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The two members of MVHS’ diving team come in to answer questions

A special eight-page spread on the class of 2011. Seniors discuss who they are today and where they are headed in the months to come SENIOR SECTION page 5

RALLY IT UP Badminton CCS coverage on

SEQUEL OVERLOAD Get a sneak peak of three sequels coming out this summer

SPORTS page 15



District employee pay to be published


hough salaries are generally considered personal information, in a matter of weeks, MVHS students will be able to know exactly how much their staff members make. FUHSD is planning to release the salary and total compensation data of nearly 1,600 district employees to the Bay Area News Group, which includes newspapers like the San Jose Mercury News and the Silicon Valley Community Newspapers, distributor of the Cupertino Courier. The group requested the compensation information of governmental Bay Area entities, including school districts. The database is searchable by county, district, title, and name, among other things. District employees were notified of the development via email by FUHSD superintendent Polly Bove. “I think I speak for many when I say that... we feel like there’s a violation of privacy. The minute you tie a person’s name to [their salaries], you’ve crossed the line into something private,” said principal April Scott. Scott realizes, however, that legally, FUHSD must release the information upon request. The disclosure of public employee salary was deemed not an invasion of privacy in the 2007 California Supreme Court ruling in International Federation of Professional and Techincal Engineers, Local 21, AFL-CIO v. Superior Court of Alameda County. “In light of the strong public policy supporting transparency in government, an individual’s expectation of privacy in a salary earned in public employment is significantly less than the privacy

[The] privacy expectation for a public employment salary is significantly less than the privacy expectation for private employment income. California Supreme Court Ruling

expectation regarding income earned in the private sector,” the ruling read. There has been a delay since the original request of the data because upon reciving the data from the Santa Clara County Office of Education, the data was reviewed for accuracy, employee by employee, for weeks, according to controller Eva Choy. “We wanted to make sure our employees were being represented accurately,” Choy said. “We were doing our due diligence... and everything was looked at with a fine-tooth comb.” A salary schedule that lists salary ranges based on years of experience and education, and information about benefits has long been available on the district website, but the Bay Area News Group’s database, Scott says, is a completely different concept. “The law upholds their right to publish [the data],” Scott says. “And I guess that’s just what journalists do. But I don’t know how they’d feel about having their names and salaries published in the same way.” Anushka Patil ||


BILLION The California state budget crisis has hit MVHS

Overloaded, underloaded class sections cut to save $20,000 each


eadership students just felt the effect of the $26 billion dollar state deficit. Contrary to popular belief, the merging of ASB and Community Leadership classes was not the result of a budget cut, but a step in the preparation for a possible one. them, this year the district The recent combination of the ASB was not as lenient. Based on and Community Leadership classes was projected enrollment, MVHS due to this anticipation of state education was allotted 439 sections for budget cuts. Despite the current deficit the 2011-2012 year, but when Assistant of the California state education system, Principal Trudy Gross assembled the FUHSD is still able to operate normally in master schedule of just the terms of its relatively stable students’ top six requests, finances for educational there were 446 sections programs, class sections, and worth of response. no teacher layoffs. However, Each section, according according to FUHSD Public to Gross, costs the district Information Officer Bettylu $20,000. For this reason, Smith and Chief British Literature was Business Officer reduction in spending cut for the 2009-2010 Christine Mallery, school year because only on K-12 education district budgets are built 17 students had signed up over the past three over a three-year projection for the course, which was not years to anticipate and prepare for enough to fill a whole section. future budget cuts. Last year, sections were not cut, but “Our governing board has made some classes were filled to 36 students a commitment for 2011 to keep the as opposed to 32.5. For the next year, district whole to not make significant more than five sections have been cut at reductions in courses, eliminate or cut MVHS, one of them being AVID. Eighteen back on programs, and continue to offer students were originally in each of the comprehensive and academic enrichment two sections of AVID, but because that programs,” Mallery said. number was not enough, the sophomore


How it hit MVHS According to Dean of Students Denae Moore, MVHS has previously had a high number of course sections for all departments partly due to the large amount of students and the similar course interests amongst them. Though in the past the administration has been able to strongly justify why the school has more sections than allocated by FUHSD and has been allowed to keep


and junior sections were combined into one class. Due to the California state budget deficit, according to Smith, in the past three years the funding for kindergarten through 12th grade schools has decreased by $18 billion and may decrease even further within the next three years. While mapping out the budget for the next three years, FUHSD realized that it may be financially unstable for the 2012-2013 school year

if the California state legislature does not approve of California State Governor Jerry Brown’s revisions to the 2011-2012 state budget. If Brown’s budget proposal does not go through, FUHSD may have to lay off 30 teachers in the entire district in the future. Finding the balance “One really powerful thing about our district is that they are very conservative about their finances,” Moore said. “They’re strong in their leadership about when we need to hold onto money and when we can spend what we have.” To compensate for previous budget cuts and continue the funding for school course sections, California voters agreed to pay a temporary increase in their property, income, and sales taxes. This payment expires on June 30, and the revenue that came from the once temporary increased taxes are now used up and may need to be increased in the future to maintain school funds. see CUTS on page 2

30 $20,000 29

the difference between the teachers in the FUHSD may be number of sections requested by laid off if the California state students, only counting their top legislature does not approve six class choices, and the number Governor Jerry Brown’s of sections allotted by the district. revisions to the state budget.

worth of funding cut for each class section. The district days until the temporary tax increase in California voters’ property, only allotted 439 class sections to MVHS, rather than income, and sales taxes expires on the requested 446 sections, and subsequently saved June 30. The payment was designed $140,000. Overloaded or underloaded classes were to compensate for budget cuts. affected first.

Christophe Haubursin | El Estoque Photo Illustration

News Group requests salary data

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A graduating staff member

Library media teacher Mary Ann Bouchard to retire this year

In loving memory: January 2011

Stampede for teachers: August 2010

In summer 2010, administration released preliminary schedules for the 2010-11 school year that did not include teacher names. This change from previous years stemmed from an effort to minimize “teacher shopping” at Running of the Bulls in August. Though Jiyoon Park | El Estoque administrators forbade students to enter campus until 7 a.m. on the morning of the event, some students like seniors Lawrence Pan and Richard Yu arrived the night before.

Coach and teacher Ron Freeman passed away on Jan. 21 after suffering a heart attack on campus, following a varsity boys basketball game. As athletic director, water polo and swimming coach, and a social studies teacher, Freeman had supported the school as a staff member, friend, and mentor for over 30 years. Tributes from students, faculty, and community members included poster dedications, purple ribbons, and a water polo goal memorial erected beside the pool deck. A scholarship fund was set up and the school hosted a memorial service on Feb. 18 and pool deck Jackie Barr| El Estoque dedication ceremony on May 27.

Powderpuff setback: September 2010


The last dance: January 2011

During the Sept. 23 Homecoming Powderpuff semi-finals match between the classes of 2012 and 2013, junior Gabriella Ley and sophomore Hadar Sachs sustained injuries on the field. After Sachs was hit during a running play in the second half, administrators paused and postponed the game, to be continued on Sept. 27 with a new set of rules to minimize bodily contact. Kevin Tsukii | El Estoque

Walking among Giants: October 2010 October 2010 was a month of celebration for San Francisco Giants fans like junior Anirudh Kilambi and social studies teacher Viviana Montoya-Hernandez, as the baseball team emerged as World Series 2010 champions. Baseball fans erupted in celebration, both on and off campus; the game marked the Giants’ first World S e r i e s victory since 1954.

Winter Ball 2011, held on Jan. 22 at the Decathlon Club, continued the unprofitable trend which began in 2002. Despite an emphasis on event promotion, and the cancellation of couple’s bids, only 264 students attended the ball. According to the ASB officers and school administration, the subsequent loss of over $9,000 will most likely result in drastic changes for future winter formals. Possibilities range from combining formal dances with Blue Pearl to cutting the dance completely. Because of the cost of the past years’ venues, the dance will most likely be moved on-campus Jackie Barr | El Estoque for future winter balls.

Across the oceans: March 2011

Karishma Mehrotra | El Estoque

Friday night lights: January 2011 After 42 years without evening home games, June 2008 marked the passage of Measure B and a subsequent increase in a movement supporting renovation of the track and field lights. On Dec. 16, 2010, FUHSD Board members approved the Final Environmental Impact Report, an analysis of the potential impacts of construction, and essentially approved the project. Lynbrook Monta Vista United, an organized group of neighbors concerned over Domonique Pieb || Photo Illustration the future lights installation, filed a lawsuit against the district on Jan. 18, 2011, slowing progress for the next several months. The lawsuit was ultimately split into two separate cases by order of the court.

CUTS: Sections adjusted continued from page 1



Students reacted immediately to the 9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami in Japan on March 10—some reaching out to loved ones in the country, others organizing support for relief efforts. Proceeds from events like Hope for Japan, Blue Pearl, and Junior Prom were sent to relief organizations like the Red Cross.

