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VOL. 22 NO.5


All individuals 50+ eligible for COVID-19 vaccination on April 1, all individuals 16+ eligible on April 15, regardless of health conditions

More than 2500 community members take stand against AAPI-targeted violence across nation

lucy ge

alysa suleiman

Upper school faculty, staff and students have begun receiving their COVID-19 vaccines, with California set to expand vaccinations to millions more Americans next month. All individuals age 50 and older will be eligible to be vaccinated on April 1, and all individuals age 16 and older will be eligible on April 15 regardless of pre-existing health conditions, according to a statement released March 25 from Governor Gavin Newsom’s office. Individuals 16 and older with pre-existing health conditions became eligible to be vaccinated on March 15, expanding vaccine supply to an estimated 4.4 million more Californians.

Over 2,500 protesters gathered at the #StopAsianHate Community Rally at San Jose City Hall on Sunday, Mar. 21, at 1 p.m. to protest the recent violence against Asian Americans across the nation. The rally focused on Asian American discrimination, minority intersectionality, recent injustices against elderly Asian Americans and the history of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) discrimination in the United States. Protesters were encouraged to wear black in solidarity with the AAPI community and wear masks and practice social distancing. This past year, a national report by “Stop AAPI Hate” reported that Asian Americans have experienced over 3,800 hate crimes, with 1,226 incidents in California and 708 reported in the Bay Area alone. The #StopAsianHate rally, the largest protest to occur in the nation this past weekend, was a grassroots effort that came together in just over 72 hours, according to organizers Eric. J Chang and Adam S. Juratovac. The organizers recruited speakers to present to the crowd of thousands. On his TikTok page, Juratovac created a six-part video series following the Atlanta shooting that centered around

Anna Vazhaeparambil (12) wins state competition for Harker journalism’s second consecutive year, to advance to national round in April


Aquila editor-in-chief named California Journalist of the Year

lucy ge Harker Aquila co-editor-in-chief Anna Vazhaeparambil (12) was named California Journalist of the Year by the Journalism Education Association in early March, becoming the second Harker student to win this honor after Eric Fang (‘20). “The award really speaks more on behalf of the Harker Journalism program,” Anna said. “So much of the work I’ve been able to do and the opportunities I’ve had is through this amazing program.”

ONE HEART, ONE BEAT Protesters gather at the San Jose City Hall in response to violence against Asian Americans across the nation. A national report by “Stop AAPI Hate” reported that Asian Americans have experienced over 3,800 hate crimes this past year.

his conversation with his mother, an immigrant from Korea, who shared her fear of grocery shopping in the dark due to the recent wave of Asian-directed hate crimes. “We are sick and tired of seeing our elders being victims of racist and cowardly attacks within our community,” Juratovac said in an email sent out to registered attendees after the march. “We will not stand idly by and watch. We will act and we will react.” Victoria Chon, a Korean-American

teacher and member of the Santa Clara County Board of Education Trustee, was one of the speakers. She believes that it is vital to show support for Asian American communities, families and friends and asked the crowd: “How do we stand together? How do we fight racism? How do we find the hate?” Her answer is to “have the hard conversations.” Go to p. 16 for more coverage of discrimination against AAPI communities.

Upper school plans for in-person Spirit Week, classes

GLOBAL HEADLINES isha moorjani & sarah mohammed Border crisis grows as increasing numbers of migrants are reaching the U.S.-Mexico border, seeking to enter the U.S. or request asylum for reasons including economic conditions in Mexico and gang violence. COVID-19 lockdowns continue in Britain, Spain, Austria, Denmark and Romania, due to a third wave of the coronavirus. Lockdowns have led to protests, and tension in Britain is rising as the proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill would introduce new policies that give police more power in dealing with protesters. The Grand Start of the Olympic Torch Relay is underway, with the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics planned for July 23 after a one year postponement, despite health experts warning that the event could still spread COVID-19 due to its global scale and lack of adequate vaccinations.

LUNCH AT LENGTH Seniors Nilisha Baid, Arusha Patil and Ankita Kundu eat lunch in the quad while on campus for remote learning.

alysa suleiman The upper school is moving forward with on-campus activities, including extracurriculars and athletics seasons after Santa Clara County entered the orange tier last week, with the new COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 citizens dropping below 10 for the first time since the first week of December. “We know that students and adults in our community would benefit socially and emotionally from increased in-person interactions,” Head of School Yager said in an email sent out to the upper school community on Mar. 7.

Along with current in-person class periods and after-school activities, upper school administration hopes to begin a rotation of at least one day per week per grade beginning in mid-April. These hybrid classes would require teachers to create separate lessons for students who still choose to learn remotely. The upper school also plans to hold an in-person spirit week from Apr. 19 to 23, with activities organized by Harker Spirit Leadership Team (HSLT) and the Student Activities Board (SAB). Along with spirit week, the campus looks forward to opening a Freshman Orientation


Planned return to campus and start of in-person Spirit Week


#StopAsianHate community rally ushers in thousands of protesters



for the class of 2024. Individual departments will be communicating their plans for their classes. “I hadn’t seen anyone in person since last March other than my ski team,” Aditi Vinod (12) said. “[My favorite part has been] just seeing a lot of people that I didn’t get to see over the course of the past year. [I plan to come back on campus] at least for this week and definitely a few other weeks in the future.” Additional reporting by Arushi Saxena and Anna Vazhaeparambil. Visit harkeraquila.com for full article. DESIGN BY ARYA MAHESHWARI



Performance turns to film


Actors overcome pandemic challenges, create innovative innova tive spring musical to premiere end of April michelle liu & aastha mangla As the third theater performance following the start of the pandemic, Les Misérables hints at hope in a time of loss and revolution. Unlike the format of the Fall Play and Student Directed Showcase (SDS), Performing Arts Director Laura Lang-Ree converted the musical into a movie, where multiple video angles are deployed and the audio is recorded beforehand.

ed from Victor Hugo’s novel of the same name. Amidst the misfortunes and misery faced by the characters, Les Mis highlights the human compassion and strength that can emerge even in the darkest of times. “There is very much a large social uprising aspect of it, and a large empowerment aspect of it,” cast member Maya Franz (12) said. “For me, watching the show, what I always leave with is this notion of fighting for tomorrow and trying to move society forward.”




“Because this time it’s filming instead of live theater, it’s more like you’re working on a movie set, rather than like doing a live theater production”


“There’s no live audience and we haven’t had this experience before, but we as a group chose to take this situation positively, to make lemonade out of lemons,” Lang-Ree said. TAKING AIM David Dai (11), Alan Jiang (10) , Paulina Gicqueau (10), Richard Amarillas Harker’s performing arts department (11), Daniel Wu (11) and Sarah Raymond (12) rehearse in the Patil Theater on March 19. has embraced these changes, preparing stunning performances for the community this spring. Kinetic Krew has finished Spring Musical Fast Facts learning their dance production routine, and practices have begun transitioning to socially-distant dancing outside the • 36 cast members in the film Rothschild Performing Arts Center. All of the Harker dancers participating in the • Rehearsals/filming almost every production will be able to showcase their weekday from Feb. 12 to March 19 performances at the end of April, when the Harker Dance Production will open, • Film estimated to be around 2 hours virtually. The cast and crew of the spring musiLOOKING BEYOND Seniors Ruya Ozveren, • 30 scenes in the film in total Alexander Kumar, Evan Bourke and Vaishcal has also been working hard to prepare navi Murari look up into the distance. Les Misérables, a theatrical work adapt-

While SDS was performed as a classic live production with a single wide shot recording all four shows, and the Fall Play was an innovative congregation of everyone’s recorded monologues, the spring musical lands in a completely different category. Months of preparation, an extended team of cameramen and producers, and a cast of 36 students brought Lang-Ree’s idea of a full-blown movie to fruition. Assistant directors Ysabel Chen (11) and Jasmine Lee (10) note that pre-recorded theatre allows more flexibility and forgiveness with making mistakes with the music and lighting. “Since this time it’s filming instead of live theater, it’s more of you’re working on a movie set rather than doing a live theater production,” Ysabel said. Visit harkeraquila.com for full article.

Near Mitra Chen Lin scholars present results in inaugural virtual salons Despite remote learning, scholars conduct research, bridge knowledge gaps in U.S. history, humanities

Arusha Patil (12) Mentors: Halback, Cranston Topic: Dharavi, a slum in Mumbai “I want people to be more aware of the nuances within what we term slums and within settlements that are characterized as low income or homogenous. I want to encourage people to understand more.”

Nathan Ohana (12) Mentors: Wheeler, Pelman Topic: Panic of 1893 “A lot of lessons can be learned about bubbles and speculation and the effects they can have on the economy and how it never really ends well. So there are a lot of lessons to be learned about stopping that speculation from happening before it’s too late.”


Karan Bhasin (12) Mentors: Janda, Haley, Pelman Topic: California’s Punjabi-Mexican community

“As the world continues to change, it’s important to understand these perspectives very well and to get the historical foundation to really understand how policy making and decision making happened.”

“I would want people to come and, through my presentation, be able to understand the depth of the art and the significance of Douglas’s art. And in that sense, just have the art speak for itself.”

“I really would just want to give people a viewpoint into a chapter of United States history that a lot of them don’t know about as well as the result of our laws and our economic policies.”



Betsy Tian (12) Mentors: Aguero-Esparza, Vaughan Topic: Harlem Renaissance artist Aaron Douglas



“My interest in the topic really goes back to being able to look at the history of women in a news industry that has always been very male-dominated and to study what past journalists have done to step ahead in the game.”

Andrew Lu (12) Mentors: Stevens, Pelman Topic: Influence of Soviet geopolitics on Chinese Communist Party


“Her importance relative to how much she was erased is astounding. American textbooks hardly mention her, but she was called by Hoover, the most dangerous woman in America.”

Anna Vazhaeparambil (12) Mentors: Paskali, Vaughan Topic: Female journalist Nixola Greeley-Smith



Sophia Gottfried (12) Mentors: Jahshan, Cranston Topic: Influence of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche on anarchist Emma Goldman


Attendees’ faces glow with anticipation as Donna Gilbert and Lauri Vaughan, co-directors of the Near Mitra Chen Lin research program, introduce Sophia Gottfried (12), a Mitra scholar. Sophia begins to present on Friedrich Nietzsche and Emma Goldman, sharing the knowledge she has researched over the past year, and attendees sit back as they enjoy the first scholar salon of the 2020-21 school year. The Near Mitra Chen Lin research program began a series of scholar salons on March 5, in which the 2021 Near and Mitra scholars present their research to attendees and answer questions. “It’s a more informal setting, it allows people to ask questions, and it really honors what these scholars have done because they’ve invested so much time and energy and themselves in each of these projects,” said Donna Gilbert, upper school history and art history teacher and co-director of the Near Mitra Chen Lin program. The Near Mitra program has also embraced the remote learning format, as according to Vaughan, it is possible that future scholar salons will also be held virtually. “We will be doing these in subsequent years, regardless of whether we’re [in] COVID or not. I think they will always be virtual,” Vaughan said. “This virtual [setting, while] it’s not ideal for a lot of things, it really is cool for a lot of other things. We love that people can sit in their living rooms and listen to these scholars.” Visit harkeraquila.com for full article.



isha moorjani

Claire Luo (12) Mentors: Garcia, Vaughan Topic: Spanish novel Lazarillo de Tormes

Aditya Tadimeti (12) Mentors: Hull, Pelman Topic: Use of fire by Indigenous tribes in Australia

Saloni Shah (12) Mentors: Rees, Cranston Topic: Nuclear Freeze Movement

“There’s so much written about it, so for me, it’s been really fascinating trying to find what I’m trying to add. What is my unique angle? What message am I trying to do? That, for me, has been just the most fascinating part.”

