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Raven Report Sequoia High School

Volume V, Issue 4

1201 Brewster Ave. Redwood City, CA 94062

Bunny bridges cultural gaps By CAROLINE LEMPERT Layout Editor Roaming Sequoia’s hallways this year are freaked out freshmen, stressed out seniors, and a stuffed bunny from Finland. Mozelle Da Costa Pinto’s IB Art class is participating in a cultural exchange program with an art class from Vantaa, Finland, who sent a stuffed bunny named Osku to Redwood City, and received Kali, an American rubber chicken, in return. Throughout the year, students from both classes are updating a blog with pictures of the animals doing daily activities in each country. So far Osku has been documented at a football game, a pumpkin patch, and even reading the Raven Report. But this project will involve more than just photos of these stuffed animals this year: Both teachers have a goal of connecting the two countries. “We’re trying to look at different ways to bring together different experiences and understand each other,” said Da Costa Pinto. All components of the project will convey the life in each country through art. “The goal of the project is to intertwine the cultures of America and Finland and make students more aware of the cultural similarities in our daily lives,” said senior Sarah Singh. Through the blog, students are able to get a glimpse of daily life in a foreign country. “Through the pictures, we show ourselves, our country, and our culture; we pick what we think is important and share it with the world,” said senior Mary Patiño Mota. Although the students cannot understand each other’s languages, they can communicate through art. “Art class is art class anywhere. Art class doesn’t have a language, and people can understand each other through it,” said Singh. To follow the adventures of Osku and Kali, go to

Math whizzes multiply their potential By LAUREN KIRKPATRICK Feature Editor For seniors Austin Mier and Connor Wake, big time math skills equal big time bucks. Mier and Wake are two out of 12 high school seniors nationwide who won scholarships in the regional round of the DemandTec Retail Challenge. Along with $2,500 in college scholarship prize money, they also walked away with tickets to the DemandTec Grand Championship round in New York City for a chance at winning a $10,000 prize. Seniors Huuvinh Tieu and Bhavin Tandel also placed third at the regional round, winning $500 each. Looks like these math whizzes are off to a square start.

December 14, 2011

Dream Club gives students funds and hope for future


Senior Adrian Esqueda was one of the many students at the Nov. 8 event challenging the coumminity to support immigrant youth. By CAROLINE LEMPERT Layout Editor Sequoia’s Dream Club raised over $4000 for the Dream Club Scholarship Fund at an event on Nov. 8, where students shared videos, skits, and speeches about the struggles of being an undocumented student to an audience of over 200 students, teachers, parents, and Sequoia community members. “It is a big injustice for [undocumented students],” said senior Roberto Pablo, president of the Dream Club. “Some of them are in my classes, some of them are taking IB classes and working extremely hard. To see that they cannot receive financial aid or be trusted and get to college is unfair.” An estimated 25 to 30 percent of Sequoia’s student population is undocumented, and the Dream Club provides them with resources and support. The mission of the club is to fund raise scholarship funds for se-



Students get into holiday spirit Page 4-5

Gay-Straight Alliance club gives students support Page 3

nior members’ college tuition while promoting awareness of immigration issues. Although the California Dream Act, signed by Governor Jerry Brown this year, grants AB540 students the ability to attain financial support, undocumented students are still extremely limited in opportunities for the future. “In terms of advocacy, we are much more interested in the Federal Dream Act. Although everyone is happy about the California Dream Act being passed, it is very money based,” said Dream Club adviser Jane Slater. The federal act, which has yet to be approved by Congress, would give minors brought into the United States under the age of 16 the same education and employment privileges as a legal resident. Students active in Sequoia’s Dream Club are passionate about this cause. “[Getting the Dream Act passed] is important because

we have as much potential and capacity as other kids. We have gotten the same education as everyone else so far, and we should be able to get to the next level,” said an undocumented Sequoia senior. Once undocumented students graduate high school, meeting the same requirements as their peers, they are no longer given the rights of a United States citizen. “You would think that we blend in, but this is the limit,” said an undocumented Sequoia senior. Graduation from high school ends the American lifestyle that undocumented students have become accustomed to, often forcing them into the world without a college education or employment. “One of my friends tried really hard in high school and got a 3.8 GPA, but he couldn’t go to college because he was undocumented,” said sophomore Edgar Hernandez. In the Go to DREAM, page 6

71 students responded to a Facebook survey:

