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Los Altos High School, Los Altos, CA ■ November 19, 2013 ■ Volume XXIX, Issue 3



ODFL successfully raises money for birthing center

Students dream up textile business MAYA VARGHESE Staff Writer

LAHS ALUM WINS GNC VIDEO COMPETITION Michael Johnson ‘13 won a nationwide video competition hosted by GNC involving his battle with cystic fibrosis. Features, 12

AVID students clinch the top spot at local hackathon Take a look into five AVID members’ weekend journey from learning how to code to winning a hackathon. News, 4

Cyberbullying at LAHS and beyond Read about one writer’s opinion on the response to cyberbullying at the school. Opinions, 8

Politics for High School Students Why should politics be important to high school students? Hear about why this topic truly is relevant to students and adults alike. In-Depth, 10-11

Movie Review: “12 Years a Slave” Learn more about the heartwrenching movie concerning slavery that has generated positive reviews and much critical acclaim. Entertainment, 15

LAHS Winter Season Sports Get a quick glance into the upcoming winter sports, girls and boys basketball. Both teams aim to not only duplicate but improve on last year’s successful seasons. Sports, 20


Broken Box Performance Nov. 25 @ 7:00 p.m.


Nov. 27 ­— Dec. 1

Thanksgiving Break Dec. 4 - 6

Art Show Dec. 8

Choral Winter Concert Dec. 11 - 12 @ 7:30 p.m.

Instrumental Concert Dec. 13 @ 12:00 p.m.

Holiday Fair

Dec. 12 - 14 @ 7:30 p.m.

Jazz Winter Concert News Editorial Opinions

2 6 7

Features 9, 12 In-Depth 10–11 Entertainment 14 Sports 18

ALICE DAI Staff Writer


Above: Nepalese children and adults visit a local birthing center. Below: One Dollar for Life (pictured) has raised $6800 during the LAHS fundraiser that is going toward building a new birthing center in Nepal.

One Dollar For Life (ODFL), one of the most well-known clubs in the school, kicked off the beginning of this year with incomparable success. Every year the club hosts a school wide fundraiser for a project in a developing country. This year, the money raised from the fundraiser is going toward building a birthing center in Baglung, Nepal. ODFL started this school year with the most successful school-wide fundraiser the club has seen since its founding in 2007. Compared to last year’s $4,400, in this year’s fundraiser ODFL raised $6,800 with both stuhave been one of the most effective dent and staff donations. “We were worried that it would projects the club has undergone. be a tough year because the video ODFL built a similar birthing cenannouncements weren’t working ter in Dolpa, Nepal, last school year, and the center has reand we couldn’t show duced neonatal materthe amazing studentnal mortality rates by created videos we had,” It’s the same 75 percent. ODFL club advisor idea; if everyAn important factor Lisa Cardellini said. to the success of ODFL Despite some pre- one gives a is public exposure liminary setbacks with dollar, let’s see the fundraiser, the what we can do. through social media and local news. Last club is continuing to — Robert Freeman year, the NBC Bay Area make significant prognews channel featured ress toward several of its planned projects, the biggest of ODFL in a major news publication. which is building a birthing center Recently, the club was featured in in Baglung, Nepal. Birthing centers the SFGate as well. The Los Altos

Classes shift in response to staff changes SOFIA GUO RILEY SOWARD Staff Writers

In the past month, the school has hired new staff members to fill the places of teachers who have left or are temporarily on leave. English teacher Lindsey Regoli will not return until next year. History teacher Kelly Coble has reduced her course load for an indefinite amount of time. English teacher Alise Miller, Spanish teacher Kim Hanley and student conduct liaison Heidi Galvez have left the school. CONTINUES ON PAGE 3


Town Crier also periodically publishes ODFL stories. Although the club gains a lot of exposure from publicity, Cardellini also attributes the club’s success to the support from the local community. “Since we started in 2007, we’ve completed 41 projects in eight different countries around the world,” Cardellini said. “There is probably no other charity in the country that is doing so much with so little [$1]. We are very happy to be able to share our successes, especially because LAHS remains the ‘home’ school of ODFL.” CONTINUES ON PAGE 2

It isn’t unheard of for students to attempt to form some sort of small business in high school, but senior Navid Ghomeshi and junior Shahzeb Shunaid have taken it one step further and created an international textile company. Dunya Brands, named because Dunya means “world” in both Navid’s mother tongue Farsi and Shahzeb’s native Urdu, began in 2012 by making tote bags printed with the company logos of customers. “There was a ban on plastic bags,” Shahzeb said. “We were at [a] store, and we were like, ‘Everybody’s saying that [plastic] bags are going to be stopped, so what’s the next big thing which is going to come in place of that?’” They had already been thinking about starting a company together, as they were friends who shared an interest in entrepreneurship and humanitarianism. Once they realized there might soon be a big demand for tote bags, Navid and Shahzeb decided to produce and sell them. They have family members involved in law and business, so they began talking to them, trying to figure out how to start a company. While Shahzeb dealt with facilities and manufacturing, Navid was responsible for the marketing aspect of Dunya Brands, registering the company in the cities of Los Altos, Mountain View and San Jose and finding their first customers. He first thought that potential customers might find his age a problem, but he said he never lost a business deal because of this. “At the end of the day, they’re not doing business with me, they’re doing business with Dunya Brands,” Navid said. “I say, ‘This is the T-shirt you’re going to be receiving, and this is the price you’re getting it at. What difference does it make how old I am?’” CONTINUES ON PAGE 12

Satterwhite’s journey to LAHS RILEY SOWARD Staff Writer

Over the years, Principal Wynne Satterwhite was a high school four-sport athlete, college volleyball player, science teacher, school counselor, sports coach, assistant principal and ASB advisor before becoming principal of Los Altos High School. Satterwhite’s roots are rural: she grew up on a 120 acre farm in Idaho and spent her early summer vacations helping her family out in the corn, beet and potato fields. At a young age, Satterwhite played volleyball, basketball and tennis, and ran track in high school. Satterwhite comes from a family of educators, but she initially had no interest in pursuing a career in education.


Principal Wynne Satterwhite delivers a commencement speech during graduation. She explored various careers before arriving at LAHS. “Growing up I planned on doing anything except for becoming a teacher,” Satterwhite said. “My mom was a teacher and my dad was a principal...I saw all of the hours that my parents put in and saw the ups and downs of education.

Education was funded by people voting to give money to the school so we never really knew where the funding was coming from and it was a hard time. I wanted something that was more stable.” CONTINUES ON PAGE 9

The Talon  November 19, 2013

Get daily LAHS updates and read the news archives at

ODFL fundraises for birthing center in Nepal CONTINUED FROM THE FRONT PAGE

Another major contributor to ODFL is club founder and history teacher, Robert Freeman. Freeman took a leave of absence during the second semester of last year to work on expanding and exposing ODFL to more people and spreading the message ODFL has been advocating. Since taking his leave of absence, Freeman has published five books on European history and one on Vietnamese history. He is currently finishing a book about ODFL. Freeman also travels around the country speaking to students, teachers and civic groups about the club. “[I have been working] as a model for the student engagement in a way that we can solve big social problems,” Freeman said. “We’ve really proven the model. So what I’m doing now is taking that model to the rest of the country, trying to get every high school student in America to give a dollar.” Despite having finished over 41 projects in just 6 years and undergoing many changes that come with this constantly growing cause, one thing that ODFL has made sure to keep the same is the novel idea that teenagers can change the world a dollar at a time. “[ODFL] is really an invitation to your generation,” Freeman said. “It isn’t like we’ve got to shave our heads and live in a cave in India... it’s a’s the collaborative altruism, the real transformation.” This “collaborative altruism” is what Freeman considers the third of the three levels of ODFL. The first level stems from the tangible outcomes of the club’s fundraisers and projects. The second is the idea that not only are students changing the lives of people living in developing countries, but they are also becoming more giving and empathetic people. Ultimately, ODFL’s last level of Freeman’s “covert agenda” is collaborative altruism, or the notion that teens as a team can change the world with a “we’re all in this together” mentality. “The idea of one dollar has not changed [since the club’s founding] because we want every student in America to be able to participate,” Cardellini said. “We believe that when we focus on [more generous ] people (those who donate one dollar) and a different [mindset], the

effect will endure long after the projects are completed.” Freeman’s ambitious plans do not stop at high school kids. Last year, Egan Junior High School hosted an ODFL fundraiser to raise money for a school in Nicaragua. Egan hosted another fundraiser this year to support the Nepalese birthing center project as well. Also, one of the most successful fundraisers for the club was at an elementary school in Kansas. According to Freeman, the elementary school kids in the school were shocked that kids in Indonesia had no school. As a result, the kids donated, on average, more than $6 per person to help the cause. “[The fundraiser in Kansas] was the most generous thing I ever saw in my life,” Freeman said. “It made me cry. [The kids]... came with little Ziploc bags full of quarters and dimes and nickels and pennies. ‘This was from my piggy bank,’ [they said]. It just blows me away.” On the other end of the school spectrum, Freeman is also planning for ODFL fundraisers in colleges across the country. The idea for ODFL college fundraisers came from graduated LAHS alumni who wanted to continue ODFL after high school. The college fundraisers will focus more on a friendly competition in which colleges will race to see which one raises the most money. Freeman’s rule for these fundraisers is that every student is only allowed to donate one dollar in order to prevent graduated alumni from tipping the scales toward their college’s winning. Specific colleges participating in the first ever ODFL college fundraiser are yet to be announced. This year’s fundraisers aim to raise money to build a computer lab in Haiti and is planning to start in March. The computer lab is predicted to be completed by the end of this summer. “It’s the same idea; if everyone gives a dollar, let’s see what we can do,” Freeman said. “These structures we are building, they are not really complex… and most times, they’re the first one [the people] have ever had. The first time we built [a school] in Kenya...everybody was just crying. They thought it was the Taj Mahal. It was a stone structure, 25 feet by


Above: The ODFL-funded birthing center (pictured) in rural Bobang, Nepal helps women safely give birth to their children. Before, women had to travel upwards of 43.5 miles to the closest medical facility. 25 feet, but they could see, it was the first school they’d ever had. Their children’s lives could be different!” Not only has ODFL changed the lives of underprivileged children through its projects, the club has also affected many of the students in the United States that have participated in it. The students who came back from ODFL summer trips, according to Freeman, realize how privileged they are and how their one dollar profoundly affected someone else’s life. “[Students who go to ODFL summer trips] come back, and they’re different human beings,” Freeman said. “They’ve gone from one end of affluence on the planet, to the other extreme of poverty. They become more connected to their world, they become more compassionate, they become more collaborative...and they become more competent.” ODFL will also be hosting trips abroad this summer to areas where the club is working on projects. Although building a birthing center in Nepal is the club’s biggest project this year, ODFL has been planning smaller projects in other areas of the world as well. Due to heavy monsoons in Nepal during the summer season,

Children in the Dolpa district of Nepal leaning against a wooden fence. Nepal remains one of the poorest nations in the world, with over a quarter of its population living in poverty.


ODFL will not be taking a trip to Baglung, Nepal for the birthing center. The club, however, is planning two trips to Guadalupe Arribe, Nicaragua on June 29 to July 8 and July 13 to 22 to build a classroom. Even though these projects are relatively basic, they will greatly impact the lives of some of the world’s most destitute people. “If you don’t get an education, then your life can only be what your parents’ was, which was you take a stick and scratch the dirt and put a seed in and hope there’s enough water and hope that you can live through the winter,” Freeman said. “But that’s all you’re ever going to have, if you don’t get an education. It transforms lives, everywhere we work.” Although ODFL has changed the lives of many people in the eight countries where it has completed projects, the club is also focused on changing the lives of the local community. ODFL hopes that by the end of this school year, the Nepalese birthing center project will be completed. This means that students will be able to see the effects of donating just one dollar in real time. “[We are] working to cultivate [the idea that]...teenagers really can be effective if they will all do the smallest bit,” Cardellini said. According to Freeman, ODFL has essentially revolutionized the idea of culturally transforming the world through the opportunity it has given to this generation. A big factor that has allowed this opportunity to be

available is the transfer of information through the base outlet of the whole population, not the downloading of information from a few sources to the public, which is what Freeman experienced in the past. “Your generation is the first one in the history of the world that can create culture and upload it,” Freeman said. “The question is, what are you going to upload?...Are [you] going to have noble values? Are [you] going to have values that say we can be better people?...If you don’t rise to this occasion, my generation is not going to fix it… If you want a better world, you guys are going to have to step up.” ODFL has come a long way since the inkling a high school students had during a rainy day in the spring of 2007 in Freeman’s room; the club has many more goals to aspire to. Many may think that the club only aims to help others in developing countries, but ODFL has used its projects in these countries as a catalyst to a deeper cause: creating a new generation of givers. “Everybody in this area knows about ODFL and it’s so good for the kids,” Freeman said. “It comes down to four words: I believe in you. I believe, as a bigger person, that you want to get out, that you want to find an expression, and [ODFL] is simply a way to do it.” For more information about One Dollar for Life, check out their website at

The Talon  November 19, 2013

Staff, classes shifting before end of semester CONTINUED FROM THE FRONT PAGE

Lindsey Regoli:

English teacher Lindsey Regoli began her maternity leave on October 30 and plans to take the rest of the school year off, and then come back and teach for the 20142015 school year. Marco Castaneda has taken over Regoli’s classes. Castaneda, a graduate of UC Berkeley and the Stanford Education Program, has been teaching since he graduated from Stanford 11 years ago. Castaneda was previously a teacher at a charter school for five years and a private school for six years, both in San Francisco. While Castaneda enjoyed teaching up in the city, this year he decided to move to a new school. “I kind of wanted to get away from the private school system and get back into public education,” Castaneda said. “There were some things that just sort of felt like [the private school] was missing.”

Alise Miller:

English teacher Alise Miller left the school and will not be returning. Miller’s husband was offered a promotion in Sacramento, so the couple decided to move out of Los Altos. Robert Barker has taken over Miller’s English classes. Barker moved with his family up from the Los Angeles area, where he taught at a public high school. He studied playwriting and screenwriting in graduate school. Initially, Barker began his career trying to make it as a screenwriter down in Los Angeles; however, he ultimately switched over to teaching. Castaneda and Barker will be teaching at the school for the rest of the year. The decision for them to continue teaching next year will be made after going through an evaluation process that all teachers must go through.

Kelly Coble:

History teacher Kelly Coble has exchanged her second and third period AP Modern European History classes for history teacher Todd Wangsness' second period World Studies and history teacher Stephanie Downey's third period World Studies. The exchange is to allow Coble to focus on her medical issues. "I am sad to say that I am reducing my teaching load as I will be out for the remaining of the semester due to medical reasons,” Coble said. “It was a very difficult decision, but my treatment dictates that I have to be out... I am already counting down the days until I get well and come back." Coble is making lesson plans for her new World Studies classes for the rest of the semester. Meanwhile, temporary substitutes have been teaching her classes. No definite arrangements for the rest of the semester or year have been made.

Kim Hanley:

Spanish teacher Kim Hanley has left for undisclosed reasons. Hanley's Spanish II and IV periods are being taught by Spanish teachers Antonio Murillo and John Allen. Murillo has taken over four of Hanley’s periods, while the fifth class has been taken over by Allen. In exchange, Murillo has also taken over Allen's third period Spanish III class. Greg Lucas, a new teacher from Oregon, is taking over three of Murillo's Spanish II classes to let Murillo teach Hanley's and Allen's classes. Lucas will be teaching these three classes for the remainder of the first semester. After the first semester, MVHS Spanish teacher Dayana Swank will be taking over Lucas' classes. "[Swank] is already teaching at MVHS," Hughes said. "She is teaching for a teacher who is out on leave at MVHS until the end of this semester, so when she's done with that she's going to teach for us.”

