For a more perfect safety policy...
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Opinions, pg. 2
Features, pg. 4
Oracle The Mountain View High School
News: 1, 16 Opinions: 2, 3
Features: 4, 5
People: 6, 7 Focus: 8, 9
People, pg. 6
Oracle busts marijuana myths
volume 33 issue 4 February 4, 2010 www.mvhsoracle.org
Humor & Games: 12, 13
Sports: 14, 15
‘New Dynasty’ hits Junior class gives back
campus in waves of black and gold by Tara Ahi Since the ninja marketing campaign began January 12, rumors have circulated about who is behind the “New Dynasty.” The advertisement included the sudden appearance of fliers, stickers and posters around school, a scarecrow in the back parking lot, fake graffiti reading “relax” on the lockers and free shirts handed out by a Spartan mascot. Involved members have remained secretive about specifics, but it is known that
the group promotes healthy choices for teens. There will
by Kevin Troxell On December 18, Junior class president Jasmine Flake hosted the first Junior Class Gives Back project. The
twenty Juniors who attended helped the Palo Alto Save the Bay program plant flowers and restore wildlife along the coastal region of the San Francisco Bay.
be an official grand of the unveiling some time next week.
photo by Naomi Cohen
Together the Juniors planted four types of flowers: the Marsh Coyote Bush, California Poppy, Blue Eyed Grass and the Western Goldenrod. Students planted 500 of these flowers, which exceeded Save the Bay’s expectations. “My main goal was to bring the class together while also giving back to the community,” Flake said. Although only twenty students could take part, Flake believes helping Save the Bay for Junior Class Gives Back was a successful first project. “It’s really nice to see something you put together come to life and work so well,” said Flake, who hopes that her next project will attract more people. Although it is not yet official, Flake is considering organizing a hike and waste clean-up this spring to keep with her theme of photo by Jasmine Flake preserving wildlife.
WEEK: ASB hosted Winter Week, which included a rally, lunchtime activities, and the Winter Ball at the Santa Clara Hyatt Regency. Here, students prepare for the Leapfrog event registration and demonstration.
photo by Tara Ahi
SCHOOL HEALTH GUIDELINES REPEL STUDENTS by Kelly Nee, Brent Weyers and Ben Garber This year, the combination of off-campus eating and state nutritional restrictions is causing the school cafeteria to lose $50,000 dollars a year. Since much of the student body goes off campus for lunch, cafeteria food consumption has significantly decreased. Additionally, nutritional restrictions have reduced the ability of the cafeteria to offer unhealthy foods that students find appealing.
New health restrictions also prohibit the selling of high revenue items. Joe White, Associate Superintendent for Business Services for the Mountain View-Los Altos High School District says that the district is rethinking the importance of the cafeteria to Mountain View High School. Because many students go off campus during lunch and the cafeteria bears high labor costs, the cafeteria is in dire straits financially. One of the main reasons to keep the
photo byChloe Tarrasch
cafeteria is its contribution to the school community through free and reduced-price meals offered to students from lowincome families. In addition to lowered sales due to off-campus eating and unappealing food, fundraising-oriented food sales have lowered revenues. The pizza cart, for example, contributes $10,000 to grad night for the Senior class. Fundraisers such as this and club fundraisers take money and customers away from the cafeteria.
photos byTara Ahi and Kelly Magruder
SOLAR PANEL CONSTRUCTION: Construction workers Lucas Kaminski, Chris Austin, Scott Jones, Mark Johnson and Norman Bates install a pole in the back parking lot. Solar panel construction began
a few weeks ago, starting with the poles being installed in the back parking lot. Sections of rows have been blocked off as building on them progresses, continuing until the entire lot has been filled.
& news, see back
Editor: William Nicolas Thomas Beare Asst. Editor: Michelle Rubinstein
School Safety: a Civics-class solution
and derision from his high-school mates and the public at large” and “will be under psychiatric care for an indefinite amount of time.” All of this happened because the “Star Wars Kid” video was picked up by a couple of people who it wasn’t meant for. Once you upload a video, photo, or status, it’s up on the internet for good. Set in stone. No do-overs. This includes photos that you post of yourself, and the ones your friends post. As one Mountain View High School student put it, “Well, I can just get [my friends] to delete the photo, right?” said Sophomore Michaela Carson, representing the views of many students. However, even with the “Delete post” option on Facebook or Twitter, once you’ve put anything up on the internet, it becomes recordable. Once it’s up on the internet, the picture or video no longer belongs to you, it’s the prop-
erty of the internet and anyone who wants it. Most Mountain View Facebook users have hundreds, sometimes thousands of friends, and what your best buddy can see on your profile, so can That-one-guyyou-went-to-preschool-with.
photo by Chloe Tarrasch
The key to internet etiquette is to remember that when you’re on websites, you’re on record under your own name and IP address. When Mark Zuckerberg said “share information”, he didn’t necessarily mean information about partying like a rock star. Colleges are also known
Partisan politics polarize
falter. He then stepped back in and brought liberal ideas and order back The recent seizure of the House to the country that was on the brink of of Representatives by the Republican the Cold War. Truman said, “No govparty has put their rivals in a frenzy. ernment is perfect. One of the chief Democrats have said that this is the virtues of a democracy, however, is beginning of the end for the United that its defects are always visible and States. It may be serious, but based under democratic processes can be on what our country has faced in the pointed out and corrected.” past, this shouldn’t be the moment In his recent State of the Union adthat seals its fate. During the Civil dress, President Obama began to adWar, Abraham Lincoln dealt dress the issue of bipartisanship. with a much greater divide. His He urged Americans to put aside “Recessions tend to come and go, this dilemma wasn’t merely about their differences and to work toa division of power, but the di- one has been particularly long and painful, gether to rebuild the country back vision of the country. Again but the record indicates that we will get out into international prominence. during the two World Wars, of it.” –Tim Farrell One example of a bipartisan efWoodrow Wilson and Franklin fort arose from the recent shootRoosevelt brought this country ings in Tuscon, Arizona this past out of tremendous holes in morale not in a good place.” month. In honor of the victims, all and economy. And John F. Kennedy If our country is going to be able to of the people present on the House held the country together during 14 pull through this economic predica- floor wore a black and white ribbon days of chaos and uncertainty for the ment that poor governing and corrup- in honor of Congresswoman Gabricountry during the Cuban Missile tion have led to, then the leaders in elle Giffords, who was the target of Crisis. As we look back on the events Washington need to collaborate with the shooting and is currently recoverof the past, does the current state of each other rather than fight on parti- ing from her injuries. Also, instead war and political unrest compare? san terms. Honest, straightforward of sitting segregated by party as has “Recessions tend to come and go, this answers and solutions are what this been done in the past, members of one has been particularly long and country needs, and everyone needs both parties were scattered throughpainful, but the record indicates that to be held accountable for their ac- out the chamber. we will get out of it.” Mountain View tions. In order to heal the wounds Our nation faces some tall chalhistory teacher Tim Farrell said. that the previous and current regimes lenges. But if both parties are willSo the Republicans took the have created, steps need to be taken to ing to swallow their egos and forget House, big deal. Democrats have re- bring Congress together. about their differences, those probacted to this as if it is some sort of One President who was able to lems won’t be as difficult to fix as catastrophe. What this really means work with both parties was Democrat, some think. The only way to create though is that the Senate is Demo- Harry Truman. During his first term, change is to do it right, taking into cratic, and the House is Republican. the Republicans tried to wrestle pow- consideration all interests and points No longer can policies be passed by er away from Truman. He gave them of view. As our president said, “Let’s one party without the support of the some of the reins, and he saw them win the future.”
by Noah Hoffman
other. What this so called “victory” really allows to happen is a chance for the country to unite and think in a bipartisan way. What the legislators needs to focus on is coming together and trying to solve the problems that our economy and military face in the near future. Farrell also said, “It really does concern me that there has been so little bipartisanship. I think it suggests that American politics are
to look at Facebook accounts to evaluate applicants. According to The Wall Street Journal, more than 10% of admissions officers from the leading 500 colleges nationwide go over applicant’s Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. That means they’ll see the picture of you smoking hookah and playing beer pong, and it’ll very much affect your chance of getting into the college. Do you really want to risk a college application over a few picture comments on Facebook? Besides the personal safety factor, there are some things your Facebook friends don’t want to see. Chances are you don’t go around telling 500 people how much you hate cats or that epic kill in COD, so save the statuses for meaningful thoughts, funny jokes, or to get the word out about special events. Sharing information can go far beyond embarrassing pictures on a webcam, bland complaints about school, and endless “Likes.” If a few people use Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter to make meaningless posts, then everyone follows suit and the Facebook newsfeed will become little more than a spam folder of keg-stands and constant complaints. So for the benefit of yourself, and for the sake of internet as a whole, please, keep the posts classy.
Give us YOUR opinion: How to solve California’s defecit problem by Sheila Ahi
The Oracle conducted a poll of 150 MVHS students of varying grade levels. The poll asked students how they thought the California defecit should best be solved.
Cut military spending 33%
Cut spending on community and state colleges 6% Cut spending on education grades K-12 0%
Cut military spending 40%
Cut spending on community and state colleges 3%
Cut spending on education grades K-12 2%
Raise taxes on middle and upper class citizens 29%
Jenny Payne, editor-in-chief Maggie Gauthier, editor-in-chief Keerthi Venkat, business manager Einny Yu, business manager Viet Nguyen, business manager Naomi Cohen, news editor William Beare, opinions editor Elize Manoukian, features editor Brianne de la Ossa, people editor Nicky Lindley, focus editor Katherine Pantangco, arts editor Camille de la Vega, entertainment editor Ben Garber, humor & games editor Sophie Hanh Ho, sports editor
Kelly Magruder, graphics editor Nick Forell, web editor Nicholas Luther, web editor Jasmine Tekiyeh, copy editor Devon Zuegel, copy editor Chloe Tarrasch, photo editor Brent Weyers, news assistant Michelle Rubinstein, opinions assistant Tara Ahi, features assistant Rachel Jue, people assistant Claire Johnson, focus assistant Katie Inamori, arts assistant Kevin Troxell, entertainment assistant Naib Mian, humor assistant Gabe Quintela, sports assistant Sonia Tagare, graphics assistant Ryan Baer, web assistant Viet Nguyen, web assistant Casey Fabre, business assistant Alex Farrales, business assistant Sheila Ahi Sam Caber Kelsey Carlson Nabilah Deen Noah Hoffman Bernadette Hsu Daniel Kline
Elan Merry Kelly Nee Tyler Officer Micke Ramirez Francis Sullivan Kate Uyeda
William Blair & Amy Beare, advisers
Cut spending on Raise charities property and welfare and sales programs tax 18% 12%
Raise taxes on middle and upper class citizens 26%
Raise property and sales tax 18%
According to the Mountain View Police, the case was classified as “suspicious circumstances.” Then it was closed. The MVHS student, bruises and scars adorning her body, was left to walk the campus unprotected and vulnerable— even after reporting abuse to the school. “It feels like you’re suffocating,” the girl said of her current state. “You want to do something, you really want to breathe but you’re just so scared.” Last year, about a quarter of freshmen and juniors were harassed on an MVLA campus, as published in the student-reported Healthy Kids Survey. Two to three percent carried a gun to school; more than twice as many brought a different weapon. About two-thirds of the time, those weapons were used to threaten or injure another student. Maybe the administration caught those 200 students. Maybe it caught the harassers before they could deliver the last punch or mouth the last slur. Then, students should feel confidence in their administrators. Yet only a quarter of those polled “strongly agreed” that they felt safe at school. The state mandate regarding violence is dubbed “zero tolerance,” an almost comically vast term for such a limited policy. In short, the guidelines dictate that the school must discipline students for unsafe behavior on campus or during school hours, including commuting hours. Nothing about protection. Nothing about prevention. Nothing about education. So, nothing is done but discipline—that is, once the offender is identified. All that goes unacknowledged becomes corrosive to the delicate social and academic networks of high school.
Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Friendster, Foursquare, Tumblr, and all other social media websites encourage users to share. As Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook said in an interview “What we’re trying to do is just make it really efficient for people to communicate, get information and share information.” While most of us have no problems sharing our days out with friends by updating our status and sharing photos of the event, there are certain things that should never be shared on a website. For your own safety and the comfort of others, it’s best not to share information, photos, or videos of yourself doing things you don’t want certain people to see. One of the earliest internet “memes” was the Star Wars Kid. In the video a chubby teenager acts out his Star Wars fantasy by swinging around a golf ball retriever like a lightsaber. When a couple of his friends found a taping of the matter they uploaded it onto YouTube without his permission and score more than 20 million hits. This was a classic case of a practical joke played by a couple of friends, right? Wrong. The unwilling star of the video filed a $250,000 lawsuit against the four families of the students responsible. “[The student] had to endure, and still endures today, harassment
“has no backbone.” Teachers don’t even know if there are rules, excusing students with belligerent parents and excessively punishing those with bad reputations. This duplicity—be it real or not—can be repaired with a more explicit, more publicized and more regulated enforcement code. Article III: the student, the parent and the teacher’s right to education. The school runs code red, earthquake and fire drills, but neither students nor teachers are trained how to act in the case of campus violence, both physical and emotional. Educational campaigns should target perpetrators, as well. Assistant Principal Donna Peltz said that most aggressors don’t understand that their actions qualify as harassment. A regular and mandatory briefing on defense and on the definition and gravity of abuse could address those preventable cases. Ultimately, though, the best teachphoto by Naomi Cohen ers are not the administration, but rather peers and other adults on campus and logical abuse, the victim should find a receptive at home. Students need to show intolerance community. Fortunately, this already exists in through intervention, either as a friend or a witthe peer and CHAC counseling programs. ness. Teachers need to set an example by stopArticle II: the right of the perpetrator to a ping hurtful behavior within their line of vision. “fair trial.” The Healthy Kids Survey revealed Parents need to teach respect , not passivity. that a blaring 95 percent of freshmen and 90 perIf the school philosophy is inaction, it risks cent of juniors in the MVLA district “strongly deterring students from speaking out for help. In disagreed” that “all students are treated fairly the case of the neglected assault victim, the girl when they break school rules”—with zero per- said she would sooner leave the school than nocent “agreeing” or “strongly agreeing.” While tify it should something happen again. As long students may have been responding to another she walks the halls unprotected, and as long as disciplinary issue (one that the school has the harassment continues—reported or not, MVHS responsibility to identify and reform according- must keep working toward being a better school, ly), the statistic indicates a discontent powerful to establish justice, to ensure tranquility, to proenough to damage the administration’s credibil- vide for student defense, to promote welfare, ity. According to an MVHS teacher, the school and to secure the liberties of every student.
to take the risk. There is no set school regulation that demands that teachers have a uniform grading system across the same courses. However, there are standardized state mandates that students are required to reach. More teachers should base their grading systems on this criteria, rather than their own measurement of a student’s success in their class. “It should be clear what success looks like,” said Kahl. “We should categorize this into standards that students should be mastering so that by the end of the year, there is a fair, accurate grade that reflects what a student has learned.” For example, according to Transforming Classroom Grading by Robert J. Mazarano, student grades shouldn’t be funneled into solely “tests,” “essays,” and/or “participation,” but rather key concepts such as “writing cause & effect.” Ideally, more and more teachers will begin to turn towards this more suitable and more logical alternative to their current grading. Realistically, students do refuse to take a course solely on the basis of teacher’s and their methods. That is not fair at all. We should not be worried about “who the teacher is. Work should speak for itself and a student’s grade should reflect that,” added Kahl.
