are interested in history History teacher when because I get all excited talking about it,” New teacher makes positive Marchetti said. After graduating in 2007, he pursued his spreads passion teaching addition to English Department credentials by student-teaching first in Palo Alto, then transferring to the school and teaching under the guidance of Suzanne Paulazzo, Social Science Dept. He received his credentials in 2008 and began teaching at Benjamin Franklin Middle School.  But the daily commute proved to be so tedious that he seized the opportunity to teach at the school and now teaches freshman and sophomore students.  Marchetti found that teaching high school students is not much different from teaching middle school kids and asks all his students to try to be enthusiastic in class. When students dislike history, he explains that everyone, in fact, appreciates history in one way or another. Flores Photo “Everyone likes something about history, they just don’t know it.  Some people like Eileen Chen reading football history, others like reading feature editor other kinds of history,” Marchetti said. As a child, Brian Marchetti, Social Many students especially enjoy the class Science Dept., loved history and dreamed discussions of history events. of one day becoming a history teacher; “I like the class a lot.  The best part is he is now fulfilling that dream as a World the active conversations we have in class,” Cultures and World History teachers. Freshman Tanya Ryleeva said. Marchetti, who attended Notre Dame de Though he was born in Santa Clara, he Namur University, triple majored in history, grew up in San Jose, attending Gardner political science and religious studies, with Elementary School, Hoover Middle School an emphasis on early Christian studies.  and Lincoln High School.  He currently Although it was sometimes difficult to resides in Santa Clara.  juggle three majors, history proved to be In his spare time, he enjoys watching so similar to political science that he felt Star Trek and is a huge movie fanatic, comfortable handling all three.  often collecting DVDs.  For the most part, In college, he decided between becoming however, his hobbies are related to history, a historian and teaching and realized that such as compiling quotes. his true passion lay in teaching. “I’m a huge quote person.  I have so “I love learning and discussing history many, but my favorites are ‘History makes because history is awesome.  I’ve played us who we are’ and  ‘History teaches us the history game when I was younger and what man does not learn from history,’” often reenacted the Civil War.  I love it Marchetti said.

Christine Yen and David Kang

staff writers

Driven by the desire to work with a variety of different students, Andrea Floyd, English Dept., came to the school to grasp the opportunity of working with a new group of dedicated students. While majoring in literature at UC Santa Cruz, Floyd found a deep connection to language arts and passionately pursued poetry. “Literature is my favorite subject because it’s extremely expressive and full of meaning,” Floyd said.   As a teacher, Floyd has a strong resolve for whatever she does. As a child, she was determined not to follow in her parents’ footsteps, as they were both teachers. However, after working with students, she realized how much she enjoyed working with them and “accidentally” decided to pursue a teaching career.   Her love for literature opened the gateway for her current job. Floyd’s career began at Andrew Hill High School in east San Jose last year.  She enjoyed the experience and, as a first year teacher, developed a solid ideology on how she plans to manage students.  “I’ll be in my students’ faces all the time,” she said. “I want all my students to succeed — no matter how much effort it will take.

Flores Photo She was excited about the prospect of working with new faces and sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm with her students, and leapt at the opportunity to come to the school. “I strive to have a class where everyone’s opinions are valued, and where students understand and feel comfortable expressing themselves and voicing their thoughts,”  Floyd said. Floyd teaches sophomores and seniors and provides as much support and extra help as she can.  She is greatly impressed by the reputation of the school’s academically driven students. Sharing her insight and knowledge through her love of literature, Floyd hopes to connect and relate to her students by creating a comfortable learning environment in which each student can learn to draw connections to literature in their own creative and personal ways.

New biology teacher enthusiastically “hip-hops” his way to school Leon Chen

Flores Photo

staff writer Jia Liu, Science Dept., has joined the Chargers for the 2009-2010 school year as an enthusiastic and energetic Biology teacher. Liu was born in China, moved to Canada and then lived in Mountain View. He attended Mountain View High School and participated in Journalism. Afterwards, he went to UC Berkeley to study Biology and enjoyed it much more than the other sciences. Liu became interested in teaching when he taught at a summer program called “Breakthrough Collaborative” for underprivileged middle schoolers.  He taught middle school and high school for three years and two years respectively, and taught at WC Overfelt High School prior to coming to the school.  When asked how the atmosphere here was compared to his previous jobs, he said the school is

“very academically focused” and has more school spirit. He also enjoys the staff and administration here, considering them supportive and nice. His stated goals for this year are to teach biology and lifelong skills such as teamwork and public speaking. “[Mr. Liu] is really organized,” Freshman Parisa Loftis said.  However, more than anything, he just wants the students to feel that his classroom is a fun class. Liu has several figures in his life that helped him get to where he is today. “Obviously, my parents, my girlfriend, my staff and co-workers that inspired me to teach,” Liu said. During his free time, he enjoys spending time with his friends, dancing and running and is now the advisor of the Hip-Hop Club . Liu seems to have won over the support of many staff and students through his friendly demeanor. If his present public opinion is any indication, he will likely have a positive experience here.

