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The Highlander

December 2013, Vol V Issue III

Photo by Veronika Dvorakova

Carlmont Gives Back

Test ditchers face the consequences By Darien Malekos Staff Writer

ASB members James Pak and Veronica Pontis work along with the rest of the ASB class to gather and sort the 10 barrells of food (about 2,500 cans, boxes etc.) that Carlmont students donated.

One day Joe is sitting in class when suddenly his teacher says “Don’t forget, chapter seven exam tomorrow!” Joe is a deer-in-headlights. The test he thought was weeks away is tomorrow and he has barely opened his backpack all month. So, what does Joe do? The answer might be simple to some: open the textbook and study up. But to many other students there is only one clear choice, and it isn’t studying. Test skipping is a common practice at Carlmont. Some students have intentionally skipped class in order to take a test at a later date. Teachers have caught on to this test skipping practice, and many have implemented policies that hinder a student if they miss class the day of a test. Take math teacher Michael Skrable for example. If a student misses his class the day of a test, Skrable makes a more challenging test for the student to take when he or she gets back. Senior Erika Kubisch, who had Skrable for AG Calculus last year, said, “His test taking policy was so strict that some people would come to class sick because they didn’t want to take a harder test.” Students sometimes do not have the choice of whether or not to come to school. Kubisch said, “I don’t think it’s fair at all. Some people were legitimately sick or were gone on vacations. You don’t have a choice when you are taken out for a vacation. It’s our parents’ decision and we had to take the fall for it.” Skrable is aware that students like Kubisch think his policy is unfair. When Kubisch noticed she would be out of class

College classes versus APs By Sabrina Leung Editorial Director

Add up the credits for Advanced Placement (AP) and other college-level courses that Rebecca Medina has taken in high school, and the Carlmont sophomore has quite a head start. She may begin her freshman year of college with as many credits as some sophomores. The academic benefits make the challenging classes worth it to Medina, who says she took Chemistry 210, English 110, and Psychology 200 at Canada and Skyline College in part to challenge herself academically, but also save some time in college. “I started taking classes because I enjoy English and wanted to learn how to write better. I have started working towards getting an English degree and hope to get one by the time I graduate high school,” said Medina.

The College of San Mateo’s campus

Today, the number of high school students taking what’s known as dual credit courses is growing and some argue that those classes may offer more benefits than AP. According to the 2008 Survey of San Mateo County Public High School Juniors and Seniors, 29 percent of the 13,500 high schoolers reported they had taken a dual enrollment course and 46 percent said they had not, but would like to. A study conducted by the National Center for Postsecondary Research in 2011 found that dual enrollment students were more likely than their peers to graduate from high school, to enroll in college and to pursue a bachelor’s degree compared to AP students. In addition, the San Mateo County Community College District (SMCCCD) research showed that dual enrollment students had higher success and retention rates than regular college students. ~Continued on pg. 20~

Highlander file photo

Class cuts

By Kristen Friis Business Manager

Many people could say that the world revolves around money. In Carlmont’s case, “the world” is our academic foundation (CAF), or the money that is fundraised for our school to help provide extra classes for students. “The district gives us a certain number of sections (extra classes) every year based on how many students we have,” said Principal Lisa Gleaton. Carlmont is the largest school in the district with over 2100 students, and as our school’s population expands, so does its demand for classes. “The part that is interesting is that there’s the number of sections that we get, and then there’s a number of sections that we’d love to offer,” said Gleaton. “That difference is always problematic, and the CAF has helped a lot with that difference this year.” With an abundance of choices in electives, students have the unique opportunity to take extra classes that cater to their interests. With about one-fourth of all students enrolled in just Choir alone, electives make up a large percent of the student body. The main problem is that the district ~Continued on pg. 21~

on a test day due to a choir concert, she asked Skrable to move the test to a different day. “I went to him and said ‘You can’t have the test on this day. So many people are going to be absent.’ He said, ‘I’m not changing it.You guys are just going to have to take the harder test.’” When Skrable was asked about his policy, he declined to comment. Skrable’s policy is similar to those of some teachers, but others have taken different measures. Rebecca Pearlman, also a math teacher, has implemented a policy that she believes has shown great success. Pearlman said, “If they cut it’s a zero. If it’s an excused absence they need a note from their parent where the parent acknowledges the absence on a test day within three days of the missed test.” Senior Michael Scallan, who had Pearlman last year for Pre Calculus and this year for AP Statistics, said, “I don’t think her policy gives kids a lot of leniency to really use their time for what they want. If they haven’t had time to study then maybe it’s in their best interests to be given a little more time so that they can get an overall better grade on the test.” While teachers such as Skrable and Pearlman have found policies that work well for them, other teachers continue to struggle with test skippers. Government teacher Karen Ramroth had 18 of her 80 students absent the day of her last test. Ramroth has given out different tests, not harder ones, to keep students from cheating, but the problem is reoccurring. Ramroth said “It’s actually very frustrating be~Continued on pg. 21~

What’s Inside Holiday Recipes

page 8-9

College Crunch

pages 10-11

Opinion Restricting bathroom use iPhones: the new pacifier Page 2

The Highlander

By Dominic Gialdini Entertainment Editor

The world is full of injustices. For some odd reason, certain teachers feel the need to add yet another to our lives -- the regulation of going to the bathroom. I’m sure that most of you have experienced seeing an unfortunate student deeply in need of going to the bathroom, bouncing up and down in his or her seat and doing everything in his or her power to hold it, only to be told by the smirking teacher, obviously experiencing immense glee from the situation, that the kid is not allowed to go. If you happen to be that poor child, my condolences. The last time I checked, going to the bathroom was a basic human need. As far as I’m concerned, it’s Bill of Rights status. How can teachers rightfully limit the amount of times that we can go to the bathroom during class? It’s not like it’s a hobby or a preference; it’s a necessity. What will they do next, limit the amount of air we inhale? “Sally, you are only permitted two more cubic liters before you lose participation points.” “But teacher, I can’t help it. I NEED to breathe.” “Don’t be ridiculous. We both know that you can restrain yourself, so stop complaining.” Or maybe they will limit the amount of blinking done during the period. “Bobby, that was your fourth time blinking today. You have just earned yourself a suspension.” “But teacher, there was something in my eye. And it was burning so badly. I NEEDED to blink. What’s wrong with that?” “Your blinking is a distraction to the class. Now leave!” In all likelihood, they will also begin to restrict our movement during class. I wouldn’t be surprised if they put us all in straight jackets and chained us to our seats to minimize

December 2013

distractions during a lecture. “Teacher, can I go to the bathroom?” “How dare you not raise your hand!” “But I can’t move -- I’m in a straight jacket.” “Stop making excuses for yourself. And did you really just have the audacity to ask me such a taboo question? Of course you can’t! What, do you think you actually have rights? OK, as punishment, you are done blinking and breathing for the remainder of class.” “But we have twenty minutes left! I NEED to breathe and I NEED to blink and I NEED to go to the bathroom!” “Stop talking back. Now you can extend your punishment out through lunch as well. And no eating, either. Or blood circulation. Or cellular respiration. And if your body undergoes any mitosis whatsoever, you will regret it.” I must express my deep sorrow for children of future generations who, God forbid, sneeze in class. “Jill, why would you do such a thing? You really had potential, but you just threw it all away.” “Administration Member, I couldn’t help it. I NEEDED to sneeze. I’m allergic to dust. Please have mercy on me.” “I’m sorry, but for such a severe infraction, the only fitting punishment is expulsion.” Who knows what will happen next. Maybe they will invent computer software to see what we are thinking so that they can regulate that, too. “Jimmy, stop thinking about hamburgers and focus on your work.” “But teacher, I’m so hungry and I haven’t eaten all day. I NEED to eat. Can I just have a little bite of my lunch right now just so I can concentrate more?” “NO, that is completely out of the question. It’s a sin to eat during class. You should know better. Lunch detention! And no eating!” Maybe they will also take away the right for us to eat food, which, by the way, is another basic human need. Oh wait, they already have!

