Page 1

Extreme sports challenge limits

Palo Alto eateries display student art


A girl’s perspective on Fast and Furious

GRT’s basketball robot takes to the court



Palo Alto Unified School District Henry M. Gunn High School 780 Arastradero Rd Palo Alto, CA 94306 NON-PROFIT ORG U.S. Postage



Permit #44 Palo Alto, Calif.

Henry M. Gunn High School

Monday, March 12, 2012 Volume 48, Issue 6

780 Arastradero Road, Palo Alto, CA 94306

Girls basketball makes Gunn history Amrita Moitra News Editor

The Lady Titans made history on Mar. 3 when they defeated Paly for the school’s first ever Central Coast Section (CCS) basketball championship. The game, played in Santa Clara

University’s Leavey Center, was close throughout all four quarters and ended with a final score of 41-39. Spectators were on their toes the entire game, as the lead went back and forth between the rivals. “ I was worried that in the last two minutes that Paly would pull some tricks out of their sleeves,” senior Jesse Zwerling, president of the boisterous Sixth Man Club, said. “Fortunately, Gunn made the most out of Paly’s mistakes and scored on their most important possessions, holding Paly at bay.” Senior Cat Perez, the team’s captain, was the highest scorer, shooting a total of 18 points and 11 rebounds. Her de-

termination was evident in more than her performance on the court. “You can ask Meghan, one of the freshman on the team,” Perez said. “I kept telling her that I was not leaving Gunn without a CCS title.” Unlike previous years, when the Titans, a top seed team, lost the CCS championship game and still qualified for the Northern California bracket, this is the first time they have won the CCS division. In fact, this is the first time that any basketball team at Gunn—boys or girls— has won the league championship. Coach Sarah Stapp was also overjoyed by the CCS—p.4

Education change you can believe in

Eric Noh As the 2012 presidential elections are rapidly approaching, it is time for Americans to evaluate the educational policies outlined by President Barack Obama since taking office in 2008. It should be noted that Obama’s plan for education has been proven effective. Because his actions have been successful thus far, Obama should be seriously considered for reelection this coming fall. Education in today’s world is more important than most people believe. An improvement in the quality of American education could potentially create a new era of prosperity for U.S. as a country. The United States could boost its average scores on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), an international standardized examination, by 25 points out of 600 total over the next 20 years. If the score averages rise, there could be a gain of approximately $41 trillion in the U.S. economy over the lifetime of those generation born in 2010, according to a study done by Stanford University. Obama’s policies have been improving American education through making college more affordable, increasing the quality of math and science education and making the No Child Left OBAMA—p.9

Wendy Qiu

Gunn Mythbusters alse? f r o True

Mr. = Hernandez Turn to page 27 to find out

Gunn Figures



The Oracle examines teacher dismissal process Utkash Dubey

Forum Editor

In light of the recent firing of physics teacher Eric Hickock, The Oracle decided to examine the process of hiring and firing teachers in the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD). According to Principal Katya Villalobos, when teachers are first hired, they are usually hired on a temporary contract. Depending on teacher performance, teachers may be offered probationary employment, and subsequently a permanent contract, which is similar to tenure. However, should the administration decide that the teacher is not the right fit for the school, the district has to abide by California labor laws, as well as the policies founded in the contract between the district and the Palo Alto Educators Association (PAEA) of firing a teacher. The terms outlined in both of these documents

Students who attended Gunn Service Day on March 8


dictate the exact procedure of firing a teacher; one such regulation is that the district has to inform the teacher, by a specified date, that they are not going to be rehired for the next school year. According to Principal Katya Villalobos, termination of a teacher tends to spring from the school level. Ultimately though, the PAUSD Board of Education makes the final decision to fire a teacher by giving their approval or disapproval. However, the motivation to fire a teacher can come from many different paths. “There are a number of contractual issues that could come into play,” Assistant Principal Kim Cowell said. For example, complaints and grievances from students, parents and other staff members may contribute to the dismissal of a unfit teacher. According to Villalobos, complaints in this format are inefficient to the evaluation by the school, but based on the contract the union has with the district,

Number of points the girls’ basketball team beat Paly by to claim the CCS title


AP tests taken by Gunn students last year





Second Everytown held in Feb.

For the first time ever, Gunn held a second Camp Everytown during the spring in conjunction with Paly. This combined camp was held from Feb. 29 through Mar. 3. While Gunn usually does not have a second Camp Everytown, since Paly was short on delegates, they invited Gunn to join them. Since there had already been discussion about holding a combined camp, Gunn decided to jump on this opportunity. “I think it will be a great match for both schools and will hopefully lead to a great Camp relationship,” Education Director of Silicon Valley FACES Amanda LeBlanc Freeman wrote in an email. When some students heard that Paly students would be joining then, they were initially skeptical. Afterwards, however, students found the combined camp to be a great experience. “I’m so glad it was with Paly because now I have so many new friends who I never would have known otherwise,” sophomore Leyla Carefoot said. Another Camp Everytown event called “An Evening in Everytown” is also making its way to Gunn. This mini-camp will happen on April 13 at the end of Not In Our Schools Week. “It will be an opportunity for camp alum and students who are sophomores, juniors and seniors who did not get to attend a full camp to get a taste of the values and lessons of camp and to have some fun,” Freeman wrote. “We are also looking to bring more of camp back to Gunn’s campus to make a long term impact on creating the society we want to see.” Camp alumni will be recruited to help with the night, while students who have not yet been to camp will be nominated to join the event. Erica Lee

Courtesy of Bob Golton

on Construction

New courses to offer more variety

Three new classes have been added to the course catalog this year: Facing History and Ourselves, Individual Fitness and Far East History and Culture. While Facing History and Ourselves and Far East History and Culture are offered only to juniors and seniors, Individual Fitness will be open to freshmen and sophomores as well. The course will only be offered second semester, and it aims to educate each student on the importance of training and fitness. The new English course, Facing History and Ourselves, will explore lessons of civic courage, compassion and responsibility in society through literature and film. Far East History and Culture introduces students to more accurate depictions of Asian societies compared to what some students see in the media. Far East History and Culture also compares and contrasts the differences of traditional and modern Asian countries. “I think it would be very cool to study because in history you get to study other countries and their culture, but you don’t get to spend that much time on it,” junior Lia Green said. Zoe Weisner

SEC SCOOP Upcoming Events: • Early bird prom tickets go on sale (3/12) • “Merchant of Venice” from Gunn theatre (3/14 3/17) • Online registration closes (3/19) • PTSA International Potluck (3/22) • International Week (3/19 3/23) • NGC Dodgeball Tournament (3/23) • Titan 101 (3/25 3/26) If you have any suggestions or questions, please contact us! Email: Facebook: “Updates from Gunn SEC” Or ask us a question at

Wendy Qiu

Audey Shen

Left: District Facilities Bond Manager Bob Golton shows construction to sophomore Lucy Oyer. Top right: A rendering depicts the gym’s architecture. Bottom right: Workers install steel beams.

Bob Golton Alex Morrison

District Facilities Bond Manager

Victoria Cotter

District Project Manager

Site Project Manager

The Oracle: What construction projects are going on? Bob Golton: We have active construction at both Gunn and Paly. The construction contracts issued at each campus are about $25 million each. At Gunn, the new classroom buildings contract is $17 million and the new gym construction contract is $8 million. We also have construction contracts at Jordan for $14 million, Terman for $9 million, Fairmeadow for $7 million and Ohlone for $7 million. TO: What are the environmental impacts of the new projects? Victoria Cotter: The buildings were designed around the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) Standards.

TO: What benefits will the new gym bring for students? AM: The new gym seats the entire campus so if you want to have one assembly with everyone it will be in [the new gym]. Also there are glass paneled roll up doors on the sides of the dance studio and weight room at the back of the building. These open up in nice weather. It will be one of the safest buildings on campus in terms of earthquakes and fire. TO: How are the projects progressing? VC: So far on budget; however, the schedule has slipped a bit but we are working towards a timely completion. AM: The gym will open in late 2012.

TO: How did the construction of the new gym come about? BG: In 2008, people in the school district voted to fund the “Strong Schools Bond” program which has a total value of $378 million. The first project funded by that bond, in fact, was at Gunn and was the swimming pool. Besides the current projects at Gunn, we are planning to do other improvements, but the instructional program on the campus can only have a certain amount of construction and still function. There will be more later. TO: What is going to happen to the old gym? BG: We are going to remodel it, just as soon as the new gym is finished. Alex Morrison: Some of the modifications will include replacement of the floor and removal one side of the bleachers. TO: How is the noise level going to change as the construction continues? AM: It’s going to be very noisy when we start putting up the metal decking which we put the roof on. It’ll be about the same level as a couple months back. —Compiled by Lucy Oyer






$87 =

• Renting of necessary testing tables • 20-30 hours of test material management • Overtime for the custodial staff • Over 350 hours of pay for proctors

News Monday, March 12, 2012 3 Teacher dismissal process explained WASC to reevaluate campus porary employees are not under any sort of legal the teacher is required to collect student input protection. The process to terminate a temporary through a course evalutaion form at least once a teacher is much shorter, but still involves tight year. On top of that, a general feedback form is observation and a fair outlook. sent out to parents during March. If a problem Social studies teacher Phil Lyons, who at the arises, Villalobos encourages parents to talk with beginning of his career, was under a temporary teachers first. contract, believes that the process is fair and If issues cannot be resolved between the justified, but needs improvement. Lyons feels that teacher and the parents or students, the problem “the district should be reaching out to the union, may be brought up to the Instructional Supervi- to get terminations approved.” In addition, Lysor (IS) of that particular department, who is in ons believes that student evaluations should be charge of assessing if teachers in their respective weighted much more than they currently are. “I departments are meeting the school’s standards. wish all of my 150 students would be required to If the IS is dissatisfied with evaluate me on 10 or 20 differthe teacher’s performance, ent things, and everyone would the next step is creating a have access to it,” Lyons said. “We don’t want to let plan for improvement. “If Cowell stresses that the people go. We hire performance is really lackschool does their absolute best people because we ing, in terms of what we’re to maintain a fair process. “We expecting of a teacher and don’t want to let people go,” want to keep them.” on standards the district has, Cowell said. “We hire people —Vice Principal then we may start documenbecause we want to keep them, Kimberly Cowell tation and observations,” but sometimes what this means Villalobos said. is that they’re kind of doing a rehearsal.” Cowell In addition, supervisors concurrently hold says that many temporary teachers move up to meetings with the teacher to discuss the plan for become permanent contracted teachers, because improvement. However, if the meetings are un- they are skilled educators and the school wants successful, this information is again documented to give them legal protection. and more observations are made. “Teachers are Similarly, the district takes active measures offered multiple chances to amend their teaching to ensure recently hired teachers are complying practice, but if no improvements are made, we with school standards, primarily on an academic have to address this problem and send our recom- basis, but also on levels regarding colleague colmendation to the board,” Cowell said. laboration, friendliness and, according to Cowell, According to Villalobos, the process of firing “whether the teacher is a good fit.” According a teacher can take up to two years for a teacher to the administration, a teacher is considered who was hired on a permanent basis. Cowell adds a good fit when they are fully integrated into that critics of this process deem it too long and the community. Villalobos acknowledges the inefficient. “Some people think there are too many system’s imperfections and inefficiency timehoops that the school district has to go through wise, but also says that the district does its best in order to let a teacher go, just too many steps to accommodate the academic and emotional involved,” Cowell said. On the other hand, tem- needs of students. n TEACHER from pg. 1

Rebecca Alger Reporter

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) will be visiting campus for their triennial evaluation on Mar. 22. WASC’s purpose is to ensure that each school is meeting its proper standards and improving to meet students’ changing needs. Depending on the scores from past evaluations, a visiting committee comes every one to three years. Gunn is currently in its 2009-2015 cycle, so this year there is an outside review to ensure that Gunn is still meeting its goals. “In 2009, Gunn was given a six year accreditation, which means that we are doing well and have a good plan in place to keep doing the things we do well,” former WASC coordinator Dawna Linsdell wrote in an email. “The most important part of the evaluation and accreditation process is truly reflecting on what is working and identifying our areas of growth,” Linsdell said. Evaluators meet with not only the administration and teachers, but also students and parents. “It’s important to include all staff and both parent and student communities in the process so that we include all perspectives and always continue to improve Gunn,” Linsdell wrote. The majority of the assessment is based on a self-evaluation conducted by the school. “The self-evaluation is where we really look at the school,” Principal Katya Villalobos said. “It gives us an opportunity to look at the school and shake it up a bit, but also to celebrate what we’re doing really

well.” As a result of the self-evaluation, it is rare for schools to become aware of new problems through the WASC evaluation. “Recommendations that the WASC visiting committee puts together are usually the same as those that the school identified in their self evaluation,” WASC Executive Director David Brown said. Schools are graded in almost every aspect, from student stress to Academic Performance Index (API) scores. “Criteria is created internally by people in the field who know how a school should run, what it should be able to do and what the correct environment for learning is,” Brown said. At the 2009 evaluation, Gunn was recommended to work on recognizing student achievement, involving students more in decision-making and training all the departments. Gunn was also recommended to work on closing the achievement gap between minority students and finding a better way to assess student achievement for at-risk students performing below grade level. “New programs like College Pathways have really helped us,” Villalobos said. “It helps underrepresented kids leave Gunn with the background and resources they need to succeed at a four-year college.” Evaluation write-ups always include specific goals and ideas for change but they are not an exact scientific procedure. “Goals are an ever-evolving process,” Villalobos said. “We are constantly looking at how we are teaching and learning and how we can make Gunn even better.”



Girls’ basketball team beats Paly to snatch first CCS title n CCS from pg. 1

victory. “I’m extremely proud of the kids I’m coaching, and I’m proud to be a part of what we’ve accomplished,” she said. Last year, the Lady Titans were in the same position, facing Paly in the CCS championship game and losing. “I think the only reason this year was different was the fact that we knew what it felt like to be in the championship game and lose,” Perez said. “It was our main focus to get back to that championship game and win.” Stapp also credits this year’s victory to last year’s loss. “I think we’re playing just as hard as we always have, but we’re mentally tougher and a year older,” she said. The team, while ultimately successful,

did not have a promising start to the season. “We had high expectations coming into the season,” Perez reflected. “I think we got in over our heads in the beginning.” But after their first two league losses, the Titans came together for a triumphant season. In addition to the countless hours of practice and conditioning, there are many other aspects to the girls’ success. “Their commitment to each other and the team, and their work ethic have been key,” Stapp said. Perez saw the team mature as well. “We started to play together and acted more as one unit rather than five individuals on the court.” Although not as young of a team as in previous years, this year’s varsity girls have

Teen dance planned for March Lawrence Chen Reporter

Stemming from a desire for more teen-oriented community activities, Palo Alto youth groups will be holding a dance called Hit the Lights on Mar. 31 from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Lucie Stern Community Center. The event, which is organized by the Teen Advisory Board (TAB) and is entirely student-run, will feature dancing, food and a variety of games. The name Hit the Lights was inspired by the incorporation of black lights and lasers that will be used during at the dance. In addition, the group Tribal Existence will be putting up black and laser lights for the dance. The members of Tribal Existence are most notable for their lighting work at the Grammys. “People should wear white or fluorescent colors because they stand out in the black light,” senior TAB

president Anni Liu said. The dance will also feature student DJs, such as senior Soham Tikekar. “I have had the experience of DJing in the last few years,” Tikekar said. “It was mostly parties of 50 to 150 people, but nothing of Hit the Lights magnitude. It will definitely be a new experience and challenge, but I think the end result will be amazing.” For students who are not interested in dancing, there will also be various games such as Dance Dance Revolution and air hockey available for all guests to enjoy. “Hit the Lights is for all schools in Palo Alto,” TAB coordinator Jessica Lewis said. “This will be more than just a dance. The police and YCS have been involved in bringing it to Palo Alto and giving lots of support.” Tickets cost $5 per person and can be purchased by emailing or at the door the day of the dance.

only four graduating seniors. “The years go by fast,” Perez said. “If I was to give some piece of advice to the girls who play next year, I would say to cherish the moments you have with the team.” The Sixth Man Club could not be more proud of their Lady Titans. “It was incredible. Being the guy responsible for dragging kids to the game, I was elated to see the entire side filled with students and teachers,” Zwerling said. “The spirit, enthusiasm and sheer volume of the crowd was a big enough win for me.” Turn to page 23 for the CCS results for all other winter sports.

Auditions to showcase Bay Area bands Emily Yao

Sports Editor

For students who are serious about music and aspire to be musicians, the Hurricane Music Festival Auditions is the perfect opportunity for bands to demonstrate musical talent. Auditioning groups get a chance at playing at the actual festival on May 12 at Mitchell Park. Created by musician Steffan Salas and the Teen Arts Council, this is the first year the event has been held. According to the council, the event was created to fill the lack of representation from Bay Area bands. The auditions will be hosted by the Teen Arts Council on Mar. 10 at the Lucie Stern Center. For the audition, band members must be between 14 through 19 years of age. The band must perform two songs and one of

them must be an original song. A wide range of music genres are acceptable, including rock, funk, jazz and heavy metal. A four-person committee will pick out the six best bands based on how original, confident and musically engaging they are. “What I’m most looking forward to is hearing a group of musicians start to play together and not being able to take that smile off my face, stop my foot from tapping up and down or nodding my head,” Salas said. Junior Timmy Linetsky and senior Ty Mayer will be auditioning together as a duet. According to Linetsky, he is definitely looking forward to the auditions because it will be the first time he and Mayer will perform with each other. “We’ve been working on a few songs and they’re coming together nicely,” Linetsky said. “It’ll be an interesting com-

THEORACLE The Oracle strongly encourages and prints signed Letters to the Editor and Comments. Comments are generally shorter responses, while Letters are longer pieces of writing.