Are you going out of town over winter break? 48 %: No, I'm staying home

30% Yes, out of the city

22% Yes, out of state



Giant contributions for Kenya tion Generation Alive in which chilA bag of survival put to- dren packgether by students in hairnets. age meals for A lesson in hunger as they see less fortunate how privileged Americans children. The are. main point Students, parents, and oth- of the orgaer volunteers from the com- nization is to munity gathered at Sequoia show these High School Dec. 3 with one children that common goal in mind: pack they can make 130,000 meals for starving a difference. children in Kenya as part of This organithe Something To Eat event. zation along Students stood in assembly with Youthline format and scooped vita- Front brought mins, vegetables, rice, soy, and the program protein powder into labeled “ S o m e t h i n g bags. These bags then moved To Eat” to Seon to be weighed and then to quoia. One be sealed all with manpower. FutureProfits With music jamming in the class raised Students and members of the community background, motivation was about $1400 packed 130,000 meals for Kenyan children. not needed. However, spend- towards this ing the day on Sequoia’s cam- campaign and in turn got to pressing. “This isn’t a charity pus was the chat with Af- meal that you guys have done. man that “It’s this weird joy. This is feldt one You’ve sustained life,” Affeldt helped on one. said. “We don’t celebrate life what my soul longs to do.” to bring A f f e l d t because we are so concerned —Jeremy Affeldt, cong ratu- about death.” this day to Giants pitcher lated the Redwood Sequoia is the first CaliCity. Gis t u d e n t s fornia school that Affeldt has ants pitcher Jeremy Affeldt and let them know their im- partnered with in doing this helped distribute rice and pact. “They are eating dirt be- project; however, he has done gave encouragement to all cause they are so hungry,” he it before in his hometown of participating as he shared his said of the Kenyan children. Spokane, Wash. reasons for beginning this “That’s who you are helping.” “It’s this weird joy,” Affeldt project. He told them of the un- said. “This is what my soul He started the organiza- conditional love they were ex- longs to do.”



Module relieves madness The modules were built By ARACELI EFIGENIO at a separate location and Staff Reporter later brought in by a crane Stuffy classrooms. No to be installed. Getting the fresh air. Endless rows of permits to start building desks. As the population was the most time consumof students increases at Se- ing part of the entire projquoia, new measures had to ect, but the whole process be taken. Portables, or mod- took more than five months. Instructional vice-princiules, were recently added this year next to the baseball pal Lisa Gleaton confirmed field at a starting price of ap- that two or three modules will be built by the end of proximately $40,000. Social studies teacher the year. Choosing which teachNancy Berry had to share her room for the first two ers are next to move into the new modules is based on the months of school. “My disorientation must departments. How many teachers they have affected [the students], have and the number of peand I was not on top of my riods they teach are all put game,” said Berry. Unlike other teachers, into an easy math problem. Berry luckily had all her Ironically, the math departclasses on the same floor, in ment is the next one up. rooms 122 and 130. She Essentially, the intention of shared her original room the modules is to make evwith social studies teacher eryone’s lives easier. “The most domino-effect Rob Poulos, and had to switch rooms for five peri- of good is our goal,” said Gleaton. ods. “[The project] actually One room was intended to be a storage unit, but was was planned before overturned into an English de- crowding; it ended up being partment office while the some relief,” said administrative vice-principal Sean other is now Poulos’ room. “You recognize that most Priest. Although adding the of the teachers are affected. Everyone is trying to make modules took a lot of time the best of the overcrowd- and money, in the end it was a good investment. ing,” said Poulos.

Sequoia Federal Credit Union:

your credit union

Doing A Basic Online Safety Review Alright, you already know a lot about online safety when it comes to your personal and financial info on sites like Facebook. But right now is a perfect time to remind yourself why you have to be careful when you’re online. Here’s a quick review of the one stupid mistake people continue to make: posting troublesome pictures, videos or comments on your social network sites. Thousands of scammers monitor what we do on social network sites. And maybe even worse, thousands of legitimate companies monitor the sites, too. A picture of you simply looking out of control in a

party picture can persuade some companies not to hire you. Posting “My parents are out of town for ten days, so I’m partying!” is an open invite for house robbers or worse to try to join the party. Scariest new twist in social network monitoring: nowadays, some insurance companies (think car insurance and health insurance) track what you do on social networking sites, too. Have lots of party pictures on there? Don’t be surprised if your insurance is hiked. Is that fair? Probably not. You could be drinking water all night at a party and still look crazy. But the law right now is on the side of the insurance companies: they can use whatever criteria they

want to set rates. So, what do you do? Duh! Edit your pictures or untag yourself. Other easy but smart tips: 1. “Lock–down” your Facebook account. We walk you through a simple procedure here: “Facebook and Your Privacy.” 2. Check your firewall and anti– virus programs. You do have a firewall, right? And a virus program? If you haven’t updated those programs, do it now. Just Google “security updates” in your browser. 3. Get possessive with your personal and financial information. Don’t store sensitive information or passwords on your computer or on websites.

o Don’t assume all websites are safe websites. Before even clicking on links in a strange website, use a search engine to check the website out. For instance, Google “problems with [name of the website.]” If the reviews are uniformly bad, stay away from the site. 4. When making purchases, use a credit card. Don’t use your debit card. Credit cards give you some protection. 5. Brush up on “pharming, “phishing” and “smishing” scams aimed at people our age. This article will help: “Identity Theft.” So head to your social networking site and edit those pix!



