Page 1

pg 10-11 // centerspread November 27, 2006


“When there are 1,250 bodies coming in a short time frame, it’s a mob scene. In that commotion, kids can slip through.” -Principal April Scott

pg 4 // news

Wrong Response: Classes barricade, students leave during fire alarm pg 8// perspectives

Teens’ views of current events hindered by watching too much fake news

7-Eleven selling alcohol to minors by Cheryl Ho, Shawn Shah design editor, staff writer


o most MVHS students, the local 7-Eleven store on Bubb Road and McClellan Road was just a convenient place for food. But to others it was a source where they could discreetly obtain illegal subsances—no questions asked. But on Nov. 17 these dealings came to a screeching halt. Around 8:45 pm a store clerk was caught illegally selling a 40 oz. Budweiser beer to a minor. 7-Eleven was charged with a fine of approximately $5,000. The clerk faces additional consequences: while he was only charged with a misdemeanor, he must report to court, pay a separate fine, and could potentially lose his job. The 7-Eleven owner declined to comment. The police department, led by Ser-

geant Dave Cobble, routinely runs sting operations in nearby areas to catch stores selling alcohol and other substances to minors. “All sting operations follow the same pattern,” Cobble said. “[The decoy] picks up an alcoholic beverage and returns to the front counter. They place it on the scanner, and if the clerk doesn’t sell it, the decoy walks away without an argument. But if they do sell it, the police officer, who is behind them, acting like another separate customer, speaks out.” Though 7-Eleven continues to operate, it will now be closely monitored by the police. Further instances of underage alcohol sales may result in higher fines, a loss of the store’s liquor license, or even a store shut-down. The MVHS community can only hope that the sole drink 7-Eleven will be selling to minors is Slurpees.

One reporter joins a 7-Eleven sting

pg 13 // entertainment

Spin City: Breakdancers break out explosive moves

page 10

TAs abuse power

Zooming In investigates cheating teacher aides who use special priviledges to their advantage by Steffi Lau editor in chief


nderneath MVHS’ pleasant exterior, there is a trade brewing, fueled by students’ thirst for high grades. It is a black market in itself where connections make all the difference when all one has to do is ask a TA friend for “help.” It’s the common solution for an empty period—sign up to be a Teacher Aide and receive credit for grading homework occasionally and slacking off for the rest of the time. But it seems that TAs may receive more of an edge than the easy credit—with access to gradebooks and peers’ homework, they often have the power to manipulate the system and give their friends an advantage. “Basically the teacher put the sys-

pg 17 // sports

Football team erases doubt with strongest season in years

*students’ name has been changed

tem into place and I exploited it,” Victor Lam* said. “I found a loophole.” Last year, Lam TA-ed for a history class. Given the password to the electronic gradebook, Lam had access to all the teacher’s grades. He was given as much responsibility from grading tests to sending progress reports to the office. Towards the end of each semester, his friends began to approach him asking him to change their grades. “They had borderline grades and wanted a cushion before finals,” Lam explained. So if they said they needed a certain percentage, like they had an 88 percent and wanted a 90, I’d add a point to every test or assignment. You can barely notice it.” Though Lam first changed his friends’ grades as a “favor” to them,

see ZOOMING IN on page 5

Board censors details of Krieger’s resignation

After District edits timeline, lawsuit from ex-Superintendent presents new perspective on teacher’s exit Flashback 150 students married page 2 Point for Point Too many service clubs? page 9 Sport Swap Field hockey & tennis back page

by Jordan Kolb editor in chief


is campaign posters may have cleverly displayed a cat, but in recent months, exBoard President Avie Katz was more like a sitting duck. Katz denied accusations that he was responsible for the resignation of MVHS teacher Tim Krieger, but on Nov. 7, voters chose not to re-elect the eight-year Board member, a result likely affected by the bad press Katz and the Board received in days prior. The Board had called a special meeting on Nov. 2 to announce what a privately hired attorney had

found regarding Krieger’s sudden departure. Student Board Representative and MVHS senior Peter Lu had arrived an hour early, nervous, due to circulating rumors that the Board would choose not to disclose the investigation results. “Whatever you do, make sure the information gets out,” Lu said. “Make sure that at 4:30 we are actually going to be able to see everything that Mr. Sharpe has presented to us.” His concerns were not off base. After coming out of their closed session an hour later than expected, the Board handed out a censored version of the investigation, blacking out what was presumed to be key information on conversations between Board members, ex-Super-

intendent Stephen Rowley, Principal April Scott, and Guidance Counselor Cathy Katz. The motion to blackout was passed unanimously, but Board members Barbara Nunes and Nancy Newton both admitted that it was a “struggle.” “I had a great deal of difficulty supporting this motion tonight because of the cross-outs,” said Newton, claiming she and two others overheard a crucial conversation but were told it was somehow “disputed” and could not appear. “I feel that three people reporting something is sufficient to be in the timeline. And I know what I heard. I will pursue everything I can to see that this information is out there…It is very pertinent, and I regret that it does see DISTRICT on page 2



flashback From our vault of El Estoque archives...

February 12,

1993 Top Story: “Winter Ball hotel

room incident raises questions of authority”

A week before Winter Ball, a senior received permission from his mother to rent a room at the LeBaron Hotel where the dance was held. Since the student was a minor, he was unable to reserve a room. He asked a former MVHS student, who was already planning to celebrate a friend’s 22nd birthday party, to rent an extra room. The neighboring room hosting the party was stocked with alchohol. Instructions were left at the front desk to deny students access to this room. When the principal was checking for students in rooms, a hotel staff member mistakenly gave one of the students a key to the neighboring room, where the party was being held. Because they were thought to be involved with the party, the students were asked to leave the dance. The students and their families proceeded to contact the hotel with an appeal, and in the end, the hotel apologized for their mistake of handing the senior the wrong key. Due to this incident and all the confusion involved, Administration decided that the annual Winter Ball would no longer be held at hotels.

MVHS Seasonal Drives A Success This year the traditional “drives” were led by commissions of the Community Leadership class—a new twist on the old custom. On Nov. 21, the Health Commission led the blood drive in collaboration with the Stanford Health Center. Over 150 students and teachers signed up to donate blood, although some were unable to donate due to failing to meet medical requirements. On the day of the drive, various students from CSF and the Community Leadership class volunteered to help run the blood drive. Just a day later was the culmination of the food drive led by the Community Commission. Just shy of the schoolwide goal of 50 barrels, around 43 barrels were filled by the end of the Food Drive on Nov. 22. Simultaneously, the Gift of Reading book drive, which was from Nov. 6 to Nov. 29, was carried out by the Youth Services Commission of Community Leadership which collected over 620 books from donations and purchases for underprivileged children in the Bay Area. Over 420 books were donated by students and teachers through literature classrooms while 200 were bought through CSF’s Project LIT.

highlights A Real World Issue Displayed in Cloth

Season’s Greetings From Santa Plaza

“Save the humans! Save the humans!” An animal version of the UN chants in unison after discussing whether or not it should “help the humans” with the AIDS epidemic. This AIDS prevention ad and other awareness video clips were played in the library on Dec. 1, World AIDS Day, from 6 to 8 pm, a part of MVHS’ AIDS Awareness Week. The week included the showcasing of a 12square-foot quilt, one of the trademark AIDS awareness mediums in the San Francisco area, in the library. Informational display boards about organizations battling AIDS, testing centers, and myths about the disease accompanied the quilt. Red ribbons were passed out to students and staff who wanted to show their support for the fight against AIDS. The week ended with guest speaker Sill Reyas, from the Santa Clara County Health Commission, who spoke of the severity of the disease in the Bay Area and gave suggestions on how students can help.

Watch out for administrators clothed in Santa suits because they may very well be deciding who’s naughty or nice. Assistant Principal Dennis Plaza and Principal April Scott will dress up as Mr. and Mrs. Claus for the entertainment of staff members and their families after school on Dec. 14. While working at Cupertino High School, Plaza, who is often noted to resemble St. Nick, used to dress up as Santa Claus every year and has now brought the tradition to MVHS. Scott explained that the MVHS staff has become much younger in the past few years. “We have a new generation of youthful staff with young children and growing families,” said Scott. “And we also have an ‘Old Guard’ of veteran teachers who now have grandchildren.” This tradition allows faculty to come together during the holidays and integrate the several generations of the staff’s families. Families will bring gifts for their own children, which Plaza and Scott will present in the role of the jolly couple. “It’s a way to extend goodwill during the holidays,” said Plaza. “It’s just a very uplifting tradition.”

Teacher Recovers from Bike Accident

The student planner misled students to look forward to a winter dance—an event that was never actually scheduled to begin with. Assistant Principal Brad Metheany said, “It was something [former Leadership advisors] Tim [Krieger], Melanie [Walczak] and I decided last year. Because attendance had always been low, we just decided that with the winter formal closely following, it was not an event we wanted to hold.” Historically, the winter dance has posed a financial problem to Administration. In the past years, the school lost money on various costs like the DJ and sheriff supervision. Money brought in by paying attendees was insufficient in offsetting the cost.

Math teacher Colin Anderson, who regularly bikes around the Saratoga Hills, was found unconscious after what he believes was a wet terrain related accident. “I don’t actually remember the accident,” said Anderson. “I remember about a while before it happened, so about five minutes, and an hour after when I woke up in the emergency room.” Suffering a few broken ribs and general pain, Anderson had to take 10 days off school to recover, unable to lie down or raise his arm. Although he is back teaching, he still feels pain and is unable to sneeze or partake in any strenuous activities. Since Anderson cannot drive, he is currently carpooling with staff members until his health fully recuperates and the effects of his concussion and injury wear off.

Code Red Drill Goes Smoothly The much anticipated Code Red drill, originally planned a week earlier but interrupted by a fire alarm, took place Nov. 27. The drill was during fourth period and Administration as well as several police officers began checking classrooms immediately after. Several barricades were actually tested after Administration randomly unlocked some doors. “I was impressed by the science teachers who did an excellent job despite having to consider multiple doors to barricade,” Principal April Scott said. Although some rooms had minor flaws in their barricades, Administration and the police officers were able to inform the class immediately on how to improve for next time. The Administration considered the drill a success despite prior confusion, and MVHS may congratulate itself for rising from last year’s failure to becoming the District’s model school for the drill. The next drill, expected to be more realistic, will be in the spring.

An Unscheduled December Dance

Just An Anonymous Phone Call Away Students looking on the back of their ID card for a “Free Rides” phone number may find it slightly outdated. Now students must receive a new sticker indicating “SafeRides: Fri 11-2” with the new phone number. Safe Rides, initiated four years ago, is a student run, non-profit organization, in which MVHS students graciously give their time to offer a free, anonymous, and safe ride to other students who find themselves in an uncomfortable environment, or are unable to drive. “If a student is incapacitated and finds himself in a bad situation, all they have to do is call Safe Rides. Two students will be sent out to pick up the caller, and they will then drop the student off at his/her house. There will be no adults involved. It is completely anonymous and confidential,” said senior Hamish Ferguson, member of the Safe Rides focus group. Safe Rides’ new phone number is (408) 391-1211.

Wrapping up the holidays and the paper by Jordan Kolb editor in chief


t’s that time of the year. If finals haven’t already turned our brains into mush, the number of holiday songs heard on the radio and in department stores surely will. Winter isn’t the season, shopping is, and President Bush yields the responsibility of running the country to Hallmark. I could be judgmental about how commercial this month has become, but see, a newspaper and the holiday shopping season work in similar ways. The day after Thanksgiving is “Black Friday”, the official kick-off of the shopping season, although arguably it feels as if holiday knick-knacks fill up shelves as early as summer. With only three weeks to complete this issue, we had our own early start: production on this issue started two weeks before our last issue came out. Our ambitions, unfortunately, are no better than those of the average holiday bargain-hunter. The average shopper walks into a store with ten things on their shopping list and has plans to be in, out, and done. Five minutes later, that same shopper is wandering the aisles, wondering where the oversized coffee mugs are and debating whether or not to buy his or her best friend’s aunt’s dog’s groomer’s brother a present. Shopping trips are never as quick—or as easy—as one had hoped. Neither is producing a newspaper. Our production starts with strong goals in mind, but our hopes and

dreams of finishing at a certain time almost never seem to come true. News doesn’t nicely time itself out for us, and many times will throw a curveball at us the last week of production, à la a soccer coach resigning. Everything we do is part of an ever-changing, and often times frustrating, process that overwhelms the actual distrubution and amount of time it takes just to read the paper. Through this flurry of writing, editing, and designing--or in the case of the holidays, the planning, shopping, making, and wrapping---enormous amounts of time, energy, and money are spent leading up to one grand event. The anticipation is much to handle, but it all comes and goes, and before we know it, we’re back to an average existence. There is a large difference between the amount of time spent in preparation and the amount in celebration. So what makes the long process worth it? As a newspaper, we have a product to put out, but the time spent creating it can be just as, if not more, enjoyable than distribution day. It’s that moment when we look back on everything that justifies the hard work. While the holidays may mean long lines and trips to Target, it’s important to enjoy the holiday process of shopping just as much as the process of giving. Neither newspaper production nor holiday shopping are for the selfish: we don’t do them for ourselves, we do them for the enjoyment of others. So sometimes, it’s okay to get a little crazed. So go crazy. Revel in the long lines, enjoy the mush, and have a happy holiday. Unlike our newspaper, it only happens once a year.