Heidi Galvez:

Student conduct liaison Heidi Galvez left the school on November 1 to become a special education counselor for the Amador County Office of Education in Jackson, California. “I have been trying to find a counseling position for a few years, but with the education budget cuts, counseling is one of the first positions cut, so there are not many counseling positions available,” Galvez said. “I'm excited to take on this new challenge but will definitely miss the staff and students at LAHS. I'm hoping one day I will return to LAHS, maybe as a Special Education Teacher, since I am working on finishing my special education teaching credential.” The school administration is currently interviewing potential candidates to replace Heidi, as of the press deadline. PHOTOS BY IAN MACKEY, LAHS FILE PHOTOS AND TALON FILE PHOTOS

School considers changes to safety policy NOY ANISMAN MAYA VARGHESE

people all want to be in the same place at the same time, you end up Staff Writers with a lot of traffic and impatient The school assesses safety prob- people…and there’s a lot of foot and lems every few years in order to bicycle traffic in the same area,” make necessary updates to school Rosenberg said. “Maybe there’s a way policy. At the end of September, As- to reconfigure traffic patterns, maybe sistant Principal Galen Rosenberg it’s worth spending money on superconducted a panel discussion with a vision out there.” One option is to reline the parkgroup of students to get their views on the school’s safety in order to ing lot and change the perpendicular parking spots to diagonal ones, help this process. “We have an area that we’re re- which are easier to use and may presponsible for, our campus, and we vent accidents from occurring. Howwant to make sure that area is safe,” ever, a reconfiguration to diagonal Rosenberg said. “The evidence is parking spots would mean less parkquite clear, based on what we did ing spots in the same square footage. The administration has also disfor our WASC [Western Association of Schools and Colleges] re- cussed the idea of installing security port and from student surveys that cameras in the parking lot to docuthis is a very safe campus, but in the ment any sort of accidents. Though process, we want to see what else no car accidents have occurred in we could do to make it even safer previous years, reckless driving and fender benders often take place, than it is right now.” The student panel discussion and security cameras would likely brought up several safety concerns discourage this. While this does such as the parking lot, drug and al- seem like a viable solution, there are concerns associated cohol use and bullying. with the cost as well as “The main feedback needing to implement we got from students is school procedures so that the parking lot is The main feedstudents’ privacy is not safe, and that traf- that protected. fic around the school the parking lot “There’s people with is a concern, involving [isn’t] safe, and reservations about [seauto and pedestrian curity cameras], just in and bicycle traffic,” traffic around terms of privacy and all the school is a Rosenberg said. the issues that people The school consid- concern. have about people beered a number of solu—Assistant Principal ing on camera,” Rosentions to help solve this Galen Rosenberg berg said. “I think if we safety concern, which were to do it, we would has become an issue for many students, especially at the focus on the parking lot, at least inibeginning and end of the school tially, but it costs money and we have to have procedures in place…that reday. “Like any situation where a lot of ally preserves the interest of main-

taining security while also protecting students’ privacy.” Drivers aren’t the only ones that have to deal with unsafe conditions in the parking lot: pedestrians and bikers also have to worry about traffic in the lot. The issue of unsafe biking seems to stem from a lack of bike safety education—Rosenberg believes that it occurs because “a lot of students that ride bikes don’t even know that they’re supposed to follow the laws or what they are… and they’re putting themselves and other people at risk.” The school has already made plans to work on this problem. “The freshman P.E. classes are going to have a bike safety unit this year for the first time,” Rosenberg said. “The Mountain View organization that supports bike safety is going to do a sort of workshop.” Another likely road safety plan is installing lights along the school’s east driveway, by the tennis courts and Jardin Avenue, because that stretch gets very dark after the sun goes down and students often have sports activities there later in the day. In addition to these issues, the panel discussion brought up the topic of student drug and alcohol abuse. Problems were mentioned with drug and alcohol use, though students noted this generally takes place outside of school or at afterschool events. Overall this does not appear to be a prevalent issue on campus and the administration continues to do all it can to prevent and discourage it. “I don’t think there’s any school anywhere that has zero use, either in school or at school-related events,” Rosenberg said. “So it’s a


Student conduct liasion Carlos Camplis supervises students during lunch. The school recently surveyed students to assess campus safety. matter of ensuring that the use is as minimal as we can possibly make it, that students who do violate the rules have consequences…and that other students aren’t negatively affected by any peers’ misbehavior. And it’s our sense based on the data and the input that we’ve gotten that that’s the case.” The school is faced with a similar situation with bullying. The panel discussion revealed that there is minimal bullying that occurs on campus, but some cyberbullying does take place online. “The students that we spoke to in the panel, and from the other evidence we’ve seen…feel like the school deals with it effectively when we become aware of it, and that there is not a tolerance for bullying,” Rosenberg said. “You can point to anything that’s not

perfect and say, ‘Why don’t you make it more perfect,’ but there’s only so much time and money and effort and energy, and so it’s important to allocate the time and money and effort towards things that you can change significantly and that will really improve... In this case it’s student safety, so fewer fender benders and a safer parking lot, and not tripping and falling out there in the east driveway because it’s basically pitch black.” While several safety topics and potential solutions have been researched with the help of the student panel discussion, the transition from getting information to securing plans is not complete. The school administration plans to meet with the district administration soon and hopes to compete the new safety plan by the end of this semester.



The Talon  November 19, 2013

Students win hackathon with suicide prevention app WILLIAM JOW JAMES SUN Staff Writers

On October 27, AVID team members seniors Jesus Caballero, Gloria Carbajal, Estefani Gomez, Katie Gomez, Dafne Hernandez and a fifth grader competed against over 25 other teams in the Level the Coding Field hackathon hosted at the Mountain View Computer History Museum. “The Screaming Eagles” team took home first place, winning six Android Ubislate Tablets and a total of $3000 in prize money, which they split among themselves equally for $500 each. Although AVID has not participated in an event like this before, AVID teachers encouraged students to sign up, believing the hackathon was an opportunity for AVID students interested in the technological fields to gain exposure and experience. The event aimed to give students underrepresented in computer science an opportunity to gain technology skills. Participants spent 18 hours over two days de-

signing and building a mobile application that addresses a problem in the real world. “A lot of people took that [prompt] in the direction of the environment, so they wanted to do stuff about global warming,” Estefani said. “We, on the other hand, were thinking about social problems because as teenagers we see these problems being addressed daily.” “The Screaming Eagles” developed an application to raise awareness of suicide as well as help potential suicide victims through their struggle. “Everyone says, ‘Be happy, be positive,’ but nothing out there really helps; you either have the support or you don’t,” Estefani said. Initially, the students were not grouped into the same team. In spite of this setback, the team was eventually able to exchange themselves with other participants for the ability to work with familiar peers. “The funny thing is, the other groups that ended up winning were composed of the people we


Level the Coding Field hackathon participants work on their applications with myBalsamiq and Appery. Teams had two days to create their app.

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Seniors Gloria Carbajal, Jesus Caballero, Dafne Banderas, Katie Gomez, Estefani Gomez and a fifth grader from Fremont took home first place. The team walked away with $3000 in prize money. switched with to form our own come out, and then the flower group,” Estefani said. comes out, and that makes you The team, with no prior expe- want to keep doing the app.” rience in computer science, was After outlining their app’s feaguided through the development tures, they used myBalsamiq to process of mobile program their conapps. They were first tent. MyBalsamiq alinstructed to brainlows users to design storm the key ele- [The hackathon] the user interface of ments of their app. taught me a lot their mobile applicaAfter much thought, about working tions not only for the the team decided Android platform, with a group of they would write but also for iOS and an app to promote people... we built Windows phones. self-counseling for something togethThroughout the potential suicide er, and the outcompetition, the two victims. The app in- come was great. volunteer advisors cluded a connection that were assigned — Senior Dafne Hernandez to suicide hotlines, to the team encourfacts about suicide aged the team to prevention and a diary to help vic- learn how to create the application tims express their emotions. themselves. “The way we made [the app] “The counselors did teach us kind of fun in a way was that, how to program, but at the same when you’re making your account time they left it open to us to learn you get to choose to be a male or for ourselves,” Estefani said. “So a female, a type of Pokemon or a whenever we really did get stuck flower, anything you choose,” Este- on something, they’d help us. But, fani said. “So on day one, you start when they didn’t, they would say, out as a egg, or a seed, and then it ‘Play with it and see what you can grows and grows, and the leaves learn.’”

The students not only learned about computer science, but also learned about collaborating with a team and testing one’s abilities. “[The hackathon] taught me a lot about working with a group of people,” Dafne said. “We built something together, and the outcome was great. It taught me about myself and what I could do. I didn’t know I could build an app in two days.” After splitting the prize money, the team members each decided how to spend the money in their own ways. “I’m going to save it for college,” Estefani said. “At least half of it because I have other expenses too.” As of November 14, the press deadline, the team planned on participating in the Level Playing Field Institute hackathon from November 16 to 17. The event was hosted at the ConneXion building near Jack London Park in Santa Rosa. To see more updates about future hackathons, visit

ASB hosts Thanksgiving food drive YUKI ZANINOVICH KEVIN YEN Copy/Content Editor Staff Writer

ASB is midway through hosting its annual Food Drive on campus. Students can contribute by donating food or money to designated boxes placed in classrooms during second period. The class that contributes the most amount of money and food will be awarded a pizza party. As of November 14, the press deadline, 126 pounds of food and $533 have already been collected. All of the money donated will be given to Second Harvest Food Bank (SHFB) where SHFB staff will either mail order certain food products or hand select them at SHFB warehouses. SHFB can purchase up to 2.5 pounds of food with each dollar through their unique partnerships with the United States Department of Agriculture, local farmers and Feeding America, a national non-profit food supplier. On top of the money and the food drive that is currently taking place at our school, ASB is currently hosting a branch of fundraising at the Draeger’s supermarket in Los Altos. However, not all of the donations

are donated to SHFB every year. Last year, ASB donated a fourth of their earnings to those who were affected by Hurricane Sandy. They also gave 900 pounds of food to the Community Services Agency, a local food distributor in Mountain View, in 2009. This year, they are planning to aid the victims of the recent typhoon in the Philippines through Red Cross. “Sometimes we’ll peel off and do other things but it depends on when the disaster is,” Assistant Principal Cristy Dawson. “[For example], we couldn’t donate to the tsunami in Thailand because it happened in December, which was after the food drive that year. [However,] sometimes we do separate fundraisers for [such disasters], like we did for the earthquakes in Mexico and China.” Unlike past years, ASB is focusing more of its time on obtaining publicity for the drive. One of its means to attract attention includes having ASB members dress up in food costumes. ASB has also been hosting informational presentations during the daily announcements. ASB plans to have the food drive mentioned in the email newsletter, Words from Wynne, in order to raise awareness. The overall purpose of these entertainment-themed ad-

vertisements is to educate students and parents on the impact they can have on the community. The Second Harvest Food Drive was first initiated at our school in 1997. Ever since that first year, when 414 pounds of food were collected, there has been an upward trend with a total of 2,646 pounds of food and $3,898.57 donated last year. ASB has made one major adjustment that encouraged this increase in donations: an added alternative to donate money rather than solely food. Up until 2007, students were only asked to bring their excess supply of non-perishable or canned foods. But since the option to donate money became available, the drive has had a significant increase in donations; although students may only be able to bring in a small quantity at a time, SHFB is able to obtain a significant amount with just a few dollars. However, Dawson still finds value in having students donate their own food. “I think it’s quite symbolic that the excessive food you have or might not be eating is shared to the less fortunate,” Dawson said. “However, the reality is, it’s easier for some kids to open their wallets and pull out a few bucks than [carry] bags while getting to school.”


The Talon  November 19, 2013


Green Team hosts conference at Google KATHERINE YEN Staff Writer

The Students for Greener High Schools conference that Green Team hosted on November 9, at Google Headquarters in Mountain View possessed a unique quality: It was completely student-run. The conference, a brainchild of Green Team copresidents seniors Sarah Jacobs and Wendy Wu, attracted 13 high schools and set a precedent for similar future conferences. “[Sarah] and I found [that] other conferences run by adults but targeted towards teenagers were not very helpful,” Wendy said. “So we decided to host our own conference, by high schoolers, for high schoolers.” With this spark of an idea, Sarah and Wendy began searching for a sponsor willing to host the conference. They had their eyes set on Google because of the company’s willingness to sponsor high school groups with a cause and its reputation as an environmentally friendly company. “Everyone knows [that] Google is...a very prestigiously green company,” Wendy said. “If we were to say, ‘Come to this conference in our school cafeteria,’ I don’t think we would have gotten half the turn-out we got [when] we had said, ‘We’re going to be at Google’....[Hosting the conference at Google] just gave us more credibility.” Four Google employees volunteered their time. However, the work for the club didn’t end there, as the entire structure of the conference had to be planned out by Green Team. “Logistically, we found it was a lot more difficult than we had initially expected it to be,” Sarah said. “All the conference planning, the materials, all the presentations [had] to be taken care of by us.” In addition to the location and planning, the conference lacked one other vital component: participants. Three weeks before the conference

date, Green Team reached out to 22 high schools around the Bay Area who had an established green organization on campus and invited them to attend. Green representatives from 13 schools, including nearby Lynbrook, St. Francis, Gunn and Palo Alto high schools, attended. “We thought if we could get 10, 15 schools out there, [then] we had succeeded past...any environmental conference we’d been to,” Sarah said. The number of schools who responded positively emphasized the difference between an adult-run conference and one organized by high school students. “It was a lot easier for us as a high school to [contact students] than for ACE [Alliance for Climate Education]...because we have friends, we have networks, we’re willing to be like ‘Poke. Can we talk to you?’” Sarah said. “And people responded.” The conference kicked off with a game of Jeopardy to break the ice between participants. Topics centered around environmental issues such as global warming, pollution and energy as well as miscellaneous categories like America’s environmental track record. Sarah and Wendy then transitioned the conference into a series of four presentations. St. Francis stepped up first, talking about the process and execution of installing a garden at their school. Though unsupportive at first, their administration quickly warmed up to the garden after its implementation, even going so far as to ask the green team members to give guided tours of it during open house night. A student from Monta Vista followed St. Francis’, presenting her work on implementing a Walk or Wheel program at her school. Then Presentation High School discussed its participation in Project Green Challenge, a 30-day program during the month of October designed to motivate youth to sustain a more


Student representatives at the Google conference listen on as a presenter discusses the proper way to raise environmental awareness. A variety of Bay Area different schools attended the student-led conference. eco-conscious way of living. Finally, LAHS Green Team gave the last presentation on its Anything But Cars days and Earth Week. “These presentations were just supposed to give these students a greater idea of what schools in the Bay Area were doing,” Sarah said. “And what a successful project looked like, and taking it through the beginning, middle and end of that project.” Following the presentations, participants split off into their first focus group of 9 to 12 people, each with a specific topic of discussion. “There were five groups...recycling, compost, water, community outreach/fundraising and overcoming issues,” Wendy said. When schools RSVPed their attendance, each participant had filled out a form choosing their top three topics. With this compilation of information, Wendy assigned participants to two focus groups based on their stated preferences. Participants talked in one focus group for half an hour, took a lunch break where they networked over sandwiches and then got into a

Participants of the green conference pose for a group photo. Students from 13 different Bay Area schools attended the conference hosted on the Google campus.

different second focus group where they discussed another topic. “We had a few discussion questions to kind of guide the conversation, but it was really about expanding off of each others’ comments,” Wendy said. “It was...about, ‘How can we use the past to plan for future projects at other people’s schools?’” Another trend that Wendy and Sarah noticed was that the overcoming issues group and the community outreach/fundraising group proved especially popular among schools that already had a well-established green team on campus. Schools that did not yet have a very strong green program gravitated towards the recycling, compost and water focus groups as they wanted to learn how to launch those programs. “I felt like [the overcoming issues and community outreach/fundraising groups] were pretty well-liked by other green teams because we’ve all encountered issues and when we go to conferences, nobody ever tells us how to solve them,” Wendy said. “I’ve never gone to a conference where you can say, ‘What about this issue? What about that issue?,’ because you’re always going to have problems and issues with kids’ apathy [and] the administration. As for community outreach/fundraising, that’s always a good one because all clubs need [participation and funding].” The Green Team took away several valuable lessons from the conference, chief among them being that student-run conferences can be just as helpful, if not even more so, than adult-run conferences. “We don’t need adults to plan out all of our movements,” Sarah said.

“Just getting a bunch of kids together in a room can be a viable solution and something that’s really valuable. People told us when they were leaving that it was the best conference that they’d ever been to.” Wendy notes that the conference made her realize that there are other people out there who care just as much about the future of Earth as Green Team members do. “I haven’t been very optimistic about high schools’ outreach, because I just haven’t felt like the high school audience is very responsive,” Wendy said. “Whereas, you go to this [green] conference, and you have 60 kids who are all interested in the same things as you are, who are all trying to get the same things done.” As such, Green Team’s hard work and the participants’ genuine interest combined to create a memorable green conference that not only attained its goal of being educational and useful but also blazed a trail for other future student-run conferences to follow. “[The conference] accomplished everything we wanted it to accomplish, and that was [for participants] to not really learn from the organizers of the conference but learn from each other,” Sarah said. “And they did that through the presentations, through the breakout groups, even through the networking time where we just let them eat sandwiches and talk to each other. Everyone...said they learned a lot.” To read an extended version of this article, visit

Movie Nights to replace Winter Ball dance SITARA SRIRAM YASHAR PARSIE Business Manager Staff Writer

This school year, ASB has started hosting schoolwide movie nights, in addition to traditional dances in an effort to increase school spirit and promote student participation in school events. Over the past couple of years, dance turnouts have slowly decreased, as dances are not as popular as they once were. “Dances aren’t something that everyone enjoys,” ASB President junior Ramiel Petros said. “It’s something that you either like or you don’t. We just find that every year people choose to do other things than go to the dance.” Last year, after ASB held the school’s largely unsuccessful Winter Ball, ASB decided to look for alternate activities. Additional efforts

to increase turnout at dances, such as renting mechanical bulls and hiring more expensive DJs, proved to be ineffective. ASB then decided it was time for a change. “We noticed that dances were not as popular, so we cut the Winter Dance and said we’ll just have [the Sadies dance] from now on,” Ramiel said. After cutting the Winter Ball, due to its proximity to Sadies and its relative unpopularity last year, ASB decided that it wanted to have more school-wide events than only three dances a year. “We had been talking about doing a movie night, so that kind of became the new idea that we thought we’d try out this year,” Ramiel said. “It’s not [movie nights] instead of [dances], it’s just a new thing that we want to try and see how it works.” After the first movie night was

held on September 6, parents, students and teachers alike seemed to respond positively to the event, according to Ramiel. “The first one we got 509 kids who came to it, and after that Ms. Satterwhite got a lot of emails from parents and teachers saying how much kids liked it,” Ramiel said. “We found that after dances usually you have kids leaving early saying that wasn’t fun, but for the movie night, [we didn’t hear about] anyone leaving feeling that they didn’t have a good time.” Based on the feedback ASB has received, movie nights seem to have the potential to be more popular than dances, once a few minor kinks are worked out. “I think that movie nights would be better than dances [like homecoming] if they were more comfortable and more people went,” junior

Kelly Hayes said. “[Last time], the gym floor was kind of hard.” In the future, the school plans on hosting only two movie nights, one at the beginning and end of the year, and holding them on the baseball diamond instead of the gym. In addition, movie nights seem to appeal to a wider range of students, due to their versatile nature. “At movie night, it honestly doesn’t matter how many people go because it’s just a place you can hang out and talk to a small group of friends,” junior Liza Koulikova said. “Last time I didn’t even watch the movie. I just had food made for me and hung out with my friends.” However, despite their apparent popularity, movie nights don’t take in as much profit as dances. “The dance tickets usually range from $13, to at the end of the week $16,” Ramiel said. “[But for movie

nights] since it’s only $10 tickets, you need a lot more people to go to make up for it. We still have the same amount of expenses because we have to pay a tech person, which is about as much as a DJ, and we have to pay for the food too, so it’s more expenses and less income.” Tickets for homecoming this year took in $14,194. Expenses totaled $850, leading to a net profit of $13,344 just for homecoming. Conversely, the income brought in from movie night was $5,555, while expenses were $2,190. This lead to a much smaller net profit of $3,366. However, ASB hopes that the popularity of movie nights will build, making the events even more profitable for the school. “Movie nights [right now] are not more profitable, but I think it’s more rewarding,” Ramiel said. “People seem to like it more.”