Aafreen Mahmood||

Akshay Agrawal||

Change inevitable, growth optional


Governor Brown, however will not allow this tax increase to occur without a two-thirds majority voter approval. Previous parcel taxes and Measure B, which provide funding for school programs and classes, were voter approved as well. “The community highly values education and excellence in education, so we serve a community that values and supports it,” Smith said. Little steps This year, FUHSD received less revenue from property taxes, but next year, the estimated taxes are on the positive side. To conserve operating costs while maintaining the needs of the teachers and students, the district installed solar panels on each school campus, which saved over $800,000 per year in school operating costs. “We’re having a little bit of growth, but it’s slow growth. There’s a lot of uncertainty, but there’s a lot of room to feel positive about what could happen,” Mallery said.

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fter spending 16 years at MVHS, 32 years in FUHSD, and a cumulative 40 years in the educational sector, former special education teacher and current library media teacher Mary Ann Bouchard will retire this school year. Bouchard began her pedagogical career in 1971 as a fourth grade instructor in Santa Cruz. In 1979, she joined FUHSD at Cupertino High School, and in 1983 found herself at Fremont High School. Sixteen years later, the educator arrived at MVHS. “I liked the people at the school,” Bouchard said. “I wanted to work with them.” Upon joining the staff, Bouchard took up the post of special education teacher, helping her pupils cope with their core classes. Although currently library media teacher, she has spent the majority of her time at this school working with the special education department. “Special education [has] a wonderful staff, and everybody helps everybody,” Bouchard said. “We share ideas, help people cover for each other. It’s a very collaborative department.” Special education day-class teacher Daniel Caulfield, an eight-year co-worker of Bouchard, reciprocated praise. “She just made it a much more pleasant and warm place to work,” Caulfield said. “When I was brand new, I just cannot tell you how much I appreciated how helpful she was. Whenever I had a question about policy or procedure or computers, I always went to her first.” After working in the special education department for 14 years, Bouchard decided in June 2009 to transition into her contemporary post of library media teacher. “I always wanted to be a librarian. It was sort of my dream job,” Bouchard said. “And I taught special education for 30 years in this district... It was fun to try something different.” As librarian, Bouchard has learned a variety of new skills, particularly those related to technology. In addition to carrying out traditional librarian duties, she provides technological orientations to students on virtual resources provided by the school. Library media specialist Jody Mitchell, who has worked with Bouchard for two years, emphasized her co-worker’s admirable work ethic. “When I see her work one-on-one, I see passion,” Mitchell said. “She’s really enjoying what she’s doing.” According to Mitchell, over the past two years, the two have developed a friendship rooted in similar hobbies, such as jewelrymaking. Bouchard plans to pursue such hobbies in her retirement; she wants to spend her time volunteering for adult literacy work, creating crafts, and traveling. During her time here, Bouchard says she has witnessed the school evolve into a much larger, busier place than it initially was. Nonetheless, she believes that teachers have withstood the test of time, remaining helpful and dedicated. According to Caufield, such qualities are present in Bouchard herself. “We will miss her greatly,” Caulfield said. “[MVHS] is losing a really wonderful and valuable resource.”


Letter from the editor

oth feared and desired, change is what many seniors will be forced to embrace these coming weeks, as they accept that last MVHS yearbook, those symbolic diplomas, and good-byes from everyone. Whether it be traveling to India or Greece or leaving the brick walls of our campus one year early, for many students featured in our senior section, the question is not whether their lives will change, but how. In addition to their future transformations, the seniors look back to see how they changed in their four years as a Matador. Many saw families develop in unpredictable ways, while others witnessed old acquaintances jump into a memorable relationship. Those of us remaining purple and gold will be facing changes of our own as the budget shrinks. In response, we will have to ask ourselves, who should be fighting for us? Is our public education the responsibility of anyone but ourselves? Because though we can’t stop change from happening, we ultimately decide how we will respond to it.


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Saving education is our responsibility

Students must fight to keep school funding safe from budget cuts, class decreases, and taxes


ecession isn’t just a word. It’s a reality for many, especially since our economy plummeted in 2008. Education did not experience as drastic a change—the budget was going downhill already, so the recession didn’t make too much of a difference. However, in Cupertino, residents have always paid a little extra for education. They have carried the burden. Anywhere else, if residents didn’t forok over piles of cash, teachers were laid off. Thanks to conservative measures on the district’s part, most of our classes have been safe so far. But the number of sections being cut is increasing each year. As a preemptive strike, the FUHSD has cut several from MVHS this year, with Leadership’s restructuring being one of the more prominent examples. We could do a lot to avoid cuts. We could decrease graduation STAFF EDITORIAL requirements. We could tack The opinion of the on another one or two percent El Estoque Editorial onto the local tax. We could lay Board off more teachers and then try a number of alternative learning programs. But if all we did was cut teachers and cut teachers, our schedule would be reduced to one-period days with teachers rendered delinquent by our parents’ inability to pay for them The question we should be asking, though, is how much more we can ask of teachers and taxpayers before we do something about our own education. If we want to focus on education, we should focus on preserving it. If we don’t fight now, there will be nothing left to fight for in a matter of years. The solution is simple, and it begins with you. You alone may not have bargaining power, but within FUHSD, there are roughly 10,000 students to stand with you. Now imagine all of the high school students in each district in the county, the Bay Area, or even the state, petitioning all at once.

It’s time we helped reroute the flow

Christophe Haubursin | El Estoque Illustration

With this power, a student union could be backed by organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, or the Steve Jobs Foundation. Then we’d have real lobbying power—and with it, a voice. Consider the power we would have if all of us spoke up to save our schools. It’s our turn to give effort ourselves, and maybe that will be the push it takes for our government to

Letters to the Editor Letters of any length should be submitted via e-mail to mv.el.estoque@gmail. com, mail, or dropped off in Room A111. They become the sole property of El Estoque and can be edited for length, clarity, or factual accuracy. Letters cannot be returned and will be published at El Estoque’s discretion.

Don’t confuse Bin Laden for a human being I found last issue’s Staff Editorial [“Pride or Prejudice”, May 11, 2011] to be highly objectionable. The author makes a number of arguments that are at best incorrect and at worst offensive. The first of these is a suggestion that celebrating the death of a massmurderer amounts to “act[ing] like him.” Yes, it’s true that Osama Bin Laden celebrated death. But in order to actually be like him, we would have to, well, fly passenger jets into office buildings. It’s not the fact that Osama Bin Laden celebrated death that most reviled peace-loving human beings – it’s the fact that he actively caused so much of it. Of the many infuriating lines in the editorial, one in particular touches a nerve: the author states that “some might argue that [Osama] bin Laden was just as, if not far more disrespectful of human life [than the Americans who celebrated his death]”. The article should be revised to read: “All sane people would argue that Osama bin Laden was unimaginably more disrespectful of human life” than any stoplight-mounting American reveler. In the morally relativistic society that we live in, few viewpoints are ever black and white. This one is. Worse, the author betrays a glaring ignorance of the Muslim world by insinuating that Osama bin Laden was a man that “many Arabs [held] as a role model”. The author may have heard the beginning of President Obama’s address when he declared that “justice has been done,” but it appears that he or she didn’t stick around for the rest of it. This is what the President continued on to say: “Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al-Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own. So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.” To suggest that the majority of citizens in countries like Syria and Palestine viewed Osama bin Laden as their leader is a cruel insult to the one billion-plus Muslims whose only desires in life are not too different from ours. Like us, they want to be able to put food on the table and provide education for their children – and above all, they don’t want to worry that if a mother, father, husband, or wife goes to the market, that the unthinkable will happen. Anyone who reads the news even occasionally should know that Muslim extremists like those of Al-Qaida routinely carry out the murder of civilians across the Muslim world. These extremists who mourned Osama bin Laden’s death do not and never will speak for Muslims around the globe. To assume that they do is to strip our fellow human beings of their most basic human dignity. It’s a pity that the author saw fit to take the moral high ground in such an unpleasant way. I agree that in a perfect world, Americans would have marked the death of Osama bin Laden by pausing to reflect somberly on the lives that he ended and then carrying on. It was not, strictly speaking, absolutely necessary to climb streetlights and chant slogans. But our world is not perfect, as evidenced by the murder of 2,977 unarmed and unwarned Americans on a clear September day. The celebration of the death of Osama bin Laden was only human. The attack that he perpetrated was subhuman. Don’t ever confuse the two.

—Class of 2010 alumnus Bhargav Setlur

give back. You, the students, determine what happens next. There are ways you can act. It’s our responsibility to convince people that our education is important to us, that the students themselves don’t take it for granted or consider it a burden. Knowledge is power. Let’s not let a lack of state funding deprive us of what matters most.

