Page 1

The Highlander

April 2014, Vol V Issue VII

College decisions unsettle students

What’s inside

College Crapshoot Dealing with college rejection By Gabby d’Souza Scotscenter Editor-In-Chief

By Claire Porter Staff Writer

As May 1 approaches, students must decide which school to spend the next four years of their lives at. This year many schools around the country had the most selective admission classes ever recorded, according to Business Insider Magazine. This means that the pool of applicants for the class of 2018 is one of the most outstanding classes universities around the country have ever seen. In order to choose which students will be a part of the university’s student body many colleges boast that applicants undergo a holistic review process. However many cynics believe that the admission process is simply a crapshoot that, at a certain point, is due solely to chance. “Every student is different and each person has so many parts to them that there’s really no way to look at them except on a case by case basis. The review is holistic. Admission officers wouldn’t ask for so many components to an application unless they were going to use all of them to evaluate the applicant. I think ~Continued on pg. 24~

“It is with regret that we inform you that we are not able to offer you admission to our university.” That is the dreaded sentence most seniors must read with disappointment and most egos must endure. As college becomes more enticing and a more popular route to pursue after high school, schools become directly impacted by the influx of applications, and acceptance rates drop by percentages each year. “A lot of kids that didn’t get in were at the top end where there is so much competition. This year is actually the first year that I’ve called colleges and asked them why qualified students were rejected,” said Theresa Torres, one of Carlmont’s guidance counselors. For example, California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly)’s applications have increased from 27,062 in 2004 to 52,000 this year, according to During that same time period, their engineering applicants more than doubled. Kiana Ghazouli, a senior who many would agree is perfectly qualified for Cal Poly’s engineering program, didn’t make the cut due

to competition. For someone taking BC Calculus, a programming class at College of San Mateo, and who attended a computer science camp in New York, many were surprised about her rejection. Due to the impacted schools and majors, this year was upsetting for many. Senior Andrew Sohrabi said, “I was frustrated when I got wait listed at my (thought to be) perfect schools. For a few days, it seemed as if everything I worked for during my time in high school went to waste.” Different schools weigh criteria in the application differently. For example, California State Universities only look at grades, classes, and GPA -- essays and supplements are not even an option in the application. “It wasn't hard dealing with the news. I handled it well by telling myself that those who were accepted had worked harder than me so they deserve it,” said senior Parsa Attari. While it is very true that many schools focus on academics and the “well-rounded applicant,” it’s still common for schools to take into account legacy, hardships and other qualities that most applicants simply cannot compete with, regardless of their academic and extra~Continued on pg. 24 ~

Photo Illustration by Veronika Dvorakova

Rooting against your teammates Page 27

iPhone emoji culture sweeps the nation Page 14-15

Alternative posthigh school options Pages 8-9

Modern day’s permissive society Page 12-13

Alcohol snuck onto campus By Josh Fagel Staff Writer

In an isolated hallway during the middle of first period, a Carlmont student cautiously surveys his surroundings and quickly gulps down a liquid from his plastic water bottle. At first glance, the student appears to be strangely paranoid to drink water so surreptitiously, but after swallowing the liquid, one might notice the disgusted facial expressions of the student. I later learned that this student was drinking vodka. While this was the first time I personally witnessed the action of drinking alcohol on campus, others claim to notice it more frequently. According to a Carlmont Highlander poll, 34% of students have witnessed alcohol drinking at school at least once. “I’ve heard stories of people drinking alcohol

at school twice in the last couple of months,” said senior Jessie Real. Drinking at school, according to Administrative Vice Principal Jennifer Cho, is one of the most egregious actions and administration is mandated by law to suspend or expel the culprit, depending on the occasion. In terms of catching students under the influence or in possession of alcohol, administration has a process to catch students who drink at school. “There’s a very low threshold to gain reasonable suspicion. As soon as there is reasonable suspicion, we are legally allowed to search and breathalyze them,” said Administrative Vice Principal Grant Steunenberg. With drinking having dire consequences, the underlying cause, as senior Kalila Kirk said, is that alcohol provides an “escape.” “[Alcohol can be] an escape from the situation at home and a way to avoid trouble with

Water bottles have allegedly been used to smuggle alcohol friends or intimate partners. High school is a place where a lot of these problems culminate, and some people use drugs to cope,” said Kirk. Senior Jordan Thorn, who claims to have friends guilty of this misdemeanor, said, “Many of the students do it because they don’t find the value in education. They simply have nothing better to do.”

Photo by Ryan Freeman

The administrative Vice Principals focus more on the students that Kirk described as “needing an escape from reality.” “While sometimes students are just bored and apathetic, about half the time students will drink at school because they have serious psychological issues and it’s our job as administrative vice principals to check with teachers, ~Continued on pg. 25~

Page 2 The Highlander


April 2014

Is eating in class a distraction to students? By Max Ware Staff Writer

Second to only lunch and the following recess, snacktime was the best part of the day for many kids in elementary school. The ability to take a few minutes out of the trying coursework that was primary school to satisfy one’s hunger was wonderful. For some, this break extended on to middle school. But at Carlmont, there is no official built-in break time for a snack. That doesn’t mean that students are any less wanting for a snack between breakfast and lunch period, however. Besides those who are able to scarf down a quick bite during passing period, students only have one time for eating a snack during school hours: in class. So then, the question is, are they allowed to eat during class time? This is entirely up to the teachers’ discretion. There are many good reasons to allow students to eat during class. The first of which, obviously, is that students get hungry. Hunger can commonly lead to such disagreeable side effects such as irritability, inability to focus, and noisy stomach gurgling, all of which can disrupt the learning experience for a particular hungry student and even others around them. Further, many dietitians recommend snacking throughout the day, rather than eating larger and fewer meals. This

Photo by Scott Schulze

is for two reasons: firstly, when one eats larger meals frequently, the size of one’s stomach and appetite can increase in size accordingly, which can lead to the desire for more food in general, and an increase in the consumption of carbohydrates and fats. Secondly, when large amounts of food are consumed, the chance that the energy of the food will be stored as fat is far greater than that when smaller amounts are eaten. An article on the health website claims, “Eating many small meals throughout the day -- as long as the meals are balanced -can help stabilize your blood sugar, so you don’t get energy highs and

lows.” These claims are not undisputed, however. In an interview with IDEA, Barbara Rolls, PhD, author of the weight management book “Volumetrics,” said, “Theoretically, eating several small meals a day instead of one or two big ones helps stabilize the way the body burns fuel by avoiding the big calorie boosts that the body easily turns into body fat. However, smaller, more frequent meals have not been conclusively shown to help people burn calories more efficiently or lose more weight.” Rolls also stated in the same interview that “patterns of eating vary for all of us. No one pattern has been shown to work for everyone.” An important point that this whole line of reasoning that advocates snacking for health purposes brings up is that denying students the ability to snacks can potentially disrupt their ability to follow their own dietary schedule. Each person has their own best times to be eating meals and snacks for a variety of reasons, and it can be unfair to force every person to adhere to the most popular schedule. However, the act of eating itself is distracting. Particularly pungent food can be distracting to one’s nose, and crunchy food can be noisy and fairly annoying to listen to. Also, a student who is busy eating may not be able to pay quite enough attention to the class at hand.

The possible movement of Charter The irrelevance of top news stories ment for the exchange. As of now, the traffic situation on Alameda de Las Pulgas is busy to say the least. With four schools in the general vicinity of one another, You may have already heard that the San Car- it is common for Calmont students trying to los School District has proposed to the City of get to school from San Carlos to get backed far San Carlos that the two agencies swap parcels from campus. of land -- a parcel on Crestview Drive rough“Its frustrating in the morning to leave for ly opposite Vista Park owned by the City for school so early yet still having to battle trafa portion of the Upper Tierra Linda Campus fic each and every morning,” said senior Roxy currently used by the Charter Learning Center Barker, “what should be a ten minute drive, can (CLC) and owned by the San Carlos School quickly turn into a 25 minute commute.” District. City officials say there Under the land swap are financial issues to conproposal, the school sider over the land swap district would move the a private developer’s offer current CLC from the of $4.5 million above the Tierra Linda site and appraisal of $13.5 million build a new CLC camand the Crestview neighpus on the Crestview borhood reaction to putsite. The City would ting a school on the Crestbuild new sports and view Drive property. recreation facilities (e.g. Residents are wary of soccer field, etc.) on the the additional traffic that upper TL Site. As the would flow up Club Drive new city park would be and Melendy Drive durused largely after school ing drop-off and pickup hours, there would The proposed location for Charter is on times. It’s worth remembe little traffic impact Crestview Drive. bering neighborhood reduring peak congested Map from Google maps action is likely a downside school times. to any change in use of the Crestview Drive The San Carlos School Board unanimously property, so the impact from swapping the land supports the proposal (as does the Governing is the difference between the two potential reacCouncil of CLC). Proponents of the land swap tions. say it would address many needs and benefit all San Carlos City Council began formal conresidents of San Carlos. For example, it could sideration of the proposed swap at a town meetincrease available park space, accommodate ing, held on Tuesday, April 22. The city council increasing enrollment of SCSD, reduce traf- will hold several hearings on the swap because fic congestion, and strengthen partnership be- there are a multitude of issues to resolve. The tween the City and SCSD. San Carlos City Council has urged anyone The idea of the swap has been mulled over for for or against the swap to attend the meetings months, but in the recent weeks was the first when the topic is on the agenda, sign the petitime the proposal came front and center when tion available on the city’s website, and to write Craig Baker, superintendent of the San Carlos letters to the local newspapers describing how Elementary School District, sent City Manager the proposal with positively or negatively affect Jeff Maltbiea a letter seeking a formal agree- the community.

By Graham Godwin Staff Writer

By Aria Frangos Staff Writer

There’s news, and then there’s news that makes everyone in earshot turn around and ask, “What did you say? ” It would seem logical for journalists to strive for the latter type of news, but the topics in the articles found online, in newspapers, and broadcasted via radio and TV sometimes seems to be pointless. One example of this was an article published on, entitled, “Ancient Sheep Poop Reveal’s Desert Island’s Secret Past.” The article starts off by saying, “On the floor of a cave in a remote desert island in Mexico, scientists stumbled across a mat of urine-hardened poop, dating back to more than 1,500 years ago.” It goes on to explain the discovery of the feces leading to a hypothesis that bighorn sheep might have once lived on the island, a location where their presence was previously unknown. News like this, although it could be helpful to some scientists, does not seem to merit the rank of the top slot it held on Google News on March 23. “Why is that even news?” said sophomore Shay Zalavadia. “I mean, aren’t there more important things that scientists should be investigating than where sheep lived that long ago? There’s people with cancer, there’s global warming; can’t they be focusing on things like that?” Many students like Zalavadia don’t find importance or relevance in the content articles such as this because of topics of greater importance they feel should have more discussion. Sophomore Max Storozhenko said, “World news, criminal news, and sports news are the most important to me. I watch sports news and listen when my parents talk about important events. Only about 75% of news is important; 25% is garbage.”

Some news can seem silly right off the bat, but the topics may draw readers in anyway from the absurdity of it. One Facebook group called The Useless News specializes in finding articles that most people would find ridiculous. It includes stories such as SC woman charged with stabbing husband with a ceramic squirrel, and “Woman busted for attacking live-in boyfriend when he refused to ‘cuddle’ in bed.” Sites like this are not bad simply because they do not discuss serious topics. Quirky news has some value in entertainment factor even though it may lack importance in other areas like informational value. Some people enjoy reading about silly topics as an emotional breather from serious ones or just for fun when they are bored. There are entire sites devoted to weird news, but sometimes the ones who give off the impression of odd, inconsequential news aren’t the same ones who are intending to do so. “I mostly read The New York Times when I do read news,” said freshman Katie Green, “which is a much more reliable source than most, but there still can be articles that seem kind of irrelevant.” Startling headlines are one tactic that some journalists employ in order to draw in more readers to their article. “If I see a weird headline, maybe I’ll click it to read the first paragraph and figure out what it’s about,” said sophomore Kendall Kaufmann. “However, I definitely think any article worth reading should have a headline that explains the topic. You should know what you’re reading before you start.” “A crazy headline can make me want to read an article, but it can’t be too crazy,” said sophomore Alex Hunsader. “There has to be a connection.” Although odd news can have value in entertainment or shock factor, many times it has no informational value. This lack of relevance can be an issue in compromising the integrity and importance of news as a whole.


The Highlander

Page 3 April 2014

Teenagers go crazy over celebrities By Shayan Mandegarian Staff Writer

Her phone buzzes during a lecture to inform about about how her favorite celebrity just posted a picture on Instagram, she sneakily pulls it out to see the picture and the next thing she knows the bell rings and she missed the lecture. She goes home after school to ask some friends online if she could borrow the notes from today’s lecture, but she ends up scrolling through pages of celebrity posts on Twitter. Before bed she checks on Facebook to see some new celebrity photos and statuses for a few minutes and looks up at the clock which reads 2:00 am. Teenagers are obsessed with celebrities. Everyone has different levels of obsession whether it being simply a fan or practically stalking that celebrity on social media all day. How does one become a celebrity in any society? In the past, someone could become famous for accomplishments in fields like war or science, but also could become an infamous celebrity by becoming a dictator or even a mass murderer. In today’s society, one could achieve fame by doing something like campaigning for a cause such as people like Martin Luther King Junior and Cesar Chavez who have national holidays made in their honor. But there’s another way to become a celebrity in any society that never fails to succeed, entertainment.

In today’s society, people become rich and famous for being good at entertaining people with their movies, songs, TV shows, and sports. But this was even true for people in the past, people like William Shakespeare could become famous for older forms of entertainment like playwriting and novels. Celebrities have always been a prevalent force in society and especially so today, but when is too much? In early 2013, a bunch of avid Justin Bieber fan teen girls who believed a Twitter rumor that Bieber was smoking marijuana started a “#CuttingforBieber” trend and would physically harm themselves because of what they believed happened to their beloved Bieber. Crowds of people flock the streets causing havoc and destruction when their favorite team of celebrities lose, or even win, a championship. In 2011, when the Boston Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup, angry Canucks fans went on a riot in their city. They torched cars, attacked firefighters, and looted stores, causing an estimated 5 million Canadian dollars in damage and 140 injuries. All of this because their favorite team lost a game. On the less extreme side, celebrity influence has disappointing effects on western society. It seems that people these days would rather read about what their favorite pop star said on Twitter than hear about important world events.

The first hits that put up on Google or Yahoo search lists are stories about A-list celebrities. Also, teenagers are obsessed with following the trends of famous actors or models they see and do anything to become like them, which is the driving cause of the current body image craze. 47% of girls from grades 5 to 12 said that they wanted to lose weight because of magazine pictures and 69% said magazines changed their idea of what a perfect body is. In the most extreme example, Justin Bieber fan Toby Sheldon spent $100,000 to make his face look like his idol. Celebrity culture does have benefits though. The music and film industries together make a revenue of around $27.3 billion, which greatly spurs the economy. Also, it makes entertainment available and affordable for the masses. Music provider iTunes sold around 25 billion songs last year. Plus, around 1.36 billion movie tickets were purchased in the US. Celebrity culture also allowed Twitter to be worth around $18 billion as of 2013. Having readily available entertainment can take people’s minds off harsh realities and leads to a generally happier population. Like anything, celebrity culture has positive and negative effects on society and should be taken in moderation. It is a great source of entertainment on a global level and provides money for the economy.

Are nice guys actually as nice as they seem? By Shira Stein Scotscoop Editor-In-Chief

Some people have, at one point in their life, heard a guy say, “But I paid for dinner and pulled out her chair and I didn’t get anything. Nice guys always finish last and that’s not fair.” This is the idea that pervades the thinking of most “nice guys.” This is the guy who says that women only date the “bad boys” and that women owe men something after going out on a date. Some girls today would admit to having experiences not wanting to dance with a guy, but not wanting to be a prude and say no. This view of women by men causes women to not feel like they are allowed to express their true opinion, lest they be called rude names for “leading the guy on.” But, if these women don’t protest and they allow the men to have their way, then they are called loose and said to have no morals. There are two different types of nice guys: “nice guys” who are motivated by their want for sex or a relationship and the ones that are kind just because he wants to be, and he doesn’t have any ulterior motives. Being respectful to someone does not mean that they owe you something. This kind of nice guy can misinterpret the situation with a woman and think that they should be given what they want because they treated the woman with human decency. This “nice guy” thinks that being placed in the friend zone is the worst outcome possible and that means there is no point in staying in contact with the girl. This view that this type of “nice guy” holds is one that sees women as an object to take care of and then abuse. Some say that women are only worthwhile when they are putting out. The problem is that many “nice guys” don’t realize the damage that their view does to themselves and the women and girls around them. The idea of the friend zone originated from the television show “Friends” in 1994 while Ross was pining over Rachel. Joey told Ross that he was running out of time to change their friendship into a relationship and said that Ross was the “mayor of the friend zone.”

Editor-in-Chief: Ryan Freeman

Editorial Director: Sabrina Leung

Business Manager: Kristen Friis

News and Opinion Arianna Bayangos Michael Bastaki



Kellan Mcdonough

Entertainment: Dominic Gialdini Claudia Leist


Sarah Klieves Shira Stein

Art Director:

Veronika Dvorakova

Ashley Kawakami Alex Lay

Faculty Adviser:


Junior Editors

Karissa Tom Alyssa Fagel

Justin Raisner

Zoe Wildman Sarah Boro

Part of the problem is that society and the entertainment we watch perpetrate these ideals. In the show “How I Met Your Mother,” the main character, Ted Mosby is always turned down by beautiful women or ends up dating the wrong girl. In the end he marries his “perfect girl,” but [spoiler alert] he ends up with the woman he wanted since the beginning, who only saw him as a friend for so many years. These nice guys think that by being placed in the friend zone they are being told that they are not good enough for the woman to see as a potential boyfriend. They think that the friend zone is an excuse for women to not say their true feelings, but it is a way for the woman not to lose their relationship entirely when she doesn’t feel the same way as him. This damages their pride and feelings, which is why these friend-zoned guys will sometimes talk badly about the woman who friend-zoned them. Songs like “Nice Guys” by YouTubers Chester See, Ryan Higa, and Kevin Wu say that the “nice guy” will never get the girl unless he becomes a bad boy. But, the public sees time and time again that guys who think like that don’t get girlfriends. Wu said in a video on his channel KevJumba six months ago that: “[he’s] 23 and [he] hasn’t had a girlfriend in over three years.” Ironically enough, the video for “Nice Guys” debuted in 2011, so since he said publically that he bought into “nice guy syndrome,” he has not dated any girls. Who wouldn’t want to date a guy that believes women owe them something for being decent in the most basic way? Let’s look at the word nice. When a girl goes on a date, the her friend will usually ask: “How did it go?” If the girl answers with “He was nice,” then that means she has no interest whatsoever. Women don’t want a guy who is nice. They want someone who is more. Nice is seen as a boring word to describe someone who they don’t Photo by Scott Schulze like all that much. Just because a guy treats a women with respect does not mean she owes him anything. The “nice guy syndrome” needs to cease.

the highlander Staff Writers: Ayesha Abbasi Jessica Adair Reggie Chatman Jr. Gabriela D’Souza Tara Ebrahimpour Graham Godwin Conrad May Isabella Paragas John Russell Katherine Savin Scott Schulze Daniel Wang Maxwell Ware Grace Yi

Naomi Asrir Angelina Castillo Tracy Chu Ariana Crame Matthew DeGraff Elizabeth Doctorov Athena Duran Alyssa Espiritu Rebecca Fradkin Aria Frangos Melanie Hamaguchi Danielle Hamer Sabrina Talpur Sarah Adams

Mia Hogan Kevin Juarez Kian Karamdashti Genevieve Kellis Julia Kranzler Darien Malekos Shayan Mandegarian Jocelyn Moran Ivy Nguyen Lara Ostroff Sonia Paulo Danielle Schneider Tara Shahrvini Taran Sun

The mission of The Highlander is to accurately and honestly cover communal as well as school events. As a student run open forum newspaper, we strive to incorporate multiple views and represent the diverse community at Carlmont. Dana Benelli Iris Berber Brooke Buckley Tian Chary Josh Fagel Ravina Gujral Miranda Irwin Elena Mateus Amit Netanel Mateen Nozzari Kimiko Okumura Angela Perez De Tagle Justine Phipps

Claire Porter Nathan Rosenthal Sarah Schisla Gianna Schuster Marco Sevilla Victoria Shanefelter Julian Smith Alisa Takahashi Lauren Tierney Giorgi Trembley Minh Han Vu Alex Wildman Alex Yang

Follow us on twitter @ScotScoopNews

Page 4

Opinion Love and loss College board changes the SAT The Highlander

April 2014

By Dominic Gialdini

Entertainment Editor "She died." Two words can change everything. On April 2, my nonna (grandmother) took her final breath. She was 89. There comes a point in everyone's life when they must face the death of a relative. When it involves a person who they loved dearly and who would do anything for them, the loss becomes increasingly difficult to bear. Nobody ever anticipates that anything bad will ever happen to their family members, but I speak from experience when I say that this supposition will always be proven wrong. It's not a question of if, but of when. While a person may be gone, it is important to remember that their legacy does not have to die with them. By knowing their roots and celebrating their achievements in the face of adversity, they live on in our thoughts and our hearts. It is with this mentality that I remember my nonna. She grew up in the outskirts of the Tuscan city of Lucca with the rest of her poor farm family. There, at the age of 15, she took on the role of mother for her two brothers and two sisters when they became stranded in Italy amidst the onslaught of World War II -- a mere month before she, her siblings and her father were meant to get on a boat to take them to the United States to reunite with her mother. Instead of the opportunity of a new life, she watched as her male family members hid from the Nazis and she witnessed the woe of the war as her family struggled to survive. It wasn't until a year after the war ended that she and her immediate family could make the trek for America. Leaving the port of Genoa, they journeyed on an overcrowded boat that would take them to New York City, where they landed on Ellis Island and promptly thereafter rode in an uncomfortable train with hard wooden seats until they arrived in San Francisco where, after several years of separation, they saw the family matriarch, Nonna's mother, once again. It is because of Nonna that I live such a privileged life, that I can get an education, that I have a loving family. She came from having very little and was only educated up until the fifth grade because her family couldn't afford to send her to the city to learn; she had to stay and help out at home. It was because of this that she made sure that her children and her children's children would have all the opportunities she never had. This is not an isolated case. Countless people, many of you, have family members who have pursued better lives, whether it was by means of immigration or education; many of us descendants reap the rewards of their struggles. We must remember those who gave us what we have. Death is a very antagonistic thing. It causes the mourner to feel many powerful emotions; one of which is regret. When a loved one dies, it becomes so incredibly easy to look back at everything that could have been done differently. "Why didn't I call more often?" "Why didn't I go up to visit when I had the chance?" "Why didn't I thank her for everything she did for me?" This way of thinking will destroy a person in grief. This is why we must focus on the good and the joy that we brought to our loved ones, especially toward the end. I am fortunate that I got to see Nonna for three of her final five days. From the waffles that she insisted on making me for breakfast and the Amici's pizza we enjoyed for dinner on Saturday, to the lunch that we had in Pacifica on Monday with my older sister and my great grandmother (who became friends with Nonna when my parents got married), the time we had together was food-filled and pleasant, which, may I say, very accurately reflects our Italian culture. That Monday was our last meal together. There was no way of knowing that that would be the last time I saw her, the last time I helped her into the car, the last time I hugged her, the last time I told her that I love her and the last time she told me that she loves me. Moping around and dwelling on what can't be changed won't do any good. Instead of depressing myself over thinking about all the "lasts," I must be glad to have had the opportunity to have those "lasts" in the first place. I must be grateful that I could spend any time at all with my nonna, a wonderful woman who would recite Italian nursery rhymes to me in my toddler years and baby me well into my teenage years. Anyone who has experienced the love and nurture of a kind person would concur that all the beautiful memories far outweigh and outlive the sorrow of the loss. We all have loved ones. None of us know how much time we have left with them. Quite often, they are taken for granted. Don't take them for granted. Don't assume that they will be here forever, because they won't. Call them up, visit them. Let them know that you love them, because someday you won't be able to anymore. Goodbye Maria Gialdini. I love you and I always will.

