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VOL.43 NO.5 • Sacramento Country Day School • www.scdsoctagon.com • @scdsoctagon • February 4, 2020

TO BOOT OR NOT TO BOOT Senior David Situ, sophomore Lilah Shorey, senior Aaron Graves and junior Avinash Krishna participated in a roundtable on Jan. 15 to discuss the impeachment and trial of President Donald Trump. PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY LARKIN BARNARD-BAHN AND ELISE SOMMERHAUG

Trial talk: Roundtable discusses Trump impeachment articles, consequences



n Dec. 18, the U.S. House of Representatives passed two articles of impeachment, the first accusing President Donald Trump of abuse of power and the second of obstruction of Congress. Both articles are “related to his efforts to have Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy announce probes involving former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, as well as a debunked conspiracy theory about the 2016 election,” according to CNBC. The Senate impeachment trial, which will decide whether Trump will be removed from office, began on Jan. 16. In a Jan. 7 Octagon poll of 88 students, 31% said they strongly support removing Trump from office, 27% said they somewhat support it, 29% had no opinion, 7% somewhat disagree with it and 6% strongly disagree. To discuss the impeachment and trial, four students participated in a roundtable on Jan. 15: seniors David Situ and Aaron Graves, junior Avinash Krishna and sophomore Lilah Shorey. Q: Let’s start with the impeachment. What do you think about the articles, and do you think they warranted impeachment? Situ: There’s definitely a case to be made that they are real charges and are impeachable offenses. While I do think there’s some legitimacy to these charges, I don’t think that impeachment was the right choice right now. Considering that we’re so close to the election, I’m in the small camp that’s like, “Yes, these charges are real, but we should let the election really decide.” At this time, it’s not really going to solve the issue. Also, what if he gets reelected? Krishna: You could make the argument that impeachment is probably going to reelect Trump because it will support his narrative and fire up his base. But the argument the Democrats make is, “Impeachment is important, and we have to do it because it’s our moral duty to uphold the Constitution.” So it’s not really that they


think he’s actually going to get removed because he probably isn’t. They feel like they have to do it. Situ: That’s definitely a fair point, but if we’re looking more long term, I don’t think that impeaching him right now is the best choice. It’s going to upset his voting base, and it’s going to have some bad consequences later on if he does get impeached. Shorey: I feel like another reason (they impeached him) is to show his supporters, “Hey, look, he just got impeached for all this bad stuff he’s done,” but the problem is I don’t think his voter base is going to care about that. Situ: That’s why I don’t think this actually changes anybody’s mind, which is why I don’t agree with it. It’s highly unlikely that the Senate is actually going to (remove) him. Krishna: So is impeachment just about changing people’s minds? Situ: For me, that’s what it should be doing. If (the Senate) removes him, then that’s just going to create more backlash and more anger in the people who would support him. Krishna: For sure. The articles are really, really smart. The obstruction of justice is really, really smart because that’s really broad. (House Speaker Nancy) Pelosi deliberately delayed the trial — it’s all calculated. Even if it’s hard to do, the Democrats are playing it really well. He did a lot of other things that are impeachable, but they’re harder to prosecute, so Democrats are like, “Well, you know, here’s some options. They’re not necessarily as cut and dry, but they’re easier to pitch on, so we’re going to introduce these articles.” Graves: They just want to put something out there. The more articles they put in, the more of a witch hunt it looks like. I don’t think he has any real notable of-

SPORTS 5 All-around varsity athlete Aaron Graves jams the national anthem before the homecoming basketball and soccer games.

fenses in terms of those two articles, so I don’t think they warrant impeachment. There’s no real clear-cut evidence to support it from what I’ve seen. Presidents before him have done similar things. Krishna: That’s fair, using precedent. I think they warrant impeachment, but I can see why you disagree. Graves: Every president has had a screwup. Planning (to cut) and actually cutting aid are two very different things. We’re not letting the president threaten someone? Krishna: It’s coercion, though! Isn’t that different? You are a (less powerful) country, and you are basically caught in between two of the world’s biggest powers — Russia and the U.S. Graves: So if we did it against a slightly (more powerful) country, it wouldn’t be that bad? Krishna: What (powerful) country would need aid? They don’t depend on the U.S. for aid, so it doesn’t matter. It wouldn’t be coercive enough. But with Ukraine, that aid package of $130 million — that’s a lot for that country that’s suffering from the Cold War even now. And now that $130 million is being cut off just because, “Oh I want to investigate a political rival.” Graves: Think about it from the average Southern American’s perspective: I’m not a fan of giving aid to any (foreign country) because there are people here in need, so if the president says, “I’m not going to do this,” one, there’s no substance to it, and two, I don’t really mind. So in the eyes of the people, they don’t really care. I don’t think threatening to take away someone’s aid is an impeachable and possibly convictable offense. Q: Do you think the assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani was related to the impeachment?

CENTERPOINT 6-7 The best way to a person’s heart is through their stomach — so look here to find the best restaurants to treat your Valentine.

TRIAL TALK page 3 FEATURE 9 Follow music teacher Maria Hoyos’ journey from her high school in Colombia to her first American concert in Chicago to SCDS.

Mock Trial team wins first round of county competition BY DAVID SITU The Mock Trial team beat Jesuit High School 492–388 on Jan. 22 at the Gordon D. Schaber Sacramento County Courthouse in the first round of the county competition. This year’s case covers the murder trial of Bailey Matsumoto, the founder of a self-driving vehicle start-up who has been charged with the first-degree murder of Bailey’s spouse, Taylor. After the death of the couple’s son, Taylor became a staunch critic of autonomous vehicles. While the defense argues that Taylor’s death was simply an accidental, alcohol-related drowning, the prosecution believes Bailey killed Taylor to prevent Taylor from campaigning against the company. The pretrial aspect of the case revolves around the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. A key piece of evidence that incriminates Bailey — the details of the murder in a movie manuscript found in his office — was potentially unlawfully obtained. While the detective was given permission to search Bailey’s house and garage, the detective obtained this evidence by entering a building unattached to the house. Though the defense argues that no consent was given to enter the office, the prosecution asserts that permission was given to search the entire property — which includes the office. This year’s team captains are seniors Spencer Scott, Anu Krishnan and Héloïse Schep. Before the official Mock Trial season began, the team was invited to the NorCal Mock Trial Invitational, an annual two-day tournament at Menlo School in Atherton. Country


FEATURE 11 Discover the dangers of fast fashion, how some students combat it and what you can do to be more sustainable in your clothing.


News • Feb ruary 4, 2020

The Octagon

Freshman starts Quiz Bowl; team qualifies for nationals The Quiz Bowl team did well in its first two competitions despite being short-handed. he Quiz Bowl team, which was foundOnly Kumar attended the first compeed in October by freshman president tition on Nov. 9 in San Jose, placing fifth Samhita Kumar and adviser Chris individually in the novice category, based Kuipers, has already competed in two upon how many “toss-up” questions she competitions and qualified for nationals. got right. Even though she was competKumar said she started participating in ing alone, she played against four-player Quiz Bowl at Winston Churchill Middle teams. School (4900 Whitney Ave, Carmichael) In the team’s second competition on after a demonstration from Bruce Hansen, Dec. 21 at Winston Churchill, senior Spenher science teacher, and the team’s coach. cer Scott joined Kumar. The team placed “I thought it was very interesting, and second to earn a spot in the Small School when I first tried it, the thrill of trying to National Championship Tournament, April figure out the right answer made me want 24-26 in Rosemont, Illinois. Individually, to keep playing,” Kumar said. Kumar placed second and Scott third. Kumar said her enjoyment of Quiz Bowl “I think it’s truly extraordinary that our in middle school led her to begin the club two-person team made it to nationals,” at Country Day. Kuipers said. “There wasn’t a “Overall, I’m Quiz Bowl team here, really thrilled “I thought it was very interwhich was something for Samhita and I was really excited esting, and when I first tried Spencer.” to do in high school,” it, the thrill of trying to figure Scott said Kumar said. “So I out the right answer made he joined the Quiz thought, why not Bowl team because me want to keep playing.” just start a team — Samhita Kumar he has always enhere. And then I joyed trivia. did it.” “I also have alThe club ways watched ‘Jeopardy!,’ which is similar doesn’t have a set schedule to Quiz Bowl,” Scott said. “Overall, it’s just yet, but it has had multiple really cool to learn. meetings in which members answer ques“I really enjoyed the competition. We tions that are asked in the unique Quiz had this great underdog feeling.” Bowl style. Scott’s biggest concerns are the sports In Quiz Bowl, two teams of four play- and science topics. ers are each asked 20 “toss-up” questions. “Samhita and I know a lot about all the These are multiple-sentence questions (other) topics,” Scott said. “For sports, it’s that become easier to answer as each ques- not that big of a deal because those question is read. Team members push a buzzer tions are less frequent. (But) there are a to answer the questions individually. When lot of science questions, meaning either a team gets a “toss-up” correct, it answers we need to learn more about science or three bonus questions related to one topic. we need to get someone on the team who During the bonus questions, team mem- does.” bers may converse before answering. Scott said he wants to continue compet-



POP QUIZ Club president freshman Samhita Kumar reads Quiz Bowl questions to prepare members for the Small School National Championship Tournament, April 24-26 in Rosemont, Illinois. PHOTO BY SANJANA ANAND ing but has one problem. “It’s hard for me to get to the competitions because a lot of them are pretty far away, such as in the Bay Area,” Scott said. Kumar, meanwhile, said her biggest worry is juggling both the club and her schoolwork, although she said it will be manageable. “I’m not too worried because I don’t spend too much time studying for Quiz Bowl — on average two to three hours a week,” Kumar said. Kuipers said the club is almost entirely student-run. “Samhita has really done everything for this club,” Kuipers said. “This year I have had a lot going on, so Samhita has had to be in control of everything. Next year, I plan to have a more active role so I can help the club grow.” Kumar said she wants the club to be fun. “The competitions are very fun and thrilling,” said Kumar. “I want more people to join so we can have two full teams and do real scrimmages during electives.”

