NOVEMBER 2011 Volume XXX Issue II
F E AT U R E S
ON THE WEB MHSTHEUNION .NET
E N T E R TA I N M E N T
STUDENT VOICE OF MILPITAS HIGH SCHOOL
Junior, senior prom combined BY YING LUO AND LEANN WOO
Junior Prom and Senior Ball are to be combined for the 2012-2013 school year, according to Activities Director Joanna Butcher. Combining the two dances will not only save money, but will also relieve stress on ASB, Butcher said. A joint dance would resolve the time conflict of Senior Ball falling on the weekend between the two weeks of AP testing, according to Butcher. The combined prom is to be held around late April instead. “Spring break and Junior Prom must be at least three or four weeks apart, and Senior Ball and Grad Night must also be at least two weeks apart,” Butcher said. “When you do the math and figure out when spring break is, that is the date [for Senior Ball].” A joint prom will also bring back the possibility of San Francisco as a prom location, Butcher said. More money could be spent on prom venues and other student activities such as Senior Picnic, she added. “If the juniors end up selling the combined prom tickets, then they will have that money to use to lower Senior Picnic and Grad Night prices because they have been getting to be too expensive,” Butcher said. As the new plan became known, students interviewed expressed their opinions about the idea of a combined junior and senior prom. None of the students interviewed said they were very enthusiastic about the change. “It sucks. It should be separated
because we wouldn’t want two classes together,” Junior Christon Oribello said. “We want to be able to experience this dance with our own class.” Sophomore Stefanie Dela Pena expressed similar concerns. Like many others interviewed, she said she wanted to have a prom exclusive to her own class. “I honestly don’t like it,” Dela Pena said. “The seniors should have their own night, and juniors should have their own.” Senior Ball is not currently exclusive to seniors as many believe, Butcher said. Combining the two dances would be a more logical alternative than restricting senior ball to only MHS seniors, Butcher reasoned. “I’m tired of seniors whining that senior ball is a senior-only event. If it were a senior-only event, then why are seniors allowed to invite freshmen?” Butcher asked. “It is not a senior-exclusive event, even though only seniors can buy tickets.” Another reason for combining prom is that junior classes have barely been able to make ends meet to pay for Junior Prom, Butcher said. Ticket sales for the entire franchise have been decreasing every year since 2008, according to Butcher. “When class of 2011 had Junior Prom, they barely made their minimum,” Butcher said. “They set their prices for 325 people, and they had sold 328 tickets. “Junior Prom is SEE PROM ON PAGE 2
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Trumpet players of the Milpitas High School Marching Band rehearse for the �eld competition at Folsom. The band went on to place seventh overall out of twenty schools, an excellent accomplishment for the students.
Marching band finishes on high note BY CINDY WU
MHS Marching Band placed high in competitions against schools around the Bay Area this fall, according to Music Director Christopher Kaldy. The band has participated in a total of six competitions this year during October and November, Kaldy said. The nearly 100-member MHS Marching Band is part of the 3A circuit which plays in field competitions, Kaldy said. In the first competition at Cupertino Tournament of Bands on October 8, the band placed second overall in its division, and percussion placed first, Kaldy said. "Overall we did pretty well stacked up against the other schools," Kaldy said. "We got to see everyone’s scores." The band’s performance theme this year is "The Life of Julius Caesar," subtitled Vendi, Vidi, Vici. This seven-and-a-half minute show gives
an "abbreviated history" of Julius Caesar’s dramatic life, Kaldy said. "Our drum majors, also our assistant conductors, play Julius Caesar and Cleopatra," Kaldy said. "The Color Guard is dressed up as gladiators, and the band members are just part of the army." The band placed fourth in its division at Gilroy on October 22 and placed first in its division at Dublin on October 29. On November 5 at Folsom, the band placed second in its division and overall placed seventh out of twenty schools, according to Junior Timothy Wan. "However, at Folsom, we got second to Granite Bay [High School], and they usually aren’t in our division," Junior Timothy Wan said. "They got placed with us because we were running a different circuit and they got plunked with us." On November 12, the band placed fourth in its division at Logan. The
band spent a lot of time this year preparing for the competitions, Drum Major Allan Tang said. Each individual section of the band, including brass, woodwinds, and percussion, frequently met after school to spend more time drilling, Tang added. "We spent a lot of time rewriting a lot of the drills," Tang said. "We would go over thirty minutes to an hour of our normal practice time just to fix drill issues." The band’s last competition this season was on November 19. As the competition season comes to an end, many members are looking forward to next year’s season. “The most enjoyable thing I did was Marching Band this year,” Freshman Shivani Pravala said. After the competition season, the band switches to concert band music, rehearsing music for festivals and a concert at MHS in the spring.
Turnitin introduces online grading tool L������ F��//THE UNION
Freshman Sarina Bolden cycles her way to success during Link Crew’s endurance test. Bolden won the grand prize of two Chris Brown tickets.
Link Crew hosts challenge; promotes cancer awareness BY LORDESA FOK
A fundraising event to help raise awareness of breast cancer was held on October 20 during lunch on the green. The fourth period Link Crew class planned, organized and executed the event, according to Student Activities Director Joanna Butcher. The event consisted of an endurance test, with the grand prize being two tickets to a Chris Brown concert that Saturday. The price of admission to the endurance test was $10 in exchange for a wristband that would allow its wearer to take part
in the competition. Eight students participated in the contest, and Link Crew students walked around campus during lunch, collecting donations for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. “This is the first year of the event, and we were trying to get as many people involved as possible to increase the amount of dollars that we collected for the Susan G. Komen Foundation,” Butcher said. “We raised almost $350 in one lunch period.” Contestants had to stand on one SEE AWARENESS ON PAGE 2
BY HANNA TRAN AND DYLAN LIBRANDE
Turnitin.com, a website that allows teachers to review and grade student papers online, is being implemented into the Milpitas High School curriculum this school year, Principal Kenneth Schlaff said. He cited a new emphasis on writing across all classes as the reason for the change. One of the most important features of the site is its plagiarism detector, Schlaff said. Turnitin scans 150 million papers in its database as well as billions of web sites to determine the amount of content a student copied. Schlaff also noted that the program corrects grammar and allows the teacher to bubble in comments directly to the paper. “All disciplines are responsible for writing, but teachers who don’t teach English aren’t able to grade at such a high level,” Schlaff said. “It takes the worry out of a content area
teacher. In essence, it grades the paper for them in terms of plagiarism and other things.” Associate Principal Brian McGarry said that the real benefit of using Turnitin is that it enables teachers to give better feedback to their students. Because the plagiarism checker is so thorough, he said, the teacher is free to focus on the student’s content. “By automatically marking up papers, it really helps facilitate grading,” McGarry said. “Teachers don’t have to handle the trivial things, and are able to give much more detailed assessments of student’s writings.” History Teacher Ann Mekis said that she had approached McGarry multiple times and asked for Turnitin to be used at MHS, since it is such a common tool at other schools and universities. Among many of the reasons she listed, she said that the program makes it easier for teachers to grade since it takes a lot of the stress out of grading.
“I had asked him multiple times. I [wanted] this at our school,” Mekis said. “I love it. It’s a great program that helps a writer’s progress without a lot of stress. We don’t have to worry about spelling and grammar.” Junior Shawn Nguyen said in an online interview that he had to turn in a report about Ellis Island or Angel Island using Turnitin for Mekis’s U.S. History class. He explained that he would have preferred to turn in his assignment in person as opposed to online so that he would receive instant feedback and personalized comments. “I would like to see the teacher make corrections on paper. It is easier to get feedback from your teacher if you have the paper right in front of you after he or she has handed it back,” Nguyen stated. “I did not think the grading was personalized since some teachers just use the generic comments as opposed to writing their own.”
THE UNION NEWS NOVEMBER 2011
English vocabulary books go missing BY RAMANDEEP TUMBER
When English Teacher Nirmala George went looking for certain vocabulary workbooks to use in her sophomore English classes, she realized that a large number of the workbooks had disappeared. Altogether, nearly 100 workbooks are missing from English Teacher Thu Ngo’s classroom where they were being kept, according to Ngo. The English department does not have the money to replace the workbooks since they were bought with a fund that no longer exists, Ngo said. In place of the books, teachers can use alternate teaching material, such as photocopied packets or different books, Ngo said. “Losing the workbooks doesn’t hurt us budget wise, it just means we have less to work with,” Ngo said. “If anyone has a book they need to return, they should bring it to me or to [Textbook Technician Carley] Revino in the J2 book room,” The workbooks have been disap-
pearing for two to three years now, Ngo said. Because many students who may have taken them home have already graduated, Ngo has been posting messages on Facebook asking anyone with workbooks to return them. However, she said has only received about five back. “The vocabulary workbooks slowly began to disappear. At some point I realized I only had about five books left when I had checked out over 100 books,” Ngo said. “I don’t know if they were taking them home to finish the assignments so they could just goof off in class, or if they needed more time to finish the assignments.” Principal Kenneth Schlaff said he was not aware of the situation with the missing workbooks. When dealing with school property, teachers should have a way to manage the school material, Schlaff said. “There would most likely not be any consequences, but an investigation would have to be conducted,” Schlaff said. Schlaff went on to
say that this type of investigation is part of the standard disciplinary procedure for teachers and that they are typically not punished for lost books. Junior Alfred Appiah, a former student of Ngo’s, said that Ngo did not allow the books to leave the classroom. Since the first and second semester final exams included of vocabulary from the workbooks, he said he would not be surprised if students took the books home to study. Some students who were unable to come after school to complete their work may have just taken the books as well, Appiah said. “I think some people stole them to finish their vocabulary lessons,” Appiah said. “Ms. Ngo asked for the books back, but I think people were too embarrassed to return them.” One vocabulary workbook is $9, according to Revino. She said she does not know if the workbooks will be replaced. In past years, Revino has had to fine teachers for missing books, she said.
AWARENESS: Students compete for tickets FROM PAGE 1
foot and touch their noses at the same time until the competition was narrowed down to five people, according to Librarian LeighAnn McCready, a judge at the event. Next, those five students were told to hold a textbook straight out in front of them, and participants were eliminated if their arms dropped below a certain height, McCready continued. When only two people were left, a tricycle obstacle course ensued, with the victor of the race, Freshman Sarina Bolden, winning the Chris Brown tickets. Student participants had various reasons for joining the competi-
tion. “My teacher bought an admission ticket for the contest and asked me to compete in her place,” Junior Vita Vea said. “If I won, she would let me keep the tickets.” Junior Megan Garcia also was drawn to partake in the competition, but for a different reason. Garcia said that she was there to win the Chris Brown tickets, but she had fun competing against her friends. McCready, who is herself a breast cancer survivor, said that the event was a success because it brought awareness and acknowledgement of breast cancer in a nonthreatening way. “We’ve made incredible progress thanks to medical advancements,” McCready said.
“All of those advancements make a huge difference, but we wouldn’t have those advancements without awareness.” McCready’s family has a long history of breast cancer; her aunt and grandmother also suffered from breast cancer, according to McCready. Having breast cancer makes you appreciate life in a different way, McCready said. Friends and family become more important than work, she continued. “I want to enjoy the life that I have while it’s here,” McCready explained. “You never know when it’s going to change. I try to approach life positively because I don’t want to dwell or be in the negative.”
EYE ON CAMPUS
L��� D�������//THE UNION
A banner, listing a number of sports teams, hangs in front of the large gym. Other banners are located near the library, leadership, and of�ce.
Banners add ‘feeling of unity’ BY LILLIAN KAO
New banners were placed throughout the campus around the middle of October, according to Principal Kenneth Schlaff. The banners — an idea devised by the art teachers and Schlaff — were created to help beautify the environment, according to Schlaff. The eight vinyl banners were designed by Digital Business Academy Teacher Mitch Yanoska, according to Schlaff. He and Yanoska have been working on the idea of adding banners to the campus ever since it was proposed around the middle of last year, Schlaff said. “[It’s] for an enhancement of the environment,” Schlaff said. “It shows that we’re a community, just like you would have when you enter a city, that these are the things that are going on at Milpitas High School.” These blue and gold signs were designed using Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop, according to Yanoska. He began the process of creating the banners by making several drafts to give Schlaff an idea
of what the signs would look like. From there, the designs would be modified based on Schlaff’s ideas, Yanoska said. “I went around campus taking pictures of the buildings the signs were going to be on,” Yanoska said. “Then, I made a design in Adobe and put them into images. He sat down, looked at it, and told me what he liked and didn’t like; he knew YANOSKA exactly what he wanted.” The banners give a feeling of community and unity, according to Yanoska. The addition of the banners to the campus also gives it a professional and clean look, Yanoska said. “The banners almost give it a look of a college campus,” Yanoska said. “[I hope] the banners will give students pride in their campus and make them proud of how the campus looks. When they walk by, they’ll know the campus is represented well.”
Debate duo wins first place BY PRISCILLA PARK
T������ L��//THE UNION
Senior Stefanie Pati (right) hosts the Halloween Costume Contest near the satellite kitchen. Seniors Jason Chou, Danny Dang, Steven Ngo, and Brandon Phan are wearing costumes of characters from the popular PC video game Minecraft. Cubes and “diamond swords” in hand, they won the category for Best Group Costume.
PROM: Merged dance to be held late April FROM PAGE 1
not a moneymaker; it ends up being that it doesn’t really even cover its expenses.” Combined prom is a great idea, according to Junior Class Adviser Bridget Hall. It will not only take pressure off of senior class advisers and officers but also reduce expenses for both the school and students, Hall added. “I think it has the potential to be more lavish,” Hall said. “The money that is saved from joint prom could be used to throw a more extravagant
dance for both classes.” Sophomore Class Adviser Letta Meyer agreed with this sentiment. It’s a win-win situation, especially for the senior class officers who will have less to stress about, Meyer said. “Most of the schools that I know of have combined prom," Meyer said. “We were kind of the ones that were oddballs having two." Junior Class President Pilar Ferguson said she slipped back and forth between both sides. She decided that combined prom was a good idea after hearing the details
behind the decision, she added. “You combine two classes ,you get this huge venue, you get so much of a prettier place,” Ferguson said. “I don’t see the negatives.” Combined prom will not change because of complaints, Meyer said. Class advisers and administration have confirmed that the two proms will be combined despite general negative feedback from students. “Honestly, the first couple of years may be a little rough, but I wouldn’t say the end product won’t be great,” Meyer said. “I think it’ll bring the school together as a whole more.”
Seniors Ginevra Scherini and Zoe McCracken won first place in Parliamentary Debate at the Coast Forensics League (CFL) fall debate #2 tournament. It was held on October 15, according to Speech and Debate Advisor Charles Schletzbaum. The pair prepared for the debate by reading The Economist and Times Magazine, Scherini said. In Parliamentary debate, teams are given a topic and an arguing position 20 minutes beforehand. No case preparation is required ahead of time, Scherini said. “The most challenging part of giving a speech [during the debate] is organizing my thoughts and convincing the judge of my argument,” Scherini said. “Even if you have a lot of good points, if you can’t clearly express them while speaking, then your argument becomes weak.” The two teammates thought they lost all the rounds they competed in. However, they both felt relaxed, happy, satisfied, and proud after winning the debate, Scherini said. “[I was] completely surprised because I thought we lost all rounds,” Scherini said. “We were rusty because we haven’t debated since last year, but winning made me want to prepare for more debates.” Scherini and McCracken were each presented with a trophy, and the pair earned the debate team a Wild Card for winning. The Wild
Card benefits the team as a whole because it allows for an extra team to compete at the state qualifiers debate tournament held later in the year, Schletzbaum said. “The wild card gives our school an extra slot into state qualifiers,” Schletzbaum said. “We are now able to take 7 teams instead of 6.” Scherini and McCracken are one of the team’s strongest debate pairs, according to Schletzbaum. Both
“The most challenging part of giving a speech is organizing my thoughts and convincing the judge of my argument.” ������� �������� have skill and experience, Schletzbaum said. “[Scherini and McCracken] have a lot of potential,” Schletzbaum said. “It really depends on how psyched they are for the debate whether or not they will win.” This season marks the second year Scherini and McCracken have been partners for Parliamentary Debate, according to McCracken. This year is their fourth in Speech and Debate. “I joined Speech and Debate because I have always been interested in public speaking,” McCracken said. “I was even once interested in being a lawyer.”
