Page 1

Diversity Day photo slideshow •

More room for technology in the classroom • Page 7



Softball player embraces cultural background on the field • Page 18



Group explores art of breakdancing • Page 19

entertainment Overwhelming stress Students struggle with different types of pressure • Page 11

Volume XXXX • Issue 7 • Monta Vista High School • Cupertino, CA

Dancing Dream

Service project to hold dance showcase by Samved Sangameswara


or any person that believes that a small idea born in the minds of high school freshmen cannot amount to anything, Cupertino High School begs to differ. On April 18, Cupertino High School’s Kenya Dream project will be holding Kenya Dance, a benefit showcase of various dance crews, many of which appeared on MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew including season two winner Super Cr3w. The event will be held at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, which seats over 2,500 people. Kenya Dance is proof of the considerable growth in Kenya Dream. For a project that began with giftwrapping at Barnes and Noble, Kenya Dream has grown exponentially. In May 2007, the CHS Class of 2010 unanimously decided that instead of raising funds for prom and other class events as tradition dictates, they would throw themselves into a project that had a bigger impact on the world, and thus came Kenya Dream. Kenya Dream is the brainchild of the Class of 2010 council at CHS. Partnering with the Cupertino Rotary, the class pledged to donate 100 percent of money they make to Nthimbiri Secondary School in Kenya.

April 8, 2009

Hooked on


With smart boards, remote writing tablets, and Bluetooth keyboards, technology enhances the classroom learning experience

by Aileen Le


here’s an invasion in sight: electronic devices are starting to take over classroom by classroom. Whether out of personal preference, as in the case of math teacher Scott DeRuiter, or for an enhanced learning experience, such as Gov Team’s new requirement for all students to use laptops in class next year, teachers are incorporating the use of technology into more and more of their daily lesson plans. DeRuiter made his own unique device because of his interest in technology. “I’m a bit of a geek,” DeRuiter said. However, his inner geek has driven his creativity. DeRuiter’s gadget consists of a graphic writing tablet and Bluetooth

see KENYA on page 3

keyboard, both of which he purchased for approximately $200. They are held together by a snare carrier, a frame for drums, which he received from music teacher Jon Fey. This device is connected to both the computer and the projector and is wireless, allowing DeRuiter to type and use the mouse as images are projected onto the screen. With his gadget, he has the ability to walk around and travel anywhere in the room because his invention has a range of over 50 feet. “I didn’t want to be fixed [in one place],” DeRuiter said. “I wanted to still be able to walk around and hit kids on the head.” see TECH on page 6

Alice Lee | El Estoque Photo Illustration

Every 15 Minutes: “It’s a collision, not an accident” Two day school-wide event illustrates dangers of drinking and driving driving under the influence. MVHS holds Every 15 Minutes once every hen it comes to drinking and four years so that each class experiences it driving, the coordinators of Every once during their high school career— the 15 Minutes are adamant about last time occurred in May 2005. Through one thing: there’s no such thing as a drunk the efforts of former Dean of Students Travis Hambleton, MVHS was placed on the driving accident. “They don’t call them ‘drunk driving waitlist for Every 15 Minutes last spring and officially taken off the list accidents,’” senior and student coordinator click it: in June 2008. Planning for this year’s event Ryan Satterlee said. for coverage and photographs of both began in September 2008, “They always call Every 15 Minutes assemblies, behind the spearheaded by Moore them ‘drunk driving scenes set-up, and student response in collaboration with collisions’ because it Satterlee. After over half a wasn’t an accident that you were driving—it was a decision that you year of planning, MVHS hosted the Every 15 Minutes program this week. made.” Herein lies the crux of the Every 15 Minutes program that was held on April 7 Two days of the ‘living dead’ Two assemblies were respectively held and today, April 8. “It’s about more than just driving, then drinking,” Dean of Students and on April 7 and 8: the first, a highly realistic program coordinator Denae Moore said. “It’s crash scene involving the arrest of a “drunk” about trying to impart upon students to make student driver; the second, the funeral for good decisions.” The program strives to open the three students who had “passed away” in students’ eyes towards the consequences of the context of the program. Though the four

by Alice Lee


Daniel Stenzel | El Estoque

PLAN IN PLACE Dean of Students Denae Moore met with Sheriff’s Deputy Pete Robinson to discuss Every 15 Minutes on April 1. Moore coordinated with multiple agencies, including the Sheriff’s Office, for the event. students involved in the crash were neither drunk nor dead, they played characters that were, portraying the real-life dangers of drinking and driving. see EVERY 15 on page 6

School’s out for summer Budget deficit results in summer school changes by Varshini Cherukupalli


ummer school has always been the fallback for students who need to make up or redo courses. This summer, however, the FUHSD summer school program will be changed drastically. Due to the recent budget cuts by the California state government, the district has had to face decisions about which programs to eliminate from the schools’ curriculums. According to Principal April Scott, the district is planning a modified program that will only be offered to students deficient in credits. No enrichment courses will be available this year. “A popular route is taking Geometry in summer school to go directly from Algebra I to Algebra II [during the school year],” Scott said. “But courses like that won’t be available this year.” Other changes will take place as well, including a change of location and a decrease in MVHS students classes offered. who took “The most summer school dramatic change classes through will be limiting FUHSD in 2008 summer school According to to one site located Assistant Principal Marianne Hew at Cupertino High School with a reduction in the overall number of sections offered to our students,” FUHSD Director of Student and Community Activities Mike White said in an email to district employees. In a February memo to the FUHSD principals, which can be found at the MVHS website, Superintendent of Schools Polly Bove encouraged the staff to spread the word about summer school to motivate students who are currently failing their classes, in case budgetary deficits cause another change in the program. Students who are failing classes are not the only people affected by the change in summer school. Junior Vaishnavi Vaidya, who moved from India this year, must find another program to make up her required World History credits. “I will probably make it up at De Anza [Community College],” Vaidya said. “However, I only get eight units at De Anza, so I have to make up the other two units during my senior year.” Students who want to take classes for enrichment purposes can register with either the De Anza or Foothill Community Colleges or other private institutions. As Guidance Counselor Sarah Freeman said, “[Students] need to know that they shouldn’t depend on summer school this year.”






in numbers


$25,397 Total cost of Junior Prom.


Number of bids sold to the junior class.

Official Class of 2010 junior prom bid.


Amount of money made off bid sales.

62 Number of corsage/boutennieres sold by the class of 2010.


in brief

Cupertino-Sunnyvale footbridge completed

The Mary Avenue Bicycle Footbridge is scheduled to open to the public in a dedication ceremony at on April 30. The bridge, which spans Interstate 280, connects the cities of Cupertino and Sunnyvale. Originally conceived of in 1988 as a part of Cupertino’s bike plan, planning and funding for construction of the bridge did not begin until December 2001. The bridge has a Entrance to footbridge span of 325 feet, and the only cable-stayed bridge over a freeway in the state of California. Funding for the bridge came mainly from the, Valley Transport Authority, as the project was decided as the most beneficial in the county. The footbridge, a gleaming arc over the highway, is for bicyclists and pedestrians only. At the top, people will be able to see the Santa Cruz mountains as well as view the San Jose city sky line and much of Silicon Valley. The city and VTA hope that the Mary Avenue Bicycle Footbridge and projects like it will encourage more people to bike and walk not only for leisure, but also for work.

New AP test pre-administration sessions

Administration is holding pre-administration sessions for every student who is taking an AP test. At these sessions, students will fill out a form that asks for their name, address, and other standard personal information that they would otherwise have to fill out every time before taking each test. By doing this, the office will be able to organize the tests in a way so that students will not have to fill out the same personal information form before every single AP test they take, thus expediting the entire process of testing. Information regarding session times for each alphabet group can be found on School Loop.

MVHS gets Student Board Rep for ‘09-10

A carnation boutenniere in casing. CORRECTIONS

March Page 1: Jean-Marc Patenaude’s name was spelled incorrectly. Page 1: Freshman Gabby Ley attempted the header in the picture, not sophomore Sandra Ley. Page 9: Young Sun Yoon is a senior. Page 16: Junior Shunie Asao’s name was spelled incorrectly.

On March 10, junior Christopher Chui became the Student Representative on the Board of Trustees for the district. One incoming senior in the district is chosen to represent the students at Board meetings. Chui is the second MVHS student to get this honor, after class of 2007 alumnus Peter Lu in ‘06-07. To become the Student Representative, Chui had to go through several rounds of selection, including a written application as well as an interview process with Dean of Student Activities Denae Moore, the current ASB President, ASB IDC Representative, and Junior IDC Representative. Chui remembers hearing about the position freshman year and thinking it would be a neat job to have. He is looking forward to serving the MVHS and FUHSD communities and learning from his experiences.

Youth Commission puts on shadow day

On May 22, eighth graders from Kennedy Middle School will shadow MVHS students to get a taste of the high school life before matriculating this upcoming school year. Hosted by Community Leadership’s Youth Commission, the event spans from first to sixth period, with the middle schoolers experiencing not only classes, but brunches and lunches at MVHS as well. Applications for shadow hosts were available to students in the month of March. According to youth commissioner and senior Divya Israni, approximately 35 sign-ups were received. “Preferably we’re going to start with freshmen and work our way to the seniors,” Israni said. A shadowing event was organized by Youth Commission two years ago, but did not occur last year. This year, the commission has made it a goal to be more organized in working out logistics beforehand and maintaining strong communication with Kennedy. Ultimately, the purpose of the event is to help Kennedy students feel more comfortable as they begin their transition out of middle school and into MVHS. “When students are in 8th grade they’re kind of anxious about learning about high school and the opportunities it presents,” Israni said. “For MVHS students, it’s a way to help those who are curious and share their knowledge about that.”

Robotics Team qualifies for nationals

The Robotics team competed in the annual FIRST regional competition at UC Davis on March 29 and 30. According to senior and Director of Engineering Ashwin Mathur, the team did “fairly well” on the first day of competition, ranking first out of 44 teams. MVHS Robotics also received the “Best Website” award that night. The next day, the top eight teams, including MVHS, proceeded to the next round of competition. Each team picked two others from the remaining teams to serve on a three-team alliance, resulting in a total of 24 teams that played Team member works on in the next rounds. intricacies of robot MVHS’s alliance, consisting of two teams from Boise, Idaho, and Sacramento, CA, advanced to the finals but lost to the other alliance and received second. Robotics brought a total of 50 members to the competition, all of whom sprayed their hair purple and donned gold beads to support the team. “I’m happy to see how a lot of people who even aren’t on the team are getting into Robotics because a lot of people are following the team,” Mathur said. “Now this year a lot of people are pumped up and the spirit for this year is a lot greater than it’s been in the past.” In addition to ranking second in the robot aspect of the competition, MVHS received the “Engineering Inspiration” award, one of two honors given to chapters that have demonstrated commendable outreach to the community to spread the word about engineering and FIRST programs. The team has qualified for the national competition to be held April 16 to 18 in Atlanta, GA.

Change: Like El Estoque, here to stay by Alice Lee


hen senior Alyssa Kies, editor-in-chief of Santa Teresa High School’s student newspaper, came to shadow our staff during its Friday production late night on April 3, one of the questions she asked me was: “What’s your favorite part about journalism? Even after thinking it through, I can’t settle on one answer. On a professional level, the best part about making a newspaper is seeing people’s reactions afterwards—whether they shake your hand in appreciation or scream at you in disagreement, just seeing some reaction within people means that they saw things from a new perspective. Yet on a personal level, my favorite aspect of journalism is the connections that are formed between writers. Through the crazy antics that our staff frequently engages in—playing Gmail’s “Old Snakey” game for hours on end to gorging ourselves with parent-prepared dinners (correction, I mean feasts)—I’ve formed wonderful connections with this group of fun, quirky, and often downright strange individuals that I would’ve never gotten to know otherwise. In this vein, El Estoque has undoubtedly enacted change, both in the context of MVHS and my own life.

With the Class of 2009, change entered our lives in the form of college decisions. For the teachers in junior Aileen Le’s “Hooked on electronics” article, change has presented itself in the form of advanced technology that supplements their lessons. In the world of publications at MVHS, change has arrived with MV Published Writers’s literary magazine and the integration of multimedia with content on For El Estoque, change has recently come in the form of two new editor teams and will continue to arrive in two sets of staffs for the online and print publications respectively. Even though the next issue will be primarily run by our new editor teams and our time as seniors is nearly over, it doesn’t end here. In the first editor’s letter I wrote that went into the last issue of the 2007-2008 school year, I gave a toast to the beautiful memories of the previous year and to those of the upcoming eight issues of the 20082009 school year. So here’s another toast—but to next year’s staffs and the changes they will enact, both through creating memories within the journalism class and impacting the school with hard-hitting and insightful reportage. One more time: cheers, El Estoque.


editor’s letter

April 8, 2009 2008-2009 Editor in Chief Alice Lee Managing Editors Jeremy Lee Serena Lee Daniel Stenzel News Editors Lauren Parcel Samved Sangameswara Opinion Editors Bhargav Setlur Sharanya Shankar Centerspread Editors Sabrina Ghaus Sarah McKee Entertainment Editors Patty Chao Mansi Pathak Sports Editors Jonathan Chan Dipika Shrihari Layout and Design Editor Stefan Ball Business Editor Aileen Le Web Editor Natasha Desai Online News Editors Jackie Barr Kai Kang Online Sports Editors Tom Cheng Christian Fatoohi Online Entertainment Editor Varada Gavaskar Print Staff Writers Kunal Bhan Christine Chang Varshini Cherukupalli Allie Choy Sasha Degtyar Brittany Hopkins Jane Kim Kanwalroop Singh Tammy Su Vijeta Tandon Derek Wong Kevin Wu Online Staff Writers Ingrid Chang Anthony Chen Jaime Chu Teressa Ju Deepa Kollipara Selene Rubino Shreya Shankar Natalie Wong Adviser Michelle Balmeo Disclaimer Opinions expressed in this publication are those of the journalism staff and not of Monta Vista High School or the Fremont Union High School District. Credits Some images in this publication were taken from the royalty-free stock photography website Mission Statement

El Estoque is an open forum created for and by students of Monta Vista High School. The staff of El Estoque seeks to recognize individuals, events, and ideas and bring news to the Monta Vista community in a manner that is professional, unbiased, and thorough in order to effectively serve our readers. We strive to report accurately and 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 e-mail or mail. They become the sole property of El Estoque and can be edited for length, clarity, or accuracy. Letters cannot be returned and will be published at El Estoque’s discretion. El Estoque also reserves 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.

