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ISSUE 2, VOL. 62


news ASB Official Breast Cancer Awareness Week..................... 04 Cupertino Poverty Simulation.............................. 06 PG&E California Power Cuts..... 07

features People with Military Experience at Tino....................................... 08

opinions People Should Not be Shamed for Wearing Fast Fashion.............. 12 ASB Should Make Their Voting Records Public....................... 14

lifestyles Analyzing the Influence of Disney Princesses on Society............. 16 The Growing Popularity of Virtual Influencers............................. 18

investigations Betsy DeVos’s Educational Policies.................................. 20

Cancer 04: Breast Awareness Week COVER DESIGNED BY ASHLEY KANG

Helmet Game: 26: The Tino vs. Monta Vista

sports Athlete of the Month: Ean Bennett, Wrestling and Martial Arts........ 24 The Helmet Game: Cupertino vs. Monta Vista............................. 26 Toxicity and Competition in Competitive Sports...................27

perspectives A Diary Entry From Dusty the Pioneer.................................... 28 Cupertino’s Hierarchy of Needs..................................... 29

postscript The Uselessness of November................................ 30 Column: Juliet the Commissioner.......................... 31


STAFF 2019- 2020

editors-in-chief Aashna Shah, Ashley Kang, Kavya Gupta page editors Alexandria Hunt, Angela Ma, Darshini Vijayakumar, Keerthi Lakshmanan, Kenneth Jeon, Sanat Singhal, Sarah Pollans, Stella Jia, Taha Shafiei copy editors Ariana Fahri, Darshini Vijayakumar, Lawrence Fan photo editors Ariana Fahri, Sydney Liao online editors Anthony Zhu, Jeffrey Xiong, Sydney Liao business manager Lawrence Fan writers Amir Iravani, Ankita Acharya, Avinash Pandit, Calvin Anderson, Henry Ma, Jenny Wu, Joan Thyagarajan, Juliet Shearin, Krithika Venkatasubramanian, Maia Matsushita, Megumi Ondo, Nikita Srinivas, Rachel Park, Sohini Karmakar advisor Ann Peck Editorial Policy “The Prospector” is an open forum of expression for student editors to inform and educate their readers. 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 publishing 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 become 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 advertising policy. Contact Us The Prospector 10100 Finch Avenue Cupertino, CA 95014

A LETTER FROM THE EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Dear Reader, Accountability — or rather, a lack thereof — has taken quite a precedence in our community recently. As fires rage through California, most fingers point to one culprit: The Pacific Gas and Electric Company. PG&E has had a rough couple of years, facing lawsuits for their alleged role in stoking the flames. Despite their cursory attempts to take control of the situation by inducing mass power outages, quite ironically, it was a failed power line of theirs that sparked the Kincade fire. Writers Avinash Pandit and Joan Thyagarajan address the community’s outrage and PG&E’s lack of accountability on page 7. At times, it’s the entire community that falls under blame. In Cupertino’s technocratic bubble, the plight of the unfortunate is often concealed by a facade of Teslas, smartphones and generally, Apple. We fail to recognize the struggle that a significant portion of our community faces: poverty. Many Bay Area residents struggle to pay their monthly rent and provide for their children, valuing necessities such as food and shelter as luxuries. The City of Cupertino’s Poverty Simulation allows for Cupertino citizens to recognize the difficulties that many impoverished people endure, hoping to inform the community and encourage them to take responsibility. Read more on page 6. The divisive nature of politics has even pervaded into our own student government. The matter of publicly publishing the ASB’s voting records becomes one of transparency. If we are unable to trust our student representatives to make the right decisions on our behalf, our voices will go unheard. Lawrence Fan takes on the controversial issue on page 14. As we enter the endless cycle of shifting the blame from one person, locality, or generation to another, it becomes all the more important that we collectively make choices to take responsibility for our actions. Best, Ashley Kang, Aashna Shah and Kavya Gupta






be seen in the stands. A fundraiser was also held to raise money for the Bryant Family, whose daughter, Ariel Brylifestyles editor ant (Class of 2009), was recently diagnosed with grade During the week of Oct. 21, the Cupertino Associ- 4 Glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer. Over $1900 ated Student Body (ASB) held a breast cancer awareness was raised, which was used to pay for her medical bills week at Cupertino High School, during which students and a device to slow down the cancer. When planning breast cancer awareness week, the engaged in daily activities to raise awareness about breast commissioners encountered a variety of challenges. cancer. Said Ownbey, “The biggest difficulty of this event Said Jonathan Dinh, a junior and the ASB secretary, “[breast cancer] is one of the most common types of can- was the timing. [C-Link] was also in charge of organizing cer, and it’s impacted many members of the community, the Blood Drive, which happened [the] Monday after Breast Cancer Awareness week, so we were promoting which is why we educate the student body about it.” This year, Cupertino ASB’s Campus Link (C-Link) and planning both events at the same time.” When reflecting about his thoughts regarding breast Commissioners — Nina Mobe (junior), Chiyo McMullin (senior), Nicole Ownbey (junior), and Grace Olumo- cancer awareness week, Dinh said, “The most rewarding fin (junior) — were in charge of planning and hosting part was seeing the bleachers decked out in pink and seeing cheer, football, a breast candance, band, cer awareness and color guard week during all come togethOctober, which “MY FAVORITE PART WAS HOW er on the final was breast canMUCH IT OPENED MY EYES AND day of breast cer awareness HOW MUCH ADMIRATION AND cancer awaremonth. RESPECT I DEVELOPED FOR THE ness week. Also, Said Junior PEOPLE WHO ARE FIGHTING seeing how Nicole OwnBREAST CANCER.” generous peobey, a C-Link ple were when Commissioner, - Junior Nicole Ownbey donating to the “We [first] orgaBryant family nized a sched[was rewarding ule, and [then] too].” interviewed teachOwnbey reflected upon the event as well and said, ers who had experienced the challenges of breast cancer “My favorite part was how much it opened my eyes firsthand.” Breast cancer awareness week started with “Ribbon and how much admiration and respect I developed for Monday,” on which pink ribbons were handed out to stu- the people who are fighting breast cancer. [This] week dents in the quad, and “Face Paint Tuesday,” during which opened my eyes in ways that I would never have expected students could go to the CHS quad to receive a painted and I hope that the rest of the student body has experipink ribbon on their face. Wednesday was “Wear Pink enced this incredible new awareness as well.” Overall, Cupertino ASB’s breast cancer awareness Wednesday,” where students wore pink to spread breast cancer awareness and gathered in the quad to take pho- week was able to spread breast cancer awareness to many tos. Thursday was “Mystery Game Thursday,” on which students at CHS. In the years to come, as the campus link students participated in a water balloon toss game. On ASB commissioners hold more breast cancer awareness Friday, the football game was “pink-out” themed, where weeks, students at CHS will continue fans wore pink, and pink decorations and posters could to be educated about breast cancer. ALEXANDRIA HUNT

