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REMATCH TONIGHT Boys basketball takes on Lynbrook again tonight at 7:00 p.m. After a tough loss three weeks ago the team is seeking redemption and the lead in the El Camino League SPORTS page 15


Perspectives students visit RAFT by Samved Sangameswara


hen junior Justin Negus and senior Stephen Ng go on their field trips to the Resource Area for Teaching center in Sunnyvale with the Perspectives class, they aren’t going just for personal knowledge and gain. When they spend two hours on the first and last Wednesday morning of each month at the RAFT center, they are working to help supply teachers and students everywhere with educational kits to use. RAFT is a nonprofit organization started 15 years ago here in the Bay Area that creates teaching kits from donations of office supplies that come from local businesses and manufacturers. On Jan. 27 the two students accompanied MVHS Para-educator Carla Rosenberg for the first time to spend the morning volunteering at RAFT. They were one of a few groups there that day working to help build educational kits. According to Volunteer Outreach Manager Brian Cook, RAFT is supported almost entirely by volunteers. “I would say 98% of people who walk in here [are volunteers],” Cook said. “We built 50 thousand educational kits last year, solely by the hands of volunteers.” On this particular day Ng and Negus were sorting through colored binder dividers that would soon be put into science kits for experiments using light. But the students who will receive the kits are not the only benefactors of the group’s work. Visits to RAFT are part of a program set up by the special education departments in our district that get students out into vocational work experiences. In addition to volunteering at RAFT, other Perspectives students are involved in programs such as working with the K-9 Crunchies company, which covers the business aspect of dog food manufacturing and another program working food carts at local elementary schools.

FEBRUARY 3, 2010

Emergency vote in May


Parcel tax to appear on mail-in ballot by Aileen Le


there be


Controversy stirs over the potential installation of football stadium lighting by Stefan Ball and Bhargav Setlur


he $198 million Measure B bond passed in June 2008 to “renovate and modernize Cupertino, Fremont, Homestead, Lynbrook, and Monta Vista High Schools.” At MVHS, renovations included classroom improvements from air-conditioning to internet as well as field improvements including an all-synthetic track and field and stadium lighting. While CHS and FHS already installed their lights, MVHS and LHS remain controversially in the dark—both facing petitions from

see RAFT page 3

nearby residents. According to local homeowner David Radtke, who recently circulated a petition opposing the installation of lights, much of the contention stems from a feeling of deception by the bond measure, leaving voters feeling tricked by overly-concise wording and the umbrella statement “improvements.” “I think a lot of people felt misled,” said Radtke, whose backyard is adjacent to the football field. “A lot of people said ‘Huh, I can’t believe it. I can’t believe I voted for that and I never had any idea that they would be [installing lights].’” see LIGHTS page 6

ROP works with UCSF, 3D models for cancer research

Students create 3D models of mouse organs for medical journal by Kanwalroop Singh and Sabrina Ghaus


ight 50-gallon drums of microscope slides, painstakingly accumulated after years of research, lie in a dumpster. For science lovers, even the thought is sacrilege. But for Dr. Gerald Cunha, a UCSF research scientist soon to retire, old microscope slides weren’t worth saving. He couldn’t do much more than stare at them through a microscope. At least, that’s what he thought before he had Thanksgiving dinner with ROP teacher Dale Barcellos. “Can I have a set of those serial slides?” Barcellos had asked. “Why?” Cunha said. “Because I think I can do something with them.” These simple words are the reason why, on Jan. 13, 31 multimedia and graphic design students sat in room A103 listening to Dr. Cunha give a lecture on rat genitalia. Over the coming weeks these students will be making 3D models of rat genitalia as well as models on the morphology of spotted hyenas using animation software and computer generated imagery, or CGI. “We would learn [the modeling] anyway. It’s what we’re doing with it that is cool,” senior Katherine Lu said. Lu suggested an idea for a new experiment to Cunha when he lectured in class. A biology buff, Lu is especially interested in

CENTERSPREAD Pages 11 to 14

A look at the process and practice behind Arangetrams, a cultural coming of age. ENTERTAINMENT page 19


Field trip builds learning kits, life skills


Kan Singh | El Estoque

RAT CHAT Dr. Cunha discusses his cancer research with senior ROP students Katherine Lu and Branden Nguyen.

this project because, according to both Barcellos and her, it is a “cross-pollination of the science process and the art process.” Cunha and his team are doing research on prostate cancer and will use these models to show other scientists what they see inside the rats as they perform experiments on them. see RATS page 4

t doesn’t take a genius to figure out that you can’t fix a $10 million deficit with a $4.8 million parcel tax, but that’s the first step—and a big one, given the failure of Measure G last November—that the district hopes to take to address the anticipated 2011-2012 shortfall. The district and the Board of Trustees have decided to renew the parcel tax in exactly the same terms as the original one from 2004. Having no end date and inflation clause, this parcel tax has answered the criticism of many who pushed against Measure G. For $98 for six years the parcel tax will continue to sustain and maintain existing teacher salaries and preserve the quality of classes and programs that the district already has. “I wish I could make it very simple and straightforward and say that it’s a one issue thing, but I can’t,” Superintendent Polly Bove said. “It’s a complex picture, so sometimes it’s difficult to communicate complex things. I don’t want to make a threat just to make it simple.” The district has suffered from more than just cuts in state funding. Because property tax revenues from the Cupertino area exceed minimum revenue limits, the FUHSD is required to forfeit the extra funds. But when 90% of the district’s money come from the property tax, that funding has been significantly cut. With cuts from multiple sources, the district is concentrated on getting parents to vote in the upcoming ballot. An analysis of the last campaign reveals that only 30% of parents voted, which is also true for the bond and the previous parcel tax as well. Bove believes that the use of a simple mailin ballot will boost turnout in the upcoming parcel tax election. According to principal April Scott, MVHS will continue to support the ballot through phone banking, precinct walks, and communication with the community parent groups such as the PTSA and Atheletic Boosters. She believes that it is the school’s role to educate parents on what they are The remaining defecit voting on, regardless that the district will of which side they face even if the vote for. March mail-in parcel “[MVHS and tax passes. the district] really benefit from casual conversation. Just answer questions as people have them, rather than waiting to the point where, if people did not have their questions answered, they move along,” Scott said. “It raises a sense of angst. ‘What aren’t they telling us?’ or ‘What is it that don’t we know? But in conversation, it sparks questions and opportunities to answer them. It’s the old mathematical question. You talk to two people and those two people talk to two people and how that number can grow rapidly.” Even if the parcel tax passes, it will only cover $5.2 million of the $10 million deficit. Other strategies to close the deficit include savings from the solar panels, which are estimated to save $1 million each year.

$4.8 million

see PARCEL TAX on page 6



FEBRUARY 3, 2010




When you care, speak


by Aileen Le and Samved Sangameswara

For this year’s winter rally, the ASB officers and administration decided to get a little creative and instead of having the usual every-classfor itself rally they opted to make it a team rally. The rally pitted the classes of 2011 and 2012 as Superheroes against the classes of 2010 and 2013 as the supervillains,


t may not seem like it, but from what we’ve seen in the reporting of Stefan Ball and Bhargav Setlur’s story “Let There Be Light?” there’s a potential divide occuring right here in Cupertino over the issue of field lights. As a community that lives in a relatively quiet and peaceful neighborhood, residents are now taking advantage of the opportunity to take action and make a difference in the future of Cupertino. And construction is not the only change that is on the horizon. After the failure of Measure G, the district has already begun the campaign for an emergency mail-in ballot in the coming months. Both these issues show major changes that could be coming to our small town, and they could be coming very soon. But what they also have in common is the fact that the decisions regarding their outcomes do not sit on the shoulders of one person. In our coverage of the parcel tax and the debate over the lights, we’ve realized that the one thing that could end up making all the difference, and the one thing that is often overlooked, is the importance of making your voice heard. There would be no debate over the lights if residents did not take the initiative to attend board meetings, pass out flyers, and sign petitions. And for those of us who favor the lights, or want to see the parcel tax passed, we have to do the same. At such a critical time of decision making, there’s no time left to sit back and do nothing

el estoque 2009-2010

Editor in Chief Aileen Le Samved Sangameswara News Editor Varshini Cherukupalli Tammy Su Opinion Editor Vijeta Tandon Jiachen Yang Centerspread Editor Jane Kim Ashley Wu Sports Editor Jordan Lim Hannah Lem A&E Editor Victor Kuo Mansi Pathak

Layout and Design Editor Sabrina Ghaus

Managing Editor Stefan Ball Bhargav Setlur

Business Editor Natalie Chan Christophe Haubursin Sarika Patel Photography Editor Erin Chiu Copy Editor Kanwalroop Singh Print Staff Writers Joseph Beyda Christine Chang Somel Jammu Sahana Sridhara Roxana Wiswell Adviser Michelle Balmeo

Disclaimer Opinions expressed in this publication are those of the journalism staff and not of Monta Vista High School or the Fremont Union High School District. Credits Some images in this publication were taken from the royalty-free stock photography website Mission Statement El Estoque is an open forum created for and by students of Monta Vista High School. The staff of El Estoque seeks to recognize individuals, events, and ideas and bring news to the Monta Vista community in a manner that is professional, unbiased, and thorough in order to effectively serve our readers. We strive to report accurately and will correct any significant error. If you believe such an error has been made, please contact us. Letters of any length should be submitted via e-mail or mail. They become the sole property of El Estoque and can be edited for length, clarity, or accuracy. Letters cannot be returned and will be published at El Estoque’s discretion. El Estoque also reserves the right to reject advertising due to space limitations or decision of the Editorial Board that content of the advertisement conflicts with the mission of the publication. Contact Us El Estoque 21840 McClellan Rd. Cupertino, CA 95014

Jan. 22, 2010 Superheroes vs. Supervillains rallly

Stefan Ball | El Estoque



Clubs organize events to raise money for Haiti disaster and aftershock relief

New rally format incites reflection

In response to Haiti’s earthquake various student organizations are putting effort into raising relief funds. Red Cross placed two jars in the rally court last week—a competition was held between the classes of 2010/2013 and 2011/2012. All funds went to the International Red Cross. This week, Key Club is holding a series of fundraisers to raise money for UNICEF. Events include money wars which will have a jar for each of the four classes and the officers of the class which raises the most money will have to do something embarassing. For more ways to help Haiti, visit Some options are listed below:

American Red Cross Text HAITI to 90999 ($10) Text UNICEF to 20222 ($10) UNICEF World Food Program Text FRIENDS to 90999 ($5)

Superheroes vs. Supervillains? On Jan. 21, classes partnered up to form two teams, the sophomore-junior Superheroes and the freshman-senior Supervillains. The winter rally has always been the ambiguous rally of the year. Previous winter rallies have included Battle of the Sexes, Blacklight, and Blackout. This is the first time that the theme has included partner classes. The sophomore-junior team defeated the senior-freshman team, leading to reflection from all sides. “[The sophomore and the junior classes] worked together a lot better than we did. With us, it was split down the middle,” freshman Tommer Schwarz said. “The concept was good, but I don’t think everyone was ready for a rally this week. It wasn’t hyped up as much as the other ones,” senior Sahiba Johar said. “I liked splitting it into two teams. And I liked the outcome,” junior Dor Carpel said.

4 | CAMPUS School to get electronic marquee

5 | DISTRICT IDC Talent show takes place Friday

The familiar marquee displaying important dates at the front of the school will soon be replaced with an electronic one. According to Principal April Scott, the electronic marquee will be programmable and about seven feet tall. It will also have brick on its sides to fit the style of the campus. As the Campus Commission in ASB Leadership is in charge of updating the current marquee, its responsibilities will most likely carry over to the electronic marquee. The process will become more efficient with a computer, since updates will not have be made manually. “We are very excited,” Scott said. “The electronic marquee will be a great addition to our campus.” Construction on the foundation is due to begin within three weeks.

The IDC Talent Show will take place on Feb. 5 at Fremont High School. Each school in the district will contribute four or five acts, which can consist of dancing, singing, or performing magic tricks. Admission is $5 with ASB card and $10 without. SAVE THE DATE Participants Date: Feb. 5 from MVHS include seniors Time: 7 PM C h r i s t i n a Place: Fremont High School Yglesias, Varun Dwaraka, Naveen Venkatesan, and Varsha Salunkhe; sophomores Aaron Ho and Libby Cha; and the Bhangra team. Proceeds from the talent show will go back to IDC, which helps to pay for leadership activities and retreats across the five schools, district events, and student exchanges. Provided that the motion is passed by the Board of Trustees, excess funds from the profits made this year will also go toward Haiti relief.

7 | CA EDUCATION SYSTEMS This spring, the University of California will adopt waitlists to meet freshmen enrollment goals during a time of limited state funding. University executives hope to avoid making significant cuts in enrollment this year— last year, UC enrollment decreased by six percent. Waitlisted applicants will be informed in March; however, UC regents have not yet decided on which campuses would have waitlists or how many students would be on those waitlists. This decision was due to Governor Arnold Swarchenegger’s proposal to increase UC system funding from $370 million to $3 billion.


15 1

The UC system is currently 15,000 students overenrolled.

Total number of sketches Skit with physics teacher Jim Birdsong playing a woman

6 | CLASSES AND CLUBS Health Commission hosts weeklong event Thought you left Sex Education behind in freshman Biology? Guess again. In Health Commission’s Health Week, Jan. 25-29, students were educated and participated in activities about different aspects of health each day of the week. “As Health Commission, we always do things such as the blood drive,” commission lead junior Angela Gu said. This year, they did something different. Week highlights included stress relief kits, a Planned Parenthood speaker, and Fitness Day push-up contests for AMC ticket prizes. Health Commission is satisfied with the event’s attendance and participation, and expects the event to return next year.

8 | FOR THE RECORD Corrections from El Estoque’s December issue Page 1: The photo shows the RaasGarba team practicing on Dec. 11. Page 6: The Bhangra team has two advisers, history teachers Bonnie Belshe and Viviana Montoya-Hernandez.

71 720

Total cast members appearing in skits Total number of tickets sold

FEBRUARY 3, 2010


RAFT: Perspectives class volunteers at teacher store CRAFTS FOR RAFT Junior Justin Negus, senior Steven Ng and FUHSD Paraeducator Carla Rosenberg volunteer at RAFT on Jan. 27. Volunteering includes making kits of learning materials for different subjects and cleaning.

continued from page 1

Rosenberg says that the programs aim to teach students skills that they can’t obtain in the classroom. “We’re hoping here to teach them time management skills, focus, tasks that are used in daily life,” Rosenberg said. “They focus quite a bit on vocational programs within the life skills program, basically setting them up as best as possible for living as independently as possible for when they leave the more foster community of high school.” Ng noted that the outside-of-the-classroom-experience, which is difficult to come by for the Perspectives program, is extremely valuable to the students. “It’s a great experience for any [special education] student to get experience off campus going through job sites, job training, learning new things,” Ng said. With the program in its early stages, there are still many weeks ahead for that experience to be gained. “I think it’s a good start,” Rosenberg said. “[Working with RAFT will be] worthwhile in the long run.” And just like any field trip, Ng enjoys the most immediate perk of getting to leave campus. “It gives me a break from staying in one class the entire day,” Ng said.

Samved Sangameswara | El Estoque

FBLA shoots for the stars Students interested in both science and business work with NASA by Sarika Patel


inety members at the first meeting. Only 10 members at the last meeting. Surprisingly, over 70 percent of the members of FBLA walked away from an opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to work with NASA. On Jan. 13, MVHS FBLA was given a $1,000 match grant from the Conrad Foundation, which provides students with the tools, resources and opportunities to innovate in science and technology. FBLA plans to use this money for product development and publicity in hopes of getting more sponsors. It all began when FBLA started to work in conjunction with NASA to create marketing plans and write technical reports for some of NASA’s newest technology. Junior Hung-Jen Wu, FBLA’s Director of Partnership with Business, contacted NASA Ames mid-June of last year to initiate a business project with them. “We [didn’t] want to make flash cards or books; we [wanted] to do something more business-oriented,” said Wu. Initially, NASA wanted to give FBLA projects to create education material. Wu and FBLA Advisor Carl Schmidt negotiated with NASA Ames Deputy Chief Jeffery Smith until they were able to get business projects. FBLA was given three patents—product


The product: Carbon Nanotube Bucky Paper Cage What it does: Medicine delivery system that voluntarily activates T-Cell prdouction for astronauts in space The product: 3-D Laser Scanner What it does: Angles the solar panels at an optimal angle to maximize solar energy received The product: Method and Apparatus for Improving Video Quality What it does: Restores video quality when damaged videos are uploaded onto computers ideas that NASA had come up with. They were assigned to write marketing plans and technical reports for each of these and try to find practical applications. The three patents were for a Provision of Carbon Nanotube Bucky Paper for the Immune Shielding of Cells, Tissues and Chemicals under Conditions of Microgravity; 3-D Laser Scanner; and Method and Apparatus for Improving Video Quality. Wu, sophomore Parth Kumar and sophomore Peter Choi were chosen respectively as leads for each of

the three patents. “We were like an idea powerhouse,” Choi said. Wu, Choi and Kumar spent Saturdays making Powerpoint presentations and teaching their team members to understand the technology and come up with realistic applications for the products. During the process, Wu considered actually making each of these three products. “[But], we realized that product development would take over a year, so what we decided to do was change the goal to educating students,” Choi said. Wu’s team worked with the nano technology. The product was created primarily as a medicine delivery system for astronauts in space. The team wants to market this product to scientists at a convention in April in hopes of making the product a reality. Out of the three patents, only Wu’s group sent their reports to NASA and the other two groups are on hold. They are waiting to hear back from NASA on whether or not it wants the other two reports from them. “In terms of NASA, in a way it was a failure, but in terms of FBLA and our competitions and how we succeeded in educating people, I think that was a big success,” Choi said.