THE UNION EDITORIAL NOVEMBER 2011
CORRECTION: In our last issue, the editorial critiqued the administration for being responsible for low school staf�ng. We would like to make it clear that the Milpitas Uni�ed School District is responsible for the number of staff members.
EDITOR I A L : The Opinion of The Union
Turnitin fails to address root problem: students feel it necessary to plagiarize We, The Union, would like to address a website now being used by some teachers: turnitin.com, a website that checks for plagiarism. Students submit their work through the website, and in doing so allow the website to run checks through millions of other files uploaded to its database. It also browses the Internet for content matches to the uploaded file. While Turnitin attempts to catch students who do not write their own work, a more important issue is why the website is necessary in the first place. Teachers should be qualified enough to notice when a freshman copies a graduate student’s thesis off of Google. The deeper issue at hand is why students even feel it is necessary to plagiarize. Most students know that when they plagiarize, they are cheating themselves of an opportunity to learn. Students may be motivated to plagiarize by lack of interest in school, shame of struggling in subjects, and pressure to succeed academically. If this is the case for students at MHS, teachers should work to create an environment that does not make the students feel pressured to cheat. Teachers who feel passionately about their subject tend to teach in a way that motivates their students to learn.
As more teachers on campus start to use the new website, more students will be required to turn in their work through Turnitin. These uploaded documents will become part of a huge database of work that Turnitin references to check for plagiarism. Students who do not wish to allow their work to be used by Turnitin might not be able to do so because the teachers might make Turnitin mandatory for their grade. This raises the question: why should students be required to forfeit their exclusive right to their writing in order to get a grade in a class? We recognize the positive effects of Turnitin. It does little harm to those who are honest with their work, and may discourage students from plagiarizing. However, this program may simply cause students to find new ways to plagiarize, and it does not solve the root problem of why students plagiarize. What prevents students from asking their friends to write their essays for them? While Turnitin does partially solve plagiarism, it creates more problems related to the rights of students. Once the school focuses on finding better techniques to address plagiarism such as engaging students and relieving the pressure to cheat, Turnitin will become unnecessary.
L ETTER TO TH E EDITOR
Cutting in lunch lines inconvenient Lunch time seems to be getting shorter because of the slow process of buying lunch. The lunch lines at the satellite kitchen move an inch every five minutes. Many issues contribute to this snail pace process, but the most prominent one is the lunch cutters. They bunch up like seagulls at the front of the line begging to have their money taken in exchange for food. I know they do this because they don’t want to wait, but they are the cause to this slowness! If they would just wait in line politely, the line would move smoother. Those who already wait in line should stand up for themselves. I’m tired of everyone just letting it go. The worst part is when those who complain about cutters encourage their friends to cut when they let them in line. If this wasn’t annoying enough, students also have to get to club
meetings or makeup tests! By the time we get our lunch the bell rings, and some teachers don’t let their students eat during SSR. Because of this, we’re basically wasting our lunch money. There really needs to be more supervision. If the penalty was more severe than detention, I’m sure nobody would dare to cut. They should even go as far as assigning Saturday school to these delinquents. Another addition that could make the lines run smoother is organization by food. People take quite a while deciding what they want at the window, and then the lunch workers have to run around to grab the food while handling the money. If the windows sold specific foods each, there would not be so much busy work.
Class of 2012
he Union is a student-run publication that is partially funded by local businesses and private citizens. The patrons listed below have demonstrated their generosity by extending both moral and �nancial support to our newspaper for the 2011-2012 school year. The Union staff would like to thank them for their patronage and encourage others to contribute. If you are interested in becoming a patron ($25 donation), please contact our Business Manager. Allied Waste Services of Santa Clara County Neal P. Swann, D.D.S. Custom Drywall inc. Denny and Marianne Wersgerber Commonwealth Central Credit Union David Schymeinsky O.D. (Milpitas Family Eyecare) Mike & Nancy Mendizabal The Librande Family Mary Kay De Guzman Thriving Life Care of Milpitas Dixon Laundry
EDITOR I A L : The Opinion of The Union
Administration should discuss policies with class officers before student uproar We, The Union, feel that the administration should take into account student opinion before introducing changes that directly and substantially affect campus life. The trend in the past two years seems to be that the administration institutes a widely unpopular new policy, and then the students feel it is their responsibility to protest and negotiate, with the ultimate result being a reversal in the change. This was shown in the attempts to change the location of Grad Nite for the class of 2012 and the graduation ceremony for the class of 2011. Such a process expresses inconstancy and creates a climate of negative feelings toward the administration, both of which should be avoided not by a refusal to listen to the students, but by consulting with the students through the ASB officers before announcing a potentially inflammatory change. The administration clearly cares about student opinions enough for them to be an important factor in its decision-making. Otherwise, the Grad Nite and graduation changes, each of which had a substantial rational basis, would have held up under the weight of the seniors’ disapproval. Since popularity is a concern, administration should begin the process of negotiation with the class officers in the first stages of a decision . Generally, students have a conservative attitude toward their privileges; they usually oppose limitations on the freedom to do things the way they have been done. So, for any change that affects the students, administrators should start by talking to class officers or using a similar method to gauge its potential popularity. This would save valuable time and much ill feeling.
We commend the administration’s decisions to listen to the students and change back Grad Nite and graduation ceremony. However, the fact that the students had to take the issue to the administration immediately made the administration seem an enemy in the eyes of many students. This could have been prevented by communication with the students through the class officers. Such a method especially applies when the issue at stake has to do with student’s freedoms or privileges. One issue the administration is in favor of is the combination of Junior Prom and Senior Ball. Students have so far expressed distaste for or downright rejection of the idea. Administrators support the change because it is a way to keep class spending and possibly ticket prices down, but to most upperclassmen, having an exclusive dance for each class, as the standard high school traditions dictate, is what matters. Especially since the senior class has gained confidence from changing the location of Grad Nite back to Southern California, there may be student petitions or protests on the horizon. Both the administration and the student body should carefully consider any controversial changes together. The mixed messages sent when the administration announces a policy and then decides to retract its decision must be avoided. The ability to negotiate shows healthy cooperation between the students and the school officials, so the school should communicate before students have to force it. Administration must recognize that all controversial decisions come with consequences.
Alan L. Grimm, D.D.S. Papa Murphy’s Take ‘N’ Bake Pizza Jerry H. Glass, D.D.S. Over 30 years in Milpitas.
S T U D E N T V O I C E O F M I L P I TA S H I G H
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STA FF L���� C������� L��� D������� Editors-in-Chief
D���� L������� • News Editor Y��� L�� • Asst. News Editor B������� G������ • Op-Ed Editor N����� N� • Asst. Op-Ed Editor P�������� P��� • Features Editor M����� L���� • Asst. Features Editor Y-D�� B�� • Sports Editor C���� T��� • Asst. Sports Editor Z�� M�C������ • Entertainment Editor T���� T��� • Asst. Entertainment Editor K��� J���� • Lifestyle Editor B���� K��� • Spread Editor R�������� T����� • Asst. Spread Editor T������� P��� • Copy Editor L������ F�� • Copy Editor R������ H����� • Asst. Copy Editor H���� T��� • Web Editor A����� V�� • Asst. Web Editor T������ L�� • Photo Editor G���� L� • Asst. Photo Editor L����� L���� • Business Manager A����� T��� • Asst. Business Manager L������ K�� • Ad Manager C�������� F��� • Asst. Ad Manager T���� T��� • Reporter A��� T�� • Reporter C���� W� • Reporter L���� W�� • Reporter
THE UNION OP-ED NOVEMBER 2011
4 QUESTION OF THE MONTH: WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO MOST ON THANKSGIVING BREAK?
CINDY NGU, Freshman
SIDNEY LE, Sophomore
WINNIE YU, Junior
GUS ESTEBAR, Freshman
CALVIN YAN, Senior
I am mostly looking forward to hanging out with my family and my friends because I haven’t seen them for so long.
I want to get at this one girl who is going to be at this one place because I really want to get at her.
I am going to hang out with friends. Honestly, everyone has been overwhelmed with so much work that we have not had any time to get together.
I am looking forward to eating. I will also be doing homework and catching up on sleep.
I can achieve things that I want for my goal. It’s a dream. I want to achieve things that I like. Everything.
I am looking forward to sleeping late at night, not having homework, and of course, family. I want to hang out with them because they live far away.
I am looking forward to working on my college applications.
AP credits not always accepted by colleges It is common for students to take many Advanced Placement classes in high school. Some students take as many AP classes as their schedules allow and spend hours doing homework and studying for tests. Students invest a great deal of time in these classes; however, the reason for this hard work is not so much pure interest in the subject as it is earning college credits with a passing AP score. When taking courses in college, students must not only pay a fee for the actual course, they must also pay several hundred dollars for college textbooks. Since college tuition and fees are rising, students are looking for opportunities to earn college credits without actually having to take the course on campus, which is much less expensive.
But think about it. Are all AP classes worth taking solely for the reason of lower costs for college credit? Many students are not aware of how many college credits are given for AP courses. The amount and type of credits depends specifically on the AP subject, the AP score, the specific university, and the CINDY student’s major. WU UCs usually give college credits for any passing AP score of three or higher. Passing an AP test generally does not eliminate the requirement to take the course if it relates to your major. However, the AP score can earn you elective credit or count
towards general education. Specifically, for the CSU system, students who have completed AP exams with a score of three or higher can receive up to 6 units of college credit for each exam. Private universities (Ivy League, Stanford, liberal arts colleges) have higher requirements and often simply do not acknowledge or give credit for many AP exam scores. Ivy League schools require a score no lower than four in order to be granted credit for the AP class. It is therefore advisable that before taking a class, you make sure that the college you are interested in will recognize AP classes and scores. This will help to avoid getting “ripped off” by the workload of AP classes if you are taking them only for college credits, since there’s no point in taking tons of AP classes if you must retake them in college.
Supplementary English electives desirable Hopefully, by next year, when I start the grueling process of applying for colleges, I will have some idea of what I actually want my career to be. MHS currently offers an array of math and science classes to inspire students to become the future engineers who will build towering skyscrapers, or the next budding doctors who will find the elusive cure to cancer. However, when it comes to English, MHS has a deficit of electives for students. As most students bumble through their high school careers, the only classes that they take related to English are the four required courses, namely English 1, 2, 3, and 4, or perhaps the advanced versions of these classes. For most, these classes succeed in building a strong foundation in composition and literature that will help students get through their everyday lives, especially during those crucial reading and writing sections of the SAT. It also provides a structure for the English department to meet the California requirement for teaching the different types of composition:
business letters, persuasive and re- nity to further delve into the subflective essays, and research papers. jects that their core English classes But do these core classes really sati- had originally introduced. A student ate the minds of students who are wishing to polish his essay writing truly passionate about pursuing a skills could take an essay writing career in English? course, and a student interested We as students are indeed ex- in Shakespeare could spend more posed to the gamut of time reading his poems English in these classes, and plays. After all, aren’t but that’s just it. We our core English classes merely get a taste of the supposed to spark an different options that interest in English in the wide world of English our minds and inspire has to offer. us to dig deeper into the Creative writing was subject? definitely a welcome Filling one period of addition to our curricuthe day with an elective lum this year, offering a focused on reading or chance for students to writing would help boost MARISA devote an extra class peand refine a student’s LOUIE riod to promoting imagiEnglish abilities. The nation in writing. In takintroduction of these ing more than one English-related classes on campus would also help class per day, students spend more students choose a future career time analyzing literature, learning path in the subject. The potential new vocabulary, and improving benefits of having more English their quality of writing. electives are promising, and the If the school were to offer a larger only way to see them in action is variety of English electives, then to take the first step and introduce students would have the opportu- those classes to the students.
Combined prom financially beneficial, Traditional dances provide memories; eliminates exclusivity among classes clashing interests causes inefficiency The Senior Prom and AP testing schedule conflict has long been debated between students and the school, but a new proposal might finally solve the problem: combining both Senior and Junior Prom. With the union, both juniors and seniors would be allowed to attend the combined prom, creating a more flexible and less stressful prom for students. First and foremost, the joint prom would solve the clash with the dreaded AP testing week. Senior Prom has to be scheduled at least three weeks after Junior Prom and two weeks before Grad Night, according to ASB Director Joanna Butcher. Currently, Senior Prom is just nestled between two other major events. If Junior and Senior Prom were combined, the date of Senior Prom could be shifted to an earlier time, thus alleviating some of the stress for AP students who must study and pick out their new dress or tuxedo at the same time. A combined prom would also save money for the junior and senior classes. Some of the funds that would have gone toward Junior Prom could be directed towards other senior activities, such as Senior Picnic. This would allow juniors to pick a different place for their senior picnic, other than Saratoga Springs, or make ticket prices lower. A single prom would be more efficiently planned as well. Because it is one of the most important times of the year, the senior ASB class has to go through great lengths to create the perfect dance for the graduating class. With both the junior and senior ASB class working toward this goal, the workforce is greater, which would allow events to be
planned more effectively and efficiently. The senior ASB class would also be relieved of the some of the stress of planning prom and perhaps be actually able enjoy what they have worked so hard on. Some students worry that if they cannot go junior year, there won’t be a Junior Prom next year for them. With a joint prom, if you miss the prom for whatever reason, there will always be another one next year, as combining both proms removes the implied class restriction. With a split prom, it has become somewhat of a necessity that you must go to Junior Prom as a junior and Senior Prom as a senior. A joint prom, in ANDREW contrast, would allow you VAN to choose between going to both proms or either, thereby removing the obligation of having to go in your “proper” year. Senior Prom itself is already not an exclusive event. Even with the current split prom system, many underclassmen already go to Senior Prom, so why not combine the two proms into one? The more people who attend an event, the more lively and fun it will be. Seniors might argue that Senior Prom, as implied by its name, should be exclusive to only seniors. Regardless if underclassmen attend the combined prom or not, Seniors, it’s the last dance. You’d go regardless of the underclassmen, right?