Editors in Chief Jordan Kolb Steffi Lau Managing Editors Aniqa Hasan Anagha Vaidhyanathan Copy Editor John Ho News Editors June Kim Samika Savanur Perspectives Editors Nandini Dasarathy Audrey Feldman Centerspread Editors Jenny Sun Daniel Yang Entertainment Editors Symrin Chawla Ishita Mitra Sports Editors Ellen Casavant Carolyn Chuang Design and Layout Editor Cheryl Ho Photography Editor Austin Cheng Staff Writers Janhavi Athavale Radhika Chandrasekhar Cameron Lee Eric Lu Chris Moe Shibi Murali Ahmed Naguib Harold Pan Militza Petranovic Kevin Ragothaman Bilwa Ravikiran Pooja Shah Shawn Shah Casey Wong Cindy Yeh Adviser Michelle Balmeo Disclaimer Opinions expressed in this publication are those of the journalism staff and not of Monta Vista High School or the Fremont Union High School District. Mission Statement El Estoque is an open forum created for and by students of Monta Vista High School. The staff of El Estoque seeks to recognize individuals, events, and ideas and bring news to the Monta Vista community in a manner that is professional, unbiased, and thorough in order to effectively serve our readers. We strive to report accurately, and will correct any significant error. If you believe such an error has been made, please contact us. Letters of any length should be submitted via e-mail or mail. They become the sole property of El Estoque and can be edited for length, clarity, or accuracy. Letters cannot be returned and will be published at El Estoque’s discretion. El Estoque also reserves the right to reject advertising due to space limitations or decision of the Editorial Board that content of the advertisement conflicts with the mission of the publication. Contact Us El Estoque 21840 McClellan Rd. Cupertino, CA 95014 Attn: Michelle Balmeo, C210


Behind the Reams: MVHS’ new Buzz Copy Technician William ‘Buzz’ Delaney temporarily gone on medical leave by Anagha Vaidhyanathan managing editor


illiam Delaney, 61-year-old print technician, wakes up each day to the smell of toner and printer ink and begins his nine-hour work day with a paper in hand, and five million more ready to be printed. With the quaint company of a seven-inch television set to CNN, a minifridge, microwave, and machines humming away in portable seven, Delaney is MVHS’s very own “copy guy.” “It’s a job that I really enjoy waking up and going to in the morning,” Delaney said. On Oct. 6, after working between Lynbrook High School and MVHS for a total of 22 years, Delaney, more commonly known as Buzz, left his portable and machinery in the care of temporary print center technician Anne Luke for a complicated back surgery. After many years of work, and with a combination of age and arthritis, Delaney’s spinal cord was being compressed by his backbone. He explained how his limited movement was preventing him from doing the job that he loved doing with care, precision, and efficiency. “When something goes wrong for that long, even when there’s pain involved, you try to look beyond it,”Delaney said. “In fact, the surgeon said [that], if I didn’t get something done this time, I would end up in a wheelchair.” Having served in the printing and copying industry since the early 1970s, Delaneyallowed his printing and duplicating career to evolve from there, eventually coming to Cupertino. He explained how coming to FUHSD in 1985, was “the best gig [he] ever had” and how he immediately felt welcomed by the MVHS community. “I’m a background player, and it doesn’t bother me at all,” Delaney said. “I know my value, and I think I realize the value that I bring to the teachers and the school.” During the last few days before he left, Delaney trained Luke, a spunky substitute from the FUHSD office. From doing daily copy jobs for teachers to creating a colored stapled booklet for the Drama department, Luke has tried everything on this side of the copy line. “Sure I haven’t done a lot of this before, but it’s a cool challenge,” Luke said as she pushed buttons rapidly on the printers. “I dig it!” Inspired by Delaney and his years of

It’s a ‘No-Brainer’


Austin Cheng | photography editor

COPY-CAT Copy technician Anne Luke makes copies for teachers on Nov. 13. Luke is filling in for Buzz Delaney while he recovers from extensive back surgery. experience, Luke is never afraid to tackle a new task. Her “tootie frooty background” as she describes it, has included being a bakery chef, a nutritionist with a dietetic degree, a manager in a nursing home for the elderly, a food broker for large manufacturers, and of course, a job with Hallmark. “Every single experience in your life helps you [in] the next one,” Luke said. “Sometimes you may not see it right away, or at least until you reach the next one.” For now, Luke, or “Annie” as some teachers call her lovingly, has added her own flavor to the copy room and like Delaney, welcomes staff members and teacher assistants who frequently visit with their various copy jobs. Aside from being MVHS’ new “copy lady,” Luke often chats with teachers as they handle personal copy jobs or wait in line for an available machine. Government teacher Ben Recktenwald, who visited Buzz at the hospital during his post-surgery recovery, recalled his experiences in the copy room, which were always pleasant. “He’d be on his copier and I’d be on mine and we’d just talk about politics, current events, or whatever interesting things

were going on at school,” Recktenwald said. “Sometimes if a copier was broken, there would be a huge line of teachers kind of just hanging out in [the copy room].” Recktenwald accredited Buzz with having that “get the job done on time” attitude that helped make teachers’ lives much easier. “When he told us that he was going to have surgery done, I didn’t expect it for a second,” Recktenwald said. “He’s a spring chicken – never complained or showed signs of being restricted or in pain.” The MVHS staff and students continue to remember Buzz as a diligent worker who took the extra step to remain composed and optimistic regardless of the task at hand. “You ask people what’s important in their lives and they all say the same thing,” Luke said. “I think it’s all about working with integrity and respect, especially in a service job, and doing it visibly in a humble manner.” On Oct. 10, doctors fused four sections, of Delaney’s backbone, and he is currently recovering at home with the support of the entire MVHS staff and Administration. Yet four years away from retirement, and one spinal surgery later, this worker-bee has every intention of returning to work after the New Year holiday.

DISTRICT: Rowley blames Katz as timeline provides more questions than answers ing really to hide,” community member Jim Black said. “If there is a continued from page 1 lawsuit, everything that you’ve concealed here is going to come out. not appear in this report.” According to Board Clerk Kathryn Ho, the blackouts were due to There is no way that it’s not going to.” Black was proven correct when Stephen Rowley sued FUHSD the litigation regarding the firing of Stephen Rowley. “Any information regarding [the investigation] can put our Dis- the next day and supplied his side of the Krieger conflict. According to Rowley, Katz approached him “furious” that trict in a very vulnerable situation if we have to enter Krieger was about to take the open GRT post at into a lawsuit situation,” Ho said. “That is the dilemma MVHS. Katz claimed to have “three votes” on the that we are facing. We want you to know the truth, but Board to deny Krieger the position and terminate we need to protect the District.” Rowley’s contract, Rowley alleges, and claimed Board member Homer Tong added, “Lately we have the “Board had the right to approve all personnel been under the influence of our attorney in terms of issues,” although that statement would be untrue. what we need to do.” Rowley said his firing was the “desire to silence” Attorney Tom Sharpe, the timeline creator, not the him and “keep him from bringing to the attention attorney giving the Board legal advice, answered quesof the public the improper actions of [Avie] Katz.” tions that marked the timeline to be, as he put it, “a Rowley is suing for monetary damages, mental anwork in progress.” According to Sharpe, who joined guish, and emotional distress. the meeting by speakerphone, his job was solely to cre“This [lawsuit] is the latest attempt [to hurt me] ate a timeline, not to summarize or draw conclusions. If, for example, persons A, B, and C reported one Ex-Superintendent Stephen Rowley and it is just as ridiculous as the other assertions,” Katz said in a statement. “I have said thing, but member E disputed it, Sharpe claimed, “It’s not in the timeline. The timeline is based on either documents or all along, and I will say to you again, that I have done nothing but inquire about the hiring processes of our District, and that is entirely statements that were not controversial.” Members of the meeting, however, cared more about getting an- appropriate.” With a new lawsuit, a new timeline, and a new Board member, swers than the District’s legal protection. “I really request that the $20,000 [lawsuit] somehow comes back a month that many had hoped would bring closure to an ongoing to the community with more depth and more information,” ASB Pres- search for answers has only provided a new semblance of quesident and senior Kim Ang said. “Something that would be worth tions. The Board will next discuss the Krieger investigation, and most likely the Rowley lawsuit, at its Dec. 5 meeting. spending $20,000 on.” “At least it gives you a starting point,” Newton said, referring to Those not affiliated with MVHS were also wary of the decision. “I don’t see what the benefit is of not coming clean if there’s noth- the timeline. “But I hope it’s not an ending point.”

ost of us have heard the common saying that something is a “nobrainer;” chances are we’ve actually used this phrase in the most ordinary of conversations, conversations like: Which movie should we go see? It’s obvious. History quiz? A breeze. What to do tonight? Again, clearly a no-brainer. To be blunt, I can’t help but wince at the phrase. When we use the term, we’re usually trying to indicate that the question is so simple that it doesn’t even require, per se, a brain. When we apply it to more complicated issues, though, we tend not to give our actions and even our beliefs the examination that they deserve. Because after all, doesn’t the definition of “nobrainer” in itself imply that there is actually no extra thought involved? Don’t get me wrong. By no means is this a problem limited to high school students. On Oct. 29, Vice President Dick Cheney ostensibly justified the use of waterboarding, a form of torture in which the detainee is subjected to near-suffocation. When conservative talk show host Scott Hennen asked if he would agree if “a dunk in the water is a no-brainer if it can save lives,” Cheney responded, “It’s a no-brainer for me...But we don’t torture. That’s not what we’re involved in.” Taken at face value, of course, nobody’s going to argue against saving lives. However, Cheney’s alleged “nobrainer” argument casually brushed aside international law, numerous studies indicating that information elicited under torture is, to be blunt, completely useless, human rights treaties to which the US is a party, the eighth amendment… Which is why in our own right, we ought to be more careful when presented with our own “no-brainers.” As a senior, I’ve watched friends apply to universities which they have done little research on and know very little about, other than the notion that they are “good schools.” And of course, usually that school has an excellent program in their field of study. Seems like a “no-brainer,” no? But then again, they too often forget to consider on-campus housing, student to teacher ratio, diversity, and a multitude of other factors that could have a drastic effect on their college experience. To say it more simply, their limited perception of which schools are “good” might actually be setting them up for disaster. The truism that “it’s easy to take things for granted” sounds 110 percent obvious. We’ve all of course heard this a thousand times, and while it sounds cliché and apparent, it’s no big secret that everyone forgets from time to time to re-examine their own philosophies. After all, taking things for granted doesn’t simply mean failing to appreciate one’s material possessions. Too often, we actually take our own belief systems for granted and fail to ask questions of ourselves, questions like, “How could my actions affect other people?” and “Does what I just said really make sense?” Cheney’s dismissal of a complicated issue with the simple statement that it was a “nobrainer” indicated a similar oversight. The issue of whether or not the US. government should permit waterboarding is not simply a matter of saving lives; rather, it ultimately determines the extent to which the United States is willing to comply not only with our own Bill of Rights, which forbids “cruel and unusual punishment,” but also with international human rights treaties such as the Geneva Conventions. It may be easy for us to write off an issue as a “no-brainer” in our everyday lives, whether it’s something as simple as who to vote for in class elections or who to ask to Winterball. More often than not we would do well to lend more thought to choices which we view as simple. The implications of our choices might not be as drastic as those of, say, the Vice President of the United States, but when the answer seems too easy, chances are it probably is.

Code Red drill goes up in smoke

Austin Cheng | photography editor

MIXED SIGNALS Police and firetrucks arrived at MVHS on Nov. 20 in response to a fire alarm during brunch, which was caused by smoke from hot tar being poured onto the weight room roof. Some staff members and students, thinking it was Code Red, went into lockdown. by Aniqa Hasan managing editor


t any other school when a fire alarm sounds, students evacuate the campus. But at MVHS on the morning of Nov. 20, the blare of the fire alarm was followed by screaming students running into classrooms and barricading themselves inside. Knowing that a Code Red drill was scheduled for that day sometime between periods two and six, many students – and teachers – assumed the fire alarm, which rang minutes before fourth period, was really the Code Red drill. “I rushed toward the nearest classroom,” senior Sophia Gu said. “The teacher was telling us to come in, and after the coast was clear, she closed the door and we started to make the door barricade and the interior barricade.” While some were locking down inside, others where sprinting off campus. Teachers were instructed to send students on the outskirts of campus to the nearby staging areas: 7-Eleven, Kennedy Middle School, and Blackberry Farm. “There were people running off campus following the instruction of teachers,” freshman Vikram Nilakantan said. “People were

running down the stairs, running into rooms as students were running past them toward the outside of the school. None of the teachers seemed to have any idea of what was going on, but they knew something was wrong.” Soon after, Assistant Principal Dennis Plaza made an announcement clarifying that it was not a Code Red, but a fire alarm. Staff members also ran door-to-door pounding on barricaded doors, telling classes to evacuate. This chaotic scene worried some. “It raises concern as to how people will act in an actual situation,” Gu said. “It is really dangerous for students to be running into classrooms and barricading themselves during a fire. Students need to be instructed more clearly in the case of an emergency.” Yet another problem occurred in the student parking lot. “Students, who may have been ROP students, were in the process of leaving campus [in their cars],” music teacher Jon Fey said. “The cars just happened to be using the fire lane.” Fey, aiding Assistant Principal Fred Keep, directed students in cars back into the parking lot, and they eventually exited through the parking lot entrance. This was a danger in itself because of the possibility of traffic entering.

Despite these complications, Principal April Scott was pleased with the response of the school. “The students did an unbelievable job of going off campus,” she said. “They exited to the locations closest to where they were and not where their classes would have been. The staff members each have specific responsibilities, and they handled those excellently as well.” According to Scott, the Code Red alarm is very distinctive from a fire alarm, and would be ideally followed by an announcement with specific instructions from Administration. As the confusion ended and students waited in their evacuation areas, they began to speculate on the cause of the fire alarm. Hot tar being poured by construction workers onto the roof of the wrestling room created smoke that eventually made it into the air ducts and set off the fire alarm. Following procedure, sheriffs quickly arrived on campus to assess the scene. The excessive amount of smoke caused concern, and thus the fire department was called. The Code Red drill had originally been scheduled for fourth period on Nov. 20 but was rescheduled for Nov. 27 to avoid further disruption.

ALCOHOL: An ongoing battle continuted from page 1 banned from all dances for 365 days following the day of violation, including formals. Since its implementation, no students were found intoxicated at dances held oncampus until Homecoming. Though some students may have gone intoxicated undetected, Administration still considered the policy effective until Homecoming. Though the number of students found intoxicated is confidential, both Assistant Principal Brad Metheany and School Site Officer Sergeant William Tait agreed that the figure was “nothing extraordinary.” But the return to previous numbers was disheartening. Principal April Scott said, “When there are 1,250 bodies coming in a short time frame, it’s a mob scene. In that commotion, kids can slip through.” Scott also acknowledged that for such a large dance, the number of students apprehended is admirably low, especially compared to other local schools, but is “still unacceptable.” Due in part to the disappointing Homecoming incidents, Administration has begun revision of the alcohol policy. “We will be redesigning the screening and funneling process of how students come into dances,” Scott said, possibly using the wrestling room as a lobby of some sort rather than having students “queuing up outside.” Preventive strategies are also being considered to spread awareness of both the consequences as instated by the policy and the specific dangers of alcohol consumption. The newsletter sent to parents and the student announcements will have a stronger focus on the policy during dance months. Administration insists that students should already be aware of this policy because it is printed in student planners. However, awareness may not be the problem, as one source commented, “[the consequences are] pretty crazy, but I know I wouldn’t get caught.” “The one thing we don’t want is a police state, or a staff mindset of ‘gotcha,’” said Scott. “We feel very confident in our students’ abilities to behave themselves.”

