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UN I O N

O PI N I O N S

S E P T E MBE R 2012 Volume XXV Issue I

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F E AT U R E S

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T HE

LIFEST YLE

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E N T E R TA I N M E N T

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SPORTS

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MH S T HE UNION.NE T For the latest updates

STUDENT VOICE OF MILPITAS HIGH SCHOOL

CA L EN DA R October 1 University of California and California State University applications open October 6 SAT testing day October 15-19 Homecoming Spirit Week

New weighted GPA system implemented retroactively

BY YING LUO

Weighted Grade Point Averages (GPAs) are to be implemented retroactively for the 2012-2013 school year, Principal Kenneth Schlaff confirmed. The decision was finalized at a summer board meeting to reward students who have challenged themselves by taking the most rigorous course load available, Schlaff stated.

The new system will be out of a 5.0 grading scale as opposed to the previous 4.0 scale, according to Schlaff. He continued to say that Advanced Placement (AP), Honors, and college courses will be considered weighted so that an A in any of these classes will give students five points as opposed to four points in an unweighted class. “Each course that is Honors, AP, or outside college is given an extra

point,” Schlaff explained. “So therefore, we don’t modify that; IT does.” Pluses and minuses will also be considered and weighted in the new system, according to Schlaff. However, A pluses will not be weighted because it would skew the 4.0 unweighted grading scale, Schlaff continued. “It’s a greater delineation of what somebody has in a particular class, and there is great difference between

whether somebody gets an 88 or an 81 [percent] in a class,” Schlaff said. “You’re almost dealing with two different grade designations.” The weighted system will also ensure that only one valedictorian will be chosen from each graduating year, Schlaff added. The title of MHS’s highest ranked student will now consider the rigor of his or her academic record as well, Schlaff concluded.

October 20 Homecoming Dance October 27 ACT testing day October 29 Talent Show October 31 Halloween November 1 No school November 3 SAT testing day November 6 Election Day November 12 No school November 22 Thanksgiving Day November 22-23 No school November 30 University of California applications deadlines

Student response to CLOG Rush greater than previous years BY CINDY WU

Club and Organization (CLOG) Rush was held from Sept. 4-6 on the green during lunch, according to Activities Director Joanna Butcher. CLOG Rush was held to promote the 59 CLOGs on campus, Butcher said. Similar to previous years, half of the CLOGs campaigned on Tuesday, Sept. 4 while the other half advertised on Sept. 5. All the clubs came together on Sept. 6 for a final day of promoting CLOGs. “Sign-ups were much higher this year,” Butcher said. “There seems to be an overall greater interest in belonging to a CLOG.” Many CLOGs are qualified to use the theater for their meetings this year due to the large numbe of signups, Butcher continued. Eight CLOGs are now in a rotation for sharing the theater every other week. “Everyone should have the right to access the theater if they have enough members,” Butcher said. “It’s called fair and equitable practices.”

L�A�� W�� | THE UNION

The Milpitas Xtreme Robotics Club of�cers advertise their club during lunch on the green. A total of 59 clubs and organizations participated in CLOG Rush, which was held from Sept. 4-6 in order to promote club membership.

Wi-Fi to be installed at MHS BY CARYN TRAN

A����� T��� | THE UNION

Security Guard Supervisor Kenneth Inman places cones around the school’s perimeters in the mornings to block off a passageway in order to help regulate traf�c. Inman works for the Admiral Security Services company.

New security guard team hired for school year BY ARTHUR TRAN

New security guards have been hired to patrol the MHS campus for this school year, according to Assistant Principal Cheryl Rivera. They replaced last year’s security guards, Rivera said. There are four security guards in total with a supervisor who acts as the lead guard, Rivera said. The security guards, who are from Admiral Security Services, send in a daily electronic report to administration

in order to document everything they see on campus, Rivera said. “The security guards have handled situations exceptionally well so far this year,” Rivera said. “They have been doing a good job.” The decision to hire new security was made at the end of June, Rivera stated. The entire administration participated in the interview process so the final decision was unanimous, Rivera continued. “[The security guards] started at the end of July, close to the begin-

ning of August,” Rivera said. “They went through training, and two were even here for registration.” All current policies on campus are being enforced, and new policies could be in place in the future, according to Security Supervisor Ken Inman. His job is to ensure the guards are properly trained, Inman said. “We’re not here to be bullies,” Inman said. “We’re just here to enforce the rules of the school. This seems like a good school, and it deserves security that cares for its students.”

Wi-Fi will be available at MHS campus starting this year, according to Principal Kenneth Schlaff. The target date has not been confirmed by tech services, but 80 percent of the Wi-Fi modems have been installed on campus, Schlaff confirmed. Wi-Fi will enable students to have access to multiple sources of information during class and to contribute and interact more in the classroom, Schlaff said. It will also move teachers towards utilizing multiple sources as opposed to depending on one textbook or being the source of information, Schlaff continued. “For example, the stuff in the history textbooks: even if it was four years old, what does that have to do with [the conflict in] Syria right now? There is absolutely nothing in there. Nothing. Zero,” Schlaff reasoned. “This stuff is of the moment and I’m just saying you can’t get everything in a hard-bound textbook.”

You can’t get everything in the hard-bound textbook. ������� ������� Wi-Fi will probably be turned on for the G building in early October to initialize the process of connecting the Digital Business Academy (DBA) online, Schlaff said. The school plans for the DBA to receive Chromebooks, which have already been ordered. “So far, probably 250 [Chromebooks] will be bought. 220 [Chromebooks are] for DBA, and then prob-

ably 30 for the school as a whole,” Schlaff said. “So if you’re in a class with a teacher who checks them out, and then you could work in groups. While in DBA it’s one-on-one, so every kid would have a Chromebook. They wouldn’t have textbooks since there’s open-source textbooks and other things that could be used in lieu of a text book.” Wi-Fi coverage will eventually reach all of the campus, according to Schlaff. It may extend to the field, though there is no knowledge on how far, Schlaff said. “We will get full coverage of this campus,” Schlaff said. “As for the external areas within the boundary of MHS, I can’t tell you, but all classes will have Wi-Fi.” With the availability of Wi-Fi, parents will need to be informed and advised on how to manage usage of electronics at school, according to Schlaff. One reason why the school has chosen to buy Chromebooks is the manageability of it, Schlaff added. “If it’s a Chromebook, we’re able to manage those particular devices because they have to link to our system,” Schlaff stated. “So it’d be like when I log on to Google and I do stuff through Google it doesn’t go through [just] Google, it goes through MUSD then Google,” he explained. Wi-Fi will be an important instrument for moving the school forward in technology, Schlaff said. It will encourage a different mode of teaching and a different way for students to interact with their learning environment, Schlaff concluded.


