Volume 53, Issue 2, November 18, 2022

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33 COVER UP Delving into pressures and ways the MVHS community chooses to cover up VOLUME 53 ISSUE 2 NOVEMBER 2022

21840 McClellan Rd, Cupertino, CA 95014 elestoque.org mv.el.estoque@gmail.com


Editors-in-Chief: Krish Dev, Anna Jerolimov

Managing Editors: Melody Cui, Gauri Manoj, Kripa Mayureshwar, Mira Wagner Design Editors: Mikaylah Du, Sophia Ma Graphics Editor: Sonia Verma Copy Editors: Minjae Kang, April Wang, Brandon Xu Website Editors: Yash Thapiyal, Vincent Zhao Visuals Editor: Aditya Shukla News Editors: Lauren Chuu, Mihir Vishwarupe, Lillian Wang, Angela Zhang Feature Editors: Taryn Lam, Aashna Patel, Irene Tang, Stephanie Zhang Opinion Editors: Meggie Chen, Tvisha Gupta, Sarah Liu, Jisha Rajala

Entertainment Editors: Nameek Chowdhury, Avni Gandhi, Jiya Singh, Aashi Venkat Sports Editors: Crystal Cheng, Kathryn Foo, Kalyani Puthenpurayil, Michelle Zheng Staff Writers: Chiran Arumugam, Anika Bhandarkar, Samika Bhatkar, Ananya Chaudhary, Sagnik Nag Chowdhury, Jason Chu, Abha Dash, Arjun Dhruv, Lily Jiang, Pranati Kotamraju, Manas Kottakota, Jami Lim, Sameer Maheshwari, Megha Mummaneni, Riya Murthy, Aidan Ruan, Trisha Sannappanavar, Dahlia Schilling, Darpan Singh, Alan Tai, Eshika Tiwari, Anabelle Walker, Alyssa Yang, Alex Zhang, Eric Zhou Adviser: Julia Satterthwaite, MJE

Mission Statement: El Estoque will accurately inform our community through well-researched, unbiased and in-depth accounts of the student body and staff, news and developments and taboo topics prevalent in and near MVHS. Investigating various voices and credible perspectives, we hope to foster active discussion, effect positive change and spread awareness of timely, relevant content. As a trustworthy and reliable source of information, we strive to be accountable, adaptable and ready to correct and address our mistakes. Constantly striving for improvement, we will uphold integrity and ethics to be respectful and empathetic to our sources and our readers. We will exercise our press freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment and California Ed Code 48907 while maintaining a community passionate about our work and journalism as a whole.

New experiences often invoke a sense of wonder. Losing your first tooth and waking up the next day to fling your pillow aside and reveal the crisp dollar bill underneath. Waving goodbye to your teary-eyed parents on the first day of kindergarten. Feeling like you’ll never be happy again after your first breakup — but then learning that you can live without them. Dropping folded sheets of paper into a ballot box for the first time, knowing that your voice is helping change society.

The older we get, the fewer things there are left for us to experience for the first time. Driving for the first time presents newfound freedom and opportunity, but soon it becomes just another part of our routine. The excitement that the first day of a new school year brings quickly dissipates, and soon we find ourselves saying we just want to “get through the day.” After we become accustomed to doing things that were once novel to us, everyday life no longer sparks the same wonder and curiosity that it used to, and we begin to feel like we’re going through the same motions every day.

But we cannot measure our lives in firsts, always waiting for the next big thing. We’re inevitably going to do fewer things for the first time as we get older, and if we’re constantly anticipating a few big events — like college acceptances, graduation and vacations — we’re going to become so caught up in the allure of those experiences that we will overlook the joy that can be found in our day-today life.

Instead, we must strive to appreciate the activities that we might consider monotonous — small, ordinary experiences like sipping warm tea on a rainy day, rereading our favorite books and laughing with our friends during lunch — the moments that truly make up our lives. If we keep waiting for the next big thing, we’re going to spend our whole lives doing just that: waiting, not living. Every day has something to offer, and by actively seeking it out, we can find wonder in the seemingly mundane.

Following the funding 7 13 Firsts 23 Curiosity Examining how MVHS handles finances What’s your sign? 8 What’s your sign? 8 41 Who cheers for Cheer? Cheerleaders describe their relationship with the Football team and the community TABLE OF CONTENTS EL ESTOQUE | NOVEMBER 2022
33 Cover up
Delving into pressures and ways the community chooses to cover up EL ESTOQUE | NOVEMBER 2022 03 Students and staff share stories behind some of their first core memories and experiences Unpacking how curiosity has affected the way we perceive the world around us


Examining FUHSD’s Green Ribbon Schools application process

On Nov. 2, FUHSD applied to be part of the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS), a federal recognition award that promotes sustainability in schools. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the award highlights schools and districts’ “cost-saving, health-promoting and performanceenhancing sustainability practices.” Superintendent Graham Clark says applying to ED-GRS helps FUHSD schools be more responsible about their environmental goals.

“[ED-GRS] is a way to hold ourselves accountable to the resolution that we had,” Clark said. “I think among the younger generation, there’s a passion like we have to do something now to help the planet, or the world that your kids or grandkids inherit, [because] it’s not going to be as good as the world that we have now.”

One group of students and adults fighting climate change — the Silicon Valley Youth Climate Action — presented a Climate Action Plan to the FUHSD Board in March 2022. Senior Darren Chiu, a member of SVYCA, says applying to ED-GRS could be a significant step towards FUHSD’s Climate Action Plan goals.

one, energy efficiency through school facilities and sustainable transportation options; two, the health and wellness of students and staff; and three, sustainability education about environmental issues.


The district currently practices energy efficiency through solar panels and electric vehicle chargers in parking lots, with solar panels generating 40% of power throughout FUHSD schools. However, Clark noticed that many of the schools with Green Ribbon Schools awards generate 50 to 60 percent through solar.

helped the district drastically decrease water consumption from 50 million gallons to 25 million over the last 10 years. According to Silveira, a large part of that is due to the switch from grass fields to turf.

The district also installed water bottle filling stations around campuses to reduce waste and is currently working on improving recycling at schools. Silveira encourages students to take the initiative and encourage recycling in their schools.


of MVHS students

have taken one or fewer classes that taught climate education.


of MVHS students

Clark is considering two methods to increase that number — installing more solar panels or replacing the current solar panels, installed 12 years ago, with newer, more efficient ones. According to facilities and bonds manager Roger Silveira, modern solar panels are twice as efficient as current panels, meaning the district could offset 80% of energy production with this change.

think MVHS is not doing enough to teach climate change efforts

“We wanted to persuade the FUHSD board to allocate more funding for climate education within FUHSD,” Chiu said. “We thought that’d be very important in helping spread awareness and showing people how to participate in climate advocacy.”

*According to a survey of 158 people

*According to a survey of 161 people

“I can help support [students] with equipment, but as far as changing the culture, that’s something that the students will have to engage in,” Silveira said. “Change the culture to make recycling a norm, [even if] it’s not convenient.”


The ED-GRS focuses on three main aspects of school practices to determine eligibility for the award:

In addition to solar panels, Clark believes modernizing classrooms can help improve sustainability. With the passing of Measure G, FUHSD received a $275 million school bond to renovate its campuses, allowing the district to make many improvements, including the transition of gas heaters in classrooms to electric heaters.

Prior to Measure G, modernizing toilets and urinals to low flow has

In school cafeterias, FUHSD’s priority has been reducing plastic and food waste. According to District Manager of Food Services Divya Puri, the school has made a few changes to achieve this goal, including switching from individual condiment packets to dispenser pumps, and creating “sharing tables” for students to place food they do not plan to eat.

Besides decreasing waste among students, Puri mentions schools have a systematic approach to dealing with leftovers. When students take food from the cafeteria, the school scans their IDs and counts the number of students, allowing the district to judge the amount of food that should be produced each day.


However, Puri states that some changes are relatively recent, and are not fully implemented at the time of the ED-GRS application.

“[Placing dispenser pumps] is still in progress because we still have individual [condiment] packets, so we’ve not taken them off completely,” Puri said. “As for compostable utensils and serving ware, we were trying to do that all last school year, but because of the supply chain issues arising from the pandemic, [the school was] not able to procure anything.”

Puri says that although they now have more access to compostable utensils, they are sometimes unavailable, and schools are forced to use plastic instead. She believes that applying to ED-GRS is a “great initiative” but wishes that there were “more resources to make [the changes] happen faster.”


According to FUHSD science curriculum lead Kavita Gupta, the district has “pockets of great work in environmental literacy,” but she finds it is not consistent across all five schools.

“There are many teachers doing amazing things with their students, but it might be done in one class at one high school, and at another four high schools, a similar program doesn’t exist,” Gupta said. “Not every Fremont Union High School District student is getting exposure to that. We are at that phase where we’ve identified that in some classes, students are receiving environmental sustainability education, but not in all classes.”

Moving forward, Gupta believes it is most important to study the

current situation to create plans for improvement.

“The part we are at is that self study part,” Gupta said. “What are our practices? What are we even doing with regards to sustainability and environmental education? And we got good, good data, and we have some ideas.”

Chiu believes the climate change unit in ninth grade Biology is adequate in informing students about the scientific side of climate change but wishes the district implemented additional climate advisories about how students can directly influence climate advocacy.

“While there are a lot of opportunities for high school students to participate in science research, the more direct and easier way that everyone can participate is with climate advocacy,” Chiu said. “That could be anything from advocating to other people [and] students through their own form of education, or attending county or city meetings, and providing their opinion … If more people participate in sharing what is important to them, then legislators can have a better idea as to what needs to be passed.”

Gupta says FUHSD does not have an official board resolution regarding sustainability education. She sees EDGRS as an opportunity for the district to make vital changes for the future.

“Personally, the benefits will be bigger than any award that can come for tomorrow,” Gupta said. “You and your children will have a sustainable planet to live [on]. You will have clean air, you will have water security, you will have food. That to me is the biggest award that anything can give. [This application] is not about [winning] an award. It’s about doing a practice that keeps our only home, Earth, alive for generations to come.”



