Winged Post Volume 24, Issue 4

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MONDAY, FEB. 13 - FEB. 20



Generation Z engages in political activism




Voting is a foundational act in which people participate and contribute to democracy. While it is only one of many forms of engagement, it is a powerful way for people to have their voices heard and have an impact on issues that affect them and their communities; it can also serve as a gateway to other forms of advocacy.

Gen Z, short for Generation Z, refers to people born between the mid 1990s and early 2010s. While Gen Z is often associated with short attention spans and addiction to technology, recent research shows that Gen Z strives to address current issues and solve them through protests, activism and more. Within politics, most Gen Zers find interest in the subject by their late teens.

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Experiencing a day in SF Japantown

First established in the late 1900s, San Francisco’s Japantown, or Nihonmachi, boasts a wealth of delicious restaurants, family-owned businesses and vestiges of the hidden history of the Japanese-American community. Although the once 40-block long ethnic enclave shriveled to a six block area after the Japanese-American internment during World War II, the neighborhood remains a vibrant, defiant celebration of Japanese culture and cornerstone of the Japanese-American community within the Bay Area.

Continued on page 7.

California storm weather subsides

After ravaging the state for several weeks, the early and mid-January California storms have passed on. Before regional severe weather warnings were lifted, the upper school campus faced heavy rain and winds near the end of the first semester of courses.


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selina xu

The curtains draw back as the Patil Theater is plunged into darkness. Strings of neon light descend, illuminating the stage. Suddenly, the first notes of “It Takes Two” by Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock break the silence as four neon stick figures materialize from the shadows. The rest of Kinetic Krew (KK) rushes in from the wings, dancing to the rhythm in glowing sunglasses and reflective cargos.

As fast as they appeared, they are replaced by Harker Dance Company (HDC), showcasing a synchronized jazz combination filled with energetic jumps and turns. HDC invites KK to the stage for a series of electric partner moves. The song abruptly stops, leaving the senior captains, Anja Ree and BB Ajlouny, in the spotlight. All eyes focus on them as they strike a pose. The lights black out, and the annual dance production begins.

Lively Hoscars

sarah mohammed, claire zhao & sabrina zhu

100 dancers performed 18 dances at the upper school’s 2023 dance production on Jan. 27 and Jan. 28. Both showings of the production lasted over two hours. Themed “Better 2Gether,” the production was split into two acts, one focusing on mashups and the other on duets.

11 students each choreographed one dance: juniors Selina Chen, Luke Mehta, Kuga Pence and Callie Yuan and seniors Makayla Aguilar-Zuniga, BB Ajlouny, Nick Delfino, Nupur Gupta, Linette Hoffman, Eileen Ma and Anja Ree. All the student choreographers took the Dance Composition and Choreography classes to gain the skills needed to direct their dances. The remainder of the performances were choreographed by Harker dance teachers.

The final performance was the result of over four months of work. Students had prepared for the dance production as early as September and were awarded PE credit for participating in the show.

Eileen, choreographer of “Peer Pressure,” a lyrical dance set to her favorite song by Julia Michaels and James Bay, began choreographing by listening to the music and thinking of which key shapes and moments she wanted to highlight. She recalls the process of transforming her ideas into vivid dances on stage.

“The most rewarding part about choreography is seeing it all come together with [my] dancers,” Eileen said. “I can’t actually envision [my ideas] until I get to the dance room. Sometimes I’ll bring in choreography and it turns out so much better than I could have ever imagined.”

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performances showcase student talent

Upper school students and faculty cheered for their peers at the annual Hoscars performance, which occurred in the Patil Theater on Friday. With two shows for underclassmen and upperclassmen organized by the Associated Student Body (ASB) Student Events committee, the showcase featured talented performers who were encouraged to pertain to the show’s theme for this year: “Nostalgia.”

Starting Nov. 30, students who were interested in participating could submit their auditions by Jan. 13.

Namrata Karra (12) performed a three-minute mash up between Adele’s “When We Were Young” and Javed Ali’s “Jashn-E-Bahaara” with Aria Jain (12) and Samvita Gautham (12). They enjoyed the opportunity to express their interest in Bollywood music via Hoscars.

“I’ve listened to a lot of Bollywood and English mashups — it just seemed right for us to do [this],” Namrata said.

“Sammy [Samvita] performed before but I never did, so I think we were just like, ‘Oh,

look, if we can audition, then we might as well.’ Everyone who performed at Hoscars [last year] is so talented and it was really fun to watch them.”

Visit for full

VIBRANT VOCALS Seniors Aria Jain, Namrata Karra and Samvita Gautham sing at a Hoscars rehearsal. Performances ranged from skits and songs to tableaux vivants. katerina matta & alison yang 500 SARATOGA AVENUE, SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA 95129 EDWARD
FREE FLOW (left) Juniors Fiona Yan and Kai Stinson dance to Connor Price’s “Violet. STAR STUDDED (top) Trisha Variyar (12) poses in Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful,” choreographed by Anja Ree (12). NO PRESSURE (bottom) Students dance to senior Eileen Ma’s choreography of “Peer Pressure” by James Bay.

NEW COURSES for 2023-2024

Time for laughter and learning LIFE lessons

Students attend LIFE sessions and Eagle Buddies events

While frosh and sophomores were attending their LIFE meetings on Thursday in the Athletic Center and Rothschild Performing Arts Center respectively, juniors participated in Clown Day with their Eagle Buddies, and seniors visited the lower school to watch the fifth grade show.

Latin American History

“Because we will also be studying the United States in relation to Latin American history, I believe this is a relevant course for all Americans,” upper school history teacher Dr. Chuck Witschorik said

Before lunch, frosh heard from Skadden Law Firm attorney and Harker alumna Colleen Lee (‘06) and Skadden Law Firm associate Katy Stone about navigating cyberbullying, harassment, sex and social media in an online environment with an emphasis on the laws and rights surrounding these topics.

“I learned to be aware of what you do online because you never know who can find out about these things, and digital footprint is an actual thing, so you do have to be really cautious,” Stella Yang (9) said. “And know that you have rights, and there are laws that can protect you, so if anything does happen, you do have these tools to speak out about it and find help.”

Meanwhile, tenth graders heard from Chris Miceli, a retired highway patrol officer, on the dangers of distracted driving. Beginning by drawing comparisons between things generally thought to be dangerous — such as piranhas — and lattes, texting or lipgloss, items that distract drivers. Miceli then went on to show a video highlighting the dangers of distracted driving, then handed out interactive wheels to the audience detailing the increased risk of combinations of certain choices made by drivers: driving at night, driving with friends and other distractions on the road. Miceli then played a second video once again driving home the dangers of inattentive driving, before dismissing the sophomore class for lunch.

Intro to Women’s & Gender Studies

“It’s important to depersonalize [gender] in an academic setting and step back and understand [gender] based on its system,” upper school history teacher Donna Gilbert said

In the Auxiliary Gym, juniors reunited with their Eagle Buddies and enjoyed Clown Day. After eating lunch and catching up with each other, Eagle Buddy groups watched a clown show together which featured juggling club throwing, hula hoop tricks and a comedical harmonica skit and culminated in an impres-

sive display combining chair stacking, hand balancing and juggling. Eagle Buddy groups then rotated around three stations — feather balancing, scarf juggling and face painting — before saying goodbye to each other.

“To be a clown is actually a great thing because it keeps you being childlike and silly and innocent, and believe me, as you get older you want to hold onto this,”

Sarah ‘Toby’ Moore, one of the performers, said to the crowd at the end of the display. “It’s a very important thing to hold onto. Be completely idiotic.”

Seniors traveled to Bucknall to watch their fifth grade Eagle Buddies in the pro-

duction “Pirates!” — the very same show in which many of them performed in their own fifth grade year. After the play, seniors ate lunch at Bucknall with their Eagle Buddies.

“My favorite part of the Eagle Buddies program is always connecting with younger students at Harker, sharing my knowledge and experience and learning about theirs,” Rupert Chen (12) said. “Fifth grade was the year I came to Harker, and I have strong memories of performing in the Pirates show, so it was a really fun experience to see my Eagle Buddies now performing in that same show.”

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Student leaders ask “What can I do?” in fifth SDLG event

Honors Venture Capital

“We’ll have access to the inside scoop of the venture capital world ... If you have any interest in investing in private/public companies, [this is] the courses to take,” McCorkle said.

Around 200 students and faculty members engaged in the fifth annual Student Diversity Leadership Gathering (SDLG) at the upper school campus on Saturday, exploring the theme “What Can I Do? What Can I Do? What Can I Do?” with a separate emphasis on each of the last three words.

Held at the end of January each year, the SDLG invites schools from across Northern California to discuss the issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. The event began four years ago when a group of Harker students expressed dis-

appointment after not being able to attend the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC), a national conference for private schools with similar goals as the SDLG. Dr. Rodney Glasgow, head of school at Sandy Spring Friends School and chair of the SDLC, has led the SDLG each year since then. Although the 2022 SDLG was hosted over Zoom due to COVID-19 concerns, the event took place at the upper school campus this year, facilitating increased interaction between faculty and student participants.

“When you go to SDLG, you meet and talk to a lot of new people outside of Harker,” SDC Leader Iris Fu (11) said. “I think that’s one of the biggest benefits of attending.”

The day began at 9 a.m. with a keynote presentation by Dr. Glasgow. For the rest of the day, students explored the topics of identity and perspective with Dr. Glasgow while the adults engaged in

conversations about how to foster inclusive environments at school with Priyanka Rupani, assistant head of school at Francis Parker School and colleague of Dr. Glasgow. Dr. Glasgow gave his closing remarks in the second keynote of the day before the event concluded at 4 p.m.

“What can I do? What can I do? What can I do? Those sound really different with the emphasis on different words,” Upper School History Department Chair Mark Janda said. “It’s the same sentence each time, and yet we have to ask ourselves all of these questions to start making progress.” Visit for full article.

WALK AND TALK Dr. Rodney Glasgow converses with Student Diversity Coalition Chair Tyeshia Brown at the SDLG held in 2020.
ella yee ENJOY THE SHOW Juniors enjoy a circus performance with their fourth grade Eagle Buddies in the auxiliary gym during their second meeting of the school year on Jan. 26. ANGELINA HU JUGGLING ACT A performer demonstrates his skills at the Eagle Buddies Clown Day. MARGARET CARTEE HANDS ON THE WHEEL Sophomores study risk wheels during their LIFE session. FELIX CHEN ILLUSTRATION BY MIRABELLE FENG
“What can I do? What can I do? What can I do? . . . We have to ask ourselves all of these questions to start making progress”

Amid ‘tripledemic,’ upper school cases remain low

Orchard blooms after recent rains

After the reseeding of the upper school orchard last fall, new plants have begun to bloom in the area and fill the campus with greenery.

In October, the grounds staff roped off the orchard, which runs between the Rothschild Performing Arts Center and Main Building, to reseed the area and promote new vegetation growth. The staff conducted a process called hydroseeding, spraying the floor with a mixture of weeds, as well as fertilizer and paper pulp. After several weeks, noticeable changes were observed in the area. In particular, the orchard floor has become more green and filled in. Moreover, while the orchard floor may appear to be grass, it is actually packed with weeds, which do not need to be watered as frequently.

The seasonal influenza, COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) have formed a trio of respiratory illnesses that have swept the country since November, but cases remain low at the upper school.

Since the start of the flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recorded at least 25 million cases of the flu in the U.S., with 270,000 hospitalizations and 17,000 deaths, as of Jan. 26. Cases of the flu began appearing at the beginning of November, an earlier start to the season than normal. In December, hospitals throughout the country reported that medical visits due to flu-like symptoms reached levels unseen since the 2017-2018 flu season, with patients flooding hopsitals in some states.

Flu cases began to decline at the end of December and have continued to do so. According to upper school nurse Jennifer Olson, Harker does not collect data for the flu, but she saw a few cases in late November and early December. She notes that since students and faculty at Harker maintain proper health habits, the school will most likely not see a major uptick in flu illnesses.

Winter Ball dazzles with candyland theme

Upper school students celebrated at the annual Winter Ball, a semi-formal dance which took place in the Athletic Center last Sunday from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.

The event, designed with the theme of Candyland, hosted hundreds of upper school students. The Student Activities Board (SAB), the Harker Spirit Leadership Team (HSLT) and members of Student Council helped to prepare and clean up the event.

“There are only three dances a year, so I think it’s a good social opportunity to hang out with friends and take a break from all the academics,” Anika Mantripragada (11) said.

For the frosh, sophomores and juniors, they attended their first ever Winter Ball in high school, as the dance last year was canceled due to the omicron variant spike. Seniors will attend their second and final Winter Ball.