The civics-class-style solution: not a propaganda or police state, but rather a declaration of the rights and responsibilities of student “citizens.” Article I: a victim’s right to protection. Any plea for an escort should be respected. Currently, the school provides no such services unless the police deem them necessary. In cases of psycho-
by Naomi Cohen
with Maggie Gauthier
The Editorial: grading consistencies I seem to hear, “Oh, I wish I had that teacher” too often from high school students. Simple, yet direct. But why do we say it? Sure, it could be because we don’t like our teacher, or there’s maybe that girl in our class we really can’t stand that’s sitting just two seats away. More often than not though, it’s because we feel that our teacher’s grading system is absolutely wack. There’s nothing we as students dislike more than seeing our friends get the easy A in the exact same course taught by a different teacher, when we, hard-working students, are struggling to maintain that steady B. “Right now, there are some major inconsistencies in the grading,” said English teacher Steven Kahl, that lead to unwanted, yet warranted repercussions: students are discouraged to take certain courses. Rumors travel these hallways in a blink of an eye. We hear about the teachers who are “jokes” or those who don’t provide their students with the chance to learn and improve their grades. And of the fair teacher, whose class all students hope they will be admitted into. As a sophomore, I opted out of taking an AP course because I didn’t want to be assigned to the teacher whose style and grading methods I disagreed with. I had heard far too many complaints and I wasn’t about
Cut spending on charities and welfare programs 13%
Send letters to the editor, story ideas, subscription requests, comments, concerns or compliments to: The Oracle Mountain View High School 3535 Truman Avenue Mountain View, CA 94040 or Visit us at: www.mvhsoracle.com The Oracle in no way represents the views of the MVLA Unified High School District. The Mountain View High School Oracle is an independent, nonpartisan student newspaper that strives to serve the MVHS community with professional, well-rounded coverage, while adhering to the highest journalistic and ethical standards. Our purpose is to critique, to entertain, and to provide a forum for discussion by giving students a clear and honest voice. Furthermore, we strive to represent MVHS diversity in our content and staff. The Oracle believes in voicing opinions, raising questions, and provoking thought as we inquire on behalf of the student body. Lastly, we aspire to create unity in both the school and the surrounding community by recognizing achievements and raising awareness.
3 Opinions Thumbs Up fire cross PRO CON by Nicky Lindley
Is marriage worth it?
William: In America, we have a relationship problem. Fifty percent of all first marriages end in divorce. Sixty-seven percent of all second marriages suffer the same fate. And a staggering seventy-four percent of all third marriages bite the big one. So where does this come from? Is marriage just so fun that people can’t help but rush back and do it all over again? Or is it more plausible to think that perhaps there is something fundamentally wrong with our concept of monogamy as a social standard? I think so. We force ourselves to commit to one partner for eternity, and it goes against our most basic programming-- to experience all that the world has to offer. Nicky: Indeed, the statistics do point out the evolution of a troubling trend, but can we safely make the judgement that the institution of marriage itself has failed us as a nation? My answer would be no. Though marriage as we have known it is certainly in danger, the root cause seems to lie not in the institution itself but rather in the people involved. With such a large portion of our lives dominated by the media, American concepts of love and happiness and even self satisfaction have become so inflated and disjointed that we are no longer able to find happiness in ourselves or in one another. Surrounded by images of beauty and perfection, marriage is no longer sufficient to fulfill the portrait of success we have created in our minds. Abandoning marriage in pursuit of hedonism and sensual pleasure will not qualm our fears or put to rest our endless striving for the impossible. William: I would say that the increase in the divorce rate over the past twenty years is not, as you would argue, a perversion of values brought on by the mainstream
photo by Claire Johnson
media. Instead, it seems to me that the root of the spike in divorce is the result of a society becoming more in tune with it’s own desires. Say what you will about modern society, but it is hard to deny that people are honest about what they want. You make marriage out to be a sacred, once great institution, but there is no proof to support that claim! The only reason why things seemed to work better back then is because there was such an intense stigma surrounding divorce. People were afraid to voice their discontent. Would society be a better place then if people went back to repressing their emotions? Nicky: Marriage evolved along with society as a means of ensuring mutual survival and maximizing the potential benefit of those involved. The problem with contemporary marriages stems largely from our pursuit of a single word- love- and the damage it has done to our perception of what a relationship should be. For thousands of years, marriage was simply a pair of people drawn together in the shared goal of creating a family and passing along
by William Beare
by William Beare
a new generation of children. Now that we have introduced a new concept- the notion of “true love-” we are becoming distracted from the original goal of child rearing. Love- like anything else- is never absolute, and to assume that we can fully attain it, in every respect, is an act of self deception. William: So now love is self-deception? There is a reason why the typical perception of the 1950’s couple is one of passive aggressiveness and silence. Marriage worked as an institution largely because of the pressure of society, and prevalent sexism. The union seemed to work better when the women were subordinate to the men. Should we return to that? The reasons for the decline in marital stability is inversely proportional to the improvements to society that have been made over the years. People are able to respect themselves more, and are not pushed by society to enter a bond that they don’t truly want. Marriage shouldn’t be about settling, so if that’s the only way to make it work then it seems to me that it is truly a fading institution. Nicky: It is true that marriage hasn’t always maintained a stellar record in terms of promoting social equality, However, I don’t think that forgoing the institution would somehow catalyze sexual equality. If we do reject marriage, it’s inevitable that the brunt of child bearing duties will fall disproportionately on women. Children born out of wedlock often become the sole responsibility of the woman, with potential fathers fleeing before they can be tied to a commitment, The percentage of single mothers has risen steeply along with the divorce rate. Equal marriages can and do exist, and dismissing marriage as inherently abusive ignores its possibility for harmony and life-long cooperation.
photo by Michelle Rubinstein
“The New Dynasty”
Some guess that it is a campaign against drugs while others predict that it is a gang. Either way, this new, bright yellow and black trend has instigated much attention among students at MVHS.
photo courtesy of Flickr
Revolution in Cairo
photo courtesy of Flickr
Sparked by the protest of a young man, Mohamed Bouazizi, who set himself on fire in response to a dispute with the Tunisia police, people in neighboring iPhone to Verizon countries, such as Egypt, have been inspired to fight The nation’s most reliable network just got the for democratization, resulting in social and economi- nations most sought-after phone. Steve Wozniak cal unrest. himself endorsed the carrier at a recent press conference.
Thumbs Down by Michelle Rubinstein photo by Michelle Rubinstein
As if building new developments on top the beloved pumpkin patch was not enough, the architects have felt the need to construct an obtrusive wall encompassing the new houses.
photo courtesy of Flickr
If you thought that World War One’s trench warfare you learned about in history class was terrifying, check out what Americans have been photo courtesy of Flickr Valentine’s Day up to today. Instead of experiencing the terrors Falsely advertised as a day for romance and dreams of war firsthand, American citizens are busy in to come true, this Hallmark holiday has developed offices blowing up foreigners by the push of a into a day of superficial disappointment. Valentine’s button. Day is now an opportunity for insecure lovers to attempt to verify and to expose their relationships.
Collaborative learning: adding unity to students’ transcripts by Daniel Kline There comes a time in every person’s life when they’ll need helping reaching their goals. Group learning is essential for a more complete social and academic growth. It can prepare students for the culturally diverse American society, as group assignments can acquaint students of different backgrounds and create a more personal classroom bond. With this stronger bond, students will naturally become more confident and comfortable and will contribute more effort into class discussion and participation instead of being shy. This group dynamic of learning will not only build confidence, but will lead to greater accomplishments. With a unified effort to reach a common goal teens can learn leadership and cooperating skills while working more effectively towards completing an assignment. Even top researchers have been attempting to prove that collaborative learning is beneficial. According to a research project performed by Nike Arnold and Lara Ducate, assignments done in teams had significantly better results than ones done individually. “The group tests promote critical thinking,” Arnold and Ducate state. “Students can ultimately reach higher-level understandings of tasks or solve problems they wouldn’t have been unable to solve alone.” The writing process changes
from an independently performed task to one that promotes use of the input and reflection of other students.” In today’s culturally diverse, advanced education system, group learning is becoming more and more popular. At Mountain View High alone, multiple classes are
students are able to teach each other,” Kahl said. “When it’s just the teacher talking it’s not uncommon for the 29 other students to zone out or not pay attention. Though it’s always good to mix up types of teaching, with collaborative learning information is more likely to stick
photo by William Beare
including group learning into the curriculum, such as Steven Kahl’s English class. From personal experience it’s evident that students in Kahl’s class learn from each other- either by making multiple book-maps, performing community builder activities to learn literary terms, and peer editing essays. “Because of collaborative learning,
and endure.” Kahl, an AVID instructor and teacher, is a huge supporter of WICR, which he believes is an “extremely important part of the tutorial.” WICR is a part of AVID that stands for “Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, and Reading.” Another teacher at MVHS that has an attracted inter-
Senior finals– an unecessary evil by Nabilah Deen
not. There are lots of senior guys who have taken a lot of rigorous courses, and don’t feel they should be required to take finals, but there are some who feel that despite being a senior, they should still take them.” Many of Beck’s classmates took rigorous classes, and struggled as they applied to their colleges. But when asked whether they would want finals, the students’ answers were mixed. “First semester finals are fine, but second semester not so much. Senioritis starts to kick in, and you just don’t have the energy. However, I feel seniors should have finals because otherwise, we’d all be lazy,” said a Cupertino Senior. Finals provide students a chance to bring up their grades; stay focused and challenged in their classes, and sharpen their skills for college. “In terms of specific knowledge for a class, the students haven’t lost anything. Students still have tests, and many have final projects. But I think seniors have taken a lot of exams…I’m sure that they’ve had enough.” Although some may argue finals provide a way to challenge students, there are other creative ways teachers can assess students that will not only educate them but also provide them more time to work on their college applications.
The Peer Counseling by William Beare and Sonia Ibrahimkhail It’s not often that we stop and think about how good a friend we are to the people we care about. After all, why would we? It’s a strange thing to stop and think about. But we should. Life gets stressful and hectic very quickly, and it’s easy to get heavily involved in your own life. It happens to all of us at one point or another. But it’s always important to be aware of the people around you who are just as stressed as you are, and sometimes even more so. We all heard about the suicides at Gunn High School last year, and while MVHS has been blessed not to experience tragedy on that scale, we should be aware that it could happen anywhere. The solution to preventing this is simple. All we need to do is build an even stronger community, where people can feel safe asking for help when they need it. Often times when a school’s culture is characterized by academic pressure, people feel scared to ask for help, not wanting to burden their stressed-out peers. Often what they will do in addition is start to feel like somehow they are letting themselves down by having to ask for help. No one should ever feel embarrassed to ask for help!
An easy way to help make this happen is to look within your own friend groups, and pay attention to the signs that people give off when they are having a hard time. Constant exhaustion is easy to spot, along with short tempers, emotional reactions to little things, and a general gloomy attitude. Nine times out of ten when you see this sort of behavior, your friend really just needs to talk a few things out, and you might be just the person to talk to. It’s funny to think about, but most people rarely get the chance to talk, and be listened to. Often the best thing to do for someone is to give them your full attention. It should be less about giving them a therapy session, and more about figuring out the problem together. It’s good to ask open-ended questions instead of giving advice, and there are plenty of times when the best thing to give is silent eye contact and affirming head nods. These aren’t complex skills, but there is no doubt that they are effective. Doing good for a friend reciprocates. It sets a good precedent for your friendship in the future-they are far more likely to do the same for you, and what you end up building is a strong, mutually beneficial relationship that will last a long time.
Finals are a pain. No, seriously, they are—especially when teachers are cramming the entire curriculum in a matter of weeks. As dead week approaches, crops of zombies that were once spirited students can be seen all over the school campus. Many students face the overwhelming pressure of finals. The majority of high schools in California have students take their finals prior to the December break. Although many schools follow this schedule, The Harker School in San Jose concluded in 2009 that seniors would not be required to take finals first semester since they were undergoing the stress of college applications and preparations. “College counselors felt that seniors who were finishing up their college applications didn’t have the same access to college counselors because they were studying for exams,” explains Evan Barth, the Dean of Studies at Harker. The weeks prior to and during finals are ones when seniors are meeting with counselors, writing essays, and trying to complete everything before winter break. Many seniors risk health problems due to lack of sleep and poor nutrition. As a senior applying for college
and taking several AP and Honor classes, I believe it would be more effective and considerate of the school administration to grant seniors that time to focus on their college applications and essays and communicate with their counselors. “I really appreciate not having to worry about finals. I really was able to focus on college apps and refine my essays.” said Harker senior Hassaan Ebrahim. In order to compare this assessment with other students, I questioned other high school students on their perspectives about finals. Students from Cupertino High School, including seniors, are also required to take finals, much to the dismay of the student I interviewed. “Our school is pretty competitive,” the student remarked, “and our AP and Honors classes are moderately hard, but as long as you manage your time it isn’t hard to complete everything. Our finals are after UC applications, and most of the privates are after our finals so they don’t pose as a huge problem.” Bellarmine Prep School, another academically rigorous school, has remained the same as any other school in relations to assigning finals. Graham Beck, a senior at Bellarmine, said, “Finals vary from class to class, as well as on whether you’re taking an advanced class or
est to collaborative learning is Kim Rogers, a Chemistry and AVID teacher. “When I first started teaching, it was just four students working together-there was no structure to collaborative learning,” Rogers said. “However, I’ve learned that collaborative learning is important because more students will understand what is taught. The more collaborative learning there is, the more students can learn from each others’ strengths. With more collaborative learning comes more critical thinking, academic dialogue, and achievement. The one thing I’d like to see change is more collaborative learning in math so students can learn concepts more efficiently, as most of my AVID students choose to focus on math during their tutorials.” Collaborative learning is the future face of education. This type of learning where students can learn both from the teacher and each other will benefit not only test scores and grades, but teens’ social lives as well, as they’ll be able to develop a more personal relationship in such a comfortable environment. I’ve been fortunate enough to experience this type of learning, in English, Spanish, and AVID classes, and hope it will be offered in all high school classes at some point in time. If so, teens will experience a whole new venue of education, where they’ll realize that it’s not what’s being taught that counts, but the community that’s learning.
Editor: Elize Manoukian Asst. Editor: Tara Ahi
Busting the myths of marijuana
by Sophie Ho
He holds the joint in his hand, deeply inhaling the aroma of crushed cannabis― more popularly known as marijuana, weed, or pot. He leans back, letting the sweet smell surround him; exhaling, he feels the high come on. To him, smoking weed doesn’t seem to hold any consequences, and if it does, they’re small and inconsequential. After all, smoking weed doesn’t affect your brain, memory, and it’s not addictive― at least that’s what he’s heard. But what is myth, and what is fact when it comes to weed? In a study conducted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development comparing cannabis usage by country, roughly 12.3 percent of U.S. citizens have used the drug (by either smoking or ingesting it). Twelve point three percent of approximately 308,745,538 Americans (according to the 2010 U.S. Census)― that’s about 37,975,701 people. It was first restricted in the United States in 1906, and since then has been an illegal drug. What kind of myths surround this popular drug?
compiled by Ryan Baer
Weed is addictive. As far as studies have shown, marijuana is not physically addictive- meaning that if a user abstains from using it, they won’t feel a physical need for it in comparison to drugs like meth. Although, studies show it is not addictive physically, psychological addiction is a different matter. “Weed is a social drug,” said Health Teacher Frances Ferrell, “meaning that [a user] associates with people who do it.” Weed in some cases is psychologically addicting because its use, more often than not, depends on one’s environment and surroundings. It becomes a habit, but doesn’t necessarily create a physical addiction. But one has to consider the purity of the drug. Marijuana is infamous for being a drug that can be laced with cocaine, LSD, and many other harmful drugs that could cause an addiction. Another thing to consider is the method of smoking. A popular way of smoking weed is in a blunt, where one empties the contents of a cigar and puts in crushed cannabis. Smoking a blunt can potentially cause addiction, because the remnants of the tobacco (and thus nicotine) will get mixed with the weed.
Weed has no effect on one’s body. It’s hard to tell. As weed is not legalized, it’s difficult to obtain enough funding to thoroughly conduct studies on its effects. There are conflicting studies on what marijuana does to one’s body. A Columbia University study reported that in a control group that smoked a marijuana joint every day for a year had a white blood cell count 39 percent lower than normal, meaning a weaker immune system. According to Ferrell, a University of San Diego study compared the brain activity of heavy users of marijuana with non users by giving each group the same complicated math equation. The brain activity showed that the users had to use their brains harder than the non users to get to the same conclusion.
Marijuana is the gateway drug [meaning that smokers of marijuana are more likely to turn to drugs like meth and cocaine than non smokers]. No, marijuana is not the gateway drug. Smoking exclusively marijuana doesn’t mean that one will turn to “harder” drugs. Smoking or doing any drug could potentially lead to more dangerous drugs. In Ferrell’s opinion, alcohol is the number one gateway drug, while marijuana is more of a social drug. So no, if you smoke marijuana you won’t necessarily turn to harder drugs― but only because marijuana cannot be labeled as the gateway drug. All drugs, especially alcohol, can lead a user to harm. In the end, the myths surrounding marijuana are still myths. Conflicting studies and multiple variables affect each mystery― it’s unsure if marijuana is addictive, has an effect on one’s body, or is a gateway drug. But for those experimenters out there, be warned: “Drugs change who you are temporarily,” said Ferrell. If you aren’t careful, they can change who you are permanently― and not necessarily for the better.