Test your knowledge of key events last month

Drugs 1

President Joe Biden pardoned all federal possession charges of which drug on Oct. 6?

Skit 2

What was the theme of the sophomore Homecoming skit?

Pink out 4

Varsity Football’s senior night game’s pink out theme served to raise awareness for what?

Truss 3

How many days did British Prime Minister Liz Truss stay in office?

YouTube 6

Football 8

What team did Varsity Football defeat 42-0 in the Homecoming game?



What Cupertino youth event featured a debate between MVHS students?

Who was the leading Republican candidate during the California recall election?

Which sports brand cut ties with Ye, formerly known as Kanye West?

Racing 7

Who was the leading Republican candidate during the California recall election?

Which driver won the 2022 Formula One World Championship?

Music 9

Who was the leading Republican candidate during the California recall election?

1) Marijuana; 2) Jurassic Park; 3) 44; 4) Breast cancer; 5) Adidas; 6) Dream; 7) Max Verstappen; 8) Lynbrook; 9) Taylor Swift; 10) Pizza and Politics Answers:
Which popular Minecraft YouTuber had a face reveal on Oct. 2? Ye ILLUSTRATIONS | YASH THAPLIYAL EL ESTOQUE | NOVEMBER 2022 06
Which artist’s album broke the record for the most Spotify streams in one day?


Examining how MVHS handles finances

Mikaylah Du, Megha Mummaneni, Mihir Vishwarupe, Mira Wagner, Alyssa Wang, Brandon Xu and Angela Zhang PHOTO ILLUSTRATION | ANGELA ZHANG


Exploring the Fremont Union High School Foundation’s donations and funding

For many MVHS extracurricular programs, securing enough funding to sustain themselves is a constant struggle. Many rely on organizations such as the Fremont Union High School’s Foundation, a volunteer-run independent nonprofit which provides funding to various programs across FUHSD.

Rita Allen, Co-president of the Foundation, says funding for extracurricular programs is a complicated issue because while education is free for all public school students in America, extra programs lack those specifically allocated funds. According to Allen, supporting these extra programs is where the Foundation comes in.

Like Martin, FBLA Vice President of Operations and Marketing and senior Vidusha Adira is also thankful for the support FBLA receives from the Foundation, but she wishes they could receive more funding beyond the Foundation. To Adira, FBLA’s current system is unsustainable.

75% of MVHS students

have not heard of the FUHSD Foundation

*According to a survey of 160 people

“I wanted to start applying for grants this year,” Adira said. “The problem is that there’s not much [reason] that we would need these grants compared to a less fortunate district just because, overall, they expect us to be able to pay for stuff because of our average income.”

grants in the past, but because the Foundation can’t give more money to programs they’ve already funded, they gave support through buying advertisements.

Allen is also hopeful that these programs will receive more support from beyond the Foundation. While their organization’s goal has always been to provide funding to organizations which are not supported by the district, a proposition on California’s 2022 General Election ballot has the potential to change that.

According to the text of the proposed laws, Proposition 28 aims to provide funding for arts and music education in all public schools and charter schools across the state. Schools in low-income communities would receive additional funding, and the proposition declares that art and music is “an educational priority worthy of the state’s [support].”

The majority of the Foundation’s funds come from parent donations and corporate matching, as well as from realtors, corporate and community sponsors. After allocating money to programs at each school — including journalism, art, robotics, Schoology, Naviance, mental health support services and more — the Foundation supplies additional grants for programs to teachers who request them.

Fremont High School’s journalism program is one such program. While advisor Emer Martin is grateful for the $2,000 donation the Foundation provides she recognizes that without donations from other organizations, such as the Assistance League of Los Altos, their publication would be unable to operate to the extent that they’d like to.

Allen acknowledges that programs often need more money than the Foundation can provide. At the same time, the Foundation has to remain fair to all the schools and all their programs. She recalls journalism programs applying for

“I hope [Proposition 28] passes,” Allen said. “I voted yes. [Art and music are] so important, but those are the things that are not well funded, so those are the programs we support.”



On Oct. 4, the School Site Council met for its first meeting of the year, and its first in person meeting in two years, to approve funding requests for various student and staff activities, including professional development conferences, school programs and trips. During the meeting, students, staff and parents discussed the needs of the community and voted to determine how much money to allocate for each request.

According to senior Trisha Sreedhar, who helps lead the meetings, SSC is responsible for funding various programs across campus.

“SSC is a way for me to help my entire school community,” Sreedhar said. “I think being in SSC is really special because I’m not just helping the people in my clubs, but every possible group on campus.”

The council received a budget from FUHSD of $65,000 for the 2022-23 school year. After funding requests are submitted by teachers and staff, they attend the monthly meetings and present their request for the SSC to review. Council members then vote to decide who to give funding to and how much money to supply.

After the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, all in-person school trips and conferences were canceled, significantly reducing the funding requests that the SSC received.

“The money was not being used for its original purposes,” Assistant Principal Janice Chen said. “We used it in untraditional ways, like buying textbooks or a musical instrument which technically would not be coming out of those funds.”

Coming out of the pandemic, Chen notes that there has been a noticeable increase in funding requests. This year, funding requests have been submitted by teachers and staff including teacher Lisa McCahill, who requested funding for the Academic Community Transition program from the SSC during its October meeting.

“In the ACT Program, we help students learn [a] curriculum that is alternative, functional and vocational to prepare them for life after school,” McCahill said.

One example of an alternative curriculum that the ACT Program funded through the SSC is its gardening project. Every week, students in the ACT Program go to the MVHS garden and grow flowers, fruits and vegetables. Using SSC funding, McCahill is able to purchase soil,

seeds and other gardening supplies. Another example is the ACT Program’s Coffee Cart, one of its small business projects aiming to teach students vocational skills.

“Every Thursday, we put out a Google Form to staff and offer coffee, tea [and] fresh squeezed orange juice,” McCahill said. “Students every Thursday work to make those drinks and then sell and deliver the drinks to teachers and staff across the campus.”

Overall, McCahill found the funding process to be easy and quick and she appreciates the SSC for supporting the ACT program.

“I had a really positive experience speaking in front of the School Site Council because [I could also] get the word out about what the ACT program does,” McCahill said. “A lot of these things that we want to do require money. So the fact that School Site Council makes funding accessible to provide these opportunities for students is really wonderful.”

School Site Council grants new funding requests after transitioning back from the pandemic Students in the ACT program plant flowers, fruits and vegetables using SSC funding.
$65,000 for the 2022-23 school year The SSC had a budget of
Examining FUHSD’s fund allocation
BUDGET BREAKDOWN EL ESTOQUE | NOVEMBER 2022 10 $216 million $11 million $29 million $5.3 million in total expected revenue $171 million from Local Control Funding Formula from other state funds from local funds from federal funds FUHSD *according to the 2022-23 update to the FUHSD Local Control Accountability Plan *any budget surplus is divided with 66% going to teachers, staff and 15% going to
allocation for the 2022-23 school year MIKAYLAH DU BREAKDOWN NEWS | NOVEMBER 2022 11 $198 million $140 million $128,070 $2.6 million $101,968 $1.3 million in total expected spending for AP courses for mental health and student support for retaining and supporting staff for facility maintenance for athletic programs FUHSD divided among employees; teachers, 19% going to classified
to administration.


Examining the club funding situation and budget allocation at MVHS

From hosting boba fundraisers to printing t-shirts, the success of club functionality largely depends on funding. The Associate Student Body is involved in managing the allocation of money for all clubs and overseeing club expenses. ASB Executive Mike White is responsible for the management of expenditure and allocating funds for all clubs’ needs.

“[ASB’s role] is to make sure that clubs stay solvent and positive,” White said. “Ultimately if a club were to go negative, then general ASB funds are responsible for covering that bill. There’s lots of ways ASB [deals with this]. Some clubs have a lot of money, [others have only] a little. If [money] comes up short in the end, then general ASB funds are borrowed [through a common account].”

Junior Jennifer Long, the treasurer of National Honor Society, believes that ASB does a good job ensuring their club is able to deal with debt. However despite ASB’s assistance, Long still believes NHS is responsible for implementing better methods to ensure the club is out of their six hundred dollar debt to be able to pay for membership fees.

The Sports Medicine Club has also experienced issues while fundraising. Senior and VP Nikhil Angani says some fundraisers have occasionally caused a loss of up to $100 from the club’s balance.

During Sports Medicine’s fundraiser fall, around a dozen boba cups broke, causing the club to lose more


than a hundred dollars, resulting in a negative impact on the club’s balance and a need for improvement in making sure fundraisers have a better turnout. Long also believes NHS will need to implement new ways to make sure fundraisers are more successful. However, club funding remained static during the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused NHS’s debt to grow, as they had to pay yearly membership fees without being able to fundraise as much. White says during distance learning, certain programs such as athletics and school wide events received lower amounts of funding. Some of the more functionable programs included yearbook and

school publications.

In comparison, activities such as sports were significantly slowed down by a lack of in-person activities.

For this school year, Angani believes ASB does not have as much of a role in Sports Medicine, especially because their club does not require any membership fees like NHS, which had to pay even during the pandemic. Though different clubs have different funding needs, the overall mission of ASB remains the same: providing and managing funds for MVHS clubs.

“Sometimes we [give an interest] of $50 to get you started on a fundraiser, and then they go out, and we take the $50 back,” White said. “It’s just our job to monitor and make sure that [clubs are] following the rules regarding how ASB funds should be expended and what they’re purchasing.”

In a fundraiser held this fall, Leadership distributed boba after school, making $25 in total.


students and staff share stories behind some of their first core memories and experiences

by pranati kotamraju, sophia ma, kripa mayureshwar, trisha sannappanavar, alan tai, irene tang, stephanie zhang and eric zhou


starting fresh

sharing teachers’ first experiences at MVHS by alan tai and eric zhou

Upbeat singing filled the choir room and echoed in the halls as students caroled to the beat of “Fine by Me” by Andy Grammer. Last year, choir teacher Amy Young instructed students to film themselves singing on the first day of school so that students could look back at the end of the school year at how they improved. According to Young, inperson learning has allowed them to do their job the “way that [they] had envisioned.”