Visit for full article.

“We have a community that has stayed up on vaccines and cares about maintaining good health practices,” Nurse Olson said. “I wouldn’t say don’t be worried [about the flu], but take good care of yourself. If you’re gonna go to really crowded, sweaty places be prepared, bring a mask. I don’t think our community is going to be one that’s really hard-hit because

leased flu medication from the Strategic National Stockpile.

After a brief increase in COVID-19 cases emerged after Thanksgiving last year, sparking fears of a holiday surge, the White House once again made free COVID testing kits available to U.S. households. While a slight uptick in COVID-19 cases has emerged, with elderly populations especially vulnerable, hospitals have not seen the overwhelming number of COVID-19 cases that marked the past three winters.

According to Nurse Olson, the upper school saw a small rise in COVID-19 cases before finals week, but numbers have otherwise remained low. In the week of Jan. 23, the upper school recorded two instances of the virus.

Since the third respiratory virus, RSV, primarily affects young children, the upper school has not recorded any cases.

Initially, the reseeding took place to follow city guidelines requiring active vegetation to grow to prevent water runoff during the rainy season. According to upper school Director of Facilities Shayne Hale, such campus renovation rarely takes place, and the maintenance staff will continue to care of the orchard weeds in the coming weeks.

The period of intense rain that started near the end of Dember and continued throughout the first two weeks of January also contributed to the flourishing plant growth. On some days, almost five inches of rain fell in the Saratoga area.

Since the reseeding, the lunch tables have been moved back into the area for students to enjoy lunches and study sessions surrounded by the new plant life. Visit for full article.

we’re doing the things that we should be doing to take care of ourselves.”

The CDC has urged all individuals older than six years of age to receive this season’s influenza vaccine as the best way to defend against the virus. In December last year, during the worst of the flu season, the Biden administration also re-

“As we’ve seen over the past couple winters, the mortality rate [of COVID-19] and the rate of people who are hospitalized in the ICU has decreased because the variants have become more transmissible but they’ve become less deadly,” Research Club officer Sahngwie Yim (10) said. Visit for full article.

Governor Newsom signs executive order to promote storm relief

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order on Jan. 16 to support the emergency response to the series of winter storms that have afflicted the state since the end of December and to provide aid to communities impacted by the storms.

The order suspends limitations on work hours and the period of employment for certain employees involved in the emergency response. It also waives fees required to obtain replacements of official documents such as birth certificates and aids health care facilities and schools in coping with the aftermath of the storms.

According to AP News, the recent storms have caused at least 20 deaths across California. As of today, California has experienced nine total atmospheric rivers, resulting in heavy flooding, power outages, evacuation orders, landslides and dangerous conditions across the state.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), atmospheric rivers occur when narrow atmospheric areas carry large amounts of water vapor from tropical areas, which are then released as rain or snow, leading to flooding, mudslides and widespread damage in affected areas depending on the strength of the atmospheric rivers.

Advanced Placement (AP) Environmental Science student Keesha Gondipalli (12) notes that the class frequently discusses climate change’s impacts on weather and nature.

“We have discussion groups, and there was one time where we had wildfires, and so my group [had] a wildfire discussion and talked about what biodiversity is destroyed from it or how climate change is changing ocean currents or air currents,” Keesha said.

Newsom first declared a state of emergency in California on Jan. 4, allowing the state to dedicate resources to relief efforts. On Jan. 14, President Biden announced his approval of California’s call for a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration, which allows eligible California residents to access support and relief services and provides California state, tribal and local governments with funding. Visit for full article.

emma gao
“I don’t think our community is going to be one that’s hard-hit because we’re doing the things that we should be doing to take care of ourselves”
felix chen & emma gao JESSICA TANG ON THE RISE Storm water flows in the Cosumnes River in Michigan Bar, California. Governor Newsom signed an executive order on Jan. 16 in order to support the state’s emergency storm response and to provide aid to impacted communities.
anika maji & isha moorjani
sally zhu
NEW LIFE The orchard area has begun to bloom with new greenery after the reseeding that took place in October. EMMA GAO EMMA GAO STAYING HEALTHY Upper school students can visit Nurse Jennifer Olson’s office when exhibiting symptoms of sickness during the day.

Pope Benedict XVI dies at 95

Former Pope Benedict XVI passed away in the Vatican at the age of 95 on Dec. 31 last year. Benedict, who assumed the papacy in 2005, resigned in 2013 due to poor health, becoming the first pope in over 600 years to do so. His body lay in the St. Peter’s Basilica from Jan. 2 to Jan. 4, during which almost two hundred thousand people paid their respects. Current Pope Francis presided over his Jan. 5 funeral ceremony, where he and tens of thousands more bid farewell to him.

Benedict XVI, born Joseph Ratzinger, grew up in interwar Germany. Following World War II, he began to study Christianity, eventually ascending Church ranks to become Pope. Although numerous sex and clerical abuse scandals marred his pontificate, he worked hard to rid this corruption. The Catholic Church will continue to recognize Benedict for his unwavering faith in his religion.

“[We] want to follow in his steps and to commend our brother into the hands of the Father,” Francis said.

China reopens borders to travel

After three years with a zero-COVID policy, China reopened its borders to the world on Jan. 9. In particular, travelers can now enter the country without quarantining as long as they test negative for COVID-19.

However, just as China is relaxing its policies, a lack of herd immunity from earlier infections and inadequate vaccination levels has led to a surge of new coronavirus cases, with 60,000 reported deaths as of Jan. 12. Those numbers are regarded as a severe undercount due to China’s policy of only counting the deaths directly caused from respiratory failure. In addition, according to Wu Zunyou, the chief epidemiologist at China’s Centers for Disease Control, 80% of the population was infected during the recent surge.

In addition, Chinese officials recently reported an over 70% decline in severe COVID cases on January 25 after Lunar New Year on Jan. 22, the first major holiday after zero-COVID.

Russia captures Soledar

The Russian Defence Ministry said that it had captured Soledar, a salt-mining town in eastern Ukraine, with Ukraine immediately rejecting that claim, saying that their troops were still holding on as of Jan. 13. After multiple setbacks for Russia, gaining Soledar would be their biggest success in months.

In capturing Soledar, Russia would acquire new locations for artillery as a way to put pressure on Ukraine’s supply lines in the east. However, according to Western analysts, control of Soledar and Bakhmut is not likely to make a huge impact on the war, with the victory more symbolic than strategic.

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One year anniversary of Russia-Ukraine War

The United States and Germany announced on Wednesday that they would provide Ukrainian forces with tanks to help the Ukrainian war effort, adding to the offers of military and financial resources Western countries have presented in the past year after vowing to support Ukraine.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 of last year, the war has had worldwide impacts: it has caused the exodus of nearly 8 million Ukrainian refugees from the country, worsened the global food crisis, and sparked a rise in prices in fossil fuels such as gas and oil. According to the independent think tank Council on Foreign Relations, the U.S. has set aside nearly $50 billion towards the war as of December 2022.

After the initiation of the war this past February, Ukraine suffered major dev-

astation from Russia’s attacks and raids.

Alon Weinberg, a paramedic who visited Ukraine in November of 2022, noted how his stay revealed the terrible conditions of refugee families affected by the war.

“It was actually very, very tough from a mental perspective,” Weinberg said. “It

lot of what is happening inside Ukraine is not advertised as much in global news.

“The tragedy that I experienced is something you see less in the news,” Weinberg said. “It’s those families that were separated and the women and children who were safe from being killed in the war, but they left everything behind: their husbands, their families, and some of them don’t know any other language. There was a wave of probably millions of refugees in Europe trying to figure out what to do. There are a lot of stories. Millions of stories behind the refugees.”

was just very difficult to see those people in a panic, not knowing where to go having left everything behind.”

The Russia-Ukraine war has left the world in a craze. To Weinberg, though, a

Many countries, including Britain, Germany, Poland and the United States have, in recent days, agreed to send Western tanks to Ukraine, an escalation of the conflict and a previously unthinkable step in Western aid for Ukraine. As the conflict continues onward, the United States has once more recommitted its support with $45 billion more dollars of aid.

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Election deniers challenge results, attack Brazilian capital

Brazilian protestors stormed the country’s capital on Jan. 8 to challenge recent election results in the largest threat to Brazil’s democracy in decades. Thousands of protestors bypassed security and invaded three government buildings for hours until the police arrested hundreds and regained control of the buildings. They demanded current President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, popularly known as Lula, be deposed and replaced with former President Jair Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro’s repeated criticisms of the electoral process led some to suspect his involvement in the attacks. Brazil’s Supreme Court began to investigate Bolsonaro, and Brazilian police raided his neph-

condemned the attacks and pinned blame on Bolsonaro.

ew’s home on Jan. 27. Lula, who was not in Brasilia on the day of the attack, quickly

In response to the attacks, everyday Brazilians around the country have begun to protest against the far right influences which instigated the attacks. These protestors gathered in large cities like Sao Paulo and called the government to punish those responsible. Additionally, the police’s slow response hinted that they may have abetted the attacks. As a result, Lula dismissed Brasilia’s top security chief and army chief and promised to hold those involved in the capital attacks responsible.

“The coup plotters who promoted the destruction of public property in Brasilia are being identified and will be punished,” Lula tweeted.

This attack continues a growing trend of far-right extremism leading to attacks on governments. In particular, the Jan. 8 attack shares many similarities with the Jan. 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol. In both cases, far-right groups spread word about the attacks on social media. Protestors joined former president in challenging elections without sufficient evidence.

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AFTERMATH Russian attacks and raids have devastated Ukrainian grounds as well as resources as the war between the two nations continues. Ukrainian citizens flee destroyed areas and seek shelter at refugee camps, where living conditions are crammed and rough. ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva speaks with members of the Brazilian government in response to the recent attacks on government buildings.
anika maji, felix chen & shareen chahal
“There are a lot of stories. Millions of stories behind the refugees”
andrew liang & isabella lo
“The coup plotters who promoted the destruction of public property in Brasilia are being identified and will be punished”


Pulse of the People covers timely social justice stories relevant to our community. In this issue, we explore the Gen Z’s increasing engagement in politics.

Continued from pg. 1

Content warning: This article mentions gun violence and abortion. We advise readers sensitive towards these topics to reconsider reading this piece.

In the recent midterms in November, around 27% of people ages 18-29 voted, making these midterms with the secondhighest turnout in nearly three decades. In some of the crucial races in states, young voters also significantly impacted the results of the election. By a 28-point margin, Gen Z voters preferred Democratic candidates, which benefited Democrats in statewide contests like the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race and the Wisconsin governor’s race.

Sara Bhowmick (12) volunteered for Saratoga City Council member Rishi Kumar during his campaign for California’s 18th district House Representative by canvassing, or going from door to door to promote his campaign. The internship allowed her to meet people from various backgrounds and learn about different perspectives just outside her doorstep.

“When I was first launched into it, someone just told me, go knock on a door and start talking to them,” Sara said. “I knock on the door, and they’re on a phone call, obviously annoyed by me there. But then, at the next door, I talked to them and had a great conversation. I convinced them to research [Kumar] and vote. It was that initial experience of knowing that I can make an impact and have an influence despite me being still in high school.”

Students also engage in politics and social justice issues outside of election season. To raise awareness and create a safer environment in schools, juniors Divya Venkat and Katherine Fields founded Make Our Schools Safe at Harker Foundation, a non-profit organization, focused on keeping schools prepared for


possible shootings by improving delay time from law enforcement with panic buttons or making bleed kits in case of emergencies.

“[School safety] isn’t advocated for enough,” Divya said. “I think that everyone can agree on the fact that they want to feel safe at school and prevent emergency situations from happening. There are so many measures schools can take, and spreading awareness is so important because maybe schools don’t have the funding, reasons like that.”

Depending on their experiences, different Gen Zers may prioritize and view

Generation Z leaves mark on politics

It’s wrong that people can have decisions over something this personal that doesn’t concern them.”

For students who think that their sole voice does not make a difference, Sara believes that although change does not result from one person’s efforts, it does emerge from those of many.

“This generation is so large,” Sara said. “It is so impactful and has so much power behind it. If we all work as a collective as we currently are, we can have such a large impact on our future.”

By not actively addressing systemic obstacles to learning, people miss an opportunity to improve systems that develop informed voters. Expanding votes through Gen Z can introduce new ways to solve issues throughout the country.

Visit for full article.

Look behind the alleyway

Baraka Little Library supports Korean refugees

The Itaewon the world once knew was full of flashy nightlife and the trendiest clubs in Korea. This forever changed after the horrific crowd crush on Oct. 31 that took more than 150 lives. Yet even before the catastrophe, some residents’ lives were already ignored and forgotten: the lives of refugees.