By Jessica Adair Staff Writer

As a second-grader, I had the biggest imagination. I ate ants pretending they were raisins and talked with my dolls pretending they were people. This all might sound very bizarre to you, but what is more bizarre? A second-grader with an active imagination or a second-grader with an iPhone? I came to the realization that kids nowadays are extremely dependent on technology when I saw a second-grader with an iPhone. She was sitting next to me at a Giants game, glued to her bedazzled iPhone all night. To make matters worse, she was texting a friend, who was also presumably a secondgrader, and she was playing a princess game. An iPhone is used for a lot of bizarre things, but playing a princess game and chatting up a 7-year-old is a step too far. Some people might disagree that having an iPhone at a young age is dangerous, but these people fail to see what is right in front of them every day. Now more than ever, it is crucial for kids to grow up with an active imagination. In a new society where perfect grade point averages and detailed resumes are a dime a dozen, colleges and employers are looking for that extra factor that sets a person apart from the rest. And a high score on Angry Birds isn’t going to cut it. The more time these kids spend on these electronics, the more their imaginations will be destroyed. I always resented video games because they were so limiting. I was only given a certain number of lives, certain number of moves, and a certain number of places I could go. How is a kid supposed to use his or her imagination to create a better world when he or she is already given one? Roland Barthes says it the best in his 1984 essay “Toys.” Barthes says that when a child plays with a simple set of building blocks, the child is able to “create life.” Toys like building blocks are the most important toys because

they allow the child to be a “creator not a user.” Not only do these electronics destroy imagination, but they also, through personal experience, turn the nicest of kids into demanding brats. I’m sure everyone has at least once seen that “one kid” at the grocery store who throws a tantrum for simply no reason. Before the invention of iPads and iPhones, parents would tell their crying kid to simply suck it up. But now all the parent has to do is hand the child the electronic and he or she will stop crying instantly. The parents might argue that handing them it is the easiest way to stop their crying, but that is exactly the problem. What happens if the parent forgets their electronic at home or in the car? They will be forced to be “that parent” who looks helpless while their child is throwing a fit in public. And also, I’m almost positive giving your kid the iPad isn’t a tip in “How to be a Parent.” What happened to disciplining your kids when they are being brats? Maybe the parent is having a rough day and wants to stop the crying, but that is only going to make the situation worse. The sense of entitlement will grow each time the parents hand them their iPhone and soon it will be too late. By the time these kids are in college, they will be crying during a lecture and become confused when their professor doesn’t hand them an iPad. And how are they going to be able to communicate if they are buried in this virtual world that isn’t real? By the time they are 30, they will have no idea what a face-toface conversation is or what to do when the situation presents itself. They will simply become flustered and take out their iPhone to talk for them. So although having an active imagination might seem strange, it is a lot better for the future generation to put down the iPads and become “creators.” Or else we are in for an uncreative, entitled, and socially inept future.

Continued on page 21

Editorial: Christmas comes too early Christmas time is undoubtedly one of the happiest times of the year; school is out, family and friends are in town, and everyone is in the holiday spirit. If it is such an amazing time of year, it makes sense to stretch it out a few weeks before the actual date to increase the enjoyment of the holiday season. Two months, however, is doing nothing but creating unneeded anxiety and forcing us to look past some other holidays that are before Dec. 25. On Oct. 29, yes October, not November, Best Buy aired a commercial advertising Christmas sales and their Christmas day hours for those who procrastinate or forget about buying presents. Best Buy has every right to purchase advertising space at any time they want, but advertising for Christmas before Halloween is illogical, unnecessary and even a bit frustrating. The average celebration of Halloween includes buying costumes, candy, and maybe even some decorations and pumpkins. The ambitious even may throw parties or celebrations at their homes. With all this focus on this holiday, how can people possibly have time to start worrying about Christmas? A more common example of this over-extension of the Christmas season is during the days leading up to Thanksgiving. The day after Thanksgiving is infamously known as Black Friday, a day that starts before dawn in which bargain hunters trample each other as the doors of department stores open. Many people use these exuberant sales to stock up for Christmas. Due to the abundance of stores that offer Black Friday sales, the stores use advertising to inform prospective shoppers when to come to their stores and attempt to convince them to shop there instead of at others. For example, stores like Macy’s relentlessly buy advertising time to advertise their early hours and ‘amazing’ sales. Even though it is useful to know about these sales, the extent to which these advertisements invade our everyday lives almost forces us to fast

forward our lives throughout the holiday season. Rather than relaxing and enjoying family time and the joyful atmosphere, we are all stressed out planning our shopping agendas and figuring out how we are going to be prepare things. In general this over-exuberance of Christmas spirit seems to have led to an underappreciation for the rest of the holidays in the fall and winter time. By putting extra emphasis on Christmas and its preparation, other holidays like Thanksgiving are somewhat swallowed up. However, this over-commercialization of Christmas has much deeper drawbacks than solely consuming the rest of the holidays; as more and more advertising is used and more and more of the season is centralized around products and sales, we completely lose what the Christmas season is actually based upon: benevolence, family, and enjoyment. Many people enjoy spending the holiday season with the company of their closest friends or family members. With school being out of session and many jobs beginning to slow down, in general the time is perfect for catching up with people and spending quality time with them. This modern obsession over holiday shopping and preparation has transformed things from a joyful time to cherish life and be thankful into a designated period to selfishly splurge on ourselves and others. However, the businesses are in no way out of line; any self-respecting business would not pass up the opportunity to prey on vulnerable and eager Christmas-time indulgers and they have every right to attempt to make a profit. Even though they may pile on the ads and at times can be a little ridiculous and obnoxious in their efforts they are not the ones who need to change. We, the customers must avoid the tantalizing ads and other corporate strategies and take a step back to realize what we have turned our beloved Christmas into.

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The Highlander

Page 3 December 2013

The decline of reading in our generation By Kian Karamdashti Staff Writer The facts are there, students are just not reading as much as they used to and it is creating a problem in our society. According to a poll of 180 Carlmont students, 48 percent of students are reading less than they did when they were younger. In another poll, conducted by the National Literacy Trust, they found that over the last 10 years, there has been a 12 percent drop in the number of students that are reading daily. The reason behind these droppings are actually a few things. Sophomore Natalie Kiyasu said, “I used to read a lot when I was younger. Now I don’t even have the time to even think about picking up a book.” One big factor in the decline of book reading among young adults is that today’s students have more on their plate than ever before. Students these days are forced to juggle their extracurricular activities, jobs, family duties, sports, and the school work heaped on their backs every day (and well into the night for many) by their teachers. It really is no surprise that today’s students aren’t picking up as many books, when they have so

little time to do it. While there is no denying that today’s student’s schedules are tightly packed, it is certainly not the only thing keeping them from reading more. The rise of technology has also played a huge role. Sophomore Vincent Todesco said, “I wasn’t a big reader when I was younger, but I did read. But ever since I got my smartphone, I hardly ever read anymore.” When given time away from their other activities, students are still not choosing to pick up a book. Instead, they are on their phones, checking out the latest funny Vine, or keeping up with what the Kardashians did last week. The nights of cuddling up with a good book before bed have now been replaced by nights of scrolling up and down with a device. More and more people are guilty of it everyday. Devices, such as an iPhone, have become such an important part of a student’s life that it is taking time away from other activities such as reading. Reading is just not a first-choice activity to today’s students anymore. But is this decline of reading actually a problem? Studies show it actually is. According to a report from the National Endowment of the Arts, high school students’ reading test scores have

been steadily declining since 2004, while elementary and middle school students’ scores have been increasing. “My time on social media has made completing my school work a little bit harder,” said sophomore Roy Lin. “I have actually caught myself a few times almost using the shorthand I use when I’m online in my essays. [For example], I almost wrote ‘gonna’ when I should have wrote ‘going to’ instead.” As the statistics show, the overall decline of reading among students is directly affecting their success level in school. Reading as they grow up is an important way to build vocabulary and intelligence for the students’ future. It’s sure going to be hard writing a convincing college essay, when all they know how to say is BRB, LOL, and IDK. Sure, technology has opened the door to so many new advances, possibilities, and ideas. Diseases thought to be untreatable have been cured. A click of a button is all a person needs to connect with someone who is halfway across the globe. Social media has made it easy to find long-lost friends from your past. Technology has done some great things for today’s world but it has also hindered and left a detrimental effect on students’ education and future.

