pg 10-11 // centerspread
March 15, 2007
preview pg 3 // news
Coachless mock trial team lays down the law
To catch a vandalist Reward offered for information on graffiti
by Casey Wong staff writer
S pg 8 // perspectives
Lunch, tutorial not extensions of classtime
pg 15 // entertainment
Rubiks cube comeback makes for quick minds, quicker hands
pg 19 // sports
Diving team strives for recognition
urrounded by a quiet suburban environment and filled with students who voluntarily glue their eyes to their study material, MVHS is likely one of the poorest examples of a culture typically associated with the sprawled streets of an urban environment. Even break dancing required a period of time to be accepted as something that Monta Vistans were capable of when not huddled behind towers of textbooks. Joking about the idea of vandalism at a school as pristine as MVHS, junior Patty Chao said, “You’d think that everyone here is too busy to do anything like that.” Yet for some puzzling reason, someone out there has found the walls of this school suitable for spray painting messages so out of place in Cupertino that they are ridiculed. In early February, school officials responded to an incident of graffiti in a school bathroom, which was followed by another case later that same week. Although the messages were sprayed in a manner more artistic than the one saying “Crips” found earlier this year, it was not the style of the message that attracted a more critical response from the Administration. Instead it was the bizarre timing of these events. The messages were tagged before brunch throughout the week. Because this happened multiple times in such a short interval, Assistant Principal Dennis Plaza said, “I’m pretty sure it’s someone in the school.” His reasoning was based on the idea that it is unlikely for a stranger to be able to enter the campus without being identified as a stranger either by students or officials. Few staff or students actually saw the tagged messages, but the prompt removal of them was not an attempt to isolate and contain the incident.
Austin Cheng | photography editor
HORSEPLAY An unsuspecting junior Philip Bate gets put in a playful headlock by his ROP Engineeriing teacher Bruce Kawanami as senior Eric Nguyen witnesses the prank. Kawanami was recently diagnosed with myeloma, a type of blood cancer.
Diagnosis: In good humor Kawanami refuses to let cancer overshadow his comedic presence waves by singing, especially when they’re not the best singer the world. However, it is this playful and optimistic approach that has helped Kawanami not only in the classroom, ll that can be heard is a but in coping with his cancer. discordant sound: the clashing On Nov. 4, Kawanami was diagnosed of twenty different conversations with stage one multiple myeloma, a cancer fighting to be heard. The bell rings affecting white blood cells. It is not a curable and the students continue chattering cancer, but it is treatable. In addition, obliviously. However suddenly, a sharp, Kawanami is in a “smoldering” state of the long note penetrates the air. Instantly cancer in which the cancer is dormant and the conversation stops as all eyes he is unaffected and needs no treatment. focus on the source of the shrill note, In fact, Kawanami could stay in this state ROP Engineering Tech teacher Bruce for 17 years, which is currently the Kawanami. longest “smoldering” state recorded. It isn’t often that a teacher Because he is in this state, Kawanami prepares not only a lesson, but a Burgundy is monitored to ensure everything is show to boot. Most teachers wouldn’t is the official myeloma in check. think of starting off a lesson on sound support color
by Ellen Casavant
see CANCER on page 3
see GRAFFITI on page 4
Teachers submit to AP tests of their own In attempt to standardize curriculums nationwide, College Board scrutinizes reputed AP programs
by Pooja Shah staff writer
Flashback Bomb scare page 2 Point for Point Graffiti reward page 9 In the Halls Bape jackets page 14
n the alphabet of letters most esteemed by MVHS students, two letters seem to stand out above the rest: A-P. MVHS students are familiar with Advanced Placement, or AP courses, which are common upon the transcripts of their peers. However, they are unfamiliar with courses such as AP Band and AP Oklahoma History. Although these courses seem absurd to most, recently, it has been brought to the attention of College Board, the administrators of the AP exam, that schools across the nation are mislabeling courses with the title of ‘AP.’ Some so-called AP courses do not have college-level curriculums and do not serve as preparation for the AP exam. In response to their discovery of improper usage of the term “Advanced In 2006, 88% of 1,854 AP exams taken at MVHS earned a score of three (passing) or higher.
Only two MVHS teachers’ AP syllabi were approved by College Board.
Placement” in January of this year, the College Board officially launched the AP Audit program. As the administrator and creator of the AP exam, as well as the owner of the trademark rights for the expression ‘AP,’ College Board has found it necessary to review the course syllabi of every school in the nation that wishes to continue labeling their courses with the phrase. This review will ensure that all AP courses do in fact convey a high-level curriculum, and thus maintain the integrity of the term. In order to implement the AP Audit program, the College Board has contracted the Educational Policy Improvement Center, which is a non-profit organization based at the University of Oregon. EPIC works with state education departments and private organizations to research issues that improve student success in high school and college.
see AUDIT on page 6 Last year, College Board named MVHS’ Biology AP program number one in the world.
College Board’s recent audit reported that MVHS’ Biology AP curriculum does not meet all necessary standards.
flashback From our vault of El Estoque archives...
Top Story: “Campus Disturbed by Bomb Scare”
How much hype can be made over the ticking of a metronome? On March 3 1993, former MVHS teacher Dave Regnier heard what sounded like an egg timer after school. The ticking seemed to be coming from the student lockers. Regier, after telling a student in his classroom to leave the campus, immediately contacted Administration, who notified the police department. The ticking noise could not be ignored since it could have been a bomb. Principal Jim Warren immediately warned teachers on both floors of the building to evacuate. When authorities arrived at the scene, the ticking noise had stopped. Authorities were asked to go through individual lockers to find the origin of the sound. “According to Regnier, about six locks were broken before he was called back to the site,” read the article. After the lock was cut, it turned out that the “bomb” was a student’s metronome for music class. “No one was harmed and the incident proved to be a memorable example of the old cliche, ‘It’s better safe than sorry,’ “according to the article.
Regaining Strength After Surgery Assistant Principal Brad Metheany has been seen around campus sporting a dark sling and three new bolts in his left shoulder. On Mar. 1, Metheany went into the hospital for surgery to fix the shoulder pain he had been experiencing for some time. Metheany accredits his ongoing shoulder pain to his college days when he played competitive football. Two years ago, the problem reemerged when Metheany injured his shoulder in a water-skiing accident, during which he tore a tendon off his bones. “That was okay,” Metheany said. “I had pain for four or five months, and it sort of went away eventually. My strength is still pretty good.” When Metheany again injured the same shoulder, he pulled a tendon and crushed a bone, and the injury became more problematic. After months of pain, he finally decided to have surgery to fix his shoulder problems. Currently, Metheany is recovering and is in high spirits. He returned to school after missing only two days of work.
highlights Residency Verification Revamped
Newborn Lavie and New Mother Wong
The line of parents extending out of the cafeteria for residency verification was not as long as those from previous years. This year, the district narrowed the checking process from all MVHS students to all incoming students for the 2007-2008 school year and the class of 2009. This allowed the schools to reduce their amount of work by half. Instead of spending four nights and two make-up days on confirming students’ addresses, Administration spent only two nights and one make-up day on verification. “[We made this change] mainly because the process is so time consuming,” Assistant Principal Fred Keep said. “[This year] we cut the burden of our work in half.” Since the FUHSD schools are funded based on property taxes and not on the student population, the residency verification process is essential for ensuring that the students who live in the designated area receive the public school benefits that they are entitled to. Keep approximated that every 30 students cost the school $80,000 for a teacher. If students from outside the area are enrolling into MVHS, the school has to spend more money on faculty without receiving any additional funding from the state. “Sometimes parents get angry [about the tedious and scrutinizing process],” Keep said, “but when you explain to them that it might make the difference between their kid getting into a class or not, they understand.”
On Feb. 17, English teacher Kelly Wong gave birth to a baby girl. The baby weighed in at a petite 5 pounds and 15 ounces but is in very good health. The baby is named Lavie, which is a French translation for the word “life.” “I’m kind of embarrassed to say this,” Wong said, “but she is actually named after [a character on an] anime show, “The Last Exile,” which I am a huge fan of.” Wong says that she loves being a mother and that taking care of her new baby is a lot of “fun.” Going into the pregnancy, Wong had worried that caring after a newborn would be a difficult undertaking. However, she now finds the task much easier than she had previously anticipated. As soon as her baby is old enough, Wong plans to return to her teaching position at MVHS. “I miss teaching,” Wong said. “I miss my students, although I still sometimes talk to them through email.”
Discrepancies Over CSF Recognition On Jan. 23, Leadership Council passed a motion to end the long-standing tradition of identifying California Scholarship Federation Life and 100 percent members in the graduation program. In past years, the program has included a small notation next to the names of graduates who have been members for all seven semesters prior to the spring semester of senior year. However, a few months ago ASB Club Commissioners brought up the fact that while there are now other honor societies and scholarship federations with high achieving students, CSF members have been the only ones being recognized in the program in past years. After discussing this issue of inequality amongst themselves, the Club Commissioners moved for the notation to be removed during the following Leadership Council. “There are other honor societies that don’t get recognized in the flyer,” Club Commissioner junior Patrice Lin said. “We wanted to be fair to students in other clubs, as well.” Though the motion was passed in Leadership Council, it was annulled by Principal April Scott about a month later, when she said that the council does not have the authority to remove the notation from the brochure or vote on other graduation related topics. Though the motion was nullified by Scott, it is still yet to be determined whether or not other scholarship federations and honor societies at MVHS will be equally recognized in the program.
Erratic Bells Result in Confusion Students came back from winter break confused when the school bells failed to function properly. Principal’s Assistant Sue Gunderson speculates that the problem began over winter break, when no administrative personnel were around. Many of the controls, including the main panel, are still located in the old office. Reasons for triggering the malfunction may include power outage or interference by the construction work that had been going on. The construction work worsened the bell malfunction, hindering Administration’s efforts in fixing the problem. This led to schedule confusion for a few days until the bells were finally fixed by the appropriate technical personnel. “We had to have the right person from the right company come in to reset them,” Gunderson said. “Once he did that, we were fine.”
Staff Acknowledges This Year’s Best Recently, English teacher Michelle Balmeo and Senior Clerical Assistant Sulin Yeh were chosen as MVHS Employees of the Year. The staff of the year honor is awarded based on a vote by the staff. First, MVHS staff nominates those who they think are deserving of the title. The nominations are then narrowed down to six people. The school faculty then votes together to select an employee and a classified employee of the year. When asked to speculate as to why the staff voted for Yeh, Metheany said, “All of the classified here have the job of helping people: teachers, administrators. Sulin is pretty active, pretty visible. She has a lot to do during the day…She works hard. She was a good choice.” A ceremony will be held on Mar. 20 to honor Balmeo and Yeh’s achievements.
Truth, trust, and making out... oh my! by Steffi Lau editor in chief
am in a relationship right now. Like most relationships, it started off with the requisite stalking. It began with that first romantic meeting and a few follow-up calls. It is a relationship based on trust, good impressions, make-out sessions (not really) and of course, the occasional fight. But I have a secret: I see other people. In fact, I have relationships with about 2,500 people. But don’t worry, I’m not a player. I’m just in Journalism. (Oh and really, I was just kidding about those make-out sessions.) The relationship between a reporter and his or her subjects is a funny one. You would think it would be simple—we get our stories from them, in return, they get their names printed in the paper. But this is where the fighting comes in. As journalists, we face a conflict between pleasing our subjects and pleasing the truth. I’ve been asked by my interviewees countless times, “Can I review the story before it comes out?” It’s sort of like having a clingy boyfriend. It seems like a simple question, but as teenage love would have it, it’s more complicated than that. The problem with prior review is ethics. Interviewees reading stories about themselves tend to get nit-picky, finding things they want to change here and there and wanting to alter their quotes to say things they never said. Obviously, this goes against our moral code of being truthful. By giving them the story beforehand, we are licensing to
them to portray themselves however they want. And the thing is, we are a newspaper, not a public relations firm. I can understand the nervousness. It’s a vulnerable feeling, being exposed to the entire school. For all you know, we could be saying that you have a secret third nipple. But this is where the trust comes in. Obviously, we’re going to get into trouble if we say you have a third nipple and you don’t (maybe you have five?). Our goal is to preserve our integrity and reliability so we can have sources that will open up to us. And we are human, meaning we do want to tell your emotions and story the way they are. Yet another issue in the drama of relationships is the surprise factor. As journalists working on a publication sensitive to timeliness and word space, we often have to cut quotes from entire people, maybe even someone who we spent an hour interviewing. Or maybe the angle of our story will turn out entirely different than you expected. These changes can be unnerving for our subjects. However, first and foremost, our loyalty is to the truth and to our quality as a paper. It may sound harsh, but we can’t be concerned with cutting that blurry picture of the girl for In The Hallways, just because she won’t get her chance to be in the paper. Like any couple, we need our space, and can’t let personal feelings cloud our judgment. Relationships can be tricky, but in the end, truth and trust are what really matter. Trust us to tell the truth, and we will do you justice. Oh and if you get cut from a story, don’t feel too bad. It’s not you. It’s me.
