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Menlo-Atherton High school 555 middlefield road, atherton ca Volume VII . Issue I october 2016



October 2016 Cover Package Media Cleanse 16 Thrift Shopping 17 18-19 Pale Blue Dot 20-21 Materialism Trigger Warnings 22 Conservative Students 23

News Depresso 4

Feature 10-11 A Dance with Lance 13-15 Origins 30-31 Global Leaders

Photo 28-29 Long Exposure 4-7 SF Street Art

Opinion Expanding Your Brain 12

Submission Genuine Imitation 9 24 Pride Hall

A&E Fall Events 24 25-27 Album Review


POLICY: The Mark, a feature magazine published by the students in Menlo-Atherton’s journalism class, is an open forum for student expression and the discussion of issues of concern to its readership. The Mark is distributed to its readers and the student at no cost. The staff welcomes letters to the editor, but reserves the right to edit all submissions for length, grammar, potential libel, invasion of privacy, and obscenity. Submissions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of all M-A students or the staff of The Mark. Send all submissions to ABOUT THE COVER: Noah Reis shot the long-exposure photograph to illustrate “the countless ideas and thoughts [he] has that people can’t see on the surface, but are brought out through [his] photography.” Framing the photograph is a design by editors Lara and Sofia Karadogan. The design of white borders around the page, one of them slightly ajar, demonstrates The Mark’s cover package of breaking boundaries and expanding horizons.

Caraline Albro / Editor-in-Chief Kate Flanagan / Head Copy Editor Katie Moffitt / Content Editor Sofia Karadogan / Layout Editor Lara Karadogan / Layout Editor Reid Diamond / Managing Editor Leah Marcus / Op-Ed Editor Elley Goldberg / Social Media Manager Joanna Vollrath / Production Manager Daisy De Martini Liza Pertseva Lauren Lutge Z Bekenmeyer Michael Stark Sarah Friedman Allan Barnes / Advisor

Stepping Out to Vote



n Nov. 8, we are called to exercise one of our basic rights as Americans and cast our ballots for the candidates we believe will create the best environment for the next four to eight years of our lives. While some people argue it’s not worth voting because they don’t like either candidate or feel as though their vote wouldn’t make a difference, The Mark Editorial Board strongly disagrees and believes that everyone who is eligible should vote. First, voting is a right and a responsibility as a citizen. From its roots, democracy is based on the principle of free and just elections where every citizen has the right to vote. It is our responsibility to protect the process of voting in order to maintain our democracy. As Americans, we have been given the privilege to vote, but other systems of government, like dictatorships, do not have that right. By abstaining, people take for granted their privi-

lege. In addition, higher turnout makes our democracy more representative. Secondly, watching the candidates share their views on social media sparks conversation in the crowd. The candidates represent two different views on issues such as immigration, women’s rights, education and taxes. Though voters may not agree completely with either candidate, everyone has an opinion and agrees more with one than another. The ability to express opinions is a crucial element in any democracy. Freedom of speech, freedom of press and the right to vote are all ways in which Americans can express their opinions. It is a meaningful way for citizens to support the issues they agree with and to pick the representatives that they believe will solve those issues the best. When voters go to the polls, not only are they voting for the next president, but they are also voting for local

Football team has a strong season

Canned Food Drive

Senioritis hits early

representatives. Many citizens don’t realize that some of the most important decisions made after the election will be a result of who gets elected as senators, representatives, and local officials. Not only that, but if voters don’t vote for local representatives that agree with their values, then their personal life in their own city will be affected. Local representatives make decisions based on issues that will affect one region directly, whereas the president will make laws that affect the entire country as a whole. Even if none of the candidates completely align with your ethics, keep in mind that there is a future to our country, and your choice whether to vote and will affect that future. Especially this year, if you are a M-A student and you are eligible to vote, you should step outside of your comfort zone to vote, as it will impact the future of our country for years. by the Editorial Board

HIgh Mark Fall play approaches

Halloween is on a Monday Early applications due in one week

Low Mark



Depresso by Leah Marcus


hroughout the United States and at Menlo-Atherton, students are becoming more addicted to coffee. Due to more rigorous schedules and greater homework loads, students are bound to get less sleep. According to a survey of 100 M-A students, about 88 percent have gotten less sleep since freshman year. This reduction in sleep results in less energy for school and homework and leads students to drink more coffee. Of the students surveyed, 79 percent of them drink coffee and 62 percent of those people feel as though this is the result of hectic schedules during and after school. Since these busy schedules cause students to get less than the recommended eight hours of sleep, many of them turn to a hot cup of coffee or a Starbucks drink to cure their morning exhaustion. Drinking one or two cups of coffee daily is no big deal and has virtually no side effects, but when your coffee intake starts rising, so do the negative effects. An M-A student, Caroline Holliday, explains that “coffee makes [her] more energetic” and she drinks coffee to feel refreshed and ready for the day. Kate Knox, another M-A student, notes, “I drink coffee at this point because I get a headache if I don’t. I drink one cup in the morning everyday and some days, I have another cup of coffee if I’m really tired.” Although coffee has benefits, such as heightened alertness as well as increased concentratation and energy, there are so many negative side effects



that make those benefits feel minuscule. If you are drinking more than two cups of coffee a day, your sleeping patterns can be greatly affected. According to the National Sleep Foundation, drinking more than 250 milligrams of coffee can cause people to have disrupted sleeping habits. It can also lead people to become completely dependent on the stimulant for energy and cause them give up regular sleep schedules in hopes that coffee can replace their lack of energy. Coffee has such noticeable effects in the human body because it increases blood supply in the brain, which leads to heightened alertness. Although heightened alertness is one of the reasons why people drink coffee, the amount of blood increase in your brain isn’t coming naturally. This unnatural alertness can lead to dependence. According to Hopkins Medicine, being dependent on coffee can lead to side effects if the person doesn’t drink their usual intake of caffeine. These side effects can include anything from headaches to nausea to distracting cravings. To stay away from caffeine, there are several alternatives that can aid with raising students’ energy levels in the morning. The first and most obvious one is to try and have a balanced and organized schedule that allows you to sleep at least eight hours at night. Taking vitamins in the morning is another good substitute for coffee. To keep energized throughout the day, drink a lot of water and maintain a healthy diet.





PHOTO MAESTRAPEACE, VARIOUS ARTISTS Originally painted in 1994 by Juana Alicia, Miranda Bergman, Edythe Boone, Susan Kelk Cervantes, Meera Desai, Yvonne Littleton and Irene Perez, MaestraPeace was recently restored in 2012 and continues to decorate the front of the Women’s Building, in between the Castro and Mission Districts. Serving as a safe space where women can go for social services as well as to share stories with other, the Women’s Building works as a nonprofit to empower women throughout San Francisco. The mural parallels these values, symbolizing women’s struggles and accomplishments throughout history.


UNTITLED, UNKOWN ARTIST Following the legalization of same-sex marriage over the summer of 2015, this mural was painted in Mission District, bordering the Galería de la Raza, a gallery featuring Latino artists in the district. However, during the pride parade festivities, homophobic residents burned the left half of the mural, creating an uproar in the supportive and cohesive neighborhood. Residents in the district left candles, flowers, and notes of love in support of those hurt by the attack. Street art is yet another means of communication that fosters a community experience rather than an individual one.

