Page 1 Student spends summer performing overseas.


Responses to the “Off and Away” cell phone policy page 7

Father-son relationship parallels junior’s experience in playing cricket. page 19

“Twilight” series captivates teenager audience. page 15




sports at full capacity

Student population approaches limit, pg. 9

Volume XXXX • Issue 1 • Monta Vista High School • Cupertino, CA

September 24, 2008

Erasing the dots Last year, staff and students made 4.5 million copies in the copy room.

That’s 391 trees. This dot represents 1,200 sheets of copied paper.

This year, administration is trying to do something about it. by Alice Lee


ean of Students Michael Hicks stores multiple plastic bags in the drawer behind his desk to be reused at a moment’s notice. He brings fabric shopping bags to his local Trader Joe’s when grocery shopping as to not waste multiple discardable plastic ones. He has even incorporated the concept of recycling in his professional career, emphasizing, for example, going green during the first unit of ecology in freshman Biology, a course he taught for the previous two years. So this year, when the administrative team decided to emphasize environmental consciousness to all staff members and students, Hicks found that he had already made a conscious effort to do so both in the classroom and at home. “It’s not really a fad or new thing in my life; I’ve been aware of going green for a long time,” he said. “I honestly believe

that the more effort you put into the little things, the easier it becomes.” At the beginning of the year, Principal April Scott announced to teachers that the copy center had made 4.5 million copies in handouts, flyers, and other paper products in the past year. According to the State of Washington’s Office of Financial Management, one tree makes about 11,500 copies of 8.5 by 11 inch papers, equating to approximately 391 trees used. “Everyone was completely blown away,” Hicks said. “It’s not like we have that many copy machines. We only have four, which totals to about a million sheets of paper per machine.” As such, teachers were encouraged to think twice about paper handouts they request from the copy center.

Here are 3,750 dots, which represent the 4.5 million copies made last year.

see GREEN on page 6

Patty Chao and Alice Lee | El Estoque Photo Illustration

The dark before the dawn

Cell phone confiscation

Teacher’s weight loss experience inspires lifestyle change by Kanwalroop Singh


Administration urges stricter enforcement by Mansi Pathak


ff/Away,' “Off/Away,” “Off/ Away.” You see it in your history class, science class, and art class. Teachers flashed it in your face the first day of school and you read about it over and over again in those endless green sheets. What is this ominous red sign and where did it come from? The new “Off/Away” cell phone policy instituted this school year has a very clear message: keep cell phones off and away. If students fail to do so, their parents must pick up the cell phone from administrative assistant Crystal Coppel in the main office at the end of the day. This policy was adopted—verbatim—from Cupertino High School after a number of incidents at MVHS violated the Academic Honesty Policy and caused tension between teachers and students. According to Principal April Scott, MVHS’ first priority is to eliminate the distraction for students and teachers. Now that cell phones have QWERTY keyboards and cameras, using them during class has become common and easily concealed.

Daniel Stenzel | El Estoque

LOCKED UP AP Secretary Crystal Coppel stores students’ cell phones in her desk until parents pick them up. “It’ is an unfair distraction to students who are trying to pay attention in class,” Scott said. Another of Scott’s top priorities is to stop cheating via technology, which unfortunately occurred numerous times in the past school year. Scott confirmed rumors that last year, a student photographed and forwarded a final exam to other students. Scott also confirmed other incidents, which involved texting questions and answers to classmates and using the Internet to find answers. The “Off/Away” rule also prevents students from illegally taking photographs or videos of teachers without permission, which caused problems last year. According to juniors Kevin Chen and Divya Veturi, a YouTube video showed a long-term see PHONE on page 3

he towered over the others—29 perky women and two balding men. Visible from all corners of the room, her black rimmed glasses glinted and her brown hair bobbed and her sagging skin hung beneath her arms, and in the midst of punches and kicks, hooks and jabs, jumps and swirls, she bent down to tie her left shoe. At 6 feet 4 inches, she stood up. And when the cool down began, English teacher Stacey Cler grabbed her bottle and her bag and left the room. This is turbo kick boxing class. A whirlwind of an hour, where those led by an instructor listen to torrents of encouragement like, “Yes we can!” and “Beautiful!” as they sweat profusely to the pounding beats of Britney Spears and Danity Kane. But Cler has not always been like this. She was not always bursting with energy, not always at the gym,

not always healthy. Seven years ago, Stacey Cler was 413 pounds. She was obese and limited to her sedentary life. She spent all her time caring for her brother and sister, leav-

carrying the


This is part one of a series of articles discussing English teacher Stacy Cler’s decision to lose weight, her journey through weight loss, and the impact it has had on her and her students.

ing less than none for herself. Over a period of five years she lost 189 pounds, unhealthy habits, and a tendency to quit. The Stacey Cler that emerged was not the same one that had trouble lifting her arm above her head. This Stacey Cler had reached the unthink-

able, a point so low that she needed more than hard work and determination to keep herself healthy. In high school, Cler was quiet—the kid that sat in the back of the room and watched as the class went by. She had friends. But she was tall and overweight, like her father, her mother, her sister, and her brother; and that made her feel inferior. “It’s important when you’re young,” Cler said, “that you have people in your life that reassure and reaffirm who you are and what you want to be.” But Cler did not have people to reassure her, she had food. Food meant comfort, safety, warmth, escape. And addiction. In her 33 pages of reflection on weight loss, Cler writes, “Food is the ugly stepchild addiction that everyone knows is there, but nobody wants to claim.” see CLER on page 3



recount in numbers



Profit in dollars earned by FBLA by selling root beer floats


Total amount of money collected by ASB


Total amount of money made by clubs on club day


Number of organizations that sold food



Number of Kindness Cards printed by Student Life Commission


Number of “Free Hugs” signs made


Number of stickers passed out on Thursday


newsflash New Community Leadership adviser

September 24, 2008 elestoque 2008-2009 Editor in Chief Alice Lee

in brief

Community Leadership holds charity fair

This year, the change of periods was not the only change in the Community Leadership class. PE teacher Sarah Jensen has taken over the adviser position for the Community Leadership class. The position, which was held by Maureen Deal for the first two years that the class was PE teacher and Comoffered, was handed to munity Leadership Jensen in the spring. adviser Sarah Jensen The responsibilities of the adviser include supervising all events held by the class and dealing with administration and school facilities. Jensen also holds leadership development acivities for the sixth period class. Jensen still teaches four periods of PE in addition to the Community Leadership class.

Kindness Week culminated last week with the in-class distribution of Kindness Kards as the Community Leadership Fair took the center stage at lunch in the rally court on Sept. 19. “We want this fair to be an annual event that people look forward to,” executive board member and senior Irene Steves said. “It allows students to learn about our class and what we do.” The class itself is divided into one executive board and five commissions: global, environmental, community, health, and youth. At the fair, each commission ran a carnival-style game that was relevant to their purpose. The environmental commission hosted bowling with plastic bottles, for example, while the global commission ran a geography-related map game. Students were charged $1 for five games and proceeds went to the United Nations’ Roots of Peace program, which removes landmines from and plant vineyards in war-torn regions of the world.

Class of 2012 elects class officers

Long lines ran from side to side of the rally court on Thursday Club commission counts club day and Friday as tickets on Friday Sept. 19. students lined up to purchase Club Day tickets for the event on Sept. 12. This year, administration implemented a ticket system for Club Day so that rather than paying for food with money, students would purchase tickets worth 50 cents or $1 to be exchanged for food instead. $2,400 in tickets were sold by the end of presales, with $12,550 in total being sold by the end of Club Day and after refunds. Clubs collectively grossed $12,401, a higher amount to the $6000-$8000 in cash that clubs have generated in the past.

On Sept. 5, the largest class at MVHS elected its leaders. Social Manager Sara Yang and Treasurer Jacob Lui noted the goal for this year that they, along with President Steffanie Sum, Vice President Christina Aguila, and Secretary Kelly Darmawan, have set for this year is having total class participation and unity for the year. As of right now, the 2012 officers are working on putting together their first Homecoming. The Homecoming theme for the class of 2012 is “The Incredibles.” Aside from organizing the Homecoming float, the officers are also designing class t-shirts and sending out donation letters to raise funds.

Hicks replaces Hambleton as new dean

With its fourth teacher in as many years, the ASB Leadership class has yet another new advisor in former Biology teacher Michael Hicks. At the beginning of summer, former Dean of Student Activities Travis Hambleton left MVHS and moved to Visalia California with wife, social studies teacher Dean of Student Catherine Hambleton. Activities Michael Hicks Hambleton’s abrupt departure left a void in the administration and created a scramble to find a new dean. After going through an application process, Hicks was given the position at the beginning of August.

Club day converts to ticket system

Seniors offered a new literature class

Humanities is a new class at MVHS this year in which students, in senior Maanya Condamoor’s words, “learn about different cultures from around the world through not only literature, but art, architecture, and sculpture, to name a few.” Currently, humanities classes are reading Greek poems, having finished “The Iliad” and “Oedipus.” Where a humanities class differs from a regular literature class is in the other aspects of culture students learn about and analyze, delving into topics such as sculpture and architecture. “I really like Humanities because it’s a different way of thinking,” senior Neesha Tambe said. “In a regular lit class, there’s a set way you think, you look at literary devices and all that. But in Humanities, we look at other parts of cultures, too, so you really get the big picture.”

Counting and connecting the dots byAlice Lee


s of the release of this first issue, I consider myself to be an accomplished counter of dots. Yes, dots—all 3,750 of the ones you see on the page before this to be exact, collectively representing the 4.5 million sheets of copied papers made in the copy office last year. It began when I attempted to copy and paste all 3,750 dots from one original dot (boy, did that computer start to lag). Then, when senior Patty Chao figured out how to arrange one dot into a pattern of multiple dots to be inserted into the silhouette of a tree, the tasks of filling in all the half- and quarter- dots and then counting all of them still remained. You may be wondering: why in the world would you bother counting all of those dots? When creating the photo illustration, I did wonder if any reader would actually time the time to count all of the 3,676 dots I originally had had on the page. But then I realized that whether or not anyone actually did verify the validity of my front page package, it was a question of integrity for the paper. Thus, I counted. And for a while, all I saw was dots. I saw dots upon dots, dots when I looked away from the computer screen that was full of them, dots in between dots, dots everywhere. As a result, I am now quite adept at counting dots. Such is the case with all members of El Estoque. Upon approaching their article pitches, writers often become mini-experts in whichever story they are reporting on. Not all of the contributing writers to the print sports section’s new “In the zone” feature, for example, were

fully familiar with the individual sport they were reporting on. But those who weren’t learned to be; they sat on the sidelines and conversed with knowledgeable parents; they learned about the game on their own time. For us, the journalists, it’s a learning process too. But we put people’s stories in this newspaper in the hope that you, the reader, will as well. Of course, we strive to report with interesting angles, to change the way you might look at one subject or to introduce you to new ones. The “Off and Away” cell phone policy, for example, has been enacted at MVHS but sophomore Mansi Pathak’s article highlights the reasons behind its conception. The effects of a student population roughly one hundred students larger may have become apparent to you in the first four weeks of school. Perhaps it’s more difficult this year to maneuver through the halls, perhaps the roar of the record sized freshman class was especially resounding at the rally--and our centerspread, now a full four pages of color, takes apart the specific effects of overcrowding. The pages of this newspaper may surprise you, anger you, and make you laugh, but what we want to do is give you full, meaningful perspectives of the news here at MVHS and of our community. If that means writing online stories expeditiously as to have a quick turnover time between assignment and publication on the website, or counting out a few thousand dots for an accurate graphic representation, then so be it. It’s our job, and we’ll do it. I dare you to count the dots.


editor’s letter

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


September 24, 2008


CLER: Near-death experience strengthens resolve



Boggling Broadcast

Tour de Failure


Kanwalroop Singh | El Estoque

CLER-ITY For Stacey, it took the ability to see her lowest low in order to gain the motivation to work out and get into shape. continued from page 1

But then her sister, Julie, came home from the gym one day with an ache in her stomach that changed everything. Three days after the ache, Julie pulled out their 1950’s medical guide. She reached the conclusion that she either had appendicitis or cancer. They drove to the hospital. Julie had an 8.6-inch cyst in her right ovary that had developed into a 17-pound tumor in her stomach, pushing on her organs, and causing her pain. In the hospital, Stacey held Julie’s hand. Her brother, Scott, held the other.