Career Day arriving in March, first time in 12 years

Diverse professionals will come to share their career experiences by Samved Sangameswara

they began gathering speakers from various professions. The speakers include MVHS parents, alumni and people who have n March 26, the F.B.I. is coming to MVHS. So are the previously worked with the PTSA on Job Shadow Day. Career Day has taken the place of Job Shadow Day, an event police, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians. For the first time in 12 years, MVHS will hold a Career hosted by the PTSA for the past three years. The reasoning for Day. Students will be given the opportunity to speak this was that a much greater number of students will be able to get career advice through Career Day. with professionals in three different occupations. “Job Shadow day only involved 300 students,” Erickson said, On Jan. 7, a selection form was distributed to all students in their fourth period classes. Students were told to choose three from “but Career Day will involve all 2,500.” This is not the first Career Day to be held at MVHS. According almost 100 different professional categories. Now, Career Center Technician Miriam Taba is working with Career Day Coordinator to Taba, there used to be a similar event held every other year Sally Erickson of the PTSA to compile the selections and place from 1991 to 1998, but it was stopped for a variety of reasons, including the fact that construction limited the space available students in different sessions. The schedule on Career Day will be flip block; however, after for such an event. However, at the urging of multiple parents brunch there will three 35-minute Career Day sessions at which and teachers, including Principal April Scott who was a teacher the teacher in the each classroom will take attendance. In addition during the event’s first run, the event has been brought back to to the three sections, a number of vocational careers will set up the school. That is not to say that it is exactly the same as it was a decade booths during lunch to give information to students interested in ago. Taba said that they had to “pretty much start off from bypassing college to immediately enter the workforce. The event is run almost entirely by the PTSA with help from the scratch” this year because many of the careers from the previous school. From the speakers, of which there are about 100, to the day- Career Day are now obsolete, and many of the presenters have of helpers, assistance on setting up Career Day has mostly come moved on. And with just under two months until Career Day, Taba, from volunteers. “Except for the paid staff here [at MVHS], everyone is volunteering,” Erickson and the rest of the Career Day crew are putting the final touches and getting everything organized for the event. The Taba said. “We can’t do it without the support.” Almost a year in the making, much of the planning for Career effectiveness of the event remains to be seen by evaluations that Day has been done by Taba and Erickson, who can often be will be given the day of, but Taba is positive that the experience found working on the event in the Career Center. After an initial will be a unique one. “I don’t think we’ve had anything like this before,” Taba said. survey distributed through Naviance in the beginning of the year,




Say it like it is

A Caribbean crash course


n Tuesday, Jan. 12, a powerful earthquake rocked Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. Much of the city, home to approximately two million Haitians, was flattened by tremors that registered at 7.0 on the moment magnitude scale. The country, hopelessly underequipped to cope with a disaster of such proportions, has since come to a standstill. Bodies lie in the streets. Immediately following the disaster, people trapped in the collapsed rubble of buildings cried out for help. Even now, there is no electricity, no food, no water, and the few hospitals that did not collapse in the earthquake are inundated with wounded, starving, and terrified survivors. As for the death toll, no one really knows. Some say 60,000; others, 100,000. Some have even ventured a guess of 500,000. No one can tell—but with Port-au-Prince resembling Hiroshima or Nagasaki after the atomic bombs, it’s clear that the death toll is staggering. As the full details of this terrible tragedy develop, I’m sure that many share the same thought: so that’s where Haiti is!

So that’s where it is

Oh, MVHS, it’s a sad day when it takes a terrible tragedy to put a country on our collective mental map. Well, I for one know where Haiti is. Kind of. It’s in the Caribbean Sea, that’s for sure. That’s about all I know about this country, whose name is now prominently displayed on CNN, the New York Times, and almost every other major news outlet. As I read stories detailing the unimaginable pain and despair in this faraway nation, I can’t help but feel a little bit ashamed. When was the last time I heard about Haiti? No idea. If the earthquake hadn’t happened, would the word Haiti have crossed my mind? No way. It took a massive earthquake, and the resulting death toll, to remind me of a whole branch of the human family. I’m reminded of the long-distance calls that come late at night, bearing news of a granduncle’s death. Often, it is the first time that I have heard this deceased relative’s name. Because I never knew this person, never spent time with them, I don’t feel any sadness. But I should! Instead, I feel ashamed that I don’t feel sad. It’s ironic.

The cost of learning

And now, in this most recent longdistance transmission, Haiti called to say that Port-au-Prince died. I don’t mean to be overly simplistic, but that’s really what it was. Just like in 2004, when another call came with the news of the Indian Ocean earthquake. Suddenly, Java and Sumatra were more than just different varieties of coffee on the board at Starbucks. The way I see it, the cost of raising the international awareness of American students isn’t measured in dollars. It’s measured in lives. By my reckoning, a lesson on the demographics, economics, and geography of Southeast Asia cost the human family a few hundred grand. How much will the Caribbean crash course cost? Tragedy shouldn’t be the only thing that can make us aware of the other people who share the world. What’s the use if it takes the loss of life to remind us of the presence of it? Needless to say, such irony is insulting to the people whose homes vanish into the sea or come crashing down on top of them. And it reflects poorly on us. We have a responsibility to be knowledgeable. Not because awareness alone can prevent death or disaster, but because out of sight should never be out of mind.



A district coming together

FEBRUARY 3, 2010

Intra-District Council hosts activities for FUHSD collaboration

RATS: ROP takes on science-art project

by Sahana Sridhara

continued from page 1

running of their production. “By the end of the show last year, I was dead tired,” Nguyen alking through the halls of Fremont High School during the Fremont IDC exchange, IDC said. “But the satisfaction of having put on an incredible show representative and president of the committee, was enough to keep me motivated.” For Chen, IDC has improved and taught her new social senior Kevin Nguyen expected the school’s reputation for gang relations to come alive. What Nguyen found, though, skills. It is essential for students to get to know all the people were complete strangers waving to him in the halls. He who are contributing to the final scores because government realized that students at Fremont maintain a more amiable funding based on district-wide achievement. Nguyen believes that talent shows and IDC dances attitude than he had provide a catalyst for stronger intrapreviously expected. These UPCOMING IDC EVENTS district relationships and furthering are the kinds of revelations creative growth. the Intra-District Council, IDC Talent Show After exchanges at Lynbrook High or IDC, hopes to provide for School, MVHS will soon be seeing a all students. Feb. 5 at Fremont High School new tradition being born. With the “Each school is really IDC Battle of the Bands long-lived tradition of Homecoming different, even though we March 12 at Lynbrook High School floats being torn down because of are all in the same district,” the construction of a new track, junior IDC representative IDC Dance MVHS was left looking for a new Angeline Chen said “We May 7 at Fremont High School way to show off class pride. LHS’s have a lot of differences like Homecoming skits were found to be the atmosphere and the an easy solution. Chen believes that spirit essentially.” if district brainpower is combined, IDC is a district-wide group that holds bimonthly meetings to promote creative anything can be accomplished. With talent shows showcasing their uniqueness and dances idea development and stronger connections within the district. Two IDC representatives from each of the district’s creating an all-inclusive environment, students are able to five schools, their respective ASB presidents, the student socialize with a larger, more diverse student population. “Talent shows are like district-wide rallies,” said Nguyen board representative, senior Chris Chui and IDC adviser Mike White, come together every other Monday and share “While we may compete to win [the talent show], in the end ideas from each school in hopes of improving the district it brings us all closer together.” In addition to large group gatherings, small group exchanges as a whole. Representatives lobby to hold exchanges on what they are offered for each school throughout the year. Students are consider to be the day of their “best rally,” in hopes to provided four opportunities a year to experience a day in the life of another FUHSD student. showcase their outstanding school pride. Although an IDC representative’s schedule is jam-packed The Lynbrook exchange took place on Jan. 29 and coming up are the Talent Show on Feb. 5 and the Fremont balancing all the same responsibilities of a regular class officer in addition to those of planning the events put on by IDC, exchange on Feb. 12. Chen and Nguyen have all the same responsibilities Chen and Nguyen feel the job is fulfilling and enjoy all the of a regular class officer in addition to those of planning work that it entails. “I just really enjoy going to other schools and seeing how the events put on by IDC. Events take months to plan, especially the talent shows. They need to get acts, audition different it really is,” Nguyen said. “No matter how many times the acts, make flexible schedules, and ensure the smooth I do it, it’s really mind-blowing.”


The research team needed to fulfill the requirements for grant funding as outlined by the National Science Foundation—namely, the requirement for educational outreach. In addition to plates of food, what Barcellos and Cunha had in their hands on that fateful Thanksgiving day, was a “win-win-win situation,” said Cunha. Barcellos would teach his classes how to use the 3D imaging software, Cunha would get the grant money, and 31 students would be able to get their feet into the illustrious door of professional science. After all, this class is the first in the district to attempt a project where students are working for real clients, and will be listed as the co-authors of an actual scientific study to be published in medical journals and circulated throughout the scientific community. “I haven’t heard of anybody doing something like this,” Barcellos said. “[These students] could be at UC Davis or somewhere later on and get a call from a scientist from the Netherlands who had seen the study, asking if they could [make 3D models] for them.” Despite the fact that the students working on the models are not exactly professionals, Cunha has high expectations for their work, especially since the research will be published. “I’m not skeptical about [students’ work] at all. I expect them to deliver,” Cunha said. “If they don’t, I’m going to be really disappointed. But I’m confident.” On Mar. 20, the students working on this project will give a presentation at a regional conference detailing the project, and will show a movie they are filming about the process of creating these 3D models. For the students and the school, this is a rare opportunity. “Everyone’s excited. The principal’s excited. The scientists are really excited,” Barcellos said. “[We] are stoked beyond belief.”

FEBRUARY 3, 2010


UNDER SCRUTINY What racial profiling means, who it affects, and why it matters

Stefan Ball, Varshini Cherukupalli, Sabrina Ghaus and Sarika Patel | El Estoque Photo Illustration

FACES (left to right) senior Sumayyah Naguib, sophomore Aafreen Mahmood, senior Nausheen Mahmood and junior Zaheer Mohiuddin by Jiachen Yang


n Dec. 18, 2008, at the San Francisco International Airport, sisters sophomore Aafreen Mahmood and senior Nausheen Mahmood were walking toward the security checkpoint with their mother and brother. Amid the lines of travelers waiting to pass through the routine security screening, they saw an airport security officer walk up to them. “Ma’am, it’s just a security procedure, we need you to come aside,” he said, as Aafreen recalled. The sisters were led into a machine for extra security checks. “I just looked at my mom,” Aafreen said. “We felt the embarrassment, with the lines of people staring at us.” “We didn’t know what [the machine] was going to do to us,” Nausheen said. The Trace Portal Machine blew puffs of air on them, a method that, as they later found out, was implemented in 2004 to check for traces of explosives. The sisters think that their mother and brother were not selected because they did not wear the hijab—the traditional headscarf worn by Muslim women. It was the first time Aafreen and Nausheen wore their headscarves to an airport, and it was their first experience with racial profiling.

Part of the system

With the latest attempted terrorist attack aboard a Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day 2009, the Obama administration has intensified airport security beyond initial 9/11 levels. It has called for “all appropriate measures” to be taken, most of which, according to an officer in the Department of Homeland Security, would be quietly put in place around the country. Part of the newlypassed regulations is the establishment of a new global security system, starting on Jan. 3, that treats travelers differently based on their country of departure and their citizenship. In other words, the government has confirmed racial profiling as a security measure. Thus, when Aafreen and Nausheen approached the security line at the San Francisco International Airport once again on Dec 28, right after the deterred bomb plot on Dec 25, they knew they would be targets of additional screening. “We were already anticipating the frisk,” Aafreen said. “Now they ask, ‘Do

But in the coming years, they and everyone else will face additional security procedures. These range from the noticeable, such as bombsniffing dogs, extra checks of carry-on baggage and full-body scans that look beneath clothing for concealed weapons, to the unseen, in the form of increased personnel and behavioral detection teams. On a more personal scale, senior Sumayyah Naguib and Nausheen relate through their American Studies trip to New Orleans, Louisiana, in April 2009. They experienced racial profiling, and say that it induces a sense of embarrassment in the target and distances them from friends To comply or resist? The sisters’ parents tell them not to fight or the outside world for those few minutes of the system, and what the family can do to screening. Before boarding the flight back to San decrease the possibility of such overt incidents Francisco International Airport, the two were of discrimination are limited: not conversing separated from the class of approximately 50 in Hindi and being conscious of what they students for a pat-down search. “Initially it didn’t seem like a big deal, but I later realized how humiliating it was, not just NEW RULES for me, but also for everyone else who is profiled and has to go through that,” Naguib said. countries, including Iran and “[The rest of the class] were staring at us. It was Pakistan, were identified embarrassing for me,” Nausheen said. “They’ve heard of Muslim people getting searched, but as “state sponsors of terrorism” or they’ve never seen it happen before. [They] “countries of interest.” asked me, ‘How could this happen to you?’ They were confused.” Understanding the viewpoint of many Citizens of those countries and frightened by 9/11 eight years ago—and by passengers flying from or through those the deterred bomb plot a month ago—Aafreen countries will automatically be subject to and Nausheen’s parents feel that there is no extra scrutiny and alternative to racial profiling at airports to general safety. Yet the sisters regard additional screening. insure racial profiling at airports as an excessive and unnecessary procedure, but one that they must say when they approach the checkpoint; confront because of their personal choice to not drawing unnecessary attention to wear the hijab. themselves—for example, by preventing their “We chose to wear the headscarves because younger brother from running around. it’s a proper way to represent the religion,” On the other hand, though he admits that Nausheen said. there is little the individual can do in such “I have to commit to my hijab. Out there in situations, junior Zaheer Mohiuddin thinks the real world, things are different,” Aafreen said. that confronting the issue of civil liberty from “I’m going through the consequences, but as a legal standpoint is possible. His father was long as your faith is true, everything is okay.” local advisor for the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an organization that “opposes Not black or white While every one of these students has domestic policies that limit civil rights, permit racial, ethnic or religious profiling,” according experienced the emotional impact of racial profiling, and while they may not agree with to its core principles as published online. “[CAIR] find cases that people are being the necessity or practicality of such a security profiled, such as during an interview at measure, they understand the complexities of work, and it may use legal combat or sue the the issue. “I understand why there may be some fear company,” said. “For example, Michael Savage criticized Muslims on his radio talk show, and [in security officers],” Naguib said. “A small CAIR contacted advertisers on the network to part of me understands that perspective, but stop advertising on the show, so they wouldn’t it is sad and disrespectful. A large part of me is disappointed and shamed by my country.” be associated with such discrimination.” you want to be screened in private?’ Personally I don’t care. This time they told us to hold our hands out, and used something to wipe our hands, possibly to check our thumbprints. This is a little extreme.“ In this case, the signs of racial profiling were unmistakable: since every member of the Mahmood family is a U.S. citizen, and they were flying to Boston instead of departing from any of the 14 nations subject to extra scrutiny, the only distinguishing factor of sisters was their dress code.





PARCEL TAX: Emergency ballot measure in the works continued from page 1

“When we’re talking about 2011-2012, let me be honest,” Bove said. “That’s two years away, a lot of things could change between now and then. The answer to how we decide what to do really depends on how we see the economy and cuts from the state evolve or not evolve over the next two years.” The district plans to make decisions about changes one at a time while monitoring home sales in the area, the ultimate fate of the parcel tax, and the state of the economy. Bove feels that it’s important to continually inform the public so that it becomes aware and understands the situation as it evolves. “We need to do everything we can to make sure we’re transparent and that the community can see all the aspects of the dilemma we’re facing,” Bove said. “This is an intelligent community. It’s an incredibly savvy community in so many ways. I want them to understand [our situation] so that it doesn’t seem as if we’re not being forthright.” Scott understands that the public may have many questions, such as why the school district cannot return or reallocate funds. The answers to these and other questions are the information she wants to get out to the public. Additionally, to start parents thinking about future cuts with the district, surveys are being sent out to parents indicating 19 possible areas where cuts could be made. Residents are asked to choose five of the 19 programs that they value most. “I don’t think there’s a thing on that list that doesn’t make our district unique and powerful and an exciting place to learn and work,” Bove said of the survey options. “It isn’t meant to be scary. It’s meant to say, ‘Look at the incredible, incredible programs we have, all managed by amazing people and populated by fabulous students.’”