The Talon  November 19, 2013

Please send letters to the editor to Los Altos High School

Online health is not sufficient


Blue Crew for boosting school spirit at games

Started last year by boys basketball coach Bob McFarlane, Blue Crew focuses on promoting school spirit at athletic events. Last year, it centered around basketball, but the club plans to expand its efforts to more sports this year. Because higher attendance turns games into positive social events and boosts players’ morale it is commendable that Blue Crew is expanding its efforts.

THUMBS UP to the school-wide Ultimate Frisbee tournament

The revived frisbee club has spearheaded the Ultimate frenzy on campus since its reboot. The club has worked closely with ASB to introduce Ultimate to the school. Friendly competition is always appreciated on the campus, as these events increase student engagement and offer an interesting lunchtime activity for spectators and players alike.

Dear Editor, As a devoted supporter of Los Altos High sports, I greatly appreciate the outlet that our schools athletic programs provide. As a four year varsity athlete I have personally experienced the benefits of competing and representing Los Altos high school, however my favorite part of our school’s sports comes when I am not playing but rather in the stands. Athletic events such as basketball and volleyball games provide a fantastic source of relaxation after a stressful and exhausting day at school. The blue crew has taken the support of our schools athletic teams to the next level by getting substantially more students involved in our sports. However, it sometimes feels our supporting efforts are in vain. At every other gym I have been to, students are encouraged to bring as much energy as possible and although it may not be the pinnacle of sportsmanship, those students bring the enthusiasm and spirit that makes games memorable. At the Los Altos gym, or eagles nest as it has affectionately been coined, things are different. Instead of

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being commended for demonstrating your school spirit, students are often scolded and even threatened with being kicked out of the event for showing any level of excessive spirit. Students are forbade from yelling during free throws, speaking negatively about the opposing team, stepping near the court, sitting near the opposing stands, and doing anything that makes school spirit possible or that makes sporting events enjoyable. It is true that sometimes fans can get a little rowdy, as high schools students we are expected to be a little bit rambunctious, but generally fans are nowhere near the disorder that justifies such harsh retribution. Perfect sportsmanship is just not realistic nor is it a solid basis for the energy and passion that Los Altos High student can offer. Mountain View students chant airball and sing goodbye to us when they win and although it is hard to lose like that, these are components that create the electric atmosphere that makes games fun, especially when we can actually respond and fight back with spirit of our own. Students are much less inclined to get excited and pumped up if they know that they are going to be punished if they get too “out of hand”, almost to the point where student would rather not cheer at all. In no manner am I arguing for the complete dismissal of respect and authority at our athletic events, however it seems backwards that despite

Managing Editors Rebecca DeShetler (Print) Jared Eng (Print) Dhruv Madhok (Web)

In-Depth Editor Carly Cohen

IUD Copper

course meets. The district argues the online course provides an alternative for students who have concerns about taking a comprehensive sex education course. However, many students opting to take the course online are certainly not making the decision because of religious or other moral concerns, rather because it clears room in their schedule. It is unwise for the district to offer these

Editor-In-Chief Zoe Morgan

Features Editor Casey Pao

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m o s t e f fe c t i ve

experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students, while the the online course does not. The on-site course also gives students information about local resources they can go to if they need additional assistance. This kind of education is vital for students. Few courses in high school are as directly applicable as sex education. There is a reason the state has a list of topics sex education courses should cover. When students only learn about condoms as they do in the online course, they are not learning all the necessary information. Condoms may not be the best choice of contraception for every student, and even when they are, some students will also want to have an additional form of contraception to increase protection. When LGBT students’ experiences aren’t covered; they are left without the essential education their straight peers are receiving. Currently, students trying to choose which course to take aren’t informed of the distinction between the two. This must change. Students need to understand that the online course is far from an adequate substitute. However, this isn’t a permanent solution. Even if students are told that the courses are different, many will likely still choose to take the course online in order to clear space in their class schedules. It isn’t fair to make students choose between their academic courses and receiving adequate sex education. Instead, the district should change the online course to fulfill the comprehensive standards the on-site

l e a s t e f fe c t i ve

Each year, fewer and fewer students take health in-seat, opting instead to take it online—either through the district or an outside provider. Many students choosing this path, especially those taking it through the district, go in thinking the course is equivalent to the on-site option. The district’s online class is far from equivalent. The in-seat course, in addition to covering a variety of health concepts, meets the state of California’s requirements for comprehensive sex education. The district’s online course, run through adult education and purchased from an independent company, does not. This inequity must be fixed. In California, districts aren’t required to provide sex education, but if they choose to, the course must meet a number of comprehensive requirements. In other words, a school legally cannot offer a sex education class that only gives students some of the information. Our district argues that the online course doesn’t have to meet these requirements because it isn’t a sex education course, but rather a health course with a sex education component. Regardless of the legal justifications, the district should make the content of the online course equivalent to that of the on-site course for the good of the student body. Currently, students taking the online class receive only a sliver of the information they would receive if they took the course at school. For example, the only form of contraception they learn about is the condom, while the course at school covers all FDA approved forms. Additionally, the school course encompasses the

201 Almond Ave., Los Altos, CA November 19, 2013 Volume XXIX, Issue 3

students a course intended for the minority of students who do have an issue with a comprehensive class. The online class should be a comprehensive sex education course, regardless of the district’s original aim. This is one of the most applicable classes students will take in high school. Allowing hundreds of students to graduate without ever learning these topics is unacceptable.

advocating school spirit and pride, the athletic director is still going to discipline students for being even remotely boisterous. It crushes the spirit and camaraderie that makes a high school sports memorable. Senior Andrew Bray Dear Editor, One issue I’d like to divulge is the condition of our school’s bathrooms. To put it bluntly, they are repugnant. On any given day, you can walk in and find feces smeared about the walls and the floors... I’m not even joking. The condition of these bathrooms is utterly vile. This discourages one from using the bathroom at almost any time, making my campus experience much less enjoyable. It’s really not that hard; people need to treat these bathrooms like they would those in their own home. It’s unfair to our peers and to the janitors who have to clean up the repulsive mess. Next time you find yourself at the crossroad of urinating on the floors or defecating on the walls, look in the mirror and ask yourself, what kind of person am I? Senior Will Becker The Talon welcomes letters to the editor. Email letters to, drop them off in room 409 or the box in the attendance office. In the case of spelling or grammatical errors, obscenities, libel 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.

Copy/Content Editors Maya Acharya, Steven Cui, Ariel Machell, Yuki Zaninovich Business Managers Perla Luna, Sitara Sriram Social Media Editor Emily Sims Senior Writers Robert Chin, Alex Cortinas, Cassidy Craford, Chase Eller, Sam Lisbonne, Joey Malgesini, John Naumovski, Jordan Stout Staff Writers Noy Anisman, Alex Barreira, Amelia Baum, Alice Dai, Salim Damerdji, Sofia Guo, Perla Luna, James Merrill, Yashar Parsie, Danny Rosenbaum, Johnny Scher, Riley Soward, Sitara Sriram, James Sun, William Jow, Maya Varghese, Katherine Yen, Kevin Yen Photographers Brandon Hong, Ian Mackey Graphic Artists Noy Anisman, Michael Zhu Webmasters Yuki Zaninovich, Michael Zhu Adviser Michael Moul

POLICIES 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 Editorial Board sets the policies of The Talon and crafts its editorials and thumbs. Its members are Cassidy Craford, Rebecca DeShetler, Sam Lisbonne, Dhruv Madhok, Jordan Stout and Tony Sun.

ADVERTISE & SUBSCRIBE Send advertisement and subscription inquiries to Perla Luna and Sitara Sriram at

Talon Supporters Honorary Pulitzers Ken and Debbie Munro, Emily Goto, David and Hadas Niv Anisman, The Acharyas, Holly and Andy Cohen, Quyen Ngoc Nyguen and Chuyen Huu Do, Haiyan Gao, Mary E. MacLellan, Rongchun Sun, Afsaneh Golestany, Dan Shen, Su-Jane Hsieh, Yongmei Zhou, Susan and Ken Sims, Dusanka Rosenbaum, Steve and Thea Merrill, Lisa Gordon and Sean Mackey, Michael Zaninovich

Silver Supporters The Falos, Kris Moore, Elliott and Linda Dan, Corinne Arrouye, Kristian Family, Bruce Cohen, Srinivasan and Subadhra Sriram, Lewen Stempler, Randall Stempler, Maria Lippert, Qin Chen Shirley and Allan Soloman, The McDonalds

The Talon  November 19, 2013

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Students should consider enrolling in statistics SAM LISBONNE Senior Writer

While student grievances are numerous and diverse, ranging from overwhelming workload to incessant stress, one complaint is universal throughout all disciplines: “Why do we need to know this?” The current curriculum often provides material not applicable to particular students. The inherent value of statistics is that the subject matter applies to every student and teaches increasingly valuable skills in a data-driven world. Most people categorize statistics as a mathematics class, but the reality is that statistics extends beyond the mathematical relationships which govern its rules. Statistics is about understanding numbers, trusting those which are reliable and discarding those which mislead. “I think the biggest value in [learning statistics] is to be able to determine what is true and what is not true,” Statistics teacher Lily Xu said. “To be able to statistically think where a statistic comes from and whether you should believe it [is valuable].” We increasingly see statistics

permeate our lives, and being able to ask the right mathematical questions is an incredibly important skill. From news articles to accounting reports to scientific journals, statistics is becoming an integral part of every career. As such, learning how to intelligently consume statistics is vital. “You need to be able to look at a statistic and go, ‘I can trust what they are reporting, or I cannot,’” AP Statistics teacher Carol Evans said. “I don’t want people to reject every statistic they look at, there is some really good stuff out there, but there are also some bad stats out there. Education is understanding the difference.” While understanding statistics is a skill not limited to any department, the course itself is technically classified as a mathematics course. “It should be your fourth year of math,” Evans said. “My opinion is that if you are going to take four years of math, one of them should be statistics. We should allow students to take two math classes simultaneously if they choose. I think that the administration should not discourage that extra year of math.” Consuming statistics intelligently should not be limited to STEMoriented students, either. While the AP Statistics class does involve fairly

advanced mathematics, the newly formed college prepatory statistics course is geared towards students who want to learn how to consume statistics without learning how to calculate or develop statistics of their own. “So far, I’d say I really enjoy the regular statistics class because it’s not too fast-paced [and] it gives me an appreciation for the subject because I’ve learned valuable skills throughout the course of it,” senior Abel Gorfu said. The dilemma of statistics is that while we consume numbers in a variety of forms all the time, we often don’t realize how helpful a better understanding of statistics can be. The ability to recognize statistical errors and question numbers by asking the right questions is critical to better understanding data and news in the ways we currently use them. Beyond the actual study of statistics, the course also teaches how to think analytically and thoughtfully explain answers. These skills further increase the practical value of both AP and regular statistics. “To be a good consumer of statistics, you need to know the right mathematical questions to ask, as opposed to being able to actually calculate the numbers,” Evans said. “You need to be able to look


at a statistic and go, ‘I know what their sampling procedure was, I know what they did. Therefore, I can trust what they are reporting.’” As students, we are exposed to massive amounts of material, much of which we will not retain or use in our future lives. Courses like statistics are so valuable to students of all interests because they combine relevant, visibly applicable learning with skills which benefit students

irrespective of their future paths. “Statistics are ubiquitous, they are everywhere,” Evans said. “When the high school curriculum was set up, they were not [ubiquitous]. I’m trying to teach that when you read a statistic, do you know the right questions to ask? Does that make it valid, or invalid, both of which are helpful to know. Statistics is like learning to read now.”

US drone strikes provide practical benefit JOHN NAUMOVSKI Senior Writer

For those who follow current events and international politics, one particular headline and its variations have dominated the news and grasped our attention. It reads something along the lines of online news articles such as “Taliban leader killed in U.S. drone strike”. The U.S. has been carrying out drone strikes in regions occupied by al-Qaeda and their associates with the intent of disrupting their leadership and operational capacity. These strikes have been carried out since the early 2000s in Yemen, Somalia and most notably, in regions of western Pakistan near the Afghan border. The media has decried such strikes

as immoral and illegal and claimed that such strikes increase popular support for al-Qaeda, the Taliban and their associates. But behind this sentiment is a complex and multifaceted moral, legal and pragmatic calculus. As such, it is foolish to immediately denounce such actions without an understanding of both the greater context and realities of such strikes. While it is regrettable that the U.S.—a supposed democracy infused with the values of human rights— has resorted to these methods, we must not write off the pragmatic value of drone strikes as a means of ensuring our domestic safety and the safety of our troops overseas. From a purely objective standpoint, drone strikes, as well as other forms of targeted killing, have proven effective in hindering the operational capacity of armed non-state actors. According to Peter Bergen, CNN’s national security analyst and


an authority on combating terrorism, “CIA drone attacks in Pakistan have undoubtedly hindered some of the Taliban’s operations, killed hundreds of their low-level fighters and a number of their top commanders.” In addition, the “terrorizing presence” of drones overhead has proven to be psychologically effective, disrupting militant organizations ability to gather and coordinate. Evidence gathered from Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound corroborates the effectiveness of drone strikes. Bin Laden himself expressed concern regarding such strikes, urging his top operational planner, Atiyya Abdul Rahman to convey modified concealment strategies to al-Qaeda operatives. Rahman himself was killed last August by a drone strike in Pakistan. Additionally, evidence gathered both from U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan and Israeli strikes against Hamas have demonstrated that as the rate of retaliatory terrorist attacks increases, their lethality decreases precipitously. According to Daniel Byman, a professor of Security Studies at Georgetown University and authority on Middle East Policy, “Something more than correlation was at work here. Contrary to popular myth, the number of skilled terrorists is quite limited...they need many months, if not years, to gain enough expertise to be effective. When these individuals are arrested or killed, their organizations are disrupted. The groups may still be able to attract recruits, but lacking expertise, these new recruits will not pose the same kind of threat.” Furthermore, due to the relatively decentralized nature of current militant groups, eliminating a single prominent leader, such as Osama bin Laden, is of limited strategic value.


While such events are major victories in regards to morale, the organizational structure of terrorist groups allows them to operate without a central leader, and thus still pose a serious threat. As such, eliminating the leaders of regional and local cells through targeted killings is clearly a more effective means of disrupting al-Qaeda and its affiliates.

Drone strikes, regardless of their dubious moral nature and potential for collateral damage, are an effective means of disrupting the tactical capacity of al-Qaeda and other hostile groups. While the subjective ethical aspects of this debate are open to interpretation, an objective analysis of drones clear indicate the strike’s pragmatic effectiveness.

If you would like to write about your stance on an issue that’s affecting students at our school, email Opinions Editor Shiktij Dave at with a summary of your idea.

The Talon  November 19, 2013

School’s efforts to curb cyberbullying commendable SALIM DAMERDJI Staff Writer

Technology has made communication vastly easier and faster by simplifying human interaction down to a screen and text. But, even though we’re now more connected with our social networks, we’re regrettably disconnected from the immediate, raw experiences of the people we talk to. Unsurprisingly, cyberbullying appears increasingly heinous. “Drink bleach and die” read one message aimed at Rebecca Sedwick, a 12-year-old whose suicide story went viral earlier this fall after she endured prolonged cyberbullying. She is one of many victims. “There’s a heightened awareness of [cyberbullying] because it’s becoming increasingly pertinent,” assistant principal Cristy Dawson said. “You look back about 10 years ago and you think of the phrase ‘cyberbullying’ and you don’t see it because it’s relatively new…with the advent of Facebook and social media in general. Of course times change, and will continue to evolve” For the sake of their students’ wellbeing, schools must do something to stymie the spread of cyberbullying. Ours should be applauded for the swift, strong approach that it takes to mitigate the frequency of cyberbullying that occurs as well as in curbing any potential detrimen-


tal effects that may arise from it. As it stands, the school tries to stop cyberbullying every time an instance is brought to the attention of an administrator, regardless of whether it originated on or off campus. “If Student A is bullying Student B and Student B is not coming to school because they’re frightened or depressed or overwhelmed, then we get involved,” Dawson said. Once claims of cyberbullying come to the school’s attention, the school tries to resolve conf licts rather than blindly suspending cyberbullies as per other schools’ policies. The healing

nature of this stance for all parties makes it a more mature policy. The aim doesn’t even have to be having a close relationship; the goal can merely be peaceful coexistence. “When I’ve talked to kids, there’s something strangely disjointed. People will say much harsher, meaner things not faceto-face. When I talk to kids about it…[they realize what they’re] doing is wrong,” Dawson said. However, not all students are solely focused on the effects the school’s policies have on preventing cyberbullying. “[Some students] are concerned with the intrusiveness of

certain cyberbullying policies,” we can be more empathetic and senior Lillian Zhou said. understanding of other cultures Given the era, this is an under- and backgrounds. standable perspective. Everyday Given that most of the time private conversations 20 years that the school deals with inago weren’t permanently etched stances of cyberbullying are onto hard drives, but now they when they are brought to the can have irreparable conse- attention of administration via quences. It seems almost unfair students, it would seem logical to our generation. Yet, that’s that we could still improve our not enough to justify criticiz- community by utilizing a proing the school’s current policies. gram that actively identifies and The administration is far from involves student leaders to deal harsh in their punishments nor with with cyberbullying issues. do they actively scour Facebook However, the school is correct in profiles for borderline inf lam- mitigating cases of cyberbullying matory remarks. They simply at the administrative level bewouldn’t even have the resourc- cause of the magnitude of backes or will to. lash and potential harm it could Other sorts of events and ac- incur on students’ psyches. tivities that the school holds “Do I think it’s good students throughout the year, such as the have a voice?” Dawson said. “Abnewly-renamed Camp Diversity, solutely. Should students say also repre[this instance of sent imporcyberbullying] is tant ways that wrong? I think yes. the school We do a lot of work But, to start sanccontinues to tioning groups combat bully- with the Camp Diversilike these with the ing and foster ty stuff so that we can complexity and more empa- be more empathetic nuances of some thetic behav- and understanding of these issues can ior among the be problematic, of other cultures and student culdepending. If it’s backgrounds. ture. just saying ‘knock “I feel exit off ’, that’s fine. —Assistant Principal Cristy Dawson tremely hapBut if you become py about the judge and jury, amount of there could be a times we go to Camp Diver- serious…uproar.” sity,” Dawson said. “I think our It is this reactive approach school is pretty cool. I’m not that makes the way that our saying that students [won’t] school deals with cyberbullying make disparaging remarks but I fairly effective in mitigating the think…we do a lot of work with frequency and potency of cyberthe Camp Diversity stuff so that bullying.