“I would want people to understand that a lot of these Indigenous practices are practices we can learn from. There’s a lot of value that we can obtain from investigating different cultures and understanding some of their practices.”

“The Near Mitra Chen Lin program is really impactful because it gives you the harmony between being a scholar and a student. It really emphasizes embracing uncertainty of learning and then allowing you to dive into a topic.”

Near Mitra Chen Lin program: • Mitra Family Endowment provides grants to scholars pursuing humanities topics • John Near Endowment provides grants to students pursuing U.S. history topics • First ever scholar salons took place virtually from March 5 to March 19, where scholars presented their projects individually and answered the audience’s questions • 11th year of this scholar grant program • View scholar salon recordings at tiny.cc/virtualsalon • See scholar papers from previous years at tiny.cc/nearmitra DESIGN BY LUCY GE



Students work to break down neurodiversity stigma


Neurodiversity Committee educates upper school community through events

“Within Harker’s educational model, we don’t tend to have as many students with more severe limitations as a result of developmental differences. I was happy to be a part of [the panel] because it’s important to remind people that there is such a broad spectrum of abilities”

Neurodiversity Celebration Week • in initiative created by UN Youth Ambassador Siena Castellon






“There’s sometimes a stigma surrounding differences and neurodiversity. I hope that this week, as well as Isabel’s event, was a good opportunity for people to read up a bit more about it and get their hands dirty in terms of experiencing some activities of what literacy and action might look like” PR








When is my exam? A: Refer to Mr. Thiele’s email on Feb. 25 or tiny.cc/ap2021.


7 in-person exams, all exams full-length with testing period over a month long and extending into early June HARD AT WORK Ariana Goetting (9) works at her desk during remote learning. Upper school students will be taking most of their AP exams from home through a computer.

the in-person exam is more complete,” he said. “That’s helpful, because no one part is then super important, and you have more room for error on the day of the exam.” The upper school will take similar precautions for in-person exams as previous standardized testing exams administered on campus during the pandemic,

“I’m happy that we get a little bit more time this year. It’s always a challenge to get through all of the material in a timely way” PROVIDED BY MARK BRADA

Seven Advanced Placement (AP) exams will be administered on-site at the upper school, while students will take all other AP exams for this year digitally at home, according to an email sent out on Feb. 25 by Director of Standardized Testing and Scheduling Troy Thiele. To provide more testing flexibility, the College Board is offering three different testing dates for each subject and both in-person and digital options for many exams. According to Thiele’s email, the upper school opting for mostly digital exams provides students with “a test calendar that is the most likely to remain unchanged.” Due to the College Board requiring in-person administration for certain exams, AP Chinese, French, Japanese, Music Theory, Spanish Language, Spanish Literature and Latin exams, which will also be full-length, are set to be administered on campus in May. Students in these in these seven AP classes are not required to take the in-person exams. Sasvath Ramachandran (11) plans to take the in-person AP French exam, which will be administered in its traditional format with reading, listening, writing and speaking components. “I actually feel pretty good because




Upper school students to take most AP exams in new digital format

lucy ge



Panelist and upper school history and social science teacher Damon Halback, who works with several autism awareness groups and whose son falls on the autism spectrum, believes that creating more flexibility beyond the usual “singular design for how we think about grading and performance” will especially benefit neurodiverse students. Another panelist, Harker learning specialist and Neurodiversity Committee co-advisor Josie Porcella, helps students identify their learning profiles and build self-advocacy to communicate their support needs to teachers. She hopes that embracing neurodiversity will eventually go beyond a weekly celebration and become part of a more inclusive school culture. Visit harkeraquila.com for full article.


“What benefits people that are underserved is structural changes. There are ways in which even student-run organizations can be reformed to be more conducive to participation for kids from neurodiverse backgrounds” D BY DAMO

The Neurodiversity Committee, Student Activities Board and Student Diversity Coalition also hosted a Developmental Disabilities Panel featuring both Harker and non-Harker panelists on March 4.




DEFINITION Neurodiversity (n): the range of differences in individual brain function and behavioral traits

• 2 upper school hands-on activities and 1 discussion organized by Neurodiversity Committee



Stanford Neurodiversity Project Program Coordinator Isabelle Morris spoke to over 780 upper school students and faculty on March 11, sharing her experiences as an autistic young adult. The Neurodiversity Committee hosted Morris’ speaker event along with several events during Neurodiversity Celebration Week in early March with the goal of promoting inclusivity and neurodiversity awareness. Having been diagnosed with autism while on a leave of absence from Stanford her freshman year, Morris described her autism diagnosis as providing her with “a new perspective and a lens through which to see myself and the world.” She also

spoke about ways that schools can provide support to those on the autism spectrum. “A lot of it starts with culture, and making it just something that we’re not afraid to speak up about,” she said.



lucy ge


SPECTRUM Stanford Neurodiversity Project Program Coordinator Isabelle Morris talks about the neurodiversity spectrum. Morris also spoke about life as an autistic young adult to over 780 upper school students and faculty.


• over 1,000 schools and 657,000 students taking part this year


including a mask requirement for both students and proctors, appropriate ventilation and a maximum of 25 students in testing venues. Several upper school AP exam dates are later than anticipated, with many digital exams in late May and early June,

providing students with more time to prepare for the exams. Upper school physics teacher Dr. Mark Brada, who teaches AP Physics 2, has adjusted his lesson plans in response to the AP Physics 2 exam being pushed back to June 10. “I’m happy that we get a little bit more time this year,” he said. “It’s always a challenge to get through all of the material in a timely way, just because it really is a broad course.” Unlike last year, the 2021 digital exams will have to be taken on laptop and desktop computers, and the digital platform will not be the same as last year’s. Rupert Chen (10) feels relieved that three out of four of his AP exams will be digital and “less hassle” than taking them all in-person. However, he also recognizes the caveat of not being able to review his answers on the exams. “It isn’t my favorite type of testing, because I do like to go back and check over it and maybe even change some of the answers,” he said. For students taking digital exams, Thiele wrote in his email that the upper school cannot take requests for an in-person exam “due to various logistical constraints related to our current health situation and the large size of our AP® program.” Visit harkeraquila.com for full article.

What is testing format like? A: All exams are full-length. Digital exams will not allow students to move back and forth between questions and will not include questions answerable by the internet. Digital exams will begin at the same time worldwide. Seven exams must be taken in-person on campus.

22.1% of students say that they ARE SATISFIED WITH THE 2021 DIGITAL TESTING FORMAT

96.4% of students say that they PLAN TO TAKE THEIR INPERSON EXAMS Data comes from a Winged Post survey with 122 student responses DESIGN BY LUCY GE



Harker community broaden perspectives at annual diversity gathering

ACTIVELY LISTENING This year’s Student Diversity Leadership Gathering attendees listen attentively to the thoughts of a fellow attendee at the meeting hosted on Mar. 13.

The Diversity Committee hosted its third annual Student Diversity Leadership Gathering over Zoom on March 13 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The topic of this gathering was Unmasking: Centering Identity in Authentic Conversations, with Rodney Glasgow. This gathering provided students and adults with the opportunity to speak about personal experiences involving their identity. Students and staff from both Harker and other independent Californian schools heard from Dr. Rodney Glasgow, a nationally-recognized speaker, facilitator, trainer and activist in the areas of diversity, equity, and social justice, and participated in several group activities. While the gathering normally only has one speaker, Dr. Glasgow, the Diver-

sity Committee decided to add on another speaker to oversee the adult side of the conference this year: Priyanka Rupani,

“Taking a step back and thinking about what you’re going to do or say before you actually do it is really, really important” PROVIDED BY BROOKLY CICERO

irene yuan


the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. Another change that was

made this year was separating the adults and students. Unlike the previous year, due to the number of registered participants, the adults and students were separated for the majority of the afternoon, with only all of the participants convening together at the beginning and end of the conference. Opening with a presentation by Dr. Glasgow in which he shared some of his personal experiences being a Black man both during and before the pandemic, all of the participants joined together in the gathering before splitting off into two separate Zoom meetings with adults in one room and students in the other. With Dr. Glasgow, the students participated in activities such as answering questions in breakout rooms of 3-4 people and reflecting and sharing thoughts about certain images. For example, a pool safety image disseminated by the Red Cross in which the people of color were indicated as “not cool” and others were indicated as “cool” was shown, and participants reflected upon their feelings. In the other Zoom room, with Ms. Rupani the adults discussed how to have hard conversations, not only among themselves but also with students. After reconvening near the end of the gathering, students and adults shared their biggest takeaways in breakout rooms of five to seven people. “You need to look at things from different perspectives and I feel like we hear thatall the time—you hear that in history, you hear that in lots of different classes,” Brooklyn Cicero (11) said. “I’m gonna guess the people that made [the offensive images] were not a part of the community that was offended by that, so I just think that taking a step back and thinking about what you’re going to do, or what you’re going to say before you actually do it is really really important.” Visit harkeraquila.com for full article.

Community explores substance abuse impacts in weeklong events Club leaders coordinate educational speakers, activities to educate, show support for those affected

“The main takeaway [I have] is that, for students who are going through substance abuse, it’s really impactful to have an adult or a figure who will support you and guide you” PR








“We were looking at projects that we could do to benefit the school wellness, and we looked at substance abuse as one of the areas where we felt that is pertinent to students” PR








“[Ms. Keller] gave in-depth answers and really made the people who were asking the questions feel comfortable, and I think that encouraged more people to ask questions” PR







CREATIVE OUTLET Art Club members created a collaborative quilt of artwork with 17 squares to raise awareness on the issue of substance abuse for the student body.

lucy ge “Think down to the very last detail: what are you going to wear to a party tomorrow night?” Students gazed thoughtfully into the distance on Feb. 19 as they contemplated upper school LIFE program director and math teacher Jane Keller’s question about planning out an outfit for a hypothetical party. “That is how much time the average teenage brain has to make an in-the-moment decision,” Keller said after seven seconds ticked by. “If we can’t figure out what we’re going to wear, how are we going to make a conscious, good decision about what’s going to happen?” Student leaders tackled the issue of substance abuse through speaker events, a presentation and an art collage during the LIFE Board’s first annual Substance Abuse Awareness Week from Feb. 16 to Feb. 19. LIFE Board members Sujith Pakala (11) and Dhruv Saoji (11) spearheaded



this initiative in hopes of educating students on the impacts of substance abuse. After using a thinking exercise and playing a video during the Psychology Club speaker event on Feb. 19, Keller encouraged 30 students to think deeply about their values and discussed supporting peers struggling with substance abuse. Public Health Club hosted a speaker event on Feb. 19 with psychologist Kalpana Sundaram, who spoke to over 30 attendees about treating patients dealing with addiction. She discussed using micro interventions, skills that help patients with becoming more attuned with their needs. “We’re so focused on all of the other aspects of life that we do not just focus on ourselves,” Sundaram said during the talk. Joelle Weng (9) found Sundaram’s use of micro interventions to help patients fascinating. “I thought it was really cool that little changes could help deal with such expansive problems,” she said. Visit harkeraquila.com for full article.