Test yourself with Quiz Bowl questions! 1. The ratio of the n-plus-first term of these numbers to the nth approaches the golden ratio. Name this mathematical sequence. 2. A character in this film notes that “ignorance is bliss” after describing the taste of a steak. Name this popular 1999 film. 3. What president told Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall”?

View answers at the bottom of the page.

Mock Trial: Despite inexperience, team confident of county success Day did not finish in the top eight of the 16 teams. The tournament consists of five trials. Two opponents are predetermined, with the remaining three matches decided by the teams’ performance in the tournament. According to Schep, one of the notable aspects of this tournament was the judging. Unlike previous scrimmages in which the judges were coaches of teams, the NorCal judges included college students and par-

ents. “A lot of these people were like, ‘I’ve had very limited experience with Mock Trial,’” Schep said. “They looked for some pretty interesting things — one of the judges said, ‘When the trials are going on, I just like to look at what the witnesses are doing in the background’ — that judges aren’t usually supposed to.” Despite the unusual judging, Schep said the team gained valuable insight. “It’s really nice to have someone from an outside perspective, such as the Stanford students being like,

‘Here’s what I could actually follow about what you were saying based on my limited knowledge, and here’s what I couldn’t follow,’” Schep said. According to Scott, the lead attorney for the prosecution, one of this year’s difficulties was that the team has 10 new members. Krishnan agreed. “We have a pretty young team — a lot of the members started out not knowing much about Mock Trial,” Krishnan said. Junior Keshav Anand, the prosecution’s expert witness, said many new

The Octoblock Down

1. An extinct, emu-like bird 2. A lush moon in a galaxy far, far away 3. Kirk’s voyage 4. Introduced by Apple in 2010 6. A pad on the floor






1. “Liquify” 4. This forms when a neutral atom gains or loses a valence electron 5. A character with last name Naberrie in a galaxy far, far away 7. This tree type has the smallest space requirements in Minecraft 8. Michael van Gerwen is the champion of



this “dangerous” sport

Visit www.scdsoctagon.com for answers. Crossword by Arjin Claire, Dylan Margolis and Arijit Trivedi.



members were nervous during scrim- as a great help to the team. mages. As a result, he said many of According to Lewkowitz, an addithem had lower scores than the more tional area of improvement that the experienced team members. coaches are focusing on is building However, coach Rick Lewkowitz each team member’s confidence besaid this issue has greatly improved. cause “many are still not always be“Not so coincidentally, the team’s lievers in how good they already are.” strengths — its energy, enthusiasm, While last year’s team was unable collegiality and work ethic — have all to repeat as the county champion and combined to help mitigate that weak- advance to state, Schep said she’s opness,” said Lewkowitz. timistic about the team’s chances this Moreover, Lewkowitz and the cap- year. tains agree that the new members “We have (the) spirit to win again,” have made great improvements since said Schep. “Last year was difficult the beginning of the year. because we “What impressed me the most was were followtheir quiet coning a county fidence through- “Not so coincidentally, win, and we out (their first the team’s strengths — weren’t sure match against how to conits energy, enthusiam, Jesuit), Lewkowtinue that.” itz said. “There collegiality and work Schep said were no signs of ethic — have all comthere’s less prestypical firstbined to help mitigate sure on the team round nerthis year. that weakness.” vousness.” “We’ve learned — Rick Lewkowitz Before the from last year, county tourand we’ve had so nament, the much awesome experience this year, team participated in especially (at) NorCal,” Schep said. many scrimmages and tournaments. “We have a big team this year, a lot of According to Lewkowitz, each compe- talented people — especially the new tition has helped the team improve. people — and we really want to win.” As a result, Lewkowitz said the The team’s next competition will team is well prepared for the rest of feature the defense team against the season. River City High School on Feb. 6 at Junior Sarina Rye, who plays the the Gordon D. Schaber Sacramento defendant, cited speaking exercises County Courthouse. Quiz Bowl answers: 1. Fibonacci sequence, 2. “The Matrix,” 3. Reagan

(Continued from page 1)

February 4, 2020 • News

The Octagon

Trial talk: Students debate effect on Trump’s decisions, campaign (Continued from page 1) Situ: It’s hard to say. One of the primary justifications Trump has claimed is that there was an imminent attack or there’s top-secret information regarding some military plans. Obviously, he hasn’t released what that information really was, so it’s hard to judge whether this was the right move. If it was real and imminent, then I don’t see it being related. But at the end of the day, we’re never going to know.

it actually kind of factors (positively) into his campaign. Shorey: I agree. It makes his supporters angrier and stronger, and they’re going to come together more. It’s not going to really change many people’s minds, which is a big issue. Even if he does get removed from office, which is probably not going to happen, none of the people who support him are even going to change their minds about voting him in for president again.

Graves: Because his views on certain issues don’t align with other people’s, that doesn’t mean he’s a bad president. Krishna: You could call anything a view. Graves: Yeah, you can call anyone a bad president. Krishna: You could call lying about the Vietnam War a view because (former President Lyndon B. Johnson) was ignorant. The amount of casualties and how bad it actually was for American troops — the whole public was unaware of how bad it was.


ment) process? Graves: I didn’t say if it was good or bad, but I want it to happen. I don’t think they have enough evidence here to impeach him, but if they gathered enough evidence, I would support it. Something that isn’t just words, like a blank threat. There would have to be some sort of evidence or witness to step up. I don’t want someone to be convicted just because I don’t like them.


Krishna: It was definitely motivated. May- Graves: At this point, his voter base of students said be not by impeachment, but (by the) 2020 doesn’t really give a darn about any major Krishna: There are some they support re(election) in general because I think he media outlet — they’ll criticize him for how situations in which immoving Trump used it to say, “Hey, voter base, I attacked he holds his water glass. So if (Democrats peachment can be bad. Like from office. Iran. We’re doing good. We’re killpursued) the impeachment articles Bill Clinton’s impeachment ing terrorists.” So I think it was to hinder his 2020 reelection was (based) on this tiny thing just a political stunt. Heads of campaign, I don’t think it’s — that was a bad impeachment. state do this all the time. going to work that well. If That was really dumb, what RepubI read lots of news reanything, it’s just going to Graves: You’re supporting my saying licans did to try to oust Clinton. ports on this, and basicalget him more support be- that all other politicians lie, not just Trump. But in this situation, there’s just so many of students said ly the intelligence wasn’t cause his voters are more different (potential charges). You can talk they disagree properly given not only inclined to stay with him, Krishna: You can’t impeach somebody about all the charges you could claim he with removing to Congress but to people and people on the fence are just on lying. That’s not what I’m saying. should be indicted on, but these two are Trump from office. from his own intelligence like, “You know, this other There’s lots of other things. clear-cut abuses of power and obstruction community. I think Secretary party is going after him for of justice. It’s so important to uphold the of Defense Mark Esper didn’t minute issues, so I don’t think Graves: But what’s right and what’s wrong Constitution because if this isn’t impeacheven know the justification behind they’re really the party to run with. is left up for the people and the Electoral able, then what is? If we don’t (remove) the attack on Soleimani before. And if he If anything, they’re being corrupt.” College to decide. That’s democracy. him now, then this erodes our checks and doesn’t know, who does? It’s just one guy balances system, which I find really conat the top, with no restrictions on his pow- Graves: When (news sources) put Situ: The best way to move for- cerning. I definitely think he should be reer. So it’s very concerning. out a story with false accusaward is to come together and moved. tions, sometimes right after communicate more. It just Graves: They’re two completely different they’ll put up an apology, seems like, “Democratic or Shorey: I agree with removing him. I’m for events. saying, “Oh, we messed Republican? You’re either abiding by the Constitution completely. As things up. Sorry about with us or you’re not.” much as I think this will rile up his supof students said Krishna: Remember, this is in the con- that.” When you see that That’s really an issue go- porters and maybe be bad for Democrats in they have no opintext of a few weeks ago. The impeachment over and over again from ing forward. We have some the end, we should be in the pursuit of jusion on removing (hearing) was much more controversial, certain outlets, it’s like, pressing world issues like tice. He definitely went against the ConstiTrump from office. much more in the national discourse at the “Hmm.” climate change. We need to tution and did some really bad, shady stuff. time. It really did detract attention from have a more unified front on He should be held accountable for it. the impeachment (hearing). Krishna: That’s true. What that than just us versus them, about the criticisms like, “In only yes or no. Situ: I don’t think getting rid of him is the Graves: I don’t think he’s worried about three years, he’s lied like 16,000 times,” or right move right now. It’s just going to furdetracting attention. The embassy in Iraq something like that? Q: Do you support removing Donald ther fragment the nation into the two powas attacked, and Trump wanted to retaliTrump from office? litical camps, which will create more probate to show strength from his party and his Graves: Try to find me a politician that lems down the road as we try to deal with voter base. hasn’t lied that many times. Situ: I agree that the charges are prob- some world issues like climate change. ably real, and there’s definitely a case to Right now, it doesn’t seem like anyone’s Krishna: That’s possible, but the timing is Krishna: Maybe I can’t. But I think he does be made for going somewhere with these going to change their mind, and I don’t suspicious. it more often. He constantly spits out these charges and trying to get him properly think we’re doing anything to take steps to blatant conspiracies. Obviously, Ukraine punished. change that. Graves: So you think had there been no at- did not meddle in our election. But he’s But at the same time, I don’t know if Not impeaching him and then seeing him tack on the embassy, he would have done like, “Oh, I’m going to (put out) this con- that’s the right move long term. That is get defeated in the 2020 election would something like that anyway? spiracy theory because it fires up my voter why the 2020 election should be the ul- (improve partisan relations). That’s a realbase.” timate decider. Do people really want to ly big statement showing that people tried Krishna: He used the attack on the emkeep Trump, or are there enough people Trump because they wanted something bassy basically to say, “See, they attacked Graves: Well, if he’s putting out a conspir- who’ve decided (not)? That’s a better way different, and in the end, they actually prethe embassy, so we can totally kill their top acy theory, can you really categorize that to establish whether or not he should con- fer going with something more progresdude.” And then directly after that they as a blatant lie? tinue being president. sive. That would be a testament that our killed 186 people on a passenger flight. It’s country wants to move in that direction. not just that we killed this guy, and now Krishna: Yeah. Graves: Actually, I kind of do (want Trump Americans are great again. A lot of conseto be removed) because I love (Vice Presquences (can) happen that are unforesee- Graves: What if he does believe in it, ident) Mike Pence, and we need a good Go to www.scdsoctaable, and it was very rash action. though? Then you can’t call that a lie. Christian leader. The timing is very convenient. If (the gon.com to read the full situation had) been continuing for a long Krishna: Then isn’t he a fundamentally Krishna: Isn’t that just as bad as removroundtable debate. time, why now, at the peak of the impeach- bad president for the country? ing Trump through this partisan (impeachment (hearing), does he suddenly decide to kill the top commander?



