Issue 1 - October 2022

Page 1


IN THIS ISSUE opinions Editorial: Parents vs. Life 360........ 08 CHS Should Teach Harm Reduction..................................... 10 news lifestyles features Tino Meets DCI.............................. 12 featuring Vishal Sajeev, Ethan Ward and Jacob Nater investigations Course Selection Concerns at CHS.......................................... 20 The Impact of Ms. Marvel............... 16 NOPE: Society’s Perpetual Need for the Spotlight................................... 18 New Wellness Center.................... 04 Measure G Bond Passes.............. 06 20: Course Selection Concerns at CHS sports Athlete of the Month: Benjamin Chen............................ 24 Coach Kim: 40 Years a Pioneer........................................ 26 postscript Back-to-School Receipt............... 28 I’m Chronically Late and I’m Sorry............................................ 29 Column: India Me vs. Me in America....................................... 30 ONLINE & SAFELY IN PERSON R E A D Y T O R O C K ? LESSONS ☆ BANDS ☆ CLASSES ☆ CAMPS B E N A T U R A L M U S I C . L I V E ENROLL IN OUR FALL PROGRAM | LEARN AN INSTRUMENT | AUDITION FOR A BAND


STAFF 2022-2023


photo editor


Katelyn Chu

Saniya Laungani

Theresa Nguyen

news editor

Caroline Cheng

Natalie Chen features editor

Soha Roy lifestyles editor

Prithika Sundar investigations editor

Taruna Anil

sports editor

Lisa Zivanic postscript editors

Evan Lu

copy editors

Meghana Vinjamury

Rajasi Laddha

Dear Reader,

Kevin Jia Jolie Han

Rishita Shah opinions editor

online editors business manager

Sania Mehta Tanvee Sai

Evan Lu writers

Aashin, Alexander Liu, Alisha Sankhe, Andrew Qin, Angie Li, Anika Rao, Anoushka Gokhale, Benjamin Liu, Eliana Aschheim, Evelyn Liao, Hailey Ryu, Joyce Lee, Katie Kim, Riya Malik, Shaona Das, Stef Miroshnichenko-Nava

The first thing you noticed about this magazine was proba bly the cover, and rightfully so; the portraits are of a student and two alumni who participated in the Drum Corps International this past summer. Aashin, Evan Lu and Angie Li write about these individuals’ experiences leading up to competing at the World Championship on page 12.

With this theme of accomplishments and triumph, we continue to read about the formation of the new wellness center right on our campus, a feat that many other schools in the county have yet to accomplish. Eliana Aschheim goes into further detail on page 4, explaining the benefits and positive impact the center will have on our students and school life.

Taruna Anil

Lisa Zivanic

Jolie Han advisors

Ann Peck, Brian Hazle

Editorial Policy

“The Prospector” is an open forum of expression for student editors to inform and educate their read ers. It will not be reviewed by or restrained by school officials prior to publication or distribution. Advisors may and should coach and discuss content during the writing process.

The staff of “The Prospector” seeks to recognize individuals, events and ideas and bring news to the Cupertino community in an accurate, professional and unbiased manner. “The Prospector” will not avoid pub lishing a story solely on the basis of possible dissent or controversy.

If you believe an error has been made or wish to have your opinion expressed in “The Prospector,” please contact us via mail or email. Letters sent be come the sole property of “The Prospector” and can be edited for length, clarity or accuracy.

“The Prospector” editorial board reserves the right to accept or reject any ad in accordance with its ad vertising policy.

Looking outside of Cupertino High School’s gates, we see another victory that hits home for many of our students. On page 16, Shaona Das examines the impact of Ms. Marvel, the first Muslim and South East Asian Superhero in the Marvel Cin ematic Universe, on authentic representation.

As you hold this magazine, we hope you will grow to ap preciate the meaningful accomplishments of those around you, and most importantly, of yourself.

Though the rhythm of the school year may seem erratic at times, remember to make it count!

Contact Us: The Prospector 10100 Finch Avenue Cupertino, CA 95014


Exploring the planning and benefits of a new wellness center at Cupertino High School

Students who are feeling tense or upset will soon have a new center on campus where they can come to relieve stress and learn self-care strategies. Cupertino High School is opening a Wellness Center in the 2023 spring semester

as a calming space for students to support their emotional well-being.

“The whole point is to make sure students are equipped to go throughout their day. So as much as possible, we want them to come here. Take a moment, take a breath, check in with themselves and then be able to go

back to class,” Jackie Corso, CHS Assistant Principal, said.

At the door, a liaison will assess students’ needs as they come in. Although administrators are still working out the details, stu


dents will be able to choose among different activities to help them feel better. Options will likely include breathing exercises and puzzles, along with information about mental wellbeing.

A new therapist, hired by Santa Clara Coun ty Office of Education, will be sta tioned in the center to provide support for students who need immediate help. Stu dents may also be re ferred to school-based therapists Christopher Hickey and Denise Sa lin in the main office.

take a moment, but it’s not a hang out place. It’s not a place to check social media, that sort of thing. And social media is not good for social emotional well-being, too,” Corso said.


She also explained it is intended to be a dropin space. If students de pend on the center and often visit it, the liaison will connect them with longterm solu tions, like seeing a

while another group will continually advise the center for long term pro grams and partnerships. Corso said she wanted to “make sure that it’s created in large part by students [...] to make sure it best addresses the needs of our stu dents.”

The well ness center

Another proposal is to create support groups for students about issues they may share, like LGBTQ, grief or domestic violence, said Hickey. Groups would be formed based on students’ need for them.

To use the center, located in rooms 214 and 215, students can talk to their teacher and be excused from class to go there. They can stay for an allotted time period be fore returning to their day. The cen ter is for “improving student access to behavioral health supports and to spaces where they can calm them selves, self regulate, learn some new strategies that they can carry with them,” Corso said.

