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Gender Roles


201 Almond Ave. Los Altos, CA 94022 Los ALtos high school VOLUME XXVIII, Issue 4 DeCEMBER 18, 2012

Pg 10

Teachers to take leaves of The Hobbit: An absence effective January unexpected review Carly Cohen Cassidy Craford Sparsha Saxena Staff writers Senior writer

Beginning next semester, four teachers will either be teaching fewer periods they teach or leaving entirely. History teacher Robert Freeman and math teacher Susan Friedeberg will be taking semester long leaves of absence. Math teacher Shelley Carranza will be reducing the number of periods she teaches. Instructional Aid Aubree Waldorf will be leaving the school permanently. Robert Freeman During the Monday, December 10 school board meeting, Freeman’s temporary leave was approved. As the founder, director and executive director of the nonprofit group One Dollar For Life (ODFL), he says he is leaving to strengthen it. Over the past five years, ODFL has built 14 schools in developing countries. In addition, ODFL has completed infrastructure projects, and sent books, legos, computers and medical supplies to the needy around the world.

“There’s 16 million high school students in America,” Freeman said. “It costs us about $10,000 to build a school … You can do the math. If we can get every high school student in America to give one dollar we can build more than a 1,000 schools every year in the developing world.” Since it was founded, ODFL has been organizing fundraisers, collecting money, communicating with the countries it donates to and designing the projects. After spending five years with science teacher Lisa Cardellini to get ODFL working, Freeman wants to “scale” the efforts of the club up. “So why now?” Freeman said. “We will be on TV; we’re winning all these awards, I think that the time is now to really capitalize on the moment.” Although rooted in Los Altos High School, ODFL has been adopted by other high schools across the nation. States such as Hawaii, Kansas, Colorado, Missouri, Ohio and New Jersey have held ODFL

See teachers leaving, page 2



If you understand anything, observe its beginning and its development —Aristotle


Cassidy Craford Staff writer After losing five seniors last year, the girls basketball team is gearing up to fill in the gaps with new, enthusiastic talent. Three seniors will lead this year’s team, along with four juniors, two sophomores and six freshman players. The team has been focusing on both practicing six days a week and getting to know each other on a personal basis outside of practices with bonding events. Junior Kelly Hamamoto said the team has already learned its core set of plays and out-of-bounds plays. The scrimmages in the past weeks have helped them see areas for improvement that they need to work on for the season. With such a young team, players are much smaller this year. “What we lack in height this year, we will make up in heart and speed,” girls basketball coach Kevin Lee said. “We have a group of freshmen and sophomores who will give us a lift and help to carry our program into the future.” Freshman Katie Munro said that one of the main challenges in the FEEDBACK

>> Send critiques about The Talon’s to webeditor@

by Benjamin Marimon

Josh Cohen Sports Editor

Today, the mention of the name Peter Jackson brings to mind the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, a series characterized by an epic plot and ground-breaking scale.For long-time “Lord of the Rings” fans, anticipation for the release of “The Hobbit” has been building for months. In part one of his newest film “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” Jackson brings to life another Tolkien classic while crafting a rich visual setting. While the movie’s comedic tone contrasts sharply with the drama of the original LotR trilogy, most fans and casual moviegoers should find something to enjoy in Jackson’s interpretation of “The Hobbit.” The audience will immediately notice that The Hobbit is much goofier in nature than Jackson’s previous Tolkien films. The movie is based on Tolkien’s 250 page children’s story, which serves as a prequel to the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. The movie follows the whimsical adventures of hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellan) and a company of 13 dwarves, headed by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage). As the group travels from



troll caves to goblin tunnels, the antics of dwarves like the obese Bombur (Stephen Hunter) keep the film light. A witty and upbeat performance from Martin Freeman gives the character of Bilbo Baggins life, and when combined with the rest of the dwarves, the result is an altogether entertaining group. This fun procession of characters makes for a film that is, in the end, an enjoyable three hours. However, for moviegoers that were expecting an epic, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” might disappoint.

See The Hobbit, page 16



preseason has been the team’s large number of turnovers, which they hope to focus on as the season begins. Monta Vista and Mountain View, both of which teams moved down to the El Camino division last year, will provide tough competition for the team. The team’s goal this year is to finish at the top, or near the top of its league. In order to accomplish this, Lee said they must rely heavily on each other and the younger members on the team. Katie is one of the six freshmen on the roster, which also includes freshmen Meg Enthoven, Lauren Lunsford, Meghan Schmiesing, Aaliyah Rodriguez and Rachel Glein. Lee said that these freshmen will provide the team with speed, tenacity, toughness and heart. “Each of our new freshmen are awesome people who have already adapted to and adopted our basketball philosophy,” Lee said.

Juliet Moore

See Girls Basketball, page 18

RUNNING THE FLOOR: Junior Kelly Hamamoto (above) sprints down the court as she is pursued by opposing defenders. Inexperience aside, Kelly and her fellow teammates hope to fly past the competition and battle for the El Camino division title.






Cheating>> pg. 6

Ballerinas>> pg. 9

Cal Train Stops >> PG. 15

A Writer looks at technology’s role in cheating at the school

Two Student Dancers perform in Company Nutcracker Ballet

The Talon highlights the best Leisure spots on the Cal Train Route

TALONONLINE >> Want more from The Talon? Sports scores, news and more updated everyday online at


December 18, 2012


Teachers set to leave at the end of first semester CONTINUED FROM FRONT PAGE

For example, Hawaii had an ODFL drive to build a school in Indonesia. The administration has begun hiring to replace Freeman (top right). Even if the teacher does not satisfy the same requirements as Freeman does, the History Department can switch around teachers to fill the periods. “I am so thankful for Los Altos High School,” Freeman said. “[ODFL] germinated here, and the administration has been very very supportive of the students here … It’s started here, and has brought a lot of good-will to Los Altos High School.”

Susan Friedeberg (bottom right) Friedeberg will be taking a leave of absence next semester. She will remain at the school until the end of this semester and plans to return next fall. “It was a very hard decision for me, I love working here, I love my job,” Friedeberg said. “I am really going to miss my students.” As of press time, a replacement had not yet been found. However, the school plans to have a teacher ready to fill her space at the start of next semester. Shelley Carranza (bottom left) Carranza will be reducing her course load from five periods

to four next semester. The school board approved her request at the Monday, December 10 meeting. She will no longer be teaching her first period, but she will continue with her other classes. Carranza wants to spend more time with her two young children. Aubree Waldorf (top left) Waldorf’s resignation from her position will be effective at the beginning of second semester. This was also approved at the Monday, December 10 school board meeting. She did not respond to requests for comment.

Courtesy main office

School hosts series of talks on immigration Tony Sun Staff Writer

chloe Arrouye

English teachers Keren Robertson (left) and April Oliver (right) work together to grade English papers. Both teachers are taking part in the national READi project.

English teachers participate in nationwide READi project Dhruv Madhok Copy/Content Editor

English teacher April Oliver and Department Coordinator Keren Robertson are taking part in a U.S. Department of Education funded research project called Reading, Evidence and Argumentation in Disciplinary Instruction (READi). The research project, initiated as a result of an Obama Administration grant and a collaborative effort between WestEd and the University of Chicago, explores how evidencebased argumentation can improve students’ textual understanding. “Our definition of reading for understanding focuses on evidence-based argumentation from multiple text sources as a means for building deep levels of comprehension,” READi researcher Cindy Litman said. By observing three different levels of English classes— Robertson’s AP English Language and Composition class, Oliver’s AP Literature and Composition and Robertson’s AVID class —at school, READi is studying whether this form

of argumentation can help students of all textual levels. “They’re looking at how kids who are at different levels in term of their studying in literatures can approach the same text and have success with it,” Oliver said. The READi project distinguishes persuasive writing from evidence-based argumentation. For students to really understand the text, READi believes they should find the evidence as opposed to using strong rhetoric. “A good example is the presidential debates,” READi researcher Stacy Marple said. “At times you see candidates really bring out data, they make a statement and they give strong evidence to support it and other times they’re just like ‘But this isn’t good for America’ and they have some rhetoric, which is persuasion.” Both Robertson and Oliver became acquainted with the READi research program as a result of the school’s reading apprenticeship training. Robertson and Oliver were put through leadership training before they and 30 to 40 other teachers across subject areas and schools in the Bay Area were selected. Robertson said that working

with the READi researchers and understanding this way of thinking has helped her in looking at her teaching in the larger picture. “As teachers, life is so busy that you rarely get a chance to stop and think about what you’re doing, what isn’t working and how to change it and have someone come into your room and videotape and talk about it, it’s neat, it’s a really neat experience,” Robertson said. Oliver also believes that the READi project has given her a broader understanding of her teaching, but said its multiple texts component was not directly applicable to English. “It has given me a broader understanding of why we do the things that we do and what the effects of them are on student education,” Oliver said. “It’s not wholly applicable to everything we do because it has this multiple text component and we’re writing about one book. It still affects the way I think about argumentation and all of the reading and conversations I’ve had about what makes good argumentation have helped me think about that in a deeper way.”

The school has recently hosted a series of immigration presentations that discussed how Deferred Action, affidavit AB 540 and the new DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act affect students and families. Undocumented immigrants granted deferred action can live safely in the United States without fear of deportation for two years. Meanwhile, affidavit AB 540 allows many undocumented high school students who apply for college in California to apply as “in-state” students. As a result, they do not need to pay the higher international tuitions. Lastly, the recently passed DREAM Act allows undocumented students eligible under this act to apply for student financial aid programs, allowing many more undocumented students to pursue higher education. Counselor Jacob Larin hosted the first student presentation in the Eagle Theater during tutorial on Tuesday, November 20. The presentation, entitled “Understanding Undocumented Students’ Educational Rights,” outlined immigration policies that affect students and their families. A follow-up evening presentation was hosted by the Latino Student Union (LSU) on Tuesday, November 27 in the cafeteria. “LSU sent f lyers to every Hispanic household, provided parent care for younger siblings, and offered translational help during the presentation,” LSU president senior Glenda Vargas said. “The attendees discussed the legislation and its impacts.” The presentations were offered to the student body in hopes of increasing student awareness and decreasing the stress of undocumented students. Learning about AB 540 and the DREAM Act also gives many

undocumented immigrants hope for higher education. “[The idea for the presentations started out as] a staff presentation,” Larin said. “[During the presentation], staff were very open about saying ‘you need to make sure the kids know about this.” The lengthy presentations specifically were centered around the application process for deferred action, and how the affidavit AB 540 and California’s new DREAM Act provide scholarships for many undocumented immigrants. Many students learned about increased scholarship opportunities. The presentation sought to answer questions from the community, clarify any confusion that had existed and show how many more opportunities for college were opening up. “I think the one piece of advice I’d give to [students and families] in the situation [now] would be to get legal advice and to figure out what [your] options are,” Larin said. “[The] immigration process and your [legal] status can very greatly depend on when you or your family immigrated to the United States. Depending on the decade and which country you’re from, there are a lot of really technical details that can really change your situation from one thing to the next so definitely get advice.” The presentations also cautioned individuals about the number of phony “legal representatives,” like notaries, that could are know to charge a lot for services offered elsewhere for free. “Be wary; there are a lot of clinics and nonprofits organizations that will help for free initially,” Larin said. “Get resources and get clear information before assuming certain things about your status.” Students seeking more information should contact Larin, who can be found after school in room 409 on Mondays and Thursdays.

December 18, 2012



School nears end of accreditation process Hongyi Shi Senior Writer

Photo Illustration by Jade Perry

Food drive finishes successfully Emily Sims Senior Writer

This year, the annual school food drive raised $4,785.95 and over 10,000 pounds of food. The food drive started on Tuesday, November 13 and ended on Friday, December 7. The purpose of the food drive was to collect monetary donations, in addition to actual canned food. Most of the canned food and money will be donated to Second Harvest Food Bank in Santa Clara, California. It will go to many families in need around Santa Clara County. However, this year, the school will be sending 25 percent of the proceeds to the Red Cross in order to help support Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. “My hope for the drive this

year is that we will contribute a significant amount of food and money to the bank as well as money towards Hurricane Sandy so that we can help both within our community and also on the other side of the country,” ASB vice president senior Rachel Pinkelman said. This year, the school reached its goal of raising over 10,000 pounds of food for the food bank,and sent over $1,000 to the Red Cross to help with Hurricane Sandy Relief. “It shows that we care about people besides ourselves,” sophomore class treasurer Riley Kahan said. Mr. Bjorklund’s third period class raised the most money and therefore will be receiving doughnuts courtesy of ASB for its donations and efforts. Although this year the food

drive started out slowly and needed to be extended past its original ending date, the school was still successful and will be impacting the community and benefiting those in need. “This drive is definitely one of the most successful drives held at our school,” Rachel said. “Every year we contribute a huge amount to Second Harvest and they are very grateful for our donations. I’m sure Second Harvest will appreciate everything we give them.” Next year, the school is planning to raise its goal to make an even bigger impact on the community and help out the less fortunate during the holidays. “Next year, it’s only logical to set a higher goal, so probably 12,000 pounds,” Riley said.

Test changes coming to AP courses Ariel Machell Staff Writer

Collegeboard has been working to redesign specific AP tests and courses. Last year, the AP French test was altered and this year the AP Biology and Latin tests were redesigned. French: The new AP French exam, implemented in the 2011-2012 year, focuses on a student’s ability to get their point across in the language, both in verbal communication and in writing. The new changes also focus on a deeper understanding of French culture, as well as what is going on in the country in modern times. “It is focused more on culture and comprehensive communication,” AP French teacher Christophe Barquissau said. “So they are more concerned about whether [students] are capable of bringing across what [they’re] trying to say.” The class has had to rely less on textbooks and more on outside news to develop a better understanding of French culture. “You have to go online on a regular basis to fetch outside information and present this information to students,”

Barquissau said. “If you are stuck with your textbook, students won’t be able to learn what they need to by the time they take the AP [test].”

Biology: The 2012-13 year will see a redesigned AP Biology test, which will align with the knowledge and skills that college-level introductory biology courses now seek. It will emphasize the development of scientific inquiry and reasoning skills. “Depth, scientific inquiry and reasoning is emphasized more [in the test] so that we can understand concepts, but also how scientists actually think and process,” AP Biology teacher Meghan Shuff said. The exam will have fewer multiple choice and more data-based questions. It will be based on free-response essay questions and will be far more specific. “The curriculum this year, instead of studying all these little segments, is covering four big ideas: ecology, evolution, genetics and cellular processes and interactions,” Shuff said. “This way we’re able to spend a lot more time going into each concept.”

Latin: The revised AP Latin exam will include both Latin poetry and prose. The exam will be based off two readings: Virgil’s “Aeneid” and Caesar’s “Gallic War.” It will also include sightreading passages and continue to feature multiple-choice and free-response questions. “For many years, there were two different AP Latin tests,” AP Latin teacher Krista Greksouk said. “But this year, they got rid of the two separate tests and have combined them.” Because of the changes in the AP exam, the AP Latin class has had to adjust its curriculum. “The way it used to work is that the students would read the English version of Virgil over the summer and we’d translate it throughout the year,” Greksouk said. “It would be all Virgil all the time. But this summer [the students] also had to read Caesar. ” Other courses: The AP Chemistry and AP Spanish Language and Culture tests will also be changed in the 2013-14 school year. In addition, the AP Physics and AP United States History tests will be changed in the 2014-15 school year.

After working for a year and a half, the school has nearly completed its report for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Teachers and staff will review the final draft and send it out by January. It will contain information describing the school, specifically how it has performed over the last six years and how it plans to improve over the next six years. The report is necessary for the school to be officially accredited by the WASC committee. “The [WASC report] is important because the accreditation board that comes in reads all that and makes an assessment of what we’ve done in the past to judge ‘you guys are a good school,’” Assistant Principal Galen Rosenberg said. The school administration created “focus groups” of staff to study each aspect of the school the WASC committee felt is important: organization, curriculum, instruction, culture and assessment. These interdisciplinary groups used a variety of sources for information, including student surveys, achievement data (standardized test scores), parent feedback and staff experiences. Home groups also exist to allow students, parents and teachers to give feedback on the groups they are involved with. “We’ve treated groups like ASB, LSU, The Talon, parent groups, LUCHA, band boosters as home groups, too, since they are representatives of students and parents,” Rosenberg said. From this analysis, the staff committees created action plans meant to address certain problems in the next six years, including aligning courses, improving students’ test scores, helping students to manage stress, making teachers more accountable and updating technology.

