Volume XLIX Issue VI Monta Vista High School
elESTOQUE February 2019
FEATURES 18 Conquering hidden illnesses
NEWS 7 UCSD scholarship created in honor of late MVHS alumna
OPINION 12 Are the blocks and splatters of modern art truly art?
A&E 31 The era of the Instagram-famous World Record Egg
SPORTS 36 How spectatorsâ€™ antics influence sports games
IN MEMORIAM: ALICE WU Scholarship created in honor of MVHS alumna
WARMING UP Polar vortex sparks further climate change discussion
BRIDGING THE GAP How generational differences affect families
THE UNSEEN ART Misconceptions about modern art
IN MY HUMBLE OPINION Why humility is crucial
NEW RIDES Three cars, three drivers, three stories
TALKING TRASH SITTING IT OUT How the crowd Why students don’t influences the game go to dances
TISSUE TURMOIL Coping with stress
HIDDEN CONDITIONS The stories of students and their invisible illnesses
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LAPTOP TAKING IT TO THE DECONSTRUCTED NEXT LEVEL The inside of a laptop Former students reflect on playing a collegiate sport
CRACKING THE EGG 50 YEARS LATER CARE TO DANCE? Exploring the world record egg Student free speech Why students since Tinker v. Des should go to dances Moines
DEAR TIME A letter to my forever friend
DANCING TOGETHER A look into MV Dance’s competition season
ATHLETE OF THE MONTH EE recognizes volleyball player Nikhil Bapat
LETTER FROM THE EDITORS
hen we first signed up for Challenge Day, we saw an opportunity to skip a day of school. The heartfelt emotions and crying we heard about were confirmed when we spent a day in the gym, hearing the stories and struggles of others and hugging our peers — a lot. And even if we didn’t fully commit to the repeated hugging and crying, we learned that Challenge Day was more than a day of conversations, games and a free lunch. It encouraged us to listen to and sympathize with others, not just on Challenge Day, but every day. It highlighted the underlying issues our peers experience, whether at home or at school, and allowed us to open up about our own struggles. And the one thing that became blatantly obvious was that everyone faces some type of problem, even if they’re of different magnitudes or entail different solutions. Sharing our problems with others may be helpful, but simply knowing that our peers are experiencing their own internal and external conflicts is enough to change one’s mindset. It’s more than just being there for someone. It’s sympathizing with them and helping them understand that they aren’t alone. It’s understanding that we should have a certain level of awareness instead of going about our everyday lives oblivious to the issues those around us are fighting to overcome. Beginning on page 18, we explore the hidden struggles of MVHS students and an alumni as a reminder that each one of us is fighting our own battle. We think we’re the only ones capable of having obstacles to overcome and that everyone else has perfect lives. But in reality, we’re all struggling in some way. By exploring the physical conditions of four students, we appreciate what they have had to overcome and understand that there are countless others with physical or mental struggles. Our reporters explored four different ‘hidden’ illnesses — leukemia, anorexia, Guillain-Barré and fibromyalgia — in order to get a grasp on these physical struggles. And although the majority of us have not experienced these particular struggles, we’ve also been through struggles that others didn’t know about. We empathize with them because we understand what they’re going through — it comes naturally for us because we’ve all had to overcome problems, regardless of whether it’s a physical health issue or mental illness or social struggle. The stories of these students are impactful because we admire them for the way they’ve learned to endure their problems, and we strive to do the same in our lives. In an environment where the importance of mental health is not always prioritized, it’s imperative that we promote an understanding that we are not alone. It’s essential for us to be aware about others’ problems. We are each unique — and our struggles are no exception.
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Editors-in-chief: Rana Aghababazadeh, Roshan Fernandez Managing editors: Helen Chao, Ruth Feng, Gauri Kaushik Copy editors: Charlotte Chui, Robert Liu, Claire Wen News editors: Sunjin Chang, Lakshanyaa Ganesh, Jasmine Lee, Andrea Perng Sports editors: Ankit Gupta, Rajas Habbu, Sreya Kumar, Anish Vasudevan Entertainment editors: Alyssa Hui, Hannah Lee, Jahan Razavi, Emily Xia Opinion editors: Zara Iqbal, Stuti Upadhyay, Brian Xu, Claire Yang Features editors: Claire Chang, Shuvi Jha, Swara Tewari, Jai Uparkar Beats editors: Oishee Misra, Chelsea Wong Design editor: Sara Entezar Business manager: Zara Iqbal PR editor: Sunjin Chang Graphics editor: Sarah Young Visuals editors: Justine Ha, Rajas Habbu, Herman Saini, Rucha Soman Web editor: Collin Qian Staff writers: Ayah Ali-Ahmad, Tyler Cho, Shivani Gupta, Elena Khan, Laasya Koduru, Tina Low, Iman Malik, Tabitha Mendez, Kamyar Moradi, Brandon Ng, Flora Peng, Dhruvika Randad, Keshav Taneja, Katerina Pappas, Ishani Singh, Julia Yang, Annie Zhang Adviser: Julia Satterthwaite Mission Statement El Estoque is an open forum created for and by students of Monta Vista High School. Opinions expressed in this publication are those of the journalism staff and not of MVHS or the Fremont Union High School District. The staff seeks to recognize individuals, events and ideas and bring news to the MVHS community in a manner that is professional, unbiased and thorough in order to effectively serve our readers. We strive to report accurately, and we will correct any significant error. If you believe such an error has been made, please contact us. Letters of any length should be submitted via email or mail. They may be edited for length or accuracy. Letters cannot be returned and will be published at El Estoque’s discretion. We also reserve the right to reject advertising due to space limitations or decision of the Editorial Board that content of the advertisement conflicts with the mission of the publication.
Roshan Fernandez COVER PHOTO | ANISH VASUDEVAN
EL ESTOQUE | MARCH 2019 3
WARMING UP Recent events spark conversations about climate change BY LAKSHANYAA GANESH, LAASYA KODURU AND OISHEE MISRA
ilicon Valley is a community that seems to share little in common with other parts of the country and world. Yet when it comes to climate change, it is not exempt from its reaches. The multi-year drought plaguing California is a prime example, with the reduction in crop production, increase in water bills, frequency of wildfires and, most recently, the polar vortex.
the national and global consequences of climate change Climate change has far-reaching consequences around the world, and Climate Tracker’s Youth Coordinator Mai Huang is no stranger to them. Huang describes her childhood home of Saigon, Vietnam as one of the more vulnerable countries to climate change, as it is a coastal country. Huang grew up witnessing drastic amounts of air pollution and clear marks of haphazard temperature changes. Enraged by the lax environmental policies addressing these issues and the lack of a freedom of speech, Huang was inspired to start informing others of the negative consequences of climate change. After moving to Exeter, N.H., Huang started to find ways to inform and advocate for environmental conservation at her high school, Phillips Exeter Academy. Huang wrote articles for local publications, hoping to spread awareness about climate change. After choosing
to enter a competition for Climate Tracker, an organization of young professional climate journalists, Huang was accepted as one of their online fellows. She then went on to visit a UN conference called COP24, and was inspired by the number of passionate people in the field. She then went further on to become a high school coordinator for Climate Tracker and launched a broader program for high school students. Through this, Huang is attempting to further her goal informing people that society as a whole isn’t doing enough to curb climate change. “I just thought that it’s ridiculous,” Huang said. “On the side of the [citizens] there was this sense of wanting change, and then in terms of policy it weren’t addressing [the change] yet.” After attending school in America for three years and gaining both national and global perspectives, Huang has observed that the main difference in discussions about climate change internationally from in America is the higher rates of skepticism in America. “Nowadays, you still have a lot of developing countries where people care a lot about climate change since that’s the environment they grow up in everyday, especially in rural areas where their livelihoods are dependent upon crops and seasons being regular,” Huang said. “There’s really no question for those people that bad things are happening and things need to change and something needs to be done.”
the california fourth climate change assessment results
7.2 ° F
increase in average max daily temperature
water supply decline from snowpacks
Increase in land by wildfires
EL ESTOQUE | MARCH 2019
Questioning climate change
Despite the overwhelming large amount of evidence that suggests the validity of climate change, some people in the MVHS community and beyond remain in disbelief about it. Chemistry teacher Kavita Gupta and English teacher Hannah Gould view those who don’t believe in climate change through the lens of their respective teaching roles. Gupta believes that analyzing scientific data is the first step to understanding climate change. She cites “fake news” as the perpetrator that makes it difficult to separate propaganda from real news, clouding people’s judgement. Gould believes that climate change naysayers choose to actively refuse to comprehend information. As an English teacher, she labels this as irresponsible literacy combined with self-supremacy. However, Gould does admit that this denial of climate change can also stem from the sense of despair that is often associated with the looming problem. “This is the most challenging possible problem we could ever face and there’s a few years left to do it,” Gould said. “It’s just so easy to look at that and try to delude yourself. And, it’s not entirely hopeless yet, so definitely talking about it is a good start.” Similarly, Huang says that non-believers in climate change are often demonized as ignorant, yet there are several different factors that play into their perception. Especially in the U.S., political affiliation is a major motivator and more recently, because of the polarized political atmosphere, this demonization only continues to surge. “I can sort of understand where this denial comes from,” Huang said. “But at the same time, I just wish that everyone would actually take the time to go out there and be outdoors and know about what’s actually happening because that’s the only way that I think that you can have a very real understanding and real knowledge [of climate change].”
A girl stands by the fountains in front of Cupertino Library in the Cupertino Civic Center, where children would formerly play in the fountains. The fountains were shut off due to the California drought, one of the many consequences of the rising problem of climate change. However, it was recently re-opened in 2018 with the decline of the drought.
youth involvement in the bay area Due to increased awareness regarding climate change, efforts have been made to help students become more actively involved in changing the community. For instance, Gupta helped organize a youth climate summit at The Tech Museum on Nov. 10, 2018, which was sponsored by National Geographic. In the day-long event, students from 12 different Bay Area high schools came together to learn about climate change. Through information provided by experts, these students delved into the impact of climate change and conducted individual research projects to showcase their findings. The summit gained a lot of publicity in the months following it, and students in Miami were so inspired that they are organizing one as well.
Gupta says that this spreading of awareness is crucial to how climate change has the prospect of being resolved in the future. “This kind of event isn’t something that ends within a day,” Gupta said. “But it becomes a lifestyle every time somebody decides to not use single-use plastic straws. So just seeing the youth empowerment was just so fulfilling.” In addition to the Summit, students have developed an interest in the environment as a result of personal experience. For junior Iris Xia, a love for environmental science began in middle school. Initially part of the Science Olympiad team at Kennedy Middle School, Xia got substituted into a meteorology event. From there, she discovered a passion for the subject,
PHOTO | RANA AGHABABAZADEH
and later went on to explore the topic of environmental science. After studying it for three years, Xia decided to start an Environmental Science Club. “My motivation for starting [the Environmental Science] club was really just being able to spread my love for research to others because I know there’s a resea club, but really, I think environmental science has been kind of overlooked as a field of research,” Xia said. “In our club we’re just trying to merge together this research and volunteering.” e
NEWS | MARCH 2019
50 YEARS LATER A brief look at student free speech since Tinker v. Des Moines BY ANDREA PERNG
February 24, 1969 Tinker v. Des Moines The Supreme Court rules in favor of the Bethel School District for suspending high school senior Matthew Fraser for delivering a sexual innuendo-filled nomination speech. The case set limits on what could be constituted as free political expression by students, prohibiting speech that could be seen as sexually vulgar.