Engineering students return to campus to conduct labs BEN GREEN / OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS

Students, faculty bring identity into conversation

STEADY HANDS Seniors Bayden Yazalina and Ryan Tobin work on building a stable plastic bridge as math teacher Anthony Silk gives feedback.

lucy ge Masked and working in small groups, seven Introduction to Engineering students carefully connected K’NEX building pieces to form plastic bridges between tables outside of Nichols on Feb. 26. Nearly two weeks later, they returned into the Dobbins classrooms last Wednesday for a second bridge-building lab. Taught by upper school math teacher Anthony Silk, seven students out of a nine-person class opted to build plastic bridges in-person to supplement their learning on the bridges unit. For the first lab, they worked on three general challenges evaluating the bridge’s length and durability, and they expanded on their skills in the second lab by trying to build a sturdier plastic bridge.

“It was nice to finally be back at school in a classrooom, even though it wasn’t a full day of school” ANOUSHKA BUCH



Chloe Affaki (12) enjoyed being back in the classroom for the second lab, which was held indoors due to the rain. The second lab also asked students to take into account the hypothetical time and cost of construction of the bridge, which Chloe found interesting. “It was the full process of construction, not just the design, which is what we had done last time,” she said. “It was nice to finally be back at school and in a classroom, even though it wasn’t specifically for a full day of school.” Students studied the technical aspects of bridge-building, such as stress and strain, before coming onto campus for the labs. They were also provided with materials during pick-up days to work on projects in their own time. Angela Cai (12) also enjoyed being on campus and participating in hands-on engineering activities. The class had previously used the app “Truss Me!” to design structures, and she preferred the in-person activity over the app. “Being able to touch things in-person is more of a learning experience,” Angela said. “Because I’m more of a hands-on person, it works better.” Silk also enjoyed seeing his Engineering class in-person for the first time in the semester. “It was nice seeing the students in three dimensions,” he said. “It’s so strange when you’re all just little tiny squares. It was weird because, some students, I didn’t really recognize them in-person, because you’ve gone from this big to, like, ‘Oh, wow, you’re tall,’ and just getting a sense of them is very different.” Silk plans to have another on-campus activity next month for an aviation lab. DESIGN BY LUCY GE



musician? sarah mohammed & alysa suleiman At just five or six years old, a little boy would practice his harmonica, twirling around his mother’s tea party event to its lively tunes. In those moments, he knew he was destined to become someone who would one day create the music that surrounded his childhood. Now a seasoned jazz musician, trumpeter and professor at the USC Thornton School of Music, Dr. Ron McCurdy looks back fondly at his journey in music and its intersections with humanity and activism, hoping to bring these messages to young artists and students alike. Now, Dr. McCurdy currently joins the upper school in monthly sessions—the first one took place on Jan. 26 and the second on Feb. 26. During his first visit, Dr. McCurdy discussed the Harlem Renaissance and the history of racism against Black Americans leading up to the early


“Part of my mission with all these sessions is to help young people to really begin to understand what you stand for” DR. RON McCURDY TRUMPETER, PROFESSOR AT USC THORNTON SCHOOL OF MUSIC

nineteenth century. “Part of my mission with all these sessions is to help young people to really begin to understand what you stand for, who you are as a person, and what kind of human being you are going to be as you mature into adulthood,” Dr. McCurdy said. Dr. McCurdy’s first session focused on Black culture in the entertainment world and its influences on art during the Harlem Renaissance, a revival of African American culture centered in the Harlem district of New York City. “I thought it was really nice to see how he talks about how this African American culture has been influencing our cultural revolutions,” Charles Ding (11), who attended Dr. McCurdy’s first session, said. “A lot of times he just burst out singing, I thought that made the presentation a lot more fun and engaging.” As he grew up devouring music, Dr. McCurdy was drawn to jazz because of how the music is soaked in African-American culture and tradition, allowing for the performer’s personal flairs to shine. “Every time you perform [jazz] is going to be different: you may change a

pitch, you may change your rhythm, you may delay a phrase, but that’s totally acceptable because of the music in that particular genre,” Dr. McCurdy said. “Any African-American derived music, whether gospel music [or] RNB, is about the performer and not the composer.” After doing a cultural mix project 10 years ago called Shanghai Jazz, he was approached by a gentleman at the Grammys, who showed him some sheet music by the Chinese composer Li Jinhui and inspired Dr. McCurdy to look deeply into Li’s music. Li Jinhui was ostracized for his music due to opposition from the Chinese Nationalist Party, he met jazz musician and trumpet soloist Buck Clayton, who had formed a group called the gentlemen of Harlem in Shanghai. After their chance encounter, Buck Clayton began to incorporate Chinese aspects in his music, and Li Jinhui began to incorporate jazz techniques in his music, a cross-cultural exchange that inspired both artists. Fascinated by the mutual cultural impact that Li and Clayton had on each other’s music, Dr. McCurdy orchestrated his own project inspired by the two composers. In the project, he took 10 of Li Jinhui’s folk songs and organized different musical quartets to harken back to times in Shanghai. “As an artist, you don’t want to try to ever duplicate what someone’s already done, so I reimagined: ‘What if Li Jinhui and Buck Clayton were here in the 21st century?’” he said. “I took themes of Li Jinhui’s music, and I superimposed what I reimagined they might have done.” In the future, Dr. McCurdy hopes to release a project inspired by Louis Armstrong’s “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” in which artists can use Armstrong’s piece as a soil to foster and create discussions around heritage and struggle. Dr. McCurdy’s second session, which took place on Feb. 26, explored the connections between jazz and leadership. Dr. McCurdy discussed how jazz embodies leadership because it requires listening and compassion between players to create beautiful sounds. Upper school vocal teacher Susan Nace, who helped organize Dr. McCurdy’s visits, shares her belief of the inherent prejudice against women and people of color in the classical music world. “There needs to be a change in our education system to where it’s not just about white privilege, where it’s just not Eurocentric, but where it becomes more global and inclusive and celebrates and honors,” Nace said. “Bringing in Dr. McCurdy is just one of many steps we need to take in making sure that we are truly educating our students about the world that is, and the world that will be not the world that was.”

FUN FACTS ABOUT DR. McCURDY Q: What’s Dr. McCurdy’s favorite part about music?

A: Dr. McCurdy especially appreciates music as the result of a blend of various backgrounds and enjoys listening to other indigenous and cultural music to deepen his perception of the musical world.

Q: How does Dr. McCurdy compose his music?

A: Through composition, Dr. McCurdy hopes to put into song the melodies that are part of his voice as an artist. He first imagines the story he wants to tell and experiments with which sounds he can create to help support that story.


USC professor Dr. Ron McCurdy teaches history of Black culture through Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes, leadership webinars

ALL THAT JAZZ Dr. Ron McCurdy holds his trumpet for a photo. As he grew up devouring music, Dr. McCurdy was drawn to jazz because of how the music is soaked in AfricanAmerican culture and tradition, allowing for the performer’s personal flairs to shine.

African American reading list Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and compiled by Dr. McCurdy (shortened)

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-1963 by Taylor Branch Reconstructing the Dreamland: The Tulsa Riot of 1921: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation by Alfred L. Brophy Wounded Knee: Party Politics and the Road to an American Massacre by Heather Cox Richardson Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

the Dawn of a New America by Gilbert King The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History by Mitch Landrieu Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin by John D’Emilio Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War by Tony Horwitz Ida: A Sword Among Lions by Paula Giddings

Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II by Douglas A. Blackmon

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

The 1619 Project by Nikole Hannah-Jones

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

We Were Eight Years In Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates




MAD FOR MUSHROOMS Latin teacher Scott Paterson explores excitement of mushroom hunting sally zhu

Mushroom Match Which mushroom is Paterson’s 1) Favorite? 2) First? 3) Most unique? 4) Newest?

CHANTERELLE / Cantharellus / EDIBLE • SEASON: fall to winter

“Each and every time I find a new species, there’s an excitement about it. When you find a good mushroom, there’s a thrill to it”



• SEASON: Winter to spring


EARTH STAR MUSHROOM / Astraeus hygrometricus / INEDIBLE • SEASON: summer to fall


• SEASON: winter to spring


““Each and every time I find a new species, there’s an excitement about it. When you find a good mushroom, there’s a thrill to it. And when you find a huge stash of mushrooms, it’s really exhilarating,” Paterson said. He has gone on multiple trips annually for 10 years now with fellow mushroom hunter and former Harker English teacher Dr. Ben Spencer-Cooke, who retired six years ago. They would often look specifically for chanterelles and morels, which are also some of Paterson’s favorite mushrooms to cook and eat. During these trips, Dr. Spencer-Cooke has observed the specific qualities that make Paterson a great mushroom hunter. “You have to be patient, you have to be very observant, you have to concentrate, you have to move quickly to cover a lot of ground and you have to keep look-


Upper school Latin teacher Scott Paterson kneels in a large forest in camping gear, holding a bright red Alice-in-Wonderland mushroom with his three-yearold son Virgil. He’s featured in more photos, smiling and holding mushrooms of different varieties—small and large, plentiful and single, bumpy and smooth, red and brown. Paterson, who has been teaching at Harker for 12 years now, has enjoyed mushroom hunting for 25 years. From when he first went on a trip into the woods with some chef friends and found a huge haul of chanterelle mushrooms, he has now found many other types and has kept up with the hobby enthusiastically.

FOREST FORAGING Upper school Latin teacher Scott Paterson and his son Virgil examine Amanita Muscaria, commonly known as fly amanita, mushrooms on a hike in Jan. 2020.

ing at the ground and identifying the thing you’re looking for,” Dr. Spencer-Cooke said. “[Paterson’s] always a very good companion, a fun person to go with, and of course, we make a nice trip of it.” Though mushroom hunting can be an enjoyable way to spend one’s afternoon, mushroom hunters have to be careful about avoiding harmful species. Paterson’s advice is to first join a mycology organization, such as the San Francisco Mycological Society, which Paterson joined when he first started the hobby. As a Latin teacher, Paterson also enjoys studying the etymology of mushrooms’ scientific names. For example, the Amanita muscaria, a round red mushroom with white spots, comes from the Latin word mosca. According to legend, Romans would break up the mushrooms and put them in liquid to attract flies, where they would be stunned and killed. Apart from the thrill of finding different mushrooms, Paterson’s love for nature and the outdoors will keep him mushroom hunting with his wife, upper school English teacher Jennifer Siraganian, and

Answers: 1) Cauliflower mushroom 2) Chanterelle

3) Bird’s nest mushroom 4) Earth star mushroom

From creative idea to new reality arely sun In the hustle and bustle of a Spanish National Honor Society meeting, an idea was born. Seniors Shreya Srinivasan and Julia Biswas decided to create luna y sol, a bracelet-making nonprofit that raises money for Iglesia Embajadores de Jesús, a church sanctuary in Tijuana, Mexico that provides education and medical help for migrants at the US-Mexico border. “It’s really less about the business itself and more about the cause I wanted to support,” said CEO and co-founder Julia. Arnav Gupta (11) built his business GetWellSoon around his personal struggles with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), a rare muscle disorder with no known cure. After having difficulty finding suitable clinical trials, he launched GetWellSoon as a tool for patients. “Finding a clinical trial has really been a really big part of my journey with DMD, and I know firsthand the struggle of patients who are trying to find clinical trials,” he said. Ysabel Chen (11)’s ongoing project Lucky Paw centers around a cause dear to her heart: pet adoption. With three rescued dogs, two of which were adopted, she experienced the scattered process of

signing paperwork. She is currently enrolled in Harker’s Incubator 1 class, where students ideate products or services and begin creating their businesses. “I went through the adoption process myself, and it was very tedious. So I came up with the idea at the beginning of the incubator class,” she said. Trisha Variyar (10), another member of the Incubator 1 class, is working on a product called Corsland with her partner Nikela Hulton (11) to prevent package theft. “For our designer, [upper school business and entrepreneurship teacher Michael Acheatel] referred us to a Harker alumni. We emailed her and set up a meeting, and Nikela and I created a Pinterest board of our ideas,” Trisha said. Ultimately, in spite of setbacks in production the pandemic posed for luna y sol, Julia appreciates helping migrants at the border and making an impact for the better, no matter how small. “A lot of the time, I’ll see problems, and it’s easy to feel helpless,” she said. “But selling bracelets has been a fun way to contribute to helping people who really deserve a lot more than they’re being given at this moment.” Visit harkeraquila.com for full article.

