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Students express their passions through blogs

Take a look behind the scenes of Homecoming

PG. 20 ENTERTAINMENT

Varsity cheer rallies its way to nationals

THEORACLE PG. 10-11 FEATURES

Does technology ruin romance?

PG. 8 FORUM

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

PG. 17 SPORTS

PA I D

Permit #44 Palo Alto, Calif.

Henry M. Gunn High School

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Monday, November 7, 2011 Volume 48, Issue 3

780 Arastradero Road, Palo Alto, CA 94306

Bikers disregard law, get ticketed Annie Tran

Education system looks for change

Buisness/Circulation Manager

Over the years, students have accumulated a great number of tickets for biking without a helmet and this fact has not gone unnoticed. Under California law, citizens under the age of 18 must wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. In addition, students over the age of 18 may decide for themselves whether or not they would like to wear a helmet, although the administration prefers that their students wear one at all times for their own safety. According to PAPD Sergeant Craig Lee, most students stopped by the Traffic Division are cooperative, but relatively apathetic to the laws governing cycling or even about their own safety on the road. Lee also mentions that high school-aged students in general often do not wear their helmets and commit common violations of the law, such as running red lights, stop signs and riding on the wrong side of the road. While many students may find the laws bothersome, the administration agrees with their enforcement. “A law intended to save lives is never a bad thing,” Assistant Principal Trinity Klein wrote in an email. “There’s a saying about ‘sometimes you have to be the cop on the side of the road’, meaning that sometimes it’s important to have that overt reminder so people adhere to safe behavior. If everyone was following the law, it wouldn’t be necessary.” A student cyclist caught violating the law, who is under the age of 18, is mandated to attend a two-hour Juvenile Traffic Diversion class, sponsored by Santa Clara County with a parent or legal guardian, on a school night, at a nearby location. The student will also have to pay a $10 fee when taking part in the class. After attending this class, the county office will notify the PAPD that the student successfully passed the course, and the bike citation will not be forwarded to the court. An alternative to taking this class is paying a fine of $114. California law also states that all vehicles (including bicycles) must stop at a stop sign and follow the rules of traffic that are stated in the California Vehicle Code (CVC). Riders over the age of 13 are also not allowed to bike on the sidewalk and must walk their bikes when on a sidewalk.

Ben Atlas

With the 2012 elections coming up, some members of the senior class will be eligible to vote. The odds of California voting in favor of re-electing Democrat and current president Barack Obama seem overwhelming, considering that since 1986, California has always voted for the Democratic candidate. However, when one examines the current president’s future effects on educational policy, it becomes apparent that it may be time for some change we really can believe in–change in California’s voting record. California and Gunn would be better off voting against Obama in 2012 because Obama’s educational policies are known failures. When President Obama took office in 2008, many of his backers were hopeful that he would drop the No Child Lef t Behind Act (NCLB). NCLB was created by Democrat Ted Kennedy and Republican George Bush to raise school standards throughout the nation and to provide funding to schools that met the standards. At first, this seems like a reasonable plan. However, several gaping flaws are apparent. According to Obama’s own Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, “NCLB allows, even encourages, states to

BIKERS—p.4

OBAMA—p.6

Wendy Qiu

Tasting Week comes to campus Zoe Weisner

News Editor

For the first time in Palo Alto, Tasting Week took place in various district schools. Rebecca Scholl-Barbier, a Gunn parent, inspired the event. Her memories of the delicious French food she ate growing up in France fueled her desire to educate Palo Alto children about eating healthy, high-quality meals. La Semaine Du Goût, which is French for Tasting Week, is an annual event held in France that many other countries have also adopted. La Semaine Du Goût started in 1989 when chefs, farmers and restaurateurs brought the rich flavors of French food to the French public. Today, it has become an event for food-

Gunn Figures

»

ies all over the world, during which they can participate in cooking workshops, cooking demonstrations, tastings and gourmet food exhibitions. The gastronomic education of youngsters is one of the biggest priorities during La Semaine Du Goût. About 3,500 chefs are sent to French primary schools to introduce children to delicious and healthy French cooking. Outside of school, restaurants offer discounted menus for students, and special children’s menus are served during this period. Neighborhoods become part of an initiative known as Des Repas Entre Voisins, or meals with neighbors. Each household is encouraged to cook a meal and place it on a table outside

4,820

TASTING—p.9

Dollars raised by students during Jar Wars

36

Courtesy of Wendy Qiu and Rebecca Scholl-Barbier

Left top: Piperade sample provided by Chef Gerald Hirigoyen. Left bottom: Salad created by Chef Brendy Monsada. Right: Hirigoyen cuts a bell pepper.

Number of National Merit Semi-finalists at Gunn

52,995

Kilogallons of water used at Gunn from 2010-2011


2

News

THEORACLE

NEWS BITES

Green Zone comes to Gunn This year, the library has set up a new resource for students known as the Green Zone, which is an area in the corner of the library with a green screen available to students. The Green Zone is a resource that librarian Meg Omainsky has provided for green screening images and movies. “The green screen is a creative tool,” video production teacher Edward Corpuz said. Since iMovie is installed on all Apple computers, everyone can take advantage of using the green screen feature for special effects.” A tutorial on how to use the green screen is on the library’s YouTube channel, Gunnlibrary. The idea for the Green Zone came from Omainsky’s philosophy on the world of information. “Students consume information but they also create information,” Omainsky said. “The world of information is not only about consumption anymore, but just as much about creation.” Junior Ishan Sharma is one of the many students excited about the Green Zone. “I think the Green Zone is great, it’s going to be a great tool for me when I want to do a cool backdrop,” Sharma said. Wonhee Park

Library introduces Schmoop The library has introduced a new test preparation program known as Schmoop, which provides students with free PSAT, SAT and ACT tests and offers practice problems, flashcards and timed tests. One of the important factors in the library’s decision to try Shmoop was its affordability and accessibility to students. “There are features with a digital tool that you just won’t find in a textbook,” librarian Meg Omainsky said. Some teachers have already incorporated Shmoop into their curriculum. English teacher Nicole Menache uses it for her Basic College Skills class. “[Shmoop] provides me with more direction to help my class and I can see where the students are struggling,” Menache said. She also added that her students have responded well to Shmoop. “Many of them say that it is written for them, unlike the big texts you can buy at the bookstore,” Menache said. Song Park

Seniors win writing award Three seniors have been honored by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) with the 2011 NCTE Achievement Awards in Writing, recognizing them as some of the best student writers in the nation. Seniors Melia Dunbar, Hannah Katznelson and Ashley Ngu were three of the 520 high school seniors chosen from 1,649 students nominated in their junior year by teachers from the around the nation. Schools were allotted nominations based on their respective student populations, with Gunn nominating three juniors last year. The nominated students submitted samples of their best writing and completed an impromptu writing sample on one of two themes, under timed supervision. Their writing samples were then judged by a team of English teachers for imaginative and effective use of language to inform and move an audience. The honorees were notified of their award this past September. Jean Wang

SEC SCOOP

Wendy Qiu

Village classrooms are among the rooms impacted by new energy policies which aim to reduce energy costs.

District implements new energy program Lydia Zhang

Steps have been taken to ensure that no energy is wasted in heating or cooling. “We’re asking that when heating or cooling is in place, the doors and windows are kept To decrease heating and cooling costs and increase shut to help keep the temperatures stable,” Navarro said. energy efficiency, the Palo Alto Unified School District According to Cowell, the only thing that could become (PAUSD) has partnered with Energy Education to imple- a problem is heating in the portables, as they are not as ment an energy conservation program. The program’s well-insulated as the permanent classrooms, and thus will changes are expected to affect students and teachers alike. lose heat faster and require more heating. “That is going to Energy Education is a consultant group that has helped be in issue, as you end up having the heat on all the time,” more than 1,000 other school districts, many of which Cowell said. “It could get a little problematic.” are similar to PAUSD. “Energy Education are the ones Teachers in the portables have been noticing the who have the plans,” PAUSD’s Energy Specialist Rebecca changes. “I feel like I can cool and heat enough, though Navarro said. “They know our local climate and they have the classroom does take a while to heat and is really cold lots of ideas about where we should trim the fat.” PAUSD in the morning,” social studies teacher Ronin Habib said. has adopted a policy supporting the program proposed by Habib’s classroom is a portable in the Village. However, Energy Education, as well as a specific set of guidelines for some teachers have concerns about the program. “The electricity, natural gas and water use in schools. thing I’m most concerned about is I don’t know how accuThrough these changes, PAUSD rate or how quick-to-adjust the therhopes to avoid spending $600,000 in mostats are in here,” English teacher utility bills, which is a significant porMark Hernandez said. “It seems very One of the most tion of the $2.4 million energy budget. dangerous to have a firm policy on a important parts in Energy Education charges a fee for their small window of temperatures when the program is that consultation services; however, the fee you have system that can’t guarantee comes out of the first year’s savings. inclusion in that window.” there is no capital “The great thing about this is that if However, according to Navarro, improvement. PAUSD doesn’t make the projected savthough the portables are less energyRebecca Navarro efficient than the classrooms, the new ings, Energy Education doesn’t charge us and they cover my salary,” Navarro policy cannot do much about the poor said. “We’re not adding a position to the district. They’ll insulation or about the portables’ separate heating and cover it or the savings will cover it, so it’s really nice in cooling systems. “One of the most important parts in the that regard.” program is that there is no capital improvement,” Navarro As outlined by the district, Gunn’s heating, air-con- said. “So, I cannot recommend or advocate that anybody ditioning (AC) and ventilation systems are now being spend money to save money.” Instead, Navarro is working regulated. In cold temperatures, classrooms can only be with the district and Energy Education to make all school heated to a maximum of 69 degrees. In sweltering condi- building components as conservative as possible. As well tions, rooms can be cooled down to a maximum of 74 as reducing heating and cooling costs, Gunn is also finddegrees. “There wasn’t a district-wide baseline for heating ing new ways to cut electricity usage. “We direct all of our and cooling before this,” Navarro said. “It was mostly left staff to turn off their computers when they leave for the to individual taste, preference and discretion.” evening,” Cowell said. According to Assistant Principal Kim Cowell, the adAs Gunn is the second-biggest energy consumer after ministration has not received any recent complaints from Palo Alto High School (Paly), the school plays a large role teachers about the new classroom temperature regula- in this program’s success. “Gunn has to be good stewards tions. Though the temperatures are set to a specific range for the new AC system,” Navarro said. “At Paly, the AC systhe teachers still have some control over the heating and tem has been in operation for long enough that people have cooling in their rooms. “The heat is scheduled to come their good and bad AC habits already established, while on before school starts,” Cowell said. “If you are a teacher there’s a clean slate at Gunn to get everybody started with who arrives significantly earlier, then [you] can actually only good habits.” The policy guidelines also stipulate that override [it] and turn the heat on.” the entire district get on board with energy conservation. Features Editor

GUNN ENERGY STATISTICS Gunn Total Cost: $475,060.97

PAUSD total cost: $2,581,230.43

Upcoming Events: • • • • • •

Deadline for dropping a class (11/10) “You Can’t Take it with You” (11/10 11/12) Turkey Feast (11/17) Second warning notice (11/22) Thanksgiving holiday (11/23 11/25) Camp Everytown (11/30 12/3)

If you have any suggestions or questions, please contact us! Email: sec.gunn@gmail.com Facebook: “Updates from Gunn SEC”

*Percentages show how much of the total utility cost is being spent on specific utilities from June 2010 - June 2011


News

Monday November 7, 2011

3

Sources of Strength program helps extend ROCK Samantha Donat

Entertainment Editor

Gunn is expanding the student initiated peer-counseling program on campus, ROCK (Reach Out, Care, Know), with the implementation of Sources of Strength, a nationwide program created by professors and doctors from the University of Rochester and Stanford University. It not only encourages student peer support, as ROCK does, but goes a step further by promoting student-teacher relationships as well. Working closely alongside ROCK, Sources of Strength’s main goal is to supply the necessary tools to prevent suicide, violence and substance abuse. The program hopes to empower both peer leaders and caring adults to utilize their connections with students to “maximize health and protection in the real world,” as stated in the program’s mission statement. Assistant Principal Tom Jacoubowsky is appreciative of Stanford professor Shashank Joshi’s involvement. “Joshi is a parent in the community, and it’s really a home-grown effort,” he said. ROCK Advisor Paul Dunlap is certain that Sources of Strength will be extremely beneficial to Gunn’s culture. ROCK has already laid the groundwork for

strengthening peer relationships, but student-teacher counseling is not a resource typically used on campus. Dunlap hopes that Sources of Strength will eventually help students feel that there is an adult on campus whom they can trust and talk with about any sort of problems they may be having. Along with this goal, ROCK co-president junior Helen Carefoot also hopes that the program will encourage a generally lower st ress level a mong students, along with better stress management. Sources of Strength first initiated the relationship with Gunn. According to Dunlap, Sources of Strength felt that the program would be able to see quicker results at Gunn than they might at other schools. “Since we already had a foundation in peer counseling, [Sources of Strength had] fewer walls to break down,” Dunlap said. Sources of Strength takes an alternative approach to the idea of relieving teenage stress. Carefoot, who has participated in the training, believes that Sources of Strength will be a much-welcomed reprieve from the countless surveys

and lectures Gunn students have participated in. “In the other programs, we usually just sat around and talked about our feelings, which was usually slow, repetitive and boring,” she said. “But Sources of Strength is

Co ur t

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of w w w.source

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more dynamic, and has a higher-level of student learning and understanding. You’re not just listening to why certain things are bad for your mental health.” One of the core concepts behind Sources of Strength’s past success is its seemingly “backward” approach to peer help: as opposed to telling

tremely promising. “The Sources of Strength training brings to attention valuable resources and positive lifestyle choices,” O’Connell said. To raise awareness for the program, ROCK will be holding a series of events both on and off campus in the coming months, ranging from movie nights to camping trips. The events are chances for students to establish stronger connections with their peers. Once the events begin, Dunlap hopes that knowledge of Sources of Strength will spread across campus. “We’ve started with just a small group of students and staff, but we’re hoping to see rippling circles,” Dunlap said. “As the volunteers do training for others, the circle expands to include more students on campus.” O’Connell believes that Sources of Strength will be contagious. “The Sources of Strength will hopefully break down barriers over time and reach those who are most vulnerable,” he said. While at Gunn, the program will also be following a small group of students, tracking their progress via routine surveys and assessments. To get involved with Sources of Strength, come to V-7 at lunch on Fridays, or contact Dunlap or Carefoot.