Julie told them to feel her stomach. It felt like solid rock. Both siblings looked at Julie with confusion. She looked back at them and said, “I thought I was getting buns of steel.” According to Stacey, Julie is not allowed to diagnose medical conditions to this day. The doctors performed surgery, taking out the tumor soon before it turned cancerous. She did not have chemotherapy. She did not undergo radiation. She was perfectly healthy. However, cancer is common in siblings. Two years later, Stacey had an ultrasound. The doctors

discovered that she had a 4.7inch cyst on her left ovary, and they removed it. Now Stacey has the right ovary and her sister has the left. They joke that, together, they have a functioning ovarian system. But Stacey still had a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot so big it cut off the circulation of oxygen to her lungs. Every time she stood up, she could not breathe. She was in the intensive care unit for seven days, during which she lay in the hospital bed, absolutely still, trying to build up her resolve. If she moved, the blood clot

‘CSA’ taggings appear on campus Vandalism leads to problems for custodial staff by Patty Chao


riminals aren’t the only ones in bright orange this season. Over the summer, the letters “CSA” were sprayed orange onto several surfaces around campus. Head custodian Chris Kenney found a total of seven different occurrences, which were all removed before the start of school. Disciplinary specialist Ruben Delgado believes they were done progressively over the summer. “I think CSA is not school related, seeing as it happened over break,” Kenney said. More recently, offensive messages appeared in blue near the corner of the rally court nearest to the field house. These were done sometime between 8 p.m. Aug. 13 and before school on Sept. 15. A teacher saw the graffiti around 6:30 a.m. and the markings were covered up by 8 a.m. Removal of such vandalism is not cost free. In order to quickly clean up the markings, workers are pulled from their regular tasks, leaving other work unfinished. “Night workers then need to spend time finishing what was left from the day shift. It becomes a vicious cycle,” Kenney said. Apart from labor inconveniences and fees, the school budget must also account for materials involved in the actual removal of the marks, usually spray paint, among other mediums. When paint cannot cover them up, sandblasters are used to remove the graffiti, creating more work in the clean-up process; the left over residue then takes time and effort to clear. In the end, the costs often add up to staggering amounts. Assistant Principal Brad Metheany estimates that $400 was spent just on the “CSA” tagging.

would move to her heart, and she would die. But she lived. And the blood clot dissolved. In her reflection, she writes, “This was a life defining moment for me because it became the catalyst of a very long and difficult journey… this was that moment, five years ago, that I determined I was going to lose weight to become healthy.” All people with problems must reach a low point. This was Cler’s. At the lowest of low, she could sink no lower. So the only way to go was up.

Note: Next issue, the story will continue, exploring Cler’s year-long weight loss journey

PHONE: Admin tightens policies continued from page 1

Courtesy of Ruben Delgado

VANDALISM Graffiti was found near the side of the library on Sept. 15. However, when new graffiti is discovered, it is not immediately removed; a dispatch officer is called in. The deputy takes a picture, and tries to link it to other similar marks. The monetary charges on an identified violator can be damaging. If someone is cited twice, they can be charged with a felony. Although MVHS has not had major problems with graffiti in the past, the consequences of being caught are serious. “You have to realize you’re breaking a city ordinance,” Delgado said. According to Delgado and Kenney, there are no leads on the recent markings or “CSA” yet. Student graffiti artists are usually caught, but when the graffiti is done outside of school hours, they are harder to catch. In the past four years, there has not been much gang-related graffiti, rather taggers leaving their signature. Without several reccurences, the perpetrators are harder to pinpoint. “These guys are pretty slick,” Delgado said. “But most of the time, it is just kids [students] doing stupid things.”

substitute making inappropriate remarks and gestures during the 2008 Code Red drill. A student caught the act on video with a cell phone and later published it on YouTube. When administration became aware of the video, the student was told to remove it. According to the students in the class, the teacher was ultimately replaced by another long-term substitute teacher. Incidents like this contributed to the implementation of the “Off and Away” cell phone policy. Administration hopes that this policy will also teach students about accountability. “We want to raise moral, ethical, responsible citizens,” Scott said. “Keeping cell phones out of the way will hopefully ensure that.”

’ve always imagined the field of psychology as being on the wacky end of the career spectrum —just a whole lot of overrated nonsense “loony” people lived up to. Psychologists, from what I understood, earned big bucks off other people’s problems, and from my point of view seemed remote and almost heretical. Until, I recently realized, modern society could use an occasional bout of psychological counseling. On Tuesday, Sept. 9, the aspiring scheme of a former cancer survivor was disclosed in an exclusive interview with Vanity Fair magazine reporter Douglas Brinkley. After a progression of fidgety moments, the interviewee revealed his innermost confidential ambition that had been nagging him for some time, an ambition that the world had thought (and still thinks) impossible. It was enough to earn him a spot about one centimeter down from the “shocking” end of TIME magazine’s Pop Chart. The survivor was Lance Armstrong, who, in his now sensational line, sucked every pulp of courage into one juice of a sentence: “I’m going to try and win an eighth Tour de France.” It was a moment of spiritual rejuvenation, of sheer courage, of earsplitting shock; for those who’ve been living within the confines of a bike tire, Lance Armstrong has been retired for the past three years. That makes his career comeback all the more impressive, doesn’t it? Apparently some cyberspace souls beg to differ. Browsing through blogs and forums, I found nasty postings commenting on the seven-time Tour de France champion’s return to professional cycling. People have indicted Armstrong’s decision with accusations like his need for intensive training as an “excuse to be single,” ambitions to equal himself to eight-gold medalist Michael Phelps by winning an eighth Tour de France, and the desire to restore his fame and physical prominence. Some have even gone so far as to use Armstrong’s unretirement as an opportunity to bring up doping accusations, for which he was never proven guilty. The big issue of age was brought up, as skeptics noted Armstrong’s 37th birthday on Sept.18 would make him older than cyclist Firmin Lambot, who was the oldest person in history to win the Tour de France at age 36 in 1922. As I’ve looked into this issue, it seems to me that there is no fairness in chasing some gritty hardcore biker’s heels, or, rather, wheels with discouraging commentary. Here is a retired man brave enough to venture the backward climb up to his youthful peak, with the knowledge that he could lose the battle, while pessimists condemn his efforts, accuse him of training to defend his marital status, and criticize him for “trying to get famous again.” With no offense intended, I would recommend the latter a visit to the psychologist. Maybe they had an extra dose of Hollywood corruption. The point is, Armstrong doesn’t deserve shame for committing to something a bit out of wack. And neither do students, teachers, and activists around the globe who strive to do things differently, like un-retiring themselves. Even in smaller communities like MVHS, we should be supportive of the goals of other individuals, and value them with the same respect a psychologist would have. As cliché as it may sound, we need to walk a couple miles in another’s shoes from time to time, pedal up some hills with their gear, imagine life from their point of view. With that being said, I’ve got my fingers crossed for ol’ Armstrong to make it through the race and finish with a fine victory in the 2009 Tour de France.




September 24, 2008

September 24, 2008



Students look at shoplifting as a game, not a crime by Jane Kim


hile students bustle around the local 7-Eleven during their lunch period, one student stands still. The student, who requested that his name not be used, uses the other students around him as a blockade for the act he’s about to commit.  He looks around and grabs a couple of items off the rack — a bag of chips, Starburst, and a Gatorade.  Concealing the food within his arms, he walks out through the doors, pretending to be a student that has paid for his items.  When he believes he has succeeded, he hears from behind him, “Did you pay for that?”  Without answering he runs back to school.  And gets away. This anonymous student, a junior at MVHS, admits to regular theft in the past. He claims to have shoplifted from Zumiez, Target, Safeway, 7-Eleven, and Blockbuster.  The student was even banned from Zumiez at Valley Fair for the attempted theft of two t-shirts, and has almost been caught stealing more than twice. For him, shoplifting is a game, but victims of theft on campus don’t find stealing very funny. “My money was stolen from me last year,” junior Tiffany Woo said.  “They stole my birthday cookies and note too,”  a note which she didn’t have a chance to read.   Despite student thefts in stores as well as in the school environment, not all shoplifters are teens.  According to the assistant manager of Mervyn’s, Afshin Shokoohi, it isn’t just teens who steal. All types of people, not only students, have attempted theft. “We find all ages steal, from old to mid-age, even 17,” Shookoohi said. “There isn’t one age group or type of peo-

Daniel Stenzel and Stefan Ball | El Estoque Photo Illustration

ple that are more likely to steal than others.” “We can’t monitor 24 hours a day,” Shokoohi said. “There are changes of their clothes maybe in the men’s dressing room. They just take off the tag and put on the clothes and walk out.” Despite having hidden sensors in some of the clothes, constant monitoring for theft is impossible. But stores have helpers other than their loss prevention officers that may go unnoticed by shoplifters: other customers. “Customers tell us that they see some suspicious people and give us license plate numbers, anything,” Shokoohi said. “And we give that information to the loss prevention officers.” Although the offending student claims to shoplift to save money, he may have other motives as well. “Sometimes if I get caught,” he said, “I think my parents won’t think of my grades or school as much.” Occasionally, the shoplifters return stolen items out of a guilty conscience. “One time we got two envelopes with money and a letter apologizing for taking the clothes,” Shakoohi said. Remorse and guilt, however, do not lessen the consequences. Although, minors may only have to write an essay on stealing and do 40 hours of community service, as high school students grow older and become adults, the consequences are more drastic. THEFT TALK, a nonprofit counseling service for shoplifters, lists that the consequences for shoplifting consists of a court hearing, $300 fine, community service, and jail.


September 24, 2008 elestoque 6 Calculus students seek alternative path news

Surplus of students attempting to enroll for De Anza College classes leads to scramble

by Kunal Bhan


t was 12:30 p.m. at lunch on Aug. 25, the first day of the school year. While most students were either with friends catching up on their summers or headed out to lunch, senior Greg Bodwin was behind a computer screen at the Admissions Office at De Anza College, with a grim expression on his face as he clicked on the third option from the scroll-down menu and saw “Seats Available: 0” for Section 63, Thursdays 6 p.m. to 8:10 p.m. The main class of interest was 001C Calculus, the class following AP Calculus BC for students wishing to continue studying calculus.

The main issue was that only four spots existed for the more than four MVHS students, including Bodwin, who were online, not to mention the number of students from other schools in the area, like Lynbrook and Homestead, as well as De Anza students. This posed a problem for many students like Bodwin, who had planned to not take AP Statistics and instead take Calculus C and D to maintain a strong grasp on the material. “I want to take Calculus C because Stats seems to be too basic,” senior Benjamin Liu said. “I want to increase my knowledge of math and not forget whatever I’ve learned in [Calculus BC] last year.

math map These are the options for students who don’t get Calc C at De Anza. De Anza


Stay on the waitlist and wait for position in line to move up.

