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On-campus cheating practices examined.

The Oracle takes a look at GRT’s robot, Redshift.

Teachers discuss previous sports endeavors.




THEORACLE Henry M. Gunn High School


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


Permit #44 Palo Alto, Calif.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Volume 51, Issue 7

780 Arastradero Road, Palo Alto, CA 94306







Jasmine Garnett

Source: Princeton University Proposition 209 was a 1996 amendment to the California state constitution that banned state government institutions from considering race, sex or ethnicity in public education. Shawna Chen Reporter

On March 17, Senate Constitutional Amendment No. 5 (SCA 5) was withdrawn from the California (CA) State Assembly for revision. Though it was passed in the CA State Senate, the amendment incited controversy over its proposal to delete “specific provisions implemented through the enactment of Proposition 209 that prohibit the State from granting preferential treatment to individuals or groups on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin, in the operation of public education,” as stated in the bill analysis. SCA 5, which was introduced by Senator Edward Hernandez, cites its intent to restore diversity in public post-secondary educational schools. Nevertheless, the amendment has garnered more

than 100,000 signatures through a petition arguing against its motives. The most recent online data from the University of California (UC) Office of the President reports that percentages of black, Latino, and Native American students in the UC system have steadily declined within the last two decades, while the number of Asians rose by 12 percent. “Our hope with this new flexibility is that universities will now be able to create programs that address specific achievement caps, whether that’s an underrepresentation of women in [Science Technology Engineering Mathematics] fields, an underrepresentation of Latinos in sciences, or maybe an underrepresentation of men of color in teacher-credentiality program,” Legislative Aide to Senator Hernandez Ronald Berdugo said. “We are envisioning narrowly-tailored programs but

Debaters qualify to state tournament Rebecca Alger & Lucy Oyer

Features & Managing Editors

Four Gunn debate teams qualified for the California High School Speech Association (CHSSA) State Tournament which will be held at Enochs High School in Modesto on April 25 through 27. Gunn took two of the six available spots for parliamentary debate and two of the nine available spots for policy debate. The two parliamentary debate teams— seniors David Patou and Ben Atlas and seniors Manu Navjeevan and Antonio Puglisi—won their spots at the Coast Forensic League (CFL) Parliamentary State Qualifiers at Leland High School on March 7 and 8. The two policy debate teams—seniors Catalina Zhao and Amy Shen and sophomores Ajay Raj and Kush Dubey—won their spots at the CFL Policy Debate State Qualifiers at Westmont High School on March 14 and 15. In Parliamentary Debate, two-student teams are given 20 minutes to prepare af-

ter the topic is announced. Participants must rely on their existing knowledge of domestic policy and foreign affairs to craft an argument and refute the contentions of their opposition. “Parliamentary debate is characterized by its improvisational nature,” Atlas said. In contrast, however, Policy Debate participants are given a topic that they research beforehand. The topic remains the same for the entirety of the school year. This year, debaters must decide if the United States federal government should substantially increase its economic engagement with Cuba, Venezuela or Mexico. “To prepare for Policy Debate, a team creates an affirmative plan—40 or so pieces of evidence advocating a certain course of action for the United States Federal Government, and create case negatives for other affirmative plans that are run by other schools—50 or so pieces of evidence,” Raj said. Prior knowledge of the issue is DEBATE—p.4

we don’t detail exactly what schools should do, and that’s on purpose because every campus has its own achieving challenges. How admissions officers interpret or use the new flexibility, it’s up to them.” According to Berdugo, all students must still meet qualifications for UC colleges if SCA 5 is enacted. “Our hope is that we’re allowing flexibility so that schools can start creating programs to figure out what can we do to make sure that our campus is more diverse but also so that [underrepresented students] are successful,” he said. “Under Prop. 209, they can make programs, but they can’t specifically target groups, which we think is a problem.” However, Berdugo does not consider SCA 5 a byway for discrimination. “We actually never needed Prop 209 to prevent discrimination,” he said. “We already have a whole list of

both federal and state laws that prevents discrimination based on race, sex, gender, sexual orientation.” Assistant Principal of Guidance Tom Jacoubowsky understands the backlash to SCA 5, but also sees the proposal’s potential merits. “We’ve had opportunities in our [community] in so many ways that I am for opportunities for other groups who in a sense haven’t had those advantages,” he said. To Jacoubowsky, SCA 5 will not add much more to the subjectivity that already holds a place within the college admission process. “If you have the ability to throw a football 40 yards with incredible accuracy, then what it takes to get into certain colleges is a lot less than what it takes without that ability,” he said. “I know a lot of people get fixated on certain schools but to be successful in life, PROPOSITION—p.3

Girls’ basketball places second in CCS BASKETBALL, p.21

Stephanie Kim

Stephanie Kim




SNAPSHOTS CLASH OF THE TITANS “It was cool how people were chanting our names and that I got to play against the teachers.” —Lauren Johnson (12)

Mariachi Band

“I have never had such good food at school.”—Charlie Racz (9)

International Potluck

“The energy got me really pumped and it was cool to see everyone with so much spirit.” —Mara Greene (10)

“The performances at lunch were amazing!”—Yasmine Hamady (10) “Now I know how to dance to every international song.”­—Chris Vistnes (11)

“It was such an amazing experience to see all of my friends and my teachers root each other on. I am definitely going to go next year.” —Danny Golovinsky (11)

International Club Food Fair

“It was really fun seeing the game and seeing the students try to beat the teachers.” —Jeanne Blain (9)

“I learned to be much more accepting of cultures outside of the Palo Alto bubble.”—Hans von Clemm (12) “I liked how the whole school came together.” —Anthony Arinaga (12)

Senior Nabeil Kizilbash

Flag Ceremony


Math teacher Chris Karas

Barron Park residents alarmed over toxin report Shireen Ahsan

Assistant Business Manager

Residents of Palo Alto’s Barron Park have challenged the corporation Communication and Power Industries (CPI), stating that CPI’s consultant risk-assessment report, released Feb. 20, is a lacking, shallow overview of the company’s potentially hazardous operations. Residents have raised concerns about the operations having a detrimental effect on the environment. Barron Park residents are hoping that by conducting a more thorough risk-assessment, CPI’s plating shop will have to move. The assessment, which is supposed to take place in the near future, will look at the condition of the factory with respect to seismic regulation, employee training, chemical containment, alarm systems and more. CPI is a spin-off of the company Varian Associates, founded in 1948. It has been manufacturing products like microwave and radio frequency products for defense, the medical field, communication and other purposes. Resi-

dents are concerned about the metal plating part of the manufacturing process that takes place in their backyards since it is located on Hansen Way. Until 2004, the CPI plating shop was located in San Carlos, away from any homes or public land. Since the company moved to Palo Alto in 2006 there has been a string of complaints, ranging from noise to lifethreatening incidents, such as the 2006 nitric acid cloud released from the plating shop that made a worker on the roof of a home adjacent to the factory feel dizzy and almost fall off. This incident was the first to draw attention to the issue. “Only from that worker [did we realize the situation], otherwise this whole thing would have remained under wraps,” Barron Park resident Sue Benjamin said. “The incident opened our eyes. This is unreasonable land use.” In 2008, there were over 100 gallons of toxic waste spillage from the site. Some leaked into the company’s rear driveway and in another incident, into the Matadero creek. Following the complaints, CPI announced in a report to the City Council that it made significant improvements in containment, a larms systems and emergency response systems and that it created a new evacuation plan. It has reduced its quantities of chemicals below the Title 19 levels, which state that a company with certain amounts of toxic chemicals must be 300 feet from residential areas. Barron Park residents report that CPI has reduced chemical quantities by increasing the amount of waste pickups. In 2006, the City Council did authorize an amortization study to assess how much time the company needs to operate until they can move without a negative effect on the company’s finances. The study concluded the company could afford relocating the plating shop in 20 years, 12 years from now. But according to City of Palo Alto Assistant Planner Aaron Aknin, CPI has said it cannot move for a considerable amount of time, in the 30-to-40-year range so the city will plan accordingly. “City staff will be making a recommendation to City Council that CPI’s activities on this site become ‘nonconforming’ from a land use/zoning standpoint,” Aknin said.

Senior Elyas Daadi

YCS holds annual service day Alex Man Reporter

On March 6, the Youth Community Service (YCS) club held its annual service day. Students signed up to volunteer at events across the Bay Area, many of which are headed by nonprofit organizations that partner with YCS to provide an opportunity for students to engage in community service work. These events included removing non-native invasive plants from a beach in Half Moon Bay, preparing and serving lunches to the homeless in a soup kitchen and participating in a habitat restoration project. This year, two new locations were added: students could help out underprivileged youth at the Lauren’s House 4 Positive Change or assist the elderly at the Sunrise Senior Center. YCS adv iser Mark Hernandez super v ised t his year’s YCS Service Day. According to Hernandez, this year’s service day was really well-planned and all of the student leaders did a very good job. “I’m really impressed how committed and resourceful the leaders are,” Hernandez said. “They did a really good job securing positions, getting permission slips and any number of administration tasks that are very timeconsuming. They do them all very fastidiously and very earnestly.” Much of the planning is done by the student leaders. Hernandez stated that he has a minor role compared to the student leaders. “I do a lot of the admin stuff like signing forms and sending emails to the staff but all of the planning is done by the students,” Hernandez said. Senior Victor Liu attended the Half Moon Bay Beach cleanup. According to Liu, he felt that the service day provided insight into how invasive species are a serious threat. “I thought the whole event was really fun,” Liu said. “We helped get rid of the foreign plants and learned the impact they could bring to the beach ecosystem. Spending some time on the beach was a big plus as well.” Senior Stephanie Do volunteered at the Padua dining room where volunteers helped prepare lunches. “I think that volunteering where there are people at your service site is an awesome feeling because you get to directly experience the impact you’ve made on the community,” Do said.

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

Editorial Board Editor-in-Chief Catalina Zhao Managing Editors Mitch Donat Lucy Oyer News Cooper Aspegren Lawrence Chen Nabeel Chollampat Forum Ben Atlas Leon Cheong Klaire Tan Features Rebecca Alger Chaewon Lee Danielle Yacobson Centerfold Rachel Lew Stephanie Zhang Sports Pooja Belur Alvin Wang Entertainment Sam Acker Misheel Enkhbat Noa Livneh Photo Audey Shen Graphics Jasmine Garnett

Staff Copy Anuva Ganapathi Kavya Padmanabhan Tim Wang

Friday, March 21, 2014

State affirmative action proposal earns criticism PROPOSITION—p.1

there are so many other components.” Jacoubowsky believes that perpetuation is the reason behind increasing disproportionality rates within California’s public education system. “People who have the wealth and the means have the opportunity to go to the good schools, have the opportunity to hire tutors for their kids, which helps inflate, say, their SAT scores, which helps them get into good colleges,” Jacoubowsky said. “So kids who are privileged keep moving on and kids who maybe have not had those opportunities kind of lag farther and farther behind.” However, if SCA 5 is implemented, Jacoubowsky hopes that colleges continue giving underrepresented students support. Sophomore Cristobal Gonzalez believes that SCA 5 is a significant step toward maintaining diversity in the public education system. “What’s extremely important for a good college environment is diversity and diversity of opinions and ideas,” he said. Though Gonzalez acknowledges the negative reactions to SCA 5, he also notes the idea of entitlement to college as hindering judgement. “You have to think that these [underrepresented] students aren’t taking someone’s spots and that no one is entitled to a spot in college,” he said. According to Gonzalez, the number of minority applications to UC colleges and California State Universities has dropped due to certain cultural beliefs. “There’s a culture in this community full of minorities where children and high schools look at the people around them and they just don’t think of college as a tangible idea,” he said. “They don’t know people who have gone to college, they don’t know the process, they’d much rather go straight to the workforce, so I think a lot of it is just that they don’t see that path of coming to college as a possibility.” Junior Pratyusha Meka understands the intention behind SCA 5 but points out how it could be easily used for the wrong reasons. “It’s going against everything written in our Constitution about giving rights to people so they can pursue education,” she said. “If they want, they can set aside a certain part of the student body to be of the minority and allow the rest to be open admissions. Meka believes that SCA 5 would affect much of Gunn’s population if passed. “A majority of people at Gunn are intelligent and have a

Tech Lisa Hao Roy Shadmon Business/Circulation Erica Lee Shireen Ahsan (Asst.) Matt Niksa (Asst.) Regina Tran (Asst.) Photographers Stephanie Kim Anthony Tran

Adviser Kristy Blackburn

promising future, but if they are not accepting people based on gender or race, then I feel like this could be a huge disadvantage because a majority of our student body is Asian,” she said. Alternatives to SCA 5 can be made so that the emphasis is not on race or gender but on socioeconomic status, Meka says. “The best thing the U.S. can do is provide more seats to students at a more affordable price; then if you are of this economic status, you can compete with other kids of that same economic status to get those seats,” she said. “If you work hard enough and you put a goal and you meet that goal, your education should not be limited just because of your race

“If you work hard enough and you put a goal and you meet that goal, your education should not be limited just because of your race or gender because you cannot control that.” —Junior Pratyusha Meka

or gender because you cannot control that.”’ While SCA 5 may not be intended to target race, sophomore Annie Vesey notes that the amendment allows categorization of race. “By categorizing people by race and accepting based on race, then that is thinking and putting race into it,” she said. “Race should not be a factor in college acceptance because there are other factors they can use to diversify their campus that still supports a person with non-qualifying grades, such as work ethic and personality represented in interviews.” Nonetheless, Vesey understands the need for diverse campuses. “The reason schools aren’t diverse is because everyone doesn’t receive the same secondary education that prepares them for the college level,” Vesey said. “If everyone is put on the same playing field, schools will naturally diversify and schools won’t have to turn away someone who is more qualified.” Freshman Duchess Dankwah also agrees with this notion. “If you want more diverse colleges, you have to start in communities first because the only reason people get into colleges is because they all worked hard, but it’s not your race that determines how hard you’re going to work,”


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

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

I really liked it overall and I enjoy it when The Oracle does school-wide surveys in its articles. It covered a diverse range of articles, like food and relationships. I liked the feminism articles and the pro-con. —Langsi Wu, 12