Q&A with

New sound systems used in math classes

Registrar Tracy Douglas

Boot Bullwinkle

Entertainment Editor

With the improvements in entertainment quality, surround sound systems have become a luxury enjoyed by many people in their homes. Now this enhanced sound quality is being brought to classrooms around school. This is the first time that the speakers will be used within a high school setting in the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD). “There’s a lot of educational research and learning research to support the fact when the surround sound is activated, it increases [students’] attention and focus within class,” Principal Katya Villalobos said. The ambisonic quality makes sure that the student doesn’t miss out on a word that a teacher says. Also, according to Villalobos, the increased sound reduces distractions in the classroom. The speakers have only been placed in three math classrooms so far, as the administration is still testing the effectiveness of the speakers within a high school environment. “Many of the [elementary schools] and middle schools have started to use these sound equalization systems for the past three or four years,” Villalobos said. The teachers have reported that so far the speaker systems have been useful. “I know teachers like them, because they can talk in a softer voice if they wish,” math teacher Dave Deggeller said. “The students can understand clearly what the teacher is saying, and those in the back can hear just as well as the students in the front.” With such positive teacher feedback, Villalobos is encouraged by the outcome of the new sound systems. When she went to observe the effects first-hand, Villalobos was impressed. “You could hear the difference,” she said. “There was no delay, the kids were all paying attention, and the sound was all very crystal clear.” The sound systems coincide with the recent construction projects and the budget allotted for the developments. If they continue to get positive feedback, they will be installed in the future World Language building and Math/English building. The next step according to Villalobos is to collect student feedback on their opinions of the new speaker systems, and analyze all the different benefits and disadvantages. “I’m just waiting for what the students say,” Villalobos said. “I’ll be willing to try anything, as long as it makes learning better.”

rg t h.o

teenagers how to feel in certain situations, they encourage a more stress-free state of mind. To do so, the program highlights eight focal areas of teenage life: family support, positive friends, mentors, healthy activities, generosity, spirituality, medical access and mental health. By encouraging a solid foundation within each of these areas, Sources of Strength facilitates an overall better attitude among teenagers, which leads to increased stability during inevitable times of stress. In order to firmly implement the program within Gunn’s culture, a large group of student volunteers from ROCK have undergone training along with several Gunn staff members. The trainings, which will continue throughout the year, will teach the volunteers not only how to properly encourage mental stability, but also how to increase their connectivity with students on campus, and how they can pass along their knowledge to others. Science teacher Casey O’Connell is one of the staff members volunteering in the Sources of Strength program. O’Connell found the first student-staff training to be ex-

Tracy Douglas

TO: How did you end up working at Gunn? TD: I wanted to be on the same schedule as my kids when they were little, so I started as a teacher’s aide at Juana Briones and then I decided that I needed more hours. I was a math major in college, so when I found out they needed a Math-Science secretary at the high school, I interviewed with the head of the math department. So I started working at Gunn that way, and was Math-Science secretary for seven years. And this will be my seventh year as registrar.

The Oracle: What is a day in the life of a registrar like? TD: Right now, it is college packet season for the seniors, so I have organized my college packet process into five or six steps and at some point in the day I am always working on one of those steps. But there are also times of the day when I have other things I need to do that aren’t college related, like updating a transcript or changing a grade. I try to work things in so I’m not working on college packets 24/7. It all comes down to arithmetic. I have a goal of how many packets to process a day. It is very calming for me because once I’ve met that daily goal, I am free to do other things.

TO: How did you become registrar? Tracy Douglas: When my older daughter was a student here, I worked here as the Math-Science secretary. I would go talk to the registrar about college and she just became a friend. So when she was thinking of leaving she just started telling me about the job. I started thinking about it, and I had the qualifications, so when it came time I got it.

TO: What is the college packet season like? TD: It’s a crazy time. There are deadlines and our policy is that if you give us your packet materials by the deadline then we are committed to getting your materials mailed by your deadline. If you are late turning in your packet, then that guarantee goes away. The counselors and I do the best we can to meet your deadline, even if you’re late, but the guarantee goes away.

TO: What are your goals for this year? TD: I’m always trying to fine-tune the college packet process. There are always ways to make things more clear because it is so overwhelming. Whether we like it or not, more of the process is probably going to be online, and so as a group we’re going to have to figure out a way to change over. I don’t know when it’s going to happen, but the process will have to accommodate the technology that’s coming.

TO: What is your favorite part about your job? TD: I like organizing and I like seeing how to structure my work so that it’s as smooth and efficient as possible. It’s fun to be able to take something that is just really a massive amount of paper and organize it into a process that f lows. I like databases, too, so I don’t mind poking around our new database. And because of my past life as a technical writer, I like writing instructions to make things easy for people to follow. TO: What is the role of the registrar? TD: In August and September, it sta r ts w it h updat i ng t ra nscripts with grade changes, credit changes, entering of classes that kids took over the summer and entering of transcript data for kids who have just transferred to Gunn from another high school. Most of the things I do have something to do with transcripts. As the year progresses, there are always parts of the transcript that need to be tweaked, added, removed, or changed. The transcript is the document that you take with you when you leave high school and the one thing down the road that employers and colleges are going to ask for. It is validation of everything you have ever done in high school, so it has to be right. It is always about the transcript for me, mailing it, fixing it, just making it look perfect. —Compiled by Megan Cliff


4

News

THEORACLE

Police ticket bikers

Students reach Siemens contest semifinals, finals

n BIKERS from pg. 1

Junior Kakeru Imanaka was ticketed by the police earlier this year when he was ticketed for not wearing a helmet. “I guess it’s reasonable on some level for police to be waiting in certain areas for bikers because there aren’t as many crimes in Palo Alto,” he said. “But I think they should focus on patrolling the streets and looking for bad drivers for the safety of both drivers and pedestrians rather than sitting in one place waiting for student bikers to do something wrong.” However, Imanaka admits that he is more careful when biking around Palo Alto and always caps his head with a helmet before leaving home. Lee recommends students ride defensively and always follow the rules of the road. “It hurts when you get hit by a car,” he said in an e-mail. “Even if you are in ‘the right,’ you will always lose against a two-ton car. Ride with the flow of traffic; not against it because if the cyclist does get hit, it’s generally the cyclist’s fault for the collision,” Lee also reminds students that cyclists do not have special privileges on the road and that student bikers should take responsibility for their own actions and do the right thing, all the time, even when nobody else is watching them. Klein agrees with these regulations, recalling the story of a previous student. “He had a simple fall, not some big crash, but he wasn’t wearing a helmet at the time and was forever changed after that accident,” Klein said. “I can only say that if he had been wearing his helmet, his life would have been much different.”

Haiti. Due to last year’s earthquake, many people lost their homes and were forced to live in tents. We implemented our ideas through our own research, and in the later stages of our project our parents helped guide us, especially in editing the paper we submitted. With whom did you work? I worked with Johnny Ho (Lynbrook High) on the project. How long did you work on it? In total, we’ve put in about 300 hours of work.

Sophomore Charles Liu Finalist What was your project? We worked on a computer science project, specifically in the field of image processing. We developed a new object detection algorithm and applied it to finding tents from satellite images of

Junior Helen Jiang Finalist What was your project? We used data analysis to find premature infants who are at greatest risk for severe

tate cancer patients undergoing drug treatments. This new program reduced enumeration time by three-fourths and eliminated 97 percent of the false positives. With the successful detection of CTCs, doctors can monitor cancer patient treatment status to create personalized treatments. Where did you work? I worked at University of California, Los Angeles under Associate Professor Hsian-Rong Tseng of the Pharmacology Department. How long did you work on it? I worked my entire summer, often working ten hour days and on the weekends as well.

Senior Jean Wang Semifinalist

What was your project? My project was on circulating tumor cells (CTCs), cancer cells that have broken off from a primary tumor. CTCs are often considered the origins of metastases. I developed a new automated process of enumerating CTCs from patient blood samples and then applied my novel algorithm to enumerate CTCs from pros-

Senior Rachel Weissman-Tsukamoto Semifinalist What was your project? My project was identifying a cell surface protein, calreticulin (CRT), as an “Eat me” signal on cancer cells, which proved the efficacy of a cancer therapy our lab developed by blocking a negative phagocytic stimulus CD47 on cancer cells. In identifying CRT as a pro phagocytic signal in a cancer setting, I started to look at its applications in im-

What was your project? Our project is “Athletic training does not impact the electrical system of high school athletes’ hearts.” Many high school athletes die due to unknown causes each year on the field while playing sports. I screened 95 Gunn athletes earlier this year.

Junior Nikhil Kumar & Sophomore Divya Saini Semifinalists

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 Managing Editors Monica Cai Divya Shai

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

Photo Michael Wu Jonathan Yong Kyle Zhu

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

Senior volunteers at horse ranch therapy program

THEORACLE

Students and teachers offer solutions to global problems

Adviser Kristy Blackburn

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. The Oracle publishes 9 issues annually. Subscriptions are $45/year.

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

PA I D

Permit #44 Palo Alto, Calif.

Henry M. Gunn High School

www.issuu.com/gunnoracle

Monday, October 3, 2011 Volume 48, Issue 2

780 Arastradero Road, Palo Alto, CA 94306

PAUSD provides Google accounts for all students Starting this year, Gunn is providing all students and administration with Google accounts, which includes access to popular applications such as Google Docs and Sites. “We’re partnering with Google so that within Google, the students of Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) have their own domain, and every student has an account,” Technology Coordinator Lettie Weinmann said. “I expect it’s going to be fairly revolutionary.” PAUSD has started using Google Apps for Education, a hosted service that allows schools to use a variety of popular Google tools, similar to those found on Google accounts. “In terms of functionality, it’s not that different from your typical Google account,” Weinmann said. However, while Google administers the Google accounts, Apps accounts are administered by PAUSD and includes a unique domain specifically for PAUSD students. This means that PAUSD controls the applications that these accounts can access. Currently, the PAUSD accounts have access to Google Docs, Google Sites, and Google Calendar. There are also plans to include access to Google Mail (Gmail), but legal issues, especially regarding student privacy, have yet to be resolved. When rolled out, the PAUSD Gmail accounts for students will be accessible by the district, allowing them to read emails and track messages. “They don’t want to and they don’t plan to,” Weinmann said. “But they can access your account if they need to.”

The new Google Apps accounts will provide students with benefits that a regular Google account doesn’t. For example, the accounts will have greater storage space, for both the Docs and Sites than a typical account. In addition, within Google Docs and Sites, there are options to allow sharing with only other students within the PAUSD domain. “For my AP class, it allows us to have a secure website that only [students] have access to,” history teacher Faith Hilal. “It allows me to put a lot more [copyrighted] material on the website than if it was open to the general public.” The accounts also have access to a directory of all the students in PAUSD, allowing users to find the email of any student, elementary through high school they need to contact. Students can now work on group projects through Google Docs. “It allows for greater cooperative work outside the classroom,” Hilal said. As students begin to use these services, more advantages are expected to arise. “Students will have different ideas on how to use the new Google tools, and we’ll learn from each other,” Technology Support Specialist Darlene Feldstein said. The new Google Apps for Education service is meant to replace Blackboard Learn (InClass), which will slowly be phased out as teachers transfer their class information from InClass to Google Sites. For the administration and teachers, the change made sense in both cost and functionality. In fact, the change to Google Apps came originally from the staff, who had started using their own Google accounts to create sites for their students. At a staff development meeting

last year, math teacher Rajeev Virmani, social studies teacher Roni Habib and French teacher Marcel Losier presented their innovative use of their Google accounts. “We thought what they were doing was very simple and efficient,” Computer Support Specialist Bret Demetris said. “It was really a push from the teachers for a more simple, streamlined process.” With the district also considering students’ need for file storage, Google Apps for Education provided a perfect solution. Unlike Blackboard Learn, which is a paid subscription service, Google Apps for Education is free for all educational institutions. Furthermore, by partnering with Google, PAUSD will have access to all of its cutting edge innovations. “Whenever Google comes out with something new for Google Apps for Education, it will be accessible,” Feldstein said. Moreover, unlike InClass, which requires teachers to upload all their documents each new class year, Google Sites keep the materials from year to year. “InClass is not my favorite,” Hilal said. “With this, there’s a lot more flexibility and permanence. It’s

more of updating and upgrading rather than starting from scratch.” Furthermore, teachers can customize their Google sites to fit their own needs. “It’s more personal that InClass.” Weinmann said. In addition to using the Google accounts to craft personlized sites, teachers have also found other innovative uses of the Google accounts. For Hilal’s World History class, students submitted GOOGLE—p.4

Lisa Wu

Senior College Packet Reminders If application due date is:

Packet due before:

Nov. 16-Dec. 31 Jan. 1-14 Jan.15-31 Feb. 1-March 1 March 2 or later

October 21 November 4 November 18 January 6 February 3

Gunn Figures

Graphics Artists George Hwang Alvina Yau

PG. 11 FEATURES

PG. 23 ENTERTAINMENT

PG. 12-13 CENTERFOLD

Jean Wang

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

Photographer duo donates profits to charity

New acrobatic trends go viral and defy limits

PG. 18 SPORTS

News  Editor

Staff Reporters Cooper Aspegren, Megan Cliff, Misheel E n k h b a t , Wa y l a n d Fong, Sam Hayward, Ellen Lee, Erica Lee, Song Park, Wendy Park

munology—where I started, and am still continuing a neutrophil study. For whom did you work? I started out in Ravi Majeti’s lab at Stanford in the cancer biology department working for graduate student Mark Chao. I worked alone and later switched to my dad, Irv Weissman’s, lab and worked for a new postdoctorate candidate. How long did you work on it? I’ve been working on my CRT project for 16 months. Then I did a chemo study for seven months. My Neutrophil research has been going on for three months so far. ­

The study is still work in progress. For whom did you work? We worked with Dr. Victor Froelicher, Professor of Medicine at Stanford University in the Cardiovascular department. How long did you work on it? We have been working since January.

INBOX

780 Arastradero Rd Palo Alto, CA 94306 (650) 354-8238 www.issuu.com/thegunnoracle

Editor-in-Chief Ashley Ngu

necrotizing enterocolitis, a common life-threatening disease for newborns. For whom did you work? My partner, Jeffery Ling, and I worked for Dr. Karl Sylvester at Stanford University. How long did you work on it? I’ve been working since January 2011.