The following changes have already been made to address the deficit:

Cut $600 thousand in district administrative costs Cut $1 million from adult and community education, which serves 30,000 people each year Reduced summer school offerings

FEBRUARY 3, 2009

Rest in peace, Buzz Delaney

After battle with cancer, former copy technician passes away by Samved Sangameswara


ormer copy technician and MVHS staff member Buzz Delaney passed away on Jan. 18 at the age of 65. The man for whom Portable 3 served as a second home finally succumbed to cancer under hospice care two weeks ago. Delaney, a survivor of both open heart surgery and a heart attack, worked in the copy center until the middle of last year when his illness inhibited his ability to continue in his position. Current print center technician Maria Ricardo now fills that role. Although he kept a relatively low profile amongst students, Buzz is remembered by those who knew him for his sharp wit and animated conversations. MVHS class of 2009 alum Connie Ng called Delaney “a big part of why I love MVHS,” in an interview for a story about Delaney in El Estoque last December. A service for Delaney was held on Jan. 29. Donations in his honor can be made to the American Cancer Society.

Daniel Stenzel | El Estoque

GOODBYE Former copy technician Buzz Delaney in the copy room in December 2008. Delaney passed away on Jan. 18.

LIGHTS: Debate rages over installation of field lights continued from page 1

The reality is that measures are given just 75 words for a summary—all that most voters take the time to read. While the available extended literature explicitly addressed lights, the summary failed to specifically mention them—only stating that the district would “improve physical education and athletic facilities.” Radtke and other petitioners argue that this was misleading. “People mostly voted for [Measure B] because they felt the classrooms and the infrastructure really needed to be upgraded. They didn’t vote for it thinking that a huge chunk of the money was for field renovations, and the field renovations are taking up over a quarter of the money.” A board meeting was held on Jan. 25 to discuss this and other issues related to athletic improvements. Attendees on both sides of the issue defended their positions, and it became clear that the issue transcended the environmental consequences of stadium lighting. According to Radtke, the real problem—and the one that has caused so much tension—is a history of mistrust between neighbors and district and school administration. When Radtke purchased his house 16 years ago, he was told the school had informally agreed to never install lights. He accepted the inconvenience of living next to what he now calls an overcrowded school, but believes a number of grievances make the planned stadium lighting, as they say, “the last straw.” Radtke also cites other failures on the part of school administration, including the delayed response to complaints of pool lighting that pointed toward neighboring houses as well as loud dance music that can be heard behind closed doors.  “I feel that after all I’ve done and a lot of people have done to support the schools—to support athletics, to coach kids, and this and that, it’s like they’re sticking a knife in our back,” Radtke said. “We’re just not going to take what we feel is really a heavy burden that we do not want to accept, and we’re not going to accept. We’re going to try to stop it however we can.” So far, Radtke and other residents have collected approximately 140 signatures from homes around MVHS. Reasons for signing vary—from gripes with Measure B, to what they believe is unnecessary spending, to light and noise pollution, vandalism, and traffic. After two to three more weeks of collecting signatures, they plan to present the petition to the school board. “Neighbors who have lived here a long time are concerned, and I completely understand their concerns,” Principal April Scott said. “The district is not proceeding without listening, so it’s not a slam dunk that we’re going to have lights.”  The accusation that district and school administrators do not care about the concerns of neighbors—and their insistence that they do—characterizes the dialogue between the two groups.

“I don’t understand where [the idea that the school is lying and not transparent] is coming from,” Scott said. “I’ve heard the same thing, but I don’t understand that.” When Measure B was passed, it also required the creation of a Citizen’s Oversight Committee, a committee that could be joined by board members, residents and parents. They ensure bond funds are “spent only for the purpose that voters approved,” according to the FUHSD website. They also review an annual independent audit of the funds and expenditures and that “Bond funds are spent legally and the public is regularly informed.” In addition to concerns over transparency, opponents continue to comment that the lights are an unnecessary expenditure. They disagree with administration’s argument that the lights impact all students and are necessary for a sense of community. “Is that what’s required to have community and school spirit—to play football games at your school? I think we had school spirit and it never crossed our mind that we needed to have lights,” Radtke said. The controversial nature of the issue was also obvious in the attitudes of homeowners who were asked to comment. Various residents responded to reporters’ questions with hostility. A few refused to talk about the issue and closed their doors abruptly. One woman asserted that the lights were unnecessary because “no one from [MVHS] is going to the Olympics.” But students involved in athletics highlight a different reason for the installation of lights. Football player and junior Victor Wan highlighted the awkward situation of having to play the Helmet game at Cupertino High School. “Every year you switch off, but [CHS] is always on their own field,” Wan said. And in response to homeowners’ complaints, Wan gave voice to a sentiment that many others in the community share. “[These homeowners] bought a house next to a high school,” Wan said. “They should know that it’s a part of high school life.” With construction slated to begin in late 2010, there is still time for homeowners opposed to the stadium lights to gather support. But there is also the possibility of a student backlash. Radtke and others who share his feelings show no signs of conceding, and supporters of the stadium lights are numerous and committed. But ultimately, the decision will be made by the school board, which will attempt to balance the concerns of the homeowners with the best interest of the school. And Scott is optimistic that the situation can be resolved effectively. “I think our board is pretty responsive to the community,” Scott said. “I really think they take it sincerely and listen deeply to what the concerns are, and they all live in the community. Two of our board members had children who went to school here and they lived very close to MVHS, so I think it resonates with them that parent concern is something that we need to listen to.”

n o i n i p o 7 Like a stranger in your own home PAGE 8

End of inflatable games


New parcel tax deserves support

Careers: Passion over practicality


Racial profiling threatens citizen equality, creates emotional isolation on the pretext of safety STAFF EDITORIAL


n the aftermath of 9/11, we were scared. We were second, third, or fourth-graders at the time, but we remember. Our entire nation was scared that day, and airplanes have never been the same. Each year, security measures tighten. Safety first, right? It’s natural to want to protect ourselves, but when we start to point fingers at innocent people, we’re crossing the line. Racial profiling is not an acceptable way to conduct airport security. At first, it seems only logical—if terrorist attacks have all been by Muslims and people of Middle Eastern descent, why not pay more attention to individuals who fit that profile? With the recent law change, the government has quietly confirmed the policy as legal and acceptable. But when we look deeper into the issue, we find that racial profiling goes against the most founding and important principles of our country.   Remember world history class in our sophomore year? We learned that one person’s rights extend until they infringe upon those of another person. Our Constitution and our country rely heavily on that thought.     What is racial profiling? It is pulling aside girls in headscarves and men with dark faces, and scrutinizing them more carefully, treating them differently. Treating them like potential terrorists. There are over one billion Muslims in the world and two million Muslims in the United States. We don’t need to treat them all like criminals. Yes, it is the right of every American to

be safe—until the pursuit of safety tramples on equality and freedom. How would it feel if every time you walked into an airport, security personnel singled you out as a possible threat? For wearing a hijab, you could be pulled aside and subjected to a extra scrutiny. Would you feel embarrassed? Angry? Like a stranger in your own home? Just ask seniors Sumayyah Naguib and Nausheen Mahmood. They experienced firsthand the humiliation of racial profiling on their American Studies field trip last year. Out of a class of 60, only the two girls in headscarves were taken aside, as the rest of their class waited for them. The system that physically separated them also mentally isolated them. It’s like being singled out as a troublemaker by a teacher, just because you look like a student who caused problems before. You haven’t done anything wrong, yet you’re still being punished.  What can we do about it? It’s not like we can fight the system in practice. If you protest being searched in the airport, you’re probably not getting on your flight. It’s through political channels that we fight racial profiling— writing letters to the government, holding protests, spreading awareness. Then there’s the other strategy: fighting the effects of racial profiling on our society. So your friend feels down from the effects of institutionalized discrimination? Let them know that you don’t think any differently of them because of their ethnicity or beliefs. Discrimination only exists as long as we let it.

Agree 74%

67% of students do not support the use of racial profiling in airports.

Racial profiling is a form of discrimination.


I’m discriminated against for something that I’m not—a Muslim or a terrorist.

students who support the use of racial profiling in airports also agree that it is a form of discrimination.

—survey respondent

Have you ever been a target of racial profiling? No Yes 69% 31%

Other 9%

Disagree 17%


of students who have been racially profiled say they experienced it at school.

38% of Middle Eastern and South Asian students say they have been racially profiled.

23% of White and East Asian students say they have been racially profiled. *101 students responded to this online poll

MLK Day not appreciated by students Many view holiday as just a day off, don’t consider significance by Joseph Beyda



f Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream, we are its living incarnation. MVHS is the archetypal place where people aren’t “judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” as King Jr hoped for in his famous 1963 speech. Yet on Jan. 18, the day dedicated to Dr. King, we seemed to care less about King Jr.’s dream than just getting a day off. An online survey of 120 MVHS students asking them how they spent their Martin Luther King, Jr. Day suggests that the holiday’s deeper meaning was rarely on students’ minds. While 87 percent of respondents did homework, and 69 percent hung out with friends or family, only 14 percent saw something on television on that day about Dr. King, MLK Day, or racial equality. Just 14 percent heard all or a portion of Dr. King’s famed “I Have a Dream” speech. More surprisingly, only 18 percent claimed to have thought about the significance of MLK Day for an extended period of time, and only three percent actually made an attempt to aid causes aiming to prevent racial violence.


by Christophe Haubursin

A snapshot of the issues surrounding campus today

Federal holidays are intended to be more than just days off. Here are some more meaningful ways to spend these days. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Make a resolution to be more conscious about racial injustices at home and abroad

Memorial Day: Visit the Cupertino Veterans Memorial and listen to the stories of those whose loved ones have died overseas

Presidents Day: Inform yourself of current events in politics and become more involved

Labor Day: Donate to food banks to help those in the community less fortunate than you

It is clear that the diversity MVHS champions is not being thought about on a deep level. Holding a Diversity Week each spring may suggest otherwise, but appreciation for our diversity should be a yearround affair, not limited to a single week. Just as Dr. King worked tirelessly for years on end to attain equality for African-Americans, we should continually ensure that diversity is being cherished at MVHS and protected elsewhere. MLK Day is intended to celebrate the great strides Dr. King made, yet his work is far from done. To this

Share both roads and responsibility Drivers and cyclists should cooperate, not clash, for safety around school zones by Tammy Su


day, in an age in which American schools are no longer segregated and racial violence isn’t as prevalent in America, racial violence continues worldwide in areas such as Sudan. We may get a day off, but racial discrimination never will. As humans, we are obliged to help those in need. We should each make a yearly effort on the third Monday in January to do something to aid the fight for racial equality worldwide and celebrate how fortunate we are to live in an environment closer to the one King imagined.

upertino is home to a very strong public school system—we know it, and we boast it. But we’ve never been as proud of the traffic situations around those schools. It’s ironic that our safe city finds most of its tragic accidents around these outstanding schools. If the accidents continue, can the pride remain?      Since the 2009-2010 school year began, there’s been a growing trend of car accidents occurring around our schools. Consequences have ranged from minor scratches and bruises, to, in the case of the accident at Kennedy Middle School last year, severe injury. Car accidents are sad and really quite shameful  because, as cliche as it may sound, an accident is preventable. This might sound generalized, but a trip to school and back proves otherwise.    Take what vehicle passengers witness daily on the way to school. Bikers sometimes swerve dangerously close to cars, enter main streets, fail to signal their turns and cause panic for  drivers. Plus, the frequency of civilian jaywalking is also astounding. It’s disappointing that  drivers  always take the hit when in fact people on the streets aren’t looking out for their own well-being.

see MLK DAY on page 10

see TRAFFIC on page 8

Teacher swap After mathematics department chair Bob Van Hoy retired halfway through the year, certain students returned from break and were surprised to see new teachers at the front of the board. Problems arose when students faced difficulty in adjusting to new teaching and testing styles and found their letter of recommendation plans interrupted. Administration should have taken the time to hire a new teacher or a longterm substitute so that only students with Van Hoy would have their teachers changed, instead of causing students from other classes to feel the impact as well.

Opening the door With the opening of the bike rack’s back gate for use as an exit—in addition to the previous single front entrance— has come a significant reduction in bicycle congestion. While those who used the back of the area as a haven to protect their bikes from the crowd of the front are now exposed to the rush of being near an exit, meaning fewer stolen or damaged bikes. A d m i n i s t ra t i o n did well to open up the back gate to resolve the numerous bike rack complications.

Poster, poster, on the wall When the Leadership class started putting up posters in areas besides the traditional A Building wall, clubs began to complain that Leadership did not have the right to post announcements where other clubs could not. But the truth is, Leadership is not a club, but a class that is responsible for organizing a number of activities around school and should therefore have different entitlements than clubs. Similarly, other classes, such as Yearbook and Drama, who are in charge of school affairs, should be granted the same privileges, without being limited by club rules.


FEBRUARY 3, 2010


Institutionalize teacher recommendations Digital dust continues to collect while frantic teachers deal with paper recommendations by Bhargav Setlur


t’s the email that every collegebound senior is afraid to see in their inbox. The wording is different in each case, but the emails generally read as follows: “Dear applicant, we are pleased to receive your application for undergraduate admission. However, we regret that we have not yet received all the credentials necessary to evaluate your application. Please ensure that the teacher evaluation B is postmarked within five days of your receipt of this notice.” After hours spent filling out applications and agonizing over essay punctuation, one missing teacher recommendation might send your application—no doubt drenched in blood, sweat, and tears—straight to the “deny” pile. Every year, select seniors are notified in late January or early February that a teacher recommendation—one that was completed and mailed by a teacher over a month ago—was never received. And that’s when doubts begin to creep in. Was the recommendation lost in the mail? Did the admissions office misplace it? In an online age, the current method of teacher recommendations— hard copy, snail mail—introduces unnecessary uncertainty and stress into the lives of seniors and teachers alike. The current system is all the more antiquated when one considers the ease of use and efficiency of Naviance.

The online tool that now is nothing more than an electronic distraction gives teachers the option to complete and send their teacher recommendations online, eliminating any possibility of a recommendation being lost or misplaced by admissions officers. The majority of the inconvenient and tedious tasks that are involved in writing a teacher recommendation would be—believe it—eliminated. No more stuffing envelopes. No more rewriting or resending recommendations that were lost in the mail. No more driving to the post office, no more licking stamps, and no more waiting in line. It might seem trivial, but what students and teachers have before them is a new age in college admissions. But adopting Naviance as the preferred method of completing college recommendations would benefit more than just teachers. For stressed-out seniors, January would no longer be the time to obsessively refresh college application trackers and agonize over lists of missing teacher recommendation. Students could monitor the progress of the recommendation on their own, and quit bothering teachers to see if they followed through. Less stress and less tension would be a welcome relief for everyone involved in the aggravating process of college admissions. With such a convenient system ready and waiting, it’s puzzling why teachers have yet to adopt it. It isn’t an issue of reluctance to switch to a new

If only I could make all the paperwork go away with the click of a button. Christophe Haubursin | El Estoque

technology. The problem is simpler than that: awareness. Teachers—and students too, for that matter—just don’t know that teacher recommendations can be completed online. Naviance, and its potential to simplify the college admissions process, hasn’t been publicized within the MVHS community. So while students worry and teachers scramble, a powerful resource continues to

sit in the corner and collect digital dust. Next year, when the stampede begins anew to complete and submit college applications, let seniors and teachers work together to make the process significantly easier. Using Naviance, we can save the paper—and the stress, tension and worry — and do away with paper recommendations. When it comes to the college application process, it’s time for MVHS to go online.

New parcel tax aims to close budget gap TRAFFIC: Too many Valuable programs may be saved, tax deserves support dangers present PARCEL TAX SPECIFICS

With the decreased funding from the state, property taxes, and the ending of the current parcel tax in June 2011, the district stands to lose an estimated $10 million to $12.6 milliion of funding. In a survey recently mailed out to parents, the following were some of the programs mentioned that could face cuts:

• Limiting students to only three years of math (less than the UC recommended four years)

• Limiting students to only one year of visual and performing arts (enough to meet UC requirements)

• Limiting underclassmen to just six classes and upperclassmen to five classes each year

• Cutting down on the number of offered electives

• Limiting students to only two years of science (less than the UC recommended three to four years) by Natalie Chan


n a time when parents may spend upwards of a thousand dollars on SAT prep classes and hundreds of dollars on a new iPhone or Blackberry, it is surprising that our community has not managed to pass a $98 parcel tax to help fund their children’s education. After Measure G, which would have created a parcel tax to replace the expiring Measure L, failed to receive enough votes in early November, Fremont Union High School Disrict’s Board of Trustees is now pushing to pass another measure. The fact that we even need an emergency measure now only shows us that we failed to act three months ago. We needed a two-thirds majority vote to pass Measure G, but just 60 percent of voters voted for the parcel tax. In other words, we got a very, very low D. That’s not good. This is not a test that we can fail again, and this is the last opportunity to make up for our fall. Let us learn from our mistakes.