Robotics beep bops up at first tech competition By ANNA DAGUM Feature Editor Brandishing purple capes and crowns, roaring cheers erupted as Sequoia’s robotics team “Purple Reign” crushed their competitors in the team’s first ever competition, Sunday, Nov. 6, in Newark, California. Ranking seventh out of twenty eight teams, Purple Reign made history for Sequoia .“ C o m p e t i tions always end up being really loud and fun,” said senior Connor Wake, a member of the robotics team. “I’ve lost my voice at many of the events so far.” The competition was for the FTC or FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Tech Challenge. There is also a division called the FRC, which

stands for FIRST Robotics Competition. The FTC is a competition dedicated to the creation of smaller robots, measuring just 1 ½-square-feet. The object of this competition is to complete a task given to the teams via video towards the beginning of the season. These tasks are typically simpler than those of the FRC, and adhere to the basic programming techniques of smaller robots. The FTC is generally less stressful than the FRC, and the bots are easier to make. The FRC, deals with the PHOTOS BY ANNA DAGUM stereotypical Sophomore Claire Spickerman works hard on her robot. metal-clad fire-spitting machines that we know from Star Wars and Dexter’s Labo- were working with giant five composed of solely Sequoia footone-hundred-t went y students and creates robots ratory. “I started sophomore year, pound robots; I got sucked to compete in the FTC; and Team 100, which is a combiand I didn’t really know what into it from there.” Sequoia has two robotics nation of students working toit was about,” said Wake. teams: Team 4475, which is gether from not only Sequoia, “After I found out that we

but Carlmont and MenloAtherton as well. Team 100 builds robots to compete in the FRC. The FRC bots require the use of specialized tools that an avid roboticist would use later in his career, as opposed to the simpler tools used to build the FTC bots. “I’ve never even touched a tool before; I’d probably snap the thing in half,” said Wake regarding the FRC bots. Wake is a programmer for the robotics team. It’s a learning experience. “I knew absolutely nothing about programming before I started,” said Wake. Their 15 science elective credits are well deserved. When preparing for a competition, the team, on average, spends approximately 18 hours on the weekends and three hours after school working on their robots. “I know it sounds crazy,” said Wake, “but you truly do get sucked into it. It’s a huge time commitment, but we have a lot of fun.”

GSA works for a better day

IB students and alumni reflect on experience

By CATALINA MARES Staff Reporter

By JARRETT CROWELL University, which amounted to about a year of classes. Staff Reporter “This allowed me to With the homework study abroad and take classload from IB classes, college es that I really wanted to application deadlines, and take,”said DeVoe. At some schools, stua recent 10-page pre-calculus Internal Assessment, dents do not get as many IB students are not getting credits as DeVoe got, but enough sleep or free time still feel like the IB diploma to enjoy with their families was worth it. “Having the diploma and friends. Many are wongave me some class credits dering at this busy point in the year whether taking in college so I had more these rigorous courses are freedom to take the classes I wanted to,” said Westworth it. From a teacher or ad- mont University freshman ministrator standpoint, the Caila Parodi, who graduIB diploma is a great idea ated from Sequoia in 2010. The IB diploma can also and worth it in the long run prepare a student for the because of the benefits in college. Sequoia promotes rigorous classes in college. “Writing is so easy in this program and many stucollege,” said Parodi. dents come here for it. On the other hand, the English teacher Emily DeVoe completed the IB IB diploma might not be the best idea for every studiploma in high school. “I’m definitely happy dent. “Doing the IB diploma that I did the IB program because it made me a more is not for everyone,” said independent and well- DeVoe. “It is a lot of work. rounded student,” said De- However taking IB classes prepares you. It is a personVoe. However, DeVoe’s school al choice that comes with a followed the AP curricu- cost.” Many people opt to do lum, so to finish the IB rethe IB certificate instead quirements, she had to stay many hours after school to of the full diploma because they want to stick to a pascomplete the IB diploma. The diploma gave her 33 sion like music or drama. See IB, page 7 college credits at Vanderbilt

Students watch Kurt and Blaine’s relationship develop on Glee. They flock to the Pride Parade in San Francisco. But behind the smokescreen of this gay celebration, Sequoia’s Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA) club is meeting every Wednesday and discussing serious topics such as the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, struggles with sexuality, and how to survive when fellow classmates negatively label you as different. English teacher Amie Ranum is taking over for Teen Resource Center Director, Judy Romero, as the advisor of the club for this year. Ranum said she has seen much progress over 14 years. ‘“[Being homosexual] was kind of not talked about,” said Ranum. “LGBT [lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender] students had to deal with it on their own.” “I had a student one of my first years at Sequoia who handled it so beautifully. When he walked down the hall and people would say ‘fag’ and call him names, he would say really loudly: ‘No you can not have my number!’ He sort of came up with his own way of response and way of dealing

Photo by Catalina Mares

GSA students meet at lunch weekly on Wednesdays to discuss important issues like the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

with it that was really powerful, but there wasn’t a group or school based community he could turn to,” said Ranum. LGBTQ students are not alone anymore. “On Club Day we got 123 signatures,” said junior co-president Amanda Willett. “Everywhere you looked there was a rainbow,” said Willett referring to the face painted rainbows they were offering on club day. Unfortunately not all the signatures lived up to their potential. Now there are only eight students who regularly attend GSA meetings, six of whom

are students on the board. That is still a very positive change compared to last year. “I would see posters [for GSA] but no action,” said junior co-president Aureliano Davila. This year the co-presidents and members are definitely doing the most they can to make a difference. “The way we were thinking of structuring the meetings this year is to sort of educate ourselves and then think what can we do to bring this into the school community as a whole,” said Ranum. See GSA, page 8



Special Feature

Happy Holidays!