NEWS | 5













On Saturday, Nov. 2nd, the City of Cupertino hosted a Poverty Simulation in collaboration with West Valley Community Services and Step Up Silicon Valley. This event, lasting from 10 a.m. to noon, consisted of participants working to overcome barriers to social services, living off of insufficient income, and encountering unforeseen economic obstacles. Said Angela Silviera, the Program Coordinator for Step Up Silicon Valley, “The Community Action Poverty Simulation is a two-hour experience where you engage with your community and learn how it is to live in a low-income situation or family.” “You have a first hour that is broken into four 15-minute weeks, and you form families with unique identities and learn how to struggle to make ends meet month-to-month or weekto-week and see how your living situation is when you have to cut out and prioritize what you need to pay for. You interact with various resource places that you would have to interact with everyday, like your employers, social security, and you feel the stress of trying to get everywhere at once to make the regular week work,” Silviera said. The simulation was run by volunteers who were homeless in the Bay Area at one time. Said Sylvia Martin, a volunteer with Step Up Silicon Valley, “I come from a very abusive family. I ran away from home when I was sixteen and had a daughter. We recently became reacquainted because […] I lost my daughter when she was about five years old. She was taken from me because I could not care for her.” “In 2005, I was working as a dispatcher at HP, I was a contractor, and they unfortunately laid us off. When they laid us off, I couldn’t find work immediately, so I had to pay my rent through my savings. [My savings] slowly diminished, and I was looking everywhere for a job and couldn’t find [one]. I realized that I didn’t have any money in the bank and I [couldn’t] pay my rent. Unfortunately, I had exhausted asking my family and friends for money to help me and I found myself having to make a choice of [living in] a homeless shelter,” said another volunteer. The Poverty Simulation has four goals: to promote poverty awareness, increase understanding, inspire local change, and transform perspectives. With over 18 percent of Santa Clara County’s residents living in poverty, it’s imperative that we begin to understand their narratives and make active choices in our lifestyles to fight against poverty. .

BURNIN’ UP IN CALI PG&E’s protocol to recent California wildfires and reactions from the community millions of Californian homes, has been shutting off power to thousands writer of residences throughout the month JOAN THYAGARAJAN writer of October to prevent exactly these types of wildfires from happening. At the time that this news article More power outages are planned is being written, thousands of people during the week, affecting homes, are forced to leave their homes in the schools, businesses and more. Air wake of two big fires at both ends of quality is expected to become worse the state, in Northern and Southern California. The Kincade fire, north of San Francisco, has been burning since These immense wildOct. 23 with no signs of being con- fires are becoming a tained. Close to 180,000 people have yearly occurrence here been displaced in Sonoma County in California. and other nearby counties are on high alert warnings. The Getty fire in the Los Angeles area started on Oct. with smoke released from both fires 27 and is wreaking havoc in wealthy spreading long distances away from neighborhoods and across one of the the fires. All this chaos and destrucbusiest highways in the world, the tion have people wondering: could 405 freeway. PG&E have done more to prevent Extremely dry conditions with these fires from happening? Is shuthigh winds have fueled these fires to ting off power to homes a move that spread quickly across several acres of is too little, too late? Is PG&E to be land. The risks to people and prop- blamed fully for this disaster or is this erty are so high that Governor Gavin the new reality that we have to live Newsom has declared a state of emer- with — wildfires burning every gency in the state. year — in a world that is seeing The Kincade fire has been ram- extreme effects of climate change pant, being only 5% contained as and global warming? of Monday, Oct. 28, and has forced Said Sophomore Sooraj, a thousands of people to evacuate from student that was affected by the Sonoma in order to maintain their power outage in Cupertino, “I safety. didn’t have any dinner that day… It is ironic that the Pacific Gas and and I also had an essay due that Electric Company (PG&E), a leading day, so my dad came back from his public utility company that provides work, picked me up and then brought natural gas and electric service to me back to his workplace so I could AVINASH PANDIT

turn in my essay.” The result was a large waste of time and massive inconvenience for Sooraj and her family. The fires in California will continue to rage on, and even though they have not done as much damage as they did last year, the fact is that these immense wildfires are becoming a yearly occurrence here in California. How many times can the citizens of California rebuild their homes? How many times can they forgive PG&E for causing those fires? These questions all need to be answered, but in the meantime, citizens of California will continue to fight the fires and hope that a solution will present itself.



Name: Gabriela Valdez Grade: 11 Service Type: Air Force

the Air Force apart from other military paths was that “the Air Force acts as the brain of the military and you news editor don’t get called out a lot for physical duties. It holds a It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no it’s Gabriela in a plane! higher focus on intel in technology.” When people find out that Junior Gabriela Valdez is Another factor that re-invoked her interest to join enlisting into the Air Force, their first reaction is likely the Air Force is the idea of building self-character and that she will become a pilot. However, there are many learning more about herself through this experience. misconceptions surrounding the Air Force as the meSaid Valdez, “I’m excited to be a part of something dia heavily emphasizes the “flying” aspect. important on the national scale. There is always someSaid Valdez, “Pilot training is really intense, and the hardest part about it is even getting remotely considered to be one. There’s a certain amount of inches one has to have from your knee to your butt, and you must have perfect vision.” Aside from the common belief of pilot training, the Air Force also provides unique jobs for its members, Valdez is planning on becoming a cybersecurity linguist. Differing from other military camps, the Air Force emphasizes education, especially in the technology and engineering department. Some thing productive to do, not only for yourself but for classes they offer are cybersecurity, linguistics, and en- the nation. Not only do I get to be serving my country, gineering. but I will get to do something for myself through this Unlike the conventional pathway after high experience.” school, which is going to college for many students at Joining the Air Force comes with many perks, inCHS, Valdez will be following a more unconventional cluding a great retirement plan, going abroad, meetroute. Even for Valdez, the pressure of following a con- ing new people, and learning a variety of new things ventional pathway hindered her from wanting to join through unique experiences. However, there are some the Air Force at first. things Valdez will have to give up. Said Valdez, “I was in sixth grade, and I met a navy Said Valdez, “For me, it will be hard to give up seal and thought he was the coolest person ever. I start- the civilian lifestyle. You are only given 30 days off a ed talking with my dad a lot about going into the mili- year. And a lot of the times holiday vacations are not tary but never really settled on what I wanted to do. As approved, meaning that you will still have to work I went into high school, I completely forgot about it on Christmas. You only have 30 days in a year to see because, at our school, everyone’s talking about going family and friends, and usually not at the same time into business or medicine, which made me question which will be difficult as there are a lot of restrictions going into the military.” on where you can and can’t travel.” Over the summer, she happened to be driving by Even with the limitations of a civilian lifestyle, the a recruitment office and decided to stop by, which re- unique opportunities and experiences the Air Force sparked her interest in joining the military. What set provides outweighs the limiting factors for Valdez. STELLA JIA

“im excited to be a part of something that is important on the national scale.”