Contact Us El Estoque 21840 McClellan Rd. Cupertino, CA 95014

elestoque High school in three years


April 8, 2009

Sophomore Shanny Singer plans to join Israeli army after high school by Alice Lee


lthough the Government Team class is entirely comprised of seniors, of the 32 admitted students, only 31 are currently juniors. The only underclassman to be enrolled in the 2009-2010 Governement Team class is sophomore Shanny Singer. Though a sophomore, Singer intends to graduate next year with the Class of 2010, finishing high school in three years instead of the standard four. To do this, she has taken a full load of classes, from six in her freshman year to seven both this year, her sophomore year, and next year, her junior-senior year. Singer also takes summer school classes to fulfill the district’s literature and history course requirements. Students must obtain 210 course credits to graduate. By the end of the next school year, Singer will have achieved exactly that amount. “I’m planning to go back to Israel as soon as I graduate,” Singer said. Born in the United States, Singer has moved back and forth between America and Israel four times. “I grew up half-here, halfthere but really I have so much there that I know,” Singer said. “I’ve grown up here but I really want to establish my life in a whole different part of the world because that’s where my family lives—that’s where all our roots are.” When Singer returns to Israel, she plans to reunite with her extended family and join the national army, the Israeli Defense Forces, in which all female citizens over 18 years of age are required to serve for



Boggling Broadcast

Swallow this absurdity


Stefan Ball | El Estoque

READING ON Sophomore Shanny Singer looks through Hebrew books she read as a child. Singer intends to return to Israel upon graduation and plans to complete high school in three years. two years and males for three. Junior Adi Balmoker is a family friend of Singer’s, who has also known her since they were both three years old. While Balmoker intends to finish high school in the standard four years, she supports and understands Singer’s decision to return quickly to Israel. “Usually it’s kind of uncomfortable here in America, especially around here where there’s a lot of racism,” Balmoker said. “It’s usually more comfortable to be in Israel because your family is there and there are people who share the same religion and culture as you.” One such misconceptions that Singer has been approached with at MVHS, for example, is that the work she will be doing in the Israeli army will include heavy violence,

destruction, and warfare. “People are like, ‘Oh so you’re going to join the army? Wait, you’re going to die,’” Singer said. “Barely anyone has to fight. It’s a couple years of what they want you to do, like building leadership. It’s actually pretty diverse.” Balmoker echoes Singer. “It’s not like a burden,” Balmoker said. “People enjoy serving in the army.” Singer, in fact, intends to pursue more of a clerical path in the army; her ideal job is to interview people who want to be soldiers. In addition to joining the army, Singer hopes to attend college in Israel and, upon graduating from college, will make the decision to remain rooted in Israel or move back to America. “[Israel] is a lot different

from what you hear in the news as opposed to actually being there,” Singer said. “Being there, there’s a lot of politics and ethics, and all that you hear in America is ‘bombs and terrorism’ and all of that is kind of extreme.” As for this year and her remaining time at MVHS, Singer intends to remain active in her Jewish youth organization, BBYO, and continue learning about global perspectives through participating in Gov Team and her current role as Global Commissioner in Community Leadership. “I was terrified that my junior-senior year would be really, really horrible and I don’t know if it will be yet, but it’s all about the balance,” Singer said. “I think I’m going to have a pretty normal year.”

KENYA: ‘Dream’ fulfilled in district just dance

involved,” Li said. “We have all this spirit in our district, over 10,000 kids, and instead of using that against each other we could use it to help the world.” what: Li’s proposal was received Kenya Dance, a benefit dance showcase for the CHS Kenya Dream with open arms throughout project, raises money to build a school in Kenya the district, especially at MVHS. Dean of Students Denae Moore when: claims that MVHS is more than April 18 6-10 p.m. ready to join Kenya Dream where: should an offer be extended. The Center for the Performing Arts 255 Almaden Blvd, San Jose “When I first heard of this how to get tickets: project, my first though was Sold by IDC Reps at all five schools, and online at, $30 ‘why don’t we make this an in advance and $50 at the door IDC event?’” Moore said. Moore also noted that Kenya Dream set a model for the Costa Verde project. Continued from page 1 “After hearing about Kenya Dream we really wanted to do a similar project,” Moore said. “So “We wanted to help something, someone, [ASB Leadership] partnered up with Community somewhere,” CHS class of 2010 president and junior Leadership and we found Costa Verde.” The growth of Kenya Dream and other projects Justin Li said. Since the unanimous vote two years ago the inspired by it have allowed the class of 2010 to Dream has grown considerably. It has now spread reach the goal they set out to achieve two years from being exclusively a junior class project to the ago. They wished to do something bigger than entire school with the formation of a Dream Team, homecoming, bigger than prom, bigger than high an organization on campus that works with the school, and that’s exactly what they did. “[Kenya Dream] has shown us that if you really class of 2010 on Kenya Dream. And it doesn’t stop there. Li says he is open to the project extending want to do something good for the world, everyone will want to help,” Li said. “No matter how crazy beyond just CHS. “I’m trying to focus on the district getting it is.” who: SuperCr3w, Supreme Soul, Fanny Pak, Ringmasters, Street Vibe, Triple Threat, Funksters, thatOnecompany, Project Em, Boogie Monstarz, Future Shock, Above As 1, The Lost Kids.

GONE: Summer school reduced Continued from page 1

“I will probably make it up at De Anza [College],” Vaidya said. “However, I only get eight units at De Anza, so I have to make up the other two units during my senior year.” Students who want to take classes for enrichment purposes can also register with De Anza Community College or other private institutions. As Freeman said, “[Students] need to know that they should not depend on summer school this year.”

hile scouring CNN’s Web site for lovely bits of news to discuss, I am naturally inclined to skim over its list of links under “Latest News” first. Much of the list consists of economical woes or other political news. What caught my eye on a recent visit to the site, however, was neither of these. It was a link titled “Man stuffed with corned beef wins $5K.” Seeing that articles important enough to deserve a spot under “Latest news” are usually serious and informative, I initially misinterpreted this as the title to a story concerning a vegetarian man who had been assaulted with corned beef and hence won a $5,000 suit against the perpetrator. Boy was I wrong. Seconds after I clicked on this link, a video appeared of several pot-bellied men and one woman savagely stuffing their faces with some sort of beef sandwich in a manner that was hardly civilized. With their bodies leaned forward in butcher stance, the contestants went about literally choking themselves with food and downing fruit punch until congested clumps of chewed-up sandwich heaped up a soggy barricade that obstructed any view of their teeth. As a courtesy to my growing queasiness, many of them left their cheeks and chins adorned with decorous driblets of food. So competitive were these barbarous contestants that half the time they appeared to be eating their own fingers. Frankly, it was revolting. I was surprised CNN considered this important enough to be posted on their site. Not only did it lack a written story, but it also looked like one of those random clips that belong on YouTube’s vast junkyard of video archives. It was the kind of video I would have sent to my friends as a nasty prank, the kind that makes you a bit ashamed of the things humans do. But the more I thought about it, the more I became semi-grateful this clip was linked to the site. Don’t get me wrong. It isn’t so much that I endorse this clip, but that I empathize with those who need this sort of bizarre humor to keep them going. In an arbitrary glance at the top half of’s homepage, I saw the words “abandoned,” “suicide,” “convicted,” and “skimpy market.” Obama’s name came up on almost every other link, which meant nothing more than politics. This was not a particularly heart-lifting cloud of words, to say the least. So a video clip featuring fervent sandwich-stuffing competitors is, in its own freakish way, a much-appreciated break from monotony. Ultimately, the same kinds of headlines on jobs and the recession and child abuse do get tiresome from time to time. Especially with the economy’s bleak and uncertain future, reading the news can often be tantamount to piling on new burdens. But when something absurd or hilarious is brought to our attention, no matter how aesthetically eccentric it might be, we tend to perk up a little and momentarily forget about weighty grievances such as the one-month countdown to AP testing. Life is getting boring, you say? Do something crazy, something quirky. Follow CNN’s example and break the trend of seriousness. Go on impulsive midnight runs, TP your friend’s house, make your dog a Mohawk. If that’s too much for you, you can always resort to searching up “farting babies” on YouTube. “Monkey pees in mouth” works, too.

elestoque April 8, 2009 4 Flying solo: AP ordeal minus the course news

Students forego traditional path of taking AP classes and prepare for the tests on their own by Daniel Stenzel


ost students in AP courses spend numerous hours throughout the entire school year studying in the hopes that all of their efforts will pay off when they take their respective AP exam in May. There are some students, however, who decide to do it blindly—to take the exam without ever having been in the AP class designed to prepare for the test. According to the College Board Web site, this is perfectly fine, even though they strongly recommend taking a yearlong AP course beforehand. Students have many reasons to take their AP exams—financial reasons and confidence to name a few. Some students want to save every penny they can for their future, for college. By taking the AP exam they not only save money, but a whole semester’s time in college. Other students are very familiar with the subject regardless of taking or not taking the course. Often, students who speak a different language at home will take the AP exam for that language. Senior Aki Toyoshima decided to take the AP exam for Japanese last year because he had been speaking it his entire life. “I speak Japanese at home every day, and I went to Japanese school from kindergarten until ninth grade,” Toyoshima said. “I knew how to write, read, and speak the language fluently.” As for preparation, some quick research on the exam proved to be enough. “I didn’t really need preparation. I just did some research online about what kind of questions are on it,” Toyoshima said. When the score came in, Toyoshima had

received a five out of five on the exam— just as expected. This year senior Yifang Qiu decided to take the AP Macroeconomics exam for his AP Economics course at MVHS and the AP Microeconomics, even though he has never taken the course. “They overlap somewhat, but Microeconomics is more chapters from the [course] textbook,” Qiu said. “Microeconomics is just a different subset.” What, then, was his motivation? Mostly just to get it out of the way sooner rather than later. “I thought I might as well take it because it will be more flexible later on [for AP credit], or maybe I’ll need it later,” Qiu said. “It’s mostly just to be safe.” Qiu made the decision after looking over the course descriptions early in the year. Enough of it overlapped with the content of Macroeconomics, so Qiu spoke with AP Economics teacher Pete Pelkey and decided to go for it. “I’m not particularly worried because I’ve looked through the FRQs [free response questions] from previous years and it’s all basically the same thing, so I know what I need to know,” Qiu said. Not only is there overlap of Macro and Microeconomics, but Micro is in other courses as well. “Microeconomics is actually covered through Principles of Business,” senior Oliver Zheng said. “It’s pretty common among freshmen and sophomores to take it.” Qiu plans to buy a prep book to prepare himself for the test in the hopes that the money spent on the test will pay for itself in not having to go through the time to take the course in college.

Daniel Stenzel | El Estoque

PRE-AP Senior Sundar Cherukuri bubbles in his information sheet in order to save time on the day of his AP test, which will take place in early May.

countingdown Here are some statistics on this year’s AP testing season.

323 AP Biology tests registered

18 Total AP classes offered at MVHS

232 AP Macroeconomic tests registered

5 AP World History tests registered

152 AP U.S. History tests registered

3 AP Italian tests registered

34 Total AP tests offered by College Board

1 AP Psychology test registered


April 8, 2009

g journey of tin un da e th to e id gu e siv en eh A compr


hoosing a college is like getting a new car. If you test it out, you’ll know whether or not you’ll like it. Buy it cold, however, and it can go either way: you’ll love it or you’ll hate it. “One of the reasons why people aren’t happy [at the college they ended up choosing] is because they haven’t visited their colleges [before they decided to go there],”

career center liaison Miriam Taba said. Taba recommends that students take an arranged tour and spend time wandering around local social hubs, such as coffee shops and the student union. She also advises students to visit when school is in session so they can see what kind of students are there. There, students will be able to get a feel for the kind of atmosphere they pre-



touring colleges

by Serena Lee

fer and the kind of students they are comfortable around. “In visiting schools, especially if you are visiting more than once, keep a notebook because sometimes it’s hard to remember what you saw,” Taba said. With spring break as a perfect time to visit colleges, students should be wellinformed by previous college tour experience, visiting tips, group tours, and traveling in a recession.

Come up with questions to ask. Walk around campus and actually go sign up for a tour because otherwise it’s just “Hey, look at this building.” I visited the colleges and went to dorms. Always ask about computers. I want a mac but they only have discounts and repair for Dell.


—Senior Mara Spelick

midst this recession, there are ways to save on college visits. If traveling by plane, programs such as STA Travel and StudentUniverse offer discounted airline tickets. For students who want to scout out their prospective colleges—or the colleges they will attend in the fall—there are Web sites that hold video and instant messaging chats with college admissions officers and hold virtual college tours. acts as a virtual college fair. Students can interact with more than 200 colleges and universities—like Yale University and Emerson College—through video chats and watch admission experts speak on how to prepare for the SAT and pay for college. The Northwest YMCA offers the Spring Break College Tour, which offers a group tour through California state and private universities. Other tour groups like plan about 20 college visits and set up admission representative meetings, student-led tours, and dormitory tours with colleges.

When you’re planning a college visit, I think it would be best to plan it so that your trip spans a day of regular classes, (Try and see if you can attend a class you may be interested in, by the way of someone you know or through the college’s visitor center, and then a special event day (second look, school-wide event) in an attempt to get a more rounded view of the campus life. —Hermes Huang, Class of 2008

I made a list of colleges and went to 14 schools in 10 days. If you go to your favorite school first you won’t want to look at the other schools, so don’t go to your favorite school first.

Also, be sure to scope out the area around campus, and see if it would be a place that you would like to live and explore. Be sure to ask about your public transportation options and accessibility of off—campus amenities if you think you may need them (drugstores, supermarkets, restaurants, etc).