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 Online Editor Shibi Murali Staff Writers Janhavi Athavale Radhika Chandrasekhar Cameron Lee Eric Lu Chris Moe Ahmed Naguib Harold Pan 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 email@example.com www.elestoqueonline.com
Court in session, coach or no coach Mock trial team lacks formal coach, yet members perform and excel without objection by Shawn Shah
s spectators begin to crowd the courtroom, an obvious difference can be seen between the opposing sides. While one half of the room is overflowing with parents, siblings, friends, and coaches, the other half of the room remains empty. The chatter suddenly stops as the judge walks in. Sitting at his desk, he asks the multiple Los Altos High School team coaches to introduce themselves. As the judge expectantly looks at MVHS, mock trial club officer senior Nisha Kashyap regretfully glances at the desolate seats behind her, and says “none.” Despite the lack of a formal coach and school support, the mock trial club has excelled this year, giving students insight into the field of law. Mock trial club, whic has existed on campus for many years, gives students the chance to experience how a typical court trial runs. While some Pooja Shah | staff photographer may consider its obscurity a curse, club officers consider it a blessing. OBJECTION, YOUR HONOR Senior Scarlett Su requests feedback from a lawyer about her perfor“Our relative anonymity allows mance during the mock trial competition which took place on Feb. 15. Su was an attorney. us the chance to really connect with them improve in different areas of mock tri- to ask the judges about their performance members,” Kashyap said. “It also ensures that we end up with members who al. If we had coaches, they would be great during the trial, areas where they could improve, and their experiences in their respecare extremely passionate about what they assets to our team.” Mock trial is structured similarly to a real tive fields. “We get a lot of insight into what do. We accomplish a lot for a small club, but our anonymity isn’t always a good thing. court trial. The club is split into two teams, de- being a lawyer or a judge is like,” junior We have no school support. While other fense and prosecution. Although both teams Shreya Sharma said. “A lot of us are interschools’ stands are overcrowded, ours are practice together, they compete individually. ested in becoming lawyers when we grow completely empty. We could accomplish a Each team is given a scenario, along with up. Mock trial gives us the chance to experievidence. They then split into “lawyers” and ence what the profession is like. The judge’s lot more with some support and guidance.” Unlike the speech and debate team, “witnesses” and begin to develop their cas- critiques and talks at the end are great bemock trial does not have a formal coach. es. Both “lawyers” and “witnesses” are eval- cause it allows us to see exactly what being “The fact that we do not have a coach puts uated on their performances by one actual a lawyer entails.” Mock trial club members are extremely us at big disadvantage compared to other judge and two guest judges. While the guest school teams,” mock trial club officer senior judges may not be real judges, they have passionate about their club. “It’s been aweKatherine Maslyn said. “Our team listens to experience in related fields and critique the some,” Sharma said. “I can’t imagine not each other speak, and we practice together, students using their knowledge of law. The being in mock trial. It has given me great inwhich allows us to improve our speaking judges award each member a score from sight into what profession I want to do when qualities during the trial. However, a coach one to five. This year, the team had an as- I grow up. It has also allowed me to make would allow us to greatly improve our argu- tounding number of members receive “triple a lot of friends. It’s helped me make a lot of decisions about what I want to do when I ments and the ways we present them. Other fives,” the highest score possible. After every trial, students are allowed grow up. For me, that is priceless.” schools have multiple coaches which help
CANCER: Despite disease, Kawanami perseveres with light-hearted attitude continued from page 1 The symptom that brought Kawanami to the doctor was a lump on his neck. Now removed after radiation therapy, Kawanami refers to what is left of it as an oddly-shaped sunburn. But he has other names for it too. “My family calls me Mr. Lumpy,” Kawanami said, “I love to laugh and we make a lot of jokes. [My] kids help me find funny sides to things.” With this support Kawanami has managed to find humor in other symptoms, too. “I have holes in my head which I find kind of neat,” Kawanami said with a grin.
scary thing, so my faith played a big role. I’m thankful for everything that I have because I have so much and it’s really neat.” In fact, most of the time his attitude was so cheerful and optimistic that it was hard for students to believe that Kawanami actually had cancer. “[Kawanami] came up to the front of the class one day and explained why he was wearing a Livestrong band,” junior Humphrey Hu said, “but it was so hard to believe [that he actually had cancer] because he had been completely normal. In fact, he was even making jokes the entire time. But he kept talking about it and then I real-
“I’ve got this cancer negative, but on the positive I’ve got so much going for me. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”—ROP Engineering Tech teacher Bruce Kawanami Because there was a build up of white blood cells in his brain, they carved five perfect circles in his skull. “It makes my skull a little more fragile,” he said. “But because [my skull] is already so heavily structured I’m fine.” Plus, when he makes a mistake he can blame it on the holes in his head, he pointed out jokingly. Kawanami admits, however, that life hasn’t always been smoothsailing since first finding out about the cancer. “I thought it was a death sentence when I first found out,” he said. “For two weeks I held little pity parties, but then I realized that they were useless. We’re all dying anyway, so it’s not worth getting depressed about,” Kawanami said. With the support of his friends, family, and faith, Kawanami was able to return to his fun-loving and laughing self. “Knowing that I’ve got God on my side is tremendous,” Kawanami said. “Cancer’s a
ized that it was true.” Another student, junior Raj Datta, mirrored Hu’s opinion. “I have a lot of respect for [Kawanami] because he’s dealing with this situation so well. I couldn’t tell that [he had cancer] at all.” An engineer at heart, Kawanami even managed to find a technical approach to his cancer. “I’m an engineering nerd so I get my blood tests and they put the results online,” Kawanami said. “So I’ve plotted them all and I’ve got graphs going so I can see when things change.” Information is key and helps Kawanami feel like he has some control. “Sure, overall I’ve got this cancer negative, but on the positive I’ve got so much going for me,” he said. According to Kawanami, he’s the luckiest man alive. After all, he has a loving family, a supportive faith, and his ideal job. “I couldn’t ask for anything better,” he said, “This is so perfect. It’s spooky!”
t’s the classic kindergarten scenario: the teacher asks what the kids want to be when they grow up, and the children promptly respond with a flurry of fanciful answers. “I want to be an astronaut!” one shouts. “I’m going to be the President of the United States of America,” prophesizes another, his eyes gleaming with anticipation. Let’s face it: whether they think they want to become something as realistic as a policewoman or as far-fetched as King of the Universe, it’s likely that none of their future predictions will be even remotely accurate. It’s pretty certain that no child has ever uttered the phrase, “When I grow up, I want to be a Republican party insider so I can illicitly leak the name of a CIA agent to the press and get in lots of trouble for it!” Needless to say, this is just my educated guess. Apparently, though, the aforementioned thought never occurred to the young Lewis “Scooter” Libby, even though the Vice President’s former Chief of Staff was convicted on four felony counts of doing just that. It was no shock to me when I stumbled across Libby’s senior portrait in my dad’s high school yearbook, since I already knew that they had been in the same class. What did surprise me, though, was buried within Libby’s lengthy list of extracurriculars. Between JV Soccer and drama club, he was listed as “Vice-President, Democratic Party, and over Student Political Union.” I almost fell out of my chair, after which I was quickly overcome by a jarring feeling of confusion and horror. It wasn’t exactly the hypocrisy of a former Young Democrat being involved in nearly every major policy decision of the Bush Administration that threw me off, though. What really bothered me was that I couldn’t find any semblance of today’s Libby in that yearbook. And as a high school senior, it was a harrowing moment when I opened that page and it hit me that I might be a completely different person 40 years from now. As high schoolers, we often indulge ourselves (and, of course, our egos) in elaborate plans for the future. By the time we hit sophomore year, many of us have our lives planned out: we might aspire to go to a specific university, live in a foreign country for five years, or pursue a certain career. When I opened that yearbook, though, I realized that all our intricate planning might be a little too structured for our own good. It was an odd revelation. I identify with my current set of values and ambitions; why shouldn’t I be afraid that my future self will tear my own identity away from me? After a few moments, though, the hyperventilation died down; I realized that change is, after all, a natural process. When I was in first grade, there was nothing I wanted more than to be a paleontologist. I figured sandboxes were pretty fun, so why not sit at a dig site in the searing heat all day carefully examining thousands of pieces of dirt? It seemed like an exceedingly exciting occupation to my six-year-old self, and dinosaurs were, after all, pretty darned awesome. Obviously, my goals and desires have changed since then, so maybe I should expect my 50-year old self to be different from who I am today. I probably won’t ever end up being put on trial for ratting out a CIA agent who just happens to be the wife of one of my political enemies, but I’m sure I will end up doing a few things that I wouldn’t expect of me…and maybe that’s to be expected, albeit in a slightly paradoxical sort of way. I may not have complete control over the actions I will take in the future. Of course, the young Scooter would probably be shocked had he met the man he was to become, and maybe his story stands as a testimony to warn those of us who are bold enough to think we actually know who we are. After all, isn’t it nice to have a little bit of perspective?
‘Soup’ talk aims to prevent rape by Symrin Chawla
e manipulated me; basically everything I had, he took away from me. He controlled my entire life.” With warm tears welling up in her eyes, the girl standing in front of a room full of students shifted her weight from side to side as she nervously bit on her lip ring and continued, “He convinced me to have sex with him.” About 100 MVHS students sat in silence, bearing her pauses, as they waited to hear this unfamiliar girl’s story. Packed into the student center on Feb. 9, a wide range of both girls and boys attended Chicken Soup: Acquaintance Rape. The lunch forum led by Speak Up, Speak Out spotlighted the stories Symrin Chawla | staff photographer of four Fremont High School students and their experiences in unhealthy relationships. DISHING OUT SOUP Fremont High School seniors Nathalie Meab and Shireen Ahmadi The discussion included internet relationships, speak to MVHS students about relationships during the “ChIcken Soup” session on Feb. 9. parent relationships, verbally and physically abusive relationships, relationships with about relationships,” Prinz said. “They were focus committee of Leadership now plan to older people, and of course, rape. getting upset about how when they were catch up by making Chicken Soup themed “These things are not widely freshmen, they had been mistreated by older lunch forums more frequent, potentially held acknowledged at Monta Vista, but they guys.” once every other month. do happen,” said senior Chris Hara, who “In the future, I would like MVHS students According to Prinz, the girls felt that if worked with student advocate Richard they could share their experiences with the to speak,” Prinz said. “I often ask people Prinz to bring back the that I meet if lunchtime forum. “We These things are not widely acknowledged at Monta Vista, they would be thought that if there willing to speak was a reasonable up. It’s hard, but — senior Chris Hara way to reach out to I would really the people that are affected, then they can younger students on campus, they would be like to see us have our own Speak Up, see that others are going through the same able to help them stay safe. Together with Speak Out.” things and learn from that.” Dating, death, loss, parents, alcohol, and the upperclassmen girls, Prinz and Gowen However, Chicken Soup: Acquaintance organized the first lunch seminar held in an drugs are some of the concepts that Prinz Rape was not the first occasion that rape A-building Physiology classroom. hopes to discuss. In addition to developing was openly discussed at MVHS. The wheels Since then, the concept has grown Chicken Soup, Prinz is also pushing toward began turning three years ago when Fremont immensely. At Fremont, the discussion of having his own class focused on developing High School’s current student advocate rape continued and Gowen developed a more open campus. Cindy Gowen was working at MVHS. “These are real life issues. We need to SUSO with students willing to tell their “One day we were in the office with some stories. Although the progam went on a brief discuss them,” Prinz said. “We need to get junior and senior girls and we started talking hiatus at MVHS, Prinz and the Peer Support good at these things too.”
“ but they do happen.”
GRAFFITI: Cameras a possibility continued from page 1 Instead Plaza said, “We didn’t want the tag to get attention because that’s probably what the vandal wanted.” In order to prevent what was feared as a potential vandalism spree, Plaza suggested the more pressing response of advertising the $500 award for information that would lead to the apprehension of the vandals; Plaza described this move as one out of “urgency,” not desperation. So far a handful of students have given information but none have provided significant leads. Some students do not believe that the lack of substantial leads is a surprising outcome at all. Senior Rohan Ramadas said, “I find it hard to believe that by turning somebody else in, a person wouldn’t be implicating himself. He would need a pretty good explanation of how he knows what he’s telling. So this award definitely wouldn’t be as effective as any other $500 reward as for, say, finding a cat.” In order to prevent such vandalism in the future, and to make the identification of the vandal simpler, Plaza said, “We are going to install new surveillance cameras as soon as possible.” The new cameras being sought would have better imaging capabilities in low light, and would be placed in more strategic locations. One of such areas that the school hopes to increase surveillance over is the bicycle racks where most incidents of disorderly conduct and theft have occurred. The only thing preventing the installation of this system is state funding. However, there is no telling when such money will actually be received. “Until then,” Plaza said, “we’re still shopping.”
