February 2018 Vol IX Issue IV
Carlmont High School — Belmont, California
Committing to sports after high school How
For many high school athletes, playing sports comes with an expiration date. When the whistle blows on their last game of their senior year, the athlete usually retires from playing and moves on to life as a college student.But for a small handful, that last whistle is only the beginning of another four-year career in their sport in college.
College: University of California, Santa Barbara Sport: Softball Playing for: 12 years For varsity softball player Mailey McLemore, the recruiting process for University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) started in 8th grade. “[Recruitment] in the travel-ball system starts really young,” said McLemore. “For UCSB, I emailed the coaches a couple times, and after that, they invited me for an unofficial visit. I started talking to them my freshman year and committed at the end of my freshman summer.” Because of her early commitment, she says the normal stresses of high school and the college process haven’t been as bad. “It’s taken off a lot of stress, for sure. I still try to get good grades, but I only need a 2.0 GPA to keep my commitment.”
Although McLemore is often busy traveling for softball, she is able to manage her time well and keep her grades up. She believes this will make it easier for her next year when she’s juggling the sport and her major. “I want to major in math,” she said. “My mom says it’s really hard, so we’ll see.” As far as next year goes, McLemore is excited to start her college softball career at UCSB. “I’m really excited to keep playing, especially after going on my official visit— I can’t wait,” she said. “I love the atmosphere and the coaches. I really love my team, too, and I get to room with one of my good friends who I play travel ball with now.”
For many college athletes, the question still stands of what to do after graduation. According to Business Insider, less than 2 percent of college athletes make it to professional leagues. What does that mean for the other 98 percent? For McLemore, the answer depends on the sport’s progress in the next four years. “I do not know where softball is going to be when the time comes to decide what to do next, so it all depends, but I’m okay with it all ending at some point,” she said. “I definitely think I’ll end up going into a profession with math.”
College: University of Redlands Sport: Tennis Been playing for: 12 years Unlike McLemore’s early recruitment, tennis player Thomas Reznik, a senior, committed to University of Redlands this year. “I went to a recruiting tournament and I met a bunch of coaches,” said Reznik. “From there, I talked to them about the schools and their tennis programs. After I visited the schools, I chose University of Redlands.” Reznik chose University of Redlands because of the strong computer science program that he plans to major in. Beyond Redlands, he plans on looking into transferring to Columbia University for a masters’ degree.
Profiles written by Mona Murhamer
Science of Attraction Attraction between two people is more than what meets the eye Page 4
Students Respond Seniors reflect on what they wish carlmont taught them Page 8
Despite facing a difficult course load, Reznik is not worried about his time management next year. “You have to balance out school, tennis and your social life in college, but I’m not really worried about that,” said Reznik. “I mean, I still have to find the balance, but I don’t think it will be too bad.” As for the rest of this year, Reznik says he hasn’t hit a wall yet. “I need to keep constant grades because I got an academic scholarship, so if I slack off I may lose it. I’m not trying to slack off, but it’s kind of getting there.” Reznik says he probably won’t end up going pro, but wherever his tennis career
See more about how high school effects our future adult lives - AP classes vs. interests Page 6
- We’re prepared for the real world Page 14 -There’s more than just college Page 16 goes, he plans on keeping the sport in his life for years to come. “After college, I’m just going to play tennis for myself. I think I’m going to play in men’s tournaments and money tournaments here and there just to keep it up, but I’m probably not going to practice as much.”
In This Issue
Ivy Leagues are overrated Going to a “good” college doesn’t equal better education Page 10
News Lifestyle Features Community Ivy Leagues Sports Campus Opinion Bay Area Bubble
2-3 4-5 6 8-9 10-11 12 14-16 17-19 20
Grandma’s Cat rocks the Bay Area Alena Ruhstaller Staff Writer
The lights shine down on center stage. The audience waits as the band makes their final adjustments. With the first note played, the show begins. But this isn’t a big-time band, it’s a trio of high school students. Sophomores Reese Posten, Alexander Hauer-Molero, and Joe Seaman write, rehearse, and perform their original alternative punk music for their band, Grandma’s Cat, based in San Carlos, California. Grandma’s Cat came together in 2016 at the local swing dance competition of Central and Tierra Linda Middle Schools. “When Alexander and I were in eighth grade, we were both in our schools’ jazz bands [Tierra Linda and Central], and we met at a swing dance competition,” Posten, the band’s vocalist and guitarist, said. “We started talking, and I asked him if he wanted to jam sometime.” After Hauer-Molero and Posten got to know each other for a while, Seaman was asked to join the band. “Reese texted me, asking if I wanted to play with them,” Seaman, the drummer, said. “I said yes right away because I had wanted to be in a band for a while.” After Seaman was recruited, the band was complete. Posten came up with the band’s name, Grandma’s Cat. “My grandma has this cat who is probably the meanest cat you’ll ever meet and has always been terrifying,” Posten said. “I was talking with my mom about band names, and I wanted to do something funny like a death-metal band name, so I was thinking of the scariest thing I could think of, and the first thing that came to mind was Grandma’s Cat.” As the group continued to rehearse and share opinions on the music they were practicing, Posten presented his own original songs to Hauer-Molero and Seaman. The group then started to produce and perform the original content; Posten creates the song and structure, and HauerMolero and Seaman create their own bass and drum parts.
Grandma’s Cat performs a song at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco. “Most of our inspiration comes from bands like Green Day, Foo Fighters, Muse, and Red Hot Chili Peppers,” Posten said. “We eventually developed our own style, which still fits in the alternative rock genre. Most of the songs that I write come from something that happened in my life, and I usually use it as a way to say everything on my mind.” The band’s original music is available on Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon Music. ‘Saltwater Sand and Sexwax’ is my favorite original song because it was the first song we wrote together as a band,” Seaman said. “It changed a lot since the first time Reese showed us the riff, and we all contributed new ideas to it.” The band’s first ever performance on stage was at the San Carlos Hometown Days in the spring of 2016 where the band had little to no audience. Since that performance, Greg Posten, the band manager and Reese Posten’s father, aimed to attract more eyes and ears to the band. “The first step for the band to gain popularity was to develop their online presence as that really is how bands need to connect with their audience,” said Greg Posten. “They currently have a website, Facebook page, Instagram, and CD Baby pages.” The band gained more exposure and
connections through live performances at local events as well. When Grandma’s Cat performed at the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival, they met the band Get Out. The members of Get Out introduced Grandma’s Cat to promoters that book artist showcases in San Francisco. The promoters booked an upstairs gig for Grandma’s Cat at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco, a nightclub for all ages. “Our show at the DNA Lounge is my favorite so far,” Seaman said. “It was cool to play on a bigger stage. There were a few hundred people there, and we performed on the same stage that Prince, Green Day, and Metallica once performed on.” Their show at the DNA Lounge also showed what it takes for a band to host a showcase. “The way showcases work is the more tickets you sell, the better the time slot you are given and the more likely you are to be asked to play again. The guys sold a good number of tickets to friends, family, neighbors, and so on. They wound up with a really good middle-of-the-show spot,” Greg Posten said. Since their performance at the DNA Lounge, the band gained recognition from other promoters and now have a wider variety of booking venues.
“They’ve since been asked to play many times by a couple of different promoters in venues ranging from coffee shops to the main downstairs stage at the DNA Lounge,” Greg Posten said. “At each show, they sell T-shirts and stickers to further their exposure and get people to follow them on social media.” Grandma’s Cat also released their first EP, “Among Other Things” and are planning on recording six more songs in the studio in January to complete their first full album. An EP is an extended track of music that has more music on it than a single but doesn’t have enough content to be considered a full album. All of the members of the band have other occupations and schedules that they must manage in order to continue meeting and rehearsing. Along with school, Seaman plays basketball and soccer, and Posten runs track. Despite their extracurriculars and schoolwork, all three find time to meet and dedicate time to their music. “The first thing I do when I come home from school is practice guitar,” Posten said. “I always have time afterward to do my homework. Schoolwork usually doesn’t get in the way of Grandma’s Cat but balancing it can get a little difficult at times just because of the workload and the stress.” The band hopes to engage a bigger audience through their music and performance. “What we have all been working toward is to play music that people can enjoy listening to, but also get them excited to be watching us,” Posten said. “I want to leave the audience wanting to hear more of us once we finish.” Through the band, all three of the members have grown together in a sense where they can express their ideas and love for music freely amongst each other. “I’ve gotten to know Reese and Alexander really well, and it helps us stay connected even though we all go to different schools,” Seaman said. “We all like similar kinds of music, and it’s really fun to play a genre of music that’s not as popular as it used to be with other people who really appreciate it.”
Partisan debate leads to net neutrality repeal Ben Balster Staff Writer
When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to reverse net neutrality, the public viewed the act as the internet’s death sentence. Public outrage was enormous, and prominent political figures, companies, and states vowed to protect access to an open internet. “After the repeal, I saw people being righteously angry about losing government laws that protect their internet,” Patrick McDonough, a junior, said. Despite the publicity, the FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality is not new, and the FCC’s adoption of net neutrality in 2015 was no revolution. Partisan debate over how to regulate internet service providers (ISPs) dates back to the early 2000s, with Republicans favoring looser business regulation and Democrats favoring stricter business regulation. Through each pivot in the government’s stance, the impact on the majority of consumers has been negligible compared to the public’s prediction of the internet’s death. Arjun Grewal, a junior, said, “It’s important to realize that the community is treating this repeal as a huge issue, especially to the consumer, but the actuality is that the decisions these big ISPs make won’t affect the consumer as much.” Five years after the internet opened to the public, President Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The act outlined federal regulation of telecommunications services, primarily cable television and phone service. While most of the act is uncontested, Title II, which authorizes the FCC to regulate telecommunications service businesses, has proven to be controversial due to ambiguity concerning the classification of internet service. As a telecommunications service, ISPs would be subject to the stronger FCC regulation — an idea supported by Democrats, but as an informations service, ISPs fall under more relaxed Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations — a pro-business outcome favored by Republicans. At the time the Telecommunications Act was passed, the internet was not the global network it is today, but as the internet grew in the early 2000s elicited challenges to the FCC’s regulation. Since then, Democrats and Republicans have engaged in a tugof-war over the internet’s classification that has vacillated between
rulings the entire 21st century. In 2002, the FCC rule the internet as an informations service, a decision paralleling the Republican-dominated government at the time. In 2005, this ruling was reversed into the Democrats’ favor after a Supreme Court case allowed the FCC to classify cablebased internet as a telecommunications service. As new methods of internet service developed, the debate was rekindled, and in 2010, another Supreme Court case struck down the FCC’s prohibition of discriminatory internet service. The adoption of the net neutrality rules in 2015 reinstated and crystalize the FCC’s authority over ISPs. However, these net neutrality rules included a clause allowing the FCC to determine the lawfulness of each case under the authority given to the commission by Title II of the Telecommunications Act. A report by the FCC said, “[a] ll charges, practices, classifications, and regulations for and in connection with such communication service, shall be just and reasonable, and any such charge, practice, classification, or regulation that is unjust or unreasonable is declared to be unlawful.” The FCC’s power over ISPs given by this provision provoked a fear of federal intrusion and responses similar to the public’s reactions to the net neutrality repeal today. During both the adoption and rejection of the net neutrality rules, the FCC’s decision favored the agenda of the dominating political party at the time. “Whenever there is a big political issue, people tend to find solace with their party because it’s hard to get re-elected if you follow your own agenda,” Grewal said. “Party leaders make an agenda that their members follow, which is what happened in the net neutrality dilema.” Ajit Pai, a member of the FCC, voted against net neutrality in 2015, losing the vote 3–2 to a Democrat majority. “The internet is not broken; there is no problem to solve,” Pai said. Under the Trump administration, Pai was appointed as the FCC Chairman and facilitated the repeal in 2017. The FCC’s vote on net neutrality fell on party lines, favoring Republicans. Unfortunately, the issues surrounding net neutrality are often skewed by politics. Buzz-word statements from political leaders have reduced public knowledge of net neutrality to oversimplified, politically stigmatized concepts. Stepping aside from political
drama, both the Democratic and Republican arguments have merit, and both sides aim to protect consumers from ISP monopolies. “Anyone who makes any decision sees something positive,” said Grewal. “When the FCC decided to repeal net neutrality, they were considering something, but the way they proposed and marketed their decision didn’t go over soundly with everybody.” Outside of politics, many ISPs have confirmed their commitment to net neutrality. Comcast, the parent company for Xfinity the primary ISP in California, said, “Comcast is committed to an Open Internet. We do not block, slow down or discriminate against lawful content. We believe in full transparency in our customer policies. We are for sustainable and legally enforceable net neutrality protections for our customers.” With major ISPs being put under the spotlight by the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality, it is unlikely that they will risk raising prices in fear of public backlash. “Prices won’t rise right away. People thought that right after the FCC voted to repeal net neutrality, they’d have to pay for YouTube videos, and while that is feasible, ISPs simply won’t do that and risk their public reputation,” Grewal said. As many predicted after the FCC’s vote, in addition to widespread disapproval, legal action challenging the FCC’s decision has been made on state and national levels. Attorneys General from 21 states and the District of Columbia have sued the FCC, specifically on the grounds of a corrupt decision-making process and the reasoning for the repeal. On Jan. 28, the California State Senate approved the Senate Bill 460, sending it through to the State Assembly. The bill, proposed by Sen. Kevin de León, replaces the protections granted by the net neutrality rules and impose some new regulations. Grewal said, “At this point, with other, more pressing issues in our country, I don’t think net neutrality is a focus, so I don’t think the FCC’s decision will be reversed anytime soon.” If any impact on the internet occurs, it is unlikely to be immediately after the net neutrality repeal. “The changes won’t be sudden price surges; they will be slow, insidious changes,” McDonough said. “When net neutrality is repealed in practice, nothing will change at first, but over the years, we will see the internet change for the worst.”