“From [focus group reports], we developed five action plan items to deal with the school, goals for those and specific tasks [to meet those goals],” WASC coordinator and social studies teacher Derek Miyahara said. “Right now we’re in the process of getting feedback [for our action plan items]. We’ve been getting staff and faculty input for the last two or three weeks and we got student input.” Each action plan item is focused on addressing realistic goals for the school. Alignment is focused on continuing to align the school’s classes, especially allowing course teams to align themselves in curriculum and assessment. Achievement means the school is trying to have more students meet CST score goals and A-G course requirements (required for UC schools), while increasing enrollment and success in honors and AP classes. “We’re trying to diversify and broaden the number of students taking those courses at our campus,” Miyahara said. “One of the things we’re trying to do is proposing AP Psych, which we think may provide an opportunity for students who might otherwise not take an AP and get them into the AP track.” Community is focused primarily on how teachers can help students manage the stress and challenges of being a high school student. Responsibility means making teachers accountable for the way they teach by ensuring that they continue to teach at a high level. Finally, technology means updating computers and software on campus, but will likely be limited by available funds. “We’d like to get more and better equipment and the latest software, but that one is tough because we’re always constrained by cost and money,” Miyahara said. “We try to figure out what’s most important, what we can get to, what has the most energy/ momentum around them. We’ll probably tackle those first.”


December 18, 2012


School experiences multiple unsolved burglaries Maya Acharya Carly Cohen Ed Sartor Staff Writers Senior Writer

Recently, there have been multiple burglaries at the school. On the weekend of homecoming in November, Assistant Principal Cristy Dawson’s office was broken into. At the beginning of December, suspected to be the weekend of December 1 and 2, an unknown culprit stole items from history teacher Pete Bjorklund’s room, P-15, and English teacher Michael Smith’s room, 502. The police were notified of this incident. The first of the two recent incidents occurred over the weekend of November 3 and 4. A rock was thrown through Dawson’s window and various items such as gift cards and loose change were stolen from the finance office. The party responsible is still unknown. The administration didn’t have enough evidence to find the culprits despite the investigative tactics that the Los Altos police used. They attempted to look for fingerprints, but fingerprinting “noise” from the heavy student traffic in the office made it impossible to use this method to find who committed the crime. The real expenses lie in the property damage done to the school. If caught, the perpetrator would face repair charges as well as compensation for what was stolen. Depending on the case and if the person was a student or not, further action could be taken by the police. The administration has a protocol that it follows when

Union Ben Marimon In-Depth Editor

Starting in January, negotiations will begin between the Mountain View-Los Altos (MVLA) school district and representatives from the teachers’ union. In a process known as sunshining, the two sides will state which issues they are discussing during a school board meeting. The contract between the district and the teachers expired in June 2012, yet it is still the formal agreement between the two parties until a new one is approved.

photos by zoe morgan and shiktij dave

The finance office window was boarded up after being broken during a burglary (above) and glass is strewn on the f loor after the window in the door of Dawson’s office was smashed (right). Recently, there have been multiple burglaries on campus. a break-in event such as this one occurs. “When we find out about it...we call the police, we let the district office know and...try to be as supportive as we can,” Principal Wynne Satterwhite said. Many years ago, a burglary of the finance office resulted in a great financial loss for the school. Satterwhite was working at the school as an assistant principal at the time. “It was Homecoming, and the bookkeeper at the time... hadn’t made any deposits since the beginning of school,” Satterwhite said. “She had it [money and checks] in a drawer in her office... so they broke the window, very similar to what they did over there [Dawson’s office break in] and they got away with a lot of money.” Due to this earlier incident, administration took actions to

deter potential break-ins and safeguard against possible losses. The current finance officer Karen McHugh now deposits almost every day to guarantee that there is no large sum on campus on any given day. “When they told me that this [recent break in] happened, my heart sank, but then I remembered; we’ve changed all that because of this other break-in,” Satterwhite said. “So it was very similar in terms of it was right after Homecoming, window was broken exactly the same way with a rock, a lot of similarities.” The administration was able to better understand how to deal with break-ins after the burglary in the front office. The most recent incident involved unknown culprit(s) breaking into Room P-15 and room 502. On Monday, December 3, administration


Negotiations last year reached an impasse, and both sides agreed to resume this school year. The two parties made this decision because California Proposition 30, a constitutional amendment that raised taxes to fund schools, had not yet been approved. This left a degree of uncertainty on how much money the district’s budget would have next year. This year, the two parties will not only have to discuss the issues that each side brings up, but also conclude the negotiations from the previous year. As a result, the length of this round of

found out about the incident and took action. “We already called the cops and told them as much information as we can,” Assistant Principal Galen Rosenberg said. “I think it’s good to have some level of coverage in the papers because it’s possible that somebody knows what happened.” Stolen items include computer equipment, a projector and a television. However, the means of entry are unknown and no evidence was found of a physical break-in. Occuring a month after the break-in of Dawson’s office, this most recent incident has caused the administration to look into the effects and possible prevention methods. There were no major similarities between the two cases. “Obviously we hope that it’s a sort of unfortunate coincidence that we’ve had these two break-


negotiations is highly variable. Once both parties have reached an agreement on the items being discussed, the contract will be sent to all members of the teachers’ union and the school board for approval. If the contract is rejected by either party, then negotiations will resume until another agreement can be reached. “The teachers’ negotiating team and their executive board generally would not present something to the teachers that… wasn’t going to get a majority vote to approve,” Associate

Rebecca DeShetler


Superintendent of Personnel and Technology Steve Hope said. “I generally do not present anything to the [school] board unless I feel fairly comfortable that the board is going to be okay with it.” There are two dominant ways to handle negotiations: interest-based bargaining, which the district and teacher representatives use, and adversarial bargaining. Both approaches use different strategies to reach a contract that both sides agree with. “Interest-based bargaining is based on the proposition that you clearly articulate your interest as a side,” Hope said. “Hopefully, at the end you both come up with solution in a collaborative process that will address both interests.” In comparison to adversarial bargaining, interest-based bargaining requires more honesty and a trust on behalf on both sides. “[Adversarial bargaining] is kind of like buying a car,” Hope said. “You have two sides, and you say if I want to buy a car I’m going to pay $5,000 while I want $10,000, and then you negotiate…and we keep negotiating and coming to some number in the middle.” Another disadvantage of

ins within such proximity to each other,” Rosenberg said. “Often times these things involve the same persons.” The administration has been discussing the possibility of installing further security to prevent break-ins and burglaries. However, because of the huge expense of a security system, it is still unclear. “Mountain View has cameras on campus but we don’t,” Rosenberg said. “We have not felt that they would actually have either deterred or caught suspects in most of the incidents that we have had here.” The school used to have a bell system installed in order to counteract break-ins. It is not clear whether or not this system actually helped prevent crimes. Despite this, break-ins and vandalism are taken very seriously at the high school.


adversarial bargaining is that a base must be set during the negotiations, such as asking $5000 for a car. This base is then worked around, but it cannot be removed.This practice of establishing an offer and then withdrawing it is known as regressive bargaining, which is illegal. In comparison, interestbased bargaining relies more on brainstorming, with both sides making non-binding suggestions to meet each other’s interests. “[In interest-based bargaining], it’s okay to be much more creative and collaborative when looking for a solution,” Hope said. Regardless of which bargaining method is used, only a certain number of parts in the contract are open for negotiations, but this amount changes after each successive year. In the first year of negotiations after a contract has been approved, only compensation and one topic chosen by each side can be discussed; the second year compensation and two topics can be discussed. This upcoming round of negotiations will be the third year, where all parts of the contract are open to discussion.

The Talon December 18, 2012


Frosh Advisory largely ineffective, should be reimagined for future Editorial Opinion of The Talon

Advisory offers a valuable opportunity to give freshmen support and guidance, but freshmen aren’t currently reaping its full benefits. The school should re-evaluate and reorganize Advisory, possibly reducing it to a few sessions at the beginning and end of first semester. All freshmen have Advisory classes during first semester, and for the most part, freshmen would rather do without it. Out of 235 freshmen polled, only 12 said that they would prefer to have Advisory over Tutorial or a regular Monday schedule on Tuesdays. Fifty-seven percent of those polled (131 respondents) said that they rarely or never found Advisory helpful. At the end of last year, Advisory was reorganized to give it more structure. This year, teachers had binders of activities that they could choose from and use as lesson plans. While this was a change for the better, it was not enough to turn Advisory around—less than 20 percent of freshmen polled said they found the activities were the most helpful part of Advisory. Especially when compared to the value of study time, activities can often get in the way of productivity. However, Advisory does have the potential to be more than worktime. The school uses Advisory to help freshmen

transition into high school, a service that is mostly helpful during the first few weeks of the school year. After that, the school could use Advisory as a sort of “homeroom,” where freshmen could check in with their Advisory teachers and student freshman advisors, and if necessary, go talk to other teachers. Otherwise, students could use Advisory as a work period. Advisory classes could return to having a more structured curriculum toward the end of first semester, to give freshmen information about finals. This would be a more organic way to help freshmen adjust to

high school—giving them extra support at the most difficult times of first semester, and checking in on them throughout while still giving them time to meet with teachers. While this wouldn’t help Advisory build community, the current system is not set up to do this either. “The overall point of Advisory is to give freshman some experiences and some information about what high school is like,” science teacher Thomas Budd said. Budd, along with history teacher Deedee Pearce, reworked the Advisory system at the end of last year.


Even if Advisory were to emphasize community more, it is naturally constrained by its format. “[Advisory classes] only meet once a week, the community building won’t feel authentic no matter how we spin it,” English teacher Jonathan Kwan said. In order to truly build a sense of community, the school would have to drastically rethink Advisory to try to create a genuine community. Otherwise, it should organize Advisory to optimize the benefit for freshmen, in terms of both support and time to work.

Letters to the Editor Language article misses mark Dear Editor,

Thumbs down to the situation in the parking lot. The parking lots have been been filling up exponentially over the past month. With winter weather coming on strong, more people are driving to school, meaning more students are parking illegally in the lot. Seniors and juniors find themselves struggling to find spots these days and are parking farther and farther away from their classes. Also, the increased number of cars in the lot make for an increased chance of accidents. The school should be making student safety a priority and understand that we need to ticket for reasons in addition to fairness. Seniors and juniors waited in a long line to get those parking permits—it’s only fair for the school to act on their promise and get the police department over to the school to ticket more often.

Thumbs sideways to the cleanliness of school bathrooms. The bathrooms at our school will never be completely clean, but there is an active role we have in their cleanliness. Whenever there are issues with toilets or the bathrooms aren’t up to par, students should always report issues to the administration. The administration can send a custodian to fix this issue. Another role we have is simply to respect the facilities. That is, flush after ourselves, throw away garbage, and not vandalize any of the walls. The entire student body shares these facilities, so we should make a conscious effort to keep them clean.

In regards to the article on “more language options,” my contention is that this is a very unwise idea. With so many students at our school who are not in the middle to upper class, how does offering classes on the languages of Portugal or Poland make sense? Primarily, is it wrong to assume that these proposed classes would be taken by a very small minority of students? It seems rather unnecessary and far from beneficial to offer such difference and irrelevant languages to our nation. I’m not arguing that studying these cultures is unimportant, but in reality only a very small faction of students can even afford to travel to Europe. Why not offer a class on English political talk, learning how to converse in a political and governmental situation? A far more important and useful topic in my mind. While the idea of a new language class might be perceived as exciting, I really think we should evaluate the importance and relevance it would bring to our education. I hope my letter can be perceived in a respectful tone, as I have the utmost respect for Talon. Alex Liua Junior The Talon welcomes letters to the editor. E-mail letters to 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.

5 The Talon Los Altos High School

201 Almond Avenue Los Altos, California December 18, 2012 Volume XXVIII, Issue 4

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 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,, 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

Talon Supporters

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 Pasturel Family, The Rigodanzo Family, Gail and Don Sims, Linda Taylor


The Talon December 18, 2012


Technology opens up new world of cheating Carly Cohen Staff Writer

Students are no longer just peeking over each other’s shoulders or writing answers on their arms in order to cheat. They are able to share answers to test questions with just the click of a button. Google Docs, texting, Facebook and email allow students access to each others’ papers and test answers more quickly and easily than ever before. “I am 100 percent sure that people just look at questions, take them and copy and paste them on the internet,” sophomore Ryan Adibi said. “Then they will get websites like Wikipedia and copy and paste [the information] onto their document and nobody knows.” These new forms of technology allow students much greater opportunity to cheat without getting caught. Technology-based cheating, especially before finals and the end of semesters, has increased, and the administration is taking notice. “I would say that last year, the assistant principals have dealt with more cheating than in the past,” Principal Wynne Satterwhite said. “This year it has been kind of sporadic. I hope not, but I have every indication that it will probably go up in the next couple of weeks [due to finals].” The stress of finals combined with easy access to online answers and papers give students the extra shove toward wanting to cheat; however, it is up to students to remain responsible

for their actions. Even though students should take the initiative and be responsible for themselves, teachers are regulating students’ cheating through websites such as Turnitin, where students' assignments are uploaded and compared to those on the internet as well as those of their peers for similarity. The work is then shown with a percentage of how much of the material was copied from somewhere else. This counteracts cheating, especially when so many can use Google Docs and share papers to one another. “Technology provides more temptation [to cheat],” Satterwhite said. “I think it’s our job to help students feel confident that their work is good. I really believe that it’s the ‘It’s three in the morning and I have a paper due tomorrow and I spent all night studying for my science test, what do I do?’ I don’t think

people are out there thinking, ‘How do I cheat?’” Although technology gives new opportunities to cheat, teachers can also use it to help discourage cheating and give students the resources to

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manage their time more effectively. Teachers should working on sharing deadline information with both students and teachers. This way, students can manage their time more effectively and not feel so much stress from having four different papers due on the same day. Although this will take time and effort on the part of the school’s faculty, it may help reduce cheating by avoiding the most stressful situations that often lead students to cheat. Technology is not going away, and both students and teachers will need to be part of the process to determine how it should be used in the classroom. Those who give their students so many opportunities to share their work online put a great deal of trust in the fact that they will be responsible for their actions and work. “I do have students sign an honor code and I read all of their work,” history teacher Stephanie Downey said. Both teachers and students together need to be attentive to the responsibility that falls on them when considering how technology provides new and easy ways to cheat.

Senior finals are more effective for students than not Tony Sun Staff Writer

Balancing academics, sports, extracurriculars and the burden of writing college applications, firstsemester seniors are among the hardest working groups on campus. It is no wonder, then, that many seniors grumble and gripe about winter finals, which many seniors see as another task on a seemingly-endless heap. “During senior year it is pretty hard to [find time to study for] finals first semester, due to college apps and all,” senior Mohan Avula said. “We’ve got a lot of private college applications due just a week after finals ends. I really want to just focus on my college apps.” With tensions already running so high and many

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nerves already smoldering, the debate about removing senior winter finals has again picked up steam among the student body. Despite these factors, senior finals, though they require some adjustment, should still be retained in the course curriculum. “Why are seniors any different from sophomores or juniors?” math teacher Carol Evans said. “I can understand [teachers] going easy on freshman, who haven’t acclimated to the concept of weighted finals, but seniors should be well experienced and have an advantage [in test-taking]. I certainly hope that these seniors, who are moving to an environment where finals are super important, have learned their lesson about finals. Failing a final in college is the equivalent of failing the class.” However, despite what appears to be a strong case for winter finals, Harker is an example of a nearby school that doesn’t offer senior finals. “Seniors at Harker, instead of being required to

endure the stress of finals as well as writing college applications, receive the finals week off to instead improve and finish their college applications,” junior Mary Liu, a transfer student from Harker, said. “I believe it’s an effective system to relieve some of the burdens senior students face.” Harker’s system, which completely eliminates senior finals, relieves lots of stress from the student body. It also helps seniors concentrate more on college applications, and helps seniors stay less stressed going into the holiday season. Despite obvious surface benefits, changing to match Harker’s elimination of senior finals would be a drastic culture change for LAHS, and might in fact negatively impact many more students than it would help. “I believe that although the current system may have its flaws, it still offers more benefits [over the other possible alternative],” Senior Class President John Lee said. “Although the timing may not be the best for certain people, I believe that the timing could be much worse.” Despite their grumbling, most seniors still agree that, while tedious, senior finals are still necessary.