January 13, 1988 HAzelwood v. kuhlMEIER The Eastern Michigan District Court rules in favor of Utica High School student journalist Katy Dean for writing a story about the impact of the school buses’ fumes on the surrounding community. The court found that the school’s administration had no reason to censor Dean’s article other than in their own interest and established the Utica paper as a limited public forum.
AUGUST 30, 2006 guiles v. marineau The Supreme Court rules in favor of high school principal Deborah Morse for suspending student Joseph Frederick for displaying a banner reading “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” across the street from an Olympic torch run. The majority opinion held that schools suppressing speech that promoted the illegal use of drugs was not a violation of the First Amendment.
EL ESTOQUE | MARCH 2019
After a lengthy legal battle stretching all the way to the Supreme Court, the court rules 7-2 in the Tinkers’ favor. According to the majority opinion, the black armbands themselves were not disruptive of normal school operations but rather simply the students using their right to free speech.
July 7, 1986 bethel v. fraser Using Tinker as precedent, the Supreme Court rules in favor of the Hazelwood School District for removing articles covering divorce and teen pregnancy, stating that school newspapers can undergo prior review by school administration for “legitimate pedagogical purposes.” However, Hazelwood holds little sway in many states with student protections like California.
November 17, 2004 DEAN V. UTICA The Supreme Court rules in favor of middle school student Zachary Guiles for wearing a shirt critical of President George W. Bush to school. The shirt included illustrations of cocaine and champagne, for which Student Support Specialist Seth Marineau suspended him. The majority opinion held that students could depict drugs and alcohol as part of a political message.
june 25, 2007 morse v. frederick
IN MEMORIAM: ALICE WU Memorial scholarship created in honor of late MVHS alumna Alice Wu BY RANA AGHABABAZADEH AND SUNJIN CHANG
J PHOTO USED WITH PERMISSION OF THE WU FAMILY
“Jennifer Garner copied me.” When Alice Wu wore a black, punk rock skirt to school, Jessica Lee, her friend since sixth grade, would distance herself from Alice in embarrassment. Nobody knew months later that Jennifer Garner would be wearing the same outfit as Alice on the red carpet, and a few years later, everyone else would be buying the same skirt — including Jessica. Alice credited herself for Garner’s style. The beginning of Alice and Jessica’s friendship was like an orchid in late summer, unlikely to bloom. Jessica often stuck to the rules while Alice went beyond the norm wearing unique clothes, makeup and dying her hair blue — which, according to Jessica, was uncommon at the time. But their differences faded in light of their new friendship, and the two went on to become close friends throughout middle school, high school and college. “She was just way more silly and fooled around more than I did,” Jessica said. “As time went on, we became best friends and she actually changed my life forever. She taught me how to be my authentic self and to live life a little bit and not be too tight and follow all the rules.” Their friendship extended beyond the Kennedy MS campus. Jessica recalls doing cartwheels on the grass at nearby De Anza College and swimming at Blackberry Farm in the summer.
NEWS | MARCH 2019
She was my rock and her open, creative, adventurous, compassionate free spirit continued to shape me in many ways I didn’t know and still continues to profoundly impact how I am today, in big things and small. - REGINA IP, FRIEND OF ALICE AND COFOUNDER OF THE ALICE Y. WU MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP Alice attended KMS, then graduated from MVHS in 2007. She was a zealous student and was actively involved in clubs and organizations. At KMS, she discovered her love for singing, making it into the school’s advanced choir as a seventh-grader. She went on to sing in MVHS’ all-female choir, Ariosis, as well as in two a cappella groups in college. Outside of her musical talents, she was actively engaged in the French Club, Future Business Leaders of America, DECA and Octagon during her time at MVHS. According to her mother June Wu, Alice also tutored a girl that had recently moved from China. “Alice was a beautiful, thoughtful and compassionate soul who lived a vibrant life full of love, enthusiasm and conviction,” a digital biography about Alice said. “Her heart of gold shined in everything she did and she devoted 100 percent in many incredible ways, profoundly inspiring those around her.” Alice and Jessica went on to attend UC San Diego together. The first thing they did was join the Kappa Beta Thi sorority. Alice was a member of the sorority for three years, keeping them connected throughout their time at UCSD. Despite the six different college systems in UCSD, the two were inseparable as they would walk to each other’s dorms across campus to spend time together, with Alice living in the Earl Warren College and Jessica in the Thurgood Marshall College. Regina Ip first met Alice in a chemistry class during their freshman year of college. The two became friends and roomed together the following year. Alice volunteered at a cat shelter and worked as a computer science tutor. Regina was drawn to biology. Though their interests hardly ever aligned, the two shared experiences, traveling to La Jolla, hiking, going to Coachella and trying new seafood, one of Alice’s favorite pastimes.
EL ESTOQUE | MARCH 2019
From the beginning of their friendship, Alice’s vibrant drive was apparent to Regina. The transition to college didn’t come as easily for Regina, but to her, Alice’s enthusiasm and spirit provided a sense of home. One day, Regina got sick and fainted. She swiftly called Alice, who stayed with her for several hours at urgent care waiting for a doctor. It was with Alice’s compassion that Regina felt assured. “I don’t know what I would’ve done if I didn’t give Alice a call,” Regina said. “Her selflessness in the moment is one of many things I love about her.” Jessica also recalls Alice’s selflessness, thinking of the time when Alice cared for a stranger’s bunnies. Alice’s love for animals was astounding, which was apparent when she volunteered at Friends of Cats shelter in high school. Her passion and love for cats passed on to Regina, who also began volunteering at the shelter. One of Alice’s favorite places to visit was La Jolla. She and Jessica would go to the beach and watch the seals for hours. Her favorite town in San Diego was North Park. They would visit their favorite oyster place, Oceanaire, which Jessica first introduced to Alice. After grabbing something to eat, they would get their nails done and explore the town together. “Basically anything in San Diego, we’ve done together, kind of,” Jessica said. Graduating from UCSD, Alice worked as a software engineer at Intuit in San Jose, after interning there for three years. According to Regina, a newly-hired engineer at Intuit had had a panic attack until Alice took him to a room and calmed him down. She also held meditation sessions at Intuit. “Alice was a smart, energetic woman who was kind to everyone and enjoyed life to the fullest,” June said. Alice passed away in the late summer of 2017. Regina and Alice’s friend and former
coworker, Evan Francis, are the cofounders of the Alice Y. Wu Memorial Scholarship, made in honor of Alice’s work as an engineer and underrepresented minority. The first scholarship of its kind, the Alice Y. Wu Memorial Scholarship is aimed to offer $2,000 to scholars each year. The scholarship will be awarded to those who have shown academic success with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and are majoring in Engineering with a focus on computer science. The applicants should also have done humanitarian volunteer work or demonstrated leadership in their school or community — as Alice did. Funding for the scholarship is currently being hosted on Crowdsurf along with other UCSD scholarships. As of now, the scholarship funding has met the requirement to provide the scholarship for selected students for the next three years. Regina hopes that the funding will eventually reach $50,000 through donations and become an endowment, allowing the scholarship to be offered indefinitely. She also hopes that the Regina will help those who lived for the same visions as Alice did. “She was my rock,” Regina said. “Her open, creative, adventurous, compassionate, free spirit continued to shape me in many ways I didn’t know and still continues to profoundly impact how I am today, in big things and small.” e
Donations can be made to the Alice Y. Wu Memorial Scholarship at crowdsurf.ucsd.edu/project/12712
PHOTO USED WITH PERMISSION OF JESSICA LEE
Jessica Lee (left) and Alice Wu (right) posing for Twin Day at Kennedy MS in 2003. Jessica and Alice had been close friends throughout middle school, high school and college. They enjoyed eating brunch together before school on late start Wednesdays.
Alice Wu (middle) in New York City with her high school friends. Alice enjoyed visiting various places with her friends. With her outgoing personality, Alice had multiple different friend groups at MVHS.
PHOTO USED WITH PERMISSION OF JESSICA LEE
PHOTO USED WITH PERMISSION OF REGINA IP
Alice Wu (left) and Regina Ip (right) enjoyed touring San Diego. The two often travelled to La Jolla and enjoyed seafood, one of Aliceâ€™s favorite delicacies.
PHOTO USED WITH PERMISSION OF JESSICA LEE
Alice Wu (left) and coworkers from Intuit at a Women in Technology event representing Intuit. Alice worked as a software engineer at Intuit for six years.
NEWS | MARCH 2019
Understanding generational differences between child and parent can solve conflicts BY TYLER CHO AND ROBERT LIU
BRIDGING THE GAP
ILLUSTRATION | TYLER CHO
PHOTOS COURTESY OF KEVIN WANG
or many students at MVHS, protests the need to adapt. We live comfortable lives While Kevin believes that over how hard parents push us as a result of our parents’ hard work, but at constant reinforcement of high academically are commonplace. Daily the same time we lack first-hand learning academic standards is acceptable, conversations with experiences and lessons he also focuses on character traits friends are littered that our parents gained such as grit and perseverance, with subtle about through their hardships. hoping to instill them in his our parents. We We should recognize children rather than being absorbed solely bemoan their and appreciate our on the letters they bring home on their constant nagging parents’ sacrifices for report card. about our grades, us; what we might “[Sometimes, Zoe] will say, ‘Hey, the extracurriculars or feel is hostile or most important thing to you is academics,’ the amount of time we inconsiderate is often and that tells me I’m doing something spend on our phones. what they truly believe wrong because that’s not what we’ve But this isn’t a is right for us. Many communicated in our values and our mission problem confined of our parents have as a family,” Kevin said. “That’s when we to only MVHS or overcome struggles far have to step back and re-calibrate.” Silicon Valley — stress worse than the ones we Wang’s family is an example of a has become one of face, and even though cohesive relationship between child and the most prevalent their experiences don’t parent that we should all strive to model. problems that give them the right By understanding each other’s viewpoints, plagues teens in the to tell us what to do Kevin and Zoe can resolve conflicts, and United States. In a in every scenario, the the generational differences that would study of over 35,000 lessons they provide us traditionally separate parents and children American teenagers, aren’t unjustified. actually become beneficial for them by the the social network For sophomore open discourse of new ideas. After School found Kevin Wang pictured in his high school Zoe Wang and her Their relationship extends to a lesson for that 44.88 percent of yearbook photo. father Kevin Wang, everyone: when we don’t agree with our teenagers feel constant finding the balance parents’ perspectives on certain issues, we levels of stress and 13.46 percent are most between excessive academic pressure and should consider them through a different stressed due to their parents, ranking only independent thought is a perpetual lens. Their ideas are rarely flat-out wrong; behind relationships (27.22 percent) and struggle. Having grown up in a instead, they sometimes think from a teachers (24.55 percent). At MVHS, where strict Chinese household, Kevin different viewpoint which we should make many parents strongly value education, it’s experienced difficulties an effort to acknowledge. likely that these figures are even higher. created by constant If we can dismiss Though students frequently complain academic pressure any preconceived about how much of our stress stems from from his parents. notions that we our parents, we rarely consider their motives. “My parents may hold towards The reasoning behind our parents’ seemingly had very high their beliefs and harsh standards remains unknown to standards, like instead welcome many of us, as are the drastically different a lot of Asian them positively, conditions they grew up in that drive their parents: high we can also beliefs apart from ours. standards learn from new The social and technological changes of of excellence, viewpoints that the 21st Century created a higher standard B’s [were] not would be otherwise of living for us in comparison to what our acceptable, very unknown to us. e parents experienced. Many of them, as r e s u l t s - d r i v e n , ” immigrants forced to adapt to a new country Kevin said. “And and culture, worked hard and made countless I’m thankful for sacrifices to succeed in Silicon Valley and that because to provide us with easier lives. achieve their Contrastingly, we have access to the standards, I technology and opportunities they lacked had to work when growing up. Furthermore, few of us my tail off. ever faced the difficulties of learning a new They definitely language or struggling to fit into a different had a huge culture — in fact, we are conveniently born influence in making into the circumstances that we will likely sure that [I] worked Sophomore Zoe Wang with her pet rabbit. live in for the rest of our lives, eliminating really hard.”
