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Alief Kerr High School | 8150 Howell-Sugar Land Rd. |

Kerronicle october 15, 2012

Vol. Xix

No. II

Returning to a simpler time

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Durand Nguyen Staff Reporter

Inside This Issue 4

Hadiqa Memon Design Editor

A collection of many relics from the past that had a major influence in students’ childhood.


Underrated clubs

5 6



The new exemption policy: costs and benefits

Special Report: Testing Test-prep programs: Worth the money? Tips from top scorers SAT/ACT deadlines

monday, October 15, 20112 Vol. XIX No. II Kerr High School 8150 Howell-Sugar Land Rd. Houston, TX 77083 (281) 983-8484 ext. 267 Kerronicle Staff: Story Editor Editor-in-Chief Nadia Zulfa Jason Nguyen Design Editor Assistant Editor Hadiqa Memon Tuong-Phi Le Business Manager Phat Pham Staff Reporters: Alyssa Martinez Alyssa Andaverde Durand Nguyen Jeff Chien Julia Nguyen Kelli Chow Julie Nguyen Tracey Le Kevin Nguyen The Kerronicle is published six times a year by the student newspaper staff of Kerr High School and serves as a medium of communication for its readers. It exists to inform its readers about school and community, school policies and their changes, entertainment, and to serve as a forum for student expression. Advertisers interested in placing an ad in the Kerronicle should contact the staff at (281) 983-8484 ext. 267 or 8150 Howell Sugar Land, Houston, TX 77083. Letters to the editor are welcomed and encouraged. Letters should be delivered to room 302 or e-mailed to laura. All letters must be signed.

On Campus

New laptop and phone policies


Cover Story

Looking back on childhood Kids’ TV shows: more scary than they seem

Juniors Jennifer Ho, Jason Quach, Amy Ho, Brittany Trinh and senior Jenny Rahman imitate the iconic pose of the British boy band -One Direction.


Hadiqa Memon Design Editor

Student Life

11 British culture on campus Music: Overrated vs. Underrated Local deals


13 Oppan Gangnam Style!


Former student Timothy Wang visited campus in May before heading to the Olympics.

Pretty Little Liars: Behind the craze


14 Self-discovery at National Thespian Festival

Transfer students find new haven


15 Jeremy Lin: a boon for the Rockets?

Rebecca Negri Contributor

Table Tennis Club co-founder Timothy Wang goes Olympian

Table of Contents | Kerronicle | 3

Preparing for STAAR:


n order to adapt to the new Texas Standard Assessment test, STAAR EOC, Alief ISD has modified the exemption policies to better prepare its students. To qualify for an exemption, you must have at least an 85 average in the class or 80 for Pre-AP/AP classes. The student must also be cleared of all student debts such as library fine or owed textbook money. No more than two absences to school, excused or unexcused, and two tardies in a class or advisory will be allowed to qualify for the exemption. You must also not have been assigned to Good Choices or received stricter penalty infractions for discipline or academic integrity issues. No more than two office referrals will be allowed to qualify for the exemption. For all courses not tied to an EOC exam or for students not required to take an EOC exam, the final exam will weigh 15 percent of the final

grade. However, in the first and third terms, all finals will be count as major grades. If the EOC exam will count as 15 percent of the final grade, then the final exam will be administered and count as a major grade with standard grading scale policy in effect. If the 15 percent calculation of EOC into the final grade is withdrawn, the final exam will weigh 15 percent and be factored into the current traditional grading structure. Students are required to attend the class they have exempted on the day of the test. Number of Exemptions per Grade Level: 9th Grade: Terms 1 and 3No Exemptions; Terms 2 and 4- 1 Exemption 10th Grade: 1 Exemption per Term 11th Grade: Terms 1 and 3- 1 Exemption; Terms 2 and 4- 2 Exemptions 12th Grade: Terms 1 and

3- 2 Exemptions; Terms 2 and 4- 4 Exemptions No exemptions in core classes during the 1st and 3rd terms for 9th through 11th grade. The district’s decision to cut the number of final exam exemptions students can earn is disappointing, but the reasons behind the change are understandable, and there are even some benefits. The district’s decision to cut down on exemptions was to prepare the classes of 2015 and later for the STAAR EOC tests which are reputed to be more difficult than TAKS. TAKS only tested students by grade level in the basic subjects of Math, English, Social Studies, and Science. Now, the STAAR EOC tests are course-specific. For example, if you take Algebra II, the EOC will only test you on Algebra II. For any academic core class taken in high school through the 11th grade, a STAAR EOC test will

District reduces exemptions to prepare for end of course exams

follow. The final exams help the teachers analyze students’ strengths and weaknesses. With that information, teachers can customize plans to help their students perform better on the STAAR EOC. The final exams serve as an important checkpoint. Performing well on the STAAR EOC is important because if the students do not meet the minimum requirement, they will have to re-take it. They will also have to take remedial classes, which occur mostly in the summer. The district reduced the amount of exemptions so freshmen and sophomores can take their finals to help them prepare for the EOC. For juniors and seniors who do not have to take the STAAR EOC, the district’s decision seems to have a negative impact. In truth, there are some benefits. All of the finals are now only 15 percent of the overall grade. Students

who do poorly on the final exams won’t have their overall grade in the class plummet as much as they would prior to the change. For terms 1 and 3, all finals will count as major grades and not as a separate percent grade. This is of great benefit for juniors and seniors who do not have to take the EOC. This new exemptions policy applies to all Alief high schools. Kerr was actually granted a few more exemptions due to block scheduling. Though the policy on exemptions changed, it does not change the fact we still have finals. No matter what grade we are currently in, we still need to study for those finals. The benefit of the final not having as much of an impact on our overall grade average is one less thing we have to worry about.