Step 2: Turn the wide end back over the front of the narrow end.
No More Loko by Gabriel Quintela
You pop open the can and let the bubbly liquid run over the sides, leaving a sticky residue on your fingers. As the caffeine flows through your veins, the feelings you associate with alcohol aren’t present. You drink another. Once your hands stop trembling and your heartbeat settles the alcohol hits you like a right jab. The room blurs and your balance is thrown off. You fall, only to wake up the next day Four Loko is a malt liquor “energy drink”. The name “Four” is derived from the drink’s original four main ingredients: alcohol, caffeine, taurine, and guarana. Four Loko energy drinks have been the object of legal, ethical, and health concerns related to the company allegedly marketing them to minors. The major potential for danger comes from mixing caffeine and alcohol. When alcohol and caffeine are combined, people have reported a reduction in the sensations typically associated with alcohol. However, when the caffeine wears off the person feels the full effects of the alcohol. Caffeine is a stimulant, raising the heartbeat, and increasing awareness. The alcohol however acts as a depressant, causing you not to feel the effects of the caffeine. This can lead to excess consumption because the delayed feeling of “drunkenness” leads an individual to seek more alcohol to obtain the same feeling as they are used to feeling. The two work against each other leading to long nights you wont remember. Students interviewed agreed that drinking a Four Loko isn’t a positive experience and felt they shouldn’t be sold. One student even compared it to poison. Although this was reassuring for me, many then went on to say things like “I’d much rather have a beer” or “whiskey is good for me”. I believe that teen drinking should be avoided, but if you chose to skip over that advice at least listen to this: drink in moderation. Considering that experimentation is an essential part of the high school experience but only when you’re not putting yourself at risk. You have your whole life to look forward to. Don’t waste it on Four Loko. graphic by Tara Ahi
Step 1: Cross the wide end over the narrow end. Turn the wide end back underneath the narrow end.
graphics by Elize Manoukian
The rise of the tablet computer
by Elan Merry
Ever see someone walking around with what looks like an oversized smart phone? Tablet computers are the new alternative to laptops, gaming, and reading devices. Microsoft first introduced the idea of a tablet touchscreen computer in 2001 with the target clients being corporate users. However, tablet computers did not become popular until Apple released the revolutionary iPad last year. The iPad is more personaloriented, designed to be a versatile tool that one can use at any time in daily life whether at work, home, or school. With its wide screen and lightweight build, over nine million iPads have been sold. With their wide screens and enhanced graphics, tablet computers greatly simplify the tasks of watching movies or playing games on the go. “Personally, I can’t
imagine life without my iPad, it’s so convenient! I can be on Facebook and read a book for class at the same time,” said Freshman Parker Malachowsky. Just like many computers, however, tablets tend to be rather pricey. The most basic iPad model sells for $499 and the price increases with the increased memory capacity in the computer. As companies are tyring to catch up with the trend, new products are sparking people’s interest in tablet computers. Nokia and Android have already released their new tablet devices to compete with the iPad. However, after fiddling with the iPad, some of these new devices are hard to sell. “Even though the other tablet computers are a little cheaper, I still like the iPad the best. It’s just so easy to use,” said Malachowsky.
Step 3: Pull the wide end up and through the loop of your neck.
Step 4: Bring the wide end down through the front loop of the knot.
Step 5: Hold the narrow end and slide the knot up to tighten your necktie. graphic by Francis Sullivan photos by Chloe Tarrasch graphic by Sonia Tagare
The history of Valentine’s Day: Not just a Hallmark holiday by Jasmine Tekiyeh
As February 14th approaches every year, the rush to purchase a plethora of love cards, chocolates and flowers increases dramatically as individuals attempt to show their affection for their significant others. Interestingly, this romantic holiday dates back to 269 A.D., when a bishop by the name of St. Valentine was killed after defending his strong faith in Christianity. According to this legend, he had left a farewell card for a woman he loved, signing the letter “From Your Valentine.” What began as a simple act of devotion quickly spiraled into a holiday dedicated to expressing one’s love and eating numerous boxes of chocolate. Valentine’s story began when the emperor, Claudius II, enforced a law prohibiting young men from marrying. Appalled, Valentine quickly spoke out against this rule and started performing secret marriages that continued the tradition of committed love. However, soon he was caught for this crime and sent to prison. For his treachery, Valentine was sentenced to death, however n o t before falling in love with the jailer’s daughter. He sent her a love
graphic by Elize Manoukian
letter which initiated a popular tradition of sending little notes to one’s admirers or loved ones. Overall, this day of celebration stemmed from both Valentine’s commitment towards Christianity as well as his unwavering belief in love. However, this holiday didn’t always have a direct connection with romance until the 14th century. During that time period, Henry Ansgar Kelly’s book Chaucer and the Cult of Saint Valentine featured a character, Chaucer, who composed a poem praising the love and eventual engagement of England’s Richard II and Anne of Bohemia. Therefore, Chaucer transformed his holiday into the “mating season of birds” as he connected the martyr, St. Valentine, with February 14. In modern society, Valentine’s Day has grown into a widely commercialized holiday dedicated to a variety of actions, ranging from giving subtle hints to your crush to showering your beloved with fancy gifts. Eventually, the idea of hand-made valentine cards turned into mass-produced cards that compose 25% of all cards sent out each year. “I feel like Valentine’s Day is just a day to express your love. It just increases the love and happiness in the world, which is always a good thing,” said senior Sara Torkian. This day is observed by a wide range of couples who usually feel a need to do something special in honor of Valentine’s Day. However, according to sophomore Christian Hernandez, “There shouldn’t need to be a holiday to tell someone you love him/her. That should be done on a daily basis.” While many believe in the romance behind Valentine’s Day, this holiday could also be interpreted as a form of pressure that eliminates the true essence of love. Overall, Valentine’s Day, rooted in the actions of St. Valentine, has been a part of our world for a long time, connecting our modern culture to love and romance.
Energy efficient planet killers by Devon Zuegel and Francis Sullivan
Controversy over the past decade has opened our eyes to environmental issues caused by human activity. Fuel efficient cars, hybrids, and even fully electric vehicles have become increasingly popular to meet the ever growing demand for “environmentally friendly” means of transportation. However, we are often blinded by the glamour and promises of gas saver cars; the truth is that they are no more “green” than traditional vehicles. Hybrid and electric cars are celebrated for being “green,” but few consumers re-
While electricity has replaced the need to purchase gas from a gas station to power the engine in these cars, that electricity still has to be made somehow. Electricity is typically generated using carbon-based fuels. Although hydroelectric, wind, and solar energy sources are renewable and much cleaner ways to generate electricity, they are nowhere near as prevalent as combustible fuels, representing only 18% of the electricity generated globally. Not only does the process of creating en-
graphics by Francis Sullivan
search their overall effect on the environment. In short, higher fuel efficiency does not mean that a car will contribute less to global warming. “In the long term, [the Toyota Prius] does more environmental damage than a Land Rover Discovery,” said host Jeremy Clarkson in a study publicized by his widely acclaimed British motoring show, Top Gear. The process to create just the car’s battery is incredibly destructive; the nickel is first mined in Canada and then shipped to Europe for refinement. After that, it is sent to China to be engineered into a foam to be put in the car in Japan and is then finally packaged and shipped to your nearest Toyota dealership after this 17,050 mile journey.
ergy with combustible, carbon-based fuels contribute to environmental damage, there are also cumulative yield losses. When the fuel is burned, nearly 20% of the potential energy is lost as heat. The transmission of the generated energy through the electrical grid results in further losses which can be up to 50% due to the resistance of the conductor. Finally, inefficiency results in losses related to charging the batteries of an electric or hybrid car because the batteries are inefficient. Although many hybrid and electric cars really do not benefit the environment in any way, these cars provide a very important jumping off point for the industry and technology based around the growing awareness of humans’ effect on the environment.
Is your shampoo bottled poison? by Kelly Nee
The shampoo industry is booming with competition today. However, while the 4.1 billion dollar market reaps the profits of its labor, it’s also causing damage unseen by the public. Could you unknowingly be poisoning yourself and the environment? Hidden toxins in shampoo, a simple every day necessity, are actually responsible for negative effects such as cancer and environmental damage. Many chemicals in shampoos originate from crude oil that greatly harms the environment. In addition, the toll it takes to market new shampoos and create flashy bottles and symbols to compete for consumers is the cause of much environmental damage as well. Consumers may claim that many of the shampoos purchased are no different than plain soap. However, consider the chemicals used in excess in shampoo formulas-- sulfates that are synthetically produced to be “gentle cleansers” are harmful to marine life and the environment, the thickening agent, alkyloamide that give shampoos a pearly sheen contaminate the environment, synthetic detergents used in shampoos are not biodegradable; these are but a few of the harmful toxins injected in commercial shampoos today to attract consumers with colorful labels and enticing scents. Along with harming the environment we try so hard to heal, many shampoos have detrimental effects on the people that use them, stripping hair’s natural shine and irritating the skin of many users. I asked hair stylist Jenny Nguyen if there was really a difference between natural hair products, and common shampoos that I used. The poor woman just about had a heart attack and promptly stated that many shampoos like Pantene leave a silicone residue on hair, which gives it a shiny appearance. Of the 22 or so ingredients used in a shampoo, only 3 actually clean your hair. The rest are there to attract consumers. The smells that draw most consumers to their preferred brand of shampoo are often extremely harmful, irritating the
photo courtesy of Flickr
user’s skin and in addition, the fragrance may not be specified on the back of the bottle. The color of the product also draws the eye of the consumer who is ignorant to the fact that brightly colored bottles and formulas may have cancer causing agents, such as the former red dye no. 3 that was banned from use in 1990. While this may be considered old history, if past chemicals harmed the users, there may still be remnants of the harmful agents in today’s products. While it may be harder to find natural shampoos compared to the old ones you can buy at Walgreens, with the right information, an affordable and healthier choice is right at your fingertips. Many salons are bursting with a plethora of shampoos that truly do invigorate your hair naturally. Senior Zenia Kawas states, “I use Aveda shampoo because it’s made with natural ingredients that make my hair healthy without any added chemicals.” Aveda does seem to be the most popular affordable natural brand name out there today, although with less of a perfume-like fragrance, the toxins that are left out of this shampoo truly do benefit those who use it. It may seem easier just to waltz on down to Safeway and purchase that familiar bottle of Pantene, or any other commercial brand of shampoo, but since when has helping the environment and trying harder to be healthy ever been easy? When using any product, users should be aware of what they are subjecting their hair and skin to, as well as how they are effecting the earth.
6 Editor: Brianne De La Ossa Asst. Editor: Rachel Jue
1+1=2, Teacher Love at Mountain View by Jenny Payne
How long have you been together? CQ: Since February 2002 – 9 years. How did you meet? JM: We met at the school. Sr. Morgan & CQ: I started Sra. Quinones teaching here in Spanish Teachers 1998 and he started in 1999. We met when he came to our first meeting. From 99-02, we became very good friends. JM: We became very good friends, and then we became very good friends. What’s it like to work together? JM: It’s really great both professionally and socially, because we can collaborate so much and we get to know the kids so well. We can reflect on our day together because photo courtesy of Sr. Morgan and Sra. Quinones we have the same interests and the same passions. People sometimes ask us if we ever get sick of each other and we never understand that, because we don’t. I think one of the biggest benefits is that it makes it very easy for us to get close to the students. CQ: I truly enjoy working together. The most beautiful thing for me is that we share a passion for teaching and for helping kids, and we get to discuss how to help students when we’re at home. We can go home and talk about school, but it doesn’t feel like work to us. What’s your family life like? JM: Our family life is wonderful because teaching and parenting go very well together. It’s so nice that we have the exact same schedule because we get to spend so much of our time with our family. CQ: We’ve been able to give Dante a bicultural world – he is a mixture of both Sr. Morgan and my own cultures. It makes us appreciate our own cultures even more than before. When you see him [Dante] speaking two languages, it’s such a treat for us.
How long have you been together? JL: We’re about to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary next weekend. Did you meet before or after you started teaching at Mountain View? How did you meet? JL: Mr. Lee was already teaching at Mountain View when we met…I wasn’t even involved in a teaching program yet. BL: We met at a Bible study group. JL: We’d known each other for more than a year before that, but we hadn’t actually noticed each other. It was just the timing – it took about a year before we actually said “Oh, I know you!” When you meet the right person, it’s not always a magical instant; it can take a while sometimes.
Mr. & Mrs. Huizing English & Drama, Broadcasting, Stagecraft Teachers
Mr. & Mrs. Lee Math & ELD Teachers
photo courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. Huizing
photo courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. Lee
What’s your family like? JL: Our [three] kids all attended this school. BL: The oldest one felt a little awkward, especially when we have to monitor dances and Winter Ball. JL: We told him that when he saw us in the hall, he didn’t have to say hi to us. Ultimately, they all felt comfortable enough to ask us for things and come to us for help. What is the best part about working together? BL: At the end of the day, you can air out the stuff you have going on at work, and the other person will understand that you’re saying. Sometimes days are very frustrating, or sometimes they are very good – when the students have accomplished something, you can share that. Do many students know you’re married? JL: They don’t know that we’re married. It’s kind of fun when you see them and they say something about the other…Our disciplines are different, so the paths don’t cross very often.
How long have you been together? MKH: We’ve known each other for 39 years and have been married for 37. How did you first meet? MKH: We first met at a class in college called “Practicum in the Aesthetics of Nature.” RH: We were in a class together the semester before but didn’t notice each other there. What’s it like for you to work together? MKH: We’ve always worked together, and it’s really great – we don’t see each other during the day because we’re two different disciplines, but it’s great to be at the same place and know the same kids. RH: We share a lot of students. MKH: A lot of students don’t notice that we’re related and they think he’s my brother! They do associate us with one another. Kids are always asking me where Mr. Huizing is and what he’s doing – we’re not Velcroed together! What’s your family like? MKH: We have two kids. Jordan, our daughter, teaches English at Gunn High School. Nicholas, our son, he’s in the film industry in L.A./Hollywood. We had them both in our classes when we taught at Yosemite High School. RH: It was great to have them in our classes. For me, sharing my work and artistry with my kids was great. MKH: We forgot being mother and child and they eventually stopped thinking of me as a parent and enjoyed noticing me in a different role.
What is your New Years Resolution?
by Kelsey Carlson photos courtesy of Kelsey Carlson
Sam Wong Freshman
“To watch football and eat pie and get fat.”
photo by Naomi Cohen
Annie Ashmore Sophomore
“Have a more positive outlook on life and be less judgmental.”
Emily Schneider Junior
“Stop breaking previous new year’s resolutions!”
1. Donna Peltz is naughty. "I was a rotten teenager," Peltz confesses. "Everything that kids do today to get in trouble in school and get in trouble at home--I've done all of it and more. I am not proud of it. So there's not very much that kids can do that I don't know about. It helps me understand why kids do what they do, and motivates me to help kids not make mistakes that I made, and help kids to get the most out of their education and their lives." Even in her adult life, Peltz has achieved some pretty mischievous deeds, like stretching the rules in a foreign country. "I went to see the Pyramids of Giza (near Cairo, Egypt) at night and paid the guard two Egyptian pounds so that I could climb inside the Cheops Pyramid." 2. Donna Peltz operates heavy machinery. "My husband, Chuck, and I live in a small apartment in San Francisco, so we like to get away. We have a ranch in Placerville called Lion Loop...and we use a chainsaw to cut down branches of trees that have died, to chop wood for the fireplace and to clear brush," Peltz says. She can also drive a tractor, a motorcycle and an ATV. Ranch life is exciting for a girl that grew up in Brooklyn. 3. Donna Peltz is addicted to Talking Tom Cat. You know the animated cat on the iPhone that repeats what you say and responds to your every action? Well Donna Peltz entertains others with it...when she's not doing Bikram yoga, hiking, or walking her year-old German Shepherd, Lucy. 4. Donna Peltz has traveled the world. Peltz and her husband spent a significant amount of time in Spain. "I have a former student who lives in Madrid who I visit," she says. "She and her husband run a nightclub that features Flamenco dancers." When the pair is not in California or Spain, they may be spotted sightseeing monuments and tombs in Egypt, riding elephants and watching lions attack gazelles in Kenya, or walking the streets of Morocco, France, Italy, Scotland, Mexico, Guatemala, England, France or Lion Loop Ranch. 5. Donna Peltz has actually been helped by an entire village. While in Morocco, a young native grabbed Peltz's purse and ran away. "My husband and I ran after him yelling 'Stop, Thief! Stop, Thief!' and hundreds of people ran behind us so that the whole town was trying to get this thief that took my purse." Eventually, her husband caught the boy and the purse. 6. Donna Peltz is very creative. "When I was little I always wanted to be an artist," Peltz says. In order to pursue her dream, she attended FDR High School in Brooklyn, a school that specialized in fine arts, and has studied art at The Brooklyn Museum Art School, Pratt Institute and SUNY Buffalo. In 1994, Peltz moved from Long Beach to San Francisco in search of more of a city life and found Mountain
Kevin Veloira Senior
“Enjoy the rest of high school by staying positive despite hardships.”