Editorial Board Editor-in-Chief Ashley Ngu

Managing Editors Monica Cai Divya Shiv

News Amrita Moitra Jean Wang Zoe Weisner

Features Anna Qin Lydia Zhang

Entertainment Boot Bullwinkle Samantha Donat Lucy Oyer

Photo Wendy Qiu

Forum Utkash Dubey Rani Shiao

Centerfold Elsa Chu Yilin Liang

Sports Eileen Qian Emily Yao

Graphics Lisa Wu

Please include your name, grade and contact information should you choose to write one.

Graphics Artists George Hwang Alvina Yau

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The Oracle publishes nine issues annually. Subscriptions are $45/year.

Letters to the Editor and Comments and ideas for coverage may be sent to or posted on our Facebook page. These letters need not be from current student.

—Tiffany Miller, 12

Business/Circulation Annie Tran Ben Atlas (Asst.) Ellen Lee (Asst.)

The Oracle is published by and for the students of Henry M. Gunn Senior High School. The unsigned editorials that appear in this publication represent the majority opinion of the editorial staff and The Oracle’s commitment to promoting student rights.

Letters and Comments may be edited to meet space requirements and the writer is solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

I thought this issue was entertaining with relatable articles. However, I think there should be more articles that give advice or tips and are less opinionated.

Staff Reporters Rebecca Alger, Cooper Aspegren, Lawrence Chen, Leon Cheong, Mitch Donat, Misheel Enkhbat, Wayland Fong, Yan Jia, Solomon Kim, Chaewon Lee, Ellen Lee, Erica Lee, Ysé Massot, Eric Noh, Wendy Park, Klaire Tan, Alvin Wang, Stephanie Zhang, Catalina Zhao

bination of both of our styles.” Because this is the first time the Teen Arts Council have organized this festival and audition process, Salas is looking forward to watching all the bands audition and the end result of the music festival. “I’m definitely excited to hear how each artist differentiates their sound not only in their original composition, but also their cover of another artist,” Salas said. Teen Arts Council Coordinator Zillah Glory is also excited to discover talented musicians. “We’re looking forward to meeting anyone who is fearless and ready to play, to shake things up, to make some beautiful noise and to remind people that music is so much better than what’s in the Top 40,” Glory said. “I am personally hoping to see teen bands that could go toe-to-toe with anyone and still bring the party home.”


780 Arastradero Rd Palo Alto, CA 94306 (650) 354-8238

Photo Audey Shen Michael Wu Jonathan Yong Kyle Zhu

Courtesy of Butch Garcia

Senior Julia Maggionclada drives baseline.

February 13, 2012 The Oracle was really good this issue. I liked the layout on the front page. But sports should include JV teams instead of just varsity teams. —Dillon Hu, 10 I would like to see more pictures on the pages, because there’s too much text.

—Helen Weidemann, 11

I liked the layout a lot; it looked pretty professional. I would like to see more funny stories about personal experiences and dating. —Alex Wong, 9 The front page article was a cool idea, and the editorial cartoon is catchy and the back of the paper looks really nice.

—Josh Trockel, 11

I liked the “Form or Fashion?” story because it was very amusing. However, I didn’t like the political awareness article. I’m not interested in politics at all.

—Bernice Wang, 11


Monday, March 12, 2012


Audey Shen

Audey Shen

Courtesy of Jade Chamness

Audey Shen

Teens collaborated with Break Through the Static to showcase their artwork. The displays of art will be held March 15 at Mike’s Cafe, Middlefield Road, March 16 and 17 at Philz, Alma Street and Middlefield Road, March 17 at Vino Locale, Kipling Street, and March 18 at Bon Vivant, Bryant Street.

Suicide prevention group brings teen art to local eateries Catalina Zhao Reporter

Palo Alto will be featuring about 100 pieces of artwork created by teens from all over the city. Break Through the Static, a Palo Alto-based suicide prevention group, will be hosting the exhibit at five local eateries on the weekend of March 16 through 18. “This event is giving teenagers an opportunity to share their stories and express themselves through art,” founder and CEO of Break Through the Static Jade Chamness said. For the past five months, Break Through the Static has been working with non-profit organizations and Visual Arts teacher Deanna Messinger to organize the exhibit. Students in Palo Alto Unified School District’s art classes and organizations have been working on pieces relating to the theme of personal experiences. “This is an opportunity for teens to express themselves by creating art that is rooted in their life-shaping events and experiences, their emotions, their passions—anything that speaks to

them,” Chamness said. Messinger instructed her students along the same lines. “I presented the theme as a selfportrait asking them what it’s like to be them,” she said. To help teens develop their pieces, Break Through the Static arranged two art retreats in December and February. In addition, Messinger’s students have been working in class, and some of their artwork is currently on display at the Gunn art exhibit in the district office until March 16. Art created by teens in non-profit organizations, such as Youth Community Service, Palo Alto Children’s Theater, Teen Advisory Board and YMCA, will also be present. The Gunn art that will be on display was pulled from students from five of Messinger’s classes, including junior Emily Redfield’s acrylic on canvas piece that focuses on the peacefulness of a teen’s solitude. “I think the exhibit is a great idea,” Redfield said. “It’s different and forces people to think about the artwork and how the person who did it feels.” The artworks will be spread out over five Palo Alto venues: Bon Vivante Cafe, Philz Coffee on Middle-

Board debates new graduation criteria

year). It is also a measure of accountability for the district when setting course offerings, course content at the lowest lanes, teaching practices and This spring, the school board is on schedule student support. to discuss and enact policies that will make A-G However, critics worry that A-G requirements requirements, needed for admission to a University will spur more dropouts and lower the overall of California (UC), mandatory for graduates. This graduation rate. Additionally, critics believe policy would add two lab sciences and math up to teachers will dilute their coursework and make Algebra 2 to the current graduation requirements. the curricula too easy. The solution, as Woodham According to the school board, 82 percent of Gunn wrote in an email, would entail “a clear pathway to graduates already fulfill them, but a disproportion- A-G compliance with courses in the lowest lanes ate amount of the remaining 18 percent are under- that meet but not exceed standards, support for represented minorities, a fact teachers to effect great teaching that is fueling efforts to bridge to the students who need it the this disparity. “I want to ensure that most and support for students According to School Board who struggle.” President Melissa Caswell, the all students have the Guidance Counseler Lisa proposed policy does not cur- support they need to do Kaye agrees that there are porently have full support from the issues. “Even though it whatever they aspire tential staff. “There are some teachers seems straightforward, there who feel the Algebra 2 require- to after graduating.” are a lot of dimensions to such ment is very challenging, but I a policy,” she said. “An overall Principal Katya review of current graduation am confident that our teachers Villalobos requirements may be needed to will come up with a solution,” Caswell said. She also professed optimism regard- re-evaluate how the A-G courses will be added. ing chances of eventual passage. “It feels like we There’s the potential for it to create stress and have a very heavy majority of community members worry if the requirements are added on without supporting it,” Caswell said. “I am optimistic that, a review of existing requirements.” According to within five years, we’ll have this in place.” math teacher Danny Hahn, by definition, a requireAccording to Caswell, driving this change is the ment being added would initially mean that more disparity between minorities and non-minorities students would not meet those requirements. It’s to in fulfilling A-G requirements. “We want to give be expected that more work will be needed on the our students the most opportunities they can have,” part of the district and the teachers to help students Caswell said. “We want to close our achievement meet the higher expectations. gap.” Principal Katya Villalobos is optimistic about This gap has attracted attention from the Parent the policy’s chances for when it is debated this Network for Students of Color (PNSC), which has spring. “It’s very doable; we have resources, an been a vocal advocate for the policy thus far. “We incredible teaching staff and an academic-cenhave had a standing goal for many years to close our tered mindset at both [Gunn and Palo Alto High achievement gap, with limited improvement over School],” Villalobos said. the years,” co-chair of the PNSC Sara Woodham Proponents of adding A-G requirements are Johnsson said. According to Woodham, the A-G hopeful that the policy will help close the achieverequirement eliminates confusion about standards ment gap and provide more opportunities for that students should have for succeeding in life students after graduation. “I want to ensure that all beyond high school (according to the board, all students have the support they need to do whatever but 170 Gunn students met that requirement last they aspire to after graduating,” Villalobos said. Ben Atlas

Assistant Business Manager

field Road and Alma Street, Mike’s Café and Vino Locale. At all five of the locations, there will be a twohour reception and live teen musical performances. The goal of the event is to reinforce the well-being of citizens and communication in Palo Alto. “Our hope is that this event will strengthen the bond between teens, adults and local business owners in our community,” Chamness said. “It’s one more step towards bolstering teens’ resilience by providing them with an opportunity to reflect on their experiences and express themselves.” The exhibit will also allow a look into the lives of teenagers. “These young people are Palo Alto’s future and going to be the next leg in the race,” Messinger said. “Students can speak up through their artwork.” Chamness agrees this exhibit will shed light on important issues. “The pieces capture the depth and breadth of what teens go through and experience,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to be invited into the lives of Palo Alto youth. What an incredible opportunity!”

2012 SHORT STORY CONTEST You could win


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Monday, March 12, 2012


EDITORIAL: The Opinion of The Oracle

Students should take appropriate steps to complain about teachers

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”, a novel commonly studied in upperclassmen English courses, begins with some advice: “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” Students must take this to heart whenever they decide to criticize their teachers. Teachers do not possess the “advantage” of knowing precisely how their policies impact the lives of their pupils. It is therefore all too easy for students to find unreasonable fault with their teachers’ classrooms, homework and test policies, and to disparage their teachers as unfair, cruel individuals. Even though constructive criticism for teachers by students is warranted and requested by the district, it is vital that students refrain from over criticizing their teachers or denouncing them inappropriately without proper rationale. Essentially, students should appreciate their teachers’ efforts

to maintain a positive learning environment and state whatever grievances they may have in a polite, professional and constructive manner. Part of this tactic involves students accepting responsibility for their own actions and habits. With some exceptions, teachers are not necessarily to blame for low marks on tests, essays, lab reports and other assignments. Rather than attribute a low score to the supposedly unfair policies of a teacher, students might find amending their study habits to be a more productive response to an undesirable grade. Similarly, it is unjust for students to hold teachers accountable for their marked tardies and cuts. Teachers cannot physically compel their students to wake up early enough to get to school on time every morning. It is strictly the requirement of the teacher to mark students late or absent if students are, in fact, late or absent.

Many complaints involve more serious matters. According to the administration, some of the most common reasons for filing a complaint against a teacher involve constructing unit tests that cover material not discussed in class, not grading work in a timely manner and not con-

Alvina Yau

necting with students. If that or something similar occurs, there are steps students can take to politely suggest amendments to the teacher’s policies.

It is customary for teachers at the end of a semester or school year to request student evaluations. This provides a forum for constructive criticism, which can allow the teacher to avoid making the same error in future classes. The fact that evaluations can be filled out anonymously prevents the teacher from knowing which student completed a certain evaluation. A more immediate step, according to inst r uc t iona l supervisors, involves speaking to the teacher directly about the problem. This allows the opportunity for the teacher to correct the mistake in a more efficient manner. If, for some reason, the teacher does not correct the error, the student can visit the instructional supervisor of the teacher’s department and explain the problem. Depending

on the severity of the error, the instructional supervisor might talk to the teacher and provide the support the teacher needs to correct the classroom policy or behavior. Students must remember that teachers generally want the best for them and do not want to be left in the dark about a pertinent issue. If a student’s piece of criticism is both legitimate and worthwhile, the teacher would likely take steps to correct the error. The measures students use to criticize their teachers can be taken to the extreme. Some students go as far as to complain and rant on Facebook and other public threads. Students should realize there are more productive and effective ways of criticizing teachers than by using an online forum. Such an action does not accomplish anything useful. —Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of the staff (assenting: 34; dissenting: 1; abstaining: 2)

Ads should stop exaggerating Service hours should reflect effort


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From tag lines like “I lost 95 pounds on Nutrisystem!” to “So easy, a caveman could do it,” we’ve all been exposed to obviously extreme cases depicted in advertisements. While the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) prohibits false advertising, simple and overlooked loopholes like “results not typical” make it easy for products to look better than they really are. Because of this, thousands and thousands of customers are deceived into purchasing products based on false or misleading information. For obvious reasons, this needs to be toned down. Companies should set their own ethical boundaries when it comes to persuading consumers to buy into their service or merchandise. They should not need a large government agency, dedicated to that kind of regulation, telling them what is right and what is wrong. Specific to marketing departments, companies should refrain from consciously using outlier examples to represent the reliability or capability of a product or service, because it’s simply not fair for the consumer, nor is it fair for competing companies. In short, honesty is the best policy. When the terminology “false advertising” is brought up, the FTC uses a loose interpretation that does not specifically define kinds of misinforming or confusing advertising. Simply put, a cheeseburger tele-


Utkash Dubey

vision ad can look as good as the franchise can make it look, without digitally editing it. Several fast food chains go as far as polishing buns, adding chemicals that make that particular burger inedible, and artificially coloring the food product. In essence, what you see is not at all what you get. But the real issue is that so many companies already practice exaggerated advertising to the extent that companies can claim that they are simply complying with modern standards other companies have set. Essentially, they are fulfilling precedents that have been previously established. While this does have some sort of credibility to it, some companies find this situation advantageous to their sales. In fact, Domino’s Pizza has a new marketing strategy that revolves around revealing how exaggerated and unethical other advertisements are. In December of 2009, the pizza franchise introduced their new slogan, “Oh Yes We Did,” as a part of their ad-campaign called “Pizza Turnaround.” They aimed to address criticisms of the quality of their pizza, and the results could not have been much better. Domino’s Pizza stopped the largely exaggerated and fake advertisements they originally had, and went back to revamping their product to meet higher standards. The bold move did more than pay off; the company witnessed incredible and unparalleled growth, at 486 percent since the start of the “honesty-campaign.” Overall, companies should be learning from the bold moves Domino’s Pizza has made, and that when it comes to advertisements, honesty really is the best policy. —Dubey, a junior, is a Forum Editor.

Anna Qin It is clearly impressive when students are willing to dedicate themselves to making a difference in the lives of less privileged people. However, due to the perceived importance of service to college admissions, many students have begun to rely on making “hour” purchases or applying simple hour “multipliers” in order to gain the recognition associated with service. Not only does this sacrifice the intent and purpose of community service, but the recognition earned will not be effective in achieving the results students want. For example, students who purchase toys for t he Ma r i ne Toys for Tots Fou ndat ion are rewarded hours based on toys donated to the organization. Every five dollars spent on a toy translates to half an hour of service. A student could “purchase” all 15 hours required to fulfill graduation requirements and possibly beyond. While it may be debated that donating money is just as valuable as donating time, it is inherently incorrect to apply a monetary value to service. The impact of half an hour of service is significantly different from spending five dollars on a toy. Students are essentially using money from home or a job to earn recognition for doing “service” for the community. Furthermore, it is likely that encouragement of these practices will lead to a contest of wealth, where recognition is based on how much money one can spend on service rather than dedication to community.

Multipliers applied onto hours authorized by many service organizations similarly undermine the concept of volunteering and the recognition with which it is associated. One of Key Club’s most popular events during the year is Fast for Awareness, in which students stay at school for 24 hours and fast in order to raise awareness for global malnutrition. For attending the event, students are rewarded two times the amount of hours they actually serve. While raising awareness for a globally recognized problem such as world hunger is important, assuming that each student will have double the impact of what he has committed is undeniably wrong. Ultimately, many students do this in order to impress the college admissions officers standing between them and their dream college. However, research by sources such as Forbes, Huffington Post and US News indicates that colleges pay l it t le attent ion to t h e hou r s recorded a nd much more to the qu a l it y of service. An Alvina Yau application supplemented with hours gained by purchasing toys and applying multipliers will show a student’s lack of dedication and ambition. This result is clearly undesirable and thus would not be valuable to pursue. Service should be done under the context of improving the community. Whether it is buying hours or inflating the hours recorded, both acts are unquestionably wrong as they undermine the impact of service to society. Organizations and teachers alike should discourage further application of these practices, and students should pursue more worthwhile and honest acts of service that will benefit the community. —Qin, a junior, is a Features Editor.