• Cutting down or ending extra curriculars and after-school sports • Cutting $500,000 from staffing costs If we do not get this newest measure passed, the district has a projected $10.5 million deficit, and that may mean losing some funding for the athletics programs, cramming teenagers into more crowded classrooms, and losing advanced placement and honors classes. Rejecting this tax does not hurt the government or some ambiguous body; it hurts the students. Even though these are tougher economic times than when we passed Measure L, education is virtually the last place voters should decide to scrimp and scrooge. Unlike many taxes that are imposed on us, the tax money goes directly back to the schools and therefore the community. The money cannot go to people like Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne who spent over $230,000 redecorating his office bathroom or to airport security machines costing as much as $160,000 each, which break down due to dust particles. For once, we the people can know that our tax dollars will go to something that everyone can support—education. It will give students the opportunity

to gain the education our school prides itself upon. MVHS has many families who purposely move into the area to attend the nationally-ranked school, but we must be willing to support the education that MVHS is known for, even if it means spending $98 to help fund the schools instead of spending it on a new plasma screen TV. This new parcel tax will need to be passed if we want to keep the benefits MVHS offers us. Even for people who do not have children in the district, the parcel tax is a bargain in disguise. Supporting the schools would help keep MVHS one of the best schools in the country. The good schools would make homes in the community more wanted and, as a result, the parcel tax could raise property values in the area. Spending $98 now may bring in thousands of dollars later on. The Fremont Union High School District is asking for less than $100 for its parcel tax—one of the lowest taxes in the local area, considering that some districts like Palo Alto Unified receive for up to $500. It is easy to think education and schools are important, but what we need to do is act. When the ballot comes in the mail in May, take two minutes from washing the dishes or paying the bills to vote for this measure. All you need to do is check a box. If you will not be 18 years old by May, tell everyone else to do what you cannot. Either way, take this chance to be the George Washington to Americans, the Harriet Tubman to slaves, the Spiderman to New Yorkers. Be the hero and save our schools. Sure, $98 does not buy much these days: a college application, a chemistry textbook, or maybe a pair of running shoes. But $98 is enough to help students get back their education.

continuted from page 7

   But before becoming too convinced of pedestrian guilt, realize that motor vehicles are to blame, too. For proof, look no farther than to our own congested drop-off areas:  high speeds and unexpected turns by impatient drivers, as well as the unnecessary traffic congestion caused by parents intent on dropping off their children in the no-drop-off staff parking lot (positioned perpendicular to a main crosswalk) are all very visible problems. It’s heartening, however, to see community solutions and collaborative decisions that have been enacted to curb this behavior. On the way home from school there are patrol officers helping kids cross the Bubb Road intersection of Kennedy Middle School, and farther down the road, a crossing guard who stays at his post late into the afternoon.     But at the end of the day, as much as organizations can move for change and people can change policy, it’s not up to the relatively few uniformed men or sparse measures to protect all 50,600 residents in this city. That desire to change of students and to prevent history who drive themselves from happening again needs  to come from to school feel that parent driver carelessness all of us.    Events like PTSA’s is the main cause of Bike/Walk to School traffic incidents* Day are a start to re*201 students responded to this online poll lieving the problem. What can be considered next are comprehensive, longterm solutions, with incentives to carpool, walk, or bike that go farther than simply appealing to morals. Students who already carpool are seeking efficient drop-off and pick-up—and that should be capitalized upon as a reward for them, perhaps through a carpool access system that allows cars with groups of students into a premium drop-off zone. Our biking and walking trails should be maintained and managed, to reasure students scared by recent accidents. Finally, everyone needs to remember to stay aware of what’s happening on the roads.     You might think, at this point, that this is too much excitement over a trite topic, but for a problem that should have never existed, it’s made a huge impact. So as the school-site congestion scenes continue, let’s make a commitment to protect ourselves, and protect each other. As we’ve already seen, there will be consequences if we can’t.



FEBRUARY 3, 2010

Lights out?


How many disgruntled homeowners does it take to unscrew a lightbulb? Christophe Haubursin | El Estoque

More than a hundred homeowners have signed a petition against the installation of stadium lights on our football field. They chose a home within walking distance of MVHS. They benefit from the sky-high property value the school guarantees. They agreed to Measure B, which would fund installation. Now, they are displaying utmost selfishness in attempting to trample on our rising athletes’ hopes for this piece of the high school experience.

Securing safety, banning bounce Administration takes understandable initiative in maintaining safety by Christine Chang


n the last day of Back in Action week this January, there was a conspicuous absence of buoyancy. In previous years, students flocked to the Rally Court anticipating colorful airfilled contraptions on which they could jump almost superhuman heights. But after scattered incidents of injuries  that occured during events last year, including a fractured nose, administration warily excluded inflatable games from future school festivities. This was apparent as students came to a seemingly emptier Rally Court this year during Back in Action week. While the ban of bounce houses struck many students as overly protective on administration’s part, there’s a bit of good reasoning in this move that can’t be overlooked. Granted, high school activities don’t exactly translate into day care play sessions. And the last thing thrill-seeking teens need is a baby sitter in disguise. All we asked for was some fun and bounce—a great deal less calamitous than drugs or sex. But upholding the virtue of safety is the notion that getting knocked on the nose isn’t the most agreeable price to pay for a lunchtime of frolicking.

In the end, MVHS is still a trusted institution, and in consideration of a student’s position, extra caution is much better than lack thereof. As much as banning inflatable games may come across as an extraneous regulation, it is by no means an abuse of power. Administration is a supporter of festive relief for students, but they are ultimately responsible for us. Dean of Students Michael Hicks asserts that the risk involved with setting up inflatable games on the concrete ground calls for safer alternatives. In all honesty, inflatable games aren’t the only forms of entertainment. Exchanging them for something a little less aerobic, say, face painting, isn’t apocalyptic. After all, no parent enjoys getting a call in the middle of a day requesting their presence in the emergency room because the school condoned recreational negligence by setting up inflatables on pavement. While they may tolerate and understand trips to the hospital when the injury came at the cost of a heroic goal save or touchdown, injuries from a clumsy mishap on inflatable structures are arguably less justifiable. Administration’s well-grounded rationale in banning inflatable games isn’t only a matter of ensuring safety. Leadership

groups such as Link Commission and Student Life are now impelled to run through new entertainment ideas for bringing together the student body. Whereas inflatable games have served as a conventional but uninventive solution in the past, future activities will involve more innovative and open-ended planning. Now we have more eclectic happenings to anticipate during Freshman Flings or Back in Action weeks. And student groups have some creativity obligations to fill. Not all sorts of fun have to be big and flashy. In the end, it’s probably to our advantage to give up some bounce for safety’s sake. Healthcare is expensive enough as it is.

ALTERNATIVE GAMES Due to some recent injuries caused by inflatable games in the rally court, Administration has decided to ban them from future events. Some of the alternatives currently being considered are:

• Balloon clown • Carnival games • Eating contests • Handball • Painting • Water in a cup game

Kudos to clubs, student participation needed Haiti relief can only be successful if students willing to contribute

by Stefan Ball Christophe Haubursin | El Estoque

by Stefan Ball


ithin 72 hours of the Haiti earthquake, four different motions to raise earthquake relief were ready for leadership council. That is awesome. But the history of MVHS charity is less than ideal—for example, the food drive is the monument of Monta Vista apathy, of our lack of motivation to help the outside world and to aid the people,


especially children, who are less fortunate than ourselves. We almost never meet our quota without some sort of teacher-hairpainting incentive and it’s questionable whether we ever will. But maybe there is some amount of hope. Maybe we’ve been jolted out of our apathetic armchair.     This drive and ambition to help the disaster relief effort is undeniably noteworthy,

matching the sentiments and the recovery effort taking place outside our walls. Key Club organized this week’s Hope for Haiti relief and reached out for other clubs to participate—an act that shows a desire not just to help others, but to unite our school in the process.     However, the recurring food drive phenomona is a worrying chractistic of our society. Clubs can work as hard as they want, but it means nothing if we don’t participate. To those of us who find participating in school events trivial and ridiculous, remember that this week they are not calling for school spirit you might lack, but are a segway for help, relief, and your donations. So don’t cynically stand by—helping others isn’t something cool or uncool to be part of, it’s human instinct.   Do not let this week be another food drive. It’s a lot easier to pull a dollar or two out of your wallet than it is to bring a can of beans. And while a lot of the events call for change, remember that isn’t the only thing you have—put a bill or two in the mix as well. You know you should, despite the cliche. Get up right now, find a Hope for Haiti place to donate, and put a dollar or two in. Do you really have an excuse?

It’s all in your Head

Just have a little faith There are very few opportunities in life where we get to see random acts of kindness. Yes, there is the annual Kindness Week at school, but beyond the gates of MVHS there are few people who will take time out of their day just to help someone—while expecting absolutely nothing in return.

Taking my chances

There are also very few opportunities where you will get a chance to earn “fluff points” in AP U.S. History. Of course, the one day I was granted such a rare opportunity, I forgot my assignment at home. Panicked, I made a hasty decision to run home at brunch and get it. I made the calculations, and I would barely make it in time for my next class. I weighed my options and decided to take the risk. By the time I dodged all the people in the hallways, ran to my house, grabbed my assignment and headed out the door, it was 10:46. Four minutes till next period. There was no way I could make it back in time. That was when I noticed a delivery van parked in my cul-de-sac. I ran to the postal worker, who was sorting some mail and had headphones on. It took the worker a second to notice me and was rather startled at the sight of a teenage girl panting, “Can I please ask you for a favor?” I panted out between breaths. “Ask me what?”. Flustered I said that I was going to be late for my next class, and asked if I could get a ride to the back gate of MVHS. In return, I got a look of shock, followed by instructions to hop in the back and be careful.

Rethinking our distrust

As I climbed into the back, the sound of the door being pulled down made me realize there were only two things that could happen: I would make it to class on time, or something could go horribly wrong. I was breaking the cardinal rule of life that we all learned as young children: Never get in a car with a stranger. Here I was, hitching a ride in the back of a mail van and putting my faith in the U.S. Postal Service to screen for kidnappers. As the van continued to move, I sat there feeling each turn, making sure we were headed in the right direction. By the time we reached Hyannisport Drive, I realized my actions were driven by suspicion. Yes there was a huge safety issue in hopping into the back of a mail van, but here was someone taking time out of their day to help me out without asking for anything in return. Sensing the urgency on my face, the worker decided to take the time to help me out. And I was allowing doubt to cloud my mind. I was a little disgusted by my lack of faith; to make up for it, I vowed never to reveal the identity of my well wisher. We don’t seem to trust the people around us and usually jump to conclusions accusing one another. It’s not, “I lost my pen” it’s more likely that you will hear “Someone stole my pen.” We tend to assume the worst in people and don’t realize that sometimes it’s better to just believe the people around us. As I hoped out of the car I realized that we have been trained to distrust people. Don’t get in a car with strangers, don’t eat your Halloween candy until it’s double checked, don’t tell people where you live, don’t believe in the people around you. This suspicion engraved in our minds primarily for safety has now morphed into a barrier that keeps us from having faith in even the most unexpected people.



FEBRUARY 3, 2010

Warning: Only for the determined Students should pursue interests in insecure careers only if persistent and impassioned by Jiachen Yang


he right to choose is one of the fundamental liberties conferred by the Constitution. On a larger scale, it protects individuals and families from governmental intrusion on issues like marriage; on a smaller scale, the scale of our lives, it enables us to shirk the cafeteria food in favor of our own prepared lunches or acquire a free first period for a precious hour of extra sleep. The commonality lies in knowing how to use this right to acquire what we want. But when we are forced to pick between pursuing our passions and heeding practical advice for our careers, choices that may very well determine unpredictable paths for our future, the right to choose almost seems like the right to mental anguish. There are, of course, those privileged individuals whose interests lie in careers that fall under the “Top 10 for the Next Decade and Beyond” heading. Unlike the rest of us students, these aspiring computer programmers, day care providers and environmental engineers can make their choices as easily as debugging a single line of code or cuddling a baby. However, 68 percent of student responses to an online survey of 113 students indicate that they are not likely to base their choices on projected growth of jobs, and a sizeable 55 percent find personal interests more important than parental input or a middle ground. So how can these students, torn between plunging into an enjoyable but uncertain career and accepting secure jobs that seem as boring as refereeing a snail race, solve their career conundrum? We must admit: pursuing a passion is

as fundamental as searching happiness. The academically-inclined experiences the utmost satisfaction when he or she sets down the pen at the end of an exhausting mathematics or physics proof, despite a pile of homework left undone; the basketball player knows the joy of flawlessly executing an offense formation with his or her teammates after hours of practice, in spite of a test and a couple of quizzes the next day. Although some may dismiss this supposedly cliché argument, to students who find personal accomplishment through excelling in their passion, these examples embody their serious choices in life. Yet, in a time when 38 percent of surveyed students find the need for a balance between personal interest and parental input, and 30 percent have been influenced by the economic recession on the topic of passion versus practicality, the latter cannot be categorically compromised. Who else can offer better practical advice than the ones who put food on the table, fill our wallets with purchasing power and have been contemplating the economic situation for the past year? A secure job directly fulfills basic living necessities, and choosing to forsake it may leave someone without aa variety of choices in the future. Unbelievable as it may seem, there is a resolution for the hapless fellow stranded between these two extremes. It is determination. An aspiring artist would suffer from more distress than the undecided student if he or she gives up on a partially painted canvas; likewise, a theoretical physicist might lose sense of direction more than the student choosing a major if he or she


Yes 19%

Passion 18%

Practicality 10%

A balance 72%

Are you likely to base your decisions on the projected growth of jobs?

Yes 32%

No 81%

Does parental input or personal interest matter more?

No 68%

7% Parental Input A Balance


Personal Interest


*113 students responded to this online poll

does not venture into 10+1 dimensional string theory. Determination prevents careers from careening, and keeps them moving forward. Conversely, determination reinforces success for any aspiration. Persist long enough and opportunities will arrive; taking full advantage of them results in invaluable insight; attention to these light bulbs will light a path to success

Following deadlines earns respect Teachers’ grading delay results in loss of learning

and personal fulfillment—and, of course, to monetary compensation. Rather than burden yourself and others with the practicality versus passion debate, you would do better to ponder over the question, “Do I have the determination?” For the truly prepared and impassioned, the answer should be a resounding “Yes!”

MLK DAY: Significance of

holidays overlooked continued from page 7

by Jane Kim


very teacher may have a different late homework policy, but the general idea is the same—turn in your work on time or you might as well not turn it in at all. We work hard to meet this deadline is because our teachers require this of us.   If teachers hold students accountable for turning in their work on time, why can’t we expect the same from our teachers? Obviously, students aren’t teachers.  We don’t understand what it’s like to teach five classes a day and have a continuously growing pile of assignments to be graded.  But we do understand the importance of following through with our responsibilities.  The teacher expects us to turn in our work—and nothing less.  In return, we expect our teachers to grade them and hand them back in a reasonable amount of time.  Of course, it is unreasonable to expect the assignment the next day.  But why is it that some teachers fail to uphold their end of the contract?      Some students really depend on returned papers, such as the students in AP classes with free response question essays or literature essays. “The purpose of an assignment is to learn from your mistakes, and not grading an assignment punctually detracts from its very essence,” junior Arjun Baokar said.   “Therefore, by grading

Are you likely to follow the same field of study as your parents?

Does passion or practicality weigh more when you think about career choices?

This year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day has already passed, but our opportunities to make a difference have not. MLK Day is among 10 federal holidays established by law, including Presidents Day, Memorial Day and Labor Day. For each of these cases, we are given a day—or more, since Presidents Day coincides with Winter Break this year—off from school, not simply because the district felt like it, but because these days are intended for us to appreciate their deeper meaning. With awareness and appreciation, we should then motivate ourselves, our family and our friends to take proactive steps to make a difference. For example, on Memorial Day, we can extend our kindness to those in the community whose family members have died did homework and/or overseas fighting for their country. Speak to them. Listen to their spent time with friends stories. Offer heartfelt condolences. and family on Martin And experience the true meaning of Luther King, Jr. Day the holiday. Even if you are too busy on these days to support the causes they represent, at least consider why attempted to aid causes each is special enough to warrant a day off. On Presidents Day, think working to prevent about the extreme responsibility— racial violence* and danger—a president chooses *120 students responded to this online poll to shoulder when reciting the Oath of Office. On Memorial Day, think about the countless people who have died serving our country. And on Labor Day, think of those who have been unable to procure employment or provide for their families’ needs during these tough economic times. Psychologist Nathaniel Brandon, often considered the pioneer of the “psychology of self-esteem,” once said, “The first step towards change is awareness.” Many of us are only aware of the underlying reasons for these few days off from school a year on the level of what we were taught in grade school. But the world is too large for a grade-school mentality. Even if our sense of awareness, immersed in ordinary tasks in our daily lives, didn’t emerge in time for Jan. 18, we should make a concerted effort to gain a deeper understanding of the reason behind the special status of school holidays. Martin Luther King, Jr. would be proud.