February 21, 2014 The most interesting to me was the chart of AP class enrollment based on gender. It sparked a lot of relevant conversation in my classes which I thought was great. I also liked the perspectives on feminism as well as the article about Skelly stepping down. —Hope Schroeder, 12 The last thing I remember was the eight things to do in SF—it was really informative and actually useful. —Lisa Wang, 10

she said. “That’s yours to determine.” According to Dankwah, passing this amendment could lead to more racism. “I think [SCA 5] just brings the idea of a superior race,” she said. “Someone could come up to you and say, ‘Oh, you obviously know you got into that college just because of your race.’” Furthermore, preferential treatment based on race or gender could cause more stress. “You shouldn’t have the fear of not getting into college because of your race,” Dankwah said. “You should have the fear of maybe not doing so well on the SAT and etc.” Senior Kirsten Wei says that instead of discriminating against race or gender, the government should give all public school students equal resources needed to meet qualifications for college. “Education at some K-12 schools is better than other schools even though they’re all public schools, and people deserve to get equal education,” Wei said. While Wei acknowledges that SCA 5 may assist some students, its ideals seem unfair to most. “It should not be based on something you can’t choose,” she said. “You can choose to push yourself, but you can’t choose your ethnicity or sex.” English teacher Mark Hernandez, unrelated to Senator Hernandez, predicts rapid complications if SCA 5 is enacted. “That gets dicey, obviously, and though there are good arguments on either side, it gets messy real fast,” he said. “I certainly don’t think it will be a magic bullet for whatever ill they’re trying to cure.” Mark Hernandez believes socioeconomic status would be more relevant for affirmative action. “My guess is that socioeconomic status has more to do with performance than race or gender,” he said. “That makes a big difference, when you’ve got people who have fewer means, that means, fewer tutors, fewer opportunities, etc., so I think it matters in the long run.” Currently, SCA 5 is undergoing a re-evaluation. Through the process, Senator Hernandez hopes to clarify misinformation about the amendment. “The point is to address concerns opponents have, which might mean amending or even rewriting the proposal,” he said in an interview with Pasadena Star News. If the revised amendment is passed by the legislature, it could be placed on the ballot again as early as 2016. However, Mark Hernandez does not believe the SCA 5 will become law. “The more dire the predictions, the stronger the fight,” he said. “There’s gonna be a constitutional battle for sure.”

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

I want to see less opinion polls and more focus on news or state affairs, and also more stuff on student groups on campus. Lots of clubs are doing really good things that aren’t getting lots of publicity. —Lisa Zhang, 12

Graphics Artists Paige Anderson Ally Gong Anton Oyung Allison Paley Carolyn Zhou Dave Zhu Reporters Elinor Aspegren, Lena Campbell, Shawna Chen, Ian Cramer, Aayush Dubey, Kush Dubey, Nia Gardner, Matthew Hamilton, Prachi Kale, Yuki Klotz-Burwell, Esther Kozakevich, Hayley Krolik, Emily Kvitko, Joanne Lee, Ryeri Lim, Christine Lin, Alex Man, Naina Murthy, Arjun Sahdev, Henry Siu, Isaac Wang, Erica Watkins, Justin Wenig, Kathleen Xue, Elizabeth Zu


I want to see more League of Legends articles. I think League of Legends is very prominent in our school and a lot of people would be interested in reading about it. —Brian Chan, 11 There was an interesting mix of love advice and politics/opinions. —Grace Park, 10 I did find certain articles to be sexist and very biased. It should be less personal. —Daniel Rothenberg, 11

I want to see more interactive activities, like sudokus and crosswords, or maybe political cartoons in the opinions section. —Sharon Chen, 11 I’d like to see a story about ideas on what to do during spring break since that’s coming up soon. —Marlene Goetz, 9 I thought it was the best one yet. It was extremely interesting, especially seeing gender discrepancies in math/science classes. —Larry Wang, 12 I would like to see more infographics. —Edwin Lai, 11

The Oracle is a 2013 NSPA Pacemaker Award winner.



Debate members qualify for states Jose. While Gunn competes against both helpful, but debaters sometimes have to use schools regularly, Patou’s biggest concern other methods of refutation in order to dis- is the uncertainty of how well-prepared the prove their opponent. “Preparation mainly other teams are. “We’re very familiar with involves doing research and doing practice the teams from our area but not familiar with debates,” Shen said. “Arguments in policy many teams from the rest of California,” he debate have to be backed up by evidence, so said. “They could be really, really good or not if you haven’t researched a particular topic so good—we don’t really know so we’re prebeforehand, you just have to rely on finding paring for the former.” flaws in your opponents’ evidence.” Puglisi, who only started debate this year, While both styles of debate require ex- echoes Patou’s sentiment. “Our biggest contensive research, parliamentary debaters cern is the competition—we’re facing some must also be informed of of the best debaters in recent developments in the state so the going global and domestic af- “We check the news everyday will be tough,” Puglisi fairs. “The best way to be and then practice arguing the said. “We’re happy just prepared is to be up-todifferent viewpoints of each to have made it this far, date with current events,” so we’ll give it our best Patou said. “We check issue. Beyond that, one of the and see how deep we the news everyday and best ways to get better at win- can get in the tournathen practice arguing the ning is to get better at speak- ment.” different viewpoints of Raj is nervous ing.” each issue. Beyond that, about his chances at —senior David Patou one of the best ways to the state tournament. get better at winning is to get better at speak- “Gunn is not a really well-known school for ing. Presentation is a really big deal.” policy debate, and being a sophomore team According to Shen, competing in the CFL going into the tournament makes us certainLeague Tournaments from October through ly concerned for the state tournament,” Raj February is one of the main ways of prepar- said. “Since Gunn is only sending four peoing for the State and National Qualifiers, ple to the tournament, we don’t have many held in March. “When you’re in a debate people compiling evidence.” round, you’re forced to give extemporaneous Even though Gunn’s debate teams lack speeches, pick apart your opponents’ argu- the financial resources and support that othments, defend your points during cross-ex- er high schools in the league have, they conamination, and present convincingly to par- tinue to do exceptionally well. “Gunn’s kind ent judges—all of which you get better at of an underdog—we don’t have a coach, our by going to tournaments and debating,” she team is small, and we don’t spend nearly as said. much time preparing as other schools do, so According to Patou, two of the best teams it’s always a good feeling when we’re able to in California are Bellarmine College Prepa- beat them,” Shen said. “It’s great to see our ratory and Leland High School, both in San hard work and commitment pay off.” DEBATE—p.1

Courtesy of Catalina Zhao

Courtesy of Ben Atlas

Top: Seniors Amy Shen and Catalina Zhao, and sophomores Kush Dubey and Ajay Raj display the awards that they won at policy debate qualifiers. Bottom: Seniors David Patou, Ben Atlas, Antonio Puglisi and Manu Navjeevan accept trophies as awards for their performances at parliamentary debate qualifiers.

Bell schedule changes considered Klaire Tan

Forum Editor

Discussions are underway to modify Gunn’s bell schedule. Currently, the Creative Schedule Committee (CSC)— responsible for developing the new schedule—is looking at the needs of students and staff members. Led by Dean of Students James Lubbe, the committee hopes to modify the schedule to better accommodate student academic life, emotional health and extracurricular activities. “It’s about supporting students in the ways we’re not supporting them right now,” Lubbe said. “We want students to be balanced, so if we can somehow modify the schedule in any way to help the students achieve that, then we’re doing what we need to.” Additional priorities include increasing usage of tutorial, allowing more time for teacher collaboration and creating opportunities for small-group meetings with counselors. The CSC was formed after the Instructional Council—a group consisting of instructional supervisors, administrators and program directors—found a recurring theme in the recommendations it received. According to Lubbe, some staff members expressed interest in opportunities for teacher collaboration, while the Gunn Advisory Committee (GAC) recommended small-group meetings for counselors and their students. Both proposals would require changes to the school structure. Currently, the Gunn schedule does not have a consistent time period for teachers to come together and discuss common courses, plan classes and more. Instead, teachers rely on common prep periods and personal time to do so. In addition, a move towards a blended delivery of oneon-one and small-group meetings with

counselors would require a more flexible bell schedule. According to GAC member and Assistant Principal Tom Jacoubowsky, the goal is for students to meet in small groups with their assigned counselors two to three times each year. “It would allow us to create more opportunities for students and their counselors to be in connection with each other,” he said. Ideally, the modified bell schedule would accommodate both teacher collaboration and small-group meetings regularly. According to Lubbe, the CSC has looked at over 50 possible bell schedules, but has not yet made any decisions on any specific formats. “We’re not locked into any one model,” he said. “To say ‘this is the way we’re going to go’ would be detrimental to the whole process.” Before developing ideas for possible alternatives, the committee hopes to first determine school needs. In order to achieve this, the CSC gathered student responses to block schedules, seven-period days and adjustments to other fixtures, such as tutorial and the passing period. Results showed that the majority of students were supportive of the current bell schedule. Senior Neel Guha agrees that Gunn’s current schedule is fine as it is. He finds that having a block schedule or having consistent seven-period days would provide either too much or not enough time. “I’ve never had a problem with the schedule,” Guha said. “The schedule isn’t broken, so you don’t need to fix it.” The CSC will continue to discuss staff and student needs until the end of the 2013-2014 school year. Around next October, the committee will develop two alternative bell schedules to present to the staff. According to Lubbe, the bell schedule is unlikely to undergo any major changes.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Search begins for successor to superintendent Aayush Dubey Reporter

The Palo Alto Board of Education has selected a search firm to help look for the next Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) Superintendent. After assessing three search firms to decide which firm will have the most efficient system in gathering a list of superintendent successors, the Board chose to use the Leadership Associates search firm on March 11. According to School Board Vice President Melissa Baten Caswell, each search firm is made up of a small group of people, some of whom are former superintendents of other districts, that plans to use its own methods to look for qualified candidates. These processes will find a way to advertise and recruit candidates, provide progress reports for the Board and help narrow down the selections to the final few. Caswell believes that the same search firm selection for the superintendent in 2007 was successful, so the Board is using this same procedure and firm to find Dr. Kevin Skelly’s replacement. On March 10, each of the three search firms had to provide 20- to 30-minute presentations to inform the Board of its overall proposal of finding the next superintendent. After an additional 40 minutes of questioning, the Board decided on Leadership Associates. According to a PAUSD press release given out on March 5, the search firm will use its time from March 17 to March 28 to collect viewpoints from focus groups and community input forums. Although the rest of the dates are not planned, the Board intends to select its final candidate by late April or early May, and he or she will be in place by July 1. According to School Board President Barbara Mitchell, the superintendent has to chart the vision of the district and work with the Board on strategic planning initiatives and overall improvement

goals. Mitchell believes that it is essential for the superintendent to look at the areas where the district is weak and where it continues to be strong, and use advice from both the community and the Board to make critical decisions. School Board member Dana Tom thinks that the variety of opinions will provide a proper balance between stakeholders and the Board’s opinions for the community. “We need a capable leader who can listen well, express himself or herself well, can analyze input well and is always willing to think about decisions and taking into account the best information that they can get,” Tom said. Mitchell hopes that the search firm will be capable of finding a small number of efficient superintendent candidates who are enthusiastic and looking forward to the job. However, she believes that the overall process of looking for the next superintendent may be a difficult challenge, despite the search firm’s understanding of the ideal candidate. According to Mitchell and Tom, there are a lot of qualifications and requirements for one to become a superintendent, and the Board expects a candidate with a lot of experience. “It’s hard to find one person who is everything that we want or expect,” Mitchell said. Tom says that there is a large learning component for a superintendent to get to know the community, staff and the overall strategic plans for the future. He expects the next superintendent to work within that framework and try to make the most progress toward achieving the Board’s main goals. In addition, Caswell believes that the next superintendent will have to be focused on maintaining and improving excellence for PAUSD, as well as the academic and socioemotional excellence for students. “We want someone who is excited [and enthusiastic] in doing this job, and maps to the culture of our community,” Caswell says. “This is an excellent district, and we need an excellent and charismatic person to run it.”


Science classes introduced for 2014-2015 Kathleen Xue Reporter

Class enrollment this year featured new and altered classes in different subjects. These classes include Marine Biology, Nanotechnology and Physics Honors, which are to be first piloted on campus beginning the 2014-2015 school year. Marine Biology will be taught by Biology 1A teacher Navneet Schworetzky. The class will focus on the biological, chemical and physical aspects of life in the ocean. According to Schworetzky, the class will be heavily lab-based with little lecture time and have as many hands-on activities as possible. “My goal is to put together biology, chemistry and physics all together into one class,” Schworetzky said. “Putting together all of my experiences teaching, I realized that teaching marine biology takes a lot more than just bio to fully understand it.” Another new science class offered will be Physics Honors, taught by current AP Physics B teacher Dr. Jacintha Kompella. Unlike the current Physics H being offered, the 2014-2015 Physics H will replace AP Physics B and will broaden the scope of the current Physics H material to include more aspects of the current Physics B class, so that students have more time to explore the various aspects of physics. “The reason for the change is because Collegeboard decided that the old course had a lot of topics—it was really a one-and-a half-year course—so we kept a really grueling pace in the past,” Kompella said. “In the new Physics H course, we’ll have more time to do more demos, more labs, projects, both building and researching and maybe even collaborate with other disciplines such as biology, chemistry, photo, GRT, auto and more.” Physics H will still be a weighted class and prepare students for the AP Physics B exam as well as the Physics SAT. Students have expressed interest in enrolling in the new classes offered. A few students, including sophomore Emily Wong, have decided to consider enrolling in the new science classes. “I think it would be an interesting choice, since it’s new, and I’m excited to see what it has to offer,” Wong said. “Also, I think this class, which offers learning through lab-based work and field trips, would educate us in a new way and I want to experience that.” Both Schworetzky and Kompella are excited about the new classes and are interested to see where it will lead them. “I hope that through this class students will find that the things learned in this class are relevant, and they learn that there’s a reason why you learn these things, and later on you can apply them,” Schworetzky said.