By Ivy Nguyen Staff Writer The dreaded test that rules over almost every high school student’s life is changing. Recently, the College Board announced that it will implement some major changes in the 2016 SAT’s format. The biggest changes include returning to the 1,600 point scale from the current 2,400 point scale, making the essay optional, and using “more practical and relevant” words for real life usage. Also, there will no longer be a quarter-point penalty for each incorrect answer. As for the math section, there will be more of a focus on problem solving, data analysis, and algebra. According to College Board officials, this new SAT will be a more accurate assessment of college readiness, as it will reflect what is taught in today’s high school classrooms. Junior Nico Camerino said, “I think the new format is a good change. The questions look like they’ll be more practical and will better show students’ academic abilities.” Current freshmen are the ones who will be taking the new SAT when they are juniors in 2016. Many of them are happy about the changes, but there are still a few concerns. Liam Jocson, a freshman who has already started preparing for the SAT, said, “I am excited that it will be easier, but I have been taking practice versions of the current SAT format, so I’m afraid that it may be hard to transition to this new format because we don’t know enough about it yet.” Although the 1,600 point scale may make it seem easier for students, the changes will not impact the SAT’s role in college admissions. This is because the SAT is a normative test, which means that the tests are graded on a curve. This curve will remain the same, so average scores will still be average scores. Some believe that the new changes are nothing more than

Photo illustration by Veronika Dvorikova ploys to generate more press. With the SAT’s reputation as a deceptive exam, some believe that the College Board needs it. In fact, The Washington Post reported that ACT test takers outnumbered SAT test takers for the first time in 2012. Camerino agrees. He said, “I think College Board is making these changes because of recent increases in complaints against the current SAT and the growing popularity of the ACT as a standardized test for college admissions.” The College Board’s own president, David Coleman, criticized the SAT and ACT, saying that both had “become disconnected from the work of our high schools.” Coleman acknowledged that the tests are “filled with unproductive anxiety.” In addition to those problems, the issue of class differences remains intact. It is a known fact that students whose families have a higher income regularly score higher than students from low-income families. This is usually due to the fact that expensive SAT tutors and classes are needed to recognize the test’s tricks and intricacies. In a partnership with Khan Academy, the College Board is attempting to curtail this gap by offering more free practice tests and help on its website, Still, this is not enough to eliminate the disparity as not everyone has readily available Internet access and a computer. Amidst these changes, people are still questioning the College Board’s immense power over the academic lives of American students. Camerino said, “It’s true that the College Board has a lot of power, but I also think it’s a good thing. The fact that both the SAT and AP tests are standardized by one organization allows for colleges to have a more reliable system for comparing students for admissions.” In the end, the new SAT is a different test, not necessarily an improved one.

Editorial: memorization in school Only some things are worth memorizing Presidents don’t have to memorize their speeches, so why do we? Students spend hours upon hours redundantly reading the same words in preparation for an exam in which they are required to simply regurgitate the information; not explain or analyse the meaning, not use it to further their understanding of the current curriculum. There is a lot of value in becoming familiar with the style of language and substance of speeches from various time periods as it can help students better understand the time period and the emotions of whatever event is being presented. However, memorizing paragraphs and then being asked to simply regurgitate all the information is detrimental to both the assignment’s purpose and the students’ attitudes. Any task done enough times, no matter the excitement or entertainment value, will eventually become dull and uninteresting; even more repetition can lead to annoyance and even force the person to hate whatever it is they are doing. When this type of situation involves an activity that is already disliked, there will inevitably be disdain and frustration. Mental agility and focus are essential to the development of students, but forcing students to memorize countless lines without an end goal is the wrong approach to enhancing these skills. Rather than memorizing an archaic diplomat’s works, why not memorize lines of a famous playwright from the same era? Or even parts of a song from

arts of that time period? Adding creativity and variance to the classroom would not only induce a more content and ameliorated atmosphere, but would be a more productive assignment as well. With a song or play, students can explore the artistic aspects of the work as they explore the time period and culture, rather than trudging through it to get it done. As plays and songs are intended to be memorized and presented for entertainment purposes, the trudging will become prancing as students can include their own personal stamps on the subject. The main concept that many high school teachers struggle with comprehending is the motivation of their students. On a basic level, all the teachers of the same subject and class are required to teach the same concepts (based standards), but what makes certain teachers better than others is their ability to veer away from the standard lesson in order to engage the students in the subject instead of forcing the subject upon them. Through the grade book, teachers have the ability (and right) to organize their curriculum how they deem worthy, but they need to realize that some teaching strategies are much less productive and can create hostility in students if approached the wrong way. The students are the ones who always have to listen to the teacher, but sometimes it’s necessary for the teacher to listen to the students. Cartoon by Isabella Paragas


The Highlander

Page 5 April 2014

Affirmative Action SCA 5 bill turned down By Sabrina Leung

Editorial Director A legislative push to permit California’s public universities to once again consider race and ethnicity in admissions appears to be on life support after an intense backlash from the Asian-American community, who fear it will make it harder for their children to get into good schools. The California Senate Constitutional Amendment No. 5 (SCA-5) was introduced by California State Senator Edward Hernandez to the California State Senate on Dec. 3, 2012. This initiative would ask voters to consider eliminating California’s Proposition 209’s current ban on the use race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in recruitment and admissions at California public universities and colleges. Since 1996, admission offers to black students have plunged 49 percent at UC Berkeley and 16 percent at UCLA, according to the UC system. Hernandez said he wants to restore affirmative action in public education so that California’s public colleges and universities reflect the diversity of the state’s population, with an emphasis on African-Americans, American Indians and Latinos. However, some Asian-American groups are worried that allowing race-conscious recruitment and admissions would cost college place-

ments for Asian-Americans. According to the UC system, Asian-Americans are the mostrepresented racial minority, taking up 38 percent of the UC freshmen class. Throughout the past three months, opponents used social media and email lists to organize rallies and town hall meetings in Chinese communities throughout the Bay area, while politicians were bombarded by emails and phone calls. Some opponents invoked the legacy of civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr’s by borrowing words from his “I Have a Dream” speech during protests. “I’m not opposing it because it is a quota system; I am opposing it because it is a discrimination bill. I know some students need more help than others, but using race is the wrong approach. Every student is given the same opportunities and it depends on that student to do well and succeed,” said senior Leesan Kwok. While some question whether the Chineseled groups were justified in their opposition, the SCA 5 episode makes something clear: Chinese-Americans, despite the majority being foreign-born, have reached a level of political maturity where they can marshal forces statewide quickly and effectively apply political pressure tactics. According to U.S. Census Bureau figures, Chinese-Americans are now the largest Asian ethnic group in California with more than 1.2 million people. The fight over SCA-5 shows how old atti-

tudes are changing and Chinese immigrants have outdated views of how politics work. Under pressure from constituents, the ChineseAmerican senators backed away from SCA-5, and publicly asked the Assembly speaker and SCA-5 author Sen. Hernandez to stop the legislation from advancing. The political influence of Asian-Americans continues to grow as thousands of immigrants get naturalized every year and their US-born children are reaching voting age. Education is a top priority for most AsianAmericans, but Chinese-Americans have been the most visible in fighting for access to the schooling they want. In the case Ho v. San Francisco Unified School District in 1990, Chinese-American families sued the San Francisco school district for restricting how many Chinese-Americans could attend Lowell High School. Junior Caitlin Tsai said she was “happy” to hear SCA-5 was not advancing this year, but is worried about it coming back in 2016, the soonest SCA-5 could get on a ballot “I’m already struggling to compete with fellow Asian American students, I am not even a part of those who will get into UCs easily, if this bill actually became a law, my already small chance will shrink even smaller- it would be unfair for Asian American students like me,” said Tsai. However, there are some Asian Americans who support affirmative action.

“I understand why some parents would be against this bill because they spend so much effort into having their child be ‘unique,’ but they also have to take into consideration other students who are not racially recognized as ‘good enough,” said senior Karissa Wong. Hernandez said he wants to get more positive information out to the public and to dispel what he calls misinformation about SCA-5 by creating a commission of elected officials, community leaders from different ethnic groups, students, parents and representatives from the UCs, CSUs and community colleges. Hernandez added that public educational institutions will continue to admit highly qualified students, but if GPA, SAT score, extracurricular activities and other determinants are equal, UCs and CSUs “should consider admitting underrepresented populations so that higher education institutions would accurately reflect California’s communities.” “I believe we need to make sure there’s equal opportunity for everyone in the state of California. But there needs to be a revised bill that is not racist, inappropriate and unfair,” said Kwok. Acknowledging the conflicting views over affirmative action, the California State Senate is continuing debates over the constitutionality of SCA-5 and will potentially reconsider the bill next year.

How to choose your ‘home’ for the next four years Public colleges vs. private colleges

By Michael Bastaki News and Opinion Editor This article applies to every student at Carlmont high school except seniors. Right about now, you’re probably witnessing a new phenomenon at our campus. As you walk from class to class, you’re probably wondering why those strange full-grown adults on our campus are more lively than usual. Why they are clustering in groups, or walking around with an happy smile and an all-conquering look in their eyes. Why they talk about dormitories, or distant places, or have a serious case of a deadly affliction known as senioritis. Yup, they’re going to college. And in a couple years you’ll be going too.

Now, there are numerous things that you can do to make sure that end up at the college of your dreams. And no, it’s not just getting good grades and high test scores. Even a genius, if put in an environment that is hostile to his interests, will fail. There’s a reason why a 2010 study done by Harvard University titled, “Education at a Glance,” found that 56 percent of college students do not graduate within six years. This study also found that a staggering 71 percent of students who enter two year programs don’t receive their degrees within three years. Therefore, I find it crucial that students determine which college is more conducive to their interests; which college will give them a better chance to succeed.

And in general terms, this question comes down to what type of college is better for them, namely whether it be a public or a private university. Now, there certainly are advantages and disadvantages to each type of university, as the infographic to the right demonstrates. It’s important to realize that you shouldn’t go to a college because of its prestige or price-tag; go to a college that has sufficient resources for your field of study and is tailormade to meet your needs. You should go to a college where kids are like you; where they think the same way, act the same way, and will undertake in the same activities that you would partake in. By the time January rolls around your senior year, you should have made the colleges compete for your application, not the other way around.

Public Universities


Private Universities

larger class size

smaller class size

average 3.0 GPA

average 3.3 GPA

funded by state tax

funded by student tuitions

57 percent of students have student debt

66 percent of students have loan debt

approximately 4 percent of graduates with a bachelor’s degree are unemployed

approximately 4 percent of graduates with a bachelor’s degree are unemployed

less endowments

more endowments

How to get the most out of your high school years

Reginald Chatman Stafff Writer

A teenager is at Carlmont High School for approximately 720 days. This means that kid is in class for approximately 5,040 hours. By the time this issue is released, every senior, along with myself, will be a month away from graduating and I can tell you from personal experience that the expression “time flies when you’re having fun” has applied perfectly to my high school experience. This is why I urge every Carlmont student to take advantage of his or her four high school years. After you cross the stage at graduation, while lots of new doors open up to you, many also will close. So get involved in high school because the experiences you have and the memories you make will impact the rest of

your life. Earlier this year there was a series on Scot Scoop titled “How to survive high school” that gave tips on how to get through these four years. Each day, a new student wrote tips on how to make their high school experience memorable. Day 12 was an article written about getting work done by Kat Savin. Freshman year taught me a lot about procrastination and how it can make school much harder. I vividly remember missing a day of school when a big assignment was due. The teacher gave me an extension, but I decided to procrastinate on turning in the assignment. Two months later, I turned in the assignment for half credit. This experience taught me that life doesn’t stop for you. Get your work done when it’s due. On day 17, Graham Godwin posted his article titled “tryout for a Carlmont team.” My

sophomore year I decided to try out for football. I was scared to do so, but with the support of family and friends I tried out for the team. I remember one day during practice talking to a kid that I had never seen before football. It’s weird to think that without this sport, I would’ve probably never met him. On Day 11, “Balance out your life,” an article written by Tara Ebrahimpour made me think about my junior year. The third year of a person’s high school career is supposed to be the most important. My junior year, I took AP biology. I decided to ignore the advice to avoid taking this class, known as the hardest on campus. I had to balance the rigorous course work, along with sports, clubs and SAT preparations. I had to be organized and change my approach on how I lived my day to day life. Calendars, reminders and alarms became my best friend. Use your resources such as your phone and the

people around you to keep focused on your goals. I will always remember when Jack Karasky, senior class president and the starting quarterback who led us to a co-championship, stepped up to the podium to address the 2000 people in attendance. His speech was short and meaningful. He drew a parallel on how the four years of high school are like the four quarters on the football field. Two quarters later, I’m a high school senior about to graduate and move away from a place I’ve called home for my whole life. The experiences and the people that I’ve met will be a part of my past. Use high school to learn who you are and make each day a learning experience that you will carry with you for the rest of your life.

Page 6


The Highlander

April 2014

More than just party crashers and ticket writers Jessica Adair Staff Writer

It is often said that every person has two personalities: one at home and the other at work. For police officers, this distinction is undeniable. As soon as a police officer puts on his or her uniform, he or she immediately transforms from an everyday person to an enforcer and a protector. “We become more stoic and at the ready in uniform because we have to be. Vigilance is very important and we always have to be prepared for anything,” said San Mateo County Sheriff’s Captain Greg Rothaus. Police officers have to make this transition in order to serve their main purpose: safety of all civilians. “Law enforcement works not just to keep people safe, but also to make people feel safe. We show up at community fairs and set up things like Twitter accounts; we do everything that we can to let people know that we are just a phone call away,” said Rothaus. As Rothaus stated, the main purpose of a police department is to ensure safety, but for some students, police elicit a different reaction. Out of a poll of 140 Carlmont students, 86 percent feel paranoid rather than protected when they see a cop. “When I’m driving, I definitely get paranoid when I see a cop. I start panicking and checking my speed, and making sure I don’t speed through a yellow light. I would even say that it distracts me from driving and the other cars around me,” said junior Pareesa Darafshi. Even Rothaus becomes anxious sometimes, when he is driving and sees a cop, “To be honest, when I’m off duty and I see a cop, I start to get nervous. I’ve even been pulled over by the police before, but I think being anxious is a natural reaction. Nobody wants a ticket and

86% Paranoid we know that cops give tickets, so we are automatically more alert.” Some students even question if a cop is enforcing the law, or just looking to give a ticket. “Cops are usually waiting to catch you doing something wrong instead of protecting you, and when you need protection, they’re not around until you call them,” said junior Mariya Chichmarenko. Darafshi added, “A cop’s priority shouldn’t be to pull people over and find someone who may be going over the speed limit or didn’t stop long enough at a stop sign, but rather to target someone whose driving is putting others around them in danger.” But according to the United States Census, an average of 10.8 million motor vehicle ac-

Police make people feel...

protected 14%

cidents occur per year, so traffic laws are very important to police officers. “In a community where there isn’t a lot of crime, we take traffic laws very seriously. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are, anyone could be a potential victim of a car crash. So we really want to make sure that people are being safe on the road,” said Rothaus. Despite this, some students believe that cops often take driving too seriously and give senseless tickets. “I honestly don’t know why cops give pointless tickets. It could be out of boredom or to have some kind of proof that teens are bad drivers,” said Chichmarenko. But even though some teens do feel paranoid, cops do more than simply writing tick-

Photo and infographic by Ashley Kawakami

ets. “Young people often see us as enforcers only, but we are more than just party crashers and ticket writers. We sometimes deal with domestic violence cases or become mentors for parents and for young people. We also help homeless people find resources, like places to live,” said Rothaus. And even though police officers may seem intimidating while they are on the job, off the job they are just like anybody else. “I really want students to see us out of uniform, with our children, and our wives. We all have hobbies, some of the guys play hockey and most of us play softball. We really are just like their parents, but with a unique job,” said Rothaus.

Breaking the law: rules are not made to be broken Arianna Bayangos News & Opinion

Many people consider themselves as law abiding citizensthey haven’t done anything drastic such as murder or stealing large amounts of money. However, many people break the law on a daily basis. According to an article in the Mail Online, the average adult breaks about 16,250 laws in their lifetime. According to an article in the Business Insider, some of the most commonly broken laws are connecting to unsecured WiFi, playing poker for money at home, speeding, and driving without a seat belt. At first glance, people often think to themselves, “I’m not putting anyone in danger so why do I have to follow this law?” Junior Adelyn Yau said, “People break those smaller laws because as long as nobody gets hurt, nothing gets damaged and they don't get caught by the cops, they don't feel like they're facing any consequences.”

Some also believe that in certain situations, they have no choice but to break the law. Chris Moon, a junior said, “Laws like speeding and littering are broken because it’s more convenient for others to break those laws. For example, if you’re late, you would speed because you believe it’s easier to break the law then to follow it.” James Xie, a junior, commented, “Most of the time it's just out of convenience or desire; for example, if there is a stop sign and nobody waiting at it, it is in the driver's interest not to stop.” According to an article in the Mail Online, 41 percent of the people surveyed blamed being in a rush for breaking the law. However, some overlook the fact that by breaking the law, it can actually be inconvenient. For instance, when someone speeds because he or she is late; he or she can actually be later if caught by the police. Another reason why people break the law is that they feel that it can be exhilarating to go against authority figures. A Carlmont male junior who wished to remain anonymous said, “I got drunk and high at school during my freshman year.

I wanted to experience something different. It was actually pretty exciting because I was taking a risk. Also, the chance that I could get caught made it more fun.” Some people believe that it is unacceptable to break the law at all costs because of the impact on society. Senior Alexis Wilson said, “I don't feel that it's okay to break the law, even though it may seem like a small deal. If one person does something, multiple people will start doing that one ‘small’ thing, creating a huge problem.” Xie commented, “I think that the problem with people breaking laws really as much about the amount of people as it is about the levels of ‘responsibility’ of those same individuals.” For example, a few people breaking the law by speeding by more than 5 miles per hour is less detrimental than someone driving 20 miles above the speed limit. While some find some laws acceptable to break, all laws were created for the well-being of our society. Even though some laws like littering and not stopping at a stop sign are nearly not as bad as stealing, all laws were created for a reason- in order to keep our society structured and safe for everyone.