Students can also take Calc C here, and there is more availability of classes.


West Valley

Turn in the schedule change form and try to get AP Stats instead.

Students can take Calc D (Math 4A), with one of the classes meeting at Lynbrook.

College students feel the same way as well, looking in retrospect at their decision. “I took AP Stats at MVHS instead because of comfort, more availability of classes, and a guarantee of a class,” alumnus and UC Berkeley freshman Radhika Mathur said. “But now in Calculus, there is a lot of material which I’ve forgotten. It feels like a long time ago.” Teachers seem to feel that students are prepared to take Calculus C at De Anza. “I think [AP Stats and Calculus C] are good options for students after Calculus BC, depending on the student’s interests,” Calculus teacher Scott DeRuiter said. “All of our students are more than ready for Calculus C after [Calculus BC] here at MVHS, and we feel that they can excel.” As a result, many students were forced to turn to one of four paths: stay on the De Anza waitlist until they got a position or come to the first class to get an add code for the class, register for Calculus at Foothill College, but literally go the extra mile to Foothill’s campus for the class, attempt to add AP Stats, or sign up at a different community college. Within two weeks however, the waitlist began to clear up, as students began adding the class. Though Calculus C is the class students

can take after completing Calculus BC at MVHS, it is, in fact, a repeat. “The only frustrating thing is that these students must repeat Calculus C after having covered it in Calculus BC rather than directly get into Calculus D. This may be a factor influencing the choice for AP Stats over Calculus C,” DeRuiter said. This problem was very soon met with an answer. After discussing the idea with Lynbrook’s administrators and teachers, West Valley College opened up a new section of Intermediate Calculus, the equivalent to Calculus D, which would hold class at Lynbrook after school – a simpler option for students who had already taken AP Calculus BC and did not wish to repeat Calculus C. The class would be on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 3:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Simply showing a score of a four or a five on the AP Calculus BC exam as well as a high school transcript showing proof of having taken the class with an appropriate grade to the admissions office cleared the need of a placement test, making registering for the class easier. “I applied for [the Lynbrook class] because I did not have to repeat Calculus C and could jump into Calculus D,” Bodwin said. “I can finish Calculus faster now.”

‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ for new Government Team New senior history class learns government and economics through cometition and team work by Serena Lee


t is the first period of Monday morning and 27 seniors are belting out the lyrics of their class song “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” With all their arms linked together, the class sings so loudly that their voices drift through classroom walls and down into neighboring classes. Like a football team, the class ends with a triumphant: “1-2-3 Gov Team!” Gov Team, officially known as “We the People” team, fulfills the senior Government and Economics course requirements—but in a way unlike a typical class from either subject. Although the class uses both the regular government and AP Government textbooks as class material, the class mainly focuses on preparing for the “We the People” competition. The competition is a simulated congressional hearing. The prem-

ises are that the students have order to compete at Nationals in each month outside of class. Albeen asked to give testimonies to Washington, D.C., the class must ready, units are unified through Congress on their personal view make it through the district com- team-spirit as well as through inof the Constitution. petition in December as well in side jokes and secret handshakes. “Everyone has their opinion, In class, students are broken addition to the state competition so there’s these opinions from all into six subunits with four to five in February. “Right from the get-go, we’re walks of life,” senior Spencer Fostudents in each group. Each unit chtman said. must become ex“The thing that perts on their top“You are [more concerned] about makes the class so dific, items such as ferent is that it’s not the Bill of Rights winning that competition and that much of a class,” or social activism. trophy,” senior Tarun Galagali said. Gov Team President Each unit then senior Tarun Galagali further divides into specific roles from unit cap- against a strong school that is just said. “It’s more like an extracurtain and facilitator to archivist and as academically strong of a school ricular activity that you’re comeditor. Some students also have as MVHS,” Chiang said. “The pletely committed to so that you officer roles in addition to these schools that do [the competition] go every day.” To prepare for competitions positions, elected by their class- are the best schools in the state.” mates last year, which include MVHS Gov Team has strong in class, oral communication is opponents in their district compe- emphasized. Topics and current President and Social Manager. While in competitions, each tition, like Irvington High School, events are used for discussion. An unit will present to the hearing which has previously competed important factor of the competition is that every single student on their specific topics for four in Nationals. minutes and then answer follow As a requirement of prepar- must have equal speaking time. “The whole competition is up questions asked by local politi- ing for the competition, each unit cians for another six minutes. In must meet at least four hours getting [the students] to a point

where they, as group, are able to communicate, debate, and share time,” Chiang said. “It takes a lot of time to know when to say something and when not to. It will come to a point when students will know someone is going to jump in.” According to Gov Team seniors Sam Tabatabai and Kiran Kanekal, this class is unlike the “typical MVHS class.” Grades are based on self-effort and working as a team is emphasized. In Chiang’s view, the pressure the students face are not from grades but from not wanting to let a teammate down. Students read a book not because of a test grade but because someone else on the team is relying on them to know that section. “You are not concerned about the report card, but more about winning the competition and trophy,” Galagali said, reflecting the vigorous spirit of the team.

GREEN: Movement to make the school more environmentally conscious bythenumbers

continued from page 1

Some teachers, like social studies teacher Christopher Chiang, have created class sets of important documents and encourage students to use both sides of all work pages. Science teacher Kavita Gupta has her Chemistry AP students print out the class’s labs and PowerPoints off the internet so they can customize their own notes to better their learning. “Essentially, I want the course to be on the web,” Gupta said. “That way, students can access files from home and print from there.” The effects of the go green project are present in various Leadership functions as well. At the annual Leadership Retreat and Gym Jam events, attending students were asked to bring their own water bottles to be refilled in the school’s drinking fountains. Another new project in the works involves installing new solar panels with money the district has received from the Measure B bond. These panels may be placed on top of areas undergoing reconstruction, such as the potential installation of a roof on top of the student parking lot. “It’s not for sure yet,” Hicks said, “but when we’re going to rebuild, why not look into that aspect?”

Students and staff have mixed opinions regarding the general encouragement. “I haven’t done anything differently at all,” social studies teacher Pete Pelkey said. “There really is no win-win situation,” senior Devina Khanna said. “If teachers print less, then students will complain that they have to print more, and if they print out everything for us, students will complain that they get too [many papers] from the teachers.” Despite theories that paper recycling is not beneficial to the environment, as it takes more time and energy to transport the paper to recycling locations and chemicals to treat the paper, students and staff are confident in the power of conserving paper. “First of all, I don’t buy it because the theory isn’t well known enough,” senior Tarun Galagali said. “But if the world embraces throwing away trash and recycling paper, then it’s just convenient to accept it, rather than accept a critical theory that is hardly heard of.” “I didn’t know about this theory before today,” junior Nausheen Mahmood said. She added, “But recycling is one of the easiest ways people can help out the environment, and I think it shows that our society is optimistic.”

4.5 million Number of copies made by MVHS staff and students during the 07-08 school year

391 Trees killed to make these copies 4 Copiers in the copy room

0 Number of recycling bins in the D building 1 Copy technician, Buzz Delaney



• Off/Away policy to be expected 7 • Staff Ed: Club Day ticket policy hurts buyers 8 • Start school later 8 •


Many students are very vocal in their responses to the updated cell phone policy. El Estoque asked students a series of questions concerning cell phones, the updated cell phone policy, and technological cheating. Below are some of their views, in their own words, drawn from the conversations that ensued.




What do you think about administration cracking down on cell phone use this year?

“I’m surprised it took so long.”– Ruben Delgado, campus supervisor “It’s more of a hassle for everyone — teachers, office staff, and parents.” – Christina Yglesias, junior How big of a problem do you think high-tech cheating is at MVHS?

“I don’t know, and you fear what you don’t know. It’s become a tool. It can be used in both good and bad ways.” – Dennis Plaza, Assistant Principal

“It is kinda big. You can basically go anywhere on the Internet, and your teachers can’t check everything.” – MengYa Wu, junior Do you think last year’s policies were sufficient? “I don’t care. Why use a cell phone in class?” – Anna Shabrova, freshman

“This is kind of overkill.” – Mary Pearse, sophomore

Phone policy not a surprise

New procedures just a direct consequence of old irresponsibilities by Sabrina Ghaus


ocused.” That’s the word Assistant Principal Brad Metheany uses to describe the newly recharged cell phone policy put into effect this year. Another word to describe it is “inevitable.” If students persist in abusing their cell phones, it is only right for the administration to enforce a rule that already exists and frankly, should be adhered to. Students can moan and groan about the unfairness of it all, that collective punishment for the actions of a few irresponsible people is not the answer, but it is important to realize that there are reasons behind the rule. It is prohibited by law to take photographs of teachers or their property without their expressed consent. In other words, don’t photograph tests unless the teacher knows, or else you might get saddled with a civil liberties suit. This school is a community. For any-

one whining about collective punishment, well, don’t blame the administration. They are only taking steps to ensure fair play and are, in fact, protecting students from breaking the law. The few who did abuse their cell phones in previous years should have thought of the effect they would have on the rest of the school before their actions. Others should have warned their classmates about the repercussions of misconduct. Unfortunately, we continued to exploit the administration’s lax handling of the cell phone rule and now must abide by a new rule which some may say upends “innocent before proven guilty.” Instead, we are labeled as suspects for simply having cell phones, hence the stringent execution of the policy. The only technical change in the cell phone policy is minor – instead of students, parents now pick up confiscated cell phones from the office. This change, too, should be expected. Students are less

likely to use a cell phone and risk getting it taken away when they know that their parents will eventually find out. There is no reason for complaint against the enforcement of an already existing rule. In previous years, when the policy was not as strictly heeded, administration trusted students. As high school students, we are responsible enough to drive, have jobs, take care of younger siblings, and manage our time. It is a little ridiculous that we are evidently not responsible enough to appropriately utilize a cell phone. In truth, the administration should not even have to renew the school cell phone rule because we, the students, should have respected that policy when it was first put into effect. The new, stricter stance on cell phone usage is essentially our fault. Any complaints? Take them up amongst yourselves. For More: See cellphone in News on page 1

Sleepless students face stressful scheduling Late risers are disappointed by the frenzy of Running of the Bulls ed. When administration manually changed students’ schedules, there were bound to be errors in entering data into computers. t was the night before Running of the Bulls and I was going Colleges have already adopted online schedule changes, a through my annual checklist. Alarm clock set to six? Check. highly effective schedule selection process. At MVHS, it would Cards to entertain me and my friends for two hours? Check. give students more freedom. Ultimately students want more Snacks? Check. Assurance that I would be one of the first in line control over their schedules, which take up so much of their at Running of the Bulls? Not lives. De Anza College’s onso sure. line class selection system As I groggily arrived at is a good example. It allows the Field House around 6:30, As I arrived at the Field House at 6:30 students to drop or add I was labeled number 109 in a.m. I was labeled number 109 in line. classes if they are still unsure line. Juniors Jennifer Nguyen and see their teachers, class and Cindy Zhang had arrived times, and class requireat 2:30 am, managing to place positions as third and fourth stuments. MVHS could even use Naviance Family Connections, a dents in line. website MVHS has recently utilized for college-bound students, I wondered how students could be so dissatisfied with and to allow students to request courses. Some schools have already determined to change their schedules. The situation reminded adopted this method. According to a case study, both students me of another Black Friday gone wrong. Instead of standing in and parents embraced the new system, and the students felt line for electronics, students sought the perfect schedule. much more involved and responsible. As I finished my last station of Running of the Bulls, I overAlthough Running of the Bulls may be a long standing traheard frustrated students complaining about waiting four hours dition, it is time to adopt a more modern and efficient system. that had not even made one change in their schedule. I considThe buzz would change from complaints into excitement about ered the current system: it was slow, disappointing, and outdatanticipated classes.