Camp Everytown postponed until late winter

Minimal enrollment in the unique cultural experience forced organizers to delay it until a more convenient time

by Chris Moe

This year, however, the same has not been the case. In a year with publicity efforts higher than ever, including parent-made brochures, lunchtime pizza parties, and video announcen the morning of Oct. 25, Student Advocate Richard Prinz, Assistant Principal Den- ment promotion, student interest was lower than many previous years. “It might have been an issue of timing – with Homecoming and the PSAT just a week nis Plaza, School Psychologist Sheila Altman, and teachers Joyce Fortune, Nancy Sullivan and Maria Yoo drove into the Santa Cruz Mountains to prepare for the before, and various sports events the next weekend, many students might have had conflicts arrival of students to Camp Everytown later that day. With a planned attendance of over 30 with the timing,” said Prinz. The problem at MVHS, according to some staff, goes deeper than this. MVHS – a school students, the staff members looked forward to one of their favorite programs of the year. Upon their arrival, the leader of Camp Everytown told them that another school that had characterized as highly academic – may not embrace the social and emotional intelligence promised to bring students had canceled night before. This would leave a population of just Camp Everytown promotes. It seems as if “the bridging of cultural divides”, as the Everytown brochure alleges, could be valuable to students. 22 students, all from MVHS, for the program designed for 50 to 70 students. English teacher Mario Yoo feels strongly about changing the campus culture and con“It is a better experience with more students, because you get more variety,” said Prinz. vincing more to embrace this “It’s also nice to have stulearning opportunity. She dents from other schools, had planned to attend in Ocas you get different per- “ needs to be to value the lessons of [everytown]. tober, and was disappointed spectives.” the postponement of the The MVHS staff memare of being successful.” -student advocate Richard Prinz with program. bers weighed the cost “People don’t want to and effect of their potenmiss school. There should be more support and understanding for makeup work. We should tial options, and decided to postpone the camp until a later date. “This actually has become a good opportunity – we need a larger group effort in promo- value growth as a person instead of only memorization of facts,” Yoo said. Prinz added, “The MVHS culture needs to be changed to value [the lessons of Everytion,” said Prinz. Camp Everytown started over 10 years ago and was received with much enthusiasm town]. Academics are only one part of being successful. Better communication, dealfrom the MVHS community. Rated by Newsweek Magazine as the premier teen program ing with conflicts and interpersonal relations are some of the important things learned for bridging cultural divides and helping build inclusive communities, it offers opportunities at Everytown.” Prinz is working with staff and the Leadership student advisory focus group to promote for learning social skills – qualities that may not always be learned in the classroom. In the early years of the program, there were as many as 70 students attending Everytown. Many Everytown and has contacted other schools with successful programs looking for promotional input. Camp Everytown has been rescheduled for Jan. 31-Feb. 3, 2007. staff and students embraced this program, one often called “eye opening.” staff writer


MVHS culture changed academics only one part

on Cheating TAs Broken Trust: Questions of morals brushed off by TAs who claim to ‘help’ their friends continued from front page said. “In life, if you know people who can soon other people began to ask him and are confident of not getting caught. Although the only school rules for accept- hook you up with a job, of course you would offered to pay him money as word got around. He estimates that he earned about ing TAs are that the student must be approved want to take advantage of that. It’s the same by the department chair and teacher, some thing. It’s just fair game, you know?” $60, changing ten people’s grades. However, Lam is not without his own resWhile such control of the gradebook is teachers have their own guidelines. Social studies teacher Ben Recktenwald ervations about “helping” people. “This guy unusual, other TAs find ways to help their friends by grading easier or passing insider does not allow students enrolled in his class- who ditched class three to four days a week information on quizzes. “It’s so widespread, es to TA for him. “If they TA for me second asked me to change his grade and I flat out that I wouldn’t consider it cheating,” Lam and have me fourth, they could see the tests said no,” Lam said. “I personally don’t like and use that to their advantage,” people who don’t try.” Lam said that the shrugged. “Basically half of my friends who most he is willing to change a grade is two he said. are TAs do this. It’s a bartering system. If Unfortunately, percent, saying “at least that means they are there’s a math TA, he’ll say to a chem TA, this idea of working hard. But if they need 10 percent, ‘I’ll trade you math stuff for chem stuff.’” cheating is they’re not putting in an effort.” Last year, Rahul Singh* received copies Tranh approaches her cheating similarly. one of the of Spanish tests beforehand from his friend s h o c k i n g “The teacher gives everyone two points, so who TA-ed for a Spanish teacher. Singh’s friend sold tests which he found by rummaging through packets and trash the teacher gave him to recycle. Eventually, he accumulated half of the second semester tests and sold them to his friends. “He gave me a good discount,” Singh remembered. “I got the final for just $3. I think he’s still selling the tests this year.” Singh received five tests and the final last year. He estimates that the dishonestly obtained tests boosted his grade five to eight percent. With such unethical behavior, it’s a surprise that the cheating is not caught by teachers. While Assistant Principal Brad Metheany said that students have been caught in the past, for the most part, he said, “Teachers are very conscious of protecting grades.” However, Lam said that his chances of getting caught were “next to none.” Similarly, Veronica Tranh*, Half of my friends that are TAs do this. it’s a math TA who gives points to friends when they forget — Victor Lam* that homework, said her risk of getting caught is “zero.” While much of the blame for the cheating realities. Lauren Ju* witnessed one such in- it’s not a big deal. If it was more, I’d feel can be laid on students, it seems that teach- cident in class. “It was Free Response Ques- bad and people would say, ‘I don’t want to ers must accept responsibility as well. “Ac- tion day,” Ju remembered. “And the period study.’” Though Tranh has no qualms about cording to the California Education Code, before had just finished taking it. One of the giving unmerited points, she would be unteachers are not allowed to have students FRQs had fallen on the floor and the TA who willing to ask the same of her friends. “I just grade homework or access the gradebook,” has the same teacher later picked it up and study hard,” she said. “I wouldn’t get help Metheany said. “It’s against the law. If I see walked out. Then a minute later, he walked like that because it’s wrong.” After a pause she said, “Well, I guess giving my friends teachers doing that, I remind them of their back in. The teacher wasn’t looking.” While it would seem that the line between points is wrong too.” professional responsibilities.” Singh gives his reason for using stolen If a TA is discovered to be cheating, they right and wrong would be clear, even the stuare dropped from the class and given an dent definition of “cheating” is murky. When tests as, “I had other priorities. If I wanted to, F. Then, when Administration writes college asked if he has ever cheated academically, I could have studied and gotten the grade, recommendations for the student, they must Lam confidently answers “no,” not consider- but the copies saved me time. ” Amongst the widespread cheating that comment on the incident. Yet, these penal- ing helping people cheat as cheating. “Sure, it’s unfair, but isn’t life unfair?” Lam occurs, there are some who view it as imties don’t seem to resound with the TAs who

I, the TA, swear not to...

• cheat on homework • copy test questions • lie blatantly to my teachers • steal final exams • change my own grade • grade easier for my friends • bump up grades • lose the respect of everyone

so widespread I wouldn’t consider it cheating.”

moral. Upon asking senior David Guan, a TA for science teacher Travis Hambleton, if he has ever been asked to help people cheat, he replied, “Of course” as if it were only a fact of the job. “They come up to me and say ‘Give me extra points!’” Guan said. “They do it jokingly, but they want it. I think lower of them after that.” Though Guan said that if he were to attempt to cheat, his chances of getting caught would not be high, he said, “I’m not going to cheat. Hambleton’s a nice guy. I’d feel like I was breaking his trust.” Similarly, senior Dheeraj Srinivasan who TAs for a math class is often approached by students with the same motives. He said, “I tell them, ‘No, you earn your grade. It’s not my fault you don’t have a good grade.’” Not only does Srinivasan deem the cheating wrong from the TA viewpoint, he said, “It might help you in high school, but you can’t cheat your way through life. In jobs and work, you’ll be asked to solve problems yourself and what are you going to do if you don’t know? Ask a TA for help?” Last year, Jocelyn Lo* had a C in math and found herself faced with an intimidating moral decision when finals came around. “I was complaining that I had a C and this girl said to me, ‘Oh don’t worry about it! My best friend TAs for that teacher. She can help.’ And I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is really tempting, but it’s so immoral.’” Despite the enticing idea, Lo did not take up the offer. Instead, she worked to raise her grade. However, she said, “I was motivated to study hard so I wouldn’t have to be tempted. I’m afraid of what I would have done if I hadn’t gotten that B.” Lo speculates that if she had gotten the TA to change her grade, “I wouldn’t feel good, but I’d be relieved. I feel that it’s taken for granted now that someone will cheat. It’s so prevalent that not cheating has become a disadvantage. It’s more about college than the means of getting there. If you don’t cheat, you don’t end up at the top.” However it seems that on the teacher side cheating is taken far more seriously, even beyond thoughts of consequences and morals. It is taken personally. “It would definitely hurt me if one of my TAs were to cheat,” math teacher Martin Jennings said. “It’s a violation of trust.” However, it seems that thoughts like these are only to be brushed aside by TAs. “I went to go visit [the teacher] this year and he was happy to see me,” Lam said. “But when the teacher sets it up for you like that, he’s basically asking you to beat the system.”

*the identities of these sources have been changed

The teachers say

The TAs say Have you ever been asked by someone to use your TA responsibilities to help other students cheat? yes 42

Have you ever helped a friend cheat using your TA responsibilities?

How easy would it be to help a friend cheat using your TA responsibilities?

yes 18

no chance of being caught





teacher checks work 25 very risky


Do your TAs ever have access to tests (whether it’s grading, making copies, typing them up, throwing them out)? 29 yes 22


How much do you trust your TAs?

Have you ever discovered your TAs cheating in any way in the past?

5 yes






13 I don’t trust them with grading 16

I always check their work 4 No trust

*taken from a random survey of 100 TAs

*taken from a random survey of 53 teachers

Palestinian refugee speaker arouses emotions

MVHS students strong in their convictions about the present Israel-Palestine conflict by Nandini Dasarathy persepectives editor


enior Ellie Anvar celebrated her twelfth birthday the day after the September 11 attacks on the United States. Walking home with balloons, she was stopped by two high school boys who spit at her and said, “Go back home, you filthy Arab!” Anvar hasn’t forgotten that day since, and as a Persian-American in a country where the closed-mindedness of individuals is apparent through a window of crisis, she has learned to become involved in her home country’s affairs. “I actually have BBC Middle East as my [internet] homepage because whenever I hear something about Iran on the news I feel like I should sit down and listen to it,” Anvar said. Students like Anvar, whether they are Israeli, Palestinian, or even remotely from that area, are still deeply rooted to the problems of the region. These students prove that even fifteen thousand miles away, a conflict is still a conflict, and blood is thicker than water. Although many Israeli and PalestinianAmericans are second generation, they can sometimes be accustomed to hearing about this conflict and forming an opinion from when they were children and growing up in an atmosphere of hatred. The way one grows up and the way they are affected highly depends upon thousands of years of built up resentment, the tension between the two groups because of a homeland, and the obvious reason, still having family there. “It’s ridiculous that anyone could say, ‘No, you don’t exist’ or ‘No, you don’t have the right to exist.’ I think that people who say that are the ones who don’t have the right to exist. You shouldn’t be able to say things like that and get away with it,” Anvar said. Being neutral on the issue, Anvar finds it her duty to defend both sides. “It makes me really sad to think that people are so closed minded that they refuse to open up and see that maybe there’s more to it and maybe the other side has a reason for doing what they do,” she said. Junior Ram Sachs, an Israeli-American, is naturally biased toward the cause of his people. At the same time, however, he recognizes that each nation needs to be equally represented at MVHS. “I go to Israel every summer, and I can say that I have a greater chance of being in a car accident than being in a terrorist attack. We always forget it here, looking at the suicide bombers and terrorists, that there is normal life there,” he said. For these students, the overseas conflict is always an issue. The situation hasn’t changed in the last 60 years and is not likely to get better overnight. “If you grow up in Israel, [conflict] is pretty much what you grow up around. That’s all

APPEALING TO THE CROWDS Palestinian refugee Samir Mahmoud speaks of his experiences in the war-torn Middle East on Nov. 3. While some students found his speech to be

Austin Cheng | photography editor

dience to assume his position entirely, and that’s not something he should be doing at that there is in the news, so kids get used to ing was not true, but I wasn’t called on. In a high school. He shouldn’t be talking about hearing it from a young age. Even here in any situation where this happens, I will get political affairs.” Hebron can attribute this belief even in America, it gets talked about in the family,” heated up and get into a heavy discussion discussions with his friends. Ignorance is the no matter what,” he said. Sachs said. As a second-generation Israeli American, biggest obstacle he has to face in defendOn Nov. 3, the Global Outreach Commission of the Community Leadership class Hebron is still passionate in his beliefs and ing his beliefs. When people advise him to brought a Palestinian refugee speaker to support for Israel. During the Israel-Lebanon be more open-minded to the other side, he finds it difficult to do. “I was always very into “It makes me really sad to think that people are that they the whole Israel-Palestine and see that maybe there’s more to it.” — junior Nirran Hebron issue. I needed the speaker to show me how address his experiences to a student audi- war, Hebron would watch the news daily ignorant some people can be and how much ence during lunch. The speaker, Samir Mah- waiting for updates. “It’s belonging, it’s your country, even if bias there is sometimes. It’s not war against moud, began by showing a presentation on the general crisis and then later elaborating you’re not living in it. Even though I didn’t a religious or ethnic group; it’s a war against grow up there, I visited every summer and I terrorism. That’s what the world needs to on his treatment in an Israeli prison. “We brought the speaker to raise aware- saw what was going on,” Hebron said. “Last know; terrorism needs to be stopped at any ness of the Israel-Palestine issue. Although summer, a rocket landed within a hundred cost,” he said. Junior Tomasz Kula felt differently. As a we felt this speaker was biased, we are pre- feet of my stepbrother. It’s not just a militant politically-active student, the Israel-Palestine paring to bring in a pro-Israel speaker later war. Civilians are also in danger.” Hebron expected a speech strictly about issue has been something he has constantly on to balance the views,” commissioner and senior Vikram Joshi said. “Time constraints the speaker’s experiences as a refugee, been hearing about in the news. “It was very made it so we could not do both of them in but was shocked when it encompassed the enriching to hear about the tragedies of the speaker’s beliefs on Palestinian versus Israeli region from someone who has experienced the same lunch period.” it firsthand. It really pressed the urgency of Although many feel the speaker relayed control of the land. “He didn’t recognize Israel. He didn’t the issue,” he said. his experiences effectively, there were many The Israel-Palestine crisis truly shows the discrepancies between his facts and those even say it once during his entire speech. presented by some Israeli students. Some It was supposed to be an unbiased speech importance of being aware of one’s counwalked out during the speech while others, on the issue, and even if it wasn’t, then they tries’ struggles. As long as the conflict perlike junior Nirran Hebron, waited to ask should have brought in an Israeli speaker sists, it will continue to make a difference in to show both sides,” Hebron said. “It was the lives of these students and so many questions afterward. “I tried to point out that what he was say- almost as if he was trying to convince his au- others 15,000 miles away.

