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Block Scheduling may be solution to stress (4)

U NI N iPhone 11: is it worth the hype? (11)

level 10 gymnast on her way to uc davis (12)

MHS tiktok stars go viral (14)

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NOVEMBER 2019 VOLUME XXXI ISSUE II

naviance causes issues in college applications (16)

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Student Voice of Milpitas High School

MHS funds drop ten percent; departments face budget cuts By Rachel Wu

COURTESY OF KARRINGTON KENNEDY

These images come from a recording that reports an MHS staff member came into school on Halloween dressed up as a rapper. The staff member in question decided to use blackface as part of their costume.

Staff member wears blackface for Halloween By Alexander Phan

Blackface was used in a costume by an MHS staff member on Halloween day, Superintendent Cheryl Jordan said. The staff member has since been put on paid administrative leave, she said. The actions of the staff member have caused great consequences for life on campus, Jordan said. It has affected members of the district and the district as a whole, she added. “It’s greatly disrupted how the district is functioning at the moment and even more importantly, it’s deeply affected many students, parents, and staff members,” Jordan said. “I share the disappointment, and while I cannot experience or understand it from their perspective, I value and respect that.” The staff member in question had been planning to dress in blackface prior to Halloween, Sophomore Hector Mendez said. Students of the class (such as Mendez) had warned the staff member about using blackface. “We had warned him before,” Mendez said. “We told him honestly that it was a bad idea.” The decision to use blackface has affected students of the school, especially the African American community, Black Student Union (BSU) President Nyla Choates said. “On behalf of the Black Student Union, I think that we’ve all been affected in a way where we’re reconsidering who to trust and who at our school really cares about us,” Choates said. “For a teacher to think that it was okay and to justify a way to dress up as our skin as their costume was just astonishing.” The use of blackface as a costume has brought many difficulties on campus, Junior Sienna Reyes said. “I feel like, as an African-American student on campus, it’s definitely been hard to adjust and feel comfortable on campus after knowing that someone who should be considered a role model was able to do the things he did,” Reyes said. The blackface incident occur-

ring on campus has cast some doubt over MHS’ reputation for being a safe environment, Mendez said. “It kind of messed up the school’s reputation,” Mendez said, “This school is known for having a good, safe environment where [people] can be good to each other and happy.” Sophomore Kristoffer Magat, who was in the class, said that the staff member in question did not have malicious intent with the costume. The costume was just a bad decision, Magat said. “He wasn’t really trying to aim for what blackface was,” Magat said. “He was just trying to look like Common the rapper. He didn’t have any intent of supporting that term; it was just a bad choice of costume.” No matter what the staff member’s intention was, the conscious choice to dress in blackface is unjustifiable, Choates said. “I’ve tried to think about his perspective, but I can’t think about any type of thing that would justify this,” Choates said. “I’ve heard that he used to be a history teacher, which is also astonishing in itself for you not to think while you’re painting your face in your bathroom, that this was not okay.” Despite blackface being used as part of a Halloween costume, the staff members actions are still inexcusable, Reyes said. “I understand why some people would say that it’s just a Halloween costume,” Reyes said. “If you don’t understand the history of blackface, you can’t say that. I don’t think it’s justifiable in that matter.” Sophomore Jake Shimada, a student in the class, said the staff member’s intention should be considered before judgment. “What he did, he was just trying to be the Microsoft AI guy, which is what he really tried to pull off. I think a lot of people just point to the blackface, but they don’t see what he was actually trying to do,” Shimada said. “You can tell that it wasn’t about the Microsoft AI guy, it wasn’t about his costume or what he portrayed. It was about the fact that he did blackface, but what people don’t

realize is that it wasn’t in racist intent. He just did it to entertain.” The incident should be seen as an opportunity for the community to gain a better sense of understanding of each other, Jordan said. “This is an opportunity for us to strengthen how we are with each other and to deepen our cultural understanding,” Jordan said. “So as we look at what we teach in class, we are cognizant and diligent in making sure that we have content that represents the cultural backgrounds and experiences of all of our learners, so they see themselves in what they’re learning. In that way, they know that they are important and valued.” Moving forward from this incident, it would be best if people would have respect for others’ cultures, Choates said. “I would love for everyone to know is that our skin is not your costume and this is not just for the black community. It is for Mexicans, any type of Asians, or anyone.” Chotaes said. “I just think if we all agree with each other on that, if we all respect each other’s cultures and respect each other’s skin colors, then we’ll all be a good and happy world.” The district has already begun action to help mend the situation, Jordan said. The district has met with numerous groups and allowed many opportunities for students to vent their frustrations, Jordan said. “On Monday, we had opportunities for the BSU leaders and other students to talk at length about their thoughts, their wisdom, and their emotions,” Jordan said. “We also had opportunities for students and staff to come at lunch on Monday to talk today after school. We’ll have an opportunity for all staff to meet together and to hear from student leaders about how it’s impacted them. We’ve met with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). We’ll be meeting with some parents from MHS and the community.” The Union is not releasing the name of the staff member because the district has not confirmed his name.

MHS funding has fallen by at least $140 thousand since last year, or about 10 percent, Principal Francis Rojas said. The departments that experienced the largest budget cuts were the ones that spent the most, mainly the science department, Rojas continued. While there are a lot of factors that impacted MHS’s funding, student absences hit funding the most, Rojas said. The school does not get funded when students are absent except in certain circumstances, Rojas added. Any time a student is not present, the state calculates that less students are being served, resulting in less funding for MHS, Rojas said. This year the district really wants to focus on how to increase attendance, Rojas added. There was another known contributor to the decrease in funding. “There were some changes in funding sources for other groups that fund us,” Rojas said. “One of our partners, MetroEd, which is our Silicon Valley Career Technical Education (SVCTE) group, their funding sources had changed. Usually they allocate to districts and high schools money that they will provide your high school for providing the classes they can’t provide at SVCTE, so we knew [the decrease in funding] was coming because their funding structure changed.” The overall allocation of funds from the state and the district MHS receives is around $1.2 million, Rojas said. However, a good portion of the budget must go to Career Technology Education (CTE) programs because the state gives us funding just for having the three partnership academies, E-Tech, Digital Business Academy, and Travel and Tourism, Rojas added. “That doesn’t mean that for

some of the resources that we purchase or use from those funds, we can’t share that with the rest of the school because those are still teachers in our school. So if we train them in something and use those funds, that doesn’t mean they can’t share what they learned with the rest,” Rojas said. “Same thing with computers. For the academies, we try to refresh computers maybe every couple years. So, each academy gets new computers, and we use the old computers for other labs or if any other classrooms need computers.” Every department is given a certain amount of funds based on the expenses they need, and it stays pretty constant from year to year, Rojas said. However, certain departments need to spend more and thus have larger budgets because they use more consumables, Rojas added. For example, the art department needs to buy paint and supplies, and the science department needs to buy chemicals and specimens, Rojas said. Departments such as English have smaller budgets because most books are already funded through instructional materials by the district, and are not frequently repurchased, Rojas added. “The departments that experienced the largest budget cuts are actually the ones that spend the most,” Rojas said. “Art was funded through a different account, and that one didn’t get cut, so I would say it is mostly science. Right now, I just told them to keep spending the way they were because remember, it’s like this big bank account. There are other pockets of money somewhere else. If I didn’t spend all of it last year it’s sitting there like savings.” Teachers generally find out SEE “FUNDING” ON PAGE 16

Eye on Campus:

Environmental Chalk Art

COURTESY OF JENNY PHAM

AP Enviornmental Science students decorate the L-Building floors with chalk art advocating the protection of the Earth’s environement.


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NOVEMBER 2019

FEATURES

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MHS Theater Troupe performs at Scotland By Faria Moiz

COURTESY OF ATALIE HOANG AND RYAN HO

Senior Atalie Hoang hand-paints Yuri from anime “Yuri on Ice” (left) and Guts from “Berserk” (right) on hydro flasks using acrylic paint.

Hoang expresses creativity, hand-paints designs on bottles By Ginnie Lo

Having a water bottle decorated with stickers and art is one of the biggest trends among teenagers. Senior Atalie Hoang is one of the few that has decided to turn her artistic hobby into something more by accepting artwork commisions. Since the beginning of the year, she has been painting water bottles for other people. Hoang decided to turn her interest into a way to make easy money. Her work was advertised to Anime club members and other people by her friends, she continued. “I’m good at painting and figured if I could paint on canvas, then I could do the same on Hydro Flasks,” Hoang said. “I’ll paint anything people want, but I think cartoons are the most fun to paint just because I want to work more on improving that kind of style. It’s satisfying to make the lines for cartoons and animes.” Hoang’s rates are between $40

and $70 depending on how elaborate the request is. Prices vary because of the time it takes her to perfectly complete a project, she added. “I prefer to work with gesso underpainting and acrylic paint. I finish off by spraying the bottle with a sealant so the paint won’t peel off,” Hoang said. “I will use some of the funds to pay for my college and other personal stuff.” Even though Hoang does not want to be an artist in the future, she wants to keep painting as a hobby. “I had the most fun painting my first water bottle, which is of a character named Yuri Katsuki from the anime ‘Yuri on Ice,’” Hoang said. “For my next project, I plan to paint Naruto on my sister’s water bottle. Although I haven’t been doing commissions for long, I hope that I can continue because I really love creating art and spreading my work. As for the future, I hope I can be a truffle pig breeder.”

The Advocate, a club new to this year, held a voter registration drive in the MHS library from Oct. 8 to Oct. 10, President Rachel Wu said. The event registered and pre-registered at least 300 students to vote, Wu said. Students must be 16 or 17 years old to pre-register to vote, and they must be 18 or older to register to vote. Those who pre-register will be eligible to vote once they turn 18 years old. Voting is an easy way to participate in the political process, and can be less daunting than attending protests and rallies, Wu said. “We decided to organize a voter registration drive because we felt like it was one of the easiest ways to expose students to political participation,” Wu said. “When you register to vote, you can receive election related materials or even your ballot in the mail. When we normalize political activism, we give it the value it deserves as an important tool to check back for injustices in our society.” Organizing the drive required a month of planning and contacting outside organizations for help and supplies, Wu said. The Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters provided The Advocate with the voter registration forms and educational materials that were supplied to attendees. The Civics Center and No Voter Left Behind, two nationwide civic engagement nonprofits, also assisted with providing promotional materials,

Wu said. “I was really pleasantly surprised and thankful for how enthusiastic both the students and teachers were about voting,” Wu said. “A lot of the students asked us questions about voting or getting involved in our club, and a lot of teachers were very supportive and brought their classes to the drive.” Junior Daniel Ly attended the drive with his English class, and wanted to pre-register early on instead of waiting until he turns 18 years old. Ly, along with his classmates, received information about voting and assistance with filling out voter registration forms at the drive. “I plan to vote in the next election when I’m 18 years old,” Ly said. “I consider myself more politically involved than some other people because I tend to take my own time to research specific topics and delve deeper beyond what social media tells me. I feel like registering to vote is an actual first step to political participation for everyone.” The Advocate plans to further involve members in projects with The Civics Center and No Voter Left Behind projects to bring more marginalized citizens to the polls. In the future, the club is interested in hosting more voter registration drives, organizing classes with the goal of teaching immigrants how to vote in their native language, and even lobbying for laws in support of voter’s rights, Wu said.

with the Milpitas Beat publication,” Hutchison said. One student, Junior Kristen Bongco, reflected on why she chose the Fringe Festival and how it impacted her performances. “I didn’t have time to do a play during school so I was really excited for an opportunity to do it in summer,” Bongco said. “It was also cool to think that I could perform in a whole other country,“ Bongco elaborated on what pressures they felt as amateur performers. She said that such pressures to show the best side actually had a positive effect. “There was a lot of pressure to do good and represent our school,” Bongco said. “Over time we just performed better because we were in a professional setting.”

KATHLEEN HUYNH | THE UNION

CoderDojo students listen intently to Senior Aniket Tyagi as he teaches them basic coding skills. Tyagi teaches his students how to create their own “Mario” prototype on Scratch, a programming language.

Coding program fosters digital future By Kathleen Huynh

Students preregister to vote, partake in political process By Neval Mulaomerovic

Students in the MHS theater troupe traveled to perform at the renowned Fringe Festival. They participated in Edinburgh, Scotland during the summer interlude, Head of the Theater Department Kaila Schwartz said. Six students part of the Thespian Troupe 8201 club, Intro to Theater Arts, or Theater Arts, opted to avail this opportunity, Schwartz said. A large portion of the shows’ production was student-led and focused on the theme ‘The Six Stages of Grief,’” she said. “We started writing [the play] last year around September or October,” Schwartz said. “[Students] wrote poems, monologues, and scenes. Megan and Swetha also wrote a song that they cho-

reographed. I put all of the pieces that they wrote together into a 45 to 50 minute show.” The students also got to interact with professionals, Schwartz said. They worked at the Globe Theater in London and with a Chicago-based musical improvisation group in Scotland, she added. “We did a Shakespeare performance workshop in London,” Schwartz said. “In Edinburgh, we did a workshop with an improv comedy troupe called ‘Baby Wants Candy!’,” Assistant Principal Jennifer Hutchison assisted with getting the word across about the trip to local organizations. Some of these advertisements were spread via advertisements or even online, Hutchison added. “I helped facilitate an interview

Dynamic duo, Aniket Tyagi and Havi Le, run the Milpitas branch of CoderDojo. Sessions are held every Friday for two hours at the extension building in the bio lab. Every week, Tyagi and Le teach children how to code and program while learning some important life lessons themselves. Tyagi recalls a moment where a student, Fifth Grader Ayush, was able to finally understand the concepts he was not able to grasp before. The struggle was real but Ayush did not give up. One day after class ended, Ayush approached Tyagi and told him that he finally understood the concepts and thanked him, Tyagi continued. “I thought, ‘I’m actually mak-

ing an impact,’” Tyagi said. “I felt so important, and I almost didn’t believe it. ” For Le, she finds joy in being able to connect with her students and their parents. As soon as a student enters the class, ready to learn, Le greets them with a bright smile. “There’s this group of girls in middle school,” Le said. “Their moms are very knowledgeable about the science and the business industry and they share that knowledge with me.” Parent Fritzi Borja is a computer programmer herself and thinks that CoderDojo is a great program for her kids. She is also the president of the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) at Pearl Zanker Elementary School and advertises the program on

the PTA Facebook page. “I think learning from their student peers gives them a different interest level in programming,” Borja said. “I value any time they can spend trying to learn a little more about [programming].” Both Tyagi and Le are in the last leg of their high school careers with Tyagi being a senior and Le being a junior. The program will definitely continue, Le said. For the rest of the year, the two plan to finish strong and discuss future plans later. “I still want to volunteer after college apps because I find it fun,” Tyagi said. “It’s good to give the kids a kind of edge because I didn’t know how competitive [computer science] was. I want to give them a nudge in the right direction.”