by Allie Choy


I’m not racist


almost died today. Yesterday too. Chances are, you probably did as well. In fact every time I cruise the streets of Cupertino, I face the overwhelming risk of being in a collision with a Chinese mother garbed with arm sleeves, dental mask, and the ubiquitous Boba Fett shaded visor trying to make a three-point turn in the opposing lane, or an Indian father stopping without signaling in the middle of McClellan Rd. to let his children scurry out towards Lincoln Elementary. Apparently, Asian people can’t drive. Racist? Marginally. Am I correct? Of course (especially in this familiar situation). Stereotyping is so common that sometimes it’s like a slap on your face. When a teacher asks if anybody in the room plays piano,every Asian student raises his or her hand and looks at one another. But the teacher already knew that answer. And then at other times its less noticeable. When I was at Black Angus a few weeks ago, I was ordering a side to accompany my manly prime rib. I remember opening my mouth to ask for a baked potato, and before I knew it, my waiter had already said, “White rice.” Misguided people often make the assumption that if somebody references a stereotype, then that individual is a flaming xenophobe on his or her way to NeoNazism. And that makes me angry. I am proud to state that I make race-oriented jokes all the time. Stereotyping individuals is not a sinful deed, but rather it is a fine art. It takes great awareness for one to be able to make a broad generalization about a certain body of people. For example, if I were to state that some Sudanese orphans would love to finish that cheeseburger you’re about to throw away, one can easily say that I am “racist” against African folk. But on the other hand, there is sound and logical reason for my statement, as it is my intention to raise awareness in a farcical manner that countless children in the Darfur region of Sudan are dying from malnutrition. It is the truth that much of our school is made up of academically focused, Asian minorities and in turn, the school has recognized this and has arranged for numerous Advanced Placement classes. It is irrefutable that because racial stereotypes are based on facts and observations, these generalizations have some merit. The whole field of ethnographic marketing relies on creating stereotypes about different ethnicities. The difference is, professional marketers base their observations on hard data—income level, geographic distribution, and buying trends of certain ethnic groups. However, when it comes to making observations about people, gathering hard data isn’t the only way to do it. If you’ve seen an Asian driver careen past a terrified biker five, ten, or 200 times, isn’t there some kind of trend? That’s why many stereotypes thrown around school have a very large grain of truth. They arise from what we see as we go through our daily lives. Although I openly embrace stereotyping for the sake of humor and other legitimate ends, by no means do I support racially-inspired violence or discrimination. There is a thick black line between racial humor and discriminatory violence that I encourage you to never cross. But until then, I will be diligently practicing my Indian accent.

elestoque September 24, 2008 8 Club day ticket policy exploits students opinion

Ticket system takes advantage of consumer behavior and encourages over-spending


t first glance, the recent decision to issue tickets to students for use during Club Day seems like a great policy. The idea to replace regular dollar bills and coins with tickets—in denominations of 50 cents and $1 —was intended to solve a number of issues related to Club Day. One of the more difficult problems with clubs in years past was that many clubs at school did not deposit their money with ASB. Club Day has always been one of the major sources of revenue for the whole year. Because clubs are student groups affiliated with MVHS, clubs are required to deposit their money with the school. The use of dollars made the enforcement of this rule very difficult. In addition, after Club Day, many club officers failed to immediately deposit their money to ASB. In the past, club officers had left school after Club Day with hundreds of dollars in their backpacks, putting the proceedings from Club Day sales at risk of theft or damage. With these problems in mind, the idea of issuing tickets seems like an excellent one. It forces clubs to actually deposit funds in their ASB accounts so they can earn money from the tickets they receive during Club Day. In addition, the issuing of tickets reduces the chances of theft. The tickets themselves do not hold value—they can only be redeemed for money. It’s hard to dispute that the use of tickets in place of money makes Club Day better regulated and more efficient. That, of course, is something administration would agree with wholeheartedly. But ask the students what they think, and the response will probably be very different. For one, the tickets were a nuisance plain and simple. Instead of walking straight to the tables and getting food as in years past, students now had to wait in a lengthy line to buy tickets during brunch and lunch only to spend extra time fumbling with unfamiliar tender before buying their food on Club Day. Moreover, the ticket system forced students to pay the price for the irresponsible behavior of club officers. One of the main reasons for the institution of the ticket system was to eliminate the chance of Club Day proceedings being stolen from club officers’ backpacks. Even though club officers have lost large amounts of money in the

Bhargav Setlur | El Estoque

past due to theft, the fact is that it was their fault for not being careful with the money and depositing it with ASB immediately. For their lack of diligence, students had to deal with a new ticket system to keep the proceeds of Club Day safe. To put it bluntly, once students hand over money to buy something, they don’t—and shouldn’t—care about what happens to that money. But even that wasn’t the worst. Consider this: clubs earned more during this Club Day—almost a few thousand dollars more—than in previous years. Did the buying power of the students increase dramatically over a one-year period? Hardly. In reality, the ticket system was responsible for this massive increase in spending. In accordance with normal con-

sumer behavior, students bought more tickets than they would actually need. Then, at the end of Club Day, they were faced with a decision—wait in a long line to get any unspent tickets refunded, or quickly blow their last tickets on food and drinks. Most students then chose the latter. Although clubs enjoyed a healthy profit, the ticket system essentially exploited the spending behavior of students. Whether this was intentional or not, students were ultimately milked of their cash. Yes, one can argue that the increase in spending is small—only a few dollars per student—but in a large school like MVHS, this adds up to a significant amount of money. If students are to be blamed for not wait-

Staff Editorial

ing in line to get their tickets refunded, it’s because they were simply acting like young consumers. As the late bell for sixth period was approaching, students decided to blow a few more dollars rather than risk being late to class. That, arguably, is responsible behavior. It’s not much. But it is exploitation, and thus forcing MVHS students to pay with tickets on Club Day is more subversive than it is beneficial. Yes, Club Day is a day when many clubs earn a majority of the money they will spend throughout the rest of the year. However, Club Day is also meant to get students interested in clubs and learn more about activities at MVHS. The ticket system only fulfills one goal: making money by exploiting students. That isn’t right, and the ticket policy shouldn’t return next year. For More: See “Club Day converts to ticket system” in News on page 2

For students’ sake, school should stay closed until September With August start date, students miss out on internships, jobs, and last days of summer by Sasha Degtyar

And let’s not forget the fact that with the passing of each year, it becomes harder and harder to be accepted by topes, it’s true. Back-to-school commercials start playtier universities. Summer programs in math, science, goving on our TVs as early as mid-July.  You can almost ernment, and law are fast transforming from the nice-tohear the groans “School already? Summer just starthave application fillers that they once were to unavoidable ed!” Indeed, sometimes it seems as if students and teachers prerequisites before college begins. don’t really have a summer break so much as an extendThen there’s the heat. With temperatures in the 90s and ed vacation. It’s neither here nor there—time 100s for most of the first week of school, it’s a wonenough to forget skills but not relax our tired der that there weren’t more cases of heat stroke and brains.  School needs to start later—not later in dehydration—hardly good conditions for concenIt seems as if students and teachers the day, later in the year. tration.   Especially for students who walk or bike Summer is a season – three months give to and from school, this heat is simply unbeardon’t have a summer break so much as or take a couple days.  It’s a time for play and able—even a week less of the grueling exercise that an extended vacation. beaches and the brain relax.   It’s when school would no doubt be a welcome relief. is forgotten and even teenagers are allowed to There’s something strange about going back to revert to their childhoods for just a little lonschool in August while so many alumni have anger. Mid-June through Mid-August does not constitute a employment because they can’t work a certain number of other month to go before they start “higher” education.  For season. weeks.  While for certain students a summer job is a nice example, University of California San Diego starts on Sept. Whatever happened to September marking the start of extra, there are those who really need the money in or- 22 this year and ends on June 12.  They even have almost school?  In all the old books and TV shows, even in today’s der to pay for expenses they’ll encounter during the school a month off around December, not to mention other vaentertainment, September and autumn are referred to as year—field trips, class materials, gas, even food. cations.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but college is supposed the time of the beginning of education. Starting school in The same situation occurs for summer programs that to be more difficult than high school.  Somehow colleges August is completely contradictory to the culture that most last until the end of August—hundreds, maybe thousands are fitting more into less time. And, when it comes to the of us grew up in, especially when we watch end of summer of opportunities are lost. Thus, competition increases for interminably long hours that we spend at MVHS, we could blowouts on TV during the second week of school, already the few experiences that fit the schedules of so many tal- certainly use a shorter and more efficient school year. bogged down with math homework. ented MVHS students. Openings in prestigious research Summer is sweet, but very short. And for MVHS stuThere are definitely advantages other than just our TV programs or distinguished internships that could and dents, every day counts. Pushing the start of school from schedules to starting school a little later. Many students should be filled by our students go to others simply be- August to September would be just a small change, but it go off on long vacations during break and end up miss- cause we do not turn in applications. would certainly make a world of a difference.


ing Running of the Bulls or even the first week of school. These students must then scramble to turn in all the necessary paperwork and catch up on coursework. This situation even creates more headaches for the administration, which deals with all of the paperwork and scheduling issues. Students with summer jobs may have to quit them early due to the shortness of our summer. They are even denied

at full capacIty

Sabrina Ghaus | El Estoque

High population growth plagues campus by Jonathan Chan with additional reporting by Jeremy Lee ith almost 700 freshmen, the Class of 2012 is the largest class known to walk the halls of MVHS. According to statistics provided by the California Department of Education, this growth is not an illusion. During the 2007-2008 school year, only 590 freshmen enrolled at MVHS. With the number at 692 this year, the freshmen class student body has increased 20 percent. The student population of MVHS has been steadily increasing over the years as more families are attracted to the high-performing school. As many students are turned away some students have tried to work around the residency verification system in order to attend the school. An anonymous student who currently attends MVHS based on a non-permanent address shared her perspective on this issue. Going to MVHS is more convenient for her family. “My dad’s office is very close to MVHS and if I went to Cupertino, it would be a lot more difficult,” she said. Cupertino is the high school she would have attended based on where she lives. In order to attend MVHS, her family rents her aunt’s house and uses that to verify residency.