In the end, however, it’s really not the winter finals themselves that cause seniors stress; it’s the timing of the winter finals. “About handling Marching Band, choir, running clubs, sports and other extracurriculars first semester senior year, I don’t believe that’s an excuse for students to have an easier time with grades, because they can control their extracurricular workload,” senior Willem Van Eck said. When asked about his opinion on winter senior finals, however, he noted with dismay the timing of this year’s finals. “I don’t necessarily protest the existence of first semester finals because nothing about being a senior exempts us from finals,” Willem said. “However, I do protest how this year, finals week and the studying period beforehand occurs immediately after Early Action and Early Decision letters come back from colleges; students who were either rejected or deferred from their top choice schools

“Although historically finals have only hurt my grades, I do think we still need to them in order to give some people hope that they have a chance to raise their semester grades,” Mohan said. “I admit that many times it might just be a pipe-dream for some of us, but it’s still useful to have that last chance.” Without finals, many students would not be able to show improvement over the semester. Students would not be able to demonstrate their ability to learn from past mistakes, and every chapter test would effectively become a one-time assessment of material that will never be tested again, a counterintuitive idea since learning encompasses gaining a cumulative understanding of the material. In short, by removing winter finals, the stress caused by the finals would just be spread over all the other assessments of the school year, leaving seniors just as stressed as they are now, and also harming those who rely on finals as their last chance to boost their grades.

may be in emotional wrecks, or have a momentary slump as a result which could cause them to do much worse than normal on a final exam. [Meanwhile], students accepted early may have a period of jubilation where they underestimate the importance of these exams, which may in extreme cases cause a drop in grades that could cause them to be rescinded. I believe that administering final exams during such an emotionally unsettling point in some senior’s lives is a bad choice.” In conclusion, the school’s winter finals remain an important practice for college-bound seniors, although their timing might be reconsidered to alleviate the stress that accompanies being a first semester senior. Staggering the finals or decreasing their point worth for students already maintaining A’s could alleviate some of their stress, but that remains at the hands and discretion of department coordinators.

December 18, 2012



Shop with Etsy to support art community Sparsha Saxena Senior Writer

There are many factors to consider when picking out a gift, such as whether it has unique qualities or a story behind its production. The more we try to specialize a product, be it through a unique design or through a meaningful story behind it, the harder it is to find these products in commercial areas. Websites such as Etsy, though, are making such purchases possible, so people should look to Etsy for gifts this holiday season. Etsy, a website founded in 2005, is dedicated to promoting the work of independent artists—it’s like an online craft fair. By instantly giving customers access to a variety of products of different styles from artists across the world, Etsy provides a whole new, and better, dimension to online shopping. But Etsy isn’t there solely for the customer’s benefit. Independent artists rely on Etsy to exhibit their work and network. “Etsy gave me an outlet to strengthen my brand and small business,” San Francisco Etsy Team Leader of Social Media Lisa Spinella said. When so many sellers are out there with different websites, it’s hard for consumers to find products without the help of Etsy. Etsy serves to connect customers with as many artisans as possible, making the shopping

San Francisco Etsy Team

experience simple yet comprehensive. However, more than just helping artists showcase their work, Etsy has surrounded these artists with a community of people with similar goals and interests. SF Etsy team itself represents a community of hundreds of artisans from the Bay Area. The group introduced Katy Atchison, Co-Captain of the SF Etsy team and an Etsy artist, to people she would have never realized were similar to her. In Marin County itself, there were not a lot of people who shared similar interests with Atchison or lived a similar lifestyle. “When you’re growing up people do cheerleading camp or soccer … so I never found friends in the realm of trying to make a living off of their art,” Atchison said. Etsy connected her to people like her. The same people who would go on to be the artists in project groups. “When you go out to the movies, you might meet someone like you, but don’t realize they are just like you unless you really get to know them,” Atchison said. “On Etsy, you know that they already have something in common with you. You are all Etsy sellers. You are all creative. You are all making something.” Once Atchison found the SF Etsy team, she quickly found herself writing blogs for them. Over the past few years the team’s 300 members has grown to 800, solely through word of mouth. While some SF Etsy artisans sell products online through Etsy, others sell products at craft fairs. One of the largest struggles, however, with getting more people to use Etsy or buy from local artists is that in comparison to Target and other bigger stores, Etsy’s prices aren’t considered good deals. However, it’s not necessarily that the prices of Etsy sellers are expensive, it’s just that their competitors are selling them cheaper because they have the resources—machines and labor—to sell goods at a smaller price. The rule of thumb for most independent artisans is to price the products three times greater than the price of materials. This takes into account labor and a fair profit for the the artist. “I ultimately believe that people love to know about the process, the history and the magic of an item handmade by an artist,” Spinella said. “When [customers] receive your item they are touching something often one-of-a-kind, hand touched by an artisan not a sweatshop, and made by a human being not a machine.” In addition to the one-of-a-kind quality, the products are local and, in turn, better for the environment. “You spend your money on it’s something that goes back into your neighborhood,” Atchison said. “You can have a

San Francisco Etsy Team

bigger impact on your community if you are spending the money within your community.” This irreplaceable quality affects customers on a different level than buying from a bigger corporation does. Atchison works for Pottery Barn in addition to owning an Etsy store. She notices considerable differences between her customers of Etsy than those of Pottery Barn. She said that her customers at Pottery Barn don’t have the same loyalty to the products as customers do to Etsy. Aside from buying a product that’s unique, customers have the ability to communicate with their sellers; they can tell them what they like or want in a product. The freedom and interaction customers get with Etsy contributes to a greater trust in the products. San Francisco is an extremely special city in that it holds so many outlets for us to purchase locally—the San Francisco Etsy team is one of the five largest Etsy teams in the country. We have an opportunity to buy distinct products that represent the wealth of our area. Anyone interested in helping our community should join the SF Etsy page to stay connected with upcoming events and learn about different artists. There are also stores like Urban Bazaar, which is a fair trade store in San Francisco, that sell a lot of work from local artists and sustainable companies. Etsy is showcasing beauty and the talent in our own community. For those who can support the higher tag price, it’s our obligation to help our community thrive, and support Etsy sellers by choosing to buy at Etsy for our holiday gifts.

P.E. state test requirements create BMI bias Zoe Morgan News Editor

Every school year, ninth graders have to take a state mandated fitness test. If they fail, they must retake P.E. the following year, regardless of whether or not they are involved in a sport. While some testing is certainly necessary, the current test is flawed and unfair to many students. Last year, 82 percent of students at the school passed 5 out of the 6 tests. If mastery of 6 tests is not achieved, retaking PE becomes

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necessary. However, tests are unfair to many students. This is largely because one of the tests is based on BMI. If a student’s BMI is above a certain number that counts as a failed test. Additionally, there is a sprinting test and many students with higher BMIs tend to fail that test. This becomes a problem especially for students with particularly muscular builds. These students have higher weight to height ratios and therefore higher BMIs. Because of this, they often don’t run as fast. On these two factors alone,

t h e y can be forced to take P.E. again. Many of these more muscular students are involved in sports and actually very fit. However, despite this, P.E. department head Jim Phillips said the tests are indeed fair for students. “I do believe the fitness tests are fair to all students,”

Phillips said. “I understand that there has been some concern over those students with a high body mass index (BMI) needing to perform better on the aerobic capacity tests than those with a low BMI. This is because having a high BMI, regardless of the reason, increases the risk of heart related diseases.” While it is certainly true that having a higher BMI can be dangerous, there are students who have different body shapes and builds. Because BMI’s are simply a comparison of height, weight and age, someone who is particularly muscular can score a similar BMI to someone who is less fit. “I think the idea behind this testing is valid, but over the years they’ve made changes that I’m not so sure make a lot of sense,” Principal Wynne Satterwhite said. “Part of the changes are based on the national obesity studies and so when you look at certain things like you know body [mass] index...yes, in a non athletic person that very well may be unhealthy, but when you have athletes...I’m not sure it’s been calibrated correctly.” Additionally, students are only able to take the test once their freshman

year and again at the end of the first semester of their sophomore year. Because of this, it is an all or nothing proposition. If students happen to have a bad day, they can be forced to have an entire extra semester of P.E. “The test itself is biased against larger students and should be changed,” Superintendent Barry Groves said. “Students should also have multiple opportunities to pass the test.” The only other time students can take the test is at the end of the first semester of their sophomore year. If they pass, they don’t have to take it second semester. If they fail they must finish the year out. The problem is that they have to wait an entire semester. Simply

failing the one test freshman year means students must at least take another complete semester of P.E. before they can retest. Physical education is certainly important, and we need to ensure that students are fit, but students of different body types shouldn’t be unnecessarily penalized. If students are able to participate in a sport, they are already getting physical activity on a daily basis. However, because this is a state mandated test, the school has no control over it. The way state law is currently being interpreted forces students to retake P.E. This is a fundamentally flawed system that is biased against students of different body types.


December 18, 2012


Food Drive, AVID recognized for local service Chase Eller Staff Writer

With various clubs such as Haiti Solidarity, ODFL, Amnesty International and many more, the school has made a huge impact on global issues. It has helped educate, rebuild and better the lives of a plethora of people in developing countries. There is no doubt that these issues are very important, but because these clubs have drawn so much attention, a void has been left in attention of local issues. Many would rather send books and toys to another country as opposed to sending them to Mountain View or other neighboring cities. Why is this? Is it more appealing to put on a college application? Are the local issues not as important because they happen on a smaller scale? It can be easy to be ignorant of local issues, such as hunger and education, when not facing those problems yourself. However these issues do exist, and the school should start making a larger impact on the local community. Luckily, several groups on campus are already invested in local community service. To begin with, the annual food drive is a perfect example of Los Altos giving back to its local community. “Second Harvest families rely on the food bank to provide enough food for them,” ASB Vice President senior Rachel Pinkelman said. “While people are struggling globally, not everyone in our community is as fortunate as we are.” Each year, the school holds the Second Harvest Food Drive in which food and money are donated. One dollar can help provide two meals for families who are financially struggling in this area. This year, the food drive raised around 10,000 pounds for the

local people in need and $4,785.95, a quarter of which was sent to those affected by Hurrican Sandy. As a school, we need to follow in this lead and commit to more events that make a big impact in the community. “It may also seem that because we are so fortunate where we live, it is impossible for people in our community to be struggling like people in other countries, while in reality that’s not true,” Pinkelman said. A second great example of students involved in local issues is the AVID department’s support the local community. “A lot of times for our final projects, our teachers will assign us a project where we have to find a way to help give back to the community,” senior AVID student Glenda Vargas said. For example, Kimberly Garcia, a junior in AVID, started A Cure for Cancer Club. Other students such as Glenda

and senior Brianna Ellington make sure their respective clubs such as Latino Student Union and Black Student Union give back to the local community. “We learn what it takes to be a leader,” Brianna said. “It’s about learning how to lead and give back to your community.” AVID does not limit itself to local deeds and services; many of the students play big roles in groups such as Haiti club and ODFL. While AVID students participate in global activities such as Run for Zimbabwe, they also maintain a commitment to the local community and make it a priority, an example more students should follow. “This is where we live,” Brianna said. “The community does all this for us, gives so much to us. It feels good to give back. Whether it is helping to tutor younger kids or help put on local events it feels good to give back. I feel like I owe something to this community that has

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educated me and helped shape me.” Whether it is a lack of recognition about the local issues or prioritization of the larger global ones, it seems as if the school has done amazing work for the international community while neglecting the local. The school should continue in the vein of the food drive and AVID and strengthen its commitment to the local community. The best part is that since the work is local, just a short distance away, students can become involved immediately. “It is good to be aware of the global issues, but I feel like locally is where we have to start,” Glenda said. “Why not start off in our own local community and then branch off globally? You don’t need to travel to another continent to help people out and to help change lives.”

NHS volunteering could be made more meaningful Shiktij Dave Copy/Content Editor

Come March, applications for acceptance into National Honor Society (NHS) will be coming fast and furious. Eager sophomores will scramble to determine whether they match academic and extracurricular requirements to join the club without exactly having much of an idea of the club’s purpose. “I don’t know exactly the purpose of NHS but I do know that there are a significant amount of people in it,” sophomore Akhil Avula said. “And I plan on applying for it come time for application.” NHS acceptance is nonselective considering the number of students accepted every year. And with these mass acceptances, NHS reels in many students that care little about the club because of the general ignorance about how the club functions. “I feel like NHS is a club that acknowledges a students academic achievement, volunteering sounds like a byproduct,” NHS member junior Alex Kuo said. NHS is a conglomeration of accomplished students in each class who may or may not care about the volunteering opportunities offered by the club. The ticket to admission into the club comes from the club’s lax acceptance policies. Many students find themselves getting more out of their community service experience by

participating in private service. “I tutor children in East Palo Alto at Boys and Girls Foundation,” Alex said. “I find it a much more engaging experience because of how involved I am and the fact that I get satisfaction for myself out of it being a recurring thing. My experience for volunteering at NHS is bearable, but I would rather establish long term volunteering relationship than drop in volunteering.” Community service opportunities that students pursue should be means for them to embolden their character while becoming acclimated with those in need. NHS events are not. The bureaucratic nature of NHS and the constraints that they impose seem to make for a less favorable way to pursue community service as opposed to personal pursuits. “I can’t speak for all students, but being able to be active in [more private] opportunities, such as a hospital, offers an amazing experience,” Akhil said. “However, NHS also sounds like it might be a great starting point for volunteering.” NHS’s popularity at Los Altos can largely be attributed to the seductive name, and the fact that students are compelled to join it because its recognition on a national basis. Meanwhile,

the events that NHS offers are generally more sporadic and, while they generally involve the community, the lack of longevity in terms of commitment about any of these events makes it so that, while students do end up

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gaining hours from doing these activities, they don’t necessarily get the personal accomplishment from community service. “I find that the regularity in NHS volunteering experiences makes me less involved and less personal in the things that I volunteer,” Alex said. The impersonal nature of NHS

activity does not, however, mean that students in the club should not be active in getting the most from it. Most students in NHS only satisfy their volunteer hours cap as a way to continue in the clubs for their two years. However, if students actually found themselves dedicated and

passionate to the events that NHS offered, it would serve to make those students’ NHS hours much more valuable. “Since we have over 150 members, we provide a lot more opportunities for members to reach out to different parts of their communities,” NHS secretary senior Caroline Deng said. “We have done events from sports boosters to elementary school events, and we have gotten a lot of compliments from people we have volunteered with—such as

the Almond Carnival, the Music and Sports Departments, and the local library associations—and a lot of them do invite NHS back to volunteer again.” If NHS were to encourage students to foster a passion in the club’svolunteeringopportunities, it could live up to its aspirations of building character individuals. “Ultimately, I believe that if NHS has people with strong character [who] understand the role they are playing, they are fostering a passion in [community service],” Akhil said. Regardless of the impersonal nature of the community service opportunities, it has provided events that some students in the club might get satisfaction from. The reality, however, is that NHS provides an incentive for only a few of the students involved in the otherwise massive club. In this line of thought, NHS has tried to become more integrated as a part of the community this year by providing hours for involving students in other events, such as the YEAH! Club sponsored Blood Drive. “This year, we have encouraged members to suggest events that NHS can participate in and we always open to new event ideas, and members of other on-campus clubs, such as the Veterans Appreciation Club, UNICEF and the YEAH! Club have taken the initiative to do so,” Caroline said.