AAA ends the week with dumpling night By Ginnie Lo

The Asian American Association (AAA) club hosted an event called “Dumpling Night” on Oct. 18 in the foods room, G03. The purpose of this event was to bring club members and officers together, AAA Vice President Vincent Tran said. It took a month to organize all the materials, paperwork, and logistics, Tran said. In order for Dumpling Night to be accessible to all club members, AAA had to plan a fundraiser and raise enough money to buy all the materials and make everythingfree, Tran added. “Our members got to learn about the many different types of dumplings from each culture and most importantly, make them,” Tran said. “We handmade pork,

napa, shrimp, egg, and chive dumplings. After [members] finished making their dumplings, the officers would fry or boil the dumplings. Once the dumplings were finished cooking, we all enjoyed a meal together.” Dumpling Night was inspired by the University of California, Berkeley’s AAA club, AAA Publicist Sarah Cao said. Around 30 people showed up, Cao continued. “Dumpling Night exceeded our expectations and was a success,” Cao said. “We ended using up all the fillings and the 240 wrappers. We later realized that it was not enough for 30 people, and we will make sure to get more supplies next time.” Member Hyrum Villanueva thought the event was a great way for everyone to socialize. Dumpling Night made everyone feel in-

cluded, he continued. “We made a simple, timeless dish,” Villanueva said. “Every culture has its own version of a dumpling. If you think about it, a hot pocket is a dumpling and a ravioli is an Italian dumpling. This event reminded us that food brings different cultures together.” AAA hopes to make Dumpling Night a tradition, Tran said. Regardless of race, anyone is welcomed to gain insight on Asian-American culture, he added. “Learning about the different types of dumplings around Asia can expose our members to lesser-known Asian cultures,” Tran said. “By becoming aware of these ethnic groups, we can advocate for an improved quality of life for all Asian-Americans.”


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Accelerated courses deserve a grade bump for extra efforts demand more out of students. Math 3A, English 1A, and othAgain, it does vary from teacher er classes that are given the “acto teacher, but when students are celerated” name should be given placed into an advanced class, they the same grade bump as honors classes because they are similar in experience a level of depth and workload and are as challenging as speed with the course material the honors classes. The that is similar to Honors main purpose of a grade English. In Accelerated bump in honors and AdEnglish classes, books vanced Placement (AP) and other forms of literature are read at home inclasses is to acknowledge the difficulty of the stead of in the classroom, material through a grade which gives the teachers boost for students who more time to introduce students to the full depth struggle with the subof the material when they ject, while also rewarding students who do well are in class. This workload cycle of being given despite the difficulty. MAX While the difficulty a chapter or poem to read JONES and analyze at home, of each individual “accelerated” class varies then using classtime to discuss the reading the next day is from teacher to teacher, there is the same as in Honors English and still a noticeable difference in the AP English classes. amount of work that the students Introducing a grade bump that is in the accelerated classes receive similar to honors classes may also each day. Accelerated classes give encourage students who wouldn’t similar amounts of homework as want to challenge themselves behonors courses but are not given cause they are worried about how a grade bump. Math 3A, in particular, challenges students more the class will affect their GPA. By having this numerical incentive to because they are being prepared take a class like English 1A or Math for the workload and rigor of the 3A, people will be inclined to learn material in Honors Precalculus, more about the subject without AP Calculus AB, and AP Calculus BC. Students in Math 3A often skip worrying about how it will affect Precalculus and go straight to AP their chances at college later on. Calculus AB, so the difficulty of While GPA definitely isn’t everything when it comes to getting into the work in Math 3A is essential college, it is an important part of an to prepare students for their future classes. This means that the application that colleges take into students in this class are given the consideration. Other schools simsame workload as classes that are ply have Honors and AP. We should be consistent with other schools classified as Honors and AP, but are not recognized for this work in and change the accelerated classes their grades. to Honors for a grade boost. Accelerated English classes also

CON

Derive motivation in classes from learning, not grade bump Advanced classes are intended to themselves and their lives. offer a more challenging academic The classroom environment of experience for students wishing to accelerated classes is also a point achieve a higher level of education. to consider. Regardless of motivaThey offer nothing else outside of tion, the current state of accelerated courses puts students striving difficulty and curricula because that’s what they’re meant for more into the same for. Accelerated courses, room. Compared to baseHonors courses, and Adline classes which can invanced Placement (AP) clude students with little courses all offer increasmotivation or academic ing levels of difficulty. To inclination, accelerated compensate for their staclasses allow educationtus as the most difficult ally-driven students to courses available to high be placed more closely school students, Honors with their peers. People argue that acand AP courses are givcelerated courses should en the potential grade KYLE bump. include a grade bump NGUYEN Classes such as English similar to Honors courses or AP courses as com1A and Math 2A are usually taken by freshmen and soph- pensation for their difficulty, but omores, allowing them to become they don’t need compensation. The accustomed to a higher standard difficulty shift is nowhere near as of work early on. The concept of large as in Honors or AP. The deGrade Point Averages (GPA) as a cision to take an accelerated class whole can be frustrating to stu- is entirely your own, and you do so dents, making them feel as though with the knowledge that you get a their letter grade is all that matters more challenging experience. in a classroom setting. This is detThe accelerated courses availrimental to the value of education, able on campus are absolutely dislearning, and personal growth tinct from the Honors courses and within schools. AP courses in terms of what they School shouldn’t be about “play- offer and how they can be handled. ing the system” and attempting to They allow students to take a moensure the best possible path to a ment and evaluate themselves to future college. Too many students decide if they want to pursue Honbelieve that accelerated classes ors and AP classes in the future to are the gateway to GPA bumps and work toward their college career, more rigorous courses for college, or if they want to divert their atwhen they’re not. Accelerated tention to other things. Taking an accelerated class is courses are simply more of a challenge offered to those who desire it. meaningless if the only thing that They go over slightly more difficult appeals is the additional grade material at a marginally faster rate bump. for students wishing to improve

OPINIONS

NOVEMBER 2019

Block scheduling would reduce stress for all Imagine: you finally sit down at many students, their schedules are your desk at 7:00 p.m., exhausted already packed to the brim. Since it after a long day of school, extra- would be infeasible for all teachers curricular activities, and various to coordinate with each other to commitments, and you realize in prevent assigning too much homehorror that you have four work on any given day, students may accidentests and six long hometally end up with a huge work assignments due mountain of homework tomorrow — the stuff of due the next day. There nightmares. It’s happened to all of us. Unforis not much we can do to tunately, we’re all so accompletely prevent this specific problem, but customed to six-period a block schedule with, school days that we may for example, four classnot even realize that they es a day would cap the might be to blame for amount of homework this unnecessary stress. RACHEL or tests at four classes Even though block WU worth at a time, which scheduling has already would be much more seen massive popularity in American schools, manageable than six. MHS still continues to use the tra- Moreover, if the homework assignditional high school schedule with ment is long and difficult, students six periods each day. Students with will have more time to study and a block schedule attend a fewer come to office hours to ensure that number of classes each day, usual- they do the homework assignment ly four, but they spend more time in correctly. each class. However, block schedIn the same vein, having just ules come in many different forms; four classes a day would help slow some may have more periods in a down the pace of life in general. day than others and even follow Because less time is spent rushing different schedules for each day. from class to class and shifting foSwitching to a block schedule cus from one subject to another, would significantly improve the the school day would feel more learning experience of students at relaxed. It would also be easier to MHS and reduce stress. The six-pe- focus in each class as there are fewriod schedule exacerbates the im- er things to worry about each day. mense stress students experience Switching tasks too often breaks from the fast-paced schedules they streams of productivity, and it can are pressured into upholding. For be exhausting to keep trying to get

back on track each time. The longer periods that result from block scheduling also have a variety of benefits for both students and teachers. On top of having more uninterrupted class time, students also have fewer opportunities to be tardy, and less time is wasted taking attendance, setting up, and cleaning up. As a result, teachers might have more wiggle room to experiment with incorporating non-lecture-based teaching styles, interactive group activities, discussions, and even delivering more personalized instruction to those who need extra help. The increase in uninterrupted class time also allows for activities like science labs, discussions, and handson projects to be completed with greater depth because they will no longer be cut short by the bell. Longer periods benefit teachers as well because they get longer uninterrupted planning periods, which helps teachers complete grading and lesson planning in less time by increasing productivity. Once MHS changes its schedule, block scheduling should be considered. A prime opportunity for this is coming up; all California high schools will be required to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. by 2022 at the latest. Since the schedule will have to be shifted anyway, the additional costs of implementing a block schedule should be minimal.

Killing affirmative action not the solution Universities across the country significant because it means that if use affirmative action to give un- someone didn’t get into a universiderprivileged racial groups an ad- ty, it does not mean his or her place vantage in the competitive college was taken by a student of a differadmission process. Asian Amer- ent race. There are no “places” for icans have been vocal opponents any student. Second, this lawsuit of this policy, claiming did not come about bethat it gives Black and cause some Asian AmerLatinx applicants an ican students were anadvantage over ostensibly more qualified gered by the Harvard Asian American appliadmissions process. cants. Earlier this year, Rather, an organization a group of Asian Amerinamed Students for Fair can students sued HarAdmissions, which was vard University over formed by a white man affirmative action. The named Edward Blum, misleading arguments is suing Harvard. Also. JOSHANNE made by many in favor Blum had used Abigail CHIANG of the plaintiffs in the Fisher, a white woman, as the plaintiff in an lawsuit rely on three key misunderstandings earlier case against the that I think are important to clear University of Texas. Sarah Hinger up. of the American Civil Liberties First, racial quotas at universi- Union wrote that Blum decided ties are illegal. This was decided that in order to get rid of affirmaby the Supreme Court in 1978 in tive action, he needed to recruit Regents of the University of Cali- Asian Americans in order to pit rafornia v. Bakke. Now, affirmative cial minorites against each other. It action does not mean allowing only is clear that Blum doesn’t have the a certain number of each race into best interest of Asian Americans schools, but rather, it means con- in mind; he only wants to abolish sidering race as one of the many affirmative action. factors in a holistic review. This is Third, Asian Americans are not

underrepresented at Harvard. The Harvard Gazette found that Asian Americans make up 25.4% of the Class of 2023. This might not sound like a lot, but Asians only make up 5.6% of the US population. That means that there are nearly five times as many Asian Americans at Harvard as who “should” be there if the admissions process was fair to all races. Other universities also have similar statistics. Affirmative action is by no means perfect. One of the key complaints in the Harvard lawsuit is that Harvard consistently rates Asian Americans lower on personality traits like kindness and leadership. This does seem like a huge issue, but it’s not one that can be solved by killing affirmative action. Asian Americans have to realize that affirmative action is helping us as much as it is helping Black and Latinx students. As an Asian American applying for college right now, I understand the pressure and fierce competition to get into elite schools. However, just because you’re bitter over not getting into Harvard does not mean you should dismantle a system that is crucial to the progress toward racial equality in our country.

Gap year an underappreciated resource Life after high school is typically There are students who plan on mapped out for students: they get paying for their college tuition all their diplomas, and then they go off on their own. It’s no secret that to college. Wanting to seek higher this is a difficult goal to accomplish education right out of high school on minimum wage paychecks, especially since students is what’s expected of us. are only permitted to The thought of taking a work part-time hours. A gap year, which is a year gap year allows them to off from school before work full time for a year going to college, is typically frowned upon by so that they can save up adults. money for their tuition. Many students are adWithout tuition money, vised against taking a a student would not be gap year because we’re able to attend college in usually told it’s likely we the first place. won’t go back to school For other students, after taking the time off. taking their time and MALIYAH FICK Some of us are told we’ll living their lives first is get too comfortable with the ideal route. Once colnot going to school. Howlege starts, so does our ever, this shouldn’t be the mindset lives as adults. We focus on getting because gap years can provide a lot our degree, and once we do that, we of opportunities for students, such focus on getting our first real job in that field. Traveling first allows stuas working or traveling.

dents to take a break, explore, and find themselves before they decide on what they want to do for the rest of their lives. Taking a gap year can also be beneficial when it comes to a student’s mental health. The first part of our education can be brutal, from school work to the struggles of growing up and attempting to find ourselves. There are students who don’t know what they want to major in, but they jump head first into college anyways. This leaves students feeling lost and pressured to find a major, when they could just take a break and figure out their passions. When considering the amount it costs to attend college, students owe it to themselves to go when they feel that they are ready and to go for something that they are passionate about. Rushing into your future unprepared is detrimental in the long run.