Attractiveness is a matter of opinion
Many are subconsiously attracted to body symmetry Mackenzie O’Connell Staff Writer
Are you hot? Attractive? Or even sexy? These terms in society hold a significance to many people, but their definitions can be different depending on the person. What is attractive to someone can be totally unappealing to someone else. People are attracted to other people depending on their own definition of what is attractive. Some are even willing to change their appearances to fulfill their own definitions of attractive and feel more confident. For some it may be long hair, for others it may be short hair. For some it may be tall people, for others it may be short people. It depends on the individual. Yet, for many people, there is an overall preferred type. According to The Telegraph, scientific research claims that certain features such as body symmetry, finger length, and even color of hair can all promote a high levels of attraction. Demarii Blanks, a senior, said, “I look at their face specifically first, then eyes, teeth, nose, lips and then straight to the body.” According to Psychology.com, instinctively, many are looking for a partner with the least DNA damage. A noticeable indicator of minimal DNA damage is symmetry. Research has also shown that men and women are considered to be more attractive when there are less oxidative stress levels in their blood, which occurs when excess oxygen radicals are produced in cells, and can overwhelm the normal anti-
oxidant capacity. Others believe attraction stems from personality rather than solely from looks. Julia Walsh, a senior, said, “I think looks shouldn’t be important, but they usually are when you’re attracted to someone. I’m normally attracted to someone after I talk to them. If a guy is attractive but has a bad personality, I usually lose interest.” Walsh isn’t alone in her opinion. Amin Jadallah, a senior, said, “Hotness can only go so far. Personality is so important in order to vibe with them. When it becomes serious, looks is a bonus. Of course, physical attraction is important, but a good personality keeps the relationship going.” Aiden Jacobson, a senior, agreed. “Generally for me it’s 25 percent physical looks and 75 percent personality,” Jacobson said. Attraction may even cause teens to change their natural characteristics to feel more comfortable in their own skin. Thomas Johnson*, a senior, had surgery for a nose job the summer before his senior year. “I chose to get a nose job done because it was going to help me feel better about myself and fix one of my insecurities, which would allow me to be more outgoing. It totally changed the way I feel about myself and made me more confident and to able to accept myself more,” he said. Johnson* is not the only teen who has spent thousands to seek a change. The 2016 Cosmetic Surgery Distribution Survey stated that a total of 66,347 teens
one has a perfectly symmetrical body.
Sophia Gunning, senior, manipulated as if she were to have a symmetrical face. between the ages of thirteen and nineteen have undergone cosmetic procedures. Johnson* said, “I’d recommend someone else to have a procedure if they want to fix an insecurity about themselves to make them feel better. At the end of the day, it’s about how you think about yourself and not what others think. I did it for myself.” Although change can be beneficial, some feel differently and think natural characteristics should remain. Walsh said, “I don’t think it’s a positive thing that plastic surgery is becoming ‘attractive.’ It shows people that who you are
isn’t enough, and you have to plump your lips or extend your lashes to be attractive. It sends a negative message to young girls and creates a division between those who can and can’t afford it.” Although many people believe being attracted to someone is purely social, one’s brain affects these choices most of the time. Jadallah said, “Attraction can be important, but the love that eventually can happen is what really matters.” *Some names have been changed to protect the identity of the students
Eating habits affect one’s mental health Nicole del Cardayre Staff Writer As 14-year-old Tammy scarfs down her fourth Snickers bar to cope with a hard day at school, little does she know that her few minutes of bliss and indulgence could be the cause of something more complex. Scientists have begun to link depression and anxiety to certain dieting habits. In a study published in the journal Diabetologia, scientists found that when blood glucose levels are raised, the levels of a protein that stimulates the growth of synapses and neurons begin to drop. By eating sugar, the brain begins to work at a suboptimal level which over time increases one’s risk of depression, anxiety, diabetes, and dementia. “I always try to eat healthy just as to feel good inside and maintain a solid immune system. However, I did not know that
sugar could be a leading catalyst for depression or anxiety,” Shelby Young, a senior, said. When sugar is consumed, the activity of the hormone BDNF is lowered. Sugar has become the root of chronic inflammation which in return impacts the immune system, the brain, and the body’s other systems that are associated with depression. According to Psychology Today, countries who have higher levels of sugar intake coincidentally as well have been shown to have higher rates of depression and anxiety. There are ways to counteract the poor consequences of eating sugar. A study in the journal Psychiatry Research found that probiotic foods can be linked to lowering social anxiety. Probiotics are live bacteria that help promote good health and are especially beneficial to the digestive tract. Patients who ate probiotic-rich foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, pickles, and yogurt were all found
to have fewer symptoms of social anxiety than to others who did not consume the probiotic-rich foods. Angela Grundig, a senior, spent a month in rural Costa Rica last summer. Because there was a possibility she had to take antibiotics in order to prevent foreign diseases, she took probiotics as a precautionary measure in order to ensure that the good bacteria in her gut wouldn’t be completely destroyed. “Thankfully I didn’t end up needing to take antibiotics; that being said, the probiotics still promoted the good bacteria inside me,” Grundig said. Lynn Grieger, a registered dietician and nutritionist, encourages everyone to eat complex carbohydrates as they are linked to the production of serotonin, the mood-boosting brain chemical. Whole grains, vegetables, and fruits are healthy alternatives to eating simple carbohydrates such as white bread, foods with white
sugar, or fruit juice concentrate. “During my ophomore year, I decided to cut down on the number of plain sugars I ate, and it felt quite beneficial when it came to how I felt overall on a day-to-day basis,” Young said. Dr. James McIntosh attributes carb cravings to low serotonin activity. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that carries signals along and between nerves. It is primarily found in the brain and it is thought to be the main cause of overall happiness, regulating cyclic body processes, and constricting smooth muscles. Foods such as chicken, tuna, and turkey contain tryptophan which is an amino acid that may help produce serotonin. When in need of an energy boost or to clear your mind, opt for proteinheavy foods such as above. “I try to eat a little bit of meat every night because I feel it gives me a good energy boost, especially after soccer practices. And after practice, I still have homework to finish,” Grundig said.
Harvard Health Blog stated that skipping meals also has a huge impact on the worsening of anxiety. By skipping meals, a drop in blood sugar occurs, which can cause one to feel jittery. The feeling of “jitteriness” is a leading cause which may worsen underlying anxiety. “I hate skipping meals; I always end up eating more when I do because my body is craving food and nutrition,” Young said. According to a study conducted at Ohio State University, skipping meals can not only cause abdominal weight gain, but can also develop an insulin resistance in the liver. By eating a consistent amount of healthy meals that include an array of natural sugars, complex carbs, and probiotics, scientists claim that a healthy metabolism and stable mental health can be established. Kevin McGee, a senior, said, “It’s not always easy to eat healthy, but the payoffs are definitely better when you do.”
Disabilities do not limit dreams Joseph Gomez Staff Writer
Jonathan Yip seems to be the average senior; he enjoys playing the piano, adores art and animation, and even earned a 95 percent in AP Calculus BC last semester. But his future is unclear. Yip has autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). “I have problems paying attention and staying focused,” Yip said, “Ever since I was young, communication and social thinking have not been easy for me.” Yip recalls his difficulties in school: taking notes during lectures, grammar, and reading comprehension. “When I read, it’s easier to see the big picture, then go down into the smaller details,” Yip said. As a way to aid his academics, Yip takes a co-taught English class and a social academic communications class. But, Yip still has ambitions. “I want to move to LA to pursue my dream of animation and movie directing,” Yip said. More specifically, he wants to follow in the footsteps of Walt Disney: be a successful entrepreneur, lead an animation studio, and run an amusement park. Yip, however, does have some concerns pertaining to his future. “I’m really worried about college, though I plan to attend a four-year college,” Yip said. Tests are a major concern for Yip, due to his struggle with the comprehension of complex details. “It’s hard to digest all these things into my brain,” Yip said. Yip is one of the many students who go
to school and live life with a disability. Carlmont’s Special Education Department provides service for 13 total disabilities, the most common being Specific Learning Disabilities such as minor issues with reading, writing, and math. According to the California Department of Education, 734,422 individuals from 2015-2016 had been provided with special education services. Leon Tan, a junior, has ADD, or Inattentive ADHD. This means that he can be inattentive, but not impulsive or hyperactive. “I found out I had it when I was 15,” Tan said. As with Yip, Tan has trouble focusing and is often forgetful. “An example of this could be my friends telling me to throw away my lunch and five seconds later completely forgetting,” Tan said. Tan is unsure of his future. “I don’t feel entirely confident about my future because of the competitive educational environment in Silicon Valley,” Tan said. Tan’s anxiety reveals the broader uncertainties of the disabled. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in the school year of 2013-2014, only 62 percent of disabled students graduated high school in California. Nevada had the lowest, at 27.6 percent. Kenneth Soelberg, a resource teacher in the special-education department, is aware of this predicament. “Since higher education is becoming more critical for people to have in order to enter the workforce, many of the students I work with are struggling,” Soelberg said. “Many of the students I work with are not attending college or if they do, they often drop out after a year or less.”
If college doesn’t work out, looking for a job also acts as an obstacle. “These students end up working at jobs paying less than $20 an hour with no benefits,” Soelberg said, “In the short run, some of these students are happy, but down the road that kind of job can’t even support an individual living in the Bay Area.” Some companies are attempting to branch out more into offering opportunities to the disabled. Trader Joe’s won the California Disability Services Association’s (CDSC) Excellence in Employment Award for its inclusive policies for the disabled. Nevertheless, according to The Arc reports, “The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) regularly reports that the percentage of working-age people with disabilities in the labor force is about onethird that of persons with no disability.” Jason Selli, the Special Education Department Chair, at Carlmont expressed concern over the lack of work for the disabled. “Unfortunately, the world is a competitive place, and when you’re done with high school the services you can access decrease,” Selli said. The competitive nature of the job market often leaves the disabled on the sidelines. “I am always concerned about the future of my students after high school,” Selli said. Disabled or not, Selli has found that a majority of his students live a well-balanced life. “It is not always easy but hard work always pays off,” Selli said. Tan shares the belief of success through hard work.