December 18, 2012

Seniors train for mixed martial arts competition Padding up after a thorough stretch, senior Francisco Vargas reassures himself of his confidence in his own abilities. In a parallel situation, senior Francisco Ortega dismisses his insecurities, reminding himself of all the hard work put forth into making his competition day possible. The hours spent on conditioning and sparring have come down to this: a mixed martial arts (MMA) match. In recent years, both Francisco Ortega and Francisco Vargas have become enamored with this sport. Two years ago Francisco Ortega joined Serao Academy, a MMA facility, with some friends. “One day I was just walking by a studio and I decided I wanted to join that place,” Francisco Ortega said. “I joined with a couple of friends.” Francisco Ortega began training in Muay Thai, a form of kickboxing, and has since added Brazilian jiujitsu, taekwondo and wrestling to his repertoire. His training has taken him to five competitions, and placed third in three of them. Francisco Ortega initially began training recreationally, but became involved competitively last school year because he wanted to further practice his own abilities. “It’s a natural aspect of training,” Francisco Ortega said. “You want to put [your training] to the test. There’s not really a pressure at the gym to compete, but everybody else there

does it so you want to do it yourself. You want to be part of the team, like everybody else.” Francisco Vargas began training two years ago when he was grounded and MMA served as an outlet. Like Francisco Ortega, Francisco Vargas began training in Muay Thai. Training in MMA led him to participate in his first competition this past October,

My favorite part [of Mixed Martial Arts] has been the discipline. I’m a lot mellower ... If people want to ... start a fight, then [I] take the high road. – SENIOR FRANCISCO VARGAS

Alex Cortinas Staff Writer

in which he placed first. In the same competition, Francisco Ortega placed third. Despite Francisco Vargas’s stellar performance, he said that the competition was a learning experience. “It was an eye-opener,” Vargas said. “It made me realize that I need to attack more. I let my opponent play his game instead of mine. It didn’t go the way I wanted it to.” Ortega said that MMA training can be rigorous and eclectic. From running to gain endurance to lifting tires for strength building, the overall process is very demanding. “The workouts get really tiring,” Francisco Vargas said. “Especially since we train for a few hours at a time.”

Workouts and conditioning can last anywhere from three to six hours, six days a week. Included in the training is sparring, in which both students have drastically improved. “We train with older men and they’re all heavier and stronger,” Francisco Vargas said. “The past three months, we grew a lot and for them it was really unexpected. They’re surprised to see us grow so much. Before they used to tap us out really fast, and now they can’t tap us out and we’re really close to are tapping them out at times.” The training process also requires strict self-discipline, a trait that both Francisco Ortega and Francisco Vargas have picked up through training. “My favorite part [of Mixed Martial Arts] has been the discipline,” Francisco Vargas said. “I’m a lot mellower ... If people want to... start a fight, then [I] take the high road.” Both said that being involved in MMA has shaped them as individuals. “I’m not the same person I was freshman year,” Ortega said. “I was louder and rowdy. I was that kid that would never shut up. Now I’m just calm and the experience [of doing MMA] has really humbled me.” Both Francisco Vargas and Francisco Ortega hope to continue MMA while pursuing higher education. “I would want to do this professionally, along with studying,” Francisco Vargas said. “Doing this and something else as well would be really cool.” Francisco Ortega has similar

courtesy blaine Dzwonczyk

Seniors Francisco Ortega and Francisco Vargas competed in a mixed martial arts competition on December 1. Both seniors learned and competed in different forms of MMA, ranging from kickboxing to taekwondo. intentions, but a professional career in MMA remains undecided. “I know I want to go to school and I know want to continue doing this,” Francisco Ortega said.

School dancers star in Nutcracker ballet Jared Eng Copy/Content Editor

Whether it is by the San Francisco Ballet or one produced by a local dance company, the Nutcracker seems to bring out the essence of the Christmas spirit. In these local Nutcracker productions, two LAHS dancers starred as the famous sugar plum fairy: senior Freja Mickos and junior Emily McKinney. Freja has been dancing ballet for 10 years, starting from a young age in Finland. Freja performed in her first ballet at the age of eight, and has taken part in the Nutcracker performance every year since. This year marked the first and last time she performed as the sugar plum fairy. “I think what mainly

attracts me to this show every year is that it’s such a rich and diverse story with an incredible amount of characters and dancers,” Freja said. “Each year that I perform it I have three or four new parts that I get to learn, which makes it really interesting and exciting each time we have the shows.” As a senior and one of the oldest dancers in the Pacific Ballet Academy, Freja performed in her last show on November 25. Though she knew her Nutcracker performances would soon draw to an end, Freja had mixed emotions once she finished her final dance. “It was honestly the most emotional I have ever been on stage,” Freja said. “I’ve always thought

that I would be happy and relieved to be done with rehearsals... but I was sobbing after the last curtain fell.” It was a bittersweet moment for Freja. After working for countless hours toward the final moment when the curtains closed, she had been extremely proud of her accomplishments, yet sad it was over. Though ballet dancing will no longer continue to be a large part of her life, Freja will continue to search for dance programs

photos by chloe arrouye

Senior Freja Mickos (left) and junior Emily McKinney (right) dance on pointe in preparation for the Nutcracker show. Both Freja and Emily are dancers at the school who performed in local annual Nutcracker ballet productions.

or college classes to continue to fulfill her passion for dancing in the future. Another dancer following a similar path as Freja, but starring in San Jose Youth Ballet is Emily. After exposing herself to many styles of dance including tap, jazz, lyrical and modern, Emily began to change her focus to ballet at the age of 10 to follow her main interest. Since she began her ballet career, she has performed in the Nutcracker for six years, each of which has been a memorable experience. “[The reason I am attracted to the Nutcracker is] because it’s the most well known ballet story to the non-dancer audience,” Emily said. “Also, the story is understandable for all audiences.” A member of the Dance Theater International company, Emily performs in the annual Nutcracker show. In the San Jose youth production, she plays the role of a sugar plum fairy as well as the roles of Arabian, snow and flower dancers. The dance company began to rehearse in August, and showcases its ballet production in December. Its last performance is on December 9; other shows in coming months include Swan Lake. Ballet has continued to play a large part in Emily’s life. She has grown up with the strict discipline and commitment to ballet and over the course of her dancing career, has been given many memorable opportunities. “Well, [ballet] has been life-changing [for me],” Emily said. “I’ve gotten wonderful training and great experiences. It has given me the opportunity to dance with professional ballet dancers from well known companies like San Francisco Ballet.”

December 18, 2012




Sexism is officially defined as behavior, conditions or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex. Yet this definition drastically oversimplifies a national issue into a few concise words: there is still a significant struggle left in finding an agreeable equality between men and women with their political, economic and social rights. In a country that is in the mist of many other social movements, there must also be a active consideration of this issue that is in reality closer to everyone in the student body than it may seem. talent. Girls may tend to have more of this talent in general, yet there is still strong support for boys to become involved in higher level English courses. “We try to encourage everybody,” Oliver said. “I don’t think of it in a gender biased way. I definitely think people who want to challenge themselves and improve their writing should do so, but I don’t think of it in a gender way.” Senior Christopher Tien, who is currently taking AP Literature, wants to become a doctor when he grows up because he sees it as a more practical job than one in an English-related field. However, he believes that sexism does play a role in academic paths for both men and women and that it may be an unconscious decision. “I do believe this but I have no idea why,” Chris said. “Males are generally more into business, science and technology. This hasn’t influenced my career choice or maybe it has and I don’t even realize it.”

Educational Interests

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the greatest difference in the median income between men and women was in personal finance.

Men actually outnumber women in the baking industry, however, women in the field earn 4% more in weekly earnings

Women are just of the chief executives at the largest 1000 U.S. companies A study by Cornell University states that other factors besides gender can influence occupation and associated benefits, there is still about a 10% gap in average earnings between the sexes which may be the result gender discrimination

doing in that course?’” Rosenberg said. “It’s like a white person taking an AfricanAmerican course. As an outsider in a way, you have a different kind of perspective. Because of that, I feel like I learned more than a woman [would have] and I think it’s good for a program like that to have a different take.” Rosenberg said that he attributes the disproportionate ratios to many factors. He said sometimes it may just be that women are more interested and skilled at English, while men feel more comfortable with science. But he also said that there is a prominent cultural barrier that at times both unconsciously and consciously plays a deciding factor in the classes students choose. “In some future world where we understand everything about everything, I wouldn’t be shocked that what we discovered was that whatever inherent differences exist between men and women generally, they show up in things like Percentage of students by grade level interest and aptitudes in that believe gender favoritism by certain kinds of subject teachers affects grading matter,” Rosenberg said. 60 “That doesn’t mean that 59% an individual girl can’t be 56% interested and skillful, [or] 50 that boys generally may be more naturally gifted in 40 and vice versa, but I think 41% when you combine some level of inherent aptitude 30 with cultural norms, it 29% pushes it in either direction 20 or even stronger.” For example, will a male student choose to join an 10 English class if he knows that he may be one of the only guys in the class? Will 0 Senior Junior Sophomore Freshman a female student choose to join a harder math class if On the opposite side of the spectrum from she knows that she may be the only girl in the class? The English department AP classes the Engilsh department is mathematics, tend to have more girls compared to boys. a part of academics that can seem maleHowever, this statistic paints an incomplete dominated. Math teacher Carol Evans said that the issue is not that boys are better at portrait of the gender situation. “I definitely don’t think it’s true that math, but that they have been encouraged girls are better at English,” English teacher more than girls to pursue math interests. “Society basically tells boys that they April Oliver said. “I think that it is true that advanced English classes have more girls in should be focused on math, and just them typically, but, I dont think it is true that encourages them a lot more,” Evans said. “Boys are told early on, they should be girls have more English skills.” Even so, Oliver doesn’t believe English interested in this, and then encourages skills are determined by sex, but rather by their progression.” Percentage

Whether it is the issue of equal pay in the workforce or the presence of women in politics, it is evident that gender stereotypes and discrepancies exist. No, women are no longer fighting for the right to vote or to receive equal education, and America is getting to the point where both men and women can be the breadwinners of the family. However, there are still fields that are grossly dominated by men and other fields dominated by women. Many of these stereotypes can be viewed just by looking at discrepancies in the classes at school. The AP English courses tend to see a smaller number of guys while the AP Computer Science and accelerated math classes tend to see fewer girls. In fact, this year AP Literature is at a 3 to 1 ratio of girls to boys and AP Computer Science is at a 1 to 5 ratio. Assistant principal Galen Rosenberg said that he has pondered these discrepancies for a while. “We’re a blue state: we’re very diverse ethnically, culturally, linguistically, socioeconomically ... communities like that, stereotypically speaking, have been more progressive to these kind of issues generally,” Rosenberg said. “To me it’s a little surprising that those discrepancies exist here.” Rosenberg, who majored in Women’s Studies at University of California, Berkeley, has been exploring similar ideas for years. His interest kicked in when he took a class on Southern Literature, which highlighted the cultural, social and political differences throughout literature and society. Rosenberg said that sometimes people question his major, but he believes that he gained a valuable perspective and added insight to the class. “People always wonder, ‘What’s a guy


217 students polled

Even though sexism is a larger problem and more prominent issue for women, there are also cases when men are at the end of the chain

The prison, homeless and school dropout populations are overwhelmingly male

A majority of women executives are in the healthcare and education industries

In two decades, women’s incomes have increased by an average $3000





By Maya Acharya, Staff Writer | Rebecca Cohen, Opinio Staff Writer | Brenna Reid, Entertainment Editor | Shilp

Students involved in the Women in Science club at Los Altos have begun to attempt to counteract the belief that women can’t, or shouldn’t, have careers in science. The club was started this year by juniors Katherine Liu and Mary Liu and focuses on providing female students with opportunities in the science field. These opportunities range from being involved in the organization of this year’s STEM week, to gaining internship experience with female professionals. “Even today, discrimination against women in scientific fields still persists,” Katherine said. “We’ve tried to build a channel through which students can learn more about science and build relationships with professionals.” The club’s main focus is to give their members the chance to network with professionals and become more involved in the scientific world. Katherine said that the problem often is that young women interested in the field aren’t taking advantage of the options and possibilities available. “These events and activities [that the club finds] are open to everyone; our role is to bring them to an audience that might otherwise have little contact with these opportunities,” Katherine said. Next semester the club plans on giving its members more opportunities for internships at scientific institutions. “In areas like biology, women are really rising to the forefront of their fields. Tech companies are also doing a lot to encourage women to pursue their passion for science,” Katherine said. “We still have work to do, but overall, people are much more open to women in scientific fields than they have ever been in the past.”

In Fortune 500 companies, women compose only 2.6% of corporate officers and make up ~60% of all employees

Wom prox work

There is strong move in the current economic situation for women towards financial and science-oriented occupations jobs, such as pharmaceuticals and financial management

Howe made mid a

24 out of the 25 lowest ranking jobs in the U.S. are dominated by men

Only 6 the Ho Represe is wom sea



er Roles




ons Editor | Zach Cohen, Staff Writer | Cassidy Craford, pa Venigandla, Senior Writer | David Wu, Staff Writer

Sports Gender roles contribute to unequal treatment and expectations in sports. While these behaviors may be a result of ignorance or cultural stigmas, society is gradually alleviating the negative influence of sexism in sports. However, there is still quite some distance left to go. Senior Rishi Bhargava started playing field hockey when he was 10. In the past few weeks, Rishi has elevated his game to the highest level, playing for the United States National Junior Field Hockey Team (U21). “It’s really cool to be able to play for the national team,” Rishi said. “Anytime you are part of a national team, it’s really a great thing to be able to say and be proud of.” While Rishi is proud of playing on the national field hockey team, he still has to deal with the stereotype that field hockey is a female-orientated sport. In the United States, field hockey is only offered for girls at the high school level, whereas in other countries it is included in the range of men’s sports. While there are other avenues through which men can participate, there is still this lack of inclusion at the high school level. “I know at least a few guys from each high school that would be willing to play if given the opportunity, so co-ed teams should be an option that schools should look into,” Rishi said. While the stigma surrounding field hockey may inhibit the formation of co-ed teams,

men compose apximately 50% of the kforce in the United States

ever, women have not e prominent gains into ddle and senior management positions

6.4% of ouse of entatives men (29 ats)

December 18, 2012

Research shows that women tend to do better in fields where their sex is the minority

the foundations of these gender associations are much deeper; this experience that Rishi has had in what some perceive to be a female sport is not just a single or rare occurrence, nor it this overall situation unique to one gender. When exploring sports that are not typical to their gender, both men and women can face an unwelcoming environment. “[Other students] just kind of make fun of me, saying that it’s a girls sport, and that I’m gay for playing it,” Rishi said. “At a time, I was actually not wanting to tell people I play field hockey because I was sort of embarrassed, but now I’ve gotten over that and I’m actually very comfortable, especially because I play for the national team.” In this case, Rishi has managed to both move past the stereotype surrounding his sport and gain confidence in his athletic abilities. It is also important to have support from other team members and peers to overcome these stigmas in sports. Freshman Kylie Huch has found these foundations in wrestling, a sport that is typically associated with men due to its high level of physical contact and aggressive nature. “I really like wrestling because it is more open than other sports, and you can use all the moves you have learned and freely apply them in your game,” Kylie said. However, she is at a strength disadvantage when it comes to matches. In some cases, such deterrents can contribute to the association of a sport with a specific gender, but group support can help to overcome this. “I’m not as strong as most the guys in there, so a lot of times when I wrestle guys my weight I have a bit of trouble,” Kylie said. “I am at a disadvantage in terms of strength, but I’m still getting conditioned and everybody is very supportive.” Maintaining this welcoming environment and encouraging students to pursue their interests, even if they don’t align with gender roles, is one way to erode these gender stereotypes in sports. “I think we [guys and girls] should be equal in sports,” Kylie said. “I know that in wrestling I can understand it is different because not many girls wrestle, but my team is very supportive and I don’t face any stereotyping from them.” In the case of both Rishi and Kylie, support from teammates in their respective sports helped them to accomplish so much. While stereotypes in wrestling, field hockey and myriad other sports are present, these individuals and many others have set an example on how to overcome them.