NOVEMBER 2019

EDITOR I A L : The Opinion of The Union

School should start later in the morning Recently, California Governor Gavin Newson signed legislation requiring all California high schools to begin their days after 8:30 a.m., effective starting in the 2022-2023 school year. This would translate to a school day pushed back by at least 30 minutes for MHS students. The argument for a later school day isn’t new, but not all school districts have switched partly because of the logistics of schedule changes and cost. While these concerns are valid, the public health issue of student sleep deprivation should be prioritized over such logistical difficulties. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that middle and high schools should start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. in order to ensure that students, particularly teenagers, get enough sleep. This is partly because children going through puberty begin producing melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone, on a delayed schedule. This makes it difficult for them to feel sleepy before 11 p.m., even if they are exhausted. Melatonin secretion also turns off later in the morning for teenagers, making it tough to wake up early. Since many schools start before 8:30 a.m., it is difficult for students to sleep the recommended eight to 10 hours a night, especially since it is normal to spend time in bed before being able to fall asleep. Luckily, a University of Washington study on two high schools that have pushed back their start times found that students gained an extra 34

minutes of sleep on average. That was translated into a 4.5 percent increase in grades, more alertness and engagement in class, and a decrease in absences and tardies. This extra sleep also helped students combat fatigue, depression, and memory and cognition impairment which resulted from chronic sleep deprivation. In fact, delayed start times have even been found to mitigate the achievement gap between students of different socioeconomic backgrounds. Low-income students in the study saw their absence and tardy levels drop to levels similar to their more wealthy counterparts. Other studies also found that improvements in academic performance were twice as great in disadvantaged students. Later school start times should be seriously evaluated in the context of the devastating effects of sleep deprivation. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) found that teens who do not get enough sleep are more likely to be overweight, not exercise enough, suffer from depression, and engage in unhealthy behaviors like drinking, smoking, and drug use. For example, a University of Chicago study found that lack of sleep is linked to an increase in obesity by deregulating appetite. Even more concerning, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine suggests that a lack of sleep led to an increase in teenage car crash rates by increasing the number of drowsy drivers. Surprisingly, there might even be benefits to the economy; another study found that later

starts to the school day could add one billion dollars to the economy through increased graduation rates and productivity. Rightfully so, those wary of later start times have expressed concerns about logistical challenges from schedule changes. However, effective adaptations can be made around the schedule changes. Some school districts implemented a more flexible bus schedule or provided transit passes for high school students. Sometimes, athletes had to wake up earlier for morning practice, but they did not have to wake up earlier every day and still got more sleep overall. Also, the vast majority of students were unaffected. These schools still saw growing rates of extracurricular involvement and were able to reap the health benefits from sufficient sleep. Yes, it’s true that implementing these schedule changes did come with a monetary cost. However, many school districts did end up finding affordable options, even if it required more effort on the administrators’ part. It is important to remember that combatting student sleep deprivation is a public health issue, just like lead water testing and vaccination requirements, and it should be prioritized over all other concerns; student and staff health should be put first. Overall, the logistical challenges do require some cost and sacrifices, but combatting student sleep deprivation is a public health issue, and it warrants a late start to the school day.

EDITOR I A L : The Opinion of The Union

Admin should be more easily accessible Administrators such as Assistant Principals (APs) play a hugely important role on campus. Being in charge of programs such as Advanced Placement, standardized testing, and Naviance, APs are constantly influencing the student body, whether students notice it or not. However, it is not uncommon for a junior or even a senior student at MHS to be unable to recognize an AP or identify them by name. This becomes problematic because building a close relationship between APs and students is essential for MHS to function efficiently. Seeing as a large part of AP responsibilities are attendance and discipline, students would benefit from having a closer relationship with the administrators they meet with. A discussion meant to fix absences or academic underperformance is much more effective when coming from a person the student knows well. Administrators and APs are also essential for clubs and organizations (CLOGs) to function. A member of the administration needs to sign off on every purchase order and meeting minute with the preapproval of funds over $150. For larger CLOGs with frequently used bank accounts, spending money is a part of their daily activities. However, these activities are made more time-consuming than they need to be. Depending on the day, administrators may be in their room, having staff

meetings, or conducting yard duty. Sometimes, not a single administrator is available in their office, leaving students unable to locate them for assistance. Yard duty assignments can make it difficult for students to locate APs, especially when they may move to a different location each day or even within the same lunch period. Getting preapprovals and purchase order signatures turns into a game of chance. Often times, an administrator has to be intercepted just as they are leaving their office or just as they wrap up a conversation. This creates issues for clubs who must deal with a backlog of forms and funding and individual students who could have their own personal needs. Just as this turns into an inconvenience for students and CLOG officers, this situation is likely also a bother for the office workers and administrators themselves. Students wandering in the hallways of the main office, hoping to bump into one of the administrators for assistance, is surely unfavorable to the many staff members who have their own important responsibilities to attend to. To be clear, this is not an argument against having administrators’ signatures on purchase orders and meeting minutes with large preapproval of funds. The administrators’ signatures are important to hold both the CLOG and the school accountable. The sig-

THE UNION

EDITORIAL

natures verify that administrators have checked that the forms are filled out correctly, which is necessary when large amounts of money are in question. However, getting into contact with an AP, whether for CLOG or personal purposes, should be made easier for both sides. This is a situation that could be easily remedied. The administrators could set up a schedule of office hours for CLOG officers and other students to visit them. Not all of the administrators have to be available at the same time. Between all of them, one administrator could be made available for just a few minutes during lunch, perhaps a few times a week. They can share this duty so that each administrator only needs to hold office hours once every few weeks. Even if no students happen to show up with papers to be signed at the designated time, these office hours do not have to be a waste of the administrators’ time. Setting office hours can make administrators more accessible to students with ideas about how to change the school for the better, closing the gap between administrators and the students that they want to help. At the end of the day, both sides benefit from increased communication and easier accessibility. Allowing administrators and students to have better connections with each other can only benefit the campus as a whole in the long run.

U NION The

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The Union is published by the Journalism class of Milpitas High School. The views in The Union are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect those of the school, students, administration, or Milpitas Unified School District.

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S TA F F Neval Mulaomerovic Editor -In -Chief Alexander Phan News Editor Sarah khan A sst. News Editor Rachel Wu Op -Ed Editor Vibha Sastry A sst. Op -Ed Editor Ginnie Lo Features Editor Kathleen Huynh A sst. Features Editor Devika Kumar Sports Editor Evelyn Fu A sst. Sports Editor Maliyah Fick Lifestyle Editor Allison Choe A sst. Lifestyle Editor Genelle Gogue Entertainment Editor Faria Moiz A sst. Entertainment Editor Kyle Nguyen Spread Editor Joshanne Chiang Copy Editor Rajvee Patel A sst. Copy Editor Sean Nguyen Web Editor Tosha Sambhus A sst. Web Editor Max Jones Photo Editor Kate Ngo A sst. Photo Editor Adarsh Burela Business M anager Celine Nghiem A d M anager

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NOVEMBER 2019

ENTERTAINMENT

‘Demon Slayer’ slays visuals; falls flat in character depth ed a certain way, adding a creative element to the action. Everything comes together to create an energetic, hype-inducing atmosphere By Max Jones that’s amplified by the soundtrack. Composer Yuki Kajiura helps “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no to bring the atmosphere of “DeYaiba” is a 26 episode TV anime mon Slayer” to the next level. series produced by Ufotable, an From the blood pumping J-Rock anime studio that is well-known opening performed by LiSA’s for their work on “Fate/Zero” and “Gurenge” to the beautiful mothe “Kara no Kyoukai” movie se- ments on “Kamado Tanjirou no ries. The series follows Tanjirou Uta”, every aspect of the music Kamado after he witnesses the meshes with the visuals perfectly. “Demon Slayer’s” characters, brutal aftermath of a demon who devours all of his family except unlike the music, are far from for his sister, Nezuko Kamado, perfect. One of the major issues is that characters don’t whom he discovers has been have any depth or developturned into a demon. Tanment. Tanjirou’s only charjiro vows to return what’s acter traits throughout the left of his sister back into a human and slay the demon TV-SERIES show are that he is kind who murdered his family. REVIEW to everyone and is protective of his family. Zenitsu, First impressions are imone of the main characters, portant to get right and it is “Demon Slayer’s” first epi- has two episodes where there sode that rubbed me the wrong is a small spark of growth beway. You don’t know anything fore he becomes annoying again. All of the momentum that the about Tanjirou or his family but the show thrusts them upon you show builds up takes a nosedive and expects you to connect with straight into mediocrity in the them immediately. This lack of a final six episodes as the show foconnection with Tanjirou’s fam- cuses on its characters, which is ily causes the first episode feels its weakest aspect. The weight of forced instead of emotional. episode 19 is lost as the show drags However, after you get past the its feet before it suddenly spurs first episode and into the meat into action in the final episode. The spectacle of Ufotable’s of the show, there’s a lot that “Demon Slayer” has going for it. gorgeous animation and Yuki The main places where Ufo- Kajiura’s beautiful soundtrack table elevates “Demon Slayer” to decorate the empty shell of “Degreatness are the fight sequenc- mon Slayer,” elevating it from es and the animation. Each fight a boring slog to an entertaining sequence is beautifully animat- trip. If you’re able to look past the ed and you can feel the weight of lack of depth and drop in qualeach strike the characters make. ity, then “Demon Slayer” may All of the characters have their be an interesting show for you. own unique power that is animatRATING: 3 out of 5

COURTESY OFWARNER BROS.

Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) fully transforms into the titular Joker before heading on to the Murray Franklin Show. Phoenix’s performance as the lead garnered significant praise from both the critics and fans.

The ‘Joker’ seriously did not joke around; An amazing add-on to an iconic franchise stable. Then, later in the movie, it shows him dancing down the stairs in his full transition into the Joker, the scene that seems By Genelle Gogue to stick in most people’s heads. “Joker” begins with showing On Oct. 4, “Joker” was released how Fleck was not very good at by DC Films and received mixed his day job and how he was pretemotions from viewers. It stars ty much a failed comedian. He Joaquin Phoenix, Zazoe Beetz, had his own issues to deal with and Robert De Niro. The mov- regarding his mental health and ie was directed and produced by taking care of his mother. In adTodd Philipps, Emma Tillinger, dition to the beginning of the movie, one of the opening and actor Bradley Cooper. scenes includes Fleck at Phoenix is one of the severhis clown-for-hire day job al actors to take on the role getting harassed and beatof the Joker and his perforMOVIE en by a group of teenagers. mance in the most recent REVIEW The whole movie did a adaptation was impeccable. great job at showcasing how The movie focuses on how the Joker became who he is, serious his mental issues were. showing his transition and his Viewers get to see how he fell into origin story. Lawrence Sher, the madness and much of that being cinematographer, did an amazing because he had a lack of resourcjob throughout the whole movie. es. He was unable to attend his Many scenes would not have had therapy sessions and also could the same impact if they had not not get his medication anymore. been filmed the way they were. Another key Joker trait would A notable example is when Ar- be his signature laugh. This also thur Fleck as the Joker is walk- plays into his mental illness since ing up the stairs drained and un- he has a disease which makes him RATING: 4 out of 5

have an uncontrollable laughter. A hard part of any superhero or villain movie is connecting all the parts. This movie did a good job of taking on the task. They connected the Joker to Bruce Wayne in a very creative way; they also put in little mementos of past Joker movies in the film by using the same names and even having some of the movies as backgrounds in the film. Phoenix’s acting capability and range truly showed in “Joker.” In every scene, you feel bad for Fleck because he just can’t help himself. Phoenix truly committed to his role and even lost over 20 pounds and perfected his Joker laugh to make his immense transformation. The ending of the film truly has viewers questioning their original thoughts and leaves them wanting more. “Joker” is a very engaging movie that will have you engaged every step of the way. Phoenix truly proves himself in his performance as a worthy addition to the franchise.

‘The Politician’ is one big patriotic mess; takes a satirical stab at American politics the political climate in America today. “The Politician” is a fever dream of America’s running political history, including rapBy Sean Nguyen id-fire references to presidential assassinations, the 2016 elecThe timeline of American poli- tion, Ronald Reagan, Watergate, tics over the last two decades has and even Munchausen by proxy. been nothing short of ugly, brash, Since Payton was eight, he and scandalous, yet Ryan Murphy has been unable to deviate from does an excellent job at reduc- his path towards U.S presidening politics to a dramatized high cy and it isn’t explained in the school presidential campaign. show why he is so devoted, but “The Politician,” a Netflix series Payton has built his entire high created by Murphy, Brad Falchuk, school career to reflect the lives and Ian Brennan, poses a of former presidents. He hilarious perspective of stufine-tunes his image to play dent government featuring in his favor when it comes out-of-the box characters to the moment he appears that are witty, charismatic, TV-SERIES on the voting ballot. To Payand enlightening. The show REVIEW ton, his entire life has been revolves around Payton Hoabout image, which is what bart (Ben Platt), a gravely makes his motives so artifiambitious senior at Saint Sebas- cial. The only thing that Payton tian High School, and his complex claims to care about is helping campaign to run for the presi- people, but the meaningless and dency, which is only a glimpse selfish campaigning in exchange of his obsessive grand scheme for numbers and popular soverto become the President of the eignty is what spoils his purpose. United States. The show unfolds The show makes note of his inin the rich hills of Santa Barbara authenticity at the get-go during and includes gorgeous tableaus the intro (featuring the song “Chiof Spanish-roof mansions as well cago” by Sufjan Stevens), which as other images of filthy-rich life. shows Payton Hobart as a woodThis show has a lot to offer, en shell being filled with awards, arguably too much to offer in the books, and other symbols that allotted eight episodes, and has become relevant as the show unbeen criticized for being messy ravels. Then, at the twitch of his as a result. It is a protein shake fingertips, he comes to life. His of double-edged characters and two best friends James Sulivan side plots that make the show (Theo Germaine) and McAfee feel expedited and quick-paced, Westbrook (Laura Dreyfuss) doubut it’s an accurate and satiri- ble as his campaign managers, cal reflection of the condition of constantly spieling analytics and RATING: 4 out of 5

strategies to get Payton to rise to the top of the polls. Because of his sheer amount of commitment to his campaign, he loses all of his sense of being and emotion. Payton’s level of ambition has repercussions that costs him the ability to feel and empathize, removing human sensibility and denoting him as a sociopath. Ben Platt offers an amazing performance as Payton in “The Politician.” Perhaps it’s his rubbery face that lends to the performance, but Platt immaculately plays Payton’s plastic image. Of course, it wouldn’t be starring Ben Platt without a musical number. In Episode 1, “Pilot,” Payton sings a cover of “River” by Joni Mitchell at River’s funeral that channels sweet sorrow. Above all else, Payton is a true politician. He even has a first lady at his side, Alice Charles (Julia Schlaepfer), who is intensely committed to Payton and his success as ASB president. Saint Sebastian High is a micro-replica of the real political scene, complete with a campaign team and loose voters that just don’t care about politics. By simplifying the modern American political climate to a high school scene, Murphy exemplifies his point of the ugliness of American politics at its prime: the 2020 Presidential Race. To most, ambition is a visceral trait that we use as a motivational tool to complete a goal or to better ourselves. To Payton Hobart, it’s crack cocaine. “The Politician” is currently streaming on Netflix.