Jeff Chien

Staff Reporter

Weighing the options: The official platforms of both parties Democrat Withdraw troops from Afghanistan; attack alQaeda; strengthen alliances Support abortion, same sex marriage, and support women healthcare Double fuel efficiency standards; increase oil production; increase natural energy resources Minimum wages and higher taxes for higher income brackets Support Medicare; eliminate insurance company abuse “Pay As You Earn” program provides loan at 10% of income; invest in community colleges; for reform in local schools Democratic plans for issues found on

4 | Kerronicle | Opinion

Republican Increase military spending; expand on the Air Force, Navy, Army and Marine Against abortion; support stem cell research; against same sex marriage. Support development of independent energy; states have right to regulate energy production; open new areas of energy production No tax increase; support free-market economy Replace Obamacare with states’ power to regulate healthcare; limit federal requirements for Medicaid Use federal funds to reform education; expand on parental choice Republican plans for issues found on


Laptop policy changes emerge S

tudents have found it a little easier this year to use their electronic devices in many classes, due to a clarification in the rules made by Principal Greg Freeman. Alief ISD policies still restrict the use of electronic devices such as cell phones and laptops on campus, but while students are not supposed to have their devices out during the school day, Freeman said it is up to teachers to decide whether students can use their phones or laptops in

class. “Some people have to use a calculator or they have reasons and the teacher says its okay for them to use their phone,” he said. “I don’t mind it at all because it’s for instruction.” If students are listening to music as they work, he added, the phones should be “put away somewhere,” not left out on the desk. Students can also bring their own laptops as long as they do not use them to access the internet during

Clubs to check out


nnouncements are made on the PA system – the usual STUCO, Students for Humanity, Cadre Kerr and Speech & Debate. For freshmen, these clubs may be the only ones they know and are worth going. Upperclassmen would raise an objection, thinking there are other clubs but fail to know any. Here are some underrated clubs that are so overshadowed most Kerr students wouldn’t even know they existed.

Knitting Club Sponsor: Monica Woods (pictured) Knitting is a relaxing activity for anyone of any age. Though the club is currently inactive, anyone interested can talk to Ms. Woods in the Math Center.

Science and Engineering Club Sponsor: Eric Dunlap (pictured) It’s not guaranteed that this club will make anyone the next Bill Nye the Science Guy, but the fun projects will wake up those tiny brain cells. Meetings are on Mondays in the Science Center.

Anime Club Sponsor: Karen Evans Officer: Michael Rossi (pictured) Interested in Japanese culture and language? Join Anime Club. Get immersed in a different world — where humans are controlled by robots, food is purchased from space, frogs are tyrants, or all three. Meetings are on Fridays at the Social Studies Center at 2:30. Each meeting will be centered on a theme or a season.

Table Tennis Club Sponsor: Rick Madsen (pictured) Get your paddles out for Table Tennis Club. Started by Timothy Wang, a Kerr alumnus who made it to the 2012 Olympics, Table Tennis Club continues to be a friendly environment for epic rounds of table tennis. Meetings are on Tuesdays most weeks. With no official officers or members, anyone can attend at any time to play table tennis.

class. However, enforcement of the laptop rule can vary depending on the center: some do not allow personal devices at all because using a personal hotspot would allow students to go on websites not intended for educational purposes. Students should be sure they know the rules of the center they are in. Freeman confirmed that Wi-Fi will be available on campus later this year, at least for use with school devices like netbooks and tablets.

“I will be really happy at some point when students are able to access the internet when we go wireless,” he said. “I’m excited about that. We need to start using more technology. You guys have a lot already at home that you can bring or in your hands, in your pockets. And we need to use that technology for education.”

Julia Nguyen

Staff Reporter

Gamer’s Club Sponsor: Karen Evans Officer: Raylan Houston (pictured) G a m e r ’s Club is a place to learn with each other about gaming and play with peers in the real world. Meetings are on Thursdays at the Social Studies Center from 2:30 to 4:10.

Julie Nguyen

Staff Reporter

On Campus | Kerronicle | 5

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Test Prep: Are test prep programs really worth it?


t’s a scorching summer morning as Senior Cassandra Vallecilla steps in a classroom full of students. As she sits down, a standardized test is slapped in front of her: the SAT. The timer starts; she begins taking her exam. Wanting to improve her score on the SAT, Vallecilla took Testmasters, a well-known test prep program. It costed $700, but Vallecilla says the preparation was worth the cost. “I’ve improved my math score and my reading score by a significant amount,” Vallecilla said. “I feel less nervous and more prepared for the exam.” Vallecilla said it improved her practice score by over 300 points and feels confident about taking the test this year. Most test prep programs provide customers with practice exams, classrooms sessions with instructors, practice books, and other review materials and promise significant improvements in test scores. But in 2009, the National Association for College Admission Counseling released a study concluding that most students had only small increases in test scores after taking a commercial test prep

course. The NACAC recommended inexpensive alternatives, such as books and the internet, to prepare for college entrance exams. Junior Hanah Choice took Prime Score, another test prep program. “[They] taught me to go through problem solving steps so I wouldn’t miss questions carelessness,” Choice said. “[They] also gave tips on how to get certain questions on math sections with shortcuts…” Choice claims their test taking strategies are helpful, but thinks the learning environment could be structured differently. “…Sometimes I felt like the other students in the class were spending too much time trying to question the reasoning of each specific question or sentence in a passage,” Choice said. “I would have liked being grouped in a class that shared the similarities of the weaknesses and strengths.” Studying independently is the option senior David Vien recommends. “If you have your own initiative, you can buy some books and study yourself,” Vien said. “You don’t need someone else to tell you how to study because the books and the people teach the same thing.”