BRYANT ST., 18TH ST. 2857 24TH ST.

UNTITLED, GRANILLO Originally painted in Cypress Alley, this painting of a female rebel is the second of two similar murals by Granillo. The original painting, which has since been painted over by another artist, read “Las Mujeres con La Dignidad Rebelde,” or “Woman with Rebel Dignity.”


UNTITLED, JEREMY NOVY These koi fish stencils can be seen all over the city if you only look down. It is surprising at first, to glance at your feet and see that you are standing on art. Often found near street corners and mailboxes, these colorful fish are much more than art for the sake of art. Novy, advocate for queer rights and representation in street art, strategically tags stencils of all kinds, from koi fish to kissing bearded men, around the city to give a voice to the marginalized.












ALIEN LOVE, LAURA CAMPOS Campos, a Mexican immigrant, painted this mural to counteract derogatory terms often used to describe undocumented immigrants, specifically, illegal aliens. Through her art, Campos argues that no one should be regarded as an alien and shows support for immigrants like herself.

PHOTO VANN NESS, MARKET ST. UNTITLED, CARATOES, LAURA YS, TATIANA SUAREZ Covering the back wall of a building facing into a parking lot, it is hard to miss the mural’s bright colors portraying two women cutting ribbons from another’s back, symbolizing the need to break free from society’s chains and promote equality throughout the world.

VOTE, VARIOUS ARTISTS After the beloved and inspiring San Francisco artist Kurt Dalen was killed in a hit-and-run accident in 2013, the entire city grieved. He was active in the art community, both street and exhibition art, and went by the name “Vote.” This brick wall is one of the many sites around the city that artists have come together to remember such an optimistic and creative soul.



Genuine Imitation by Chlöe Benz


ooking up at the troll that is my mother, I gave a disgusted look and bitterly refused the beverage she offered. I felt her cold eyes glaring at me, even though I’ve never looked into her eyes. I don’t know what color they are, or the shape. I never look at the eyes because doing so evokes the most uncomfortable feeling. Instead of her eyes, I look at the troll’s nose scattered with blackheads, her ears that have been stretched throughout the years from the dangly earrings weighing the lobes down, and her chapped lips that were peeling like soggy wallpaper off of a moldy motel wall. I am in full belief that my mother thinks that I am not human (not literally, of course). I know this because I’ve overheard one of her conversations with my dad about how I am not normal. She’ll say, “I swear, there’s something wrong with Erin, besides the autism. She doesn’t act human.” My dad repeatedly just produces what I call a grain grunt, which is a gravelly “mhm” from the back of the throat. “I’m serious, she’s never talked to us. I’m getting tired of her nonsense. And she never lets us touch her,” the troll babbles on, “have you ever once been able to touch Erin?” “Uh ... once. But she pulled back and winced,” my father replied, now getting thoughtful. He started to think back to all the times he’s tried to touch me. I hate when people touch me. It’s true that I’ve never said a single word, never in the 13 years I’ve been on this planet. No one has ever heard my voice, not even me. But that might change soon. I’m approaching my limitations of a muted life. I want to tell the troll that just because I don’t talk or look at people or let anyone touch me doesn’t mean that I’m broken. I’m not a handicap. I know more than most people. I go to school like any other 13 year old. I’m in a regular class because I was tested negative for any “special needs” classes. During school I push my limits. I force myself to look at people and embrace the teachers’ “nice work” shoulder pats. I imitate human nature the best I can without going insane. Classmates think I’m relatively normal. I still don’t talk.

Illustration Noah Savelson Living in New York, I have to walk six blocks to school everyday. New York is the worst city to live in for a person with autism. I have too many anxieties to deal with every day when making my commute. After almost getting hit by a taxi car while using the “WALK” signal to journey across the sea of motor vehicles, the list of things that make me panicky has extended. Public transportation, loud things, tall things, screaming, crying, people running, people coughing, speeding things, creaking bridges, the Hudson River, and especially loud things. I said it twice but it’s the worst. New York is loud, extremely loud. So loud that I walk those six blocks to school with my hands over my ears, wincing at every beeping horn, jackhammer lash, and dress shoe that strikes the pavement. When it comes to making sense of everything and my existence in general, I tend to pace around my room brooding and over thinking for hours. I ask the questions that most people don’t

ask. Why am I here? Why am I seeing life through these eyes? Am I my own movie and the cameras are my eyes? How many different possibilities are there if I had done one thing different? I obsess and obsess about this and I can never stop. I just want to shut my brain off sometimes like other people-but that’s impossible of course. One can’t physically shut their brain off, otherwise you’d be dead. It’s like saying, “think about nothing.” That’s impossible. A lot of things are impossible. I need answers to my questions. But how do I get answers to my questions if I don’t speak? I need to speak, I need to make sense. I need my mother to understand. I need her to not hate me. I need my father to say more than “mhm” to my mother. I need to –! “Erin!” My mother and father burst into my room, “Erin, stop screaming!” All I hear is ringing, but I’ve been heard.



A DANCE WITH LANCE by Kate Flanagan

What is the name of your band?

“Bionic Sloth. I thought coming up with a name for our child was hard. This was way worse … For a while we were going to be the Six Million Dollar Band, which is a spin-off of this show where this astronaut crashes and they have to rebuild him. But then we found out there was a cover band in Colorado that already took the name ... It’s been fun but it’s been kind of frustrating too. There are bigger problems in life than trying to come up with a band name. The other one that was kind of funny, which the bass player wanted to do, was the Dork Side of the Moon, but we’re not really a Pink Floyd Cover band.”

CAN you describe the music?

“It’s like rock and roll … blues-, funk-, and folk-based rock.”

What are the songs about?

“So the whole thing is a story. The whole thing connects. You could call it a musical odyssey, in the spirit of ‘Dark Side of the Moon.’ It’s about a journey and discovery along the journey. There’s some stuff about the economy, U.S. history. Nothing so directly environmental ... I read [‘A People’s History of the United States’] and all of a sudden I started writing songs about what I was reading. One of the songs is the ‘Howard Zinn Blues,’ [which is inspired by] the author [of that book].”

How long did it take you guys to make your new album?

“I was hoping it was going to be done before last summer. It’s an exercise … This whole project’s been an exercise in patience. I got a really talented guy who can do the work, but at the same I can’t push him. And he’s doing a great job … We started recording last October, so it’ll probably be like 10 months. And that is


going at a really slow pace, way slower than I wanted it to be. But sometimes going slow is good. And even though I wouldn’t have chosen that, all these guys – with the exception of Scott – they’ve got families and jobs and soccer practices. It’s not like this is our main thing … yet. As soon as we kick down the doors to the industry, who knows, maybe it’ll change.”

What is your favorite song on the album?

“I love all my children equally. I’m pretty psyched with it. There’s one called ‘Won in a Battle’ that we might have done the best job recording on. You know, I put so much into it, really that’s what it’s about. I get so much enjoyment out of doing it. It’s kind of like my musical soundtrack of my life – all my songs, all the stuff I’ve done. It’s like this is what is going on for me at that time, this is what I’m thinking about, and my perspective, whether I agree with it now or not, but that’s where I was at the time when I was coming up with it. But this one we’re working on right now is much better than the previous times I’ve tried to do this. I’m working with better equipment, better musicians, and I’m better too because I practice all the time.”