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THE UNION

SEPTEMBER 2012

EDITORIAL

PATRONS

EDITOR I A L : The Opinion of The Union

Switch to weighted GPA system unexpected; Students’ grades retroactively converted We, The Union, believe that the implementation of weighted grade point averages (GPAs) is a commendable decision made by the school administrators, but the new system should have been clearly delineated to the students before it was put into effect. While the change will ultimately encourage a higher standard of learning, many students were dismayed to learn that they already missed their chance to obtain a higher GPA by taking more advanced courses. Also, the sudden switch to the new GPA system without clear explanations has caused confusion and anxiety for many students. Evaluating Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) classes on a five-point scale as opposed to the former four-point scale will encourage students to take the more challenging but ultimately more rewarding classes. It will also give much-earned credit to the students who have already taken such accelerated courses or who have invested the time to study at community colleges in addition to their high school workload. The weighted GPA system will also ensure that only one graduating senior who took the most rigorous course load possible will be rewarded with the valedictorian status. Most high schools in the nation use the weighted GPA system, so this implementation brings MHS’s grading system up to par with those of competitive college preparatory schools. The new system also adequately reflects the collegiate grading scale, taking into account pluses and minuses. However, the transition into the new grading system was poorly made, as it confused many students who were unsure as to what the changes exactly entailed. There were few official announcements regarding the changes made to the former grading system, and the announcements the school did make were ambiguous at best. For example, a San Jose Mercury News article informed the public of the finalization of the weighted GPA system, but failed to mention that borderline grades would also be taken into consideration.

The new weighted system especially impacts the class of 2013 as college application season approaches. Seniors have spent the majority of the past three years believing that Honors and AP classes were not weighted and A-’s held the same weight as A’s. To suddenly and completely change the overall class rankings according to the new system is unfair. The seniors should have been notified in advance of such a potential change so that they would have had adequate time to achieve the ranking that they desired or needed to be admitted to certain colleges. It is not right for students who were safely in the top 10 percent of their class at the end of the last school year to return to school only to discover that they had unexpectedly dropped to the top 15 percent. With college-application season upon the current seniors, a definite ranking and a full explanation of the grading should have been available as soon as the school year began. However, at the beginning of the school year, the new rankings and GPAs had not even been finalized before they were added on transcripts. This particularly affects seniors who are applying for early admission to college, as the deadline is quickly approaching and an incorrect ranking could potentially affect college acceptances and rejections. Also, with new changes should come new rules. Now that pluses and minuses have an influence on GPAs, certain criteria for achieving these grade variations must be set. The percentages for obtaining pluses and minuses currently vary from class to class as teachers have different grading systems. All classes should have a universal grading scale that standardizes the percentages for plus and minus boundaries to ensure that every student’s academic performance is fairly evaluated. While we, The Union, respect the new weighted system, we believe that all MHS students, especially the seniors, should be immediately informed of the specifics of the new GPA system and details of exactly how the rankings are now determined.

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he Union is a student-run publication that is partially funded by local businesses and private citizens. The patrons listed below have demonstrated their generosity by extending both moral and �nancial support to our newspaper for the 2012-2013 school year. The Union staff would like to thank them for their patronage and encourage others to contribute. If you are interested in becoming a patron ($25 donation), please contact our Business Manager.

Republic Services Jerry Glass D.D.S. and Staff Calaveras Montessori School Inc. Crescent Montesorri Mayor José and Susan Esteves Denny and Marianne Weisgerber Alan L. Grimm, D.D.S. Giorgio’s Italian Food & Pizzeria Thrive Milpitas - Dr. Kauffman Milpitas Rotary Club

UNION 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 re�ect those of the school, students, administration, or Milpitas Uni�ed School District.

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L ETTER S TO TH E EDITOR Alternating theater use difficult; Fewer meetings only one problem

The 8 biggest clubs on MHS were recently informed that we would have to share the theater by alternating weeks. As an officer of one of the top 4 clubs, I have to express my discontent at ASB because this was a very unwise decision. The 4 biggest clubs use the theater because we require it. Many of us have over 100 ACTIVE members. Here are some of the reasons I feel that making us alternate weeks is unsatisfactory: 1) Members will get confused and not know which weeks to go to the theater for their club. We’d have to remind them weeks ahead of time when there would or would not be a meeting, which makes things even more confusing. 2) The smaller clubs don’t need the theater because they don’t have as many active members.

3) As mentioned before, we often have new news every week, so to have it even once every two weeks means that we wouldn’t be able to get our news out as efficiently as possible. Many people also do not even use facebook or check their emails often, so actual meetings is the only way to communicate with them. Also I personally am a big fan of face to face interaction, simply because it’s part of human nature. Having club meetings brings the club together much better than updates online ever could. 4) Members will drop out because of the need to remember which weeks is what. 5) We were told we could have meetings during the weeks we don’t have the theater in classrooms, possibly with the “important members”. The problem with that is the biggest clubs can’t fit all of the members into

a classroom. And there is no distinction between members we need to see every week and members we don’t. 6) We were not given prior notice about any of this. It’s really not fair to suddenly shove this down our throats. We still have no idea exactly what is going on. Just like the weighted GPA system, it was suddenly implemented and the rules were not properly explained so all of the CLOGS were left guessing as to exactly what was supposed to happen. If you are going to implement something, give us at least 2 months warning. 7) Now that we have been given the schedule, it’s even more obvious how unfair the system is. Many months have breaks and then on those weeks that club would be out of luck because they wouldn’t even be able to have a meeting, therefore incurring only one meeting in a month. For big clubs which often have new news

every week, that is a big no no. For instance, DECA, VSA, Red Cross, and Chinese Club have four weeks where they cannot hold meetings because of finals, cultural heritage, and spring break, whereas the other four clubs only have one week they cannot hold meetings. This means that those four unlucky clubs don’t have any meetings for a whole month. This new system simply isn’t fair to us. It is ASB’s fault they did not plan ahead and tell us about this earlier so we could have time to discuss it. I hope that something is figured out soon so that we do not have to make a big fuss.

S���� W��� Class of 2013

MHS failed to commemorate 9/11;

Moment of silence overlooked

September 9th, 2001. Considering that I was only 5 years old at the time, I don’t remember too much

about it, but my 5 year old mind did comprehend one thing: There was a tragic loss of life that day. Some called it our generation’s “Pearl Harbor.” Years have passed since 9/11 and we now find ourselves marking the 11th aniversary of 9/11. However, Milpitas High School did not mark 9/11 this year. WHile most of the nation marked 9/11 this year with memorials, moments of silence, or just simple Facebook status updates, Milpitas High School decided to spend 9/11 announcing what clubs were meeting during lunch and other miscellaneous announcements. I simply think that the anniversary of 9/11 still merits some sort of recognition. 9/11 was an event that we as a generation actually experienced first hand. So Milpitas High School, just in case you didn’t get the memo: “Never forget.”