Senioritis epidemic is over stated

Studying at night provides more benefits Lydia Zhang

Samantha Donat I have spent the last 12 years of my life living as a “goody-two-shoes.” I rarely do anything considered “unproductive” after school, and I have recurring nightmares about being late for class or forgetting my work at home. A few weeks ago, I told my mom I didn’t want to go to a certain class in the morning, and she replied, “I would excuse you, but I know you’ll just end up going anyway.” Essentially, school has consumed my life continuously for far too long, and I’m sure that I’m not the only person at Gunn who feels this way. So as soon as I finished my first semester finals this year, I could hardly contain my excitement at the thought of being a—gasp— “second semester senior.” I foolishly thought that I would not care about school anymore, given that my first-semester grades were already set in stone and my college applications all showed little green triangles. I could slack off, get decent grades and spend all of my free time doing anything I wanted. However, I didn’t realize that second semester seniorhood would not come to me easily. Once the first day of second semester finally arrived, I impatiently waited for that wonderful feeling of laziness to overcome me. I waited. And I waited. But the feeling never really came. Then I realized that the reason I didn’t feel like a true second semester senior was because I was still behaving like I was in first semester. I instinctively continued to pay attention in class and study until my brain hurt, all without even thinking about it. After years of working my butt off to maintain perfect grades and an extensive list of extracurricular activities, I couldn’t help but continue to care about school. Finding the right balance between caring and slacking off is easier said than done. During the first few weeks of second semester, I swayed from one end of the spectrum to the next. At one point, I was able to break free from my tortured, academic mindset, and I succeeded in barely studying for an upcoming calculus test. I spent my free time doing things of minimal importance, and it was fantastically liberating—I was truly a second semester senior! But the feeling was fleeting, as the next morning I dragged myself into class with my stomach full of dread. I was completely unprepared, and after struggling through the test, the feeling only amplified. The horrible sentience of failure followed me around for the rest of the week, and I came to the conclusion that those few hours of freedom were in no way worth suffering through such a painful academic experience. Long story short, whether you’re a first semester freshman or a second semester senior, it still quite frankly sucks to get a bad grade. Although I’m still wrestling to find the appropriate balance between second semester seniorhood and the undying academia within me, I’ve discovered several important points that all seniors should embrace. Most importantly, don’t stress yourself out. Will it kill you to screw up on a few tests or quizzes? Not at all. In fact, it’s a significant experience in life that you will have to deal with eventually, so you might as well get it over with now when it won’t really impact your grades anyway. Make sure that you are you are enjoying yourself, and be sure to spend time with your friends and family—you only have a few more months with them. Learn a few last things while you’re still legally stuck in high school, but embrace your freedom and take advantage of these remaining months. —Donat, a senior, is an Entertainment Editor.

Almost every student is, at some point during his or her high school, faced with a stubborn pile of homework that needs to get done and a clock that reads 11:30 p.m. So, the question often pops up: should students stay up as late as necessary to finish schoolwork? Or is it better to go to sleep earlier, and wake up a few hours before school to do the work? Though it does vary for each student, it is generally better to study at night than in the morning. Granted, each person’s sleep schedule and study habits are different, so staying up to finish homework may not fit every specific student. People can be divided into three types: morning larks, those who naturally wake up early and sleep early; night owls, those who naturally sleep in and go to bed late; and regular robins, those who do not sleep very late or very early.

Alvina Yau

So it would be much harder for morning larks to do homework late into the night, and they would do better waking up in the morning to finish homework. According to The Body Clock Guide to Better Health, however, most college and high school students are night owls, while morning larks are generally people over the age of 60. Therefore, students who do have heavy homework loads would most likely be night owls and would then benefit more from studying later rather than early in the morning. In a purely physiological outlook, the body is better equipped to study later at night than in the morning. Blood sugar is at its lowest in the morning, which means that students have less of an ability to concentrate. Not only that, but for most students, or at least those who are night owls, their peak melatonin levels are around 5:30 a.m. This increased level of melatonin, according to the National Sleep Foundation, will cause sleepiness, so at that time, anyone trying to study in the morning will have trouble focus on the material or will simply fall back asleep. Studying at night may also be more beneficial because nightstudying will result in more retained information than studying in

the morning. Though psychology teacher Alice McCraley does not recommend studying too late into the night, she does say that going to bed after studying gives the student the ability to better process and absorb the material they just learned. According to McCraley, if one studies in the morning, retroactive interference—when new information and distractions make it difficult to recall material previously learned—may occur, and all the information that was previously memorized or learned will be forgotten. Instead, the learning done before bed will not be affected by retroactive interference, and so the studying will actually be effective. Studying through the night might not work for everyone, but it will benefit the largest number of students. This being said, the best course of action for every student is to maximize efficiency and finish all homework and studying before it gets too late. According to McCraley students should get to sleep before 10 p.m., and she believes that, by getting enough sleep, students naturally become more efficient and alert. Even though an early bedtime will cut into the amount of time that can be spent on homework, the extra sleep can help students finish their homework faster and more accurately, which makes up for the lost time. All and all, students should try and avoid a pile-up of homework as much as possible, but if it is necessary to sacrifice sleep for studying, then it is better to study through the night. —Zhang, a senior, is a Features Editor.

Interviews show applicants’ personalities Yilin Liang College interviews. The very mention of this process provokes fear and apprehension in the best and most confident of college candidates. The thought of presenting oneself to an alumnus and being evaluated in return seems ominous, but still, the interview process does not merit the stress that applicants often place on it. It is, of course, important to prepare for interviews. It is vital that students research the college they are interviewing for. Every student should research to the point where they are able to answer questions such as, “why does this college appeal to you?” and “why did you apply under this major?” They should also be able to talk about the extracurricular activities they are involved in and have a handy list of questions they could ask their interviewer. Many schools emphasize that the alumni interview process is more for the benefit of the applicant to learn about the school. Most interviews are optional and not always available to every single applicant. Interviewers also do not receive much information about the applicant prior to the meeting and can often be out of touch with the current admissions process. Due to the variable nature of alumni interviews, many colleges

do not place a high emphasis on these interviews in admissions decisions. According to a New York Times article, “a strong student basically cannot be hurt if the interview does not go well. Similarly, weak candidates cannot improve their chances if it does.” Therefore, due to the relatively low importance of alumni college interviews, there is really no need for applicants to lose sleep over their impending interviews. Beyond the basic interview preparation, however, students should not overthink this process. It is unnecessary for applicants to scrutinize the school website, admissions books, Wikipedia, College Prowler and College Confidential for hours to

George Hwang

memorize every single detail of the college, hoping to be able to answer every question perfectly. It is important to remember that the interviewers are human too. They want to hear about an applicant’s accomplishments, but they will also try to gauge the applicant’s personality. An intelligent and

accomplished applicant is impressive, but it is difficult to judge whether a student is the right fit for a school merely through their activities. Memorizing answers to pre-chosen questions can also make the applicant come off as insincere. Furthermore, preparing for numerous interview questions can often be futile as many interviewers like to ask uncommon questions that are virtually impossible for students to guess and prepare for. Sometimes, impromptu responses to these questions are actually better than carefully prepared responses. The applicant’s answers can reveal a lot more about his or her personality and these unique answers can help to facilitate the flow of the conversation. Everyone is fully equipped to conduct a successful interview. At its core, a college interview is really no different than talking with a teacher. Applicants should maintain a sense of decorum and professionalism that is fitting when addressing someone older. Beyond showing respect for interviewers and doing basic research for each college, applicants should not place too much emphasis on being extremely prepared for interviews. Students should not think of college interviews as evaluations of themselves as people; instead they should think of interviews as many colleges do: opportunities for students to learn more about a certain school. And most of all, remember that a firm handshake and a smile can go a along way. —Liang, a senior, is a Centerfold Editor.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Prop 209 should not be overturned Klaire Tan In 1996, Californians approved Proposition 209, which amended the state constitution to prohibit the discrimination and preferential treatment known as affirmative action policies. These policies promote the inclusion of the historically excluded in areas of employment, education and business. However, while affirmative action policies seem to be a noble attempt at leveling the playing field for the supposed “underdogs,” they tend to promote reverse discrimination instead. Though affirmative action proponents are now bringing their campaign to overturn Prop 209 to the federal court, Prop 209 should remain intact because it eliminates all discrimination in public entities, taking the step towards equality which affirmative action failed to do. Though affirmative action began as an attempt to right wrongdoings and promote civil rights for all, policies became misguided in the late 1970s. Quotas for hiring minority applications and reverse discrimination began as a result of these policies. Race wound up determining the fate of a student’s application to a

university or job position. In the 1978 case of Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, Allan Bakke, a qualified white applicant, was rejected by UC Davis’s School of Medicine, while lesser qualified applicants of minority status were accepted. This preferential selection is a mockery of the equality which affirmative action aspires to achieve. Affirmative action is now a contradiction of the American dream. Though our country advocates diversity, our country also champions the idea that success should be purely determined by one’s merit. The preferential treatment shown by the UCs toward minorities in the mentioned 1978 case is proof that affirmative action undermines our national philosophy. Affirmative action also perpetuates the idea that women and minorities are incapable of equal accomplishment without an extra

boost. Not every member of a minority is disadvantaged; needy individuals exist in every race, gender and ethnicity. Backers of affirmative action claim that Prop 209 has eliminated programs which promote equal opportunities for minorities and women. However, under Prop 209, programs shall remain so long as they are fair and indiscriminatory. America will thus return to affirmative action’s original ideals of simply abolishing discrimination. Affirmative action policies have strayed off course but still endorse a noble cause. They simply need reform, which Prop 209 provides. Affirmative action proponents should now focus on unprejudiced reforms such as Prop 209 instead of the discriminatory policies of the past which fail to contribute to equality. —Tan, a freshman, is a reporter.

George Hwang

Obama’s education policies benefit the public nOBAMA from pg. 1

Behind Act (NCLB) more flexible. Many American students have struggled with the affordability of college in recent years. Due to hard economic times in the United States, state governments are falling deeper and deeper in debt. Budget shortfalls have caused states to reduce funding for public colleges and universities while increasing the tuition for these institutions. For example, students attending schools in the University of California system could face yearly tuition increases of eight to 16 percent over the next four years. Due to these tuition hikes, students may no longer be able to afford the college education that they are qualified for. Obama’s American Opportunity Tax Credit, which will be implemented later this year, will deduct $2,500 from college tuition on an annual basis. Considering that the average annual tuition of attending a four-year public institution in 2010 was approximately $7,020, the bill will make college more affordable for lowincome families. In addition, President Obama has increased the maximum Pell Grant, an already existing federal grant

assisting financially disadvantage undergraduate students, from $819 to $5550. Another important aspect of American education is science and math. Eighty percent of the fastest growing occupations today require knowledge based in math and science. That being said, by twelfth grade, American students are frequently being out-performed in math and science by other countries around the world. Obama has recognized the importance of improving the quality of math, science and tech education to make the United States internationally competitive in the 21st century. To achieve this, Obama’s Teaching Service Scholarship Program has specifically recruited people who hold science and math degrees for teacher positions. Also, Obama has recently outlined plans to invest $80 million solely on math and science education. The money would be invested on training 100,000 specialized math and science teachers. Aside from the proposed government funding, philanthropic organizations and privates companies have already committed $22 million to this cause.

Obama’s critics claim that the No Child Left Behind has encouraged states to lower standards and narrow down curricula in classrooms. However, in late 2011, Obama announced that his administration would introduce a flexibility plan to provide relief from NCLB. By implementing this flexibility plan, states will be able to request adaptability from specific mandates of the NCLB that are stifling reform, enabling a more efficient transition to a system with higher college and career-ready standards for all students. Some mandates of the NCLB should be inflexible; state governments should maintain a standard that can be achieved by all students, not just its brightest students. By making colleges more affordable, investing in math and science education and loosening the grip of the NCLB Act, Obama has clearly made the right decisions regarding American education. To ensure the continuation of these improvements, President Obama should remain for another term. —Noh, a sophomore, is a reporter.

The Editorial Cartoon George Hwang


Stop calling me “freshman”

Emily Yao “Would you like a kid’s menu?” It’s a question I thought I would never hear after entering high school. Every time I go to a restaurant, the servers will ask me that same exact question, and it can be quite embarrassing at times. Even at school, I’m mistaken as a younger person. How? I believe it’s because I own a heavy backpack, I am extremely short, I think our P.E. uniform is stylish and I use a campus map when lost. These are the acts and adjectives that are used to describe the stereotypical freshman at Gunn. Unfortunately, I also perform these actions on a daily basis. Ever since I was a sophomore, countless people have mistaken me as a freshman, and even as a junior, I’ve continued to be bombarded with the same questions: “Are you an underclassman? Did you skip a grade? If Yao Ming is so tall, why are you so short?” For the record, I did not skip a grade, and I’m not related to Yao Ming. In fact, I’m just the average junior who just so happens to be a bit belowaverage in terms of height. Because people have to look down to talk to me, they automatically assume I am younger than them. In addition, when I hang out with a few of my friends who are underclassmen, people immediately get the impression that I am in the same grade as my friends. At first, I could tolerate being mistaken as a freshman because it didn’t occur frequently. However, as the number of times escalated, I started to feel like people were disregarding me. Because freshmen are young, they are often thought of as immature, so people don’t pay attention to them. At times, I felt like people shunned me because I look so much younger for my age. I do know that it’s common for us to form opinions on strangers based on first impressions; I’ve done it myself. r, I feel that sometimes when people misjudge you, they associate you with “negative” stereotypes. In my case, short people are spontaneously labelled as someone who is young. In the past, it was horrible to be thought of as younger than I actually am. Because it was embedded in my brain that being the underdogs of the school was not cool, I would get frustrated when people automatically assumed that I was a freshman. However, I realized that no matter what people call you, whether on purpose or on accident, you must always embrace yourself. Don’t let other’s comments determine who you are. Be happy that you possess unique traits instead of wishing that you had other qualities. Even though I wanted to be just a few inches taller just so I could fit in with others, I now realize that it’s important for us to be different and that our differences make us who we are. In addition, I’ve learned not to get automatically frustrated at at people who think I am a freshman. In the past, when someone met me for the first time, I tended to forget that they knew nothing about my background and thus, I would get mad when they assumed I was younger than my actual age. It is important to remember that it is our nature to judge people based on first impressions and that those impressions are not always correct. Thus, now when the people I first meet accidentally call me a freshman, I try to forgive them for their mistake because, after all, I naturally display characteristics that are similar to those of a freshman. Now when people label me as a freshman, I completely understand why and I am not as frustrated. However, it’s important for us to get to know a person better before forming opinions about them. —Yao, a junior, is a Sports Editor.




The Oracle debates language testing PRO

Fluent speakers are discriminated against on standardized tests

Elsa Chu

When sitting in a French, Spanish, German, Chinese or Japanese class, there are always a few native speakers who sit at their desks and look constantly bored. A language class usually includes students who feel that their experience excuses them from working as hard as others. They receive resentment from other students, who claim the native speakers are graded unfairly. However, native speakers should be allowed to take tests without complaint from other students because they are graded on a different curve. For instance, standardized testing such as the Advanced Placement (AP) test requires students to declare their status as a native speaker and are then graded on a different scale than others. This distinc-

tion puts more pressure on the students already familiar with the language, as they are expected to perform better. Because of this, these students cannot simply rely on their experience alone to pass a test with a significantly different, harder curve. Though they have a high passing rate, being a native speaker does not guarantee a 5. For example, in a Washington Post study of high schools, Hispanic students passed the AP Spanish Language exam at a rate of 80 percent, as opposed to a 60 percent rate for white students and 30 percent rate for African American students. Additionally, for native speakers who have mostly attended an American high school and were taught in English, it is unlikely that they received a formal education in their native language. Thus, their skill level can be matched by other nonnative students who are simply skilled at the language. When this is the case, the gap between native and talented nonnative students is not significant. If anything, the relatively high scores of native speakers boosts the average statistics for national testing. Thus, when

schools give statistics about how their students perform on the language AP tests, the native students play their part in pulling up scores. In addition, in terms of college or other applications, the high scores will indeed look impressive, but a student is usually required to list languages they know or speak fluently besides English, making their admission officers aware of the native status. The same is true for SAT II subject tests that have a section for the number of years a student has taken a language, and an option for “native speaker.” Then, the curve is adjusted to fit the more advanced skills. While it may seem unfair that bilingual students get a leg up in this situation, the same could be said for those with true natural talents in other subjects. Those opposed to native speakers taking an AP or SAT test must realize that it is simply a strategy of allowing those students to have more success in an increasingly competitive world. ­—Chu, a senior, is a Centerfold Editor.