Why do students do community service? By Mia Hogan Staff Writer

High school students all around the country start to participate in community activities, and become active volunteers for both selfish and kindhearted reasons. Students want to see perspective professions, give back to society, or simply beef up college applications. Co-president of the American Cancer Society [ACS] club, senior Michelle Guan said, ““A lot of people volunteer just to do it for college applications and number of hours. There is no meaning behind it.” Many students attending Carlmont High School are participants of clubs including Key Club, Green Youth Alliance, and the American Cancer Society [ACS] club.These clubs benefit the community or are a part of a community volunteer program. For many students, volunteering is not a requirement. On campus 65 percent of students currently partake in community service. Carlmont guidance counselor Kim Miller recommends students to volunteer. Miller said, “It allows you to get experience in different areas that is possibly career related. Colleges want you to pursue your passions and volunteering also puts a reason why you want to go to college. A lot of private colleges want to see commitment.” Lots of time and effort are put into community work, but students receive no credit. Miller said, “With over 2,000 students, [a volunteer requirement] would probably be hard to enforce.” Guan, of ACS club works to promote the Relay for Life event of the American Cancer

Editor-in-Chief: Ryan Freeman

Editorial Director: Sabrina Leung

Business Manager: Kristen Friis

News and Opinion Arianna Bayangos

Entertainment: Dominic Gialdini


Ashley Kawakami

Anne Litton helps little kids with their drawings.

Society, and to spread cancer awareness. In her family, her relatives were affected with cancer, leading to her involvement with ACS. Guan said, “College has little impact on my choice to get involved with this topic, I wanted to.” After three years participating in the school’s ACS club, and five years outside of school with Relay for Life, Guan plans to continue volunteering with ACS. Guan said, “In the future, I definitely will volunteer for [ACS], even when I have a job

Sports: Kellan Mcdonough

and when I am in college.” At Carlmont, students taking AP Government and Economics are required volunteer 10 hours per semester. Karen Ramroth said, “If students choose to do community service, then it is more about having people start to see the world beyond their bubble. Personally, it engenders doing nice things for other people.” With the requirement to volunteer, some argue the morals are taken away. Ramroth said, “I used to have students get [their volunteer hours] signed off with a signature, but a kid said that he felt really crappy go-

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Campus: Karissa Tom

Online: Sarah Klieves Shira Stein

Art Director:

Veronika Dvorakova

Faculty Adviser: Justin Raisner

Photo courtesy of Anne Litton

ing up and asking for a signature. It makes [the volunteer work] seem they just did it to get the points.” Sophomore Jonathan Kelvin said, “It’s not really about the morals, it’s about helping out.” In high school, Ramroth was not required to volunteer, but she still did. Ramroth said, “I did do a lot of volunteer work. Honestly, it was not all ‘I wanna be a good person.’ There is an element of presenting yourself as a more well rounded person.” With some colleges looking for commitment, underclassmen started to get involved in the community too. Freshman Celeste Hsu said, “I want to give back to the community. Even if volunteering did not look good on college applications, I still would do it.” Knowing colleges look for community service, some students volunteer to create a perfect college application. Kelvin said, “Seeing a lot of colleges require volunteering, a lot of the motive for volunteering is college.” Post high school and college, individuals may or may not continue to volunteer. Hsu said, “If a person has a good experience volunteering in high school, then they are more likely to carry on doing it in college.” Guan said, “Usually [volunteers] become really involved and it becomes a part of who they are. They become a part of the organization’s family and it’s a meaningful part of their life.” Kelvin said, “Depending on what kind a person they are, it comes to the morals. Some will volunteer, some won’t.”

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.

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

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Opinion Wanted: teenagers’ ability to think for themselves The Highlander

December 2013

By Ashley Kawakami Features Editor

I saw a poster on the wall the other day that said, “wanted: social media for corruption of the youth’s ability to think freely.” Someone must have messed up when writing the poster; I think they meant to say, “all people involved in human interaction for robbery of opinion.” Obviously, we all like to think that we are free-thinking unique individuals. However contrary to everything we’ve grown up believing, we aren’t the independent free thinkers we’ve chalked ourselves up to be. In fact, the typical teenager actually does very little free thinking. Social media has been lambasted countless times for corrupting the youth, probably because it is the easiest and most obvious target. Teenagers are surrounded by social media and it’s a constant reminder of what society wants us to think, feel, and be. However, it isn’t the only thing that influences our thinking. The people that we surround ourselves with, even the ones we can’t stand, hold this influence over us. What kind of moron says, “agree to disagree”? More like, “agree to avoid the confrontational and narrow minded society.” Your best friend since kindergarten, that annoying girl that sits in the corner in math, and our high school nemesis all hold influence over our thinking. Is it more dangerous to hate something because that annoying kid loves it or to hate something because your friend claims that it is the worst thing that has ever happened to this world? It seems so harmless, agreeing that last night’s episode of New Girl was horrible, even if you actually thought it was the highlight of the season, but somehow we keep agreeing and agreeing, until our opinion has done this really cool magic trick and disappeared right before

In Mean Girls, a lot of girls followed Regina George’s new trend. our eyes. Our families have the same control over our opinions. As kids, the first opinions we are exposed to are our parents. We grow up hearing out their opinions about everything from Pluto’s planetary status to war to how unclassy the girl down the street is. The thing is when we are that young, we don’t question our parents because their opinions are the only thing we’ve ever known, so we feel like it is impossible for them to be wrong. They take our young minds like our Play-doh and mold us to think and do what they do. Eventually everyone hits that period where every other word out of their mouth is, “why?” This is the point in our lives when a few of us

Photo illustration by Veronika Dvorakova

start to move away from the things we were raised believing. Even for the select few who find themselves on the opposite end of the spectrum from their childhood beliefs, the way you were raised has influenced the way you think. Your parents had one idea but when you start questioning those beliefs the fallacies start to come up, and that is when some people’s ideas start to shift away from those of their parents. The scariest thing is that by not developing our own opinions we could be unleashing a silent monster. As adults, we will be dropped into the real world where people expect us to have these diverse, cultured ideas and opinions and be able to say something half intelligent about them, and we will turn into deer in the

headlights with nothing coming out of our mouths. Where will the world be if everyone just stands there like fish out of water when asked about the current events? I send my very best wishes to the future; they know they’ll need it. Right now we are all in the very beginning of our lives; we are teenagers who think we know everything and act like it too. We have so many things in our lives subtly, or not so subtly, trying to tell us what to do, think, and be. We’re surrounded by social media, peer pressure, and people who influence our opinions. High schoolers are so subjected, especially in this era, of being molded to think and say the “right” things.

Church and state are not as separated as thought By Alex Wildman Staff Writer

Students are taught in school that the United States is a country of equality for those of all races and beliefs. A significant factor in that perception of equality, which is often taken for granted, is the separation of church and state. Although this idea can be and is applied to many state establishments, the most relevant to students is the placement of school breaks, which are much more deliberate and religiously swayed than they may seem. Sophomore Cailian Cumming said, “One of the founding principles of this country is based on is the separation of church and state. This country is based on equality, especially when it comes to religion.” A common misconception is that the separation of church and state is explicitly stated in the United States Constitution. When told that it is not in the Constitution, sophomore Sierra Segal said, “Really? I didn’t know that, that’s interesting because that’s how I’ve been taught.” The First Amendment only states that: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” It is never directly stated that the state and church should be separate institutions, however it does support it. The concept of a separation between church and state is an idea proposed by Thomas Jefferson in a letter he wrote to the Danbury Baptist association in 1802. On the basis of the first Amendment, he proposed a “wall of separation” between church and state to ensure citizens’ religious rights. His idea was supported by many of America’s Founding Fathers and has become an important part of government and society. This philosophy would ideally be applied to all aspects of everyday government activity. However, in reality, there are still significant instances of religion, Christianity specifically, that can be found within many state systems. These practices are rooted in the traditions of those who originally founded the 13 colonies. The Anglican English

colonists brought with them their government and their religion, aspects of both of which can be seen in society today. For instance, when Supreme Court Justices enter the courtroom the court Marshal says “God save the United States and this honorable court.” This is just one instance where “God” is referenced in one of our government processes. Another example is the phrase “In God we trust” which can be found on every dollar and coin of American currency. There are also larger issues in which religious beliefs play a big role, such as gay marriage. The government had weighed in on this with the Defense of Marriage Act, which was supported by many conservative and religious politicians, but which was recently held to be unconstitutional by the Su-

“One of the founding principles of this country is based on is the separation of church and state. This country is based on equality, especially when it comes to religion.” -Cailian Cummning Sophomore preme Court. Cumming said, “Even though the state is not supposed to be biased to any one religious belief, the people who work for the state…can bring in their religious views when it comes to making decisions.” Sophomore Cameron Kuo said, “Christian [politicians] are trying to outlaw abortion and gay marriage because of their religious beliefs.”

