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PonyExpress Volume 44, Number 5 • San Marin High • Novato, California • May 1, 2012

Mind Your Own Business

Employers and colleges asking for Facebook passwords

What’s Inside:

Facebook. Twitter. YouTube. There are so many new gal action against any specific employers, we look forward to ways to put yourself on the web that people are starting to engaging with policy makers and other stakeholders to help give up their personal privacy. It has been easier for employers better safeguard the privacy of our users.” Catherine Crump, and colleges to track those working for them or those who go an American Civil Liberties Union attorney, said, “It’s an invato school with them with the click of a button. While many sion of privacy for private employers to insist on looking at potential employers and schools see this as a way to regulate people’s private Facebook pages as a condition of employwho they take into their company or college, many people Photo by Julia Raven ment or consideration in see this as an invasion of an application process.” privacy. With so many A recent article in complaints and worthe San Francisco Chronries being issued, many icle stated that more and political figures are also more employers have starting to oppose these been asking for Facebook practices. Senator Ronald passwords during job inYoung from Maryland terviews. Job applicant told ABC news in an Justin Basset was asked interview, “I put in two for his log in password pieces of legislation to and withdrew his applicastop these practices. It is tion because, “…he (Basan infringement on conset) didn’t want to work stitutional rights. Lots of for a company that would these organizations don’t seek such personal inforrealize they are asking the mation.” The article later Students become wary of the invasion of privacy. same thing as monitoring states that asking for Facea phone call or reading your perbook passwords is becoming more common in public agen- sonal mail.” When asked whether she viewed asking for Facecies such as the law enforcement field. book passwords as an invasion on privacy, Thoma said, “Yes I Colleges are also starting to look into a person’s social do. I think that there is a fine line between personal informanetworking life. Some colleges are now asking for potential tion and what should be shared in the professional world. It’s students’ Facebook passwords as part of the interview. Col- one thing to view the person’s Facebook profile, but to go on leges and businesses defend these practices because by look- their account is just too much.” ing at students’ profiles, they can look for any red flags there Even Facebook has stated that this is occurring more might be in hiring that person, including illegal drug use and often and has even changed some of its policies. On it’s priunderage drinking. When asked if seeing something bad on vacy policy, Facebook states, “If you are a Facebook user, you Facebook is a good enough reason not to hire or accept some- should never have to share your password, let anyone access one, sophomore Carlie Thoma said, “I think it depends on the your account, or do anything that might jeopardize the secujob, and the level of inappropriateness of what they found, rity of your account or violate the privacy of your friends. We but in most cases yes because when you work for someone, have worked really hard at Facebook to give you the tools to you are representing them in everything that you do whether control who sees your information.” They followed up by sayyou are on the job or not.” ing, “…it also may cause problems for the employers that they However, this recent invasion into people’s private are not anticipating. For example, if an employer sees on Falives has sent thousands of complaints to Facebook. In an ar- cebook that someone is a member of a protected group (e.g. ticle by the Associated Press, Facebook said, “We don’t think over a certain age, etc.) that employer may open themselves up employers should be asking prospective employees to provide to claims of discrimination if they don’t hire that person.” their passwords because we don’t think it’s the right thing to San Marin junior Hakeem Sherif said that when emdo. While we do not have any immediate plans to take le- ployers ask for Facebook passwords it goes, “A bit too far,”

Seniors prepare to vote in upcoming election pg. 3

by Julia Raven

See “FACEBOOK” on page 2...

Teen Project Services: Spotlight on Ana Camara-Flores

by Jackson Grover

Junior Ana Camara-Flores is determined to help the Novato community thrive. Teen Project Services, started by Camara-Flores this school year with 40 students, provides volunteer work to the community to help students gain community service hours, as well as gain knowledge about programs in Novato. “I started Photo by Jackson Grover the club because in the past, I would always hear that Novato High students supported the community more. I also noticed that many students were not able to complete their community service hours because they had jobs, or other activities that were time consuming.” Moving to a new country is hard enough, but adapting to a new lifestyle and learning a new language can be a

major obstacle. Camara-Flores came to the United States at age 8, without knowing any English, but surely enough she adapted to her new home and a whole new language. After hearing Novato High School was more involved in the community, Camara-Flores took on a new challenge. She talked to the administration at school and asked if she could start a volunteer club to support the community. At first the office rejected the idea, saying that there already was a club at school that provided community service, The Interact Club. But, after talking to numerous people and having kids sign a petition, Camara-Flores was able to convince San Marin to start Teen Project Services. Camara-Flores also received a $500 scholarship from Soroptimist, for her work in the community. Camara-Flores was also approached by a movie director about creating a movie that highlights the struggles of Latino immigrants. The goal of the movie is to help Americans and Latinos work together to create a unified society. Though she does not know See “CAMARA-FLORES” on page 2...

J.K. Rowling’s New Book pg. 5 Dreamscapes and Nightmares pgs. 6-7 Kony Controversy pg. 9

Coke or Pepsi? Either Way, it Causes Cancer by Sierra Mayer

Coke and Pepsi are two of the most popular soft drinks in the industry, but now they are both proven to cause cancer. A new California law states that any food or beverage containing 4-methylimidazole needs to have a cancer warning clearly labeled on the packaging. Both Coke and Pepsi use that additive in order to give the sodas their color. Putting this warning would be a huge marketing disadvantage—no one wants to buy something that tells you could give you cancer—and most likely stall sales. Instead, both companies are reformulating the drinks to eliminate 4-methylimidazole. Though this law was only passed in California, it would be difficult to manufacture and mass-produce separate formulas. To limit the troubles, the change is being made nationally. Meanwhile, people can still be seen with a can of Coke in their hands. Junior Mariah Barry said, “I believe that people will still drink Coke despite the fact that it has a cancer causing dye.” After becoming used to a beverage after drinking it for years, it is difficult to put down the can. Senior Andrew Mcwherter said, “There would appear to be little these days that doesn’t contain something dangerous in them. It’s all about having amounts that aren’t bad for you. I mean, too much of anything will hurt you.” This isn’t the first time something like this has happened, either. The original Coke formula, introduced in 1886, also contained an illegal drug. It was known as “cocaine cola”, because one of the two main ingredients, cocaine, was its namesake drug. The other main ingredient was caffeine, which combined with cocaine created a hazardous drink. Back then, though, the dangers were unknown.