“We were able to just really engage,” Young said. “We [didn’t] need any technology, we [didn’t] need any materials, we just [needed] ourselves. And that’s always how I like to start off day one.”

Since the first day Young taught at MVHS happened through Zoom, they recall that the awkwardness and silence present in the Zoom meeting along with technological issues that prevented them from hearing their students. Since the previous choir teacher retired, Young found it difficult to replace a teacher whom students had grown attached to over the years.

“I felt a lot of pressure to make a good first impression on students because I knew that as a new teacher,

[they] also had to decide whether or not they liked me and if they wanted to stay in choir through this really difficult kind of transitional period of being online,” Young said. “[However], COVID in some ways did me a favor because it provided me a different medium for me to meet the students.”

New history teacher Usiel Meraz Cerna shares Young’s sentiment, explaining he had “fears of messing up” his future lesson plans for the week while on the first day. Arriving at his classroom early, he spaced out the desks and chairs, which he describes as the “biggest problem,” since he struggled to ensure that the students would have space when he went over his slides and did the activities. Because students were wearing masks, Meraz Cerna feared being unable to learn students’ names.

“It was harder to recognize

from just their eyes,” Meraz

Cerna said. “I [had fears to] make sure I had activities that were going to engage students.”

Despite his fears, Meraz Cerna also describes his excitement for the remainder of the year as he has returned to teaching. Biology teacher Pamela Chow also shared these feelings of excitement on her first day in 2001, saying that despite it being her first day, the collaborative culture of the science department at MVHS, along with support from her best friend who worked at MVHS, Lani Giffin, helped her get to know her colleagues in the new environment.

“I’ve been fortunate to learn from a lot of my colleagues, and in doing so, they helped me to remember certain things that I wouldn’t have considered as a new teacher,” Chow said. “Sometimes in your mind, you think a lesson is going to go a certain way, and then you forget that you need to scaffold it along the way. I have to make sure that I put [the lesson] in chunks.”

During their first year at MVHS, Young struggled with finding the right person to seek assistance from when they ran into difficulties. They also weren’t aware of many MVHS events since no one informed them, but later on, the collaboration among the

choir teacher
we [didn’t] need any technology, we [didn’t] need any materials, we just [needed] ourselves. amy young

performing arts department along with further assistance from the FUHSD mentor team has helped them ease into MVHS. Meraz Cerna added that he has also gotten much more comfortable in the new environment, learning about his students’ personalities and where they need help.

Before teaching at MVHS, Meraz Cerna taught at other high schools. At one point, he tutored at an alternative high school for students who struggled academically. He fostered a friendly relationship with a group of students learning English, and the growth he saw in them motivated him to become a teacher.

“Education is something that helped me in my life, so I wanted to be able to contribute,” Meraz Cerna said. “I felt like it gave me a purpose. I was giving back to the community,

helping people who needed that help, and I felt like I had the skills for it and the desire to do it. So it just felt natural to me.”

While Meraz Cerna describes his tutoring experiences motivating him to teach, Young’s music experience inspired them to become a teacher since junior year of high school. Involved in choir since they were six, they earned the role of section leader in choir in high school and the influence of the teachers around them led

them to pursue music.

“[Music has] always felt like a home to me,” Young said. “Singing with others provides medicine to the soul. I think we lean on music in times of great need.”

According to Chow, since her first day more than two decades ago, she’s improved on her abilities to manage her time spent preparing for lessons and grading. However, she said that some aspects of her job, such as her enjoyment of it, haven’t changed, even as other aspects of her life have.

“It’s been so long, [so] it’s like I don’t know anything else,” Chow said.

“It’s also different because I’m in a different stage of life. I still enjoy [my job] very much, but it’s different than when I was single or married with no children. Now, I have three children. And that changes how one balances one’s time now.”


behind the wheel

students share their first memories driving by kripa mayureshwar and irene tang

On a cold, cloudy morning in early November, senior Kushagra Srivastava pulled into the parking lot of Philz Coffee. Blanketed under a layer of clouds, the roads were mostly empty, and Srivastava was able to drive in solitude for the first time after getting his driver’s license. Though he enjoyed the independence and freedom, Srivastava recalls the nervousness he felt while driving by himself.

“When you drive with a parent or with someone next to you, you [are with] someone who’s driven for many years,” Srivastava said. “But when you’re driving on your own, for a moment you realize, ‘Damn, I’m in charge of the wheel and I have to make the decisions.’”

Srivastava recalls fond memories of his older brother driving him to and

from school every day for years when he was younger. One of his biggest motivations for learning how to drive was the desire to be able to drive his brother around and take him to get coffee, the way he did for Srivastava.

While Srivastava has had his license for over a year now, he remembers that the first time he sat behind the wheel, he didn’t “feel confident in even just turning the wheel,” and would slide his seat so far forward toward the dashboard that his knees were “basically touching it.”

Junior Grace Wang, who got her permit the summer before her sophomore year, says her motivation for getting her permit and license early were a combination of her own craving of independence and her parents’ desire for her to be able to drive her younger siblings around. When first

learning to drive, Wang cites that she also felt unnecessary nervousness, but more due to her driving instructor overcomplicating the mechanics of driving.

“I felt like I was going fast but lowkey I wasn’t, and [my instructor] made turning and everything seem super complicated,” Wang said. “But now that I think about it, it’s not even that hard.”

One of senior Rojel Acot’s biggest challenges when he began learning how to drive was turning — he says turning required a lot of skill due to the size of the minivan he drove. He cited feeling nervous that he was going to “crash the car,” but his worries were alleviated with practice.

“I under-turned and I would have gone straight into a pillar,” Acot said. “[Driving] in a parking lot was very


stressful because I kept moving the steering wheel up and down.”

One of Srivastava’s biggest challenges while driving was also learning how to turn, due to a lack of confidence. His initial nervousness often made him hesitate when driving, hindering his ability to make quick decisions such as when and how to turn.

Wang doesn’t recall feeling much nervousness when driving alone with her license for the first time. Her parents didn’t speak much when driving with her, making it “like the

same thing as driving alone.” However, the pressure of being responsible for a vehicle and the people in it was much heavier.

Acot addresses similar concerns, claiming that the freedom and independence that come with being able to drive — his motivation to get his license — can also be daunting due to the risk and responsibilities that accompany it. “[When I drove by myself for the first time], I was a little bit more nervous because I didn’t have anyone next to me,” Acot said. “And if something bad happened, I wouldn’t really have anyone else to rely on.”

Despite the challenges they faced while learning how to drive, Acot, Srivastava and Wang all describe driving to be fun and freeing due to the independence that comes with it.

“Driving allows me to feel liberated,” Srivastava said. “I think that’s the best way to describe driving. A lot of people use metaphors like “driving is an escape from reality”. And until I started driving, I never really understood it. But when you start driving, your car is your own bubble. It’s a way to exit that world and go to a completely new world where you might not have to worry about problems.”

when you’re driving on your own, for a moment you realize, ‘damn, i’m in charge of the wheel and i have to make the decisions.’
kushagra srivastava

a new passion

exploring the stories behind different people finding something they love by trisha sannappanavar and stephanie zhang

riddhi shedge

All the lights went out in the Planetarium as sophomore Ridhi Shedge sat beside her peers watching the stars, galaxies, comets, nebulas and every celestial object imaginable jumping out through the screen, overwhelming her with awe.

“[When] I was seven or eight, my parents got me this stargazing and constellation book and it had huge pictures of planets and stars,” Shedge said. “I was like, ‘Wow, there’s stuff outside that looks so beautiful like this in our own universe,’ and it really fascinated me.”

Shedge was passionate about astronomy from a young age, and she always expressed this interest to her parents — to which she was met with constant support and encouragement. Along with reading stargazing and constellation books, she would also explore her interests by going stargazing at night.

Shedge says that astronomy helped to quench her curiosity while also making her realize how much she has yet to learn about the universe. Learning astronomy also helped Shedge face her problems

because it made her think in terms of the size of the universe.

“I feel very thankful that I thought [about] astronomy, because I think by learning about astronomy I realized how vast the universe [is],” Shedge said. “Our planet is just so small and just a tiny speck in this big vastness of space.”

In her daily life, Shedge self studies astronomy topics and steps out of her comfort zone to participate in competitions, including one where she had to build a rover. At school, she tries to pick astronomyrelated courses. Since astronomy isn’t a class at MVHS, Shedge also started an astronomy club with her friend.

Through this club, she hopes to inspire a love for astronomy in other students who share her interests.

Shedge also interned at the Monterey Institute of Research in astronomy, which gave her real-life work experience.

She worked under a Ph.D. astronomer in a specific astronomy field called spectroscopy, where they analyzed spectra, what they observed on the telescope, to identify certain information about stars. The Ph.D. astronomer Shedge interned under always gave her opportunities to ask questions and learn more, and he encouraged her to pursue her interest in astronomy in a future career.

“I am almost 100% sure that my future will involve astronomy and I really do want to have a career in astronomy and work at NASA one day,” Shedge said.

i feel very thankful that i found astronomy, because by learning about astronomy i realized how vast the universe is. ridhi shedge

june wang

Dance has been a part of senior June Wang’s life since she was 3 years old, but she discovered her real passion for dancing when she was 11. Before the age of 11, Wang says that she dutifully went to dance classes, not for herself, but simply to please her mom. However, Wang remembers the exact moment when dancing turned into something she truly loved to do. She says that once, when her parents threatened not to drive her to dance class as a punishment, she was so determined to go that she walked 20 minutes to her dance studio by herself.

with the spontaneousness of it, but I realized that in dance, it’s not just about creating a final product for performance, but also to enjoy it and relish in the spontaneousness of your movements.”

Wang says being a part of the MVHS dance team has pushed her not to just be a better dancer, but also helped her with life skills.

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Laughing as she looks back on the experience, Wang says the incident helped her strengthen her love for dance. Wang believes a significant reason why dance has become such an important part of her life is due to the adaptability and flexibility that is required to become a great dancer.