Vien, a National Merit Semifinalist, scored well after studying on his own. However the method of studying depends on the person, according to counselor Sara Tones. “The thing about a course is that they can really help you analyze your strengths and weaknesses,” Tones said. “So if you can’t be honest with yourself about that kind of stuff, doing a book study by yourself won’t be as beneficial.” For students who want a structured test-prep program without the price tag, districts and schools provide free courses. This year, the district is offering a test prep program for juniors with high scores on last fall’s Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test. The Superintendent’s Academically Talented Scholars is to prepare students for the PSAT on October 17. When the scores for this year’s PSAT are released, the top-scoring sophomores will be invited to join the program. “It is also a mentorship program to help students prepare for college, the test, and for all of those things that come with it,” Tones said. “It combines all those things we tell you are important in high school, into one

Sen s iors s hare SAT tip “Get lots of sleep and fill up two pages for the essay.”

“For the reading section, make yourself love the stories even when you don’t like it.”

Dimitri Koufakis, 12

“Bring food [for the break].” “Don’t cram. If you study the last day, you won’t know anything.”

n, 12 David Vie te, 12 o n de A h a Debr

program.” English Sarah Urban, who teaches College Prep at Kerr, likes the class because it focuses on the student’s problems. “I like that you can take [the class] twice and it can be customized with two different course codes, so you can actually take it two times in four years,” she said. “I think that it’s the best one in the district.” Students who are interested in taking a test prep course may sign up online. Those who want to take a free course may discuss it with their counselor. The counselors’ office also has free study guides. Online, College Board has free resources such as an SAT practice test and a “SAT question of the Day.” However students choose to prepare, the NACAC says that preparation is important for everyone, and Vallecilla agrees. “There is a lot of logic on the SAT,” Vallecilla said. “Test prep programs teaches you the logic behind the test that we don’t know.”

Durand Nguyen Staff Reporter

“You should omit questions because you lose points wh enever you answer something wr ong.”

, 12 s Dinh a, 12 Travi ill V hele De Emarc

Tracey Le

Test Dates

Staff Reporter

SAT Dates (Registration deadlines) Dec. 1 (Nov. 1) Jan. 26 (Dec. 28) March 9 (Feb. 8) May 4 (April 5) June 1 (May 2)

ACT Dates (Registration deadlines) Kerr students who are U.S.citizens, testing in the U.S., who cannot afford the testing fees will be able to have two waivers total for each test. There Dec. 8 (Nov. 2) are two waivers for SAT Subject Tests. They must meet one or more Feb. 9 (Jan. 11) indicators of economic need listed on the waiver form. Students who are April 13 (March 8) qualified for free or reduced lunch are eligible for test fee waivers and June 8 (May 3) should see their counselors for more information.

Julia Nguyen

Staff Reporter

Special Report | Kerronicle | 7

They grew old, we grew Once upon a time, movies came on VHS tapes and music came from a Walkman. In this issue, Jeff Chien tracks the subtle evolution of Apple’s innovations. Kelli Chow examines how a teenage perspective changes children’s shows. And students recount the bittersweet memories brought back by their childhood toys and shows Jason Nguyen, Tuong-Phi Le, & Jeff Chien

Editor-in-Chief, Assistant Editor, and Staff Reporter






legantly made and clothed, the 24 Lolita dolls each had a different nationality; combined, their unique clothes and accessories filled a collectible trunk. None of them, her mother said, would be allowed through to America. So shortly after her eighth birthday, Annie Nguyen-Vo sold every last one. “I cried,” she said. “I was like, ‘Ma, can we bring even one’? And she was like no, I can’t bring any. And I was just like why? I can’t bring any?” For Nguyen-Vo, now a junior, Lolita dolls bring back memories of her childhood. She grew up in Phuoc Tinh on the southern Vietnamese coast, her days filled with the rhythms of a fishing town. Every year she watched the men of the village mend their nets for fishing season. She rode her German

shepherd along the beach and spent hours dressing up her dolls. “I didn’t want to leave,” Nguyen-Vo said. “My mom was like, ‘You’ll get a better life in America. [She was right] but I still want my childhood back.” You don’t find Lolita dolls easily anymore. The name has all but disappeared, its only remaining record of existence the stray mentions by vintage doll collectors. Other Asian fashion dolls carry on the design—the oversized head, the wide, colorful, anime-style eyes, the spindly legs. But four-year-old Nguyen-Vo fell in love with the Lolita doll, and it’s the Lolitas that she remembers when she thinks of her childhood. Pop culture was no less influential on the other side of the world. Students grew up in the age of classic Disney and early Pixar, when the newness

Founded in 1976 by Steve Job and co-founders Ronald Wayne and Steve Wozniak, Apple is famed for its innovations.

still lingered on films like Mulan (1998), Shrek (2001) and Finding Nemo (2003). Remembering old toys and movies brings back a simpler time: a time of no homework, fewer complications and childhood adventures. For freshman Ann Morris, it’s a television show: the ‘90s comedy Friends takes her back nearly six years, to when her parents were still together. “My mom loved to watch Friends,” she said. “So any time I see Friends, I get to know my mom, kind of, or her sense of humor because of that.” Freshman Thomas Lee’s obsession with 2002’s Spider-Man caused him a serious injury. “When I was seven, I watched Spider-Man,” he said. “And when I got home, I climbed on the roof and I jumped off, trying to be Spider-Man, and then I broke my arm.” He also sprained his ankle and

