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Cougar Connection Henry J. Kaiser High School · Honolulu, Hawaii December 2012

Volume 43 · Issue #3

Robotics goes to World Team members thrive despite financial struggles

Inside News

Color Run Hawaii raises money for charities

Photo courtesy of Kristi Yamamoto


Pg. 4

Presidential election has greater impact globally

Photo courtesy of Jamie Psak

From left to right: Vincent Lee, Sean Tadekawa, and Hadrick Green hold their award-winning robot proudly.

By Riley Wells Staff Writer

On Sept. 10, the Kaiser Robotics team qualified to compete in the 2013 VEX Robotics World Championships after winning first place as a combined team with students from Punahou and Waialua in the interscholastic tournament held at Moanalua High School. The Kaiser students, as well as their advisors, Edene Nagai and Jamie Psak, will be travelling to Anaheim, California, in April for their final competition on the world stage. “This is the second time Kaiser has qualified for world championships in the years I have been involved,” said senior Hadrick Green, president of Kaiser Robotics. The team has travelled to

Illustration by Anela Ling

Sean Tadekawa (left) explains the team’s design process to judges. Anaheim just two years ago. “We’re not sure which team members from our school will be participating this time, but we’re proud we’ve come this far.” However, the road to success was not without its bumps. “Our team is so small,” said Nagai. The number of team members actually able to attend the event is unstable. The travel expenses for the students may not be sub-

sidized this year, and students are unsure about their means of payment. Financial struggles have impacted the team throughout the year. “We’re trying to raise money now to replace parts for our robots before Worlds,” said Nagai. Throughout the matches building up to this upcoming competition, team members had to be resourceful when designing and constructing

Photo courtesy of Jamie Psak

their robots—they had to break older robots apart to build new ones for competition, and during the most recent tournament, their competing robot stalled. “Our parts are on their last legs right now,” said Nagai. Aside from struggles pertaining to competition preparation, the Kaiser Robotics team is determined to do its best at the upcoming event.


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Koko Crater Hiking Trail faces possible closure

Photo by Kevin Pham

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Librarian Lois Nagamine assists students and faculty

Hawaii Kai Parade calls community together

By Kendrick Chang Staff Writer

Over 1,100 participants from 49 different community organizations turned out on Nov. 24 for the Hawaii Kai Christmas Parade. The 1.5-mile route, from Kamiloiki Park to Koko Marina Shopping Center ended with a carnival at the Marina Courtyard. Participants included Kamiloiki Elementary School, Koko Head Elementary School, Niu Valley Middle School’s prep squad, the Royal Hawaiian March-

ing Band, the Chinese Lion Dance Troupe, Representative Gene Ward, Councilman Stanley Chang, and many other organizations. Kaiser’s AFJROTC, the marching band, cheerleaders, Leo Club, and the football team also marched in the parade. The grand marshal for this year’s parade was Kaiser Varsity Football Coach, Rich Miano. “We had your football coach Rich Miano as our grand marshal, so we were very happy with it and they brought almost a hundred players as well,” said Ken

Nishibun, committee chair of the parade. “It was good that the school [Kaiser] participated as well with your band and cheerleaders, and we had a good time.” When the parade first started in 1969, the parade was put on by a Hawaii Kai resident who wanted the newly developed Hawaii Kai area to have its own event. Years later, when the event became too big for the resident to coordinate by himself, the Hawaii Kai Lions Club pitched in and took over to continue the annual

holiday tradition. “We wanted to make sure this tradition continues, so we stepped in and took over to make sure that the kids and community continue to enjoy the parade,” said Nishibun. Nishibun and his committee of volunteers started planning the parade in July. The planning did not go without hiccups however. Over the seven years, funding has been an issue

Please see Holiday spirit parades through Hawaii Kai on Page 3

Photo by Sarah Belbas


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Cheerleading wins third at HHSAA State Champs

Photo courtesy of Moana Sakurai

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December 2012

KHS alumni dinner awards honorees

Photo by Kendrick Chang

Kaiser Foundation honorees, from left to right: Peter Kim, Lesley Kobayashi, Nanette Umeda, Jane Onaga, and Rich Miano.

By Haley Kandler Associate Editor

On Nov. 18, Kaiser’s Alumni Foundation held a dinner at the Hawaiian Prince Hotel. The purpose of the dinner was to honor Peter Kim, Leslie Kobayahsi, Rich Miano, Nanette Umeda, and Jane Onaga for their services and contributions to the Kaiser community and high school. Besides distributing the awards to the honorees, the night also included performances by the Hawaii band, Mana ‘o Trio and the Chinese Lion Dance Association, a silent auction, and speeches by the Kaiser Foundation President, Linda Lau, and Kaiser’s Principal John Sosa. The night began with a silent auction that included prizes such as a handmade quilt and gift cards to various food places such as the Cookie Corner, Cheesecake Factory, and Ruby Tuesday. Overnight stays at the Waikiki Parc Hotel were also part of the auction. “It feels great to see everyone here tonight,” said honoree

Kim during dinner. “I have this sense of comfort when seeing the faces of my old teachers. My mentors became my friends today.” Later in the evening, guests were treated to a show provided by the Chinese Lion Dance Association, where dragons navigated around dinner tables, collecting donations from the attendees. After dinner, honorees were each presented with their distinguished Kaiser Foundation awards. When accepting the award, each honoree gave an acceptance speech that included both humorous and inspiring stories of the journey from their high school years to the life they live now. Having many guests who have supported Kaiser for years, from retired Kaiser teachers to former and current students, the dinner brought together the Kaiser community. “The event has made me really proud of being a graduate of Kaiser,” said Kobayashi. “Everyone who made this possible was a part of Kaiser. It’s just been so meaningful.”