Former science teacher returns once again to school staff

Alyssa Paredes staff writer

Previous staff member Jean Resler, Science Dept., returns to the school once again after a two year absence to resume teaching Biology and Physiology. Resler, a mother and a teacher, previously taught at the school for four years but was loaned out by the District to teach teachers at San Jose State for two years. When a teaching position became available, Resler jumped at the opportunity to return. After realizing how much she missed the students and staff during her absence, Resler said that it was interesting to see her freshmen students as seniors. “When you leave a school a teacher is guaranteed a job somewhere in the district but not necessarily Leland, my old school,” Resler said. Resler has always been interested in Biology because she feels that there is more depth in the field and that students can relate to it more. “I have always been interested in the medical aspect of Biology and Physiology and how the human body works both mechanically and chemically,” Resler said. In her spare time, Resler enjoys taking long walks and getting involved in the community. In addition, she goes sailing in her sailboat every summer in Canada. She is also caught in the idea of new challenges, which is evident through her career choice. Oftentimes, those who major in both Biology and Physiology opt for a career in the medical field, but Resler chose the educational route because she is more fond of the academic aspect than the treatment of patients. “I always knew I was going to be a teacher,” Resler said. “Leland is where my heart is. I have always hoped I could come back to Leland.”

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SEPTEMBER 23, 2009 P.E. teacher and football coach spreads his passion for athletics

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Alice Koh staff writer Jake Shaughnessy, Physical Education Dept., is one of the new additions to the faculty, working to maintain the dedication to, and passion for, students that the staff has through physical education. Shaughnessy, a native of the Bay Area, resided in Oakland, Calif. during his childhood. He graduated from Saint Mary’s High School and continued his higher education at UC Berkeley and then at the University of Southern Calif. Shaughnessy is an experienced teacher who has not only taught physical education, but history as well. Although this year will be his first at the school, this year marks the tenth anniversary of Shaughnessy’s teaching career. “In high school, I was on the football, track and rugby teams,” Shaughnessy said. Consequently, he favors teaching these three sports to his students the

most, as they have strongly influenced his own life to a great extent. Shaughnessy has taught at a variety of locations within Calif., including Marin County for four years, Hayward for a year and Half Moon Bay for the past four years. Shaughnessy is an extremely dedicated and hardworking teacher; his schedule is packed with various activities. As a result, his favorite thing to do is sleep. “I wake up around 4 a.m. to get to zero period on time and get home at around 8 p.m. from coaching football,” Shaughnessy said. When Shaughnessy is not hard at work at the school, he enjoys spending time with his six-year-old niece. Shaughnessy chuckles as he admits that he is currently limited to G-rated movies such as Up, Bedtime Stories and Monsters vs. Aliens. “I came to [this school] because it has a very good reputation. Coming here has definitely reinforced my attitude about [this school]’s reputation,” Shaughnessy said.

Leland Plus teacher finds her niche within the school Rachel Wagner staff writer

Carrie Campion, Leland Plus, has worked a multitude of jobs throughout her career, including teacher, office worker, waitress and maker of paper bag hats. However, as a teacher for the school, Campion has found a match for her skills and personality. As a teacher, Campion takes great joy in working with kids of the high school age. “Teenagers are really funny… they’re so serious and everything’s always dramatic to them,” Campion said. Campion began her studies at the University of Alabama in Birmingham with a Geology major, but later returned to school with a major in Politics at UC Santa Cruz. From there, she obtained her Masters of Education before beginning her career as a teacher. After graduating, Campion taught at a middle school in Santa Cruz, as well as Lincoln High School for four years. Campion teaches in Leland Plus, a program designed for students of all grade levels who require more one-onone attention in their learning environment and benefit from individualized teaching.

So far, she has nothing but the highest praise for the school, particularly her fellow teachers and the administration. “The faculty has been super friendly. It’s refreshing,” Campion said. When she was in high school, her favorite subject was history. Currently, some of her favorite things are laughing, running and dark chocolate – “and not always in that order,” Campion said. Among these interests, Campion is also a faithful fan of the Harry Potter books and movies, and of the Nickelodeon television show Spongebob Squarepants. “We quote Spongebob at home. My family is kind of strange,” Campion said. Campion has high hopes for the remainder of the school year, particularly Homecoming and the Dec. holiday break at the end of first semester. However, until then, Campion is enjoying teaching at the school, and an inviting atmosphere has helped her to feel comfortable at the school. “I like the friendliness. It makes you feel welcome and not like an outcast,” Campion said. “This is the kind of job I’ve always wanted.”