In July of 2018, Ki Hak Kim, a NonGovernmental Organization (NGO) representative, opened the Baraka Little Library in Itaewon for refugees to better assimilate into Korean society. He and his staff take care of the children of refugees after school while their parents work, and the center makes sure that the children are doing well with their studies.

those issues in different ways. Among issues presented during the midterms, most of Gen Z’s votes prioritized abortion, with an overall 44% of them casting their vote on it.

“There’s been a lot of talk on Roe v. Wade,” Katherine said. “It’s one of the bigger issues [the youth] really advocates for. I think that a woman should have a right to her own body, and the new law is just bringing us back in time.


“It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call the Baraka Little Library my second home,” said Naheed, a high school refugee who received help from the library. “I have a different starting line from the Korean students at my school, so it is difficult for me to follow cram school classes, and my family does not have the funds for me to attend one. Because of this, the Baraka staff try their best to teach us Korean, and it is easier to improve at school.”

Kim and his staff tackle problems that many of the refugees face, including the most fundamental one: unemployment. Because of their religious affiliation, many Muslim refugees are stigmatized in Korean society. As a result, they find it increasingly difficult to find jobs and experience many financial hardships.

“We help those who are in this difficult situation by hosting fundraisers and try our best to make sure the refugees are able to get the resources they need,” Kim said.

Many refugees initially refuse help due to their fear of being taken advantage of, and inflation makes it difficult for the library to provide the refugees with supplies. Despite these setbacks, Kim and the staff of the library have a bigger sense of mission: to bring light to those in the dark depths of quiet despair.

“My dream is to return to Afghanistan and improve the education system for women there,” Naheed said. “I want to use the knowledge I learned from Korea as a stepping stone to return to Afghanistan and help change the current structure there.”

The library offers an invaluable platform for people to start their lives afresh, unhampered by voicelessness and despair.

Visit for full article.

vika & desiree luo
“We try our best to make sure the refugees are able to get the resources they need”
of people aged 18-29 voted in recent
REMEMBERING Notes are posted on the wall in the alleyway where the Itaewon incident took place and claimed 158 lives.
young min
BHOWMICK of votes make a difference Gen Z voters prioritize abortion 27% 27% 44% 44% 100% 100%
“If we all work as a collective as we currently are, we can have such a large impact on our future” SARA BHOWMICK (12) POLITICAL INTERN

Meet your teacher: Globe trotter

Upper school History teacher Karen Haley finds peace in travel and horseback riding

Find a feathered friend: The Anna’s Hummingbird

Believe it or not, there are wild fighter jets on campus. You can catch a glimpse of them, a mere green blur, as they zoom around the orchard and the quad, parking on trees by Manzanita and the front loading zone. Some who get too close risk facing the wrath of consecutive yet unpredictable divebomb attacks amidst the loud whirring of their “engines.” No matter where, there’s bound to be at least one — a hummingbird.

You’ve probably seen a couple of them as you walk around campus, but it’s more likely that you heard these frisky friends as they engage in a territorial game of tag while screaming like broken jacket zippers.

Although they often go unnoticed, the Anna’s hummingbird is here on campus all the time. They frequent the red flowers in the orchard; they enjoy the company of the plants in the quad; they sing their animated song in the trees near the Zhang Athletic Center.

Picture yourself on the back of a horse. Feeling the wind rush through your hair as the horse gallops forward, surrounded by nothing but lush land as far as the eye can see. The horse speeds up, skillfully leaping over barrels or other obstacles in its path.

For some, this may seem risky, but for upper school world history teacher Karen Haley, the experience brings a sense of peace and joy. Born and raised in Virginia, Haley still has a longing for the vast, open land that is key to a perfect horseback riding session.

Even though trails that permit horseback riding exist in the Bay Area, finding a location with the same ideal conditions for a high-speed ride is almost impossible. Usually, the trails are either too short, narrow or rocky to guarantee a safe and fulfilling time. This motivates Haley to take steps toward the goal of one day having horses she can call her very own.

“I just know that whenever I retire, because I have all the steady rental income coming in, that gets me closer to my dream; the property where I can actually have a horse on the property,” Haley said. “You can’t do that in this area; you just get a house and that’s it. Usually in Virginia,you get a house and then maybe a couple of acres. I’ve already taken the steps to put me in the right position, so that my dream will actually be a reality.”

Her love for animals does not stop at horses. As a proud owner of five Dobermans, Haley has shared numerous unforgettable moments with her dog companion. Outside of working hours, she

dedicates a significant portion of her day to walking her dogs. Due to their enormous strength and energetic personalities, taking all of her Dobermans out on a walk at the same time would be a risky endeavor. Haley dedicates at least twenty minutes to walking each dog separately on a daily basis. Her Dobermans — Adonis, Azula, Francine, King and Rex — are companions who Haley holds near and dear to her heart.

China, Jordan, South Africa and Uganda. Haley gained the opportunity via the extensive Global Education Program of the Ursuline Academy of Dallas, the school she previously taught at. During these trips, Haley was not only able to learn more about animals typically not found in the United States but also continued exploring her love for horseback riding. While chaperoning a trip to Uganda, she visited a K-12 School called Brescia House School. There, Haley discovered that in addition to the academic setting, the school provided horses for the students to interact with.

“We got to see the students in action: riding their horses, jumping, and it was just so wonderful,” Haley said. “It’s also an outlet for students; [they] study, study, and study. That’s free therapy, because you instantly relax when you get on the horse.”

So the next time you hear the hummingbird’s call, or see a bout of avian warfare in the quad, stop and take a closer look, or the best look you can get, at these lighting-fast hummers, because while all birds are, of course, birds, each bird species is inexplicably unique. In the case of the Anna’s hummingbird, you’re looking at a hot-pink flash bomb, the legacy of old Italian royalty.

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Haley let her students experience a little of everything, from coordinating history-themed backgrounds over Zoom to research projects. Tanisha Singh (11), who had Ms. Haley in freshman year for Honors World History, appreciates Haley’s understanding of history and how she articulates it to her students.

“Her multiple choice questions are incredibly specific,” Tanisha said. “That reflects her in-depth knowledge of history, which is admirable.”

Over her years as a teacher, Haley has also had the opportunity to tend to other animals. She has chaperoned trips to places all over the world, including Peru,

As a teacher for exclusively freshmen, Haley works to guide her students toward future success and the pursuit of their passions as they adjust to the next four years of high school.

Through her love and admiration for history, she hopes to help students have fun in the classroom while utilizing engaging activities to aid their learning of world history.

“You want to make sure you cover topics where students are engaged,” Haley said. “Sometimes we do persuasive speeches in the Middle Ages unit, and they don’t know their topic until they come in. Initially, you can see their panic, but after everyone [does] their persuasive speech, they all love it; We have a lot of laughter along the way.”

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A male hummingbird has a crown of magenta feathers on its head, used to attempt to attract females with bright colors. Unlike males, female and juvenile birds lack the bright colors


Male birds use the song, which lasts for 10 seconds, to woo females during breeding season between winter and early

PROVIDED BY KAREN HALEY DOBERMAN DOTING Upper school History teacher Karen Haley smiles with three of her five Dobermans. Haley enjoys taking walks with her dogs, Azula, Adonis, Re, King and Francine, often spending more than an hour outside with them every day.
vivian chen & aishani singh
“[Horseback riding] is so good for your core, [and] it’s so good for your mind, and I missed that”
The hummingbird is named after 19th century Italian duchess Anna Masséna

to many of Japantown’s iconic businesses, the Hoshinoya restaurant offers a wide variety of many popular Japanese dishes. Wide windows offer the bustle of the street as entertainment, especially when seated in the prime people-watching tables along the wall.

They serve popular small plates like “agedashi” tofu, warm fried tofu with “dashi” broth or chicken “karaage,” a very lightly-floured type of fried chicken. For a more filling option, try the “kurobuta kakuni” bowl, which consists of buttery-soft braised pork belly on fluffy white rice, or the “tonkotsu” ramen, which is a steaming, comforting soup made of thin noodles, a bone-based broth and various toppings, like “kikurage” mushrooms, “menma” fermented bamboo shoots or a soft-boiled egg. One of their most popular options is the “gyukotsu,” which combines braised short rib with traditional tonkotsu broth.

We ordered the black garlic tonkatsu ramen with pork belly “chashu” ($17) and “kurobuta kakuni” bowl, both recommendations of the waiter. Seated in the corner between the window and door, the short wait passes quickly.

stars,” offers a gastronomical glimpse into owner Nuttawat Wongpisethkul’s international upbringing. Wongpisethkul previously owned Osha Thai, a longstanding pillar of Bay Area Thai food, but he decided to explore the diverse and dimensional Japanese cuisine instead. Originally a test kitchen, Hoshinoya opened just as the pandemic began in March 2020.

Pop into Hoshinoya; expertly created with care, the dishes satisfy.

Continued from page 1.

Tucked in the southeastern edge of the Buchanan Mall is one of the oldest legacy stores in Japantown. Giant floor to ceiling windows showcase a display overflowing with origami hearts. Paper Tree, run by the Mihara family since 1968, boasts a collection of intricate origami pieces, the glass cases guiding visitors into the rest of the store.

The store features work from origami artists around the world, a group which includes the shop’s current manager, Linda Mihara. A breathtaking eastern dragon made of an uncut six-foot square of paper, twisting in its clear case and covered in tapered scales, designed by Satoshi Kamiya and folded by Richard Cam, currently sits front and center. “Koinobori,” colorful carp kites traditionally made from cloth or paper, hang on the wall.

Turning right into the rest of the store, a fat stone monk greets visitors, decked out in an origami kimono and mask and clutching a pride flag. Behind him is a bursting display of various origami papers, along with guide books for all levels. Moving deeper into the store, the usual stationery paraphernalia makes an appearance: socks, pens

and erasers shaped into as many foods as offered in the malls.

After passing the giant shelf overflowing with plushies marking the midpoint of the store, Paper Tree takes on a more luxurious feel. Giant silk screen prints cover the walls, the gold ink warmly reflecting the sunlight from the windows. From racks hang large sheets of paper, much of it “washi” (handmade mulberry paper), imported from Japan. However, Paper Tree also carries papers from Thailand, Italy and Nepal. By the checkout counter is a set of handmade cards and “shugi-bukuro” envelopes, used to gift money. The checkout counter also is where one of the hallmark services of Paper Tree takes place: gift wrapping, a showcase of the store’s products and talent.

Paper Tree prices vary greatly depending on the product, but products were generally priced slightly below those in other stationery stores we visited in the area, like Maido. The store carries something for every visitor, whether they are an expert seeking massive sheets of paper or a beginner off the street lured in by the colorful window display. The rich history and cozy interior of Paper Tree make a visit to the store worthwhile.

Paper Tree


At the center of Japantown towers the five-story concrete Peace Pagoda. Situated between Post and Geary streets, the Buddhist shrine serves as a visual anchor from blocks away. A gift from San Francisco’s former sister city Osaka in 1968, the stupa lends calm to the bustling plaza.

Though largely deserted in the dreary early morning, the Peace Plaza fills as lunch approaches. The southern end of the plaza is an elevated area filled with visitors crossing between malls and taking pictures with the pagoda. When we visited, an elderly man was playing his flute in the Plaza.

Surrounded by a crowd of admirers and situated between the statues and semicircle seating areas, the scene couldn’t help but be picturesque. With a mochi donut and good company, it’s easy to spend an afternoon basking in the presence of strangers.

A literal and figurative pillar of the community, the Peace Pagoda hosts various community celebrations throughout the year. The near 60-years-old annual

San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival will take place on the weekends of Apr. 8-9 and Apr. 15-16. Local businesses host activities like taiko drum performances, the Chanoyu tea ceremony and a karate showcase from World Oyama Karate, among others. Amidst the pink petals, each weekend closes with a boisterous parade through the center of Japantown.

The Nihonmachi Street Fair, which usually occurs in early August and was first held in 1974, showcases both cultural performances and modern musical acts, with each performer hailing from a variety of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) backgrounds. In 2022, the Parangal Dance Company performed a Filipino folk dance, Gamelan Sekar Jaya presented a Balinese dance and the Samoan Community Development Center’s Samoan Warriors wowed with a performance from their Tupulaga Talavou Tula’i program, a group of Pacific Islander youth from around the Bay Area. A variety of delicious street food stands and artisanal vendors selling handmade Japanese crafts accompany the rich entertainment.