“It was when I learned to accept dance for my own purpose, rather than for performances or external parties’ judgment, that I came to accept that [dance] wasn’t something to be validated by other people,” Wang said. “By claiming [dance] for myself, I was able to solidify my bond with it.”

Growing up, Wang danced at a Chinese dance studio, and although she learned a lot and enjoyed dancing there for several years, Wang says that trying out for the MVHS dance team allowed her to step out of her comfort zone.

“[After joining the dance team], I had to improvise for the first time,” Wang said. “I initially struggled

With prescheduled practices three days a week and other practices added as necessary, the consistency that being on the team has required has taught her to manage her time more efficiently and prioritize what truly matters to her.

Wang says learning how to

manage her time efficiently has been a big learning curve, but thinks she’s managed to find a solution to combat procrastination. Wang currently uses a Google document to record to-do lists, and she has found the system effective, as she can plan her tasks for the upcoming weeks.

Although Wang doesn’t plan on dancing professionally after high school, she doesn’t intend to leave the dance world behind, as she intends on pursuing several dancerelated hobbies in the future, such as dance photography. She is also interested in becoming a mentor for younger dancers in the future.

“I would like to pass [my] passion on to the next generation, and also be able to help them discover their true selves as well through the art of dance,” Wang said.


& anika shrivastava

Sophomore Melissa Gonchar couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw junior Anika Shrivastava walking towards her, holding a tiny white cake with the words “Happy Birthday” written on it with a swirl of frosting. However, her surprise quickly shifted to amusement as Shrivastava immediately started smearing vanilla frosting on Gonchar’s face, which destroyed the cake and left the writing on it incomprehensible. Uncontrollable laughter lit up their faces as they demolished the cake with spoons from the school cafeteria. To this day, Shrivastava remembers this moment as one of her fondest memories, because she was finally able to show how special Gonchar was to her.

Gonchar and Shrivastava met on the first day of school in Gonchar’s freshman year — while other students were running around with their friends, both Gonchar and Shrivastava nervously stepped into their business classroom alone, hoping for a fresh start. Shrivastava had recently moved to Cupertino because of her dad’s job, her family leaving everything behind in Georgia. On the other hand, Gonchar had lived in Cupertino for a couple of years, but she eventually lost touch with her old friends due to COVID-19,

and also entered high school with a clean slate.

It was by chance that they both ended up sitting next to each other in class, but they instantly clicked — bonding over different tastes in music, their cultures and helping each other with their homework.

“I was really worried about not making friends,” Gonchar said. “And then I [came] to business class and met Anika, and I think our friendship just sprouted from there, and I got a lot closer to her.”

Gonchar specifically recalls both of them desperately trying to contain their giggles in class when she introduced Shrivastva to a hardcore rock band named Fear Factory. Their friendship swiftly developed, from doing business presentations together to sitting at lunch together every day, and Gonchar believes that they were able to become closer in a short period of time.

Shrivastava agrees, saying the little moments in getting to know each other are what made their friendship stronger.

“I think all the small moments come together to form a relationship,” Shrivastava said. “And I think it’ll be fun to think about them when we’re both older, [as] they make really good memories for the both of us.”

Even though some things have changed — they no longer sit just with each other as they have evolved into a 11 person friend group — some aspects of their friendship will always stay the same. A year later, both of them still sit together in marketing class just like the day they met, and they FaceTime each other regularly. Shrivastava believes that no matter how much things change, Gonchar and her will always share a unique bond.

“I think our personalities [are similar] because both of us can be weird around each other and we can do lots of funny things,” Shrivastava said. “At the end of the day, I feel comfortable doing whatever I want around her.”

the story behind students’ first best friends by pranati kotamraju and sophia ma
you & me EL ESTOQUE | NOVEMBER 2022 20
melissa gonchar
at the end of the day, i feel comfortable doing whatever i want around her. anika shrivastava

& kiana mark

When sophomore Clara Fan couldn’t hobble on her broken ankle any longer, her best friend, sophomore Kiana Mark, carried her on her back and sprinted up to the MVHS field to watch the sunrise. Surrounded by the fruits, cupcakes and miso soup they had prepared, Fan, Mark and two of their other friends sat on cozy blankets as they watched the sun peek over the horizon.

Although Fan and Mark knew of each other from a mutual friend early on, they attended different elementary schools and didn’t have the chance to meet until sixth grade at Kennedy Middle School, where they saw each other every day as they had the same classes. Fan and Mark bonded over squishies, got ready at each other’s houses for their volleyball games and drank boba together afterwards. Mark believes that their friendship began because they had compatible personalities and “just clicked.”

Aside from being able to laugh together

and confide in each other, both Fan and Mark are athletes — Mark plays volleyball and Fan plays soccer, basketball and track and field. They are both able to understand each other’s priorities, relate to each other’s busy schedules and rant about team drama. Although they have practice every day and can rarely see each other after school, they still find time to show their support by watching each other’s games.

“We can’t talk to a lot of people at our school about our sport …,” Fan said.

“... because they just wouldn’t get it,” Mark said. “I share stuff about my team drama because [she isn’t] on the team and Clara can share stuff about soccer with me because I’m not on the team either.”

key part in strengthening their friendship.

“If we disagree about something, usually we just don’t talk about it …,” Fan said.

“... or we just bicker back and forth,” Mark said.

“But it’s not an argument that’s personal …,” Fan said.

“... it’s just about silly stuff [and it’s] not a deep argument,” Mark said.

Even though they no longer talk about squishies, Fan and Mark now bond over things such as sports, clothes and social media. Although they don’t always share classes, they find time to talk during brunch, lunch and tutorial.

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Outside of school, they always text each other and FaceTime to do homework or discuss urgent topics.

For Fan and Mark, arguments are not personal and don’t last “more than five minutes.” Communication is important to them and has played a

“[We] just [value] each other,” Mark said. “All the experiences, the ups and everything [else that] I get to share with Clara is so much fun.”

clara fan


to be less judgemental about how others approach beauty

This June, influencer Jada Travis posted a TikTok explaining how she hasn’t shaved her armpit hair in three years because she said “I don’t care” in the grand scheme of things. Her TikTok went viral as her viewers labeled her a “hero” for going against the traditional beauty standards set for women. The response to Travis’ video reveals the growing modern sentiment towards preferring “natural” beauty.

Makeup brands pride themselves on creating products that help their customers create a “no makeup makeup” look. Transparent lip gloss for just the slightest shimmer. A few dabs of liquid blush to achieve the perfect, natural rosy cheeks. TikTok teems with users who show off their unshaved leg and arm hair, proudly asking, “Who cares what people think?”

Often, this emphasis on naturality stems from a condemnation of pretty privilege. A 2006 study found that employers were 10.5% more likely to raise the salaries of attractive people, and a study from 2017 found that attractive women were more likely to earn higher grades than those that weren’t. Our success seems to be unfairly based on something we’re naturally given. Thus, in order to shift the foundations for success, we emphasize being natural.

However, the issue with our society is that we’re misconstruing putting effort into our appearance as “trying too hard.”

Instead of combatting the societal bias for people who are more conventionally attractive, we develop condescending attitudes towards those who “aren’t natural,” calling them out for being shallow.

Such categories are prominent

within school environments as well. We categorize our classmates into the “pretty ones” and the “smart ones,” and then create stigmatized beliefs about the personalities of individuals based on those flawed categorizations. This is a problem because, when we take people at face value, we’re missing out on every other incredible dimension that people encompass, things that make them truly diverse people.

It’s time to destigmatize beauty, to see it as something beautiful again. There’s nothing wrong with being natural. Simultaneously, if we’re doing a full-blown makeup routine instead of simply moisturizing, there’s nothing wrong with adding a little glam to our look. The way people perceive our efforts to look beautiful shouldn’t be something that we concern ourselves with, because we’re beautiful for ourselves.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, not the viewer.



Unpacking how curiosity has affected the way we perceive the world around us

Photo Illustration| Meggie Chen


Examining how curiosity surrounding sex and sexual education affects the MVHS community

Six in 10 American parents believe that sex is a taboo topic, according to Onepoll. This, according to the Times of India, can be attributed to both societal structures, such as the importance of privacy, and cultural norms, including the viewing of sex as something to only be talked about between the participating parties. Despite this stigma, however, Biology teacher Lora Lerner notices that ninth graders are often very curious to learn about sex during their sexual education unit at the end of the year.

This increase in curiosity can be attributed to growing older as teenagers’ thinking processes begin to mature. According to Frontiers for Young Minds, a rise in hormones called sex steroids during puberty can cause teenagers to have changes in appearance and activations in brain circuits that affect sexual behaviors — all of which contribute to an increased interest in sex.

Freshman Jay Zhang and senior Saloni Gupta both noticed that people tend to have candid discussions about sex at MVHS. Gupta explains that her family also has a similar dynamic, and she doesn’t feel awkward talking about sex with her family. She notes that if she has questions regarding health, she “been pretty lucky” to feel safe to discuss it with them.

“There’s the expectation that I won’t have sex until I’m in a healthy

relationship,” Gupta said. “I think sex is something that I don’t think ‘Oh I’m gonna wait till marriage then do it.’ But it’s also not something I would do just for the sake of doing it.”

Familial perspectives on topics such as sex vary greatly, however, and Zhang’s family has a vastly different perspective on sex than Gupta’s. In contrast, Zhang explains that his family usually avoids the topic and only mentions it briefly.

Lerner has experienced this awkwardness about sex in her classroom, and attributes the behavior to the fact that people find having honest conversations difficult because they are not used to it.

She also mentions that many sex ed curriculums paint sex as problematic, and students stifle their curiosity due to fear and an unfamiliarity with talking about sex openly.

“There’s a long history in this country of [teaching] sex in a way that’s very negative, and sometimes the entirety of it is ‘Here’s all the bad things that can happen to you if you have sex,’” Lerner said. “I still have students who come [into high school] with that as the message they’ve carried with them.”

To combat this, Lerner tries to inform students about sex in a more positive way, cutting down on describing technicalities around STI’s and contraception. She explains that as long as people have the right resources, they can learn more about those things on their own.