Every spring, juniors and seniors go through a spirited fervor as they prepare for the biggest moment in high school: prom. Although proms are just dances, they are quite exciting events, and students spend a lot of their time preparing for them. However, this sacred ritual is being threatened by the combination of Junior Prom and Senior Ball, which the school is currently considering for future years. Although the two dances are only a month apart, combining them would simply create problems, not solve them. Juniors and seniors would have to collaborate on where prom should ANNA be held, how much it TRI should cost, what the theme should be, etc., and it is more than likely that the two classes would clash interests. I am not saying that a combination of the two would be bad. Who would not want school unity? The more the merrier, right? But by combining the two classes, there would be double the number of people and twice the disorganization; in such a crowded place, catastrophes are more likely to occur. If there was only one prom every year, there would be no distinction between attending it junior year and attending it senior year. We want to create new memories senior year, not repeat the same experience a year later. Of
course, the location, theme, and decorations would change, but they would be nearly identical. There would be no point in going both years. Juniors who want to save money can easily decide to go their senior year. Seniors might choose to not go because they would have already gone the previous year. Or, worst of all, some might not even attend, and all the planning and money that went towards prom would have gone to waste. We want to attract students to the dance, not repel them. Also, seniors should have an amazing final dance for their last year at Milpitas High; it should be distinct and different from any other social event. Senior Ball is the culmination of students’ four years in high school, and having a last dance should bring together the senior class. If the seniors have to share the prom with juniors, it will not provide the same unique, senior-bonding atmosphere. Either way, not everyone ends up going to prom. In the end, it is just a dance, and we do not need to attend it to have fun. But if we did not have such events, school would just be boring. There should be opportunities to have fun and make memories. People can choose whether or not to go, but the option to go should still be there. And I believe that the best option would be two separate dances. Despite the upsides to a combined dance, things should be kept the way they are. Why mess with an MHS tradition? I have not heard any student complain about how there are two separate proms. I can, however, imagine the objections and discontent among the student body if that fact changes.
THE UNION OP-ED NOVEMBER 2011 TOP TEN: SIGNS THAT THANKSGIVING DINNER HAS GONE WRONG
10 Food is missing 9
You’re third in line at Walmart
You’re working at Walmart
Grandma wasn’t only sleeping
Everyone is wearing handcuffs
Too many trick-or-treaters
Your pet tastes too dry
Your tofurkey has bones in it
You’re the turkey!
Political awareness lacking; students ignorant of news Let’s join the tea party! It sure if they do care at all. sounds fun! Maybe while we’re at This is evident from how student it, we can stop by Godfather’s Pizza knowledge of the Republican party and take advantage of that “9-9-9” and its affairs goes little beyond deal. Unfortunately, the number of “George Bush sucks.” Just recently, students who understand these ref- when I asked students about who erences is about the same number their favorite Republican presiof students who read the opinion dential candidate was, the replies section of the Union: I received ranged from close to none. The reason “Who are they?” to for this ignorance is that “Sarah Palin is hot.” I a majority of the school admit the latter of the is oblivious to politics, two I threw in for fun, especially those that are but the fact remains that contrary to the students’ beyond the few serious liberal ideals. answers published in the This problem arises previous edition of The because the students Union, no one knew who don’t know much about the Republican presipolitics to begin with; dential candidates were. ZOE they know little more I am sorry, but that is just MCCRACKEN about Obama than that pathetic. he owns a dog. What is I can only sit here and even more frustrating is the little pray to the Over-Soul that this politknowledge students possess is of- ical ignorance is a result of students ten accompanied by unquestioned being too young to vote. Hopefully, liberal beliefs. once they reach the golden age of This school’s population has very 18, they will visit the voting booths little room for opinions that do rather than the closest scratch card not fall under the liberal umbrella. retailer. On top of that, it would be Besides the rare few Republicans, nice if they were to educate themeveryone at this school is a Demo- selves on both sides before taking crat, even though they may not a stance as a voter. Our founding know what that means. This creates fathers fought for our right to vote a closed-minded environment that so that we can voice our opinions, fails to welcome not only outside not just regurgitate what our peers ideas, but knowledge. That’s right, and parents foist upon us. And yes, students at MHS don’t even bother I just made the cliché reference to with the events that take place out- the founding fathers. Sue me, if you side their own little political bubble, know what that even means.
Extracurricular requirements discriminate Top colleges want the top Even financial aid is connected students. But because there is a to extracurricular activities. There plethora of straight-A students may be plenty of scholarships and with high SAT scores, colleges grants available, but they all come must also consider extracurricular with a catch. activities. This is troublesome for Scholarships, for one, are given students from lower-income to students who have made families because they often can’t outstanding achievements, many afford the time or money that of which involve extracurriculars. extracurricular activities If students aren’t require. able to participate Many extracurriculars in certain activities (i.e. sports, music, art) because of financial require skills that take issues, they are not years to perfect. During likely candidates for this time, families invest the scholarships. hundreds of dollars and And while grants hours to foster these are specifically given talents. Lower-income to students with families, however, financial need, these usually cannot afford students must first YING the same opportunities; be accepted into the LUO they cannot pay for onecollege. However, hundred-dollar tennis because the more rackets or thirty-dollarsselective universities per-hour piano lessons. And yet, emphasize extracurricular these talents are exactly what activities so heavily, students college admissions officers look from lower-income families have for in applications. lower chances of qualifying if their
extracurriculars are weaker. The simple fact is that the competition to get into good colleges is pitted against students from lower-income families. Even in MHS, student activities can be too expensive for many to afford. Sports and performing groups require participants to spend money for equipment and costumes, which can be costly. Club fees, while only a few dollars each, add up quickly as well. These all prove to be roadblocks for students who come from poor backgrounds, but still want to attend prestigious universities. Well-rounded students should be judged for their academic and extracurricular capabilities rather than for the money their parents dole out. Universities should take these disadvantages into consideration during the admission process to balance things out. These disadvantages are not the students’ faults; they just go to show that money talks in America.
Stall doors broken; sanitation questionable Bathrooms are a basic need for two bathroom doors so that the every student and faculty member students can quickly and efficiently on campus. As such, the school use the bathroom does not seem provides facilities for everyone like a difficult or expensive problem to meet their needs. Generally, to fix. the bathrooms at our school are Aside from the issue with the adequate in this capacity: there bathroom stall doors, students are a sufficient number of toilets, cause almost all the other problems filled soap dispensers, and paper with the restroom. Every time towels. However, I have I walk into the boys’ been told that there are bathroom during lunch some minor issues with or passing period I am the girls’ E building met with a large line of bathroom. Some of the students, waiting to use stalls are not working the stalls. However, most properly; one of the stalls of these students could does not have a door and be using the urinals on another, the lock does instead. By refusing to do not function. so, the students clog up No one wants the bathroom and make to use stalls with things more difficult BENJAMIN malfunctioning or than they should be. So GARDNER nonexistent doors, the question is why bring reducing the number of this up? The reason is available toilets. Further simple; many of my male exacerbating this issue is the high counterparts complain about the traffic of students that use the E lines in the bathrooms, when they building bathroom, the bathroom are causing the problems. with the newest facilities. Certainly It also puzzles me as to why one can see the logic: not enough student want to use the stalls when stalls and too many students creates they frequently urinate all over the an inconvenient situation for many. floor. Students also find time to stuff I know that the district has to deal toilet paper in the sinks, so they will with the current financial crisis overflow on to the floor. This makes and an ensuing lack of financing, some of the sinks unusable, creating but replacing the bathroom doors long lines to wash your hands needs to be a top priority. Replacing and discourages students from
maintaining healthy sanitation. With all the urine on the floors, standing in lines quickly becomes a rather unpopular proposition. The current sanitary state of the boys’ bathroom is despicable, and a small group of students are guilty. Of course none of the things I’ve described are true for everyone, but it’s these few students that ruin the bathrooms for everyone else. To them, I’d like to say: Grow up! If this was your bathroom at home, you would not treat it the same way. To those students that see others committing these acts of stupidity: please step in and stop them from destroying the bathrooms. With this abuse now in mind, I think it is reasonable that the school and district have not made the necessary repairs to the bathrooms because we, the students, abuse the school’s facilities. If some of us would accept a little more responsibility in our lives, then the school would be more likely to comply with the students’ demands. Granted, the main facility issue is in the girls’ bathroom and all the things I have described occurred in the boys’ bathroom, but I have been told that the girls’ bathroom has its own unique student-related sanitation problems. As students we can all do our part in maintaining the bathrooms.
Trash on campus sign of irresponsibility Has anyone ever walked through the MHS campus during the day and thought, “Wow, what a clean campus!” No? I wonder if it has anything to do with the trash everywhere. If you stand at any spot on campus, you only have to take a quick look around to witness the tragic defiling of the ground. It is especially sad that most trash is found on or under tables right next to garbage bins. If the reason for not throwing trash away is laziness, it really does not require too much effort to lean over and let go of the object in your hand. If the reason is not wanting to waste your time doing something so uninteresting, make a game out of it. I have seen many people use garbage bins as basketball hoops. Feel free to do the same as long as you “rebound” what you, or other people, miss. If you don’t want your garbage, it’s likely that no one else does either. Why clutter everyone else’s view with your trash? There is no need to contribute to “campus art” with junk. It is depressing to walk around
and see trash everywhere. It’s not a and should be able to pick up after far leap to picture being educated in ourselves. a dump. I do realize that there are clubs Now, think of the animals involved in Campus Beautification, on campus most commonly and I applaud them. Still, it would complained about: seagulls. I would be nice if we did not need this not be surprised if our seagull service officially declared. It is problem is related to disheartening that some the improper disposal high schoolers do not clean of leftover food. I up after themselves unless have heard many given credit for it. people complain Contributing to the about the birds and problem regarding the have watched many disposal of unwanted items people run for cover is the lack of recycling bins when they see the on campus. Sure several birds take flight. If teachers have them in you watch the birds their rooms, but they are for long, you see them certainly not easily accessed REBECCA eating something that during lunch. Ideally, HUBENY we neglected to put in the school would have a garbage bin. recycling bins next to the As for the excuse trash cans outside, so we that cleaning is the job of the can easily contribute to helping the custodians, it is much more polite environment. Instead, I see trash to just reach a little farther to cans full of water bottles and other throw garbage into a trash can. recyclable materials. Who wants Custodians should not have to walk to introduce the campus in the behind us and pick up whatever we following way? “Welcome to the leave behind. We are teenagers now beautiful sight of MHS. Just ignore
THE UNION FEATURES NOVEMBER 2011
Raja desires to graduate early, plans to attend junior college Sophomore plans to graduate at the end of this school year. She follows in the footsteps of her sibling. BY KEWA JIANG AND RAMANDEEP TUMBER
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Hartsook concentrates on preparing her gear before scuba diving in the waters at Monterey-Carmel. She needs to check her equipment thoroughly before entering the water in order to ensure a safe diving session.
Hartsook discovers passion for scuba diving BY THAOCHAU PHAN
Waking up at 5 o’clock in the morning, Senior Deanna Hartsook quickly packs her gears and equipment and rushes down to the waters at Monterey-Carmel. As she stands in front of the open water, Hartsook puts on her mask, wet suit, and breathing equipment, preparing for yet another one of her many dives. An avid fan of scuba diving, Hartsook has been diving for over a year now. She first fell in love with scuba diving after her stepmother introduced her to a scuba-diving class. Ever since then, Hartsook has completed a total of eight dives in the past year.
“I love seeing what it looks like under the water because it is just so different,” Hartsook said. Hartsook said that she is fascinated by all of the different jellyfish, sea anemones, and starfishes she is able to see under water. Hartsook had to pass a rigorous scuba diving training course before she could earn her diving certificate. The course tests students on proper diving techniques and the appropriate use of equipment, Hartsook said. “The toughest part of earning my certificate was learning to maintain neutral buoyancy,” Hartsook said. “I am horrible at that.” Nevertheless, Hartsook now proudly holds a
Nitrox Enrich Air Certification in scuba diving. The most memorable diving experience Hartsook has ever had was when she encountered an actual sea lion, she said. She was especially surprised by its large size. In spite of the cold water, Hartsook tries to maintain a steady focus whenever she dives, taking in the beauty of her surroundings. “I just try to observe all the different colors and starfish and how cool everything is,” Hartsook said. Hartsook’s goal is to simply take as many scuba diving classes as she possibly can. Hartsook hopes to go scuba diving throughout the Tropics someday, particularly in Hawaii.
Sophomore Fatima Raja may soon be among a small group of high school students who graduate early. In June, she plans to take the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE), which, if she passes, will allow her to earn the legal equivalent of a high school diploma. In order to qualify for the exam, students must either be 16 years of age or have completed the tenth grade, according to the CHSPE website. Raja began taking classes at Mission College in seventh grade after being inspired by her older brother, former MHS student Omar Raja, who also graduated early from MHS, according to her. Raja said that she was motivated to take the college courses to achieve her goals. Also, according to Raja, she feels more comfortable among adults. Raja said that she has not taken any advanced placement or honors courses at MHS due to her busy college courses. Despite her heavy workload, Raja has also managed to maintain a 4.0 GPA at MHS. She has taken a variety of classes at Mission College, such as Psychology, English, Sociology, Physics, Spanish, and several History courses. Among the classes, Raja liked the history classes the most. Raja enjoys world history and learning about the different histories of various
countries. In fact, she hopes to one day become a history teacher. Raja was initially attracted to the teaching profession after she realized that she enjoys helping students in class, she said. According to Raja, if she graduates from high school at the end of this school year, she plans to apply to college as a transfer student. Raja would like to attend either Stanford University or University of California, Berkeley, schools her older brother and sister currently attend. Raja said that she likes Stanford because of its beautiful campus, but she hasn’t seen much of Berkeley’s campus. When talking about her future plans, Raja said, "I hope to work my way up through the education system by obtaining experience along the way. I want to work first as a teacher, then work my way up to become a principal, and my ultimate goal is to become a superintendent." Moreover, since Raja has lived in Milpitas her entire life, she hopes to return to Milpitas to teach as a way of giving back to her community. While she is teaching, she plans to work towards her master’s degree. After receiving her master’s degree, she hopes to continue her education by getting a Ph.D. In her spare time, Raja said she enjoys surfing the Internet, watching Korean dramas, and listening to Korean pop music. One of her favorite Korean bands is Beast. At school she also participates in extracurricular activities, such as Fashion Club and Korean Student Union.
MHS Muggles master Quidditch BY LUIS DESCANZO
As the Harry Potter movie series drew to its conclusion over the last few years, Director David Yates chose to emphasize a brooding, depressing environment. But even through those dark times, Yates could not shake the excitement that accompanies the Wizarding World's most famous sport: Quidditch. It is no wonder then, that Muggles these days are attempting to capture the essence of the sport. At MHS, Dumbledore’s Army President Natalie Minor and her band of club members have organized several Quidditch matches over the last few weeks. Minor believes that the excitement of the sport comes from being able to fly. “There's an aspect of being in the air that's thrilling,” Minor said. “It's unexpected.” Being Muggles, Minor and the club members lack the magical ability of flight. Still, they believe in being as close as possible to the details of the books. They insist on propping broomsticks between their legs during play. “We run around with [the broomsticks]; if we drop [them], you have to pass the ball,” Minor said. Also missing from the Mugglerun game are the flying balls of the fictional world. Seekers attempt to tag a person, instead of catching
a Golden Snitch. The agile player, acting like an indecisive snitch, runs throughout the playing field with a tennis ball inside of a tube sock tied to his waist. The Quaffle is replaced by a soccer ball, and the two bludgers are replaced by dodgeballs. At any point in the game, three chasers may score using the soccer ball, while a Keeper defends goalposts from the opposing team's Chasers. Simultaneously, two Beaters attempt to throw dodgeballs at opposing players, which forces a player to return to a starting line. Still, Minor concedes that none of the rules are set in stone. “The primary goal of the games,” she said, “is to have a fun time. “We're not really too serious about the rules,” Minor said. “We bend the rules and we adapt whenever we find something that's more appealing.” So far, Minor has recruited a young team. “We have lots of underclassmen, since our seniors graduated last year,” she said, “but the freshmen are really excited.” Minor's ultimate goal is to play against other school teams in the Bay Area. “I know San Benito High has an officially-registered team, so if our team does sign up, we'll have an opponent," she said. "But for now, we really want to get people to sign-up and participate."