6 Forum EDITORIAL: The Opinion of The Oracle

Gunn should keep current bell schedule, consider changes to tutorial. The Creative Schedule Committee (CSC), which has seven-period-day schedules and 70-minute period sched- vantageous to students as is. Extending tutorial duration been tasked this year with developing an alternaules are both flawed in this regard. The shorter would only interfere with the plans of teachers by asking tive bell schedule for the school to adopt, is periods of a seven-period day can make it them to stay past 3:35 p.m., the usual ending time, while currently discerning the preferences of more difficult for teachers to cover all shortening it would prevent students the student body and staff. Recently, the planned lesson material, while from acquiring the assistance they students were asked to complete longer 70-minute periods can need. a survey which asked for feeddrain students. In addiInstead of moving the back on the bell schedule covtion, when a student is placement of tutorial or ad75% of students ering passing periods, tutorial out sick, there would justing its session length, do not want and class times. According to be more work for him the CSC should consider tutorial Dean of Students James Lubto return to after missincreasing tutorial sessions anytime but be, the CSC is collecting data ing a longer class. In to both Tuesdays and Thursafter school to decide what specifics of the addition, traditional days. The current schedule schedule to address. The comblock schedules condoesn’t provide enough flexmittee hopes to incorporate tribute to a more stressful ibility to students in terms of teacher collaboration time and workload, since homework is when tutorial occurs. By restrictts small group guidance meetings, as assigned in larger chunks because ing tutorial to Tuesdays only, students d co tu me well as increase tutorial attendance. classes meet less often. Students who consistently have after-school activities scheduled ns n from Gu In September, the CSC will be draftwho tend to procrastinate will have on Tuesdays are not able to attend tutorial. Furthermore, a survey of 1358 ing two preliminary schedule plans to be more homework to deal with at the last Tuesday might not always be the best day for tutorial, reviewed by teachers and administrators. The moment. Thus, traditional block schedules are since many tests occur at the end of the week. ThereOracle believes that the CSC should leave the majority not worth the increase in student stress. fore, Tuesday tutorials are not always relevant to these of the bell schedule as is, while addressing tutorial placeAnother feature of Gunn’s current bell schedule that is assessments. If the CSC were to increase tutorial occurment, teacher collaboration and small-group guidance beneficial to students is its current tutorial system, spe- rence, students who originally weren’t able to attend afmeetings. cifically tutorial’s placement and length. While the CSC ter school sessions on Tuesday would then be able to. The CSC can be reassured that changes do not need to hopes to increase tutorial usage, changing the placement Similarly, tutorial sessions would coincide more closely be made to the main structure of Gunn’s bell schedule. and length of tutorial would only discourage students with test and project dates, and therefore encourage atHaving six 58-minute periods is the best arrangement from attending tutorial use. Currently, conducting tutorial tendance. Thus, the CSC would achieve its goal of inbecause it provides balance between periods that are too as the last period in the day provides a more flexible time creasing tutorial usage. short or too long. In 58 minutes, teachers can cover all placement which allows students the freedom to choose While The Oracle believes that there should be little the material of a lesson and students are more likely to whether or not to attend, especially if they need to leave change to Gunn’s bell schedule, it feels schedule revibe able to focus the entire time. In comparison, having for after-school programs. Placing tutorial in the middle sion in order to accommodate small-group meetings and of the day would force students who do not need tutoteacher collaboration time would be a worrial to stay at school an extra hour longer than they thy endeavor. do normally, and placing tutorial in the morning Currently, students rarely have the would be ineffective because students would opportunity to interact with their 47% of be more likely to sleep in and skip specific counselors on a personal tutorial rather than particilevel. Students attend counseling students are pate. Meanwhile, the sessions that are not necessarily participating current length of held by their specific counselors. tutorial is adHowever, under the Guidance in spring Advisory Committee’s (GAC) sports vision of small-group meetings, these sessions would always be held by the assigned counselors, allowing students to build a stronger relationship with them than under the current meeting formats. In addition, The Oracle finds that the results of teacher collaboration efforts would greatly benefit students. Cross-department curricula that parallel each other would help develop classes which complement each other for a greater depth of learning. In addition, teachers may be able to design schedules which consider the upcoming tests and projects from multiple subjects. However, under the current schedule, teachers are rarely able to meet across departments for collaboration since not enough time is allotted for collaboration and department meetings on Thursdays. Considering the positive ramifications of small-group meetings and teacher collaboration, it would be reasonable for the bell schedule to be modified in order to accommodate these two new developments. All in all, The Oracle finds that the CSC should not change the primary structure of Gunn’s bell schedule, though changes to the schedule for the sake of incorporating teacher collaboration time and small-group meetings would be reasonable, considering their academic benefits. Furthermore, The Oracle would recommend the committee to consider increasing tutorial occurrence in order to achieve its goal of increasing tutorial attendance.

ri o d



Paige Anderson



a St

en ts

58% of students prefer our current schedule over any alternative

—Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of the staff (assenting: 31; dissenting: 6; abstaining: 23)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Conforming to fashion trends overrated Elizabeth Zu Lately, I’ve come to suspect that every girl on the face of the Earth probably owns a pair of black yoga pants. I’m not sure why they all need a pair, since the large majority of them don’t practice yoga. I could say the same for boys and the amusing way that half of them sag their pants and the other half never change out of their P.E. shorts. But once you stop to think about it, it all boils down to following the trends—adhering to the norm. And to that, (and Uggs), I say, “UGH.” It’s one thing to stay up-to-date on fashion trends, but it’s another to be dependent on them. Everyone knows someone with a great sense of style and someone who probably has the same wardrobe as all of his buddies. Now, it’s perfectly okay to be twinning with your friends. Maybe you just happen to have a similar taste for clothes. And if you really do love something, feel free to wear it. But when you buy something solely because all your friends have it and you’re afraid of looking mismatched, it crosses the line between “fashion” to

“the uniform.” While wearing whatever everyone else is wearing may be playing it safe and ensures a certain sense of normalcy, it is an unhealthy form of bowing to peer pressure. Fashion is simply a means by which one can express him or herself. And like the other ways in which we all express ourselves, sometimes we encounter the dreadful deterrent called peer pressure. A Gallup poll of teens aged 13 to 17 fou nd t hat 17 p e r c e n t

agreed that peer pressure and fitting in appearance-wise were the most important problem facing them. Many teens devote a lot of time to worrying about what others think of them. This is completely normal though, especially at our age. It certainly isn’t true that appearances aren’t important and you won’t be judged for your choices in an outfit made out of strips of meat. Not everyone has the towering self-confidence of Lady Gaga. The important thing is to avoid basing your decisions off of others. No matter how cheesy it is, you are a special snowf lake. You don’t necessarily have to be a totally-uniqueand-unprecedented-in-history specia l snow f la ke, but you should be aware that you are, at the very least, not a copy. When you wear something you may not necessarily like because you want to fit in, you’re placing others’ opinions above your own. It may pay off in the short term, but in the long run, any kind of relationship dependent on another’s approval is not going to last and is neither healthy nor worthwhile. A true friend would accept you for who you are, weird fashion taste and all. So don’t be afraid to bust out those clothes you bought ages ago but never wore out of fear of humiliation. After all, Lady Gaga never made fashion headlines in yoga pants. —Zu, a freshman, is a reporter.

Ally Gong

Ditch the brotanks, sagging and athletic shoes Esther Kozakevich I am a firm believer in wearing what you want and expressing yourself. But sometimes it feels as though guys wear certain clothes not to express their personal style, but because they think wearing them will make girls find them more attractive. I’m here to clear up common misconceptions. And now, for the disclaimer: all girls are different, obviously, and this is just the opinion that I have formulated and heard expressed by other females. I’m not saying that guys should stop wearing the specific clothing items I’m about to list, or that no guy can pull off said items. This is not meant to be taken to heart, and if any of the soon to be mentioned statements offend you, I’m sorry. Kind of. Bro tanks, or shirts that cut off at the shoulders and have long arm holes, are shirts most typically worn by surfers, frat guys and lacrosse players. Guys, wearing a bro tank does not automatically give you the appearance of bulging biceps. This clothing item in particular is extremely tricky, as it can look strange if worn in the wrong size. Bro tanks too large may quickly develop sack-like qualities, however, worn tight they may unflatteringly cling to the body. Also, bro tanks give off a very specific vibe. Although it

is wrong to generalize, when I picture a guy in a bro tank, what comes to mind is a not-too-bright Neanderthal whose main points of conversation include beer, cars and Kate Upton. Bro tanks get old really fast, and even if you look incredible, girls won’t take you seriously if you wear them repeatedly. Sagging is probably one of the most inexplicable phenomenons of ma le fashion. I have a hard time seeing sag-

miraculously manage to pull it off, and sagging is fine in moderation. But if the waistband of your jeans is at the level of your crotch, and if walking up the stairs is a legitimate struggle for you, it has gone too far. Last but not least, a trend particularly popular at Gunn: wearing sneakers to school. I know these are probably not worn with the ladies in mind, but still. Much like sagging, I will never understa nd why boys cho os e to we a r athletic shoes to s c ho ol . D o you think you’ll have to engage i n a n impromptu basketball game in the middle of history or be forced to run a marathon during science class? And unless you’re one of the token freshmen that sprint to their next class as if their life depends on it, shoes designed with speed and lightness in mind are really not a necessity. Please invest in a generic, overpriced brand of skater shoes like the rest of us. Once again, my sarcastic suggestions are not meant to be taken too seriously. If wearing Nikes to school makes you feel alive, so be it. Who am I to stand in the way of self expression?

I’m not saying that guys should stop wearing the specific clothing items I’m about to list, or that no guy can pull off said items. This is not meant to be taken to heart, and if any of the soon to be mentioned statements offend you, I’m sorry. Kind of. ging as a form of self expression, so the only possible reason that guys do it so much is because they think it makes them look cool or attractive to girls. Let me clear this up once and for all: girls don’t want to see your bony backside and generic boxers. Sagging is probably insanely uncomfortable, and the waddle that accompanies this trend is one of the most preposterous things I’ve ever seen. Now, as with all trends, some people will

—Kozakevich, a junior, is a reporter.


Lose the V-neck Nabeel Chollampat The V-neck—it seems harmless enough. It’s simply a “V” instead of an “O,” right? Yet, in my opinion, stripping away that little triangle of fabric is the metaphorical equivalent of shedding just as much of one’s dignity. And to top it off, there are the boat shoes; I didn’t know we had frats in high school. Believe it or not, I can actually conjure up more than one reason as to why I dislike the male V-neck. Let’s say you’ve started growing a few hairs on your large chest, bulging from years of working out only your pectorals at the Jewish Community Center (JCC). Let’s say you’ve started growing more than a few hairs; in fact, your JCC-enhanced upper body is now crawling with the untamed beasts. The V-neck has empowered, rather than beaten back, the closeted chest hair enthusiast. Now, we are all prey to the vicious epidemic of free-range puberty, right in our own school and before our very own eyes. But what if you’re ashamed of your hairy chest? Thus, the V-neck effectively discriminates against those more dignity-inclined individuals. Eliminate the option altogether and the United States is one step closer to equality. Moreover, V-necks leave more room for experimentation. Saturday Night Live produced an ingenious skit a while back, featuring Ben Stiller parodying the varying sizes of said V’s. Satire though it may be, the bit brought to light an ugly truth. By opening the door to the uncharted realm of collar alteration, we’ve opened the Pandora’s Box of experimental fashion designers; who knows how deep the V could fall? Without going into too much detail, anyone who has seen Borat should be alarmed at this current trend of “deep V-necks.” Meanwhile, the boat shoe is the current trend of footwear for well-off males. At the same time a symbol of unprecedented pretentiousness and the fraternities that make this country so great, the “Sperry Top-Sider” boat shoe represents an alarming trend in fashion. It’s not actually alarming (these are shoes we’re talking about), but disconcerting, to say the least. For one, the number of proud “boat-shoe” wearers who actually sail (I’m going to rule out the option of actually owning a boat for the sake of this column) is, in my humble estimate, roughly the same as the number of people who claim the addictiveness of a certain thing is “like crack” and have actually tried crack. It’s the glorified equivalent of wearing basketball shoes to school when you have literally no intention of playing basketball later, except with boat shoes, this trend is comforted by the guise of feeling “classier.” OK, fine; maybe sailing is an obscure enough sport (country club activity?) to let that slide. But there’s no mistaking the inescapable, “wannabe-frat-boy” air of those brown leather kicks. In striving to emulate Greek life of the universities we haven’t yet gotten into, we’ve crossed the proverbial bridge before we’ve gotten to it, and, in my opinion, we look like idiots. But, most importantly, there’s likely some aspect to criticize concerning most fashion choices. Anyone could come up with a harsh attack on my own decidedly dull, colorless brand of clothing, and I’d be hard-pressed to respond with a legitimate defense. It’s just that V-necks and boat shoes make it too easy. —Chollampat, a senior, is a News Editor.




SCA 5 recognizes unfair socioeconomic gap


What is Senate Constitutional Amendment No. 5 (SCA 5)? • SCA 5 is an amendment that proposes the repeal of Proposition 209 provisions that prohibit California’s (CA) public education system from granting preferential treatment to individuals or groups based on race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin. • It was passed in the CA State Senate on Jan. 30 but withdrawn from the CA State Assembly for revision on March 17. • More than 100,000 people have signed the petition arguing against the amendment.