Page 7


The Highlander

April 2014

Fred Phelps and the gay rights movement The Westboro Baptist Church inadvertently drumming up support for gay rights Isabella Paraguas Staff Writer

“Fred W. Phelps Sr. has gone the way of all flesh.” This was the declaration on one of Westboro Baptist Church’s websites. Phelps was an American pastor who headed the Westboro Baptist Church, a small independent church based in Topeka, Kansas. The group’s actions have been widely publicized, from picketing the funerals of fallen military and gays to the “God hates fags” signs. Phelps’ passing this March has spurred many different emotions, as well as different theories to the activist’s effect on the gay rights movement since he started to raise attention to the issue over 20 years ago. There are some that believe, even though Phelps was opposed to gay rights and homosexuals, he and his church’s protests might have actually caused the opposite reaction from the public than what he had originally anticipated. In other words, Phelps may have helped the very movement he sought to bring down. Senior Gina Mireles admits to being happy upon hearing the news, “Initially, I was, because he is a very intolerable man who took away people's ability to mourn and be with their loved ones.” But she also said that Phelps aided the movement, in some ways. “People don’t want to do anything unless it directly affects them,” said Mireles, “and he made the issue public and started to bring attention to it.” “I understand the ‘reverse psychology theory,’” said senior Chris Wong. “He attacked a lot of groups and they angered so many people, and instead of reaching out, they [members of the Westboro Baptist Church] just

Carlmont students attend a gay pride parade. stood there with signs. While those who disagreed with them, like gay rights activists and other Christians, reached out to others instead of just preach at people.” The extremes views and actions from the church may have created a huge counter argument from those who were “attacked,” and simultaneously created sympathy from even those who were not directly affected. “It was because his view were so extreme,” said Simonetta Cocco. “Because he did not only hate homosexuals, he was spreading hate on many groups and attacked them.” And though Cocco does agree that Phelps did have an effect on the gay rights movement, she also said that, “It is unfair to give him all

Photo provided by Veronika Dvorakova

the credit. There are people all around the world and all around us; everyone is contributing to the movement.” She also notes that the discussion about gay rights is still happening, “It’s an evolving thing and is still an everyday topic.” Mireles said, “Even if Fred Phelps wasn’t the one doing these things, someone else would have done it. It only takes one person. Whether you like it or not, there’s no way around it, there will be people with same opinion and ideology as him.” Though there are still many different opinions about Phelps and his contributions, if any, to the gay rights movement, it is important to remember that he is still a human being

and an individual. Phelps was an anti-gay activist. Phelps was said to be abusive. Phelps was an “Old School Baptist.” Phelps was an Eagle Scout. Phelps was a lawyer and took cases on behalf of black clients alleging racial discrimination by school systems. Phelps was a husband, married in May of 1952 to Margie M. Simms after they met while attending the Arizona Bible Institute. Phelps was a father of 13 children, a grandfather of 54, and a great-grandfather of 7. Phelps was born November 13, 1929, and was 84 when he died on March 19, 2014.

Military recruiting right out of high school

Should the military be allowed to recruit on school campuses? Brooke Buckley Staff Writer

Some students will risk their lives for a full ride. In charge of protecting America’s freedoms, securing our homeland, and defending democracy worldwide is the United States Military. Providing a wide range of benefits from salary to high medical coverage the military also gives a chance at a free college education. “Offering a scholarship for joining the army is just a trick to get kids to see some benefit for risking their lives,” said junior Sarah Anderson. Throughout the school year different forms of the military come to the quad at lunch to advertise their benefits to students. Carlmont senior Nate Fischer said, “Last year I became interested in the military when my options for college were limited to community college. I think that it's a nice opportunity for kids when the military visits Carlmont because some people may not have television or internet at home, and it's a chance for them to get some information.” For some students the military sharing information is very helpful, but for others it can pose problems. “Personally I think the military should not be able to advertise at schools because it only mentions the benefits of joining the army, not the cruel things that the army deals with,” said junior Sabrina Sneaper. “I also don't think it’s fair, they just use a free college education to get more people to join. It’s really manipulative,” said Sneaper. Carlmont treats military advertising the same way it treats any on campus advertising. “Organizations like the military and College of San Mateo (CSM) don’t pay us to advertise. We let them come for free, and provide information to students,” said Ralph Crame. “I think its a good opportunity for students to be provided with all kinds of information for different paths,” said Crame. The Montgomery GI Bill(MGIB) says that depending on

Photo by Brooke Buckley

how long your son or daughter enlists in the army he or she can earn over $50,000 to pay for a college education. Joining the military can offer a lot of benefits including a stable income for high school graduates. The basic pay for the military starts around $25,081 a year, and increases with benefits depending on years of service. The national association of colleges and employers(NACE) found that the average income of a new college graduate currently stands at $45,327 a year. James Pak comes from a family in which nearly every male has served in the military and said, “It would be a personal achievement, and a way to serve my country, but it’s not the

right path for every 18 year old.” “I’m indifferent to the military coming at lunch, but I don't think they should apply any pressure for students to join,” said Pak. Junior Toni Lupulin said, “If someone is really passionate about joining the army they would go out of their way to make it happen, instead they have soldiers come to public schools, and glamorize the war having young kids make decisions they shouldn’t be making at this age. Why should a 16 year old be shown advertisements about making a decision that could risk their lives?”

Page 8

Features Deciding to study abroad Gap year: a year The Highlander

By Sabrina Talpur Staff Writer

“Studying away is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture and language as well as push yourself beyond your normal comfort zone,” said the assistant director for study away at New York University Abu Dhabi, Aisha Ali. International student numbers are rising throughout the world day by day. Studying abroad offers students a way to travel the world, learn about new cultures and languages, and develop skills that are desirable for workforce in this day and age. Researchers at the Friedrich Schiller University at Jena, Germany, compared personality development and found that students who studied abroad showed improvement in the “Big Five” personality traits compared to their fellow peers who did not participate in a study abroad program. The “Big Five” personality traits included: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and emotional stability. Graduates that gain these traits through studying abroad tend to be valued by employers. According to the University of California, Merced statistics on studying abroad 59 percent of employers said studying abroad would be valuable in an individual’s career later on with their organization. The statistics also stated that in the long run students who studied abroad were twice as likely to find a job than those who did not study abroad. Senior Lizzie Guilford said, “I’ve always wanted to study abroad and I plan on hopefully doing so. I definitely think it’s a time when students can pursue their desires to travel and experience opportunities in a country that isn’t their own.” Some may choose to directly attend a school outside of the country altogether instead of participating in a study abroad program. “I’m going to Richmond University in London. I decided to just go for it because I didn’t want to start out at a regular college in the states and go through the process of being eligible to study abroad,” said senior ar ah Maylon Robinson. Bo ro In order to study abroad one must qualify for the requirements depending on what school the individual attends. For example different schools have different GPA requirements that need to be met in order to travel. “Meeting the requirements may be difficult, but I think in the long run it pays off,” said Guilford. “I do feel like it’s not for everyone though so that’s why there are counselors and such at schools. They’ll make sure that it’s for you and help you along the way.” That is exactly Ali’s job, to explain the program to students and help them make their decision. Ali said, “The office I work in, the Office of Global Education, works with students by advising on what options they have, what each program entails and then supports them through the application process. Once they have been approved to study away, we help them navigate the logistics both before they go and once they are at their site.” Psychologist Julia Zimmermann, who conducted the German study, explained that those who chose to study abroad did clearly benefit from the experience. For those interested in studying abroad, there are many online resources available to offer assistance for getting a student visa in various countries.

April 2014

on or a year off? By Darien Malekos Staff Writer

Wake up. School. Homework. Sleep. Repeat...for 12 years. Are you ready for a break? After completing 12 or more years of education, many students feel the need to take a break before starting their college careers. Gap years offer students this opportunity. Usually following high school graduation, gap years allow students to take a breather from endless schooling to do whatever they please. According to, “The biggest plus of a gap year is that many students who take time off before college find that the break from academics enables them to return to the classroom the following fall with renewed vigor and focus (and even maturity).” Whether or not to take a gap year is a very important decision for many students. While some students want to finish their education as soon as possible, others believe taking a gap year can help them grow personally and come back rejuvenated and ready to learn. Senior Tatyana Castro, who is taking a gap year beginning this fall, said, “I knew that I wanted to travel before I wanted to go to college. After college you graduate, you get a job, you start a family. I wanted to travel before all of that started so I knew it would get done.” Castro chose to travel during her gap year but this is not the only option for students planning to take a year off of school. During their time between schooling, students have not only traveled but worked, interned, volunteered, learned languages, and played on traveling sports teams. The list of possibilities a gap year entails could go on forever but the point will remain the same: students will get out of gap years what they put in. The American Gap Association (AGA) wrote on their website a multitude of both academic and personal benefits that students gain during their gap years. These include “working in groups...reigniting a sense of curiosity for learning...creative problem solving…[and] increased ownership of one’s own life direction.” For these benefits and many more, students across the United States have become increasingly interested in taking a gap year before college. Although there is no data for how many U.S. students take gap years annually, the AGA estimates that the trend is growing as shown by augmented interest demonstrated by students in their program and others of the sort. With so many offered benefits, it is unclear to some why students choose not to take gap years. Although the answer may involve a variety of socioeconomic concerns, there is a common response for students unwillingness to participate in gap years; they fear falling off the “treadmill” of education. Gap year programs such as Global Citizen Year (GBY) help all students achieve their goals of taking a gap year despite obstacles which students may believe hinder their abilities to take a year off of school. In an interview with HuffPost Live, UCLA student Mai Lee, who partook in GBY’s program, said, “Nobody has to go to college. Anyone can [take a gap year]. That’s what’s great about [GBY]. They want to make it accessible to anyone despite their racial or socioeconomic backgrounds.” Gap years are not for everyone but they do offer participants a variety of benefits which will not only help them prosper at college when they return but also throughout their lives. As the AGA wrote on their website, “The student’s decision to take a Gap Year is both a declaration, often times, of creating their own path rather than taking the one that’s in front of them.”

Summer College Courses 29% Gap Year 4% Study Abroad 19% Other (College) 49%

hic ap Gr



Summer college: school and more school By Mia Hogan Staff Writer

After a tedious ten month high school year, some students sign up for more over summer break. Ranging from a full schedule to limited class options or a shortage on credits, high school students head to local colleges for summer courses. Entering the 2015 school year, junior and senior students face challenges due to the low budget. According to the Carlmont Academic Foundation (CAF) frequently asked questions handout, “There are no restrictions on students doubling up on classes or taking seven periods. However, the district only pays for six class periods for each student except for AVID, BUILD, and some support classes.” Students guaranteed an opportunity to enroll in seven classes are those enrolled in electives paid by the district. For the rest of the students, seven classes will be offered depending on funding for the next

school year. As a result of uncertainty, many students have to drop an elective or pick up additional classes outside of school. College and guidance counselor Connie Dominguez said, “Taking college classes over the summer is free, earns college credit for free, and as long as the course is UC or CSU approved, it is a five point class without having to take an AP test.” Choir and orchestra student Clare Marks is greatly impacted by this rule. She has taken Spanish outside of school in the previous summer at Skyline community college. Marks said, “I took Spanish since I couldn’t fit it into my schedule and I need credits for college. Summer is easier for a class on a college campus, since it is difficult to do extracurriculars while taking a class out of school.” Many students attending Carlmont face a the predicament of limited course options. Compared to colleges and private schools, Carlmont’s course selection is limited.

“There probably will be a rise in community college enrollment since people can take a selection of classes out of school and still get college credit for them,” said Marks. At community college, many more classes are offered with a wide variety to pick from. Sophomore Sara Yolland attended Skyline College, and enrolled in American Sign Language to fulfill her high school language credits due to a full schedule freshman year. “I found it really helpful that I had sign language outside of school because it was nice to be in a different environment and meet new people,” said Yolland. Students value summer colleges classes because it provides an opportunity to be introduced to new concepts early on, making the school year easier when the topics are taught in class. Sophomore Davis Schmitt said, “ I am considering summer college courses to get a head start in my challenging classes. Learning it over the summer will make the

school year ten times easier because the topics are reintroduced rather than brand new. This makes my life less stressful and I can focus more on other classes and extracurriculars.” Taking college courses over the summer also put students at an advantage. In high school, AP classes mimic a college class however taught at high school. Attending a community college proves a students ability to succeed at a college level, because it is a college class. “One semester in community college is equal to a whole year at Carlmont. It really helps students get ahead sometimes. Even if it might not go on transcripts, colleges will factor it into the student’s grade point average when applying,” said Dominguez. To get ahead or catch up with college classes over the summer, visit the college and career center or the guidance department. Yolland said, “Students who choose to take summer classes have a good opportunity to get ahead, but also experience high school.”

Page 9

Features School plays and musicals bring Broadway’s culture

April 2014

The Highlander

By Tracy Chu Staff Writer Every year, a variety of plays and musicals are put on by Carlmont High School students. Sophomore Marion Demailly said, “I’ve been to a couple of the school productions before, and each time I was blown away by how good they were.” Carlmont High School typically puts together two plays and one musical per year; the plays are in the fall and late spring, while the musical is in early spring. Nancy Martin, the Carlmont Drama teacher, helps facilitate these school productions. Outside of overseeing the school plays and musicals, Martin teaches both Drama I and Advanced Drama, in which she teaches students about various aspects of theatre including makeup, costumes, and the history behind theatre. Through the many roles they can play, the students of Carlmont are able to express their creativity through acting and/ or singing on stage. According to PBS. org, participating in a school play can help relieve stress from school by providing a creative outlet and can also enhance a student’s academic performance. Senior Josephine Kraemer said, “I performed in the musical and it was really fun. I’ve been in a lot of plays before and I’m also in choir, so this is not my first performance. It was extremely tiring but definitely a great experience, and I hope to continue to get involved in performances after I graduate.” The 2013 fall play at Carlmont High

School was “The Laramie Project.” It is a play by Moisés Kaufman about 1998 murder of a gay student named Matthew Shepard at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyo. A widely-known play throughout the United States, “The Laramie Project” has been used to effectively teach people about prejudice and tolerance, and has inspired efforts to combat homophobia. The play also brought attention to the lack of hate crime laws in many states. Senior Iris Choi said, “I went to see ‘The Laramie Project’ last fall, and I thought it was very well-rehearsed. The acting was very realistic and, even though the plot was kind of dark, I enjoyed it.” The 2014 spring musical at Carlmont was “Annie Get Your Gun,” a famous Broadway performance. The musical is based on a book by Herbert and Dorothy Fields with lyrics and music by Irving Berlin about Annie Oakley, a sharpshooter and her relationship with another sharpshooter named Frank Butler. Sophomore Kelly Liu said, “I went to watch ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ with some friends, and we all really enjoyed it. The singing and choreography was really impressive, and I look forward to next year’s musical.” The play in the late spring is a studentdirected play. Directing a performance gives students the chance to try something new and gain skills in interacting and working with others that aren’t gained in any other environment. The upcoming student-directed play is called “Alice,” a twist on the classic book “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll, and will debut in May 2014.

“It was extremely tiring but definitely a great experience, and I hope to continue to get involved in performances after I graduate.” ~Josephine Kraemer~

Graphic by Melanie Hamaguchi

Reza Ebrahimpour Math Tutor Phone: (650) 631-0631 Email:

Mike Harvey Honda/Acura Ask for: Franklin Moran or Mario Valenzuela.

Honda: (650) 579-6800 200 California Dr., Burlingame, CA 94010

$185 per month for 36 months. $1,999 due at signing includes 12,000 miles per year. Excludes taxes, titles and fees.

$199 per month for 36 months. $3,699 due at signing includes 12,000 miles per year. Excludes taxes, titles and fees.

Honda: (650) 579-4200 1070 Broadway, Burlingame, CA 94010

$295 per month for 36 months. $0 due at signing includes 10,000 miles per year. Excludes taxes, titles and fees.

$459 per month for 36 months. $3,499 due at signing includes 10,000 miles per year. Excludes taxes, titles and fees.

Page 10


The Highlander

April 2014

ADOLESCENT RAPE 97% of rapists will never spend a day in jail

Consent: the true issue behind assaults Ayesha Abbasi Staff Writer

Girls ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault

93% of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attacker Infographic by Zoe Wildman

Public display of affection influences society Julian Smith Staff Writer

“Get a room.” The coined phrase by those who are bothered by public displays of affection. The whole concept surrounding PDA is of a couple, or friends for that matter, overbearingly imposing themselves upon each other in the public eye. Public display of affection (PDA), is defined by Urban Dictionary as kissing, touching, groping, licking, nuzzling, cuddling, crossing each other’s opposite back pockets, etc. Usually spotted among new couples and frisky teenagers. allows only a few affectionate displays in public, those being holding hands, kissing, and reasonable space invasion. While all of that may be relevant, how does PDA correspond to a high school campus?

Senior Kathryn Paraskevas said, “I think that it should most definitely be kept outside of places in which I travel. For example, in the hallways, get a room or get out of my school.” PDA is something to be cognizant of given social setting, to not be overbearing, and to not do something you wouldn’t do in front of your parents, the third of which being the best relative to to Carlmont’s campus. Senior Gabe Crespin said, “I think that most everyone is guilty of doing some sort of PDA, but with that said it doesn’t mean that it’s ok.” Although the general consensus shows negativity is the prevailing mood in association with public displays of affection, is it really that bad? “I don’t know, PDA is sort of annoying but at the same time I get why they do it. If I had a girlfriend I’m sure I would too,” said senior Jordan Kiss.

Congratulations to for winning the 2014 Pacemaker award at the National Journalism Convention

PDA is nearly exclusive to couples. Regardless of age or sexual orientation, couples are inherently inclined to show each other some degree of affection. Whether that be behind closed doors or in public is at their discretion. Furthermore, sophomore Jkhari Campbell said, “It’s annoying but at the same time I think it’s fine. They are just doing their thing and I respect that, to a certain extent.” “I think it’s annoying yet I find myself doing it all of the time. It becomes something that most high school couples do by nature,” said senior Samantha Demattei. PDA is an arbitrary subject and includes exclusively subjective views, it can only truly be justified or not based on personal opinion. Thus why couples will continually be told to “get a room.”

Consent is sexy. “It’s important to remember consent is something that needs to be obtained throughout every interaction,” said senior Kalila Kirk. Sexual consent isn’t just sexy, but it’s mandatory. By law if there isn’t consent it is sexual assault. Sexual assault is more broadly defined than rape, it refers to any non-consensual sexual contact where as rape refers to non-consensual penetration. “A lot of people don’t understand that under California law people can’t give consent under the influence of any substances,” said Kirk. Consent means that both people in a sexual encounter have agreed to it, and either person may decide at any time they no longer consent and want to stop the activity. This idea may not be in the forefront of sexual education in high school and that’s where things become difficult. During freshman year it’s mandatory for all students to go through sexual education, where they learn an array of things from how to use protection, to the different kinds of sexually transmitted diseases. “We learned about consent but it wasn’t a big topic. They told us yes means yes no means no and silence means no, but I don’t think that’s enough,” said sophomore Kamrin Choye. Not defining sexual consent at a young age can be extremely detrimental to the safety and health of teens. Knowing and understanding the definition and the implications is important to many teens, “being able to say no or even to ask if doing something is okay with your partner is pretty important to learn and understand at any age where a person is sexually active,” said junior Neeshae Wain. Wain went on to say, “the scariest part of this all is that sexual assault is so real and prominent in today’s world.” This statement was proven true by statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Justice which states that one in every three girls and one and every seven boys will be a victim of sexual assault. After hearing these statistics junior Isabel Zwass said, “I partly blame it on our education system, instead of focusing so much on the biology of certain things they should’ve taken the time to talk about how to get out of sticky situations.” With every one in five female high school students being physically or sexually abused by a dating partner, it’s come time to raise awareness and teach consent. “Teaching consent isn’t just teaching how to say no and yes but it’s teaching people how to respect the answers, and that’s what we need more of in education today,” said Kirk.

Features What if there is a pain you cannot see, but others feel everyday?

Page 11

April 2014

The Highlander

Alex Lay Staff Writer

Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Students at Carlmont High School experience pains that are not always visible to the naked eye include headaches, migraines, concussions, and many more. “I typically divide headaches into two categories, primary and secondary. Primary headaches do not affect the brain’s ability to function per se, but many folks with severe headache will have difficulty concentrating because that worsens their headache. Secondary headaches can occur due to other illnesses, such as infections, needing glasses, arthritis and other inflammatory processes, brain tumors, concussions, caffeine withdrawal, and other medication withdrawal,” said Neurologist Cynthia Campen. The invisible pain students experience can often be misunderstood by fellow students and teachers who have not experienced these issues and who have little sympathy for those who have, often affecting grades and relationships. Frequently when these head issues occur suffering students cannot study, grades drop, and students become discouraged as others remain oblivious to the extreme pain these students feel. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI), caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works and can also occur from a fall or a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. Sophomore Caitlin Caslow is a student who has experienced a concussion from her school basketball season. “My grades began to slip because I couldn’t focus or do any homework. I would become very tired very quickly. Most of my teachers were understanding and let me make it up or get extensions, but some just said to turn in my assignments even if I didn’t finish them,” said Caslow. Another person who has experienced a concussion is freshman Hannah Wright. “My recovery time was three to four weeks, making me out for the basketball season. Regarding recovery, I have minimal schoolwork, I am out of all physical activity for three weeks. I am supposed to limit electronic and light usage,” said Wright. There are a few main types of headache including migraines, chronic migraines, tension-type migraines, cluster headache, and other primary headaches, according to Regular migraines consist of symptoms such as a pulsating pain, nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, changes in vision or hearing, called an aura, and pain that can last from 4 hours to 3 days, according to The difference between regular migraines and chronic migraines is that chronic migraines occur more often and with more consistency rather than the sporadic pains of regular migraines, according to According to the CDC, from 1980 through 1989, the prevalence of chronic migraine headaches in the United States increased nearly 60 percent, from 25.8 per 1000 persons to 41.0 per 1000 persons. As migraines become more prevalent in society, the issues that come with the migraines increase as well, including the impact on school and the life of students in general. Sophomore Natalie Stainton is a student who has experienced migraines. “When I had a migraine I felt extremely dizzy, and I couldn’t see straight. Also, it felt like someone was pounding a nail through my head,” said Stainton. Stainton agrees with the impositions placed upon those with extreme head pains. “My teachers let me make up homework, but it took a lot of effort and the teachers didn’t prove to be understanding,” said Stainton. Others who remain oblivious are often surprised by the severity in certain situations. “After I learned about what really goes on behind the scenes of migraines and concussions I realized how painful it can be


American employers lose more than $13 billion each year as a result of 113 million lost work days due to migraine.