THE UNION FEATURES NOVEMBER 2011
Tips and hints on how to succeed on the SATs
NEW CAMPUS CLUBS HABITAT FOR HUMANITY
MAKE A WISH
President Eric Tao
President Kimberly Vo
Purpose To end homelessness by building houses
Purpose To raise money in support of the Make-A-Wish Foundation
Recent and Ongoing Activities Project Playhouse, a fundraiser for Cupertino building project
Recent and Ongoing Activities Community service, collecting donation money using boxes
When & where Thursdays at lunch in F-07
When & where Fridays at lunch in L-17
Advisor Mr. Harrison
Advisor Ms. Tseng
President’s message If you would like to help end homelessness, then join Habitat for Humanity.
President’s message We help raise money to grant wishes to terminally ill children around the U.S.
BY LEANNA LEUNG AND YING LUO
As colleges become increasingly competitive, the pressure to score higher on Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SATs) and other standardized tests increases. These exams are crucial to students’ college applications because they provide college admission officers a standard for comparing students’ capabilities throughout the nation. In other words, a high GPA is not enough for those who wish to attend the more selective and prestigious schools. Although not all students can afford to take classes at a prep center, they are not necessarily at a disadvantage as long as they are self-motivated. The first step is to decide when to begin preparing for the SAT. The earlier you begin, the better. Most students begin preparation by the summer before their junior year. The second step is to set a target score. Your goal should match the average scores of students who at-
tend your dream college. Typically, the breakdown is: 1600+ for state universities, 1800+ for most UCs, 2100+ for UCLA and UC Berkeley, and 2300+ for Stanford and Ivy Leagues. The next step is to study. The Official SAT Study Guide by CollegeBoard is an especially helpful book. Other publishers, such as Barron’s, Princeton Review, and Kaplan, release books that are also helpful for basic information, tips and practice tests. After taking several practice tests, you should be able to pinpoint your weaknesses, typically sections in which you spend the most time or miss the most questions. Make it a habit to review these sections as well as explanations to problems you answered incorrectly to avoid future mistakes. Timing is also crucial. You should spend about 20 minutes in each section answering questions, leaving 5 minutes at the end to check answers. SAT preparation, as a whole, is a
lengthy process and requires more than a few months of quick review and skimming through prep books. Although you may not officially begin preparing until the summer before your junior year, you should be acquiring background knowledge throughout your entire academic career. For example, the first section of the SAT requires you to write an essay on broad topics. The best way to approach these prompts is to use examples from literature, history, or personal experience to support your thesis. Reading often is the best way to naturally improve reading comprehension and writing skills without actually studying. Also, make sure to fill both pages as essay readers tend to give higher grades to longer essays. Most importantly, practice is the key to higher scores. Several months before the test, take an entire practice test every weekend under the same conditions as the real test. Try to squeeze in at least 15 minutes every day to study as well.
Two new classes offered at MHS; AP Psychology, Creative Writing BY NATHAN NG AND RAMANDEEP TUMBER
Even with the large variety of courses offered at MHS, it’s easy for students to want more. Luckily, the school has added two new courses for the students to choose from: AP Psychology and Creative Writing. AP Psychology Teacher Liza Gable-Ferguson currently teaches three periods of AP Psychology. Gable-Ferguson taught AP Psychology for five years at her previous school and requested to teach the course when she arrived . Approximately 200 students requested to take AP Psychology this year, according to Gable-Ferguson. First priority was given to incoming seniors, and the remaining placements were determined based on a random lottery, Gable-Ferguson said. “I have a great time teaching this course,” Gable-Ferguson said, “especially since it ranges from anatomical issues [in] the brain to understanding personality development to psychological disorders.” Senior Thu Nhi Ngo was inspired to take the class by a news article from last year’s issue of The Union, which publicized the addition of AP Psychology, she said. After reading about the new AP course, Ngo talked to Gable-Ferguson about the class. “We learn about memory, consciousness, many psychologists, and the brain,” Ngo said. “[Gable-Fergu-
son] would ask people to volunteer and make them regurgitate what she said to test the ir memory.” Creative Writing Teacher Melissa Corral currently teaches one period of Creative Writing. The semester course is a UC/CSU-approved elective open to any grade level. The new creative writing course consists of 37 students, most of whom are seniors, according to Corral. Throughout the semester, students study short stories and poems as well as learn techniques associated with terminology, Corral said. “Students often read sample stories and write their own,” Corral said. “Students do a lot of group work in the form of workshops to receive feedback for their writing. I encourage students who have a hobby of writing to join the course and definitely recommend the course for students who might have a potential career in writing.” Senior Kevin Lu was motivated to take Creative Writing when he saw the class being offered in the course catalogue, he said. He thought the name of the class was very appealing, and he wanted to further his writing ability, Lu added. “The class is not extremely rigorous because most of the work is done in class and personal expression is emphasized,” Lu said. “I learned how to write good short stories and poetry that are ignored in regular English classes that focus on analysis and comprehension.”
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Sophomore Angelica Guting spars with her opponent at the National Taekwondo Competition held in San Jose. Using her defense skill, she blocks the high kick of her opponent. She came in �rst at this competition.
Siblings compete in international taekwondo BY LORDESA FOK
Imagine being so skilled at taekwondo that you’re able to compete on an international level, and imagine doing so next to your sibling. This holds true for brother-sister pair Senior Elias and Sophomore Angelica Guting, who have both participated in multiple international taekwondo competitions. Elias began taking taekwondo at age 4 at his father’s insistence. “I’d been getting into fights at school,” Elias said. “My dad saw that and introduced me to martial arts.” Just two years later, a 4-year-old Angelica joined her brother in taekwondo, she said. Both began competing internationally when he was 11 and she was 8, according to Angelica.
The 2005 Samsung Best of the Best competition in the Philippines, which included about 500 people, marked their ascent into the international level. Although Angelica didn’t place, Elias placed second in his division. The tournament served to whet their appetites for other international competitions, including the Pan-American Open in Las Vegas, the World Championships, and the Olympics. The pair has a remarkable amount of determination. During the PanAmerican Open, Elias ran a 102ºF fever, but fought anyway, placing third for his division. Angelica overcame a swollen knee after a week of rest to continue training. Currently, the siblings are enrolled in Garrs Sport Taekwondo, where they practice for at least two
hours five days a week, according to Angelica. Both Elias and Angelica agree that taekwondo has brought them closer together. “[Our relationship] has grown stronger and stronger each year because we’re always competing with each other [to see] who wins more competitions,” Elias said. Angelica added, “We’ve grown a lot more supportive of each other as well.” In January, Angelica hopes to make the U.S. team for the World Championships in Egypt. She envisions herself someday teaching her own taekwondo class. Elias, on the other hand, is completely focused on making it to the Senior Division, and he hopes to participate in the next 2012 Olympic Games at London.
Link Crew Leaders orient freshmen at school BY ARTHUR TRAN AND ANNA TRI
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Fourth period Link Crew leaders work together to make a poster for the Jack Emery Drive, painting an eye-catching slogan to promote the event.
Remember the upperclassmen who introduced you to high school? They were none other than your Link Crew leaders, and you can still catch them around campus. Link Crew is a ninth-grade transition program in which leaders help their underclassmen feel more comfortable at MHS. They set up activities and events mainly for, but not limited to, freshmen. During first semester, Link Crew members support freshmen
by occasionally checking on the students. In addition, Link Crew leaders set up Cocoa and Cram sessions near the end of each semester to help them with their first set of final exams. Link Crew is in charge of the New Student Ambassador program as well. In this program, Link Crew helps new students who are transferring to MHS adjust to their new settings. Link Crew members do their best to find new students after classes in order to check up on the students’ wellbeing, continuing this for several days.
Link Crew leaders may also be enrolled in the fourth period Link Crew class, taught by Student Activities Director Joanna Butcher. In this class, leaders organize events for students to partake in. They also come up with ways to raise funds for organizations such as Operation Smile. Being in Link Crew requires a good amount of dedication. It is a form of leadership that teaches you valuable skills for the future, which will benefit you in the long run, according to Link Crew leader Kristi Pontipiedra.
THE UNION SPREAD NOVEMBER 2011
Technology assists student education District using cable internet, plans to set up Wi-Fi network BY TIFFANY LAW
LUIS DESCANZO//THE UNION
History Teacher Danilo Escobar provides a lecture using the ELMO, his new document camera. The camera projects images in real time allowing him to present notes without the use of transparency sheets.
Document Cameras innovative but costly BY ZOE MCCRACKEN
Who doesn’t love the old overhead projectors whose features are outdated? Some teachers at MHS don’t, and they are using more efficient and avant-garde alternatives: the document camera. The document camera is similar to the overhead projector but also comparable to a SMART Board, Art Teacher Irene Hentschke said. According to Hentschke, it is a digital video camera attached to a projector. It allows students to see what is under the camera, whereas overhead projectors only show a silhouette of what is in place. These features make the document camera ideal for art classes. Hentschke said it allows teachers to
easily show students art processes by projecting what a teacher does under the document camera and displaying it on an overhead screen. For this reason, the art department ordered three with leftover money from state grants, Hentschke said. "With the money, we got Marianne Schlein, Marie Taplin, and I these document cameras, and we love them," Hentschke said. "Now teachers who walk into our classroom want them too." However, not everyone who wants a document camera is able to get one because of its high cost. "The document cameras were a little under $300 for us," Hentschke said. "However, you also need a projector, which costs around $500, so it can sum up to $800."
Other teachers are finding ways around the high prices to incorporate these document cameras into their lesson plan. History Teacher Danilo Escobar obtained one for free from the Silicon Valley Education Foundation (SVEF). “After watching Mad Men, where the characters used overhead transparencies, I realized I was using technology from the 60s,” Escobar said. “It was then I realized I wanted one, so I wrote to SVEF for a technology grant.” Escobar is happy with his document camera, and it is a huge improvement from his old overhead projector. “I don’t have to worry about transparencies,” Escobar said. “It isn’t a necessity, but it makes teaching easier.”
iPhone has educational value in high school Various applications can help organize a student’s hectic school life. BY TERRY TSAI
Apple’s iconic iPhone has been ingeniously marketed as a multimedia player, gaming console, web browser and recently, a talking assistant—but with a bit of research, I found that the iPhone also TECH serves as a vast educationREVIEW al resource as well. Apple’s App Store contains thousands of educational applications designed to search for information, calculate and graph data, organize homework and activities, look up word definitions, record lecture notes, and help a student study for his classes. One of the well-known functions of an iPhone is its ability to surf the Internet. This makes the iPhone a pocketable research hub that allows a student to research assignments and dig up information from an unfathomable wealth of online data. For example, iElements is a free iPhone application that displays all the elements in the periodic table and lists their properties. It even includes a feature that allows quick access to Wikipedia for additional information. Free Graphing Calculator is another free iPhone app that replaces the graphing functions of traditional graphing calculators. Instead of purchasing a pricey, bulky calcu-
At this current moment, MHS still relies on cable internet. To address this, the Milpitas Unified School District has recently been looking into setting up campus-wide WiFi coverage for MHS, according to Principal Kenneth Schlaff. The new superintendent plans to have this in place by August of next year, Schlaff said. The Wi-Fi could be useful administratively, Schlaff said. Standalone plug-in computers are sometimes not the most advantageous. With Wi-Fi, teachers can tap into the internet without doing any type of plug in, Schlaff said. Wi-Fi also has a lot of potential to be used instructionally in the class, according to Schlaff. Wi-Fi can also be used for other educational activities that require Internet in the classroom, Physics
Teacher Charles Schletzbaum said. For example, the debate team could be able to use the Wi-Fi to research their topics for competitions, Schletzbaum said. “Also, one of the things I’ve always wanted to do is give extra credit problems during class that students can answer using text message or e-mail,” Schletzbaum said. “The first person who answers the question would get the points. If we had Wi-Fi, more people would be able to participate.” The limited amount of computer labs limits student access the internet. Requiring teachers to have to schedule going to the computer lab in advance is a hassle, Senior Thomas Schmitz said. Frequently, the computer lab is unavailable when teachers attempt to sign up for it. “If we had Wi-Fi in the classroom, the internet could be utilized more,”
Facebook connects students BY MARISA LOUIE
Writing letters to communicate with friends is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Instead, people all over the world are now turning to a faster, more efficient TECH means of communication: REVIEW Facebook. The notifications that Facebook offers keep people informed of what is going on in their friends’ lives at any given time, notifying users about upcoming birthdays and about their friends’ random thoughts. At MHS, Facebook has proven useful in spreading important information throughout the school. According to the Junior Class Commissioner Alex Pham, Facebook is beneficial in connecting the class officers with the student body. Members of the Class of 2013 Facebook page are reminded of current and future events and fundraisers that will support their class. “We have our own page where people can ask questions and where
we can give feedback on events that we hold in order to improve them for the next time,” Pham said. The Facebook page can act as a kind of forum, allowing students to clarify logistics about an event. Recent changes on Facebook have also added to the site’s features. The app Ticker offers a constant stream of friends’ updates and posts. On the left side of the home page is a column that includes the groups that the user is part of, the apps in use, and links to events and messages. Though much-loved features are often deleted, the general elements of the page have stayed the same. Social networking via technology has opened up a whole new world of communication that was not available just 15 years ago. “When you spread information vocally, it doesn’t reach as many people,” Pham said. “When you have a Facebook page, you can spread information by notifications, which reach more people.”
Technology at MHS outdated BY THANH TRAN AND TERRY TSAI
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Senior Atorina Samuel shows the interface of the Notes App on her iPhone 4S. The Notes App can be used for to-do lists or other notes.
lator, one can use an app to graph equations for free. myHomework is a free, aesthetically-pleasing student planner that organizes a student’s to-do list into groups. It synchronizes the planner over the Internet, making one’s plans accessible on any computer. It also sends alerts about upcoming assignments to remind the student to complete them. The Dictionary.com app looks up definitions of English words. The convenience of a tiny, speedy dictionary may encourage a student to spend the time to look up unknown words. And even when you leave out the App Store, you still have the voice
recorder app and notes apps, which are installed by default. The Notes App is good enough for taking down notes of lectures. Voice Memos can record lectures so that a student can replay what a teacher has said, word-for-word. Personally, I use Voice Memos to record interviews for Journalism class. The iPhone is just one brand of smartphones that can provide all these educational tools at one’s disposal. Many teachers have rules banning the use of electronics in class, but the functions and vast quantity of free, educational apps on the iPhone can give students a learning advantage. Such usefulness should not be ignored.
Have you ever wondered if MHS is keeping up with the fast-paced world of technology we live in or how MHS compares with the other schools that surround and compete with us? After interviewing students from Leland High School and FAME Public Charter High School (in Fremont), we found that our school lacks in some new innovations that could possibly facilitate learning. MHS is not completely behind with new technology. Most of the students interviewed named SMART Boards as a new device recently introduced to their schools, which MHS currently uses in some rooms. Schools such as FAME Public Charter School and Leland High have Wi-Fi access, unlike MHS. Laptops are used often at Fame both outside and inside the classroom because of the Wi-Fi access, according to FAME Senior Niba Jabbar. Laptops are sometimes allowed in the classrooms to take notes, she said.