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Kaiser students place third at PAAC Academic WorldQuest Competition

By Aena Bennett Staff Writer

Four seniors from Kaiser High School, Jung Won Choi, Riker Kasamoto, Kingsley Koon, and Matthew Smith placed third in the Pacific and Asian Affairs Council 2012 Chevron Academic WorldQuest Competition in which 29 schools participated from Big Island, Kauai, Maui, Molokai, and Oahu. “It was nice to see public school representation because the competition is generally dominated by the private schools,” said Stephanie Da Silva, the Pacific and Asian Affairs Council club advisor for Kaiser. Participating in a team of four, the students tested their international IQ on a total of 60 multiple-choice questions.

Each question dealt with one of the following issues: U.S. education and competing globally, U.S. energy policy, U.S. economic competitiveness, China, the UN Millennium Goal 7 of ensuring environmental sustainability, and current events. “Mr. Lawrence’s IB Environmental Systems and Societies Science class helped me a lot with the energy [questions],” said Kasamoto. “Also, I have a strong interest in politics, which helped me with the current event [problems].” Punahou and Kamehameha scored first and second respectively. The winning participants received a free trip to Washington D.C. from Chevron where they will compete in the National Academic WorldQuest in April. Second place winners were awarded

a $100 Apple store gift card and gift certificates to California Pizza Kitchen and Big City Diner. Third place winners each received a $50 Apple gift card and certificates to Dave and Busters and Big City Diner. Top scorers from each island who did not place in the top three were also acknowledged. Big Island winners received a $100 cash prize from Hawaii Electric Light Company, Inc. Kauai, Maui County, and Oahu winners each received a $25 Apple store gift card. “I was very proud of our team because this was our first year on the WorldQuest and placed third without the knowledge and experience of the competition among hundreds of high school students,” said Da Silva.

Photo courtesy of the Pacific and Asian Affairs Council

From left to right: emcee and Kaiser alumnus Michael Bennett, senior Riker Kasamoto, Jung Won Choi, Kingsley Koon, Matthew Smith, Judge Cindy Adams, and PAAC high school program coordinator Natasha Schultz.

Cougar Connection

The Cougar Connection is the official school newspaper of Henry J. Kaiser High School, 511 Lunalilo Home Road, Honolulu, HI 96825. The Publications Office is located in room A202. Phone: 394-1200 Ext. 2261. The Cougar Connection is published eight times during the regular school year. It has an open forum policy and will publish letters to the editor.

Co-Editors in Chief: Jung Won Choi and Dan Ju Associate Editor: Haley Kandler News Editor: Dylan Ramos Editorials Editor: Kingsley Koon Features Editor: Tianzhen Nie Sports Editor: Cleston Teixeira Chief Illustrator: Anela Ling Photographer: Sarah Belbas Advertising Manager: Lydia Kim Technology Coordinator: Sam Chalekian Illustrators: Soul Ahn, Alexa Climaldi, Natalie Koon, Kayla Soma-Tsutsuse, Haley Suzuki Staff Writers: Aena Bennett, Chloe Chalekian, Kendrick Chang, Tina Craveiro, Spencer Ellis, Ji Min Joo, Jenna Kaita, Jenise Lam, Cyrus Ma, Sierra Ondo, Kevin Pham, Austin Tasato, and Riley Wells Advisor: Pam Ellis Principal: John P. Sosa

Photo by Kendrick Chang

Top: Miano shares his high school experiences during his acceptance speech. Bottom: Kaiser Principal John Sosa congratulates Miano.

Member of Hawaii Schools Publications Association, National Scholastic Press Association, Journalism Education Association, and Quill and Scroll.


December 2012

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Holiday spirit parades through Hawaii Kai Hawaii Kai Lions Club continues annual tradition

Photo by Kendrick Chang

The Kaiser marching band heralds in the season with its Christmas repertoire.

Photo by Kendrick Chang

The Kaiser marching band heralds in the season with its Christmas medley.

Continued from Page 1 for the parade. “Funding [was] something not easy to come by... so when there is a shortfall, some group always comes forward and is always willing to fill in that spot. The main seed of the money comes from Koko Marina;

they’re the main sponsor for the parade,” said Hawaii Kai Lion’s Club First Vice President, Bill Modglin. Koko Marina donated $2,500 this year to sponsor the parade. Another donation was made by the Hawaii Water Sports Center, which transported Santa Clause to Koko Marina on a

speedboat. The U.S. Marines were on site at the carnival to collect money and gift donations from community members. A total of $1,025 and 10 large boxes of toys were collected at the carnival. “We really want to brighten the holidays for the children of Hawaii

Rain garden collects more than water 2012 Betty Crocker Award

PhotpPhPhoto by Sarah Belbas

Interact club advisor Eric Takemoto (left) and President Dylan Ramos (right) hold the award in front of the rain garden.

whose families can’t afford to buy them any presents. The first time we did the carnival theme was in 2009. We have continued with it every year due to its popularity with the community, and the increase in donations for Toys for Tots,” said Koko Marina Shopping Center Representa-

By Dylan Ramos News Editor

This year, the tenth annual 2012 Betty Crocker Awards were given out in recognition of 35 exceptional landscaping projects around the state. In the category of Volunteer, Community, and Non-profit Groups, Kaiser High’s Rain Garden took one of four Awards of Honor. On Nov. 19, during the taping of a “Be Green 2” segment with KHON2 News, PBR Hawaii presented the Betty Crocker Award to officers of the Kaiser Interact Club. Interact helped to coordinate the installation of the Rain Garden in October of 2011, with the help of Malama Maunalua, PBR Hawaii, Kaiser Staff, and other volunteers. In an interview for KHON2 News, Interact Club secretary Kira Fox explained the purpose of the rain garden to reporter Kirk Matthews. “Erosion and polluted water run-off has be-

tive Krysti Peacock. The parade ended with a visit from Santa Claus on a speedboat on the waters of Koko Marina Harbor, and a carnival for children with free rides, popcorn, and cotton candy at the Marina’s Courtyard, in benefit of the Toys for Tots program.