iPod Shuffle 1st Generation January 2005

iPod 3rd Generation April 2003

8 | Kerronicle | Cover Story

iPod Touch 1st Generation September 2007

iPod Nano 4th Generation September 2008

w s


t h s W

o O B

w a

w up

1 Nintendo 64 - 1996 2 Walkman - 1980 3 Monsters, Inc. - 2003 4 Toy Story - 1995 5 GameBoy Advance

SP - 2003


wrist and had to get stitches on a cut on his hand, still scarred over today. Senior Keiren Velez associates classic Disney movies with childhood. “My friends and I—well, I lived up the hill from them, and I would go down to their house and they had a collection of Disney Princess movies,” she said. “And every Friday night we would watch Snow White through—I think—The Little Mermaid.” She was jarred to find out the actual release date of The Little Mermaid: 1989, was over 20 years ago. Other Disney films are similarly old: Beauty and the Beast premiered in 1991, Aladdin in 1992. Velez, watching the films a few years later on, would have seen them on VHS tapes—an antiquity amid today’s Blu-Ray disks and online streaming. “It makes me feel old,” she said, “and I kind of

iPod touch 3rd Generation September 2009

miss those days of just going back to my friend’s house…Not having to worry about doing homework and—filling out essays for college, scholarships. It was just…a simpler time.” Remembering the ‘90s and early 2000s begs the question: have we grown up, or has time flown? Morris believes she’s had to grow up quickly. “When I moved in with my grandparents [after my parents’ divorce],” she said, “I had to take up a lot of responsibility…[I had to be] more mature with my decisions and more unbiased.” Nguyen-Vo, on the other hand, doesn’t think she’ll ever outgrow dolls. “I mean, if you give me a Lolita doll I’ll make it pretty,” she said. “If you put a doll in front of me right now, I’ll just turn back into my seven-year-old self and…I’ll just make it pretty and I’ll play with it.”

iPod Shuffle 4th Generation September 2010

iPod Touch 4th Generation September 2010

Subliminal messages found in children’s television favorites


am! Mojo Jojo has been defeated once again by the Powerpuff Girls! It’s familiar, waking up Saturday mornings to watch the latest episode of your favorite cartoons are all too familiar. While children television shows such as The Powerpuff Girls, Adventure Time, or The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy may seem harmless, many other shows, like those, contain content geared towards an older crowd. Take The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, for example. The show is based around a sadistic girl in pink named Mandy, a moronic boy name Billy, and their adventures with their pet,the Grim Reaper. The main characters are constantly killing or simply making other people’s lives miserable. Mandy is the cruelest character, even more so than the Grim Reaper, since she intentionally kills people through malicious schemes and general violence. Adventure Time is also a prime example. The show follows a young boy named Finn and his shape-shifting magical dog, Jake, in the Land of Ooo. The show has an abundant of subliminal messages that can give the wrong impression to children. In the episode, “Slumber Party Panic,” the residents of the Land of Ooo played Truth or Dare and the cupcake was dared to take off its wrapper. It’s a joke that amuses teenagers, but leaves children scratching their heads and asking their parents the meaning. Then there is Spongebob SquarePants, which should come as no surprise. This show features the undersea life of a sponge who works at a fast food restaurant called The Krusty Krab, located in Bikini Bottom. In the episode “The Paper,” Plankton is caught reading a sketchy magazine called Mitosis, which is the process of asexual reproduction; it’s how plankton reproduce in real life. Biology humor anyone? Sexual innuendos like this are in almost every episode, which should be targeted at a different audience rather than children and teenagers. Violence, eerie plots, and sexual innuendos are geared towards a more mature audience, and shouldn’t be presented in kids’ television shows.

iPad 3rd Generation March 2012

Kelli Chow

Staff Reporter

iPhone 6th Generation September 2012 Photos Courtesy of Apple

Cover Story | Kerronicle | 9

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BRitish Invasion:


Anglophiles enjoy pop culture influences

t 6 AM, the chorus of “Spectrum” by Florence and the Machine wakes senior Jenny Rahman. She glances at a collage of her favorite actors and musicians: The Muse, Cat Stevens, and The Script are just a few that line her room. At school, her ear buds always play British Indie music by You Me at Six, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Blur, Kasabian, and Oasis. Once the 2:20 bell rings she goes home, has a snack and watches episodes of “The Misfits,” “Skins,” and the “Inbetweeners.” After a few hours or so, she begins homework with her laptop streaming the radio channel XFM London. “[British] music is down to earth,” Rahman said. “They’re not a cliché; they have something about them.” From the fandom that surrounds One Direction, “Doctor Who” and “Sherlock,” the Olympic fever, the constant followers of the royal family and to the rising taste in posh, British culture has found its place in American society. British boy band One Direction hit the charts after winning “X-factor”. According to Billbord Charts, their song “What makes you beautiful” lasted for 33 weeks. “[One Direction’s] music is uplifting. Their song ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ really makes you feels beautiful,” junior Mikayla Marz said. “The British bands are catchy and bring their personality in their music.” While British music has made it to mainstream in the U.S, according to British Broadcasting Corporation. British television shouldn’t be factord out. Junior, Jason Quach argues that “Doctor Who” is hipster, drawing its appeal from its opposition to mainstream culture. “‘Doctor Who’ is different, it has a vintage aura that attracts a deeper origin of personality,” Quach said. Junior Brittany Trinh enjoys the developed plots of British television. “They just has better cinematography and actors,” Trinh said. “I find British television is more filling; they spend time and effort into their work. ‘Sherlock’ is unlike any other American detective show—it is clever.” Sophomore Cristian Martinez, on the other hand, thinks Anglophilia comes from Americans’ desire for depth. “British culture is better,” he said. “It is not like the American ‘trashy’ culture. When I listen to Adele, it is emotional and something that I can relate to. The music just touches your heart.” The 2012 London Olympics can’t be factored out either. According to the British newspapaer The Guardian, approximately 27 million people watched the Opening Ceremony, ranking it the top 20 most watched programs in history. “I liked the Olympics slightly better in London than Beijing,” junior Jennifer Ho said. “London was no match to the precision of the entertainers in