OPINION | MARCH 2019
PHOTO USED UNDER PEXELS LICENSE
PHOTO LICENSED UNDER CC 3.0
PHOTO USED UNDER PIXABAY LICENSE
Why we shouldn’t immediately degrade modern art BY BRIAN XU AND ANNIE ZHANG
EL ESTOQUE | MARCH 2019
blue canvas with a white stripe running down its middle sold for $48.3 million. A solid green portrait of an inverted trapezoid sold for $1.6 million. An empty frame for a “non-visible” piece of art sold for $10,000. But is there any meaning behind this white stripe on a blue canvas? Is this inverted trapezoid coated in a fluorescent green really worth showcasing? Does the empty frame count as “art” if we can’t see it? Framed ornately in museums and sold at auctions for millions, modern art has redefined and extended the public’s perception of art. Transcending traditional artwork, modern art denotes the abstractism and free expression of an artist through minimalistic styles starting from the late 19th century. Simplistic and abstract artwork pieced under the umbrella term of modern art may seem perplexing, which begs the question: what is the fine line between abstractism and elementary scribbling? For many people, staring at works considered “art” — minimalistic and baffling canvases with
seemingly little effort — is simply upsetting. A canvas littered with multicolored shapes: is that a work of art or a geometry project? If anyone can recreate art with their amateur artistic skills, then does modern art belong in a professional museum or on the walls of a 3rd grade classroom? In the STEM-oriented overtone of MVHS, most people overlook the detailings of modern art, jumping to blunt conclusions that a solid-colored canvas is simply a color. Though we spend time analyzing literature or examining traditional works of art in school, we automatically follow our instincts upon seeing simplistic artwork and scoff at its apparent lack of effort. It’s easy to judge the quality of a work of art by its display of technical skill, regardless of the creative process required to create it. At times, modern art draws close to the masterpiece of a 5 year old, favoring chaotic crayon scrawls and stick figures over traditional recognitions of art: realistic landscapes, portraits and scenes. However, most of modern art’s simplicity and lack of traditional aesthetics is intentional. According to The Art Story, modern artists stray towards minimalism, rejecting deep symbolism or emotional appeals and emphasizing the physical work itself instead. Die, a sculpture created in 1962 by artist Tony Smith, was simply a six foot cube of steel. Weighing nearly 500 pounds, the metal cube’s lack of aesthetic appeal and “unreadable surface” was met with hostility, as the artwork countered traditional outlooks of art. However, Smith put more thought into creating the art than simply sculpting a basic geometric shape. According to the National Gallery of Art, the title Die evokes multiple connotations of the word: “it alludes to die casting, to one of a pair of dice, and ultimately, to death.” Additionally, six feet wasn’t an arbitrary length for the cube either — Smith believed that a six foot cube was just large enough to represent human proportions without reaching a grandiose size. To Smith, the number six also carried additional meaning. “Six feet has a suggestion of being cooked,” Smith said to The Art Story. “Six foot box. Six foot under.” American artist Jackson Pollock’s artistic trademark, known as “poured paintings,” is the splattering of colored blots and dashes on the canvas. His piece called Blue Poles, created in 1952, has splatters of with reds, yellows and greys, coupled with blue streaks. According to The Art Story, the artwork is comprised of shoe footprints and shards of glass lodged in the canvas. A hypothesis of the artwork is that the “blue lines [were used] to unite disparate parts of the large picture,” evoking co-existence between color contrast and coherency. “The poles are an unusually definite form in the ‘all-over’ configuration of Pollock’s poured paintings,” art curator Frank O’Hara said. “Various figurative connotations have
work of art or geometry project? been attributed to them — from totems to the swaying masts of tall ships.” Modern art is often left open to interpretation, carrying numerous meanings, as opposed to traditional art, which tends to be less ambiguous. Modern art doesn’t play by the standards of conventional art, and artists are well aware of that. Works of art that seem overly minimalistic often compromise aesthetic glamour to convey an idea. A modern artist’s ideas are often far more valuable than the physical construction of their art, which is why deceptively simple art pieces are valued highly and sold for millions. Whether an artwork’s themes are conveyed through its title, surroundings, composition or even dimensions, there is often a great deal of thought and planning to distinguish between art in modern art museums and paint splatters by kindergarteners. Modern art is unique and noteworthy, transcending artistic conventions. Taking abstract notions and making a concrete piece out of it requires an ingenious thought process. The controversy amidst modern art’s ambiguity is what makes this art form so eye catching and original. While it’s easy to ridicule modern art due to its inherent simplicity, it isn’t so different from other forms of art. In order to appreciate modern art, we must first understand it beyond our instinctual reasoning. Rather than taking one glance at a piece of art and making a judgement, we should learn to study the finer details. Modern art is thought out and intentional; the average person wouldn’t be able to simply replicate any art piece because it requires basic technical skills. Modern art has underlying meanings behind its minimalism that is more than what meets the eye; the inner workings are what make modern art pieces costly and valuable. Though it’s easy to imagine, most works of modern art could not, in actuality, be created by a 5 year old. e
OPINION | MARCH 2019
Why humility is a crucial but often overlooked trait
IN MY humble
EL ESTOQUE | MARCH 2019
BY ROSHAN FERNANDEZ
n many ways, MVHS students have mastered the humble-brag. We tell our friends how we got an “A” on our English essay even though we never read the book. We tell them how we aced a test we never studied for. We tell them how we completed our entire semester-long project the day before it was due and got the same grade as everyone who didn’t procrastinate. The true purpose of these comments is to “flex” — we subconsciously want our peers to know that we are smart enough to be exempt from working hard. We’ve practiced these humble-brags so often we think we’ve mastered it. Except the humble-brags are ever so easy to see through, because humility is not something that can be faked. Defined as “a statement intended as a boast or brag but disguised by a humble apology or complaint,” the humble-brag is not often appreciated by others. But true humility — defined as “a modest view of one’s own importance” — is something that people genuinely appreciate. Being humble improves performance, removes prejudice, increases helpfulness and strengthens relationships with others, which are all excellent traits for a leader, according to numerous different studies by psychologists Don Davis, Jordan LaBouff, Megan Johnson and Bradley Owens. But when we take a look at those with authority in our lives, whether that be the leader of a group project or the president of our country or our sports coach, it becomes blatantly clear that we select people who appear confident. We select people who are passionate and definitive, inspiring and honest, good problem-solvers and good communicators. But rarely do we consider factors like humility. So why don’t we value humility? Because people have a tendency to confuse humility with a lack of selfconfidence and passion. The person who is reluctant to speak highly of themselves is passed off as someone who doesn’t care enough or isn’t proud of what they have accomplished. But the reality is that someone can be passionate and confident while still remaining humble.
Take rock climber Alex Honnold, who became the first person ever to free-solo El Capitan, a 3,000-foot wall of granite. Honnold achieved his lifetime dream and accomplished one of the greatest athletic feats in history. Yet despite the overwhelming publicity he received, his only goal was to push himself and fulfill his passion. Never did he intend to boast — though he was being filmed, he did not climb El Cap for the sake of the Oscar-winning documentary that was made about him. According to an interview with Jimmy Chin, the documentary director and one of Honnold’s close friends, Honnold only climbed to achieve personal goals and personal satisfaction. “When I did the actual climb, all my friends texted me saying how impressed they were,” Honnold said in an interview on the day of the Oscars. “I mean, that means more to me than recognition for the film.” Leonardo DiCaprio has also experienced fame during his acting career, but in 2007, he began raising awareness about climate change. Initially, DiCaprio’s move might have appeared to be a publicity stunt, an attempt to increase his fame. But more than 10 years later, DiCaprio continues his campaign. Already having achieved fame, he proved that his intentions are for the greater good: he’s going to keep pushing for what he believes in and he doesn’t expect special recognition in return. Like DiCaprio, Rob Mendez pursues his passions regardless of external factors. Having no arms and no legs hasn’t stopped Mendez from being the JV football coach for Prospect HS, according to an in-depth feature by ESPN. Though he recognizes he could easily make far more money as a motivational speaker than a football coach, he knows that would not be his genuine self — that would be taking advantage of his disability purely to make money. So instead, he sticks to what he loves. Mendez is living proof that it’s possible to be both passionate and humble as a leader. We should look for humility in every leader because it’s the basis of accountability.
Those who are humble leaders will admit when they have made a mistake and take responsibility to ensure it gets fixed, which in turn enables them to maintain strong, personal relationships. Teenagers in particular could probably benefit from a bit more humility as a whole. Teenages frequently use the word “flex” when talking about someone’s intentional effort to show off. We often tend to judge how much someone “flexes” by scrolling through their Instagram or clicking through their Snapchat story; for our generation, that’s one of the easiest ways to measure a person’s humility. In fact, social media is redefining what it means to be humble — the fact that our lives are now available on largely public platforms urges the notion that anyone who regularly uses social media cannot possibly have humility. But this isn’t always the case because it all depends on the intentions behind a person’s posts. Posting a picture of your gains after a workout might be perceived as showing off, when in reality, your intentions might be to inspire others to come work out at the gym. Similarly, posting pictures of food from restaurants may be perceived as a subtle “flex” that you can afford to eat out on a regular basis, when in reality, your intentions were to share an aesthetic meal that your followers might also like to try themselves. It’s this sort of duality that makes it difficult to distinguish between an attempt to brag and just someone being their genuine self. There is a fine line between being humble and what we consider a lack of selfconfidence and self-pride, and there’s also a line between bragging too much and sharing our accomplishments. All of us cross these fine lines all the time. But as a whole, we could all benefit from letting our accomplishments and actions speak for themselves. We could all benefit from being more conscious social media users by making sure what we’re posting is for the right reasons. And we could all benefit from a bit more humility. e
WE SELECT LEADERS WHO ARE PASSIONATE AND DEFINITIVE, INSPIRING AND HONEST, GOOD PROBLEM-SOLVERS AND GOOD COMMUNICATORS. BUT RARELY DO WE CONSIDER HUMILITY.