View High School, where she began to teach art classes for English language learners. After the photography teacher retired, she went to Art Academy College for photography and taught the class for eight years. Though she still loves the arts, Peltz's most recent passion is working with students. Coincidentally, an administrative opportunity at MVHS presented itself, impelling Peltz to attend San Jose State University for a Master's in Educational Leadership. 7. Donna Peltz has been embarrassed. "In the third grade I went to school in a Halloween costume," began Peltz of her past Halloween experiences. "I dressed up as a cat, and I had a complete costume that I had made. It was very important to me...When I got to school and walked in the classroom I was the only one with a costume. The teacher said to me in front of the whole class, 'We don't wear costumes to school in the third grade.' I was mortified...I think the teacher felt bad for embarrassing me, so she asked the class if they could go home and put on their costumes so that we could have a Halloween parade in the afternoon. So everybody in the class went home and put their costumes on. For a long time I wouldn't wear a costume...but I got over it." 8. Donna Peltz knows what to bring to a deserted island. "I'd bring a musical instrument that I don't know how to play so I could learn how to play it. I'd bring a sketch book so I could draw, and I'd bring a soft pencil...without an eraser." 9. Donna Peltz is super healthy. "Right now I'm inspired by my mom who's going to be 83 years old, has a lot of energy, and has a commitment to keep herself healthy, intelligent, attractive and funny," said Peltz. "She's very committed to having a full life and doing good things." Likewise, Peltz exercises regularly, including being involved in Bikram yoga classes, performing outdoor activities, and remaining vegetarian. "I'm not a quitter," she said. "I make up my mind to do something, and I do it." 10. Donna Peltz thinks you're funny, but admires you anyway. "A lot of students at Mountain View think that adults don't know anything about them, their lives, what they’re thinking about, the music they're listening to, and all of that," said Peltz. "There are probably things we don't know about, but we've all been there, so it's kind of funny when kids say things to me like, 'How did you know that?'" However, after 17 years of working at MVHS, Peltz has not lost her passion for working with students. "I find the students inspiring. A lot of students have been through a lot and still push forward," she said. "My advice would be to get the best education you can and to follow your passion-whatever it is. Whatever you feel in your heart that you really want to do, don't give up on it, think of it as a dream, and pursue it."
YFL: spreading Speech and Debate to middle schools by Rachel Jue
by Einny Yu
new clubs on campus
From the wise words of Kid Cudi, being on the pursuit of happiness includes knowing that everything that shines isn’t always gold, something recognized by juniors Marisa Chao and Megan Hartney. Together, the two started the Pursuit of Happyness Club in late January, adding to Mountain View High School’s club scene. The club aims to instigate student involvement at a San Jose homeless shelter that caters to families. Providing activities for younger children and occasionally serving food are only a few of the activities the members will engage in. Chao attended a leadership conference which inspired her to begin planning the club, and Hartney, with an interest of helping people, helped her bring it to MVHS. “We want to help ease the difficulties of homelessness and get others to reach out to the community,” said Hartney, “We want them to do something simple themselves [that would] make a difference.” Most of us aren’t familiar with the experience of entering a shelter with nothing but little clothing, fear, and uncertainty. “We want to make the
photo by Rachel Jue
experience easier for children at the shelters because we think it would be really scary,” said Chao. Knowing that students can have a beneficial effect on the community is what the founders are hoping their members will realize. “I love serving other people and seeing the enjoyment they get out of it because every little thing helps them,” said junior Lisa Moore of her participation in the club. Aside from the satisfaction of helping others, there are further reasons the club enhances Moore’s life. “It will help me grow up and see what others go through that you don't see everyday,” she said, “Just the experience of helping them and playing with the children which I love.” Join the Pursuit of Happyness Club and meet with some of good Samaritans of MVHS! Meetings are Tuesdays in Room 522, where they plan activities for the children and create welcome packages. Every action of the club can help make someone’s day better, or even more bearable. “I feel that it can change their life and mine!” said Moore.
photo courtesy of Rachel Jue
by Casey Fabre
Along with the great roster of clubs packed with great diversity here at Mountain View High School comes Amnesty International Club. Here at MVHS our efforts to involve students in school activities and extracurricular events available at our school are always bolstered by new clubs such as this that always welcome new members. Amnesty International club presidents, sophomores, Arman Jaffer and Abby Cunniff, have created a club that is based upon the worldwide human rights group Amnesty International. Their club promotes human rights and raises awareness of prisoners of conscience. The term “prisoners of conscience” were coined from Amnesty International back in the early 1960’s. Now these prisoners of conscience are people who have been imprisoned because of their very race, religion, lifestyle, and more. These people have had their rights defiled and freedom stripped away from them. The organization of Amnesty International first began in July 1961 in London. British lawyer Peter Benenson wrote an ar-
ticle on two Portuguese students who were sent to prison for raising their glasses to freedom. This article had become printed around the world and would be the start for Amnesty International. An International meeting was held between delegates from Belgium, France, U.S., the U.K., Ireland, and Switzerland to start to establish an international movement in defense of freedom of opinion and religion. This was the start of the organization named Amnesty International. The campaign of Amnesty International, just as our new club, strives to help prisoners of war and spread awareness to others who can possibly aid them. The two presidents brought about the start of the club in order to make the Amnesty International organization more well-known among Mountain View students. They also hope to bring together students with a common interest to learn and be involved in global issues. The club meets in room 101, Ms. Hogan’s room, at lunch every Wednesday.
spontaneous speech. Throughout the five months spent preparing for the final tournament, the middle school students develop the necessary skills to succeed in speech or debate. How-
that they all think they’re doing an absolutely terrible job—which is most definitely not the case—and become nervous and don’t want to continue. I dislike seeing students give
Mountain View-Los Altos’ Speech and Debate team has become increasingly popular in recent years—partly due to MV-LA’s fouryear involvement in the Youth Forensics League. YFL is a middle school Speech and Debate program, effective in Blach, Crittenden, Graham and Egan. Some of the students who participate in MVLA’s Speech and Debate program at the high school level volunteer to be coaches for YFL. The role of coach includes the responsibilities of running weekly Wednesday meetings, preparing the middle school students for a culminating tournament, and getting students interested in joining speech and debate in high school. photo by Rachel Jue The first four Blach Intermediate School students giving an impromptu speech to a group of peers. weeks of YFL are dedicated to introducing the three available categories of speech and de- ever, not everyone is a natural debater up, because even if they are stuttering bate: Lincoln-Douglas debate (a one- or speaker. “I really enjoy watching or speaking gibberish, there is still so on-one debate), prepared speech and students try out their first speech or much to learn from that experience practice debate round. The irony is about how to improve,” said junior and Coach Max McCarthy. For the coaches, the five months spent preparing for the tournament is difficult and time-consuming, but the coaches find it to be a rewarding experience. “People don’t usually gravitate towards speech and debate as an extracurricular, but I find a lot of enjoyment in the program— and YFL gives the middle school students a chance to do so as well,” junior and YFL coach and co-coordinator Ruchita Pendse said. Not only are the student coaches enthusiastic about helping the middle school students, Coordinator and Head Coach of the MVLA Speech and Debate team, Dr. Sharon Moerner, also enjoys YFL. “[My favorite part is] the enthusiasm from the high school and middle school students and watching the photo by Rachel Jue growth of the students,” said Coach Max McCarthy explaining the next activity to students during a YFL meeting. Moerner.
Focus: Sex & Relationships
of teen mom
by Brianne De La Ossa As I sit at home, flipping through TV channels, I land on “16 and Pregnant.” Automatically, I’m drawn into the dramatic story line of a pregnant teen, struggling to graduate high school and pay bills with a deadbeat, negligent boyfriend in tow. I sympathize with their stories and it scares me to think that most of the girls are my age… but it makes me wonder: if this show has scared me enough to become more aware of the negative side of teen pregnancy, has it had the same affect on other people? Why is there a continuous cycle of seasons with these shows? These questions all seem to point in the same direction: fame. On June 11, 2009, the show “16 and Pregnant” debuted on MTV and immediately transformed a previously taboo topic–teen pregnancy– into a commonplace conversation piece. Less than a year following the series’ debut, Facebook quizzes, such as “Which Teen Mom Are You?” and fan pages of different teen moms featured on the show have turned this sensitive topic into a source of entertainment. In fact, according to USA Today, the first series finale for the show attracted around 2.1 million viewers. In comparison, just half that number–1.1 million viewers– tuned in to CNN’s coverage of the 2008 presidential election. This discrepancy represents just how the increased publicity of “16 and Pregnant” has intrigued our country and has made it almost acceptable to raise a child at just 16 years of age. All this coverage would be wonderful if the media had the purpose of cautioning today’s teenagers about the perils of being a teen mom. Instead, these TV shows glorify this lifestyle. For example, People magazine, famous for featuring on the cover wealthy celebrities and their lavish lifestyles, has now begun to cover the stories of the teenage mothers featured on the show. In ef-
Editor: Nicky Lindley Asst. Editor: Claire Johnson
fect these teen moms are now portrayed as celebrities and are idolized by their fan, instead of serving as cautionary examples. A casting call for the new season of “16 and Pregnant” came out recently, including a promotion stating that, “from morning sickness to mood swings, and to even the day of the baby’s arrival, we would like you to let us document this exciting, life changing event.” This casting call seems to paint teen pregnancy in a positive light by calling it an “exciting, life changing event”, when it should say, “to expose the trials and tribulations to being a pregnant teen.” It casts a glorifying perception of being a pregnant teen, and in turn, luring in self-conscious girls hungry for the attention. Shows like “16 and Pregnant,” “Teen Mom” and “Secret Life of the American Teenager” should serve as insight to the harsh reality of being a teen mom, rather than as entertainment purposes for the dramatic plotlines. Recently there was a news segment about Frayser High School, a high school in Memphis, Tennessee where 90 teen girls were reportedly said to be pregnant this year and last year. According to the Guttmacher Institute, the rate of teen pregnancy has risen 4% since 2006. Coincidence? I think not. I can’t say that all these girls have the same goal to be on these MTV shows, but there certainly seems to be some correlation between the rise in media coverage of teenage pregnancies and the apparent increase in number of teen pregnancies. While I admire the strength and courage these young girls have, I think that the media needs to do a better job of telling their stories in a way that doesn’t encourage impressionable teenagers to follow their example. This problem isn’t going to go away by itself and the media needs to take a responsible stance in sending the proper message towards our country’s teenagers.
marriage by design What can Americans learn from the Eastern practice of arranged marriage? byKelsey Carlson According to the American Census Bureau, one in five couples in America will get divorced after eight or fewer years of marriage. This alarming number has continued to rise within the last decade, leading many to wonder at the benefits of marriage for love. While love marriages are the norm in contemporary American society, many minority cultures in America, particularly Asian-Americans and Middle Eastern-Americans, practice arranged marriages. Though arranged marriages clash with romantic ideas of love, they have a much lower divorce rate, and offer many positives “love marriages” consistently fail to offer. Love marriages often begin as serious relationships in high school, college, and the early part of a person’s adult life. When the relationships first start they are passionate and exciting and new, leading many couples to
Arranged marriage remaions a traditional practice in many eastern societies, especially in Indian and Muslim cultures
jump into marriage. Unfortunately, initial infatuation often fails to meet the demands of a long-term commitment. Over time relationships go from being bubbly to just being comfortable, and many couples interpret this change as “falling out of love.” which leads to an unhappy and dissatisfied marriage. Over this transition, many relationships end, and marriages are lost. People expect that their relationships won’t change from the first kiss, but people change, and therefore the relationship does too. Arranged marriages, however, operate independently from the notions of love. Parents set up couples that they think will be happy together, often as part of a family arrangement. “Elders have more experience, and are mostly able to predict the outcome,” said Arundhati Bose, an arranged wife who works as an instructional assistant at Graham Middle School. While most young adults feel that their parents don’t know them at all, a parent often knows their child better than their child knows themselves. Because of this, many couples that start an arranged marriage out as friends fall in love in the first few years of their marriage. "It depends on your expectations," says Shad Imam, an arranged husband in an interview on National Public Radio. "My expectation was that I would love my wife regardless of who she was." If love marriages had this level of acceptance, it’s likely that many would be more successful. Of course, not all arranged marriages are able to meet that level of success. Many young girls have been married off to much older men for purely financial purposes, leading to a miserable and neglected life for the young wife. “Lack of knowledge about spouse’s family is a huge problem. Sometimes, the whole family is economically dependent on one person, but the fiancé has no prior knowledge. It becomes a challenge,” said Bose. But when the parents make a match that is conscious of their children’s personalities and based on compatibility, the arranged marriage is much more likely to be successful than a marriage for love. Love marriages can learn some from arranged marriages. “You are not married to Prince Charming, but a human being with all his good, bad and ugly,” Bose reminds us. Arranged marriages work out because they emphasize this high level of acceptance. Too many marriages fail because both partners think their spouse is perfect, and when they find out otherwise, they don’t accept their spouse’s flaws as part of the person they love. Arranged marriages keep in mind that a marriage affects not only the couple, but their families as well. “I personally think parents should be involved, but you should go out for few dates, and try to understand each others family also,” said Bose. “When parents are involved in the decision making process, they feel included.” While arranged marriages might not seem like an option for most young marriages, they reinforce values such as family and acceptance, which leads to a healthier and stronger union. “I have been married for almost 25 years and my parents were married for almost 51 years before my father passed away last year,” said Bose.
poll-gasm! How does the sexual activity of Spartans compare with statewide trends?
Have you ever had sexual intercourse?
(Results taken from a 2008 Oracle poll surveying 100 randomly selected students)
(Results taken from the 2007-2009 Healthy Kids poll, administered in all California polls)
Focus: Sex & Relationships
going the distance...
by Brent Weyers
For many seniors involved in a relationship, the transition from high school to college can be a very challenging process. For most, it requires them to decide whether or not they want their relationship to continue past high school and how they intend to maintain that relationship. After graduation, students will go to separate colleges and in order to carry out their connection, they will most likely need long distance relationships in order to carry on their connection. These types of relationships have become increasingly popular among many students thanks to technological advancements that have allowed people to overcome the long distance. As more people become involved in long distance relationships, more questions are raised over whether long distance relationships are healthy or not. According to facts under the Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships, distant couples and relations have become needed in modern life as new social, environmental, and economic factors have facilitated the development of separated relationships among couples. The choice of carrying out this type of relationship
allows many students to remain in a relationship with the person they love and to have someone who can fill their social needs. These relationships have been significantly improved with technology development such as video chatting and texting. This has significantly expanded the communication options for students. Although these relationships may appear to be more efficient in the context of modern student lifestyle, long distance relationships require a lot of communication and trust in one’s partner. If relationships are not established on a foundation of mutual trust and lenience, the distance between them is likely to cause that relationship to fall through. In order to sustain this kind of relationship, partners must be able to maintain their commitments to each other and feel comfortable with the relationship. For students who are not effective communicators and feel relationships must be based more on contact rather than social, psychological and emotional needs, long distance relationships will most likely not be successful. Although these relationships have many benefits in fulfilling social needs, filling only that need is not right for every student. Distant relationships can prevent students from attaining other possible relationships because of limited freedom and options to meet other people. Additionally, long distance makes it hard for many students to maintain the physical contact need they enjoy. Separated cou-
ples often cannot reach the level of closeness they would receive with real contact. “Long distance relationships can make it difficult for students to engage in the highest level of intimacy. You will still be able to be intimate but not past a certain level… these relationships can work, but they can also put strain on those involved,” said MVHS health teacher Frances Ferell. Choosing a local or long distance relationship is ultimately up to each student. Close and distant affiliations both contain many benefits and drawbacks, but ultimately, the relationship sustainability depends on the person and their affiliation needs. Long distance relationships can be considered both healthy and unhealthy depending on what a student is able to take away from it. A person who feels happy just from the online comforting social relationship would be considered to be in a healthy relationship while a person not satisfied by separated communication would regard the relationship as unhealthy. It all depends on the person, their preference, the foundation the relationship was based on, and their commitment to each other. Despite hardships involved by separated relations, students still manage to maintain them. According to the Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships, the frequency of breakups in distanced relationships is actually less than the relationships of individuals who stay in actual contact with their partner. This suggests that a many of people place their social relationship value in psychological and emotional needs, often more than the need of contact. For students who feel the same way, long distance relationships are likely to be a practical solution.
word on the street How do dating practices differ in other countries?
a brief history
of sex in America
When you think of sex you most likely will think of a pleasurable experience, but that hasn’t always been the case. America’s perception of and attitude toward sex has changed drastically along with the times. Complied here is a timeline of the progression of American sexuality, from strictly business to no strings attached.