Ryeri Lim

According to the University of California’s (UC) 2010 diversity report, large racial disparities exist among the UC student population. Twenty percent of students are black and Latino while more than 70 percent of students are composed of Asian and white students. SCA 5 strives to diminish this gap by allowing race to be considered during the UC admission process. Protesters who accuse this amendment of discrimination forget that the current admission process is already discriminatory, as it fails to address the socioeconomic disad-


Allison Paley

Tim Wang SCA 5 asks for the repeal of parts of Prop 209, a proposition that was passed in 1996 prohibiting state institutions from taking into consideration race, sex or ethnicity. The passing of SCA 5, presented by California State Senator Edward Hernandez, would stifle our education system’s growth, would not correct the problems that it seeks to solve and would promote racial discrimination. The goal of SCA 5 is to increase the number of students within California colleges and universities who are Latino, African American and Native American. This is due to the fact that though the population sizes of these ethnicities are increasing, the percentage of these races within higher education remains quite low. SCA 5 would effectively reinstate affirmative action and encourage schools to create racial quotas. The first notable problem would be the increase in potential dropout rates. When Prop 209 passed in 1996, affirmative action was effectively canceled and the dropout rates for minority groups actually dropped significantly. At UC San Diego, graduation rates for African Americans doubled

from 26 to 52 percent, according to Even though the number of minority students within the UC system dropped, the number of qualified individuals who attended each school increased as schools were able to search for more qualified individuals. In addition, those who may otherwise drop out from the more challenging schools have a better chance to succeed in other schools. In a study conducted by the Collegeboard, there were notable differences in the average SAT scores between members of different ethnicity. The average scores for whites and Hispanics differ by around 70 points, with the respective scores of 534 and 464. While a single number does not perfectly predict the path a student takes, there is still a strong correlation between the score and relative success within postsecondary education. Though there are evidently many successful Hispanics and African Americans, statistically speaking other ethnicities outperform them academically. However, much of the disparity is not due to race. Instead, the problem lies within the socioeconomic disparity between the various ethnicities. According to the U.S. census, just above 10 percent

vantages historically linked to race. SCA 5 acknowledges the financial and social inequalities that affect an applicant’s academic success even prior to college, and levels the playing field for those who have been deprived of necessary opportunities. Minorities’ economic disadvantages are apparent in the distribution of poverty in California. According to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 35 percent of impoverished Californians are African American, and 33 percent are Hispanic. In contrast, only 15.8 percent of the poverty-ridden are Asian or white. By directly influencing the quality of neighborhood schools and student access to supplemental aid, impoverishment can impact a student’s academic performance. Poorer schools may provide a lower-quality education while families may be unable to spend money on tutoring and SAT preparation. A New York Times study found that a student’s SAT scores strongly correlate with his family’s yearly income. Poverty also impacts college attendance through social factors. A preference for cheaper housing often presses black and Latino families into neighborhoods fraught with violence and social instability. Thus gangs and organized crime groups are statistically more likely

of Asians and whites lie below the poverty line, compared to over 20 percent for Hispanics and African Americans. In this regard, targeting race without looking at the socioeconomic status of each student is akin to giving a hearing aid to a blind person—it’s not the right treatment for the problem. In addition, SCA 5 is inherently racist. While it is not wrong to ask for one ethnicity to improve and succeed, doing so should not involve putting down other ethnicities. While it is true that Hispanics and African Americans form a significant part of California’s population, approximately 45 percent, this does not justify putting down the other 55 percent of the population. Even now, according to UCLA, the average high school GPA of an Asian American student en-

to draw in minority teenagers, who consequently make up 75 percent of California’s juvenile justice population. This neighborhood culture can disrupt a student’s focus on his academic success, while financial hardship could push youths to seek out paid work instead of completing high school or college in order to support their families. In California, only 18.7 percent of African Americans have earned a four-year college diploma, while 43 percent of whites and 50 percent of Asians have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Throughout the state’s history, socioeconomic inequalities have created an ever-compounding cycle that propels minorities’ lives of poverty and violence. Individuals who have not attended university are likely to continue in impoverishment and raise more children with fewer opportunities. SCA 5 seeks to break the cycle by restoring these deprived opportunities to disadvantaged minorities. Thus contrary to popular belief, SCA 5 is not an amendment stubbornly fixated on regulating the racial distribution of state colleges. Instead, it simply recognizes the pre-existing discrimination that minority groups face when struggling toward success. —Lim, a sophomore, is a reporter.

tering the school is 4.28, while other ethnicities have average high school GPAs of around 3.7, showing that each race is already held to different standards. Instead of passing SCA 5 and instituting affirmative action, which would cause inadequately prepared and less qualified students to enter a fiercely competitive environment, legislation should focus on the root of the cause by expanding primary school educational opportunities to a greater number of people. Those who show themselves capable will naturally be admitted into the best schools. It’s our job to elevate every member of every ethnicity to that level instead of lowering the bar of our educational quality. —Wang, a senior, is a Copy editor.

A llison

Pa ley

Friday, March 21, 2014


Net neutrality is necessary to guarantee Internet freedom for users Pay for faster Internet speeds


Pay to access websites

netFlix netflix

Dave Zhu

Klaire Tan Accessing the Internet has always been so simple. Open up a browser and tada, you have the Internet. However, society owes this easy Web access to one important concept, that of net neutrality, which is the idea that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should not be permitted to discriminate against websites or content. This means ISPs have to treat all traffic equally, neither slowing down or speeding up consumers’ access to any websites. Yet just two months ago, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington struck down net neutrality rules approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) back in 2010. The court defended its ruling on the basis that the Internet isn’t legally considered to be a major telecommunications utility, so the FCC doesn’t have the right to subject the Internet to the same strict regulation as utilities. As a result of this decision, the companies which we pay to use the Internet—such as Comcast and Verizon—

are now free to regulate our Internet access on their own terms. Experts claimed that ISPs could potentially charge a premium to content providers such as Netflix or Wikipedia for faster services, incurring fees that we, the consumers, may ultimately have to pay. Only two months after this ruling, such predictions have begun to ring true. In late February, the first deal of this sort was struck when Comcast and Netflix announced that the online media streamer will pay the ISP for faster and more reliable access to Comcast’s Netflix subscribers. Whether or not Netflix will be increasing its prices to account for these additional costs is still unknown, but this recent agreement shows that the commercial infrastructure behind the Internet is already changing. Considering that the Internet provider industry is primarily dominated by two powerhouse ISPs, Comcast and Verizon, the government needs to move quickly to restore net neutrality, as well as further establish clearer regulations regarding ISPs, lest the Internet become a service restricted by fees rather than the freedom it should be. In July 2012, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution affirming Internet freedom as a human right. However, the lack of net neutrality provides ISPs with the ability to censor the Internet, an infringement upon this

“ neutrality... is the idea that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should not be permitted to discriminate against websites or content.”

right. Without net neutrality rules in place, ISPs are not prohibited from restricting and slowing Web traffic. Companies would be in their full legal right to block access to specific websites or Internet applications should their economic or political interests ever encourage them to do so. Clearly, this threatens the open nature of the Internet, posing the same danger as government censorship would. In recognition of this, several countries—including Finland, France and Spain—have already moved to clearly establish net neutrality. The United States needs to follow suit in order to ensure an uncensored Internet. Furthermore, the unrestrained powers of ISPs threaten to transform the Internet from an open platform to the sandbox of big businesses. The right to manipulate web traffic can be easily exploited. Companies can withhold bandwidth, forcing content providers to pay for decent streaming speeds to their websites. This setup would favor the well-established, financially-stable companies which have the resources to shoulder these additional costs, companies like Apple and YouTube. Meanwhile, the smaller businesses on the Web would have to endure slower speeds. When faced with this difference in traffic speeds, individuals may be encouraged to access the faster, corporate sites instead, to the disadvantage of smaller companies. Ultimately, the government needs to secure the open nature of the Internet one way or another. If the FCC chooses not to appeal the court ruling, it should then move to establish the Internet as a telecommunications

service, thus enabling the FCC to strictly regulate ISP companies. In early February, the first steps to achieving this were taken when the Open Preservation Act was introduced and referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, where it currently remains. However, the bill—which would restore the rules struck down in the FCC ruling—may drag on in committees. While waiting for the bill to be passed, the FCC should take alternative actions to protect the Internet. Additional possibilities could include requiring ISPs to guarantee minimum traffic speed to websites. This restriction would make payment for decent traffic speeds an option, not a necessity, thus allowing small businesses to continue functioning on the Web as they do now. Nevertheless, guaranteeing Internet freedom is a must. While ISPs have yet to take actions to manipulate the Internet for their own personal interest, the possibility always exists without net neutrality in place, especially with the industry being dominated by a few large companies alone. Furthermore, Comcast recently announced its plans to merge with Time Warner Cable. This deal would combine two of the largest cable providers in America, only further reducing competition and increasing the reach of Comcast. With the Internet being a cornerstone of the 21st century and an unparalleled means of communication between individuals of society, the government needs to recognize the importance of protecting it. —Tan, a junior, is a Forum Editor.




Junior fashion guru, blogger ventures into modeling Danielle Yacobson Features Editor

Courtesy of Ally Gong

Top: Junior Ally Gong poses for the photographer. Bottom: Gong works with a commercial stage hand to prepare for a photoshoot.

After a trip to Japan during the summer of seventh grade, junior Ally Gong fell head-overheels for fashion. Gong, whose artistic talents far outdated her fashion pursuits, channeled her creative interests into starting a personal blog called “Ally Gong.” Since then, her blog’s success has opened doors to the modeling world and the beauty industry alike. “I’m a girl, so fashion is always in the back of my mind,” Gong said. While building an initial audience was a slow-moving process, the blog’s readership has grown exponentially during the past year. Over the past few months alone, her blog has accumulated over 70,000 views from readers all over the world. “There is this girl in India who has been my fan for the past two years,” Gong said. “Just today, she told me that she got published in her school paper for sharing the books I recommended on my blog.” Gong’s modeling debut started when a friend and part-time model suggested she begin to build a portfolio. She started to familiarize herself with the types of shots a modeling portfolio requires, such as three-quarter, full body and artistic photographs that capture her creative vision. Through online modeling networks, Gong was able to get in touch with professional photographers and model for their collections, while building on her own portfolio simultaneously. “I’m trying to show my flexibility in terms of modeling and the range of styles that I can pull off,” Gong said.

Recently, a videographer named Emanuel discovered Gong’s portfolio on a modeling network called Model Mayhem and asked if she would be interested in modeling for a commercial advertisement selling Monster headphones. Gong took on her first commercial job and was able to glance into the behind-the-scenes life of professionals in the industry. The Monster commercial is only the beginning, as Gong has multiple photoshoots and commercials lined up during her summer visit to Shanghai this year. “Blogging and modeling are very tied together since my blog is very appearance-oriented,” she said. “I love being able to be a part of the fashion and beauty world.” Through both her online and modeling ventures, Gong has gained more popularity as brands send her makeup products and clothes to review for her readers. In fact, she might even be getting her prom dress through a promotional gift. While Gong wants to pursue her modeling career during high school, she ultimately wants to go into business and marketing, a goal which may lead her back into fashion as a consultant to a big makeup or fashion brand. As of now, she plans to keep building her portfolio and continue blogging about her experiences. An idea for a fashion club at school is still in the works for next year as well. For beginning models and bloggers, Gong suggests adding personal touches and be open to opportunities. “When you go after something that you really love doing, every opportunity that comes to you ties together in the end,” she said. “You look back at this comprehensive picture and think of how it all came to fit together.”

Artist of the Month: junior Nathan Chandra The Oracle: How long have you been playing and why did you start? Nathan Chandra: I’ve been playing classical piano since I was five, like a lot of other kids. I didn’t get serious about music until seventh grade, when I picked up the guitar, and then I had an obsession with guitar until sophomore year when I joined jazz band on piano—mostly on a whim. Then I became obsessed with jazz piano. TO: How is jazz piano different from normal piano? NC: With jazz piano, it’s a completely different world because you’re making everything up as you go. You don’t play things the same way because you are always responding to different stimuli from the band that you are playing with, or with your own spontaneous ideas if you are playing by yourself. You’re always creating something unique to that performance. That’s why I like playing jazz piano—because I find it gratifying to be able to musically speak what’s in my head.

TO: Where do you play jazz piano? NC: Last year I was in a jazz group with a few friends and we played a lot of different gigs, which was really fun because we could just jam for two hours straight and get paid for it. I take classical piano lessons, and I take jazz piano lessons less often, which I started last year. TO: What are you working on right now? NC: I’m working on composing pieces, some of which are like that R&B-infused jazz and some of which aren’t even jazz at all. I also like taking old jazz tunes that I learn as they were originally written and then take them in different directions and see what I can do with them, which really helps in my writing and my playing ability as well. TO: Do you want to continue music later in your life? NC: I plan to major in music in college or a double major with something else, and I am hoping to continue with music in my professional life.

TO: What are your favorite pieces or genres to play? NC: Recently, I’ve been into R&B-infused jazz. There are some people who are rooted to the old ways of playing jazz, and I love that stuff, but one exciting thing about this genre is that it is always moving and changing. New styles can be created by combining old styles to create something entirely different. Some people are taking jazz and creating something new by adding R&B and other new aspects to it.

TO: If you could tell people one thing about jazz piano, what would it be? NC: You have to listen a lot. This applies to all kinds of music. You aren’t going to be able to be proficient at most kinds of music unless you listen to the kind of music you want to play or the kinds of people you idolize. You try to emulate them, so that eventually you can use what you learned from them to branch off and be able to realize your own style.

TO: What is your inspiration? NC: When I’m playing music, there’s a sensation I feel that I don’t get from anything else. It’s very liberating. I can come home, sit down and make music. It’s a little cheesy to say, but what I love is being able to take whatever emotions I’m feeling and put them into music, which is both a great way to vent and a great way to do some reflection. I’m pretty much my own therapist.

TO: Is there anything else you want readers to know? NC: I think that there are a lot of people that don’t try to get into music because they think they’re tone deaf. I think that’s a shame. Everyone has musicality if they even just enjoy listening to music. More people should get into making music, even if it is only in a small way. —Compiled by Sam Acker

Audey Shen



Friday, March 21, 2014

Student volunteers serve local, foreign communities Hot Dogs for the Homeless

Schools for Africa Fund

Stephanie Zhang

Joanne Lee

Centerfold Editor


Junior Amy Macrae’s passion to help hungry families all started with fifty hot dogs. More specifically, while volunteering at Stanford Concessions and witnessing hundreds of food items being thrown out, Macrae was inspired to package leftover hot dogs and donate them to families in need around the community. “I know it is not quality food, but a lot of people would have really appreciated it,” Macrae explained. “That’s what I had a problem with.” Since then, Macrae has been in close contact with organizations around the area such as the Ecumenical Hunger Program and Amy the South Palo Alto Food Closet. She plans to set up drivers after big sporting events and coordinate the donations of leftover food. “Hunger is something very real but overlooked, and when I brought up my idea to the people at Concessions, they jumped at the idea because the food was just going in the trash,” she said. Although Macrae is still working out the basics of the program, she explains that many people are willing to help. “When I brought up this idea to my friends and family, they were all

extremely supportive and shocked that there hasn’t been a program set in place already,” Macrae said. Currently, Macrae has been working closely with junior Jessica Dinneen in order to contact more food distribution sites and transportation services. She is also attending the YCS Costa Rica Service Trip and has received support from other members going on the trip. Macrae attributes her desire to help to her traveling experience. Over the summer, she traveled to Waha, Mexico, and visited the nearby rural villages with her family. “I have Macrae been fortunate enough to travel to places of extreme poverty and after those experiences I began to understand how pressing hunger is and how much these little things—like food items—would mean to people,” Macrae said. Macrae believes that with her passion to help the community through her venture and the support of others, this project will make a lasting impact. “I really want to give it 150 percent and I want it to be perfect when I’m done with it,” Macrae said.

