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Non-Profit Organization U.S. POSTAGE PAID Sacramento, CA Permit No. 1668


VOL.42 NO.6 • Sacramento Country Day School • 2636 Latham Drive, Sacramento • March 19, 2019

Teacher, senior start esports club; group grows to 69 are various prizes for winning teams. One sponsor, Micro-Star International (MSI), sports are booming. At both a col- a computer hardware company, added lege and professional level, oppor- $174,000 in equipment, including a full tunities are popping up around the set of peripherals (MSI mouse, keyboard and headset) for players on top-placing world for jobs and recreation. Newzoo, which provides esports analyt- teams. Schools partnered with the High ics, projects the global market to surpass School Esports League also receive dis$1.6 billion by 2021. Esports teams are also counts on MSI hardware and a full wargrowing in value; Cloud9, a North Amer- ranty on products. On top of teams receiving prizes, colican team, is the highest valued in the world at $310 million, according to Forbes. lege recruiters are watching. The top 16 Tournaments and championships are players in each game are connected with gaining viewers on TV too — enough collegiate esports recruiters. One student to challenge major sports leagues such from O’Dea Catholic High School (the as the NFL. According to a report from one in Seattle) was offered a scholarship Riot Games, the developers of “League of to a school in Texas. Crabb said the most popular games Legends” (a multiplayer game centered around arena battles), the game’s cham- in the club are “Overwatch” and “Super pionship in November reached nearly 100 Smash Brothers Ultimate,” both of which million viewers. In comparison, Super are used in the league. Sophomore Elise SomBowl LII between the Patriots merhaug said it was her and the Eagles drew 103.4 milbrother, senior Eivind lion viewers. (The club) Sommerhaug, who wantEsports are finding success caught ed to start the club. in high schools too, with colon. All of a sud“I thought it was really leges beginning to recruit studen, I had kids I cool and wanted to help,” dents and offer scholarships. she said. “(He’s) had this And Country Day is no ex- don’t even teach passion for gaming and ception. In February, history knocking on my has gotten really good at teacher Bill Crabb conceived door.” it, so when he told me the idea for an esports club. —Bill Crabb about it, I was happy to “A colleague of mine was fuel his ambition.” talking about an esports club Eivind Sommerhaug, at a high school in Seattle that who began playing video games with his he’s working (at),” Crabb said. Crabb’s colleague said the club grew sister in 2006 when the Nintendo Wii was released, said he enjoys video games’ and became very successful. “It (gave) me the idea — I wonder if our complexity. Players can always improve, he added. kids would be interested in this as well,” Thus, he worked to get the club off the Crabb said. When Crabb mentioned the idea to a ground because he said he enjoys helping few students, “it caught on,” he said. “All others improve at one of his passions. “It didn’t take too much work to get the of a sudden, I had kids I don’t even teach club going because of how awesome and knocking on my door,” he said. The club began as a “grassroots” move- inspired our members are,” he said. All Eivind Sommerhaug needed to do ment, Crabb said, that quickly grew into was start a Discord server (an online mesthe club it is today. The club is open to both middle and saging server often used by gamers) and high schoolers, although only high school get an administrative team for the club. Elise Sommerhaug said the best part of students may compete in the league. The club has 69 members (40 high schoolers). bringing esports to Country Day is how they connect people. Most of them are boys, Crabb said. According to Crabb, the league consists of hundreds to thousands of teams. There ESPORTS page 3 >>


GAME TIME! Sophomores Martin Cao and Hayden Boersma and senior Eivind Sommerhaug play “Super Smash Bros.” Sommerhaug said he was holding his controller sideways to reset after losing a life. PHOTO BY JACQUELINE CHAO


Sophomore movie outing in World Cultures first step of push for more local day trips BY SARINA RYE

Day trips, such as the theater excursion, are rare in high school. But World Cultures teacher Bill Crabb, who has a background in experiential education, hopes to change that. “I want (students) to learn by experiencing and visiting places,” Crabb said. So when Crabb decided to show the documentary “They Shall Not

Wells said he would like to try out experiential learning more. “Mr. Crabb, (chemistry teacher Upon learning that her class Victoria) Conner and I are trying would see a World War I docuto do a few (day trips) with sophomentary at Century Arden 14 and mores, maybe after AP exams are XD (1590 Ethan Way) on Feb. 6 as over,” Wells said. part of the World Cultures curHowever, Wells said he isn’t riculum, sophomore Erin Wilson sure if these trips would be fundwas surprised by the cost. ed by the miscellaneous high “We got popcorn, candy and school budget, which was used to soda, and we didn’t have to pay purchase tickets and for our field trip to the snacks for the sophomovies,” she said. more theater trip. We got popcorn, candy and soda, After all, as a cellist, “The Miscellaneous and we didn’t have to pay for our she is used to paying High School Core Infor the Forum Mu- field trip to the movies.” structional Program sic Festival that the —Erin Wilson (is for) what we hadn’t orchestra, band and thought of, like science choir attend each year. equipment,” Wells exBut then the varsiGrow Old,” which was not yet plained. “We build a cushion for ty volleyball player remembered available on DVD, to his students, what hasn’t been budgeted.” that earlier this school year, the he arranged the trip. But the difference between the team didn’t have to pay for the According to Crabb, field trips theater trip and other classes’ stucharter bus to a game in Merced. are ideally planned months in dent-paid trips — such as jourThese differences stem from advance, but since the theater ar- nalism conventions and music variations in budgets, sports and ranges showtimes only two weeks festivals — is that it was local. performing arts boosters funding ahead, he and head of high school “There are a lot of great opporBrooke Wells acted fast. tunities here in Sacramento that and the nature of the trip itself.

BOW DOWN Junior Emma Boersma and sophomores Erin Wilson, Sarina Rye and Elise Sommerhaug play at the Golden Empire Solo/Ensemble Music Festival on March 2 at Sacramento State. Registration was paid for by the music budget. PHOTO BY SHIMIN ZHANG

we’re not tapping into,” Crabb said. “We always feel like we have to make these grand trips when there’s a lot here.” The school’s proximity to the theater allowed the use of a school bus and thus no cost for students. But for trips with longer distances to travel or more students to accommodate, charter buses are needed, Wells said. “Something huge like a char-

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News • March 19, 2019

The Octagon

School policy requiring records causes rush for needed vaccinations



n January, Washington declared a state of emergency — not because of natural disaster, economic crisis or terrorism, but because of measles. With a measles vaccine developed in 1963, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared the virus eliminated from the U.S. in 2000. In 2017, however, the CDC reported 18 measles outbreaks across the country. Measles is highly contagious and can live in a room for two hours after an infected person coughs or sneezes, according to the CDC. The vaccine for it is 93 percent effective. While 7 percent remain unprotected due to improper vaccination, the large population of vaccinated individuals keeps the vulnerable people safe. But over the course of 17 years, the number of unvaccinated children under 2 has quadrupled, according to federal health data. In 2015, 1.3 percent of children ages 19-35 months had not received their recommended vaccinations, according to the CDC, compared with 0.3 percent in 2001. This leaves children — both vaccinated and unvaccinated — susceptible to preventable diseases, such as measles and whooping cough, which is also highly contagious, especially in school environments. Head of high school Brooke Wells said the Washington measles outbreak sparked a conversation among California schools to ensure that all students are vaccinated and have proper documentation of required immunizations. As a result, the school completed an audit of its immunization records in February. Assistant to the head of high school Valerie Velo subsequently sent out warning emails on Feb. 27 to the parents of students with missing records, vaccinations

or boosters. In a March 7 poll of 117 high school students, 24 reported that their family had received the email from Velo. The email stated, “In order for Sacramento Country Day School to be in compliance with California State Laws and for (the student) to continue attending school, we will need to have proof of (the student’s) immunizations within 30 days of this email.” Over 50 percent of the students who received that email were international students. These students had either not turned in their records or were missing certain boosters or particular shots. While international students do need updated immunization records when they enter the U.S., federal requirements are slightly different than those for California public and private schools, which is why so many international students were affected. Wells said state law requires Country Day to give a 30-day notice to families to get the necessary immunizations and records. However, Wells noted that students may also provide the school with a plan to receive immunizations, as the school recognizes that 30 days could be insufficient. The recent audit is also a result of Senate Bill (SB) 277, signed by former Gov. Jerry Brown in 2015. This law, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2016, outlaws personal and religious belief exemptions for required vaccines in public and private schools across California. SB 277 was prompted by an outbreak of measles due to unvaccinated children at Disneyland in 2014, resulting in 125 cases of the disease spanning state lines. California, Mississippi and West Virginia are the only three states allowing only medical exemptions from vaccinations. Forty-seven other states allow religious exemptions, and 17 of those states also allow phil-