Pony Express

May 1, 2012 • Page 2

AP Euro Students Flip for New Teaching Method by Lauren O’Brien

A class full of students hunch over their notebooks, scribbling as fast as the side conversations and excess noise, the lessons are easier to comprehend. Just they can while the teacher explains the Power Point presentation. Students are so the fact that the notes are always at home makes the flipped class more convenient consumed in writing the exact terminology that they have no clue what they are writing, and available for future reference. Mr. Watson likes the fact that, “Students who are let alone understanding what the teacher is saying. That sounds a lot like a typical absent have the same explanations everyone else did and can show up ready to go the next day.” history class. Mr. Watson has flipped this method Photo by Rachel DeFilippis and Laura Darken There are a few concerns with the flipped of teaching on its head in his AP European class. With all the other homework students are History classes. For his Master’s Degree thesis getting, having to go online to take notes is hard to in Education Technology, Mr. Watson has been remember. Senior Allysa Wiltz says that she often posting video notes on his website to analyze forgets to view the notes. According to the survey pros and cons of this unorthodox teaching Watson conducted, all students have access to the method. Students watch the notes at home and website, either on computers or their cell phones. are prepared for projects and discussion the next Mr. Watson has also had to face the issue that some day. With the support of Principal Littlefield students do not watch the notes. “It is no different as well as the superintendant, this method once from a class where a student doesn’t do the reading used for math and science classes has just started or doesn’t pay attention to a lecture,” Watson said. its history debut. Littlefield said, “It’s great using He discourages this by giving video quizzes the day technology as a tool to inspire students.” after, showing that they watched and understood the For the past four months the “flipped video the night before. classroom” as it is called, is progressing to Watson admits that adapting this method, become a regular part of the class. A majority which is usually used for math and science courses, of the students enjoy the flipped class. In a Mr. Watson literally turns his class upside-down as he has been a difficult process. He got the idea from survey conducted by Mr. Watson, out of over introduces the flipped class to San Marin. seeing a YouTube video promoting a flipped science a hundred students, 97% of all of the AP European History San Marin students wanted to keep using this method of teaching. class. In the video it shows students watching lectures on their smartphones and There are many perks to watching the video online. The ability to pause or rewind mp3 players. This new type of class is still a work in progress, but if the flipped class the video enables students to work at their own pace, free of distractions. In a response to what she likes about the flipped class, sophomore Angela Ding said, “I method is a success, Mr. Watson is planning to use this method on occasion next Photo by Rachel DeFilippis like it much better than [notes] in class. It is hard to concentrate in class.” Without year in his AP European History class. FACEBOOK continued... and that if asked for a password by a potential employer, Sherif said, “I would give them my password, but first I’d ask why they need it.” Thoma agrees with this stating that if she were asked, “I would tell them that I didn’t feel comfortable with it, and I’d probably ask their reasoning behind it.” CAMARA-FLORES continued... when the movie will come out, there are several students in the club who are interested in participating in the film and interested in learning more about the industry. With an excellent support system behind her, Camara-Flores’ goals have been accomplished. With the help from Cindy Flores(Camara-Flores mother), who talks to parents, assists in organizing and speaks as a parent supervisor. Also club advisor Dr. L.B. has been a tremendous help, willing to hear students ideas and help contribute. Dr L.B. notices Camara-Flores hard-work saying, “She has done a great job getting students involved… she saw a need in the community and took action to find the solution.” Lastly, Suzanne Hirshfield, who is credited with helping the club members participate in all NUSD meetings. Camara-Flores said, “ She has been a guide for us, she has opened so many doors and we are able to take advantage of this.” Camara-Flores continually shows students that volunteering isn’t just a requirement the office makes us do, but rather is important for the value of helping others. Camara-Flores said, “I want to show teenagers that volunteering is a fun activity and by doing so there is a reward in the end.” Camara-Flores is pleased with how much her club has done, saying “Each person in the club is so helpful and full of energy. I am really glad that San Marin is being represented in the community and is being recognized.” Pony Express Staff Editors-in-Chief

Julia Raven and Laura Darken

News Editor Features Editor Opinion Editor Center Spread Editors Arts Editors Sports Editor Back Page Editor Copy Editor Advertising Manager Circulation Managers

Sumaiya Mubarack Lauren Bollinger Nidhi Mamidi Sierra Mayer and Laura Darken Nik Oczkus and Jackson Grover Chris Gorman Louis Henry Lauren O’Brien Jackson Grover Amanda Cardy and Samantha Simmons

Advisor Principal

Scott MacLeod Adam Littlefield


Ryan Burke, Owen Cao, Natalie Dagnino, Rachel DeFillippis, Michaela Giunchiglliani, Katherine Minkiewicz, Sarah Monti, Paul Shin, Sara Haugen, Natasha Osmidoff, Gabrielle Pflugradt, Justin Wax The Pony Express is published byt the journalism class at San Marin High School. The Pony Express seeks to provide a public forum for student expression and encourages letters to the editors. No unsigned letters will be accepted; however the author’s name will be withheld upon request.

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Our Japanese visitors take a break from their day shadowing SM students.

Japanese Students Visit SM by Gabrielle Pflugradt

Many students were probably surprised to see Japanese students in matching uniforms shadowing selected San Marin students on March 28, 2012. They were only here for a short time, until break, and then they were off to continue their journey. Through a strange series of events, San Marin was asked to be a stop during the Japanese students’ trip to America. A former parent at Mr. Littlefield’s tech high school works with a foreign exchange program and because of a lack of response from other schools, Mr. Littlefield was given the opportunity to host a group of traveling students from Japan making their way across the United States. The students are on a two-week trip, as tourists and as educators, traveling to Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, and San Francisco, the beauties of America, while taking classes to further improve their English.

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Pony Express

May 1, 2012 • Page 3

Every Vote Counts

Eligible seniors get a chance to vote in upcoming election by Sara Haugen November 6, 2012. On that day, this year’s graduating class has the ultimate opportunity to exercise a privilege as adults. Voting day has always been just one of those days that our parents were involved in; we’ve seen our teachers wearing the “I voted!” stickers and noticed the campaign signs sprinkled around town. Now, November 6th can finally mean having a say in what happens in this nation. After being recently educated in government and economics classes, will the newest crop of San Marin’s eighteen year olds jump at the opportunity? “I certainly hope so,” said Mr. Pitti, government teacher, “it’s essential that the young generation dictates their future. They’ll be weighing in on big issues such as health care, same-sex marriage, government support in the economy--all very important issues.” Because this is a presidential election year, it is certainly more likely that this

year’s new eighteen year olds will go to vote, unlike in years of congressional votes. Just as government processes are fresh in many seniors’ minds, it seems that they would be inspired to use their newfound knowledge. Although all seniors are required to take a government class, some may not feel like they know enough about the candidates to make a good decision. ASB President, Dani Albini, said, “I think it’s important to have our age group heard, but it’s hard to say if this year’s seniors will vote. A lot of them might not be informed.” In reality, our age group’s opinion has indeed been heard, and our numbers continue to grow. Informed or not, young people, ages 18-30, made up roughly 23 million voters in 2008, 2.2 million more than in 2004 according to MSNBC. Of that number, 68% of them voted for Barack Obama. Much of this youth involvement

could be attributed to CIRCLE, (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement), whose goal is to educate and mobilize young voters from all political parties. Many argue that Obama won the 2008 election due to the growing youth “cohort.” Whether or not it will happen again, many people our age went for the younger and seemingly visionary candidate in 2008, and it made a difference. Mr. Obstarczyk, government teacher, believes it’s important for students to realize that “it’s a collective process and people your age can begin this lifelong process of voting. As a citizen, if you want the government to meet your needs, you must vote. That’s the bare minimum.” When asked who she plans to vote for in this election, senior Monika Klinkman said, “My vote is for Obama, I don’t want another old white guy in office!” Meanwhile Abe Magana said, “I

want to vote for Ron Paul, if he stays in the running because I agree with his views of preserving the constitution and I don’t think the other Republican candidates are worthy of being president.” If one does resolve to make their voice heard in the next election, how should they vote? Is it based on the candidate’s personal life, their party’s stances, or the promises they make to our nation? There are so many opinions being thrown at us from the media, our teachers, parents, and polls. How can one decide which candidate best suits them? Senior Abe Magana suggests, “I think it’s important not to just vote for the more popular candidate. Vote as if it were up to you.” And so, if you will be eighteen before next November, consider what your vote could mean not only to the current election, but also what participating in this democratic process means for you and your liberty.

Monika Klinkman Democrat

Lucas Milton Independent

Wesley Roberts Independent

Celina Del Toro Democrat

“[I’m voting for] Obama. I don’t want another old white guy in office!”

“I feel like I’m not educated enough to “I plan to vote for a Republican because vote. I still need to do more research, but they match my political views, but I haven’t followed the candidates that I’ll probably vote for Obama.” much yet.”

“I’ll vote for Obama. I feel like he should finish what he started.”

Crappy Commodes: San Marin bathroom quality goes down the toilet by Louis Henry This school’s bathrooms have been facing some hard times lately. Earlier this year a restroom in the 500 building suffered a quite malodorous malfunction. The 200 building boys’ bathroom is known to have some clogged and thus overflowing commodes. Sometimes restroom-goers do not realize their toilet is clogged, and this can lead to an all-around bad time for everyone. This clogging also frequently afflicts the sinks, and even the drain in the center of the floor if there is a particularly irked prankster on the loose. Junior Massimo Cardarelli said, “They’re so bad I hardly ever go at school, but I do have a secret clean bathroom for emergencies. There should be a toilet flushing class offered at this school.” The 800 building, 700, and locker room bathrooms are usually in reasonable condition, and the bathrooms in the student center and gym are fairly pristine, due to the fact that they are locked during school hours.