1600s-1800s: Masturbation was so frowned upon in the Puritan colonies that it was punishable by death. Later studies were even shown to “prove” that masturbation is mentally and physically unhealthy.
1948 and 1953: Biologist Alfred Kinsley published two books, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, that are instrumental in changing traditional American views about proper sexual behavior. Drawing from thousands of personal interviews he conducted with women, Kinsley helped to reveal sexuality as a force more powerful and pervasive than America’s widely accepted puritanical views allowed.
1960s: The invention of the birth control pill and the advent of the “Free Love” movement helped to trigger the Sexual Revolution, decreasing the social mores surrounding casual sex and limiting its traditional association with marriage.
1980s: Depictions of nudity and sex begin to gained mainstream acceptance thanks to the widespread success of pornographic films and magazines like Playboy and Penthouse. Technology, such as the VCR began to make pornography much more accessible and widespread. Later inventions such as the internet and web cameras began to personalize the internet porn experience.
Freshman Kevin Martinez Lived in Mexico for 5 years
“The guys over there were really romantic. They liked to give their girls a lot of things, like flowers and jewelry, whatever the girls liked… but I don’t see that often over here.”
Sophomore Irina Colby Lived in Ukraine for 16 years
“The relationships are better in Ukraine than over here. The main difference is that there is a lot more love involved in the relationship, lot more openness to boundaries of age and position. If you love someone, it doesn’t matter how old or who they are. It’s just that you love them and that’s it.”
2011: Despite declining since its historical peak in 1991, America’s teen pregnancy rate remains one of the highest in the developed world, with ten percent of all U.S. births to girls aged 19 or younger. Though American teenagers have levels of sexuality comparable to their European counterparts, they are less likely to use contraceptives, contributing to a higher STD and pregnancy rate.
Junior Rida-Hareem Illya
Lived in South Africa and Taiwan for 7 years “If I’m in South Africa, I have to follow my dad’s Islamic culture. I’m not supposed to have guy friends. There is no ‘dating’ allowed, but there are people who do have boyfriends and girlfriends. It’s all secretive, so no one really displays their relationship out in the open.”
Senior Woongkee Min Lived in Korea for 14 years
“One thing I noticed about the United States is that couples are really open about their thoughts and opinions, and they’re really comfortable about talking about their personal life.”
Instrument sales and rentals Repairs on site Print music Accessories Lessons Quality and Service
262 Castro Street, Downtown Mountain View 650-961-1566
Arts For the singers and the students, the tradition is thrilling to watch and perform in since the Madrigals are up close and personal with their audience. “We are successful not only because it works well as a fundraiser, but also because it’s fun for us [and the audience],” said Mad- r i g a l s sopho-
Junior Lynsie Mason “I’m looking forward to being able to show people what we are capable of, and to help them have a great Valentine’s Day.”
days, student-made arrangements of songs are also featured. “80% of our music is student-arranged, in a three to eight part harmony.” added Denny. The more traditional songs may not pique a student’s interest as much as a familiar song that she or he has heard on the radio numerous times or a song of a different language. It seems that, year after year, the Singing Valentines are becoming increasingly popular; just last year, the Madrigals delivered over a thousand Valentines. “This year there are over 30 different tunes being
by Chloe Tarrasch prepared — some of [which originate] from the early years, but many from today’s current radio hits,” said Denny. A large variety of music will accompany each and every class students attend, giving the students a chance to relax and enjoy the enthusiastic entertainment. Buy your Singing Valentines in the main quad this coming lunch. Prepare to be amazed with performances on February 14, 2011!
What was your favorite past experience of the Singing Valentines? photo by Chloe Tarrasch
photo by Chloe Tarrasch
photo by Chloe Tarrasch
“I’m excited to just experience it for the first time and soak it up.”
By Elan Merry
photo courtesy of Jesse Denny
more Joey Stroud. The Singing Valentines entertains students a n d teachers alike to enj o y themselves during a d a y at school. The message of a feel-good and safe environment is set up by the Singing Valentines: “Our number one goal in presenting these Singing Valentines is to make the person feel special and important,” said Denny. Additionally, the song choices have shifted to a more contemporary
Acting II class takes the stage
f r o m various decades. Nowa-
For this year’s Singing Valentines, what are you most excited for?
Sophomore Brad Huwe
feel, featuring the most popular love songs, ranging from the ‘20s to the current Top 40. Each group sings songs
The Singing Valentines are an outlet to profess one’s love to someone, or, more commonly, a way to supremely embarrass someone in front of his or her entire class. Since 1997, the Singing Valentines have been sung by Mountain View High School’s Madrigals, who traipse from classroom to classroom in groups singing traditional and popular love songs. “These singi n g telegrams are designed to spread messages o f love through song,” Choir Director Jill Denny said. The Singing Valentines now consist of co-ed groups, whereas initially the genders were segregated into two separate sections where the girls would sing to boys receiving Valentines and vice versa. “This [change] was important since the real goal is to present messages of love and friendship, not sexuality. Mixed gender groups eliminate the possibility of misinterpretation,” said Denny. The concept is the same, but the game has changed with the culture of MVHS.
Editor: Katherine Pantangco Asst. Editor: Katie Inamori
Senior Jesse Denny “Valentine’s Day, because we work so hard, rehearse a ton, and have so much fun by running from class to class singing!”
The Mountain View High School Acting II class will perform the spring school play, a change from recent years. In the past, auditions for the play were open for the entire school and practice would be done outside of class. Similar to the choir and band courses offered at MVHS, the normal curriculum of the acting class will now be integrated with the extracurricular play. Students currently taking Acting II have the option to audition and perform in the spring play, while practicing during their sixth period class. If they choose not to be in the play, the students will perform a short one-act play instead. Although the students not currently enrolled in Acting II may be dismayed, the majority of the performers in the spring play will come from the current Acting II class. This combination allows for more practice time for the play. “I’m definitely excited about the new approach for the spring play. I anticipate it
will be easier to manage my other schoolwork because we’re doing the play primarily in class. I think we found a good solution that allows both Millie and Acting Two to use the theater,” said junior Elena Kuhn, current Acting II student and Drama Club Vice President. Students other than seniors, who would like to perform in school productions can take Acting next year, perform in the play and enhance their acting skills. “The combination of the play and class will add a new dimension to the acting class and will allow for a fantastic school play without too much of an extracurricular commitment of the actors,” said senior Josh Cohen, who performed in The Diary of Anne Frank and is in his second year of acting. Whether it is the Spring Play, one-act productions, clever monologues, or dramatic scenes, Ron Huizing MVHS’s acting teacher, and his group of thespians are something everyone at MVHS should go see.
Freestyle mid-year exhibition
by Bernadette Hsu
Senior Megan Conville “The end part when [the performance] all comes together, and the delivery of the Valentines are really fun.”
On February 3rd, Mountain View High School’s Freestyle students held an exhibition at the Computer History Museum, located on Shoreline Boulevard. Students displayed their time and effort giving others the chance to admire their projects consisting of surrealist art, music videos, animation, and narrative films. “The exhibition is a nice final ‘sum up’ of all the work we have done in the last unit. Everyone can view and appreciate each other’s final products,” senior Blake Thiessen said. “From a non-freestyler’s perspective, participating in an exhibition means a lot of good food and cool and semi-professional-looking [artwork] to look at done by your freestyle friends.”
Ballet’s struggle for survival in the modern world Modern society’s lack of appreciation for ballet uncovered: when will we all finally get the pointe?
I’m wondering just how many of you skimmed over this page, saw its headlines, and found the Singing Valentines event information you were in search of. Maybe some of you quickly glanced to see “Competing for Superior at the CMEA Festival” and figured you’d rather move on to page 11. That’s understandable, and in fact, I don’t blame you. Who wants to read about something that was developed during the time of King Louis XIV? But for those who decided to read further along, you are among the minority of students interested in what is becoming of the art of ballet. The appreciation for ballet is slowly disappearing, compared to the times when being cultured meant attending the theater and listening to the symphony. Today, most minds are surrounded by vast media and social networking — media that does very little to incorporate classical ballet. Mainstream television dance shows do a wonderful job of displaying the most talented hip-hop and contemporary dancers with a click of our remote controls. Reality dance shows make dance an exciting form of entertainmen — but where is the ballet? Gradually, we see dance as more for entertainment rather than art. “Reality dance TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with the Stars, and Live to Dance are only exposing people to the commercial side of
dance, rather than the classical ballet and modern company based side that are the core elements of dance,” said Dance Spectrum President Senior Lauren Kato. While ballet is unseen by the public on a weekly basis, people tend to forget about its beauty. “Since most people don’t realize what it takes to be a ballerina, the appreciation for the art is being lost,” said Kato. Despite the underappreciation of ballet, Kanye West’s Runaway music video succeeded in sparking the interests of many. The video featured ballet dancers in black tutus and pointe shoes, dancing in contemporary choreography. “[Runaway] made people notice that it can be interesting and that it is unspeakably beautiful.It showed that ballet exists in the modern world... and produce really cool results,” said junior Emily Dietz. The non-classical approach to ballet in the music video was able to capture the audience, in ways tedious ballet performances may lack for a modern audience. If you can actually get someone to go to a ballet, sit down and watch with an open mind, generally they will be awed. “What ballet dancers do looks simultaneously effortless and impossible,” said Dietz. However, there’s a bit of a stigma about the ballet world. Ballet dancers are often viewed as snobby, and now, thanks to Black
by Katherine Pantangco
Swan, anorexic psychos. “Ballet itself is often considered boring, and to be honest, a couple of the classic ballets, if done wrong, can indeed become tedious to watch. Ballet is less appreciated nowadays because of the idea that it is boring and unchanging,” said Dietz. From a ballet dancer’s point of view, ballet hasn’t changed. Taking a class, rehearsing backstage and performing still give most dancers the thrill of a lifetime. “No matter how long you’ve danced for, no matter how hard you’ve worked, there’s still something that can be improved. It keeps things from getting boring,” said Dietz. The gorgeous extensions, focus and elegance are what make ballet never-dying, no matter the lack of appreciation — that’s why it’s classic. Its strong fundamentals allow one to succeed in all branches of dance. It has a discipline that no other type of dance has. It has tradition. Indeed, the typical ballet dancer wouldn’t have it any other way but to take their classes and perform. It’s the audience that has changed. Too many individuals see ballet as playtime for a little girl wearing a fluffy pink tutu, circling around herself, dreaming that one day she’ll become a princess. It’s the audience that can’t get past a ballerina’s flawless extensions to find the astonishing athleticism achieved behind the curtain.
Photo courtesy of Emily Dietz Graphic by Kelly Magruder
Competing for Superior at the CMEA Festival
In am or
On February 4th, Mountain View High School’s Jazz Bands participated in the California Music Educators Association Festival to be evaluated by a set of adjudicators to determine the band’s understanding of the musical styles and techniques. The CMEA Festival is meant to critique jazz bands across Bay Area high schools. The MVHS Jazz Bands, which practicesduring zero period, have been rigorously preparing for this festival since the Marching Band season came to a close in late November. With a total of about seven weeks of practice, the band members eagerly await the festival. After practicing for nearly two months for this
event, one can imagine that all the members of the bands are anticipating the big day. “I am completely psyched about the competition and can’t wait to compete with very capable and special fellow musicians. We are all very excited,” said sophomore Caelan Conant. The bands are looking forward to this event not only because they have been working tediously for a long time, but also because this is a chance to bond with other Jazz Band members. “I think we are playing very well and will have an exciting set… It is always fun to perform and of course we want to play well, but mostly we want to hear what the adjudicators have to say to enhance our future performances,” Director Robin Kramer said. The CMEA Festival is a great way for the MVHS Jazz Bands to appreciate the music from other schools and to improve on their own music, based off of comments from the adjudicators. Studio 501 Big Band Director Jason Kneebone explained, “I always welcome
the feedback from the judges to further the learning of the group. Unlike Jazz Band, who participates in a Sight Reading component (playing through a brand new piece of music), we get to have a clinician work with us for 20 minutes and highlight some areas for improvement.” The Studio 501 Big Band is performing the songs “Otra Vez,” “After Hours,” and “Summertime,” which features senior Jenny Payne on vocals. MVHS’s other jazz band, coordinated by Kramer, is playing “Groovin’ Hard,” “Cry Me a River,” and, “Backrow Politics.” Going into the competition, the Jazz Band members individually have similar emotions. “I usually get a bit nervous going into any performance but when we’re finally on stage and the band is playing, it’s fine because I almost get to be an audience member,” said Kneebone. Head Director, Robin Kramer takes a complementary stance. “I don’t know what our overall scores will look like, but we hope to achieve superior ratings,” said Kram-
er. After working so hard for a little over two months, the Jazz Bands deserve nothing more than excellent ratings. “Because most of us are not new to the ensemble setting, I do not think any of us are feeling nervous… I try to approach it as a performance, not an adjudication. It’s much more fun that way!” explained senior Tamaki Ueno. The CMEA Jazz Festival is going to be exciting and worthwhile for all the bands involved. “Enjoying the music is really important to me and I feel like this year’s play list is great and our band is awesome as well. I think we can really go far this year,” said senior Daniel Won. The entire event is meant to improve the musical skills of high school jazz band students through hard work and pay off. “Now that is nervewracking, but it is also the true assessment of our learning to be musicians,” explained Kramer. The Jazz Bands are sure to excel, and MVHS cheers for their success.
Entertainment A magnifying corner for student artists and bands
Nate Martinez; Doin’ His Thing
Editor: Camille Sanchez de la Vega Asst. Editor: Kevin Troxell
2010 Albums: Remembered
2011 Albums: Anticipated
by Kevin Troxell
Kanye West: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Kanye West & Jay-Z:Watch the Throne Both Kanye West and Jay-Z had huge albums in 2008 and 2010 such as “Graduation” and “The Blueprint 3,” and now are working a collaborative album for early 2011. They released their single H-A-M which will be one of the five songs West says will make the album. Although the album is reported to only be five songs, it’s an album you will not want to miss because of the critical acclaim both West and Jay-Z have received in recent years.
Release Date: March 1st
Antwon Andre Patton, also known as Big Boi, released his first solo album after stepping away from his former duo Outkast. Like Outkast, Patton received much critical acclaim. The album made Allmusic’s list of Top 2010 Albums and was also Number 21 on Rolling Stones Best Albums of 2010 list.
Gwen Stefani returned to her former group after releasing several independent albums. The album’s sound should resonate the groups renowned ska and pop-punk vibe similar to previous albums “No Doubt” and “Tragic Kingdom.”