The holidays have come around once more and the semester is drawing to a close. Cheery tunes fill the radio and Rudolph enchants the TV. Hot chocolate with marshmallows are contained in mittened hands while Santa’s cookies bake in the oven. At the Raven Report, we couldn’t help but feel the holiday spirit as well.

Ho ho Hanukkah! Holiday fights to share spotlight By HANNA BOLAÑOS Staff Reporter

Dear Santa... What do students want most? What have they treasured? • “I got my camera, a Nikon D300, which is my most prized possession, almost one year ago. I nearly cried when I got it,” sophomore Molly Shea said. • “I received a pet rat,” said junior Martin Arnontel. • “Close friends give small gifts that are cheap but have humor in it,” said physics teacher Ben Canning. “Friends have gotten lighter fluid and juggling balls for me because they know I like to juggle fire.” • “I received a McDonald’s happy meal toy from my great grand-mother,” junior Marissa Sandoval said. Even things like this can make anyone happy. • “I got a wheelchair for Christmas, because my parents thought I would get hurt dirt biking,” said junior Chris King. • “The most valuable gift I’ve ever received was when my brother gave me all of his mechanical pencils ,” said sophomore Abbey Wilkerson. • “The most valuable gift I have ever received was my grandmother’s necklace. It’s my favorite thing in the whole world,” said sophomore Gracie Cardenas.   —Compiled by Cole Dunbar, Matthew Morrow, and Bogart Sandoval

I am a holiday hybrid runing on a combination of matzo ball soup and egg nog. I have one Jewish parent and one non-Jewish parent, which allows me to participate in all the holiday fun. Presents for both Hanukkah and Christmas? Awesome! But while celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas clearly has its perks, sometimes it feels like the yamaka gets lost under the Santa hat. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. The presents, the smell of the tree, the warm fires, and all those lovely home knit sweaters we all love to receive (don’t laugh, it actually happens to people). But, what about the Jewish people that only celebrate Hanukkah and aren’t from a hybrid family? What happens to them? When you’re young and you think of Christmas, you immediately think, “Ooh!

Santa! Presents!” You write a list to Santa Claus containing all your material desires and the occasional request for world peace, and mail it off to the North Pole. Once it gets there, the elves make all the toys you asked for. There are no Hanukkah elves in Bethlehem or Rome or wherever else people think Moses or the Hanukkah fairy lives. Contrary to some peoples’ belief, Moses does not come in the window where you place your Menorah and leave you presents for eight days straight.

Shocking… Moses doesn’t even have anything to do with Hanukkah, actually. Hanukkah is a celebration of the Jewish people regaining control of their temple in Jerusalem from the Syrian-Greeks. In order to purify the temple once again, the Jews burned ritual oil in the temple’s menorah. They only had enough oil to last one day, but to their surprise the oil burned for eight, which is why Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days. This year, with Hanukkah starting on the 20th of Decem-

Hometown Holidays brings cheer to community By TAISHA GRIFFIE and SOPHIE MILLER Staff Reporters Cheery smiles, warm hot cocoa, Santa’s rosy cheeks. On Dec. 3, Hometown Holidays, a family friendly event, took place in downtown Redwood City. There were activities for everyone to enjoy, with ice skating and pictures with Santa. It was also an event where different clubs and organizations from around the community came together to help raise money for their cause and donate their time during this special time of the year. “We sold hot cocoa, the profits help the board set up events that we have, and they help provide supplies for the teen center,” said sophomore Harley Parada. Every year the Key Club partners with their sponsoring organization, the Kiwanis Club, to run a hot dog booth. They also had a free face painting booth for children. “I think students are starting to understand

that community service is about meeting a need in your community, as opposed to I’m just doing it because I need hours for something,” said Key Club adviser Tessa Yeager. The band provided fun, free holiday music for the event. “We [played] several medleys of PHOTO BY SOPHIE MILLER Christmas carols, such as Jingle Bells, Band members provide entertainment at Hometown Holidays. Silent Night and Frosty the Snowman, as well as a few other which celebrates Hanukkah,” said band teachholiday themed songs,” said sophomore band er Jane Woodman. “I try to aim for a all-inclusive variety,” said member Devon Schmidt, a flautist (someone Woodman. “We always get around 25 kids who plays the flute). “Last year we played ‘The Eighth Candle’ who are very excited about participating.”