The center is meant to be quiet and nondisruptive. “You can choose how you want to check in with your self or

therapist regularly. In addition, it will streamline ther apists’ work. “Nowadays, people just come walking up to my door, and that can be a little disruptive,” Hickey said. “[The center] will make my life a little easier in the end, and students also because we won’t be interrupted all the time.”

CHS is fortunate to be the first school in FUHSD and one of the first in the county to have a wellness center. The idea of the center was initiated and funded by the county. It will serve as a model for officials to implement in other schools as part of an effort to improve mental health resources for students.

The CHS and county administra tors of the program value student input into many aspects of the cen ter, like furniture, events and promo tion. In the coming months, Youth Advisory Groups will be formed to assist in planning. One group will be involved in creating the center and choosing activities,

comes at a time when students have increased mental health needs due to the pan demic. Soci ety has begun to accept mental health as a priority. “The model of a Wellness Center is kind of the standard nowadays,” said Hickey, “I think the time is right. I think the culture can hold something like that”

NEWS | 5



The behind-the-scenes of the construction on campus



of the Fremont Union High School District passed Measure G on June 7, authorizing the dis trict to sell $275 million in bonds to pay for campus renovations and construc tion district wide.

Measure G allocates funding to up date decades-old facilities, including fire alarms, sprinkler systems and class room lighting. Additional renovations could include a new robotics center for each school, art and music rooms and updated libraries.

“It’s a lot of energy-saving upgrades,” said CHS Vice Principal Steven Pucci nelli, “It’s mostly the HVAC system and lighting which are done in a much more energy efficient way, [saving] mon ey and the environment.”

Cupertino High School is no stranger to construction. Measure G is the latest of a series of construction bond measures approved by district voters in recent years. Money from the bonds is earmarked for facilities improve ments at the district’s five high schools.

“We still have ongoing needs be yond what we were able to complete with the previous bond measures, and having a new bond will allow us to com plete more classroom modernizations,” Puccinelli said.

In 2018 the passage of Measure CC, financed about half the renovations the district aimed to achieve. Measure G supplies new funds to complete the remaining renovations. The district will distribute the $275 million over the next three decades at an annual rate of 18.2 million. Funds will come from property tax assessments of $0.015 per $100 in assessed value for every parcel of land within the district until 2052.

“There are still projects from CC that are still happening and going to contin ue to happen into next year. While at the same time, we’re able to start our first projects with Measure G,” Puccinelli said.

Acquiring funds is the first step in an


ongoing process. Design and projects for Measure G will follow in later years. In the last decade, the district has im plemented three bond measures: Mea sure K of 2014, which allotted $294 million and Measure CC for $275 million in 2018 and Measure G last June. Tax payer advocates have criticized the re peated usage of bond measures by the district. Mark Hinkle, president of the Silicon Valley Taxpayers’ Association, said bond measures take decades to pay off. Some residents find acquiring funds from tax es disagreeable, believing the district should instead im prove budget manage ment.

In an in terview with Sil icon Valley Voice, FUHSD Superinten dent Graham Clark said implementing smaller bonds every few years is pur poseful and tax efficient.

“[...] Our thought is, let’s just approve as much for the work that we can do in a five to six to seven-year time span as opposed to do a real large bond, a lot of money and then not use it for years and years and years,” said Clark. This meth od has existed since the early 2000s for all previous district bond measures. FUHSD believes this is productive and beneficial for community residents and the schools.

Cupertino faculty have faced the con sequences of construction. Some teach ers have been forced into classrooms that may not be the best suited space

for their course, while others are sharing class rooms.

“[Construction] caused some dis ruption to classes that we didn’t antic ipate or plan on happening. [...] But hopefully, it’s been as smooth as it can,” Puccinelli said, “We talk about it and try to come up with different solutions. And the construction company has been re ally great about accommodating those things.”

Cupertino hopes to finish the proj ects of Measure CC soon and plan ac cordingly for Measure G’s projects.

Students have also faced nega tive drawbacks of construction during school days. Said student Mira Panig rahy, “I feel like it’s a bit annoying hav ing to walk around construction and fences, and especially with our classes [having] to shift be cause of the classes that we can’t use.” With teacher dis placement, students have had to adapt as well, shifting class rooms and their class structures.

“Last year, [...] we had to shift in the middle of the year [...] And that was probably really annoying for me be cause that other classroom felt really crowded together,” Panigrahy said.

While the school tried to handle the drawbacks students and teachers face, the board could make better efforts to inform students. Many students are un aware of Measure G and the reasons for construction. “I feel like they should [...] inform the students and tell them what they’re doing [...] because I feel like this campus is for the students,” Panigrahy said.

As construction finishes in the com ing months, students and faculty can look forward to a more spacious and calmer campus. Upgraded HVAC sys tems and classrooms can help days run more smoothly, and other updates will be helpful for safety.

Said Puccinelli, “Hopefully, we can see those positives outweigh the neg atives”

NEWS | 7

— it varies with family and culture. Nonetheless, a lack of a child’s le gal right to privacy does not change its essentiality in a healthy parent-child relationship. Privacy is not only vital for a child to develop responsibility and autonomy, but is also crucial to build ing trust. While this may seem coun terintuitive, espe cially to parents, children need space to explore their interests with out the constant feeling of someone watching them. This need for priva cy also applies to location — when par ents obsessively check their children’s whereabouts, it sends a message of mistrust and may compel some chil dren to grow more comfortable hiding anything they do not want their parents to know. As a Prospector staffer noted, “[Forced use of location track ing apps] pushes the narrative that the child is not allowed to set boundaries with their family among other social [or] emotion al issues.” In addition, instead of encouraging openness and hon esty, constantly checking location apps may cause children to actively conceal their activity, which is argu ably worse than not telling parents details the child is uncomfortable sharing. The mindset of having nothing to hide from one’s parents can only be built over time and mutual trust — a reality that parents often overlook.

ting up and enforcing boundaries for privacy can prove difficult, especially when approached as the parent setting rules for the child.