: Flipping the tassel, suiting up to serve by Audrey Feldman
his upcoming fall, most MVHS graduates will be adjusting to their new lives at university, worrying about their problems of meal points and lecture halls. Senior Sarah Vainstien, on the other hand, will be completing a rigorous two months of boot camp. Last summer, Vainstein decided to opt for a choice that hardly occurs to most MVHS students when they consider their options after graduation: she enlisted in the US Navy. “ I enlisted because I didn’t want to go to college straight after high school; it gives you a great experience and there are great benefits that come with enlisting,” Vainstein said. “You can be awarded scholarships for college afterward and you get to travel the world.” Most people would think of enlistment as a very simple process, but in reality it involves several steps; there are hundreds of different jobs within each division of the military. In order to obtain the more skilled jobs, those who enlist must take a test called the ASVAB that measures aptitude in arithmetic, reading, and other categories. The results of this test determine what jobs they qualify for. Also, while in the military, many people take university-level classes that can count for a college degree after they complete their service. Vainstein plans on becoming a “BU”, which stands for “builder.” The stereotypical image may be of fighting on the ground, but as a builder, Vainstein will be working with architecture, construction, and interior design. Although she won’t serve as a soldier, she acknowledges that some of her peers don’t fully accept or understand her decision. “When [people don’t approve], they tell you, ‘Well, I wouldn’t join,’ and then they rave on about their parents’ political opinions,” she said. Senior Jack Chin, who has applied to Westpoint Military Academy, agrees. “Some people are really shocked when you join,” Chin said, “but in reality there are a
Attend Basic Combat Training - 9 weeks Prospective soldiers go through intense physical & mental training Learn job skills at Advanced Individual Training Divided into many schools that focus on specific areas of study such as Aviation and Artillery Become a soldier: training continues and combat fighting begins
wide range of people [in the military] with lots of different beliefs and political views, but they all do their job no matter what.” Chin notes that his political beliefs didn’t lead him to join; he simply wants to serve his country. However, Chin admitted that his parents didn’t share his attitude about the military’s benefits at first. “Initially, they didn’t think I was fit [for the Army] because I’m disorganized—I can’t even keep my room clean,” Chin said. Eventually, though, Chin’s parents accepted his decision. Similarly, Vainstein’s parents had mixed feelings about her decision to join the military; her mother at first was completely against her decision to enlist in the Navy. On the other hand, Vainstein also acknowledges that her stepfather was the one who prompted her to look into joining the military in the first place. “I don’t think [my stepdad] was serious at first but the more I found out about the Navy the more I wanted to join,” Vainstein said. Since Vainstein has already signed her enlistment contract, she knows that she will serve five years of active duty and then spend at least three years in the Navy reserve. If she decides to make a career out of her military stint, she can choose to renew her contract. Right now, she is unsure whether she wants to pursue an officership and a military career or attend art college at CalArts after she has finished her active duty. “If I decide to go to art school, I will already have the skills in architecture and interior design from being a builder,” she said, “or I might renew my contract and stay in the Navy.” Whatever she chooses, one thing is certain: she feels sure that the skills she acquires in the military will be highly useful later in life.
Join Naval Sea Cadet Corps Train at military bases and on ships Go to Boot Camp - 8 weeks of physical and mental training Attend “A” School Learn specific subjects such as Building and Engineering Get assigned to a certain post and experience working in the field
D building caught in legal mess AUDIT: Stricter FUHSD begins litigation against construction company responsible for project by Kevin Ragothaman
wo and a half years after its completion, the D building is still engulfed in problems, becoming the focus of recent litigation initiated by the Fremont Union High School District (FUHSD). The District is desperately trying to solve the ordeals that Assistant Principal Brad Metheany said have been “evident right from [the D building’s] completion.” After the building was completed, a “punch list” of items to be corrected was created, the main item being the stucco, or the cement covering of the building’s walls. Cracks began to form in the walls soon after construction was complete, raising worry among those concerned with the building. Many classrooms are also missing ceiling mounts for projectors. District officials, including Coordinator of Modernization Sharon Serrano and Project Manager of Modernization Chris Kenney, were reluctant to discuss the District’s claims in the ongoing litigation, not wanting to release material that could alter the outcome of the dispute. “Things were not completed per contract that should have been completed, anywhere from incomplete items to things that were installed incorrectly,” Kenney said. Evidently, the contractor faced problems with the architect, while the District experienced misunderstandings with both parties. “[The construction company] is saying that certain things aren’t in the contract, while the District says that they are,” Kenney said. “The entire building process is complex,” Kenney said. “There could be a different contractor for each part of the building, the contract could have asked for five ceiling mounts, but not have specified which rooms to put them in. There are a lot of things that need to be taken into consideration.” Soon after the problems were noticed, the construction company was notified of the damages, but because of the company’s refusal to fix the problems, the District began the litigation process, details of which are yet to be released publicly. “It’s a new building, so why should the District have to pay for the damages?” Kenney said. The District is currently looking into vari-
Kevin Ragothaman | staff photographer
‘D’SPUTE Students walk to and from classes in the D building, which, due to some faulty construction, has been the center of a legal battle. ous methods of replacement and repair for the building, one of which involves finding out how much it would cost to hire a new contractor to fix the cracks. The District put up two bids to find a contractor, both of which yielded no result due to the overwhelming cost.
The litigation, which has continued for over a year, shows little sign of coming to an end anytime soon. “When I first started working here about three years ago, I thought [the litigation] would take a few months to close,” Serrano said. “But we’re still waiting.”
continued from page 1 College Board hopes that with the audit, colleges will view AP courses objectively, since every school in the nation will cover the same material in respective classes, and students will benefit by receiving high level education. MVHS was one of several schools to participate in an advanced audit where curriculums were submitted for review in October, three months before the official commencement of the AP Audit. As part of the Audit, teachers are required to submit an explanation of their curriculum, with evidence that demonstrates the inclusion of certain curricular requirements laid out by the College Board. If a curriculum is not found appropriate, the school will not be able to call it an AP course. Only two MVHS teachers’ syllabi were approved. Math teacher Jon Stark was one of several AP instructors who received feedback on his curriculum, and he was thoroughly dissatisfied. His description was not approved because, according to the College Board, it lacked evidence that he taught certain concepts and techniques. Stark’s submission was returned with seven complaints. However, it was clearly stated in Stark’s syllabus that all topics were covered, although he used different verbiage to describe them than the College Board uses. “It’s unclear how they review [the syllabi],” Stark said. “Either they use a word search program, or it’s checked by someone who doesn’t know the slightest thing about math.” AP Biology teacher Hannah Ahn’s class curriculum was rejected based on three minor points. “The problem is that the feedback which they give is not especially helpful,” Ahn said. “[The College Board] summarizes the point which we are lacking in our description, but does not give us specific advice on how to improve.” However, Ahn also realizes the potential benefits of the tedious AP Audit process. “It’s a benefit to know that all courses are up to par,” Ahn said. “That way, students get what they expect, and colleges know that every AP course consisted of the same material.” While Stark understands this justification of the AP Audit, he strongly believes it is nothing more than an attempt by the College Board to protect its ‘AP’ trademark. “The scores Monta Vista students receive on the AP exams should speak for the quality of the AP courses at our school,” Stark said. Even so, the audit program cannot ensure quality instruction of material or the competency of instructors who teach AP classes. While the subject matter of the courses may be sufficient, other factors can affect their teaching standard. “Across the nation the audit is consuming a huge amount of manpower,” Stark said. Teachers at MVHS and other schools will just have to wait and see if their manpower will pay off. In the end, many schools may choose to or be forced to abandon the title of ‘AP’ from their courses, and it is likely that AP Oklahoma History will cease to exist.
Sports allow little time for play
Student athletes unable to realistically live up to coaches’ stringent demands
Turnitin.com deadlines: Are they fair to students? “Sometimes the consequences are a little harsh when certain students forget to use turnitin.com. But it’s fair that teachers require their students to put their stuff online.”
junior Aun-Rhen Tay “I hate [turnitin.com]. Once you turn-it-in, you can’t take it back out. I got a lower grade because I couldn’t revise my essay afterwards. I think we should just turn it in in class.” freshman Melody Chiang “My teachers tell me to use turnitin.com after I’ve turned in the hard copy, so if there was a mistake in the hard copy, I could go back and change it.”
freshman Ben Steigerwald Audrey Feldman | staff artist
thletes on this past season’s water polo team were given clear instructions on how to make it onto next year’s team: time demands for freestyle, requirements for attendance, some summer practice. Oh, and sign up to play a completely different sport. Anyone hoping to join next year’s water polo team needed to join this year’s swimming team. And while participating in swimming will certainly help the athletes improve skills necessary in water polo, it is still a different sport - at a different time of the year. Aquatics is one of the few departments demanding before school practices, so it is common for athletes to be burned-out after just one season; any athlete wishing to try his or her hand at sports not involving water, do other extracurriculars, or do nothing, cannot do so if they want to play water polo next year. This school of thought—to essentially build super-athletes who train all year long—is not only limited to aquatics. While it makes sense from a coach’s perspective in terms of building winning squads, competition is squandering mental health. Teachers recently made a large effort in rejuvenating students by putting finals
before break. December break was about spending time with family and having actual time to relax. Sports, however, demand players to attend grueling practices over breaks. Players on the boys baseball team, for example, are kicked off the team if they do not show for practice over spring break; if you can’t make it over break, you might as well not try out. While the coach’s intentions of practice over break are understandably to build better athletes, mental breaks from school are needed just as much as physical breaks from sports. On breaks, students should be allowed to stay as far way from campus as they want, and families should be allowed to take family vacations whenever the heck they want. It is sad that some good players may have not tried out for the baseball team due to a family trip to Disneyland. It is also worrisome when sports become more mandatory than school. Class absences come in all shapes and sizes: sickness, doctors appointments, family vacations, and extracurricular commitments. And while ab-
sences are not encouraged, they are still understood by most teachers as a part of life. Apparently, coaches feel this “understanding” does not apply to them: students have been told they cannot leave practice for almost anything not involving a deathbed. On the boys volleyball team, if more than two players are absent, the practice is cancelled. Since when is a squad of fourteen not enough to practice with? The coaches somehow believe that with one missed player, all hope is lost. But practice is not for producing super-athletes, it’s for improvement. There is a difference. Our sports teams have become top-notch thanks to the high expectations and intense training that have been placed upon our athletes, and our coaches are to be appreciated and should not stop pushing their players. But this isn’t about the quality—it’s about the quantity. Sports are not supposed to be about placing heavy burdens on students, but providing them with great opportunities. Just put yourself in the shoes of someone who tried out for swimming: maybe he or she wasn’t the best out there but still really wanted to play. It is a shame that he or she may have been cut thanks to a water polo player who would rather be elsewhere.
“It’s not really a big deal. They just want to check if you are copying someone, so I don’t see why you have to [use turnitin. com] on time.”
junior Kevin Liou “I think it’s frustrating that your grade gets lowered because you forgot to do turnitin.com. Most of the time teachers don’t even check turnitin. com until afterwards, so there’s no point.”
senior Derek Ley “It shouldn’t matter because people tend to stay up the night before to finish their work. For the people who finish the night before, I think the turnitin.com deadline is not really fair.”
senior Vivian Le
Strict adherence to College Board curriculum hinders learning
AP teachers must tailor their curriculum to specific student interests, rather than focus solely on AP test scores by Carolyn Chuang
hen I was in Biology AP, the most memorable experience I had was from the sex education unit. Our teacher told us about a species of animals called bonaboes – a type of primate which is the only other known species to have sex for pleasure. Though we are all embarrassed to say it, we got a kick out of learning about them and still reference them, even two years later. Students will take AP classes for different reasons, be it the extra point on a weighted GPA or the thrill of a challenge in an academically intriguing subject. However, a commonplace assumption made is that the sole purpose of taking an AP class comes around the second week of May when students strive to get a five on the Collegeboard-concocted exams. And sure, this is the purpose for taking an AP class for some students. It is up there with Christmas and summer vacation on many students’ holidays list.
AP classes are courses designed to provide an opportunity for high school students to take college-level courses, the idea being that they can surpass that course in higher level study and/or receive college credit. However, teachers should feel challenged not only to help students perform well on the AP test, but to also encourage students to inquire past what is on the Collegeboard’s designated curriculum. High school is a time that helps prepare students for the next stage of life: college, travel and work, among other paths. Ideally, knowledge we acquire will prove useful in our future lives, whether that is demonstrated in further investigation of subjects or simply a more culturally literate background, that depends on every individual. With this broader final goal in mind, I would challenge AP teachers to look past the AP test and try to figure out how this information will stick to students in their future lives.
To Red Cross for planning a fundraiser in collaboration with other service clubs.
To the malfunctionioning school bells, which ring in the middle of classes.