Unlike some of the other students who attend the school based on a fake address, she claims that she is not avoiding residency verification because of the academics. “I don’t care about academics. It’s just because [this school] is closer,” she said. “Before I got my license, I needed to get rides to school every day.” Even though she doesn’t live within the school boundaries, she does not feel that she has violated any law or morals. “[We] pay taxes when we pay rent,” she said, taxes that help fund the school. The opportunity to attend the school does not come free—she is not allowed to have any friends over at her house because her family cannot risk having their real address revealed. In order to support students like her who want to move out of the area but still attend MVHS, the District implemented the senior privilege program. Senior privilege is a program designed to allow seniors to continue attending their current FUHSD high school despite no longer living within the boundaries of their respective high school. Gabrielle Wong, a Class of 2008 graduate, was one of the students who used senior privilege last year. In fact, Wong knew “quite a few seniors


How schedules are made for over 2500 students

see LARGE SCHOOL on page 10

...on the back

Can school size affect student performance

48 students

in one class

Sabrina Ghaus | El Estoque

Scramble for seats gives students a jump in Japanese Students bump up one level due to overcrowded class by Christine Chang


n the past, students and teachers alike have found comfort in greeting the beginning of a new school year with proper school etiquette: clean desks, comfortable chairs, and the ambiance of a fresh, new start. On the first day of school, however, many Japanese 3 students found themselves cramped in a room with more people than there were chairs. With almost half a hundred names spanned across the attendance sheet of teacher Keiko Howard’s sixth period Japanese 3 class, several students spent the first two days hunched over the little space left on the floor. The stifling air, lack of proper seating, and enormous student-teacher ratio combined to make what several students agreed was a less efficient learning atmosphere. “A single person would talk, and then everyone else would start talking. It got so loud the teacher had a hard time getting us to calm down,” junior Lynn Chiao said. According to Chiao, the large number of students made it more difficult for Howard to conduct casual and spontaneous in-class orals, which were often helpful in improving students’ speaking skill in the past. With weaker interactions between Howard and the class, such as exchanging individual dialogue, a strained student-teacher relationship developed. Before the first week of school ended, however, administration stepped in to resolve the problem by asking students to voluntarily skip Japanese 3 and continue with their two years’ knowledge and Howard’s approval onto Japanese 4 Honors. A few Japanese 3 students were keen on the idea of jumping ahead and agreed to have

their schedules changed to fit Japanese 4, taking nine people off the sixth period attendance list. Assistant Principal Marriane Hew, who was responsible for coordinating the Japanese 3 to 4 shift, also attributed the unanticipated overcrowding largely to several students who made last-minute decisions to take the class. However, when 48 students showed up on the final Japanese 3 class roster, Hew decided it was crucial to the students’ learning that the number be brought down without forcing any students to drop Japanese altogether. “Our main concern is that if you don’t

For junior Alastair Vokach-Brodsky, who also transferred from Japanese 3 to 4, the biggest change was Howard’s all-Japanese instructions, which picked up at a quicker pace in the honors class compared to instructions given in Japanese 2 and 3. “Half of the learning is just in trying to make sense of what she’s saying, but I guess that’s the best way to learn,” VokachBrodsky said. “Instead of having everything walked through, you have to make sure you know your stuff before coming to class.” Although crowding in the level 3 class has thinned out as a result of the shifts, Howard has her concerns for the students who skipped the level 3 course. “A language is learned little by little,” Howard said. “My personal evaluation is the [transferred students] should be in Japanese 3, but this is the only way we can solve the problem [of overcrowding].” Since Howard had only recommended one out of all her Japanese 2 students to skip to level 4 during class selections in March last spring, the nine students who transferred up after the first week of school were only minimally qualified under Howard’s personal standards. Her main concern is that students might not have enough familiarity with the language to fully experience the learning value that Japanese 4 Honors offers if they skip an entire year’s course. “Overcrowding is a problem because in the future, everyone will want to skip and not take level 3, and I will have to say ‘Yes, you can skip because this room is too crowded,’” Howard said. Crowded or not, administration asserts that students will need to make careful choices during course selection in the future to prevent last minute unexpected class overcrowding. A greater student population means less flexibility, fewer chances for students to switch in and out of classes at whim. 

”The [transferred students] should be in Japanese 3, but this is the only way we can solve the problem [of overcrowding],” Howard said. let kids take a [language class], then they’ll never go onto 3, 4 Honors, AP, and you’ll lose them,” Hew said. Hew wanted to ensure that every student who was interested in taking Japanese would be able to, regardless of class size. For junior Connie Lu, the unexpected jump from level 3 to 4 has been a transition mostly in the fact that she now has to focus more on her speaking skills, rather than relying on written work to make the grade. Since the main emphasis of Japanese 4 is training students to become fluent in everyday dialogue, the class’ greatest challenge is tying the knot between written and verbal aspects of the language.

A Perfect Fit? ”You can’t find people who you’re looking for!”

freshman Anoop Javalagi

”There are too many freshmen who crowd the halls and make fat lines in the bathroom.”

”You can always meet someone new so it’s never boring.”

senior Sushma Chaluvadi

junior Mahlet Yared


Data provided by Asisstant Principal Marianne Hew and Attendance Secretary Crystal Coppel

entertainment 13

• Dance coach becomes history teacher 14 • “Gossip Girl” captivates teens 15 • Artist Angela Lin 16 •

Scope of Histech reaches beyond the lenses, switches, and buttons by Stefan Ball


Patty Chao | El Estoque Photo Illustration

or every past Friday since school began, the rally court has been bursting with sound as music blares from the speakers. Whether it is at Octagon’s Pie Toss or the annual Club Day event, speakers are rolled out into the rally court and gym at our school. But who stands behind them? And what’s behind the people who flick the switches, turn the knobs, and just make it all work? Histech. Histech, formed when the Leadership class was created, edits, produces, and sometimes even writes rally and promotional videos for ASB, commissions, and various clubs on campus. They’re also the students behind the booming speakers whenever they’re rolled out. They’re the workers behind the projectors, computers, and technology. But more importantly, they’re the people behind our entertainment. The reality is, there’s far more to Histech than turning a few volume knobs and adjusting bass in the background of some lunchtime activity. “You don’t join Histech to stand behind a pair of speakers,” Histech leader senior Ashwin Singhania said. “I [applied] when someone told me that they make the rally videos. I like making videos, so I applied.” Histech not only serves the technical necessities of MVHS but also goes through an entire creative process in their videos, like script writing and editing. There is a lot of work put into the short air-time of rally videos. Script writing, filming, and editing all absorb a lot of time, effort, and creative energy. A standard rally video can take two to three weeks to complete, through daily filming and editing. Some take longer.

About a month before the Homecoming rally, ASB gives Histech the homecoming theme. A meeting is then held to put together a script and plan the filming days. The hardest part about the videos, Histech says, is managing the times when everyone can meet and where to meet. “The Homecoming video has Homecoming court, which means 12 different people we have to film in two weeks,” said Singhania. “That one’s really tight for us, the toughest part. The rest is pretty simple.” Besides recording, Histech is involved with other aspects when creating rally videos. Along with the energy required to manage formalities, a lot of thinking goes into creativity and the final product. It isn’t all just pushing buttons. “I like it when people say that it was a really good video,” senior Nicki Yee said. “So this year, we’re trying to do videos differently and away from the stereotypical video.” “We’re trying to work it so that its not just an administrator saying the crown’s missing, go find the crown,” Singhavi said. concerning this year’s homecoming video. “We want to do something different.” They’ve also worked on adding new effects, including the blue screen used throughout the welcome rally video, placing our ASB officers in various scenes around the world. And not only is the innovative juice flowing in school, but many Histech members also make films for fun, and some even plan on film-making at college and beyond. “I like everything [about film making],” said Singhania. “It’s a hobby.” Singhania, along with senior Anvay Ullal, another Histech member, have been working on an Octagon parody, “Decagon,” which will be showcased at Histech’s Film Festival in May. They plan on also having a second video in time for the festival. “I think it was just a good idea,” Ullal said. “We found it really funny.” Yee is contemplating working on films at college and beyond, including animation. Over the summer she attended classes at the San Francisco Academy of Art to learn more about the process. “I like editing and directing videos,” Yee said. “It’s a lot of fun because you get to make your own masterpiece, like an art.”

Vampire sucks the attention of teens

The Edward Cullen epidemic spreads to students as the ‘Twilight’ series rises in popularity by Lauren Parcel


arry Potter has a rival. It’s not a werewolf, wizard, witch, mountain troll or even He-Who-Must-Not-BeNamed. It’s a vampire. This vampire, Edward Cullen, is the star character of Stephanie Meyer’s latest books, the “Twilight” series. The series consists of four books: “Twilight,” “New Moon,” “Eclipse,” and “Breaking Dawn.” Although the first books came out in 2005, they have had a recent peak in popularity. This rise in popularity can be seen on the MVHS campus. “Twilight” books peek out of students’ backpacks and are stacked with textbooks. The books have spread across the Internet as well, with nearly half the Facebook “bumper stickers” focused on the “heavenly” Edward Cullen. This seems to be the mystery behind the “Twilight” books—how is one character so appealing? How can one character, a simple figment of the author’s imagination, deeply affect such a large audience?

“Edward Cullen is essentially the definition of a god,” senior Ashley Vernazza said. Vernazza, an avid “Twilight” reader, has even convinced some friends to read the series. “I think Edward Cullen is so appealing because he is the ultimate badboy— he’s mysterious, and you can’t have him, which makes you want him more,” junior Jessica Gasperini said. Gasperini is also a Harry Potter fan, but likes “Twilight” better because it is less confusing, and more of a romance. Because of this “romance” factor, a common misconception about the “Twilight” books is that they’re just for girls. While boys may be a little more hesitant to admit liking them, most aren’t shy in saying they “heard” the books were “really good.” The popularity of the books is spread predominantly by word of mouth—friend to friend. “A lot of my friends read the books and love them,” junior Sana Chintamen said. “They’re trying to get me to read them too,

but I haven’t started yet.” It is rumored that some of the characters in the book have been “ripped” off some of J.K. Rowling’s characters from Harry Potter, but this can be left up to the interpretation of the reader. A movie is scheduled for release based on the series, and ironically enough, Edward Cullen will be played by Robert Pattinson, who also plays Cedric Diggory in the Harry Potter films. Recently, Meyer’s fifth book, “Midnight Sun,” was illegally released on the internet. According to Stephenie Meyer on her website, she had shared the book with a few “trusted individuals for a good purpose,” but it was still leaked. Fans went wild, gobbling up every word online while waiting for the full edition to come out. But for now, it never will come out. With its now scheduled release date pushed out “indefinitely,” Meyer is too upset to continue writing the book in her “current frame of mind.” It is not to say, however, that the series is well received by all MVHS students.

Patty Chao | El Estoque

TWILIGHT Stephenie Meyer’s new book series is an instant bestseller “I’m frustrated that so many people think ‘Twilight’ is the next Harry Potter. I don’t think its comparable,” senior Jessica Xu said. “It’s interesting and easy to read, but it’s not satisfying.”

elestoque September 24, 2008 14 History textbooks and ballet slippers entertainment

Social studies teacher Hilary Maxwell eases into role as new Marquesas dance coach by Samved Sangameswara


Daniel Stenzel | El Estoque

TAKE A DEEP BREATH Juniors Katherine Ong, Maayan Cogan, Yasmine Kotturi, and other Marquesas listen as their new coach leads them in stretches during the dance team’s after school practice,

ilary Maxwell isn’t a freshman, but she often feels as clueless as one. The new head coach of the Marquesas admitted that she is still having some difficulty catching up with the team. Maxwell is a first year coach on a team that has members who have been on it for as many as three.     “There are a lot of traditions on this team that I still don’t understand,” Maxwell said. That is not to say, however, that she isn’t finding her place.   Co-captain and threeyear member of the team senior Neesha Tambe noted that out of the three coaches that the team has gone through in the last three years, Maxwell has been the quickest to catch on.     “Hilary [Maxwell] is great,”  Tambe said. “She has fit right in.” A main reason for why it was so easy for Maxwell to ease into her role here is because she was already fairly well acquainted with the girls.   From November of last season, Maxwell served alongside Leslie Blumenthal as assistant coach of the team.     “It was a really smooth transition,” sophomore Kelly Woodruff said.  “Having had her as an assistant coach last year helped.”