HENRY MA writer

At Cupertino High School, most students know the general direction they are heading in for their future, but not the specifics: going to college and getting a steady job.

Even though Doyle isn’t that concerned about his safety, this concern is one that Doyle’s parents has for him. “They didn’t like the idea. They don’t enjoy the prospect of putting my life in harm’s way but they also realize that this is something that I want to do,” Doyle said. Before they came to a final decision, he was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes at the age of 13, which jeopardized his plans for the future. This was an obstacle in Doyle’s life that he had to face. Said Doyle, “It was kinda sad the first couple weeks but eventually I came to terms with it, figuring I could do something else instead.” With this mindset, Doyle was able to direct his attention toward something else that he was interested in. His new goal was to find an occupation where he was happy and enjoyed doing. Said Doyle, “I want to do something interesting. Like I wake up and want to go to work everyday. ” Doyle eventually shifted his path from the military to the police force. Explained Doyle, “ I’m originally from New Hampshire, so I [want] to go over there and do police stuff. I want to use it as a stepping stone to do greater things. I’d like to be in the FBI some day”


“it was kind of sad at the beginning, but eventually i came to terms with it, figuring i could do something else” Unlike those around him, Senior Finn Doyle was certain of his future: joining the military. There are many reasons why Doyle is interested in joining the military. He was encouraged by the free education and the opportunity to serve his country, as well as his family: his great grandfather, his grandfather and his cousin. His great grandfather was part of the Air Corps during World War 2, his grandfather fought in the Korean War and his cousin enlisted in the navy at a very young age. Like the rest of his family, Finn wanted to enlist as well. He was amazed by the stories he heard from his cousin. Said Doyle, “He’s so cool. He gets to go on the boat and shoot machine guns and all that stuff.” Having family in the military is also equivalent to having a little voice in your head always worrying. They are always in danger. “I’m not as concerned about him perishing in an attack but it’s still something to think about.” Doyle said.

He plans out to start out as a patrol officer and move up from there. Doyle realized that he could still protect and serve the country if he wasn’t in the military. The police force is similar to the military in many aspects, as they both have a mission to keep the country and citizens safe. Even though he had to change his plans for the future, Doyle is still excited to serve his country in a different way.

Name: Finn Doyle Grade: 12 Service Type: Police Force




With its decisions having such a significant impact on the students, transparency within the Associated Student Body (ASB) is crucial for it to maintain an open connection with the student population. A growing number of students have recently called out the secretive fashion in which decisions are made, urging ASB members to release their voting records. This means that students would know how each member voted on specific issues regarding the school, giving students a better understanding of each individual’s viewpoints. As the votes result in immediate repercussions throughout the school, voting records within the ASB must be completely publicized. The ASB consists of an executive team, the president and vice president of each class, who selects a large number of commissioners. Its members, chosen specially to their various positions, are trusted with most non-academic portions of the school, including managing clubs, school events, and social media. However, with its authority also comes a hefty load of responsibilities, including, in conjunction with other roles, the burden of satisfying the student population.


duty to represent the student body, but how can they truly vouch for the interests and concerns of peers when they withhold their voting records from the very people they represent? The case is simple: because the ASB

As the votes result in immediate repercussions throughout the school, voting records within the ASB must be completely publicized Acting as a government body, the ASB is established to attend to the needs of its citizens, in this case, the students of Cupertino High School. Its members are public servants with a

vote on matters that directly affect the students, they have a right to know how their delegate voted. Publicizing voting records is essential for members of the

ASB to be held accountable for their decisions. Presently, the only available information comes from rhetoric; there is no way to discern the actual contributions and impacts of each individual member to the school. Differences in voting records are essential in gaining an accurate depiction of each delegate’s specific views and values. By releasing the voting records, the ASB class also opens the gateway for student voice and opinion, as each member will inevitably receive appropriate criticism for their voting choices. The protective cloud of obscurity removed, ASB members will individu-


The ASB places too much emphasis on upholding an appearance of unity at the expense of transparency and authenticity. Some have brought up the loss of solidarity as a concern against the publishing of individual voting records. However, pursuing unity should not be the main objective of the ASB, especially when it comes at the price of diversity

Members in the ASB should have absolutely no reason to conceal their vote, as well as the intentions behind their choices.

ally be put in a position where they are compelled to defend their judgment and their vote. Most importantly, if one were not to vote on behalf of the student population, displaying apathy or a conflict of interest, the ensuing backlash will ensure that the member receives appropriate retribution for their choices. This would pressure ASB members to do their best to vote in favor of the overall student opinion without bias.


Members in the ASB should have absolutely no reason to conceal their vote, as well as the intentions behind their choices. As student representa-

tives, ASB members have a responsibility to better our school as a whole and make decisions that would benefit as many students as possible. Every choice they make should be solely for the public good, without being influenced by peers or personal interests. Thus, the very notion of covering up individual votes garners suspicion. There’s no denying it: students want voting records to be publicized, and they are taking it upon themselves to make this happen. A petition calling for publicized votes drew over 120 signatures within a week. If 120 students are requesting information they rightfully deserve, it should be released promptly, especially since there are no negative impacts on the rest of the student body.

in opinion. Forced artificial unity pressures conformity; creating a facade of unity sets an expectation for everyone to simply fall in line, creating an environment in school that doesn’t tolerate criticism or boldness. Furthermore, continuing to sacrificing transparency would only draw additional criticism and dissent. It should be acknowledged that the ASB currently releases a significant amount of information, and has made progress towards increasing transparency and representation. For example, meeting minutes and prior voting results are all available to the public, recent reforms, such as opening student feedback forms, are steps in the right direction. With that in mind, it would only make sense for the ASB to in line with their previous decisions and publicize voting records.




postscript editor

Fast fashion. Though a relatively new phrase, this term has been thrown around quite a bit within the past few years. Chances are, even if you are unaware of what “fast fashion” means, you’ve heard of the brands, seen the logos and possibly even worn their clothes. Fast fashion is defined as clothing designed specifically to keep up with current fashion trends — a phenomenon that leads to thousands upon thousands of new clothing hitting the racks of retailers across the country every day. While fast fashion may seem harmless, there is a laundry list of reasons why many activists, fashion bloggers, social media influencers, etc. have an extreme aversion towards fast fashion. Since there is a great amount of production within the industry, many items are thrown away when left on the shelves of stores for too long. Even customers who purchase items often forget about their new purchases for the next great trend, leading to a lot of waste among one of the largest industries in America. Thus, it comes as no surprise when those who wear and support fast fashion brands, such as Zara, Forever 21 and H&M,



