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menlo-atherton high school 555 Middlefield road, atherton CA volume vii. issue ii december 2016



December 2016 Cover Package


8-12 13 14-15 16-17 18-19 20-22


Election Reactions Run Debate Spicy Food Reactions Farewell to Obama Hope


4 23 24-25 28-31

Photo Cirque du Zoay Woman and Poodle Substitute Teachers

Beach Guide

THE MARK Staff Propositions Wrestling Team

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 body 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 re�lect the opinions of all M-A students or the staff of The Mark. Send all submissions to ABOUT THE COVER In this issue of The Mark, we explore reactions and how people can react very differently to the same event. Chloë Benz, featured on the cover, reacts to the camera, representing this issue’s theme. By keeping in mind that every person reacts differently, we can better understand both our peers and ourselves. The cover is designed by our layout editors, So�ia and Lara Karadogan.





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Millennial Climate Change

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

Reactions to the Walkout



n Nov. 14, about 1,000 Menlo-Atherton students participated in a walkout in response to the election results. Contrary to popular belief, M-A students did not take part in the peaceful protest to demonstrate hate for Donald Trump, but rather to show unity and solidarity within the school. With immense diversity at M-A, many minority groups have been targeted by Trump’s ideology and students found that a peaceful walkout was the best way to show love and respect for our school’s minority groups. As a result of the number of students who participated, the police got involved to maintain an orderly and safe protest. Some students walked over 15 miles, even making the local news a few times. Photos of M-A students holding posters and joining to peacefully unite were published in these articles and brought much attention to those who opposed the protest. Some commenters on The Mercury News’ article targeted a specific group of participants. One said that, “The ones carrying the flag of Mexico, if you like Mexico so much move there as you will never be accepted in America portraying that kind of hate of America. As for the students, they need to go back to school and learn about civics and the

US Voting [sic] process and Electoral College, as not one seems to have any knowledge of the process and would rather portray there [sic] hate and intolerance and show there [sic] ignorance to the world. These protest [sic] prove the teachers do not teach the students anymore about the American Voting Process, US Civics, and US Government [sic].” Others targeted specific students they saw in photos: “Protesting an American election while carrying a Mexican flag. Idiots.” And some criticized the walkout simply because M-A resides in a privileged area. “Mindless brains of mush [...] all those little innocent snowflakes that have been given participation trophies just for showing up their entire life. To all those students life’s [sic] going to get a lot harder for you better buckle up and get used to it. What are these numbskulls protesting they’re all set up for multimillion-dollar inheritances when their squatter parents that are sitting on an [sic] 1600 square foot home worth for $4M [sic] passes away in about 20 or 30 years. [sic] I wish I had such hardships in life. Idiots.” However, other comments in the article from The Almanac, for example, congratulated our students who stood up for what they believed in and represented M-A as a strong and unified school. Some expressed their gratuity by thanking

“students for sticking up for those whose civil liberties are already being infringed, and who may (will) be affected in the future!” One expressed that, “You should be proud of people who want their voices heard. Eventually those students WILL be taxpayers. They are the future. This is why people stay quiet, because they’re scared to stand up and say something [...] You should feel lucky that so many people stood up and stood united. People who support Trump would likely keep it to themselves because of how united we stand. They feel scared, but that doesn’t mean harm will come to them just because it’s happened somewhere else. Everyone has their own views and opinions and M-A students value that, which is why Trump supporters still walked with us.” Here at The Mark, we discourage M-A students from dwelling on negative comments. Rather, we should admire the unity of our school and our capability to stay strong and protect minorities. As for the positive comments, we believe they should be taken in as fuel to continue fighting oppression and hate. We believe that we should always accept others’ differences and celebrate our strength in diversity, regardless of potential negative reactions.

by the Editorial Board

HIgh Mark Three-week winter break Great season for football and volleyball

Seniors hear back from early decision colleges

Low Mark

Finals begin tomorrow

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enlo-Atherton has a wide variety of students, each with their own passions that take them to another world. Zoe Bever, an M-A sophomore, has a unique hobby that many are unaware of: aerial silks. Aerial silks are a type of stage performance where the artists perform aerial acrobatics while hanging from fabric. Bever’s interest in circus arts began when she was in Mexico and tried the flying trapeze. “I really loved it, when I came back I found aerial silks,” she explains. Bever has been practicing aerial



silks for the past four years and spends roughly seven hours per week on it. With all this practice, she can see herself making a career of it. She believes that aerial silks can be defined as both an art and a sport. “It’s really beautiful and can be very expressive but it’s also a very difficult thing to do that requires lots of strength,” she adds. Unfortunately, she does not receive P.E. credits for silks, even though it is very time consuming and promotes healthy habits. She remarks, “There [are] lots of other people that spend a lot of their time on a sport that’s not counted because it’s

not on a team — it’s unfair because they put in the work.” When I asked her what she liked most about silks, she responded: “It’s beautiful and really fun, It’s also really different.” She also adds that there’s a lot of creativity that goes into it, since there’s a variety of wraps and different moves so every routine is unique. Bever wants people to know that everything in silks hurts — people get burns and bruises all the time. “I took off skin from my calf once,” she says, smiling. It’s a reminder that beauty is sometimes painful. By Lauren Lutge



he presidential election on Nov. 8 shocked the world as an unexpected candidate was selected to be our 45th president. Across America, people raised their voices – some to support Trump, and others to protest him. Our own school held a protest on Nov. 14. However, the election did not only decide who our next president will be. On the ballot, voters also voted on several propositions in California that will impact the near future of our state. Here are six of those propositions and what M-A students think about them.

by Liza Pertseva



Proposition 58 repealed 1998’s Proposition 227 which banned bilingual education in the state and forced immersion programs for students who weren’t fluent in English. It passed with 72.6 percent. “I think Proposition 58 will help fund a bilingual California, which is something that frankly, in my opinion, is long overdue.” - Shane Turner, junior “My mother is a teacher … and she is actually against this topic. I am actually open to both sides but there are negative outcomes to it ... A lot of immigrants coming to America don’t know English very well and in the world later on it is pretty much necessary to do well in jobs, just in the way our world currently works. Bilingual education is good because it allows non-English speaking students to do well in math or science but it takes away from English learning … Also because in our area there is so much competition to get into a good college ... my mom has to teach around seven hours worth of material in four hours that she has open to teach in her day. Ending the ban on bilingual education will mean she will have to teach more Spanish to her kids, which will take away the time away from learning math, science, history and other fundamental subjects.” - Anonymous


Proposition 62 did not pass, with 53.7 percent against it. It would have repealed the death penalty in California. “I am disappointed that it didn’t pass because we need to reform our criminal justice system.” - Sydney Cheek, a sophomore

The youth vote would allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote in municipal elections. “I believe strongly about lowering the voting age and allowing teens to vote because so many of us are already politically active but we don’t have any say in decisions that directly affect us and our futures. Lowering the voting age locally would have been the first step to lowering it nationally.” - Hallie Pugh-Sellers, a sophomore “My view is that 16 or 17 year olds are not legally adults for a reason - lack of frontal lobe development- which means that although there are educated teenagers the vast majority would not have the real world experience or foresight to make intelligent decisions. It’s difficult to know what the best thing for the economy is when the majority of us do not hold jobs.” - Cici Hannah, a sophomore


Proposition 64 passed with 56.3 percent of voters in support of it. It legalized selling marijuana in California. The sale of marijuana is still banned on the federal level. “This will revolutionize the California jail system,” says Miranda Muller, a sophomore at M-A. Muller is talking about the immense crowding of federal prisons, where most of the prisoners are there because of illegal drug use.