come a big problem in Maunalua Bay, so rain gardens like this, by securing sediments in the ground, [prevent] the run-off from going into the bay,” said Fox. “The area before was very dry and barren and now to see something so flourishing is really nice…it gives the campus a kind of down to earth feel and I really like it. And we planted the garden,” said Fox. “The hole was dug, but all the plants you see now, we planted that day. We put in some rocks and it was a really fun thing to do.” Scott Murakami, an Associate of PBR Hawaii, expanded on the purpose of the rain garden, by explaining how the school benefits from it. “During heavy rains, there would be mud that would cross over the sidewalk, sometimes into the classroom building, [and] down into the band room.” The rain garden helps to retain the soil with the roots of the native Hawai-

ian plants. Murakami speaks from personal experience, being a Kaiser alumnus. “I graduated a while back but [it’s definitely] good to do things to give back to the high school.” The Betty Crocker award is given out by Scenic Hawaii. Elizabeth “Betty” Crocker served three terms as President of the Outdoor Circle and also cofounded Scenic Hawaii. Her work on the Sand Island Access Road beautification, the Governor’s Advisory Board for Litter, the Mayor’s Beautification Committee, and in other community organizations is immortalized in the award named in her honor. The Interact Club accepted the award alongside Malama Maunalua and PBR Hawaii. “We hope that the Kaiser Rain Garden will serve as a model for community involvement in preserving the cleanliness and beauty of our island,” said Fox.

News Students and staff participate in Color Run Hawaii Race charity

December 2012

By Natile Koon Staff Writer

On Nov. 3, the everyday scene at Honolulu turned into a kaleidoscope of hues as 7000 runners dashed through the streets of Kapolei. The Color Run Hawaii Race is not a competitive race; it is an opportunity for individuals to exercise for charity. “The Color Run [promotes] a healthy and happy lifestyle by providing a noncompetitive atmosphere that allows people to feel a greater sense of community, meet goals, and have fun,” said Jackson Cozzens, the spokesperson of the Color Run Team. Among the thousands of participants who turned out for the event were Kaiser High’s health teacher, Jamie Psak, and Kaiser’s soft tennis team. “[The Color Run is] where professional and novice runners could come together and enjoy the purity of sport,” said Cozzens. The race was five kilometers--about three miles long.

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Color Run volunteers, staff, and sponsors splashed runners with powdered paint as runners reached each of the three color zones. “It was the [most fun] running ever because I got all colorful by the time I finished running,” said sophomore Kamala Katsube. Besides getting hit at the color zones, participants could also be hit with paint at the post-race color throws when runners threw bags of powdered paint at each other or into the air. “I wanted to get a lot of colors. Getting colorful [paint] all over my clothes is pretty fun,” said Psak. In addition to encouraging fitness, the Color Run promoted the idea of giving. The official charity of the Color Run Hawaii 2012 is Ocean Lotus, a non-profit organization. Through its Live, Give, Grow Program, Ocean Lotus aims at helping Hawaii’s less fortunate youth in becoming happier and healthier individuals. The donations collected from the Color Run will go to the Ocean Lotus organization.

Photo by Kristi Yamamoto Kaiser soft tennis team celebrates at the finishing line of the Color Run (left to right): Jera Murakami, Natalie Koon, Tyler Nghiem, Lisa Owen, Kamala Katsube, and Cyrus Ma ran in the meet.

Hahaione Fun Fair

Kaiser clubs volunteer at Hahahione’s largest fundraiser

Kaiser places third at annual slam poetry By Riley Wells Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of the Cougar Connection

From left to right: Sally Park, Khayla Rol, and Yaxin Tao volunteer at the face painting booth.

By Dylan Ramos News Editor

Live performances, good food, and sheer fun were just some of the things served up at the Hahaione Fun Fair on Saturday, Nov. 17. Every year, students, parents, teachers, vendors, and volunteers celebrate the school’s largest fundraising event to raise money for Hahaione Elementary. The fun came in many forms: a dunking booth, bouncy houses, carnival rides, and a relay race just to name a few. In addition, there were smaller games such as fishing, which the elementary school classes

organized. The money generated from these activities went towards the class that ran it, with money from other venues offsetting expenses from the fair. AFJROTC, NHS, ECO Club, Key Club, LEO Club, Interact Club, and APES Club were among the Kaiser groups who also volunteered at the Fun Fair. Kaiser students who belonged to multiple participating clubs worked from setup to clean-up. Junior Esther Choi staggered three shifts throughout the day for NHS, LEO, and Interact. “It’s fun to go back to my old school and reminisce,” said Choi. “Helping out with the little kids was

so much fun. It didn’t feel like work.” Besides Kaiser, Hahaione parents, staff, and community organizations such as the Hawaii Kai Rotary Club and Hawaii Kai Lions Club were on the scene. A rummage sale and performances by groups like “The Wreck,” and train rides made the 2012-2013 Hahaione Fun Fair a big success. The sponsoring Hahaione PTSA, volunteer coordinator Theresa Cummings, and Student Services Coordinator/Kaiser alumna Wendy Shigeta were the organizing forces that put together the fair, offering Kaiser students an enjoyable service opportunity.

On Friday, Nov. 23, Youth Speaks Hawaii, a non-profit spoken word organization, held its annual interscholastic poetry slam at Farrington High School. Slam poets Raiatea Lohe, Sammi Crimmins, Angelique Ramos, and Carrie Glenn represented Kaiser at the meet. Although prepared to participate in the event for their third consecutive year, members of Kaiser’s slam poetry team, as well as those of other ‘Oahu high schools, were expected to perform extemporaneously. Just before the slam was scheduled to occur, the roof of Farrington’s auditorium caved in. Guests and speakers were redirected to the cafeteria, where four microphones and rows of tables for the audience were promptly set up. Even with television news camera crews and fire trucks surrounding the area, the show went on as scheduled. The competition consisted of three rounds. Students from each school performed memorized, pre-rehearsed pieces

before a panel of five judges. After each performance, poets were scored on a ten-point scale based on their stage presence, body language, and the recited poem. Of the five recorded scores for each piece, the highest and lowest were eliminated, leaving a maximum of 30 points per poem. Kaiser placed third in the competition, with first, second, and fourth places going to Kalani, Farrington, and Punahou, respectively. Ultimately, the slam was more about young people articulating themselves and connecting with members of the community than it was about awarding a trophy. Poets were given complete freedom to express themselves, uncensored neither by mentors nor by Youth Speaks program coordinators. “Slam poetry gives teens a voice to express trials in life,” said Raiatea Lohe, a senior who has been a member of Kaiser’s slam poetry team since its beginning in 2010. “And when there is a piece that a lot of people can relate to, it makes the most impact in bringing people together emotionally.”