“[FAME has been] opened for 5 years,” Jabbar said. “Most people bring laptops to school.” SMART Boards and LabQuest devices have been introduced to the science department at Leland High School, Leland Senior Jason Hong said in an e-mail interview. LabQuest is a standalone and computer interface used to collect, graph, and analyze data in the classroom or in the field, according to vernier.com. “The LabQuests are pretty useful in collecting data for science classes,” Hong said. “I think that the SMART Boards are definitely nice, especially for science classes, but are in no way really necessary.” Schools have to consider the value of new technology that has the potential to grab student interest. For example, multimedia presentations or new devices can captivate students and motivate them to pay attention to lectures, while introducing new ways to connect to the students. New technology does bring up the question of its usefulness. The district has to consider whether it worth the price to upgrade technology around school.
THE UNION SPREAD NOVEMBER 2011
Clickers engage math students BY LUIS DESCANZO
With the influx of handheld devices over the past few years, many educators are noticing that students are using techonology irresponsibly inside the classroom. The texting and camera features have been used by some students as a way to distract themselves during lectures. But what if there was some way to divert this attention back inside the classroom? The Mathematics Department believes it has found one solution. According to Mathematics Department Lead Annie Nguyen, the department bought three sets of classroom clickers last May. These handheld devices are connected wirelessly to a tablet device, which is controlled by the instructor. A numeric keypad allows students to answer questions projected by a software program onto a large screen. “There are three benefits to this product,” Nguyen said. “First, teachers can show premade slideshows to teach lessons.” The slides provide step-by-step instructions as students solve problems at their desks. This is especially useful when
students learn new material or when computation is complicated. “Second, there are question-andanswer slides that give prompts for students to answer,” Nguyen added. Because the system is completely electronic, teachers can elicit responses from shy and quiet students who rarely participate. “I get an answer from every single student.” But one particular feature should be a crowd-pleaser: “There are several games pre-installed with the software,” Nguyen said. For teachers, the device is a helpful tool for gauging students’ mastery of skills at the end of each chapter. Teachers can analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the class based on the pattern of responses. In purchasing these clickers, the department hopes to increase students’ interest in math. Nguyen said that her students have had positive remarks about this new learning method. “They enjoy using the device and they’re more engaged,” Nguyen said of her students. The mathematics department has already been trained on how to use the device, Nguyen said. Math teachers may now loan the devices for in-class use.
SMART Boards ‘really worth it’ BY MARISA LOUIE AND LILLIAN KAO
Certain departments at MHS are adopting new technology in the classroom. Interactive whiteboards, specifically SMART Boards, are in use in a number of classrooms and give students the opportunity to better participate in classroom lessons. SMART Boards act as giant tablets, allowing its users to move the contents of the screen around with their hands. SMART Boards not only capture the attention of the students, they also help teachers organize their lesson plans, according to Digital Business Academy English Teacher Diane Kung. SMART Boards make teaching preparations easier and provide a helpful visual aid, Kung said. Teachers can prepare lesson plans at home on their laptops and then implement the plans by connecting
their laptops to the SMART Board. “It makes teaching more efficient and less tiring,” Kung said. “I don’t have to prepare the little things that I used to. Everything is all in one package—on the computer.” According to Engineering and Technology Academy Teacher David Holland, the device offers a more engaging approach to learning. “It’s a learning tool,” Holland said. “If the teacher invests the time in it to build the lesson plans and to get the students involved, then it’s really worth it.” As society continues to advance, technology is bound to become increasingly prevalent in classrooms. The importance of having the new devices is to harness them in a way that will positively impact a student’s education. “The payoff is when the students benefit,” Holland said. “That’s the main point, we want our students to have the best education possible.”
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Sophomore Forrest Tran uses a donated Hewlett-Packard laptop during an after school Science Olympiad meeting. The Science Olympiad club uses the laptops to train students for science activities.
Laptops used more frequently at high school BY CARYN TRAN AND GINNA LO
Laptops and their more compact version, netbooks, are slowly but surely becoming a part of the educational system of America. They can be seen all over college campuses and are starting to creep into high schools. For example, Bay Area high schools are seeing more laptops on campus. At MHS, there are hardly any students that bring a laptop or netbook to school daily. Schools such as Amador Valley and Los Gatos High School have a good amount of students bringing their laptops and netbooks to school, whereas, at other schools, such as Fremont High School, there are very few.
Senior Victor Lee brings his laptop to school for the Science Olympiad Saturday School sessions. He doesn’t think a laptop is practical to bring to MHS, Lee said. “It could easily get damaged and there aren’t many assignments that require a computer,” Lee said. Sophomore Peter Phan is allowed to bring his netbook to school, but he has not done so often, according to Phan. He brought his netbook to Science Olympiad once and on a normal school day once, Phan said. “My teacher saw it and said I could use it during class, which is a good thing,” Phan said. His netbook is light and easy to carry around for school, according to Phan. Former MHS student, Junior Claudia Chau from Amador Valley
Top 5 Smartphone Apps at MHS 1
Facebook A social networking site, Facebook offers a sleek console to connect to your friends, family, and colleagues in the form of noti�cations.
Angry Birds The goal of this addicting game is to destroy green pigs by shooting angry, explosive birds at buildings where the pigs live in.
Pandora Radio Pandora allows you to cycle through different music tracks. Music entered can be used to generate a radio of similar songs.
Twitter Mini-tweets can easily be sent to your followers within minutes. For the phone, Twitter is simple to use and swift to publicize.
Tumblr This popular blogging site has found many fans amongst the MHS student population. It features a variety of themes and styles.
Smartphones great in class; information easily accessed BY ANDREW VAN AND BRIAN KHAU
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The Amazon Kindle (left), the Sony eReader (middle), and the Nook (right) provide simple and convenient ways to electronically read.
eReaders mobile, convenient BY THAOCHAU PHAN
Ever since the invention of the eReader, it has never been easier to locate, access, and download your favorite books, TECH newspapers, or magaREVIEW zines. eReaders make the perfect learning tools for today’s students. Weighing only 8.5 ounces, the Kindle 3 is one of the lightest and most compact eReaders in the market. Carrying a Kindle 3 in your hands definitely beats having to lug
around a 500-page tome all day . Other eReaders such as the Nook Simple Touch Reader will also lessen the hassle of taking notes for students. With a tap or swipe of the finger, students can highlight texts, create annotations, and even share notes with each other; this faciliatates the process of taking notes. Furthermore, eReaders often come with comprehensive built-in dictionaries, MP3, and Wi-Fi . With high speed and amazing graphics, an eReader will definitely enhance a student’s reading experience.
With the popularity of smartphones growing, cell phones are no longer limited to just calling others. Downloadable applications, video recorders, high resolution cameras, and numerous other features have shaped the modern cell phone into an all-purpose resource. Smartphones provide students with large databases of knowledge, such as online encyclopedias, at the expense of risks, such as cheating. Smartphone applications provide users with a variety of ways to facilitate their daily activities, from to-do lists to online research to checking grades via SchoolLoop. Freshman Rachel Cassano said that smartphones have applications, such as calculators or clocks with different time zones, that can help students during school. “You can use it to ask people what homework there is and when it’s due,”
Cassano said. Junior Joromel Vinluan said that smartphones are useful research tools, but they can get students distracted and be used for cheating through the texting of answers to friends or the usage cell phones to take pictures of a test. “Everyone cheats from their cell phones,” Vinluan said. “We’re just lazy to approach people,” he said when asked about the usefulness of cell phones. Advanced Placement World History Teacher Paul Harrison said that he believes cell phones offer advantages for teaching in classrooms. He says that technology, such as LCD projectors, can be very useful for the classroom. “While I think technology is useful, smartphones and cell phones in general open up so much potential for cheating, Harrison said. “For a teacher, it presents a big problem. Students do not internalize the information when use smartphones.”
brings her Acer Aspire 5750-6677 “whenever it’s necessary for group projects and stuff,” Chau said. Many Amador Valley students opt for Mac Airs of the 40% to 60% of students that bring their laptops to school, according to Chau. “Amador is a very safe environment and no one is afraid of getting their stuff stolen,” Chau said. “Although it’s great that you can easily work on projects and have a convenient access to internet, it could get damaged and if you are careless, it might be stolen or misplaced.” Senior Bruce Feldman from Fremont High is in the small 1% of his school’s students that bring their laptops to school, according to Feldman. He uses his Mac to “do homework at school,” Feldman said.
Tablets prove versatility with great features BY ARTHUR TRAN
Tablets, also known as slates, are great products of technology that can be used for entertainment and educational purposes. The touch screen and the simplicity TECH of the device make it easy REVIEW for everyone to use. There are thousands of applications out there that can be downloaded, depending on the tablet that you use. For example, you can turn your Samsung Galaxy tablet into an instant graphing calculator with an application, such as the Algeo Graphing Calculator, or into a full piano keyboard by downloading Perfect Piano. With a tablet, you can doodle with just a stylus or a finger. Moreover, the pad can be used to take notes from a textbook or lectures. After writing down information, notes can then be easily organized and accessed. Through Wi-Fi, tablets can also be used to browse the internet for either amusement or research purposes. With a multitude of tablets in the market, it is definitely not difficult to locate a store with one in stock. Choices of tablets include the iPad 2, the Sony Tablet S, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. However, these tablets can be especially pricey, reaching prices of $500 or higher. In addition, many of these devices may have small internal storages, which may be an issue for those who expect to fill up their tablets with large applications. The shortcomings of tablets, however, are balanced out by their convenience and ease of use. With the holiday season rapidly approaching, a tablet should surely be on your shopping list.
THE UNION FEATURES NOVEMBER 2011
Students unfurl flag at game for Fleet Week BY ZOE MCCRACKEN
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Archery Club President Jeremy Westover demonstrates proper shooting technique. Archery club meets weekly at an archery range in Cupertino.
Students form archery club, aim to improve shooting skill BY TERRY TSAI
A new club at MHS this year introduces an efficient way to release tension in students’ lives. The club meets on Fridays during lunch in room E03. It started out with about fifteen to twenty members, according to Archery Club President Jeremy Westover. He considered the number of initial members to be an unexpected success. “My goal is to try and teach people how to shoot bows and arrows,” Westover said. “I was hoping a bunch of people would find that enjoyable.” Along with Westover, Seniors Justin Vu, Dylan Librande, and Viet Nguyen are officers. They try to share the duties of running the club equally, Librande said. Every Sunday morning, the club meets at an archery range in the Stevens Creek County Park in Cupertino, according to Westover. The range is free and open to the public, with moving targets, as well as ones in the shape of animals. The archery range itself has many safety measures, according
to Westover. For example. archers make sure that the field is safe by calling out “clear” before going into the field to retrieve their arrows. “We go to the range, we shoot a couple arrows, just for fun,” Westover said. “I hope more people come in the future because it’s tons of fun, and it’s not too expensive.” The cost of membership is $50 for members who do not own their own bows, according to Westover. The price covers a starter bow, a set of arrows, and a wristguard, he said. Westover said that he began practicing archery a few years ago. “Cris, my stepdad, saw an ad for archery in the paper for some lessons, and we thought it would be a fun thing to try. We’ve been doing it for a while now,” Westover said. Freshman Lovejot Singh said he joined the Archery Club because he has been interested in archery since age 6. “I saw a festival in India and saw [people] doing archery,” Singh said. “I bought a bow there.” “I don’t really have any high hopes for anything big and serious,” Westover said. “I just want a bunch of people to come and have fun and learn how to do archery.”
Clubs start global initiatives, work with other local chapters BY CINDY WU
Lunchtime on Mondays and Tuesdays is a busy time in the theater. On both days, hundreds of students crowd into the theater to partake in the meetings of the two largest community service clubs on campus: Key Club and Interact. While these clubs attract students in search of community service opportunities, Key Club and Interact also work toward specific community service projects each year. Key Club, an international student-led organization spanning thirty countries, works globally "to teach and spread [Key Club’s] values through community service, caring, character-building, inclusiveness, and leadership," according to MHS Key Club President Vanessa Yeh. MHS Key Club is in a larger district whose biannual district project is Project Shine: Bringing Light into Someone’s Life, which helps people with disorders and disabilities. Their international project this year is Pediatric Trauma Prevention. "Pediatric trauma is unintentional injury; it is the main cause of deaths among teenagers and children, greater than diseases," Yeh said. In addition, Key Club fundraises for three other organizations: UNICEF, March of Dimes, and Children’s Miracle Network. On October 29, MHS Key Club members attended the annual Fall Rally North, where they spent time with other Key Club members from North California and raised money for these projects. MHS Interact Club is part of Rotary International’s service club for
youth. Interact, which stands for International Action, is separated into different districts across the world, each consisting of individual schools that are grouped into areas, according to MHS Interact Club President Isabel Bagsik. For Interact, the focus each year is on one international theme. "Even though we are separated into different areas, we are one Interact District 5170, and we all work together,” Bagsik said. This year, the district is supporting two organizations: Mary’s Meals, which feeds children struck by poverty, and Firelight, which helps children made vulnerable by HIV, AIDS, and poverty in Africa. "Our monetary goal this year is $70,000; that is, $35,000 towards each organization," Bagsik said. On October 9, Interact members gathered at Monta Vista High School for their annual Fall Leadership Conference, where the district gathers together, according to Bagsik. "This is a good opportunity for those who are new to Interact, since they get to see how big Interact is," Bagsik said. This conference provides a chance for members to attend leadership workshops and learn about the international theme. MHS Interact, along with other schools in Area 6, plans to organize a charity dinner and benefit concert later in the year to help fundraise for the project. As these clubs take the initiative to help the community not only locally, but also on a global scale, they are uniting together under one common goal—to make the world a better place for others.
MHS’s very own Seniors Phuc Bui, Vince Ly, and Stuart Granville attended a football game between the 49ers and the Buccaneers in honor of Fleet Week on October 11. They attended as Marine Corps Pooles, delayed entry members, and not only watched the game but unfurled a giant flag on the field. The event was one where Marines and Marine Corps Pooles from South and North San Jose and San Mateo got to attend the match for free in honor of Fleet Week, a tradition in whch San Francisco
celebrates the United States Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. Marine Pooles at MHS were invited by Recruiter Xavier Guevara, Bui said. There they got to meet and converse with many marines. "We talked about how schooling works, possible marine career options, and what marine life is like," Bui said. "We basically learn how marines live when they are not angry or yelling." The day was not only a wonderful opportunity for students who are interested in enlisting to meet marines and learn, but also a fun opportunity.
"Everyone was in great spirits and loyal to their team, some folks even painted their kid’s faces," Bui said. Every time the 49ers scored, the crowd would go crazy. Since that happened often, the game was like one huge party." This event was geared towards the Marine Corp Pooles from MHS. Bui plans on enlisting with the Marines once he is done with his education. "I want to enjoy the best years of my life," Bui said. "I want to read books and meet girls in college. There is a high chance I‘ll be involved with the military after my degree, but academics come first."