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Peace Plaza
katerina matta & alison yang
ALISON YANG COLORFUL CARDS Shelves inside of Paper Tree showcase a variety of cards and origami paper. 5-STORY PAGODA The Peace Pagoda, Japantown’s famous attraction, stands at 100 feet tall in the plaza.
(1610 Geary Blvd)
DESIGN BY ARIANA GOETTING Buchanan St) ALISON YANG RAMEN AND KAKUNI A bowl of black garlic “tonkotsu” ramen and a bowl of “kurobuta kakuni” sit on a table in Japantown’s Hoshinoya.

Book Corner: ‘Beauty is harsh’

An onslaught of white as far as your eyes can see. Freezing, you trudge your way through heaps of snow. Yet the blindingly beautiful scene masks a treacherous murder, as you and other Vermonters discover 10 days later.

Donna Tartt’s “The Secret History” carries one theme throughout: Beauty is terror, and the incessant pursuit of beauty, whether through constructing a certain persona or chasing a sensory experience, leads to evil. As an artist, I personally have struggled with perfectionism and often obsess over the aesthetics of my work. Though far more extreme, the protagonists of Tartt’s novel and their descent into respective Jungian night-sea-journeys demonstrate the crippling and perilous effects of the pursuit of beauty.

The novel begins with California native Richard Papen entering the picturesque Hampden College in rural Vermont to study literature. Upon his arrival, he finds himself drawn to a mysterious group of students, a highly exclusive ancient Greek society. What begins as mild curiosity transforms into an ugly infatuation, and Richard remains in the clique even when they begin to scheme a murder, all for the sake of personal image.

Winter instrumental concert warms crowds

Tartt masterfully chronicles this weakness of human nature — prioritizing beauty over all else — through each character’s idiosyncrasies, such as their tendencies to romanticize pain and spend excessively.

I would recommend this book to those that struggle with an obsession with image, whether private or public. The characters’ descent into madness and subsequently, ruin, illustrates the consequences of pursuing a glamorous, hedonistic existence and reminds us to appreciate the good, not the beautiful.

“Does such a thing as ‘the fatal flaw,’ that showy dark crack running down the middle of a life, exist outside literature? I used to think it didn’t. Now I think it does. And I think that mine is this: a morbid longing for the picturesque at all costs.” — Donna Tartt, “The Secret History” Visit for full article.


“The Secret History” is a 592 page novel written by American author Donna Tartt first published in 1992.

Warm orange lights illuminate the stage as Lab Band settles into their chairs, carefully preparing their instruments. With the flick of the conductor’s wrist, music flows and reverberates throughout Patil theater, marking the start of the annual Winter Instrumental Concert.

The concert invited audiences to watch multiple upper school instrumental music groups and soloists perform various musical styles, ranging from upbeat Latin jazz to slow ballads on Friday, Jan. 13. The Winter Instrumental Concert is the only concert of the year that features Orchestra, Jazz Band and Lab Band, allowing audiences to experience different musical styles.

The concert commenced with Lab Band’s take on “I Got Rhythm” by George Gershwin, a jazz standard known for its chord progression; “Lady Bird” by Tadd Dameron, a celebrated sixteen-bar jazz standard and “Thanks Hank” by John La Barbera.

“The preparation for the Winter Concert went really well,” Lab Band member

Shiven Balaji (10) said. “It was pretty fun to collaborate with my teammates and work with them for the concert.”

Despite the concert’s success, the performers faced challenges along the way. However, they were able to overcome these obstacles as a team and create a cohesive performance for the community.

Jazz Band then performed the powerful and satirical jazz song “Fables of Faubus” by Charles Mingus and “At Last” by Harry Warren with their vocalist, Miki Mitarai (11). Then, they performed three more songs: “Ran Kan Kan” by Tito Puente, “Autumn Leaves” by Joseph Kosma and “Spain” by Chick Corea.

Orchestra followed by playing the 1st Movement of Symphony No. 3, “Eroica” by Ludwig van Beethoven, an innovative work that broke symphonic standard, as well as “Banner” by Jessie Montgomery, a modern rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner.

Pieces like “Banner” and “Fables of Faubus” and composers such as Shostakovich and Beethoven introduced a political undertone to the concert, as Artistic Director of the Harker Concert Series and upper school instrumental music teacher Jaco Wong noted.

“We had to rearrange the instrumental because we ran into some problems,” Shiven said. “It was a little difficult, but I think we bonded over that experience and got closer to each other. A lot of the pieces were really fun to play, and I enjoyed preparing for the concert.”

“Many of these pieces are very political,” Wong said. “The reasons to compose them was to have some political meaning behind the time there, the time of the concert. So it indirectly connected all of them together.”

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Student Directed Showcases unveil work in the arts

sidak sanghari, hima thota, alison yang & sally zhu

A misshapen blob of students, dressed in costumes ranging from floral shirts to ski boots to construction vests, gather onstage. Wrapping their arms around each other, they squat down, heads bowed in anticipation. Samvita Gautham (12) steps into the center of the ring. She reminds the actors of the work they have put into the show, tells them to breathe and urges them to savor this moment. The group rises and, with a cheer, disperses into their positions. And so the show begins.

The Student Directed Showcase (SDS), performed on Jan. 6 and Jan. 7 for Harker students and families at the Rothschild Performing Arts Center at 7:00 p.m., consisted of four plays directed by four seniors.

From the past summer to the start of the school year, senior directors Samvita, Harper Brada, Aastha Mangla and Zubin Khera worked on script selection. Some found the perfect one after one or two scripts in, while others read up to 30 scripts before finding the right one. The directors eventually settled on their plays, creating a diverse and enthralling setlist.

“I think all the shows overall have a really great perspective that the audience will love,” Aastha said. “I couldn’t have imagined a better lineup of shows that we have this year.”

Opening the showcase was Samvita’s musical “Working,” written by Stephen Schwartz. A medley cast consisting of a delivery boy, Ian Ogden (11), a waitress, Avayna Glass (10), a mason, Luke Zeng (10), housewives and more, celebrates the underappreciated laborers of society.

An abrupt change from “Working,” Harper’s “The Potman Spoke Sooth,” written by David Fulk, is a suspenseful whodunnit full of murder, deception, packing peanuts and voices from above. In their isolated home, Beatrice, Austina Xu (12), her husband Wiggins, Richard Zhang (12), and their stoic butler Miles, Sathvik Vemulpalli (9), meet eccentric detective Gallagher, Mariana Rai (11).

After a brief intermission, Aastha presented Steve Martin’s “Picasso at the Lapin Agile.” Picasso, played by Selina Xu (11), debates Einstein, played by Iris Fu (11) about the relationship between art and science. They congregate at the Parisian bar, Lapin Agile, manned by Grant Yang’s (10) Freddy and Lucy Feng’s (12) Germaine. Genius, insanity and ego come together for a provocative performance.

Zubin’s “Actor!,” written by Frederick Stroppel, closed the show. Both his lighting choices and script are vignettes of the title Actor’s life, played by Jacob Fernandez (12). The play traces Actor’s journey from childhood. Visit for full article.

GATHERED ON STAGE Avayna Glass (10) sings about the art of waitressing as she performs in “Working,” a short musical. The musical was directed by Samvita Gautham (12).
YOUNG MIN ELECTRIC EXPERIENCE Jazz Band members Ashwin Kuppahally (11) and Nina Franz (12) play the electric guitar at the Winter Concert.
“The preparation for the Winter Concert went really well. It was pretty fun to collaborate with my teammates”
ariana goetting & young min PROVIDED BY SHIVEN BALAJI
“I would recommend this book to those that struggle with an obsession with image, whether private or public”
alena suleiman
Alena’s ranking
“The Secret History” reveals the perilous effects of the pursuit of beauty in the setting of an idyllic and rural Vermont college
4/5 eagles

Letting go of college admissions pressure

Tests on one day, an essay due the next, hours of homework from each class, extracurriculars to work on and on top of it all, a summer program application to nish — due to the competitiveness of today’s summer applications, students typically apply to ve or more programs.

is year is the rst time I’m experiencing the stress of applications. With each one adding hours of work to a cramped schedule, their un nished states are constantly on my mind along with a plethora of what-ifs. What if the essay isn’t good enough? What if I don’t get in? en, I ask myself, why am I feeling so stressed about an application?

In the end, I feel like the answer to that question comes down to what we, as students, have been told our whole lives: that a successful life depends on getting into a reputable college. us, our lives

should logically be dedicated to making our resumes look as perfect as possible to the college admissions o cers. I’ve been told my whole life that I need to do this or that to make my resume look just that much better, then expected to go out and do it without questioning. However, as I start writing my applications and feel the stress weighing down on me, I wonder if this is the best approach.

First of all, the incredible competitiveness of applications means that the whole high school experience ends up being dedicated to creating a resume that I think colleges might want to see. High school is no longer about doing the things that I really enjoy and feel passionate about and more about what colleges want to see. In addition, more extracurriculars that are not only unenjoyable but also take up con-

siderable amounts of time only increase the stress I feel.

Furthermore, as I start to consider resumes and college, I look around me and see an environment with people my age accomplishing feats that I could only dream of. At Harker in particular, I see students starting nonpro ts, writing books and gaining highly-coveted academic achievements. Internally, I wonder how I can compete with that sort of picture-perfect resume, and it pushes me to add more to my schedule.

With all these factors, I feel constantly bogged down with work. roughout the day, I always wonder, how am I going to do this? If this question popped into my head rather uncommonly, I would regard my stress levels as normal and healthy, with me just trying to push myself a little more. But as I meander through each week, I nd myself doubting if I can still

complete my schoolwork to my standards. College admission and application process for programs unfortunately will continue to add more stress on students. However, that does not mean we need to let those stresses de ne our lives. As a community, I believe that we all need to nd a way to take a step back from school and live a little more freely. For me, basketball changes my perception of life as an activity that always feels rewarding. Whether in practice or games, the sport, with its high intensity, gives me an outlet for taking my mind o of school. ere are too many what-ifs in the whole college process to dwell on for too long. Instead of comparing myself to peers or worrying about my extracurriculars, I aim to prevent my high school experience from becoming a chore. is time in school doesn’t last forever; there’s no coming back to do all the things I never tried, so while I am here, I’m going to enjoy it. Visit for full article.

Halting the spiral of parasocial relationships

e bright glaring screen illuminates my drowsy face as I scroll past the umpteenth video and press on a smiling face, ready to launch myself into endless hours of video consumption. Over quarantine, I strung my days together with television shows and movies where I, like many others, lled the void of social interaction with social media. e open access to online entertainment has lled our lives with joy; we’ve also formed unique connections in the form of parasocial relationships with the characters and people projected through the pixels on our screens.

Parasocial relationships, a completely one-sided relationship where one side doesn’t know the other side exists, such as one between a viewer and celebrity, is a shared experience among many, especially during the pandemic. A 2017 study showed that around 61% of all adolescents thought of themselves as having a relationship with their favorite media stars.

is number likely grew as our time spent with our electronics increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Parasocial connections are a typical reaction to social media, and participating in these relationships can be bene cial to one’s health as they can inspire people and help viewers feel less lonely.

As the internet continues to consume our everyday lives, it’s natural to form connections with the people who we can relate to and look up to. We should embrace the bene ts that come with our enjoyment of social media. On the other hand, when these relationships begin to spiral

into unhealthy obsession, they become damaging to both sides of the relationship. As with any relationship, fans should de ne clear boundaries between what is healthy and what veers onto the side of delusion. e rst and foremost fact that fans forgo is that celebrities are real people with real feelings who are greatly a ected by the way that their fan base acts. While interacting with our favorite in uencers, fans should keep in mind that they deserve to be treated with basic human decency. rough their parasocial connection, consumers of social media often become overly invested with the lives of their favorite online stars, and obsessive fans put huge pressure on celebrities to act and dress in a speci c way. A pattern of fans hotly debating personal decisions of celebrities plagues the industry, and it has to change.

After Adele posted a photo of herself on Instagram in 2020, many fans jumped to criticize the singer, noticing that she had lost weight, with some claiming that she was fatphobic. Instead of considering that she has her own reasons for losing weight, people online quickly jumped to

accusations. Adele revealed that she had been working out because exercise helped with her anxiety. She should not be treated di erently because she made a decision for her health and wellbeing, and the same goes for any other person in the spotlight of fame.