December 2012


Kaiser’s speech team receives recognition By Jenise Lam Staff Writer

Students from public and private schools from around the island met at Kaiser on Saturday, Nov. 10, for the Hawai’i Speech Language Tournament. This was a Non-Qualifying Double-Entry tournament, meaning that entrants could enter multiple categories and results would not count towards the upcoming state competition. “This provides a great opportunity for students to try new things and venture from events that

Photo by Jenise Lam

Mars performs “The Philadelphia.”

they normally do,” said Bill Ogilvie, co-coach of Kaiser’s Speech team. Juniors Rhansen Mars and Nicholas Myers, and senior Haley Faringer who competed solely in the speech event represented Kaiser. Mars participated in the humorous interpretation category, performing The Philadelphia, a piece about two men having a humorously bad day. “This one’s a mind bender. It focuses on the idea that the turn of luck is contagious,” said Mars. During the performance, Mars played both characters, using altered tone and facial expression to distinguish between the two. Contenders in the duo interpretation category, Faringer and Myers performed Opposite Spirits by Barbara Lhota and Janet Milstein. Faringer played Jessie, a party girl, while Myers played Frank, a nerd. “They are opposites, but there is an underlying story where both are unhappy with their social lives,” said Faringer. Although Faringer and Myers share a dialogue, they remain facing the audience throughout the entire performance, allowing for the audience to constantly see their facial expressions. Kaiser’s Mars received a score of nine, given four first place, one second place, and one third place ranking. Myers and Faringer received a ten, given four first place, one second place, and one fourth place ranking. All three were presented with a “Certificate of Superior Performance.” This was the highest award Kaiser could receive given the low number of participants. Schools with more participants received a greater number of superior performances. “I want to expand our speech program, but I think Kaiser should be proud of what our performers did today,” said Ogilvie.

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Kaiser’s AFJROTC conducts military drills and exercises at East Range Training Complex

Photo courtesy of Kaiser AFJROTC

From Nov. 9-11, thirty-three cadets from Kaiser’s Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC) camped at the East Range Training Complex, a hybrid woodland/urban zone near Schofield Barracks in Wahiawa. The trip gave JROTC cadets a chance to practice certain skills, such as land navigation and independent leadership out in the wilderness.

Winter Fantasy

Japanese Cultural Center November 30, 2012

Illustration by Alexa Climaldi Photos by Jung Won Choi

December 2012


Death of Christmas

By Anela Ling Chief Illustrator

It is mid-October. The falling leaves are stirring in the cool autumn air. Children are dashing about the mall cheerily in anticipation for the night when eating candy until you’re sick is allowed. Halloween is around the corner when you spot it. A Christmas tree. A bright, decorated, well-lit Christmas tree in the middle of Macy’s. How can this be? Did I fall into a coma only to be awakened a few months later? Thanksgiving was once a day we gave thanks. Now, it is Christmas half-time. You can’t believe your eyes. You feel dirty and w ro n g . “Not yet,” you whisper to the person next to you, who you grab onto for support as waves of nausea overtake you. The person is actually Santa Claus. Does this scenario sound familiar to you? Every year as the summer heat begins to fade, as the school year is already a quarter over, Halloween is expected to arrive. Instead, you are greeted with the fresh scent of pine and the overwhelming urge to spend too much money on others. Is this all part of some festive propaganda to bring Christmas earlier every year? Is this a conspiracy of corporations trying to bring Christmas sooner, thus making us start thinking about gifts earlier? As other festivities fade into the background and Christmas becomes priority “numero uno,” the message of Christmas giving becomes lost, and the pressure of the purchase takes over. In my opinion as someone who has lived one-fifth of my life and obviously knows what’s up, Christmas should not be arriving so quickly. It is a long process to become filled with the holiday spirit and when I haven’t even decided on my Halloween costume,

I feel rushed and out of sorts. When a person is pressured and hurried by the world around them to celebrate a festival they miss the chance to truly enjoy the holidays. When it’s all over, they feel disappointed and cheated of joy. And don’t even get me started on those stores that feel this inexplicable need to skip poor neglected Halloween and Thanksgiving. “I think it’s an advertising scam,” said senior Rachel Heth, “They’re just trying to be the first one to sell things… Christmas is just a business.” In a world filled with consumerism and war, the last thing we need is for Christmas to be ruined. The spirit of the holidays is gone! Boycott Christmas! Something needs to hap“I feel excited for Christmas to come [early] because everyone’s generally happier and more cheerful,” said senior, Edson Gonzalez. No! Don’t you see? The festive season must wai- “I love Christmas. I guess it annoys me that the true intentions [of early decorations] is for money but it spreads holiday cheer, so…” said junior Ashley Oh. Wr o n g a g a i n , dear stud e n t s . “I love the decorations a n y w a y. ” They’re trying to deceive you. “Who wouldn’t want to see the festivities start?” But… “People know that Christmas isn’t about spending anyway.” Of course, as I concede to the opinions of the masses, the message becomes clear. The early arrival of the holidays can be a positive thing. The lights are enchanting, the fresh pine scent is soothing, and the store deals are a steal. Even though the decorations come a few weeks early, what’s the real harm? As long as we remember what the true message of the festive season is. I think Edson Gonzalez said it best, “The Christmas spirit isn’t in the gifts, it’s in our hearts.” Besides, who cares about Halloween anyway?