E��� T��

Class of 2013


SEPTEMBER 2012

PRO

Chick-fil-A exercises freedoms; Has right to express own beliefs Chick-fil-A, a fast food chain res- believe in that is where things start to taurant, recently opened a new store get ugly. I don’t like ugly. No one likes branch in San Jose. Lines poured out ugly. I do not mind having conversaof the store and into the street for tions with people who want to talk hours on grand opening day. Why? about why they disagree with me, but The reason is simple: Chick-fil-A has no one appreciates it when opinions a great chicken sandwich and fantas- are forced down throats. tic waffle fries. Getting back on topic, a person has However, the long lines and masses the right to be gay or lesbian, yes, I of people were not all happy custom- agree. But people are also allowed ers. Many different groups of people to disagree with my particular view. had come to protest against the grand Just because another person doesn’t opening of the restaurant see things in the same itself, all because the comlight I do, doesn’t make pany donates parts of its him a terrible person. It profits to organizations doesn’t mean I should go that do not support same protest and tell him how sex marriage. to spend his money. No. I Honestly, I don’t see should let him be and allow how these protestors and him to live his life with his rioters are justified in their views in peace. Whatever actions. Yes, yes, freedom side a person believes in, of speech and all that jazz. he should realize that he Right to protest. Yeah. also would not appreciate LEANN Except here’s the thing, banter about how his view WOO Chick-fil-A CEOs have the is total, utter, crap. So why same rights. This means give it to the other party? that they are free to do whatever they Learn to empathize, people. want with their money (so long as And really, if the whole situation it’s legal). The fact that people get so is that big of a deal, why don’t people worked up about these kinds of issues just stop eating at Chick-fil-A? Cerreally irritates me. tainly this would make headquarters Let me give an example. I believe change something about what they in having options; I am an extremely are doing. Reality check, though: it’s liberal person, and I support abor- not a big enough deal for people to tion. I do not agree with those who stop consuming the product. People think it is a sin and disregard that the eat at Chick-fil-A because the food pregnant mother may not be able to is good, not because they believe support this unborn child. However, I that their money is going towards a accept and respect the fact that there greater cause. are others who will never share my I hope that people realize how inperspective. These people have the credibly unreasonable they’re acting. right to believe whatever they want, I suggest we all grow up and learn to and so do I. But when protests and deal with people having different ads try to shove their views in my face opinions like mature adults and not and tell me that I am going to go to whining five year olds. It’s rather hell for supporting a cause they don’t ironic, though, coming from me.

CON

Views of Chick-fil-A insensitive; Beliefs should remain private If you’ve ever eaten at Chick-fil-A, you, but victimizes against someone you know they have good chicken else is just cruel. sandwiches, but do they have proper I don’t find this wrong as much morals? I think not. Chick-fil-A was as I find it dumb. Why not just dewrong in donating to anti-gay organi- clare bankruptcy and skip the long zations. Donating corporate funds to boycotts, protests, and bad press? anti-gay groups is a blatant support of Honestly, Chick-fil-A really went out legalizing discrimination. of their way to lose customers and First of all, Chick-fil-A is a corpora- gain notoriety with this one. They tion, owned by shareholders, not by really should have thought of he conjust a board of executives. sequences beforehand. A small group of people I honestly don’t see any taking their personal good news for Chick-fil-A and religious views and soon. You know what they imposing them on society say, out of the frying pan, through others’ money, into the fire. They should does that sound right to have just kept their money you? to themselves. It definitely So many people were, wouldn’t have hurt or upand still are, outraged by set anyone. The executive Chick-fil-A’s anti-gay doboard could have donated nations because, by holdtheir personal funds if they CARYN ing company shares or by really wanted to. TRAN eating at these chains, they The fact that the comwere unknowingly and pany itself "clarified" its unwillingly contributing to groups support of anti-gay groups on Sunthat violate basic civil rights. I ate day, September 23 shows how bad there a few times in the past, and it this entire situation is for Chick-fil-A. churns my stomach to know that the They obviously met with enough opmoney I spent went to groups that position to have them turn on their spread hate. tails and take it all back. Chick-Fil-A was donating to antiWhat it all boils down to is, Chickgay organizations. Do you think they fil-A and any other big organizajust stop at preaching their message? tions out there, ahem Boy Scouts of Nope, these groups’ agendas push for America, should learn to keep their the legal ban of same-sex marriage. interests focused on their purpose, Even though I don’t have a clear whether it be selling chicken sandstance on gay marriage and such, I wiches or teaching boys how to set up do believe forcing others to think as camp, and stay away from spreading I do is outrageous. It’s okay if you can their discriminating "beliefs" around. convince them to join in on your re- Because, in the end, you know it will ligion or beliefs on their own accord, come back to bite you in the behind but going out of your way to make a when everyone rereads the first law that honestly doesn’t really affect amendment

OPINIONS

THE UNION

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Open Enrollment causes crowded classes The open enrollment policy that was implemented this school year has proven to be more detrimental to higher student education than beneficial. By seeking to eliminate all pre-requisites for Advanced Placement (AP) and Honors courses, it enabled students to enroll in these rigorous classes who otherwise would not have qualified. MHS has witnessed a dramatic influx of students in its AP and Honors courses since the policy’s implementation. The sudden increase of students in these classes is not necessarily a good thing, however: classroom overflow impedes learning as teachers struggle to provide enough resources for everyone. I have heard people complain about not even having proper desks in some of their classes, as they are forced to sit on the floor or use their binders as writing surfaces. Moreover, administration yielded control over classroom structure by eliminating pre-requisites and entrance exams. AP and Honors classes can no longer stimulate a collegiate environment of intellectual thought and studious attitude if teachers are

too busy catering to the problems normally do not take weighted classes caused by crowded classrooms and to challenge themselves and engage the varying academic capabilities of in active thought, and I applaud it their students. for its efforts. However, it failed to In this sense, open enrollment consider the uneven distribution of hardly provides an ideal student capabilities that learning environment, would result from open but rather directly sets enrollment. Some stustudents who have previdents cannot keep up with ously been unexposed to the demanding course rigorous courses up for load, while others seek failure. A student with a a higher education that math background of Algeexceeds the AP standards. bra I theoretically can sign In the end, classes must up for and get into an AP compensate by reaching Calculus BC class under a middle ground, but that the policy. It doesn’t make is not enough to save those YING sense for administration to who are falling behind or LUO allow that student into the to satiate the knowledge class fully knowing that -ravenous students. he or she has not yet learned limits Instead of pushing students who or derivatives, which are the basic are unprepared into AP and Honors fundaments of calculus. No matter classes, administration can devote how much or how long that student more attention to foster the curiosity studies, chances are he or she will be and drive vital for learning early in unable to match up to that caliber and our academic careers. But to elimiwill end up failing the class. nate the standard provided by preWhile its intention was admirable, requisites and entrance exams as it such a system could only work in a did this school year is to disregard utopian environment. The school atindividuals’ different strengths and tempted to encourage students who weaknesses.