—Senior Cecilia Dalle Ore

—Hermes Huang, Class of 2008

Seniors Erica Cei and Ann Wang share their own experience and plans for visiting college campuses


pring break is the period of time when seniors visit colleges to determine which college feels more like home and when non-seniors scout out colleges they think they’ll apply to in the fall. Senior Erica Cei, who was accepted to schools including UCLA, UC Davis, and UC Santa Barbara, is using spring break to visit her friends at these campuses to step into the shoes of a college student. “I’m going to go to [UCLA, Davis, Santa Barbara] to see which one fits me the most,” Cei said. “I know someone who goes to every single one of these colleges so that person at each college is going to take me to their colleges after the admit day activity. For UCLA, I’m probably going to stay overnight at my friend’s dorm.”

While Cei applied to schools she had never visited before, senior Ann Wang applied only to schools she has visited before. In early June 2008, Wang flew to New York

apply or not to apply to a certain school. It can’t not influence you. Once you go, each one has a really unique atmosphere. It’s like [it’s said] that Princeton and Harvard

“Visiting campuses can’t not influence you,” senior Ann Wang said. “Once you go each one has a unique atmosphere.” with her parents to drive on what they dubbed the “Ivy League tour highway.” At each campus, she joined a tour and looked around the school. She also drove south to visit University of California campuses. “[Visiting campuses] did influence me to

are similar—but they’re not similar at all. The people you see and the atmosphereare really different,” Wang said. However, Wang doesn’t recommend freshmen and sophomores to begin their college search until they know what they’re

looking for. If Wang had gone any earlier than she did, by the time she’d applied, she wouldn’t know where to apply to. “The pictures on a [school’s] web page leave a different kind of memory,” Wang said.”When you’re applying, you have the picture of what you saw at the college tour in your head.” “I went to hecka colleges,” Wang said. “You can tell the ones I liked are the ones I remember. I can’t remember them all. They’re pretty much all the colleges on any random Asian’s list.” However, taking trips within California or even out-of-state prove to be expensive. Cei’s parents are debating on whether or not to take the plane—which would be faster, but more expensive—or drive by car.




TECH: Teachers experiment with new tools in the classroom

SMART IDEA Math teacher Scott DeRuiter uses his self-made contraption while teaching a Calculus BC lesson on April 2.

Aileen Le | El Estoque

continued from page 1

Although he jokes about the use of his device, it can be a major tool that he uses in his lessons; it shows animations, something that he wouldn’t be able to show on the whiteboard, in his AP Calculus BC and Java Programming classes through a software called Mathematica. However, DeRuiter notes that his main use of technology stems more from his own interests: he doesn’t believe that teaching is necessarily better or worse without it, and enjoys experimenting with it. The science department has also used technology as an alternative way to get students involved in the classroom. They have recently acquired student response controllers that use a program called Turning Point. It is hooked to the computer and PowerPoint and each student can register their answers individually to provide instant statistics. Students also notice the use of technology in the classroom. Junior Anthony Xie describes the Smartboard used in his AP Chemistry class as a whiteboard, only that teachers can save what they wrote and refer or post it later.

“It’s useful—sometimes I don’t understand concepts,” Xie said. “Although it’s not in the PowerPoints, I can look back at [the Smartboard notes].” Junior Alex Hung recognizes that technology isn’t always beneficial. “It actually slows down the class if the device doesn’t work and the teacher can’t fix it," Hung said. “It’s not a new way to learn, it just makes things easier and gives teachers convenience.” Both Biology teacher Pam Chow and DeRuiter agree that technology is here to stay. “Students learn through different methods and sometimes they need to see or hear things,” Chow said. “Technology provides a way to try lots of things out.” DeRuiter notes that some things in his Programming and Calculus classes to teach without technology. He envisions a future where students heavily use technology. “I think at some time students will carry some sort of laptop instead of their heavy APUSH and Biology textbooks,” DeRuiter said. “Those things will be converted to electronic form and students won’t have to lug their heavy textbooks around.”

April 8, 2009

EVERY 15: Half a year in the making continued from page 1

In addition to the four students involved in the assembly, 20 students were selected to participate in the classroom portion of the program. All 24 students were chosen by Moore and Satterlee because of the different roles on campus they represent. “Out of a school of 2,600 students, you all were chosen because you represent MVHS in diverse ways,” Principal April Scott said at a meeting on April 1 with students. Nicknamed the “living dead” because of the crash victims they portrayed during the April 7 assembly, the 24 students reported to school on April 7 as they would on a typical day of school. Upon the arrival of a sheriff’s deputy dressed as a grim reaper to either their first or third period classes, the students were then pulled out of class and sent to the Student Center, the “command center” where all preparations and volunteers were gathered, and they stayed there until the assembly. These students’ departures from their classrooms, arranged on roughly 15-minute intervals, represent the now outdated statistic that every 15 minutes, a teenager dies in a fatal car crash. Though according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, the statistic has since changed to one death every 30.1 minutes, the program has kept its name and procedures.

Six months to fruition

Moore estimates that approximately 100 individuals have been involved in coordinating Every 15 Minutes in the six months it took to plan the event, ranging from parent volunteers and administration to agencies such as the sheriff’s office, American Medical Response paramedics, the Santa Clara Valley Morgue, the Valley Medical Center, and the Darling Fisher Funeral Home. Regardless of the nature of the contributions, however, participants

involved in the planning of Every 15 Minutes were sworn to secrecy regarding the existence of the event so as to provide a greater impact on the student body when the event actually occurred. Prior to Tuesday and Wednesday, the student body was only notified that there would be “special assemblies” on both days, but was not informed of the subject matter of the assemblies. This itself lends to the fact that the program featured highly realistic situations; actual sheriff’s deputies and paramedics participated in the crash scene during the April 7 assembly. The 20 crash victims wore bloodied and bruised makeup, the drunk driver was sent to and fingerprinted at the county jail, the two critically injured were rushed to the hospital for an attempted resuscitation, and the DOA (dead on arrival) was taken to the county morgue. “It’s one thing to read off numbers and tell people not to drink and drive,” Satterlee said, “but when you actually see your friends out there in full makeup, it hits harder.”

Beyond 15 minutes of fame

Although Every 15 Minutes is technically only a two day event, its program coordinators voice their hope for its continual impact on campus. “The main thing is making people think. You just have to think, ‘What are the consequences?’” Satterlee said. “Just because we haven’t had any deaths doesn’t mean [underage drinking]’s not a problem.” Though the program has required extensive planning and a hefty $10,000 budget (provided by a grant from American Medical Response), for Moore, it’s been about more than just 8 p.m. workdays and floods of e-mails coming from all of the involved parties. “Like [American Medical Response officer] Virginia [Jones] said [at the April 1 meeting],” Moore said, “if the program saves just one life, then it’s worth it.”



Image in the mirror false? 7 • If you don’t do the work, get out! 8 • pinching pennies is in 9 •

Paperless classrooms? The future is now The future forsees Kindles, Laptops and Smart Boards in the classrooms.


n the past 100 years, education has been changed by one revolutionary technology after another: slide rules gave way to calculators, mainframes were made obsolete by laptops, and the school library has been made nearly irrelevant by the Internet. There are a few exceptions. In an age where students keep most of their documents on their computers or on Google Docs, MVHS still relies on paper. F r o m handouts and homework, to quizzes and semester finals, everything is still printed on processed wood pulp, just like back in the bad old days when the oneroom school was lit with a kerosene lamp. Government Team’s decision to go paperless for the coming school year is a sign of things to come. Yes, making paper handouts is easy, and the school is well equipped to churn out ream after ream for class purposes. However, just because it’s easy to do something doesn’t mean it is right. It’s almost shameful that the most basic method of disseminating information hasn’t

changed significantly over the last century. And, in light of changing attitudes about the environment and global warming—and the realization that trees might be more useful for oxygen than as a writing material—there has never been a better time to cut d o w n on paper consumption. T h e time has also come for further changes in classroom technology usage. The average block period in AP U.S. History usually contains a whole lot of note-taking, which is slow and laborious.Instead of taking notes, why not just take a picture of the board and post the image online? It’s not hard to do, and students can then spend more time understanding the lecture instead of frantically copying down notes.

Staff Editorial

Also, new “smart boards” can store what teachers write on them, step by step. These records can be posted online, so that students who are sick can go online and learn about Taylor series or the Roosevelt Depression, as if they were attending class. And, use of markers and other supplies would drop. That means less waste. It’s a win-win

for students and the environment. The possibilities for technology in education are huge. From paper-free courses to memory boards, it’s easy to reduce waste and and give students greater access to lessons and class content. In our virtual world, paper and chalk are so 20th century.

The mystery curriculum

CONFUSED BETWEEN THE TV LIFE AND REAL LIFE A young girl stands as she battles between media pressure and peer pressure, she is insecure about her body image.

Teachers cannot see STAR tests at all by Stefan Ball

tantly, very unfair fact of the matter. When a teacher receives a report here are plenty of things teach- saying their students are deficient ers see that we can’t—papers in in vocabulary, the teacher has no their locked filing cabinets, top way of know what type of questions secret memos from administration, students are having trouble with. other students’ tests, and probably nu- Is making it harder for teachers to merous information. But there’s one teach fair on any level or really benthing that we see that they can’t—the eficial to the state? The state supports the affidavit STAR test. The state doesn’t let them, and they put it in writing with a legal teachers are forced to sign by claimdocument they’re forced to sign every ing that by allowing teachers to review tests, they’ll begin to tailor their year they administer it. When teachers receive the test to curriculum for the STAR rather than actuadmina l l y i s t e r teach to stus t u dents, There’s one thing students dents. they get But this see that teachers cannot: m o r e seems than just the STAR test. to be an innot a struncfault t i o n manual. They also get a sheet of paper in teachers and their motivation to with space for their signature—saying teach students lessons that really that they won’t open their student’s matter, but rather the STAR test itself booklets and read the questions asked and its inability to truly measure students’ relevant knowledge. Our in the test. Seemingly harmless, but painfully teachers are not so lazy as to teach ironic. No, STAR test immediately af- for a test that fails to truly evaluate fects students individually, but it does grade-level abilities—that would matter to teachers. A teacher’s overall only take a couple weeks. The affidavit then, appears to be performance is judged by the standardized test, and to make it illegal an admission that the government’s for them to see the material they’re test is too easy. The test is certainly full of pages evaluated on is no different than giving students finals on the very first and pages of fluff. With a test so incompetent at judging our school’s week of school. A detailed break down of the topics value as an institution of education, covered in each of the tests is avail- teachers may as well be allowed to able online, however, but that isn’t crack open the test and read it at their the same as being able to know exact- free will. It’ll better for our API scores ly what teachers’ students are missing and the schools’ (and state’s) so very and exactly what they need to teach important prestige. Perhaps the state should write a test worth taking—a in order to improve scores. As students, we’ve all been in the test that truly evaluates our school position before where we’ve studied and the teachers that teach in it evour heads off, and slept on our text- ery day. Teachers should be able to books hoping for diffusion, yet still read it. Scores will drop, but it might been troubled by a question on the just be worthwhile. test. It’s a horrible, and more impor-


Jane Kim | El Estoque

Chronic problem of Sizism affects all females Being healthy doesn’t mean being super thin by Brittany Hopkins


f you’ve ever been on Facebook, you’ve seen the diet ads. “Want a body like this?” inquires the title. “Summer is coming! Try the new cleanse diet.” “Oprah’s Acai Berry Diet,” entices you with a screen shot from the Oprah Winfrey Show. “Lose weight now,” hovers over a picture of a feminine looking foot on top of a bathroom scale. Before you start obsessing about how huge your thighs are, consider one thing: we live in a sizeist society. Sizeism (also spelled sizism) is a term coined by the Size Acceptance Movement meaning discrimination against individuals based on the size and shape of their body. This includes anyone whose body does not fit the accepted definition of beauty. Those who suffer from sizeism the most are shapely women, but girls of all sizes feel the effects. The truth is that there is nothing wrong with voluptuous women. The diet industry wants you to believe that your body needs to be fixed so that you will buy their product. They do not care if you lose weight or not. The goal is to make a quick buck, even at your expense. School psychologist Sheila Altman attributes the large percentage of girls with body issues to the messages they receive in our society. “It always strikes me how many girls feel that they are fat. When I look at them, they don’t look fat at all,” Altman said. “It’s very sad that women feel they have to be so focused on their weight.” Though only a minority of teens are stick-thin, there is a bias against full-figured women. Even at Fashion Club’s fashion show on Feb. 28, all of the models were, as freshman Fashion Club member Younha Kim described them, “all model-looking:

skinny and tall.” Despite the lack of voluptuous representation, junior Fashion Club officer Lulu Liu said that were no size restrictions placed on the models. “We let designers choose their own models,” Liu said. “We didn’t require a certain type of model since the designer’s [outfit] might require a certain type of girl.” Apparently, all of the designers felt the need for thin models. Now before you get offended, think about it. It’s no wonder that these students chose skinny girls to model their clothes because that is exactly what we have all been taught is beautiful. Whenever you turn on the TV, go on the Internet or look at a magazine, there they are: emaciated, digitally enhanced women. Through the media, our doctors and even our parents, we have been brainwashed to think that being thin makes you better somehow. But there are ways to fight back. “What’s important is for all of us to be aware of the messages the media sends us and the overall perception of curvaceous women,” Altman said. “We then have a choice of whether we buy into it or not.” There are ways for us to be proactive. Limit time looking at magazines like Seventeen and Cosmogirl, since they have a detrimental effect on your self esteem. Throw away your bathroom scale, or at least place it out of sight in a cabinet under the sink. Stay away from conversations that revolve around bashing other girls because of the way they look. Most of all, stop criticizing yourself based on the chocolate cake you ate or the four mile run that you decided not to go on. Instead of “losing weight now,” you can gain new insight into how to empower yourself.