To clarify, there is no problem with a desire to prepare students for the AP exam. The College Board dictates what AP standards are. What crosses the line is when teachers teach only the AP curriculum. “Oh, that won’t be on the AP test, so don’t worry about it” is not an adequate answer for a question posed by an intrigued student. A solution for the issue could be for teachers to create a curriculum of their own flexible to their students. Maybe one year one class will show more interest in a certain time period in history or chemical process. Teachers should cater their curriculums to encompass the necessary AP material while benefiting the kids that they have at the present. I would like to see more students aware of their own reasons for committing to a college level course and teachers keeping in mind these answers while designing their courses. It might be because they love history, that they want to get a five, or simply to prove to themselves that they can. And no, bonaboes did not show up on the AP test.
To the tickets given to cars parked without permits in the overcrowded lot.
To the MVHS dance groups for an excellent performance at the spring showcase.
Brunch and lunch are breaks, not extra work time Teachers should not require students to spend their spare time on schoolwork in the classroom by John Ho
hile the rest of the student body basks in the glory of their state-mandated 15 minutes of brunch, Chemistry students have to sit in their classrooms. The reasons are not their own; they have been required by the teacher to meet with their lab groups during their break time. It may be proper and admirable for teachers to open brunch, or any other extra time for the student’s benefit, but they cannot invade the student’s own time. The logic appears simple. Homework and projects alike are assigned to be completed outside of class (though, occasionally, they are not). They are necessary, and most people find that they are widely accepted as a reasonable part of any class. Though teachers have a right to assign out-of-class work, the small liberty denied by required study sessions sets this mandate apart from regular assignments. The student can select his own time frame, his own pace. When a teacher creates requirements to meet within a specific period, the student must compromise his own schedule. The time is outside the reasonable limits of a teacher’s authority. It is also the responsibility of the teacher to cover the curriculum in class. Anything outside should be supplementary and optional, encouraged but not required. They may offer incentives or extra credit, but room must be allowed for the student to choose. They are, after all, edging onto time that is set aside specifically for them. A teacher’s jurisdiction ends with the time allocated by the schedule, and anything outside must rely on the student’s own motivation. Creating a mandatory extension of the class is a poor reflection of the teacher’s own planning abilities. There are certain details that are excusable, even admirable, such as
Nandini Dasarathy | staff artist
going slightly past the bell or hosting review sessions. It is good that teachers are offering their own time to help the student, but it seems that often it is unnecessary. They must act responsibly to cover material in time given to them. No one class can tap into the student’s free time; to do so is to suggest that one course is more important than spare time. Teachers have the sole control over the material and it is their obligation to keep it in class. They cannot rely upon all the students to dedicate themselves outside. Of course, students should and must be encouraged to do so, but the matter is not punishable. Many students have prior engage-
readrespond 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 descretion. Please submit letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Casey Wong | staff artist
Updated grades should not be a priority for teachers and students. As one of the teachers deemed “negligent” by your recent staff editorial, I have a different viewpoint regarding availability of fresh up-to-the minute pre-final exam “grades” to help students choose how to allocate their study time. I put the word “grades” in quotes, because grades are officially issued only six times per year, at each progress reporting period and at the end of each semester. That’s all the District policy and the teachers’ contract requires, and anything else is only an optional current estimate. Although students may want very much to know their grades at other times, that doesn’t create a “right” to force your teacher into computing it for you. Presumably, since assignments and tests are returned over the course of a semester, most students already have enough information to compute their own grades and needn’t be asking the teacher to do it. Be honest — don’t you really already have a pretty accurate idea of where you stand? More importantly, from my position as a teacher, grades are one of the least important things for me to spend time on. Nobody goes into the teaching profession because they have a passion to give grades, and if getting grades is your pri-
ments, and are compelled to change their schedules for a course they may not feel it is necessary to spend extra time with. To set an inflexible date is enormously unfair to them. By punishing students for not attending outside class sessions, teachers create a sort of artificial devotion to a subject. Motivation must come from the student alone, and exterior influence can only produce contempt for the subject. Forced sessions create a sort of false dedication to a class, the enthusiam a chicken who walks about with his head cut off might have. It is possible to make a healthy creature sick by forcing it to eat, and students are not different.
mary reason for coming to school, then sadly you have bigger issues to confront. Of the top ten things that are worth my time here, numbers one through nine are all about learning. Grades might just barely make it to number ten, but maybe not even that. All the effort students here put into worrying about tenths of a percentage point would be much better spent in learning the material and letting the resulting better grade take care of itself. All the teacher effort necessary to produce up-to-the minute grades could be better spent helping students who need it. Think about it and you might realize that asking a teacher to help you determine whether to blow off his or her course for studying can be more than a bit insulting to us. If we didn’t think our subjects were worthy of your full attention, we wouldn’t be teaching them. And your tactical choices, made not to enhance your learning but to optimize your GPA, don’t look very virtuous from our side of the classroom. Perhaps you should also consider what life will be like when that GPA gets you into college. You may find as I did that many college and graduate courses have only one paper or one final exam that accounts for 100 percent of the grade, and that your professor doesn’t know and doesn’t care what grade you have at any given time. Somehow, all those college students manage to learn and succeed in really tough courses without anybody telling them how many more tenths of a point they need to make an “A.” — math teacher Jon Stark
‘Congratulations’ to El Estoque staff on its best issue so far!
After reading the February edition of the newspaper last night, I wanted to congratulate all of you and tell you that I think that this is your best edition so far! Not only was I excited to see the diversity in story ideas (“Inked: Teachers reveal their wild side” and “Officers are elected to serve, not to be served” were especially intriguing), but as a former staff member, I was also very impressed with the design and editing of this edition. Looking at the letters to the editor on page eight, I am really impressed by how there are letters from alumni, current students, and faculty as well. This shows how far-reaching your current audience is and that readers of all ages are taking a strong interest in your writing. The proper placing of advertisements, articles, and photos has brought such a clean-cut look to the newspaper. By perusing through the articles, it is evident that the writing has been carefully done and is well-edited. I’m sure that, as a staff, you have looked back and compared your older editions to this one and can tell what an improvement you’re making, but I wanted to tell you that your progress is evident to your readers too. Congratulations on the hard work, and I hope you all are as happy with your paper as your audience is. Lastly, good luck on finishing off the last few editions of the year. In my experience, they somehow tend to be the most stressful ones, but always end up being the ones where you grow the closest to your staff. Have fun! — MVHS almunus Neha Joshi
p o i n t for p o i n t
Are rewards a sign of weakness?
This is your brain on facts
Nikki Yee | guest artist
Money draws attention to problem by Nandini Dasarathy perspectives editor
ey, can I turn you in as the graffiti artist? We can split the money!” When a graffiti artist struck the school weeks ago, Administration responded by offering a $500 reward to anyone with legitimate information about the perpetrator. This, in turn, caused students to joke around with one another. Not quite the reaction Administration anticipated, but it was definitely something that had students thinking about the issue instead of ignoring it. There is no denying that students should be aware of keeping their school campus clean at all times, but with other commitments on their minds, graffiti is one thing that doesn’t quite register. A monetary reward urges students to converse with one another in determining the culprit rather than completely disregarding the issue. To students who do not feel morally driven to turn in any perpetrator, the school’s response is one that should get them interested in the issue. Furthermore, in a campus as beautiful as this one, the simple act of defacing school property hurts everyone who uses it. Graffiti isn’t a major problem at MVHS, but even the slightest vandalism of school property may trigger a slippery slope, in which students think it is acceptable to continue their actions without any consideration to others. One graffiti act will trigger another until vandalism becomes commonplace and Administration has more than they can combat. It is advisable that the school put a stop to this early on. To do this, they respond in a way that attracts students to make the right decisions. A school has the obligation to maintain order, which can best be done through positive encouragement if the school wants a resourceful, immediate response from the students. When Administration is unaware of whom the perpetrator is, they cannot assume anything. They have to offer an incentive and coax students who should be fulfilling their responsibilities to the school anyway. Sadly, not everyone is on the same moral scale. The Administration did their best; any information given to them was by voluntary means, not through force. Putting a price on graffiti and arson is necessary because the school is a facility shared by a student body of 2,573 in which money is spent to keep it clean. Cheating, illegal sex, and consuming controlled substances are all actions controlled by individuals. The school pays money to repair vandalism, but is not obligated to support students who are involved in the former activities. For that matter, the school must seek out the perpetrators who are financially bound to reinstate the good reputation and environment of the school. Because there is an actual price to their damage, the Administration has the right to put a price on seeking out the individual.
Statistics 1. Do you think Administration was justified in offering a reward for handing in the perpetrator? A. Yes B. No 30
20 20 A
2. For what offenses should Administration offer a reward? (more than one choice) A. Cheating B. Arson C. Graffiti D. Controlled substance
C.27 3. Would you feel morally obligated to turn in the perpetrator? A. Yes, always B. Yes, if there was a reward C. No
25 25 20
4. Do you think the reward brought the problem to the attention of the students? A. Yes 34 B. No
*taken from a random poll of 50 students
The reward corners Administration by Chris Moe
ell, it’s certainly taken long enough. It’s not like anyone actually liked minors doing illegal drugs, drinking underage, having illicit sexual relations, destroying school property, and cheating. No, most people were definitely not a fan of these activities. In recent months there have been undeniably misfortunate and distasteful spells of vandalism and arson on campus, sparking a surprising response from Administration. Assistant Principal Dennis Plaza made an appearance on the morning announcements, offering the generous sum of $500 dollars to anyone who would contribute information leading to the capture of the perpetrator. With this proclamation, along with another $250 offer on information leading to the prosecution of an arsonist, the Administration sets an absolutely ridiculous precedent. In addition, by offering monetary rewards, the Administration encourages impropriety among friends. There’s no denying it – many of the illicit practices listed in the opening paragraph are practiced by at least some MVHS students. And with this newly set precedent, the Administration now carries the burden of ending such illicit acts with similar rewards. Why is a small vandalization – a relatively inoffensive and harmless violation – a more pressing issue than illegal drug use? Why is the head of a graffiti artist more valuable than that of an arsonist? The offering of a reward puts an unreasonable quantitative figure on the ‘degree of violation’ of every illicit act. Instead of the ultimate goal of creating a morally and ethically sound population, we put a price on crimes. Administration has put itself into a corner as to classification of crimes. Imagine for a second that every moment your friends would be looking for a chance to turn you in for ‘debatably’ cheating, such as discussing answers on homework assignments. Friends would quickly become competitive peers, as all confidences would evaporate out of fear of authority. With every such action that the Administration makes, a precedent is set. Like the Supreme Court, the Administration has a responsibility to makeAdisciplinary decisions in reference to past decisions and actions made. While this small step may 58 pose no immediate harm, we put ourselves on a slippery slope of reporting fellow injustices. The actions of the Administration are obviously well aimed – ending inappropriate action against the school and community. But what may seem as small disadvantages now could ultimately lead to a high school environment unproductive and unsupportive for all students. For in order for Administration to rule successfully it must be trusted and respected by those it rules. These key pillars could be jeopardized in the future. Arson and graffiti aside, that is a reality none of us want to face.
looked up at the previously white whiteboard and frowned. The lovely blank sheen that comes only after weeks of disuse had been replaced in favor of colorful squiggles. The substitute wrote words that remarkably resembled the pattern a snail makes on the ground. On clear perfection, I think the effect was as tragic as smallpox on a pretty face. I opened my notebook and unsheathed a pen reluctantly, but only after closing my eyelids slowly. I tried my best not to attract attention by sudden movement. I tried to forgive the marker, who was only doing its job, but the smeared board which began with the obvious intention of teaching insisted on relapsing into two objectives. It was the two reasons around which education revolved. The first, I ventured, ran something along the lines of a contest to find the sleep deprived of the class. The second thought was sort of disjointed, but involved a government conspiracy to track the citizens who would retain the greatest amount of useless information and enslave them in an information farm. Call me confused, but I maintain that somewhere between dozing and doodling, I found something in common. Education often lacks a purpose. Occasionally, one will run into something useful, much like the way one always manages run into annoying acquaintances, or find a way to digest something insightful before dryness obliges one to spit it back out. But for the most part, information sits and stagnates, muddling itself long before it can be used. Consider the current state of school. Instructors often like to say, “This piece of (otherwise useless) information will prepare you,” as if students were empty turkeys ripe for festive stuffing. On certain dull days, I often debated with myself what such things could prepare someone for. I often quarreled (with myself) between “College” and “The Test.” In the end, I usually sided with “An Improbable Incident.” They warn students that they will fail if they do not learn some sort of skill, and they make success out to be some sort of Santa Claus, who delivers only to those who have been good and learned sufficient useless things over the year. When little children do not learn to write perfect cursive, they will invoke some sort of divine wrath, and it will be entirely necessary that their future fifth grade teacher frown upon them. Somehow, I think I felt a bit disappointed when high school arrived. Carefully perfected handwriting obtrudes upon itself when one would like to use it to copy notes, and knowledge of multiplication tables fails to provoke the same jealous stares when everyone else has a pocket calculator. It was nice to analyze Shakespeare to gain greater insight on some place called Society (and thus better appreciate Life), but there was never very much relevance. The chief requirement to appreciating life, as I understood it, is that one must be born, and that can be more easily proven by hunting up a birth certificate. Nothing that is worth knowing can be taught; everything else can only make for a pretty ornament. Minds should not be all cluttered with decorations; a foundation must be built around education of that which is now relevant. When facts that once required a pilgrimage to the library become available in several twitches of a finger, memorization becomes highly unnecessary. Knowledge may be power, but anyone who clings on to the necessity of tiny facts may find quickly that they are highly disposable. Emphasis should be placed on use of the facts; anything otherwise is largely time wasted.
this month by Austin Cheng, photography editor & Carolyn Chuang, sports editor
through the lens
FEB. 24: AN EXTRAORDINARY GUARD In the annual show hosted at MVHS, the Winterguard team performs to the song “Ordinary People.” MVHS placed third in the AA category. In April the guard will be attending an international competition in Dayton, Ohio.