Graves: They have not had a window for a while. This was the perfect time for it. Situ: Apart from whether it was related to the political process, the way in which it was done was concerning. There was a lack of communication and notification, like Avi said. So that’s what makes it even harder for me to decide if this was just 100% based on impeachment. Shorey: I don’t know if it’s 100% based on impeachment. Like Avi said, it’s fueling his campaign for 2020. Wartime presidents are loved, and people who do military victories are loved. I bet he was just trying to get a step up. They’re like, “Oh, we love him. He’s saving us from the terrorists.” I remember seeing something on CNN like “What Republicans think are the most important issues,” and one of the No. 1 things was terrorism. So if he’s killing a terrorist, it’s going to rile up all of his supporters. Q: How do you think this will affect Trump’s presidential campaign? Situ: I honestly don’t think it matters. I don’t think any Republicans are going to try and run against him. Also, him getting impeached is actually helpful in the sense that he can use it to talk with his supporters, like, “Look, I’m getting impeached — it’s a scam! They’re trying to get me!” So

ALL EARS Junior Avinash Krishna listens to senior Aaron Graves’ response. PHOTO BY ELISE SOMMERHAUG


Sports • February 4, 2020

The Octagon

Junior enjoys thrill of snowboard racing



unior Ming Zhu, the sole snowboarder on Country Day’s team, now embraces the sport. However, it wasn’t his choice to start. “My mom thought (snowboarding) looked cool, so she had me do it,” Zhu said. Zhu has been snowboarding since fourth grade and shows no signs of stopping. According to Zhu, snowboarding was more difficult to learn than skiing. “Snowboarding has a higher skill floor than skiing does, but a much lower skill ceiling,” Zhu said. “I alternated between skiing and snowboarding for the first three years because I didn’t enjoy snowboarding that much. Once I hit the skill floor for snowboarding, I started to have more fun and understood why people snowboarded.” Until the middle of the fifth grade, Zhu preferred skiing. “Skiing was definitely more fun before I started to get better at snowboarding,” Zhu said. “But I don’t like to throw things away unless I absolutely hate it. Snowboarding looks cooler than skiing, so I decided to stick with (snowboarding), and now I enjoy it much more.” Zhu’s passion for snowboarding extends past the school team.

“We had 14 days of winter break, and I was up in the mountains for about nine or 10 days,” Zhu said. “It was really enjoyable to spend more than half of my break snowboarding.” Zhu also loves the thrill of snowboarding. “I’m not a super athletic or fast person, and I like sports where I don’t have exert myself, like badminton and tennis,” Zhu said. “But with snowboarding, I can go really fast down a mountain without moving that much, so it’s a really nice combination.” Zhu idolizes freestyle snowboarders and hopes one day he can go down the mountain as they do.

“With snowboarding, I can go really fast down a mountain without moving that much, so it’s a really nice combination.”

— Ming Zhu

“I would love to be one of those snowboarders who just wear a beanie and goggles and don’t worry about their safety,” Zhu said. “Freestyle snowboarding seems really fun and looks awesome because you see people going down normal slopes and doing flips and jumps.” Zhu started racing just last year

for the school team. “I had never been on a team before Country Day, but I learned quickly that racing is very different than snowboarding recreationally,” Zhu said. “In a race, you have to conserve more momentum while still going as fast as you can with control. I’m by no means great at racing, but I’m trying to get better.” Ski and snowboard coach Jason Kreps said Zhu continues to progress. “Ming analyzes the course really well, and the only thing he has to do is start snowboarding more and getting more comfortable in a race setting,” Kreps said. “He is always willing to try new things and works really hard, which is great.” Sophomore Hailey Fesai agreed with Kreps, adding that Zhu is a great teammate. “Ming is really hardworking and a great snowboarder,” Fesai said. “He’s always trying to get better and is really supportive of the team.” Kreps added it would benefit Zhu, the only snowboarder on the team, to have someone to work with. “Technically I can’t even go onto the mountain alone, and Mr. Kreps has to stick with the team even though he is a snowboarder,” Zhu said. “So I am warming up and practicing alone, and I’m new

SHREDDING SNOW Junior Ming Zhu prepares to snowboard at Borreal Mountain California. Zhu has been snowboarding since fourth grade. PHOTO COURTESY OF ZHU to racing, so it’s kind of hard.” Zhu added he’s becoming more advanced on his snowboard. “I’ve just started learning basic jumps and grabs (using one or both hands to hold either

edge of the snowboard) in hopes of getting better and more comfortable,” Zhu said. “I can’t do a lot yet, but I love landing a jump perfectly, and I am starting to improve.”

Country Day battles on slopes, court as winter sports season continues

HEATING UP Left to right: The ski and snowboard team gathers after a Jan. 10 meet. PHOTO COURTESY OF HAILEY FESAI Freshman RJ Vargo jumps to pass during the Jan. 10 homecoming loss to Cristo Rey. PHOTO BY EMMA BOERSMA Junior Bri Davies enjoys puppy love on the slopes on Jan. 10. PHOTO COURTESY OF FESAI Freshman Rod Azghadi slashes into the paint for a layup on Dec. 20 against Faith Christian. PHOTO BY BOERSMA Freshman Sage Spradlin battles for the ball against Faith Christian on Dec. 20. PHOTO BY BOERSMA

The Octagon

February 4, 2020 • Sports

Senior starting center hits right notes on basketball court, bonds with teammates



enior center Aaron Graves, a Country Day lifer and four-year varsity athlete in multiple sports, also has the courage to play the national anthem on his electric guitar, decked out in his basketball uniform minutes before tipoff. Graves played the national anthem at the homecoming soccer and basketball games. “I really enjoyed doing that,” Graves said. “It felt really natural to be doing that, and even though I may have messed up a few times, I just glossed over it. I was just caught up in the moment. Going into both games after playing the national anthem, I felt really good, and I had a lot more energy.” Graves looks to “perfect his own craft” rather than idolize others in and out of sports. Since he was introduced to organized sports in fifth grade, Graves has played basketball for the Cavaliers. He has been an all-around athlete at Country Day, playing goalkeeper in soccer for two years, third base and pitcher in baseball for three years, and center and power forward in basketball since fifth grade, starting the last two years. “When the forms came out in fifth grade, all my friends started signing up,” Graves said. “I decided to do it as well, thinking, ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ I’m really happy I did.” Graves said he’s made his closest friendships through basketball.

“Since I started playing in fifth grade, I’ve continued to make new friends up to today,” he said. One of these friends, Graves said, is senior forward Chris Wilson, the team captain. “Chris and I have gone to school together since pre-K,” Graves said. “We weren’t super close during lower school, but once we started playing basketball together, we really developed a close bond. The chemistry in basketball transferred over to chemistry in our friendship. Due to basketball, I hope that we will remain friends even after we graduate.” Boys basketball coach David Ancrum has worked with Graves for five years. “It’s been great coaching Aaron all this time,” Ancrum said. “He’s a very skillful player and has always been a very valuable part of the team.”

“The chemistry in basketball transferred over to chemistry in our friendship.”

— Aaron Graves

Graves has missed two basketball games this year, one due to illness and the other because of a required drum rehearsal. Ancrum said that, without Graves, the team plays differently. “Aaron is a great ballhandler, one of the best on the team,” Ancrum said. “Having that ability is a crucial part of the game. He’s confident and stays cool under pressure. He’s one of the best

players on the team.” Wilson said the 6-foot-3 Graves impresses him as a player. “He has a great ability to see the court and openings for passes to his teammates,” Wilson said. “He’s a great player, and having him on the team has been really helpful to me.” Graves’ sister, alumna Hayley Graves, ’12, said basketball has had a big impact on Aaron’s life. “Between (Aaron) waking up early for Jazz Band, working on college apps, practicing the bass and studying for his AP exams, basketball is a great outlet for him,” Hayley said. “He loves his teammates and learning from his coach.” Aaron brings his personality to the court, according to Hayley. “Aaron always takes his humor to the games,” she said. “He jokes with his teammates and dances during warmups, but when the whistle blows, he’s always ready to play.” Graves said basketball and baseball are his favorite sports. “I really like playing basketball because it utilizes so many skills, and I have made so many friends through it,” he said. “On the other hand, baseball has been great. Mr. Millsback’s a great coach and person.” Aaron said playing team sports has taught him valuable lessons. “Throughout my time at Country Day, I’ve been on good and bad teams,” Aaron said. “We’ve had seasons where we hardly lost and seasons like this one, where we just got our first win. It has really taught me how to be humble and not take anything for granted.”


SERENADING THE SAINTS Senior Aaron Graves plays the national anthem before the game on Jan. 10. PHOTO BY EMMA BOERSMA

Multicultural junior recognized for courage, flexibility on basketball team BY SANJANA ANAND Having been exposed to many cultures, junior shooting guard Joanne Tsai likes to try new activities, a prevalent one being basketball.

Tsai was born in Taiwan but moved to China when she was 7 years old. She attended an international school there until coming to Country Day in ninth grade. Tsai’s love of basketball began four years ago in China.