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Gunn unconcerned about drop in API Amrita Moitra News  Editor

On Sept. 22, the California Department of Education released the Academic Performance Index (API) report for the 2010-2011 school year. Gunn scored 909 points, nine points less than the previous year. Despite the drop, Gunn still ranks in the top 10th percentile of California high schools. API scores, implemented in California after the state legislature passed

The approximate number of copies made every day on campus

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the Public Schools Accountability Act in 1991, are a measure of academic performance based on standardized testing. High school API scores are calculated from results on the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program and the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE). Depending on school rank and score, some districts are given monetary incentives to exceed the Annual Percent Growth Target set each year. The Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD)

The number of teachers with Google Sites

schools, however, are not eligible for these rewards. “At the high level that Palo Alto schools are currently at, a slight drop in scores would not affect us,” PAUSD Superintendent Kevin Skelly said. The Palo Alto community is greatly affected by school performance. “We’re fortunate to live in a community that values education,” Principal Katya Villalobos said. “Because [API scores] are public, people are very aware of

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API—p.4

The estimated number of clubs registered at Gunn this semester

October 3, 2011 I think that getting everyone Gmail accounts is a great idea because Gmail is so accessible and has been demonstrated to be ideal for grades and websites. Overall, I liked the way the article was written, and it was very relevant to campus life.

­—Aron Sarmasi (10)

Letters and Comments may be edited to meet space requirements and the writer is solely responsible for the accuracy of the content. Letters to the Editor and Comments and ideas for coverage may be sent to gunnoracle@yahoo.com or posted on our Facebook page. These letters need not be from current student.

Even though it was relevant to the students, I did not find the main article very interesting. Actually, the first page was all kind of boring.

­—Eeway Hsu (12)

I liked how [Features] was about an obscure part of Gunn culture, with the opera singers, and I liked learning about the cake.

­—Liana Vitousek (11)

I thought [The Oracle] was interesting and the students could relate to the articles. I liked the planking article. It was funny and the topic was a good idea.

­—Anonymous (9)

The Oracle is like a tiger because it makes my body tingle.

­—Samuel Xiao (11)


News

Monday November 7, 2011

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THEORACLE

EDITORIAL: The Opinion of The Oracle

PAUSD should implement measures to prevent future budget shortfall The weak financial situation from 2008 onwards led to some of the worst circumstances for basic aid districts, specifically Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD). Funding from local property taxes and the parcel tax declined as a result of the economic downturn and brought a deficit. The district has been using money from the undesignated reserve to fill this, but will deplete this reserve by 2014. Because of this, the district should ratify precautionary measures to ensure future years have access to a sufficient budget that covers basic costs. In addition, efforts should be made to recreate a similar isolated budget surplus to serve as a last stand. At the end of the 2010 school year, the district board approved a three–part resolution to deal with the budget situation. Firstly, they passed a hike on the parcel tax from $493 to $589 per household, with 2 percent annual markups. Next, they made $3.8 million in budget cuts for the 2010-2011 school year. Finally, they approved the use of undesignated reserves to supplement the district for upcoming years. Similar installments must be made and updated to prevent a

drastic economic outcome when it comes to creating the budget for 2014. Although the district acknowledges this, the plan of action is currently undecided. According to PAUSD chief business officer Cathy Mak, the school board chose not to take action because many things may change over the course of the next three years. In addition, the board does not want to approve drastic blind cuts that simply aren’t worth the money saved. While this may be true, PAUSD should nevertheless adopt more conservative fiscal policies—that take effect without delay— to counteract the current situation. Their deluded and misguided conjecture that property tax revenues will bounce back up in two years just feeds false hope into themselves and the community, and has no actual basis to be deemed fact. Saving money, whether it relieves the deficit, rebuilds the surplus or alleviation of the parcel tax, undoubtedly has a positive effect.

The budget surplus is meant to be an emergency fund for situations that leave the district monetarily pinched; the fact that PAUSD needs to take and use this money tells the The Oracle staff, as well as the community, that the district is in fact in an

emergency–worthy position. This either gives a misleading impression or points to the right direction: that PAUSD needs to be more responsible with their spending. To solve this issue, the district needs to employ a tighter hold

George Hwang

on the current budget. One way of doing this is carefully going through the programs PAUSD currently supports with funding, and picking and choosing which programs should be kept and which need to be let go. It is hard to argue for keeping every program that the district has enacted over the years. Since PAUSD has no direct authority over the parcel tax, it’s a unrealistic to propose another hike on the already excessive toll. Even if the economy does rebound before a true f iscal crisis slams the district and the community, the extra money would provide for another emergency fund for future years. The much –needed money would ensure fiscal security, and possibly bring back programs that were scrapped or deplenished from a financial standpoint. To simplify the issue, PAUSD needs to address this matter at the next district board meeting; by deciding what expenditures and programs can be cut, where funding can come from, and how to plain save money. —Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of the staff (assenting: 29; dissenting: 7)

President Obama’s high school education policies are flawed nOBAMA from pg. 1

lower their standards. In too many classrooms, it encourages teachers to narrow the curriculum. It relies too much on bubble tests in a couple of subjects. It mislabels schools, even when they are showing progress on important measures.” Despite obvious flaws, Obama continues to push NCLB, insisting that with a few policy changes, the problems can be solved. The few changes to the original act were directed towards reforming math and English departments. While this is reasonable, reforming these two creates a lopsided curriculum—history and science are dwarfed, and the value of two core subjects in American education is greatly decreased. Another major problem with NCLB is that it encourages teaching to the test rather than the materia l. NCLB rests on t he notion that if teachers’ students don’t meet specific standards on a test, funding for that school

gets cut. Often times the teacher deemed responsible for the unsatisfactory scores can be laid off. To save his or her job, a teacher is more likely to teach what’s on the test rather than teaching what is applicable material. Career, social, verbal and a number of other essential life skills simply

“Since the continuation of NCLB in 2008 under the Obama administration, 300,000 teachers have lost their jobs.” don’t show up on a Scantron, and Scantron-based tests are NCLB’s only means of teacher evaluation. Furthermore, studies by famed economist Steven Levitt show that teachers have been driven to cheating in order to meet standards. The choice of cheating becomes very appealing to strug-

gling teachers when the alternative is potentially the loss of their job. Yet another glaring problem that NCLB attracts is good teachers potentially losing their jobs. Since t he cont inuat ion of NCL B i n 2 0 0 8 u nder t he Obama administration, 300,000 teachers have lost their jobs. A com mon m isg u ided rebut ta l would claim that the 300,000 teachers were inadequate. However, tests just don’t evaluate everything. With no room to deviate from the curriculum and standardized tests, ingenuity and creativity in teaching are stif led as the NCLB makes no distinction between the lazy teacher who is unable to teach a nd t he br i l l ia nt m i nd who teaches in his or her own way. Obama’s educational platform follows the same, f lawed policies as did the much-lauded former President G eorge Bu sh. T he NCLB Act encourages teachers to lower their standards and teach what’s on a test rather than what

George Hwang

students really need to know, offers the tempting decision of academic dishonesty to avoid being laid off, smothers out-ofthe-box teaching styles, and has resulted in 300,000 potentially capable teachers losing t heir jobs since Obama took office. Currently, most Gunn students, and most Californians all congregate under the same

candidate, as they have for nearly 24 years. In the upcoming election, newly registered voters and other California citizens should reject Obama and h is f lawed educat iona l pol icies. Now there’s some change that we could really believe in. —Atlas, a sophomore, is an Assistant Business Manager.

George Hwang

George Hwang


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THEORACLE

Career aptitude tests not worth the time

Zoe Weisner Once every year, students from ninth to 11th grade are expected to take a grade level standardized test. Freshmen and sophomores receive a list of possible career options from their test results, while juniors take a practice SAT test that determines their estimated SAT score and whether or not they qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program. Although these tests have some substantial reasons for why they should be administered, they are not an absolute necessity. According to ACT Inc., the administrators of the EXPLORE and PLAN tests, freshmen and sophomores receive an analyzed overview of their academic progress and professions they may be interested in based on their results. However, between August and October, most students don’t make significant academic progress simply because they’ve only been in school for roughly three months. Due to this, Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) test results accurately measure student progress in school while the EXPLORE and PLAN tests are, in effect, only evaluating

three months of student learning. From second to 11th grade, students take the STAR exam, which assesses the strengths and weaknesses of every student. The EXPLORE, PLAN and Preliminary SAT (PSAT) tests essentially give the same reports as the STAR test, and it is pointless to take these tests because career suggestions are not as important as a full day of learning at school is. On the other hand, the PSAT is necessary as a practice SAT test. The PSAT simulates what it would be like to take the actual SAT test for juniors, and is a beneficial test for those who cannot afford

expensive SAT preparation courses. The PSAT even helps those in need of financial aid because they are partnered with the National Merit Scholarship Program and offer every junior taking the PSAT a chance to win a scholarship. However, juniors spend six valuable hours of instruction on an exam. An entire day of instruction is squandered simply for the purpose of the PSAT, a test that merely takes four hours to complete. Rather than using the last two hours of the day for scholastic purposes, the school district has chosen to allow juniors to have a truncated day. Students that do wish to take the PSAT should instead do so on the Saturday on which it is offered, much like the SAT that it is intended to emulate. Standardized testing is never enjoyable for anybody. According to a study found in the Educational Researcher, teachers experience negative emotions during standardized testing and some students exhibit stress reactions during test taking. Time and money are being spent to prepare these tests for students, and in the long run they most likely won’t be the deciding factor in people’s futures. Standardized testing should be a tool for students to look at what they need to improve, not give career suggestions and contribute more anxiety to a student’s life.

George Hwang

—Weisner, a junior, is a News Editor.

Teachers’ ‘friending’ blurs formality lines Elsa Chu As Facebook becomes increasingly popular, teachers have started “friending” their students. While this seems like a harmless step into a modern technological world, it only blurs the authoritative, personal and sometimes even physical boundaries between teacher and student. Teachers should not assume the position of being a student’s “friend” for this behavior leads to a lack of authority and respect, and it can even lead to favoritism. For that same reason, teachers are forbidden from privately tutoring students in their class for money, and many social laws simply dictate that teachers should stay away from overly personal interactions with students. Problems have popped up all over the United States with sexual predators taking advantage of students through Facebook, which students use for frequent peer socializing, thus giving a false

sense of security against problems previously associated with MySpace, such as sexual predation and harassment. Though this is a rare and extreme case, the root problem is still applicable to this campus. Preventing teacher from “friending” current students allows them to remain figures of authority in the classroom, as sharing particular personal details with select students encour-

on Facebook, therefore when teachers start popping up on their news feeds and become sources of defamation, students begin to treat teachers differently. Their view of what should be an unquestionable authority figure slowly unravels to that of a peer. With the busy lives teachers lead, they shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not information they post on their profiles is student-appropriate.

adapt to fit the trends of a technology-savvy generation. There are exceptions to this cyber-interaction that are acceptable; when students leave for school trips and their teachers need to get information to them, cell phones are the most useful way to get hold of students. In addition, if a student is a teaching assistant, then communicating through text is an ideal way of being concise. However, one should notice these situations occur only when the the relationship isn’t strictly teacher-student; students are instead under direct long-term supervision of the teacher. One could say that the same is true for email, and that teachers and students should refrain from any type of online interaction. However, email is pre-established as a tool for means of business and its professionalism demands a level of formality that Facebook lacks. As a solution, teachers should simply avoid Facebook interactions until their students graduate. Keeping a strict George Hwang rein on the uncertainties of cyber-interactions Students may abuse the ability will allow for teachers to to go though their teacher’s remain teachers and stuprivate pictures and contacts, dents to remain students. intruding on their privacy.

ages subconscious preferential treatment. This translates to slight, subtle changes in the classroom environment, as the barrier of respect is broken down. Students gossip based on information they see

Communicating through texting has also become more common as teachers try to

—Chu, a senior, is a Centerfold Editor.

Don’t abuse pop polls

Boot Bullwinkle While pop polls can come across as entertaining and rewarding, the award is actually detrimental to the supportive environment that Gunn tries to build. Each year, as September comes around, seniors are all in a flutter about the Olympian’s pop polls. But what’s the benefit to this excitement? Gunn fosters a community that is inclusive and respectful of all races, genders and social classes. It certainly does not promote social hierarchy and inequality within the school atmosphere. However, the Olympian’s publishing of pop polls goes against this philosophy, as it elevates an individual to a higher level, leaving others sometimes feeling inferior. As adolescents, we are in a constant battle to achieve and maintain popularity. Being appreciated is a quality that only a few achieve, but with this constant struggle comes social cruelty. Pop polls are a form of exclusion that push the winners to the top of popularity charts and the runners-up to the bottom of the barrel. The yearbook should spark happiness for students, not fuel the flame of popularity. While winners may be deserving of this recognition, Gunn is home to almost 2,000 creative minds and individuals. Every person is deserving of a profile, but sometimes it takes a deeper level of understanding to find the story. Instead of simply looking at the outside cover of an individual, why not use the extra space in the yearbook to share a person’s story? Sure, everyone knows that she is the most attractive girl in the school, but there’s an inner beauty within everyone that is far more enlightening and entertaining to the student body. Then there are the offensive pop polls—the pop polls that no one wants to win as they highlight an individual’s less desirable qualities. The yearbook is supposed to be a compilation of the best times of the year, not a creator of social pariahs for the school’s amusement. The pop poll can be rejected, but the damage is already done. The school knows who won the “award,” and so does the “winner.” Because of previous years’ success, the yearbook seems to have been caught up in the commotion without realizing the repercussions. There is no blame in the situation, only a problem—a problem that can be fixed next year if the use of pop polls is properly examined with regards to their necessity to the yearbook. I do see the fun side of pop polls and how they’re entertaining to the student body. The joy of seeing a friend with their picture at the end of the year is a priceless memory for the reader, and it’s a great way to remember someone years in the future. However, it’s naïve to think that a superficial form of entertainment is more important than the internal feelings of an exploited or dejected individual. Hopefully the Olympian will be more aware of people’s emotions when designing pop polls in years to come. Especially at Gunn, where equality and acceptance are fostered throughout all genders, ethnicities, social classes and personalities, there is no reason for a publication to work against those efforts for the amusement and entertainment of the student body. There are much better uses for the space in the yearbook that can be just as exciting, and plenty more beneficial. —Bullwinkle, a junior, is an Entertainment Editor.


