BodyBuilding Pg.13 in the Eagle Theatre
201 Almond Ave. Los Altos, CA 94022 Los ALtos high school VOLUME XXVIII, Issue 2 October 23, 2012
pg 17 Halloween Treats
School API scores continue to increase
MAKING A NAME: Junior Emily Baird (left) and senior Devan Tormey (right)
practice a scene for Broken Box’s “Happy Daze.” The show sold out Friday, October 12. Brenna Reid Entertainment Editor Three times a year the school’s acting company Broken Box puts on a show. For three nights (Thursday through Saturday) the auditorium is transformed by these students’ acting, sets, costumes and passion. No matter what play they put on (or the quality of the production) the performances are always interesting, entertaining and more than anything, amazingly well put together. We as an audience only ever get to see the finished product, and much like seeing a movie at a theater, most of us never get to see the behind-the-scenes DVD extra. The final product of the play that the audience is always polished and clean, and although they are obviously high school productions, they are nothing like the amateur messes depicted on most TV shows. It’s obvious that the students that make up the cast and crew of Broken Box put a lot of time and effort into their productions, and their process for
producing one of their plays is a long one. Starting at the end of the previous year, members of Broken Box along with drama director Nancy Moran pick out the three plays that they’re going to perform during the following school year. They try and pick plays that have enough roles for all the cast members (even though often the actors will end up playing multiple smaller roles), are entertaining (they often do at least one humorous play a year), meaningful and school appropriate. “We try to pick a strong script with a strong plot,” Broken Box costume designer senior Janna Wang said. “But it’s kinda difficult because we have so many members in Broken Box. So at the end of the year when we’re flipping through screenplay catalogues, we have a lot to keep in mind.” The process for the new cast and crew of the next year starts with a script read. Students are assigned parts and they read the play together as a class. Then they have auditions for their first
play. This year the auditions were for the first two (both Happy Daze as well as their upcoming December performance of a Christmas Carol). Once students have been assigned their parts, they start doing blocking (where each character stands or moves to, when and where characters enter and exit, and what each character is physically doing onstage) and actual rehearsal of the scenes, practicing everything from the 50’s dances that some of the characters do, to the order of the bows at the end of the play. “Asweslowlystartedmemorizing our lines and received coaching from Ms. Moran, it became a lot more fluid,” senior and first year Broken Box member Michael Johnson said. Later on in the rehearsal process they move practice into the theater and start rehearsing on the actual stage. As they approach the week of the shows they start adding in elements of the costumes and props that will be used during the show – although really most of this happens during tech week.
Dhruv Madhok Copy/Content Editor For the fourth year in a row, the school has increased its Academic Performance Index (API) by double digits. Relative to the 2011 base API, the 2012 growth API has increased by 16 points, so that the school’s API, at 889, is now only 11 points from the 900 mark. “Students should feel proud,” Assistant Principal Perla Pasallo said. “It’s great, it’s a lot of hard work.” The subgroups whose API raised the most were English Learners, who increased by 69 points and Hispanic students who increased by 28. “The last couple of years, I think we’ve really had specific teachers focus in on these students and I do believe that all staff members are trying, but to have specific teachers really put
in the extra effort has shown the results, whether it’s Homework Club, skill teams or AVID, has really made in the difference,” counselor Jacob Larin said. To reach this point, the school’s staff did not solely focus on improving CST and CAHSEE scores, the components of the API, but instead focused on developing the school as a whole and found the API improving as a result. “Continuing our work on the alignment of curriculum, instructional practices and assessment has allowed greater collaboration among teachers and has enriched the learning environment at Los Altos High School,” Principal Wynne Satterwhite said.
See API score, page 2
Cross Country Season Update Top 5 LAHS Finishes: Baylands Park Varsity Boys
1. Terence Rabuzzi (Jr) 16:19
2. Lauren Jacobs (Fr)
2. Josh Cohen (Sr)
7. Claire Bowie (Sr)
3. Ben Zaeske (Fr)
23. Louise Stephan (Sr) 21:24
5. Alex Carr (Sr)
30. Wendy Wu (Jr)
15. Konrad Niemiec (Jr) 17:27 Photos courtesy andy cohen FEEDBACK
>> Send critiques about The Talon’s lahstalon.org to webeditor@ lahstalon.org
42. Elizabeth Bishop (Jr) 22:04
RACING TO THE FINISH: Junior Terence Rabuzzi (left) and senior Claire Bowie (right) lead the varsity pack at recent races.
Stats courtesy XCStats.com
In-Depth>> pg. 10 & 11
7 PsychoPaths >> pg. 14
The Talon ANalyzes the political landscape in and around Los Altos
A Writer gives seven reasons why Bobby Valentine’s firing and why you should go see it in theatares coaching matters in sports
Red SOx Coaching >> PG. 19
TALONONLINE >> Want more from The Talon? Sports scores, news and more updated everyday online at lahstalon.org
November 20, 2012
English and history sections added mid-semester CONTINUED FROM FRONT PAGE
Prior to the beginning of the school year, the school was hoping for an attrition of students. However, when the school counted the number of students to report to the state after five or six weeks of school, freshmen and sophomore classes were still at high student-to-teacher ratios – Survey was at a 24:1 ratio, while World Studies and World Literature were at about 29:1. At this point, the school decided that extra sections of World Literature, World Studies and Survey of Composition and Literature were needed in order to give students rewarding educational opportunities. Even though the idea of creating an extra section was brought up in May during the site allocation, Principal Wynne Satterwhite did not ask the district for more money for another section in May because she thought that attrition would be enough to offset the high projection of incoming freshmen. “We had permission [from the district] ... but we were still waiting,” Satterwhite said. “I don’t like getting to the end of the year and having 15 kids in a class. I don’t think that’s
very wise and at the end of the year, when you don’t have students, that means teachers have to go away and that’s not fun ... And it’s also a really tough budget year and we didn’t want to use money we didn’t need so we were trying to be very conservative.” However, after evaluating the number of students in the classes, Satterwhite thought it was necessary to ask the district for funding for the new sections, which the district was willing to give. “In May, we only can guess on enrollment,” Superintendent Dr. Barry Groves said. “These numbers vary from year to year ... Each year we usually add, move or subtract a class after the start of the year to accommodate enrollment and needs. With over 400 sections, this is not a bad success rate.” Funding came solely from the district. The MVLA Parent Foundation, which usually funds class size reduction in freshman math and English classes, did not fund these extra classes. The foundation did deliver funds for what they normally support, but it was still necessary to get funds for the
extra sections. Social studies courses and World Literature, unlike Survey Composition, do not get any backing from the Parent Foundation. After the district granted permission, the school prolonged making the classes since students were in the middle of projects and units, and a switch would have confused them. Students were chosen based on schedule availability and openings. Satterwhite and Assistant Principal Perla Pasallo made the schedule in just three days. In the end, although the decision was not ideal, it will have a positive impact on underclassmen in the school. “Change in your freshman year is really hard and in a perfect world, this is not ideally when we would have done this switch,” Satterwhite said. “But in the long run, knowing that we had three quarters of school left to go and that the harder curriculum is coming up, it made more sense to make theses changes and make kids into smaller class sizes so that they would have a better academic experience … Our whole purpose was to increase the educational opportunities for students.”
to compare notes and align our grading in that way.”
bit more. So right now the course information sheets, the common questions on the assessments and then we go onto the next thing, whatever that is.” With the exception of World Studies, CWI and US History, classes haven’t yet begun aligning unit exams and projects.
History teacher Kelly Coble gets her class’ attention. New
periods of English and history classes were added mid-semester.
Departments continue to work toward alignment Ariel Machell Paul Bergevin Staff Writer Senior Writer
Since the Grades/Evaluation of Student Achievement Policy was passed in April, the department coordinators have been working to align their courses. Foreign Language The Foreign Language Department has mostly completed alignment. With the exception of Latin, which does not have oral presentation grades, course information sheets are the same, meaning the percentages and weight are the same for all language classes. “We are extremely aligned concerning the weight of the assignments and the various categories of assessment,” Foreign Language Department Coordinator Robyn Hughes said. The main focus of this year is calibration, making sure that every test is graded in the same way. “[Having the same tests] doesn’t matter if in one class [the questions] are worth two points and there’s no partial credit and in another class they’re worth one point and there is partial credit,” Hughes said. In order to do this, teachers will be grading each others tests, quizzes and oral presentations to determine if their grading is aligned. “We will be observing each other second semester,” Hughes said. “So, for example, I will go to [Spanish teacher Kim] Hanley’s class and grade her oral presentations and she’ll come to mine. We’re then going
Social Studies The Social Studies Department has been working on aligning the non-AP classes first. According to Social Studies Department Coordinator DeeDee Pearce, World Studies, United States History and Contemporary World Issues (CWI) are the most aligned history courses. However, every class has the same course information sheets. A few courses use the same 25 questions on their final exams. The rest of the questions are chosen by each teacher from a question bank. Although the teachers are attending weekly course meetings, the focus isn’t always on alignment. Because of the time constraints, Pearce thinks that it will be some time before complete alignment is reached. “It is a work in progress,” Pearce said. “Right now we’re taking little steps at a time, every year we do a
Mathematics The Math Department is aligning courses in terms of content, rigor and common core standards. The department is implementing new strategies and common core standards this year that emphasize the understanding and application of math rather than simple memorization. “We are trying to implement more practice on Reading Apprenticeship strategies to help students read better from math text/word problems,” Math Department Coordinator Betty Yamasaki said. For assessments, the Math Department has common finals
in every course and is also using common unit tests, differing slightly to prevent cheating. “Due to the security of the test, there are times where we cannot give the same identical test,” Yamasaki said. “Factors such as when the teacher needs to spend more time on a concept, or when a teacher is absent, can end up [causing] different test days.”
English The English Department is relatively far along in complying with the district board policy because the department began the process of alignment a number of years ago. Over the past several years, the English Department has come to a consensus on almost all the ways they assess work. Grading scales and assessment methods are already aligned. “In terms of our assessment practices, we decided that we wanted to come to a collective agreement within the department,” English Department Coordinator Keren
Robertson said. “We all agreed to have certain category weights for our college prep classes, certain category weights for our nonsenior college prep classes and certain category weights for our AP courses.” Robertson said this year the discussions were easier because they were already on the path to alignment and had reached their decisions beforehand. “In the past some of the conversations that were really challenging were grading philosophies,” Robertson said. “Like ‘what does it mean to get an A or a B or a C in an English class,’ what should be graded, what shouldn’t. There were really good conversations.” Science The Science Department had been aligning itself before the board policy. “In general it’s been the case all along that the course teams have been pretty similar, but this year we had to document it on our Course Information Sheets,” Science Department Coordinator Greg Stoehr said. All science courses have the same percentages on the Course Information Sheets and have the same grading policy. “We have always looked at our semester grades and we see if they are pretty similar between teachers and courses, and the percentages seem to be very similar,” Stoehr said. Due to science teachers only being able to teach what they have credentials in, there is only one teacher for each AP and honors course. “In these cases we are aligning... that course [to] the AP test, not to another teacher,” Stoehr said.
November 20, 2012
AP Psychology considered as course for next school year
Psychology teacher Derek Miyahara presents a lesson to his class. The school is considering offering an AP version of the course for next year.
David Wu Staff Writer Starting next year, students may have the option to choose a new social studies course: AP Psychology. The course will be an accelerated version of the current psychology class at school and will focus more on topics on the AP Psychology test. “The administration has AP Psychology on the books for next year,” Principal Wynne Satterwhite said. “If student interest proves to be great enough, the class will be formally approved.” Although the course has been taken into consideration for a while, a formal proposal has been delayed by circumstances in the past. “It’s been out there for a while ... but you’d need to have a teacher who wants to teach it, you’d need a place to put it in the schedule and, in this environment, we haven’t been adding courses,” psychology teacher Derek
Miyahara said. “So, it’s not really a good economic environment in which to add a class. There’s been all kinds of obstacles.” This year, circumstances have improved. With a teacher willing to teach the course and approval from the administration, there is nothing standing in the way of the class being added aside from the issue of student demand. “We base it on student demand, and there have been students who have shown interest every year,” Satterwhite said. “There really are no secret plans or administrative barriers preventing this course from being offered next year. The real question is whether or not it will be a year-long or semester course next year.” Without these barriers, the issue has become the length of the course. “I think that having an AP Psychology class will afford more students the chance to take an AP course,” Satterwhite said. “A whole year of an AP class is daunting, but if the class is a semester long, it will encourage more students
take AP courses. Hopefully it will be a semester class and give sophomores, juniors and seniors more experience with college [level] classes.” If all goes according to plan, Miyahara will teach the class. “The class would be much faster. There’s a lot of things that I like to do in Psychology that we may ... not be able to do: little experiments with the class, examples of certain kinds of tests,” Miyahara said. “You probably wouldn’t be able to do a lot of that stuff in the AP Psychology class because I’d like to try to do the class in a semester.” Despite the fact that some things will have to be skipped over in a semseter long course, many students are excited at the prospect of an AP course. “I would be excited for a fastermoving version of the class,” senior Emily Rubin said. “Making the class AP would allow it to both move faster and dive deeper into specific topics that a regular class only allows students to skim the surface of.”
Food Drive aims for another record
The local food drive, hosted by ASB, is running from November through December. The food will be given to underprivileged families in nearby communities as well as to aid relief efforts for victims of Sandy. The Food Drive has been held since 1997, when a total of 414 pounds of packaged food was donated. The number of participants in the drive has drastically increased since then, with 30,000 pounds collected in 2010, the highest recorded yearly total so far. “The drive will start on November 12 and continue throughout the holiday season, but November 21 will be lost this year as a day off,” Assistant Principal Cristy Dawson said. The food collected will be donated to the centers of 2nd Harvest and the Local Community Supported Agriculture program of the Bay Area.
Christmas tree sale to benefit athletics
On November 23, the athletic boosters will start a sale for Christmas trees at the parking lot between El Monte and El Camino. The profits will support the school’s athletic programs. The sale will last until December 17. “Our goal for this year is to raise at least $15,000,” co-chair of the event Pam Lytle said. This is the third year that the trees will be sold for the athletic boosters. Last year, the event earned a total of $12,000 to support the Athletics Department.
Marching Band finishes season
The marching band performed in the local competition at James Logan High School at 4:30 p.m. on November 10 after a Fall Finale performance exhibition at 10 a.m. that morning on the LAHS football field. The marching band practiced for this performance with regular rehearsals of “Senses,” a show that uses a variety of contemporary music and vivid visuals in order to depict all five senses. The band competed in the 2AA class for the Western Band Association circuit this year against other bands with 60 to 80 musicians. Two longtime competitors are the bands of the Live Oak and Evergreen Valley High School. The marching band has been successful in the last two seasons, and it has kept up its success this season by winning 1st place for Best Music, Best Visual Effect and Best General Effect in the 2AA competition division. Last year, the marching band won the High Music award from the state competition in the AAA class. “The marching band consistently performs musically and visually demanding shows that are harder than those performed by most schools, and that challenges the members of the band,” music director Ted Ferrucci said. This year’s “Senses” show was just as difficult as prior shows that marching band performed, and the band displayed a similar degree of excellence. - Compiled by Robert Chin
School funding measure passes Alex Cortinas Staff Writer
A possible crisis for California schools was averted this Election Day with the passage of Proposition 30. Had the proposition not passed, the MVLA School District would have faced additional budget cuts at the beginning of second semester. Polling done prior to the election showed a close race. Proposition 30 raises taxes on those at the highest end of the income scale and includes a slight sales tax increase. The state budget was written assuming the measure would pass. This meant that if it failed, schools would face cuts, whereas its passage only ensures schools the amount of money promised to them, not any additional revenue. Currently, the district receives about $4 million in funding from the state annually. If Proposition 30 did not pass, the district would be out $1.8 million, with that amount being deducted each year. Because the district has a relatively large amount in
savings, it would have likely been able to get through the current year reasonably well. “In January through June we wouldn’t have felt much pain,” principal Wynne Satterwhite said. “The following year it might have had an impact because the 1.8 million was ongoing.” Proposition 38 was also on the ballot and concerned school funding, but polls showed it trailing by so much that Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Joe White did not make a plan regarding budget adjustment in that scenario. “We were prepared to make decisions,” White said. “We placed ourselves in a good position to do it.” One way the district prepared itself for possible cuts was by not filling the spaces of retirees. Last year a few employees at the district office retired, and to save money the district has not hired anyone to fill those spaces. Although this has proved to be helpful, budget cuts would have still been necessary if Proposition 30 had not passed. The budget sets up a
tiered reduction system which dictates the order in which reductions are to be made. Satterwhite said that if cuts had to be made they would most likely be in areas of jobs, site allocations that keep the school running and the Athletic Department. If cuts made it into the classroom, students would likely have noticed larger class sizes and possibly the end of double set of books. While the cuts would have caused issues, the district receives majority of its funding from sources other than the state. In addition to state funding, property taxes contribute the majority of the money the district recieves and the MVLA High School Foundation provides the district with $1.2 million. “Millions and millions of dollars come from property taxes,” White said. With the hypotheticals set aside, the district can continue this school year with the budget it began with. “We’re just very glad we don’t have to make these cuts,” Satterwhite said.