Killers game created for Seniors’ amusement BY ANDREW VAN
MHS Killers: The Rules
Within MHS lies a group of assassins ready to strike down their victims and win the weekly game. Killers, created by Senior Khoa Nguyen in October, is exclusive to seniors. Similar to the game of cat and mouse, players receive targets that they must chase, or in this game, kill by stabbing their targets on the front of their bodies. Killers was advertised by creating a Facebook page with the details of the game, Nguyen said. Nguyen’s goal is to eventually include the entire senior class. “I just want to have fun,” Nguyen said. “If anyone wants to play, come to the senior table and ask someone.” Senior Michelle Nghiem enjoys playing the game, she said. Playing Killers makes school pass by quicker, Nghiem said. “You’re always looking forward to
Players receive the ID card of another player and ‘kill’ the target by poking their target with a pen. Players can only ‘kill’ during passing periods, within the two-minute bell before �rst period, during brunch, or outside of class during class time. The killer earns the ID cards held by their victim. The victim’s target becomes the killer’s new target. Games start Monday, end Friday. The player with the most ID cards by Friday wins. S�����: K��� N�����
passing period so you can get your target,” Nghiem said. She encourages other seniors to play: “It makes [the game] more complicated. The more the merrier.” Senior Kevin Nguyen started playing because chasing people sounded interesting. Nguyen will play until
he becomes too paranoid of other players to continue, he said. “You follow your prey and get them when they least expect it,” Nguyen said. “Once you know the feeling of ‘killing’ people, you want to ‘kill’ more.” Senior Kevin Castro joined the game because it seemed fun to always be on alert during school, he said. Castro enjoys the excitement in the game the most. When asked if he had encountered any problems with the games, Castro stated, “One of the security guards or teachers [got] us in trouble because we’re running around stabbing each other.” Khoa Nguyen plans to create more rules or add prizes to keep the game appealing. Another idea is to have the Killers game in a confined area so that there is nowhere to hide, according to Kevin Nguyen. Khoa plans to continue hosting the game until it becomes too boring.
THE UNION LIFESTYLE NOVEMBER 2011
Sweeten Thanksgiving with turkey cupcakes BY ZOE MCCRACKEN
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Left to right: Sophomore Kishan Patel, Junior Andy Ta, and Sophomore Bryant “Squally” Canada wear different styles and brands of headphones. Each student considered various factors before buying his headphones.
Headphone users listen to music with style BY CINDY WU
Whether they are at home or at school, students are constantly listening to music. If you take a walk around campus, there’s almost a guarantee you’ll find someone tuned in to music through a pair of earbuds. While most students use earbuds to listen to music, some choose an alternative: headphones. There seems to be a consensus that these devices have superior acoustics and better sound quality due to their designs. Junior Andy Ta said that he thinks the sound is more crisp and brings out the
bassline. However, there are minor drawbacks to using headphones. Some students think that headphones mess up their hair. Furthermore, “[Headphones] are big and bulky,” Junior Vincent Wong said. Another factor to consider is pricing. Normally, the cost of headphones is greater than that of earbuds, but it depends on the brand of headphones. Ta currently uses the Sony headphones, but would rather use Seinheisers, which cost over $1,000. “I like Seinheisers, but they’re too expensive,” Ta said. Wong, who currently uses Skull-
candy because of its low cost, is also concerned with pricing. Skullcandy headphone prices can be as low as $30. Beats by Dr. Dre, which costs around $80 to nearly $500, is a popular headphone brand used by many students, including Sophomore Bryant “Squally” Canada. According to Canada, Beats by Dr. Dre “brings out the music more.” In the end, using either heaphones or earbuds depends on personal preferences. For those who are considering buying headphones there are a variety of style and prices to fit any budget.
Making turkey-shaped cupcakes is a fun way to celebrate Thanksgiving. These turkey cupcakes are made of delicious chocolate and creamy frosting over equally delicious chocolate cake. A few other sweets are thrown in for a decorative and yummy touch. They can be a great addition to any Thanksgiving dinner. Even those with a grudge towards chocolate or a fear of calories can’t deny that these chocolate morsels are adorable. Another reason why these decorations are so great is that they are easy to make. They require no fancy tools, hard-to-find ingredients, or cupcake decorating skills whatsoever!
This do-it-yourself article will cover the decorating aspect of these turkey cupcakes, but it is up to you to supply the chocolate cupcakes and frosting. For those who are new to baking, try out the baking mixes and pre-made icing that can be bought from any grocery store. Not only are these items easy to use, they also yield delicious results. All you need to complete this project is: • Chocolate cupcakes • Chocolate frosting • A handful of candy corn • One marshmallow • A Ziploc bag • A knife Remember, if you are missing any of these ingredients, you can improvise!
Hooded scarves add fun twist to wardrobe Comfortable, stylish, and affordable hooded scarves are a must for this season. BY KEWA JIANG
Scarves are great additions to a winter wardrobe; not only do they keep you warm, they can also be very stylish. This season, there is a new twist on the classic scarf; hooded scarves, also known as scoodies, are scarves with a hood attached. Hooded scarves come in a variety of designs and patterns, such as scarves with pockets attached to the ends or hooded circle scarves. Also, don’t assume that the designs are only for girls; there are unisex and just-for-men hooded scarves. Some of the patterns on hooded scarves include animal-inspired designs that are either sophisticated and chic or fun and playful. For instance, there are hooded scarves with panda, leopard, or wolf ears attached to the hood. On the other end of this spectrum are scarves with animal prints on them that add flair to any outfit. Other types of patterns include geometric patterns and striped designs. There are also solid-colored hooded scarves, such as red and
yellow hooded scarves, which add a unique touch of style to usually monochromatic winter wardrobes. For those inclined toward more whimsical designs, there are other options, such as scarves that resemble octopi. In addition, there are websites that offer customized hooded scarves. The material of a hooded scarf can be chosen from a large assortment. The scarves can be knitted, crocheted, or sewn with different types of fabrics such as felt or fleece. The prices for hooded scarves range from around $20 to almost $100, depending on the seller. Target’s website offers a black hooded scarf available for $20 with pockets at the end of the scarf and another scarf that costs $35 with black and white designs. On Nordstrom’s website they sell hooded scarf for $24, but only comes in black and grey. On the other hand, Urban Outfitters’ hooded scarves, exclusively available online for $60 in either black or gray, are much more expensive, but the hooded scarves from Fendi cost $200. In general, there is a large collection of hooded scarves available that can fit any style or budget.
After spreading the chocolate frosting on the cupcakes with a knife, prepare the icing bag which will be used to make the head of the turkey. Fill a Ziploc bag and make a small incision in the corner. Then squeeze the frosting towards the corner and squeeze. This is the hardest step, so don’t get too frustrated if you mess up.
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Senior Sherry Leung models an animal print hooded scarf that has pockets at the ends. It is a warm and stylish addition to winter wardrobes. Other hooded scarves can be styled like cats, pandas, and polar bears.
Vegetarian dinner served on Thanksgiving Numerous vegetarian options are avaliable for traditional Thanksgiving dinner, such as Tofurky. BY REBECCA HUBENY
At the mention of Thanksgiving, a turkey tends to come to mind in the form of either a mascot or a main course. Many families gather around this traditional holiday bird at the end of November and dig in. Vegetarians, however, choose to skip this dish. There are many benefits to this lifestyle. Studies show that vegetarians are at a lower risk for obesity, according to Vanderbilt University Depart of Psychology. As for life expectancy, a vegetarian’s life span tends to be “similar to or slightly higher” than that of non-vegetarians.
If one insists on having some form of bird at the holiday table, there is always the option of fake meat. Tofurky, or tofu turkey, is a possible vegetarian alternative for the classic turkey. Included in the Tofurky brand package is a Tofurky roast, giblet gravy, rice, bread crumb stuffing, and chocolate cake, according to the Tofurky company’s website. Of course, some vegetarian families do not even take the turkey approach. Senior Saumya Singh said that her family mainly eats various Indian foods, such as curry, on Thanksgiving. People bring food to her house for a potluck, she said. Another option involves mostly vegetables at the table. Dishes, such as mashed potatoes, kale, sweet potatoes, and squash with stuffing, can be served during Thanksgiving, according to English Teacher Matthew Hanley, who has been
a pescetarian for eight years. As a pescetarian, he can eat animals with simple nervous systems, such as fish, he said. "You can eat almost everything except the turkey," Hanley added. Additional dish options are soups and salad. Other vegan choices are jicama salad, and black bean and zucchini tortilla casseroles, according to Vegkitchen. Luckily, being a vegetarian has little-to-no effect on dessert; the traditional pumpkin or pecan pies have no meat in them. Essentially, experimenting with a vegetarian Thanksgiving means avoiding the turkey. A small sacrifice, this meal plan can easily be adopted by non-vegetarians. If you are looking to reduce the number of animals consumed around the holidays, feel free to try these dishes for Thanksgiving. Save the world one turkey at a time.
Now here comes the fun part! Take your candy corn and stick one in the head for the beak, and however many you desire to create the tail feathers. Then rip the marshmallow into small pieces to make eyes for your turkey. Take the ziploc icing bag you made earlier and create pupils for the marshmallow eyes.
Voilà! Your turkey is complete. Congratulations! You are now a master chef. Tell all your friends how cool you are, because you can make cupcakes that look like turkeys. Cherish that joy of success, because you’ve just �nished creating a fun dessert for Thanksgiving.
THE UNION ENTERTAINMENT NOVEMBER 2011
Eragon conclusion disappoints BY BENJAMIN GARDNER
After eight years of waiting for its much anticipated conclusion, the fourth and final book in the Inheritance Cycle has been released. For those of us who were captivated by Eragon back in elementary school, it has been a BOOK long wait. Many readers REVIEW wanted an epic conclusion or some measure of closure; however, the book provides little to none of what was expected. There are several reasons for its poor quality, some more glaring than others. When I picked up the first book in the series, there were some things I disliked about Christopher Paolini’s descriptive language and sentence structure. However, I dismissed them as inexperience, since he was only 15 years old when he began writing. Paolini’s writing certainly has improved since then, but the last book in the series is still bogged down by insignificant details. There are only so many ways one can describe men killing one another in battle. These useless details are prevalent throughout the book and serve little purpose other than to take up space on a page. It is also difficult to remember details about previous characters and events because such a long time amount of time passes before Paolini releases each book. In order to remedy this problem, Paolini wrote a summary of the previous
books, which, in my opinion, is one of the most painful things I have ever read. But aside from all these disturbing problems, the worst issue of this book is that it provides few answers or conclusions for the many sub-plots that exist in the series. Although Paolini was smart enough to actually resolve the main conflict between the hero and villain, there are many characters, objects, and events that go unexplained or disappear entirely. There are also many unresolved relationships between characters, most ending in abrupt and anticlimactic situations. Still, based on the implications made in previous novels, many of the solutions this book provides will be unsatisfactory for readers. It even seems as if Paolini purposely left details unresolved so that he can write another novel, which does not seem so far-fetched, considering the fact that the series was originally meant to be only three books. As the conclusion to such an extensive fantasy series, this novel fails miserably. Do not expect to be satisfied by the ending, if you are even willing to drudge through pages and pages of pointless details to reach it. I would only recommend this book to someone who has read the previous three books and who is genuinely interested in the series. If not, the only dragons you should be encountering are the ones roaming around in Skyrim.
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Senior Kelly Torbet, who plays Marcy Park, breaks into song during The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Senior Marvin Madrid, who plays a competition judge, watches uneasily from the side.
Spelling Bee ‘heartfelt,’ engages audience BY LAURA COSGROVE
The production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee was simply eudaimonic, as the characters might say. For all the humans reading, this just means that the audience left the first MHS musical performed in recent history with a smile. Set on the competition stage of a national spelling bee, the adolesPLAY cent characters struggle REVIEW with pressures as they try to spell their way to the champion’s seat. Catchy, enthusiastic musical numbers along with jokes and well-acted comic mannerisms keep the musical light-hearted. The most powerful voice in the production was that of Mitch Mahoney, played by Senior Courtney Clemons. Clemons’ strong vocals brought attention to a more minor character.
Also notable was Junior Diane Ho’s heartfelt performance as Olive Ostrovsky in one of the more poignant numbers, “The I Love You Song.” In a daydream sequence with an surreal atmosphere aided by clever lighting, Ho brings the musical to an emotional high point. As a soft-spoken girl whose quiet independence immediately inspires sympathy, the audience roots for Olive throughout the musical. When she finally misspells a word, it reinforces the musical's theme that winning is not everything. But not to worry, this is a comedy, not a tragedy, so Olive does find love at the end—in the arms of spelling bee victor William Barfee, played by Senior Lee Ron Chan. Chan's talent with physical comedy kept William’s lyrically repetitive solo “Magic Foot” interesting. Every character has their own special moment in the musical, and each execute it so well that it’s difficult to pick out the stars. Se-
nior Kelly Torbet as omni-talented Marcy Park has an unmistakable presence as she dashes around the stage with an energy befitting the truly all-around character. Leaf Coneybear (Sophomore Jared Pati) is socially dysfunctional but adorably optimistic. He’s the first character aside from Olive the audience truly feels for. Audience participation was a fun and engaging aspect of the production. Seeing confused students asked to spell words like “myrrh” and whisked around in a dance number added to the musical's humor. A few dirty jokes add an adult dimension to the heartwarming plot; there’s even an amusing reference to a certain recent District scandal. It’s fitting that the musical did appeal to an older audience because it was certainly very near professional quality. Engaging in every way, it didn’t rely on just its novelty to impress.
ALBUM REVIEWS A����� V��//THE UNION
A screenshot of the visually detailed game Skyrim captures a dramatic moment: the player shooting a �reball out of his palm at a giant spider.
Skyrim lives up to expecations; combat system offer diversity BY ANDREW VAN
If you were to mention “Skyrim” to any gamer on campus, you would be met with squeals and maybe even tears of excitement. Now that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has been released, only one question remains: does Skyrim live up to GAME the hype and fans’ exREVIEW pectations? Skyrim features highly detailed graphics. From the snowy mountain hilltops to the lush green forests, the graphics are smooth and stunning. However, Skyrim’s graphics are mediocre when compared to those of Oblivion—one of Skyrim’s predecessors—which were considered impeccable for its time. Recent games such as Battlefield 3 or Uncharted 3 possess more defined and realistic graphics, making them more impressive than Skyrim. Skyrim’s renovated battle system offers more diverse combat. It introduces Dragon Shouts, which give players special skills such as dragon-summoning, dual weaponwielding and spell-casting. Skyrim also employs a new leveling and ability system, no longer restricting players to certain classes or skills. With the new combat system, play-
ers can easily shape characters to fit their own preferences. Flexibility and customization are two of the most appealing qualities of Skyrim. Players can choose among ten different races—each with their own skill bonuses and customizable body features—when creating their characters. There is also a wide arsenal of weaponry, ranging from magic spells to swords and daggers. Offering countless new areas to explore, Skyrim’s free-toroam world allows players to choose their own individual path—whether completing a grueling quest or simply battling some evil elves. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a must-have for any gamer who enjoys role-playing games. Skyrim’s open world, side quests, and varied races and skills create a valuable game that can be replayed over and over; once players finish the game, they may replay it in a new race or choose to specialize in a completely different weapon. Skyrim is not recommended for casual gamers or for those who do not plan to spend hours on end playing; it requires a great amount of time to master, if all of its features are to be fully enjoyed. Still, Skyrim meets fans’ expectations and is definitely worth the purchase.
MYLO XYLOTO by Coldplay
CHRISTMAS by Michael Bublé
CEREMONIALS by Florence and the Machine
BY THAOCHAO PHAN
BY REBECCA HUBENY
BY LAURA COSGROVE
Filled with cheesy metaphors and mediocre vocals, Coldplay’s latest album, Mylo Xyloto, possesses next-tono redeeming qualities. In an attempt to relive past successes, Coldplay ends up producing this eclectic mess. In “Paradise,” lead singer Chris Martin fails to achieve any lyrical depth, forced to repeat meaningless phrases about butter�ies and wheels. The song does offer a vibrant melody, but it is overshadowed by Martin’s excessive moaning. The album continues down its path of blandness with songs such as “Charlie Brown” and “Hurts Like Heaven.” Both songs deliver crafty instrumentation with their enchanting guitar strums and drumming style, but repetitive lyrics turn these songs into a complete disappointment. What could have been an impressive follow-up to Coldplay’s last hit album fails to live up to the hype behind it. This is one album you can skip.