Unity Retreat provides positive experience It was 10 o’clock Saturday night, but together to put in one cup—our cup. I was already dead tired; I had forgot- Yes, I was unnoticeably rolling my ten to nap earlier that afternoon. I eyes, but hey, the activity made us didn’t know what I was getting my- all feel much more comfortable with self into. There were approximately each other. 40 students, and I probably knew We continued the night with workabout four of them, but not shops—some more intervery well. esting than others—some For those of you who have more applicable than othabsolutely no idea what this ers. If you’re attending opinion article is about, the retreat solely in hopes I’m talking about the Unity of learning great leaderretreat that happened on ship skills, then you will Sept. 9 to 10, 10 p.m. to 6 be disappointed because a.m. It’s that time of the year most of the workshop when representatives from topics were generic and each CLOG and sport get basically common sense, together and spend a night but sitting through each CINDY attempting to unify the workshop leader’s preWU school. Participants met at sentation made me realCity Beach in Fremont for ize how much work must an entire night, literally, of have been put into this. workshops, food, and activities. ASB deserves a round of applause. What did we actually do at Unity You have to remember that it’s pretretreat? After going through the in- ty much all planned, organized, and tros and a quick icebreaker, we did lead by our fellow students. To see a team-building activity. The goal of people your age stepping up to lead the activity was very simple: to get the school—or at least try to—for you all of the toothpicks into your cup. cynical ones out there, you should However, there were only two cups. really show them some support. The point of the activity was to real- Sure they’re not perfect. Some aren’t ize that we had to team up and trust too great of speakers, some aren’t as each other to collect the toothpicks well-prepared as they should be, but

you should see past that.. Finally, the biggest problem that turned people away from attending the retreat was the time of the event. For many high school students, sleep is precious; you can never have enough of it. To request students to give up eight hours of sleep is nearly, if not completely, impossible. However, the reason behind the choice in time was for the great facilities. City Beach in Fremont had a lot to offer, including a rock-climbing wall, an inflatable slide and obstacle course, ping-pong tables, pool tables, and a basketball court. Also, free time towards the end of the event allowed students to rest if they wished. You could just think of it as staying up until 5 a.m. when you’ve procrastinated that English project. This is only the second year the event has ever been organized, so ASB has been trying to improve this year’s experience from last year’s. I highly encourage you to attend, and if it’s going to pull you out of your comfort zone, then so be it. Unity retreat is a good way to meet and talk to people you’d otherwise never even look in the eye, and it’s judgment free. You should all consider going next year instead of dreading it.

Tardy sweeps flawed, need improvements The first bell rings and people are casually taking their time to get to class. I mean, you have a good six minutes to stroll across campus. What’s the rush? Suddenly, the second bell rings. The Mission Impossible theme starts playing. What does that mean? You’d better pull out your grappling hook and spy gear if you want to make it to class on time. And now, “Gangnam Style.” Better gallop the rest of the way before the second bell rings. You’ll get a detention if you’re late to first period. The new tardy sweep system is an interesting way to deal with the problem of first period tardies. In a way, it adds a sense of excitement to the morning. Will there be a tardy sweep today? What song is going to play? How many people will rush to their classrooms and have the door slammed right in their face? There is an incentive to get to school early, as no student with a right mind would want a detention and stay at school longer than necessary. Students who are usually tardy to first period will have to take extra measures to ensure that they will make it through the door and in their seat before that final bell. As for

those who usually make it to class on wide game of musical chairs. time, they’re not affected. Win-win If anything, the policy encourages situation for administrators. Or so people to break quite a few traffic it seems. laws on their way to school, espeWhat about the students cially if people are stuck in who have a legitimate reatraffic on Escuela Parkway son to be late, or the people or cut off right in front of who can’t make it because a red light. For those who they had to run all the really don’t want to deal way from Nob Hill due to with the detention, people traffic? The students who may just skip first period twisted their ankles while completely. One single cut they were running across isn’t going to get anyone a campus and tripped on detention. Also, you can one of the many cracks? have have ten tardies in Are they doomed to serve your other classes before the detention anyway? Acyou get a detention, but ARTHUR cording to the new policy, only one tardy after a TRAN tough luck to these people. tardy sweep in first period They will have to spend is a detention? Does that 45 minutes sitting in a room cursing make any sense at all? Unless you their horrible luck in the morning. think that two plus two is equal to In the eyes of these innocent people, one the answer is no. the tardy policy is unjust and does not The concept of this new tardy poilitake into account the entropy of the cy is really unique and the goal of it is universe. They cannot be blamed for clear: to get students to do their best unfortunate events that happen out to get to first period . However, the of the blue. As for everyone else, it’s apparent flaws of this system cannot a great way to start out the day. Mube disregarded. If this tardy system is sic on the way to class and watching to continue for the rest of the school people not make it through the door year, these problems must be adon time. This is like a frenzied schooldressed.


THE UNION

4

FEATURES

SEPTEMBER 2012

NATIONAL MERIT SEMIFINALISTS LILLIAN KAO CASEY LEE YING LUO JERRY SUN ALANNA TRAN SUSAN WANG CINDY WU 2013 National Merit Semifinalists are among the top 16,000 high school juniors with the highest scores chosen out of over 1.5 million nationwide in the Preliminary SAT test in the fall of 2011. They will find out whether they have advanced to become a Finalist by spring.

Hutchison advances skills through summer internship BY MARISA LOUIE

With the technology world everchanging, Digital Business Academy Teacher Andrea Hutchison chose to participate in a summer internship sponsored by Industry Initiative for Science and Technology, (IISME). IISME sponsors internships that pair teachers with universities and local technology companies—in Hutchison’s case, NVIDIA. Hutchison had the opportunity to work in the marketing department at NVIDIA learning about CUDA software, NVIDIA’s parallel computing platform and programming model. She also got the chance to work with NVIDIA’s graphic processing units. “It was an eight-week program where teachers work in industry to stay current with standards,” Hutchison said. “For me, with technology, software updates constantly happen with programs.” During the internship, Hutchison got firsthand experience at how employees work together to help companies function efficiently. Hutchison often worked in a team with other participants in the

IISME program. “In industry, everything they do is on a team,” Hutchison said. “This helped me realize the importance of working as part of a team and how important those skills are for students to learn through group activities.” Hutchison plans to incorporate the new tactics she learned from her time spent at NVIDIA into her curriculum this year. She hopes this change will better prepare her students for the professional world. “I have added group activities to my curriculum,” Hutchison said. “Also, there is a group contract where students identify their responsibilities, tasks, and accountability for classroom deliverables.” Hutchison realizes that technology is constantly advancing. Due to technology’s ephemeral nature, she strives to update her material in order to keep her classes relevant to today’s standards. “I teach tech classes and they’re always changing,” Hutchison said. “That’s why I need to learn new things to keep up.”

Vuong travels to Argentina BY YING LUO

For many, summer is the perfect excuse to laze around under the sun while frolicking in the pool and sipping cool lemonade. For Senior Jacqueline Vuong, however, summer provided the perfect opportunity to travel abroad and receive hands-on experience as a medical intern at an Argentinian hospital. Vuong boarded her plane for Cordóba, Argentina in the beginning of August as a representative of the Projects Abroad program. The total cost of the trip was $3000, but the program offered Vuong a $1000 scholarship for her previous knowledge of the Spanish language. “I went because I was interested in the medical field, and so I found this medical internship program that requires some knowledge of Spanish,” Vuong enthused. “I had recently taken AP Spanish, so I thought it would be a good way to practice my skills.” For her two-week internship, she alternated between studying Spanish and observing daily procedures at the local hospital during her work hours. Vuong would change into her scrubs upon arrival and often stayed in the surgery room with the doctors during surgeries. On other days she would travel with other interns to the morgue to dissect cadavers, which are dead human bodies.