FUNGUS FUN Upper school English teacher Jennifer Siraganian and son Virgil with boletus edulis, or porcini, at Salt Point State Park.

family in the future. They have two sons together, Virgil and two-year-old Homer, who are both named after epic poets, connecting their parents’ Latin and poetry backgrounds. Paterson hopes in the future that his sons pick up the hobby as well. Visit harkeraquila.com for full article.


• Founders: Julia Biswas (12), Shreya Srinivasan (12) • Bracelet-making nonprofit • Raises money for church sanctuary helping migrants at US-Mexico border



• Helps patients find clinical trials

• Streamlines pet adoption process

• Inspired by Arnav’s personal experience with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD)

• Inspired by Ysabel’s personal experience with pet adoption process

• Founder: Arnav Gupta (11)

• Founder: Ysabel Chen (11)


• Founders: Trisha Variyar (10), Nikela Hulton (11) • Product: lockbox that protects against package theft


Student entrepreneurs continue helping community during pandemic through innovation



INNOVATING TO IMPROVE Ysabel Chen (11) works on her business, the digital app Lucky Paw, which she designed to centralize and streamline the pet adoption process.




About Sapigao:

The daughter of immigrants from the Phillipines

Has written two books of poetry: microchips for millions and like a solid to a shadow

Santa Clara Poet Laureate Janice Lobo Sapigao sits down for a conversation with Sarah Mohammed in this ongoing Winged Post series featuring poets.


Authored two published chapbooks: toxic city and you don’t know what you don’t know

Santa Clara Poet Laureate reflects on sharing her story through poetry I started writing when I was six years old; that was also the same year that my dad passed away from a heart attack. I think now that I’m older, I’m able to connect why I felt the need to write and what emotions I was feeling, but at the time I just felt like I wanted to write. I also think there are multiple forms of genesis when it comes to writing: every time I hear a poem I love, it makes me want to go write. My first book was about Silicon Valley. I noticed that the Bay Area was changing, and I didn’t want to forget some of the things that I treasured, including small businesses or restaurants or places that I had memories [of ]. I grew up near the airport, and there used to be a field there where my family would pick these flowers that were edible. That field turned into a company or a building for a tech company. San Jose was very much a farmland when I was growing up in it, so I don’t want to forget those parts of the places where I lived. For me, writing is memory. Writing is taking a record of what’s happening or what’s around. Writing is documentation. I often write what is called documentary poetics, which is very similar to documentary film, where you collage togeth-

er interviews with news headlines with scholarship with statistics — that’s how I choose to put together an image or a description. It is very fragmented. The reader has to work to understand that things aren’t going to be easily legible. * * * I started writing “Bill Pay” while my mom was dying. At the time, I knew she was sick. I knew things were irreversible. But I didn’t know just how bad things were. No amount of questions I could ask to any doctor or nurse would get me closer

I’m finding that youth will find ways to present things in a way I’ve never even seen. And I think that’s what we need — we need people to bring new ideas to an understanding that was emotionally fulfilling. That poem let me write down a record of the things that mark my mom’s absence [and] also her strength and the positions that my family and I will have to

fill in. Sometimes, being a child of immigrants is also being a translator, an interpreter, an accountant, a secretary. And then paying the bill. I think it also speaks to how a lot of very American systems are not easily navigable. And I thought, “Let me put this in a poem.” *** I think the youth will bring a world unimagined. Their analysis is sharper than my generation and the ones before it. Their critique of a broken system is more exacting than any of the rhetoric I’ve read from politicians there. Youth actions have been more cross cultural. I think more people are finally seeing the impact of the pandemic on youth and how poetry could be a way to allow students to have an outlet in terms of mental health and processing what’s going on because there’s so much loss, so much grief. And in some ways I felt nervous about being a poet laureate during a pandemic, but there’s many things to be proud of. I’m proud that the county is realizing the [Youth Poet Laureate program] is an important program and we [that] need to institutionalize it. Visit harkeraquila.com for full article.

Started Santa Clara County’s first Youth Poet Laureate Program as a chapter with Urban Word New York City as part of the National Youth Poet Laureate Initiative Named one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s Women to Watch in 2017 by KQED Arts Poetry Editor at Angel City Review Was a first-generation college student who studied ethnic studies, writing, literature, research methods, urban studies & planning and creative writing in her undergraduate and graduate schooling Co-hosts the podcast Pinaystrology, which discusses BIPOC pop culture, poems and the planets Co-founded Sunday Jump, a long-running open mic space in Los Angeles’s Historic Filipinotown


Journalism students recommend latest nonfiction reads Welcome to Book Corner, Harker journalism’s newest project introducing reviews of a wide variety of nonfiction books that journalism staff members have read. Each book is rated out of five, with five being a “must read!” and one being “nope, skip this one.” Check out the full reviews with additonal information such as related recommendations at harkeraquila.com.

arya maheshwari

Rating: Don’t be fooled by the subtitle: “Bird by Bird” is about as far from a dry, didactic text as it gets. I would certainly recommend “Bird by Bird” to anyone looking for lessons on writing from a human perspective — and especially to anyone struggling with mental obstacles and anxieties in the process, which, as Lamott powerfully conveys, are challenges that most writers have to face every day. Those who appreciate snarky remarks would especially enjoy the novel’s often-quotable prose, though others might find Lamott’s tone slightly jarring or uncomfortably brazen at times. Overall, however, the authenticity of Lamott’s message and her generally down-toearth storytelling sets “Bird by Bird” apart from other instructional texts on writing.


“Becoming” by Michelle Obama LUCY GE



“Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life” by Anne Lamott

lucy ge

Rating: Michelle Obama recounts her upbringing, struggles and triumphs in her memoir, “Becoming,” from her upbringing in the South Side of Chicago to becoming the First Lady of the United States. This book offers compelling insights about race, American politics, education and family. I felt enthralled by her journey in life and could not stop reading. Although Obama did not hesitate to speak on more difficult topics in her memoir, there was also plenty of lightness in her book that made it especially enjoyable to read. Her honest but ultimately optimistic tone made me feel hopeful about the future of America and American politics, and I felt empowered by her book to enact positive change in my own community.

“The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate” by Peter Wohlleben

nicholas wei

Rating: In simple, accessible language, Peter Wohlleben likens the interactions between trees — from germination to death — to those of humans. Wohlleben’s book has met both praise and criticism from reviewers. On one hand, it’s a short, easy read that offers insights into the forest ecosystem. On the other hand, it makes rather tenuous analogies to human interactions that have come across to some as unscientific. Wohlleben himself would say that that’s not the point — this book really isn’t a scientific foray; it’s an opportunity to introduce the public to lesser-known aspects of a forest. In that sense, Wohlleben’s book seems to be a success, detailing the competition, love, pain and even “social welfare” of trees. DESIGN BY ARELY SUN



OUR YEAR OF The last time we were on campus together? March 12, 2020


In light of this historic year, each member of our staff shared a special vignette about their quarantine experience

This program reflects my opinions on the pandemic. I've loved being able to develop my hobbies over the pandemic, especially programming. But at the same time, there are so many problems. The convoluted nature of the code is also reflective of the confusion I've felt over the pandemic. - Arjun Barrett (10)

adapt accordingly. We’ve faced fear and conquered it, experienced loneliness and embraced it, battled the unknown and welcomed it. And now, as we watch our friends, teachers and family members receive vaccinations and plan our return to normalcy, our world is gradually becoming a glass half-full again. Half-full, and continuing to fill with hope with each passing day. Each member of our journalism staff has approached the pandemic in their own way, sometimes together and sometimes separate. We’ve reconnected with long-lost friends, escaped into literary universes, fiddled around with new instruments and started culinary adventures. Over this last year, so many high school milestones were left unreached. Yet one universal truth persists: an unplanned pressure to grow up fast while attempting to preserve our last fragments of childhood joy and innocence.


American deaths to COVID-19 as of March 24 Glued to the TV screen, my grandfather sat on a beige reclining chair one Saturday evening. It was March 14th, 2020, and no one knew what was to come the following year between his dementia diagnosis and the global pandemic. Every Saturday evening since then, I have visited my grandparents while taking all safety precautions. One Saturday shortly after quarantine started, I was given a history assignment where I had to interview an elderly relative, and I quietly asked my grandfather, careful of his unstable emotions. I sat across from him and wrote down each of his words, pressing the record button in my voice memos. Little did I know that was the last conversation I would have with him.

family & friends Although I have tried to stay in touch with [friends] as much as possible, it was difficult to maintain relationships and receive the same support without the constant interactions we had before. Slowly, I felt my mental health get worse and I realized I would have to find something I could do on my own that made me happy. Throughout the past year, I have been exploring music and songwriting with my ukulele, learning new things everyday. As I found myself in a better place mentally, I became more comfortable reaching out to my friends once again.




- Shinjan Ghosh (11)



On March 12, 2020, Head of School Brian Yager announced through the speakers that the upper school would be closing due to the public health threat of COVID-19. Though we celebrated in the hallways and promised to see each other in a few weeks, we were in no way ready for the year ahead of us. The days dragged into weeks, then months, until finally, one week ago we arrived at the one-year anniversary of the start of quarantine. Each morning from Monday to Friday, we greeted each other through computer screens, amidst spotty WiFi connections and endless Zoom room numbers. We’ve endured over 365 days of the same four walls, the same morning logon and afternoon logoff routines. Above all, the pandemic has brought uncertainty. But as a generation that has always lived on the brink of change, it has been one more instance of a challenge in our world, and we’ve tried our best to

My ro the s of ora fores smot whate to for supp looke movie After to rol of qu long myse manu myse pand comm try ne escap






At the time, I thought the interview would be a good memory exercise for him, but now the recording serves as a special memory to me. Some days my grandfather can no longer speak, while others he just whispers my name. But now that he’s vaccinated, he grabs my hand every time he sees me, sometimes taking minutes to let go. - Anika Mani (11)

My feet stumble as I get out of my chair after staring at a screen and beige walls for hours. I reach for the door knob and hear a “thump” from the other side. A jumping, spinning blur of black and white leaps onto my bed. Juno, my family’s border collie puppy, collapses onto the heap of white sheets. Juno’s barking at the vacuum, hopping onto the dinner chairs, and more have delighted my family and me since November. His infectious spirit has helped us get through the many obstacles brought by the pandemic, and he’s the best thing that has happened to us in a while. While the negativity can be blinding, Juno and his enthusiasm have reminded me to be grateful for what I have. The past year has been a disaster for many of us, but there is also so much to appreciate and love. - Sabrina Zhu (10)






- Jessica Tang (10)


- Irene Yuan (11)


Colors fly past me as I pedal rapidly on my bike. It’s been a while since I left the house–one of just a few times the entire summer. We bike through downtown Saratoga. The candy stores and wine-tasting shops don’t have lines of people anymore, and the parking lot is nearly empty. But as the weeks passed, my biking trips began to fill with more voices and “Open for outside dining” signs. Tables spread out onto the streets, and cars filled the surrounding lots. All of us have struggled with losing so much of what we’re used to, but with the passing days, our world is slowly returning to normal. - Sally Zhu (10)





I've had more time to work on arts and crafts during the pandemic, and this origami flapping dragon lying on top of a paper towel with watercolor stains was one of my foldable creations. Following crafting tutorials have given me space to take a breath and litter my desk with small creations. - Nicole Tian (11)

This is a bucket list that I created of everything I wanted to accomplish during high school. Even though the pandemic hit before I could even finish my freshman year, I was still able to complete several of the items on my list, and I’m proud to say that the pandemic didn’t stop me from doing all that I wanted to. - Lavanya Subramanian (10)


- Nicholas Wei (10)




Over the 2020 summer, I went on several hikes in order to go outdoors and reconnect with nature. On my first hike, I had spent an hour searching for Corallorhiza maculata, an achlorophyllous native orchid commonly known as the spotted coralroot.



