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VOL.44 NO.3 • Sacramento Country Day School • 2636 Latham Drive, Sacramento, CA• www.scdsoctagon.com • November 17, 2020
Seniors apply to college amidst global pandemic BY SANJANA ANAND
LIMITED LUNCH (Left to right) Freshmen Elijah Jackson, Andrew Klieger, Derek Taylor, Caleb Shin and Rachel Pirie have lunch socially distanced on the PHOTO BY VANESSA ESCOBAR
Country Day adopts new learning schedule
BY ETHAN MONASA
n Sept. 29, Sacramento County
ADMISSIONS page 3 >>
INSIDE the ISSUE PHOTOS BY LILAH SHOREY AND JULIETTE ZÚÑIGA; COURTESY OF ALLIE BOGETICH
CAMPUS page 3 >>
FEATURE 9 Read how Country Day students have creatively used the newest Apple iOS 14 update on their home screens.
FEATURE 10 Learn about senior Allie Bogetich’s musical journey and the impact that percussion has had on her and others.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT 11 Check out the different ways high school students listen to music through Spotify, Apple Music or Pandora.
News • November 17, 2020
STAFF PRINT EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Sanjana Anand Ming Zhu ONLINE EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Ethan Monasa Arijit Trivedi NEWS EDITOR Nihal Gulati FEATURE EDITOR Ming Zhu SPORTS EDITOR Miles Morrow A&E/OPINION EDITOR Dylan Margolis PHOTO EDITOR Hermione Xian PAGE EDITORS Sanjana Anand Arjin Claire Nihal Gulati Dylan Margolis Ethan Monasa Miles Morrow Arijit Trivedi Arikta Trivedi Hermione Xian Ming Zhu
WHAT WOULD YOU DO? Social-Emotional Counselor and Educator Patricia Reynolds teaches sixth graders about group situations on Nov. 10. PHOTO BY ARIJIT TRIVEDI
BUSINESS STAFF Arjin Claire, manager Samhita Kumar, assistant SOCIAL MEDIA STAFF Arikta Trivedi, editor Samhita Kumar, staffer HEAD OF TECHNOLOGY Nihal Gulati REPORTERS Rod Azghadi Jacob Chand Emily Cook Jonah Angelo David Katie Espinoza William Holz Samhita Kumar Lauren Lu Callister Misquitta Samrath Pannu Natalie Park Aarushi Rohatgi Ishaan Sekhon Hermione Xian Garman Xu PHOTOGRAPHERS Miles Morrow Arikta Trivedi Hermione Xian MEDIA STAFF Dylan Margolis Miles Morrow Arijit Trivedi GRAPHIC ARTISTS Charlie Acquisto Brynne Barnard-Bahn Lilah Shorey ADVISER Bonnie Stewart The Octagon is Sacramento Country Day’s student-run high school newspaper. Its purpose is to provide reliable information on events concerning the high school in order to inform and entertain the school community. The staff strives for accuracy and objectivity. The Octagon aims to always represent both sides of an issue. Errors will be noted and corrected. The Octagon shall publish material that the staff deems in the best interest of the school community. The staff recognizes the importance of providing accurate and reliable information to readers. The Octagon does not represent the views of the administration, nor does it act as publicity for the school as a whole. The Octagon will publish all timely and relevant news, subject to the following exceptions: obscenity; slanderous or libelous material; or material contrary to the best interests of the school community, as judged by the guidelines among the newspaper staff, adviser and school administration. Editorials are approved by an editorial board. Columns/commentaries shall be labeled as such and represent only the opinion of the author. In the interest of representing all points of view, letters to the editor shall be published, space permitting, unless otherwise requested. All letters must be signed and conform to the above restrictions. The staff may change grammar and punctuation or abridge letters for space considerations. Comments can be made on our website to address all stories run.
BY MING ZHU
n Tuesdays and Thursdays after school, freshman Eliana Robinson rushes to do her homework before 5 p.m. so she has time to eat dinner before going to karate practice. black belt. She attends a 30-minute Zoom practice, as well as a 90-minute in-person session. She gets home at 8:30 p.m. With Country Day’s new hybrid schedule, all homework is due the next day, leaving less time to complete it. Robinson sometimes has This new schedule, the orange stage, enacted on Oct. 20 when Sacramento moved to the red tier, allows half of the high school to be on campus each day while the other half stays on Zoom. Unlike the completely remote schedule, where students only had three classes and an elective each day, the new schedule consists of all six classes and an elective every day. An Oct. 27 Octagon poll of high school students found that the two main for stress are the increased workload and the fear of catching COVID-19. Social-Emotional Counselor and Educator Patricia Reynolds said although people are generally happy with hybrid learning, there is mild anxiety associated with coming back in-person. “It’s not the magic wand we can wave and ‘oh we’re back and everything is groovy,’” Reynolds said. The transition from online to in-person can cause stress, she said. “I’m gonna make a comparison. For vacations, even though vacations are good, we humanoids like habit, so even vacations are
a little bit angst producing,” Reynolds said. “Even though going back to school is a great thing for many people, it’s still a change and still the unknown.” Learning specialist Kelley Brown of the Academic Resource Center (ARC) said hybrid learning has improved student morale. Every student that Brown has talked to said they like the switch to hybrid learning because they are able to have social interactions with students and teachers. During remote learning, students reached out to the ARC for mostly social-emotional issues, such as isolation and missing social interactions, to which there was no practical solution during quarantine, Brown said. With in-person learning resumed, the ARC is able to offer practical advice, such as organization and test-taking tips. “I think some of the social emotional issues that the students and faculty were feeling are starting to improve by getting to see each other on campus. So, it feels like we’re moving into a positive direction,” Brown said. Senior Allie Bogetich said hybrid learning has reduced her stress. “Now, all the boring work like taking notes has a set time to be done, so I am procrastinating less,” Bogetich said. “Also, with the day more spread out, I have hours in between classes to go to the gym or do homework.” To deal with the increased workload, Brown suggested reducing distractions by turning cellphones on airplane mode. “You pick up your phone to look at the time, and before you know it, you’ve opened Instagram, and you’re two hours deep,” Brown said. “So if you’re planning to work, really set a time that you’re going to sit there and work and put your phone away.” Reynolds suggests to practice mindfulness
to mitigate work-induced stress. “Don’t forget to exercise, eat well and do some breathing — mindful breathing,” Reynolds said. Reducing unnecessary worry can help with suppressing the fear of contracting COVID-19, Reynolds said. “Pick out the things that you feel like you can control and try to manage those things. And if it’s something that you absolutely cannot control, then you may have to let it go,” Reynolds said. “There’s this journey that be energy draining.”
ing health guidelines and listening to experts that make the probability of catching COVID-19 small. She discourages “negative speculations,” which can be a source of anxiety. “When we’re anxious about things, our brain tends to leap forward to speculate about fears that may not come true,” Reynolds said. Finally, Reynolds encourages students to try their best, but not to the point of overexertion. “My personal philosophy is that we’re all pedaling as fast as we can every single day,” Reynolds said. “If you’re not your best right now, remember this is just a snapshot of where you are in your whole journey.”