The noncitizen vote was passed with 53 percent in favor. It would allow noncitizens with children in city schools to vote in Board of Education elections of 2018, 2020 and 2022. Back in 2004, voters rejected the same proposition. Again, in 2010, the proposition was defeated. However, this time around, the political atmosphere has changed. With Trump’s anti-immigrant and racist rhetoric, San Francisco lawmakers believed that the proposition would pass because voters would turn out to oppose Trump’s politics. They were right, as the noncitizen vote proposition passed with nearly 53 percent in favor.


Proposition 67 was too close to call with 52.5 percent in support of it. This proposition contiunued the ban on selling plastic bags in stores. “The proposition has a strong effect on the environment because it allows us to recycle the paper bags.” - Camille Zats, a freshman


NEWS FEATURE ceans are rising, weather patterns


are fluctuating on the spectrum from extreme droughts to torrential hurricanes, entire ecosystems are being obliterated, and a multitude of cities are choking on the very pollution they are producing. Climate change is no longer an improbable occurrence or an abstract discussion — it is a fact of today that we must deal with now, or the consequences will soon be presented on our flooded doorsteps. In spite of the overwhelming evidence of this apocalyptic possibility, there are still some who neglect and resist simple changes in everyday lifestyle that could alter our present, disastrous course. While changes in one’s personal habits may seem insignificant in altering the course of humanity, social change must start somewhere. Ultimately, it is in the hands and minds of individuals to change their own lives, and thus the life of the planet. Small things will make a big impact on the greatest issue of our time, the greatest issue that humanity has ever faced. The Arab Spring, the Civil Rights Movement, the Chicano Movement, and Gandhi’s nonviolent resistance movement were all social movements founded by a few individuals with a passion for change. The results: millions followed in their footsteps and caused a decade of political revolution in the entire Middle East, brought equal rights in the U.S., and secured Indian independence from the imperialist crown. However, climate change is an even more daunting problem than the social issues of the past. Consequently, it will require even more effort on the part of the people. To start, change your everyday lifestyle. Change how you travel,

Artwork Noah Savelson

change your diet, change your outlook on the situation. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “the U.S. transportation sector accounted for 27% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.” While more car companies are producing more fuel-efficient or fuel-independent cars like the Toyota Prius, the Nissan Leaf or the Tesla Model X, there are less industrialized steps that you can take as well. Take the bus everyday or bike, instead of driving to school. Sitting in traffic for an hour to get to the city just spews out unhealthy exhaust, so take the train. Don’t fly cross-country; teleport using the new Tesla … maybe not yet, but you get the idea. Everyday electricity usage also holds much of the responsibility, as the electricity is produced largely from the burning of coal. This releases harmful emissions into the atmosphere, just as transportation does. So, turn off the lights when you leave the room. Unplug household appliances when they are not in use. Though seemingly insignificant actions, when practiced together and repeatedly, these simple sources of change do actually make a meaningful difference. While transportation and electricity usage are obvious sources of pollution, the vast land use and methane byproduct of the millions of cattle in America are “one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems,” senior United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization official Henning Steinfeld said. According to the same U.N. report, “Cattle-rearing generates more global warming greenhouse gases, as measured in carbon dioxide equivalent, than transportation.” By consuming less beef, we could decrease

the demand of cattle and thus decrease the cattle supply. Less land would be needed for grazing and the rate of deforestation to create room for cattle would decline. Additionally, less cattle would mean less methane released into the atmosphere, decreasing the severity of the greenhouse effect on our planet. The easy fix would be to remove beef from our diet altogether. However, as most people cannot resist the urge of a juicy burger, especially as Americans, this is not the most viable of options. A decline in the adverse effects of cattle does not require a complete switch to veganism. One can simply transition from beef to other types of meat, such as chicken, which require much less land and other natural resources. These simple changes should be continuously integrated into your lifestyle. Asking for chicken once at a restaurant instead of the steak will not even scratch the surface. But, make it a habit and stop eating beef for a year, or bike to school everyday, and maybe a scratch will appear. The power to change your own life is completely in the decisions that you make everyday. But what about the decisions our government makes? Or the decisions corporations make? While you may change your diet, companies who often care more about profit than the well-being of people continue to emit carbon and other greenhouse gases into the air. While you may decide to walk to school, the government neglects to pass substantial regulatory laws on carbon emissions. While you may turn off the lights, deforestation continues in the search for black gold. In the face of the detrimental actions of entire corporations, and our very own government, the individual effort may seem futile. However, the key to solving this problem is realizing that the individual effort is not pointless when it is combined with the individual efforts of hundreds, if not thousands, of others, manifested in social and political movements. Revolutionary changes do not just appear. They evolve from the modest beginnings of individuals, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez, Mahatma Gandhi. It is up to any one person, maybe you, maybe the person sitting next to you, to inspire the kinds of social movements that could lead to critical shifts in how we treat our planet. One becomes two, two becomes eight, eight becomes 100, hundreds progresses into thousands. Soon, a movement encompassing millions has been born from the actions of one. The evidence is clear; the light at the end of the tunnel is attainable. What will you do tomorrow?

by Reid Diamond



restling has been a historically male-dominated sport. However, Menlo-Atherton invalidated that stereotype by bringing the previously nonexistent girls team to life. In 2013, senior Chelsea Wilson was the only girl on the wrestling team. Last year, 16 additional girls joined the team. Several of those girls — Wilson, Fola Akinola, and Abby Ericson — made it to CCS finals. This year, the wrestling team has been able to recruit 13 more girls and 22 boys. Phil Hoang, head coach of the M-A wrestling team, believes that the “first and most fundamental rule for a wrestler is they must have fun in order to endure hard workouts.” Hoang says the team is “incredibly tight and unique.” This bond is the product of many days and weekends spent traveling and competing at tournaments. Lauren McDonnell, a sophomore, is currently the girls wrestling team captain. McDonnell originally joined the girls team last year as a freshman after deciding that she no longer wanted to play soccer. She thought that wrestling would be a sport that would be challenging and enjoyable. She also joined because her best friend was planning on joining and she thought it would be fun to do the sport together. McDonnell says that even though she has not been captain for long, it has been enjoyable. However, being captain of a sports team is not all fun and games. She states that, “It is sometimes challenging since I need to know what is happening and who is where at all times. It’s

a lot of work since everyone looks to me to figure out things and solve problems for the team.” McDonnell explains, “I love wrestling and the whole team so I would never switch sports now.” She plans to continue wrestling every year until she graduates high school. Akinola is a sophomore and a wrestler on the girls team. She has been wrestling since fifth grade at her school club called East Peninsula Wrestling. She has been crushing it in the world of wrestling since middle school. At the Girls Middle School State Championships, she placed fourth place in sixth grade, and first place in seventh and eighth grade. She mentions that it was her amazing coaches that got her to fall in love with the sport. Akinola is the CCS champion of her weight class. High school teams usually have only male teams so one may think that females are treated differently, but Akinola disagrees with this statement. She feels that she is treated equally on the team. Akinola explains that, “Our expectations are sometimes lower than the boys, and sometimes they are higher than the boys. It depends on what our coach is asking us to do. He’ll always push us to break our limits and find new ones. And that’s what makes us great.” The wrestling team has had many champions, and Wilson is no exception. She won CCS in her weight class last year, and would have also gone to CCS finals two years ago if it weren’t for