Illustration by Angela Ding

Students are discouraged by disgusting bathrooms. The girls’ restrooms are no candyland either. Some interviewees wished to remain anonymous, but they

Rafting, Kayaking, Ropes Course, Vision Boards, Experiential Workshops, Relationship Building, Personal Growth, Self Reflection and Skill Building Camping

said those conditions are not much better than their urinal-containing counterparts, with tampons strewn all over the floor. Sophomore Sami Coale said, “I never go at school. I’m too scared of the bathrooms.” Current (and just) laws prevent me from investigating this for myself, but to be honest, I would not want to. With this “outbreak” of hand-foot-mouth disease, these unsanitary conditions could very well lead to more infections on campus. But, this is not for lack of trying. The head day custodian, Mark Miller, said, “All of the restrooms have been renovated in the past couple of years, and it really is unfortunate that they are treated so poorly by some students.” Some students indeed. Perhaps this vandalism is a cry for attention, or maybe they were attacked by a rogue urinal when they were wee babies. An anonymous student said “The vandals want destruction and nothing more.”


Pony Express

May 1, 2012 • Page 4

Students Soar in Academics and Extracurriculars by Jackson Grover

Marissa Caldwell: Determined to be a Doctor Brad Walchli: Military Man in the Making Sophomore Marissa Caldwell is determined to succeed, and with her dedication to school she will fall nothing short of success. With the dreams to become a pediatrician, it is fitting that her favorite subject is science, but Biology in particular. To learn more about the medical field, Caldwell did an internship at Kaiser Permanente last summer. There she was able to observe up-close, shadowing residential nurses and doctors and gain personal knowledge in this career, she said, “It was really interesting and I learned a lot of different techniques and methods from talking to doctors and nurses.” Not only does Caldwell have the passion to become a pediatrician, but she also loves to perform. She is involved in musical theater and jazz choir. “Marissa is an incredibly talented musician and extremely dedicating, giving it her all and won’t stop until she is doing her best,” said Ms. Maas-Baldwin, Caldwell’s music teacher. After school, she can

Photo by Rachel DeFilippis

be found running, as a member of the cross-country team. Coach Vogl notices Caldwell’s hard work, saying, “She is an excellent student athlete. She never misses practice and is always positive.” Caldwell has also been involved in clubs among her years here at San Marin. She participated in Speech and Debate last year and is currently in CSF. Post high school Caldwell wishes to continue on to UC Davis or any other of the UC’s for their strong academics.

Junior Brad Walchli can be described by his classmates and teachers as a bright, exceptionally hardworking student. “He does a great job on his assignments, always pays attention and is an easy kid to like,” said Mr. Obstarczyk. Not only does Walchli receive remarkable grades and hold the title of junior class president, but is he is also heavily involved in extracurricular activities. Aside from playing golf and basketball, he is also involved in Mock Trial and participates on the Youth Center Teen Board, giving his youth perspective on the topics of conversation, whether it is dealing with the financial issues or spreading the word about the Novato Youth Center. Walchli has clearly made a name for himself in Mock Trial, receiving two Outstanding Achievement awards in the three years that he has participated. Mock Trial coach Chris Sheron notices Walchli’s achievements saying, “What

Photo by Amanda Cardy

separates Brad from the rest is that he is mature, driven, friendly, and down to earth. Brad has all the tools to achieve whatever he sets his mind to and that makes him a standout.” Walchli’s golf coach Mr. Lacy adds, “[Brad] is dedicated to everything he does; that’s what he is so good at everything.” Walchli hopes to attend West Point Military Academy or the Naval Academy after graduation.

Bienvenidos a Latin America: Six students spend summer abroad by Nidhi Mamidi

Imagine living in a Spanish-speaking village Darken will be living in Paraguari, Vavuris is “a little worried about adjusting to the this summer, secluded 20,000 miles up in the Andes Paraguay for 8 weeks, emphasizing the importance new diet,” she isn’t too concerned about eating cuy, a Mountains or hidden among the wild rainforests of environmental and community health through popular guinea pig delicacy in Ecuador. Senior Angela Nicaragua. For six San Marin girls, Latin America will reforestation projects and health fairs. When asked Huidekoper, who participated in Amigos last year be their home for two months as they take part in why she signed up to do Amigos, she said, “It’s an in Peru, offers her advice for Vavuris, saying, “At Amigos de las Américas, an international, non-profit opportunity to prove that as young as we are, we can least try it once because it will make a great story.” organization that provides students with an opportunity actually make a difference in the lives of others.” Neuweiler will be in Coclé, Panama for Photo by Daisy Rodriguez six to become youth leaders and weeks, working on an facilitate community development environmental health project. She projects in the Americas. Juniors will help educate Panamanians on Monika Neuweiler, DemiRae Bacho, health and the environment by Grace Vavuris, Lindsey Beardsley planting community and family and Laura Darken, along with garden and restoration initiatives. sophomore Miranda Kuehn will all These students are part of be faced with the challenges and almost 50 other youth volunteers rewards of living abroad as they from the Marin County chapter embark of their journeys this June. who will be taking part in Amigos Kuehn will be headed to this summer. After undergoing Matagalpa, Nicaragua for 6 weeks more than 140 hours of training to lead youth fairs focused on in areas such as cross-cultural securing safe water for the village sensitivity and communication and protecting the environment. skills, these girls are confident that “I’m excited about becoming a they will fulfill Amigos’ vision of Students display the flag of the South American country they will visit this summer. part of a community and getting “a world where each young person Beardsley, who will also be spending 8 becomes a life-long catalyst for social change.” out of my comfort zone, but I’m also worried about my Spanish skills; I get the feeling that there may be weeks in Paraguari, is going to be educating the Vavuris and Darken hope to stay involved with Amigos awkward conversations my first week, but I’ve been locals about environmental and community health. in the future, possibly moving up the ranks to become and Neuweiler will both be a program supervisor in college, but all participants working to increase my vocabulary,” she said. Bacho Vavuris working on environmental health projects will also be headed to Nicaragua, promoting the rights this year agree that they have learned valuable life skills raise awareness within communities. they will use for the rest of their lives. Huidekoper’s of youth through art and media in Boaco for 7 weeks. to Vavuris will be spending seven weeks in last words of advice for this year’s volunteers are, She looks forward to using multimedia as a way to Cotopaxi, Ecuador, encouraging environmental health “Buy lots of souvenirs. You will want lots of things by encourage youth action in communities, but said her biggest challenge will be “overcoming homesickness.” by planting trees and community gardens. Although which to remember your experience.” ¡Adios, amigas!