Letters to the editor Letters of any length should be submitted via e-mail or mail. They become the sole property of El Estoque and can be edited for length, clarity, or accuracy. Letters cannot be returned and will be published at El Estoque’s discretion. Whoever said that girls don’t eat made a big mistake. Christine Chang’s article [“Girl athletes need to eat, too”, Mar. 11] clearly points out that girl athletes do have a voracious appetite. That’s great. Now that the female athletes are off the chopping block and are free to go eat as they please, what about the non-athletic females? Are they supposed to be the calorie-counting, weight-watch-

ing, almost-anorexic adolescents? No matter what, girls do eat, and more than you think. The problem lies in society. As Chang mentioned, the stereotypical eating habits of a girl is “conservative.” Instead, girls are supposed to be worrying about their weight and how many calories they have consumed. Though it may be true that this is a type of behavior that girls do exhibit, it could be that girls only outwardly display this. I’m sure that guys care about their weight. Nobody wants to be obese, and the fact that it comes with a good amount of ridicule is also unappealing. So the rest of society, feel free to throw away your misleading stereotypes about female eating habits. And go ahead girls, break tradition.

Freshman Yaamini Venkataraman

Leadership integral to school Leadership works tirelessly to improve student experience by Jonathan Chan


SB Leadership is a leader amongst other leadership programs in the district and deserves the student body’s praise and recognition. Local high schools fill the MVHS IDC exchanges, and stay engaged at the IDC meetings to learn tips on improving their own student leadership programs. The ASB Constitution, which guides student government procedures at MVHS, has been an example for other schools while they prepare their own constitution. Leadership isn’t a class students just passively attend for a year. They constantly take the initiative to reanalyze the structure of their program and find ways to improve it. This year, the Spirit/Recognition Commission was separated into the Spirit Commission and the Student Recognition Commissions to better serve the student body. Another example is the recent discussion of removing class and ASB officer positions. ASB’s constant willingness to improve fosters its growth as one of the best leadership programs in the area. As a class, ASB Leadership is often seen as socializing and relaxing in the middle of the day. Although it is definitely a uniquely structured class, the commissioners and officers in Leadership spend class time as well as time outside of the room working to make MVHS a livelier place to learn. Through their focus groups (which are separate from

commissions), ASB students join together and tackle an issue of importance to them. Focus groups such as Peer Support hold Chicken Soup forums, discussions where students can freely talk about the difficulties in their personal lives. It’s always easier to hide from problems than to face them, but ASB’s assertiveness in hosting a forum to discuss the obstacles students face outside of school is commendable and reflective of Leadership’s attitude of service. ASB Leadership is also commonly misunderstood as an elitist club that makes policies and funds events for their own benefit. But focus groups such as Leadership Audit hold Connections events to examine the work ASB is doing. Students outside leadership and staff members are invited to contribute their input. ASB reviews how well they are meeting the student body’s needs and interests. Their openness in considering new ideas makes them leaders who hear and listen to the group they serve, their student body. It is not easy or comfortable for any group to take a hard look and critique itself. ASB Leadership is taking an extra step to make itself a leadership team that remains in touch with the student body. ASB deserves the support and recognition of the MVHS student body. ASB Leadership is also a local leader many schools model their programs after. It’s one of the many treasures we have here on campus, and we can value their work by contributing our own ideas to continue improving Leadership and our school.

Room for more teamwork in classrooms Working together better prepares students for real world

collective effort, not just one individual managing the entire process. The newly emerged Government Team has also inspired students to explore lmost anyone who’s been at politics and law not just through indiMVHS since freshman year vidual study but through the joining recalls the very reminiscent of 26 students who each contribute aroma of pig guts and preserving liqperspective and a sense of purpose. uid from Biology class. The scent wafts Members of the team learn to comout from the row of B-building classes municate goals with one another and towards the end of each year as freshtake on others’ challenges in addition men partake in that notorious rite of to their own. Many in the class agree passage: fetal pig dissections. While that it is because of a team effort that some happily recount their experithe curriculum is so enriching. ences excavating pig testicles, others Unfortunately, the significance of are not so quick to share. But there is working with others is one thing most everyone agrees often lost in the mudon—pig dissections could not dle of getting ourselves have been as successful without For the sake of “standing where we want to be. But the help of our lab groups. once we’re out of school, Cheesy as it is, teamwork is out” to colleges, individualsurvival depends on how crucial to so many aspects of the ist values tend to dominate well we communicate world beyond high school. Unour student body. and work with others. fortunately, its values are often Whether it be a newsoverlooked at MVHS. Pig dissecpaper staff or a science tions aside, countless programs research team, we can’t make it by on campus revolve around individual a good cause? study or activity. Many of the academIt’s time we started building up ourselves. And when individual comic classes we take require us to devote more team programs. MVHS stu- petition is set aside and people join several hours each day closed off from dents are intelligent. We have the forces to take on a challenge, we begin any human contact in our rooms, knowledge. We have the resources. to see people focusing on the goal, not studying so that we might be the one The challenge, now, is to take what the grade. Remember, shoveling out a pig student to set the curve or gain recog- we’ve learned and collaborate with nition. For the sake of “standing out” others to achieve meaningful goals brain takes more than a pair of hands. during college applications, individu- beyond a stellar college resumé. Some It takes a surgeon, assistants, and a alist values tend to dominate our stu- organizations held on campus have contribution of moral support. Let’s dent body. As a result, we lose out on already taken it to this next step. Ro- take that into account by embracing collaborative experiences that give us botics, for example, brings together the idea of teamwork. After all, some perspective on real-world experiences. students with an interest in technol- of the greatest things are achieved We miss out on working with others ogy to engineer robots that could po- through the collaboration of several to accomplish something meaningful, tentially become a part of our future. people working together toward a something beyond semester grades Their successes were the results of a common goal.

by Christine Chang


and test scores. The emphasis on independent work ethics helps us become competent students. But when we strive for individual excellence, we often overlook the benefits and learning values of working in teams. Many clubs on campus, for instance, are structured so that members compete individually for hours rather than joining one another in a collective effort to serve the community. So why not make more hourless associations, like Baking Club, in which the entire club comes together as a team to bake for

April 8, 2009

Prom Problem It’s all about give and take when finding a date by Dipika Srihari


April 8, 2009




DEREKWONG With the recession cutting back on jobs, affluent Cupertino is still hit by the recession through job cuts and pinching pennies. Though it seems like the “Cupertino Bubble” shelters students, nobody is ever safe from the economy. One might wonder, how are families affected by the recession?



Has the recession affected your family?

“ “

I am considering going to De Anza instead of going to an expensive private school because the economy will most likely be better in two years.

— Marisa Hsu, senior

My family tried to save money on cable by switching from Comcast to AT&T, but it didn’t work out so now we pay $40 more for cable.

—Ansh Shukla, freshman

“ “

I know my parents shop less for electronics like laptops and MP3 players.

— Stephanie Zhang, freshman

I’m biking to school this year so my dad doesn’t have to pay for extra gas.

—Katie Fichter, freshman

In Cupertino, people have a lot of money. My opinion is that Cupertino is spitting in the face of this recession. Cupertino is like, ‘what recession?’ — William Ma, junior

Laziness never looked better on paper, or worse Greedy students take leadership positions only for the title by Sharanya Shankar

class officer team or a sports team, or the Ocon their progress report. Nevertheless, tagon Club they let their teammates down, he title says all. it is the student’s fault if they choose to Humans are greedy—it’s true. thereby pushing the burdens onto their take the subject and don’t complete the Then it’s no wonder that they take peers. They become lethargic and slowly let course work. up responsibilities that they can’t han- go of their responsibilities as their dependThere are solutions to this problem. ability and trust weakens as a leader, and dle. With the first situation, ASB Leadership Let’s take any leadership position, a their title “class officer” manages to stay. gives the students the responsibility of Case two. This is a case in which a stuclass officer, for example. When a student electing a worthy officer, an officer who is elected and takes the job of a class of- dent signs up for a position but knows they the students know will attend to their ficer, certain responsibilities are required are doing it solely for the title. They take the needs and lead the class the way they to be fulfilled: serving their class to the position with the mind set that they do not want it to be. In the future, students best of their ability, having fundraisers, have to work for it, or accomplish the duties who run for class officers may have no leading homecoming floatbuilding, to that come along with it. title, but ASB entitles the voters to pick For example, Government Team. Some name a few. The problem arises when the “right” person. Even with commisthat student runs for office sioners, when prospective comand gets elected for a job that missioners interview, the ASB they can’t commit to. officers should be able to see at This student runs for this But when excuses become a habitu- the applicants information and position for the title but negauge how well they can serve al action then comes the issue, does as part of the leadership class glects that responsibility when they have their own matters This isn’t a solution just for this student really care? to take care of. As mentioned leadership but clubs as well. earlier, a class officer’s duty is The club members should be to serve their own class. And cautious when selecting their at times that student fails his or her title, students might have been enticed by the fact future club officers. and disregards duty that he or she have that it is a class that doesn’t run by the gradWith the second situation, students to fulfill, when that class officer prefers to ing system. Unlike other schools which take should know that they will do well in study for his or her own test, or work on the top three percent of the senior class, Govsubjects they love. Whereas Governhis or her other activities irrelevant to his ernment teacher Chris Chiang had a differment Team may give them that undeor her title. This action would be consid- ent approach. He wanted students who had served A, Engineering Tech may inspire an interest to learn about the government ered acceptable if it were seldom. them for the field they wish to explore After all, humans are innately com- and a passion to work for their team. and that hard-earned A. Teachers and A student might have wanted to do Govplex and we do allow for exceptions. But, advisors can help eliminate lazy stuwhen excuses become a habitual action ernment Team because the title could serve dents. In journalism there are periodic then comes the issue, does this student as an embellishment on the thin but vital evaluations to check up on the student, really care? No. Simply, no. What causes gleaming white sheet of paper called a “tranin ASB there are advisor and liaison this action? Laziness and selfishness. This script” or because of the pressure that arises meetings. Just because humans are lazy student then disregards the team that from peers or family, or maybe just because does not mean that they can’t fix their they are working with whether it be a they just want the first letter of the alphabet own problems.


Finding life’s value menu


here’s some sort of unrecognizable, euphoric sensation that I get whenever I exchange a stack of torn-up, green pieces of paper for a pair of Nike shoes or a Jamba Juice smoothie. Maybe it’s the realization that my newly traded items will provide me with significant amounts of pleasure and fun. Perhaps it’s the excitement at having bought something new and exciting. But more recently, I think I’ve discovered what exactly that feeling is: guilt. However it’s not the same type of guilt that one would feel if one punted a baby or got caught stealing cookies from the cookie jar, but something more focused. Every time that I buy something new I always feel a twinge of regret and guilt having spent my money on something that may or may not have been worth the full price that I had paid. More so I always seem to question myself as to whether or not I got the best value for the amount of money that I spent. While I was trying to set up my own monthly budget, I stopped to think about where all the hard-earned money I had accumulated over the past half-year had gone; after all, I hadn’t bought very many significantly pricey items. The answer was food. Too many stops at non-fast food restaurants had drained my coffers before I even knew what was happening. It was time to launch my new mission: save money. But apparently, saving money isn’t the “coolest” thing to do in American culture. The ability to get a great bargain is not cast in the warmest light and it doesn’t seem to have the same ring in American culture as it does in Asian culture. In fact, in addition to being academically smart, the Asian stereotype also encompasses the characteristic of being “cheap.” But that just brings me to my next point: the difference between being “cheap” and “thrifty.” One must understand the slight trait that differentiates these two characteristics. Although on first glance these two descriptions may appear to have the same meaning, there is more that polarizes these qualities than a different connotation. Rather, I believe that being “cheap” is when one stresses over spending a penny more, taking a long time in line to simply try to save a wooden nickel. On the other hand, being “thrifty” is the invaluable capacity to find the maximum value for your dollar. Taking my mission to save money to heart, I went a week without going out to Chipotle for lunch. Instead I stayed on campus, tried the cafeteria food, and even did what I hadn’t done since 8th grade: make a peanut-butter jelly sandwich. After my seven day hiatus, I realized that I had saved almost $30 and was no worse off physically (cafeteria food doesn’t kill you, it’s actually pretty damn good).Yeah, boy. Go me. Following this money-saving experience, I took a few moments to consider the superfluous “luxuries” that are offered to those fortunate few who have too much money for their own good, and spend their plastic cash as quickly and without thought as taking a breath. It’s only in American do you see designer can openers, gold-embossed and customized toilet paper rolls with initials, and gourmet mineral water ice cubes. Wake up America and check your wallets and checkbooks. Next time instead of wasting about seven bucks on three tiny Chipotle tacos, take the extra effort to visit Jack-in-the-Box and enjoy 14 tacos for the same price. It’s time to start saving.




April 8, 2009


INSIDE: The big picture. Parents give their perspective on stress Junioritis. Why is junior year considered the most difficult?

The Breaking Point Overloaded student reflects on her experience dealing with stress by Derek Wong


VHS is well known for its academic rigor and the ultra-competitive work ethic shared by nearly every student. The school’s status as a recognized academic powerhouse has come from the great sacrifices paid by hardworking students. Senior Julie Choi is no exception to that. In her efforts to make herself stand out among her peers in the eyes of her universities of choice, Choi chose to participate in a number of extracurriculars. For three years, Choi helped a variety of different community service organizations, serving as a volunteer at the Cupertino Library and Friends Helping Friends With Special Needs. Moreso, she played piano for her church and took flute lessons in order to play for three different orchestras during the school year. Even this year, Choi still plays a large role in school activities. In addition to being an active CSF member, starting this year she is the leader of her student life commission. “So many of my activities like orchestra were really time-consuming and I didn’t even enjoy doing them,” Choi said. Even though Choi played the flute since the fourth grade, she never found an interest or passion for the instrument. After years of forced practice, she realized that all the countless hours she spent trying to master the flute had led only to unnecessary stress and orchestra was a time-sink that took precious hours away from studying for her difficult classes. “I saw that all the other people were doing just as

much as me and even more. I felt inspired to keep working even harder because I knew that I could do it, too,” Choi said. Choi explained that her competitive nature helped her through her stressful high school experience,


Percent of students who say they have considered doing something drastic—such as running away or causing harm to themselves or others—because they were overwhelmed* reasoning that it’s very familiar in the Korean community. She was determined to persevere with playing in the orchestras, not for the symphony’s sake, but rather she felt it was necessary to do so. But her commitment only made her academic studies more of a struggle. “She’s always stressed about something. Last year

it was Chem, this year it’s Physics,” one of Choi’s close friends senior Sarah Kim said. “She’s always stressed about some upcoming test.” With so many activities to juggle, Choi was often forced to skip class and procrastinate on assignments. “Some days [stress] was like a roller-coaster,” Choi said. “There were easy days and then there were some really stressful days. It was bad, but I would always somehow manage everything.” Senior Richard Hill, one of Choi’s classmates, often noticed that she was absent or had huge piles of makeup work to do. “It’s like a downward spiral. Once you get in, you get sucked deeper and deeper,” Hill said. “When she went to visit some colleges, she had so many tests to make-up.” Now as a second-semester senior, Choi has been able to reduce the amount of activities she performs. After quitting her orchestras, Choi is hosting a charity event to help raise funds for Friends Helping Friends With Special Needs, uniting her passions. “ I only wish that I found out what I really enjoyed earlier in high school,” Choi said. With college lingering on the horizon, Choi hopes to be able to do what she always wanted to, like learning how to play badminton, playing more piano, and continuing to focus on leadership by joining student government programs. When she goes to college, Choi plans on staying occupied, but only with the activities she truly enjoys.