Respect is essential to setting and maintaining these boundaries, and when one achieves this, location apps can be used to their intended use — the fullest of their poten tial. As long as both parties are comfort able with using them, there is not anything inherently wrong with location tracker apps — they are helpful for safety, convenience and accountability. When used correct ly and respectfully, the pros outweigh the cons

86% of The Prospector

believe tracking apps are more benefi cial than they are harmful

*According to a survey of 21 staffers

71% of The Prospector

Use Life360 or another location tracking app

*According to a survey of 21 staffers

But the gray area with location track ing is that it is always present. With Life 360, for example, the free plan allows one to see the precise route for every member of their family over the past two days. With the paid plan, the app saves the data for thirty days. As long as you carry your phone, your family can see every move you made at any second of the day — to the extent of seeing how fast the vehicles you were in went. Set

Prospector Family

should chs teach... HARM REDUCTION?

Investigating the nuances of harm reduction which make it effective in drug prevention among youth

Ipromise NOT to do drugs, avoid violence, be respon sible, and make responsi ble choices.”

The Drug Abuse Resistance Education, or D.A.R.E, pledge. Whether you have taken the pledge or not, most students across the U.S. have had sim ilar drug safety talks and pro grams. However, with 50 per cent of teens using drugs at least once, it is time to ques tion the effectiveness of these programs. Modern sex edu cation does not solely teach


nence, as those who will have sex would not know how to be safe — so why should our schools teach “Just Say No,” without any other re sources?

Harm reduction is a meth od of drug education that fo cuses on reducing the reper cussions caused by drugs and teaching drug safety.

The National Harm Reduc tion Coalition states that the program believes in creating judgment-free spaces, min

imizing drug harm in stead of ignoring it and providing drug safety resources across the country.

Programs like D.A.R.E that follow the “Just Say No” philoso phy have proved to be in effective. A study conducted by psychologists at the Uni versity of Kentucky showed little to no difference between a group that had received D.A.R.E and the control group, which did not receive D.A.R.E, after ten years. In contrast, research by the Uni versity of New Mexico found that students who participat


ed in an alcohol harm reduc tion program had significantly fewer alcohol problems than the control group.

A significant aspect that af fects drug user safety is the presence of fentanyl in opi ates and other drugs. Drug dealers often mix fentanyl with drugs such as heroin, cocaine and ecstasy, as fentanyl is a much cheaper alternative that provides the same effects. Fentan

yl is 50100 times stronger than her oin and morphine; often, two milligrams or less can be fatal. In Santa Clara County, 30 of 68 confirmed fentanyl deaths were between ages 16-29. The Journal of the American Med ical Association reported that 70 percent of youth over


why prevent necessary edu cation for youth and deprive them of protection strategies? Harm reduction is practical for teenagers, as the old er we get, the more we see the prevalence of drug use, making the ab stinence-orient ed prevention we received in earlier years

no longer effective. American schools should do whatever it takes to protect children. The steps schools can take to implement harm reduction include educating students on the dangers of fentanyl and providing ac cess to fentanyl test strips and Naloxone. Naloxone, of ten branded as Nar can, is a medica tion designed to reverse the ef

es one can get Naloxone as part of its Opioid Overdose Prevention Project at bhsd. The county also allocated $135,000 to supply high schools with Narcan. However, it is based on each dis trict’s inter est in the program and is not a mandate—

FUHSD should take advan tage of this opportunity to promote drug safety to stu dents.

Harm reduction educa tion is complex, and we must make efforts toward creating the program and analyzing which components are prov en effective. The approach should not stigmatize the user but acknowledges that an array of factors may have caused drug usage

dos es in the United States are due to fentanyl. This ever-growing issue only further empha sizes the need for widespread harm-reduction education.

There is a ubiquitous belief that harm reduction facilitates drug use, causing reluctance among many stakeholders, like parents and teachers. But

fects of an opioid overdose. The widespread access to both of these re sources can save lives and will encourage responsible use rather than abuse., San ta Clara County lists plac



and alumni share their experience at the 2022 Drum Corps International World Championships

Sound comes off the field in waves. The buzz of brass fills the air, and for 10 min utes, every person in attendance at Lucas Oil Stadium in India napolis, Ind. is completely cap tivated. And that, says Cupertino Senior Vishal Sajeev, made the 13-hour days and months away from home all worth it, That night in Indy was a magical moment, for Sajeev and his bandmates in the Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets went on to win the DCI Open Class Championship.

The road to Indy was a long and arduous one that began shortly after last school year finished and required a lev el of commitment unlike anything Sajeev could have imagined.

He attended week end camps to accli mate to the lifestyle of a touring drum corps. The camps prepared him for the auditions and helped him earn a spot on the prestigious Santa Clara Vanguard drum corps.


Open Class

Throughout the tour, the Ca dets lived away from their homes and were subjected to long hours performing and per fecting their show. The long hours were exhausting, but Sa jeev said the tough est was something many musicians struggle with–life on the road with new faces and personalities at every stop. He quickly learned how to get comfortable, something made easier by the shared passion of his companions. When comparing this expe rience to competing at the high school level, “They aren’t even compara ble,” Sajeev said. “Everyone want ed to be there, and that was the differ ence.”



few years later, when he entered middle school, he began play ing the trumpet as part of the school band. He continued with the trum pet throughout high school and partici pated in the marching band for three seasons be fore setting his sights on DCI. “I saw the videos and thought it was really cool,” Sajeev said. “The shows take a lot of time to put together.” On top of all the memories, the big gest takeaway for Sajeev was a newfound appreciation for hard work and dedication.