COURTESY OF VIZ MEDIA

Tanjiro Kamado manuvers his way through “beautiful” and “stylistic” action sequencess in the climax of this visually transformative series.

Mobile Mario Kart Tour zooms past other games Thankfully, there are rumors of a multiplayer mode being released soon. I also found it frustrating that this game only came with a By Rajvee Patel vertical screen mode, since playing horizontally would have made The widely cherished video the game feel closer to the origigame Mario Kart Tour was made nal Nintendo version. I realized available on iPhone and Android that many of the classic tracks on Sept. 25. Even though I didn’t had to be redesigned to fit in with play this game during my youth, the vertical orientation, and that as much as other people might there were only single touch conhave, I knew that it was a mem- trols available. This took a while to get used to, but the game orable part of many other itself did not disappoint. childhoods. I wanted to know Swiping up to launch what the overwhelming hype weapons, swiping down to was all about, so I decidGAME drop them, and expertly ed to download the game and try it out for myself. REVIEW trying to hit opponents with From the few times I turtle shells still feels natural. The tracks are much played the game, I already knew what to expect: bright col- shorter and the race is only 2 laps, ors, fun animation sounds, and a which makes it easier to finish in good challenge! The majority of a shorter amount of time. Addithe features, such as the charac- tionally, a full cup is only 3 races ters and steering, do an impres- with a mini-mission at the end, sive job at imitating the actual which I found convenient and at version, but I can confirm that the same time, very addicting. it’s definitely not the same. I no- If you ever find yourself remiticed that the mobile version of niscing about your childhood, I the game only included a single highly recommend trying out this player mode, which is absolutely nostalgic game. Once you start ridiculous since multiplayer gam- playing, you will not want to stop! ing is what Mario Kart is all about. RATING: 3 out of 5

Ä


NOVEMBER 2019

ENTERTAINMENT

THE UNION

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RATING KEY heath ledger joaquin phoenix mark hamill jack nicholson jared leto COURTESY OF REPUBLIC RECORDS

Music Reviews

The brothers, Nick, Kevin, and Joe (from left to right) perform their latest single, “Cool,” at Chase Center.

The Jonas Brothers are ‘Burnin’ Up’ in their ‘Happiness Begins’ reunion portrayal of the Jonas Brothers shown on their Disney Channel show damaged their image and was a large reason behind their By Neval Mulaomerovic split. Now, the Jonas Brothers, all married and well into adulthood, At a time when nostalgia is a have adopted a mature image. commodity in the form of reunion My $130 ticket gave me a spot on specials and reboots, it is no sur- the lower deck, with a good view prise that excitement spread after of the stage. The Jonas Brothhearing that the Jonas Brother ers’ 100 minute set featured a officially reunited after six years. great balance of 2000s nostalgia Driven by sentimentality, I pur- and their 2019 album. Even their chased a ticket for their Oct. 8 per- opening number, “Rollercoaster,” formance at San Francisco’s Chase sounds like it could comfortably Center. Going in with high expec- fit in with one of their old albums, tations, I was not disappointed. despite being released earlier this Most people know the Joyear. Essentially, their new nas Brothers as “that Disney music is an improvement on Channel band from ten years their previous work, blending more mature and powago,” but the teeny-bopper image most people have of CONCERT erful vocal delivery while REVIEW retaining the sentimental them is far from the truth. style of their 2000s pop rock. Their Amazon documen“S.O.S” was the second song tary, “Happiness Begins,” which was released this year, showed of the night with, not surprisan entirely new side to the band, ingly, one of the strongest audichronicling their beginnings, ence reactions. The level of exbreakup, and eventual reunion. As citement for its appearance was child musical prodigies, the three not any different from what it brothers began their journey as was during its 2007 release. The a band and rose to fame long be- audience’s energy carried over fore ever signing with Walt Dis- into the performances of “Cool” ney Records and engaging with and “Only Human,” which were Disney Channel projects, such as both a part of the 2019 album. Camp Rock (2008) and Jonas L.A. After making their way to a (2009-2010). However, the broth- center platform, the band sang ers all agreed in their documenta- “Hesitate” while the platform ry that the latter project harmed on which they stood levitated. their careers in the long-run. There, they also accepted “Can’t According to their documentary Have You” as a fan request from interviews, the cheesy, childish their third album. They paid RATING: 5 out of 5

SIMS by Lauv

OVER IT by Summer Walker

LIGHTS UP by Harry Styles

“The song is an enjoyable, catchy, and slow-paced pop song about wrong timing of a relationship.”

“Walker’s sultry and smooth vocals paired with soulful lyrics and fresh production create an enchanting album that tops music charts.”

“Harry Styles combines psychedelic elements with instrumentals to produce a dreamy pop song.”

-Vibha Sastry

-Sarah Khan

10/10 by Rex Orange County

THESE NIGHTS by Rich Brian ft. Chungha

GOOD AS HELL by Lizzo ft. Ariana Grande

“At times repetitive, this song gets old quickly and fails to live up to past hits.”

“Rich Brian’s collab with Chungha on ‘These Nights’ gives off relaxing vibes that reminds me of summer.”

“Lizzo shines without being overpowered by Ariana Grande in this catchy, feel-good bop.”

-Maliyah Fick

-Neval Mulaomerovic

-Ginnie Lo

-Celine Nghiem

homage to their “Camp Rock” days by performing “Gotta Find You” which was a highlight of the night. It’s a special feeling when everyone in the audience is singing along to the same songs they loved when they were 10 years old, and enjoying it just the same. One of the most energetic moments of the set was when Nick and Joe performed “Jealous” and “Cake by the Ocean” from their respective solo careers during the band’s breakup. Blending the two songs together with the addition of the other brothers’ voices made the performance even better. The band ended their set with arguably their most iconic song, “Year 3000,” which brought the arena’s new and old fans alike to their feet. After a brief break, the encore began with the brothers jumping up from below the stage and performing “Burnin’ Up,” which featured peak audience participation. The event closed with the band’s newest and most successful single, “Sucker.” The closing performance, and the set as a whole, was a testament to the band’s ability to blend past and present and keep the fans engaged all the way through. Decently priced and entertaining from start to finish, “Happiness Begins” was a good way to spend a Tuesday night and live out elementary-school dreams. The Jonas Brothers return to the Bay Area on Dec. 12, 2019, in Oakland Arena.

Netflix’s ‘Tall Girl’ fails to reach new heights about to ask her out on a date, but leaves promptly after she stands up and he sees how tall she is. “You think your life is hard? By Sarah Khan I’m a high school junior wearing size 13 Nikes” is one of the most “Tall Girl,” a Netflix Original criticized and prominent lines rom-com, was released on Sept. from this movie. If you have so13. The movie, directed by Nzing- cial media, this probably isn’t ha Stewart, stars Ava Michelle your first time hearing this line, as Jodi Kreyman, Sabrina Car- as it became the punchline of penter as Harper Kreyman, An- thousands of memes and TikToks jelika Washington as Fareeda, shortly after the film’s release. and Luke Eisner as Stig Mohlin. Amidst the joking, many people Prior to its release, the traildisapprove that the mover alone raised controversy. ie portrays a wealthy white The basic premise of girl’s insecurity about her the movie’s plot revolves height as the image of adverMOVIE sity. Unsettled viewers claim around the main character, Jodi, and her grievances of REVIEW tat this poor choice of representation undermines the being a 6’1 tall high schooler — aka, the “Tall Girl”. While struggles of minorities and underthe basic message of the film, privileged people who have faced meant to encourage self-accep- comparably worse circumstances. tance and embracing differencOf course, just because people es, had good intent, its execution have had it worse doesn’t mean left many people feeling upset. Jodi’s insecurities aren’t valid. The film begins with a scene of a However, it is hard to resonate conventionally attractive, blonde with Jodi’s character because haired, blue eyed teen and a boy of how satirical and dramatimaking flirtatious eye contact cized her characterization is. with each other at the library. Her entire personality revolves The girl, Jodi, begins to discuss a around her height, which makes book’s character being alienated her seem one-dimensional. Jodi from society, which foreshadows comes off as self-centered, as she the conflict of the movie about believes her life is much hardJodi feeling alienated. The boy is er than the rest of her peers. RATING: 2 out of 5

LOSE YOU TO LOVE ME by Selena Gomez

MAMACITA by Tyga, YG, Santana

10,000 HOURS by Dan & Shay, Justin Bieber

“Selena Gomez delivers emotional vocals in this vulnerable ballad about ex-boyfriend Justin Bieber.”

“This interesting collab falls flat and delivers boring and oridnary lyrics with uninspired rhyme.”

“Chill but without substance, ‘10,000 Hours’ is suitable for a relaxed afternoon but lacks depth.”

-Celine Nghiem

-Genelle Gogue

-Allison Choe

ME NECESITA by CNCO, Prettymuch

WALKING by Joji, Jackson Wang

SPARK by Taeyeon

“CNCO and Prettymuch finally collab and do not dissapoint by delivering this catchy and up-beat song.”

“Joji proves once again to be one of the best artists of 88Rising, laying his cool voice on this track with Got7 star Jackson Wang.

“Taeyeon never disappoints her fans. This fierce song describes empowering herelf, giving listeners a new taste.”

-Genelle Gogue

-Alexander Phan

-Ginnie Lo

The film missed an opportunity for some redemption with the limited characterization of Fareeda, whose main role in the movie was to be Jodi’s supportive sidekick. Fareeda is one of the few relevant characters that happens to be a person of color, but the movie never discusses any of her experiences. If they had, it is possible that the movie overall would have been regarded less negatively. Additionally, the school in which the movie takes place is called “Ruby Bridges High School,” named after Ruby Bridges, a civil rights activist who was one of the first African American children to attend an all white school during the fight for desegregation. For a film that is supposed to be about facing adversity, it’s questionable that they didn’t mention the significance of the history behind the name of the school. Besides the issue of the lack of representation, the plot of the movie is also cliche and predictable. The concept of this movie is overused and cliche. “Tall Girl” didn’t bring anything new to the table. In fact, it seemed to go backwards through its lack of representation and subpar plot. Despite being a Netflix Original, it fails to provide originality.


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SPREAD

NOVEMBER 2019

PG&E blackouts only the beginning By Rachel Wu

If you thought Pacific Gas and Electric’s (PG&E) forced blackouts for over 2 million citizens were bad, be prepared for much worse in the coming years. This month, because of high wind speeds, PG&E cut off power to millions of people in Northern California in order to avoid being legally liable for any more fires. The blackout wasn’t just a major inconvenience. It endangered the lives of countless citizens; traffic lights were turned off, causing unnecessary car crashes, and some citizens reliant on electronically powered medical devices were endangered as well for the duration of the blackout. Earlier this year, PG&E filed for bankruptcy after being found liable for igniting over 1,500 fires, including the Camp Fire that destroyed the town of Paradise, California. Problematically, a Wall Street Journal investigation found that PG&E was aware of the fire risks of its aging infrastructure and chose to neglect maintenance for years. However, it is important to remember that PG&E essentially sells a product, electricity, and its only purpose is to generate profit. So, it makes sense for them as a company to

stop providing electricity to high fire risk areas when the money earned is not worth the wildfire damages or investments they would have to make to prevent wildfires. That doesn’t detract from the fact that millions of people lost a public utility through no fault of their own. There’s good reason to believe we’ll be expecting worse impacts of climate change in the future, and we’ll be in danger if corporations continue to show this lack of regard for safety in favor of increasing profit. The issue with climate change is that it’s accelerating; this process is called a feedback loop. In the context of California wildfires, climate change was found to be a key driver of a trend of hotter, drier, and longer-lasting fire seasons, and the trend seems to be worsening. At the point where feedback loops are accelerating climate change, it seems certain that only more natural disasters and conflict will come. However, even if we can’t take down the corporate structures to drive global warming to this extent in the first place, it is imperative to fight for solid plans in response to climate change disasters. To do that, we start by holding corporations accountable.

Plastic bottles: undeniable impacts

TOSHA SAMBHUS | THE UNION

10 alternatives for sustainable living By Kathleen Huynh

1. Ditch single use plastic. Stop using plastic water bottles, straws, and food containers, which will be on this earth for generations to come. 2. Opt for more eco-friendly modes of transportation. Before you get in your car to drive, consider taking the bus, walking, biking, or scootering. Reduce your carbon footprint and enjoy the fresh air. 3. Avoid getting takeout. From the restaurant to your hands, your food has most likely been packaged in a non-reusable container. In addition, it most likely traveled by car, which contributes to the carbon dioxide emissions. 4. Stop unwanted mail from being delivered to your house. This follows the same concept as #3. Between carbon dioxide emissions and paper waste, it is better to cancel unnecessary ads or even opt for digital mail. 5. Boycott fast fashion. Companies such as Forever 21, Zara, and Fashion Nova, although cheap and convenient, contribute largely to environmental damage through the use of synthetic, mass-produced textiles. Fast fashion companies also grossly exploit low wage workers by

having them work in inhumane conditions. 6. Change your diet. Eat less animal products to better your life and the Earth as the livestock industry plays a prominent role in global greenhouse gas emissions. 7. Use rechargeable batteries. They are better for your wallet and the environment since they can be used more than once. 8. Properly dispose or find new homes for old electronics. Take advantage of the e-waste pick up services around the community. It is crucial to properly dispose electronic waste because they contain harmful materials that can affect marine and land life by spreading through water and seeping into soil. 9. Boycott non eco-friendly companies. Many big name companies, such as Nestle, are guilty of massive environmental damage. Do research about everyday companies that you support to make sure they are ethical. 10. Cut down on waste. Be mindful of all types of waste in your life whether it be food, electronic, or household. While some waste will eventually rot and decay, others will be on this planet for an indefinite amount of time. The consequences of these wastes are taxing on the environment and sometimes irreversible.