Sustainable fashion is simply too inaccessible to a majority of the population. cle by ThinkProgress, in 2013, Cambodian factory workers received pay of about $66 per month. In late 2014, there was a protest of about a thousand Cambodian garment workers, demanding a raise in wages from the then $100 per month to $177 per month. Eight fast fashion brands agreed to raise the worker’s wages. At the current rate the worker’s wages are increasing, as well as the number of brands seeking to take action, it is evident that conditions are slowly improving. With so much demand and competition within the fast fashion industry, there

are inevitably several areas of the industry that are not ideal. According to the same ThinkProgress article, wages are not the only issue regarding factory workers — safety conditions are, too. In Bangladesh, the lack of safety in garment factories has led to hundreds of factory accident related deaths each year, not including those caused by protests against current factory conditions. Similar events occur in Cambodia, as well. However, like the issue with worker’s wages, fast fashion brands are slowly working to change these issues. H&M says one solution is to raise the prices of their products and use the profit to give their factory workers ample pay and better the conditions inside their garment factories. If this was implemented on a wide scale, it would increase the average price of clothing by a mere ten cents and would be able to support entire factory upgrades in Bangladesh. Since fast fashion is all about the latest, greatest fad, fashion bloggers and activists are quick to point out that those who wear fast fashion generally wear it for the trendiness of it all. Even so, perhaps the wearer believes the clothing is nice or it goes with their outfit that day or that it is simply a cute, $15 shirt. After all, who’s to tell someone what fashion is or is not? Regardless of any trends, fashion is a subjective, individual form of expression understood by only the wearer of the clothes. While fast fashion may not be the ideal form of fashion production and distribution, it will remain a necessary part of the fashion industry as well as consumer’s wardrobes until a more economical, accessible, and long-term solution is found.


are looked down upon by many. Instead, people opt for wearing sustainable fashion brands, like Reformation and Patagonia, that promote quality clothing, little waste and integrity among business practices. Even though the argument for wearing sustainable fashion might seem compelling, there is just one problem: it’s not realistic. The unaffordability of sustainable clothing highlights the flaw in the sustainable fashion argument. Disregarding the low waste, the integrity and the quality, sustainable fashion is simply too inaccessible to a majority of the population. In America, for those working minimum wage, in school, in debt or just struggling to make do as is, buying a $100 shirt is not a feasible option, no matter the environmental benefits of the item. Asking everyday people to switch to sustainable fashion is an elitist request, one that only few can meet. On Reformation’s website, tops start at around $80, going as high as $150, and most sustainable brands have prices of similar caliber. Because of this dramatic difference in prices, many are unable to afford these types of clothing, regardless of environmental or social benefits. As such, these people turn to places like Forever 21, where tops are priced around $15 to $30, a much more affordable value.

On the other hand, the high production rates and affordable prices makes fast fashion easily accessible to all. An article written by the Foundation for Economic Education states that large fast fashion name-brands can design, create and ship a new product to all their 2000 plus stores in a mere two weeks. Assuming this rate remains consistent for the entire year across several brands, it results in a lot of products at comparatively low prices to sustainable fashion. With so much production, the controversy is inevitable, leading to one of the biggest arguments against fast fashion, and for sustainable fashion: worker’s wages. There is no way to refute the fact that labor workers of fast fashion brands have very low wages. However, recent events are hoping to change this. According to an arti-



Disney Princesses and their influence

KEERTHI LAKSHMANAN perspectives editor


Disney’s Mulan has garnered plenty of love due to its unique nature as featuring the only Asian princess, as well as being one of the first Disney movies to present war and the breaking of gender roles as cleanly as it does. The story, although it ends with love, does not start with it, and Mulan is never motivated by the need to find her

mulan As the fourth Disney princess to be developed, Ariel’s story of giving it all up for love has inspired many across the world. But if one looks further, it is easy to see the negative connotations that this movie presents. For one, the storyline centers around a sixteen yearold girl who gives up her entire life so she can pursue

her love, Prince Eric. Ariel is also constantly told that she would have to change some aspect of herself to get Eric to notice her. This was the reason she asked Ursula, the sea witch, to remove her mermaid tail and grow her legs instead. As the story grows, Ursula asks for Ariel’s beautiful voice in exchange for this bit of witchcraft.

merida Released in 1950, Disney’s Cinderella is the classic rags-to-riches story paired with a handsome prince. But looking closer, the movie tackles themes of social mobility and female autonomy. Cinderella begins her story as a destitute orphan and ends up as a princess. Her character remains hopeful despite her bleak situation, and this consistency ultimately re-

She justifies this by telling Ariel that on the surface, men consider it unattractive when women speak up for themselves, conveying the idea that Ariel’s worth lies solely in her ability to attract men and propagating the belief that women are expected to throw away their lives to find a husband, and shouldn’t assert their beliefs.

One of the newer princesses to be created, Merida represents a break from tradition for Disney. Instead of presenting her as a dainty young lady living in a glimmering castle, Disney animators chose to depict Merida as a feisty princess with wild messy red hair, going unrivaled in her skill at archery. How-

sults in Cinderella finding happiness—imparting the message that your social or economic standing cannot define you. However, the details of the film paint a separate picture. Cinderella’s final happiness presents itself in the form of marriage to a man, a disturbing perspective to be advocating for young girls. And despite her sweet personality, her nights at the royal ball cen-

‘prince’. She has a personal agenda towards helping her family that carves her into a multi-dimensional character—an incredibly important mark for young girls to see on the big screen. Furthermore, rooted in Asia, Mulan and its protagonist thrive as sorely-needed representations and Chinese culture in entertainment.


ever, what makes her story the most significant is her attitude. While many of the other princesses are polite and soft-spoken, Merida is not afraid to speak up for herself, especially when it came to her disapproval of her parents’ plans for her future. While she commits her fair share of mistakes— such as turning her moth-

ter around her elegance; the prince is enchanted with her beauty rather than her personality. The movie displays a shallow ideal of ‘true’ love: one that can occur in a span of three nights and built on a foundation of merely appearance. Cinderella is the classic form of a princess tale, but it remains important to look at the outdated aspects of a classic in today’s society.

The plot also deals with the suffering tied to war; despite her status as a Disney princess, Mulan displays a level of maturity, empathy, and independence in front of this poignant backdrop. Ultimately, Mulan deserves recognition for the role model she has become, teaching girls their strength is truly internal.

er into a bear—she has to take responsibility for these mistakes and solve them independently; unlike many other princesses, a man does not swoop in and save her. Despite this toughness, Merida isn’t afraid to cry, imparting the invaluable message to young children that one can be strong while still showing emotion.