of MVHS students say others are not humble enough
of MVHS students consider themselves to be humble
of MVHS students say humility is the LEAST important leadership trait, among communication skills, passion, confidence, problem solving skills, honesty and humility
of MVHS students say humility is the MOST important leadership trait, among communication skills, passion, confidence, problem solving skills, honesty and humility *According to a survey of 286 students
OPINION | MARCH 2019
CARE TO DANCE? MVHS students should attend school dances PHOTO | OM KHANDEKAR
ed, green and blue lights pulse off the hanging out with friends outside of a school walls. Crowds of students jump and setting. What we don’t realize is that we can thrash their arms in the air, yelling get boba with friends whenever we want. On lyrics to the newest Post Malone song. the other hand, there are only four dances The air is sticky and stifling from bodies each year, and some, like Senior Ball, only packed together like sardines. Girls walk occur only once in high school. If we’re around clutching their heels, while boys going to hang out with friends anyway, we with wrinkly shirts and previously unworn might as well go to the dance and have fun in dress shoes sulk in the corners and watch a special , non-academic setting. the commotion. And as cliché as it may seem, attending High school dances seem to be a a school dance is a great way to make hallmark of the high school experience. memories. According to Science News, It feels like every depiction of traditional teenage brains are the most sensitive, which high school include these dances, whether means high school memories will most likely it be Taylor Swift’s be our clearest and “You Belong with most long lasting. Me” music video or Furthermore, high Cady Heron’s final school marks the amends in “Mean last few years we Girls.” But for some have with peers OPINION OF THE EL ESTOQUE reason, many MVHS we’ve grown up EDITORIAL BOARD students don’t with. For juniors or seem to understand seniors especially, the hype. In a survey of 281 students, 95 these dances will be one of the few times percent have skipped a school dance. the majority of our class is at one place “They’re boring. My friends aren’t experiencing one event. We should take going. I have to study. The DJs are awful. advantage of these opportunities. It’s too expensive.” MVHS students have a What’s more, the dances are hosted by million excuses not to attend school dances, our own classmates in Leadership. According whether it be Homecoming, the Welcome to 2020 class president Brett Park, leadership Back Dance or even Senior Ball. starts planning a month in advance and Busy with our six APs, nine spends around 50 hours preparing for each extracurriculars, two internships and firm dance. Park explains that it’s extremely conviction that we are way too cool to attend rewarding when students attend the dance dances, we fail to realize that we should. and Leadership is able to bring students Many MVHS students decide that the who don’t usually interact together as a better alternative to attending a dance is community. If nothing else, we should attend
of students feel like dances are not worth going to
of students have skipped a school dance
of students skip dances because they think they’re boring
PHOTO | ALYSSA HUI
school dances to show appreciation for Leadership’s efforts. It can be easy to write school dances off as boring. But we fail to realize that by prematurely dismissing dances, we deny ourselves the opportunity to have fun before we even step inside. If we gave these dances a fair shot and attended with an open mind — bringing our friends and dancing rather than standing in the corner looking disgusted — we could end up having a great time. If dancing isn’t appealing, there are plenty of other activities planned, whether it be the photo booth, arcade games, movies or food. Find your own way to enjoy the time. And although dances can seem like a burden when coupled with the strenuous workload most MVHS students tackle, it’s important to relax once in a while. Dances can be time-consuming, but taking a break to enjoy ourselves will most likely be more beneficial than cramming for a test. Don’t think of dances as a waste of time because our personal well-being and happiness is anything but. Ten years from now, when we look back at high school, we’re not going to wish we spent more time memorizing trig identities or watching Netflix. We’re not going to say the three hours we spent at Homecoming junior year kept us from Stanford. We’re going to remember nights like Prom. We’re going to wish we had more moments to cherish from our high school experience. So the next time you see posters for a dance around school or see Leadership’s promo on Facebook, take a chance and attend the school dance. e
EL ESTOQUE | MARCH 2018
*According to a survey of 274 students
TISSUE TORMOIL Figuring out alternative coping mechanisms for stress
felt it as soon as I woke up. Laying in bed, I thought to myself: Ugh. My eyes are swollen again. My instincts were confirmed as I reluctantly rolled out of bed and peered into a mirror. No amount of makeup would hide it, and I could only hope that my glasses would somewhat conceal the puffiness until the swelling subsided and I could see properly once more. I knew what had caused it. When I cried for hours the night before, I understood the consequences that future me would have to face. And EMILY XIA yet, for some reason, it’s been happening more and more often. Well, I guess I can’t say “for some reason.” I know exactly why I go through half a tissue box a week: I’m stressed. Why am I stressed? The truth is, I don’t really have an accurate response. I could say the generic “I’m a MVHS junior, my classes are killing me,” but that answer wouldn’t be complete, and I’m not sure if I know the whole answer. If I really delved deep into what is plaguing me, I would write a whole other column, and let’s be honest — it would be really boring. In the context of the world, my problems are insubstantial. Despite this, every minor setback and burden feels like a cement wall to me, unbreakable and seemingly impossible to climb over. So what do I do? You guessed it: I sit in
my room, crying and wallowing in self-pity, as I scroll through memes that will hopefully cheer me up. That’s just how I cope. I’m not proud of it at all, and it’s an ongoing effort for me to find more efficient ways to destress. I’m eternally grateful to my family and friends for always listening to me and offering new solutions, but I know it’s a huge burden for them, and they shouldn’t have to constantly shoulder both their own worries and someone else’s. I’ve always been told that it’s terrible to bottle up negative emotions, but that’s never really been the issue for me. My problem has always been the exact opposite: I overshare everything. Though the people around me are too kind to mention anything about it, I’m sure it’s time-consuming and annoying when I repeatedly cry or complain. I desperately want to find new ways to deal with stress. Usually, when I address issues in these monthly confessions, I
COMING OUT OF MY SHELL
actively employ methods to combat or embrace them, but I’m completely unsure how to begin approaching a brand new coping mechanism. I need to find a way to be less reliant upon other people. It’s great to let go sometimes — that’s what family and friends are for. But, as I once heard Lilly Singh, one of my favorite YouTubers, say, friends and family shouldn’t be the doctor you approach to fix every little thing; they should be the lollipop you receive after you see the doctor. I’ll keep searching for other alternatives that lighten the load on my family, friends and my eyes, of course, but it won’t happen overnight. I’m sure there’s still plenty of ranting sessions and empty tissue boxes in my future. One thing’s for sure: I’ll keep trying. I didn’t write this for attention or pity. In fact, it terrifies me to know that acquaintances and strangers alike will read my words and possibly perceive me as weak or selfish. Trust me, I have enough of those thoughts already. I’m writing this because I’m a human who struggles sometimes, and even though you may not deal with it like I do, I know you are, too. While I don’t take pride in my current outlets for destressing, I will say this: no matter what setbacks I’ve experienced thus far, no matter how I’ve dealt with them, I was able to push through and keep going. And I’m pretty damn proud of that. e
RA T IO N|
OPINION | MARCH 2019
EL ESTOQUE | MARCH 2019
PHOTO | ANISH VASUDEVAN
How leukemia has impacted her life BY KAMYAr MorADI AND JAI upArKAr
ust a cold. That’s all he could think when his four-year-old favorite doctor and her wish being granted by the Make-adaughter was severely sick for days. It should go away, he Wish Foundation: a big dream playground for her backyard. thought. But it persisted, and two weeks later, senior Leslie “I just remember a lot of doctors [were] really happy Ligier was still coughing, still vomiting and still not herself. and there’s one specific doctor: Dr. Dall, she was the best,” It got worse, and her parents called an ambulance. Test after Ligier said. “She gave me her stethoscope and [said] maybe test in the hospital, both parents could do nothing but wait for the one day I’ll become a doctor too, which is something I’m impending results. The doctors came with news that all parents hope hoping to become later on. I thought that was a pretty cool they never have to hear: cancer. Ligier was diagnosed with acute moment.” lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). Ligier remembers pretending to be an actual doctor According to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, ALL is cancer with the stethoscope she received from Dr. Dall. This, along with her of the bone marrow and blood, and is the most common cancer desire to genuinely help people, has inspired her to pursue a career in both children and teens. ALL occurs when the bone marrow in medicine. Her friend, senior Rose Wang who found out that Ligier produces abnormal white blood cells, which are not able to fight had leukemia in fifth grade, noticed that Ligier loves to help people. infection and damage the ability of the bone marrow to produce red “Leslie is super high-achieving,” Wang said. “She has the blood cells and platelets. capabilities to get there and I think her In order to fight her leukemia, becoming a doctor, not only can she Ligier underwent chemotherapy, a help people, she can achieve that high common treatment for ALL, which uses achievement.” chemicals to kill cancer cells all over Even though it has been almost 13 the body. According to the American years since she had leukemia, the topic Cancer Society, during chemo’s most is still sensitive in her household. Ligier intense phase, people can experience believes that since her parents could side effects such as changes in weight have lost her, they are more protective and hair loss, and may need to spend and value family time over anything. extended time in the hospital. They also constantly tell her to wear As a result of her medication and layers because her bones are weaker, chemo, Ligier began to gain weight and which makes her body more susceptible lose her hair. With the loss of hair, Ligier to sickness. became insecure and began wearing “[Leukemia’s] a very sensitive topic, her hood everywhere she went. This so I never really opened up to a lot of left Ligier vulnerable to older kids people about it,” Ligier said. “[Only] a who would pull her hood down, and select few, but I never really understood her classmates began to ridicule her. why. My parents told me that, it wasn’t As a way to vent her frustrations, she okay to tell other people because … [my senior Leslie Ligier often wrote in her journal, unable to mom] doesn’t want people [to] think I’m understand why kids were being mean weak or different from them.” to her. Even though she is cancer-free, there In addition to hair loss, Ligier is always a chance that it could return. remembers constantly getting shots and taking her medication at After she was sent into remission, a term used to describe when a 3 a.m., making her body sore and sleep deprived. Depending on person become cancer free, she had periodic check ups every three her condition, she sometimes spent weeks in the hospital. Ligier months which turned into six, and now once a year. Even though remembers crying a lot when her parents told her she had to go to she was only four years old when diagnosed, Ligier credits cancer the doctors’ again and could not stay home. for shaping her into the person she is today and so does her friend “Overall, it was just being in a constant state of tiredness and senior Evelyn How. fatigue,” Ligier said. “I think it was mostly for my parents, though, “I think it’s definitely made her more resilient and stronger,” How they felt that [fatigue] the most because they were the ones that said. “If she can bounce back from that [cancer] then she can bounce would stay up all night checking on me. They would rotate off back from anything. So I think when she has her doubts, she might sleeping and stuff like that. So I felt like it was not really my place to just think about that [cancer], like ‘I’m strong I can get through this.’” say that I was tired all the time, [because it was] their sacrifice too.” Ligier developed a new outlook on life and an appreciation for her Regardless of her experiences, especially when undergoing living situation. She gained a perspective that she would have never chemo, Ligier recalls that the doctors would often say that she had if she was not diagnosed leukemia. always had a smile on her face. She credits her optimistic outlook on “I think that going through something that difficult makes every her condition to her young age, as she herself did not fully realize the other problem you have seem like less of a problem,” Ligier said. consequences of having a serious disease. Her best friend also had “These problems are so small compared to the grand scheme of leukemia and became her support system at the hospital, making her things. Now I take things in life more with ease, and I try to enjoy life time there much more enjoyable. as much as possible. The fact that I had that chance of not getting With the support of her family, friends and doctors, Ligier a chance at life kind of puts everything into perspective. I think, defeated cancer after two and a half years of chemo. A week before yeah, it just shaped me into a more positive and strong person. Every she was declared cancer free, Leslie remembers advice from her obstacle I face now, I know it’s going to be over soon.” e
Now i take things in life more with ease and i try to enjoy life as much as possible.