189 students

Jane Kim | El Estoque

papers on an untimely basis, or handing them back late, the opportunity of knowledge is greatly reduced.” For example, the weekly essays given out by teachers are only as effective as their score and the teacher’s comments.  But if teachers do take a long time to return papers, students will stagnate.       In some cases, some students don’t receive their quizzes or tests back until after the final exam, when they are no longer useful.  This is a problem because not only can this negatively affect the student’s grade, but it elongates a student’s ineffective study habits and ill preparation for the exam or essay.       Teachers who hand back papers in a reasonable amount of time are very beneficial to their students,

as it helps them improve not only in the subject but in studying habits in general. Junior Stephanie Wang was able to recognize her mistakes when her math teacher, Jon Stark, gave back math quizzes the next day. “I was able to adjust my study habits  immediately, and I was able to do better because of it,” Wang said.     The students who have worked on their assignments feel wronged when their effort isn’t recognized by the teachers.  Even though this doesn’t apply to all teachers, most students end up feeling as if their efforts have been trivialized.  Just as students should turn in their homework by a certain deadline, teachers should be held to the same standard. Responsibility in exchange for responsibility.

4 students



FEBRUARY 3, 2010



Recent accidents shake students

Which of the following is your primary method of getting to school?

Flurry of recent incidents brings safety of surrounding roadways into question by Mansi Pathak

18% Walking

44% Driven by parents

3% Other 26% Driven by self








o ey


m an

s fro Statistic

s line


How safe do you feel (regarding traffic and the cars around you) when walking to school?

Answered by the 18% of students that walk to school



20% 11% 7% ry Ve fe


e saf er ith afe Ne r uns no


saf un

e saf


y Ver

fe Sa

break, junior Anindya Basu witnessed a crash between an SUV and a student bicyclist. On his commute home from ver six accidents and two deaths school, Basu saw a white Lexus turn right in three months. One of those into a side street on Shannon Court just as a Cupertino accidents resulting in cyclist—who Basu believes was a Kennedy the death of a 74-year-old bicyclist, the Middle School student—rode by. The cyclist other in the death of a five-year-old boy. was thrown from his bike onto the street as With such a high-rate of traffic related the driver, an Asian male in a business suit, accidents in a few miles radius, the pulled up at the side of the road. “I was most shocked by how the kid was question arises: How safe are our streets? On Nov. 25, senior Tiffany Woo was screaming in pain,” Basu said. “Even with taking her daily route home after school all the windows up we could hear the kid and following all routine pedestrian howling outside.” Basu hypothesized that the student precautions. At the corner of Orange Ave. must have suffered and Stevens Creek Blvd., Woo was hit “I was most shocked by how a fracture or broken As they by a white van. the kid was screaming in bone. drove away, Basu “I pushed the pain,” junior Anindya Basu saw a number of crosswalk button and and when it turned said. “Even with all the ambulance police cars arriving green, I started windows up we could hear at the scene. walking across,” the kid howling outside.” These incidents Woo explained. are a reminder of “There was a car turning left at the light. I assumed it the responsibility and potential danger of would stop, but I guess [the driver] didn’t driving. On Oct. 15, for instance, a five year old see me.” Woo fell from the impact of the hit boy was killed in a car crash in the parking and suffered a few scrapes and bruises on lot of Elite Chinese School on S. De Anza her elbows and knees. The driver, a very Blvd. The boy, Nelson Wei, was dropped shaken Caucasian woman, stopped her off to Chinese school one evening. He car and got out to see that Woo was not crossed across the front of the SUV as the severely injured. Woo cited the concern teacher, his carpool driver, pulled forward, of the driver as the reason she chose not accidentally running over Wei. The child was taken to the hospital, where he died to press charges. Multiple students, cyclists and from complications. The accident that Basu witnessed was, in pedestrians have suffered injuries from car-related accidents in Cupertino, some his opinion, due to the high traffic area in worse than others, and many in the which it occurred. “I would say that even if people are vicinity of schools, including MVHS, Kennedy Middle School, and Lincoln honking, just wait,” Basu said. “It’s worth waiting a few extra minutes if it means you Elementary. A few weeks before the mid-year will avoid hitting a [cyclist or pedestrian].”

9% Biking

Inside:  Closer look at recent accident sites

Investigation on recent accidents

 Crossing guard horror stories

 Feature on carpooling



FEBRUARY 3, 2010

Hazardous travels on the road ahead

License points system at a glance How do you get them?





At-fault accident Traffic ticket Minor moving violation Reckless driving Driving with a suspended or revoked license

How do you get rid of them?




Attend traffic school Wait 36 months


Wait 10 years

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol


DMV sends a warning letter or letter of intent to suspend when you are halfway to getting your license revocked.

If you are under 18, you may receive a 30 day restriction if you receive two points in one year and suspended, three points in one year.

DMV sends a probation or suspension hearing date or a letter probation sanction when your license is being revoked.


Check your point status at any time at your local DMV

My biggest complaint about the driving at MVHS is when people don’t take responsibility for their driving mistakes. Because when your car gets dinged up in the parking lot and there is no note, [it’s] poor irresponsible behavior on someone’s part. [My car has been] hit twice while parked in the student parking lot this year.”

-junior Carolyn Chang

Hit-and-run accident

How do you know?

Students and staff share their driving pet peeves

I’m really lucky. Usually when I show up for work at MVHS, I’m the first to third car in the lot. And I’m usually one of the last cars to leave the lot because of coaching after school, so fortunately I don’t deal with any traffic or poor driving issues around MVHS.”

-Interim ASB secretary Calvin Wong

The more points you accumulate the higher your insurance cost will be, and the more likely you are to be rejected for insurance.

The DMV can suspend or revoke your driving priveleges for getting

Four points in one year Six points in two years Eight points in three years

I hate the drivers who are really really aggressive. They'll see you, they'll know you have the right of way, but they'll go anyway. And it's especially bad when they don't even wave or make eye contact with you. When they wave you off it's like saying 'thank you' and they are acknowledging that they know they made a mistake."

-senior Ashley Chen

Carpooling: the more the merrier Students recount memorable carpooling experiences by Ashley Wu


e’ve all seen soccer moms pulling beat up minivans to the curb and watched a group of kids pile out with all their gear. We’ve seen five giggling girls squeeze into the backseat of a car that can only fit three. And then there are the drivers with a car packed full of people that speed past us in the carpool lane on the freeway. Carpooling often begins with students living in the same neighborhood and parents planning to switch off driving their kids around to save time and money. Freshman Holly Matsunami began carpooling to school with freshmen Kimberly Le and Ahana Sarkar this school year. “It’s fun,” Matsunami said. “We all have the same classes and the same P.E. teacher and we can catch up on talk.” On Jan. 15, the three were sitting in the back seat on the way to school, with Matsunami’s sister, Mary, in the passenger’s seat and her mother driving. “We were kind of late, so my mom was rushing,” Matsunami said. “She was turning the corner and she bumped into the car in front of us, and we just kept saying, ‘We’re going to be late!’” After putting the car in park, her mother got out of the car to talk to the driver of the other vehicle,

another MVHS parent. The Matsunami car had been parked on a slight hill, so while the parents were discussing the matter at hand, the car started to slide backwards down the hill. “We were thinking, ‘Oh my god, we’re going to die!” Matsunami said. “My sister had to hop over to the driver’s seat and press on the break [to stop the car].” Despite some minor mishaps that occur during carpooling, senior Carissa Knipe, who has been carpooling with senior Hannah Lem since middle school, still embraces all the benefits of carpooling. Knipe and Lem are driven to and from school by their parents. “It’s pretty much for convenience,” Knipe said. “We can talk in the car about Spanish homework!” Besides the enjoyability of carpooling, it does its part in keeping kids safe and preventing traffic back up and accidents. By reducing the number of cars on the streets, carpooling can contribute to the safety of people on the road. “Also, parents have other kids in their cars,” Knipe said. “I guess that can make them more inclined to drive safely.” Carpooling is an option that can help people avoid accidents. Both Matsunami and Knipe think that carpooling has its benefits, in spite of the occasional fender-bender and a roll down a hill.

There are a couple issues that I witness, mostly in the staff parking lot. One is the students when they are either entering or exiting the campus. They are not really paying attention to their surroundings. They'll kind of just walk in the middle of the access road. They've got their ipods in or they are talking on the phone. People are trying to turn into the parking lot, bikers are trying to go to the bike racks, kids are walking in the middle of the access road, and it's a hazard."

-Dean of Students Michael Hicks

Crazy parents who drop off their kids in the student parking lot when they are not supposed to [is my biggest complaint]. It backs the entire student parking lot up in the morning, it takes so much longer to get to a space, and it’s horrible."

-senior Jocelyn Ou



Meet the girls soccer team


Adventures off the diving board


Girls basketball raises money for charity

Minh Bui | El Estoque

TRY, TRY AGAIN Sophomore Mihir Chavan lines up for a free throw during the game against Lynbrook on Jan 13. The Matadors lost that night 62-44 but are trying to redeem themselves tonight at Lynbrook at 7 p.m. So far this season, MVHS has a record of 8-10 and a league record of 4-2. They are currently in second place in the El Camino League.

Rematch against Lynbrook tonight, team looking for a victory after tough loss at home by Jordan Lim


hen the game between Lynbrook High School and MVHS came to a close on Jan 13. our gym erupted in cheers and chanting, just like last years victory over the Vikings. However, unlike last year, the noise was coming from the other side of the gym as the Vikings had cruised to a 62-44 victory. Tonight, the Matadors will get their shot at redemption in the Lynbrook gym, where players, coaches, and fans will all be looking for payback. In the loss, the Matadors were trailing for most of the game and only held the lead during the first quarter. “We didn’t take care of the ball, at all. Our turnovers became their buckets,” coach Matt Tait said. “Them scoring directly off of our turnovers killed us.” The stat line tells the story of the game. In the loss to Lynbrook the Matadors turned over the ball 17 times. Turnovers during key moments late in the game prevented MVHS from shortening the Lynbrook lead and making a comeback impossible. Junior Guard Ryan Michelfelder agreed with Tait, that it

was the turnover that lost them the game. “They completely outplayed us. They played more focused, physical, together as a team and unlike us, protected the ball. Our biggest miscues in the loss were the unacceptable number of turnovers we had.” Coach Tait attributed poor execution of his game strategy as the main reason for the loss and doesn’t plan on adjusting his coaching strategy for tonight. “When you don’t make open shots, miss lay-ups, shoot below 50 percent at the line and give the ball to the other team 17 times, you’re going to lose no matter who you play,” Tait said. “My game plan is always the same: ball pressure, take good shots, get rebounds. The plan never changes. The only thing that changes, and what needs to change if we want to beat Lynbrook, is the way the players execute our game plan.” The basketball rivalry between Lynbrook and MVHS has grown over the last couple of years, and cheering student sections from both schools crowded the bleachers at the last game. The opportunity to get back at Lynbrook has both MVHS fans and players excited and looking to take it

to the Vikings tonight. “It was the most humiliating loss that I’ve ever been part of. We let down our coaches, our fans, and ourselves,” senior captain and center Krish Rangarajan said. “Everyone is ready to go out and get some pay back on Lynbrook at their own gym.” Not only do the redemption and revenge factors hype up tonight’s game, but control for the league standings is also on the line. As of now, the Matadors are second in the league at 4-2 with four league games, including the Lynbrook game tonight, remaining in their schedule. The Vikings are currently leading the league at 5-1. If MVHS can win at Lynbrook’s gym tonight, the two teams will be tied for first place in league, and the Matadors will be in control of their own destiny when it comes to becoming league champions and securing a CCS bid for the third year in a row. “It’s the biggest game of the season,” Rangarajan said. “If we come out with a “W” it’ll send a statement to the rest of the league that the CCS bid is ours and we are the team to beat.”

Former ‘09 Matador athletes move beyond purple and gold Alumni continue to play sports on Division I teams at colleges all around the nation by Victor Kuo


hen most high school students look towards college, they consider the grades and the extracurriculars needed to be accepted into different universities. But for some, they hope to play sports at the collegiate level. College teams are seen as an opptertunity to improve in a sport, but also as a way to make friends at a new school. However, being on a college sports team is no simple task. Athletes deal not only with the stress of college academics, but also with the expectations to perform well on a sports team. “In high school, I got away with being un-organized and last minute about things and managed to get good grades with this sort of lifestyle because if I wanted to, I would just skip practice,” MVHS alumna Emma Drysdale said. “In collegiate athletics, you really can’t pull that sort of thing, you have to be on top of your schedule.” For Drysdale, who swims at UCLA, that schedule includes two daily practices, six

days a week, tournaments and games, not including school work and other commitments. And that’s during season. Off-season practices continue at an equal, if not faster, pace. “The amount of work is beyond comprehension until you go through it,” MVHS alumnus Kavid Kucera said. He currently plays soccer for Loyola Marymount University. “ There are doubledays for the two weeks prior to the season, practice seven days a week during season, and practice five days a week offseason, not including weight training two to three days a week throughout a year.” Yet rather than resent the busy schedule they have, they enjoy the structure that they have in their lives, according to the MVHS alumna Elsa Cheng, a swimmer at Claremont McKenna College. “This way I’m not just sleeping all day,” said Cheng. The discipline of this structure also prevents the unhealthy habits of most college students—late nights, parties and lack of exercise—according to Kucera. “Freshman fifteen isn’t a joke.”

And the result of such a schedule is that the team spends a lot of time together. According to all three athletes, the team becomes a close group of friends. “The team is your fraternity or sorority,” said Kucera. “You end up knowing half the school by the first year because you do everything with teammates and meet everyone they know.” “All of the athletes become like a community, so there is a really great network of people who have similar goals or lifestyles,” Drysdale said. “When it gets rough, I know I always have my teammates to help me through.” And despite all the work and pressures they have to deal with, none of the three athletes regret the lifestyle they have chosen. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. “I am totally, completely happy that I chose to continue swimming at a high level through college,” Drysdale said. “LMU has made this the most enjoyable time of my life,” Kucera said. “To anyone who’s good enough to consider playing a sport in college — do it.”

Photo courtesy of Elsa Chang

HITTING THE WATER Elsa Chang, class of ‘09 MVHS alum, dives off the starting block at the Claremont McKenna Alumni Meet on Nov. 7, 2009.




FEBRUARY 3, 2010




THE PLAYER Andrew Pappas Junior Andrew Pappas started wrestling in the seventh grade. Two years later, he was bumped to the varsity team as a freshman. Pappas showed potential when at his first varsity match he pinned his opponent, automatically winning the game. As a third-year member of the MV varsity wrestling team, Pappas has thought ahead and wants to continue the sport in college. He is also considering returning to MV as a coach in the future, inspired by his grandfather, who has mentored him in judo since he was six. Erin Chiu | El Estoque

El Estoque: When and why did you start wrestling?

EE: Would you consider wrestling to be a team sport?

Andrew Pappas: I started during middle school in seventh grade. Lots of the guys knew I did judo, so they told me I should just try out for wrestling because they said it’d be pretty easy transitioning to wrestling from judo.

AP: It is a team sport when you’re actually at dual meets and stuff and you need a team. But when it comes down to it, it’s only you on the mat — no one else.

EE: Besides the physical tactics, what have you learned from wrestling? AP: You kind of learn to rely on yourself. In other sports you kind of have a team, but wrestling is more on you. You can’t blame anyone else for losing. You learn to take responsibility for what happens to you. EE: How did you feel about the possibility of girls joining the wrestling team? AP: I was perfectly fine with it— would’ve agreed to it. In middle school we had girls on our team, and it was okay. It doesn’t really change anything. It’s not like we’re sexist or anything because we have a female coach, so it doesn’t really matter to us.

EE: What goes through your mind during a wrestling match? AP: I’m usually nervous, like, “Ugh, what am I [going to] do now, what’s going to] happen.” And then it’s like, “Okay, let’s figure out what this guy can do.” If he can’t [do anything] then I’m like, “I’m just gonna dominate him!” EE: What’s your signature move? AP: Just the footsweep...basically I sweep their legs out. That’s all I can think of. That’s my favorite move of all. EE: Have you ever had a really unexpected comeback game? AP: Last year against Santa Clara I was losing 10 to 3 and then ended up pinning the guy in the third round. If you pin someone it’s an automatic win.