Women who work an average week (~40 hours) earn on average 85% of what men working similar hours earn

80% of the atheletic directors at college level sports are men

One of the largest average pay differences for men and women is in occupations relating to personal finance

On average, students say that they hear four or five jokes per week that “Ms. Satterwhite would consider sexist”

Sexist Jokes “Girls always tell you to look at things from happening here.” their point of view. I tried looking out of the Although such jokes may be intended to kitchen window and I didn’t see anything.” be humorous, they somtimes are riddled “Men are like computers; they’re hard to with messages about how each gender figure out and never have enough memory.” sees the other. From a Facebook status to an audible “I think that a lot of people say things remark in a hallway, most people have either like this because a lot of other people seen or heard a sexist remark in some way don't find misogynistic sayings and jokes or another. The concept of sexist jokes is offensive because they know that they’re simple: they are jokes that propagate sexist intended to to be jokes, not a form of attitudes through the stereotyping of social bullying,” Peter said. roles or discrimination based on gender. With a majority of people claiming that This brand of humor, unfortunately, is a their sexist remarks are simply jokes, more popular and socially acceptable way to and more people have become accustomed degrade both genders, and it has developed to them. To some, they’ve simply become to mainly disparage. trivial, solely for the purpose of a laugh. “The often casual basis of sexist remarks Still, in many instances, sexist jokes are a and jokes is becoming more and more reiteration of stereotypes and prejudices that widespread, particularly among high school each gender have against the other. students,” sophomore Amelia Baum said. “I think that most of these jokes come from While these types of remarks have the way that women are perceived,” Peter been prevalent throughout history, this said. “The stereotypes of women as people phenomenon has become more pertinent that make food or things like that are where in 21st century ideas that women “I think that the spread of with increased are supposed these jokes is spurred by the to make a guy attention to gender roles. Students sandwiches come Internet. It is much easier to from.” need to keep pace say things on the Internet with the evolving Males, on the than in real life because perspectives on other hand, are gender issues and when a person makes a sexist often found in roles the attitudes that comment, meme, etc..., they of power, according to “The Myth of sexist jokes portray. don’t come into contact with “I think that Male Decline,” an anyone that they’re talking students usually article in the New about. ” — Junior Peter Farmer York Times that just disregard the possible offers statistics consequences of telling sexist jokes,” Amelia on male and female occupational trends. said. “Usually nothing happens afterwards, They are the workers, the breadwinners, the so people feel that it’s okay to tell them.” bosses, the ones “in charge.” Consequently, The integration of technology may also aid they feel the need to exercise their authority with this proliferation of sexist jokes. or power. “Boys have two motivations,” sophomore “I think that the spread of these jokes is spurred by the internet,” junior Peter Farmer Meredith Soward said. “They’re either trying said. “It is much easier to say things on the to be funny or they feel empowered by putting internet than in real life because when a themselves above girls.” person makes a sexist comment, meme, etc., No matter the circumstances behind them they don’t come into contact with anyone or their intent, the severity of sexist jokes is that they’re talking about.” one that we should recognize as unsuitable Principal Wynne Satterwhite said the for the high school environment. humorous impact of these jokes do not justify “9 times out of 10 I intercede [when I their use. hear a sexist joke being told],” Satterwhite “I don’t think they’re acceptable at all,” said. “I use it as a teaching moment Satterwhite said. “I work very hard to try to and I talk about the fact that that’s not make sure that students understand that appropriate, or that that’s not something that’s not something we want to have that we do at Los Altos High School.”

Women may have to work longer to receive promotions for higher pay. Among school principals, women on average must work for 3 years longer than their male counterparts

Only 7% of students knew that the occupation with the smallest difference in pay between genders was construction

In fact, in construction related jobs, women tend to make a little more than men, even though they make up 3% of the field.

A 2010 study showed that men were less likely to be called for an interview in fields with 65% or more female workers


37% of students responded correctly that only 30% of female college freshmanplanned to major in a science or engineering related field. Many major science schools, such as Cal Tech, are trying to attract women

Data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Discovery Magazine, The Independent, Sexism in Work and the American Association of University Women (AAUW) | Poll data from a random sample of English classes at each respective grade level. Several other classes were included to more accurately depict the views of students.



December 18, 2012

Counselor does charity work in Nicaragua

Ariel Rojas is known to many students only as a friendly counselor; few know that he finds the time to help others in need in his home country of Nicaragua as well as here in the United States. Since 2001, he’s been visiting different towns in Nicaragua annually to help the people who are in need and bring them necessities such as food and clothing. Although Camoapa is the main town that Rojas visits, he also travels to Boaco, Managua

graphic by ZACH COHEN

and San Marcos on these goodwill trips. The trips aren’t limited to bringing only Christmas cheer though; Rojas and his family make multiple trips to Nicaragua throughout the year, mainly in the summertime and during the holidays. “We try to bring relief to poor families,” Rojas said. “We’ve done [projects such as] bringing up to 23 to 28 barrels of clothes and toys during the holiday season. We’ve also have done projects like bringing school supplies and computers, helping people rebuild their homes.” Rojas and his family have expanded their range of focus to multiple areas such as medicine and education, aiming to gain a non-profit organization status. According to Rojas, the process to apply for the nonprofit status is long, tedious and costs money, but he hopes that he can achieve it in the next year or two. “The best part about this project is that I get to do it myself,” Rojas said. “There’s no bureaucracy involved, there’s no money going to anything else but that. If I raise $10, those $10 are going to go exactly to that family.” Rojas started his charity work in college while doing a project on child labor in Nicaragua, leading him to believe that he could make a difference and better the lives of those living there. “I’m from Nicaragua so I’ve always seen the poverty that happens there,” Rojas said. “But after I dug deeper into the situation, I realized that there was a lot of need within the youth there.” Having been born in Nicaragua, Rojas maintains a special bond with the country and its culture. When he immigrated to the United States at 14 years old, he wasn’t able to return to Nicaragua for over 13 years due to different problems such as political issues. “After I went back ... [the poverty] really hit me and that’s when I decided that I needed to do something about it because my life here was different and much better,” Rojas said. Rojas and his family have raised money in many different ways throughout the years, ranging from garage sales to silent auctions. They’ve called upon their friends and extended family to help out by attending these fundraisers or donating money to their cause. “[My wife and I are] the pioneers and everybody else always helps,” Rojas said. “It’s a big network of people... we’ll send letters and we’ll get $25 here and $50 there.” The first time that Rojas and his family brought over the collected supplies to Camoapa, Nicaragua in 2001 was an important experience to him. They

had been able to bring 18 barrels of clothing in all Rojas hopes that he can one day expand the sizes, hoping to hand them out to people of all ages. project to other countries but remains concerned After knocking on doors through the neighborhoods about the time constraints that he has. Between of Camoapa, over 1,000 people were given tickets to work and his trips to Nicaragua, Rojas is unsure come and get a piece of clothing as well as bags of whether he has the time to travel to multiple sugar, rice, beans and soap. countries for these trips. Nicaragua was the best “When people realized what we were doing, the starting point for Rojas as it is his home country street got flooded with hundreds and hundreds and where his mother lives and he still maintains hundreds of people,” Rojas said. “It was a scary many connections with the people there. experience because at one point, it seemed like people “I know the people, so a lot of the people I help were almost hurting other people to try to get a piece out, I’ve seen them and I get a lot of information of clothing or food.” about them,” Rojas said. Rojas considered that Rojas and his family are a rewarding experience not only involved in relief The best part about this project because of the number of projects in Nicaragua. is that I get to do it myself. There’s people that they were able “I built [a club] ... at no bureaucracy, there’s no money to help and because that it Southern Californian high going to anything else but that. If I built a sense of community school ... we help students raise $10, those $10 are going to go among those working there. that are at risk of gang exactly to that family. “[There were] people involvement and we’ve – COUNSELOR ARIEL that are not necessarily been working with them to ROJAS in need in Nicaragua but get them out of gangs and they were actually helping into college,” Rojas said. us distribute everything so Rojas has been after that I was like, no matter what I do, I’m going continuously transferring this dedication to to do it every year,” Rojas said. education to his charity work in Nicaragua, Even though Rojas has been pushing to complete increasing the number of school supplies he’s able more and more projects every time he goes to to send over and helping two high school students Nicaragua, he has faced some obstacles. These pay their college tuition. Last summer, Rojas was obstacles include raising adequate amounts of money also able to gather notebooks to donate to ninth and passing through customs once reaching Nicaragua, grade students. as they are bringing in different goods from food to “I feel like that even though it’s nice to give clothing to hand out. somebody a toy, nice to give someone a piece of “It has become sort of like a duty to me, something clothing or money, the best thing you can give that I will do even if I didn’t have family over somebody is the gift of education,” Rojas said. “Then there,” Rojas said. “I will go back and continue they can do it on their own. If I give you food today, to support the people in the country.” who’s going to give it to you [tomorrow]?”

Casey Pao Senior Writer

Senior performs in Bellarmine production Robert Chin Staff Writer

Senior Melissa Goldman was recently accepted into Bellarmine’s musical program. As Bellarmine is an all boys school, they needed a talented girl to play female roles. Melissa managed to get the position of playing the role of The Gypsy in “The Who’s Tommy” play at Bellarmine last year. This year, she got the female lead position as Christine in “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.” Melissa has been acting since she was young. She started when she was four years old. She discovered her passion for acting when her older sister, who was nine years old at the time, tried out acting for Peninsula Youth Theater (PYT). “It’s kind of a funny story,” Melissa said. “My dad didn’t want me to do theater at first, because he kept saying it was ‘my sister’s thing,’ and that I should find my own hobby. I’m glad my mom convinced him to let me do it, otherwise I don’t know who I’d be today.” Melissa joined PYT when she was five years

old, and she has been into acting ever since. “There was something magical to me about the stage, about seeing the actors onstage singing and dancing their hearts out,” Melissa said. “I don’t think I fully understood what they were doing, but I understood that it was exciting and fun. So I asked my mom if I could be involved too.” Both Melissa and Katherine were heavily involved in PYT. Melissa’s first show with PYT was “Stuart Little,” when she was eight years old. Since then, Melissa has participated in over 20 shows at PYT. She has had several lead roles, including Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” and Demeter in the musical “Cats.” One of her most recent roles was Belle in PYT’s “Beauty and The Beast.” Melissa considered the role quite challenging for her, since she wanted to avoid being seen as a “stereotypical Disney princess.” She said she was able to portray Belle as a multifaceted character. Melissa’s foremost considers herself as a singer, then an actor, and lastly, a dancer. She took voice lessons ever since she was seven years old, inspired by Katherine, who also was practicing

to sing. Ever since then, Melissa has also entertained audiences with her singing. “I try to be modest, because no one likes people who are full of themselves,” said Melissa, “But people have told me that I’m an amazing singer, and that sometimes when I sing onstage, I make them cry. And to an actress, that’s one of the best things you could hear. Because it means you touched them, and that’s what our job is.” Melissa’s preference for musicals and singing was a major factor in her decision not to join Broken Box. As further proof of her accomplishments, she has won 2nd place in the Musical Theatre

division of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) competition this past year, and 3rd place of the same division the year before. Because of her talents, Melissa is planning to major in musical theater for college. “My ultimate goal is to be an actress on Broadway, but I’d be just fine with being an actress off of Broadway too,” Melissa said. “All I want to do is act. It’s what I love. Countless people have told me that there’s no money in show business, but that doesn’t matter to me. As long as I’m doing what I love and I’m happy, having money or having none doesn’t matter at all.”

courtesy melissa goldman

Senior Melissa Goldman (right) performs in the Bellarmine musical, “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.” Melissa, who has been acting since she was four years old, was the lead female in the all boys school musical.



December 18, 2012

First Annual History Week to come in January

Annually the school holds Science and Technology (STEM) Week as well as a Writers Week. The success of these themed weeks has been phenomenal and gave history teachers Mike Messner and DeeDee Pearce the inspiration for a new one: History Week. The History Department had played with the idea of having a week dedicated to history, but this year it finally got the goahead from Principal Wynne Satterwhite. When she gave the department her approval, they set to work coordinating the event. History Week will take place this year from Monday, January 14, to Friday, January 18. The week will be centered around the theme of the “Pursuit of Rights.” “The vision was History Week in terms of past present and future,” Pearce said. “The past, the history of the right, the present, the issue ... going on right now and the future, now that you know these things are going on, what can you as a citizen do to make change.” A committee has been hard at work turning this idea into a reality. The History Department aimed to have a diverse committee in terms of age to ensure that the presentations would appeal to everyone. It hopes to provide issues that will interest the student body, as students are the targeted audience, and fill the seats in order to turn this week into

graphic by rebecca deshetler

an annual event. “The hardest part about are making now regarding A panel of student getting History Week off the History Week.” coordinators who helped ground is publicizing it,” Beyond the coordination with the design of History junior Cole Limbach said. “As by the history teachers, the week have also taken the a student I can give the rest of school community has also lead in organizing awareness the committee my feedback stepped up to help get the for the event project off the ground. around the school. Parents, as well as This included students and teachers, [The Pursuit of Rights was a putting together have put in a combined topic] that we thought was a and advertising effort to recruit really great starting point. It is contests to speakers through certainly something that every design both the family contacts. permanent annual “For some of the generation has to grapple with. History Week Logo topics we wanted to There’s always the question of and this year’s address, we did not what are [people’s] rights in “Got Rights?” have a ready speaker different contexts? poster for this contact or referral,” year’s installment. lead parent coordinator –HISTORY TEACHER The students aim Marion Robertson MIKE MESSNER to raise more said. “In that case, we awareness before have done research to the actual event find appropriate local included advertising the and let them know how the experts. This takes a little both of the design contests student body will probably time, but most of the folks through videos on the daily receive the decisions that we we have contacted have been announcements. “It’s been fun but it’s been a lot of work,” lead student coordinator and senior Ellie Robertson said. “Luckily we have some dedicated parents that are helping put it together.” The format of History Week will mirror STEM Week because presentations will take place in the Eagle Theatre during class periods, including block day periods, and periods one through six on Friday. In addition to this, there will be a panel of speakers along with a film in the Eagle Theatre on Wednesday evening. History classes will have a priority in attending these presentations, but after that any class that signs up on time is welcome.

Ed Sartor Joey Malgesini Senior Writer Staff Writer

very supportive and generous about visiting and speaking at the school.” Both James Robertson, a federal judge from the District of Columbia, as well as Lee Rubin, who has worked with the Federal Department of Justice on several recent civil rights cases, will be presenting. Other speakers will come to talk about subjects such as gay rights, immigrant rights, women’s rights, human trafficking, bullying, Japanese Internment and the Arab Spring. “[The Pursuit of Rights was a topic] that we thought was a really great starting point,” Messner said. “It is certainly something that every generation has to grapple with. What are [people’s] rights in different contexts?”