Spotify responsible for death of album as an artwork DHRUV MADHOK Web Managing Editor

It was during the dot-com boom of the 2000s that music pundits began to proclaim the end of the album as an artwork. With the emergence of Napster and the growth in popularity of the iPod, the listening experience of mp3s significantly improved, and the single made a resurgence; so much so that many listeners believed that the album as an artistic entity was marking its final days. The album, however, continued to remain intact as an artwork. Perhaps it was the massive quatities of downloads of albums made available on Piratebay and other peer-to-peer services, where listeners could and still can illegally download albums and even discographies within minutes, or iTunes offering albums digitally, but the rumors were put to rest. But now, 13 years later, the prophecies finally appear to be coming to fruition. And a large cause of this is a result of the the well-known music streaming service, Spotify. Spotify, which has a growing base of 24 million users, has created a business model with a peripheral aim of ending music piracy by offering its users access to unlimited music free of charge. Using the money it makes through user subscriptions and advertising, Spotify compensates

artists for their work. However, Spotify’s playlistheavy model is what is causing these predictions to become true. Listeners can pick and choose songs from the collection of 20 million that Spotify offers, and assemble these songs into playlists, instead of giving albums a complete listen. That’s not to say that Spotify doesn’t necessarily offer full albums for users to listen through—just that almost everything about the design and organizational structure of the application promotes songs to be hand-selected by users and listened to in isolation. Users drag songs of their liking to their playlist, star songs on Spotify radio to add it to their playlist, can sync music to an MP3 player only in the form of a playlist and share it— guess how?— through a playlist. What is lost when music is listened to as a playlist instead of an album? What’s so essential about maintaining the album as an artwork? The album is synonymous with music itself, and to not listen to music in an album-like format is perhaps to not even listen to music at all. Forming our own individual tastes, lis-

tening in the way the artist presented and revisiting music are all traits integral to music that are lost when we choose to splice together a set of disparate songs. Artists meticulously work for their music to be listened to in a designated way. Hip hop artist Kanye West spent 5000 hours composing “Power” for the album, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.” The Avalanches spent two years compiling songs to sample, and another year and a half recording “Since I Left You.” These artists and innumerable others work to integrate songs with one another seamlessly; it’s not uncommon for artists to end songs with the beginning of the next like in “Since I Left You,” to create the effect that the album is one single song. Integration isn’t always just sonical; in a concept album, by definition, artists extend narratives from one song to the next, to create a broader discussion of themes and ideas. What the use of Spotify’s playlist model does is, in essence, disregard the countless hours of effort that artists put into the design

A Spotify playlist shows an assemblage of many songs from differing artists. Spotify’s “create-and-share-playlists” model of music streaming ruins the pure album-listening experience for users. of their albums. rediscover the album and be The best albums are the ones pleasantly surprised. that we leave alone to accumuThe thing is, we as listeners late dust before revisiting them. don’t realize that the most enjoyYes, there are the ment comes not when albums that strike we assemble music us with immediacy, how we want to, but To not listen but those which are when we listen to an even better are those to music in album in the way the whose perceptions an albumartist presented. The have shifted and like format is best songs are oftenchanged with the perhaps to not times not those with course of time. This the greatest number too is lost in the even listen to of bars on Spotify; playlist experience: music at all. they are quite often when we dislike a the opposite. song on Spotify, we disregard The album is necessary to dethe album altogether if not the veloping our own musical tastes. artist. However, with the album, It serves to help us define our the artist offers reason for why own understanding of music— a song exists, and eases into the one that Spotify’s playlist-orientsong with the previous; we can ed model inhibits.

The Talon  November 19, 2013

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Satterwhite’s path to becoming principal CONTINUED FROM THE FRONT PAGE


After graduating high school, Satterwhite attended Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, where she went pre-med—majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry. She also continued her involvement in sports. However, her athletic career came to a close when she suffered a major ankle injury in the fall of her freshman year. “Willamette was looking for volleyball players and I had played in high school so I went out for the team,” Satterwhite said. “I hurt my ankle really badly and never got to play basketball. It was a heartbreak for me because I was good at basketball and it was my main sport.” As Satterwhite followed the pre-med path, she realized that she didn’t want to be a medical professional. “At the end of my junior year, I started preparing for the MCAT [Medical College Admission Test] and I realized I didn’t want to go to medical school,” Satterwhite said. Fortunately she had completed her major early and was able to take classes in a different area for her senior year. Even though growing up Satterwhite never planned on

studying education, she decided to complete the requirements she needed to become a teacher in her final year of college. “I had taught swimming lessons and had been around kids my whole life,” Satterwhite said. “When I was in high school I also used to help my mom in the classroom, so I knew what the [education] system was like.” Having enjoyed teaching those classes, Satterwhite ultimately became a teacher for her first job after graduation. She taught science at a small high school in a rural town in Oregon; in addition, she coached three sports: volleyball, basketball and tennis. “I initially wanted to do something different, but teaching was something I knew I was good at and I kind of just fell into it,” Satterwhite said. Satterwhite soon got married. After two years of teaching in Oregon, she moved to California when her husband was offered a job as a software programmer in the Bay Area. “I didn’t have a job when I arrived,” Satterwhite said. “I was wandering around, trying to figure out what I wanted to do when I found out they needed a substitute at Los Altos High School. I threw my hat in the ring and [got the job].” Satterwhite’s first year at the school was not easy because there was a small age gap between her and her students, and because her students were not highly motivated. “We threw out the book and just did stuff that I thought would engage the students and ended up making it through the year,” Satterwhite said.

Following her first year at Los Al- she didn’t want to give up directly tos, Satterwhite almost didn’t return working with kids and having her as a teacher at the school. Unaware own class of students. However, she that the teacher she had been filling ultimately moved up so she could in for was not coming back, she had make a bigger impact in the school. been looking for other job oppor“I didn’t go into education wanttunities outside of the school. Sat- ing to be in administration...I really terwhite was taken by surprise when wanted to be directly helping kids,” the head of the science department Satterwhite said. “I had to make came into her room on the final day that choice whether to have a direct of school and asked her why she impact on a group of kids, or move hadn’t applied for the up and see how I position opening. could influence the “I went ‘what posischool overall...and I I miss those 29 tion?’” Satterwhite wanted to have more said. “So they walk kids who you get of an influence.” me into the princi- to be with every As an assistant pal’s office and the day and that principal, Satterprincipal asked if we you go through white was in charge could do an interof custodians, faview right there. I the joys and the cilities, the master said ‘okay’ and I end- sorrows [with]... schedule and staned up getting hired.” dardized testing for That is the one Satterwhite taught drawback I would her first year. She biology and life scibeing in say about being in enjoyed ence full time, and an administration soon got further administration. leadership posiinvolved with the tion, but she missed — Principal Wynne Satterwhite school when she teaching students. became a volleyball “I have to say I still coach. She coached volleyball for really miss being in the classroom,” five years before becoming a coun- Satterwhite said. “I miss those 29 selor for the school. kids who you get to be with every “I started to work in counseling a day and that you go through the little bit because I had enjoyed do- joys and the sorrows [with]...That ing peer assistance at this other high is the one drawback I would say school,” Satterwhite said. “For one about being in administration.” year, I actually counseled and taught Satterwhite went back into the and coached all at the same time. It classroom again the following year was too disruptive because I wasn’t when she became the advisor of [in the office] when kids needed me ASB. For the next ten years, she so I stopped coaching.” was both an assistant principal After eight years of teaching, Sat- and advisor of ASB. In 2004, Satterwhite was offered an assistant terwhite was offered the principal principal position after an assistant position of the school. principal left the school. At first, “We had had a bunch of different

principals come in over a very short period of time, and none of them really had stuck, so the superintendent came to me and said that they wanted some stability at Los Altos and that they thought I would be a good candidate,” Satterwhite said. At first, she wasn’t interested in becoming the principal. “It was funny because they sent Mr. Rosenberg to come talk with me and a couple other people came and talked with me and we decided in the long run it would be a good deal, so I took the job,” Satterwhite said. Satterwhite has now been the principal of the school for the past nine years. To this day, she still misses teaching kids but couldn’t be happier with being at the head of the school. “The energy and the passions that the kids and the teachers in this school have keeps you motivated and you just want to keep promoting it,” Satterwhite said. “That energy is amazing to me, and I think when you are in a place like this where you’re surrounded by people who care, students who want to learn and that passion, it can’t be anything but just fun.” Reflecting on the path she’s taken to being the principal of the school, Satterwhite is quite happy with how her life has progressed. “It’s been fun; I have enjoyed my life,” Satterwhite said. “I’ve had lots of different opportunities—I look back now and see choices and think about how my life would have changed if I had decided to do something else, but no regrets...The path I chose was a good one and I’m real happy with where I’m at.”

Dawn Allen assists students preparing for future KATHERINE YEN Staff Writer

For many students, the years after high school remain a vague question mark looming on the far horizon of graduation. With so many choices to be made, the path ahead often seems daunting at first. But that’s what the new College and Career Center coordinator Dawn Allen is here for: to help students along. “I really...enjoy working with students, especially high school students, because they’re at a crossroads of just possibilities [and] lots of different options,” Allen said. “I have a real open mind about what their futures could be.” Allen not only claims a varied background working in several different areas of a school but also possesses first-hand experience going through the college process, as she is a mother of three grown children. “I have a counseling background and a teaching background and...a lot of experience and career consulting,” Allen said. “I’ve been a parent with three kids that went through high school….I’ve already gone through this [process] and I’ve experienced it, so I understand.” To get students thinking about their futures, Allen asks them some umbrella questions such as


The new College and Career Center coordinator, Dawn Allen, is here to help students plan for their futures. Allen said that she has an open mind to students’ ideas and options. “Who are you?” and “What do you want to give back in your life?” Though the questions may be simple, the answers are anything but. “When I say ‘Who are you?’ that’s a real simple question, but there’s just so many layers under that,” Allen said. “What makes you happy? What things in life do you get excited about? What career do you think, ‘Wow, that’d be really cool?’” One of the things Allen loves about her job is asking these questions to help students realize the diverse options available to them and figure out where they want to go from there. “It’s really rewarding when a student comes back in and they’ve taken some time to think about the

questions I’ve asked them and... you can see [that] they’re feeling more at peace with the fact that... there are things they are interested in that they didn’t even think about [as options],” Allen said. “That makes me really happy.” The best part of this, according to Allen, is when students discover a major that they never even considered before. In particular, Allen encourages juniors and seniors to go to college visits as a source of inspiration for career paths. “I get such a thrill out of seeing a spark in someone’s eye when...they just light up, they sit up straight and you can tell they’ve found something they’re interested in,” Allen said.

But that’s not to say underclass- world up in a good way.” men shouldn’t be thinking about the However, the idea of breakfuture either. ing stereotypes represents just a “I love the idea of ninth grad- small part of Allen’s overall belief ers thinking about things, thinking in being open-minded and nonabout the direction they want to judgmental about what students go in,” Allen said. “Not necessar- choose to do after high school. ily deciding what career or what Although she is a believer in educollege, but just thinking, expos- cation, Allen has seen all kinds of ing themselves to activities, clubs or scenarios and acknowledges that things they have an interest in and there is no set path to a happy and creat[ing] a passion.” successful future. Another message As the College and that Allen hopes to Career Center coorpromote is to not I’m interested in ev- dinator, she hopes make assumptions eryone and tapping that she can help about schools. students progress into their potential “I had a girl who in whatever path said she didn’t want and possibilities. they choose. to go to a snobby “I...respect the fact — College and Career Center Coordinator Dawn Allen East Coast school’ or that people have difsomething like that,” ferent ideas in the Allen said. “That kind of stereotype next years of approaching [their fuis dangerous in that you could be ture],” Allen said. “[And] I’m interesteliminating something that will give ed in everyone and tapping into their you so many opportunities and won- potential and possibilities for them derful experiences that could change in terms of their careers or their fuyour life for the positive.” ture college, their school now, activiTo combat the effects of such ste- ties that they do and so forth.” reotypes, Allen recommends that Her final message to students is to students get to know different col- make the most of their choices in life. leges because doing so enriches their “Don’t sell yourself short,” Allen exposure to different possibilities. said. “Keep digging until you figure “Find out about them, come to vis- out what you want...because you’ve its, talk to people that have gone and got one precious life, [so you] might so forth,” Allen said. “Just see, maybe as well do things that are worth it it’s something that will open your [and] meaningful to you.

The Talon  November 19, 2013




Why Should You Care About Politics? SOFIA GUO Staff Writer

Let’s face it, sometimes students just don’t find a reason to care about politics. Sure, we hear about it all of the time in class and on the news, but as long as the daily routine of high school life stays put, so do our attitudes towards politics and government. Although this stands true for most of us, there is a vital reason to care about such seemingly remote subjects. As young adults in the making, high school students in particular need to begin understanding the power the government holds over their future. The most immediate impact from the government is paying for college; many students plan on applying to state-funded colleges and universities come senior year. According to the University of California (UC), the state government only gives UC schools approximately $2.38 billion out of $24.1 billion needed each year to operate (as of 2012-2013). This is only 11 percent of the entire annual UC budget, in contrast with the 13 percent of the entire annual budget ($3 billion) brought to UC schools

through student tuition and fees. With the economy still in decline, this amount of state funding will only decrease while student tuition costs rise. If students do not understand how UC schools are funded, they will only know that tuition and student loans (from the federal government) are getting higher without any idea of what is behind the increasing costs or how to change them. More importantly, students must realize that educating themselves on political matters is not in vain. The most effective way to make a change is to vote; In fact, statistics show that young voters are making a sizable impact on important selections of officers, particularly presidential elections. According to Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, in 2012 young voters ages 18 to 29 chose Barack Obama over Mitt Romney 60 percent to 37 percent—a 23 percent margin, according to National Exit Polls. The election resulted in Obama winning with 10 more electoral votes over Romney, which shows just how powerful young voters are in choosing important political leaders. Moreover, these

young voters make up 21 percent of the voting-eligible population in the U.S., which totals a staggering 46 million eligible young voters. That is seven million more than the seniors eligible to vote. Forty-six million. These 46 million youths need to know exactly who they are voting for and exactly what kind of politicians they need in their government. This is especially true concerning a generation entering an economy in the wake of the 2008 recession, as this generation has the ability to take action to prevent impossibly high college tuition costs, unreasonable student loan rates and rising taxes to contribute to higher living costs. When you graduate from college and move directly into the workforce, insurance, taxes, job opportunities, housing affordability, retirement funds and many more vital living issues are directly related to the types of politicians voters elect. As long as young people do not educate themselves about the types of politicians in the government that shape their lives, they will forever be living under conditions and laws that were made to

Key People SENATE LEADERSHIP Majority Leader

Harry Reid

Minority Leader

Mitch McConnell

HOUSE LEADERSHIP The Speaker of the House acts to represent the entire House of Representatives, and is nearly always held by the majority party, as he or she is elected by his or her fellow representatives. Every Speaker in the last 50 years has been the House Majority leader at the time that the previous Speaker stepped down. The current Speaker is John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio.

Speaker of the House

John Boehner

enhance the lives of the generation before, not the current generation of millennials with new technology, ideas and needs. That said, a force of 46 million strong young voters can change and improve their generation’s living conditions. To know about which politicians best represent


How would you describe the level of importance of politics in your daily life?

Majority Leader

Eric Cantor

Minority Leader

Nancy Pelosi

Much like the Senate leadership, the Majority and Minority leaders act as the spokespeople for their respective parties. The Republican party currently holds the majority in the house; The Majority Leader is Eric Cantor from Virginia, and the Minority Leader is Nancy Pelosi from California.



4% Extremely important


Key Terms The Majority and Minority Leaders are two U.S. Senators elected by the other senators in their respective parties to represent that party in the senate and be the primary spokesperson for that party. Their primary duties are to manage and schedule the legislative and executive agendas in the Senate. Harry Reid is the Senate Majority Leader, meaning he is the representative for the Democratic Party, which currently holds a majority in the Senate. Mitch McConnell is the Senate Minority leader, representing the Republican Party.

your generation’s needs and people, start looking into the major political parties in the government. Start educating yourself on what the possibilities are for a better future. And when the time comes, be prepared to take action to make a difference in your own life and the lives of millions of other Americans like you.