   That is not to say Maxwell didn’t have her anxieties about taking the head coaching role.  The team, which has won three national championships since the year 2000, holds itself to a very high standard that Maxwell is more than well aware of.     “My goal for this year is to continue the team’s success,” Maxwell said. “But I want to maintain the girls’ fun at the same time.” If taking the head coaching role wasn’t enough, Maxwell really made herself part of MVHS this year by joining the social studies department.  After teaching a semester at Hyde Middle School and then another semester at Kennedy Middle School last year, Maxwell decided to make the move to MVHS.  She noted that having her work and her dance team in the same place is a much welcomed change from last year.     “It’s so great to be updated with what’s going on with the school,”  Maxwell said. Despite the minor confusions here and there, Maxwell is glad with her transition into her new roles.  With the aid of her dance team Maxwell is more than satisfied with the position she is in for the rest of this year.     “It’s so nice to join a team and school that are already so successful,”  Maxwell said.  “Now all I have to do is find my place.”

Smaller films offer new choice amidst over-the-top productions Independent movies branch out from corporate movie avenue, offering fresh perspective by Sarah McKee

The experimental formulas are amusing to watch, but the another in order to terrorize the population. “That movie was so controversial. It’s something that eyond the world of the silver screen lies a small main appeal of independent films is their deeper meanings. “I really enjoy movies that I don’t understand,” Do said, you would never see in America,” Do said. and artistic realm— the world of independent films. Characteristics aside from the content set independent In this place, films are produced with small budgets “even after the movie has ended. I really look for that. I like and have similarly sized followings. They are created not to it when it confuses me. Not because the plot is bad, but be- movies apart from the corporate world. Watching an independent film in theaters is a new experience in itself. attract large audiences, but to use film as an art form. Usu- cause so much has happened. I leave feeling amazed.” “The people are usually really artsy,” Do said. “There’s This element of complexity makes independent movally large corporations are not involved. a sense of snobbiness. They like to talk about A fresh wave of independent films was removies and they’re so serious about it.” leased nationwide in mid-September following In Ebbink’s experience, the feeling in the the Toronto Film Festival. One of the films playing The experimental techniques are fun to theatre was more relaxed than during a corpoat the festival was “Burn After Reading,” a comedy watch, but the main appeal of independent rate movie. Sometimes the screenings he went featuring Brad Pitt and George Clooney as an unto would only have one or two people in the likely pair of secret agents. films is their deeper meanings. audience with him. Directors are also known to Free from corporate control, the experience of appear at screenings to answer questions after watching an independent film is very different the film. ies appealing to Ebbink. from watching a Hollywood production. The theater itself can also contribute to the ambiance. At “I really like thinking about it and trying to pluck out “A lot of the times [independent films] can be Ebbink’s favorite theatre in Berkeley, each screening room more experimental in plot, production, and di- the meaning,” Ebbink said. One of senior Jen Wong’s favorite movies is “Children of is decorated in different themes. One room has a Middle rection,” English teacher Jeremy Ebbink said. “The Blair Witch Project” is one film known for its ex- Men” because she was intrigued by the topic it discusses. Eastern style while another room has stars painted across perimental camera work. At an early screening of the The movie explores the decline of the human race and is the ceiling. The independent movie experience is different movie, Ebbink noticed it was one of the first movies to ap- filled with images of political turmoil. Independent films, especially foreign films, can also from that of a corporate one, but Do, Ebbink, and Wong pear as if it had been filmed with a handheld camcorder. Junior Alan Do likes to watch independent films made cover more controversial topics than those released on do not limit themselves to just independent films. “I just love every single type of genre there is out there,” by Quentin Tarantino because of the way he experiments corporate money. In a foreign film Do watched named “Battle Royale,” the Wong said, “and both independent moviemakers and big with the plot. In “Reservoir Dogs,” a Tarantino film, the plot government forces a select group of students to fight one companies can provide films that appeal to me.” centers around a robbery, but the crime is never shown.


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elestoque You know you love to gossip September 24, 2008




Audience mesmerized by larger-than-life situations in ‘Gossip Girl’



Que es eso?

Say what? Oh, that.

I have an Asian pencil. This is what it says. “Simple is best. Something tell us it might be you and I’m felling you.” Beneath that confusion, that horrendous jumble of Latin letters, there’s a message. Simple is best. And then there’s a deeper message: maybe that lesson can come from a complete lack of knowledge and perspective.

Freaks, freaks, everywhere

Screenshot from

WEEKLY DRAMA Actors Chace Crawford and Ed Westwick as Nate Archibald and Chuck Bass and actresses Blake Lively and Leighton Meester as Serena Van der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf engage in their daily luxurious lifestyles on the Upper East Side. by Daniel Stenzel


’m a guy. I drive a beat up 1996 VW Golf, and sometimes I forget to shave. I guess you could say I’m not exactly the target audience of the CW’s “Gossip Girl.” But on Sept. 1, at approximately 8 p.m., I found myself in a room with three of my female friends, my eardrums throbbing with anticipatory squeals and giggles, sitting awkwardly and waiting for the season premiere to start. Their gaze was boring a hole into the large TV screen, practically willing “Everybody Loves Raymond” to end and their show to begin. Then it happened—the screen went dim, “Raymond” ended, and with a flicker of light, “Gossip Girl” began. How did I get to the point where on a day off, instead of being with my friends and eating pizza, I’m watching an episode of “Gossip Girl”? I came into this situation as an outsider, and honestly having a pretty negative opinion of the show. My intentions were to view it with a critical eye and analyze every little flaw. As I started watching it, though, my snide comments slowly transformed into questions of intrigue. I credit the show’s convoluted plot my newfound addiction. The series introduces viewers to a world in which rich kids from private New York high schools cruise around in limousines, jaunt down Fifth Avenue, attend highbrow parties where alcohol flows freely, and least important of all (for them at least)—attend high school.

Fans of the show are often criticized for being shallow and materialistic, but as junior Ruby Jang explains, it’s purely for their entertainment. “Their lives are just so messed up that it’s great to watch,” Jang said. “Their clothes [are stylish], and the way they deal with situations is so funny. It’s a fantasy.” Although it would be much more exciting if fans had some sort of clinical distortion of reality, in reality, people who watch “Gossip Girl” are perfectly aware that the characters interact in an overthe-top world. “Things [on the show] happen in such a dramatic and exaggerated way. It’s cool to see how they deal with it,” Jang said. In a characteristically embellished fashion, the pilot episode shows high school juniors sitting in a limousine en route to a dance. They clink champagne glasses, and with alcohol sloshing onto their expensive gowns and designer suits, they make out with each others’ dates, and take turns smoking a joint. This, in effect, sets an example for high school audiences. “[The show] can have negative affects,” Kristi Sackett, M.F.D. said. “It’s exposing teenagers to things they know exist, [except] it looks easy in a show like this. It looks possible.” The show’s audacious romances and heated betrayals awed viewers all throughout season one. Here’s a quick recap: Serena van der Woodson returns to school from a year long absence after

a previous, intoxicated tryst with her best friend Blair Waldorf’s boyfriend, Nate Archibald. Serena gets a new boyfriend, Dan Humphrey, and her friendship with Blair is restored. Things dissolve between Nate and Blair, and 20 minutes after they’ve broken up, she has sex with his best friend and resident sleaze Chuck Bass—in the back of a limo. Dan suspects Serena has cheated on him and is hiding the truth from him and decides to break off the relationship. “People love drama,” Sackett said. “They get caught up in the lives of others, and enjoy gossiping when it’s not about them. The experience of living through people vicariously makes [viewers] feel like they’re part of ‘Gossip Girl.’” Perhaps the greater populace should stop thinking of the show as something comparable to the real world, and more like a view into some alternate reality where drugs and money are standard issue for teens. “Their lives are a lot more complicated than ours,” sophomore Angeline Yen said. “So they have different things to deal with because they’re in a [luxurious] society.” So there you have it. I tried to psychoanalyze “Gossip Girl” only to find that there isn’t much to psychoanalyze. My original ambitions of proving the unhealthy sideeffects of the show have proven fruitless. Fans of “Gossip Girl” do not suffer from psychosis. They are in fact perfectly functioning members of society, and now, although I cringe saying it—I’m one of them.

Lots of people like to tell me they kissed girls and liked it. Bum bum be-dum, what’s wrong with them? My mother and sister both vocalized, in perfect harmony, the fact they’d both had quite the affinity for the taste of her cherry chap-stick. Bum bum be-dum, they’re going crazy now. I kissed a girl and I liked it too. But so what? I’m still a rock-star. I got my rock moves, as disturbia as it may be. Catchy pop-songs make us sound like freaks.

An impending accident

This is what I always feel like screaming when I’m driving. “You may have gotten a 2400 on your SAT, kind sir, but THAT was a stop sign.” To the kind sir who didn’t stop, here is the definition of the word on the sign you missed. Stop (v.): to cause to cease; put an end to. Apparently, that’s one SAT word you didn’t get in your email this morning. Now let me quiz you. The kind sir didn’t, insert word here, at the stop sign so I was mad. Due to my deductive analysis and critical thinking, you (the kind sir) didn’t know the answer to this SAT question. So now you aren’t even a 2400, you’re just a guy who doesn’t know how to stop at a stop sign, a 2390 with no common sense, an annoyance, a statistic, and an accident waiting to happen.

A last “pip-pip cheerio”

As the “Brit” part of “Brit Wit” I would like you to know that British people do not, under any circumstances, ever say “pippip.” I would tell you we don’t say “cheerio” either, but we do have the cereal back across the pond (there is more to my breakfast than crumpets and scones), so I would be lying to you. But “pip-pip?” No. Nobody says it. Ever. So let’s say a hardy last “pippip cheerio” to “pip-pip” and out-dated stereotypes of England.

I like “A Walk to Remember” because the girl’s name is Jamie, too. Just kidding. It’s really sweet and a tearjerker. Actually, comedy is my favorite genre because usually there aren’t any scary parts, and they make me laugh. My least favorite movie is “Vanilla Sky” with Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz. I watched it when I was a little bit younger and I didn’t understand what was going on at all. It was really obscure.

I like the James Bond movies because they’ve really progressed with their special effects over the years. They have action and also a little bit of mystery. I like action and adventure, but I don’t like horror movies. Some of them just end up being okay, but there aren’t any that I’ve hated.





From tearjerkers to comedies, fantasies to nailbiters. We want to know the good, the bad, and the ugly of the movie world, according to...





Romeo, Romeo

I liked the third “Lord of the Rings” movie because it really did the book justice and has so many cool things in it. The action really never stops. Action is probably my favorite genre. I don’t like “High School Musical”. The thing is that everyone thinks it so awesome because they think, “Oh, that’s what musical theatre is,” but really, it’s not like that at all.

Speaking of Britain, I wonder if when Shakespeare wrote “Romeo and Juliet,” girlfriends dragged their boyfriends to the plays, the chick flicks of centuries past. I wonder if the boyfriends reluctantly slipped on their dress stockings, dragged their leather shoed feet out the door, and then used all the shillings they had left for tickets for a play they didn’t want to see. I wonder if the acting was particularly budget-style in romances. I wonder if they went, saw Romeo and Juliet fall in love, and then decide to make out in the back row while Juliet knocked back a shot of poison.

Is this art ugly?