“[The cadaver I dissected] was in [her] mid-thirties and died of ovarian cancer,” Vuong confirmed. “I got to see the tumor, and I got to basically open up the body and see where everything is located.” A group of four people was assigned to one cadaver while an instructor would walk around to answer questions and point out different organs or abnormalities. The people who these corpses had belonged to either donated their bodies to science or their identities remained unknown. Despite her busy schedule, however, Vuong still found time to enjoy herself and forge new friendships. She met other aspiring medical high school students not unlike herself who were from Maryland, Quebec, and England. Instead of learning how different cultures were, Vuong realized how similar teenagers can be, no matter which part of the world they were from. Vuong was saddened to see that Argentinian doctors could not save lives not because they weren’t capable of doing so, but because they did not have the available facilities and technologies. Her summer experience confirmed her career choice and catalyzed dreams of returning to an undeveloped country after medical school to provide aid as a doctor.

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Sophomore Neil Laxamana races along the Velodrome track on his former Fuji Track Pro bike. Laxamana has been participating in track cycling for the past three years and practices six days a week.

Laxamana competes in track cycling races BY CARYN TRAN

Like many other students, Sophomore Neil Laxamana spends his time afterschool practicing his sport. Laxamana, however, is unique in that he trains and competes in the sport of track cycling. According to Laxamana, track cycling is a bicycle racing sport consisting of many events. Some of the events he mentioned were sprint races, which involve two to four racers, and team sprints, which are three-man team time trials held over three laps, Laxamana said. "I started racing bikes probably in eighth grade," Laxamana recalled. "You get a feeling of rush, and you get a lot of adrenaline pumping

through your veins." Depending on the type of race, a race can be 1000 meters to 24 kilometers long, Laxamana said. Laxamana has done 15 to 20 races on the track and in the streets, he said, and his favorite race is the match sprint. "Usually you start at walking pace for a lap and a half, and then you start to ramp up the speed entering lap two," Laxamana said. "During lap two you should be going at 80 to 90 percent of your top speed. For the last 200 meters you go all out and reach your maximum output; sometimes you produce as much torque as a sports car for a few milliseconds." Depending on the run, Laxamana reconfigures his Cervelo T1

bike’s gear-ratios to optimize his performance. During his interview, he enthusiastically explained the different combinations of chain ring-to-cog teeth ratios that he uses in and out of races. Although track cycling is fun, races can be hectic and practices difficult, Laxamana said. He bikes approximately 40 to 50 miles a day, six days a week in addition to doing school work. "I train at Hellyer Park Velodrome, which is a 333-meter track in San Jose, California, and races are on Tuesday nights and Friday nights," Laxamana said. "My next race is on September 30, which is the Juniors National Championships for the state of California."

New counselor looks forward to coming years BY LILLIAN KAO

Counselor Cory Nakamoto is the newest addition to the counseling staff at MHS this year. Going into his seventh year of working with students, he believes the best part about his job is that every day is unique. There are many different ways to help people, and each new day for a high school counselor is full of new topics to discuss with students. Helping students deal with issues ranging from academic classes to family or friend problems keeps Nakamoto constantly busy. Nakamoto said he decided to focus on his strengths when he was choosing his career. He noticed that people

would approach him when they had problems and needed advice, so he decided to become a counselor, he said. “I found myself being very unbiased in the opinions that I would give to people,” Nakamoto said. “I saw myself as a mediator, and someone who people can go to for help or advice. I ended up shadowing both counselors at my old high school. After that, I was kind of hooked, and I felt that I had found my calling.” When he is not busy helping out students, he enjoys spending his spare time doing a variety of activities. Nakamoto likes to play golf and cook during his free time. He is also a sports junkie and a fan of the War-

riors and the Niners. Nakamoto said he hopes that he will be able to remain a counselor at MHS for a while. He would like to support what seems like an amazing staff already, he said. “I know that the counselors before me have been changing quite a bit, so I’d love to be able to stay here for a while,” Nakamoto said. “I’d love to able to support the programs and the policies and the people that are already in place.” As the year goes by, he hopes that he will be able to meet as many students as possible, according to Nakamoto. He also encourages students to drop by and introduce themselves, he said.

FEATURED CLUBS STOCK-INVESTMENT CLUB

LIFE BEHIND BARS BIKING CLUB

MHS CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATORS

President Timothy Hsu

President Alex Chau

President Monica La

President: Timothy Hsu Purpose: To educate students about how the stock market works When & Where: Every other Tuesday at lunch in F-07 Recent and Ongoing Activities: Bringing in guest speakers to help students learn more about the stock system and on how to save money on their future taxes; teaching the ropes and basics of the stock market

President: Alex Chau Purpose: To encourage biking as a form of transportation and exercise When & Where: After school, in front of the theater Recent and Ongoing Activities: Biking to spots in Milpitas, going to downtown San Jose and East San Jose to �nd places to ride; planning on performing community service with Good Karma Bikes to �x bikes for homeless people

President: Monica La Purpose: To learn about forensics and to use deductive skills to solve mock crimes When & Where: Every other Tuesday at lunch in L-44 Recent and Ongoing Activities: Performing forensic investigations on mock crime scenes; competing against other schools in forensic competitions; discussing fundraisers


SEPTEMBER 2012

THE UNION

LIFESTYLE

iPhone 5 aesthically pleasing but not perfect

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FASHION SPOTLIGHT

BY ARTHUR TRAN

The iPhone 5 was released on Friday, September 21st. With all the buzz and excitement about a new Apple product, does this iPhone actually live up to all the hype? Or is it just another iPhone 4 model? A new smartphone means a new look and style, and this iPhone is slick and slim. The display is 4 inches diagonally, greater than the previous 3.5 inches of the iPhone 4. Weighing only 3.95 oz, this iPhone is the lightest one yet. But it’s also the tallest, measuring 4.87 inches. Still, the phone is going to be portable, regardless of this minor setback. A lighter model and a larger screen? I would say that height change is nothing compared to the great improvements made to the smartphone. The iPhone 5 uses a new system chip, the Apple A6. This chip is said to be two times stronger than the previous Apple 5, which was used in the iPhone 4s, and this is no doubt a major upgrade. The new phone connects to LTE (long-term evolution) networks, new high speed wireless networks that mean faster connections. Usually, smartphones connected to these networks would have their battery lives drain quickly, but the iPhone 5 can last longer without being charged due to its extensive battery life. The built-in camera is remaining at 8 megapixels, like the iPhone 4s, but the f-stop is now 2.4 instead of 5, meaning pictures now look brighter and better. Panoramic pictures can even be taken now. So far the iPhone 5 sounds like the perfect phone ranging from $199 to $399 depending on the amount of memory you want. It certainly has a great look, hardware, and camera.

Quynhthi (Kitten) Do Junior

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1. Sunglasses Crossroads $10

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3. Cardigan Mom’s closet

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2. Blouse Savers $2

4.Belt Forever 21 $5

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5.Backpack Urban Out�tters $50 6.Skirt Handmade

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7. Tights Target $3

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However, an adapter will be needed to connect any old chargers or accessories to the iPhone 5. Also noteworthy is that this adapter will cost people another $30 to $40 and may not work with all accessories for the iPhone. All iPhones were known to have cables and chargers that were compatible with any model, but the iPhone 5 seems to be the only exception. The iPhone 5 is installed with a mapping software created by Apple in the iOS 6 update. Compared to the Google maps application used in previous iPhones, however, this new software is weak. The maps do not provide routes for public transit, and the instructions the software pro-

vides to get from one place to another may get confusing for some users. The iPhone 5 is sleeker, faster, and without a doubt better than previous iPhone models. It’s aesthetically appealing as a smartphone and is definitely ahead of its predecessors. However, you can honestly do without it as an iPhone 3 or iPhone 4 is already decent. Apple has simply turned an amazing product to another level of great, but this great product is only worth it if you can afford it. It would be fantastic to have, but it is no way a complete necessity, especially if you already own another kind of smartphone.