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Pony Express

May 1, 2012 • Page 5

Alcatraz: Not your average crime show by Katherine Minkiewicz

Photo courtesy of IMDB

One of San Francisco’s most popular tourist a man with a chainsaw and stuffing his remains in a bag. I give props to the makeup artists for this show, destinations and notorious prison is now the basis for a since the fake blood, guts and flesh wounds are always new sci-fi fantasy TV show on the FOX network called very convincing. Despite the creepy and life like Legends of Alcatraz. The new mysterious show features Sarah Jones as Detective Rebecca Madsen, who works for effects, for some reason it makes the show intriguing to see the minds of the maliciously insane. You do a special unit for the San Francisco Police Department. have to keep up with the show, since its already quite Jorge Garcia plays her faithful sidekick,Dr. Diego Soto, confusing to why madmen from 49 years ago haven’t a local comic book writer and Alcatraz historian. The aged. Of course the show has more popularity in the basis of the show is the mystery behind the 63 prisoners that were supposedly transferred off the island when Bay Area, where it takes place. (According to IMDB). In fact the show has stirred up so much curiosity that the prison closed in 1963. Now 49 years later, the prisoners are back, un-aged and still thirsty for violence it has been said that some ambitious tourists have tried to search Alcatraz for underground catacombs and death. Emerson Hauser, a former Alcatraz guard, works along with Rebecca and Dr. Soto to capture all and treasure. Consequently, the show saves money 63 lethal prisoners of Alcatraz. Airing every Monday from filming in San Francisco and gets an incentive from FOX, for filming its interior and exterior scenes during prime time, it’s had a fairly good reception with in Vancouver. Even though it hasn’t increased the 10 million US viewers according to Fox Broadcasting job opportunities for filming in the Bay Area, it has Company. With a mix between a criminal show and scifi show, it can become quite interesting, as each episode sparked a renewed interest for one of America’s most famous prisons, which held high stakes inmates, captures a new criminal. The young detective and dorky like Al Capone. Overall, Alcatraz is an absorbing comic writer make for a quirky pair that appeals to a crime fantasy that is worth to watch, just to follow younger audience. Some of the acting is a bit cliché, like a dramatic leap over a fence or a car chase with really the deranged prisoners and to see the spotlight on San Francisco and the “Rock”. At times, the show is expensive looking cars. With this show, more emphasis hard to understand and can be a bit confusing and is put on the action and chaos, rather than answering Show’s poster emphasizes the dark tone. farfetched, but nevertheless it is quite entertaining. questions after each show, which can become a bit frustrating. Even though it’s partially a crime show, it is definitely not made for the With a complex and revealing, yet surprising, end to the season, hopefully the show faint of heart. It has some pretty gruesomely twisted scenes, such as chopping up will continue into another season. Photo edited by Sierra Mayer

J.K. Rowling Reveals Her Upcoming Works

by Sierra Mayer

Mystery still shrouds Rowling’s works.

Even though the Harry Potter series is over, author J.K. Rowling still has two new books coming out. One is a Harry Potter encyclopedia, as not everything about Harry’s world was revealed in the books. The second is something completely new. The encyclopedia will be, according to Rowling, “a definitive guide to all of the creatures, characters, places, and other elements that comprise the Harry Potter world.” Like her previous work, Tales of Beedle the Bard, the encyclopedia’s profits will go towards charity. Beedle the Bard sent millions to the Children’s High Level Group—a charity cofounded by Rowling for children’s rights in Europe—which still sends money to this day. It can be expected that the upcoming encyclopedia is sure to produce just as much, if not more, money for its charity. However, when this will happen is still unknown. Rowling said that she would most likely publish it within the next five years or so—maybe even sooner—but as of now, no release date has been announced. While the encyclopedia has unknowns, her newest book is more revealed. It will be released on September 27 of this year. The official synopsis is as follows: “When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?” Though it doesn’t have wizards, it promises to excite fans all over.

I Think They Got It: A Chorus Line gets rave reviews

by Samantha Simmons

A Chorus Line is an inspiring musical about hopeful youths trying to land a job as a chorus dancer. Originally performed in 1975, A Chorus Line was brought to San Marin by our talented music department. This musical demonstrated the making of a show and the dancers’ insight of what goes on behind the scenes. Sophomore Chloe Gasparini, who played Cassie, one of the many auditioning to be a chorus dancer, said, “I was happy to be part of this and loved getting to know everything about this musical.” The whole music department does a wonderful job portraying these characters and showing what it really takes to become a chorus dancer. According to Miss Maas-Baldwin, “There were nineteen main characters and about half of them were double cast, which was one of the main reasons why I chose this certain musical. I wanted all my talented seniors to have their time in the limelight for their last year.” With the play being a bit edgy, some parts of the script had to be cut to keep it appropriate. When asked how she felt about some of these changes and how they affected the show, Miss Maas-Baldwin stated, “We did every effort to not cut everything while still trying to keep it PG-13. It was still a better show how it was originally but it was still great with the changes.” Some students who saw the show, including juniors Danielle Damico and Jan Grandi, said the show “was so funny it makes you fall out of your seat laughing.” Junior,

Michael Marthinson, who was also apart of A Chorus Line, said, “ It was fun and exhausting, but I’m glad all my hard work has paid off.” These performances make you laugh and cry, and the San Marin music department couldn’t have done a better job putting it together. Photo by Ms. Mass-Baldwin

The cast of A Chorus Line shakes a leg.

Pony Express


May 1, 2012 • Page 6

Once Upon a Dream

by Natalie Dagnino

When we were little kids, we had tons of day dreams. We would dream about what we wanted to be when we were older, like a firefighter or a teacher. It seemed so easy to dream back then. Often times children will get in trouble for day dreaming, so they feel as if they have to stop. There are five main benefits to day dreaming: it can be fun, it can create a window into who you really are, it creates “you time”, it enhances your creativity, and it can set the stage for forward movement. Day dreaming allows you to think silly, crazy, unusual thoughts and no one else has to be the wiser. It’s as if there’s this secret that you haven’t shared with anyone and they are wondering why you’re just sitting there smiling. In many situations, day dreaming may lead to clues about what you are naturally good at and who you really are. Taking a time-out from society gives you the perfect opportunity to disconnect from your ‘to do’ list. By letting our dreams eliminate any restrictions, you can really expand your creativity, and it may even come into your ‘non-dreaming’ life. It can be so frustrating to know that you want to be somewhere else in your life, but you just don’t know how to get there. Day dreaming gives you the time to play with various ways to move forward and can be very powerful. You are capable of taking on a new life when you are lucid dreaming. You can free all of your fears, be confident that you can do almost anything, and it has a positive impact on your life. Scientists understand the benefits of lucid dreaming; however, some have used it to enhance their problem solving skills in very creative ways. Friedrich Kekule’s discovery of the struce of the benzene molecule, Otto Loewi’s experiment on nerve impulses, and Elias Howe’s invention of the sewing machine were all dream inspired inventions and show the power of dreaming with the subconscious mind. Even musical composers like Mozart, Beethoven, and Wagner all pointed to dreams as the source of their inspiration. Conscious dreaming allows you to face your fears in a controlled and safe setting. If you are afraid of heights, why not go bungee jumping? You can slow down time for a controlled fall and make it a perfect experience. Public speaking skills can be rehearsed in a lucid dream. If you practice in a realistic environment, you will see an improvement in confidence. Learning to wake up in dreams is not necessarily easy, but with practice and patience, anyone can do it. Dreams help control stress, anxiety, and depression. Whether we are able to remember our dreams or not, the act of dreaming may very well play an important part in our mental and emotional well-being. Sleep researcher, Rosalind Cartwright, PhD, professor of psychology at Rush University in Chicago says regarding dreams: “It’s almost like having an internal therapist, because you associate [through dreams] to previous similar feelings, and you work through the emotion related to it so that it is reduced by morning.” Dreams occur throughout the sleep cycle in both REM (rapid-eye movement) and non-REM sleep. When study participants are woken up in the first period of non-REM sleep they say that they have been dreaming about some emotional situation that has not been solved. Research suggests that the act of dreaming may help as a natural stress reliever. The researchers who studied women who were recently divorced discovered that the participants who remembered their dreams and who dreamt of their ex scored much better on tests designed to measure emotional mood the next morning. These women recovered from depression much quicker than women who either did not dream of their ex or who could not remember their dreams. Cartwright says, “It really shows that the brain was working through the night in the dream material, and eventually the depression lifted in those people.” Besides the fact that dreaming improves your creativity, helps you face your fears, improves confidence, improves problem solving skills, and helps depression and anxiety, it doesn’t cost you anything. You can do it almost anywhere, and you’re not dependent on anyone else.