CORRECTIONS It is The Octagon’s policy to correct factual errors and to clarify potentially confusing statements. Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
• “Students grapple with challenges, changes of exercise during quarantine” on Page 8 of Issue 1: Annalucia King is a freshman. • In the photo caption on Page 8 of Issue 1: Michael Covey’s name was misspelled as Micheal Covey. • “Standardized testing requirements change due to COVID-19” on Page 2 of Issue 2: Associate Director of College Counseling Chris Kuipers was misCollege Counseling. • In the photo caption on Page 3 of Issue 2: Jesus Aispuro’s name was misspelled as Jesus Aspuro. • “Possibility of high school trips this year remains unlikely” on Page 5 of Issue 2: A photo of juniors Arijit Trivedi, Sanjana Anand and Jordan Lindsay taken by junior Vanessa Escobar was mistakenly credited to junior Arikta Trivedi.
November 17, 2020 • News
Campus: In-person learning resumes after eight months (continued from page 1) of Health and contact tracing will begin. In his email, Thomsen wrote that the county will determine whether a school closure would be necessary. In the high school, contact tracing is more complex because students of different grade levels often share classes. Wells said the two cohorts in the high school divide students and limit people on campus, but they are technically different from what he refers to as a “stable cohort.” In lower school, if one student tests positive, that student’s entire cohort is quarantined. But it’s different in the high school. “If you test positive, we consider your cohort to be the people within six feet of you in all of your classes,” Wells said. The student who tests positive will quarantine. Every student in the positive-testing student’s direct cohort (within six feet in any class, or judged as a contact
and required to quarantine, Wells said. Contacts are not limited to only in-class interactions. In addition, students who are not considered a contact but were in the same room as a positive case will be alerted of the situation. Recommended or required quarantine notices will come via an email from the school, pre-formatted by the county. Teachers in each class have a seating chart that will be used to help the county’s contact tracing at risk. If a teacher tests positive, the same general policy applies as if a student tested positive. Wells said the county ultimately will decide which students are at risk. If students are on the opposite side of the room from someone who tests positive, it is not guaranteed the county would consider them at risk of exposure. The county determines who is at risk based on factors such as mask-wearing, distance between
a positive case and potential conwere running and at what speed and whether or not doors and windows were open. “We’ll err on the side of caution,” Wells said. The middle school also would defer to the county, although cohorts in the middle school are slightly more stable than high school cohorts. Students are divided based on their advisory. Depending on a student’s group, each student will have four or more of their six classes with the same students, Loria said. High school science teacher Kellie Whited said her classes are structured relatively similar to the way they were when students were completely remote. The hybrid schedule, which allows more class time, has helped her catch up in classes that were behind. Right now, all her classes are on pace, she said. A major challenge as a science teacher is conducting labs. “Due to the number of stu-
dents who are entirely remote and the limitations of the current COVID-19 safety protocols, this has made in-person labs far Whited said. She has converted as many labs as possible to a format that allows remote students to participate. For some of her classes she has provided kits so students can do the labs from home. Whited’s biology and AP Biology classes meet four times a week — twice in-person and twice on Zoom. Occasionally, if the schedule allows for it, her anatomy and physiology students will have a day off Zoom and will complete their work asynchronously. “I try and give them a screenfree day as often as I can,” she said. Although she worries about exposure to the virus, Whited said the school leaders have done “everything in their power” to follow COVID-19 protocols and keep everyone safe, enough so that she feels comfortable on campus. “I am so proud of my colleagues
and how hard we all have worked to adjust to online learning and now hybrid learning without dents’ education,” Whited said. Both Wells and Loria said they were happy with the way the return to campus has gone. we were just making sure that we were being as careful as possible,” Loria said of the middle school’s approach to the return. Loria said the middle school was staffed appropriately to ensure everything ran smoothly, and he credited everyone’s hard work for making everything possible. Leavy said his favorite thing about being back on campus is the casual interactions with peers. “I didn’t realize how much I missed things like seeing something funny across the quad and looking at a friend because you know you both saw it and laughing together,” he said. “It gives me a lot of hope when things feel relatively normal. It feels like Country Day again.”
Admissions: Counseling process stays virtually the same (continued from page 1) junior last year really makes a difference,” Bauman said. Senior moratorium, a time during PSAT day when seniors work on their applications, was no longer possible under the new schedule, but it was “hardly a loss” because the same work was achieved in other ways, Bauman said. Senior Layla MoheyEldin said it has taken extra initiative to reach out to the counselors because school has been online and she can’t simply walk up to them. “They are both extremely busy but still manage to help me a lot,” she said. Except for the test-optional and the test-blind admissions policies, the main differences in the application this year are that some submission deadlines are being pushed back and a few schools removed their early action policy, Kuipers said. It is a trend for most students to apply early somewhere, but Kuipers said he noticed that the majority of seniors this year
are applying early action instead of early decision. Unlike early action, early decision is binding; if you are accepted, you must attend that school. “There is this uncertainty from certainties, something which I think will be a broader trend moving forward,” Kuipers said. In addition, there is now an option in most applications that allows students to describe how COVID-19 has impacted them, Bauman said. Due to COVID-19, students were not able to tour colleges, so colleges enhanced their virtual tours and information sessions. Visits with college representatives have all been online — although there haven’t been many because of the new college environment — and colleges are sending more emails, Bauman added. “Small private colleges are really worried about student enrollments because of COVID-19,” Bauman said.