I still have a hard time understanding how he does it. And then there’s Black Friday; the start of the Christmas shopping frenzy. It’s supposed to be a day of good saving, but is actually a day of danger for innocent bargain hunters who may literally be trampled in the name of discounted goods. It’s obviously difficult to expect people to get into the spirit of Hanukkah when less than two percent of the U.S. population is Jewish. Just because not as many people celebrate it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t get attention. I am eagerly awaiting the day when a giant menorah is placed ber and overlapping Christ- in the center of a mall, along mas, it can feel like the side the giant tree and a clone Christmas cookies are crush- of Santa. Where’s the Jewish ing your matzo. Christmas is Winter Wonderland? THE holiday for Christians This holiday season we and shoppers alike, and when should all turn off that Macy’s you’re not invited to the Yule commercial and start recogTide Ball it’s easy to feel left nizing that there is another out. holiday buried under all those Christmas is everywhere Christmas sweaters and Santa you go – it’s even got it’s own hats. season, of course. It’s on TV, So spin your dreidels, eat and Santa is in every mall. those latkes, and embrace the When I was a kid I had eight wonderful days of Jewish a hard time understanding celebration. how Santa could be in every mall at the same time. Heck,


What is your favorite holiday tradition? “Thank the people who come here and discover America.” — Chemistry teacher Te Ton-Tho

“Eating as a family dinner at the table.” —Sophomore Edwin Rosales “Making pumpkin pie.” —Freshman Angelica Mendoza “Spinning the Dreidel and eating latkes.” —Junior Connor Grossman

Give thoughtful gifts not thoughtless gift cards By TIFFANY AH TYE Opinion Editor Gift-giving became a lost art when plastic gift cards and money stuffed in an envelope became acceptable for birthdays or holidays. I can’t lie, I love gift cards and money. It means that I have money to go shopping for something that I know that I want. Sometimes when I go shopping with a new gift card, though, I’m slightly saddened by the fact that the person who gave me the gift card didn’t take the time to pick out something special just for me. Gift-giving used to be special when I was a child. People actually used to go out and spend time looking for the perfect gift to buy someone. Nowadays, people just head around the corner to Safeway, where their wall of gift cards is like a safe-haven to lastminute shoppers. Gift buying used to take time and thought. When I buy presents, I always try my best to think, ‘What would they really want and use? What would they like?’ Of course, gift cards do have some values that regular gifts don’t. Instead of buying a CD with only a select few songs that they like, why not give them an iTunes gift card so they can buy the songs that they really want? However, with gift cards, gift-giving seems to lose its purpose. If you give them a CD, though, every time they hold that CD, they can think, ‘I remember [insert name here] giving me this!’. Along with gift-giving, the art of giftwrapping has been lost to time as well. Now that gift cards are acceptable, you can simply slip it into an envelope and write happy birthday. Gift-wrapping used to take time; it too was something that took care and thought. Now, though, the age of pretty wrapping paper and bows has been destroyed along with the hope of getting an actual present to unwrap and cherish instead of a plastic card to use and then throw away. The magic of gift giving has been lost too. What do you feel when you get a giftcard, versus an actual gift? So, with this knowledge, give someone a gift this year. Not a gift card, but a gift, with nice wrapping paper, and a ribbon on top. It will be worth your time when you give it to that someone, and see their face light up because they are holding a package, not just an envelope.

Comics by Hanna Bolaños

During the holidays, I wish I wasn’t so greedy By LAUREL DEARBORN News Editor Macy’s tries to draw me in with cheery people in ugly sweaters. Kohl’s tells me I need their once-in-alifetime discount. As I watch Charlie Brown and Snoopy decorate the Christmas tree, the channel switches to a commercial break and I learn that “every kiss begins with Kay” and that it will only take “15 minutes to save 15 percent or more on car insurance.” Honestly though, it works. I never mute the cheesiness. I can’t get enough of the paid actors. They convince me that I need their product and that I can’t survive without it. When did this start? And why? I think materialism has gone a step too far. We all love gifts, and with the holiday season right at our fingertips, the obsession is just beginning. It’s not like this obsession doesn’t exist in the other eleven months, but something must be programmed in the human brain to go haywire the day after Thanksgiving. Who in their right mind would get up at the crack of dawn the day after a family gettogether to save a few bucks? The Wii’s not that great you guys. Some may try and tell you that nothing in life is free. Don’t be deceived. Many holidays are completely centered around giving each other store-bought items, not love. Sure, at the moment I open a gift, I am very happy. Beyond happy you might say. Then days pass and clothes that were once shiny, new, and fashionable, collect stains, get holes, and become out-of-style. Games lose pieces, toys break, and gift cards are used. Instead of thinking about the time my family spends together as a present itself, when the grandparents come over to exchange gifts this holiday season, the first thing I’ll do is check the tags on the gifts placed under the tree. I never want people to really know everything I truely want because I don’t want to be percieved as greedy, but then again, isn’t everyone? I want to be that person that people look to as an example. I want to not want a lot of things. Do I need that iPhone? No, But I want it. Am I going to die without those boots on sale? No, but when has that stopped me from buying them before? When am I going to realize that life will go on? Probably never. Life is indeed an endless mess of stuff, things, and materialism. I can’t even watch the Ellen DeGeneres show without seeing the Pillsbury Dough boy and his biscuits. But then again, maybe this year when a mysterious black felt box appears and I find a chocolate diamond laying inside, I’ll just return it to Kay Jewelers and get my holiday kisses some other way.