Volunteer work is much more than just wide variety of fundraisers. She raised a high school graduation requirement for over $34,000 from benefit concerts and sophomore Eleanor Su. “It ranges any- monthly bake sales. The money was then where from helping outside of the house, donated to villages in Sierra Leone. Over combining your passion and skill set to the past summer, Su had the opportunity make the world a better place or anything to go to Kenya for three weeks to help build to help just one person,” Su said. one of the schools and spend time with the Su began her dedicated involvement children. “Through my actions, I’ve been with volunteer work as early as the fifth able to impact hundreds of people in my grade. “I first got involved community and get othwith an organization called ers inspired to do things Free The Children in fifth that they are passionate grade where they held small about,” Su said. bookathons and coin drives When Su was younger, to build a well in Kenya,” she was constantly told Su said. “I got to learn a lot that she was “too young” about what was happento make a difference. ing in other developing “Adults used to tell me to Eleanor Su countries. That summer wait until I was older or I learned about the 11-year civil war in to get my parent’s check book,” Su said. Sierra Leone which had destroyed the However, her perseverance and consistent schools and tore families apart. I couldn’t efforts are proving them wrong. just not do anything about it, so I started Su plans on continuing her work with brainstorming ways to take action.” the non-profit organization and hopes that Su first participated in a club at Terman the Schools for Africa Fund will leave a Middle School and after discovering a pas- lasting mark on making education availsion for community service, she decided able to students in Sierra Leone. In the to start a club at Gunn. process, Su hopes that she and her club In her freshman year, Su started her members can learn more about developown non-profit organization known as ing countries and their needs. “I like that the Schools for Africa Fund. Throughout I’m able to make a difference both in my the past four years, Su has organized a community and abroad,” Su said.




Yuki Klotz-Burwell Reporter

Sundance Steakhouse, an upscale steakhouse located on El Camino, has been serving customers for almost 40 years. For the past 14 months, senior Ahran Cho has been working there as a hostess two days a week. At Sundance, Cho manages the seating arrangements and reservations with an online service called OpenTable. Additionally, she makes decisions on how to accommodate parties and checks the floor to make sure everything is going accordingly. Ahran With throngs of customers visiting daily, Cho says it can be a struggle to manage the flurry of activity. “[It’s hard] when we’re really busy or when we’re stuck on reservations, as there are concerns and people are yelling at us because they want their table,” Cho said. “But you kind of have to learn to deal with that.” However, while working at Sundance can be complicated, it has many benefits. “In general, Sundance is just a really fun

environment and job,” Cho said. “I’ve gotten to meet tons of cool and influential people. Condoleeza Rice comes in a lot, as well as the 49ers. They all know who I am because they’re always in the restaurant. I also get free food every night, which is amazing.” To those looking for a job at a restaurant, Cho advises applying to multiple places. “Most places aren’t going to respond immediately,” Cho said. “You’ll get your responses in a week or so.” For Cho, the application process was relatively simple. “I just went in and brought my resume and my application,” Cho said. “[The manager] called me Cho back about a week later, gave me an interview and hired me on the spot.” Having worked four previous jobs, Cho is very comfortable during interviews and knows how to properly express herself when answering questions. “I’ve had a lot of experience with interviews, so now it’s just like having a regular conversation,” she said. “At first I was really nervous, but it’s gotten a lot easier. It’s not bad at all.”

Asian Box

Naina Murthy

“There are always new people who don’t know the menu or the restaurant, so it’s always really fun to explain to them what The fast food restaurant Asian Box Asian Box is and how The Box works,” has been offering opportunities for high Golovinsky said. Additionally, Golovinschoolers since its opening in 2012. Junior sky believes that working at Asian Box Danny Golovinsky has been working at helps improve his interpersonal skills. “I the Palo Alto Town and Country location like to challenge myself to be nice to all since last April. customers because it creates a friendly At Asian Box, Golovinksy is in charge atmosphere.” of organizing catering For high schoolers, orders and preparing finding time poses an the register. Additionissue as busy schedules ofally, Golovinsky helps ten leave little room for a get investors interested in job, but Asian Box is very working with the chain. mindful of students’ time According to Golovincommitments. “They resky, working at Asian Box ally understand our busy comes with a number of Golovinsky Danny Golovinsky schedules,” challenging situations, said. “For example, if I’m including, but not limited to, hectic running late one day they are very underworkloads. “The biggest challenge I face standing about that.” at Asian Box is probably multitasking,” According to Golovinsky, having a he said. “During my down time, I’ll begin job has really helped him develop more working on something like preparing a as a leader, as well as gain more skills to catering order, and then I’ll get a rush of work with others. “I think having a job customers to attend to.” in high school is worth it because it is an While working at a busy fast food res- amazing experience,” Golovinsky said. taurant can often become chaotic, being “You develop a lot of helpful skills in able to meet new people and interacting the workplace that you don’t necessarily with customers is the best part of the job. develop in school.” Reporter

Friday, March 21, 2014


Roy Shadmon Tech Editor

Most high school students have to go job hunting, however, senior Rauhul Varma was offered a job in the computer engineering industry as only a sophomore. It all started when Varma’s mom showed a few of her colleagues some of his 3D models, and soon Intel Labs offered him an unpaid internship during winter break of his sophomore year. Varma’s first project was to design a 3D model for a National Institute of Health (NIH) grant proposal, which eventually received over five million dollars in Rauhul funding. After completing this project, Varma was asked to return to Intel over the summer as a paid intern. This time, he was asked to improve an algorithm that speeds up the manufacturing time of placing silicon over a computer chip. The chip works by placing a peptide (a small protein) on the silicon, and the computer creates a digital image of the peptide so researches can analyze the peptide. Varma was able to improve the manu-

facturing time of creating the siliconcovered chip by 150 percent. It now takes 20 days to produce instead of 60. He was also able to reduce the total energy used to produce the product. This product has helped pharmaceutical companies in drug research. Varma has enjoyed his time at Intel and the many people he has had the opportunity to meet. “My first mentor later left to work as a professor of computer science and electrical engineering at the University of California San Diego (UCSD),” Varma said. “I get to work with super smart people, so I learn a lot and have a lot of fun.” He is currently Varma working on a project that he can’t disclose. Varma’s future plans after high school are to study computer science, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering in college, and he hopes that his experiences at Intel will help him succeed. “One thing I learned was how to work in a professional environment,” Varma said. He endeavors to become a project leader at Lockheed Martin Aerospace in the research and development (RMB) division.


Naina Murthy


Paige Anderson

For Siegel, working at Nordstrom has been a great experience. In particular, she values the relationships she has built with The retail store Nordstrom has been other interns on the BP fashion board. offering high school students fashion “I think it’s really fun because these are internships through its Brass Plum (BP) girls my age and you can really relate to fashion board since the 1970s. Sophomore them and what they are shopping for,” Jordana Siegel has taken advantage of this she said. “Getting a 20 percent discount opportunity. Siegel has been working doesn’t hurt at all.” at Nordstrom on the BP fashion board, For high schoolers, a job working at a which is part of the store’s department store might junior’s section, for the seem like a significant past year. commitment, however it At Nordstrom, Siegel‘s actually offers great flexjob consists of cleaning ibility. “You email the up changing rooms and manager 24 hours in adringing customers up. vance and say you want to Her basic role is maincome in, so it’s not every taining the floor of the BP week that you have to go Jordana Siegel department. in and work,” Siegel said. While working at a retail store as big To those looking for a job at a deas Nordstrom, which has over 260 stores partment store, Siegel suggests being operating in 35 states, Siegel has learned passionate about the store and clothes. interpersonal skills such as communicat- “Something really important is that you ing with customers, developing rapport are actually interested in fashion,” Siegel with her superiors and becoming more said. “Then you will love it.” assertive. Ideas such as understanding For students interested in working at that the customer is always right have Nordstrom, applications are now availbecome clearer for her. “I’ve learned to able for the 2014-2015 year. Interested be more of an on-the-floor employee and applicants can find more information on be more of the workingman,” Siegel said. Nordstrom’s BP Fashion board web page. Reporter




Expectations The Oracle looks into the correlation between academic status and selfimage.

Scores shown are arbitrary and not those of the students depicted

Four years of stress and ‘academic vigor’ for one moment of glory

Leon Cheong


t Gunn, the colleges a student is accepted to and the college he ends up attending have a significant bearing on his self-confidence. Gunn’s heavy “college culture” is what drives its academic vigor. Students’ determination to get into a high-ranked school is the main reason why Gunn is perceived as a competitive school. In my four years at high school, I, along with many of my peers, have experienced this firsthand. From freshman to senior year, there was never a moment when I wasn’t involved in preparing for the college applications I would be sending out in Dec. 2013. Just before my freshman year started, I began receiving college counseling from a private company, something that I later realized many others were doing too. The counseling took a toll on my energy. The first thing I was tasked to do was to set up a specialized profile that would give me an academic identity. For the rest of my high school career, I would have to make academic decisions that adhered to this concocted profile. My career specialty of choice was journalism. Luckily for me, journalism was and still is the profession I enjoy and now pursue. However, I still felt pressured in feeling that every activity I did would be precisely catalogued in my Common Application and considered by college admissions officials. Of course, as with many other students here, I went through extensive SAT and Advanced Placement (AP) test prep. Private classes filled my after-school agenda, and summer vacation could hardly be called a break from academics, as I attended even more tutoring sessions to ensure high test scores. Needless to say, these experiences took a toll on my patience, spirit and confidence. When I applied to journalism school Early Decision,

Cheating is never worth the risk

I had almost accepted that I had little to no chance of getting in. But by that time, I was sick of letting numbers and grades dictate how I made my life choices. I rolled the dice Lisa Hao and used my early application on the school I wanted to go to, not one that the numbers said I had the best chance of getting into. However, heating is bad; we get it. Cheating is defined by the Gunn handbook as my doubt remained, and I truly believed that taking (or lending) at inappropriate times a person’s work, information, my application was a crapshoot. ideas, research and documentation, without properly identifying the I opened my decision letter after a postoriginator. Everyone has heard lectures meant to convince them that all cheaters school nap. My mom shook me awake, telling will eventually be caught and will face dire consequences. But if it is supposedly so me to go check my email for my admission terrible, why are students still doing it? decision. I groggily protested that the decision In my eyes, it’s pretty simple; it’s all about social image and at Gunn, social image wasn’t due for another week. Nevertheless, I is largely academic-based. There is an insane perception that every “successful” Gunn half-heartedly clomped upstairs to my laptop. student is headed towards an Ivy League college. After all, wasn’t Gunn just ranked When I opened the email, I set my eyes on the twelfth in a list of high schools with the best standardized test scores in the nation? It word, “Congratulations.” is extremely difficult to get through a week here without hearing students conversing I screamed. about grades or tests. The pressure to do well and to fit in with the academic expectaI was in disbelief. Even after I read the letter tions at Gunn is so great that people resort to cheating. ten times over, I had to make sure I wasn’t halCheating is so appealing because it is so easy to do. It is so much easier to copy lucinating. I had gotten in. All the effort I had someone else’s homework instead of taking responsibility and losing points. Although put in was for this one moment of relief. My cheating is obviously nefarious, the appeal of receiving the same grade by doing less four-year high school journey was complete. work is greater than the appeal of choosing the morally right but labor-intensive route. In hindsight, my doubt served as a testimony However, the reward is not worth the potential consequences. At Gunn, the first to my confidence regarding college admissions. offense of cheating leads to a call home, an “F” on the assignment, Gunn students harbor so much of their a notification to the student’s counselor and, not to forget, sense of self-worth in the colchecking the box for “integrity-questioned” on college lege they get into that it leads applications. Repeated incidents will result in a lowered to two things: one, they have overall letter grade (if it is in the same class, then an “F”) no faith that their abilities are and suspension for a day. worth something and two, Aside from tangible school-implemented repercustheir entire self-confidence sions, cheating can seriously damage both current and lies on which college they are potential relationships. If word gets out that someone lieve that e b admitted to. This sentiment is cheats, people (family, friends, potential employers, etc.) s t n e d of stu into le p poisonous but unfortunately in their lives will start to question their morals. By lying o e p s t ge cheating common in the Gunn commuon a test, it begs the question: what else might they be s e g e ll “good” co nity. All the energy that students lying about? Also, according to the article “Studies devote to test prep, AP classes, Find Cheaters Overinflate Academic Ability,” from extracurricular activities and the Education Week website, students who cheat counseling is just building up more frequently tend to try and rationalize the act to too much excitement for the brief ease their conscience. Soon, students start to value moment of opening an admissions the grade only for the grade and not the actual learnat h t letter. Today, I’m grateful to have ing behind it. When students only place importance e v e li e ts b o gotten accepted into the college of on the letter grade, they will be incompetent once t of studen n i le gets peop my choice, but am still doubtful as they actually have to apply the material. cheating careers l u f to whether or not the lost sleep and Although it may be extremely tempting to s s e c c u s emotional turmoil was worth it. cheat, it is never worth it.


—Cheong, a senior, is a Forum editor.

—Hao, a sophomore, is a Tech editor.