Additionally, celebrities don’t owe their fans anything, and harassment in any form is wrong. Many celebrities have been sent hate because a fan base believed they had insulted their favorite celebrity. It’s understandable to feel a connection towards a favorite star and the desire to protect them; however, it’s important to make a clear distinction between calling a celebrity out for immoral behavior and petty hatefulness. Visit for full article.

of adolescents in parasocial relationships
in superchats for top 50 YouTube streamers
of global population uses social media


It’s hard to have gone through 2022 without hearing a song by Bad Bunny. Whether it be from his new album “Un Verano Sin Ti” or a song from his early years of fame, his songs populated the playlists of the routine Latin music audience and new-to-the-genre listeners, like me. Before I started listening to his new album over summer, the only music in Spanish that I heard came from language classes, and as someone who had not yet gotten to the level where I could translate the variant pronunciations and fast paced rap, I always felt like there was a barrier. However, when I first put in my earbuds to listen to “Un Verano Sin Ti,” bits and pieces of the lyrics floated to my brain, giving me a loose translation. To anyone wanting to test the waters of Latin music, I suggest you take a few minutes to listen to his album, and if you find it as unique as I did, make sure to learn the significance behind some of his songs.



I usually don’t enjoy role-playing video games, and Papers, Please was no exception. I did not have fun working as an immigration officer for a Stalinist regime, meticulously comparing dates and figures. But Papers, Please isn’t really a game. It’s an interactive art piece, a commentary on the human experience that tests the bounds of the player’s moral compass. And even as your job drags on you start to care about the pixelated virtual characters more than you could ever imagine: the anxiety that you could lose those you love, the unbridled passion of fighting and the constant fear of being betrayed. All contribute to an experience that nothing else I’ve ever played has come close to emulating.


I loved this story because of how real all the struggles Denny faces are, not only focusing on the external problems but also the mental toll that life can take on a person. The book is told from the perspective of Denny’s dog Enzo, who, with his selfless and unique style of narration, portrayed Denny’s perseverance perfectly. In addition, all the different themes of the story and the strength of Denny and the message of taking chances, tie together in a way that creates a compelling and thought-provoking story.



“Everything Everywhere All At Once” seemingly came out of nowhere and took Hollywood by storm, starting as an indie film and now emerging as an Oscar frontrunner. If you decide to watch this movie, you definitely should not watch any trailers. I went into the theater not knowing anything about the film and left weeping as though my heart had run a marathon. This film, crafting multiverses of googly eyes, Ratatouille, Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa and hot dogs, will remind you that, in a world of chaos and strife, there remain things worth fighting for.

Avatar: ‘The Way of Water’ impress with vibrant visuals

“Avatar: The Way of Water” is the second follow-up movie to the original “Avatar” movie, first released in 2009, so this was a highly anticipated sequel. It was visually very well produced, with computer-generated imagery techniques used alongside physical elements, and it was even difficult to tell what was real and what wasn’t.

The aesthetics and colors are all appealing as well, contributing to the ethereal atmosphere of the movie’s setting.

The environments are distinct and well created, especially the water and ocean scenes. Everything seemed very otherworldly, and many concepts in the movie were really creative. Character designs were also detailed enough so that you

distinguish characters from each other. However, I felt as though the plot were not fully fleshed or reasoned out, as at a few points in the movie I remember wondering why certain things were happening. On top of this, some context from the previous movie is probably necessary to fully understand the plot, as this movie felt like a textbook sequel movie in my opinion.

Also, the movie was extremely long, and the actual new aspect that introduced the water tribe and that entire aspect of the movie probably occurred at

least an hour into the movie, with most of the beginning all contributing to story building.

Still, overall, there were many instances of action scenes, comedic scenes, wholesome scenes, emotional scenes,and just visually stunning moments still made the new Avatar movie enjoyable for me to watch, and holding onto my attention for the entire three-hour long duration is an accomplishment too.

I would recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys watching movies that combine nature with technology.

“The environments are distinct and well created, especially the water and ocean scenes”
kevin zhang


The beginning of “Devil’s Trill Sonata” starts off simple and slow, oddly calming for a piece known as the “Devil’s Trill.” A lively passage in B flat major follows, with a delightful violin melody over a steady piano accompaniment. What I love about this piece is how multiple voices can seamlessly interact and complement each other. The violin melody is beautiful enough, but the piano accentuates some notes and provides a more complete feeling. This passage terminates into my favorite few bars of the piece, where the violin climbs an octave and a half and falls back down, creating an undulating motion, while ornamentation devices spice the section up. The musician takes a quick turn and leads the piece to its eventual grandiose minor ending. Overall, the piece has a really nice touch and is beautiful in a way that can’t be described with words.



Contemporary Icelandic jazz artist Laufey blends sweeping orchestral melodies and intimate lyrics in her newest album “Everything I Know About Love,” using nostalgic jazz elements to capture the ups and downs of modern romance. Released last August, the album frames romantic experiences from the uncertainty of a first love to the rush of a fleeting crush. Laufey’s voice carries these lyrics with warmth and richness: her sound is both strong and delicate, deep and bright. Each song is layered with piano accompaniment, lilting strings and ethereal harmonies that evoke a sense of comfort. My personal favorite songs are “Valentine,” “Above the Chinese Restaurant” and “Falling Behind,” but whether you’re a hopeless romantic or not, Laufey’s music is worth listening to.


XU (11)


The first season of Ginny and Georgia was a struggle for me to get through, but I reluctantly watched the second season after much convincing from friends who are fans of the show. After the first episode, everything went downhill — I should’ve expected this after the first season. There was too much going on at once, and the storylines were complex to the point of confusion. We got a thorough glimpse of Georgia’s past, and the show delved into Ginny’s anxiety and mental health; however, the dialogue was too shallow, and the resolution of the two’s grapple came way too late in the season. I would recommend this show to those who want some continuation of season one, and some Ginny and Marcus moments, but I would never watch it again.


It’s not often that two of the music industry’s biggest stars team up to deliver music to their fans. As a result, when Drake and 21 Savage teased their collaboration in a music video on Oct. 22, the announcement sent shockwaves throughout the hip-hop world, and rightfully so. Within only a week after its release on Nov. 4, the album had already made its mark, topping the Billboard Top 200 and selling over 400 thousand album copies. “Her Loss” puts the rappers’

talents and extraordinary chemistry on full display, blending their original styles and vocals in a way that blurs the distinction between absurdity and pure genius.

“Rich Flex” begins the album at full force, with 21 Savage dropping provocative lines and effortless rhymes over an eerie choir beat, which abruptly switches to a much sharper piano melody. Drake follows up this performance with a string of bold, cheeky bars, delivering with unrelenting ease a series of rhyming acronyms dotted with clever wordplay throughout. The track showcases the


The first season of this actionpacked, thrilling anime came out last year, and I recently picked it up after reading the manga. I think it’s a solid adaptation, especially with the phenomenally dynamic animation and voice-acting, and how it’s light-hearted one second and thought-provoking the next. Both the dark humor and emotional sentiment from the manga translated over surprisingly well, and the complex characters are to die for. I will say that it’s definitely gory, especially in the fight scenes. But even in all of the violence, “Chainsaw Man” masterfully shows what it means to be a human, chainsawdevil-heart and all. Whether you’ve read the manga or not, this iconic anime is worth watching if you’re in for a hilariously hectic ride.

rappers in their natural but completely separate environments, with 21 Savage

delivering his lines in his signature calm yet assertive style while Drake takes the spotlight in the latter half of the song.

Alternatively, tracks such as “On BS” and “Broke Boys” display the artists working together in perfect sync, interweaving their lines in a fluid and unbothered manner while still maintaining an air of cold aggression and confidence. The rapid flow switches brought on by this frequent back-and-forth style are further amplified by the disparity between Drake’s smooth delivery and 21 Savage’s chalky vocals, tossing listeners into a rollercoaster of sounds that constantly keeps them on their toes. Visit for full article.

“Drake’s smooth delivery and 21 Savage’s chalky vocals [toss] listeners into a rollercoaster of sounds”
‘Her Loss’ encapsulates best of both worlds from Drake and 21 Savage
edward huang

EXTENT OF ARTIVISM Persuasion, not force Examine cause over action

it deflects supporters of the climate movement. Contrastingly, Thunberg’s actions serve as an example of activism that inspires change without force.

“Persuasion is often more effectual than force,” Greek storyteller Aesop said; “The triumph of persuasion over force is the sign of a civilized society,” American economist Mark Skousen said; “If you wish to win a man over to your ideas, first make him your friend,” 16th U.S. president Abraham Lincoln said.

Simply stated, persuasion is the force of a mind, able to shape perspectives and bring awareness without the disruption of impulsive actions. Yet, activists often abandon this idea — the idea that a peaceful argument trumps civil disobedience.

Various protesters demanding action regarding climate change carried out stunts across the world by throwing food at valuable art. Climate activists in Germany threw mashed potatoes on French Impressionist painter Claude Monet’s “Grainstacks.” Similarly, London protestors drew attention for throwing cans of tomato soup on Vincent Van Gogh’s “Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers.”

According to climate activists, many of the attacked pieces depict natural landscapes that will be harmed by climate change. The activists aren’t wrong: the Maldives, Fiji Islands and Samoa are at risk of disappearing and glaciers around the world are receding at faster rates than in the past decade. Their intention to bring awareness to the climate and financial crisis bears significance in the context that extracting fossil fuels consumes $220 billion on average each year.

Nevertheless, recognizing climate change and altering laws solely due to civil disobedience is encouragement for these activists: drastic actions are the only way to garner attention. Yet, there are more peaceful forms of activism. Greta Thunberg became well-known after leaving school to pressure the Swedish government to meet established carbon emissions targets. What distinguishes Thunberg and stunt-performing activists is that vandalism is not only disrespectful,

On the other hand, the work of these

Cake thrown at the Mona Lisa, soup splashed onto Van Gogh, body parts glued next to paintings, shouts of, “What is worth more, art or life?” — all acts of protests by climate activists captured in global headlines in past months. Last year alone, more than two dozen acts of protest have occurred since May, with attacks on pieces from prominent artists, such as Van Gogh and Leonardo da Vinci, gaining attention.

shown by these activists has many asking one major question: Why do they do it?

In the eyes of these activists, there is no reason to respect artistic masterpieces when in just a few decades, the climate crisis will worsen to the point where food security will decrease. In their public demonstrations, they present the fight for climate change reform as a very black and white question: Is protecting paintings and history more important than protecting our planet? This simplified view has spurred these activists to engage in disruptive protests in art museums this past year.

activists establishes that in the name of climate action, attacking pieces of significant cultural heritage is justifiable. Though throwing food at paintings will not “kill us” while “climate change will,” it demolishes important keys to our history. And although the paintings in the museums were not actually damaged due to a glass covering, activists in general serve as a model for advocacy on issues facing the globe. The actions of Just Stop Oil or Last Generation Austria now influence the activism of new generations advocating for climate change. No paintings have been damaged yet, but recurring events have sparked a fire, one that is bound to burn a piece of the vast cultural assets in history.

So what should be the response to these climate activists’ actions? Encouraging these forms of protest over non-disruptive protests or giving them attention induces a series of events that establish that civil disobedience is the default form of protest. Instead, we should increase discussion to pass legislation. While the process may not be easy, it preserves both our environment and culture; that way, like Aesop said, we can truly make a change.

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Over the years, the climate crisis has been the recipient of greater focus and attention in global news. Prominent personalities warn the public of the impending doom that the worsening climate crisis is bound to bring, and science cautions us of the fact that we have less than ten years before the world reaches a global tem-

I have no issue with climate change activism — I myself believe that it is a real and pressing issue. I also believe that actions matter, and that basing an opinion of a cause based upon the action is understandable. However, people should pay more attention to the intention and cause behind the action. We should focus more on the why, and not the what. Although the actions of these activists are callous and disruptive, these activists are trying to bring more awareness to the climate crisis. The public also shoulders some blame for offering no second thought towards the motivation behind their actions, instead offering derisive criticism.

perature that will be irreversible.

However, climate activism has reached new heights, with activists and organizations increasing the intensity of their public displays, and as of late, these displays are attacks on valued artworks. There is usually little damage to these pieces due to protective glass, but the intention of the acts have appalled many.

The disregard for these artworks

The issue with the protests of these climate activists is their decision to participate in disruptive acts by attacking historic artwork and making art a target of their cause. Public demonstrations should be done to draw people in to learn more, not turn them away from the organization, and in the process, the cause. However, actions do not necessarily reflect intention. Behind all the protests and public demonstrations, there is a legitimate and pressing cause. Many of the protests have been carried out by supporters of the European coalition Just Stop Oil, which firmly advocates for ending the use and production of fossil fuels in the U.K. The use of fossil fuels is a driving force behind climate change today, but even today, very few realize the implications that the continued use of it will have. Visit

ananya sriram
hima thota
Yet, activists often abandon this idea — the idea that a peaceful argument trumps civil disobedience
However, people should pay more attention to the intention and cause behind the action. We should focus more on the why, and not the what


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The Winged Post is published every four to six weeks except during vacations by the Journalism: News and Advanced Journalism: News 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.