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November 20, 2012
Continuation schools offer students alternatives Zach Cohen Maya Acharya Staff Writers
Continuation school Terra Bella Academy offers an alternative for students who need a different environment from that of a traditional school. There are two alternative schools in the district: Terra Bella and Alta Vista. students at Terra Bella Academy has take a student who is a strict discipline evolved due to the different scenarios that issue,” Pierce said. “Those are very, very rare, and that’s a student who is a higherbring a student to the program. “Terra Bella was initially this interesting performing student, a student who is blend of Alta Vista-like students who doing well in the traditional school, and were too young to come to Alta Vista, did a dumb thing.” For a student who is transferred to Alta and the students who could no longer be at Alta Vista for truancy or behavioral Vista from feeder schools like Los Altos reasons,” Pierce said. “Since then the High School (LAHS) or Mountain View program at Terra Bella has really shifted. High School (MVHS), there is a choice of They still address the needs of those two whether or not to attend the continuation components, but they’re separated more school, but students will usually choose to ... there will be a freshman/sophomore attend Alta Vista. “Well, if you stay at LAHS of group and then there will be MVHS, you won’t an older student group.” graduate from The majority of the high school,” student body at Alta We feel like [semesters Pierce said. “... Vista and Terra Bella is and quarters] are If graduation there because of credit artificial boundaries is important to deficiencies at their put on student learning. you, then there’s former schools, as well Really what we’re no choice.” as issues with regular Contrary to attendance. Other interested in is, did you popular belief, times, the transfer is master the concept? transferring back completely beyond the from Alta Vista to student’s control to a MVHS or LAHS is point where the school not a difficult task. will transfer the student There are three for their safety. criteria a student “Then there are the must meet in order kids where something tragic happens in their life,” Pierce said. to be eligible for a return transfer. The “Whatever the issues are, we, [the staff], student must have above a 90 percent focus really hard on helping that student attendance rate, have all-around good with that issue. Maybe [the student] can behavior and must be on track for just be here. And, as long as [the student graduation. The third requirement is where students begin to run into trouble. is] coming, that’s fine for now.” “The problem for students is, ‘Will they There is also a minority of students who have been transferred to Alta be on track for graduation?’” Pierce said. Vista for neither credit deficiencies or “And, that just depends on how far behind they were when they got here and how health issues. “And then, every once in awhile, I will hard they work to get caught up. So, some students will come really far behind, and it’s not realistic that they’ll get caught up and would be eligible to go back before they would be able to graduate.” In the continuation schools, there are very few truancy and behavior-related problems, especially at Alta Vista. “We have a really small suspension, and a non-existent expulsion rate for the past five or six years,” Pierce said. “We just don’t have that kind of disciple stuff unlike the big schools, [MVHS and LAHS], which is kind of a big surprise to people. People think, ‘Oh Alta Vista; there must be fights and drug dealers.’ That’s just not our reality.” A former Terra Bella student who returned to LAHS, junior Mayra Hernandez, attests to the integrity of the alternative education program. “When I first went [to Terra Bella Academy], I was kind of scared, because I didn’t know what it was like, and I had heard that it wasn’t a good school,” Mayra said. “But when I started going, and I met
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The continuation school Alta Vista High School and the county school Terra Bella Academy serve as alternative options for students. Alta Vista is geared toward older students and only admits those 16 and older, while Terra Bella is able to accommodate underclassmen. These schools provide resources and alternative methods for education that suit students whose circumstances require a nontraditional learning environment. Alta Vista is a continuation school that is part of the district. Located next to Mountain View High School, Alta Vista addresses the issue many students have of catching up with credits by using a credit system that does not depend on quarters and semesters. “Students earn credit here based on the amount and quality of standards based work they do,” Alta Vista Principal Bill Pierce said. “The amount of time spent in class is meaningless. Semesters and quarters, we feel like they’re artificial boundaries put on student learning. Really what we’re interested in is, did you master the concept? So to earn five credits here, you need to do 75 hours worth of work, all aligned to the California content standards.” Though the educational methods are different at Alta Vista, the educators still maintain high expectations for their students. Students are still expected to do C-level passing work. Many Alta Vista graduates go on to attend Foothill, De Anza or trade schools. As Alta Vista does not offer A through G courses, or courses that are consistent with the guidelines set out by UC and CSU standards for courses that qualify as college preparatory classes, graduates must attend a twoyear college program before moving on to a university. Meanwhile, Terra Bella provides a solution for freshman and sophomore students. Terra Bella is a county school of the Santa Clara Department of Education, and is not a part of the MVLA district. The district has a contract with the county, where it pays for seats in Terra Bella, and the county provides staff and resources. Terra Bella houses students who are in need of an alternate education environment but are not eligible to attend Alta Vista. “Terra Bella was designed with two kinds of students in mind,” Pierce said. “One, that younger student who can’t come to Alta Vista because they’re too young. Two, that student whose credit deficiency, attendance and in some cases behavior exclude them from either AV or the traditional school.” Over time, the system of organizing
people there, and I met the teachers. [And I realized that] they are actually really nice. They try to help you so that you can get out of the school faster.” When Mayra arrived at Terra Bella Academy, she was determined to get out of the school as fast as possible and return to LAHS. “When my mom told me she didn’t want me going there, I tried my best, and I kept doing everything I had to do,” Mayra said. “I’d stay after school and try to get as much credit as I could. I heard that it wasn’t a good school and that most people that went there weren’t going to come back to their usual high schools. I was scared, but that made me work harder because I would talk to teachers and tell them that I wanted to move back to my high school. [The teachers] really encouraged me.” Eventually, Mayra was able to make the jump back to LAHS, but she was unhappy with her prospects after high school. “When I came back, I realized none of my classes at Terra Bella counted for college credit,” Mayra said. “[The classes I took at Terra Bella] just stayed on my transcript, but... most classes, I would have to repeat them. [After high school] I really want to go to a university, but I feel like going to Terra Bella really messed things up. I regret it a lot, because now it’s so much harder, because [the administration is] telling me that I have to retake so many classes, but I don’t have enough time for that.” Despite the challenges that face her, Mayra has had time to reflect on the lessons she learned from attending Terra Bella Academy. “I think Terra Bella has helped me a lot; being there made me realize that it’s really hard to get good grades, but if you really want that then you have to try harder,” Mayra said. From what Assistant Principal Galen Rosenberg has seen in the past, he can agree with Mr. Pierce and Mayra that the alternative education program is generally successful. “The track record for Alta Vista is pretty good,” Rosenberg said. “Alta Vista sometimes can help a student better than we can because it’s smaller. It’s academically less challenging, so it’s a more managing situation ... I do think that Alta Vista kids get a valid high school graduation education.”
To see an extended version of this article visit lahstalon.org
The Talon October 23, 2012
Students should keep perspective when looking at Homecoming Editorial Opinion of The Talon
It’s easy to get caught up in Homecoming festivities. They’re exciting, they’re traditional and they have major benefits for our school. However, Homecoming also brings with it aspects that are less desirable. Often,Homecoming’sproblems stem from the same cause as its positives—its power as a tradition. There are some aspects that could be improved. However, majorly changing Homecoming could mean stripping it of its traditionalism and, by extension, its meaning. The most important thing students can do is keep perspective. One of the best results of Homecoming is the accompanying boost to school spirit. It’s exciting to have a week that culminates in a parade, a game, and a dance. Major student organizations decorate halls and march in the parade—it’s both festive, and a way to celebrate our campus community. In addition, as it often takes place in the middle of the semester, it gives students something to focus on other than studying. As Homecoming week approaches, so does the voting for a Homecoming Court. Homecoming Court is integral to the tradition of Homecoming. Often, though, seniors end up upset over what comes down to a popularity contest. It doesn’t take away from tradition to remember that while only 20 students are on
Homecoming Court, hundreds are deserving of recognition. Homecoming Court also brings with it a different sort of tradition—heterocentrism. The school does make an effort to make sure that the “couples” aren’t actually couples, but the term itself is rooted in the idea that “couples” are actually dating. By referring to the “couples” as “teams” or “pairs,” it would remove at least a little of that connotation. Homecoming is schoolwide, but it’s arguably directed toward seniors the most. When schoolwork and college apps
Letters to the Editor Student commends school for offering Mandarin classes Dear Editor, I would like to commend the school board for offering Mandarin Chinese I, II and III at LAHS this year. I enrolled in the new Mandarin I class on a whim; now, two months after school began, I could not be more pleased with my decision. The class deftly mixes the basics of written and spoken Chinese with enlightening discussion of Chinese culture. Ms. Chang teaches in a lucid and entertaining manner; songs and celebration days are often incorporated into the curriculum, keeping the atmosphere light as students work through the often challenging course material. In addition to the value of its cultural education, this class has great practical value. Fluency in Chinese is
becoming an ever more desirable skill as China’s relevance in the political and corporate world grows. I’m very happy to see this reflected by the course offering at our schools. Mandarin Chinese is a valuable addition to the school’s course list, and I am confident that it will take on a more important role in LAHS’s language department in years to come. Name Withheld
Correction: The Issue 1 In-Depth spread misstated the name of the software robotics uses. It is SolidWorks, not Designer Works.
The Talon welcomes letters to the editor. E-mail letters to lahstalon@ gmail.com or drop them off in room 409 or the box in the attendance office. If you have any questions, send an e-mail or call (650) 960-8877. In the case of spelling or grammatical errors, obscenities, libelous or personal attacks, a letter may be edited or not run. Letters must be signed, but a name may be withheld upon request. Letters may be published online, in print or both.
make the days seem bleak, Homecoming is a nice reminder that seniors have almost made it. This does come at a price, though—underclassmen are at least partially out of the loop for some of the festivities, during one of the biggest events at the year. Recognizing seniors isn’t a bad thing, and it plays a major role in Homecoming’s meaning, since every year students are a year closer to seeing their classmates in skits, or even performing alongside them. However, underclassmen often end up watching skits mostly performed by seniors
they don’t know. And due to natural constraints in time and formatting of the skits, they aren’t likely to gain too much insight— despite the effort and creativity of all involved, skits have a tendency to repeat certain elements. Upperclassmen may be hardpressed to a remember a skit that didn’t involve a quest ending with a dance-off. Homecoming’s flaws don’t detract from its power to do good, but it’s important to remember that these flaws exist. By keeping perspective, we can temper the effects of its flaws while still embracing its benefits.
5 The Talon Los Altos High School
201 Almond Avenue Los Altos, California www.lahstalon.org October 23, 2012 Volume XXVIII, Issue 2
Editor-in-Chief Libbie Katsev Managing Editors Sarah Corner (Publication) Catherine Hua (Web) Mark Schreiber (Publication) News Editor Zoe Morgan Opinions Editor Rebecca Cohen Features Editor Christina Luk In-Depth Editor Ben Marimon Entertainment Editor Brenna Reid Sports Editor Josh Cohen Media Editor Ciera Pasturel Copy/Content Editors Shiktij Dave Jared Eng Dhruv Madhok Hongyi Shi Business Managers Emily Sims Jordan Stout
Senior Writers Anthony Bello, Paul Bergevin, Casey Pao, Ed Sartor, Sparsha Saxena, Shilpa Venigandla Staff Writers Maya Acharya, Riyana Basu, Robert Chin, Carly Cohen, Zach Cohen, Alex Cortinas, Cassidy Craford, Chang Cui, Chase Eller, Arman Khayyat, Sam Lisbonne, Ariel Machell, Joey Malgesini, John Naumovski, Tony Sun, David Wu, Yuki Zaninovich Photographers Chloe Arrouye, Juliet Moore, Jade Perry Graphic Artist Rebecca DeShetler Videographers Nathan Becker, Anthony Bello, James Brewer, Mark Schreiber
Thumbs up to ODFL and everyone who donated for a successful fundraiser. ODFL raised a total of $4,607 to help build a school in Nicaragua so 5th and 6th graders can go to school. The student body was also more generous this year than last year, with total student donations reaching $3,100, surpassing last year’s student amount of $2,900. This was in part due to efforts by ODFL members to drive donations and a video by senior Kendall Simon showing students the immediate impact their dollars are having in less-fortunate communities around the world.
Thumbs up to the Los Altos Police Department for ticketing in the school parking lot on its own initiative. In previous years, students with parking permits have often found themselves unable to park due to the amount of students parking without permits, and the administration has had to call the police department requesting ticketing. However, this year the police have ticketed cars multiple times since the beginning of the year. The early and continuous efforts have succeeded in that the administration has not felt the need to call the police department requesting ticketing.
Thumb sideways to the school’s relationship with graduation company Jostens. Students reap benefits from the partnership, such as calendars, cap and gown accommodations and graduation festivities. However, they are also forced to sit through mandatory lectures during tutorial, in which a Jostens representative advertises the benefits of owning a multi-hundred dollar class ring. Considering this time comes in the first semester, when seniors could be doing a myriad of better things with their time, pitching rings seems like a less valuable way to go. In short, while the school certainly gets a lot out of Jostens, in a give-andtake type of way, students should not be subjected to advertising plots.
Thumbs up to Civics and government classes emphasizing current events and voter education as the presidential election approaches. Civics teacher Seth Donnelly said that in the future, a possible expansion of voter education would be to education earlier than senior year. For now, however, senior classes have provided students with background information that will help them cast their vote wisely. “It allows them to understand the issues that are going to affect them, and that’s important,” Donnelly said. “[It’s important] to always understand things that affect us like propositions and policies of candidates.”
Web masters Jerry Liu, Kaitlin Mueller Adviser Michael Moul Los Altos High School’s Compositional Journalism class is solely responsible for The Talon, which is published eight times a year. The Talon also updates its website, www.lahstalon.org, with full-time coverage. The Talon is a public forum for student expression. The Editorial Board sets the policies of The Talon and crafts its editorials and thumbs. Its members are Josh Cohen, Rebecca Cohen, Sarah Corner, Catherine Hua, Libbie Katsev, Brenna Reid, Ed Sartor, Sparsha Saxena and Mark Schreiber. Please send subscription and advertisement inquiries to Emily Sims and Jordan Stout at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Honorary Pulitzers Vivi Chan, Andy and Holly Cohen, Emily Goto, Kefeng Hua, Brett and Pam Lytle, Drew Lytle, Mary E. MacLellan, Ralph and Diana Marimon, Ken and Susan Sims, Shirley and Allan Solomon, Ratna and Tripura Venigandla, Bernard and Miriam Yenkin, Michael Zaninovich Silver Supporters Catriona Cooke, Big Skenny’s Fish and Chips, Victoria Johnson, Jacqueline and Geoge MacLellan, Claire and John Moore, Sungmin Park, The Rigodanzo Family, Gail and Don Sims, Linda Taylor
The Talon October 23, 2012
Interpretation of past events links history to present day Sam Lisbonne Staff Writer
‘History repeats itself.’ Universally true, it is only as relevant as the application to the present that it provides. The issue faced by history classes today is how to connect the past of Europe and America to the complex world we live in today. It may seem difficult to equate Jefferson’s stance on federal government to the differences between Romney and Obama’s position on federal rights. The links between history and modern events, however, are the vital connections that engage students and help them interpret the world around them. The textbooks used in the History Department provide information and establish the main facts. To give history class real significance, it is not only the right, but the responsibility of the teacher to open up the history covered in class to interpretation; in doing so they may provide new perspectives on current events. “I do feel that connecting the past to the present is important because otherwise history is relatively meaningless,” history teacher Michael Messner said. “Just hearing about the past and not seeing how it has repercussions ... may be interesting, but its not engaging.” Interpretation can be a highly controversial grey area, and not everyone is in favor of it, including lawmakers who specifically try to eliminate perceived bias. There are
Ben Marimon In-Depth Editor There are many things in high school that require out-of-classroom research and preparation, from the lengthy senior project to a mid-quarter history essay. Fortunately, assignments that
those who argue that students don’t have the capacity to differentiate fact from opinion. Legally, instructors are forbidden from expressing their political views in an educational setting. According to California Education Code 7054, instruction must “constitute a fair and impartial presentation of relevant facts.” One stance is that opinions may preclude individual interpretations. If students are given the thinking associated with interpretation, they will not do it themselves or question the thinking provided. The solution to this predicament is a thoughtful introduction to interpretation that facilitates discussion, turning opinions into opportunities for dialogue. As the course evolves, the teacher should begin to infer and interpret the text alongside the students. By increasing the ratio of opinion to fact as the material nears the modern world, students can see the connection between the past and the present. This is not illegal because the opinion is kept separate from fact. With history so prone to repetition, it enhances the students’ understanding when they are able to interpret the events in a modern context. Opinion provides that meaningful connection, making what would otherwise be just a fact in the grand scheme of history a point of reference for our modern lives. As the instructor makes clear his
opinion, students learn to make their own interpretations of, for example, the 10th Amendment and states’ rights. Then they take this opinion, in conjunction with the opinion of their instructor, to read into and evaluate decisions, actions or events in our modern world.
may have once required multiple trips to the library and extensive searches can now be simplified through the use of the school’s online library system. This system has the potential to revolutionize how students approach assignments, transforming how and what they research by providing an
easy way to obtain information. Many of the pieces have already been placed into the puzzle, except there is one integral component that is missing. “A surprising number of people have never used the databases so my hope is that this system will make it easier for them to use the databases, or at least find them,” library coordinator Gordon Jack said. “In the past it has been kind of difficult to get there, so right now I think the biggest impact that it is going to have is to help students with research projects when they have to gather information beyond the textbook.” When students are given an assignment where they need more context, secondary sources or helpful preparation techniques, they should take advantage of this treasure trove. Located on the Los Altos High School website underneath the library tab, there are three categories for students to choose from: Read, Research and Create. “The system has the most potential … to just take this tsunami of information that students are inundated with and organizing it in a way that makes it a little bit easier to research on topics,” Jack said. The first component, Read, contains book reviews and reading suggestions, as well as the library catalogue. The second, Research, contains interesting and helpful links to resources that students should
Students research on the library computers. With new librarian Gordon Jack leading the way, the library has developed into a bountiful resource.