“People with disabilities are just people who need to put in more time and effort compared to the average person,” said Tan. Yip remains optimistic for next year. “I say to anyone with a disability or has special needs like me—or anyone without—find your ultimate passion and go there,” Yip said. “To be successful, especially when you have a disability, you need to have a passion that will serve the needs of other people.” Yip is currently making use of his passions. He uploads often to his YouTube channel and is vice president of Carlmont’s Cinematic Arts club. “If I keep working hard and pursuing my passions I will succeed; I see failure as an opportunity to grow,” Yip said. Despite the potential struggles ahead of him, Yip is still hopeful. “I am very thankful to the Lord for all he’s done to make my story a spectacular one,” Yip said.
Greek life can change the college experience Nina Heller Staff Writer
Gamma Delta. Alpha Epsilon Pi. Kappa Kappa Gamma. These are just a few of the 123 sororities and fraternities in the U.S. For some, joining a Greek organization in college is an easy decision, but for others it takes a lot of thought. For the 9 million students involved in these organizations in the U.S. and Canada, the choice is not taken lightly. With stories of hazing and excessive partying, joining a fraternity or sorority can have dangerous consequences. According to USA Today, four pledges from fraternities died in 2017 due to drinking. One of which was Timothy Piazza, who was a freshmen at Penn State University. On Feb. 4, 2017, Piazza died after he was given 18 drinks in less than an hour and a half and fell down a flight of stairs. As a result of this, the school’s interfraternity council suspended all social activities, as well as banning his fraternity, Bi Theta Pi, from Penn State permanently. More than two dozen members of the fraternity have been charged with his death. “I do believe there are fraternities that can go a little overboard but that’s why you need to find one that respects you and doesn’t force you to do anything you don’t want to do,” said Zach Burgos, a junior. Although the more dangerous parts of Greek life push away some, the desire for a sense of belonging in a new community
motivates many students to make it a part of their collegiate experience. “I want to join a fraternity because I think it is really important to develop close relationships with people and that is exactly what a fraternity does,” Burgos said. Sororities and fraternities allow people to get many positive and lasting benefits, such as having a wide network of people connected to the group. According to the New Jersey Institute of Technology, 85 percent of Fortune 500 executives belonged to a fraternity, and both the first female astronaut and first female senator were in sororities, as well as many former presidents. “Being in a sorority opened doors for me in my career because I was able to get an internship through someone who was a sorority connection. Even though I had never met this person before, when she saw that I had been in a sorority we were able to connect and she actually helped me find a position at her company,” said Carly Straus, who graduated from UC Berkeley in the spring of 2016 and was in the sorority Kappa Alpha Theta. Straus also believes that being in a sorority helped her reach her academic potential, despite the stereotype that people involved in sororities and fraternities tend to have lower grades. “A lot of the time I would get to my first day of class and would find someone else from my sorority, and then we would be study buddies and keep each other motivated to go to lectures, share notes, and help each other with hard concepts,” she
said. the initiation week commonly referred to While many students such as Straus as “Hell Week,” she and other sisters had find benefits in Greek life, some are more to spend every minute not in class in the concerned with what may happen once library, and could never be without anthey join. other pledge. Furthermore, the girls were “I don’t want to be in a fraternity be- quizzed on sorority trivia, and in the event cause there is too much partying and of a wrong answer, they had food dumped drinking,” Ryan Perkins, a junior, said. on their heads. This is often true of Greek organiza“I was fairly lucky because Cal’s process tions, but the ones that commit these acts is not as intense as other schools because often face dire consequences. it’s a mutual selection process where they When Maxwell Gruver, 18, died from meet you and you meet them, and they consuming large amounts of alcohol dur- determine who they think would be the ing a hazing ritual at Phi Theta Delta at best fit, and then you go to the sorority and Louisiana State University, the president of meet everyone. You spend the whole week the university suspended all Greek activi- visiting houses, and by the end of the week, ties indefinitely. Since then, some restric- you have a new family,” Straus said. tions have been lifted, but However, despite Greek culture on campus many of the is reviewed by a task negative factors force. surrounding the “Stricter rules as to experience of Greek life, what fraternities can and students still find it can’t do to their members an important would help the problem part of the college of hazing,” Perkins said. experience. It’s not just fraterniStraus said, “In the ties where accounts of hazend, myself and ing are heard— it hapeveryone else was pens at sororities, too, able to realize that all across the nathe focus was more on tion. Instead of violence and how you behave and dangerous amounts of drinkwho you are and ing, sorority hazing revolves that when you are bemore around embarrassment ing your best self, that and odd tasks. According to Teen is how you can represent the Vogue, one sorority sister said during sorority best.” Nina Heller
Extra activities may not help getting into college Kaylee George Staff Writer
“How to get into Harvard.” Articles fill up the screen with the “hidden secrets” into crafting your college application to get into one of the highly coveted spots at the university. To build the perfect story, do this summer program and that internship. With the increasing pressures of being accepted into college, especially in the Bay Area, it’s easy to get caught up in the college craze; but, there is a line drawn between doing something for genuine interest and doing something just to appeal to a college. Many students may feel they need to do more extracurriculars so that they can fill up more space on their college applications and ultimately please admissions officers. “Because of how much competition there is, pretty much everything I do has to be for college. With everyone esume else thinking that way, there really isn’t any other way to get into a good college,” said Bobby Flare*, who wanted his name withheld for college purposes. According to U.S. News, the colleges with the lowest acceptances rates accept a mere one out of ten students, with both Stanford University and Harvard University accepting 5 percent of applicants, and Columbia
University and Yale University at 6 percent. “In our current academic climate, I would say that most students do extracurriculars simply for college admissions. It’s truly a shame to see students taking AP classes, volunteering, or doing school sports simply to lengthen their resumes,” Alex Derhacobian, a junior, said. However, for many students, the distinction between pursuing activities for their resume rather than genuine interest is blurred and harmless. There is often a thought that crosses people’s minds of what would look good for college purposes. “Students should take AP classes because they enjoy learning. We should perform charity work because we want to improve the lives of others rather than exploit others situations for our own advancement,” Derhacobian said. “Students should do what they enjoy doing rather than adapting to a stereotypical archetype.” For college admissions officers, there is a certain fake persona that is Sean Va ndera noticeable right away. a “If a student is intentionally ‘padding’ their application just to increase their chances of getting in, I can tell because they will only provide a laundry list. The genuinely nterests interested students have a stronger narrative about their intellectual journey. They are more reflective on why they chose to invest their time and energy into courses taken and their activity involvement,” said Connie Dominguez, a college counselor
at Carlmont who also reviews UC Davis applications. However, even with college pressures, many students still continue to pursue what they are passionate about without thinking about its effect on their applications. “I think what happens to a lot of students is that no matter what they are doing, a lot of them have college in mind, but I think that a lot of them will choose what they enjoy doing. For example, I enjoy playing piano and just because I mention that on my college resume doesn’t mean that’s the only reason I did it,” said Joshua Vendrow, a senior who has recently completed his college applications. Some people may also try to use college as an excuse to downplay others’ successes or may become too caught up in the competitive college atmosphere—especially as applying approaches. However, although pursuing extracurriculars may appeal to college admission officers, students also have their own genuine drive to excel for themselves. Vendrow said, “People may say ‘you are just doing that for college,’ and yes, maybe it will help for college, but it doesn’t mean they are doing it for college. I always try to choose the hardest classes and yes, it will help for college, but I also want to challenge myself academically.” Often, students who allow for college applications to dictate their high school lives, and even for resumes to dictate their lives in the future, will be unhappy pursuing activities to impress others rather than their own genuine interests. Putting efforts towards something that they truly have an interest in will take them much further in the long run. Dominguez said, “If a student lies or just does things because he or she thinks that’s what college wants him or her to do, then the student is missing out on making the most of their high school experiences for both intellectual growth and college admission.” * Some names of students have been changed to protect their identity.
What’s something that you wish Carlmont offered that would be useful to you after high school?
“I wish I learned to worry less about my future, and that my teachers taught me to focus on enjoying the present.”
Niharika Prachanda Redwood Shores Elementary Fifth-Grader
Being kind is important. As Aesop said, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” With that spirit, the Great Kindness Challenge was created. Over ten million students, 15,000 schools, and in over 90 countries participate, making it a truly global movement. On Jan. 2226 Redwood Shores Elementary (RWSE) participated as well. But who organized it at our school? Ms. Cahoon invited all the fifth graders to a kindness meeting to help plan Kindness Week. Being in the morning, it was interrupted by all of the responsibilities 5th grade students had, such as valet, which were equally important. Some kids made flyers while others shot videos. Everyone shared their ideas and it was very productive. Yet even if Kindness Week has already passed, everyone should still make an effort to
Anton Cargonja Senior
“It would be really nice to have classes offered like cooking or how to do taxes because you’ll use those after high school.”
A word from a future journalist
be kind. It just makes everyone’s experience more enjoyable. It isn’t very hard, and a school filled with nice and encouraging people is preferable to a place with the “normal” lack of good mornings, rude comments that come randomly from people who forget to think before they speak, and the ignorance of people who may need help right in front of them. Imagine what it would be like to have everyone say “hi,” be quiet unless they have something nice or helpful to say, and someone to notice if you’ve left your homework on your desk. Redwood Shores Elementary is building up towards that sort of atmosphere, yet it can’t be like that unless everyone tries to make it so. Try to be kind to everyone around you and you may find that they are being nice in return. Let’s all make an effort to be nice even when it isn’t kindness week and make the 2017-2018 school year the best it’s ever been!
“Having a wood shop class would be nice and it’d be useful to learn how to learn mecanics and be able to work on cars.” Interviews and Photos by Jordan Hanlon
Going to college with my twin Risako and Natsuko Nozaki Seniors
For many of us, graduating high school means a time of separation from not only relationships but lifestyles. A time of independence and starting everything from a blank slate. But going to the same college as my twin sister is certainly going to change some circumstances in this process. Risako’s side Originally, I was very opposed to going to the same college as my sister. After 18 years of living together, I wanted to leave everything behind in California and start a brand new life in a brand new world. Well, says the one that decided to go to the same college as her twin sister. My mom has this phobia that we’re going to be living as hermits in a house together forever. Having a twin to me is like knowing someone that’s you, but not you at the same time. They get you, and are completely honest with you, which is why I wanted to be apart from her. Already having a best friend that will always be with you 24/7, I tend to not reach out too much on
my own to make friends. I wanted to change that. Also I didn’t want to be known as “the twin.” I realized all of this could be changed just by how I introduce myself. Identifying myself as a twin is like what I think of myself after my name. It’s a crucial part of me but it doesn’t say everything about me. Being the older twin has shaped me into the person I am, but that doesn’t have to be the first thing people need to know. Whenever I introduced myself at school I would always use the classic twin introduction of “I know someone with the same birthday as me.” In college I want to start off saying things that make me unique. After all, being a twin is not an “interesting fact” but just “information” about myself. But this is for real, I will not room with her. That would just be home part two. Natsuko’s side To start off: I don’t want this to be some cheesy complaints from twins about how they want to gain independence and make new friends. Frankly, I don’t care about the things Risako mentioned that concerns her. I think it’s just a way
to make excuses about why she hasn’t been able to “branch out” as much as she has wanted. I’m honestly not concerned about such a little thing as how you introduce yourself or how she thinks people are only attracted to her “twinness.” This is because I’m just simply taking advantage of the environment. I’ve grown up and the things I learned through this experience are greater than the experiences she’s claimed to have “lost.” In college, I think we’ll coincidentally enroll in the same club. She’ll probably say she won’t enroll in it because she wants “to have a separate friend group” or “to try things on my own”, and that’s fine, but that’s not the point. I don’t think it’s wrong to have the same friends or rely on a sibling or nonetheless try to pursue something you’re passionate about. If she wanted to avoid these situations with full force, she wouldn’t have decided to apply Early Decision after me. I’m not concerned about going to the same college. I haven’t thought about it at all. It’ll just be an interesting and exciting four years as I learn to take care of myself and study what I love.