Illustration by Ruthe Huang

Pony Express


May 1, 2012 • Page 7

What Haunts You in Your Sleep The truth behind nightmares by Natasha Osmidoff

We all have them. The dreams that cause you to jerk awake and leave you feeling panicked and sweating. But those are not just simple bad dreams; they are nightmares, and there are many reasons why our minds generate those when we sleep. A nightmare is defined as a terrifying dream in which the dreamer experiences a feeling of helplessness, extreme anxiety, sorrow, etc. A nightmare occurs in the REM part of your sleep. REM stands for rapid eye movement, and is the normal stage of sleep. During this time you have rapid eye movement, low muscle tone, and low flow of neurons in the brain. It consumes about 20-25% of a person’s sleep, or 90-120 minutes. REM happens towards the early morning of a night’s rest. A nightmare does serve a prominent purpose; it is a subconscious alarm trying to prevent future problems, deceptions, mental illnesses or catastrophes from occurring in our lives. Although it is much more common in children, teens and adults still tend to get nightmares spontaneously. The most common cause of nightmares is a wrong attitude or behavior. Having a negative outlook on life will cause you to experience nightmares often, and the more negative you are, the more terrifying your dreams will be. If you have an irregular sleep routine, are exhausted, or are not sleeping enough, you could be causing yourself to have nightmares. They can also be the result of small worries that have been ignored for too long; your mind eventually brings attention to them when you sleep. Nightmares are even a symptom of Post-

Traumatic Stress Disorder. After suffering through an experience where you encountered extreme amounts of trauma, you can commonly wake up frightened and have flashbacks of the instance. Extreme alcohol consumption, illness with a fever, and side effects of drugs also trigger weird brain activity when you sleep. A recent death of a loved one can cause you to dream about that person. Eating right before bed boosts your metabolism and creates activity in your brain. Your personal fears of the world, or any stress and trauma in your world cause your mind to bring them to light in your dreams. It is recommended to keep a dream journal and write down every detail of your nightmare that you can remember. By doing this, you will avoid suffering in dreams, develop intelligence, and be able to be aware of traps in your dreams that cause terror. It’s also good to end your dream happily. Once you wake up from the dream, try to convince your brain that it ended well. For example, if you are dreaming that someone is about to push you off a cliff and you suddenly wake up breathing very heavy and covered in sweat; reflect on the dream and end it with you landing softly on a mattress. This method helps to resolve the conflict in your brain. If you put off the dream, you could find yourself having a bad day and being very moody. Nightmares are a good way to reflect on what is stressing you out, your attitude, and even release your fears.

“A nightmare is defined as a terrifying dream in which the dreamer experiences a feeling of helplessness, extreme anxiety, sorrow, etc.”

The Monsters Under Your Bed by Nik Oczkus

Photos by Nik Oczkus

Josh Bernstein’s Dream Within a Dream:

Jordi Reyes’ Doll Beneath His Bed:

Bernstein’s nightmare fairly resembles the climax in the film Inception. He is trapped within a dream within a dream and so on. Though he tries to escape, he can’t help but fall asleep in each dream. The nightmare tragically ends when he oddly falls off a cliff and wakes up right before he hits the ground.

Reyes’ nightmare consists of the common fear of freaky looking dolls. The iconic doll that thrives under his bed is the notorious Chucky, from the film Child’s Play. While Reyes manages to kick Chucky’s head off, his decapitated body kept trying to gut him. “There’s something about dolls that make dreams that much worse.”

Jennifer Brodsky’s Veloci Run:

Brodsky’s nightmare goes back to the Jurassic period. In her dream, she is being chased by a velociraptor. The terror ends when she wakes just as the dinosaur pounces. “I don’t usually remember my dreams; I think that’s for the best.”

“What is this, Inception? No it’s my brain without rest and my lackadaisical thoughts.”

Alison Rodas’ Bieber Beaver:

While many would think this a good dream, Rodas sees it as a nightmare. Her nightmare begins with Justin Bieber losing his voice, fame and then subsequently turning into a beaver. “I could deal with him being a beaver, but losing his fame and money? Regrettable.”

Pony Express


Low Cut Isn’t Cutting It As you rush out of the house, you hear your mom shout, “You’re not wearing that, are you?” Does this sound familiar? Welcome to the struggle that many high school girls face today. In a society that changes so quickly, media and pop culture are the most influential factors in the choice of self-presentation. Because of this, the level of inappropriate dress and appearance in middle school and high school girls has spiked over the past few years. It’s no secret that the behavior of a child starts at home. As kids grow up, they will naturally start to see their parents as role models. “As parents, it’s their job to guide their kids on who to look up too,” said sophomore Chloe Gasparini. But what happens when kids are egged on by their own parents? “Someone has got to be buying the clothes for the child and sometimes it can be a problem. The parents are allowing this act of inappropriate dress to go on,” said Sinaloa Middle School teacher Mrs. Franklin. Clothing such as ripped pants, short shorts, belly shirts, and layers of makeup are looks that are now being displayed on younger and younger girls. And what about the parents that give their child plastic surgery as a birthday or graduation present? “If parents are giving their kids what they want, then they can make them happy,” said junior Garrett Sutherland. With the growing pressure to fit in mixed with the images of celebrities, more and more kids are starting to look, dress, and act like their “role models.” According to USA Today, kids and teens spend about 8 hours a day

Illustration by Angela Ding

Media pressures girls to dress inappropriately. fixed on media that affects every aspect of their lives. “A lot of shows that kids watch now show erratic behavior which causes them to believe that it’s ok to grow up acting like that,” said Gasparini. It can only take a minute for a child’s favorite celebrity to do something rebellious and end up in the news and change a kid’s behavior. “People like to emulate what they see on TV and it shows,” said Sutherland. Many reality shows like Jersey Shore and Keeping up with the Kardashians don’t even offer realistic and positive role models. Sinaloa secretary Mary O’Keeffe said, “Even the innocent little Disney shows aren’t so innocent anymore. I definitely don’t envy being a kid right now.” Illustration by Michaela Giunchigliani

Stepping Outside the Box Teenagers should break free of the chains of “normal”

Michaela Giunchigliani by In a world dominated by social media sites,

television, movie superstars, and billboards, teenagers are forced to crave an identity. Most of you satisfy this craving by ‘fitting in’ or ‘being normal’. But what is normal, really? Throughout history, humans have dubbed normal as whatever the majority decided it to be. As of late, teens wear Northface jackets, Uggs and college sweatshirts or a flannel and Nikes. This is easy. This is safe. This ensures that your ego won’t be ripped to shreds when you show up to school in something ‘weird’. So instead of waking up in the morning and putting on what expresses your personality, you put on whatever you think will let you slip under the radar as stealthily as possible. English teacher, Mr. Berberian said, “They’re afraid of being mocked for being an individual.” This fear is paralyzing, because it forces people into groups and subgroups that require them to act, dress, and behave in a certain way. But this pattern goes deeper than just fashion or hobbies. We identify ourselves because we feel the need to explain our existences. Philosophy teacher, Mr. Swedlow, said, “We’re raised to identify ourselves by means of others. If others don’t reflect on us positively, it’s an attack to our very identity.” So every time you turn on your TV or go out to dinner with friends, you will compare yourself to

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May 1, 2012 • Page 8

Senioritis Strikes Again

Instead of dressing for success, girls are dressing with less by Rachel DeFilippis

everyone on the screen or around you. It’s your human necessity to identify yourself by means of everyone else. We all do it, so we all succeed in judging each other and labeling each other as ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’. What happens if you fall into ‘abnormal’? Well, you’re not like everyone else, so you stick out. Michael Foucault, a philosopher that wrote about the role of identity in the human existence, said “… if you are not like everybody else, then you are abnormal, if you are abnormal, then you are sick. These three categories, not being like everybody else, not being normal and being sick are in fact very different but have been reduced to the same thing.” You’re ridiculed, you’re singled out, and you’re scrutinized because you made the mistake of identifying yourself as something different. Or maybe, just maybe, you made the mistake of not identifying yourself at all and instead saw the beauty in living free from labels. Since we are in such a crucial development stage, we strive to be the most cut and dry, cookie cutter, normal drones we can possibly be. It’s a cozy, safe place; safe from ridicule and harm. Outside the box looks like a terrifying void, but it is where we all should explore. Instead of constantly labeling each other as fat, skinny, tall, short, mean, nice, funny, serious, etc., we should accept the fact that we are all humans, and all individuals. Society has a tight grip on our identities, but we can break free. “I don’t feel that it is necessary to know exactly what I am. The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that you were not in the beginning. If you knew when you began a book what you would say at the end, do you think that you would have the courage to write it?” said Foucault. You, as an individual, can in fact live your life free of ‘normal’. After all, outside the box is a little more exciting.