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THEORACLE

Romance ruined in tech era

Annie Tran As a youth stuck in American suburbia, I often find my eyes glued to a digital screen for the majority of the day: cell phones, iPods, televisions, computers, you name it. Technology has revolutionized and integrated itself into almost every aspect of modern human life. Along with this new integration, a whole shebang of new social norms has come into existence, and when it comes to dating customs, it seems as if the whole rule book has been morphed into some kind of unwritten code that everyone obeys. “Don’t text her back right away, it’s desperate.” “Winky face means he’s flirting with me, right?” The list can go on and on. The billions of intimate exchanges sent by nimble fingers and blinking screens, catapulting from satellites in space to tiny servers at home, got me thinking—are we really in tune with each other? By no means am I old-fashioned, but I don’t mind seeing a bit of old-school romance revived in this modern era. A love story used to start out with boy meets girl, boy calls girl, boy and girl go on date. Instead of aww-ing and sighing over romantic personal encounters, I find myself scoffing at the ridiculous new process of boy meets girl, boy texts girl, boy and girl IM constantly, boy and girl announce relationship on Facebook. What happened to the build up of anxiety and anticipation? These days, it seems that boys and girls are opting for the occasional bland Skype session or a secession of flirty texts that seem to go in endless circles rather than say… an actual date? Not only this, but there seems to be some kind of misconception among our generation that love can be found on the interwebs. I suppose through the evolved connections of choking wires, satellite beams and colorful pixels, you can portray confidence, suaveness or wittiness in any way you like, versus in real life where sometimes one can barely muster a word without blushing beet red in deep embarrassment when talking to a potential significant other. The digital age has produced a new courting process where boys and girls alike can hide behind a cloak of digital text with a combination of abbreviated words that one can barely understand. Grammar is sexy. Using actual spelled-out words is attractive. A generation obsessed with speed has somehow managed to degenerate the English language into a pile of incoherent abbreviations, all in the name of saving the trouble of a few more keystrokes. I am no grammar Nazi, but does one really need to shorten the ultimate vow of love to ILY? I don’t believe that the Y-Generation has lost romance, but we are certainly neglecting it. Whatever happened to perfume-scented letters sent through snail mail, or asking girls for a date in person rather than through a screen name? I suppose in a certain sense, we can be grateful to the digital age for helping these antiquated methods for love gain new importance, but I believe many of us fail to see how much more personal a hand-written letter can be. Yeah, his handwriting may not be legible sometimes and may require a little bit of deciphering. But that uncalculated risk says more to me than any perfectly written email ever could. —Tran, a senior, is a Business Manager.

SparkNotes useful tool for students Study guide and flashcard features make site a helpful resource

Emily Yao Picture this common scenario: it is already past midnight, yet a student still has a large pile of homework to complete. With little time left to sleep, it is no surprise that the student will attempt to find the easiest and fastest way to finish his or her homework. Students often turn to SparkNotes for condensed and easy-to-understand summaries, particularly for English reading assignments. While most teachers criticize this sort of behavior, SparkNotes does has many benefits that teachers overlook. In fact, SparkNotes is a useful tool for students, as long as they use it wisely as a supplement. Even though most students go straight to the literature section of SparkNotes, other parts of the website are just as helpful. A few sections people should specifically look into are the college and test prep tabs. Not only do these sections

offer information about college Additionally, while textlife and admissions, but they books may use 16 pages to also provide test preparation explain a concept, SparkNotes for the SAT, SAT subject tests, pinpoints the main informaAmerican College Testing and tion a student needs to know Advanced Placement tests for and condenses it into a halffree. page summary. This allows For example, the SAT sub- students to understand a difject test prep section includes ficult topic without spending a review on all topics found hours poring over a textbook. on t he te st The sumand also a few maries that practice tests. SparkNotes W h i l e s o m e “While textbooks provides s t ud ent s a re may use 16 pages to should not be spending hunseen as poor dreds of dollars explain a concept, resources on te st prep SparkNotes pinbecause they classes, others help students points the main inare getting the fully undersame amount formation a student stand a subof prep with- need to know and ject without out paying any bei ng concondenses it into a money. fused by extra I n a d d i - half-page summary.” details. tion, although Because Spark Notes everyone has is notorious for simplifying a different way of studying, lengthy text into condensed SparkNotes presents a variety summaries, the website is actu- of resources. It offers many ally beneficial for subjects like overlooked study tools, such as math and science. For example, flashcards, quizzes and Sparkin the physics section, each Charts that can be useful for topic is broken down into main subjects taught at school. points: the introduction, an SparkNotes’ study tool overview of the topic, the terms SparkCharts compiles inforthe student needs to know and mation into a convenient folder a summary and analysis. for studying anywhere. One

can view these charts online or buy them and have a hardcopy wherever they go. Having flashcards, practice tests and SparkCharts allow students to fully prepare for upcoming tests at school. Other resources, such as flashcards are useful for U.S. history when one has to memorize important acts, organizations, people and dates. Instead of wasting time making flashcards, one can get them on SparkNotes for free, and the cards are even organized based on time period, allowing students to easily find the section they need to study. In addition, if one is stressing over an upcoming test, the student can do the practice quizzes online to prepare. For instance, under the biology section, each topic has its own review test. Even though students are constantly told not to go to SparkNotes for help, the site actually provides resources that many overlook. Students must be given a chance to explore SparkNotes, as it is full of treasures that are waiting to be discovered. —Yao, a junior, is a Sports Editor.

George Hwang

Westboro Baptist Church: legalized hate Zoe Weisner

The Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) struck again when they announced they would protest Steve Job’s funeral, as they claim that Steve Jobs died because he “gave God no glory.” Since 1998, the WBC, headed by Fred Phelps, has been making similar protests aimed at memorial services and gay marriage, continually fostering outrage across the country. However, while outrageous from an ethical standpoint, the WBC’s actions are legally sound. As the philosopher Voltaire said, “I may not agree with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it.” Voltaire believed that even malignant actions, like those of the WBC, must be legal to prevent the obstruction of the First amendment. Because the WBC is expressing a belief that is part of their religion, their protests fall under the First Amendment of the Constitution that states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Though the WBC has emotionally hurt many people with their actions,

their form of speech is legal as the WBC has always followed the law on what they can and cannot do. In one of their most infamous pr o t e s t s , t he W B C picketed

the speech. The WBC’s speech is what damaged Albert Snyder the most, not the protesting. The WBC believes practicing religions such as Judaism, Hinduism and Catholicism that are equivalent to Satanism, which fuels their protests. They have gained most of their notoriety for protesting homosexuality, which they interpreted from the Bible as a disease that is the source of all the problems in the world. Despite the fact that these beliefs are not popular in the United States and most of the world, this doesn’t deter the WBC. Each time protestors of the WBC appear during anti-gay pickets, the WBC continues their actions without hesitation, regret, but most importantly, without any breach of the law. However malignant the organization may seem, the behavior of the WBC is protected by the law. Imposing a legal ban on actions akin to WBC picketing would pave the way for censorship and oppression of the inalienable right of mankind. However awful protests may seem, legal action is not the answer. No such legislation would ever be passed.

a funeral for Matthew Snyder, a marine killed during combat in Iraq. Snyder’s father, A l b e r t Snyd e r, was deeply shaken by the WBC’s picketing and prompt ly f i led a lawsu it against them. However, according to Chief Justice John G. Roberts, the WBC won the case because their protests occurred on public property and only with full consent from local officials. There was a lso lit t le or no evidence of the WBC harassing or terrorizing the George Hwang people at the funeral. The case ultimately came down to the nature of

—Weisner, a junior, is a News Editor.


Features

Monday November 7, 2011

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Wendy Qiu

Top: A plate of figs and Gateâu Basque that Chef Gerald Hirigoyen served as dessert for Tasting Week. The Gateâu Basque is a cookie-like dessert filled with almond cream.

Chef cooks up French cuisine for language students n TASTING from pg. 1

in the street so the community can appreciate the joys of home cooking. Different regions celebrate the taste of fresh local produce with markets and festivals. “Rebecca Scholl lived in France when she was younger and experienced La Semaine Du Goût so she asked if we could do it,” French teacher Anne Jensen said. “Through connections she was able to bring chefs in elementary, middle and high school. Tasting Week makes people really think about what they eat and their health. It gives an opportunity for schools to talk about good food.” Gerald Hirigoyen, a chef at the Piperade resturant in San Francisco, taught the French Civilization and Culture class how to prepare piperade, a Basque dish with onions, red peppers and olive oil. “Each region of France has their own unique taste.” Jensen said. “Basque food is influenced by Spanish spices.” After giving students samples of the piperade dish, Hirigoyen served plates of Gateâu Basque and figs for dessert. “I

want to educate people about food, to get young people to learn about traditions and become adventurous,” Hirigoyen said. “To me, food is very pleasurable. If you miss the taste your missing something in life.” When Hirigoyen finished his lessons, some students were left with a new perspective on food. “The food was really amazing,” junior Hannah Ribbe said. “I tried things I wouldn’t try in my life. I had anchovies for the first time, and it was really good.” Jensen also appreciated Hirigoyen’s visit. “Having a French chef is good practice for my students, it lets them explore French cooking,” Jensen said. “It encourages students to look into fine dining.” Although, as of now, Tasting Week is exclusively in Palo Alto, everyone across the country will be able to enjoy Tasting Week in the near future. “Alice Waters, an American chef, is trying to bring Tasting Week to America,” Jensen said. “Americans need to learn how to eat good food.”

Courtesy of Rebecca Scholl-Barbier

Middle: French chef Gerald Hirigoyen explains to French students about the types of foods they will sample. Bottom: A pile of tomatoes that he used to prepare the Pipérade.

Q&A

Artist of the Month: Senior Chipper Stotz

Chipper Stotz The Oracle:What do you enjoy most about photography? Chipper Stotz: I like how you can make a live image into a still image. There was a SAT essay prompt a while ago that asked “is a picture a realistic view of the moment you see?” To me, you can make a photograph anything you want to make it seem. You can take any setting and transform it into your idea. TO: What piece of art are you most proud of? CS: I am most proud of the work I am currently doing in my photography class. As part of the AP Studio Art portfolio you are required to take 10 pictures that focus on a central theme. For my concentration, I chose to photograph people as birds. For my AP Portfolio, my idea is to use people as birds and so far I’ve got different birds that include the raven, a tucan, a dove, a peacock, a flamingo and a vulture.

TO: What is your favorite part about the whole process? CS: The final product. It’s definitely a lot of work especially in the dark room if you do film, but once it comes out the way you want it to, it’s a big relief. For my portfolio, it definitely takes all day. It takes time to get the lighting correct and to get the composition you want. And then, if I’m shooting film and anything that requires the darkroom process, it takes a lot longer. This is because you need to shoot it during the day and get the lighting right, and you also have to take it into class and figure out all the chemicals. TO: What type of work have you done in the past? CS: I have completed various projects using different mediums, which include digital, 35 mm film, solar plates, medium format, Photoshop, Lightroom and the Intagalio printing process. For solar plates, basically, I just created a picture of a tractor that I saw when I was went to Idaho on a family vacation last summer. The Intagalio printing process goes along with the solar plates. You take the solar plates and you put ink on it, and then you have to rub the ink off with different cloths and cottons. Then you take that and put it on a piece of paper and roll it through the press.

TO: What is your favorite type of photography ? CS: I like portraits, but not necessarily self-portraits because it is really hard to critique in front of your class. I like close-ups and I don’t really do landscapes. TO: Are you considering art as a career option for the future? Courtesy of Chipper Stotz CS: Although I do Photo from Chipper Stotz’s bird-themed photo portfolio of alumnot aspire to be a nus Luke Mendoza, as a vulture, preying on alumna Neulyn Moss. professional photographer in the future, I plan on continu- TO: What was your motivation behind ing art in college. I’m planning on major- your AP Art Studio project’s concentraing in communications/public relations. tion? My experience in AP Photo will help me CS: I was motivated to start my concentraprogress in this field, and advertise the tion after seeing the work former Gunn products that I get hired for. In communi- student Henry Liu completed for his AP cations/public relations it’s all about know- Studio Art portfolio. Henry Liu’s coning how to connect with your audience centration last year were birds. Howwith words and other forms of expressions ever it wasn’t just people as birds or such as still-life images. Over the years, portraits; it was the actual animal. I I’ve kind of grown to experience more took the actual physical bird and used techniques and learned to work with those it to make portraits of people because I basic principles to have photography stand don’t like taking pictures of landscapes. out to an audience. —Compiled by Wayland Fong


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Photos by Wendy Qiu and Kyle Zhu

1. Junior class members stuff the Transformer, a key element to the success of the junior float, in preparation for the float competition. 2. Sophomores Mark Ling and Joseph Nicolls put tissue paper onto a wire frame for the stuffed pets of the sophomore float. 3. The freshman class celebrates the success of the freshman Airbands during the Night Rally. 4. Senior Samantha Donat writes out “2012’” in red paint onto senior Vincent Yang’s cheeks before the seniors’ Airband performance.

Airbands

Airbands performances may only last a few minutes, but the preparation that goes into them takes months of hard work. Many classes begin planning their dance before the school year even begins. Airbands leaders have to grapple with strict rules, flaky students and balancing school with the demands of being in charge of a large production. For the victorious senior class, preparation began in the summer. Leaders Tina Hidai, Jordan Humble and Emily Wang began brainstorming before the start of school. “We choreographed the dance thinking about what would look good but not be impossible to do,” Hidai said. “It was hard to make everything flow and look good at the same time.” Their music choice was a mix created by senior Omree Gal-Oz who has been mixing music for the class of 2012 since his sopho-

more year. “Basically Jordan Humble would The junior class ran into issues with get the music, then she would come over keeping dancers focused at practices as well. and tell me how to mix it,” Gal-Oz said. “It “Being a teenager, I know it is hard to stay took us about six or seven hours to make, I completely focused on the task at hand for think.” The mix featured tracks from films more than like ten minutes,” junior Airbands including “The Adjustment Bureau,” “The leader Sarah Klem said. “For those kinds Dark Knight,” and of instances, a whistle “Inception.” came in handy.” The focal point While many people We choreographed the for preparation was may poi nt to da nce dance thinking about moves or song choices the practices that each class held. The what would look good as the highlights of the leaders universally the contributions but not be impossible to night, complained about of the crew in charge do” dancers’ lack of of effects were crucial —Senior Tina Hidai focus at practicto a memorable show. es. “We had to be Chief Lighting Director mean,” sophomore Nickolaj Sorensen comAirbands leader Maytal Abramson said. municated with each class Airbands leaders “We had to yell at them a lot. It’s hard to get to determine what they wanted and synchroeveryone to stop talking.” nize the lighting displays with their music.

“Once I had all the requests, I went through and talked with the leaders about problem areas and finalized all the cues,” Sorensen said. “There was back and forth with some leaders, whereas others were fine straight off the bat after one correction.” The lighting crew had no practice time so everything had to be planned out to the last detail. On the day of the performance Sorensen and his fellow lighting technicians set up the lights in the gym, working around the rehearsals and issues with the rented lighting equipment. “Believe it or not, knowing that a quarter of the school’s population will be mad at you if you mess up is not conductive to a stress-free work environment,” Sorensen said. “Being in charge of the Night Rally is kind of a once in a lifetime experience. Not because you usually only take charge as a senior, but more because having to do it again would probably make your head explode.”