SO CLoseD-minded


Cheating TAs break teacher trust

Was Homecoming class competition too high?

Teachers must observe confidentiality laws, keep TAs on tighter leash

“I felt a bit of animosity between the upperclassmen because there were misinterpretations on certain things, but I do think the competitive spirit is healthy.”

junior Michael Lu “I just did my own thing. I saw a lot of other people do more, like the seniors and juniors did a whole bunch of things against each other.” sophomore Christian Kim “Freshmen don’t really do anything. There wasn’t really any class competition and because I’m a cheerleader, I participated naturally.” Cindy Yeh and Nandini Dasarathy | staff artists


o the TAs who says, “I can, therefore I will,” to justify cheating, you deserve quick disciplinary action. Although MVHS is an academic pressure cooker which often fosters a “cheating isn’t-all-thatbad” attitude, it doesn’t make a cheating TA’s excuses any more compelling than, “My dog ate my homework.” No beating around the bush: there is flat out no way to justify cheating as a TA – never before and never now. In the absence of any logical reasoning or moral justification of cheating as a TA, hollow arguments and care-not attitudes are developed by these morally frail people trying squirm their way out of guilt and consequences. The one most ubiquitous excuse is that “it’s the teacher’s fault for leaving the grade book into my hands.” How can anyone be expected to buy into that when it is simply a cheap shot method to shift the blame from oneself to another? Teachers don’t take on TAs to facilitate cheating; they have TAs because they don’t want to spend their own time on secretarial work that could be handed down to someone else. Whether or not the teacher should give a student acess to anything, the TA chooses to cheat by taking advantage of the system. There must be something despicable in the cheating

committed if he or she doesn’t want to accept the blame. Two points, three points, what difference does it make? A lot when it comes to changing a whole letter grade. But what if a person is coming in so close to the next level, working so hard, and has given it all? Don’t they deserve to get that next grade? Well, who does and does not deserve a certain grade is not up to the TA. Grades are a system of measuring students’ abilities according to the teacher’s standards as a trained professional. As harsh as that sounds, without that system, arbitrary b a s e l e s s grades would be passed out. Adding a few points by cheating is merely a method of bumping up the grade, and like extra credit, not a justification. By now, some still remain unconvinced and will continue to believe they are not at fault when it comes to their dirty and dishonest work. In an ideal world we wouldn’t have to worry about them, but MVHS is far from one and perhaps now is when the role of the TA must be downsized. Times are changing, and with academic

Staff Editorial

pressures on the rise, the very profile of people who cheat is transforming from underachievers to overachievers, desperate to push their grade up to the next level. With such a cutthroat mindset developing, the grade book needs to be taken out of the hands of the TA. It may mean teachers would have to stay on campus for additional time after school or take more time at home. It would be easier simply to shy away from the problem and hope the TAs change, but with such malicious intent, that isn’t realistic. The state of Califronia mandates teacher-student confidentiality. So long as TAs pose a threat to this confidentiality, they must lose the privilege of access to the grade book and grading work. As for the new TAs, teachers can relegate them to classroom maintenance and decoration, such as cutting out construction paper for a new design on the walls, cleaning the whiteboards, or even fetching a bottle of soda from the vending machines. In this, the role of TAs can be restored to its original purpose: utilizing the free time of a student to benefit the teacher. As harsh as that may be, there’s a larger purpose: to create a non-conflicting environment that allows the relationship between teacher and student to grow.

freshman Alessia Doran “There was a lot of competition between the juniors and seniors. I think there was good pressure.”

junior Sharfaa Junaid “I didn’t see hostility between classes. I think it’s healthy competition. I also liked how each class had a different color. I don’t know if others saw it as hostility.”

senior Brandon Lehrman “It was just kind of fun. The competing was fun. I think it was better between the classes by having competition.”

freshman Nick Utley

Low interest in Camp Everytown due to poor student values

Camp Everytown attendance at an all time low because of students’ failure to realize importance of personal growth by Bilwa Ravikiran


staff writer

or months, Student Advocate Richard Prinz handed out flyers, put up posters in various classrooms, and set up messages on the much-loved video announcements for Camp Everytown. But despite advertising for the camp more than ever, this year brought the lowest number of student and teacher signups. It is not that nobody heard about it. They just didn’t care. The number of MVHS students who attend Camp Everytown has never been staggeringly high, but for the first year in its continuation the low numbers affected those who did want to go. Due to our school’s low turnout, combined with the untimely cancellation of another high school, the Everytown coordinators were not convinced that there would be enough participants for the program to be successful. So, what seems to be the problem with MVHS students? Why do they not want to take advantage of and attend such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? Students simply do not

matador ((vibe))

wish to spend one of their precious weekends learning more about themselves. Camp Everytown is supposed to be an emotional and extremely valuable learning experience, in which camp participants discuss some of the more emotionladen issues in today’s society, such as racism and sexism. Furthermore, previous participants have come back from Everytown with nothing but good memories. “I probably learned more and got more emotional in those two-and-a-half days at Camp Everytown than I have in any given year of my life, let alone in any two days sitting in a classroom,” said junior Kim Hoffman, who attended the camp last year as a sophomore. Yet despite these testimonies to the invaluable experience, students are more focused on raising their grades and believe missing this particular weekend is necessary for them to do so. True, the amount of schoolwork missed needs to be made up upon return, but this would be the same in any case of a student absence, such as a sickness or family

To the success of MVHS’ four fall sports teams that qualified for CCS

To the students who didn’t budge during the lunchtime fire alarm

vacation. And if students are openly willing to miss school for events such as band outings, leadership retreats, and club activities, there is no reason to explain why they aren’t as willing to miss school for Everytown, which in the end, is a far more rewarding experience. Students complain that the camp would just be a waste of their long-awaited weekend. This is a simply ridiculous excuse. Learning more about yourself and the world around you should take priority over merely sleeping in for a couple of hours. When are students ever going to get an opportunity such as Everytown again? Likely never. And even if they do, it’s in high school that the lessons the camp provides are most necessary and eye opening. Let’s be honest here. What are students going to regret more about high school: their GPA, or their lack of emotional growth? With the camp postponed until January, students should rethink their decision not to attend and not miss the opputunity they have before them.

To the personalized blood drive invitations handed out by community leadership

To the parents who drop off their kids in the student parking lot

Corrections: From the Oct. 27 issue, Junior Chris Chang was reported as a Sophomore.

moderated by Nandini Dasarathy perspectives editor

Often teachers have been asking students to buy or pay for extra credit work such as bringing in tissue boxes, attending school or community events, and watching movies. The purpose of teachers giving extra credit is in question. How ethical is it? Students Yang Yang Liu, Sharanya Shankar Anirudh Sreekrishnan, Kristin Wong, Vinson Yuen voiced their opinion

What kind of extra credit would be ethical for teachers to offer? SS: Movies, I guess are okay. In modern language or history, plays or exhibitions and museum visits should add to the classroom curriculum. AS: Any sort of activity to help support the school, like going to the school play or something that helps an

organization on campus. Anything less than $10, the price of movie ticket, I don’t think you can put a price on extra credit but it still would be ethical. KW: Teachers can ask challenging questions and give their students extra assignments based off of the same topic being studied. YL: I think it should be things you have access to, like reading an extra chapter is obligatory, but you can write a summary of it or do something extra to show that you understood it, but not something that you have to go out of your way for.

Vinson Yuen (11)

Kristin Wong (9)

To the staff of El Estoque,       To say I was disappointed with Daniel Yang’s article on cheating in the APUSH classes would be an understatement. Your article was underhanded and presented a murky picture of the problems facing students and teachers concerning academic integrity at MV.        First of all, the article was pitched to the teachers of APUSH as only one part of a larger article about cheating in general on Monta Vista’s campus. Imagine my surprise when I saw an article splashed upon the front page of a student publication that should be focused on journalistic integrity. I had hoped that it would be an all encompassing examination of the reasons why students cheat and how we as a community might combat it to ensure academic integrity and respect of teachers time and effort put into these classes. Secondly, why only talk to one APUSH student?  Your article made it appear as though the majority of APUSH students cheated their way through the entire course. As we consistently ask our APUSH students: How about showing some complexity? Because it was presented to me as an interview concerning my perspective on cheating in general as well as how it impacts APUSH and the former did not manifest in the final copy, I would like to address cheating students here.        Students may not be completely aware as to how cheating affects their teachers. Teachers put their heart and soul into their classes. This is not just a job; not just a to-do list. We care deeply about our students’ progress and preparing them properly for the future; whether that is an AP Exam, or the rigor of college classes once they leave MV. But when we discover that students are cheating, we are forced to question our students motives and integrity. It is never an easy feeling to grapple with. We trust less and police more. I pity those students who see cheating as an art form, or get some kind of rush from it. You disrespect your teachers when you engage in this unethical behavior given the countless hours your teachers spend creating innovative lessons, grading your essays, writing comments to help you improve your skills, time spent running and organizing review sessions and writing workshops.But more than that, cheating students disrespect themselves. No matter who you are and where you are in your life there will always be a reckoning day. For a cheating student that day might not come at MV, but it will come and they will have to live knowing when it came time to make the hard choices, they took the path of least resistance. I applaud and admire those of you who do not take the low road, as cheating students do, but you should be commended for truly challenging yourself with an AP class and you truly are a class act.        Sincerely, AP US History teacher Maria Carter-Giannini

Anirudh Sreekrishnan (11)

APUSH cheating article misleading, misses point

Sharanya Shankar (10)

Letters of any length should be submitted via e-mail or mail. They become the sole property of El Estoque and can be edited for length, clarity, and accuracy. Letters cannot be returned and will be published at El Estoque’s discretion. Please submit letters to

Yang Yang Liu (12)


How does money play into extra credit? KW: You just teach the material, have AS: I totally understand where these teachers are coming from because they can’t get stuff like tissue boxes on their own, so under certain circumstances I feel that unless you offer extra credit, students aren’t willing to go out and spend money. At the beginning of the year, for small things like tissue boxes, I think it might be worthwhile. YL: Also, that goes along for watching movies because movies cost a lot of money in comparison to regular school supplies, so that would be another problem. But then again, you never really hear anybody complaining about watching a movie because it’s their entertainment and it “relates to the curriculum.” Since we go to Monta Vista, 99.9 percent of the people are not under the poverty line. I don’t think

students learn it better by asking questions if they need to out of class. YL: Extra credit is exactly what it sounds, it really is “extra” credit. Material in tests needs to be covered in class. Like if you are in French class, you can’t be tested on the movie, but it nevertheless allows you to listen to the language being spoken. Watching the movie makes you more acquainted with the language and it reinforces what you learned.

What about about teachers who offer extra credit for students to attend shcool events becuase organizations ask them to?

AS: If it doesn’t relate to the curriculum and you’re buying points, I just find that really unethical because even though everyone here at MVHS wants to get As, if you’re getting As by buying your grade you might as well be bribing the teacher because that’s what you’re essentially doing. YL: I don’t support it especially because some teachers are advisors so those organizations can get preference over others. Octagon has Cure Cancer Café, which doesn’t really pertain to any of the classes. VY: For the Lunar festival, the Chinese teachers will sometimes give you extra credit if you volunteer there because you’re supposed to be able to appreciate the culture. It’s you can put a price fine if it’s kind of related but on extra credit. not if it’s, for example, donating blood to get Is there a substitute for Cindy Yeh | staff photographer extra credit in history. learning material that SS: If teachers assign teachers can actually give through something related to the topic or extra credit or should it be taught in something close and you get to class? experience the feel of that subject, it’s okay. AS: I think it’s important that things are YL: I think the whole system of extra covered in class. Extra things out of credit is strange because we actually class are helpful, but there are people wouldn’t have extra credit if people who have disabilities and thus need to didn’t ask for it. I don’t think it’s a matter learn it in class. of whether teachers are being ethical in SS: I think you should also have extra offering it but also if the student is being credit to make things more ethical. The curriculum is modeled after interactive and allow students to the student’s need, and they’re the ones explore. complaining about their grades.