by Natalie Dagnino After working hard for three and a

half years, seniors are finally through college applications and have decided to relax before taking off for college. Symptoms of senioritis include having a lack of focus, difficulty with making decisions, wearing sweatpants, and having generally dismissive attitudes. Although it’s tempting to slack off, it’s not worth it. Seniors need to stop acting like they are invincible and be responsible for their school work. According to a study conducted by the California State University system, only 1/3 of entering college students are prepared for analyzing information or arguments and synthesizing information from several sources. The real question is whether senioritis exists or if it’s an obligation, and whether or not teachers should allow “senioritis”. Ms. Laabs, who has been teaching at San Marin for eight years said, “Seniors are particularly different each year with motivation.” According to Assistant Principal Megan Pettis, “Every year it is always in spring time, but it is not unique to San Marin or this graduating class.” Senior Brandon Restivo said, “Senioritis definitely exists, but before [senior year] I didn’t know what it was.” On the other hand, senior Anna Mazzariello said, “It depends on the person if senioritis exists or not.” As seniors are being noticed as slackers, Laabs said, “I fear with college competition more and more because colleges are starting to look at the last semester more and in the future we may see more colleges rejecting students after poor results in the spring.” A majority of senior students think that they do not have to try the second semester because they have already submitted their applications. Alex Keller, senior at San Marin, said, “I don’t need to try second semester, I’m going to a junior college.’’ Although it is second semester, colleges are still looking at students’ grades. Pettis says, “We’ve actually had admissions withdrawn. It is important for students to maintain their grades.” Jim Blackburn, a CSU enrollment director said, “We want the students to be prepared. The biggest reason students fail in college is their preparation in secondary school.” He also said that last year San Francisco State University rescinded 63 acceptance letters and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo rescinded 43. Senior John Seavey agrees with Keller, “The last couple of months of school I’ll definitely be like wow, this is pointless.” On the other hand, junior Ryan Schalch said, “When I become a senior I won’t stop trying second semester because my grades will still matter.” Many senior students are convinced that teachers should allow them to slack off the last semester because it happens every year. Schalch says, “Teachers should give seniors a wake up call, but other than that, it’s chill. One love.” Both Seavey and Restivo believe that “teachers understand and we’re only here because we have to be.” Looking at it from another side, Laabs says, “I can completely understand and empathize, but you also have to see the bigger picture.” Students’ minds are focused on the future and are neglecting the present. As a seniors’ last year of high school, they need to make sure that they are getting the most out of their high school experience and instead of counting down the days, try and make each day count.

Pony Express


Kony Campaign Creates Controversy

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May 1, 2012 • Page 9

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few months, chances are you’ve heard of the controversial Kony 2012 video. Created by the non-profit organization Invisible Children, the video pleads for the capture of Joseph Kony, an indicted war criminal and leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). A militant group, the LRA is guilty of a multitude of inhumane crimes since the group’s formation in 1987, namely the abduction of more than 60,000 African children and the displacement of around 2 million people. Since in release in early March, the 30 minute film has sparked worldwide interest, with more than 88 million views on YouTube. The video has also generated local attention as well; according to a recent Pony Express survey, nearly 61% of San Marin students have watched the film, claiming the role of social media to be decisive factor. Although the Kony 2012 campaign has generated more than 800,000 “likes” on its Facebook page, Facebook “likes” do not translate to unwavering support and many at San Marin are conflicted.

Do Your Part

by Lauren Bollinger “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come,” announces

Do Your Research by Sumaiya Mubarack

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain an idea without accepting it.” Aristotle’s words provide subtle wisdom that’s relevant even after the Kony 2012 video in both the opening and closing scenes. However, with all two and a half centuries; our digital generation is constantly bombarded with its success, the campaign has met intense criticism. Many have questioned the ideas, advertisements, and propaganda. Kony 2012 serves as an effective example legitimacy of the organization behind it, Invisible Children, speculating that they of this idea-marketing; they’re trying to sell us their cause and it’s important that are misusing its finances. First of all, Invisible Children is an awareness group we assess the movement like we would any product- with the eyes of a skeptic. that promotes the restoration of African communities affected by the LRA and Image courtesy of Google Images The viral video is aimed towards our demographicthe arrest of the LRA’s leader, Joseph Kony, and so their the enthusiastic teenager who will jump at the prospect of expenses reflect these interests. Out of the $9 million spent changing the world. Kony 2012 has indeed brought Joseph on the project, a quarter of its funds ($2.3 million) went Kony to the world’s attention, as Invisible Children hoped to to awareness programs, including video production and do, but the movement is being criticized for oversimplifying political advocacy efforts, and a third ($3.3 million) went the issue. Nothing is ever as black and white as the problem directly to programs that include partnering with 11 African was portrayed in the video, but appealing to the younger schools, providing academic scholarships to Ugandan youth, generation means generalizing in a way that overlooks rehabilitating traumatized children and reuniting separated important historical and political details. Young adults feel families. As said by CEO Ben Keesey, such “program inspired and educated because of some rather brilliant expenses” amounted to about “80.5 percent to 85.7 percent filmmaking, but the magnitude of the problems in Uganda of total annual spending from…2007 to 2011.” and the proposed solutions can hardly be compacted into a And while action is crucial in order to capture 30-minute YouTube video. Also, because the movement is Kony, the group doesn’t advocate violence. In the video, being spread through social media, there are arguments that it the group asks people to “join our army for peace,” and encourages what is now called “slacktivism” or “clicktivism.” stresses the capture and criminal sentencing of Kony, not It’s being slammed for instilling in our generation the idea his murder by vigilante justice. that retweeting something or “liking” it on Facebook stands Yet the group’s peaceful intentions doesn’t mean as activism, rather than giving aid to deserving organizations inaction; as shown through the passage of The Lord’s through conventional sweat and hard work. Kony 2012 is Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda also being called into question concerning the sustainability Recovery Act, 2010 bill supported by Invisible Children, of the movement. There are fears that many may treat it like the group is hardly stagnant, but rather is making social the latest cell phone or fashion trend; corresponding with and political waves. As said by sophomore Nicolette our short attention span, it may very well vanish as quickly Francheschini, “The idea behind the movement really as it came upon us. inspired me to do something. I already bought an action kit The methods that Invisible and plan to help out through the Children are using to deal with Cover the Night protest.” KONY 2012 Survey Kony’s heinous crimes are Others questioned the under heavy fire as well. First, accuracy of the video, stating that they intend to support the it oversimplified the issue. Granted, Ugandan government in finding some facts are misleading (Kony 100% and arresting Kony, but don’t and the LRA are not active in 39.6% 43.9% address the fact that the Ugandan Uganda anymore, but have spread 80% 68.3% government used child soldiers in to three neighboring countries: the past in their own rise to power. Sudan, the Democratic Republic 60% 21.7% There is also grey area concerning of Congo, and the Central African 40% 60.8%% Kony’s whereabouts and the Republic). But generally, the 34.7% 31.9% severity of the problem today, and organization has accomplished to 20% many say that the movement is compact nearly three decades of 0% too late. Kony and his dwindling LRA conflict into compact, easy Have you watched the If so, have you done Do you support the number of followers moved to understand 30-minute video. Kony 2012 video? further research? campaign? on from Uganda six years ago And if the organization aspired after inflicting the worst on the “to make Joseph Kony famous,” From 544 SMHS student responses YES NO Don’t Know Ugandan children. Finances are they certainly achieved that goal. another issue, because, according As said by Senator Chris Coons, a to Jedidiah Jenkins, director for idea development at Invisible Children, “37% of chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on African Affairs, “It’s our budget goes directly to Central African related programs, about 20% goes rare that we have literally millions of Americans calling for more engagement in to salaries and overhead, and the remaining 43% go to awareness programs.” Africa,” noting that the Kony 2012 has generated unprecedented awareness of the They’re being criticized for not directly giving enough money to on the African issue. people, though Jenkins responds by saying “...we are not an aid organization, and Above all, Invisible Children “wants to motivate you to act, not just watch.” we don’t intend to be... we are an advocacy and awareness organization.” After But before you act, you must research. In a Pony Express survey about the issue, a over 88 million hits on YouTube, it’s clear that awareness isn’t an issue anymore. majority of San Marin students (67.7%) reported to have not done further research. As an anonymous San Marin student said in our school wide survey, “If I were to The IC is not advocating the blind following of the campaign, but rather action donate to help Uganda, I would do it to an organization fully dedicated to helping itself. It encourages people to “find facts, dig deeper,” and take part in the global third world countries, not to pay the Invisible Children employee salaries.” Beyond conversation. While some are quick to judge the movement as a passing trend, the this, the fact that Invisible Children filmmaker Jason Russell’s public nudity and idea stands a beacon of truth in the fluctuating tides of social fads. As said by an psychosis issues have gained more publicity than the campaign isn’t helping. If anonymous San Marin student, “[The Kony 2012 campaign] shows the power of their leadership can’t hold it together under pressure, how can their campaign? social media and how we’re able to make a change in the world.” And as shown It is undeniable that Joseph Kony needs to be brought to justice for the through the campaign poster’s inverted pyramid design, the movement indicates atrocities he has inflicted upon the children of Uganda, but a Stop Kony slogan, a change in social hierarchy, where the people are in power, not the privileged “One thing we can all agree on,” has proved to be false on many levels. The few. The idea transcends borders, and as shown through his indictment by the controversy is as complicated as the video is simple, so it’s important to pay heed International Criminal Court, Kony’s arrest is not merely a Ugandan issue or an to the wisdom of Aristotle and look at the issue with a cautious perspective. African issue, it as an international issue, worthy of the entire world’s attention.