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Special Education teacher hopes to explore the school Julia Montgomery

Johnson runs a special day class to help people with special needs throughout the day. Rather than teaching Another teacher joining the faculty this year is Peggy a single subject, she teaches whatever her students need Johnson, Special Education Dept. help with. With 18 years of teaching experience, and many Her classroom is decorated with various memorabilia teachers in her family history, Johnson is both of local sports teams from the Bay Area, and she has experienced and well-rounded. bookshelves stuffed with books with subjects ranging She received her teaching degree at the University from English to geography. of Nebraska and landed her first teaching job soon after Johnson hopes to make a positive impact on her 15 her graduation, in a children’s psychiatric ward. Johnson students by inspiring them to try their best and pursue soon became intrigued by the interesting profession and help when needed. thus began to pursue to teach children with academic “Providing special education services to students and emotional needs. who need academic and emotional assistance is never She has taught at multiple schools in the Bay Area, the same day twice. I remain intrigued with the concept including Pine Hill School, a small private school, and of creating solutions for whatever issues students bring Westmont High School, where she also coached the to the table,” Johnson said. Boys’ and Girls’ Volleyball Teams. Johnson has been quite busy since her arrival; as a Johnson is hoping for the opportunity to coach the result, she has not had the opportunity to explore the Girls’ Volleyball Team in the future and to pursue taking school. However, she plans to branch out and explore as the girls to CCS. soon as she as fully settled into her new role. “I would like to hang my hat in the Blue and Gold for “I look forward to getting out of my classroom soon,” a while,” Johnson said. Johnson said. staff writer

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Guided Studies teacher encourages further education for students David Kang and Ryan Chow staff writers Adam Sax, Special Education Dept., recently joined the school staff to assist the Special Education teacher, and as part of the graduated class of ‘86, Sax felt very comfortable returning to the school to teach. After Sax left high school, he went to San Jose State University to major in physical education because he had enjoyed playing sports like basketball and football in high school. However, during his junior year in college, Sax had decided to switch majors. “Social studies was my favorite subject in high school, so I decided that I wanted to teach social studies,” Sax said. Sax first taught world history classes at WC Overfelt High School and then moved on to teach at Hayward High School. Sax then spent seven years in east San Jose, sharing his knowledge of world history with students and coaching Varsity Football. Sax, however, wanted a new teaching experience, so he applied to become a Special Education teacher at his

old high school. Fortunately, Sax was admitted to the school staff despite budget cuts. So far, Sax has is enjoying his new teaching experience with the students. “I like to work individually with kids as opposed to a large group and here in the special education department, that’s exactly what I do,” Sax said. Special Education provides students with a very helpful one-on-one learning experience and motivational support. In addition to individual help, Sax has his students act out different historical events to make create an enjoyable learning experience. Through his mentoring, Sax wants to inspire students to move beyond high school. Regardless of the obstacles that may come his way, Sax is willing to take on the challenge. “I want to convince the students to move on to college [and] set high goals,” Sax said. Returning to the school, Sax was pleased by the dramatically increased school spirit. “[It]s spirit is exponentially higher. I think that’s great,” Sax said.

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The Charger Account

Kanye’s interruption generates controversy at Video Music Awards

Film Faceoff: Edward Yang

District 9

District 9 is definitely not a movie that you would want to watch with your date and then talk about on the ride home unless the girl in question happens to enjoy intense profanity, violence and gore. For everybody else, District 9 is sure to be an enjoyably gritty and realistic thrill-ride that promises to leave audiences on the edge of their seats silent in wonder and thought. District 9, the first feature film from director Neil Blomkamp, takes place in Johannesburg, South Africa, where a mysterious extraterrestrial spacecraft filled with millions of crustacean-like alien refugees that crash-landed 28 years ago. The story follows the main character, Wikus Van der Merwe (Sharlto Coplye), a nervous corporate pencil pusher in charge of evicting the aliens from the slum-like shantytown called District 9. What follows is a two-hour saga of segregation, science fiction and special effects that pits Wikus, the humans and the aliens against each other in an epic R-rated adventure. District 9 delivers a great movie experience with a perfect balance of thought-provoking moments and heart-pounding action.  With enough gunfire, explosions and alien robots to satisfy even the most hard-core action movie buff or science fiction fan, District 9 is cinematic eye candy in its purest form.  As advertised, the alien weaponry in District 9 is mind-blowing in the film’s nearperfect CGI, with the alien rifles firing off everything from crackling lightning to blasts of pure energy that level entire buildings.  The aliens resemble giant prawns, incredibly complex and expertly rendered so that they interact fluidly with their surroundings.   In addition to the action-based sequences, District 9 manages to find a heart buried within its delicate exoskeleton. Unlike Transformers 2 or G.I. Joe, District 9 is not just a pile of special effects cobbled together to create a mass of mindless entertainment. Apart from the obvious political and moral angles dealing with refugees, segregation and persecution, this movie also revitalizes the story of South African apartheid persecution by portraying the aliens as cruelly mistreated refugees and the humans as violent primal animals. Rather than taking the side of the humans, the audience is drawn to the plight of the aliens. The film itself also covers a broad array of controversial topics from illegal immigration to racial discrimination during its 120 minutes. Under the guidance of Blomkamp, District 9 strays from the customary movie narrative and dares to be different by combining traditional camera angles with the shaky handheld-style of fake documentaries like The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield. The movie adopts a unique touch by coupling interviews, news footage and even security camera tapes to add to the gritty realistic view of the film.  At times, District 9 is portrayed so realistically that it is hard to believe that the movie is fiction and not an actual documentary.    Of course, District 9 is not perfect. The plot leaves more questions than answers and the rationale in some situations is flawed. Other than the usual minor mishap, District 9 is perhaps one of the best movies of the summer, earning a respectable four out of five stars.