Gupta mentions that although students can find resources about STDs in the media, her teachers explanations were far more helpful. She explains that the media often understates possible negative consequences of having sex, and her teachers clear lessons on STDs and their consequences helped her better understand the gravity of potential repercussions.

“I think [the sex ed unit] was helpful for [dispelling] the belief that ‘Oh, it’s just something you do without consequences and nothing really happens,’” Gupta said. “It was helpful for making reality clearer. This is everything you need to do to make sure you don’t have any negative consequences.’”

Lerner attempts to teach students how to clear up these misconceptions about sex and make the circumstances surrounding it more comfortable by not only educating them about technicalities surrounding safe sex, but also by teaching kids how to communicate using scenarios they might encounter as examples. She thinks communication is often underpracticed, and aims to teach students how to start hard conversations by modeling them in class and having them practice.

“You can’t escape communication — it’s important for everything, whether you need to talk to somebody about using condoms or about the quality of your relationships.” Lerner said. “But even if people feel like [they’re] not quite ready to be thinking about romantic and sexual relationships, good communication really works on many other levels.”

She also mentions that having conversations with parents about sex also improves parent-child

relationships, despite it being an awkward topic.“

Oftentimes, the feedback I get from parents is that they want us to talk about it because they know it can be hard to do it at home,” Lerner said. “Sometimes parents are like, ‘I’ve been wanting to talk to them about this’ and students will tell me it wasn’t as bad as [they] thought and they actually had a good conversation. And that’s great because now you’re leaving that door open a little bit and it kind of helps break the ice.” Zhang explains that although it might be beneficial, some people might not be comfortable talking about safe sex and consent, but it’s still important to be educated about it.

“[Sex education] is necessary and people should know it’s their choice, and they can choose what to do,” Zhang said. “And some people just don’t feel comfortable doing it, and some people might, and that’s OK.”

According to Lerner, another method for overcoming such taboos comes from students being able to educate themselves and eliminating negativity. She explains that advocating for body positivity and healthy communication within peer groups can help transform society’s attitude towards sex.

“This is an important part of our world, and we value the chance to learn more about it,” Lerner said. “And it matters how we treat each other, and if we can communicate and have positive relationships. It matters if we can communicate and have positive relationships with our parents. And I think changing the culture of your peer group to value that is one of the most powerful things you can do.”



Originally inspired by watching K-pop videos, more specifically a BTS video that she immediately loved, Foo can’t remember when she began singing and dancing, but she has been developing a passion and penchant for the visual arts. She shares her interest by teaching her dance moves to her friends at school. Through consistent practice, she has explored different forms of dancing and singing. Due to her natural love for music, she wants to be either a singer or dancer when she grows older. She believes that if it weren’t for her older sister, she would not have found her love for music and musical art.

“I turn to her, because she has lots of experience,” Foo said. “We talk about dancing and singing and I think it made me want to become an amazing dancer.”

Although she and her sister used to sing and dance together, Foo says her older sister is now often busy with high school, so she now spends her free time watching videos on YouTube, finding new dance moves and techniques to try.




Based on his research, Puthenpurayil claims that in a matchup between a king cobra and a mongoose, the fight can go either way — it depends on who can dodge the most hits from their opponent. He has seen this in the one vs. one animal showdown videos he watches on YouTube, predicting who will win before the fight, and then doing research on why afterwards. Although these videos seem like a source of pure entertainment, they are also a manifestation of his interest in nature and wildlife.

Puthenpurayil has been walking with his parents since kindergarten, and says on their walks, he appreciates the shade of bright red staining the leaves during fall and observes the natural world around him in fascination. He is especially interested in the wild animals that roam around the world,

“because they’re so cool.” He loves learning about them — if not through his own eyes, then through books.

“I was reading a book in school about sea otters,” Puthenpurayil said. “So I searched in Google what sea otters are. I went to a library near us and brought a few books about sea otters.”

Puthenpurayil wants to become a wildlife scientist when he grows up. He hopes to explore new places and do new “science stuff.” He has a bucket list of places he wants to go, from the forests in India, to the North and South Poles, to the deep sea. Puthenpurayil made sure to emphasize that he “love[s] every single animal” — from peregrine falcons to eagles to mongooses to snakes to beavers.

Exploring how young children explore their


Armed with a magnifying glass and a notepad, Gupta began digging. Her family had just driven up the Rocky Mountains in Denver, but rather than taking in the scenery, her attention was fixated on a dirt mound twice her size. Clawing into the ground with fierce determination, she revealed a white slab in the ground and labeled it as a dinosaur bone. She remembered from a book she previously read that

Mountains, making it a suitable place to find the bones of one.

“I could not pick it up so I just showed it,” Gupta said. “[My dad] wanted me to [find] more fossils, so I kept digging but I couldn’t find one more.”

of the dinosaurs and to enforce her understanding.




The one thing Jerolimov wants when she grows older is a colored printer, because she wants to be able to print stickers.

“My mom didn’t want me to buy stickers,” Jerolimov said. “[So] I searched up how to make stickers at home.”

Jerolimov was first introduced to sticker making from her friend, who has already started a sticker making business. Although she doesn’t want to start a business, she hopes sticker making can become a hobby in her future. She wants to print animal stickers, and hopes to put them on her water bottle and computer.

Jerolimov says that she and

Ever since she had learned about dinosaurs in school, Gupta became an aspiring paleontologist, immediately interested in the history of dinosaurs. reading books from the library, she has amassed fun facts about all kinds of dinosaurs, her favorite being the T-Rex. Her dad has helped her through the process by writing questions such as the age and type

“My dad used to put questions on the back [of a page],” Gupta said. “If I’m confused — because that was the first time I was learning — I would turn it around to just see a little hint and then turn it around so I can figure it out.”

She hopes to continue reading more books on dinosaurs in the future. She excitedly recounted multiple fun facts from the backstory of the length of T-Rexes’ arms to the bone structure of the spikes growing on the back of Stegosauruses. The dinosaur Gupta believes she would get along with the most is the Apatosaurus.

“They’re not meat eaters, they’re vegetarians, so they just eat leaves,” Gupta said. “I would even climb on to [their] backs because they’re really gentle.”

her friend talk about their older sisters together, and despite having a 7-year age gap, Jerolimov found her older sister’s stickers interesting, so she decided to learn about stickers on her own. She spends her time online searching for stickers and watching videos on sticker making, sneaking into her sister’s room to look for stickers. Her favorite

sticker is one she made with her friend at a crafts fair.

“It’s a Tofu bunny in a pumpkin,” Jerolimov said.


How the American school system discourages curiosity

Other than the voice of a lecturing teacher and the echoing sound of rapid typing as students

into the overwhelming workload from the monotonous subjects at school.


The American school system

DON’T ASK QUESTIONS 65% of MVHS students

believe that they have not had the opportunity to adequately explore their non-academic

*According to a survey of 155 people

The negative aspects of this culture are visible in many MVHS classrooms. A fear of answering questions incorrectly means we no longer participate in class, unless it’s required. According to The Telegraph, as high schoolers, our curiosity peaks at four questions a day, compared to the 200300 questions a child asks a day — curiously, the number of questions asked sharply declines when children begin to attend school. We still asked questions in elementary school, but they were increasingly met with rolled eyes and frustrated sighs from our teachers trying to finish their lesson plans. It almost seems as though we have stopped asking questions altogether: in classes where we are not graded on participation, nobody asks anything. Gone are the days when our teachers had to beg us to be silent — now, they beg us to talk.

A study by the University of Michigan showed that curious children tend to have stronger academic performance, but when schools emphasize the importance of having students stay focused on whatever task they are given rather than asking questions about broader topics, academic achievement is hindered, and it also widens the achievement gap between students of different social classes. According to an article by the Guardian, children from lower economic situations had the strongest connection between


curiosity and academic performance — when we ask students to suppress their curiosity, we further disadvantage those in poorer situations by discouraging the learning style that they prefer. School doesn’t have to be this way. Nordic countries such as Denmark, Norway and Finland rank highly for having the happiest children in the world, according to a 2021 report by UNICEF. With their children spending so much time in school, the way those countries’ schools are organized greatly contributes to this happiness. In contrast to the American school system, where kids typically enter school at age five for kindergarten, if not earlier, students in Finland start when they’re seven in a playbased model of learning. The school prioritizes the mental health of students at every step. They encourage cooperation between students and their peers rather than competition, start the school day at 9 a.m. at the earliest, avoid unnecessary busy work and assign little to no homework.

and explore their passions rather than having those interests given to them. This structure encourages

take away: our autonomy. We can relearn curiosity — let’s start by asking questions again.

35% of MVHS students

*According to a survey of 161 people

By creating a school system with room for freedom, happier students gain the opportunity to be curious

feel like they participate at school less than they did when they were younger


My experiences with teaching in speech classes

Honestly, I think I’m a good teacher. That wasn’t really something

I ever thought I’d say. It still isn’t. Looking at all my favorite teachers, they’ve always been patient. Professional. Always open and ready to help. Constantly grading papers and being generous and kind with feedback.

I am none of those.

Among my family and friends, I’m the irresponsible, impulsive and forgetful one. I’m that one friend they never want to trust behind the wheel because I will likely drive them off a cliff by accident or, god forbid, for fun.

I used to tell myself, even as confident as I was in public speaking, that I wasn’t really built to be a leader. I can take charge if necessary, but it’s not my thing. I’m more likely to crash any project I take on into the ground, so I’m happy to just melt into the background and support from the shadows.

But of course, leadership is a necessary talent in life (or so I had been taught), so I set my sights on starting that experience in speech. I started teaching at small, nonprofit speech summer camps, organized entirely by myself, my sister and two friends, all of us still high school freshmen.

It went well. Or at least, it didn’t go horribly. But over the four weeks we ran it, I felt overwhelmed and swamped, meandering through several hours of Zoom calls. No one would respond to our questions, no one would volunteer to take part in activities and the deafening silence felt like a bullet to my heart.

Suddenly I felt my inadequacy reflected in my students’ clueless and fumbling faces, placed on display during our end-of-the-summer camp showcase. With every child who stood up to perform, I cringed, regret piling in my mind. I forgot to tell them this detail — I should have lowered my expectations, I should have pushed them harder and, worst of all, I’m not good enough for this.