Senior Meghan Kaschner, who is only applying to one school early because of its restrictive early action policy, said she would have applied early to more schools without the pandemic. Kaschner plans to major in marine science or biology. “A lot of things have been streamlined because of COVID-19. I’ve had to rethink the location of colleges I’m applying to,” Kaschner said. Alumni interviews, which are more available now, and colleges’ social networks have helped Kaschner decide which school she’ll be happy to attend. She has done four interviews, two of which were formal. “I did an interview with alumni from Wellesley College who was able to give me insight about the school and recommended that I talk to others from more recent graduating classes that pursued the same major I’m interested in,” Kaschner said. “My college counselor has been very supportive and helps me narrow down what colleges I would like to attend versus what others are pressuring me to do.”
Kaschner and MoheyEldin chose to focus on schools closer to home from fear of the pandemic. MoheyEldin applied early action to more schools because she had extra time in quarantine and used personal connections to better know schools. “I looked at medium-sized private universities, mostly in California, with diversity population-wise and religion-wise,” she said. “I also liked schools who accepted their Early action, early decision and restrictive early action results are usually announced sometime in December, depending on the school. Kaschner and MoheyEldin are happy about the test-optional and test-blind policies that schools adopted this year because they could focus on their applications rather than worrying about studying for standardized tests. For the two international seniors who don’t live in the U.S., the process is more complicated. Because they are international, those students can’t take standardized tests or meet as often with their counselors. Senior Stephanie Ye works with her college counselor, Bauman, once a month as opposed to once a week. This hasn’t affected her much, though, because she is still “Since I went back to China in May, the SAT test centers were canceled — this affected me the most,” Ye said. “Although I know some colleges have gone test-optional, I still feel like it hurts my application if I don’t take the test.” Due to the tension between the U.S. and China, Ye plans to apply internationally as well.
TALKING TIPS Director of College Counseling Jane Bauman talks with senior Ming Zhu about college interviews. They went over possible questions asked and the general structure of an interview. PHOTO BY ARIKTA TRIVEDI
college applications instead of worrying about things I couldn’t control, but I plan to apply to some colleges in the U.K. because I feel like a lot of people are doing it this year,” she said. The only challenge was electronic — because Google is restricted in China, a virtual private network is required to access it. Kuipers said that there is no ideal applicant for any school, and seniors just need to present themselves. “The goal for the application is for colleges to understand who you are, what your interests are, what your talents are and then choose a school that will develop the best version of yourself,” he said.
Feature • November 17, 2020
Senior swimmer commits to Divison I university Arden Racing Team (DART), for almost four years. Through it all, Turner said the hard-work he sun was smiling down on the large aspect of swim was what she liked most. limestone Sample Gates of Indiana “It’s a completely different kind of exerUniversity. Standing before them was senior Sydney Turner, smiling just as tion than something like school. It’s an outlet to exercise and push myself both menbrightly. She had just come to a conclusion: she tally and physically,” Turner said. While what she likes about swimming has would spend the next four years of her life swimming Division I here, pushing herself remained static, her priorities in the sport have changed. to become the best swimmer she could be. “Once you’ve hit that age where you stop Her decision to commit to Indiana Unigrowing, it’s all about your work ethic and versity came after months of searching. In 2019, she was looking at multiple uni- mental grit,” Turner said. “You’re not as versities during the recruiting process, but worried about dropping times. It’s more couldn’t narrow down her choices — un- about showing up to practice and working til she found out about Indiana through a to better yourself.” Turner underwent that change when she friend who had already committed there. began high school, struggling to improve When Turner began talking to the swim coaches at Indiana, she felt an instant con- her times, despite working harder. “I had a three-year-long period — from nection. eighth grade to end of sophomore year — “It was the most positive recruiting process out of any of the other schools. Ev- where I was mentally struggling,” Turnerything the coaches said, like ‘it doesn’t er said. I was like, ‘What am I even doing matter if you’re the slowest or the fastest, here?’ I thought about quitting a few times, you’re a part of the team and an important but it was a good learning experience, and never been more component to what we do,’ resonated with now I’ve in love with me,” Turner said. swimming than Additionally, TurnShe leads the team right now.” er’s main recruitment Having gotten with her work ethcoach for Indiana was over that mena woman. Having not ic and positive attitude. tal obstacle, Turner had a female coach Everyone is tired at 5 a.m., was disappointed for a while, Turner she might not be but Sydney brings a smile, said she appreciatable to reach her full ed the “female a funny story and a contapotential with the connection” with gious laugh.” COVID-19 pandemthe coach, which — DART Head Coach Bill Doughty ic endangering her made her appreswim season. ciate the school Nevertheless, Turner is doing what she more. can to set herself up for collegiate-level recruiting trip, intending to see Indiana swimming next year. Turner goes to eight practices — each University, the University of South Carolilasting almost two hours — a week, swimna, Louisiana State University and George Washington University. But her trip ended ming in the early morning or after school. Her coach at DART, Bill Doughty, said Turner does regular strength training to erary, Indiana. help her improve her swimming and pre“I fell in love with the campus, and I committed on the spot. I was like, ‘O.K., I’m tak- pare her for D1 athletics. “She leads the team with her work ethic ing it. This is happening.’ I didn’t even go and positive attitude. Everyone is tired at 5 see the other schools,” Turner said. Swimming has been a major part of her a.m., but Sydney brings a smile, a funny stolife ever since she was 4, swimming 50 ry and a contagious laugh,” Doughty said. Turner’s teammate, senior Athena Lin, weeks a year since she started competitively at age 7. She has been with four different who swims with Turner on the high school clubs since she started swimming. Turner team, echoed Doughty’s description of has been with her current club, the Davis Turner. “She always has these weird funny sto-
BY ARIJIT TRIVEDI
ries and moments that make you laugh like right before a race,” Lin said. Turner’s dedication to the sport has translated into many achievements over the years. In particular, Turner was most proud of her at Winter Junior Nationals in December 2019. Turner also is proud of her Country Day team.
50-yard free relay split
“We’re just a group of have been Division III section champions all the years I’ve been here,” Turner said. Being one of the oldest swimmers on her teams, Turner said she will miss her teammates, some she has known since she began swimming competitively.
nally being able to swim at a higher level. “Going and being a part of a college team is a different vibe because no one is forced to be there,” Turner said. “They’re all there because they want to be. So, I could not be more thrilled to be a collegiate athlete.”