FOR THE RECORD Senior Mehdi Lacombe speaks with Dr. Eric Tepper about tuberculosis testing as Tepper fills in Lacombe’s California private school immunization record on March 13. PHOTO BY JACQUELINE CHAO

osophical exemptions for personal, ue attending Country Day. make it very unlikely that you will moral or other beliefs. After finding his immunization be infected,” Whited said. “However, Because of this leniency, a medi- record, Lacombe went to his local if a person is not boostered properly an 2.2 percent of kindergarten chil- doctor to ensure he had all the re- for a vaccination, there is always a dren nationwide claim exemptions quired vaccinations. possibility for infection.” to vaccination, according to a Feb. 21 Nationwide, an extremely small Even though Lacombe had all the Washington Post article. required vaccinations, his doctor percentage of students claim reliCalifornia schools are required couldn’t verify if he had received the gious or medical exemptions from to request vaccination records for correct dosages. vaccination. The largest percentage students entering kindergarten and “Apparently, different countries of exemptions is for personal beliefs. seventh grade. Current students in have different doses of vaccines,” LaDaniel Salmon, a professor at eighth grade or higher are not re- combe said. “So while one country Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School quired to be vaccinated if they had might give one vaccine in two doses, of Public Health in Baltimore and a personal or religious belief exemp- another might give it in four. director of the Institute for Vaccine tion before SB 277 was passed — one “My doctor could not verify Safety, said in a public statement: reason the high school is only now whether or not I had all the correct “Most people who have concerns auditing records. doses without a blood test, so I opt- aren’t ideologically opposed to vacBy seventh grade, cines. They just don’t children are required to trust the science, they’ve be vaccinated for 10 disIf a child is infected with some sort of been misinformed, or eases: tetanus, diphthepathogen, it could spread from child they hold different valria and pertussis (Tdap); ues.” haemophilus influenzae to child or family to family very quickly.” One rumor that has —Kellie Whited plagued the country in type B; measles, mumps and rubella (MMR); porecent years is that vacliomyelitis; hepatitis B; cines can cause autism ed to simply get six of the vaccines spectrum disorders in children. and varicella (chickenpox, VZV). Even the University of California again instead of waiting around for “It has been definitively proven system updated its vaccination pol- my blood test results.” that vaccines do not cause autism,” In one sitting, Lacombe received Whited said. icy on Nov. 15, 2016, requiring the MMR, VZV and Tdap vaccinations the polio, Tdap, hepatitis A and Whited added that the doctor for all incoming students, in addi- B, VZV and HPV vaccines, which who published a paper asserting tion to the meningococcal conjugate caused him to get lightheaded. vaccines cause autism, Andrew “After the first three, I got really Wakefield, had his medical license (meningitis) vaccine and a tubercunauseous and thought I was going to revoked. Whited attributed the sublosis screening questionnaire. A vaccine is typically an extreme- throw up,” Lacombe said. “I just had sequent trend of misinformation to ly weak or a heat-killed version of to lie down for a bit, and then I was social media and word of mouth. fine, but I’ve never had a reaction the specific pathogen. “Trendy topics like this tend to “Once a vaccine is introduced into like that to a vaccine before.” spread very quickly because it’s inDespite the trouble, Lacombe teresting and shocking, and many your system, your immune system can begin to learn how to fight the said he still believes in a zero-toler- people do not take the time to do pathogen,” biology teacher Kellie ance policy for anti-vaccination. their research and check the validity “There is no merit in not vaccinat- of the claims before spreading it to Whited said. “So upon second exposure, your body is able to neutralize ing your kids,” Lacombe said. “I am someone else,” she said. the pathogen and prevent you from a pretty niche case, so it was a shame “By then, the initial statement it affected me the way it did.” being infected.” has been so warped and taken so Ninety-seven percent of students out of context — kind of like a game Senior Jacqueline Chao was one student whose family received an in the March 7 poll agreed with of telephone — that what is being email from Velo. Chao was missing Lacombe, while 3 percent did not spread is so far from the truth that both her immunization record and answer whether they believed in it is impossible to put a lid back on vaccinations. In that poll, 84 percent that rumor.” the Tdap booster. For Chao, this wasn’t a problem, of students reported being fully vacFifteen percent of the polled stuas when she came to the U.S. from cinated, 3 percent were not and 13 dents reported knowing a family China, she received all her vaccina- percent did not know. member or friend who does not beWhited said that when it comes to lieve in vaccinations and/or believes tions and kept her records. Her host family recently took her to get the vaccinations, “It’s infinitely easier to that vaccines cause side effects such prevent than to treat.” required booster as well. as autism. “Children come in such close conFor senior Mehdi Lacombe, howTwo high school students detact with each other while eating clined to be quoted about their anever, the new law caused a problem. “I have all my vaccinations,” La- and playing that if a child is infected ti-vaccination viewpoints and those combe said. “I received most of them with some sort of pathogen, it could of their family. in France and Belgium as a child, spread from child to child or family Facebook has reportedly played but my family initially displaced my to family very quickly,” she said. a large part in spreading false inforAs of Jan. 28, 25 of the 35 confirmed mation about vaccinations, with the immunization record, most likely cases in the Washington measles company only recently announcing during our move to America.” Lacombe, like Chao, said the outbreak were children under 10, its steps to reduce the distribution of school sent multiple emails to his with only one adult case being re- health-related misinformation. mother about the missing records ported, according to an NPR article. A parent herself, Whited stressed Vaccinations are as close to a cure the importance of vaccinations in and recently called her to inform her that if his immunization record as possible, Whited said. preventing life-threatening diseases. “For very few things is there a was not turned in within 30 days, La“It is our duty as parents to protect combe would not be able to contin- cure, but vaccination is a way to our children,” she said.

The Octagon

Sports Boosters pays for amenities, not ‘nuts and bolts’ of athletics program BY CHARDONNAY NEEDLER Sports programs, like those for the arts, are expensive. According to athletic director Matt Vargo, the three basketball officials typically needed for a basketball game cost $100 each, each basketball costs $60, and every volleyball costs $50. While the “nuts and bolts” of sports team upkeep — equipment, game officials and transportation to games — deplete most of the athletic department’s budget, Vargo said, the program is able to upgrade and expand in part via the Sports Boosters. Sports Boosters, according to its president, Jeannie Choi-Boersma, is an independent, parent-led organization whose mission is to increase school spirit. Past works include the baseball diamond, another scoreboard in the gym, nighttime lights for Homecoming soccer games, upgraded uniforms and pompoms and cheer gear. Additionally, to increase membership and “enhance school spirit,” Choi-Boersma said, the Boosters has multiple mixers, such as the Fall Chili Cook-Off, three high school sports banquets and, recently, a s’mores/hot chocolate event. These events cost $15 to attend years ago, according to Vargo. Though these events are free, they reap profits by incentivizing families to join Boosters, Choi-Boersma said. “Lots of generous families come in and offer us donations, which vary in price from a small donation to thousands of dollars,” Choi-Boersma said. Memberships — which require a minimum annual payment of $50 — give families free entrance to sports events, accounting for $10,000, twothirds of the Boosters’ budget. Nonmembers, she explained, must pay at the door, contributing to the “gate sales” that comprise $5,000 — one-third — of the Boosters’ budget. Joining Sports Boosters also, as Vargo said, “gives parents a voice.” However, that voice is somewhat limited. According to the newly updated Sports Boosters bylaws based on the 1993 version, Choi-Boersma said, voting rights are extended only to members willing to volunteer for at least 50 percent of Boosters events. Nonetheless, Choi-Boersma said, all members can attend the monthly meetings at which ideas for future projects and fundraisers are discussed. “We’re definitely still listening to ideas,” Choi-Boersma said. “I recently sent a survey out to Boosters members asking them what areas they’d like to see improved upon — spirit building, equipment or mixer activities.” Other ideas come from Vargo, Choi-Boersma said. “Matt’s always present at our meetings,” she said. “Lots of our requests come from him since he knows exactly what is needed.” Once the varsity volleyball needed “Booster buses,” as Vargo called them, to travel to competition. “If we want to bring friends and families, Boosters could provide those,” he said. “Our administration doesn’t want us to nickel-and-dime parents. We don’t want money to be a hindrance from playing sports and making sure the teams are filled.” But no matter who decides what to buy next for the school’s fifth- through 12th-grade athletic teams, it all goes to the same purpose. “They’re competing against other schools and need resources,” Choi-Boersma said. This year, Choi-Boersma said the Boosters’ focus is on middle school athletics but listens to its members to “put attention in the right areas.”

March 19, 2019 • News


Budgets: Buses biggest expense across board (continued from page 1) -ter bus to Chico sets you back $3,000 (and) has to be planned for or backed by boosters,” he said. Sports and Arts Boosters, Wells said, are separate from the school. The Sports Boosters raises around $15,000 annually, president Jeannie Choi-Boersma said. The Arts Boosters raises “nothing close to that” — between $2,500 and $4,000 — according to Arts Boosters co-president Katherine Merksamer. However, the music and athletic departments also have annual budgets; Wells said he could not release specific budget amounts. Funding for events is covered by a mix of the annual budget, help from the boosters and student fees. But athletic director Matt Vargo said the athletic department funded the charter bus the varsity volleyball team used on Oct. 30 to travel 114 miles to Merced. Vargo said the Sac-Joaquin Section of the California Interscholastic Federation, the governing body of high school athletics in the state, partially reimbursed the department. “Otherwise, I would have gone to the (Sports) Boosters staff for some help,” Vargo said. The bus, which transported athletes and fans, fit in with the “community building and extra things to make our athletes feel special” Vargo said the Sports Boosters covers. Wells said almost every class

and elective has a budget. Physi- val are the registration fee, fees per cal education and athletics have music group and fees per student. budgets big enough for their There is a $100 registration fee equipment, while the English de- for up to two music groups, and an partment has a smaller budget as extra $100 for every added group. students buy their own books. This year there are six groups for While the music budget covers the middle and high school music the registration fee for the Golden programs. Empire Solo/Ensemble Music FesFees per student, varying yearly, tival at Sacramento State Univer- are $39 for the Forum Festival and sity, neither the budget nor Arts $63 for the theme park ticket. Boosters fully covers the charter “Most festival fees, like initial bus to the annual Forum Festival registration, get paid for out of our (April 13 in Vallejo this year). budget,” Ratcliff said. “We’ll take Merksamer said alleviating the overall cost with transportathe students’ bus cost is the Arts tion, break it down, divide that by Boosters’ main goal this year. student and bill the students.” “The most exFor high schoolpensive part of the ers, the trip costs Most fes(trip) is the buses,” $45. But Arts BoostMerksamer said. ers has consistently tival fees, “We help as much like initial registrapaid for performas we can.” ing arts T-shirts, action, get paid out According to cording to Johnson. band director Bob of our budget.” “When you have —Bob Ratcliff 80 kids at a park, Ratcliff, in the past, the bus has been you want to recogpaid for in different nize them quickly,” ways, sometimes from students Ratcliff said. “With the shirts, it’s and atypically from the boosters. like, ‘Oh, they’re one of us.’” High schoolers going to prom Johnson said that funds for the and not Great America in Santa Arts Boosters come mainly from Clara after the Forum Festival has the Fall Chicken Dinner and the helped cut costs. annual Jazz Supper in February. “With all the high schoolers “The Chicken Dinner itself coming back early, we (will) only doesn’t generate money,” Merksabe billed for half a day on that mer explained. “It’s a fun way to bus,” Ratcliff said. get people to join the Arts BoostThough he didn’t know the ers, which can happen at any total bus cost, Ratcliff told Arts time.” Boosters co-president Sue JohnThe Jazz Supper has a similar son said it would be under $3,000. aim, according to Johnson. Other costs for the Forum Festi“We make money off it, but (the

event) is ‘friendraising,’” she said. But Merksamer said profit is the Jazz Supper’s ultimate goal. “We obviously are very thrifty with what we do for the dinners — hence the Kentucky Fried Chicken — so everyone comes and enjoys and checks out the arts,” Merksamer said. “The Jazz Supper has gone from an event that broke even to one that makes a modest profit — $800 this year.” While the money primarily goes toward transportation to the festival, Johnson and Merksamer said the Arts Boosters will also help with financial aid for the students’ amusement park tickets. “(Festivals) are great experiences,” Johnson said. “We want everyone to go without worrying.” Ratcliff said the Arts Boosters and the music budget have been used to cover the cost for some students in the past. “If it’s a financial burden, I’ll work to get them there,” he said. Ratcliff said the Forum Festival isn’t mandatory for students, but it’s detrimental to the band when a student doesn’t come. “In band, there are 32 parts,” he explained. “We don’t have enough people covering our parts. “In order to make the music work, I spend a lot of time tweaking and rewriting music so that all the parts get heard, but that means there’s only one person on a part. “If somebody doesn’t come, we’re in trouble.”