Sajeev began playing piano when he was eight years old. A

“I’ve never had to work for 13 hours a day while sleeping on gym floors and [in] buses miles away from home,” Sajeev said. It stands as one of the few times where he will have to be com pletely dedicated to one task for such an extended period. All the hours came together in the final show when the Cadets took the top award in the prestigious Open Class. The sound and feel ing of that triumphant moment is one Sajeev said he will never for get

AASHIN writer Competed


Competed World Class ANGIE LI writer

The stadium fills to the brim, groups flood the field and anticipation builds as results are announced by place and cat egory. Fourth place, a tie for sec ond and the 2022 DCI World Cham pions are the Blue Devils! The crowd erupts into cheers and hugs as the Blue Dev ils take this title for the twentieth time in history.

However, even after winning big this past sum mer, CHS alum ni Jacob Nater found fulfillment not from placing first, but from his experience.

Texas and Georgia, before even tually ending with finals in Indi ana. This rigorous travel schedule is not only riddled with long bus rides and lack of sleep but also extremely long days of rehears

you do as a group act as a shared experience people can bond over. So even though I hated [just being there], it’s part of what the drum corps experience is like.”



“The average schedule for a week is you rehearse 12 hours on Monday, Tues day you rehearse maybe seven hours, then go on an eight-hour [long] bus ride where you only sleep for two hours, rehearse for six more hours, do a show, drive six more hours [and repeat],” Nater said. “It’s like time doesn’t even re ally exist. There’s no night or day – there’s just a bus ride and rehearsal.”

Speaking about his experience during the summer, Nater shares how his mindset changed from being in it to win it, to discovering afterward that was not what mat tered.

“I realized after I’d won that it didn’t mean anything to me,” Nater said. “What I remember is spending all that time with people that I love. I think it’s probably the most valuable life experience I’ve ever had. I [realized] the goal for me isn’t to win – the goal is to have a great summer.”

Nater started marching snare drum in the winter of eighth grade and continued to march through out high school and college. Al though Nater’s goal had always been to march with the Blue Dev ils, he marched with Pacific Crest in the 2021 DCI season because they were the only other Califor nia group that competed due to COVID-19. In 2022, he was ac cepted onto the Blue Devils Drum Corps and began touring with the group.

The DCI season takes place during the summer and ends with the World Championships in Au gust. The Blue Devils began their performance tour in the northwest, traveled south to California and continued east through states like

Nater notes the burn out that settled in, especially when rehearsing for hours in 115 F weather and sitting in a bus for just as long. Despite the feeling of just wanting to be anywhere else at times, Nater valued push ing himself through the hard ships.

“I think what makes drum corps so entic ing is that it’s not easy,” Na ter said. “Things that are chal lenging that

With that, Nater hopes every one will find their own DCI experi ence. Believing that what was valuable about his experience is not unique to drum corps, Nater en courages everyone to do whatever they enjoy –to make connections through hobbies and something you care about, or else you will regret it. Said Na ter, “I feel like if you don’t have a huge connection in your life, there’s no point of living. I think that’s what gives life value”



Thecrowd held its collective breath in silence, nervously awaiting the results to be announced. When the Vanguard Cadets were announced as the winners, the crowd went wild. Recent graduate Ethan Ward competed and won the DCI Open Class World Championship. However, it was not an easy journey for Ward. It took months of hard work and practice for him to get there.

Ethan Ward, a graduate of the Cupertino class of 2022, started with percussion in his sophomore year and started playing the snare drum in his senior year. After watching the performances and listening to the music from the Vanguard Cadets, Ward always knew that he wanted to be a part of the drum corps and compete at DCI. Ward said that he practiced a lot to prepare for his audition. Ward was rejected from the snare drum position but wanted for bass drum instead. Determined to be in the Vanguard Cadets, continuously practiced the bass drum. It was different from the snare drum, so he started from the beginning and learned everything quickly so he could do the

audition. After weeks of hard work, Ward heard back from his audition and was excited to find out that he had been accepted into the Vanguard Cadets.

One memorable aspect of the season was the vibe of the team. Said Ward, “Overall, the vibe was goofy all throughout the summer, and it felt like we were all a part of a big family.”

walked more during the free days than the practices because we just kept walking around. I had a lot of fun during these days.”


He felt that everyone brought something unique to the team and he could meet people from different places.

While there were many things Ward found enjoyable, one thing he did not enjoy was the heat.

Practicing all day out in the summer heat, where temperatures were reaching 100 degrees, was not enjoyable. However, Ward still very much enjoyed this “summer camp” and the only thing he would change was not to overpack.

After their performance in the final competition, Ward felt nervous and tense as the results were being revealed. Ward described his feelings as “kind of like someone about to smash a hammer on your finger, but they stop an inch away from your hand.” As the camp ended, Ward had a sudden flashback and realized how much effort he put into this and was glad it all paid off.

Said Ward, “DCI has had one of the biggest impacts on my life, and you won’t find the same feeling of performing with people you’ll probably know for the rest of your life anywhere



Exploring the South Asian representation in the new television series “Ms.Marvel”



the western world of supernat ural fantasy, South Asian charac ters are a rare sight. Producers of Marvel Studios’ latest show, Ms. Marvel, take a step to challenge this stigma. The Disney+ show centers on a Muslim Pakistani-American teenage girl whose ability to pull light has pulled on the heartstrings of many young women of similar heritage.

The protagonist, Kamala Khan, experiences identity struggles that parallel the feeling of not fitting in many youth today experience. Khan encounters everyday problems –she fails her driver’s test, loses touch with an old friend and often argues with her over-protective parents. Khan wrestles with feeling inappo site at school, repeatedly diving into the Marvel Universe to escape her otherwise ordinary life. The writers of Ms. Marvel scripted Khan with ambitions, goals and passions with out resorting to stereotypes seen in brown characters. Ms. Marvel show cases a fresh take on South Asian characters, providing the communi ty with the accurate representation they deserve.