Expand STEM focus Robert Chin Staff Writer When the level of education in the United States, is compared to that of other developed countries, it scores dismal ranks of 23 in math and 31 in science. This is a major fault in the education system, especially as college graduates continue to have an increasingly harder time finding jobs in the U.S. However, despite a current grim outlook on STEM learning for many public high schools in the United States, our school is now boosting its involvement in STEM education. One of the main four points in school’s six year plan from 2011 to 2017 is the focus on “opportunities as well as achievement” of students in the four subjects of STEM.
“I think it’s helpful [to have teachers interpret the text] because it means that someone who has been trained to think about these things has thought about them and is able to share that with students,” Messner said. There are cases in which interpretation and opinion can damage the classroom. If the instructor forces students to recognize
STEM is very important to the academic achievements of the school, and the school is currently doing a very good job in making STEM a strong focal point. “Our school is committed to creating more opportunities and making more kids aware of these opportunities,” guidance counselor Ryan Carter said. “There are so many jobs opening up that need STEM education, especially in this area.“ Our school currently has a strong focus on STEM, holding STEM week annually along wth the addition or revision of courses in the STEM field, such as AP Computer Science and Multivariable Calculus. These additions will better prepare future college students and graduates for STEM degrees, and eventually, a good STEM-based job. The Bay Area is the largest technological hotspot in the United States, as other regions in California and other states in the country lag behind in STEM-based improvement. The MVLA school district, for example, has many more financial resources for its students than many cities and
and believe in their personal opinions, individual thought and analysis is controlled. If students are uncomfortable sharing their opinions, the system could potentially restrict the very connections that interpretation serves to make. It is the duty of the instructor to craft an open and intellectual environment for ideas and opinions to be shared. “What I think can be harmful is if [teachers]... say that this is my opinion, you have to agree with me,” Messner said. This system of gradual bias has two distinct advantages. The first, which may be more obvious, is that students learn how to tell fact from opinion, a crucial skill that can help students for years to come. The second advantage is more subtle. By interpreting the text, the teacher creates a natural connection to present-day issues. By voicing his or her opinion on the relative success of the Monroe Doctrine, an instructor could ask the class about their opinion and where they see both the influences on their opinion and the implications of their belief. This bridge can permit students to link the past and present, and these are the connection we must make.
make an effort to take advantage of. The third, Create, offers helpful tips for creating presentations and writing papers. As an example, students can use the database JSTOR, which contains more than 1,000 academic journals and over 1,000,000 images, letters and primary sources. In addition, there are links to Gale’s Student Resource Center, a site for finding magazine, newspaper articles, book excerpts and Opposing Viewpoints, a site which gives pro-con arguments on a wide range of issues. “The [online system] really helped me narrow my search down when I had to do my essay for the Kite Runner in 10th grade,” senior Bhavdeep Singh said. “It showed me great articles which were reliably to use, which then helped me strengthen my essay.” While many of these resources were already available to students, they are now assembled in one convenient place. While there are some assignments where using the system isn’t practical, if students have the opportunity, they should take advantage of it and encourage their peers to do so as well.
M-Th: 7:00-3:45 F: 7:00-3:30
towns in the United States In addition, a greater number of people in school administration are familiar with or have a background in STEM, so giving them a better idea of what STEM should be about. Obama recently addressed a group of over 100 middle schoolers and high schoolers with this message during the second White House Science Fair of 2012. He talked about how Americans are an explorative people, but without the proper tools to explore the unknown and uncharted, we won’t be able to get very far. “The belief that we belong on the cutting edge of innovation, that’s an idea as old as America itself,” president Barack Obama said. “You think about our Founding Fathers—they were were all out there doing experiments—and folks like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, they were constantly curious about the world around them and trying to figure out how can we help shape that environment so that people’s lives are better. It’s in our DNA.”
October 23, 2012
School should experiment with new schedule Anthony Bello Senior Writer
We all remember that one week with no block days on Wednesday and Thursday, probably the longestfeeling seven days we’ve ever experienced in our high school careers. Each night was stuffed with homework, and the lack of sleep made us all fatigued the next day. It was quite a vicious cycle: a boring schedule that lacked any bit of diversity. Unfortunately, it’s not very different from our normal schedule, where the routine is onerous. To improve students’ academic experience with more variety and less exhausting workload, we should experiment with a new schedule that could provide more variety for students in their high school careers. Several other schools have a bell schedule with variety, where students aren’t confined to having every class three out of the five days at school. At Menlo School, for example, students follow an A-G schedule, where each day students would only go to their first five classes (A-E) and periods F and G would carry over as the first two periods the next day. This way, each day consists of classes in an order different from the previous one. For Andrew Buchanan, a senior at Menlo School, this class schedule makes school interesting. “Having a schedule that isn’t a routine changes the way I prepare for classes,” Andrew said. “I can’t imagine it any other way; I have a different period at a given time for every day in the week, and it completely takes away the
redundancy of going to high school.” Having a different schedule not only takes the load off the mind, but also the shoulders. “The variety helps my attention span, and it would suck having to carry all my textbooks to school every day for all my classes,” Andrew said. According to one of Menlo’s school counselors Traci Bianchi, this A-G rotation allows for students to not miss the same class every afternoon for an art or athletic event. In turn, students are overall more on track in their classes instead of falling behind in a single class. “Our main focus was to reduce the stress and increase their success of managing [students’] classes and extracurricular activities,” Bianchi said. And this is Menlo, one of the top s c h o o l s in the
country. One cannot refute the fact that a Menlo education is an education worth the price—they have to be doing something right. Students at LAHS would similarly benefit from a more varied schedule. “I feel like it would be less stress if we had something similar to the Menlo schedule,” senior Ideen Seyed said. “I think we would have more time to do stuff. We’d only have to worry about a few classes, because the rotating schedule would vary. I think people would do better work, and they wouldn’t have to stay up so late. Maybe in the future this would be a good thing.” English teacher Margaret Bennett agrees that any
varied schedule relieves stress for both students and teachers. Everyone is less frantic Bennett said, and by not having to prepare for the same class almost every single day, students can direct more attention to specific classes. “Don’t you feel more relaxed when on Tuesday you know you don’t have that much homework due the next day?” Bennett said. “I think the stress level is markedly different on block days compared to those days where we have seven periods.” From a teacher’s perspective, a varied schedule benefits the subjects that include more than lecturing and reading. “For us, I think [changing the schedule] would be great,” Bennett said. “As an English teacher, and just academically, I think it could make a big difference for students.” However, there are some
downsides to having a rotating block schedule like Menlo. Oral repetition, a key component in foreign language classes, would not be practiced every day. “There are weeks where you probably wouldn’t see your students for two or three days in a row, so that is what I see that could be problematic in that schedule,” Bennett said. Menlo is also a private school and does not have to work within the constraints that public schools do. The MVLA district has done a lot of work to align the schedules between Los Altos and Mountain View High. Assistant Principal Galen Rosenberg said that changing the schedule is possible, but would require a significant effort from students and administrators. “I think it’s certainly possible for us to look at and change the daily schedule like [that of Menlo’s],” Rosenberg said. “The challenge would be from the district’s point of view, [which is] it’s really important to them that both Mountain View and Los Altos have the same schedule.” Creating a new schedule that works for everyone would be very difficult. “The schedule we have currently is in itself a compromise,” Rosenberg said. “There is no perfect schedule.” However, if students decide to move forward in an effort to create a new schedule, they have the tools. Students should begin the process by organizing into a group to speak to the administration. They are the ones who can begin the process of changing the schedule by voicing their concerns. “Students have power, more than you realize,” Bennett said.
To ditch or not to ditch? That’s not really the question where they have to confront that option. “School can get very overwhelming at times,” junior Saim Damerdji said. “I can recount at least a couple times where I cut a class so I could finish either homework or study for a more important class. I know it’s dishonest, but I’m put in a situation where that’s what I have to do.”
Riyanna Basu Staff Writer
You wake up from what you thought was an evening nap and you look over at the clock. To your horror, it reads 7 a.m. School starts in an hour, and you napped through your study time. What do you do? In that moment, some students make that desperate decision to ditch class. It’s not difficult to see It can be very tempting why this is a problem to choose skipping a class so rampant among for that extra time to high school students. study, possibly improving Unlike getting good grades, ditching is performance in a future always doable. It’s an date. easy, problem-solving escape that lets one Students feel forced take a breather and complete the work that couldn’t be to adopt challenging schedules to boost their GPAs and have finished the night before. When the race to get into appealing transcripts. Library a brand name college in this coordinatior Gordon Jack too competitive era is so rigorous, empathizes with the situations students feel like they don’t many students face. “Unfortunately, our system have an option but to pile their plates high with AP and sometimes puts students in extracurriculars. Despite that situation where they the alluring option ditching have to make those choices,” offers, students should refrain Jack said. “I think sometimes from falling victim to that teachers can get myopic about temptation. Instead, students their class and not think about should choose workloads that the broader schedule that a won’t put them in a position student maybe has. We’ve
tried for years to sync up tests and major project due dates. This has been a really big issue for the faculty and because we know it’s a problem. It’s just really hard to do when you’re trying to sync up that many classes and that many projects. But I do think in some ways the system puts kids in situations where they have to [ditch].” The desire to have stellar grades often conflicts with morality. Students have to choose between flawless academics and flawless morality. It can be very tempting to choose skipping a class for that extra time to study, possibly i m p r o v i n g performance in a future date. A way to solve this dilemma is to choose to take classes students feel thay can responsibly handle. “Last year, I thought that I could survive with lots of honors classes because
I thought I could handle it, resulting in me nearly failing Algebra 2 Honors with Mrs. Evans and barely a decent grade in Biology Honors,” sophomore Thuy-Tien Le said. “I remember feeling really guilty once for ditching my first period history to go take a retake for math in order to raise my math grade that semester. All the pressure last year resulted in my decision to take it easy when picking my classes for this year, which is why I decided to pass on
taking Chemistry Honors.” Ditching can become addictive, and an “I can conquer the world” mindset in terms of class choices is just not worth it if the price is to skip classes every so often. Until colleges start caring more about subjective characteristics and less about the big 4.0, students should take on schedules that avoid ditching. Integrity and sleep are worth more than a golden résumé that eats away at honesty.
October 23, 2012
By Yuki Zaninovich
Our Social Distractions “I didn’t start my homework until 11:32 last night!” As adolescents, teens may suffer from the seemingly incurable plague of procrastination. It lingers around them aways and prevents them from effectively using their time. But what made this epidemic so widespread that it envelopes nearly all teenagers? I would argue: Facebook. Facebook recently hit one billion users on October 4. Meanwhile, 80 percent of teens between the age of 12 17 are shown to actively use social media, according to The Huffington Post. Many students at the school use Facebook regularly. However, numerous studies have shown that heavy social media users do in fact perform poorly in academics relative to occasional users and those who don’t have an account. Facebook distracts us through its ability to tempt us to interact with friends. I have all too often fallen victim to the inability to stay away from Facebook chat. And, as you may know from experience, it is just as hard to stop conversation that has started online as it is with somebody face-to-face. In the end, I am either gossiping or helping somebody else on their work while zero progress is made on my own. Well, if it’s so distracting, why do teens continue to use it on a daily basis? It’s simple: they want a sense of belonging. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, people prioritize their need to belong the highest out of all the non-life essential needs. Acknowledgment from others is where all of our social confidence blossoms. This is what makes Facebook so appealing to teens, because it gives them the opportunity to be recognized through comments on their pictures and posts. It’s also what makes it so addictive, since teens need to be a part of the “loop” constantly.Somuchsocializing occurs on Facebook everyday that teens can feel left out if they doesn’t log on for a whole 24 hours. This explains why average Facebook users spend a whopping 15 hours a month on the site, according to Browser Media. We need to recognize priorities. Just understanding that doing any schoolwork comes before chatting with friends is already a huge milestone. And if teens lack the discipline (which many of us do), digitally blocking www.facebook.com or even deactivating their account during a busy week will definitely beneficial. Trust me, you will “like” your increased efficiency.
Semester system ensures representative grades Shiktij Dave Copy/Content Editor Clawing the buttons of a TI89 to calculate a grade is an unnerving experience. This is especially the case for gradeconscious students who plug in percentages to evaluate whether they’re going to be on the cusp of an A- and who know that each quarter’s grade accounts for 40 percent of their final grade. Weighting can be unbalanced, and quarter systems make it much easier for a bad assessment to leave lasting damage when done incorrectly. Consider a quarter where one bad test leaves your grade in ruins, and because it’s the only grade in the quarter, when it’s weighed at the end of the semester its impact is huge. Quarter systems wouldn’t be a problem if everything was weighted correctly, but unfortunately this is not the case. By contrast, semester systems make weighting have less of an impact. “Quarter-based systems can be [inaccurate] representations of our grades in classes,” senior Mohan Avula said. “In [AP] Physics B, we have one or two tests first quarter and then three second quarter. So, this might skew our grade dramatically.” Students falsely tend to associate their capabilities with a number that represents their standing in a class. Ultimately, quarter-grading systems can end up dampening a student’s desire to perform in that class. “The semester system is weighted more evenly whereas with the quarter system, everyone tends to freak out every week for one quiz or a test,” Mohan said. “This adds
to how much stressful life is when you’re piled on with assessments that have a negligible impact on your grade, and not given an opportunity to succeed more with larger tests.” The goal of education is, ostensibly, to expand a student’s knowledge and capacity to further academic pursuits. The quarter-grading system does this forcibly, making students focus their attention on grades and ability to keep the percentages and points higher. Often, we associate the percentages we call our grades with our level of comprehension of a course’s material, when they aren’t actually an accurate reflection of actual understanding. Quarter-based grading systems unfortunately capitalize on these inaccuracies of our grading system by reinforcing a sense of self-doubt in students who slip up early on in the course. “Having teachers input grades throughout the semester better charts how we learn and progress
as the semester goes on,” Mohan said. “It takes the focus off the grades and makes the focus centered around learning.” Some teachers prefer the quarterbased system for its convenience compounded and because they believe it has a seemingly negligible effect on student grades. “It’s been looked at statistically to see if it makes any difference with grades and we haven’t found that it makes any difference,” physics teacher Karen Davis said. “Whether that makes a big difference or not, I think it’s a little bit easier for accounting to close each quarter.” Meanwhile, regarding student progress in a course, Davis believes that each quarter’s result provides an independent evaluation of the students’ ability to improve in a class. “If you have a C in quarter one and a B in quarter two, I think you see that progression,” Davis said. “The final has a heavier weight, but generally the final doesn’t change your grade. If you’re an A
student, you get an A on the final. Any grading system should reflect a student’s progression rather than a student’s limitations. While Davis disagrees with the impact that it has on student grades, quarter-based grading systems undoubtedly serve to keep a student grade-centric and point-centric. The semester grading system is also a less arbitrary evaluation of how students are capable of performing in classes because of the defined cut-off in course material occurs as the semester ends. Because of the way grades are inputted, it shows natural student growth later in the semester. Having grades roll as the semester goes on provides a fairer assessment of student progress in a class, and diminishes the possibility of weighting causing serious damage. Each grade input represents an important step in knowledge that students delve into and having this build over the course of a semester is, by far, the best representation of this.
Scholarships are more abundant than you’d think The Cost of Tuition for Universities in America
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Arman Khayyat Staff Writer College tuition. For some, it’s just a number highlighted in brochures, but for many families in the nation, it is one of the most nerve-racking topics in conversation. What makes this topic such a concerning issue is the uncertainty of affording the education. Parents are perplexed by harsh situations which rise from an inability to meet the financial requirements for schools. All of these tense circumstances certainly arise with justification. According to the online financial database,
Inflation Data, “The average cost of college tuition has risen 498.49 percent since 1985.” Unfortunately, these numbers are far from an exaggeration. In fact, other studies, such as those conducted by the Huffington Post, have reported “The cost of a college degree in the U.S has increased 1,120 percent in 30 years.” While these numbers are staggeringly high and continue to rise, alternate financial options are certainly available. These aids largely rest in one place: scholarships. Students should cast a wide net and try to take advantage of these largely
untapped resources. “The range of scholarships are broad and include various topics and interests,” College Career Center coordinator, Kristni Joseph said. “Some criteria are based religion, culture, community service, or ethnicity, while others are geared towards majors and academics. There are also many talent based scholarships that involve music and the arts.” These scholarships encompass a broad range of interests and topics, beyond the usual sport and grade- based scholarships. Many financial aid packages allow for students of all interests and backgrounds to earn money to for their tuition. According to Fastweb, a website which aims to set up students with available scholarship money, “Of full-time students enrolled at four-year colleges, 13.8 percent of middle-income students won scholarships, compared with 10.6 percent of low-income students.” Applying for need-based scholarships are the quickest and most direct way for families to access funds for college. Most significantly, needbased scholarship funds serve as cash grants, and thus are not borrowed money. The money students receive is directly used in paying for tuition and never has to be repaid. “Using scholarships as a supplement to financial aid is a
great way for students to limit loan amounts and provide for college costs,” Joseph said. Scholarships are available for students with almost any interest, and are feasibly accessible to the average American family. Unfortunately, most students fail to recognize this. Today, accessing these scholarships as LAHS students has never been easier. The MVLA Naviance system has created a database in which students can access scholarships located locally or in Northern California. “Our Naviance system has provided scholarships that have been most successful for our students to attain, for the application pools are smaller than those of national organizations,” Joseph said. “The scholarships listed there are based locally in our area.” In a world of education inflation, we cannot expect to be able to keep up with the thousands of dollars compiled by universities year by year. Luckily for us, scholarships are all about passion and expression, qualities which we all uniquely posses. While we all may not be recruited for USC football or a Harvard Dual-Degree program, we certainly can express our passions. Scholarships won’t provide everything, but they’re there for us to find, and they’ll certainly help.