Esports: Gaming club gains support from administration (continued from page 1) “Video games provide a bridge between grades and friend groups,” she said. “I talk and play with people I wouldn’t normally interact with at school.” That sense of community, for Crabb, is the biggest benefit of the esports club. “There’s a disconnect in many ways, (since) you’re playing with random people,” he said. Crabb added that SCDS esports bring students together. Esports give students who don’t play sports or do art a chance to shine. One club member is junior Darius Shabazi, who started playing video games when he was 7 or 8. According to Shabazi, a big goal of esports is for players to test their skills. “You can assume you’re good (at a) game, but you can’t really know until you play against others on a competitive level,” Shabazi said. Country Day’s club, Omega Clan, plans to compete in the High School Esports League beginning this month. Games began March 18. While the logistics were still being worked out at press time, Omega Clan plans to compete against other U.S. high schools across the country. To help with this, the school purchased a Nintendo Switch. The club has also begun streaming on Twitch (a video platform similar to YouTube) with games such as “League of Legends” and “Overwatch.” Crabb said the club has already begun scrimmaging against O’Dea Catholic. “A teacher and one of the students running the program there had a video chat with (the club),” Crabb said. “They talked with us about their experiences running the program, and they were very excited to help us grow.” Crabb said parents are the biggest obstacle. “Games are relatively new,” Crabb said. “I remember getting a Super Nintendo when I was a kid, but my parents never grew up with console games.” Crabb said the name “esports” can also be controversial, as there isn’t much physical activity involved. But Crabb said the benefits of

IT’S-A-ME! (From right to left) seniors Eivind Sommerhaug and Leonardo Eisner play “Super Smash Bros” while sophomore Connor Pedersen watches. PHOTO BY JACQUELINE CHAO

the club outweigh the costs. And the school has shown support as well. “We seem to have support by both middle and high school principals,” he said. “(It’s) surprising — I was expecting more resistance.” Guidelines were set, though. Head of school Lee Thomsen said school administrators wanted the club to have organization and a plan. “The club started and got momentum before (head of high school Brooke Wells, director of technology Shelley Hinson, Crabb and myself ) had had a chance to think about what parameters should be put around it,” Thomsen said. To reassure administrators, Eivind Sommerhaug created practice times and divided players into groups based on times they were free to practice. A schedule was set up to ensure students knew when they could practice. “Like any sport, there are limits to how often you can practice, and there needs to be structure with esports as well,” Wells said. Thomsen said one issue with the club was the lack of an adult in the Makerspace. “What brought (the club) to our attention in the first place was the question of supervision of kids who were playing or practicing in the Makerspace,” Thomsen said. Still, he said he welcomes the idea of an esports club. And for him, a major goal is dispelling the notion that the club is just “a bunch of kids playing computer games.” “We want to make sure the club has an ar-

ticulated purpose and mission,” Thomsen said. Senior Joe Mo, an administrator for the club’s Discord server, said he wasn’t surprised when there was some resistance to the club. “There’s always some kind of a pushback to things that are different,” Mo said. “But some of it’s understandable.” Mo agreed with Thomsen that there is often confusion about what esports really means. “Part of the club is trying to explain to people what our goals are, what esports really are and how (they) could be an interesting addition to the campus,” Mo said. Mo said he hopes the club keeps expanding and suggested video editing, compiling and posting highlights and writing guides and reviews of games as possibilities. Both Wells and Thomsen said they haven’t heard direct feedback about the club from parents or faculty, although Thomsen has noticed a few faculty members who have expressed confusion over what the club is doing. But ultimately, Thomsen and Wells said the club is valuable for the school — especially since it could attract prospective students. “(The club) might be a differentiator for us as a high school to draw kids interested (in esports),” Thomsen said. Wells recognized esports’ rapid growth. “There’s a lot of momentum for it around the world,” Wells said. “It’s something I don’t think we would have thought of 15 years ago.”


Sports • March 19, 2019

The Octagon

Spring sports growth spurts Tennis team gains girls; bigger baseball team loses star player BY DAVID SITU

other schools have larger teams, Country Day is often at a disadvantage. For baseball, most other teams had 14 to 16 he good news for Country Day is 20 players signed up for the tennis team players last season; meanwhile, Valley Christian Academy had around 20, and Alpha Charand 18 for the baseball team. The bad news is there’s a large gender ter — the section champion — had well over imbalance in tennis, and the baseball team has 20 players, according to Jakobs. “Almost all big Division I-III private schools already lost several players. The tennis team (1-0) has 16 girls and four and public school varsity teams have 20 to 25 players,” Jakobs said. “Those schools also boys, according to senior Leonardo Eisner. “That’s fantastic for filling up the girl cate- have JV and sometimes freshman teams with gories, but we are lacking in the ability to fill around 15 players.” High school tennis competitions consist of up all of the boy categories,” Eisner, who plays the best-of-nine matches: two in boys singles, No. 1 boys singles, said. “I’m worried that some boys doubles, girls singles and of the girls will get bored and girls doubles and one in mixed drop out because some won’t be The hole doubles. Players are limited to able to play any matches.” one match each. that a The baseball team (0-2) has Unlike Country Day, most 15 players, including one girl player leaves can section teams have enough (junior Savannah Rosenzweig). often be the difplayers to fill the lineup plus a Senior Nate Jakobs, who ference in winning few backups, according to Eisbatted .571 last year with a 1.476 ner. slugging percentage and .710 and losing against “We had to forfeit almost all on-base percentage, will miss teams comparaour match days (last year),” Eisthe season after hurting his left ble to us.” knee in a skiing accident. —Nate Jakobs ner said. “(However), it doesn’t matter too much because ten“When I asked who was acnis is not a team sport like most tually serious about playing on other sports. We are all part of the team, about three or four people got up and left,” baseball coach Chris the same group but advance and play indeMillsback said. “I’ve also had a couple of peo- pendently.” Jakobs agreed the size of Country Day’s ple talk with me privately to say that they’re team usually affects its performance. not going to be able to play.” “(Last year) we had 12 players, but for most Last year, the tennis team had 14 players, while the baseball team had just 12. However, games only 10 to 11 came,” Jakobs said. “Pretty these numbers were often lower at games due often, we’re missing a key piece due to a band concert, drama recital, paste-up or other extrato conflicts with other activities. According to Jakobs and Eisner, since most curricular conflict.


99 PITCHES Freshman Jesus Aispuro, sophomore Avinash Krishna and junior Max Kemnitz warm up for practice. In the background, assistant coach Gary Jakobs and coach Chris Millsback discuss the baseball schedule. There are 15 players on the baseball team, including one girl (junior Savannah Rosenzweig). PHOTO BY EMMA BOERSMA

“The hole that a player leaves can often be the difference in winning and losing against teams comparable to us.” According to Eisner, 16 players — eight boys and eight girls — is the ideal team size because it fills the singles and doubles lineups and leaves a backup of each gender in case someone can’t play. Jakobs said the ideal baseball team size is 25, the largest allowed. But since such a big team would bench most players, he continued, 14 or more would suffice. “We’ll start practice with 14 or 15, all of whom I hope will stick with it,” Jakobs said last month. “But usually we lose a few players before our first game who realize they don’t want to play or have other commitments. Hopefully we’ll have better turnouts for games. “The 13th player may not seem like a big dif-

ference when compared to the 12th, but it’s a 33-percent increase in potential substitutes.” Jakobs said he will need six to 12 weeks of physical therapy for his MCL injury. If his knee is still unstable after physical therapy, which would indicate more significant ACL damage than expected, Jakobs will need surgery, which would take approximately a year of rehabilitation. However, Jakobs still assists with coaching. During practice, he will help players improve their skills and mental game; during games, he’ll coach first or third base. The baseball team’s next game is scheduled for Friday, March 22, at 4 p.m. against Western Sierra at Westwood Park. The tennis team’s next match is set for Thursday, March 21, at 4 p.m. against Encima Prep at Encina High School.