Attacks usually

last between 4 and 72 hours

In the U.S., more than 37 million people suffer from migraines

Infographic by Zoe Wildman

to the head and how detrimental it can be to grades by having to miss so much school,” said sophomore Melody Shanahan. Many people who get head pains often struggle in their attempts to explain the extreme amount of pain they feel. “I don’t think others truly understand the headaches. I thought I understood the pain, but now I realize I was completely wrong. What most people understand is that it’s a constant headache that is the worst headache of your life,” said Caslow. Wright agrees with the misunderstanding imposed upon those with head pains. “When I got my concussion, some people were saying I was faking it and saying that it’s not that serious and I’m just being a baby but it was the worst feeling of my life. I just had pounding headaches all the time and I couldn’t do anything, including sleep,” said Wright. Students with head pains are often undermined in their efforts to succeed even though in reality they have an extremely serious condition that can affect a person in more ways than one.

Page 12

Lifestyle Some students turn to Adderal to The dangers enchance academic performance of rave drugs The Highlander

April 2014

Some people risk death or injury to have a good time By Elena Mateus Staff Writer

By Lauren Tierney Staff Writer If one pill could potentially better your grades, SAT score, and overall work efficiency, would you take it? Adderall is a commonly prescribed drug used to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but more recently is used by high school and college to excel in their studies. Susie Jones (whose name has been changed) said, “Adderall keeps me super focused and it makes me want to learn. It also allows me to recall what I’ve learned in the past when test taking.” Jones has not been prescribed Adderall, but obtains it through fellow classmates who are prescribed it for A.D.H.D. The University of Michigan’s “Monitoring the Future Study” (MTF), an annual survey tracking teen drug abuse among eighth, 10th, and 12th graders shows an increase in the abuse of the prescription medicine Adderall among high school seniors in the U.S. over the past few years.

Junior Antonio Baltodano who is prescribed Adderall, said, “Adderall brings me to the focus level of most people, so students who take Adderall without a need for it are probably twice as focused.” Sally Adams (whose name has been changed) said, “I take Adderall because it makes me feel more attentive and awake because I rarely get enough sleep and I get a weeks amount of work done in one day which is the best feeling ever!” A National Institute on Drug Abuse survey in 2010 showed that 6.5 percent of high school seniors nationwide have taken Adderall without a prescription. According to the survey, Adderall is the fourth most popular drug for high school students behind marijuana, synthetic marijuana and Vicodin. Adderall's most common misuse is students taking the pill orally so they are able to to stay up to study, or even party with a quick boost in energy and mood. Kim Kelly (whose name has been changed) said, “I was first exposed to Adderall my freshman year of high school when I took it to better my grades on finals, and ever

One in six parents

since it has become something necessary to me every time finals week comes around.” According to MTF, the non-medical use of Adderall among American high school seniors has been steadily increasing since 2009 when abuse rates were 5.4 percent. In 2010 and 2011, Adderall abuse increased to 6.5 percent among 12th graders, continued increasing to 7.6 percent in 2012 and was at 7.4 percent in 2013. Junior Jen Anthony said, "Adderall is probably not safe because if they aren't prescribed it they don't know what else it could effect like there eating habits. Also taking Adderall is probably a lot in one's mindset that they took it rather than it actually working, but I've never taken it so I wouldn't know." “The rates of Adderall misuse and abuse among high school seniors remains unacceptably high and the new data make it very clear: the abuse of all prescription medicines is an immediate threat to the health of America’s teens,” said Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of The Partnership at Junior Sydney Carlier, “In reality students taking Adder-

Photo By Minh-Han Vu

all is inevitable.” Joe Johnson (whose name has been changed) said, "I take Adderall when I know I have tests that I need to prepare for. Last semester I pulled an all nighter and learned everything we did in the semester all in one night and I ended up getting an A on my test. A lot of people think it helps you get good grades but in reality it really helps you study.” The number of prescriptions of Adderall given to people between the age of 10 and 19 has increased 26 percent since 2007 to 21 million prescriptions dispensed yearly, according to IMS health organization. Adderall, although the most commonly known, is not the only drug of its kind used to treat A.D.H.D. Other drugs that give off similar effects include Vyvanse and Ritalin which are also commonly prescribed to people with A.D.H.D. Not only can Adderall change one test score, but it can potentially change your future. But is it considered cheating or doing what is necessary to get by?

21 million

believes that using prescription drugs to get high is safer than using street drugs.

prescriptions of Adderall are dispensed yearly


One in five parents

of high school seniors nationwide have taken Adderall without a prescription.

report that they have given their teen a prescription drug that was not prescribed for them.


On June 11, 2012, Emily McCaughan went to the Electric Daisy Carnival at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, according to an LA Times article. McCaughan, like many fellow ravers, anticipated a night full of dancing to the pulsating music. Instead, McCaughan’s night ended with her own death. The Arizona State student went back to her hotel room alone before the night was over. Reports said she believed someone was after her, and in turn, she allegedly jumped out of her room window, falling 20 stories to her death. McCaughan had ecstasy, methamphetamine and gammahydroxybutyric acid in her system, according to the coroner. McCaughan is not alone, according to the LA Times there are rave related deaths reported every year. Raves, like the Electric Daisy Carnival, are night-long dance parties, though ravers often encounter more than just music. Aside from the blasting techno music and strobing lights, dangerous substances collectively called “club drugs” have grown increasingly prominent at these night long events. Club drugs include MDMA (ecstasy), methamphetamine (crystal meth, speed), GHB (liquid X), Ketamine (special K), Viagra and amyl nitrites (poppers). A recent poll revealed that 41 percent of Carlmont students have taken drugs offered to them at raves. “Drugs are a large part of raves,” said sophomore Haley Reeder, “It’s not unusual for someone to come up to you and offer you stuff.” In addition, 35.9 percent of 12th graders in 2013 said that ecstasy was “easy” to come by, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). A Carlmont student who asked to have his name withheld said,“Drugs are pretty fun, I like doing hallucinogens [at raves]. They make everything really pretty and they get me more into the music.” Hallucinogens, including PCP and LSD, induce unusual forms of consciousness comparable to dreams, meditation, and trance. “I haven’t been to a rave, but we’ve all had those lessons in school and people still don’t seem to realize there are serious health risks that come with taking hard drugs,” said junior Amanda Breslauer. While almost all are cognizant of the fact that drugs can cause serious health problems and even death, their popularity is still on the rise. A second Carlmont student who asked to have his name withheld said, “Occasionally I do drugs, but I do them so minimally I’m not worried about my health. They relieve me from everyday stress.” Drug use in high school is not something new, it’s been happening for generations. “When I was a teenager, drugs were still readily available, though people talk about it more openly now,” said Carlmont history teacher Jayson Waller. Raves can be compared to Woodstock, an event in 1960s America. Historically, it is directly associated with drugs and sex, during a time where adolescents were tired of the societal norms imposed on them. Sophomore Emily Sevillia said, “Some teenagers are always going to do drugs, because some people see it as an outlet for stress and pain, and some see it as a way to be independent and do what they want. It’s kind of the whole Woodstock mentality just modern-day.” Columbia University Students for Sensible Drug Policy and Drug Policy Alliance suggested in a recent conference to “know that what you’re taking isn’t regulated. Even the person you got it from may not know what’s in it.” Awareness is important, especially if it can help save a life.

Do you have issues too? If so, join our National Award Winning high school media staff and sign up for

Journalism Have fun, make friends, learn new things, make a difference UC “G” Elective credit CTE graduation requirement Extra-curricular activity Prestige, possible awards, and scholarship opportunities Better writing skills Job and internship opportunities

What you learn:

Reporting, interviewing, graphic design, career preparation, photography, video reporting, editing, writing, leadership.

What you need to succeed:

Care about your work, desire and dedication, ability to meet deadlines, passion to be the best reporter you can.

The Highlander


Page 13 April 2014

A better alternative to smoking cigarettes By Mateen Nozzari Staff Writer

Over the past few months at Carlmont, drug alternatives such as Electronic Cigarettes (E-Cigs) and Personal Vaporizers (Vape-Pens) have loomed on campus in the hands of certain students. The two drug-simulating devices are electronically charged and are becoming extremely popular among students here at Carlmont. “I’ve seen them all around; smelled them, rather. I don’t think it makes anyone any cooler or betters our school in anyway either,” said sophomore Alyssa Arredondo. These pencil-length devices can contain nicotine depending on the type, causing extreme addiction and overall brain growth hindrance. “School is not the place for these kinds of things. People’s business is people’s business, but it isn’t fair that some of us are judged because of someone else’s bad habits,” said sophomore Nick Notte. Many of these E-Cigs and PV’s often release different kinds of water vapor, which are generally harmless, while others give off second hand smoke and other toxins that are unwanted by students. “It’s ridiculous how students can buy these at their local gas stations or CVS Stores. If things like this were more difficult for our youth to obtain, issues with second hand smoke would greatly decrease,” said sophomore Zach DeNola. Unfortunately for those who are against these drug-simulators, the electronic devices are quite easy for high school students to get a hold of, thus creating larger problems when they’re brought to school.

“Electronic pens and cigarettes can cost typically anywhere from seven to ten dollars and are found a local gas stations or online,” senior Shawyon Fazel said. This ease of access to the drug-simulating devices poses the question of what effects these have on the human body. “I heard from a friend that they don’t do anything that bad to your body, and plus tons of kids around school have them too,” Arredondo said. From what seems to be a small population of students who use these drug-simulating devices, those who don’t use them are still stuck with the label of going to a school known as “Crackmont,” a clever pun regarding Carlmont and its drug-utilizing students. This can not only be demotivating for drugfree students, but it can also destroy the positive reputation of our school. “It isn’t really fair that people call me a ‘smoker’ just because I go to Carlmont. It’s sad how certain students can ruin it for everyone,” sophomore Sage Shamsai said. Personal Vaporizers cause the largest resemblance to a real cigarette in that its vapor physically gives off the effect of smoke. In reality, however, this ‘smoke’ is only water vapor and doesn’t have any real effects on the human body. In turn, however, the projected ‘look’ these students are going for have very little to do with their actual resemblance as a student, causing false judgements and actions. “It doesn’t make anyone any cooler,” sophomore Jay Russell said. “People should be more aware of what kinds of things they’re putting into their bodies whether or not they do any actual harm.”

Infographic by Alex Wildman

Sex, drugs and comfort Revealing all on social media By Minh-Han Vu Staff Writer

"We be, thuggers, stunners, hustlers Kidnap mothers, rape with no rubbers" -Lil Wayne. As exemplified in Lil Wayne’s song lyrics, allusions to sex and drugs can be found in nearly every aspect of modern popular culture. Once regarded as obscene and lewd, its prevalence in our everyday lives serve as a constant reminder that we have grown more comfortable towards sex and drugs. Freshman Alex Jin said, “Sex and drugs are everywhere. I think our society has grown more accepting, and will continue to grow more accepting with the rise of sexual activity and recreational drug use.” In modern times, over 48 percent of Americans have experienced sexual encounters by the age of 17-years-old, as reported by the Guttmacher Institute. Sophomore Erin Alonso said, “Sex has become a sort of game nowadays. For a lot of people, it’s not a display of love, but a casual encounter. Everyone is having sex, even people who aren’t in relationships.” The normalization of sexual encounters has led to the establishment of a rape culture in America. Defined by Marshall University, rape culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and sexual violence is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture. Junior Amber Governale said,“As sexual norms grow looser, many people are no longer equating self-respect with the amount of sex that one has, and that’s amazing. But it’s unacceptable that rape has become something that is minimized and condoned." Rape culture’s emergence has led to the socially acceptable minimization of rape and glorification of sexual abuse. Countless movies, shows, songs, and jokes have stemmed from this newly established attitude. “It’s no longer uncommon to encounter rape jokes. I hear and see them online, in the hallways, and even in classrooms,” said sopho-

more Serena Vasquez. Since 1960, the number of rape crimes in America has increased by roughly 64 percent, according to FBI data. Along with rape culture, drug use has become a significant part of modern society. The use of recreational drugs can be seen on screens and heard in music. With its newfound establishment in American media, millions of citizens have adopted a casual outlook on drugs. Pew Research Center data revealed that 54 percent of Americans believe that marijuana should be made legal, a drastic change from the 12 percent approval rates of 1969. AP European History teacher Jayson Waller embodies this progressively common perspective: “What people do on their own should be up to them. If it doesn’t have the potential to negatively impact me or those around me, what others choose to do with themselves should remain their choice.” Waller said, “As long as our society as a whole follows a certain structure of rubrics and rules, the growth of America’s drug culture, and the increased access to drugs that comes with it, does not necessarily equate to rise in drug related problems.” Drug use has especially spread to younger crowds. Government statistics revealed that more than 23.9 million Americans over the age of 12-years-old have used illegal drugs. Some of these 23.9 million Americans include numerous students of Carlmont, including one junior who has chosen to remain anonymous: “My first experience with drugs was freshman year in my sister’s room, and it definitely hasn’t been my last. Drugs are virtually everywhere now and it’s definitely become less of a taboo subject to encounter.” With the increasing tolerance of drug use and sexual proclivities, American society has taken a new direction. Whether this new direction will bring a positive or negative change has yet to be determined.

By Gianna Schuster Staff Writer

It was nothing new. I was leaving class on a Friday afternoon. Walking directly past my teacher, it was almost impossible for me not to notice one of my peers yell across the room to a friend, “Dude, who’s our supplier for tonight? We’re hella getting lit.” Seriously? You just publicly announced your illegal plans in front of a school authority figure. That same night, I scrolled through my newsfeed and glanced at all the statuses that were clearly posted by drunk teenagers, along with #faded selfies to go along with their voluntary self-exposure. Seriously? This is the Internet. Everything you post can be viewed by anyone and everyone, even if they aren’t your online follower or friend. Obviously teenagers do things that are illegal. Being under the influence of an alcoholic substance is not unheard of, and neither is the gossip about who came into first period ridiculously hungover on Monday. People aren’t oblivious to the fact that these things happen in high school -- but teenagers who publicly announce their illegal behavior to the online world only heighten their chances of getting into trouble with authorities and creating a tacky image for themselves. Caught in the middle of childhood and adulthood, teenagers’ brains develop similar to that of a rollercoaster. A brain region behind the forehead called the prefrontal cortex changes and tweaks on a daily basis. It holds a responsibility of evaluating the consequences of our actions along with the risk factor in our behavior, taking years until it is fully developed. In other words, this is a major reason why impulse control and risk assessment are not exactly in tiptop shape at this point in life. Seventy-three percent of teenagers are part of one or more social networks, according

to TechMedia Network. That is a teeming amount of underdeveloped prefrontal cortices in the position to make irresponsible decisions. “There are some things that just aren’t meant to be shared. It’s called a personal life for a reason -- not everybody is supposed to know,” said junior Daryush Shahid. “It’s like an unwritten social code.” One tap. That is all it takes to let everyone on the internet know that you have done something illegal. It never disappears, and is always remembered by some people. Those that post careless photos, statuses, etc. act as if they crave the negative attention, because it is these types of things that stimulate rumors, gossip, and critical behavior from peers. “Whatever I put on social media is something that I’m comfortable with other people seeing,” said Shahid. If there’s something that down the line you would get in trouble for, then I don’t know why people would post something like that. Sometimes they’re just like ‘Oh, I just got drunk,’ but that might come back to bite you in the future.” It can be aggravating to see our friends, role models, or even just our classmates, to voluntarily put themselves in the position of getting caught and getting criticized. But it gets to the point where it is just sad, especially for the significant adults in our lives who see our raw potential and care about us making the right decisions and choosing the right path. “It’s terrible to see young people who are just about to start their lives get caught up in this sort of behavior, and it is frustrating and sad to see them present themselves in such a negative light," said Jennifer Phipps, a Carlmont mom. Freedom of expression is not only a right but it is a responsibility as well. One must be careful in handling it. “What is going to happen to them years from now?” said Phipps. Only time will tell.

Apple’s emojis lack diversity

A silly fad, or the n

By Grace Yi Staff Writer “The guy in the turban,” said junior Keenan Allen when asked what he first thought of when one said “racist emojis.” For those who do not want to type out actual words, the emojis on the default iOS’s keyboard is a gratifying alternative. However, it has been noticed that the majority racial background of the emojis is Caucasian; there are only a few emojis of non-caucasian ethnicity. Apple is one of the leading American companies that offers many different types of emojis and was the first to introduce emojis to the American market. However, some people think that the Apple emoji keyboard is racist because of the majority caucasian emoji faces. A call for emoji racial equality started when Twitter users started to tweet posts to honor Black History Month and stated that they couldn’t accompany their posts with an African-American emoji, hence contradictory and frustrating. One of the first campaigners on the lack of racial diversity was the pop star Miley Cyrus who tweeted about the need for an “emoji ethnicity in update” in 2012. After seeing more tweets about the lack of diversity of emojis, MTV Act blogger Joey Parker emailed Apple CEO Tim Cook about the issue and got a response from Apple’s vice president of worldwide corporate communications Katie Cotton. “Our emoji characters are based on the Unicode standard, which is necessary for them to be displayed properly across many platforms,” said Cotton. This limited diversity has resulted in a petition on that called for more diversity in emojis.

The petition described the Apple Emoji keyboard as having “a white boy, girl, man, woman, elderly man, elderly woman, blonde boy, blonde girl and we’re pretty sure, Princess Peach. But when it comes to faces outside of yellow smileys, there’s a staggering lack of minority representation.” The petition received recognition on March of 2014 and Apple is now trying to diversify the emojis and debut more minority race emojis in future Apple mobile updates. “There needs to be more diversity in the emoji character set, and we have been working closely with the Unicode Consortium in an effort to update the standard,” said Cotton in her response to Parker. However, others believe that emojis are not racist and it does not pose as a problem of equality. “The basic idea of emojis is not being representative of the actual person, but instead their feelings, reactions doesn’t necessitate any real type of racial differentiation,” said senior Kevin Liu. Similarly senior Ryan Pau said, “People are overreacting to something so practical and fun. People always try to equalize and standardize their own race but they (emojis) weren’t created to offend or discriminate anyone.” “Essentially, all races look happy or sad in the same ways, so I don’t think there’s a need to make emojis different colors, because most people will automatically be aware of the fact that the emoji is a representative of all people,” said Liu. Currently, Apple’s emoji keyboard includes 12 different flags, 13 different hearts, 58 different smiley faces, 2 homosexual couples, and 63 different animals. Apple has started to make improvements and is designing new emojis with the desired racial representation, which began in March of 2014.

Emoji’s reflect the cultures of the By Taran Sun Staff Writer The picture language of the our generation, Emoji, now has influence over millions of people in countries around the world, but the cultural roots of this language have faded away. Emojis were originally created in Japan in 1995 as a solution to the problem of increasing amounts of picture usage to replace text messages. These pictures took far more bandwidth than traditional text messaging. To put a stop to this, DoCoMo imode, a Japanese mobile phone provider, created Emojis. These cartoonlike pictures took up less bandwidth than real pictures, but allowed people to retain the visual aspect of their communication. Many Carlmont students use Emojis to help converse in electronic mes

Junior Becca Garner said, “The problem with texting and emails is that so much of what you are trying to relay is lost because you can’t express a tone of voice or give a facial expression. I feel like Emojis give a fair amount of clarification on that and help you show your emotions. Like if you say a joke or something sarcastic, then you put the winkey face Emoji or the one with the sunglasses, it helps to clarify what you are trying to say.” The word Emoji is Japanese for “picture character.” Due to their country of origin, the intent of the original Emojis reflects Japanese culture. This is why Emojis include things such as ramen noodles, sushi, and people bowing, a customary practice in Japan. As the popularity of Emojis increased, more and more companies, such as Soft-

By Justine Phipps Staff Writer

Bank Mobile, began to enable Emoji use on cellphones, spreading the picture language from Japan and augmenting the accessibility of Emojis. Devices such as iPhones and Windows Phones now support Emoji keyboards for those who wish to bring their texts to life. Because of this, Emojis are easily accessible by the wide variety of people who possess these phones. Freshman Ethan Wong, who has a iPhone, said, “I really enjoy using Emojis now to show how I feel. If somebody tells me a funny joke or story over text, I can respond with a [laughing] Emoji.” Since their conception, Emojis have rapidly increased in popularity, and have been incorporated into cultures of many countries around the world. According to, a World News website, In China the use of the recognisable smiley face Emoji along with various other emotional Emoji faces have been put to work in advertisements to sell cars. The online website Dramafever has recently announced that it is replacing the subtitles on all of its videos with Emoji subtitles, what it hails as the “future universal language.” In America, Emojis have been used for expressing pop-culture references, such as Game of Thrones. An entire season recap was created that utilized only Emojis, and thanks to the great variety of existing Emojis the creators were able to portray the plot with ease. With the extensive list of uses that Emojis are put to in the present day, the original meaning of some of the Emoji characters has been lost along the way. For example, what many Americans interpret to be a scary face is, according to, actually an image of a Japanese ogre, the Oni, which often appears in Japanese folklore.

I was sitting on the couch with my 12-year-old cousin. He was texting away on his phone with new messages coming in every other second. Curious, I asked him what was so interesting. When he showed me a screen full of emojis, I explained to him that that wasn’t a real conversation. He rolled his eyes and said, “Talking only in emojis is basically the same as having a normal conversation.” I was astounded by his answer. How can five simple emojis convey an entire conversation? In our tech-savvy world today, communication through words and pictures is being interchanged with a tiny yellow emoji. As if technology wasn’t already replacing personal conversations with informal overthe-phone chats. Now, people don’t even need to send a heartfelt text message because of the option of various emojis. Over the past decade, emojis have become a popular trend throughout the world. Take a look at any of your friends’

Wong said, “The background of Japanese culture that the Emojis have would be good for everyone to learn, because people use these Emojis every day of their lives.” Sophomore Natalie Stainton said, “I use the Emoji of the heart eyes a lot when I’m happy. I think it’s really awesome that there is so much Japanese culture behind the Emojis that I never knew before. The fact that Emojis have multiple different meanings makes them even more fun to use.” Images of monkeys covering their eyes, ears, and mouths that people often send to each other for fun in America have origins in Japanese folklore as well. They stem from the old Japanese story of the three wise monkeys. Sophomore Thomas Chin said, “I have

“Moon-viewing ceremony”

It represents the Japanese Otsukimi harvest celebration, not snowballs

“Postal Horn”

This horn was used in 18th and 19th centuries to indicate that a mail coach was arriving to deliver the mail

actually heard about the monkey Emojis. They stand for hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil. I don’t think that it’s common knowledge though, because lots of people use them to just show silliness.” Chin said, ““We use them ignorant of their original intent and purpose in Japanese culture, which I think shows how diverse our two cultures are. I also think that this could create situations where people are unintentionally disrespectful of Japanese culture if they use some of the Japanese icons in the incorrect context.” Regardless of country, Emojis have retained their intended function: to help people express their laughter, sadness and more with the simple

press of a button.