Teaching brought up all sorts of insecurities I never knew I had. I put on an allknowing face in front of them, but there was never a minute that passed where I did not doubt my own knowledge and expertise.

When I started teaching novice members for our speech club this year, I went in expecting the same struggles — the difficult kids who wouldn’t listen, the imposter syndrome over my qualifications and all the intrusive thoughts I could not stop from punching holes in my confidence.

were scared about pig dissections and their first-ever finals. Our novices were always, always talking, pulling in both other novices and captains and cheering everyone on with each new activity. Chaotic and exhausted as I felt by the end, my smile didn’t feel quite so fake anymore.

To my teachers, I understand your pain now. And I understand your passion. Standing in front of my class, against all odds, I felt heard. And I know that sounds funny because it’s usually the teacher’s job to listen and care about their students. But as the weeks went on and our speech students grew beyond every expectation we ever had, I could see my impact on the world unfolding. In my students, I found joy and love rather than insecurities and hatred.

Honestly, I...

I walked into the classroom, prepared to plaster on a fake smile and power through the year. Instead, I was flooded with beaming smiles and bold questions. I spent our first meeting yelling our introductory presentation at the top of my lungs, having to pull everyone — captains included — back from a tangent about how they

It’s still hard for me to see myself as worthy of being called a “good teacher”. As I’m sure my students can attest to, I am chaotic to the highest degree. But I throw myself into it with love and enthusiasm every week, knowing that all my insecurities will eventually be wiped away with pride.

And to my speech children, if you are reading this (which I’m sure you are because half of you are in Writing for Publication and the other half of you have weird stalker tendencies), I hope you know how rewarding it is to have you all be my students. And just maybe, I hope you can be proud of me too.

I could see my impact on the world unfolding. In my students, I found joy and love rather than insecurities and hatred.


Sometimes putting down your phone is neccessary to reorient yourself

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Examining the MVHS community’s opinion on makeup

From externalizing internal emotions to being an facade, makeup is seen in different lenses throughout the MVHS population. According to a survey of 161 students at MVHS, 69% choose to not wear makeup, highlighting the role makeup plays in the community’s day-to-day lives.


This idea contributed to junior Neil Mhamunkar discovering her passion for makeup in middle school. Mhamunkar states how she had an obsession with art back then and began dabbling with makeup after realizing that because it was temporary and could be washed off, she had more leeway to experiment with it compared to other art forms like painting or sculpting.

Both Mhamunkar and World Literature and Mythology teacher Megan Choate say makeup can also be used as a form of self expression. Since Choate attended a Catholic middle school where wearing makeup was prohibited, her interest in makeup only began in high school.

“I went to high school, and then I had all this freedom of what I could wear, and I could wear makeup,” Choate said. “Even just putting on eyeliner and going to school was different than [what I could do] when I was in middle school.”

For Mhamunkar, makeup allowed her to connect more with her feminine side, particularly in the eighth grade. Mhamunkar, a trans woman, says that

even before transitioning, she always believed it was important for men to be in touch with their feminine side.

“Back then, I did identify as a gay

trans-dysphoria [since it] can just help make me feel more comfortable in my face, [and] that really helps a lot.”



Junior Irene Tian attributes her resentment towards makeup as something learned, as she had no choice but to wear makeup at her dance competitions. To Tian, sitting in a chair and waiting for her mother to finish her makeup was painstakingly tedious. Eventually, her impatience

elementary school, she found pride in being called a tomboy.

“When I was younger, I just followed whatever my brother did,” Tian said. “So I liked typical stuff assigned to boys, like cars and

69% of



choose not to wear makeup

industry has been [problematic] the way that they get young girls to be insecure,” Kumar said. “[In] India, you [have] Fair and Lovely that’s trying to make you feel bad about your skin color [by] trying to make you want to lighten your skin. They try to push [this idea] on young girls, especially nowadays, [with] 11- and 12- year-olds doing makeup — like full faces — which I think is too young.”

Tian agrees with Kumar and says makeup can influence people into conforming to convention and looking a certain way.

“I saw it as a way for girls and women to be more trapped [since they] put on this facade,” Tian said. “It felt like [women] were being forced to spend a lot of time and effort caring about how they looked and not about other things that I thought were more fun. I didn’t really care about my looks. I thought it was unimportant. It was very shallow — that was my opinion of it when I was younger.”


Surveying the effects of skin care routines

If the teenage experience is known for something besides awkward first dates and obtaining driver’s licenses, it’s acne. In America, acne is one of the most common skin conditions, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. A poll of 162 MVHS students reveals that 56% of individuals have a skin care routine incorporated in their everyday life to prevent or mitigate acne.

Junior Jayden Lim consistently follows a skin care routine. Lim began his skin care regime in elementary school, which only consisted of washing his face with water and soap. Since then, it has evolved to include benzoyl peroxide cream, sunscreen and hyaluronic acid. When he was in the seventh grade, Lim visited a dermatologist to learn even more about how to take care of his skin, and has been regularly attending appointments since.

“People are always saying, ‘Oh, having acne or blemishes on your skin is very normal — you shouldn’t feel bad [about] it, but I do if I’m being honest,” Lim said. “Being more confident about my skin, having a skin care routine and actually seeing improvements has felt good, because I know it’s working.”

difference in terms of your confidence around other people.”


Dermatologist Jenny Murase M.D. confirms these sentiments, and says she has noticed a connection between skin care and confidence in her clients.

*According to a survey of 126 people

According to a survey of MVHS students 60% were originally introduced to skin care by family members. Freshman Alex Sharma, found skin care through their family and friends. Sharma finds skin care comforting, as it helps improve their self confidence. Although they didn’t use to have an issue, in recent years they’ve struggled with acne. Having a skin care routine allows them to feel more confident, as they feel the procedure is improving their skin Murase points out that it is important for everyone to create a stable and well sourced skin care routine, although she says that skin care for women is more heavily advertised than it is for men.

are about 50/50 [between genders]. It’s not like I see more women presenting with acne than men.”

According to a New York Times article, the skin care industry follows outmoded product marketing that mainly targets women or femininepresenting people in comparison to men or masculinepresenting people.

Lim says that although he has noticed a stigma surrounding men practicing skin care in the past, he feels it has become more normalized recently.

“For guys, [skin care] can obviously be very looked down upon because of gender roles and stereotypes, but I feel I’ve seen a lot more guys getting into skin care,” Lim said. “I think people have realized that it’s important and it’s something that you should do on top of just taking care of your personal hygiene daily.”

“I think that your face is a window to the world,” Murase said. “If you have a clear complexion, it makes a huge

“I think that [the] industry targets women more in terms of products,” Murase said. “But acne affects both genders. It’s not uncommon. I would say the acne visits

A survey of 126 MVHS students shows that 72% believe there is a stigma around men or masculinepresenting people practicing skin care, indicating how practicing skin care can still be looked down upon. But Sharma disagrees with this mindset, stating the importance of skin care being practiced by everyone.

“It’s like showering. It’s important,” Sharma said. “I don’t get why people think it’s just a female thing. It’s for everyone. It doesn’t matter.”

of MVHS students believe there is a stigma surrounding masculine presenting people practicing skin care



“I used to have a really bad time with acne, especially last year, so I started putting on acne cream [cleanser] consistently over the summer and my acne improved a fair bit.”





“I have hormonal acne and when I break out it really clears my skin up. I really like it.”




“I think it’s decently priced and I do like retinol when it comes to acne products because I think it’s really effective.”




“Before this, I tried a lot of different products, but I got one recommended to me and I’ve been sticking with it ever since.”


& ENT | NOVEMBER 2022 37


Observing what the hijab means to the MVHS Muslim community

Religious head coverings are common in many religions, like turbans in Sikhism, kapps for the Amish and tichels in Judaism. In Islam, hijabs, which cover the neck and head are one of several headcoverings worn by women. Although hijabs are usually associated with modesty, they also symbolize a variety of things to Muslim women. Sophomore Haneen Moharram believes the hijab represents one’s relationship with God.

Seeing her sisters and mother wear hijabs for most of her life, Moharram felt inspired in eighth grade to begin wearing one as well to partake in the similar religious enlightenment.

“They made it seem so pretty and everything,” Moharram said. “It seemed to bring them closer to God and that’s kind of what I wanted.”

Having been regularly wearing a hijab for three years, Moharram says that while hijabs represent modesty to her, they also signify so much more — wearing a hijab makes her feel more connected to God. The connection is important to Moharram.

On the other hand, while

sophomore Zainab Abbas considers herself religious, she says her extended family is more immersed in tradition and religion than her. Despite this, Abbas notes that no one in her family wears hijabs, so she did not grow up wearing one. She also does not see herself likely to wear one in the near future.

“Every person that wants to cover, they’re doing it for themselves,” Abbas said. “If they don’t feel comfortable showing [their hair] and they want to [cover up] for God, that’s completely up to them. For me, I feel comfortable letting [my hair] out and I don’t feel like there’s any need for me to cover it.”

90% of women in Egypt

She finds that most women in Pakistan also tend to cover up to be perceived as modest and to avoid attracting any harm. In particular, Abbas has noticed men in Pakistan tend to be threatening and wearing the hijab provides a comfort zone for her and other women by allowing them to go unnoticed.


wear a head covering *According to a New York Times article

Moharram, who was born in Egypt, says that she also chooses to wear one when she returns, and she is comforted by the familiarity of women wearing hijabs when she travels there to visit.

While Abbas does not wear a hijab and dresses as she likes in California, where she lives, she chooses to wear modest clothing for protection when she visits her home country of Pakistan.

“This summer I actually went [to Egypt] for the first time after leaving [the country eight years ago],” Moharram said. “It felt really cool because everybody around me was wearing the hijab and it wasn’t really out of the norm [like it is in Cupertino].”