The Octagon

March 19, 2019 • Sports

ON TRACK FOR SUCCESS Left: Junior Chris Wilson runs the 1,600 meters at Cordova High School. Middle: Freshmen Arijit Trivedi and Malek Owaidat run the 400 meters together. Right: Sprinters Craig Bolman, a freshman, and Kenyatta Dumisani, a sophomore, practice


starting from the blocks while seventh grader Leo Palatnik, sixth grader Aleyah Harmon and a Cordova coach watch. Some Cordova coaches help the Country Day athletes during practice. ALL PHOTOS BY EMMA BOERSMA

Track team experiences change of coach, scenery BY ANNA FRANKEL

the team is different this year as well. “It feels more focused on each athlete reaching their time and dohe track and field team is ing what they want,” Thomas said. running in a new direction “There are a lot more runners on the this season, with Rick Fullum team this year, but coach Rick Fulreturning as coach after a 10lum still tries to give us really peryear absence. sonalized workouts, which will help Former cross country and track us reach the times we want.” and field coach Nick Domitch Another change this season is moved to Santa Cruz after last seathat the team is practicing at Cordoson. va High School because Fullum has Fullum said he did not plan to reaccess to the track. turn to Country Day but was pleased Before this season, the team pracwhen athletic director Matt Vargo ticed only at Country Day, which asked for his help. made it difficult to get a feel for runFullum, who has coached track in ning on a track, accordSacramento since 1984, ing to Thomas. is the head wrestling Vargo said Cordova’s There are a lot more runners on coach at Grant Union fairly new facility and High School and helps the team this year, but coach Rick proximity to Country coach Cordova High Fullum still tries to give really personalized Day make it an ideal School’s wrestling team. workouts.” place to practice. “We’re happy to have The team will like—Charles Thomas (Fullum) back,” Vargo ly practice four days a said. “He’s really good week at Cordova and, with the jumping and for convenience, one short-distance events, which will be Freshman sprinter Craig Bolman day a week at Country Day, accordgreat for certain runners.” said he is also benefiting from Ful- ing to Vargo. Senior sprinter, triple jumper and lum’s coaching. According to Fullum, it’s “very long jumper Heidi Johnson is one “He’s giving us a lot of specialized beneficial” to practice on a track. member benefiting from Fullum’s drills,” Bolman said. “He teaches us “They can get an idea of what expertise. to focus on our form and keep our they need to do and how far the disJohnson said this year has been arms straight when we’re running so tances are,” Fullum said. “exciting” because of Fullum’s expe- we don’t lose momentum.” “And there is another team out rience coaching jumping events. Junior sprinter, shot putter and there, so they can gauge how oth“I’m already learning more form,” discus thrower Maddie Woo joined ers at their age levels are doing and Johnson said of keeping her steps the team for the first time this year where they need to be.” consistent, standing upright and Wilson agreed that the track is after attending meets last year to raising her knees higher. take photos for the yearbook and helpful, saying that running on a Fullum said he wants athletes to track “is more giving than running achieve their personal goals. So far, “liking the vibe.” She said she has already learned on anything else.” he said the season is going “excepBolman said it has also provided a lot about the sport from Fullum, tionally well.” further learning opportunities for who is “an encouraging coach.” “Everybody who shows up gives “I’ve learned the technique for the athletes. 110 percent, and I’m very pleased “You couldn’t practice the curve running and throwing the shot put,” with that,” Fullum said. the same way without (the track),” The team’s unusually large roster, Woo said. “And to take off my shoes Bolman said. “(Fullum) shows us right after the race to air out my 11 athletes compared with last year’s how to run (the curve) so that we rethree, has increased the team spirit, feet.” ally take advantage of our momenThomas said the overall focus of according to junior middle-distance



runner Chris Wilson. Only two of last year’s participants, Johnson and junior middle-distance runner Charles Thomas, returned this season. Wilson, who competed in track his freshman year but not his sophomore year due to the small roster, said the team’s size was a factor in his decision to rejoin. “It seemed fun to be part of a big group,” Wilson said. “It makes it feel like more of a team sport.” Johnson said the large size provides new opportunities for the runners, including a relay team.

tum.” The track has also been beneficial for practicing specific events, according to Johnson. “Before this year, I was only really able to practice during meets,” Johnson said. “But now I can work with the sandpit at practice.” Johnson said that after the first two meets on March 9 and 12, the team is getting a feel for the season. “It’s hard because we are just getting started,” Johnson said. “We are all getting warmed up and are going to be improving individually.” However, she said Fullum’s experience has come in handy. “He helps with my steps and gives me advice after each jump,” Johnson said. “Nick wasn’t able to give me jumping tips. It is nice to have that feedback.”

Sports Boosters’ Athletes of the Month Rebecca Waterson, swim Rebecca has worked on many skills with her club coach, and it shows in her swimming. Being able to open up and make changes is important as an athlete. Rebecca has balanced the stresses of academics and athletics so well. She will be successful in whatever she does.

Joe Zales, swim Joe has developed his skills over the several years I have coached him. The patience as a swimmer to see microimprovements to the breakthroughs are not easy to handle mentally, but Joe has done well. This year he had to get his training in while being on recruit trips.

For information, please see SCDS homepage under the Quicklink “Parents.” Paid for by our generous Sports Boosters. Comments by swim coach Brian Nabeta.

Fullum agreed that the meets “have been good for the team.” “They have developed into good members that compete with the best in our league,” Fullum said. But Fullum said there is still plenty of room for improvement. “Conditioning and technique are at the top of the list for improvement,” Fullum said. “But (I want to) focus on the end of the season and let the technique and form they were missing develop into their style.” Johnson said a lack of practices due to weather has been a barrier for the team. “We’ve been having a lot of practices (inside) because of the rain,” Johnson said. “But hopefully going forward, we will have more time at Cordova to practice with the pit and the track.”



Crafty Cavaliers

The Oc

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f you have perused the shelves of published it through Amazon. Availthe Matthews Library, you may able in paperback for $7.99, the book have noticed a book by a familiar earns Waterson about $1 per copy, she author: “Galactica” by junior Re- said; about 100 copies have been sold. becca Waterson. “It’s really fun to see your own work In sixth grade, Waterson published on this big website with a whole bunch the book for a class at Swope Middle of well-known books,” Waterson said. School in Reno, Nevada, that required On the last day of sixth grade, Wastudents to make a product by the end terson gave copies of “Galactica” to her of the year. teachers. Inspired by her love of the “Per“I’ve enjoyed being able to bring up cy Jackson and the that I wrote a book with Olympians” book seEnglish teachers,” Waries, Waterson tried terson said. “When I first It’s always told (late English teachmaking a sci-fi graphic funny to novel, but after her faer Lauren) LaMay, she ther saw how much di- see people’s fac- freaked out. She ended alogue she was cram- es when you say, up getting the book, and ming into the panels, she put it in her room. ‘Yeah, I wrote a he suggested she write “One time, there a book instead. She book when I was were some students peconverted her comic in sixth grade.’” rusing the shelves, and book idea into a five—Rebecca they were looking at my page story, proudly book, then looking at Waterson me, then looking back at delivering it to her parents to be published. the book, then looking at “I thought that the title, like, ‘Is this realmy five pages would be perfect for a ly our Rebecca’s?’ book,” Waterson said. “I had chapters “It’s always funny to see people’s facthat were paragraphs long. My parents es when you say, ‘Yeah, I wrote a book were like, ‘Oh, no. You’re not allowed when I was in sixth grade.’” to publish that — it’s only five pages Writing “Galactica” taught Waterlong!’ son about her writing style and gave “I ended up writing a lot more and her an appreciation for authors. figuring out a full storyline. I definite“I have a lot of respect for authors ly took my time, and then the end of who are able to publish a lot of books,” the year started creeping up, and I was Waterson said. “There are people who like, ‘OK, I have to finish this.’ There say, ‘You don’t publish your books fast were a lot of late nights at the end of enough.’ Writing takes a long time. the semester.” This was only a year-long project, She finished “Galactica” — 136 pag- and the book is really short. The aues this time — about thors who have really long, complex a month before the stories and keep producing end of school, new books and series and her mother — it’s just crazy.”

Although she lost interest in writing a sequel, Waterson is brainstorming other book ideas and is trying to animate the first scene in “Galactica” using Adobe Animate. But she isn’t the only young Cavalier author. Freshman Ethan Monasa published the first book in his second series on Feb. 2. He self-published his first series — “The Peace Chronicles,” a tetralogy he started in fourth grade and finished in about three years — through Lulu Press at the recommendation of former fifth-grade teacher Amy Velder. “I didn’t make my first series available to the public because I didn’t feel ready or confident enough,” Monasa said. “That was definitely a good decision because it was terrible. The story was solid, but the execution was terrible, especially the pacing. That’s the sort of thing that improves every time I write. “I feel more ready now than I did four or five years ago to put my work out in the world.” Compelled by his love of writing, Monasa began planning his new fantasy trilogy, “The Tales of Anmorn,” 2 1/2 years ago and spent two years writing the first book, “Darkness Rising.” Monasa said he started the process with his own broad ideas and concepts from books he loved before connecting the dots and brainstorming smaller plot points. In preparation for writing his second series, Monasa read books about aspects of creating novels, such as character and plot design. “It helps me see a lot of

similarities in the books I read,” Monasa said. “In general, especially for fiction books, there is a very similar format used. I’m almost always recognizing that in every book I read.” The “Darkness Rising” paperback version is a 455-page read, and Monasa estimates that the other books will have similar lengths and take him the rest of high school to finish. “Darkness Rising” can be purchased in paperback ($10.99) and Kindle ($4.99) versions. Self-publishing took weeks to complete due to Amazon’s guidelines. He didn’t have an editor, illustrator or agent because of the expense. “I’m not expecting to make much, so I’m not ready to invest money into the process until I think it’s financially worth it,” Monasa said. “With my book’s length, it would cost thousands of dollars to get a team of reasonable quality. “With the publishing industry, you get what you pay for. I don’t want to pay for something that isn’t worthwhile, and the stuff that is worthwhile is out of my budget.” Profits are small, with only 28 cents and $3.35 earned for each paperback and Kindle version bought, respectively, according to Monasa. “Publishing is fun, but it’s more of a way to justify what I’ve done or give it a purpose so I don’t have a bunch of things I’ve written just sitting on my computer,” Monasa said. “It gives me something physical that I can look at, pick up or read. That’s really cool for me.” So far, the readership of “Darkness Rising” consists of Monasa’s family and friends.