Release Date: TBA by Michelle Rubinstein Judging by the size of the narrow, technology adorned, irresistibly comfortable recording studio, nobody would ever have guessed just how much personality could fit in that one cozy room. Nate Martinez, senior at Mountain View High School and student at Freestyle Academy of Communication Arts and Technology, welcomed me into the Freestyle recording studio to introduce Oracle readers and myself to his life, his passion--his music. “Music is pretty much a medium of expression for anything I’m feeling,” said Martinez. “It’s sort of an escape because school doesn’t really allow flexibility for creative arts. Freestyle helps me a lot with that.” Beginning his musical career in fourth grade as a drummer in the hopes of becoming a rockstar, Martinez has since progressed. “I started playing with Reason a little over a year ago,” said Martinez of the musical computer program introduced to him by Freestyle. He began by creating his own instrumentals; “This was pretty much half of what rapping is all about, so I’ll just do the other half too,” said Martinez. “That was the first time I started composing music, besides drumming, and at first it was a struggle because I don’t play keyboard. It was just a lot of luck at the beginning, but now I’ve gotten it down to a science.” Attitude seems to influence this artist’s thoughts, actions and tracks. “I’m really about the attitude behind hip-hop--of expression and unity,” said Martinez. However, he is shamelessly more fond of the old school than the new school. “The old school stuff is just about expression, truthfulness, trying to reach out and appreciate one another, and the sentiments that are behind everything. The funny thing is that I used to listen to death metal, but now I just listen to hip-hop.” Though Martinez’s outlook on life and musical taste has become more relaxed, his lyrics continue to embody his emotions, “the lifestyle that [he] is a part of, and the attitude that [his] friends and [he] uphold,” often resulting in explicit wording. These lyrics, however, are inspired by the instrumentals, which always come first due to the fact that Martinez comes from the musical
and production side of hip-hop rather than the lyrical one. “It all starts behind a computer,” he said. To create an album, Martinez must first fiddle around on a keyboard with different instruments and notes until arriving at the perfect riff. From there, he builds on it to create a chorus and then reorganizes the chorus, adding and deducting, to form the verses. “I listen to it over and over and keep thinking about what it makes me feel like,” said Martinez. “Then I take that one concept that I can put my finger on and write a whole song about that.” Using this key idea, he orders the verses and choruses by energy, puts the beats into ProTools at Freestyle, records the vocals over the beats and edits the track. After repeating this several times, creating an album-“Now what do I do? Take a picture, edit it, slap some text on it, album cover! Simple,” he states, slapping the back of his hand. Finally, Martinez is able to post his album online, which technically copyrights his material automatically. “It’s a process,” he finished. Though he has not reached the performing stage of his career just yet, Martinez plans to look into snatching gigs and further promoting his music. Meanwhile, he continues to produce tracks for himself and his friends because, “if you make a song that you like just as much as the music that you keep waiting for artists to put out, then one--you’re saving yourself tons of money, and two--you can just keep making good music for yourself.” As for advice for his fellow students, Martinez couldn’t help himself from beginning on a fervent rant: “Do your thing. Don’t do other people’s thing. There are a lot of people doing other people’s things. That’s part of the reason why I’m so heated at Snoop Dogg right now. He’s not doing his thing--he’s doing Akon’s thing.” In order to veer away from the path that Snoop Dogg seems to be headed down, Martinez simply says, “don’t stop dreaming. Too many people get complacent and say, ‘My parents want me to do this so badly, so I might as well just do it and have my freetime later.’ It doesn’t have to be like that. You can keep dreaming and have your work be your freetime.”
Inside Rave Doors by Katie Inamori
The newfound weekend activity is teen raving. Raves such as the 2010 POP held in the Cow Palace, ending in arrests, death and controversy, are peaking student interests. From the public perspective, raves are assumed to house physical danger in respect to alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and even stabbings such as those that occured at Plurfest, held in San Jose. However, to teens, raves are giant dance parties consisting of safer ways to have fun. According to the 2002 Rave Regulation Bill passed in California, a rave application must be submitted and permitted by local law enforcement, thereby consisting of heavy security, and in turn, helping keep teens off the streets in the night. Beginning in the 1950’s, raves were
known as Bohemian parties of the beatnik fast paced electronic music and live performances. The term, however, is used as a provocative verb today. “Raving,” consists of new trends such as, “gloving” or “light shows.” Ravers have knit gloves that contain lights at the finger tips. By “gracefully moving the fingers and hands,” performers create a visual lights’ show which can be “pretty sick.” These lightshows “take practice” as said by a few Mountain View High School students that devote some free time practicing the art. Along with lightshows, raver’s participate in the trend of “plurring”, asking one another, “You tryna plur?” Bracelets made of plastic beads called “kandi” are worn so they can be traded or “plurred,” said a raver, thus exchanging “peace, love, unity, and respect.”
While Kanye West did not face the same consumer response he received on his album “Graduation,” he was exceedinly praised by critics on his album “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.” Several lists such as Rolling Stones listed West’s album as the Best Album of 2010, and some may argue this album marked his comeback after a mediocre album: “808’s & Heartbreak.” Tracks to listen to are “All of the Lights,” “Monster”, and “Dark Fantasy”.
Big Boi: Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
No Doubt: Title TBA
photo courtesy of Nathan Martinez
Avril Lavigne: Goodbye Lullaby Judging from her single “What the Hell,” Avril Lavigne is stepping away from the pop-rock style she portrayed in her previous albums, “Let Go” and “Under My Skin.” Her album will most likely be highly auto tuned, and have choruses that will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day.
Mumford and Sons: Sigh No More
Release Date: March 8th Yellowcard:When You’re Through Thinking Say Yes Another group returning from a break-up, Yellowcard has already released a single called “You and Your Denial”, which sounds similar to their music from previous albums “Paper Walls” and “Ocean Avenue.” The group sticks to their pop-rock sound and you’ll probably hear a lot of instrumentals similar to the violin in the song “Rock Star Land” on the album “One For the Kids.” Release
The quartet from London sticks to their folk-rock roots in their albums “Sigh No More.” Although their album was released in early 2010, it failed to immediately gain popularity in the U.S. until late 2010. The group is most well known for their hit “Little Lion Man;” however, other tracks to look back on are “The Cave”, “Winter Winds”, and “Awake My Soul”.
Sleigh Bells: Treats Influenced by M.I.A., Sleigh Bells produced their first studio album “Treats”, which reflects M.I.A.’s electronic, distorted beats. The album received critical claim, and their song “Kids” is featured on a commercial for the MTV show “Skins”.
Date: March 22nd
Disclaimer: Album released dates are subject to change
photos courtesy of www.flickr.com
graphics compiled by Kevin Troxell
Freestyle Films, From Start to Finish by Rachel Jue
Since the beginning of the school year, Freestyle Academy students have been given the opportunity to create their own films in preparation for an exhibition on February 3rd. With creative freedom, Mountain View High School and Los Altos HIgh School students are able to explore topics of interest derived from various forms of inspiration. Seniors Catherine Halliday and Sierra Hackney-Miller of MVHS are working on “Home in Savannah”—“about a very creative girl, Felicity, who is obsessed with her picture-perfect past where she lived in Savannah, Georgia,” said Halliday. Explaining the theme of her film, Halliday explains, “we…look back on our past and remember how happy we were—I wanted to capture that.” From ideation of characters in August 2010 to filming since November 2010, Halliday and Miller have filmed over 180 minutes of footage for a ten minute film. “It’s always great to see the final product after months of work,” said Halliday.
Sarinas and Grabowski shooting their film on set.
Screen shot of Halliday and Hackney-Miller’s film.
These trends are virtually harmless, while other trends have put raves on the line for banishment. “Raves are a statewide problem and require a state-wide approach,” State Assemblywoman Fiona Ma said in a statement e-mailed to the press. “It’s time that the legislature says enough is enough and provide law enforcement with the tools to shut down events that have displayed a pattern of fostering youth drug use.” Centered on the fight to eliminate a home for youth drug abuse, the war to ban raves in California has been brutal. Sparked by the death of a 15-year-old girl who overdosed on Ecstasy at the Electric Daisy Carnival in June, AB 74 or the Anti-Raves Act of 2011 could potentially create controversy in Los Angeles. In spite of this, MVHS students have mixed feelings--some agree, while others whole-heartedly support the ban on raves.
photo courtesy of Katie Halliday
photo courtesy of Mica Sarinas
Juniors Mica Sarinas and Frank Grabowski are collaborating to create a film about a girl who’s rumored to be a lesbian, and is being bullied as a result. This film is based on the endless cycle of bullying and “if one person doesn’t change, it will continue over and over again,” said Sarinas. Although the filming was quick—Sarinas and Grabowski finished in four days—logging the clips, or capturing the clips on the computer, was a tedious process. “Editing was a blast,” said Sarinas. “Just to see one scene come together was amazing.”
Humor & Games Dictators join eHarmony frenzy by Nick Forell
Valentine’s Day advice from the Oracle
How would you describe yourself? I think of myself as a very stylish, athletic young man, and when the time is right, a sexy individual who knows what’s right from wrong. Boy, do I know how to throw a party... How satisfied are you with your physical appearance? My great-grandfather used to say that shouting endless verbose accusations at people is the best way to stay in shape. So to answer that question, I’d consider myself pretty fit ;) How important is it that your partner be physically attractive? Normally, I would say a leader should take pride in an attractive wife, but since I’m quite sneaky photo courtesy of ABC News when it comes to public appearances I don’t mind giving up looks for total and complete willingness to do everything I say. =D How important is your match’s religion or spirituality to you? Ha ha ha. See? I can laugh. You sir are quite the comedian! Look out ladies, Kimmy just arrived. What are some of your hobbies? Organizing all North Koreans to perform rituals around solid gold statues of my head. Okay you caught me, the statues are only marble. What kind of music do you listen to? I just love the Lady Gaga. She just knows how to express herself! And with my new law, I’m the only man in the great nation of North Korea who can listen to her music!
How would you describe yourself? I am an epic person. Fortunately for those around me, I find myself posing for hours at a time so that others can see me in all my shining glory. How satisfied are you with your physical appearance? In my portraits or in person? How important is it that your partner be physically attractive? Well, I tend to spend a lot of my time on reclusive islands. As long as my partner’s personality can keep me entertained for 40-plus years of solitude, appearance doesn’t matter. How important is your match’s religion or spirituality to you? I am French, and if she is French, religion does not belong on the table. What are some of your hobbies? Taking over countries, hanging out on deserted islands. The usual. What kind of music do you listen too? DJ Wacky Wack has some amazing tracks that really help me focus.
Do you have trouble talking to the opposite sex? Does it trouble you the way others can pick up dates with apparent ease? As Valentine’s Day approaches, we all should have a special friend, but finding one can be difficult. These tips on flirting are sure to help Cupid shoot an arrow for you, and you don’t even have to say a word.
This is an easy, simple flirtation device that has no tricks involved—all you need are two pairs of eyes: yours and your target’s. First, simply stare at your target for at least two minutes. Your target will begin to feel awkward and will look back at you. That is your chance to begin flirtation. Once eye contact is made, raise your eyebrows at them so they know you’re staring at them and not someone else. Then glare. Mission accomplished.
by Naib Mian
things like “poking” them and sending them cryptic messages through their “Honesty Box” or possibly even their Formspring.
For Guys: “The Flex”
This tip is for the guys out there. For this technique, you need to first make sure the target is looking at you. Cross your arms like you are pouting. This can really make things romantic with the strong emotion. Then start rubbing
“The Social Network”
For this next technique, you don’t even need to be near the person. As technology evolves, there romantic trend is moving toward social networking. Make sure you are friends with your target on “Facebook.” Go to their profile and “like” all of their posts. This shows your target that you are interested. The more you are present on the
WARNING: This is a very advanced step that may not be suitable for those who have weak hearts. Before making this move, be absolutely sure that your target has just the slightest interest in you. If not, your target may be freaked out and will never speak to you again. For this technique, make sure your target is looking at you, then lick your lips. The trick to this move is making sure your tongue slides along your lips. Once you stick your tongue out, you need to start licking your lips immediately, otherwise it may seem like you are just sticking your tongue out at them. This is a traditional flirtatious
photo by Naib Mian
your biceps like you are feeling how strong they are. It may sound like you got an ego, but girls like overly confident men. The next step is important. As your rub your arms, spontaneously, for just a couple seconds at a time, lift up your arms and flex. It’s smooth and exciting!
For Girls: “The Lip Gloss”
photo by Naib Mian
target’s wall, the greater your chances of getting your special friend. Make sure not to comment though, because that may make you look like a stalker. Stick to the “likes.” If you want to get that extra “umph” though, you can try
This one’s for the ladies. To attract that guy you’re looking for, lip gloss can be really helpful. It’s always been known that using cosmetic products is a flirtatious sign, so take advantage of that. Start by rubbing lip gloss on your lips as your target watches. Start slowly, but at some points, randomly speed up, adding excitement! After your lips, continue onto the rest of the face. Cheeks, eyes, ears, go wild with the lip gloss. It shows that you are willing to be unique for your special friend.
The American New Year’s Resolution by Alex Farrales
Make your own Love / Breakup Letter
person in room
While most people would tell you to wink seductively, you must wink at a regular pace and put on a smile. But this Valentine’s 2011, there’s a new trend in seductive winking. This technique can be a bit tricky though because it involves holding the wink. Tightly shut both of your eyes as you wink for at least three to five seconds. Polls show that people have begun to interpret smiles, not as affectionate, but as awkward and sympathetic. So instead of smiling as you wink, tighten your cheek muscles and show your teeth. That lets your target know that you secretly want them.
How would you describe yourself? I would consider myself a little on the strict side, although I know how to get down and funky. I’m a big dancer too. How satisfied are you with your physical appearance? I think my mustache is quite compelling. I’ve also been told that when people look into my eyes they collapse. :) How important is it that your partner be physically attractive? No grenades. That is all. I’ve dealt with too many of those this generation. How important is your match’s religion or spirituality to you? Look, heh heh, I really, really don’t want to have problems with “you-know-who” invading Russia... Let’s just say that I’m intolerant.
Dear ____________________, can’t
photo by Naib Mian
What are some of your hobbies? I love Pinning-the-Tail-on-the-French. That game is so addicting! What kind of music do you listen too? John Lenin.
move, but this year, if you are feeling up to it, try spicing it up a bit. Wave your tongue around as you lick your lips. This will show that you’re interested, and also that you’re unique and special.
photo courtesy of Napoleon’s Blog
How to flirt silently
Kim Jong Il:
photo courtesy of Wordpress
Editor: Ben Garber Asst. Editor: Naib Mian
by Sheila Ahi
Dear _______________________, person in room
Directions: Fill in the blanks with the part of speech written below the lines. The Oracle is not responsible for results of your use of these fill-in-the-blank letters.