an injury. Wilson first began wrestling because her brother previously wrestled on the team, and he encouraged her to join. Originally, Wilson was never truly interested in the sport and did not think about trying it. Chelsea says that it was a “last-minute spontaneous decision. It also wasn’t a big jump from judo.” Wilson was the only girl on the wrestling on the team two years ago, but she likes having more girls with her. She explains, “I enjoyed being on the team when I was the only girl, but I did not create the type of bond I feel that I have now with the girls team, which has made wrestling a more fun experience.” Chelsea also plans to continue wrestling after high school, but is unsure of what level she wants to compete in. Wrestling is known to be a sport that is brutal, mentally and physically. That is what attracted Emma Braslavsky, a freshman who moved from Israel this year. Braslavsky decided to wrestle because she dislikes running and does not enjoy ball sports. Braslavsky joined the wrestling team because it was a new way to meet friends. She also enjoys the individual aspect of the sport and wants to become stronger physically and mentally. Alex Friedman, an M-A graduate who is now studying at Stanford as a freshman, was a former captain of the wrestling team. He started wrestling as a freshman, and continued through senior year, but an injury to his elbow took him out of the season before PAL finals and CCS. The first match Friedman participated in was against a girl. When talking about his first match, Friedman says, “It’s a little hard to say if I treated her any differently than I would’ve a man since there wasn’t any precedent going into the match.” Though there were no girls on the team during his freshman year, there was one girl during his sophomore and junior years. But senior year was the first year that he saw an actual girls team, as opposed to one or two individual girl wrestlers. Friedman saw that having girls on the team changes the dynamic in a good way. He remembers that, “The girls last year were among the most committed and dedicated members of the team, and this in turn definitely improved the team dynamic.” This year, the girls wrestling team has plans to bring the whole team to CCS instead of just a few individuals. Although there has been an increase of boys this year, everyone will remember the 2015-2016 season, when the M-A girls wrestling team was created. Since that date, the whole girls team has been able to crush everything.

by Sarah Friedman






“In Canada, the elections are much less exciting. I actually don’t follow the Canadian elections, but I follow this. I’m super SHOCKED Trump is winning at the moment, because all the initial polls showed Clinton was going to be winning. It’s still in the process though, so we’ll see.”

Sancho’s customers watch the election while waiting for their orders.

“I think it's pretty crazy, the way that everything's going seems pretty RIDICULOUS. The debates are real childish, some of the stuff they say you can’t believe they’re actually saying. It’s a lose-lose situation … hopefully there’s some hope in there somewhere.”

Almost every poll predicted that Hillary Clinton would win. Throughout the primaries and continuing in the days leading up to the presidential election, the predominantly liberal population of the Bay Area laughed off the possibility of a Trump presidency. The outcome of last month’s election took everyone by surprise. The Mark captured the reactions of viewers as the election unfolded. by Elley Goldberg

Stanford students gather to voice their support and concerns outside Tressider11 Union.

Photography Joanna Vollrath


“It almost feels like our country is

MOURNING, if that makes any sense. Trump

Photography Kate Flanagan

stands for so many things that aren’t the American values I’ve understood to represent our country. I feel like the bully won.”

M-A students participate in a walkout to show support for fellow students.

Photography Leah Marcus

A man reviews electoral vote tallies online.

Photography Kate Flanagan

“This is a high school magazine, right? So I can’t use expletives ... How did this happen? I felt like the debates were useless this year. They didn’t talk about anything I thought was important. Right now, I’m just ANGRY, and surprised.”

Friends and strangers gather to watch the election at the Old Pro.



stood at the edge of the black water, my toes wiggling in the soft mud. The sky was grey as feathery white hands groped across the powder blue sky to greedily grab at the rays of sunlight, leaving only a few rays to spill lazily through. The air was muggy and heavy. My mother sat on the sandy shore of the lake gazing out at the horizon, her eyes glazed over in a dream. Behind her, a thick forest loomed, the dark olive leaves sifting through the sunlight until all that reached the forest floor was a defeated darkness. It seemed out of place with the sandy shore that my mother and I enjoyed. I waded in knee deep into the water, my feet disappearing into the black depths. I closed my eyes, feeling the soft, warm breeze for a moment, when I heard a small splash in the water. I opened my eyes, expecting to see my mother next to me. Instead, I saw a small crocodile slithering through the water towards me. I shrieked in panic for my mother. She quickly turned her gaze to look at me, as if awakened from her daydream. She looked at me with a sleepy smile. “It can only hurt you if you let it,” she said with finality. She leaned back, sinking her elbows into the warm grains of sand.

I stood in the water, paralyzed with fear. The crocodile was no more than three feet, a baby. It circled around me once, observing me from every angle, then stopped directly in front of me. It looked up at me, with one malevolent eye. We stood there for a moment, waiting. Then, without a warning, the crocodile launched out of the water, just high enough to give me a nip on the cheek using only its front teeth to tear through my plump flesh. I ran, shrieking for help, desperately plunging my feet in and out of the black water as I sprinted for the shore, making slow progress. I turned back to see the crocodile, with its mouth half open, and its child-like laughter piercing through the silence. I hurtled into the thick forest, shrieking and crying and tumbling and bleeding and breathing in gasps of fire with tears blurring my vision but no one would come to help because no one else could hear as the laughter blanketed the silent forest jumbling my sense of direction and the laughter clung to my skin as my legs began to feel heavy. Moss-covered branches reached out across my path, and vines danced across the forest floor, making it nearly impossible to outrun it. The crocodile followed with ease, smirking.

Suddenly I emerged from the forest to an empty parking lot, with a silver, beat-up Honda running in the corner, the engine purring. I sprinted to the car and climbed in, feeling a cool relief bubble to the surface of my skin. I cried out to the driver, warning her about the crocodile in the forest. She seemed unfazed, her thin lips upturned. “Where have you been?” she beamed at me. Her black hair hung thick over her shoulders, and her eyes had a glint behind them. She radiated a genuine kindness, giving off a warmth that I wanted to curl up in and forget about the looming danger. There was something familiar about her, something that told me we were very close friends. I looked in the rearview mirror and saw my mother strolling through the forest with a dull smile painted on her face. “It will only hurt you if you let it,” she quietly chuckled to herself, shaking her head. At her feet, the crocodile wore a malicious grin. It boasted it’s sharp teeth. I touched the bloody kiss on my cheek lightly. Next time, I’ll win, I thought to myself. But I knew it was a lie.