FROM DOWNTOWN Junior Joanne Tsai shoots over a Faith Christian defender in a 54-20 loss on Dec. 20. PHOTO BY BOERSMA

“I love to try new things, so I thought that basketball was a good opportunity to start something new,” Tsai said. “My school was small, and they needed players, so my friends and I decided to join.” Tsai continued to pursue basketball at Country Day due to a noticeable improvement in her skills. “Once I started playing, I realized that I was improving, which was my motivation to keep playing,” Tsai said. “I came here and saw that there was a basketball team, and it was the perfect chance to continue doing something I was familiar with.” She said being on the basketball team taught her how to manage her time more efficiently. “We have a practice or a game every day,” Tsai said. “I learned how to finish all my work and (go to) sleep at a reasonable time.” Coach Latonia Pitts praised Tsai’s adaptability. “(Tsai) is very coachable because she can step up to any role whenever we are down a player in a certain position,” Pitts said. “During the game, she will take every suggestion and try to implement it as fast as possible. It’s good that she understands the game so well.” Tsai said Pitts is the best coach and mentor she has ever had. “Even though she sounds strict on the court, she’s actually a really nice and funny person,” Tsai said. “I know she will always be

there for me. If anything’s stressing me out, I can go to her, and she helps me out. Last year, I was having problems with my host family, and she always offered to drive me home from games.” Tsai said her basketball IQ has improved significantly since she joined the team, which she plans to stay on for the rest of high school. Her goal is to improve her speed.

“We win together and lose together. Through basketball, I have gotten closer to so many people who I usually don’t talk with. No matter what happens, we are always there for each other.”

— Joanne Tsai

“I want to be faster with my reflexes and my feet,” Tsai said. Tsai works on her basketball skills when she goes back to Taiwan (where her grandparents live) every summer, she said. Outside of Country Day games and practices, Tsai doesn’t play basketball during the school year because she does not have much free time. Tsai said her role model is Ying-Chun Chen, a Taiwanese professional basketball player. “He’s really popular because he’s so young (26), but he’s one of

the best players,” Tsai said. “Every year in Taiwan, there is a national basketball tournament, and his team always wins. He scores the most points, and it’s obvious that he trains very hard.” Tsai said that, while Country Day practices are more rigorous than those in China, they remind her of her friends back home. “The girls on my team in China are as close as our team is here, and we communicate the same way on the court,” Tsai said. “Sometimes I look at pictures from basketball games in China, and I’m reminded of moments here.” Tsai said her favorite part about basketball is her team. “We win together and lose together,” Tsai said. “Through basketball, I have gotten closer to so many people who I usually don’t talk with. No matter what happens, we are always there for each other.” Junior teammate Stephanie Ye said she admires Tsai’s courage. “She never wants to give up, and she always fights for every game,” Ye said. “Even though she is not very tall (5-foot-3), she’s not afraid to guard people who are much taller and stronger than her.” Despite playing basketball in high school, Tsai said she considers it a hobby and will not play in college. “After high school, I want to keep practicing in my free time and want to improve as much as I possibly can,” she said.



The Oc


is in the air

Sophomores splurge at Sacramento’s finest restaurants to determine best Valentine’s date REVIEWS BY SANJANA ANAND AND SICILY SCHROEDER


n preparation for Valentine’s Day, sophomores Sanjana Anand and Sicily Schroeder reviewed four of Sacramento’s best-rated restaurants. They assessed the atmosphere, service and food and concluded which one would be best for a date night.

Tapa the World

We had high expectations for Tapa the World (2115 J St.). Our friend, sophomore Lilah Shorey, had told us that it was her favorite restaurant, and it’s rated 4.4 stars out of five in Google reviews. We went to Tapa the World on Tuesday, Jan. 7, at 4 p.m. Because it’s downtown, parking was difficult, and our waiter told us it’s harder to find a spot at night. There were no other customers in the restaurant when we arrived (no one has dinner at 4 p.m.). Upon entering, we noticed a small stage to our left and an open bar to the right that went along one wall and connected to an open kitchen area. The artwork, room design, decorations and guitar music all added to the Spanish atmosphere of the restaurant. The menu was simple and had many vegetarian options.


vegetables were over-grilled and too big, but the sauce drizzled on top was tangy and flavorful. Both of us agreed that the sauce would be nice in a burger. For dessert, we had fruit empanadas ($8.50), the best thing we ordered. They tasted like mini-pockets of apple pie served with vanilla ice cream and caramel drizzle. The combination was great, and we ate it all quickly. The service was fast, but we were the only ones there, so we did not get a realistic experience (as with most of the restaurants we reviewed). The biggest problem with Tapa was the claustrophobic seating. The tables were only about two feet apart, which might become annoying for a couple on a date during a busier time. Our total came to $68.51, pre-tip, which was reasonable for the amount of food we ordered. Overall, Tapa the World can be both romantic and casual, so it’s perfect for any situation. It was the best restaurant we reviewed.

There were many different serving sizes, and customers can choose how many plates they want to order. The orders are meant to share, which adds to the romantic mood. We went to Mulvaney’s (1215 19th St.), a New AmeriThe first things that came to our table were the focaccia can restaurant, for lunch at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. basket ($1.50) and dipping sauce ($1.50), which were our 8, without a reservation. However, our waiter told us that favorite appetizers at the restaurant. it gets busy at around 7 p.m. almost every night, so you We felt obligated to try the soup of the day, mushroom will almost definitely need a res($5). We later remembered neither of us like mushrooms ervation for dinner. The parking is and immediately spit it out. It had a similar to Tapa’s, but there’s congood, creamy texture, though. struction across the street, so parkTapa the World can We got the grilled chicken strips ($9), ing might be rougher than usual for which were juicy and had a lemony af- be both romantic and the moment. Online, Mulvaney’s casual, so it’s perfect tertaste. was shown to be one of the most exWe also ordered crackers and pensive restaurants in Sacramento. for any situation. It was cheese ($9.50), a small, toasted slice The restaurant looks worn down and the best restaurant we of bread with cheese similar to pepsmall from the outside, but inside it’s reviewed. per-jack. It came with red peppers, spacious and fancy. There’s an option jam and almonds, but the bread was for outside seating, but it was too cold, too hard, and we preferred it with so we stayed indoors. There is an open kitchen, and huge just the cheese on top. mirrors hang on the walls. The tables are decorated with We had potato wedges ($6), which were little coasters of colored marble and wine glasses of water crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. The sauce and small dishes of salt and pepper. These tables were also that came with them did not go too well, so we ate them by really close together and small, so it was a bit cramped. themselves, and they were pretty bland. The menu is relatively expensive, has little variety We ordered the shrimp ($11) — Lilah’s favorite — and — around five entree options — and changes daily. So if decided they were not as flavorful as we would have liked. you’re picky, this is not the place for you. The broth was creamy but didn’t add much to the shrimp. The first thing to arrive at our table was the compliOur last main dish was the grilled vegetables ($11). The mentary bread. The soft bread went perfectly with the redsea-salt-covered butter. It was by far our favorite bread at any of the restaurants. Next came our two starters — the cheese plate ($19) and Del Rio salad ($7). The cheeses were exotic and overwhelmingly fancy. The crackers with cheese were thin and very salty. It was really hard to spread the cheese on the cracker because the cheese was so hard and the cracker was so flimsy. The salad was flavorful because the balsamic vinegar dressing was dominant. For our entrees, we ordered the pork chop ($18) and the tagliatelle with mushrooms ($19) because it was the only vegetarian entree. The pork chop was tender and well

Mulvaney’s Building and Loan

5 3


4 6

1 Plan B’s marinara tartelette. It came with roasted tomatoes, basil and goat cheese. 2 Sophomore Sicily Schroeder bites into a slice of bread and butter at Mulvaney’s B at Mulvaney’s B&L. Anand and Schroeder said the garbanzo beans went well with the chops. 5 Plan B’s apple tart. According to Anand and Schroeder, it was good, e Plan B’s Caesar salad. Anand and Schroeder said it ‘had the right amount of dressing.’ 9 Anand and Schroeder toast glasses of water at Mulvaney’s B&L before the food reviewed. 11 Schroeder bites into Plan B’s marinara tartelette. PHOTOS BY ARIKTA TRIVEDI