Public service and issue of privacy

Students must not abuse employee salary database


n a matter of days, the student-teacher relationship would be even more devastating if such information at MVHS will enter a whole new dimension. became gossip. A teacher’s salary is not meant to Starting rom that day, the annual compensation be used to defame that teacher, and doing so to of each MVHS faculty member will be available excess and with malicious intent could make life online to anyone who wishes to see them. Starting miserable for both the teacher and the student. from that day, teachers will have price-tags. That doesn’t mean students aren’t entitled Recently, the Bay Area News Group, San Jose to do a bit of their own research. After all, an Mercury News’ informed public is an parent organization, involved public, whether made a public records it be on the national, request to publish state, or even school level. use online databases for broad the salaries of all If MVHS students want of their employees to engage themselves research on from various state in the debate on budget budget and municipal control, then they should organizations, have a way to familiarize including FUHSD. themselves with trends One of the primary in public salaries. They goals of the initiative should be able to find out use online databases to single out was laid out in how much MVHS teachers a San Jose tend to make, or how much particular teachers Mercury n e w s teachers tend to receive online article, in benefits, without entitled “Bay Area relying on word of mouth. News Group Perspective: Public Salary Database When the input of FUHSD data into the online is there for you to do your own fact-checking.” database is realized, students will be able to “You no longer have to believe what anyone find previously intimate details about a teacher’s tells you about the important subject of publicjob at the click of a mouse. While searching for employee compensation,” the article the information may seem like an read. “You have the tools to do your invasion of privacy, it’s important own fact checking of anyone’s claims. to understand that there are two See “Individual You can... ‘t r us t, but ver if y.’” different ways of using the information. district salary Students must remember The right way would be to research information to be that this kind of fact-checking must never without looking for names, to get released on page 1 lead to forming the wrong opinions. a general idea of whether the for related content When looking at figures in the government is spending too much database, students should not try to or too little. The wrong way is to use the knowledge of a teacher’s salary use the information to single out the wrong way. Maybe people tend to like to keep particular teachers, and to turn their identities their paychecks private because they consider such into five-or-six-digit numbers. The information information to be strictly between them and their is there, and nobody can control how it is used. bosses. Teachers are no exception. If a teacheris Nobody except for the students themselves. nervous about revealing his or her salary, then it would be uncouretous to the teacher to search for such infofrmation, no matter how available it is. It Vinay Raghuram ||

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Kevin Tsukii and Ashley Wu | El Estoque Photo Illustration

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A coincidental friendship After six years of crossing paths, we realize the importance of relationships

Parting words of wisdom

Advice from teachers to seniors, seniors’ advice to rest of MVHS “Always look forward. Live life without regrets. Always take each experience as an opportunity to learn something about yourself and the world around you. Trust that every decision you’ve made is a good one.” — English teacher Jireh Tanabe


ur story is a story of coincidences. We sat at the same table on the very first day of Journalism in seventh grade. We were Editors in Chief of Kennedy Middle School’s Pawpurri in eighth grade. We were the only two sophomores chosen to be on the print staff of El Estoque two years later. In the fall of our senior year, we happened to be interviewed by the same University of Southern California admissions officer within a time span of three hours. Last spring, we became the Editors in Chief of El Estoque and ended up in the same AP Literature class. All this, and we never actually became friends until senior year.

The Destined Duo

Keeping paths, not burning bridges We’ve had our fair share of conversations about how annoying some people can be and how we can’t wait to leave high school and move on to a completely new set of people. But along the way we have both come to realize that there will never be a situation in which every friend and classmates acts exactly the way we want them to. With eight days left until graduation, we have found ourselves­—and heard our classmates— making lists of people that we aren’t going to keep in touch with: old friends that we’ve grown apart from, seemingly “random” people in our classes that help you pass the time, or the hundreds of Facebook friends we’ve accumulated and plan to delete. However, our friendship is proof that you can never predict how a relationship will end up. You can never really predict how and when paths may cross. So our parting advice: Hold on to those relationships that you’ve built, however insignificant they may appear. It isn’t necessary to talk to every friend every single day or give them a Skype-tour of your dorm room. But the people around you right now have seen you at some of your strongest and weakest points, whether it be the excitement of winning Homecoming or the stress of taking four AP tests in a span of three days. These people know your story better than the people you will initially meet in college, simply because they’ve been a part of your story. High school days may be over, but this chapter of your life will never come to a complete close.

the seniors “Make the world a better place. Try your best and do something that you like instead of just pursuing money.”

“Keep your heads up and your hearts pure.” — social studies teacher Margaret Platt


the seniors

— math teacher Terry Yu

“Experiment with clubs in [your] first year and try to find [your] niche because afterward you end up sticking to one place and that becomes your thing for the rest of your high school career.” — senior Akshat Keshan

“Be mindful of your grades, but don’t obsess over them to the extent that you leave no room for fun. Surround yourself with supportive people.” — senior Rosa Valtanen

“Do things that make you nervous, but don’t be afraid to take that nap when you need it. Seriously.” — senior Tiffany Liang

Three peas in a pod go to college Group of friends plan to continue attending the same school


Six years of acquaintance We were always cordial—we would wave to each other in the halls, make friendly conversation about our weekend plans, but never considered that perhaps all of our similarities would make us compatible as friends. However, senior year our MANSI PATHAK & paths crossed VIJETA TANDON a few more times. Through these forced interac tions we began to discover our common interests and identical taste in music. It took us six years to realize that maybe all of our crossing paths meant more than just a common interest in Journalism—it meant a connection as people. Even though we come from different social circles, our differences are what make our friendship thrive. Our senses of humor began to blend together and we would find ourselves using phrases and mannerisms that we had picked up from the other. As we attend historically rivaled colleges next year, we both know that regardless of how regular our communication is, we will always still be interested to know what is going on in each others’ lives.



fter June 9, the majority of the 579 graduating seniors will only be seeing each other again at one of their few high school reunions. This won’t be the case for seniors Yoobin Oh, Alex Onishi, and Tony Wu, three best friends who are all attending the University of California, Berkeley in the fall. They’ve walked up MVHS’s crowded cement staircases, every day for four years, together. They’ve waited in the long In-N-Out and pearl milk tea lines on Club Day together. They’ve gotten ready for dances together. They’ve gone trick-or-treating together. They’ve survived four long years of high school — together. “Having my really close friends there for me [will make] it a lot easier [in college],” Wu said, “especially during the first year because I know that I’m guaranteed to have at least some friends and won’t be a loner.” Are they worried about meeting new friends? No. Are they worried about their close-knit friendship holding them back? No. Oh is confident that she’ll be able to juggle her new friends along with those that she has made in high school. On the other hand, Onishi admits that the trio’s mutual friends do seem a bit jealous but realizes that everyone will have to split up eventually. “We’ll probably have to leave each other sometime, too, like during graduate school,” Wu said. But Oh quickly joins in to finish his sentence. “We’re going to remain close throughout college,” she said.

Erin Chiu | El Estoque

Tina Hsu ||

June 1, 2011


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Becoming older... and wiser

Four seniors reflect on how they changed during the past four years Bubble bursting Friendship shifts 1 Change 2 High needs a catalyst–and for senior Mimi Choy, that catalyst school is about growing up. For some, it’s literal. was a residential film course at the University of Southern California during the summer before senior year. “I made the conscious decision to change [my style] because I thought, these people don’t know who I am, it’s a place to start afresh,” Choy said. The course only enrolled minors as ten percent of the students and provided Choy with an experience starkly different from Cupertino. “They do their best [in Cupertino] to hold your hand and make you prosper,” Choy said. “But when I was taking those courses, they were extremely judgemental, because they’re supposed to be... They didn’t hold your hand at all. It’s either you sink or swim.” She finds that the experience changed her personality and made her a much stronger and more confident person. “I’ve learned how to fight for myself... [like with] line cutters. If I was a freshman I would say nothing, and now, I call them out on it. I’ve learned how to stand up for myself.”




Ready for some fun Senior Freddy Kuo is often the rowdiest and one of the more outgoing students in his classes, to the amusement of his classmates and the ire of his teachers. AP Statistics is an especially lighthearted affair, with teacher Kathleen McCarty frequently punishing Kuo for his antics with push-ups and burpees. However, Kuo wasn’t always such a boisterous individual throughout his years as a Matador. “Back in freshman year, I was [more about] fitting in,” Kuo said. “I wanted to change myself to be like [how other students] are. When you move on to college, some of these friends won’t be [there] so it doesn’t matter. Do whatever makes you happy.” After serving as a quarterback for the varsity football team his junior and senior year, Kuo has become more outgoing and cherishes how much fun he has had during his four years at MVHS. “[What I’ll remember most about high school is...] definitely the crazy times: football, in the locker room, goofing around and stuff, and in class.”

Senior Zachary Lamm is six feet four inches tall, and a lot of that height developed during his time at high school. His size led him to the volleyball team, where he met many of his current friends. Lamm feels he has changed most throughout high school in his choices of friends, which he believes reflects his changes and growth in personality. At one point, most of Lamm’s friends came from his band, which had a great effect on him. “I became more creative,” Lamm said. After the band broke up, Lamm’s friends continued to shift, as he spread out from volleyball to football during his sophomore year. “I met my receiver buddies,” Lamm said, referring to his friends who played his position on the football team. After entering high school as a freshman at under 6 feet, Lamm has grown up into someone who stands tall and is not afraid to change. “As I grew, so did my maturity,” Lamm said. “I didn’t change, my friends changed.”