Submission Helena Hoover

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Debate: Donald Trump’s Policies Will Harm the Environment by the M-A Debate Team Design Sofia and Lara Karadogan


n light of the recent election, many are questioning how much harm Donald Trump can really inflict on our society. Whether looking at the economy or immigration, the answer is simple: a lot. In no area does this become as starkly clear as on the issue of climate change. The president leads the country with his words and Trump’s have been dangerous at best. The president-elect has stated multiple times that, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese” as an “expensive hoax.” It’s sad, but true. Millions of Americans listen to Trump – they accepted his election rigging conspiracy theories as truth and continued to support him when he stated that Mexicans are rapists. So who’s to say they won’t listen to more of his baseless claims? And when they listen, we are in trouble. “TRUMP’S POLICIES DO MORE THAN LEAVE US STAGNANT, THEY LEAD TO REGRESSION. EVERY MOMENT WE WASTE NOT ADVANCING, WHETHER THAT’S IN RESEARCH OR POLICY AIMED AT SOLVING THE ISSUES, THE PROBLEM GROWS WORSE.” When an authority figure in politics states that climate change is a hoax, this removes motivation for Americans to take an active role in the conservation of energy and resources. Given Trump’s logic, you can take an hour-long shower; the drought has nothing to do with human actions. In fact, it isn’t even happening. You should buy that gas-guzzling Hummer instead of an environmentally friendly Chevy Bolt. It’s not like, due to the melting of polar ice caps caused by climate change, adorable polar bears face extinction. Apart from significant impacts on our daily lives caused by Trump’s ignorance of climate change, changing policy will be disastrous. Trump plans to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, a United Nations framework aimed at reducing carbon emissions. The United States has committed to reducing its emissions by at least 26 percent. The agreement’s main aim is to stop rising temperatures from reaching two degrees Celsius over pre-industrial temperatures, the point at which certain species will be extinct, agricultural output will decrease, and many other parts of the environment will be harmed. According to NASA, our current temperature average is 1.7 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures. So how much does Trump plan to reduce emissions to curb that 0.3 degrees? Zero percent. Trump’s policies do more than leave us stagnant, they lead to regression. Every moment we waste not advancing, whether that’s in research or policy aimed at solving the issues, the problem grows worse.



t can hardly be argued that the future of the human race is not dependent, at least in part, on the health of our planet, and that the way we deal with climate change in this age will impact the way future generations will view us. Either we are complacent and therefore destructive, or we take a stand and begin fixing the damage we’ve done to our planet.

This is why having Trump as president should inspire such concern, if not abject terror. Trump’s previous flippant comments about climate change show his disregard for an issue that could arguably be the most important problem we need to address in the coming years as a country. Not only does Trump not believe in climate change – which it seems to be becoming clearer and clearer is indeed his true stance – but also his actions show a disturbing lack of concern on the issue. “THESE NEXT FOUR, OR POSSIBLY MORE YEARS, OF EITHER OUTRIGHT DEVASTATION OF THE ENVIRONMENT, OR COMPLACENCY WITH THE STEADY DECLINE OF OUR PLANET’S HEALTH, WILL HAVE SERIOUS REPERCUSSIONS NOT ONLY WITH CLIMATE CHANGE, BUT WITH AMERICA’S REPUTATION AS A MORAL AND GLOBAL LEADER, BOTH NOW AND IN THE FUTURE.” Because he still wants to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement, we can surmise he doesn’t have any vested interest in ensuring the decline of climate change. The Paris Agreement’s only stated goal is to set out “a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C.” Because Trump wants to remove the U.S. from a group where this is their sole purpose, it is plain to see he does not care about using the resources we have as a country to participate in the realization of this goal. Yes, as the negation pointed out, it would be fantastic if, as a result, China took seriously the dangers of climate change and began environmental reforms to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions, but they can not be, and should not be, expected to pick up the slack after the United States — which, by the way, is the second-worst environmental offender, just behind China — withdraws from accords such as the Paris Agreement. We are the ones who need to step into the role of global leader when it comes to fighting climate change; we can’t leave it to others when we have the resources and motivation to spark real change and potentially contribute to the salvaging of our planet. Trump’s actions on the environment do not take an active stance to protect our planet’s future, for the improvement of our own lives and that of those around us.



rom Trump’s past rhetoric, you may think Trump will destroy the environment. Given this, it is tempting to fear a Trump presidency and its effects on the environment when, in reality, the fact is that the impacts will be negligible because he doesn’t have the power. Don’t be swayed by groundless fearmongering; that’s what got him elected in the first place.

“THE REALITY IS THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DOES NOT HAVE MUCH CAPABILITY TO IMPEDE OUR PROGRESS BECAUSE THE STATES CONTROL INVESTMENT AND DEVELOPMENT OF RENEWABLE ENERGY, PEOPLE WILL CONTINUE THEIR GREEN WAYS BECAUSE OF WHO THEY ARE.” First, let’s look at their case. Yes, Trump has denied climate change — in the past. Like much of his controversial campaign rhetoric, Trump has gone back on this. A few weeks ago, Trump admitted to The New York Times that “there is some connectivity” between climate change and humans. He went on to say, “Clean air is vitally important.” Given that Trump’s platform has become far more moderate and realistic since the election, we can be confident that he will continue this environmentally friendly trend. So my opponent’s point of the power of the president’s words goes against them. Note that this election has shown that people listen to what Trump himself says, even when it contradicts what his team claims Trump believes. Thus, conservative Americans that follow Trump will believe in climate change and move to protect the environment such as I, in my blue Chevy Spark, and that student in the red Chevy Spark, try to do. This has the impact of increasing efforts to conserve our beautiful planet, but also of spreading awareness and trimming down the number of climate-change disbelievers. Next, the Paris Agreement. Unfortunately, Trump plans to leave the agreement in an attempt to make American industry more competitive on the world stage. This may seem like a huge negative impact, but, in reality, it won’t change much at home and may even benefit the environment. The U.S. is already well on track to meet the Paris Agreement’s standards. The primary reason for this is that fracking and the price war with OPEC have driven oil prices so low that coal — the major polluter — simply can’t compete. Obama’s emissions policies may have helped drive coal out, but it was oil that did the most of the pushing. The coal industry is slowly dying, and Trump’s promise of repealing Obama’s regulations isn’t going to reverse that — not to mention that he also plans to promote fracking. The “yuge” possible benefit here is that if the U.S. leaves the agreement, China may see this as an opportunity to be the global leader in the wake of our abdication. Seeing as how China has been trying to contend with the U.S. as a world power, we have reason to believe that China will step up to the plate. China currently has the highest carbon dioxide emissions — about twice that of the U.S. and almost a third of all the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Yes, they are industrializing just like we did, but the environment will not survive such levels of carbon emissions. What better a catalyst to jumpstart the decrease in Chinese emissions than an opportunity to seize one of the U.S.’s thrones?