How long have you been playing guitar and singing?

“[I’ve been playing guitar] since college. When I started, I was just kind of messing around with the acoustic guitar. The [singing], you just have to come to this conclusion that you have to sing. My friend Scott, who plays guitar, is like 100 times better than me at guitar, but he won’t sing. You can only do so much. [Singing] is the hardest, it’s the thing I struggle with the most. And playing guitar and singing at the same time is like playing two different instruments

at the same time. So I’ve found pretty challenging, but I still try. I am someone who doesn’t exactly have music in their genes – this is a growth mindset thing. My rhythm completely sucked for like three years. I am living proof that if you put enough practice into something, you get better. No ‘math people’ or ‘science people’ or ‘poetry/music’ people ... put in the practice and be committed, and you improve. I think that’s a great lesson.”

What is your favorite part of being in a band?

“It’s a great creative outlet, which is something I need … It’s improvisational – you’re listening and you’re responding in the moment. And teaching in a way is kind of like that too. You aren’t thinking about other things, you’re just very much in the moment and present. And I think that’s one of the things that attracts me to doing that … it is kind of zen thing. But not that it’s ‘not thinking’ … it’s more not letting your mind wander all over the place thing. I’m attracted to both things because it puts me completely in the moment. To me that is the zen spot.”

Where can you get the album?

“We’ll probably put it up on iTunes … It’s not so much trying to get money for it, but to get people to listen to it one time.”

How has the experience been?

“It’s just been a lot of fun. I’m psyched. And who knows, maybe they’ll be another one down the road. I kind of go through waves with song writing. And so I did this one, but I hadn’t written a song in five years. All of a sudden it comes and I just start writing and it’s like, maybe I’ll never do it again. But then we did. The CD before this one was probably like seven years earlier, so it kind of comes and goes in ways.”

For a review of his new album and the audio of one of the songs, scan the QR code below.

Menlo-Atherton teacher Lance Powell reflects on the release of his band’s latest album, “On the Way Around the Sun.”

Album Cover Garrett and Gavin Powell

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in Although Pa ra homework and extracurricular activities di s make it difficult to find time to read, reading has a range of benefits that will help improve your brain and your life. In a study conducted by the New York Times, researches divided 3,635 people into three groups: those who didn’t read, those who read up to 3 ½ hours a week, and those who read more than 3 and a half hours. Researchers found that compared to those who didn’t read, “those who read for up to three and a half hours a week were 17 percent less likely to die over 12 years of follow-up, and those who read more than that were 23 percent less likely to die. Book readers lived an average of almost two years longer than those who did not read at all.” What a mind-blower! When you read, you are expanding your brain in vocabulary, grammar, and writing. As an added bonus, the length of your life may increase by nearly two years. You are helping yourself by expanding your brain and your life. I understand that it’s hard for students to find time to read — some days I am too preoccupied to even eat dinner. But, did you know that reading lowers stress levels quicker and more effectively than walking or listening to music? Students are already stressed out with sports, time-management, grades, and after-school commitments, but reading can ease some of that stress. The miraculous thing is that you only need to read for six minutes until you start to feel less stressed. Though I am busy, I almost always read for about 10 to 20 minutes before I go to bed. Reading is an opportunity for me to release the pent-up stress I have acquired throughout the day. I definitely recommend reading before you go to bed; it is miraculous because in only six minutes, you start to feel relaxed. John McBlair, a passionate English teacher at Menlo-Atherton, normally reads non-school-related material up to 45 minutes on a regular day. On days with no school, however, he reads about three to eight hours. McBlair describes reading as “a great way to connect on the human condition.” By reading, you get to experience emotions, situations, and ideas through different characters. You get transported to a world that you didn’t even know existed. As McBlair says, “literature puts experiences into words.” McBlair chooses to read books that help him look at the world more clearly.The world is an interesting void of wonder and to be able to identify even one aspect of that void might eventually lead to an understanding of how the world, or that void, works. For ideas on books to read, my go-to place is the Menlo Park Public Library. It is very convenient because of its close location, as well as the wide variety of books that they have. Additionally, Kepler's Books is a great way to find new books to read. I can’t keep up with them! I always try to make time for reading. I have had to deal with a lot of stress daily, what with homework, grades, and my after-school commitments, so I try to make reading a daily habit in order to reduce some of my stress. Try to make reading a regular habit in your day! Having trouble with English? Read! Want to get transported into another era? Read! Do you want to live longer? Read! Do you want to make new friends? Read! Read for a long life, for education, and most importantly, for yourself. L fer ni en yJ

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Be Me

Expanding Your Brain (And Your Life)

by Z Bekemeyer




by Sofia Karadogan, Lara Karadogan, Joanna Vollrath & Katie Moffitt


n order to understand who we are, it is crucial to identify where we come from. Our ancestry is the reason we exist, so our background has an undeniable influence on our values, beliefs, and methodologies. Our past created us. We are filled with culture, yet it is so often dismissed and devalued. Families forget to pass down their traditions and beliefs to their children, which fades parts of their history. Rather than ignoring our heritage, we must embrace it because it is our responsibility to continue it. Being embracive is more than being aware of our ancestry — it is adding to our heritage by creating new values that are formulated through our personal experiences. People authentic to themselves have a reverence and understanding of their heritage. Expressing who we are only augments the quality of our lives. Though knowing our roots is essential, it is important to credit the fact that origins are hard to trace, and that attaining knowledge of our past is a process. Curating a sense of self that is genuine takes time. In an attempt to reveal the culture within Menlo-Atherton, we interviewed several students to learn about his family history. The most insightful part of the process was viewing students come to understand the intricacies of their ancestries. This allowed us to understand the complexity of our origins, and how idiosyncratic we each are as individuals. However, many students have a particular disconnect between themselves and their culture. There is a lack of expression amongst students because they have not been exposed to their origins and roots. There are several factors that help formulate this disconnect. Parents themselves can be as unaware of their heritage as their children, resulting in a failure to represent your culture.


Yennifer Yennifer Campos, a senior, is a first-generation American, but her family’s roots stem from Central America, Europe and Africa. Campos identifies herself more with where her parents are from than her upbringing in the United States because she has “been raised in those cultures.” Her maternal line traces all the way through Honduras and into Spain. Her maternal grandfather’s family fled Spain due to the Spanish Civil War and went first to Nicaragua, to Honduras and then to El Salvador, to restart their lives. Shortly thereafter, her two grandparents met in El Salvador and their daughter, Campos’s mother, left to live in the United States. While her dad grew up in El Salvador, his family is from Colombia and their origins are from the African coast. Campos values knowing who she is and is proud of her rich and mixed heritage. She says she’s “kind of all over the place” and that she is aware of her extensive history because she asked her family members. When her parents did not know an answer, she reached out to her aunts and uncles.