ON THE SAME PAGE Junior Rebecca Waterson and freshman Ethan Monasa read their published books. PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY JACQUELINE CHAO


A sitting a strawber ter bottles Why a str Bella Math “Strawberr “I’m ins many form have this se and girls — has gotten sualize how While our nificantly, ignorant, w women ar ety. “Women sweet; they to carry ch Printed stickers cos Addition ing her de 1 ½ years a friends’ ex ble sells u products shirts to pi Howeve many of M because th Redbubble ing to M Mathisen, fan art und fair-use vio is a Father Every m $5 from Re Artists their prod Isabelle Le art on Re her first de made app sale of ove according tory teache first Redb mountaino ed by the w

March 19, 2019


Isabelle Leavy, ’17 Senior Bella Mathisen Junior Jason Li

~ ñåtïøñållÿ rëçøgñïzëd påïñtïñg ømplïshëd årtïsts çrëåtë stïçkërs, pïñåtås,

g girl in a gray swimsuit with rry for a head decorates waand laptops across campus. rawberry head? Ask senior hisen, the artist behind the ry Girl” stickers. spired by misogyny and the ms it takes,” Mathisen said. “I series of fruit-headed women — of which strawberry girl n the most attention — to viw we as a society see women. r society has progressed signo one, unless exceedingly will tell you that men and re completely equal in soci-

n are viewed as soft and y are defined by their ability hildren, or fruit of the womb.” using StickerApp, these ost $2 apiece. nally, Mathisen started sellesigns on Redbubble about ago after hearing about her xperiences with it. Redbubuser-submitted artwork on ranging from stickers to illow cases. er, Redbubble took down Mathisen’s first submissions hey were fan art and broke e’s fair-use policy, accordMathisen. This didn’t deter who learned how to submit der titles that didn’t trigger a olation; her best-selling item John Misty sticker. month, Mathisen earns about edbubble. make about 20 percent of ducts’ profits, according to eavy, ’17, who also sells her edbubble. Since uploading esign in May 2017, Leavy has proximately $400 from the er 1,200 Redbubble products, to her mother, AP Art Hiser Liz Leavy. Isabelle Leavy’s bubble design — a starry, ous nature scene surroundwords “i wanna linger a little

longer, a little longer here with you.” has also been able to sell more of her around $50. — is by far her most popular, earning original artwork. Meanwhile, although junior Jason Leavy $300 from 1,100 product sales, “Now that people have started see- Li is new to selling art, he’s certainmostly stickers. ing my work in other people’s houses, ly not a pricing novice. His painting “I figured my designs already exist- it has moved on from dogs and kids,” “Dawn in Times Square” is on display ed — why not see if other people like Mathisen said. “They trust me as an from March 1 to Saturday, April 6, in them as much as I do?” Leavy said. “I artist and want to buy my actual stuff, the RS Hanna Gallery in Fredericksam proud of what I create and want to which has been nice.” burg, Texas, with a $1,500 price tag. be able to share it! Plus, it’s a nice way Freshman Vivian Conner has sold Li’s painting was selected for exhito make a small amount of money.” commissions since she was 12. During bition after he applied to the “Best of She said she enjoys the “hands-off” this time, she has tried selling art — America Small Painting National Jurnature of the site, as artists don’t need almost solely animals and animalistic ied Exhibition” from the National Oil to advertise their work or interact with creatures, but she said she wants to and Acrylic Painters Society; it’s his customers. first time exhibiting and Redbubble also selling his art. turns Leavy’s gift “The moment when you The moment when you realize your ideas for friends and realize your work is being work is being recognized by profesfamily into reality. recognized by professionals sionals — I really enjoyed that.” “Sometimes I — I really enjoyed that,” Li —Jason Li said. imagine a perfect Christmas present He priced the painting, for a friend and dewhich took 30 hours to cide just to design it myimprove on drawing humans — on complete, based on last year’s prices in self,” Leavy said. “Recentseveral games and websites, some the exhibition. ly, I did a digital work of with more success that others. Li said he might not sell other paintmy dog, and I printed it on “I tried Amino Apps, but com- ings in high school, though. stickers and pillows for my munities were often made of kids “I do want to get recognition, but family, which was really who wanted free art and had no I actually want to keep most of my cool.” way to pay,” Conner said. paintings,” Li said. “I just don’t want to While Leavy someShe earns mainly site- or let go of some of my work.” times takes unofficial art game-specific currencies, such as Junior Madeleine Woo is less atcommissions, Mathisen’s the in-game currency of Flight Ris- tached to her art pieces than Li — commission business has ing, which allows users to have mostly because they’ll be destroyed by taken off since she officially startan online shop for art. a baseball bat. ed it about a year ago. Mathisen “Having an art shop is “My cousin really likes pineapples, said she didn’t advertise commisa good way to get through and they’re a trendy thing right now, so sions, but someone asked her, games quicker,” Conner said. I said, ‘I’ll do a pineapple!’ And I also and through word-of-mouth, Pricing is Conner’s weak love food, so I did a popsicle,” Woo clients have commissioned over spot; she allows for generous said. $1,000 worth of her art. negotiations with customers. Through Etsy (think of Amazon Most customers commission Because she enjoys commis- but focused on handmade or vintage Mathisen through her Instasions, she said she underprices products), Woo sold two of her piñatas, gram account, although some go her art, usually charging $1-$5 of earning her a $14 profit. through Twitter, often asking for art of online currency or $5-$10 of “real” She began creating piñatas after pets or children. Commission costs de- currency per piece. Often, her clients watching a video on piñata-making by pend on the piece’s size, material and resell her art at a higher price, which YouTuber Kawaiisweetworld. time needed to complete it. Mathisen Conner doesn’t mind. However, she Piñata-making is a three-hour prousually charges $11 per hour, and ma- said she still wants a transaction, so she cess for Woo: design the template, terial prices increase from watercolor will not give art for free. Some clients trace it onto cardboard, cut it out, tape to acrylic to oil paintings, the latter re- have unsuccessfully tried to swindle it together with an abundance of packquiring a $20-$50 canvas. her. aging tape, cut 1 1/2-inch strips of tissue Through commissions, Mathisen In total, Conner said she has made paper, fold it, cut the fringe and glue it

onto the cardboard layer by layer. “It’s a mind-numbing thing,” Woo said. “You get to be creative — the possibilities are endless. It’s pretty methodical. You can just put on a good Netflix show and just cut the fringes and glue forever.” But the next step was the downfall of her piñata producing: shipping. Shipping necessitated a box and stuffing to protect the delicate item, along with a trip to the post office for Woo’s mother. It also added to the piñata’s price, which totaled $19. Because the shipping process was too much work, Woo’s mother told her to stop selling piñatas and offered to help set up a photography website. Woo plans to sell her photographs using Squarespace, and a link to her Etsy account will be embedded for purchase of photo prints. Additionally, Woo wants to sell puzzles of her pictures.

“STRAWBERRY GIRL” Senior Bella Mathisen, inspired by the phrase “fruit of the womb” and oppressive gender roles, created this sticker. PHOTO COURTESY OF MATHISEN

Go to to read about junior Héloïse Schep’s award-winning product design of a “stroopwafel” clip — created when she was 11!



Opinion • March 19, 2019


The Octagon

“Off the Beaten Path” by Emma Boersma

My Angle



Jack Christian Mehdi Lacombe Chardonnay Needler Mohini Rye Allison Zhang

Hate gaming? This one’s for you

NEWS EDITORS Jack Christian Allison Zhang

SPORTS EDITORS Jack Christian Allison Zhang


Chardonnay Needler


Mehdi Lacombe


BUSINESS MANAGER Larkin Barnard-Bahn


Larkin Barnard-Bahn Emma Boersma Jack Christian Jackson Crawford Anna Frankel Mehdi Lacombe Chardonnay Needler Mohini Rye Sarina Rye Héloïse Schep Allison Zhang


Sanjana Anand Arjin Claire Dylan Margolis Jackson Margolis Ethan Monasa Miles Morrow Arijit Trivedi Arikta Trivedi

GRAPHIC ARTISTS Emma Boersma Jacqueline Chao Mohini Rye



Jacqueline Chao

PHOTOGRAPHERS Emma Boersma Jacqueline Chao Elise Sommerhaug Shimin Zhang


Harrison Moon, editor David Situ, assistant Ming Zhu, staffer


Paul Bauman The Octagon is Sacramento Country Day School’s student-run high school newspaper. Its purpose is to provide reliable information on events concerning the high school and to inform and entertain the entire school community. The staff strives for accuracy and objectivity. The Octagon aims to always represent both sides of an issue. Errors in stories will be noted and corrected. The Octagon shall publish material that the staff deems is 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 timely and relevant news, subject to the following exceptions: obscenity; slanderous or libelous material; and material contrary to the best interests of the school community, as judged by guidelines between 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 author’s opinion. In the interest of representing all viewpoints, letters to the editor shall be published, unless otherwise requested. All letters must be signed and conform to above restrictions. The staff may change grammar and punctuation or abridge letters for space. Comments may be made online to address all stories run.