and their growing popularity KAVYA GUPTA editor-in-chief


into music, was pictured with countless high-profile celebrities such as Diplo and Bella Hadid, and she has conducted interviews with the likes of Shane Dawson, Vogue and Refinery29. Her fame and expanding platform have drawn the eyes of companies seeking models for their products. Miquela and her virtual friends seek to become the future of advertising, fashion and commerce. The virtual influencer trend could be a novelty technology, falling in and out of the mainstream, following hoverboards and smartglasses into the closet of discarded objects. Or they could replace the modelling industry. Lil Miquela’s team has defended her existence, claiming that her vocal support for causes such as Black Lives Matter, women’s reproductive rights and the LGBTQ+ community can inspire real change among her countless followers. That may be true for Miquela, but let’s return to Bermuda. Bermuda is rumored to have been created by Brud as well. After a highly publicized “hacking” of Miquela’s account, supposedly a ruse to incite drama, this influencer rose through the ranks and now has a following count of 174 thousand. However, she’s the polar opposite of the socially conscious and fashion-forward Miquela, with comparably uncool clothing and radical right-wing views. A self-proclaimed “robot supremacist,” Bermuda represents the rather malicious side of virtual beings. Another piece of opposition to their

existence is the consequence of posing unachievable beauty standards, fetishization of cultural physical features and a general exploitation of natural beauty — especially when presented as foreign or unnatural. People in the fashion industry — and particularly of Instagram — already feel the pressure to Photoshop themselves or even undertake cosmetic surgery. In this new age of body positivity and self-acceptance, it’s interesting how we make it clear that even supermodels are incapable of reaching beauty standards set by non-human objects. Furthermore, in an ad campaign with Bella Hadid for Calvin Klein, Miquela appeared to make out with Hadid. The video came under fire for two things: first, it is queer-baiting to present two women kissing as exotic and bizarre. Second, why can’t they cast an actual gay person? When a collection of pixels takes precedence over a truly underrepresented minority, something doesn’t feel right. It’s important to stress that there virtual influencers are not actual people; they may have sentience, but they don’t have values or hold any beliefs. They are operated by shrewd businessmen and PR specialists who dictate their every move to thrust them higher into the spotlight. They are the epitome of social conformity, literally mirroring what is catchy to make a profit. As technology consumes our society, it becomes all the more important to keep ourselves grounded in reality.


ou’re scrolling through your Instagram explore page. You glimpse a picture of a girl with space buns. Double-take, scrutinizing the picture, you question your eyesight. She casts a shadow. She has fly-aways and freckles. But something’s still off. She’s too perfect. You open her profile. Oh, she’s a robot. No wonder. The robot in question is Lil Miquela, an up-and-coming virtual influencer. Virtual, in the sense that, well, she isn’t real. Constructed by a tech startup called Brud, Lil Miquela is simply an advancement of AI technology. As a trendsetter, Lil Miquela is not alone. Bermuda is another virtual being, supposedly also a creation of Brud. She isn’t quite as popular as Miquela, nor as high resolution, but still controversial in her own way. But what prompted their creation? It turns out that the motivation behind their existence is money. According to online publishing company TechCrunch, this January, Miquela’s creators reportedly closed a $125 million investment deal with Spark Capital, a funder of numerous successful startups. The avatar boasts a 1.6 million follower count, to whom she advertises designer clothing, hair products and now even represents Samsung’s Team Galaxy. As the original virtual influencer, Lil Miquela hid her identity as a robot for nearly two years. In those two years, her fanbase had already grown exponentially since her creation in April of 2016. As of now, Miquela has ventured


EDUCATION UNDER BETSY DEVOS A Look at the Changes made at the U.S. Department of Education SYDNEY LIAO online editor/photo editor



Charter Schools Under the Current Administration


ith President Trump as a charter school ally, opinions about the educational policies and funding of charter schools have become increasingly polarized. Under the current administration, federal charter school grants have increased by $60 million, a sum that is being drawn from the public system budget. This action has sparked frustration from both supporters and dissenters of the charter school system. Charter schools were created with the hope of unleashing innovation within the public school system. Proponents envisioned these schools as laboratories for testing new teaching techniques that would be incorporated into traditional public

Like public schools, charter schools receive and use government funding; however, they operate under different regulations that aren’t established by the state. Instead, the rules are laid out according to the charter school’s contract and each state’s unique charter legislation. schools if successful. Others saw them as an additional means of education that is not dictated by one’s neighborhood or their wealth. Since the opening of the first charter school in Minnesota in 1992, the popularity of charter schools has escalated. California was quick to adopt the charter school system and, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, is home to the most charter schools in the nation, with 1,234 charter institutions in 2016. Part of the enormous appeal of these

books, no Internet access, and a general lack of management. Cases like the Parkers’ have become prolific throughout the nation and reveal a fractured regulatory system. The lack of action from the federal government has only soured the reputation of the charter school system. Critics point out that despite increasing the charter schools’ already enormous funding, the Trump administration (and previous federal executives) neglects to impose measures to control fraud, abuse, and mismanagement that have been linked to charter schools. Although some of these charter organizations, including KIPP and Green Dot Public Schools, have been successful in meeting the ideal charter mission, those headed by unscrupulous entrepreneurs have cost the funds, resources, and academic diversity of traditional public schools for corrupt causes. The problem is magnified in states where charter school offenses are handled with lax consequences. One such state is California, which allows troubled charter operations to escape sanction by transferring school districts, and whose Board of Education has sided with charters over local school districts in 70% of appeals (The Los Angeles Times). A fair share of charter schools have proved to be a suitable alternative to traditional public and private schools, but the need for stricter reform through regulation grows. While charter supporters are distancing themselves from the Trump administration, Democrats have attempted to align the charter movement with Devos and Trump. They are proposing legislation that would limit the amount of charter schools permitted in each state, give school districts more authority over charter schools and instate a five year moratorium preventing new schools from opening. The hope is that these changes will be incorporated to create a charter school system that uses its generous federal funds with integrity.


schools lies in their independence, allowing for more creativity in curriculum than available in public schools guided by state and federal regulations. Like public schools, charter schools receive and use government funding; however, they operate under different regulations that aren’t established by the state. Instead, the rules are laid out according to the charter school’s contract and each state’s unique charter legislation. As long as they abide by the conditions set by their charters, charter school operators have the freedom to determine many academic and logistical aspects, such as the number of school days and the hiring process. Unfortunately, not all operators hold the quality of education in their best interests. Some administrators take advantage of the flexibility and easily get away with misdemeanors. Historically, charter school operators have been known to use public funds for personal benefit, requesting extra funding without a legitimate reason, and inflating enrollment numbers. These are coupled with stories of inadequately fed students and prevelant failure to conduct criminal background checks during hiring. Earlier in 2019, an investigation led by The Times revealed that Clark and Jeanette Parker, the founders of Today’s Fresh Start Charter School in Los Angeles, exploited the millions earned in profits from their schools to rent buildings they own. From the charters, the Parkers also received services for their nonprofits and companies, taxpayer money, and consulting fees, little of which was directed towards educational resources. The Parkers’ wealthy Beverly Hills lifestyle starkly contrasted the conditions observed in their schools: outdated computers, limited text-

U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights


he Trump administration has greatly changed the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. One of the biggest influences were the regulations that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos proposed for Title IX in 2018. The new regulations attempted to reduce the accountability of schools, however, it is seen by many to only give more protection to those who are accused of sexual misconduct. Title IX was first passed in 1972 under the Education Amendments in order to stop sexual discrimination in education. Under the law, schools must respond