Stylish confidence Senior Valerie Patterson walks the halls of our school as though she’s on a runway. She has an abunudant amount of stylish boots, vintage jewelry, and boutique-chic tops. She has become a smarter shopper at thrift stores – her calf-length caramel leather boots were just $1.50 from the flea market. During middle school, she might have shopped at only the stores her friends went to, but her high-school confidence has now allowed her to be more unique. “I’m my own person now—I’ve branched out. I’m not defined by my friends anymore,” Patterson said. Along with fashion, Patterson took advantage of her time at MVHS to discover her love of reading and join the swim team, both of which contributed to the new, confident person she has become. Kriti Garg || Roxana Wiswell || Eric Wong ||

Once friends, always friends Old BFFs go separate ways for college, have faith in relationship



wo things can be assumed from seeing two tenyear-olds hurling water balloons at each other at a birthday party: they’re either having a fun time or they’re releasing their anger at each other. For seniors Andrew Shiah and Stephanie Wang, the latter became a moment to laugh about as their friendship grew throughout middle and high school. Shiah and Wang have known each other since birth because their parents became friends through a church. The two grew closer during their school years, becoming good friends. Despite all of their history, Shiah and Wang are unsure of what the future holds for their friendship. With Shiah headed to UCLA and Wang preparing for Stanford University, the two find it difficult to pinpoint what effect college will have on their personalities. “Even though we might not be as close [due to college], I think our relationship is strong,” Wang said. “It’s not like we’re not going to be friends anymore!” The duo hopes to maintain their friendship through email. Looking back, the friends are proud of how much their friendship has grown. “It’s funny to think that 10 years ago we acted so immaturely but now...we’re really close now,” Shiah said. “Even though at that time we might have had disputes like that, it’s funny to look back and realize how we’ve come so far.” Photo used with permission of Stephanie Choy

Erin Chiu ||

Time to reconsider School and our lives


eing an overly sentimental sports fan, it’s crossed my mind more than once in recent weeks that my three favorite Bay Area teams had possibly their most memorable seasons in history this year. And whenever I think about that incredibly exciting statement, I realize how blatantly false it is. The Giants stunned everyone in 2010 by winning the World Series in November. Stanford football dominated throughout the 2010 regular season before taking the Orange Bowl in January 2011. And the Sharks, who were going strong as early as October 2010, made things interesting for us with another exciting playoff run in mid-2011. In reality, the sports spree spanned two years, not one. So why exactly was I so quick to reach my original, flawed conclusion? That’s right—because it all happened during one school year. My view of time—something we share among the most fundamental and universal facets of our lives—has been completely distorted by school. And I’m a bit disturbed. The driving force Harsh criticism of school might sound odd coming from a person like me; I’ve been told that I’m of a quite studious nature, and I don’t think that showing up to all seven of my classes on May 13 with a smile on my face helped to dispel that notion. JOSEPH BEYDA I’ve always loved learning, cherished what I’ve picked up in the classroom, and tried to make the most out of the 2,300 (or so) days I’ve spent under school bells. Yet looking back, I can’t help but feeling robbed. Spending the last 15 years of my life on education was a wise investment, but school didn’t have to spit those 15 years of memories back in my face in such a gnarled form. When I look back, I’ll remember writing my first line of computer code in freshman year, or joining journalism in junior year. From my time at Kennedy, I’ll always have a soft spot for that seventh-grade Washington D.C. trip back in 2006... or was it 2007? Your brain probably remembers things the same way. If we’ve gotten through adolescence like well-oiled machines, then school has been the engine at the center of it all.

The Beyda test

Time to set things right We’re all putt-putting along in the same boat on this one, and we’re really not to blame. Sometime between slipping out of diapers and sending in our Statements of Intent to Register for college, we traded in our 12-month calendars for those nifty school planners that now dictate our lives. And depending on our post-MVHS plans, most of us have at least another four “years” ahead that will truly begin in the fall, not January. So what am I saying here? Should we have all dropped out, synchronized our watches to Real World Standard Time, broken free from those tortuously late 12:25 p.m. lunches, and moved on with our lives a long time ago? For our futures’ sakes, probably not. But looking forward—whether we’re gearing up for college or just another year of high school—we should seek out new ways to remember our youth. Ways that don’t revolve around school. When I look back as an adult, I do want to remember my great years at Lincoln, Kennedy, and MVHS. Yet it would be quite a shame if my loving family, my cuddly dog, and my heart-palpitation-inducing sports teams didn’t tag along. Hopefully, we can each make that happen. Hopefully, there will be enough time.

Class of 2011 SENIOR SECTION

Page 8




Have not ditched school at all

Have ditched school excused



percent think MVHS was better than they expected as freshmen

percent have tried an illegal substance

have ditched school unexcused

percent have not tried an illegal substance

The class of 2011, in one word, is... *Size of words corresponds to number of responses



nerdy studious




percent think MVHS just what they expected as freshmen




percent are still undecided about college



over achieving



out of country

in state

23% out of state

For seniors who are going out of state, but in the U.S.





NO: 38%


MORE: 4%

How many boyfriends or girlfriends have you had?



percent have a permit percent plan on taking the driving test at 18

Out of the 23 percent who are going out of state,

19 7 19

I would send my kids to MVHS because: Great education with talented and motivated students ... they should suffer, too ... different from other schools: safe, no hazing, schooloriented ... MVHS is a very welcoming place where my child would be able to grow.

percent did expect to go out of state percent did not expect to go out of state percent somewhat expected to go out of state

I would not send my kids to MVHS because: I don’t want them to die of stress ... I want my kids to be exposed to more diverse community ... I’m not having children.



percent might join the military


FOUR: 7%




percent have a license

percent would not want their children to attend MVHS

I might send my kids to MVHS: It did teach me to be who I am ... if they were independent and curious, yes ... depends on their goals ... housing prices ... great academics and learning experience but too competitive ... as long as they stay grounded ... it challenges students, and I enjoy challenges.

percent are joining the military


TWO: 16%

percent would want their children to attend MVHS


YES: 49%

ONE: 24%

46 19 36

percent might want their children to attend MVHS








If you had a boyfriend or girlfriend, did you tell your parents? NONE: 41%

Would you send your children to MVHS?

percent are going to a public school

ambitious academic

good small unsprited cool


percent are going to a private school

Where is your college?

percent think MVHS was worse than they expected as freshmen


Who are we, and who do we want to be? El Estoque surveyed 414* seniors to find out.

percent are not going to college

59 34


percent have ditched school, excused or unexcused

1 1

Page 9

99 1

percent are attending a co-ed college

percent are attending an all-female college


percent are not joining the military

What career do you plan to pursue?



percent are going percent are going to other college to a UC



percent applied for financial aid...

15 10 percent are going to a California Community College

percent are going to a CSU


percent actually received it

engineer *Size of words corresponds to number of responses

art & design

doctorlawyer medicine pharmacist


dentist physician

computer science education politics



nurse acting biologist scientific research

*Some survey respondents did not answer all questions

Most inspiring moments at MVHS

What the younger you thought you’d never do If you could redo high school, you would...

What you’ll miss the most about MVHS

When my 11th grade literature teacher made us all write ‘thank you’ cards to each other, and I read everything my classmates had to say ... Mr. Freeman’s memorial ... the realization that I could make friends as a new kid fairly easily ... Challenge Day ... physaxx ... when [English teacher Mikki] McMillion taught class from Belgium because she couldn’t come back because of the volcano eruption in 2010 ... watching all the classes come together to cheer on the staff for Staff Dodgeball ... having heart to heart conversations with teachers ... when my friend (a Muslim) told me that [social studies teacher Chris] Chiang pulled her aside and pointed to her hijab because it had come loose and her hair was showing ... Spotlite on India ... whenever someone trips or drops their stuff, and tons of people rush over to help.

Lobby Congress ...go to DC, Hawaii, and Florida all in one year.... become a leader in campuswide clubs ... pull all-nighters ... ditch school to meet a Sharks player ... waste so much time studying ... get so stressed I got sick (I guess because my immune system was down) ... speak in front of hundreds, not study, talk with Senators on Capitol Hill, help lead a rally ... openly stand up against someone ... obtain caffeine addiction ... be as social as i am... fall in love ... walk on the railroad track in the middle of the night ... become a musician ... make a youtube video with over 1,000 views ... travel to the South ... be influenced by others to try different things ... join Speech and Debate and speak routinely in front of people.

Rallies and powderpuff ... the people, the insanity, the asianness, the community ... my friends ... a sense of belonging ... innocence ... the satisfied feeling that at the end of the day I feel accomplished, of being able to keep up with the smart kids ... performing ... the dorkiness (and lack of shame) of the population ... being able to be a nerd ... free periods spent relaxing with friends .. all the memories with my friends ... the feel of it ... fire alarms ... everything ... the personality of the class of 2011 ... asians ... diversity, competition, friends, teachers ... community ... sports ... performing ... the innocence of students ... school spirit, ability to talk to everyone ... how people here accept diversity.

Hesitate less, do what I want, never mind what they say ... be less of a hermit ... my fashion sense ... study harder and way more, join more clubs, waste less time on computer, more girls, shave more ... I’d be nicer to people and more lighthearted and do more extracurriculars ... nothing, all the mistakes I have made have helped shape me & prepared me for my future ... go out more, better time management ... meditate every single day ... my terrible time management skills ... less senioritis ... spend less time on facebook and more time finding activities I like ... get caffeine addiction earlier ... how I acted, how I learned ... not take Spanish ... don’t surrender fun ... I don’t do regret.