EDITORIAL: Students should know gap years have benefits, too


ver the past 10 years at Country Day, according to director of college counseling Jane Bauman, only three students have taken a gap year after high school — two of whom, Atsuo Chiu and Jake Longoria, graduated last year (see story on page 11). But in a March 12 poll of 90 high school students, 39 had considered taking a gap year, while seven are planning to. Of 25 seniors, five said they had considered taking a gap year but only one decided to actually take one. The growth of these numbers shows a need for more assistance and guidance regarding gap years. That’s not to say the college counseling department has done nothing when it comes to discussing gap years — in the spring college counseling meeting for juniors and their parents, parents fill out a questionnaire and are asked whether they think their child would benefit from taking a gap year after high school. For students, on the other hand, deciding to take a gap year is something that “comes up in our meetings,” Bauman said. Senior Eivind Sommerhaug, who will be taking a gap year for health reasons, said Bauman has been helping him with the planning. There are are many benefits to gap years, which are often overlooked during the college application process here, and more students should be made aware that gap years are a feasible option after high school. Furthermore, there should be

more support systems in place for those who do plan on taking a gap year. In many cases, gap years can have positive academic effects. According to the American Gap Association, students who have taken gap years have higher GPAs in college and are more likely to graduate within four years. In addition, 60 percent of graduates who took a gap year said the experience helped them determine their current major/ career path. Longoria agreed, adding that his gap year has been “amazing” and “eye opening.” And while one of the main arguments against taking a gap year is the fear that teenagers are less likely to go to college afterward, this doesn’t fit reality. Ninety percent of teenagers who take a gap year still attend college within a year, according to a study published in the Washington Post in 2010. Furthermore, many colleges allow — or even encourage — students to defer enrollment for a year. That’s what Chiu did, and he is now spending his gap year preparing for entrance exams for Japanese universities. Similarly, Sommerhaug has applied to colleges but plans to defer his enrollment for a year. As for his plans during his gap year, Sommerhaug said director of technology Shelley Hinson offered him an intern position in the technology department, and he is also looking for other programs and ways to spend his time. Some colleges offer their own opportunities for incoming

freshmen to take a gap year, such as volunteering around the world. For instance, Princeton’s Novogratz Bridge Year Program allows students to spend nine months doing service work in either Bolivia, China, India, Indonesia or Senegal — all tuition free. The Bridge Year website states that it “aims to provide participants with greater international perspective and intercultural skills, an opportunity for personal growth and reflection, and a deeper appreciation of service in both a local and international context.” While we applaud the work of the college counseling department in helping students and parents navigate college admissions, students need to be made more aware of the benefits of gap years — not just for unusual cases like Chiu’s and Sommerhaug’s, but also for any students looking to broaden their worldview, gain independence, discover their passions, give back to the community or work and earn money. Plus, with so many colleges offering their own gap year programs, letting students know about the opportunities provided by specific institutions could be another factor in deciding where to apply. C-day meetings would be the perfect place to hold these conversations. Juniors just starting the college process might not realize just how helpful a gap year could be, and hearing about it from a counselor could help them plan their future. After all, there are just as many benefits to gap years as there are to matriculating directly into college — if not more.

A BIG THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS FOR KEEPING US IN THE BLACK! Anand family, anonymous, Bahn Management Company, Christian family, Frankel family, Impact Venture Capital, Intel Foundation, Lacombe family, Monasa family, Needler family, Rye family, Schep-Smit family, Situ family, Zhang family

Friday nights during my pre-calculus summer course were when I could get together with friends and unwind by destroying other players in a game of “Fortnite.” All of us usually died within the first two minutes, but at least we were persistent. On PC, of course. And, yes, I stayed up late. One morning, though, my mom told me to stop playing and study. I tried to explain that gaming is fun and relaxing, but she said, “Video games are useless and addicting.” My parents are against gaming, yet they’re fine with watching TV — which people watch five hours per day on average, according to the New York Times. Then, this year, I started coding — with my parents’ approval — to pursue my goal of becoming a game developer — to their disapproval. They said game development doesn’t involve much coding — which is horribly wrong — and that learning to make games won’t help me succeed. To my parents, it was sound advice. To me, it was an insult. Since the emergence of Atari’s “Pong” in 1972, the popularity of video games has increased exponentially. Animation became three-dimensional, consoles shrank from the size of a fridge to the size of your palm, and games transformed from 8-bit to 4K to even virtual reality. The rapid development of the gaming industry is directly linked to its popularity. A study by the Entertainment Software Association in 2018 showed that 60 percent of Americans play video games daily — only 17 percent of whom are children. However, many — at least my and my friends’ parents — think video games are a nefarious waste of time. Yes, staring at a screen excessively can cause general discomfort, but the key word is “excessive.” Too much of anything is bad for you! If you read for five hours straight, your eyes will get tired; if you exercise for too long, your muscles will be damaged. And besides, there are also positives to gaming. For one, gaming can be beneficial if done healthily. A 2018 Psychological Bulletin study showed that gaming for over five hours a week led to improved perception, coordination, attention and cognitive flexibility. Also, with gaming’s prominence, it makes sense to pursue a job in gaming as a streamer, developer or competitive player. According to Statistica, the revenue of the U.S. gaming industry in December 2018 was $3.42 billion. According to CNBC, Rockstar Games’ “Red Dead Redemption 2” earned $725 million in retail sales in the first three days of the game’s release, toppling Disney’s film “Avengers: Infinity War” — which had the highest-ever opening weekend-box office of $640 million. Finally, gaming is good for bonding; after a day of hard work, nothing beats getting in a group call with friends and playing “Destiny 2.” Since I can’t meet my friends overseas in person, playing online is the perfect way to renew our friendship. Gaming is a source of entertainment, not addiction. It’s a relatively new concept and still underrepresented in the community, even with its popularity — and I’m doing my part to shed light on the topic. Gamers, rise up!

The Octagon

March 19, 2019 • A&E

Sacramento's nail nooks


pring is the season for sandal wearing, shapely nails and salt scrubs — but not shabby toes. After looking up the priciest and cheapest nail salons in Sacramento, junior Emma Boersma and I chose two to visit: Blush Nail and

BLUSH Tattoos of teardrops and tubs of warm water. TARDIS-blue toenails and green tea that’s hotter. Lavender scrubs for your exhausted feet. These are a few of my favorite things … And no, I’m not talking about some strange “Sound of Music” reboot. These are all found at Blush, which Emma and I went to on March 2. “Wow,” Boersma said, gazing up at the fluorescent, grocery-store-produce-section-bright lights. “This place is fancy.” The intense white light made the chairs and plastic-crystal-gilded lamps gleam — almost excessively so. Seriously, it was borderline blinding. Our eyes got used to it after a few minutes. Sitting on the GR AP chairs nearHI est to CS BY

Beauty Bar (1338 Howe Ave.) and Noble Nails Spa (442 Howe Ave.), respectively. To judge fairly, we ordered basic services at each — no acrylic or gel, no hot stones and no nail art. STORIES BY CHARDONNAY NEEDLER


PERFECT POLISH Junior Emma Boersma’s newly painted toenails after a cucumber foot scrub at Blush. Boersma chose the periwinkle polish to match her fingernails. PHOTO BY BOERSMA



the door, two men — both Vietnamese and They were so talkative that Carmen, my manadorned with facial and arm tattoos — were icurist, gave unsolicited advice about curenjoying pedicures. ing dryness. Sorry, ma’am, but I still haven’t Since Emma and I went at 6:30 p.m., half an bought that vat of coconut oil. hour before closing, we were the only customAll this talking didn’t mean Emma and I ers, save for the two men who never paid and couldn’t talk to each other. were likely the owners. “Wait, is this gel and this non-gel?” Boersma The receptionist was helpful, patiently asked, pointing at the rings of multicolored dealing with our teenage indecisiveness as we nail polish colors. flip-flopped between having one pedi ($25 for “No,” I replied. “These swatches are all not non-gel) and two manis ($35 gel.” for each non-gel) or two full There were so many colors sets. that choice blindness was inevThere She answered our price itable. were so questions and explained what However, I’m fairly certain came in each of the pedi pack- many colors that they forgot the most important ages. choice blindness color — clear. At the end of my After we decided upon two manicure, there was no top coat was inevitable.” full sets, she asked us what applied. —Chardonnay scent we’d like for our foot Blush’s strength wasn’t in the Needler final nail job, as my right pinscrubs, included in the $35 basic package. ky’s olive-green polish started Of the dozen choices — peeling off that evening. It also ranging from jasmine to green tea — I decid- may have not been the best polish because my ed on “relaxing lavender,” while Emma chose nails weren’t done on a flat surface; the women “refreshing cucumber.” held our hands while applying the polish. And Now for the drink pairings. Blush carries a our hands weren’t still either, as Emma and I horde of complimentary drinks — virgin and squirmed at ticklish moments. alcoholic (if you present an ID). I chose a hot Rather, the salon excelled at presenting green tea, while Emma got some water. clients with an experience. From the warm, It was fairly bland bagged tea, but having a moisturizing collagen gloves used instead of warm beverage added to the pampering. The water to prep customers’ hands to the soft, lady doing my pedicure, Cynthia, even helped clean white rugs customers step on before me drink tea while Carmen was doing my soaking in the tub, Blush cared about the little manicure. things to pamper you. In fact, Emma and I were served by two Blush breaks the trope of what a nail salon women each, all of whom were eager to talk is. It’s not a hole-in-the-wall shop. Workers call about us, our hobbies and our backgrounds. you by your name and converse as much as

SLIPPER SUPPORT A Blush employee rolls senior Chardonnay Needler’s pants down to protect her still-drying fingernails before Needler left the salon. PHOTO BY EMMA BOERSMA hairdressers. Almost two hours and $144 later (we both added 20 percent tips on our $60 bills), we left; I had a to-go cup of tea in my hand. While my pedicure is still in flawless condition, my nails chipped within a few days. Their chipping wasn’t due to roughness or carelessness on my part, as they had dried a little unevenly to begin with. All in all, the experience made me want to return. We both left rejuvenated and relaxed. The prices, however, still leave me with cold feet.


and accurately, but I didn’t know what they were talking about — or what was so funny. (I’d been watching the Ken Burns I hadn’t even sat down at Noble bright white Square Reader in our “Vietnam War” documentary, and Nails before the lady who did my direction. the only Vietnamese I understood nails began to chat. “Pay, pay — you pay now,” she was “nỗi s chết” — “I am/was afraid “Miss, you want acrylic gel?” she said. of dying” — a phrase I didn’t hear asked me the moment the receptionSo it was time to pay. Each manithe ladies say.) ist showed me to my table. cure was $15, and we had to pay beIt dawned on me “No, thank you,” I said. The sa- fore they did anything else. during the manicure lon’s “Gel Express” cost $25, $10 There wasn’t anything elaborate that Blush hadn’t apmore than the regular. (For the sake about the pre-polish care: plied a top coat at of equal reviewing, Emma and I a quick soak in lukewarm the end, possibly stuck to regular at both salons.) water, nail shaping and why the polish “Are you sure?” she continued. “It a quick trim. The trim chipped so dry quicker and stay longer.” was much better than quickly. Emma, meanwhile, was fascinat- Blush’s, without any Within 45 ed by the gel examples proudly dis- snagged nails or flaky or minutes from played on each table. irritated cuticles. the start, our “Whoa, these are so cool!” she “Oh, yeah, these are way nails were ready to said as she reached for the faux-gar- better,” Emma said. “The be dried. By that time, net-studded the patronage in the translucent nails once-packed salon had It was more relaxing to chat with ladies dwindled to only a few on display. than to be told to stop laughing so we And the womcustomers, and the store an doing her wouldn’t shake the table.” was still open after 7. nails tried hard As for pedicures, —Needler to convince her the chairs had various to switch to gel. massage settings for the But once we had back and behind, but finally affirmed our decisions — shape is so much rounder.” there was no pumice or bath salts After the nails were primed and like at Blush. multiple times — she brought over the one rung of non-gel swatches shaped, we had to walk over to the Yes, we left Noble Nails with betsink and — after experimenting ter nails. My hands were a tad dry they had. Although Noble Nails Spa didn’t with the strange, circular faucet after going to Blush; I had white skin have as many colors as Blush, it was handle that went from fire-hot to near the nail beds. But we didn’t easier to choose — dark blue for me freezing-cold with only a 3-degree have the same experience. turn — wash our hands. and orchid for Emma. It was more relaxing to chat with Then we returned and had our ladies than to be told to stop laughAlong with the swatches came the hostess’s iPhone, as she pointed the coats done. The ladies worked fast ing so we wouldn’t shake the table.