A day in the life
of a high school guidance counselor
Interviews done by Celine Yang
A day in a counselor’s life is varied. They meet with students, whether it be by appointment or drop-ins, help students with college and scholarship applications, write recommendation letters, answer emails, and more. But perhaps the defining part about being a counselor, as said by Counselors Connie Dominguez and Kristin Vernon: “We have to be ready for whatever walks in the door.”
“ We have to be ready for whatever walks in the door.
Q: What advice would you give to students and parents?
Q: What does a typical day look like for you? A: The biggest part about being in a counseling position in a high school is that you definitely have to be ready for whatever walks through the door each day. Even if I had five appointments scheduled today, I’d reschedule all of them if a student dropped in and needed to talk with someone because they’re depressed and need a person to talk to. Because that is what we all got into [this job] for.
A: Students should be able to relax and enjoy high school. I think so many students that are caught up in grades, test scores, and how much student thinks each grade and test matters. It’s important that they know that it’s not life-changing. I think parents can help students learn that lesson too, by helping them to study but letting them know that as long as you try hard, you don’t have to be perfect.
Q: How did you get into counseling? Counselor Connie Dominguez
A: After I graduated from UC Davis, my goal was to become a clinical therapist, and back then—this was in the ‘80s—high schools needed counselors. So I was working on my therapy hours, and my supervisor told me: “Hey, you should try [counseling] at a high school.” You know what? I barely even graduated from high school. And I even told her, I got pregnant in my senior year of high school, and I was not supposed to go to college. And she looked at me and said, “That’s what would make you an even better counselor.”
Counselor Kim Miller
A: I like to sit back and let kids share their own stories or their own perspectives on things, rather than going in with my own perspective. Each student may interpret the same situation differently, that you can’t assume that a student will feel a certain way as something happens. I think nothing surprises me anymore with my experience, so I think over time I’ve become more tolerant and less judgemental.
Q: How has your counselor impacted you?
Q: How has your counselor impacted you?
Jenna Williamson Senior
Q: What impact have your students had on you?
A: Mrs. Miller helped me when I was really overwhelmed with balancing homework with extracurricular activities during a particularly mentally taxing period of time. She’s always very comforting and assured me that my mental obstacles are valid, even when I get caught up in thinking otherwise. Counselors definitely have a different role than teacher and student dynamics.
We asked, they answered. Here’s what they had to say.
Sarah Greenbaum Senior
A: Mrs. De Paoli is the AVID mother figure who is always there for us. I’m always able to come to her for help with school and life outside of school. She’ll drop anything for us, which has made the most stressful time in senior year better. She helped me with all my college applications and portals. I am very grateful to have her as my counselor.
What do counselors do in their free time?
Connie Dominguez worked with a nonprofit to bring foster care kids into STEM camps
Up until this year, I was involved in a nonprofit during the summers. My nonprofit, Learning Tech, focused on helping foster kids go to science camps. It was open to first-graders to fourth-graders in San Carlos. We had to buy them backpacks, provide transportation, and more. We also had a social worker outside the door, since a lot of kids have been traumatized and the bureaucracy around the foster care system. I loved doing it, but the reason why we’re not doing it anymore is because the nonprofit was successful. Another nonprofit had a lot of funding and wanted to help, so we gave them the program. The point of this program is to give the kids a normal experience. Every child deserves to thrive.
Photo Illustration By Connor Lin
Photo Illustration By Connor Lin
T H E REP UTATIO N OF I VY LEA GUES AND O THER ELI TE SCHO OLS IS WILTI N G
THE IVY LEAGUE S: SCHOOL y, rsit e iv n U Yale y of it bia Univers iversity, Colum n U to rd e rva rinc n ania, Ha ersity, P Pennsylv ity, Brown Univ ersity, and iv Univers ity, Cornell Un e. Univers rtmouth Colleg Da
Accordin g to Ivy Coa APPLICA c TIONS a h, 253,457 re sent to Ivy Lea each ye gues ar.
College Misconceptions Students flock to name-brand schools Cath Lei Staff Writer If you don’t get into an elite school, you’re a failure. At least that’s what the stereotype says. Whether it’s because of parental or societal pressures, many students find themselves striving to go to the most prestigious schools, such as the Universities of California (UC), the more popular California State schools, the Ivy League schools, and Stanford. They’re the biggest, the oldest, and the wealthiest institutions. For some reason, these schools are more admired than others. For students like junior Grace Li. it’s partly because these schools are the ones her parents heard about overseas. “In China there’s a tier system for universities, and the higher ranked, the better. The Ivy League translates to that top tier for my parents,” Li said. But attending a top-tier institution doesn’t necessarily make someone flawless. According to Ivy Coach, a website dedicated to college counseling and tutoring for prospective Ivy League students, there are approximately 253,457 applications that get sent to the Ivy League schools each year. Each school receives anywhere from 15,000 to over 30,000 applications. That’s just for the graduating class of 2018. Not all of these applicants will get in. Only 13,398 of them will. As these 13,398 students flock towards their new beginnings, many will already begin to think of themselves as the best of the best. “The idea is that the harder the school is to get into, the more talented you are, and therefore the more deserving you are,” Li said. “People will respect you more, just because of the name of your school.”
For fall 20 221,000 18, MORE THA for unde STUDENTS ap N rgradua plied Univers te adm ity of C alifornia ission to the Mercury , according to T he News.
That mentality has negative effects; in summer 2008, former Yale and Columbia student William Deresiewicz recounts an interaction with his plumber on The American Scholar, a quarterly and online magazine. He recalls being confused and not knowing just how to talk to this man who was inside his own home. Deresiewicz said, “My education taught me to believe that people who didn’t go to an Ivy League or equivalent school weren’t worth talking to, regardless of their class. I was given the unmistakable message that such people were beneath me.” Education might not be the only cause for this elitist mindset. In 2015, the Department of Education found that 38 of the nation’s elite schools had more students from the top 1 percent of the income bracket than the bottom 60 percent. One day, these students will earn a spot on their college’s Wikipedia page for notable alumni. They will be politicians, well -known entrepreneurs, well-paid doctors and engineers, and they will be deemed successful. “At the end of the day, an Ivy League degree opens doors,” said Zachary Schwartz, a former student at Columbia University who wrote about his college experiences on VICE, a news and media platform. “Whether it’s fair or not, people automatically assume you’re smart.” However, Ivy League students won’t feel smart until they’ve gotten their degrees and their six-figure salaries. A study from the Higher Research Institute of UCLA showed that incoming freshmen were more depressed in 2014 than they were in the last 30 years. At the time, only 3.1 percent of American adults were clinically depressed, yet nearly 10 percent of freshmen felt as if they were, perhaps because of the sudden environmental and social changes.
Everything needs an application. Internships need applications. Dinner with the speaker on campus calls for an application. Volunteer work calls for applications. The aforementioned 13,398 new Ivy League students will be challenged, and most will witness failure and rejection for the first time. They got into an elite school; now they’re in a shark tank with millions of near carbon copies of themselves, and everyone is competing against each other. Only one person can be the best; what Schwartz calls the “Ivy League brand of competitiveness” emphasizes that fact. But some students are okay with not being the best or going to the best institutions. “I’m considering going into film, so schools like Chapman are the equivalent of the Ivy Leagues, but for film,” Spencer Stancil, a senior, said. “I’m going to College of San Mateo first so I’ll be saving money, but also because if I decide to not to film, I’ll be able to change majors easily.” In the past two decades, the list of elite schools has expanded; in August 2006, Newsweek redefined what it meant to be an “elite school.” And as the percentage of prospective college students increased, so did the number of these world-class colleges. As the number of different career options increased, institutions that catered to specific fields began to be more common. Fashion majors go to schools like Parsons School of Design in New York and designers go to schools like Rhode Island School of Design. There are schools and majors for almost any career option; students can major in citrus at Florida Southern College or study the history of the Beatles, or be America’s only graduating bagpiping major at Carnegie Mellon. Success is no longer defined by an Ivy League degree, and for students like Stancil, there are other schools on the market and other doors to open.
l Center Nationa bout 3.6 to g in tics, a Accord al Statis expected to n o ti a c u for Ed TS are 8 in the STUDEN 2017–1 MILLION high school in from U.S. graduate
Carlmont cheer soars to new heights “The cheer team has come closer over this season. We’ve worked very hard to be where we are right now. All of our practices during the summer, football season, and basketball season really show our determination to win nationals in Vegas. But a lot Ella Reyes, 10th grade of girls have been stressed trying to balance school and cheer, just like a lot of other student athletes. Our coaches are understanding that sometimes we have to sit out at practice to finish our homework, or miss practice for school activities.”
Sam Hanlon Staff Writer “And in second place we have…” said the emcee. Carlmont’s cheer team sat together and anxiously awaited for their name to be called at their competition during the awards ceremony. “The Carlmont Scots!” On Dec. 2, 2017, Carlmont’s cheerleading team won second place at their competition at the Cow Palace, qualifying them for nationals. According to Head Coach Ty Young, Carlmont has been to competitions before but has never made it to to nationals. This makes them the first cheer team in Carlmont history to go to the national competition. “It’s a really good feeling and some people have never been to nationals on the team so it will be a fun experience for them,” sophomore Taryn Schloss said. Nationals will take place in Las Vegas, during the week of Feb. 19, 2018. The girls are preparing by practicing with girls who have experience in competitive cheer. They have been having
practices every week according to cheerleader Larissa McCord, a sophomore. “We have a solid routine and we are really close about the team, so it helps us be more connected when we perform,” said Schloss on how they stand out as a team. Working well as a team can be difficult, but Carlmont works hard to bond, which helps them give a stronger performance. “I think we’ve bonded and have gotten to know each other well. We are also all very similar and spend a lot of time together,” McCord said. The team is less of a team and more of a family. They have worked hard to stay together through the tough times and persevere. “I’m very proud of them, it’s been a rough journey. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears have been put into this season,” said Young. The team has shown off their hard work this year as they have performed at football games, basketball games, and even assemblies. Head Captain and senior Nicole Eftimiou said she hopes all the 7 a.m. Saturday practices and 18
“I do not feel like cheer gets appreciated. A lot of people do not know about everything we do. It is year-round, including the summer which we do not get credits for. We also compete [this year] and at our last competition, we got second place. Bella Romero, 11th grade We are heading to nationals in late February in Vegas. Cheerleaders are not required to wear makeup for games [but for] competitions it is necessary because [we] are so far away from the judges and it is hard for them to see.” hours a weekend have paid off. “I’m super proud; it’s been a hard year. We’ve had a lot of extra practices to get things right,” Alani Frias, a junior, said. Through all they’ve been able to achieve, there is always room for improvement. “The girls need to work on showmanship, confidence, attitude, winning, and most importantly, having fun,” Young said. Considering that improvements need to be made, they have high expectations and pressure riding on their backs. “I have high expectations not only for myself but for the whole team; I want to do well. We have a lot of stress on us, our stunts are dangerous, and it’s important for everyone to stay safe,” Frias said. The girls have not only put hard work in on their routines but have also fundraised for their trip by selling popcorn. Coach Ty said it makes her proud to see the girls working so hard. As nationals approaches, their excitement grows, but so do their nerves. The girls are excited to
“I tried out my freshman year. I’m someone who loves to watch sports and perform. I think people who have never tried cheer might not consider it a sport. We work just as hard as any other sport. We do so much more than cheering at games. We also atSofia Wasman, 12th grade tend competitions and perform at school assemblies. Our main purpose is to improve school spirit. A good cheerleader is dedicated, hard working, supportive, respectful, energetic, and able to work well with others.”
go away as a team and to show off their skills as stated by Schreiber. They feel ready due to doing very well at their last competition. “I feel prepared as we did great at our last competition and we have made our routine more complicated to get a higher score,” Eftimiou said. Carlmont’s cheerleading team works hard to craft routines. The hope is for these routines is to make our sports teams feel supported, but who cheers on the cheerleaders. “Our coaches and family are usually cheering for us. ASB is also pretty supportive of us [during football and basketball games],” McCord said. Carlmont Cheer has been through many ups and downs this season. Despite the rough patches, they’ve pulled through and been able to accomplish some amazing things.