Foreign language tests are too biased toward native speakers

Leon Cheong There is a race to get into top colleges, and everyone is going for the finish line. Most students will use any opportunity to prove their worth to admissions officers. A prominent example of this is the Advanced Placement (AP) and SAT II language tests. According to Peterson’s, a company that specializes in researching, aiding students, and in college admissions information, students who are native to a language other than English will usually take their respective language test, which is an easy and helpful bonus in the admissions process. However, this application boost isn’t available to all students. When native speakers take their respective language’s test, they are given an unfair advantage to what should be a balanced scale. Therefore, native speakers should not be able to take their language’s AP or SAT II test, as it is unjust to students speaking only one language. One popular language test students take is the AP or SAT II Chinese test. According

between native speakers and learning students is immense. Language tests are structured to be a challenge to students who begin to learn a language in freshman year, which subsequently provides an easy 5 for students who have learned it their whole life and speak that language naturally. According to a study, students who take a four-year language program do not end up becoming fluent in that language. The students who learn the language later are still presented with a significant challenge, that is much harder than what native speakers have to face. In this sense, the scale is still not balanced, and native speakers still have the advantage. There are many ways a student can make a college application look more attractive, honest alternatives, such as extracurricular activities or significant Alvina Yau awards. However, native speakers taking their language test should not be one of these easy bonuses in the administrastudents who took the AP tive process, as this excludes students who Spanish test received a passing grade, while are not given the same opportunity of fluonly about 50 percent or other ethnici- ency. In summation, allowing native speakties passed. Therefore, students who were ers to take standard language tests is simply more likely to speak their language at home discrimination. scored higher grades than students who only learned the language in school, the gap —Cheong, a sophomore, is a reporter. to the Washington Examiner, 88 percent of people who take this test are of Asian descent and are fluent in the language. However, what most people don’t realize is the handicap that this presents to people who do not share the same bilingual ability. Because native speakers find class easy, it rids native speakers of the motivation to take the language class seriously. In a study by the Washington Examiner in Virginia, about 80 percent of Hispanic

Faces in the Crowd Should native speakers be allowed to take their foreign language tests?

Yes; if you have that knowledge innately, then yes, you should be able to take the test. Josh Trockel (11)

Yes; It’s fair as native speakers spend just as much time learning the language. Justin Li (10)

No; native speakers should challenge themselves and push themselves to their highest potential. Andrew Mell (11)

Yes; the classes are separated by an entrance test based on your fluency in the language. Surriento Wu (11) —Compiled by Wayland Fong

Rely on your brain, not tech Annie Tran

Our generation truly is a paradox unto itself. We have grown up with a need for speed and a greed for success; it is a time of innovation and great change, but as with every great thing, there comes a catch. In our case, the Internet Generation has a borderline obsessive attitude towards technology, along with an almost ridiculous desire for instant gratification. We seek faster processors and prompter web browsing. We grumble over millisecond lags in gaming. We are easily angered over short five minute waiting periods. We’ve got it bad, and what’s worse is that we know it, but we haven’t done anything about it. One could argue that with all of this technology, society is progressing towards a better place, a place of ease and comfort for all. However, in reality, this overly optimistic view is hindering the youths of today and turning them into the morons of tomorrow. All of this tech has led to a culture always wanting more, looking to receive the next best thing, namely the fastest gadgets possible, but what the heck do we actually do with the “extra time” we receive with these timereducing devices? Last time I heard, we haven’t cracked open a device that accelerates our ability to comprehend or heightens our critical thinking skills. If anything, one could say that we’ve become dumber because of our constant use of gadgets. Ever see those annoying ads that use average everyday people in everyday scenarios toting around the statement “Wow, that was so 29 seconds ago”? Are we that crazy and controlling to want to know about every single detail of people’s lives the second it happens? I’d like to believe that we have enough self-respect in our society that creepy stalkers isn’t one of the prime descriptions we’d like to uphold. But the level of connection we retain among our peers is so counterproductive in itself, that it has actually made everything impersonal. Our generations’ obsession with social media has led us to absorb useless information and to partake in shallow learning and superficial interactions. In short, we have become consumed by intellectual laziness, and our ability to think at a higher order has sharply declined. Let’s be honest: Too lazy to read a book? Hook me up with some Sparknotes! Don’t want to analyze a problem? Yahoo! Answers, here I come; We’ve all done it, I know I have and I’m pretty sure Mr. Hernandez is annoyed every time he catches me in the act (my bad, but “The Sound and the Fury” just isn’t my thing). It’s no wonder the United States’ education rankings have been lagging behind, I’m sure it’s not just due to our useless “time-saving” devices, but I’m also pretty sure that they aren’t helping us out much. We have learned to heighten our comfort levels to an almost all too comfortable plateau, and we have lost the virtue of patience. These days, the see-want-buy process isn’t all that uncommon, in fact, that’s how most instant gratification stories go when it comes to our general populace. Knowing all of this, it is our job to try to resist these kinds of temptations for the sake of personal intellectual growth, even when they’re literally a button’s click away. Let’s learn how to exercise our brains without the use of sites like Sparknotes and Schmoop; let’s become more self-sufficient and make real connections with real people. We’re a smart school. We know it, society knows it. Now show it. —Tran, a senior, is a Business/Circulation Manager.


Monday, March 12, 2012


Senior transforms magic into passion Chaewon Lee reporter

With a mere snap of his fingers, senior Jack Kwan manages to make the queen of spades reappear at the top of the card deck after putting it into the middle of the deck. “This trick’s called ‘Ambitious Card’,” Kwan said, as he reshuffled the deck for the next magic trick. Kwan’s affinity for magic tricks began in the eighth grade when he decided to learn magic after seeing various videos of magicians on YouTube and TV. “It just looked really cool when [the magicians] did their tricks,” Kwan said. “I was bored, so I thought I’d try it out.” For Kwan, performing magic tricks is a cool way to entertain others and himself. “It’s fun performing tricks in front of others, seeing as people almost never figure my tricks out,” Kwan said. “Sometimes I even blow my own mind.” However, if he could change one thing about magic tricks, it would be their very nature. “I hate that it’s not actually real magic,” he said. According to Kwan’s friend senior Dylan Pak, magic tricks have become a natural part of who Kwan is. “He’ll do magic tricks everywhere, sometimes just randomly,” Pak said. “He’ll even go up to random strangers and show them a trick.” Senior Max Li, a friend of Kwan’s, can see a noticeable difference in Kwan when he is performing in front of crowds. “He gets way more excited than usual,” Li said. Kwan’s enthusiasm for magic tricks has helped him become a skilled magician who is respected by many students throughout the school.

Although Kwan managed to pull off his first magic trick, “How To Guess Someone’s Card,” in just five minutes, he soon learned that not all tricks were as easy to pull off. “I thought magic would be pretty easy to learn, but it turned out not to be,” Kwan said. “It requires a lot of practice.” Now, Kwan works with much more complicated magic tricks almost everyday. According to Kwan, learning a fairly complex trick can take up to a couple of days. He gets all of his tricks and inspiration from YouTube artists, such as the famous endurance magician David Blaine and books such as “Expert at the Card Table.” Kwan has expanded his repertoire to include various card and coin tricks. “I waste a lot of time on learning and practicing new tricks, especially now that I have an F prep,” Kwan said. Kwan believes that practicing diligently is essential for a good magician. “For stuff like math tests, sometimes you can just wing them, but with magic tricks, it’s different,” he said. “You can’t screw up any step or the trick won’t work.” When learning a new trick, Kwan does so with a positive attitude of perseverance. “Even though some tricks are pretty tough to get right, there’s never any frustration when I can’t do them,” he said. Kwan’s friends and family have supported his unique talent since he started. “They’ve never said anything negative to me about my tricks,” he said. “Some of them even try to learn them from me.”

Kyle Zhu

Upper left: Senior Jack Kwan demonstrates a simple coin trick. Lower left: Kwan uses his palm to switch the position of two cards. Right: Kwan “barfs” out a stack of cards.




Chiu Yin Cheung (12)

Courtesy of Chiu Yin Cheung

Senior Chiu Yin Cheung performs with a zhongruan, a Chinese stringed instrument similar to a pipa.

Cassie Chen (11)

Courtesy of Cassie Chen

Junior Cassie Chen poses with an erhu, one of the many different kinds of instruments that she plays.

Lynn Tsai (11)

Courtesy of Lynn Tsai

Junior Lynn Tsai plays a Chinese hammered dulcimer at the International Chinese Music Competition.

Annie Tran

Eileen Qian


Business & Circulation Manager

Sports Editor

Senior Chiu Yin Cheung began playing pipa, a traditional Chinese stringed musical instrument, fours years ago and picked up the zhongruan, a Chinese picked musical instrument, as a second instrument two years ago. In 2010, Cheung passed the Zhongruan Level 8 Examination with distinction. According to Cheung, the examination is organized by the Central Conservatory of Music in China and there are nine levels altogether. “Having played pipa for about four years, I wanted to explore a slightly different side of Chinese music, so I chose zhongruan,” Cheung said. Since pipa and zhongruan are both stringed instruments, the technique for playing zhongruan is very similar to that of the pipa. Cheung believed that learning zhongruan enabled him to experience a whole new sound, while staying grounded to basic techniques. “I got to play a refreshing repertoire after learning the zhongruan,” he said. Cheung currently plays the zhongruan in the California Youth Chinese Symphony (CYCS). “Playing with people who share my love for Chinese music is amazing,” he said. “When everyone comes together as one, the sound produced is so much richer and fuller.” As the only zhongruan player in the orchestra, Cheung plays an important role. “He is one of the most dedicated players in the orchestra and he is always prepared and very reliable,” CYCS Director Jindong Cai wrote in an email. Although Cheung is passionate about playing the zhongruan, he sometimes finds it painful to continue practicing. “The greatest difficulty I experience with my music is finding the strength to continue practicing hard, even if my success is stubbornly stuck on a plateau,” he said. “There are days when my music just doesn’t sound right, or when my hands don’t work together, and getting through those days without losing my drive is challenging.” Apart from CYCS, Cheung also plays for fun in public places such as the Chinese Culture Center. He also enjoys playing for his friends and family members. “I love Chinese music and I just want to share my joy with others,” Cheung said. As zhongruan is a very resonant instrument, its rich tone helps listeners to relieve stress. “His playing was really inspiring,” senior Hope Wu said. “When I heard him playing, I thought I was transported back through time to ancient China.”

With the plucking of a few strings here and a tapping of a few drums there, a musician of multiple talents was brought forth. Junior Cassie Chen started her musicianship at age seven and since then has played 15 instruments, ranging from Western instruments such as the piano and the flute to Chinese instruments such as the dizi and banhu. “Her ability to pick up an instrument and learn it in just a few years is unbelievable,” junior Curran Sinha said. “I’ve seen her reach a level in three years that would take some people at least six or seven years.” Chen currently plays seven instruments. Chen’s first instrument was the piano. “Like a lot of kids, my parents kind of pushed me into piano,” she said. According to Chen, her start with Chinese instruments was completely out of her own curiousity. “I was just watching TV on some Chinese channel one day and saw the guzheng [a Chinese plucked zither with 23 strings and movable bridges] and thought it’d be pretty cool to learn how to play it,” Chen said. She later joined a Chinese orchestra and was then exposed to an array of different instruments that piqued her interest. The primary instruments she plays are the pipa and the erhu. “It’s kind of weird­—the erhu was an instrument that my dad pushed me into,” she said. “It ended up becoming one of my favorites to play. I’m really grateful to my parents for giving me the opportunity to explore this side of music.” When looking into her future, Chen is adamant about always having music in her life. “It’s a cliché, but music really is one of my biggest passions,” she said. “It’s an escape from reality for me sometimes.” Yangqin teacher Duny Lam is one of many inspirations to Chen. “Cassie is one of the few talented musicians who can play multiple Chinese instruments at such a high level,” Lam said. “When she took yangqin lessons with me, I could see that she was able to use emotional expressions she learned from other instruments and apply it to the yangqin. I really hope that she takes advantage of her unique cultural background and her music experiences to bring Chinese music to a broader audience.”

Gunn has a multitude of talented musicians who play instruments, but there are few who deviate from the conventional choices. Junior Lynn Tsai is one of those few people who dedicates herself to playing a Chinese instrument, the Chinese hammered dulcimer. This instrument originated in the Middle East, but became popular in China. The unique structure of the bamboo hammers allows for smooth sounds to be created when the rubber-covered side is used as well, as sharp sounds when the bare half of the hammer hits the strings. Tsai has been playing the Chinese hammered dulcimer since eighth grade. She was prompted to start playing when her sister decided to try another Chinese instrument, the erhu. “Unlike the flute and piccolo, it’s not a wind instrument and the sheet music is read in numbers, not notes,” Tsai said. “Also, instead of blowing air to create sounds, you hit the strings.” However, learning to play the instrument was not an easy task. “Sometimes it’s hard to see what you’re hitting since the wires seem like they overlap,” Tsai said. “The notes are not in order and there’s a distinct pattern that you have to memorize.” Fortunately, Tsai was able to catch on quickly as the movements and techniques used in playing the Chinese hammered dulcimer are similar to that of the percussion, which Tsai has previously played. Although Tsai has not played for long, she frequently shares her talent with the world. She has performed participated in several competitions, such as the Silicon Valley International Multi Art Competition. Even though increasing loads of schoolwork have put a strain on the amount of time Tsai can practice, she says that the time she spends practicing actually helps to relieve her stress. “I think it’s a really fun and relaxing thing to do, so if I ever want to take a break from doing homework I can practice for a few minutes,” Tsai said. Regardless of Tsai’s busy schedule, her mother Su Wen Hsu encourages her to keep playing as Hsu believes that it has had a positive impact on her daughter. “I think it’s great because Lynn really enjoys it and is motivated to practice by herself,” Hsu said.

Yan Jia

Graphics by George Hwang and Alvina Yau


Monday, March 12, 2012

Kyle Zhu


Courtesy of Michael Underwood

Left: Seniors Anni Liu, Shaun Yee, Taesu Pak, Gabriel Crane, Tommy Kidder and Edward Sung (shown left to right) pose together with the instruments that they each play respectively in front of the orchestra room. Right: Liu, Kidder, Crane and Yee provide evening busking entertainment for pedestrians in downtown Palo Alto.

Students take musical passion to downtown streets Lawrence Chen & Elsa Chu

Reporter & Centerfold Editor

For seniors Gabriel Crane, Tommy Kidder, Anni Liu, Taesu Pak, Edward Sung and Shaun Yee, playing their respective instruments is not contained to the orchestra room. The group plays musical arrangements on University Avenue with their cases open for donations. This is commonly known as busking. The group, which consists of one cellist, three violinists, a violist and a guitarist, plays a variety of pieces when they perform. These pieces range from classical pieces, which they commonly play in orchestra, to modern pop music. The arrangements sometimes merge the two styles together, though the bystanders’ reactions are not always favorable. “Person-

ally, I like modern pieces more, although classical pieces are easier for people to recognize,” Liu said. “I remember once we were playing ‘Pachelbel Canon’, and we switched over to a song by The Fray, ‘How to Save a Life,’ and everyone left.” Other members of the groupagree with the idea that people enjoy tunes they recognize and lyrics they can identify. “It’s fun watching them sort of frown for the first few lines, like they’re trying to think of the piece that we are playing,” Crane said. “Then, they sort of lighten up once they get it.” Although these students do earn money from busking, they do it completely for the fun, instead of for the monetary incentive. “We were thinking about not collecting tips in the future to remind ourselves why we were playing,” Liu said. “It’s mostly parents with

little kids who give us $20 tips.” Yee agrees with Liu, though he admits that the initial reason was for money. “We got the idea to play out on the streets to see if we could make some money that way, and we got a lot,” Yee said. “[But] ever since second semester started we’ve just been doing it for fun.” According to the group, part of the joy of busking is in creating a positive environment for people on the streets. “It’s fun to put smiles on peoples’ faces,” Sung said. In addition to creating a good atmosphere for viewers, Crane says that there are also other positives of busking. “It is a great way to practice, hang out with your friends and eat food,” Crane said. The members of the group all said that there are almost no negatives to busking. By playing on the streets, the

buskers get reactions from many passing people, most of which are positive. “They clap at the very end; they always clap,” Kidder said. According to Crane, most people stay and listen. Not all are as kind, however. “Some people just walk by and give you money,” Kidder said. As for those who stay and enjoy the music, Liu sees a variety of people listening to their playing. “We get a lot of parents and kids, and we get couples,” Liu said. “Some people say really sweet things, like ‘Pachelbel Canon—Oh, we got married to this 15 years ago.’” Liu, the cellist of the group, founded the group along with Yee. “Originally, we had to fundraise for orchestra, because we were going to Hawaii for [a competition],” Liu said. “We were selling these coupon books, and someone asked if we actually knew how to play

instruments. So we decided to play our instruments [and go busking] next time.” Because she had prior experience with busking, Liu says that she felt confident when playing for the public for the first time. “In the summer before my freshman year, I went to a farmer’s market and spent my whole summer busking with one violinist,” Liu said. “I enjoy creating an atmosphere for others. For playing, it’s a way of communicating. Busking also made me less shy.” Although the busking group tried to play in San Francisco and in downtown Mountain View on Castro Street, the group prefers to play in their hometown. To hear the six seniors play pieces by The Killers, Lady Gaga and others, make sure stop by University Avenue on Friday evenings.

Artist of the Month: senior Soonju Kim The Oracle: What type of art do you do? Soon-ju Kim: I draw and paint. I like to do acrylic painting and oil painting most of the time, and sometimes I do collages. TO: Who or what is your inspiration? SJ: I don’t have a specific inspiration, but I am inspired by people who are passionate and they motivate me to continue my passion and pursue my interests. Additionally, from visiting museums and reading books, I find inspiration from artists such as Gustav Klimt and Basquiat. TO: How did you get interested in art, how old were you? SJ: I started being interested in art because of the different pictures of paintings by artists that my mother put around the house. From such interest, I signed up for art classes and that led me to where I am now.