Bernadeta Baktashian and Sarah Kho staff writers

Rachel Wagner

The movie District 9 is the type of movie someone would claim to be the best movie released this summer in order to sound impressive. However, upon hearing this claim, I would have to question if they even saw District 9. Filmed in a “mockumentary” style, District 9 tells the story of an alien invasion of Johannesburg, South Africa. But instead of being invincible aliens bent on world domination, these extraterrestrials arrive malnourished and weak, becoming the object of human oppression.  The story follows a man named Wikus Van De Merwe, who has been given the job of evicting the aliens referred to as Prawns from their homes in District 9 of Johannesburg to a concentration camp far away so they will do no further harm to humans. Between the bloody fight scenes and the use of the f-bomb in every sentence, this movie leaves little room for explanations.  Good luck trying to discern exactly why certain characters are trying to kill others and why the villains of the story seem incapable of rational thought processes. Aside from being an allegory for the concept of apartheid in South Africa, this movie is a blatant display of gruesome violence.  True, it is an original story about the wrongful discrimination of a vulnerable race and the inescapable decisions of right and wrong, but let’s face it.  Most people go to the movies for one reason only: to be entertained. Unless you take delight in seeing characters die in gory and uncreative ways, District 9 has very little entertainment to offer.  District 9 is comprised of gunfight after gunfight, along with weird and slimy crustacean-like aliens that are simply no fun.   I hate to sound like a stereotypical teenage girl, but I think a couple choreographed song and dance numbers would have been enormously beneficial to this movie. Sure, thought-provoking movies like District 9 are fine and dandy, but Wikus, the main character and his alien ally, Christopher, are the only characters that seem to be doing any thinking in this movie; Wikus is the only fully developed character. Despite these flaws, District 9 succeeded in the fact that I am not likely to forget this movie anytime soon. The makers of this movie obviously intended for this movie to illustrate the brutal and heartbreaking consequences of racial discrimination, and they succeeded. However, I find it difficult to believe that a movie is deep and meaningful when characters’ heads are shamelessly vaporized into bloody puddles again and again. So those of you who are attempting to tell the world that District 9 is one of the greatest sci-fi films to ever crash-land the cinemas, please be serious.

On Sept. 13, millions gathered around to watch the annual Music Television (MTV) Video Music Awards (VMAs) which took place in New York. The program once again outdid itself in an attempt to be bigger, better and more hip than previous years by integrating with the popular website, Twitter. True to its nature, MTV strayed from the intended focus of the awards and viewers were encouraged to “tweet” reactions throughout the program and periodically the Video Jockeys (VJs) would show the popularity of each topic. “The overuse of Twitter did not make me want to participate. It distracted from the point of the program,” Junior Veda Truong said. This year gave a tribute to Michael Jackson, honoring his death. Madonna began by speaking of the King of Pop and the show ended with a dance commemoration performance by sister Janet Jackson. Moonmen were awarded for a number of classic categories such as Best Female and Male Video, Best Pop Video, Best Rock Video, Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography as well as new categories such as Best Breakthrough Video, which went Matt and Kim for their video “Lessons Learned.” Lady Gaga took the Moonman Award for Best New Artist. Video of the Year was awarded to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)”, which beat Lady’s Gaga’s “Poker Face”, Eminem’s “We Made You”, Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown” and Britney Spears’ “Womanizer.” Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Green Day ultimately tied for most awards won with three apiece. Tensions rose early in the awards when Taylor Swift won the Moonman for Best Female Video. As the country singer went up to get her award, rap artist Kanye West took the stage as well as the microphone to state who he thought was the rightful recipient of the award – Beyonce. Things came full circle when Beyonce invited Swift onstage at the end of the night during her acceptance of Video of the Year so the young singer could “have her moment.” Some of the most anticipated performances included those by rap artist Jay-Z as well as Lady Gaga and Beyonce, both nominated for nine separate categories. Other performers were Muse, Green Day, Pink and Taylor Swift. “It was pretty good, the performances were good and strange at the same time. I liked it better than previous years,” Sophomore Victoria Palmen said.