SIGNING OFF Senior Sydney Turner signs her Indiana University declaration of attendence form on national signing day, Nov. 11. PHOTO COURTESY OF TURNER
Senior Sydney Turner
November 17, 2020 • Arts & Entertainment
Crazy Quarantine Changes Karabelo Bowsky
Sophomore Karabelo Bowsky had an entire section of a plane to herself. Bowsky travelled from Bethesda, Maryland to Sacramento. “My family is in Davis, and my mom and I wanted to be closer to them,” Bowsky said. She traveled by plane, but a moving truck brought her belongings across the country. Bowsky took many precautions while travelling by plane, including wearing a mask and gloves and wiping down her seat with Clorox wipes. There were about ten people on the plane. “My mom and I basically had an entire section to ourselves,” she said. Bowsky misses her Maryland friends. She’s lived there for two years, and moving in the middle of a pandemic was a “weird” experience. California’s “chill vibe” surprised her. “In Maryland, people are very uptight and in their own world,” Bowsky said. “So it’s nice now living around relaxed, laid-back people.”
Haylee Holman After 15 years of being a ginger, sophomore Haylee Holman dyed her hair brown. She wanted a change in her life. “Quarantine has made me realize how boring my life really was, so I wanted to spice things up,” Holman said. She dyed her hair brown in June at W Salon Suites, a beauty salon in Roseville. Holman has a family friend who’s a stylist at the salon, and has been going to her since she was 4. The the process to dye her hair was both lengthy and boring, and it irritated her scalp. “It was brutal, but the results were worth it in the end,” she said. Holman’s parents supported her decision, however her grandparents were against it. “My childhood nickname was ‘Lil Red,’ and with my hair brown, that name wouldn’t work anymore,” Holman said. Five months after her life-changing decision, Holman is happy and has no regrets. Since the dye is temporary, Holman has follow-up visits every six weeks to maintain her new color.
“Missing School” by Charlie Acquisto
The Octoblock 1
Down 2. It’s an _______ … thanks! 3. Outdoor retailer 4. Plural form of “island” in Latin 5. Spanish for “between” 9. “Good ____” Charlie Brown signature line 10. Off ____ parking 14. Otherworldly creature
Across 1. She and her husband were killed by the French National Convention 7. Popular diagram type 8. The opposite of altruists 11. S = rθ 12. Acronym for the type of infections that occur in the nose, mouth and throat. 13. Pamphlet, brochure 16. Lobby
hroughout quarantine, many people from the Country Day community changed major parts of their lives, including moving across the country and changing hair color. STORIES BY ROD AZGHADI
Patricia Jacobsen Weekend excursions are familiar for high school math teacher Patricia Jacobsen and her family. anywhere,” Jacobsen said. However, the pandemic didn’t stop her from having a good time safely. On Easter, Jacobsen’s family had a backyard campout, and they even put up tents. She purchased an outdoor projector and a movie screen that transformed her backyard into a fully-functional movie theater. shaped device that plugs into a TV’s HDMI port and delivers streaming content via the internet. Jacobsen had to wait until sunset to start the movie. “With sunset at around 8 p.m. and a two hour plus movie, we all went to sleep at about 11 p.m.,” she said.
Zoe Genetos Biking in the dark is freshman Zoe Genetos’ favorite activity. Over the summer, Genetos went night biking with fellow freshman Brooke Barker. They biked in their neighborhood for about an hour once a week. Genetos and Barker would hang out during the day, go swimming and then go biking at dusk. “We would blast our favorite songs, and no one was around to judge us,” Genetos said. She enjoyed the freedom of biking at night. With fewer cars on the street, she was able to ride her bike in the middle of the road. One time, freshman Annalucia King joined the two. With only two bikes, they had to improvise. Genetos had to sit on the handlebars, and Barker pedalled. “I’m still surprised on how we got that to workout,” Genetos said.
Novemeber 17, 2020
here are 17 new students on the high school campus. Learn about hobbies or interests of six of them here. The rest will be posted on the online Octagon in the upcoming weeks.
PHOTOS BY MILES MORROW, ARIJIT TRIVEDI AND ARIKTA TRIVEDI
Mia Crowder Liam Kaschner
Freshman Mia Crowder previously attended Camilla Waldorf
Freshman Liam Kaschner previously attended Winston Churchill Middle School in Sacramento. He was
grade. She went to St. Robert’s middle school after that.
years of his life. Q: What are your hobbies or interests? A: I started swimming around the age of 5, and I enjoy mountain biking with my dad. I am also interested in RC cars and planes. I also enjoy programming and robotics. Q: Do you have any siblings? A: I have a sister, Meghan Kaschner, who is currently a senior at Country Day. Q: What is an interesting fact about yourself? A: I am 6 feet, 5 inches tall, which is pretty tall for my age.
A: One memory that I can remember well is have ever had. share? A: One story about my life is when I went on a three-day rafting trip in Boy Scouts and I fell off the raft in a Class III rapid. I ended up with really bad sunburns and an injury on one of them. But overall, the trip was a memorable experience, and I had a lot of fun. — By Aarushi Rohatgi
A: being creative and making stuff. Over the summer, I started sewing more — hand sewing, not machine sewing. I’ve made a belt and a couple shirts. I like doing different artsy things, different crafts. Q: How long have you been sewing? A: My old school was a Waldorf school, so they taught a lot of crafty stuff, and I learned how to sew then. Last summer was when I started doing it more. Q: Is your sewing for fun or for practical use? A: It’s just for fun. I was talking with one of my friends yesterday about how I want to keep trying ally like doing. My brother does editing, and it’s his passion, and I haven’t found anything like that yet. I want to keep trying new things until I do.
A: I l experie the art ally lik Cunnin to keep
A: I’m so I lik learn h friends like she want to
Q: Do A: I h
A: M rabbits Jackie a
Gulzar Sohal Gulzar Sohal is a new freshman at Country Day. He previously attended Sacramento Valley Charter School.
Angela McCurdy Junior Angela McCurdy attended Henry M. Gunn High School in Palo Alto.
Q: What is your favorite hobby? A: My favorite hobby is playing basketball. I started about three years ago when I was 11 years old. I had been playing soccer since I was 6, but when my friends switched to basketball, I picked it up as well. I have played for CYBL, the California Youth Basketball League, and for an Amateur Athletic Union team. My buddies and I love to go down to the park and play pickup. I’m a taller boy, so I usually play the forward or center position.
you? A: I’m a really big movie and music critic. I spend a lot of time watching and listening to them. I try to watch all genres of movies, but my favorites are horror and thriller. For music I like to listen to rap and hip hop. Two of my favorite artists are Playboi Carti and Tyler, the Creator. A: I went on a bunch of road trips with my best friend, but other than that I didn’t do much.