S If China decides to lead the international charge against climate change, it will cut its own emissions drastically — an enormous benefit for the polar bears. That case aside, there is little Trump could do to hurt the environment even if he wanted to. For example, let’s take a look at electric cars. While Trump plans to cut the tax credit for purchasing electric cars, this is unlikely to decrease electric car sales. This is because the people who buy such cars are people who care about the environment and would still buy those cars even if the price increased slightly — they buy their Chevy Sparks primarily for the environment, not the price reductions. And what about car emissions regulations? Trump may roll back Obama’s mpg regulations, but car companies will still innovate and create the most efficient cars possible because no one likes paying for gas. Another instance of Trump’s inability to significantly affect the environment is our investment in green energy. Fortunately, the states, not the federal government, control the investment and development of renewable energy, so we will continue to invest in green energy throughout his presidency. The last example is that of environmental research funded by the federal government. If Trump cuts funding research and innovation, that may be an issue. There is, however, an upside. Trump made many people angry when he got elected, and many of those people are now donating to institutions that share their beliefs. For instance, the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood, and The Trevor Project are all reporting huge surges in donations following the election, including massive increases in the amount of people signed up for monthly donations. So, while some research projects may lose their federal funding, institutions like the American Association for the Advancement of Science are gaining private funds to finance these projects. “I MAY NOT BE HAPPY ABOUT THE TRUMP PRESIDENCY, BUT I CAN SAY WITH CONFIDENCE THAT HE WILL NOT SEVERELY HARM THE ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY NOR THE ENVIRONMENT IN FOUR YEARS.” The reality is that the federal government does not have much capability to impede our progress because the states control investment and development of renewable energy, people will continue their green ways because of who they are, and because even Trump, whose words my opponents claim are so powerful, admits that there is “there is some connectivity.” We are already on track to meet the standards of the Paris Agreement, and Trump’s federal government can’t change that — not because of wishful thinking, but because of the Constitution. Remember, in this debate, I am the only side that goes through Trump’s specific policies and explains explicitly why I’m right — they just make broad and unexplained generalizations. Look to see whether they counter my explanations. Don’t be swayed by fearmongering. I may not be happy about the Trump presidency, but I can say with confidence that he will not severely harm the environmental scientific community or the environment in four years.



Spice It Up W

hy does spicy food affect some people and not others? Why do some people just shrug it off and others feel as though their lungs are going to burst into flames? According to Spoon University, there are many different theories. Some think that it’s a matter of nurture versus nature, while others think it’s mental. Either way, here are a few ways to build up your spice tolerance. Begin with “raw” heat, such as radish, dijon mustard and even garlic. Start small and inch your way towards the hotter peppers later. Add mustard to your sandwich instead of mayonnaise or butter, for example. Or, add some radishes to your salad. It’s easy so far. The second step is to use your nasal cavities! According to The New

York Times, sniffing spicy foods or spices such as wasabi for five to ten seconds every day can actually improve your spice tolerance because your nose is more sensitive than your mouth. The next logical step, (as previously mentioned) is to slowly increase your spice tolerance. Keep in mind that eating really spicy foods at first, when your tolerance levels are lower, can turn you away from spicy food in general. If you view spicy food negatively, it will be harder to heighten your spice tolerance. Once you’ve taken these steps, you can start embracing the spice! Each month, add a little more spice to your food. You should be ready to eat a full ghost pepper without having to cough your way towards your water cup in no time! by Leah Marcus


Thanks Obama The Menlo-Atherton community reflects on President Barack Obama’s influence and presence over the past eight years.

I was the first person in my house to support Obama. I was eight years old during the primaries, and I told my mom he was going to win. When he actually did win the presidential race, it felt like a miracle. I’m so thankful for Obama for setting a precedent, and proving that any type of person can be elected to office, even those who don’t fit an antiquated idea of what is and is not presidential. I hope he continues to inspire the young and the marginalized to take action in government, in order to create humane policies and remedy the injustices of the United States.

- Diana Gruber

Dear Obama, Over the last eight years you have been the epicenter of my sociopolitical upbringing. Your convention was the first I remember watching, your speeches were the first I ever remember hearing, and your family was the first I remember falling in love with. Under your leadership, I never felt embarrassed to have you as the political and moral representative of our nation, and you’re the only president I’ve known that I can say that about. You have always displayed extreme class, passion for equality, and exemplified the values I associate with being an American. From dealing with the tragedies of mass shootings and natural disasters to celebrating the victories of same sex marriage and affordable healthcare, there’s no face I would rather see addressing the nation and establishing a precedent for years to come. My only quarrel with you is that you may have set the bar a little too high.

- Eddie Ives

Thank you so much for one of the best eight years this country has ever seen. You never forgot about any group or individual out there, and you always made sure they got the support they needed. You accepted everyone no matter their color, ethnicity, religion, or sexual preference. Without you we wouldn’t have progressed into the country we are today, and I’m so sad that your positive and optimistic attitude will leave the White House. Again, thank you so much for everything you have give to us, the people of the United States of America.

- Tyler Ellingson Dear Barry, Thank you for all you’ve done for us; from providing us affordable health care to giving us the ability to marry whomever we love. Thank you for reforming Wall St., implementing climate regulations, and guiding peaceful talks with foreign nations to establish a safe and stable future for us and the rest of the world. Thank you for being collected and reasonable yet lively and funny. While you are #44 in the history books, you are #1 in our hearts.

- Eli Goodman

by Katie Moffitt and Joanna Vollrath


Photography Lauren Bruce

“...Your job as a citizen and as a decent human being is to constantly affirm and lift up and fight for treating people with kindness and respect and understanding.”

- President Barack Obama’s message to his daughters

I’m really grateful that under Obama I felt safe, I felt like I could be open about who I am, I could express my opinion and fight for my rights. His presidency really did inspire hope for me and my community and I would like to thank him for that.

- Kelsey Gage

I have grown up with President Barack Obama. He has been and remains an ever-present influence in my life. I recall vividly, because of the closeness of the day to my dog’s birthday, President Obama’s first inauguration. I was in the fourth grade and Ms. Ertola’s class watched on our small, boxy, classroom TV — this was eight years ago, mind you. Within those eight years, my beloved president has rallied immense support from citizens of all shapes and sizes as a result of his incredible work done for this country. A few of his contributions to peace and equality are too worthy of acknowledgement to go unmentioned including: advocacy for women’s rights through the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and pro-choice stances; advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights through the legalization of same-sex marriage, the establishment of the Hate-Crimes Prevention Act, repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and appointment of openly LGBTQ+ administrators and officials (the most appointed under any president in history); healthcare reform and the humanization of disenfranchised individuals; removal of troops in Iraq; expansion of wilderness protection. Obama, my OG boo, you have elevated public opinions of the United States globally with your humanitarianism. Your political and personal life has been scandal free and I am disappointed that the things you wanted to happen couldn’t because of a Republican Congress. Regardless, the laws you managed to pass and the peace you perpetuated is good enough for me to consider you, forever, as my most beloved president. Thank you so much for all that you have accomplished. I love u <3 #thirdterm.

- Kalina Zanelli

Thank you Obama for moving this country forward socially and politically and not acting with prejudice.