When I write this column, I’m not thinking about its meaning. I’m not thinking about how this diction affects its tone or how this sentence (Is it periodic?) might highlight this paragraph’s (Is it balanced enough?) mood. Maybe it’s all wrong, maybe English teacher Mikki McMillion will tear this apart. But did the great writers of history really care about rehotircal devices? Writing is an art, and how do you define that by anything other than how you feel after the last word?

elestoque September 24, 2008 16 Finding inspiration from her window entertainment

Junior Angela Lin sees the beauty of ordinary objects and places as inspiration for her art by Sharanya Shankar


Daniel Stenzel | El Estoque

n her quiet art studio, the clock quietly ticked and the only movements belonged to her hands, her eyes focused back and forth from the sidewalk to the canvas. Her heartbeat moved along with the movement of her hand. The back of her hand smudged the dark charcoal marks, and her easel quietly squeaked. Her soul poured into the white and black charcoal depiction of what some would call an ordinary sidewalk but for her, her inspiration. About six years ago, junior Angela Lin was asked a sketchy question. Her art guru had just posed a thought that had never struck her; what was she going to do with her art career? Lin vigorously drew, painted and finessed her art for weeks until she could come up with an answer. “Art gives me the freedom of expression. If I were to define it in one word it would be defined as a perception,” Lin said. “Art is like its own language.” Lin’s art styles include traditional painting, cutout, charcoal, and a few casual design. “Angela just submitted the winning tshirt class designs,” junior Kelli Sum said. “Her amazing backboards contributed to

one of the best parts of our Homecoming float,” junior Christopher Chui said. All these achievements are not what make Lin the artist she is today, however. It is her admiration of natural beauty that carries her through the canvases. Lin effortlessly makes ordinary objects into exquisite canvases. She has a liking for showing the special features of an ordinary object and expanding the uniqueness of it. Some of these include Lin’s prized pieces, “City Light,” “My Sidewalk,” and her new piece “Raffael’s Oyster.” Her recent masterpiece, “My Sidewalk,” won Best of Show at the Olympiad of the Arts, a prestigious art foundation. “Though it might seem something ordinary, that’s why I like this drawing,” Lin said. “It reminds me of something very special to me—the sidewalk I stare at outside my art studio.” To further advance her art career, Lin took a trip to The Olympiad of the Arts, an art camp, one of her most rejuvenating art experiences ever. “The camp was awesome—we ate, lived, and breathed art,” Lin said. There, Lin tried out figure drawing. By sketching the human body through vari-

ous angles, shapes and proportions, Lin learned a new form of art and was amazed by this drawing of the human anatomy and definitely sees this in her future. “We all had different perspectives, different stories that were told through art,” Lin said. Though she is working on developing her own style, Lin is also working on other pieces utilizing her newly learned techniques. She is making use of her ordinary old running shoes as a meaningful canvas to paint her heart out on. Her other piece, “Raffael’s Oyster,” portrays an ordinary oyster in an extraordinary light. She utlilizes the canvas with a newfound perspective and to its fullest potential; the oyster is magnified in its natural beauty and it has two pearls inside it— representing herself and her brother in their home. She exemplifies the beauty and gains this inspiration from the book “The God of the Heavens and Earth,” a book that shows the simple beauties within this world. Despite her talent, Lin doesn’t see herself as one who is more gifted than others. “Everyone can paint a message, and each individual has the freedom to express oneself. That is what defines art.”

Courtesy of Angela Lin

NATURAL ART Junior Angela Lin standing with her unfinished painting “Raffael’s Oyster” (top), Lin’s best in show, “My Sidewalk” (bottom) , and “City Light” (right).

Courtesy of Angela Lin



• Fall snapshots 18• Cricket superstar excels 19 •Water polo player losses 19 •

Daniel Stenzel | El Estoque Photo Illustration

Just a joke?

All teams have traditions, but there is a murky area between harmless pranks and hurtful harassment. El Estoque explores team hazing: It’s all fun until someone gets hurt. by Brittany Hopkins


ine baseball players suspended at once. Nine out of 10 freshmen from the junior varsity team suspended from school, all because of one letter. But it wasn’t just any letter. The one in question, some believe, crossed the line between kidding around and bullying. Hazing, or initiating new players on sports teams, is a tradition almost as old as the sports themselves. The objective of hazing is to give new players the chance to perform some sort of task in exchange for social acceptance on the team. In an extreme example, in 2007, five students were suspended from a high school in Whitman, Mass. for tying up a freshman and hitting him repeatedly in the boy’s crotch. While hazing at MVHS has not yet become violent, teams admit they do have initiation traditions. Freshmen on the girls volleyball team have been tricked into wearing nothing but a shirt and spandex to school just as unsuspecting field hockey players have come to first period to find that only the freshmen are wearing kilts. But these rituals continue to disappear, as cases of harassment come to the administration’s attention. Vice Principal Brad Metheany has been trying to break the hazing cycle by educating students, parents, and coaches, in addition to calling players to action. “Teammates should be responsible for their teammates,” Metheany said. “That’s why it is called a team.” However, it seems that not everyone has gotten the message. After baseball season ended in the 2007-2008 school year, a then-freshman wrote up a statement that he had

all of the other freshmen on the team, with the exception of one, sign. The petition demanded that the one excluded player become the team’s unofficial servant. As soon as the originator got all of the signatures on paper, the oblivious teammate received the letter. “The letter said that he was the one they were going to pick on,” teammate junior Kevin Wilson said. “Even the next year when he was a sophomore, they would still treat him like someone they didn’t want on the team.” The letter was brought to the administration’s attention, and all of those who signed it were suspended from school. Later in the year, the individual who wrote the letter left MVHS for personal reasons. “I don’t think it was supposed to be like that,” sophomore Max Morgan said. “It was supposed to be more of a joke.” Whether the letter was a joke or serious, then junior varsity coach and current Dean of Students Michael Hicks did not take the situation lightly. “He told us if anything like this ever happened again, we’d be kicked off the team instantly,” junior Spencer Lehrman said. Hicks declined to comment on the incident. According to Metheany, if hazing causes harm to an individual, either mentally or physically, the joke, prank or game is no longer acceptable. In other words, once someone feels like a target or victim, what may have been intended as lighthearted fun becomes a punishable offense, which creates a gray area that teams may find it difficult to define. “The person on the receiving end gets to decide if it is harassment or not,” Metheany said. “The school’s main job is to make sure that you’re safe and feel comfortable coming to school here.”

caught in the act High school hazing incidents from around the nation, years 2000-2005: 2000 Elkhart Memorial High School, Indiana. A student had his head shaved when joining the swim team.

2001 Webster High School, Oklahoma. A 14-year old student was raped with a broom and whipped.

2002 Greenville High School, Maine. First year students were forced to race in an icy lake with Tobasco sauce in their mouths.

2003 Attica High School, New York. A basketball player was charged with urinating on new players and causing bodily injury.

2004 Camp Lohikan, Pennsylvania. Sophomores were forced to perform skits nude, with only food substances as covering.

2005 Fairfield Warde High School, Connecticut. A lacrosse player was hog tied while being prodded and videotaped.

— Incidents reported by Hank Nuwer, author of “The Deadly Right of Hazing” and other texts on the subject. For more information, visit

Ace may be gone but serves still there Team loses top player to College Now program at De Anza yet continues to dominate the court to play on the team, the team would be forced to forfeit all of their matches. “It really hurts to lose your best player,” girls varsity tennis coach Gene Fortino said. “She is one of the top players in the nation. It’s tough to lose someone of that caliber. Not only that, but we lost a leader. She is a good player, a good

ing to join NCAA Division I college tennis. According to NCAA Division I regulations, she can’t play for any community college team before entering a four-year university f there were a star tennis player like Maria Sharapova without losing a year of eligibility. Now, she can’t play high at our school, girls varsity tennis would definitely want school tennis either. her on the team. The members of the girls varsity tennis team also feel But if she is enrolled in College Now, a program availthe stress of losing a good player. able to students in the district, rules dictate the “Sophie [Chang] was an automatic win and tennis star wouldn’t be able to play. an anchor of the team,” junior Tara Nguyen said. The girls varsity tennis team has been very “[College Now student] Sophie [Chang] “[Now that Chang is gone] everyone is bumped successful throughout the past years, winning up a spot, but we’re still a strong team.” four CCS titles and Norcal over the span of four was an automatic win and an anchor of Nguyen feels that Chang should be allowed years. This year, however they’ve lost their the team,” junior Tara Nguyen said. “Now, to play on the team and that being a student at number one player, senior Sophie Chang, to a De Anza shouldn’t prevent her because she is program at De Anza College called College Now. everyone is bumped up a spot, but we’re still an MVHS student. Unlike Middle College, where students take still a strong team.” “I’m disappointed, but we have to move on,” high school classes with FUHSD teachers who Fortino said. “We can’t linger. We feel strong work at De Anza, College Now only allows stuand have strong players. This year we’re down dents to take De Anza classes. Both Middle Cola little, but we’re still one of the strongest teams lege and College Now students are still MVHS in Norcal.” students. Middle College students are also allowed to play teammate, and a good person.” In previous years, several volleyball players were alThe team is very close and passionate about what they high school sports. Chang was originally planning to play on the team, and lowed to play, but the rules have become stricter this year. do. They go out to lunch together and share hotel rooms did not know that taking College Now would prevent her And not many athletes are happy about it. Throughout the at tournaments that aren’t local. During tournaments and from doing so. She was originally told that as long as she district, athletes have filed multiple appeals that are still in matches they eat, run, and stretch together. They cheer their teammates on the entire time and have strong supgot signed permission to play from an MVHS official, she the process. “[The other athletes] don’t agree with the decision and port. They are ready to prove that they can still win. could play. In the end, it was up to CCS to decide if it was can’t accept it,” Chang said. “I don’t agree with it, but I’ve “We’re more determined to win [this season],” Nguyen okay, and they ruled against it. said. “Everyone thinks that we’re weaker, but we’re still Not only did this decision affect Chang, but every high accepted the decision.” school athlete enrolled in College Now. If Chang continued Chang  is currently training individually and practic- number one and we can do it with or without her. ”

by Aileen Le







MOMENTS “One time during a game against Los Altos, [freshman] Katie [Walker] got hit in the head by an incoming shot, tripped herself, and fell on her back.” —freshman Suruchi Salgar, junior varsity girls tennis


October 22, 2008


“On our trip to Reno, we were in the SkyTrain and we went in a corner to take a picture. Suddenly, as we were about to click the shutter, someone on the train passed gas. The picture turned out really funny, especially all our facial expressions.” —senior Jamie Fung, varsity girls volleyball

“One day, we had a water fight after practice. During this fight, some of us decided to douse senior Keaton Chiu while he was wearing a white T-shirt.” —freshman Neil Fernandes, junior varsity boys cross country

“When I was leading the cross country cheer, I forgot what to say half-way through!” —junior Alex Cheng, varsity boys cross country

“I hit the ball and then it somehow hit my forehead.” —junior Sonia Kaushal, junior varsity girls tennis



Varsity girls Cross Country


JV girls tennis


Varsity boys water polo


JV girls volleyball




Varsity field hockey

by Samved Sangameswara

by Kanwalroop Singh

by Tammy Su

by Kunal Bhan

by Samved Sangameswara

The boys cross country team put up a strong performance at the 36th annual Artichoke Invitational on Oct 4. The team saw especially fierce races from the freshman and sophomore boys at the meet which was held at Half Moon Bay High School. The freshman boys took first place in their division and the sophomores took second. The Matador sophomores were led by sophomore Jesse He. He managed to fend off an opponent, who tried to pull him down during the last strech, completing the race in seventh place. The JV boys have their next meet on Oct. 30 at Lynbrook High School.

The JV girls tennis team won 5-2 against Los Altos High School on Oct. 14. Freshman Suruchi Salgar defeated her opponent in the first win of the day with unmatched forehands and aces, guaranteeing not only a victory, but a complete sweep of 6-0, 6-0. Junior Doris Yeung, contrary to team expectations, didn’t get the win. JV girls tennis has won against six schools in the season so far and lost against only one, Saratoga High School on Oct. 7. Gunn High School, MVHS, and Saratoga High School are tied for first place in the league and have all qualified for CCS.