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The Winged Post is the official student newspaper of Harker’s upper school and is distributed free of cost to students. It provides a student voice forum for members of our community. Students hold the copyright to work published in Harker journalism publications.

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Editorial: Leave more open space in schedule

How much do students value activities, on a scale of 1-10?


What was supposed to be a fun spirit event at the end of the semester to celebrate student athletics instead caused many students stress and confusion due to the lack of transparency surrounding the event and the extra load of end-of-semester work. While events like spirit rallies or assemblies can help relieve some stress in students’ dayto-day lives by creating an uplifting environment, they often achieve the opposite effect and instead limit students from studying or completing homework.

The bell schedule, though it has its flaws, had a lot of thought and effort invested into it, and with the block schedule, we students enjoy a lot more free time than if we had a full, seven-class school day. Each week, the schedule typically hosts five to six periods of office hours, with two or three of them happening in the morning. However, afternoon office hours conflict with other after school activities like sports games, tournaments and appointments, which make morning office hours more easy and accessible.

The week before December finals, there were no morning office hours periods due to Big Assembly Day and advisory parties, which took up the hour-long time slot, causing students stress. As a result, many students took matters into their own hands and carved that free study time out for themselves by working during the advisory party.

Additionally, many students acknowledge that changing the typical schedule can alleviate stress. According to a Harker Aquila poll for students which garnered 269 responses, 85.5% of respondents wished the current bell schedule allotted more time to office hours, with 66.2%

stating that office hours was the most stress-relieving way to spend the morning block, which runs from 9:35 to 10:40 a.m. A sizable minority, 23.4%, also feel that advisory is the most stress-relieving activity. Overall, students gravitate towards the choices where they have the most freedom to decide how to spend their time.

Although “empty time” during the day may not seem to help to students’ productivity, it actually trains them to allocate their time wisely. In particular, the absence of a mandatory activity during the morning block can shorten the long list of tasks students must complete each day, lessening their burden bit by bit. Students can use this time however they wish, whether it be starting assignments early, visiting teachers or simply socializing with friends.

During the pandemic, which severely affected our mental health, we frequently dedicated entire days to office hours or left the full morning block to be free time. Even if we did not use all of those hours for that specific purpose, having the opportunity to sleep in or spend time with family allowed us to assess ourselves amidst a trying time and reset ourselves to move forward.

Another option is to move the morning block to the very start of the day so that students can have the option of sleeping in or attending office hours. Incorporating more open space in our schedule can help students learn how to spread our work more and can teach us to give ourselves breaks in between work.

Classes, assessments and extracurriculars already pack each day to the brim. Even in an environment built on hard work and diligence, breathing room can rejuvenate and energize us to overcome future obstacles and persevere through the school day.

Corrections TO ISSUE 3


• “Leaning D” and “Leaning R” colors are swapped in the pie chart legend

• Alaska is incorrectly colored in the map


• Unknown misspelled as “unkown”

• Guy Kawasaki misspelled as “Guy Kawaski”

Empathy misspelled as “empath”

• Jesús Covarrubias misspelled as “Corvarrubias”

sarah mohammed, sabrina zhu & arjun barrett

It’s hard to believe the second semester has already begun, but we couldn’t be happier to bring you our latest issue of Winged Post! We’ve watched our reporters and editors grow last year, and we’ve been excited to see them take on new roles as stronger journalists. They’ve worked so hard to make this issue shine, and we wanted to thank them for making our publication what it is.

As winter morphs into spring, we’ve seen plenty of change around campus. From performing arts productions to eagle buddy gatherings, we hope to cover the events happening at our school with

care, emphasizing moments of community togetherness and joy. This issue, in commemoration of the start of the new semester, we are prioritizing our rest, taking time to recharge and decompressing. Our editorial focuses on creating more time for recharging during the school day, while our double truck highlights Harker Journalism’s favorite media recommendations for students to enjoy during the upcoming February break; our back page turns toward family and heritage, focusing on Lunar New Year celebrations. As the semester progresses, we hope you will remind yourself to treasure daily breaks and create open space every day—together, we can build a healthy community that prioritizes happiness in a world that can move at lightning speed.

SPORTS 18: Girls golf won their fifth consecutive title, not their sixth


Our staff strives to represent our community fairly and to conduct accurate, truthful storytelling. However, if you do find any errors in an issue of the Winged Post, please let us know by emailing We will list all errors of an issue, along with the page number of that error, in the next issue’s corrections box, which can be found in the Opinion section.

editorial board Opinions Editor Margaret Cartee
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Adviser Whitney Huang, CJE Sports Editor Katelyn Zhao Features Editors Desiree Luo Copy Editor Anika Maji Vivian Chen Mirabelle Feng Angelina Hu SABRINA ZHU



Robotics begins build season after FRC game details announcement

kinnera mulam

Harker Robotics began its build season after FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) announced the 2023 game details on Jan. 7. This year’s mission requires the robots to stack cones on a pole and place inflatable cubes on a shelf before completing the end game, balancing on a seesaw. The team will remain in build season, which includes attending meetings both after school until 6 p.m. on all weekdays except Fridays and from 12-6 p.m. on Saturdays, until the two regional FRC competitions in March. If they qualify, the team will advance to the April championship event.

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Public Health Club hosts event for members to discuss China’s reopening

emma gao

Public Health Club conducted a community discussion about China’s lifting of its “Zero-COVID” policy on Jan. 13. Co-President Fiona Yan (11) first presented background information about the current COVID-19 outbreak in China by tracing the country’s history back to the public protests in November last year. After, officers led the attendees through six discussion questions, in which participants discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the reopening, possible reasons for the sudden relaxation of Zero-COVID and the lack of accurate data on infection rates.

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GPL begins teaching programming and math winter session classes

kinnera mulam

Girls Programming League (GPL) began hosting weekly math and computer science classes on Jan. 28 over Zoom. The classes will continue for four weeks with course offerings as the following: Competition Math, Introduction to Python, Introduction to Java and USA Computing Olympiad (USACO) Bronze Preparation taught by Sally Zhu (12) and Tiffany Zhu (9), Angelina Hu (11), Michelle Wei (11) and Saanvi Bhargava (10), respectively. Classes are open to all students in any middle and high school.

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Former Math Club President Jeffrey Kwan (‘20) visits members

steven jiang

Math Club hosted a speaker event with former Math Club President Jeffrey Kwan (‘20), where he discussed math problems and held a Q&A to answer questions about the subject on Jan. 9 during long lunch. At the beginning of the event, math club members sat in small groups, working on the warm-up problems that Kwan provided. After going over the questions, students chose between three math problems ranging from different topics to solve, using collective reasoning to find the answers. Visit for full article.

“Earth’s temperature has risen by an average of 0.14° Fahrenheit (0.08° Celsius) per decade since 1880, or about 2° F in total.”

Data surrounding the increasing impact of climate change such as the one above can appear to suggest that governments and businesses should spend as much money as possible to stop climate change. However, particularly for businesses, saving the environment means sacrificing economic growth, since allocated money for sustainability depletes potential profit. The debate over preserving the environment versus the economy has spanned decades, as the former prevails with the moral dilemma but the latter appears more appealing and profitable.

Additionally, a primary instigator of the debate in the U.S. is our two-party political system. With Democrats typically associated with caring for the environment and Republicans largely remaining indifferent to the topic of climate change, the debate splits down party lines.

“The environment is a very politicized thing,” Green Team member Lindsey Tuckey (10) said. “What side of the political spectrum you’re on affects people’s views on the environment, [but] communication and recognizing that it’s a bipartisan issue could help a lot.”

Aside from the political issues, the debate continues to move toward environmental sustainability as the years progress, and the cause rallies more supporters amongst the public and government for one reason: long-term consideration. Climate change’s effects don’t stop at the environment — the issue cost the U.S. $165 billion in 2022 for climate change-caused weather disasters alone, and experts project that the costs will increase as the planet degrades further.

“In the long term, the climate worsen[ing] will affect the economy as well,” Lindsey said. “While the economy affects people, the climate definitely has a bigger impact.”

through negative externalities or the added cost to society of producing goods. When businesses fail to account for that “deadweight loss,” a term for when potential value is destroyed, the government often intervenes.

“If we buy the premise that we are polluting, and we’re killing the environment because of our actions, then there needs to technically be an appropriate amount of either taxation or regulation that will get us to the socially efficient outcome,” Lizardo said. “It’s up to readers and politicians to decide whether we are already at the optimal outcome or not because the reality is that, due to the externalities that businesses create, there needs to be some form of government involvement.”

Businesses run cost-benefit analyses to determine how much of their money will fund environmental efforts. Economists measure global warming’s effects


Even though climate change also harms the economy, a main issue that environmentalists face is that a majority of the population considers the debate only in the short term, which invalidates reasoning for environmental sustainability since the worsening effects of global warming will increase as time goes on. Reshma Kosaraju (11), who learned about environmental economics in Advanced Placement (AP) Microeconomics, believes that people need to consider the years and decades ahead to make a better judgment on the issue. By the time more government officials or the public fully understand the gravity of climate change, it could be too late to change the future.

“If we’re polluting [the planet] now, then generations down the line, the costs are going to be magnified,” Reshma said. “So even if we create a present analysis of marginal costs and marginal benefit, we also have to take into account the future impact of climate change and how it’ll hurt the future generations on this planet.” Visit for full article.


ENVIRONMENT ECONOMY produces 30% of carbon dioxide emissions each year uncovers goods such as biofuel, timber and minerals


accounted for 8.4% of American GDP in 2021

ENVIRONMENT ECONOMY creates 7.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide yearly


ENVIRONMENT ECONOMY constitutes 75% of greenhouse gas emissions globally represents 79% of U.S. energy production annually


ENVIRONMENT ECONOMY has changed 70% of our planet’s surface due to human activity produced 164.7 billion dollars of U.S. GDP in 2021

In the long term, the answer is our planet
ENVIRONMENT ECONOMY forms 60% of all emissions
valued at 894 billion dollars in
produced by food industry
“We have to take into account the future impact of climate change and how it’ll hurt the future generations on this planet”

Nuclear fusion: the biggest blast

Fusion breakthrough opens doors to a new renewable energy source

It begins with a single pulse of light.

The pulse is first broken into 192 separate beams. After traveling about one and a half kilometers, during which the beams are amplified and adjusted so their power distribution is even, they converge upon a pea-sized pellet of hydrogen encased in an almost perfectly spherical shell. When every beam strikes the target at the exact same time, the temperature of the pellet spikes to over 5 million degrees Celsius, and the hydrogen atoms merge with each other, forming helium and releasing a small burst of energy.

atom. This process is the opposite of nuclear fission, the much better known process that drives nu clear power today. In fission, a neutron strikes a heavy atom, most commonly uranium or plutonium, splitting the large atom into two smaller atoms and releasing energy. However, fusion is more potent: when the two atoms fuse, the resulting nucleus contains less mass than the original nuclei. The remaining mass is converted into pure ener gy, as per Einstein’s famous equation E = mc2. This released energy is several times stronger than the energy fission can produce.

“[This] is one of very few processes that we know about in which matter is directly converted into energy,” upper school physics teacher Dr. Mark Brada said.

This experiment has been conducted many times, but on Dec. 5, the amount of energy released from the reaction, approximately 3.15 megajoules, surpassed the 2.05 megajoules of energy that researchers used to power the contraption. For the first time in history, a nuclear fusion reaction created within a laboratory yielded an increase in total energy. Right now, the amount of energy is too small to be useful, but in the future, the energy may be used to heat water and generate electricity.

Nuclear fusion is the process by which two lighter atoms fuse to form a heavier

Although fusion has potential to be an efficient, environmentally friendly source of energy, scientists still face many challenges. In order to spark fusion, particles must travel at extremely high speeds, overcoming the repelling forces between protons among different nuclei and closing the distance between the two atoms to around 10-14 meters. Furthermore, the element used in the reaction must have a minimal amount of protons, as a higher proton count means more repelling force which necessitates more energy to overcome. Therefore, hydrogen, which only possesses one proton in its nucleus, leads to the most efficient reaction.

“The maximum amount of energy that will come out [of nuclear fusion] will

be from using light nuclei like hydrogen and helium,” upper school chemistry teacher Dr. Mala Raghavan said. “It’s much harder to fuse a higher number of protons [because] that will require much more energy.”

Despite the recent success, nuclear fusion still remains infeasible for commercial energy production, and it will likely stay that way for many years to come. The inertial-based fusion reactor at Lawrence Livermore laboratory cost around $3.5 billion to construct, already a hefty price tag for a megajoule of energy. Rather, the breakthrough serves as a proof of concept, encouraging scientists to research further.