Wendy Qiu

TO: What’s your favorite aspect about drawing and painting? SJ: My favorite aspect about art is that when people create an art piece they let go and do whatever they want to do and don’t think about the pressures and insecurities people have. It gives you the freedom to do whatever you want. TO: What made you interested and committed to this specific art medium over others? SJ: I took art spectrum in ninth grade and after completing that class I realized I liked painting a lot. It was easier for me to express how I’m feeling through painting. I also got interested because a lot of people around me were painting; I went to classes outside of school and it eventually took off from there.

TO: Do you have a common theme in your art works? SJ: Generally, I always end up painting about people and human emotions.

TO: What is your proudest artwork? SJ: My favorite art work so far is the most recent one I did. It’s called “A Stagnant Anonymity” and it’s about how thoughts can overtake people. I really liked this art piece because I just started painting right away and ended up really liking it.

TO: What art piece are you currently working on now? SJ: Currently I’m working on a painting with a collage incorporated to it.

TO: Would you want to pursue an art career? SJ: Definitely, I want to pursue art in the future, and even if I don’t, I would always paint in my free time.

TO: What do you hope people to see or experience by seeing your art? SJ: I hope that people will be able to understand my messages and are able to make connection to what they see in my art work to life experiences. TO: What challenges have you faced with your art, how did you overcome them, if you did? SJ: When I first started painting I didn’t know what brushes to use, what paint to use, or how to make a gradient. It was really hard for me to overcome those challenges and it took me a long time to learn how to paint. I’m still in the learning process because there are always new approaches to painting. TO: If you could have any model, what or who would it be and why? SJ: I don’t have a certain object or idea that I always focus on, rather my paintings come from a myriad of observations and experiences that I encounter throughout my life. The painting that senior Soon-ju Kim is holding is titled “A Lonely Passage of Time.” It symbolizes the time that slowly ticks by, but can never be gained back. —Compiled by Wonhee Park




The Oracle sets out to see whether or not high school st


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Monday, March 11, 2012


tudents have retained their knowledge from fifth grade

fth grade needs both critical-thinking and memorization

Elsa Chu & Lydia Zhang

erfold Editor & Features Editor

the game show, “Are You Smarter Than A rader,” adult contestants go head-to-head fth graders to answer questions that they ve long forgotten, like “What is the lifesa trout?” The reason why the show is an ining success and why the adults generally rly is that the questions are based purely s that aren’t essential to adults’ everyday nd jobs. begs the question: why do fifth graders spend a year learning facts that they will ater anyway? Many would argue that these ization-based questions are pointless, and ly problem-solving skills and logic-based g are useful for real life applications. Still, the fact that high school students and tend to forget the things they learned in tary school, as shown with The Oracle’s stered quiz, without the study habits that de through the repetitive learning of facts, s could never develop the critical thinking ssential to real life. Thus, an integration sets of skills are what leads to success for tary school students in later years. to the recently changed California stan-

dards for grade school curriculum, Barron Park Elementary School teacher Larry Wong had to alter his program for his fifth-grade students, giving more study time in the classroom and less time for hands-on, interactive activities that simulate real-world critical thinking such as a mock archaeological dig or an explorer’s quest around the school. While the loss of these activities take away from the “fun” of grade school, the increased time given to studying benefits the skill sets that students will use in the future. The skills necessary to memorize and retain facts are essential in high school, college and many careers. In fields of study such as history, science and languages, memorizing certain key facts and concepts are needed to grasp the entirety of the subject. The facts themselves, as Wong points out, are forgotten quickly if they are not constantly and directly applied to the learning material at hand. In this day and age, the state capitals can be looked up on the Internet at the touch of a button on a phone. Fifth graders do not usually read or watch the news, and therefore have no need for the facts they spend so much time memorizing. Thus, it is not so much the information that fifth graders learn that is important, but the ability to absorb and retain information quickly and efficiently, a skill that is necessary for success in the future. Without the study habits that fifth graders are able to develop early on through memorization of these “pointless facts,” the students could never succeed in the modern educational system. Because of new federal programs, the elemen-

tary school required subjects now place a larger emphasis on math and English. This change was instilled to prepare young students for big tests in middle school and high school, and disregards subjects such as music or art, which are associated with developing critical thinking abilities. Yet, the very subjects they are choosing to cut back on can be key in helping the students do better overall. For example, music incorporates memorization in problem-solving, since learning the notes is necessary for students to decipher rhythm and melody. This integration is an example of the kinds of changes that are needed in the fifth-grade classroom. The idea of incorporating both skill sets into one activity can be directly applied to more significant subjects. For example, in math, knowing basic multiplication tables is a fundamental step to solving more complex questions. As with most issues involving education, people come to compromises in the hopes that it will offer the best foundation for the future generation. A mix and balance of problem-solving and memorization skills are what is needed for the success, and happiness, of fifth grade students. This balance will allow students to develop both skills equally, but implementing both sets of abilities in one, hopefully fun activity, as music does, provides for even greater expansion of cognitive skills. “As teachers, we need to look ahead by continuing to teach students basic skills that will prepare them for the future, but also teach them critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration and how to use available resources to find answers to problems,” Wong said.

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Elizabeth Anderson (12) –Compiled by Mitch Donat and Stephanie Zhang Photos and graphics by Wendy Qiu, Lisa Wu, Michael Wu and Kyle Zhu

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The Oracle follows the progress of the Gunn Robotics Team (GRT)

Courtesy of Andrew Chen

Courtesy of Peter Froud

Courtesy of Peter Froud

Top left: The Gunn Robotics Team (GRT) shows off their Omega bot at the quad demonstration on Feb. 21. Top right: GRT ships off their robot for the Baltimore competition on March 9. Bottom right: Senior Andrew Chen gets his hair bleached and dyed red for the team’s upcoming competitions.

Week 5 (Feb. 4-10)

During the penultimate week of build season, Gunn Robotics Team (GRT) was nearing the finish line of their two-month-long challenge. The team finished all mechanisms, installed them on the frames of their robots and gave them to the Controls team to assemble the robots. The Controls team programmed the robot to follow specific instructions from the Drive team. “We worked on vision tracking to find the portions of the back boards, as well as mechanism code,” junior and Controls team member Andrew Gerber-Duffy said. According to senior GRT Team Leader Gregg

Week 6 (Feb. 11-17)

After five weeks of hard work, Week 6 was the last week before the competition robot would be shipped off for their first competition on in Baltimore, Maryland. “The last week of build was rather stressful; it always is,” senior Mechanism Leader Alex Sutherland wrote in an email. “However, it is also a time that brings confidence as you see your team really come together and finish what you started.”      The final additions to the robot are left to the Controls group, which is in charge of wiring and programming the robot. “This is something we

Post-Build (Feb. 18-21)

Alvina Yau

After six weeks of late nights, hard work and the utmost dedication, GRT finished build season with results to brag about. Post-build, Ratanaphanyarat was more than satisfied with their work. “We met our goals of building two final robots, which we have never done before successfully,” Ratanaphanyarat said. “GRT was able to create three completely functional robots in six weeks time which is really an amazing feat.” Dunbar felt similarly. “This year’s robot is one of the best we have ever built,” he said. Overall, build season was marked by professional construction and careful planning. “This year’s build season was characterized by master-

Ratanaphanyarat, certain parts of the team’s challenge robot gave the team difficulties. “We had challenges with mechanical integration and design flaws since our robot did change slightly from our rought draft Beta bot,” Ratanaphanyarat wrote in an email. At times, the robots also did not function well even though all individual parts worked separately. “The process of troubleshooting is very stressful because it’s all of your final work breaking and having to fix them again,” senior Jaxon Welsh said. Fortunately, the team managed to deal with all of the issues and finally saw the robot come together towards the end. Meeting all the deadlines for the Omega 1 robot

was another challenge since time was ticking away. Rantanaphanyarat worried that progress might be slowing down as the team members were relatively tired at this point. “Time crunches, falling behind, panics and arguments always happen when people work closely with one another for six weeks, but I never lost faith for a second that things wouldn’t get done,” senior Rachel Talis of the Ball Collection team said. According to GRT Supervisor Bill Dunbar, the GRT members did really well during the week, and was able to assemble the robots in Week 5 and bring them to life. “I am very proud of my students’ teamwork and their problem-solving abilities,” Dunbar said.

always worry about at this stage,” Sutherland wrote. “Our controls group always gets the robot after everyone else, so it really comes down to them in the last few days.” Dunbar expressed similar sentiments. “Wiring is always time consuming,” he said. “One bad electrical connection and the system doesn’t work. Then the students have to go back and try to find the problem.”      As a whole, Sutherland felt that the bottom roller group had the most trouble with their task this season. “The team had a big challenge because they took on both getting balls off the ground and into the robot as well as funneling balls outside of our bumpers to our picking up,” he wrote. “They did a

really good job at taking on these tough challenges and came out with a very good final mechanism.”     In the end, both Dunbar and Sutherland felt good about the 2012 build season. “We were able to build one Beta Bot and two Omega Bots this year and that is something to really be proud of,” Sutherland wrote. Dunbar also added that stress and time pressure were handled well. “Despite the tendency to get angry when something goes wrong, the students stayed calm and professional,” he said. GRT will attend the National Championship Robotics Competition in St. Louis this year. “There are 800 teams and we always get beat up,” Dunbar said. “But it’s also really fun.”

ful machining and welding,” Dunbar said. “The craftsmanship is truly remarkable.” Ratanaphanyarat also feels that communication was key for this year’s build-season success. “Communication was an important part to this year’s management plan and was executed well,” Ratanaphanyarat said. “Team members got along and helped each other manage and figure challenges out. Communication between our management structures got together often to figure out the challenges ahead and lay out plans for our next steps.” Despite a successful build season, Ratanaphanyarat adds that there is always room for improvement. “I’m sure we would have done extra

things for the robot, such as making it lighter,” Ratanaphanyarat said. “But the question wasn’t really there knowing we have a second identical robot still here at home that we can work on and improve on, which we are still doing.” When asked about what GRT would have done if it had extra time, Dunbar comically said, “I would have asked my students to get more sleep.” As far as competition goes, GRT will be competing against last year’s international champions, the Bellarmine Cheesy Poofs. Ratanaphanyarat is excited to face a strong rival team. —Compiled by Utkash Dubey, Yan Jia and Anna Qin


Monday, March 12, 2012


Main Office secretary Martha Elderon shares her experience and love for handwritten fonts

phabet as more than just ordinary letters. “The alphabet is a lot of fun as each letter has a personality,” Nowadays with the right pro- she said. “You can create a mood grams, anyone, regardless of his by changing its angle, thickness, or or her artistic ability, can generate design.” Because Elderon did not hundreds of differently crafted paint or draw, calligraphy was the numbers and letters in the span perfect outlet for her curiosity and of several minutes. interest in the arts. However, Main Office secreObviously, gaining the ability tary Martha Elderon can produce to create type-letter quality works professionalis not an easy looking task. Elderon fonts with“The alphabet is a lot of had to pracout the use ice for a fun as each letter has a tlong of technoltime bepersonality. You can cre- fore her letogy and computers. ate a mood by changing ters looked Elderon has a s good a s its angle, thickness, or de- those of her a talent for writing calteachers. “It sign.” l i g r a p h y, was dif f iand can crecult, but also —Main Office secretary ate beautiful helpf u l beMartha Elderon h a n d w r i tcause I had ten ca l ligto slow down raphy with just a handful of ink my pen to make the letters instead pens and some paper. of hurrying,” she said. “It forces Elderon discovered her joy of me to focus on precision because calligraphy in college, where she it’s obvious when a mistake is majored in art history. She took made.” several classes and was captivated After becoming familiar with by the beauty of handwritten the basics of calligraphy, Elderon words. “There are only 26 letters has been able to improve and draw but there’s so much to do with inspiration for her works by studythem,” she said. ing the different styles of fonts in While in college, Elderon was magazines, computers and books. intrigued by the history of the She is also a member of the Pacific alphabet and how the letters came Scribes, a calligraphy club, which to be. In fact, she thought of the al- sends her newsletters containing Eileen Qian

Sports Editor

Kyle Zhu

A display of various ink pens that secretary Martha Alderon uses in order to create her calligraphy fonts. works of other local calligraphers similar to her. After learning from a variety of sources, Elderon puts her skill in calligraphy to use by decorating holiday cards, certificates, signs and name cards. She believes that calligraphy is an effective way to create pleasant-looking art that is also useful. “Calligraphy is a practical art that cheers people up when they see their name on a

letter or name card,” she said. “It means a lot to people who receive handwritten work.” Although calligraphy is not usually applicable in Elderon’s workplace, she has occasionally made name cards and posters for other staff such as English teacher Tarn Wilson. “Ms. Elderon made my name tags for my students in creative writing,” Wilson said. “In the past, I have always made

them, but I don’t like my handwriting, so this year I thought to ask Ms. Elderon if she would write them instead. Her writing is so clear, graceful and elegant. I’m so grateful she’s willing to share her talents.” Elderon encourages anyone who is interested in calligraphy to try it. “It doesn’t take long to learn, and is a meditative process,” she said.

“Latte Guy”: Eric Bunje Eric Bunje, a member of the “Latte Guys,” is a familiar face to the many tired teachers on campus. Bunje’s company, Caffe Carello, is sponsored by the ParentTeacher-Student Association (PTSA). Once every month on a Friday morning at 8 a.m., Bunje or one of his employees will visit the staff lounge to serve several varieties of coffee. Because this service is sponsored by the PTSA, each latte is free for all of the teachers, with the purpose of showing the teachers how much PTSA appreciates Gunn’s staff.

TO: How did Caffe Carrello start serving at Gunn? EB: I really don’t remember when or how Caffe Carrello started serving the staff at Gunn. I believe it was about 15 years ago. We serve at least 150 schools in the Bay Area—the network is incredible. For example I have served your principal at the last two schools she has worked for.

The Oracle: How does one become a “latté guy”? Eric Bunje: An Italian once said to me that to make great coffee you must have a great machine, great beans and a person who knows how to put them together correctly. You would have to have a great personality, be responsible, be able to carry a heavy machine and have a valid driver’s license.

TO: Can you tell me about your cafe, Caffe Carrello? EB: El Carrello Caffe means “small coffee carriage” in Italian. We are an espresso bar catering company that started over 20 years ago as a part-time company selling at Stanford football and basketball games. Our company does about 20 jobs per week, some for schools like Gunn. My first employee from 19 years ago was actually a junior at Gunn, Jacob Balance. We have never advertised; our reputation is all word of mouth. Right now we have eight latté guys working in the company, some are college students working part-time.

TO: What is your favorite part about your job as a barista? EB: The best part of the job is wherever we go, people are happy to see us, and drink our great coffee.

TO: What is your favorite type of latte? EB: I love good strong coffee, so I drink a double espresso with a little foamed milk added.

TO: What are the steps to making a latte? EB: To make a latté, you first grind coffee beans, put it in a portafilter (a handle that fits in the espresso machine), then push a button to let 190 degree water f lush through the coffee grinds. The pour is slow, going into a small pitcher. When it’s done, it has cream on top (looks like the head of a dark beer). While you are making the espresso, you take a large metal pitcher filled with milk (about 8 ounces) and stick it under a steaming wand on the machine. When the wand goes under the milk it heats it up; if you put the wand just under the surface, it starts to foam the milk and if you stick it deep it just heats it. When both are done you pour the espresso and the milk together into a 12 ounce cup. TO: What does a typical day in the life of a latte guy consist of? EB: A typical day for a latté guy is: pick up a van at the office, drive to a job site, set up [the machine], serve great coffees, clean up, pack up and head back to the office. —Compiled by Megan Cliff

Features 18 Mid-year replacement faces challenging task THEORACLE

Assistant physics teacher from Lynbrook replaces Eric Hickock for second semester Ysé Massot Reporter

Jacinta Kompella joined the physics faculty on Feb. 3 and is teaching Advanced Placement (AP) Physics B and Physics 1A. Because she came in the middle of the year, Kompella is tasked with the difficult job of covering material that should have been taught during the first semester, as well as continuing the pace of each class. When the administration began looking for a new physics teacher to replace Eric Hickok, the previous AP Physics B and Physics 1A teacher, they looked for a teacher who was familar with the academic expectations and vigor of Gunn students. “Kompella had been a teacher assistant at Lynbrook High School for six months, and Lynbrook is a

similar school to Gunn in type of students,” Instructional Supervisor Eric Ledgerwood wrote in an email. Her familiarity with a competitive learning environment helped Ledgerwood decide that Kompella would adequately prepare AP Physics B students for the AP test and would cover all of the necessary material for each of her classes. Kompella was also hired based on her strong qualifications, a passion for physics and a strong background in the subject. After graduating from Delhi’s Institute of Technology with a degree in fiber optics, Kompella received a teaching credential from San Jose State University. She then went to work as an engineer for a startup company in the optical communications industry for four years and as an educational consultant for

universities such as the University of California, San Diego, Loma Linda University and University of Northern California for seven years. According to Kompella, she decided to become a teacher for two reasons. First, her last job was very work-intensive, and she believed that teaching would let her spend more time with her children. Moreover, Kompella has always loved teaching. “When I was little, to learn my lessons, I pretended I was the teacher and I taught the lessons to myself,” Kompella said. According to Kompella, a large challenge she faces this semester is trying to review as much neglected material as possible, while teaching new material thoroughly and in a timely fashion. In order to prepare students for the AP exam at the end of the year, Kompella is working through material faster than some students may have been used to. “Kompella is actively surveying and testing students to see where they are in terms of physics understanding so that she can contour the course and make corrections to her own delivery and style as the year moves forward,” Ledgerwood wrote. In order to cover double the amount of material in one semester,

Wendy Qiu

Physics teacher Jacinta Kompella plans to simultaneously teach new coursework and to review material with her students. Kompella is also partnering with other teachers, such as Allyson Frykman, the AP Physics B teacher who went on leave last year. “I continue to teach new topics while going back and firming up on first semester topics to prepare for the AP exam,” Kompella said. Kompella is also working hard to get to know her students well and tries to make the class as interactive as possible. “Dr. Kompella comes around to check our work and give us some advice personally,” senior Anastasia Petrova said. “She also makes herself very available to us

during tutorial or by appointment.” Kompella’s class places a strong emphasis on developing students’ scientific thinking. “The ultimate and long-term goal is to have a solid understanding of physics and have fun doing it, so that it forms the foundation for their learning in college,” Kompella said. According to Ledgerwood, Kompella has been managing the class and workload very well. “I believe that Dr. Kompella has been doing great so far,” he wrote. “She has basically made the best of a very difficult situation.”