Kelly Warren, a junior at M-A, has an extensive and complex background, as she is “Chinese, Taiwanese, Italian and Native American.” She explains this mix of cultures saying, “My dad was born in Palo Alto and my mom was born in Taiwan. My mom came here for education and for better opportunities. Both my parents were going to school in San Francisco, so they met there. I’ve visited Taiwan twice, but I was really young. My dad’s mother is Italian, but they’ve lived in the states for a long time [...] I want to explore my Italian side more because I don’t know much about it. My grandma speaks Italian, but [my dad] doesn’t. Neither do I.” Warren says that it “is important to express your culture because it reminds you where you’re from and it distinguishes you from other people.” Her interest in discovering her family history began with her sister, because she “majors in Native American history, and she asked [her] grandpa a lot of questions about [her] family.” Warren also advises people to take the time to look into where their family comes from because she has found that knowledge of your roots is beneficial in understanding who you are.


Annie “It was my greatgrandma, Anne Jordan, [who first emigrated from] Ireland. She was born in Ireland and was arrested for teaching Gaelic there (that was when the British were in Ireland). She was given the choice of deportation or execution, so that’s how she came to America.”

Manuela M a n u e l a Velazquez, a senior at M-A, tells her story “My dad’s family is from Columbia and he was born here but in the way that they just had him born here so he could be a citizen real quick. But it wasn’t like they were struggling or anything; they were a pretty affluent family in Columbia. They had a lot of access to education and opportunities in the world so they thought let’s just have him born in the U.S. so he can be a citizen. So he was born in New York, lived there for the first three months of his early years and popped back down to Columbia. I think they lived just north of Bogota, the capital, and they were hanging.” “When my dad was around 15, him and two of his friends were noticing that the skeleton in their science class was pretty gross, it was falling apart. And they said, ‘You know

what we should do, you know what would be a really great thing? We should get the class a new skeleton, everyone would love us if we got the science class a new skeleton. So they went to the morgue and they bought a dead body for $50. They dragged the dead body to the middle of this big field and they had this basin that they filled with lighter fluid. And they put the body in the basin and lit it up. They let it burn for five hours and they come back, the body is charred, it’s leathery and crisp. And they were like, ‘Aw shoot man we gotta get the flesh off the bones so we can make the skeleton.’ I don’t know what was going through their heads. Attaching the bones seems like a tedious process. Anyway, they started to try to pull the flesh off the bones and my dad was telling me, he remembers that they spent three hours in the field trying to pull the flesh off of the skeleton. He told me, ‘After three hours, we gave up so we hid it in the woods. That’s the end. It’s an interesting period piece.” That’s Columbia in ‘70s for you. Really, you could do anything.”

Carmen Carmen Aguilar, a senior at M-A, lives in a world that is a fusion of two different cultures. “I associate myself with both [Mexico and the United States], because I was born in Mexico and raised here in the Bay Area. I’ve lived in California for 16 years but Spanish is my first language. I came over by plane on my first birthday with my aunt and a fake document, with a birth certificate that wasn’t mine. And my mom crossed the border [at the same time] with two of her brothers [she was 19]. I came to the United States in probably like a day, but she took a week or two. I haven’t been to Mexico since, I can’t since I won’t be able to come back. I want to go back [to visit] because the rest of my mom’s family is over there and I want to see where I was born and I’m curious what it’s like over there. I just feel isolated from Mexico and my roots.” “My traditions still remain the same, as a family we try to keep them alive here. We do a lot of what my mom says they used to do in Mexico and just for tradition we keep pictures of her grandparents and her brothers just to signify that they are with us and we are with them.” “My mom tells me that you suffer ten times more over there than here. Looking for jobs there is really difficult, and it’s actually much easier here. She always tells me, ‘I want you to go to college, I want you to live my dream.”


Social Media Cleanse

It’s fair to say that we’ve all been sucked into the deep dark hole of social media a considerable number of times. But what do you do when all the likes and the comments start getting to your head? Sometimes it’s good to step back, take a breath, and reevaluate yourself.


Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Before any real progress can be made, it’s important to understand exactly why you need to take a breather from social media. Are you finding that it’s the main cause for why you’ve been on the same page of homework for the past three hours? Is your perception of your self-worth at risk because you aren’t getting enough likes or comments on that selfie you posted? This is where you decide what goals you have during the cleanse and what you hope to gain when it’s over.

One of the biggest misconceptions about social media is that once you walk away, you can never come back; that, however, is totally false. Like all the embarrassing pictures you posted in sixth grade, deleting something off the internet does not mean it goes away forever. In almost every platform, your social media account will temporarily deactivate until the next time you sign onto it. If the thought of deleting your account is too much to bear, deleting the app is just as effective. It takes the same amount of willpower not to reinstall the app is it does not to log back into the account.

With no social media, you will now have an abundance of time on your hands. Since you aren’t checking your phone so much, all the things you’ve always wanted to do, like learn how to play the guitar or even finish your homework before 1 a.m., become more of a reality. In order to maintain a healthy mindset, it’s important to find other things with which to occupy yourself. Think of things that you loved doing as a kid or would like to try now and go out and do them!

Step 4

Step 5

Even though in all reality it will feel like a year, a week is when the real results will start to kick in. Chances are you’ll feel much healthier and you’ll have a whole new appreciation for the life you’re living instead of just worrying about your phone’s battery life.

After your jail time is up, you’re free to go. If you haven’t met all your goals or completed all of the steps, a longer break might be a good idea. Even though the cleanse is over, make sure and continue to monitor your use of social media.

by Daisy De Martini


Photography Elley Goldberg


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dad “I wear your grand

I look ” . e l b i d e incr by Lauren Lutge


’ve noticed throughout middle and high school how much we are judged based on the brands we wear. It is like we all have to wear the same thing in order to be liked, depriving us of individual expression and distinction. There’s nothing wrong with wearing the same clothing as others, but I think it goes a little deeper than that. I think that we tend to value how others view us more than we appreciate our own values and uniqueness. If we all put less effort into conformity and the approval of our peers and a little more effort into finding ourselves, we might be better off. An alternative to fast fashion is pretty simple: secondhand shopping, where you can find original clothing to promote your own self. In addition to saving money, you will become more down-to-earth while helping the community, the environment and yourself. Not to mention, you’ll experience the thrill of finding a cheap treasure. When we feel good in what we wear, our confidence flourishes. However, brand names usually burn a hole in our pockets. Thrift shopping is incredibly cheap, which is useful since styles these days are constantly changing. We don’t want to waste money on something that’s not going to last us long anyways. In addition to saving money, thrift shopping helps the community and the environment. Buying previously owned clothing benefits the environment by decreasing the amount of pollution and waste in the world. The more we produce, the more energy is involved, which means more transportation and more facto-

ries. Factories pollute the land and water around them by emitting fossil fuels. This can result in acid rain, disposal of toxic waste and chemical spills, all of which are harmful. Also, thrifted clothing contributes less to landfills. By donating your own clothes to secondhand stores, you are benefitting the people around you as well. You can be money-conscious and environmentally friendly as well as gain personal benefit from thrift shopping. Thrift stores often have higher quality clothing than similarly priced clothing, so the clothing is less likely to fall apart. Also, the clothing is more unique. You can find stuff from past decades from all different types of people. I doubt you’ll find something you’ve seen before. In addition, thrift shops contain some unusual stuff so you can venture into your creative side. I sat down with thrift-shopping enthusiasts Kirby Hocking and Diana Gruber, who have been thrifting since they were children. “It’s definitely a community-based thing” says Gruber, “You’re benefitting people around you.” She not only shops at Savers, but also donates her clothing for a discount. “I think it’s so much better in so many aspects [like in] ethical, environmental [ways] ... at least give it a try,” encourages Hocking. “Thrift shopping is work,” reminds Gruber. Sometimes you might not find anything in a thrifting excursion, but they both agreed that if you put in the work, it most certainly pays off.