Profiles and Photos by Samantha Dahlberg Isabel Mitchell
Athletic programs impact where students attend high school Daniel Friis Staff Writer In 2013, a little league team out of Belmont came within a game of reaching the Little League World Series. All of these players lived within the Sequoia Union High School District, however once it became time to attend high school, half of them went to private schools. Many student athletes living in the Bay Area base their decision on where they go to high school on sports. Many private schools around the bay have stronger athletic programs compared to public schools. Jack Greco is a junior who lives in Belmont and has been playing baseball since he was four. Greco decided to go to Serra his freshman year instead of the local school he lived five minutes away from. Both Carlmont and Serra provided the same necessary tools for college, and they both offered similar education. However, one major difference between the two was three national championships for baseball, and a national ranking, according to Maxpreps. Due to statistics like this, Greco’s decision on where he wanted to develop his
game was made easier. “Serra is known for their baseball program because they have produced so many winning teams and players. That was a big reason why I went there,” Greco said. Many other students from the Belmont and San Carlos area have decided to attend schools farther away because their athletic reputation is more elite. “I went to Serra for their football program my first two years. Many division-one athletes went there and flourished under the coaching staff,” said Ralphie Holmes, a junior. Although not as many elite athletes decide to go to public schools like Carlmont, this doesn’t mean that public schools can’t be superb in sports. Carlmont has had a history of producing many great softball, swim, soccer, and football teams. Private schools like Bellarmine, Serra, Saint Francis, and Saint Ignatius attract athletes of all sports because of their history. These schools have produced Barry Bonds, the current MLB home run leader Tom Brady, who leads the NFL in all-time Super Bowl wins, Daniel Descalso, a 2011 World Series champion, and Kevin McMahon, a two-time olympic athlete.
All of these famous athletes attract the attention of aspiring high school athletes. For example, Tom Brady, who graduated Serra in 1995, has revisited the school multiple times since his pro football debut. In 2012, Brady made a $100,000 donation to the school for scholarships according to CBS Bay Area. Then after winning Super Bowl XXXVIII and being named MVP, Brady donated his gift for winning, a Cadillac, to Serra. Interactions like this hook younger crowds. Tom Brady is a five-time Super Bowl winner and is arguably the best quarterback of all-time according to ESPN. For this reason, kids think that if Tom Brady can become that successful coming out of Serra, they can do the same. Brady isn’t the only athlete to do this. Multiple former athletes of private schools from the San Francisco area have donated money to their sports programs to make them better. “Barry Bonds made a name for himself when he was in high school. For that, there was no doubt in my mind that I would try to do the same for myself,” said Greco. However, going to the best athletic schools comes at a high cost.
According to Niche.com, the average cost to go to the best sporting schools like Saint Francis, Bellarmine, Serra, and Saint Ignatius is $25,000 per year. Although money can be an issue, students who go to private schools think they are getting the best experience they can for whatever sport they play. “I heard really good things about St. Francis and the baseball program.The coaches have inspired me to work hard everyday and I enjoy playing with my teammates. It’s one of the best schools to develop skills,” said Aidan Feeley, a sophomore from Belmont who decided to go to St. Francis in part due to sports. Another factor that students like Feeley have to deal with is transportation. Carlmont is about a 10 minute drive while St. Francis is about a 45 minute drive for him. Because many athletes decide to go private schools, public schools like Carlmont have less athletes trying out. Alex Cohen, a junior said, “It’s hard to compete with schools that have kids from all over the Bay Area. It’s out of our control, and it’s something we have to overcome and forget about if we want to be champions.”
Students earn places in the workforce
Contrary to expert opinion, students feel prepared to take on jobs Talia Fine Staff Writer
By day, she’s a junior at Carlmont. By night, she’s a hostess at Sneakers American Grill. Izzy Lunderman is one of the many teens getting their foot in the door of the work-world. “I absolutely love and enjoy working as a host at Sneakers because it brings me so much happiness being able to make people smile just by being me. People enjoy my loud and vibrant personality. I end up meeting a new person almost every night,” Lunderman said. However, studies and general feedback from experts and employers have increasingly shown that the young people today lack the simple skills it takes to impress employers first in job interviews and then in their work, avoid lower-skill opportunities, and choose more educational paths. According to CBS News, young people are less likely to find basic labor opportunities beneficial, and they prefer to spend time on family, friends, or school commitments. Moreover, according to The Atlantic, fewer teens are working not necessarily just because they’re lazy, but because they don’t get paid that much. And in another Atlantic article, the argument is that most American millennials lack ba-
sic workplace skills compared to their Asian or European counterparts. Carlmont students and faculty beg to differ. Carlmont is an example of how today’s teens actually are getting jobs and work experience based on the qualities that they have and the skills that schools are teaching — not avoiding the responsibility, getting regularly rejected for the skills they lack, or being annoyed by a low salary. It’s true that Carlmont doesn’t offer any Home Economics courses to teach students the benefits of working, the basics of job interviews, etc. However, the school does offer Career Technical Education classes, such as computer science and journalism, to prepare students for possible future careers in their field of choice. Furthermore, teachers in core classes are also making a conscious effort to get students ready for the workplace. “One of our goals is getting [students] ready for post-high school life, whether that’s college or career,” history teacher Karen Ramroth said, “[In class, that’s] more about being able to collaborate with people, being able to use technology to amalgamate information and then disseminate it, being able to have a claim that you can back up with evidence; sort of people skills.” Preparation for a job or interview can come through
many other subjective experiences that can be as simple as communicating with others about their experiences. “I didn’t know what to expect [at my first job interview], but I actually felt fairly prepared after talking to family and friends about their past job interviews,” said Kristine Chan, a junior and Starbucks barista. Other types of preparation can get as specific as actual, onthe-job instruction while working. Brandon Gee, a junior and
kung fu teacher, said, “It was a training process that I had to attend before teaching classes. The bosses hand selects assistants and they teach you how to teach.” Students are not only getting jobs, but even if their professionalism is not adultlevel, their efforts to enter the workplace are legitimate practice for future careers. “I had a 15-minute interview with the owner about why I deserve the job, what qualifies me to be a host, I’m good with people, and am I a fast learner. I answered honestly and truthfully, and I ended up getting my job and starting to work,” Lunderman said. Conversely, just as teens can be rejected from jobs for not having the professional hard skills, they can be hired for simply being themselves. “Teens have an incredible amount of energy. A lot of teens are very into their social lives and love making friends and smiling, so it becomes very easy for them to smile and interact with the customers at work,” Jamey Harris, store manager at In N Out, said. Working at institutions like these is teaching students skills that they need to be successful in future careers. “A lot of people that get hired at In-N-Out — it is their first job. That allows me to really instill great working habits in someone out right of the gate,” Harris said.
The workplace has diverse opportunities and situations for people of all ages, experience levels, and personalities to adapt to, and teens are a part of it That being said, students can still work on becoming better candidates for jobs by practicing those hard skills. “As far as preparing for the interview or applying for a job, a few tips I would give are: do some research about the company and have one or two questions ready to ask during the interview, smile (you are applying for a job, but you also are talking to another person so you should appear friendly and easy to talk to), no one-word answers, and don’t be afraid to pause and think instead of just saying I don’t know, especially when asked about your personal qualities,” Harris said. Still, knowing what employers are looking for is only part of the equation. The most valuable asset a job applicant can have, according to Interview Coach, employers, and peers, is confidence. Lunderman said, “My advice to a student who’s trying to get a job is be honest in your interview and be open to learning new things. Don’t be afraid to speak up and have fun. Having a job as a teen shouldn’t feel like a chore but more like an after-school activity where you get paid to be nice to people.”
New finance pathway helps students gain life skills Zana Lunsford Staff Writer The second semester marks the beginning of the scheduling season at Carlmont; a time where students and counselors work together to offer teens different courses. This year, new financing classes are being offered to students with an array of options to consider. Carlmont offers several courses for students to choose from including numerous CTE (Career in Technical Education) pathways. The 2018-19 school year will be the first to offer a new Business Marketing pathway that’s going to help give students access to programs like DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) and better insight into what teenagers want to do in their future years. According to Business Insider, only 16.4 percent of high school students are required to take a personal finance course to graduate. With over 1.45 trillion dollars in student loans, more and more high school students and college graduates are in the dark on how to manage their finances. The new pathway and courses will hopefully give students the basic skills they’ll need when they’re on their own. Instructional Vice Principal Jen Cho says the new pathway will be composed of classes such as Introduction to Business, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship with connections to DECA and the Work Experience Program at Carlmont. Freshmen, sophomores, and juniors will all be able to participate in the new pathway.
Math Techer John Rowe lectures on Retail Sales Training in this year’s Personal Finance class. Current Personal Finance teacher, John Rowe will teach the Business Marketing pathway. He says the new courses will allow students to explore more opportunity and learn more about business beyond Carlmont’s current Personal Finance class. “I’m the advisor for DECA here at Carlmont, and we have a lot of kids in DECA that are participating in the club without the proper classes simply because we didn’t offer them. I know several kids that would be interested in the pathway, and I think having the opportunity to take CTE classes would give students an advantage when they get older and go off to college,” Rowe said. In high school, students are often faced with thinking about their future. Carlmont’s pathways allow students to dive
deeper into subjects they’re interested in and see potential careers in action. “The intent behind all of our CTE pathways are that students walk away with real life, real-world skills. [Business Marketing], just like Biotech, Computer Science, and Media Arts, allows students to learn and refine skills that they will use every day in their adult lives,” Cho said. While all students are encouraged to take classes and pathways that interest them, DECA students like sophomore Selena Sun are especially interested. “There’s a high likelihood that I will be joining the new Business Marketing pathway next year. It’primarily because I want to get more exposure to a career I’m especially interested in and that I would like to pursue, but also because I know it will sig-
nificantly help me in my DECA competitive events,” Sun said. Although Sun is a leading member of DECA and is considering the new courses, the future pathway isn’t limited to students in the club. “I think [Business Marketing] is going to be more applicable than, say, Biotech because not everyone is going to go into science, but everyone is going to have to pay their taxes and manage their finances. In that sense, I think that a broader group of students that would be interested in these classes,” Cho said. One of those interested students is Noah Goldstein, a junior. “Even though I’m not part of DECA, I think it’s important that I learn how to manage my money. I started working this year and I learned so much from just getting a paycheck, like how much money goes towards taxes, but I want to know more so that I’m not blindsided as an adult when it comes to my finances,” Goldstein said. Goldstein will be a senior next year, but he will still have the opportunity to enroll in the new pathway classes as individual classes, like Introduction to Business. Currently, the Personal Financing course is geared towards upperclassmen to help prepare them for the “real world” and adulthood, according to Rowe. The new pathway will also incorporate lowerclassmen. It will help teach students of all grades not just about managing finances, but also about marketing and business dynamic. As Carlmont continues to expand their CTE pathways, students are taking advantage of the new opportunities to explore their interests and future possible careers.