June 1, 2011

Friends for life


Page 10

Two-year: Staying in the bay

A reflection on Gov Students explore futures while attending De Anza Community College Team’s gleeful unit

The beginning It began with five: seniors Andy Cheon, Kriti Garg, Anandi Somasundaram, Frances Wu, Eugenia Yee. Five awkward, freshlyturned seniors, sitting at a cramped table at Panera Bread, introducing themselves stiffly. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Meetings grew to be longer and we became closer through chick flicks, Tumblr, and food... oh, did we love food. Divulging the details of our lives to each other that we dared not tell anyone else also became second nature. With eager listeners, we never held anything back, becoming privy to each o t h e r ’ s secrets. It sounds like a scene from a movie, but the bonds that grew between us have been nothing KRITI GARG other than & ANANDI inexplicably SOMASUNDARAM magic al. Perhaps it was that we came from different social groups and knew each other in degrees varying from little to none. Perhaps it was knowing that we would be working together for the next nine months. Perhaps we just happened upon each other at the right point in our lives to fill our personal voids.

The family unit

The future The culmination of our biggest team activity didn’t end our time as a family. We’ve cheered Andy on at his youth symphony’s senior concert, Frances and Anandi in Spotlite on India, and Kriti at her last rally. We know that in five years we’ll have dinners at Aqui and in ten years we’ll watch a show on Broadway. While many friends in high school inevitably drift apart, distance is of no consequence, even 45 to 1,525 miles apart. Brittany from “Glee” phrases the family dynamic best. For us, it sounds like this: “Family is a place where everyone loves you now matter what and they accept you for who you are.” We know we’re going to be a bridesmaid (or groomsman) at each other’s weddings. And we’re going to be anxiously awaiting unit playdates with our kids.”It has now become one: our Unit 6 family.


o to college—that is what most seniors would say if asked what their plans are for the next four years. It is also what senior Andrew Zhou said, and to elaborate he simply added, “Go to De Anza.” “The reason I didn’t reply to a four-year college [that had already accepted me] is that you’d become stuck there for four years,” Zhou said. “Money was definitely a factor, [as well] as screwing around [and my inability to focus] for four years in high school.” Zhou believes De Anza will provide him with more options and time before transferring to another school later on. Senior Nathan Hu is also planning on attending De Anza, after applying to four-year colleges to take time for making decisions. Both Zhou and Hu remain unsure about their future plans, including what they want to study: something related to finance or business administration for Zhou; something in the field of physiology or biology for Hu. Zhou based some of his decision to attend De Anza on its transfer program with UC Berkeley, a school he thinks is ideal for his interests. Zhou said he would like the opportunity to attend University of Southern California in Los Angeles, Calif. at the end of his two years as well. Despite continuing to live in Cupertino, Zhou expects he will not miss out completely on the college-living experience. In his case, Zhou’s parents may move out of the house after his graduation from high school. Because they are considering moving to Mountain View, Zhou may choose to live with roommates in his current apartment. “If [my parents] actually move out, I’ll

STUDENT LANDLORD (Left) While attending De Anza Community College, senior Andrew Zhou may live with two friends in his apartment, collecting rent. grab two friends and collect rent from them,” Zhou said. “It’ ll be like an extra income… [and] you get the college dorm experience.” As for Hu, he plans to continue running track for the De Anza team while going to school. The coach is Ray Cornell, who also serves as the MVHS coach. Even now, some students will not admit to going to a community college to their peers. Career Center advisor Miriam Taba feels that MVHS teenagers often feel pressure to not tell

JUST KEEP RUNNING (Right) Senior Nathan Hu will be on the track team at De Anza Community College. Hu is considering going into physiology or biology after. their friends. “[Then in the fall] you see them around town,” Taba said. While it is not what the majority of teenagers are doing at this school, the students who choose to attend De Anza are still committing to the same plans as most of their peers—go to college.

Natalie Chan ||

A whole new academic culture Senior Kaushik Kondubahtla decides to attend medical school in India


enior Kaushik Kondubahtla sits, antsy and somewhat unwilling to draw attention. He still awaits the college application results while other seniors are content with their descisions. This tends to be the case when one applies to schools on the other side of the globe. When the time to write applications approached, Kondubahtla’s father suggested going to a medical school in India because earning a medical degree there is faster. Kondubahtla agreed and decided that he was only going to stay in the U.S. if he got into a six or seven-year medical school. To become a doctor in the U.S., a student would have to go through eight years of medical school. The process is much quicker in India, where a student would go to medical school for five and a half years right after high school. “With the [Medical College Admission Tests] here, there’s just way too much uncertainty [as to] whether you’ll get into a good medical school,” Kondubahtla said. The idea of moving to a different country is daunting, but Kondubahtla speaks with confidence about his potential new lifestyle. He plans to move to India alone, although his mother may come with him. He has lived in India before and can speak Telugu fluently. Kondubahtla’s one concern is the academic rigor in India, which he refers to as “quite intense.” However, this does not deter him, and he plans to visit California often, and eventually move back permanently after five years to complete his residency. “It’s not taking the easy way out. I just think [India] is a better option for me.”



eacher Chris Chiang referred to Gov Team as “a life-changing experience.” Our unit, Unit 6, can attest to that.

Jacqueline Barr | El Estoque

Anandi Somasundaram ||

June 1, 2011


Page 11

Hey there, stranger (or not) College-bound seniors share thoughts on getting future roommates


or some, they may become lifelong best friends. For others, they become unpleasant memories better forgotten. Whichever way it goes, there’s no denying that meeting and living with a college roommate is a significant milestone in anyone’s life. As the date for takeoff approaches, seniors realize they have a mile-long list of tasks to complete, including figuring out housing options. There is a plethora of choices— dormitories or apartments, doubles or triples, themed or not—but regardless of the type of housing, most freshmen will live with someone outside their family for the first time. Senior Elizabeth Marten, who will be attending Biola University in La Mirada, Calif. in the fall, has decided to let her college assign her a roommate using the preferences she specified on her housing form. The form had questions that ranged from the types of music she likes to whether she sleeps with her ARTISTS’ LOFT (Above) Senior light on. Jeesoo Lee is living with two “I [think] that [Biola] will find me somebody friends in their own apartment that’s similar to me in mentality,” Marten while they attend Art Center said. “I’m also looking forward to meeting a College of Design. new person and having another friend at the college I go to.” Marten is certainly not alone in hoping to “I’m looking forward to hanging out with meet a new friend. Instead of relying on the college’s housing forms as she is, many turn [my friends] 24/7 instead of asking my mom to social networking sites to look for people for permission to go over to their houses,” with whom they may get along as roommates. Lee said. In addition to sharing a home, roommates Online, freshmen-to-be can communicate and see if they are compatible before requesting have to accommodate each other’s schedules. each other as roommates on their housing Whereas someone who is not as close to forms, allowing a smoother transition to the his or her roommate may be uncomfortable staying up while the other sleeps, dorm experience. Lee does not think she will have On the other this problem. hand, senior Jeesoo “It’ll be funny if “It’ll be funny if we all have to Lee is planning to we all have to pull pull all-nighters, and [if] we’re just find an apartment all-nighters, and [if] so sleepy we’re like, ‘OK, I’m going with two of her we’re just so sleepy to sleep from 1 to 2, you guys wake friends, seniors we’re like, ‘OK, I’m me up.’ It’ll be fun,” Lee said. “I’m Lauren Wang and going to sleep from really excited I get to room with Mary Pearse, all [my friends].” future freshmen 1 to 2, you guys Class of 2010 alumna Natalie at Art Center wake me up.’ - senior Jeesoo Lee Pastuszka, now a student at College of Design University of Rochester, had her in Pasadena, Calif. The three met as art students at MVHS and, roommate assigned by her college according upon learning that Art Center does not offer to the boxes she checked off on her housing any housing, decided to live together. A major form. She ended up with an international factor that influenced this decision was the student from Hong Kong, and due to cultural and lifestyle differences, the two did not hit fact that they already knew each other well.

PAST EXPERIENCE (Left) Alumna Natalie Pastuszka was assigned a roommate from Hong Kong.

it off right away. While her roommate went to bed early and stayed in the room for long periods of time, Pastuszka slept past 2 a.m. on most nights and went out on weekends. “We didn’t talk that much and didn’t really get along, but it wasn’t so much that we didn’t like each other,” Pastuszka said. “[It was] more of the fact that we just had different lifestyles and it was just convenient for us to not really converse.” Although she and her roommate did not end up best friends, Pastuszka acknowledges that her college did choose a clean person who does not drink or go out much, the characteristics she wanted in a roommate. But even if student housing officers and Facebook groups are reliable, Lee is reluctant to live with strangers. “I’ve always heard that you should spread your wings, and you’re supposed to meet new people in college, so I guess [by] rooming with people I’m already familiar with, I might not want to get out of that bubble,” Lee said. “But I don’t mind that much.” Hazel Hyon ||

Rotem Landesman, both junior and senior, graduates early by full year



After four years, 2011 has finally found its spirit


TRUSTING IN THE SYSTEM (Right) Senior Elizabeth Marten will let Biola University choose a roommate for her.