“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us ...

ur imagined self-importance

... On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of con�ident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.” — Carl Sagan, “Pale Blue Dot,” 1994.





his piece from Carl Sagan’s book, “Pale Blue Dot,” is inspired by an image taken by the satellite Voyager 1, on Feb. 14, 1990. The image shows a portrait of our world, 6.4 billion kilometers away. The Earth appears as a microscopic bright speck surrounded by unexplored space. This was taken on the fringes of our solar system. Photographed when the satellite was near the sun, sunrays illuminate the black empty space. In one of the rays of light is the Earth, barely visible and scarcely recognizable. This dot holds our imagined self-importance. It resembles an illusion of privilege that humans believe they have. Everything we think we are and think we deserve is challenged by this blue dot because the minute we step out of this close-minded perspective, we can realize our place, or lack thereof, in the universe. Humanity is not at the center and instead we are humbled by nature’s grandeur. This image gives us an understanding

of the sublime and what it means to be a participant of the universe. However, if the photograph was a representation of our ego, the dot would probably fill the page and eclipse everything else. Often we focus on our individual desires rather than the wellness of our species as a whole. Since the Earth is small and unrecognizable from such a distance, the dot has no identity. In relation to the Earth, Menlo-Atherton is almost as small. We are a tiny fraction of the Bay Area, and an even smaller portion of the planet. When Sagan alludes to frequent misunderstandings that happen between different fractions of Earth, he refers to world leaders that greedily create conflict to control a larger fraction, but this can also be said for the people at our school. Arguments, insecurities, jealousies, cliques and competition we have with each other are insignificant because not only do they seldom matter, but because it weakens us as a whole. We need to rise above some of

our personal problems and deal with each other with kindness. “Pale Blue Dot” underscores the responsibility we have to approach each other out of love to “preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.” Let’s consider if our petty drama is worth our time on the place where we make our stand. Given that there is still so much to discover about our own planet, think of all that we do not know about space. It takes us years to grasp all the diversity and different cultures among Earth. As students, we need to our own time to explore. We need to see things for ourselves and arrive at our own conclusions. We spend excessive time preparing for college and stressing for tests that we refute exploration, thinking that it wastes our time. We cannot confuse intellectual curiosity for procrastination. We are still growing, and we need to continue to let our minds expand. by Lara Karadogan




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e are all subject to materialism. We turn to physical objects for fulfillment, and subsequently fall into a cycle of discontent because we cannot satisfy our desire for more. Materialism is the belief that happiness can be bought. So many people are convinced that material items will lead a better life with more wealth, and that success is measured in terms of money and material goods. No matter how much they can have in front of them, they will still focus on what is missing and subsequently desire more. Our greed is endless. The consumerism that we are surrounded by targets our egos and emotions, which is partly why materialism is a societal infection that is difficult to cure. Consumerism feeds off of materialism, and it makes us more materialistic as a society in whole as well. When everyone is consumed and trapped in a cycle of valuing their own lives by material goods, they end up comparing their life to others. Sadly, being materialistic and wanting more goods has become our societal standard, and only few are able to break free. Scientists and psychologists have conducted countless studies proving that there is no correlation between wealth and happiness, except in true situations of poverty, where extra income can relieve suffering and bring security. In addition, the excitement that we feel after buying something new is only temporary, because after about a week, we find a new object to pursue. However, materialism can be quite compelling. Even if we tell ourselves not to buy something more, in the moment, face-to-face with the beautifully unnecessary object, we convince

ourselves that we want it and need it. After purchasing the object, we feel an ego-thrill of owning it afterwards, and experience the illusion of happiness. As a result, a particularly disgusting part of materialism is determining success in terms of affluence. The quality and price of the material goods that we can buy and the size of our salaries are used by many to indicate and establish their wealth. In fact, opulence has become a virtue. Often, we value our own lives and our personal and business relationships by how much money is being made. This mentality only induces distress, because many studies prove that our well-being ultimately comes from strong relationships, meaningful and challenging jobs or hobbies, and a sense of connection to something greater than ourselves. People are more concerned with what they have rather than who they are. This reality is depressing. Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Ellen Goodman once said, “Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for – in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.” Goodman brutally reveals the state in which we are living in society: we are money obsessed. People spend the majority of their time either making or spending money, rather than investing time in themselves or building stronger relationships. The United States is said to be the most materialistic country that has ever existed, mostly because of our consumerism culture. Holidays themselves have become mostly

materialistic. It has become the norm to give and receive gifts during holidays such as Christmas and Hanukkah. Many people believe that the price of a gift determines its worth. In fact, gift-giving has become selfish and is done to boost ego, because people so often equate price to level of friendship and status. On another note, the U.S. makes ridiculous lists of the “wealthiest Americans” and we glorify their achievements. These lists idolize the wealthy merely because they have a high salary. This indicates a deep-rooted loss of value in our society. We should be honoring and idealizing the most compassionate and selfless people and strive to meet their accomplishments rather than make more money. We are living in a superficial lifestyle, and we must come to understand that and wealth does not equal happiness. There are a few crucial things to realize. Possessions are just temporary, and at the end of the day, having the new iPhone and an expensive car does not mean anything. These possessions will not last forever, and they will leave us when we die. That being said, we should focus on the things that do matter. Most people eventually find that a fulfilling career, family, a sense of community, outreach, their passions, and the mark that they leave on the world is significantly more rewarding than tangible objects. We should question the role material goods play in our lives and identify their link to our happiness. Instead of feeling discontent and looking for something new to desire, we should take a moment to focus on what is in front of us.







ollowing recent controversy surrounding trigger warnings at schools across the country, I talked to a few Menlo-Atherton teachers about mental health and course curriculum. Although interpretations of trigger warnings may vary, a trigger warning is a general heads-up about content that could evoke a negative response in people who have suffered from traumatic events. For example, a teacher might elicit a verbal trigger warning to the class before viewing a graphic video as a way to prepare students for the potentially disturbing scene. Students have the opportunity to mentally prepare themselves or leave the room, as to avoid negative responses. A student could experience a negative response, such as a flashback or panic attack, to graphic or disturbing content if they have had emotionally traumatic experiences with that content in the past. Many believe that trigger warnings serve as a way to support students suffering from mental health issues. Susie Choe, an English teacher at M-A, says, “If I don’t tell my students that there’s going to be something super violent or graphic on screen, then I think that that is an unfair situation to put the student in because they have not had time to emotionally stabilize themselves.” Additionally, Christina Galliano, M-A’s gender studies teacher, com-


ments, “I think [trigger warnings are] not a bad idea at all. I’m pretty good about that, in particular, in gender studies, because there are so many sensitive issues that we speak about. I give the option. You can not read it, or not watch it, or whatever it is. So, there are options.” Others view trigger warnings as barriers for free speech in classrooms, or limiting the range of educational material. In a recent letter to its incoming class, the University of Chicago wrote, “Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called ‘trigger warnings,’ we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual ‘safe spaces’ where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odd with their own.” The University of Chicago received significant negative feedback for this letter, as activists took to social media to protest the school’s ignorance towards students with mental health issues. When I spoke to Lisa Otsuka, M-A’s Psychology and AP Literature teacher, she acknowledged the letter. “University of Chicago actually does a lot for mental health for students on their campus, but they made this blanket statement to incoming freshman that they’re not going to sanitize curriculum or stay away from controversial issues.”