MANICURE MADNESS Junior Emma Boersma holds up her just-painted orchid fingernails from the dryer at Noble Nails. While Boersma was given an electric fan to dry her nails, senior Chardonnay Needler was not. PHOTO BY NEEDLER

Nailed it or failed it? BLUSH

Ambience: Polish job: Shaping: Customer service:



Feature • March 19, 2019

The Octagon

Alumna professor, social psychologist runs lab on biracial experience BY HÉLOÏSE SCHEP

scan or distinguish faces faster than monoracial infants due to the excing undergraduates posure they get in their homes to in psychology-themed faces from two different racial back“Jeopardy!” is not part of grounds. The study was among the first to the typical job description for assistant professors. For recruit a biracial infant sample, and Sarah Gaither, ‘03, however, it is — Gaither said she discovered how litand so is teaching three classes and tle research there was regarding the running a self-created lab at Duke biracial demographic. This lack of research was especialUniversity. Gaither is a social psychologist ly important to Gaither because she is biracial herself (she whose work focuses has a white mothon how different exer and black father) periences with diverThe peoand had witnessed sity influence human ple are how differently her behavior and our perincredibly friend- family members were ception of others. treated based on their Specifically, she ly, (and) the cost physical appearance. explores three issues: of living is also Gaither was inthe influence of con- great.” spired to further her tact between different —Sarah Gaither research and apply groups on interracial for Ph.D. programs interaction outcomes, after finishing her both for the racial majority and minority; the effect of work as a lab manager in 2009. In 2014, she obtained her Ph.D. multiple racial or social identities on from Tufts University in the Boston various types of behavior, including complex thinking, social behavior area and won the Provost’s Postdocand identity malleability; and what toral Fellowship, which provides up contexts can influence how people to two years of funding for junior perceive or socially categorize each scholars from diverse backgrounds, at the University of Chicago. other across group boundaries. Gaither has contributed to 25 Gaither has been an assistant professor in the Psychology and Neuro- journal articles since 2014; her work science Department at Duke since has earned the Society for Personalifall 2016. She also founded the Duke ty and Social Psychology’s OutstandDiversity and Identity lab in 2016 ing Graduate Research Award, Tufts’ Outstanding Academic Performance and still heads it. Gaither received her bachelor’s at the Doctoral Level Award and The degree with honors in social welfare Provost’s Multiethnic Graduate Stuwith a concentration in psychology dent Alliance Award. Gaither said tenure-track posiand a minor in Spanish from the University of California, Berkeley in tions were very competitive, but 2007 but said she had no idea what luckily she got an interview at Duke. Since joining the faculty in 2016, she wanted to do other than work with people and help them in some Gaither has done much more than research, such as managing all asway. So she applied to different full- pects of the Diversity and Identity time research assistant positions to Lab. She verifies approvals by the Institutional Review Board (which gain experience. Inspiration struck during her two protects the rights and welfare of gap years working as a lab manager human research subjects in studies), for Scott Johnson in the University sends grant applications, ensures of California, Los Angeles psychol- funding, hires research assistants ogy department. There, Gaither de- and trains undergraduate and gradsigned and ran one of the first stud- uate students. Although Country Day didn’t ies using eye tracking with biracial offer psychology classes, the small infants. She found that biracial infants student body allowed her to partic-


SMILING AT THE SPSP Sarah Gaither (second row, third from left) and the Duke Diversity and Identity Lab staff pose at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Conference in Portland, Oregon, on Feb. 7-9. This conference is the largest in Gaither’s field. Gaither and her graduate and undergraduate students won travel awards to attend and present research. PHOTO COURTESY OF GAITHER ipate in multiple activities — such biracial child custody issue and reg- bly motivated and helpful; Durham, as athletic teams, the Octagon and ularly gives diversity training talks North Carolina, has the racial and the concert and jazz bands — that to businesses. Gaither said she also ethnic diversity on which Gaither’s first opened her eyes to the various hopes to start some work in diversity research focuses; and the campus is identities possessed by someone at consulting (ensuring a corporation’s full of “amazing colleagues and adany moment. practices are fair and inclusive) soon. ministrators who really push your “I became an expert during my And she doesn’t spend all her lab science in some really fun directime at Country Day in learning how time testing; Gaither said she “firm- tions.” to read different social behaviors and ly” believes in balancing work and Living in Durham has been easy writing effectivefor Gaither as well. ly, which helped “The people are inme immensely in credibly friendly, (and) Each week (there are) new study ideas, graduate school,” the cost of living is also new collaboration opportunities, and Gaither said. great in comparison to In addition to new grant and conference deadlines.” the other bigger cities I fulfilling her lab —Gaither lived in before this poresponsibilities, sition — (such as) ChiGaither teaches cago, Boston and Los three courses. Angeles,” she said. The first, Introduction to Social play. But not every part of her research One of her favorite events each is easy. Psychology (a large introductory course for undergraduates), focuses term is her end-of-semester lab parOne of Gaither’s biggest challengon how human identities and be- ty with her team of undergraduates, es, she said, is getting the increasing haviors are influenced by one’s sur- in which they play “Family Feud” or number of participants required for psychology-themed team “Jeoparroundings and experiences. her case studies, especially since The second class, The Self & So- dy!” finding members from underrepreFor Gaither, every day is a little bit cial Identities (a small lecture course sented groups can be a fight against for undergraduates), covers diversity different, which she said she enjoys. the clock — and her checkbook. issues in psychology research, and, Each week she teaches two classes, Although recruiting underrepaccording to Gaither, pushes stu- holds office hours and student meetresented adult participants has bedents to consider if a set of findings ings and writes as much as possible come less time consuming because for publications needed for tenure. applies to other scenarios. of the internet, Gaither said online “But each week, (there are) new Lastly, Gaither teaches Diversity studies are limited in what they can in Psychology (a first-year seminar study ideas, new collaboration opportunities, and new observe and measure, especially in for undergrads) on grant and conference social behavior. social identities, askFurthermore, a diverse sample I get paid deadlines, so I realing students to anasize costs more money to recruit to rely like the variability lyze their identities than a white one because diverse of the type of work I using past theoretical search the exact volunteers are tougher to locate, acget to do every day,” work. questions I am cording to Gaither. Gaither said. Gaither’s seminar interested in.” Nevertheless, Gaither said her Gaither added that class visits Duke’s students make her extra effort to —Gaither she enjoys being her art museum and exown boss. Of course, conquer challenges worth it. amines five pieces One student’s teacher evaluadeans and provosts using identity-related tion comment stood out to her: “Dr. psychology theories to pinpoint dif- are technically her bosses, but she ferent motivations for the art or to said she is able to create and con- Gaither woke me up to all of the varexplain what types of identities the trol her research plans, teaching ap- ious issues that minorities face in society. Be prepared to have your views proaches and student meetings. students see. “There are few jobs where you re- challenged in a good way!” Between teaching, mentoring undergraduate and graduate students ally get to push your own agenda,” and doing her own research, Gaith- Gaither said. “I get paid to research Go to www.scdsoctaer said she is “pretty busy” — but the exact questions I am interested for more stories that hasn’t stopped her from other in.” on alumni professors in Moreover, Gaither said she loves pursuits. the following weeks. She recently served as an expert working at Duke. Her research aswitness for a court case involving a

FACE TO FACE Sarah Gaither discusses how humans categorize racially ambiguous faces at Cornell University’s Blend Conference in April 2016. PHOTO COURTESY OF GAITHER

sistants, she explained, are incredi-

The Octagon

March 19, 2019 • Feature


BALLIN’ WITH BRYANT Internet personality Dan Bilzerian, Jake Longoria, ’18, and professional wide receiver Desmond “Dez” Bryant. Longoria said Bryant invited him to a Halloween party at which Bilzerian was a featured guest. PHOTO COURTESY OF LONGORIA