February 4, 2020


cooked, and the garbanzo beans were the perfect side. The order any number of courses. housemade tagliatelle, a type of pasta, was creamy and The first thing that came to the table was the Fiesta tasted very strongly of mushrooms. We didn’t like the flat cheese fondue ($21.50 for two people). The fondue had noodles, and we don’t like mushrooms. However, if you cheddar and Swiss cheese with salsa and jalapenos. To dip like mushrooms, this dish is perfect. in the cheese, we had an assortment of bread pieces, apThe service was really good, but we came at a slow time ples, chips and vegetables. This was our favorite course, (in fact, there were more workers than customers). Wait- and we liked being able to decide how spicy the cheese was. Tapa the World ers checked in on us frequently, pouring water and getting Because we skipped the salads, our next course was the more bread and butter. They were also really nice about entree. We ordered the make-your-own entree ($27.50), so explaining the menu to us. we chose chicken and vegetable potstickers, garlic pepper This was the fanciest restaurant we reviewed. We wished sirloin and tomato and mascarpone ravioli to cook in the that we had dressed fancier, and judging by workers’ attire oil. Mulvaney’s Building and Loan and the other customers, teenagers obviously were out of We chose the Mojo cooking style for our oil, which was place. The atmosphere is perfect for a classy and serious terrible and a huge mistake. We really didn’t know what date for Valentine’s Day if you are an adult. On the other we were doing when we ordered it, but it did not go well hand, the food is mediocre and not worth the high price. with any of our entrees. The Mojo is a CaWe didn’t order dessert, and our price ribbean style with garlic and cilantro, The Melting Pot pre-tip was $70.27. Even though Mulbut the cilantro was overpowering. vaney’s is rated 4.7 stars online, this The atmosphere (at MulWe would’ve been better off with just was the worst restaurant we reviewed, vaney’s) is perfect for a the vegetable broth. The marinara in and we would not return. the ravioli was disgusting, as were the classy and serious date potstickers. The meat tasted fine but for Valentine’s Day if would have been better if cooked with a Plan B you are an adult. On the different oil. Our reservation at The Melting Pot For dessert, we ordered the Original other hand, the food is (814 15th St.), a fondue place, was ($21 for two people), which was milk mediocre and not worth chocolate and crunchy peanut butter at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 8. Because the restaurant is also the high price. in one pot. The peanut butter made the downtown, there was traffic, and chocolate somewhat dry and cold, but the parking was difficult, but there is a taste was rich. We liked it best with the besides salads and tartelettes. paying parking garage nearby. Onstrawberries and bananas, but it also came with an assortFor an appetizer, we ordered the marinara tartelettes line, The Melting Pot is rated 4.5 stars on Google Reviews. ment of baked brownies, fruit and marshmallows, which ($8) and marinière mussels ($16). The tartelettes were We had reservations, but we saw a couple waiting for 20 were all delicious! generally good and came with roasted tomatoes, basil and minutes (even though it was a weeknight) because they This place was the most expensive restaurant we redidn’t have reservations. On Friday nights and weekends, viewed. The serving sizes were small, and, for only two goat cheese, but the cheese on top was somewhat overpowering. The mussels seemed like an obvious choice, the restaurant is busier. people, the price was not worth it. The total came to $78.37 considering they’re Plan B’s specialty, but neither of us Our first impressions of The Melting Pot were that it was before the tip. particularly liked them. quiet and formal (we were definitely underdressed and out However, The Melting Pot is perfect for a romantic date We ordered the roasted half chicken ($19.50) from the of place here, too). The lavish decorations and dim lighting if you want something formal and are willing to pay the main section with sides of vegetaadded to the atmosphere. price. The menu can be difficult to understand, but it’s bles and french fries. The chicken The dining area spacious, unlike at the other restau- tasty, and the booths provide a sense was great but too big for us. The rants, and it felt almost as though we had the place to of privacy. It’s perfect if you have an french fries were thin and crispy ourselves from our booth. There was no need to raise our excuse to treat yourself to some nice The Melting Pot is perfect with garlic, and we liked them the for a romantic date if you voices to speak. food on date night. most. We also shared a Caesar salBoth of us had been there before, so we knew how to want something formal ad ($7.75), which had just the right order. But for newcomers, the menu is hard to understand, and are willing to pay the amount of dressing. and you really have to pay attention when the waiter exprice. For dessert, we got the chocolate plains it to you. The menu is divided into appetizers, salPlan B (555 La Sierra Dr.) was lava cake ($9) and apple tart ($9). ads, entrees and desserts. However, the top of the menu of- the final restaurant we reviewed. We loved them! The lava cake was fers a four-course meal featuring the most popular items. We made our reservation for 4:30 the perfect mix of warm, oozing chocolate and vanilla ice Customers are supposed to choose different fondues p.m., when the restaurant opened and dips for dinner, and each serving comes with sides for dinner, on Jan. 10. As usual, no one really has dinner at cream. The tart was similar to the fruit empanadas from that are meant to be shared. The appetizers were fondues this time, so we were the only ones in the restaurant. It has Tapa the World and went well with the ice cream, although the apple slices were too large. of different cheeses; the entrees were meats, vegetables a parking lot, so parking wasn’t an issue. Even though we were the only ones in the restaurant, and pastas cooked in different seasoned oils and broths; Plan B serves French food and is rated 4.5 stars online. and the desserts were different types of chocolate fondues. There’s an open bar and a specials board on the right when it took a long time to get the food. Still, our waiter was This menu did not have many vegetarian options. you enter. The place seemed a bit small, as there were nice and patient and even gave us a few recommendations, The server makes the fondues on the stove on the table few seats. The lighting was dim, and there were no dec- which we used. For the amount of food we ordered, the prices seemed and explains what they’re putting in. Our server was very orations on the walls, which we liked. The simplistic style accommodating and honest when we asked for recommen- was pleasant and highlighted the hanging lights. There reasonable, and this was one of the cheapest restaurants dations for our sides. was also outdoor seating, which looked pleasant, but we we reviewed. The total came to $81.60, pre-tip, even with two desserts. We ordered three of the available four courses. You can sat inside. This place had a nice vibe, and you could come here on The restaurant is known for its mussels, but there are many other great options such as the meats, salmon and a serious or casual date. Overall, this was our second-fasalads. Unfortunately, there were few vegetarian options vorite restaurant.


The Melting Pot

Plan B

7 8

9 10 11

B&L. 3 The molten lava cake at Plan B. According to sophomore Sanjana Anand and Schroeder, the combination of chocolate and ice cream worked well. 4 Pork chops even though the apple slices were too large. 6 Anand and Schroeder eat fruit empanadas at Tapa the World. 7 Anand scoops a chunk of cheese at Mulvaney’s B&L. 8 d arrived. 10 Complementary bread and butter at Mulvaney’s B&L. According to Anand and Schroeder, this was the best bread they had at any of the restaurants they



Editorial • February 4, 2020

The Octagon

‘Impeached or in-peached?’ by Emma Boersma


By Miles Morrow

ONLINE EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Larkin Barnard-Bahn Jackson Crawford

I don’t have my driver’s license, and I’m OK with that

NEWS EDITOR Sarina Rye SPORTS EDITOR Jackson Crawford OPINION EDITOR Emma Boersma FEATURE EDITOR Larkin Barnard-Bahn A&E EDITOR Emma Boersma BUSINESS STAFF Larkin Barnard-Bahn, manager Arjin Claire, assistant PAGE EDITORS Sanjana Anand Larkin Barnard-Bahn Emma Boersma Jackson Crawford Anna Frankel Ethan Monasa Sarina Rye Héloïse Schep Arijit Trivedi Ming Zhu SENIOR REPORTERS Dylan Margolis Miles Morrow Arikta Trivedi REPORTERS Nihal Gulati Sicily Schroeder PHOTO EDITORS Emma Boersma Shimin Zhang PHOTOGRAPHERS Emma Boersma Miles Morrow Elise Sommerhaug Arikta Trivedi Hermione Xian Shimin Zhang GRAPHIC EDITOR Emma Boersma MULTIMEDIA STAFF David Situ, editor Ming Zhu, assistant Miles Morrow, staffer ADVISER Paul Bauman The Octagon is Sacramento Country Day’s student-run high school newspaper. Its purpose is to provide reliable information on events concerning the high school in order to inform and entertain the entire school community. The staff strives for accuracy and objectivity. The Octagon aims to always represent both sides of an issue. Errors will be noted and corrected. The Octagon shall publish material that the staff deems in the best interest of the school community. The staff recognizes the importance of providing accurate and reliable information to readers. The Octagon does not represent the views of the administration, nor does it act as publicity for the school as a whole. The Octagon will publish all timely and relevant news, subject to the following exceptions: obscenity; slanderous or libelous material; or material contrary to the best interests of the school community, as judged by the guidelines among the newspaper staff, adviser and school administration. Editorials are approved by an editorial board. Columns/commentaries shall be labeled as such and represent only the opinion of the author. In the interest of representing all points of view, letters to the editor shall be published, space permitting, unless otherwise requested. All letters must be signed and conform to the above restrictions. The staff may change grammar and punctuation or abridge letters for space considerations. Comments can be made on our website to address all stories run.

My Angle

EDITORIAL: Civics class needed to raise student political awareness


ountry Day doesn’t offer a government class for the same reason it doesn’t have many classes typical at other high schools — we’re too small and have limited resources. But does this mean we are missing out? California law requires students in public high schools to pass a civics course. While this requirement doesn’t apply to Country Day, we could potentially benefit from the education the state has deemed necessary. First, we must acknowledge that only 14% of 87 high school students polled on Jan. 7 said they were closely following the impeachment, even though it dominated the news cycles. Likewise, 41% of 108 students polled on Jan. 27 said they are not politically active, and only 6% identified themselves as very politically active. These numbers are concerning, and a government or civics class could bolster student awareness. This sort of education is crucial, as a successful democratic society is comprised of informed and engaged citizens. However, only 61.2% of eligible Americans voted in the last presidential election, according to Census. gov. One way to boost voter turnout is to educate young people about the importance of voting and engaging in the issues that affect their lives, especially considering by the time students graduate from high school, most will be able to vote. If students gained a more concrete civics education, we would be better equipped to understand our government, constitutional rights and

role we have in the democratic process. A majority of the student body believes civic education is important, according to the Jan. 27 poll, in which 65% of students said the school has a responsibility to educate us on current events, government and politics. Adding a government class would also create more informed voters and give us the knowledge we need to distinguish between fact and fiction while digesting the mass of information from the media. History department chair Chris Kuipers agreed that a government class would be a valuable addition. However, he said the course addition isn’t currently feasible. According to Kuipers, the history department “floated” the idea of replacing AP European History with AP Government as the senior course. Instead, Human Geography will likely replace AP European History due to staffing, according to Kuipers. “Next year, (Tucker) Foehl is leaving, and then Mr. Crabb is moving fully into the high school, so we’re kind of piecing together (our curriculum),” Kuipers said. “Our goal is to look at our staff and their areas of expertise.” Crabb, who has a background in human geography, will likely teach senior and sophomore history classes next year, according to Kuipers. While a government course will not be offered next year, Kuipers said he hopes to add one in the future. We commend the effort Kuipers and the history department are making to ex-

pand our civics education within the current curriculum. Kuipers said his vision is to bring more government into the U.S. history classes, despite the difficulty of fitting the largely set AP curriculum into the school year. He said he also works to ensure the Constitution is studied in every U.S. history class. Current events is another important topic that the history department is prioritizing. Kuipers said he and Crabb have tried to include 15 minutes in classes to watch the news or discuss current events. However, he said the demands of the curriculum make this difficult as well. “If we were able to add staffing, or think about different ways to set up schedules, a broader array of social studies classes — (such as) government, psychology classes and an anthropology or sociology course — would broaden what we expose kids to,” Kuipers said. Kuipers attributed the lack of involvement in the impeachment news to students’ busy lives, not a lack of political awareness. “I think maybe Country Day is reflective of just general patterns in the world,” Kuipers said. “In some ways, (the news) is almost too complex (to follow closely). The reality is, students are busy.” This is definitely one aspect, but we don’t think busy schedules are the only factor. Many students simply are not faced with the importance of global issues on a daily basis. A more intensive government education would indeed improve students’ political awareness, ultimately making our country a stronger or more resilient democracy.