However, Otsuka feels that trigger warnings require balance. “I don’t think there should be any stigma placed on mental health conditions [...] I’m aware of the fact that literature can provide verisimilitude, that reproduction of real-life experiences that can be triggers, but I also believe that teachers cannot overly sanitize an entire curriculum.” James Nelson, an English teacher at M-A, took a step back from trigger warnings to look at the bigger picture. “My thoughts surrounding literature are similar to my thoughts surrounding gun violence [...] I am an advocate of controlling our policy on firearms, absolutely. But I think that the shortcoming is less in how many bullets can a gun hold, and more in how do we treat people who need help? I think that our problem with gun violence is more of an expression of our problem with mental health. A gun can be extremely dangerous, but literature can be extremely dangerous. So, if there was a situation where someone were to read a book or see an incredible painting, and that painting caused [mental trauma], it’s not the fault of the literature, it’s not the fault of the art, it’s our fault as a society to take care of our people who have mental health issues.” by Caraline Albro

the elephant in the room Finding Republican students on Menlo-Atherton’s campus can be problematic, as we live in a predominantly Democratic area. Republican students are underrepresented in this liberal area, but The Mark interviewed some conservatives to hear their views. The respondents asked for their answers to remain anonymous. What makes one a Republican? “One is a Republican if they believe in Republican economical or social ideas,” one M-A student explains. The students mentioned that many people believe that voting for a Democratic or Republican dictates one’s party. In reality, not all of the conservatives on our campus are planning to vote for Trump; some are considering Hillary Clinton, while others are not voting at all. Out of all the 10 students I spoke with, only two were definitely voting for Trump. Even though they identify with the GOP’s economic and social ideas, people do not always support the party’s candidate.


What are some common stereotypes about Republicans that are not always true?

Do you feel that it is hard being a Republican in such a predominately Democratic place?

One common misconception about a person’s political beliefs is that they are influenced by their parents. However, many of the Republican students The Mark talked to have Democratic or liberal parents. While it is true that the environment one lives in can influence a person’s decisions, there are exceptions. The conservatives we spoke to also stated that, contrary to common stereotypes, not all Republicans are rich or white, nor are all of them homophobic or racist. Many Republicans agree with the economical values of the Republican party, but not

When asked this question, many of the students mentioned an event that occurred last summer. In August, Donald Trump came to Woodside for a fundraiser hosted at the private home of Saul Fox, CEO of Fox Paine and Co. According to the students, the event was kept secret because of the fear of protesters. The conservative students feel as though there is a lot of negative media in Bay Area towards Republicans. Many people automatically shut down the ideas of conservatives due to biases in our community.

the social ones.

What are some political issues on which you agree with the conservative side and why?

Do you feel as though Donald Trump is a proper representation of the Republican Party? Why or why not?

This is one of the most popular questions that Republicans are currently asked. Some of the Republican students support Trump, but many are against his beliefs. Others think that Trump does not fully believe in his own ideas and will switch sides once getting to office. In the end, most of the Republicans agree that, “Trump is an extremist of the Republican Party.” He does not represent the values of all the Republicans or conservatives.

Are there any issues on which you are on the liberal side?

Most of the Republicans we interviewed support gay marriage and oppose the idea of building a wall along the Mexican-American border. In addition, several of them are pro-choice.

A similarity between many of Republicans on campus were their views on the economy of United States. Some stated that we should lower the taxes so people could put the money back into the economy. Others stated that the taxes should be lowered so that big corporations do not leave to work in other countries with lower taxes. The gun safety laws also came up in a lot of the interviews. The Republican students believe that citizens should be allowed to have guns, because guns are not the issue. If guns ownership becomes illegal, people would just find other methods to kill people. For example, in the terrorist attack in Nice, France, the truck killed most of the victims. According to M-A’s conservatives, the problem is not the guns, it is the people’s who wish to kill other human beings.

by Liza Pertseva


Fall Festivities

by Sarah Friedman

1 4

Haunted Haight Walking Tour Do you love stories about ghosts or supernatural beings? Well, the Haunted Haight Walking Tour is the thing for you. During this tour of San Francisco, led by a pair of paranormal experts, you will learn about ghost hunting and see where heinous murderers and diabolical cult leaders have lived. Tickets are $20 and must be bought in advance of the tour. Visit hauntedhaight. com for more information.


2016 Bay Area Science Festival Extravaganza Discovery Day Are you interested in science and free events? If so, I’m sure you’ll like Discovery Day, a Bay Area science festival. Located at AT&T Park, this free all-day event on Nov. 5 will satisfy any science geek. At the science festival you will find a robot zoo where you can play with robots. I mean, how cool is that? In the Life Science Alley, you can extract your DNA, and learn about your genes. You can also meet scientists looking for new cures.

Scaregrove Scaregrove is an event on Oct. 28 at Sigmund Stern Grove in San Francisco that goes from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. There will be carnival rides, food for sale, and live entertainment. Admission is $8, but bring extra money for food and other activities.



Art Night SF: Mid-Market Art, Live Music & Karaoke Art Night in San Francisco on Oct. 28 is full of different activities to choose. It goes from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and is located at the United Nations Plaza. Not only will there be galleries and museums, but there will also be food trucks, interactive activities, and, best of all, a karaoke battle. Admission is free, but bring money for food trucks.

Movies in McCoppin Come watch movies at McCoppin Park in San Francisco every Friday of October for free! On Oct. 28, “Star Wars the Force Awakens” is screened and there will be free popcorn. The movie runs from 6:00 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. There will even be a surprise guest, so come to find out who it is! Artwork Noah Savelson

Pride Hall


August opens a trail, blazing with new experiences as the school year begins. The first day of high school is full of surprises, new faces, new pathways, walking down Pride Hall. The first day, my blood feeling electrified, Scared yet exhilarated about what is to come. This is only the beginning. Soon strangers will be friends, and comfort will return again. Brave and courageous, walking down Pride Hall. Can’t be late.

by Phillip Chacon


2016 Album Review by Michael Stark

2016 was a monumental year for music. With releases from Kanye West, Drake, Frank Ocean, and BeyoncĂŠ, it has been hard to keep up with what has been happening. 2016 was also a big year for the way music was released with the rise of streaming services such as Tidal, Apple Music, and Spotify. We saw Kanye West perform at an outlandish release party in Madison Square Garden, and we were constantly let down by Frank Ocean delaying the release of his two albums. With all this buzz surrounding the biggest names in music, the less talked-about albums were forgotten by some listeners. In this article, I hope to recommend some interesting albums that you probably heard about, but maybe did not bother to listen to.


ing the release of Drake’s “VIEWS” and West’s, “The Life of Pablo,” “Colouring Book” is going to be inevitably compared, and it is nearly as adventurous as West’s work; however, more rewarding than “VIEWS.” “Colouring Book” is definitely worth a listen and is one of the stronger hip-hop projects released in 2016, which is no small task in a year as chock full of heavy-hitting albums as this one.