Floats Frankenstein, Transformers, Environment and Wizard of Oz— Homecoming 2011 had some of the most exciting f loats created yet. While a lot of the emphasis for Homecoming week is put on preparations for the Airbands competition, the class floats are just as difficult to plan and create. They require careful execution from the start of designing to the stuffing. For all four classes, designing is said to be one of the most difficult steps. As soon as Homecoming themes are released, class f loat coordinators immediately rush to brainstorm with their class and design team. According to senior float coordinator Cat Perez, the senior class deliberated over four float designs before choosing this year’s concept, Frankenstein, based

off of Horror, their Tuesday dressup theme. “We were thinking of doing a house with rotating scenes to connect all the themes together, a barbeque theme with 1920s and horror people and someone even had the idea of putting a real Ferrari,” Perez said. Similarly, the junior class deliberated between the house from “Up” and Transformers. The class decided on Transformers in the end because the black hummer fit their Monday dress-up theme and followed their concepts from previous years, a rocket in freshman year and Thomas the Tank Engine in sophomore year. For the sophomores, there was no problem deciding on a concept. Sophomore f loats coordinator Kathleen DeCoste worked with

the class to create a concept that would embody all the sophomore themes throughout homecoming week. “We thought it’d be cool to do an action-themed float, but that it would be more extensive to include lots of themes.” This year, the sophomores created a Prius, three pets and a peace sign for their float. The freshman class decided to focus on the Wizard of Oz and experimented with many technical aspects of the floats. “We had a tornado, as well as moving legs underneath the house when Dorothy’s pulled down,” freshman floats coordinator Tommy Farley said. Building is troublesome due to technical reasons, but also because it has the smallest turnout out of all the preparations steps. “Let’s be honest—most of the people

come during stuffing so they can say that they were a part of floats,” Perez said. For the seniors, building this year was mainly because of college applications. With few people participating in the build, the seniors barely made it in time for stuffing. “People were really busy with college [applications], so we mainly just had our five to six main builders show up during building,” Perez said. On the other hand, the junior class had few problems with participation this year. “I think people were more amped up this year—we had a great turn out,” Waschura said. “Also, we’ve accumulated a lot of experience and there weren’t many surprises this year.” Sophomores saw a more orga-

nized experience this year compared to their first year. “We have moving parts on our float this year and also learned to manage our time better this year,” DeCoste said. “When we delegated the work, everything moved much more smoothly. However, there were technical difficulties, as expected.” As first-year float builders, the freshmen believed their process went pretty smoothly. “I feel like our float was more successful than previous freshman floats,” Farley said. “Although we only had five to seven people helping out during building, there were around 25 people at build the day before it was brought to school.” —Compiled by Lucy Oyer and Anna Qin


Features

Monday October 3, 2011

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6

7

9 Photos courtesy of Alex Barthelemy

5. SEC members wrap ribbon around the school poles for Homecoming games and festivities. 6. The morning of the Homecoming dance, two members of SEC climb the bleachers to hang a string of lights as decorations over. 7. Senior Kieran Gallagher paints a sign to promote the Homecoming dance “The Loft.” 8. In preparation for Homecoming week, senior Devon Koch attaches a string of flags to a pole. 9. Workers of Humble Contracting set up the gym to accomodate the dance for Homecoming.

Dance

For students, the last week of October brought spirit and a competitive edge filled with games. Homecoming week not only allowed students to dress up, but also ended with the Homecoming dance. Not many students know how much effort it takes to plan and create the Homecoming dance,. “It is the end to an exciting homecoming week where all the students can come together and enjoy a fun and relaxed night,” Dance Com-

missioner senior Jordan Humble said. The theme, “The Loft,” was Humble’s idea for this year’s dance. Before deciding on the theme, Humble considered several other ideas, such as a modern club or a Halloween-based theme. “Both of those ideas were soon discarded due to lack of interest and budget limitations.” Humble said. This year the dance had many more visible decorations. A major decoration Student Executive

Council (SEC) members used was a white gossamer fabric, which was hung around the gym to transform it into a loft-like atmosphere. “The gossamer was relatively cheap and the bean bags were bought using the student body funds and are currently in the Students Activities Center for student use,” Humble said. In add it ion, t he SEC hung strings of lights across the ceiling and put out roving lights that cir-

cled the room. All the decorations for the dance were bought with a limited budget of $750. Senior Special Events Commissioner Cat Perez wanted to adorn the gym with a lot more special decorations. “This year, I really wanted to stress with Homecoming and dances that posters should not be the only thing happening as far as decorations go,” Perez said. “An example of other decorations was the hammock in the Quad and the

cutouts around Gunn.” Even though setting up the dance was filled with some obstacles, the end result was exactly what the dance planners wanted for this year. Students really appreciated the extra effort that the members of the SEC went through. “The beanbags were a pleasant addition,” junior Lara Elliott said. “The white sheets were also cool, but the light show was awesome and definitely my favorite part.”

Brunch/Lunch Games Every October, students in each grade senior Cat Perez wrote in an email. For the unite to compete against their rival grades most part, unless there was considerable in Homecoming brunch and lunch games. dissent, the games remained the same as the For most students, the games are just another previous year. part of the annual Homecoming festivities, When deciding what changes to make to and students think little of all that goes into the games, SEC members draw upon their the planning and preparation of these games. personal experiences of Homecoming games, However, for members of SEC, the suc- improving upon the areas where they felt cessful execution of each and every game previous years had felt short. is the fruition of weeks of planning and This year, one of the most notable difpreparation leading ferences was the eliminaup to Homecoming tion of the Jamba Chug, week. and its replacement by About five weeks the Egg Balance Relay. We had a lot of options. before Homecom“[Jamba Chug] was very We combined a lot of ing week, SEC becontroversial and very gins the planning hard to judge,” Senior things we thought would process, with all of Class President Jesse be fun. the members volZwerling said. unteering for a cerIn the interest of fair—freshman Class Site Countain brunch of lunch ness, it was decided that cil Representative Somina game. the Jamba Chug be disLee Each game comcontinued. “Our main mittee consisted of goal for Homecoming is three to four students, who decided the to make it as fun, fair and safe as possible,” rules, the supplies needed for the game, Zwerling said. number of judges, the MCs, and the number As a result, the committee in charge of of participants. “Game planning depends the Thursday brunch game had to come up on the game and how long it’s been around with a new activity. “We had a lot of options,” at Gunn,” Special Activities Commissioner freshman Class Site Council Representative

Somina Lee said. “We combined a lot of things we thought would be fun.” After considering alternatives such as musical chairs, the committee ultimately decided upon the Egg Balance Relay, which included balancing an egg and a three-legged race. “Games groups are ultimately allowed to pick a game that they want for their allottd time,” Perez wrote. The games committees were each given a week to turn in a completed sheet regarding their game to Perez, who looked them over to ensure all the rules were clear. “If their sheet was good from the beginning, then they were done with the planning process,” Perez wrote. Games groups were also asked to make scripts of what they would like to say during they games, and designated the people who were responsible for each part of the script. The class representative had to indicate the students who would be participating in the games at that time as well. Finally, on the Thursday and Friday before Homecoming week, the groups ran through their games to catch any mishaps or complications that might arise during the real game. “For the pool game, we tested the watermelon and guys swam around to check if it was slippery enough,” Zwerling said.

On the day of each event, the designated committees would spend an hour planning before setting up their game. For the obstacle course, which Zwerling was responsible for, the set-up process took two hours, as it was necessary to both set up the game and debrief judges about the rules of the game. Most of the supplies for the events were reused from previous years, notably that of the ropes for Tug-O-War, while those that did require purchases were of commonplace items, such as watermelons or balloons. While Homecoming week has already ended for this year, the work of the SEC is not yet over. “At the end of Homecoming, we talked about what went well and what didn’t,” Lee said. This review of Homecoming games helps the SEC with the planning of future Homecoming games, to make them even better than the years before. “It was definitely really busy,” Lee said. “But in the end, it was worth it.” Looking for more Homecoming pictures? Flip to the back page of The Oracle. —Compiled by Erica Lee and Jean Wang


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Cente

THEORACLE

Great Looking Hair

e l ac e

r m O o s e e s s h e r Txplo most uarre

z on e he i b t nd cts t. f o s a du ke les pro mar the

Do you suffer from premature baldness? (Come on, don’t be shy.) Or are you just getting a little old and finding your full head of hair isn’t as full anymore? Then Great Looking Hair might be for you! Beauty is practically guaranteed in the product name. Created by infomercial king Ron Popeil, who is famous for his clever line “But there’s more!”, Great Looking Hair Formula #9 is a sprayon hair product for those who feel like wigs and toupes are way too obvious. The spray is made up of tiny fibers that magically become fake hair follicles once they contact skin. Essentially, it’s a spray-on wig...genius! By clinging to the few hair strands left on the head, the spray gives limp, lifeless hair some body and can even be used to fill in completely bald sections. If you’re worried about damaging your hair, don’t be. The makers of Great Looking Hair promise the product won’t harm what precious hair you have left. The spray-in hair can also be washed out in a shower, also ensuring you’ll have to buy a lot of cans. Let’s be real—this is a product that will be used daily. You can’t exactly have a lot of hair one day and not a lot the next. The product is for people of all hair colors and comes in the shades auburn, dark brown, light brown, black, medium brown, silver black, silver-brown and white. The spray is idiot-proof and easy to use. All you have to do is spray the product onto your head, wait two minutes, brush it out and voilà! Although the product sounds like a Halloween accessory at best, over 1 million cans have been sold worldwide and plenty of users have written gushing online reviews. This just goes to show that any product, no matter how far-fetched and silly it seems to be, will have its loyal customers.

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Touchable Bubbles You want children to like you, right? If you answered yes, then this is the product for you. Don’t burst children’s bubbles—buy them the one thing they can’t live without: Touchable Bubbles. We know that everyone is constantly plagued by children whining that when they blow bubbles, the devilish pockets of air pop too darn quickly. No kids ever want to play with popping bubbles— where’s the fun in that? And, like those bubbles, you might find that children’s happiness disappears just as fast when you buy them those dreaded normal bubbles. We know you feel helpless and trapped by this dilemma and need to find a solution fast. Never fear—for a tiny payment, you can buy distraught, bubble-deprived children Touchable Bubbles! With Touchable Bubbles, kids never have to worry about popping the bubbles they blow. The bubbles stick together and can even stick to children’s hands! Bubbletastic! And trust us, we’re not full of hot air—Touchable Bubbles really don’t pop. Sure, the bubbles also tend to sink to the floor instead of floating, but who wants to see floating bubbles, anyway? Instead, kids can watch with bated breath as the Touchable Bubbles sink to the ground, stick to it for a while, and slowly deflate into a mucus-like substance. Bubblebunga! And after kids are done blowing the bubbles and wreaking havoc, you can have the time of your life scrubbing the sticky and strange-smelling residue off every surface in the room. Bubble-Lama Ding Dong!


erfold

Monday November 7, 2011

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Treadmill Bike The treadmill and stationary bike were invented for people who were inconvenienced by urban life and poor weather. Now, for those who want to use the machines and get some attention around the neighborhood, there is the Treadmill Bike. It is composed of a treadmill attached to two wheels, which turn by the foot power of the runner. The inventors of this ingenious product were obviously Nobel Prize-winning physicists who knew that the Treadmill Bike required twice the effort to travel half the distance, therefore burning twice as many calories. Despite the week-long cramps and severe panting that are consequences of using this product for more than 10 minutes, there are many benefits to using the Treadmill Bike. Rather than actually running outside, you can pay a lot of money to push rigorously against a hulk of rolling rubber and plastic. Because it is wheeled, the Treadmill Bike is classified as a vehicle, which means you get to sport a slimming helmet and, depending on personal style, thigh-hugging biking shorts! In addition, for those who live in high-risk areas and are bored of outrunning the muggers who are chasing them, the Treadmill Bike is the ultimate getaway vehicle, reaching top speeds of five miles per hour. Clearly, there is no better way to perform outside cardiovascular activity than by jogging on a treadmill on wheels.

Teddy Bear Jacket Have you ever been so cold that you wanted to cuddle up to numerous teddy bears? Thanks to designer Sebastian Errazuriz, you can fulfill this desire with the Teddy Bear Jacket! This outerwear’s design is rather straightforward. The bodies of teddy bears are sewn all over a fleece jacket, including on the sleeves and hood. There is a nicely camouflaged zipper that runs down the entire front of the jacket. Color choices, unfortunately, are limited to beige. The benefits of owning such an innovative fashion pieces are almost endless. Now anyone can emulate famous Disney villain Cruella De Ville, but in a fun, animal-friendly way. If one does not want to look like an evil cartoon character, he or she can look like a harmless bubble, as the Teddy Bear Jacket gives the wearers the always-fashionable “round” look, making them actually resemble a bear. Another obvious perk of the jacket is its warmth. The combination of heat-trapping teddy bears and fleece makes for a sauna-esque feel. But what is perhaps the Teddy Bear Jacket’s greatest feature is the squishiness. Thanks to the plush bears, an embrace from someone in this jacket will be the ultimate bear hug. There are perhaps only two very serious flaws with this product. Firstly, there is the issue of mobility. While the jacket does provide a bear-shaped layer of warmth, it does have a large girth. The teddy bears do not allow for a complete range of motion; in fact, the wearer’s arms can “bearly” move. The second problem is cleaning. With all the attention this jacket attracts, it is certain that a spectator will stain one of the many teddy bears while reaching out in jealousy. Machinewashing, however, seems more likely to destroy the product. Owners of the Teddy Bear Jacket must be willing to pay for dry cleaning or meticulously hand-clean every bear, preferably with Windex and a cotton swab. Errazuriz’s design has certainly changed the way people view outerwear. Will the jacket attract children? Yes. Does it give hint that the wearer had a disturbing childhood? Most definitely. Despite all the benefits it provides, the world is not ready for the Teddy Bear Jacket.

Portable Microwave Whether it’s pasta or dumplings, that sulfurous smell that pervades the room when you release the cap of your thermos never fails to make you blush. The grimaces of your classmates as you take your first bite are almost enough to make you lose your appetite. Then you take a whiff of your own food and you can’t help but throw up a little too. It’s times like these when you wish you could whip out a microwave and make yourself a nice bowl of instant ramen or even a Hot Pocket. Wouldn’t you jump at the chance to have your food hot, anywhere, instantly? The Portable Microwave sounds like a creative invention to solve all your foodrelated problems except there are a few setbacks that make this “innovative” gadget practically useless. According to WaveBox, the main manufacturer of the product, the portable microwave “plugs into a wall outlet, a car or a boat’s DC outlet or connects to a car battery.” Wait… the point of a portable microwave is that you can take it essentially anywhere, but the fact that the product limits you to locations with wall outlets severely narrows the applicability of the appliance. In other words, it is a regular microwave at 15 times the price. Even more ridiculous is its comparative size and weight. The “portable” microwave is the size of a toolbox and weighs 16 pounds. Talk about portability—have fun carrying that to and around school. Graphics by Elsa Chu and Lisa Wu

—Compiled by Monica Cai, Yilin Liang, Amrita Moitra, Anna Qin and Lydia Zhang


14

Features

THEORACLE

The Oracle staff profiles the crossing guards who keep students safe on their way to school

Michael Saterfield (A)

Though many students pass by crossing guard Michael Saterfield on their way to school, few have taken the time to get to know more about him. Saterfield serves as the crossing guard at the Arastradero Road and Terman Drive intersection and has been on duty for almost four years now. Saterfield previously worked for 20 years in the military, took on several odd jobs at miscellaneous companies including Caltrain and has also taught self-defense classes.