Courtesy of

Kitchen Critic: La Villa Delicatessen Emilie Jehng

La Villa Delicatessen, located on Lincoln Avenue in Willow Glen and owned by the Bertucelli family, brings authentic Italian cuisine to San Jose with its food, service and atmosphere. The deli is small, dusty and humble, holding a unique charm that only comes with age. Although the shop is a bit crowded and can be overwhelming for first-timers to the deli, La Villa’s ambience and coziness makes it appealing to the newcomer and regular customer alike. La Villa is packed to the brim with Italian specialties such as cold cuts, cheese, wine and prepared dishes as well as a large selection of antipasto and salad. In the shop are two main displays, one to the right for chilled foods and one in the back for heated foods. A good place to start would be with the raviolis. La Villa’s raviolis, more commonly known as ravs,

have a perfect melt-in-your-mouth consistency. The sauce is sweet yet tangy and does not tire your taste buds as some sauces do. The flavor of the sauce is bold and compliments the raviolis instead of overpowering them. The real secret is in the pasta dough. Barely holding the ravioli together, the dough dissolves in the mouth, allowing the beef and spinach filling to take over. This creates an exceptional ravioli that is quite delicious. The same melt-in-your-mouth pasta dough that is used for the ravioli can also be found in the lasagna. The lasagna is like any other: layered with sauce, ground beef, ricotta cheese and mozzarella, but there is certainly a distinctive taste to this lasagna. The mozzarella in the lasagna has a certain bite and density to it, which adds a new dimension to the lasagna. The Chris Combo sandwich, named after none other then Chris Bertucelli, is the downright favorite. Besides Bertucelli and a few others, no one knows exactly what goes into the sandwich that makes it so delectable.

The sandwich consists of turkey, a white spread, thinly sliced prosciutto, shredded lettuce and melted cheese, sprinkled with seasonings and served on soft white bread. The food at La Villa Delicatessen is fairly affordable, at six dollars for a half pint of raviolis, seven dollars for a large slice of lasagna and six dollars for the Chris Combo. For those who wish to enjoy the view in downtown Willow Glen as they eat their meals, space is also available outside for alfresco dining. Be warned though, La Villa’s open hours are a bit inconvienient, as they close at 6:30 p.m. on Tues. and Wed.; 7 p.m. on Thurs. and Fri. and at 6 p.m. on Sat. They are closed on Sun. and Mon. La Villa Delicatessen sticks to its roots and remains humble in spite of its growing popularity. La Villa is the kind of deli that knows how to make simple Italian favorites well. For its charm and delectable Italian food, La Villa Delicatessen receives a well-deserved four out of five spoons.



September 23, 2009

Girls’ Tennis begins season with overwhelming wins Both singles and doubles dominate the competition in big victories Jacquelyn Nguyen staff writer

The Varsity Girls’ Tennis team began their season with a strong start by winning their first two official games. On Sept. 17, the girls easily brushed aside Evergreen Valley High School, winning (6-1) in a relatively easy victory. The Varsity Girls’ won their second away game of the season (7-0) against Silver Creek High School, continuing their promising start to the season. They served up a (6-1) win in their first away game of the season against Westmont High School on Sept. 8. Many of the girls played extremely well in their matches. One doubles pair in particular, Wendy Liang ’11 and Amy Chen ’11, were very successful in their games. They double bageled their opponents, which means they won their first two sets (6-0) against Westmont. “I really liked how some of the girls showed tenacity [when they started behind and fought] their way through,” Coach Pamela Headley, Athletic Dept. said. Two of the returning underclassmen varsity players changed their rank from last year. Jenny MacDonald ’12 moved up to the number two singles position from the number four position and Nisha Parmeshwar ’12 went from playing doubles to playing number three singles.

Aside from ladder changes, this year’s varsity team also has some new additions. The three newcomers are Elizabeth Lee ’11, Roberta Babakhanian ’13, and Renee Crouzet-Pascal ’12. Anastasia Glyantseva ’10, MacDonald, Parmeshwar, Kimberly Tseng ’10, Steph Pinson ’12, Liang and Chen are all players who were on the previous varsity team. With practices from Mon. to Fri. starting at 3 p.m., the girls are training hard to achieve goals that they have set for themselves. While some are determined not to lose a single match this season, others are striving to improve their serves and to keep a consistent stroke. Even though the girls play their own individual games most of the time, they manage to cheer each other on during their breaks. “We are a very spirited and supportive team,” Parmeshwar said. Last year the team competed at CCS and to qualify this year, the girls will need to focus more during practice and train even harder. To improve their skills for future games, Coach Headley is going to push the girls to be more aggressive at the net and is going to make the team more doubles oriented. She also wants the girls to be doing more forehand, backhand and net drills. Nguyen Photo The girls will be playing future matches on Amy Chen ’11 returns the ball to her partner during a practice match. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Girls’ Volleyball prepares for intense season