Khan’s grandmother gifts Khan a box of Pakistani jewelry that con tains a bangle (rigid bracelet), later discovered to be a key to polymor phous abilities. Khan learns that the bangle can also be used as a gateway to the Noor dimension, a region inspired by the Islamic word for light. The bangle’s power traces back to the Partition of India, a pivot al moment in Pakistan’s history. The smooth intertwinement of Khan’s culture with the storyline displays the show writers’ care and attention

to incorporating her background into the story, spotlighting major and minor aspects of her heritage.

Sonali Gupta, a Cupertino High School Indian-American alumna, discusses the depiction of Khan’s family. Said Gupta, “I think [the Khans] are a very good example of most immigrant families in the U.S. There was music playinglike, old Pakistani songs playing in the background while the parents were doing work or eating dinner, and the mom, and the jewelry, and the little words of Urdu that were sprinkled into conversation… [The creators] did it very well, and I guess the takeaway is that they did it very seamlessly.”

Khan may be a superheroine who can control light, but she is

from her culture and battling insecurities about her race, Khan takes a stand against Zimmer. This plot point is incredibly signif icant as it portrays an occurrence most South Asians have experi enced. In addition, it spurred a real-life political movement where activists covered xenophobic propaganda with posters of Ms. Marvel. The decision to neglect this incident in the show was a missed opportunity to shed light on casual Islamophobia and in spire South Asian viewers to de fend themselves against the prej udice they face.

Although Ms. Marvel has its flaws, the show has undoubtedly paved the way for aspiring South Asian actors and actresses in the film industry. It has created a space for brown individuals to see themselves on-screen and in the face of superheroes.

a woman of color and, therefore, a target of racism. While Ms. Mar vel’s television series highlights the prejudice she experiences in small ways, the show’s creators neglected a significant aspect of her comic-book character: the Is lamophobia she faces from her classmate, Zoe Zimmer. Zimmer runs away from Khan at a party be cause she “smells like curry” and insinuates that Khan’s friend only wears a hijab because she would be honor killed if she did not. Af ter attempting to distance herself

In an interview with Brown Girl Magazine, said Iman Vellani, actress of Khan, “Hollywood is slowly getting into true inclusiv ity and really representing peo ple the way we want to be seen […] It’s important to voice how you feel because as soon as you start generalizing ‘brown people,’ you’re not representing anyone. We can be used as a resource in telling our own stories. There are people who will listen”



Youare 10 years old, and you are sitting under a table, eyes fixated on a particu lar shoe standing oddly upright across from you. You think about how earlier that shoe was on the foot of your co-star, proud stage mom of you and a very different kind of son: Gordy, your trained chimpanzee brother and the titu lar character of your hit television series, Gordy’s Home. Now you watch that shoe because your life depends on it. You keep hidden, safely out of the glaring spotlight on the set, as Gordy stumbles closer to you. You expect rage — but instead, you find fear in his eyes. He holds his fist up to you, and you bump it, mimicking the happy family that now lays mo tionless on the stage. This shocking opening scene of Jordan Peele’s NOPE perfect ly sets up the film’s running main theme of the dangers of life in the spotlight. Throughout the movie, the audience is repeatedly re minded of this via flashbacks sim ilar to the one above and parallels between the main characters.

The first reference to Peele’s message is through the clip from Gordy’s Home, a show antagonist Ricky “Jupe” Park starred in. Jupe and Gordy were pushed into the spotlight young, affecting them both in devastating ways, but the impact on Gordy is seen most easily at first. Gordy becomes ag

itated after a balloon pops and at tacks everyone on set, except for Jupe, who is spared after Gordy finds him hiding under a table. With some context, viewers un derstand that the reflective mate rial of the balloon caused Gordy to see himself as a spectacle, which prompted a violent reac tion due to him not understanding that he is an actor. It is heavily im plied, especially when he instinc tively fist-bumps a scared Jupe, that he believes this stage family is his real family. This scene speaks more of the show runners who placed Gordy in this role — they trained him solely to provide en tertainment and ignored his natural development. However, understanding Gordy’s anger is easiest at the end of the scene. After he is no longer seen as a source of entertainment but rather in his true animal state, animal control shoots him immediately. This dra matic finale incites some thought in the audience about the brevity of fame — Gordy’s plight demon strates how quickly one can go from being loved to being antag onized.

The audience then watches Jupe’s devolution from this pivotal moment in his life. He later proud ly describes the incident as hav ing “one of the best viewings” of the entire show. This positive re action is strange, considering the damage multiple deaths of close friends should have on a child.

Jupe’s peculiar mindset contin ues into later acts of the movie when he uses some



encounter to profit from a show he puts on at his ranch.

He feeds his own horses to the alien without remorse until the alien, wary of the spotlight itself, shows him karma by eating him instead.

Jupe’s journey is a tale of caution told through an uncon ventional method — the audience expects the terrified child they saw to live in fear of being thrust into the spotlight again.

Yet, they watch the polar opposite unfold. This experience causes Jupe

does not attack if he does not make eye contact, something he can relate to from his gentle handling of his fam ily’s horses. Haywood shields them from the public eye during commer cials, eventually keeping them out of it entirely after he feels their discomfort. Ultimately, this benefits him the most, as he is one of the few main charac ters who survive the movie.

NOPE features several alternative themes, such as animal cruelty and the gentrification of Western movies, but they all tie back to what Jordan Peele himself cited as the word most used around set — spectacle. Soci ety’s neverending desire for the spot light and how we face inevitable con sequences from it, and the underlying message Peele introduces to us from the beginning Biblical verse: “Nahum 3:6: ‘I will pelt you with filth, I will treat you with contempt and make you a spectacle”

to believe he is “special” because he was the only one not harmed by Gordy — therefore, it is his life’s calling to be a spectacle. In fact, he puts the alien into the very posi tion he and Gordy were in through his exploitative show, demonstrat ing how the spotlight can blind eth ical thinking.