Plastic bottles end up in several places over their lifetime: 79% are transported in landfills where they take up to 700 years to decompose. These may also be thrown into gutters or wind up in the ocean, where animals ingest the plastic which ends up in their stomachs, killing them. In some countries, 75% of plastic bottles are also burned and incinerated, which increases greenhouse gas emissions that exacerbate global warming. Finally, only around 9% of bottles are recycled into other products. The flowchart only depicts two of the many end results possible for a water bottle, yet they are the most relevant to modern society. As people begin to focus more on reducing their carbon footprint, recycling is becoming more prevalent. Hopefully, recycling more bottles can help bring humans back from the point of no return in global temperatures. Though convenient, plastic bottles have long-term impacts on the environment. We may throw them away on a whim, but the plastic remains on the earth, unable to decompose. When handling plastic bottles in the future, be more conscious. Using non-plastic materials can go a long way to reduce waste.

ALLISON CHOE | THE UNION


NOVEMBER 2019

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Milpitas landfill a hub of injustice By Sean Nguyen

At its core, Milpitas is a hub of cultural diversity and technological growth, but if it’s one thing we’re known for, it’s the landfill. Whether we love it or hate it, the Newby Island Landfill has become a defining landmark for residents and non-residents in the Bay Area. For most of us, we’ve actually never seen the Newby Island Landfill. Luckily for us, we don’t have to because the landfill has continually shown extensive levels of odor. The Newby Island Landfill was built in 1930 but is now currently named The Newby Island Recovery Park in conjunction with the landfill and the recyclery. Standing at 298 acres, The Newby Island Recovery Park expanded to be one of the largest landfills in the San Francisco Bay Area, designed to withhold 65.9 million cubic yards of trash and currently handles municipal waste from San Jose, Milpitas, Santa Clara, Cupertino, Los Altos, and other cities. On the City of Milpitas website, it provides an update from a closed session which reads, “Milpitas will concentrate its efforts on working in a constructive and positive way with the City of San

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Jose on diminishing odors and improving overall operations at the Newby Island landfill. The council has directed city staff to focus our energies on working closely with San Jose and the landfill’s neighbors to ensure odors are kept to a minimum and the landfill is operated in a safe and efficient manner.” This closed session update was in response to the multiple allegations to sue Newby Island Recovery Park for its persistent odor, even after previous provisions to mitigate the odor. For example, the City of Milpitas Odor Comprehensive Action Plan attempted to minimize and contain odor levels in response to a public hearing on October 7th, 2003 that received testimonies about the odor in Milpitas. This landfill is an exemplary detail in the bigger picture of environmental injustice. Milpitas, in a racial perspective, has higher percentages of people of color compared to nearby cities which don’t have a landfill. For Milpitas, the sky’s the limit. However, we will always be hindered in our expansion with this pervasive odor that invades every single pocket of Milpitas.

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KYLE NGUYEN | THE UNION

E L KYLE NGUYEN | THE UNION

Map of recyling bins on campus Pictured above is a graphic of the entire MHS campus, with blue X’s indicating the locations of every recycling bin found on school grounds, excluding recycling bins found within classrooms and buildings. There was a total of 23 recycling bins found throughout school, with the majority of them placed around the most frequently-visited parts of campus. There were no recycling bins found near the portables, basketball courts, tennis courts, or football field. Out of all of the lettered buildings, the G and K buildings were generally farthest from any nearby recycling bins. There were no recycling bins found on the second floor of the L building, though this may have been for the convenience of the school’s janitorial staff. Overall, recycling bins are plentiful in most areas around campus, though more recycling bins could be situated in the athletics areas alongside the garbage bins. Spaces such as the areas near F and E buildings are already saturated with recycling bins, and adding more bins to the area may only serve as additional hassle for the MHS custodial staff for only marginal benefit.

NEVAL MULAOMEROVIC | THE UNION


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THE UNION

LIFESTYLE

NOVEMBER 2019

Fall back into the season with autumn pancakes By Maliyah Fick

With the season changing and the leaves falling, kick back and relax with this quick and easy pumpkin pancake recipe. Ingredients -1.5 cups milk -1 cup pumpkin puree -1 egg -2 tablespoons vegetable oil (healthy alternatives: coconut oil, flaxseed oil, applesauce) -2 tablespoons vinegar -2 cups all-purpose flour -3 tablespoons brown sugar

-2 tablespoons baking powder -1 teaspoon baking soda -1 teaspoon ground allspice -1 teaspoon ground cinnamon -0.5 teaspoon ground ginger -1.5 teaspoon salt

medium high heat, and pour your preferred pancake size. Wait until the pancake bubbles and browns on the bottom, and then flip. Cook for approximately three minutes on both sides.

Cooking Directions: -In a bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin puree, egg, oil, and vinegar. In a separate bowl flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Stir into pumpkin mixture until combined. -Heat a lightly oiled pan over

This recipe was adapted from allrecipes.com’s “Pumpkin Pancakes” recipe, with changes made to it. The healthy alternatives for vegetable oil were added. You can also make this recipe with pancake batter mix, just add the allspice, cinnamon, and ground ginger before cooking!

Shopping alternative that can benefit all By Vibha Sastry

Sustainable shopping is a fairly easy way to reduce your negative impact on the environment. Fashion contributes to more than 8% of global carbon emissions, so it is important to be mindful of how we shop for clothing. Avoiding fast fashion is the main goal of sustainable fashion. Fast fashion is any clothing that is produced quickly and cheaply to keep up with capricious fashion trends. Fast fashion is unethical and harmful to the environment in many ways. First off, companies have been known to use toxic chemicals and dangerous dyes that seep into water supplies in countries where the clothes are produced, as well as at home when the clothes are washed, and synthetic fabrics. Additionally, the workers that make the clothes are forced to work under terrible, dangerous conditions, and are paid close to nothing. Forced or child labor are also often implemented in fast fashion. Aside from being environmentally harmful and unethical, fast fashion is also not beneficial for consumers, who get flimsy and possibly toxic clothing that won’t last them longer than a couple months. The best way to stop contrib-

uting to fast fashion is to adopt the concept of slow fashion, a movement towards more ethical manufacturing, fair labor, natural materials, and durable clothing. If you buy any piece of clothing in a department store, you should consider if you would keep it and use it for more than five years. If your taste changes frequently, and you find keeping the same clothes boring, there are other shopping methods that will keep your fashion sense amused, as well as environmentally friendly. Clothing swaps are a new approach to fashion that solve the issue of wasting old clothes as well as buying unreliable clothing. In clothing swaps, multiple people get together and bring a similar amount of clothing to trade with each other. You will get unique pieces of clothing for practically no money, while saving the landfills from extra waste. You can find clothing swaps happening near you through social media, or even organize one yourself! Buying clothes second hand is another alternative to shopping at a department store that has gained popularity. Second hand shopping repurposes clothing. Thrift stores are a good place to find good quality second-hand clothing, but the best method for

buying second hand clothes is to buy high quality or vintage pieces if possible. It is important to keep in mind that more customers at thrift stores, could lead to an inflation in their prices, which would be a disadvantage to people who don’t have alternatives to thrifting. One more thing you should consider when buying clothing is what materials it is made of. Cotton farming exhausts tons of resources and uses toxic pesticides, so it is best to avoid buying clothing made from cotton. Some good cotton alternatives are hemp, tencel, and lensing. Purchasing clothing from local businesses is another way to lessen carbon emissions created by fashion, as it eliminates the transportation process. Another factor to look for when shopping is if the stores you are shopping at are certified fair trade. This means that the clothes you are buying were made by fairly compensated workers. Supporting fair fashion ensures fair wages and improves workers’ quality of life. The next time you decide to refresh your wardrobe, make sure you use sustainable shopping methods, for the benefit of yourself, fashion workers, and the environment.

ALEXANDER PHAN | THE UNION

A center view of a few aisles at Minisol, consisting of products like household necessities like utensils and toothbrushes, cotton pads, and a backwall that is full of water bottles and other drinkware the store sells.

Great Mall’s Miniso happens to be miniSO great By Alexander Phan

The Great Mall has seen the opening of a new Miniso store, a Japanese/Chinese variety store chain that has been branching out to America in recent years. As someone who has been to a Miniso in China, I’m happy that the Miniso at the Great Mall didn’t disappoint. I highly recommend shopping at Miniso. The best thing about Miniso will always be the price of their products. I walked around completely astounded by how cheap everything was. They had walls of stuffed animals and plushies that were only $5 to $10. House appliances and commodities such

as mirrors, power banks, water bottles, and fans were all much cheaper than any other store I’ve seen. I could have gone into Miniso with only $20 and walked out with a full bag of commodities for myself. With prices so cheap, it’s easy to wonder if the quality of the products is sacrificed. Admittedly, I was pretty worried that the products I bought would break quickly or lose their quality. After buying a plushie, a pillow notebook, and a neck pillow, I’ve been very happy with how well they’ve held up after several weeks. The durability of the items exceeded items I’ve bought at other retail stores. The best product I saw there had

to be the plushies. When you walk into a store and the entire wall is filled with displays of plushies, you know that the plushies are going to be the main selling point. They are by far, some of the cutest little plushie I have ever seen. They were all so soft; they like what a nice fluffy cloud would feel like if I could lay in it. Overall, I’d recommend you give Miniso a visit if you are ever at The Great Mall. With the holidays coming soon, Miniso would be a great place to get cheap gifts to give out for Christmas. Even if you want something for yourself, Miniso can get you quality commodities for a cheap price; what’s there not to love?


NOVEMBER 2019

THE UNION

LIFESTYLE

11

New three-eyed smartphone By Rajvee Patel

VIBHA SASTRY | THE UNION

Pictured above is a flier about Burger King’s new vegan Impossible Whopper (top right), the Impossible Whopper (center front), and french fries (top left), all of which was accompanied with a soft drink (center back).

It’s not impossible to enjoy this vegan burger By Vibha Sastry

Burger King added a new vegetarian option to their menu called the Impossible Whopper. It consists of the same ingredients as a regular whopper except for the patty, which is made entirely of plant-based proteins. The Impossible Whopper can be ordered by itself (for around $5.59) or as a meal (for around $9), which would come with fries and a drink. The burger includes the patty, tomatoes, pickles, lettuce, onions, mayonnaise, and ketchup on a sesame seed bun. The Impossible Whopper costs about $1 more than its beef counterpart. Although the patty itself does not contain meat, the burger is cooked on the same grill as beef and chicken patties. It can be cooked separately with special request, to ensure that the burger is completely meat free. Burger King partnered with a company named Impossible Foods Inc. to create the Impossi-

ble Whopper. Impossible Foods Inc., which was founded in 2011 in California, creates various plant-based protein substitutes for meat products. The company strives to give people the flavor and nutrition of meat products without the negative health and environmental impacts. The Impossible Whopper replaced Burger King’s previous vegetarian option, the veggie burger. The twist to the Impossible Whopper is that it is meant to taste exactly like a regular whopper. The patty is nearly identical in taste, so it lives up to its title. It is, however, different in texture to a beef patty. The Impossible Whopper also contains 30 less calories, 6 less grams of fat, and 2 more grams of fiber than the regular Whopper, while only having 3 less grams of protein. Burger King is the first nationwide, fast-food burger chain to introduce a meat-free option to their menu. They have been

fairly successful with their vegetarian option, so it is possible that other fast-food chains will be introducing their own versions of the Impossible Whopper to compete. Adding options like the Impossible Whopper to their menu expands restaurants’ customer appeal. Customers that normally buy food from places with more vegetarian options may decide to go to Burger King now. Veganism and vegetarianism are at an all time high in the United States, and fast-food chains are definitely adapting to this trend. Vegan options are better for the environment, because they require less resources to be produced. Vegan options also create significantly less carbon emissions than their meat counterparts. The next time you’re craving a smoky burger, try out the Impossible Whopper, to satisfy your cravings and do something good for the environment.

Sleek, slender, and waterproof. Apple’s latest addition to their array of fancy gadgets, the iPhone 11, came out on Sept. 20. The phone comes in six fun colors including PRODUCT(RED), yellow, green, purple, black, and white. I found it interesting to find out that Apple partnered with an organization known as PRODUCT(RED) that raises awareness and funds to help eliminate HIV/AIDS in eight countries across Africa! Apple has taken an extra step in upgrading the camera, introducing two 12-megapixel wide and ultra-wide photo lenses with a 120° view. Additional tech specs include a luminous 6.1inch LED retina display screen, an all-day battery life, a 4K video feature, a night-mode for low-light photography (*gasp*), and better portrait lighting for all those selfies you take. As if that wasn’t already enough, Apple also released the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. This smartphone comes with not one, not two, but three different cameras! These lenses allow the user to capture videos in greater detail, smoother motion, and better landscape. Not only is the iPhone 11 perfect for students, but a photographer’s dream come true. I get it, this smartphone sounds close to perfect, but there are some downsides. I ordered the iPhone

11 Pro through the official website, and when it finally arrived at my doorstep (with free shipping, of course) I couldn’t have been happier. It came in a sturdy black box, just a little bigger than the phone itself, with a picture on the front. Like every other standard iPhone package, the box included the smartphone, a pair of earbuds, a charger, and logo stickers. Setting up was a quick, easy, self-explanatory task and in a short time, I was ready to use it. Of course, I wanted to see what the camera was like so I gave it a try. The camera quality was superb and nearly made every sunset look like a painting, but I personally felt like it wasn’t as extravagant as dvertised. The phone is sensitive and to my surprise, has already started to glitch a little- which is really concerning. Additionally, for the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, the color selection is limited. Both of them are only available in the shades of space gray (which is basically black, from what I’ve seen), silver, midnight green, and gold. Also, let’s just say the pricing for one of these is going to make your jaw drop. Just like every new phone Apple launches, this one doesn’t come cheap. The pricey iPhone 11 models range from $850-$1100. Regardless of the pricing and limited color options, the company still expects to sell around 75 million units- after all, it is Apple.