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Presidential Election U.S. voters shape the course of history

Illustration by Anela Ling

By Kingsley Koon Editorials Editor

The 2012 Presidential Election has determined that Obama will remain seated in the White House for four more years. Although Obama’s 323 electoral votes made him a clear winner over Romney’s 206, the popular vote was split almost evenly. But on the global stage, Obama’s support was and still is ahead of Romney’s by miles. Ironically, some people of other nations are affected more by the result of the Presidential Elections than U.S. residents, yet they don’t have a say in who’s the next leader of America. Often times we forget how influential the President is beyond the United States. Not long ago in 2001, George W. Bush initiated the war on terrorism, pulled France and Great Britain together, and put Middle East into a mess. Thanks to his effort, not only was the U.S. military stuck there for fighting an endless guerrilla war, but taxpayers were also required to foot the tremendous bill. Furthermore, he failed to establish an effective democratic government to maintain peace in Iraq and Afghanistan. The anti-America sentiment in the Islamic world prevails even today. Had Al Gore been the president, the war may not have occurred as he openly criticized Bush’s decision on hasty action. So how did the two candidates of the recent election diverge in diplomatic policies? Let’s take a look at their attitudes towards two countries—

China and Iran. While both criticize Iran for developing nuclear weapons, their views on the proper course of action differ. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, Obama is inclined to undertake economic sanction and a diplomatic solution rather than a military strike. Romney’s stance is considerably tougher. He stated that it was “unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon.” Even a “capability” to build one would be intolerable. This would be expected to heighten the tension in the already unstable Middle East, making a war more possible than ever. As for the relations between the U.S. and China, economy is always the top issue. Obama was well acquainted with the Chinese government during his last four years of administration- he visited China in 2009, and the Chinese vice president Xi came to the United States this year in return. In contrast, the Republicans have traditionally been extremely critical to China in economic issues. Romney declared that he would designate China as a currency manipulator on his first day of his presidency unless China “changes its ways.” The Chinese clearly prefer Obama than Romney, not only because of his considerably softer attitude, but also of the already established relationship between the leaders of the two countries. So remember, your vote in your hand not only determines the next leader of the United States of America, but also the world political landscape—even the course of history.


December 2012

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Koko Crater Hiking Trail faces possible closure By Kevin Pham Staff Writer

Koko Crater Hike has been around since World War II. “The hike is a great place for a quick efficient workout that works out cardio, muscular, and more,” said Kaiser Physical Education teacher Tyson Lee. The hike also has historical value. Back in World War II, the hike was created as a tram system to carry supplies up and down Koko Crater, but years after the war, the tram system no longer served a purpose.

The wooden ties that were used to hold the rails together turned into steps for a trail up Koko Crater. It is now one of the most frequented places in Hawaii. The hike consists of 1048 steps to reach the top and is approximately one mile in length. It starts off with a slow incline b u t f u r t h e r up the t r a i l , there is an obvious difference in the altitude and grade. Near the top, the wind will start to blow stronger and the steps will get steeper. The top consists of old run-down structures that provide a great place to enjoy a rewarding view. However, the sights and the fitness workout comes with risks. Over half a century ago, the Koko Crater Tram System was created. The tram system was never intended for hikers and not many repairs have been made to improve it despite the fact that hikers take the journey up the trail every day as steps are con-

tinuously breaking down. “[Decades of erosion and decay slowly make the hike] very hazardous,” said Barbara Lowe from the Honolulu City and Council Department of Parks and Recreation. “It is not a sanctioned hiking trail and I personally tell people not to go around that area. On the average week, there’s a helicopter rescue from that trail.” The hike has become a relatively dangerous place for those who aren’t careful. Warning signs have been placed by the City and Council to try and reduce the number of people going up but few take a second thought about it. “I see people carrying their babies up the hike. There are definitely safety factors that people should take notice of,” said Lee. If things continue the way they are with the hike, it may soon be closed down. “I don’t want it to be like other parks and trails, where it takes a tragedy to finally put up fences or officially close down a trail,” said Barbara Lowe. “There are no funds to prevent people from going on it, and no funds to post people out there to keep people safe.” Without any money, the City and Council can do nothing to improve the conditions of the hiking trail and as it continues to deteriorate, the hike may close down in the near future. For now, hikers who still want to take the half an hour journey up the trail should make sure that they move at a slow and steady pace so that they don’t succumb to fatigue or miss a foot placement. The view at the very top is surely a captivating sight that is difficult to pass up.

The sights of the trail vs. the potential dangers

Koko Crater Hiking provides beautiful sights and possible dangers.

Photos by Kevin Pham

Features 10 ways to avoid weight gain during the holiday season

December 2012

By Chloe Chalekian Staff Writer

1. Pick favorites.

Don’t eat everything that is there; just pick the food you most want to eat. This helps make sure that you aren’t eating the food because it is there, you are eating for the experience.

2. Plate your food.

By putting your food on a plate your mind can grasp how much food you’re eating which can help prevent overeating. Also, stay away from the appetizer table; by doing so you won’t be feel tempted to eat when you aren’t hungry.

3. Think before you eat.

This especially applies to desserts. Remember to choose portions that are appropriate for what you are eating.

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4. Relax.

The holidays are supposed to be fun, but with all the social functions and the holiday shopping, it’s easy to feel more stressed than normal. Being stressed increases the hormone called cortisol in the body. Cortisol increases cravings for high calorie food, overeating and the production of visceral fat (the fat around organs in the abdominal area).

5. Eat before you go.

Arriving at a party hungry is going to increase your chances of overeating and making poor choices. Also, not eating all day to make room for a big dinner isn’t a good idea. In fact, it can make you GAIN weight because your metabolism is slower.

6. Eat protein over carbs.

If you didn’t follow number five and go to a party hungry here is what you do: choose the food that has the most protein. Protein rich foods fire up your metabolism and fill you up faster.

drated body burns more fat than a non-hydrated body. So drink at least eight glasses of water each day and start your day off with two 8 ounce glasses of water.

7. Put down your fork.

This allows you to savor what you are eating and not be focused on shoveling the food into your mouth. It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to realize you are full so, try not to inhale your food.