Congressional District: The region represented by one member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Los Altos and Mountain View are in California’s 18th Congressional district, and are represented by Anna Eshoo. Filibuster: When a Senator speaks and holds the floor in the Senate for as long as possible during a debate. The goal is to block a bill from passing by not allowing it to get voted on. In recent years, the rules of the filibuster have been the subject of controversy. Lobbying: The process of attempting to influence the view, position or vote of a politician. A Lobby or Lobbyist refers to a group or individual that argues for a particular cause, position or group of people in the government. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare): A set of health care reforms passed in 2010 that attempts to improve the quality and lower the costs of healthcare while improving access for many uninsured people. It has been a point of ongoing controversy, as some see it as too expensive to carry out and a breach of personal freedom. Others see it as a necessary expansion of the social safety net, alongside programs like social security, Medicare, Medicaid and disability benefits. Tea Party Movement: The “Tea Party” is not an actual political party, but a group of people that advocate reducing spending and taxes. There is no central structure, so many different offshoots have different agendas. Tea Party members are generally members of the Republican Party, and have strongly conservative ideology.

Somewhat important

Not at all important

Deficit: In the context of politics, a deficit is when a government spends more money than it takes in through taxes, and must borrow money to pay for that expenditure. The total federal debt is roughly the sum of all past deficits (or surpluses), minus how much we have since repaid. Government Shutdown: When the executive branch shuts down non-essential programs because Congress doesn’t extend funding. When it occurred earlier this year, federal agencies like the Department of Education, the Department of Defense, NASA and many others furloughed a combined total of approximately 800,000 employees and sent them on leave which they got paid for once they returned. Budget Sequestration: When automatic spending cuts, which have been agreed upon given certain conditions, are triggered. “The Sequester” refers to when sweeping spending cuts came into effect in March of 2013 after Congress failed to pass a new budget. Debt Ceiling: A limit on the amount of debt the U.S. Treasury can accumulate. If the debt ceiling is reached and not raised shortly thereafter, there is a risk that the Treasury will need to default on the federal debt, which would likely have drastic ripple effects throughout the U.S. and global economy. Continuing Resolution: An agreement to continue using the most recently passed budget instead of drawing up and passing a new budget, effectively postponing debate on the issue to a later date. This was what ended the recent government shutdown.

The Talon  November 19, 2013

The Federal Budget Decoded

What our government spends money on, where the money comes from and how it is all decided


With trillions of dollars to manage and countless agencies and programs to be funded, it is no wonder that the United States’ federal budget is so perplexing. But remember: The budget allocates your parents’ tax dollars— and soon yours as well. Federal distribution of funds is what empowers agencies to carry out their functions, whether they be maintaining national defense, providing social services or exploring space.

No official 2014 Federal Budget has been approved (read more about this under ‘Funding the Government’), so President Obama’s proposed 2014 budget is shown below.




$1.38 TRILLION Individual income taxes $1.38 TRILLION

$618 BILLION National defense $618 BILLION

Other discretionary

$624 BILLION Other discretionary Includes transportation, income

Includes transportation, income security, veterans services and more

$860 BILLION Social Security

Corporate income taxes

Corporate income taxes $333 BILLION $333 BILLION

Other revenue $287 BILLION





$1.03 TRILLION payroll taxes

Medicare and Medicaid

Medicare and Medicaid $827 BILLION $827 BILLION

Other revenue $287 BILLION

Deficit $744$744 BILLION Deficit BILLION

A deficit occurs when thewhen government spends spends A deficit occurs the government more thanmore it makes a year.inWhen this thanin it makes a year. When this happens, the government must borrow happens, the government mustmoney borrow money to fund itself, adding toadding the federal to fund itself, to thedebt. federal debt.

1. President Submits Request

security, veterans services and more $624 BILLION

Social Security Social Security and other payrollSocial taxesSecurity and other

Every year, the federal government is funded through a complex system called the appropriations process. The Constitution gives Congress the “power of the purse” but does not specify how to exercise that power, so over time the budgeting process has developed into what we see in Washington today.

$3.77 TRILLION National defense DISCRETIONARY*

Individual income taxes







Other mandatory Other mandatory $621 BILLION $621 BILLION

Includes income security, education, Includes income security, education, health, veterans services and agriculture health, veterans services and agriculture

Interest onon debt Interest debt$223 $223BILLION BILLION

*Numbers may add due to rounding *Numbers may not add upnot due to up rounding

Each February, the President submits a proposal for a budget to Congress for the upcoming “fiscal year,” or financial year which runs from October 1 to September 30.

distribute federal money to specific programs. Again, a single bill is created for both chambers to vote on.

4. The Budget Becomes Law

The President must sign the appropriations bills after they pass Congress for the budget to become law.

How It Actually Happens: The Budget and the Government Shutdown

Though the budget process is already complicated, once you throw in political parties, lobbyists and competing economic policies, it only gets more chaotic. The pro2. Congress Votes on Budget cess is often not complete by OcResolution tober 1, the start of the fiscal year. The House and the Senate review the By October 1, 2013, Congress had President’s request and pass sepa- failed to pass a budget for fiscal rate budget resolutions which create year 2014, and the federal governframework spending limits for federal ment shut down many of its operaagencies. A joint committee negotiates tions. The shutdown ended on Octo create a single version that is voted tober 17, when a bill was passed to on by both chambers. continue to fund the government at the same levels as the previous 3. Congress Votes on year, effective until January 2014. Appropriations Bills The federal government has not The House and Senate each write passed a budget according to the 12 separate appropriations bills to appropriations process since 2009. Since then, the government has been funded through “continuing The budgetisiscomposed composedofof two types The budget two types of of resolutions,” which are a way of spending: Discretionary spending must be spending: Discretionary spending must be approved annually,while whilemandatory mandatory spending approved annually, spending is is continuing government funding if essentially automatic,controlled controlled existing laws appropriations bills have not been essentially automatic, byby existing laws that thefunding fundingcertain certainprograms programs (e.g. that govern govern the (e.g. passed by the end of a fiscal year. Social Security Security and receive. Social andfood foodstamps) stamps) receive.

Everything You Need to Know About Political Parties

“Politics are messy.” The age-old aphorism has never been more applicable than it is today, as the American political landscape of the past few years has little resembled anything professional or even efficient. Dissatisfaction with the Obama administration, intense and often fruitless debate within Congress and most recently a selfimposed shutdown have turned the rivalry between Democrats and Republicans into something bitter and, as US history teacher Michael Messner describes, “[uglier than] anything I’ve ever seen.” But how did we get here? What forces have worked to create the unparalleled tension, stalemate and spirit of partisanship that so characterizes current perceptions of both parties? A look into recent trends in Democrat and Republican camps can help us better understand where both

parties’ motivations come from and better determine where our country is heading. Among controversial issues, both parties in the House and in the Senate refuse to give ground and have made little in the way of progress. Perhaps no key issue is more heavily argued than healthcare. Earlier this year, a government shutdown occurred as a result of this issue. While the Democratic party fought for the existence of Obamacare (see definition in list of key terms), some Republicans vigorously opposed it, deeming it too costly for the country and overreaching by the federal government. This led to a government shutdown that lasted for 16 days. Despite the dysfunction among the two largest parties, there has been no threat of a third party rising to power. The other major parties of the U.S., the Libertarian,

Green and Constitution parties, together, hold only one House seat at the state or national level. The Libertarian party was founded in 1971, prompted by concerns over the Vietnam draft and the end of the Gold Standard. The party has since been described as socially liberal, but fiscally conservative. It is also the fastest growing party in the country, according to American Government and Politics Today. Founded in 1991, the Green party’s ideology consists of an emphasis on environmentalism, non-violence, equality and diversity. The party lacks real representation on a federal level; it does not hold any seats in the House or the Senate and, on a state level, holds only one seat in the Arkansas House of Representatives. The Constitution party emphasizes the principles of the country’s founding documents, promoting conservative issues such as a stricter immigration policy and non-interventionist foreign policy. Though no party looks to upset either of the major parties, in recent years a movement known as the Tea Party has emerged to potentially split the Republican base. The fiscally conservative organization has gained national attention for its no-compromise advocacy of reduced taxes and government spending. Most of the Tea Party is

united in its disapproval of those in office, although almost all Tea Party members are registered Republicans. In light of the party’s popularity among dissatisfied voters, Republican leaders have come under pressure to strike a balance between moderate conservatism and the Tea Party’s hard line stance. As voters make their decisions on political parties and important legal issues, they turn to media for knowledge. Ironically, for many voters, modern resources and the availability of information can make it easier to stay uninformed. “The people who are very conservative, they listen to Rush...If you are a liberal listen to Stephanie Miller and Rachel Maddow,” Messner said. “That’s fine—but they’re going to tell you just what you believed in the first place, for the most part. If you really want to become well informed you need to look at things across the spectrum.”

Percent of students who identify with the same political party as their parents

The ultimate question seems to be: Is there any cause that will bring these two sides together? The most obvious candidate would be the $17.078 trillion debt that the United States has accumulated. According to Messner, solutions to the debt problem are limited. Even if legislators were able to freeze all U.S. spending immediately, the issue of where to raise the necessary $17 trillion would remain. “Realistically, this will only happen if politicians of both parties learn to work together and fulfill the purpose they were elected for in the first place: to serve their country and not themselves,” Messner said.


36% Yes


The Talon  November 19, 2013

Michael Johnson ‘13 wins contest with video about his cystic fibrosis CASSIDY CRAFORD Senior Writer

“I have a genetic lung disease,” LAHS graduate Michael Johnson ‘13 said. “It says that I can’t be an athlete. It says I’ll die young. I don’t listen—I define myself.” Michael has cystic fibrosis, a chronic lung condition that affects children and young adults. He placed first in the video category of GNC’s “Me on GNC” contest in September, winning $25,000 and a feature of his video entry on the GNC website. The contest highlighted individuals like Michael who have taken personal responsibility for their health conditions and pushed themselves to their limits physically. Since he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in 2008 Michael has worked to defy the odds of the disease. Michael’s video entry combined clips of his exercise routines with voice overs explaining how he doesn’t let the statistics and reputation of cystic fibrosis stop him from intense daily exercise routines. Cystic fibrosis causes mucus buildup in the lungs and often affects the

digestion of important nutrients in foods for the body. Currently there are no cures for the disease. The current average life expectancy for people diagnosed with cystic fibrosis is in the low forties. But, for people like Michael, who maintain a high level of health and athleticism, statistics suggest a higher life expectancy. “I run, swim, bike, jump rope, lift weights, play basketball—I do anything that challenges me,” Michael said. “As a result, my lung capacity is 20% better than a healthy person’s lung capacity. I am an athlete.” Michael’s daily exercises vary, but he usually tries to push himself to the limit to strengthen his lung muscles. Although he challenges himself, Michael also suffers from exercise induced asthma, causing him to be exceedingly cautious when exercising. “99.9 percent of the time, however, I am completely fine,” Michael said. After participating in similar competitions, including an Ellen Degeneres video contest in which he placed 11th and won $500, Michael stumbled upon the GNC contest online. Determined to earn money to help pay for college, Michael created his video entry with help from his brother-in-law, Garth, and sister, Tiffany, who is a sophomore at the school. Through his entry, he also aimed to spread awareness about cystic fibrosis and how people with the disease


LAHS graduate Michael Johnson (‘13) won first place in the video category of the “Me on GNC” contest held by GNC, a company focused on health and nutrition products. He was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in 2008 and is dedicated to improving his health through exercise. can still live active lifestyles. The prompt Michael responded to was fairly vague, simply: “What is your fitness story?” In response, Michael wrote a script for the video—admitting it took only 15 minutes because the words came so naturally to him—filmed clips and compiled the entry in a matter of weeks. “I was so excited when I learned that we had won,” Michael said. “I was sitting in class and I was checking my email. My hands started shaking, and I couldn’t restrain my excitement.” After coming in first place, Michael and Garth split the prize money in half. Michael hopes to invest his portion in a low-risk bond to help pay for college expenses and plans on continuing to enter contests to spread awareness

for cystic fibrosis. Michael said that though he wasn’t drastically psychologically affected when diagnosed, but it took time to adjust to the addition of daily routines including sinus rinses, sinus steroids and the use of an inhaler. Often, Michael said, it’s difficult to clear out time for this routine, which also involves the use of a lung vest machine to shake mucus out of his lungs. “Due to advances in medicine and technology, life with cystic fibrosis is relatively comfortable,” Michael said. “Typically people with cystic fibrosis will do lung treatments daily, as well as take medications to help clear sinuses, improve lung function and aid in the process of digestion.” Despite the “daily nuisances” of cystic fibrosis, Michael con-

tinues to look forward and remains optimistic. “I have such faith in the future and in medicine, that I figure that everything will turn out okay in the end,” Michael said. While Michael focuses on the future, he is currently studying at Brigham Young University, and will serve on a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints beginning next year. He plans to pick up his major in Electrical Engineering when he returns from his mission. Michael is avid about continuing to spread awareness about cystic fibrosis in his future. Eventually, he hopes to be in a position to help those who are attempting to cure cystic fibrosis and to inspire others with the disease to tackle their condition head on.

Students establish international textile company CONTINUED FROM THE FRONT PAGE

Nevertheless, because of the amount of work involved in the process of setting up the company, Dunya didn’t get its first customer until six months after the pair had begun serious work towards finding facilities and clients. Their first customer was a nonprofit organization, Developments in Literacy, which builds schools for girls in the Middle East. The company’s first shipment didn’t go well. Because of recent hostilities between the U.S. and Pakistan, it wasn’t easy to send items in bulk through the mail. When the box with the 350 tote

bags Developments in Literacy had ordered arrived, the box had been opened by Customs, and about 15 of the bags had been ripped in the process. “Our client wants 350 bags, and we have 336,” Navid said. “It was a pretty intense experience, because we’re trying to convince people to work with us, and our first deal we’re 14 short.” The nonprofit was refunded for the bags that had been ripped, but it turned out not to be a problem as not all of the bags were used. However, it was a valuable learning experience.

Now the pair are careful to ship factories includes no child labor about 30 extra bags each time, so and has fair conditions for workthat they have the right amount ers. Most of the work in their to present to customers in case factories are automated, and very any issues arise and little manual labor can avoid embaris involved in their rassing situations. manufacturing. We really believe While researching They also personthe textile industry, in making our ally know the factory the pair discovered business... and managers. that it isn’t uncom- at the same time “We have visited mon for textile comour factories… we helping people panies to use child laknow it’s not harsh bor in countries such there. c i r c u m s t a n c e s ,” as Haiti. Because of Navid said. “In fact — Junior Shahzeb Shunaid this, an important many of the workers factor Shahzeb conare close friends.” sidered when finding facilities was Both of them are also clear that the labor the company would use in their goal with Dunya Brands is not the factories. about making a profit.When they Shahzeb lived in Pakistan until sell products to nonprofits, 10 perhe was 15, and he realized that the cent of the profits are donated to country had a lot of unemployed the nonprofit’s cause. people whom he and Navid could “We really believe in making help. He decided to hire workers our business... and at the same from rural areas in the province of time helping people there,” Sindh in southern Pakistan. Shahzeb said. “Human rights is something we They have donated to various both really feel strongly [about],” causes, from a nonprofit called Shahzeb said. “We wanted to give Open that supports up-and-comunderprivileged people sort of an ing entrepreneurs to another called opportunity. We’re helping them Syrian Help and Refuge which raisby getting jobs [for] the rural [work- es awareness for the war in Syria. ers]. We tell our manufacturer we In addition, most of the money want these many people from this that they do make goes straight area… to give them employment.” back to the factories in Pakistan, to Navid and Shahzeb are careful ensure that Dunya Brands workers to make sure that their company have higher wages than the aver-

age factory worker. They both hope that their business will help change lives in Pakistan. “That’s something I really believe in,” Shahzeb said. “And not only helping people where I come from, but helping people everywhere.” Overall the company has been a success. Navid and Shahzeb have made several dozen deals, helped many people gain jobs and learned how to run a business firsthand. Both are sure that they want to pursue business as a career. “This business has made me realize that this is really what I want to pursue in my future,” Navid said. “Prior to my junior year, I was really into math and science and I thought I’d become an engineer. Now I’ve realized that business is what I like to do.”


The Talon November 19, 2013

Previous LAHS students return as teachers AMELIA BAUM DAVID WU Staff Writer Sports Editor

Los Altos High School has been been around since 1954, nearly six decades. In that time, it has served as a learning institution for countless thousands of students, including many of the teachers on staff now.

decided to hone in on teaching high school students. “I worked at a summer bridge program working to give AVID students a head-start and help make sure their transition [into high school] would be less rough,” Downey said. “That’s when I really decided that I wanted to teach teenagers.” Though she had already nominally committed herself to teaching high schoolers, Downey, after attending college at Brown University, decided to experiment with teaching other age groups. She worked in second grade and adult education classroom settings and also taught at an all-girls

school in San Jose after returning to the Bay Area post-grad school. Thus, Downey, fresh out of grad school and in her twenties, already had a wealth of teaching experience under her belt. Preferring high school teaching, Downey jumped at the chance to fill the position of social studies teacher at Los Altos in 2005. Since then, she’s taught such classes as World Studies, World Studies Bilingual, AP European History and Civics. “I really like [high schoolers’] energy, especially the freshmen and sophomores,” Downey said. “At [that] level, the verbal filter is not as developed and students are willing to ask any and all questions. It’s great to see students’ intellectual level advance, I love the spastic energy of the freshmen and sophomores, that kind of goofiness.” In regards to the school as a whole, Downey has also found a certain sense of uniqueness. “We have a very dedicated learning community,” Downey said. “I have many students who give up a lunch period just to make their presentations even better. The stories that kids bring in and share, whether it’s family background, immigration, anything, are just amazing.”

after his senior year, where he majored in history. A cracked vertebrae in his back, however, derailed his collegiate athletic careers. It was after this injury when Bjorklund discovered his passion for teaching. “I...came home and I coached the football team here [at LAHS] for awhile and that’s when I was like, ‘This is awesome,’” Bjorklund said. “I really enjoyed working with that age group and I could see how this would translate into teaching. I went back [to college] and had a goal, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. That really guided the direction of being a teacher.” His stint as one of the school’s football coaches and his major in history were the things that initially steered Bjorklund toward teaching history at the school, but a number of other factors helped win him over as well. “I had a wonderful time and experience here,” Bjorklund said. “Personally, I like this area, I like living here, my family is here and it’s a cool school to teach at. That’s why I wanted to come back home.”