Patrick Mi | El Estoque

OUT OF REACH A Gunn player knocks the ball out of junior Alex Chiu’s possession during a league game on Jan. 27. After a close match, Matadors still managed to defeat the titans 50-48.



by Sahana Sridhara and Christine Chang


he girls varsity basketball team took on Gunn in their sixth league game on Jan. 27 at MVHS. With Gunn maintaining a bare lead during most of the game, the game played on the nerves of both those on the court and the spectators in the bleachers. Matadors barely eked out a lead in the first quater, finishing the eight minutes two points ahead of Gunn at 13-11. Their winning streak seemed to fade out, however, as Gunn secured multiple shots in the second quater. The Matadors fought to keep up as junior Alex Chiu made a crucial pass to senior Victoria Lee, who scored a two pointer early on in the quater. Still, the two free throws made by senior Kelli Sum, followed by another two pointer scored by Chiu weren’t enough to meet the Titans’ aggression. By the end of the second quater, Matadors had fallen behind Gunn 22-27. “We knew if we won we would be tied for first in the league,” Chiu said. “We also knew that this team was pretty beatable, so we really just had to pick it up, especially defense, and work toward making a lot of those shots.” Sum and Chiu remained integral players throughout the third quater, scoring a three pointer




and two pointer respectively. Mid-quater, the Matadors blocked the ball to change possession, and senior Amy Lin proceeded to score another two points for the team. Still, the 33-39 score that ended the quater left the Matadors even further behind. Returning to the game with a six point difference at the beginning of the fourth period was enough of a wake up call for the Matadors. Lee scored a series of two pointers for the Matadors four consecutive times, bringing up the score to a near tie, the Matadors only one away from an even score with Gunn. The breakthrough came when Lin scored two free throws, finally toppling the scoring streak Gunn had maintained for most of the game. Nonetheless, they continued to face fierce opposition. Gunn scored a three-pointer, bringing the score to a nerve-wracking 49-48. With 12 seconds left in the game, the ninth foul of the night was called on Gunn. The bleachers were dead silent as junior Alex Chiu stood at the free throw line, prepared to make a shot. One swish later, the crowd erupted into cheers as the Matadors’ score was bumped up another point. Chiu’s shot finalized the game’s scoreboard, leaving a victory for the Matadors at 50-48.


Senior Julie Davis Davis has no wisdom teeth. Sophomore Gabby Ley Ley is late for almost every practice and game.

Junior Olivia Li Li has sprained both of her ankles too many times to count.

Senior Vanessa Forney Forney takes a nap and puts on sunscreen before every game (no matter the weather).

Freshman Celeste Kim Kim eats fruit roll-ups before every game.

Freshman Gal Haroush Haroush is nicknamed Chubbs for her chubby cheeks.

Junior Sandra Ley Ley drinks up to eight bottles of water every day, eats a lot, and takes power naps.

Senior Michelle Pao Pao listens to music before the game to get pumped up.

Junior Grace Huang Huang likes to make soccer ball friendship bracelets.

Senior Crissy Stuart Stuart is easily recognizable by her bright red cleats.

Junior Cheryl Tom Tom thought “kionana,” a word that stands for fellowship meant “tree.”

Junior Taylor Francouer Francouer applies mens’ deodorant before every practice. Sophomore Claire Nastari Nastari makes awesome square cookies.

Senior Alyssa Walker Walker has listened to “We Are The Champions” by Queen before every winning game this season.

Senior Jacquie Stuart Stuart wears hot pink zebra sliders under her shorts. Freshman Mimi Akaogi Akaogi has a tendency to forget things.

Senior Rachel Major Major wears obscure band T-shirts to practice.

Junior Zohar Liebermensch Liebermensch is called Simba because she once wore a furryhooded jacket to practice.

Senior Cheryl Kute Kute wears pigtails before every league game and they’ve won all of them so far!

FEBRUARY 3, 2010


Benefits of being different Opposites side of the skill spectrum lead to team improvement

Eric Wong | El Estoque

KEEP YOUR FOOT ON THE BALL Junior Alex Onishi warms up before the game against the Milpitas High School Spartans on Jan. 28. by Vijeta Tandon


ith a team of only four returning starters this season, coaches Steve Caldwell and Mia Onodera both knew that the varsity boys soccer team was going to come with some challenges. This year’s team is unique in the sense that the skill level of its players range from players who haven’t played soccer since middle school, to others who are expected to play soccer for Division I colleges in the fall. With this much of a gap in experience, all team members have had to adapt and learn to play differently. Keeping these differing skill levels in mind, the players have learned to rely more

on each other and adjust their playing strategy accordingly. For example, Onodera recalls telling junior Alex Onishi, who plays center back, to keep on eye on defensive players on his team and make sure that they are properly positioned. Onishi has been on the varsity team since his freshman year and also plays for De Anza Force, a Class I club team. “I think it is harder for the people who don’t play soccer competitively,” Onishi said. “But I’ve seen a lot of improvement in some of the players, kind of an elevation in their skill.” Onishi also believes that perhaps due to the imbalance of skill on the team, players may be willing to work harder. He agrees

that the mantra in order to get better, one must play with better players, definitely applies in this case. Coach Steve Caldwell remarks that he has seen the better players helping out the inexperienced ones almost every day at practice. In this sense, the skill gap has helped bring the team closer together. Junior Yash Chitneni has also noticed that the team is very compatible and feels that the fact that certain players tend to dominate the field more than other players is inevitable, no matter what the overall skill level of the team. Onodera agrees. “[Players are] always going to look at the person with more experience or knowledge,” Onodera said. “Whether it’s sucessful or not is the real question.” Keeping in mind the wide variety of talent levels on the team, Chitneni feels that the team has learned to play smart, rather than depending on raw brawn and speed. For example, the team has altered their formation to concentrate heavily in the middle and only kept one pure forward. Regardless of these changes, however, sometimes during games players do get frustrated with each other, especially since their teammates are of such varying abilities. “Frustration does get the better of us, partly because of the inexperience,” Chitneni said. “When we lose our concentration is when we start making mistakes.” At the same time, however, both Caldwell and Chitneni agree that it is better to have a team with skill diversity rather than one where all the players are at the same level. “If everyone’s really good then it’ll just turn into a group of really egotistical people who are playing out of self-interest instead of for the team,” Chitneni said. Caldwell has seen this sort of attitude happen on other teams which he has previously coached. “Sometimes a good player with a bad attitude becomes like a cancer to the team,” Caldwell said. “You can’t just win with one superstar.”

One hobby creates lasting friendship for two Junior Danny Yusem and sophomore Justin Porter dive together by Aileen Le


ot all friends willingly allow you to do flips off of a platform over 30 feet in the air. Junior Danny Yusem and sophomore Justin Porter are both that friend. Friends for nearly two years, the two hit it off right away, sharing their love for extreme sports while diving, dirt-biking, and snowboarding together. Additionally, even for interests that they don’t share, Porter supports Yusem’s BMX riding and Yusem supports Porter’s skateboarding. “[It] started a rampage of friendship,” Porter said. “[We] love the adrenaline and thrill. We’re naturally adventurous, so we pick up skills easily.” Together, they’re willing to take more risks, pushing each other to try new things. To them, it’s worth trying to do an arm stand somersault or reverse somersault, even if that means falling off a 10 meter high platform “[We] influence each other to raise our standards,” Yusem said, “in all aspects of our lives.” “[It’s] like competition, but friendly. ‘What, you did that? I have to too!” Porter added. Although they considered themselves best friends before they began diving together, it has made them closer by giving them something to share in common. They’re the same best friends who now also talk about diving and do flips together at parties. Before he began diving, Yusem trampolined and wrestled, however he stopped to pursue something different. For Porter, he was a gymnast for nine years before he became injured and couldn’t continue the sport any longer. “I enjoyed the acrobatic path and wanted to use my flipping abilities,” Porter said. Both ended up at the pool. Yusem began diving for MVHS his freshman year, deciding to pursue year round club diving for Santa Clara Diving a year later. For Porter, it was the opposite. He started diving club first and MVHS after. Porter and Yusem both started diving at SCD at some point in their career, a total

Photos coutesy of Ana Gash

DIVE IN Junior Danny Yusem (left) does a 1 1/2 backflip with a 1 1/2 twist and sophomore Justin Porter (right) performs a back flip with 1 1/2 twists in the 2009 season. coincidence. Yusem was already there a week before Porter showed up. “When we saw each other we just went, ‘Dude, you dive here too? No way! Hella funny,” Porter said. “Danny didn’t believe me at first when I told him at school.” Both describe school diving as more laid back and recreational with diving boards only one meter high and club diving as intense with platforms as high as 10 meters. However, intensity wasn’t the reason why Porter recently quit club diving. “I got sick all the time,” Porter said. “I just don’t have the immune system that Danny has.” But with the MVHS diving season coming up, they both hope to bring their experience to the team and have CCS in mind. “If anything happens, we’ve got each other’s back. Don’t mess with our crew,” Porter said.



For the LOVE of the GAME

See the lights


n Jan. 25 members of our community, particularly those occupying houses surrounding MVHS, discussed the possible installation of field lights on our football field at the district board meeting. To my—and surely your—dismay, the voice of emerged from these community members, many of which live in neighbor hoods right next to our school, were overwhelmingly opposed to the installation of the lights. I’ve decided to try to understand what these people, who chose to live in homes so close to a public high school, could have with a fixture that enables an activity that is as inalienable to the high school experience as watching home football games.

Shutting up the shut-ins

The most pertinent of the community’s concerns is the irritation that will result from the bright lights. Ignoring the obvious argument against this concern, which is that anyone who chooses to live right next to a crowded high school should expect to get caught in the crossfire of student activities every once in a while, I’ll entertain this complaint and try to step into the opposition’s shoes for a moment. The way they see it, the implementation of lights will result in an annoyance that can only be remedied by the purchase of some new curtains. How absurd—forcing homeowners to spend their hard earned money for the sake of our pleasure. But a closer look reveals that the tables are actually turned. What many do not realize is that not having home games bruises the pockets of the entire community. Our athletics department pours thousands of dollars each year into busing our teams to and from CHS. Furthermore, the money for the new field and lights is already in the district’s pocket thanks to Measure B. To not utilize it in what they believe to be the most effective way would be an enormous waste. How is that for the wallets of many being picked for the pleasure of a few?

More than just one person

The money issue represents the backwards logic that is being used by those in opposition of the lights. A few days ago I joined another reporter in going door to door to get opinions from those opposing neighbors of our school. What I learned from that experience was a little upsetting. Many of those who chose to speak against the lights made comments suggesting that MVHS was a single entity, one person acting selfishly against the will of all these innocent families. What I found so ignorant about this attitude was that our school and athletics department is not just one person, or even one single team. To muffle the voices of thousands of students and parents who would benefit and speak in favor of these lights is downright insulting.

It’s all about us

Perhaps the best argument against the outrageous assertions of our schools’ neighbors comes from something varsity football coach Jeff Mueller told me over a year ago when this light discussion began to pick up steam. He said that the main reason why our school was pushing for lights was that they wanted the students of MVHS “to have the real high school experience of a home football game.” You see, it’s not about 50 kids who are inconveniencing dozens of families so they can play five short games a year. Getting these lights will give generations of MVHS students an experience that we honestly deserve and many of us will sadly never get. To rob so many people of that over a few bothersome hours a year is far more than an irritation to the MVHS students and community. It’s simply unfair.



FEBRUARY 3, 2010

Lady Mats fundraise for breast cancer Despite the spirited purple and gold norm, team sports pink sweaters for the greater good by Erin Chiu


alking from class to class, you might see girls sporting light pink personalized sweatshirts walking among the crowd. To the typical passerby, it might seem like the girls basketball team failed to separate their reds from their whites in the laundry. But the pink basketball sweatshirts they have been sporting since the beginning of the season are actually a sign of a much larger mission than finishing with a winning record. This year, beyond practicing and playing basketball, the squad is standing up for a cause. The lady matadors are showing support for breast cancer and other people in need through different mediums of fundraising. Earlier in the season, English teacher and varsity girls basketball coach Sara Borelli had the idea to raise funds for breast cancer research. Inspired by the story of two sisters, senior Kelli Sum and sophomore Steffanie Sum, whose mother passed away in 2007 after a three-year battle with colon cancer, Borelli took the initiative to begin raising money for breast cancer. “I wanted to do something this year so that Kelli could have something to remember in her senior year,” Borelli said. For the past few years, Borelli says she has always thought about doing something as a team that required helping people that were in need. This year, the team began their fundraising for breast cancer by donating 10 percent of the profit they earned through selling cookie dough and candles. At basketball tournaments that MVHS hosts, an extra dollar was charged on certain days, and all proceeds that came from selling concessions went toward the cause. On top of that, the teams got together to make ornaments promoting breast cancer awareness that fans could buy at the tournament. Many ornaments were sold “This is definitely something different,” Kelli Sum said . “I think everyone is pretty excited to help out.” In addition to the breast cancer fundraising, the girls basketball team has also engaged in other charitable endeavors. On the second day of the varsity tournament, instead of collecting admission fees, the team allowed fans to bring a new toy to donate to the organization Toys for Tots, which donates the toys to the families of needy children around the holidays. Many players were more enthused about fundraising when told about where part of the money gathered would

Patrick Mi | El Estoque

HELPING HANDS The girls of the varsity basketball team hang out in their pink sweaters before a game on Jan 26. The proceeds from the sale of these sweaters has gone to breast cancer research, part of a team goal of raising $2,000 for the cause this season. The girls have also been selling cookie dough and candles and donating part of the proceeds from their tournaments to the cause. be going . Some even started to brainstorm other ideas for something the team could do for a different cause. Recently, the team has gotten together to make bagged lunches for a homeless shelter called the Sunnyvale Armory, an idea brought up by senior Neena Kashyap and her family. So far, the team has fundraised approximately $1,000, half of their goal of $2,000. When their goal is reached, the money will be donated to the organization Breast

Cancer Connections. The team will continue to sell pink sweatshirts to staff and faculty at school until the end of the season. Senior Rhian Hardee made note of the sense of pride that has come with all the charitable work the team has done this year. “I’m proud to wear the pink sweatshirt and maybe prouder when I see other people who supported our team and our cause by wearing theirs,” Hardee said.

Taking on performing arts from opposite ends of the spectrum Marquesas sophomore Teresa Li juggles dance and Tae Kwan Do, competing nationally by Natalie Chan


hen people find out sophomore Teresa Li practices both dance and taekwondo, they normally respond with “’those two go together?’” As a Marquesa on dance team, a part of the Dance Academy USA competitive teams, and a third degree black belt, Li has found a balance in her life to pursue both these sports. After doing homework during her open seventh period, Li dances for the Marquesas. Afterwards Li practices at the Dance Academy USA studio before heading home, sometimes as late as 9:00 p.m., to do homework and study for tests, then finally goes to sleep. Li has been competitively dancing since she was eight years old. Her instructor at Dance Academy USA recommended Li try to join the studio’s team. “At the studio, I auditioned for the dance team and got in so that’s what started everything,” Li said. She is a part of two dance styles at the dance studio: competitive jazz and contemporary, which require a set of five different classes each week. Along with her dance classes with Dance Academy USA, Li practices almost everday after school as a

Hannah Lem | El Estoque

DANCING QUEEN Sophomore Teresa Li practices with the Marquesas kick team on Jan. 27 in the dance room. Dancing to a Latin dance song, the team was preparing for the Homestead competition, which occurred on Jan. 30. Marquesa on MVHS’s nationally recognized dance team. “Teresa has a quiet confidence,” one of her multiple dance instructors at Dance Academy USA, Nikoli Scharin, said. “She’s achieved a strong will and she will push

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and push and push to achieve her goal.” MVHS dance coach Hilary Maxwell also said, “Teresa is definitely a very mature dancer. She gets some of the small subtle moves the other girls miss.” Since she began high school, Li has

been spending more time practicing for the dance team than for taekwondo. “It’s not that I prefer one,” she said. “It’s just how things worked out.” Li misses many taekwondo practices at Ernie Reyes West Coast Tae Kwon Do and tournaments due to her heavy schedule, but she competed often and well previously. Li began taekwondo at the age of six and, over the years, Li placed second in the 1012 age group at the Junior Olympics, first at the state level for multiple years, and first at the national level; she earned her third degree black belt just two years ago, and is still on track to test for her fourth degree black belt during her senior year. Having trained for roughly a decade in both sports, Li admits that she can transfer the skills she learned to other aspects of her life as well. Li stated that the discipline and goalsetting she picked up from taekwondo have helped her focus on school and studying to stay on top of her packed schedule. “It gets you in the right mindset, and helps you focus before tests,” Li said. Along with school, Li also says that each sport has helped her perform in the other. “The flexibility from dance helps with karate and the power from karate helps me with dance,” Li said.