Leaving high school ahead of class otem Landesman had a peculiar decision to make. For the past three years, Landesman has cheered from the 2012-marked territory of the gym. For the Farewell Rally, however, Landesman had to choose which class to cheer with: the juniors with whom she has grown up or the senior class, which she is technically a part of. In late October, Landesman and her parents went to her guidance counselor with the unconventional proposition of graduating a year early. Her request was granted, and Landesman went into a limbo of what to do next. Though Landesman was quick to rule out the college route, since she felt too young to leave home right away, the prospect of moving to Israel to join the army proved to be slightly more challenging. “The pros [of going to Israel] are hard to explain. It’s like your favorite stuffed animal that you’ve had since you were three. You don’t know why you like it, but there’s something in there that you can’t replace,” Landesman said. “Whenever I go back there for a vacation, something in the air is different. Something in the people is a little different.” Though part of Landesman’s decision was partly based on the disconnect she felt from the MVHS student body, she has no doubt that she will visit the Drama department next year—the main aspect of high school that she will miss. Landesman admits, however, that one of her biggest fears is growing apart from all of her friends. “The scary thing is that next year the structure isn’t there, and not in terms of what time I go to school. Here I’m forced to hang out with people at brunch and lunch. But [out of high school] you can sit at home and watch videos,” Landesman explained. “Maybe that’s a switch I have to make in terms of keeping in touch with people.” Though Landesman’s graduation date is quickly approaching, many of her junior classmates are still unaware of her special situation. Landesman has grown accustomed to other students’ disbelief and many questions regarding her high school status. In terms of identifying herself as a junior or senior, Landesman says it depends on who asks. “In American Studies I’ll say I’m a junior, but around seniors I’ll say I’m a senior. If I want to sound smart, I’ll say I’m a senior. But if I want some exception I’ll be like, ‘Come on, I’m a junior!’” Photo used with permission of Drama Department

Worth the wait

Mansi Pathak ||

t took our class 16 rallies to finally win. As happy as I am, I will be the first to admit that 2011 isn’t known for our raucous cheering or widespread support. Trust me: as a class officer, I would know. Yet on one sunny afternoon, 2011 proved me wrong and helped me to discover our true class spirit. Not the iconic scream-your-heartout-spirit that first comes to mind, but rather a spirit that is more wholly 2011. Reflecting on my beach experience made me even more proud to graduate with my peers in the class of 2011. On that day, around half our class headed to the beach. Expecting a day of fun for all, I quickly grew disappointed as each friend group set up camp like little islands in the notso-warm sand. A good ol’ game of ball I was irritated with our class; after four years, I had hoped that we could all enjoy the beach together and was about to give up all hope of unity—but all it took was a football. As more people arrived at Panther Beach, the game kept getting bigger and bigger. It didn’t matter what group you came from or how good you were as long as you were willing to play, there was a spot for you. We came together JACQUELINE BARR for this game, just as we have done when trying to achieve other common goals. Banding together, we have helped causes bigger than ourselves: Haiti and Japan.

A welcome surprise

Communal suffering As the wind ripped across the beach and the furious sand slapped against our bare, sensitive legs, a collective groan could be heard from everyone present. We connected through our pain as the sand stung our legs and we rushed to cover our food and keep the grit out of our drinks. As a class, we have all suffered through the late nights and stress that our school provides. We have been with each other through the loss of teachers, the ends of relationships, and some simply bad days. The pain we share binds us together. Camaraderie The path down to the beach was rocky and steep. Abundant pricklers and the occasional rusty metal bar jutted out from the rock face. Caravans of people helped each other down the hill. To conquer the cliff, we had to pass heavy bags back and forth and depend on the recommendations of others. We were forced to lean on each other for mental and physical support. People were helped and then in turn helped the people behind them. Getting support from people I had talked to only a few times burgeoned my spirits. Just as we used our experiences to scale the cliff, we reached out to others in our class as they were forced through similar situations and used our experience to guide them through their trials. In short I discovered the heart of 2011, not the ability to scream the loudest at a rally, but rather the ability to come together for a common goal and to have each others’ backs. Our class helped me to discover real class spirit and one that is much more important than winning all those rallies. As the day continued, the islands became a giant blob of towels. The sunscreen was shared, games were played together, but most importantly the experience was uniquely ours and ours alone.

Page 12

June 1, 2011


It’s not about the end but the journey there


use the word “friends” extremely loosely. I see all relationships, regardless of their nature as friendships, and I commonly substitute other words with “friendship.” Don’t get me wrong, I don’t take friendships lightly and I believe in being best friends forever. I have friends who I have pinky promised to keep in my life forever. However, given all of that, I understand that things will change. In the end I’ve never been cynical about my years at MVHS nor did I need time to grow to love the awkward purple and gold combination. I didn’t start every year with a count down towards graduation but today I find myself laughing at the hypocrisy of the culmination of my four years here. Most of us began freshman year determined to fit in and find our own niche. Our process began by deciding where to spend those precious first 15 minutes at brunch. We were convinced that our friendships from that first day would be the ones we would share in our purple and white graduation caps. It’s safe to say things don’t always turn out as expected. Despite the fact that most of 2011 has found an almost perfect fit, countless seniors are counting down the days to graduate. While some of us are SARIKA PATEL counting down to the eagerly anticipated future, many are counting down to leave the past behind. Call me crazy but it seems like a lot of energy spent trying to fit in, only to wanting to get out.

What the friends?

It’s not about sucess or failure The distance that graduating is going to create is inevitable. However, what we choose to remember from relationships is up to us. While it’s easy to remember the falling out of a friendship or the loss of a good friend, it’s more worthwhile to remember the reasons of the falling out. Each relationship, whether successful or not holds special memories and learning. Several years down the road, you are not going to remember which relationships you maintained or failed to maintain; you will remember the moments in that friendship that helped define your character. The secrets you kept, the lies you told, and the moments in which you made decisions and unexpectedly learned about yourself. Taking it to the grave While I understand there are very few friendships, if any, that I will take to the grave, the relationships I’ve had have helped me discover who I am as a person and what I value. Even though the tangible friendships will wither away, the lessons learned are what I will carry with me. Even though I’m not going to be with my best friend forever it’s not the permenance of the friendship that brings me joy but the memories created.

Guide to a smooth transition El Estoque alumni suggest shopping dos and don’ts for college life



Mini iron and board Even if you plan on lounging in your sweatpants and Snuggies all day long, there will inevitably be a time that you will need to look nice and presentable. A mini iron and ironing board are convenient to store, and can help smooth out the wrinkles of that shirt that’s been sitting at the back of your closet all semester.

Simple tool chest Dad’s giant tool set, with everything

from screwdrivers to electric saws, won’t be so easily accessible to you when living in a dorm. Make sure you have at least a screwdriver, hammer, pliers, and wrench in a tool chest just in case something comes loose and you have to fix it yourself this time. Just make sure beforehand that you know how to use it.

Clothing Ladies, this is not the time to pack up

your whole closet and transport it with you. You will most likely be going shopping and adjusting to the trends of your new area. Bring your favorites and nothing else—if you have to spend time debating over it, chances are you won’t need it. Shoes are included—don’t waste space bringing sandals you’ll only wear once.

Extra linens If you’re staying in a regular dorm, you only have one bed to cover with sheets. Even in cold areas, most dorms are heated enough that you’re not going to need extra blankets and sheets.

Extra Reading Books Adjusting

to a new school and a new community will take up more time than you think it will. You’re barely going to have time to finish assigned reading—leave the leisure reading at home. Or, if you really can’t be separated from your bookshelf, invest in a space-saving Kindle.

Duct tape You never know when it’s going to come in

handy: for quick repairs, decoration, or make-shift clothing.

OUT-OF-STATE PLANNING I WISH I HAD BROUGHT 1. If you can buy it there, buy it there. There’s

no point in buying new sheets at the Cupertino Target, packing them into a suitcase, and then driving by a Target on the way from the airport to your school. Before you leave, look for the closest Target, Ikea, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Costco to your college campus and plan out what you need to buy once you arrive.

2. Don’t buy your “cold weather clothing” in California. Wait until you arrive to buy coats, gloves, boots, and scarves. Anything you buy here will be too thin after you experience the icy weather in other states.

3. Buy waterproofing spray for your shoes, because nobody likes soggy socks.

4. If you can’t decide what to bring, leave it at home. If you really need it, you can always have your parents ship it over.

5. Expect to feel homesick. Even if you don’t think you are going to miss your parents, during the cold winters it is common to miss the simple things about home: your bedroom, pets, or even a home-cooked meal.

El Estoque alums offer advice to graduating seniors

“[I wish I had brought] medicine, like Nyquil, Ibuprofen, and cough drops. You end up using literally everything at least once or twice. A lot of people forget that stuff, so it’s nice to be able to help people out when they’re sick.” –Samved Sangameswara, UC Santa Cruz “I wish I had brought a durable laundry hamper, and an ID card holder and lanyard for your key.” –Kanwalroop Singh, UC Berkeley

“I totally wish I brought a blanket—it’s so useful when you’re studying late at night at the library; Bath and Body Works soap—the dorm soap is gross; and a debit card. This is a must, even with ‘dining dollars’ I do hope you plan to leave campus sometimes.” –Deepa Kollipara, UC San Diego

Jackie Barr || Tracy Zhang ||

Traveling overseas for a semester

Senior Kristen Tatsuno begins college experience in a foreign country


he aroma of muffins drifts through the small apartment where senior Kristen Tatsuno and her roommates gather to eat yet another fresh baked batch. While most incoming college freshmen feast on the variety of food available at their dining commons, Tatsuno’s college won’t be offering any— strictly breakfast and lunch only. And sadly for Tatsuno, muffins are the only thing she knows how to make. She fears it may be muffins for dinner for an entire semester. Tatsuno, a spring admit to Northeastern University, has been given a once in a lifetime opportunity to spend her first semester abroad, studying at the American College of Thessaloniki, Greece. While other college freshmen will be making the traditional IKEA trip, Tatsuno will be heading off to Greece on Sept. 10, with a scrapbook of friends in hand, her laptop open to Skype, and a Citibank account. This university is just outside of the city’s center and on the edge of the water front and will be Tatsuno’s home for the next three months, along with 500 other Northeastern students. After her three month study abroad, Tatsuno will take her last flight for a while, heading to Boston where she will join the rest of her graduating class and finally have the option to eat dinner made by someone else.