- Natasha Auer 19



Artwork Lara and SoďŹ a Karadogan




016 stands out as an inimical year. In order to understand the sentiment of our country, we must examine the major events that contributed to a feeling of dissent. The accumulation of numerous historical events this year has amounted to a generally aggressive sentiment. However, 2016 had the potential to make historical advancements such as the coup d’état in Turkey, peace treaties in the Middle East, and the Paris Agreement, a collection of promises made by the United Nations to radically reduce carbon emissions. Although Trump’s climate plan would seriously threaten funding and may stunt advancement of the scientific community focused on the environment, hope is not lost. Rather than fearing these effects, and thus losing time, we need to look to the future and fight for change. This is not a political outcry, but rather, an effort to avoid being passive. Regardless of one’s political ideology, each individual has the responsibility to defend their perspective. In an effort to reflect the state of the nation, IBM’s Watson, a revolutionary cognitive computing system that analyzes data and speaks English, was asked to describe the national sentiment. By collecting data from past articles, Twitter feeds, posts and other public sources from the last five years, Watson concluded that the sentiment was one of “disgust” and “fear.” The fact that the most prevalent themes from last the five years revolved around abhorrence reflects poorly on our societal progression and gives a stark representation of our societal focus, as well as a desire for change. As Menlo-Atherton teacher Liane Strub says, it is time to “face and reckon with who we are” and understand that the outcomes of the presidential election have reminded us of what a divided country we are. Regardless of a long, and perhaps disappointing year, Strub acknowledges that 2016 “ended unexpectedly, not how anyone predicted” and she is “discouraged by the state of America, but encouraged by the fact that people are now standing up.” Protesting and voicing our opinions is a sign of awareness and instinct. The negativity of 2016 forces us to take a moment to step back and reflect. The media has amounted to propagated fear and antagonism. We can look beyond the tension conveyed by the media and focus on forthcoming areas that are promising for the future. Optimism can stir people and get ideas moving. In order to grow in 2017 and mentally leave behind the conflicts from 2016,

our focus should shift to areas of hope in order to maintain a driven outlook. For Strub, this is apparent in our generation. She says, “The future lies in you.” Our voices will be heard because we embody change for the future. If we are standing up and protesting now, then we can be hopeful that the same impetus will be alive in the future. “It has been a hard year for us,” says Strub, but it is in our best effort to look for places of hope in order to move forward. The previous and ongoing global crises should not prevent future generations from having their own influence. December is a time to reflect. But as a part of the process, we also need to look into 2017 as a time to act.

Activism is an essential part of society because it conduces change and seeks to identify causes and sources of social inequality such as hunger, homelessness, corruption, poverty, underemployment and poor education. Because activism compels change, we can be hopeful that our generation and future generations will be driven to involve themselves. As a response to this year’s chaos, we created a symbolic representation of the nation’s state by appropriating the American flag (featured on previous page). While most of us get our information from social media outlets or news publications, we need to be aware that the news can also be a source of lies, inaccurate portrayals, exaggerations, bias and “fake news.” Because it is where discomfort stems from, it is the background of our art. Fake news has unfortunately shaped our perception of events and has generated distrust. We turned to newspapers to find outlets of hope and cut out all words relating to “change,” “hope” and the “future” in the attempt to highlight areas of optimism. These words were cut out and then placed on the white stripes of the flag. Although the white stripes are representative of the U.S. flag, they are also symbolic of eliminating negativity and replacing it with positivity. While there are exactly 50 stars in our art piece, they are not in line because, arguably, the U.S. is not in line with its values. The stars are in disarray to illustrate the confusion and dispute within each of the states. With California petitioning to secede, and confusion towards states that voted differently than expected, we felt it conveyed a sense of disunity.

by Lara and Sofia Karadogan


Q&A WITH PAMELA LIN AND DANTE WHAT DO YOU DO AT M-A? “I am the school psychologist at M-A. And that means that I work closely with students that are struggling at school and that [need] additional support to be able to get through the school day and ultimately to high school graduation. And there could be a variety of reasons for why a student may need more support in order to get through that high school stage.” HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING HERE? “This is my third year now here at M-A. The time goes so quickly.” WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF YOUR DOG? “Dante is his name. So, I noticed here at the high school level that his role is to really make the whole campus happy. So many of our students and staff really enjoy coming to Dante and asking if they could interact with him. And I usually say yes, of course they can. And they really get so much out of just being able to talk with him, pet him, walk him, and just hold him even. And I see what a big difference that has made for a number of our students and staff members here at school [...] He’s very friendly, and that helps too. I noticed that he does go to students to say hello. I have sat in meetings with parents and students who are feeling very emotional, or very stressed, and he seems to know because he’ll come out of hiding and go to them. And that was not something that I trained him for. That’s just something that he knows naturally.” WHAT CAUSED YOU TO BRING DANTE TO M-A IN THE FIRST PLACE? “He is technically a human service dog. I have two cochlear implants now, so I catch a lot more than I used to be able to. So he doesn’t work as

much for me, but my husband is profoundly deaf. He doesn’t hear anything at all, he doesn’t speak at all. He communicates solely through American Sign Language, which is different from me, so [Dante] provides a level of service for my husband that he doesn’t [provide for me]. But he will come up to my husband, and tag onto [him]. And if there’s a fire alarm, or even an emergency alarm that goes off in our building [...] he’ll wake us up. He’ll paw us awake.” WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE FURTHER IMPLEMENTATION OF SERVICE ANIMALS IN SCHOOLS? “I think there is serious value to that. You already see that some students are struggling with reading, especially reading out loud, and we’re seeing that just having a canine companion to read books to, can really increase the amount of time they spend reading out loud. Animals are so nonjudgmental, and so nonthreatening, so kids feel safer in terms of sharing information with a canine companion. And even just independent living skills, like we have the ILS program here, and sometimes they take turns walking Dante. It’s good for their health, and they also practice taking care of him, being gentle with animals, picking up after him. So it’s great for them to learn these functional skills, like taking care of another creature. Dante is very, very small, but I know that people worry about larger animals and making sure that they don’t unintentionally scare or hurt others. So, it has to be done responsibly. “A lot of teachers have ideas, and I’m sure students too, like wouldn’t it be great if we had a puppy day? For stress relief, maybe during finals week. So we could have that place to interact with such friendly, kind animals. That sounds like a great idea!”

by Caraline Albro



the life of a substitute teacher by Kate Flanagan

Artwork Noah Savelson

Ms. Lara


hen I was growing up, I had a favorite substitute teacher,” Lara explains, “I just remember she was always really, really nice; she was never mean. She would always make class fun even though she was just there temporarily. That’s kind of how I want to be as a sub.” About a year ago, Lara started subbing in the Sequoia Union High School District to gain more classroom and leadership experience while she completes a teaching credential program. Prior to being a substitute, she worked as an instructional aide at Menlo-Atherton and as the director of the summer program at Redwood City’s Police Activities League. “One thing I learned from being a substitute is [that] you should never assume that a student doesn’t want to learn. Just because they might be behaving in certain ways [...] doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t want to learn and they don’t want to be here. You can always approach them with kindness, being very nice.”

For Lara, establishing relationships with students is one of the most important parts of being a substitute. Since she previously worked at M-A, she has gotten to know students as an instructional aide and as a substitute. “You end up establishing relationships with students, even as a sub, because you might sub for them in biology but the next time you’ll get them in Spanish class. And so it’s really nice to build those relationships with the students. Even if you’re just a sub, you can still do it.” Being a substitute has provided Lara with an opportunity to manage a classroom without having to make the lesson plans. Since she wants to be a history teacher, she prefers subbing for the social sciences, but she is willing to sub for any subject (with the exception of P.E.). As part of classroom management, Lara has had to deal with behavioral issues — “standing up, walking out of the room, disappearing.” But, she admits, “That’s okay, because subs are usually fair game [for bad behavior].”

Remaining optimistic despite such behavioral issues is one of the biggest challenges Lara faces as a substitute. “The hardest part is just keeping a smile on your face, because sometimes, you know, you will get tested but you cannot back down,” she says. “So that’s all — just learning to not back down and smile no matter what.” When she gets her teaching credential, Lara wants to continue teaching high schoolers because she enjoys the content and believes, “It’s a moment in a lot of student’s lives where you can make an impact, a positive impact.” Lara has wanted to be a teacher ever since her own time in high school. Whether she is a student or a substitute, she enjoys being in the classroom, adding, “I really do like when I see my old students and they come up to me and they tell me how much they remember how much I helped them. And that lets me know that I’m going in the right direction.”