Friday, March 21, 2014

Social pressures to achieve academically are the main cause of cheating

Rachel Lew Centerfold editor


ying and cheating in a classroom environment are behaviors often viewed as characteristic of a class’s worst-performing students: those who are irresponsible and inattentive and just trying to get by. But interestingly, a survey conducted by The Oracle demonstrated that the average cheater at Gunn strives for much more than a passing grade. When surveyed students were asked to describe all of the reasons that they cheat, the most popular answer was, of course, “I want to improve my grades.” A closer look at other popular responses, however, helps reveal a common theme among them: 14.7 percent of students said that they decide to cheat because they want to look intelligent, 18.8 percent said that they cheat because their peers cheat and 38.6 percent said that they would not have time to finish their schoolwork without cheating. Though the survey focused mainly on academic dishonesty, its results expose Gunn students’ strong preoccupation with academic performance as it relates to self-image. The pressure to be an academic genius penetrates both the social and academic life of the modern student. Many students want to receive good grades without studying, but since they know that they do not have the brainpower to do so, they cheat, lie or do both. They may cheat to display to their peers that the course material is a breeze for them, or lie to further develop their image of being a star student. They may hide the fact that they have studied hours for a test they performed well on, or even feign inattention during lectures to indicate that they could not care less about the subject they

perform so well in. In this way, even teachers are affected by their students’ insecurities. Under the more pernicious stages of this behavior, students fall to insulting the very people who help to cultivate their so-valued intelligence. These students often have such a perfect social image that it proves difficult for their teachers or peers to imagine that academics do not come easily to them, and that they in fact work the hardest to keep up—work that includes both studying and manipulation of social image. In The Oracle’s survey, nearly half of the students surveyed said that they “most of the time” or “always” feel academically inferior to their peers at Gunn. Natural intelligence is revered by some students to a point at which one can believe that they would enjoy schools in which pupils enter, take an IQ test, and then leave to seek employment. Ironically, though these students strive for an image of sophistication and intelligence, their behavior is similar to how teenagers on social media sites misrepresent their physical looks in an effort to appear attractive. Both of these behaviors appear neurotic within a larger perspective; both stem from the rising pressure within young adults to perfect their social image. By far the most ridiculous aspect of this behavior is that it has only one purpose: to bolster the student’s image within a single learning institution, which furthermore instills in the student not only a shallow sense of satisfaction—for the student knows his or her true mental abilities — but also a stronger desire to continue putting forth this image. It appears that this phenomenon could result

Do you feel that people will judge you for not taking advanced classes?

Top Three Reasons Why Students Cheat don’t hav e time to study /do without c HW heating I

From the students: Is cheating ever OK? “No, because you lose the chance to learn. Cheating makes people put little effort into the things they do.” “Without the concept of competition for grades and college, cheating should be OK. If one cheats, one doesn’t learn anything, and its his or her choice to learn or not. But cheating in a competitive environment basically robs others of the results of genuine effort, which is nothing less than angering.”

“Yes: if everyone is receiving questions or answers, you disadvantage yourself by not having them.”

Only 2 out of every 25 surveyed students said they never feel academically inferior to their peers

I want to improve my grades

in a cycle of deteriorating self-confidence and further lying. Additionally, by expending effort to make themselves appear more intelligent, students waste time that could have been spent in pursuit of true understanding of course material, on extracurricular activities enjoyed not for the sake of their placement on college applications, or simply on sleep. And the declining respect for teachers that also results from this behavior could lead to future problems in the workplace, where high regard for authority is key. It is truly unfortunate that this obsession with academic image has pushed students to go to class to show their teachers that they do not care about learning, to cheat on tests to show their peers that they are geniuses, to study only in secret, to take the greatest pains to put down those who do care about learning—in short, to waste their time in an endeavor that is not only pointless but, ironically, stupid.

My peers cheat

“No. I hate the amount of cheating that occurs at Gunn. If you cannot honestly get through the classes you choose to take, then take a more manageable course-load. Be true to yourself and take classes you want to take, classes that you have the motivation to get through with integrity.”

70 freshmen, 90 sophomores, 91 juniors and 162 seniors participated in this survey, a total of 413 students.

47.9% of students have cheated on a test, quiz, project, lab or essay 31.9% have done so 6 or more times Photos and photo illustrations by Audey Shen; graphics by Jasmine Garnett




Gunn Auto recreates ‘Toy Story’ Pizza Planet delivery truck Lawrence Chen News Editor

Earlier this year, around the middle of second quarter, Auto teacher Mike Camicia began a truck build that he will be entering into the 24 Hours of LeMons race the weekend of March 22. “The race is kind of like ‘Halloween meets a race,’” Camicia explained. “Everybody is in costume and every team has its own theme. There are all kinds of strange cars. For example there is a Pimp-mobile and everybody on the team is dressed up like pimps.” The truck that Camicia will enter in the race could have come straight out of an animated movie. “[The truck] is a replica of the Pizza Planet delivery truck from the ‘Toy Story’ series,” Camicia said. The truck is made with great attention to detail. All the decals and rust was added to make it look exactly like the truck from the movie; it even has models of characters such as Buzz Lightyear and Woody attached in their respective positions as seen in “Toy Story.” However,

Audey Shen

Left: The truck has a Mazda RX-7 engine. Middle: Passenger door sports the Pizza Planet logo from the “Toy Story” series. Right: Woody from “Toy Story” dangles from the rear window of the truck, above the authentic bumper stickers. the truck has been modified with a Mazda RX-7 engine and transmission to make it competitive for the LeMons race. Many students in the Auto classes contributed to the build design-wise while Camicia orchestrated the assembly and acted as the students’ leader and mentor. Junior Rachel Dukes-Schlossberg was one of the students who helped with the truck. “I worked on more of the artistic stuff on it and there are a lot of details that [Camicia] wants to get right on the truck,” Dukes-Schlossberg said. “To get the correct look from the movie,

it took a lot of trial and error by testing what looks good and what doesn’t.” While the overall build is coming along great, there are a few small issues that have been plaguing the Auto crew. “Taking the wheel hub off was a pain,” senior Danny-Tyler Downer said. “It took an hour-and-a-half for a two minute job and in the end it had to be replaced because we broke it by hitting it with a hammer.” The crew has also been struggling with details to make the truck look more authentic. “The thing we’ve spent the most time on is the rocket that goes on

the top of the car,” Camicia said. “It seems like something so simple but it’s just so tough to get it right.” The finishing touches are just being completed to be ready for the race. The crew is prepared for any possible damage to the car that could occur during the race. “A lot of time and effort has gone into preparing spare parts for the race,” Downer said. “Every bolt, wire, tube or insignificant speck of dirt has a backup in case of failure. In fact, if it breaks down during the race, we could replace the entire engine in under five minutes.”

Introducing: Redshift, GRT’s most recent invention This build season, members of the Gunn Robotics Team (GRT) spent six weeks working to build the robot, Redshift, which recently competed at the Hub City FRC regional, a robotics competition in Texas.

At the competition, Redshift participated in a game in which two teams of two robots each play against each other with a ball on a court. To score points, robots must pick up the ball and shoot it into one of the goals located on opposite ends of the court. Robots help other robots on their team score points by performing assists.

Courtesy of Samir Ghosh

GRT members are currently competing with Redshift again this week at a robotics competition in Wisconsin.

Top Left: GRT members test Redshift’s pick-up mechanism. Top Right: Redshift’s various mechanisms allow it to pick up, carry and shoot a large ball. Bottom: GRT members pose with their robot and mentor at the Hub City FRC regional.

Faces in the GRT Crowd

—Compiled by Chaewon Lee

Tell us one thing about build this year and/or the recent competition at Texas.

“Seeing the product of six weeks’ worth of design and construction culminate in the robot we bagged and tagged the last day of build was truly amazing.”

“Being able to create a robot and compete with teams where mentors play a bigger part in making the robot made us proud of where we stand.”

Armin Naravari (11)

Catherine Nguyen (12)

“Seeing the progression of each mechanism finishing was really impressive and reaching the deadline was a really good feeling. Celebrating finishing with the team was magical.”

“Nothing broke for the first time in GRT history.” Peter Kuimelis (12)

Nicole Nadim (11) —Compiled by Chaewon Lee




Steps to an inward oneand-a-half pike dive with sophomore Vivien Zhang

Friday, March 21, 2014

2 3


Position yourself facing away from the pool and toward the pool deck with your heels off the end of the diving board.

Jump up and back, while throwing your arms down toward the water.

While in the air, begin flipping forward in the direction you are facing, and bend at the waist with your legs straight, like a sit-and-reach stretch.

4 5

After one-and-a-half flips, straighten your body so that you are upside down and facing away from the pool deck.

Move your arms above your head and clasp your hands together before entering the water. Complete the dive.

—Compiled by Ian Cramer

Photo by Stephanie Kim







Audey Shen

Audey Shen



Stephanie Kim

Stephanie Kim

Audey Shen

1. Junior Andrew Aday prepares to clear the birdie over the top of the net. 2. Freshman Conrad Chan reaches down to return a volley with a forehand. 3. Sophomore Christian Znidarsic swims freestyle across the pool. 4. Senior Antonio Puglisi races towards the finish line. 5. Sophomore Vivien Zhou keeps her legs straight as she dives into the pool.

Spring sports dive into action; league competitions

Boys’ Tennis:

The tennis team began the season with an overall record of 0-5. The team is hoping to recover from the loss of many seniors with the addition of new freshman and plenty of practice. “The team is still young,” junior Dillon Yang said. “The season has just begun and we will only get better from here. We’re still getting used to each other as teammates and developing a team chemistry.” Despite the season just having begun, the team is training harder than ever in order to meet its goals. “I really want us to win [Central Coast Sectionals] CCS and [Santa Clara Valley Athletics League championships] SCVALs this year,” Yang said. “I think we have the potential to do it this year.” With preseason workouts, the team hopes to stay up-todate physically as well as mechanically. Tennis isn’t just about physical strength. A lot of tennis comes from endurance and confidence, things the team looks to work on as the season progresses. “A typical practice is fun yet exhausting,” Yang said. “We have a lot of rallies to keep up mechanically and the running keeps us up physically.” The tennis team hopes to finish the season fifteen-love with a ticket to CCS.


The swim team may have only competed in a few meets, but coach Mark Hernandez already has a clear idea of the team’s goals, strengths and weaknesses. He believes that the girls have a great chance at making the top two and the boys at making the top five. “We would like to be in the top five for both teams,” he said. One of Gunn’s biggest advantages is the number of swimmers they have on the team, or how “deep” the team is. “Being deep means that you have a better chance at winning,” Hernandez said. He thinks that both teams are going to have many close races, because all of the league teams are evenly matched. While one of the team’s potential weaknesses could be the loss of seniors, it has had a lot of very good incoming freshmen. Additionally, the team boasts strong returning members. “We lost some great swimmers, but other swimmers returned, boosting our numbers,” Hernandez said.


With the badminton season just starting, coach Marc Tsukakoshi is ready for success, as are the players. “The team is hard at work polishing their skills and practicing drills in order to improve our in-game performance,” senior Jesse Wang said. Despite having lost many experienced players last season, the new athletes are looking better already. “Our incoming new players show a high level of physical fitness as well as a willingness to work hard,” Wang said. They also have varying play styles which helps build experience during practice. “There are a wealth of different players they can play against, so different styles they can play against to get a good learning experience, whereas, in the past, maybe we had one good person or a couple good people, and then it’s a very specific style so it’s hard for the players to adapt to different styles,” Tsukakoshi said. However, having a lot new players is not always a good thing. “This year we are a younger team; we have a lot of freshmen, so it’s more of a developing year,” Tsukakoshi said. Tsukakoshi looks forward to playing Palo Alto High School this season. “They have quite a strong team this year and I hope that we have a good rivalry with them,” Tsukakoshi said.

Track and Field:

The track and field team is starting off on a sprint this season, with seniors working hard and freshmen giving it their all. Although there are many seniors who have left the team’s roster, senior Stephanie Do doesn’t think their overall performance will be affected. “The team is just as good, and we have a lot of new tallent,” Do said. “I have confidence that the team will be able to go far in SCVAL and CCS this year,” Freshman Tone Lee joined the track and field team as a way to stay fit during the school year. “We start off practice with two warm-up laps and then we split into groups,” Lee said. “After that, we do some dynamic stretching and then work out for a bit.” Lee is hopeful about the upcoming season. “I have great confidence in our team and captains to lead us to our goals,” he said.


Diving coach Doug Schwandt already knows that his team will do well. In their first match against Menlo last Wednesday, they took top spots. At the recent dual meet at Los Gatos High School, two varsity girls, sophomore Vivian Zhou and freshman Marisa Agarwal, placed first and second respectively. Sophomore Jason Steinberg was first in the varsity boys’ event. Sophomore Tania Senter placed first in the junior varsity (JV) girls event, and sophomore Jarrod Hsu was first in the JV boys competition. “Beginning diver, freshman Callia Tong, made a good showing of dives she’s just learned since the start of the season, diving exhibition at Los Gatos,” Schwandt said. Recently the team got some great motivation. “Gunn diving alumni Emma Wiszowaty and Miko Malari returned to the Titan pool deck to encourage our divers and pass on some of their experience to this year’s diving team,” Schwandt said. Schwandt’s main goal for this season is help his divers get a lot of practice. “One of my first goals is to help the divers who have already learned enough dives to compete to dive more consistently, and to improve the dives that they have,” he said. “And also to help the new divers to learn the dives needed to compete in the dual meets.” The diving team’s strengths lie mainly with its more experienced divers. “The club divers, Zhou and Agarwal, are definitely the strongest asset for the girls’ diving section. They dive year around, competing at the national level,” Schwandt said. “[Steinberg], with both gymnastics and club diving experience, competed last year at CCS Championships, continues to improve his dive list, and leads our boys’ team.” According to Schwandt, the most important thing is for everyone to learn all the dives. “We’re focusing on learning and improving basic diving mechanics, which sets the stage for developing new dives from the five dive groups [front, back, reverse, inward and twist],” he said. Overall, the diving team is off to a strong start. The team is excited for the start of the season, and it is hosting the SCVAL League Swimming and Diving Championships this year. Its next diving meet is at Presentation High School on Saturday, April 5 at 8 a.m.


Friday, March 21, 2014




Audey Shen



Anthony Tran


Anthony Tran

Stephanie Kim

Anthony Tran

6. Junior Hugh Phillips passes the lacrosse ball to a teammate during an afternoon practice. 7. Junior Caroline Chou dodges the opposing team as she runs to the goal. 8. Junior Jack Jaffe follows through after a perfect stroke. 9. Junior Emily Collins reaches up to catch the softball. 10. Junior Bjorn Hessen-Schmidt winds up to pitch the ball.

begin after intense preseason training, scrimmages

Boys’ Golf:

The boys’ golf team is off to a great start with a record of 6-0. With new coaches Marc Igler and Bill Christensen, the team firmly believes it can make it to CCS. “Our new coaches are really motivated and they’re really pushing us to do our best and they’re really supportive even though it’s only their first year,” senior Anson Cheng said. One of Igler’s concerns is that they need six strong players for every tournament. “Our top four guys are good and our five and six guys are good too, but we’ve got some pretty steady competition for those last two spots,” Igler said. The new, inexperienced athletes are not used to the pressure and stress that come with golf. “They’re still getting used to the format and dealing with competition, so a lot of players don’t play that well because it’s stressful for them,” Cheng said. However, with their weaknesses also come strengths. The team’s top four athletes are all returning players who have had quite a bit of experience. “It’s good we’ve got some upperclassmen who have been around a bit and know both the physical and mental part of the game,” Igler said.