Rundown of the Cost of Colleges in California By Celine Nghiem

With the stress of college apps looming over us, an all-too-familiar question has surfaced again: “How am I going to pay for college?” It’s a problem seniors have faced for the past couple of decades, influencing everything from college choices to career paths. We compiled the average costs of the university systems and colleges MHS students often apply to. University of California The UC system consists of nine schools scattered throughout California and features both undergraduate and postgraduate education. Tuition costs

about $14,000 per year, which would otherwise be somewhat manageable, but additional fees such as room and board bump that cost up to just over $36,000. California State University There are 23 campuses and eight off-campus centers belonging to the CSU system, making it the largest four-year public university system in America. The cost of attendance varies by campus, but the average levels out to just over $20,000 for California residents living on campus. Although this is a good deal for undergraduates, the CSU system is less appropriate for postgraduate studies due to its emphasis on practical applications and

non-research oriented careers. Community College California is home to 114 community colleges. This is the cheapest option by far, but it offers only two years of undergraduate education. However, students can transfer to a fouryear college afterwards. The average cost of tuition is free for first-time, full-time California residents, but if you don’t fall into this group, the average tuition cost is just under $4,000 per year. Even though student debt can have a huge impact on college decisions, it’s always important to consider which choice would be the best for you in terms of education and environment.

Forever 21 does not truly last forever By Allison Choe

Forever 21’s “quirky” sayings, cheaply made clothing, and expensive floor plans may have lead to its downfall—the clothing superbrand filed for bankruptcy on Sept. 29, requiring closing of over 100 stores. Once known as a brightly lit hub where shoppers could find fashionable items, the stores quickly became infamous for their thin, low-quality fabric that tears easily in the wash and tacky clothes. Another fatal flaw was their overbuilding of store space: the average Forever 21 is around 38,000 square feet, or about eight NBA basketball courts. That meant higher rent without a promise of higher sales. When I visited the store, I expected to find many people flocking there to take advantage of the

closing sales, but only a few people roamed around inside. Clothes lay strewn on the floor and tables, and the same flashy items were stocked: flimsy crop tops, iridescent puffy jackets, and more. Another possible explanation behind Forever 21’s struggle to stay afloat is the current online shopping trend which has become attractive to consumers who don’t like going out just to purchase a few items, or want to compare prices from several stores. As technology becomes more relevant to customers seeking easy shopping experiences, shopping malls and retail stores must find ways to appeal to them, or risk losing business. Furthermore, shoppers have become more environmentally conscious, and Forever 21 is known for unsustainable fast fashion.

As Forever 21 slowly closes down stores, discounts grow larger and stock becomes sparse. If you decide to go and take advantage of the cheaper prices, I suggest looking into the back of the racks, or even navigating the wild and untamed jungle that is the clearance aisles as they often have rare items that haven’t already been snatched up by other customers, as well as lower prices. The local Forever 21 in the Milpitas Great Mall hasn’t been marked for closure yet. As profits decline, however, the threat of closing looms closer. Plus, if you have gift cards, now would be the best time to use them, before Forever 21 becomes a relic of the past. Despite what its name claims, the clothing supergiant won’t last forever.

ALEXANDER PHAN | THE UNION

Pictured above is mild Cheesy Milk Hot Soup (back left), Healthy Veggie Hot Soup (back right), and spicy Japanese Miso Hot Soup (front).

Tasty Pot sadly has tasteless pots By Alexander Phan

Another hot pot restaurant has made itself home in Milpitas, and for once I am not impressed with what it has to offer. While the food isn’t necessarily bad, it is incredibly mediocre. Nothing about Tasty Pot made the food stand out as exceptional. For one, I was quite disappointed that Tasty Pot did not allow me to customize my hot pot dish as I wanted. Instead, I was offered a menu of preselected bowls with various toppings. If I wanted a certain soup but different toppings, I was basically out of luck. A lot of my favorite toppings were listed, but they were in a dish named ‘Stinky Tofu Hot Soup.’ For the sake of my stomach and nose, I eventually settled on the soup that I wanted the most, Japanese Miso Hot Soup, but the toppings that came with it were not to my liking whatsoever. The only variety you’re really given is how spicy you want your pot to be, which I did appreciate. If you’re a picky eater, you might have problems eating here due to the lack of selection. When it came to the actual meal, the pot was painfully bland. The Japanese Miso Hot Soup was much more ‘hot’ than it was miso. It almost seemed as if they were trying to compensate for the lack

of taste by filling the meal with heat and spice. They filled each pot with copious amounts of vegetables. All of the meat and seafood lacked the taste I was hoping for. The crab in my pot just tasted like spicy rubber covered with a shell. The pork slices I had were the only decent tasting thing in my pot, and it’s a shame that there were only two slices in the entire thing. When the check came for my meal, I was completely flabbergasted at the price of my meal. For just the hotpot and a small bowl of rice, I was charged $16. My expectations for a $16 meal better and leave me feeling satsified. I thought eating such a big bowl of food would fill me up, but instead all it did was fill me up with disappointment. Funny enough, the best thing I had at a hotpot restraunt was the milk tea they sold. As someone who can be considered an addict for milk tea, I was quite happy with the quality of the drink. It was a great way to top off a meal that I didn’t enjoy. Overall, if you were in the mood for hot pot, I wouldn’t recommend going to Tasty Pot. Instead, go somewhere with much more value for your dollar. I’d have to give Tasty Pot a rating of 2/5, simply because of just how tasteless pots are at Tasty Pot.


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SPORTS

THE UNION

NOVEMBER 2019

Sports injuries becoming common By Devika Kumar

There have been multiple students at MHS with an injury from sports, Senior Equestrian Aleema Garfinkel said. Injuries in sports have become more common within the last few years, she said. Getting past injuries and not getting to take a break when you need it is the most difficult thing about being in a sport, Garfinkel said. “When you fall off a horse, you can get a lot of injuries,” Garfinkel said. “What I personally struggle with is muscle injuries and just being really sore all the time. I know a lot of riders can get knee injuries and back injuries, which can go on for your entire life. Many riders have gotten concussions from bad falls.” Dealing with injuries is one of the most difficult things about being in a sport, Senior Football Player Isaiah Dwelle said. With an injury, you have to sit on the sidelines and watch your teammates play, which can be very difficult, Dwelle said. “It isn’t really easy, being on the sidelines and watching,” Dwelle said. “It is detrimental just having to sit on the sidelines and watch your team play and not being able to participate and help.” According to Dwelle, a few major injuries are knee injuries, concussions, and shoulder

injuries. Many students at MHS have had such major injuries while playing, he said. “Over the course of the year, I had one concussion and it was pretty bad,” Dwelle said. “I’m dealing with a medial collateral ligament (MCL) sprain right now and it’s kind of difficult because I can’t really run. I was out for about three or four games. A couple of my teammates recently had bad concussions, so they are just sitting out right now and are ready to get back in the game.” There are many ways to recover from an injury, Dwelle said. Any minor injury that has something to do with your arms or a sprained ankle is quite easy to recover from, he said. “Physical therapy is a good way to recover from sports,” Dwelle said. “Football is really dangerous so we have our own physical therapist. Whenever we are injured or even have just a small injury, we go to him and we are able to recover.” An important thing to be aware of is balancing out education with the time you spend on sports, Cross Country Captain Naran Nathan said. If a student has an injury, it becomes very difficult to keep a healthy balance, he said. Injuries create complications when trying to maintain a good GPA and be in a sport at the same time, he added.

Student athlete of the month: Mannat Gill

By Tosha Sambhus

Senior Mannat Gill is a track and field and cross country star at MHS. Aside from winning athlete of the year, she considers participating in the rally and overcoming her stage fright as one of her significant accomplishments. Gill spoke about her experiences and imparted some sage wisdom for newcomers to the sport. Q: When and why did you start cross-country? A: I started in eighth grade. I thought it would be fun because I’m not a very outgoing person. I got to know a lot of people that I would not have approached otherwise. Q: What do you enjoy about track and field? A: I like how it feels sometimes. When I’m running on the weekends by myself, the feeling can only be described as surreal. Q: How do you prepare for a race? What is your mindset before a race? A: When there’s a race nearby, I try to be more positive and remember all the work that I put into it. I keep track of my times and I plan everything earlier so

that way I know what I have to do to have a good race. I also eat a lot. It’s weird. Q: What do you think about while you’re running? A: In the beginning of the race, I like to think of the lyrics to a song. That way, when I start, I’m more at ease. It helps with the anxiety. After a certain point, you just forget the song and the race. Q: How do you deal with the bad days? I know it’s part of the whole experience. You can’t have every good race. Sometimes the bad races suck but they’re supposed to suck. Q: What advice would you give to a new runner? A: Certain workouts are meant to do certain things. You don’t have to go out 100 percent at the end of every workout. You don’t have to be dying at the end of them. That’s not the purpose. Q: What do you consider to be your best accomplishments in the sport? A: I would say the improvement I made. When I look at my times, they’re very different. Especially from freshman year to junior year, there was a big jump and that just makes me happy.

COURTESY OF MANNAT GILL

Cross Country Team Captain Mannat Gill runs at a meet. She participated in the Mariner Invitational at Moreau Catholic High School in Hayward.

COURTESY OF NANDHINI SENTHIL

Senior Nandhini Senthil, who is a level 10 gymnast, goes for a cast handstand on the bars at the Bay Aerials Gymnastics Super Girl Power camp. She goes off the high bar to go into a hindorff and lands on the mat below.

Level 10 gymnast tumbles her way to UC Davis By Devika Kumar

Senior Nandhini Senthil is a Level 10 gymnast at Bay Aerials Gymnastics, Senthil said. She has been a Level 10 gymnast for three years and hopes to pursue gymnastics in college, she said. Senthil has been doing gymnastics since she was seven years old, she said. According to Senthil, her biggest goal was to be a college-level gymnast and she has achieved it by earning a spot on the UC Davis gymnastics team. “My biggest accomplishment is earning a walk-on position to UC Davis’ D1 gymnastics program,” Senthil said. “I had to contact the head coaches of the program at UCD, send them training videos, invite them to watch me, and keep in touch with them in order to earn that spot.” There were only six spots available at UC Davis and Senthil was one of the very few gymnasts selected to participate in the university’s team, she said. When the head coaches at UC Davis offered her the spot, Senthil was very excited. “When they were filling out the positions, they asked me if I wanted a walk-on spot and I was just so happy,” Senthil said. “A walk-on spot is a non-scholarship position where I am on the team

and get the benefits of being a student athlete without getting my tuition paid for.” There are four gymnastics events: vault, bars, beam, and floor, Senthil said. The vault is when a gymnast runs in full speed, ending with a dismount; bars are when a gymnast flips and swings and ends in a dismount; beam is when a gymnast flips and performs routines on a four inch wide beam; and floor is a tumbling apparatus. “My favorite event is bars,” Senthil said. “I love bars because that was what I was naturally just better at. Even when I started gymnastics, I just always loved swinging. It sounds a bit silly, but it’s super fun.” Senthil has to undergo many hours of practice just to keep her position as a level ten gymnast. She loves spending time at the gym, but she finds it difficult to manage her time or even participate in things other than gymanstics because of her hectic schedule, Senthil said. “I just wish I had a bit more time to myself,” Senthil said. “On a daily basis we have four hour practices, five days a week. For the first half hour, we warm-up, stretch, and run a little bit. For forty-five minutes, we practice each event, working on skills and routines.

Then, we work on the specific event we will be doing for the next competition. We also condition and do strength training.” Senthil has worked really hard to become the gymnast she is today, she said. Being a level ten gymnast is one of the hardest, but best, accomplishments in her life, she said. “I started as a level five,” Senthil said. “You work your way up to level 10, which is the highest level for high school gymnastics. After level ten, you can either do professional gymnastics, where you work to participate in the Olympics, or college gymnastics. My goal was college gymnastics. You have to put a lot of hours of practice as a level ten gymnast and be mentally prepared to do really hard skills.” Senthil has achieved her goal when it comes to gymnastics and she hopes to continue working in gymnastics in the future in some capacity, she said. All she has worked towards in her gymnasics career has led to her being able to participate in college gymnastics, Senthil said. “In five years, I hope to see myself being a part of the sport in some way,” Senthil said. “I would like to pursue sports medicine to learn how it pertains to gymnastics.”