May 1, 2012 • Page 10

Marin County Prepares for the Special Olympics Students volunteer for upcoming games by Sumaiya Mubarack Adrenaline coursing through your body. Heart pounding so hard it’s almost palpable. Muscles clenching in apprehension. The athletes in the upcoming Special Olympics will feel the rush of intense and exhilarating competition, coming from all over Northern Marin on Saturday, May 19th to show their talents and sportsmanship. The event will be held at Terra Linda High School, where kids with severe intellectual disabilities will vie for a coveted medal and a spot in the next Olympic trial, held at UC Davis on June 22nd24th. Numerous students and parents from San Marin volunteered in years past, and this year proves to be the best one yet. The Special Olympics has been held in Marin County since the 1960’s, and is the largest sporting event held here. The program as a whole was started in 1962 by President Kennedy’s sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, when she held a day camp for people with disabilities at her home in Maryland. The parent organization that funds these events, called Special Olympics Northern California strives to “provide athletic opportunities to children and adults with intellectual disabilities, instilling the confidence they need to succeed in life.” They emphasize the value of fairness and sportsmanship in competition, volunteering for the benefit of others, and having a mind-set of acceptance and appreciation for those with disabilities and special needs. Confidence and perseverance are promoted by the organization, and their motto inspires all involved,

saying, “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” “It’s the biggest day of the year for them,” said Peter Bellak, who works with special needs students and helped introduce the Special Olympics to San

Photo courtesy of Carol England

Volunteer Colin Lane (left) works with an athlete on his tennis game.

Marin. He described the happiness on kids’ faces at the traditional opening parade in years past, where public service officers and then all the athletes and coaches proudly walk before the competition begins. Bellak has

had many valuable and memorable experiences with the athletes over the years, and he is enthusiastic about its positive effects on the participants. “There was a kid in really bad shape- he couldn’t walk and had many issues- and he participated in the 10 yard race. He and I did it together; he didn’t know what was going on, but he was thrilled,” Bellak said. The event gives students a feeling of liberation, an outlet to express themselves that is hard to come by. Volunteers are encouraged to come and help out at the Special Olympics event, and will benefit from the shared experiences with the participants. They will help set up beforehand and clean afterwards, and will also escort athletes to their starting positions. But Bellak knows this is the least of it; “The most important part for volunteers is just being in the stands, rooting people on,” he said. Mrs. England, the Special Education teacher at San Marin said, “It’s truly a great opportunity for kids to contribute to people who are cognitively handicapped, and the benefits go both ways.” Not only will the participants enjoy support and assistance from San Marin students, but the volunteers themselves will be able to witness firsthand the will and determination of the competitors. The Special Olympics is not only a learning experience for the athletes, but for the volunteers as well. The atmosphere at the Special Olympics is one of fun and enjoyment, and the experience for the volunteers will be truly unforgettable.

San Marin Alum Makes a Racket at UC Berkeley

by Anahita Najafi Two time NCS champion and San Marin grad, Laura Posylkin is now a member of the UC Berkeley Tennis Team. Walking onto a top 10 division 1 team as a freshman, she was unsure about what to expect. Posylkin says it has been a lot of work, but she loves it. The team practices almost every day, with weight lifting or conditioning in the mornings and practice a couple hours in the afternoons. “It’s definitely more than I’ve ever done, but its teaching me to really not procrastinate,” says Posylkin. She

says the team’s ultimate goal is an NCAA title which everyone works hard towards every day. There are 10 girls on the team, six being European, coming from countries such as Estonia, Hungary, Slovakia, Sweden, Finland, and France. The other four are from California. Undefeated in MCAL singles, Posylkin was unsure if she would make the Cal team. “I honestly didn’t know what to expect about making it, but I had nothing to lose, so I went for it.” She explains that

college tennis doesn’t differ a lot from her high school team “except for the caliber,” and it’s been a huge change going from being the one others were intimidated to play against, to being the one intimidated by others. She hopes to become a travelling player along with the elite members of her team. “Whether I’m playing on a high school team trying to get to playoffs, or I’m on a top 10 team in the US trying for an NCAA title, it’s obviously still about hard work, trust, confidence, and ambition.”

Photo courtesy of Bing Images

Laura Posylkin (middle) with her teammates on the Cal tennis team.


Senior Nicole Roberts shoots in her game with Marin FC.

Senior Soccer Forward Leads Mustangs in MCAL Playoff Push

by Justin Wax Senior Nicole Roberts, the former All-MCAL first team (2010) and second team player (2011) is in her fourth season as the starting forward for the Lady Mustangs Varsity soccer team. In the offseason, Roberts plays for Marin FC, the second best club team in Northern California, along with playing Varsity Basketball for the Mustangs. Roberts was a key player in the Lady Mustangs basketball playoff run into the NorCal tournament. Not only was she an AllMCAL first team soccer player at San Marin, but in her senior season with the Lady Mustangs basketball team, Roberts was awarded All-MCAL first team. The four-year starter led her Marin FC team with 19 goals this season, along with leading the Lady Mustangs with 22 goals in her junior year, while also leading Marin FC in assists. When describing why Roberts is such a threat on the field, senior Renee Cruz, a teammate of

Roberts said that, “Nikki is always giving 110% to move to the ball and be everywhere you need her to be no matter where you are on the field.” Girls Varsity soccer coach Ben Philpot said, “Nicole is a smart and skilled soccer player, but also a great leader. She’s not afraid to voice her opinion or the team’s views on issues and she always does so respectfully and in good taste.” After four astonishing years, not only on the field with Marin FC and the San Marin Mustangs, but in the classroom as well, Roberts maintained a 3.0 G.P.A. throughout high school and received recruitment offers from CSU Chico, UC Davis, University of San Francisco, University of Pennsylvania, and Puget Sound. Number 23 will be taking her talents north to CSU Chico next year, where she will fight for a starting spot on the Lady Wildcats women’s soccer team.

May 1, 2012 • Page 11

Junior Kenneth Castro Abrams competes in the butterfly event.