Abbas and Moharram both say wearing a hijab provides security in

After 9/11, the U.S. saw an increase of hate crimes targeting Muslim women who wore hijabs

In Iran hijabs were made mandatory by the Islamic Republic for Muslim women to wear by law

Namza Khan founded “World Hijab Day,” an annual event on Feb. 1 that spreads awareness about why the hijab is worn


their respective motherlands. Apart from wearing the hijab outside the U.S., students such as junior Afsheen Khan and Moharram have noticed the differences in the way they are treated or perceived that come with wearing a hijab in the U.S. Junior Afsheen Khan does not wear a hijab on a regular basis out of personal preference, although some of her family members do. However, according to Khan, she has experienced an explicit change in people’s perception of her when she does wear a hijab, stating that she has noticed that she is stared at more when she wears one.

Although she says the Bay Area is welcoming, Moharram agrees with Khan, stating that she feels she has been looked at differently when she goes to areas with smaller Muslim populations.

“I’ve been to a couple places when I’m traveling where [people] definitely

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar became the first member of U.S. Congress to wear a hijab


give you weird looks,” Moharram said. “[When we stopped by] Nevada recently, it was very uncultured [and] there were real looks.”

Despite having encountering rather uncomfortable interactions while wearing the hijab, Moharram, Khan and Abbas agree that rather than being labeled as a symbol of oppression, wearing a hijab is and should be a choice for Muslim women.

“There’s definitely a lot [of] preconceived ideas that people have about women wearing them and some people trying to force them to take it off, [and] I don’t think either of them are right.”

Abbas recounts her mother and friends explaining how wearing a hijab regularly made them

feel more comfortable and confident in themselves, while she values the experience of simple tasks like doing her hair in the morning, which is restricted when wearing the hijab. She states that every Muslim woman should have the autonomy to choose what they prefer.

“I think everyone should know, it’s not an easy choice either [to choose to wear a hijab],” Abbas said. “I know a girl [who wore] it for her religion, but she had to give up showing her hair and everything. It’s not something you can just do one day and take it off. You have to stay dedicated to it.”

The French Senate voted in favor of hijabs being banned from sports competitions



Students and staff share their opinions around shaving

Growing up in the 80s, U.S. Government teacher Benjamin Recktenwald noticed that most people didn’t have visible facial hair — except for his dad. Wanting to follow his father’s footsteps, and because he was often mistaken for being younger, Recktenwald began experimenting with growing out his facial hair at the end of college.

“During my student teaching, the other staff members of the school thought I was a student,” Recktenwald said. “That’s when I started actually growing a goatee on my chin. I feel like people in my family tend to look young for their age, [so] having a beard makes me feel more my age.”

Currently, Recktenwald shaves every other day on his neck, around the edges of his neck

and trims his beard once a month. In contrast, senior Samuel Choi shaves his face every two or three days.

When it comes to shaving, Choi says that “it depends on personal preference,” and many styles of facial hair — including thick beards, mustaches and goatees — look good on certain people.

“It depends on your facial structure and a lot of other factors,” Choi said. “Not all facial hair looks nice on somebody else. There are a lot of factors that determine if you look

“[Shaving] is really important for me because it gives me a sense of confidence,” Shrivastava said. “It makes me feel more comfortable while wearing shorts or any piece of clothing.”

73% of MVHS students

shave facial and/or body hair

*According to a survey of 150 people

Shrivastava says whether or not people shave affects others’ perception of them. She doesn’t think anyone should judge others based on their body hair. In particular, Shrivastava believes it is wrong that there is a stigma around a woman’s choice to shave.

On the other hand, body hair maintenance serves a different purpose. Junior Anika Shrivastava shaves her legs twice a week during the field hockey season to accommodate the team kilts. During the off-season, primarily in the winter, Shrivastava shaves less often. Rather, she chooses to wear sweatpants and jeans to cover her legs.

Still, shaving is a key part of Shrivastava’s

“I don’t think men should be like, ‘Oh, if a woman has body hair, then I don’t like her,’” Shrivastava said. “I don’t think they should form opinions based on [body hair] alone.”

Recktenwald believes that no matter what people think, shaving can be a unique way to experiment with one’s personal style. Recently, he has tried growing a full beard, hoping to see how it looks and makes him feel.

“I’ve only been growing my beard for a few years,” Recktenwald said. “But, I think [shaving] is a great idea, people have all kinds of different ways of expressing themselves.”

Choi echoes Recktenwald’s sentiment that shaving is a personal choice. He believes it is up to each individual to decide whether or not they should shave.

“If you look good without facial hair, go for it,” Choi said. “If you look good with facial hair, let it grow.”



The cheer team describe their relationship with the football team and the

Holding onto a long-standing tradition, the Cheer team showed up to MVHS a few hours before school, their hands filled with decor. It was 6:30 a.m. on the day of the football team’s senior night. They entered the team’s locker rooms ready to adorn them with posters and streamers to show support for the team.

60% of MVHS students

Junior and Cheer captain Mihret Tesfaye and senior and football player Miransh Das say the cheerleaders have given several gifts to the football players, from a bag of tangerines to Gatorade during Homecoming to the bright neon pink socks the team wore to show support during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Das says although the Cheer team goes out of its way with these gifts, it often goes unappreciated.

*According to a survey of 101 people

Furthermore, Tesfaye also feels appreciated when the players actually use the gifts, whether it’s seeing them drink the Gatorade the Cheer team brought during Homecoming or wearing the pink socks. To show their gratitude, the football team also gifted the Cheer team cups imprinted with “Homecoming 2022” along with candies and Starbucks.

off the field is improving, the situation on the field remains difficult for the Cheer team according to Tesfaye. She has noticed a “clash” between the Cheer team and the student section when they both try to call out similar cheers.


Tesfaye and Kim both acknowledge that this is an inevitable situation.

“A lot of [the] time, we call cheers we want them to respond to,” Tesfaye said. “We want them to shout out purple or gold or defense or offense, but a lot of the time, that’s just not the case and that’s just always going to happen.”

Furthermore, Das says that although football players notice many of the cheers during games, it’s something the team has grown accustomed to and they “don’t find it overly inspiring.” While Das believes the Cheer team helps boost the players’ morale, he does not think it helps them perform better.

Kim says that despite the increase in appreciation for the Cheer team this year, stereotypes in American media have incorrectly portrayed what it means to be a cheerleader to some students at MVHS, reducing them to students driven by the idea of popularity.

“They gave us a whole bag of tangerines and we didn’t eat many of them, but I was glad to have them and I did eat [them],” Das said. “I’m not sure if what they do for us comes out of a place of necessity or being forced to by their coach, or if it’s more genuine, but I do appreciate [it].”

However, sophomore and cheerleader Jooha Kim says that this gift-giving tradition has received many thank yous from the football players. Decorating the team room has created a culture for the team as Kim explains that it’s a “bonding experience as well.”

Kim wishes that the student section would cheer alongside the Cheer team’s cheers to show more collective support for the football team. Tesfaye also finds that student responses to their cheers during games are often weak, but

“I think being [a cheerleader] really means reaching out to a lot of people that a school might not be able to reach in ways of spirit, especially at MVHS,” Kim said. “In the movies, people think cheerleaders are just there to be popular, but I think that’s an incorrect mindset that people have of us. And I think it’s a mindset that people should be changing.”

think the cheer team helps with excitement at football games

Athletes and coaches explore why athletes play despite being injured

Crawling out of bed, senior Royce Wang makes his way to his desk to begin working on a pile of accumulated assignments before being struck by a splitting headache. Pulling himself to the bathroom, Wang is overcome with nausea, throwing up in the process. After receiving a concussion at an away game during the Boys Water Polo season, Wang only played in a few games during the season and tried to recover before the Boys Water Polo team entered its league games to attempt at qualifying for CCS.

For Wang, the dilemma was whether to continue his recovery after the concussion or to help the Boys Water Polo team at league semifinals. Wang, being the backbone of the team’s defense, took it upon himself to serve his role to the end.

“League semifinals [were coming] and we were against [the] first seed,” Wang said. “There was no way we were winning without [me and Ryan].”

Senior Ryan Tang, like Wang, also received a concussion. However, acknowledging the threat Mountain View High School posed to MVHS’s qualification to CCS, both players still decided to play.

According to Wang, sitting out might be detrimental not only to the team’s

results but also to their dignity as athletes.

“We’d be betraying ourselves,” Wang said. “We’ve never gone to CCS before. We played for all four years and this was our last chance.”


Unfortunately, Boy’s Water Polo came inches away from qualification to CCS, ultimately falling to Mountain View High School in the semifinals. It was during that semifinal game where both Wang and Tang both recieved their second concussions just minutes after the game began, rendering them unable to play for the rest of the game Senior Karena Lai, a member of the cross country team, has also been enduring a serious injury for the majority of the team’s season. While Lai initially deemed the throbbing at her hip insignificant, she later found out that her hip was inflicted with an avulsion fracture. Despite her severe injury, Lai found it difficult to admit that taking a break might be the better course of action.

and has also pushed through several injuries. Borelli was able to do this due to her strong sense of being a team player.

“My mindset was the reason I kept playing,” Borelli said. “You’re not playing individually. If you’re not there, then there’s like a missing part of the team.”

of MVHS students

have played a sport with an injury

*According to a survey of 175 people

Although cross country is an individual sport, Lai attributes both her and other runners’ hesitation to take a break from running to their passions for the activity.

“In general runners tend to [not] acknowledge [injuries], and say that they’re not injured and keep running through it,” Lai said. “I think running is something people like, so it’s really hard to step back.”

“I joined cross country because I want to be running,” Lai said. “If I’m injured, I [still] want to go back and run. It was really hard to push through that desire and force myself to stay out of it.”

English teacher and Girls Basketball Coach Sara Borelli competed in multiple sports from childhood to college,

While severe injuries such as concussions and ACL tears require a doctor to clear before they can return to play, Borelli says most players keep playing when they have minor injuries. However, Borelli understands that injuries can take a mental toll and could make athletes hesitant to play.

“For instance, if you sprained your ankle and you’re cleared to play, you [could] still [be] mentally locked because you have that psychological memory of the pain that [you] felt so you’re scared to play on it,” Borelli said. “I don’t want a player out there if they’re scared, so [they] have to rest and take the time that they need to get back mentally and physically into the situation that they need to be [in].”