— By Samrath Pannu
A: internship, I wanted to get a new job and there was a lot more. It really just trashed my summer plans. Q: Do you play any sports? A: Yeah, I used to play soccer, run track and I ski. I’m thinking about joining the school’s soccer team. Q: Do you have a favorite class? A: I took both chemistry and AP Chemistry at my old school. I really enjoyed the class. — By Miles Morrow
like it a lot! I didn’t have any art ence because at my old school, class wasn’t the best, but I reke learning new concepts. Mr. ngham lets us be creative. I want p doing art and get better at it.
Orlando Ponce Blas
m not the best at drawing people, ke drawing landscapes. I want to how to draw people. One of my is super good at it, and it seems e’s having fun. It’s something I o learn how to do.
Freshman Orlando Ponce Blas is new to Country Day. He attended Sutter Middle School.
o you have any pets? have a lot, actually. I have some gold-
My bird’s names are Molly and Phil, my are Coco and Brownie, my dog’s name is and my box turtle’s name is Turtle.
Q: What’s your passion? A: I recently fell in love with playing my acoustic electric guitar. Seeing people play the guitar at parties made me want to give it a try, so I got one for Christmas. I’ve been hooked on it ever since! My cousin in Mexico is a musician, so he gives me lessons via Facetime once or twice a week. He teaches me how to play Spanish songs, and my favorite is “La Bamba.” I’ve heard of the Country Day Garage Band, and I’m planning on joining once I get good enough. — By Rod Azghadi
— By Natalie Park
Derek Taylor Freshman Derek Taylor previously attended the International School of Stuttgart in Germany. A: I was born in Sacramento and lived there until I was 4. Between the ages of 4 and 8, I was raised in Africa. Then, I stayed in Indonesia for two years. I have recently moved from Germany, where I spent about four years. A: In my spare time, I enjoy playing soccer and basketball. I have played soccer for about 10 years and
basketball for two years. A: I enjoy playing soccer as the game progresses to a faster pace. In soccer, my position on the team is mainly the role of the goalie. When playing basketball, I enjoy the challenge of multitasking throughout the game. A: While playing soccer, I was once kicked in the head by someone on the other team while holding the ball in my hands. The referee counted it as a goal with no foul. — By Aarushi Rohatgi
Opinion • November 17, 2020
EDITORIAL: Please just copy us on the emails
ountry Day has really had a hectic time lately. COVID-19 and 2020 have really thrown a curveball at the whole world. Country Day and basically every school had to entirely reinvent the way we learn. And they’ve done a pretty good job. They’ve completely changed our schedule, our entire system of learning, cancelling items if necessary, like our class trips, but often changing them to online formats, like the Rockvember activity on Zoom. Of course, part of all of these changes is communication. The school does a decent job of sending out emails to parents about changes and important information. But they don’t send them to students. Students should also be sent what is sent to parents, especially when most items are relevant to us students anyway. It’s just an extra barrier in communication that we don’t really need. There are multiple examples we can point out. When school was originally going to start in person classes, a lot of students had questions about how our schedule was exactly going to work. And a major reason so many of us had questions is because we never had the schedule sent to us beforehand. It was sent to our parents. We had to get them to forward the email to us. The same happened with juniors taking the PSAT. Essential information — the day’s schedule, Pickup Patrol, where to go, what to bring — information that students really needed to know was sent only to the parents. Again, we had
Texting is terrible
“Lack of Communication” by Brynne Barnard-Bahn to check with them. Our parents tell us when important things are sent out, but it’s not their responsibility to manage our high school lives, it’s ours. We’re not asking for individualized updates for us, we’re just asking for students to be copied on communication. Extending this theme of transparency and communication to our current hybrid schedule, the school should be as transparent as possible when it comes to guidelines and decisions. Although it’s great to be in-person again, a lot of us are very nervous about safety. The guidelines themselves aren’t
the clearest. Most decisions are left to county health officials. They’re the professionals, but that also means there’s not a lot of information on what exactly would happen in certain situations. If a student tests positive, others seated close to them would be asked to quarantine. But would the entire cohort be notified? What about the other cohort? Err on the side of caution. Students and parents want to know the reasoning behind decisions so they can have a real picture of the situation. So, school: keep doing what you’re doing, but please make sure to keep us informed. Especially us students.
EDITORIAL: Our lunch is too short for anything In response to Sacramento County’s drop from the purple to the red tier for COVID-19 cases, Country Day shifted to its hybrid learning plan on Oct. 20. There’s a big problem with the hybrid plan for high school students — 25 minutes is not enough time for lunch. Pre-COVID-19, when students attended school on campus, they had 40 minutes for lunch, giving them ample time to relax and hold club meetings. The shorter time leaves little time for either. In a recent poll, The Octagon asked 144 Country Day high school students how they felt about the 25-minute lunch. Sixty-two students responded. Sixty students said the lunchtime is too short, one student said it was “perfect” and another said it is too long. Students are required to eat socially distanced on the backfield; walking from the high school quad to the field and back takes up at least five minutes
“Race to Finish” by Lilah Shorey
from the 25 minutes they have to eat. For the students at home, although they don’t have to walk anywhere, preparing and eating lunch takes time. Also, lunch periods aren’t only used for eating. Now, clubs like Current Events or Leadership Lunches have been rushed to accommodate for the new timing. Even college counseling time, known as C-Day meetings, which used to happen during the lunch hour can no longer be held at that time because 25 minutes isn’t enough. Now, seniors and college counselors have to make up for that lost time and exchange information in other ways, such as by email. The school’s policy for the shortened lunch was to limit the amount of time that students would be near each other with no masks. However, the same can be said about 50-minute free periods, during which students can socialize.
Yes, during free periods students have the option to sit in the gym and work socially distanced with a faculty member watching. However, it’s not the only option. High school students can sit wherever they want; students can sit by the tables in the high school quad, in the garden or even in the backfield. In those places, students aren’t being monitored. So eating lunch for a longer period of time while teachers are watching shouldn’t be an issue. In order to increase lunchtime, the school day doesn’t necessarily need to be extended. Currently, there are four five-minute passing periods per day, but in the past, passing periods were only three minutes. Why do we need to add an extra two minutes for every passing period, especially when there are fewer people on campus? If the extra time is for teachers to clean the desks, it would just be easier to make it mandatory for students to wipe their own desks before leaving. Reducing the passing period times to three minutes would add an extra eight minutes to lunch. More time savings can be realized by cutting minutes off of breaks. Each day there are two 10-minute breaks, which could be reduced to seven minutes, adding an extra six minutes to lunch. A total of 14 minutes can be added to lunch by trimming a few minutes from passing periods and breaks, increasing the lunch time from 25 minutes to 39 minutes. This would be a more relaxing lunch for both students and faculty, and clubs can meet for a longer period of time if they wish. Every minute counts.