Being an early riser, one of my favorite things to do has been to watch the sunrise before the school day. Before the pandemic, each sunrise didn’t mean much because while it was pretty, I would be going outside later in the day anyway and experience a change in scenery. As the days dragged on in quarantine, the daily sunrise became the only thing that was different from my immediate surroundings that I saw every day. The sunrise became a measure of time, proof that despite the fact that every day felt the same, the world kept turning and time continued to progress.


ly Sun (11)

October 29 was the last day recorded on my Snoopy-themed calendar. I began using it in high school to remind myself of the countability of weeks and months and years, the importance of each individual day. Now I stare at October 29, almost five months since I last updated the calendar, and I don’t try to change it. Maybe it’s denial: of the fact that I’ll be graduating in two months, or that it’s been a year of pandemic and at this point, I don’t know how I feel or what I’ve lost anymore. - Arya Maheshwari (12)



oller skates arrived on the day sky was painted a macabre shade ange from last fall’s devastating st fires. The smoke and ashes thered the sunlight along with ever positive emotions I tried rce myself to feel. How was I posed to feel “fine” when the world ed straight out of an apocalyptic e? the ashes dissipated, I continued ller skate to combat the loneliness uarantine and to unwind after a day of Zoom classes, immersing elf in heel-toe transitions and uals and dips for nobody but elf. In the darkness of the demic, I found a silver lining — mute time translated into time to ew hobbies and to appreciate pism.


My navy blue pandemic journal lay open before me. The first entry is dated March 23, 2020 – around two weeks after school shifted online. I flip back to the entry dated January 5, 2021, the day Ms. Austin gave us the following prompt: write down highlights from every month during the past year. After taking out my black ink pen and opening my camera roll for inspiration, I began jotting down highlights. The highlights from January to March took up around four lines. The highlights from April to December took up one line. The highlights from January to March included countless memories with friends. The highlights from April to December included my daily activities. I realize that the seemingly mundane activities such as hiking, drawing, and baking, that I previously held in less importance now became more important than ever. I learned to find joy in the ordinary.




Research continues despite remote challenges Virtual Synopsys fair features student projects from past year Medical Club


sabrina zhu







“Astrophysics is a lot about taking data from a source and coding to analyze that, so I think it was a smooth transition to the virtual format.” PR








“The biggest thing that’s missing is [students] used to be able to walk around the conference hall and see what other students have done” M





Perseverance lands on Mars

NASA rover begins search for signs of life, documents planet surface



Pound autonomous helicopter, “INGENUITY,” attached to the rover




Billion dollars to build and launch the mission Statistics from nasa.gov

TOUCHDOWN An illustration of NASA’s Perseverance rover landing on Mars is depicted. The rover landed on Feb. 18 at around noon with the goal of further exploring the planet.

anmol velagapudi With an ambitious journey still to come, NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover has now spent over 33 Sols on Mars, which equates to roughly 34 Earth days, after landing on Feb. 18. In addition to collecting core samples of Martian rock and soil and analyzing the Martian climate, Perseverance will embark on the first rover mission designed to seek signs of ancient microbial life. A key feature of the rover is its accompanying helicopter, Ingenuity, that aims to be the first powered flight on another

world and, if successful, could broaden the scope of what is possible with Mars exploration. As of March 23, Ingenuity has begun preparations for the first flight that NASA is targeting to be no earlier than April 8. The rover currently is in transit to the “airfield” where Ingenuity will attempt to fly. “I think it’s fabulous that we keep going and keep going back because it reflects what I think is the best part of humanity, which is our curiosity,” Dr. Eric Nelson, upper school physics teacher and computer science department chair, said. Visit harkeraquila.com for full article.


“What we try to do is provide opportunities for club members to get involved in medicine. We want to share with them the experiences we’ve had and give them new experiences they can partake in,” Medical Club President Suman Mohanty (12) said. “We’re just continuing on with that mission of sharing our mutual passions in medicine with everyone.” On Feb. 5, the club invited speaker Dr. Simon Conti, Director of the Stanford Kidney Stones Center and Clinical Assistant Professor of Urology, who discussed his experience as a urologist and his research. The transition to the online environment has largely been smooth, and speakers can easily give presentations through Zoom. However, interacting with the professional doctors has become more difficult, which Suman considers a loss. “I would say one drawback to having the speaker events online is we can’t have the same connection with the speakers. Some of my good memories from events in the past are even after the event ends, the speaker will stay back and answer questions,” Suman said. Besides inviting speakers, Med Club has been continuing their mentorship program. Each year, about sixty doctors are partnered with club members to serve as guides and to assist them with essays. Additionally, the club has hosted multiple diagnosis events and has released awareness announcements on topics such as cancer and substance abuse. The club’s strong student leadership has made it possible for members to participate in and enjoy a variety of interactive activities. “Suman, this year, has really taken that and continued running with it, just really interested in providing as robust a club as possible for our members to get as much out of it. The officers just get together on their own and basically come to me when they need something, which is almost only if they need my Zoom room,” upper school biology teacher and Medical Club adviser, Dr. Matthew Harley said.



Day-LONG mission, or at least one mars year

“The interviews in previous Synopsys years were definitely a lot better. Interviews before used to be one-on-one, but now, [students] get a 15-minute time frame with several judges at the same time”





The annual Synopsys Science & Technology Championship was held virtually on March 11 with students presenting their research in the past year to judges. The Santa Clara Valley Science and Engineering Fair Association (SCVSEFA), which has previously held the event in person at the San Jose Convention Center, shifted to a virtual format last year in response to COVID-19 and has continued this year through online interviews with judges using Power Points slides. “In theory, if [the event is] run efficiently, I think [students] still have as much of a chance to talk to the judges and meet people,” Mr. Chris Spenner, upper school research teacher, said. “I think the biggest thing that’s missing is that they used to be able to walk around the conference hall and see what other students have done, and they don’t really have a chance to do that this year, which is a shame.” Research opportunities over the summer were limited due to the pandemic, but some universities including UC Santa Cruz, which adjusted their Science Internship Program (SIP) to operate fully online, adapted to the change. Tiffany Chang (10), who worked with a professor

on astrophysics research at SIP, built off her research for Synopsys in her project that looked at adjusting selection criteria to differentiate between gamma rays from the source and background radiation. “Astrophysics as a whole is a lot about taking data from a source and coding to analyze that, so I think it was a smooth transition to the virtual format. I performed my analysis with Python code and Jupyter notebooks, and then I saw what optimizations I could make and then applied that to the data,” Tiffany said. Students continued to conduct research and submit for the Synopsys science fair, which was held on an online judging software called RocketJudge. Students received time slots during the afternoon to meet with their judges, and files for each project were placed in a shared folder ahead of time. “The interviews in previous Synopsys years were definitely a lot better. One of the main things is that the interviews before used to be one on one, but now, [students] get a fifteen minute time frame with several judges at the same time,” Prakrit Jain (11), who conducted a project to use automatic software to generate ranged maps, said. Visit harkeraquila.com for full article


mark hu

“We’re just continuing on with that mission of sharing our mutual passions in medicine with everyone” PROVIDED BY SUMAN MOHANTY

IN THE WILD Prakrit Jain (11) photographs a scorpion for his project that built an automatic software to create ranged maps for wildlife.

Medical Club, a club at the upper school with over 100 active members, has continued to host regular speaker events and other interactive projects, despite challenges with the virtual environment. Throughout the past year, officers have invited multiple doctors and physicians to speak with club members, in hopes to inspire them to pursue medicine.

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL Dr. Simon Conti, Director of the Stanford Kidney Stones Center and Clinical Assistant Professor of Urology, discussed his experience as a urologist and his research with Med Club. DESIGN BY MARK HU



News update saurav tewari & arjun barrett

Research Symposium

STORMS Snow covers the quad at the University of Texas at Austin, which experienced water outage and hazardous weather conditions. 4.4 million residents lost power during the storms that hit Texas on Feb. 23, which cut off off water and electricity for over 40 hours.

Unprecedented snowstorms hit Texas, leave residents without power or water “Money has to be spent on upgrading the Texas infrastructure for their power grid. A lot of it hasn’t been maintained since the 60s. That’s what has got to happen” PR








“I was really worried for my friends in Texas, and I hope that the storms bring more awareness about climate change” PR






“Our Texas leaders need to do better in terms of putting those partisan issues aside and realizing that for some people, this is genuinely a matter of life and death” PR









4.4 million

residents left without power in Texas for over 40 hours


or more lives lost, with hypothermia as leading cause of death

$18 billion

in insured losses, total damages expected to be even higher Data from the Texas Tribune and Karen Clark and Company

When the first flakes of snow drifted down Tuesday, Feb. 16, covering the front of her apartment complex in Houston in a blanket of white, Meeah Bradford, a junior at St. John’s Academy, laughed and shook her head at Texas’ “freak weather.” Later that evening around 6 p.m., her power went out, and water stopped. As the hours ticked by and temperatures dropped to below freezing, Meeah quickly realized how dangerous passing that evening would be. 4.4 million residents lost power during the storms that hit Texas on Feb. 23, cutting off water and electricity for over 40 hours. Residents were originally on boil water status—with broken pipes, water was deemed unsafe to drink without heat treatment.

but its regulation policies are very lax compared to those of other states. Many Texans’ power rates are set by the current price of wholesale electricity, which spiked during the storm. “Money has to be spent on upgrading the Texas infrastructure for their power grid,” upper school science teacher Jeff Sutton said. “A lot of it hasn’t been maintained since the 60s, so you’re looking at a power grid that’s 50, 60, 70 years old without maintenance or upgrading.” Unlike other grids in the nation, Texas’ system also does not require companies to keep a reserve of extra power. There was no back-up supply during the storm, and power providers collapsed. “If you leave everything to private corporations to deal with, they focus on cutting costs rather than creating robustness, so they’re not prepared for shocks like this,” Bennett said. “I hope Texas can stop its reliance on oil and fossil fuels and

“I hope Texas can stop its reliance on oil and fossil fuels and move on to more reliable energy sources, which can definitely be weatherproofed” JIN TUAN


alysa suleiman & sabrina zhu


Bennett Liu (‘20) is a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin, where the power generators on campus continued to provide buildings and facilities with electricity despite statewide outages. The baths and toilets on campus ceased to function for three days. “They lost 150 million gallons of water because of all the burst pipes, so none of the water is clean to drink anymore,” Bennett said. “Food is a big thing, so our dining hall was open to all students on campus for free.” The United States electricity power grid isolates Texas in its own southern corner from both the Eastern and West power grids. The deregulation of the Texas power grid gives customers cheaper options and relies on competition between providers. With so many companies competing, most do not invest in consistent maintenance or protection against severe weather. The nonprofit Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the market,

move on to more reliable energy sources, which can definitely be weatherproofed.” Texas governor Greg Abbott criticized the actions of ERCOT, and he also falsely blamed wind power and other sustainable energy sources for supposedly taking energy away from the state power grid. “The fact that we have to deal with the effects of this storm completely unprepared and unable to recuperate fast enough is a complete result of a partisan issue,” Meeah said. “Our Texas leaders need to do better in terms of putting those partisan issues aside and realizing that for some people, this is genuinely a matter of life and death.” In the face of economic and personal loss, Texans look towards those outside and part of the state community to rally together, respond and rebuild. “I’m really grateful to everyone who’s tried to help out during this time,” Bennett said. Visit harkeraquila.com for full article.