October 23, 2012
Robotics seniors create lesson plans Shilpa Venigandla Senior Writer
Co-captains of Robotics seniors Adam Evard and Lucien Miller do something most high schoolers do not – make lesson plans. Ever since Robotics became a class in addition to a club this year, Adam and Lucien have switched roles as students and instead have begun to act like teachers. Their tasks range from planning lectures on the fundamental aspects of engineering and robotics to designing worksheets on gear rations to developing a schedule for the entire year in preparation for Robotics competitions next semester. Although the class does not have a concrete schedule like many of the core classes, which have a rigid calendar laid out at the beginning of the year, Adam and Lucien have a basic idea of what to teach the class. Instead of doing the homework assigned to students taking Robotics, their homework is to create the lesson plans and decide what they’re going to be teaching the class. “Anytime there is a new class that’s never been done before, having a strict schedule comes from after doing that class for a few years,” Adam said. “The first time you go through the class we don’t know how everything is going to work and how much time we’re going to need.” For the first two weeks of the school year, Robotics adviser Karen Davis taught the class basic physics, a vital component to understanding The first time you go how robotics and through [a new class] engineering work. we don’t know how After that, Adam everything is going to and Lucien took work and how much time control and divided the class into four we’re going to need. different groups. – SENIOR ADAM Lucien and Adam EVARD teach small groups, consisting of six to eight people, in mechanics, electrics, computer aided design and machining. Each group was trained for four weeks before rotating into a new category. Adam and Lucien, along with other seniors who have been in robotics, teach the new students and members these basic principles. Davis also guides the electronics group, providing them with labs from her physics class. These rotations are intended to make sure each student is well equipped with the different ways of building a robot during competitions.
Robotics co-captains seniors Lucien Mueller and Adam Evard design lesson plans for the seventh period Robotics class. Since this is the first time the class has been offered, they have been working on teaching new students basic principles.
“The entire season, how we act during the season acts as the blueprint [for our lesson plan],” Lucien said. “At first you need to work on the design process, so brainstorming about how to come up with new designs that’s a concept you need to teach. Then we move on to software design and so that’s another concept that you teach and start assembling the parts. So all those parts of the build season translate to lessons that we want to incorporate.” Adam and Lucien said that Robotics students are learning more skills since the club has become a class. “Last year it was a club so everything was learning through experience,” Adam said. “But now with the class everyone is getting a more complete knowledge of everything … With the class everyone is getting a broader base of knowledge.” Having just finished its first quarter, the class will still continue to undergo change. “Later on, maybe in the second quarter, we’ll probably be doing more important teaching where deeper knowledge is going to be part of it,” Lucien said. While students are learning through rotations, they also receive homework. Adam and Lucien make the worksheets by hand, researching and looking into textbooks to make sure that they are properly communicating the correct principles. “You come up with a basic concept they should know
how to do,” Adam said. “Then you figure out a problem that kind of teaches that. With everything we’re doing, we are doing a bit more research. When you do research you kind of learn how to teach it better to other people. By just reading something someone else has written then it makes it easier to teach to other people.” The class consists of people from different math and science levels, so Adam and Lucien have to address that issue. Teaching basic principles in a way that people of all levels can understand can be difficult. Sometimes, it is harder to teach things than it is to do them. “Some of the knowledge is based on our experience so it’s a little hard to teach something to people who don’t know it,” Lucien said. “That’s been a little tricky.” Another difficulty Adam and Lucien face in teaching the class is making sure that it is timed properly. “There’s a lot of behind the scenes stuff that goes into making a lesson, like the structure of the lesson, the entire class over time,” Lucien said. By stepping into the shoes of teachers, Adam and Lucien have also gained an insight into teaching a class and the difficulties that teachers face. There is a lot more that goes into teaching a class than what students anticipate, and Adam and Lucien can attest to that. “I think it shows more goes into it than you think,” Adam said. “We’re getting better the more we do it. Practice makes perfect.”
Sophomore starts his path toward K-pop stardom Ariel Machell Staff Writer
The Korean pop fever has been sweeping the nation. It’s been especially gaining popularity through music artist PSY’s number one hit, “Gangnam Style,” which has made its way on radios worldwide. With the fast-growing popularity of the photos by Ciera genre, it’s Pasturel no wonder that many s e e potential careers in the K-pop entertainment industry. Sophomore Andy Kang is one of these people. Andy predominantly dances and raps in both Korean and English. He chose to specialize in K-Pop so that he could be closer to his Korean background. “Being Korean, it came to me naturally that I wanted to be part of my culture,” Andy said. Andy auditioned for Yang Goon (YG) Entertainment two summers ago, the record label that represents PSY and other popular K-pop idols such as Big Bang and 2NE1. Although Andy was cut from the recent level in the YG auditions, he is going to be referred to Cube
Entertainment, another big-time Korean record label. The company, founded by the former CEO of JinYoung Park (JYP) Entertainment, is distributed by Universal Music Korea and represents groups such as 4minute, Beast and BtoB. “During that first audition [for YG], I was really excited,” Andy
said. “We got to listen to others auditioning, so it was easy to pick out the really good ones, the ones that would be my competition. The whole process is actually very similar to American Idol.” In front of three YG judges, Andy did a quick choreography of a Korean song, and performed a 30-second rap in Korean and English. Three months afterward, Andy received an email informing him that he had advanced into the next level and they wanted to see him again. The second level auditions were held in Koreatown in Los Angeles. The performances were extended to about one and a half minutes long. and Andy performed an English song called “Paper Thin” by AM Kidd.
“I remember seeing people from level one auditions in level two,” Andy said. “We all recognized each other and were happy to see familiar faces.” From there, Andy advanced into pre-contract training, which required infrequent trips to Seoul, South Korea for talent assessments. “To keep my anxiety down, I treated the assessments as if I was still in the United States,” Andy said. These trips mostly took place on weekends, so it did not interfere too severely with other commitments. However, this did result in a couple of missed cross country practices on Friday evenings. YG Entertainment’s main base is situated in Seoul. It is an independent record label and talent agency that specializes in producing R&B and hip-hop music. The entertainment company is one of the “big three” record companies in Korea, along with Star Museum (SM) Entertainment and JYP Entertainment, both of which Andy also auditioned for. In Seoul, Andy was put into an audition group with about six other guys, trying to appeal to the manager of the company. The company wants their clients to be able to sing a wide range of songs,
so the contestants were assessed on both their range and their capability. Andy was cut from the rounds following the audition, but those remaining will debut before further progressing into the industry. Although Andy did not make it in YG, the experience has been a big step in his K-pop career and will help him with Cube Entertainment. Andy is choosing not to let the loss get to him and is instead focusing on improving himself as an entertainer. “I just want to get better,” Andy said. “I realized, if you look at people who are successful in life, it’s because they do what they love. If I can get far doing what I love in the entertainment industry, then I will be set for life.”
Sophomore Andy Kang auditioned to be in YG Entertainment, the record label that represents PSY’s “Gangnam Style.”
October 23, 2012
THE ELECTION 2012 by Chase Eller, Staff Writer | John Naumovski, Staff Writer | Maya Acharya, Staff Writer | Rebecca Cohen, Opinions Editor | Tony Sun, Staff Writer | Zoe Morgan, News Editor
Vt. N.H. 3
Electoral vote values collected from Electoral Washington -Vote.com and Mont. state political 12 3 affiliation from Huffington Wyo. Post Idaho Oregon 4
On November 6, the United States will elect its president for the next four years. With Democrats and Republicans vying for control of this center of political authority in the nation, students must keep up to date on economic, domestic and foriegn issues important to the candidates, themselves and the nation as a whole. However, when choosing a position or candidate to support, students should also holistically assess each one and find which fits them best.
one website or source; it can make sense to use one source to get some basics, but they should make sure to look at multiple sources, just a few, to make sure they’re getting all the facts,” junior Yashwant Parmar said. In this day and age, media plays a Along with watching different news powerful role when it comes to politics, channels, it is important to read and do particularly in elections. From websites extra research before choosing a political and news channels to blogs and YouTube stance. Students who are interested in videos, students must be aware of political getting the most well-rounded information bias in information, yet still make an active should check out sources such as BBC, effort to try to stay up to date on current Associated Press, Al Jazeera, the New political events. York Times, The Washington Post and The most dominant forces in political Politifact. These sources are relatively media are the major news organizations. bipartisan and focus on displaying facts Some organizations, without introducing such as CNN, MSNBC, any of major sources What news outlet do PBS and Fox News, are of bias that could knowntodisplaypolitical you get most of your drastically skew tilt. If students follow a reader’s views. information about these organizations However, students the election from? without fully factoring should not just limit in the biases, their whole themselves to these. political view can become 8% PBS “Watch and read skewed in one direction. as much as possible,” 29% CNN 10% Fox News “It is very important 8% MSNBC Messner said. “I 27% Other 18% Do not follow that people know the bias would say read as the election that the network has and much as watch, and then knowing that if they want to make an gather as much information as you can. informed decision, they need to compare Look at unbiased or independent media that with what another network is saying,” sources. Get as informed as you can.” history teacher Michael Messner said. As long as students are aware of bias and It is also important that students consult make sure to first question information several different information resources. before accepting it as fact, they should They may already know who they are be able to make wise and independent voting for and which sites they want to decisions regarding their political views. follow, but by looking at several different “Don’t fall for the idea that a sound ones they can more easily sort out bias bite or a slogan or something that from fact. For instance, CNN is generally sounds catchy is going to tell the whole considered to be a news organization with story,” Messner said. “If you are not in a liberal (Democrat) leaning, while Fox a position where you are going to be News is generally considered to be more voting, then I do not think that absolves conservative (Republican). you the responsibility of having an “People need to take a look at more than informed opinion.”
role of media in the election, politics
Electoral Votes W.Va. by State 5
New York 29
13 North Carolina
Party and the Constitution Party. The Libertarian Party strives to preserve the The two-party system has become an “American heritage of liberty” by reducing accepted aspect of the American political federal power and limiting government landscape, with the Democratic and involvement. The Green Party focuses Republican parties vying for political on government intervention to protect authority in the nation. These two parties the environment and promote equality dominate virtually every aspect of American among all Americans. The Constitution politics including elections and political Party is rooted in the founding documents offices. of America and Christian values. All three “In the U.S. political system, a third party emphasize the decentralization of the is any party that is not the Republicans or federal government. Democrats,” social studies teacher Derek Both a two-party and multiparty system Miyahara said. have their merits. In some cases of dramatic Many different variations of the definition change in public opinion, a multiparty of a third party exist, but they generally system is better adapted to accommodate adhere to the same principal ideas. this shift. The Scottish National Party, a “A third party would be a political Scottish third party, made remarkably organization that has a published platform strong gains in 2007, winning the Scottish and perennially runs candidates for office.” parliamentary election. On the other hand, history teacher Michael Messner said. a two-party system can engender stability However, many third parties have by forcing both parties to assume a common existed in politics; while these are usually position that benefits the entire nation. overlooked, they can have a significant “A two-party system preserves the impact on political processes, including status quo [more than multiparty elections. systems],” Miyahara said. “Coalition “They can have a tremendous impact governments that select their executives [because of the electoral are more geared college],” Miyahara “A two party system preserves the for change.” status quo [more than multiparty said. The two-party systems. Coalition governments system can also For example, during the 2000 election, Al that select their executives are streamline the Gore would have won election processes, more geared for change.” the general election — history teacher Derek Miyahara since high numbers if had he received of different parties one percent of the votes of Ralph Nader, a can cause no clear majority to emerge. Green Party candidate. Such was the case in the short-lived Additionally, the ideas of third parties are Weimar Republic of Germany, which had frequently incorporated into the platforms around 40 political parties represented of the two primary parties in order to appeal in the Reichstag at one time, and soon to a larger voting base. As a result, many fell to Nazi tyranny. third parties fade into obscurity as a result All in all, it is clear that neither system of their lack of a unique platform. is perfect. However, it is important that The three main American third parties students investigate the benefits and are the Libertarian Party, the Green detriments of both.
October 23, 2012
Whoever wins the election will be the president as current high school students take their first steps into adult life. While the numerous issues that candidates argue over can be overwhelming, it is important for students to recognize the issues that are relevant to them. “I think it’s a key election,” History Department coordinator Dee Dee Pearce said. “I’m not sure that students are as on top of the issues as they should be. I think we forget about how important it is to have that privilege to vote.” Students should consider the candidates’ stances on the economy, in particular how each candidate’s economic plan will affect student and personal finances. Furthermore, students should holistically assess each candidate’s plans for education to determine which one would be more beneficial for students in America.
For students, the issue of the economy that he is in favor of restructuring the can seem broad and unrelatable, but they financial aid system that assists students should realize that the each candidate’s with college tuition, although he hasn’t plan for the economy will directly impact specifically outlined this plan. the funding that schools receive. Obama While it is vital for students to to be has emphasized economic reforms educated about the economy, and advocated for policies there are also other that would direct relevant issues in the support towards current election that teachers, attacking students often do Romney for wanting not understand as 28% With which to cut teachers from well as they should. schools. “I think that political party However, Romney civic participation do you identify? has rebutted the is really key to argument by stating be more aware 7% 52% of,” that districts and Pearce 2% states would make said. “It needs n 2% ria the cuts, weeding out to be promoted 9% Re the bad teachers from to students more. I pu blic the good. Romney think it’s really more an has also stressed the about the understanding of importance of ensuring teachers are held the value of it and what it means in a responsible for imparting a high quality democracy, and to stay on top of things.” education. Romney has also mentioned In addition, other students, like senior Libe rta
WHAT ISSUES MATTER TO STUDENTS
Jake Hogge, are concerned with how the outcome of the election will affect other issues, such as civil rights. “The Republican party is not a big advocate of civil rights, or what I believe is right,” Jake said. “They’re very set in their ways, and they don’t want to see a lot of positive change reforms, on all fronts: on gender, on race, on socioeconomic work or gender role issues.” Almost adults, high schoolers need to start actively participating in this pivotal political process in our nation, whether it means voting in the election or staying up-to-date on current events and the candidates’ stances on prominent issues. “I think as a student, I think you don’t always understand that in a very few short years, you are in the driver’s seat of the direction of the country,” Pearce said. “I think there’s that disconnect, and that students aren’t there yet, but I think the more we study it while we’re here and learn about it, the better prepared we are for that civic participation bit of it.”
President Barack Obama, the current Democratic president of the United States, is running again for a second term. Having already served four years in the Oval Office, Obama hopes to ride the tides of his past victory to sweep this election.
Mitt Romney is this year’s Republican presidential candidate. He has run a campaign largely based on the idea that Obama hasn’t done enough in the last four years to improve the economy, and thus Romney should therefore be given the presidency.
Obama’s main campaign strategy has been to emphasize his economic successes and reforms. Having been in office for four years, Obama implemented a series of economic reforms that have greatly altered Wall Street and American economics. Obama signed into law the Dodd-Frank bill in the July of 2010. The Dodd-Frank bill addresses the economic factors that brought about the financial collapse of the late 2000s. The bill closes up key loopholes that caused the American recession. Along the same line of economic successes, Obama has the achievement of preventing America from falling into a severe depression. As the employment statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show, Obama created 5.2 million new jobs and reduced the unemployment rate from 10.2 percent when he took office to around 7.6 percent last September. Obama also stabilized the housing market, as housing prices in America have slowly returned to pre-2008 levels. Obama has stated many times that creating a budget means making sacrifices, and his actions have had fruitful results, with America on track to slowly recover from economic disaster.
Romney has said that when it comes to taxation, he wants to decrease the individual marginal tax rate by 20 percent across the board and keep current rates on interest, dividends and capital gains. When it comes to corporate taxes, he has said he wants to reduce them from 35 percent to 25 percent. Romney has also stressed the importance of keeping the deficit in check, in a way he said Obama has not. He says that within his first term he would limit spending to no more than 20 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). Additionally, he would cut discretionary spending, which Congress determines on a yearly basis, by five percent in all areas except security. When it comes to regulation, he stresses the importance of repealing unnecessary restrictions on businesses so that they can prosper more easily. Dodd-Frank is among the Obama bills that he will repeal. It sought to protect the nation from another financial collapse by placing more restrictions on what financial institutions could do. Romney has said it has restricted growth.
ELECTION 2012 What do students think?
If students voted for candidates, regardless of whether or not they can now...
The Obama Administration’s foreign policy has focused on tying up loose ends. While the previous Bush administration started two military conflicts to fight terrorism, Obama’s administration focused on ending the war in Iraq and has already begun to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. Obama dealt killing blow in the War on Terror by ordering the killing Osama Bin Laden (the organizer of the 9/11 attacks in 2001) himself.
75% Obama 9% Romney 16% Other ...however, only of students can vote in the election
...the results would be
After pressure from Obama, Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, in March of 2010. The bill is a major point of contention between Democrats and Republicans. “Obamacare” focuses on lowering the number of uninsured Americans by forcing healthcare providers to cover all applicants and offer the same rates regardless of pre-existing conditions or gender. On the subject of gay marriage and abortion, Obama has maintained the same liberal stance since 2008, emphasizing his support of gay marriage and pro-choice policy. Obama has also emphasized his support of women’s health care, forcing private employers to give women coverage that would include reproductive care.