CALIFORNIA TEEN HOTLINE (800) 852-8336 *231 students were randomly surveyed. The survey was conducted online.

in high school

Pull-out section



The doors are open Teachers help comfort stressed students

fear that talking to an administrator or student advocate Richard Prinz will result in their parents finding out, many n a time of increasing competition students either avoid talking about these and pressure from all facets, problems or would rather talk to a friend students may not be the only expert or preferably, a teacher. multitaskers on campus. Even their “Usually, I try to talk to students if teachers don multiple hats, as they they have certain family problems,” serve not only as teachers but also as Gabet said. “But if that doesn’t work, counselors. They fill the void many then I direct them to somebody more students need to discuss a problem, any qualified so that they can get the advice sort of stress, or any problem at all. and help they need.” French teacher Lise Gabet is one Students feel that talking to teachers such teacher who doubles as a teacher in place of counselors is a more and counselor. comfortable option, since “I think many of they are more at ease with my students deal with someone who they are a lot of stress from A teacher is better acquainted with. schoolwork, but also someone that “[Talking to a teacher] the competition at is as good as talking to a MVHS because it’s such we students see real counselor,” Parry said. a good school,” Gabet on a daily basis, “A teacher is someone said. “Everybody here that we students see on wants to get to the top so we feel more a daily basis, so we feel and is driven to excel, connected. more connected, rather a common goal of both parents and students.” — senior than talking to someone don’t know that well. With pressure Alex Parry we It seems a bit weird.” coming from multiple While teachers try to directions, students make themselves more experience a tough available for students to talk to, students academic atmosphere as each of them like Parry still feel that teachers could try work hard to do well. to open up more for students. “I think us students at [MVHS] tend “I think students who want to discuss to have a lot of self-created pressure, any problems with their teachers would since we’re competing against our do it, so long as they have the time to do friends to get into the top-tier schools,” so,” Parry said. “Meeting teachers during senior Alex Parry said. “Even though open periods or brunch or lunch seems our parents want for us to do well, I like the most viable option.” think we want to also do well so we can So long as there are students with get ahead to those top schools.” problems in their busy lives, there will Some of the difficult problems always be a teacher’s room open so that teachers counsel for are those involving students can come in to sit down and students’ families, since students don’t talk it out. know how to bring them up. Out of

by Kunal Bhan


How overwhelmed do you feel right now?* Little to none 11%


Very 28%

Extremely 13%

Somewhat 48%

How often are you overwhelmed?*

Rarely 4%

Occasionally 54% Everyday 42%

What makes you overwhelmed?** 91%

Have you ever done anything drastic while you were overwhelmed?*

50% 50% 28%

I only considered it


l iss ues soc ia

ey mon

ts pare n

cur ric aciv ular ities

life is too precious

extr a

inhalants wanted to overdose

sch o

I ran away

drop out

cut myself


try to cope suicide

*231 students were randomly surveyed. The survey was conducted online. **Respondents were able to choose multiple answers for this question.

STUDENTS: A stressed species that is programmed to succeed continued from page 13

Asok thinks the culture that these immigrants have brought to the town of Cupertino is family oriented. It asks, what is best for the family? Thus, it clashes with the American culture, which asks, what is best for the individual? The result of these warring ideals is the

inability of the student to be at peace with his or her environment. Immersed in their cardboard tomes all day long, they must toil in order to meet the standards of this number based society. Numbers are used to judge everything, even their knowledge. Asok believes that the cell like structure should allow the students to pursue more

creative avenues, like the liberal arts. This may relieve the stress many students feel because it requires usage of different parts of the brain. Another way for these students to relieve their stress is to see a psychologist or a therapist. But this community is usually not willing make that choice. “There’s definitely a stigma in the community that you

shouldn’t go see a therapist, that something is wrong with you,” Asok said, “But it’s a smart thing to do. Why wait until things are really bad?” For these smart students, grades have been the major cause of suffering. They determine how well a student has learned. They cause students to suffer from anxiety and stress because of their constant struggle to obtain

the coveted “A.” In pursuit of this “A,” Asok wonders: “Are they lying? Are they cheating? Are they doing drugs?” “Why?” This is a good question, one of many that Asok recommends these “students” ask themselves. Along with this one: Do you need to live like this to succeed?



• In the Zone 16 • Orienteering champion 17 • Cross country and track 17 • Cultural backgrounds in softbal 18 •


BATTING BASEBALLS Juniors Nick Utley and Kalon Zandbergs play on both the baseball and football team

Daniel Stenzel | El Estoque Photo Illustration

Baseball players participate in football with coach’s encouragement to play a second sport by Christine Chang and Varshini Cherukupalli


ackling buff masses of padded athletes and throwing spirals does not have much in common with pitching fastballs and sliding on home plates. Unlike the pairing of water polo and swimming, baseball and football are completely unrelated sports. Yet many baseball players who are sprinting around baseball diamonds this spring will be found catching passes next football season. An avid baseball player since elementary school, junior Kalon Zandbergs decided to devote an entire season in the fall to football for the first time last year along with his regular baseball season this spring. From his experiences, football was anything but easy. “Baseball is a bit of a lazier sport, while football requires a lot more endurance,”

Zandbergs said. “It’s a lot of work, but it was worth it and we had a really good winning season.” Since it was his first year on the team, Zandbergs’ previous experience included only football matches with his friends. Becayse of the team policy that all upperclassmen must play on varsity, Zandbergs found the greatest challenge in training himself to be constantly aware of the team’s strategies and coordination required to win. “It was kind of hard since most [varsity] people are playing their third or fourth year,” Zandbergs said. “I was still learning everything for the first time.” Though football was a new and demanding experience for Zandbergs, he was not discouraged. This season he is just as enthusiastic in the baseball diamond, and he has plans to play on the football team again next year.

Varsity baseball coach Brian Sullivan encourages his athletes to play an additional sport because he feels that it enhances their experiences in high school. Although he didn’t specify the sport to be football, he is very pleased that so many students have taken the initiative to participate in multiple sports. “I want students at this school to get involved and not just limit themselves to one opportunity,” Sullivan said. “And I want them to feel good about the time they spent here [when they] leave.” Sullivan admits that he does worry about the numerous athletes who have suffered from serious football injuries. However, he pushes that feeling aside because he knows that in the end, the athletes will have benefited from their complete involvement with two sports. Athletes who participate in both sports agree that there is a relatively great degree

of difference between baseball and football. Other than the use of different balls, athletes also notice a difference in agression “You can be aggressive and physical to some degree in baseball, but it never will match up with the intensity of aggression in football. And the pace of the game is so much faster in football than in baseball,” junior Nick Utley said. Both football and baseball require a significant amount of physical fitness and mental alert. But both sports have their own distinctive aspects, and that’s what attracts so many athletes to play each one— the variety. “I tell my players, ‘Put your glove in the closet for a month,’” Sullivan said. “I don’t want my players throwing baseballs 12 months out of a year.” Thus, many baseball players won’t be surprised next season when the same faces appear on the football field.

Badminton players challenge each other constantly for lineup Without fixed positions, competition from ‘challenge match’ keeps team on top of their game by Samved Sangameswara


Deepa Kollipara | El Estoque

STRATEGY AND SKILL Senior Michael Wang and junior Diane Keng play mixed doubles for the varsity badminton team on Mar. 24 in a game victorious against Wilcox High School. By winning the challenge matches, Wang and Keng are able to advance to the top of their lineup for the mixed doubles teams.

eniors Hannah and Nina Wang are the undisputed champions of MVHS badminton. They have a CCS title under their belts and have been powerhouses on the team for the last four years. But all that still doesn’t guarantee them a starting position for every match. The badminton team has a very unique way of choosing their starters for each game. On the days before games, the team holds “challenge matches” at their practice. It is in these challenge matches that the winner gets the starting position for the next day’s game. A pair playing two doubles will challenge a pair playing one doubles. The winning challenger will play one doubles game next time. The challenge match system isn’t a CCS regulation but Nina feels that it is an effective system. “It makes people more competitive,” Nina said. “You want to be the best.” Challenge matches are the cornerstone of the very fluid nature of the badminton team. There are no set positions, any player can switch between junior varsity and varsity as well as in between the different positions. All the changes depend on how the challenge matches go. A junior varsity

player can be on varsity for a single game if he or she does well in his or her challenge match the day before. Coach Julie Sullivan says that the system takes off some of the stress from the coaches, who would otherwise have to make the position decisions. “[With the challenge system] we don’t have to decide,” Sullivan said. “They’re going to work really hard to prove themselves worthy of the position.” Despite the obvious advantages of the system, Hannah acknowledged that there are some downsides. “It makes you have to compete against your own teammates,” Hannah said, “and that can make you and them feel really bad sometimes.” Junior Delia Li also noted that the the system doesn’t always work in the players’ favor. There are some instances in which that system causes some frustration on the team. “If you’re having a bad day on the challenge day, you may not get to play the position that you want,” Li said. Still, the system is essential to the way in which the team is run. Sullivan feels that this system is so useful because it makes players strive to play their best. “It makes all the players work a lot harder,” Sullivan said. “They all want to earn their spots out there.”








April 8, 2009



“One day at practice I was puting my hands in the nets and when coach told us to practice serving, my hand tangled in the net and wouldn’t get out.” —junior Charles Huh, varsity volleyball

“The coach spiked the ball at me when I wasn’t paying attention. It hit my private part and I almost fainted.” —sophomore Tony Wu, varsity volleyball



“I swam last place at a meet and the coach dropped me to junior varsity. I had to work extra hard to get back on the varsity team.” —junior Antonio Ting, varsity swimming

“I went in to run for a teammate at first base and I thought the coach called my name but he didn’t and I got tagged out in the first 10 seconds I was in the game.” —junior Karan Ram, varsity basketball

“A teammate of mine hit a line drive and it hit another teammate in the stomach and he almost fell into a trash can.” —junior Kalon Zandbergs, varsity baseball

“I once swung my golf club too hard and it flew out of my hand.” —junior Ryan Ramos, junior varsity golf

1 Varsity Baseball Senior Josh Cornwell swung for his team on Apr. 3. However, Cupertino ultimately claimed a 9-7 victory. by Jane Kim


n March 27, the varsity baseball team played its 11th game this season at home against Los Gatos, ultimately losing. The first inning started with the Matadors pitching to the Wildcats.  The first and second inning passed with no score.  In the third inning Los Gatos scored five points, pulling ahead with a 0-5 lead.   As Los Gatos inched forward, MVHS tried to catch up in the fourth inning, with junior Kevin Wilson hitting a homerun in the sixth inning.  However the opposition was tough and the Matadors ultimately lost to Los Gatos with a final score of 2-10.

2 Varsity Boys Volleyball Sophomore Zach Lamm spiked the ball to the Banham side of the court on March 24.

3 Varsity Boys Tennis Senior Ben Liu deflects a shot made by Homestead in favorable match fot the Matadors on March 24.

4 Varsity Badminton On March 24, junior Diane Keng stood gaurd to hit the birdie in a game against Wilcox.

5 Varsity Girls Softball Freshman Alanna Onishi pitches fiercely, trying to clinch a Matador victory against Homestead on March26.

by Jane Kim

by Kevin Wu

by Kevin Wu

by Jane Kim





he varsity boys volleyball team lost a tough match against Branham on Mar. 24, 3-1. The Matadors started off the first game taking an immediate lead and Branham following four points behind. Senior Dennis Co was named MVP of the game for his hard hitting aces. However, in the second game Branham took the lead and won 20-25, ending in a victory favoring Braham. The fourth game was close, with scores constantly matching on the headboard. But in the second half of the game Branham inched forward above the tie and won the last game 21-25.

he boys varsity tennis team took on the Homestead Mustangs on March 24. Even with excellent starts from every match, the Matadors just weren’t quite able to clinch an overall victory. Sophomore Amreet Mohanty won the boys number one singles match and sophomore Alan Nguyen, with junior James Hansen, was able to take home the boys doubles match. Although the Matadors began showing some life after a slow start, the overall score of matches ended in the Mustangs’ favor, 5-2.

n March 24, the badminton team defeated the Wilcox Chargers at home. The varsity team won with an overall score of 24-6, winning the varsity mixed doubles and girls doubles.  Senior Michael Wang and junior Diane Keng won 15-10 in the first game and 15-7 in the second. Junior Tiffany Chang and Jennifer Chen contributed to the winning score by winning both of their games 15-4 and winning their match.   Although Wilcox attempted to win a tough match, the Matadors came away with a resounding victory.

n March 26, the varsity girls softball team played against Homestead for its eighth game this season. The first inning started out with Homestead batting and freshman Alanna Onishi pitching. The inning passed with both teams holding evenly.  However, in the first half of the fourth inning Homestead took the lead with a score of 1-0. Homestead scored another point in the seventh inning, taking the lead once again.   This time, however, the Matadors weren’t able to tie it up, thus leaving the game with a score of 2-1.