Baseball is looking at one of the youngest teams it has ever seen. However, despite only having two returning seniors on the team, junior Ravi Levens remains confident. “This team has the best chemistry out of any baseball team that I’ve ever played on,” he said. With the season having just begun, Levens hopes to establish consistency from game to game. “I want to be able to stay up in the higher league and keep Gunn as the powerhouse,” Levens said. The team began the season with a 3-3 record. The experience of winning and losing together has fostered a strong community amongst the team members. “No matter what the score is we’re going to be together as a team almost like a family,” Levens said. Currently second in league, the team is hitting it into place with three key freshmen. “They’re playing and working hard as a cohesive group and are looking forward to the games next week,” coach John Harney said. Hitting is a strong point this year and was showcased in its close 12-15 loss against San Mateo. Its next game is on March 22 against the Pioneer Mustangs.


The varsity softball team started the season with a 2-0 record. Its most recent game finished with a score of 8-0 with the help of pitcher junior Iris Chin, who threw six strikeouts. Sophomore Emma Wager hit a double and a triple and batted in two runs, according to coach Matt Maltz. He believes the team is a motivated, tightly knit and strong group. From catching and pitching to powerful hitting, the team is wellbuilt. “I feel like this team is going to be a winning team,” junior Natalie Oda said. “The entire team effort really ties into how much the team as a whole wants it and deserves it.” The softball team’s goals include mental awareness in the game and having a successful season. “Our coaches are helping us in having the right kind of attitude towards work and effort,” Oda said. If the team achieves these goals, Maltz believes that it could contend for a league title. The team’s next game is on March 25 at Mountain View at 4 p.m.

Boys’ Lacrosse:

After a disappointing season last year, the boys’ lacrosse team is working hard to dominate this season. Its conditioning has become more intensive and the boys’ chemistry is strong. So far, the team is 1-0 in league play. A huge factor in the boys’ high hopes for the season comes from the new addition to the team: sports psychology graduate student Kennan Lee. He is helping the coach and players foster a positive environment during practices and games. “There is no negativity whatsoever and everyone is supportive of each other,” senior Luis Schubert said. “We are working together to get better as a team.” The only challenge left to deal with is bringing together the experience and inexperienced players. The team is smaller this season than in previous seasons, so different levels of experience and age are present. This can be hard to deal with, but the team is coping well. “It can be difficult at times, but we have great team chemistry,” Schubert said. “Everybody is positive and supportive, which is great to have when it gets tough on the field.” The team is ready to start playing and are hoping for the best on the field. Its next home game is against Carlmont High School on Tuesday, March 25 at 7 p.m.

Girls’ Lacrosse:

The girls’ lacrosse team is off to a promising start and the girls have high hopes for the upcoming season. The team’s chemistry on and off the field is strong and all members work cohesively together. So far the girls have won both of their non-league games and hope to stack up against tough opposition like Saint Francis and Menlo. They currently have a 1-0 record in league play. Many teams struggle to make up for the loss of last year’s seniors, and a team’s efficiency, as well as relationships between players, can be damaged, but the girls’ team has coped well with the loss of its seniors. “Most of our offense is made up of the same players that were on the team last year, so offensively we are working well together,” senior Elle So said. “The players understand each other’s playing styles and each other’s strengths and weaknesses.” The only thing that the team has to worry about in the upcoming weeks is the lack of defensive players. Many defensive players have been lost due to injury, but So hopes that the team will be able to recover before the league games begin. To prepare for the upcoming games, the team plans to work specifically on training new varsity players. “It takes time to teach the new varsity players the plays and to develop their skills,” So said. “It is taking us some time to get back into the flow of things.” According to So, the team is working specifically on their midfield transitions and their ability to pick up ground balls. Developing a strong line-up is crucial to the overall success of the team in the future. Despite setbacks, the team’s strong athletic ability will allow it to succeed this season. “We are more physically prepared than we have been in previous years thanks to the hardcore conditioning we have been doing,” So said. If the team keeps in shape physically and mechanically, it believes it can shoot for CCS title. The team’s next game is today against Sequoia High School at 5 p.m. —Written by Elinor Aspegren, Lena Campbell, Emily Kvitko, Henry Siu and Alvin Wang




Athletes should not be judged on their sexual orientation Arjun Sahdev Michael Sam was born tough. Being the youngest of eight, everything was earned, nothing was given. Sam watched as his parents got divorced, his brother was shot and killed, his older brother went missing and his two other brothers were imprisoned. A police officer “accidentally” maced him when he was seven years old while arresting his brother. Sam lived in his mother’s car at one point of his life because his family was too poor to afford housing. His mother even doubted his dreams of making it to the National Football League (NFL). Sam, however, never gave up. He was the first of his family to make it to college and later was awarded with the consensus All­-American and Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year at the University of Missouri. Despite a l l of t he ha rd sh ips he overcame, lives he touched, and glorious accomplishments he battled for in football, he is still primarily regarded as the gay football player who came out. He might have been born gay, but he was also born with the gift to carve his own pathway to success. Being gay is just his personal

orientation, but football is his life. Sam is not the only athlete who is open about his homosexuality. He is accompanied by many others who have made sacrifices for the sport they love despite the many difficulties they’ve faced. Boxer Parinya Charoenphol, tennis player Billie Jean King, track and field athlete Andreas Krieger, basketball center Jason Collins and diver Greg Louganis are just a few of the many successful athletes to openly state their sexual orientation. Anyone searching for inspiration can look at the athletes as role models. Being gay does not define them as the professional athletes they are. Jackie Robinson spearheaded the movement to extinguish racial segregation in Major League Baseball in 1947. He took the initial step to change sports for the better. He proved that the color of his skin did not make him any less of a player. Now, athletes such as Collins and Sam are fighting to break down the walls of prejudice by openly stating their orientation with pride. Russian anti-­gay laws sparked controversy during the

Sochi Winter Olympics. Dutch gold medalist Ireen Wust raced 3,000 meters to victory, yet reporters still urged her to speak of her sexual orientation. She resisted, as she believes that if they are not inquisitive of other Olympians’ personal relationships, they should not question hers. Wust intended to use the podium to discuss her recent victory; she was blessed with the honor to win her country a gold medal as an outstanding athlete. There will always be people who will exhibit prejudice or fans who disagree with the personal lives of athletes, but they should readjust their focus towards the unforgettable legends made on the field. What truly should capture the attention of the fans is the three-point buzzer beater to win the game, or the Hail Mary touch­down pass to pull through with the victory. These should be the moments which awaken the spirit within the fans and the players. At the end of the day, no matter the player’s sexual orientation, they all share a common love for the sport that has supported them their whole life. —Sahdev, a sophomore, is a reporter.

Carolyn Zhou


Friday, March 21, 2014


Girls’ basketball, wrestling advance to Central Coast Sectionals Girls’ Basketball


The girls’ basketball team advanced to the finals of the Central Coast Section (CCS) The boys’ wrestling team placed eighth in the Central Coast Section (CCS) tournatournament for the fourth time in a row, where they lost 39-38 to North Salinas. Gunn ment, and the girls’ team placed 18th in the state finals. The top two finishers on the beat Evergreen Valley 69-54 in the quarterfinals and Piedmont Hills 39-27 in the semiboys’ team were senior Stephen Martin, who placed second in the 182-pound weight finals before falling to North Salinas. The Titans advanced to the California Interschoclass and junior Ian Cramer, who placed second in the 132-pound weight class. Gunn lastic Federation Division One state tournament, where they lost to McClatchey 47-23. had five other wrestlers place in the top ten of their weight classes, propelling the team Gunn had a strong season that lead to its number one seed in CCS. “We have good to an eighth-place finish out of 20 teams. Both Cramer and Martin earned a berth in players on our team,” coach Melanie Murphy said. “They have put enough into their the state tournament, where neither wrestler placed in the top eight of their respective game where they can win games at a consistent level.” weight classes. Senior Cadence Lee defended her state Gunn had high expectations entering the tournament as title at the girls’ state competition, placing first in the the number one seed. “I think our chances are really good,” 106-pound weight division. Murphy said. “We are the number one seed, but that does Competition at a tournament like CCS is more innot matter when we walk on to the court.” tense than at a regular meet. Placing in the top half of The CCS format of “one loss, and your season is over” the 20-team tournament is much harder than a reguputs more value on each game. “In playoff time there is a lar season tournament. “Everyone there is of a higher lot more pressure, there is a lot more riding on each game,” caliber,” Martin said. “Everyone who is there is there Murphy said. “A loss can mean the end of your season which because they won more than they lost by a good amount, creates the uniqueness of CCS games.” and they all really wanted to win, including me.” This year’s team had to deal with the injury of freshman According to coach Chris Horpel, the success at CCS Georgia Hake, who was a large contributor coming off the was not a surprise. “It’s a 120-team tournament, but we bench. “From a numbers perspective it hurt the team, but are usually one of the top teams.” The success at CCS Stephanie Kim I think they did a good job of playing was more of a surprise for Martin. “I was not sure I through the transition,” Murphy said. was going to place; to be honest I had no idea how However, senior Zoe Zwerling susit was going to turn out,” Martin said. tained a posterior cruciate ligament By placing second at CCS, both Martin and injury in the final game. “It was a very Cramer earned berths to the boys’ California physical game and we did not keep our Interscholastic Federation wrestling tournacomposure,” Zwerling said. “We played ment. Cramer lost in the first round and won really hard, we just did not execute as two consolation matches, and finished in the top well as we should have.” 16 of the 132-pound division in the tournament. Despite not winning any titles, the Martin also lost in the first round before winning Titans will still have fond memories of a consolation match. He finished in the top 24 of this season, such as the win over undethe 182-pound weight division. “The state tournaCourtesy of Butch Garcia Stephanie Kim feated Wilcox. “It was a bummer not to ment was brutal because there were a lot of really finish it out and lose the CCS game by Top: Senior Sarah Longyear dribbles past a defender to the hoop. good wrestlers there,” Martin said. one, but we had some good moments,” Left: Senior Steven Martin completes an ankle ride against Mon—Written by Matthew Hamilton Zwerling said. ta Vista. Right: Junior Olivia Tapia dribbles the ball across the court.

ISAAC’'S Top 8 ways to get out of P.E. class 1. Jump up for a three pointer. Don’t come down. 2. Pretend to injure yourself. Tears help a lot. 3. Really injure yourself. The more dedicated can use the “Saw” movies as reference material. 4. Get lost while running the mile. How well this works depends entirely on your teacher’s opinion of you and your intelligence level. 5. “It’s that time of the month.” Doesn’t work as well for guys, but I’ve pulled it off. 6. Want a prep but don’t play any sports? Invent one! Some of my favorite fake sports include Elbowball (think soccer, but with your elbows), Reverse Badminton (here, the birdie hits YOU) and darts. Nothing beats getting a month off of P.E. for a season of Ice Tennis. 7. Go looking for a baseball, end up in Narnia. 8. Leave.

Sports 22 Blast from the past: teacher edition THEORACLE

Teachers reflect on the impact of their collegiate and high school athletic experiences

Marc Igler: Golf English teacher Marc Igler is no stranger to the world of athletics. A former golf standout, Igler has continued his love of the sport as the boys’ varsity golf coach. Igler played basketball, tennis and golf in high school. Igler started out playing basketball, but did not get much playing time. He then decided to pursue tennis. However, he soon found out that the junior tennis circuit was not for him. “I was always in these junior circuit tournaments,” Igler said. “It just became exhausting and too much of a time commitment.” With tennis and basketball becoming an afterthought, Igler discovered a new, foreign sport. “Late in freshman year, a couple of buddies and I went to an old golf course that used to be right behind Gunn on the Veterans’ property. We rented some clubs, and really didn’t know what we were doing,” Igler said. “We just started hitting some golf balls, and immediately I got hooked.” Soon, Igler began practicing everyday. “At my finest, I was a ‘five-handicap’ at golf,” Igler said. “That means I could go eighteen holes of golf and finish five shots over par.”

The English teacher believes sports have had a positive impact on his life and have improved his social interaction. “You get to meet new people, and it’s really fun to just socialize with others,” he said. Igler also believes that high school sports teach humility and other important life lessons. “High school is the time when the physically gifted athletes really blossom, while the athletes who are not as physically gifted are left behind,” he said. “That may sound harsh, but it’s important to know your strengths and weaknesses in life, as well as the things you care about and the things you don’t. If you can let go of your ego, high school sports are good at teaching you that lesson.” Igler hopes to continue his love of sports, specifically golf, in the future. “The great thing about golf is that as long as my legs are healthy I can continue to play it,” he said. “That’s what makes golf specia l.”

Rachel Congress: Water Polo In high school, math teacher Rachel Congress played water polo at Menlo High School. According to Congress, she tried out for the team because she couldn’t find a sport that fit her. “I had tried basketball and I sucked at it, I had tried volleyball and I sucked at it, so I said, ‘Maybe I should try something that’s not on land, maybe I should try a water sport,’” Congress said. “I loved it. I loved it from t h e first

water p o l o is being a part of a team. “I miss most the team dynamic. Having a team, for me, it was like having a second family,” Congress said. “No one could understand what it was like getting into a pool at 6 a.m. in the middle of winter. You have this camaraderie that you wouldn’t have with other people.” As a water polo player, Congress believes that teamwork is ex-

day and was like ‘This is where I should be, in the pool’ and so I kept on doing it after that.” Congress’s team won CCS twice: its first victory was the first year that girls’ water polo was held at CCS. “I remember feeling the adrenaline and a sense of euphoria for our team taking first place,” Congress said. “I think we couldn’t have won if we didn’t have such good team chemistry.” Like many team athletes, the thing that Congress misses the most about

tremely important. “If you’re out there to be a star for yourself, your team can’t be successful,” Congress said. “You have to be willing to put the team first.” According to Congress, continuous participation in sports since a young age has changed her lifestyle. Congress has found that exercise has become a necessity. “I really believe that doing exercise early in my life has made exercise a set part of my life—it’s not a question,” Congress said.