MAR. 7: STAR SEARCH In an MV Idol audition, junior Paul Marino FEB.16: GUNG HEY FAT CHOY The Chinese school hosted a potsings “I Wanna Love You” by Akon. Three judges gave critiques of luck in celebration of the new lunar year. Unfortunately, an excess of bowls overflowed the garbage cans that remained for a week. each audition similar to ‘American Idol.’
MAR. 9: DOING MUCH ABOUT SOMETHING Members of the drama department perform a full dress rehersal of their spring play “Much Ado About Nothing.” The performance is a modern rendition of the Shakespeare play.
FEB.14: SONGS OF LOVE Seniors Charles Chen, Philip Kou, and Quang Ngyuen enter a classroom to give a ‘Singing Valentine’ performance. Each group performed an average of 15 to 20 times per period.
FEB. 16: FINAL TIP Senior Scarlett Su tips the ball away from a Homestead player on the girls varsity basketball senior night. Both the FEB. 9: BOBCAT BOOTH Park Ranger Lee Hickenbotham sits with boys and the girls teams won their games against the Mustangs and advanced to CCS the following week. The girls finished the regular a stuffed bobcat at the annual Career Fair, organized by the Student Academics and Student Life Commissions. season 6-6.
Will the real Grace Lee please stand up?
Junior makes the leap from on screen to behind the camera by Steffi Lau editor in chief
t’s everyone’s guilty pleasure—clicking their way to Google, they type in their own name in the hopes that the Internet might dish up dozens of links about themselves or that they might discover someone across the world leading a parallel life. Rarely does it bring anything more than a few minutes of distraction. Yet for junior Grace Lee, it lead to much more. When Lee was in eighth grade, she Googled her name in a moment of boredom and as she confesses, a little bit of egotism. Little did she know that this time-waster would lead to her appearance on thousands of screens across the country as well as her discovery of
both her role model and inspirational doppelganger. Stumbling across a site entitled “The Grace Lee Project,” Lee found that a Los Angeles filmmaker photo Illustration by Symrin Chawla, Aniqa Hasan | bearing the name entertainment editor, managing editor Grace Lee was shooting a documentary on the very subject of their shared name. Filmmaker Lee wanted to explore the ways that the many Grace Lees did or didn’t break the stereotypes behind the common name that seemed to conjure up images of obedient, studious, and religious Asian women. Excited about her find, the fourteen-year old Lee filled out a survey about being a Grace Lee as well as wrote the filmmaker an email about herself. A few months later
in the summer before her freshman year, she found herself facing a barrage of cameras and light equipment in her own bedroom. “The Grace Lee Project”--in which she was featured among countless other Grace Lees--would go on to be featured at various film festivals and receive positive reviews from media outlets such as the New York Times. Yet, more than two years after the movie release, Lee is finding that the impact the film left on her isn’t so fleeting. Now, she is gaining a little filmmaking experience herself. Lee is making her own movie called the “The Shotgun Constitution,” a short humorous film on the ins and outs of when to call the front passenger seat in the car, dubbed “shotgun.” “One day I was driving with my friends,” Lee explained. “We were arguing about when it was okay
to call shotgun. Was it when someone got the idea to go out, or when they saw the car first? And my friend found this thing called ‘The Shotgun Constitution’ online with all these rules about it, so she gave it to me, and I was like, ‘I want to make this into a movie!’” Though her idea to make the movie was sparked out of pure fun, Lee, an Art ROP student, decided to make her movie into a project for the class. After getting the okay from Art ROP teacher Dale Barcellos to do the movie as an alternative to another project, Lee cut “The Shotgun Constitution” into a script, wrote down a list of shots she wanted, enlisted her friends as actors, and shot the film over February break. The day she returned, she immediately got to work, reviewing and editing her three tapes. Laughing, she said during a lunch interview, “The only reason I’m not there now is because Mr. Barcellos kicks me out. I like to edit through lunch.” Though she is new to the filmmaking world, Lee does
have one other film under her belt. Last year, her Art 2 class was given the topic of fear for their final project and was allowed to convey it in any medium. While others opted for more conventional art forms such as painting, Lee chose filmmaking. In a spooky parallel, this Grace Lee decided to focus her film project on herself, Grace Lee, just as her more famous counterpart focused her film on Grace Lees. Lee’s short, but well-crafted film focused on her insecurity that perhaps her friends might not really be her friends. Art teacher Jay Shelton who was Lee’s teacher at the time said, “I was surprised because she’s such a good pencil and painting artist, yet she chose to do this film. She could have easily knocked out a painting in day, but I was impressed that she chose to extend herself and explore a new me-
dium. “ After editing the film and presenting it to her art class, she posted it on YouTube. Though used to being told by people at school about being seen on TV, Lee began to come into a little local fame from her own efforts. “Random people stop me in the halls and tell me how much they like the film,” Lee laughed. “It’s kind of weird, but really gratifying.” In addition to the notice from MVHS students, once Lee emailed the filmmaker Grace Lee about her own video, the filmmaker posted a link to the video on her site, titling her entry “Another Grace Lee Project!,” resulting in a boost of YouTube views. “She thought it was really cool that I was getting into filmmaking too,” Lee said. “And she thought the video was cool, which meant a lot coming from a filmmaker.” ja S
see LEE on page 16
Skype’s worldwide hype breaks cultural stereotypes
As the new Internet phone service Skype soars in popularity, more students find a different way to stay in contact by Ahmed Naguib staff writer
enior Alex Tani never knew how people from Korea or Vietnam lived. After spending much of his time on a computer program called Skype, Tani now has talked to people from all over the world. He has spoken with people from Korea, Guatemala, and other remote places. Skype is a computer program that allows people to call each other from all over the world using only their computers. Like AIM or Yahoo Messenger, the user can choose to chat by typing, but he can also have an audio and video conversation. “The video feed is really good. I’ve compared it to MSN Messenger and it’s much better.” sophomore Chris Knight said. Knight has used Skype to talk to his friends from Japan since he moved here with his brother this year. His brother, senior Brain Knight, uses Skype in the same way. “I like it because you can call cell phones and house phones for a fee of .001 cents,” Chris Knight said. “It makes it much cheaper, and [the other person] doesn’t need Skype.” Others use Skype as an enrichment tool
Many of those Tani has talked to wanted to learn about different cultures. The program includes a mode called “Skype Me” to know about his lifestyle and the American in which you tell others Skypers to call you, culture. Tani has had to explain the meanings of words such as “dude” and “hella” to even if they don’t know you. Tani, who is always in Skype Me mode, some who want to know more about American slang. Othgets a variety of ers wanted to calls from people know the crime who just want to rate in San Fransee what a CaliHOW TO USE SKYPE cisco. fornian looks like “I’ve gotten or want to create questions like, friendships. Tani ‘Do you surf feels that some of to school?’ behis stereotypes of go to www.skype.com cause I’m from places like Korea California,” Tani or Vietnam have said. been dispelled Even though because of havdownload skype onto your the Skype user ing the ability to computer may not know see these people. the person they “I thought are talking to, these people lived he can very eashorribly and want add your friends’ user names or ily make friends ed to get out as add phone numbers to call and have a norfast as possible,” mal conversaTani said, “but no use a mic and webcam to voice chat tion with people one I’ve talked to or video chat half way around is miserable or the world. desperate.”
“I had this conversation with a person from Germany, who was anti-Bush, whereas I myself was neutral,” Tani said. “It is interesting to see what they think of us and how they view things.” While those Tani chats with are of different nationalities, they are all of the same age group. “Most people I talk to are 16 to 21. Sometimes I talk to [older people], but I‘ve mostly talked to those my age.” Most of the time, the people Tani converses with speak English, even if it is very limited. Tani also uses his ability to speak Italian and German to converse with people from Italy and Germany. Even when the other person doesn’t know how to speak, Tani finds it interesting to see how they communicate without language. Some even use it to learn the language. “One of my Chinese friends even approached me [on Skype] to help him study for his English test the next day,” Tani said. Yet like any other internet communication service, Skype is vulnerable to fraud and people with other intentions. “I was chatting with this supposed
see SKYPE on page 15
Read: Shopaholic and Baby by Sophie Kinsella The lovable Shopaholic series is back with the final novel, where heroine Becky Bloomwood once again finds herself at the front of the cashier line and in the middle of a materialistic mess.
Sarah Morrison - www.youtube.com The 27-year old LA native and Nylon Magazine columnist delivers her spunky and sometimes objective views on the little things in life, from why shopping carts are harmful to middle class homelessness to annoying roommates.
http://www.notcot.org Ever have one of those days when you pop open your internet browser, only to find that you’ve already checked your Myspace, Facebook, and Gmail? An assortment of the most random facts, products, and games, Notcot is the answer to your problem.
La Romantica 104.9 Not that we have anything against the Latino love songs that we’ve grown accustomed to hearing since the switch on Jan. 1, but it seems like everyone is glad that rock is back.
Blood, guts, gore, and more by Kevin Ragothaman staff writer
t isn’t difficult to imagine why Zach Snyder’s film, “300,” has been one of the most anticipated films of the new year. With portraits of a Spartan warrior, spear and shield drawn and eyes ablaze with fiery passion, painted from the pallet of the previews into the canvas mind of every Frank Miller fan, who could resist such a treat? Fortunately, the movie delivers on the extraordinary promise, tingling the spines of those that never would have dreamed of being able to see a comic book’s text and pictures brought to life with a narrator’s voice-over and scenes as artistic as the panels of a comic book itself. The film is based on the graphic novel of the same name by Frank Miller, which retells the story of the Battle of Thermopylae seen from the perspective of the Spartans. The Persians, led by Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), the self-proclaimed ruler with outlandishly obvious feminine characteristics, are intent on capturing each of the loosely weaved entities of ancient Greece, but King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) of the military city-state of Sparta is the only Greek ruler to see fit in defying the decision of the council by putting up a stand against the vast army that Persia brings forth. Gathering 300 of the most skilled men in the Spartan army, Leonidas sets off to battle the Persians that have arrived at the shores of Greece with numbers matching those of the army of Sarumon at Minas Tirith. But once the battle begins, the numbers cease to be relevant. In addition to the comic book feel, the battle sequences is another highlight of the movie. Each lethal stroke showcases the Spartans’ skill on the battle field, as well as
their willingness to mercilessly slaughter any Persian soldier that dares attack. For the lilylivered, you may want to duck and cover as spears thrust and swords lacerate without reserve, each fatal blow resulting in the belching of digital blood. But for the Spartans, it was just another day at the office. Though the story is based off of true happenings, it is by no means a history lesson. The narrator’s telling of the story amalgamates the valor and the glory shown by the Spartans in battle along with fantastic representations of soldiers as giant trolls and monsters with blades for arms. The glorified Spartan soldiers are clad with no armor, their only protection (apart from the helmet) being their toned and oily abs, whereas the Persians are portrayed as the clumsy and arrogant antagonist, but without the skill in battle to account for their haughtiness. Each Persian soldier is mercilessly stamped upon by the frayed sandals of the Spartans, causing Xerxes a great deal of grief. As remarkable as “300” is, with regard to the battling and the style, the themes and plot are simple and without depth. The Spartans love for each other and their country, the feeling of pride and honor that is fed to them from birth, and the inferiority of women are practically spelled out throughout the movie, leaving the audience with no room to digest the meaning of each character’s actions for themselves. Though the spears and swords will surely draw the attention of “Lord of the Rings” and “Gladiator” fans, “300” cannot be compared to either as it sits in a genre of its own with its epic-style combat yet comic book environment similar to that of “Sin City.” But if you’re looking for a movie packed with action, blood, and awe-inspiring art, you won’t be disappointed.
Fashion Club’s Fashion Show
In the auditorium at 7 pm. Tickets are $7 for ASB card holders and $10 for those without
Listen: Peter, Bjorn, And John - Young Folks Listen to this song a few times through and not only will you fall in love, you’ll also find yourself wanting to learn how to whistle.
IDC Talent Show
Inspired by the bold prints of the urban Japanese brand A Bathing Ape, these zippered graphics are making their way from the streets of Tokyo to the halls of MVHS. Everyone’s going ape about Bape.