“Love Hotel”

A hotel that offers rooms for stays as short as an hour to give couples romantic privacy

“Pine decoration”

A popular Japanese New Year’s door decoration, not a cactus

“Name badge”

No, it’s NOT the fire flower from Super Mario World


One of the three wise monkeys, Mizaru, that represents the proverb “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”

“Praying hands”

It also means sorry in Japanese

“Diamond shape”

It means “cute”

s f lo a iP e d

s e o s T

a U a c a in t a w

a m r c t in

a s s

next modern communication?

smart phones, and you will find an emoji keyboard downoaded. A wide variety of apps are offered for phones and Pods, and programs have even been made for emoji downloads on computers. “Emoticons have allowed a sense of personalization to enhance a medium which is often deemed impersonal,” said Christian Julal in a Urban Times article. Julal discovered through a study at Carnegie Mellon University that “emoticons also have the potential to increase the overall meaning of a message.” Along with givng a different connotation to the same message, emojis also have changed the way of writing. “Writing properly is now an archaic means of communication that has been replaced with a plethora of colourful icons that are able to simplify language and feelngs,” said Julal. The emoji craze has become a popular trend throughout society, but it’s not necessarily beneficial.

In April 2013, Facebook came out with “stickers” to send through Facebook Messenger. With over a thousand different stickers available, people are finding less of a reason to have a legitimate conversation. “[For some people,] emojis can convey things that words don’t always have the ability to capture,” said junior Daryush Shahid. Okay, so sending a sticker with hearts can be inferred as “I love you.” But in the end it lacks the real passion of the already bland “I love you” text. “People have stopped using their words,” said junior Alejandro Moran. “They think the emojis are going to replace [what they really want to say].” Although emojis can be useful when adding emphasis to what is trying to be said, emojis are not words, and they never will be. They are a compilation of pixels.”

How emojis conquered the world By Dana Benelli Staff Writer A picture may be worth one thousand words, but it may also be one thousand times as annoying. Emojis—small ideograms used in electronic messages, originating from Japan—have become an essential part of instant messaging, especially among teenagers. At Carlmont, 87 percent of students consider emojis to be a fun way to communicate while only 13 percent consider them to be an annoyance, according to a recent poll. “I find it fun,” said junior Kaitlyn Burke. “It’s not annoying. It makes the text seem more emotional.” Burke said that she uses emojis every day, mostly in texting. There are different reasons why people find themselves drawn to the little symbols. Matt Mcfarland of the Washington Post speculated in an online article evaluating the emoji “fad” that the difficulties of typing on a smartphone cause people to be brief, and so they use images to express multiple thoughts at a time. Mcfarland stated that “One emoji can convey what would take plenty of taps from clumsy thumbs.” Human beings also prefer visuals over text, according to Robert Lane and Dr. Stephen Kosslyn. “Asking people to read text...requires a lot of processing effort,” wrote Robert Lane and Dr. Stephen Kosslyn in an article on the Microsoft Office website about PowerPoint presentations. “ a symbol system and must be decoded to have meaning. Then [the brain] gauges how the words fit together in the context of sentences, and so forth.” Human beings process visuals much faster (needing only 13 milliseconds according to the Daily Mail), so people are more engaged with pictorial representations. “Showing people meaningful, content-based visuals, as opposed to text, lessens...cognitive exertion and improves overall experience,” said Lane and Kosslyn. Emojis are also often used as punctuation to add emotion and clarify the speaker’s intended tone. For example, sophomore Davis Schmidt said that he uses emojis to “explain how I feel.”

Vocal cues and body language do not show through text messages, which can sometimes make it ambiguous as to whether a remark should be taken as a joke or a real insult. With emojis, users can show the expression (laughing or angry) that they intend to accompany the message. For some, emojis serve as a fun way to share feelings and express oneself among friends, but for others they may simply seem overused. Adrian Fernandez said that he does not use emojis. “I think they’re kind of annoying. Just use words,” he said. Fernandez also commented on the clarity disparity: “Text is easier to understand. Sometimes I don’t know what a little smiley-face guy means.” Fernandez said that he would prefer his chat partner didn’t use emojis, “but it’s alright as long as they don’t use more than three. Three is a crowd…of emojis.” Other students agreed that there was such a thing as using too many of the symbols. Burke said that she would agree some people become reliant upon emojis, and described it as “they communicate in just emojis, no words.” Fernandez said that “a lot of the time people will message me back [with] just a bunch of faces or hashtags. It’s not a sentence and it doesn’t mean anything.” Schmidt had an example of emoji-overuse ready on his phone. “I don’t think you can even handle this,” he said before showing a message from a friend that consisted of nothing but a heart and a thought-bubble, repeated over and over for three full slides down. One might argue that emojis represent a relapse in the way human beings communicate. The process does seem to be a devolution: people have gone from talking face-to-face to talking over the phone, to typing text, and now to communicating through strange pictograms. It’s almost a reverse progression to caveman times. Despite this, Schmidt said that he prefers his chat partners to use emojis, and that he enjoys them “because they’re fun.” After all, perhaps there are some things a person can express through emojis that can’t be said through words alone.

Page 16

Campus Second semester-itis: waiting for summer vacation April 2014

The Highlander

By Tian Chary Staff Writer

As school slowly comes to closure, some students are having trouble finding motivation to achieve their highest potential. Often, students start to have a downward slope as the school year comes to an end. The cause of that can vary for student to student. However, the most common one is laziness. Students can’t find the motivation to finish papers and projects on time. Sometimes, things as simple as homework becomes a laborious job. Junior Carlos Rama said, “Even though I’m not a senior, I still feel ‘junioriotis’. It’s not only the seniors that feel this, I personally think that the underclassmen feel it too. You just have the thought in your head that in less than two months summer vacation is here. And you don’t really think about the reality that there is still two months of school. In other words, we like to jump the gun and look and hope school to end already.” Rewind back to the beginning of the year: pencils and notebooks freshly purchased, sensible new wardrobe ready, and studying habits listed and updated. Freshman Fabricio Bautista said, “[In the beginning of the year], I study my books, review my notes and ask the teacher for extra help when I needed.” Now, go back the to present time: only one pencil and one pen left, going to school almost daily in comfortable clothing instead of trying to dress to impress, the Northface backpack contains the bare minimum. All the studying habits have gone down the drain and the last time you updated your agenda was about a month ago. Veronica Toribio said, “I still do my work, but I slack off and not study as much as I used to. I don’t really try as much.” Lack of motivation is a real and pressing problem. Upwards of 40 percent of high school students are chronically disengaged from school, according to a 2003 National Research Council report on motivation. Science teacher Gregory Fung said, “[I believe teachers] should provide extra support, such as encouragement, give time in class to start an assignment. I think that every year, students learn more, my expectation [to my students are] they are going to learn in a certain rate. Not necessarily what a student can do, but it is an assessment to where the stu-

Infographic by Ravina Gujral

dent is. I want to see my students learning, so sure, they will know more about physics in the second semester than the first day of school.” The second semester is long and dreadful, due to the fact that teachers have an better understanding of each student’s ability. Therefore teachers grade assignments harder than the first semester. Which makes it ironic, because most students try harder in the first semester than the second semester. Senior Ammunah Othman said, “First semester, I applied for colleges; I tried hard to impress. Then the second semester, as soon as I heard back from colleges, I didn’t work as

hard because I thought I already got accepted. Which is why my grades started to slip.” Researchers at the University College have come up with several ways to reduce the risk students from senioritis. “First of all, you have to strike a balance,” professor Peter “Read” Bookman said. “Challenge yourself, take difficult classes, but don’t make it too hard or else you risk an early burnout. Also, try not to be influenced by friends who suddenly drop classes or develop symptoms of apathy. Even if they are infected, you don’t have to be dragged down with them.” Othman said, “[Teachers can help by] get-

ting more involved with the student, try helping them more and talk to the students one on one if possible.” Toribio said, “I think it helps when teachers go over the lesson and then allow us to finish our homework in class, that way we have the lecture fresh in our head. It also helps us with the amount of homework we have to bring home to do.” Second semester slump hits and there’s no where to run. Students feel apathy and a fatigue that manifests itself in sleeping through the first class or two of each day, however, as one door closes another door opens.

ing to put in the effort to continue working as hard as they have all four years. They’re excited about college, they’re thinking about their futures, or they just want the school year to end. Yet there’s another side to this story: the teacher. Most students may not realize that teachers experience similar problems in trying to finish off the year strong. English teacher Joseph Hill said, “It’s hard for me to stay focused sometimes, too. People get tired, and it’s hard to be present in the moment when you feel that way.” It’s not just humanities teachers who express this sentiment, either. STEM teachers struggle, too. Math teacher Amber Mills said, “I get senioritis along with my seniors every year. It makes it more challenging to get through

things I should be grading.” Despite their own fatigue, many teachers push to keep themselves and their students motivated during second semester. Government and microeconomics teacher Kris Weisman gives students random reading quizzes to make sure they stay up to date on their work. She said, “I try to keep going with the same procedures through the end of the semester so that students know each day there is going to be work. I also try and hold students accountable for their reading with quizzes.” Hill tries other methods to keep up concentration. “After all of the testing is done we study “Into the Woods,” a play which deals with everything that should be on students’ minds as they are about to graduate. It tends to pull them into a discussion,” he said.

However, even with the effort teachers put in to keep students focused, some students slack off too much, putting their grades and even their ability to graduate in jeopardy. “I’ve had it happen more than once that a student realizes that their grades are much lower than what they have gotten [in the past],” said Weisman. “Colleges have rescinded acceptances and students have failed to graduate because of their grades.” Nonetheless, some teachers still prefer teaching seniors over other grades. “I love teaching seniors,” Mills said. “They’re much more relatable, and they’re more like adults.” Hill said, “The best thing about seniors is also the worst thing: they’re right on the edge of life and they want to live it.”

Reaching students who are no longer there By Danielle Schneider Staff Writer

Here’s a typical scenario: It’s a Tuesday morning in an AP class. The teacher walks around the room and checks students’ homework. One student’s isn’t complete. The teacher sighs and the student says, “I didn’t understand it.” Another student says the same thing. The teacher says, “There was plenty of time to come in for help. Why didn’t you come in?” The student looks away, and everyone in the class knows that the student just didn’t want to put in the effort. It’s a familiar struggle that many seniors know: second semester senior year. Many have mentally checked out, unwill-

Page 17


The Highlander

April 2014

Middle College: an alternative path to graduating By Alex Yang Staff Writer Middle College brings something new to the high school experience. Middle College is an alternative to the traditional high school environment and gives students a head start on their college degree while also earning a high school diploma. One of the many pros of Middle College is that it gives college credits. The courses provided at Middle College are college-level courses so the classes count toward college credits. This can make it easier for students to pass the required amount of credits at an university while also maintaining the high school experience. Sophomore Josh Pogue said, “Getting college credits is definitely one of the really good perks at Middle College since you don’t have to worry about getting them in college.” Middle College also provides high school students with college experience ahead of time. The courses are college-leveled with college students, which gives a first-hand experience. With a better sense of college, students are prepared for a real college when the time comes. Sophomore Mark Palladino, who is going to Middle College in the 2014-2015 school year, said, “I think Middle College is a good opportunity to gain experience of college before actually going to college.” With a larger variety of tools and equipment

Infographic by Sarah Adams

at Middle College, some think it is a better environment to learn and study in. Services that range from tutoring, library, specialized college success classes and college counseling and advising is all included at Middle College.

Although these services are also provided at high schools, some are considered to be more developed and personal, such as the library and counseling. Sophomore Nick Kaplan said, “I think the

services provided by Middle College is really important for students. They also cost nothing so there’s no loss for the students. The services are also sometimes better in my opinion like the Middle College library containing a lot more content than other high school libraries.” One of the most important parts of high school is the experience. Although Middle College has college courses and college students, the high school experience is still kept. Students attending Middle College can still join sports teams, clubs, go to prom, and participate in other extracurricular activities at their previous high school. There are also other high school students who are going or already at Middle College, so the environment is still high school friendly. Pogue added, “At first when I went there to check out the college it was a little awkward, although it felt normal by the end of the day. There is no one there that’s rude or will make you feel uncomfortable.” An obstacle for some families is the college tuition. At Middle College, either all or almost all of the fees, price for textbooks and tuition is covered by the Middle College. This removes one of the most significant barrier to entry into a higher education. Palladino said, “I think not having to pay for Middle College yet still getting all the services is one of the biggest reasons go there. There is nothing bad about it so people are encouraged to do it.”

Talk Back: Middle College Edition Interview by Kian Karamdashti

The decision to do something different or stand out, is a tough one to make. For Middle College juniors Aaron Karpie and Helene Haugerud, that decision meant leaving Carlmont High School and all their friends behind for a new challenge. I caught up with them and asked about their first year in Middle College.

Aaron Karpie

Helene Haugerud

How has your first year of middle college gone?

Karpie: It’s been going pretty well. I got a 4.0 first semester and I’m very proud of that. That’s a big improvement on my grades and I’m really enjoying it.

Haugerud: It’s been amazing. I love all the people there and I’ve made so many good friends. The classes I’ve been taking have been good as well.

What’s been the biggest adjustment you’ve had to make going into Middle College?

Karpie: My maturity level for sure. You definitely have a lot more responsibility put on you, especially with college classes and other things.

Haugerud: You have to learn to be a lot more independent. Teachers are not going to be on top of you if you’re behind on your work. A professor is not going to email you asking why you haven’t turned in your work.

What’s one thing you miss about Karpie: My friends for sure. Carlmont?

Haugerud: Same as Aaron.

Some people feel that middle college students miss out on the social aspect of high school. What are your thoughts on that?

Karpie: Honestly, I don’t feel like I miss out on much of the social aspect. I go to all the football games, I can still play a sport at Carlmont if I wanted to. The only difference between this year and last year for me is that I’m not physically on campus.

Haugerud: I still get to see my friends and you meet a lot of new people as well, so I don’t think I’m missing out.

Is the curriculum at Middle college any different than at Carlmont?

Karpie: It’s a little different. It really all depends on what you take.

Haugerud: Some classes can be harder but overall the classes are easier.

What was the main reason behind your decision to switch to Middle College?

Karpie: I was looking for a change. I had a lot of friends at Carlmont, but I definitely feel I wasn’t achieving my potential. So I wanted to do something that got me there and I definitely feel this was the right choice.

Haugerud: I wanted to get ahead and get all the college units done with, so I could spend less time in college.

Was the switch worth it?

Karpie: Yes.

Haugerud: Yes. Infographic by Karissa Tom

Page 18 The Highlander


Slug: Acceptance of Bs  Headline: B is not Bad   exHeadline: students who strive for all As   byline: Alyssa Espiritu  bytitle: Staff Writer   suggested artwork: doing an infographic*** for Becca Fradkin     April          


Society persuades students that a B is bad By Becca Fradkin Staff Writer

You anxiously type your password into Infinite Campus. There it is. That 89 percent grade that you had worked so hard all semester to get up had not budged. You stare at the B. It’s a B. B for bad. It’s an hour after your last final and instead of feeling excited for break, you dwell upon the B. Was there any extra credit I could have done? What more can I do? Will this impact my educational future? Time goes by and your report card comes in the mail. Your parents anxiously wait for you to open it up, to see your final grade point average, to finally feel that all the hours of work you slaved over was worth it. You are suddenly reminded of the B. The same B that was so close to an A. That one hurdle between you and a 4.0. Although a C is considered average, some students feel certain pressures that don’t allow any grade lower than an A-. “I feel pressure to get an A in all my classes because I feel like anything below an A would mean that I wasn't good enough to get the highest grade possible,” said junior Nico Camerino. College pressure, peer pressure, parental pressure, and self pressure all add to the yearning for a 4.0 GPA. The stress felt by students revolving around the college admission experience creates the

connotation of B is for bad. University of California schools such as Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Berkeley all have average admissions of students with a 4.0 or higher, according to the respective school’s admissions. Without the inflation of certain AP classes, admission to these specific schools becomes impossible for the average B or C student. Even state schools such as San Francisco and Chico all have an average admittance of high school students with a mix between Bs and As, totaling to an average 3.7 GPA. Based on these statistics, California Schools such as these do not accept the average B or C student, which leads kids to work toward A’s. According to a recent Carlmont poll 62 percent of students consider B a bad grade. If a C is average but many only accept A’s, where does that leave a B? Freshman Ilana Hamer said, “I try working my best for an A, but if a B is the best I can get I accept it.” A straight B’s transcript would result in a 3.0 GPA. While this number may not be high enough for some, Advanced Placement class inflation makes an impact. “Getting a B in an AP class is better than a B in a regular class, but still it's not a good feeling,” said junior Amanda Breslauer. Although APs are much harder than regular classes, some feel pressures to make the most of their difficult course load for purpose of an easier college admission process, and still pre-

vail with an A. “AP’s make a definite impact on college admissions. Colleges look at course load and rigor so taking APs looks better than a normal class,” said Breslauer. When deciding whether to take an AP for the benefit of an inflated GPA, a student must consider the rigor, workload and stress revolved around that class. Carlmont Guidance Counselor Kim Miller said, “A student must take into account their ability and track record in other classes to know if they should enroll in an AP class.” According to US News, average high school GPAs have risen .31 points, mostly due to inflation of AP classes. Their study shows that students who don’t do as well on standardized testing still have higher GPAs. Regardless of a student’s opinion of a B, AP classes help boost GPAs without the beall-end-all of the desired necessity of an A on

simulator and a car.” Narkizian is the Marketing and Business Development Executive for Harvix. He deals with putting Harvix’s name out in public. Carlmont student Max Lieberman also works with Skrenta. Lieberman is the Vice President of Marketing for Harvix. Lieberman said, “As a 15-year-old kid to make a search engine that’s fully functional, that’s pretty amazing. He is a genius.” According to Harvix statistics, it receives up to 200 visitors and 92,000 views per month. Skrenta said that users cannot find information accurately enough using regular search engines. A regular search engine does displays a list of links and it is up to the user to find the information off of the selection of websites. He was unable to find the right information for his school work and assignments, so he created Harvix. Instead of showing the user an endless list of websites, it extracts useful bits of information for the user. Skrenta is in a partnership with Wolfram Alpha, a search engine that systematically delivers calculations and information to the user. Wolfram Alpha provides Harvix with data from its databases. Unlike most search engines, Harvix organizes the information for the user. At the top of

the page, it lists instant information that displays an overview of the searched information. Next, using a facts algorithm, Harvix displays facts pulled from websites that Harvix deem reliable. David Skrenta prefers articles written by doctors, versus spam websites where they will receive money for displaying articles that are not necessarily accurate and reliable. Harvix also has a notes feature that allows the user to take notes directly from the search page. Skrenta programs the back and front end of Harvix. The front end is the style, design, and the user experience. His goal is to get it to the best it can be and the fastest it can be. The back end is making Harvix work. Skrenta writes the code that compiles the websites, information, and text. “His coding abilities are great, being able to understand cutting edge technologies that experts often struggle with,” said Jakob Piccitto, vice president in business development. Since Skrenta was young, he loved to build and invent. When he was two years old, he designed shoes covered in sandpaper that would sand the floors as he walked around. “David has always been a builder. When he was a kid he used cardboard boxes, duct tape and whatever else he could find,” said father

Rich Skrenta. According to Rich Skrenta, Skrenta was initially excited by computers by watching “Wargames” and “Hackers”, and more recently, “The Social Network”. He was amazed about the power of computers and wanted to learn how to program them himself. Skrenta has worked on Harvix for two years, but it was not until the beginning of 2013 that he launched the real products for his search engine. “I could not ask for a better CEO than David. He has a deep understanding of the search industry, and lends me a generous amount of his insights of the corporate world,” said Piccitto. Harvix launched a new update in April, including an information timeline that becomes more complex as the user scrolls farther down. The simple information at the top is intended for elementary and middle school students. In the middle of the timeline, the information is more for high school students, and the bottom is for college students. But anybody of any grade level can use any part of it. Skrenta said it is easy to use and the interface is very fluid. “I like the idea that I can build things that actually benefit society, and I can do that easier with computers,” said David Skrenta.

involved in after school activities that make it difficult for them to find time to study. Junior Jen Anthony is involved in ASB’s dance commission and has many commitments outside of school. Anthony stated she has been doing practice tests to prepare outside of school in addition to other prep-work. “We do some in-class prep as well, but what has helped me the most is just finding time to study and gradually studying over time,” said Anthony. AP Modern European History teacher Jayson Waller believes the best remedy for successful AP test scores includes a mix of in-class and out of class preparation. “I give my students a series of review packets that come from a review book and then all students are in groups. In effect, they ‘jigsaw’, which means they split up and then present the material from various parts of the course,” said Waller.