the Beijing opening and closing ceremonies, they had performances from famous British singers that even Beijing couldn’t beat, the fact that the UK brought The Beatles, The Spice Girls, One Direction, Adele, Jessie J, and other British artist’s shows that the they rule in the music world.” She believes that the general environment of London also played a key role. “The British architecture was also a huge contrast to Beijing’s because they had the London Eye, the Tower Bridge, and the newly built venues for these Olympics. Beijing was a beautiful host city, but it was like having the Olympics in Times Square. London was surrounded by beautiful castles and their European inspired architecture is known around the world.” The Queen’s acting debut in the opening ceremony Anglophile Jenny was a major comedic highlight, according to Ho. Rahman uses British “Besides the Queens influence, Prince William and influence to create Kate appearing in numerous Olympic events show her sim. the Royal Family’s dedication to show pride for their Team Great Britain and they also serve as a symbol of peace in the UK and everyone loves them.” Others argue that it’s the elegant style that appeals to the Americans. “British clothing is posh,” freshman Natasha Bermudez said. “In a fashion sense, the put together stuff that doesn’t go together and somehow make it work. It’s just different.” According to Rahman, the British culture has more to it than the mainstream music Americans listen to. “There is more to British culture—it’s not just One Direction,” Rahman said. “There are so many underground bands and [television] shows that don’t make it to the big screen. The British culture is elegant in a modern way which seems to really attract us. I find that everything that is British has this elegance, it’s modernly elegant.” Whether blaring on American radios or hogging American television sets, British culture has a major influence in the American society because Americans tend to like new things. “I believe British pop culture is a phase that teenagers might go through. Just as there was the phase for being scene, Hadiqa Memon hipster, everyone must own skinny jeans, Design Editor wearing shutter shades, and now probably

Overplayed – the ‘Ahh, make it stop’ section

Unheard – the ‘Do they really exist?’ section

Nicki Minaj is known for her rapid-fire rapping, eccentric outfits comparable to Lady Gaga, and her “boom, badoom, boom, boom, badoom, boom, bass,” but sometimes that repetition can be annoying if played every time I turn on the radio. Released in 2011, “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen was the anthem of this summer. “Call Me Maybe” is overplayed to the point that I think anyone can identify the song by listening to the first few seconds. I certainly have.


4 2

Justin Bieber is the guy who raps “If I was your boyfriend, I’ll never let you go” in his single “Boyfriend.” Bieber is overrated because not only is his music everywhere but he himself is as well. There are Justin Biebers cutouts, posters, and even toothbrushes. This UK five-member boy band has invaded America’s radios. With their stylish hair and skin-tight clothing, One Direction is wooing girls by telling them “that’s what makes you beautiful.” Thanks, but no thanks, One Direction. I don’t need to be told 11 times in three minutes.




“Oppan Gangnam Style” – need I say more? Released by K-POP star Psy,” Gangnam Style” has received over 100,000 parodies and covers. Korean music, for the first time, is now mainstream.


“Sleepyhead” may not be for sleepy heads. Mixing electropop and synths, Passion Pit creates warped, artificial magic and modern, indie sounds.

Age 13 makes a teenager, age 16 can “go on 17”, but “Eighteen Cool” can boost awesomeness. Starting out his career by making free mixtapes, independent rapper Hoodie Allen is still unheard by the radio and most people. His spitting style is cool, lighthearted with a few snippets of hip-hop.


People might not follow this Swedish indie-pop singer-songwriter, but she’ll “follow you.” With songs like “Little Bit,” famously sampled by Drake, and “I Follow Rivers,” Lykke Li continues to blend soul, electro, and pop into her music.

This English alternative rock band is known for their use of pianos instead of guitars as their lead. Covered by Glee, “Somewhere Only We Know,” is Keane’s most famous song.


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Old school R&B, around 2000-2007, was a prominent time for rhythm and blues – a genre packed with powerhouse vocals, smooth jazz, and an overall urbane feeling. This was a time for Ne-Yo, Usher, Keri Hilson, Alicia Keys, Mario, and many others to shine. Now, however, Julie Nguyen R&B is swept under the bed, joining the ranks of Staff Reporter underrated music.

Student Life | Kerronicle | 11

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ho is ‘A’ ?

for fans of ‘Pretty Little Liars,’ the attraction is mystery mixed with reality

With her AP Biology textbook open, computer turned on and her PAKS scattered across her desk, senior An Dinh was determined to finish her work only to spend the rest of the night eagerly posting statuses regarding the finale of the ABC drama, Pretty Little Liars. “It has ruined my life, to be honest,” said Dinh. “I’m just obsessed with this show.” The show involves complex relationships, blackmail, and lots of lying. After queen bee Alison DiLaurentis is found dead, her four friends are left to deal with her murder and an anonymous stalker, “A”, who knows all their secrets and the killer’s identity. “It keeps me on my toes,” sophomore Joslyn Amaya said. “I like

it because it’s so dramatic and intense,” Amaya said. Junior Jamarcus Lacy agrees. “[The show] always has something that you want to figure out. It keeps you coming back.” The season three’s finale averaged about 3 million viewers and generated more than 709,000 tweets during the finale, showing just how large the fan base is. Despite the show’s popularity, some consider it an annoyance. “[All the hype] is ridiculous because it’s taking up my newsfeed,” junior Jim Luu said. “In their statuses they’re just screaming with a lot of exclamation points.” Dinh also knows about the show’s social media impact, “Before and after every episode, there would be at least

five statuses on Facebook about how crazy the new episode will be or was,” Dinh said. So is Pretty Little Liars realistic or rubbish? Freshman Ana Jaramillo believes it is realistic. “There has been shoplifting and people who can hack into things,” Jaramillo said. However according to Dinh, some elements are far-fetched. “Teachers and students don’t normally have relationships, and people in real life certainly don’t leave their doors unlocked as much as the characters do.” Realistic or not, Amaya thinks the characters aren’t role models. “They lie a lot, have sex, which isn’t good,” she said. “They aren’t the type of

person I would be.” Dinh feels the same. “All in all, they lie too much to be looked up to.” Lacy said much of the appeal of the show is in the elements viewers can relate to. “Even though Pretty Little Liars is known for its quality of engaging entertainment, the producers create a personal appeal to its audience,” said Lacy. “Whether it’s attaining to high expectations, living in broken families, longing for acceptance by society, or dealing with the constant conflict of gossip, the characters deal with the insecurity that teenagers relate to.” Alyssa Andaverde, Alyssa Martinez & Julie Nguyen Staff Reporters