FEATURES | MARCH 2019
EL ESTOQUE | MARCH 2019
PHOTO | SANNIDHI MENON
K E v i n ta n
Alumnus describes his long-term struggle with anorexia BY claire chang and ruth feng
hrough the screen of the FaceTime app, MVHS alumnus Kevin Tan is smiling, sitting in his dorm room at the University of California Santa Barbara. A curtain tapestry of the ‘Great Wave off Kanagawa’ hangs in the doorway as his roommate casually walks in and out, and a container of protein powder sits to the side of his crowded wooden desk. Observing Tan now, it would seem far-fetched that Tan had been through years of living with anorexia and depression. Yet, Tan had been struggling with body image since sixth grade, when people around him, including his friends, began making comments about his weight. One memorable instance was when Tan’s friend’s mother commented on his body at his friend’s house. “She said ‘Oh Kevin you got so much fatter,’” Tan said. This is just one of many occasions where Tan was made aware of his weight. He recalls his family constantly telling him that he had gotten “a little chubby” and his friends poking his stomach. Tan mentions how East Asian standards of beauty that favor being tall and slender were prevalent in his community growing up. Family members often made comments about weight gain or weight loss as soon as they greeted Tan, who is not alone in these experiences. In a survey of 283 MVHS students, 58 percent feel pressure from family or friends to be thin. “If you continuously hear it, it drills into your head and it weighs more on your soul,” Tan said. “It cut at me, and I constantly thought about it. ‘What if this person thinks this about me?’ Everywhere I went, it was really hard to talk to people and communicate.” It is also known among psychologists that family is a big factor in the development of anorexia. Robin Rosenberg, a psychologist specializing in eating disorders, sheds light upon the culmination of family pressure. “The biggest one is a family preoccupation with weight, food and appearance, or being teased in other ways, their body shape being an issue,” Rosenberg said. “If your family is really attuned to how you look [...] that is what you learn and what you internalize.” The constant criticism pushed Tan to control his weight in middle school. He started by cutting what he ate, which quickly evolved into eating less than 300 to 400 calories a day compared to the recommended average of 2,000 calories for teenage boys. He became anorexic. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by weight loss, generally occurring as a result of a severe restriction of calories. Tan started seeing his ribs in the mirror as his condition worsened, but he kept thinking that he had to starve himself further. He felt that he had to get even skinnier to satisfy the ideal body type driven by people around him, even keeping this secret from his parents. “I already knew that I was getting skinnier, but I was so scared of just going back that I felt like I had to keep cutting down,” Tan said. “Every time that I went back up a little in weight, I thought I was going to start crashing again.” At his worst in eighth grade, he weighed 68 pounds. The effects of his anorexia weren’t just physical. As his weight continued to drop, his friends began to make comments about how small he was. While everyone around him was experiencing growth spurts, Tan was subjected to constant comments about his
small stature. Yet, as he was struggling with anorexia, Tan felt like he couldn’t open up about it to others. “I didn’t really think people would understand, which is silly to look back at now because we live in an Asian community,” Tan said. “I bet a lot of people understand how it feels to be dejected for their body.” Since many children fear retribution from opening up to their families, clinical psychologist Sari Shepphird believes certain speaking phrases can help communication using “I” phrases, such as “I feel ____.” “It’s difficult to approach someone who has an eating disorder,” Dr. Shepphird said. “Most people are afraid that they’ll lose the friend or the loved one will be angry with them or defensive. But it’s worth the risk to express your love and concern.” Around the same time, his father was hospitalized for a hemorrhage, and had to undergo surgery. While Tan was already struggling, the pain of watching his father be hospitalized felt unbearable, causing Tan to drop another 10 to 20 pounds. Unaware of Tan’s anorexia, one of his friends invited him to the gym, telling Tan that if he stayed skinny he would get beat up in college. Unknown to the friend, this kickstarted Tan’s road to recovery. By his junior year of high school, Tan was working out often and eating more. He was slowly accepting his body and began recovering from anorexia. “I don’t think I started thinking about [how] ‘This is my body’ until I started working out,” Tan said. “I used working out as a way of therapy and a way to cope with a lot of things. I had to hit the lowest point in order for me to start climbing back up. That’s the thing actually, I didn’t rely on God at that point [in middle school]. I think that’s why I got so much worse.” It was a little known fact Tan had anorexia until he filmed and uploaded a video to Youtube called “My Testimony” on Jan. 29, 2019. In the video, Tan reflects on how comments chipped away at his confidence; it also aims to show how joining a ministry in college strengthened his relationship with God and helped him further appreciate his body. Ultimately, Tan wanted to help others open up about their own struggles and to understand his experience. While he went into college with expectations of partying and having fun, he formed a connection with God during a retreat with Epic, a youth ministry at UCSB for Asian Americans. “During the worship, hearing the lyrics and letting the whole process sink in, it hit me then that how much God has given me and how [He] has really affected my life,” Tan said. “No matter what I’m going through, the first thing I should do is listen and count on God no matter if I’m at a positive or negative place in my life. The first initiation I can take is to fiercely rely on him.” Tan acknowledges that he still thinks about how others perceive him, but he won’t let them control how he deals with his body anymore. He filmed the video to show others to not be afraid to share their truth. “Even though it might seem like you’re in a dark place, it’s always better to connect with others,” Tan said. “The minute you reach out, that’s when you can start growing again. I started thinking [that] God gave me this wonderful art piece to work with, and it’s my choice to do what I want.” e
At his worst, HE WEIGHED 68 pounds.
FEATURES | MARCH 2019
EL ESTOQUE | MARCH 2018
PHOTO | ROSHAN FERNANDEZ
Inside the pressing recovery of Aditi Dixit’s nerve deteriorating syndrome, Gullain Barre é by sara entezar
f she [sat] on the ground, she [couldn’t] get up. She had to While the procedures were a nerve-wracking series of tests and relearn how to do everything.” waiting and tests and waiting to Aditi’s parents, to Aditi, the most Mother Vanashree Dikshit vividly recounts her daughter’s prominent memories of her week in isolation were exactly that — year-long experience with Guillain Barré Syndrome. The isolating. Due to her isolation, Aditi’s friends weren’t able to visit her autoimmune disorder, usually triggered by an acute bacterial or viral at the hospital and her time among other young patients were sparse. infection, is characterized by the immune system attacking healthy “It was really, really boring because there’s not much you can do nerve cells in the peripheral nervous system, introducing symptoms except sit there,” Aditi said. “[The recovery was] slow according to of weakness in the feet and legs which eventually progress towards me, but apparently in comparison others, it was really quick.” the upper body. Although there is no cure for Guillain Barré Syndrome, recovery Although the disease affects only approximately 1 in 100,000 is a matter of retraining muscle movements. Aditi had to relearn how Americans according to the National Institute of Neurological to walk, sit down, get up after sitting down and other conventional Disorders and Stroke, Vanashree immediately recognized the red movements, primarily involving her legs. Aditi remains humble when flags in her daughter’s symptoms. Having returned from a visit to India recounting her speedy recovery, however her attentiveness to the with her brother and father, sophomore rehabilitation process was mostly to Aditi Dixit and her brother caught the thank. The determination was evoked stomach flu in the summer before fifth for funny reason, too, as her mother grade, a common occurrence after a trip describes. to India, Aditi admits. However, it was “She did the physical therapy very only 10-year-old Aditi who physically seriously. The only reason she did it struggled to make her way from the because she wanted to go for that airport back home. science camp in fifth grade,” Vanashree “She just couldn’t walk. She just fell said. “I still remember [...] in the hospital, down. Then I realized she cannot take [she] said, ‘Mama, I want to go to science more than five steps,” Vanashree said. camp.’” “I’m a pharmacist, so I knew that there One month later, Aditi was fully able was something wrong right [away.]” to regain her ability to walk, allowing her The symptoms were clear. Aditi had to attend science camp after another two acquired Guillain Barré Syndrome from months alongside her classmates at Faria her encounter with the flu. On the day Elementary School. after her return, Aditi made her way Recovery remained a matter of to the emergency room, followed by physical therapy assistance and trial and seven days in Stanford’s Lucile Packard error experiences, but retraining some Children’s Hospital. functions was admittedly forgotten. Mother vanashree Dikshit Day one: The hospital runs the same The following summer, Aditi’s tests run in the E.R. the day prior — recovery allowed her to participate in primarily breathing and neurological the Silicon Valley Triathlon. The event tests. After close inspection, the took place for young children at De Anza treatment of IVIG, a mixture of antibodies known as intravenous College. Being one of the oldest participants and having had an immune globulin, is to begin in the late afternoon. Aditi is placed in athletic childhood, Aditi’s apparent advantage was short-lived. With an isolation room. the blow of the starting whistle, initiating the swimming section of Day two: Blood tests, saline solutions, antibiotics and conductivity the event, a jump into the water turned into a long nine-lap doggy test are taken. Thick needles are inserted in the muscles of the knee paddle episode. area, analyzing the transferring impulse from one area to another. Aditi’s body had not been re-trained to swim. Day three: The last dose of IVIG is given. Aditi slowly starts “She just jumped in the pool and she found out she coulnd’t walking for the first time since treatment began. swim,” father Ashutosh Dikshit said. “She lost the muscle memory.” Day four: More neurological tests — Can you speak? Can you By the time she was done paddleing herself through the second move your fingers? Can you smile? lap, people had began the next third of the race, Vanashree recalls. Day five: Without the usual anesthesia given to children (due to Second to last in the first third of the event, Aditi was able to a scheduling absence of the anesthetist), a CT scan of the brain is regain momentum in the biking and running portions. Though her taken. Vanashree has to hold Aditi still for the 20-minute scan. recovery was complete, these little hindrances cropped up. Day six: Aditi is moved to a different room, then back into the Finally, Guillain-Barré Syndrome remained a thing of the past for isolation room. Results display that the progression of the syndrome Aditi as she continues to excel in the active play of her youth. A has come to a halt. A brain fluid culture test is taken via spinal tap, member of MVHS’ track and field team, Aditi is able to indulge in a painful procedure in which a needle punctures the spine. Again, running, a striking juxtaposition of the baby steps taken just five Aditi is not anesthetized. years back. Day seven: With a negative result in the brain fluid culture for “It makes you tough. And [it teaches you] how to face things infection, Aditi is permitted to return home and proceed with daily — take everything [one] at a time,” Vanashree said. “And we physical therapy. realized that she is very tough.” e
It makes you tough. And it teaches you how to face things daily — take everything one at a time.