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e & a 9 1 The final stage: dancers perform solo PAGE 20 Senior graduates early to pursue art career

PAGE 21 Spanish teacher follows passion for music

PAGE 23 Senior struggles to raise frogs

Students undergo years of preparation for their debut performances this summer by Varshini Cherukupalli


student dances to the rhythm of her teacher’s voice. Half an hour, one hour pass as she continues to move across the floor. Finally, she stops and wipes the sweat off her brow. But that’s just one practice—there are many more to go. Hundreds of hours of practice for two hours of perfection. The number of Indian classical dancers at MVHS is large, and so is the number of students preparing for their arangetrams this year. And, as those students have learned, preparing for an arangetram is far from purely a physical challenge—it is a very personal process as well. Indian classical dance is a significant extracurricular activity for many South Asian females in the Bay Area. Two of its most prominent dance styles are Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi; both styles are vastly similar, with the dancers portraying various Hindu figures through the use of body movements, hand gestures and facial expressions. For most dancers, the pinnacle of their dance education is the arangetram, a two-hour solo debut performance which showcases their knowledge of the art. The majority of students hold their arangetrams after they have learned dance for several years. Senior Ramya Kedlaya has been learning Bharatanatyam for the past 11 years and is currently planning her arangetram with her sister this summer. They had originally planned to do it three years ago; however, Kedlaya’s sister injured her leg and the arangetram was postponed. Kedlaya herself is familiar with leg complications, having had a serious condition since she was young that hindered her ability to

walk. Therefore, her arangetram is even more of a personal challenge. The most difficult part physically, she explains, is gaining the stamina necessary to dance for two hours straight, and Kedlaya currently practices at least an hour a day to overcome this obstacle. Sophomore Meghana Murthy, who did her Bharatanatyam arangetram last year, agrees that the physical endurance required was the hardest aspect of her arangetram. “In between pieces, you get 20 seconds to catch your breath and drink some Gatorade,” Murthy said. “Then you have to get back out there.” Though the arangetram is a very physical process, it is also meaningful personally to each dancer. Murthy recalls the bravery she gained through the entire process; with the prospect of four hundred people watching her every move, Murthy explains, the arangetram was intimidating. “Twenty years from now, I will think about how hard it was to go through this, but also, I will remember the courage I had to get on stage and do this performance alone,” Murthy said. Freshman Neelima Mandava, who is planning her Kuchipudi arangetram for next year, agrees that persevering through the arangetram process is an accomplishment in itself. “If I am able to pursue it for so long, it’s a great achievement,” Mandava said. “More importantly, it’s about dancing in front of those people I love.” Like Mandava, Kedlaya’s arangetram is significant to everybody in her family. Since her sister is in college, Kedlaya is responsible for teaching her the pieces when her sister cannot attend classes. They have grown closer through preparing

together, and Kedlaya explains that she has become more patient as well. Furthermore, her relationship with her dance teacher, Sundara Swaminathan, has developed deeply—her teacher gives her senior status even though she has not completed her debut. “It’s really big to have that recognition in the school, where the younger kids look up to you,” Kedlaya said. “I think it’s really nice of her to give us that role in the school even though we still haven’t done our arangetram.” She acknowledges that her dance school—which she refers to as her “extended family”—is waiting for her arangetram, since she has been in all of her school’s productions. This vital support system plays an important role in motivating Kedlaya to continue through the numerous physical challenges. “If I ever ask myself, ‘What’s the point of this?’ I think about that—what it would mean to my entire family,” Kedlaya said. “It’s so emotion-filled with everybody rooting for us.” Her own mother, a well-known dancer in India, helps her perfect her technique at home and is, in essence, second teacher. Because of her mother’s involvement, Kedlaya explains, her mother is another person who will be extremely proud of the sisters’ achievement. With all of her friends and family at her side, Kedlaya is ready to take this last step. “I just keep thinking about the thank you speech that you give at the end of your arangetram,” Kedlaya said. “My sister and I are going to say, ‘Finally, this happened.’”

PUTTING ON A SHOW Sophomore Meg Murthy poses for her arangetram pictures. Victor Kuo | El Estoque Photo Illustration


Junior Meg Murthy

These hands shape a flute, representing Lord Krishna. In Hindu mythology, Krishna is depicted as everything from a naughty child to a lover to a hero.

Stefan Ball | El Estoque

The goddess Parvati is pictured here. Parvati is the wife of Lord Shiva and symbolizes divine feminism, elegance and motherhood.

Lord Shiva, illustrated here, is a Hindu god believed to reside in the Himalaya mountain range. He represents power and ferocity —the destroyer of evil.

Lord Ganesha, depicted here, is the son of Lord Shiva and the goddess Parvati and is worshipped as the remover of obstacles.

Omegle rises as social outlet for teens, but safety is an issue Site based on talking to strangers raises fears among some, but not a problem for others by Vijeta Tandon

O thrives on the basis of one phrase: “Talk to strangers!” With thousands of users online at any point in time, it allows you to do just that. By clicking on a simple blue button labeled “Start a chat,” Omegle pairs one up with a random stranger and they are redirected to a page aesthetically similar to most other online messaging services. The difference here, however, is that this chat is between “You” and “Stranger.” Sound creepy? It did to freshman Karina Schuler when she first heard about the website’s concept from one of her friends, but after using the website for a couple of months now, her opinion has changed. “At first I was like, ‘Woah, chatting with strangers, that’s a little risky,’” Schuler said. “But as long as you play it really safe and make sure you stay aware of your boundaries, it should be pretty comfortable. It’s like talking to a stranger on the street, but you’re just farther away.” Through the use of Omegle, Schuler has communicated

with people who said they were from all over the world, including Korea and Indonesia. Senior Madhav Srinivasan, another Omegle user, recalls having a conversation about current events with a stranger who claimed to be studying economics in Brazil. In general, however, Srinivasan notes that Omegle users interested in having a real conversation are hard to find. “They use it either for trolling people, basically just [using Omegle] to annoy people, or for cybersex,” Srinivasan said. “Only very, very rarely will you find someone who wants to have a legitimate conversation.” To solve this problem, Srinivasan admits to having had to “Disconnect” chats with multiple people. Once an interesting person is found, the relationship can develop. In freshman Erin Tatangsurja’s case, she met a girl through Omegle who claims to be a freshman at a high school in New York. The two continue their friendship outside of Omegle by communicating though email. Tatangsurja realizes that there is no way to confirm whether the girl is telling the truth or not.

see OMEGLE on page 22


Founder: Leif K-Brooks, an 18 year-old high school student at the time Date launched: March 25, 2009 Number of users: 5000 users at any time Number of daily hits: About 150,000 How it works: Users open website and click “Start a Chat” to begin a conversation with another Omegle user from around the world.



FEBRUARY 3, 2010

Clubs in a flash Business and a show by Somel Jammu and Kanwalroop Singh


n the world of big, well-known clubs, veering from tradition is either insane or impossible. But two sophomores, Suruchi Salgar and Manvita Tatavarthy, recently got the chance to start a tradition, not just follow one. For the first time, DECA held an entertainment night on Jan. 16 to benefit Partners in Health, an organization that provides health care to some of the poorest countries in the world. Among those is Haiti, which has been drastically affected by the recent earthquake. After meeting a speaker from Stanford University, who had been involved in the Partners in Health program, Salgar and Tatavarthy decided that was where the money from the show would go. Thus they began the planning of the event with a team of 250 students. The entertainment night featured acts from several MVHS bands, including Brown Sound, the dance team, a break dancer, a harp player and a speaker from Stanford University who works with Partners in Health. In total, DECA raised about $1,500 and considered the event a grand success.

Jacqueline Barr | El Estoque

STEP ‘N SPARKLE The Marquesas performed in the auditorium on Jan. 16, as part of DECA business club’s Entertainment Night. The show, which had an attendance of over 50 people and a total of seven different performances, was held to raise funds for the Partners in Health organization. Opening Korean borders


Fusing music and charity

Unveiling the invisible

ith the aroma of pickled radish and warm rice cakes welcoming interested members into room C202, officers of the Han Kook Club began their first meeting on Sept. 28, 2009. The kimbab they served was the first of many more exotic dishes as well as traditional activities that would follow at later meetings. The Han Kook Club, started last fall, is focused on teaching MVHS students more about Korean culture. According to president junior Chanhyuk Park, the club is currently applying for permanent status to establish themselves as a hub for Koreans and those interested in Korean culture. “There are a lot of Korean [students] at MVHS,” Park said. “We want to show the whole picture of Koreans—what you learn about a country [in school] is not necessarily everything.”


hey pretend to assassinate each other in games of spoon tag, organize viewings of Michael Jackson’s “This Is It,” and hold book drives for the Invisible Children. Although it is difficult to define what Undead Awareness is, it is certain that there is one thing the club is not: predictable. Their activities follow a guiding principle: everything the club does must be an interpretation of the word “undead.” And recently, their interpretations extended to community service. From Jan. 19 to Feb. 12, Undead Awareness is holding a book drive to aid the Invisible Children, an organization that delivers used books and helps build schools for child soldiers or uneducated children in Uganda. “[As a small club], we wanted to do something that would really make an impact,” president senior Kavita Singh said.


ost would think that war veterans and rock music have little to do with each other. As a result, Rock Fusion’s plan to donate to the Paralyzed Veterans of America charity is something new. Partnering with Rock Fusion to do this is Gov Team. According to Gov Team adviser, social science teacher Christopher Chiang, starting in February the team will begin raising money for their Washington D.C. trip by collaborating with Rock Fusion to help complete their benefit CD. With Gov Team’s help in publicity and sales, Rock Fusion will split their profit between the charity and Gov Team. “We’re really just brainstorming on it right now,” Chiang said, “but it’s supposed to be a partnership where we raise funds and [Rock Fusion] can highlight [the recorded bands’] musical talent.”

Time of the essence when it comes to polishing art portfolios Senior graduates early in order to perfect art portfolio and continue pursuing her passion by Christine Chang


enior Lulu Liu hasn’t gone to class for the past 21 days and she’s not planning to show up anytime soon. But Liu isn’t your typical hardcore truant. In fact, she has technically already graduated from MVHS. She’s already gotten to hold her diploma, which reads “December 17, 2009” as the graduation date. But even with no classes to worry about now, Liu is too busy for senioritis to kick in. She has taken the entire semester off to complete her art portfolio for college applications, as well as work on additional art pieces of personal interest. But while this may seem like an easy evasion of school, Liu’s free second semester came at the cost of an academically loaded first semester. This summer, Liu completed her literature credits ahead of time. And last semester, Liu took on a heavier course load by doubling in social sciences, thus finishing all course requirements needed for graduation by December. “I think it’s worth it to take an extra half a year to work towards a career or something you want to do because a lot of times in art college you’ll be too busy to have time for personal projects,” Liu said.

Ideally, Liu wants to be a comic artist. But since the comic field is increasingly competitive, Liu has chosen to major in animation for entertainment and design because it is more vocationally practical. Senior Samantha Chen is one of Liu’s fellow art enthusiasts who has looked at several of her art pieces, and sometimes offers her two cents. “I think [taking a semester off] is good because [Liu] is very career-oriented, and she already has a path,” Chen said. “She has a distinct style with definitely some Asian influence—like Asian art with an edge.” Chen often talks with Liu about the conceptual aspects of her art, though not so much the mechanical aspects. In addition, Chen has given Liu personal feedback on her comics, especially concerning the written dialogue that accompanies the art. “With her comics, I help her edit story lines and ideas so she can flesh things out. For comics, a lot of times the writing and concepts need people to bounce ideas off of,” Chen said. Despite the “starving artists” stereotype, Liu’s parents are supportive of her career path. Liu is confident that she will find a job with a degree in entertainment and design, but whether her dream job of becoming a

comic artist works out may be less certain. Art teacher Brian Chow, who has worked directly with Liu the past three years, acknowledges that her plan of action is suitable for students with certain qualities. “It depends on the student. Lulu has this certain level of maturity and motivation, which are traits essential for her to pursue art on her own,” Chow said. “For a lot of kids, those same skills aren’t developed until college because the independent spirit that Lulu had early on isn’t inherent in all high school students.” Chow is also aware of Liu’s personal interest in comics and he encourages all art students to pursue side projects in addition to minimum course requirements. “I think personal work is the most powerful work because only some skills are acquired from assignments and things done in class,” Chow said. “My philosophy is that students reach a point where they need to create their own solutions. They need the freedom to personalize and to really make art their own.” So while Liu’s name may have been wiped off attendance sheets for now, that very name may be the same one autographed on acclaimed comic books 10 years from now.

Courtesy of Lulu Liu

CREATING A NEW CHARACTER Senior Lulu Liu (left) uses her personal tablet to sketch images, like a draft of the character for her future comic strip (above). Christine Chang | El Estoque While some of Liu’s artwork is simply for fun, others are part of her art portfolio, which she has taken a semester off of school to complete.

FEBRUARY 3, 2010



Teacher pursues music in a foreign land Spanish teacher María Autrán continues passion for singing, inspired by move to U.S. notebooks filled with romantic stories, far-fetched ideas, and song lyrics. Autrán further explored the arts and began ach morning, Spanish teacher María Autrán would to drift toward the area of theater arts and drama. drive to the local community college she taught at in But her parents, usually supportive of everything she Gilroy. Each morning, she would pass by miles and aspired to, disagreed with her idea of moving to Russia to miles of fields on either side of the road. Each morning, it study as part of a theater arts institute after high school. would be the same. Instead, they encouraged her to study in the U.S. where But one morning, rushing to make it on time, she took there was already family. A bit reluctantly, Autrán traveled a short cut and instead drove on an unpaved path through to the U.S. and after English language classes and countless the fields. What she saw qualification exams, she graduated. Then, LISTEN NOW shocked her. A farmer’s life surprising both herself and her family, she is pretty hard, but never chose to stay in the U.S. To listen to her music, visit: before had Autrán seen “I had to change gears [to live on my something like this—it was own],” Autrán explained. “Growing up, I rainy season, and with the [had learned] all these bad things about the rain and irrigation system combined, the farmers’ homes country, but I saw that it wasn’t all that bad. I learned to had been flooded. In a country where everyone was appreciate the good things.” supposedly prosperous, the sight was unexpected. Little did Autrán know, though, that her choice to be Unexpected, just like the song that was beginning to realistic and live in the U.S. as a teacher would actually lead form in Autrán’s mind. to the revival of her musical passion. Returning home that In 1998 Autrán picked up her favorite hobby of rainy evening, she sat down and wrote out the poem. Then songwriting and composing music once again. Once a silly picking up her acoustic guitar, she added a few strings. The childhood pastime that was started and left in intermission next thing she knew, she was mailing a recording of her for a few years. song to a Spanish production company that had televised “Playing music and writing songs is not a business I advertisements for a music competition. profit from,” Autrán said. “It’s only a pastime. [But] it’s [a Emerging as the winner, Autrán’s song about living in pastime] that allows me to tell stories.” a foreign land and working to create a living, titled “Tierra As a young child, Autrán attended a private Catholic Ajena,” was featured on the company’s compiled album. school from preschool to fourth grade. By the age of eight, Along with this first success, Autrán continued on to she had decided she no longer wanted to go to a private produce two more albums of her own—each song written school, and the next year, she began attendance at a local by her and recorded to simple acoustic strings arranged by public elementary school. the company’s composer. Around the same age that she began attendance at “In the beginning, I thought, ‘Where did this come the public school, she began to write songs and stories at from?” Autrán said. “But it was natural, I wasn’t trying.” home—a trip to Autrán’s childhood home in Mexico City, At the moment, Autrán is unsure about the future. Her Mexico will reveal stacks upon stacks of old, well-used songs come and go, and like before, she’ll wait to see what

by Somel Jammu


Stefan Ball | El Estoque

MUSIC FROM THE HEART Spanish teacher Maria Autran plays her guitar on Jan. 26. Autran has recorded two albums of original songs. happens. Maybe she’ll even leave songwriting as a hobby and move onto something else. Or maybe, just maybe, she’ll once again be the voice for others that continue to toil quietly.