Oppan Gangnam Style Korean popstar Psy goes viral


tudents are dancing and donning STUCO T-shirts in the aftermath of the first RUSH meeting. Suddenly, a familiar sound fills the cafeteria as people begin to gallop on invisible horses. As an icebreaker, Gangnam Style has made its way to Kerr. The July 15 release of “Gangnam Style” introduced people worldwide to the satirical work of Korean singer Park Jae-sang, better known as Psy. As of now, Psy’s “Gangnam Style” is the highest viewed K-POP music video on YouTube with over 350 million views, and was ranked #1 on iTunes in 18 different countries. Psy i s the second Korean to ever rank among the US Billboard, the first being the Wonder Girls.

The captivating electronica tune meshed with Psy’s rhythmic rapping either entrances or repulses viewers. The video begins on a sunny day when a man is slumped against a beach chair, legs crossed, hand clutching a glass of soda, lethargically rolling his head left and right. He passionately sings “Oppan Gangnam style” and the camera pans in to him strutting in a tuxedo with dapper sunglasses and hair gelled back. Like Psy said, “The mindset is: ‘Dress classy and dance cheesy,’” Junior Tina Mai liked the video. “It’s addictive – weird, but funny. It makes me smile, and I like the dance,” she said. But junior Bryan Nguyen doesn’t want Psy to be the go-to person for K-POP. “I’m not saying that I don’t want him to become famous,” he said. “I’m just saying that people are really critical nowadays and because of Psy, people might get the wrong impression of K-POP ‘cause that’s not what K-POP is all about. And it’s not how it

sounds like too, but because of his image and nationality it might give a wrong, misguided image of Koreans.” But sophomore Rochelle Pham feels confident that “Gangnam Style” will attract more people to K-POP. “[Gangnam Style] has been a worldwide hit,” she said. “People that don’t like K-POP know about it. People that don’t know K-POP know about it. And maybe... they’ll explore and find more amazing K-POP. You can basically go up to anyone and ask about K-POP, and if they don’t know, we can mention ‘Gangnam Style.’”

Julie Nguyen

Staff Reporter

Alyssa Andaverde Staff Reporter

Alyssa Martinez

Junior Wallace Wilson dances to the K-POP hit, “Gangnam Style.”

Staff Reporter

Entertainment | Kerronicle | 13

Finding a vocation This summer, seniors Cindy Wang and Nga Nguyen auditioned for colleges at the National Thespian Festival, getting callbacks for several schools and finally learning what their calling is


alms sweaty, Honor Thespian Cindy Wang squirmed in her seat, struggling to hold in her full bladder. She ran her lines through her head while watching another Thespian woo the crowd with his hilarious monologue. The annual National Thespian Festival at the University of LincolnNebraska was an opportunity for students to showcase their talents and win college scholarships. As Wang’s turn got closer to her, she forgot more and more of her piece, eventually not remembering the opening lines to the monologue she had practiced for months. Yet, despite blanking out, all she could think about was going to the restroom. But everything changed when she was on stage: when she hung her head, braced herself, and raised it back up, she was Trudy, a crazy bag lady on “the corner of Walk, Don’t Walk,” rambling about aliens in a heavy New York accent. “Up until then, I had forgotten my lines to everything and then sud-

denly, I had an onslaught of lines coming into my head,” senior Cindy Wang said. “And I thought to my self, ‘Which one’s the first one!?’” The pressure of over 70 college representatives from all over the country was nerve-wracking; seeing people perform before her was what really got to her. “It’s so hard because sometimes some of those people go up there and it makes you feel better because [they didn’t do so well]” she said. “But then some people go up there and they’re just phenomenal...they’ll just kill it, and you’re like, ‘Oh…they’ve had a lot more practice than us...’” For senior Nga Nguyen, another Thespian who went this summer, it was the juggling act she had to do during the performance that really made the tension. “The hardest part was rehearsing before the audition,” she said. Theater teacher Julie Ryan gave her critiques to improve her performance, but once she was on stage “I didn’t know what to expect; what the judges looked like,

what room I was going to be in, how good my ‘competition’ was, the judges’ expectations. All of that while trying to remember my lines and what I needed to improve on.” After auditions, colleges post the names of students they are interested in at their stands, where eager Thespians crowd to see if they were called back. Wang was called back for several schools, including her dream school, St. Mary’s University, Nguyen by schools like St. Louis University and the University of Houston. But while both Thespians celebrated their success, they were even happier that they finally came to terms with what they wanted to do in the future. For Nguyen, she had always been at odds with herself when it came to her passion for dancing and her passion for theatre. It was through Thespian Festival that she learned she could combine the two and do both things she loved. It even helped her organize and plan her senior year.