Kuo referenced one of the many ways religion is influencing government, but more relevant to students is the placement of school breaks. There are two major breaks during the school year: winter and spring break. It would make sense that these breaks more or less evenly divide the school year, but that is not the case. “Christmas break is called ‘Christmas break’ for a reason. They call it winter break to be politically correct, but it’s always around Christmas every year,” said Segal.“Same thing with spring break. It’s always around Easter and not around Passover, or whatever holidays are going on there.” Segal’s comment is generally correct; Carlmont’s spring break typically falls on the week leading up to Easter, meaning that all students get Good Friday off. Whether or not that is a coincidence is up for debate, but it is difficult to deny that Christian holidays are always given off from school, while Jewish holidays such as Rosh Hashanah, Hanukkah, and Passover and Muslim holidays such as Ramadan and Eid-al-Adha are not accommodated. Sophomore Claire Wheeler said, “It’s unfair for other people if the holiday is limited to Christians...but Christmas break benefits everyone. There aren’t many devout Christians who use it as a sacred time, so I guess everyone’s just getting a break.” Segal said, “It’s not Hanukkah break, it’s not Kwanzaa break because those always fall at different times, and it’s harder to program around those.” Wheeler stated the likely real reason for the placement of breaks around Christian holidays: “Statistically Christians are the majority.” And she is right. Christians make up the religious majority in the United States. Approximately 73 percent of the American population is Christian, but that doesn’t mean that the other 27 percent should have to sacrifice in order to get their “sacred time” off of work or school. In the end, it all circles back to the idea of separation of church and state. If it is going to be implemented into our school system, then it must apply to all religions, no matter what the majority of the population demands.

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The Highlander

December 2013

Becoming jaded to gun violence in America

Is this beginning to be the new normal in society?

“Even with the shock of a mass shooting, it’s been happening more and more frequently, so we are starting to become numb to it to a certain degree.” -Alex Moropolous Junior Image by Max Ware

By Dana Benelli Staff Writer On Oct. 21, 2013 at Sparks Middle School in Nev., a 12-year-old student named Jose Reyes used his parents’ semiautomatic handgun to shoot two students and kill a teacher. He then shot himself. And America barely flinched. The New York Times ran five articles about it. BBC News wrote three. A search on CNN’s website reveals 10 items about the topic, while USA Today lists around 20 news pieces. Compared to thousands of pieces about the Newtown Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, the media might as well have been silent. There was no discussion on a national level after Sparks. There came no persistent calls for reform. Social media barely stirred. People’s reactions, if they even heard, were those of horror but not surprise. Which leads some to wonder: Are we becoming numb to gun violence? “We thought it was awful,” writes Gary Stein of “But how many of us were really shocked at the mass shooting at the Navy Yard?” Carlmont students Teagan Boram and Alex Moropolous both said they were not usually surprised to hear stories of gun violence. “I would say that yes (Americans are becoming numb to gun violence) in a sense,” said Moropolous. “Even with the

shock of a mass shooting, it’s been happening more and more frequently, so we are starting to become numb to it to a certain degree.” Boram said that “when it comes to school shootings, which are what I (care about most), it’s like it’s becoming another media thing like twerking or yolo.” According to a study commissioned by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, mass shootings have been occurring on average about once per month. Seven out of the 12 deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history have taken place since 2007, according to the Washington Post.

“It ought to be a shock to us all as a nation and as a people. It ought to obsess us. It ought to lead to some sort of transformation.” -Barack Obama Virginia Tech; Fort Hood, Texas; Tucson, Arizona; Aurora, Colorado; Newtown, Connecticut; and the Washington Navy Yard--all those names should be chillingly recognizable to most Carlmont students. They all happened within the

last seven years of our lifetime. Perhaps after so many tragedies we are simply running out of energy to care. Or maybe we are getting tired of waiting for change. Pew research surveys state that recent mass shootings have had little impact on public attitudes toward gun control. Although the Newtown shooting spurred renewed debate about guns and legislation, reports that every major federal gun control initiative from last December through June either stalled or failed. Carlmont AP Psychology teacher Michelle McKee, when asked about the effects of repeated traumatic events on a population, said that “learned helplessness could apply...if you are repeatedly exposed to something traumatic, and especially if you feel like you have no control over it.” Learned helplessness is when a human or animal undergoes repeated aversive events and eventually behaves as if it is helpless to change its situation due to a perceived lack of control. In this state, the subject just “gives up” and will make no attempt to help themselves or stop the trauma. However, in terms of gun violence “the key psychology word would be desensitization...since we are bombarded by so much of it,” said McKee. Desensitization is defined by as “To make emotionally insensitive or unresponsive, as by long exposure or repeated shocks.” McKee said she would “absolutely” agree that America is becoming used to gun violence. “Reactions to mass shootings are becoming more commonplace,” said McKee. “There’s initial outrage, shock, sorrow, and the news reports that follow it...but it always dies down.” Boram shared the sentiment: “The Navy Yard was in the news for a week and that was it. Since the news moves on, the people move on.” Boram predicted that “something of a magnitude that they (Americans) cannot comprehend” would have to happen in order to revitalize the American public enough to bring the issue of gun violence to a close. In an address following the Navy Yard shooting, President Barack Obama noted the five mass shootings he has witnessed while in office, starting from Fort Hood, and expressed fears that America is growing jaded to gun violence. “It ought to be a shock to us all as a nation and as a people. It ought to obsess us. It ought to lead to some sort of transformation,” he said, citing the United Kingdom and Austria, both of which passed gun reform laws after similar shooting incidents. “Sometimes I fear there’s a creeping resignation that these tragedies are just somehow the way it is, that this is somehow the new normal. We cannot accept this.” “I just wonder if, as a nation, we have lost our ability to get shocked at these things any more,” writes Stein of “And once we start accepting this as part of our lives, that may be the worst thing.”

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

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The Highlander

December 2013

Separation changing the lives of students By Shayan Mandegarian

Divorced Parents 5% OT





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Fifty-three percent of all marriages in the US end in a divorce. Twenty-two percent of Carlmont students have divorced parents. Having divorced parents can be a very emotionally charged part of a student's life, as S.O.S coordinator Shelly Bustamante said, "For some students, it can be a welcome relief if there has been a lot of fighting. However, for most it's a sense of their whole world being shaken." John Smith, a sophomore with divorced parents whose name was changed for privacy said, “I would always daydream in class when I was little about what it would be like if my parents were happy together, and I didn't have to go between houses, and I actually got to see them both on Christmas. I remember once my birthday wish was just for the two of them to take me to the museum.” For other students, it’s just part of life. Isabel Enriquez said, “Ever since I can remember they have been separated, so I’m used to it and it doesn’t really bother me at all.” Like all issues, having divorced parents affects every student differently. Bustamante explained the effect on students academic performance, "I've seen students who have an immediate drop in their academics because they're sad, or can't concentrate; then I see students who immerse themselves in their studies to try to distract themselves from the pain." Another effect of having divorced parents usually means having to live in two different


Staff Writer

Infographic by Ashley Kawakami

houses, which can be an inconvenience. Smith, whose parents live in separate houses, said, “Having to go between two different houses is such a pain, bringing stuff back and forth, especially if you forget something because then you’ll just have to live without it for a week or so.” Sometimes, just bringing items back and forth isn’t the only problem, and actually bringing yourself between the houses is. Sophomore Cyan Chang said, “My dad lives in San Francisco, so when I’m at his house I’ll have to wake up super early just to get to school, and sometimes I’m not able to do after school activities or just hangout with my friends because it’s too far away.”

Students’ school lives aren't the only part of their lives affected by having divorced parents. As Bustamante said, “A lot of students will decide that in the future, they will try not to be like their parents and won't fight in front of their kids, but they will really have to work towards that goal since we tend to be programmed by what we see growing up.” Smith said, “After constantly seeing my parents fight when I was little and knowing how sad and confused it made me as a child, I'm just never going to fight in front of my kids when I grow up.” Sometimes, divorce can be necessary, especially when there is fighting or if the two weren't happy together anymore.