The Talon December 18, 2012



Local live music displays diverse entertainment Maya Acharya Staff Writer

Red Rock Coffee Red Rock Coffee on Castro Street in Mountain View is popular for its exotically-flavored coffee beans and free, diverse live music. On any given Friday night, you might find a Celtic band, an acoustic singer-songwriter from San Francisco or a local student jazz trio. Often, you’ll find frequent Red Rock feature Dogcatcher. Known as Red Rock’s “artist in residence,” Dogcatcher is from Mountain View. Though sometimes Red Rock’s live music selection isn’t entertaining for everyone, Dogcatcher will unquestionably please all. For blues rock and indie lovers, Dogcatcher is a breath of earthy air. For anyone and everyone, this band is a nice break from overplayed songs on the radio. Lead vocalist and guitarist Andrew Heine’s voice is as smooth as the chai at Red Rock. The band’s catchy original songs are fueled by Ramon Esquivel’s strong drumming technique. Heine’s punchy and reverbed electric guitar accentuates the mix. Bassist Jared Milos’ rhythmic, jazzy bass lines complete the sound. On Monday nights, Red Rock holds open mic nights from for the public. During these events, Red Rock is an interesting blend of spoken word poets, banjo-playing dads and both amateur and professional singer-songwriters. These open mic nights provide a much needed outlet for local musicians by loaning a keyboard, a guitar and a stage to any interested performer. However, most performers come bearing their own instruments, which often leads to a unique evening with performers playing everything from ukuleles to Japanese percussion instruments. On some Mondays, these open mic nights can get crowded, especially during school holidays. Show up by 6:30 to give yourself ample time to get your coffee, sign up to perform, and grab a good seat. However, the crowd should not be a turnoff. There’s something about sharing a small table with eight strangers, all there with the purpose of performing and enjoying local music and coffee, that builds a sense of community. Dana Street Roasting Company Dana Street Roasting Company is located on—you guessed it—Dana Street, a cross street of Castro. While Dana Street’s refusal to accept credit cards may be a turnoff for some, their coffee is worth making a trip to the ATM first. The vibe at Dana Street may make you hide your Starbucks card in fear of being judged by the baristas, but a little pretentiousness never hurt anyone. Avoid their chai and you’ll be fine. Dana Street’s music palette is somewhat similar to that of Red Rock, with a variety of local and traveling bands ranging from acoustic to jazz to everything

juliet moore

Mountain View-based band Dogcatcher performs live at Red Rock Cafe on Castro Street. Red Rock is just one of the many cafes and coffee shops in the area that provides live music and/or open mic nights. in between. Though more often than not, Dana Street’s live performances are free to the public. Occasional ticket prices generally don’t exceed $20. Dana Street also has a Monday night outlet for local musicians. On the first and third Monday of every month, Dana Street hosts The Ukulele Club of Silicon Valley’s (USCV) “Ukulele Jam.” Anyone is welcome to join in, ukulele-bearing or not, for a relaxing evening of island music. The setlist can be found online beforehand, though time will be given to teaching the chord progressions to the beginners. And hey—it’s free music—so you might as well check it out, whether or not you plan on joining in. Maybe for a few hours you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Hawaii. Or maybe you’ll feel like you’re sitting in a cafe in Mountain View surrounded by ukulele jammers being interrupted by sputtering cappuccino machines. Either way, an entertaining evening is guaranteed.

Philz Coffee — Downtown Palo Alto Philz Coffee on Forest Avenue in Palo Alto also features an open mic night on Monday nights. This open jam is more casual and less crowded than that of Red Rock. If you’re looking for an entertaining evening of music to compliment your coffee, Red Rock is a better option. However, Philz open mic nights are a great tool for beginning performers who want to warm up to small crowds before seeking a larger audience. But don’t go on a Monday night in the hopes of winning a standing ovation with your perfectly rehearsed rendition of “Stairway to Heaven”; the mediocre sound setup and half laptop absorbed audience will leave your hard work sorely underappreciated. Philz rewards anyone brave enough to get up and perform with a complimentary cup of a coffee of your choice. Coffee prices here can be steep—$10 for a large Jamaican Blue Mountain specialty coffee, anyone? — so a free cup of joe should be incentive enough to dust off your slam poetry and wow the crowd.

New arcade downtown offers childhood fun and games Yuki Zaninovich Staff Writer It would be no overstatement to say that going to arcades is one of my fondest childhood memories. Whether it be parties, playing with friends or spending time with the family, the local arcade center was the number one pick more often than not. It was a rare occasion when I didn’t play alley ball or a crane game for a few months. Now, Area 151 has created an opportunity to relive one’s childhood at the convenience of a simple stroll through downtown Los Altos. Area 151 is a suburban arcade, with a room size slightly bigger than the Starbucks down the street. The atmosphere is quite youthful, with kids scampering around the games while eagerly tugging at their parents’ hands. There is only one employee who has to oscillate between manning the cash register and fixing broken machines. The room is filled with at least 20 different arcade games and a prize area over in one corner, where tickets can be exchanged for prizes ranging from a bouncy ball to an iPod Touch. The token exchange rates are four for $1, 22 for $5 (two extra tokens), 48 for $10 (eight extra tokens), and 100 for $20 (20 extra tokens). Each game requires between one to five tokens to play. While I thought that I wouldn’t last 10 minutes without becoming bored, I found myself $13 poorer within 2 hours. Thanks to my educated decision-making,

I was able to spend my money on the three most exciting games. Connect Four This machine is an electronic and enlarged version of the classic board game. It costs two tokens to play and the player can choose either to play against the computer or against another person (in which case four total tokens would be used). The rules are the same as the original, in which players drop their respective colored piece into a grid in an attempt to line-up four consecutive chips. The victor will receive 20 tickets and have the chance to play “chance roulette” that will supply them with a random number of extra tickets. The loser will only get five tickets. I recommend playing against a fellow friend, unless you want to have the dehumanizing experience in endeavoring to outwit the impenetrable Connect Four grandmaster computer. Blackjack Roulette In this game, the player plays a game of Blackjack, in which they try to get as close to 21 as possible by adding up the face values of playing cards. However, the cards are chosen by dropping tokens into a rotating roulette that has card values at each end. An appropriate number of tickets are rewarded relative to how close the total number is to 21. If the player gets Blackjack by using only two cards to get exactly 21, they get tickets in the jackpot at the time. The jackpot starts at 100 tickets and increments by 2 every time any player ends with anything but a Blackjack. This game is probably the most

jade perry

The Los

Area 151 Arcade is Altos. The arcade

located on First Street in Downtown offers a diverse array of games.

financially beneficial out of all of them, as I was able to dish out 7 Blackjacks in 13 tries. Getting 100+ tickets with 2 tokens is nothing to sneeze at. Jackpot Crossing The goal of this game is to successfully roll a token down a track into a tunnel to gain extra tickets. The pathway has no siderails so it will easily slide off into the gutters if the angle isn’t precise. Even if you do get it right and the token successfully goes all the way, the game automatically tilts the track so the same method won’t work two times in a row. This is probably the most challenging

game to beat of them all. The strategic aspect of figuring out the angle to drop the token in accordance to the tilted track was quite addictive. A good 10 of my tokens were spent on this game trying to reach the tunnel. Although afterward I dwelled on my financial irresponsibility, playing the old classics and being the proud owner of 1402 tickets certainly felt like an accomplishment. So, if you ever have $5 lying around that you don’t feel like spending on the taco truck, consider dropping by Area 151 on 1st Street in Downtown Los Altos.

December 18, 2012



Six Caltrain stops that aren’t S.F. 1.SAN MATEO By Sparsha Saxena and Sam Lisbonne Senior Writer and Staff Writer

San Mateo is the destination for contemporary spins on traditional food. Anyone who is a fan of spicy Indian food should try Curry Up Now. Before it turned into a restaurant, it started out as a bus with food that went to different offices during lunch—much like our very own Taco Truck. Curry Up Now can be considered the Indian version of Ike’s Sandwiches. It serves traditional food in a modern way, branded with creative names like “Hot Balls On Ice.” The only way to find out what it is is to try the restaurant. Curry Up Now is a Downtown San Mateo speciality for anyone in the mood for authentic taste and a contemporary approach to Indian food. After lunch or dinner, especially after eating at Curry Up Now, indulge in a fresh cream puff at Beard Papa’s or a cupcake from Sibby’s Cupcakery. Beard Papa’s, a store that originated in Japan, isn’t available in Mountain View or Los Altos, but it carries the perfect cream puff. In addition to being a sufficient size (those mini Costco cream puffs are never satisfying as a complete dessert), the cream puffs are sweet and rich without being overbearing. Another sweet option is cupcakes. And Sprinkle’s and Kara’s Cupcakes have nothing on Sibby’s Cupcakes. Sibby’s is an authentic cupcake bakery, with cupcakes made from scratch with fresh ingredients like sweet cream butter from local dairy farms and Scharffen Berger Chocolate. This month’s special flavors are mint and gingerbread—they won’t last for long.



For anyone sick of Westfield Valley Fair, there’s another option: Hillsdale Shopping Center. They are practically the same thing, carrying stores from Aldo to Zumiez, with a few differences. Unless trying to find parking seems like a better option, shopping’s the only option at the Hillsdale stop in San Mateo. Hillsdale, however, is a lot larger than Valley Fair and the Stanford Shopping Center and has an interesting assortment of stores (it even has a Trader Joe’s, Cost Plus World Market and a Guitar Center—all fairly uncommon to malls). Their Sweet Factory is large, with great candy options. While the Hillsdale Shopping Center doesn’t have an expansive or healthy food court, it does have great food options like The Counter and California Pizza Kitchen—real meals for shoppers. Hillsdale Shopping Center may not be for the high-end customers—it doesn’t have a Neiman Marcus or Saks Fifth—but is perfect for teenage budgets (holiday shopping anyone?). There is a two-story Forever 21, a Designer Shoe Warehouse and an H&M. It even carries Francesca’s, a teenage boutique with reasonable prices, whose stores are mainly located on the East Coast.



photos by ciera pasturel and brenna reid






Redwood City, unlike most downtowns, isn’t distinguished in its food options, but rather its community life. Downtown Redwood City is nearby a park, so there’s a quiet place to hang out with friends. Be sure to check the calendar online to see when events are coming up. They normally show movies, though not in the winter, and have free concerts as well. Century 20 is also nearby downtown. Even though we have movie theaters close by, the Redwood City theater has the advantage of closeby nice restaurants and stores, which is perfect for those much loved dinnerand-movies. The movie theater has an underground parking lot, so finding a spot to park is easy. While the movie theater is popular, it never feels too overcrowded like at Shoreline’s Century 16.

Downtown San Carlos has recently transformed into the hubbub of good eats, leaving hot dog factories behind. The atmosphere has a similar intimate vibe that Downtown Los Altos has, keeping the focus on private businesses rather than food chains, and carries San Francisco-style restaurants. Even with the influx of new attractions— Lulu’s, La Corneta Taqueria and Zest Bakery—it still has authentic community restaurants like Lorenzos Sandwiches. House of Bagels is the best bagel place, and while it’s a chain, every location is sure to please. House specialties come in the form of bagel omelettes, and they are all good, whether you choose to include meat, cheese or other toppings. Grab a cupcake or macaron from Vanilla Moon Bakery to finish off the meal. Whether you’re looking for quick and cheap, sitdown fancy, traditional or distinctly unique, San Carlos has it.


Menlo Park is the place to be for the big game. Both the Oasis and the Dutch Goose are pub-styled restaurants with great burgers and even better atmospheres. The Oasis is a Stanford-fan classic restaurant, with football memorabilia covering the interior. The Goose, on the other hand, has a more balanced feel—all sports and teams are represented. Both restaurants sport carved names on the tables from decades of diners eager to make their mark. Although people are no longer allowed to do that, it adds to the overall gritty ambiance. The Oasis and Goose also have several TVs for primetime viewing, making them perfect destinations for a game time meal. Another popular destination is Kepler’s Books, which is a small bookstore with a unique, broad collection of literature and an atmosphere that makes every trip special. The employees are helpful and generally give good suggestions for novels of all kind—every genre is represented. The nearby Cafe Borrone nicely compliments Kepler’s with coffee and pastries. Buying a book feels less like an errand and more like a journey at Kepler’s in Menlo Park.


While it may seem too close by for a train ride, California Avenue is the definitely a notable CalTrain destination because of its versatile cuisine. The Counter is a build-your-own burger place with myriad options. The prices are steep, at around $10 per burger, but the choices far outweigh the costs. Feel free to pile on any of the dozens of cheeses, or pick from various sauces and spreads to compliment your exclusive meal. Palo Alto Sol is a fantastic Mexican restaurant with a more formal style. The tortilla soup is by far the best dish, and is highly recommended. On a cold night nothing can match the taste and warmth of their large soup bowls. Last is Mediterranean Wraps, a cheap and quick restaurant with falafels and other delicious dishes. Sunday morning brings a farmers market, year-round, with all varieties of fresh produce. With so many options, California Avenue is the place for food.



December 18, 2012

Novel provides a realistic look at teen pregnancy Ariel Machell Staff Writer

“Okay I’m pregnant, and so here’s what I’m scared about,” 16 year old Eleanor (Elly) Crowe says. “What if my kid turns out to be a mass murderer? You know, one of those kids who shoots half the school then shoots himself? Or maybe a drug dealer, or really, just—just what if my kid lies to me, or sneaks out the window to go see her boyfriend, or gets pregnant at sixteen like me?” In Han Nolan’s book, “Pregnant Pause,” the main character Eleanor Crowe is trying her best to come to terms with her “condition,” all the while trying to make peace with her mistakes: past, present and future. It is the future that worries her most. Of course, Elly’s worries are far greater than who her child one day grows up to be. Thrown haphazardly into the world of motherhood, Elly must grow up fast as her due date approaches swiftly.

Scared out of her mind, Elly waits five full months before she works up the courage to tell her parents about the pregnancy. As can be expected, they were none too thrilled with the prospect of becoming grandparents. “I guess I had sort of hoped the whole thing would go away,” Elly admits. Of course, she never expected her parents to force her to get married, dump her unceremoniously on her in-laws and haul themselves to Kenya. With overbearing adults passing judgment left and right, Elly finds solace as a counselor at her in-laws “fat camp.” While living in a cabin at the camp, Elly struggles to deal with her mistakes as she is forced to come to terms with her unwanted teen pregnancy. She is faced with an immature “husband,” resentful parents, manipulative in-laws (or, the ILs, as Elly calls them), having to perform as a role model to overweight campers and her increasingly dreary future. Worse than that, she

must decide whether to keep the baby or not. If only she had more time. Eleanor is a headstrong and stubborn girl and it is hard not to admire her openness and hidden strength. The firstperson narrative is refreshing in its genuity and spot on with the thinking and musings of a teenager. As Elly walks us through her “Pregnant Pause” in life, readers will Jade Perry find themselves experiencing similar Author Han Nolan creates a vivid portrayl of a teenage girl who, faced emotions to the ones with an unwanted pregnancy and little support, has to grow up too fast. she undergoes. It’s easy to see how Han is authentic and enjoyable. edema and having to stay in Nolan is a national book award Just when you think you bed for the whole nine months. winner. “Pregnant Pause” know what’s going to happen, The writers make it sounds is definitely a page-turner Nolan inserts a devastating like this calm, easily-managed, well-behaved problem that we and all of Nolan’s characters plot twist. Although Elly’s tale is will all handle rationally.” It’s are endearing, both unique and relatable. The author full of heart, it is in no way not like that, and “Pregnant has a very interesting style romanticized. Nolan is able Pause” makes this very clear. The book does, however, of writing and Elly’s voice to deliver an effective gimpse into the reality of teen offer up a few disappointments. motherhood. Her book exudes The ending, for example was both complex and subtle life too simplistic, too rushed—an lessons throughout the read. easy solution to a big problem. Often, teen pregnancy books There were way too many fool girls into thinking that loose ends that hadn’t been having a baby is romantic: The resolved and although it was parents end up accepting and a fairly happy ending, it left welcoming the baby, the girl the reader feeling unsatisfied. is glowing and happy to have At the last possible moment a child, and she lives happily (literally, the very last page), ever after with both the father Nolan presents a “fix” to Elly’s and the baby. Elly’s reality biggest problem yet. The could not be further from this. resolution was unexpected, It’s sickening the way they which is certainly refreshing, portray it and Elly could not but it came out of nowhere and agree more. “Here’s what I there was no time to adjust hate about all the pregnancy and absorb it. Despite the ending, books I’ve been reading,” Elly says. “Everything sounds “Pregnant Pause” is a great so simple and orderly—even read and offers a look into emergencies like miscarriages teenage pregnancy through and preeclampsia and terrible the eyes of the teenager. things like C-sections and

‘TheHobbit’mixesstunningvisuals, strong acting and mediocre plot CONTINUED FROM FRONT PAGE

Warner bros.