“Here’s the training: [...] Once you’re hired, they give you a pamphlet to read. You read the pamphlet: the do’s and the don’ts. That’s your training. The real training is - Franklin when you step in that class.”

Mr. Limaco

Mr. Franklin



imaco has been subbing for about two years in the Sequoia Union High School District while he works to become a history teacher. Growing up, he studied in the United States and at a Catholic private school in the Philippines, but he never thought of being a teacher — he imagined himself as either a doctor or an automobile designer. During his time in school, he vividly remembers his science teacher, who made him nervous and “was really, really hard.” When asked about his eventual decision to start teaching, Limaco explains, “I developed this continuous interest in history [because of] the analytical part of it.” As a result, he says, “Teaching became something I was willing to pursue.” Currently, he subs for all different subjects, but prefers to focus on the humanities. Over his two years of subbing, Limaco has come to realize that much of his experience as a substitute stems from the behavior of the students. His favorite part is when the “students are really well-behaved […] and doing the work,” but the hardest part is “trying to get them to listen to you.” Though he is only temporarily in the classroom, Limaco’s students remember him long after. He adds, “they have different reactions to me when they see me. Some get pissed off because I have to write a report and snitch on them.” As part of his job as a substitute, Limaco does have to write detailed reports. “There’s a lot of snitching but I make a lot of good remarks,” he says, stating that the job of being a substitute is analogous to “being a highly paid security guard.” Though he has been working as a substitute for several years, Limaco’s favorite memory was from the very beginning: “The principal’s secretary [Alicia Gonzalez] — she’s gone now — congratulated me after working here several months. She said, ‘excellent work.’”

lot of people think you go to college to be a substitute. If you go to college to be a substitute, you have no future aspirations of being successful,” says Franklin, a substitute at M-A. Even though subbing requires a college degree, he believes that students should not aspire to be substitutes, adding, “If anybody says, ‘I want to be a substitute teacher,’ [they] have no future aspirations.” After college, Franklin worked as an engineer at Hewlett-Packard for over 20 years before becoming a security officer, and, in 2007, a substitute teacher. When he first signed up to be a substitute, he didn’t expect the demand to be so high. “I’m working — I have to slow those people down,” he explains. “I thought when I started, ‘I’m probably lucky to get a job once every two weeks.’ I hit the floor runnin’! [...] And back in my day when I was your [age], I think I probably had one or two [substitutes] in my four years of high school.” His experience as an engineer has shaped his role as a substitute teacher, especially in the math and science classes. “What makes it more enjoyable is that I’m able to see things at a different angle, a different perspective, and I’m also able to say, ‘Wow, why didn’t I see that?’ Because when you teach, or when you assist, you learn more. That’s very important,” he states. Though he loves learning from the students and teaching them, Franklin says that he would never want to become an actual teacher. As a substitute, his role is to manage the class and keep the students on task — he does not have to teach or discipline them. “[If I] have a student who has poor behavior, I toss ‘em out — ‘Hey, you outta here!’” Franklin explains, “But the teacher has to work with that student to try to understand why that student acts this way [and has to] try to lift their grades up [and] see if they could try to work. I don’t have to work with you! [...] When it’s over, you guys are gone and I’m not coming back.”

This short-term commitment of being a substitute provides Franklin with what he describes as a “relaxing, no pressure” job that has flexible hours that work perfectly for him, as he still has his other job as a security officer. “The most difficult part of being a substitute is that you don’t have the authority of a teacher, and because of that, [students] have a tendency to feel they have a certain amount of freedom,” Franklin explains. “[The worst classes] are the ones who have two things that make it difficult — they have behavior [issues] and they don’t put the effort in [...] I’ve got to stay on top of them. I find that difficult.” Since he has subbed for so long in this area, he has gotten to know students and has seen them grow up, “from barely above [his] knee to adults.” He has seen them mature and grow from kindergarten to high school, and even if he doesn’t remember their names, he remembers their faces. “I see some who are actually very sharp, and I marvel at how they are. When I look back at my high school days, my perspective was, I was already an adult. So being amongst the high school students now — and at my age — to me, I gotta say, you’re still children. But I marvel how you grow and improve and your speech and demeanor changes.” The age difference between Franklin and his students is something he has struggled with as a substitute. He notes, “I have the mindset of being an adult, and yet, I’m talking to children who are not adults. So I have to tone it down and speak to them in their level and yet still remain adult.” Despite the difficulty, being with and interacting with the “young people” is one of the most enjoyable parts of subbing. He explains that, “It’s very humorous. The young people make me laugh; I make them laugh. It’s our interaction.” Franklin plans to continuing subbing in the future, as he finds the job 2525 very enjoyable.

Beach Guide by Michael Stark

Montara State Beach Bounded by the Santa Cruz Mountains in the north and south, Montara stands out as one of the more dramatic beaches with heavy surf and volatile weather patterns.

26th Avenue


On Santa Cruzâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s eastern shore between Moran Lake and Corcoran Lagoon, lies 26th Avenue Beach, a narrow sandy beach that features the one of the only beach breaks in Santa Cruz.

Four Mile Four miles from town, directly off of Highway 1, Four Mile State Beach is a popular beach both for UCSC students and local surfers.

The Point Pleasure Point in Santa Cruz is a well known spot among surfers and beachgoers alike, praised for its consistent waves and scenic views.



THE i IN INDIVIDUALISM by Z Bekemeyer and Daisy De Martini


aggie Collins, a junior at Menlo-Atherton, is a fashionista! Collins has found a way to express herself through her unique style. She is new to the fashion world, as she recently decided to start making and designing her own clothes. For Collins, fashion is an outlet for self-expression and a prideful sense of individualism.


“I want to do my own thing, and make my own clothes,” she states. Collins admirably drifts apart from the common style, and has the confidence and perseverance to make an outfit that doesn’t correlate with trends. She makes and designs her own clothes, without caring what others think of her. Part of what makes Collins so admirable is her way of

not letting negative comments directed towards her style and outfits affect her. “I take [some comments] more personally than others, but comments about what I’m wearing [are] definitely not [taken personally]!” Despite her enthusiasm, Collins admits she often runs into difficulties while making her clothes. “There are only so many different materials you can get. Like, they don’t sell pre-knit things. I have never sewed before, so I have to figure that out.” When asked to describe her style, Collins reveals that it’s “definitely trend-influenced.” She adds, “I really like trendy workwear, I guess you could call it that. I like blazers and trousers, but I like to have fun with it. Like I just got a pantsuit and I’m really obsessed with it.” Another thing that differentiates Collins is her ability to make something out of nothing. She finds low-priced clothing at thrift stores and incorporates it into an outfit that looks spectacular. Collins believes that fashion should be determined by “what you think looks good.” To her, real fashion is whatever you make it out to be. Collins lives by the theory that, “You can wear something totally weird, but if you’re feeling it, then that’s fashion. The shock of an outfit has a lot to do with it. The effect that the outfit has on other people is a big part of it too. It’s wearing something that makes you feel good.” Collins developed an interest in fashion in the fifth grade and has been pursuing it ever since. Every year, Collins’ perspective and relationship with fashion grows and she finds herself becoming more and more involved in the industry. She went to London this past summer and worked as an intern for a month at a fashion public relations firm. While she admits that the internship wasn’t hard to come by, the experience was a way for Collins to gain perspective on what she wanted her role to be in the industry. Collins found herself “way more into high fashion than just dressing cute.” As she became more immersed, Collins found an interest in designing her own clothes and was able to evolve her own style and set herself apart from other people.