On friendships

Kevin Tsukii | El Estoque

Sahana Sridhara ||


June 1, 2011

Page 13


summer of SEQUELS

June 3: “X Men: First Class”

Find familiar faces amidst 23 sequels to be released

Murray Close | Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

July 15: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”

June 24: “Cars 2”

Walt Disney Corporation

X-Men prequel promises another Marvel marvel Looks like Marvel’s trying to make an impact on this generation. And if “The Green Hornet,” “Thor,” and “The Green Lantern” aren’t enough, “X-Men: First Class” just might do the trick. Here’s the deal: The original “X-Men” trilogy started from the middle. It left out the back-story—how Dr. Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr, a.k.a. “Magneto” (Michael Fassbender) met, how they became best friends, and how they became mortal enemies. And with a great story comes great characters. Even from the trailers, you can tell that each mutant is undergoing an identity crisis. The character archetypes may be similar, so the actors need to bring it to the silver screen. While the premise of the movie sounds like “been there, done that,” the real prize lies in the story. Conspiracy theorists, get ready for a field day. You know the whole Cuban missile crisis? It was partly orchestrated by the Hellfire Club. The entire movie is filled with snippets of history intertwined with action, drama, and loads of mutants. So if “First Class” is as epic as the background music for the trailers, Fox may just need a sequel to the prequel.

‘Cars 2’ not in Radiator Springs anymore Sorry Lightning McQueen, but this new sequel just isn’t about you. Dissatisfied with just being the winner of the Piston Cup, McQueen (Owen Wilson) and his trusty, rusty sidekick Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) travel to Japan, Italy, and Great Britain for the first-ever World Grand Prix. But for some unknown reason, Professor Zündapp (Thomas Kretschman) is out to destroy the race­—and McQueen. The refreshing thing about this sequel is that familiar faces are present, but the same faces are not the center of attention. Although Mater was more of a supporting character in the first film, he’s in the limelight for the upcoming movie. Even with the new role, “Cars 2” promises to include Mater’s characteristic naïveté that viewers came to love in the first film. But the best part is that Mater gets the chance to shine and prove that there’s brain, and maybe even brawn, keeping this rusty pick-up truck on it’s wheels—the sequel gives Mater a chance to grow, and lovers of “Cars” get to see another side of our beloved sidekick. Since viewers have been waiting for this sequel for five years, let’s hope he takes it.

Warner Bros Entertainment Inc.

Have you had enough trouble for a lifetime? I sure haven’t. The most anticipated film this summer without fail goes to “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.” Be prepared to end your childhood on July 15. However, if you’re abroad, let’s say in London, it’s July 7. Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint are back again to reprise their roles as the usual terrific trio. There are new characters thrown in the mix—one being the lesser known Aberforth Dumbledore (Ciarán Hinds), Albus Dumbledore’s younger brother. Also present in the movie is The Grey Lady (Kelly Macdonald), or for those of you that are going “eh?” Rowena Ravenclaw’s daughter, Helena Ravenclaw. She aids Harry in search for the Ravenclaw didem, one of the seven horcruxes. If you haven’t read any of the books, here’s the gist of the storyline. Harry Potter and his two besties venture off to kill Voldemort, a dark wizard who killed Harry’s parents when he was just a widdle baby. The story is old, but the graphics are new. It will be the first of all the Harry Potter movies to be featured in 3D across the whole nation, rather than just select theaters. Pooja Ravikiran || Yaamini Venkataraman || Pooja Ravikiran and Yaamini Venkataraman || El Estoque Photo Illustration

Junior Pearl Law exhibits selfless service two summers in a row Law spent previous summer volunteering in Nicaragua, will spend this summer in Africa


unior Pearl Law sits with a camera in her lap, backpack at her feet, and a Chinese textbook on the ground next to her—the image of an MVHS student. One would never imagine that she had spent a month building homes for homeless in another country, and was planning to do it again, with a program called Global Works, that allows high school students to explore and volunteer in the world around them. The depth and understanding that Law has about the world around her is obvious. She always knew that there was poverty and hunger, but she never really understood the implications. Law says that initially, the culture shock had her weak at the knees. She talks about having a hard time merely wrapping her mind around the troubles the people had to deal with. “Being in a place that was so different

put a lot of things into perspective for me” Law said. “I stopped thinking ‘OMG! I got a C on my math test,’ instead I started turning on running water and simply marveling at the fact that I’m only part of a percentage of the world that has access to such a seemingly fundamental thing.” Law appreciates what the experience did for her, and this summer she is spending a month in Africa, where she will do the same. Besides having a chance to experience a culture outside the Cupertino bubble, Law made many new friends that she has had a chance to keep in touch with. “Sharing such an experience brought us closer—we had to rely on one another to stay sane,“ Law said. “When I think about this opportunity, I feel like I hve the obligation to help these people. They deserve a chance as much, if not more, than we do.”

Photos used with permission of Pearl Law

NEW FRIENDS Volunteering with the Global Works program in Nicaragua, junior Pearl Law built houses for homeless families.

Danielle Kay ||

Page 14

June 1, 2011



IN: MUSIC The summer sequels are going to be pretty cool, but the albums set for release for the summer are even cooler. Good indications for a summer-smash album are the lead singles of the album. One highly anticipated album set for the summer is Pitbull’s “Planet Pit,� which will be released on June 21. Both of the lead singles, “Hey Baby (Drop It to the Floor)� and “Give Me Everything,� show that the new album has potential. The catchy lead single was released back in 2010, so you’ve had a chance to get excited for the new music you’re going to be blasting. Also released on this date is the new LMFAO album named “Sorry for Party Rocking� that is set to be tough competition for album sales for Pitbull, as they have the similar catchy rhythms and dance-floor rocking beats. Arctic Monkeys is also releasing an album. Since it’s summer and you have more time, buy all three and listen groove to music all day long.



OUT: FROZEN YOGURT The decline in popularity of frozen yogurt can explain the closing of Tartini’s and I Heart Yogurt in recent months. Perhaps hype is going back to Pearl Milk Tea, with a myriad of shops in Cupertino booming in business. It may be the expensive price, the oversweet taste, or the fact that there were just too many different places to choose from, but the popularity of frozen yogurt is going out. However, the competitors of frozen yogurt, ice cream, are thriving in the summer season, such as Baskin Robbins or Cold Stone Creamery. Maybe in a few years, the frozen yogurt business in Cupertino will boom once more, but it remains out until people decide to crave its tartness again.

Many see summer as that time to get ahead in school by studying for next year’s classes or for the dreaded SAT’s. It‘s summertime and with studying out of style, enjoying life and hobbies can be integrated into your life once again. Come to think of it, you don’t have to feel guilty about not studying, unlike during the other vacations during the school year. It‘s the only legitimate time to go on vacation and hang out with friends without having school in the back of your mind. Throw those physics books down and be free.

Yeah, there’s a recession going on, but that doesn’t stop students from getting summer jobs in malls, restaurants, or as swim instructors for little kids. Not only do they get paid for the work, they get the valuable experience that could be used in future higher paying jobs after college. It also occupies their time so that they won’t be bored out of their mind during the longest vacation of the year. In addition to being a test of mental endurance, it can be a physical work-out. Who said that standing for hours isn’t a good exercise for the calves. Not to mention, there are employee discounts. The only issue that arises is the awkward quitting moment where you give up on your job once school starts again. Derrick Yee ||

Sophomore Grant Menon goes deeper with typical hobby

Menon competed in a world-wide magic competition, continues to follow his passion


e carries a handy-set of cards in his backpack at all times—just in case someone asks him to do a trick. Sophomore Grant Menon is a top competitor in the world of magic. When Menon was five, his uncle was the first to expose him to the tricks and treats of magic. “I remember first seeing that great big blue box of Marvin’s magic—after that, I knew I was hooked,� Menon said. Menon entered an international competition in Kerala, India in May of 2008. Since the rating was unclear, he was said to have placed between fourth and ninth place. “Most of the tricks that were being performed there were parlor magic,� Menon said. “What I did mainly consisted of close-up magic.� Parlor magic is the smokes and mirrors side of performing

live tricks. It is mainly used for a big audience; some of the tricks would be the ol’ pulling a bunny out of a hat and a disappearing act. Menon does close-up magic. This area of magic is well adjusted to a intimate setting, usually performing for someone right across from you. In sixth grade, Menon met a friend who showed him a card trick and he was hooked. “I was captivated at first by this trick. I guess this was when I first thought of performing [for] others,� Menon said. Since then, Menon has performed at various children’s birthday parties, a Blue and Gold dinner for Cub Scouts, and talent shows at Kenndy Middle School. He also performed at the MVHS carnival at lunch on May 26.