Smith said, if not less enthusiastically, “Sometimes I think, ‘Maybe their personalities do conflict and maybe it's a little better they are divorced since they were fighting anyway and now they seem happier,’ but I always wish they could still be married.” While living with divorced parents doesn’t affect everyone the same way, it will always have some impact on students' lives during their educational career and beyond. Whether the effects are emotional, physical, or psychological, they will always be there in some form. Some students grieve the divorce as if it were a death, while others may come to terms and accept the situation.

Protecting animals: stopping animal euthanasia By Lizzy Doctorov Staff Writer Putting down a sick animal is humane, but lost family pets or older animals are often euthanized simply because younger ones are more popular. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, approximately 70 percent of Americans have pets, and many have had to put one down due to medical problems or old age. No loving pet owner wants to see their beloved pet in pain, so euthanasia is considered the most humane way for a pet to go. Cheryl Eichner, an adult pet owner that had to put her dog down last year, said, “Every time I went to take my dog in to be euthanized, she would perk up and we would leave. I finally knew it was time when she couldn’t move or breathe. When she could show she wanted attention and wagged her tail, you could tell there was still some enjoyment of life. It was a hard call, but I couldn’t have her suffering unnecessarily because of my selfishness.” According to the American Humane Association, Georgia’s Humane Euthanasia Act that was passed in 1990 mandated that pets be put down using an intravenous anesthetic injection. This was one of the first of many state laws passed regarding animal euthanasia. Injection is still the required euthana-

sia method in over 14 states in the United States. California's laws mandate that no animal may be euthanized if it can be adopted or have its condition treated. According to the Office of Animal Care and Use, sodium pentobarbital is the most common drug for an euthanasia shot. Many veterinarians first knock the pet unconscious to let pet owners say their last goodbyes without stressing the pet. Vets follow up with a second shot that causes animals to go into respiratory and cardiac arrest, leaving pets dead within 30 seconds. Animals are euthanized for a variety of different reasons, including deadly illnesses such as cancer, rabies, severe behavioral problems, old age, eradicating genetic diseases, and animal testing. However some animals are put down because of overpopulation issues. Grace Curry, a high school student that owns a dog, said that euthanization because of overpopulation is “wrong and cruel. The animals could have good things happen to them in their lives but they’re being killed.” According to the Humane Society, approximately 7 million animals enter shelters yearly, and 3 million animals are euthanized at shelters annually. That means that approximately 40 percent of the animals that are relinquished by pet owners are euthanized. Ultimately, shelters end up euthanizing lost pets and only reuniting an average of 20 percent of animals with

their owners. There are many ways to help decrease euthanasia rates. Donations to a local animal shelter, fostering kittens or puppies, leading fundraising activities, and volunteering are the most widespread methods of helping local shelters. Donations and fundraising help pay workers and allow for pets to have more toys and space in addition to their necessities. Money also goes to support the Hope Program, neutering services, animal cruelty investigations, educational programs, wildlife rehabilitation, and the adoption center. The Hope Program helps animals by giving them medical or behavioral help to give them a second chance. Fostering is a bigger task, but it allows young animals to have a chance at life. Volunteering helps give animals necessary daily activity and socialization. Adopting shelter animals can also help decrease euthanasia rates. Shelter animals are usually healthier and cheaper than animals fom breeders. Nothdurft believes that “education for prospective pet owners” would be the best way to decrease euthanization rates “so that they understand that pets require loving homes, health care, and need to be spayed or neutered.” Adopting from shelters and neutering pets helps to combat pet overpopulation, the leading cause of pet euthanization.

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The Highlander

December 2013

Keeping the true meaning of the holidays alive By Alex Lay

Staff Writer Donating and volunteering are popular ways for Carlmont students to give back to the community. Many people choose to volunteer at Second Harvest Food Bank (SHFB), Goodwill, or several other places to help those in need by providing food, clothes, and many other forms of donating or volunteering. “I choose to volunteer at Ronald McDonald House where I cook meals. I volunteer there because cooking is a simple task that provides help to a lot of people,” said senior Charlotte Jackman. One example of an organization that supports people is the SHFB, which provides food year round for people who cannot afford to feed themselves. This organization benefits people with meals that are provided through the hard work of dedicated volunteers, who are greatly appre-

ciated inside and outside of the organization. The SHFB welcomes anyone who is above the age of 14 and is willing to aid the less fortunate through donations or volunteering. These positions often fill up quickly around the holiday season due to a surplus of volunteers. “Volunteers are integral to the success of our organization. The Food Bank provides food to an average of 250,000 people every month. We do this through partnering with soup kitchens, pantries, children’s programs, and through our direct service programs for seniors and families with children,” said Director of Volunteer Services, Kristin Sulpizio. Last year, volunteers provided 310,000 hours, valued at $6.3 million, to support their local community, showing dedication. “I think people choose to volunteer because it feels really good to help. There is a sense of achievement and pride from volunteering. It makes you feel like you’ve contributed to something that will affect many people in the future,” said sophomore Melody Shanahan. Another volunteer supported organization

is Goodwill, which attempts to provide jobs, household items, and clothes to those in need. In 2012, Goodwill helped more than 6.7 million people train for careers in various industries. They also provide support services people need to be successful in the workforce, such as an education in their weaker areas. One way to work with Goodwill to support the local community is to donate clothes or household items that are no longer in use that someone less fortunate could use. These small acts of kindness are greatly appreciated by the organization and the people who receive the clothing or supplies. These organizations have influenced many aspects of the society in the Bay Area through caring actions towards people in need. This winter, hot meals will be given to hungry people to fill and warm their stomachs and presents will be donated to warm their hearts. The upcoming holiday season is a time where volunteering and donating is most important in order to support the people who cannot afford the basic necessities that most

take for granted. “People often donate during the holidays because it makes them feel good about providing to the people who cannot afford to celebrate,” said sophomore Timmy Miller. Some students have dedicated large portions of their time volunteering to directly support these people in need or have made the decision to donate to an organization that can provide aid. For example, sophomore Shayla Lusk has donated her hair to the Locks of Love organization that makes wigs for cancer patients who have lost their hair. “At first, I didn’t understand what the donation was for, but once I was told that is supported cancer patients, I felt great about doing it,” said Lusk. The compassionate actions of many can influence others to do the same and keep providing to those who need the support. Many volunteer but often they forget how their actions are so widely appreciated by people who cannot afford to support themselves.

What do you do to help your community during the holiday season?

I volunteer often at a soup kitchen.

-Bita Shahrvini Senior

I try to donate as many things as I can like clothes, food, and presents to help the less fortunate.

-Alessandro Di Paola Junior

Every year, I participate in a ‘Toys For Tots’ softball tournament where we must all bring presents for underprivileged kids -Jacey Phipps Sophomore

Infographic by Lara Ostroff

From one to another: donating hair to cancer patients By Karisa Tom Campus Editor For my whole 16 years of existence, my hair had always been long. Braids, buns, ponytails. The possibilities were endless. But last year, I decided it was time for change. With a few snips, 10 inches of my hair were gone. And with a considerably lighter head, I sent off my hair to be turned into a wig. Donating hair is one of the simplest ways to make a difference in a cancer patient’s life. Carlmont students have been donating their hair to organizations such as Locks of Love, Pantene Beautiful Lengths and Wigs for Kids. Organizations like these not only help patients emotionally, but also financially, as real hair wigs can cost hundreds of dollars. According to a school survey, 16 percent of students have donated their hair before. Junior Christina Galisatus said, “I decided to donate because I wanted to cut off my hair anyway and it was long enough. It’s important

to donate because people going through treatment really appreciate the hair.” Galisatus donated 10 inches of her hair to Locks of Love through the Hair Today salon in Belmont. According to their website, Locks of Love helps “provide hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.” The mission of Locks of Love is “to return a sense of self, confidence and normalcy to children suffering from hair loss by utilizing donated ponytails to provide the highest quality hair prosthetics to financially disadvantaged children.” Wigs from Locks of Love can retail anywhere from $3,500 to $6,000. Junior Kira Roman recently donated 12 inches of hair to another Pantene Beautiful Lengths. “It was breast cancer awareness month so I thought it would be a good time since I wanted to cut [my hair] anyways,” said Roman.