FEATURES | MARCH 2018
EL ESTOQUE | MARCH 2019
PHOTO | ANISH VASUDEVAN
Y o a n n a le e
How her depression and anxiety led to fibromyalgia BY JAI uparkar AND JuLIA YANG
tomach flu, check. Seasonal flu, check. Numbness travelling activities, caused Lee to feel useless and further exacerbated her up the body, check. anxiety and depression. “Oh my gosh, I’m going to die.” However, as time passed, Lee says she began to realize that it was When junior Yoanna Lee experienced these all in her head. It wasn’t like the pain was being physically inflicted aforementioned symptoms last December, she was certain she on her body since her brain was sending pain signals to her body.. was sick. After observing her for a while, her brother Solomon Lee, Painkillers didn’t help, so Lee learned to deal with her pain spells, who is a reconstruction plastic surgeon, became worried when he whether they lasted a few days or only a couple of minutes. realized she could have Guillain-Barré, a nuerological condition Lee says that her family helped her through this difficult time. where the immune system attacks the nerves, which leads to tingling However, this experience was especially hard on her mom because sensations and eventually paralysis. her mom couldn’t fully comprehend the condition and mental illness After her brother’s unofficial diagnosis, Lee was admitted to the in general. But Lee understood that her mom came from a different hospital, because of her fainting spells. She underwent a full body background and believed that dealing with a mental illness was as MRI scan and several examinations to determine a diagnosis. simple as just “getting over it.” The doctors were confused, as Lee’s body appeared to be “It was really frustrating, but also knowing that she’s coming physically fine, yet her symptoms were from the best intentions also made me very pronounced. Through observation feel useless because I know that it is my of her symptoms and the process of responsibility to sit up and deal with it elimination, the doctors diagnosed her and function, but sometimes I feel like with fibromyalgia last December. I can’t do that,” Lee said. “So there’s a According to Mayo Clinic, huge part of me blaming myself for my fibromyalgia is an incurable inability to do anything, as well as [being] neurological disorder characterized really angry at my mom [because] she by widespread musculoskeletal pain just doesn’t understand, [even] when and is accompanied by fatigue, sleep, she’s trying to do the best she can.” memory and mood issues. It’s normally Eventually, her siblings helped her triggered by depression, anxiety or mom understand the severity of mental mental trauma. illnesses and how they affect physical Lee was diagnosed with chronic sensations. Her mom realized that it depression and anxiety when she was wasn’t as simple as a mentality change, in sixth grade and Attention-Deficit so she decided to get Lee a dog. Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) when Ironically, her mother’s initial advice she was in 10th grade. Lee believes in learning how to deal with fibromyalgia Junior Yoanna lee that the build-up of her depression and was essentially the idea of her treatment: anxiety combined with the pressure pain therapy. Lee had visited a therapist from school during first semester of and the process was similar to physical junior year flipped a switch. She began therapy, but instead of training your feeling pain in her hips, calves and back. muscles or bones, the idea was to train Sometimes, she couldn’t feel her legs. the mind to ignore the pain. “It was all different types of pains and all different levels of them After doing planks and pushups in pain therapy, Lee’s fibromyalgia and intensities, so it’s hard to describe,” Lee said. “It’s kind of like a became dormant within three months. Lee believes it was her faith bomb went off in my body. I didn’t even know what was going on or that cured her, as she began to feel much better after a church retreat when it’s going to happen and how intense it’s going to be.” during winter break. Her friend, junior Angela Chu, was also at this Lee missed more than six weeks of school during second retreat with her. She describes how at one point during the retreat, semester. One particular teacher, David Hartford, was understanding Lee grabbed her in the middle of a sermon and started bawling. of her physical condition. “I’m like what happened now, what went wrong, because “She’s been a great advocate for herself,” Hartford said. “I think everything in her life was going wrong,” Chu said. “I was like how she doesn’t want to let that hold her back from being successful in the much worse can this get for you and then it was interesting [because] classroom, and she’s very dedicated academically, so she definitely turns out she was crying out of joy because it was like as she was kind of grapples with this back and forth.” praying [and] surrendering to God, she was no longer in pain.” On a scale of one to ten, Lee’s pain would fluctuate from four Since fibromyalgia is incurable, there’s always a chance Lee to 10, with “one” being similar to a paper cut and “10” being could develop it again, but the experience taught her and her family pain excruciating enough to require a trip to the hospital. The pain how important it is to take care of mental health as it could impact continued to be so bad that she grew accustomed to it, although physical health. she occasionally tossed and turned at night and lost her appetite “That’s kind of why [I got] a dog— we’re taking all these measures from being bedridden. In order to keep her mind off the pain, Lee to take care of my mental health,” Lee said. “We’ve experienced downloaded video games and meditation apps on her phone and something where it turned pretty severe and we understand the watched Korean dramas. severity of something that seems so abstract, and that it is actually She could barely walk or get out of bed and could not spend really real.” e time with her friends. Not being able to perform these day-to-day
IT'S KIND oF LIKE A BoMB WENT oFF IN MY BoDY.
FEATURES | MARCH 2019
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Students discuss why they don’t go to school dances
SITTING IT OUT BY SARAH YOUNG
tudents clad in fancy dresses and suits strut onto the dance floor, swaying to the loud drumming music. However, for sophomore Dyuthy Ramachandran, this night is a night to spend with her family. While Ramachandran enjoys school dances and wants to go to prom, her current friend group does not share this interest. “I don’t like going to them alone. Because then it just feels very isolatory, and you see everyone dancing with their friends,” Ramachandran said. “And you’re like, where does this leave me? So I just choose not to go.”
ILLUSTRATION | SARAH YOUNG
Instead of going to dances Ramachandran typically goes out with her family for a meal at a restaurant or spends time watching TV shows or movies. The last time Ramachandran went to a dance she enjoyed dancing with her friends, but spending time with her family and those who care for her is just as fulfilling. School dances give students an opportunity to socialize and dance to the beat of a booming rhythm, but some prefer to stay in the comforts of their home or spend time with friends. For junior Sean Chen, he believes dances are for more spirited people, and while they are convenient for social gathering, Chen would rather have friends over in the comfort of his home. “There’s a lot of people and that’s kind of not the way I roll,” Chen said. “I’m kind of more of a mellow [and] chilled out person, and it doesn’t have to be a really lively environment to make things exciting for me.” Another reason why Chen avoids dances is because of other obligations. Some of Chen’s responsibilities include after-school sports and school work, including studying for upcoming tests or completing long-term projects. Chen reasons that while some people may see dances as an important part of school, for him, they are an add-on to school life. “Even if friends ask me a lot of times, I’ll say, ‘No, maybe let’s hang out, like outside of it, like, get dinner or something,’ but that’s just the way I prefer spending time with people,” Chen said. Whereas Chen chooses not to go to dances at all, junior Autumn Boustead attends them depending on who she’s with or whether she is available. For Boustead, although dances are fun and a good way to socialize, it’s friends that make the event worthwhile. Attractions and fanfare are also a plus for Boustead, but if something more important is happening outside of school, she puts the dance aside. “Bouncy houses are pretty fun [and]
ILLUSTRATION | SARAH YOUNG
free food would be great, like more than just the cotton candy that you can just get once,” Boustead said. “Students are paying upwards of like $20 for a ticket to spend two to three hours in a room listening to blaring music there. The last dance I went to [was] homecoming [and] there was basically chicken nuggets and then the vending machines, which are always there.” While these attractions and changes towards the dance itself may draw in more people, for Boustead and Chen, school dances aren’t essential, and Junior Prom and Senior Ball don’t carry more worth than Homecoming or other dances. “For some of my friends, and probably other kids as well. It’s just not their type of social activity,” Boustead said. “I know people who would much rather stay at home watching Netflix or playing video games or something. And depending on the event that must that’s me to honestly, but, I suppose it definitely varies from person to person.” e
A & E | MARCH 2019
PHOTO | HELEN CHAO
Three cars, three drivers, three stories
Fuel efficient and capable of gliding down the road as if in an ideal frictionless situation. As a math and physics teacher, this is Sushma Bana’s description of her dream car. However, when her 19-year-old Honda Accord broke down before she expected it to, and repairs cost more than the car was worth, she was forced to buy a new car: a Hyundai Sonata, which she picked for its practicality. “I got all kinds of recommendations, you know, go for the electric, go for the Prius, [the] Tesla,” Bana said. “And I’m like, ‘What are you talking about? I’m a poor teacher, how can I afford a Tesla?’ There is a difference between need and want, so to have that balance, because yeah, you want a Tesla, sure, why not, but do you need it?” Doing the math, Bana calculated what would be most costefficient for her 20-mile daily commute. Although electric or hybrid cars would save money on gas, they are more expensive upfront, and for her commute, Bana ultimately decided on a regular car. “I think my decision was not impulsive,” Bana said. “I took almost five weeks to decide it. It was not like, oh, you go there and the car salesman sells you [a car] and then you just sign on the dotted line, [like] ‘Here you go!’ And so I’m not an impulsive buyer. A lot thought went into the decision. But I think I made a good decision.” However, she still misses the simplicity of her Accord and knowing all the functionalities of the buttons, as the features of the Hyundai are still unfamiliar. Even so, she does enjoy having heated seats and a heated steering wheel, along with improved speakers and the smoothness of the ride. “It has a moonroof and a sunroof, which is kind of cool,” Bana said. “You just open it up and you can see the sky while driving like, ‘Awesome!’ So I like that feature that it has, and I’m looking forward to using it more during the summer.”
NEW RIDES OF MVHS BY HELEN CHAO AND CLAIRE WEN
EL ESTOQUE | MARCH 2019
PHOTO | CLAIRE WEN
As he drove to work on the morning of Feb. 4, U.S. Government teacher Ben Recktenwald’s Mini Cooper, Stig, ceased to be. He had hit the accelerator, attempting to pass another car. The flashing of the engine temperature light, a burning smell — and Recktenwald found himself in panic mode as the car coasted along. Luckily, he had just enough momentum to pull off to a near exit and park somewhere safe. Three days later, Recktenwald left a Palo Alto car dealership with Mr. Bean, a gunmetal Prius named after the popular British sitcom character. With Stig, who was named after an anonymous racecar driver in the British television show “Top Gear,” Recktenwald had raced up and down the hills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, but that tradition has stuttered to a halt with the arrival of Mr. Bean. “No, I can’t tear around corners in a Prius,” Recktenwald said. “It’s like trying to go jogging in bedroom slippers. It just doesn’t work.” Mr. Bean may not be the friskiest, but Mr. Bean does shine in his own practical, economically efficient manner: he boasts affordability and a great mileage. Last summer, Recktenwald bought a house in Hayward, dramatically increasing his commute to school. Gas once every two to three weeks rose to once every week, and Stig’s mileage of 30 mpg pales in comparison to Mr. Bean’s 50 mpg. But Recktenwald still hasn’t warmed up to Mr. Bean just yet. “It’s a Prius,” Recktenwald said. “It’s an appliance. It’s an automotive version of the dishwasher. It’s boring to drive, the stereo ‘eh,’ you hit the accelerator [and] it goes, ‘Whaaat?’” Whenever Recktenwald “floors it” on the highway, he must relent, knowing Mr. Bean will “get there eventually.” Stig is under a new owner: Recktenwald sold him to a mechanic at the car dealership for $300. “Now I’m driving Mr. Bean,” Recktenwald said. “And it feels like it.”