Table tennis club to start official team By Evelyn Fu

The MHS Table Tennis club has been thinking about making table tennis an official school sport since last year, Club President Sonia Kang said. However, table tennis is not a sport listed on the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) official website, she said. The CIF lists all school sports authorized in California. However, table tennis, a popular sport around the world, is not on that list, Club Advisor William Conley said. The club is looking to see what they could do to become an official school sport, Conley said. “I know that table tennis is probably one of the top five, or ten, sports in the world, as far as participation and play,” Conley said. “I think we have, at last count, 65 members for the table tennis team. I think that certainly would allow us to put together a competitive top ten. We could compete and possibly be a really strong team throughout the Bay Area. Whether or not we could win CIF or the state championship, I think we have some awesome, talented players in Milpitas and I would like to see them have that opportunity to play more broadly.” Conley agreed that table tennis is a popular sport and if it were

to be an official school sport, it would be a great opportunity for students, he said. Having table tennis as an official team can offer more opportunities to allow students to participate in varsity sports. However, outside the Bay Area, table tennis may not be as popular, Conley said. “Many students deserve the opportunity to play competitively,” Conley said. “As a club sport, it’s nice to have that opportunity to play recreationally too.” Being able to play competitively has its benefits for people looking for different things in table tennis, Kang said. People can join to develop their skills in a friendly environment that is not all about being the best table tennis player, she said. “I wish that we could have a table tennis team at every school,” Kang said. “Table tennis is a sport that doesn’t get nearly enough attention. It would mean the world to me if I could see schools competing against each other in this sport one day. I have a feeling that there are many other students like me out there who wish to have table tennis listed as an official sport but unfortunately cannot.” Table tennis becoming an official sport would be great for MHS because the team would be able to compete with other

schools, she said. Many other students on campus likely also feel the same, hoping that table tennis would become an official school sport listed by the CIF, Kang said. “From my observations of students playing table tennis during PE classes, I believe students would definitely enjoy having table tennis as a school sport, and it would greatly encourage them to join the school team,” Kang said. “Considering the popularity of this sport, I think it is worthy enough to become a varsity sport as well.” People that just began can also experience the excitement of playing table tennis, Club Member Prem Agrawal said. Table tennis requires a lot of skill in order to play, but people can also work to develop those skills over time with a school team, he said. Table tennis is unique because it is a versatile sport that can be played anywhere with equipment that isn’t as expensive as materials for other sports, he said. “Table tennis can be played anywhere, anytime as long you have a table, a net, a plastic ball, and some kind of paddle,” Agarwal said. “Table Tennis is economically cheaper, as it doesn’t take much space, and it is still as skill-based as other sports. It’s easy to pick up quickly.”


NOVEMBER 2019

SPORTS

THE UNION

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Video game tournament held in MHS By Kathleen Huynh

The Esports club was chartered last spring and got almost 200 sign ups during clog rush, Vice President Teoh said. The club’s Overwatch team signed up to compete in the national tournament against other teams around the United States, he added The club looks forward to future sponsorships and national tournaments, Teoh said. Emails have been sent out to companies and the club has been signed up for national competitions through the North America Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF), he explained. “The tournament is handled by the NASEF,” President Kyle Fang said. “If you win the championship, you will be invited on stage to play against three other North American high school champions. I believe the prize is around $500.” In addition to giving students

the opportunity to further their gaming skills, the club is a great place for students to make new friends, Secretary Maxwell Miguelino said. Expanding social groups is one of the main reasons why people join and they get to bond over games, he explained. “There are all kinds of team coordination,” Miguelino said. “You’ll meet a lot of people and sometimes it might not work well and sometimes it does work well. Team building is one of the reasons why some people are forced to build social skills.” A common misconception about the Esports community is that it is completely male, Club Member Nhi Phan said. The reality is, esports is for everyone and the club is always looking for more girls to join them, she said. “I don’t really worry myself about that,” Phan commented on the gender skewness of esports. “I just enjoy the game. If you’re a girl and you’re thinking about joining esports, you shouldn’t

be afraid just because there may be a majority of guys. It’s just something that everyone can enjoy.” The future for the club is bright, but issues around toxicity still remain, Treasurer Ronie Chen said. Toxicity in the world of esports refers to any rude behavior. Verbal attacks can be the result of frustration but there are also people who are toxic for no reason, she explained. “I just want it to be a non-toxic environment because when you play online, it can get pretty bad,” Chen said. “We all play together. We have people watching over tournaments and games so we can diffuse any fights.” On the topic of balancing school with gaming, Miguelino said that he believed that school should always be a priority and that gaming is just a stress reliever. Tournaments are usually hosted on Friday or on the weekend so as to not interfere with school, he added.

KATHLEEN HUYNH | THE UNION

Sophomore Nhi Phan (left) and Junior Joaqin Cabales (right) compete at the Esports tournament held at MHS. These two competitors go head to head in the game Super Smash Bros. on the Nintendo Switch console.

Varsity Boys Soccer team welcomes new coach By Devika Kumar

The new Economics and World History Teacher, James Williams, has taken charge as the new Boys Varsity Soccer coach at MHS this year, he said. He took over the role because the varsity soccer coach position was available since Coach William Leffler had left, Williams said. Williams was a soccer coach at James Logan High School before he came to MHS, he said. According to Williams, he started off as a freshman coach, which he did for two years when he was a substitute teacher. After he attained a permanent teaching position, he became an assistant coach for a few years, and then took over the soccer program when the varsity coach stepped down from their position, he said. “Since I was six or seven years old, I’ve been playing,” Williams said. “This is my fifteenth year teaching. When I was in high school I was coaching my brother’s under-fourteen team. I have been coaching high school students for seventeen years.” According to Senior Cesar Gonzalez, it is a little weird having a new soccer coach because he is so used to Coach Leffler. However, Gonzalez has had a good experience with Williams so far, he said. “He runs things in a more professional manner, and he is more about the tactics and hard work,” Gonzalez said. “You can already tell that he has a good relationship with the players, and he is nice. You can tell that he is also strict, but in a good way. It’s just a positive feeling.”

The soccer team won zero games last year, Gonzalez said. The soccer coach should have shown more authority over the players, he said. “Last year, there was a lack of authority,” Gonzalez said. “Players just wanted to do whatever they wanted; they didn’t take soccer too seriously. With Williams, he is going to show authority and show his leadership skills to make the team better.” The soccer coach should be spreading positivity throughout the team, said Gonzalez. The soccer team should also stay positive when going through a loss, he said. “I think positivity is important,” Gonzalez said. “When dealing with a loss, it is important to stay positive and just analyze little things that we may be missing and keep on working on that during practices. Use practice to keep working harder.” The students trying out for the soccer team are playing street soccer at the moment, Senior Shyam Kulkarni said. Williams can definitely bring a change to the team. Williams seems to understand the game better, he said. “The previous coach was a decent coach,” Kulakarni said. “I feel like Mr. Williams is much more of a team coach and I feel like he would understand the team way better than the old coach. I feel like Mr. Williams is just going to make it a learning process. For every loss, he is going to teach us what we should have done differently and just try to keep on improving until we win again.”

The students seem very enthusiastic, Williams said. They want to learn, and they look like they know what they are doing, he said. The students should have a good attitude going into every game, he added. “My goals for the soccer team this year are to compete in every game, to represent the school the way I know they can, and to play good soccer,” Williams said. If we win, we win and if we don’t, we don’t. If we do things right leading up to it, the results will be okay. I hope to see them carrying themselves like good young men, representing them and their families well all the time, walking with respect, and being proud of the school and the team they play for.” The soccer team should go back and look at the past videos to see what they did wrong if they lose a game, Williams said. He hopes to see the soccer team improving everyday after each game, he said. “There is a process where we build upon that as the year goes along,” Williams said. “You would go see the video, you see what you did right and what you did wrong, and you build from that. We learn from each other and we keep moving. Everyday is the most important day of the season.” Most importantly, they are just going to have some fun while playing soccer, Williams said. The school should come out to some games and support the team, William said. It’s going to be fun and the soccer team is just going to go play some good soccer, Williams added.

COURTESY OF MELODIE STICE

Senior Melodie Stice goes for a touchdown in a powderpuff game against the freshman cass. Her teammates cheer her on from the sidelines.

Freshman class run away with victory in powderpuff By Evelyn Fu

The freshman class of 2023 won the Powderpuff championship 14-0 this year, Powderpuff Organizer Jerell Maneja said. The Freshman Powderpuff coach did a good job of strategizing their players which showed in the championships, Maneja said. The balance between athletics and determination on the freshman team, as well as the coach, were major factors to their win, Maneja said. The powderpuff participants of all classes were great athletes, but the results came down to the spirit, heart, and strategy of the teams, Maneja continued. “In the end, the athletes themselves didn’t demonstrate any animosity, only the utmost respect for each other, and my hope is that translates to everyone else at this school,” Maneja said. “What I appreciate the most was that there was strong sportsmanship at the end for the seniors to really recognize that what the freshmen accomplished was a great feat and that it’s something that should be celebrated.” The Freshman Powderpuff team also put a lot of time and effort into practicing, Freshman

Powderpuff Coach Isaiah Dwelle said. They believed in themselves, and their hard work paid off in the championship, Dwelle added. “To beat the seniors, we knew their biggest asset was Jordan and we knew they were going to try and get her the ball,” Dwelle said. “We played smart by playing deep and double covering her at times.” Dwelle understood his team’s strengths and weaknesses and strategized with the players to get the win, he said. Once they utilized their strategies, everything fell into place, Dwelle said. “We knew that on the offensive side of the ball, we had to play fast and keep the ball moving,” Dwelle said. “We are the best powderpuff team in the nation.” The Freshman Powderpuff team quarterback scored both of the winning touchdowns, Freshman Powderpuff Participant Emily Jang said. “Personally, I think we are a team of great athletes because we are super fast and we had the best offensive line ever. We are faster than everyone else and our players can really catch,” Jang said. “We can’t forget the defensive line because they helped us win with those clutch plays in the championship.”

NEVAL MULAOMEROVIC | THE UNION


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THE UNION

NOVEMBER 2019

FEATURES

Local Celebrities: Tik-tok famous Trojans By Genelle Gogue

TikTok recently became a top charting app due to the new found popularity it has received in the last few months. In August of 2018, TikTok merged with the app “musical.ly” and created a larger video sharing platform. Users are able to create their own original videos, recreate previously made videos, and showcase all types of content. Creators come from all over the world to showcase creative content. The app is set up so that when users first open it on their phones, they are taken to their “For you page,” which is also known as the “fyp.” Here, they see an array of videos selected based on videos they had previous liked, which causes the algorithm to believe similar videos would entertain them. The other pages on the app consist of a search tool to look for other users, as well as an option to make your own videos. Students of MHS have been spotted on other students’ “For you pages” and are now being recognized on campus because of their TikTok presence. Tiktok is filled with a variety

of videos, which range from people dancing and singing, creating skits, or reenacting famous lines from shows and movies. Most “tiktokers” start dance trends and from there, they get recreated and gain more popularity. Another category of videos that are posted are tutorials. Users enjoy making and watching clothing and food tutorials as well. Originally, Tiktoks were just made for fun during the summer, Senior Vanessa Campaña said. Campaña has landed on many other students’ “For you pages” after a few videos of her had gone viral. She has accumulated more than 30 thousand followers and one million hearts. Campaña makes Tiktoks when she has free time. Her most popular Tiktok has surpassed over 600 thousand hearts and 20 thousand shares, Campaña added. She goes by the username “@wanekaaa” and has been recognized by her fellow MHS students. “It’s pretty cool,” Campaña said. “I didn’t expect [my videos] to blow up. I would just make videos for fun. Sometimes people do [recognize me], and I honestly find it pretty funny and cool.”

Junior Jared Cabanilla has the same reasons for starting to make Tiktoks, he said. He just made one to see what everyone was talking about and because he wanted to recreate a dance he saw, Cabanilla said. One of his Tiktoks happened to blow up and from there, he kept creating content, he added. Cabanilla goes by the username “@safetyj22”. “I just wanted to see what everyone was talking about, and I wanted to do the ‘Why you so obsessed with me’ dance,” Cabanilla said, referencing a viral trend on the app. “Then one of my Tiktoks blew up, and I just kept making them.” Cabanilla has also been recognized by students on campus, he said. At first, he thought it was a weird feeling. He tries to keep up with his audience by making at least one Tiktok every two to three days, Cabanilla continued. In regards to becoming viral, Cabanilla shared some of his tips. “I make sure my videos are clear, original, and can be something that is viral on the “For you page,”” Cabanilla said. “I also use a lot of hashtags and tell my followers to hit share.”

COURTESY OF DEENA TOOFAN

With all of the materials laid out in front of them, Stallion Science students design a project to protect a raw egg from cracking from a ten foot drop. Students learn about the fundamentals of gravity and density.

Students start educational non-profits, dedicated to teaching younger students By Sarah Khan

Stallion Science and Project Lit Incorporation are two Milpitas-based student run non-profits that serve an educational purpose, both having similar goals to educate elementary students about specific subjects. Non-profits are tax-exempt organizations that are created with the objective to enhance a particular purpose rather than to generate profit. The purpose of Project Lit is to provide one-to-one tutoring to students, specifically focusing on the foundational skills in English composition and language, Project Lit Founder Brian Nguyen said. “We started last March and opened a program at Russell Middle School, and we’ve been tutoring there every Tuesday and Thursday,” Nguyen said. “We are also organizing a book drive, a reading competition within MUSD, and a summer program with the library.” Project Lit aims to open more programs and continue raising funds, Nguyen said. For tutors, he looks for people who are friendly, patient with kids, and who are able to explain concepts. Any high school student interested in tutoring can contact Project Lit

through their email: projectlitorg@gmail.com or through their Instagram: projectlitorg. “I started this organization because I was reclassified as English proficient in third grade since my first language growing up was Vietnamese, so I know what it feels like to struggle,” Nguyen said. “I wanted to give back to the community through educating. I know that in a typical classroom with 30 students, it’s difficult for students in a similar position to catch up.” The goal of Stallion Science is to instill an interest in science in elementary aged children, Co-Founder and Executive Officer of Internal Affairs Christine Ma said. The idea came to her during sophomore year, and then Stallion Science was able to debut in spring of 2018, she added. “First we debuted at Curtner Elementary, then we followed with a summer session at San Jose City College,” Ma said. “We’re about to finish up our two fall sessions and are preparing for our spring season.” Stallion Science aims to inspire third graders and below who are not exposed to a science class, Co-Founder and Executive Officer of External Affairs Amy Law said. “We want to expand to differ-

ent schools in the Fremont and Milpitas Unified School District,” Law said. “We need more volunteers for the program, so anyone interested can contact us through stallionsciencemilpitas@gmail. com.” Director of Outreach Valerie Lam hopes that Stallion Science can have more extravagant experiments with more technology as funds grow. “A benefit of being a nonprofit is being able to manage funds,” Lam said. “It also comes with more student responsibilities.” Qualifying as a non-profit is a long process of filling out all the necessary documentation with the Secretary of State, Nguyen said. For getting a bank account, you have to make sure you have a 501C3 non-profit designation with the federal government and that the organization is tax exempt, he continued. “As a non-profit we are able to reach out to a bigger community because we’re not restricted within the constraints of a school,” Nguyen said. “A non-profit is an incorporated business with the California’s Secretary of State and is not affiliated with the school, although we do reach out to communities within the school.”