Monday, March 12, 2012

Spotlight: preview of spring sports

What are you most excited about for the season? Badminton: Koji Habu (11)

“I’m excited to see how well our team is going to do this year because our coach tried a new method for tryouts. In the past, we’ve included hitting evaluations as part of our tryout process, but this year we focused more on physical fitness, work ethic and the ability to work well with others. Although we lost many strong players, with a new tryout process and new players, I believe we will have a successful season.”

Golf: Curran Sinha (11)

“I’m excited for the upcoming season because we have a promising team, and we could go undefeated. We won league last year for the first time in a long time, and now we might be able to place at Central Coast Section (CCS).”

Baseball: Ryan Gorman (12)

Diving: Miko Mallari (11) “I’m most excited for t he shor ter prac t ices; they’re an hour less [than usual]. I’m also happy that we were able to find a new coach that actually comes to most practices unlike last year, and I’m pretty pumped for CCS. I plan on making it to the top 10 for the third time.”

“I’m excited because we are definitely going to win the league this year, and we have a great group of people playing some great ball.”

Swimming: Will Thorson (12) “Both the girls’ and guys’ teams are shaping up great this year with the girls having major chances to win leagues and place high again at CCS. Personally though, I’m most looking forward to winning a bet with our coach and seeing him wear a bow tie when we break three records.”

Girls’ Lacrosse: Madison Sabbag (12) “The team is looking extremely better than we were last year at this time. We have a new, additional coach with a lot of playing experience who has already proven to have a positive effect on our abilities. Our team dynamic is also really amazing and will be sure to help us throughout the season. We’ve already made a lot of improvement in such little time, so I have high hopes for the next few months!”

Softball: Claire Collins (12) “I am rea lly excited for games. Having practice and being with the team is fun, but playing games is why I love playing softball.”

Boys’ Tennis: Joe Atlas (12) Gunn gets to play a lot of top teams in the state at this competition, and generally finishes in the top 10 of over a hundred teams in the tournament. Aside from the Fresno tournament, Gunn has a very young singles lineup, but strong, veteran doubles teams. If the doubles teams can consistently convert, only one singles player will need to win so that the team can win the match. We should have a great season and hopefully do damage in CCS, although the competition is very rough with teams like Menlo and Saratoga.” Photos by Wendy Qiu, Audey Shen, Michael Wu and Kyle Zhu

Gymnastics: Chrystal Chern (12) “I am excited to get to know all of the gymnasts on the team this year, through practice, competitions and team events. Most of all, I am excited to see all the improvements we will make to our gymnastics this season.”

Boys’ Lacrosse: Taesu Pak (12) “I’m looking forward to a season of fun and victories. Hopefully the team will be able to pull together enough victories to go to Santa Clara Athletic League (SCVAL). I am sure that the team will be able to pull through this season strong and be able to go out with a bang. It’d be pretty awesome to see Gunn finally go to SCVALs for boys’ lacrosse.”

Track and Field: Kieran Gallagher (12) “I would have to say I’m most excited for the distance relay at Arcadia Invitational. Arcadia is one of the most competitive invitationals in the country, and this year our distance girls have a decent shot at challenging our school record in the relay, as well as placing very well nationally. I’m also very excited to beat Paly.”




Ways to Keep Athletes Healthy and Safe Students discuss the dos and don’ts of being a healthy athlete

Presea so n Tra in in g Wayland Fong With my lungs burning and my heart ready to burst out of my chest, I neared the finish line for the first cross-country race of the season. Only two things were on my mind: pain and regret. The regret of not attending conditioning pained me both physically and mentally. The runners passing by seemed to mock me with each stride. I finally realized the importance of preseason training and promised myself that I would not make such a sorry mistake ever again. Preseason conditioning is renowned to be the “cheat sheet” for athletes. It is supposed to give an athlete a head start in the sport before

the season begins by becoming mentally and physically prepared. Ma ny tea ms, however, recommend conditioning to get a competitive advantage. High schools also offer preseason training to high school students to encourage students who do the sport year-round. Athletes depend on conditioning to stay in shape, as the benefits from participating in conditioning range from improved muscle memory to increased mental preparedness. In addition, athletes are able to train with a more individualized approach than during the regular season. According to, an online fitness website, it only takes 50 percent of the effort to enter a sport if the athlete has undergone previous conditioning. Athletes will gain a comparable advantage over others who do not have previous training. Many athletes involved in contact sports get injured early on in the season. However, whether the injury is from a kick to the knee or a full-on tackle, conditioning can help prevent

such injuries. In addition to injuries, physical prepa red ness ca n prevent cra mps, spra ins, and shin splints. With no conditioning, an athlete may not be ready for the sport because his or her body is not used to the movements of the game. The required awareness, muscle strength and aerobic and anaerobic endurance for success during the season must be obtained through frequent physical activity. Training through conditioning provides such safety measures for the athlete. Preseason conditioning may not be the best option for everyone, but it definitely makes a difference in one’s performance during the season. The payoff for athletes participating in preseason conditioning is apparent through their performance. In an environment where people are constantly looking to get a head start, preseason conditioning may be the answer to every athlete’s problems. —Fong, a junior, is a reporter

Suppl e m e nta l Ext re m e Work outs Emily Yao In a society where being “ripped” is a positive term in defining people as having attractive bodies, it’s no surprise that people are scrambling to find the fastest methods to develop a six-pack. Because going to the gym can be inconvenient, people have been settling on extreme workouts for the home, including P90X and INSANITY. Subjective advertisements with well-knownpersonal trainers and exercise instructors, make it appear that these extreme workouts are actually beneficial in developing a fit body. However, they are actually not necessary in becoming a successful athlete. In fact, extreme home workouts should be eliminated because they cause harmful health

problems in the long run and are being done for the wrong reasons. Because of their intensity, extreme home workouts can cause harm to many body parts such as the muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments. For example, even when one warms up before doing a P90X workout, the workout can still have damaging effects. According to LiveStrong, a website that provides health advice, although the videos in the P90X series start with a warm-up, muscles can still be stressed and overworked by using weights that are too heavy, doing the exercises incorrectly or performing more repetitions than your muscles can handle. Similarly, many people who have gone through the INSANITY workouts have experienced shoulder injuries after doing the upper body segment of the program. Because the workouts are done at home, no professional trainer is usually there to correct one’s movements, and this can lead to injuries that could have been avoided. In addition, people are mostly doing these

Pressure o n A t h l e t es Zoe Weisner

George Hwang

The life of a famous athlete seems enviable: he or she gets million-dollar contracts, lives in a nice house and has a huge fan base. Although professional athletes make playing sports seem effortless, the amount of pressure placed on them to perform well is tremendous and leads many athletes to depression. According to the British Psychological Society, stress-related illnesses are extremely common in professional sports, and they are becoming more so as the pressures on athletes increase due to round-the-clock media attention and the huge amounts of money at stake should they fail. For instance, Miki Ando was a two-time Japa-

nese national figure skating champion, the 2004 Junior World champion and the first female skater to successfully complete a quadruple jump in competition. When Ando’s athletic performance struggled in 2005 and 2006, her media coverage turned negative. In fact, the Japanese Skating Federation was so concerned about the media coverage as she prepared for the 2006 Olympics that they sent formal written requests to several magazine publishers, asking them to cut back on their coverages. When famous athletes fail to meet the expectations of their hype, not only does the media viciously attack them, but so do their fans. When the Stanford Cardinals, the college football team, lost during the Fiesta Bowl due to three consecutive missed field goals by freshman kicker Jordan Williamson, fans reacted by posting angry comments on social media sites, blaming Williamson for the Cardinals’ loss. On the contrary, Williamson’s entire team supported him and admitted that it was not Williamson’s fault but the entire team’s.

workouts not so they can be healthy, but so that they can develop an aesthetically-pleasing and ripped physique. However, it has been proven that striving for a six-pack by undertaking intense ab training is physically unhealthy. According to biomechanics and kinesiology specialist Michael Yessis, many people develop hunchback conditions because of excessive abdominal crunches. Thus, instead of doing extreme home workouts to look better, one should exercise to feel better. Continuing with the theme of exercising at home, the most beneficial workout is yoga, a holistic exercise that helps to relieve stress and tone muscles. The problem with extreme home workouts is that they encourage thinking about how one’s outer appearance will be perceived by the public. However, a good-looking body will not help with athletic success. Instead, it is much more important to focus on making sure one feels comfortable in one’s body. —Yao, a junior, is a Sports Editor

Some may argue that the stress that comes from the pressure to succeed improves an athlete’s skill. However, the amount of mental strain on an athlete to play exceptionally well can lead them to cheating out of desperation. One of the most popular methods athletes use to enhance their performance is by taking drugs. However in the long run, using drugs negatively affects the health of an athlete. According to the Nemour’s Health Center, the use of steroids increases the chances of heart disease and causes liver damage. Professional athletes who use drugs tend to risk everything for their careers, even if their lives are on the line. Society and athletes should realize that life is not about winning, and that unnecessary pressure placed on them causes unhealthy competition. Athletes are not robots; they are human beings with feelings, so they should not be remembered for their mistakes. —Weisner, a junior, is a News Editor


Monday, March 12, 2012


Athlete recounts concussion experience

Boot Bullwinkle

Wendy Qiu

Left: Seniors Paul Blanchette and Keenan Venuti and their families smile and pose for a picture during the National Letter of Intent (NLI) signing at the Gunn gym. Right: Venuti who intends to play football at Harvard University, begins signing his NLI.

Mores student athletes commit to colleges Misheel Enkhbat Reporter

As talented athletes apply for colleges, it is not uncommon for them to be granted National Letters of Intent (NLI). When an athlete signs the NLI, the athlete is agreeing to attend the school for one year. In return, the school promises to provide financial aid for the full course of the year. The penalty for not fulfilling the NLI is that the athlete must attend the school the next

year and lose one season of competition The letters of intent are given out depending on the different sports. For example, basketball’s initial signing date is Apr. 11 and its final signing date is May 16. The dates range from Nov. 9 to Aug. 1. Currently seven seniors have signed national letters of intent: Catherine Perez who signed for basketball at Seattle University, Allison Doerpinghaus who signed for volleyball at Eastern Washington University, Julia Ama who signed for swimming at

Stanford University, Elizabeth Anderson who signed for water polo at Santa Clara University, Paul Blanchette who signed for soccer at Loyola Marymount University, and Keenan Venuti who signed for football at Harvard. “The process actually started a year ago. The way it happens in soccer is that you express interest in the school and if they like how you play then they show interest back,” Blanchette said. “I was really excited that Loyola showed interest in me. It was always a part of my top 10.”

Concussions emerge head first as growing problem Jean Wang

News Editor

As a result of the rising awareness of concussions and their impacts on student athletes, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), the governing body of high school sports in California, has adopted a new mandate requiring all student athletes and their parent or guardian to sign a concussion and head injury information sheet in order to participate in their sport. Through this mandate, CIF hopes to educate students about the dangers of concussions and reduce fatalities that may result from improper management of concussions. National data has shown that many of the most serious head injuries result from athletes playing despite not fully recovering from a previously sustained concussion. While most concussions are mild, all concussions can lead to more serious complications, including death, if not properly treated. “This new policy is mainly an educational policy, to get out what concussions are and how seriously they should be taken,” athletic trainer Brien Arakaki said. Concussions are one of the most com-

mon injuries among high school students, accounting for 15 percent of all sports related injuries reported to athletic trainers according to a study conducted in 2011. At Gunn, the ratio is much lower, at about one in 15. Lower numbers can be attributed to coaches’ high awareness regarding concussions, leading them to teach proper techniques for reducing risk of concussions and requiring proper safety equipment. According to Arakaki, he has only seen three concussions this year. Concussions can happen in any sport, and while football remains the sport with the highest risk for concussions, soccer players and lacrosse players are at high risk as well. Concussions do not necessarily have to result from a blow to the head—they may also result from a blow to another part of the body with the force transmitted to the head. While the initial blow is dangerous, a second blow before full recovery is worse, with the potential of severe brain swelling, known as the often fatal Second Impact Syndrome. Last year, more than 400,000 students nationwide suffered from a concussion, yet there are still many more high school students who have likely

suffered from a concussion but have never been diagnosed. Many athletes dismiss their symptoms, associating concussions with amnesia and a loss of consciousness. However, most sports concussions actually occur without such symptoms and the most common symptoms of a concussion are headache, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, disorientation and sensitivity to light. “It’s a fluke,” Arakaki said. “But if it happens, it’s important to be able to recognize it and get the proper help.” Students who suspect they have suffered from a concussion should immediately stop playing and seek medical attention, particularly through an magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography scan. “That’s the one injury you never want to push yourself through,” Arakaki said. He also stresses that students should never take any medication, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, for a concussion because they could actually increase pressure in the brain and cause more serious brain damage. Students should only return to their respective sports two weeks after the headache resides.

Did you know? 1.6 to 3.8 47 78 5 to 10

Number of concussions that occur per year (in millions)

percent of athletes who do not feel the impact of a concussion

percent of concussions received during sport games, not practice

percent of athletes that will experience a concussion during a sport season

Visit for more information George Hwang

On Jan. 20, I was playing goalie in a soccer match against Homestead High School. After making a diving save, I suffered a traumatic brain injury due to a kick in the face from an opposing forward. At least, that is what I’m told. I lost all memory from the game and the previous week of school. That week was finals week, so I spent the following week getting back tests that I had no recollection of taking. People still ask me what it’s like to have lost such a large chunk of my memory, and it’s hard to describe. I didn’t feel scared or confused per se, but it felt as though I had woken up from a deep sleep and then read a book about what had happened. My memory wasn’t the least of my worries; it was my history that really concerned me. It was my third concussion and the worst one by far. For those who don’t know me that well, soccer is a significant portion of my life. I have dreams of playing in college and continuing my career and passion for a long as possible. But now I was faced with the likelihood of never returning to competitive play again. During the first week, I fell into a significant depression. I wasn’t able to form sentences, and I was only able to attend three classes a day. Even then, major migraines made those classes almost unbearable, and I was often on the brink of tears. I wasn’t even able to go watch my team practice. The only thing that kept me sane was the ability to watch our games despite the pain that the light brought me due to my sensitivity. It was limited involvement, and that was difficult for me to get used to. A week later, I went in to get evaluated on the extent of the brain damage I had suffered. After my computed tomography (CT) scan, my mom and I attempted to play doctor. We looked at countless images of my brain trying to determine the slightest abnormality and found about five tumors (this, of course, was based on extensive research through watching the television shows, “House” and “Scrubs”). Luckily, we went to see a professional the next day who had better results than our deductions. According to the doctor, I would have to sit out the remainder of the season, but I would return to soccer. Now, I know the normal response would be to act overly ecstatic and break out into song like I was in a Disney movie, but that wasn’t for me. I spent the season going to every practice, trying to help wherever I could, but I also watched as our Central Coast Section playoff hopes slowly dwindled. I couldn’t help but feel responsible for the team’s demise. I know that sounds silly, but I felt like it was my time to help the team do something great. We were well on pace when I suffered my injury, but it eventually came to the last game of the season against league champions, Mountain View. A tie or a win would have propelled us into the playoffs. It wasn’t meant to be this year. We lost 2-0, and thus our season ended with an early uniform return. Still, I can’t help but be excited that I will be able to don the number 0 for one more year here at Gunn, and that my dreams in soccer can still be achieved. —Bullwinkle, a junior, is an Entertainment editor.