A BIG THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS FOR KEEPING US IN THE BLACK! Anand family, Barnard-Bahn Coaching and Consulting, Crawford family, Frankel family, Intel Foundation, Monasa family, Rye family, Schep-Smit family, Situ family, Trivedi family

Whenever I go to a family party or reunion, I receive the same comment and question, “You’ve gotten so big!” and “Are you driving yet?” To the latter, I always give one response: “No, I haven’t.” I turned 16 in October, and while I have been eligible to start the process of obtaining my driver’s license since April, I haven’t even looked into it. It’s not that I’m lazy and don’t want to do all the setup — I’m just not compelled to drive. I’ve never had the urge to go out and drive around, unlike some of my friends — or even my mom. She always explains to me that her driver’s license expires on her birthday because she was “at the DMV the morning she turned 16.” I’ve never had a bad experience driving; I’ve never been in a crash or witnessed one. In fact, car rides are some of my favorite memories. Last spring, my mom and I drove from Vermont to Maine. It was nothing crazy but still a great memory. Although I slept through most of the trip, just sitting there, listening to music and watching the scenery go by was amazing. I loved the movie “Cars,” but this never morphed into an interest in driving. And despite loving the Hot Wheels toys and having a huge collection, I never developed a major car interest. I know plenty of people who live and breathe cars, but as with driving, I have no interest in real cars; I just liked the toys. I don’t need to drive anywhere except school. I can just ride my bike everywhere else. I’m not the only person my age who hasn’t started driving. For some of my friends, it boils down to laziness — not wanting to set up the appointments or take the tests — and others are in the same spot as me, with no “drive” to begin the process. That being said, I don’t want to be the guy who is 30 and still doesn’t know how to drive, so I’m telling myself to get my license before college. Maybe. With Uber and Lyft, it’s becoming less and less necessary to know how to drive. But those services can be very expensive. I don’t want to rely on Uber my whole life. My lack of interest has brought me to a point that, soon, my mom is going to force me to get my license. I live near an almost-always-empty parking lot, so I am dreading the day that my mom tells me that we’re going to start practicing. This is different for some of my friends. Rather than encouraging them to drive, their parents want them to stay off the road at all costs, either in fear of their child’s safety or because of the extra cost. For some people, another problem is their lack of a car. My mom told me that I could use hers whenever I needed, and we have an old Saab sitting in our garage — but that isn’t even close to working. Some kids get their cars from their parents, others have to work for them, while some have no chance of getting a car in high school. I’m too nervous to be in charge of driving a car. To be honest, I’d probably wreck it, and I don’t want to have that on my conscience. One instance in which I may want my license — and it’s not super-plausible — is in an emergency and I need to drive somewhere. But when would that ever happen (knock on wood)? Don’t get me wrong — knowing how to drive is important. You can’t always depend on apps or other people. So will I get my driver’s license? Yes. When? I’m not sure, but probably soon.

February 4 , 2020 • Feature

The Octagon

‘Brilliant’ Colombian cellist chases passion across continents



nter the orchestra room at 8:20 a.m. any given day, and you’re likely to find a gaggle of fifth graders getting out their instruments. By 8:26 a.m., the students are in their seats, practicing myriad songs and scales until music teacher Maria Hoyos taps her stand with the conductor’s baton. “We are now going to start,” she says. “Today we are going to learn a new string!” With orchestra teacher Felecia Keys’ impending retirement, she said Hoyos is a good fit to take over and it would be an easy transition. “She’s dedicated to the school,” Keys said, “even if it doesn’t directly involve her. She came to chamber, she’s gone with us to Anaheim — which is a big deal — and she was at Honor Orchestra. She even filled in at our concert with Erin out. She already has a connection to this school. “She’s a brilliant musician — determined and amazing. I am lucky to have her. She has a wide range of talents, more than I had when I started teaching here.” Junior Erin Wilson agreed, saying Hoyos is a great conductor. “Ms. Hoyos has been helping for a long time, so she knows the works of conducting high school, middle school and fifth grade,” she said. “She knows us more personally than if someone were to come in and change everything.” But before Hoyos became a teacher, she was the one learning. Growing up in Colombia, Hoyos began playing the cello at age 12. “A long, long time ago,” she started with a laugh, “one symphony orchestra went to my school, and I fell in love with the cello, so I started playing.” After hearing a symphony orchestra for the first time, she knew it was what she wanted to do for a living. According to Hoyos, her high school’s music program was “very basic,” but as it was a Catholic school, students sang for Mass. “Always they asked me, ‘Oh, Maria, you sing very beautiful, come sing,’ so I used to sing all the time because nice voice and I was on tune,” Hoyos said. After she graduated from high school, her high school hired her as a general music teacher for grades 6-12, and she taught groups of up to 45 students. “I obviously needed the money, but it was really nice,” she said. “I decided I really want to concentrate on music.” This teaching job occupied her mornings, but in the afternoons, she practiced her instrument. “I played cello literally all day for two years until I got into the college,” she said. When she attended the Fine Arts Institute in Medellín, her schedule was just as rigorous. Classes started at 8 a.m., according to Hoyos. “I have three or four hours of practice all day plus the orchestra rehearsals in the evening,” Hoyos

said. She also studied voice techniques, took conducting classes and sang in different choirs. Even then, it was clear why Hoyos says music is “all her life.” “To pay for my tuition in undergrad, I used to play bass in a Latin group,” Hoyos said. “I used to sing and play salsa on the weekends because it’s not easy to make a living of musicians.” Studying in college, Hoyos received one of her most treasured belongings. “This lady who had this cello for four years say, ‘I’m not gonna play anymore; I’m gonna sell it,’’’ she said. For Hoyos, it was a blessing — that cello is the same one she plays now. While completing her undergraduate degree in music for cello performance, Hoyos played in two professional orchestras: the Philharmonic Orchestra of Medellín and the Symphony of Antioquia. Hoyos continued to play with these orchestras after her college graduation. “I did soloist five times and first cello until I came here (to the United States),” she said.


YOU HAD ME AT CELLO Music teacher Maria Hoyos, who grew up in Colombia, teaches fifth grade music and high school chamber music at Country Day in the mornings. Hoyos moved to the U.S. in 1998 and started working with cellists at SCDS in 2013. PHOTO BY SHIMIN ZHANG

play with Napa Symphony for a chamber music, though Hoyos “I help with low-income, mostlong time and the Folsom Sym- had already begun helping a ly Spanish-speaking kids to do a chamber group last year on her beginner group of violin players,” phony for six years.” she said. Currently, Hoyos is the princi- own time. This year, Hoyos comes in three Hoyos, who is Catholic, also pal cellist with the Camellia Symdays a week at 7:30 a.m. to coach conducts Spanish and English phony Orchestra. As a music teacher in Sacra- high school chamber. Wilson, choirs in two churches during the mento, Hoyos soon was intro- who played in chamber until her weekend. Regarding singing, Hoyos said duced to lower school music concussion this fall, said Hoyos helped a lot. she “really loves it” but doesn’t teacher Elena Bennett. “Before, we were just figuring have time to do everything. At When Keys was looking for a cello teacher in 2013, Bennett out ourselves how to play togeth- the churches, she helps the choir er and what to change, but then sound full, have a round voice and pointed her to Hoyos. “I talked to Maria, and we had a new set of eyes to cri- stay together with vocalization exercises. we clicked right away,” Keys tique us,” Wilson said. “She’s a brilliant musician For Keys, the choice of who to Most of her time, however, said. “She was eager to work, — determined and amazis spent giving private lessons passionate about cello and take over chamber was obvious. “I trust her instincts, I trust her through Oasis Music Inc. Hoyos had the skills to work with ing. I am lucky to have judgment, and I have high respect has worked with the small corpoyounger kids.” her. She has a wide range ration since its creation in 2018 Hoyos initially taught sec- for her talent,” she said. of talents, more than I This is also Hoyos’ first year and is the manager. tionals (when instruments split had when I started teach- into groups and work on pieces conducting the fifth-grade or“It is promoting music and teaching music,” she explained. “I separately, rather than with the chestra. ing here.” Keys commented on Hoyos’ at- organize concerts with this cor— Felecia Keys orchestra) for fifth grade. “Right away, there was tre- tention to various facets of musi- poration for my private students.” Despite all her commitments, mendous change,” Keys said. cality. “Even with fifth grade, she’s Hoyos said being busy “is not “She brought the level of our celHer journey to the U.S. very heavy on theory,” Keys said. hard.” started with the Medellín Phil- los up.” “She emphasizes note reading “My husband helps me a lot,” Within two years, Hoyos began harmonic Orchestra. and rhythms with games to make she said. “I do not have that much working twice a month with mid“One conductor for auditions it fun.” time to relax, but I love it.” said I was ready to do the master,” dle schoolers. This is how Wilson, Hoyos enjoys seeing kids When Hoyos does have a cellist, met Hoyos. Hoyos said. understand tricky concepts. time to relax, she said she “Remember in fifth grade, However, there were no maslikes to “just stay home ter’s degrees in cello performance when we were picking our in“The kids are having a really and sometimes sleep.” struments?” she reminisced. available to Hoyos in Colombia, Hoyos also enjoys lis“Ms. Hoyos came and played fun time learning something so she “really wanted to come tening to “her music.” some songs on the cello and here.” Hoyos and her husband new. Sometimes they struggle, “The popular Spanish arrived in 1998 after a fellow cel- talked about it.” but when they understand it and Latin music, like boleFor Wilson, this moment list in Chicago invited her to play ros,” she elaborated. “I like and when they know it, I see with him. Her husband traveled six years ago mirrored salsa and merengue dancHoyos’ reaction to heartheir faces say, ‘Oh, I got it!’” with her. ing a symphony orchestra Hoyos met her husband, a mu— Maria Hoyos ing.” However, Hoyos’ favorite for the first time. sician, before high school. They type of music is still classi“Ms. Hoyos played (the have been married for 28 years. “The kids are having a re- cal because it is “the beginning of Eventually, Hoyos met a pro- cello) really beautifully, ally fun time learning something anything you want to play.” so I was drawn into that,” Wilson fessor at California State Univernew,” she said. “Sometimes they “No other music can give the sity, Sacramento while participat- said. struggle, but when they under- discipline of classical music on Wilson continued to work with ing in summer workshops at the Hoyos in middle school section- stand it and when they know it, I following rules, rhythms, all the University of Nevada. see their faces say, ‘Oh, I got it!”’ details about expression,” she In January 2003, Hoyos began als. These days, Hoyos’ schedule said. “She helped us with techniques her master’s at Sac State. There, is still packed. She teaches at As for the cello, Hoyos says it’s she participated in the Strings a lot, like how to hold the bow,” Country Day in the mornings as her life. she said. “And she really helped Project, a “program that provides well as at Napa Valley Language “Cello is a special instrument lessons in violin and cello for us figure out the best and easiest Academy, a dual-immersion because it gets close to the huway to play songs.” children, taught by the School of According to Keys, Hoyos’ work Spanish-English school. Hoyos man voice,” she said. “You do Music undergraduate and gradwith the middle school has led has been working in the “great, comfortable sitting, and you can uate teachers,” according to the the cello section to receive the big music program” there for 15 really relax. And you can do all university’s School of Music webthese expressions — when you outstanding musician award at years. site. “It’s only once a week, so very want to express sadness, really Forum Festivals in past years. To teach violin for the Strings “Maria knows how to bring out basic,” she said. “They have this sadness, cello is best.” Project, Hoyos took private lesthe interpretation of the music great opportunity to play one insons herself and studied the pedand how to translate that to stu- strument through all the educaagogy (the method and practice dents,” Keys said. “She’s just so tion, but (it) is not as intense as of teaching) of violin. Go to www.scdsoctagon. brilliant, and she works so hard Country Day. Here, three days a For Hoyos, settling in Sacraweek? This is really great.” com to read the full stoand is so patient.” mento involved — unsurprisingly Soon, Hoyos will also begin her ry about Maria Hoyos’ This year, Hoyos took on more — music. second year in charge of teachteaching style, passion duties at Country Day after Keys “Once in a while, I play with ing at the Sacramento Language for music and involvewent part-time in preparation for Sacramento Symphony and MerAcademy through the Camellia ment in her community. her retirement next year. ced Symphony,” Hoyos said. “I One of those duties is to run Symphony.