For other students, studying becomes difficult when they are unsure of what will and will not be featured in their AP exam. “I’m taking two AP classes this year…I feel prepared for one of them but not so much the other because our teacher hasn’t prepared us very well. Most of us in that class have had to get practice outside of school,” said junior Neeshae Wain. Waller stated that, though in-class preparation may be helpful, success on the AP test also requires the student work outside of class. “I want my students to read the review packets...For homework, [students] have 20 AP practice questions to do per night… I think it’s both the teacher and the student’s job to prepare for the test. Who wants to win the game; the players or the coach? Hopefully they both do, so they both have to prepare,” said Waller. For students taking multiple AP exams, inclass practice may not be enough. Especially

for students with hectic schedules, such as Luckenbach, keeping up with AP classes and preparing for the AP test can be a job in itself. “I’m only taking three five-point classes this year, and only two of them are AP, so my preparation and work load is less heavy than most. It’s been really hard to keep up because I’ve been travelling so much and missed school for practically all of February,” said Luckenbach. The AP exam is a merit-based test on the material learned in an AP class. The test itself is run by CollegeBoard and scores are usually released mid-July. Students are able to send their scores to colleges to receive college credit, however, many schools only take a four or above, placing pressure on the student. “The AP test is a reflection on what you’ve learned throughout the year and the results will follow us to college, so I don’t think it’s fair if teachers don’t help prepare us,” said Anthony.

Infographic by Alyssa Espiritu

every report card. “Depending on the class I am fine with a B. If the class is really difficult for me I’m happy with the grade I get,” said junior Isabel Zwass. “One B or even a lot of Bs on a report card won’t ruin a college career or plans for graduation,” said Miller.

Secrets revealed behind Harvix computer genius By Kimiko Okumura Staff Writer

The numbers on the clock read 3:00 a.m. The room was pitch black, except for the computer screen illuminating freshman David Skrenta’s face as he built the program for his research engine. Skrenta’s love for computer science has often pulled him far into the night as he works on his current projects. “I stay up late because I feel that I need more to define myself than just going to school. I need to do other things which to me are more meaningful,” said Skrenta. In 2012, Skrenta built, a research engine designed by students for students. His mission is to allow others to effortlessly discover and share academic content. Skrenta works with a team of students from Carlmont High School, India, Washington, and Canada that collaborate with him to improve and expand Harvix. It took David Skrenta one year to find a group of highly motivated entrepreneurs. Sophomore Shant Narkizian said, “David is an innovator, and he tries to see the solution. He’s always thinking about what’s next. He always builds random things, like an aircraft

Who is responsible for students’ AP scores? By Julia Kranzler Staff Writer

A five hour test has the potential to eliminate 50 plus hours of a college class. Starting May 5, students will flood in and out of the Scot’s Gym to take an exam that tests the knowledge they have gained over the past year. AP testing is a stressful time of year for many students, especially those taking multiple AP classes. Students huddle in classrooms at lunch and spend hours each week studying for their exams. The question of who is responsible for preparing students for the test is often raised. “I do think the AP test is the responsibility of both the teacher and student. Teachers should definitely help prepare students for the test, but the student needs to study and keep up with their work as well,” said senior Catherine Luckenbach. Many upperclassmen taking the AP test are

The Highlander

Page 19


April 2014

How high school has progressed over the years From awkward social encounters to peer pressure, cliques, and late night studying, high school can be quite the journey. Though it could be difficult to imagine teachers as students, they were once in our shoes. Carlmont teachers shared how high school has changed, or how it has remained the same. “High school has changed tremendously. It is much more college based, the curriculum is more rigorous. My school had one or two AP classes, and few people took them. My kids have more work than I ever had in high school,” said math teacher Robert Tsuchiyama. The pressure of getting the highest grades, in the highest classes and managing multiple extra curriculars, has become a mantra for the average high school student. According to a study done by USA Today, 37 percent of high schoolers said they experience extreme stress levels during the academic school year. “I had little homework,” said Tsuchiyama. Similarly, teacher Amber Mills said, “The basics of high school haven’t changed but the pressure has definitely increased. Academics are not today are not at all like what I remember experiencing in high school. I spent more time waiting to get out of class to go play sports and have fun.”

among friends Academics and students are not the only have less reaspect of high spect for auschool that thority. Also, have changed. there was no A teenager in social media.” the 70s is difMany stuferent from a dents have teenager in the smart phones 21st century. that give A changthem access ing culture into almost anyvoked a change thing within in curriculum. minutes. A Carlmont study done by used to offer University of home ec classNebraska Lines where they coln in 2012 taught sewing. found that the Gymnastics 27 percent of and wrestling students check were offered as their phone sports. During four to 11 P.E., the dance studio would Math teacher Andrew Ramroth with wife, social studies times per class. Social comdouble as a teacher Karen Ramroth, at their high school prom ponents of gymnastics setting. The campus was smaller and consisted of high school have remained the same according to multiple Carlmont teachers. a lot of portables. “Social peer pressure in high school are Former student and current teacher at Carlmont Gayle McGinnis said, “What is accept- timeless. Many are pressured to conform to able now wasn’t then. More profanity is used social norms. The nature of high school can

be unfortunate, exclusionary and hurtful,” said teacher William (Ashley) Gray. Math teacher Andrew Ramroth said, “There were cliques when I was in high school and I still see them today. It’s the nature of human beings. Whenever there’s a group of people there will be a divide.” Stepping into the role of the teacher can be difficult at first, especially if you were once a student in the same school. McGinnis said, “It was weird at first I had to call my former teachers by their first names. I had to get used to it over time.” One’s perspective can certainly shift once they are no longer the student. While some may sympathize more with students, others may side with the teachers. Ramroth said, “As a student all I knew was my relations to teachers and the school, but now as a teacher I see the perspective of both. I was lucky to show up and learn. When I was in high school I had no idea what other kids were going through; I was completely unaware of other responsibilities that some had. So I definitely sympathize more with the kids. Each year that I’m a teacher I realize that the students deserve the benefit of the doubt.” So has high school changed? Yes and no, but one thing remains certain. High school is four years of your life that’s not always pleasant at the time, but will hold memories for all.

They supplied a structure for society.” The most obvious factor of the school system from the Market Revolution that still affects high school students is the bell system. The bell system was meant to replicate the bells in factories. Another way that schools are similar to factories is that they operated like assembly lines. School is segmented into years and each day students learn a certain skill set with each subject is taught at a fixed period of the day. Junior Monee McGrady said, “The basic structures of schools are the same. It’s a different type of education. Now, we have a lot more to learn about but it’s the same schedule.” The school system was originally made as a one size fits all education and made learning tedious and repetitive, like factory work. Manufacturing looked towards public education to provide obedient workers for a growing industry due to the migration of rural Americans and the immigration of Europeans. According to the Geopolitics website, “School [has become] more rigorous and mechanical, but the scope or quality of education [has not improved], and the assembly line model of education [remains] the same.” Geopolitics also argues, “School no longer serves to expand students’ possibilities in life, or enrich their experience. Instead it focuses on passing meaningless standardized tests.” The most important factor in colleges is the

“X Factor” or what makes a student stand out but standing out is becoming increasingly difficult because of the school system. The system is meant to suppress and standardize. American students go through tedious standardized testing from elementary school to high school. People question whether standardized testing actually improves education. It is often apparent that standardized testing is not accurate in measuring knowledge but more in the ability to remember information. But results from the latest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey show that America is falling behind in education worldwide, a problem that many people like Barack Obama are concerned about. In the 2012 PISA survey showed that the United States of America was ranked 25 out of 30 in mathematics, 21 out of 30 in science and 15 out of 29 in reading literacy. The PISA “is a triennial international survey which aims to evaluate education systems worldwide by testing the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old students,” according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) website. Every three years since 2000, fifteen-year-old students are randomly selected around the world to take this test. It tests in math, reading and science with a mix of open-ended and multiple choice questions. Students’ backgrounds, schools and learning experiences are factored into the anal-

ysis through the students’ and the principals’ answers on questionnaires. The PISA tests are not directly linked to the school curriculum and are designed to assess students’ ability to “apply knowledge to reallife situations and be equipped to full participation in society.” The information that is collected allows participating countries to analyze students’ performance and the impact of education policy decisions. According to the OECD website, around 510,000 students in 65 economies took part in PISA 2012 representing about 28 million 15-year-olds globally. With America falling behind, people are increasingly questioning the education system. Some believe that taking out standardized testing, like in schools in Finland, will be beneficial. While others believe that changing the way students learn, like in Common Core Standards, is the answer. Harrison said, “The school system hurts students to some extent. It doesn’t reward for innovation. Where is the incentive to innovate? If a teacher tries something new and it flops, students, parents and administration complain. The teacher risks getting fired.” The perfect education system is out of reach but until America leaves its Market Revolution school system in the past, students will continue to suffer.

ally undermines the healthy claims. To me, it seems like a lot of the students have the same opinion about the food." Moreover, at the Carlmont pit stops, nutrition facts are not on display or readily accessible. Casaccia said, “A lot of students eat healthy and try maintain a slim figure, but that’s hard to do when they don’t know what they are putting into their bodies.” Despite all of these complaints, students continue to purchase hot lunch because it is a convenient program designed to help stu-

dents. Carlmont is fortunate enough to have a hot lunch service that not only serves lunch but also serves breakfast. “I think that the hot lunch program is a way to reach out to students who don’t have Photo by Naomi Asrir the time or money or simply forget to bring food with them,” said sophomore Serenity Gregerson. The hot lunch program also offers discounts for financially challenged families. Now for the first time, families can provide allowances for students to purchase meals.

This allowance program is run by the infinite campus portal and is the reason that students must now have an identification card to buy lunch. Freshman Lucas Moody said, “I moved here from Washington second semester. Compared to my old school, Carlmont’s hot lunch program has a lot more food options and makes it as easy as possible for students and parents to take advantage of its great services.” Many students feel that school lunch services have undoubtedly improved over time, but they still prefer a lunch packed from home. Junior Hiba Dahbour said, “I like packed lunches because I know what I’m eating. The food is something my mom bought so I know it is good for me.” Our school is fortunate to have a program that is designed to benefit students and spread a helping hand.

Photo provided by Karen Ramroth

By Athena Duran Staff Writer

Public schools need to modernize their education system By Karissa Tom Campus Editor

American students have been struggling in education due to the school system that was set up during America’s industrial age. Although America has moved far from the Market Revolution, students are still being affected by the old public education system. The American school system dates back to the colonial period, but it wasn’t nationalized until the 1840s. According to the Chesapeake website, in the 1900s, a reform era for schools known as “The Common School Period,” Common-school advocates argued for the creation of schools to keep social stability and prevent crime. Advocates also wanted to dilute culture and religion and “Americanize” foreigners. According to the Race Forward website, in 1851, Massachusetts passed a compulsory education law with a goal to ensure that the children of poor immigrants become “civilized” and learn obedience to make good workers and prevent social upheaval. The school system was initially set up to meet the needs of an industrial period and to supply factories with new employees. Jarrod Harrison, US History and APUSH teacher, said, “[The school system] was meant to instill discipline and regimentation. Most kids in school were farmers and immigrants.

Is hot lunch a good choice for students? By Tara Shahrvini Staff Writer

Which would you pick: meal of pizza, chocolate milk, and a tangerine or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with an apple and a granola bar? Today, many students debate whether or not to buy hot lunch at school. Some claim that the food is unhealthy and others simply prefer a meal brought from home. The most common complaint regarding the hot lunch program is the quality of food. At Carlmont pit stops, salads are pre-packaged in plastic containers, and the pizza is covered in grease. Sophomore Gina Casaccia said, "I always pack a lunch from home. I've never bought lunch before because the quality seems very poor. The salads are in plastic bags which re-


Page 20 The Highlander

April 2014

Drive-in movies are a thing of the past

By Miranda Irwin Staff writer

People seek entertainment for a variety of reasons, but after a while people get bored of the same old games, movies and TV shows. The entertainment industry thrives for these reasons and is forced to come up with new ideas to meet the desires of society. However, sometimes people prefer older forms of entertainment like the drive-in movie theater. Drive-in movies were once the newest and trendiest form of entertainment. The first one was built in 1933 in Camden, N.J., and resulted in hundreds of theaters being built elsewhere around the United States. Drive-ins hit their

peak during the ‘50s and ‘60s when there were about 4,000 theaters nationwide. However, new improvements in other areas started running the idea of a drive-in theater out of business. Modern movie theaters became more appealing due to visual appearance and comfort. Similarly, TV shows became more popular, and with higher quality and more options, many people chose the comfort of their own homes over a drive-in or any other theater.

When asked whether they would prefer to see a movie at a drive-in or a normal movie theater, the majority of Carlmont students said that they would prefer to go to a drive-in. “I’ve never been to a drive-in movie but I would definitely take up the chance if I had it,” said junior Gigi Vlahos. Drive-ins were considered to be “one of the icons of American civilization, combining Hollywood with car culture,” said journalist Sean McLachlan in his article “Vanishing

America: The drive-in theater.” Many individuals consider drivein movie theaters to be outdated and not as common of an activity as they used to be. “Although drive-ins may be outdated they may also be considered retro which, in my opinion, is really interesting and fun. Just like how Polaroid cameras are getting really popular because they are so different from newer device, the drive-in movie theater could potentially regain popularity for similar reasons,”

Images used with a Creative Commons license

said junior Lauren Pittock. Drive-ins became less popular for a variety of reasons, the main one being the increase in popularity of TV. According to, the average weekly attendance to motion-pictures dropped from 80 million in 1940 to 40 million in 1960. Although drive-in movie theaters may not be as common as they used to be, they are still a form of entertainment that many individuals would likely enjoy spending their time and money on. Drive-in movies and the movie industry in general have ups and downs, but they rarely fail to fulfill one of their main purposes -- to entertain people.

Watching rated R movies under age

By Angelina Castillo Staff writer

Movies get an R rating because of the content being violent, sexual or profane, but that does not stop teens under the age of 17 from sneaking into a theater to go watch the movies. Senior Danielle Bickel said, "My friends have purchased a ticket for a PG or PG-13 movie and have then snuck into a rated R movie instead." Seventy-one percent of students have sneaked in to a rated R movie according to a recent Highlander poll. Junior Gigi Vlahos said, "When a movie is rated R, kids are deterred from it and they are more likely to be sneaking in." In the United States, rated R movies are allowed to be viewed by teens at the age of 17. Teens experience mature scenes because their world is full of the same thing. It’s common for TV dramas, music, computer games and the internet to include sexual or violent scenes. The PG-13 rating, introduced in 1984 after an uproar over violence in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” indicates that parents should be “strongly cautioned” that some material may not be appropriate for children under the age of 13. The R rating means anyone under 17 must be accompanied into a theater by a parent or adult guardian. Bickel said, "They probably made this rule to attempt to

shield younger children from profanity and inappropriate behaviors." Movie classifications have changed over the years to the point where the rating isn't always based off of the content, but based off of how much money it will make based off of the audience targeted. Junior Cole Castro said, “I actually think that they're rated because of Infographic by Lara Ostroff content, but I do think that some movies do have their ratings lowered because they want more people to come. In general though I think they're mostly rated based on the movie." According to The Wrap, on average, PG-13 movies make more than three times what R-rated films do at the box office in the United States. PG-13 films have accounted for 52 percent of the overall box office grosses, well ahead of films that the Motion Picture Association of America rated R (27 percent), PG (16 percent) or G (three percent). The biggest box-office money-makers, like “Iron Man 3” or “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” are purposefully PG-13 to connect all “four quadrants.” The quadrants include both young and old, and men and women. If a film is rated R, it’s

eliminating the young crowd which is a large contributing group to the amount of money made. Vlahos said, "I think that sometimes movie people will push to make movies PG-13 so that the movie appeals to a bigger audience." According to The Wrap, several movie series are given a rating of PG-13 and that rating will remain constant because businesses do not want to restrict fans from seeing their favorite movie. Fifty-eight percent of students believe that movies target the younger age group in rated R movies with the actors they cast. CBS Films appealed to the MPAA Ratings Board after its “Last Vegas” initially received an R, and made enough edits to get it to a PG-13. It’s become the company’s biggest earner ever with nearly $60 million domestically, a figure it likely wouldn’t have hit with an R rating. When shooting for blockbuster numbers, studios typically don't want to risk the R rating because of production costs. The prevalence of gun violence in top PG-13 movies has more than tripled since the rating was introduced in the mid80s. Castro said, “I think the PG-13 and R rating is pretty much the same, I mean the only two things a R-rated movie has that PG-13 doesn't is nudity and generally R-rated uses the "f" word more." The Washington Post found that violence in films had more than doubled since 1950, and that violence PG-13 films has tripled over the past quarter-century. In addition, while PG-13 movies initially had only about as much violence as G and PG rated films, since 2009 they have contained as much violence as rated R films, or more. Vlahos said, "Rated R movies and PG-13 movies are becoming more and more similar and the rating doesn't seem to have a big difference."

BuzzFeed: pictures, articles and quizzes galore By Danielle Hamer Staff Writer

“What ‘Office’ character are you most like?” “What career is best suited to you?” “Learn more about the crises in Ukraine!” “Best recipes for after school snacks!” Among comments, pictures and statuses, a stream of constant posts containing links to quizzes, articles, and humorous lists all from one site have been taking over social media portals such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. This site is Buzzfeed, a media company for the social age that provides a pioneering mix of breaking news, entertainment and shareable content. It is evident that in today’s world, the source of most of the information, world news and amusing material that we hear is from computer sites. In 2006, Jonah Peretti created a company that puts different information and entertainment together. He is the founder and CEO of BuzzFeed, the media company for the social age that provides a mix of breaking

news, entertainment and shareable content. BuzzFeed’s popularity has grown immensely in the past eight years. This may be due to its versatility -- the site is a mixture of quizzes, articles, pictures, videos and lists, divided into news, entertainment, lifestyle, and pictures and videos. Under these categories are subtopics such as food, travel, politics, and more. There is truly something for everyone. Junior Sophie Fox said, “BuzzFeed is very funny, and is a good site because it presents many different ideas and deals with a lot of different topics. In the end, however, it is not extremely thought-provoking.” One of BuzzFeed’s most viewed features is its quizzes. They are sometimes funny, sometimes serious, sometimes cute, and often not accurate. Common favorites of online bloggers are the “Why are you single” quiz and the “Where should you live” quiz. On average, the quizzes have about ten questions. The quiz-taker answers each question by clicking on pictures or phrases that they like best. The questions aren’t

very personal and are more for entertainment than for reaching a solid conclusion. Fox said, “The quizzes are fun and entertaining to fill out, but do not really present anything important or real in their results.” BuzzFeed is also a major source of procrastination. Junior Nico Camerino said, “Taking quiz after quiz is a bit addicting sometimes, and after a while I force myself to stop otherwise I end up not doing anything productive.” In addition to quizzes, the site features articles in a list format. For example, one of their most popular pieces is “25 Funniest YouTube comments of the year.” The site’s simple format attracts users. Camerino said, “The BuzzFeed quizzes are more amusing and are a good way to kill time, but I also usually end up reading a lot of their articles because a lot of them have interesting topics and are fun and easy to read quickly.” BuzzFeed appeals to many different audiences. Quizzes, articles, and stories are related to any-

thing from puppies to desserts to job searches. However, it’s not just the vast range of topics that attract kids, teens, and adults all at the same time. BuzzFeed items that are based on identity-like articles titled “30 Signs you went to Berkeley” or “20 signs you were raised by Irish parents” attract all ages and demographics because people find comfort in identifying with the creator of the post, and those who share in their traditions. According to the website containing an article from online magazine Future Tense, nothing can match “BuzzFeed’s identity-based pandering when it comes to making a post go viral.” While the website doesn’t offer heavy or extremely dependable content, if you are looking for twenty pictures of baby kittens to cheer you up on a difficult day, or want to be informed about current events or even want to marvel at the fact that others who were raised with five siblings sympathize and identify with your own life, there is a good chance you will find an article, quiz or video about it on BuzzFeed.


The Highlander

Page 21 April 2014

Students getting sucked in to TV shows By Jocelyn Moran Staff Writer

On Monday, March 17, many teenagers were devastated with the death of their favorite character, Allison Argent, on “Teen Wolf.” “When Allison died, I couldn’t believe it. Like Allison can’t die. She’s the main character. I was more sad than I was angry. I just wanted to keep rewinding it so that Allison could still be alive,” said junior Sara Arredondo. Jeff Davis, creator and director of “Teen Wolf,” explained in a recent interview that killing off Allison was a necessary thing to do in order to keep the show interesting. Shows like “Teen Wolf ” are meant to keep the fans interested by being intense, romantic, dangerous and relatable. All these shows have one thing in common, they’re intense. The intensity of these shows sucks the viewer into them, causing the developement a problem addiction. Arredondo said, “It’s like I’m in a whole other world when I watch ‘Teen Wolf,’” and if someone bugs me while I’m watching it, I’ll feel like I’m Allison and I’ll try to shoot them with an arrow.” “‘Walking Dead’ has a lot of suspense causing me to keep wanting to watch the next episode. The story line is just great,” said junior Shavon Minor. After something devastating happens on a teenager’s favorite TV show, many of them become extremely upset. “When Allison died, I was so upset. I just wanted to cry. It completely ruined my week. I don’t really want to watch ‘Teen Wolf ’ anymore,” said sophomore Kathleen

Infographic by Lara Ostroff

Moreyra. Not only do these shows affect teenagers, but also adults. “The drama and the cliffhangers of the shows I watch cause addiction. Once you watch one episode, you need to continue watching. It does take time out of my day, but I’m able to manage it,” said math teacher Matt Miskelly. As most characters in these shows are teenagers, many students identify themselves with at least one of the characters. “I definitely do identify myself with a character in the show because

they have similar characteristics so I was really disappointed when Allison died,” said Moreyra. Junior Sofia Kurt said, “Many of the characters in ‘One Tree Hill’ are teenagers making the show completely relatable. That’s one of the reasons I watch it.” Although shows that involve action, romance and intensity are the ones that usually cause addiction, other shows like “How I Met Your Mother” can affect a teenager as well. “I was disappointed with the [“How I Met Your Mother”] finale because as a huge fan of the show,

I had been waiting for Ted to meet the mother and be happy, but you find out that she dies, which was so disappointing and sad,” said junior Raine Kerhin. Junior Julia Semmler said, “I was extremely upset with the finale of ‘How I Met Your Mother.’ Something that I loved let me down completely.” Many of these shows are unrealistic as they involve werewolves, vampires and other supernatural creatures. However, many teenagers might find this more appealing than life in the real world.