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is the first part of a three-part film adaptation of Tolkein’s classic story. The movie follows the hobbit Bilbo Baggins and his adventures in Middle Earth. Because this movie only deals with the first third of the classic adventure tale, Jackson visibly tries to make the film more dramatic than the original plot, writing in Orc packs to chase the company and inputting references to “an evil spreading over Middle Earth.” Overall though, these efforts to make the film more suspenseful often come off as contrived, and don’t mesh well with the whimsical nature of the original plot. Elements like Jackson’s introduction, which follows the lineage of Thorin of Oakenshield, might have been better saved for DVD extras. By the end of the three-hour movie, some moviegoers might find themselves wishing that Jackson had saved his add-ons for the bonus footage. What Jackson falls short on in plot development, however, he more than makes up for in his fantastic use of visual effects and scenery. Much of the movie was filmed in rural New Zealand, and the sprawling fields and mountains that serve as the setting for the company’s journey make for a visual masterpiece. What’s more, Jackson adds in spectacular visual effects in his depiction of

settings from goblin caverns to the elven town of Rivendell. Throughout the movie, it is a pleasure to watch the company travel through Middle Earth in the context of the setting. Jackson experimented with new technology in the production of “The Hobbit”, and is now the first producer to have put out a film in 48 frames-per-second (the standard is 24). My screening of “The Hobbit” was in 48 fps, and in my opinion, the technology hurts the film more than it helps it. While scenes that pan over the landscape of Middle Earth look visibly better, the realistic nature 48 fps makes stage props look like—well, props. The swords have a plasticy appearance, and scenes in Bilbo’s house look painfully fake. In certain pieces of the movie, I found it nearly impossible to get immersed in the movie. I would stick with 24 fps for a more inviting viewing experience. Peter Jackson shot for the stars with “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”, both technologically, plot-wise and setting-wise. Although the film falls short in some areas, on the whole, it’s an enjoyable piece of cinematography that captures the original nature of Tolkien’s novel.



December 18, 2012


Talon Top 5: Best Movies of the Year

Anthony Bello Jordan Stout Senior Writer Business Manager

The past year has been packed with huge cinematic releases, including incredible spectacles and graphics as well as fantastical art movies. We’ve compiled a list of what we consider to be the top five movies of the year.

The Avengers Six of Marvel’s main superheroes, Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Hawkeye, The Hulk and Thor all team up as The Avengers, to save the world from Loki, Thor’s arch-nemesis and brother who plans to obtain the tesseract, a supernatural cube of unbelievable power. Every character is portrayed as being humorous and dysfunctional, making this group of superheroes surprisingly relatable. From the self-described genius/billionaire/ playboy/philanthropist Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) to the cunning assassin Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), every character portrays a unique human archetype. The diversity of character types along with a classic hero-takes-all storyline makes this movie an easy pick for our top five list. With a $220 million budget, the movie’s special effects are absolutely top-notch. The CGI used to depict Loki’s alien army invading metropolitan New York feels almost as real as the characters themselves.

Argo Ben Affleck’s “Argo” is the perfect combination of thrill and grim humor. Set in the context of the Iran hostage crisis of 1979, the movie focuses on six government employees who managed to escape the American Embassy when it was stormed by followers of Ayatollah Khomeini, the new ruler of Iran, who loathed the U.S. government. After directing “The Town” it’s no surprise that Ben Affleck created this powerful of a

movie while still incorporating sardonic humor through its implicit criticism of Hollywood’s phoniness. The movie centers on CIA Agent Tony Mendez, whose job is to rescue six escapees from Iran. The six Americans are stars in a fake movie called “Argo,” a rag-tag replica of “Star Wars.” Everyone whom Mendez presents the plan to is skeptical including the hostages themselves. But the mission is so crazy and daring, and the fake movie is so absurd, the operation just might work. Affleck uses the stupidity of a fake movie as a way of poking fun at Hollywood. But he never goes overboard, maintaining a perfect balance between being cynical and suspenseful. The screenplay is excellently written, and the cinematography complements the complexity and humor of the story. Affleck keeps the characters believable and even relatable, and he allows the viewers to be completely enveloped in the suspenseful plot. This movie is definitely a great watch.

Skyfall “Skyfall” is a fast-paced, action-filled spy thriller in which the directors bring James Bond back to his original roots. This means nice cars, Bond’s signature pistol and the consistent womanizing we’ve come to expect. The last two Bond movies have both been setting the stage for this. The villains in the previous movies played as the pawns of the main villain in Skyfall, who ends up being an ex-MI6 agent that Bond replaced. In this movie we learn a lot about James Bond’s past, going deeper than any previous production

has ever brought us. Personalizing Bond’s character works here, as it helps to explain a lot of his character flaws. The cinematography, while not revolutionary, is very well done, and the director, Sam Mendes, handles the fast-paced action scenes effortlessly. The screenplay is also written carefully, making sure that dialogue enhances the story instead of extensive car chase scenes, which previous Bond movies have often used as a crutch. In “Skyfall,” Daniel Craig has finally mastered the sly MI6 agent, bringing Bond’s convoluted past and complicated future together in, perhaps, one of the deepest action characters of all time.

Moonrise Kingdom Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom” is so weird yet so endearing that it’s hard to pass up. A story of young love, the movie is set during a mild 1965 New England summer. Sam (Jared Gilman) is an orphan who lives under the rigid rule of his foster parents and his Scout troop. Suzy (Kara Hayward) lives in a lighthouse with three younger brothers and a great desire to escape and be free. When the two run away to an island they call Moonrise Kingdom, we see a story of enchanted love, and can’t help but run away with them. What draws the audience in is the couples’ insistence on staying together, even while closely evading the capture of each others’ families. The movie’s cinematography and video editing give off a charming, vintage feel with its green-tinted hue, and intense color saturation. It’s pure Wes Anderson and he draws the audience in but keeps them from relating with the characters too intimately. Because we are kept

‘Black Ops 2’: better than the first

distant from relating to the movie, we can reflect on our own emotions, on our own childhoods. “Moonrise Kingdom” brings out the nostalgia of being innocent, and more importantly, awkwardly inexperienced.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” tells a charming coming-of-age story that beautifully assimilates the awkwardness of being a teenager with the internal struggle that accompanies growing pains. The movie doesn’t playfully skate around touchy topics, but rather, it hits them head on and creates a more enveloping story in the process. Charlie (Logan Lerman) begins a collection of letters to an imaginary friend before his first day of highschool, expressing his apprehension for entering the shark tank that he makes it out to be. After struggling with mental health issues the year before, he feels alone when not surrounded by his family members. But Charlie’s fears are soon quelled when he is included by a brother and sister team of seniors, Patrick (Ezra Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson). The movie’s careful attention to detail surrounding adolescent struggles is exemplified when Sam first considers inviting Charlie into her friend group, whispering to Patrick, “I don’t think he [Charlie] has any friends.” “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is not the first of its kind, and it definitely won’t be the last, but somehow, it stands out from the crowd of other coming-of-age stories. The complex duality of a tender love story between Sam and Charlie and a brutal tale of teenage isolation serves to its audience a tear-jerking story that reaches out to people of all ages. The cinematography of this movie falls somewhere between a mainstream and indie movie, and the screenplay, written by the Stephen Chbosky, the original author of the story that the movie is based on, uses intense character conflicts and candid dialogue to create an even more immersive experience.

Ed’s Beat

Steven Cui Staff Writer

The Call of Duty franchise has once again produced a game that has risen to become one of the top first-person shooter games since its release on November 13. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 returns with many revamped and upgraded features, as well as a couple of new add-ins that change up the game. However, the overall format remains the same: campaign, multiplayer and zombies. The campaign in Black Ops 2 is split into two storylines, with one set in the 1980s and the other set in 2025. The first features the protagonists from the original Black Ops, and the second tracks the progress of the son of one of the main protagonists in Black Ops as he pursues an enemy from his father’s past. However, the storyline is not just a straightforward path to the end. The main revamped feature in the campaign is that the choices you make during your playthrough alter the outcome of the story, changing the fates of certain characters. This feature was not present in the original Black Ops, and makes the campaign more interesting by making the gameplay more personal, linking the gameplay to the player’s choices. Multiplayer, as in all Call of Duty games, brings an array of weapons and attachments, which enhance a weapon’s capabilities, separate from previous games. It also has come with a great deal of new features, most notable of which is the “Pick Ten” system. The “Pick Ten” system completely overthrows past Call of Duty methods of creating weapon loadouts, and simply runs on the rule of “pick ten items.” These items include guns attachments, perks, which are abilities and equipment. Thus, one may pick any 10 items to carry with them to

By Ed Sartor

Happy Holidays

activision publishing

battle, as opposed to facing restrictions on each item. Treyarch, the developer of the game, has added some completely new elements as well. Through the creation of Wildcards, you can sacrifice a slot for the ability to add something extra to your loadout, like an extra perk. This dramatically increases the ways a player can create a loadout, and allows each player to create their own style of gameplay. The introduction of game modes with up to four teams is a notable addition to Black Ops 2 as well, resulting in faster and more competitive gameplay, which will be pleasing to some and frustrating for others, such as newcomers to the game. As in previous games, zombies mode in Black Ops 2 is fun and challenging. This time, however, Treyarch has outdone itself with an independent zombies storyline and several gameplay mode changes. Zombies can now be played cooperatively with players, or as a 4 versus 4 “Grief mode” game, where both teams are trying to survive the longest against the endless waves

of zombies. Treyarch has made a vast leap in the development of zombies with the release of these new features, guaranteeing a new experience when playing zombies. Apart from the game mode changes, one of the major changes between Black Ops 2 and the first Black Ops is the change in design. As the story is set in the year 2025, a pretty big jump from the 1980s in Black Ops, the menus, loading screens and maps have taken on a decidedly futuristic look, with more greys and more city-based maps. However, the new features doesn’t mean Black Ops 2 hasn’t come with faults. Players will have to return to playing with the familiar lag and spawn killing that were present in past Call of Duty games, a problem that has been persistent with these games since their beginning. Overall, Black Ops 2 seems to have the same layout and design as previous Call of Duty games, with a myriad of new features. It is definitely worth it to buy, though it does leave some room for improvement.

The holiday season is upon us. Lights are being put up, Christmas trees are being decorated, and eggnog is being drunk. And everywhere, holiday music is hanging in the air: on the radio, inside the grocery store, outside the storefronts as I walk down Main Street of Los Altos. Holiday music is definitely its own breed. From classics like “White Christmas” and “Dreidel, Dreidel” to more modern pieces like Taylor Swift’s “Last Christmas,” holiday music definitely has a distinctive vibe that makes up the holiday season. But strangely, every year the season seems to come sooner and sooner. As soon as Halloween had passed, I’d begun to hear “Rudolf, the Red-nosed Reindeer” and KOIT had already

begun its countdown to Christmas. One would think that the holiday music onslaught could wait until at least after Thanksgiving. To make matters worse, it seems like every business has to play holiday music, either out of a sense of obligation or as if the music will guilt their customers into buying more in the true spirit of Christmas. It almost seems inescapable. I’m no humbug, but more often than not, holiday music feels a bit cheesy. But, I concede, the sheer volume of holiday music is truly impressive. Beyond the jazzed up cover of “Deck the Halls,” or my parents’ favorite, “Jingle Bell Rock,” there seems to be an entire subgroup of music that transcends genres and only makes an appearance once every twelve months. The holiday spirit has penetrated into almost every form of music, from reggae to dubstep. Holiday music has made its own unique imprint on the music industry, spreading the holiday cheer to every poor soul who hasn’t already realized it’s December.

December 18, 2012


Boys and girls soccer rebuild Chase Eller Staff Writer

THe BCS Controversy By James Brewer Alabama will be playing against Notre Dame for the national college football championship. As usual, many say that the BCS is making a grave mistake in allowing the SEC (South Eastern Conference) conference to be favored. They believe that Oregon is shunned because of its youth and that the BCS sticks to a select group of teams to decide title contenders. They feel their conference has been thrown to the wayside. They’re wrong. Though fans may find it unfair, BCS picks the teams who deserve it, the teams who rub dirt on their wounds and grit their teeth. To the naysayers of this year’s selection: whether you like it or not, the 2 best teams were chosen. The SEC is the best football conference, it has the Heisman winner, multiple teams in the top ten, and a dominant record against non-conference teams. Alabama won the SEC, unlike last year, and their only defeat came from a team led by the Heisman trophy winner, Johnny Manziel. Notre Dame’s undefeated mark through the season proves that it belongs. Those left out were Oregon, Kansas State and Florida. Oregon lost in its only major game of the year to Stanford and lost its three year reign on the Pac-12 championship. Kansas State didn’t play many tough teams and lost to an unranked Baylor. Florida, like Oregon, lost it major divisional game and didn’t make it to the SEC championship. Further, the naysayers wouldn’t be any more satisfied with the new playoff system than they are now. Once again someone’s not going to make it, and next year they won’t even play in a significant bowl game. So once again every college football fan will be saying, “our team shoulda, woulda, and coulda made the National Championship.” The current system creates a constant playoff atmosphere: win or say hello to a losers bowl (anybody say Famous Idaho Potato Bowl?). One loss is missing a shot at a crystal football, and a second is death. The current system does not set up only 3 meaningful games, it sets up 13. It’s not a sprint, but a marathon. Win each game and play for it all, lose and hope to god you’re an SEC member. Oregon’s Chip Kelly created the best motto, “Win the day.” Don’t focus on what’s next, don’t look at the computers, don’t look at anything but the game you are playing. College football isn’t a cake walk. The overconfident and weak are dropped. Throw that playoff system out; let the regular season reign.


Soccer season at the school is in full swing. Just as in previous years, this year’s team brings the potential for excitement and success. Unlike previous years, however, this year’s team is full of underclassmen. The Eagles may be physically overmatched, but what the team lacks in size is made up for with superb technicality and finesse. The team is led by strong fouryear varsity players, captains seniors Sean Mcloughlin and Josh Stephens. There are several other returning varsity players, but this year the team is loaded with underclassmen. The last two seasons, the Eagles only carried three underclassmen on their roster, but this year’s roster holds seven. Combined with a good mixture of strong juniors and seniors, the underclassmen will play a huge role in the team’s success. “I think this year we have a lot of experience in the strong group of seniors that we have, and the younger guys that are playing I feel will be in competition for starting spots which is exactly what a team needs, especially as the season progresses,” Josh said. The team looks to be competitive in its league and return to CCS.The older players are looking forward to the challenge and opportunity


Upcoming Games

1/7 Saratoga 1/9 Mountain View 1/11 Santa Clara to help develop these players for years to come. “Basically it’s about those who aren’t used to the varsity level and making sure they catch up and stay on this level, helping the younger kids with advice and making sure people are all on the same page and leading by example both on and off the field,” Josh said. The underclassmen are excited to get this opportunity and are beginningtofamiliarizethemselves with the roles they must play in order to help benefit the team. “Our role as underclassmen will be to fill in wherever there’s an open spot that a player from last years team has left open,” sophomore Hugo Mollerstedt said. Another asset the Eagles have is depth. “I think it’s a great thing we have so many up-and-coming players, not only that but the players we have are definitely capable of getting a lot of minutes,” Josh said, “This creates a lot of competition and depth in the team, so that’s great.” The Eagles look forward to playing league rivals such as Mountain View and Palo Alto in this upcoming season.


1/7 Saratoga 1/9 Mountain View 1/11 Monta Vista Joey Malgesini Staff Writer The girls varsity soccer team is preparing for its winter season in high spirits, despite the loss of some of its current senior players. Girls have not chosen to compete on the team this year for a variety of reasons. Many seek to avoid injury that may hinder their college playing careers. Instead, they choose to play only for their club teams which have come to receive much more recruiting that high school teams. “Some girls’ club teams won’t allow them to play high school at all,” junior Katie Winters said. “Other girls then choose not to play because they don’t think the team will be that strong.” This creates a cycle in which girls choose not to play because they feel the team will not be very good which results in a weakened team and missed opportunities for girls to enjoy their last years of high school sports. “A few girls, most being seniors, aren’t coming out this year,” junior Paige Eller said. “It’s unfortunate because we lost some really good players. It also meant that we had

to bring up a lot of freshmen and sophomores, so we have a really young team.” Although such youth offers great hope for the future of the team, it will certainly miss some of its senior veteran experience. Head coach Armando Luna, however, will focus his attention solely towards the players that did come out. “I am not sure why any player has decided not to come out this season but I just focus on the players that are out there on the field,” Luna said. “Every season my goals and expectations are develop the players as best I can and to play a free flowing, attack minded, entertaining style of soccer.” The team is also introducing a new formation this year in order to strengthen its offense or defense depending on the situation. This formation will be much more attack minded. “The biggest game is definitely going to be against Mountain View,” junior Julia Goupil said. “They were division 1 CCS champions last year. Los Gatos will also be a great team since they were runner-ups in CCS, losing to Mountain View. Our biggest challenge is going to be the fact that we are such a young team in a very tough league. It’s going to be difficult to maintain our composure and get results.”