Letters to the editor Dear Editor, Sequoia’s German language program, which was being phased out due to budget cuts, is being given another chance. This year, to the disappointment of many scholars, German I was not offered as a class and the German program as a whole was to be phased out. This coming year German will be continued if 45 students register for the class. Offering German as a language is important to the history of Sequoia and to the International Baccalaureate Program as well. It provides unmatched advantages to Sequoia’s students. The option to learn German has been offered to Sequoia’s students since Sequoia’s beginning and is an important part of Sequoia’s history. Knowing German gives Sequoia’s students an advantage in the workplace and helps them stand out. I am ecstatic about the return of the German program. The return of the German program also guarantees the continued relationship with Sequoia’s sister school located near Frankfurt Germany. Sequoia’s exchange program with the Kopernikusschule in Freigericht has provided both German and Sequoia’s students with the chance to share culture. Every other year German students travel to Germany, stay with families, and even go to a German High School To continue the German program 45 students need to register for German. Please help preserve this piece of Sequoia’s culture by telling every 8th and 9th grader who would be interested. If you have any questions, come to Mrs Meyer-Kispersky’s room (25). Logan Billman, junior German Club President

DREAM from page 1 countless stories similar to this, the restraint forced upon students by their lack of documentation strips them of their future. However, these students are limited when trying to change their situation alone. The Sequoia Dream Club gives voice to undocumented students who are limited in their ability to say their opinions because of fear of being deported. Through the club, undocumented students can speak out together and inspire members of the community to advocate for their friends and classmates. “I have more opportunities because I have documentation. I feel that it is a necessity and moral obligation for me to help them out,” said Pablo. If you have documentation, you have the freedom to support classmates and speak out about immigration issues. Through participating in events sponsored by the Dream Club,

Dear Editor, My son brought home the November 10, 2011 Raven Report and absentmindedly left it on the coffee table. The clean, sharp layout of the cover page caught my attention so I grabbed it and began to read. It was the first time I had ever seen the Raven Report much less read it. I was blown away! Without a doubt, it is one of the best papers I’ve seen in ages--great variety of topics, well written and beautifully laid out. At a time when newspapers are disappearing and merging into oblivion (as with the San Mateo Times), the Raven Report stands out as beacon of what this generation has to offer. In its columns, I saw the hope of a generation smarter than the last, a generation who are engaged and motivateddespite oppressive cultural pressure and who are remarkably capable. I want to give a great big shout out to the paper’s staff and to those who ensure that the Raven Report survives. Thank you for believing in the power of the printed word to inform and engage and to build community. I wholeheartedly commend you. Kate Comfort Harr Sequoia High School Parent PS: Wasn’t Cinderella AWESOME!


In the article, “Students encouraged to argue in debate club” (Issue 3), the Raven Report did not fully recognize two adults assisting the club. Parent Virginia Chang Kiraly and study skills teacher Karol-Ann Coleman both volunteer with the speech and debate club for several hours a week.

you can get the community involved in advocating for undocumented students and bring awareness to their struggles and the importance of the Dream Act. “Generally, when people hear about immigrants in the news they think, ‘Oh, they’re taking away our jobs, doing illegal drugs, etc.’. But when they know about this side of the picture, they can see that it’s not all bad stuff. Awareness about these issues helps to break the stereotype,” said Pablo. Although Redwood City is diverse and generally familiar with issues surrounding immigration, activism within the community will give more local students the funds they need to go to college and spread awareness about the need to get the Federal Dream Act passed. “People tend to be pretty liberal, but they are not always fully aware of the situation,” said Pablo. “I feel that the community in California is generally open, but this is a topic that needs to be discussed more.”

Staff Editorial

Scholarships help subsidize increasing cost of higher education Due to an 18 percent tuition increase introduced this year, students applying to UCs this fall are hurrying to finish their financial aid applications. Because of an estimated $753 million budget shortfall, both current and prospective students must, unfortunately, pay the difference. This is of particular concern to Sequoia’s students, considering that the UCs are some of the most popular universities that our seniors chose to apply to. Because of these tuition hikes, many college students have been participating in peaceful demonstrations across various UC campuses to express their opposition to the increasing fees. These protests have recently been stifled by campus police, where students have been pepper sprayed, discouraging the act of protests across California. Besides protesting and writing letters to our representatives, students are encouraged to apply for scholarships and financial aid. Seniors Austin Mier and Connor Wake recently won $2,500 scholarships in the regional round of the DemandTec Retail Challenge. Sequoia’s DREAM Club helps

undocumented students find funds for higher education. Close to two-thirds of students who apply to UCs receive some financial aid, averaging approximately $14,000. Through loans, grants, and scholarships, the seemingly impossibleto-pay tuition fees become much more accessible, and hopes rise again for incoming freshmen. Even small scholarships can make a difference. You can get a few hundred dollars for simply submitting an essay or just submitting an application. Naviance notifies students of prospective scholarship opportunities and provides directions and information to apply. We encourage all students to take advantage of the scholarship opportunities made available to them and to find these opportunities. Scholarship and financial aid opportunities present themselves in many different ways, and taking advantage of these is vital for paying for higher education. Even though college applications have been sent, finding funds and applying for scholarships is just as important for Sequoia’s seniors over the next few months.