On the other hand, protagonist OJ Haywood understands from the beginning that being a spectacle is not a desirable thing. A key dis covery he makes is that the alien


course selection concerns at

20 | DESIGNED BY TARUNA ANIL Exploring reports of reduced class sections, larger class sizes and schedule changes


The perspective of teachers with larger classes than usual

Overpopulation — when too many students are in a class — may explain why a pla toon of students fail to get the class es they want every year. Teachers at Cupertino High school also expe rience changes in their classes due to fluctuating population. Some are mild while others are more drastic, but there is a distinction between milder shifts and true overpopula tion.

“The term ‘overpopulated’ is kind of challenging,” Carley Stavis, a Voices of Modern Culture (VMC) teacher at Cupertino High, said. “I mean, ‘overpopulated’ by what measure? [...] It won’t be overpop ulated by some sort of legal defini tion.”

As the current head of the CHS teachers’ union, Stavis and other teachers negotiate contracts with the district administrators, those re sponsible for schedule-making and arranging students into classes. The contract clauses include maximum sections — a single course period — allowed per teacher and a max imum number of student-teacher contacts. At the start of each school year, the guidance team and admin istration assign teachers to certain sections of a course.

Stavis explained that student enrollment statistics received be fore the school year dictates the as signment process. Said Stavis, “As

teachers, we have no say in how many sections [will] be in each class because that’s really determined by what students are requesting to take.” However, teachers can ad just students between classes, and if necessary, ask the administrators to create new sections to accommo date an overflow of students.

However, the number of stu dents in a class can exceed the number agreed by contract. As a result, teachers take the initiative of removing students from the class. James Gilmore, a Physical Educa tion 9 teacher, manages about 40

combines Art 3, Art 4 and AP Art. Steele has had to turn away at least five students from the class be cause of the crowded classroom. Said Steele, “Pushing [students] to work on larger pieces becomes really hard when everyone is sitting next to two other people and there’s not enough space for everyone.” Steele recalls that it is hard for her to provide meaningful, detailed feed back to students, and hopes that in the future, the Art 3 course can be separated from Art 4 and AP Art to avoid crowding.

students per class, a larger class size than most teachers. PE 9 is a mandatory course for incoming ninth grade students, and sometimes the class exceeds the 40-students-perclass capacity. Said Gilmore, “It does become a big safety concern when you’re in the pool […] swim ming can be chaotic [...]At one point [the number of students in a class] got up to 48, and I was concerned.” He contacted administration, and student changes were made the next day.

Amber Steele, a first-year Art teacher at CHS, is currently teach ing a class with 41 students that

Zachary Jacobs, an American Literature Honors teacher and a for mer Teachers’ Union president, has a way of dealing with a larger class size. Said Jacobs, “With more stu dents, I have the class arranged in groups so I can talk to multiple stu dents at once.” Jacobs believes the best scenario is to have as few stu dents in class as possible to more easily establish a one-on-one ap proach for teachers and students. “So it’s never been totally right.”

Jacobs is sympathetic towards students who are not able to take the classes they want and offers an alternative. Since FUHSD has agreements with De Anza and Foothill College, students can take a wide variety of classes there for high school credit. As a result, the district does not have to create new sections. Why? “Money. You have to pay a teacher, find space. There’s always a trade-off”



Students flood counselors’ offices and email inboxes for meetings and constant requests for schedule changes throughout the first few weeks of school, only to discover that their requested class is already full. However, Cupertino High School’s administration and guidance team say they are simply working within a scheduling system as required by the Fremont Union High School District policies.

Each year, students follow the course selection process of filing Informed K12 forms and choosing classes that fulfill both their gradu ation credits and areas of interest. The forms offer counselors and school administrators critical data that help them determine— among other things—how many classes or sections

According to Nafrada, 338 sections were allocated to CHS for the 2022-2023 school year, signifi cantly less than the 368 sections from the previous school year. The reduction of 30 sections from last year is due to a decrease in enroll ment, contributing to more crowd ed classrooms this year.

However, the decline in enroll ment is not the only factor contrib uting to larger class sizes, Nafra da said.

“This year is an anomaly, where we are significantly over [our] projection, meaning that the number of kids that were anticipat ed to be here in the spring was, we had far more kids,” said Nafra da. “We had new kids enroll and we had far fewer kids disenroll.”


teacher to student ratio

of a course they should offer in a given semester. Students choose classes that fulfill their graduation credits and satisfy their areas of interest. After this is completed, the number of classes for a partic ular course is set, depending on how many students signed up for that course.

“There is a formula that is de fined by the teachers’ contract that states how the class sizes are and then it calculates based on how many kids we are expected to have enrolled the following year. We get allocated a certain number of sections,” Melina Nafrada, as sistant principal in charge of guid ance at Cupertino High, said.

Advanced Placement (AP) math classes such as AP Calculus are chronically crowded, which Nafra da said is due to a historic trend of higher drop rates.

The goal is for “all of our class es to be at the contractual ratio,” by day 40 of the semester, said Nafrada. The contractual ratio is the ratio of students to teachers for one class stated in the teacher’s contract; for most classes, the ra tio is 32.5 students to one teacher.

COVID-19 is another factor that may be affecting the class-size growth spurt at Tino. As compa nies in Silicon Valley summon the workforce out of their homes and back into company office build ings, many families are also mov ing, which also increases enroll

Understanding the process behind course selection ment. As enrollment increases, the space available in certain classes becomes limited. When more sec tions are added, there has to be an adequate and available space to conduct the class as well as a qualified teacher, creating conflict for the guidance team.

Students also play a role in schedule changes being unsuc cessful. Many students request to drop classes when school starts because they have not completed summer commitments, whether it is finishing summer homework or completing a summer math class to accelerate to an advanced course.

With so many students re questing changes, the guidance team is trying to accommodate students’ needs, Nafrada said. If too many students want to take a class, seniors get top priority. Then, if there are still more stu dents than spaces, it’s luck of the draw for underclassmen who re quested the course.