Comedy Central is for laughs, not knowledge

Teenagers wrongly take comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s news shows’ material as reliable current news by Kevin Ragothaman staff writer


pen wide baby bird, ‘cause momma’s got a big fat nightcrawler of truth,” says Stephen Colbert, introducing his show, “The Colbert Report.” Unfortunately, viewers willingly take Colbert’s offer a little too seriously. Teenagers are at a phase in their lives when they are still learning to form their own opinions about the real world; hence, it is important that they look to various accurate and reliable sources to learn about the daily news and create their own inferences from the information they are provided with. Instead, they find themselves constantly changing their opinions and mindlessly worshipping those who never had any intent to offer them real news in the first place. Television shows such as “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report” have earned a special place in the hearts of young adults, including those that attend MVHS. “The Daily Show” started off with little critical acclaim, but after ten years of preying off of well-known political figures’ inconsistencies and strange day-to-day happenings, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have

become icons for most revolt-against-the-system teens, and their popularity comes with good reason. Where else could you find a translation of sober events into a medium that everyone understands: comedy? But when we look to these fictional television personages to shape our opinions and beliefs, the consequences can be dire. Already we see the effect Comedy Central has had on the world with the steady increase of “John Stewart for President!” online-banners and T-shirts as the year 2008 draws nearer, but Stewart and Colbert cannot be blamed for the massive following they have developed. After all, Stewart himself admits that all his show was ever meant for is comedy, and he most certainly never gave a hint of wanting to run for president. The blame should, therefore, be laid on those who have trouble differentiating reality from fantasy and news from comedy. The fact of the matter is that the characters that Stewart and Colbert portray do not exist, so there should be no reason to rely on them for news in the first place. Some may argue that news channels are tools for politicians, and this may be true, as Stewart himself has demonstrated on shows such as “Crossfire” and “The O’Reilly Factor,” making a mockery

of each of them. But the fact that Stewart and Colbert have the liberty to interpret the facts in their own way should be reason enough to look to them for no more than just laughs. In no way should comedy be a substitute for real news. Some teenagers, on the other hand, do not take the initiative to educate themselves. Why watch a dull hour-long news report when you could hear about the same issue in less than three minutes while erupting with laughter? We must remember that the beliefs of a cultural icon are not necessarily correct, and the same holds true for any news source, no matter how credible it may be. Teenagers should not be so quick to accept the judgments of their superiors, as there is no right or wrong. Opinions are what drive society, and the more we let our opinions fall astray to the beliefs of others, the quicker we will begin to view the deterioration of what humanity has worked toward for centuries. It does not matter how trustworthy a news station says it is or how “truthy” Colbert claims his show to be. Regardless of the credibility of a highly-noted news source or a comic show using satire to joke about current events, only we can form our own opinions. We each have a mind of our own, so use it.


p o i n t for p o i n t pro

Tedious textbooks


Multiple community service The students should be at clubs create a ‘laundry list’ fault, not the service clubs by Audrey Feldman

by Harold Pan

perspectives editor

staff writer

•Multiple community service clubs create a “laundry list” of activities on college apps. here’s clearly no such thing as “too much community service.” Each club serves a valuable role in the local community. However, this is not to say that this role would be in any way diminished if there was one larger but more efficient community service club on campus. MVHS students commonly belong to multiple community service clubs, so it would be more effective to have one club which would offer a broader range of activities. As of now, the multiple service club “system” allows for students to burnish their college applications with what seems a plethora of extracurriculars, while realistically they could just as easily stick with one club and earn the same number of hours. So, having many service clubs allows disingenuous students to do the bare minimum while glossing resumes. At the same time, students who dedicate themselves to one club but do not receive an officer position seem uninvolved in comparison. •Having more than one club that carries out the same purpose violates club policy. While there are no official club commission guidelines stating that no two clubs should exist simultaneously that serve the same purpose, it is widely acknowledged that leadership council is highly reluctant to pass two such clubs. In this regard, the community service clubs seem to have eluded an unwritten policy which the rest of the clubs must abide by in order to be passed through leadership council. The options for activities are usually very similar in all of the community service clubs, and none of the large community service clubs actually specializes in a specific type of community service. Therefore, the fact that multiple community service clubs exist while other similar clubs cannot is partial to larger clubs and unfair. •Having several service clubs creates pressure for freshmen to join all of them. As a Link Crew leader, I’ve tried to emphasize the need for incoming freshmen to be discerning when choosing which clubs to join. However, each year there seem to be multitudes of freshmen who customarily join five or more clubs, feebly hoping that they will be able to maintain both their sanity and their affiliation with many clubs. This is often due to the dilemma that they have friends in several clubs and naturally feel that they want to join all the clubs that their friends are in. While this type of student clearly needs to learn that they will not be able to keep up with such commitments, in effect it undermines the work of Link Crew and makes the transition to high school more difficult for freshmen who feel pressured to join several clubs.



•Having more service clubs increases opportunities for more students to join various clubs t is known that some students join more clubs than they can handle simply for the sake of adding items to their college resume. This isn’t because there are more community service clubs available to join, but it is due to the ineptitude of the student. Students who usually attempt to “laundry list” their college resumes find not only service clubs to add on their list, but numerous activities as well. The clubs are not at fault for the exploitations of these students. •Having more clubs that have similar charters to those of already existing clubs prevents overcrowding in the most populated clubs. No matter how club members are dispersed within the many clubs, the amount of students that join these clubs will be the same. What harm can it cause if there is a set of similar service clubs with an equal amount of members? With more clubs, the larger ones do not have as much of a chance to monopolize their publicity over other smaller clubs. Furthermore, this lightens the load of the officers having to deal with uninspired club members who resort to attending activities for the sole purpose of meeting hour requirements. With smaller, more efficient clubs, the members can be more familiar with each other and the officers. •The issue of having students joining too many service clubs is not due to their increased quantity, but due to the irresponsible decisions of the stu Cindy Yeh | staff srtist dents joining the clubs. Service clubs and special interest groups are criticized for targeting freshmen and unsuspecting students to pressure them to join all the clubs. While clubs try to encourage the membership of as many students as possible, none of them do so in attempts to overload any individual students’ life. Service clubs are merely opportunities and avenues for students to benefit the community and pursue their own interests. Clubs cannot be held responsible for the actions of their members. In fact, they discourage their members from being tied up with excessive activities and ask for commitment. The students must learn to make their own decisions responsibly and make their own judgments about the clubs that they join. Evidently, there is an issue regarding the overcrowding in clubs and the abuse of membership, but limiting the number of clubs will not solve the problem.


Do you think we have too many service clubs at school? A. Yes B. No

How many service clubs do you belong to? A. None B. One

C. Two D. More than two

A 58




B 28





5% B.


*taken from a random poll of 100 students




sudden urge to bang my head against a wall was restrained only by the fact that no walls were within convenient reach. Sitting in a desk in the middle of the classroom deprived me of a vertical surface; I had to comfort myself by closing a textbook slightly louder than normal. It had just cleverly announced that “tool” rhymed with “cool”; I am inclined to think that standard classroom textbooks are the most concentrated source of ridiculous statements. Textbooks introduce themselves with the absolute confidence of one who is intelligent and thinks it useless to conceal the fact. An elaborate preface and a lengthy index all seem to indicate the high opinion textbooks hold of their own intelligence. They are, after all, an authority second only to the teacher in most courses. Students would expect them to be highly instructive, interesting, if not amusing. It is remarkable how they never fail to disappoint. The student is granted access to the teacher of a course for only five hours a week; all other learning must come through a textbook, the single pivot around which the curriculum revolves. The teacher may control the pace and direction, but the course is eternally limited to the boundaries of the textbook. If textbooks happen to explain material in a terribly dull manner, it follows that a good portion of the course will be terribly dull, regardless of the efforts of the teacher. It happens that most textbooks are particularly successful at eluding a reasonable balance of clarity and depth. Should the book be labeled for “advanced” classes, authors somehow feel obliged to insert all manner of dull and meaningless material, the sort of speeches and lectures capable of putting the deaf to sleep (but is important, because important people said so). In the absence of such labels, authors assume that the textbook is to be read aloud to an audience of illiterates, and accordingly adjust its content with absurdly obvious assertions (most need not be reminded that “gravity is around us”) as well as feeble humor that fails to amuse a toddler (rhymes and puns are best left in the nursery). Given its content, it may be well to mention other facets -- I have often thought that the distance between a textbook and a bonfire is measured by the number of pictures. Some are highly unnecessary, a picture of a squat toilet, for example, can hardly qualify as cultural enrichment, but in general they serve as a wholesome distraction from the bland text. The appendix found at the end of most textbooks, however, generally ends up equivalent to their human counterparts – extraneous, disposable, and frequently infected by irrelevant material. And likewise, they are often best cured by removal. The glossary and the reference sections likewise tend to do an excellent job summarizing insignificant facts, while, of course, excluding the important for the sake of brevity. There are frequent complaints that textbooks are extraordinarily costly; and consequently, students are obliged to ensure their satisfaction and well-being. I do not deny that they are quite expensive, but whether their monetary value is equal to that of their educational value is another matter. I follow the theory that students tend to deface books that are less than useful. If the same effort were placed into obtaining textbooks of value as forcing students to protect loathsome property, textbooks could be spared volumes of abuse. Students, though occasionally vicious and depraved, value what they need. A competent textbook is as valuable as a competent teacher. Back in class, I raised my head with the elaborate weariness of one who has undergone profound philosophical deliberation. The instructor was gesturing toward the textbook. I extended my sympathies to those who were denied the convenience of a wall, silently resolving to move my desk at home.

this month by Austin Cheng, photography editor & June Kim, staff photographer

through the lens

NOV. 3, EVERY FRIDAY: OMMMMMM Science teacher Lora Lerner leads her Physiology class in a session of yoga in the cafeteria for the Friday activity. Every week, Physiology classes take Friday off for a period of de-stressing. Yoga was chosen for this week because it relates to the current unit of study, muscles, focusing on muscles relaxation and the health benefits that come with it.

NOV. 10: FIGURE 08 Juniors Leslie Kon and Natalie Tyson hold hands as they skate in Vallco’s Ice Chalet during the ‘Skate For 08’ fund raiser. Nearly 70 students from all grade levels came to the social gathering on their Friday off before Veterans’ Day.

NOV. 3: RAINDROPS KEEP FALLING IN MY HAND Freshman Donny Jennings collects water in his hand, reaching out to the rain that rolls off the roof of the C building. During the first week of November, students were caught off guard with a sudden downpour of rain that lasted for only a few days. Classrooms were crowded and the library was overloaded as students sought to get out of the rain.

NOV. 17: A BALLING REUNION Junior Chris Chang takes on alumnus Brad Burman, Class of ‘91, in the annual Alumni Basketball Game, kick starting the new season. The varsity boys team won, 65-43.

NOV. 7: POND POLITICS Political signs for former Board President Avie Katz float in the pond adjacent to the railroad tracks. Katz’s campaign faced harsh defamation through incidents involving vandalism and tearing of signs by bitter opposers.

NOV. 14: TRIPLE WORD POINTS English teacher Matthea Shapiro waits for junior Nicholas Yeung to make his move during a lunchtime session of Scrabble between students and teachers , held to promote the Scrabble Club.

NOV. 9: NO ATHLETE LEFT BEHIND Junior Kasha Sang fights off the rest of the football team as the last player for field hockey during the Sports Rally, held to recognize the accomplishments of the fall sports teams.


ess than ten minutes had passed since lunch began, and already junior George Cheng had to use his t-shirt to wipe the sweat off of his forehead. As his fellow breakdancers continued to concentrate on their footwork, Cheng mouthed the lyrics to the song booming through the speakers as he mounted into a handstand on the cafeteria floor. Until this year, these MVHS breakdancers had very few opportunities and open facilities to share passion for breakdancing with others on campus. However, in late September, students stumbled upon the opportunity to use a school facility to break dance during school hours. In the beginning of the school year, sophomores Albert Kim and Richard Liu noticed that the cafeteria was unused during most brunches and lunches. “We just came in here and we were testing it out. The floor was really nice [to dance on],” Liu said. After initially discovering the cafeteria’s availability, Kim and Liu returned to the cafeteria daily to dance. Soon, they began attracting others of all grades who shared their passion for breakdancing, and students brought in speakers and their iPods to play music to dance to. Now, the cafeteria regularly draws on average 15 students to the cafeteria. Students arrive promptly after the bell signaling the beginning of lunch and begin warm-ups as they turn up the speakers. The large space in the cafeteria allows a number of dancers to practice simultaneously on different corners of the cafeteria floor. While individual practice is an important component of improvement, the dancers recognize that sharing their varying skills and styles with others of similar tastes is definitely a benefit. “I didn’t know any of [these guys before],” Cheng said, as he smiled toward his left at senior Raymond Wakiyama, who was repeatedly attempting a variation of a head spin. “The cafeteria gave me a place to practice, meet new people, and make new friends.”

Every lunchtime, students work on everything from flexibility and footwork, to flares and headspins. “I just try to practice everything,” Cheng said while reaching toward his right leg to stretch out his hamstring. “You learn your basics first. After you are familiar with those, and you know your body well enough, you can build your skill to try harder moves.” Still, trying to perfect those difficult moves takes time and practice. Dancers attempt moves several times before being able to execute them. “Now, I’m not so much discouraged as frustrated. By now I know that I’m not going to get it in a day. Things take time,” Cheng said. “I’d take time off and come back to it later.” The perseverance of these breakdancers is apparent to students and teachers alike. Sophomore Erik Romelfanger said, “I think it’s really exciting. It encourages other people to dance. Almost everyone at the lunch line stops and watches.” Some of the frequent visitors also include administrators and teachers who encourage the students to continue what they are passionate about. In fact, Administration approved of the breakdancers using the cafeteria, though they are neither a club nor do they have an advisor watching them, since they have been utilizing the space in a respectful and clean way. “When students are doing something positive, as long as they are keeping it safe, it is a good thing,” Assistant Principal Dennis Plaza said. “Everyone is behaving and enjoying themselves.” However, since the breakdancers use the cafeteria unofficially, they cannot practice on days when there are club meetings. In addition, Administration is planning to eventually place tables in the cafeteria for student use during the months with bad weather. Regardless of such compromises, the breakdancers are extremely pleased with the temporary availability of the cafeteria, the relaxed environment that it has provided them with, and the encouragement that they have received from the rest of the campus to continue their passion.

andr asek h

ar | s t

aff p h




UPSIDE DOWN Sophomore Albert Kim and unior George Cheng show off their talent through a wide variety of breakdancing moves on Nov. 14.

staff writer

Rad hika Ch

Off the Walls

g f n o i s k y a t w i e a v r l a b e r g h t

by Radhika Chandrasekhar

Interschool choir unites for the holiday season Despite obstacles, annual Women’s Exchange Choir concert brings together Ariosas girls in perfect harmony by Cindy Yeh staff writer


uring the past few years, in the month of November, angels were heard to be singing at a local church in Saratoga. This year, those voices moved, now echoing through the more spacious McAfee performing arts and lecture center of Saratoga High School. These angelic voices belonged to a choir composed of only female voices: the Ariosas. On Nov. 20, the collected Ariosas choir groups of Monta Vista, Saratoga, Homestead, Los Altos and Lynbrook high schools came together for the honor of performing in the women’s exchange choir concert. The significance of the concert is that it is the only concert the whole year in which all the schools’ women choirs actually meet one another and get the oppurtunity to sing as one. “It’s to bridge the gap between different schools from different districts. It’s a chance for the kids to meet each other and to have the overall experience of singing together,” band teacher and new Ariosas teacher Jonathan Fey said.

The concert begins with each school singing seperately. After each little concert, all the Ariosas come together onto the stage to sing “Missa Brevis,” a song that was chosen because “that is what it’s written for, the female voice,” Fey said. For MVHS, Ariosas sang a French song, a Christmas carol adapted from Robert Frost’s poems, and “At Last.” A “swingish” song was accompanied by the MVHS Jazz Band, adding even more pizazz, and males, to the special event. With obstacles such as a new teacher, limited time to rehearse, and stress about the upcoming winter concert, both the teacher and the singers were struggling to learn all the songs for both concerts. For the first week of practice, they only accomplished listening to the soundtracks of the songs and hadn’t started to fine tune the singing at all. “The songs were determined by the level of the choir. The songs for this concert are much more complex and much more difficult,” Fey said. “What I want the girls to get out of this that they will never get this oppurtunity again unless all the choir teachers come together to plan something like

this [again].” The challenge of the women’s exchange choir concert is that none of the schools practiced all together for the main song “Missa Brevis” until Nov. 20, the day of the concert itself. After leaving school promptly at 3 pm, they rushed over to Saratoga High School to begin rehearsal. After a few hours of preparation, they ate dinner and then the performance began. Even though the preparation was very rushed, the theme of the concert was collaboration and Ariosas, with the help of Fey, got the oppurtunity to memorize four spectacular songs that they wouldn’t normally learn in class. The entire concert was deemed a success. “It is a learning experience for both Mr. Fey and Ariosas,” junior Lehar Pathick said. The auditorium was filled wih parents, family and supporters of the various schools’ Ariosas. As the voices echoed through the room, the allusion of singing angels was made and resounded with the audience. “The women’s exchange choir is a wonderful celebration of the female voice,” Fey said.