Class of ’18 gap year experiences vary from ‘amazing’ to ‘tough’ BY JACKSON MARGOLIS


ormer classmates Jake Longoria and Atsuo Chiu, ’18, have made their gap years count. Longoria has befriended celebrities, gotten an office job and started a fashion company; Chiu is studying for entrance exams at Japanese universities. Although Longoria said he didn’t plan on taking a gap year as a junior, he knew midway in his senior year that he’d delay college enrollment to innovate and solve problems. “The first thing I explored was a PG (post-graduate) year, which is a more traditional gap year — mostly for athletes,” Longoria said. Several boarding schools with a post-graduate year, such as The Lawrenceville (N.J.) School, invited Longoria to tour the campus. “But I wasn’t a fan of that oldschool vibe,” Longoria said. This pushed Longoria to make what he called the “best decision of his life” and choose an independent

gap-year program, allowing him to have a job and work on passion projects before college. Longoria quickly found a job at Rizeup Capital, a private investment group in Sacramento that specializes in the educational sector. Longoria said the firm has given him, an aspiring business major, ample experience. When Longoria comes to work, he turns on CNBC to check the stock market and discusses it with his CEO. He said he’s also involved in the company’s investment plans. “(One of our clients was) a young CEO named Ben Holmquist — great guy — who built his company called Penji, a peer-based tutoring company for colleges,” Longoria said. “So we helped him get funding.” Although Longoria said he has enjoyed working on these projects, he does miss school. “I’m still learning, but in an entirely different way,” Longoria said. “I’m learning things I could never learn in the classroom, but I still miss the classroom environment sometimes.” Chiu, a Japan native who moved

to Sacramento when he was 5, said if he wanted to take photos of their his gap year in Tokyo has been tour. stressful. The entrance exams begin “Unfortunately, I’m not a photogin April. rapher, so I declined,” Longoria said. Chiu is applying to four schools Longoria said he spent the rest of and must take a separate exam for his trip filming and editing his vlogs. each one. His top choices are Tokyo On the second night before he University and Tokyo Medicine and was supposed to leave New York, he Dental University, as he plans to ma- witnessed an odd scene. jor in medicine. “This guy comes in with his To prepare for these exams, Chiu friends, and the lady at the front enrolled in a “cram school.” Chiu desk is struggling to get them in,” attends class from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Longoria said. “She asked if he used on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and the right account when making his Saturdays and from reservation, and the 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on man said that he has Wednesdays and three accounts. I’m still Thursdays. And he “I didn’t even know learning, doesn’t take Sundays who he was, but then but in an entirely off. he came over to see “On Sunday when different way.” what I was doing and I don’t have school, —Jake Longoria watched my video. I try to study about He asked me what 10 to 12 hours,” Chiu my name was and I said. said, ‘Jake,’ and I said, Chiu said he studies so much be- “What’s yours?” and he said, ‘Dez.’ cause he always wanted to attend “That’s not really common for university in Japan. someone to just go by Dez instead of “I’ve definitely never spent so Desmond or Dezzie. So I say, ‘ Like much time studying,” Chiu said. Dez Bryant?’ He said, ‘Yeah, man.’” “But it’s worth it. Japan has a six-year Bryant, a wide receiver for the medical program. What’s taught in New Orleans Saints, asked Longothe first two years in U.S. colleges is ria if he could be in his video, and included in the entrance exam, so Longoria agreed. After that, Lonthe second I start university, studies goria said Bryant invited him to the are already mostly about medicine.” launch of “NBA 2K19,” a basketball If Chiu had to sum up his gap year video game, the next day. in one word, he said it’d be “tough.” “I met great people there who I Longoria chose a very different still talk to, like Lonnie Watson and word to describe his gap year. Rob Martin, the creators of the fash“Amazing!” Longoria said. “Every- ion company Astoic,” Longoria said. one should take a gap year. It opens While it might seem surprising your eyes to what you want to do.” that a celebrity athlete would beWhen he has a light day, he edits friend a teenager so quickly, Longohis YouTube videos or records his ria said he wasn’t surprised. passion project — “The Jake Lon“I got to know him well because goria Podcast,” which he started he’s such a nice dude,” Longoria as a senior while on the Octagon. said. “He helps so many people. I Longoria does behind-the-scenes was pretty shocked, though, that he interviews with business, sports and even gave out his phone number.” education executives. Now, Bryant follows Longoria on Longoria’s gap year took an exit- all his social media accounts and has ing turn on his trip to drop off his put Longoria in charge of all social brother Bryce Longoria, ’18, at New media and multimedia for Bryant’s York University. new company, Personal Corner (PC), Jake Longoria had just gotten a soon set to launch. new camera and wanted to film his PC is a way for fans to connect experience in New York to make a with celebrities on a more personal vlog for his YouTube channel. note with an online currency and The first surprising event during prizes. The company’s beta should Longoria’s New York trip was meet- launch soon. ing someone who worked for rapThrough all this, Longoria said he pers Migos and Drake at a hotel. has gotten close to Bryant. Longoria said the employee asked “I got a call at my job from Rock

(Nick Rockwell), his best friend,” Longoria said. “Later that day, Rock sent me a text: ‘Hey, we’ll be in LA later today. Any chance you can make it down there at some point? Also, Dez wants to know if you can do some video shoots for him.’” Longoria went, which allowed him to attend a Halloween party in Bel Air as well as a birthday party for Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (OBJ). “OBJ’s definitely an entertainer, but he is low-key and was enjoying his party,” Longoria said. Longoria also said he met James Corden, the host of “The Late, Late Show” on CBS. “No one was confident enough to go dance with him or hang out with him,” Longoria said. “I went up to him and started dancing with him. He’s a fun guy, an entertainer. You can see why he has his job.” In addition to meeting celebrities, Longoria started a company called NoBrakes that sells premium athletic apparel and will launch its first line this spring. “Our business model is going to follow Gymshark’s, which stayed with a small circle of influencers,” Longoria said. “(Gymshark) has around 60 athletes and just did $120 million in revenue, and they’ve only been in business six years.” Longoria hopes to outpace that. “If in six years we’re doing more than them, I’ll be content,” Longoria said. Longoria conceded that lots of money flows back to the company. “Lululemon is now an $18 billion dollar company, so you’re looking at a growing industry,” Longoria said. Nike and Adidas pay athletes to endorse their products, but Longoria will use social media influencers. “I spend most of my day working on NoBrakes, communicating with our manufacturers or trying to scout more talent,” Longoria said. Although Longoria likes working on NoBrakes, he said he likely won’t take another gap year. “For me to forgo college a second year, I’d have to make pretty drastic progress,” Longoria said. “ Longoria said he won’t decide until the end of summer and doesn’t know where he would attend college.


Backpage • March 19, 2019

The Octagon

March Madness


ntering conference tournaments, NCAA men’s teams were jostling for spots in the Big Dance (today through April 8), while the elite were gearing up for the road to the Final Four. Here are the front-runners for the 2019 national championship. All records as of March 12 (conference records in parentheses). ANALYSIS BY JACKSON CRAWFORD

The Virginia Cavaliers remained in the top five throughout the regular season. At 28-2 — their only losses against Duke — the Cavaliers had eight victories against Top 25 teams, including three against top-10 teams. Consistency and defense have kept Virginia in the conversation even without the “wow” factor. With a nearly flawless record against a strong schedule, the Cavaliers made a strong case for the No. 1 overall seed in the Big Dance. That in mind, I have them as a lock for the Final Four and certainly a contender. However, after losing to Duke twice already, I don’t see them rebounding under the pressure of the NCAA Tournament. Maybe Virginia gets lucky and another team knocks off Duke.

The North Carolina Tar Heels made a big splash after being overshadowed by neighboring Duke early in the season. Winning 14 of its last 15 regular-season games, including two wins over Duke and five wins over top-16 teams, North Carolina climbed to No. 3 in the country — and deservedly so. Although not as talented as Duke, UNC boasts experienced coaches and players. Roy Williams is in his 16th season as the Tar Heels’ head coach, while seniors Cameron Johnson and Luke Maye provide the backbone for the team. Overall, I still favor Duke and Virginia over UNC in a head-to-head matchup in the Big Dance. Sweeping Duke is impressive, but UNC has yet to face the Blue Devils with Zion Williamson. Frankly, I have more faith in a healthy Duke team.

Record 26-5 (14-4)

Record 28-2 (16-2)

Record 26-5 (16-2)

Top Scorer R. Barrett 23.4 ppg

Top Scorer K. Guy 15.3 ppg

Top Scorer C. Johnson 16.8 ppg

The Duke Blue Devils have dominated college basketball this season behind their young talent: Tre Jones, Cam Reddish, R.J. Barrett and most importantly Zion Williamson. In Duke’s first meeting against North Carolina (UNC), Williamson busted open his shoe after trying to make a cut, straining his right knee. The Blue Devils went on to lose 88-72 to the No. 8 Tar Heels. Duke wasn’t the same team without Williamson and his 21.6 points per game. But with Williamson, Duke is a powerhouse. One might argue that inexperience and poor free-throw shooting will show. However, with coach Mike Krzyzewski at the helm, I have full confidence that Duke will go deep into March and April, especially now with a healthy Williamson, and win the title.

Best Win

Worst Loss

Best Win

Worst Loss

Best Win

81-71 at #3 Virginia

95-91(OT) vs. Syracuse

69-61 at #8 N. Carolina

81-71 vs. #2 Duke

88-72 at #1 Duke

83-62 vs. Louisville

Coach John Calipari has transformed the Kentucky Wildcats into a one-and-done machine, producing NBA lottery picks year after year. Talent has never been the problem; it’s hard to bring a brand new team together each year. After a slow start, the Wildcats won 16 of their last 18 regular-season games. Kentucky will always be in the conversation during March because of the tremendous talent it acquires each year. The Wildcats have shown they can beat formidable opponents, but they have also lost against weaker ones. I foresee the Wildcats making the Elite Eight, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them exit sooner. That being said, they could make a title run, but they needed to gain some momentum in the Southeastern Conference tournament to be convincing.

The Gonzaga Bulldogs were ranked No. 1 with the most ppg (88.8) in the country after maintaining a top-five ranking throughout the regular season. Similar to the other teams, Gonzaga is a top program with an experienced coach. Mark Few is coaching his 20th straight season of 23 wins or more. However, Gonzaga’s strength of schedule is abysmal. The Bulldogs have played only three ranked teams all season — Duke, UNC and Tennessee — losing twice. Beating Duke is impressive, but the Bulldogs later lost to UNC by 13 and Tennessee by three, suggesting that they caught a young Blue Devils team off guard early in the season. Gonzaga should breeze through teams to the Elite Eight, but the Bulldogs’ weak schedule will show when they face top-tier teams in later rounds.

Record 26-5 (15-3)

Record 30-3 (16-0)

Top Scorer P. Washington 14.9 ppg

Top Scorer R. Hachimura 20.1 ppg

Best Win

Worst Loss

86-69 vs. #1 84-83 (OT) vs. Tennessee Seton Hall GRAPHIC BY EMMA BOERSMA

Worst Loss

Best Win

Worst Loss

89-87 vs. #1 Duke

60-47 vs. Saint Mary’s

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