One late night, I was texting a friend. I made an unfortunately misunderstood sarcastic comment in response to a joke. It’s been six years since our last communication. That was a joke, but my point recommunication. My main problem with texting is that it’s practically impossible to properly convey tone. It is always 10 times harder to make a joke without sounding cruel or to tell a story with great enthusiasm. Using all caps what are you going to do, start adding an absurd amount of exclamation marks? For example, if you look at the opening paragraph of this article, you could have thought this was a true story about reuniting with a long lost friend, instead of its actual purpose to convince you that you should never text again. As someone who enjoys gesturing with his hands, that action is inconceivable due to the frustrating act of typing. The emphasis added with body language is so important and is completely omitted during texting. “Haha,” or “LOL” never does a good true laugh the proper justice it deserves. It may be true that this is a problem only I have, but I’m terrible at texting. I rarely ever write an entire text without at least one or two typos. Autocorrect is not helpful, either changing words from the right thing to something completely off. So you’re probably thinking, “Dylan, what’s your genius solution to this problem?” Two words: phone calls. lems listed above. In phone calls, you can actually hear people talking, resulting in a lot less basic misunderstandings voice. Also, if the whole point of texting or calling is to simulate having an in-person conversation, then you might as well get as close as you can get to that by calling. Phone calls also get problems people to ignore a text than six phone calls in a row, an act that will cause if they do not answer. Texting leaves you waiting hours on end, something no one wants, and some people may never even respond. Even though some say phone calls are too much of a commitment, I always enjoy talking to someone on the phone. You can learn so much about a person from just a 10-minute phone call compared to two hours of almost worthless texting. Overall, everyone needs to give phone calls another shot, you won’t regret it.
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November 17, 2020 • Feature
By Jacob Chand
update, customize homescreens n Sept. 16, Apple iPhone users, including juniors Lilah Shorey, Vanessa Escobar, Sicily Schroeder and sophomore Haylee Holman, downloaded the new iOS 14 update, which featured changes to existing apps and renovations to the iOS software. With the new update, Safari is faster than ever, Apple Music’s format has changed and Siri’s interface is improved. The update brought changes to FaceTime, bringing the banner feature and improvements to the quality of the camera app. Standing above all, the update introduced home screen design changes, allowing users to personalize their home screens. Downloading the Widgetsmith app in the App Store allows users to add photos to their screens, giving a more aesthetically pleasing and personal look. For Shorey, downloading the update was a “no-brainer” after seeing the different features on Twitter and Instagram. “Looking at various interesting screens and being a fan of having a very aesthetically organized phone, I knew I had to download it,”
she said. “I’m usually skeptical of downloading new updates, but this one was too good to Vanessa Escobar miss.” Shorey regularly updates her home screen with pictures of things she is interested in at that time, keeping her home page unique. “Right now, I’m super into Star Wars and grunge music, so that takes up the majority of my pictures,” she said. “But I add movies, shows and music that I like, trying to make
research on Twitter, the app became easier. Shorey likes the updated home screen more than her previous one but dislikes not having all her apps in one place because she has to scroll through multiple screens. Yet, Shorey said the downsides are overupdate provides. “I think it’s awesome to fully customize “Being able to use different photos rather than just a background image is much better because it’s more pleasing to the eye.” For Escobar, updating her phone allowed her to express her creativity in an organized manner. on TikTok, Escobar instantly knew the update was for her, giving her a chance to compare her screen with friends.
For inspiration, Escobar looked for photos of her favorite singer, Harry Styles, quotes off the internet and a calm color scheme. “Harry Styles is nicely accented with pink and gray tones, giving my screen a more soothing look,” she said. “I also added quotes to get me through my day and to bring me up when I’m feeling down.” Escobar said changing her home screen her color scheme was hard. Additionally, she had some confusion with the app and how to organize things tomed to the controls. Escobar said she likes her new home
screen substantially more. “I like the personalization this one gives you,” she said. “This home screen isn’t even comparable to the last because of the unlimited customization you get,” she said. “There is nothing bad I can say about this update.” Holman downloaded the update due to her love of creativity and her desire to bring a unique touch to her phone. She also chose a similar theme to Escobar, focusing on her love for Harry Styles’ music. “I wanted my screen to be full of color every time I logged on to it,” she said. “I wanted Harry Styles on there because his music means a lot to me. I found all the vibrant photos online because I thought well.” Holman decided to add photos to each individual app through the shortcuts app. She said it took her another hour, but it was worth the time because it turned out “so well.” and different YouTube tutorials. “Doing my home screen was super difdo it because it was taking so long,” she said. “But, I kept at it and I think the end result turned out great.” Schroeder changed her home screen using different features the Widgetsmith app came with. “I didn’t feel like I needed to add pic-
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tures, so I didn’t,” she said. “But I got inspiration for my background by searching for aesthetics on Instagram. I then went on Google and found some pictures I liked to complete my casual pink and purple theme.” Schroeder said she was helped by friends downloading the update but had problems using her phone after. “After the update, my phone tends to glitch, and apps are slower to start up,” Schroeder said. “But I think the customization you get with this update is unbeatable, and I recommended it to anyone wanting a more stylish look to their phone.”