Said Nafrada, “We actually use a randomizer app [...] that was the fairest [way] that we could think of and that’s what we tried for. I know it is hard for students because they do have to choose so early in the spring, but unfor tunately, that’s the system that I have to operate under because I have to fulfill the obligations to the teachers’ union”




Chen is the type of guy who leads with kind ness and a smile, but when it comes to football it is pure tenacity that propels the senior through de fenses for the Pioneers.

“As a person, he is kind. As a football player, he is tenacious.” head football coach Chris Oswald said. During practice, he always laughs at jokes from other team mates. Being nice to every one, Chen opened up the football team for more players to join by bringing inclusive ness.

“But I’m telling you when the whistle blows, he plays hard,” said Oswald. Chen averages 94 rushing yards per contest with seven touch downs in three games. He was awarded “Player of the Game” in two of the first three games.

“When it mattered the most in the fourth quarter, he was the shin ing light,” Oswald said of the recent game against Prospect. The Pio neers fell behind in the beginning, Chen made big plays at key mo ments to set the team up for a 15-12 comeback victory.

Chen attributes much of his success to his teammates. “The thing about running backs is that without a good line, you don’t have anywhere to go,” said Chen. “So honestly, if I do well in the game, they also did well in the game […] When I watch the films, it’s almost less about me, [and] more about my linemen.”

Chen not only leads in the

team’s offensive stats, but also as a role model for his teammates. As the co-captain of the team, “he is a leader because he does things right,” Oswald said. By consistent ly setting a good example during practice, Chen allows younger members of the team to improve their understanding of plays and positionings.

Chen started playing in his Sophomore year, after encour agement from a friend at Tino.

“At first it was the COVID-19


es. Even though we’re at an away game [and there] were only some fans, you can tell that people cared a lot more than they did in JV.”

As a running back, Chen is a target by the opponent’s tackles and was recently sidelined while he recovered from a concus sion. He returned to action in last week’s loss at Santa Clara.

In addition to hard work, Chen emphasized the effect confidence has on his performance. “Confi dence goes a long way. Even if you’re not as good, or your talent isn’t matched up, if you’re will ing to do things because you’re confident you can do it, you will be way better than someone who doesn’t know what they are do ing.”

season,” Chen said, “it was main ly to have fun. It was like backyard football, I was also on JV at that time.”

Due to COVID-19, his first season was shortened, and was played in the Spring rather than fall. The team–and Chen–got a bit more attention his junior year during the 2021-22 season by finishing 9-2 overall and claim ing a league title with a dramatic win over Los Altos in the regu lar-season finale. It was just the fourth varsity football league title in school history. “When I scored my first touchdown on a run play, I was hearing all the crowd nois

Outside of football, Chen is pursuing a career in accounting at Middle College, which will al low him to graduate college ear ly. Chen talked about his favorite quote “stay the course” which he explains means “to keep on go ing” which is something he always strives for

Varsity Co-Captain shares his journey with confidence and hard work on and off the field


Golden Spurs coach and former dancer shares stories on her life-long relationship with dance teach.

PRITHIKA SUNDAR | EVELYN LIAO lifestyles editor | writer

Coach Kimberly Caldwell is the beloved dance coach of the Golden Spurs, Cupertino High School’s award-winning dance team. As a mother of three, a teacher, danc er and member of the CHS Hall of Fame, Caldwell is celebrat ing her 40th year as the Golden Spurs’ coach. A Golden Spur herself, Caldwell has dedicated decades of time and effort to our community and especially the dance team.

Caldwell joined the Golden Spurs her sophomore year of high school and fell in love with the

sport. After Caldwell graduated, her instructor lost her coaching position, and Caldwell stepped in as coach. She was not expect

“There always seems to be a little freshman that comes in that I can’t leave until she graduates,” Caldwell said, “but then there’s always a new freshman that comes in.”

When asked about her fa vorite experiences as a coach, Caldwell recounts memories of performing at large sporting events.

ing to stay long, but she taught through all three of her daughters’ tenures at Tino and continued to

“Let’s say we’ve got to do some pretty amazing things,” Caldwell said, “[...] And I think being on the field for those big events was pretty memorable.”

Caldwell’s happiest moment with the Golden Spurs occurred


• Field Hockey wins 3-0 against Presentation High School Player of the Game: Grace Townsend

• Girls Volleyball wins 3-2 against Los Gatos High School Player of the game: Aura Laine

• Girls Golf wins 252-225 against Player of the game: Olivia Duan

• Football wins 25-14 against South Player of the Game: Jesse Mendoza



during their trip to nationals at Anaheim last spring. The Golden Spurs won three gold medals and a judges award, making it the first time they won an Anaheim award at nationals.

Reminiscing about her most memorable experiences in her dance coach career, said Cald well, “We got to perform at For ty-Niner games, and we got to do the opening ceremonies for the Super Bowl when it was at Stan ford. We [also] got to do the soc cer Olympics.”

To Caldwell, being part of these big events was something she will never forget.

Creating a close-knit family of dancers also comes at a cost — balancing family and work life be


came difficult.

“I missed birthdays and anni versaries and things like that be cause there was a football game or a band tournament,” Caldwell said. “But my family has always been super supportive. They knew it was something that I loved.”

Caldwell compared her former CHS dance team to the present Golden Spur team she is coach ing.

Said Caldwell, “When we com peted way back in the day, it was one routine that we competed […] Dance has evolved so much and it’s so much more athletic and tax ing on your body. And they do so many more tricks and things than we ever did.”