Michael Bublé presents classic holiday songs in his new album, Christmas. Although his album may not induce the urge to jump up and dance, it surely warms the heart. Bublé’s album features several duets with performers, including the Puppini Sisters, Shania Twain, Thalia, and Naturally 7. Bublé’s voice perfectly harmonizes with those of his duet partners. Other artists never clash in style with Bublé’s unique sound, and this album is a testament to that. In “Silent Night," Bublé's soothing voice melds with the calming notes of the piano and brass instruments to produce a beautiful and inspiring piece. The gentle melody is lulling and peaceful. Bublé’s album is de�nitely recommended to those looking to recapture the Christmas spirit. With his warm and comforting voice, Bublé instills a sense of nostalgia in his listeners.
After a charming and somewhat scattered debut album, Ceremonials focuses on the chorus-shouting tribal pop style so �tting for lead singer Florence Welch’s powerful vocals—but it does so a bit too narrowly. “Shake It Out” is the album’s second single and its clear crowning achievement. Genuinely anthemic, it masters what other tracks don’t. Pounding drumbeats give the song undeniable adrenaline, and Welch’s intense vocals are well-suited for the emotionally gratifying lyrics. The �rst half of the album contains a few more tracks that get it right, notably the lyrically intimate “No Light, No Light.” But the tracks start to bleed together as Ceremonials progresses, and none have the personal, stripped-back feel of some of the band’s creations on Lungs. Certain songs embody what’s best about the album’s drama, but in the rest, Welch shouts far above the ears and hearts of the listeners.
THE UNION ENTERTAINMENT NOVEMBER 2011
Popular shows lose main stars Two and a Half Men loses Charlie Sheen and Steve Carell leaves The Office. Both suffer losses but The Office preserves humor. BY ARTHUR TRAN
September has been a huge month for television, with the replacement of CBS’s Two and a Half Men lead actor Charlie Sheen with Ashton Kutcher and NBC’s replacement of The Office’s lead actor, Steve Carell. How have these shows been doing since the departure of TV-SERIES their main actors? REVIEW In Two and a Half Men, Sheen played the wealthy character of Charlie Harper, a children’s songwriter living in a beach house in Malibu. This season began with his character being abruptly killed off-screen by a moving train. Then, a billionaire internet tycoon (Kutcher) buys the beach house and then becomes the new main character on the show. Kutcher’s entrance into the show was extremely abrupt and unsatisfactory, as he just suddenly shows up outside the house about fifteen minutes into the first episode. The transition from Sheen to Kutcher is rough, as shown by the cramming of too many events into only one episode. Another episode or two could have been used to ease Kutcher into
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Dan Auerbach, a guitarist and vocalist of the Black Keys, performs at the Jaguar Stadium at San Jose City College. Joe Jonas was also a featured performer at the concert.
Black Keys gives ‘spectacular performance’ BY TIFFANY LAW
Early Thursday morning many waited eagerly outside Valley Fair for the Microsoft Store Grand opening. But many of these people were not there solely for the opening, but for free tickets to a Microsoft-sponsored concert. Fans who waited hours in line could decide to choose to attend a concert featuring either Joe Jonas or The Black Keys. The first 200 lucky fans in line received a VIP wristband. While many decided to go with Joe Jonas, I chose whom I believe to be the more obvious choice: The Black Keys. The concert took place on November 11 in the Jaguar stadium at San Jose City College. Concert-goers received rare but well appreci-
ated star-like treatment, and fans were photographed while entering the concert and given free food such as pizza, Rubio’s tacos, Jamba Juice, and a large variety of snacks. They were also given t-shirts and raffle tickets for a chance to win various prizes from Microsoft, CONCERT including an Xbox 360. REVIEW Before The Black Keys took the stage, a DJ kept the crowd entertained with remixes. Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperative, with rain pouring on and off throughout the night. But this slight hindrance did not prevent The Black Keys from giving a phenomenal performance. The Black Keys started their 14track set with the energetic song “Thickfreakness” from one of their
older albums. The duo consisting of drummer Patrick Carney and guitarist/vocalist Dan Auerbach continued to play a few more of their older songs such as “Girl is on My Mind” and “Act Nice and Gentle” before bringing out their touring bassist and keyboardist. They also played some of their more well-known songs such as “Tighten Up” and “Howlin’ for You” from their Grammy-winning album Brothers. The Black Keys, as usual, gave a spectacular performance. But though they lived up to expectations with their particular brand of blues rock, the crowd’s energy level did not match those of previous performances. Concert goers were generally unenthusiastic with the exception of a few avid fans.
the show or to make the change feel more natural. As an actor, Kutcher is mediocre. He is a decent replacement, but is nowhere as comedic as Sheen. Kutcher’s character only amuses the audience through his unbelievable stupidity, whereas Sheen’s character actually possessed humor and wit. The season suffered a rocky start. If the show is to continue, Kutcher needs to do something different with his character. As for The Office, Steve Carell played the character of Michael Scott, the manager of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. Despite Carell’s departure from the show, the sitcom still maintains its hilarity. The rest of the cast keeps The Office entertaining and enjoyable with its wit. However, that does not mean that the void left by Carell is completely filled. There is still a noticeable emptiness without Carell, who was brilliantly funny on the show. His absence makes an impact on the new season, and much is expected of the rest of the cast to fill his shoes. The Office came back this season as strong and funny as ever, and, despite Carell’s absence, it will continue to amuse viewers. Two and a Half Men, however, will need Kutcher to improve his character if he is to be as entertaining as Sheen; otherwise, season ten may never materialize.
Paranormal 3 not up to par BY LEANNA LEUNG
The paranormal activities ensue! The third installment of the Paranormal Activity series, a prequel set 18 years prior to the events depicted in the first two films, garnered a record-breaking crowd on its opening day for a MOVIE horror film. REVIEW However, Paranormal Activity 3 lacks proper explanations for its plot, and although its methods of eliciting fright seem realistic, they are mediocre at best. The Paranormal series, filmed in a home-video style, follows the lives of sisters Katie and Kristi, who are haunted by a supernatural being because of a bargain their greatgrandmother made: in exchange for wealth, the first-born son of the family is to be given to a demon. Paranormal Activity 3 begins as Katie delivers a box of old film tapes to a pregnant Kristi. When the tapes mysteriously go missing, the movie cuts to young Katie’s (Chloe Csengery) eighth birthday party. Strange events begin to occur after Kristi (Jessica Brown) befriends an invisible friend named Toby. Characteristic of the lovers in the first two films, Dennis (Christopher Smith), the boyfriend of the sisters’ mother, decides to get to the bottom of the strange occurrences and sets up numerous cameras around the house to capture the supernatural phenomenon. When the sisters’ mother, Julie (Lauren Bittner), and Dennis, attempt to film a sex tape, they are interrupted by an earthquake. Plaster and dust fall
from the ceiling and are suspended in mid-air, revealing a ghostly figure. Like in the first two films, the paranormal activities become increasingly physical and powerful as the movie progresses. Directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman deserve praise for the movie’s well-executed special effects. The eerie sounds during the middle of the night are genuinely spine-tingling. Generally, the supernatural powers are realistic and very convincing. As for acting, rookie child actors, Csengery and Brown, have good on screen chemistry and seem like real sisters. Taken as a whole, however, the movie contains several discrepancies and plot holes. Many of the events that occurred in the first two paranormal films were neither depicted nor mentioned at all in the third movie. Furthermore, a majority of the scenes featured in the trailer were entirely excluded from the film. These faults reveal the movie’s rushed, less-than-a-year production. Paranormal Activity, like other horror movies with sequels, tends to decline in quality with each installment. The third movie is definitely not up to par with the first Paranormal movie. Still, a fourth movie production is currently being discussed. It is doubtful, however, that a Paranormal Activity 4 will garner as much anticipation after a disappointing third movie. Overall, the highly anticipated Paranormal Activity 3, though realistic, lacks plot coherence and is not frightening enough for horror enthusiasts. The movie falls much too short of fans’ expectations.
THE UNION SPORTS NOVEMBER 2011
Volleyball ends season 14-20 BY GINNA LO
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Color guard members perform with �ags during halftime of the home football game between MHS and Los Altos on October 7. Color guard season starts in in the summer and ends in November, according to Kaldy.
MHS Color Guard the ‘sport of the arts’ BY THANH TRAN AND HANNA TRAN
While watching the halftime of a football game or some practices after school, it is hard to miss the MHS Color Guard elegantly spinning flags. However, these members do more than just wave flags. Color guard is sometimes under-appreciated for its effort and skill. The color guard team combines dancing and flag work to give visual impact to marching band, according to Band Teacher Christopher Kaldy. Color guard originally had roots in the military, he said. “It’s a dance and drill team that started off waving flags and other equipment like sabers,” Kaldy said. “[The] purpose is to visually enhance the music and help aid the story line.” MHS has a strong color guard, usually ranking in the top ten of 25-
30 schools, Kaldy said. Color guard tied for first place at a recent competition at Cupertino, Kaldy added. “This year, dance technique has improved,” Kaldy said. “[The team] is almost always top six or seven.” The team holds its practices from Monday to Thursday for approximately three hours a day, Kaldy said. The season starts during the summer and ends at the end of November, he said. Two instructors and student captains coach the team, Kaldy added. “The instructors teach choreography and dance work,” Kaldy said. “They start over the summer, once a week, and then band camp starts which consists of eight hour days.” Senior Daven-Anthony Lagman was originally in marching band for three years, he said. He decided to switch over to color guard in his senior year, according to Lagman. “I’ve kind of been a part of it for
a while,” Lagman said. “It’s a lot of dance.” Lagman is one of only two male members this year, Color Guard Captain Katherine Vuong said. “[It is the] first time in four years since we’ve had two male color guard members,” Vuong explained. Vuong has been in color guard for four years and joined because she wanted to learn something new, she said. The practices are just as rigorous as those of sports teams, Vuong added. “[I joined] because it seemed fun,” Vuong said. “I just wanted to learn how to spin flags. It’s a lot of work. It’s just like a sport.” Color guard is very strenuous, according to Kaldy. It includes dancing, running, and performing, he said. “Try spinning [flags]; it’s not easy,” Kaldy said. “It’s sometimes called the ‘sport of the arts.’”
The MHS Varsity Girls Volleyball Team ended their season with a tough loss against Wilcox High School 3-0 (25-20, 25-20, 25-16). The final game took place on November 3 at the home gym. Despite their win over Wilcox in late September, the Lady Trojans fell flat during Senior Night. The last game was a reflection of how the girls played throughout the entire season, according the Head Coach Jeffrey Lamb. “We could’ve played a lot better, but it’s how we played all year,” Lamb said, “[We were] not consistent.” The team’s mentality was a major factor in Thursday’s loss, Junior Kennedy Kenney said. The Lady Trojans’ overconfidence was a problem during the game, Kenney said. “We expected to win because we defeated them earlier,” Kenney said. “Our preconception cost us the game.” The loss was especially disappointing for the six seniors leaving the team this year, according to Senior Cassie Cacao. The Wilcox game was held on Senior Night to honor the seniors who were playing their last game in a Trojans jersey. “Emotions ran high Thursday night, and it affected us seniors so much,” Cacao said. “It was our last game, and I wish everyone picked up their game. It was just disappointing.” The loss marked the end of the unpredictable season with a final record of 14-20 overall and 5-5 in league, Senior Jacqueline Lamb said. “I don’t think that our record re-
ally reflects our skill level,” J. Lamb said. “We had a lot of ups and downs, but I definitely had a lot of fun.” Another factor that added to the team’s unpredictable season was uncertainty itself, J. Lamb said. The chance of a win or a loss was completely unknown due to the team’s lack of a stable player, J. Lamb said. “We didn’t have a go-to person, someone to count on at crunch time,” J. Lamb said. “Everyone had ups-and-downs.” Despite the rough finale, the Lady Trojans showed glimpses of dominance throughout the season. Victories strengthened the team’s confidence and trust towards one another, Kenney said. “The game that was most successful was the Leland match at Spikefest 2 where we dominated from beginning to end and played with our best efforts,” Kenney said. “We came together as a team, both on and off the court.” What stood out the most this season was the complete lack of drama between the teammates, J. Lamb said. This problem was often apparent in previous years, according to J. Lamb. “This team had a lot more chemistry than years past,” Lamb said. “Everyone got along very well.” With the season finally complete, it is uncertain what next year’s Lady Trojans will bring to the Milpitas High table. A new batch of younger players will be added to the Varsity Team next August. “I feel like the underclassmen will really need some leaders next year to really help the communication with everyone,” Cacao said. “I hope you all always play with heart. Never take any moment for granted.”
FEATURED ATHLETE When did you start playing football? I started playing when I was about 11-years-old. Are you an early bird or a night owl? Night owl. Who is your favorite football player? As of right now, I would say Troy Polamalu, and my all-time favorite would be Dan Marino. Why do you enjoy football? I enjoy it because not only is it a sport where you get to hit people, you build a really strong relationship with others and the coaches. What can you learn from football that will someday help you in the real world? There are going to be bumps down the road, and you are going to have to �gure out how to get over those bumps.
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Gabriel Muniz Senior Varsity Football
Why did you decide to try out for the football team? When I was a child, I was always humiliated growing up, and I used football to release anger and to get away from personal things. I like football because it makes me who I am in a way. Who or what in�uenced you the most to play? Watching games on TV just made me want to become a football player.
If you could be any animal, what would you be and why? I would probably be a silverback gorilla because it’s huge and like a human. If you had a million dollars, how would you use it? I would use it to �gure out ways to help kids who have autism. What is your position on the team? Safety. What is your impression of the team in one word? Disciplined. What is one thing that you would do before you die? Spend time with my family and friends together. Do you prefer dogs or cats? Dogs.
THE UNION SPORTS NOVEMBER 2011
MHS sends 4 athletes to CCS BY NATHAN NG AND Y-DAN BUI
As the fall sports season winds down, four MHS athletes have qualified for CCS in their respective sports. Three of the athletes come from the cross country team and one is from the girls’ tennis team. For Junior Yohaness Estifanos, this is his third time making CCS in cross country, he said. In his freshman year, he made CCS as a team, but in his sophomore and junior year, he only made it as an individual, Estifanos added. “I’m training hard to prepare for CCS and my expectation of CCS is to win first place and make it to state finals,” Estifanos said. “I would like to thank my coach, Ms. Hall, for training me hard and all Milpitas High students and teachers for encouraging me in my running.” Estifanos later placed first in the cross country CCS race at Crystal Springs in Belmont with a time of 14:59, according to dyestatcal.com. Junior Connor Prior has participated in cross country for three years at MHS and has made CCS in two of those years, he said. His goal
in this year’s race is to run close to his cross country teammate, Estifanos, Prior added. “This time I only made it as an individual and there’s only a few of us at practice, so it’s not as much fun,” Prior said. “I don’t think I’m fast enough to make state yet, but I’m hoping I’ll make it next year.” Freshman Sierra Brenciaglia, of cross country, has been running actively since sixth grade, she said. Being new to CCS, her teammates described the race to her as a competitive environment of about 200 runners, Brenciaglia said. “I would like the top 20,” she said. “I am very excited to run. Each race I get seconds better.” Junior Christi Tain, of girls’ tennis, is the only fall CCS athlete not from cross country, she said. To prepare for the upcoming matches, Tain has been preparing for her first match by training more on the weekends while continuing with team practices during the weekdays, Tain said. “As long as I play my hardest, it doesn’t matter,” Tain said. “I hope I win in a straight set so I don’t get that nervous.”