Chris Karas: Soccer Math teacher Chris Karas played soccer for the University of California Berkeley from 1971 to 1975. Karas has learned valuable lessons on and off the field, including how to manage time and handle competition. After high school, he joined the team and was awarded Most Valuable Player (MVP) for Berkeley’s youngest lineup. Karas says one of his best memories was pulling off a miracle win during a game. “For me there was one time where I scored the winning goal with two minutes left,” he said. According to Karas, Berkeley could only compete against regional teams—the competition, however, was still tough. “We were a middle-of-road team,” he said. “There wasn’t a Pac-12 back then, so we played locally against Stanford and Santa Clara, and nationally ranked teams like San Jose State University and the University of San Francisco, who always came in first and sec-

ond.” The close geography between teams contributed to intense matchups. However, Karas believes the clash taught him about sportsmanship. “There was always a friendly rivalry between Berkeley and Stanford,” he said. “It wasn’t harsh off the field even though we competed pretty vigorously in our games. But when the game was over, it was over.” In another instance, Karas was surprised by UC Davis’ respectfulness after a game. “After a game at UC Davis, we were invited to a party that they hosted, which showed how positive and sportsmanlike the atmosphere in the college division was for me and my teammates,” he said. Soccer also taught Karas lessons applicable to college and his future endeavors. “I learned a lot of different things like teamwork obviously, working with others, and how to find a healthy balance between school work and extracurricular activities,” he said. He has tried to pass on several pieces of advice to students. “Being able to set goals, achieving them by working hard, stepping up my game, and doing better than before are some of the things I’ve gained and would want others to gain as well,” he said.

Maria Powell: Softball S cie n c e teacher Maria Powel l has coached softball for six years, but she has been playing since she was eight years old. She was on the varsity team starting her freshman year in high school. Her team was ranked number one in the state and won the CCS Championship. According to Powell, though she initially began playing because her two older sisters played as well, the sport has had a great impact on her life. One of the things that first appealed to her about softball was that it was a team sport. “I like team sports because I like the idea of contributing to something bigger than myself,” Powell said. She believes that she wouldn’t have pushed herself as hard if she played an individual sport. “I was responsible for other people and other people were relying on me,” Powell said. “I didn’t want to go out there and do a halfway job or make a mistake because other people

were depending on me.” Many team sports foster this work ethic and mentality, but according to Powell, softball is unique because everybody plays a role. “No matter how small you think your contribution is, everybody has the opportunity to contribute and has something valuable to offer,” Powell said. According to Powell, softball is also unique in that a win or loss isn’t dependent on a single person, but rather the team as a whole and the effort put in throughout the course of the game. “It is never just that last out that caused the loss, or that last run that caused the win,” Powell said. “It is a whole series of events.” Though Powell learned many things from softball, she believes learning how to sacrifice individual needs for the group and always do your best for the benefit of the team was the most important. “The difference between winning and losing is every single person putting 100 percent forward,” Powell said. —Written by Matt Niksa, Kush Dubey, Prachi Kale and Regina Tran Photo illustrations by Stephanie Kim and Dave Zhu


Friday, March 20th,





The American dream

Many students at Gunn believe in a reliable, formulaic path to success. However, to prove that success is achieved through more than a simple formula, parents Ramesh Padmanabhan and Cindy Wenig share their unique stories.

1. Ramesh Padmanabhan Job title:


2. Cindy Wenig Job title: Former lawyer


1. Grew up in Kuwait. 2. Moved to the U.S. from India to go to graduate school (U.T. Austin). 3. Became a teacher’s assistant in graduate school to pay for college fees and to bring brother to the U.S. 4. Obtained a degree in Computer Science. 5. Moved to Silicon Valley to start career as a computer hardware engineer. 6. Had two awesome twin daughters. 7. Joined a start-up company and stayed with it for 15 years. 8. Decided to take life into his own hands and is in the process of starting his own company.

herself to a professor she admired while studying at 2. 1. Introduced Princeton University. 2. Complimented people. Even accomplished people want approval. 3. Spoke up in class and in business meetings. (Tip: Don’t be in class or at a meeting and quietly sit in the back. You’re not wallpaper.) 4. Volunteered to help with the rebuilding of the World Trade Center. 5. Didn’t let failure, tough classes and tough clients get her down. 6. Reinvented herself every now and then. Tried something new. 7. Created her own job. 8. Helped and mentored women. It’s not a level playing field for women.

Graphics by Paige Anderson and Jasmine Garnett

—Compiled by Kavya Padmanabhan and Justin Wenig


Friday, March 21, 2014


If you really knew me Junior Nia Gardner shares an important message: listen to what I have to say, not the way I say it; there’s more to me than my accent. ementary school my first year in America, but I can tell you that at least 20 out of those 21 (forced) compliments were something along the lines of “I love your accent.” The people who say that probably think they’re the next Sherlock Holmes, discovering something as profound and clandestine as that. I think they may have a way to Nia Gardner go, though, as surely a true Holmes would notice my pupils dilating and the slight shake of my hands as I graThe first thing that I noticed about America was, sur- ciously accept the compliment. I understand that it’s supposed to be a nice prisingly, not the accents I’d heard so much about. When thing to say I stepped off the plane from Heathrow in SFO all those to me, but it years ago, I came to the life-changing, horribly d i s a p Half of the students at does make pointing realisation that, no, “restGunn feel like there is a me wonder rooms” do not have sofas fundamental truth about ts n e if what I’m or TVs. d their identity that they stu acsaying holds One of the n hide from others. Gun ey are most any meanfirst things f o th es ing to you or 9% that mselv that my . 1 5 eve e . e h t just how I’m m i n e w i bel ed as the t saying it. t American of cep This brings me to class nothe beloved “say someticed about thing” phrase. me was that Every time I hear my teeth were that, I am highly temptnot quite up to the ivory par ed to make a selection from that is expected in California. Along the rather large treasure with this came questions such as “Do chest of colourful language all British people have yellow teeth?,” which that comes with my nationality, just left me confused and amazed at the guts but I usually opt for the glare, the of the questioners to actually say that out loud. change of subject, or the “someThe Californian teeth standard gave me nightthing” in the most exaggerated cowboy Anton Oyung mares after my first dentist appointment, as the accent I can manage. It would be a waste of a huge white shiny teeth of my dentist stared into my soul and thought, “I’m going to make you just like me.” It good word anyway as it is not likely to hold much meaning to the receiver. feels like a vampire movie every time. It is a sad fact that I no longer fit in anywhere in terms Luckily, no one wrote “I like your yellow teeth” on my “compliment leaves” when I was Star of the Week in el- of manner of speaking. In America, I’m posh and proper,

use tea instead of water even when I’m showering and personally know the queen. In the UK, I’m a valley girl who says everything like a question and sees movie stars daily at my favourite coffee shop that I drive up to in my convertible. Okay, maybe not quite, but anyway, you get the point. I still have some fun in shops where asking for butter gets me cream cheese and my pronunciation of water is the epitome of bafflement. But, hey, I get my practice for my future life as a movie star cowgirl. My point is, I don’t point out your oddities, so please don’t point out the way I talk. Trust me, I know I talk strangely (although historically speaking, it’s you with the accent here) and I rarely hear the end of it, wherever I am. And, no, I don’t want any tea and crumpets, thank you very much. —Gardner, a junior, is a reporter.

Yes 58%

No 42%

If you had the chance, would you want to change the way people at Gunn perceive you? 401 students participated in the survey.




Point of view: gamer writes herself into Castle Crashers Shireen Ahsan

I am about to step back into the world of Castle Crashers. Just moments ago I was stepping out of the blacksmith’s to pick up my broccoli sword (+1 strength and agility, +3 magic) and my loyal companion the behemoth, a chicken that follows me wherever I go (+1 strength, defense and agility). I am at Homes Keep, and, goodness me, I have just witnessed a cultist steal the oracle and barbarians kidnap our four princesses. As a knight it is my duty to save them, but the castle is overrun with barbarians. Trebuchets are throwing fireballs, sending peasants flying. The barbarians set ladders and climb the castle walls. I run across the bridge, behind the barbarians kidnapping the princesses, when a ladder hits the wall and barbarians spill in my path. I fight them off but I know my chance to save the princesses is gone. But I have yet to see the worst. I inch along the castle walls until I am safe. The bar-

barians retreat; all is quiet, desolate, and in despair. With the king’s orders I set off for the land of the barbarians to fight the barbarian boss and save the princesses. I arrive at the barbarian’s arena and am pushed in to fight. All around are wooden pillars stuck in the ground. At the top of them I see the princesses, looking to me as their only hope. Across the arena, a wooden gate bursts open, and out walks my bane. I have come across many opponents, but none as vile and atrocious as the barbarian boss. He’s a mass of fur matted with mud and fiery breath, and has a punch that feels like a ton of bricks and a spiked shield that could crush and impale me. All fear and apprehension are pushed aside, for I am a knight, and I made a promise. I charge him, kicking up dust, when suddenly, I am knocked to the ground before I reach him. I should have known these barbarians play dirty; they’ve sent their own knights to fight me. In a snap decision I decide to evade them for now and concentrate on the boss. I whack at the boss with my broccoli sword. He swings at me but I shield myself. The knights attack me from all sides, but they don’t know that I have magic. Yes. I turn around and I spray them with fire. But the barbarians’ ploy to distract me succeeds, and as I fight off the knights, the boss comes from behind with his spiked shield and strikes us indiscriminately. I lay flat, the sun

beating down on me. I see the knights have fallen. With great effort I turn over and face the multitude of barbarians in the arena, jeering at my broken body. I turn my head and squint—could it be? Fruit! I leap up, dash across, grab the fruit and my health is restored. With all the strength in my soul, I vanquish the boss with my magic. He falls, raising dust from the ground and “boo’s” rise from the crowd. Looking up to the pillars I see all but one princess has been taken away. I rush to the pillar and cut her down. I have no time to escort her to the kingdom; I must continue and save the rest, wherever they are. Strange lands lie before me. I cross the sea and some pirates give me trouble, but soon I reach the shore of a new land in one piece. Proceeding cautiously, I come upon a statue of a soldier. I wonder what happened to this valiant soldier. Who knows what lies beyond these stone steps covered in sprawling ivy. Whatever it is, I will have to face it, for I am bound by my promise, my determination, to return the princesses to their kingdom. I must face danger, scorching heat, crippling cold, hunger and misery, but I do it gladly, because I am a knight. I am a Castle Crasher.

—Ahsan, a senior, is an Assistant Business Manager.

Anton Oyung

“Mr. Peabody and Sherman”

“The Grand Budapest Hotel”

“Mr. Peabody and Sherman” is an unexpectedly clever addition to the year’s already stellar collection of animated films. This feature, based off a segment of “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show” of the 1960s and 1970s, focuses on a genius talking dog and the kid he adopts who have to deal with the consequences of their time travel. It’s educational for young viewers and it’s not a complete waste of time for older viewers, so if you have to take care of a younger sibling for a few hours, “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” is a decent way to pass the time.

Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is a darker and more violent work than one might expect from the most delightfully whimsical director. But it still contains the requisite charm that makes Anderson so distinctive. The film tells the story of a hotel concierge (Ralph Fiennes) who becomes falsely accused of murder after he inherits a prized painting from the victim. The film features strong acting across the board and benefits from Anderson’s auteuristic eye and smart sense of humor. In the end, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” stands as an effective follow-up to Anderson’s highly acclaimed “Moonrise Kingdom.”

“300: Rise of an Empire” While not quite as entertaining or as quotable as the 2006 original, “300: Rise of an Empire” is still a fun experience if you can stomach its high level of violence and gore. The film focuses on the overarching conflict between the Greeks and Persians, with Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) leading the charge for the former and Artemisia (an excellent Eva Green from “Casino Royale”) calling the shots for the latter. “300: Rise of an Empire” can be a bit overdone with its blood and other devices to the extent that it’s borderline exploitive. However, provided that kind of material doesn’t haunt you forever, there are much worse ways to spend your Saturday night than watching the film.

—Written by Cooper Aspegren


Friday, March 21, 2014


Get more bang for your buck o n e

h u n d r e d


d o l l a r


s p r i n g

b r e a k


Head to Town and Country and

Take the train to San Francisco.

Take a time machine back to when

go to an ice cream store called Tin

Stop at Sushirrito to enjoy a sushi

movies were in black and white at

Pot Creamery to fight off the heat.

burrito in a beautiful city.

the Stanford Theatre.

855 El Camino Real #121, Palo Alto

226 Kearny Street, San Francisco

221 University Avenue, Palo Alto

Paige Anderson




Get all of your DVDs ready for a

Take a short road trip to the

Head down to Shoreline lake

“Harry Potter” marathon. Set your

sunny Santa Cruz Boardwalk. Go

and rent a paddle boat or sailboat

ice cream next to you and transport

on a Friday and you can enjoy a

with your friends. Not only is it

yourself into the world of magic.

free concert on the beach.

exercise, but it is also lots of fun.


400 Beach St, Santa Cruz

3160 N Shoreline Blvd, Mountain View

—Compiled by Erica Lee Photos by Emily Kvitko and Noa Livneh



A Taste of the World

The Oracle explores the best dishes of international restaurants around the Bay.



1. West Indian Coconut Curried Shrimp

Restaurant: Coconuts Caribbean Restaurant and Bar Location: Palo Alto Cuisine: Caribbean

2. Sorbet Duo


Restaurant: Yoshi’s Location: Oakland Cuisine: Japanese

3. Roti Canai

Restaurant: Layang Layang Location: Cupertino Cuisine: Malaysian

4. Pad Thai



Restaurant: The Old Siam Location: Sunnyvale Cuisine: Thai

5. Chicken Gyro Plate

Restaurant: Cafe 220 Location: Palo Alto Cuisine: Mediterranean



6. Crème Brûlée

Restaurant: Left Bank Location: San Jose Cuisine: French

7. Seabass Tacos

Restaurant: Palo Alto Sol Location: Palo Alto Cuisine: Mexican

–Compiled by Rebecca Alger, Pooja Belur, Lisa Hao, Chaewon Lee, Danielle Yacobson and Stephanie Zhang.

March Issue 2014  
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