SAMER AWAD If there’s one thing junior Samer Awad dislikes about his car, it’s that he has to pull out his key every time to open the car door. “That’s really it,” Awad said. “I can’t complain at all.” Awad received his license three weeks ago, although he and his father spent two to three months searching for a car. With both of his parents driving to work in their own cars, they decided that he should have a car of his own so he could drive his little brother, too. Prioritizing a clean engine, reliability and safety, they settled on a used BMW 2014 328i. “Even though Japanese reliability is inherently better, German engineering — you can’t get more solid than that,” Awad said. “And it’s very safe, and I’ve been used to driving in [the] three and five series [of BMW], so there’s something that’s just more comfortable to me.” While they settled on the BMW for its practicality, Awad mentioned several other perks: it is fun to drive and he thinks it also looks stealthy. However, when he leaves for college, the car will no longer be with him. “It’s [also] for my brother [to drive] after I graduate because when I go to college I’m not going to need a car for the first year of college,” Awad said. “[I’ll] just Uber everywhere.”
PHOTO | HELEN CHAO
A&E | MARCH 2019
LAPTOP DECONSTRUCTED A look into the components of a portable computer BY JAHAN RAZAVI In 1968, Alan Kay proposed the idea of a personal computer. Now, over 50 years later, these have become a staple of the high-tech world. Known for their lighter weight and more compact dimensions, laptops are in stark contrast to desktop computers, which, while powerful, do not feature the portability of laptops. According to ThoughtCo, the first laptop was named The Grid Compass, developed by William Moggridge and later used by NASA for their space program. In this laptop, data was stored on a bubble memory drive that had a capacity of 340 kB, nearly 24 times less than the current 8 GB of RAM that many laptops offer.
This unit, just like its larger cousins, operates with the purpose of cooling the computer, as the components can heat up when running complicated processes.
CENTRAL PROCESSING UNIT (CPU) This is, in essence, the brain behind the computer. Its speed is measured in GHz (gigahertz) and it determines the speed at which the computer can run. More cores in the CPU means more speed, which in turn means more applications can run at once.
SOLID STATE DRIVE (SSD)
The SSD is a group of memory chips that transfer data, without using the traditional actuator arm of a hard disk drive (HDD). Unlike the HDD, the SSD uses flash memory, which is more stable and long-lasting. PHOTO | JAHAN RAZAVI
EL ESTOQUE | MARCH 2019
Modern laptops are advancing with the additions of increased speed and battery life paired with decreased weight and bezels (the frame around the display). According to PCMag, the future of memory chips lies in a combination of several aspects. First is nonvolatile memory, or memory that survives when power is cut to the module. Another feature is instant-on capabilities, when a computer is booted as soon as the power is pressed. The third is for computers not to consume power when in sleep mode. But whatâ€™s inside of a laptop computer? Look down below for a deconstructed Microsoft Surface Pro 3.
wo months ago, Instagram user @world_record_egg posted a kinda cool to see their devotion. I once came across an account that picture of a lightly speckled brown egg that quickly accumulated had over 500 posts of the same actor.” over 53 million likes. It had easily surpassed the previous mostMcCuistion believes that the goal of beating the world record had liked picture of entrepreneur and reality television star Kylie allowed everybody to come together, which is why the post became Jenner’s baby, which has over 18.7 million likes. so successful, setting this post apart from the other ‘meaningless’ When junior Manish Malempati first saw the photo, he didn’t accounts. The caption of the post stated: “Let’s set a world record understand why the post gained so much attention. together and get the most liked post on Instagram. Beating the “I saw [the post] when it was at 50,000 likes, and I was like ‘okay, current world record held by Kylie Jenner (18 million)! We got this this is memes,’” Malempati said. “Then, I liked it because whatever, #LikeTheEgg #EggSoldiers #EggGang.” and then the next day, it was at 13 million or something crazy.” “I think [it got so many likes] because it’s a world record that Sophomore Akshat Rohatgi explains that Instagram makes it easy anybody can be a part of and help accomplish, and it’s really easy,” to share content because of the high number of daily users. According McCuistion said. “It’s just double tap. I think being a part of a world to Instagram, the app has over a billion users. Rohatgi also thinks, record is cool.” like Malempati, that people were more willing to like the Malempati agrees, explaining that whereas the post post because it did not hold any significant value of the world record egg had a goal to reach, the and it was just for fun. accounts that post the same photo everyday are “I thought it was something cool and I pointless and random. realized that there was no harm in liking it,” “If you have the time to either like the Rohatgi said. “I saw some people that I same photo every day or post the same follow, like some of my friends, already photo every day, then come on, just liked it. I saw it on some people’s do something else with those 30 stories promoting it.” seconds,” Malempati said. According to junior Kellie The egg soon gained even McCuistion, the post was quickly more attention when the account spread through Instagram as partnered with Hulu, a network friends and celebrities began that streams television series reposting it. Her initial reaction and movies, to bring an post was: why an egg out of service announcement during everything? What inspired Super Bowl Sunday. In this the creator of the account to video, the egg revealed, attempt this world record? “Recently I’ve started to In an interview with crack. The pressure of social The New York Times, the media is getting to me. If creator of the account, Chris you’re struggling too, talk to Godfrey, explained that he someone.” Then, the video wanted to see if something provided a link redirecting as basic as an egg could beat to talkingegg.info, a website Exploring the world record egg and the world record. Godfrey that provides links to various other Instagram accounts explained that “an egg has online mental health services no gender, race or religion. An for over 50 countries. BY ALYSSA HUI AND CHELSEA WONG egg is an egg — it’s universal.” Other advertisers have Malempati believes that this also taken advantage of is one of the main reasons as the viral egg. Curology, a to why the egg became such an customized skincare company, internet sensation. created an advertisement: Egg’s “In reality, not everyone knows #curologyjourney. The short video who Kylie Jenner is,” Malempati featured the egg, who was trying said. “Like sure they’re living under a to become an Instagram influencer, rock or whatever, but [everyone knows] suffering with “acne” and feeling insecure what an egg is and like it’d be hella funny if an about their skin until they found Curology. The egg was the most liked picture on Instagram.” advertisement proceeded to explain how the egg According to a survey of 218 MVHS students, 59 percent have went through the Curology process, posted a “selfie” and received liked a picture posted by @world_record_egg and 52 percent liked 50 million likes, which they owed to Curology. the world record egg post before it broke the record. But how did this According to Rohatgi, this was a smart move for advertisers egg receive so many likes? to appeal to the younger generation and to use a platform that is There are other accounts similar to @world_record_egg, including becoming more prevalent for commercial use. @samepictureofatoaster, which includes 326 posts of the same “I say it’s a good move on the advertisers part for taking picture and has 82.4 thousand followers, showing that the trend of advantage of pop culture or whatever is relevant because the world “meaningless” Instagram accounts is prevalent. record egg is something that is very simplistic, but a lot of people “They are what they are, but they don’t have much value to them,” know about it and it’s something people can possibly relate to if they Rohatgi said. “I guess when you come across an account like that, it’s saw it in an ad,” Rohatgi said. e
PHOTO | ANISH VASUDEVAN
A & E | MARCH 2019
DEAR TIME, A letter to my forever friend
f I’m being completely honest, you drive me crazy. I need to break my habit of thinking that you’re on my side, that of course I’m always going to have you around. So I come home and sit at my desk and literally stare at nothing for a solid eight hours, convincing myself that I have plenty of you to spare, and then all of a sudden it’s midnight — and I still have three essays to write, 30 math problems to solve and a very thin layer of sanity that I’m still hanging on to. OK, maybe I can’t blame my lack of how I manage you entirely on your existence, but it really would be nice if you could slow down; maybe sit down to tie your shoes and then freeze somehow in the process. I didn’t realize how fast you spun around me until you slowly left me reeling this year, as I’ve begun to notice the trail of destruction you always leave in your wake. With every passing second, you slowly chip away at everything I take for granted, so slowly that I never really notice that anything’s different, until I look up and suddenly realize that everything’s changed. Or maybe I’m just a tiny bit dramatic. LAKSHANYAA GANESH In any case, you do take more of me and my life than I appreciate. As June is rapidly approaching, it’s not just my junior year that’s coming to a close, but also my senior friends’ high school experiences. The faces I see every day, in just a few months, I’ll see no longer. The people I bop to Shawn Mendes with and talk about human existence with and watch cat videos with won’t be with me anymore, and it’s all because you take them with you. You whisk them away to the bright futures they hold, farther and farther away from me. In what I’m sure will seem like the blink of an eye, I’ll be the one counting down the days until my college acceptances (hopefully) come. I’ll be the one saying good-bye to my friends, the one hugging my parents farewell and cramming everything that’ll fit into a giant purple suitcase, all because of you. So, yes, you drive me crazy. That said, I’ve always been a sucker for yearly anniversaries, and it’s because of you that I remember to text my best friends happy birthday at midnight on the dot, reflecting on the countless ice cream runs and late night rants we’ve experienced over the years. You grab my hand and tug me forward, running at the speed of light, never once letting me look back or slow down or take things in. Sometimes you exhaust me, but you also force me to learn how to adapt, how to be quick on my feet and most importantly, how to appreciate the people and the moments in my life I might not get to see tomorrow. For that, I appreciate you. I thank you. I love you. e
IL ST LU ON TI RA E HE IS |O M RA IS
32 EL ESTOQUE | MARCH 2019
PHOTO | ILENA PENG
rom all-day workshops during the coach Dasha Plaza, their high-placing trend summer to six-hour choreography continued throughout the competitions, sessions on the weekends to three-hour with MVHS, Lincoln HS and Presentation bus rides to and from competitions, HS often competing for first. being a member of the MV Dance Team is Their successful performance throughout a year-round commitment. Performing at this season was preceded by a number of football games, rallies and their own winter important changes. Although they have an and spring showcases, the team has always entirely new dance room to work in and male had a busy year. dancers on the team for the first time, this is However, as the team neared the only the second year the team has competed beginning of its competition season this in the hip hop division. Plaza and Annie both January, its practices picked up their pace agree that the two male dancers have been as the dancers aimed to clean and perfect an asset to the team, adding diversity and a choreography, audition breath of fresh air. for spots as soloists “It’s been a great, different and make last-minute type of energy [this] year changes to routines. because of [them],” Plaza said. This year, all but two “They bring definitely different of the team’s routines, dynamics to the whole group. the hip hop ab=nd [They’ve] been an awesome medium dance routines, addition, and I’m so grateful qualified for USA that I took that risk to get boys Nationals — it’s hip hop on the team.” routine fell three-tenths Junior Alex Yang (no relation of a point short from to Annie), one of the two the necessary score. The male dancers on the team, team is now focusing on noticed that the dance team’s perfecting the remaining environment this year is dances before heading to COACH DASHA PLAZA different from what he heard Anaheim on March 16. about in previous years. The season began “Apparently a few years with the West Coast Elite competition at ago, last year even, the team was cliquey and Valley Christian HS on Jan. 16. According not the best environment,” Alex said. “But to junior and co-captain Annie Yang, the this year, it’s been great and we’re bonding team started off strong, placing well at its and having so much fun. It doesn’t matter first competition of the year. The judges how we place. We could always go back and took into consideration choreography, do better but as long as we have [a good] execution, technique and performance when attitude and we have fun, that’s all that determining the placements. really matters.” The team placed second overall at West With the boys, though, came different Coast Elite, with soloist and junior Jana challenges, such as finding costumes for their Tsai placing in the top 10. According to new additions. Plaza also believes that she
[THE MALE DANCERS] BRING DEFINITELY DIFFERENT DYNAMICS TO THE WHOLE GROUP. I’M SO GRATEFUL I TOOK THAT RISK TO GET BOYS ON THE TEAM.