Flying into the world of extreme sports Bungee Jumping Divya Shiv Managing Editor

For thrill seekers everywhere, there is not a better activity to experience than that of bungee jumping. This involves jumping off of tall buildings or br id ges wh i le connected to elastic cords that have been tied to a person’s feet or to a harness to give jumpers that feel i ng of weig htlessness. Although bungee jumping now takes place all over the world at places such a s Yo s em it e a nd Zimbabwe, the sport began in the Pentecost Island in the South Pacif ic, where men would prove themselves by jumping off cliffs with only thick vines tied to their feet to prevent their deaths. However, it was not until 1979 that bungee jumping became a mainstream sport, thanks to a few members of the Oxford University Dangerous Sports club who wanted

Hang Gliding

to prank people with an April Fools’ joke. They secured themselves with nylon braided cords, dressed up in fancy clothes and jumped off of the Clifton Suspension Bridge in the middle of day. Unfortunately, all were promptly arrested. These men chose to bungee jump in the traditional style, with one person going at a time. However, there are other variations of bungee jumping that a thrill seeker can choose from. For instance, one type is tandem bungee jumping, where two people jump at the same time. Although it is double the fun, it also means double the risk as the cords are not built to hold two people and can easily get tangled up in each other. Another type of bungee jumping that is fairly popular is catapulting, which is when a person stands on the ground and is then shot up into the air. However, there are a few risks that are common to every type of bungee jumping, most of which involve the cords that support the jumper. For instance, if the cord is too long, it won’t recoil at the right time and the jumper may come in contact with the ground. Then there is the danger of the cord snapping or if the cord detaches from the harness or, more likely, the jumper’s feet. Despite these dangers, bungee jumping is the ultimate extreme sport to take part in. Producing an intense adrenaline rush, bungee jumping can be extremely fun, if done correctly.

Street Luging

Misheel Enkhbat Reporter

Ha ng g l id i ng isn’t for t he fa i nt of hea r t—i­­­t’s for t hose who crave an adrenaline rush. T he spor t a l lows t h r i l l seekers to fulfill their desires to f ly. The design for the hang glide helped lead to the invention of the airplane. In the Wright brothers’ pursuit for flight, they created models of the hang glider, but due to its lack of control, the brothers abandoned the design. It was not until 1971, when Tom Dickinson flew on a hang glider for fifteen seconds, that the public became interested in the activity. Though it may looks effortless and relaxing on pictures, in reality, hang gliding is not a sport that one can take up on a whim. The sport requires a lot of practice and training and there are many different things that an athlete needs learn before he can take flight. However the risks can be reduced by taking these precautionary measures. Although one is not required to have a license for hang gliding, it is beneficial to take an introductory flight and then enroll in classes. It is normal for a beginner to take five to ten classes before he can fly independently. In order to continue hang gliding, one must follow the policies of the United States Hang Gliding Association (USHGA). The USHGA states that beginner pilots should only fly under 100 feet in mild winds with an instructor. In other words, one should not just find the highest mountain and jump off. After taking all of the appropriate classes, one must buy a suitable hang glider. It is important to know that all hang gliders function in various ways. Because beginners will not be able to pinpoint his

Windsurfing Eileen Qian

s t reng t h s or we a knesses themselves, it is best to purchase one with the help of an instructor as the right guide will be a great help in the athlete’s efforts to improve. However, because hang gliders are expensive, ranging from $3000 to $5000, and must be replaced every four years, an athlete should not purchase his own hang glider unless he is absolutely positive that he will carry through with the sport. After taking the appropriate classes and buying a suitable hang glider, it is crucial to practice in safe conditions, especially in areas of high altitude and wind. The athlete must find his weaknesses and master them. The most popular places to hang glide are at short cliffs, hills, and beaches. But, oneshouldn’t hang glide at beaches unless one is prepared for the tumultuous weather. One must be experienced and capable of braving the strong winds. So if this sport sounds appealing then go out, take some classes and have fun.

George Hwang

Sports Editor

For those who enjoy spending time in the water, windsurfhours of practice on the lake, one can develop the fundamentals ing is a thrilling sport that is perfect for a day at the beach or of windsurfing and eventually achieve enough balance and stability lake. It is an activity that utilizes elements of sailing and surfing to face the ultimate challenge: sailing in the ocean. Because the by using a sailboard to glide on the water’s surface and the wind strong winds and high tides in the ocean are unpredictable and to navigate. Its origin dates back to 1948 in Pennsylvania, where there are many more obstacles in the ocean than in a lake, a cauNewman Darby created the first sailboard that allowed sailing tious learner will need lots of practice before he can consider the without a rudder. His invention was originally intended to be sport to be fun. However, the diligence pays off when he feels the Jean Wang used to control a catamaran, but two Southern Californians, rush of successfully cruising amongst the crushing ocean waves. News Editor Jim Drake and Hoyle Schweizer, used Darby’s invention Regardless of an athlete’s level of expertise in the sport, there is a wide variety of windsurfing styles that can be enjoyed by any to give rise to windsurfing. To most people, lying down on a Though it may seem like windsurfing requires type of windsurfer. For instance, light wind cruising is designed skateboard only a few inches from the ground a high level of expertise in surfing and for beginners who prefer to gently cruise or to practice controlling and traveling at speeds of up to 90 mph wearing nothing sailing, anyone can participate, as the their boards as it is easier to recover from mistakes. Intermediate but a protective leather suit, a helmet, leather gloves, and a sport is dependent on practice and windsurfers generally participate in speed sailing, where the goal pair of shoes sounds insane. Yet, to experienced street lugers, patience. Surprisingly, there are is to go as fast as they can go by manipulating the wind conditions this is just another typical race. training courses available and skimming across the surface of the water. Finally, freestyle luging an Street luging is an extreme sport that originated in the for interested learners and wave sailing are two types of windsurfing that are popular extremely 1970s from “buttboarding,” a technique skateboarders used in the Bay Area, such amongst more daring and advanced athletes. In freestyle windsurfd a n g e r o u s to increase their speeds by lying down with their butts on as the Shoreline ing, athletes use light sailing boards and attempt to perform tricks, sport, and athletes their skateboards. Throughout the 1980s, underground and Lake’s Aquatic such as jumping and turning 360 degrees in mid-air. Lastly, wave are especially suscepprofessional races were held throughout Southern California, C enter a nd sailing is physically demanding, as one relies solely on the power tible to frequent crashes with only of the wind and waves to maneuver. Without much practice, one but it was not until the 1990s when street luging experienced a and wipeouts that often rehuge surge in popularity after being featured in ESPN’s 1995 X a f e w can easily crash and be dragged off the intended course. sult in serious injuries. Even As with any sport, windsurfing can be dangerous. Without Games. The sport was also featured in NBC’s Gravity Games professionals admit to the high proper clothing, many athletes suffer from hypothermia after being as an Extreme Downhill International (EDI) category. Since danger involved in the sport, a factor in the water for too long. In addition, for beginners, an attempt then, street luging has remained popular, with over 1,000 that is important to take into account to stay on par with the unpredictable wind and large waves may professional street lugers worldwide. when considering the sport. Furthermore, result in a painful clash with sharp obstacles in the water, such Street luging is a completely gravity powered sport, and street luge boards can be quite expensive, street luge boards are banned from having any mechanical as rocks or reefs. However, with careful planning and proper brakes. Braking is managed by using the racer’s shoes, and it costing between $1000 to $2000, although many training, one will not have to worry about any of these is not unusual to see smoke coming from their soles. Steering street lugers make their own boards to reduce the safety precautions. is managed by leaning from side to side, leading to frequent costs. Even though there are great beaches in California Ultimately, street luging offers an exhilarating, but contact with the pavement and other racers. When traveling where one can windsurf, some other great places at high speeds, this can translate to severe bruises, broken dangerous alternative for adrenaline junkies looking to to windsurf are Maui, Spain, Costa Rica, South elbows and dislocated shoulders. These conditions make street challenge their limits. Africa, Greece and the Philippines.


Monday, March 12, 2012


Central Coast Section Results Boys’ Basketball:

Boys’ Basketball

Most Valuable Player (MVP): Shang Yip (12) Most Improved Player (MIP): Max Girod (11) Coach’s Award (CA): Nicholas Kao (12)

Girls’ Basketball

MVP: Catherine Perez (12) MIP: Zoe Zwerling (10) CA: Jordan Humble (12)

Boys’ Soccer

MVP: Cameron McElfresh (12) MIP: Sam Emad-Vaez (12) CA: Ramiro Jauregui (10)

Girls’ Soccer

MVP: Laura Hayward (12) MVP: Alyssa Perreault (12) MIP: Ming Ming Liu (10)


MVP: Chris Jin (12) MIP: Ian Cramer (9) CA: Julian Calderon (12)


MVP: Erina Kamiya (10) MIP: Catalina Zhao (10) CA: Evy Vaughn (10)


MVP: Emily Cottle (11) MVP: Mikaela Klein (11) CA: Amanda Xia (11) —Compiled by Zoe Weisner

The boys’ basketball team ended the season with an overall record of 8-15. The team did not make Central Coast Section (CCS).

Boys’ Soccer:

The boys’ soccer team did not make CCS, but finished with an overall record of 6-7-2.

Girls’ Soccer:

The girls’ soccer team finished with an overall record of 3-8-3, but did not make CCS.


Sophomore Cadence Lee finished with a 3-0 record at CCS, upholding her CCS champion title from last year. Senior Chris Jin and junior Eric Cramer showed impressive performances as well with records of 4-2 and 4-3, respectively. Jin placed fifth while Cramer placed sixth. Junior Jessica Sun placed fifth in her weight category with a record of 7-2. Junior Daniel Papp, senior Julian Calderon, junior Harsha Mokkarala and freshman Ian Cramer had records of 3-2 and they all placed ninth in their respective weight classes. Lastly, senior Marco Lopez-Mendoza ended with a 2-2 record and sophomores James Foy and Sean Lydster finished with a record of 1-2. —Compiled by Alvin Wang To find out about the CCS results for Girls’ Basketball, see page 1

Courtesy of Scott Kresie

—Compiled by Monica Cai





Steps To Performing the 1990 Tricking Move with junior Eric Cheng


Place your feet so that your legs are a little wider than hip-width apart.

2 3 4

Place your left hand down on the ground while preparing to lift your legs to go into a handstand.

While pushing off the ground with your feet to create a handstand, switch from your left to right hand.

Spin on the palm of your right hand while keeping your head locked to your right shoulder. Make sure your right arm is straight and your left arm is bent near your head.


Use your momentum to perform multiple revolutions until you fall out of the handstand position. â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Compiled by Emily Yao Photo by Kyle Zhu



Monday, March 12, 2012

Social networks battle it out for the gold medal Mitch Donat

Monica Cai

Twitter: I recently signed up for Twitter because of its new popularity outbreak, and I realized it is the simplest, quickest and most enter taining social network to use. This is because it corrects the f laws of its main competitor,

Tumblr: I first joined Tumblr when it was still relatively unknown, although its lack of popularity actually comforted me. Too protective of my thoughts, ideas and most importantly, feelings, I told almost no one about my blog, hoping to keep its anonymity. Too afraid to write about anything real, the first few hundred of my posts were all reblogs, which is the great beauty of Tumblr. Reblogging is essentially seeing someone else’s post, liking it and reposting it, sort of like retweeting. Many scoff at the idea, claiming it’s simply taking other’s pictures and words and trying to make them their own, but there is a lot more behind reblogging. It’s letting whoever posted it know that you feel the exact same way, or that you love that shot of Paris nightlife too, or that a photo of a clear blue lake in a summery haze with a generic quote like “Here’s to the past” speaks to you as well. Unlike other social networking sites, Tumblr isn’t about chatting with friends or notifying the world of what you’re doing. It’s about your thoughts, beliefs and emotions, and using them to connect with people in the simplest way possible. You don’t have to know anyone you follow on Tumblr; you just have to appreciate what they post. While Tumblr is about sharing and expressing with others, it’s also a very personal site. I finally allowed myself to write about things pertinent to my life, although often just a few words or sentences on my feelings

Facebook. Additionally in the case of other networks such as Tumblr, Instagram and the now archaic MySpace, each service’s popularity is so far behind Facebook’s and Twitter’s that they fail to fulfill the main purpose of social networking: to interact with large numbers of friends at once. As a social network, Twitter has thrived where others have failed. As soon as I got used to Twitter, I realized that it is by far the simplest network to use. A limitation on the message length and four simple departments make communication and navigation efficient. On Facebook, the general layout is changing on a cycle similar the moon; as soon as I become accustomed to the new layout, Facebook announces another layout the next day. Twitter’s simplicity has remained unchanged since its start. Not to mention, I can use hashtags without looking completely out of place. Many argue that Twitter is pointless and boring. However, it’s actually an entertaining place to rant, find hilarious pages, and stay connected to famous celebrities and athletes. It’s because of this that Twitter is a truly enter taining website. Ask yourself, have you ever had fun on Facebook b e s i d e s pl aying Tetris Battle or bombard-

is enough for me. I also have a collection of private posts, which are pages upon pages of inner ramblings that help me let go of whatever is on my mind. Later, when I feel like reminiscing, I can simply scroll through my post history, essentially viewing a timeline of my life. Facebook may have my most important events from 2011 and the pictures to prove it, but Tumblr has the songs I was obsessed with, the pictures and quotes I fell in love with and, of course, any sort of strong emotion I may have felt. Tumblr goes beyond status updates and pictures with friends—it commemorates the simple moments and joys of everyday life, and delves into all that goes on beyond what most people can see. —Cai, a Managing Editor, is a senior.

ing someone with 200 notifications? By being simple and entertaining, Twitter runs away with the social network crown. The chirping bird rebellion has quickly overthrown Mark Zuckerberg’s international dictatorship. Stop being stubborn and sign I nsup today; you will get used to Twitter tagram quickly and even enjoy yourself. Unlike is a phoMySpace, Tumblr, and Instagram, the to sharing number of your friends using it will network used outnumber the fingers on your between friends, hand. #PeaceOut celebrities, professional photographers —Donat, a sophomore, is and amateur photograa reporter. phers, and it is the best social network—for now. Being the Mac Miller fanboy that I am, I initially joined Instagram to follow his posts (he’s also the reason why I joined Twitter #CelebrityWhipped). I grew bored with the occasional photos posted by my man crush, and I wondered if anyone else used Instagram. I was pleasantly surprised when I found about 10 friends who actively used Instagram. And they were real friends who I talk to in the real world (I know, right? 10 friends? I was even surprised). The way people share on Instagram is different than the way people interact on Twitter and Tumblr. There isn’t the constant begging for followers, and there isn’t the drive to rack up “likes” by over sharing. Particularly, I loved being able to see what my family members were up to. Without all the distractions, I can see where my dad is traveling, the smile on my baby cousin’s face or my mom’s pictures of my dog when I’m away. I will admit that there are a few flaws in the network. Celebrities clog up the “Popular” page now that many have garnered loyal followings. In the past, the page used Boot Bullwinkle to constantly push artistic, hilarious and exquisite photos from ordinary people all over the world. Instagram: It could be said that I am I guess that’s the hipster inside me. I a little obsessed with social networking. hope that the network stays small, because I like finding interesting, provocative and the Twitter oversharers and follower-hunhumorous content that my friends post, gry Tumblrs are starting to grow rampant. and I love it when I can share the enter- They are the ones that ruin Instagram for taining things in my life with my friends. me. In any case, I’m sure that the network But sometimes, the oversharing can get will be successful with their unique format obnoxious and the good bits of social net- for sharing photos. working are obscured bad memes, “like my status” posts and inside jokes. —Bullwinkle, an Entertainment Editor, is

Students get into rhythmic study patterns using binaural beats Anna Qin

Features Editor

Life can be extremely stressful and different people have different ways to remedy this anxiety. More recently, a new remedy has emerged in the form of what proponents deem a “digital drug,” audio tracks known as binaural beats. Theoretically, they produce certain brainwave frequencies that alter a person’s current emotional state to one that is desired. Lucid dreaming, deep sleep and better concentration are some of the various effects that binaural beats are claimed to induce. Essentially, a binaural beat is created by playing two different frequencies varying by 10 hertz in the left and right ears. These frequencies are used to create a perceived third frequency or beat. This frequency is then said to be able to create alpha, beta, theta and delta brainwaves, which are associated with various emotional states. There are many claims for the effects of binaural beats, and ultimately, if they are proven true, the societal impacts would be enormous. But do binaural beats actually create special effects in the brain? Most proponents justify the effects of binaural beats through their ability to create alpha, beta, theta and delta brainwaves; this is assuming the opposite of what is known of the function of brainwaves.