Watch student made and modelled creations at either 1:30 or 6:30
Fountains Of Wayne
The up and coming British star is making her way from the UK to the Bay at the Fillmore
Debut their new CD Traffic & Weather after their hit “Stacey’s Mom” made the pop culture hall of fame
Kick Me When I’m High by SR/71
—sophomore Kyle Cipres
—junior Yasamin Yazdi
Ain’t Nothin’ But A G by Dr. Dre
—senior Eric Garcia
Where Did The Good Go?
by Tegan and Sara
—junior Ling Chiao
by Journey —sophomore Zoe Book
Rubiks: The original gamecube
Old tradition makes comeback among both students and staff on campus by Anagha Vaidhyanathan
Choi added that often time luck plays a huge role in competitions. Gupta agreed and explained how even the first move could impact whether or not the solution would take 50 moves or 80 moves. “Sometimes people just get lucky – they move one line expecting to solve a certain row but end up solving two or three rows,” Choi said. “To be fair, a lot of people don’t count their low times when they’re lucky.” Two new prototypes, the 6x6x6 and 7x7x7 should soon be available on the market. However, Gupta is in no rush to buy either one. “I want to improve my times on the older ones first before moving up,” said the junior, whose current record is 56 seconds for the 3x3x3 cube compared to the world record of 10.48 seconds. Choi and Gupta also added that maintenance is key when owning Rubiks cubes. “Stickers wear out fast so I like to replace mine. I also took my three-by-three apart once and sprayed it with silicone spray to make it go faster.” Choi remarked, “I just use oil – that’s extreme.” The Rubiks fad continues to hold as more students attempt to solve the multiple cubes using various strategies and attempting to break records. To those who are fearful of the Rubiks cube and have labeled it as a “Nerd’s Toy”, Gupta said, “I think anyone can really do it if they just put enough time and effort into it.” “It’ll last for a while,” Choi said. “It’s just a fun hobby for studens. It’s all logic, and after all, we are from Monta Vista.”
q & a
“It’s just another hobby,” Gupta said, “it doesn’t increase my grades or anything it’s just a fun thing to do.” The three-dimensional colorful cubes have been seen in classrooms and on campus far more frequently than in past years. As a renewed fad that was last seen in the ‘80s, the Rubiks cube seems to be the interest of students across grade levels. Gupta was first introduced to the cube at a summer program he attended. A senior member, who ranked 4th in the world for completing a 4x4x4 cube, blindfolded, introduced the camp members to the Rubiks cube and explained various strategies and patterns. “I did it during the summer and continued when school started,” Gupta said. “Some of my friends saw me doing it and now they’re hooked onto it too.” Similarly, senior Cauchy Choi, was interested in the cube as soon as he saw a classmate of his trying to solve one. “I saw someone do it in one of my first classes during the day and I asked him how to do it,” Choi said as he grabbed for the unsolved 3x3x3 on Gupta’s desk. “He taught me a set pattern and then for the rest of the day, I tried to solve it faster.” Choi, with cube in hand, explained the various methods of solving the cube. “It’s all intuitive – you look and place pieces in the spot they need to go,” Choi said. The standard Rubiks cube, manufac-
tured by Seven Town Limited, is covered with colorful stickers. Gupta explained how the mental rigor of the game was probably what made it famous at MVHS. “I think the Pursuit of Happyness publicized it too,” Gupta said, “The trailer always showed a guy who couldn’t solve it and then Will Smith would come along, concentrate on it for a few minutes, and then solve it in an instant.” Gupta said he is interested in forming a Rubik’s club with his friends and they are currently in the application process. While MVHS students have not created official events, they continue to participate in competitions and practice regularly to break previously held records for the lowest time. Well-known competitionsinclude t h e n a tional championship hosted by Caltech University annually at the San Francisco Exploratorium. “I’ve competed at competitions before but it’s just crazy!” Choi said as he finished another row on his cube. “The longer you stay, the more you realize that everyone is so much better than you.”
t’s fifth period in an American Literature Honors class and students are paying close attention to teacher Andrea Kanda as she explores the Invisible Man’s role in society. However, beneath the desks of the thirty students, Kanda can see hands moving at a rapid pace and spontaneous disgruntled sighs. Junior Akash Gupta and his classmates, while attentively absorbing a daily dose of education, are busy solving Rubiks cubes
“I first found it in 6th grade and wanted to know how it works.”
“My sister gave me one a “Sometime in the 5th grade while ago but I got involved when it became popular.” when world record holder, Toby Mao, gave me one.”
What is the longest period of time you have played Rubiks cube without stopping?
“I think over two hours.”
“Probably three hours...”
“8 hours – I was eating with one hand and playing with the other.”
What are some quirks or wierd things that link you to Rubiks cubes?
“Whenever I get a new cube, I take it apart and sand it with sandpaper to make it turn smoother.”
“I name all my cubes – the good one is Stubby, one is Sandie, and my 2x2x2 is Selenium, after the element.”
“I’ve had my cube for three years, so I put duck tape on it and color the sides when they start to fade or peel off.”
When did you first play Rubiks?
SKYPE: New web tool creates hype continued from page 13 16-year old from Michigan,” Tani said, “and when we started audio I hear this 50-year old guy’s voice on the other end, so I freaked and hung up.” Skype is beginning to pick up speed in the international community as well as within U.S. borders; many people use it to stay in touch with others after moving away for college. “That’s how I was introduced to Skype,” Tani said.” My brother used it to stay in touch with his old friends from high school.” Despite its growing popularity, Skype is yet to be widely used
in our MV community or in the city of Cupertino. “I don’t know if people from Cupertino, are under the name of San Francisco or San Jose, but there are total of I think six people from Cupertino on Skype,” Tani said. Skype popularity and free use makes it much more convenient than other messengers with the same capability. “It is kind of cool because I don’t waste money calling my friends in Japan on the phone. I can just Skype them!”Brian Knight said.
Those gut instincts
reen or brown? Two Nature Valley bars available and only one for consumption. To others it might have been a simple choice, but not for me. After all, there were just so many factors involved and each one had to be checked and balanced. I couldn’t simply rely on instinct (or so I thought). I had to ensure I was truly making the right choice. After all, practicality does come before pleasure, right? The green one had double the food. Two whole bars in the package of one. It was grainy, certainly not as tasty as the brown, peanut butter one, but definitely got the job done. The taste factor was really the variable I was deciding upon. Did I save the best for last or appreciate the moment and opt for the delicious peanut butter bar? But that was the question I couldn’t answer. I was on my way to Berkeley to watch my younger brother’s science presentation and it was a long way there (hence the first bar option) and a long way back (ergo the need for a second bar option). Gut told me to take the peanut butter bar and run, but tradition (leaving the goods of dinner to finish off the meal in perfection) restrained instinct. And it was eventually with this tradition that I sided. Carefully tucking the peanut butter bar into the side container of my car, I left it for the ride home. Oh, how I couldn’t wait until I got my hands on that bar. Fast forward past talk of wimp particles and time projection chambers and I was hugging my bigger brother good bye. He had also needed a ride to the speech and so, naturally, we had picked him up. After saying this final adieu I hopped into the car eager to, you guessed it, eat that peanut butter bar! Waiting until I left campus to eat the bar (because being too eager about food would just be weird) I made a move to snatch that bar. However, mid-snatch, I stopped short. It was gone. My bar, the bar I had contemplated over eating for a good ten minutes, was gone! Searching the floor and the other compartments to no avail, it was official; the peanut butter bar had gone to another place. In disbelief of what happened, I could only contemplate what in the world could have whisked my bar away. Finally I put one and one together. What happens when you put a college student and good food in the same room? There isn’t any food. It was with a grin on my face that I realized that my brother was a genius and I had been, ultimately, one-upped. My brother, wise beyond his years, effectively seized the day by eating what he wanted and executing it without a second thought. My brother favored pleasure over practicality and came out a winner because of it. I had chosen the not-as-tasty green bar in order to save the sweetly smooth and sugary bar for later. Now there was no later and there was nothing to satisfy my sweet tooth. I had the opportunity to do what I wanted, but I missed my chance without even a kiss goodbye. Turns out there is a negative side to thinking everything over. Because in this peanut butter bar-less end, I can see why it’s better to live by instinct. If you feel the urge to do something, there’s got to be a reason why. Why not enjoy the present and embrace opportunities instead of confining certain pleasures to slots in our daily schedules? Choosing the peanut butter bar wouldn’t have left me with the heartbreak I was experiencing from neglecting it. Opportunities don’t come around every day. We have instincts for a reason. So, seize the day, do what you want to do, and, as the Greek’s put it, carpe diem. After all, you never know who might steal your peanut butter bar.
State band students deliver ‘sharp’ performance Record number of students from MVHS chosen to perform in California state wind, symphonic, and concert bands by Ishita Mitra
rom inside the closed doors of Fresno’s Saroyan Theater, the sounds of clarinets, saxophones, and tubas melodically combine with one another and engulf the room with the sounds of perfect harmony. The sound of 300 high school students playing with a passion for music goes beyond band stands and sheets covered with treble clefs and C minors, and into a harmony of pride and devotion. Out of these students, a new record of five were from MVHS. Juniors Kenta Akaogi, Jenna Chen, Amy Fu, Rachel Lee, and Akshay Tambe represented the matadors as they were given the honor of being ranked on California’s State Honor Band. Though the band is made up of a diverse spectrum of students, they possess a few similar qualities, which help to raise them above the regular high school musician and bring them to par with professionals. “ All of us study music outside of school with a private teacher,” Akaogi said, who himself practices clarinet around eight hours a day in conjunction with taking private lessons from a college professor at San Jose State. In fact, it was Akaogi’s professor that encouraged him to audition for the band in the first place. “My professor is always telling me to try out for new things in order to get more experience,” Akaogi said. While he is a two-year veteran who earlier made State Honor Band in his freshman year, this was a time of firsts for some. Junior Amy Fu was initially unsure of whether she would even earn a spot in the prestigious band. “I just wanted to send a tape in and see what happens,” said Fu, who plays flute. “I didn’t expect to make it.” To qualify for a position in the band, students were required to send in a tape of their music. A committee then selected musicians based on solely what they heard, the end re-
Photo courtesy of Amy Fu
MUSICAL CHAIRS The California State Band performs in the Saroyar Theater in Fresno on Feb. 18. A record number of five MVHS students were chosen for the state’s wind, symphonic and concert bands.
sult being three bands consisting of around 300 students from all over California. “We got there on Thursday afternoon, auditioned straight away, received our placements that same night, rehearsed all of Friday and Saturday, and then held an open house concert on Sunday, ” Fu said. It may have seemed a bit blurred, but in between the stress and the rush, the students were able to expand their range of knowledge both musically and socially. Not only were they able to interact with students from all over the state, they were also able to get the input of various music professors from around the country. “Usually professors are invited from all over the US. This time we also had [a professor] from Canada,” Akaogi said. The professors worked intensively with the band and then chose the music to be played at the concert, based on talent. “Band music isn’t really classical. It’s very
contemporary as it has only been around for a few decades,” Akaogi said. The three divisions of State Band were wind symphony, symphonic band, and concert band, the hardest of which to get into was wind symphony. It consists of about 40 students, including Akaogi who was ranked as third chair. “A chair is basically where you sit, but the better you are, the closer to first chair you are,” explained Fu, who herself was placed into the concert band. Just as an athlete competes on the field to attain a higher position, a musician encounters the same adrenaline rush during their auditions. “The competition level on the first night was pretty intense. I tried to avoid it by warming up in my hotel room,” Akaogi said.“ I guess there is always going to be pressure.” In fact, Akaogi was thankful for the clash-
ing competition. Not only did it motivate him to strive harder, he was also inspired by the talent with with his competitors played. “I plan to play music in college and beyond,” Akaogi said. “ Being part of big events is good for me, it helps me to be realistic.” The budding clarinetist may have had his dreams in tow as he boarded the bus to attend State Band, but not all students started out with the same desires. “ After playing at [State Honor Band], I will at least try to minor in music,” said Fu, who has been playing in school bands since sixth grade, but never gave music as a true career a thought. And while students like Fu were inspired, others like Akaogi were reassured. “I got to know the level of music that I have accomplished,” Akaogi said. “It tells me that I can do this and that I can be part of the musical world.”