8. Wedges Payless $13.50 Fashion Inspiration: “I get ideas from Opium Poppies, Elle Ribera, the dainty squid, Keylah, �ashes of style, and Bonnie B” Y��� L�� | THE UNION

Jason Franco Freshman

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1. Beanie Walmart $2

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2. Glasses Emporio Armani $150

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3. Vest (self-bleached) Savers $15 4. Shirt (self-designed) Dad’s closet 5. Bracelets Native Inca; Savers $1-$3

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6. Jeans JCPenny $20

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7. All Black Converse Converse $40 Fashion Inspiration: “I just wear whatever looks simple and I usually get inspiration from the internet and old books; I like plain stuff.”

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THE UNION

SEPTEMBER 2012

ENTERTAINMENT

‘Glee 4’ one season too long RATING: (out of �ve stars)

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BY LEANN WOO

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Valvert (Junior Jared Pati) challenges Cyrano de Bergerac (Jeremy Koerner) to a duel after Cyrano demands the closing of that night’s play. English Teacher John Ribovich translated and directed this theatrical production.

‘Cyrano’ portrays tale of unrequited love RATING: (out of �ve stars)

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CYRANO DE BERGERAC LOCATION: Calaveras Repertory Theatre DATES: Sept. 27-30, Oct. 4-7 TIME: 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. TICKETS: regular admission $20, youth/ senior admission $12 Please visit www.calaverasrep.com for more information. BY CINDY WU

Would you rather have a handsome face and no wit or have eloquence and a long, grotesque nose? Calaveras Repertory Theatre’s production of “Cyrano de Bergerac” allows you to explore the battle between physical

appearances and inner beauty and their effects on love. Cyrano de Bergerac (Jeremy Koerner), an arrogant and brilliant poet with an abnormally long nose, and his antithesis Christian (Morgan Finley King), the charming, longhaired cadet who lacks eloquence, are both madly in love with Roxane (Jessica Smith). Their efforts to woo their lover by combining Cyrano’ s wit and Christian’ s looks bring together a fun storyline that makes the audience laugh and cry. Translated and directed by one of MHS’s very own English teachers, John Ribovich, this production also features Senior Diane Ho in the roles of Refreshment Girl and Sister

Marthe and Junior Jared Pati in the roles of Valvert and Cadet #2. Seniors Olivia Hsieh, Richard Mier, Hugo Miranda, and Amelia Vu were also part of the production staff. The range of emoPLAY tions throughout the REVIEW play felt authentic and genuine, especially that portrayed by Koerner. Also, the small, cozy theater allows for a close-up view of the stage which provides an even more realistic experience. I highly recommend you watch this play with friends and family. This is a great alternative to a movie night and appropriate for all ages.

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MUSIC REVIEWS

COEXIST

Pop

Alternative

WE ARE NEVER EVER GETTING BACK TOGETHER - SINGLE by Taylor Swift Country

RATING: (out of �ve stars)

RATING: (out of �ve stars)

RATING: (out of �ve stars)

BY LILLIAN KAO

BY CATHERINE FREY

BY YING LUO

Leona Lewis, who won the third season of “The X Factor” and released the international hit “Bleeding Love,” recently released the lead single of her upcoming album “Glassheart.” This single shows a shift in sound for the artist, who typically does not stray far from her pop/R&B songs. The song is a unique combination of R&B and trip hop accompanied by a piano and string instruments. “Trouble” has a dark, haunting edge to it, which is emphasized by the singer’s eerily ethereal vocals. The single depicts a relationship spiraling downwards and hurling towards destruction. The instrumentals parallel the lyrics of the song, as it gradually builds up to the chorus. Childish Gambino’s rap towards the end of the song seems to compliment the song to an extent, but the rap seems to be an unnecessary addition to the song overall. Though this single is not as catchy as her previous singles, the song “Trouble” has proven to be interesting and different. The haunting edge to this song has piqued my curiosity enough to convince me to listen to her new album, “Glassheart,” which is set to be released on Oct. 15.

The xx is in a league of its own with its quiet intimacy, reserve, and songs that are clearly not crafted for the dance �oor but still manage to make listeners move. Its sophomore album “Coexist,” released on Sept. 10, shows a marked move away from its self-titled debut album. The eighth track “Tides” pulls furthest from The xx’s favored style of simplicity with its layers of violin, guitar, and bass. The song still retains some of its signature minimalism with a straightforward drum line that creates a catchy, memorable beat. Songs like “Angels” and “Reunion” exemplify the maturity and emotional investment put into the music with the lead singers’ almost whispered lyrics of heartbreak and disillusionment backed by ethereal instrumentals. The xx continues to display an infectious duality with contradictions that continue to draw in fans. The band’s lyrics are emotionally forthcoming and raw, but still manage to evoke a sense of isolation. More noticeably, its instrumental arrangements invoke images of deep expanses of dark water, yet the vocals and lyrics feel like they are being whispered into your ear.

Taylor Swift’s lead single from her upcoming fourth album “Red” garnered widespread attention with its catchy beat and simple lyrics, the perfect combination for a late summer Top 40 hit. In “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” she sings of the classic breakup-then-make-up relationship from her perspective. Her latest single exhibits some musical growth on Swift’s part, which is more than what can be said about her previous album “Speak Now.” She sheds her signature country-pop style for an upbeat, solely pop sound. Despite its singsong tune, the song does promote a certain degree of teenage empowerment. Swift cleverly uses powerful guitar chords and heavy electronic beats to uplift those in postbreakup and even encourages a sense of independence. “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” is a perfect radio hit to belt out to in the car, but it may not appeal to her die-hard country fans who probably never ever want to hear it again. In the end, the song served its purpose, which was to topple the charts in order to build anticipation for her album’s release on Oct. 22.