“At first I didn’t know what I wanted to be but when I got there, [I knew] I wanted to be a theatre dance major. I’ve always had to choose between the two,” Nguyen said. “Now...I’m going to do acting in school, I’m going to do dancing after school and I’m taking other classes, like aerobics class, to get better.” For Wang, she had always been doubtful of majoring in theatre and becoming an actress. Being a member of a minority group, she figured she’d have an even harder time in the acting business. The festival made her realize that what made her happy was really all she was looking for. “Personally, for me, it’s not about how much money I make or how successful I am,” she said. “My big thing is, I don’t want to end up in a desk job. I don’t want to end up doing something I don’t like doing.”

Jason Nguyen


Climate change: Transfer students seek different educational environment


t’s been hard for me to adjust to the work. I’m constantly worried what stuff is due.” Getting used to Kerr is always a challenge, but for Bianca Perez, there is added pressure: as a sophomore, she is expected to know how Kerr works, but as a transfer from Hastings, she is still learning the system. “It’s definitely way different from what I’m used to,” she said. Transfer students are rare but not unusual. “Every year we accept kids who are not freshman, and are usually sophomores,

who tried last year and didn’t get in or they just moved to Alief,” principal Greg Freeman said. Perez transferred because she believed Kerr was going to give a better college experience. “I might as well get used to the [college] environment,” she said. Junior Alrich Fajardo moved from the Philippines less than a year ago, attending Hastings during the second semester. It was his mother who told him about Kerr and encouraged him to enroll. “She read online that Kerr is really nice and it ranked

14 | Kerronicle | Feature

high in the state,” he said. “I was expecting a college preparation.” Fajardo was supposed to be a junior at Kerr, but with a confusing grading system, he came in as a sophomore. “I had credit from the Philippines, so I just had to test so the counselors would know that I knew the subjects I got credit for,” he said. Fajardo also felt a distinct change of environment from the Philippines to Houston. “Here, it’s more organized and more cultural, but people are friendly in the Philippines,” he said. “But it’s too soon to tell which I like better.

Moving to America—it’s just really different.” Senior Carlos Felix spent his last three years at Hastings and made a sudden transfer his senior year. “It was a benefit for the long run,” he said. “And I wanted to be better prepared for college.” Felix, who transferred with his brother, freshman David Felix, learned about Kerr from his dad but it was his friends who further convinced him to make the transfer. “They told me that I’d love it,” he said, “and I do.” After being at an ortho-

dox school for three years, moving to Kerr was a huge change. “Doing work on my own is a big difference, but I like it better,” Felix said. Felix admits he had heard rumors that might have discouraged him from transferring to this school. “Yeah, I heard a lot about Kerr,” he said. “But it didn’t matter, because through the years I learned that it doesn’t matter what people say or do because everything I do is to benefit me.”

Alyssa Martinez Staff Reporter

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Jeremy Lin rockets to Houston

ith the ball in his hands and the crowd cheering, Jeremy Lin is pitted against Los Angeles Lakers’ 6’7’’ foward Matt Barnes. Lin sizes up Barnes and fakes one way, exploding in the opposite direction, only to be stopped by 7’1’’ veteran center Pau Gasol. Still, Lin keeps his cool and reverses under the basket to score. The Madison Square Garden crowd bursts into ecstatic approval as Lin outscores Lakers’ All-Star guard Kobe Bryant with a whopping 38 points. This performance on February 10 along with his other “Lin-sane” plays, contributed to the strain on his knee which lead him to exit the season in late March. Last year during Linsanity, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey

Courtesy of the Houston Rockets


kicked himself for letting Jeremy Lin go; “We should have kept @JLin7” he said on his Twitter account. This year, the Rockets were in dire need of a point guard after letting Goran Dragic go and trading firststring Kyle Lowry to the Toronto Raptors for a first-round draft pick. Morey saw this as an opportunity to sign Lin, a restricted free agent (Lin could sign with any team, but his current team could match the other team’s offer). Lin’s breakthrough performance as a starter last year gained him fame and recognition. During the New York Knicks’ winning streak, Lin averaged 24.4 points along with 9.1 assists. At the end of the year, when his contract ended, Morey pushed for Lin’s contract; the Rockets tried harder than any other team to acquire Lin. The Rockets offered Lin $19 million, but the Knicks were ready to match the offer. Morey then bumped up the offer to $25.1 million and officially signed Lin on July 11. The Knicks could n o t afford to place anymore strain on their already bloated payroll so they surrendered Lin. Morey was criticized for Lin’s high salary, but basketball fanatic Matthew Marquez believes this was the right move.

“The Rockets picked up Jeremy Lin for his marketing benefits,” sophomore Marquez said. Sophomore Dylan Phu believes that Lin could help the team with their financial deficits. “Jeremy Lin is super popular, especially to Asians. Since Houston has a lot of Asians, there will be a lot of T-shirt sales. With that, [the Rockets] could get more players,” Phu said. “We‘re already rebuilding the team so the money would help.” The Rockets have been stuck in ninth place in the Western Conference for three consecutive years with a winning percentage of 0.517. At this point, Rockets will have a hard time climbing the Conference ladder. “The Rockets are in the middle of the league. They can’t get better,” Phu said, “they can only get worse than get better because they can’t build a team simply with the 14th pick in the draft.” Phu explains in the lottery draft system, the lower a team’s winning percentage, the higher the chance they have of obtaining a highly sought after athlete. Whether or not Lin could push the team to greater heights depends on how well Lin fits in with his team. The Rockets already established their play style, but Steve Levine believes he could fit in. “Lin seems to me to be a very likeable young man. I think he was

popular with the Rockets before they let him go. I think they like him as a player, it’s just at that time they were full of tremendous amount of guards, so I think he’ll get along with everybody,” said Levine. Phu thinks the current roster of the Rockets’ actually works to Lin’s advantage. “Lin can run the ‘pick-and-roll,’” he said, referring to a basketball play involving a point guard who could pass to a big man who can score around the rim. “And the Rockets are filled with many good finishers to execute it along with him.” Fans have high expectations for Lin; they believe he has a vast pool of potential and will continue to improve, according to Levine. “He certainly has the potential to be a good, steady, basketball player. I think he has the talent; I think he has the confidence and as long as he stays healthy, I think he’s going to help the Rockets,” Levine said. According to Phu, Lin has been practicing hard to prepare for the upcoming season. “Leg workouts, jumpshots; he used to have an ugly jumpshot, now he doesn’t,” Phu said. “We have Jeremy Lin: good and young talent.”