Being a part of the Golden Spurs has always felt like a family and she hopes to carry this sen timent forward. From starting as


National Champion Titles

a Golden Spur to coaching the present CHS team, Caldwell has shown her undying commitment and love for dance

MONTH against Milpitas View High School Duan South San Francisco High School Mendoza
In 2022 • Girls Water Polo wins 4-6 against Fremont High School Player of the game: Tanishtha Nath • Girls Tennis wins 5-2 against Los Altos High School Player of the Game: Allison Hsieh sports editor/copy editor





Cute mechanical

that I will never get back after letting that one lab partner borrow themWater bottle that got dented on the first day after I bumped it into my locker Lunch box that can be returnedbecause there continues to be free lunch

of lined paper that ran out after writing so many DBQs and in-class essays

bag that cuts through myshoulder even when it is empty

that will fit everythingexcept the homework assignment I forgot on the day it is due

that only has half the pages left because all the mathhomework is ripped out to turn in separately


1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x Notebook
1x 5.99 15.89 18.10 10.98 13.45 28.97 3.99

I’m Chronically Late and I’m Sorry

Dear Reader,

I’m a late person. I arrive late for school, events and even my own birthday party. You name it, and I show up at least an hour late. As someone who’s chronically late, I’m tak ing this opportunity to explain myself.

I often take my precious time getting ready until I hardly realize that I need to be there right at that moment when I haven’t even left the house! I convince myself I’ll show up to school on time as I rub sleep from my eyes fifteen minutes before class starts. I tell my friends, “I’ll be there in five!” as I accidentally smudge my eyeliner and groan as I have to start all over again. I make excuses by blaming my lateness on my dad who supposedly ‘didn’t get ready fast enough.’

This all may sound like a ton of complaining from a late person who feels the need to jus tify her lateness — and maybe it is. I hope this letter resonates with you if you’re always late like me.

I have a variety of reasons for showing up late all the time, depending on the event. It’s actually three main reasons. 1) I’m never early to anything. Ever. 2) I suck at time man agement. 3) I make lateness a competition, always showing up last.

At this point, it’s instilled in my brain that if something starts at 5 p.m., I can still be acceptably on time showing up 30 minutes to an hour later. We call it Indian Standard Time. My family is consistently an hour late to any event, and even then, that is probably too early. My parents recently went to an Indian music concert with renowned artists and musicians. It turns out most of the audience was so late that they had to delay the concert by 30 minutes — they served chai and samosas and no one even batted an eye.

I always tend to overestimate the amount of time I have to get ready, which is becoming a bit of a problem. Take school, for example. I calculate the perfect amount of time I need to get up so I can show up at school with only one minute left before the bell rings. That way, I maximize my sleep time. It doesn’t always go as planned, though, since I slam the snooze button 15 times until I’m forced to wake up. People are often surprised when I’m 10 minutes early to class, asking me what I’m doing at school so early.

Thankfully, many of my closest friends are people who are chronically late as well, and at this point if we plan anything, everyone just adds an hour to the time. My friend group knows I often show up last, so I hardly bother trying to come on time.

Although I admire people with good time management skills, I think I’ll have to accept that I’m simply not like that

Anoushka Gokhale, Writer


journey of intersecting two cultural identities TANVEE SAI social media manager


not want to go to India this summer. I did not want to leave my friends or my home. I did not want to spend a month in a hot, sticky country across the world, only to put away my crop tops and shorts to please my grandma. But once I stepped out of the airport, I realized what it meant to be home.

I was not born or raised in In dia, but every other summer, my family and I would travel the country to visit relatives and family friends. I would be dragged around to greet everyone, boring myself through the same conversa tions.

My mom had been raving about this India trip since 2019 because this summer, we were going to celebrate my grandpar ent’s 50th wedding anniversary. They celebrated their anniversary in 2020, but my mom had to patiently wait two years until travel restric tions were lifted to celebrate with her family. For those two years, my mother would constantly tell me how she missed her parents and want ed to return to her home – India. I would sit through these conversa tions, waiting for them to be over, unable to understand why she so desperately wanted to return. In my head, her home was in the US with my dad and me. After going to India and spending the entire month with just her family, I finally understood why she so desperately wished to see her people and motherland.

looked like me.

The longer I was in India, the more Indian I felt. I was wearing clothes that I received from my fam ily, speaking more Hindi than I ever had in the US and appreciating the food, music and lifestyle. I began dreading the day I would come home, not wanting to return to being the person I was in America.

Even though I could not wear my comfortable crop tops and shorts, I decided I needed to learn how to accommodate the weather and the needs of my family and societal norms to be happy. I un derstood that being home in India meant



I became a different version of myself.

The second we gathered as a family, eagerly greeting and ex changing hugs and kisses, my heart suddenly filled with over whelming love and joy. I was thrilled to be in my country with people who

With my change in clothing came a change in my attitude. I opened my eyes to the culture I had been ex posed to growing up but ignored. I watched as cows walked by me on the streets, and the rickshaws and scoot ers zoomed past our apartment complex. I absorbed it all in and made it into a part of my self. I real ized that every trip to India was like this. I would visit and evolve into a version of myself who basked in her culture, connected to her heritage and ate food I would not appreciate at all at home. I would then return to the US and become the person who would hide these parts to fit into American society.

I go to my country, surround

ed by people who look like me, living with those who love and empower me. I am freed from any stress and obsession with the beau ty standards in American media. Detached from the white narrative, I can create a version of myself that matches the place where I came from — only to come back and assimilate right back into those archetypes.



TANVEE SAI she/they

I decided it was time to break this cycle on the flight back from India. I could wear a crop top with shorts but still adorn Indian-style ac cessories. Or I could wear a printed top that my aunt got from me in In dia, paired with shorts that I wear in the US. I could add Bollywood songs to my playlists with English music and talk to my friends about Indian pop culture, not just Ameri can trends. I needed to learn what it meant to allow different versions of myself to inter sect and stop trying to detach one from another. I could balance my cultural identi ties and learn how to combine the two instead of push ing one to the side when in a particu lar setting. Being Indian-American means I am not American enough for some people but not Indian enough for others. But it is vital for me to remind myself that I am enough of both, and I am the only person who can make these identi ties work together in a way that fits me

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.