Pantene partners with HairUWear to provide high-quality wigs to patients. According to Pantene’s website, their mission is “to support women with cancer by providing free real-hair wigs to women who have lost their locks through treatment. Many women with cancer say that putting on a wig helps them feel like themselves again, but realhair wigs are a luxury that few can afford.” Roman said, “It's important because plenty of small girls become insecure when they look at themselves and see themselves as different or ugly because they have no hair. It boosts their confidence and makes them feel less insecure.” Another organization, Wigs for Kids, was founded by Jeffrey Paul in 1981. Paul is a certified cosmetic therapist. It is a nonprofit organization that has been aimed at serving children suffering from hair loss. Wigs for Kids works with Girl Scout troops to run “cut-a-thons”, encourage donations, and help spread awareness of the Wigs for Kids program. For most hair donation programs, the mini-

mum length is usually 10 inches. Hair can be donated through participating salons or sent through the mail. The hair must be clean and in either a ponytail or a braid. The hair donations have also been encouraged by the success of John Green’s book, “The Fault in Our Stars.” The book is about Hazel Grace, a terminal cancer patient, who meets Augustus Waters in a Cancer Kid Support group. The popularity of the book has encouraged a movie adaption starring Shaliee Woodley. In preparing for her role as the main character Hazel, Woodley donated her hair to the Children with Hair Loss organization. Along with Green, Woodley has inspired fans of the book to send in their locks. Thousands of photos of those who donated can be seen under #HairforHazel and #ItGrowsBack on Twitter and Instagram. Although chopping off 10 inches of my hair was one of the scariest decisions I have made, it was definitely one of the best.

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The Highlander

December 2013

The good, the delicious, and the seasonal By Tracy Chu Staff Writer

Pumpkin Pie

A famous holiday treat worldwide is pumpkin pie. This traditional dessert is known for its place on the dinner table throughout the entire holiday season, and is made up of sweet pumpkin purée and a golden-brown crust. The dish is often flavored with spices and other flavors such as cinnamon, ginger, or nutmeg. This dish is most commonly paired with creamy vanilla ice cream and served warm right after dinner. Ingredients: 2 eggs 1 16 ounce can pumpkin puree 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice 1 9 inch unbaked pie crust Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. 2. Combine eggs, pumpkin puree, sweetened condensed milk, and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl and mix until combined. 3. Fit piecrust into a 9-inch pie dish; pour pumpkin mixture into the crust. 4. Place pie on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake until filling is set, 35 to 40 minutes.

When Christmas time rolls around, the holiday rush of gift giving and family dinners comes along with it. During this time of the year, simple yet delicious homemade Christmas treats are always handy to have around. There are many popular desserts that are perfect for serving friends and family, including items such as various kinds of pies, peppermint treats, gingerbread, and other everyday dishes with an added holiday twist. Sophomore Marion Demailly and her

family celebrate with the French dessert, bûche, commonly known in the United States as the yule log. The yule log is a logshaped yellow sponge cake that is frosted and filled with chocolate buttercream. “One of my favorite things about Christmas time is the bûche, and it’s a family tradition to make it and eat it every year on Christmas Eve,” said Demailly. People have since developed new creative items by adding holiday twists to any type of dessert. This creates one-ofa-kind treats that everybody is sure to appreciate. Every year, senior Sarah Lew adds a new twist to a classic holiday dish of sweet potatoes.

Lew said, “Instead of just eating the sweet potatoes plain, my family puts marshmallows on top to make them sweet and chewy.” Senior Ryan Wong enjoys Christmas with a unique and tasty dessert made together with his family. “We make a graham cracker chocolate brittle every Christmas. The chocolate is glazed and covered in caramel and nuts. It’s my favorite thing to eat during the holidays,” said Wong. These dishes would all make wonderful additions to any holiday meal, or would serve as a delicious snack during a warm get-together. These recipes are simply a foundation and, with a little creativity, anyone can create their own holiday treat for their friends and family.

Do you buy and decorate a real or fake tree?

Real 57% Less than $50 29%

Fake 43%

$50-$100 36%

$100-$150 20%

More than $150 15% Infographic by Grace Yi

Images used with a Creative Commons License

The truth behind the tree Christmas tree are in many homes, but what is the purpose? By Elena Mateus

how much SOn taff average Writer

Peppermint Bark

One simple yet tasty treat that can be used to serve guests or to share with family is peppermint bark. Peppermint bark can be found under many brands of chocolate, such as Ghirardelli, Dove, and Hershey’s, around Christmas and is merely chocolate with crushed peppermint pieces mixed in. Making this snack at home is much cheaper and more fun than using the store-bought version. Ingredients: Crushed candy canes, about 1 cup 2 pounds chocolate of choice Optional: Peppermint flavorings Directions: 1. Place candy canes in a plastic bag and hammer into 1/4-inch chunks or smaller. 2. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. 3. Combine candy cane chunks with chocolate (add peppermint flavoring at this point if desired.) 4. Pour mixture onto a cookie sheet layered with parchment or waxed paper and place in the refrigerator for 45 minutes or until firm. 5. Remove from cookie sheet and break into pieces (like peanut brittle.) Recipes compiled by Tracy Chu

The smell of a fresh-cut pine tree fills households around the world every December: it’s the smell of Christmas. Christmas is not only a religious holiday, but also a world-wide cultural and commercial phenomenon. The tree has become the center of this holiday: “The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Christmas is decorating a tree. I decorate one every year with my family, it reminds me of the holiday season,” said sophomore Bijan Khalili. But why has cutting down an evergreen tree for Christmas become such a big part of the holiday itself? Residents on Eucalyptus street in San Carlos are known to decorate quite extensively on holidays. Eucalyptus street resident sophomore Calian Cumming said, “I decorate a tree because it’s tradition; it was what I was raised to do.” Christmas, along with other holidays, has transformed over time. Two centuries ago, the popularity of the holiday was based on its religious significance. The origin of the Christmas tree has many theories: according to the History Channel, it originated from Germany in the 15th century. Christian families would chop down an evergreen tree to represent everlasting life of Jesus, decorate it, and top it with an angel or star to represent the Star of Bethlehem. “I’m not religious, and when it’s

Christmas I don’t think about the whole though it runs through everyone.” This includes sophomore Seena Sebt. Jesus aspect ofyou it,” said sophomore Emily money do spend on gifts for friends family? Although Muslim, and he said, “I have a tree, Sevillia. [though] it’s just for decoration and to be Another theory states the Christmas more festive.” tree arrived to America in 1846 when a Other traditions, like the tooth fairy and sketch of the popular Queen Victoria and and St. Patricks day, also bring up questions her family reached the east coast of North about their importance in society: “Other America. The picture depicted her and her holidays have just become a custom to family standing around a decorated pine people,” said Cumming. tree in celebration of Christmas. “I think other holidays are more “While I celebrate Christmas, I like fairy tales, like the tooth fairy, think most of the holidays have lost Santa Claus, and Halloween, their meaning,” said sophomore Alex most of it is just for the kids, not Chan. so much for religion,” stated Junior Joseph Rodriguez said, “I Chan. don’t know why it’s a tree, and I Cumming said, “If I were went to Saint Charles [a catholic an alien who saw these things elementary school], so I should that people do every year, know this.” Christmas trees I’d be like ‘what are you have become a cultural norm, people doing, lying to your that nobody seems to queschildren?’” tion. Though the meaning John Barkle, owner of of Christmas trees has Steve’s Christmas Trees changed over time, said, “The people who it is safe to say that buy Christmas trees they, along with from me include other traditions, people of races all are here to stay. across the spectrum.” In addition, Barkle said, “ Mo re re l i g i o u s [people] tend to buy trees,