However, the Obama administration did not recommend cross-examination since it holds a great possibility that it may bring back the trauma for victims. Another regulation made was that colleges would only need to investigate cases that happen on campus or during educational activities. In addition, the definition of sexual harassment was redefined to “unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the recipient’s education program or activity.” which narrows the amount that the college would need to take ac-

to report sexual misconduct cases. In an interview with the New York Times in 2017, the Outreach in the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education Candice Jackson said, “the accusations — 90% of them — fall into the category of ‘we were both drunk,’ ‘we broke up, and six months later, I found myself under a Title IX investigation because she just decided that our last sleeping together was not quite right,'” about accusations of sexual misconduct in schools. Although Jackson later apologized about the

Colleges and universities found that the new changes took some pressure off when handling cases of sexual misconduct. When Title IX was under the Obama administration, colleges and universities thought that the law captured too broad of a range to the point that it may have been invading student’s academic freedom. Experts believe that since the new Title IX changes will require less investigation but it will increase the number of lawsuits against schools for mishandling cases of sexual misconduct.


to reports of sexual harassment or else federal funding would be cut. In 2011, the Office for Civil Rights under President Obama’s administration issued the “Dear Colleague” letter. The letter dictated certain procedures that schools must follow in the case of an accusation of sexual misconduct between students. In 2018, DeVos proposed new regulations of Title IX to replace the Obama administration's guidance. One new regulation was that the student accused of sexual assault is guaranteed a cross-examination. The examination could be done in a live hearing with lawyers or advisors and the two parties could be in separate rooms if necessary.

tion when facing a sexual assault case. The new regulation also would give schools more of a choice to gather proof for cases based on the preponderance of evidence or clear and convincing evidence standards. The preponderance of evidence standard is where if there was evidence that showed there was sexual misconduct, schools must take actions and discipline the convicted students, which is what the Obama administration guided. However, clear and convincing evidence standards require evidence that needs to substantially be more true than untrue. With this, it would be harder for victims to be able to gather evidence that achieves the requirements of the clear and convincing standard, which could discourage victims

statement, it sparked controversy with sexual assault victims. Overall, the new changes implemented into Title IX is estimated to save about a few hundred million dollars over the course of the next few years. Colleges and universities found that the new changes took some pressure off when handling cases of sexual misconduct. When Title IX was under the Obama administration, colleges and universities thought that the law captured too broad of a range to the point that it may have been invading student’s academic freedom. Experts believe that since the new Title IX changes will require less investigation but it will increase the number of lawsuits against schools for mishandling cases of sexual misconduct.

New Rulings on Student Loans to their for-profit college cronies at the expense of defrauded student borrowers.” The overhaul of rules is also a response to conservative criticism that the current federal standards, set by the Obama administration, are too lenient and expensive for taxpayers. DeVos says that the new rules will “hold colleges and universities accountable and treat students and taxpayers fairly.” The entire regulation is projected to save taxpayers more than $11 billion over the next decade. The federal government is the primary financier for Americans borrowing to attend college. It has made or backed more than 1.4 trillion in student loans to nearly 43 million people. With the new rules, many would not be able to receive help in their financial situation, but taxpayers will face some relief.

$67.8 Billion

$224.1 Billion

Age 35 to 49

50 to 61


2019 Total Student Loan Dept By Age

$548.4 Billion

25 to 34

borrowers will have to pay for their loans even if their school closes down and cannot finish their education. The new rules will approximately decrease the debt forgiveness by $500 million a year compared to 2016. Currently, DeVos has not approved or denied any of the 180,000 pending claims for over a year. Many of the claims relate to false promises by for-profit schools about their graduates’ career prospects. The Obama administration granted full loan discharges to borrower defense claims that it approved, but DeVos discharges only a portion of the debt owned by some Corinthian students. Moreover, for two years, DeVos has “refused to follow existing law and cancel the loans for students, leaving them in debt they cannot get away from,” according to Eileen Connor, legal director of the Project on Predatory Student Lending. This year, consumer advocates took DeVos to court for the violations. A federal judge held DeVos in contempt of court for violating an order to stop collecting loans from thousands of former for-profit college students and fined the Education Department $100,000. US Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim issued the ruling on Oct. 24, 2019 in San Francisco. Kim previously ordered DeVos to stop collecting federal loans from former Corinthian Colleges students who applied for loan forgiveness in 2015. However, DeVos continued to grant loan forgiveness to only Corinthian students. The federal judge indirectly threatened DeVos with jail for her ongoing failure, or refusal, to comply with the court orders in the student loan case. Kim said that what DeVos is doing is “at best gross negligence, at worst it’s an intentional flouting of [her] order.” The significant reduction in debt relief is the latest in a series of moves by the Trump administration to roll back Obama-era regulations aimed at for-profit colleges and universities. Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, called the latest changes in rules “another Trump-DeVos giveaway

Under 24


The education department has finalized a rule which makes it far more difficult for future student loan recipients to receive relief from the government if they are victims of fraud. Under new regulations, borrowers seeking loan forgiveness will need to meet far more requirements : they must prove that their college made a deceptive statement “with knowledge of its false, misleading, or deceptive nature or reckless disregard for truth,” demonstrate that their reliance on such claim led to their decision to enroll at the school, and the degree of financial harm which the deception brought. Though borrowers must repay loans even if they drop out, are unhappy with their education, or cannot find a job in the field they trained for, their loans can be eliminated if they can prove that their school defrauded them or broke certain rules. DeVos is trying to make this process stricter and harder to prove for the borrowers. Though previously, there was no deadline to submit claims, DeVos set a three-year deadline from the date that students graduate or leave their school. Diane Auer Jones, the Education Department Principal Deputy undersecretary, said that “three years is enough time for borrowers to determine whether or not there has been a misinterpretation.” The new rules also eliminate the “automatic closed school discharge” (a program that wipes away the loans of students whose school closed before they could complete their degree). Before, loans were eliminated if a school shut down before loan recipients could finish their education unless they transfer their credits to another school. The 2016 rules required the education department to automatically eliminate student debts if the students did not enroll elsewhere within three years. That approach has contributed to the discharge of $222 million in loans owed by nearly 20,000 borrowers, according to the Education Department data gathered by the National Student Legal Defense Network. Now, student

$494.2 Billion

$120.1 Billion

$1 $2 $3 $4 $5 $6 Hundreds of Billion in Dept

From a collaborative report released by the Association of Young Americans (AYA) and AARP





a story of endless spirit and kung fu SANAT SINGHAL investigations editor

competition. All my other commitments, like sports or extracurriculars that I wanted to do, had to be put on hold." Along with his teammates, Bennett qualified to represent the US at the World Kung Fu Championships this year. "I was excited this year, especially because a lot of my team members also qualified, so it was just even more fun with all the support to pump me up," Bennett said. His competition was fierce, as he competed in the men's category. "My opponent in the broadsword category was this giant 30-year-old buff Russian dude. He was legit. He knew what he was doing. I swear [...], that guy could beat up ten men at the same time. I looked like nothing compared to him!" Bennett said. Despite this, Bennett ended up winning silver in the men's broadsword category and bronze in the men's imitation category with plans to pursue kung fu in the future. "It's two paths for this. I wanted to take this professionally, like in the fighting arena, and see what that was like or take my skills to act and film. Whatever works out," said Bennett, who is enjoying his break from kung fu. "I feel like it's necessary to take a mental break from the competitions because if you keep hammering yourself, you're going to get burned out,” Bennett said.