Playing The Period Game

Athletes explain the impact of menstruation on their sports

The steady raps of the racket striking against the birdie along with the short, stifled squeaks of shoes against the floor filled the gym as junior Anika Karandikar played her last Badminton match of the day. She was maintaining a steady lead, and then, she felt it. A sluggish discomfort creeped down her stomach, followed by a strong clench — it was her period. The ease that came with her movement across the court disappeared all of a sudden and the game seemed to

was fine. I did not tell my coach because I was afraid of what he might say — I didn’t want to bother him because I didn’t know how he would react.”

Similarly, senior and soccer player Saanvi Mantripragada recalls a time when she hesitated to

athletes seek help from her due to period symptoms such as cramps and lightheadedness impeding their performance.


and didn’t have any pain medication with her that day. Although she tried to push herself through pregame warmups, she found the pain unbearable and talked to her coach about it, who let her sit out for the game. While Mantripragada says exercising helps her relieve some menstruation pain, she highlights the importance of resting for players if the

“That was the only severe time, [but] period pain comes on a large spectrum,” Mantripragada said. “I think that players themselves are the best judgment of how much pain they can tolerate, so I don’t think they should be forced to play a sport [if] they can’t

Health specialist Brooklyn Sylve, who has also taken on the role of Student Injury Prevention Specialist, echoes Mantripragada’s sentiment and says she has had several

“A lot of the stigma is that periods are not as bad as they seem and that’s just not the case,” Sylve said. “I don’t think that we should be minimizing [players’] concerns. If someone needs a break, then they should absolutely take a break because you never know how it’ll affect them emotionally. Nobody wants to be embarrassed by their period or ashamed that they’re having this pain.”


Senior and swimmer Annika Lee says that periods could also present a problem since they can take athletes “out of commission” although consistent practice is essential for a player’s growth and preparation for competitions. However, Lee believes that coaches and teams should be understanding of athletes who are unable to play, despite the inconveniences it creates.

“The coach should try subbing them out for someone and asking them to contribute [in] a different way,” Lee said. “But in a team sport, [if] there isn’t someone who can sub in, I think it puts the coach in a tough spot, especially because games cannot be rescheduled just for one person.”

Field Hockey Assistant Coach and MVHS alum ‘16 Amelia de Leon says that while athletes sitting out may put some pressure on the team — especially for the field hockey team


this past season, which had fewer players than usual — athletes are the ones who tend to put most of the pressure on themselves to play during games. However, she believes that athletes should respect their bodies and know their limits.

“We often view being committed to a sport as giving 100% every day, and performing at your peak is not the same every day for anyone,” de Leon said. “If you can’t come to practice because of how you feel, that’s just what that day is and that doesn’t mean you’re less committed.”

Additionally, coaches are not legally permitted to give athletes medication such as painkillers, so de Leon says that coaches have their “hands tied up” when it comes down to what they are able to do to help. De Leon says that there was at least one athlete every week who was “either not present at all or are present and limited in what they feel comfortable doing” due to their period.

Sylve emphasizes the importance of athletes advocating for themselves to their coaches and keeping track of their menstruation cycles to find any irregularities, but she also recognizes the courage it takes for athletes to be vocal about their period.

“I can tell that it takes a lot out of [athletes] to [seek help] when they’re on [their period],” Sylve said. “I just don’t think that women should be ashamed of their periods and being able to have that conversation. I want them to know that they need to do whatever is necessary for themselves during that time.”


foster an open conversation about periods among the team. While Lee finds that such a conversation would be awkward, Karandikar says that even though it might be awkward to bring periods up in a co-ed team, it should be normalized and the stigma around it should be reduced.

*According to a survey of 175 people

Additionally, Mantripragada believes that since her coach is coaching a girls team, it could be helpful for him to clarify to the team at the beginning of

this conversation could also be beneficial in introducing the correlation between periods and physicality to athletes who are unfamiliar with it.

When it comes to talking about her period, Karandikar feels comfortable discussing it and the symptoms that come along with it with her friends within the team. Mantripragada also finds it easy to talk about it with her teammates.

“People who have [their period] will be like, ‘We’re synced!’ [and] it’s a funny way of how we bond through our pain,” Mantripragada said. “I think we’re a lot more open about it because we all experience it and instead of a taboo topic, we’re open about talking about the pain levels and all of that.”

De Leon says she and her teammates had these conversations back when she was on the team and

of MVHS students
believe coaches should address the effects of periods on athletes

everyone was supportive of each other, and hopes the same goes for current players. The field hockey team room is stocked with period supplies by seniors every season, which de Leon feels is an indicator that the team is supportive and comfortable when it comes to periods. Moving forward, de Leon says that coaches should include menstruation in the team health checkins that happen during practice.

“It’s just not part of the ‘syllabus’ that we have of things that we talk about,” de Leon said. “We talk about personal health in terms of hydration and nutrition, but we don’t really have a conversation about [periods] formally. It’s just knowing that it’s really important to know your body, and it’s something we owe, especially teenagers, to talk about — it’s something we can try to add.”

Period Power-ups!

Ways to cope with period symptoms as an athlete

Pain Medication

Although coaches and health technicians are not permitted to give students medication, MVHS health clerk Brooklyn Sylve recommends taking Tylenol, Ibuprofen or Midol for period cramp pain relief after practice as needed.

Heating Pads

Sylve advises athletes to apply mild heat to painful areas which may relax those muscles and increase blood flow, helping to ease period pain.

Moderate Exercise Cycle Tracking

Heat i n g p a sd

Exercising in moderation outside of practice can help increase energy levels and reduce period cramping.

Using an app or a calendar to track your cycle can help figure out if it is absent or irregular due to higher physical activity. Consult a doctor about your period if you notice ny issues.

Fuel Your Body

According to Sylve, it is important to eat nutritious, ironrich foods to make up for the loss of blood, as well as stay hydrated.

Take Breaks

Don’t be afraid to listen to your body and take rest days as needed! Resting can only help you heal and make sure your stamina is up for future practices.

Speak Up to Your Coach

While this may seem daunting, MVHS Field Hockey Assistant Coach Amelia de Leon says that coaches can be very understanding about period struggles and open to adjustments according to your needs.






Examining the repercussions of girls playing video games

TW: This article contains mentions of sexual assault.

She remembers their comments — a stream of stereotypical sexist remarks like “why don’t you go back to the kitchen?” cascading out of the voice call. She remembers her frustration — the palpable feeling clouding her head, animating a sense of doubt and dejection. She remembers sitting on her chair, listening, and at that moment, senior Julia Lu couldn’t help but let herself cry.

“It wasn’t out of [being] hurt, but more out of frustration,” Lu said. “Because someone singled me out for my gender, and everyone started targeting me.”

Lu has been playing Minecraft for two years, climbing the ranks and making a name for herself in the

community. She has competed and won competitions and is competitively ranked on a Minecraft server. To her, playing video games is not only stress relieving, but also connects her with an online community, where she has forged many relationships.

However, in a competitive gaming environment that is male dominated, her gender has become a target for verbal attacks. Lu recalls several instances where her teammates would yell at her and single her out with gender-based insults, creating an unwelcoming or “toxic environment” that permeates her gameplay.

“It kind of makes me hate the game,” Lu said. “It makes me wonder, ‘Why am I playing this? It’s not worth it, my self confidence is going down and I don’t enjoy it anymore.’ A lot of times when this happens, it makes me think, ‘Should I even keep playing?’”


Content Creator Kayla, who requests not to use her last name, uses the gamer tag “kayayluh and mainly streams Valorant on Twitch. Kayla reiterates Lu’s frustrations, as she often faces similar comments while streaming. She has documented the sexism she faces in this community, revealing the degrading “female experience” in Valorant.

“I’ve got a recording device, which I got to record fun plays and when I did a good job,” Kayla said. “But I got these guys who were being really, really gross — they wanted to receive [pictures] on Snapchat exposing my body and [saying things like], ‘You have to send me a t-tty pic.’ That was really frustrating and that’s when I started recording it.”

Kayla’s videos have shed a light on the hypersexualization and overly aggressive remarks that women face in gaming lobbies. The volatility of those who make these comments also exacerbate an already tense and unpredictable environment.

b-tch. I’m gonna f-cking find you and I’m gonna find your mother. I’m gonna rape you. I’m gonna f-cking rape your mother too.’”

Sophomore Maya Pullara, who has played video games including Valorant, says these comments have been normalized in the gaming community, an inevitability that she has learned to deal with.

“He was like, ‘You f-cking b-tch. I’m gonna f-cking FInd you and I’m gonna fInd your mother. I’m gonna rape you. I’m gonna f-cking rape your mother too.’”

“You’re a girl who’s decided to play video games and that’s just the reality of it,” Pullara said. “Guys are not going to respect you as much and you can either deal with that and be like, ‘OK, well, this is what I’m signing up for, do I want to continue doing this or do I not?’”

As a male in the space, senior Noah Berger agrees that he has seen these moments of sexism in the gaming community. When faced with these comments, he says the bystander

effect happens too often, causing little consequence to the person being misogynistic.

“Realistically, the goal would be for the rest of your teammates to step up and then Valorant ends up banning the player,” Berger said. “But the reality is usually people just ignore [these comments] and don’t say anything.”

Lu has found a 50/50 split when playing with men, with half making sexist remarks and the other half defending her. She concedes that she inherently has little power over the actions and words of others, but emphasizes the importance of building a supportive community. She also says it will be a while until women can break the glass ceiling in esports, but encourages those who are in the field to keep trying.

“To the women right now who are doubting themselves, just keep pushing and ignore the haters,” Lu said. “Have faith in yourself.”

“There’s a part [in my video] where this guy was very flirtatious with me, but it was light hearted and silly, but at one point, he dies and I didn’t swing out to trade him,” Kayla said. “He just flipped a switch and he freaked out. He threatened to rape me. He was like, ‘You f-cking

“B-TCH” “WH-RE” “DISHWASHER” “GO BACK TO THE KITCHEn” “MAKE ME A SANDWICH” *According to an anonymous survey SPORTS | NOVEMBER 2022 47
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