SPRINGSNAPSHOT As a pre-game ritual, Junior Shuang Xu read the newspaper before every game last year. This year, he plans on reading his Physics textbook.

Freshman Surafael Yared takes great pride in his Ethiopian roots. One of his family friends owns the Ethiopian restaurant Zeni’s.

Freshman Neha Jammu begins to dance and become hyper when she is nervous. A times like before a meet, she will break into a cheerful dance.

Sophomore Stephany Fisher is an exchange student from Switzerland. After coming to America, she has realized her extreme distaste for American food.

Badminton player sophomore Brandon Tran taught himself how to do archery. When he needed a target, he used to shoot tin cans at the local park.

Freshman Austin Burrow was nicknamed Aussie by his best friend, as a clever wordplay on his name. He is also known to smile in an instant.

“The opposing team thought we were serving too high so they made us pull up our shorts really high and tuck in our shirts.” —senior Tiffany Chen, varsity badminton

“Our team was running laps and when we passed the baseball team— two teammates fell while we were trying to get the attention of the boys.” —senior Whitney Bradford, varsity softball

Top: 1. Daniel Stenzel 2. Jane Kim 3. Kevin Wu 4. Kevin Wu 5. Jane Kim | El Estoque Above: Dipika Shrihari | El Estoque

elestoque Heading the right direction April 8, 2009



Senior orienteerers race against time to find the right path— literally

Inside Out

by Alice Lee


pon arriving at the heart of Calero County Park on Oct. 19, seniors Cameron Ferguson and Kunal Nagpal had to make their way through the park relying on only their instincts, a compass, and a map. Though both were traversing through unfamiliar territory, one of the first things Ferguson said to Nagpal at the start of the journey was: “Put away your compass. You won’t need it.” Ferguson and Nagpal had begun their orienteering competition, a sport in which athletes race against each other to successfully reach 10-15 different checkpoints from a predetermined starting location with the aid of only a map and compass. There are seven different levels of competition, starting from white, a race that takes place on trail, to blue, a race that takes place exclusively off trail. At the Calero competition, Ferguson, an avid orienteering participant, and Nagpal ran a yellow course, which primarily follows a trail. As a result, Ferguson found the compass to be extraneous, preferring to rely on an instinctual usage of his map instead. “You don’t really need a compass because you should be able to align the map up with the trail, and as you’re running, tilt it, orient it to know where you’re going,” Ferguson said. “If anything, use the compass once, and don’t use it again.” Ferguson’s first experience of his orienteering career occurred when he was seven years old on a family orienteering trip. He didn’t participate in the sport again until two

Unconquered mountain


Courtesy of Jay Fann

MAP IN HAND Senior Cameron Ferguson participates in the Point Pinole orienteering competition on Feb. 21. The race covered 2.9 kilometers and a net climb of a 40 meters. years ago and has since gone to at least one competition each month. Now, Ferguson is nationally ranked 29th out of the 18-year-old age group and is headed to the U.S. Junior Championships at West Point from April 14-15. “One of the main challenges of the sport is to be able to run at a pretty good pace and not get so tired that your brain stops working,” Ferguson said, “so you need to be able to read a map and know when you’re getting too tired because that’s when you start making mistakes.” Through the entire race, athletes wear a small ring on their finger, called an e-stick. They punch the e-stick in at

the checking dock at each control to record their overall pace and time through a computer system that feeds back to the competition headquarters. In one variation on the traditional race, called “memory orienteering,” participants do not receive a map at the start of the race, but are shown the smaller pieces of each map at every checkpoint, relying on their memory to navigate through the surrounding area to find the next point. Senior Chris Finch is another orienteerer who began participating in the sport about a year and a half ago. In addition to enjoying the outdoors and natural setting of the race, Finch alludes to the

mental difficulty of the game that distinguishes it from other sports. “You have to run and think at the same time—you need to make quick decisions,” Finch said. In addition to memory orienteering, the sport has additionally evolved to include different contexts: some races involve biking, skiing. And that’s what Ferguson and other orienteerers love about the race. “There’s so many different factors you’re competing on: who can run the fastest, who makes that decision to take that risk or not take that risk,” Ferguson said. “It’s such a different sport.”

Running throughout the year, fall and spring Runners put cross country talents to use and join the track team

Sabrina Ghaus I El Estoque

DOUBLE RUN Senior Kay Poon and freshman Nandini Chitale run during track practice on April 3. Many runners participate in both track and cross country. by Sabrina Ghaus



pring break? Not anymore. Juniors Aditi Krishnapriyan, Alex Cheng, and Kranti Peddada are members of the cross country and track teams. Despite being members of both teams, all three have a “dominant” sport. Cross country—a fall sport—is the dominant sport for

Peddada and Cheng, who participate in track during the spring. Peddada is a long-distance runner in track, and he says that it helps him run in cross country also. “I’m better at cross country,” Peddada said, “but track helps me improve my times.” Peddada still claims he is better at cross country, but he gives his all for track.

“I push myself every day,” Peddada said. “[Some] days we focus on distance, but it gets hard when we do intervals.” Unlike Peddada, Cheng, a high jumper, does track just for fun. “I do both [track and cross country] because it’s fun when you’re in a team,” Cheng said. “You get to compete against a varity of different schools and there is a larger variety of athletic events to choose from.” Peddada feels that track has less of a team atmosphere. “Cross country is bigger, with 50 to 60 people, so it feels more like a family,” Peddada said. “Track is more isolated.” According to Payne, about a third of cross-country runners join track, though it is not a requirement. “Cross country was actually created as a conditioning sport for other sports, like track,” Payne said. Krishnapriyan follows Payne’s philosophy, using cross country as a way to stay in shape for track. “Cross country gives endurance and strength, but it shows in track,” Krishnapriyan said. “In cross country, the course changes constantly so you can’t measure your improvement, but in track you run the same course all year.”

ust as I thought I could say good riddance to my mountain bike, my new challenge arrived. Trail biking had its own excitement, but now that I was proficient in bike riding, I decided to conquer greater lands. I was able to complete s full trail last time, so I figured this time would be no different. With renewed enthusiasm and a refilled water bottle, I set out to leave the valley. After tying my bike on to my maroon Nissan, I drove up Foothill Expressway looking for the densest landscape possible. After a mile or so up the concrete hill and a mile or so down a dirt exit, I arrived at the base of a looped trial that was to take me through steep terrain and back. I carefully untied my bike from my car, strapped my helmet on, and set out into the lush forest. One or two minutes into the trial, I was rendered breathless as the seemingly small incline steepened and I felt like I was climbing the Himalayas. As I was used to changing gears in trail biking, I immediately switched to the lowest gear. Even so, each few yards took immense effort. After a mile of steepness, the terrain changed to ups and downs. Resting my legs when going downhill, I continued biking without a break. As the trail narrowed, I was afraid of each sharp turn that the curvy road entailed. I slowed my pace and treaded more carefully. I looked around and saw different shades of green everywhere. Bright grass weeds rooted in earthy green moss embedded near dark emerald bushes that surrounded the great forest green overarching and blocking sunlight. The lack of sunlight also cooled the area significantly, giving me goose-bumps despite the sweat that slid down my cheeks. The thing about mountain biking is that I was so entranced in biking fast without any injuries that I began losing sight of the fresh air and magical landscape around me. I felt my tense muscles cringe with pain as I pedaled. My arms were tense from gripping the handle bars so tightly. Soon my legs gave in and I was no longer able to continue. I slowed to a stop, parked my bike, and sat on the cold moist dirt. My heart raced as I gasped for air and panted heavily. Heart and head both pounding, I felt no motivation to get up from where I sat. Content in my lethargy, I laid against my backpack and looked up into the specks of sky that shined through the greenery. Snacking lazily on my Chewy bar, I watched as the specks grew dimmer, signaling the slow setting of the sun. I sat up straight and thought about continuing my adventure. There were about twelve miles until the end, and I had finished about four. I’m not sure if it was my fear of the dark or the pain in my thighs, but all I wanted was to go home. I had never given up on my extreme challenges before, and consequently I felt ashamed of my performance. Not wanting to be left in the wilderness when dusk turned to dark, I got on my bike and followed my path back. After the series of ups and down, I was careful to keep my hands near by brakes as I went downhill. Making my way down the incline, I cycled to my car and stopped. Looking back up the mountain, I cringed in defeat. I had set out to conquer the mountain, but the mountain had conquered me.


18 Cultural pride on and off the field sports

April 8, 2009

Athlete exudes cultural pride on the softball field, but is remembered for her performance by Sarah McKee


s the junior varsity softball team huddles up before a game, it’s junior Sumayyah Naguib who delivers the pep talk. This afternoon, before a game against Willow Glen, Naguib decides to list the things that her team is good at. “We’re good at hitting. We’re good at stealing bases,” Naguib tells her teammates. During the game as she waits for her turn at bat, she starts chants from the dugout. Soon the whole team is yelling, “Eight is great!” in honor of number eight, freshman Clara Takahashi, who is currently at bat. This is Naguib: loud, supportive and happy to be playing softball. It takes a while to even notice the head scarf, the hijab, that she wears. In Muslim culture, women clothe every part of their bodies, except for their faces, while in the presence of any non-relative male. This means that not only does Naguib wear a hijab outside of her house at all times, but she also makes sure to wear long sleeves and pants. The only time she is without a head scarf is when she is at friends’ houses and when she is inside her own home. Naguib is a Muslim of Egyptian descent who was born in America, a place she’s lived all her life. She has lived in places as far away as New Jersey, but not as far away as Egypt. She has been wearing head scarves ever since the summer before she started eighth grade. “You’re supposed to do it when you become a woman,” Naguib said. “For me, I waited a little, I wasn’t ready. One summer I just decided to and did it.” Junior Grace Erhardt has known Naguib since they were in the fifth grade and has played on softball teams with Naguib for a long time. “I don’t think [her head scarf] makes that much of a difference,” Erhardt said. “I don’t even notice it anymore.” Naguib owns hundreds of scarves from all over the world. Some are from as far away as Egypt and as close as Target. She prefers to wear cotton scarves as she plays


Sarah McKee | El Estoque

COVERING BASES On March 19, junior Sumayyah Naguib throws away the bat during a game against Willow Glen and sprints towards first base. because of the comfort they provide. “A part of [wearing head scarves] is so that others treat us women as people,” Naguib said. “So we’re not judged by our looks. It’s about the fact that I’m a person and I have thoughts. A lot of people think it’s about oppression and male supremacy, but it’s not.” Despite the fact that the scarf represents dignity and modesty, Naguib notices the attention that it attracts. When she first started to wear a hijab, she realized that players

       


   

  


  




           

  

and coaches from other teams would remember her from previous games because she stood out. She felt as if she was now a representative for her team, and it gave her the drive to become a better player. If the other teams were going to remember her, they were going to remember that she was a great player. Another teammate, freshman Yara Dwidar, is also Muslim but chooses not to wear a hijab just yet. She has decided to wait a couple years, either until her senior year of high school or her freshman year at college. She sees this time in her life as a chance for a fresh start, and an opportunity to start wearing a head scarf. For most families, wearing a hijab is a choice. There is no mandatory age, and most Muslim women now wear it once they feel secure enough. Wearing a hijab requires a lot of support from friends and family. “The best support is just being encouraging,” Dwidar said, describing the type of support her friends and her family gave Naguib when she first started to wear a head scarf. “It’s not about acting differently around her, it’s about acting just the same way as usual. Just like how the scarf doesn’t put anything different into her.” These young women, like Naguib, who wear traditional head scarves are faced with a myriad of racial stereotypes from their community and must work extra hard to overcome them. One moment where Naguib encountered this stereotype is when she went on a trip with her American Studies class to the deep south. When Naguib was on the trip, she and another Muslim girl in the class were both wearing headscarves. They were the only ones who were stopped to be searched at the airport. Many people also incorrectly believe Naguib to be a very religious individual solely based on the fact that she wears a hijab, but she doesn’t feel that way. On the contrary, she feels it is more about adhering to and living by the morals of Muslim culture. “It never really occurred to me to not wear my head scarf while playing softball,” Naguib said. “When I started wearing head scarves, I knew that it was for everything.”

entertainment 19 • Students travel to San Francisco to see ‘Wicked’ 20 •Cupcake bakeries fall flat 21 • Student pursues photography 22 •

Breakdancers build friendships through dancing by Jeremy Lee and Serena Lee


ith an iPod Touch plugged into speakers on the ground by the field house, freshman Israel Young begins to beatbox, hands clasped next to his mouth to form a steady beat of sounds. Freshman Kevin Chung starts to do a series of moves, like the “Nike.” His body forms a handstand and in a swift turn shapes his legs to form the athletic company’s logo—the Nike swoosh. He stops and challenges freshman Gabriel Legaspi, who is a “popper” dancer, a street style dancer who contracts his muscles quickly to form “pops.” Legaspi motions to Young for faster beats. The beats increase and Legaspi begins to pop and lock. The 10 freshmen surrounding the dance challenge start bobbing their heads to the music. “I actually got into breaking because I thought it was really interesting and would be fun,” Chung said. “After a few months it wasn’t all fun and games—it became something I was serious about.” Within the group, freshmen Chung, Jain, and Hikaru Asao are “B-boys,” who do flashy tricks like spinning on their heads or one-handed handstands. Others, like freshmen Gavin Lee and Daniel Fu are “C-walkers,” who shuffle their feet in rhythmic patterns as if they are gliding across the floor. From different middle schools, students formed the group at the beginning of the school year, with Chung and freshman Gavin Lee among the original members. Young joined the group when he asked some of the

guys if they needed him to beatbox, and then they performed for the freshman talent show during the week of homecoming at lunch. At the show, Young beatboxed, freshman Varun Jain and Chung were Bboys, and Legaspi was the popper. The newest member of the group, freshman Erik Fellom, saw the group dancing and was intrigued by their dance moves. A week later he became part of the group. “[I] just joined the breakdancing club every Friday,” Fellom said. “These guys breakdance real good.” Many in the group believe that Chung is the most skilled dancer, and they gather at lunch to watch him display his movements. On a typical day, about 15 guys show up to eat, battle in dance challenges, and just relax. Freshman Madam Mukundan brings his iPod Touch speakers while Young joins in with his beatboxing. Their lessons in breakdancing are obtained from online sources like YouTube. The more skilled dancers also teach the beginners with tips and demonstrate the styles with their own body movements. Though Young learned to beatbox from, and from his brother Samuel, the group jokes that he found out how to beatbox from a fortune cookie that told him that he’d be “the greatest beatboxer” while advertising the Web site “” Young has a specific move that he invented himself called the “Jewish Windmill.” “It’s the thing I do. Since my name is Israel,” Young said, “I call it the ‘Jewish Windmill.’”