"Make sure that your spirit never breaks. You can have it bent, but never break. And even when it does, sometimes you can't give up faith in yourself, or you're just going to lose yourself," said Senior Ean Bennett. Bennett was a silver and bronze medalist at the World Kung Championships this past summer, and two-time Kung Fu Tiger Claw Grand Champion. Bennett’s love for films initially drew him to the sport. "I've always loved to watch kung fu movies and found them cool. I figured if you know how to do stunts and kung fu, that puts you in another category. It becomes a unique skill set that makes you stand out as an actor," Bennett said. As a kid, Bennett was inspired by the movies of martial arts legends like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Lee, and Donny Yen. Being picked on as a kid for his small frame only strengthened his drive to learn martial arts. "I wanted to make sure that I could protect the people I cared about and myself," Bennett said. As he began competing, his desire to win strengthened his drive to train and improve. This complete dedication to the sport made dealing with losses especially tricky. "Once I came close to winning a title but didn't cut it. I blamed myself for not being strong enough [...] and

felt that all the training was for nothing. You have to go through that to get stronger and get to higher ranks." Maintaining this perspective helped him persevere through losses and improve. "I was getting comfortable with losing, and just focus[ed] on improving myself, instead of proving myself to others,” Bennett said. His first breakthrough came during the Tiger Claw Grand Championships. "When I won, it was that final feeling when I knew all the work paid off, and I had caught up to all these experienced individuals," Bennett said. Kung fu has also been pivotal to Bennett's personal development. "I used to have emotional outbursts and anger issues. But going through this discipline for half my life, I had to learn to control my spirit and thoughts before I could achieve my goals. Once you've gone through that self-discovery, only then can you progress in external ways," said Bennett, who had to train rigorously to perform at the highest level. "At that level, you can't just rely on your physical talent; you can't rely on your intelligence; you can't rely on anything that you were given. It's all work. It's all based on your effort. It's all capability,” Bennett said. This dedication required significant personal sacrifice on his part. "Months before a competition, I didn't have a social life. I had to cram in homework weeks ahead, so I didn't need to worry about it before the

the helmet game JOAN THYAGARAJAN writer

Everything was set on Friday, October 25, when the Cupertino and Monta Vista football teams stepped onto the turf and got ready to begin the year’s annual helmet game. Students from Monta Vista were eager to see if their team could grasp the title this year, while Tino students chanted “Keep the helmet! Keep the helmet!” The game began with a slow start for Cupertino as they received the ball at the forty-yard line, but suffered a quick third and out, and punted the ball deep into Monta Vista territory. Monta Vista wasted no time in driving down the line back into their offensive half with solid running routes from players 13, Owen Lassa and 23, Tarun Sarang down the sideline, and into the endzone by Sarang, giving Monta Vista the early lead. The second drive did not fare much better for Cupertino, with the quarterback getting sacked and a hard time connecting passes. They eventually punted the ball, ending the first quarter 7-0 Monta Vista. The Matadors began the second quarter with the ball, but were forced to a third and out with a punt back into their offensive half. This began the third drive for Tino which showed promise since the team was successful by handing the ball off to number five, Jake Barbeau, who threaded his way through the Matador offensive line and down the middle of the field. However, the drive came to an abrupt halt when the ball was fumbled and Monta Vista regained possession. Monta Vista, with a convincing fake, threw off Tino’s defense and passed the ball off to the sideline for a mad dash to the endzone, widening the score to 14-0 with the successful extra point. Tino held onto the ball for the rest of the first half, but their efforts were for naught since their field goal attempt missed, and the halftime show commenced with the two teams retreating off the field. Monta Vista started the second half with the ball and got off to a rocky start and was eventually forced to try to punt the ball away. However, they were not able to successfully punt the ball away as the center offensive line failed to hike the ball and sent the ball spiraling backward and towards their defensive end zone. The punter was left with no choice but to leap on top of the ball to prevent a defensive touchdown by the Pioneers. This failed punt turned out to be the turning point of the game, with the momentum swaying over to Cupertino since their drive began at Monta Vista’s 15-yard line, and quickly scored a touchdown, converting the extra point, making the score 7-14 Monta Vista and beginning the comeback rally. Monta Vista was feeling the pressure but failed to deliver when they ended their drive with a punt back to Cupertino. Cupertino took full advantage of their field position by pushing into Monta Vista territory from all fronts. After some key passes, Cupertino scored once again and tied up the score at 14 - 14. At this point, Monta Vista was unable to pull itself back together; failing to score and losing the ball once again with a fumble. Tino once again traveled down the field, this time relying more on passes. Despite being held back from a touchdown, Cupertino was able to score a field goal, leading the game with the score 17-14. With the game now deep into the fourth quarter with only five minutes left, Monta Vista began to bring up the speed of play by passing more. which lead to a near interception. After an unsuccessful drive from both teams, Monta Vista conceded another fumble at the one-minute mark which vanquished their final attempt to score. Cheers erupted from the crowd and spectators were on their feet as Monta Vista relinquished the game — Cupertino won the Helmet game for the fourth year in a row.

TOXICITY in CHS sports

harmful stress, indirectly causing the players to take it out on others which creates toxicity. photo editor/copy editor “During games, there’s a little bit of tension because playMEGUMI ONDO ers aren’t getting playing time, and they don’t think they’re getwriter ting enough so players say something like, ‘Oh, that player is Toxicity breaks down the players on a sports team leading the coach’s favorite’,” explains a sophomore athlete when they to the formation of brittle connections amongst themselves encountered a minor toxicity in the team. The athlete also said and their sport of choice. It can breed a negative environment how the tension in the team can lead to players starting to diswhere players feel disconnected from other people on their like each other, overall making the team experience less enjoyteam and unmotivated to win. Competition is an undeniable able. aspect of playing a sport, however, this same feature has the poThe competitive environment of the sport not only impact tential to wreck the confidence of a team and their spirit. the team atmosphere during games and practice, but it also negThere are obvious detrimental consequences that stem atively affects the athlete‘s sense of confidence and motivation. from poor environSaid a Sophomore on a sports team, “I was a lot more ments, specifically a lack confident before I went on the team. I think a lot of it is of motivation, team spirbecause before, when I made it, and cooperation. “I was a lot more confident a mistake, it was okay but if I Senior Kaylie Clark made the same mistake now, I’d before I went on the team. I be pulled out and I wouldn’t go describes a moment when her soccer captain think a lot of it is because be- back [in the game]. People are told her that she would because they don’t want fore, when I made a mistake, it afraid not be playing in the next to make mistakes.” The doubt was okay but if I made the same that the players have can hold game unless she learned her lesson, namely to play better. mistake now, I’d be pulled out” both the player and the team Clark recalls how back from performing their and I wouldn’t go back.” after a series of losses that best, which only creates a cycle the team turned on itself and of negativity. blamed the new players. CapToxic sports culture takes tains used the phrase, “We are losing because of you” to target away from the foundations of a team, translating into a lack the players which promoted a toxic atmosphere. of spirited, less motivated players. A detrimental environment Having a strong team spirit is essential to sports culture that focuses on scapegoating over improving, that translates and the backbone of a team. Without it, it comes as no surprise loss into incompetence, ruins a player’s mindset towards comthat players experience feelings of isolation from their team. petition and the sport of their choice. Clark explains that blaming other players for not winning Experiencing a toxic environment has an irrefutably harmcreated a “competitive aspect really brought down the team as ful impact on teams, however for those athletes that continue to a whole”. It made practices more difficult not because of the play, it creates a rule book of what not to do in the future. Teams physical activity involved but rather the lack of motivation. need to deal with losing in a productive manner that uses their Players had to push themselves to attend out of commitment, experiences,whether good or bad, to improve. as in Clark’s case. As worded by Clark,“ Instead of trying to shift the blame, Toxicity in team sports can first arise from the cutthroat [the team] wanted to keep it positive and worked past [the environment of the team from the competition. If a player blame]”. cannot handle the demands it takes for the sport, it can cause ARIANA FAHRI