COURTESY OF STACY PHAN

From left to right, robotics members Vraj Mistry, Kathan Sheth, and Chenghao Li work together on strategies before the elimination round.

Robotics club builds passion By Max Jones

The Milpitas Xtreme Robotics club competed at the VEX Robotics Competition on Oct. 6, winning the Inspire Award. Their reception of the award is important because it is the first award that the club has won in over a decade. From its founding in 2002 to 2006, robotics experienced a golden age, Programming Lead Aniket Tyagi said. After the founding members graduated from the club in 2006, the club quickly fell from its dominant position. “A lot of the mentors during those years were electrical engineers and physicists that were the parents of the members in the club,” Tyagi said. “After they left, there weren’t any mentors to help the program.” Instead of competing in tournaments, the club mostly worked on a go-kart project until everything changed in 2016 when [the club] participated in VEX, President Chloe Wang said. “The award is given to a team that inspires its community, the

judges, and shows the spirit of robotics,” Wang said. “It isn’t just competing or building a robot. It’s the ability to unite a community around a shared passion.” Milpitas Xtreme Robotics participates in different activities to give back to the community. One of these is their Pomeroy Program where they teach younger students about robotics, VEX 1669Y, Member Katie Duong said. “It’s nice that [judges] recognize that we’re not just a competitive club, but we also want to help spread this learning experience to younger students,” Duong said. Current teams in VEX are mostly sophomores and freshmen, so they have a lot of time to rejuvenate the club and become more active, VEX 1669X Build Lead Eugene Ng said. “We mainly focus on teaching the members and don’t really try to win the competitions,” Ng said. “Other teams focus more on being competitive in the VEX Robotics space and have applications for joining their team. We accept anyone and try to teach them.”

Theater hosts horror hotel By Celine Nghiem

The students of Teacher Kaila Schwartz’s Advanced Theater Workshop class turned the MHS theater into a “hotel of horrors” for two nights in anticipation of Halloween, Schwartz said. The haunted theater was held on Oct. 18 and 19, she added. This year’s concept was a haunted hotel, Junior Patrick Grundstrom said. Once this was decided upon, the students fleshed out the details of each room. They created a lobby, a child’s playroom, an adult gambling room, a buffet, a bedroom, a bathroom, and a forest, he added. “We had to think of what we could do to fill the buffet tables and trays,” Grundstrom said. “There were chopped-up fingers, eyeballs, and things like that.” The result was an immersive experience for visitors. Junior

Tamara Martinez, who went into the theater four times, recalled that each visit was scarier than the last. “The actors knew us from the other times, so they tried to make it scarier and different,” Martinez said. “It was a little different every time I went.” To prepare for the haunted theater, students learned combat skills, Grundstrom said. “We actually had training with a professionally licensed combat person,” he said. “She would come and teach us specific things. For running into a wall, we would have to step and pop back up.” This year had been record-breaking, Grundstrom said. “People would come out and go immediately back in line,” he said. “Out of the 9 years [of hosting a haunted house], this was the first time that happened.”


NOVEMBER 2019

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THE UNION

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THE UNION

NEWS

Funding: Milpitas High School programs’ budgets drop 10 percent FROM PAGE 1

the amount of funding they get at department meetings usually held in late September or early October. This year, teachers have not been given their budgets yet as of late October, Forensics and Advanced Placement (AP) Biology teacher Karen Truesdell said. I have been spending money at the grocery store from my own pocket for lab materials because we don’t know what the budget is for AP or mainstream classes yet, Truesdell added. Also, since some science classes have been added in recent years, such as AP Environmental Science and AP Physics, funding has been reduced for the science teachers because the same amount of money must go to more classes, Truesdell said. “I have a budget for my art classes but I’m not given any money to run yearbook,” AP Drawing and Yearbook teacher Fiona Walker said. “The money I am allocated for my drawing classes isn’t bad at all, but it’s really not enough to fund the classes like I want. Luckily, I am able to collect donations from students, which usually doubles the money I am

given by the school, and it really helps. I spent one year teaching at Irvington in Fremont where we had to lump our orders in with all the other teachers and it was all taken care of by the department lead, Walker said. It’s much better here, and we are independent and have our own money to spend, Walker added. I really can’t complain about the way things are done here at MHS; we are so lucky compared to other districts,” Walker said. Sports, however, are really driven by donations from the participants and coaches are funded through the district, Rojas said. There is funding, but a lot of the funding that comes for athletics comes from the athletic booster, he said. “Likewise, for clubs, there’s really no startup money. If the club wants to go on a field trip, you have to take donations from your club members or fundraise for it. ASB oversees all of the clubs like a bank. There’s other clubs that already have money, so if you have no money as a club, you’re really borrowing against the money

that the other clubs have, knowing that you will raise money and then replenish it.” Science Olympiad has funding from the district to pay for registration when the team goes to competitions, and the principal pays for our transportation fees, Science Olympiad Co-Captain Andrew Nguyen said. In terms of funding received, it has stayed pretty constant every year, Nguyen added. “We have a set budget at the beginning of the year usually from donations, but we do have some money we earn from the elementary science competition we hold here in May,” Nguyen said. “We need materials that aren’t found at regular science classrooms here, so we have to go to Fry’s or Home Depot to get those materials, and that can get quite pricey, Nguyen added. Usually, when a lot of teams are entered into a competition, there’s a lot of trial and error, so when we take donations, we always take them graciously because we always need more materials, Nguyen said.

ASB launch new application for school spirit By Neval Mulaomerovic

ASB has adopted the application SuperFan to promote greater school spirit and student involvement on campus, Activities Director Jerell Maneja said. The app, which is free to download, allows ASB to better advertise school events and communicate with the student body, he said. A lite version of the program, created by the company SuperFanU, was used to gauge student opinion and test the capacities of the app, Maneja said. Based on the beta test during Homecoming week, ASB intends to fully roll out the program, he said. “[SuperFanU] is a company that has created apps for a variety of different college campuses and has been looking to expand to high schools to help try and promote more attendance and spirit,” Maneja said. “As of the initial test during Homecoming week, we are sitting at nearly 200 new users.” One popular feature of the app is the ability to RSVP and check in during school events, Maneja said. There is also advertising for CLOG (Clubs and Organizations) events, fan polls, and a points system based on how many events a student attends. Those points can then be turned

into certain prizes, he said. “Right now, we have a 50 point tier where the first few people who get 50 points get a free shirt,” Maneja said. “We have a tier of awards, and there are other awards where you could get recognition for things like being the biggest basketball fan for attending the most basketball games. We did the beta test to award either our brand new gold MHS hoodie, which has not been sold before, or Brockhampton concert tickets.” A major benefit of the app is providing a platform for students to know more about upcoming events and have a chance to engage in school pride that they would otherwise not participate in, ASB Vice President Tanya Saharan said. Many students struggle with checking emails for information and some people do not use social media, so the app gives another avenue of communication, she said. “[ASB] hopes to sell dance tickets digitally, fundraise online for drives like Jack Emery, and provide more awards,” Saharan said. “Students can participate in polls to unlock rewards. Some rewards can potentially include front-of-theline passes for Trojan Olympics.” Being able to keep track of and

check into events is especially helpful for students who are part of organizations such as sports or the music program which already host many events, Junior Daniel Ly said. Prizes could serve as an incentive for students to increase school participation and attend events they would otherwise be unexposed to, Ly said. “I’m very excited for the prizes to come out because it gives a reason to go to more events,” Ly said. “You don’t lose anything from [signing up]. You can only gain from it.” Many apps cost thousands of dollars, but ASB gets to use the app for $750 per year, Maneja said. Because of the minimal investment required for the app, ASB plans to expand the app to sports, clubs, theater, and band altogether, he said. “We want to get some input from all the organizations on campus because we bought this app for the sake of the whole school,” Maneja said. “If we can get all the other organizations on board, it can help everyone enhance what they do on campus. It demonstrates that there are so many things going on on campus, but a lot of the people don’t even know about it.”

50 years of MHS calls for a special event; celebration includes student performances By Adarsh Burela

To celebrate fifty years passing since MHS first opened its gates to the graduating class of 1969, the school hosted a community-wide event at the Green on Oct. 26, Principal Francis Rojas said. Although it is technically the 51st anniversary of the school, MHS marks this year as an opportunity to reflect how far the community has come and remember the history along the way, Rojas said. Under his discretion, if last year marked the 50th anniversary of the school and MHS had missed it, MHS might as well do something this year to celebrate, Rojas said. MHS also has a lot of generally unknown history to be explored and shared, so the anniversary serves as a gift to the community that has given so much to the school, Rojas said. “50th or 51st, I just had to decide. If last year was the 50th and

we missed it, then we’d better just do something this year,” Rojas said. “There’s a lot of history to this school that I didn’t know about, that we weren’t always Trojans; we used to be the MHS Patriots.” Events at the anniversary consisted of community submissions of dances, music, singing, and speeches, along with food trucks for the attendees to enjoy, ASB Director Jerell Maneja said. With words from alumni and teachers, the grand opening of the new College and Career center, and a screening of “54,” an alumni-made film, the community was able to fully embrace the culture at MHS, Maneja said. “It was the grand opening of the college and career center, where we served desserts and also had old memorabilia from the past such as uniforms, photos, and alumni. I was responsible for getting the food truck services,

so we had six that day,” Maneja said. “[Alumni] spoke about what their experiences were, what they learned from Milpitas High School, and then possibly compared to what it is now.” As a celebration, MHS’ 50th anniversary went well, Freshman performer YuriSebtian Barbadillo said. There were minor technical difficulties at the festivities and the turnout was a lot less than expected, but giving back to the community was gratifying, Barbadillo said. “I mean, there were some difficulties, but once we got it down, it kinda ran smoothly after that. When we provided a backing track for Glee club, they said they never got it, so we needed to give them another; that caused huge time issues,” Barbadillo said. “It was a great chance to show school spirit, and commemorate MHS’ anniversary.”

November 2019

Eye on Campus:

MHS Dance Class Performs

Max Jones | THE UNION

Milpitas High School’s dance class performs at the Homecoming Rally on Oct. 25, showcasing “exciting” group dances and choreography.

Naviance considered unhelpful; slows college application process By Vibha Sastry

Naviance does not help the college app process at all, Senior Aviana Aragon said. Naviance has a lot of issues, mainly problems connecting to Common Application (Common App), she added. Naviance has not updated students’ stats and it has issues submitting recommendation letters with Common App, Aragon said. Naviance has a lot of beneficial aspects, but there are some issues with it, Counselor Cory Nakamoto said. Naviance has an issue with requesting recommendation letters by Common App, and this problem is in the process of being fixed, Nakamoto said. “Every time a student requests a teacher letter of recommendation through CommonApp, this creates an error with Naviance; we’re working through all of the issues as fast as we can,” Nakamoto said. “We need to do a better job of preparing teachers and students with all the steps required to make this a smooth process; we feel that next year 90%+ of these issues will be cleaned up,” he added. According to Senior Vanessa Cho, Naviance is an unnecessary addition to the Common App process. “I don’t get why you would use a second source to connect to Common App when you could just use

Common App itself,” Cho said. “I don’t really get why we are using Naviance, except maybe that teachers can input stuff easier,” she added. Naviance has some bugs, probably because it is the first year the school is using it, Cho said. “I had a problem where I couldn’t log in and I went to Mr. Nakamoto to try to reset my password, and we tried resetting it a bunch of times but it didn’t work,” Cho said. “Then I logged in with my original password a few days later and it worked,” Cho said. Naviance has a lot of issues with student information and requesting recommendation letters, Aragon Said. Staff is aware of the issues with submitting recommendation letters through Naviance, and is trying to fix the problem, Nakamoto said. These kinds of issues are unavoidable during the first year of implementing a new program, Nakamoto added. “We know Naviance has been difficult around submitting teacher letters of recommendation,” Nakamoto said. “Anytime we join a project of this size schoolwide, there will be bumps. We’re learning as we go what those problems are. Experience and better communication willhelp with some of the issues we’re seeing,” he added.

State law changes school start time; MHS looks into schedule changes By Max Jones

School start times will be changed statewide from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. effective on July 1, 2020 due to a bill signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom. Newsom signed the bill because of evidence that suggests an increased quality of sleep for teenage students results from later school start times. The administration and staff of MHS will also be looking into schedule changes in addition to the school start time change, Principal Francis Rojas said. Various forms of scheduling, including block scheduling, are being considered for implementation into MHS as a result of the statewide start time change, Rojas continued. “I’ve looked at this bill as an opportunity for us to look at what alternatives we can do with scheduling here on this campus,” Rojas said. “I think our staff here is very open to looking at alternatives scheduling, so I look at

having a law like that backing up a need for looking at change.” Changing the MHS time schedule to block scheduling has been discussed by the school’s administration and staff in the past. However the way that the new schedule was going to be implemented was a point of contention, Rojas said. This time the principal wants to get feedback from the teachers, staff, and students while considering the many different forms that block scheduling can take, he said. Having a block schedule or modified block with the correct number of minutes is important, Advanced Placement Chemistry Teacher Lisa Meyer said. Around 80 to 85 minutes is the sweet spot for successful block scheduling in the subjects that benefit greatly from it. “I love it. I want it, especially for science classes,” Meyer said. “I teach AP Chemistry. Try doing college-level labs in 53 minutes. It doesn’t work, we have to figure out workarounds all the time.”

Profile for MHS The Union

The Union - Milpitas High School - November 2019  

Volume XXXI, Issue II, November 2019. The Student Voice of Milpitas High School.

The Union - Milpitas High School - November 2019  

Volume XXXI, Issue II, November 2019. The Student Voice of Milpitas High School.

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