SCREENSHOTS BY VANESSA ESCOBAR AND SICILY SCHROEDER GRAPHICS BY ARIJIT TRIVEDI
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Feature • November 17, 2020
Senior on music: “I definitely want to keep playing for as long as I can”
BY ARIKTA TRIVEDI
s a child, senior Allie Bogetich always was surrounded by music, from Billy Joel to ACDC to Neil Diamond. So her interest in music came as no surprise. When she was a fourth-grader, Bogetich bet her older sister, Emme Bogetich, ’20,
is submitting an art supplement to almost all of the colleges. ing different instruments into one video, so that the supplement follows all the different rules set by different colleges. In the video, she’s playing a snare drum, xylophone, timpani, tambourine and drum set. “I don’t want to major in anything mu-
play compared to her sister’s baritone. The want to keep playing for as long as I can. next year, she did exactly that. Bogetich has played the drums for eight years in Country Day’s concert band, and It’d also be fun in the future to take a year she’s played in the high school jazz band off and tour with a symphony for a while.” She likes to play a variety of different since seventh grade. She joined the Sacratypes of music, which mento Youth Symphony freshman year. differ based on the “I usually have four group in which practice sessions a Allie is one of the she’s playing. week, with each sesstudents who did For jazz band, sion ranging from half everything I said would she likes to play an hour to an hour,” second-line style mushe said. “For the make her a good musisic, which is like New Youth Symphony, cian.” Orleans music. I usually spend an — Bob Ratcliff “I like the style behour learning the cause I can have more music and we also have an hour-long m e e t - fun with it; there aren’t as many rules,” Bogetich said. “A memory that stuck with ing during the week.” Country Day music teacher Bob Ratcliff me is when we did this thing and a guest views Bogetich’s dedication as one of her told me to make the drums sound ‘dirtier.’ I didn’t really know what he meant, but I just many strengths. “Allie is one of the students who did ev- had fun with it.” In the concert band, she likes playing erything I said would make her a good musician,” Ratcliff said. “Practicing regularly, military marches and Irish music. “The marches show off my snare skills, taking private lessons, taking any opportunity to play with others, these are all things so I don’t blend in with the group as much,” Bogetich said. “I don’t really know why I that she’s done from the very beginning.” As a percussionist, Bogetich has learned like the Irish music though. I guess it’s just to play many different instruments, includ- fun to listen to.” Ratcliff said he can’t choose a favorite ing a drum set, timpani, marimba and bells, but her favorite by far is the snare drum. from the pieces she’s played because sometimes it’s her interpretation, not the piece, After all, it is her main instrument. “My favorite part of playing the drums that he likes. However, one song does jump out at him: is the wow factor,” she said. “That sounds “The Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin. someone you’re a drummer and they think that it’s cool. I also love the versatility. song for GarageBand, and I heard her play Every type of music needs drums of some it on the drums, I thought it was pretty cool,” he said. “Both her private lesson sort.” In regards to her college applications, teacher and I have always had a hard time Bogetich wants to major in engineering but getting her to play harder. She’s always
Senior Allie Bogetich been a soft drummer. cult piece, but I really enjoyed hearing her been wanting her to play.” Bogetich’s favorite two pieces are “Soft Shoe Rag” by Randall D. Standridge and “Italian Rhapsody” by A. D. Arcangelo. She prefers to play longer pieces with movement in them, another example being “Double Happiness” by Christopher Cerrone. In her eight years of playing, Bogetich has attended many competitions with both bands and won multiple awards.
PHOTO ILLUSTRATIONS BY HERMIONE XIAN
She has three awards from the Forum Festival, two from the Reno Festival and one Folsom Festival award. Bogetich also was going to attend a solo competition earlier this year, but it was canceled due to the pandemic. However, she still hopes to attend this year because she’s never competed as a soloist. Ratcliff hopes that before Bogetich leaves for college, he gets another chance to play with her live. “Every few years I get a student who plays at her ability level,” Ratcliff said. “One of the things I like to do with those students is to sit in the MP room and play music together. I play in jazz groups and rock groups, so inviting her to come play with one of my bands would be really cool.” He said Bogetich is the kind of student that makes him feel good about his job and inspires him to continue his work with the music program. “Everytime I hear Allie play a piece; be it jazz, rock or classical music, that raises her to a new level of musicianship, it becomes my favorite thing I’ve heard her play,” Ratcliff said. “At least, until the next thing she does that raises that bar. Lately it’s been listening to her improvise jazz on xylophone.” Bogetich derives her inspiration from other people as well. “When I’m frustrated with my instrument, just going to band class and hanging out with the people in that community brightens my day,” she said. “Another inspiration is one of my favorite musicians, David Garibaldi. He was a drummer for Tower of Power, a band from the 70s. I was lucky to have a lesson with him a couple of years ago, and I found out that he had an accident with a train a couple of years back, but he continued drumming, which inspired me.” One thing that made her a better drummer was something her private-lesson teacher, Tim Metz, told her: “It’s not a problem to solve, it’s music to play.” This helped her learn it’s not about playing the notes correctly, but about how you play notes correctly. So far, Bogetich’s music career has been a long journey and, in her words, “meticulous, peculiar and a whole hell of a lotta fun.”
November 17, 2020 • Arts & Entertainment
MUSIC SERVICE MADNESS Students enjoy personalized music from streaming services BY DYLAN MARGOLIS
reshman Juliette Zúñiga wakes up every day and listens to music, adding songs to her 800 song playlist on Pandora. Music is a big part of her life, especially due to how easy it is to access countless songs at her
costs just $4.99. Spotify and Pandora both allow users to listen to free, while Apple Music only offers a paid plan. Spotify also has the option of a family plan for $14.99 a month for six connected accounts.
The increased availability of electronic devices has given students a larger number of playable songs. However, with this growth of options, students must not only decide which song to play but also which music service to use. While students have dozens of three most widely used by the 45 Country Day high school students who responded to an Oct. 30 Octagon poll are Spotify, Apple Music and Pandora. Each of these services has a premium subscription with a fee, giving the consumer access to millions of songs. Better yet, students who purchase this premium plan get all of their music ad-free. Even though the big three services share a common marketing strategy, they differentiate on Financially, Pandora Premium and Spotify Premium both cost $9.99 a month, while Apple Music
Photo by Juliette Zúñiga One of Spotify’s most used features is having daily personalized playlists, providing listeners with
customized playlists based on other songs they have listened to or skipped. Spotify also provides subscribers with the ability to listen to playlists made by other people. Personalized playlists are a major selling point for Spotify. They allow listeners to spend less time searching for the songs they love and more time hearing the melodies they adore. While selecting the next song to play does not sound like a difmillion-plus songs and 1.9 million podcasts may leave subscribers a bit overwhelmed. However, the depth and breadth of these playlists sort these songs and artists into the most aesthetically pleasing orders. Some playlists only contain the songs that subscribers have listened to most frequently, while others feature a “Daily Mix,” which inserts music that Spotify projects listeners will enjoy. Sophomore Athenea Godinez says that Spotify’s “Daily Mix” feature is her favorite part of the app. “I listen to music on Spotify every day for at least four hours, and I use the Daily Mix a lot during that time,” Godinez said. “It allows me to listen to all the songs I really like and some that are similar, which is great!”