Carlmont introduces AP Capstone program New classes aim to prepare students for life beyond school Sarah Cheung Staff Writer
Picture a class where students are sincerely invested in exploring and researching a topic of their choice. Picture those same students earning college credit for studying an individual topic they are actually passionate about and getting a special AP diploma as a result. Starting in the 2018-2019 school year, students at Carlmont will be able to do just that. Carlmont will be offering the unique AP Capstone program, a two-year course for juniors and seniors. The newly added program, consisting of an AP Seminar and an AP Research class, is a rarity in the nation. Including Carlmont, only 12 out of roughly 1,580 high schools in California offer the classes. In order to make sure that they are able and committed, schools must apply to the College Board to be able to offer courses. Jen Cho, the instructional Vice Principal, had to apply on Carlmont’s behalf to be eligible to offer the new course. Cho said, “College Board is concerned about equity and access to the program. Part of the application required that I detail how Carlmont would keep these courses open to all students so that they are not exclusionary.” During their first year, students will take the AP Seminar class, in which they explore two to four topics relevant to today that are chosen by either themselves or the teacher. They will learn and practice research skills: analyzing textual and audio sources, considering multiple viewpoints, evaluating arguments, and making decisions based on logical reasoning. Following the prerequisite Seminar class is AP Research. In this class, students have the year long opportunity to investigate a single topic of their choice while building a portfolio to track their progress. According to the College Board, students will learn how to “understand research methodology, employ ethical research practices, and access, analyze, and synthesize information to build, present, and defend an argument.” End-of-the-year AP exams for the Capstone program are different from typical ones. They include team projects, presentations, and essays, some of which are scored by teachers rather than the College Board. Students who complete the course and pass a total of seven AP tests, including those for Seminar and Research, are granted with an AP Capstone diploma to demonstrate their excellence in the
program. A certificate is also awarded to recognize the skill set they’ll need to those who earn a three or above on solely succeed at a university.” the AP Seminar and Research exams. The classes could attract those who have English teacher Cindy Shusterman, more narrow interests and would like to who has helped coordinate the recruitment explore them while still in high school. efforts, said, “I think that this program can Shusterman said, “From what I’ve seen, really help students figure out what they the carved-out time for students to pursue want to study in college because it provides their own interests seems appealing to such a broad opportunity to pick a topic them. It doesn’t even have to be academic that you haven’t had the chance to delve or one of the four core subjects – it could deep into yet.” be photography, music, or visual arts, just Shusterman believes that Capstone to name a few.” will be a unique experience compared to Others predict that the introduction the advanced classes that of AP Capstone will be less Carlmont already offers effective than it seems. because it adheres to an Kaila Nishikawa, a junior, I don’t think the individual’s own passions addition will force anything said, “I feel like this class and speed. might be a lot easier than upon students [...] it will “For example, if you are remind them that there is other AP classes, especially introduced to an interesting more to life than rigorous during its first year of being topic in another class, you at Carlmont. In this sense, core classes. may not get to learn further it may not be as impactful about it because of the fastas it could be once it’s more Alyssa Fong paced schedule of a normal developed at the school.” Senior AP. In this course, you Some are concerned would be able to focus on it about the weight that because you have the time to advanced classes can impose do so,” Shusterman said. on those who overbook their schedules. Some students are welcoming the High school students in the Silicon new addition. Alyssa Fong, a senior, has Valley are amongst some of the richest completed almost four full years of high and most famous technology companies school and believes the classes will better in the world. Many teenagers believe that prepare students for the future. they must conform to such standards, “Going through the college admissions thus facing enormous pressure to get high process and researching possible grades and be accepted into top colleges. universities has really opened my eyes to Dr. Sanno Zack said to NBC Bay Area the research and writing skills necessary News, “The amount of workload that teens at the college level that aren’t sufficiently are carrying is unbelievable and they really taught at Carlmont,” Fong said. “I think get locked into a story about success — I it will be different from other AP classes need to get certain grades; I need to get into because it appeals to students who a certain school that gets me into a certain are able to see the bigger picture and job. The unspoken endpoint of that is then
I’ll be happy.” The academic culture at Carlmont often contributes to this pressure by having high levels of competition, expectations, and stress. Students will oftentimes fill their daily lives with multiple honors classes and extracurriculars to keep up with their peers. It is possible that by expanding the number of AP options at Carlmont, they may feel even further obligated to increase the number of advanced classes they take. Cho said, “Randomly offering a large number of AP classes in conjunction with students blindly taking as many AP classes as they can is not healthy. At Carlmont, we offer a variety of AP classes so that students of all strengths and backgrounds can find a challenging class they are interested in.” Shusterman believes that while schools should guide students in managing their stress levels, high schoolers hold the ultimate responsibility in balancing their schedules. She advises them to consider their passions, extracurriculars, and personal lives when choosing classes. “I think that the majority of stress and anxiety comes from when students are enrolled in an advanced course that they aren’t truly passionate about or that they don’t even like. If you are in an AP class in a subject that you love, you are more likely to do better in it,” Shusterman said. Fong sees the new program as an opportunity for students to explore life outside of typical AP subjects, therefore fostering personal growth rather than simply trying to please colleges with a high GPA. Fong said, “I don’t think the addition will force anything upon students; if anything, it will remind them that there is more to life than rigorous core classes. There are at least four whole years ahead that is based on what is learned in the Capstone program.” While students must evaluate the role of advanced classes in each of their individual lives, those who enroll in the new course next year will have the chance to gain real-world skills that pertain to their interests now and in the future.
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There are more alternatives than college Hanalei Pham Staff Writer
Go to college. College is a ticket into the middle class. Even the data tells students to go to college. Students have been told since they began elementary school that the end goal is college. While college definitely has its benefits, it’s certainly costly. Edison Bai, a senior, said, “College is an opportunity that not everybody gets. I think college is important because it allows you to find what you want to do in life and provides you with the tools to pursue that choice. More importantly, college is also a place to gain new experiences and learn more about yourself as an adult on your own instead of as a child living with your parents.” Still, many students and families continue to question if college is worth it given its costs. Over the past years, student debt has continued to climb, topping $1 trillion in 2014, according to the New York Times. According to a report by the Think Tank Demos, “Student debt is particularly damaging for individuals who struggle to repay their loans. Delinquent borrowers are saddled with fees, penalties and rapidly accumulating interest; borrowers who default on their loans face ruined credit and a debt often several times their original loan balance.” Student debt is a burden that gets worse with time, according to CBS. For many, it takes years to pay off student loans. According to U.S. News, research has shown that the average bachelor’s degree holder takes 21 years to pay off their loans. In addition, stories float around about how recent college graduates struggle to find work or settle for jobs which they feel overqualified for. Despite all this, the numbers are still in favor of college. A four-year degree has probably never been more valuable, according to an analysis of Labor Department statistics by the Economic Policy Institute. Americans with four-year degrees made 98 percent more an hour on average in 2013 than people without a degree. This number is up from 89 percent five years earlier, 85 percent a decade earlier, and 64 percent in the early 1980s. Furthermore, for people between 25 and 34 years of age, the unemployment rate is only 3 percent, according to the New York Times. In a paper published in the journal Science, M.I.T. economist David Autor calculated that, “the true cost of a college
degree is about negative $500,000.” In other words, a person gains half a million dollars by going to college. However, a new Institute of Labor Economics discussion paper by economics Nobel laureate James Heckman found that college may not be the best course for everyone. The benefits of going to college depend on the student. According to Forbes, “A bachelor’s degree provides a moderate boost to wages for ‘high-ability’ students, but almost nonexistent benefits for the ‘low-ability’ group. For individuals without relatively high ability, college does not appear to be a worthwhile investment. It may be a lodt investment once tuition costs and four years of not working are taken into account. It takes both ability and education to land a well-paying job—the latter cannot substitute for the former.” Aside from attending a four-year college, there are many other options for high school graduates to pursue. Such options include trade school, entrepreneurship, enlisting in the military, or finding an entry level job, according to Forbes. Josh Vendrow, a senior, said, “The reality is that there are still tens of millions of people working in occupations that don’t require a four-year degree. Drivers, some secretaries, athletes, entertainers, and mechanics don’t need a four-year college education, and if a person wishes to pursue a career in one of these fields, they may be better suited by not going to college and finding a path that works better for them.” Attending technical colleges or vocational schools is an often overlooked option, according to the Huffington Post. Such schools specialize in careerdriven courses that teach skills that apply to specific careers, such as carpentry or electrical work. According to NPR, economists say that millennials would do well to consider careers in trade as millions of goodpaying jobs are opening up in the trades as the older population retires and some pay better than what the average college graduate makes. Another option is to join the military which comes with many practical benefits. In addition to a competitive salary, free health care, and little-to-no living costs, the military will pay an individual’s tuition while in service if they later choose to attend college, according to Chron. Guidance counselor Connie Dominguez said, “I don’t recommend students join the military if the are doing this only to qualify for benefits (money to pay for college); the military exists for other major reasons (defending our country, etc.) that
students should explore first as their reason for serving our country. Students who are considering the military to help pay for college may want to look at [Reserve Officers’ Training Corps] programs on college campuses that tend to offer full scholarships.” However, the option that many teacher and counselors alike recommend for students who are still exploring their option and have not yet decided on a path is a attending community college. Bai said, “Personally, I think going to a community college like College of San Mateo is the best alternative. You can choose to take a lighter course load and do other things too. Also, if in the end you decide you want to go to a four-year college, that’s still an option. You can transfer and would have saved yourself a lot of money.” According to Dominguez, another possible path is the Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) program at a community college. In this program, high school graduates start at the community college to work on and complete “transfer requirements” and then select one UC for guaranteed admission yet they can still apply to other UCs too. “A community college transfer program or gap year is always something I recommend when students are not sure
if and why they should go to college. A community college TAG is also an option to make it affordable and I recommend this for students who are prioritizing the costs versus the experience,” Dominguez said. Unlike what they often hear, students don’t have to make a decision about their future right away. In fact, some might even benefit from traveling and spending some time to find a path right for them before diving in, according to Forbes. Making a career choice is a big decision. It doesn’t have to be rushed. There are a myriad of reasons for not going to college, but American culture still pushes nearly every high school graduate down that path. While there is a stigma attached to not having a college degree, there are solid alternatives to not going to college as well. Dominguez said, “I think we may start asking students to consider not rushing into college if they are not certain about what they want to achieve and asking them them to consider taking some time off to explore. I think parents (and society in general) fear that students who take time off from their educational path, do not return to school. And we all want to students to be successful in life. I guess it depends what success means to each person and/or each culture.”
False missile alert leads to self-reflection Skylar Weiss Editor
For 38 minutes of my life, I was mentally preparing myself to die. On the morning of Jan. 13, a statewide ballistic missile alert was sent out to cell phones across Hawaii. “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” Although the alert was false, it took 38 minutes for residents and tourists to receive a message that they were safe. One of those tourists was me. There are dozens of personal stories circulating the globe that tie in with those 38 minutes; people hysterically called their family members, others were evacuated from their hotel rooms, and some didn’t react at all. My story could be interpreted as borderline embarrassing as my first thought when receiving word of the missile was: “Man, all of that time spent on college applications for nothing.” Maybe that was my first thought because
I was in a state of denial; I was skeptical about the missile to begin with, but maybe I didn’t want to face the fact that my father and my sisters were all the way across the Pacific, or that I’d never return to California to see my home and the people I love. On the morning of Jan. 13, residents and tourists in Hawaii received this notification alerting them of a ballistic missile threat. Either way, my initial reaction to the alert allowed me to further reflect on how I might be prioritizing my life right now, and at first, I was a bit surprised. In high school, many seniors, and even juniors, constantly face the looming question of what their plans are after graduation. It comes in the form of standardized testing, class curriculums, peer pressure. And for some of us, college applications. College applications can be a very important part of senior year; they help students define and understand themselves. They also potentially lead to another life chapter. That being said, college applications did not define my first semester. Although I worked hard to finish them confidently, I
put my health, my hobbies, and my social right now. Think of it this way. For the next life first for the majority of the time. couple of months, I have the vaguest of Yet, these frameworks to help applications were me predict how my my first thought life will be in a year. when hearing I I’d like to think that I have yet to know could die within at some point later in my where I’ll be living. the next 15 I don’t know what minutes. life, my college experience friends I’ll have. I When I first will become one story among don’t know how I’m analyzed my going to feel. reaction, I was a slew of good times and I took several angry about how important memories that I can lessons away from much college ruled my false nearmy mind. Yes, it’s reflect on. death experience in important, but it Hawaii. Skylar Weiss doesn’t necessarily I want to treat define one’s life Editor people as if I may success. I’d like to never see them think that at some again. I want to pursue my interests while point later in my life, my college experience I still can. will become one story among a slew of And lastly, college is something, but good times and important memories that it isn’t everything. As a senior in high I can reflect on. school, it’s normal for college to be on my However, after some time, I was able to mind a lot of the time; it doesn’t mean that understand why college has been such a my priorities aren’t straight. significant subconscious thought of mine: college really is a big deal to me, at least for
Students expect to be carried through college Katrina Wiebenson Staff Writer
The future. It’s the one thing that all high school students stress about, no matter if one is going to a fouryear college, community college, or not going to college at all. Most students are unsure about what they want to do in the future, especially when asked what major they plan to take. It is a topic that triggers anxiety in the minds of all students thinking of going to college, as it will send you on a path toward a certain career. Because of this, there have been recurring complaints from students that high school does not prepare students for all majors that college can offer. There are not classes provided in high school for every major
that is offered in college. However, students need to understand that if they want personalized education, they should educate themselves; it is not the school’s job to talk to every student and teach them only about their future major. High school just provides the basic classes as “building blocks” one needs in order to be prepared with knowledge for the future. Carlmont also provides some classes that teach job skills related to majors as well. If one wants to be educated for a specific major, they should take initiative and find other methods and classes that could support their knowledge for a major. Kids this day and age tend to believe that they will be led through life by either their school or their families.