LEE: Student breaks boundaries and receives acclaim continued from page 13 The filmmaker Grace Lee also has a link to the MVHS Lee’s blog, meaning that Lee often gets an influx of foreign visitors reading about her personal life, as they did when the movie was on the Sundance Channel a month ago. “Oh and once this random person who saw The Grace Lee Project added me on Facebook and was like, ‘Can we be friends?’” Lee recounted. But apparently Lee doesn’t find the taste of recognition so dissatisfying, as she plans to show
Pooja Shah | staff photographer
SLICING AND SPLICING Grace Lee uses advanced editing software to enhance, edit, and insert music clips in her film.
her latest video at the Monta Vista Film Festival as well as have the filmmaker Grace Lee feature it on her site. However, even with all these plans, it is not the number of YouTube views that matters to Lee. “I had three reasons for making this film,” Lee said. “The first was just for fun. The second was to put it in my art portfolio. And the third was just so people could see it. It would be really rewarding if I saw people out there using the rules in the video.” Having set out with the idea to make the film, Lee knows that the making of the film isn’t going to be easy. “Last time, I spent 10 hours just editing my art final,” Lee said. “It was my first time so I was learning by doing and Windows MovieMaker kept on making the computer die. But once I get really into something I really enjoy, I don’t want to eat or sleep. I stayed up every night working on it.” Her talent and dedication is apparent to those around her. “She’s a natural born videographer,” Barcellos said. “Just looking over her shoulder as she edits, I can see that with every shot her sense of composition is beautiful.” Though there are those out there who might scoff at the idea that filmmaking could be considered art, for Lee, it’s unquestionable. “In filmmaking, you have an emotion, and through timing, music, and shots, you’re trying to convey that emotion and make the viewer feel one way or the other. That’s what art’s about,” Lee said. It is for this reason that the filmmaker Grace Lee is such an inspiration to Lee. “It’s amazing to me that she can live comfortably just making movies for a living. That’s something that I really want to do, to be able to use art, which I’m
passionate about, in my career,” Lee said. If Lee doesn’t end up as a filmmaker, “at least I could have really interesting home videos of my kids,” Lee laughed. The filmmaker is also an inspiration to Lee as a professional in the film world. “When she came to my house, she was really modest. She and her crew didn’t make themselves out to be hotshots. They showed me that anyone with the right mindset can do it, that you don’t need million-dollar production sets to make a successful movie.” On a more personal level, the filmmaker continued to correspond with Lee even after the filming. It also doesn’t hurt that the filmmaker has made a film with actress Sandra Oh who stars in the TV show “Grey’s Anatomy”, which Lee is a fan of. Though Lee does not necessarily want to be a filmmaker, she does want to use art in her job, such as graphic designing. As a Art ROP student, she gets to sample how art is used in the business world. She has also submitted designs to Threadless.com, a graphic T-shirt company. “I once got into a little bit of trouble with my art, though,” Lee laughed. “One of my submissions was called ‘I have a crush on a boy in math class,’ which I don’t, but I used my face as the girl on the shirt, and my boyfriend saw it and thought I did.” Misunderstandings aside, though Lee has never won a contest on Threadless, she says the feedback she receives helps her improve. It is this desire to improve her art and have her work reach others that motivates Lee. Having already gotten her 15 minutes of fame, with this drive, perhaps Lee’s time in the spotlight is not up just yet.
More than just that MVHS belongs to, first performs in an evaluation show at the beginning of the season, where judges make recommendations for which level every guard would perform the best in. The recommendations are based on multiple factors, including the skill level of the guard members, the design and complexity of the show, and the team’s overall talent. In order to qualify for Nationals, each guard is required to attend at least four competitions during the season, which lasts from December to April. Generally, there is about one competition a week somewhere in the Bay Area, hosted by one of the middle schools or high schools of a team in the circuit. The MVHS Winterguard will be traveling to Dayton, Ohio to compete in the Colorguard World Championships from April 12 to 14. They will be competing against 200 Winterguards from all over the world. “The guard should do very well and represent Monta Vista and the city of Cupertino with pride, “ Fey said. “I am confident that our guard will perform their best.”
MVHS Winterguard sets the stage with synchronized grace by Aniqa Hasan
s the doors of the MVHS gym opened, the audience watched as students clad in golden uniforms frantically made their way across the floor, carefully laying flags, rifles, and sabres in various areas of the gym for retrieval later in the routine. They slowly trickled to their spots where they stood in position, waiting for the music to start. Suddenly, notes began to play and the team proceeded to run through a routine that included dancing, spinning flags, and throwing rifles straight into the air. This is what the MVHS colorguard can be seen doing every weekend during the season. This year, the theme of MVHS’ colorguard IT’S REALLY show is “Ordinary AT THE SAME People,” based off the song by John Legend. In the show, seniors Ben Ha and Bianca Zhang act as the ‘ordinary people’ who experience first love. The rest of the guard portrays society moving about them as the love between Ha and Zhang strengthens. Ha represents one of only two males on the entire guard of 20. Because of reputation that the guard holds of being a somewhat feminine sport, males are often more reluctant to join. For a male to overcome the stigma and truly enjoy the sport, he must be willing to ignore all of these negative aspects. “You just have to love to perform,” music director and Colorguard
how to do a
director Jonathan Fey said, “You don’t need the skills to begin with. We will give you the skills. [Ha] does it because he loves to perform.” Instead of ignoring the mindset people hold of males being on guard and the attention being a male amidst a sea of females on the performance floor, Ha chooses to embrace it. When he first decided to join, he didn’t realize how much being a male in the guard would affect him. “At first I thought it wouldn’t be such a big deal,” Ha said. “But because
TERRIFYING, BUT EXCITING TIME.” — senior Benjamin Ha
there’s only two of us, you get looked at a lot more. It’s really terrifying, but exciting at the same time.” Unlike dance or cheer, the guard generally accompanies the marching band during the marching season, which ends in November. Afterward, both the guard and percussion continue on to compete in their own respective categories. Members of the guard not only dance, but also learn to maneuver flags, rifles, and sabres in a synchronized fashion to create visual images. “It’s the same performance wise,” said
freshman Sara Shawki about guard in comparison to dance and cheer, “but because you have equipment in your hands, it’s like your multi-tasking at the same time.” Shawki, like most members who join the guard early in high school, plans to continue it throughout her four years at MVHS. She became interested in the team after the Winter Guard performed at Kennedy Middle School, as they do every year, in order to increase interest. The team moved up a competitive class this year, as a result of the teams improved talent and the increased complexity of the show. Every guard that chooses to compete in the California Colorguard Circuit, the circuit
TAKE IT SLOW Seniors Benjamin Ha and Bianca Zhang portray a couple in love during the Winterguard competition on Feb 24. Austin
Begin with the flag at a “seatbelt” angle, running from your right shoulder to your left hip, Place your left hand above your right hand with the fabric of the flag facing downward.
With your right palm facing toward the ground, and your left palm facing toward the sky, pull upward on the pole with your right hand and release both hands.
Allow the flag to rotate one time in the air, and then catch it in the same “seat-belt” angle with which you started.
The key is to pull upward fairly hard in order to increase the momentum and for the rotation to be successfully completed in the air.
CCS marks bittersweet ending to girls soccer season by Carolyn Chuang
he big match. After going 8-2-2 in the season and taking second in the De Anza League, the fourth seed MVHS girls soccer team took on league rival first seed Los Altos High School for the third and final time for the CCS final match on Feb. 24 at Valley Christian High School. “We felt pretty confident about the game,” junior Rosa Ahn said. “Last year we knocked them off in CCS, and this year they have mostly the same squad. We knew that if we played our game, it would be close.” Making and winning the CCS finals was the goal for the team from the beginning of the season. They have had a core consistent group of players that have played together since their freshmen year. Last year the team made it all the way to the CCS semi-finals, and this year they wanted to achieve the next level. As the game commenced, the teams demonstrated that it would be an even match. Both teams had difficulty with possession, as is often experienced in the first ten minutes of a game, and no team showed immediate dominance. The MVHS defense stood strong against the LAHS offense, senior sweepers Alex Gatley and Jennifer Nguyen were both solid against several runs made by LAHS forwards. Junior Leah Davis took up the slack when sophomore Shandon Rovetta got injured. Because LAHS was a physically larger team, they often-
played the ball more often up into the air, preventing either team from keeping control of the ball. After the first ten minutes, however, players were able to bring down the ball to feet level and create offensive opportunities for MVHS; senior center-midfielders Carine de la Girond’arc and Jessica Lau provided leadership in the center by expertly handling the ball. The score was still 0-0 at halftime, with only a few shot attempts from each team. Throughout the game, the two freshman, Cheryl Kute and Michelle Pao, played commendably in the outside midfield positions, and aided the team’s focus of playing wide and then sending the ball back into the center. Ahn had a breakaway down the center of the field for a shot opportunity, only to be yanked down to the ground by an LAHS player, seemingly inside the penalty box. The referee called a direct free kick, but not a penalty kick, even though it was argued that the LAHS player in fact interfered with a scoring opportunity. Ten minutes into the second half, junior Kendra Roseberry had a strong save after a LAHS player took possession in the middle of the penalty box and pulled off a shot on goal. After an hour of play, the teams had played into two tenminute periods of overtime still with no goals. The heartbreaking goal occurred in the first period of overtime. After a throw-in, their offense managed to bring the ball into the middle and hit a low and bouncing ball into the bottom corner of the MVHS goal.
photo courtesy of Bob Hoxie
FIERCE COMPETITION Junior Sarah Trankle dribbles down the field during the CCS finals soccer match on Feb. 24. Even with this disappointing end, the girls still have much to be proud of: title as the first MVHS girls soccer team since the mid 1980s to go to the CCS finals and a hard-earned second place title in CCS. The team was left with a bittersweet feeling. When asked what could have gone better, Ahn said, “We really tried our best that game. We left it all on the field.”
Studies show water bottles may cause cancer
Students voice their concerns and opinions about the possible dangers of commonplace plastic water bottles on the plastic water bottles to see how much concentration of polyethylene terephthalate was found after six months. news editor “That’s pretty gross,” junior Sophia Ghaus said. “How fter a scorching day of tennis practice, MVHS athdo we know how long stores like Costco are keeping the letes rush to their sports bags and grab their water water bottles out for sale?” bottles, hoping to quench their thirst. But while gulpThough most bottles don’t sit around for six months, the ing down packaged water that has been exposed to the sun threat of being poisoned by these chemicals by exposing for several hours, the athletes are unknowingly filling their the bottles to heat or leaving them outside for too long still bodies with potentially toxic substances. continues to be a threat according to many scientists. Stories have been pouring out about how plastic and “I think they need to test these [plastic water bottles] betNalgene water bottles could lead to cancer. Though there ter,” freshman Neena Kashyap said. “They really need to are many known things that are carcinogens, from diet coke make sure that this product is safe and have more accurate to antiperspirant deodorant, who would have thought that research because a lot of people use these type of bottles drinking water out of a plastic bottle could cause and that’s really dangerous.” cancer too? Although scientists and researchers are Heat and chemicals are also concerns for Nalgene botstill conducting studies as to whether or not these tles, which students and teachers at MVHS use as well. water bottles do have the potential to cause cancer, plastic bottles can contain harmful chemicals “If studies show that to some degree all water bottles and toxins when heated or used multiple times many of the results contradict each other. can cause cancer, I don’t know how I am supposed to carry “I honestly didn’t know about this until now,” water around,” Thomas said. senior Rachael Esswein said, holding her plastic Thomas used plastic disposable water bottles, but antimony water bottle. switched to using a Nalgene bottle. Like most students, The hype about these water bottles started a Thomas said she is waiting for more detailed research to be concentrates over time in a botfew years ago when concerned people began released about the water bottles before making a decision. tle and can lead to depression, emailing medical institutes questioning the safety Some find this issue of plastic water bottles ironic. Senausea, even death if consumed of drinking out of a plastic water bottle. Questions nior Lisa Merkofer said, “In Ethiopia only 75 percent of the in large amounts were posted on websites and other people began people have access to clean water, it’s interesting how even to respond to them, based on research individual our bottled water is a problem for us now.” polyethylene terephthalate scientists and health institutes did. Some MVHS As people depend on water for survival, an esstudents were aware of this issue. sential thing for life, the solution to finding safer a chemical in the plastic that “I actually heard a while back that normal packaging that is cost effective could take years. To can cause the release of a huplastic water bottles cause cancer,” senior Leah all plastic water bottle users, it is not quite time to man carcinogen called DEHA Thomas said. “I didn’t hear about the Nalgene discontinue and raise your white flag yet. issue, which is the bottle I use now because it car“Unfortunately there are a lot of things that ries a larger amount of water.” can cause cancer,” science teacher Lani Gifphthalates ‘Mothering Magazine’ published an article in fin said. “At this point I don’t think you can May 2004 stating that the water bottles can triglive your life worrying about things that give chemicals which act like huger release of a human carcinogen called DEHA. cancer. They have to come out with stronger man hormones and can act as However, DEHA has recently been cleared by the studies that say ‘All Nalgene and plastic water endocrine disrupters FDA and does not pose a health risk even when bottle drinkers develop ovarian cancer’ and present in water. I’ll stop.” “My dad told me [that] disposable plastic water bottles are dangerous if we reuse them for too long,” freshman Shreepal Shah said. “He also told me to hand wash our water bottles instead of placing them in the dishwasher which uses really hot water and detergent.” Leaving water bottles out in hot temperatures cause the chemicals from the plastic to leak out into the water, essentially creating a toxic drink that many people unknowingly sip out of thirst. Though plastic is known for inexpensively sealing the fresh taste of water in the bottles, it unfortunately houses chemicals that could be life threatening in the future. Dr. William Shotyk shared similar studies. He conducted research
by Samika Savanur
What’s not on the label
Winter sport feb winners
where we’ve been
Boys volleyball encounters gas problem
In the Winter Sports Rally, the boys soccer team proved its skills with hand-eye along with foot-eye coordination by beating the boys basketball team in the final round of the Winter Sports Rally. The girls basketball team, on the other hand, was not as fortunate.