However, after realizing that he enjoyed working with children, Saterfield decided to apply for a crossing guard position. “I can’t be a teacher, but at least I can keep them safe going to and from school,” he said. He finds his work to be rewarding and especially enjoys making light conversation with students. “My favorite part of the job is all the greetings in the morning and the afternoon,” Saterfield said. “I like the morning most of all; the kids always make you smile because

they’re happy and ready to go to school.” Though Saterfield grew up in Texas as a child, he moved to California and attended high school in Oakland and college at Berkeley. As a last message to students, Saterfield urges students to always be very careful. “Everyone should be alert, especially with all the traffic around here,“ he said.

Jack Brown (B)

Although public safety and law enforcement are many bikers deprive themselves of proper protection. automatically associated with police officers or fire “Gunn students don’t wear their helmets or listen to fighters, there are a few key characters in the commu- what I say,” Brown said. nity that go unnoticed: the crossing guards. In Palo In addition to the bikers, the pedestrians fail to acAlto, they are present at every major intersection, knowledge proper regulation as well. “They just walk usually before and after school hours. whenever they want to,” Brown said. “I tell them to For instance, crossing stop, but they cross anyway.” “The kids are beautiguard Jack Brown works at He tries to enforce strict the Maybell-Coulombe interregulation of state laws, but it ful. They are growing, section, helping the students is a difficult task considering changing, and above the large amount of people of Juana Briones Elementary School. Although he has been all, following my in- who ignore his retired for six years, Brown instructions. structions” continues to be an active citiDespite these For students walking, biking or zen of the community by voldifficulties, driving through Arastradero Road —crossing guard Jack unteering his time as a cross Brown has in the morning, crossing guard JenBrown guard. Brown views his role high hopes for nifer Prather is a familiar sight, always as not only an opportunity to the future of at her post and ready to assist students, help the children around the area, but also a chance the Juana Briones elemenrain, wind or shine. to get out of the house and exercise. tary students. “The kids A former Gunn and Jane Lathrop StanThroughout the week, Brown can be spotted at his are beautiful,” he said. ford Middle School student, Prather has seen morning shift from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. and at his af- “They are growing, first-hand how much the commute to school has ternoon shift from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. His changing and above increased. “Growing up around here, we didn’t ultimate goal is to ensure that all, following my have to worry about so many cars,” Prather said. everyone in the community instructions.” “Nowadays, it’s just dangerous out here.” is safe, especially during As a crossing guard, Prather has borne witness to the traffic rush in the a number of fender benders. For students who bike or morning and afterwalk, Prather advises them to look both ways before crossnoon. “The kids ing to avoid any such accidents and to pay attention to their are not the only surroundings. one that I am lookUnfortunately, while working last year, Prather was hit by a car, ing after,” Brown further illustrating the dangers that pedestrians face on the road. said. “The people “I was out of work for a month, and right now, I’m still having pain who are driving or with it,” Prather said. Despite such a traumatic experience, Prather walking by also deremains dedicated to her work and motivated by her concern for the serve to be safe.” safety of students. While holding a stop In addition to her job as a crossing guard, Prather enjoys watching hockey, sign and walking pedesand is an ardent fan of the San Jose Sharks. She is also considering training trians across the street for a triathlon with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), in honor of her may seem like an easy job, mother who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. in reality, it is difficult to enforce regulations, especially when people are not cooperative. According to Brown, Crossing guard Davena P., who importance of her job. She has never been afraid to did not want to share her last name inform the police if she knows a biker is continually with The Oracle, has worked at the in- ignoring red lights. “I’m respectful and kind-hearted, tersection of El Camino and Maybell for but when they don’t listen, it makes things difficult for the past year. me,” she said. “Obey the rules. That’s why a crossing Davena braves the cold each morning in guard is there. We’re here for your safety.” order to protect pedestrians and bikers, many Davena has a busy schedule outside of working as of whom are middle school and high school a crossing guard. She is currently taking classes as Castudents, travelling through the busy El Camino ñada College and majoring in early child development. intersection. “I’m not just here to be paid,” Davena Davena hopes to soon get a job teaching kids, after she said. “I’m here to provide safety, so it’s important to finishes her classes. She is also expecting her first child, stop when I say stop.” and says she’s excited at the prospect. Though she was only instated at the El Camino and “I’m going to have a lot of things to do,” she said. Maybell intersection this year, Davena has worked as “My life won’t revolve around [being a crossing guard] a crossing guard for three years and understands the anymore.”

Jennifer Prather (C)

Davena P. (D)

Alvina Yau

—Compiled by Eileen Qian, Rani Shiao, Jean Wang and Lydia Zhang


Features

Monday October 3, 2011

15


16

Sports

THEORACLE

1

Take a deep breath and mentally prepare yourself to be lifted six feet off the ground by your teammates.

2 3 4

Put your dominant foot in the corresponding base’s hand.

Gain momentum by bouncing with your non-dominant foot and when the backspot calls the stunt, place the foot firmly in the base’s hand.

As the base supporters lift you, stand up and lock every muscle in your body.

5

Always look into the crowd and smile because everyone is watching you.

5

Things About Flying with junior Susannah Knox

—Compiled by Eileen Qian Wendy Qiu


Sports

Monday November 7, 2011

Teachers showcase athletic hobbies Divya Shiv

Managing Editor

To promote fitness on campus, a professional development group called the Staff and Student Wellness Group is sponsoring the Wellness Project, which involves making posters of teachers participating in their favorite sport or activity. These posters will be placed around school in an effort to get students interested in different sports and to bring staff and students closer together through common interests. This project was originally thought of during a professional development meeting where a few teachers met to discuss the community’s physical fitness. At this point, the Wellness Group was already brainstorming about how to get more publicity for their work, in order to inspire more people to exercise, but it was band teacher Sandra Lewis who first thought of creating the posters. “I wanted to do something with staff wellness because if the staff feels healthy, they are more productive and have a better balance in both their life and while teaching,” Lewis said. “So I piggy-backed on the idea of the READ posters to show what the Gunn staff does, except instead of taking photos of the staff reading books, we are looking at what they do for recreation.” Last year, Gunn READ posters were set up in the library to showcase different teachers reading their favorite books. “I just hope this will let Gunn students see the staff beyond their role as teachers and that we have things that we carry over in every day life,” Lewis said. “You may be

a student on the cross country team and see a teacher who jogs or runs, and think that when you get older and are not on the cross country team, you can still continue the activity.” After coming up with the idea, Lewis asked art teacher Mark Gleason to create a template and make the posters, and photo teacher Jennifer Hogan to take the photos of the teachers. “This project kind of adds to our layers of humanity,” Hogan said. “It’s a great way to show students that we have lives outside of school and to inspire them to try different sports.” At the photo sessions, teachers bring in the equipment they use for their different activities to the photo room. “In one of the sessions, [math teacher Diane] Gleason came in with her riding Courtesy of Mark Gleason saddle and her riding boots,” Physical education teacher Chris Horpel choose Hogan said. “We’ve taken to demonstrate his fitness through windsurfing. photos of teachers who bike, who do yoga and even someone who skis.” tor Diane Ichikawa plans to place them The photos are then given to Gleason, around the campus to reach a wide array who spends a day making each poster. of students. “It’s a fun challenge to have to use the Ichikawa also participated in the Wellinformation that people want you to ness Project to show her interest in yoga. incorporate and also make it pleasing to “With the posters, people can share their the eye,” Gleason said. “It’s the challenge similar interests and students may even of knowing that I only have this much start a conversation with a teacher based space and trying to make it memorable.” on these posters,” she said. “Hopefully, Once all of the photos and posters this will lead to a stronger connection are finished, Wellness Group coordina- between the staff and the students.”

Varsity cheer qualifies for national level Utkash Dubey

Forum Editor

The varsity cheer team took first place at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Cheerleading Competition, a regional tournament for coed high school teams on Sept. 24. In addition, their success at the competition qualified them for the United Spirit Association (USA) national level competition, which will take place in Anaheim, California, towards the end of March next year. Under the direction of head coach Dan Callanta and with the addition of coach Andy Logan, the cheer team decided to be

a competition squad for the season, rather than a regular high school cheer team that participates strictly in high school related activities, such as sports and rallies. Their entrance into the competition field allowed the cheer team to strike a more competitive edge, compete against other cheer teams at tournaments, and be assessed and placed for what they do. Criticism and feedback from the evaluation by the competition judging panel included “more gymnastics, guygirl partner stunts and more creativity needed in the stunt sequences.” “Basically, the team will be going through rigorous training to improve their strength and

Courtesy of Dan Callanta

The cheer team smiles at the beach as senior Tasuku Hirakawa holds up the first-place plaque from winning the USA regional cheer competition.

flexibility,” Callanta said. According to junior and captain Emily Cottle, the cheer team was hoping to qualify for nationals, but they weren’t sure how they were going to perform. “We hadn’t competed in a while, [and] as far as I know, this is the first time that Gunn’s [varsity] cheer team will be going to nationals,” Cottle said. For the national competition, the Cottle and the team plan to work on increasing the level of difficulty in their stunts and improving their overall cohesiveness. “Even after qualifying for nationals, we still want more practice competing, so we will continue to compete in regional competitions,” Cottle said. Additionally, USA All-Star senior Tasuku Hirakawa participated as a base for the regional competition. Hirakawa and the team did not have much preparation for the event. “We were [still] able to put together so much in such a short manner and be able to win first place and advance to Nationals in Anaheim in late March of 2012, [which] shows that we have it in us to be the best that we can,” Hirakawa said. According to Callanta, qualifying for USA Nationals necessitates a Superior Rating with a score of 80 or above out of a possible 100. The cheer team achieved a total score of 85 and received a bid to nationals after becoming the regional champions in the Varsity Coed Show Cheer Division. This is the first competition win that has allowed the team to become a competition squad. The cheer team plans on participating in a Classic level tournament to increase their scores for nationals, as well as prepare them for the cheering to come. This competition will take place Dec. 12 in Tracy.

17

Staying fit to keep on track

Emily Yao My schedule is just like Rebecca Black’s: 7 a.m. waking up in the morning, gotta get fresh, gotta go downstairs. But instead of getting a bowl of cereal, I head off to the gym, where I do an hour of training. Afterwards, I bike to and from school and when I arrive home, I do a few Pilates workouts. Over the weekends, I have time for additional workout classes. Sounds a bit torturous, right? Not at all. For me, physical activity is an important component of my life. Being the stereotypical overachiever, I am unable to make time for team sports. As a result, the free time I have on my hands is spent going to the gym. You may wonder why I don’t spend this time sleeping. Truth is, I can’t. Since I was eight years old, I have been waking up early to do sports. From third to eighth grade, I was a competitive figure skater, waking up as early as 5 a.m. to go to skating practice before and after school. On top of that, I had off-ice training to make my muscles strong. When I quit competitive figure skating in eighth grade, I had trouble going back to a “normal” sleeping schedule. My life felt empty because I had focused most of my energy on skating, and having to suddenly eliminate it was a difficult transition. Thus, I started going to my local gym, hoping it would serve as a replacement. Exercising in the morning has improved my performance in school. Surprisingly, the days I go to the gym help me stay awake in class and start my day off on a happy note. Even if it does not play significant role in your life, physical activity should still be done daily. Many students who are not on a sports team believe that after they complete Physical Education (P.E.) class, they are not required to do any form of physical activity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that involvement in physical activity decreases as the grade in school increases, and this could lead to heart disease and high blood pressure. Thus, even though only underclassmen are required to take P.E., it is still important to do some sort of physical activity as an upperclassman. The most common misconception is that if you do not have time for sports, then you can put off any form physical activity. However, the consequence of this attitude is a sedentary lifestyle, which could lead to serious health problems. Not convinced yet? In sixth grade, my father was diagnosed with cancer. During my childhood, he was a couch potato, spending most of his time watching television. The doctors believed this was one of the main causes of his cancer. While I was not the one diagnosed, the whole experience made me realize how important it is to be healthy. I learned a lot from my father’s habits and from watching him change them and become healthy. My decision to exercise at the gym in the mornings was mostly influenced by him. So, being a busy high schooler, is it possible to incorporate physical activity into your schedule? The answer is, of course! Even the simplest activities can help you be healthy. For example, instead of driving to school every day, bike when the weather is nice. If you live in a multi-story apartment building, take the stairs. What ever you do, as long as you work towards consistently finding time for physical activity, then you are doing the right thing. As poet Marcus Valerius Martialis puts it, “Life is not merely being alive, but being well.” —Yao, a junior, is a Sports Editor.


18

Sports

THEORACLE

Sophomore dances her way to Nationals on ice Amrita Moitra News Editor

Even though she is only a sophomore, Hope Schroeder is already a nationally ranked ice dancer. This September, she placed third at the National Solo Ice Dancer championship in Colorado Springs. Schroeder began ice skating at the age of three. “I started freestyle skating when my best friend started lessons,” she said. Schroeder continued taking lessons until the age of nine, when she started competing seriously in U.S. Figure Skating contests. Training under Tracy Prussack in San Jose, Schroeder woke up at 3:30 a.m. each morning to practice, which helped her qualify for the 2008 Junior National Championships in Salt Lake City, during which she placed ninth in the Juvenile Girls category. Unfortunately, over the next two years, Schroeder was unable to skate due to constant injuries. “I had two stress fractures that kept me out of Regionals two years in a row,” she said. “It was after that I knew it was time to reevaluate.” Schroeder’s long-time choreographer, Olympic gold medalist, Sergei Ponomarenko, was an ice dancer as well. “I proposed to him that I have one lesson in ice dance, and before I knew it, I had a partner,” Schroeder said. Her switch to ice dancing was also facilitated by the lack of jumps in the event, a factor of freestyle skating that had damaged Schroeder’s body. “[Ice dancing] is a much better fit for me than freestyle was because it capitalized on my greatest area of talent, artistry,” she said. Ice dancing competitions consist of three dances. Competitors perform two compulsory dances, like the tango and foxtrot, in which skaters must execute the same steps to the music with partners. In the third dance, couples choose music and are able to choreograph a dance that includes complex lifts, footwork and spins. Ice dancing is an important part of Schroeder’s life. “It’s been quite a long time since skating was not a huge part of my life,” she said. The time commitment alone is significant, with training exceeding 30 hours a week. “Time management is an essential skill,” Schroeder said. “Though it has been hard at times to balance my priorities, skating has made me more clear on what my priorities are.”