Since he began teaching seven years ago, Bjorklund has found the student body of the school to be a unique demographic to teach. “You get a real mix of students and abilities [at the school], which I enjoy,” Bjorklund said. “I think it’s a challenge as a teacher, there’s this real culture here of excellence; we do a lot of stuff that other schools aren’t able to do...there’s a great environment here, and the kids are awesome.”

lati [for U.S. History] …there was no looking back,” Messner said. “I knew I was going to major in history in some form.” Squellati, a well known member of the school’s history department for several decades, retired in 2006. Though his major path was clearly defined, Messner said he always assumed he would be teaching college students, not high school. When given a chance to return to his former school as a U.S. History teacher, however, he couldn’t refuse. Messner started as a student teacher in spring 2004, and was offered a full-time job the following fall. “You realize that these people

know you so well; there’s a certain comfort about working with people that have known you since you were 14 years old,” Messner said. Though he enjoys it now, Messner said that working at his former high school was a little strange at first. “For a few years, I had to get used to the idea that I could call [colleagues] by their first name,” Messner said. According to Messner, the school has changed a lot both physically and internally since his high school years. “There’s been a lot of student organizations that have come and gone [over the years] but I think that’s healthy...that’s something that is a generational thing,” Messner said. Despite the changes, Messner says that LAHS has always been and continues to be a great educational institution. “I loved being a student here,” Messner said. “And I love working here…what’s not to like?”

“[They] were my inspirations,” Downey said. “I saw them both in the classroom and on the track, and seeing them really encouraged me. They were my mentors.” It was also in these formative high school years that Downey sharpened her teaching focus and

Stephanie Downey

While most second graders mill about their elementary school classrooms, history teacher Stephanie Downey, as a young child, had already made a conscious commitment to a career path: teaching. Downey, now a World History and AP European History teacher, attended LAHS from 1993 to 1997. Downey was a track and field athlete. She ran track all four years at the school and set the school record in the 100 and 300 meter hurdles. She reached the pinnacle of her high school track career when she qualified for CCS in four events. Downey was also a part of the color guard. She went to school under the tutelage of teachers like Todd Wangsness and Margaret Bennett, Downey’s history and English teachers respectively, and track coaches. It further fueled her already decade-long aspiration of becoming an instructor.

Pete Bjorklund

History teacher Pete Bjorklund ‘99 is perhaps the youngest LAHS teacher who attended the school. Bjorklund was a highly involved student, a three-sport athlete who dominated the high school athletics scene. Standing at 6’4’ and weighing over 240 pounds his senior year, Bjorklund’s athletic endeavors ranged from being an offensive and defensive player for football, the center for basketball and a competitor in both shot put and discus. A phenom on the field, Bjorklund not only took the CCS shot put title three years in a row (and the discus title his senior year), but also qualified for states all three of those years. He was named the school’s “Athlete of the Year” his senior year. Bjorklund was also a part of NHS and did community service four days a week. While this and his athletic involvement took up a majority of his free time, they were also why Bjorklund found himself at Dartmouth College

Michael Messner

When United States History teacher Michael Messner graduated from the school in 1990, he knew he was going to teach history. But when he headed off to UC Davis for college, he never thought he’d be back 14 years later teaching in the very room he had taken AP U.S. History. As a Main Street member and student manager of the track and field team, Messner was heavily involved in a range of activities on campus. An avid history student who always managed to sit in the front row, Messner positively recalls his experience as a student at the school. “When I had Mr. [Dave] Squel-

Anne Battle

Teacher-aid Anne Battle graduated from LAHS in 1971, just when the MVLA school district merged together the original Mountain View High School and Los Altos High School. But the differences between the school’s student body then and now go further than an intermingling of students. The school that Battle knew was much different than the cultural pool that LAHS is today. “It was pretty much all students living in Los Altos [who went to LAHS], not many students living in Mountain View,” Battle said. “So, it was very white. We had some blacks, who were bussed in. The diversity [now] is much better. I think that’s real valuable, what we have now.”


the opportunity for her to follow her dream of becoming a teacher, after she found herself heavily involved in her childrens’ schools, particularly with students struggling in school. “I had a job briefly, working with kids [in lower math] in elementary school, and I liked that,” Battle said.


Also different in the ‘70s was student involvement in sports—there was a much more palpable discrepancy between male and female involvement in athletics at the time. While girls’ sports were allotted two pages in yearbooks, Battle recalls the boys’ sports pages taking up nearly 20. Nonetheless, in the face of the gender-based disparity that so permeated the athletics of the time, sports occupied an important niche in Battle’s life as a student. “I did almost all of the sports: I did tennis, some softball, some basketball, volleyball,” Battle said. “I was like ‘Queen of the Gym’, it was my little kingdom over there.” Battle’s other involvements included being a part of ASB, which was similar in both purpose and value to today’s. But Battle’s high school activities weren’t indicative of what she was interested in becoming. In the next few decades, Battle studied brain research, received a teaching credential (as a P.E. teacher), held a basketball and volleyball coaching position at Foothill college and ultimately became a programmer. “I was a computer operator, then I got a programming job at Hewlett Packard and stayed until I had my second kid,” Battle said. “Then, I started volunteering at schools a lot.” Having children offered Battle

“I liked the kids who struggle, every class I’ve been in, I’ve been targeting kids who traditionally don’t do well.” Years after, with her children nearing high school graduation, Battle attended a teacher workshop called Beyond Diversity. Here she met current English Department Head Keren Robertson, in need of help in her Pre-Survey English class, and so, she began working at the school. In the past 15 years, Battle has been a teacher aide. She has worked with Robertson, and now works with history teacher Christa Wemmer. But unlike most other aides, Battle plays a much more active role in the classroom, helping to write tests and develop curriculum—essentially acting as a second teacher. She finds the cooperative work environment the one most comfortable for her. “I always liked being a part of a team, so being a solo teacher is not nearly as satisfying to me as being a partner teacher,” Battle said. I really like it. I’m not excited when it’s vacation. What I like about it is the connections to kids that last.” To read a extended version of this article, visit


The Talon  November 19, 2013

Catch reviews of new movies, music and more, plus read the entertainment archives at



Copy/Content Editor

Blues isn’t dead—Gary Clark Jr. is making sure of that. Clark is a music rarity. With superb electric guitar ability and a soulful R&B voice, Clark has the unique ability to infuse blues with modern style, making him the quintessential musician. Clark got his start when he received a guitar at the age of 12, and he shortly began playing gigs in his hometown of Austin, Texas. A charismatic performer, Clark quickly made a name for himself in the Austin music scene, a stronghold of blues music. While Clark’s guitar expertise gained him much acclaim, his secret weapon was his poetic songwriting skills. Clark’s rare mix of lyricism and fast playing caught the attention of Clifford Antone, a blues club owner responsible for helping the careers of esteemed guitarists Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan. Antone’s support helped put Clark on the radar of well-known blues musicians. By the age of 17, Clark was a local celebrity; the mayor of Aus-

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tin had even named May 3, 2001, “Gary Clark Jr. Day.” However, it wasn’t until 2010 that Clark exploded to the forefront of blues music. Blues-rock icon Eric Clapton invited Clark to perform at his Crossroads Guitar Festival, giving Clark the opportunity to play in the same lineup as guitar legends such as BB King, Robert Cray and Clapton himself. “To be on the same stage with basically guys who taught me to play guitar without even knowing who I was, to get that call to be up there was amazing,” Clark said in an interview with Guitar Center. Clark’s performance at the festival included his song “Bright Lights,” in which he sings the promise, “You’re going to know my name by the end of the night,”

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against smoky guitar riffs. He couldn’t have said it any better— after playing Crossroads, Clark went from being a hometown hero to a nationally renowned musician. Rolling Stone magazine dubbed him “Best Young Gun,” and Clark began to accumulate an influential fan base with praise from many artists already well known at the time. Singer Alicia Keys has thrown her full support behind Clark. Clapton has said that Clark makes him “want to play again.” When a musician as successful and influential as Clapton pays you such a large compliment, you’ve earned it. But the proof of Clark’s musical genius is not in his celebrity fans; it’s in his power-packed albums. He released his first, self-

titled album in 2010. A short but eclectic mix of genres, Clark’s first album showcases both his faculty as a guitarist and his expertise as a singer-songwriter. Two years later, he released his album “Blak and Blu,” which includes tracks from his first album in addition to polished new songs. Tracks like “Travis County” and “Don’t Owe You a Thang” prove Clark’s loyalty to his Texas blues roots. These songs feature his signature high-powered fuzz guitar licks that contrast nicely with his smooth voice. The track “Things Are Changing” shows off Clark’s skills as a songwriter. He laments, “It’s hell knowing that from now we shouldn’t kiss and tell, when it’s so good.” The song channels a jazzy vibe: funk guitar rhythms accentuate a relaxed drum beat as Clark employs soulful harmonies. The acoustic version of the song highlights Clark’s melodic skill and seemingly effortless vocals. In “Ain’t Messing Around,” Clark uses strong vocals, blues guitar and brass to create a catchy, ener-

getic song. This track earned the title “Song of the Year” at the 20122013 Austin Music Awards. In fact, Clark earned eight of the Austin Music Awards this year, including the title “Electric Guitarist of the Year.” Clark’s ability to play the blues as skillfully as the masters might make listeners wonder if he’s actually from the ‘60s. But Clark’s R&B songs like “The Life” prove that Clark has the breadth and potential to excel in modern music. Clark said he draws influence from “blues, jazz, soul [and] country, as well as hip hop,” making his work appealing and accessible to a wide range of listeners. Though Clark’s songs may vary in genre and style, one thing remains consistent: on each track he plays with the skill of a seasoned guitarist and sings with his soul. There’s something different about Clark. He is poised to become one of this generation’s influential musicians, and if he continues on his current trajectory, Clark is bound to make history.

Amarin Thai Cuisine: A gem on Castro JOEY MALGESINI Senior Writer

Castro Street in Mountain View offers a versatile and seemingly limitless supply of restaurants. Options are great to have, but they certainly make it harder to decide where to eat. In this sea of choices, Amarin Thai Cuisine is a guaranteed delight. Amarin Thai Cuisine offers a high quality vibe with high quality service and food, all for unexpectedly low prices. Amarin is a nice sit-down restaurant: very popular but big enough that there is usually a seat or two available even on a Friday night. The menu offers something for everyone. It has a ton of options, including an entire menu solely for vegetarians. It has everything ranging from simple and small meals to large and daring ones. For a high-end restaurant, the prices are surprisingly low. The majority of Amarin’s huge variety of meals are right around 10 dollars. For those who want the feel of a high-end restaurant but do not want to pay for it, Amarin is perfect. It is the ideal place for students on a night out with friends, family or a date. The attentive service is also very impressive. Cups are refilled several times before any food even ar-


Amarin Thai Cuisine is an excellent restaurant with great service and a fair price tag. Amarin Thai is located at 174 Castro St., Mountain View rives, every employee comes off as welcoming and kind and the food arrives fairly quickly. It is the kind of restaurant that folds its cloth napkins, hangs elegant paintings on the walls and covers the floors and ceilings in regal decor. It also has a traditional seating option where customers can sit on pillows on the ground. This fancy atmosphere makes the low prices that much more shocking. The satay chicken, an appetizer, is basic, tender skewered chicken with a peanut dipping sauce. It is perfect for sharing or even for a small meal. The satay defies its seemingly simple composition with its rich, savory undertones. The Mango Chicken Special consists of small pieces of

chicken surrounded by bits of mango and peppers that give it a very sweet and slightly tropical taste. It is very different from the basic appetizer and yet both are thoroughly enjoyable. Pad Thai is a classic when it comes to Thai food. It is a simple mix of noodles, a choice of meat and peanut sauce, and the flavor is incredible. It is rich, sweet and savory. The Pad Thai costs just under 10 dollars and is extremely filling. A dinner out at Amarin turned Pad Thai into one of my all time favorite dishes. The shockingly cheap bill at the end makes the whole meal worthwhile. These three dishes offer three very different and splendid tastes. It is a cheap and healthy dinner.

The Talon  November 19, 2013

“12 Years a Slave” is crucial for America ARIEL MACHELL

memoir was transformed into the as Solomon feels it. You will not look emotional imagery that leaves you away. You cannot look away. captivated by the screen and utAnd perhaps forcing us to look is “12 Years a Slave” terly incapable of looking away, no just what we needed. Nov. 8 2013 (R) matter how much you may wish “12 Years a Slave,” based off of the Directed by Steve McQueen to. McQueen, known for his “untrue story of Solomon Northup, reStarring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael flinching approach to filmmaking,” counts the horrors of slavery like no Fassbender presented the cruelty inherent to other before it; it is the “Schindler’s ★★★★★ this story with explicit clarity, will- List” of American cruelty, laying ing to go further into the truth of down in brutal honesty what should He hangs dangling from the tree. slavery than any slavery-related have been laid down long before. In America today, too many preThe thick cord of the noose is taut movie before. With the help of the against his throat. The tips of his talented performances of Chiwetel fer to sweep any mention of our nafeet, just barely scraping the worn Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong’o and ac- tion’s brutally racist past under the earth, allow him small intakes of companied by familiar names like metaphorical rug. Disappointingly, Michael Fassbender and denial is a prevalent attitude toward breath. Arms tied behind Brad Pitt, McQueen has this part of America’s history. Some his back, with neither foot MOV I E finding a firm purchase on R E V I E W created a lasting and alto- would even like to pretend it never gether haunting portrayal happened at all. the ground, he must do all of the black experience in In 2010, for instance, Texas rehe can to stay upright. An this time period, a night- vised its public school curriculum unknown amount of time to downplay the cruel passes and he is till there, shuffling mare of injustice and realities of slavery. And on desperate tiptoes. Back-and- violence. When Solomon just last year, Tea Party forth, back-and-forth—a strange activists in Tennessee fruit moving in the Louisiana breeze. first wakes up in Whether it’s sought to remove referThe scene is drawn out for what the darkness of his denial, deluences to slavery and any seems like hours and the audience cell after being kidmention of the councan do nothing but watch as each napped, hands and sion or pure try’s founders being time his tapping feet manage to find feet clasped in steel and simple igchains, it can be norance, “12 slave-owners entirely enough ground to sustain himself. from school curriculum. The dangling man is Solomon nothing but a bad Years a Slave” God forbid our textNorthup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), dream to him. The books have any historirecently given the slave-name moment is one of puts to rest cal honesty. Platt. In another life he was a free surprising stillness: any misconOf course, it’s someman. A husband, a father and a no movement, no ceptions you what understandable talented violinist with a home dramatic music, no might have not to want to teach in Saratoga, New York, he never anguished dialogue. about this children how slaveimagined he would one day be A drawn-out closeowners routinely raped kidnapped and sold into slavery, up of Solomon’s face time period. their slaves, how they fighting to survive the choking, as he absorbs his situlife-threatening grasp of a noose ation is all that is needed. You are whipped and beat and hanged drawn to his eyes; in them, his soul them by the thousands. That bein the Louisiana sun. This achingly powerful film was is laid bare and you can see the de- ing said, it’s one thing to shelter a child from the horrors of the pieced together by British film spair, the disbelief, the horror. The sweeping silences throughout world, but trying to wipe out 246 director Steve McQueen alongside screenwriter John Ridley. To- the film force you to fully absorb ev- years of history, horrific or not, is a gether, their translation of the 1853 erything you see, to feel the moment whole different story. Copy/Content Editor


Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) awaits his punishment for acting out against his oppressors. “12 Years a Slave” is now playing in theaters. Whether it’s denial, delusion or pure and simple ignorance, “12 Years a Slave” puts to rest any misconceptions you might have about this time period. It does not downplay the horrendous, often gruesome reality of a slave. In one scene, a slave named Patsey (Lupita Nyong’o), an object of obsession for deranged slave-owner Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender), is stripped naked and tied to a post to be repeatedly whipped. The lash cuts deep into her skin, spraying blood with every blow, until the white meat of her back is on sickening display.

It’s not hard to imagine why some might argue that the movie is too violent, that there are too many atrocities, too many whippings and beatings. But in order to understand the depth of the crime that slavery represented, and that this movie tried to depict, these scenes of brutality are crucial. Indeed, if a Nevada lawmaker can say that he would “vote for slavery if that’s what [his] constituents wanted,” then “12 Years a Slave” could not have come at a better time. This film gives America a chance to finally understand its past and become better because of it.