The first official game of the year was a home game played yesterday against Sobrato High School. staff writer Coached by Chris Hansen, the Girls’ Volleyball team The Varsity Girls’ Volleyball team has been practicing dominated the Bay Area scene last year, making it to the five days a week for the past month to prepare for the first round of the CCS Championships against Westmont tough season they have ahead of them this fall. High School, another fierce local team. This year’s tryouts were the biggest the team has ever With a record of 13-10 last year, the girls on both had. 42 girls showed up, but after tryouts, only 13 girls Varsity and JV hope to step it up a notch. made JV and 11 made Varsity. The majority of the Varsity For both girls’ teams, practice is usually five times a team is made of seniors, as most of them played as juniors week for two hours of tiring drills and tests of skill. last year. “We have been practicing our hearts out for the past The team started practicing on Aug. 17 and will continue month to get in shape for the new season,” Marlene Isied to play until the season ends in Nov., depending on whether ’12 said. or not the team makes it to the CCS Championships. The girls have become more than teammates to each The girls have been going to scrimmages one to two other. They consider themselves more like a family. To times per week to practice their teamwork and get their trust each other more and to gain more team unity, the rhythm down before their official season commences. girls often have team bonding days. During the summer, However, quite a few girls have received injuries in some even went river rafting and camping together. the scrimmages. Most of them were fully recovered by “[We are always] supporting each other on and off the court,” Allie Zipp ’10 said. Courtney Krail ‘11 practices serving. yesterday’s game.

Julia Montgomery

Girls’ Water Polo

kicks off season

Marvin Lo staff writer

The Varsity Girls’ Water Polo team kicked off their season by participating in a 32-team tournament located at Clovis High School in Fresno during the Labor Day weekend. All of the teams competing were the best from the Central Section. Out of the 32 teams who attended, the girls played five games and lost only one, finishing in fifth place overall. The tournament games were the first official games the girls played as a team. Although they placed fifth out of 32 teams, they will continue to strive for excellence in their game play. “Our goal [this year] is to get back in the finals and repeat as league finalists,” Coach Eric Rise said.  New additions to the team include Jamie Nolan ’13, Samantha Murphy ’12 and Ashley Arras ’12, Caroline Norton ’11, Kristen Koolpe ’11 and Rachael Snyder ’11.  The rest of the players are returning Sophomores and Juniors from last year, who Lo Photo are focusing on leading the team.  Stacey Koolpe ‘10 skillfully passes the ball during a scrimmage. While the Varsity team has a few younger players and newcomers from JV, it also has many returning during any incident in any game. They also practice with experienced players which will be an advantage against the boys’ team to make them even more competitive, other teams.  participating in scrimmages to strengthen their skills. “The younger girls are adjusting to Varsity level quite With a strong start to the season, the entire team well, so I have high hopes for this season,” Koolpe said.  remains optimistic. They will continue to persevere, So far the entire team has been practicing hard, polish and practice, working towards their goal to doing lots of conditioning and ball-handling, while also become league finalists. sharpening their defensive and countering skills.  “The team has a lot of potential this season.  We have In addition, they run through virtually every sort of a strong lineup and a lot of returning players,” Leanne game scenario in order to prepare them to perform well Kirtland ’10 said


The Charger Account


Coach has high expectations for Boys’ Water Polo

New members show promise while returning members display strong leadership Alex Tsai staff writer

The Varsity Boys’ Water Polo Team begins this year with a strong determination to perform well this season. The recent tournament during Labor Day weekend took place at Monterey Bay where the team accomplished a total of three victories against Carmel, Pioneer and Salinas for the tournament championships. For the upcoming season there are several new Varsity players. Christopher Asplund ’11, Scott Keighley ’12, Jacob Ley ’12, Tanner Sarpa ’12, Ishan Shah ’12, Jacob Johnson ’11, Richard Macinnes ’11, Kyle Mulligan ’11 and Evan Quint ’11 are all new additions to the team. Although many of these Varsity players lack experience, they make up for it with practice. “I think we have a great group of guys with tons of strong players and I am confident that we will win in BVAL [Blossom Valley Athletic League] as well as do well in CCS [Central Coast Section],” Josh Nunez ’10 said. The team requires not only strong will and determination, but also massive amounts of practice. The Varsity team practices about eight times a week, with three morning practices and