Bond Back in Blond

Coloring Outside the Lines: A Memoir

Watch: Smosh Productions presents the comical adventures of a boy with a cardboard box over his head.



Clique Backpacks

A new sign of sorority: Jansport backpacks emblazoned with everything from polka dots to skulls. While the flashes of color are appreciated, proving friendships with matching backpacks is certainly not.

by Shibi Murali

staff writer


f you were reborn, then you’d be naked.” Back from a grave that was never dug, the James Bond our granddaddys used to love is back. The new blond-haired Bond, a slightly wrinkled Daniel Craig, is no Sean Connery. This Bond has dispensed of all the old 007 features: the cheesy one-liners, random make out scenes, and vodka martini-drinking lifestyle. But 15 minutes into Casino Royale, all of that doesn’t matter anymore. The new (if not old) Bond gives a stunning visual of the 00 agent at his roots. An egocentric, funny and muscular Craig plays a convincing part, pitting the young James Bond with perfection. Most scenes, while exhilarating, are presented without introduction, and leave a bitter aftertaste. However, most of the fragments are easy to put together once the story progresses, leaving only a few tiny holes that can easily be brushed aside. Putting the puzzle together, the story is apparently about the rookie 00 agent James Bond, who is placed to find any links to the terrorist banker, Le Chiffre. Bond, un-experienced and headstrong, tracks down a suspect in Africa, and after a hot chase, kills him in front of an Embassy. Uncharacteristic of the term “secret agent,” Bond is caught in action by a video camera placed precariously behind his back. M, who’s angered by Bond’s messy job that causes an international stir, dismisses Bond from the job. But Bond, as his character has always done, disregards this and finds a link to Le Chiffre dug up in the Bahamas. Le Chiffre is the obvious Bond antagonist, sporting the usual facial defect and brilliant mind. Le Chiffre plays his own dirty version of the stock market game with his

deposited money, attempting to guarantee success with sabotage. But a failed plot to maximize on a 10 million dollar deposit lands him in debt of Uganda terrorists. With time running out for Le Chiffre, he decides to organize a high stakes poker game at the Casino Royale, in hopes that his evil genius will help win. In response, James Bond is assigned to play one of the 10 seats against Le Chiffre at the Casino Royale in Montenegro. The movie is a learning experience, and is nothing like the flash, boom, bam action that encompassed many of the former Bond movies played by Pierce Brosnan. There’s plenty of action, but it’s intelligently played out, with carefully placed shots, silent kills, and the lack of any weapons fancier than a taser. The story relies on well-equipped cellphones, which serve as secret code carriers, identification tools, and text messaging system, carrying the movie from beginning to end. The most novel and satisfying part of Casino Royale is that it is very much a love story at heart. Unlike the loud driving, one night women, and vodka martini drinking Bond we’ve grown accustomed to, Casino Royale is a quiet, subtle movie presented in a “Godfather” mood, woven with carefully drawn out humor and intelligent dialogue, all of which clearly indicate one thing: love is in the air. A variety of dispositions about Bond’s character are revealed throughout the movie, from his cold heart to his mysterious past, but the viewers are left to judge for themselves if these are flaws or not. By doing so, 007 is given a needed touch of mortality, so by the time the movie is over, there’s no question about it, this is the new James Bond.


in the


Something Real by Meg&Dia Following their DJ dad into the music industry, sisters Meg and Dia, along with their band members Nick Price and Kenji Chan, h a v e turned their dream of being muscians into “Something Real.”


“The Sweet Escape”






are starting this week in the black box.

Tired of having the same old music? Download the Filter Mini Mag, and refresh your iPod playlist with music from up-and-coming new artists worldwide.

A quirky juxtaposition of leather and lace, author Aimee Cooper fills up each page of this memoir with words of her adventures as a magazine writer during the ‘80s punk rock scene.

SNL Band Auditions

A blast from the early 2000s, all the cool kids are pulling these silver scooters out of their garages and dusting them off. It seems that thenew bling this season has wheels.

Gwen Stefani’s highly anticipated album is released.

performs in concert at The Fillmore in San Francisco.


showcases Ariosas, Variations, and Concert Choir in their tribute to the holiday season at 7:30 pm.

Your Ex-Lover is Dead by Stars

—sophomore Jessica Chang

Catch My Disease by Ben Lee

—senior Shilpa Thakar

My Love by Justin Timberlake

—sophomore Oliver Lee

Birthday Gallery

by Daphne Loves Derby

—junior Hermes Huang

Shoot Me In The Smile by The Matches

—senior Emerald Law

Erasing the starving artist myth

Exceptional MVHS art program has led to an increase in student application to art school by Pooja Shah


staff writer

our figure drawings are really strong. They have great movement,” an onlooker enthuses. Art student senior Rosa Ng listens attentively to the critique, looking around anxiously at her peers with their portfolios in hand. She notes her feeling of nervousness. Ng has good reason to feel nervous--the onlooker just happens to be an admissions officer from Ng’s dream school, the Parson’s School of Design. “I was really worried because my friends’ pieces were all really good. But now I feel good about my figure drawings, so I’ll put a lot of them in my portfolio,” Ng said. Ng is just one of several MVHS students who are compiling portfolios of their artwork during these next few months, some, after working on them for over a year. This year, 17 MVHS students will be applying to art school. For the past 20 years, the MVHS art department has sought to establish itself as a highly respected program, and with the increase in the number of students accepted to prominent art schools in the past few years, it has succeeded. Art teacher and department chair Brian Chow attributes the increased numbers to the solid MVHS art program. Chow believes the art section is strong for three reasons: the students, the community, and the art teachers. “The students are eager to learn and hard working,” Chow said. The students are supported by their parents and the community who have provided the necessary funds for the art program. “[The teachers] all have the same mind set,” Chow said. “We want to provide a good, well-rounded education in art, with the possibility of students pursuing art school.” Art teacher Jay Shelton also explained that the art program is based on training students based on the assumption that they will continue studying art through“There is a out high school. “We all want this school to do well,” Shelton said. “We focus on a program that is a total program.” Senior Pamela Ho has known she wants to be an artist since she was very young. The MVHS art program has affirmed her passion for art as well as helped her make important decisions about her future. “[The teachers] have inspired me a lot and give me really good advice, so I make the right choices,” Ho said. In addition to the strong guidance and curriculum they offer, Chow and Shelton also encourage students to meet with art school representatives who visit the campus. In the recent months, admissions officers from prominent art schools such as the Rhode Island School of Design, Otis College of Art and

Design, as well as Parsons, have visited the MVHS campus. “The visits are great because we can ask [the representatives] anything,” Ho said. The art school visits affirm the high quality of the art program which Chow and Shelton propose. “They want to come to our school because they know we have a good art program. We teach students what they want a college bound student to know,” Chow said. From the beginning of Art 1, the art teachers focus on building fundamental skills, such as sketching and painting. These skills continue to develop over the course of the students’ education with the MVHS Symirn Chawla | staff photographer art department, so EXPERT ADVICE Senior Rosa Ng works on her drawing in class. they have expertise in Rosa is part of a growing class applying to art school. these areas colleges scholarships, making the cost of the already are interested in. Chow explained that he and the other art cut tuition even less. Shelton described how the perception of teachers are fighting an ongoing battle to disthe art field is changing. pel the myths surrounding art school. “It seems like each year [parents and “There is a misconception that you are going to be a starving artist if you go to art students] are less set against the idea of art school,” Shelton said. “[Art school] is now school,” Chow said. However, according to the U.S. Depart- more acceptable. Everything you see around ment of Labor, the mean annual salary for you was designed or drawn by someone, and the way people perceive art as that you are going to be a a profession has changed.” if you go to art school,” — teacher Brian Chow With the changing perception of multi-media artists and animators in Califor- the art profession, artists are in demand. “People don’t think of artists as people nia is upwards of $75,000, and the mean annual salary for art directors in California selling paintings on the street anymore,” Ho is about $89,000. These salary values are said. “Art is more advanced and accepted comparable to the mean annual salary of with all the new technology out there.” More people with art degrees are getting chemical engineers in California, which is hired over people with business degrees beabout $80,000. Another misconception which the art cause they can think creatively and interact teachers aim to eliminate is that art school tu- more easily with a diffrent variety of people. “It’s important to us to get to know the ition is especially expensive. Chow explained that tuition to art schools is no more costly students really well, and build a family atmothan tuition to a four-year private university, sphere,” Shelton said. “Getting kids into art or even five years spent at a public university school is just part of it.” The family approach to art teaching seems such as a University of California school. In addition, students who apply to art to be working, as more and more MVHS stuschool usually have a high level of skill and dents opt to build portolios instead of write passion, which makes them contenders for personal statements.

Why do you think more students have been applying to art school recently? Do the MV art classes give you a chance to build your portfolio?


John Lee


Emily Ma

How have art classes at Monta Vista benefited you?


q & a

Denise Nguyen

misconception starving artist

“I learned to draw a lot better because they focus on foundation.”

“The program has given me a place to really refine my skills, and work on my portfolio.”

“They’ve helped me improve my skills and become a better artist.”

“People figured out that artists don’t starve.”

“I think the world in general is modernizing, and with it is the perception of art.”

“Because you can design your own stuff. Art has a lot of freedom, and you’re not bound to any one thing.”

“[Mr.] Chow is pretty flexible. If you want to work on your portfolio, you can.”

“Some of the work I did [for my portfolio] was in school, a lot of it was also done outside of art class.”

“The skills we learn help with our portfolio, and the teachers know what art schools are looking for in a portfolio.”

Uncementing a walker’s world


am a veteran walker. Walking to and from school ever since I was a lunch bag-toting kindergartner, I am a professional pedestrian. And let me tell you, there is an intangible book compiled of unwritten laws of the sidewalk. For example, you never walk closer than twenty feet behind a stranger. You must either walk fast so the person does not catch up or if the stranger is walking slowly, you must walk even slower. These codes save pedestrians from the awful fate of awkward silences. And here’s the fact: there is nothing more awkward than walking two steps behind — or in front of — someone you don’t know at all. However, when one of these rules is broken, all walker rules are thrown to the floor. It was a Monday morning when I was confronted by a premature pedestrian. It must have been the first time this bird had left the nest. Not only had she exited her house when I was passing it, but she was walking at the same pace as me. She should have stayed inside her house or at least stalled in front of her driveway, until I had passed her. And when she did eventually start her trek, she should have switched into one of two gears, turbo or turtle, the only reasonable options when a stranger is near. I was astounded at the fatal mistake that this newcomer had committed, but then she did the unthinkable. She crossed the street and collided with me. Okay, she may not have hit me, but it was pedestrian collision all the same. She put herself right behind my heel, bubbly and bouncy with every step she took. Even movie theater etiquette requires patrons to leave an empty seat between themselves and strangers, and this girl had not only sat next to me, but had walked up to me and cut the seat in half. Appalled, I remedied this girl’s pedestrian faux-pas and turned on my turbo-speed walk. This girl had violated the bubble that every walker was entitled to. She had thrown the rule book to the floor and trampled on it . I didn’t know how to react. It was in this confusion and mortification (for her of course) that it began to dawn on me. How was she supposed to know the code of walkers? How could I hold her accountable for the same code I followed? Maybe she was a scooter-to-school kind of girl and thus had never been initiated into the walker club. These unwritten rules were expectations. But, as all know, expectations are only stone set in the minds of their creators. Now it was my turn to be mortified. I almost wanted to stop and apologize to this crusher of expectation. I had been so mad at her actions, when it was I who had no right to jump to such conclusions. I didn’t want to take all the blame, so I tried to think of ways that her display of walking was truly rude, but all of my conjectures fell through. It turned out everything that I had taken as unacceptable were truly just my own beliefs. Not only had my excuses fallen through, they perhaps had made me feel even guiltier. Here I was judging some girl about something that was truly out of her control and solely in mine. In as simple as a few minutes, I had gone from wanting to reprimand this pedestrian to ruling out my own rules. I tore them apart, ruling out the logic behind each. While I thought these rules had protected me from awkward moments, all they had done was force me to jump to conclusions about people. After all, as a new driver I can relate to not knowing all (or any) of the rules of the road, and I surely don’t intend to send veteran drivers on a rampant road rage. So I guess it’s time to admit it: the bird leaving the nest managed to teach this old dog a new trick. I still walk to school every day, but my novel of unwritten rules has hit the road. After all, is it really fair to judge someone on their strut? Oh, and if you happen to see a gold mini van around the neighborhood, cut me a little slack. What can you expect of a newbie?