The 15th annual Harker Research Symposium will feature poster sessions from Harker students, keynote speeches from industry professionals and alumni and corporate exhibits from Silicon Valley giants like NVIDIA and Microsoft. The symposium is scheduled to begin with student poster sessions on April 9 with main events following on April 10, and registration will open on March 29. The theme for the symposium, which will be fully virtual, is robotics and automation, so many talks and exhibitions will discuss the implications of automated technology.

Vaccine Distributions Vaccine rollout continues, teachers prioritized As COVID-19 vaccine rollouts continue nationwide, upper school teachers have started getting their doses, with some teachers already fully vaccinated while multiple others have received their first doses. Nationally, the vaccine distribution effort has ramped up considerably, with over 130 million doses administered before President Biden’s 100-day goal for 100 million vaccinations and 14% of the population fully vaccinated as of March 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Neurodiversity Week Neurodiversity committee invites speakers, holds activities The upper school Neurodiversity Committee organized multiple virtual events to educate community members as part of a global Neurodiversity Celebration Week that began on March 15. According to the Neurodiversity Celebration Week’s website, over 1,400 schools across the globe participated in honoring the week this year. The upper school Neurodiversity Committee hosted four events which focused on hands-on activities to foster understanding of neurodiversity instead of presentations.

General Motors General Motors announces goal to go carbon neutral by 2040 General Motors is joining other large automakers in an industry-wide shift to zero-emission vehicles in a timeline that is even more fast-paced than Ford or Volkswagen. GM aims to launch 30 battery electric models by 2025 and eventually eliminate all emissions by 2040. The near future goal of introducing 30 battery electric vehicles is already seeing progress, as GM is set to launch Chevrolet Bolt EUV, Hummer EV, and Brightdrop EV600 cargo van. Along with building an electric fleet, GM is looking to build out EV charging station fleets worldwide. DESIGN BY SABRINA ZHU



WiSTEM to host annual Harker Research Symposium virtually



Press and police fail mental health

this I believe...

Between sunset and dusk alena suleiman Sometimes, when a rare gust of cold wind ripples through my sweat-drenched hair as I am biking with my sister on a hot summer day, or when I am standing next to my lao lao (grandma) meticulously folding sticky rice cake around circular blobs of red bean to make mochi, I want to hit pause on the song of life and live in that singular, euphoric moment forever. Since I was little, my lao yé and lao lao (grandparents) have taken care of me while my immigrant parents struggled tirelessly to support the family. Every night, while we waited for my parents to finish work and come home for dinner, my grandpa and I would walk to the highest point in the neighborhood to watch the sunset. Arriving thirty minutes before dusk, we eased ourselves into the small patch of grass at the top of the hilly road, watching the cloudless blue slowly blend itself with warmer hues. I remember staring at the sky with such wonder and amazement, thinking God was the greatest artist in the universe, as he painted strokes of vivid oranges, crimsons, and purples across his vast canvas, the sky. “Look, so pretty,” said lao yé in his broken English. Sighing with content, I grasped lao yé’s hand tightly. I want this moment to last forever, I thought. Yet soon, the brilliant sun became enveloped by dark clouds and the colorful swirls melted away into nothingness. The most magical, breathtaking part of the sunset was over, and the once golden-tinted landscape that reflected the orange sky took on the look of an old black-and-white photograph, signaling that it was dusk already. I then realized that I, an insignificant 7-year-old girl living in the suburbs of Silicon Valley, could not do anything to stop the divine powers and way of the universe. The song of life would not pause for me just because I wanted it to, nor would it replay, and the best I could do was to live in the moment and appreciate the people I spend time with. In February of last year, lao yé passed away after being diagnosed with dementia for almost five years already, during which his memories had slowly blurred and faded with every visit, to a point where he could not even remember my name. That day, I remember rushing to the hospital with my family and blankly staring at the flat, green line displayed on the heart rate monitor. Yet beneath the sorrow and pain, I felt a sort of peace because I knew in my heart that in every second, every hour, and every day we spent together, I embraced with joy. Even now, I sometimes walk along the same path, reminiscing about evening walks I shared with lao yé and recalling fond memories. And every time I watch the sun sink into the horizon and the color drain away from the sky, I am reminded of the little time we have with those we love and to live in the present. This piece earned a National Gold Medal and the New York Life Award in the 2021 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

Two days before New Year’s Day, 19-year-old Christian Hall stood on a highway overpass in Pennsylvania. He had contacted the police, hoping that they could offer him assistance in the middle of a mental health crisis. However, “objective reasonableness,” a subjective standard that allowed the police to determine whether he posed enough of a threat to justify deadly violence, won over. Pennsylvania State Police decided he did, even releasing a statement claiming that “Hall pointed [a] firearm in the Troopers direction. As a result, Troopers fired striking Hall.” In the footage of his shooting released in early February, he crumpled with his hands in the air. Hall’s parents filed a lawsuit against state police, though his death was not the only fatal encounter with police that week. Two days before Christmas, Angelo Quinto, a Navy veteran who suffered from depression, was experiencing a mental health crisis when his sister called the police for assistance. When his mother began filming the situation (police officers switched off their body cameras), Quinto is lying face down on the floor. “What happened,” his mother asks, “What happened?” No one responds. Quinto died three days later, 65 miles northeast of the upper school campus. His family reported that officers knelt on his back for five minutes, similar to the killing of George Floyd last summer. A statement from the Antioch Police Department promised “to provide the public with more information” “once some additional portions of the investigation are completed,” although the department waited a month to confirm his death, and only responded after requests from the East Bay Times. Weeks of chilling silence passed before the deaths of these two men were acknowledged. In Quinto’s case, his killing was only acknowledged due to the family filing a claim against the Antioch Police Department. Their stories should be known as deadly examples of why officers must end unreasonable uses of force as intervention. The lack of coverage and extreme delay in reporting on their deaths expose the gaps in proper police responses to

People with untreated mental illness are


times more likely to be killed by law enforcement


of people fatally shot by police in 2018 had mental illness mental health. News articles about Hall quickly end before even two pages of search results, and all but one waited until footage of his shooting was released in February to report on his death. While the police immediately responded with a fatal show of force, the press barely murmured.

Minimizing police intervention in response to mental illness both reduces requirements for officers and lowers the chance of fatal usage of force Their deaths came as a result of the failure to follow protocol and de-escalate the mental health episode. According to the Treatment Advocacy Center, individuals with untreated mental illness are 16 times more susceptible to being killed by law enforcment. In 2018, 25% of the approximately 1,000 people fatally shot by police in the U.S. had mental illness. The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT), a structure in law enforcement designed to minimize accounts of injury or death in encounters between police and people with mental illness, failed to reduce the use of force. Providing additional training in the CIT program merely checks a box without solving systemic responses. In 2015, American law enforcement agencies traveled to Scotland to investi-


A project documenting the values that matter the most. For more essays, visit harkeraquila.com.


nicole tian


Christian Hall and Angelo Quinto were killed in December, but many news outlets ignored their deaths until February


(! $)

days until most publications report on Hall’s death

year old Chinese American

Represented by civil rights attorney Ben Crump


"% &'

days until most publications report on Quinto’s death

year old Filipino American

U.S. Navy veteran

gate how the country’s officers respond to confrontations, through methods of crisis intervention rather than immediate force. Bringing in specially trained mental health response teams, requiring body cameras to be open at all times, and eliminating knee to neck restraints would center humanity at the forefront of law enforcement. Establishing partnerships with mental health providers can inform law enforcement on the best practices for responding to mental illness. In 2016, 7.7 million people in the U.S. aged 6 to 17 experienced a mental health disorder, negatively affecting academic performance and overall well-being. However, nearly 80% did not receive proper services, and the pandemic has only increased feelings of loneliness and anxiety. Such instances require responses from trained counselors and not armed officers. Alternatives to requiring police officers to become trained experts on mental health curricula include diverting 911 police calls to crisis telephone lines staffed with medical professionals who provide guidance to the individual in crisis. Emergency Medical Services can also send Emergency Medical Technicians, counselors, and physicians to bring individuals to specialized facilities for mental health treatment. Building alternate programs to minimize police intervention in response to mental illness reduces requirements for officers and lowers the chance of fatal usage of force, better achieving what should be the goal of policing: safety and security.