Sequoia High School

Raven Report 2011-2012

Editor-in-Chief Sarina Gross Layout Editor Caroline Lempert News Editor Laurel Dearborn Feature Editors Anna Dagum and Lauren Kirkpatrick Opinion Editor Tiffany Ah Tye Staff Reporters Hanna Bolaños Peter Bugos Erick Castro Jarrett Crowell Ty Dewes Cole Dunbar Araceli Efigenio Taisha Griffie Catalina Mares Sophie Miller Matthew Morrow Bogie Sandoval Adviser Kim Vinh Mission Statement The Raven Report strives to provide Sequoia High School with informative, engaging, and relevant news. The staff will exercise integrity and adaptability while promoting justice and transparency through professional reporting about the school, the community, and the world. Letters to the Editor The Raven Report welcomes letters to the editor from students, parents, or community members, sent to Room 308 or by email to Letters must include the writer’s full name and ID number, and the staff reserves the right to edit for space and style.

Respond to what you read about in our issue, suggest a topic, or participate in a survey! Search for Sequoia High School Raven Report on Facebook and like our page.



Unwritten code builds respect between friends By TY DEWES and ARACELI EFIGENIO Staff Reporters There is a code that comes into effect once a child reaches high school. It’s looming around the corner, when you check out your friend’s cute older brother. It’s yelled in your face when you flirt with your friend’s girlfriend. It’s staring right back at you in the mirror, when your best friends tells you that dress makes you look gross. It’s the code. “Bro” is the title given to a friend who follows the “bro code” and who you trust with anything. The “bro code”, for those who don’t know, is a code between guy friends that states certain things that should not be done between two friends.

This includes some rules like, “bros before hoes,” that a bro will not go out with his friend’s sister, and if your friend likes a girl, don’t go out with her. The rule of “bros before hoes” does not mean that men are better then women at all, nor does it mean that all women are hoes, it’s just the only word that rhymes with bro. Instead, a bro should know that if he is given the choice between a true friend and your girlfriend, whether she is mean or not, he should help his friend. This is the number one rule. This rule cannot be broken and if it is, there are consequences. In the girl code, gossiping, lying, and backstabbing is not allowed. Have you ever seen a girl go to the bathroom alone? Of course not. Women travel in packs. Sharing an embarrassing secret to the whole school, which you swore you wouldn’t do, is just ridiculous. But most importantly, you will never be looked at the same if you buy the exact article of clothing that your friend has been wanting forever. One of the extreme consequences is “dis-Broment,” which would mean the end of a friendship. “If you don’t [follow the bro code] you could get people mad,” senior bro

IB DIPLOMA (continued from page 3) Many people opt to do the IB certificate instead of the full diploma because they want to stick to a passion such as music or drama. Many students can find ways to complete the diploma while still doing their elective, but they might have to take a class over the summer or complete and independent study. Senior IB student Matt Elliott decided not to do the full diploma because he liked band. “If you have an elective that you like, stick with it. While the IB diploma is a great way to show colleges that you took the most academically rigorous classes at your school, it is also a good thing to be a well-rounded student,” said Elliott. Some students are not even sure whether they want to do the whole IB diploma when they start junior year. “My mindset was that I was going to challenge myself, but it wasn’t a big deal if I didn’t get it,” said Parodi. It all worked out in the end. “I got the IB diploma and it was very rewarding,” said Parodi.

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Yordy Velasquez said. is a waste of time.” Not following these rules in a broDespite the reason after a couple lationship can cause serious damage to weeks, the tiff will blow over and you’ll the friendship. It could cause friends have a cool story to tell your kids some to stop talking or could end the trust day. between friends. “Girls are really emotional. [The If you recently lost a friend from code] has to do with being loyal to breaking the girl your friends,” said code it may seem sophomore SaBro code rules: important now, but 1. Bros don’t hit other bros in mantha Peyton. that will not always Compared to the groin. be the case. High girls, boys seem school drama is 2. If a bro gets a dog, it must to have been born dumb and unnec- be taller than his knee. able to turn their essary. Everyone feelings on and knows love usually off. Guys have the Girl code rules: does not last forincredible ability ever in high school 1. Girls are ALWAYS right. to forgive almost so before you dump 2. Shopping always makes you immediately afyour friends for the feel better. ter beating each “love of your life” other up, while remember who lisa fight between tened to you babble about all of the two girls can seal their friendship shut other ones before him. If you did ab- forever. solutely nothing and the people who “There are parts of it that I think are you thought were your friends decide very valuable,” Social Studies teacher to cause drama because they’re just Corey Uhalde said. “A lot of what it’s bored with their own lives, they did about are kind of standing up for othyou a favor. er people and respecting people.” “Stop being dramatic you high These are main points of the bro school girls,” English teacher Katie code, to respect your fellow bro and to Karlin said. “Drama between friends stand up for your friends.