Dead Alchemist turns lyrics and notes into gold Juniors band together to jam in more than just garages, after snagging their first performance at Quinlan Center by Cameron Lee staff writer


et it right!” junior Jeff Boman screamed at his fellow bandmates after the two guitarists had stopped playing halfway through a song. It was the second run-through of their routine, and the microphones had just gone dead, causing the band to call their parents for replacements in desperation. Boman had good reason to panic -- the band had a concert in two days. Luckily this was just practice, one of many for the band Dead Alchemist, composed of juniors Trevor Gabriel on lead guitar, Stefan Paquet on the drums, Justin Kennedy on rhythm guitar, Boman on bass, and Tom Michael singing lead. The five were doing a last minute practice in Boman’s garage, in preparation of a their first gig on Oct. 29 at the Quinlan Center. This major performance, which was, in essence, their grand debut as band, did not come to them expectedly. “The gig we got was actually a favor being returned,” Gabriel said. “My friend needed a guitarist and a drummer in his band because they were playing at a Persian festival, so [Paquet] and I volunteered to play. As a reward, he let our whole band play at the end of the festival since the room was already rented and the sound system was set up.” The band immediately swung into practice. “Since we heard about [the gig],” Michael said, “we’ve been drilling about three to four hours every week.” “This was our first gig ever,” Boman said. “People have said a lot of things to us, but mostly they just tell us not to screw up.” After all the practicing, the big day finally came. The concert began at 7 pm, with around 30 people filling the center’s Cupertino Room, most of them high school students. Dead Alchemist played 11 songs, including four covers and seven originals. Audience reactions ranged from two-person moshpits to slow cellphone waving. Due to the audience’s overwhelming reaction, both during and after, it could be said that their favorite song was “Corner of My Mind.” The song was an original written by Kennedy about a series of dreams he had. The band goes through several basic steps in order to create their songs. “One of us usually comes up with a riff first,” Gabriel said. “After that, we all build off of it. Once we have the body, we add in lyrics and then guitar solos and other fancy stuff. It’s my favorite part of being in a band because I can write music I like to listen to.” “We all have our own strengths that we bring together to make the songs work,” Kennedy said. Though the band considers itself as a rock band, it does not limit itself to playing any one genre in the musical section. “We’re all over the map,” Kennedy said. “We play every

Cameron Lee | staff photographer

IN ACTION Dead Alchemist practices on Oct 27 in junior Jeff Boman’s garage for their performance at the Quinlan Center on Oct 29. They practiced almost three hours a week in order to perfect their music. kind of rock.” The band started out as a small affair. Kennedy, Gabriel, and Boman occasionally got together to play music casually as friends, but they never really thought about forming a band. However, when Michael and Paquet joined, the five began to consider the idea. Originally, the members were thinking of only being a cover band, meaning they would only play songs written by other artists, but they changed their minds as they desired the creative license to develop and produce their own original music. “The hardest part about being in a band,” Kennedy said, “is practicing. We have to practice a lot to get the songs right, and it can get tiring. But once we learn the songs, it [is] worth all the effort.” Money was another factor the band had to look into. Dead Alchemist pitched an advertising campaign around the MVHS campus, handing out flyers and selling pins and stickers for 25 cents in the weeks prior to the concert. This, in addition to the $3 tickets, helped jumpstart the process. Printed on all of the pins and stickers was a complex geometric shape: the logo for Dead Alchemist. The logo (not a pentagram, the band would like to point out), was actually developed by Boman during his math class, doodled onto a piece of scratch paper. The band name was chosen

after a heavy brainstorm. Names such as Crimson Lighting, Sampson’s Ghost, and Jazz Pirates were rejected because of their affiliation with only one kind of music. Dead Alchemist, while not unanimously chosen, was finally agreed upon. “Alchemists are people who change things,” Kennedy said. “Our band is ‘Dead Alchemist,’ so we change death [through our music].” Inspired by their success, the five want to continue. They are looking into another gig at The Cave in San Jose, where they are opening for the band I Am Ghost. The band is also recording music with their own equipment for a CD which they plan to sell for $5 each. The members of Dead Alchemist do not consider themselves to be the stereotypical high school band. “Most high school bands start out thinking it will be cool, but they usually can’t keep it together,” Kennedy said. “The best thing about our band is that we can work together and get stuff done.” Like any other group of musicians, collaborating is not always an easy process, but these boys manage to push past the pessimism of practice. “Some days have been good, on other [days] people got pissed and annoyed,” Michael said. “But we always found time to laugh and joke around.”

A Breakout Season Football team finds newfound success and surpasses records of previous decade by Carolyn Chuang sports editor


t seems that holding hands is not just for girls. Arguably three of the toughest and strongest men on campus, senior football captains Alex Atkins, Kota Kojima, and Chris Kong link arms before each game as they walk out for the captain’s huddle. “It represents the way we’re united as a team,” Atkins said. “We would have everyone up there if we could. We don’t try to put ourselves above everyone else.” This close-knit team may be the one that has seen the most improvement in the past two years. Just three years ago, the seniors on the varsity squad had lost every single game except one, a total of 19 losses. “We just wanted to be a better team,” Atkins said. “We were tired of having losing seasons. Two years ago, a lot of people at the school would go, ‘Oh did you guys lose again?’ I didn’t want to hear it anymore.” The football teams delivered the results. As each week passed and the teams weren’t losing, holding an undefeated 5-0 record at one point, students realized that football was turning a new leaf. At games the team saw a bigger turnout than past games. The teams surprised spectators with varsity finishing with a 6-4 record with several photoillustration by Austin Cheng close losses and junior varsity holding an OUT OF THE PACK Senior Alex Atkins opens new doors for MVHS with superb pressure passing on Nov. 9 against the Los Altos Eagles. undefeated record of 9-0-1. In addition, the team has brought the strength when they just started out. establishment of “10 Plus, Up To Us,” which head coach Jeff Mueller. strongest statistics this school has seen in Players have also testified to the difference meant they wanted to play more than ten “My first year here, I couldn’t wait for several years. The team averaged 374 the season to end so we could start weight the off-season training has made. They feel games by qualifying for CCS. The team and yards a game offensively with a total of 1703 training,” Thomas said of his first year stronger and faster on the field, having coaching staff kept this goal in perspective. yards rushing, and 2036 yards passing. coaching MVHS football three years ago. transfered the strength from the weight room “Every week of practice and every day, Three guys on the team have over 550 “There’s no offense you can run with slow, into “football strength.” Consequently, the we remembered that CCS is our goal, so yards rushing; three have over 250 yards in small, and weak players.” we can’t lose any games and we gotta work players are mentally better off. receptions. Now that the team is proficient at “Just being stronger, you have the hard at practice,” said Kong. Brainchild of Thomas, the program is both passing and running, opposing teams comprised of a weekly workout schedule. confidence in the back of your head that you “We thought we could [make CCS] this can’t just focus year,” said Atkins. “We didn’t quite reach can block that guy,” Thomas said. on stopping runs Even though spectators often have the goal, but we definitely surprised a lot of or passes. They WE DEFINITELY A LOT OF PEOPLE WITH a hard time remembering players’ people with the things we did as a team.” have to worry One of these upsets occurred in a prenumbers besides those in the spotlight about both. . — senior Alex Atkins like wide receiver senior Marcus Woo, season win against the Willow Glen team, THE THINGS WE DID One of the each player is essential to the team’s which has one of the top defensive ends in most influential success. “Every week, somebody all of CCS. The fact that the teams were factors in this team’s newfound success is Every eight weeks, the coaches test the else steps up and does an incredible job,” able to beat them demonstrated that MVHS the recently implemented off-season training players in various lifts and runs. Thomas said. “That’s why we’ve been so football would be able to do great things. program. Because the players have been MVHS has a strong football history, But even with the coaches stressing the successful this year. We haven’t had to traditionally smaller at MVHS, speed and importance of getting into the weight room, depend upon one person to do it all.” winning CCS championships in 1992. strength are especially important so they it is ultimately up to the players to commit The players and coaches spend more than Though the team has struggled for many can match up against larger teams. 15 hours together a week, more than many years, the team has finally turned the ship themselves to improve. Starting right after Thanksgiving break around. “We’re finally getting it back,” said “This group has a very solid work ethic. people spend with their actual families. last year, the players began training for They’re not afraid to go ahead and work Kojima helped to set the tone of this Thomas. “When you look back in a couple the next year. According to JV head coach hard, to go ahead and try the tough things. year’s season by putting the goal of making of years, these guys are going to be able to Jeff Thomas, the players had few claims to They got stronger and faster,” said varsity CCS playoffs on the table. This led to the say they helped turn this around.”


Serving up: Girls don’t settle for complacency

Wealth of individual talent coupled with team dynamics and strong work ethic yield consistent league victories by Janhavi Athavale staff writer

Austin Cheng | photography editor


SMASHED OUT Freshman Annalisa Chow rallies a tough Menlo serve on Nov. 16.

eads of sweat formed on senior Taskeen Bains’ forehead and her knuckles were white as she grasped her racket. With one solid swing, she ended her match with a small grunt. At this point of the CCS tournament, the girls varsity tennis team knew it had come out on top. The girls cheered as their teammate turned to look at the crowd, and the sweet smell of victory was in the air. But after so many consecutive wins throughout its recent history, does the team really find this smell that sweet? The girls varsity tennis team has achieved a first or second placing at the CCS playoffs every year since 2004. In addition, it always earns a high ranking at even bigger tournaments, such as Norcal, Peachtree, and Newport Beach. The team focuses mainly on individual tournaments because the league season doesn’t seem to induce that much concern. Junior Courtney Chin said, “The league games are kind of like practice for us.” And with the top eight players being nationally ranked, that

statement seems to be justified. The team only practices once a week collectively, but the majority practice three hours a day, four days a week with private coaches. Junior Tiffany Nguyen explained this excessive attention paid to individual success. She said, “We don’t feel that much pressure, we don’t really worry that much about league games. We play year round. [Individually] we play a tournament every other weekend.” Although improvement is always important, personal emotions related to the obligation to win sometimes come into the picture. Bains said, “It’s a matter of pride. You don’t want to lose to someone that you’ve beaten before.” But because the varsity team is of such high caliber, the guilt that would accompany defeat only increases each season. Compared to the varsity team, junior varsity girls tennis still finds it challenging to compete at the league level. The team practices together every day, and they strive not to succumb to the pressure of league games. Sophomore Connie Wu said, “You feel pressure

see TENNIS on page 18

Sweden to America: Junior stays true to roots Horseback rider jumps the hurdle across the seas while keeping her heritage, and horse Harry, close to heart by Ishita Mitra entertainment editor


n a stable at the top of a grassy hill in Priscilla Pastures, a tall brown-haired girl can be seen feeding flat bread, a Swedish treat, to a mahogany horse as she sweet talks to him in Swedish. While most horses would not be appeased by such a strange meal, typically opting for carrots or sugar cubes, these comforts are native to both. Since she was six years old, junior Helena Montin has been riding horses. She learned the art of horseback riding in Sweden and brought her knowledge overseas when she moved to America as a nine-year-old girl. According to Ilonah Montin, Helena’s mother, horseback riding is a common pasttime for girls in Sweden. “ I rode THE MOST when I was a little g i r l growing up in Sweden. My best friend got a horse, but my family could never afford to give me a horse or lessons so when I had children of my own, I wanted them to learn the skill,” said Ilonah. Like most athletes, Helena was not born a master. “At first it was scary because I didn’t always like horses. Some of them can be really stubborn and would bite you when you turned around,” Helena said. It was in the woods of Sweden that an eight-year-old Helena learned her first lesson when she fell off of an Icelandic pony for the first time. As she trotted down the woodland

go over the basic skills, but Helena is able to teach him more complicated tricks,” Ilonah said. Owning a horse is “not a thing where you just go up, ride the horse, and then come back,” in Helena’s eyes. She must clean his stall, change his water, refill his food, shower him, groom his hair, and only then can she go for a relaxing ride around the pastures. “In Sweden, they actually make you take a class about how to take care of a horse before you can ride one. to THING I’VE LEARNED IS . YOU Having take care of Harry WITH A HORSE. -Helena Montin, 11 has really brought Although she has not started performing me to a point where I do it in competitions yet, Helena still takes time not because I’m obligated out of her busy schedule to ride her horse to, but because I want to,” every week. Unlike most high-schoolers who said Helena. The sport has taught look forward to each Saturday as their day to wake up at noon, Helena sacrifices her Helena a lot about intermornings, finishing all her homework in or- acting with both horses Ishita Mitra | staff photographer and people. der to care for Harry. BIT BY BIT Junior Helena Montin feeds her Swedish horse Harry “The most important Because Helena can only look after Harry sugar cubes before a ride on Nov. 12. on weekends, Ilonah rides him the other five thing I’ve learned is padays of the week. Even though Helena is not tience. You can’t get frustrated with a horse. Whether she satisfies the competitive able to spend as much time with him, Hel- It might not be their problem that they don’t soul inside herself, or whether she continues understand. You just have to be tolerant,” her weekend ritual of caring for her Swedena and her horse share a special bond. “Out of the two of us, Helena is the only said Helena, who relates what she learns ish sentiment, Helena knows that “I always one that is able to get Harry to jump. I just with her horse to social sitations. want to have horseback riding in my life.” trail, the pony reared back suddenly, causing Helena to collapse onto the ground. Apart from minor back injuries, Helena was able to get back onto her feet and shrug the incident off. She has come to accept falling as part of the sport. “There’s always days that you don’t want to go, but that’s life. I’ve never wanted to quit because of injuries, ” she said. The Montins purchased their horse, Harry, from Sweden in 2003 because buying a trained horse in Sweden is much cheaper than buying a horse of the same quality in America. A traditional Swedish Olderburg, Harry serves as an extension of the country that the Montins left behind years ago. Because thirteen-year-old Harry arrived only understanding Swedish commands, Helena and Ilonah speak only in Swedish to him.



TENNIS: Junior varsity tennis resolves stress over nets not to let the team down, and also to not mess up.” This pressure can sometimes be overwhelming. Cocaptain of the team, junior Jennifer Chuu said, “I remember one game where I felt really nervous. I was really stressed out. My doubles partner and Mrs. Hambleton (JV coach) were really supportive and helped me get through it.” As Chuu relates, this pressure can be daunting. In some cases, it debilitates the girls by making them miss the fun experience

of a game. Wu said, “It’s hard to think about anything other than winning the game. We’re such a competitive team, and sometimes we forget to enjoy a match.” As for varsity, their extensive training outside of school, as stated before, make league games a breeze, because as Nguyen said, “we’re pretty much the best out of the other schools in our league.” However, the girls do feel stressed when it comes to individual tournaments.


31 Senior football player Marcus Trick, not treat


Woo faked a broken nose at practice with the help of accomplice junior Trevor Sambyal and several coaches. They had everyone fooled; Coach Jeff Mueller was even on the brink of placing a call to 9-1-1.

Staff-student tennis duos nov


grueling sport of dodgeball. The football team won after a close game with field hockey.


Going down in MVHS history

dance classes, and Hip Hop Kru perform in this annual extravaganza of kick lines and smooth moves. Come watch a great show.




final season results FOOTBALL

Varsity 6-4 Junior Varsity 9-0-1

18 Following their CCS cham-

The song must nov go on

Old vs. nov new

Nor Cal Tennis nov

At the Fremont Regional Competition, the song team’s music abruptly stopped in the middle of their routine. Undaunted, the team finished without music and still took first place.

MVHS basketball alumni met the new generations in a game. The nimble boys defeated the old geezers 61-43.

pionship title, the girls varsity tennis team went on to take first in the CIF Nor Cal tournament 5-2 against rival Menlo, the team they defeated, to win CCS.

this is now.