Kevin Nguyen Staff Reporter

Timothy Wang goes for the gold

hen he was a freshman, Timothy Wang used to play table tennis every Thursday after school with the Table Tennis Club. “He was always heads and shoulders above everybody else,” social studies teacher Rick Madsen said. But even Madsen, the club sponsor, probably never anticipated that Wang would be an Olympic athlete. Even before Wang could see over the ping-pong table, he said in an email interview, his mother would let him sit on the table as he hit the ball back and forth with his dad. His whole family would play as family when Wang was a child. His two older brothers were also good table tennis players, but didn’t have the same passion as he did. He entered a variety of competitions as a child, eventually deciding

in 2007 to train full-time. He left a week on the table, and one hour Kerr and began training for national a day in the gym five days a week,” and international contests. When he Wang said. was 17, he won the Junior National Wang was the only male table Championships for table tennis; the tennis player to represent the U.S. following year he won the Men’s U.S. at the 2012 London Olympics. He by beating National ChampiHe was always heads qualified hundreds of playonship, then the regular and mixed and shoulders above ers from both the doubles in 2011, United States and everybody else. Canada. His first qualifying for the match pitted him the semi-finals the —Rick Madsen against North Koresame year. For photos and videos go to an Kim Song Nam, Wang received coaching from and Wang lost. Despite the dehis father and two older brothers. He still calls feat, Wang said he enjoyed the Houston his hometown, but he has chance to be part of the Olympics a coach stationed in both Houston and be with other international and California. athletes in the Olympic Village. An “Leading up to the Olympic experience he will never forget was Games, my training consisted of when he saw Michael Phelps and three to four hours a day, seven days Ryan Lochte.

“I immediately jumped up in shock and yelled for my teammates to look back,” Wang said. “It was a little embarrassing because they looked at me like I was kind of crazy but I couldn’t help myself. They’re the two best swimmers of all time.” Now that Wang has accomplished his dream of becoming an Olympian, the next step is to be one of the world’s top 200 tennis players. Wang is currently ranked 408, but at the age of 21, he has more accomplishments to come. “After coming back from London, my eyes have really been opened to what it is really like to play at the highest level,” he said. ”It has motivated me to train harder and hopefully by 2016 I will be ready to compete with the best of the best.”

Phat Pham

Business Manager

Sports | Kerronicle | 15


Sayara! An Egypt Story

raffiti from the revolution is scribbled on walls, baring the vulgar phrases “--- SCAF” (the Supreme Council of Armed Forces) and “---- Mubarak”; telephone poles are layered with faded campaign flyers for the upcoming election. This is Old Cairo, Egypt. Last summer, I saw the reconstruction of a country. Having a shouting match with an Egyptian street vendor is an amusing story to tell, but it’s also a part of more serious, universal issue. The American media portrays Egyptians as strong Arabs with smiles on their faces, holding posters, arms raised in victory. There is a false sense of reassurance that Egypt is okay, that it’s stable, that the hard part has past. But the little things — an increase in the number of beggars on the street and the desperation of vendors who scramble to make money — show that Egypt has a lot of work to do. I remember driving down the main highway with soldiers on army tanks and rifles at the ready. According to my uncle, the


you should know :

SCAF took precautions in case of another outbreak. The tightening of security, however, couldn’t prevent small bar fights. Case in point, my uncle’s friend’s wife was home one night when she heard an argument between two drunk men outside her window. “One man took a bottle and beat the other man until he was unconscious,” she said. “My husband wasn’t home, so I panicked and hid [in the closet] with my daughter. They were arguing about politics.” The anti-Gaddafi protests in Benghazi, Libya, that sparked the flames of Middle Eastern uproar are not over yet. Tension in the Middle East impacts Americans who have family there, and there’s a possibility of the United States being pulled into war through alliances with Middle Eastern countries. For the sake of peace, I hope the Egyptian people find their feet, but everyone should be wary of the country — Egypt might be a worldwide disaster waiting to happen. Nadia Zulfa Story Editor


Some of the most famous lines in history were never really said. Here’s a list of quotes you probably got wrong. Sources: The Internet Movie Database, TV Tropes “Everyone gets 15 minutes of fame.”

Andy Warhol


“In the future, everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes.”

“Okay Houston, we’ve had a problem here.”

Darth Vader “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.”

“I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

“If there’s more than one way to do a job, and one of those ways will result in disaster, then somebody will do it that way.”

“Magic mirror on the wall.”

“The love of money is the root of all evil,” or “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”

Sherlock Holmes never said “Elementary, my dear Watson” in the original Sherlock Holmes series by Arthur Conan Doyle. Captain Kirk

Kevin Nguyen 16 | Kerronicle | Etc.

Edward Murphy

“Money is the root of all evil.”

“Mirror mirror on the wall...”

“Scotty, beam me up.”

Jim Lovell

Murphy’s Law: “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

“No! I am your father!”

The Evil Queen “Beam me up, Scotty.”


“Houston, we have a problem.”

“Luke, I am your father.”



Staff Reporter

Nadia Zulfa, Tuong-Phi Le, & Jason Nguyen Editors

Kerr High School 19.2  
Kerr High School 19.2  

October issue of Kerronicle -- first magazine style