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Pooja Ravikiran ||

Elvin Wong | El Estoque

MAGIC Sophomore Grant Menon (right) performs during the carnival on May 26 in the Rally Court.


June 1, 2011

Page 15


THE DIVING DUO Senior Danny Yusem, sophomore Chavi Checker discuss experiences as only divers on diving team

Originally a trampolinist, senior Danny Yusem considered diving after his aunt suggested the sport to him. Yusem tried out freshman year for MVHS’ diving team, which at the time had a total of three members, and came to really like the sport. He joined the Santa Clara Club team and continues to dive for both MVHS and SCC. El Estoque: What do you struggle with the most in diving? DY: It’s definitely a mental game. Some of the dives are immensely stressful. It hurts a lot if you smack [against the water] or you hit the board. So you are battling this in your head and you have to do everything right. When you get up to [a diving board that’s] three meters or 10 meters, it can really hurt. People can break ribs if they smack off a 10 meter board. EE: Why do you think diving is not a very popular sport at MVHS? DY: I guess it never really gets enough publicity. In my opinion, it’s a cooler sport than swimming. I mean, swimming is just going back and forth, but diving, there is just so much more to it. EE: What makes you so passionate about diving? DY: I’m a really competitive person. I just want to be the best at whatever I do. I really wish I started at a younger age so I could have more of a competitive edge, but I am lucky to have the Santa Clara Diving Club, otherwise I would just be like any other high school diver. EE: What is something most people don’t know about diving? DY: A lot of people don’t know how diving is a competitive sport. [People ask] how do you know who is better? It is about score, degree of difficulty of the dive, and it‘s a lot more about technique and how you use the board. EE: What goes through your head when you are mid-air? DY: After you leave the board it‘s all muscle memory. In practice you are doing the dive over and over and over again to try to get it perfect. You do one dive, your coach gives you the corrections. When it comes to competition, hopefully you’ve had enough practice to where you don’t even have to think about it. Sometimes you are thinking about many things at once. EE: What have you gotten out of diving? DY: Body awareness. Muscle control, awareness of your surroundings. Really knowing where up and where down is, because when you are doing multiple flips, you‘ve got to know where you are, you can’t just kick out of the tuck or the pike. When you are doing multiple flips, it’s like the world is moving around you, like watching a movie in reverse, or watching a picture going by on a treadmill and you have to line it up perfectly with your kick out, and it’s all about timing and spotting.

Sophomore Chavi Checker started diving in September of 2008 after a back injury forced her to decide between gymnastics and swimming. To her, diving is a combination of the two sports. She started with Stanford’s diving team and continues to dive with both Stanford’s club team and MVHS. EE: What goes on in your mind when you hit the board? CC: When you hit the board once, you don’t want to do the dive again, so you have to take baby steps to do the dive again so you get rid of your fear. There was a point of time I was doing really well, then all of a sudden I went down and hit the board a lot doing one specific dive. We do dry practices on trampolines, so I did that and then I got it back. It took a while, like a month. As long as you really want to do the sport you’ll be fine. If you just give up you won’t be able to get over it. EE: What is the hardest thing about diving? CC: The challenge is getting over the fear. There is fear of overrotating, going on your back or possibly hitting the board when you are doing a new dive. Once you get over the fear, it’s not too bad, you just have to stay headstrong. The hardest thing is that it’s a lot of mental thinking, too. If you over-think it, you will mess up. If you under-think it, you will mess up. You just have to have a good balance. You have to love the sport. And don’t pressure yourself, or else you’ll end up hating yourself at the end. EE: What feeling do you get when you’re in midair? CC: When you have been diving enough, you get this feeling of when you’re about to hit the water. Regardless of what dive you do, it always takes the same amount of time to do each dive because of gravity. It’s really fun, and in a way it’s relaxing because you just get the feeling you just do it automatically and you don’t have to think about it. When I’m in the air I just am thinking about the dive. What I do is just repeat the name of the dive over and over again in my head. Neha Simon || Kevin Tsukii ||

DIVE IN Senior Danny Yusem dives into the pool in a CCS competition on May 20. Yusem has been diving since his freshman year and has remained on the team since. Kevin Tsukii | El Estoque

Triple threat: Athletes compete year-round, relay experiences Six athletes who play three seasons of sports each forced to juggle both schoolwork, sports


inished with one and then it’s on to the next. Playing one sport takes time, dedication, and practice. Playing three sports takes pure skill. Six athletes at MVHS participate in all three fall, winter, and spring sport seasons during the school year to stay in shape all year long, have fun, and make new friends in the Matador athletic community. These six put the true meaning in the title student-athlete and were recognized for it at the Purple and Gold Awards ceremony on May 20. There are many aspects of sports that keep the athletes hooked, one of the biggest being the relationships with teammates that they create. “I like the adrenaline rush being out there playing, and I like the exercise. Sports teach you how to push through that comfort zone and to persevere,” sophomore Megan Jones, who participated in field hockey, basketball, and softball, said. “I play the sports mainly for fun, so exercise is more of a bonus product out of it all. Running is really fun for me, and I’ve always loved playing volleyball,” freshman Ryan Bishop, who participated in cross country, volleyball, and track and field, said. “I’ve become friends with a lot of people in the cross country environment and from my club volleyball team.”

However, with practices running late into the afternoon and academics to worry about as well, the athletes are forced to reconsider whether or not there is enough time in the day to balance the two worlds of studying and athletics. At one in the morning, the question arises whether going to practice after staying up late to finish homework is worth it or not. To keep both school and sports running smoothly, time management is a significant quality that these athletes must master. “Although it’s a lot of driving time with practice every day of the week, I love playing three sports because it is a stress reliever from school, and I was driven to win a triathlete award,” sophomore Holly Matsunami, who participated in the junior varsity field hockey, soccer, and badminton teams, said. “My parents are really supportive too, even if the equipment is expensive.” Weighing both benefits and consequences of playing three sports when contemplating giving up one sport to focus on another sport or to appropriate more time for academics, the athletes find it too hard to abandon what has become such a huge part of their lives. “My dad would get mad at me because my grades dropped a little bit. He said, ‘Oh, you are going to have stop [playing sports],’ but then I just bring them back up and continue,” freshman Rami Dwidar, who participated in

Christophe Haubursin | El Estoque Photo Illustration

THREE TIMES THE TERROR Sophomore Holly Matsunami plays junior varsity field hockey, soccer, and badminton. She won a Triathlete award for her efforts in sports. football, basketball, and baseball, said. Although these athletes must juggle sports and schoolwork on a daily basis, they push their obstacles aside and still find time to dedicate to doing what they love. “My field hockey coach would tell us that

every step makes you stronger when we were running laps,” said Jones. “So every time I feel that I can’t make that last leg, I say that clause in my head.” Emily Vu ||


June 1, 2011

Page 16


Snapshots of spring

1 B

oys volleyball beat San Benito High School in three games to advance to the quarterfinals, the highest level the Matadors have ever reached in the CCS tournament. Although the team led by senior Zachary Lamm and sophomore Derrick Chiu (far right) was swept by first-seed Bellarmine College Preparatatory, the bar was set high for the future of the program.


enior Alex Bagdasarian won the 100 meter butterfly during a meet at Saratoga High School on April 1. Bagsarian, sophomore Kevin Su, junior Michael Leung, and senior Sean Hughes formed the 400 meter free-style relay team that was the fastest in MVHS history, with a time of 3:10.68 at the May 21 CCS finals meet, earning them sixth place in the entire section. Leung also put his name in the record books by breaking the solo record for the 200 meter freestyle at a blistering 1:41.88 in the CCS meet, just a few hours after Su broke it on the same day with a time of 1:42.02. Leung earned seventh place in the finals after failing to qualify last year.

Kevin Tsukii | El Estoque



Elvin Wong | El Estoque


Scott Hyon | El Estoque

he softball team went 19-2, 11-1 during the season, and were rewarded with the sixth seed in the CCS tournament after winning 11 straight to end the regular season. The team will remain largely intact next year with only four seniors leaving.

Athletes key to the success of their teams

Senior Gary Wang was the absolute anchor for badminton at the varsity 1 singles position. His high-level performances contributed mightily to the team’s undefeated record and its path to the CCS tournament, where Wang finished second overall in boys singles.

SELFLESS SERVICE Page 13 Junior Pearl Law helps out homeless kids in Africa

Two-sport athlete, senior Alex Chiu, excelled in both volleyball and basketball. For volleyball, Chiu served as a three-year starter, two-time all-league selection, and senior year team MVP. As a forward in basketball, Chiu led the team in scoring at 18.5 points per game.

Senior Amreet Mohanty led boys tennis with his strong performances from the No. 1 singles spot. Behind his blazing serve, the team made it to CCS semi-finals, the highest finish for head coach Bruce Becker in his tenure coaching high school boys tennis.

Pitcher junior Alanna Onishi was a huge contributing factor to the girls softball team, posting a 10-1 record over opposing batters and an ERA of just 2.40 throughout the season and led the Matadors with fellow pitcher senior Kristen Tatsuno.



Page 2 Librarian Mary Ann Bouchard retires after 16 years at MVHS

Page 8 See a breakdown of the Class of ‘11

Vol 41 Issue 9 June 1, 2011  
Vol 41 Issue 9 June 1, 2011  

Monta Vista Newspaper