Seniors say ‘sayonara’
Senior Alex Kadokura got third in the 130 weight group competing as the only MVHS representative in the state meet in Bakerfield. Kadokura’s coaches took him by surprise the day before and fashioned him a new haircut.
MVHS honored the seniors of a groundbreaking basketball season by introducing each athlete and recognizing them for their contributions.
The boys volleyball team has bonded over encountering several unfortunate situations involving farts. At one practice, while playing king of the court, senior Darryl Tom let it rip on the court, causing his teammates to avoid him. Coach Lori Gragnola ended practice right there.
Ambushed before states
SCORE BOARD SOFTBALL Varsity 3-1-2 Junior Varsity 0-3
BASEBALL Varsity 2-3 Junior Varsity 3-2
Softball girls ain’t mar so soft after all
Dancing for spring
The varsity girls softball team competed in a tournament in Watsonville, winning two games and tying one. Sophomore Ashley Vernazza even hit a home run in the first game against Sequoia High School.
The PE dance classes performed in the annual spring dance showcase organized by PE dance teacher Lori Graham. There were also other performances by the Hip Hop Kru and the spirit and dance teams.
GIRLS SWIMMING Varsity 2-0 Junior Varsity 2-0
BOYS SWIMMING Varsity 1-1 Junior Varsity 1-1
BOYS VOLLEYBALL that was then.
Individuals on the track team can qualify for the Arcadia Invitational, a highly regarded meet, with outstanding times and distances. Qualifiers compete with other athletes around the country, including nationally competitive athletes.
Spirit and Dance go mar to the happiest place on earth
The spirit and dance teams will compete in the annual national competition in Anaheim for three days; of course, the team will take a side trip to celebrate in Disneyland.
where we’re going
Blitzing for an awning
The entire swim team will haul itself out of bed at 9 a.m. to sell coupons door-to-door in hopes to build a new awning. The team will be split up and whoever sells the most gets free pizza!
this is now.
Varsity 0-1 Junior Varsity 0-1
BOYS TENNIS Varsity 1-2 Junior Varsity 2-1
BADMINTON Varsity 2-0 Junior Varsity 1-1
TRACK AND FIELD 0-1
scores updated on 3/10/07
Diving team rises from the depths New home pool, new members, and newfound confidence raise team expectations by Cindy Yeh
enior Khanh Ly scopes the area. Before leaving the hot tub he ensures that there is an open board. When the coast is clear, he reluctantly leaves the warmth and stands at the base of the board, shivering. After receiving a nod from the judges, he mounts the board and prepares to leap. This year, Ly is one of the returning members of the diving team. However, he is returning to a completely refurbished team structure. In addition, most of the diving team this year are newcomers. The diving team has finally returned to MVHS’ own pool after two years of traveling to other schools’ pools for practice. “Last year, it was hard figuring out the transportation and locations for practices,” Ly said. “The good thing this year is that we get to dive into our own pool and getting to practices is more convenient.” This being Ly’s second year in diving, he sees potential for this new team. He is not alone in these hopes. “I definitely want this team to all qualify for CCS,” diving and swimming coach Ron Freeman said.”Each diver needs to complete eleven dives to qualify.” One of the reasons that the diving team is so crucial is that the better the team performs, the more points they can rack up for the swim team. For example, the MVHS swim team can come in 60 points ahead of their opponent before even touching the water, simply from the divers performing excellently. While the diving team is such an imperative component at these meets, in recent years, the team has been overlooked. This year, however, Freeman intends to take it more seriously. In the past 26 years that Freeman has coached he has only had special diving coaches for five to six years. This year he has no special diving coach. “It’s hard because I have to pay attention to both teams and coach both. I even had to move over my boys swimming team two lanes,” Freeman said, “but this way I can focus more on the diving team.” The diving team tryouts had no cuts. Interested people simply had to show up in order to be instructed by Freeman on diving. There are five different diving categories
Ahmed Naguib | staff photographer
JUMP, FLIP, AND DIVE Freshman Chris Granera attempts a back flip dive during practice on March 8. Granera is one of two freshman on this year’s diving team. to compete in. There is forward, backward, reverse, inward and twist. Each dive is then judged on complexity and the delivery of the dive. In order to be eligible for competition, a diver must be able to complete seven different dives successfully. “Each diver has his or her own favorite
type of dive,” Le said. “My favorite is forward. Other divers like [junior] Alex [Le] like the twists.” Because they are not required to practice regularly, the divers must be self-motivated. With high hopes to attend CCS, there is no time for fooling around.
Track team adapts to new head coaches
Payne’s plan was to be an assistant coach this year as his first year, then become head coach next year. When the athletic directors staff writer approached him about the need for a head coach, he took it because he saw priority of a full-time and on-campus head coach over his s MVHS head track and field coach Jeff Payne finishes talkpersonal plans. ing to his athletes, they turn towards the track to run their “Despite this year being my first year at MVHS, I’m coming [into two warm-up laps. Since Ray Cornell retired last year due this season] with all of the experience I’ve had from coaching at othto personal reasons, the team has been without a head coach. As er schools—over six a result, Payne, a firstyears of experience,” year teacher here at Payne said. MVHS, stepped up “I am doing the best and accepted the posiI can to make it work tion as co-head coach with only two full-time alongside Gary Price. coaches. Next year, Track and field conhopefully, we will have ditioning started on all full-time coaches, Jan 29. Since then, the because that would be athletes have split into advantageous to the separate groups with athletes.” specialized coaches, Despite having specifically, jumping part-time coaches, with coach Lillian Ito, however, teams are distance with coach still very productive at Payne, and hurdles practice. with coach Cornell. The “Although [O’neal] team has also recently doesn’t get here until acquired a shot put and 4 pm, even 5:30 on discus coach, De Anza some days, we [the track athlete Chester shot put and discus O’neal. Yet only Payne athletes] still hold efand Price currently Austin Cheng | photography editor fective practices,” seserve as the team’s fullnior Andy Grossman time coaches. DOUBLE TEAMING Coaches Jeff Payne and Gary Price begin practice immediately “The thing about after school. Instead of one official head coach, the track team has two head coaches. said. “Before [O’neal] gets here, I usually lead track is that as a sport, the throwers in their workout according to [O’neal’s] instructions. it’s more about the individual,” junior and three-year track and field When he does arrive at practice, he gives everyone on the throwing member Kat Rodriguez said. “Coaching is important, but the perteam individual attention and time so having a part-time coach does sonal coaches for each athlete’s event tend to be more influential not hurt us.” than the overall head of the track team.” by Bilwa Ravikiran
olfers are lousy interview subjects when engaged in putting or teeing. Every time I try to ask a question from a distance when some one is bent down sweating in concentration, I receive a prompt “ssh” from other golfers. But there’s a much bigger reason I stayed quiet the majority of the time. It wasn’t that I was fearful of athletes who hated journalists, but instead, I did it for the respect that was embedded in golf. I spent the day at Deep Cliff golf course at MVHS’s golf team tryouts. I honestly did not know what to expect except that I’d heard that khakis and polo vests were pretty popular attire. I also lugged a gift from my uncle, a set of rusted Spalding golf clubs (they make golf clubs?). The clubs from the 80s had already survived my family’s three garage sale attempts to sell at dirt-cheap prices. It most certainly could endure a day of abuse from my rookie golf skills. Before I was assigned to a group, my Chemistry teacher and coach-for-the-day Travis Hambleton gave me a few pointers reserved for players. First of all, I shouldn’t raise my feet like a baseball player when “driving” the ball. Next, golf is a gentleman’s game. Honestly recording opponents and your own score is a vital part of the game. The word gentleman brought up memories of my former social studies teacher Mike Laurel who told the class that GOLF was a historical acronym that stood for “Gentlemen’s Only, Ladies Forbidden.” Two girls who walked past me on the green quickly dispelled this old wives’ tale. I started my first tee with a bang by bringing out the largest in my bag, the “D” club, and prepared to strike the ball beyond China. I breathed in and out, trying to keep cool like all golfers. The other golfers stayed quiet as a sign of respect as I later learned. I looked up into the sky after I teed off. To my surprise, I lost track of the ball. Had I underestimated my own personal strength and struck it into the clouds? Inconceivable! Instead, I found my ball, four feet away. I grimaced and looked around expecting snickering from my partners juniors Spencer Kimball and Yuki Ito. Instead, they offered pointers and gave no sign of disrespect. I was beginning to like this sport. The next course was a test of Murphy’s Law, a popular adage which states that “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” A small creek stood between me and the beautiful hole with the flag. I teed off my first shot into the water. “No problem,” I thought, “it happens”. My next shot bounced off a tree and joined my first ball. My third shot looked solid until it took an unthinkable turn and landed into the abyss with my other two balls. It’s a shame that Murphy’s Law has nothing to do with chemistry because I would have had zero percent error proving this rather than my usual 25 percent errors on labs. In the course of my misfortune, my mates gave words of condolence and moved on. Murphy’s law wasn’t done with me yet as I stood shocked when I found my ball in the bunker area. My partners patiently offered tips such as “scooping” the ball. When I finished, I took a rake and followed Ito ‘s example of smoothing out the bunker. The rake won’t fix the bunker by itself. I was after all, a gentleman to the next golfer. I finished the last hole with both my pride and calloused hands. Every member of the MVHS golf team willingly shook hands and offered praises. I almost brushed off Kimball because my dismal scores was simply not worthy of praise, or even a comment at all. Instead, the whole team was respectful and shook my hands. My scorecard is currently pinned to my wall. It reminds me to this day, to always stay respectful just like golf players; despite life’s obstacles.
5 sophomore Danielle Foster softball
Go ahead and laugh in a sophomore’s face for embarking on a compulsory eight hour test. Afterwards, don’t bother sleeping in because doing so for only two mornings will ruin your sleep cycle. Instead find something productive to do during CAHSEE. Go out for a nice breakfast at a sit-in diner with some friends, like Hobees or Country Inn. How often can you enjoy an All-American grease loaded meal in the morning? Be nice to the elderly people who look upon you with fascination. Play some online games with lag free Internet that’s only available in the mornings. It’s a guilt free block of time to get in your required daily gaming. Forgot your New Year’s resolution to run or exercise? With plenty of time in the morning, no better time than now to bust out the old running shoes that haven’t seen action since freshman year PE.
Freshman Eric Chu Sport: Badminton tennis shoes
sophomore Keaton Chiu volleyball
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 sophomores Matisse Yoshihara and Daniel Stenzel and junior Katherine Hu for finding Pawkit in the bushes near the vending machines on Feb. 7.
s Chiu took a volleyball from a blue bin, Foster looked around the white field house as unknown territory “The most, basic thing in volleyball,” Chiu instructed, “is passing.” After passing came hitting. “Step, step, jump,” Chiu said. The two then ran to hit the ball over the net in slow motion mulitple times, until Chiu decided that Foster had mastered it. After walking a little bit away, Chiu started throwing the ball into the air, and Foster hit almost each one over the net. On one hit, however, she missed and ran into the net. The two then walked to the other side of the net, and Chiu stood in front of Foster. He stretched out his hands and said, “This is how you serve.” When asked how it was similar to pitching in softball, he said, “Well, you do use your hand.” Foster held the ball in her hands and looked up at Chiu nervously. “What do I do? Hit it?” As the ball spiraled away from her, she said, “I kind of missed that ball a little bit. Okay. Kind of a lot.” After her last serve, Chiu declared, “Good. that’s one’s better.”
hiu trudged slowly in the slightly muddy grass behind a noticably more enthusiastic Foster. While taking out gloves, Keaton remarked, “Now I’m worried. I hope I’ll be OK.” Assuring him that he would be, Foster led him to the pitch and began teaching him the basics of catching a softball. All was perfect until, while executing a crow-hop, a sequence where the player jumps, steps, and then throws the ball, Chiu made a minor mistake. “I can’t believe I threw that ball midair,” he said, hanging his head. However, Chiu lost his momentum when it was time to learn diving. When it was his turn, Chiu threw himself haphazardly at the ground, and Foster corrected him, “You don’t need to do it like that,” she said. “It’s more of a slide than a belly flop.” Chiu then took up the bat. After missing a couple pitches, he finally hit it far past the outfield, though he was not as successful with bunting. While the two were finishing up, Foster said, “That’s pretty good. You’re better than some of the girls on our team.”
“The shoes have special padding to help change direction while playing.”
birdies “There are plastic and feather birdies. I prefer feather ones because they’re higher quality but they fall apart faster.”
rackets “Strings can be tight for power or loose for control. I like medium for both power and control.”
gatorade “My mom gets big boxes of them from Costco.”
ankle brace “I twisted my ankle once and so I started wearing them. They help reduce the risk of injury.”
Published on May 9, 2009