Chilling “Sleepy Hollow” immerses viewers first episode, asking “Where could into the future in order to stop the this possibly lead?” A show based onslaught. The writers of “Sleepy entirely on the headless horseman Hollow” are able to make his tranmay seem like a recipe for a stagnat- sition into contemporary life suffi“Sleepy Hollow” ing storyline and a repeat of “The ciently awkward without sacrificFOX: Monday @ 9:00 PM Walking Dead.” However, “Sleepy ing much time into explaining the ★★★★☆ Hollow” does so much more. The minor details. The style and craft show expands its storyline to include of the writing team for this show is With the numerous TV shows the biblical “Book of Revelations,” able to sneak subversive messages being piloted throughout the 2013- which foretells of the end into the plot, while still 2014 season, choosing a new show to of the world, a cliché and maintaining a fast-paced TV get hooked on may seem a little dif- unoriginal choice but still R E V I E W story. ficult. Shows like “The Blacklist” on very entertaining. Those who aren’t into NBC, “The Tomorrow People” and The headless horsehorror, suspense, thrill“The Originals” on CW, or “Almost man, advertised as the ers or anything of the sort Human” and “Sleepy Hollow” on primary villain of the show, be- may at first be a little apprehensive FOX have added to a pretty lengthy comes a sidestory as witches and about watching a show based enlist of new shows. That being said, demons fight to bring about the tirely on grotesque demons. But “Sleepy Hollow” might be at the prophesied “End of Days.” In the “Sleepy Hollow” artfully toes the top of the list, as many are drawn villains’ way is Ichabod Crane line between inspiring quick dashto the show because of its historical (Tom Mison) and a local deputy es under the sheets and peeking and mythical storyline. And, upon sheriff of Sleepy Hollow, New out from under the covers to watch watching the show, there’s much York. Ichabod is the original hero more. Even if horror is one of your more to be excited about. of the “Sleepy Hollow” myth and no-nos, don’t be afraid to watch this It’s easy to be concerned by the has been transported 250 years show because while it is chilling, it doesn’t go as far as “American Horror Story” or other shows like that. The only problem with the show so far is that it seems to have become somewhat repetitive. An average episode goes like this: Ichabod or his partner receive a message of some kind from a spiritual source (often a dream) foretelling of their next adversary, at which point the partners research their enemy and investigate various happenings around town. Then, when night falls, the demon or witch arrives and a fight breaks out, with the resolution being a return to relative safety. With some slight variaFOX One of Ichabod Crane’s enemies towers over him. “Sleepy Hollow” is tion this storyline has remained constant. In order for “Sleepy Holon FOX, Monday nights at 9 p.m.

JORDAN STOUT Senior Writer

low” to make it as a major show, the makers should find a way to progress the plot in a more diverse way. Overall, “Sleepy Hollow” is an immensely entertaining show,

combining elements of a crime drama with those of a horror show. As long as the writers get a little more creative with their storyline, this show is a definite must-watch.


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The Talon  November 19, 2013




Whether it be through film, news, displaying different views on the war. television or the web, the media de“Platoon,” released in 1986, highlivers war-related information in a lighted the atrocities of the Vietnam dramatized way, constantly imple- War and the struggle that both solmenting war bias in Americans’ diers and victims of the war suffered, opinions. War has always been a con- showing the negatives of war as well troversial and polarizing topic, and as outlining the war’s terror. Another people’s views on war and violence movie, “Rambo,” a film series that in general are often started in 1982, was shaped by the media. about a Vietnam War In its representations veteran who specialized of war, the media por- Though the mein hand-to-hand comtrays the two conflictbat and was the victor dia has played a ing views, either for war of many gruesome and major part in war exaggerated missions. or against it. In late August 2013, opinions very reThese movies had when there was a large- cently, it has had extremely different ly publicized debate an impact for viewpoints on the same about political issues in topic, showing all perSyria, the media played decades, mainly spectives of war. “Rama large role in deter- through films. bo” glorified the war and mining how people combat, highlighting viewed the conflict. gruesome killings as acts While some outlets used emotional of honor and making the audience stories and images to move people to feel proud and supportive of their want the United States to intervene country and soldiers, while “Platoon” in Syria, others warned the public of created a feeling of horror at what we the damaging effects an attack could had done to the Vietnamese. create. By exposing facts about war as well By just listening to a biased source, as showing the emotional side of it, much of the population could easily the media is able to show viewers all develop a tunneled view on political sides of the arguement so they can issues such as this one. form their own opinions. NevertheThough the media has played a less, medial outlets often just pick major part in war opinions very re- one to reflect their own opinion. Mecently, it has had an impact for de- dia has an influential power due to its cades, mainly through films; about ability to inform, as shown through 10 years after the Vietnam War ended generations of war coverage in all in 1975, two movies were released types of media.


For decades the entertainment industry has been characterized by not only high profile stars and productions, but also by the infamously outrageous budgets. From classic box office flops like Waterworld (1995) to modern blockbusters like The Avengers (2012), the industry is risky, expensive and wildly unpredictable. We will look in depth not only at the past and present of Hollywood economics, but the future directions this industry is moving towards. The entertainment industry manifests itself in many aspects; this article focuses on three: films, television shows and video games. To properly explore the economic changes in Hollywood and around the world, each product will be explored over its entire timeline independently.



Politics are all about passion. Politicians who are passionate about their views are the ones who reach out to the public in order to gain support for a political change. And while politicians have the power, experience and background needed to begin a political movement that they are passionate about, they would almost nev-

er achieve success without the help of their greatest asset: the media. Whether it be news reports, magazine articles or your favorite television shows, the media plays a huge role in politics by creating this same passion within the public. By spreading facts, opinions and analysis of political issues, the media is able to educate people and evoke responses in a way that no politician could do alone.


Shailene Woodley. Woodley, 21, While it is relatively easy to underis most-known among the high stand the two sides through news school generation for her leading coverage, developing a solid personal opinrole in the TV show ion is much “The Secret Life more difof the American Curious about politics? ficult. This Teenager,” which Check out the in-depth is where aired from 2008 to spread on pages 10-11 TV shows 2013. In it, Woodlike “The ley played the role Secret Life of Amy Juergens, a teenage girl who gets pregnant at of the American Teenager” come the age of 15. After much consid- into play. The image of Amy Juereration, Amy decides to keep her gens’ life—which is both demandbaby, opting for the life of a teen- ing and rewarding —as a teenage mother affects the opinions of all age mother. It’s innocent media like this, cre- viewers on abortion, gender, age ated to attract viewers, that can and marital status. Should she have gotten an aborhave a dramatic impact on a person’s view on one of today’s biggest tion? Or did she make the right political discussions: abortion. In decision in keeping and raising this discussion there are two cat- her baby? People cannot answer egories, pro-choice and pro-life, these questions until they watch a that summarize people’s general considerable amount of the show, opinions on abortion. While “pro- just like they would not be able to choice” argues that a woman, inde- answer questions such as “Should pendent of her age or situation, has women be allowed to abort their the full right to decide for herself pregnancy?” or “Should abortion if she would like to abort her preg- be illegal because it contradicts nancy, “pro-life” argues that abort- the basic right to life?” if they only ing a pregnancy, especially in its watch coverage of one side of the islater stages, is obstructing a baby sue. Shows like “The Secret Life of the from its fundamental right to life. For the majority of students American Teenager” do not always at the school, their parents and provide a realistic representation of America’s population, this topic issues involved in carrying a preghas two very clear arguments. nancy to term; nor do they address

While the media is one of the most valuable resources people can use to learn about politics, honesty is not guaranteed and people’s reactions to political issues are extremely dependent on the type of media they pay attention to. No matter the type of media, however, it has the potential to change its audience’s personal stance about politics.

issues with raising a child. When deciding whether or not to get an abortion, Amy Juergens made her decision without much research into what impacts it could and would have on her life as a teenager and beyond. While the debate of teen abortion has two clear sides, the TV show failed to reveal the complexity of the issue, and as a result, viewers might not realize that in reality, the choice to either become a teenage mother or abort a child is much more challenging than portrayed in “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.” Much of the media will prioritize a captivating plotline over accuracy, and these inaccuracies have the power to influence viewers’ thoughts about a political topic. The media’s coverage on political news related to abortion and teen mothers, as well as its ability to provide emotional storylines, has had, and will continue to have, a lasting impact on the public’s ability to form opinions on this political topic. To read a extended version of this article, visit lahstalon. org/entertainment. An article concerning the media’s portrayal of gun control has recently been published.

- ECONOMICS Past and Present

First commercially available in the mid-1920’s, the television was an established medium for conveying information to the public, better than the radio. The television set brought entertainment to viewers without the need to buy tickets for the cinema, and promptly grew popular—according to Parents Television Council, in 1949 only around two percent of households in the United States had television sets. Only six years later, in 1955, 64 percent of homes had at least one television, a dramatic increase. A study later in 2007 continued to show this exponential growth finding that more than 98 percent of households

had TV’s, a higher proportion than that of those with telephones. The television industry pays actors large amounts of money for their characters and the views that they bring in. The first regularly scheduled color television show was aired by CBS on June 27, 1951, called “The World Is Yours,” opening the doors to a lucrative but selective industry. Over the following years behind each successful and failed television show there were interesting figures, like the salary and cost of making the show. These figures have drastically increased over the recent years; Charlie Sheen got paid 2 million dollars per episode of “Two and a Half Men,” and the entire cast of “Friends” got paid 1 million dollars each per ep-

isode in the final season. These numbers are far greater when compared to Clark Gable, The King of Hollywood, in the 1930s, who made only 4,000

dollars a week from MGM studios. This same sizeable cost is being spread to the movie industry as well. Keanu Reeves was paid more than

The Talon  November 19, 2013




It is often debated whether media is a reflection of our society or society has contributed to the nature of media. Many times, viewers find that the television, music and movie industries incorrectly portray many aspects of our society’s reality. The reality of high school students coming to class in pajamas because they are so stressed and overworked is much less interesting than portraying high school as a squeaky clean world in which varsity football players run the show flanked by their cheerleader girlfriends. The media influences our thoughts and beliefs on common issues more than we realize. Many of our preconceived notions about different cultures, genders and places come from what we see in the media. This is why it is particularly important that the media portray certain groups in a realistic and positive manner.

Physical Appearance

The manner in which the media portrays body image, particularly for leading women and models, creates the idea that to be beautiful and loved by the man or woman of your dreams, you must be a size zero. Shows like the hit reality show “America’s Next Top Model” make rail-thin girls the norm and plus-size girls who would be considered a normal weight by health standards the out-of-place ones who must “overcome” the obstacle that is their weight. Another television show, “The Biggest Loser,” also contributes to society’s distorted view of obesity. For the past 15 seasons, audiences have watched in enthralled horror as overweight individuals compete to win a cash prize by losing the highest percentage of weight relative to their original weight. Watching overweight people

$150 million to star in both “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions.” His role brought in a gross amount of over $1 billion dollars, a seemingly considerable number when taking into account that movies cost around $300 million to produce. In contrast, 1950s famous film star Marilyn Monroe made $100,000 (inflation adjusted) for four films over seven years. Salaries have continued to soar in the recent years as actors constantly seem to outdo each other getting bigger and bigger


Television is radically changing in today’s online-viewing world. The emergence of web series as a sustainable and profitable model is the most notable transition in the industry. Online viewing traffic through services like Netflix and Hulu is rapidly increasing—by the end of

Sexualization of Women


One of the most prominent cases of the media incorrectly representing a group of people can be seen through the portrayal and sexualization of women in the media. Throughout television, there is this unrealistic portrayal of high school girls. Shows that target younger audiences, such as Nickelodeon’s “Zoey 101,” revolve around the main character finding love. In this particular show, the entire plot centers around the relationship between Zoey and her friend Chase, and it’s not until the very end of the show that the two get together. TV shows like this promote the ideal that in order to be considered happy and successful, young girls need to have a boyfriend. By focusing on this concept of “getting the guy,” television and media are essentially telling young women that in order to be considered normal, you need to have a

boyfriend. This further promotes sic videos have women dancing the message that the sole purpose around in little to no clothing of a woman’s life is to find a man. behind a male singer, in an atFurthermore, the tempt to make the music industry also man look stronger and plays a part in sexumore powerful. In paralizing women. De- Degrading ticular, Robin Thicke’s grading references “Blurred Lines” music references to women are prevavideo, which features lent throughout the to women three scantily clad music industry, par- are prevalent models writhing about ticularly in genres throughout the as Thicke and his collike rap and pop mu- music industry, laborators T.I. and sic. In one particular Pharell grope them, song, “Carry Out” particularly in emphasizes this ideal. sung by Timbaland genres like rap Lyrics like “I know you and Justin Timber- and pop music. want it/but you’re a lake, the singers good girl/tried to dorefer to the woman mesticate you,” all have they are interested in as food from significant rape overtones, and ina drive-through. clude many phrases rapists have This attitude also comes across been known to use against victims. in music videos. Countless mu- This song peaked to number one

on the charts, and has since gone on to break the top 10 in numerous countries around the world. Playing songs like this on the radio sends a message to the general public that this kind of behavior is acceptable and condonable, and further negatively influences the population’s beliefs about women. Feminists were up in arms about this video, as is to be expected. However, the media also has a tendency to portray feminists negatively, as rigid stick-inthe-muds.

on TV trying their hardest to lose weight is not entertainment. Portraying obese individuals on TV in this fashion only contributes to this view that obesity is something to be mocked, and makes the individual viewing the show feel better about themselves at the expense of others.

This is likewise true of the portrayal of overweight people in media. Rarely do overweight people end up as part of the cast in a group filled with thin people. If they are a part of such a cast, often they end up as the punchline of an endless parade

of fat jokes and seem unable to separate themselves from their weight. Even when overweight characters have leading roles in a TV series, their size continues to be the focus of the show. “The Mindy Project” and “Super Fun Night” both suffer from this aff liction, though the shows are written by the leading, plus-size ladies of both respective shows. The media attempts to combat body image issues through public service announcements about loving one’s body. However, sometimes these methods for combating serious health problems like anorexia and bulimia can end up feeling like nothing but hollow attempts meant to ease the guilt of network and film executives. TV shows like “Glee” are notorious for handling issues like anorexia irresponsibly. In the case of Glee, the producers of the show “gave” its already model-thin character Marley

anorexia. The show used the eating disorder to stimulate its plot, and then discarded the disorder after a few episodes. Marley was seemingly given an eating disorder for the dual purpose of creating a ridiculous love triangle and having the glee club lose their sectionals competition. With the media treating eating disorders as a temporary affliction that can be cured with a stern lecture and an “I promise never to do it again,” the target audience of adolescent girls gets the wrong idea of the true consequences of such a disease. The media also contributes to a distorted view of the male body. Shows like the C.W.’s “Supernatural” and MTV’s “Teen Wolf” star buff, strong male individuals. The media idolizes a specific male image, the emotionless buff male. This further perpetuates gender roles, and gives young boys the idea that this is what they must look and act like to be considered normal.

September 2013, Netflix surpassed Home Box Office (HBO) in subscribers in the United States. Traditionally, consumers have been drawn to such streaming websites because they offer the freedom to view at their leisure as well as the ability to watch entire seasons without waiting the painful week in between each episode on television. “While our original series get most of the headlines, a bigger percentage of overall Netflix viewing is generated by our exclusive complete season-after series,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in October’s shareholder report. While television shows are still the staple of online streaming services— namely Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime—these companies are increasingly diversifying their options to consumers by providing exclusive web series. Shows like “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black” define the emerging trend of web series by airing only on Netflix, an offer which sweet-

ens the already lucrative monthly subscription online. Amazon Prime’s Instant Video service, the retail giant’s competitive counter to Netflix, just announced plans to release five new web series based on user preference data. In addition to confirming the endurance of web series on streaming services, this development reveals two notable characteristics of this competitive market. First, no streaming company can ensure that their customers stay without providing their own content. Netflix and Hulu will lose a large portion of their subscribers if rivals like Amazon Prime match their standard lineup while also providing new content, and potential

competitors won’t stand a chance if they merely match the television based lineups of the past. Whichever service can provide the best shows gets the consumers. Second, preference is paramount and diverse. The number of shows on Netflix is massive—but people are still willing to watch new shows that differ from the existing ones. Web series on YouTube have exploded because everyone has a unique preference. The only way for companies to provide the most popular content is to look at the numbers. Amazon narrowed down their final five shows to bring into production (from 14 pilots) based not on taste or analyst opinion but data. As the base of viewers increases, streaming pro-

viders must use data more efficiently, or else run the risk of losing their beloved subscribers. Tailoring shows to their viewers is the future of web series, and by being the first to properly utilize the massive numbers of user data, Amazon is poised to take an early lead. The future of web-exclusive content is uncertain, but irrespective of the path these shows take, consumers will benefit. Shows will target viewers, providing episodes that people are genuinely interested in, and vicious competition between web providers over their exclusive content will likely improve their equality across the board. Web series are the future of television—and every trend suggests that they will only get better.

To read a extended version of this article, visit lahstalon. org/entertainment. An article concerning the media’s portrayal of mental illness has also recently been published.

“The Media Spread” is a continuing feature online! Check out more related content at

The Talon  November 19, 2013

Get daily updates on Eagle athletics and read the sports archives at

Boys water polo concludes season ALEX CORTINAS Senior Writer

As the varsity boys water polo team headed into CCS seeded ninth, it treaded new waters. This year, the team heads into Division I CCS and plays unfamiliar teams, a product of the school’s student body growth. Schools are categorized into divisions by their attendance. The team entered CCS coming off a number of important wins, first against Los Gatos High School earlier in the month in the first round of SCVALs, then against rival Mountain View to secure third place in SCVALs, and finally, against Leland High School, a team the Eagles have not often played, in the first round of CCS. Los Altos crushed Los Gatos 16-6,

the largest margin by which it has defeated Los Gatos this season. The next, and perhaps most significant victory to the team, was a 13-11 triumph over Mountain View on Saturday, November 9. Unlike with Los Gatos, the Eagles came into this game as the underdog, having lost twice to the Spartans this season. As of press deadline, the team’s most recent game (and victory), was against Leland in the earliest stage of CCS on Tuesday, November 12. Los Altos defeated Leland 12-8 to advance to the quarterfinals of CCS against water polo powerhouse Bellarmine, who they played on Saturday, November 16. These victories served to increase optimism in the team.


Senior Surya Ram looks to score against Los Gatos in the first round of SCVALs. The Eagles would go on to defeat the Wildcats 16-6, and in the championship’s third place match, rival Mountain View 13-11.