6% actually will
Poverty National Security Taxes
Economy Middle Class
Techonolgy Foreign Affairs
War Role of Government
Every election consists of a primary election, where political parties determine which candidate will represent them in the presidential election.
Next, each political party will select a candidate to represent their party in the presidential election during a party convention.
Before the election, there are a series of debate between the canidates on various issues
Arguably one of the biggest laws Romney wants to repeal is the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” which attempts to provide healthcare for the poor, but in turn requires almost all citizens to buy insurance or pay a fine in increased taxes. When it comes to Medicare, Romney says that he wants to give future seniors a fixed amount benefit with which they can either buy insurance from the private sector or through the traditional government plan. For social security, Romney believes that the retirement age should be raised to adjust for increased longevity and that benefits should increase. In terms of social issues like gay marriage and abortion, Romney is fairly conservative. He believes that marriage is between one man and one woman and supports a constitutional amendment to that effect. He feels that Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, should be overturned and believes that states should instead pass their own laws. He also supports banning federal funds for abortions and organizations such as Planned Parenthood.
Foreign Policy Romney has a variety of proposals on a country-by-country basis. When it comes to Afghanistan, he says that he would decide the level of United States involvement needed and the timeline for withdrawal based on the conditions on the ground and the amount of personnel needed to stop the Taliban from taking control. Romney has also said that China must be kept in check and stressed that a nuclear Iran would be unacceptable and that military options must not be off the table. He has also repeated that Israel is a vital United States ally, whose security the United States should work to defend.
On November 6, the United States will elect its next president. Citizens of the United States will cast their vote for one of the canidates. This is called the popular vote. Each state then has a certain number of electors in the electoral college, who typically vote for which candidate won the majority their state.
For more coverage on the election and a writer’s view on how it feels to vote, visit lahstalon.org
October 23, 2012
Behind the scenes at Broken Box CONTINUED FROM FRONT PAGE
Unless one has been blessed with immaculate time management, chances are that some degree of procrastination is inevitable. Unfortunately for me, that degree is quite a high one. If I could have one wish in this world, I’d probably choose to be organized over getting to meet Joseph Gordon-Levitt, which is saying something. Even worse, procrastination is BFFs with disorganization. I try to get in between them and break up their friendship, but they always find ways to cavort behind my back. I know this because I am that annoying mooch that asks what the homework is on a daily basis because I lost the piece of scratch paper I wrote it down on. Upon my request, that day’s victim will reluctantly hand over his or her planner. Ignoring my jealous desire to violently rip out the color-coded pages, I nonchalantly hand back the planner and avoid looking down at the tornado that is my backpack. This being said, it is no surprise that half of my time is spent looking for worksheets due the next day. You would assume that my 20 percent on a Spanish binder check would have taught me a lesson, but I’ve been defying the limits of notebook pandemonium for 3 years. Another third of my time goes by engaging in activities that provide no stimulation to the brain. Even though the dreaded junior year of APs is well on its way, I frequently find myself back on the couch watching a rerun of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.” The only benefit of doing that is the short-lived joy I extract from flipping the pillow over to the cool side. At other times, I’ll find myself occupied with greater levels of nothingness. Why would I need academics when I could spend 20 minutes feeding my fighter fish? Which soul would dare perform a scholarly task when there are hand towels to be washed? I ask you all, is productivity more important than painting the fingernails in a brilliant shade of Rouge Red? I think not. I truly cannot say what causes one person to be a procrastinator, and the other to be timely. It can’t be the way I was brought up; my mom is ridiculously strict and my dad’s mantra is “tick tock.” Therefore, I conclude that some fundamental mutation within me has caused me to value quality TLC over work. I advise you all, do not be ensnared by “Toddlers and Tiaras.”
that they don’t have, but they try and use as much of what they have as possible (which means being willing to alter older pieces in order to make them usable in the current show). Before starting the entire process, Janna and Amanda come up with the perfect outfit for a character. They then share these to everyone in Broken Box, asking them to bring in parts of their own wardrobe to use in the costume if they have things that are applicable. Other things that contribute to the end result are the lighting and sound. Senior Laura Lee and junior Cori Blasing are in charge of designing all the sound and music for the shows. “The process of finding the music and sound effects for this
show was actually easier for me than earlier ones, mostly thanks to Cori,” Laura said. “The first week of school she comes up with a list of music for the show. She had found all the music over the summer so that saved us both a lot of work. All that was left was to find the sound effects, most of which I had from previous shows.” In their most recent production, “Happy Daze,” the use of music and sound effects allowed transitions between time periods to be fluid. “[The sound is] just another way for the audience to enjoy and really experience the world of the characters,” Laura said. “It makes the acting more fun for the actors. In the end my job is to support the actors and give the audience a show to remember.”
Senior Amanda Spielman and junior Amanda Choy work backstage rehearsing for “Happy Daze.” Broken Box spends three days doing constant run-throughs during Tech Week.
Junior takes on challenge of songwriting Josh Cohen Sports Editor
Take a second to think about the great songwriters of all time. Depending on your taste, the list probably includes the likes of Hendrix, Clapton and Beethoven. Maybe even John Mayer. But there’s one singer-songwriter you’re probably missing, and he’s right under your nose: junior Zach Gospe. Zach, a skilled guitarist and singer, spends his weekends and afternoons writing songs and honing his instrumental skills as an aspiring singersongwriter. He hasn’t broken out of the box yet – open mic nights and his YouTube channel are the height of his fame – but his talent and potential are Junior Zach Gospe performs at open mic nights around the Bay Area. He recorded his first album, Maelstrom, in December.
clear from the minute you beginning of his freshman year tune into one of his original when he decided to record his first complete album, entitled acoustic songs. “Maelstrom.” Z a c h The album has been a Songwriting is [like a wasn’t a musician foreign language]. You start complicated for almost getting fluent ... throwing recordinghis entire wise, since in transitions, musically life. After the songs beginning and lyrically. I’ve started were mainly p i a n o getting into more stuff that’s acoustic lessons at creative. g u i t a r age six, he – JUNIOR ZACH GOSPE accompanied has learned by vocals. f o u r different instruments, piano, The album was Zach’s first drums, bass and guitar, while experience with recording, and working on his songwriting gave him the base to move on in his songwriting experience. abilities. “Freshman year, I had “As far as songwriting, I started that when I was about this bright idea that I was 12,” Zach said. “I’ve slowly been going to take 10 of my best songs that I had written so getting more into it.” Zach’s active far, I was going to record s o n g w r i t i n g them in Garageband in my career came basement, and I was going at the to put out an album,” Zach said. “So I did that. I put out an album in December.” To publicize the album, he put up a YouTube account of his acoustic songs called lostintheblur, an account that still stands today as the test ground of his new songs. Since freshman year, that account has grown with over 25 original works, and it’s easy to see the evolution of Zach’s songwriting abilities. “Say you’re taking a foreign language – you start out with really choppy sentences,” Zach said. “Songwriting is the same way. Then you start getting fluent, and you start throwing in transitions, musically and lyrically. I’ve
I Hate Work
By Riyana Basu
For each show, Broken Box has the transition from the still very three nights of “tech week” before rough version that they rehearse the show. They stay at the theater on the first night of tech week to the from four to nine at night from polished version that the audience Monday to Wednesday before their sees during the performances. three nights of shows. The cast and There are many things that crew do constant run-throughs, contribute to the stark change from often pausing and re-doing or rehearsal to performance, but a few changing scenes if either the actors that stick out in particular. or Moran want to change things. The first of these is costumes. During this rehearsal period, Janna and her assistant junior props and Amanda Choy costumes are People put on their are in charge of constantly costumes and it just costumes for the being added. productions. makes them so much more Characters “When I first energetic. It’s almost like a get the script I will exit game of dress-up. and then immediately pay come back – SENIOR JANNA WANG more attention to for another the characteristics scene a of the characters couple minutes later with more of than the plot,” Janna said. their costume added on. They have a multitude of “Sometimes during tech week costumes and items of clothing people will change their characters from previous years from which just because they got a new hat they try to “pull” as many items added,” Janna said. “They’ll from as they can for the current incorporate the personality of the production. They spend a large hat into their character. People put amount of time going through on their costumes and it just makes costume pieces that they them so much more energetic. It’s already have, trying to create almost like a game of dress-up.” combinations that will work for After running through the play, certain characters. they all sit down and Moran goes “We look at everything we have ... over her notes with them and [and] we’ll put together everything places that need to be changed or that could be 50’s,” Janna said. expanded. Then they run it again. “We’ll go through and see what While members of Broken Box fits based on our discussed idea of put in tons of effort before tech [each character].” week starts, it’s amazing to see They do buy costume items
started getting into more stuff that’s creative. I have songs where I have no choruses, and it works just fine.” As Zach’s songwriting skills have developed, so have his listening tastes. When he first started writing music, he favored classic rock bands such as the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. Since then, he’s moved on to broader songwriters, from Clapton to Hendrix to Mayer. “When I listen to music now, it’s not so much ‘This is a really cool song, I like this beat,’” Zach said. “It’s more like, ‘What are they doing with their own songs?’ I like to listen to songwriters who play their own stuff.” Although Zach’s talent isn’t determining his future in the music industry, he hopes to keep this as a lifelong hobby. “The thing with music is it’s very risky,” Zach said. “I think I have the talent and I have the drive to take it to the next level, maybe not professional, but to maybe do more performances as a hobby, and that’s where I think I want to take it.”
To hear some of Zach’s acoustic songs, to go the Features section at www.lahstalon.org
October 23, 2012
Determined senior gains bodybuilding success Cassidy Craford Staff Writer
Senior Sam Lodestro has been taking the idea of just going to the gym to another level. Over the past three years, what started as a freshman hobby of weight-lifting for him has turned into a lifestyle of bodybuilding, competition and a general devotion to health. Sam began lifting weights so he wouldn’t be the smallest player on the JV football team freshman year. Soon, however, lifting weights became much more than a hobby. “I made the decision during my junior year that I wanted to compete someday [in bodybuilding], but included. After seeing bodybuilders and models in the knew I would not be competitionmedia, Sam decided that he wanted to compete one ready for some time,” Sam said. day alongside them. He says that his role model is “That time has finally come.” bodybuilding competitor and model Ryan Hughes, On Saturday, October 6, after whom he saw in an article during freshman year. years of preparation, Sam “I always looked up to great athletes like competed in the National Mohammed Ali and Arnold Schwarzenegger for Physique Committee (NPC) their dedication to the sport they participated in,” San Francisco Bodybuilding Sam said. “When I was younger, my older brother Championship National and father were my role models as far as lifting goes, Qualifier and placed first but I knew very little about the actual culture and in the teen division. The lifestyle of bodybuilding and fitness as a whole.” competitors are judged on Sam works with three separate trainers – two symmetry, shape, size and who coach him in strength training and Olympic conditioning. This win, he lifts, and one who works with him on the elements said, did not come easily. of competition, including posing, diet, symmetry “The competition itself is not and stage presence. Along with this, Sam goes to so rigorous,” Sam said. “It is the the gym to do a variety of cardio and weightlifting time, work and effort that is put exercises five days a week. In the off-season, he in to prepare for the show that is is more concerned with adding size and strength. a true test of will.” However, when competition nears and he is trying to Sam said bodybuilding is the cut off excess body fat, he does cardio every day. process of shaping, sculpting, In addition to his exercise regimen, Sam dedicates crafting and perfecting your time and effort to eating healthy. physical form based upon cOURTESY aUSTIN anAYA “When I am not prepping for a show, my diet is your goals. Senior Sam Lodestro pretty lenient but still moderately healthy,” Sam “It’s about bringing yourself works out at the gym one and said. “I go to places like Chipotle and Italian Deli to the absolute pinnacle of a half hours each day. On for lunch just like any other student, but choose visual aesthetics and health,” October 6, Sam got first place healthier options when doing so, for example brown Sam said. “The actual sport of in the NPC San Francisco rice instead of white [rice]. However, when I am bodybuilding is much the same; Bodybuilding Championship getting close to a show, there is no room for error looking your best and being National Qualifier. in my diet.” compared against others of the A pre-show diet consists of a strict and scheduled same caliber.” amount of oatmeal, eggs, brown rice, chicken, broccoli, Sam’s older brother and father competed in powerlifting sweet potato, string beans, tilapia and 100 grams of whey in high school and college. Both of them have always powder daily. He precooks all of his meals for the week supported him and pushed him to his limits, bodybuilding and then stores them in tupperware to track exactly how
much food he is taking in at each sitting. Like many other bodybuilders, he also takes legal sports supplements. Preparation for a show is huge, and the weeks leading up to an event are often the most significant. In the off-season, Sam weighed 195 pounds and had 12 percent body fat, but as the competition neared, he shed excess weight, weighing in at 178 pounds and cut his percent body fat in half. He said, however, that the effects of bodybuilding go far beyond the physical gains. “I have become a much stronger person not just physically, but mentally as well,” Sam said. “Academically, I am more motivated and push through work when it gets difficult where I may have just given up before I started this whole journey ... I live a much healthier lifestyle because of it; I look better, I feel better about myself and am more motivated in anything I set out to do.” As for the future, Sam is sure bodybuilding will continue to be a part of his life. He hopes to make it to Nationals in Las Vegas next year, but is currently focusing on getting bigger and better than he was at this competition. “What I do is a lifestyle choice at this point and I will not give it up,” Sam said. “There is such a thing as going pro in bodybuilding, and I plan on doing so some day, but I have no intention of making a career out of it. I have no plans of ever stepping on stage with Mr. Olympia competitors ... but I am committed to this way of life and plan on making great progress in the future.” Through all of his work and competition, Sam said that bodybuilding is nothing easy, but rather a test of true dedication to health and physique. “Motivational videos and stories of success can help keep you going, but in the end it comes down to whether or not you truly desire to achieve your goals,” Sam said. “In the moment, when I’ve been in the gym for hours and think I can’t take anymore, something always tells me to keep going. In this case, what doesn’t kill you truly does make you stronger.”
German exchange student attends school Several foreign exchange students attend the school each year hoping to receive an educational experience in America and improve their English. Sophomore Flo Schauer is one of them. Arriving from Germany this fall, Flo is staying with his cousins in Mountain View, but is attending LAHS due to its proximity. With his parents staying back in Germany, Flo has taken the opportunity to receive an American education and is making the transition by himself. However, Flo is planning to stay here for only one semester; at the end of the semester in January, he will depart for Germany. Since Germany’s summer break ends before he returns, Flo’s friends in Germany have been notifying him on the work he is missing while away in America. Because learning a foreign language is encouraged by the German educational system, Flo has travelled to America in hopes of improving his spoken English. Other reasons for moving include the opportunity to see a new culture, to make new friends and connections and to receive a notable educational experience. So far Flo has enjoyed his time at school.
“[There’s] actually only great things [to say],” Flo said. “I have great friends and good grades. I have awesome teachers. It’s been an overall great experience.” Having only made two short trips to the United States, Flo has found challenges with communication and the English language. He is determined to gain as much knowledge as possible and improve upon his English speaking during his time at school.
I could imagine living in America. [However] I miss Germany a lot, like my family, my friends and the whole country. – SOPHOMORE FLO SCHAUER
Jared Eng Copy/Content Editor
“I had the basics of English, like talking in the future or talking in the present [before I came to LAHS],” Flo said. “I learned a lot of new vocabulary, and if you multiply that by 150 days, it will be a lot of vocabulary. So actually, it is great.” Flo has taken special interest in classes including Contemporary World Issues, World Literature and Physics. However, still learning the English language
in depth, Flo spends much more time working at home than in past years in Germany. “In Germany, we don’t take notes on everything, we just listen,” Flo said. “The main difference between here and Germany is that in Germany the homework takes me 15 minutes, and here [the homework] takes me 4 to 5 hours.” Aside from school, Flo dreams of becoming a pilot, and as for extracurricular activities, he is involved with sports including badminton, tennis and soccer. However, because he will move back before these seasons start, Flo is unable to participate. Having never been to the east coast, Flo hopes to get the chance to visit and explore. On the west coast, Flo has been to Las Vegas, Los Angeles and several different national parks. Although he has enjoyed the warm atmosphere in California over the last couple of weeks, Flo finds himself still drawn back to his home country. “I could imagine living in America,” Flo said. “[However] I miss Germany a lot, like my family, my friends and the whole country. ciera pasturel I like the [German] culture, I like Sophomore Flo Schauer is a foreign the food, [especially] the unlimited exchange student who came from Germany. speed on the highway.” He will be here only for first semester.