Certain emotional states like happiness, anxiety and depression translate to certain brainwave frequencies. However, the reverse is not true; brainwave frequencies do not result in these emotional states. Therefore, just because an alpha frequency, which is associated with focus, is generated by binaural beats, the listener will not become immediately alert. Several studies have been done to test the effects of binaural beats. A 2006 study from Japan played the same set of binaural beats to nine blinded and controlled subjects, and they recorded extremely varied results. Variations were believed to be due to recognition of auditory signals, rather than direct influence of binaural beats. Although binaural beats might not have a scientific basis, many people still attempt to use binaural beats for meditation, deep concentration and deep sleep. The top five search results for “binaural beats” on YouTube have each recorded more than 500,000 views, and regular listeners believe fully in binaural beats as an emotional stimulator. While binaural beats may not produce outcomes exactly what proponents suggest, music in general has always been seen as a medium for artists to release their feelings and for listen-

ers to benefit emotionally from the experience. There is no reason to rule out binaural beats as another genre of music. Ultimately, while there is little evidence to support the claims for binaural beats, no negative effects have been discovered either. The small amount of evidence supporting binaural beats may be attributed to the placebo effect, but if such music does help the listener concentrate a little better while studying, sleep well throughout the night or even relax during a particularly stressful day, what is the harm in trying them out? —Qin, a Features Editor, is a junior



Staffers break down opposite sex’s stereotypical movies

When it comes to watching movies, I prefer romantic comedies and dramas with the occasional superhero film thrown in. I detest gross humor and have never seen a true horror film so I was a little wary when it came to selecting a masculine movie. After a long search I finally found a suitable film and ponied up $4.99 to purchase the fourth film in the Fast and the Furious franchise, which is deceptively titled “Fast Five” (a naming decision most likely attributed to the brilliant minds who penned the dialogue for the film). I shall now summarize the film: Vin Diesel, some hot girls, and The Rock shoot at each other and some other people too. Cleavage. Racially diverse team members arrive. Cleavage. A bunch of fancy cars are driven around. Cleavage. They steal some money. Cleavage. Everyone dies but the protagonists. Cleavage. Vin Diesel ends up with a hot babe. The end. I have no problem with a little degrading sexism here and there, but the degree to which it occurred

“This Means War”

McG’s “This Means War” serves the purpose of revealing how banal and obsolete its genre, the romantic action comedy, has become in recent years. Discussing its plot is as cringe-worthy as watching it develop on screen: CIA agents FDR and Tuck (Chris Pine and Tom Hardy respectively) unwittingly form a logistically impossible and unconvincing love triangle with product tester Lauren Scott (Reese Witherspoon). The screenplay refuses to allow the film’s leads to do anything meaningful, instead setting up one contrived sequence after another. “This Means War” essentially serves as an aimless cinematic version of “The Bachelorette”. In the end, it progresses too pointlessly and unsatisfactorily for its own good.

vious movie). As it turns out “Fast Five” was intended to be a comedic action film and the wonderful Chris Morgan did not disappoint with great jokes like “This just went from Mission: Impossible to Mission: In-freaking-sanity.” LOL. Oh, Chris! Despite its many shortcomings, I have to admit that “Fast Five” achieved its goal: I was thoroughly entertained. While not emotionally changing, as the first thing I did after watching the movie was google “do people actually find Vin Diesel attractive?” (the answer is shockingly yes, by the way), the film was still fun to watch. And yes, I cannot wait to find out what Chris Morgan will come up with for “Fast and Furious 6”. —Oyer, a sophomore, is an Entertainment Editor.


Josh Trank’s “Chronicle” is far from another needless found-footage film. Focusing on a set of teenagers who gain superpowers, the movie advantageously employs the found-footage technique, in which a character holds the camera. The audience is able to see through the eyes of Andrew Detmer (a brilliant Dane DeHaan) the social mistreatment and emotional abuse continuously inflicted on him at school and home. This ultimately compels him to turn villainous despite the pleas of his cousin Matt (an excellent Alex Russell). Screenwriter Max Landis (son of “Animal House” and “Blues Brothers” director John Landis) superbly ties this social commentary

“A Separation”

Asghar Farhadi’s “A Separation” winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, is an eloquent, well-woven drama set through the canvas of modern Iran. It initially focuses on the divorce of Simin (Leila Hatami), who wishes to depart from Iran with her daughter to America, and Nader (Peyman Moaadi), who must care for his Alzheimer’s and dementia inflicted father. Through a tragic and unforeseeable twist in circumstances, the story evolves to encompass the entirety of Iran’s legal system. The conflicts between characters seem as well-devised and poignant as those in a Shakespearean tragedy. The audience can relate to every individual within the story, each with a set of impeccably designed motivations and flaws. —Compiled by Cooper Aspegren

Solomon Kim All guys have their feminine tendencies whether they admit it or not. That is why I don’t have a problem saying that I enjoy watching romantic comedies. That’s why I leaped at the chance to write an article on the highly acclaimed and supposedly hilarious chick flick called “Easy A,” which stars Emma Stone and Penn Badgley. In this movie, a socially invisible high school girl, Olive Pendergast (Emma Stone), gains notoriety by spreading a fake rumor about having sex with her gay friend to keep him from getting bullied. Throughout the movie, I was continually in awe. To be honest, it was one of the best movies I have seen in a very long time. There were so many great one-liners such as: “Seriously, a coupon? Twenty percent off of Bath and Body Works—is that how much our imaginary tryst meant to you? I fake rocked your world!” It was particularly amusing since it takes place when a guy pays Olive with a coupon for pretending to have

Wendy Qiu

Lucy Oyer

in this movie was a bit over the top. It seems that the only thing women are capable of in this film are taking off their clothes, driving fast cars with a pouty expression and getting pregnant. Gifted screen writer Chris Morgan developed an entire story line about a necklace so the camera could show numerous close-ups of a hot Brazilian policewoman wearing said necklace that just so happens to fall directly between her breasts. While it is obvious the people who created this movie geared it at a male audience, it doesn’t hurt to show respect for the female gender. After all, it isn’t as if films geared at women tend to degrade men. What was most confusing about this film was the fact that it featured very few fast cars. I was expecting lots of car racing and was disappointed to only see one real race. Instead, I was treated to a cinematic masterpiece of gunfights and roma nt ic subplots (for instance, I think Vin Diesel’s sister was pregnant with the baby of one of the cops that had tried to apprehend her in the pre-

sex with him. The whole movie had me laughing at the situations Olive found herself in, and by the end of the movie, I couldn’t keep from smiling. However, there were many scenes in “Easy A” that were extremely uncomfortable, especially as I was watching it in my journalism classroom. I can safely say that watching “Easy A” at school will lead to massive embarrassment for all guys, regardless of whether or not they enjoy watching chick flicks like I do. Despite this, I do believe that these scenes are inevitable, since the movie’s plot focuses on a girl telling everyone that she had sex when she didn’t. But even if I were watching this movie in the safety of my home, one thing I didn’t approve of was the portrayal of the typical stereotypes that show up in almost every chick flick. I don’t understand why there is always a mean girl in opposition to the main character, or why the main character always has to have a sarcastic, loud best friend. I am sick of the cliché of watching main characters going through ordeals and being attacked by the mean girls. Besides this, I believe that “Easy A” was successful in entertaining its audience, including me. Though it was a classic chick flick, it was very comical and even managed to appeal to a male viewer. —Kim, a sophomore, is a reporter.


Monday, March 12, 2012


MYTHBUSTERS ON CAMPUS Mark Hernandez, English teacher

Myth: You are “seriously jacked.”


“I’m in decent shape. And I will say, I did complete a P90X workout and I can do 50 pushups in 28 seconds. My friend Mark Prior was talking about the requirements to be a Navy Seal, which was 50 pushups in two minutes. And I said, “No way! There is no way it’s that little.” He responded that to be competitive you had to do 100 pushups in two minutes. I told him I could do 100 pushups in one minute, or 50 in 30 seconds. So I took off my jacket, and I did them.”


Myth: You were a professional yoga instructor in Tahiti.

Myth: You scored a 2500 on the SAT’s.


“Yes, I started that myth myself. See the logic behind it is that, it is possible to get a perfect score while still missing one or two questions because CollegeBoard creates certain questions that they believe nobody can answer correctly. But if you do, I told my class that you can get 100 bonus points.”

Diane Ichikawa, English teacher


“I would love to have been a yoga teacher in Tahiti. But, alas, when I was in Tahiti, I was still studying martial arts; it was long before I got blissed out on yoga.”

—Compiled by Elsa Chu


Kathleen DeCoste

Dana Voll, senior

Praniti & Curran Sinha, juniors

Victor Liu, sophomore

Sioned Hughes, freshman

Myth: You own over 36 dresses.

Myth: You two are twins.


Myth: You lost 30 pounds between 8th and 9th grade.

Myth: You were the voice of an animated character in a movie.


Curran: “I’m 11 months younger... and obviously the better looking one.”

“Losing weight was one of the toughest things I ever did, but the outcome of being fit has been really rewarding. It is also pretty entertaining when people ask if I got liposuction.”



“I own exactly 36 dresses at the moment, but the number increases rapidly because I really like wearing them for some reason. I just can’t stop myself from buying them every time I go shopping.”

Praniti: “People think we are twins because we are in the same grade, but I’m actually 11 months older. And 11 times cooler.”

“People think that I am the voice of a character in an animated movie called “Quest of Camelot.” I definitely wasn’t, but everyone thinks I was because I made a joke to one person and it stuck.” —Compiled by Ellen Lee

What’s trending on campus: student obsessions

Tetris—Whenever someone walks into the library or Academic Center, they are instantly greeted by computer screens displaying an array of colorful blocks, including the famous light blue vertical rectangle. If there was a competitive Tetris league, Gunn would undoubtedly make it to Central Coast Sections (CCS). However, as sophomore Ensay Kim, ranked “God of Tetris” would put it, “Tetris is more than a sport, it’s a lifestyle.”

Gunn Memes— “I don’t always go on Facebook, but

when I do, it’s because I want to check out the Gunn Memes.” Within hours of its creation, the Gunn Memes Facebook page went viral, garnering over 1000 likes in less than a week. However, like many viral trends, the page has since lost the fire that it started out with.

PMT (Pearl Milk Tea)—Any true

Titan knows that the best way to get a Gunn student’s attention is to flash a cup of PMT in their face. Not only is PMT a great way to spend four bucks, but it’s also a good way to feed your inner Asian.

The Optimist—While the identity of The Optimist

is still “unknown,” students from both Palo Alto High School (Paly) and Gunn are desperately awaiting the day that the mysterious blogger unveils himself. With the fiery Paly vs. Gunn Game post, the popularity of his blog shot sky high. While some find the Optimist’s words harsh, one cannot help but chuckle when reading his posts.

The SAT—As summer rolls around, so does the time for sophomores and juniors to crack open those SAT books and sulk in their studying. With all the pressure of college applications, Gunn students will work to the bone to achieve that perfect 2400. F and G Prep—Every year when schedules come out, guidance counselors are bombarded with requests to switch into F or G prep. Not only does F, and G prep symbolize a semester of jealousy from your friends, but it also shortens your school day to a mere four hours.

Temple Run—While it’s not fun to be chased by creepy monsters in real life, it becomes strangely addicting when controlling someone through an iPhone or iTouch. Temple Run takes users into a world where the swipe of a finger determines your destiny. Scramble with Friends—Teens nationwide are moving on from “Words With Friends” and hastily installing “Scramble With Friends.” Now, students have their news feeds filled with screen shots of funny words made on this addicting app. Find a student with two minutes to spare, and more than likely they will have whipped out an iPhone to play “Scramble With Friends”. Jeremy Lin—It’s not everyday that the Titans show Linterest in a former Viking. However, in the case of Jeremy Lin, we have decided to set our differences aside and join the wave overcoming our country known as Linsanity. As of now, Gunn students are hooked to the Linevitable hype. —Compiled by Stephanie Zhang — Graphics by Alvina Yau, Clara Kim, and Jasmine Garnett

The Oracle Goes pranking




With April Fools’ Day quickly approaching, members of The Oracle embraced their inner trickster by testing out some of their favorite pranks on fellow staffers. Take a look (and stock up on saran wrap).

Ashley Ngu

If you’re playing a practical joke on someone and need an extra hand, I am not the one to call. I’m pretty sure that I was born without any pranking abilities whatsoever. So when I was tasked to pull a prank on The Oracle, I knew I had a daunting assignment ahead of me. Being the uneducated newbie prankster that I was, I decided to do some research. In actuality, this meant googling various phrases like “best pranks” and “how to pull off a prank.” After discovering some cringe-inducing pranks, I realized that I needed to set some guidelines

for myself. My prank would NOT include physical pain, humiliation or vandalism. Call me a wuss, but I didn’t want anyone to get hurt; I just wanted to be funny, and thus Operation Plastic Wrap was born. The plan was to gain access to the journalism room during lunch, plastic wrap the doorway, wait until lunch ended, and then observe. It actually took me three tries to pull off the prank, but what can I say, I’m a beginner. The first time, I forgot the plastic wrap at home. The second time, the journalism room was locked. But as the old saying goes, the third time’s the charm. I had hoped that when our advisor unlocked the door, she would walk straight

into the plastic wrap without looking. Unfortunately, with her astute powers of observation, she saw the plastic wrap, said “What the hell,” and then promptly blamed Boot. Chuckling to myself, I played the role of an innocent and unaware student. Fortunately, the rest of the class found it pretty hilarious, much to my delight. And thus, my first legitimate prank was successful and I will admit that I’ve gained a new appreciation for pranking. The secret plotting and the feeling of accomplishment at the end made pranking a worthwhile endeavor, although I must admit that Operation Plastic Wrap was pretty small-time. So for now, it’s back to the drawing board. —Ngu, a senior, is Editor-in-Chief

Kyle Zhu

Michael Wu

Clockwise from left: A student walks into Ashley’s plastic trap. A tinfoil flag was the a clever detail in Boot’s prank. The suffocating silver Toyota is the final product of Boot’s saran-wrapping. Monica attempts to remove some of the saran wrap.

Boot Bullwinkle

Tin foil: $8. Shrink-wrap: $10. The look on senior Monica Cai’s face when she saw her shrink-wrapped and tinfoiled car: priceless. I knew very well what I was getting into when I decided to prank Monica and it was all worth it in the end. One day when Monica didn’t show up to class I decided to take the risk and go vandalize her car, even though I had no clue where she was. The shrink-wrap worked perfectly as I efficiently ducked


over and under the car, wrapping it in the plastic. It even started to draw spectators, students and faculty alike who laughed and even offered their own personal advice. But as I lifted her windshield wiper to start wrapping it with tinfoil, the car alarm began to blare while I was spread across its hood. I jumped off so quick, that I leaped onto the car in the parked space next to hers. Fellow staffer Michael had joined to take photos of the process and we both started cracking up as we “played it cool” beside my car until the beeps and horns ceased. We quickly went back to work as we realized we were running out of time (in addition it started to rain). We did our best with the foil, and finished the car off with my favorite feature: a tinfoil flag that


flapped very boastingly in the wind. Just as we started off back to class, I heard an all-too-familiar shriek from across the parking lot. “Boot! What the [cool thing that I should really appreciate the beauty of] did you do to my car?” Michael snapped pictures of Monica’s reaction, but the joke was really on us. I wasn’t in the mood for getting slapped, so still laughing, we reluctantly cleaned up the mess. It was really fun to unleash my inner immaturity on Monica and disrupt her day as I’m so accustomed to doing (I may even have to prank her again). She was a great sport and even asked for a photos. It turned out to be a pretty memorable experience. —Bullwinkle, a junior, is an Entertainment Editor.


April Fools’ Day is only for fools

Ellen Lee

It’s 11:59 on March 31. Whether you’re a master of pranks, a passive bystander or an unlucky victim, you know that you’re a minute away from National Have-A-FreePass-To-Be-Obnoxious Day, more commonly known as April Fools’ Day. In my long, bountiful life of sixteen years and four months, I have witnessed a painful line of unsuccessful pranks, with a few, occasional knee-slappers here and there; but the worst prank I’ve ever come across, took place in the fifth grade. It was an awful prank, one that really made me question human nature. On this deplorable day, my best friend’s parents decided that it would be hilarious to fake a divorce. Obviously, they didn’t get a positive reaction, as the act of a family breaking up isn’t the most humorous occurrence. On April 1, my friend came late to school with teary, bloodshot eyes, and told me in a shaky voice that her parents told her they were getting a divorce earlier that morning before school. After half an hour of being heartbroken and shocked, her parents told her that it was all a joke. Naturally, she suspected that they were kidding around, but the joke still traumatized the poor ten-year-old. I might be completely out of date, but jokes are usually meant to be funny, not traumatizing or awkward. Not surprisingly, there was no chuckling in their household that morning. Although this incident may be more extreme and dramatic than most, there is a blatantly clear reason why April Fools’ pranks always fail. Everyone expects the unexpected on April Fools’, because it is the one day of the year that you have a good excuse to try something stupid. An underlying rule that no one seems to understand is that pranks and jokes should always result in laughter and perhaps a hint of resentment. The combination of poor humor and the victim’s expectancy work handin-hand to concoct a failed day, almost so disastrous that the failure itself is funny. Maybe the humor in April Fools’ comes from the extraneous efforts and drastic measures people take to trick each other as well as the various blunders that follow, and not the pranks themselves. —Lee, a junior, is an Assistant Business Manager.

4. Alvina Yau

1. Whoopie cushions are flatulantly hilarious prank for the ages. 2. Water cups make it quite difficult to navigate a room, because with each step you’ll have to move six cups and risk a spill. 3. Switch shampoo with foot cream to flip things around a little. 4. Putting a fish in a water cooler is gross, but funny since fish poo sinks right into the spout.

The Oracle (March. 2012)  
The Oracle (March. 2012)  

The Oracle's March issue