In the real world, you are not going to be given all the tools needed to support yourself and find a job. It is your job to build your life as you go and learn from the struggles you experience throughout. If one wants to study business, they need to do the research. If one wants to be a doctor, they should look into medicine. There are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of in the Bay Area, including college courses at multiple community colleges and summer courses all over California for selected majors. Internships can also help you experience a job environment relating to your major of interest. Luckily, there are many of these opportunities in the area, especially since we live in the Silicon Valley.
Jobs can also introduce you to work in a business environment as well. It will also increase your responsibility and get some extra money in your pocket. College is for people with the drive to both be successful in life and follow their dreams. In order to achieve this, students need to build their lives themselves and find the best fit for themselves. This will give basic life skills, as when they get out of high school, they are not going to have someone to lead us through life. They will be on their own. Modern day teenagers tend to complain when something takes more effort than they want to give. The lack of drive to build knowledge for their major themselves is a perfect example of this. Teenagers also have an urge for an independence, but still com-
plain when they have to do something themselves for their future. They struggle to find initiative. However, the future is stressful and teens all want to know if college will be a part of their future, so it is understandable that the lack of education for a certain major could send students into a panic. Avoid this panic by preparing yourself for your chosen major. If you are unsure about what you want to do, look at your options and what you enjoy. There are multiple classes that are available at College of San Mateo that could help you with supporting you in your chosen major. The journey to college will be a hard one, so ease yourself by preparing yourself for what is to come instead of blaming others for it. It is your future after all.
The Highlander Editor-in-Chief Jordan Hanlon Managing Editor Connor Lin ScotCenter Editor-in-Chief Sophie Penn Scotlight Editor-in-Chief Mona Murhamer
Rachel Borshchenko Kylie Lin Sophie Lynd Isabel Mitchell Kathryn Stratz Sean Vanderaa Skylar Weiss
Faculty Adviser Justin Raisner
Lily Bakour Ben Balster Maya Benjamin Sarah Cheung Riley Collins Samantha Dahlberg Nicole del Cardayre Talia Fine Daniel Friis Kaylee George Sam Hanlon Nina Heller
Cath Lei Zana Lunsford Briana McDonald Joseph Gomez Mackenzie O’Connell Hanalei Pham Alena Ruhstaller Justin Som Katrina Wiebenson Celine Yang
Scot Scoop Editor-in-Chief Brooke Chang The Highlander is a newspaper dedicated to providing Carlmont students, staff, and the community with high-quality news, features, and opinion articles. We want to keep our readers informed on important issues ranging from events at Carlmont to international news, and want to engage them with unique stories and images. The Highlander is a publication completely run by the students of the journalism classes at Carlmont High School. Story ideas are generated by the students and the published content is up to the discretion of the editorial staff. This month’s editorial was written by Skylar Weiss and the editorial cartoon was drawn by Nina Heller.
Editorial Appreciate our ‘good old days’
“I can’t wait to get out of here.” “I’m so sick of high school.” These emotions are frequently vocalized and felt by high school students. But aren’t the high school years referred to by adults as “The Good Ol’ Days?” We aren’t living in the same decades as the former teens that came before us, but our high school experiences really are going to be our good old days. Yet, most of us never get the chance to realize it in time. High school is a distinct period in life. During these four years, students have the opportunity to discover aspects of themselves that they will take into adulthood, all while living under literal and figurative roofs provided by their parents. It’s a lucky position: high schoolers get to act like adults in many ways, yet a fraction of them pay bills, raise children, file taxes, or work full-time jobs. The worst punishments most of us face are the ones enforced by our parents and last for a day or two. So, are these our good old days? Yes, however, many students of this generation deal with too many obstacles to really appreciate them. And, unsurprisingly, the most relevant obstacles are academic pressure and the addiction to screens. High schoolers today spend more time planning for tomorrow more than any generation before them; a combination of academic pressure and new technology may be redefining our generation’s version of “The High School Years.” According to the National Center for Education Statistics, enrollment in degreegranting institutions increased by 11 per-
cent from 1991 to 2001, and another 32 percent from 2001 to 2011. Record-breaking numbers of college applicants creates a competitive atmosphere among high schoolers; under pressure, students spend less time exploring and socializing and take excessive amounts of advanced classes, strive for perfect SAT scores, and spend time doing things to add to their resumés. Another obstacle distracting high school students from living in the moment is their uses of smartphones and social media. Common Sense Media stated that teenagers use an average of nine hours of entertainment media per day and that tweens use an average of six hours a day, excluding time spent using media for school or homework.
With distractions provided by the screens of our smartphones and laptops, teens are more likely than ever to spend free time indoors alone. A combination of academic pressure, excessive screen time, and an unwillingness to go out is leading to higher rates of depression and anxiety. According to a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics, the number of teens affected by depression jumped after 2011, which leads one to believe that social media addictions are worsening the mental states of teens. It seems as if many students of this generation may miss out on what has been previously known as a major part of the classic high school experience: spending uninterrupted time with friends and family, as well as exploring the outdoors and
their neighborhoods. Maybe this accounts for why depression rates are at their highest: teens of today never got the chance to find themselves in a relaxed environment with minimal pressure. Despite what is considered to be the drawbacks of being a teenager in this day in age, it isn’t impossible to enjoy high school. There just aren’t enough people enforcing the idea. Generations before us had their own notorious obstacles during high school, too, including bullying, a typically lower quality of public education, homophobia, and more. Those obstacles are still relevant, but to a much lesser scale today, as the former teens who experienced those obstacles responded to them by holding important conversations and inflicting social change. Schoolwork, college pressure, and social media will always hold some significance over teenagers’ lives, but like the people of earlier generations, they need to work to decrease the prevalence of their generation’s current negative connotations. In order to do so, high-schoolers need to get out side. They need to get jobs. They need to take up hobbies without documenting them on social media. They need to rebel against authority every once in a while. They need to tell themselves that college is something, but that it isn’t everything. It’d be a shame for one to look back on those high school years only to see that they were spent worrying too much about college and reputations on social media. Other than the common challenges and annoyances that come up in high school, as they do in every other time in life, these four years are a gift. Recognize that now and take advantage of it.
Nassar’s jailing is only the beginning of justice Kathryn Stratz Editor
125. That’s how many years Larry Nassar could be in prison. It’s justice served. The 200plus women and girls who he made sexual assault victims have received justice. Right? Wrong. It’s not over. Yes, this molester is locked up until he dies, but where is the accountability for the potentially hundreds of people part of the organizations Nassar worked for? They are the enablers; they played a role. Nassar worked for Michigan State University (MSU), USA Gymnastics, and the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) as a doctor and the Medical Coordinator. According to CNN, Nassar started working for MSU in 1997. That was 20 years ago. Nobody had the integrity to stop him for two decades. Regular medical “treatment” was required for the gymnasts training at each of these three organizations — it was practically forced on them.
Aly Raisman is an Olympic medalist and former patient of Nassar. Speaking directly to Nassar in her testimony, Raisman said, “I don’t want you to be there, but I don’t have a choice. Treatments with you were mandatory. You took advantage of that. You even told on us if we didn’t want to be treated by you, knowing full well the troubles that would cause for us.” It’s not as if the victims did not come forward. “Over those 20 years when survivors came forward, adult after adult, many in positions of authority protected you, telling each survivor it was okay, that you weren’t abusing them,” Raisman said. Nassar convinced these girls that his actions had medical purposes, manipulating their memories. Even worse than this, the involved organizations and their authorities swept the issue under the rug when it was brought to their attention. “When the brave women who started speaking out back then, more than a year after the USOC says they knew about Nassar, they
were dismissed. At the 2016 Olympic games, the president of the USOC said that the USOC would not conduct an investigation and even defended USA Gymnastics,” Raisman said. McKayla Maroney recently came out about her abuse, yet she was initially silenced by USA Gymnastics. According to CNN, “Maroney’s statement comes despite a confidentiality agreement she signed as part of a $1.25 million settlement with USA Gymnastics. USA Gymnastics said it would not enforce the $100,000 fine it could have imposed on Maroney for speaking out about the abuse.” Other victims also presented claims that they had reported Nassar’s behavior, and all were shut down. Amanda Thomashow was an MSU student who had been a patient of Nassar. “I reported it. Michigan State University, the school I loved and trusted, had the audacity to tell me that I did not understand the difference between sexual assault and a medical procedure,” Thomashow said. MSU’s president, Lou Anna
Simon, and USA Gymnastics did release statements acknowledging the strength of the women who came forward, but that’s not nearly enough. It’s not enough considering that both organizations likely knew about this abuse for over 20 years. Simon resigned on Jan. 5. According to the New York Times, her resignation came with pure denial of having any role in Nassar’s scandal, and said she is stepping down because it’s “time for a change.” The New York Times reported, “…she found herself accused of trying to cover up Nassar’s crimes and putting the Big Ten school’s reputation before the suffering of more than 150 girls and women who say Nassar violated them.” Simon’s resignation is a small step forward. And now, the work to figure out how this went on for 20 years without a conviction continues. “If we are to believe in change, we must first understand the problem and everything that contributed to it. We need an independent investigation of exactly what happened, what went wrong and how it can be avoided for the
National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-4673
future,” Raisman said. The more than 150 women who testified at Nassar’s trial have created a platform for assault victims around the world to hopefully speak up about their abuser. Maybe some will remain quiet for now, but not for long. Kyle Stephens, a former family-friend of Nassar’s who was assaulted starting at the age of six, said, “Perhaps you have figured it out by now, but little girls don’t stay little forever. They grow into strong women that return to destroy your world.” But, it takes more than victims speaking up. Women and men everywhere: educate yourselves, and learn that some things are never, ever okay. If you have been sexually assaulted, witnessed it, or have knowledge of someone being abused, speak up, because no abuser deserves to go unexposed. Raisman said, “My dream is that one day, everyone will know what the words ‘me too’ signify but they will be educated and able to protect themselves from predators like Larry so that they will never, ever, ever have to say the words, ‘me too.’”