Swimmer Excels in Pool and School by Chris Gorman Although the San Marin swim team doesn’t have its own pool, it boasts one of the most talented swimmers in California, junior Kenneth Castro Abrams. He began swimming competitively at the age of seven and has been working on his skills ever since. Abrams competes in many events for the swim team, but his best events are the 100m and 200m backstroke, the 100m and 200m butterfly, the 200m freestyle, and the 200m individual medley. Abrams swims for both his high school team and during the offseason, for his club team the Marin Pirates. As a sophomore, Abrams placed second in NCS in the 100m butterfly and broke the MCAL record in the 100m backstroke. With these great achievements as a sophomore San Marin is looking forward to what he will produce this year. When asked about his goals for the upcoming season, Abrams said, “I want to win the 100m butterfly for MCAL and NCS, and try to break

both records.” Abrams also has goals outside of the school team, “I really want to make Olympic trials by June this year.” Abrams has already caught the attention of many universities with his great times. Although many other schools have sent him letters, Abrams is most interested in Princeton, Brown, Northwestern, Virginia, USC, and UC Santa Barbara all of which have shown interest in him. Abrams is not only a star in the pool but in the classroom too. Last semester he earned a 4.33 G.P.A. and scored a composite 1930 on his first SAT. He plans to take the ACT soon and wants to retake the SAT to try to boost his score even more. His success in the classroom is helping him attract attention from a wider range of colleges especially the Ivy League schools like Brown and Princeton. Kenneth Castro Abrams is not only one of San Marin’s most impressive swimmers; he is also one of San Marin’s most impressive students.

Legendary Baseball Coach and English Teacher Transitions to the Plus Program by Ryan Burke Mr. Whitburn is one of the winningest coaches in MCAL baseball history, making him a well-respected coach all over the county. Now Whitburn is making a new name for himself as the leader of the Plus Program for the scond year in a row. In total, Mr. Whitburn has 410 wins and 5 NCS Titles, an astonishing feat. He is regarded as one of the best coaches in MCAL history and has coached many players who have gone on to play at the next level, most recently Bud Norris, who plays professionally for the Houston Astros. He has also coached players who now coach under him such as Bobby Bowers, who graduated in 2008, and is in his first year coaching with the varsity baseball team. Bowers said that, “He was like a second father to me. Outside of being an outstanding coach on the field, he helped me off the field even more with life issues. Overall, he is just a great guy.” Mitchell Ho, a current senior and the starting catcher for the varsity team, agreed with Bowers stating, “His knowledge of the game is outstanding, he always knows what to do in every situation. Off the field, you can come to him with any problem you have, and he will try as hard as he can to help you out.” Standing at 6 feet 6 inches tall, Mr. Whitburn is not someone you miss seeing when you walk by. He has been a major personality at San Marin since he arrived, but after making the transition to teaching the Plus Program two years ago, he is noticing that he doesn’t know as many students and many students don’t know him. He said, “I generally used to teach a lot of freshmen, so I got to know most of the kids. Up at Plus, I only get to teach about 40 kids, all of which are upperclassmen. The juniors right now were my last class, so after they leave I won’t know most of the school.” Mr. Whitburn doesn’t mind the change though, as he openly welcomed moving to the Plus Program saying, “When I went to San Marin, I was a borderline student. A lot of people helped me stay on the right path, so it’s my way of giving back.” In his free time, Mr. Whitburn likes to attend sporting events. He is a big A’s and Raiders fan and has been his whole life. He also has a sister, niece, and a nephew who live back east in New Hampshire. Last, from 1983 to 1989, he owned

a memorabilia/pro-team sportswear store in San Rafael with his friend. Mr. Whitburn is not only a great baseball coach, but a great teacher. At last years graduation, one of the most memorable speeches was given by a Plus Program student Evan McFadden. This speech was testimony to what Mr. Whitburn does with the Program, and how much he helps the kids. Teaching the Plus Program is not easy, but he has done a great job in just two years and continues to improve the program. He is a person who has brightened many kids’ days and hopefully this will not change in the future due to his move.

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Pony Express


May 1, 2012

Danielle -Ryan Albini...Prom? Burke Around the World in Four Bites: Ethnic snacks to gorge upon by Paul Shin

Tired of eating the same boring snacks during break and lunch? Want to try something new? People have always been in their own little bubbles when it comes to buying snacks, and haven’t really branched off from their roots. It’s always the same potato chips or power bars or fruits. Never risking to try new foods and sticking with the same flavors that you’ve known forever. If you want to be brave try something new. Here are some snacks that you could try when venturing for a new flavor for your taste buds to experience. Barbeque flavored chicharrones: A flavor coming from the southern side of the border, chicharrones, or fried pork skin, comes from Latin America. It is very crunchy at first, and later you get the consistency of the pork skin after the saliva melts it down. Although, it feels like you’re biting into Styrofoam at first, and later the pork skin texture feels a bit awkward. The taste isn’t that special and is pretty bland. Most of the flavor comes from the BBQ flavoring and it’s not good at all, being very salty, but sophomore Ivan Chavez disagrees. He says that “The certain flavor of the chicharrones takes me on a journey to heaven, and if I had nothing to eat but chicharrones, I would love it.” Gansito: Another snack coming from south of the border, but with an opposite reaction. This snack is absolutely delicious. It is, basically, a dark chocolate covered Twinkie, with cherry pie filling, and a little pinch of cinnamon. It wasn’t too sweet or fattening and the flavors popped in your mouth. The dark chocolate

YAYS and NEIGHS a YAY to clever prom proposals. Forcing dudes to get creative and romantic. a YAY to the MLB. Nothing says summer quite like our nation’s pastime. a YAY to Community being back on the air. This show changed the face of TV forever. a YAY to spring finally arriving. Birds chirping, flowers blooming... Love is in the air. a YAY to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Cliché high school stories - with demons.

a NEIGH to this year’s final Jesus Pizza. Every single one of those people is such a joy to be around. a NEIGH to announcing to all of your Facebook friends you lost your number. a NEIGH to going to school. It’s far too reminiscent of summer to learn. Home stretch, folks. a NEIGH to sitting in the corner. Might as well give me a pointy hat. a NEIGH to movie theatres being stricter about “R” rated movie guardianship. Hey, they’re still 18...

a YAY to March showers bringing April flowers. Gotta love California’s weather patterns.

A full year’s content in one $87 test. No pressure.

a YAY to NHL playoffs. Because the NBA is too mainstream.

a NEIGH to the Secret Service. Pay the nice prostitute next time.

covering made a nice little crunch, before entering the soft layer of the bread, and the gooeyness of the cream and fruit filling. Junior Jan Grandi loves this snack because, “I ate them when I was a kid and they remind me of home. Also, they are super sweet and delicious. I like to eat them frozen.” This snack brings culture while giving a punch to your taste buds. Shrimp Chips: A Far East favorite, many Asian cultures enjoy this snack. Right when you open the bag, it releases a short burst of an aroma smelling like shrimp. The snack itself is crunchy, and the taste isn’t over powering, but light. The snack quickly gets boring though, and most of the flavor comes from the batter. There isn’t really any shrimp flavor in the seasoning. Freshman Nico Panela said, “The snack’s good for a while, but I don’t think I can keep eating it over and over again.” This snack is something you want to try at least once in your life. Iso Maki: This snack also comes from the Far East, or more specifically, Japan. The texture is very crunchy from the crack and chewy from the seaweed. Although, the flavor isn’t really that special. It just tastes like soy sauce, which doesn’t taste great at all. Besides the saltiness, the seaweed gives a bitter taste that lasts in your mouth for a while. That aftertaste is what makes this snack bad. Junior Tommy Mazzariello said, “Why would people buy this snack, it’s terrible.” Junior Aaron Kesler also agrees saying, “This is just bad.” Just avoid this disgrace of a snack.

Popping the Question

Student prom proposals get more extravagant by the year As prom draws nearer, students are pairing off in preparation for the big night. Some ask nonchalantly, while others spill blood, sweat, and tears creating the perfect proposal.

Senior Chris Oberzeir proposed to junior Francesca Bitton with rose petals in her bedroom.

a NEIGH to AP testing.

a YAY to Hiding in the Open. a NEIGH to gophers on Mazel Tov. the baseball field. Go eat dirt somewhere else.

Junior Andy Schimmel surprised senior Gianna Bruschera with a sticky-note proposal on her car.

The Colt edition of the Pony Express is an annual tradition in which juniors and sophomores produce the paper.

Pony Express May 2012  
Pony Express May 2012