Feature • February 4, 2020

The Octagon

Alumnus works full-time as Country Day technology assistant during gap year



n the afternoon of April 17, two teams were neck and neck in an Overwatch video game. In a king-of-the-hill match, both teams were less than 5% away from controlling the point, the objective of the game. The control point was located in a building with entrances in the front and back. One team had already begun capturing the point — the game could be decided in mere seconds. “Get on point, get on point!” said Tricky, captain of eLisioN eSports (eLN), as the team rushed toward the objective. Unfortunately, the opposing team blocked the entrance right as two eLN players approached it. eLN’s chances of winning grew slimmer by the millisecond. However, eLN’s McCree player, SME, managed to slip through the enemy’s barricade and reach the objective, where he began fighting three players alone. In mere seconds, he swiftly defeated a player before being gunned down. These five seconds won the match for eLN. Busting through the barricade, eLN’s remaining players crashed down on the enemy, driving them off the control point. After 20 seconds, eLN had won the match. SME, now ranked first among McCree players in North America, was none other than Eivind Sommerhaug, ’19. According to Sommerhaug, SME is an acronym for “Super Mario Eivind,” the name of his YouTube channel created in 2011. “I just really liked Mario, and I used to watch a YouTuber called ‘SuperMarioLogan,’ so it was an imitation,” Sommerhaug said. “But because a lot of people make fun of (the name), I just go as SME so that new people I meet don’t judge me.” In 2019, Sommerhaug was accepted to the University of Washington but took a gap year to develop himself outside of school and finish his Nuss procedure, in which metal bars were placed in Sommerhaug’s sunken chest to expand it.

During his gap year, Sommerhaug has been busy with a variety of activities. After Sommerhaug left eLN due to a roster reset, he joined Certo Legion, another Overwatch team, in November. Like eLN, Certo Legion is part of the Open Division. According to Sommerhaug, there are three tiers in competitive Overwatch. Most teams play in the Open Division, the lowest tier. Anyone can form teams to join this division but must compete for the top two in regional competitions to advance to the next league. The Contender Division, the second tier, is where the competition gets fierce. Tournaments are held with varying cash prizes. Consistent top placement in these tournaments can allow teams to progress to the final tier, the Overwatch League. Teams in the Overwatch League begin to receive public recognition. These teams compete in international tournaments against some of the best teams in the world. However, Sommerhaug wasn’t able to fight his way through the Open league with Certo Legion. He, along with three other team members, left Certo Legion due to a dispute in mid-December. Sommerhaug said Monny, Certo Legion’s man-

ADEPT ASSISTANCE Eivind Sommerhaug, ’19, unlocks a computer as he and junior Hayden Boersma discuss its configurations. Sommerhaug works full-time helping director of technology Shelley Hinson with a variety of tasks. PHOTO BY ELISE SOMMERHAUG

After leaving Certo Legion, Sommerhaug decided to focus on his job as an assistant to director of technology Shelley Hinson. Recently in Hinson’s office, Sommerhaug lounged in a chair as he explained to junior Hayden Boersma useful techniques for Super Smash Bros., a game in which Boersma will compete in the spring. Sommerhaug was wearing mostly casual clothes: a light blue jacket, beige khakis and his iconic fedora — the hat McCree “During scrimmages, he wears in Overwatch. Behind tells us what strategy we Sommerhaug was an array are running before matchof screens and a computer es, and he reviews our that he had built with students from the class of 2019. games with us and tells “I needed to make some us what to work on after money for college, and I had matches.” free time during my gap year,” — Max Wu Sommerhaug said. “I came to work for Ms. Hinson because I ager, complained that the was comfortable with the atmoteam wasn’t communicat- sphere here.” ing enough during a scrimmage. Sommerhaug works full-time, “He wanted us to be hyperac- helping Hinson with a variety tive, I guess,” Sommerhaug said, of tasks, such as substituting for “but I only go hyperactive in classes, and providing technical communication if the pace of the support. game requires it. According to Hinson, there are “It’s like playing (against) three levels of tech-related issomeone who is good at the game sues, called tickets, that differ in versus someone who doesn’t difficulty. Level-one tickets are know how to play,” Sommerhaug the most common tech problems said. “Someone that’s good and that are easy to solve, such as rekeeps the pace will force me to setting a password, connecting a play faster; someone who doesn’t device to Wi-Fi or pairing a comwill make me play slower.” puter with a projector. Level-two

tickets usually involve malfunctioning hardware — for example, a keyboard — that requires more time to fix. Level-three tickets are the most complicated issues, such as a Wi-Fi outage, that require immediate attention and technical expertise to solve. Hinson said Sommerhaug handles most level-one and -two tickets. “I do anything (Hinson) doesn’t do,” Sommerhaug cracked. “That’s basically what all assistants do,” Boersma quipped. Joking aside, Sommerhaug does alleviate Hinson’s workload. “Sometimes the tickets are simple enough to resolve, or just require some Googling,” Hinson said. “(Sommerhaug) can handle these tickets, which frees me up to do more complex tasks.” In addition to his job, Sommerhaug mentors the eSports team and aids the new Students Who Assist with Technology (SWAT) team in solving common tech problems on campus.

“He shows up to practice like a coach,” junior Max Wu, captain of the high school Overwatch team, said. “During scrimmages, he tells us what strategy we are running before matches, and he reviews our games with us and tells us what to work on after matches.” Occasionally, in Sommerhaug’s downtime, he performs as lead guitarist with various bands in the area. “It’s hard to explain why I like performing,” Sommerhaug said. “I’m just vibin’ when I play.” Sommerhaug usually plays in local bars and restaurants. He isn’t paid but accepts donations. He said he plans to get ready to move to Washington at the end of the school year. Other than that, he will continue to work for Hinson, dominate in Overwatch and perform with the guitar. If you have a tech question, drop by Hinson’s office and, if you’re lucky, you will be greeted by the man with his fedora.

The Octagon

February 4, 2020 • Feature


Reduce, reuse, recycle: How to avoid fast fashion to the clothing they aren’t wearing anymore.” Additionally, in the article “UN hen senior Savannah Rosenzweig goes Helps Fashion Industry Shift to shopping, she often Low Carbon,” the United Nafocuses on the pres- tions Framework Convention on ent: the cute new shirt she sees, Climate Change secretariat estimates that because of the long the affordable price tag. “You see something you like, supply chains and energy-intenand that’s just what you want,” sive production, buying clothes contributes to around 10% of Rosenzweig said. It wasn’t until the summer of global greenhouse gas emissions. 2019 that she started learning Furthermore, “shifting practices in the fashion industry is key to about fast fashion on Twitter and limiting warming to close to 1.5 C began to change her way of thinkabove pre-Industrial Revolution ing. levels.” “Fast fashion” describes clothes Producing clothing uses high that are sold to keep up with the amounts of resources. For examcurrent style. But this means that ple, according to the United Namany of the clothes are cheap — tions, it takes 10,000 liters of wain both senses of the word. ter to grow the cotton to produce To keep costs down, clothes are a single pair of jeans. often made of synthetic materials Now multiply that by how that don’t last long. many jeans you have in your closAccording to “How Fast Fashion et. Now consider how many peoIs Destroying the Planet” in The ple in the world own that many New York Times, “More than 60% jeans. of fabric fibers are now synthetDespite these effects, a Jan. 6 ics, derived from fossil fuels, so Octagon poll of 104 students reif and when our clothing ends up vealed that 52% of high schoolers in a landfill (about 85% of textile have never heard the term “fast waste in the United States goes to fashion,” and 58% don’t think it’s landfills or is incinerated), it will bad for the environment. not decay.” This landfill contribIn fact, utes to methane emissions and according thus to climate to fresh“Most of the time, I change. man Tonye Junior Prag- don’t buy what I see Jack, there athi Vivaik said are some in the store because I the waste fast benefits to fast fashion pro- know I can either go to fashion. duces is one the thrift store and buy “I don’t main issue. want to be it or just find something “People spending a at home to make it.” aren’t even bunch of mon— Hana Lee ey just to look putting the clothes good,” Jack they don’t said. “It should be comfortable, use anyaffordable and fashionable all at more to an alternative use,” Vi- once. That’s why I like a lot of fast vaik said. “They just toss them fashion, like Forever 21.” out. I understand how people Senior Jason Li holds a similar may want to keep up with the position: He appreciates trends, but they should at that fast fashion has led least find alternative uses to affordable clothing