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The Highlander

December 2013

The art of gift giving By Danielle Hamer Staff Writer Holiday gifts. Most people love receiving them, but when it comes time for giving, the typical teenager could use some help in giving tokens of appreciation to those in their life who they want to show they care for, without breaking the bank. Presents for winter holidays come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and prices. Many high schoolers stress about what to get for their parents, siblings, friends, boyfriends, and girlfriends amidst studying for final exams and planning winter vacations. Senior Liam Mercado said, “When the holidays come around, the cheery spirit motivates me to buy gifts for my family and friends, but it is not always easy to know exactly what each person wants.” Fortunately, there is a science to the art of gift-giving that anyone can follow to ensure stress free giving of creative presents for every family member and friend. First step: Make a list of each person you would like to give a present to. Next to their name, write a few notes. Maybe your sister has been hinting at a sweater, or your dad has recently started to ride his bike more often. Picking up on the little things going on with your family and friends is important. By paying attention to small conversations, you find out exactly what store to shop at for your sister and that your dad would love a new bike helmet. Next: Ask for wish lists. Though it’s often the role of the child to make a wish list, if your parents or older relatives have their eyes on a special something,

you can’t go wrong with buying something they specifically ask for. However, putting your own twist on their request makes the gift more surprising and creative. Junior Mariya Chichmarenko knows how to make a special gift stand out even more. Chichmarenko said, “For the holidays, I buy small inexpensive gifts people can actually use. Last year, I noticed my friend wearing a lot of the same color, and I know she loves candy. So, I put together a box with her favorite sweets and little gifts, like perfume and a swimsuit, in her favorite color, and decorated the box with puffy paint. Using personal touches like someone's favorite color paint shows a person that you care enough to go beyond buying them something from a store.” If someone in your life wants to be surprised think about what makes them genuinely happy. No matter how small the gift, if you give anyone a present that reminds them of a joy they hold on to, you can not go wrong. Junior and Home Goods employee Zerena Silva said personalized presents are something many people who shop at the store stress over. Silva said, "Most people come into the store and describe the person they are shopping for. The majority of the time, what they are trying to find is a gift based off the interests of the person, which is not always easy. In my opinion, it takes some thought to cater to the exact needs of the gift receiver.” Have a boyfriend or girlfriend? Next step: Think about making them something special that they can use everyday or that reminds them of you. If you don’t have time to create your own gift, go to the mall and think about things that have made you closer as a couple, like inside jokes or shared interests.

Junior Julia Semmler mixes both ideas to show her boyfriend that she cares during the gift-giving season. She said, “I learned how to make the friendship bracelets so my boyfriend, who goes to another school and does not see me everyday, would be reminded of us everytime he looks down at it. This Christmas, I am planning on giving him cologne from a brand that he talks to me about all the time. I know it will be really special for him.” Now you have completed the steps, but how do you buy gifts for everyone without spending all of your money? According to a poll conducted by the Highlander, the typical Carlmont student spends between $50 and $100 on holiday gifts each year. To cut down these costs, start shopping earlier. Search for coupons in every newspaper- they add up over time. The closer to Christmas you look for that “perfect gift,” the more expensive gifts at the store will become. If you are unable to purchase gifts, it’s never a problem. Making your own presents is even more creative and shows the recipient that you put in hard work for them. Senior Lorenzo Fuentes said, “Giving gifts is very expensive, so other than my family, I choose not to give presents. Without a job, it’s impossible to afford gifts for each one of my friends.” It is not always easy to perfectly nail the gift-giving process. The many ways to find the ultimate present, but no matter what, seeing the smile on someone’s face as they open their present is the best gift anyone could ever receive.

Do you buy and decorate a real or fake tree?

Real 57%

Less than $50 29%

$50-$100 36%

Fake 43%

$100-$150 20%

More than $150 15%

Red Velvet Brownies

Ingredients: Brownie Layer: 1 cup butter, melted 2 cup sugar 1/2teaspoon salt 4 eggs 2 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour 1/3 cup cocoa powder 1 teaspoon red food coloring gel 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Cream Cheese Frosting: 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened 1/2 cup sugar 1 egg 1 teaspoon vanilla Directions: Brownie Layer: 1. Mix melted butter, sugar, and unsweetened cocoa in a large mixing bowl. 2. Add one egg and mix until smooth. Repeat with remaining eggs, one at a time. 3. Add two teaspoons vanilla and mix it in. 4. Put flour and salt in a small bowl and fluff with a fork to combine. Add try ingredients to the batter and mix until combined. 5. Mix in red food coloring gel. 6. Add chocolate chips and mix until combined 7. Line a 9x13 pan with foil, and cover in cooking spray. Spread batter evenly in the pan. 8. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes. Let the brownies cool on a wire rack Cream Cheese Frosting: 1. Beat one package of cream cheese until smooth. 2. Add sugar, egg, and vanilla. Mix until combined. 3. Spread frosting after brownies are cooled.

On average how much money do you spend on gifts for friends and family? Infographic by Grace Yi

The holidays bring more than just cheer

The holidays bring Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and seasonal treats By Becca Fradkin Staff Writer

As Black Friday approaches and the greatly anticipated holiday season begins, shoppers find themselves searching for the best deals amidst the overwhelming sales, gift shopping lists and seasonal specials. The holiday shopping frenzy is full of packed malls, crazy sales and ambitious consumers. In preparation, stores stock up on employees, products and deals. A modern trend among retailers is “Cyber Monday” which is the first Monday after Thanksgiving, when e-commerce retailers offer exclusive one-day deals. Sales over the past years have dramatically risen 15 percent online in contrast to a 4 percent increase in stores. Online shopping can be enticing for people of all ages because of its accessibility and addictive quality. However, there is no describing the anticipation and adrenaline rush of shopping ‘til dropping at 5 a.m. the morning after

Thanksgiving. Black Friday’s bargains excite people from coast to coast. A Best Buy floor manager who asked to remain anonymous said, “It is insane, the lines go from the front of the doors, all the way around the entire block. It is pure madness.” In addition to the overwhelming lines, people wait outside the doors for hours in advance before opening. The Best Buy floor manager said, “They bring sleeping bags, blankets and loads of hot coffee.” Holiday shopping is beneficial for the local economy because it creates a bounty of jobs and spending opportunities. As of 2012, America spent $59.1 billion during the Thanksgiving weekend. “With an increase of 100 percent more customers, we need to hire maybe more than 200 people to help with the season,” said Macy’s employee Alvina Cheung. With the need for more employees, students may be surprised when interviewing for local retailers.“(Vans) have hired at least 20 additional employees. ” said junior and Vans employee, Daryush Shahid.

While lines can be out the door and space minimal in stores Cheung makes the best of the situation and has “fun while working, it makes the entire experience for myself and the customer better.” Along with joy, cheer and the gift of giving, the modern aura of the holidays can be found at a local coffee shop. With a 10 percent increase in sales during the holidays, Starbucks excites customers with special edition coffees, teas and lattes. Local Starbucks Manager Kelsey McNellis said, "The holiday drinks bring in so many customers.” Holiday flavors are so successful that different coffee houses create individual, unique seasonal blends. For example, Peet’s Coffee and Tea has a multitude of seasonal items such as the “Winter Solstice” and “Holiday Blend” teas. These blends include flavors such as vanilla and cinnamon, supported by a base of black tea leaves. Along with an abundance of seasonal spirit, come a sleigh-full of customers. Starbucks employee and Carlmont senior Liam Mercado said holiday spirit and seasonal flavors bring "lines that go out the door.”

Gingerbread Ingredients: 1/2 cup white sugar 1/2 cup butter 1 egg 1 cup molasses 2 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9-inch square pan. 2. In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the egg, and mix in the molasses. 3. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Blend into the creamed mixture. Stir in the hot water. Pour into the prepared pan. 4. Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan before serving.

Page 10


The Highlander

December 2013

Seniors scramble to submit By Sarah Klieves Scotscoop Editor-In-Chief

“Be smart about applications and don’t do them all last minute. Plan out which schools you want to apply to over the summer and research their application dates to get them in on time.” Catherine Luckenbach

Stressful and chaotic. That pretty much sums up what the first half of the fall semester is like for seniors. While the rest of the school is getting back into the groove of things, seniors are already knee-deep in applications, essays, finishing testing and getting letters of recommendation. Deadlines are approaching fast and seniors often scramble after waiting until the bitter end to submit their applications. “I applied early to ASU [Arizona State University] because I felt it would be easier to have the whole process of college admissions off my back so that I could try to focus on senior year,” said Carlmont senior RJ Caslow. For seniors like Caslow, the choice must be made between sending in applications for early action and regular decision. Carlmont College Counselor Connie Dominguez said that one is not better than the other, but rather “it depends on the student.” Dominguez stated that many students believe that applying for early action or decision shows their commitment to that college, that is actually a myth. Students should not apply for any early ac-

tion or decision if “they are doing better or unless they have shown that they have done everything possible [to show colleges they are prepared],” said Dominguez. There are pros and cons to both applications. While it is nice to know what school you will be going to before the first semester is even over, there is also the added stress of writing essays and getting all of the necessary paperwork in order before the deadline. Senior Claire Noemer stated that the essay portion of the applications is definitely the hardest part about the application process. Caslow echoed this, stating, “Writing the personal statement and honors college essays [was the hardest part of applications].” Caslow stated that they were the most difficult part of his applications because they “took the most time and made me nervous about my application because what if I made a grammar error that I didn’t catch?” In addition to essays, many private and out-of-state schools require at least one letter of recommendation when applying. Letters of recommendation allow a school to see who the student is through the eyes of someone who knows them and has worked with them in the past. This often helps sup-

port what the student writes in their personal statements and other essays. Senior Sandip Srinivas stated that he needed two letters of recommendation. “I chose teachers to ask based on which classes I thought I did the best in, not just grade-wise but also in terms of participation, effort, etc. I thought I worked particularly hard in these classes and this would give my teachers the most room to write about me.” Applying for college is like a moving target. Despite the fact that there is a multitude of things and parts one must worry about when applying for college, there are a few things in particular that one should look out for. Caslow suggested to “make sure you have someone else proofread your application, because if you have spelling and grammatical errors, you will most likely not get accepted.” Noemer said it is important to “definitely get all the testing out of the way as soon as possible. Have an idea of what you want to write about before school starts and then actually give yourself enough time to write your essay and have it proofread before it’s due.” The scramble is on. But not to worry-there are plenty of people to help and college is in anyone’s future who is willing to put the effort in to get there.