The Talon October 23, 2012
Seven reasons to see ‘Seven Psychopaths’ Christina Luk Features Editor
Two dog kidnappers, a Shih Tzu and the brilliant mind of writer and director Martin McDonagh are all it takes to create a witty dark comedy like “Seven Psychopaths.” Set in Hollywood, the main character, Marty (Colin Farrel), is a screenwriter who has dreams to write his film, “Seven Psychopaths.” Lacking inspiration, Marty is stuck with only an interesting title, a life of alcohol and writers block. Parallel to Marty’s life is that of his friend Billy (Sam Rockwell), an unemployed actor. He and his friend Hans (Christopher Walken) also run a “business” by stealing people’s dogs, then returning them for a cash reward. Things take a crazy turn when the dog-napping duo accidentally take the Shih Tzu of mob leader Charlie Costello (Woody Harrelson). Marty then crosses into Billy and Hans’ bizarre life in an attempt to finally get the inspiration he needs for his film. But in their adventure with the Shih Tzu in a desert where they are hiding from an angry and violent Costello, the madness increases as the characters in his film become alive in his own world. Here are seven reasons why the oddball film is definitely worth watching: 1. Diverse Characters Ranging from the frustrated writer with a “drinking problem” to the tough mob boss with a soft side, the variety of characters that McDonagh develops is refreshing. Sure, they’re odd and frankly quite random at times, but they all add to the mixture crazy and weird
“Seven Psychopaths” tells the tale of a dog stealing business gone wrong. The film offers a cast of diverse characters, including a failed screenwriter and a sentimental mob boss. people in the movie. Not only is the group of characters diverse, but you see different facets of each person that you wouldn’t expect. Hans, a devout and nonviolent Christian, is involved in a dog-napping business and is later revealed to have had a strangely violent past. Charlie Costello is introduced as the tough mob boss who has his crime entourage armed with guns, but ends up almost bawling like a baby at the thought of his little Shih Tzu being kidnapped. Each part of the movie brings in new and unexpected personality facets in each of the characters, surprising viewers every minute. 2. Fluid Conversation McDonagh creates dialogue between the characters that’s natural and accurately represents fast-paced conversation between two friends. In the conversations,
there are tons of jokes and times that are reminiscent of flat-out inane and ludicrous talks with close friends. But aside from the dialogue, the character monologues bring out epiphanies while constantly building the action. 3. Bonny, the Shih Tzu Bonny, Charlie Costello’s Shih Tzu dog, somehow remains calm throughout the entire movie, despite the fact that more than seven characters’ lives have suddenly been thrown into total chaos because of her kidnapping. Bonny doesn’t do much at all during the entire movie – but that’s only because she’s just your average Shih Tzu. Seeing Bonny sitting in the corner or on a seat in a car staring blankly around her brings laughs to viewers that are reminded of who ridiculous this dog-napping fiasco is. 4. Mocks Hollywood’s obsession with violence Unlike Hollywood’s usual
action movies that are filled with blood, gore and shootings, Marty wants to create a movie without violence and focused on peace and living in harmony with one another in a non-violent society. It’s almost as if McDonagh was taking the opportunity to point out Hollywood’s weird obsession with violence and how a “good action movie” has to have someone dying and a “final shoot out.” 5. Right amount of laughable violence Despite this, there’s just enough violence in the movie to get a good laugh out of McDonagh’s mockery of Hollywood’s obsessions with final fight scenes. Billy, who constantly wants to be a part of the stereotypical Hollywood action movie, finally succeeds in insitigating the “ideal final shoot out.” Be warned, for Billy’s description of the final shoot out fits the typical blood-and-guns movie so well that every machine
gun blast, kill and dying plea is comical. 6. Bizarre fiction becomes reality So what does screenwriting have to do with psychopaths? Marty continues to lack inspiration for what his seven psychopaths should be. Time after time, he’s revising and changing the stories behind each of his characters. When all these characters are introduced to his own life, the line between who’s a normal person and who could be a psychopath gets blurred. At times, the character ideas that run through Marty’s mind may seem out of place, but it doesn’t take McDonagh long to seamlessly connect the ideas in Marty’s head to people interacting with Marty in his life. 7. Balances humor and sophistication “Seven Psychopaths” isn’t just a movie with kooky characters and a ridiculous plot centered around a Shih Tzu. Yes, there are tons of lines and scenes that will make you laugh, but the characters themselves are far from the norm. But between the wisecracks and the mockery of Hollywood violence – believe it or not – epiphanies come about. Characters begin to realize that their original intentions may have been clouded by their actions. Marty’s desire to develop a non-violent movie about seven psychopaths seems unlikely to happen without the typical blood and gore, but in the end, with the help of the people and experiences he’s gone through, he comes to a bright realization. However, McDonagh is careful not to push too many poetic realizations on viewers and is quick to fluidly switch back to the jocose and bizarre nature of the movie.
Talon Book Review: ‘A Casual Vacancy’
J.K. Rowling’s new adult novel takes a spin on small town life David Wu Staff Writer In “The Casual Vacancy,” Rowling takes a stab at her first non-fantasy novel with the intent to appeal to an adult audience. Her book contrasts starkly with her previous “Harry Potter” series, but also retains several elements that readers are familiar with. Just as before, Rowling’s story gets tediously verbose at certain parts; and in this case the story takes a while to pick up. Differences abound as well, the genre, the focus of the story and the characters have all changed. Perhaps the most distinct difference that people may notice in Rowling’s novel is her use of profanity. Her writing is littered with coarse language, something that jumps out at readers expecting a read with less vulgarity. The reader is immediately immersed in the fictional little English town of Pagford, a seemingly pleasant and proper town. As the reader soon discovers, however, Pagford is a town full of hostile friction and snobbish people. The pretentious residents of Pagford bear far more of a resemblance to Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia than the characters that we are accustomed to seeing. The story begins when Barry Fairbrother, a member of the Pagford parish council, collapses in the parking lot of a golf club, killed by a sudden aneurysm. Fairbrother’s death sets into motion a series of events that make up the story and creates a “casual vacancy” that leaves the rest of Pagford’s
town council scrambling to figure out what to do and where to proceed with the contentious issue of The Fields. The Fields is an area with cheap housing, high unemployment rates and violence, nestled in between Pagford and an adjacent town, Yarvil. Although they were created to house Yarvil residents, The Fields are maintained and supported at the expense of Pagford. Barry Fairbrother had been the chief council member in support of the continuation of this relationship with The Fields community, but his death allows those against the intercity connection to seize the opportunity and rid themselves of their responsibility for The Fields. Political turmoil ensues over the course of the story’s 500 pages, and this acts as the locus of conflict in the book. Rowling tells the story from varying views of multigenerational characters, from the middle-aged, portly Howard Mollison to the rebellious teenager, Krystal Weedon. Rowling is, for the most part, particularly adept at painting a vivid picture of each of these characters’ personalities. Despite this intimate look into each character’s life and background, most will find that they have a hard time empathizing with characters in the midst of their struggles and problems – they have none of the warmth and charm that characterized the cast of the Harry Potter series. Howard and Shirley Mollison secretly find satisfaction in Barry Fairbrother’s death. Simon Price verbally and physically abuses his wife and children. Terri Weedon
J.K. Rowling’s new novel “A Casual Vacancy” came out earlier this month. The novel is set in the fictional English town of Pagford, where residents struggle to deal with town political problems after the death of a respected community member. is a heroin addict and prostitute. The stories of the characters that do strike readers as interesting, however the teenagers, Andrew Price, Fats Walls, and Krystal Weedon, are unfortunately not fleshed out enough. Instead, the spotlight is directed toward the adults of Pagford in order to interest older, adult readers. Even as one becomes accustomed to the unsparing use of foul words, other themes not typically present in Rowling’s writing spring up. Sex, domestic violence, drug
addiction and death are all adult topics that the story explores, often in both alarming and vivid detail. Fairbrother’s death in the first few pages of the story is one of many graphic scenes in the story: “The pain... sliced through his brain like a demolition ball... his skull was awash with fire and blood... Barry was lying motionless and unresponsive on the ground in a pool of his own vomit.” It’s easy to tell that the popularity of “The Casual Vacancy” results from the author’s acclaim and success, rather than the charm.
October 23, 2012
Great hiking places in the Bay Area Eddie Sartor Senior Writer
The Los Altos hiker is a lucky variety of the species. With hundreds of trails criss-crossing the Coastal Range and dozens of open space preserves within an hour’s drive, hiking opportunities around Los Altos are plentiful. Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve Only a ten-minute drive from the high school, Rancho San Antonio is one of the more well known preserves in the Los Altos community. A 3,988-acre park, the Rancho offers diverse environments ranging from rolling grassy hills to oak woods. As the go-to hiking destination for a lot of the south bay, the trails are often heavily trafficked, especially the main trail leading to Deer Hollow Farm, a small farm and petting zoo that brings in a lot of families with small children. That being said, one shouldn’t expect to see a lot of wildlife following behind a screaming fiveyear old. The Wildcat Canyon Trail offers an enjoyable loop that will take the in-the-know hiker away from the crowds and into a densely forested area that affords some great views of the valley below. The entire hike to and from the trailhead is around 5 miles. Monte Bello Open Space Preserve Monte Bello, “beautiful mountain” in Italian, definitely lives up to its name. The preserve is very close, located high up in the Los Altos Hills and is only a short, if windy, drive up Moody Road. Offering a range of difficult hiking trails that snake through the soft peaks of the coastal range, Monte Bello is a great hiking area for any level hiker. The preserve also maintains a campground only a short 10 minute trek from the Skyline parking lot, which affords great stargazing
The hills surrounding the Bay Area offer many options for the casual day hiker, as well as a few more challanging hiking optitions, including Black Mountain. on clear nights. However, for the hiking enthusiast, Monte Bello offers one of the best long hikes in the Los Altos area: the Black Mountain Trail. The trail starts in Rancho San Antonio and takes you through bay and oak woods before spitting hikers out into the rolling hills and vistas of Monte Bello. If you decide to make the 16-mile hike, call ahead to arrange a pick-up at the parking lot at the top or bring camping gear to spend a night under the stars. Big Basin State Park The definitive redwood preserve, Big Basin State Park is an experience that shouldn’t
be missed. About a forty minute drive away from the high school, Big Basin offers the best redwood forest hikes in the Bay Area. Despite being only a short drive from civilization, the area feels wholly natural, on parallel with some of the best hiking in the sierras. The isolation of the Santa Cruz mountains gives the area a very isolated vibe, and even on weekends the park never feels overly crowded. The Sunset trail offers an enjoyable 10-mile loop, complete with waterfalls and trees older than Jesus. Standing beneath the bows of a 5,000-year-old redwood can be a perspective-altering experience that
shouldn’t be missed. Piccheti Ranch Open Space Preserve For the casual hiker, Piccheti Ranch can be the ultimate retreat. The featured threemile hike starts off in an old orchard, then continues through an oak wood, and follows the grassy foothills back to the start. The path passes by a small pond, which is home to a host of aquatic and amphibious life during the winter and also offers a great lunching spot. The short hike and easy access by Steven’s Canyon Road (about a 15 minute drive) make this an optimal hike for beginners, but Piccheti Ranch lacks some of the natural isolation that some other hikes can offer. A shooting range across the valley can disturb the natural vibe of the hike, and the bustle of the city never really feels too far away. Año Nuevo State Reserve Mountain hiking is easily accessible from Los Altos, but for a change of pace check out Año Nuevo State Reserve, an hours drive from the high school. The four miles of San Mateo coastline offer beautiful beach hiking and a great chance to see Californian marine wildlife. Año Nuevo is famous for the elephant seals that beach there during the mating and birthing seasons, specifically between December and March. Hundreds of them teem the shores year after year. However, in order to protect the seals (and the hikers), visitors are required to get a permit from the ranger station before exploring the beaches where the seals beach. The Año Nuevo trails are a great place for hikers to get their feet in the sand and are great for bird watching as well. The main trail, the Año Nuevo Point Trail, is a 4-mile loop shows off the best of the reserve, from coastal forests to white sand beaches.
only $20 in Book Buyers (or maybe a little more)
frustrating it would have been to search for a specific copy. You can, however, call ahead I was supposed to spend of time and ask the store’s only $20 in Book Buyers, a employees if they carry a copy used bookstore on Castro, but of book you want. (A few days I failed. I exceeded the limit after, I called to see whether and spent $23.68 (on Amazon they carried a certain author, I would have spent $29.82 — and within a minute he gave quality is different of course) me an answer.) Though I on two books — “Let the Great didn’t need to ask for their World Spin” by Colum McCann help, the employees seemed and “The Catcher in the Rye” friendly and eager to answer by J.D. Salinger — and a set any questions I had when I of two Moleskine journals. went to check out. Overall, I spent about one hour I spent a few minutes in the store looking for these familiarizing myself with things and deciding whether I the shop. I navigated myself should buy them. through the children’s section Book Buyers is to the science fiction section. overwhelming, to say the least. The amount of books available It was like entering Netflix overwhelmed me (I avoided instant and realizing how the comics and adventure many movies exist that I have sections), and ultimately I never even heard of. From ended up in the popular fiction Castro, the store appeared and non fiction sections. small and unintimidating. In the popular fiction and Upon entering, however, I saw non fiction sections, I saw the shelves of books hidden by books by Isabel Allende, the store layout. Book Buyers Ernest Hemingway, and F. carries a lot more products Scott Fitzgerald, all of which I that can fit in the store. Beyond want to read. In that section, I the entrance lie rows of books found the book “Let the Great like science World Spin.” fiction, Normally, romance, I don’t like It was like entering politics b u y i n g Netflix instant and and even books that I realizing how many movies and have never movies exist that I have calendars. heard of, but never even heard of. While it judging by is always the cover — great to something I go into the store with a clear do often — I had a good feeling idea of what you want to buy, about it. So far, the book has it’s not a great idea to get too been satisfying. hung up on a certain book. I On my Amazon cart, I had ended up buying books that kept “The Catcher in the Rye.” I was satisfied with — and Even though I already read didn’t initially plan on buying the novel in English last year, — but I can only imagine how I loved the it so much that I
Sparsha Saxena Senior Writer
Book Buyers, located in downton Mountain View offers a wide variety of books, as well as calendars and notebooks. While the towering stacks of books can be intimidating, their expanive collection offers many options. wanted to own a copy to lend to my cousins or sister when they were being too hypocritical (everyone should have one, by the way). Additionally, it was in the “Banned Book” section in honor of Banned Book week, a week where bookstores and libraries encourage people to read books that have been banned, so I felt pretty rebellious buying a copy. Unfortunately, I don’t have a rational explanation for why I bought Moleskine journals — it’s mostly because I wanted to feel smart. Pablo Picasso, Thomas Jefferson, and other
successful individuals have been inspired as they wrote in their Moleskine journals, so likewise, I also hope that something revolutionary will come to me as I scribble my thoughts down. The reason I did buy the journals at Book Buyers as opposed to anywhere else is that they’re cheaper there — one can only imagine what rights an office supply company has when Picasso has used its products. Though Book Buyers doesn’t carry many colors or styles of Moleskine Journals, it’s one of the only products that are
brand new. Book Buyers surprised me for two reasons. Primarily, I thought it wouldn’t be that expensive because they are used (the books, movies and calendars, however, are cheaper than those atBarnes and Noble or Amazon). But the prices weren’t cheap enough for me to feel enough freedom to buy whatever I wanted. Also, now that I know that they carry a comprehensive selection of books and potential gifts, everytime I’m in downtown Mountain View, I feel compelled to take a look.
October 23, 2012
New fall comedy shows disappoint Zach Cohen Staff Writer
This fall season, broadcast and cable networks have begun to place emphasis on comedies, following the huge successes of shows like “Modern Family”, “New Girl” and other contemporary comedies. Unfortunately, none of these new comedies live up to the incredible hype that’s been made over them. In fact, these shows are not only unworthy of the advertising that’s been invested in them, but they’re also actually quite mediocre with only one exception.
couple? Many other shows also used the “white gay couple” as the centerpiece. If “The New Normal” is trying to promote sexual diversity, it should stay away from the close-minded, popular conception of gay couples. Why can’t
The New Normal “The New Normal”, created by Ryan Murphy and Ali Adler, explores the twenty-first century rendition of the “new” family, which is, apparently, two gay dads (Justin Bartha and Andrew Rannells) and a high school dropout surrogate (Georgia King)who team up to have a child together. The premise is okay, but the execution isn’t. This show tries to make a bold statement: the word “family” has changed in definition over time. And, that’s about it. “The New Normal” excessively attempts to make comedy out of absurdly awkward and offensive situations that are more uncomfortable than entertaining.
Not only is the writing sloppy and offensive, it is also very dull; it’s fair to say that if you can sit through a half-hour comedy and not laugh once, it’s not living up to the category it’s placed itself in. Not to mention, this show consistently screams “Modern Family rip-off” in almost every scene, from the baby crazy dads, to the extensive soliloquies of tolerance aimed at those who aren’t. Some may wonder when exactly it became okay to be so offensive so consistently. The grandmother figure of the show, Jane Forrest (played by Ellen Barkin), is meant to represent the ignorance of some Americans in terms of equality among race, religion and sexual orientation. While the opinions of these people may be crude at times, there is no excuse for the disrespectful things she says. While “The New Normal” makes an effort to help its audience become comfortable with the concept of same-sex partners becoming parents, it falls miles short. The stereotypes are completely over-exaggerated, depicting a flamboyant couple that loves fine dining, flaunts their precious clothing and obsessively worries over their weight. Another thing: why, when this show’s only goal is to promote diversity, does “The New Normal” cast two white males as the leading gay
show depicts a man spiraling into aggression and pain because his wife died in a car accident while texting. This show gets so lost in its main plot point, it staggers off course and becomes a drama, then a comedy again, and so it just spends its time straddling the line between both genres. Suffice it to say: a combination of unconvincing performances, awkward comedic gestures and repetitive underlying messages come together to make the disappointing television show, “Go On.” Since Matthew Perry is in it, I can see it struggling to stay on air for maybe one more season. Maybe some of his “Friends” magic will rub off on the writers and actually inspire them to write something funny.