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Senior Jordan Lockett attracts a horde of Palo Alto defenders during the Trojan’s last regular season game on November 10. MHS’s record as they entered last Friday’s �rst playoff game against Mountain View was 7-3.
Trojans lose 62-35 in last game before playoffs BY BRIAN KHAU
This year, the MHS football team finished the regular season with a 7-3 record against other schools in the Bay Area, according to Football Head Coach Kelly King. The team was able to advance to the CCS playoffs because it ranked near the top of the schools in the De Anza League. The Trojans' last game versus Palo Alto on November 10 was one of the few losses MHS has suffered. In a 62-35 upset, the Palo Alto Vikings trumped the Trojans. Starting in the first quarter, the Vikings slipped through the Trojans’ defense, stealing three successive touchdowns to start the football game at 21-0. The Trojans responded back with two touchdowns in the second quarter. Receiver Brandon Colbert caught a long pass from
Quarterback Tony Sauceda for a touchdown. The second touchdown was much more grueling, with the Trojans slowly but surely pushing Palo Alto to their red zone until Senior Samuela Fanua managed to break through the Viking defense in a burst to the end zone for another touchdown. However, Palo Alto’s fast offense outstripped the MHS defense. The MHS defenders could not keep up with the speed of the Vikings. Furthermore, the Trojans fumbled the ball at key points in the game. When King was interviewed about his thoughts regarding the game, King stated, "I was extremely disappointed, because we were a better team." King attributed the cause of the loss to fundamental breakdowns, such as flaws in blocking and leverage. He said, "We showed
that we could throw the football, but we lost in technique." Still, MHS has won the majority of their games, and they continue to perform at a high standard, according to King. To prepare for the playoffs, the football team is hosting more rigorous practices daily, King said. "We're definitely focusing and practicing, and I know we're better than we were last month. I'm confident we can do well in the playoffs," King said. According to King, his motto for football is "success is overshadowed by hard work." The players are always improving in their daily practices, King said. On Friday, November 18, MHS faced Mountain View, whose team had a 6-3-1 record. The matchup was the first playoff game for the Trojans. The game concluded too late to be included in this issue.
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Players from Team Barcelona and Team Vietnam �ght for the ball. The teams played in the championship game on November 7 during lunch.
Team Vietnam three-peats; defeats Team Barcelona 2-1 BY CARYN TRAN AND GINNA LO
Team Vietnam took its third consecutive championship title with the score of 2-1 on November 7. It went up against Team Barcelona, also known as The Great Ones. Multiple failed attempts at goals were made for twenty-five minutes of the game. The slow-paced match took a turn in the last five minutes as both teams began to get a little desperate. With five minutes left, Junior Michael Shin, from Team Vietnam, scored the first goal of the game. Prior to making his first goal, he had been injured by a kick in the shin by Junior Hardip Singh of The Great Ones, but he stood up and continued playing, according to Shin. Two minutes after Shin’s goal, Singh broke through Vietnam’s defenses to tie up the score at 1-1 for Barcelona. Both teams scrambled to make another goal. With three minutes left in the game, Junior Tri Le, from Vietnam, switched from defense to offense and took the ball through Barcelona’s defenses. Then, fellow teammate Junior Benjamin “Ben” Leung connected with a pass from Le and scored a goal with two minutes. Vietnam was up 2-1, but Barcelona wasn’t done yet. Its players struggled and tried to tie it up, but they missed. It was a countdown to Vietnam’s win.
Team Vietnam’s strategy was its defense, according to Le. “It was just counter attack,” Le said. “We defend and since they had no defense, we took the ball and then we attacked them.” Singh acknowledged Barcelona’s weak defense. “We’re going to win the championship next year,” Singh said.“[We need] better defense.” There were a couple of complaints about clean playing made by Leung, Le, and Shin. “The dirtiest player was Hardip Singh because he hit my leg in the championships,” Shin said. Le also commented on Singh’s playing. “[Singh] took me out in the air,” Le said. “He’s a sore loser.” “[The final game] was unfair,” Singh said. “Mrs. Osborne helped Vietnam out a lot.” Singh also said that “they got the majority of the easy calls.” Despite their complaints, Team Vietnam found intramural soccer enjoyable, according to Leung. “I like it because it’s a lot different from playing full-on 11.” Leung said. “6 on 6 is a lot faster pace, and it’s a different feel for the game.” The Great Ones, however, had mixed feelings about the final game. Many spectators attended, which added pressure to outshine the returning champs, Singh said. “There was a lot of people watching the final,” Singh said. “It gets really competitive. We should have won instead.”
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Junior Shuyang Ye hits a backhand during her singles match against Salinas on November 8th at MHS. The Trojans won in the �rst round of the team CCS playoffs, advancing to the second round to play against Menlo.
Varsity Girls Tennis falls in second round BY DYLAN LIBRANDE
After a strong season, the Varsity Girls Tennis Team made the second round of CCS playoffs but lost to Menlo School, according to Coach Dong Pham. Pham credited the successes to strong teamwork and also noted that this is the first time the team had ever made it past the first round. The team did well in the season, losing only one game and finishing with an 18-1 record, Pham said. He added that the girls stayed more relaxed and more confident and that they showed a lot of improvement. “We have good players and a solid team,” Pham said. “In the final game [of CCS] we played our best, but just didn’t have high enough skill to win.” Pham said that the team needs to work harder and the players have to practice more during the offseason
if they hope to make it past the second round next year. He also said that he is sure the team is going to do better next year. “We need to work on our doubles, because we’re not yet quite good enough to compete,” Pham said. “But the players are all good kids who work hard and have teamwork and leadership. I’m really happy to work with them.” Team Captain Christi Tain, last year’s CCS girls doubles champion, was undefeated during the season. She is looking forward to her upcoming games but also knows that she has to continue practicing hard if she wants to win, Tain said. “[Menlo] outplayed us,” Tain said. “They had more experience. I plan to work on being more consistent, having harder hits, and being more independent.” The season was fun and Tain felt that she definitely improved, espe-
cially in the areas of her strokes and her shots, she said. The best part of the season was how close all of the players on the team were, according to Tain. “The team gets along really well,” Tain said. “We have a good connection, and everyone on the team is like siblings.” Because of the team’s good performance it will be moving from the El Camino division to the higher and more difficult De Anza division, Team Manager Vince Ly said. Ly also said that the team has very strong freshmen and singles players, and that the team as a whole has been one of the best in recent years. “Our strategies got a lot better,” Ly said, “and the team really knew how to treat each other. It was great seeing how energetic everyone was, and I loved seeing people who love tennis playing their best games.”
THE UNION NEWS NOVEMBER 2011
Haunted Theatre ‘fun, unpredictable’
Trojan Access Cards: 2010 vs. 2011 This year, 2,369 students earned an Access Card, compared to 2,342 students last year. Fewer students received a Gold or Blue Card, while more received the Platinum or Ultra Cards.
BY LORDESA FOK
Platinum Card Type
The second annual Haunted Theatre was held by MHS Theatre workshop students between October 29 and 31 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. in the Theatre. The purpose of the event was to help raise money for the Theatre department and gain food donations for the needy, according to the Theatre Department Head Kaila Schwartz. The Haunted Theatre was entirely based on ideas presented by Theatre workshop students, Schwartz said. The event consisted of seven different areas, which included the Haunted Nursery, Zombie Cornfield, Ouija Board Seance, House of Whorrors, Cannibal Sacrifice, Claustrophobia Photographer and Sally’s Birthday Party, according to Schwartz. Students could choose to pay either $5 for admission or pay $3 and donate two cans of food. “Students began coming up with ideas from the first day of school,” Schwartz said. “This is the biggest Theatre workshop project of the year. Students are being graded on concept proposal, design, execution and performance.” In addition to the acting of all twenty-four Theatre workshop students, MHS alumni also helped with performances, makeup, and music, according to Schwartz. For example, the music for the Haunted Theatre was composed by ’09 Alumni Thomas Vo, Schwartz added. Theatre Workshop Student Kendra Nielsen found student contributions to be instrumental to the
Students C������� �� C���� M�M�����
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Seniors Dorothy Van and Junryl Molina crouch over the “corpse” of a fellow student. The Haunted Theatre raised $700 and over 100 cans.
Haunted Theatre. “Students come up with everything we need to build and put it all together,” Nielsen said. “The alumni just help with it.” All of the cans gained from admission were donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank, and all of the money collected will go to funding school plays and replacing Theatre equipment, according to Schwartz. Over 100 cans and about $700 were collected total. “People only think about giving at Christmas time, but the need exists all year round,” Schwartz explained. “It’s okay to be spoiled and indulge, but then I start thinking about people who don’t even have dinner.”
Students seemed to enjoy the experience, Freshman Kyle Bobay said. “It was pretty fun, unpredictable and definitely worth the money.” Freshman Dorian Erceg was also impressed with the event. “It was creative and scary,” Dorian said. “The actors were pretty convincing and very dedicated to their roles.” Theatre workshop students felt that the experience was particularly valuable for their Theatre skills because they were able to apply all of the skills they had learned towards the event. The Haunted Theatre provided a place for them to bond and work as a team.
Access Card criteria stricter BY LUIS DESCANZO
Seven years ago, Assistant Principal Casey McMurray and then-Associate Principal Kenneth Schlaff launched the Trojan Access Card program to commend students who took the annual California Standards Tests (CSTs) seriously. “We wanted an entry-level award,” McMurray said, “that was attainable by any student who put effort into the tests.” Now that nearly three-fourths of the student body receive Access Cards, McMurray believes the program needs modification. Starting next year, students must earn higher CST scores to attain an Ultra Card. McMurray confirmed that students will need a score of 575 or higher in two or more of the CST tests. He is also considering raising requirements for Platinum Cards. Currently, a score of at least 550 in one test or two scores above 500 qualifies for an Ultra Card. “There needs to be a distinc-
tion,” McMurray said. “Ultra Cards should be exclusively for those excel and achieve at the highest level.” He added that, “we were giving out Platinum Cards to a whole range of students. Those who scored between a 351 and a 500 were getting the same reward.” The Cards are appealing because they reward individuals. The program is effective partly because it attempts to recognize student success on a personal basis, something which is difficult in a highly-populated school. “It’s a personal reward,” McMurray said. “Students like it because it’s not something that the whole school receives.” This year, McMurray made few changes to the Access Cards. “We added some off-campus passes, and took off rewards that students weren’t using.” McMurray noted that in general, the distribution at each card level remained about constant from last year, though more students received Platinum and Ultra cards.
Weighted GPAs considered BY LAURA COSGROVE
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Sophomore Gordon Luu gives Sophomore Amy Zhao a massage during the �rst ice breaker at the Jack Emery Brunch. The event brought together people from all across Milpitas to promote the drive and to raise support.
Jack Emery Brunch kicks off can drive; raises money for Milpitas Food Pantry BY PRISCILLA PARK
The Jack Emery Brunch was held on November 7 in the MHS Library during third and fourth period, according to Activities Director Joanna Butcher. The event was held to provide information about the Jack Emery Drive, which will be held between November 14 and December 13, Butcher said. School representatives from the district and the school board, as well as Food Pantry Head Karen Kolander, attended the event, Butcher said. The cost of attending the brunch was three dollars or nine cans per person, and all proceeds went directly to the Milpitas Food Pantry. "The high school coordinates the drive for the whole district," Butcher said. “The kickoff brings communication between all sites [before the Jack Emery drive begins]." This year, the goal for MHS is to
collect 10,500 cans, according to Jack Emery Brunch Committee Chair Cindy Ho. Different clubs on campus have also come up with their own individual goals for the amount of cans they want to collect, Ho said. "The brunch is not meant just to promote Jack Emery itself," Ho said. "It’s to encourage leaders to help motivate their peers to bring in cans and reach their goals." Around 100 people attended the event, and several different games and ice breakers were played to make it more interactive, Ho said. Various clubs at school were invited to attend, but only a few signed up to go, Ho added. "I hoped for more students from CLOGs to join and participate," Ho said. “[Clubs’] members usually contribute a great amount of cans." Junior Giang Ha attended the Jack Emery Brunch to represent Chess Club. Chess Club decided to
participate in the Jack Emery Food Drive in order to help out the community, and the brunch provided useful information about the event even though few MHS students attended, he said. "This event was beneficial as it brought together people from all over Milpitas and in all levels of education and provided instructions on how to actually collect cans from neighborhoods," Ha said. "But I felt that it didn’t bring enough people from our school." The Jack Emery Drive is the main source of money and cans for the Milpitas Food Pantry, according to Ho. The drive is an important event because it provides many less fortunate families with food to eat, Ho said. "If every single student brought in 4 cans, we would have over 12,000 cans to give away," Ho said. "Do your part in serving and giving back to the community!"
A weighted grade point average (GPA) system for MHS awaits approval at the Milpitas Unified School District Office, Principal Kenneth Schlaff said. Under the proposed system, grades in Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) classes will be evaluated on a five-point scale, with “A” grades that are worth four points in the current unweighted system earning five points. The proposal is in its first stages; it has to be approved by the executive cabinet at the District Office, after which it can be refined into more technical language and then sent to the school board for final approval, according to Schlaff. But Schlaff said he believes the system may be in place in time for the weighted GPAs to be sent out with the seniors’ college applications. “[The District] would not have picked it up if they were not viewing it positively,” Schlaff said in reference to the proposal being brought up at a secondary school principal’s meeting. “If I don’t hear back from them soon, I’ll pick up the phone and start pushing.” This system will mostly impact class rank for college admissions, since admission officers already weigh a student’s GPA when evaluating a transcript, but do not have the data required to adjust class rank in the same way, Associate Principal Brian McGarry said. Used at most of the “top high schools” in the surrounding area, weighted GPAs reward students taking challenging courses, McGarry said. “I’m a huge proponent of weighted GPAs,” McGarry said. Students should be recognized for challenging themselves.” Sophomore Anna Vu, who is cur-
rently juggling multiple Honors classes, said she definitely supports the idea of weighted GPAs because she wants to be recognized for the extra stress those classes require. The unweighted system makes Vu “question why [she] should even take honors classes,” Vu said. “Yeah, colleges will look at my grades from Honors classes differently, but it’s not the same—I’d rather have my parents see a 4.0 on my report card than a 3.5,” Vu said. “A weighted GPA system will save me a lecture.” Senior Brian Tseng is currently in the running for class valedictorian with a clean 4.0, a number that will rise with the onset of weighted GPAs. Tseng said he approves of the system “very much, in ways that you cannot even imagine.” “People who take APs will actually be rewarded,” Tseng said. “It’ll encourage participation in AP classes, because everyone will be thinking about their GPA.” Not many details of the plan are yet certain, including whether college summer classes will be weighted on the five-point scale, McGarry said. How college classes have previously been considered suggest that will be the case, but the discrepancy in difficulty level may spark discussion on the issue. “Most summer college classes are not as difficult as an AP Class,” McGarry said. “Now we consider them to be equal weight as AP classes, but will that continue?” Tseng suggested putting a cap on two or three summer classes to avoid the problem of GPAs not reflecting the amount of work put in continuing under the weighted GPA system. “People take a lot of summer classes for GPA inflation,” he said.