Boys Water Polo Calendar


A 2007 calendar featuring these shirtless studs will be available for purchase. Like last year, they plan on giving an autographed copy to Principal April Scott.

where we’re going

FIELD HOCKEY Varsity 1-7 Junior Varsity 0-7-1

WATER POLO Girls Varsity 11-3 Girls Frosh/Soph 1-10 Boys Varsity 2-3 Boys Frosh/Soph 3-2



11/11 CCS Championships Varsity Girls - 3rd Varsity Boys - 5th

The girls basketball teams split up into small groups in a competition to sell cookie dough for a prize of a two-hour limo party for the winners. Boys basketball, on the other hand, gets to run for not meeting their dough goals.


Limo party for top cookie-selling ballers; tough luck for others

5 The dance team, cheer teams, PE dec


The varsity girls water polo team is only the second team in the history of MVHS to qualify for CCS. They won the El Camino league, upsetting the favorite, Fremont High. Junior Amanda Hui scored the winning goal with half a second left on the clock.

that was then.

Winter Showcase


where we’ve been

Teachers teamed up with students to compete in a tennis tournament hosted by the tennis club. English teacher Shozo Shimazaki and sophomore Raymond Lei were the winners.

9 The fall sports teams tested their skills in the Sports rally showdown

Both the varsity and junior varsity girls’ tennis teams are amazingly talented and blessed with an extraordinary track record. As far as they’re concerned, the pressure has been mounting, but it hasn’t been insurmountable. With JV taking home first and second in doubles and second in singles, and with varsity taking home first in both CCS and the CIF Nor Cal championship, the team is certainly holding up the legacy of MVHS tennis dominance well.


Varsity 8-0 Junior Varsity 6-2 Frosh/Soph 8-0

GIRLS TENNIS Varsity 12-0 Junior Varsity 12-0 scores updated on 11/18/06

Once behind, now racing ahead Varsity cross country boys rise to meet the girls’ legacy through strenuous practice


by John Ho copy editor


bright array of figures gathered at Toro Park in Salinas to compete in CCS, some stretching, some lunging, and others improvising their own warm-up routine. Gathering along the starting line, MVHS’ cross country team, easily distinguished by particularly short shorts dyed a flamboyant purple, prepared for a three mile race. At the end, each individual’s rank is factored into the team’s score, which determines his or her finishing placement. “Running [involves] pushing yourself forward. It’s a mental sport,” senior Simon Bill describes. Cross country is not a sport for the weak; members daily run up to ten miles for practice. Throughout the season, they cover more than 600 miles, slightly less than the distance to Los Angeles and back. The team is traditionally distinguished in its league; it is not at all unusual that their purple shorts inspire fear in opponents. The boys had traditionally stood in the shadows of the girls’ team. In previous years, the imperfect record of the boys cross country team seemed rather unimpressive in comparison with the success of the girls team. They placed a high fourth in CCS last year, only to be paled against the girls’ second. Yet to them, running was incompatible with rest. “We improve by always pushing ourselves harder and practicing more,” Bill said. The friendly rivalry is not exclusive to rankings, however; team traditions have often pitted

Austin Cheng | staff photographer

COMING OUT AHEAD Senior Simon Bill bursts with emotion as he sprints the final 200 meters of Spectator Alley during the Nov. 11 CCS meet, placing eighth with a time of 16:21 for three miles. them in mock conflict. The most infamous involves TP-ing (short for “toilet paper,” especially when it has been used to decorate the front yards of others) members of the other team, as well as engaging in cupcake and pie fights. Looking at Bill, junior Mike Laccabue laughs and says, “There are some things we don’t take seriously here.” Over the summer, the boys team racked up impressive mileage on their cross country odometers, training intensely for the upcoming season. Laccabue points out his teammate junior Yu Hsiao and says, “This guy here ran 450 miles over the summer.

We all trained hard over the summer because we were set on getting into finals.” It certainly worked; the boys team performed at par with the girls team this season, even occasionally passing them in rankings. “I wouldn’t say we exceeded them, but we are doing much better than last year and are at least equal this season,” senior Many Subramanian said. The boys team qualified for CCS this season, placing fifth overall, while the girls placed third. A position of second is required for state competition. The team as a whole performed well in the highest

division, overall MVHS’ best since 1982. Though the team did not make it to states, both Bill and sophomore Jean Feng qualified individually and will continue to compete up the tier. Laccabue describes the team’s improvement as achieving a “less spread out” range; the entire team managed to place high in rankings. Although it is a competitive sport, Laccabue describes the race as a challenge against oneself: “Performance is mostly a mentality, measured by how you feel after a race. If you know you tried your best and couldn’t have given more, you know you did well.”

Searching for more than just talent MVHS athletes and college coaches strive to find the best fit, on and off the field by Jenny Sun

player in the world, but if he doesn’t fit the academic profile of a Stanford student, we can’t get him into the school.” or most MV students, the term “college “My coach can push my application, but applications” invokes images of I still have to get in through admissions,” SAT score reports, essays, teacher said senior Vidya Dabir, who is being recommendations, and above all, stress. recruited to play tennis at the University of Seniors write essays, and tone their lists of Pennsylvania. extracurricular activities and awards and The player’s attitude, work ethic, rush to ask the office to send out transcripts. and interaction with the team are also However, for certain students, there is contributing factors for narrowing the pool another element added to the fray: athletic of potential recruits. recruiting. Student athletes wishing to “Sometimes the tennis continue playing in does become secondary,” college generally “WHEN WE WATCH A KID, WE WANT TO SEE Nepomuceno said. “If I contact college know she has bad manners coaches to inform .” -Stanford Assistant Coach Jon Pascale on the court, she cheats, them of their interest she has a bad temper, it’s and invite the Both Pascale and Byron Nepomuceno, not going to happen.” coaches to come watch and play. College coaches pay special attention College coaches flag players of interest assistant coach of the womens tennis team and go to tournaments to identify and watch at San Jose State University, said that if to the official visits, where the student stays them. In order to catch these players in the student didn’t meet certain academic in a dorm with a teammate, attends a few action, college coaches have busy schedules requirements, the athlete wouldn’t even be classes, and watches a game or two. While the visit allows the student to get a feel for during recruiting season, which runs from taken into consideration. “There are standards,” Nepomuceno the school, the coach also gets to know the mid-November to January and starts again said. “You have to pass certain core courses, athlete better and decide if they will be a during summer. For Standford assistant coach Jon maintain a certain GPA, and naturally, do positive addition to the team. “The feedback that our players give us Pascale, flying out to watch tournaments well on the SATs. We [at San Jose State and games is tedious but necessary for the University] are a bit more lenient. But that [about the recruit] on these official visits is really important,” Pascale said. “We want athletic recruiting process. Athletes often doesn’t mean we’ll take just anybody.” While a coach may endorse an athlete, it to know what his work ethic and his attitude send in videos of themselves playing, but coaches prefer to see them in action, and by no means guarantees admission into the are like, what kind of teammate he is.” In the end, both Pascale and Nepomuceno school, so coaches still have to be selective ideally multiple times. agree that recruiting comes down to more “There’s a lot of pressure every time you about who they recruit. “[The athlete] has to have the academic than just talent. Overall, Nepomuceno said, play [at tournaments],” senior Darryl Tom said, who is being recruited to play soccer side,” Pascale said. “He could be the best “We look for a good person.” centerspread editor


Quest to manhood

at Saint Mary’s University. “There’s always somebody watching you, so you have to perform your best.” But college coaches look for more than just a great athlete when recruiting. “[The college] sends you a letter and a questionnaire and from there they have some idea of your grades and your test scores,” said senior Jessica Lau, who is being recruited to play soccer at Northwestern University. “If you’re not a good student, they’re just going to stop recruiting you.”



t’s hard for me to prove to others that I’m tough with my stick-like body. I’ve tried all sorts of methods to extract my inner manliness, from chewing on beef jerky, to scowling to hide my boyish dimples, finally reciting NFL scores to random kids in the park. So, as a natural next step, I decided to stoke the fire of manliness within myself by experiencing the sort of sport that demanded gritty workouts, brute strength and buckets of sweat— wrestling. Yes, it was a risky move, but I thought I understood the concept of wrestling well since I had watched Hulk Hogan on WWE. All it would take was all the strength I could muster and a whole lot of sweat, right? It was time for me to set aside the AP books and enter the wrestling ring. I met the two coaches Timothy Knight and Josh Desherlia who welcomed me warmly despite my size. Knight sported one of the longest goatees I had ever seen. It was the kind that I had tried growing but could only produce a tiny shrub, which had promptly made me terminate the Wolverine project. The wrestlers strutted in, each holding empty half gallon jugs of water. Some were of enormous size yet others emerged as identical stick versions of me. I almost asked if I could have a sip since I thought the bottles were for the whole team, but I later learned that each player was supposed to finish a MONSTROUS jug of water each day. Each wrestler endures the hydration test to ensure a healthy lifestyle. The moment was too awkward for me; the Water Boy had only drunk two bottles of water. I would be satisfied with “Newspaper Boy” as Desherlia dubbed me. The team and I watched the two coaches demonstrate “Ball and Chain.” The harmless sounding move consisted of wrapping arms tightly around a man’s precious jewels as though they were targets for a charging bull. The coach paused in the midst of his uncomfortable position and asked his players how he could possibly get out of the Ball and Chain. I ran through WWE moves in my head. Would the “Slug” or “The Choker” work? None could sufficiently explain the puzzle. Finally, junior wrestler Daniel Lu cocked a smile and unloaded a slew of techniques. I could only catch bits but each made sense as the coach followed directions, slowly unraveled himself, and reversed his position on the opponent. It seemed that there was something more to wrestling beyond the manly exterior of muscles and strength. Perhaps there was a strategy to this that even a devoted WWE watcher would have to learn. It was my turn to wrestle. I felt myself being crushed as “Hell’s Bells” rang in my ear. Desherlia clearly wanted me to tough it out as he forced everyone to wait for me before they were allowed to continue. I entered the mat again, this time, the length was minutes rather than seconds. My hands pushed and my legs pumped furiously at random to gain control over my opponent. Yet I could not overpower my equally light opponent who used gravity to deliver me to the wet ground. Though I have a 1400 chess rating, I could not plan enough strategies ahead of time as the physical aspect confused me. There clearly had to be a factor that determined the winner. Winning didn’t come from simply bursting out ridiculous amounts of strength like Dragon Ball Z. Instead, wrestling involves a taste of being smart. Techniques would determine who would have the favorable position. I woke up the next day, my back killing me, my knees raw red like medium rare steaks, and my arms incredibly numb. My experience was not difficult merely because of my size. There were other fellow sticks (unbelievably skinnier than me!) at the practice, but we had a world of differences. They won matches by being smart on the mat. I won awards comically trying to move my pecs. In the end, I learned that you don’t need Randy Savage’s Slim Jims to create make toughness; it lies in the mind.

sophomore Rockxanna Garajehdaghi field hockey Whether lost in the woods or stranded in class before lunch, it is always reassuring to know that nutrition is within convenient reach (in the form of pine trees). Those in perpetual fear of starving need only to read on. • White pine tastes best. Eastern Native Americans found the smooth, greenish bark delectable. Look for these should you ever have trouble deciding which tree to eat.

Senior Calvin Wu Sport: Water Polo five speedos

• Grind dried bark into powder. The FDA claims that it is rich in starch and vitamin C, quite handy if you are afflicted with scurvy. • Prepare pine needle tea. One need only add finely chopped needles to boiling water for a fix of vitamins. Best used for those who prefer their tea in its natural bitter state. • Candied pine. Ideal for those stranded with a bucket of syrup and sugar. Simply boil pine shoots until tender, then roll in granulated sugar.

sophomore Joyce Chan tennis


Pawkit the gnome has gone hiking at MVHS, but where is he on campus? The first person to reach the location shown will find instructions to claim a fabulous prize.

Congratulations to seniors Vivien Pillet and Alex Kadokura for finding Pawkit’s location on the pool deck in front of the buoy!


photo illustration by Aniqa Hasan | staff photographer

o I just drop the ball and hit it? Okay!” said Garajehdaghi as Chan finished explaining how to properly hit the tennis ball. No words could better describe Garajehdaghi’s next moves than “easier said than done.” As she dropped the ball and swung aimlessly at nothing but air again and again, Chan advised, “Watch the ball,” as she helped Garajehdaghi improve. Soon enough, the smack of tennis ball resounded throughout the tennis courts. After some practice hits, she mustered up enough force behind her swings to send one sailing into a nearby court, disrupting the practice of two players. “Sorry!” Garajehdaghi called out. “I’m learning. I haven’t played this in years.” What Garajehdaghi missed the most was the team aspect of field hockey. “I think tennis is a more independent sport. There isn’t anyone to help you if you mess up.” As the session came to a close, Chan said, “See, tennis is so not easy,” to which Garajehdaghi defiantly replied, “Just wait ‘til field hockey.”

puff of dust rose from the field as Chan brought her field hockey stick down to meet the ground in a swift arc. She looked to the horizon to see where the ball had gone: nowhere. She looked to the ground to see that the bright orange ball was right where it had been before she “hit” it. “This is a lot harder than I thought,” said Chan. So began her first afternoon holding a field hockey stick instead of a racket. Chan began with the basics: passing and receiving. Soon she moved on to the “flip” a move where the field hockey stick is pushed under the ball so that it can essentially “flip” over obstacles. After Garajehdaghi asked Chan to try “the push,” Chan half-heartedly tapped the ball, causing it to roll across the grass and stop dejectedly midway between herself and Garajehdaghi. Reprimand wasn’t even necessary as Chan said, “I know, I know” and quickly moved forward to retrieve the ball. In retrospect, Chan said, “In tennis, you hit the ball in the air. The strength you use to hit it on the ground is really different.” Needless to say, she opted to stay on the courts.

“We have morning practice and afternoon practice in the same day, so we don’t want to put on a wet suit one right after another. We wear two layers time in case one gets ripped off.“



Hello Kitty hairpins

“I have a Hello Kitty hairpin that my cousin gave me. I use it to keep my hair up so that I can see when I play.”

pink fairy towel “[Junior] Pearl Shih gave this to me so I just designate it to use for waterpolo. I use really kiddy towels.”

AP Government textbook “My teammate Jason Lee and I have Government together so we study sometimes.”

toothbrush & paste “The chlorine in the pool makes our breath smell really bad so I use them to brush my teeth every morning after practice before school starts.”

Girls’ Volleyball

Volume 38, Issue 3, November 27 2006  

A student publication located in Monta Vista, Calif.

Volume 38, Issue 3, November 27 2006  

A student publication located in Monta Vista, Calif.