MENTAL HEALTH HOTLINES If you or someone you know is looking to speak with a mental health professional:

• Connect with a trained crisis counselor by texting

HOME to 741741 • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at

1-800-273-8255 • Call SAMHSA’S National Helpline at

1-800-662-4357 DESIGN BY NICOLE TIAN



Aquila Managing Editors Arushi Saxena Aditya Singhvi Aquila A&E Editor Alysa Suleiman Aquila Sports Team Vishnu Kannan Kushal Shah Muthu Panchanatham Saurav Tewari Humans of Harker Editor-inChief Saloni Shah Humans of Harker Managing Editors Erica Cai Esha Gohil Humans of Harker Team Nicholas Wei Sally Zhu Reporters Sriya Batchu Anika Mani Anmol Velagapudi Lavanya Subramanian Visit The Winged Post online at www.harkeraquila.com Follow us on Instagram with the handle @harkeraquila The Winged Post is published every four to six weeks except during vacations by the Journalism: Newspaper Concentration and Advanced Journalism: Newspaper Concentration courses at Harker’s upper school, 500 Saratoga Ave., San Jose, California 95129. The Winged Post staff will publish features, editorials, news, sports and STEM articles in an unbiased and professional manner and serve as a public forum for the students of The Harker School. Editorials represent the official opinions of The Winged Post. Opinions and letters represent the personal viewpoints of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Winged Post. All content decisions are made by student editors, and the content of The Winged Post in no way reflects the official policy of The Harker School. The opinions expressed in this publication reflect those of the student writers and not the Harker board, administration, faculty or adviser. Letters to the Editor may be submitted to Manzanita 70 or emailed to wingedpost2020@gmail.com and must be signed, legible and concise. The staff reserves the right to edit letters to conform to Post style. Baseless accusations, insults, libelous statements, obscenities and letters that call for a disruption of the school day will not be considered for publication. Letters sent to The Winged Post will be published at the discretion of the editorial staff. The Winged Post is the official student newspaper of Harker’s upper school and is distributed free of cost to students. 2020-2021 NSPA Pacemaker Finalist 2019-2020 Crown Recipient 2019-2020 NSPA Pacemaker Winner 2018-2019 NSPA Pacemaker Finalist 2017-2018 NSPA Pacemaker Winner 2017-2018 NSPA Best-in-show publication 2017-2018 Gold Crown-winning publication 2016-2017 NSPA Pacemaker Finalist 2016-2017 Silver Crown-winning publication 2015-2016 Gold Crown-winning publication

End the invisibility of anti-Asian violence After year of hate crimes, mass shootings in Atlanta create breaking point



editorial board Soon Chung Park. Hyun Jung Grant. Suncha Kim. Yong Ae Yue. Xiaojie Tan. Daoyou Feng. Delaina Ashley Yaun. Paul Andre Michels. They were not nameless vessels to carry the fatal burden of a shooter’s “bad day.” They were mothers, grandmothers, immigrants, business owners. Yet their names remained unknown for days, and most information about the women comes from relatives’ GoFundMe pages. Instead, the media delved into the life of the killer who murdered eight people at three massage parlors in Atlanta on March 16, six of whom were Asian women. We knew his church and childhood stories before we knew the names of those he killed. Deputy Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s office excused the white gunman, stating that he was “at the end of his rope.” News outlets magnified his narrative of “sex addiction” with the power of the press. This fascination with the killer disregards mourning families and distracts from the uncertainty of the Asian American community. It humanizes the shooter and dehumanizes the victims. If we don’t


Editors-in-Chief Arya Maheshwari Sara Yen Managing Editor Srinath Somasundaram News Editor Lucy Ge Assistant News Editor Isha Moorjani Features Editor & Graphic Designer Emily Tan Assistant Features Editor Sarah Mohammed Lifestyle Editor & Social Media Editor & Graphic Designer Arely Sun Opinion Editor & Graphic Designer Nicole Tian STEM Editor Mark Hu Assistant STEM Editor Sabrina Zhu Sports Editors Vishnu Kannan Muthu Panchanatham Photo Editor Esha Gohil Multimedia Editors Michael Eng Irene Yuan Design Editor Michelle Liu Adviser Ellen Austin, MJE Aquila Editor-in-Chiefs Varsha Rammohan Anna Vazhaeparambil

ADJUSTING BACK INTO LIFE ON CAMPUS arya maheswari & srinath somasundarum & sara yen Slammed day after day with Zoom classes, we’ve wished for a “return to normal” for so long. We’ve pictured bursting into laughter with friends and chattering in the cafeteria. But now that the time is finally coming up, we must accept that returning may not be completely sparkly and bliss-filled. Besides the fact the restrictions such as social distancing and masks will be enforced, returning might cause anxiety for many of us. We might feel overwhelmed at the loss of a sleep schedule based on a lack of transit. It’s normal and definitely

know the stories of those who died, we let them become ‘others,’ eliminating their agency to make the victims unknowable stereotypes: the quiet, submissive and yet sexualized Asian woman. The shootings in Atlanta reveal the intersection of punishing women for a gunman’s wrongs and expose the experiences of Asian American women. Women reported around 70% of the 3,795 hate incidents recorded over the past year by Stop AAPI Hate, a nonprofit organization providing a platform for tracking violence against AAPI individuals. We stand in solidarity with our Asian American and Pacific Islander community, who make up over two-thirds of our student body. The recent increase in hate crimes reveal a historical continuity dating back to the beginnings of Asian immigration to America. In 1875, the Page Act barred all Chinese women from the United States under the guise of protecting the U.S. from prostitutes. Over the past year, verbal and physical assaults against Asian Americans, especially the elderly, increased as a result of conflating Asian descent with the COVID-19 pandemic. Terms such

as “Chinese virus” or “kung flu” used by figures of authority, including the former president, reignited centuries-long xenophobia against Asians that sparked up during the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and later during the incarceration of more than 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. The Atlanta shootings opened a floodgate of fear for Asian Americans around the country and in our school community. Our students shoulder the heightened possibility of becoming a victim of these hate crimes. Being Asian American in America has often meant invisible stories of pain, with experiences amalgamated into a “model minority” stereotype of academic and economic success. However, our experiences encompass the stories of immigrants, including economic struggles and language barriers. We refuse to be reserved about hate crimes against the AAPI community. Attend #StopAsianHate rallies to advocate for the AAPI community, as members or as allies. If you are Asian American, discuss your safety concerns with parents and trusted adults and share your fears. We are at the end of our rope.

okay to have these feelings, especially when our lives have been thrown so far off course over the past year. If you ever need help from a trusted adult, you can reach out to your academic counselors: jonah.alves@harker.org, huihui.chang@harker.org, lori.kohan@ harker.org, rosalyn.schreiman@harker. org. And as seniors, we’ve waited a long time to return to campus and complete the rites of passage as a class. While our final weeks before graduation are certainly ours to cherish, there’s also some responsibility that comes with being seniors — and upperclassmen in general — that we haven’t yet fully stepped into. Consider the freshmen. They haven’t yet had the chance to lounge in Main and stick their legs ridiculously far out into the hallways. Though our on-campus experience may not look exactly the same as before, it’s still our job to show underclassmen the ropes. While we look forward to all of the joys of being together again, let’s also remember to support ourselves and each other as we begin to reacclimate to the place many of us thought of — and still think of — as our second home.

DIVE INTO MORE DISCOURSE For more opinion content, check out these excerpts from articles that can be read in full on harkeraquila.com.

STUDENT PRESS FREEDOM sarah mohammed From that moment, I began to understand student journalism as a duty and responsibility, pouring what information we can glean into the community’s hands. It wasn’t always easy, but it was worth it to be able to create this healing in the face of heartbreak.

CRYPTOCURRENCY ART michelle liu A mass of brightly colored pixels pops up onto the screen. But this is no ordinary internet meme: Nyan Cat, an animated cat with a pop tart as a body, sold for 300 Ethereum (a blockchain cryptocurrency), or nearly $600,000 USD. The validity of the purchase lies in its NFT, or non-fungible token. This advent marks the recent rise of the crypto art market worldwide. DESIGN BY NICOLE TIAN



Sports return as COVID-19 cases decline EMILY TAN

Harker athletics resume league competition after yearlong hiatus

Preaching patience

Cross Country Alex Liou (11)

Girls Tennis Sophie Hernandez (9)

vishnu kannan & muthu panchanatham As COVID-19 cases continue to decline in Santa Clara County, a majority of Harker sports have been allowed to resume practice, and in some cases, competition. Sports seasons were initially scheduled to kick off in December, but were ultimately postponed due a surge in COVID-19 cases during the winter. The first sports to resume were cross country, girls golf, girls tennis and swimming. The cross country team participated in four meets during their season, which ended on March 19. The girls golf team currently has a record of 3 - 0, with three more matches left on their schedule. The girls tennis team is also undefeated at this point, having won their first four matches of the season, snapping Menlo’s 24-year-long win streak in league play in the process with a 4-3 victory on March 11. Baseball, girls volleyball, softball and boys and girls basketball started practicing in-person recently, and the boys volleyball season will start in early April. “It has been really great to get back

Track and Field Arman Thakker (10)

Boys Basketball Arjun Virmani (12)

into team practices after not seeing everyone for so long,” junior Austin Wang, a member of the baseball team, said. “In terms of safety precautions, we wear masks at all times and get our temperatures scanned before practice, and then after practice, we wipe down the shared equipment that was used.” Cindy Su (11), a member of the girls basketball team, was surprised to learn that the team would not only be having practice, but also a regular season. “It was really surprising, because I thought we had a super slim chance of being able to practice in person, let alone have a season,” Cindy said. “Even though we won’t be able to have normal practices with contact, I’m really excited just to be able to practice with my teammates and get to know the [new] freshmen.” Students can still register for any of the following sports: track and field, swimming, water polo, boys golf, boys tennis, soccer, girls volleyball, baseball and softball. Due to a lack of members, the football and lacrosse programs were not able to form teams this year, and instead are offering skill development seasons throughout the season.

Girls Golf Natalie Vo (12)

The boys volleyball team faced off against Monta Vista on March 11, 2020, the day before school shut down due to COVID-19. 353 days later, the cross country team participated in a meet at King’s Academy.

Athletics Calendar (Home Games) April 8 - Baseball vs. Silver Creek High School at 4:00 P.M. April 9 - Girls Varsity Volleyball vs. Notre Dame at 6:00 P.M. April 12 - Boys Varsity Basketball vs. Andrew Hill at TBD April 15 - Girls Varsity Soccer vs. Pinewood at TBD April 15 - Softball vs. Castilleja School at 4:00 P.M.

Quarantine is almost over — now what? How to maintain athletic habits through popular quarantine activities As we return to normalcy in the next couple months, it is important that we maintain the strong athletic habits we formed during our year long quarantine. Here are tips and tricks from members of the Harker community for four most popular quarantine athletic activites: yoga, hiking, biking, and running!





“I think running can refresh your mind. To help with consistency, you should set a reminder to run maybe three times a week or whatever your comfortable with.” VI













Sara’s Running Schedule






“With bike tricks, don’t have the mindset of ‘I’ll never be able to do that. Progression comes at your own pace. You can do equally cool things that you’ll be proud of.”




“Slow and steady is Katie’s Favorite definitely the way to go. Hiking Trails Also, don’t be afraid to take breaks. You might be tempted to push through and get [the hike] over with, but your body doesn’t allow that.”


“Just don’t be afraid Mr. Manjoine’s of how you look while Yoga Resources doing it, because yoga is not about looks. Just be consistent, and don’t worry about doing it wrong.”




kushal shah What an absolute rollercoaster of a season it has been. From Klay’s devastating torn Achilles mere days away from the start of our season, to the hype that surrounded James Wiseman, to the two blowout losses to championship contending teams that began our season, to us taking nearly half the season to reach a sense of consistency and finally string together three straight wins, it has been a season that Warriors fans haven’t experienced for the past several years. No longer are we the apex predators atop the NBA’s elite, much less the Western Conference. In stark contrast actually, we’re just barely in the playoff picture. And usually I’m a glass half full kind of guy — but now the truth is glaringly obvious to me — though the Dubs will probably end up entering the playoffs, the way our team is playing right now and given that we don’t make any significant moves by the trade deadline, we’re looking at a first, maybe a second round exit.