TROUBLE FEAT. CHILDISH GAMBINO - SINGLE by Leona Lewis

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by The xx

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SPOILER ALERT

“Glee” started its fourth season on Thursday, Sept. 13. You would think after the main character, Rachel Berry, graduated and after the New Directions finally won Nationals that the series would have ended. Nope. Think again. The first episode is filled with Rachel, Rachel, and more Rachel Berry, played by Lea Michele. How can a high school club focus on one of its alumni hundreds of miles away, you ask? The answer is simple: you get rid of the entire club aspect and just watch Rachel cry in New York, alone. Rachel cries about how her roommate is very socially active. She cries about how her dance teacher, played by Kate Hudson, tells her she could dance circles around Rachel even though she’s older. Though really, when you watch her dance, half the time the teacher is being dragged across the floor. I don’t know how that counts as dancing. Rachel cries about how she doesn’t know anyone in New York, even though she befriends what some may call an extremely attractive male, played by Dean Geyer. Obviously the fourth season is off to a good start. I kid; you don’t totally lose sight

of McKinley High in the episode. With Rachel gone, competition for the spot of “the new Rachel,” heads underway. None of the old actors seem to cut it though, so the producers decided to bring in some new voices. Marley Rose, played by Melissa Benoist, is clearly going to be the new Rachel, as she is the only one that didn’t look half ridiculous when auditioning. With amazing vocals, Rachel and Marley coincidentally decided to sing the same song, “A New York State of Mind.” While I still prefer Lea Michele’s TV-SERIES REVIEW vocals over pretty much everyone else’s, I have to say New Girl Melissa Benoist did a pretty good job. I recommend listening to the cover if you don’t want to watch the episode, because that song was probably the only worthwhile thing that happened in the entire episode. While I am an avid Gleek, I have to say, enough is enough. Glee has had its time in the limelight, and the series’ end is now overdue. They are making decisions that will leave fans unhappy, but those are some spoilers I’m not willing to spoil. I guess you’ll just have to watch season four if you’re really that interested!

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‘Guild Wars 2’ impressive RATING: (out of �ve stars)

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BY ARTHUR TRAN

The highly anticipated massively multi-player online role-playing game, or MMORPG, “Guild Wars 2” was officially released on Aug. 28. With the release of the game came high expectations from gamers, especially those who played the predecessor “Guild Wars.” Over one million copies of the game were already pre-purchased before the game’s launch, and it did not fail to meet standards. The game still keeps many classic aspects of role-playing games, such as health points, leveling, classes, character race. and skills. Don’t think it’s just another typical, boring MMO though. “Guild Wars 2” introduces many appealing features that make the game constantly exciting and fun to play. Instead of only having the classic player vs. player, or PvP, where battles are one on one, there is a world vs. world. People on the same servers can join forces to fight against players on two other servers. Essentially, people can take part in all out wars, conquering points or territories while slaying other players. Another great feature that one doesn’t normally see while playing MMOs is random events that grant experience for leveling up, and these random events occur everywhere in the new game. Underwater, in the middle of a desert, on a mountain, it is certain that one will bump into quite a few within an hour of playing. Not only that, the world map is incredibly large. Traveling across one region to another would be frustrating if it weren’t for the many teleportation spots characters can access. These events take away the need for grind-

ing, where a player repeatedly slays mobs of the same type of monsters in order to level up. Players have many chances to earn decent amounts of experience just by exploring. There are also vistas—checkpoints where a player can see a panoramic view of an area—located in specific spots all over the world, While some vistas are easy to access, others require quite a bit of traveling and climbing to reach. For players, they are similar to jump quests in other games. For example, to reach a vista on the top of a hill GAME on the west side of the REVIEW map, you may have to scale an entire mountain that starts in the middle of the map. It may be annoying for some, but a fun challenge for others. As for the graphics of the game, they are simply remarkable for an MMORPG. Even on normal settings, one can see the tiny details of the landscape and background. The game can be incredibly beautiful, especially at locations with flora and clear skies. Even the dark areas of the map filled with mobs of horrendous monsters can look incredible. The people behind the graphics definitely deserve a round of applause for this work. The soundtrack is well-orchestrated as well, although there’s nothing really special about it. “Guild Wars 2” is altogether a fantastic game that can be enjoyed by both casual and hardcore gamers everywhere. It is definitely a more than satisfactory sequel to the first Guild Wars. Of course, with all other games you have to buy, it will only be worth your money if you can enjoy it for a good amount of time. With all its features, I feel like it’ll take a fairly long time before you lose interest.

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SEPTEMBER 2012

SPORTS

7

THE UNION

Gatorade week a first at MHS; free samples given to althletes BY CINDY WU

Leann Woo | THE UNION

Junior Brianna Gay spikes the ball over the net during Varsity Volleyball practice in the gym after school on Monday, September 24. The next Varsity Volleyball game will be away at Cupertino High School on Tuesday, October 2.

Volleyball teams chosen from 60 prospects BY LILLIAN KAO

Tryouts for the volleyball team occur every year a week or two before school starts, according to Varsity Volleyball Coach Jeff Lamb. Players are chosen based on a variety of reasons, which include their knowledge of volleyball, their skills, and their grade level. This year, around 60 people tried out for the Junior Varsity team, and around 20 people tried out for the Varsity Team, Lamb said. 14 freshmen made the freshman team, 15 people made the JV team, and 15 made the varsity team, according to Lamb. The numbers increased compared to previous years, he said. “We’ve never had that many people try out before,” Lamb said. “I understand that part of it is because it’s an

Olympic year; we always get more kids that try out during the Olympic years.” A player on the JV team, Sophomore Toral Suthar tried out for volleyball starting freshman year because she thought she should join a sport in high school, according to Suthar. Volleyball try outs include drills to see the consistency of the players in skills such as passing, setting, or hitting, she said. “One of the most difficult parts of the try outs was the pressure, because you feel like the coaches are always watching you,” Suthar said. “If you do something wrong, it feels like it counts against you and you’re not going to be able to make the team because of some mistakes.” The increase in the number of people who tried out for the JV team this

year compared to her freshman year may have been because people saw how much fun the players had during freshman year, Suthar said. Seeing others, as well as watching the Olympics, may have inspired people to try out, according to Suthar. Senior Kennedy Kenney tried out for the Varsity team and made it, according to Kennedy. She persevered through the tryouts, which had nonstop drills, and made the volleyball team, playing the position of middle blocker, she said. “Basically, you cannot give up on yourself if you get frustrated,” Kennedy said. “You just have to move on, because once you start doubting yourself, it shows and that definitely doesn’t look well on you. Just remember to always have confidence during tryouts.”

Free Gatorade products were provided for fall athletes at MHS on Gatorade Week, Aug. 27 to 29, according to Athletics Director Jeff Lamb. A representative from the Gatorade company came to promote Gatorade products of a specific Gatorade program called G series, Lamb said. For the first time, MHS was one of the few schools chosen this year to receive Gatorade’s free products, Lamb said. Fall athletes were prescribed a ‘menu’ for three days which included chew tablets for pre-practice, thirst quenchers during practice, and protein shakes post-practice, according to Lamb. “We got free samples and they gave us a couple of coolers that we got to keep,” Lamb said. “For us it was a winwin. They’re trying to come up with something that’s better for you than

energy drinks.” Junior Himani Madnawat, Varsity Girls Tennis player, was surprised to learn that Gatorade offered other products besides drinks. Madnawat thought it was fun trying new Gatorade products and gave the team something to talk about. “Now that I know that Gatorade has many products, I will definitely look into it more,” Madnawat said. “The products did not show me any help in training, but it definitely gave me the sugars and energy to keep going without getting tired.” Freshman Martin Lopez, who participates in cross country, already regularly drinks Gatorade everyday. Lopez said the products were helpful to his workout. “The products given were good but some were bad,” Lopez said. “I probably won’t buy more Gatorade as a result though.”

MHS Cross Country: Mile Count Miles ran by Cross Country over four days:

Total (33) 657.76 miles A single runner averaged about 5 mi/day.