five afternoon ones. “These boys are working hard to learn how to move a ball in the water,” Coach Mike Monsees, Science Dept. said. Besides spending countless hours in the pool practicing, the team also spends time together before games. The Water Polo Team has a tradition of eating a pasta dinner at a teammate’s house before every league game. Team members have high hopes for the upcoming season. “I feel confident about the season since we have strong returning seniors as well as strong support from the underclassmen,” Kyle Meggs ’10 said. The team now has a 3-0 record and the coach feels assured that they will be even more confident of their skills after the Thousand Oaks Tournament. “After this 32-high school tournament we should have a better understanding of how we will be doing this season,” Monsees said. Coach Monsees also has an expectation for the outcome of this year’s season. “I am confident we can dominate in BVAL by a strong margin, as well as reach the semifinals in CCS, and maybe even the finals,” Coach Monsees said. Tsai Photo As the practices continue, the team continue to progress with dedication and hard work. RJ Macinnes '11 quickly rushes to block his opponent from catching the ball.

Field Hockey looks forward to promising season Grace Koh staff writer

Varsity girls played a pre-season game that resulted in a defeat of 4-1, then continued the pre-season with a close game against Live Oak on Sept. 15, in which the girls suffered a defeat of 1-0. The game consisted of a few fouls which may have changed the outcome of the game in favor of the Charger girls. When the team almost gained a point, the officials claimed that it had bounced, which resulted in a foul that voided the goal. After last year’s disappointing season, the team is anxiously anticipating the start of the official season due to the new coach, Ruben Reyes. The team is already looking better than last year’s due to the team’s cooperation and acceptance of one another. Coach Reyes’ fresh, new outlook on the team and its strategies has proved to have a positive effect on the girls. In comparison to last year, the team is much more in sync with one another as they respect each other on and off the field. Something apparently different about the team for the 2009 Fall season lies in their brand new approach

to practicing: rather than taking time to condition during their valuable practice time together, the team is expected to condition on their own time, greatly maximizing the efficiency of stick practice. While in some cases having a new coach requires a lot of time to adjust, the Charger girls have nothing but benevolent remarks and praise regarding Coach Reyes. Coach Reyes is not simply a new person that directs the girls; he also brings an abundance of new ideas and strategies that the team has not seen before. The girls’ practices have been spent working diligently on endurance. Additionally, the team’s goalies have been training to play more aggressively while also learning techniques that are new to them, such as diving. Although the season is nearing, the team does not yet have anyone to call captain. Therefore, the several returning seniors and juniors work together to smoothly run practices with Coach Reyes. “I am really excited for this field hockey season because our attitude as a team has completely shifted and we are a lot more positive. I think we have a really Koh Photo good shot at CCS (Central Coast Section) this year,” Priya Patel '10 and Mio Akasako '10 battle for the ball. Gurpreet Sidhu ’10 said.

Charger Football starts off season with victory Lauren-Noel Flores staff writer

“7 for 13” is the phrase Coach Mike Carrozzo believes will be the key to a successful football season this year. It stands for seven months of pre-season hard work for the thirteen games. The team’s commitment paid off, as Leland started the football season with a huge win over Prospect, 42-7. 

Flores Photo

Connor Jones 'll tackles a Prospect player in the Varsity game.

“Teamwork played a big part of the game, seeing as the whole team was given a chance to play,” Quarterback Alex Gonzalez ‘10 said, who completed eight passes on nine attempts for 109 yards. Playing to a tie against Prospect last season, the Chargers were determined to prove that they are winners.  Firing up the game, Jon Ruel ‘10 started off the scoring with a 29-yard run for a touchdown.  The Chargers were on a roll. On the following drive, Ryan Smith ‘10 took an interception 41 yards back to the house for another six points.  Driving the blocks, Donnell Dudley ‘11 scored on a 13-yard run to round out the scoring in the first half 21-0. In the second half, Vincent Gemette ‘10 took a handoff at the 40-yard line into the end zone.  Keeping the momentum going, Dudley had a tremendous 50yard run for his second touchdown of the night. Stepping in for Gonzalez, Jason Habash ‘12 completed his only pass of the game for a touchdown from 43 yards out to Smith.  Grant Brownfield ‘10 was 6-6 in point-after attempts to finish the scoring for the Chargers. The Charger defense was in excellent form throughout the game – accumulating a total of six sacks.  Credit for putting pressure on the opposing quarterback goes to Connor Jones ‘11 (for 2 sacks), Michael Economy ‘10 (for 2), Michael Reeve ‘11 (for 1.5) and Shane Pizzo ‘10 (for .5). Prospect was able to score a touchdown in the final seconds of the game, robbing the school of

its chance for a shutout.  Though this last-minute touchdown left Chargers a little disappointed, the 42-7 score speaks volumes for the team. “I am really proud of the intensity – the boys gave it their all. It should be a promising season,” Coach Carrozzo said.