M L IF E 2







hance The Rapper’s, “Colouring Book,” was one of the most hotly anticipated self-released hip-hop projects of 2016. Ever since Chance’s official announcement that he was working on a new project, fans have been waiting with bated breath for the release. “Colouring Book” is Chance’s third mixtape, with his last being “Acid Rap” in 2013. After receiving praise from all areas of music for his ability to blend gospel sounds with hip-hop, Chance soon gained recognition. “Acid Rap” brought the Chicago native to fame after winning many awards and universal recognition as one of the best albums of 2013. Chance’s general approval has also increased as a musician and as well as an activist. While working on “Colouring Book,” Chance used his influence to promote the movement #SaveChicago, which works to end gun violence in the city. Through this, Chance has garnered support from a wide array of audiences. “Colouring Book” certainly continues to impress, with features from some of the biggest names in music, such as Kanye West, 2 Chainz, Lil Wayne, Young Thug, Future, and more. However, it is Chance that takes the clear lead with elastic and graceful vocals and plenty of religious references. Chance’s many gospel lines are juxtaposed by his lines about drug use and by the presence of 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne and other known glorifiers of materialism. It is this blend of inspiring transcendence combined with the loved hip-hop sounds that allows this album to be appreciated by all. Chance also speaks his mind on “Mixtape,” giving listeners his point of view on record companies and as to why he continues to self-release. He discusses the joy of being a father and other heavy topics while managing to deliver them with a light, slow flow that Chance has mastered. The mixtape’s 10th track, “All Night,” is distinctly different from the rest of the mixtape and Chance’s work in general, with an uptempo Chicago House beat delivered by Kaytranada. The album concludes with “Blessings 2,” where he mentions his opinion on record labels, his relationship with mentor Kanye West, and features a group harmony á la many of West’s tracks on “MBDTF.” Follow-







anceaholic” marks the sixth studio album for Italian DJ and producer Benny Benassi. Marco “Benny” Benassi began DJing with his cousin Alle Benassi in the late ‘80s in their town of Reggio Emilia. Benassi eventually moved to Milan to the production studio “Off Limits.” Benassi released his first hit, “I Feel So Fine” in 2001 under the name KMC. The single became a summer club hit in Italy and eventually reached the No. 1 Billboard position on U.K. club charts. In 2002, Benassi released his smash hit “Satisfaction,” which reached the No. 2 Billboard position in the U.K. and the top 100 sold singles list in France for the 21st century. The track is still considered the most prominent electro-house song that brought the genre to the mainstream, being featured in a number of movies, commercials, and remixes. Benassi’s newest album features vocals from some of pop’s biggest names such as Chris Brown, John Legend, and Christian Burns. The opening track “Paradise” quickly became a summer hit when it was released as a single, with Chris Brown delivering his signature pop vocals. You can see Benassi clearly embracing the newest trend in dance music at the moment, which is the dancehall/ tropical house sound that we are becoming so familiar with after Drake’s “One Dance” and Rihanna’s “Work.” What we see most on Benassi’s newest project is his versatility and immense creativity from his use of more underground synths to his unapologetically pop tracks such as “Paradise “ and “Universe.” And almost 40 years after Benassi joined the electronic music world, he is as relevant as ever.


n Aug. 12, Mississippi rap duo Rae Sremmurd released their second studio album “SremmLife 2.” Brothers Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi came to fame after dropping singles, “No Type” and “No Flex Zone.” The two tracks both went platinum and reached positions 16 and 36, respectively, on the Top 100’s Billboard in the United States. The following year, the duo released a full length studio album titled, “SremmLife.” The album became an instant favorite at parties and radio stations across the country, as the music was upbeat and fast-paced. However, most wrote off the album for any real considerations as it appeared superficial and vain. When Complex Magazine placed “SremmLife” at the third position for best albums of 2015, many took to the internet to voice their opinions on the flamboyant duo. Renowned radio personality Ebro Darden spoke out often and unapologetically against the group, claiming that, “They didn’t write that [album].” However, with the release of “SremmLife 2,” the group is ready to stake their claim as a unique sound in a quite cliché party-rap genre. The album features producer Mike WILL Made-It’s signature sound of disorientating synth, claps, bells, and metallic drum-kits. The two take their talents far away from what we are used to hearing from them, leaving the danceable tracks for the more expressive and challenging sounds prominent on “SremmLife 2.” The album sees Swae Lee start to move into a sound similar to that of rapper Young Thug, utilizing an array of noises from yelps, screams, and squeals. Swae’s counterpart Slim Jxmmi also begins to take a more prominent position and leads many songs with memorable raps. The new album is definitely a venture for the group, but once you are able to get used to the fact that this is not simply a sequel to “Lit Like Bic” and “No Type,” it is easy to see that the Mississippi brothers have made a name for themselves.

















he second album from Houston-born rapper, Travis Scott, is as polarizing as any of his music. As with any of his releases, Scott has his fair share of critics; however, that is to be expected when one produces such adventurous sounding music. Scott is Kanye West’s progeny through and through and this can be easily seen in Scott’s music, personality, and clothing. He is possibly rap’s greatest self-promoter and businessman, and has the ability to continue to push his own brand further. His music has a distinct Kanye West-feel, featuring breathtaking gravitas on every track. He is able to produce a very large sound with big strings and vocoding and vocal layering. Scott also carefully picks his guest appearances, of which he has no shortage. What differentiates him from West is that Scott is simply not a very gifted rapper. His lyrics lack depth and originality and are often very generic. Throughout his career, Scott has struggled to create his own lyrical identity. This is simply made more evident as Scott brings in more and more guest lyricists and producers; they juxtapose his lack of talent in a specific area and generally take the main stage. His commitment to the production quality of his music is reminiscent to that of Lana Del Rey, showing the grandiose and importance of his music; however, the lyrics do not really warrant such a sound. His songs simply lack significance. Where Scott succeeds is in his ability to repurpose typical sounds and make them sound luxurious and grand in a style similar to that of his mentor West. His delivery is interesting and constantly changing and his sound has a very distinct mood. While not earning very high marks as a rap album, it is interesting to hear new takes on traditional production methods and the music is definitely worth listening to. The album is full of seriousness and melodrama, with Scott delivering the most laughable moments on the album with a straight face. Even the most intense moments are extremely vacuous, which results in an album that is very fun to listen to, but not very involving.


he second studio album from this French house/funk superstar certainly does not disappoint. Thibault Berland, or Breakbot, of major French pop group Ed Banger Records, has been delivering accessible French disco and popularizing the genre ever since the release of “Baby I’m Yours,” a chart-topper in France and smash summertime hit around the world. The single reached its peak fame when pop superstar Bruno Mars used the track as inspiration for his Billboard topper, “Treasure.” Since then, Breakbot has been on the move with his signature French house sound, pushing out summer-vibe hits one after another. After almost four years since his first album, “By Your Side,” the artist’s newest endeavour, “Still Waters,” is far from disappointing. The album features Breakbot’s classic funk basslines, disco-inspired synths, and no shortage of filters and phasers. Critics of the album say that Breakbot’s music has become too formulaic, simply recreating the sound of classic disco superstars by the likes of Curtis Mayfield, Prince, and Michael Jackson – whom Breakbot is quick to credit with inspiration. However, Breakbot’s music is much more significant than simple nostalgia for ‘70s disco and ‘80s funk. It is the fact that Breakbot continues to add his signature touches to the typical Ed Banger production style and the MJ reminiscent vocals; this is in part due to the artist’s almost constant collaboration with Ed Banger artist, Irfane. Breakbot still produces the signature French disco sound, a formula that is tried and tested and certainly the album will be played for years to come. We just would have liked to have seen Breakbot possibly deviate from the blueprint. The only reason this album did not dominate summer charts was the fact that it was released in February.