8. Sleep enough.

10. Exercise.

Sleeping just seven hours a night can help you lose up to five pounds in a month. On the other hand, if you sleep less than you usually do, you can gain weight.

Don’t look at exercising as a way to “burn calories.” Think of it as a time to relax, keep healthy, and clear your mind. With this mindset, exercise will become something that you want to do instead of something you should do.

9. Drink water before you eat. Drink water before a large meal. It will fill you up so you won’t feel the urge to overe a t . Also, a hy-

IHOP brings flavor and variety By Cleston Teixeira and Spencer Ellis Sports Editor & Staff Writer

The International House of Pancakes, or more commonly known as IHOP is more than just the typical sitin breakfast nook. IHOP provides its guests with a wide arrangement of selection and flavors, from pancakes, omelets, and crepes, to burgers, soups and salads, and steak. Along with being recognized for its award winning Original Buttermilk Pancakes, IHOP provides customers with 18 different pancake options on their pancake menu, varying from their famous New York Cheesecake Pancakes, to their Cinn-a-Stack pancakes, consisting of four buttermilk pancakes, layered with a cinnamon roll filling, and drizzled with cream cheese and icing, and finally topped off with a crown of whipped cream. Aside from all of the fancy, sweet and savory pancake options, IHOP has newly in-

troduced its “simple and fit” menu that provides thirty healthier alternatives from pancakes to dinner favorites,

all under 600 calories a meal. As for IHOP’s famous, award winning Original Buttermilk Pancakes, a short

stack only costs $7.99, while a full stack, is just a dollar more for $8.99. IHOP’s full stack comes with five

Photo by Cleston Teixeria

IHOP’s Cinn-a-Stack pancake consists of four butter-milk pancakes, laid with cinnamon roll filling, and drizzled with cream cheese and icing, and topped off with a crown of whipped cream.

pancakes stacked high, and barely big enough to cover the majority of a rather small ceramic plate, along with a scoopful of butter. IHOP provides self-serve syrup with its three signature syrup flavors: Old Fashioned, Blueberry, and Strawberry. The pan cakes are a bit doughy, yet moist, with a smooth, fried to perfection outer layer. However, the serving size of the pancakes is on the small side, and the plating and presentation is quite bland. Although the pancakes aren’t perfect, the IHOP environment is very welcoming and comfortable. The service is friendly and helpful. In regards to the pricing, IHOP’s menu is rather pricey for its portion sizes. IHOP hosts individuals throughout the island, having four different locations on Oahu: Kaneohe, Pearl City, Waikiki and Ala Moana. And for a more casual, home-style breakfast, IHOP will unquestionably satisfy your needs.


December 2012

Page 9

Sweet Home Café boils Nagamine to hot pot perfection creates refuge Choices cater to all palates for others Helping students and animals alike

By Tianzhen Nie Features Editor

A boiling hot pot envelops ingredients in a tasty broth.

By Alexa Climaldi Staff Writer

Hot pot restaurants have sprung up everywhere in Hawaii. It is a style of preparation popular all over Asia. Shabu shabu and nabe in Japan, lau in Vietnam, and huo guo in China. It’s a simple idea: boil soup and dip in ingredients. Susend Chang, the owner of Sweet Home Café, started the boom in Honolulu when she decided to sell hot pots instead of sandwiches. In 2007, Sweet Home Café opened, serving mainly sandwiches. Because Susend Chang’s parents had a hot pot restaurant in Taiwan, she also started selling hot pots. In her second year of business, she realized her customers liked the hot pots better than the sandwiches. So she switched to hot pots. A year later, her brother and chef Chih Chieh joined the team. Originally, he thought the hot pots were a bad idea. Hot pots in Hawaii? Where it barely goes below 65 degrees the whole year? However Chih Chieh and Susend took a chance which paid off. Customers wait in lines for their food. Diners seated at the tables are limited to 90 minutes of eating time in order to accommodate those waiting to be served before the 11:00 p.m. closing. The restaurant is in a holein-the-wall location on South King street. Regardless, people still wait in long lines to eat the food. So, why are the hot pots so popular? Hot pots require much preparation and equipment, so people normally order them in a restaurant. The

broth, especially, is difficult to make. Sweet Home, however, does the work for you. Chih spends most of the day making 14 different broths, which is why the place is only open for dinner, starting at 4:00 p.m. You can choose two broths for your table in a divided pot, or just order a pot full of one flavor. On my first visit, I ordered the spicy broth. The ginger, red chili, onions, peppers, and wafts of beef and cilantro were more than enough to convince me of Chih’s culinary skills. On my second visit, I ordered the curry broth. It was richer and more aromatic than the spicy broth. I added a layer of curry flavor, not too powerful, but just enough to remind me of its presence. I could smell the curry broth on me even after I showered later that night. The ingredients are prepared daily prior to opening. The vegetables are located in the back of the restaurant, in a 6x6 supermarket-style refrigerator, packed with prewrapped and prepped ingredients. About 90 choices are available. You can choose green plates ($2.85) that have leafy vegetables and mushrooms; yellow plates ($3.85) covered in fish cakes, Korean style rice cakes, and noodles; or red plates ($4.85) with sliced tofu and seafood. There are also more exotic options: lobster balls, shrimp cakes, cheese and brisket wontons, and peppers stuffed with fishcake. The meat is sliced fresh so you have to tell your server what you’d like when you order the broth. The dish arrives in curls of marbled beef,

Photo by Alexa Climaldi

and white chicken so thin you could read a newspaper through it. The menu also lists beef tongue and pork. Near the vegetables is a line of sauces. Sweet Home has 15 sauces to choose from, and all are made in house. I chose spicy cilantro sauce, garlic chili sauce, and black bean sauce, all topped with cilantro. I enjoyed the extra kick of spiciness to my food, since the broths are flavorful, albeit lacking heat. Lastly, the equipment used to cook the soup include a tabletop burner, strainers, and big spoons. Once these cooking items are brought to the table, you can add ingredients to the soup. Each bite becomes more addictive as layers of flavor, broth, and spices change the taste with each added ingredient. At the end of the meal, complimentary shave ice is brought to the table. I had heard of this mythical mountain of ice. Glistening with toppings and a jiggly mold of coffee pudding, tapioca, mocha, almond tofu, mango jelly, and lychee jelly, this dessert is the perfect ending to a delicious meal. After eating hot soup, the shave ice cools you down, It tastes even better because it is complimentary. Sweet Home Café doesn’t skimp on sizes based on the party; even a portion for two people is more than enough. The bill was less than expected. For two people it was $26. A shared pot provided the perfect setting for my friends and me to share the experience and create something tasty together.