To help her, the administration created a specialized school schedule to maximize her skating time, and Schroeder’s prioritizing has also increased her discipline. “I’ve had to make some immense sacrifices on every step of the way, both on my part and my family’s part,” she said. “Ice dancing is not a hobby. It’s a way of life that shapes many things I do.” Schroeder is currently part of the Skating Club of San Francisco, Inc. While she is competing in solo dancing competitions, Schroeder is looking for a new partner. “Like ballet, there are more girls than boys in ice dance,” Schroeder said. “The challenge is finding a partner.” Although she does not currently have a partner, Schroeder will continue dancing in the near future; however, she does not plan on following it as a career. “I don’t see myself as a coach,” she said. “I want to pursue academics.” While her future as an ice dancer is uncertain, one thing holds true for Schroeder: “I skate because I love it. Ice dancing will always be a haven for me.”

Courtesy of Hope Schroeder

Left: Sophomore Hope Schroeder smiles while performing a swing roll with her dance partner. Right: Schroeder concentrates on her posture and technique.

By the Numbers: Fall Sports

341

record number of yards ran by senior James Strnad at the Gunn vs. Cupertino varsity football game on Oct. 21

1 4.5 17:32 senior on the Song team

minutes it took sophomore Sarah Robinson to run 2.95 miles at League Championships on Nov. 2

20

goals blocked by junior Harrison Waschura at the Gunn vs. Paly varsity boys’ water polo game on Oct. 25

9-6

score of varsity girls’ water polo team at the Gunn vs. Paly match on Oct. 25 —Compiled by Emily Yao


SPORTS

Monday November 7, 2011

19

Fall sports have varying results as season finishes 1

2

3

Kyle Zhu

4

5

Jonathon Yong

6

Kyle Zhu

Wendy Qiu

Jonathon Yong

Girls’ Water Polo:

The varsity girls’ water polo team worked hard to end with an amazing season. “Our first goal was to improve every day and test ourselves against the best the area has to offer,” coach Mark Hernandez said. “Mission accomplished.” On Oct. 29 at Lynbrook High School, the team beat Palo Alto 7-5 in the Quarterfinals of the Central Coast Section (CCS) Division I playoffs. They have now advanced into the semi-final game in CCS. Some key players are seniors Elizabeth Anderson, Missy Barr, Soumya Kannan and Katie-Rose Skelly, and sophomores Caroline Anderson and Rachel Wong. Expectations are high for a team that made CCS last year. “We expect to compete for a league title and then for a sectional title,” Hernandez said. “We need to continue to push our creativity on offense and improve our communication on defense.” The players agree that something special went on this year. “We had lots of good players and we worked together as a team,” Skelly said. Their overall league record is 18-6.

Girls’ Tennis:

Although the varsity girls’ tennis team had a rough start, they ended the season with a strong comeback. Last year, the team moved up from the El Camino division into the De Anza division. This year the team has compiled a league record of 3-9 and an overall record of 8-13. Practice this year was held at the Cubberly courts before school due to construction at Gunn. At times, this posed a problem to some of the players. This season, the team had chemistry. “I loved our team, we got along really well,” senior Natasha Allen said. “We didn’t feel pressure from each other and we did our best.” However, the team will not be going to CCS this year.

Boys’ and Girls’ Cross Country:

The cross-country team worked its way to reach the CCS by practicing everyday for the past several months. Sophomore Sarah Robinson has continuously won many meets and her several victories have made her a popular contestant for CCS. However, Robinson believes she owes her success to the whole team. “It’s more of a team effort than track,” she said. “We help each other by urging each other to keep on going.” As the end of the season approached, varsity boys’ and girls’ cross country both placed second in league championships. The top seven girls and seven guys will go to CCS. Key runners such as senior Andrew Prior and sophomore Sarah Robinson are expected to win at CCS.

Wendy Qiu

Football:

1: Senior Tyler Wilson attempts to score a goal. 2: Senior Gabe Crane runs the final leg of the race as he approaches the finish line. 3: Senior Katie-Rose Skelly throws the ball to a nearby teammate. 4: Junior Lena Latour tips the ball onto the other side of the court. 5: Senior Skyler Larson jumps up to intercept the ball from his opponent. 6: Senior Natalie Wilson prepares to serve the ball.

After having moved down to the El Camino league, the varsity football team, holds an overall record at 2-5 and a league record of 2-2. Senior JJ Strnad is this year’s running back. “We’ve been playing well and our practices have been smooth and efficient,” he said. He ran 169 yards over 8 carries during a game against Harker, a record that earned him local recognition. He was named Player of the Week for the Palo Alto Weekly in October. “It was a big honor and a good experience,” Strnad said. Senior Robert Kato believes that the team is giving 100 percent effort and everyone is practicing hard. “Our greatest weakness is execution,” Kato said. “We usually have a couple of penalties and need to work on reducing them.” Strnad believes that the relatively small team hinders their ability to perform. “The players at multiple positions get more tired throughout the course of a game and we don’t have many players at each position,” Strand said. “Santa Clara and Monta Vista were disappointing losses. We feel that we are a much better football team than how we played against them.”

Girls’ Volleyball:

The varsity girls’ volleyball team has had a difficult season, winning only one of its twelve league games. They are now last in the De Anza division, but ranked 13th in CCS overall. The team has a league record of 1-11 and an overall record of 14-18. Despite these losses, senior Julia Li believes that the team was composed of all key players. “Our team was full of different, versatile players that each contributed to the team in a unique way,” Li said. Coach Kevin Hwang believes there is room for improvement for next season. “We have to do a better job of concentrating and being mentally focused more consistently,” Hwang said. “It cost us three to five points per game and we have lost a lot of games by five points or fewer.” However, the girls are not attending CCS this year. —Compiled by Elsa Chu, Misheel Enkhbat and Sam Hayward

Boys’ Water Polo:

The boys’ varsity water polo team has had a great season. “We have to make it in the top four of our league and so far we’re on a good track,” senior Tyler Wilson said. In order to do this the team has been working hard in the mornings and afternoons sharpening their skills and perfecting plays. “There’s always room to improve. Wilson said. “We’re really trying to work on the basics and get those perfected.” Although the team had a rough start, they have improved significantly. “The very first tournament we weren’t working as a team; we did horribly that tournament,” junior Harrison Waschura said. The boys’ water polo team beat Monta Vista in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) tournament and played Los Altos on Nov. 4, the finals of the tournament. The team has also has secured a spot in CCS. “The last two years we’ve gone to the second round and hopefully this year we go further,” senior Will Thorson said.

—Compiled by Elsa Chu, Misheel Enkhbat and Sam Hayward


20

Monday November 7, 2011

Entertainment

Blogs showcase students’ distinctive passions Fashion, books, hip-hop and sports are among the interests chronicled in student blogs iomoo.wordpress.com Sophomore Sara Ameri

Two months ago, junior Cindy Lin created a blog called “A Thousand Little Pages,” a site where she posts books reviews and weekly blogger memes. According to Lin, book memes are themed posts that bloggers publish on a specific day of the week. “For example, the very popular ‘In My Mailbox’ allows various bloggers to share the books they received that week,” Lin said. “The idea is to create a blogging community where bloggers visit each other’s posts and comment.” Lin decided to create her own blog when she started reading other book blogs back in 2010. After developing a solid presence as a book reviewer on Goodreads, a website for book enthusiast to make reading lists and suggest books for others, Lin decided to start posting reviews on her own blog. “Posting reviews is very cathartic, especially after finishing a particularly intense novel,” Lin said. “Instead of

hip-hopisntdead. blogspot.com Senior Matt Brooks

Sophomore Arjun Parikh is the creative mind behind “Outside The Hoodie,” a blog he started as an outlet for his opinions on the world of sports. Parikh started the blog in Dec. 2010 and has accumulated a weekly fan-base of 600 people. He writes about different sports from all around the spectrum of the athletic world. The blog is opinion-based and updated every one to two weeks. The title of the blog comes from the coach of Parikh’s favorite team: the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick, the coach, is famous for wearing different hoodies at every game. “It’s called ‘Outside the Hoodie’ because my opinions are generally different from popular opinion,” Parikh said. Parikh’s blog as serves as a platform to communicate his opinions on certain sports-related issues. “With

According to French designer Coco Chanel, fashion fades and only style remains the same. In posts on her blog, iomoo.wordpress.com, sophomore Sara Ameri tries to make Chanel’s belief clear to readers. “I don’t dress based on what other people find trendy or what other people want me to wear,” Ameri said. “I dress based on what I like: my style.” Since 2009, Ameri has used her blog to post pictures of her clothing style, as well as her opinions about them. She also includes other interests in her posts. “I like to post a lot of photography that’s not really fashion-related,” Ameri said. “It’s pretty much whatever is on the top of my mind.” In addition to her blog, Ameri also maintains an eBay profile where she sells fashion clothing. The prices range from 99 cents for a pair of red flannel shorts to $120 for Gucci vintage heels.

bottling up all my thoughts, I get to share it with the world and prompt a discussion.” Even though the blog is still in its early stages, Lin has already posted full reviews of 70 books and rated over 1,000 others. “The bulk of my content is about young adult novels, with a few middle school or adult book-related posts sprinkled throughout,” she said. Lin has also held three giveaways in which she has given away books and posters. According to Lin, giveaways are a way to show follower appreciation. “They are a great way to get people to come visit my blog in the first place,” Lin said. In the future, Lin plans to conduct interviews with authors and do book tours once she has more followers. Lin would love to participate in various book events, including BookExpo America and the American Library Association Midwinter Conference where she can meet authors or publishers.

As senior Matt Brooks types out his posts, he feels the beat of the song flow through his body and out his fingertips. Brooks, uses Blogspot as a place to express his passion for hip-hop. His blog, “Hip-hop Isn’t Dead”, features posts regarding the latest hip-hop hits and album releases and album reviews, as well as oldies to be remembered. “I created it because I love sharing music with the people around me,” Brooks said. “The Internet is the way of the future for sharing music.” One can also find hiphop singles, song leaks, mixtapes and extended plays that Brooks enjoys. These reflect a mixture of both mainstream and underground artists within the hiphop genre. Brooks started his blog over the summer after his friends asked him what his favorite recent albums

the blog, I can actually write and get my thoughts down without being interrupted,” Parikh said. The blog’s topic is no surprise as Parikh has been a sports enthusiast ever since he can remember. “I was born in Boston and my dad took me to Red Sox games since I was one year old,” he said. He has also played soccer since the age of six. “I really follow the sports world closely, I’m kind of obsessed,” Parikh said. Parikh enjoys writing on his blog over academic writing. “I can say whatever I want, and it’s not timed; it’s not like an essay,” Parikh said. “I write what I want, and people can choose to read it and disagree or agree.” According to Parikh, the blog has become an integrated part of his life now. “When I’m watching sports events, I’m thinking about what I want to write about,” Parikh said.

She earns about $200 to $300 a month from these sales. “Generally I sell my mom’s old clothing, so I give her the majority of the money to be fair,” she said. “But sometimes she lets me keep 20 percent to 30 percent of the sales and I just use the money to save up.” Among her influences are the style blogs “The Man Repeller” and “Fated to Be Hated.” “I really like the kinds [of blogs where] you can tell that [the bloggers] have a personality,” Ameri said. With its name derived from the Greek goddess Io, iomoo.wordpress.com earns around 800 views per week. However, the blog’s popularity has not distracted Ameri from its ultimate purpose. “The blog wasn’t originally aimed towards having readers,” she said. “It was mostly just something for me to be able to reflect back on and see how things in the fashion world have changed.”

athousandlittlepages. blogspot.com Junior Cindy Lin

were, and he has been blogging ever since. He compiles a collection of music every week or so, and publishes a number of posts in a single session. “In general, I tend to post twenty at a time, rather than one a day. I like to compile a bunch of music over the week, that way I can really listen through the songs and give good and honest reviews about the tracks.” Brooks said. Brooks has been a diehard fan of hip-hop mogul Lil Wayne for seven years. “I really respect his grind and creativity that he puts into his music,” Brooks said. “The Carter III has got to be [one of my] favorite albums. He’s a real motivational artist and he puts a lot of effort into his work, not to mention he’s a great performer.” Brooks hopes to continue his hip-hop blogging and aspires to possibly pursue a career as a music critic.

outsidethehoodie. blogspot.com Sophomore Arjun Parikh

—Compiled by Cooper Aspergren, Wayland Fong, Ellen Lee and Emily Yao


Entertainment

Monday November 7, 2011

21

New downloading styles change listening habits Ellen Lee

Assistant Business Manager

The music industry has taken a turn for the good. With emerging new artists and underground genres, the music listening world is under reconstruction. Music downloading has expanded from iTunes to many other music providing websites. When iTunes was first created in 2001, the media player application earned instant popularity. Apple originally bought an application called SoundJam and transformed it into the software iTunes is today. iTunes was established to work hand-in-hand with the newest technological fad, the iPod, and with sales of 99 cent songs, the application was met with positive feedback and prominent acclaim. iTunes users collectively bought songs to add to their playlists and MP3 players, but never really looked at their expenditures on iTunes. When Apple raised the price of each song to $1.29, the change triggered and

inspired the creation of free music accessibility through other music websites and applications. Today, online radios and applications are as common as iTunes itself. Online music sources like Spotify, Groove Shark, Pandora and Sound Cloud have established top-level rankings in the music listening world. These prominent online music sources offer a personalized experience at no cost. The services rely on advertisements and premium services, enabling them to be accessible for free. Groove Shark asks for specific artist or song names of the user’s preferences to determine a general sense of each user’s musical taste. The user can also provide positive or negative feedback on the song selection, allowing the website to quickly develop a feel for which artists and genres the user enjoys most favorably. On Pandora, one can create a personalized “radio” station by simply entering a song or artist name he or she likes. With this infor-

mation, the music service is able to compile a stream of songs and artists to the user’s station that are similar to the user’s original selection. The user can refine their musical preference by telling Pandora whether or not they enjoyed the song. Songs follows one after another, with a few advertisement and commercial breaks in between, generating a never-ending playlist of songs that appeal to the user. Spotify offers similar functions as Groove Shark and Pandora. Spotify also has an iPod application, allowing users to export and sync music from their iPods onto their Spotify playlists. Users have control over all songs and can choose the order in which the songs play. There is also a social networking aspect to the software. Premium users can share playlists between each other, and suggest songs for their friends to listen to. Spotify may have effectively revolutionized the way music is shared with this technology, and

their partnership with Facebook will continue to bolster their success. Youtube-mp3.org is another site that offers quick music downloading. This site is less complex and simply requires the user to insert the YouTube URL of any song of preference and convert it into an MP3 file. The MP3 file is then converted and can be synced into an MP3 or iPod. This site is often used by people who listen to music on their iPods and don’t necessarily use online music radios. It also can be used to find music that isn’t as commercialized, such as remixes, mixtapes and leaks. Popularizing online music sources continues to debut new ways of music listening and sharing in the twenty-first century. However, the music world still lacks a fullyequipped competitor to iTunes that provides listening, sharing and downloading services. Despite the complexity of developing an iTunes replica, anything can happen in our world of innovative technology.