Moreyra said, “Shows like ‘Teen Wolf ’ are just better than reality overall. I think that’s definitely a big part of the reason I watch it. It’s because it’s more dramatic, intense and interesting than real life.” TV shows were not made to become an addiction, but as they have evolved, teenagers use them as a better reality than their own. “TV shows are becoming a problem because we invest too much emotion and time into it. We dislike school so much that we use TV shows to escape from it,” said junior Tina Enkhbat.

Silicon Valley: where innovators make it big By John Russell Staff Writer

If you were to take every barista with a screenplay on his hard drive and turn him into a coding, computer science graduate with an app idea, you would have essentially turned Hollywood into Silicon Valley. Starry-eyed young people no longer just come in the form of artistic types. Every year, graduates from top computer science and engineering programs enter the marketplace, looking to make an impact. The stories of young, scrappy engineers fumbling into a revolutionary idea and offering it up to the angel investors who, when reaching into their deep venture capitalist pockets, look like actual angels, have become mythologized in western culture. Senior Pasha Minkovsky said, “The movie

‘The Social Network’ was a good example of how the whole process works. It also shows why people come to Silicon Valley, for the money and the lifestyle. It’s like Wall Street or Hollywood; anywhere where there’s money smart people will go in crowds.” More and more dollars are changing hands now, and according to San Jose Mercury News, in the first quarter of 2014 alone, $4.3 billion have changed hands in the Valley. The stakes are climbing as smaller and smaller operations can take quantum leaps into the tech stratosphere in shorter amounts of time. For every writer looking to Donald Glover or Lena Dunham, there’s an entrepreneur looking to Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg, hoping he (or she) gets the chance to pitch a big idea to an investor. Much like how Hollywood is about getting your foot in the door, Silicon Valley is about getting the chance to……

Contemporary American Food and Stunning Bar

pitch your idea to someone important. Analogously, as some film students get the chance to pitch a screenplay to a studio exec, others decide to go out and make waves on their own and attract eyes in that manner. Young people with an app idea often decide to build a prototype and release it on the various exchanges to see public reception. Instagram, Snapchat, and countless other apps got snapped up by investors and parent companies after gaining steam on their own. It is strange to think about a time where Silicon Valley was thought of as stale and technical, as it is now as strange and vibrant as Hollywood. Like Hollywood, the color and glam came along with the money, and as net worths soared, so too did the amount of people competing for market share, and in turn, what people were willing to spend to attract the next big thing.

Contemporary American Food Contemporary American Food andand Stunning BarBar Stunning

Contemporary American Food and Stunning Bar

164 B164 Street, San Mateo • 650-348-8164 • B Street, San Mateo • 650-348-8164 •

Peter Thiel is one of the men responsible for the new attitude prevailing in Silicon Valley. His Thiel Fellowship sponsors 24 innovative college students to drop out and spend their time working in a lab-like environment to launch a company of their own. The fellowship has raised over $34 million for their future ventures. These Thiel-ites are prototypical of the new breed of Silicon Valley operators. Though the two areas have different methodologies and ideologies -- one is highly centralized and seeing a crumbling of the status quo, the other is proudly lacking of a hard and fast hierarchy and regularly sees newcomers whip empires out of thin air -- Hollywood and Silicon have become very similar in their attraction of talent. Both industries are bright lights on the coast, calling young people from all walks of life to challenge themselves and their peers and to change the world.


Page 22 The Highlander

10 ways to enjoy any music festival By Sonia Paulo Staff Writer


It’s springtime; the season of warm weather, longer days, and music festivals of all kinds. With festivals such as Coachella, BFD, Electric Daisy Carnival, Burning Man, and others approaching in the next couple of months, there are a lot of things music lovers need to keep track of. However, being able to keep track of all the things necessary to fully enjoy the time spent at these festivals can become overwhelming, especially for the newbies. Many learn how to successfully enjoy a festival through trial and error, but having a basic idea of what to expect can be the difference between enjoying yourself and not.


Planning for a music festival often starts at home. Buying tickets early allows for the cheapest price, and guaranteed admission.“I always get my tickets way in advance,” said junior Jenna Mourad, “It allows me to plan accordingly and I can get them at a better price.”


For girls especially, dressing to impress is a preparation process that is planned in advance almost as much as buying the ticket itself. Celebrities such as Vanessa Hudgens have set the bar with previous festival outfits, making events such as Coachella a major fashion statement. “In dressing for these things you, have to go outside your comfort zone,” said junior Donna Ghaemi, “The outfit is a part of the experience.” The classic “music festival” look for a female usually consists of high waisted shorts, crop tops, and tennis shoes. A good place to look for these Indie fashions are stores such as Urban Outfitters and Free People. A good thrift store will also do, seeing as the whole look of festivals isn’t supposed to be mainstream fashion.


Preparing for the weather is crucial in enjoying yourself all day, and sometimes all night long. Dressing in clothing made for hot weather can help to cool you off while standing under the hot sun. However if the festival lasts into the night, bringing a jacket, or cardigan to keep warm is important. “I like to bring a blanket with me to festivals,” said Ghaemi, “I can sit on it during the day, and at night use it to keep warm.”

As stated on the Coachella website, it is important to wear comfortable, “dancing” shoes. At music festivals, the day is spent walking from stage to stage or standing around watching your favorite bands preform. Heels will exhaust your feet and are dangerous in crowds. Open toed shoes come with the risk of getting your feet banged up while standing in a packed audience, and have very little arch support which will also hurt after a long day. The best type of shoes are ones that you are okay with getting dirty and are comfortable to stand in. Converse, Vans, and even Doc Martin boots are all good options because of their comfort and durability when walking around. They are also very stylish and fit the look of a festival.


“Bringing water is the number one thing to remember,” said Mourad. “You will get super thirsty.” It’s not uncommon to see people being carried out of the crowd due to fainting. Heat exhaustion is a big risk when attending a festival becuse of the hot sun, and large amount of people. You are constantly sweating and losing water throughout the day. Bring a water bottle that holds a lot and can be refilled. Make sure the water bottle you bring doesn’t have a cap that can be screwed on and off because they are considered a risk to performers and may not be allowed into the venue.


Establishing a meeting place means the difference between wasting time walking around on sore feet trying to find your group, or enjoying yourself. At Coachella for example, over 90,000 people attend making the chances of finding anyone you know if you get separated. A good meeting place can be anything from a specific trash can or the entrance gate, to a specific ride or attraction at the festival. Either way, the meeting place should be known among everybody in the group and should be easy to get to. If a member of the group gets separated, it should be collectively understood that everyone will return to that meeting place to regroup.


At festivals, a lot can go wrong with cell phones. At crowded festivals, there is often a delay in sending/ receiving text messages because of

everybody being on their phones and overcrowding the networks. An easy fix to this is time stamping when the text was sent, in order to allow for a more accurate idea of what is going on, especially if trying to meet up with someone. If your phone dies, bring an external charger. This is a device that can re-power your phone up to two times which prevents the panic of needing to find an outlet or charging station. If your phone does die, have a sheet of paper with everyone in the groups contact information so that they can be reached off of someone else’s phone.


Being able to walk around with empty hands may not seem like a big deal, but at a music festival, the added responsibility of having too keep a grip on your bag gets annoying after a while. A small backpack that is able to hold all the necessities while still looking fashionable is the best way to go. Draw string is preferable so that no one can go into the backpack to steal things while in a crowd and a backpack would also prevent the risk of setting it down and forgetting it.


With the amount of people that attend festivals, there is bound to be some trouble makers. “Music festivals can get super sketchy because there are drugs and things present,” said Mourad. “Just watch out for drunk people or anyone who might want to start anything.” The best way to avoid trouble is to not pick a fight with anybody and if you see anyone causing trouble make sure to avoid them. Don’t accept drinks from anybody either, because there are many drugs that could get put into them that you wouldn’t even know about.


Music brings everyone together. Planning out which bands to see and when is the biggest strategy when it comes to enjoying yourself at a festival. Make sure to know the bands playing so that you can sing along and appreciate the experience to its fullest. Make sure to attend with people who like the same bands as well in order to avoid conflict between who wants to see what. “In the end, music festivals are really just about having fun and making the most of the experience,” said junior Sabrina Cojocaru. “But getting to see your favorite bands definitely adds to the experience.”

April 2014

Country concerts By Gen Kellis Staff Writer Country concert season means shorts and flannel shirts for many Carlmont students, but are these events overly hyped up? Every year in the middle of May, the outdoor country concerts start at Shoreline Amphitheatre. The venue has been open since 1986 and has held many different types of events and concerts over the years. These events are an important social occasion to high school students all over the Bay Area. The girls dig their shorts and crop tops out from the back of their closets with the rest of their summer clothes and find the cowboy boots they bought specifically for the country concert season. There is a lot of social media pressure to attend the concerts since many who go post something on Facebook Instagram, Twitter, and others. If a person is to scroll through their Instagram feed while a concert is going on they’re bound to see pictures of their friends either there or getting ready. Junior Sofia Kurt said, “I think that when people look at the pictures they’re like ‘oh that looks fun I should go.’” Seventy five percent of Carlmont students that were polled believe that social media over hypes the country concert season. Not everyone that goes to these outdoor concerts are there because their friends are or because they need a new Facebook profile picture.They go because they want to hear the music at a lower price than buying seat tickets. Shoreline Amphitheatre’s lawn takes up a majority of the venue, meaning there are more tickets at a cheaper price available to teenagers. Senior Tristan Gasperian said, “I really like country music and the environment at Shoreline Amphitheatre.” Lawn tickets are significantly cheaper than other sections that are closer to the stage. The lawn is also more appealing because it gives the people attending a chance to mingle more than in real assigned seats. Prices for the lawn tickets range from 30-90 dollars according to dot com depending on the performance and the time that they’re bought. This is a large factor for the high school students attending the concerts. Junior Cole Lotti said, “I really enjoy country music and I also really like seeing my friends at the concerts.”Many Carlmont students enjoy the music and the atmosphere not only one or the other. Other students enjoy the music like Lotti. Kurt said, “I really like the music, but I mostly go for the social scene, but I think it’s scary when people are taken away on wheelchairs”.

AVEE hair salon 414 S. Ellsworth Ave. San Mateo (650) 348-2383

The Highlander


Page 23 April 2014

Day dedicated to the women who gave us life By Naomi Asrir Staff Writer

Though originally a day for sons and daughters to show appreciation, Mother's Day has become a key opportunity for commercialism and corporate profit. Mother’s Day is one of the most profitable days of the year, totaling sales of $18.6 billion. Flowers, clothing, gift cards, spa days and smartphones all contribute to the Mother’s Day overkill. Though they often prefer receiving unique gifts from their children, mothers are presented with expensive material items. Many kids feel obligated to purchase jewelry and electronic devices to show their love, but there are other ways. Handmade gifts convey a personal message and represent a unique expression of love and appreciation. Many mothers prefer gifts made by their son or daughter, since they reflect more time and energy towards their production. “Last year, my girls gave me a homemade gift card to ‘spend a day together in the city’ and it was amazing. When we all had a free summer day we went to San Francisco to do all the fun things I love to do together with them: shop, eat and go to art museums,” said Sue Denney, mother and vice president of campus and community outreach for the Carlmont Academic Foundation. Carlmont’s Testing Coordinator Nina Rasor said, “I would rather [my children] spend time with me than give me a gift, but I do like flowers because I rarely receive them.” states that Mother’s Day is the busiest day of the year for restaurants. Moms prefer to enjoy a quality meal with their loved ones, but making the time to do so can often be challenging. The holiday allows them to take a day off and relax.

“To me, a perfect Mother's Day is to relax without having to worry about cooking, dishes and laundry. Most of all, I look forward to visits from my adult children,” said Rasor. According to, roughly 133 million Mother’s Day cards were sold in the year 2013. Based on a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, consumers spent an average of $169 on Mother’s Day gifts, however many mothers appreciate a special day dedicated to spending quality time with their families. Denney said, “[Large corporations] probably do 'cash in,' but I also value the time that my family sets aside for me and makes me feel special that day, so having a dedicated Mother's Day does make me happy and feel connected with those that I love, even if it means that businesses and restaurants profit from it.” Mothers almost always prefer their family’s company over tangible tokens. “A perfect Mother's Day gift is spending time with my children and my mother. Time is precious and since none of them live with me or nearby, being able to spend time with them is very special to me . A phone call or time together are much better than an object,” said history teacher Linda Garvey. College and Guidance Counselor Connie Dominguez agrees: “I prefer no gift. Sharing this life with my husband and daughter is priceless.” Instead of celebrating a commercial holiday, some prefer to show appreciation for their mothers year round. Principal Lisa Gleaton said, “Any time I spend with my mom or son is Mother's Day for me. I don't buy gifts or cards for my mom for Mother's Day and I don't want any from my son. When I see something that I think my mom would like, or an experience I think she'd enjoy having, I buy or do it then and there, no matter what day it is.”

Is forced happiness the solution to the blues?

By Alisa Takahashi Staff Writer

Today is a particularly frustrating day for you; in fact, you might even categorize it as a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. In this situation, you have one of two choices: wallow in misery and let your grumpy mood fester, or put on a happy face and try to push those gray skies and negative thoughts far from your mind. The latter method sounds a little too good to be true, but that is what the positive-psychology movement suggests—not that we can trick ourselves into feeling a different way, but that we can successfully force ourselves to be happy even when we aren’t. In today’s society, happiness is bold. It is courageous and affronting. It challenges the status quo and most of all, it is contagious. It is reassuring to know that each of us holds the power and promise of happiness in our very hands. If this is true, why is it that so many people pretend to be happy instead of actually achieving it? Happiness varies on an individual basis because of how each person defines it. “People fake their happiness because they have the mentality that they cannot change

Check out scotscoop. com for additonal content!

their lives. Once they start thinking more positively, they’re bound to become happier eventually,” said sophomore Sydney Cho. On her blog that spawned the best-selling book The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin writes about the “act-the-way-I-want-to-feel principle,” in which she tries to overcome negative emotions with happier actions. “By acting as if you feel a certain way, you induce that emotion in yourself,” she writes. The question rises of how much of a difference thoughts and actions really make. A Google search of “faking happiness” or “positive thinking” presents articles and selfhelp blogs that recommend turning frowns upside down as a way to boost a sad mood. This notion is supported by a study German researcher Robert Soussignan performed in 2002. Volunteers were asked to hold a pencil with either their teeth or their lips, thus mimicking either a smile or a frown. Then they watched cartoons and rated them on a humor scale. Those who used their teeth found the cartoons funnier than those who used their lips. This lead to the conclusion that even a fake smile using the same muscles but does not come from a genuine source of happiness can put someone in a better mood.

“Faking a smile definitely helps once in a while. Sometimes when I’m sad and smile, other people smile back at me which is a really good feeling,” said sophomore Kayla Fong. Smiling doesn't seem like a particularly complicated act: the corners of your mouth turn up, your cheeks lift and your eyes crinkle. The overall effect tells the outside world that you are feeling happy. “It’s easy to plaster a big smile on your face. It’s hard to change your mentality and your life to achieve genuine happiness,” said sophomore Alex Singer. Then again, as humans, we might fake our own happiness without even knowing it. Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert gave a TED talk about the “psychological immune system”—our brains’ noncognitive effort to make us feel better about an outcome that isn’t desired, like saying “I didn’t really want that position” if you fail to get a job. “Synthetic happiness is every bit as real and enduring as the kind of happiness you stumble upon when you get exactly what you were aiming for,” Gilbert said. “Sometimes I think I am happier than I actually am without even realizing it. I forget to stop and think of what’s actually happening in my life, so I can seem happy,” freshman David

Skrenta said. However, putting on a happy face during tough times may actually be counter productive. If you force yourself to fake a smile, or act the opposite way that you want to, it could lead to pushing down bad feelings instead of working through them and an even worse feeling might occur in the long run. A 2006 study from the University of Frankfurt am Main found that employees forced to act friendly and polite during customer complaint phone calls increased their risk of cardiovascular problems and depression in the process. When people have to “fake” happiness in the long run, it stresses out their bodies and minds. Psychologist Dr. Brent Scott, assistant professor of management at Michigan State University, analysed a group of customer-service workers who 'fake smile' throughout the day. This ended up worsening their mood and then withdrawing from work, dropping productivity. “If you’re faking anything, especially happiness, you can’t keep it up forever and you’ll end up feeling worse than before you started faking your emotions,” said freshman Connie Yi.


Page 24 The Highlander

College is a crapshoot College From page 1 rejection luck is involved [only] in the sense that as an applicant you really have no control over the applicant pool,” said senior Sandip Srinivas. In the fall, Srinivas will be attending Stanford University. He is one of five students admitted from Carlmont High School, and one of 2,138 students admitted to the University. In this year’s admissions cycle, Stanford University admitted 5.07 percent of applicants- the lowest admit rate in the University’s 129 year history. According to the University of California Los Angeles, “Under the holistic model, the review of each application is an integrated process that considers the full record of a student’s achievements and experiences, as well as the challenges faced, and provides a more carefully individualized and qualitative assessment. Further, each application is reviewed in its entirety by at least two readers, and the overall score is averaged. To ensure consistency and fairness, if there are meaningful discrepancies in the rankings given by the two reviewers, the application is further reviewed by senior managers within the admissions team.” Many other students around the country did not get into their top choice schools.

They cite different reasons for not receiving a decision of admission that range from bias, to luck, to faulty applications. "College admissions are a crapshoot. At a certain point it all depends on what time of day the application is read, if the reader had their morning coffee, the mood the reader is in, and other factors that shouldn't be part of determining our futures," said senior Jane Smith. Some may see these reasons as things that have been outside their control. Factors that had nothing to do with their application itself. "A lot of students who had worse grades, scores, and extracurriculars got in to great schools. That's awesome for them, but it's unfair to the more qualified people that got rejected," continued Smith. This view is on psychology defines as an external locus of control. Meaning that everything is based on luck and chance. However other people see luck as having a slightly smaller roll. "Luck determines whether or not you are what the college wants that particular year. People who deserve to get in each year are denied admission even though they very well could have gotten in another year in a different pool of applicants," stated Srinivas.

From page 1

curricular standings. And of course, because students pour themselves into these applications, many take the rejection personally and handle it negatively. “If I could go back, I would tell myself not to keep a tally of rejections or focus on it so much,” said senior Catherine Luckenbach. During a difficult and emotional time for a senior’s life, some choose to busy themselves to avoid the negativity. Luckenbach did so through choir, auditions, and her job. “We take college rejections personally because they are a denial of who we are as a person. We put our best food forward and try to paint an accurate portrait of ourselves. Denying our application is a denial of the value of our persona, and many people are not able to withstand such a direct affront to our ego,” said senior Simeon Giverts. Though admissions officers are rejecting students to their schools, that is not a correlation to how smart, passionate, or talented the student may be. “It was definitely tough dealing with rejections. I got really aggressive after reading the emails. I even broke a racket and ranked my tennis match after not getting into UC

April 2014

Berkeley,” said senior Vrain Ahuja. Although it can be upsetting to receive rejections, it’s important to put it all into perspective. Senior Leesan Kwok said, ”I read the email and just went ‘Ok!’ and went back to daily life. I think spending time on taking rejection personally is a waste of time and energy so I just shrug it off.” For some students, college rejections helped instill qualities of maturity and accord. “After my initial disappointment and frustration, I eventually accepted that my "perfect" schools were not really my perfect schools because the admissions counselors could not envision me there. Plus, who is more qualified to make that call than the person whose job is to match students to their university?” said Sohrabi. It’s also crucial not to compare acceptances. Though it can be heartbreaking to hear that someone who seems just as qualified got into a school that others were rejected to, it is critical to understand that schools judge applications differently and weigh in different aspects more than others. Some weigh grades more than extracurriculars, and some viceversa. “Comparing yourself to others just makes it harder to deal with the news. I think that we should not compare, and also know that college isn't the only way to become successful,” said Attari. With all of the rejections endured,

many are able to quickly leave their frustration in the past and develop life lessons from their experience. “Wait until all the decisions have come out, be patient, and don’t jump to conclusions. After I was rejected from a couple of top-tier schools and wait listed at UCLA, I was really disappointed and thought I had no chance at anything. But a week later I got into UC Berkeley,” said Attari. It’s also important to remember that college is what you make of it, and that most people end up happy wherever they go. “I wish I had told myself the adage ‘everything happens for a reason.’ My mom told me that after my first rejection, but it was difficult to accept. In reflection, I'm probably not meant to go to the schools I was rejected from, and it's important to remember that no one is defined by where they get accepted, but rather they are defined by what they decide to do at the colleges they attend and in their post college lives,” said Sohrabi. In all, many students find that regardless of rejection, they end up at a school that allows them to thrive. After all, college offers a multitude of opportunities, and it’s what students do with them that matters most. The main issue students now face is understanding how to cope with the unfairly personal impact a small envelope or short email may have.

Frequent absences make school even more challenging By Tori Shanefelter Staff Writer High school is a stressful time for many students, missing just a few days can cause a student to be behind in the class and overwhelmed with makeup work. According to Carlmont's Attendance Policy in order for a student to receive class credits, that student can not exceed 18 absences with 3 or more cuts a semester. In a recent poll answered by Carlmont students, the average number of absences a quarter and semester was one to five days Despite the majority there is a minority of students that have broken this policy. The lack of class credits can negatively affect a student in terms of class options for next year and whether or not they will be able to attend a four year college. But there are ways to makeup missing class credits through summer school or online classes. Peers automatically assume that when a student misses school for an extended period of

time it is because of their lack of interest in school and have been ditching, when in reality there is more to the story than what meets the eye. Sophomore Kevin Garay said, "Everyone’s situation is different. Sometimes I think they [student] are just ditching but after awhile I start to think they have a really reason for not being there. You don't know what they are going through so I try not to judge." Some students have legitimate reasons for their lack of presence at school that have greatly affected them. "When my grandpa passed away in December I missed about a month of school including most of my finals. Missing school for even one day can be hard so it was extremely difficult for me having to come back and not know anything," said sophomore Claudia Meza. Being sick or injured tends to be the most common reason as to why a student misses school however, there are some who have more serious personal reasons such as mental or emotional reasons, and family matters.