BREAK IT DOWN Freshman Israel Young does the “Jewish Windmill (bottom left), Freshman Kevin Chung performs a hand stand (top left) and the “Nike” (above).

Aileen Le and Daniel Stenzel | El Estoque Photo Illustration

Defying Japanese stereotypes through dance movements Diversity Day performance gives students insight into Japanese culture and stereotypes by Kevin Wu


Daniel Stenzel | El Estoque

JAPANESE IMMERSION Senior Cat Bui holds up a feather duster and dances along to the song “Yattsuke Shigoto” to express the variety of Japanese stereotypes on April 3.

rom the Great Wall of China to the Tokyo Tower, and from saris to kimonos, a group of Chinese, Vietnamese, and Indian students have taken a vacation from their own cultures to experience the culture of Japan. They enter the world of Tokyo school boys, ninjas, gothic lolitas and geishas to perform and open new perspectives on the Japanese culture and life itself. Performing in the Diversity Week assembly, a group of seniors and one junior dressed up to sing and dance to a Japanese song, “Yattsuke Shigoto.” Although they are representing Japan in the performance, not a single member of their group is Japanese. Through this performance, the group not only wishes to spread Japanese culture, but also to immerse themselves in it. Senior Lillian Yee is the main singer while the rest of the group all dress up as different Japanese stereotypes and dance to the song. “Yattsuke Shigoto” means “a damn job” in English, and its tempo may seem happy and energetic, but its lyrics convey a routine robotic Japanese work lifestyle. Yee and her group discourage this type of lifestyle and use this performance as a tool to encourage others to just have fun in their lives. “Through this song, we wish that people can live their

lives fully and give themselves more color,” senior Justin Wang said. In their performance, everyone except Yee adorns a costume to portray the variety in Japanese culture. Wang, dressed up as a school boy, hopes to instill optimism and entertainment into students with static lifestyles. Senior Catherine Bui is dressed up as a gothic Lolita, a type of style used by Japanese girls to make themselves look like European porcelain dolls with gothic clothing. “All these costumes basically represent the identity of Japan,” Bui said. Other costumes such as ninjas, kimono women, salary men, and kendo masters give a visual to the Japanese culture. “Although we are satirizing the Japanese culture with the many stereotypical costumes, we are not insulting it,” Yee said. “We are mainly showing how much variety Japanese culture has, and hopefully opening the view of Japanese culture to students.” Lee sings with zest, hoping to encourage students to just have fun. The performance ends with flying ribbons and everyone holding signs stating their overall message. “We are just out here to have fun, and that’s why we are doing this project,” Yee said. “Not everything has to be a damn job.”

April 8, 2009 elestoque 20 Visiting the Wicked Witch of the West entertainment

P.E. Dance teacher Lori Graham organizes first field trip to watch ‘Wicked’ the musical by Mansi Pathak


inety students lined up in San Francisco on a school day? How wicked is that? On April 1, a precedent was set for all P.E. Dance classes, which took their first field trip to see “Wicked” the musical at the Orpheum Theater in San Francisco. The event had been planned over the summer by PE Dance teacher Lori Graham. During class, Graham’s students often watch short clips from musicals, “America’s Best Dance Crew,” and “So You Think You Can Dance.” Graham would love for her students to experience the action live. “I was talking to an out-of-state friend and she said that they go to see ‘The Nutcracker’ ever year,” Graham said. “I began looking around for things going in the area and I saw ‘Wicked.’” The trip, which cost each student $65, included tickets and the charter bus transportation to San Francisco and back to school. On their own, tickets can range anywhere between $40 and over $500. The company, however, gives large discounts to schools to encourage students to attend their matinee shows. The journey began after second period on April 1. During the hour-long bus ride, students chatted with friends and some belted out popular songs from the show.

The first destination was the San Francisco Civic Center for lunch, only three blocks away from the Orpheum Theater. Lined up outside the theater, many did not know what to expect. “I’m most excited about seeing the way they change the story of ‘Wizard of Oz’ and the different perspectives they are going to show,” sophomore Jessica Leon said. After a nearly three hour show, students had the opportunity to purchase “Wicked” merchandise and apparel before returning to the buses. Outside the bus, students talked about their favorite parts and favorite songs. “It was better than the original ‘Wizard of Oz,’” sophomore Olivia Luna said. “I liked how everything came together in the end, like the scarecrow, the tin man, and the lion. It was perfect.” By watching the musical live, Graham hoped students would understand how music and dance tie together and tell their own story. “I started crying during the second half of the show,” sophomore Sharla Capener said. “The most emotional part was during [Elphaba’s] song, ‘No Good Deed.’ I also loved the song ‘Defying Gravity.’ They were both so powerful.” Graham hopes the success of the musical will lead to an annual show for her future students.

Mansi Pathak | El Estoque

BROOMS AND BALLGOWNS Sophomores Rie Korovyanko, Angeline Chen, and Nicolette Duong hold up their Playbill souvenirs after seeing “Wicked” at the Orpheum Theater on April 1. This was the first field trip for P.E. Dance and Humanities classes.

Seeing is believing: Supernatural events haunt students’ lives Students face disappearing acts, unexplained appearances, and unknown visitors by Jane Kim

“We decided to go into the other room and set up a vidhe lights and television are switched off and a chill eo camera in front of the kitchen. After we did that, the courses through sophomore Erica Burr. Her mother table moved and the door slammed,” Burr said. “So then walks over to the bathroom to shut the door. In the we decided to set the camera in front of a mirror. It started to twist a little and there were weird noises.” dead of the night the door knob twitches — on its own. Burr claims that the video is completely unedited, and While most students feel haunted by SATs and upcoming AP Tests, some experience the more literal meaning she believes that the occurrences in her cousin’s home were of the word through close encounters with the supernatural. “Our hypothesis was that there were Burr had more than a few bumps in the night during her vacation in New Orleans two years angels sitting on the table, listening to ago. For three weeks, their room was the site of my cousin reading the Qur’an,” junior many unexplained happenings. “One night I was sleeping and at around 3 Nausheen Mahmood said. a.m. I felt someone petting my hair really slowly. I thought it was my mom of course,” Burr said. “So the next morning, I asked my mom why she had pet due to their playing with the Ouija board, a board containmy hair. But she told me she hadn’t touched my hair at ing numbers, letters, and other symbols for the purpose of communicating with spirits, the same night. Nights at Le all.” Burr, shaken by the incident, cut off most of her waist- Pavillion and at her cousin’s home have changed her perlength hair shortly afterward. But her experiences at Le spective of the unknown. Along with Burr, junior Kalon Zandbergs caught a piece Pavillion weren’t the only encounters she has had with the supernatural. She and her cousin claim to have caught of a ghost on his camera in New Orleans, during his Ameritheir encounters with a poltergeist on video in her cousin’s can Studies trip. He and his friends, were sitting in Cafe du Monde when they were told about the ghost. house in Florida.


“This crazy lady was telling us stories about how there were ghosts. I see this table over off at the corner, and she told us that at the restaurant they always leave that table open for the ghost to eat at. I was like, ‘Oh there’s a ghost over there,’ so I took a picture,” Zandbergs said. “I took the picture and there were little white spots at the bottom. The lady said that the white spots were electromagnetic energy or proof of a ghost.” According to Zandbergs another one of his classmates took a picture of the table, and the entity was located a bit higher than it was in his picture. However, by the time Zandbergs’ friend and junior Donnie Jennings snapped a photo of the table, the orb had disappeared. Junior Nausheen Mahmood sees her supernatural experience as a blessing. She accredits angels for her cousin’s spiritual affair. Two summers ago, Mahmood and her relatives came together for a special ceremony. Mahmood’s cousin had finished memorizing the Qur’an, and a celebration was held for him. “There’s a saying that whenever you read the Qur’an, angels will come sit around you and listen,” Mahmood said. As the pictures from the ceremony were taken and see SUPERNATURAL on page 22

elestoque A classic cupcake conundrum April 8, 2009




Sprinkles and Kara’s Cupcakes are good but don’t live up to the hype by Tammy Su


irst it was pearl milk tea. Then came frozen yogurt. Now, sold per day. The Red Velvet seems to be their best-seller; when cupcake stores seem to be “the next big thing,” sprinkling I was waiting for my order, I saw four individual customers that themselves around the busiest parts of the nation— pun incollectively bought over 10 of this flavor alone. tended—with the Bay Area being no exception. Originally popular I decided to try the Vanilla Chocolate and Kara’s Karrot from as homemade desserts baked in huge batches, cupcakes can now Kara’s. From Sprinkles, I ordered the Vanilla Milk Chocolate, cost over $3 each at speBanana with Vanilla cialty bakeries. With huge frosting, and Red Velvet. fan bases, they are selling Cupcakes came in cute successfully, too. cardboard boxes, and Unlike the numerous were $3.25 each. celebrities that have estabI tried hard to like the lished themselves as supcupcakes. I did. In fact, I porters of these cupcake didn’t dislike all of them. bakeries (Oprah Winfrey, But it was apparent from Tyra Banks, Katie Holmes, the first bite of Kara’s Vathe list goes on) I never nilla Chocolate, the first understood the hype. Peocupcake of the day, that ple already bake cupcakes the rumors I’d heard themselves at home, payabout sweetness were ing much less and probnot far off. The cake itself ably having much more was dry and so sweet. Aileen Lei | El Estoque fun. Why would anyone Hard chocolate frosting decide to spend the monstood tall, and didn’t ey and time to go out of yield, like sticky frosting their way for a specialty would, when I pushed it cupcake store? with a fork.The two toThen I saw some phogether created an explotos of these cupcakes—and sion of sweetness to the decided that, hey, maybe I tenth degree —one that I could give them a chance. didn’t enjoy. I decided to visit two This became a trend stores: Kara’s Cupcakes on as I sampled the other Santana Row, and Sprincupcakes. Cakes were kles Cupcakes in Stanford too dry, frosting too Shopping Center. Both dense, too sweet. There bakeries are parts of wellwasn’t one cupcake that known chains, with stores I liked enough to even across the country. try to completely finish. Cupcake stores like For each new flavor, the these have been portrayed sweetness would build as high-end social spots, gradually until I couldn’t Stefan Ball | El Estoque and pop culture references take it anymore. to cupcakes (on Sex and the MINI CAKES Kara’s Cupakes (above) in Santana Row and Sprinkles I was pleasantly surCity, characters Carrie and Cupcakes (below) in Palo Alto provide a cute cupcake experience for those prised by Kara’s Karrot Miranda visited New York with a strong sweet tooth. cupcake and Sprinkles’ City’s renowned cupcakeBanana cupcake—incispecializing Magnolia Bakery, first putting the treats into the limedentally the two that I was not expecting to be as good as the light) have made the cakes themselves chic. Both Sprinkles and others. These two cupcakes were still very sweet but much Kara’s reflect this sophistication, with script lettering, frosted winmoister and had better texture in general. Yet this was stifled by dows, and simple designs. Store interiors were well-lit and neat. the overpowering frosting. I actually felt that these two varietBut after a few minutes, I was disappointed. The Kara’s on Sanies would have sold better if they weren’t frosted at all. tana Row is tiny and has hardly any room for customers to stand, Both of these bakeries, as do cupcake stores in general, much less to enjoy the treats. Sprinkles has a much larger storeclaim to provide gourmet desserts—and their desserts may be front, but awkward interior designing (like placing the counter just that. But for me, it was too much. Yes, the cakes are beauright next to its entrance) causes huge lines to form outside the tiful—your mouth will water from just looking at them. But store unnecessarily. more importantly, sugar overload is present from the first bite; Specializing solely in cupcakes, stores have worked hard to creI couldn’t imagine finishing even just one full cupcake from ate twists on old flavors. Kara’s makes 14 different cupcake varieteither of the stores. If you’re curious, try these cupcakes for the ies that include exotic filled cupcake flavors like Passion Fruit and experience—but don’t forget to bring tolerant taste buds and Fleur de Sel. Sprinkles makes 20 cupcake varieties, 12 of which are lots of water with you.


Some more of the same What funny?

I’ve never been much a fan of “funny” t-shirts with “funny” sayings or jokes on them; in other words “stupid” clothes with “unintelligent” use of the English language. But it’s not just the ironic predictability and unoriginality of the t-shirts in question, but the fact we decide that the people who choose to vandalize their torsos as such are funny people themselves. Funny people, you say? Simply because they managed to hitch a ride to Target and hand over $15? The world and his wife could do that— doesn’t make them all funny. When DECA people strut around the halls with (slightly-dated) navy-blue blazers, they’re not tricking anyone into thinking they’re running multi-trillion dollar multi-national corporations. But yes, it’s what they strive for and yes, they’re building the abilities. So it’s excusable. But does anybody really train to be funny? You’re either funny, or you aren’t. The t-shirts aren’t.

Put an end to the injustice

Hitting a more serious note—teachers assigning group projects. The group project is, as is commonly known, the plague of non-honors classes. Sometimes worthwhile, many times busy work. Quite often, we’d rather take the lecture than exercise our imaginations and go back to 5th grade and generally just end up getting a ton more work than if we could just sit halfawake by the glow of a nice projector and power point. For the most part, group projects can be groaned at for 10 or so minutes and then be brushed off and forgotten until the weekend. That is, for all projects except the infamous midweek project. Due Friday. There’s no weekend between you and hell. You do it tonight, or you do it never. You have to meet outside of class. You can’t procrastinate. What about consideration for the other teachers’ assignments? To assign a heavy project a Wednesday to be due Friday is to royally screw over every other class’s tests that will inevitably end up on Friday as well. It’s just not fair. I’m sure there’s room in the lesson plan to delay it till Monday.