Varsity Girls (9) 189.03 miles

JV Girls (9) 165.13 miles

A Varsity Girl averaged about 5.25 mi/day. A JV Girl averaged about 4.59 mi/day.

Varsity Boys (5) 112.23 miles

JV Boys (10) 191.37 miles

A Varsity Boy averaged about 5.61 mi/day. A JV Boy averaged about 4.78 mi/day. Caryn tran | THE UNION


8

THE UNION

SEPTEMBER 2012

NEWS

Online classes now available at school BY LILLIAN KAO

Online classes are now offered to students starting this year, according to Principal Kenneth Schlaff. The purpose of the online classes is to provide other kinds of learning environments to students and to offer classes unavailable at MHS, Schlaff said. The opportunity was open to 20 students, according to Schlaff. The classes offered, which were a variety of elective classes that included Marine Biology, Japanese, Gaming, and several Advanced Placement (AP) classes, allowed students to experience classes that the campus does not offer, Schlaff said. “The more environments you have, the more learning that can match the student’s individual needs,” Schlaff said. “Depending how the program

goes, we might increase the number of students who can take online classes.” The offering of online classes was placed on the back of the scheduling cards that was distributed to students before the year began, according to Assistant Principal Casey McMurray. Students who were interested in taking online classes would email him to be placed in an online class, McMurray said. “The students who were interested in taking the online classes would have their schedules changed, and their elective class would be replaced by the online class they choose,” McMurray said. “They would report to the J building computer lab or the library for their classes.” Senior Edward Liang signed up for the AP Computer Science class of-

fered as one of the online classes, according to Liang. He decided to take the class because he wanted to major in computer science, and he believed the class was a good opportunity to help him get a head start, Liang said. “It’s actually what I wanted to learn,” Liang said. “It gives me what I thought a computer science class would be like, so I’m really happy that I took the class.” Japanese was another course offered, according to Junior Monica La. She replaced one of her elective classes with Japanese because it seemed more interesting, La said. “I like online classes because we can go at our own pace, and it is a lot of individual practice,” La said. “If I could take an online class again next year, I definitely would.”

Bond generates funds for future renovations BY MARISA LOUIE

Multiple renovations will be made to MHS facilities with the passage of the general obligation (GO) bond last June, according to Superintendent Cary Matsuoka. The GO bond gives MUSD schools a budget of $95 million to spend on facility upgrades throughout the district, Matsuoka said. Modernizations scheduled for the MHS campus include classroom repairs, technological upgrades, Chromebooks for the Digital Business Academy, and a new pool that is up to regulation standards, according to Matsuoka. These upgrades are slated to begin next spring and last until 2017, Matsuoka said.

“[MHS] has wireless networking going in now, and every classroom will get modernized with basic upgrades,” Matsuoka said. “These include carpeting, roofs if they need to be replaced, and heating and ventilation systems.” Classroom renovations will only apply to the rooms in permanent buildings, Matsuoka said. Repairs to the portables will be made only if necessary, he added. “I don’t want to invest money inside portables,” Matsuoka said. “We’ll fix [the portables] if they need it, but I’m going to put the money into the permanent buildings.” The GO bond will also help fund different security locks on classroom doors, Matsuoka affirmed. The new

locks will enable doors to be secured from the inside of the classroom instead of only from the outside, Matsuoka said. “The current locks are not safe,” Matsuoka said. “If we really had a lockdown, we don’t want people to have to go outside to lock the doors; they could get shot.” Aside from the wireless system, which is currently being installed, construction will start on the pool next spring and the remaining renovations are planned for 2014 to 2017, according to the released bond program schedule. The cost of the pool is $3.5 million, while the cost of the rest of the projects is just over $4.5 million, Director of Facilities and Modernization Joe Flatley said.

L�A�� W�� | THE UNION

Advanced Placement (AP) scores for the last school year have been released. The information used was courtesy of Principal Kenneth Schlaff.

McGarry leaves MHS for Elmwood Facility; Rodruigez takes spot as assistant principal BY CATHERINE FREY

Former Associate Principal Brian McGarry now works as the associate principal of the Elmwood Correctional Facility, according to Principal Kenneth Schlaff. His transfer opened a position at MHS that Assistant Principal Linda Rodriguez filled, Schlaff said. The reasons for and further details of McGarry’s leave cannot be disclosed, according to Schlaff. He explained that the reasons are confidential because they are personnel

information. The position of associate principal is no longer available at MHS, Schlaff confirmed. All the particular duties and responsibilites that the position entailed are now divvied up amongst five people, as opposed to consolidating them to one position, Schlaff added. “For example, one assistant principal takes care of the master schedule, another takes care of student discipline, and so on,” Schlaff said. The system has worked very well so far, according to Schlaff.

Rodriguez was previously a science teacher at Randall Elementary School before she took the fifth position of assistant principal at MHS, Rodriguez said. She has been working in the Milpitas Unified School District (MUSD) for over nine years, Rodriguez confirmed. “For a while we didn’t have an assistant principal at [Randall],” Rodriguez said on her previous employment with MUSD. “So until they hired someone, I was basically acting as an assistant principal.”

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Results of the California Standardized Testing (CST) the 2011-2012 school year have been released. All information used was courtesy of DataQuest.

Tardy policy newly modified; First period sweeps students

EYE ON CAMPUS

BY CATHERINE FREY

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Senior Yesenia Patino Torres sings along to Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’ during a game of ‘Don’t Forget the Lyrics.’ MHS students gathered in the library on Sept. 20 during lunch to watch, cheer on, and participate in karaoke rounds.

The implementation of a modified tardy policy was introduced during class orientations this year, Principal Kenneth Schlaff said. The foremost change to the tardy policy is the addition of tardy sweeps, which take place randomly no more than twice a week during first period, according to Schlaff. Music will begin playing at the twominute bell before first period and stop one minute before the period begins on tardy sweep days, Schlaff explained. Students who do not make it to class within the last minute will be caught in the tardy sweep and given a detention, which they have two days to make up, according to Assistant Principal Casey McMurray. If the student misses the detention, he will be given a double detention, Schlaff explained. If he misses his second detention, he can either do the work program or be suspended, Schlaff continued. “Period one is 51 percent of all the tardies which is a problem of getting to school, not getting to class,” Schlaff said. “We didn’t want to have people with their tardies building up every

single day when some things were out of their control.” There will still be trigger points for tardies, so students’ parents will be called if the number of tardies , Schlaff commented. Instead of just going to Saturday school or getting detention, students will have academic sanctioning, detentions from tardy sweep, and heavy parental contact, according to Schlaff. “We offer a work program because it’s a lower level offense,” Schlaff said. “So we can still hold people accountable for their tardies, but not give them endless Saturday schools.” Students who are caught in tardy sweeps cannot avoid detentions because teachers do not have the ability to mark tardies for first period, Schlaff stated. The computer system only gives them the option to mark the student present or absent, Schlaff added. “Teachers don’t have to lock their door on tardy sweep days, so they don’t have to keep jumping up and opening it,” Schlaff said regarding the rumors that teachers have to lock their doors on late students. “All they have to do is send the student to the office.”


The Union - Milpitas High School - September 2012