“The reality is that the amount of energy that they produced was about enough to heat up one cup of coffee, so we’re not talking about a giant amount of energy,”

Dr. Brada said. “That’s nice and all, but not really useful.”

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FTX Meltdown: Sam Bankman-Fried’s meteoric fall

gan examining the relationship between the two companies to determine whether Bankman-Fried illegally acquired funds from FTX customers. So far, at least 1 billion dollars worth of consumer funds are found to be missing.

With the absence of this money, authorities questioned whether Bankman-Fried artificially inflated the evaluations of FTX and Alameda Research. Omkar Govil-Nair (11), who trades cryptocurrencies, explains that due to the nature currencies, Bankman-Fried’s ability to manipulate the two companies’ valuations is not surprising.

This is the second installment of Research Revelations: Conversations with Our Student Researchers. In this episode, Aquila reporters Selina and Olivia meet with Anika Mantripragada (11) to discuss her project on medical illustrations.

Q: What are medical illustrations?

A: Medical illustrations can come in various different forms. The form that people are most familiar with are the diagrams and illustrations you see in your biology textbooks. But there’s so many other forms of medical illustrations that people don’t really know about, such as infographics and comics.

Q: How did you become interested in medical illustration?

A: I’ve always been interested in art since a very young age, and so art has always been a part of my life. I wanted to find an intersection between my love for art and medicine, and medical illustration was a niche spot between these two fields.

Q: What do you base your illustrations off of?

A: I do illustrations on body parts I’m more curious about. I’m a prospective doctor, so I need to know what different parts of the body look like and how they function.

Q: What do you hope to do with your illustrations?

A: I want my art to help people understand difficult medical topics and allow them to feel comfortable enough to ask doctors for help. These illustrations are also a very thought-provoking way to present medical topics.

Q: What impact do medical illustrations have in the field?

A: Medical illustrations can bridge many different gaps, like the language barrier. Patients can also use medical illustrations to share their experiences with doctors and allow doctors to provide the best care.

PRECIPITOUS DROP Futures Exchange (FTX) and its founder Sam Bankman-Fried declared bankruptcy in November 2022, prompting investigations from the government.

Futures Exchange (FTX), previously the third-largest cryptocurrency exchange internationally with a valuation of 32 billion dollars, declared its bankruptcy in Nov. 2022, prompting an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) into its founder for fraud.

After clients rushed to withdraw their tokens over speculation that FTX had misused customer funds, the company was unable to repay its lenders, leading to its collapse. Related firms were also recently revealed to have borrowed over 10 billion in funds from FTX.

The Justice Department and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission be-

“The analogy is that I can create a million tokens,” Omkar said. “If I sell one to you for a dollar, I can claim that I’m worth a million dollars, even though I can’t sell all of the tokens at a dollar each. So on [the companies’] balance sheet, it looked like they had billions of dollars when it wasn’t actually liquid.”

FTX’s fall has resonated throughout the cryptocurrency industry, with other trading firms that had previously received funding from FTX announcing pauses in their operations. Additionally, Bitcoin has also dropped over 20% in value since the collapse of FTX.

Visit for full article.

Q: Can you describe the process of creating a medical illustration?

A: If I’m doing it just to practice my anatomy skills, then I would start out by looking at references online of how human musculature looks. Then, there’s a software called Complete Anatomy on my laptop. That’s one of my favorite tools for creating medical illustrations because I can peel away the layers of skin and musculature to focus on the skeletal system.

victor gong & andrew liang
“This is one of very few processes that we know about in which matter is directly converted into energy”
300% more energy produced by nuclear fusion than fission 92% of time nuclear reactors run at full power 50% of renewable energy comes from nuclear fission ILLUSTRATION BYYIFANLIANDALISONYANG ILLUSTRATION BY KINNERA
EHW N H Y D R OGENS COLLIDE Researchers completed the frst nuclearfusionexperimenty ielding an e n e r g y s u r lp su . INFOGRAPHIC
olivia xu & selina xu

This article was written by a literate robot

Say hello to ChatGPT: the ultimate conversational AI assistant

“OpenAI has released ChatGPT, a state-of-the-art language model designed to make it easier for developers to create conversational AI systems that can understand and respond to human inputs in a more natural and intuitive way. ChatGPT is able to generate responses based on context and handle long-form input, making it well-suited for applications such as chatbots and virtual assistants.”

The paragraph you just read was not written by a human being. In fact, neither was the headline. Nor the subhead. While the above text, still contains countless implications for student plagiarism and errors that would make any journalist cringe, ChatGPT is not wrong when it states that it has “revolutionized” the way our society uses software. Thanks to artificial intelligence, a news lede that would have taken a human reporter at least 10 minutes to research and write can now be completed in less than 10 seconds.

and do not have a personal identity or background like a human,” ChatGPT said when prompted to describe itself. “I was designed to be able to communicate with users in a natural and helpful way, and to provide accurate and useful information on a wide range of topics. I do not have personal experiences or feelings, but I am able to understand and respond to the experiences and feelings of others.”

Unlike past computer chatbots, ChatGPT uses reinforcement learning to not only craft elegant responses but also remember its past answers. Using this method means that ChatGPT is constantly learning, constantly improving.

“ChatGPT has this unique ability to look at a well-formed grammatical sentence, identify the keywords from those sentences, and use natural language in its response in a very strongly formed grammatical manner,” upper school computer science teacher Anu Datar said. “It also uses a feedback loop that allows the A.I. to learn from its past interactions, so ChatGPT has a bizarre ability to remember things. No A.I. before had done that.”

To test ChatGPT’s accuracy and ability to imitate a high school student, Harker Aquila entered three sample free response questions from past Advanced Placement (AP) exams and presented the AI’s solutions for teachers to grade.

While ChatGPT nails the general problem-solving process of the questions and excels at a surface-level examination, it falls short in the specifics of arriving at a definitive answer and properly imitating the structure of a student-produced response. Even so, teachers have expressed their concerns of students plagiarizing the chatbot and using its work as their own.

How Smart is ChatGPT?

AP United States History

Prompt: Briefly describe a specific historical change in relations between American Indians and the U.S. from 1776 to 1815.

ChatGPT: "One specific historical change in relations between American Indians and the U.S. from 1776 to 1815 was the signing of the Treaty of Greenville in 1795. This treaty recognized the sovereignty of Native American tribes and established a process for resolving disputes..."

AP Calculus BC

Prompt: The density of bacteria in a petri dish, for 1 ≤ r ≤ 4, is modeled by the function G defined by G(r) = 2 - 16cos(1.57√r)3. For what value of k, 1 < k < 4, is G(k) equal to the average value of G(r) on the interval 1 ≤ r ≤ 4?

Wrong function name

After its release on Nov. 30, ChatGPT soared in popularity. According to OpenAI, the company that developed ChatGPT, the chatbot can do much more than simply respond to prompts; its ability to “answer follow-up questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises and reject inappropriate requests,” all while maintaining a humanlike conversation with the user, sets this language model apart from its predecessors as arguably the most advanced artificial intelligence platform to date.

“I think that while there might be an argument to be made that using ChatGPT isn’t technically plagiarism, doing that goes against the spirit of the law, which is that work done in an academic setting is supposed to represent not only your ideas but also your effort,” upper school history teacher James Tate said.

ChatGPT’s performance on the problems demonstrates that the AI can now successfully impersonate a human student, for the most part.

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ChatGPT: "We can integrate g(r) from r = 1 to r = 4 and divide by the length of the integral. This gives us:

(1/3) * Integral[g(r), r=1..4] = (1/3) * (G(4)-G(1)) where G(x) is the antiderivative of g(x). To find G(x), we can use integration by substitution..."

Incorrect final solution

AP Computer Science A

Prompt: A RandomStringChooser object is constructed from an array of non-null String values. The RandomStringChooser class has a getNext method that returns a randomly chosen string from the available strings in the object. Once a string has been returned by getNext, it is no longer available to be returned by subsequent calls. Write the entire RandomStringChooser class.

ChatGPT: "import java.util.Random;

public class RandomStringChooser { private String[] availableStrings; private Random rand; }

public String getNext() { if (availableStrings.length == 0) { return "NONE";

} int index = rand.nextInt(availableStrings.length); ..."

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“I do not have personal experiences or feelings, but I am able to understand and respond to the experiences and feelings of others”
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can peel away the layers of musculature to focus on the skeletal system. Visit for full article.

The APEX repeater profiles Harker athletes who compete at the highest level within sports. This installment features Vyom Vidyarthi’s (10) International Master title journey.

grant yang & lindsey tuckey

King to E6, and the game ends. The enemy’s lone rook, stranded on the last rank, can no longer defend against the threat of the pawn promoting to a queen, and Vyom Vidyarthi (10) claims victory as his opponent resigns. A chess player ever since kindergarten, Vyom is now at a standard rating of 2426, and he earned the title of International Master in August.

In the world of chess, the International Chess Federation assigns ratings and awards titles to expert players. Players can gain rating by beating stronger opponents, but will lose rating when weaker opponents defeat them.

Promoting to final rank

Vyom Vidyarthi (10) masters the mental game

Game Talk with Gabe Super Bowl Preview

gabe sachse

After the conference title games on Jan. 29, the Philadelphia Eagles are set to face the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl on Feb. 12 in Phoenix, Arizona. Philadelphia comes into the championship game after one of their smoother Super Bowl runs in recent years, losing only three games in the regular season and defeating the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers by a combined score of 69-14.

The Chiefs, on the other hand, led up to the big game by winning a hard-fought game against the Jacksonville Jaguars 2720 after an ankle injury limited superstar QB Patrick Mahomes, and then won a thriller against the Cincinnati Bengals on a walk-off field goal.

Philly and Kansas City match up well against each other on paper. Both teams are led by MVP-candidate quarterbacks, with the Eagles’ Jalen Hurts and the Chiefs’ Mahomes among the ranks of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. Both teams also sport explosive offenses and good front sevens. The Eagles have a much better offensive line, though, which is their major talent advantage over the Chiefs.

Although Vyom is already seventh in the United States for his age group, he is still looking to improve. With a rating requirement of 2400, the International Master (IM) title is the second highest title a chess player could receive before Grandmaster (GM), which requires a rating of 2500. Additionally, these two titles also require two or three ‘norms,’ which are tournaments against strong opponents where the player must perform at a certain level.

“I’m definitely striving to get [the] grandmaster [title],” Vyom said. “I have one norm, [and] you need three of those to get the title. So I’m trying to get the other two, but [to get] a norm there are a lot of requirements, like who you play against, where they’re from and how many points you score.”

Chess club officer Andy Chung (10) appreciates Vyom’s input at the club’s meetings and admires his achievements as the strongest chess player there.

“When people don’t understand why a move or a certain strategy or a certain series of moves is important, he will take

the time to explain it to us to the point where we can understand it,” Andy said.

“I really admire not only [his] amazing ability to play the game, but also to teach others. He’s a great teacher and I enjoy learning from him when I get the chance.”

After earning the IM title last July, Vyom played in the 2022 Panamerican Youth Chess Championships in Uruguay, where he won 6 out of 9 games and drew the other 3, enabling him to win in his section. His younger sister, Omya Vidyarthi, who is a Woman Candidate Master (WCM) with a rating of 1986, played in a parallel section. Vyom reflects on his experience supporting his sister in the tournament.

“Honestly, for me, even winning that tournament didn’t really give me anything,” Vyom said. “The reward for the tournament was a title that I already had,

but my sister was trying to get a title from that tournament, and I just wanted to accompany her. I was playing for fun, and not having the stress also [helped]. We both ended up winning that tournament, and I think that was the first time that any siblings won that tournament.“

With nine rounds of action, playing in this tournament was no easy task. Unlike rapid or blitz chess where players typically have around three to 15 minutes of thinking time, standard chess gives each player over an hour and awards extra time for each move played.

“When you get to big tournaments, games can last five hours or so,” Vyom said. “You can have more than one game per day, and the tournaments are really long. They’re nine rounds usually, so you’ve got to be able to keep your focus.”

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However, I believe that the Eagles’ lack of true playoff experience will come back to haunt them in this contest. This team is completely different outside of a couple players from the 2018 championship run, whereas the Chiefs are still led by most of the same players from their previous Super Bowl runs. Even this postseason, the Eagles played the Giants, who were lucky to be in the playoffs due to their much worse roster and almost zero playoff experience. The Eagles were also aided significantly by facing a San Francisco team who lost their undefeated third-string quarterback Brock Purdy in the first quarter and had to play most of the game with fourth-string Josh Johnson. The Eagles also benefited from a number of questionable calls against San Francisco, including the play that first gave them momentum, a 29-yard completion on 4th and 3 to Devonta Smith that was clearly dropped after replay. On top of all this, the Eagles struggled to guard some of San Francisco’s best weapons when they were led by the inexperienced Johnson.