Pinching For Pennies

The recession: how did it affect students? Edward Yang staff writer

10. Hide money from yourself.

9. Mill your own paper.

8. Sell your school textbooks for cash.

Quotebox: What are you doing to save money?

7. Live the life of a caveman—GEICO style.

6. Bathe less frequently… or never.

5. Listen to someone else singing while in the shower—guaranteed to cut down shower time. 4. Lose the bottled water. After all tap water has been recycled God-knows how many times…

1. Sell your soul.

Compiled by

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3. Auction off your siblings.

2. Live off food samples from Costco.

“I’m not going grocery shopping.” – Andrew Holland, English Dept. “I’m watching movies online.”


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With all the talk about economic collapse, it does not take an AP Economics class to show that the recession is hitting high school students hard. School has already started and almost no one is buying new school supplies. Instead of the normal back-to-school rush, people scoured their desks and drawers for pencils, pens and other necessary equipment. Rather than having their shelves emptied in days, companies like Target and Office Depot that sell school supplies repeatedly cut their prices in order to attract customers. To save money on clothes, students came to school wearing whatever they had in their closets from last year rather than the usual new styles. “I would love to have new stuff for school, but with the recession going on, everybody is trying to save not spend,” Sophomore Shayan Mahinfallah said. Instead of fighting each other over a place in the lunch line, kids walked around armed with bagged lunches. Cheap, prepackaged lunch products like Lunchables appeared everywhere across campus as high school families trying to cut back on unnecessary expenses turned to coupons and sales to get their usual food at a lower price.

However, it is not just the student body that has been affected by the current recession. Many parents have been laid off or fired from jobs as Calif.’s unstable new budget plans are tested to the extreme. With unemployment rates continuing to rise, students must make great sacrifices to ensure the stability of their family’s economic future. For some it is as simple as choosing a less costly birthday present or carpooling with friends to save money on gas. For others, it may lead to more extreme measures such as cutting back on extracurricular activities like piano or lacrosse in order to make ends meet. “The recession really messed up my after school plans. Now, instead of all the activities and SAT prep classes that I had, I just stay home,” Sophomore Mingtao Yang said. Many families have even been forced to move to different cities or states to pursue new forms of employment, which means changing school districts, leaving old friends and acquaintances behind and adopting the dreaded title of “the new kid” at an unfamiliar campus. Whether it means packing lunches or packing bags, high schoolers have learned to look on the bright side and have adapted to their unfortunate circumstances. After all, with people cutting back wherever they can, the only thing left to do is hope for better days. “The best thing to do is to ride it out and hope for the best,” Sophomore Kazi Najib said.

r an rite y dR W an Staff a l Aya


– Sophomore Chris Lee

“I’m not saving, I’m spending to get out of the recession.” – Junior Deepti Prabhakhar “Take advantage of coupons in the newspaper and in the mail.” – Sophomore Shayan Mahinfallah

“Catching my own food to eat.” – Lambert Woo, Science Dept. “Cut back on my twice-a-day Starbucks.” – Sophomore Vivek Krishna

“Going to sleep earlier this year.” – Sophomore Ethan Hsia “I’m cutting back on my bling-bling.” – Joe Kerwin, Social Studies Dept. Compiled by Leon Chen Staff Writer

Staff Editorial: Charging up the API Tues., Sept. 15 was a day for our school to celebrate a 20-point increase in our Academic Performance Index (API). The score increased from 849 to 869 and this improvement reflects the results of the freshmen, sophomores and juniors who took their California Standards Test (CST) in April of 2009. Our students made significant increases in the ranking of their basic skills as well as the increase in our graduation rate and pass rate for the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE). In order for API scores to increase, students must move from the categories of “basic” into “proficient” and from “proficient” into “advanced.” The greater number of students who shift into the proficient and advanced levels, the higher the API score. Our school also met all of its growth targets, school wide and for specific subgroups, which, along with API scores, define our school’s Adequate Yearly Performance (AYP). AYP is

determined by three key factors: 1. Our participation and pass rate for the CAHSEE. The school’s result is 95 percent pass rate for the first time students take it. 2. Percentage of Proficiency for Annual Measurable Objectives (AP Tests). Our AP Test pass rate is 89 percent for the 931 tests taken in 2008-2009. 3. The graduation rate of the school. Leland’s graduation rate is 98.7 percent. Ultimately, what do these statistics mean for the school community? First, property values increase when the test scores of a local school increase. Second, colleges know that students with impressive grades and high test scores who graduate from the school have had to work hard to achieve success. Ultimately, an “A” from a high performing school such as ours carries prestige with it, and could carry students a long way. And so as our school continues to maintain its reputation as a distinguished school in Calif., the staff can reflect on a job well done.


Issued: September 23, 2009