The varsity boys water polo team played fiercely but lost to Mountain View High School on Oct. 16. MVHS started strong, scoring the first goal of the night within two-and-a-half minutes. However, Mountain View’s offense came back hard, putting in goals and bringing the score of the first quarter to 1-6. The MVHS offense attacked with more fluidity after the halftime mark, and three more goals were added to the score. The opposing team kept the game in their advantage. The resulting final score was 15-4, Mountain View.

It was 30 minutes into the game, but none of the girls on JV volleyball looked tired as they came smiling into the timeout and with a confidence booming cheer “MVVB,” they set out to finish the game. In Sept. 18, the JV girls volleyball team defeated Saratoga High 2-0. From then onwards, momentum carried the JV girls to a 25-17 win. Saratoga then took the lead until freshman Justine Urauchi delivered dish after dish of serves, widening the gap to an overwhelming 10 points. MVHS defeated Saratoga 25-1, securing the game with excellent offensive and defensive plays.

The varsity girls field hockey team tied Westmont High School on Oct. 9. The defense managed to suppress the Westmont offense through the first half, and the offense broke away at the start of the second half. After a scoreless second half, the game went into a seven on seven overtime. Sophomore Kristen Tatsuno almost scored when she managed to put one past the Westmont goalkeeper but the celebration was short-lived because Tatsuno had a foot inside the inner circle during her shot. As time ran, out the teams submitted to a well-played 0-0 tie.

FALLSNAPSHOT Junior Zachary Carlsen can often be found in the locker room singing very loudly to various music. So far, his favorite song is “Barbie Girl.”

The cheer team associates senior Jenny Zhang with Minnie Mouse because she loves to wear bows in her hair and giggles a lot.

Freshman Teresa Li is not only fierce on the dance floor, but is skilled in the art of karate. She has achieved a black belt in this self-defense technique.

Senior J.T. Peters is nicknamed ‘Tyrone’ because his teammates, as a joke, gave him the name once when they were at Jambe Juice.

Senior Siva Udayamurthy has a tradition of getting less than six hours of rest before a track meet. He often has “carb fests” with his teammates before.

Senior Shandon Rovetta tapes over her friendship bracelets during games and pretends her wrist is injured so she doesn’t have to take them off.

“I was doing a cheer at a football game. I stepped off the side and fell off the box.” —junior Jessica Gasperini, varsity cheerleading

“I was running and I was about to score a touchdown, but I tripped over [junior] Wesley Oberhelman’s foot and fell.” —junior Nicholas Utley, varsity football

Kunal Bhan, Sasha Degtyar, Samved Sangameswara, Dipika Shrihari, Kanwalroop Singh, Tammy Su, Natalie Wong | El Estoque

elestoque Wickets and overs: a culture September 24, 2008



Inside Out

Sophomore Pranay Suri excels at cricket, an up and coming sport by Vijeta Tandon


he team needed 100 runs to win, but the players who were to open the game were nowhere to be found. In a state of frenzy, the coach put in the youngest player to start the game. One by one people kept on getting out, but he remained in. The youngest player at 13-years old, sophomore Pranay Suri led his team to victory. “That was one of the best games I ever played,” Suri recalled. “I didn’t get out, and it was the first time I scored 50 runs in a single game.” Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world. Although it has some similarities to baseball, such as use of a bat and a ball, the rules are completely different. The opportunities to play cricket in the US are increasing, and Suri’s passion for the game has led him to success. As an all-rounder, he is a strong batsman and skilled bowler on the US under-15 cricket team, which won second-place at the International Cricket Council’s Americas U-15 Tournament, held in Bermuda this summer. “[Suri] has good leadership skills and can easily take charge. If he thinks something’s going wrong, he’ll just tell you straight out,” sophomore and fellow cricket teammate Sau-


Raging waters


Courtesy of Hamsa Suri

THE PHENOM Sophomore Pranay Suri at bat in a tournament game held in LA by the Northern California Cricket Association on Sept. 6. rabh Deo said. “He doesn’t get too fancy with it.” As children, Suri and his older brother, alumnus Vinay Suri, were well aware of their father’s interest in cricket. Their father, Prem Suri, however, did not push his sons into the sport and allowed them to make their own choice. This is why Suri first played baseball, not cricket. “Fortunately, [cricket] came to [Pranay] naturally because

he had the hand-eye coordination from playing baseball,” his father said. “I’ve never really been as good as I want to be,” Pranay Suri said. “But I love the game. It’s just fun, you know?” Though Suri is dedicated to the cricket, he realizes that the American public still does not view it as a mainstream sport. Even so, Suri and his father agree that the sport is steadily increasing in popularity. At the

National Cricket U-19 Tournament held in Florida, Suri’s father recalls a larger and more diverse group of cricket players than in previous generations. As far as his future in cricket goes, Suri hopes that the US national cricket team will have an even greater international presence than it does today. “Cricket is my life,” Suri said. “It’ll just take me where it takes me. I’m just going to keep on playing.”

Water polo girls opt for their sport or school Upper-classmen dominant team continues despite loss of players by Kevin Wu


eturning varsity water polo girls, seniors Becca Wagner and Molly Karleskind went to practice at the beginning of the year with excitement, only to feel disappointed in the realization that some girls were missing. Only later did they find out that these girls had quit the team. According to Wagner and Karleskind, the reason behind girls quitting was academics. “I respected [their decision] in a sense that maybe their academics will take them farther than sports, but then it’s also like, they just ditched the team,” Wagner said. A majority of these girls are juniors. Over the years, many of them left in order to spend more time focusing on academics. “I was kind of surprised, but then I kind of expected it because MVHS is such an academic school, so a lot of people focus on that more,” Wagner said. Both Wagner and Karleskind believe that water polo is a hard sport, and if you don’t have a passion for it, it’s easy to quit. “Water polo is one of the five hardest sports in the world,” varsity water polo coach Don Vierra said. According to Vierra, water polo players need not only stamina to tread water for extended periods of time, but also raw strength

Kai Kang | El Estoque

ON THE BREAK Senior Molly Karleskind leads the Lady Mats against Santa Clara and bursts of agility to score and defend the ball. This requires the girls to always be in top physical condition. “Practice was really tiring and we would get out at around 6 p.m. each day,” former water polo player, junior Katie Ball said, “so there was no time for homework, [making it] really hard to keep grades up.” This strict workout schedule is a major

cause for the girls in water polo to change priorities in a typical junior year with rigorous SAT and AP classes. “[Water polo] doesn’t count for scholarships or anything unless you are on varsity by junior year,” former player junior Rajeswari Sivakumar said. Some of the former players believe that not making varsity would make their participation a wasted effort. According to Vierra, each year he loses three to five girls as they enter their junior year. This year there are only 12 players on varsity, which is small amount of players compared to the 30 players on JV. The team now has only a few experienced players on varsity, primarily consisting of seniors. “Even the 12 we have on varsity aren’t that good. We still need to train them to become varsity level,” Karleskind said. “If we still had the people to help out, and they didn’t quit, I think our team would be a lot stronger.” Wagner added. The issue of lasting commitment miffs Vierra. He aspires to prevent this trend from occuring in future years. “I have seen this trend here only at MVHS, but it is all about commitment,” Vierra said. “I am only keeping those who are willing to make a commitment for four years.”

n Saturdays, I am a groundhog during the wintertime. You will never see me outside my overheated stuffy room, ever. I dedicate my Saturdays to Physics, Lit, and SATs. Well I wish I did anyway. My Saturdays are dedicated to buckets of Dreyer’s double-churned strawberry ice cream, “Ugly Betty” marathons, and countless naps in my cozy bed. It is my time to get away from school, primarily the acceleration of objects in free fall and other deadly problems in Physics Honors. That is why my world came crashing down last Saturday. My mom was in one of her moods, and was inspired that the best way for me to de-stress was not Ugly Betty, but a hike. What was she thinking to rip a television addict away from her asylum and stick her among trees with no Dryer’s? We made our way to Big Basin and entered a trail to Berry Creek Falls. The expedition to the waterfall seemed pointless. Why would I walk six miles into a dangerous forest so that I could watch water fall from a cliff? I had seen water fall plenty of times, from the kitchen faucet, from the garden hose, from the shower head. I need not trouble my weak legs to see water fall. For the first mile or so, it didn't seem so bad. The ground was level, the air was cool, and there were eager out-of-state tourists, who were awed by the trees they did not see in New Mexico and Texas. A few hours into the hike, I began to hear my stomach grumble for ice cream. The trees must have thought they were doors, because I began to hear creaking noises. I remembered from my summer environmental biology class that creaking in a forest often meant a tree would soon fall. I began to walk faster, my legs began to give way, and I prayed to free them from this unbearable hike to see water fall. Feeling a sense of resignation, I slowed my pace and continued onwards, imagining what evil lurked in the woods. I had become impervious to my surroundings. All I thought of was my next step. I hadn’t looked at the fallen leaves on the path or the hollows in some redwoods created by a previous forest fire. I had stopped looking at this beautiful place I was in and, if my parents had not shouted, I would have completely missed Berry Creek Falls. I looked up and realized that in my state of sulking, I had not heard the fierce rushing of water, and its great splatter as it hit the creek below it. The silvery white spray of the water glistened in the sun and specks of this mystical water brushed my face, cooling me from the heat built up from the walk. I felt a sense of satisfaction that had seemed forever a few steps away. The waterfall was more than I had imagined, and looking at it made me melt in a way that no ice cream could ever compete with. Mothers do know best, I guess. Hiking at Big Basin was probably one of the most refreshing Saturdays I had experienced in a while. The first day of spring arrived and the groundhog stepped out of its burrow. I saw water fall, and I loved it.


i<3 my fone by Jeremy Lee and Daniel Stenzel


TEXTING JOY Senior Sarasa Kim enjoys text messaging on her LG enV and can often be found tapping away on her phone.

enior Karen Scarlat sends and receives 150 text messages a day on Verizon Wireless. If she didn’t have an unlimited texting plan like she does, this habit would have a steep price—at $0.20 to send and receive texts, it’d cost $30 a day, $900 a month, and $10,800 a year. According to a survey of 185 MVHS students conducted, 46 percent said that they could text while blindfolded or not looking at their phone. Compared to teens nationwide, MVHS students are slightly more avid texters, as only 42 percent of teenagers in a Sept. 12 Harris Interactive survey admitted that they could text without looking at their cell phones. For the tech-savvy students of MVHS, cell phones are integral to their wired lives. In addition to calling and texting, 46 percent of students use their phones to play games, especially iPhone users. The Class of 2009 has the most talented texters, with 53 percent of the grade able to text without viewing their phones, the only class with a majority of survey responders able to perform this task. By contrast, the Class of 2012 has the lowest percentage of people able to text blindfolded, 38 percent. Though skillful texters may type away unnoticed by teachers, students such as Scarlat choose to no longer text in class. A phone is something too precious to lose for these “fone” lovers.

SPOTTED Of the MVHS students who can text blindfolded, 76 percent can do it on a standard 0-9 cell phone keypad.

GROUP CHAT Talking while text messaging is familiar practice for these brisk texters. Freshman Sharon Scarlat, senior Sarasa Kim, and senior Karen Scarlat converse on Sept. 19 during brunch with phones in their hands. TWIN PHONES Seniors Karen Scarlat and Sarasa Kim carry the same phone model, the LG enV vx9900. Both girls are adept texters, and can type away with their thumbs on their phones while looking elsewhere.

FLIP MODE The flip screens on the girls’ cell phones provide easy access to a full QWERTY keyboard for simple text messaging with their skillful thumbs.

Volume 40, Issue 1, November 12 2008  

A student publication located in Monta Vista, Calif.

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