“[In life], if you do anything, do it well, even if you don’t want to [complete it],” said Kaiser librarian Lois Nagamine. Nagamine was raised with this principle since childhood and aims to execute it everyday. As Kaiser’s librarian for over 13 years, she is responsible for providing a work-friendly environment for students and faculty, in addition to monitoring various IB Diploma study halls and her own KAP class. Although her job, like any, is full of trials, being a librarian has allowed Nagamine to combine her appreciation for books with her love of assisting others. Beginning in childhood, Nagamine practiced helping others with the adoption of various family pets. “My parents were very tolerant of us [my siblings and me] owning animals, and we raised some for slaughter and others as pets.” Among the animals they owned were white doves, geese, ducks, koi, guinea pigs, dogs, cats, crayfish, tadpoles, and fish, the latter three often caught in the creek next to their home. They also raised chickens for their eggs, who upon reaching maturity were slaughtered as food. Among Nagamine’s childhood pets, one still survives to this day: her redeared fifty year old slider turtle. The red-eared slider has an average life span of 20-50 years and only grows

to a length of six to twelve inches. “The turtle originally belonged to my brother, and when he moved to the mainland he left it to me,” said Nagamine, who cared for two other turtles before. The whereabouts of the other two turtles remain unknown however, as one year of torrential rains overflowed the Nagamines’ turtle pond. After the water receded, the two other turtles could not be found, the loss of which deeply saddened Nagamine, who considers caring for a pet a serious undertaking. “If I choose to make [an animal] a pet, I should make sure it has good food and [a] good home, because [this is] respect for another life.” Today, apart from caring for her turtle and feeding a stray cat, Nagamine finds ways to help others through her job. Nagamine was inspired to be a librarian in graduate school, when her on-campus job required her to assemble information for her professors. While using the resources in the library, she discovered the amount of information it contained and longed to help others discover its grandeur as well. “I just love it when students want to find a particular book [for information] because so often they just want to go on the internet,” said Nagamine. In an age of technology, students who wish to obtain information through traditional mediums know they will always be able to turn to this supportive librarian for help.

Photo courtesy of Lois Nagamine

Nagamine’s red-eared slider enjoys its sixth decade of life.


December 2012

Page 10

Worst Christmas Gift Ideas By Lydia Kim and Natalie Koon Advertising Manger and Illustrator

Christmas Ornaments If Christmas tree ornaments are on your seasonal list this year, think again. Not everyone has a Christmas tree at home. Ornaments are neither special nor practical. The receiver will use the ornaments for only a few weeks until he or she puts them away in the dark, dusty corner of the storeroom for the rest of the year. Also, the ornament may look out of place if it doesn’t fit the theme of the receiver’s Christmas tree. So unless you are giving a diamond or platinum Christmas ornament, think of something else.

E-Christmas Cards

Self-Improving Books Nothing says “I love you” more than a present that goes on and on about how to correct your imperfections. Even with good intentions, it’s hard to give a self-improving or a dieting book without offending the person. Giving family and friends books about how to lose weight or how to become happier can send the wrong message to the receiver. For example, if you give a self-improvement book that helps socially awkward people, the receiver may take it as a criticism. Even if the person doesn’t get offended the book will end up being on the bookshelf anyways, collecting dust. Do not create unnecessary misunderstandings. If you really want to give a book, get a novel by their favorite author.


Writing “Merry Christmas” and a short message inside a paper Christmas card is sweet. But not in an e-Christmas card. One can argue that e-Christmas card can achieve the same purpose as a paper card and be environmental-friendly. However, writing an actual Christmas card requires more effort and time. The receiver will definitely feel more loved when “feeling” the texture of a handwritten, personalized message than viewing a cold surface of a computer monitor. Let your seasonal greetings become part of your loved one’s precious memories, not just digital waste inside the computer.

s e p i c e R y a d i l o H

Remember that shirt, skirt, sweater, or other piece of clothing you got for Christmas that you couldn’t wait to return the day after? Clothes can be a really good present, but that’s only if you know the person’s style. It’s also disappointing if you’ve spent hours looking for the item and only get a half-hearted “thanks.” The perfect solution? Get a gift card instead. Rather than spending money on clothes that might not be desirable, it’s better to give the person a gift card to his favorite store.

a Tsutsuse

By Kayla Som Illustrator

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December 2012


School Stuff: It’s the Thought that Counts

What Just Happened

By Kayla Soma Tsutsuse

By Soul Ahn

Page 11

Horoscopes ARIES (March 21 - April 19) You have recently been very agreeable. Listen to what others have to say and do what they’ve asked you to do. Don’t get carried away, though, by the extent you help others. Know your limits. TAURUS (April 20 - May 20) It may feel that you are going through a lot right now, but stay strong. The holidays are right around the corner. This year is about to end, and a fresh start is less than a month away.

GEMINI (May 21 - June 20)

You are paying too much attention to the little details in life. Take a step back and try looking at the bigger picture, the situation and your options before making any decisions.

Michiko’s Mini Moments: The Deal

By Haley Suzuki

CANCER (June 21 - July 22) This month may not be a good one for you. Be wary of deception from someone who is seemingly close to you. That said, do not be suspicious of everyone. Instead, find the right balance of trust, and use your moral compass to guide you toward a more fruitful relationships. LEO (July 23 - August 22)

You may be second guessing yourself at the moment, but follow what your heart says. Don’t let your desires get stuck in your bucket list. It’s a time for new beginnings; seize the day.