Photos By Ciera Pasturel

Senior Josh Stephens

Sophomore Allie Crum

Senior Sean McLoughlin

Lady Eagles: filling in the gaps CONTINUED FROM FRONT PAGE

There is no denying that the girls basketball team is full of positive energy. Junior Meghan McDermott said that the team has been doing more bonding throughout the preseason, including team lunches and dinners, in an effort to better gel the players together.

“Everyone gets along on the court and off of it,” freshman Meg Enthoven said. “[Coach Lee] really knows what he is doing and he is a big part that really brought the team together. These players are family to me and I know they’ve always got my back even outside of basketball.”

Juliet Moore

Seniors Tianna Vasquez (left) and Ideen Seyed (right) take control on offense in a recent home game. Although young, the team has ambitious goals for the season.

The team’s personality is a reflection of its “up-tempo game,” which Lee said will include fast breaks, a wellexecuted offense and a lot of pressure on the ball. “We will play with intensity on defense too,” Lee said. “We work hard in practice to get into shape so that we can fulfill one goal: to be the best conditioned team in the league.” Despite the challenging

season that lies ahead, the girls’ and Lee’s spirits are high. The new players’ young energy has brought ambition and drive to the team, pushing it to reach their full potential heading into the season. “Our roster has many girls who are talented basketball players,” Lee said. “But, more importantly, we have a group of girls who are smart and enjoy playing basketball together.”

December 18, 2012

Student David Wu Zach Cohen Staff Writers




organization, NCGA [Northern California Golf Association],” Kelsey said. “Honestly, I play so many tournaments a year that it’s hard to keep track of.” Kelsey is currently ranked 40 in the state Kelsey Kawaguchi Freshly clipped grass lines a steep hill for the graduating class of 2014. There are where junior Kelsey Kawaguchi places a golf also other rankings, like the handicapped tee in the ground, carefully laying a ball on ranking, for which she has a handicap of it. After eyeing the course, she takes a brave 2.1. The lowest score Kelsey has achieved swing and watches the ball rise and fall in just is a 71, or one point under par, at Poppy Ridge Tournament. After reaching such an the spot she expected it to. KelseyKawaguchiisanationallyrankedgolfer accolade, Kelsey has focused all her energy who has enjoyed much success in her career. on maintaining a score in the low 70s, Kelsey first began experimenting with the sport which she was able to do. “A couple of the tournaments that I won at her older brother’s golf club when she was this summer were the California State Faire nine years old and played recreationally. It wasn’t until Kelsey was 12 years old that and the Corena Green,” Kelsey said. Even with the stress entailed in playing she took on the challenge of becoming on a national level, Kelsey manages to a nationally ranked player. remember what initially tied her to the “To become nationally ranked, sport. At times, being alone at the top is I began [participating] at hard for Kelsey to handle, but she does age 12 in this series of have some golfing companions at school. tournaments run “Golfing is just something I do,” Kelsey b y the said. “It’s not a chore [or] a job, but Junior Kelsey something that has been a huge part of my life. There are a quite a few kids that Kawaguchi [have taken] up golf at our school, but might not compete as much [as I do].” Golfing competitively has allowed Kelsey to meet other people like her, and it’s allowed her to broaden her social circles beyond her school mates. Courtesy Kelsey “The more I played in tournaments and Kawaguchi just around different courses, [the more] I got to meet new friends that are now my best friends,” Kelsey said.



Rishi Bhargava

Senior Rishi Bhargava is finally seeing his years of hard work pay off at the national level. After attending the weeklong Junior National Camp over the summer and a draft clinic several weeks ago, Rishi was among the 25 players from across the nation to be selected to play on the 17-and-under national field hockey team. To put things into perspective, there are over 21,000 registered field hockey players in the United States, according to USA Field Hockey. There are a lot of star athletes on campus, and several that even compete at the state or national level. Although Rishi is among the top field hockey players in the nation, many people haven’t heard of his accomplishments in the sport. Before qualifying for the national team, Rishi played field hockey day in and day out on the Stanford Storm Field Hockey Club. Rishi began playing at the age of six after his older sister’s friend introduced him to the sport, and he’s been playing ever since. “I go to two practices a week that are two hours each,” Rishi said. Now, as a part of the 17-andunder national team, Rishi and other players on the team will practice


several days before games and big tournaments. Rishi’s summer will also be devoted to training at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista. Rishi and his new teammates have already played the Canadian field hockey team this year in a three game test series. To some, Rishi’s success may seem abrupt, but it didn’t happen overnight. “It makes me really happy because I’ve been playing the sport for over 10 years,” Rishi said. “Even during cross country and track, I go to practices. If I have... a meet, I’ll go to the meet and then to practice.” Rishi has no plans to stop playing and hopes to play field hockey competitively in college. “I’ll play club in college; a lot of colleges have a club or a co-ed team,” Rishi said.

Senior Rishi Bhargava Senior Rishi Bhargava

The Armstrong Scandal: A hero’s legacy ruined On October 10, 2012, the reputation of one of the greatest athletes the world has ever seen was reduced to shambles. The seven consecutive titles that Lance Armstrong earned in the Tour de France were stripped from him when it was revealed that he was engaged in a complex and intricate doping program. Its sole purpose was to illegally grant him and his teammates an unfair advantage over their fellow competitors. The discovery forever tainted Armstrong’s reputation, and caused him to abandon his position as the head of the charitable Armstrong foundation. The fall of Armstrong has forced the cycling community, and to a degree the sports community as a whole, to evaluate the future of doping and its part in professional athletics. Unlike the legality of the Armstrong’s scandal, the morals involved in his situation are clear. What Lance Armstrong did was wrong, and it violated ethical standards on many different levels. He abused substances to better himself, disadvantaging athletes who may have trained harder than him and trained with a greater decency and respect for the sport. Armstrong’s fall also tainted the sport of cycling and the Tour de France, a competition already riddled with scandals and doping charges from prior contests. He disappointed fans and has left a scar in competitive athletics that will not soon disappear. The most definitive moral and ethical wrong he committed, however, was not the doping itself. According to a 200 page report written by the USADA, Armstrong not

Lance Armstrong

only used blood transfusions called EPO’s, he also forced teammates to participate. Armstrong felt so passionately about the advantages EPO’s provided that he threatened teammates who did not comply with dismissal from the team. As such, Armstrong not only robbed honest riders of a chance to win honorably, but he jeopardized the careers of several fellow riders. Armstrong acted not only illegally, but selfishly and without the wisdom we have come to expect from role models. His actions resulted in the end of his status as a role model and a poisoning of the sport. Armstrong and the doping system he developed reveals a possible future of sports that very few people could have predicted. The use of drugs in cycling now may foreshadow use in other competitive athletics. If doping is not contained

or stopped, sports in a half-century may appear to be a purely ethical decision, well be hyper-drugged athletes performing the effects of doping could require a more superhuman feats, but doing so without practical solution. Doping may not be integrity, respect or the training so long liked, but that doesn’t mean it cannot be attributed to competitive sports like cycling. integrated into competition. There has Ethically, Armstrong’s fall should spur the even been a recent movement to create two separate “categories” USADA and other of competition; one governing bodies The most definitive permits the use of to take action and doping drugs while the remove doping moral wrong Armstrong other maintains a strict from sports while committed was not the no-doping situation. the issue is still doping itself. Although remedying relatively small. the issue in this manner However, in some begets new issues – ways, it might notably a win for the be impossible to team with the best scientists, not the best completely remove doping from cycling. Armstrong’s scandal may well be ethically athletes — it is a viable option. The solution unsound, but realistically, it might be would not restore the titles to icons like impossible to entirely remove drugs from Armstrong — they cheated blatantly and the sport. Doping in cycling is not restricted violated the system — but it could heal to Armstrong — on the contrary, his case is the ugly wounds caused by doping in the the most important in a series of scandals last years. Ironically, accepting what is currently an illegal activity could be the best that have ravaged the sport for years. This situation illustrates a way to restore cycling to what it used to be, logical enigma, one in which a returning recognition to a sport that has realistic solution somewhat been forced to face adverse scandals for over contradicts morality. Is it so a decade. It will be a very, very long time difficult to entirely remove before cyclists are revered in the ways they doping, as these events once were, but dividing competitions and have proven that it is more establishing clear rules offers an intelligent realistic to accept it and if not fully ethical first step for the sport. While the full implications of move on? If doping is so widespread, should it be Armstrong’s situation are unknown, removed from cycling, the fall of Lance Armstrong and its and can it be at all? impact on the cycling community clearly Although it demonstrates a provoking situation, one m a y which does not have a clear answer. The decision between idealistic but ethical versus practical but immoral is one which will not soon be decided. Soon the tatters of Lance’s forgotten jerseys will fade from memory, but the doping dilemma that he presented is far from coming to a close. Armstrong’s most enduring legacy in the sport he once dominated may be his awakening cycling to a new and controversial issue, one which will have innumerable ramifications across the entire sports community.

Sam Lisbonne Staff Writer

Courtesy Anita ritenour



December 18, 2012

Boys basketball sets its sights high Paul Bergevin Staff Writer

The basketball team has begun a new chapter this year. The team moves on after losing its most explosive scorer Bemi Onipede, ‘12, and its two starting big men Simon Rosenbaum, ‘12, and Nolan O’Such, ‘12. The team also has a new coach in, Bob McFarlane, after James Reilly retired at the end of last season. According to senior team cocaptains Nate Becker and Kieran

“We need to play team defense, Stolorz, McFarlane has not our offense, we can use small ball implemented a new coaching to our strength because we have we need to play as a unit, we need style, but he stresses that the a ton of great shooters,” Kieran to communicate really well, we team bond together on and off said. “For about 20 minutes need to be in help position, we’re a game, we will have lineups going to need to possibly double the court. “We have the most camaraderie where all five players on the down on the post, and if they have a of any team I’ve ever been apart floor are confident three-point really good post player thats giving of,” Kieran said. “We’re all really shooters and that really helps us problems because we have a good friends off the court, and this us spread the floor, which then bad matchup, we would need to year is the first where I feel every lets penetration happen where strategize around how to stop a bigger team,” McFarlane said. single player is hyper-focused on everyone can get involved.” Nate joined the team this year Even though McFarlane knows getting better and winning.” The team has done several after attending Oak Grove High the lack of size is an obstacle, he activities to create unity School, a perennial basketball knows it is something that he will on a team with so power. As a junior at Oak Grove, have to get used to. While working many new players. Nate was the MVP of his team and with a smaller and younger team The players he has been a blessing to Coach may be tough, players on the team have bonded because no single attended a San McFarlane and the entire team. “He is extremely explosive,” player controls the floor. Jose State “We definitely have a lot more b a s k e t b a l l Kieran said. “He has the quickest game together, first step of any teammate I’ve young guys than we had in the past, a lot of people with not much and McFarlane has held ever had.” Nate has been able to come experience playing varsity, which several team lunches in his in and run the point for the can be difficult, but it requires room for the players to bond. A major obstacle that the Eagles Eagles. He can score the ball, other people to step up and take will face this season, aside from all but he is also a willing and leadership roles,” Nate said. “I think it’s kind of brought us of the new players, is their glaring efficient playmaker. “Nate’s been fantastic, he’s been together as a team because there lack of size. The team lost a lot size off of last year’s front line, and it a huge addition to our team,” isn’t any one person who is above now lacks a solid post presence McFarlane said. “He’s just a really the rest of the players.” Even though McFarlane knows on offense and struggle on the quality guy who has been hardworking, responsible, straight up, this team is inexperienced, the kind defensive boards. he’s really well skilled and he’s a of attitude that Nate expressed is “Since we don’t good leader in his own right.” what he thinks will allow the team really have a strong to succeed. advantage in the “We are really young, We have the most camaraderie post, we try to we have some new pieces keep our system of any team I’ve ever been a part to the puzzle that we need running around the to figure out exactly where perimeter and we try of. our strengths are and it is a to keep the middle open,” – co-captain Kieran little bit of a rebuilding year, McFarlane said. “We try but I think we have a lot of to pick up the tempo a Stolorz potential because of the little bit and maybe be cohesiveness of the guys and in a little bit better shape Defensively the team’s because of the unselfish way than other teams, and offensively, we just really need to be efficient lack of size has allowed opposing they play together,” McFarlane said. and effective with the sets we run. teams to dominate them on the “I feel like a realistic goal for us is to Everybody needs to do their job in offensive glass and score a lot of win the lower league and get moved order for us to get the open looks second chance points. According up into the upper league for next to Nate Becker, this was a big season. So that’s our goal right now, that we want to get.” The team will have to play a problem in the team’s first game, and we have to be very competitive lot of really small lineups, and a 51-58 loss against Leland. Both every night and every series to be the offense will depend on senior McFarlane and Nate believe that able to pull that off. We have some point guard Nate Vieira to create the team will need to use their very tough teams in our league and quickness and communication in we have that kind of potential, but open threes for others. it’s a sizeable goal.” “The three ball is a big part of order to succeed defensively.

Junior Steven Garvrick

Players to Watch

Sr. Nate Becker

Shooting Guard

Sr. Nate Vieira Point Guard

Photos By Juliet Moore

Junior Alex Liua plays for Earthquakes Development team Anthony Bello Staff Writer Soccer’s foundational perks are the reasons parents sign up their children for youth soccer leagues at such young ages, and over time, soccer has become one of the most competitive junior sports in the United States. In the Bay Area especially, there are elite-level competitions between clubs, and some playeres compete for professional-level clubs. For junior Alex Liua, his position on these teams is a result of years of rigorous training and experience. “I started when I was like 6, and it didn’t actually start getting competitive until eighth grade,” Alex said. “I just joined club my junior year because that’s when the recruiting is huge.” Now a junior, Alex plays on the San Jose Earthquakes U-16 academy team, which competes in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy league,

the most competitive youth league in the country. The Earthquakes recruits players all over Northern California, from Sacramento to Clovis. Alex is the only player from the Los Altos/Mountain View area that is on the team, recruited to the Earthquakes after playing against them on his previous club team. After the game, Alex e-mailed Earthquakes head coach Stephen Wondolowski to ask if he could play for the team. Alex views his opportunity to play on the Earthquakes as a chance to be recruited to a Division 1 college. Each player on these high-level teams has talent that college coaches are looking for. “Because we have Stanford, Cal, Santa Clara, all those top schools right around here, most of them will come to our games that are just in San Jose, and that’s the difference; on club, you’ll never have a college coach at a league game, but we

have them at like every game, and then at showcases we just have all of them,” Alex said. “They’ll literally be lined up on the field.” In addition to talent, the Earthquakes’ has a renowned coaching staff that makes it simple for college coaches to take interest. The Earthquakes’ assistant coach was previously head coach of Stanford, and almost every college coach around the nation is in close contact with the Earthquakes program. “We just pretty much have connections, like they know every college coach in the nation, all the good schools,” Alex said. Many players on the Earthquakes are focused on turning professional rather than going to college, unlike club teams in the Bay Area, like the De Anza Force. But Alex has an

advantage over his teammates on the Earthquakes with his high GPA relative to players on his team.

Junior Alex Liua Photo Courtesy Alex Liua

Sr. Kieran Stolorz


Jr. Joey Malgesini Small Forward

The Talon | Issue 4 | 18 Dec 2012  
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