The Mindy Project This review is not simply a smear campaign of the new fall schedule. There is, in fact, one new show that is entertaining and funny, without sacrificing plot or message, and that is Rebecca DeShetler “The Mindy Project.” The show stars Mindy Kaling, from “The the show feature a biracial lesbian couple? In a sense, that would seem more Office.” Her charming wit and command of practical and far less contrived, because what comedic situations carries from her role as television producers and the viewers “The New Kelly Kapoor to “The Mindy Project.” This show is a medical comedy, in which the Normal” are directed to tend not to recognize main character, Mindy, is a relatively successful is that homosexuality extends far beyond only OB/GYN who works in a small office with white males. This show, if nothing else, proves that when the classical “frenemy,” the love/sex interest, you make a television show, you can either be and the friendly confidants. Unfortunately, bold or fail trying. This show shamelessly slumps there’s nothing incredibly original about this into the latter category, depicting the gay lifestyle show. Somehow, though, that works for “The the exact same way its been characterized for the Mindy Project,” because while it may build off past thirty years, making no successful attempt of a familiar foundation, what it constructs is incredibly unique and fun to watch. There are to dissolve stereotypes at all in the process. many obvious examples from each episode that Go On “Go On” is much less progressive than the exemplify this. title may suggest. Matthew Perry stars as Ryan King, a sports analyst with a broadcast show on the radio, who’s made a name for himself by exposing the scandalous, inner lives of many famous athletes. The major plot twist here is that Mr. King is uncomfortable with sharing his own personal life. Clever, isn’t it? No.
Once again, this comedy tries to make a point, and it fails miserably in the process. “Go On” takes a stab at talking about mental illness, depression specifically, by taking the traditional approach: even the best of us fall down sometimes. In the show, Ryan King is dealing with the loss of his wife who died in a car accident, texting while driving. He is sent, by his superiors, to attend mandatory group therapy, which is for some inexplicable reason led by a Weight Watchers inspirational speaker, to deal with his issues. Obviously, the writers couldn’t leave well enough alone, and as if the AT&T commercials of the victims of car crashes weren’t enough, this
“‘Okay so just for the record, this responsibility [hiring a new nurse] has been given to someone that’s got a chocolate fountain in her office,’” Danny Castellano (Chris Messina) says, pointing to the mini chocolate fountain in Mindy’s office. “‘This is amazing. People love this.’” Mindy says (Season 1, Episode 2). Out of context, this may not seem too entertaining, but hearing Kailing and Messina argue is a great part of “The Mindy Project.” The pacing of this show is good, the writing is clever, and above all, there are no moments in the show that leave you wondering how exactly it got produced. That said, this show will probably not be gaining too many accolades (if any) for comedy. It is simply not original enough to carve its own niche in the space of budding comedy shows. But, if you feel your television schedule is a bit lacking and you’re not sure what to fill it with, I would recommend starting with “The Mindy Project”.
Masa’s Sushi offers welcoming environment but mediocre taste Joey Malgesini Staff Writer
One would not expect such a nice environment along such a busy road. Off of San Antonio road in Mountain View, Masa’s Sushi offers a quaint and pleasant scene to the hungry. The doors open to a small room with wide, private tables lining the walls. It is a quiet family restaurant. Waiters return to the tables often to refill water and check in on customers. Menus provide a variety of Japanese meals, along with a separate menu at each table listing the special rolls. The ambitious eater can order a myriad of raw fish such as the assorted sashimi, or extravagant rolls such as the dragon roll with eel or the spider roll with crab . In addition to sushi, the restaurant offers soups, salads and teriyaki dishes. The waiters are quick to take people’s orders, bustling back and forth from the kitchen. Soon, the dishes begin
to come in. There are beautifullyprepared rolls that should be photographed before eating and finely-cut chicken over beds of lettuce, rows of potstickers lined precisely along the sparkling dish and vegetables organized carefully around the plates. But after all of this pleasant preparation and atmosphere, the taste is very similar to any other Japanese restaurant around it. There is nothing about the actual taste of the food that stands out or really impresses. The dragon roll lacked the sharp mixture of fish, vegetables and soy sauce one comes to expect. Not to mention, it cost $12 for approximately eight small pieces of lackluster sushi. The chicken teriyaki was bland, and the potstickers were small and lacked any rich flavor. Overall, sushi that should have such exquisite flavors was simply too bland. The exceptional atmosphere leads up to what is an average meal. Not to
mention, the relatively high prices do not transfer into large amounts of food. For the price of $20, customers will leave the restaurant still hungry. Masa’s Sushi can provide a decent
meal to the average customer but will not stand out to the seasoned sushi eater. People will leave satisfied, though not thoroughly impressed. Masa’s Sushi is located at 400 San Antonio Road, Mountain View.
Masa’s Sushi offers a wide variety of sushi types and other foods, although the restaurant does not offer large portions.
By Ed Sartor
Not on my Level Why do people associate Snoop Dogg with marijuana? What is swag? Would Kid Cudi make good music again if he went back to smoking dope? These are the deep philosophical questions that haunt my teenage mind on the long walk to school. It seems in this day and age that drugs and music are difficult to separate. The line between what is bad and what is “swag” is constantly becoming fuzzier; popular hip-hop artists brag about smoking blunts, Kesha tells us to expect to “Die Young” and MDMA is taking over the electronic dance scene. Where did it go wrong? The connection between music and drugs is by no means a recent one (drinking songs have been around since the advent of drinking), but this is the first time where songs promoting drugs have really seen any mainstream media attention. Dr. Dre’s “Kush” sold 45,000 copies in two days and has seen heavy radio airtime since being released in November of 2010. The song was beautifully crafted, a catchy tune and catchy lyrics. Almost too catchy. And this is just one song among many. Most importantly, the exposure to these drug related songs may have negative implications for the future. Many kids look to the mainstream media for their music, so when “Kush” and “Die Young” come up among the top 100 on iTunes, it could send the wrong message about drug use. Similarly, these same kids may look up to popular artists as role models, further putting the pressure on these individuals to promote the right message. It will never be possible to separate the music scene from the drug scene. However, it is possible to filter out drugrelated music from the mainstream media, further reducing the subliminal message that drugs are OK. Radio stations and music distributors should take it upon themselves to keep the airwaves clean, and send the right message.
October 23, 2012
‘Elementary’ offers modern take on a classic friendship Casey Pao Senior Writer The famed detective, Sherlock Holmes, is stepping up from the pages of the classic book series to the screen alongside his companion, John Watson. With television adaptations such as “BBC’s Sherlock” already airing and the third movie in the Sherlock Holmes movie series being in production, the adventures of the detective are being brought to viewers with new twists. We’re given intense fight scenes between Holmes and a man twice his size or the awkward moment when in “BBC’s Sherlock”, Watson finds a head in his fridge because of Holmes’s morbid curiosity about saliva congealing. But another show takes it one more step further. In the most recent adaptation to hit the television screens, “Elementary” takes a new look at the eccentric and often annoyingly intuitive character of Sherlock Holmes. It’s a modern take on the series that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle published, where Jonny Lee Miller’s Sherlock lives in New York and Lucy Liu’s Watson is now an Asian woman, who is not called John but Joan. While his character still retains the same way of rattling off of facts and clues that no one else seems to notice in rapid sucession, Sherlock now has multiple tattoos and was just recently released from a drug rehabilitation center. Joan Watson is hired to be his sober companion by Sherlock’s father, set to live with Holmes for the six weeks following his release from the center. “Elementary” faced much criticism for being similar to “BBC’s Sherlock” from faithful fans and critics as both are modern adaptations of the book series. Even the producers of “BBC’s Sherlock” warned CBS, the channel that broadcasts Elementary, that if the show turned out
to be too similar, they would would bring them to court under copyright claims. But the two remain different in multiple ways, from production style to the background stories of the characters. The most obvious difference is that “Elementary” is a procedural crime show, meaning that viewers can expect new episodes often. They create their own crimes to solve and Sherlock solves them, instead of using the scientific machines and standard police work that is employed in regular crime shows. Because of this, the stylistic elements of the show vary as “Elementary” employs a straight-forward, clear way of telling the viewers what is happening while Sherlock often uses on-screen text and dizzying frame flashes of Sherlock having an epiphany of sorts. It’s a nice contrast between the two as both styles are appealing in different ways, one as a logical take on crime shows and the other a creative. “BBC’s Sherlock” also maintains a close relationship with the crimes that Doyle wrote about in the books, with episodes adapted from original stories. But this isn’t the only thing that is a bit different between “Elementary” and “BBC’s Sherlock.” The characters themselves, with their attitudes and backgrounds are slightly different than the classics. Jonny Lee Miller’s Holmes is more raw and rugged compared to Benedict Cumberbatch’sportrayalofSherlockHolmes in BBC’s Sherlock. While Cumberbatch’s Holmes is hyperactive and always excited to be working on a new case like a small child in a candy shop, Miller’s Holmes is darker and has other issues to worry about. After all, the writers of “Elementary” aren’t afraid to bring up the drug problems that Sherlock Holmes had. They actually use it as part of the plotline to introduce Joan Watson, the female version of John.
David M. Russell/CBS
Johnny Lee Miller (right) and Lucy Liu (left) star as Sherlock Holmes and his companion Joan Watson in the newest adaptation of the classic stories. The new show “Elementary” is written as a crime procedural set in New York City. As she was hired by Holmes’s father to become Holmes’s sober companion, the series employs an expansion on the idea of Watson being a sober companion as well as a moral compass of sorts. She isn’t afraid to put Holmes in his place when he’s being stupid and rude. When Sherlock is being insensitive to the situation of a woman being attacked, Watson stands up for the woman and tells Sherlock to stand outside without backing down. She serves as a buffer for Sherlock, knowing when to help him in a situation and when to tell him to stop. It keeps to the classics as Watson is Sherlock’s most valuable companion. However, because Elementary’s Watson is a woman and an ex-surgeon instead
of an army doctor, her perspective on cases and toward people is different. She’s more sympathetic to victims and is more accessible to many, compared to an army doctor. But these points aren’t necessarily bad things. It’s a new take upon the idea of Sherlock Holmes. Viewers are able to connect with Miller’s Sherlock,more than Cumberbatch’s Sherlock because even a mastermind detective likes to Google his problems sometimes. Only three episodes have aired on CBS but so far, it’s turning out pretty well. With a slightly more modern and unique take on the crime-solving Sherlock Holmes and his cases that the adaptations before it, “Elementary” has the potential to turn out as a must-watch series.
Five ideas for fun Halloween party foods Carly Cohen Staff Writer
Ingredients: mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, pizza dough, tomato sauce
No season is complete without its complementary foods, and fall has plenty of them. However it’s not always that easy to find simple and fun Halloween foods, so here are few suggestions.
Caramel Apples: Caramel apples have always been a classic Halloween treat for people of all ages. This year, turn a basic caramel apple into a unique and exciting Halloween sweet that gets everyone pumped, whether that means going out to trick-or-treat or stay at home and lounge with your friends. The easiest way to do this is by dipping the apples directly into caramel. I recommend buying the hard caramel and melting it over your stove. Also, try using Granny Smith green apples to balance the sour and sweet from the caramel. After you have made the caramel apples dip them Halloween sprinkles to make them more festive. For a fancier look, melt orange or black-dyed white chocolate and drizzle it on top of the apples. After this, lay them out to dry and enjoy! Ingredients: apples, caramel, sprinkles, white chocolate, dye
Popcorn Balls: Popcorn balls are a fun and festive way to turn an ordinary movie night into a Halloween spectacular. Plain popcorn can be instantly turned into something special for Halloween by adding a few more ingredients. All you need is sugar, margarine, plain-popped popcorn, marshmallows, light corn syrup and a litttle bit of water. To make this treat more appropriate for Halloween, mix in some candy corn. If you want to make the treat even more festive, add orange dye that will make this dessert suitable for Halloween. Ingredients: water, sugar, margarine, plain popped popcorn, marshmallows, light corn syrup
Whoopie Pies: With a specialty chocolate cake bottom and top (recipe can be found at the link attached) and a creamy
photos by Jade Perry
These pumpkin shaped cupcakes (top) and whoopie pies (bottom right) are some of the easiest ways to add Halloween spirit to your food. buttercream frosting center, whoopie pies can easily be turned into a Halloween specialty. Simply dye the inside frosting orange and use a frosting pen to draw a spider web on the top of the pie. To draw on the spider web, cut a small hole in the corner of a ziploc baggy and squeeze the frosting out of it and onto the top of the whoopie pie. These pies are easy to make and will serve well for Halloween. Ingredients: all-purpose flour, Dutch-process cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, well-shaken buttermilk, vanilla, unsalted butter, softened brown sugar , large egg
Cupcakes: These cupcakes in the shape of pumpkins will not only be a tasty dessert, but also the perfect centerpiece for your table! What you need is: regular sized cupcakes (any kind will work, so pick your favorite), orange sprinkles, orange frosting, green licorice twists and green and orange licorice lace (Kellogg’s fruit streamers work really well). Once your cupcakes have been baked and cooled, frost the tops with orange frosting. Roll these frosted cupcakes in orange sprinkles, completely covering the tops. Then, use the licorice lace to create lines across the tops of the sprinkles, similar to what a real pumpkin looks like. In the center of the cupcake, place a previously cut piece of the green licorice twist to look like the stem. If you want to, add some green licorice lace to look like vines on a pumpkin. Remember, there is no wrong way to do this. Be creative and soon you will have a cupcake pumpkin patch to decorate your table with! Ingredients: regular sized cupcakes (any kind will work, so pick your favorite), orange sprinkles, orange frosting, green licorice twists, green and orange licorice
For full recipies visit lahstalon.org
Cheese Pizza: If you are looking for a less sugary option to make this Halloween entertaining, this twist on cheese pizza is perfect! To create these decorative dinners, you need pizza dough, mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese and tomato sauce (optional). These basic ingredients can be turned into something different by changing the appearance slightly. When laying the cheese on the dough before baking it, put the cheddar near the top of the crust and the mozzarella in the middle, making a definitive line between the two colors. Make sure that your pizza is round, otherwise it will lose the effect. After the pizza is out of the oven and sliced, it will look like candy corn.
October 23, 2012
EA’s FIFA Franchise celebrates 20th Anniversary Arman Khayat Eddie Sartor Staff Writer Senior Writer
The FIFA Franchise has hit the two decade mark this year with its most recent release, FIFA 13. Debuting in 1993 with FIFA International Football for the Sega Mega Drive, the series has come a long way from its 16-bit beginnings. Arguably the most popular sports video game series worldwide with over 4.5 million copies of FIFA 13 sold in the first five days, Electronic Arts’ FIFA has heavily influenced the soccer video game industry.
Although the sport of soccer has remained much the same for the past half century, in the 20 years since its inception the FIFA series has annually improved the soccer gaming experience, rolling out new game-modes, updated engines and graphics and other innovations on a fairly regular basis. “We’re never short of ideas for the future and even when we’re in the heat of the battle finishing a current year’s game, we’re always thinking about new ideas we can do the following year,” Executive Producer at EA David Rutter said. “I think everyone on the team looks forward to not only getting the game in the hands of our fans,
Ariel Machell Steven Cui Staff Writers
Girls The girls’ water polo team hopes to finish within the top two of its league this year. However, as over half of last year’s team was composed of seniors, Coach Seth Tasman must work with the newer players in order to accomplish its goal. With only six returning players from its squad of 18 last year, this may prove to be a challenge. However, the team seems to be adapting well to the new situation. The team has a 3-6 record in the league, which consists of Los Altos, Homestead, Gunn, Los G a t o s ,
but hearing back from those fans on their thoughts, integrating their feedback into our plans for what we want to put in the game for the future, and challenging ourselves to come up with innovations no one has thought of before.”
Global Culture and Sales While the term “FIFA” technically refers to the Federation Internationale de Football Association, people all over the world will understand when asked, “Up for a game of FIFA?”. Soccer Immersion The FIFA video Much of the game’s game series’ appeal comes from its popularity has grown realistic gameplay. This exponentially since development of realism its birth in 1993. In allows for players to the development of emulate the professional FIFA, EA has taken game as it is played full advantage of the today. EA was also one rapid growth of the of the first sports game gaming industry. companies to take EA profits greatly advantage of motion due to this global capture technology, fascination. This allowing for a seamless past September, EA playing experience. released the newest Motion capture made edition of the FIFA animating complex gaming series, FIFA skill moves (such as 13. The game sold 4.5 “the rainbow”) much million copies five days easier. EA first recruited after its release, which EA Sports French international is a breakthrough FIFA is beloved by its fans for realistic gameplay David Ginola to provide number. These sales thanks to its motion capture technology (top motion captured skill have set the bar for left). Gamers can pick from any number moves for FIFA ‘97, the gaming industry. of premiere league teams (bottom). giving each move in the The rapid sales rate game a touch of reality. for FIFA 13 makes This development the game the fastest performances are adjusted to of realism allows for players to selling sports game ever. With how the players perform in real emulate the professional game millions of copies sold and lots life. Better players have better as it is played today. In the most more to be purchased, FIFA touches and control, while others recent edition of the game, FIFA 13 is headed towards record don’t do as well.” 13 has even added a “First-touch breaking profits in the history
Wilcox and Lynbrook. In the course of the season, the team plays every other team twice. So far, it has triumphed over Wilcox, Homestead, and Los Gatos. However, the team has fallen to Gunn twice; it has lost to Lynbrook, Palo Alto, Homestead, and Los Gatos once each. The team is currently the fourth seeded team but hope to improve their position to qualify for CCS. “Hopefully, we’ll be top two in our league,” Tasman said. “That [has been] our goal since day one, to be in the finals in our league.” Defense is the team’s main strength and focus this year. The team has an advantage in this area, as it has goalie sophomore Romy Aboudarham (below)
Injuries plague football Joey Malgesini Staff Writer The varsity football team has struggled so far this season, losing every preseason game and starting off with a league record of 0-2 after facing
Cupertino and Harker. The team has however, faced tough competition and notable injuries. Some major players that have battled through injuries include seniors: wide receivers Anthony Otey and Victor Galvez, fullback
control” system in which players’ first touch corresponds to their skill level in real life. “It’s so realistic,” senior Will Crameri said. “The player
anchoring the defense. “Our defense has been our strongest point of our season so far,” Tasman said. “But our weakness is that we’re just a young team, and we need a lot of experience.”