EFFREY,” released on Aug. 25, is the sixth full length commercial mixtape from Atlanta-born rapper Jeffrey Lamar Williams or “Young Thug,” or simply “Jeffrey,” and recently “No, My Name is Jeffrey.” Young Thug has been able to make a name for himself through his distinct vocals and unconventional style. Young Thug gained mainstream approval off the release of his singles, “All About the Money,” and “Lifestyle.” He then soon signed to the label, 300 Entertainment. In 2015 Young Thug dropped many successful tracks on “Barter Six” and on two “Slime Season” mixtapes. By the release of “Slime Season 3,” Thug was at the forefront of hip hop. Five months later, Young Thug has released newest mixtape, “JEFFREY.” The third release from Young Thug in 2016 continues to impress. This is in part due to his typically wild and incomprehensible flow, over impressive southern trap beats. “JEFFREY’s” track list is named after all of Young Thug’s musical inspirations featuring track titles such as, “RiRi,” “Kanye West,” and “Wyclef Jean.” It is interesting to see Young Thug influenced by new trends like reggaeton on his beats. As usual, it is his impressive array of vocals, from wheezes, hollers, and falsettos that take the center stage, rather than the production from trap music greats such as, London on da Track and Metro Boomin’. However, none of these songs are about the people they are titled after; instead, Young Thug said in an interview that the songs are all about “Jeffrey,” and his fiancé Jerrika. Despite living in the spotlight as an unconventional hit maker, vocalizing in a non-verbal environment is what really gives Young Thug his uniqueness; combine this with his keen understanding for the formula of pop hit-making, and it is no surprise that Young Thug is as popular as he is. Thug has forever been known for his odd production technique; in fact, his first producer once told an interviewer that Thug would come to the studio with his lyric sheets that had nothing but pictures drawn on them. Young Thug still continues to fit this persona and his music is as eccentric as ever.






Begin by setting the camera to the “manual” setting, (“M” on the dial) and make sure it is on “manual focus” (button on the lense). The camera should be on a tripod.


Set the ISO, aperture and shutter speed, which are found in different places depending on the camera model. Typically, the aperture and shutter speed appear on the first screen and can be adjusted by the scroll feature on the top of the camera: The ISO is usually adjusted either by an ISO button: Or, you can use this button which will switch the highlighted portion on the screen to ISO.


EXPOSURE PHOTOS Exposure Photos by Joanna Vollrath

press the shutter and wait someand number Press the for shutter wait! of seconds! Star gaze to Star gazing is a great pastime during thesepass free time moments.



Here are some good starting settings for ISO, aperture and shutter speed. Try these out, see what works and what doesn’t and adjust accordingly!


Starting Point 400




20 sec


Play back the photo you just took and closely look at how focused it is. If it needs adjusting, change the focus in small increments and take more pictures to test; the best way to focus is actually guess and check. Adjust any other feature as needed!

Photography Joanna Vollrath & Noah Reis


20 Global Leaders, a local nonprofit, celebrates twenty years of service.


his year marks the 20th anniversary of one of the most impactful clubs in the history of Menlo-Atherton, Global Leaders. For 20 years, the club has been a mecca for M-A students with the desire to give. Additionally, Global Leaders has inspired generations of students with the irreplaceable knowledge that, “if they put their minds and hearts into something they can accomplish almost anything,” Program Director Andrew Stuart says. Though it sounds cliché, students have taken this advice over the last 20 years to induce real change both locally, abroad and within themselves. Each year, GL takes a service trip to Guatemala or Ghana where students have already contributed to the construction of 17 schools, planted more than 40,000 trees, and helped hundreds if not thousands of mentally and physically disabled patients in hospitals. In preparation for their work abroad, students put in 60 hours of local service during the school year. Their combined local and international service has a transformative effect, shifting perceptions and influencing decisions students make upon their return home. With Stuart’s advice in mind, GL students have created clubs like Intercambio, Pride Pals and Surfriders, and have participated in numerous other outlets for local service such as the canned food drive. Last year alone, GL students were able to commit 3,000 hours of their time to local organizations and community-based projects. The experience that students gain from Guatemala and Ghana does not stay there, it comes

back home, and is returned to the community in many important ways. Intercambio, led by seniors Natasha Auer and Hannah Elisofon, is a club designed to “exchange languages, mainly Spanish and English, as well as cultures from the M-A community,” Auer says. Due to the inherent challenges of the language barrier, it is often hard to relate or even talk with others who speak a different language. Yet, Elisofon points out that, “It’s a great way to meet new people and step out of your comfort zone socially [...] it’s a really relaxed environment and a great way to work on your Spanish or English skills.” As many, including Auer, note, “M-A is a divided community.” However, Intercambio is an exchange of language and culture to better understand and socialize with students that one may not normally interact with, thus holding true to the school motto, “strength in diversity.” Similar to Intercambio, the goal of Pride Pals is to promote unity among the student body. Pride Pals, led by seniors Margaret Child, Emma Rafter, Lauren McLaughlin and Madeline Heller is a club that “strives to help integrate the special education students in Ms. Price’s class with students from outside of their class,” Child explains. For example, Pride Pals all eat lunch together, do arts and crafts projects, and partake in group games. “The more students we have, the more fun the environment becomes. All the games and activities are designed for large groups,” Child notes. Senior Kelly Woods describes Pride Pals as an “intan-

gible and rewarding experience that is so essential to the core of M-A values. Something as simple as having a conversation or playing a game can completely turn around their day and even high school experience.” Another club at M-A, Surfriders, is “an environmentally minded organization that is dedicated to protecting and preserving the ocean, waves, and beaches through local, regional, and national incentives,” Woods says. Surfriders is a nationwide organization that was brought to M-A as a club four years ago by former students Zach Rash and Salina Manibog. What started as an occasional beach cleanup with a few people has completely morphed into one of the biggest Surfriders entities in the entire country. Last year, Surfriders at M-A led the biggest beach cleanup in the entire organization’s history, making Woods all the more ambitious: “As president,w I look forward to breaking the all-time record of volunteers at a beach cleanup.” The life of the average high school student is busy, but Woods explains that Surfriders “provides students with a great opportunity to get involved while managing a stressful high school career. In doing so, we can make noticeable differences in California beaches in a matter of hours.” Hopefully, reading about these organizations will inspire students to get involved in the clubs at M-A to make a meaningful impact, whether it is on the environment or in the community.

I n t e r c a m b i o : T h u r s d a y s at lunch P r i d e P a l s : F r i d a y s at lunch S u r f r i d e r s : On c e a m o n t h on the weekends


by Reid Diamond

Photography Global Leaders

Volume VII Issue I October  

Breaking Boundaries

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