____________________I have ever seen. An angel, the same one who _______________________ you
You have the most __________________________ adjective
part of body
You send me texts every ______ minutes, asking me
“who I’m with” and “where I am.” Whenever you
Every time I see your ________________, I want to
My love for you is like a(n) ___________________
from heaven, must have _______________________
__________________ me, you never ask me about how
____________________ you. How could you cheat on
___________________. I become ________________
your face. I love how your eyes are the epitome of
my day was. And you’re so ____________________;
me with ____________________? Do you know how
when I ________________ your __________________
______________________. They glow like pools of
remember when you saw a picture of me at that
much I _________________________ you? We were
aroma from across the classroom. I’ve texted you
____________________. I wrote a song for you, it’s
____________________ on _______________book of
supposed to get married in ______________________
_______ times, but you haven’t responded yet. I’m too
about all about the _____________________ things
me __________________ with my _______________
at __________________________. We were supposed
____________________ to call you. Remember when
you do that I go _____________________ for. I’ve
and you reacted by ______________________ your
to have _________ kids, and name our youngest one
I ____________________ you to your house and you
been watching you for __________days, and I don’t
______________________ out of your window? We
________________. But I guess you weren’t getting
______________________ to call the police? Oh, the
know what I’d do without the school handbook, lad-
need to end this; I’m breaking up with you.
enough out of our relationship. We’re over, forever!
memories we share together. Please be mine?
ders and your bedroom window.
part of body
verb ending in -ing
verb ending in -ing
Goodbye, Your ex, _____________________ person in room
person in room
part of body
person in room verb
state or country
specific location in that state or country large number
verb (past tense)
person in room
type of animal
verb (past tense)
verb (past tense)
With no love from,
Your ex, ___________________
Your math partner, ___________________
person in room
verb (past tense)
person in room
Your silent lover, ______________ person in room
Humor & Games
Doctors prescribe stress to MVHS students by Kate Uyeda
strict scheduling, the epidemic has propagated within the MVHS community. According to nine out of ten doctors, the best way to
of the Neurology Department at Sacred Thumb Hospital in Sunnyvale. Wayssad recWith the start of the second semester, linommends that students should immediately gering excitement from Winter Ball and increase the amount of stress in the anticipation of upcoming Valentine’s their lives. Day, a grave epidemic has afflicted the There is an inverse relationship Mountain View High School student between happiness and stress—if body—happiness. students are very stressed out, This condition, known to the medithey are unhappy, and vice versa. cal community as trulia euphoricia, is a Data charting these trends is most serious problem in the MVHS environconcerning for freshmen, who ment. Symptoms of happiness include have the lowest levels of stress smiling, laughing and a general posiand highest levels of happiness tive attitude. This epidemic is toxic to out of all high school grades. the school environment—instead of This trend concerns the adminisbeing miserable and solely immersed tration because Freshman year is in their studies, students are enthusiastia period of important growth. cally pursuing extracurricular activities The best way for students to feed their happiness infection. These to increase their stress levels is decreased levels of misery are dangerprocrastination. The results of ous to a successful school community, procrastination—decreased sleep encouraging students to explore fun exphoto by Chloe Tarrasch and poorly executed work—can tracurricular activities rather than focus MIRACLE CURE: Nine out of ten doctors say that Stress™ is the best increase students’ stress for days cure for rising happiness levels. on academics. even if they only procrastinated for Over the past few years, there has been combat this infectious happiness is stress. one night! Teachers can aid their students an increase in student happiness. Despite “Stress has been shown to significantly de- against happiness by assigning ridiculous teacher and parent efforts to diminish stu- crease levels of happiness, especially in high amounts of homework and coordinating dents’ morale through heavy homework and school students,” said Dr. Al Wayssad, Head with other teachers to assign multiple tests
The Oracle’s relationships advice column
Dear Margaret, Something’s wrong. I was on a date with my girlfriend today, and it was going pretty well. We were at this cute café downtown, and we were sipping our coffees and talking. I told her that she looked nice in a pair of jeans she was wearing, and she responded by telling me to stop trying to get into her pants. I have no idea why she was acting so weird. Something must be going wrong, but I don’t know how to ask. From SUFFERING IN SAN JOSE Dear Suffering, Thank you for your clear explanation. Your girlfriend seems to be exhibiting the symptoms of the Punctum Diligo (roughly translates to “slightly peeved girlfriend”) Virus. This is an infection that can be disastrous if not fought immediately. Tell your girlfriend that she has a problem and that she definitely needs to go see a psychiatrist because she’s acting crazy. Margaret Dear Margaret, My boyfriend spends too much time on Facebook! I know that there are many people who have this problem, but my boyfriend is much worse than your average Facebook addict. He spends hours each day on dumb Facebook quiz apps and commenting on how good his friends look in photos, and sometimes it seems he spends more time with his computer than he spends with me. What should I do? From FACEBOOK HATING IN HELENA Dear HATING, I hear about this situation a lot, especially among white men. The leading theory is that Fa-
by Ben Garber
cebook addiction is caused by a trend in which athleticism is replaced with vanity. Need for selfvalidation leads these teenage boys to comment on their friends’ photos, calling each other “sooooo handsome” or “absolute stud” so that their friends will compliment them in return. What you need to focus on in solving this problem is reminding him that you’re more important to him than his facebook—threats and removal of privileges make great incentives. Margaret Dear Margaret, I thought that my relationship was going alright, but just recently my boyfriend has started acting funny. He spends a lot of time on the internet, but it isn’t a Facebook addiction and he doesn’t seem to be chatting with another girl. He seems to be spending his time on Wikipedia and watching obscure Dolly Parton movies. I’m not worried that he’s cheating on me, but I think that he might have a celebrity crush—on someone in her 60s! From SHOCKED IN SHAN DIEGO Dear SHOCKED, This isn’t as big a problem as you might think it is because clearly your boyfriend is thinking of Dolly Parton as she was when she acted. Not that a thirty-something year old Dolly Parton isn’t too old for your boyfriend. Anyway, you need to remember that the best way to disillusion your boyfriend is to convince him that you’re much more attractive than she is now. Find some new photos of Dolly Parton to show him, and you’ll be set. Margaret
and projects due on the same day. Students can further increase their stress levels by taking both a zero period and a seventh period.
before finals. Parents, to avoid your child contracting happiness, increase the amount of academic pressure on your child by forcing them to take AP/Honors courses or grounding them until they pick their grades up. Lastly, good friends don’t let their friends be happy. Help your friends combat happiness by randomly refusing to talk to them, or by hiding their phones in unexpected places, such as refrigerators or their siblings’ rooms. Happiness is a serious disease that, once contracted, is very difficult to cure. The administration and school community are doing everything in their power to destroy this photo by Chloe Tarrasch contagious glee. Luckily for CONTAGION SPREADS: Dr. Al Wayssad warns of happiness contagion. you happy people out there, the Similarly, parents can increase pressure on “stress method” is an effective, scientificallytheir children by adding additional chores proven treatment that should eradicate every and taking their kids out of school for days last germ of happiness in your body. “One at a time for tedious family reunions with thing students should absolutely avoid,” Dr. senile grandparents and nosy aunts. For Al Wayssad continued, “is eating chocoadditional stress, plan these reunions right late—that really makes people happy.”
What’s that stand for? An acronym guide by Kelly Nee
Hearing that 78% of the student population at Mountain View High School did not know what CEO meant, the Oracle editorial board grew concerned. For your convenience, here’s a primer to help you figure out the most common vocational acronyms you’ll encounter. CEO: crazy elf orthodontist EMT: elephants making trombones CIA: coleslaw imbibing astronaut ER: entomological rapper MD: marriage dietician MVP: miniature Virginian persimmons CHP: cannon-balling high priests FBI: flaming brass igloo-makers
DEA: doctor of educating animals COO: consultant for obstinate octopi CFO: crispy fried otter VP: vogue Pokémon MC: meatloaf counselor DJ: dancing Jell-o PI: pet icicle PA: punctual alligator
Presidents Crossword: Across: 1. Ulysses S. Grant Ronald Reagan Disclaimer: Aside from games, all articles on this page 4. 5. Dwight Eisenhower are fictitious. Except for celebrities and/or the faculty and admin8. Barack Obama istration of Mountain View High School, characters are not intend10. Abraham Lincoln ed to resemble actual people. All quotes on this page are fake.
Down: 2. Thomas Jefferson 3. Jimmy Carter 6. George Washington 7. George W. Bush 9. Harry S. Truman
CIEE Gap Year & High School Abroad
language / culture / challenge
See the world for yourself!
President’s Day Crossword by Jasmine Tekiyeh
Across: 1. This president had a superstition of retracing his steps and could not stand the sight of blood despite having been a general in the Civil War. 4. This president kept a jar of jelly beans in the Oval Office. Before becoming president, he had been an actor and the Governor of California.
Lashes.” He passed controversial legislation reforming health care. 10. This president was a skilled wrestler and was exceptional at handling an axe. He was the president who created a national banking system and started Reconstruction.
5. This president always carried three coins in his pocket for good luck. He ended the Korean War.
2. This president was a vegetarian who loved green peas, leading him to cultivate a wide variety of pea plants. He commissioned the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
8. This president worked in Baskin-Robbins as a teenager and once had the nickname “Curly
3. This president could read almost 2000 words per minute and ran a peanut farm. He was presi-
dent during the Iranian Hostage Crisis and was a strong advocate of human rights. 6. This president grew marijuana on his farm in Mount Vernon. He led the Continental Army during the American Revolution. 7. This president headed the cheerleading team at his high school. As president he launched the War on Terrorism and signed the PATRIOT Act into law. 9. He was the first president who gave a speech on television, and his middle initial doesn’t stand for anything. He was president when the United Nations and NATO were created.
australia / brazil / chile / china / costa rica dominican republic / france / germany ireland / italy / japan / spain
Editor: Sophie Ho Asst. Editor: Gabriel Quintela
CATCH THAT TEACHER!
by Naib Mian and Kate Uyeda
by Ryan Baer
Suvrath Penmetcha ‘13
Students assume their teachers have no lives outside of school, and that they are solely on this planet to teach. It’s no stretch for a kid to think that while he or she is running around on the soccer field after school; their teachers could only be grading papers or planning the agenda for the next class. However, it may surprise students to know that their teachers are not too different from themselves after all, and are breaking a sweat just like they are at soccer practice. Several teachers at Mountain View High School train for and participate in marathons.
junior varsity boys basketball
photo courtesy of Mr. Marroquin
Mr. Marroquin is no stranger to the marathon. In training, he averages between 70 to 90 miles per week. “It’s such a great release, physically and emotionally, from elation to pain, but in the end, knowing that you have accomplished such an intense physical task is a feeling like no other,” said Marroquin. He stresses the importance of smart running and not pushing oneself too much. “Over training has caused me some injuries, so I need to be more cautious and train smarter,” said Marroquin. For students who are interested in running marathons, Marroquin advises that they start slow and maybe run with a friend, and that one should give themselves one to two years of full training before they attempt a full marathon. Yet, there are shorter races like a 5K, a 10K, and a half marathon that you can do beforehand. “Running gives me great energy and the feeling that I can accomplish anything. In fact, I’m not sure how I would get by without it,” Marroquin said.
photo courtesy of Naib Mian
Years Played: 6 Motivation: “I love to play. It’s fun. It’s the first sport I ever played.” Favorite Memory: “My teammate Corey made two free throws to force overtime against Westmoor.” Sophomore Sammy Khidir: “Suvrath deserves to be a Super Spartan because of his commitment and dedication on and off the court. In practice, he works hard and is a role model for other teammates on the team, and not to mention he is one of the nicest guys on the team, he does everything and that’s why we call him, ‘Super Suvrath.’" Coach Tino Mendoza: “Suvrath is a heck of an athlete and works hard in the classroom. He carries a 3.8 GPA and is part of a first place basketball team. He has a great work ethic, is very coachable and never complains about anything that I have ever asked from him.”
Taylor Hall ‘13 Mr. Marroquin running in the NY marathon
junior varsity girls basketball photo courtesy of Naib Mian
Years Played: 4 Motivation: “My motivation in basketball is to play as hard as I can and to make my mom proud of me. Favorite Memory: “My favorite memory from this year is beating Saint Francis in overtime by four points!” Sophomore Synnova Bjerke: “Taylor definitely deserves to be Super Spartan because she is a fantastic team player and a leader for the JV team. She is always positive and makes everyone better just by her presence. Everyone on the team looks up to her, including myself. She is a very devoted team player. We all love her. On top of that she is a phenomenal player, and we can all count on her when we need her.” Coach Susan Imai: “Taylor has proven to be a leader on the court. She is working hard and learning how to be aggressive with control. She is our top defensive player.”
Mrs. Gabriel has what it takes when it comes to marathon running, staying dedicated to a demanding workout schedule six days a week. Her typical week includes cross training on Monday, warm up runs and sprints on Tuesday, a short run on Wednesday, cross training on Thursday, a medium run on Friday, and a long run on Saturday which amounts up to about ten hours a week. “I like to run because I am thankful for my health and ability to push my body to its full capacity,” said Gabriel. “Some days the runs are super hard and you don't feel very good. On long run days it can be challenging because you have to be mindful of timing, how much and when you eat, how you recover, and that can be a challenge because it is very time consuming.” However, Gabriel is never let down at the end of a run.
photo courtesy of Mrs. Gabriel
Mrs. Gabriel (right) and Ms. Price at a marathon.
The “wonder” of Wii Fit a satire by Francis Sullivan
junior varisty boys soccer photo courtesy of Kate Uyeda
Years Played: 10 Motivation: “It’s really fun and interesting; it never gets boring.” Memory: “The game against Saratoga where we were tied 2-2 and Josue magically jumped into the air, scored a bicycle kick, and put us into the lead.” Traditions: “I listen to ‘pump-up’ music before a game.” Sophomore Jeffrey Xie: “He is a really hard worker, he makes life easier for us on the field. He always makes the right decision on the field.” Coach Aldo Quesada: “He’s so positive, friendly, welcoming, and always wants to play better. His heart is into the game and gives everything when he’s playing.”
The Wii Fit and Xbox Kinect are two of the most popular gaming peripherals. With such immersive activities such as sitting on a couch pretending to paddle a canoe and move your hands in a circular motion in the air to simulate bicycling, it’s coming to the point where these high tech gaming consoles will soon make physical activities obsolete. The Wii Fit and Microsoft Kinect immerse their players in a virtual world by translating the movements of the player into the video game. The Kinect game Dance Central converts sloppy movements done in your underwear in front of the TV into complicated and intricate dance moves on screen. The aim of this is to make players feel like they’re actually in a club cha-cha dancing to pounding beats and pulsating lights. It’s completely immersive except the parts with the lights, beat, club, and friends. By using hand
Abby Cuniff ‘13
motions to simulate real world interactions, Microsoft and Nintendo have perfectly portrayed the tactile grip of pulling the string back on a bow and sending an arrow flying into a distant target, assuming you don’t know what string or wood actually feels like. Customer Ned Needham raves “Wii Sports has taught me so much about biking. Moving my hands in a circle to pedal and tilting them to turn has perfectly emulated biking. It feels just like the real thing, or at least I assume it does as I have absolutely no understanding of how a bike works.” Another amazing advantage to the virtual system is that skills picked up in the game often translate into real world talent. Tiger Woods is known to have picked up his skills in both golf and sick club dancing moves from video games. Even if you don’t want to move outside of the comfort of the video game, if you concentrate hard enough, you can pretend that the attractive, coordinated character in the TV is you. It sure beats going to a gym and becoming attractive and coordinated for real. The Wii Fit is also known to have dramatically decreased America’s obesity problem. Customer reviews include “I tried Weight Watchers, the gym, personal trainers, and more, but I could never get rid of my muffin-top. The Wii Fit changed my life completely, after weeks of endlessly pretending to hula-hoop,
junior varisty girls soccer photo courtesy of Kate Uyeda
Years Played: 9 Motivation: “I like playing soccer because [of how the team works together]. I rely on them and they rely on me.” Memory: “My favorite memories are on the bus going [to games], that’s when everyone always becomes really good friends.” Traditions: “I always put 24 icecubes in my water bottle before a game.” Sophomore Alicia De Geus: “She’s really positive and encouraging. [Abby] really loves soccer and you can tell.” Coach Kent Fogleman: “Her leadership, work ethic and dedication inspire us to be a more focused, better team.”
continued on page 15 graphic courtesy of Francis Sullivan
Kirsten Belinsky has been recruited by Brown University to play for their Division I team. Although being recruited was something that Belinsky started thinking about in her freshman year, it became a big possibility when she joined a new club team at the end of her sophomore year. She played in multiple college showcase tournaments and had to research schools in order to pick those she was interested in, asked coaches to come watch tournaments, visit campuses and attend recruitment camps. “I met with the Brown coach and he said he could offer me a spot, after which I decided that I really liked the school and would love to play soccer there too,” Belinsky said. She looks forward to playing at a higher level with people from all over the country, as well as getting to meet students before school starts. Even in the face of this hard work, Belinsky is excited about embracing the challenge and the competitiveness. “I love the competition! Not only against other teams, but I love trying to constantly get better and challenge myself,” she said. On advising athletes with hopes for being recruited, Belinsky has two main pieces of advice: make sure to pick a school for its attributions besides the sport, and that it is a place you can enjoy if you cannot play your sport anymore. Also, it is important not to get into the recruitment process too early—“You won’t know what’s out there and may make a rash decision,” Belinsky said, mentioning that she chose her school based on its academic policies and location in addition to the soccer program. “It seemed like the best of both worlds to photo courtesy of Jason Chang Jason Chang, who has been fencing for 7 years has an ambitious rea- go to a good school where I was wanted for soccer, too.” son to keep him going: “I'd say I do it for the thrill and the fun, but I find that you can only really enjoy something once you're good at it so I strive to be the best.” Chang stresses grades to be just as important as skill: “A lot of schools, especially Ivy League ones, care a lot for your grades too. The coaches can't really get you in unless you have the grades.” His advice to those who want to be recruited is always to get good grades even if it requires you to miss a competition. Similarly to Riley, Chang suggests emailing multiple coaches, expressing interest in their program. “The UPenn coach found my parents at last year's national championships to let them know he wanted me. Other coaches contacted me by e-mail or in a similar fashion.” Chang, who goes off the college next year, says he is really excited about taking an individual sport like fencing and getting to train with team and going to NCAA meets.
by Gabriel Quintela and Tara Ahi
When it comes to recruitment, Riley Hanley knows the subject just as well as the game itself. “I am lucky enough that my club soccer coach [Rob Baserra] is also the assistant coach for Stanford men’s team. He has all sorts of connections so if it wasn't for him I wouldn't be where I am today,” said Hanley. Hanley is grateful for the opportunity to be able to play for a Division 1 college program and after receiving offers from thirteen different colleges even jokes about it “My dad also talked to a bunch of coaches, lying to them, telling them that I was actually good. That was key,” Hanley jokes. On a more serious note, Hanley says the real key to standing out to recruiters is to do it for the right reasons. “I'd make sure to work hard every play, be competitive, lead, play smart and try to dominate in every situation because you never know who is watching,” said Hanley.