TUNING IN Senior Charlie Acquisto listens to music as he works on his computer. Acquisto uses Apple Music and enjoys listening to the Beatles. PHOTO COURTESY OF ACQUISTO
Unlike Spotify and Pandora, Apple Music has a search by lyric feature. This option allows listeners to explore Apple Music’s da-
satility when it comes to live radio and downloadable music options. “It’s sometimes fun to listen to the radio to discover new songs instead of just listening to the
Photo by Arijit Trivedi This update allows subscribers song simply by using a few lyrics stuck in their heads. Additionally, Apple Music allows subscribers to travel to different parts of their chosen tune by clicking on a lyric that occurs at an earlier or later moment of the song. Senior Charlie Acquisto said this is one of his favorite features of Apple Music. “There are some songs where to said. “So, I enjoy being able to easily skip forward and backward to just those parts to hear exactly what I want.” Some internet companies have partnered with Apple, allowing users who buy their internet to have access to their music library for a set amount of time. “My family has some sort of family plan that allows us to have Apple Music,” Acquisto said. “It’s just more convenient.” Compared to Spotify and Pandora, the bitrate, or quality of sound, on Apple Music is higher, resulting in more discernible lyrics. To compete against Spotify’s “Daily Mix” feature and Apple Music’s search by lyric option, Pandora created a music genome project. This feature recommends songs based on both their genre and the instruments, vocals and rhythms used to produce the track. The genome project has an enormous number of variables, such as the hundreds of distinct instruments that it can recognize to make specialized radios. Zúñiga praised Pandora’s ver-
same songs that I enjoy,” Zúñiga said. “My only gripe is that some of the songs on the radio you can’t download for copyright reasons.” Godinez, a Spotify user, Acquisto, an Apple Music user, and Zúñi-
Photo by Charlie Acquisto ga, a Pandora user, all said their systems have easy to use functions — a key factor for all three. Zúñiga said she enjoys Pandora’s interface design. “The ability to just look for new songs and roam through their collection is very simple,” Zúñiga said. “Switching between radios and my playlists is also incredibly easy, which helps bring the service full circle.”
Endpoint • November 17, 2020
hanksgiving, a holiday celebrated the last Thursday of every November, is always met with festivities. Families usually gather together for a meal that feature a variety of traditional foods. The majority of schools close school for the week surrounding the holiday. Although many students and teachers have changed their plans due to the pandemic, holiday cheer remains. Most families will be able to celebrate together, whether in person or on Zoom, maintaining the spirit of Thanksgiving.
“We were going to go down to my grandparents’ house, but then it changed due to COVID-19,” said sophomore Grace Eberhart. Her father has to work, so her family has chosen to stay home to avoid the risk of spreading the virus. Eberhart still plans to carry out Thanksgiving traditions with her immediate family. “We normally make turkey, green bean casserole and stuffing — all the normal stuff,” she said. Although Eberhart prefers ham to turkey, her family rarely switches. “It’s normally always turkey, unless I convince my parents to make ham. That’s very rare,” Eberhart said.
High school chemistry teacher Victoria Conner is most excited about the break from school during the week, when she can get some rest and spend time with her family. In normal years, her extended family would visit each other. She and her son, freshman Kasmer Conner, would also participate in the Run to Feed The Hungry. Because the Run To Feed The Hungry is virtual this year, Conner and her son will do their own walk that morning. Due to COVID-19, Conner will have Thanksgiving dinner with her family in Sacramento and Zoom call her relatives on the East coast.
Freshman Gulzar Sohal’s is looking forward to spending time with his family at Thanksgiving. They usually make Punjabi food, but their plans vary from year to year. His favorite Thanksgiving food is grilled chicken, as his dad makes it every Thanksgiving. This year, he’ll be gathering with his parents, brother, grandparents and his dad’s brother’s family. Before COVID-19, he might have gone to Fresno with family, but now he’ll be staying with family closer to Sacramento. Sohal is looking forward to spending time with people he hasn’t seen recently. “It’s been a while since I had family all together. It’ll be good to sit with everyone,” he said.
STORIES BY SAMHITA KUMAR; GRAPHICS BY ARIKTA TRIVEDI
Senior Jack Goselin also will be spending time with family this Thanksgiving. He plans to meet with his uncles and grandparents in Sacramento at his grandparents’ house. Goselin’s family usually makes traditional food for the holiday. “We make dark and white meat off the turkey. Cranberry sauce is a specialty,” he said. Even with the pandemic, his family’s plans haven’t changed. Although they’re concerned about COVID-19, they still want to go ahead with their plans.
Thanksgiving food is also a tradition in senior Layla MoheyEldin’s celebration. “We always have the cranberry jelly from a can — you cut along the ridges,” she said. Her family also makes green bean casserole, although they substitute cream of potato soup for cream of mushroom soup. “Nobody in our family likes it and we still make it. It’s tradition, so we all have a little bit then don’t eat the rest,” she said. Another change to the traditional menu is with the turkey. MoheyEldin’s family usually opts to cook a turkey breast instead of a full turkey. Her favorite Thanksgiving food is pecan pie. “I could eat that all day and never get sick,” MoheyEldin said. “I would get physically sick, but I’d never be sick of it.” MoheyEldin’s plans for Thanksgiving dinner have been changed by the pandemic as well. In other years, her family would invite various extended family — aunts, uncles, grandparents and her great-uncle’s family — or travel to others’ houses for the day. Instead, their gathering will only have people from her household — her two brothers and her parents. MoheyEldin also is looking forward to the time off. “You get four days off and your parents are off work, too,” she said. “It’s all a fun, nice time when you get to eat and hang out together.”
High school Spanish teacher Patricia Portillo plans to spend time with family differently. She and her family usually travel to Los Angeles to meet with extended family. “We have a special dinner at my sister-in-law’s house with my mom and my siblings,” she said. “We probably have about 30 people, and it’s a lot of fun.” A visit this year would be too complicated, Portillo said. “It’s just too many people to quarantine and to make sure we’re all safe,” she said. She also has older relatives who would be at high risk for COVID-19. “My mom is 70 right now, and my husband’s mom is 89,” Portillo said. “My husband is the youngest in the family, so he also has a couple of sisters who are over 60. People are vulnerable.” Instead of their usual gathering, Portillo plans to have a smaller one with the people in her house: her nephew, daughter Gabi Alvarado (’19), husband and international student Jacqueline Chao (’19). Her favorite part about the holiday is spending time together with family she doesn’t see often and getting to enjoy their company.