Boys Water Polo: Top Scorers Player Sam Lisbonne Jordan Stout Ryan Seltzer

Goals 144 40 34

“I believe we can make it,” Ryan said. “This year we’ve trained harder than we’ve ever trained, it’s just things haven’t gone our way all the time. In all the games we’ve lost, we’ve lost by a hair except for one or two. We’ve been in it the whole time. We’ll just put it together in the end and see what happens.” These victories, however, represent only part of the season. The reality remains that this season has brought with it a number of adversities that the Eagles have had to overcome. The first of these was the inf lux of junior players, who had to adjust quickly to the varsity level. The second was the switch to Division I CCS, in which new teams were played. Foreign territory and relative lack of experience have not been the only adversities that the team has faced this season. One major setback for the team has been the absence of its goalie, junior Dane Grosvenor, in the most crucial stretch of the season. Due to a concussion, Dane has been incapable of performing this integral role. The team placed a four-year field player, senior Derrick Lu in the cage, who has performed impressively despite not having

Girls water polo season ends in first round of CCS

Girls tennis advances in CCS to quarterfinals

Staff Writer


Goalie junior Romy Aboudarham reaches to make a save in girls water polo’s first round CCS game against Carlmont. Romy has made 401 saves this season and is one of the league’s top goalies. increase in performance has only been possible because of the work put into improving a number of gameplay aspects, particularly communication and scrimmaging. “I think we have gotten a lot better at communication in the water and that has greatly helped us,” co-captain senior Jenna Gavenman said. Countless mornings and afternoons have been spent practicing drills and scrimmaging to hone skills. “We do a lot of swimming and drills during practice,” sophomore Julia Suh said. “We also scrimmage a lot to improve our communication and ball handling while under pressure.” These skills have been devel-

been trained to be a goalie. “Derrick in goal really allows us to play for each other,” Ryan said. “It forces us to step up our defense and we play better as a team.” These adversities have had effects on the team, one of which includes failing to improve statistics from last year, losing six games in the season opposed to last year’s two. The season also welcomed for the first time in 15 years a championship game sans Eagles. Strong senior leadership has been a major part in counteracting these adversities, and has been at the core of the team’s performance this year. Captain senior Sam Lisbonne has scored 144 goals in the season. Senior

Jordan Stout comes in second with goals and collectively the seniors on the team have demonstrated great responsibility and inf luence over the team. “The seniors were a big part of the team this year and contributed so much to the program,” junior Bryan Kim said. “The seniors this year really led the team and held it together when games got rough.” This year’s juniors comprised of two thirds of the team this year. They too have contributed greatly to the season. “They’ve really stepped up and matured as players, teammates and leaders,” Ryan said “As far as next year in terms of leadership I think we’re going to have a strong core.”


JAMES SUN With all of its hard work throughout the season finally paying off, the girls water polo team capped off this season with their first CCS appearance since 2011. After a strong back half of the season and SCVAL performance, the Lady Eagles qualified for CCS. They were, however, stopped by Carlmont in the first round of CCS on Wednesday, November 13, at Palo Alto High School. Despite working hard all season, the girls lacked the concentration that they possessed during the league championship games. The game would end in a one point loss, with Los Altos losing 6-7. With this final loss, the girls water polo is now officially over, rounding off a solid end of the season. SCVALs saw the girls play in three games: against Palo Alto, Gunn and Saratoga in three consecutive days. Los Altos defeated Palo Alto, claiming an 8-4 victory over the Vikings. Though the Lady Eagles fell to Gunn (the number one team at SCVALs) 2-13 and to Saratoga 3-4, they came out of SCVALs seeded fourth and qualified for CCS. These late season successes represent the culmination of a season’s worth of work—this progressive


Captain senior Sam Lisbonne rips a shot. Sam is the team’s leading scorer and has put 144 balls in the net this season. He, along with the team’s other seniors, has acted as the backbone of the team, leading it through SCVALs and CCS.

oped not only to ensure that the second half of the season is as fruitful as possible, but also to train the younger athletes on the team. Recently, at the last home game of the season on October 31 against Palo Alto High School, the team’s five seniors were recognized at senior night. Although their individual contributions to the team were indispensable, the team is already preparing for next year when the seniors will be gone. “We have a ton of girls and will train very hard this offseason to prepare for next year where we look to push for a deeper run into CCS,” head coach Seth Tasman said.

As girls tennis season nears its end, girls tennis advances in CCS. Los Altos received a first round bye and played Leland in the second round of team CCS on Wednesday, November 13. The Lady Eagles defeated Leland 4-3, 2 with three of the team’s four singles players—senior Kacey Incerpi, junior Whitney Mathews and sophomore Juliette Martin—claiming victory, and the doubles team of senior Avery Ikeda and sophomore Carina Burdick winning as well. This second round victory advanced Los Altos to CCS quarterfinals, where they

would face St. Ignatius. Leading up to this, the Lady Eagles had dominated SCVALs on Wednesday, November 6. Their run of dominance culminated in three placements in the competition: the team of Kacey and Whitney took the doubles title while Juliette and Carina ended up second and third respectively for singles. They play in the first round of Doubles and Singles CCS on Monday, November 25. “It’s awesome doing so well in CCS as a senior, because it’s a great send-off and something I’ll always get to remember,” senior Avery Ikeda said. —Compiled by Shiktij Dave

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CCS results are up to date as of Thursday, November 14. Check out for CCS updates.

Cross country looks to repeat success at States ALEX BARREIRA Staff Writer

On November 5, the boys and girls cross country teams competed in the SCVAL League Championships at Crystal Springs. The boys extended their season-long dominance, winning SCVALs for the fourth year in a row, while the girls placed fourth against three extremely competitive Division I teams. Both teams’ runners recorded the largest number and highest percentage of personal records of the last five years. This latest success caps off a record-breaking season. From early-season league meets to numerous invitationals, cross country has made a steady ascension to the top. Following a string of strong early-season performances, girls and boys varsity went on to record the fastest and second fastest team times in school history at the Clovis Invite in Fresno on October 12. Both varsity teams repeated this feat soon after at the Mt. Sac Invite on October 25 and 26. In addition to setting a new school record, boys varsity placed first


Sophomores Ben Zaeske leads the pack in SCVALs at Crystal Springs. Boys varsity went go on to take the SCVAL title, and girls would secure fourth place. in the Division II race with an unprecedented finish of seven runners in the top 17. The girls’ placed second among Division II competitors while seven of the nine runners recorded PRs for the course. Sophomore Lauren Jacob ran the fastest girls’ time in school history for that course. These are but two of the team’s record-breaking performances

to date, which the team seems to have accumulated with ease. The success of this season, however, has not come without its challenges. In addition to losing considerable senior leadership, some of the team’s top runners, such as senior Terence Rabuzzi, have been unable to compete on account of injury. Terence, boys varsity’s top run-

ner last year, was diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter’s disease during last year’s track season and could not compete this year. Fortunately, the Eagles have benefitted from a surprising depth of underclassmen and consistent performances by team veterans. “We [seniors] have the leadership role but the sophomores are really pulling us forward,” senior

Dane Tippett said. “I think without any one of them we wouldn’t be where we are right now.” The girls’ side has improved significantly as well. Two years ago, there were only two athletes who ran a 5K time of under 22 minutes. Today there are 10. “I’m definitely very happy with how the team is,” head coach Dan Oren said. “It’s making everybody believe in each other…It makes everyone better when you have a lot of good people on the team.” Now, on the cusp of repeating last year’s post-season success, both varsity teams look to advance farther than ever before. As of press time, if they place in the top three at CCS, they will qualify for the CIF State Championships, which will take place on November 30 at Woodward Park. Last year, the boys placed ninth overall for Division II, while the girls placed 18th. Despite an excellent run so far, the season’s full potential has yet to be determined. “In terms of having reached our goals we just don’t know yet,” Oren said. “[But] I think we’re in the perfect place to do as well as we were hoping to do.”

Girls volleyball ends season on high note Eagle football’s comeback CASSIDY CRAFORD year comes to a close SAM LISBONNE Senior Writers

With its fall season coming to a close, the girls volleyball team has proved once again that strong teamwork and confidence leads to success. As of the press deadline, the team’s CCS quarterfinal game against Los Gatos had yet to be played, but the team has already demonstrated its character by fighting for every kill and playing as a unit, two critical qualities which have led to this year’s successes. By effectively putting these qualities to use, volleyball has put together one of its most consistent season performances in years. “Individually we are all good players, but we’ve reached a point where we can all play together at our full potential,” co-captain senior Katie Tritschler said. “We are really able to perform together without losing individual strength.” Throughout the season, players have brought with them energy and intensity, helping them win many of their close matches. As of

Junior Carmen Annevelink serves against Homestead. Carmen, one of the team’s four co-captains, has led the team’s offense, averaging 20 kills per match.

JORDAN STOUT Senior Writer


Players on the bench celebrate after a point is scored against Homestead, Los Altos’ toughest competition this year. Los Altos was able to defeat Homestead on its home court this year. press date, the Lady Eagles hold a 28-5 overall record, and have gone 8-2 in league matches. “We have always been known as being the most enthusiastic and ‘loud’ team in the league,” co-captain senior Hanna Koehler said. “I think because we have a ton of strong personalities on the team, we are often able to drown out our opponents with our energy.” Several wins stood out as defining moments in the season. The Lady Eagles defeated Homestead, their biggest league rival, in four sets, a huge upset, and swept Palo Alto, a team against which they have struggled to hold their own in prior years. Even more gratifying, players said, was dominating both teams on their home courts. “In the past, we always struggled with playing in [the Palo Alto and Homestead] gyms, but this year we showed our strength in consistency to beat both of [the teams],” co-captain senior Meghan McDermott said. Key players have also stepped up to carry the team through its tough moments. The senior squad, all individually strong and bringing with them years of playing experience, provided the team with consistent leadership. This year’s team was carried by four co-captains: Hanna, Meghan, Katie and junior Carmen

Annevelink, who recently verbally committed to University of California-Berkeley’s volleyball program. Contributing to the senior starting lineup, Carmen led the team’s offense, averaging 20 kills per match. “[Carmen] has really blossomed,” Katie said. “We ran our offensive plays around her [and] she was a huge part of our success.” Looking forward, the team looks to perform positively and improve throughout the coming seasons as younger players step in to take the graduating seniors’ places. The tradition of excellence will undoubtedly continue for the girls volleyball team. “Even though the team will be losing a large part of the starting lineup next year, they will still be strong,” Hanna said. “Our coach does a good job giving the younger players playing time so that they will be ready to take on the role of the graduating seniors.” As the team plays its final games of the year, the Lady Eagles have summarized this as the season in which they “gave it their all,” and found success in their confidence, energy and consistency. “We click well, we play well together,” Katie said. “Even though we had a few losses, it’s all been great. I don’t want it to be over.”

It is no secret that after the football team’s dismal performance last year, a lot of students had lost hope for the prospects of this year’s team. But this year’s football program has not only disproved its critics; it has completely reinvented Eagle football. Determined to prove that they could be a threat, the team entered the season with everything to prove and not much to lose. “We have to win games,” head coach Trever Pruitt said at the end of last year. “If we go out to prove that we can play than the students will come around.” And the football team did just that, ending the season with a 7-2 record (as of press time). It’s most recent 30-0 win against Lynbrook is evidence of just how far it has come. To put the win in perspective, Los Altos fell to Lynbrook 25-54 this time last year. The Eagles have truly established themselves both in the league and at Los Altos, ending the season third in league. Although a spot in CCS playoffs is not there for the Eagles this year, it looks to be in

the near future. “I think this team is one of the best in CCS,” Pruitt said. We have a lot of young guys doing great things and they are going to contribute a lot.” This bright future can be attributed to the young talent that the team has seen enter its ranks this year. The Eagles have four freshman on varsity, who will be expected to play a big role in future seasons. “I think people really have to watch out for the young Eagles,” captain senior Dakota Kratzer said. “They have great coaches and a great drive.” Now, in the home stretch of the season, the team is already looking forward to next year. The team took an expected rebuilding year and turned it into a success. This year’s performance has paved the way for next year’s players, who will be looking to pick up where they left off. “Even though we won’t make it to the playoffs, we really paved the way for Los Altos football,” junior Phillip Almeda said. “Last year, there was talk about getting rid of [the football program]. We saved Los Altos football. We’re looking forward to playoffs next year and beating more teams in De Anza.”


Players pose for a picture after an early season win against Burton. Los Altos ends its season with a 7-2 record, almost a complete turnabout to last year’s 0-10 record.

The Talon  November 19, 2013

BASKETBALL PREVIEW Boys basketball returns hungry for CCS title CHASE ELLER Senior Writer

Junior Sami Nassif makes drives during practice.

Last year, the boys basketball team had a historic CCS run that fell just short. Making it all the way to the semi-finals, it lost in a heartbreaking game to Willow-Glen High School. Although it was a great run and season for the team, this year they have their eyes set on winning CCS. We need to Last year’s team feaimprove our tured experience and defense...and strong leadership. This become a more season, the Eagles will lose some of that expecohesive unit. rience, as the team will —Senior Bryan Lai be without Nate Viera, Nate Becker and Kieran Stolorz (all ‘13), three starters from last year. With the loss of these players, the Eagles will be without the dynamic scoring ability of Viera and the strong leadership of Becker and Stolorz. “We’re really going to miss the seniors that we lost,” senior Bryan Lai said, “They were great leaders and played pivotal roles on our team.” In order to fill these holes, the Eagles plan on returning two starters and also implementing some younger players and players who did not see as much time last year.

Last year, boys basketball suffered a devastating two-point loss during the CCS semifinals game. This season, they’re aiming to win the CCS title that eluded them.


Last year’s boys basketball team poses after a victory. Los Altos had a historic CCS run last year, one that ended in a disappointing two-point loss in the semi-final game. The Eagles are determined as ever to secure the title this year. “We do have experience, with most of the season. In order to increase their sucof our players being juniors or seniors,” cess this year, they need to start strong and Bryan said. “Some new guys will have to stay consistent on both offense and defense. step up and take bigger roles than they “We need to improve our defense this did last year.” year and become a more cohesive unit,” Last season, the Eagles had a strong Bryan said. offense and look to continue that this Overall, the Eagles look to display great year. The potent offense will be lead by chemistry and team play on the court this point guard senior Joey Malgesini, cen- season. By working hard and continuing ter senior Steven Garverick and forward to improve and learn from their previjunior Danny Rosenbaum. ous experiences, they hope to capture the “We have a really strong offense this CCS title that eluded them last year. year,” Bryan said. “We have three guys who “Our goal is to win a CCS title,” Bryan can score from all parts of the court.” said. “The whole team is completely Last year, the high-flying Eagles did focused on working hard and making struggle a bit defensively at the beginning this goal a reality.”

Girls basketball aims high with new coach DANIEL ROSENBAUM Staff Writer

With the winter season training already underway, the girls basketball team has been looking to assimilate a new member of the team: not a player, but new head coach Jaclyn Brode. Brode enters the team following last year’s impressive run, which, at its pinnacle, culminated in the league title, but was cut short as it fell in the first round of CCS. Brode brings to the court a wealth of coaching experience. “[Coach Jaclyn Brode brings] a new kind of intensity,” sophomore Meg Enthoven said. “After seeing how well our season ended last year our new coach expects greatness from our team, she’s helping us take Los

Sophomore Katie Munro looks to shoot at practice. Girls basketball has been training since summer. Brode maintains that only intense conditioning and hard work will translate into success.

With new head coach Jaclyn Brode at the helm, Los Altos hopes to build upon the successes of last season.

Altos basketball to the next level.” and thus far, after months of trainBrode has already begun to strat- ing, the team looks to fit the part. egize, and predicts that both the un“The best teams are in the best derclassmen and upperclassmen will shape,” Brode said. “I attended play crucial roles in the season. Many clinics throughout the summer core players are returning and want on basketball strength and condivengeance this year. The team is also tioning and have brought what I welcoming a sophomore transfer stu- learned to this program.” dent from St. Francis. The players have felt the effects. “I like the speed and quickness of “We conditioned a lot during the our team this year,” Brode said. “It’ll summer and preseason as a team to be paced by Kelly Hamamake sure that we are moto and Katie Munro, all in great shape for but they’ll definitely get the season,” Meghan big contributions from I want our said. “It will be very Rebecca Andrews and opponents to helpful once the seaAllegra Maeso. Meghan son kicks into gear to feel like they McDermott is probably be in great shape, so our truest center but just went 12 then we can focus on she’s skilled enough that rounds with the development of skills we can utilize her in dif- heavyweight and strategies.” ferent ways…Her partner champ. Brode’s ultimate goal in crime will be Meg.” is to build on last sea— Girls basketball Brode and the team’s son’s performance and coach Jaclyn Brode St. Francis transfer aren’t to develop a team that the only new members can “out-hustle and to the team. With a new coach came outwork all opponents”. with it a new training regimen, one “I want this team to be the team which began in the summer, months everyone hates playing against beusually reserved for athletes training cause of how hard we play,” Brode for the fall season. In the off-season, said. “There will be games we win Brode has been pushing the team and games we lose, but regardless to ensure that it will thrive in the of the score I want our opponents stiff competition that the De Anza to feel like they just went 12 rounds League is home to. She hired a train- with the heavyweight champ. All er over the summer, who designed out, no fear, all hustle for the 32 “brutal” workouts for the players. minutes we’re on the court. I think Brode is a strong believer in the no- if we can all buy into the big piction that conditioning is important, ture, this can be a special team.”


Sophomore Meg Enthoven makes a shot during tryouts. Meg, junior Rebecca Andrews and senior Meghan McDermott are expected to play crucial roles in the season.

The Talon | Issue 3 | November 20, 2013