Upcoming Girls Water Polo Games
Boys The Los Altos boys varsity water polo team has been undefeated in the League Championships for nine years, and hopes to make this year the 10th. Despite its past
Boys Stats Boys Water Polo
At Palo Alto 10/23 Ian McColl 56 26 27 CCS Round 1 11/6 Sam Lisbonne 54 23 30 CCS Round 2 11/10 Paul Bergevin 16 27 31 The team hopes to gain more experience as the season progresses, in order to be prepared for CCS. The extra experience combined will serve to strengthen the team and put it in position for CCS finals. “Like any team we’ve had our ups and downs,” Co-captain senior Ally Bakos said. “I’m confident we’ll pull through.”
Dimitri Trembois, tight end Conrad Rogers and running back Mac Kliman. “Wehavestruggledalotwith injuries, especially because we have a small team in general,” junior quarterback Lambie Lanman said. The game against San Benito High School near the beginning of the season was cancelled because the team
of the gaming industry. “There is a massive global appetite for our game on all the different platforms and we will continue to make the game as long as people want to continue to play it,” Rutter said. Player Experience The FIFA series has captured a global culture in which players everywhere compete in a virtual world of professional soccer. The most attractive feature of FIFA culture is its relation to professional soccer, giving a players a direct connection with the teams they follow and support. Players are able to control world class players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta right from their fingertips. “I get really into it. It feels like the teams are playing for real. Playing for Manchester United is an honor,” Will said. “I feel like the weight of the squad and its fans are on my shoulders.” This simulation is the essential aspect of FIFA culture, which allows for players to emulate the game and its pros from their gaming consoles. Gamers’ dedication to their favorite teams is directly expressed in playing the game. The players get a sense of representing the squad, and go all out to provide club superiority.
sights went into our game a little too confident and they just played a better game than we did.” However, this loss has served to strengthen the team’s morale to improve all aspects of their game. Since that loss, boys varsity has come back with a vengeance, dominating in games against teams like Palo Alto (10-6) and Los Gatos (17-8). “I think [the loss against Mountain View] has actually really helped us with our game,” Ian said. “I feel like we’ve played, by far, the best
undefeated status, there have been some losses throughout the season. The first loss this year was at the hands of the Mountain View Spartans, the Eagles’ biggest rival. The team had not lost to Mountain View in seven years, so it came as a shock to many players. “Obviously that [game] was a big moment in our season,” team captain senior Ian McColl said. “I think we probably Photos By Chloé Arrouye was depleted due to injuries. Some players blame their rough start to the difficult competition that the football team faced in the preseason, including Santa Clara and Sacred Heart Prep who are both 5-1 overall. Despite this rough start, the players have maintained their morale. “We had a tough preseason playing against some very
talented teams, but we are going into league with our hopes high,” Lambie said. As they move forward, the team will work on better execution of fundamentals. “We are still having trouble with basic football,” Head Coach Rudy Alcala said. “We need to tackle better and block better.” The varsity team has games
water polo this season since then... We need to play our best, and that’ll be our motivation to help us win.” The team has been led in scoring by Ian and junior Sam Lisbonne, who has put up 56 goals 54 goals respectively. On defense, senior Paul Bergevin has led the team with 31 steals. “We are getting better each week and developing our defense and offense the way we want to,” varsity coach Johnny Bega said. “ We have some tough matches ahead of us and are looking for a great October and an even better November [CCS playoffs].”
Junior Ryan Seltzer
coming up against Monta Vista on October 26 and Fremont on November 2 for the Los Altos homecoming game which will take place at Foothill Junior College. “The more [fan] support we get, the easier it will be to break this losing streak and if we play like I know we can, great things will happen,” Lambie said.
October 23, 2012
A Few Remarks: not so sweet Valentine
team collapsed and experienced a dismal season in which they went 69-93. The team was exceptionally talented, having spent Coaching matters. Behind the greatest $262 million on the likes of first baseman players and teams, there is always an Adrian Gonzalez, outfielder Carl Crawford invaluable coach, a scrupulous leader with and pitcher Josh Beckett. The Red Sox the ability to devise ingenious strategies and front office hoped that lavish spending motivate his or her players to exceed their would translate to wins. When the payoff potential. Michael Jordan would have never was absent and the loss column growing, been Michael Jordan without Phil Jackson. the Red Sox instead had to deal with The New York Yankees dynasty of the late balancing the egos of a roster full of multi1990’s would have never been as dominating millionaires and its fiery new manager had Joe Torre not run their bench. The San Bobby Valentine (right), rather than Francisco 49ers would not be where they focusing on developing a solid baseball are today were it not for the hiring of Jim team on the field. For a team that Harbaugh. In returned many of its short, a team Michael Jordan would core players in 2012, the is only as good have never been Michael Red Sox experienced a as the sum of drop off of over twenty its parts, and Jordan without Phil wins and saw its team the person Jackson. sputtering by midresponsible June. The leadership for making sure all the players are united is the coach. of Francona and Epstein After a victory, we may give all the credit to was surely missed, as the the players, but in reality, it is the coach that franchise withered in the absence of the makes a team great. prominent The Boston Red Sox, for most of the past two that decade, were the epitome of consistency. As leaders a franchise, they were consistently a threat helped establish winning for the playoffs and won the World Series the in 2004 and 2007. Their roster was always attitude Red formidable, packed with veteran superstars Sox Nation so and promising young prospects, the result was of meticulous scouting and deep ownership accustomed pockets. Other clubs looked up to Boston, a to. Take these team that averaged over ninety wins from two out of the 2002 to 2011, and sought to imitate the equation and system that helped make the Red Sox into a suddenly a team that was once on the fringe of the playoffs was now sitting in model franchise across the majors. What a difference a year makes. As soon the division basement. The fall of the Red Sox iterates the essence as longtime manager Terry Francona and general manager Theo Epstein went their of sports and how valuable leadership is separate ways following the 2011 season, the to any successful team. The fact is that as
Mark Schreiber Managing Editor
Cross country aims for CCS title, State qualification Alex Cortinas Staff Writer
Girls For the second time in school history, the girls varsity cross country team has foreseeable potential to make it to States. The team has made steady improvements as some of its members recover from injuries. “Our season has been very successful so far,” freshman Lauren Jacob said. “We have a lot of girls coming out of injuries, so once everyone is healthy we’ll be doing a lot better.” Lauren suffered from a hip flexor injury early in the season
Volleyball relies on chemistry, raises money for breast cancer Carly Cohen Staff Writer
The girls varsity volleyball team has kicked off its season with enthusiasm and spirit. The girls can be spotted anywhere on campus by their tutus and bows on game days, setting them apart from other teams. The thirteen member team has played several tough competitors such as Mountain View High School throughout the beginning of its season. “We have a really tough league this year,” co-captain junior Meghan McDermott said. “There is no real clear top team, so everyone is fighting for that position. We have so much talent on this team, so much skill. We just haven’t found our groove yet.” Co-captain junior Hanna Koehler believes that one of
Why The giants are poised to go all the way
By Paul Bergevin
In recent years, sporting championships have been won by teams that gain momentum late in the season and get hot at the right time. Last year the St. Louis Cardinals, New York Giants and Los Angeles Kings all snuck into the playoffs on the very last day of the season, and they did not look back until they were world champions. Although the San Francisco Giants did not sneak into the playoffs on the last day of the season, there is no denying that they are the hottest team in baseball right now. The Giants won three consecutive road elimination games against the Cincinnati Reds to pull off an improbable comeback. The Reds had not lost three consecutive home games at any point this entire season. No team in MLB history had ever come back from an 0-2 deficit, winning games three, four and five all on the road. In the series the Giants were outscored, outhit, out-pitched and they had an atrocious .194 batting average over the five games. But the Giants were able to beat the odds using the same formula that won them their title in 2010: strong starting pitching, that kept her sidelined, but has Boys competition comes from Los timely hitting and effective since recovered. Seniors Claire Continual improvement Gatos High, Aragon High and situational relief. If you look at Bowie and Louise Stefan are within the boys varsity Leland High. each of of the Giants three wins also in the process of recovering cross country team has The team has great depth this in this series, they used a little from stress fractures. propelled the team to year. In addition to returning top bit of everything. “We think that we’ll make a number one ranking seven members John Beutter, Alex In game three the Giants CCS,” Claire said. “We’re close in Division 2 CCS. The Carr and Josh Cohen and junior got a solid start from Ryan to number one in our league. It’s aspiration of winning Terence Rabuzzi, the team will Vogelsong who allowed one the big question of whether we CCS, a title Cross rely on new freshman Ben Zaeske, run over five innings of work. make it beyond CCS.” Country has never won, is who has solidified his place in the Relievers Affeldt, Casilla, With serious competition from becoming a reality. top five. The team expects to win Lopez, and Romo only allowed schools like Archbishop Mitty “We have leagues, but the subject of winning one hit and no runs for the High School and Mountain View competition,” co-captain CCS remains up in the air. remaining five innings, giving High School, the team must be senior John Beutter While the team has been set back the Giants a chance for an extra at its best as it heads into the said. “We’re not clearly by John’s stress fracture, most of inning victory. championship season. number one, but we’re the team has remained healthy. In game four, manager Bruce solidly the fastest team.” “We have to win CCS and get that Bochy played his cards well Junior Niki Anguelov The team’s toughest banner in the gym,” John said. once again by bringing former Photo Courtesy of ARthur Bogdanovich ace Tim Lincecum out of the bullpen. Fresh off of his woeful regular season, Lincecum pitched like “Big Time Timmy the keys to its success is their league. Jim” once again to take the closeness as a team. One way the win. “For every home game that team has come Game five was won in one we have, we go out to lunch as a together was when it inning, on a very timely hit by team,” Hanna said. “We always partnered with Palo Giants catcher Buster Posey in dress up for Mountain View Alto High School the fifth. Posey hit an absolute games and important matches (PALY) to put on a bomb to the second deck of and go all out. It’s just really fun. “Dig Pink” event in the left field bleachers with People see tutus and know that support breast-cancer the bases loaded, giving the its volleyball.” awareness. It raised Giants a 6-0 lead and ending The team’s bonding is over 2,000 dollars the series. important to the success of the for The Side-Out It reminded me of Johnny team as it allows them to trust Foundation, which Damon’s grand slam in the one another on and off the court. supports research 2004 ALCS, which finalized an “[Dressing up] is a really good and various other epic Red Sox comeback over way to get us out of our comfort cancer organizations. the New York Yankees. When zone,” Meghan said. “That really Although the the the Red Sox beat the Yankees bonds us together closer and team lost to PALY, it in game seven, there was no helps with the gel of the team bonded together over way they could be stopped, and the chemistry because we the event and helped and they went on to sweep the do spend extra time together, cancer patients across Cardinals in four games. After not just on the court. Then that America. Juliet Moore Posey blasted that homerun, I translates to on the court because bumps the ball in the team’s felt the exact same feeling I felt we all trust each other more. It’s Junior Meghan McDermott Dig Pink Rally against Palo Alto High (Paly). Together with with the Red Sox: nobody is definitely beneficial for us.” Currently the team is 4-4 in Paly, the team raised over $2,400 to fight breast cancer. stopping them.
soon as Francona and Epstein took off, everything in the Red Sox organization went awry, and what was happening on the field, from the hitting to the pitching, was a repercussion of what was happening in the clubhouse. Valentine was not the right fit for the Red Sox—he let his ego collide with the those of the players, erupting in turmoil that lasted the entire season. A team, in any sport, cannot be successful when its coach is poison to his own team. Without stability from the top down, there can be no fundamental execution, no consistency in play, no motivation to go out and change the circumstances abound. Sure the players are the ones on the field, but the preparation and cohesiveness needed to be successful in any game comes from the coaches. They are responsible for setting and maintaining the attitude and character of the team—Valentine failed to do either of those things. It’s no surprise that on October 4, Valentine Getty Images was axed for his performance this past season. He was not alone in his exit, as the team also unloaded m a n y disgruntled p l a y e r s but despite the drastic changes in the lineup, Valentine’s presence could not persist. The front office recognized that the players on the team were not the winning formula, but they still fired Valentine. As much as the game may come down to execution, the coach has an instrumental role in the success of the team.
October 23, 2012
Girls tennis sets sight on CCS after solid start Yuki Zaninovich Staff Writer
The girls varsity tennis team is showing a promising season after winning the third division of the Fresno Championships with a record of 5-0 last month. With a solid 10-4 record heading into the second half of the season, the team hopes to make CCS this year. “[My expectation is that] we will make CCS so we have somewhat high expectations this year,” varsity Coach Hung Nguyen said. “Just making it itself will be a great achievement for the team.” The singles players this year are led by number one singles junior Kacey Incerpi and include freshmen Carina Burdick, Lili Kobayashi and Juliette Martin. They are especially strong since they play in competitive tournaments hosted by the United States Tennis
Association (USTA) year round and are all ranked Top 40 in the Northern California Division. The doubles lineup is also composed of numerous experienced players. Many of them have been playing in varsity for multiple years, including seniors Sparsha Saxena and Katie Kouvelas. “Both the singles and the doubles are looking better this year,” Kacey said. “We have more experienced players and there’s a lot more depth.” The team aspires to be mentally well-prepared in order to stay positive and take on any match without stress. The team has done multiple group talks to strategize how to relieve anxiety during games and improve the overall chemistry of the team. “You can always practice [well] but the pressure comes on when you play an actual match so the mentality has to get stronger,” Nguyen said. “The simulated matches should help them get stronger against pressure.”
Freshman Carina Burdick (above) and freshman Lili Kobayashi (left) compete in the team’s match against Milpitas. After winning the Fresno Championships in September, the team has propelled itself to a 10-4 overall record.
The Sixth Man Club Returns To Greatness Man Club began. “[The club] got to the point where we packed the bleachers and At any sporting event the school, needed to have space reserved in while there might be a couple of the gym to fit all of us,” Kalyn said. fans scattered here and there, “It got really big really fast and it there’s one group of dedicated was awesome to see how much the students present at almost every crowd could affect the game and game. Rain or shine, day or night, pump up the players.” sleet or snow (okay, maybe not However, toward the end of his snow) — the Sixth Man Club is senior year, Michael felt that the always there. club and the school began losing The Sixth Man Club was created its spirit. in 2009 by Los C o Altos High presidents graduates seniors The crowd can M i c h a e l Camryn definitely affect Cramer, ‘10, Nakano the momentum of and Kalyn and Sabrina the game. Nakano, ‘10, Petros are who were -Kalyn Nakano, ‘10 working to juniors at the restore the time. Michael legacy that and Kalyn were big sports fans and Michael and Kalyn brought to carpooled together with the same the school. Both being athletes at people to several games a week. the school, they want to support “The thing was the games were others who are bringing pride so much fun, but there wasn’t really to the school through sports. much attendance other than our Camryn and Sabrina’s goal was friends and parents,” Michael said. to encourage fan participation “So near the end of the season, we so that players would perform to decided we were going to try and their highest abilities. To increase make a club that would have the attendance, Camryn and Sabrina intentions of bringing as many communicate with players from people to the games as possible.” each sports team, who tell them Even parents came up to Michael which games are going to be and Kalyn to thank them for the most important for the bringing hundreds of people out to players. the games. Michael said the crowd “I just want to encourage more was able to swing the momentum in the Eagles’ favor, which never used to happen before the Sixth
Anthony Bello Senior Writer
people to go to games because I know that as an athlete I feel a lot more pumped up for a game,” Sabrina said. “I’m excited to play when I see a lot of people supporting.” For senior Nikki Klepper, offensive hitter and defensive specialist on the girls volleyball team, fan support makes a huge difference in athletes’ performance. “For our team in general, when we look over during our timeouts, seeing everyone there with pom-poms and their blue colors — especially the blue man group — out there supporting us is the best thing,” Nikki said. Success in publicizing the event has been largely due to Facebook, which has allowed the Sixth Man Club works to publicize the event as much as possible. People can see which upcoming games are most important to the athletes. However, it was also important not to overdo the club’s online presence. “We tried to use Facebook for events and
The Sixth Man Club
T-shirts only, that way most of the interaction with people was at the games,” Michael said. Michael said seniors are the biggest factor in determining a big crowd turnout. They’re the ones that set an example to the kids at the school, and their enthusiasm encourages others to rally on the team. Senior participation is crucial, and the Sixth Man Club’s mission to gather seniors cannot be ignored. A crowd can have an enormous influence on players and the overall atmosphere at athletic events. “If you have a ton of people out there supporting your team, chanting and cheering and getting into the other team’s heads,” Kalyn said. “The crowd can definitely affect the momentum of the game, which is always really awesome to see and be a part of.”
Students in the 2012-2013 Sixth Man Club cheer at a recent volleyball game. This year’s club has been working to return to the large attendance that was common under Michael Cramer ‘10 (below) in 2009 and 2010. Photos By Chloé Arrouye, Talon ARchives
The Energy behind LAHS Athletics