My favorite Snoop Dogg and Lil’ Wayne because their lyrics have a very powerful meaning.

My favorite is Daniel Powter because I like his song “Bad Day.” It has a really good tune and the lyrics are good too.

I like hip-hop because it has deep meanings and it’s very lyrical and rhythmic. It is what it is.

I like pop because my sister listens to it.

I dislike country and rock because they’re too annoying and loud.

I dislike nothing. I’m okay with all types of music because the only kind I really listen to is pop.


Vena Kanda

Weina Dai


Listen up! Headphones are the latest trend, so we want to know what to listen to, according to...

Balijot Singh




Efficiency, not stupidity

My favorites are Lupe Fiasco and Kid Cudi because their music has a really good vibe. I like hip-hop and R&B because they’re something I can jive to. I like the underground tune and the fact that [they have] really meaningful lyrics. I don’t like country because I’m not in a country town. I’m in California.

When it comes time to sit down and do my homework in the middle of biology, I often wonder whether its simple ingenuity or just stupid. Efficiency is an interesting concept, an excuse for cutting corners or avoiding the insignificant. Yet procrastinators, such a seemingly horrible breed of student, finish the work by the same deadline but have had much more free time beforehand. Efficiency, right?

Cupertino Hearts Food

I’ve thought of an ingenious idea – and I’m writing about it here because it must be recorded. We generally see Cupertino as a boring life void of social activity and fun. Yet we don’t realize what a place it really is. Behind the boring façade is a culture unrealized—a food one. Curry houses, every fast food chain in a 10 minute radius of MVHS, Indian food, and some of the most critically acclaimed restaurants in the country. So my idea: a crepe store. Everyone loves the crepe, you can’t deny it. You can call it a “crap” if you want, but it’s still going to be far from. Bring up crepes and everybody melts in desire. And just like I Love Yogurt was like a parasite multiplying and latching onto every block of De Anza, crepes will be king of Stevens Creek.

April 8, 2009 elestoque 22 No ‘Harvest’ at the end of this season entertainment

Local businesses shut down as a result of competition from other hangout spots by Sasha Degtyar


hey’re everywhere: on School Loop, the announcements, even around people’s necks. Advertisements for fundraisers at various local restaurants are a staple at MVHS, and at any given time it’s likely that either a class or a club wants you to bring a flier to a restaurant to support some sort of cause. A fundraiser is a win-win situation in most cases. The restaurant gets increased publicity and traffic, and the chance to woo new customers. The group holding the event gets a share of that day’s profits. However, some fundraisers seem more profitable than others, and sometimes even publicity isn’t enough to save a restaurant. Harvest Restaurant closed its doors on Feb. 18 for good. Senior Keaton Chiu was there on the last day. According to Chiu, the manager was walking around the restaurant, making sure the customers enjoyed their experience. “She looked sad,” Chiu said. “There were a lot more people than usual.” According to Chiu, there simply weren’t enough customers, but not for lack of trying. Harvest not only took out ads in El Estoque, the restaurant also offered multiple fundraisers as well. The junior class recently held a fundraiser at Harvest. “We chose Harvest because it was a new restaurant so we thought that it would be exciting to do a fundraiser where people haven’t really been before. Also, they were looking for the business,” junior class treasurer Christine Tedijanto said. Though the fundraiser went pretty well according to Tedijanto, with the class of 2010 getting 15 percent of the profits— several hundred dollars. The restaurant still closed less than a month later.

Daniel Stenzel | El Estoque

DIG INTO THIS Next to the register is a glass fishbowl that contains receipts for fundraisers (left). Seniors Priscilla Chan, Sofia Liou, and Daniel Haensel hang out with frozen yogurt at Tartini (right). Tedijanto and Chiu agree that there just did not appear to be enough customers. Both spoke of a nearly empty restaurant. Contrast this to local yogurt shop Tartini, which continues fundraisers with MVHS and has seen business expand. “Tartini is more convenient. It’s actually a place people go to hang out,” Chiu said. It also has to do with the amount of publicity the store recieves. With many groups, including the freshman class officers, wearing signs or yogurt bowls around their

necks to publicize the event, “Tartini” is a word heard often on campus. Co-owner of Tartini Paula Kim says that MVHS students are a significant portion of Tartini’s customers. “The Monta Vista consumer base is over 70 percent. I know because a lot of you guys walk in wearing your [school-affiliated] tshirts or sweatshirts,” Kim said. Kim believes that this influx of students from fundraisers has definitely increased awareness of the store.

“A lot of Monta Vista kids come here and this has become sort of their hangout,” Kim said. Unlike the 15 percent that Harvest offered the juniors, Tartini gives the participating organization 10 percent of the profits. According to Kim, Tartini fundraisers raise up to a couple hundred dollars. In the end, Chiu and Tedijanto agree that a restaurant’s success can only be helped by fundraisers. The main lifting has to be done by the quality of the food.

Shining a new light on photography SUPERNATURAL: Photography gaining popularity outside of the classroom by Lauren Parcel


ometimes homework can be fun. Strolling outside on a beautiful day, looking for pretty scenes to capture or interesting views, getting down on the ground or up high on a rock for a new angle or perspective—Photography homework is like no other. Whether “fun” homework has had an effect or not, recently it seems students have become more excited about photography than ever, toting their large cameras everywhere in hopes of great photo opportunities. The phenomenon is catching on. “[It started when] everyone got DSLR cameras and put their photos up on Facebook,” senior Bertrand Cheng said. “People saw how high quality the photos were, so they went and got nice cameras too.” Photography teacher Brian Chow doesn’t see a particular increase in interest, however; he has always considered photography to be a popular class. “There has always been a high demand for Photo,” Chow said. “The chance to take photos and use the dark room and such has always been appealing to students.” In fact, during the first three years that Photography was available as a class, it was so popular that only juniors and seniors could take it, as there was not enough room to accommodate sophomores interested in taking the class. Next year, a more advanced photography class will be offered for students interested in photo beyond the begin-

ning level. In the last five years this option has “technically” been available to students in the form of TA-ing, but now it will be a real class—Photography 2. “We have been piloting Photo 2 for the past five years through our TA’s,” Chow said. “We were trying out projects and ideas and seeing what would work and what wouldn’t. Now we have a good basis to draw from for the class.” In addition, the photography classes have bought new computers and a printer that Photography 2 classes will use for color digital work as well as the basic black and white. The computers were purchased with the help of a Visual and Performing Arts program set in place by Governor Schwarzenegger to give money to music, visual arts, and physical education. Whether there has been an unusual hype in photography this year or not, the start of the Photography Club is one new sign of developing interest. “The initial goal [of the Photo Club] was to have some sort of program in which the Photo TAs could get together and critique photographs,” president and senior Jenny Michelfelder said. “Once we started doing that, we began organizing field trips to take photos as well.” So far, Photography Club has taken a couple of day trips to places such as San Francisco to see exhibits and take photos. They are welcoming to all photo enthusiasts, or anyone looking to have a fun time with photography, whether they want to learn new techniques or showcase their work for critique by peers.

Unexplained experiences continued from page 20

uploaded, Mahmood was the first to notice something strange about the photos. “There were two pictures. One of them was normal, he was sitting on the stage reading and other people were watching. But the other one was weird because two seconds later there was a big table in front of the stage,” Mahmood said. Mahmood and her relatives observed the table in detail and knew it was more than a camera defect. “The table was very, very big, and we could tell that it wasn’t just something funky that happened to the camera,” Mahmood said. “The table had a silver and gold table cloth on it and was very silky and shiny. It had a kind of divine glow around the whole thing and little ruffles on the side. We zoomed in and we could see it sparkling. It was very pretty. And it was very clear— picture perfect. Even my cousin, who was reading [in the picture], didn’t look as clear as the table.” It was Mahmood’s uncle that first thought of angels. “My uncle made the connection. At first I didn’t know that saying, but the adults came and agreed that this is probably why it happened,” Mahmood said. “So our hypothesis was that there were angels sitting on the table, listening to my cousin read the Qur’an.” “There are things that happen to us that we can’t explain why,” Burr said. “Don’t think reality is only seeing is believing.”

entertainment elestoque 23 Discovering his personal set of drums April 8, 2009

Senior Alex Leu nourishes his vocal talents not only through singing but also through beatboxing by Patty Chao


t the beginning of the year, senior Alex Leu learned the hard way a permit was required in order to collect money for performances in public areas like Santana Row. Five others sang with a hat on the ground for money while Leu provided the beat. Luckily, the cop let them off with a warning. Since developing a passion for beatboxing the summer before junior year, Leu has been avidly practicing improvising a variety of beats, perfecting different sounds with just his mouth. A close friend showed Leu the ropes, and instead of taking classes from someone else, Leu teaches himself new sounds and techniques. “I really wanted to play the drums, but it cost too much,” Leu said. “Now I don’t need them anymore.” After mastering the basics, Leu began a beatboxing club on campus, recruiting several friends to join. One of his recruits was senior Michael Wang, who also beatboxes for fun now. “Alex was a good teacher,” Wang said. “He’s really creative and always comes up with fresh ideas.” When this school year began, Leu joined The Ritards, a six-man a capella group started in 2005 by MVHS and Saratoga High Class of 2006 alumni. Each year, graduating members pick the new members to continue the legacy. There are 13 Ritards in all. After the new group for 2008-2009 was chosen, they were required to sing at Santana Row. “[The alumni] just told us to go there and sing as they stood by, watched, laughed, and took pictures,” Leu said. “We didn’t even know what we were singing.”

Daniel Stenzel and Patty Chao | El Estoque

JUST BEAT IT Senior Alex Leu performs at the Diversity Day assembly on April 3 (left). Leu shows off in the ROP media room (right). Now, Leu meets up with the group at least once a week to practice for their performances, which range from school events to performances at Santana Row, which they obtained a permit for. In addition, Leu has also performed at Stanford shopping center with the Ritards. In last week’s diversity week performance, Leu performed alongside Wang and sophomore Samuel Young for a beatbox and Hip Hop Kru collaboration. They each gave a brief solo, a collective performance,

and ended by providing the last beat for Hip Hop Kru to dance to. “Beatboxing is just a different form of expression that not many people have,” Wang said. While beatboxing has been a fairly newfound passion, Leu began vocal training early on in his life, joining the Crystal Children’s Choir in fourth grade which he continues to date. He also sings tenor and meritone for Variations at school. Although beatboxing is only a hobby,

Leu strives to cover a wide range of sounds. His favorite beat and, in his opinion, the best, is the drum set. The hardest sound, Leu says, is the PF Snare, which took him about six months to do. “The hardest part of beatboxing is having the patience to do it over and over again until you get it,” Leu said. In college, Leu hopes to join an a capella group, but for now, beatboxing remains a favorite hobby.

the lookbook Spring Blossom Floral Fields

Cardigan: Urban Outfitters Top: Delia’s Flats: Target

Cardigan: Forever 21 Tank tops: H&M, Abercrombie & Fitch

senior ALEX FRANCOEUR Painter’s Palette Cardigan: Ann Taylor Top: Bloomingdale’s Jeans: American Eagle



Ladies, lighten up the spring season with bright tops adorned in floral patterns and artistic prints. Winter has finally come and gone!

Budding Beauty


Necklace: Claire’s Dress: Heritage 1981 Patty Chao and Jeremy Lee | El Estoque

encore D

o teen drivers really have more vehicle crashes than older drivers? Perhaps. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a 2005 survey—the most recent information available on their Web site—found that while teenagers “accounted for 10 percent of the U.S. population,” they were involved in “12 percent of motor vehicle crash deaths.” However, the difference is so small that it is likely statistically insignificant—and adults are in reality no better at driving than students. According to a survey by El Estoque of 100 students, 92 percent of students believe that they are stereotyped as drivers due to their age. “I think teens are unfairly stereotyped as reckless drivers, but I don’t personally feel the effect of it [because] I don’t drive that ridiculously,” senior Jamie Fung said. As seen on the streets, though, some students do drive “ridiculously”—four percent of students admit to having driven while under some type of influence, whether they were drunk on alcohol or taking prescription medications for pain. So choose your driving behavior wisely—the wheel is in your hands.

Copy & design by Jeremy Lee | Photography by Daniel Stenzel

KILLER WHEELS While the types of vehicles driven by students vary from the Beetle to the Benz, a number of students enjoy driving luxury vehicles to school, such as the BMW X6 pictured here. Out of the surveyed students who drive regularly to school, 86 percent of students have their own car to drive regularly.


As drivers, students face more than just a few bumps in the road

SCHLEPPIN’ Students brave the chilly California cold as they walk to class before first period on March 31. Though most of the drivers in the student parking lot are licensed, eight percent of student drivers overall admit to having driven by themselves with only a learning permit—which is illegal in California.

AGAINST THE GRAIN Even though some of the parking arrows in the left exit lane were painted in the wrong direction, they still have not been fixed. Occasionally, students have damaged their cars beyond repair, as three percent of MVHS student drivers can attest to.

THINGS FALL APART Parts of the student parking lot received a fresh coat of paint earlier this year, but much of the lot still remains in disrepair. Many students, 68 percent, have driven passengers under 20 years old before they had held their driver’s license for at least one year—a move made illegal for teens on Jan. 1, 2006.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN Licensed students with cars have the privilege of driving out to nearby restaurants for lunch, and many of them do on a daily basis as shown here on April 3. The majority of students face no accidents while learning to drive with their permits—only nine percent of students said that they have been in a car accident while they held their learning permit for driving.

El Estoque, Volume 40, Issue 7, April 8, 2009  

The student newspaper of Monta Vista High School, Cupertino, Calif.

El Estoque, Volume 40, Issue 7, April 8, 2009  

The student newspaper of Monta Vista High School, Cupertino, Calif.