A story in a song: Winter guard freed from music restraints With marching band not accompanying the team, winter guard gets to choose own music by Hannah Lem


Hannah Lem | El Estoque

WINTER GUARD Senior Samantha Chen practices rifle tossing with the winter guard team on Jan. 19.

ive, six, five, six, seven, eight. Throw the rifle, catch the rifle, strike a pose. If winter guard perfected the move, the room will be quiet. This silence signifies that no member dropped their rifle or flag in the process. After they go through this drill many times with different moves, they are ready to put it to music. The music that they choose is crucial, since it’s the music that tells their story. The color guard, which performs during the spring and summer, is limited to dancing with marching music, since they always perform to the beat of the marching band. Marching band director Jon Fey gives the color guard instructors the music, and then the instructors create the show. The winter guard is unique because it can perform indoor shows without the accompaniment of the band. The show itself is different because they can choose their own music, and there are different themes that they can pick. “It’s a little harder to have to perform with

band because there are actual marching dance work involved, “ freshman Grace drills that we have to follow as well,” senior Zhang said. Instructor Johnston agrees with the Samantha Chen said. “Sometimes the band changes the drills and we end up walking members of the team. “The traditional march isn’t really into them during the performance. We have to coordinate more, so it takes a lot creative, “ Daniella Johnston said. “In the more cooperation between the band and winter, we have the ability to be more creative with our routines.” the guard.” Johnston, Dario Ramos and The music that Olyvia Jin are the three instructors. the winter guard UPCOMING SHOW Johnston mainly works with the can choose from flags, Ramos with the weapon ranges from lyrical Where: MVHS lines, and both Ramos and Jin to instrumental, and When: March 27 focus on dance. the music that they “[The instructors] choreograph, choose depends on the show that they are doing. For this year’s so we never make up our own. Their show, the theme is time and it is performed choreography is a lot better,” laughs Chen. The guard has currently done two shows to the song Ema Sh’ Li by Michael Allen Harrison. Throughout the season, the already. The first show was at Logan High winter guard continuously works on their School, and the second show at Homestead show. The usually perform the part of the High School. “[The second performance] could have show that they have practiced up to, and the entire performance is not finished until gone better. But it makes us try harder so now we have two sections and practice on late in the season. “There’s more of an emphasis on our Fridays,” said senior Nicole Yang. part, there’s no band, and there’s more



FEBRUARY 3, 2009

Student collections break from norm The days of baseball cards and bottlecaps are no more: new items reflect student quirks by Ashley Wu


ne look at sophomore Connie Tsai’s wallet and you can see all the movies that she’s watched in the past year or two. The most recent movie ticket she has is from “The Blind Side” and she has tickets dating back to 2007. These days, many people collect ordinary things such as coupons or books, but once in a while, we come across people who have swayed from the norm and collect something quirky or old-fashioned. With collection. senior Steve Wang makes always smelling fresh a priority. His two favorite two colognes are Calvin Klein Man and Diesel Fuel for Life. Freshman Rachel Beyda visits Hawaii every year is reunited with her obsession: flamingos. Her collection of flamingo related paraphernalia ranges from flamingo statues to flamingo shaped pasta. Her friends, who are aware of her flamingo craze, know exactly what souvenirs to bring back from their trips. “My friends think [my obsession] is pretty funny,” Beyda said. “Sometimes they take pictures of [flamingo stuff] and tag me [in them] on Facebook.” And then there are those who prefer the more traditional types of collections. Sophomore Kevin Tsukii has been collecting stamps since third grade, and he has collected a binder full of them. “At first I would take all the stamps that I got in the mail; but those were the same old American flag, same old Liberty Bell, patriotic and pretty boring,” Tsukii said. “I collect mostly foreign stamps for that reason.” Whatever they are, collections keep people with all types of interests entertained and always has room to grow.


“I just fell in love with flamingos when I was little,” freshman Rachel Beyda said. Her collection of paraphernalia includes everything from socks and purses to statuettes and salt and pepper shakers, all featuring her beloved flamingo.

Senior Steve Wang keeps his collection of colognes on his table at home. His reason for collecting them? “It makes you smell good, and girls love it!” he said.

Sophomore Kevin Tsukii collected American stamps at first, but quickly became bored by them and began collecting foreign ones. “Nothing beats the smell of hot stamps that just got steamed off the envelope,” he said.

“It’s just something I do,” sophomore Connie Tsai, collector of over 100 movie tickets, said. “I like to go through the the tickets after the year’s ended and see, ‘Oh, I’ve watched a lot of movies.’”

OMEGLE: Social networking site allows students to meet others from abroad continued from page 19

So far her pen pal hasn’t done anything that makes Tatangsurja doubt her, and she seems to have the personality of a ninth grader. This situation illustrates the paradox that the website’s users face—in a sense, Omegle may allow one to truly be themselves, but it also allows others to completely fabricate an identity. To safeguard themselves from this mystery, Tatangsurja recognizes that users of the website must use their “internet common sense” and not give out any personal or telling details, such as age, hometown, or gender, that could potentially be used to track them. At the same time, the anonymity and mysteriousness of the website is what has made it so popular amongst its many users.

“You have no accountability and people don’t know who you are at all,” Srinivasan said. “You can get into a lot of things that you can’t get into in real life because people don’t take race, gender, or who they’re talking to, into account. All those things stand in the way. On Omegle, none of that happens.” At the end of the day, however, Schuler acknowledges the fact that Omegle is ultimately not something to be taken too seriously. “The majority of people who use it probably use it for the same reasons I do,” Schuler said. “They’re bored, they just want to chat with a stranger, have some fun, talk and joke around.” And even if, by chance, one does run into trolls or any sort of shady characters, Schuler provides the perfect solution to the problem. “Disconnect, and it’s gone forever.”

Screenshot taken from

SAY HI El Estoque uses Omegle to have a friendly chat with a user who claims to be from Spain on Jan. 29.

FEBRUARY 3, 2010


Finding the sweetest spot Discover a new candy store just in time for Valentine’s Day by Jane Kim Powell’s Sweet Shoppe 35 North Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos

Saratoga Chocolates 14572 Big Basin Way, Cupertino

layful, childlike and magical, Powell’s Sweet Shop doesn’t fail to lure in children, adults and everyone in between. The moment you step into the shop, it’s easy to forget your everyday burdens and find yourself completely immersed in candy. The decorations dangle from the ceiling and lights line the store. A large toy soldier stands in the front of the entrance, welcoming all who enter this child’s fantasy. To add to this almost unworldly effect, the store always plays “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” on a flatscreen T.V. in the back of the store. It’s not a rare occurrence to see an adult and child sitting on the sofa and eating candy while watching the movie. Not only does the sweet shop have the perfect ambiance for a candy store but also a large variety of candies from lesser known to commercial brands. The store also sells truffles and gelato. If you’re looking for some hard-to-find childhood sweets or want to watch Charlie’s adventures in the chocolate factory, you will find satisfaction here.

ith all the manufactured goods seen today, it’s refreshing to come across Saratoga Chocolates. Set in downtown Saratoga, the small chocolate boutique specializes in dark chocolate and stands out with its cozy feel. All of its truffles and chocolates are handmade using only natural ingredients and no preservatives. Though the atmosphere is completely different from the excitement of Powell’s Sweet Shop, it holds its own appeal. The clean and tasteful atmosphere matches the elegance of their chocolates, and is very nice for adults and people with fine tastes. Saratoga Chocolates also dedicates a small part of their store to different types of tea for its tea fans. On the downside, the chocolates are a bit pricey, averaging around $1.70 per chocolate truffle. So if you’re looking to impress someone with a gift or want to indulge in some handmade chocolates, the elegant Saratoga Chocolates is the best place for you.



Godiva Chocolatier 2855 Stevens Creek Blvd., Valley Fair Mall, Santa Clara


his incredibly trendy chocolate store not only sells chocolate delights, but also has a chic atmosphere that attracts customers of all ages. Its marble storefront is a first glance at how elegant the store is inside. Its walls are milky white framed with shelves colored a dark chocolate brown. The clean set up of the shop and new age music playing in the background only enhance the chocolate shopping experience. Not many children are seen in the store but Godiva sells exclusive teddy bears that kids would enjoy. Customers also get a kick out of watching the employees hand-dip strawberries into melted chocolate in front of their store window. They have truffles of dark and milk chocolate and all chocolate assortments to suit your tastes. Another chocolatey treat found on the the shelves are chocolate biscuit cookies. The prices land in the $20 to $40 range for the pre-selected arrangement boxes. And for those who aren’t in the mood for truffles, regular milk or dark chocolate bars stacked by the cashier are an easy fix to satiate the craving for something simple.

Aji Ichiban 10123 North Wolfe Road, Cupertino Square, Cupertino


ucked into a little corner of the Vallco shopping center, this ethnic candy store contains a wide selection of candies and snacks, but the store itself is lacking. The store is a bit of a let down when you go in at the end of a day only to find that the candies are often stale and retain some of the scent of Jane Kim | El Estoque dried fish in the store. Although the store isn’t as clean as the other three shops and lacks a certain charm that the other shops had, if you enjoy the occasional asian snack and candy then the products make up for it. The shelves are lined with snacks that may surprise those who aren’t familiar with the Asian culture. They have grilled crab, dried squid, dried fish, pickled plums and more that you can select yourself and pay by the pound. There are lychee-flavored hard candies and other more exotic flavors for anyone wanting to try something new. For those who want to stick to what they know, Aji Ichiban also has more familiar candies such as coca cola gummies and sour strips in clear boxes free for the picking. For those searching for variety, make your next stop Aji Ichiban.

From tadpoles to wild frogs, a new challenge Senior Alex Cheng struggles to keep aquarium dreams alive by Erin Chiu


ntering his room on a windy day, senior Alex Cheng approached his yet-to-be-finished aquarium only to find one of his six dart frogs sitting motionless. Disappointed, Cheng then proceeded to carefully remove his frog from the aquarium and dispose of it. In a span of two weeks, Cheng repeated this process twice more as the deaths of his tropical frogs slowly mounted. “I was slightly disappointed in myself when the first three [frogs] died, but other than that, I felt indifferent about their deaths,” Cheng said. He started out with little resources and experience in the field. Attempts at catching and raising wild frogs ended poorly, so, through an online forum, www., and with a janitorial job working for his uncle, he gained both the knowledge and the money to purchase and raise tropical frogs. However, he underestimated the difficulty of this task. The most difficult aspect was the culturing of the fruit flies. The task seemed

like a simple one at first: culture fruit flies, feed the frogs, and repeat. “The most challenging part is definitely being responsible about feeding,” Cheng said. “It requires starting [fruit fly] cultures every so often and feeding regularly.” However, his mistake was raising the fruit flies at around 60 degrees fahrenheit, as cold weather had begun to creep up on Cupertino. At this temperature, the reproduction of fruit flies begins to slow and eventually the population is killed off. By the time Cheng realized this, it was too late, ultimately resulting in three out of six of his frogs’ death by starvation. However, these deaths have not deterred him from continuing to raise his pets. Now, with only three frogs left, Cheng is more careful about making sure that he is culturing enough fruit flies. Currently, his aquarium has only his frogs and minimal coral, but Cheng hopes to soon add some hiding places for his frogs, which will keep them at a lower stress level. Cheng continues to raise his remaining three frogs. If however, the rest of the frogs he has die, then he will, for the moment,

Photo courtesy of Alex Cheng

SITTING PRETTY One of senior Alex Cheng’s three frogs, resting in an aquarium.

pause in his task. “I’m going to college soon so I’m going to have my aquarium so I plan on taking only one to college so I’ll probably end up selling or giving away the other ones and taking my aquarium to college with fish and coral,” said Cheng. “I’ll definitely pursue [raising] them later in life.”



the Temp

Starving artist


he lights were dim and the weather was cold, but the experience was one to remember. I sat against a cold wall on a corner in Santana Row with a small box in front of me. It was just me and my guitar, singing whichever songs came to mind. It was time for my new job, but this time I decided to choose one worth remembering rather than well-paying. I knew from the beginning that my street job would get me at most a couple dollars—I’m not close to being a professional at guitar. But I thought it would be interesting. I prepared a few popular acoustic songs including songs by Taylor Swift, the Scene Aesthetic and Daphne Loves Derby, dressed casually — jeans, a sweater and Vans — tuned my guitar, and set out on an adventure. Not really. But I felt that way. I was both excited and nervous about the kind of response I would receive. I hoped that this experience would open my eyes and I would learn a few things along the way. I definitely did.

Lesson One

You learn a lot about people by being in a lower position, literally or socially. I’ve split the types of people I met into two categories: the people who glance and smile and the people who stop to listen. Most people fell in the first category. But I didn’t mind if they didn’t stop; even if they had no time or didn’t want to stop and listen, they at least acknowledged what I was doing. As for the second, people who stopped to listen made me a bit self-conscious but their company did encourage me. I remember my voice cracked one time. But either way, I learned a lot from people while I played. I know it sounds creepy, but you can tell a lot about a person just by observing. You can tell who is impatient or who is pretty laid-back. You can tell who knows how to play an instrument or who enjoys listening to music. And so, one of the easiest ways to learn about someone is through simple observation. People reveal their true character through the smallest actions, like a roll of the eyes or an impatient twitching of the foot; you just have to notice them. It’s a social skill.

Lesson Two

It’s always a joy to meet a nice person. Nothing beats meeting a genuine smile from a stranger when you’re alone in an unfamiliar setting. I was feeling a little insecure and a bit out of the ordinary — I usually don’t do things like this. And right when it’s about to get to me, someone walks up and smiles and starts a conversation when I pause between sets. The first time it was a manager, who gave me his card to play gigs at this place he knows. He was in casual attire and looked like he was in his late thirties. The second was a young white guy that looks like the stereotypical musician, with tight jeans and long wavy hair, who asked for contact information to jam sometime. We talked about favorite instrument brands and bands, different styles, how we learned to play, etc. But the point is, nothing beats kindness from a stranger, whether it’s a friend’s friend, a waiter at a restaurant, or a person sitting on the street. And thus the lesson: show a little kindness to the next person you see. The world would be a better place with a few more smiling faces. And so I ended up with a grand total of $10.42. Not bad for playing music for two or three hours. I thought of it, rather than as a job, as practice time for a passion of mine. Although my fingers do hurt from pressing on the strings so much, I hope to do it again sometime if only just for fun.



Senior Angela Lin creates her own designs from plain canvas bags interview conducted by Aileen Le

Q: Why did you decide to do this project? A: My dad got free bags from his company. I thought

The best and worst features of the Bamboo Fun CTE-650 by Sarika Patel

that they were ugly, but they were good material canvas bags. Since I’m an artist, I had paint in my room and thought that I’d just paint [on the bag] and make it prettier.

I use [my tablet] for digital design [during] ROP class, yearbook and anything else that requires me to make cartoons. Sometimes it can be hard to use, but it’s really fun to paint with it.

Q: Describe how you made one of the bags. A: I got a bag and cut out the jean pocket in a circle

using a compass. Then, I glued that on top of the bag and painted the base layer on it. I let it dry and then sketched my drawing and started painting. When I was done, I sealed in the color with a clear coat paint that I got from [art teacher Brian Chow].

the expert: Katherine Lu Best features: Pressure applied by pen adjusts the thickness of the stroke

Worst features:

Q: What’s your inspiration? A: I saw customized Vans shoes

online and thought that I’d do the same, but with a bag instead.

Installing driver required

Q: What do you like most about them? A: No one else has them. They’re customized

and unique. I paint whatever just comes to me. It’s really random and spontaneous, just what[ever] I like.

Q: What do people say about your bags? A: [They] think they’re very cool and will ask where I

bought them from. Some people want me to make bags for them, but it’s hard to make something customized to their taste. For me, I know what fits me. Anything I make I like.

Q: How long does it take to make each bag? A: One week including drying time and six hours


Uses: Photoshop digital painting, yearbook



painting time.

Stefan Ball | El Estoque

“I painted poppy fields because I like flowers and poppies are simple flowers to draw.”


“I cut out the back pocket of a pair of jeans and painted the sky and balloons.”

Q: Do you plan on making more in the future? A: If I have more time I’ll make more, maybe as gifts. The

only tricky thing is that the design has to be personal since it is a reflection of someone’s personality.

With the chill of the February breeze, MVHS ladies throw on their coats to keep warm and stay stylish

What’s next? IDC Talent Show Feb. 5, 7 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Fremont High School Watch FUHSD students show off their talents. Tickets are $5 with an ASB card, $10 without.

RENT musical

Patterned coat New York

Belted Navy Trench Forever 21

Feb. 18 - 28 Roble Studio Theater, Stanford Tickets $5 - $15 Plaid jacket Hollister

Buttoned overcoat Love Culture

Sadie’s “Once upon a Time” dance Feb. 26, 7:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. MVHS Gym

senior Vishakha Ravishankar

junior Sharon Cohen

senior Kelli Ni

freshman Shaila Jain Sarika Patel | El Estoque



What’s in your bag? Take a peek into your classmates’ bags this month:

“ ” “ ” My friend broke [this CD] in half some time before winter break. I kind of forgot it was there. It’s really shiny so you can use it as a mirror!

I have so many [stuffed animal items] because they’re cute. A lot of people ask why I bring a stuffed animal to school, but then they find out it’s a pencil pouch so it is okay.

senior Ruby Jang

junior Christine Yoo

“ ” “ ”

I got this [popsicle stick] from Key Club on Club Day. They said that you might win a prize with it. But my friend has one with two rhinestones, sophomore Craig Boman so I think he might win.

I’ve had this [broken protractor] since I was in seventh grade. [Even though it’s broken] I just haven’t taken it out of my bag.

sophomore Brian DeLue

Photo illustration by Mansi Pathak and Stefan Ball

Volume 41, Issue 5, Feb. 3, 2010  

A student publication from Cupertino, Calif.

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