hloë Benz is a senior at M-A and loves to write. Her short story “Genuine Imitation” was recently published in The Mark. The story focuses on a girl with autism and her personal experiences with her disorder. She started writing the piece in her creative writing class and she got the idea to submit it to The Mark from her friend. Benz doesn’t recall a particular instance that got her interested in writing; she just “started.” She adds that her story about autism “was a mix between two stories: ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’ and the TV show, ‘Touch.’” Benz “knows a lot about autism,” so she didn’t have that much trouble writing about such a difficult topic. Her older brother has Asperger Syndrome but it’s undetectable and very mild. She has also

seen a few movies with an autistic main character. Through all of her writing, Benz has developed a particular style. She explains, “It’s kind of like proper almost, in some stories. The autism story was proper mixed with childish almost because it is about a thirteen-year-old girl, it has to be on the immature side.” Benz encountered some struggles in the past with her writing. “I started [writing] this book like two years ago, I forgot when, but it takes place in 2048. It takes place in England. There is this girl and the whole thing is that they have this necklace that they get when they are born and there are only two in existence, and [her] partner has the other one. She is having this journey to find her partner and she doesn’t want to though because

she doesn’t want to give up her freedom of being herself. When writing that though, it was really hard. I got a lot of writers block. I haven’t touched the story for months.” Although Benz wants to be a film producer or director when she grows up, she also wants to continue writing. “I like the idea of being a published author just because I think it would be great to have people see the inside of my perspective of the world. I see the world as if I’m in a movie. There are cameras facing me all around and I have it all set up in my head, I just want to make it into a movie. I write books – that might help me do that. I could write a book about that, I guess [...] I want to be in the film industry, but I also want to have published works, writing-wise.” 29



ackson Raff, a junior at M-A, is an aspiring musician. Taking his childhood passion of singing and his newfound love of producing music, Raff recently created his first album and released it on SoundCloud. Though Raff “always dressed different from other people and did different stuff than other people,” music was always and continues to be the most important aspect of his life. “[Music] is inspirational, it gets me through the day,” he explains. No matter where he is, Raff always wears headphones to tune out the harsh realities of junior year. “I listen to music every day. I listen to music even if I am talking to someone in the halls,” he admits. By making his own album, Raff was able to solidify his love for music and accustom himself to the idea of producing it. His album “Lullabies” is just the first of many more to come. As accomplished as he felt when his album was finished and released, Raff felt that it wasn’t as professional as he had hoped it would be. He was concerned

that the low-quality microphone and the use of GarageBand would distract from the content and make the album less appealing to listeners; “I didn’t have the right equipment but I tried my best on it and yeah, I was proud of it.” His decision to make the album, however, was somewhat spontaneous. He explains, “I was like, ‘I’m going to make a mixtape’ and it was kind of out of nowhere. I always wanted to make music. I’ve always wanted to sing and rap and produce things and that was the thing I did.” Like any new musician, Raff ran into some problems when making his album. “I didn’t really want to watch videos. I wanted to figure it out and make stuff on my own. I bought this keyboard thing to make [sounds] with and I figured it out. It took like hours to just figure out one little thing,” Raff reveals. “The beats seem simple but they were hard to make. It’s easy for me now but before I didn’t want to learn [with help]. I wanted to learn by myself. “ Raff, with no hesitation, sees

himself going into a career that incorporates music in the future. He wants to be a singer or a music producer. Unfortunately, Raff has received judgment because of his music. “My friends usually joke around and say, ‘your album sucks!’ or something like that. But they’re joking. I don’t care. Judgment doesn’t really affect me … it’s their opinion. It’s one person’s opinion, it doesn’t make it yours. Like if they tell you their opinion, or they’re like, ‘oh, I don’t like this,’ they are telling you not to like it, they’re just saying that they don’t like it. I do my stuff in the future, people will hate on [me]. It’s just what happens. If someone is going to try and convince me to not do something I like to do, then that is stupid, I am going to keep doing it. If you want to do something and someone tries to convince you not to do it, you’re not just gonna not do it just because someone is like, ‘oh you shouldn’t do this.’ Overall, Raff believes: “If you want to do it, then do it. It makes you happy, why be sad to make someone else happy?”



essie Hazard, a freshman at M-A, takes pride in her makeup. She is the proud owner of her makeup account, @jcarvermakeup, on Instagram and her popularity is increasing day by day. Hazard’s short makeup tutorials highlight her unique sense of creativity and artistry in the field of makeup. When asked about her passion for makeup, Hazard expresses that she’s “always liked arts and crafts and loved expressing [her] creativity through drawing and painting as a kid.” As she got older, Hazard began watching makeup videos and quickly fell in love with “how artistic and creative the whole makeup process is.” She felt that this was the way to utilize her arts and crafts skills. She adds, “It started out as just a hobby — mainly because a bunch of my friends were all curious about makeup.” Unlike her friends, however, Hazard incorporated the art into her everyday routine and uses it as a way to set herself apart from others. “Whatever I am thinking or feeling at the moment is projected into whatever look I am doing, even if it’s not obvious or purposeful. I think it is a really awesome way to be different from others,” she states. And not only is makeup an outlet for artistry and self-expression, but it’s also a way to relieve stress. “I know this sounds very cliché, but when I do my makeup I don’t think about anything else, so it’s a great way to blow off some steam and relax or get away from a certain problem. It’s almost like a pause button on life,” she explains. “It is a way to convey my opinions, thoughts, or feelings. And at the most basic level, makeup creates a ‘thing’ for me. It’s something I’m super passionate about, and it is how I stand out from others.” When asked if she encountered any struggles in the past with her makeup, Hazard replied, “Most people, when I say I like makeup, don’t really take me seriously, or just assume that I am a ‘little girl’ who just likes to play with her mom’s makeup, which is really frustrating. I always feel very judged whenever I say that I like makeup, because most people assume that I like makeup because I am not confident with myself, or feel the need to look prettier.” Hazard does makeup because she thinks it’s fun. “Some of my family didn’t quite understand at first, and it was a little tricky because I wanted to experiment with makeup but they wouldn’t quite get why, and I didn’t want them to think that I was obsessed with how I look or extremely unconfident in myself. In fact, I will go days without makeup to school because I don’t do makeup just to look ‘more beautiful.’”

People often judge Hazard until they realize that she is not the stereotypical makeup-lover; she is not “an obsessed person.” Hazard doesn’t want to have her whole career focused on makeup. “I think as I’m a teenager and as a young adult I might pursue a makeup-related job, but

I don’t think I will let it be my entire future. I definitely think makeup will stay in my life for a long time, as a hobby, stress reliever, et cetera, but I do not want to shape my whole future around makeup.”



@themamark @themamark Visit for daily news

Volume VII Issue II December  


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