Makeup conceals insecurities By TAISHA GRIFFIE Staff Reporter When we were four we hid behind our blankets. When we were eight we hid behind our parents. When we reached middle school we Photo illustration by Taisha Griffie hid behind the latest style Female students cover up what they don’t like with makeup. trends. Now we hide behind our M.A.C. foundation and I understand that for some thing in our power to try to Sephora’s bright eye shadows girls, applying makeup is an fix that and we load up carts and blushes. art. You may use it to feel bet- at Sephora. Some of those ceFor some high school girls, ter about yourself or to express lebrities are very insecure, and it’s impossible to feel confi- yourself. I’m all for self expres- use their image and materialdent unless they look per- sion, but makeup shouldn’t istic items to cover it up. fect, which often just means define who you are as an indiWe need to embrace who covered in vidual. we are. I know it’s easier said foundation. Natural beauty is more You also than done, (I have my moS o m e should not ments when I feel like a hot s p e n d beautiful than thick black depend on mess too), but if you start tellhours and eyeliner and gooey mascara. it to the ex- ing yourself, you’re beautiful hours aptent where and some days you wear a litplying their you refuse to leave the house tle less makeup, you’ll become makeup and some even refuse without it. less dependent on it. to leave the house without it. It’s easy to be influenced Try something, tomorrow What do you gain from try- and inspired by celebrities to come to school all natural. No ing to look perfect? Who are look and dress a certain way. eyeshadow. No foundation. you trying to impress? If you However, we sometimes Nothing! And when you wake ask me, it’s pointless. Natural start to dislike the way we up in the morning look in the beauty is more beautiful than look without makeup and mirror and tell yourself,you’re thick black eyeliner and gooey cute clothes. beautiful, but actually believe mascara. Therefore we do every- it because you are!



Cross country runs its way through nationals By DANIEL BLACK and ERICK CASTRO Staff Reporters Six members of the cross country team ran in the eighth annual Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Ore. on Dec 3 for the second year in a row. These six members included sophomores Ty Dewes and Zoe KrieglerWenk, juniors Gaia Bouchard-Hall, Mariah Driver, Warren Van Velkinburgh and senior Manuel Avila Jr. These members were selected by the cross country coach, Andrew Hutchinson. “It was a combination of our top performers and people I felt were young and up-and-coming and could really benefit from a trip to Oregon,” said Hutchinson. Hutchinson and the selected members travelled via van to the Portland Meadows racetrack in Oregon. According to Hutchinson, the team was able to finance this trip because of help from Sequoia’s ASB, selling banners at Terremere Field, and donations

GSA (continued from page 3) Last year the GSA took part in the National Day of Silence, which is an event where thousands of students across the nation take a vow of silence to bring attention to homophobic name-calling, bullying and harassment in their schools. The GSA also went across the street to the Sequoia Station to lobby their views on Prop 8 and to inform people on how to vote. The GSA’s efforts have had an effect on how Sequoia functions. GSA members said they have not witnessed any public acts of homophobia, though they do say they still hear “That’s so gay” or “fag” said in the hallways and classrooms. “If you were gay you tried to hide it, now if you’re homophobic you hide it,” said Davila. The GSA realizes that there is still much work to be done, though. “I think it’s beneficial for students to realize that they’re all going through the same thing even if it manifests itself in different ways because all teenagers are figuring out their identity, whether that’s your sexuality or what group you belong with or who your friends should be or whatever,” said Ranum. “It’s a common struggle and so everybody in a school community should support each other in that struggle.”

from parents. “I didn’t really think that as a junior I would be able to go,” said Driver. This year, the 47 runners in the cross country team finished in sixth place in the Peninsula Athletic League standings for the boys team and fifth place for the girls team. “The biggest problem obviously is that we’re not able to take everybody,” said Hutchinson, “but I think the people that are going are definitely excited about it. It’s a big deal.” “I definitely wanted to be able to go with the whole team,” said Driver. “It was more of a size issue, we couldn’t get a bigger van,” said Bouchard-Hall. Last year, only three Sequoia boys went to Portland. These three included Manuel Avila Jr and Warren Van Velkinburgh. Because of this, the four other members that went this year did not know what to expect. The annual Nike Cross Nationals race has been held at Portland Meadows in Oregon since 2004 and began with 21 boys teams, 20 girls teams,

From left: Ty Dewes, Manny Avila, Gaia Bouchard-Hall, and Warren Van Velkinburgh sport Sequoia purple in the Nike Cross Nationals open race. and an estimated 4,000 spectators. This year, it had 22 qualifying boys teams and 22 qualifying girls teams. The race included participants from the East Coast and other regions of the country. Before the nationals race, all runners took part in the open race, in which everyone who wanted to can run. The race was 5-kilometers long and took place in the muddy inside of the

Portland Meadows racetrack. Nike decorated the track with obstacles such as hay bales and hills that were constructed on site. After the community race, the nationals race was held, in which Sarah Baxter, a girl from the Simi Vallery Cross Country Club in California and Futsum Zeinasellaissie, a boy from the Midwest Cross Country Club were named the 2011 Nike Cross Nationals champions.

Girls volleyball aces out senior boys

Girls Varsity Volleyball beat the senior boys Powderpuff team 3-1 Thursday, Dec. 9 in the second annual face-off. After its successful debut last year, the seniors spent this fall in practices for the much anticipated game. It went out with a bang before officially leaving the match to their underclassmen to remain in Sequoia tradition forever. As to be expected, the game was filled with Sequoia spirit, encouraging signs, and cheering fans. Most importantly, each team put up a good fight. Good work, seniors! —LAUREN KIRKPATRICK

Photos by Lauren Kirkpatrick

Raven Report Issue 4  

Sequoia High School Raven Report Issue 4

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