Mr. Iguana: The Limit Does Not Exist

By Natalie Koon VIRGO (August 23 - September 22) You have been living in the past for too long. Don’t mull over memories that have haunted you. Instead, realize that you can work to make better memories for yourself by living in the present. Appreciate the people who are important to you.

Ghost of Christmas Past

By Anela Ling

LIBRA (September 23 - October 22) Your feelings are evolving every minute. It is a good time to hang out with your friends and talk things over. Though you may not be ready to express your feelings yet, know that keeping emotions bottled up is not good for your health. SCORPIO (October 23 - November 21) Stop thinking about what you will be getting for Christmas. Start shopping for things that your closest friends and family want and show your appreciation for them. Remember the Golden Rule: it is better to give than to receive.

Messed Up Christmas Songs

By Lydia Kim

SAGITTARIUS (November 21 - December 21) It’s that time of year to fix broken friendships and relationships. Don’t be afraid of making the first move. Swallow your pride and take a chance. You don’t want to end up wondering what could have been.

CAPRICORN (December 22 - January 19) Life is constantly changing, but do not let your past get the better of you. Take everything one step at a time. Make sure to keep everything in perspective.

The Best Website Ever

By Kayla Soma Tsutsuse

AQUARIUS (January 20 - February 19) You may not notice but your friends are dictating your daily activities. It is time to start making life decisions on your own and get out of the circle that has been isolating you. PISCES (February 19 - March 20) Your grades may mean more than anything to you now, but that does not mean you can’t take a break once in a while. Call your friends and have a night of leisure.


December 2012

Page 12

Kaiser cheerleading places third in the State

The Kaiser Cougar Cheerleading team competes in the Hawaii High School Athletic Association (HHSAA) State Championship on Nov. 17.

By Sierra Ondo Staff Writer

After a hard season’s training and commitment, the Lady Cougars cheerleading team won third place in the Hawaii High School Athletic Association (HHSAA) State Championships on Saturday, Nov. 17, at the Blaisdell Center, scoring 292.5 points overall. The Lady Cougars, who didn’t make states last year, still came very close to current champion teams, Waimea High and Moanalua High, “I feel like we really represented Kaiser well with this win and it showed them what we were capable of,” said senior team captain, Moana Sakurai. The path to Blaisdell wasn’t an easy

one for the Lady Cougars, who had to qualify from four cheerleading competitions. Making it to the states meant that the Lady Cougars had to place at least in the top six in the four different competitions that they completed in. With positive reinforcement provided by Coach Alexis Lucariello, they were able to reach their goal. Placing third, second, third, and third again in respectively the four competitions, the Lady Cougars had found themselves a spot in the State Championships. “Cheer is a very competitive sport and it takes a lot of time and patience in order to have a good routine,” said Lucariello. The program for competitive cheer team is very different from what

one may see at a high school football game. Instead of cheering on the sidelines and interacting with the crowd, cheerleading must perform complex routines of tumbling, stunts, and pyramids. Teams also take part in cheer, followed by practiced yet dangerous stunts and are usually incorporated with a dance category. “It’s important to keep the team very fit because cheer involves a lot of movement and requires a lot of flexibility,” said Lucariello. Practicing five days a week, approximately two hours each day, the Lady Cougars showed persistence in making the state championships. “By giving 110 percent at practices we also encourage and motivate one another by giving each

Photo courtesy of Moana Sakurai

other compliments,” said Sakurai. “We also push ourselves by always reminding each other what our main goal is: to win first place in states.” Although their hopes of getting first place were not met, the Lady Cougars still found huge success in their third place title. They had gained not only pride in all their hard work but also a lot of tumbling skills within just a few months. The Lady Cougars started off with the most basic stunts in the beginning to the most difficult stunts in less than three months. “They were very synchronized and the girls did a great job with all their energy,” said Lucariello. “I have no doubt that the girls were thrilled with their winning title this year.”

Verke furthers his baseball career at Yavapai College By Cleston Teixeira Sports Editor

Kaiser senior varsity baseball player, Andy Verke, has committed to play collegiate baseball for Yavapai Junior College in Prescott Valley, Arizona for the fall 2013 school year. Since the age of four years old, Verke has been developing the necessary baseball fundamental skills to carry him to where he wants to be. “Years of hard work are starting to pay off,” said Verke. “Everyone can play a high school sport, but not everyone can take it to the next level. I’m more than happy to realize that I was given this opportunity.” Yavapai Junior College is a two-year college that competes in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference (ACCAC). Yavapai has provided Verke with an athletic scholarship for the next two years of Verke’s baseball career, after discovering his natural talent on the baseball field during the 2012 Senior/Junior Yavapai Junior College Baseball Camp. “I attended Yavapai’s baseball camp this summer, and they offered me a schol-

arship to play for them immediately after the camp ended,” said Verke. Verke committed to Yavapai late in July of this year. “I accepted the offer right away because it was the only offer I’ve gotten,” said Verke. Being that Yavapai Junior College is only a two-year college, Verke’s goal is to gain exposure within his career at Yavapai to further his baseball career. “After my two year stay [at Yavapai], I want to transfer to either Arizona State or the University of Oregon,” said Verke. “I have a lot of friends who attend [Arizona State and the University of Oregon], and they love it there. Those schools have very strong baseball programs as well.” Aside from athletics, Verke will be studying to pursue an Associate of Arts degree at Yavapai, and will hopefully fulfill his dream of becoming a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division-1 baseball coach. “I love the sport of baseball, and I love working with people and helping them to the best of my ability,” said Verke. “As a college baseball coach, I could mold collegiate athletes into potential professional athlete prospects.”

Photo courtesy of Andy Verke

Senior Andy Verke flashes a shaka sign at Yavapai College.

Cougar Connection  

Henry J. Kaiser High School's student newspaper

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