"It's really complicated but basically I have heavy metal toxicity. I missed about three months after Christmas break so the makeup work is endless, I spend all my weekends trying to catch up," said sophomore Luke Mohler, "Many people who don't know what's going on assume that I have just skipping school to stay home and play video games or that I only come when there are [social events] like the Chinese New Year Festival." Advanced classes such as AP or AS that go at a faster pace can be discouraging to students that miss a lot of school because they feel like they can’t catch up in the class. Mohler said, "Sometimes I feel like I'm being accused of doing something bad when people say that I don't look sick or assume that I'm just ditching when in fact I'm just trying to recover. But when they [peers] do welcome me back without judgement it feels good and nice to know that I was missed." A student's grade can also suffer from their lack of attendance. The normal competitive nature of high school is driven by grades.

Many deem success by grades, so when a frequently absent student's grades are not above average or where they want them to be, it can cause them to also see themselves as failures. "It's so stressful trying to finish all the makeup work and get back on track and in routine like everyone..and it sucks when your grades don't reflect your efforts. I can't help but feel like a failure when I check my grades and they're all F's,” said Mohler. What students may not know is that it's more beneficial to them when they talk to their teachers and let them know what's going on. When your teachers know what's going on it helps them to be more sympathetic and allow for extending due lines for work or extra help on tests. There are many external resources students can turn to when they are having a hard time catching up in school after being absent for so long or if their continued lack of absences is caused by a matter that is still affecting them. Article originally appeared on


The Highlander

Page 25 April 2014

Food allergies are on the ascent Drinking By Lizzie Doctorov Staff Writer

In the past 15 years, food allergies have increased by 50 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The price for having an allergic reaction isn’t always as mild as flu symptoms or a rash. Many reactions can land people in the hospital. Additionally, according to Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), teenagers and young adults with food allergies are at the highest risk of fatal food-induced anaphylaxis, a rapid and severe, whole-body allergic reaction to a chemical that has become an allergen. Biology teacher Tina Smith said, “I was tested for allergies in my early twenties because I constantly went into shock. They tested me for a lot of foods and found out I have a grain allergy.” Food allergies previously outgrown at early ages are now going away later according to FARE, which is another sign that allergies are worsening. In addition, testing for food allergies isn’t concrete, as very few tests can pick up on all the nuances of each allergy.

Highlander file photo

Specific blood tests to detect variations of gluten allergies are only a recent invention. According to Townsend Letter, normal methods of allergy testing rarely work for gluten, and very few blood tests are specific enough to find the specific proteins of gluten that the body reacts to. Allergies are usually either genetic or bodily reactions to its environment. Genes don’t change so drastically on such a large scale over a decade though. There are many theories about what has changed in our environment, the largest of which is the Hygiene Theory. First World countries pride themselves on their cleanliness. Antibiotics, fewer parasites, and pristine water may not always be as positive as they seem. According to UCLA Health, studies have shown that children who grow up on farms or with siblings are less likely to develop allergies because their immune systems have specific bacteria to protect against. Westerners are too hygienic nowadays, causing the immune system to not have anything to defend against. In turn, it sees certain foods as the enemy. Sophomore Emily Rexer said, “I believe that this is plausible, because if the body is used to a pristine environment, it isn't conditioned for dealing with diseases. I have heard about this theory before, have read some articles, and I know a family friend who has a child that has allergies that may have been caused by this.” As gluten allergies seem to be cropping up a lot recently, many restaurants such as Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria and BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse have devised special menus to accommodate customers. Sophomore Zach De Nola said, “Many res-

taurants now ask what you’re allergic to and what you can or can’t eat. Stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joes make specialized products for people that allergic to a variety of different foods.” There are also a whole host of new businesses to cater specifically to allergens such as gluten, dairy, and egg. Zest Bakery is completely gluten-free and has specific items for those allergic to dairy and egg, while restaurants such as Asian Box are one of the few who are totally gluten-free. In such places, customers allergic to gluten do not need to worry about menu choices, and those more sensitive are able to find a haven there. Even in restaurants with gluten-free options, contamination is a very real possibility due to equipment being used for non-glutenfree foods as well. Wholly gluten-free restaurants have little to no chance of contamination simply because foods containing gluten aren’t present. Sophomore Lauren McDonnell said, “I felt really sick all summer before I was diagnosed with Celiac disease. The transition to glutenfree was really hard because I’m too sensitive to be able to eat at restaurants that use the same equipment for gluten-free foods as they do for normal foods.” Those with gluten allergies need to be careful. Continuous consumption of gluten while having a sensitivity may lead to Celiac disease. While a food allergy is defined by FARE as “an overreaction of the immune system to a specific food protein,” Celiac disease is defined as “an abnormal immune reaction to gluten.” The two should not be confused, but one may easily result in the other if ignored. Article originally appeared on

From page 1

peers, and family of the student to make sure that everything is okay,” said Steunenberg. Although the education code is stringent and the consequences of suspension or expulsion are detrimental to students’ academic records, Steunenberg doesn’t want students to feel like administration is invading their privacy for cracking down on alcohol at school. “We want to provide an environment where students come to school and they feel like they’re being trusted, because that’s the way it is in society. If you walk by a police officer and you haven’t done anything, there’s no reason for you to feel worried,” said Steunenberg. Steunenberg added, “You shouldn’t be in fear that you’ll be searched, but at the same time, when we get some information, we will use the rights given to us by the education code.” Administration and ASB have made some attempts to reduce the amount of drinking, such as Teen Talk and an assembly at the beginning of year, but some questioned their usefulness. “Lessons on what and what not to do are pointless because most teenagers only learn by experience. Simply telling students the consequences of alcohol consumption won’t help the cause,” said senior Ethan Wallace. Even Steunenberg was hesitant to call these efforts useful. “In my opinion, there isn’t a certain amount of assemblies or programs that will make a student go, ‘Oh yeah, because of that assembly, I’m not going to drink,’” said Steunenberg. “My biggest fear with drinking at school is that getting drunk at school is a signal. If you have to drink at school, you are creating behaviors that will make you chemically dependent for the rest of your life,” said Steunenberg.

braces by Dr. Kathleen Brennan Tavarez

1785 San Carlos Ave #7, San Carlos



Page 26 The Highlander

April 2014

The dividing line between an activity and a sport Should activities like dance and golf be considered sports? By Daniel Wang Staff Writer

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a sport as “a contest or game in which people do certain physical activities according to a specific set of rules and compete with each other.” According to that definition, then dancing should be considered a sport, as dancers have to strut, step, and spin -- all physical activities -- while they’re performing in certain competitions. However, not everyone categorizes dance under the definition of a sport. In terms of physical activity, dance falls well into the realm of what a sport entails. According to the health website SparkPeople, an individual weighing 150 pounds burns 396 calories by dancing for one hour, compared to burning just 170 calories for an hour of billiards and 180 for croquet -- two activities that are more widely considered as sports. Lauren Pittock, a dancer and junior at Carlmont, said, “I do think dance is a sport. The majority of people who dance spend hours training every day, and their training is filled with intense physical activity.” While there are many forms of dance -- ranging from salsa to ballet -- all dancers across all genres of dance need to be in shape to perform at the best of their ability. This is achieved through different workouts, such as cardio and endurance exercises. To determine what a sport is to her, Pittock uses what is known as the sandwich test. “I had a teacher that said, ‘It’s not a sport if you can enjoy a sandwich when you’re doing it.’ Activities like poker, which some people consider sports, do not pass this test; activities like dance and swimming do.” While there’s no arguing that dance is great exercise, there are still doubts on whether or not it’s a sport, largely due to the competitiveness of the activity. Some people, including online news website USA Today writer Mike Foss, argue that dancing is not a sport: not necessarily due to the fact that it isn’t physically demanding, but that it isn’t “competitive enough” to be classified as a sport.

Dancers display their talents in front of a panel of judges, as opposed to a team or an individual directly competing with opposition. Foss writes, “In sports like dancing, ice dancing, and snowboarding, a subjective judge is needed to determine the winner.” Many different people have different perspectives on what competition is, and in turn, what a sport is. While dancing is considered a sport by some and not a sport by others, another activity that is more widely regarded as a sport is golf. Unlike dance, golf doesn’t require any judges. Other than the penalties, the game of golf is simple: get the ball into the hole with the fewest number of hits. Often airing on ESPN, golf has emerged as one of the more popular sports to watch and play in America. For instance, the golfer Tiger Woods was named the second most popular athlete in the world by Forbes Magazine in 2012, only behind tennis superstar Roger Federer. However, some naysayers claim that golf doesn’t consist of enough physical activity and exertion to be considered a sport. In fact, golf doesn’t even require any walking, as evidenced in the Supreme Court case PGA Tour v. Martin (2001). In the verdict of the 2001 case, the Supreme Court allowed disabled golfer Casey Martin to use a golf cart in between holes rather than walk and exempted Martin -- or any golfer for that matter -- from having to walk at all in any professional golf competition. According to SparkPeople, a 150 pound golfer only burns 310 calories an hour from playing golf in general -- a lesser amount than other activities such as curling and dancing. Carlmont junior and golfer Jack Carlson said, “I firmly believe golf is a sport. Contrary to popular belief, [golf ] is physically demanding.” Carlson’s average swing speed is 110 miles per hour, a speed faster than tennis superstar Rafael Nadal’s swing to serve a ten-

Highlander file photo

nis ball. In addition to swinging their club quickly, golfers also have to place their shots accurately, which requires a great deal of muscle memory. Carlson said, “Golfers tend to walk three to six miles each round, and sometimes up and down large hills. [Golfers] also have to carry all their clubs with them, which can weigh up to 15 pounds… Only professional golfers have caddies.” At the end of the day, these activities are largely done for enjoyment. Maybe another definition for the term “sport,” also given by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, would be more appropriate: “sport: a physical activity that is done for enjoyment.”

Is the freshman P.E. swim unit worth it? By Matt DeGraff Staff Writer

Swimming is a skill that takes time and practice to develop. It could be the difference between life and death. But is it being taught effectively? All freshmen at Carlmont are required to take a swim unit in their P.E. class during the fourth quarter of the school year. In the unit, students are taught many types of strokes, including backstroke, freestyle, butterfly, and breaststroke. Junior and member of the Carlmont swim team Alex Chung said, “I don’t think they should teach this many strokes and leave out what I think is the most important thing to teach: how to tread water.” Chung also said, “All the strokes they teach do not really have a practical use, whereas treading water is very useful. Say someone falls into water in the middle of the ocean,

they are not going to freestyle or backstroke until someone saves them, they are going to try and stay in one spot and wait to be rescued. They would do this by treading water.” The teachers divide the students into four groups: beginner, beginner-intermediate, intermediate, and advanced. Sophomore Roy Lin, a beginner in swim as a freshman, said, "I do not think I improved or really learned how to swim. Of course, that was probably because I just fooled around the whole time. But still, I had to take swim lessons last summer to learn how to swim. So I do not think that the unit really helped me because I left the unit with pretty much the same ability at swimming as I had when I started.” Lin also said, “I feel like the teachers probably should have stopped me from just fooling around the whole time and made sure that I learned how to swim. I just wish the unit had

done more for me.” Freshman Benson Wu said, “I think that I am definitely becoming a better swimmer. I am just getting more practice and that’s what’s important for me, I pretty much know how to do all the basic things, I just need more practice, which I am getting from this unit.” The swim unit is really only beneficial to those who know how to swim but are not that good yet. The beginners seem not to actually learn how to swim and the advanced swimmers were just wasting their time doing something they have already done many times. Chung also said, “For me personally I liked the swim unit because I love swimming, but really it did not help me all that much at all. I felt like I was just being given busy work while some of the other advanced swimmers were told to teach the beginners.” The teachers do not do much other than

infographic here

supervising everything. Students demonstrate, students teach, and students have to figure out what they are doing wrong, all with no help from the teachers. Lin said, “I do not even know if the teachers were supervising, because I was just in the water where I could stand so I would just mess around the entire class period and learn nothing. The student instructors did not really care what happened, they would try to help but nobody is really going to listen to them.” With only those who can swim, just not proficiently yet, benefitting from the unit, the unit should be changed to benefit everyone. Those who cannot swim should be taught more effectively, and those who are expert swimmers already should either be allowed to have free time or learn more advanced things, instead of just doing the same things that the intermediate swimmers do.

The Highlander


Page 27 April 2014

The risk and reward of friendly competition By Alyssa Fagel Staff Writer

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the game is tied, and your teammate steps up to the plate. You act like you’re rooting for him, but on the inside, you hope he strikes out. That doesn’t make you a terrible person. Does it? When asked for the two most important qualities of a good friendship, over 90 percent of Carlmont students answered trust and respect. One thing that does not appear on that list is competition. Competition is an inevitable aspect of human life. And for teenagers, competition most often appears in sports. Not everyone was born with the capability to become a top-level varsity athlete. That can’t be denied. But it doesn’t mean that teenagers won’t do whatever it takes to be the best at what they do, even if it means betraying their friends. For club athletes, the difference between getting that starting spot in the lineup or being a constant benchwarmer can be as miniscule as who was more focused at practice. And as a

result, players are forced to compete with each other all the time, because one tiny mistake can cost them their position. Fourteen percent of students said that they do not believe two people can truly be friends if they are competing for the same position. Soccer player Kayla Fong said, “As a competitive athlete, it’s always hard to be friends with someone you are competing with for a starting position. You always find yourself trying to outplay and out-hustle the other person.” Friendships are necessary and competition is unavoidable. But putting the two together can cause controversies. People are often left in a pickle because while they obviously want to win, the success of one’s teammate means less attention and admiration for oneself. Baseball player Connor Loucks said, “I know that coaches fear this [competition getting the best of people] because if it does happen, it will rip teams apart.” Fifty-seven percent of Carlmont students said that in the past, they have been friends with someone that they were competing with for a specific sports position. And of those students, over 12 percent said that they are no

longer friends with that person. Soccer player Lauren McDonnell said, “I think it’s just hard to maintain [these friendships.] If a starting spot on the roster is more important to you than your friendship with that other person, then eventually the friendship won’t be worth the effort it takes to maintain.” A majority of students, however, do believe two people competing for the same sporting position can be friends. Soccer player Melissa Wood said, “As long as both people are fair to each other, then it’s totally fine [to be friends.] After all, you want who is best at that moment to play. It’s good to challenge each other to get better because that drive to work hard will make both people better players in the end.” Wood also explored the off-the-field aspect of competitive friendships. She said, “You can be friends outside of soccer [and other sports] and still genuinely care about the person.” So even though competition isn’t a desired trait for a friendship, it’s not necessarily a dealbreaker either. Everyone is given the opportunity to build and sustain friendships at some point in their

Photo by Laia Solanellas c/o Wikipedia Commons

Competing against friends may or may not create healthy competition

Even in competition, Carles Puyol is known for being friendly.

lifetime. However, if the person one really wants to be friends with also happens to be the person they are competing with, it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Fong said, “I think friendship is a really powerful tool. I get why people have trouble being friends with those they compete with, but I don’t think it’s an impossible thing to do. If you truly care for a person, nothing can get in the way of that, not even competition.”

Are they watching for the guys or for the game?

Girls watch sports for many reasons, but not all for the love of the sport By Sarah Klieves Scot Scoop Editor-in-Chief

Some of the most die-hard sports fans are the guys that have season tickets and go to every home game, and when they can’t make it, they’re in front of a television somewhere watching it. But this isn’t always the case. Many women who watch sports are just as much of die-hard fans as males are. Senior RJ Caslow stated that he believes that girls watch sports because they like sports, but also because they find the male players to be attractive. “I know lots of girls who enjoy watching sports because they actually like the game, but at the same time they have their favorite players,” said Caslow. “Use Brandon Crawford as an example. [He is] probably one of the best defensive shortstops in the league while being half of the gamerbabes favorite player.” In a poll of Carlmont students, 60 percent of students said that they believe girls watch sports because they like the sport itself. When you go to a game, you see a variety of fans. There are the die-hard fans decked out in all of their gear, the fans that go for the experience and to have a good time, and then

there are the groups of women who try to do both of these things. Carlmont junior Stephanie Reiser said, “I don’t watch a lot of sports, but when I do watch sports it’s definitely not solely based on that they players may be attractive. I don’t think I’ve ever watched a sports game just to watch hot guys run around.” Reiser stated that when she goes to sports games, it is for the experience. “I’m not strongly into sports. I understand the minimum and barely know any of the names of the players -- even the cute ones,” said Reiser. According to an article published by ESPN, “Women have a different relationship to sports than men do. For men, understanding and watching sports validates their status as men. For women, the reverse is true: In spite of how much they know, women must con-

stantly prove they are real sports fans.” Caslow stated that there is “truth to that statement. Lots of guys set these ‘standards’ for real sports fans and everybody is judged according to these standards.” “It seems like a lot of girls pretend to like sports so when one says they do people find it hard to believe,” said Reiser. It can also be said that sports are not necessarily geared towards women like they are towards men. In an interview for an article published by ESPN Laura Gentile, the vice president for espnW, said, “Girls and women don’t feel like they have a platform that speaks to them. They recognize ESPN as a brand. It’s their husband’s brand and their boyfriend’s brand and their brother’s brand.” Reiser stated that some sports not being directed at girls affects their view, but that “it’s

“I know lots of girls who enjoy watching sports because they actually like the game, but at the same time they have their favorite players” -RJ Caslow

also how you’re raised -- like how involved your friends or family are involved in sports.” Carlmont students tend to agree that more girls watch sports because they enjoy the sport rather than for the attractive players in the game, and this can be supported by the fact that just under half of ESPN’s viewers are women. But it can be hard to tell the difference between girls watching for the game or the guys playing. Reiser said you are able to tell the difference because “girls who like [sports] don’t make a point to make sure people know they do.” Caslow stated that a girl who “watches sports without a male around is a good indicator.” ESPN’s article on women and sports said that the way men and women view sports is different. Men tend to look for “nitty-gritty statistics and past performance history,” while women like “basic statistics and personal narratives.” Although women might not watch sports for the nitty-gritty stats, they still enjoy sports more than most people think and will continue to watch sports despite the fact they’ll constantly have to prove they are true sports fans.

Photo by Ashley Kawakami

Carlmont stages fatal DUI crash to warn students By Ashley Kawakami Features Editor Eight a day. Eight teenagers a day die from DUI (driving under the influence) related crashes, according (a site run by the Administrative Office of the Courts). Although many high school students don’t foresee a fatal car crash in their own future, no one gets in their car thinking it will happen to them. Teens also account for only 6 percent of all drivers but make up almost 20 percent of all accidents according to Part of teenager’s high accident rate, according to the California DMV, is their inexperience driving at night and their inability to detect danger as well as a senior driver. This year, to combat drunk driving, Carlmont is staged Sober Prom event funded by the Belmont Police Department and the Principal’s Discretionary Fund. Sober Prom is an event to help bring awareness to the conse-

quences of drinking and driving by staging a fatal car crash followed by a mock funeral for the people who died in the accident. Officer Brian Vogel from the Belmont Police Department said, “As adults, we can’t take the keys away when someone may make a poor decision to drive after drinking. We can try and educate the students, so that if that situation presents itself, the student can make a better choice.” By putting students in a position where they see the potential consequences of driving under the influence, the idea of Sober Prom is to make students think about an alternate method of transportation. Administrative Vice Principal Grant Steunenberg said, “Hopefully [the Sober Prom event] will be the in the back of student’s minds and make them think twice about getting into the car with someone who has been drinking. It is also to make students plan ahead and possibly make an agreement with their parents to pick them up so they get home safely.”

Photo by Ashley Kawakami

Photo by Ashley Kawakami

Steunenberg has eight years of experience at Truckee High School where he witnessed three Sober Prom events. He said, “Sober Prom has the highest impact during the prom season because there is a lot of drunk driving after prom.” Vogel has also witnessed the Belmont Police Department put on several Sober Proms and said, “The best way I can describe my belief that this program works, is based on the feedback I have received. I have been contacted by people telling me how this presentation started a conversation in their home regarding drinking and driving.” On Thursday April 24 Carlmont’s seniors were called down to the senior parking lot to watch first responders realistically responding to the fatal DUI collision. Students saw first hand the numerous first responders, including the police, firefighters, ambulances, and a helicopter to a fatal car crash. Carlmont students had mixed reactions over the scene. Senior Catherine Luckenbach

Photo by Veronika Dvorakova

said, “It made an impact on me, even though I knew it wasn’t really real intellectually, emotionally it felt real. But, I didn’t think everyone took it that seriously, maybe because it made them uncomfortable.” On Friday April 25, a mock funeral was held for the “deceased,” senior Sydney Posern, senior Anisah Smith, and SOS Coordinator Shelley Bustamante. The funeral also included a video of the lead up and aftermath of the car crash. Students got to see how a seemingly small decision made such a large impact on the families of the victims as well as on the driver. Principal Lisa Gleaton addressed students who might have believed the crash was something that was implausible. Gleaton shared her personal story of her high school best friend who died after getting into a car with an inebriated driver when she was supposed to walk home with her. Gleaton said, “We just want to see all of you back here on Monday.”

Photo by Ashley Kawakami

Photo by Ashley Kawakami

The Highlander April 2014  

Carlmont High School