No longer are we the apex predators atop the NBA’s elite, much less the Western Conference. In stark contrast actually, we’re just barely in the playoff picture. And usually I’m a glass half full kind of guy – but now the truth is glaringly obvious to me – though the Dubs will probably end up entering the playoffs, the way our team is playing right now, we’re looking at a first, maybe a second round exit Wow. That hurt. I never thought I’d say that this year. But that doesn’t change the facts. The facts, at hand, are that we will not win a championship this year. The facts are also that this year has not gone to complete waste. Not only have we encountered the emergence of Jordan Poole, but like last year, our Warriors have been able to develop the young talent on our team. It’s crucial that we remember that every championship team has to start somewhere — especially if we don’t want to trade away draft picks for star talent. So here I am, preaching patience. And I just have to say that we are more fortunate than other teams: we certainly are not starting from scratch — we have Steph, we have Wiseman, we have Poole, and don’t forget that we also have an eager Klay (who, I might add, drained 12 threes just a few days ago and is recovering well). We have most of the pieces to a championship contending team, it’s just a matter of when — if not this year, then next. So don’t despair! Think of this year like the one which the 49ers had just last season, except to be honest, the Warriors are in a far better position thanks to Steph leading all of our young talent to enter the playoffs. DESIGN BY VISHNU KANNAN AND MUTHU PANCHANATHAM




The APEX repeater profiles Harker athletes who compete at the highest level in their respective sports. This installment features sophomore cross country and track and field athlete Rigo Gonzales’ journey as a runner.

Rigo Gonzales runs with purpose


muthu panchanatham Madness. Absolute Madness. With four double-digit seeds in the Sweet 16, all perfect brackets busted after just 28 games, and still another 15 to play, March’s infamous college basketball tournament has lived up to its name. Dubbed “March Madness” by its fans for its unpredictability (even more so this year), the 68 team single-elimination college basketball tournament provides viewers with entertainment and disappointment annually. This year’s tournament featured a multitude of upsets so far, with many underdogs pulling off victories against their higher ranked opponents. Teams are ranked from one to sixteen in each of four divisions based on their records, and the initial round consists of the lowest seeds playing the highest seeds (1 plays 16, 2 plays 15, and so on). To see 9 double-digit seeds make it out of the first round was surprising to say the least, but when 4 of those teams moved on to the round of 16, it shocked the sports world. The true “Cinderella” story is the 15th seed Oral Roberts University, who defied all odds when they knocked out second seeded Ohio State, who many fans had won the tournament as a whole. Their miraculous run continued with a victory against the seventh seeded Florida Gators. The Golden Eagles hope to continue their run against Arkansas on Sunday, as only the second 15-seed to ever reach the Sweet 16. Brackets around the country fell short of perfection as the upsets piled up. Visit harkeraquila.com for full article.

A crowd forms at the end of the race, anticipating a close finish by the top competitors. As the runners come into view, exhaustion already set into their bones and muscles, one competitor stands out from the pack. While his competition staggers and stumbles through their pain, he sprints forward, gliding along the trail. Eyes shining, Rigo Gonzales (10) bounds across the finish line with perfect from. A vital member of the cross country, track and soccer teams, Rigo’s natural athletic ability is evident as he consistently exceeds the expectations of his teammates and coaches. Inspired by his brother Corey Gonzales (‘16), who won the cross country Central Coast Section (CCS) championship in his senior year, Rigo decided to focus his efforts on cross country in his freshman year, determined to train hard in an attempt to surpass his brother’s times. “I love how rewarding it feels to get a good run in. The feeling when you push yourself to the point where you almost throw up. I actually like the pain, because then I know that I ran my hardest. It’s special to be able to try your best in a sport and succeed,” Rigo said. Confident in his own endurance, Rigo showcases his talent for maintaining a quick pace throughout the majority of the course without tiring. As a result, he is able to overtake competitors when they start to falter. “What separates Rigo from other runners is his sense to perform at a high level while still making leadership and the community aspect of the sport his number one priority. His running style looks effortless and smooth like a long distance runner, yet his explosive speed is second to none,” Anna Weirich (12), Rigo’s teammate, said. “I’ve been lucky enough to


“What separates Rigo from other runners is his sense to perform at a high level while still making leadership and the community aspect of the sport his number one priority” ANNA WEIRICH (12) RIGO’S TEAMMATE

er, Rigo was unable to produce the results he desired in the CCS Championships. “I ran around 20 seconds slower than whatever my time was previously. I was upset, but I was hoping that I would get back to my peak once the season started up again,” Rigo said. “When everything shut down, I just carried that anger and frustration all the way through quarantine. I ran all throughout summer to beat my time and do better.” Two years into his high school career, Rigo is still developing as both a teammate and a runner. He has emerged as a young leader of the cross country team during this year’s shortened season, inspiring his peers to reach new heights. Visit harkeraquila.com for full article.


March Madness reveals disparity in NCAA treatment of female athletes

NCAA tournament returns, but controversy arises

aditya singhvi


Upsets galore, brackets out the door, perfect no more

train side by side with him for the past two years. He’s an amazing training partner who never fails to inspire and brighten the days of others.” Rigo’s strengths paid off in the CCS Qualifier as he was able to beat the time required to participate in the prestigious championship meet, running three miles in 17 minutes and 22 seconds. Despite his performance in the preliminaries, howev-

muthu panchanatham

One rack, six sets of weights, none heavier than 30 pounds. It would hardly qualify as a home gym — yet, in a video shared by Oregon’s Sedona Prince, that is all the NCAA provided for the best female college basketball players in the country at their flagship event. With both the men’s and women’s Division 1 college basketball tournaments kicking off last week, Prince’s video, which went viral on both TikTok and Twitter, sparked outrage about the inferior treatment faced by female college athletes. Her video also showed the men’s workout area — a hotel ballroom outfitted with more than a dozen squat racks and dumbbells. “It diminishes what they bring to the table as an athlete by having one small rack,” Maria Vazhaeparambil (12), co-captain of the varsity girls basketball team, said. “It’s really disappointing to see such a prestigious organization like the NCAA showing what they think about female athletes. They aren’t willing to respect their games to give them the same treatment as the men.” Beyond the weight room — which the NCAA did eventually fix — the organization has also come under fire for providing seemingly worse food, having lower-quality COVID-19 testing and not using the influential “March Madness” branding for the women’s tournament. Although the NCAA has the power to use the billion-dollar moniker for both tournaments, the women’s courts simply have “NCAA Women’s Basketball” across them and lack the powerful branding that comes with the recognizable phrase. Visit harkeraquila.com for full article. DESIGN BY MUTHU PANCHANATHAM AND VISHNU KANNAN











“The fundamental solution to this problem is to improve the relationship between the United States and China. As ordinary people, all we can do now is help each other and protect ourselves O F FI C E O F and those around us” CO M MU




migrant population depend heavily on service work for their livelihood. The recent shooting on Mar. 16 in Atlanta, Georgia, that left eight dead occurred in three Asian-owned massage parlors. The gunman, a 21-year-old white man, claimed his attack was not racially motivated but rather due to a “sex addiction.” With six of the victims being women of Asian descent, the Atlanta shooting highlights the intersectionality between racism and misogyny. “Not only does the model minority myth erase labor struggles, violence and injustice against the Asian American community, it’s also a tool of white supremacy,” Cheng said. “It demonizes Black and Latino communities, and its purpose is to pit Asians against brown and Black people when we should be allies.” Visit harkeraquila.com for full article.


“Seeing these hate crimes are against these elders of Asian descent, I felt less secure. Today, it’s people of East Asian descent. Maybe the next day, India makes everyone hate Indian Americans. That’s kind of what 9/11 was for a lot of P R O VI DE D brown people” BY

“There are still many AsianAmericans struggling and living in poverty, so it’s unfair that our struggles don’t get recognized”


JESSICA ZHOU (10) CO-PRESIDENT OF INTERNATIONAL OUTLOOK FOUNDATION, CHINESE AMERICAN “Racism comes from stereotypes and has really been integrated into our society, so the media won’t really even cover it. It’s important to remember and realize the extent of racism happening P R O VIDE D BY across America” BY


Who is an “Asian American”? A computer engineer at a Silicon Valley technology company? The high school math nerd? The foreigners who contributed to the spread of COVID-19? These are all stereotypes that burden the Asian American population, grouped into a monolith even though Asian Americans come from one of the most ethnically diverse continents in the world. The wave of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) directed hate crimes recently spotlighted in the media are just some of the severe consequences. From being spat on in the street to occasionally physical violence, Asian American have reported around 3,800 hate crimes over the past year. One of the principal causes of recent violence and disregard for the Asian American population is the “model minority myth,” popularized by Western representation of Asian countries in media. According to Harvard Law School, the model minority myth is “the idea that Asians are hardworking overachievers who are closest to the idealized White success.” Upper school history teacher Jonathan Rim, who identifies as Korean-American, grew up in America, yet he and every member of his family have experienced some form of racism or anti-Asian mockery. For him, the recently highlighted attacks are “nothing new.” “Many see [generalized Asian representation in the media] and associate us as people without struggle, but in reality, there are still many Asian-Americans struggling and living in poverty, so it’s unfair that our struggles don’t get recognized,” Rim said. 18-year-old Hailey Cheng, a Chinese-American student at Columbia Uni-

versity, regularly uploads content on the history of anti-Asian discrimination in the United States and Asian representation in Western media to her TikTok platform with over 360,000 followers. “This new wave of hate crimes is not just simply hatred of people who look different from you,” Cheng said. “It’s because of [Yellow Peril] narratives.” The Asian American Federation (AAF) reports that many in the Asian im-



alysa suleiman & nicole tian


“Living in Hong Kong, it was mainly Chinese people so [racism against Asians] rarely existed. I didn’t realize how bad it could get until I actually got [to America]. My mom was calling me, and she was worried and really scared”




Asian American hate crimes reveal ongoing racial issue rooted in American culture








SUNCHA KIM, 69 • Employee at Gold Spa • Grandmother, mother, wife YONG AE YUE • Employee at Aromatherapy Spa • Mother, grandmother • Korean American HYUN JUNG GRANT, 51 • Single mother of two SOON CHUNG PARK, 74 • Employee at Gold Spa • Mother PAUL ANDRE MICHELS, 54 • Army veteran • Brother ELCIAS HERNANDEZORTIZ, 30 • Mechanic • Father, husband • Sole survivor




#STOPASIANHATE A woman wearing a mask that spells “#StopAsianHate” holds up an “Asian Lives Matter” sign while listening to the speakers at San Jose City Hall on Mar. 21.

HOW TO BE AN ALLY TO THE AAPI COMMUNITY: Order takeout from local AAPI-owned restaurants and shop small to support small business owners

DELAINA ASHLEY YAUN GONZALEZ, 33 • Customer at Young’s Asian Massage • Mother of two, wife

PROTESTING TO PROTECT A man holds up a sign protesting Senate Bill 82 (SB-82), which would not charge non-violent cases of theft as violent felonies. Many fear this bill will put the AAPI community at risk of being targeted.

SPEAKING OUT Protestors hold up signs in front of the Rotunda at San Jose City Hall on Mar. 21 rallying against recent hate crimes.

SPREADING A MESSAGE California’s 27th District Assembly Member Ash Kalra speaks to the crowd at the #StopAsianHate rally.

DAOYOU FENG, 44 • Employee at Young’s Asian Massage


Donate to organizations like Asian Pacific Fund and Stop AAPI Hate or to victims’ GoFundMe’s directly





XIAOJIE TAN, 49 • Owner of Young’s Asian Massage

YOUNG VOICES Fourth graders Julia Ni and Tina Tan hold up “Tough On Criminals” and “Justice For Asians” signs at the rally.

Reporting hate crimes LEARN is the first step to HISTORY stopping them. Visit OF AAPI Stop AAPI Hate to report an incident. DISCRIMINATION

Learn the history of racist laws and stereotypes to fight against modern-day discrimination DESIGN BY EMILY TAN

Profile for Harker Aquila

Winged Post Volume 22, Issue 5  

Winged Post Volume 22, Issue 5  

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