The evolution of music devices throughout history 1940

1980

2011

Record Player

Jukebox

Discman

Apple Inc.

TIMELINE

1929

By the late 19th century, the phonograph had become the “music machine” and by 1929, had fully converted to playing records. The record player introduced musicians to the ordinary people of America and the device soon became a staple in the American household. Its popularity lasted for decades and both artists and radio stations came to depend upon the 16-inch wide disc and its revolutionary player.

The first jukebox was called a nickelin-the-slot phonograph. The jukeboxes only played one record and people would often sit in phonograph parlors and listen with headphones. In 1918, Hobart C. Niblack transformed the music scene by building a device that could automatically change records. The previously quiet phonograph parlor became a loud crowded room with several jukeboxes blasting music. The jukebox hit its peak of popularity in the 1940s and 1950s, when teenagers would crowd into juke joints to eat, socialize and listen to the rock and roll their parents wouldn’t allow at home. It was the center of youth during its prime and is a symbol of the culture of those decades.

Probably the first device teens can actually remember using, the first Sony Discman was released in 1984, but its name was later changed to the CD Walkman in 2000 to carry off the company’s former success with personal cassette players. Like the Walkman, the Discman was a portable music player, only this time users could play CDs instead of tapes. It featured basic controls like pause, fast-forward and rewind, which was all people really needed at the time. Back in the day, the Walkman was the coolest thing around and the first truely personalized, highly technoThe first iPod hit shelves only 11 years ago. Steve Jobs announced it as a product with a five GB hard drive that put “1,000 songs in your pocket.” What was revolutionary 11 years ago is now a relic as far as music technology goes. Apple continued to innovate as they perfected the iTunes platform, and expanded on the first iPod. Today, it is hard to find someone that isn’t listening to music on an iPod Shuffle, Nano, Graphics by George Hwang, Lisa Wu and Alvina Yau

—Compiled by Monica Cai

Faces in the Crowd How do you primarily listen to your music?

“I listen to music through my iPhone and iTunes because its convenient and I can bring it everywhere I go.” Joe Summer (9)

“I usually listen to music on YouTube and iTunes because it’s fast and there are lots of different options to choose from.” Stacy Chang (10)

“I use a lot of different sources like YouTube and iTunes, but I mainly listen to Spotify because I can hear what my friends are listening to.” Rohan Puranik (11)

“I get my music from YouTube, but I listen to music through my iPod because it’s portable.” Alex Wells (12) —Compiled by Eileen Qian


22

Entertainment

THEORACLE

‘You Can’t Take It With You’ sure to provide comic relief Misheel Enkhbat Reporter

This year’s fall play, “You Can’t Take It With You!”, hits Spangenberg Theater this week. The production is about an eccentric family, the Sycamores, that lives in New York City. The Sycamore family is everything but typical or bland. Each member of the family has distinctive and unique attributes, except for ordinary Alice Sycamore, played by senior Melissa Cunha. When Alice falls in love with Tony Kirby, the son of high-statured Mr. and Mrs. Kirby, much commotion arises. After strong disapproval and opposition to the marriage of Tony and Alice, Mr. and Mrs. Kirby find that the Sycamores are, in reality, a family of genuine people that really care and love each other, emotions and sentiments that the Kirby family lacks. The clash between the families provides the drama and hilarity. The cast itself is composed of a mix of fresh faces and seasoned veterans. Student Director junior Andrea Allen debuts her first work as the director of “You Can’t Take It With You.” However, Allen has much more experience with acting in theater and has applied her acting abilities to help her directing. “It’s not a different style of directing, every play just requires a different perspective,” she said. “I get to have input from

a creative perspective. I like looking out from the perspective of all the characters instead of just one.” Allen worked hand in

hand with the theatre director Jim Shelby to put this play together. An aspect of the production to look forward to is the actors themselves. Sophomore Dennis Mashevsky plays Boris Kholenkhov, a quirky Russian ballet instructor. In the play, Kholenkhov is the ballet instructor of character Essie Carmichael. However, Carmichael is undeniably terrible at his job. “He’s a very energetic character,” Mashevsky said. “I usually get more subtle characters to play.” Although Boris appears as a trivial character, he is quite the comic relief in the plot. Opening night is Nov. 10, but the cast was created and put together just after the beginning of this school year, giving cast members sufficient time to practice and perfect each role. As actors have worked to rehearse lines and personify each character, the Courtesy of YiDing Fang tech and lighting crews

Rejected pumpkin ponders jack o’lantern fate

Sam Hayward To be carved or not to be carved, that is the question. Whether tis nobler in the vine to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous farm life, or to take arms against a sea of vegetables, and by opposing end them? Life here in the garden is miserable. Everyday I sit here in row 4, column 62 listening to the cabbage complain about his worm problems and the annoying squash whine about his life-long dream to be turned into some kind of soup. As for me, I’ve got my own issues too, but at least I keep them to myself. For one thing, the farmer feeds me with a steroidrich soil to enhance my growth and weight, but the extra chemicals only screws with my moods all the time. On top of it, I am a Cinderella pumpkin. All the human people only liked me in some make-believe movie; when it comes to real life I might as well be dirt. And yes, I do have gross, green bumps all over me and am more of a dark, icky orange color when compared with the rest of my pumpkin peeps. As Halloween and Thanksgiving start to creep around the corner, the seeds inside me start to tremble. One by one my friends are handpicked to

be carved into magnificent shapes and spooky faces, while a mysterious illumination makes them glow in the darkness of night. They are lined up along the entrance into the farmer’s house and put on a marvelous display for the whole world to see. The designs for the pumpkin are limitless: disturbing grins, cats on edge, one-tooth pirates or cryptic messages with curvy letters. And of course, the object of the night—to frighten the greedy short farmers in strange clothing carrying white, silky bags. These farmers make lots of loud shrieks and always line up at the door, and they do not leave until after their demands have been met. However, there is a serious downside to the carving process. As an aged pumpkin with an observant eye, I know exactly what will happen this upu coming Halloween. The farmer will i dy Q Wen place his orange surgical tools out on the lawn. With the most intense precision, he will slice, chop and sever the chosen ones while the rest of us sit in watch in awe. Each of the pumpkin’s head will be scalped off and then his intestines are going to be ripped out and thrown away. There are years when the mess is too gory for me to watch, especially when the farmer cuts a dear pumpkin friend. For so long, I have had the deepest desire to join my friends in this world-wide celebration of the candy god, Lord Butterfingers, known as Halloween. But at the same time, I am afraid of what dangers lay beyond the unknown and intense pain of a carving death. I certainly know that I do not want some farmer to bake me into a circleshaped food with a white, creamy substance on top. But is there more to the life of a carved pumpkin? I suppose I will never know. I will always be left to wonder. Since no pumpkin, of aught he is carved, knows what is’t to leave betimes, let be. —Hayward, a senior, is a reporter.

have pushed to refine their jobs in the production. Makeup artists and costume designers have also come together to enhance the visual aspect of the play. The play reaches out to an audience that enjoys dramatic theatrical effectuation with a fun twist of humor and silliness. But besides the genuine amusement that this production presents, it also has an underlying message of love and compassion. “It tells people to follow their dreams which I think is important for them to hear,” Shelby said.

“You Can’t Take It With You” Showtimes Opening night gala: Nov. 10 at 6:45 p.m. in the Faculty Lounge—all tickets, $20 Evening performances: Nov. 11, 12, 17-19 at 8 p.m. in Spangenberg—students, $8; general, $10 Matinee performance: Nov. 16 at 4 p.m. in Spangenberg—all tickets, $5

What to do with leftover Halloween candy Decorate a gingerbread house. Snickers bars make a sturdy foundation and KitKat bars are good bricks.

Use the assorted candy as an ice cream topping. Augment your lonely and boring scoop of ice cream with unique candies.

Throw it at people. Refrain from illegal activities. Pelting Crunch bars at your enemies is just as satisfying.

Regift it as a holiday gift. Save money and bring joy to others with mediocre chocolate.

Bribe your teachers. Striving to get that 89.99 percent up to a 90.00 percent? Candy might do the trick.

Make a fort. You probably don’t actually have that much candy.

Serve it for dessert at Thanksgiving. No need for apple and pumpkin pie That’s far too much effort. —Compiled by Samantha Donat and Ellen Lee


23 Students appreciate the little things in life

Entertainment

Making it to class just as the bell rings. —Anni Liu (12)

Monday, November 7, 2011

When a pers your nam on calls out crowd be e in a large cau to talk to se they want you the peop out of all le there. —Karen Camacho (12)

I appreciate long, deep conversations on the quad.

Neff y m e r e J — (12)

Finishing homewor your k early o n a Thursd ay.

—Mitch

(10)

Donat

Finding an open bathroom during extreme emergencies

—Antonio Puglisi (10)

Friendship.

—Avinash

—David Chang (12)

oplights When st n. turn gree

People who go out of their way to make your day better.

I appreciate the tolerance of the In’ N’ Out employees on th e night of the Night Rally.

Sharma (11)

You. ;) ­­—Jesse Zwerling (12)

—Shang Yip (12)

inutes of 5 extra m sleep.

When pe ople tick le my arm.

s

—Anonymou

—Maddy Dray (12)

I appreciate the beanbags in the SAC.

Old couples holdin g hands.

-Allison Doerpingh aus (12)

—Ramsey SalahMars (12)

—Jack Kwan (12)

Getting m y daily co okie from the lunch line . —Paco C ovarrubias (10)

Freshly sharpened penc ils with full erasers on the en ds. —Dakota Baker (9)

te 50 cent chocola m milk cartons fro d the cafeteria an girls (11) —Zachary Munro

— Compiled by Boot Bullwinkle, Lucy Oyer and Samantha Donat

George Hwang


24

Monday November 7, 2011

There’s no place like home No matter the theme, students always get creative with their costumes Seniors

Entertainment

Recollections of Homecoming

1920s Amrita Moitra

Courtesy of Alyssa Perreault

Horror Wendy Qiu

Left: Rachel Shaffer rises from the grave as a dead bride. Above: Peter Macknick and Kevin Macario become 1920s gangsters. Right: Joni Gore embraces the life of a hot dog for a day.

American Barbecue

Sports

Wendy Qiu

Juniors

Cartoons Wendy Qiu

Above: Juniors bring their childhood costumes out of the closet. Center: Derek Lee showcases his San Francisco Giants apparel. Right: Baggy pants, leather jackets and Nike sneakers make a comeback.

1990s Wendy Qiu Courtesy of Karine McColluch

Sophomores 1960s

Courtesy of Avery Sredanovich

Left: Mitch Donat and Avery Sredanovich feel the hippy vibe. Center: Kathleen DeCoste and Lisa Zhang go all out with green accessories. Right: Rachel Rowzee sports a cat costume.

Pets

Green Prius Alex Barthelemy

Wendy Qiu

Freshmen

Yellow Bug Alex Barthelemy

Play Structure Courtesy of Gunn SEC

1950s Courtesy of Catherine Kim

Left: Guy Kasznik shows off his onesie and diaper. Center: Tahra Knudsen and Grace Gandolfo channel the movie Grease in ascots and leather jackets. Right: Dakota Baker, Michelle Zhang, Somina Lee are loud and proud in their bright yellow clothing.

There is one week every year when dressing like a colorblind five-year-old is completely acceptable; when screaming like a lunatic is not only expected but required; when a group of 500 students come together to show a level of unity and camaraderi. In short, it’s just your average Homecoming Week. Looking back at the past four years, I can say with unwavering certainty that Homecoming has been the best 24 days of high school. My first day of my freshmen Homecoming was eye-opening, to say the least. After donning a yellow shirt and jeans that morning, I thought I was proudly representing my class. That pride vanished when I arrived on campus and saw the extent to which students exuberantly displayed their spirit. As I headed to my A period class in my measly yellow T-shirt, I had to walk through a crowd of seniors, like a miniscule Moses parting the Red Sea. It was a memorable, if slightly terrifying, introduction to Homecoming. In sophomore year, I demonstrated a clear improvement in terms of spirit. Facing my mother each morning in my themed costumes no longer filled me with embarrassment. That year’s Night Rally demonstrated a whole new level of class competition, when the Class of 2012 beat the Class of 2011 in Airbands, starting a rivalry that has since become infamous. The stress and anxiety escalated in junior year, when we actually believed we had a chance of winning Homecoming. Each game was a fierce battle between the juniors and the seniors. When it became possible that the seniors might lose, they pulled together for Jar Wars, systematically withdrawing pennies from banks all around Palo Alto. Juniors and seniors were forced to wait until the football game to hear the results. I’m pretty sure the nervous tension accumulated in that week gave me an ulcer. This year’s Homecoming developed a different feel. After three years of listening to the seniors chant, it was finally my turn to yell the classic “Ooh, ah, you wish you were a senior.” For the first time in two years, it felt like the Class of 2012 had no serious competition in Homecoming (sorry, juniors). But the sense of entitlement to victory didn’t stop everyone from going all out; the level of spirit was greater and the camaraderie increased. However, every event was tinged with melancholy. This was the last time I would run like crazy onto the Tug-of-War battlefield to be squished side-byside with other seniors, or experience the charged atmosphere of the Night Rally, or feel the vocal power of the Class of 2012 as we dominated in the Yell Competition After each triumph, I thought, “This is the last time we will win.” It was during this year that I realized how much I would miss the overly competitive and ridiculously spirited Homecomings that Gunn celebrates. My experiences during the last four Homecomings have taught me more than just how to show spirit or win Jar Wars. Inadvertently, these weeks of fun have shown me an important life skill: the ability to laugh at myself. Being able to make a fool of yourself in front of a large group of people, whether it be through a ridiculous costume or participation in the Ten-Man Pass, and then laugh about it is a valuable skill that is vital to success in all fields of life. Homecoming has definitely been one of the highlights in my high school experience. It has been a social gathering, an outlet of creativity and an emotional rollercoaster. And now that it is all over, I can see that in these seven days, we were able to grow as a school, as a class and as people. —Moitra, a senior, is a News Editor


The Oracle (Nov. 2011)