Saint Mary’s College
photo courtesy of Riley Hanley
University of Pennsylvania
photo courtesy of Tara Ahi
MV SOCCER GIRLS
by Katie Inamori
defeat LOS ALTOS photo courtesy of Sarah Drew
by Chloe Tarrasch The fans sit in the bleachers, applauding and clapping with rigor as the Mountain View High School boys Varsity Basketball team makes a basket. The team won on January 14th in a game against Santa Clara High School, their 14th win contributing to their fifteen wins, fourteen losses and zero ties record, an outstanding record. Before the game even started the players were confident that they would prevail over Santa Clara’s team. “Because we have great teamwork and confidence in each other, we’re going to win,” said Varsity basketball player sophomore Nick Wang. By the end of the first quarter, although it was a close eight minutes, the Spartans took the lead with 14 points to 6 points. The second quarter sealed an MVHS victory with an astounding 31 to 14, hardly letting the ball stray into Santa Clara’s hands. After halftime, Santa Clara returned and picked up their pace, but the Spartans quickly caught on to Santa Clara’s new strategies and finished off the third quarter with a 40 to 22 lead. By this time in the game, it was clear to the fans who was going to win and who barely had a chance. Each team made a respectable number of baskets during the fourth quarter, yet with the Spartans already so far ahead in the score, Santa Clara’s
The Mountain View High School girls Varsity Soccer team took on the Los Altos High School Eagles on Friday January 14th. Their win successfully showed off Mountain View's hard work with an offensive start and defensive outcome of 1-0. The game began with a coin toss followed by traditional cheers of "Spartans!" Though the attendance was minimal, those who did show were in for a game worth watching. Junior Marie Dubuisson hoped for a Mountain View victory to "show off our teamwork and skills together and to have all our hard work pay off so we can beat the Eagles. "The team’s defensive line did a great job to keep the ball moving to the other half. Keeper Sarah Bennett and sweeper Emma Donkels worked together keeping the ball from staying in Mountain View’s side of the field. Despite Mountain View's aggressive front line,
team didn’t have much of a shot. The score to end the game was 53-36, a 17-point lead for MVHS. Coach Jim Forthoffer attributes their success to their teamwork: “For us, we always try to play a team game.” Not one player kept the ball to himself, and everyone passed the ball to one another, looking for an opening in the jumble of the two teams. “It doesn’t matter who scores, we all just work together,” Varsity player junior James Watanabe said. Although every player played well during this game, sophomore Brian Kaestner particularly stood out to the onlookers. “[He] showed a lot of determination in this game,” said Forthoffer. Not only was Kaestner a standout aspect in the game, this was the first time everyone had been played. “It was a great game, especially because senior Jonathan Ikinaga came in and scored on a layup,” said Watanabe. By the end of the tiring game, the players were surrounded by friends and family congratulating them on their triumphant win over Santa Clara. The Spartans showed tremendous effort in passing the ball and working together to end in a win. “We can’t win if anyone tries to be selfish,” said Watanabe. To a normal passerby, the Spartans seemed to have their game mastered.
the Los Altos keeper, Alejandra Maldonado had some amazing saves. Kirsten Belinsky scored the only goal in the last half while Los Altos spent the rest of the game struggling to catch up. Congratulations to the Mountain View High School girls Varsity for their success and strong hold on the Central Coast Sectionals playoffs this season. On January 21st, Mountain View High School's Girls Varsity Soccer team played at home against Homestead High School. The game did not end well for the Mustangs, with the final score being 5-0, courtesy of Emily Andrew with three goals, Neha Cheemalavagu with one goal, and Emma Maltbaek with one goal. The girls played tough defense and a clearly strong offensive line. Though this game was a clean win, the girls know they still need to keep up the hard work in order to prepare for Central Coast Sectionals playoffs.
MV BASKETBALL BOYS
defeat SANTA CLARA photo courtesy of Chloe Tarrasch
continued from page 14 the character on screen looked so young and fit that I completely forgot that I was still just as hopelessly fat as I was before. Thanks, Wii Fit!” and “After purchasing the Microsoft Kinect I’ve discovered my hidden talent for bowling! My high scores are off the charts and all my virtual Kinect buddies are impressed. I’ve never tried bowling, but seriously? I have to drive to a bowling alley to go bowling? Sorry, but I think that I’d rather stay at home and live under the illusion that my skills in Kinect Sports would translate into real world prowess.” The Wii and Kinect have also revolutionized gaming as a whole. No longer will gamers be bored by being able to shoot their friends online in COD, or snore through exploding alien spaceships in Halo. Instead gamers will be able to enjoy pretending to pet a fake puppy in Kinect Pets, or playing ping pong in Wii Sports. What puts Nintendo and Microsoft so far ahead of the video games market is that they’ve come to realize that people don’t want to live race-car driver, super-soldier, world-hero fantasies while in the comfort and peace of sitting on the sofa. What gamers want is to be able to do things that they’re perfectly capable of doing in real life, like club dancing, golf, bowling, and tennis while exerting a ridiculous amount of effort to mimic the motions rather than just doing them. As an added bonus, players will no longer need to deal with negative aspects of sports like tennis such as exercise, being able to feel the racket and ball, or being able to talk to friends while you play. The Wii and Kinect are also practical, whereas with a normal video game the player must keep track of a small plastic controller while sitting or standing or lying down anywhere in the same room as the console, the Wii and Kinect require large amounts of open space for the player to move, a mounting point for the motion sensor above the TV (a very welcome addition to the electronics market as more and more thin TV’s are introduced) and the addition of curtains onto your windows so nobody can watch you
graphic courtesy of Sonia Tagare
and laugh as you make a panting fool of yourself by trying to make a rowing motion with a Wii controller. In conclusion, the Wii and Kinect should not be dismissed as a deadend venture because of their low immersion, inherent impracticalities, poor simulation, and boring content. But rather as the near future of console gaming because of their profound impact on video gaming and exercise, whatever that may be…
Editor: Naomi Cohen Asst. Editor: Brent Weyers
Brown tears off budget Band-aid California Governor Jerry Brown proposed a new budget January 10 with cuts that will affect Mountain View High School and its students. The budget also proposes new taxes, which would add approximately $10 billion to California’s revenue. The likelihood that both the legislature and voters will pass the taxes this upcoming June is slim, though; California is already one of the highest-taxed states. By Bernadette Hsu and Nicholas Luther
The K-12 funding of $49.3 billion depends on California voters passing a package of tax measures this upcoming June. If the extension to the taxes does not pass, schools will have to meet an additional $2 billion in cuts, about $333 per student. As long as the package passes, Brown will not touch the K-12’s funding, but if the measure does not pass, class sizes will potentially increase by about three students per class. Additionally, schools could have more dismissal days. “Philosophically speaking, I’m not a fan of cutting education and social services,” Econ-Civic teacher Felitia Hancock said, “If we don’t fix the cause of the deficit, we’re going back down again.” Teachers’ salary schedules will increase while the school revenue slowly declines, which is why districts must find other savings to pay for any worker that has health insurance or should be insured and for their utility costs.
Among the most controversial issues surrounding Jerry Brown’s budget proposal is the millions of dollars in funding being cut from state-funded health insurance programs. The budget plan proposes $1.7 billion in cuts to Medi-Cal, California’s state health insurance for low-income residents, which will affect the approximately 6.5 million California residents enrolled in the program. Patient visits will be capped at ten per year as well as caps on annual benefits such as hearing aids and medical equipment. In addition, Brown has proposed $486 million in funding cuts from In-Home Supportive
Services, a program that provides residential supervision services for senior citizens, the disabled, and the blind that serves 436,000 residents each year. These cuts will likely reduce the number of working hours for caretakers, who currently earn an hourly wage of $9 to $12 per hour. Opponents of these budget cuts claim that, in the long-term, they are counter-productive for less funding for these programs could result in more patients in hospitals or nursing homes that would cost the state even more money.
The budget would propose 58 new, locally-run systems for foster care, drug and alcohol treatment and programs for the elderly. Voters must approve this proposal in June before this can take effect. Brown proposed scaling back programs from working-poor parents to the seriously ill. State-subsidized child care would be eliminated for parents of 11 and 12 year olds and would result in $716 million in savings. Suffering patients of HIV and AIDS would have to pay more for state and federally funded treatments under California’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program. Said by the foundation officials from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Brown’s budget was a “death warrant for many AIDS patients.”
Mountain View residents on California high speed rail plans:
Not so fast! IN BRIEF by Devon Zuegel
by Brent Weyers
Mountain View residents recently argued that the loud noise and residential interference that would come from the installation of a high-speed rail station in Mountain View would detrimentally affect the Castro Street area. The $43 billion high speed rail project aims to connect San Diego, Los Angeles, the Central Valley, the Bay Area, and San Francisco. The train will reach speeds up to 220 mph, about 140 mph faster than CalTrain. Although the project should positively impact the economy and environment, the local controversy about the expensive project has created conflicts for the California High Speed Rail Authority. Resident concerns could change the Rail Authority’s current plans, which include a station in downtown Mountain View as a possibility. Until the project passes environmental reviews, no construction will begin. The federal deadline for the review is due September 2011. If successful, construction will be able to begin as early as this year. In order to test rail productivity and begin construction, initial funding for the project will be directed towards the Central Valley, a practical location to begin initial construction because of its central location. If initial construction is successful, the rail will be extended to the Bay Area and San Francisco. “The Central Valley is indeed the key to creating the core of a true high-speed rail system in California, as that is where our trains will travel truly high speeds of 220 miles per hour,” said Rail CEO Roelof van Ark. If all goes well, the plan is to have the project completed by 2017. Current plans include 790 miles of track segments, 26 stations, 150 miles of bridges, viaducts, and elevated structures. There will also be 35
miles of tunnel, 610 grade separations, and 110 power supply stations will be built. In the current plan, many of the track segments will run through expensively developed downtown areas, such as downtown Mountain View. This could disturb residents, who have mounted public resistance to the project. The possible construction of a station in downtown Mountain View has been advocated by residents who believe that such a station would be convenient for residents. Using a station further from home would make the high speed rail a much less effective transportation alternative. However, critics propose that a more distant station is a more-than-adequate price to pay—a station here would require an unsightly nearby parking structure. Also, commuters using the station could clog nearby street parking. According to the Mineta Transportation Institute, the completed rail will carry 3% of all California travelers, while 16% will use airplanes and the remaining 81% will travel by automobile to other California locations. Since the high speed rail is able to accommodate more riders, the low expected rider estimate has led to skepticism about the project. “Some major project flaws include totally inadequate authority staffing, uncertain funding, questionable ridership assumptions, poor risk assessments and no viable business plan, the experts warned in a new report unofficially leaked to the media starting late last week,” wrote Palo Alto writer Gennady Sheyner on the MV Voice website. As of now, construction in the Central Valley will be used to test the rails sustainability among residents. If the rail construction progresses, it can potentially create 450,000 jobs, 12 billion pounds less of greenhouse gas emissions, enhanced public safety, and travel congestion relief. Once the environmental review is complete, the project will initiate the first phase of the Central Valley Construction and then further plans will carry on from there.
The Advanced Placement tests will no longer deduct points for wrong answers beginning in May 2011. This is expected to change student’s strategy regarding test taking; it is now to their advantage to guess. Psychometricians, scientists that study educational measurement, advised that right-only scoring would simplify year-to-year comparisons as new exams are phased in, according to Trevor Packer, vice president for Advanced Placement testing. Comparisons should be easier, because more students are more likely to answer every question instead of skipping some. In addition, the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) Subject Tests are no longer required by the University of California system for students applying for 2012 admission. Before the changes were made, it was the only public higher education system in the country to require students seeking admission to take two Subject Tests. This led to many well-qualified students to be deemed ineligible simply because they hadn’t thought to take the exams, even if their GPA and ACT/SAT scores were well above average. “Broadening the pool of students who can undergo comprehensive review means that more qualified students will have the opportunity to be considered for admission to UC,” said Mary Croughan, the UC Academic Senate Chair. However, every academic department will have its own special requirements that may include the Subject Tests. For example, UC Berkeley’s School of Engineering still wants applicants to take the Math 2 test. “Because many selective private schools still require SAT-S scores, and because impacted majors at UCs have requirements above mere eligibility, we recommend students who plan to apply to such schools continue to take and do well on the subject tests,” said Laurel Brock, the College and Career Coordinator at MVHS. These changes may make applying to UCs easier. “The major difficulty in applying to college isn’t getting in, it’s finding a list of schools that are a good match, where the student can do well and, hopefully, finish in 4 years. In conclusion, I don’t believe these changes will have a significant effect on the complexity of the college process,” said Brock.
by Tyler Officer
One of the most crucial aspects of Brown’s budget proposal is the complete phase-out of California’s 425 city redevelopment agencies, which acquire and develop land for commercial and residential use in order to fund education and local services as California grapples with a $25 billion state deficit. Brown has justified his decision by saying that getting rid of these agencies, which collectively employ approximately 304,000 full-and part-time workers, will free up $1.9 million annually for local governments. Opponents, such as San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, argue that eradication of redevelopment agencies will prove disadvantageous for it would cost big cities hundreds of jobs as well as lost revenue from property taxes.
ap, sat policies change
Brown’s budget would cut $1 billion from universities and $400 million from community colleges leaving out-going seniors at Mountain View High School struggling. On top of the cuts, inflation itself will increase the costs of library materials and instructional equipment for community and UC colleges. “I think a lot of students will start looking at colleges outside of California,” said Counselor Marti McGuirk. “Alumni and current students are suffering with the increase in fees and for resources.” According to UC President Mark Yudof, it is possible to have a reduction in the availability of financial aid, cuts in local enrollment and increases in out-of-state enrollment. CSUs would be subject to a similar enrollment restriction. The proposed cuts would also prevent current CSU students from taking certain classes and having services on campus because of the lack of funds necessary. Community colleges would have to turn away an estimated 350,000 students, cutting off lower-priority courses and raising the fees for full-time students.
World news can be a vast and daunting topic. The Oracle has compiled what we think are the five most relevant pieces of news to convey to you in a digestible way.
Al-Jazeera, a news organization based out of Qatar and the British newspaper The Guardian jeopardized the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks by disclosing classified information.
North Korea accepted South Korea’s demand to discuss prevailing security issues including the attacks that occurred throughout last year.
Tunisian demonstrations, initiated by issues over corruption and poor living conditions, inspired an Egyptian insurgency prompted by demands for a new government to better represent the interests of the Egyptian people.
Terrorists on a suicide mission bombed the international terminal of Moscow airport, killing several dozen passengers.
An overwhelming 99% of the Southern Sudanese people voted in favor of secession from Sudan.
SPARTAN DATES compiled by Ryan Baer
February | African-American Heritage Month February 5-8 | Pennies for Patients February 7 | Fred Luskin, Ph.D. “Stress Free for Good” 7:00pm-9:00pm February 8 | 3rd Quarter Progress Reports Out February 8 | Shadowing Day 8:05am – 2:30pm February 8 | 11th Grade Parent Night 7:00pm – 9:00pm February 9 | Countdown to College Night February 21 – 25 | Winter Recess March 8-9 | CAHSEE 11th/12th Grade Make-ups March 9-10 | Modified Block Days March 11 | Schedule G Iwata Rally