Dog-whistling prevails today Justin Som Staff Writer
It would seem wrong for someone to describe entire groups of people with racist terms and to deny fault. But it happens all the time. For instance, look to when President Donald Trump first announced his bid for the presidency in June 2015: Trump said he wanted to crack down on illegal immigrants because they’re “rapists and drug dealers.” But in reality, his context indicates otherwise — he was referring to all Mexicans. This is dog-whistling. And chances are, you’ve never noticed it. Dog-whistling is a method by which people communicate subliminal messages that only certain groups understand. Racially charged insults are packed into socially acceptable language. Unfortunately, because the majority of society doesn’t understand the meaning behind these sayings, “dog-whistlers” often go unpunished, and their true intentions remain undiscovered. But make no mistake, despite its lack of attention from the media, dog-whistling is unacceptable in its various applications. The use of dogwhistling to communicate racist and discriminatory remarks are reasons for why this practice should be handled more strictly. Dog-whistlers shouldn’t feel at ease while making hateful remarks towards groups of people. Dog-whistling isn’t limited to only certain groups. All types of organizations have done it in the past, be it businesses, political parties, or other institutions. The most recent instance of dog-whistling occurred when clothing brand H&M tried to market a sweatshirt bearing the words “coolest monkey in the jungle” on a black child model in January 2018. Although the message was advertised by the company as a simple sweatshirt slogan, it was clear that the product had a racist subliminal message. Moreover, because the model was only a young boy, many critics believed that H&M was taking advantage of a child who did not understand the shirt’s meaning. This instance of dog-whistling was handled appropriately by the public, and other cases should be handled the same way. Only a day after the sweatshirt went into the market, H&M issued a public apology after multiple complaints via social media. More notably, NBA player LeBron James and musician The Weeknd both denounced the clothing line’s product, with The Weeknd choosing to cut all ties. For the most part, this instance of dog-whistling was handled efficiently only because of the quick identification of the term “monkey” as a derogatory slang for African Americans from the 1960s. In other cases, the discriminatory terms used
by dog-whistlers have been too subtle to be noticed by the public, or even worse, the people who notice it fail to draw its attention to the surface. On another note, dogwhistling needs to be handled more efficiently by society in other platforms like politics and simple everyday language. In politics, the majority of dog-whistling comes from candidates that are running for office. Because they don’t want to tarnish their image, these people cowardly hide behind socially acceptable words which mask the true meaning of their message. Most of the time, the remoteness of specific words cause the public to ignore connotations and symbolism. For example, some signature terms of dog-whistle politics are the terms “silent-majority” and “thugs,” which actually refer to the respective white and black communities. Although these sayings don’t cause direct outrage, politicians use them because they cause implicit bias in the listener, swaying them to the side of the speaker. A more obvious example of this type of situation occurred during Joe Biden’s campaign in 2012 for the vice-presidency when he was in Virginia, he said: “[Romney] said in the first hundred days, he’s going to let the big banks write their own rules — unchain Wall Street. They’re going to put y’all back in chains.” Given that Biden’s audience was primarily composed of African Americans at the time, it is quite clear that Biden had used loaded language that was loaded with symbolism. Speakers should not be allowed to use these techniques because they unfairly represent the arguments of their opponents. These types of subliminal messages have been determined by psychologists to be contrary to the public good. According to the psychologist publication, Psychologist World, subliminal messages are potent because they “may be able to circumvent the critical functions of the conscious mind.” As such, when people hear terms like the ones used in dog-whistling, they gain unconscious biases. Politicians use dog-whistling as a method to gain votes from both sides; one group may favor a candidate’s speech because of the literal meaning of the words, another group will favor that candidate because they understand the true meaning of the words that he subliminally speaks. Dog-whistling derives the majority of its power from its use of coded terms, which have different connotations and meanings depending on who the audience is. Although the majority of the population may think certain words have no ill meanings, the speaker’s true audience knows exactly what he is referring to. Yet, make no mistake, this
tactic is by far, not a new phenomenon. The origin of these sayings is Ronald Reagan’s “Southern Strategy” during his presidential campaign. In an interview from 1981, Lee Atwater, the campaign manager of Reagan, described the strategy of these coded words: “You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘N—, n—, n—.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘n—’ — that hurts you. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now, ...and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other... So anyway you look at it, race is coming on the back burner.” In contrast to the 1980s of Reagan’s presidency, it should be easier for the modern age of technology to punish those who dog-whistle. Given that almost all speeches, images, and letters become part of the internet instantaneously via social media, now the entire public can scrutinize what others say for hidden connotations. As such, society needs to take a more active role in paying attention to the remarks of what people say. This involves intense listening, reading, and analyzing skills; the discriminatory connotation of certain words won’t be discovered by a quick skim for the general message. The most vital part in calling out dog-whistling will be social media. H&M’s case of dogwhistling brilliantly exemplified how this could be done because the discriminatory connotation of “monkey” was discovered in the time span of a single day. But until this practice is more common, dog-whistling will continue to be a regular occurrence. If people don’t pay closer attention to what is said by others, coded language will still be used to discriminate, and the speakers will have no fear of public scrutiny.
According to American author William Safire:
The definition of dog-whistling “Dog-whistle politics is political messaging employing coded language that appears to mean one thing to the general population but has an additional, different, or more specific resonance for a targeted subgroup. The phrase is often used as a pejorative due to a perception of deceptive intent in the speaker thought to be making use of such messaging. The analogy is to a dog whistle, whose high-frequency whistle is heard by dogs but inaudible to humans.”
19 The Penn Perspective
Sophie Penn ScotCenter Editor-in-Chief “I became a journalist to come as close as possible to the heart of the world.” -Henry Luce
“I don’t know how to pay my taxes, but at least I know that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell.” This phrase has been repeated countless times on social media, much to the amusement of any young person who’s gone through a biology course. However, the dry humor is masking a very real fear. Nowadays, educational institutes prioritize college readiness and follow a strict Common Core class structure. With the hundreds of thousands of students applying to prestigious four-year universities, little room is left for “life skills” courses. We grew up hearing bits and pieces about classes such as “Shop” and “Home Ec,” yet most of us have a minimal understanding of what those courses would even entail, due to the fact that they were removed from standardized course schedules before we even began schooling. These life skill courses were extremely popular in the first half of the 20th century, but by the 1980s, such courses began to disappear from high school curriculum. This change was due largely to the conception that these classes were encouraging women to become domestic housewives rather than pursuing a professional career. However, the loss of Home Ec left a hole in the education of young adults — how, then, were students supposed to learn the basic skills required in adulthood? Over the past few decades, four-year universities have surged in popularity as attending a prestigious university has become the ideal standard for most young people. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, the number of students attending college in the U.S. has increased by around 5.1 million since fall 2000. Nowadays, you couldn’t convince a student to take a Home Ec or Shop class unless it was for AP credit or counted as an extracurricular, despite the undeniable value of the skills taught in these classes. I’m going to be 18 in less than six months, and I have absolutely no idea how to properly budget and invest my money, detect financial scams, or regulate my spending habits. Carlmont does an incredible job of advertising the 18 AP courses offered each year, as well as the various academic electives open to student enrollment. However, the majority of the student body doesn’t even realize that a Personal Finance class exists at Carlmont. The course is hardly advertised, if at all, to the general student body. However, if Carlmont is offering this course, why not advertise it to all students? Possibly because we’ll learn this material in college, or because most students would rather add on another AP to look better for colleges than learn how to manage their own money and finances. One doesn’t need to be living on their own or working to require a basic knowledge of how to manage personal finances. In a society that is actively filled with targeted marketing, subliminal messages, and online deals it can be almost impossible to navigate the financial world. College students are on the cusp of childhood; and, well, let’s just say they don’t always make the most responsible financial decisions. Financial awareness is crucial for any young person who is planning on taking out student loans, working a part-time job, or simply just spending money. According to the College Board, the average undergraduate budget for on-campus four-year universities can be anywhere between $25,000 and $50,000. When taken into account the additional expenses for eating out, decorating dorms, purchasing technology, and participating in offcampus activities, the numbers are extremely daunting. What’s even more terrifying is the knowledge that most of these young adults have virtually no concrete understanding of the money they are spending during their time in college, or how much they will be expected to pay back in student loans as adults. This circumstance often results in 20-something year olds, who have just completed their educations and are coming to the daunting realization that they already are thousands of dollars in debt, just as they are beginning their lives. Although we often think of this situation as unavoidable, there are ways in which the education system can better prepare students to manage their finances and deal with debt and student loans. According to USA Today, only 17 states require any financial literacy education for high school graduates, and only six test them on it. Although the California Department of Education offers guidelines for financial literacy, there is no financial literacy course or program required by the state. Just by simply requiring high schoolers to take a year-long finance course, much of the financial discourse that occurs in young adults can be managed and understood, although not completely avoided. Let’s face it, we’re all going to be in some degree of debt by our mid20s, but by learning early on how to manage and responsibly handle our money early on could save thousands in the long run.
Bay Area’s liberal bubble needs to be popped
Maya Benjamin Staff Writer Gibson Bakery, a familyowned establishment in Ohio, was a thriving business until November 2016 when three underage black teens were arrested for allegedly assaulting the white shopkeeper, Allyn Gibson, after Gibson accused them of stealing a bottle of wine. For years, rumors of racial profiling had followed the bakery adjacent to Oberlin College, and when word spread of the arrest of the three teens, the tension between the primarily liberal college campus and the bakery boiled over. A significant number of students began protesting and threatening to boycott the bakery, even after the owner produced police records that showed most people detained for shoplifting from the bakery were white and in this specific case, the three teens admitted to stealing the wine. Coincidentally, the incident at the bakery took place one day after the election of President Donald Trump, and the mostly liberal community was looking for an outlet for their disappointment. But to most, it appeared to be an incident of liberal hysteria. Former Oberlin College professor Roger Copeland told the Boston Herald, “I can understand why people were looking for some outlet for their frustration, but it’s just counterproductive to bend that anger towards a small family business that to my knowledge is not guilty of the sort of racial profiling that people accuse it of.” Campuses like Oberlin College and Carlmont are not as different as they appear. While Carlmont may not have protests and boycotts over alleged racial profiling, Oberlin and Carlmont are both echo chambers. For the most part, we assume we agree on the same policies when it comes to politics—thus creating a liberal echo chamber where only our own political opinions are shared. If someone’s opinion differs from our own we usually dismiss them and denounce them as bigots and racists. With the rise of social media and targeted news feeds, it is even harder to seek out other political opinions out-
side the snug liberal bubble. On Facebook, users are given targeted news feeds that provide them with articles that Facebook thinks they would like. In the past you tended to like more liberal articles or pages on Facebook you would be provided with more leftleaning articles and vice versa. Some ideological bias is normal but long-term condemnation of others as racist and bigots who have different political ideologies from our own won’t suffice. Even largely liberal campuses like Oberlin cannot shield students from the reality of a world with diverse political ideologies. In an interview with NBC Bay Area News, Trump supporter Ryan Busbee detailed the harassment he faced for the Trump stickers on his vehicle. “I have felt extreme hatred. The vulgar words, the bottles thrown at my car, bottles under my tire, getting keyed,” Busbee said. There is no denying that some of the things President Trump has said during his campaign and presidency have been highly controversial and hateful towards certain groups and people, but one must look at why people supported him as a candidate for the highest political office in America. In a New York Times article, Josh Barro argues that most of President Trump’s policies are fairly partisan and right leaning. Some of President Trump’s conservative policies include nominating Supreme Court justices who will strictly follow the Constitution and leaving the choice up to states when it comes to the legalization of marijuana. In today’s government, it is hard to find a liberal Republican or conservative Democrat. In San Mateo County, Hillary Clinton won 75.7 percent of the vote in the 2016 presidential election. By having a lack of diverse political thought in our own communities we are reinforcing like-minded ideas without challenge. In an article by Forbes, 10 members of the Forbes Coaches Council explain some of the dangers of groupthink. They claim too often, groups focus only on their own problems instead of digging deeper into exploring other problems besides their own.This idea of selfishness is prevalent in Silicon Valley. Most people here believed Hillary Clinton was going to
win the presidential election. But what liberals failed to realize was the people that lived outside of our liberal bubble had their own opinions. Although some of the things Republicans have said can be considered racist and rightfully so, some of their concerns are valid. Instead of validating Republicans opinions liberals brushed their opinions to the side and labeled them as racists. In some states where President Trump won like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Alaska there are extremely high rates of unemployment in comparison to the rest of the country. San Mateo County is different. In San Mateo County there is a relatively low unemployment rate of only 3 percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. One of Trump’s major campaign promises was to bring back manufacturing jobs to the United States luring in voters. While in their cushy liberal bubble, liberals failed to realize the plight of other Americans leading to what some believe the election of President Trump. Liberals proudly proclaim to be in support of all forms of diversity except ideological diversity. But if liberals really claim to be in support of all people’s problems, they need to be open minded and practice what they preach. While it may be challenging to hear contradicting beliefs that can be shielded by one’s environment, h e a r ing other opinions may help us all to become better informed and you might even learn something that will strengthen your opinion.
Carlmont’s 2016 mock election
12% of students voted for
Students split on Proposition 64, the legalization of marijuana
48% of students voted against the plastic bag ban
Photo Illustration by Sophie Lynd
Carlmont Highlander Issue 4 February 2018 Belmont, CA