options for guys. offer clothing options at a similar fast-fashion pieces by reusing her “There are a lot more op- cost to fast-fashion stores while old clothes or purchasing basics tions to choose from, especially avoiding the hazards that come from thrift stores and making alfor guys because guys’ clothes with the price tag. This includes terations. styles are really limited,” Li said. contributing old clothes to local “Let’s say I see a really cute red “The fact that I don’t have to go thrift stores rather than throwing shirt that I like at the mall,” Lee to expensive stores to buy from them out, where they could end said. “I (won’t) buy the shirt at the designer brands for good style is up in landfills. store, but I’ll go home and take convenient.” Recycle. This means literal- the red shirt that I have and try to Thanks to the lower prices, Li ly recycling old clothing so the make it similar to the one I saw in said he can pursue fashion as a fabric can the store, so it’s like making your hobby rather be used own fast fashion. than a necesfor new “Most of the time, I don’t buy “If I buy something from sity. d e s i g n s . what I see in the store because I Sophomore a clothing chain, it has S t o r e s know I can either go to the thrift Masai Dusuch as store and buy it or just find someto be a piece that I will misani is The North thing at home to make it.” wear a lot.” focusing Face and Similarly, Vivaik donates old — Masai Dumisani H&M allow her sophoclothes to Goodwill and recymore projpeople to cled-clothing bins. ect on this drop off old Vivaik said she used to recytopic to clothing in return for a gift card cle clothes at Phoenix Children’s help bring awareness to its harm- or coupon. Junior Hana Lee said Hospital Foundation’s American ful consequences. she also donates her old clothes Textile Recycling Service, but “It affects everyone — buying to a family friend who recycles and wearing clothes,” Dumisani the cloth and donates the new since she moved to Sacramento, she only donates to Goodwill. said. “I wanted people to know pieces to Camp Fire victims. She also used to save old cloththe causes and effects (of their Rosenzweig said she keeps susing for projects when she was actions).” tainable brands in mind when younger. An article on Sustain Your shopping for specific pieces. “ I ’ v e Style, a website created by a for“There’s some places that cut up old mer fashion industry veteran, I wouldn’t clothes for Mathilde Charpail, describes var- think of as “I don’t want to be art projious ways average people can re- being ethical spending a bunch ects,” Viduce their impact. clothing, like vaik said. of money just to look Reduce. Avoid the need to con- Patagonia “I remember stantly restock your wardrobe by and Cogood.” (my class and buying durable clothing with sea- lumbia, but — Tonye Jack I) made minison-less designs. Higher-quality they are,” wreaths out products eliminate the need to R o s e n z of a wire hanger and strips of replace old garments after only a weig said. cloth, and we all hung ours up few months of wear, while time- “I think about that for Christmas. We did a collective less pieces allow consumers to when I’m going to stay in-style without overhauling buy a jacket or athletic wear. I’ll collage, too, as a class.” their closets. You can also target think, ‘Maybe I should go to these According to Dumisani, a simsustainable brands such as Levi’s, stores.’” ple change in mindset helped her whose Water<Less jeans collecBrands such as Patagonia — sustainability efforts. tion uses 96% less water to make which aims to reduce its carbon “If I buy something from a than their other collections. footprint — and Columbia — clothing chain, it has to be a piece Reuse. Buy second-hand cloth- which has programs like Reth- that I will wear a lot,” Dumisani ing from thrift stores, reducing reads to recycle materials — offer said. the need to produce new cloth- customers options to support the “I have to think about, ‘Is this ing, and saving resources and sustainability movement and re- actually something I need or realenergy. According to Rosenzweig, duce their shopping by buying ly want?’ instead of, ‘Oh, I’ll Goodwill and lohigh-quality products. just buy it because I can.’” cal thrift stores Lee often recreates

Vans hoodie

Levi’s jacket

Target shirt

Father’s sweater American Eagle Pants ASOS pants Vans shoes Nike shoes

Thrifted Skirt

Mother’s boots

À LA MODE Left to right: Freshman Tonye Jack supports fast fashion because it allows him to buy affordable styles. Sophomore Masai Dumisani is focusing her sophomore project on fast fashion to help bring awareness to its effects. PHOTOS BY HERMIONE XIAN Junior Hana Lee enjoys thrifting to recreate styles sustainably. PHOTO COURTESY OF LEE


Endpoint • February 4, 2020

The Octagon

STUDENT COLLECTIONS Seniors, sophomore showcase sneakers, K-pop cards, DVDs


All stories by Jackson Crawford

Shiyi Zhou

neakerhead Shiyi Zhou, a senior, looks for the meaning behind a shoe, not just the exterior aesthetic. He has accumulated nearly 50 pairs of running and basketball shoes, each with a different backstory. Zhou said he knew he wanted to collect shoes following a trip to the mall with his mom in China in eighth grade. “Every other kid wanted toys or video games,” Zhou said. “But I remember the Jordan IV colorway caught my eyes, and from then on I started collecting shoes.” Describing his strategy, Zhou said he mainly collects Nike shoes within $100 to $200. “I never get them from resale because they’re way too expensive, unless I really like them,” he said. “I collect a lot of Jordans, but my favorites are probably (Nike) SB Dunks. Swoosh (Nike) over Stripes (Adidas). “My Air Jordan One Bred Toes that I bought four years ago for $120 are now worth $4,000.” Over time, Zhou said he’s become pickier when he decides to add to his collection. “I used to collect Jordan 11s, and I had four different colorways, but then I got tired of that because it didn’t feel special,” he said. “Now, I

look individually at a shoe — like how much art is put into it. I really focus on the artists who create the shoes and the story behind it.” Zhou said he sometimes buys women’s shoes, noting artist Melody Ehsani, who collaborates on the Jordan brand. Zhou said women’s shoes are “bold with the color, and I like shoes that aren’t boring.” “(Ehsani) made these super-colorful shoes with a watch on each lace,” he said. “They were rainbow color and had graffiti on the side. They were so dope, so it didn’t really matter (to me) if they were boys’ or girls’ shoes.” Although Zhou wasn’t able to purchase the Ehsani shoes for various reasons, he said his interest in them sparked him to look more into the color and art behind shoes. Recognizing the financial burden of maintaining a large shoe collection, Zhou said he’s started looking to sell some of his sneakers. “I love the shoes, but at some point, I might have to choose between my survival or collecting shoes,” he said. “But if I get to go to a super-important game in an NBA arena, I would wear the shoes that mean a lot to me.”

NEW KICKS ON THE BLOCK Senior Shiyi Zhou lounges in the trunk of his car with his sneaker collection, featuring colorful running and basketball shoes. PHOTO BY XIAN

Lights. Camera. Action. Sophomore Dylan Margolis, a film fanatic, boasts a collection of 350 movies, including some classic Disney VHS tapes that he says are now worth thousands of dollars. The collection, which was started by Margolis’ parents before he was born, contains countless animated Disney movies and the entire “Star Wars” saga. One movie, a 1992 “Beauty and the Beast” Black Diamond Classic Collection on VHS, is worth $3,000, according to Margolis.

BTS BONANZA Senior Yumi Moon shows off three of the 150 K-pop photocards in her collection. PHOTO BY HERMIONE XIAN

Yumi Moon Like many K-pop fans, senior Yumi Moon has collected numerous photocards of her favorite artists and groups. She has amassed around 150 photocards. “Photocards are like mini-photos that sometimes come in albums, but you can also buy them individually or in packs,” Moon said. “For my birthday, my friend got me a pack of photocards of the same person. It was about 50 of them, so they can come in big bunches.” Grace Naify, ’19, gave Moon a K-pop album in her sophomore year, kick-starting Moon’s collection. “I didn’t want to throw away their faces, so I just started to (stockpile) them,” she said. Moon said she looks forward to seeing which card comes with a new album. “When I buy a K-pop album, I’m excited to see which member I get,” she said. “Exo, for example, has nine members.” Moon has compiled her correction through gifts, albums and a skin-care shop that gives away free photocards with a purchase,

Dylan Margolis

However, Margolis said collecting movies was never a conscious decision. “For a while, I didn’t think much of it,” Margolis said. “But then my friend came over and said, ‘Wow, you have a ton of DVDs.’ I hadn’t known that I have around 350 movies at home. “(My brother and I) used to get all our DVDs from Dimple, but since it closed (last September) we haven’t added to our collection.” Margolis attributes

this massive collection to his enjoyment of movies and his bond with his older brother, senior Jackson Margolis. “We probably watch movies three or four times a week,” Dylan said. “My brother and I fight about (how to organize) them. He wants to categorize them by genre, but I want to categorize them alphabetically. Right now, they are in genre mode.” Dylan said he prefers physical copies over digital ones because of the access DVDs provide.

so she said she didn’t know how much her photocards cost. Amazon sells Exo sets (56 cards) for $7.99. Moon enjoys bonding with her friends over K-pop. “I have a lot of friends in Korea who are really into K-pop obviously, and we still text and call a lot,” she said. “They got me into it. It’s all about friends and connections.” Moon compared photocards to the poster phase middle school students often go through with their favorite bands and artists. “A lot of people in middle school had posters on their walls to represent their favorite groups,” she said. “I was never into that because I thought it made my room look messy. These photocards are like mini-posters that I can store somewhere else.” Moon keeps her photocards tucked away on her bookshelf. “I keep them in the corner of my bookshelf because it creeps me out,” she said. “I don’t want them staring at me. That’s weird.”

“I like having all the options and not being restricted based on some trade deal between big companies,” he said. “I don’t like digital versions because it doesn’t feel like you’re really owning it.” Margolis’ interest in film extends beyond contemporary and classic movies. Margolis said he also enjoys old blackand-white films, but doesn’t have any in his collection. “I also watch a lot of silent films, but stores usually don’t have them, and I don’t like to order online,” he said.

CINEMATIC CORNUCOPIA Sophomore Dylan Margolis displays part of his 350-movie collection, which includes Disney VHS tapes. PHOTO BY EMMA BOERSMA

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