A look into the dance team’s 2018-19 competition season BY GAURI KAUSHIK
has learned to be more aware of where and how the boys will fit into the choreography. According to Annie, this means taking into account what their interests are and which routines are best suited for them, meaning the male dancers aren’t in all the routines. Despite these minor differences, Annie points out that both their kick and hip hop routines have similar choreography to last year’s, even with male dancers. The team invites guest choreographers, often from Los Angeles or from Dance Attack, the studio where Plaza teaches, who come in and help choreograph their routines — in fact, one of this year’s choreographers was Quinton Peron, one of the first male cheerleaders for the LA Rams. Looking back on the dance team’s previous years, Plaza wanted to make sure that they continue to grow by introducing new choreography and styles. This season she has been aiming to make the team more versatile, thus pushing them to compete in the hip hop category. “I’m really proud of the team,” Plaza said. “Before, I think there’s been a certain stigma about what the dance team does and how they dance, but I’m trying to break the typical stereotype of a high school dance team dancing.” Plaza believes that high school teams are often rigid and rehearsed, as compared to professional dance companies. She hopes to set the MV Dance Team apart by having them compete in different styles and changing the structure of the team by looking to add more diverse talent. “I think we’re just going to keep pushing the boundaries and keep inviting and looking for talent that can do both studio life and the dance team at a high school,” Plaza said. e
SPORTS | MARCH 2019
TAKING IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL Collegiate athletes talk about the changes between MVHS and their college teams BY RAJAS HABBU AND RUCHA SOMAN
PHOTO COURTESY OF JASON SHEN
EL ESTOQUE | MARCH 2019
t was the summer of fifth grade when MVHS alumna and now Cornell University freshman Demetra Williams and her best friend found diving lessons offered at Fremont HS. Her friend said, “I’ll do it if you do” and managed to convince her to enroll. Down the road, her friend quit diving for field hockey, but Williams continued. Little did she know that a dare from elementary school would slowly turn into a passion and something that she would continue beyond high school. Williams reminisces about her experiences and how it lead to her getting recruited to Cornell for diving. She specifically likes how diving has a certain risk factor that many sports do not offer. “You don’t do the same motions over and over again like running or playing tennis; there’s a variety of motions and actions you can do,” Williams said. “If you don’t do the dive right, you risk smacking and hurting yourself — not many other sports can say that.” Similar to Williams, MVHS alumni and Harvard University freshman Jason Shen also started playing volleyball in sixth grade. He states that his experiences playing volleyball in school before college as well as playing in a competitive volleyball club helped him become a Division I athlete at the collegiate level. “Volleyball is one of my favorite things to do and I can’t imagine having gone through middle school or high school without it,” Shen said. “It is a huge facet of selfimprovement for me and always keeps me grounded in a solid work ethic to get better.” Collegiate sports require a significant commitment from the players who have to maintain their diets, attend training and practice and manage their academics. Williams explained that even though it requires a lot of work, she is willing to do it, mainly due to her love for the sport. “At MVHS, I would practice 3:30 to 6 Monday through Friday but at Cornell, I practice 20 hours a week,” Williams said. “There really is no off time or downtime for us.”
Shen believes that even though there is a lot of commitment involved, the advantages are plentiful. He noted that he was introduced to a different environment at school. “The physical demands are greater, meaning there are much more rigid strength and conditioning regiment,” Shen said. “Out of all of these commitments, however, collegiate sports offers a unique community and an identity to the student-athlete that I think are much more recognized in college and are incredibly worthwhile.” For MVHS alumna and Carnegie Mellon University sophomore Parvathi Meyyappan, one of her biggest joys from track and field is how it helped her meet new people. She says she feels a difference in the way MVHS viewed athletes compared to CMU. “At MVHS, sports weren’t really looked up upon and people definitely thought you didn’t care about school or weren’t smart if you participated in sports,” Meyyappan said. “People respect athletes for balancing a collegiate varsity sport and a rigorous academic schedule since CMU is not an easy place.” Shen agrees, saying other students don’t negatively view athletes at Harvard. However, he says the academic department of the school isn’t always understanding of the athletes.
“There were the occasional jokes about the ‘student-athlete’ lifestyle, but never in an explicitly malevolent manner,” Shen said. “The student-athlete community at Harvard is incredible and I wouldn’t change a thing, despite the fact that the academic departments make no concessions to athletic commitments.” With rigorous academic courses and time-intensive practices, time management is important for collegiate athletes. Meyyappan knows that without seven to eight hours of sleep, she won’t run well the next day, so her schedule doesn’t allow time for friends during the week. Her classes run from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., followed by practice until 6:30 p.m., and, since the cafeteria closes at 7 p.m., she only has 30 minutes to get dinner. “Time management between sports and school started in high school,” Meyyappan said. “If I cut on sleep, [then] running will be the first to suffer so I really have to prioritize the stuff that matters. In addition, running with people or studying with people becomes your social hour for the day.” e
THE PHYSICAL DEMANDS ARE GREATER MEANING THERE ARE MUCH MORE RIGID STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING REGIMENT. 2018 MVHS ALUMNUS JASON SHEN
6% OF 8 MILLION HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETES PLAY COLLEGIATE SPORTS OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL
PHOTO COURTESY OF PARVATHI MEYAPPAN
55% OF 210 MVHS athletes have plans of playing their sport in college
45% OF 210 MVHS athletes have no plans of playing their sport in college
SPORTS | MARCH 2019
THIS IS THE HEADLINE This is your deck; it should not have a period BY AUTHOR(S) IN LAST NAME ALPHABETICAL ORDER
TALKING ESTOQUE| MARCH | DECEMBER 36 ELELESTOQUE 2019 2018
barrage of noises filled the MVHS gym as a Santa Clara HS player meticulously bounced the ball up and down trying to focus on the basket 15 feet in front of him. The more he prepared himself to take the freethrow, the louder the sounds were, and the harder the ground vibrated from the stomps of the students sitting in the bleachers. “You guys need to knock it off,” exclaimed a SCHS parent shortly after the free throws, angered by the antics of the students. “I don’t know where your principal is but this is unacceptable.” Some of the students laughed, and paid little attention to the woman’s remarks as they carried on with their chants. Some students felt they were justified in their actions, as it is usual for things like this to happen during a home game. According to senior Jonah Ji, trashtalking is a regular scene at sporting events, whether it be opposing players insulting one other’s abilities, making them rethink their next move or change the way they play, or spectators screaming certain phrases to demotivate the opposition. “A lot of the times, sports takes a lot of concentration and the purpose of the chants is to not only motivate our team but to break the concentration of the opponent’s team,” Ji said. “If we could [scream] as loud as we can at a certain moment, like when someone is taking a freethrow, they are likely to mess up.” As a member of the MVHS football team for four years, Ji has personally experienced the effect of trash-talking while playing in a game. Specifically, Ji recalls an experience when he went in at quarterback in a game at
WHAT HAPPENS ON THE COURT IS COMPLETELY UP TO THE PLAYERS THEMSELVES, BUT, SPECTATORS ENJOY IMPACTING THE PLAY THROUGH DISTRACTIONS AND CHANTS
G TRASH BY ANISH VASUDEVAN
SPORTS | MARCH 2019 PHOTO | ANISH VASUDEVAN
Fremont HS and how the packed bleachers “If I get past someone in a game I’ll be affected his play. like ‘You’re so sorry’ or I’ll call them weak “FHS’ crowd was roaring loud and I and tell them to go to the weight room — was unable to hear my own cadance and something to just get their blood flowing play after play we were messing up because and get them a little mad,” Ji said. “I can the loudness was a [huge] detriment to our see that [the defender gets] really mad and game,” Ji said. it makes it that much easier to elude him and In basketball games, the spectators make a cut then break away.” energize the game through their cheers Similar to Ji, senior Ashwin Kumar, a just like the FHS’ crowd member of the senior group in football. One particular spectating basketball games, group of seniors at MVHS has seen the effect of his attended almost every boys words on players. basketball game, causing “There was one player that commotion and creating told everyone in the crowd to an exciting atmosphere. shush, but he was playing like “We go to the games to a**, so we all shushed him show support and we did and he had an off game after not mean to start trashKumar said. “[TrashSENIOR NAVJEETH PILLAI that,” talking,” senior Navjeeth talking] may not help a lot in Pillai said. “But when we the game, but it makes a fun see out friends playing we want to give them atmosphere.” support which we do through our talking.” However, even though crowd involvement The crowd can tremendously impact the creates an enjoyable environment, sometimes game, but what happens within the lines the antics can be detrimental to game itself. is still the deciding factor of the outcome. According to MVHS boys basketball coach According to the FUHSD code of conduct, Calvin Wong, the home team can suffer trash-talking, taunting or other actions that from some of the antics from the bleachers. demean individuals can result in loss of “What the crowd sometimes doesn’t eligibility for players. However, Ji explains understand is that something they say or do that players, even aware of some of these penalizes us in the game where we can get rules, use trash-talking as a tool to give them a technical foul,” Wong said. “That directly a competitive edge over their opponent. changes the score compared to just someone
WHEN WE SEE OUR FRIENDS PLAYING WE WANT TO GIVE THEM SUPPORT WHICH WE DO THROUGH OUR TRASH-TALKING.
getting escorted out of the building for saying something inappropriate.” Trash-talking is not just part of high school games, but also recreational play. According to senior Vishnu Palaniappan, in games of pickup basketball, trash-talking enhances the overall nature of play. “During pickup basketball, my friends [and I], we just trash talk for fun just saying that the other person sucks or your hairline sucks or something stupid like that,” Palaniappan said. “Nobody takes it personal, if someone is saying like ‘Oh, he can’t shoot,’ every person would want to take the next shot and make it in order to rub it in.” While Palaniappan believes that trashtalking is not usually used with ill intention, he pointed out that there are certain lines that can’t be crossed by the people using this tactic which include bringing up personal topics like one’s family, status or wealth. However, unlike Palaniappan, Pillai explains that even though trash-talking might be personal at times, its plainly a part of the game. “Trash-talking has always been around in basketball,” Pillai said. “After the game if I see the other coach, I’ll be like ‘good game coach,’ showing our respect even if during the game we are causing commotion. At the end of the day it’s all just jokes.” e
ATHLETE OF THE MONTH NIKHIL BAPAT BY ISHANI SINGH
enior Nikhil Bapat’s decision to try out for the Kennedy MS volleyball team in sixth grade was one that shaped his athletic trajectory for years to come. Though the sport started off as a mystery to him, he describes his middle school volleyball experience as a fruitful one, introducing him to several of his teammates and close friends today. Bapat started taking the sport seriously in eighth grade when he began playing at City Beach Club year round. When he joined the MVHS boys volleyball team in ninth grade, he came to prefer playing for his school rather than the club. The dynamic itself, according to Bapat, is more fastpaced, with the team constantly practicing and playing two games a week. Bapat’s most memorable experience on the MVHS team was the 2018 NorCal Finals, a thrilling five-set match, in which the team pulled off an impressive win against Clovis HS.
DIGS/GAME *2017-2018 season
SPORTS | MARCH 2019 PHOTO | ANISH VASUDEVAN
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