dear diary, an entry from Dusty the Pioneer JENNY WU



The last few days ‘ave undoubtedly been a dooky. First of all, Thanksgivin’ is comin’ up so fast, and I’ve been in a higgledy-piggledy thinking about what to do for my folks here at Cupertino High. I pondered for ages and decided I was going to hunt the most hunkey dorey turkey I could find and bring it back for the annual Pioneer feast! I yeehawed my horse to the banks of Regnart Creek and started my search for a turkey. That experience was a bowl buster. The whole forenoon, I foraged all up and down the banks of Regnart and there were absolutely no turkeys in sight, I was going to start pitching a fit. I was just about to throw in the towel and head home when something poked my bum. I turned around and it was the most lip smackin’ turkey I’ve ever seen staring straight at me. I should’ve hunted this beautiful beast, but being the nice person that I am, I spared its life, named it Gravy and brought it back to Tino as a companion. Over the next few days, everything started going bungo. At brunch and lunch, all my folks started groovin’ with Gravy instead of me. They used to love me for my twang, but this turkey has so much more twang, he’s a party animal. He’s got all the dances up his wings: the chicken dance, the wobble gobble, and he can hit any woah tossed at him. Today when the bell rang for lunch, I walked out of chem to find my best folk Crusty the Miner nowhere insight. I felt honey foggled; he’s always outside the door waiting for me. I voyaged all over the school searching for Crusty just to find him hootin’ on the turkey doing a backflip in the quad. Obviously, this sent me into a doozy. I ran to the bathrum, couped myself up in a stall and started sobbing. It was like nobody even cared about me anymore, everyone was stuck in a puddle of love for this dag nabbit turkey. I thought if I could just dance and do crazy things like him, everybody would go back to lovin’ me the most again. I dried my eyes and walked out to the quad, pushed through the folks surrounding Gravy, thrusted him aside, and started yodeling my lovesick blues. Who would’ve known everyone just started laughing at me. I felt so embarrassed! Crusty moseyed up to me and dragged me to the side. He asked me to please stop for the sake of everyone and told me that this ain’t the Dusty he knows. Now I’m sitting here in bed rantin’ to you, Dusty Diary. But in reality, I really don’t know what has happened to me. While I’ve been a’thinking about my reputation all this time, my friends ‘ave all left me, I’ve embarrassed myself in front of the whole school, and I’m not sure I can patch that up. I can see why all the pioneers like Gravy. It ain’t because he’s the most trendy or because he’s the most relatable person on campus. It’s because he’s unique to himself and so care-free. All this time, I’ve been hatin’ on Gravy for no reason at all. I’ve got a lot of apologizin’ to do tomorrow. So long,

Dusty the Pioneer



T HA N K S, Thanksgiving


a comic about the uselessness of november by angela ma

It’s the Little Things in



It was nearing 9 p.m., and the nine of us still had more to discuss. On the surface, it was an average meeting of the Cupertino Teen Commission, advising various organizations on issues affecting teens. But on everyone’s minds was Bobatino. We had just started planning the event, and it was stressing absolutely everybody out. For the first time since applying to the commission, I started wondering if that had been the right choice. Initially, I vehemently did not want to join the Teen Commission. It felt like just another way to pad out college apps. I had enough extracurriculars going on for a lifetime—or, at least, for an eighth-grader—and besides, the city’s government would never help me make real change. Applying to a commission would mean pinning my hopes on bureaucratic red tape and trading in free time for pointless responsibilities. Still, I sent in the application and somehow got accepted. It took me several months to get the hang of meetings, but I started to enjoy the responsibility. I was speaking up for teens all over Cupertino! In April of 2018, we started considering ways to combat teen stress. The result

what I learned from volunteering with the City of Cupertino

of brainstorming was Bobatino, an event that would give teens a place to socialize and access to mental health resources. Problems seemed to pop up from the get-go: Stress is a massive issue we had no hope of solving. We would only have a few months to contact volunteers and organizations, find a venue and plan out timelines. When I saw the legal hoops we would have to jump through, I began losing hope of ever getting Bobatino off the ground, much less making any serious change. Eventually, emails were sent, permits were approved and the day of the event was upon us. Yet I could still feel one overarching question hanging over my head like a lead balloon. How could this event even matter if it fixed nothing? Where was the enormous longterm impact? Not until nearly halfway through the event and almost 500 people showing up for a couple of hours apiece did I realize it: this was my long-term impact. So many people felt just a little bit less stressed and that mattered. Five hundred people had a better day than they would have without the teen commis-

sion and without me on the teen commission. Bobatino might have been conceived of by only nine people, but it reached over fifty times that. Even if Bobatino changed no one’s life, it still affected them—it made their day or week or hour a little bit better. I took that lesson with me going forward. The teen commission taught me that a small bit of good is as meaningful as a large bit of good. There is no scale to determine if what I was doing mattered. What I do is not only relevant if it can be seen from space. The teen commission had not set out to permanently solve anything, teen stress included, and we did not. But undoubtedly, undeniably, we did some good for the people around us. I had wanted to leave a lasting impression on the world and spearhead something big, but Bobatino taught me that the impact I make does not need to be big to be meaningful. Sometimes pushing myself to save the world is counterproductive, but even when I feel so tired I can barely keep my eyes open, I can try and do a tiny bit of good, and that is meaningful, and that is enough. BOBATEENO! | Shearin (left) and fellow teen council member (right) pose with Bobatino stickers




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Profile for The Prospector

Issue 2 - November 2019  

Issue 2 - November 2019