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Adrenaline coursing through her veins, Chloe Lee (11) stands with one cloth-wrapped hand, facing three concrete bricks. The slabs stared back at her, the final obstacle between her and the ultimate achievement: a fourthdegree black belt in taekwondo. With a sharp twist, she struck the blocks. Before they hit the ground, she knew she had accomplished her goal.

Chloe started training in first grade at her mother’s request, who viewed the sport as a way for Chloe to both come out of her shell and connect with her Korean culture.

Taekwondo originated in Korea and evolved primarily in the 1940s and 1950s, when it blended traditional Korean martial arts like taekkyeon with foreign influences,

like karate. After practicing for nearly a decade and assuming an assistant teacher position at her studio, Chloe attributes her leadership skills to her invaluable experiences in the sport.

“Being an assistant teacher in my studio helped me to be as clear as possible when explaining something [and] having the leadership to teach a group of younger kids,” Chloe said. “If some of them don’t really pay attention, I would have to have that authority [and] initiative to get them to pay attention and teach them. That’s a crucial skill to have in my daily life.”


Arjun Gurjar (11) has also studied a variety of martial arts for many years.

Martial arts first sparked Arjun’s interest when he watched the famed martial artist Bruce Lee in movies as a child. Now, he holds a thirddegree black belt in karate, a centuries-old Okinawan sport,

and he simultaneously trains in taekwondo and kickboxing, which combines aspects of karate with contemporary Western boxing. Similarly to Chloe, Arjun has become an instructor in his expertise and highlights teaching as one of his favorite parts of martial arts.

“It’s been rewarding to go from being a student to a teacher,” Arjun said. “I really enjoyed that process — that was one of the best things that’s happened to me doing

“[Martial arts is] not so much a team sport, but you still need to have certain aspects of a team sport, like the sense of community,” Arjun said.

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“[It’s] less of memorization and more of what you can think about and what kind of ideas you can come up with”
OFFICE OF COMMUNICATION KATELYN ZHAO GOING INTERNATIONAL Vyom Vidyarthi (10) sits behind the queen and king chess pieces at the large chessboard behind Dobbins Hall. His current standard rating stands at 2426.
katerina matta & kevin zhang
“Taekwondo taught me to be confident in all I do. The community instills beliefs of discipline from when a white belt all the way to our black belt testings.”
Students to senseis: mastering the art of self defense

Searching for silver linings in injuries

Athletes persevere through setbacks

“For the team, they have to adjust, but for the player, it’s a bit of a setback [because] every injury [is] different”

The past few months have brought some of the most eventful moments in sports, with audiences worldwide coming together under the universal interest for highly anticipated events such as the World Cup and National Football League (NFL) season. However, alongside the victories, a different received an increase in attention—sports injuries.

Damar Hamlin, a safety for the Buffalo Bills NFL team, collapsed and underwent cardiac arrest after making a tackle on the field on Jan. 2. United States Men’s National Team and Chelsea soccer player Christian Pulisic sustained a minor injury after he scored a goal for the U.S. during their match against Iran during the World Cup, which they won 1-0. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo broke his left foot, sidelining him for the remainder of the football season. Even within high school athletics, many students struggle with sudden injuries that hinder their abilities to play their respective sports. As many continue to watch these sports, people wonder about the hidden cost of playing a sport.

Varsity boys basketball head coach

Alfredo Alves notes how injuries hugely impact athletes by not only forcing them into rehabilitation for a period of time, but also bringing uncertainty to their level once they recover and return to playing. He acknowledges the mental toll that

some players take when they are away from their sport. game,” Alves said. “For the team, they have to adjust, but for the player, it’s a bit of a setback. Every injury [is] different, but the longer you’re out, the longer you’re away from playing, so just mentally, [players are] adjusting and understanding that it’s going to take time.”

Sofie Marino (10) suffered several injuries in her sport, including broken fingers and bruised bones, but her second concussion became the most severe injury that she experienced in her sport career. The concussion largely changed the way she viewed her sport as she was forced to watch from the sidelines for a year.

the second concussion so that definitely impacted how I played because I wasn’t able to play at all for a really long time,” Sofie said. “And then when I got back, it took me a while to get back into the swing of things.”

Not being able to play for such a long amount of time proved difficult, especially because she had been playing the sport since the age of seven. Her attachment to water polo brought mixed emotions as she watched her teammates compete.

“It was definitely hard to see other people play for the big tournaments and

Feb. 14 - Varsity Girls Soccer vs Sacred Heart Prep at 3:30 P.M.

Feb. 10 - Junior Varsity Boys Soccer vs Priory at 4:45 P.M.

to see our team play without [me],” Sofie said. “It’s definitely hard to watch, and it also made me miss it at times, but it also made me kind of thankful to have time off to be able to focus on other things.”

Varsity girls basketball player Gemma Chan (10) also suffered injuries throughout her years of playing basketball, but a strained meniscus last fall prevented her from attending a month of pre-season workouts. She explains how her injury continued on and caused difficulties during

“I was allowed to play, [but] during tryouts it started hurting, so I had to sit out and go to the trainers, which was hard because everyone else was trying out,” Gemma said. “I got scared that my spot would be taken because I wasn’t able to try out.”

Gemma touches upon the common desire

amongst athletes to want to immediately return to their sport, but explained how demotivating the journey to coming back can be.

“I[t’s] been a little hard for me to process, because I obviously want to go back in, but you can’t because you have to get cleared and everything,” Gemma said. However, amongst the negative effects of an injury, there is the potential to improve one’s physical abilities.

Upper school head athletic trainer Wes Howard notes how one should stay active by training and strengthening other uninjured parts of the body.

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Feb. 10 - Junior Varsity Girls Basketball vs Notre Dame at 5 P.M


Feb 6 - Varsity Boys Soccer vs German International School of Silicon Valley at 3:45 P.M.

Feb. 10 - Varsity Girls Basketball vs Priory at 6:30 P.M.

Feb. 14 - Varsity Boys Basketball vs Eastside College Prep at 6:30 P.M.

Feb. 14 - Junior Varsity Boys Basketball vs Eastside College Prep at 3:30 P.M.


“We are coming together as a team and we have discovered everyone’s strengths. For the rest of the season, I look forward to continuing to improve as a team and spending time with the boys.”


“As a team this is probably the best we’ve played [but] because we moved up a division, we’re playing much harder teams than before so it’s definitely taken some time to adjust to moving from preseason.”



“We are doing really good and there haven’t been any teams that we can’t beat yet. We lost because of our own mistakes. I look forward to win[ning] as many games as possible

“We’ve had a few injuries so we really have to focus on league and work together. When we play as a team and share the ball, we excel and we need to hold ourselves to a high standard.” NIVEK





PREPARE TO STRIKE Forward Cassie May (12) races against a Priory defender for the ball. The girls won 4-0 on Jan. 20 against Priory High School, increasing their overall record to 9-3-1.

basketball players prepare to receive a rebound on Jan. 20 against Notre Dame High School.

lost 39-43 after being tied in the last minutes of the game.

COURTSIDE DEBATE Varsity boys basketball members discuss a play during the varsity girls basketball game on Jan. 20.

BOX OUT Varsity girls The girls IN FOCUS Full back defender Ryan Barth (11) covers a Yerba Buena forward. BRANDON ZAU GOALTIME Varsity boys soccer players Mir Bahri (12), Jack Yang (11) and #48 Jeremy Ko (12) celebrate a goal against Yerba Buena in the 2nd quarter, tying it 1-1 on Dec. 16. The boys improve their record to 3-5-4 after a win on Jan. 26. HALFTIME HYPE Cheerleader Divya Venkat (11) raises her hands high in support. BRANDON ZAU
ROLL IT UP KJ Williams (12) attempts a layup for the Eagles against Pinewood on Jan. 20. Putting up 2.1 assists and 2.3 steals per game, KJ leads the team in assists and steals.
IN THE DUST Co-captain Grace Hoang (12) rushes against a Notre Dame defender on Jan. 20. Grace comes in third for the team’s points per game leaderboard, averaging 7.9 points. HEADS UP Rishaan Thoppay (9) prepares to make a layup during a game against Pinewood on Jan. 20.
OFF THE FIELD Audrey Yang (9) talks to other girls varsity soccer members as their game against Priory comes to a close on Jan. 20.

Year of the rabbit

Asian-American community welcomes a year of hope and peace

“I miss my parents so much.”

Eight years ago, Tung Nguyen, a waiter at local restaurant Gogo Pho and student at San Jose State University, left his family in Vietnam to study electrical engineering in the United States. Though he has not seen his parents since then, Nguyen continues to connect with his home through the traditions of a holiday all about family: Lunar New Year.

Celebrated on Jan. 22 in China, Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore and other East and Southeast Asian countries, Lunar New Year marked one of the most vibrant times of the year.

This Lunar New Year brings in the Chinese zodiac’s Year of the rabbit, symbolizing a year of hope, peace and prosperity. Occurring only once every 60 years, it is also the Year of the Black Rabbit or the Water Rabbit, which is thought to bring further fortune. In Vietnam, however, this new year is the Year of the -

Unlike new year celebrations in other regions, which occur based on the Gregorian calendar, Lunar New Year starts with the first new moon in the lunarally, festivities last for several days, with traditionsing from giving

Chinese “hong bao,” lucky red envelopes filled with money, to eating Korean “tteokguk,” a rice cake soup symbolizing purity.

“A lot of our [Lunar New Year] celebration is around food,” Emma Biswas

bers,” Nguyen said. “There are always a lot of people, especially when I was in Vietnam. The older generations give lucky money to the younger generations. We celebrate happiness and success together and hope to have good luck for earning more money in the new year.”

Besides spending time with his grandparents and other relatives, Nguyen honors the start of the new year through special customs at Gogo Pho.

“[Gogo Pho] closed early on Lunar New Year, but we still open earlier in the day because we want good luck for the rest of the year,” Nguyen said.

(12), who identifies as half-Chinese and half-Indian, said. “We’ll have a meal and get a bunch of different dishes from different restaurants, and we’ll just talk. We don’t usually have family dinners, so it’s one of the few times that we have the entire family sit together to celebrate, and it definitely brings us closer together.”

In addition to traditional food, red appears everywhere — on clothes, gifts and decorations. According to ancient Chinese legend, the color wards off demons, symbolizing good luck and prosperity. In Vietnamese households, kumquat trees and peach blossoms typically decorate homes during Lunar New Year, referred to as “Tết.”

Relatives reunite to spend time together, younger family members receive lucky money from their elders and everyone enjoys traditional foods such as

Korean New Year, “Seollal,” stresses the importance of harmony and respect among family members. Families play games like Yut Nori, a board game where players toss sticks in the air and advance based on how the sticks land. Another tradition, “sebae,” involves younger relatives bowing to members of the elder generation and receiving envelopes with cash in return. Unlike those used in Chinese and Vietnamese celebrations, these envelopes are typically white.

“The meaning behind ‘sebae’ is to show respect to your relatives and wish them well for the new year,” Sahngwie Yim (10) said. “To me, Lunar New Year represents togetherness and good luck. It’s a holiday that my family celebrates every year with special traditions.”

The coming days are a time for family and celebration across Asian communities, regardless of nationality. Upper school instrumental teacher Jaco Wong, who is ethnically Chinese, celebrated Lunar New Year with a family dinner and cooked traditional foods. This was also the first year he celebrated with his fiancée’s family, who visited from Taiwan.

“In my view, every culture has a reason to have a day to bring all the family together and just eat good food,” Wong said. “I think that’s it for Chinese New Year. When I was young, I would see certain relatives that I only see once a year.


stuffed with meat or vegetable filling

“In my view, every culture has a reason to have a day to bring all the family together and just eat good food. I think that’s it for Chinese New Year … [It’s] the time [when] tradition brings people together”
DELIGHTFUL DECOR Lunar New Year decorations spice up a local Gogo Pho restaurant. FOOD AND FAMILY Fiona Yan (11)’s family celebrates Lunar New Year with a variety of foods, including dumplings and deep fried lobster. LANTERNS
emma gao, ella yee & sabrina zhu CHINA: JIAO ZI Dumplings KOREA: TTEOKGUK Beef broth soup with disc-shaped rice cakes VIETNAM: BANH CHUNG
Sticky rice, pork and mung beans wrapped in leaves