High ranked college versus higher education

By Daniel Wang Staff Writer “Start applications extremely early because all the deadlines come faster than they appear to.” Ryan Dimick

“Make sure to start writing your essays over the summer because senior year becomes so stressful. It becomes hard to balance college apps, college essays and school.” Sydney Levine Infographic by Becca Fradkin

Many high schoolers applying to top ranked colleges have a similar mindset-- to get a good job, you need to go to a top college, take more advanced classes and participate in a plethora of extracurriculars to be accepted into a top college. While it is true that getting into a more prestigious college does provide you with a greater opportunity to excel in the working environment, the fact of the matter is, high school students are overstressing the importance of getting accepted into top colleges. For example, junior Sakumaru Streets said, “I want to get into a top school, such as an Ivy League, so I can receive a good education to prepare me in the working environment.” Streets, along with many other high schoolers across the nation, have ambitions to attend highly ranked colleges after graduating from high school.

According to Streets, “It’s harder to get a job since every student works so hard, so getting into a good college will help students look more appealing to employers.” Of course, going to college is beneficial for students. According to the Washington Post, college graduates earn approximately $500,000 more money than students who did not attend college or dropped out. But despite being highly prestigious and better ranked than other colleges, top colleges do not guarantee students a better education or a better future compared to going to other less prestigious colleges. According to US News, a website that covers a wide variety of news stories, the overall top three ranked colleges in America are Princeton, Harvard, and Yale University, respectively. However, when it comes to the top three engineering schools in America, University of California Berkeley slots into the third slot, after Massachusetts Institute of Technology

(MIT) and Stanford. that comes with going to such a On the issue, junior Lia Eldridge college. said, “I think the big name colleges For example, the yearly tuition aren’t very good choices for all stu- for Harvard is around $40,000 dents, because they’re just really a dollars a year. Meanwhile, UC name and a reputation. I think less Berkeley’s yearly tuition pales in esteemed colleges can provide just comparison, at just under $13,000 as wonderful an education than a year. Also, this tuition fee doesn’t other colleges.” include college debts. Josh Deshaies, a private admisOn the issue of college debts sions counselor, meets his fair share and fees, Eldridge said, “In the of determined students. According end, all other students will end up to Deshaies, “While I can’t over- in the same position anyways: in stress the positive impact attending debt.” a top college will provide students Although it may sound peswith, some of the students I meet simistic, Eldridge is correct -- 41 with are too focused about attend- percent of college graduates being Ivy League and other top col- tween 22 to 26 years of age are leges when they have no idea what unemployed, according to the the college is like.” Huffington Post, an online news Rather than just focusing on website. ranks, Deshaies offers some advice While attending a college is defto future college applicants. “Get a initely beneficial for that next step good understanding about the col- into the working environment, leges you want to apply to. Make students should focus less on the sure the college atmosphere is suit- rankings and more on what colable for you and it provides the ma- leges they truly like. Rather than jor you want to study.” adhering to college ranks, students In addition, another negative as- should find a college that suits pect about attending some of the their preferences and needs more top ranked universities is the cost than anything else. Proudly Serving Our Clients and Community Since 1976.

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The Highlander

Page 11 December 2013

Are SAT classes worth it? By Tara Ebrahimpour Staff Writer

It is a common belief that taking SAT prep classes will boost one’s score and help with the possible acceptance to their top choice college. But can taking these classes really benefit everyone? And what group of students benefits the most from them? According to an article in the New York Times, these prep classes mostly benefit two groups of students: the ones who are struggling and have little chance of getting into college, and the students who are high achieving students who are applying to the most selective schools, where the higher score can make a difference between acceptance and rejection. Senior Andrew Sohrabi, who took a 10 week Kaplan SAT course in his junior year said, “The class was good to teach the basics of the SAT and to make me comfortable with the SAT format, timing, and problem types. The class also forced me to think and focus some time and energy towards studying for the SAT.” He later added,”I think it’s worth it if someone isn’t self-motivated to study for the SAT. For me, it was worth it because I wasn’t going to put in the time and effort to study for it otherwise.” Although SAT classes seem to help, they have their drawbacks. One is the cost. SAT prep classes cost between a couple hundred to a few thousand dollars. These expenses add to other college costs such as college application fees and college tuition. SAT classes can be expensive, but there are other options. One such option is the free SAT prep classes. These classes are usually available at high schools and are similar to other, more costly counterparts, where students review practice problems and testing


Classes OR Prep Books Infographic by Karissa Tom

strategies with a teacher. A free SAT course was offered at Carlmont last year, which was run by English teacher Stephen Lucia. Each course was two to three weeks in length. The sessions were held for an hour everyday, after school. These free classes were set up before actual SAT test dates as a way to give everyone a chance to prepare for the SAT. Senior Claire Noemer, who attended a few of the classes, said, “I took the SAT twice and I definitely saw a score improvement after tak-

ing the class. So yes, it was definitely beneficial.” Other options are available for people who want a more personalized experience. One such option is tutoring. Although tutoring can be up to several thousand dollars more expensive than classes it is a preferred option for people who want one-on-one help and a customized lesson plan that focuses on their specific needs. According to a study done by the National Association of College Admissions, SAT test prep classes boost an average SAT score by only 30 points, not the hundreds advertised by test prep companies. This can be misleading and disappointing for those who invest considerable time and money into these classes. According to, students who are dedicated and practice with a prep book can increase their score by the same amount, or even more than students who take these classes. If this is the case, than students can increase their scores while spending very little on SAT prep. Self study only requires SAT prep books, which can cost between $15-30. Senior Catherine Luckenbach, who took the SAT twice without the aid of prep classes or tutoring, said her score increased greatly, “I self-studied with a bunch of SAT books and practice tests that I got for free from my cousin who used to be an SAT tutor. I didn’t have to pay a single penny for any SAT prep, and I felt really confident with my final scores. The first time I took the SAT I did really poorly, so I studied a lot and ultimately improved my scores by about 500 points.” There are many different options available regarding SAT preparation, with different costs and benefits. Students should choose based on their budget and needs.

New Common Application, new problems

The new version of Common Application brings complications for seniors

By Gabriela d’Souza

ScotCenter Editor-In-Chief The new version of the online Common Application, a college application shared by more than 500 colleges and universities, has been plagued by numerous malfunctions causing problems for students as well as admissions officers. “It has so many bugs in it that sometimes there is no way to actually work on the application at all,” said senior Grace Gowen. Updated for the first time in six years, the Common Application was now supposed to allow students more space for their personal statements and extracurricular activities, among other things. “I do not think that it was fair of [the organization] to publish an application with so many problems in it. It is understandable that they wanted to change the application, but they should not have done it if it was going to cause more problems,” said Gowen. Instead the application has been plagued with issues that include trouble uploading letters of recommendation, formatting of essays appearing wrong, inability to go back and check work, frozen screens, and getting charged more than once. “I was on the application and went to add some data, [then] the page I was on had disappeared. I refreshed and nothing happened. I refreshed again and it was fixed. Spooky as heck,” said senior Stefan Dismond. Colleges and universities across the country have posted notices on their school admission sites warning applicants of potential problems when applying. “I have not found a way to stop the problems, but they do not happen

all the time. It seems to be random, but after a while they really should have been fixed,” said Gowen. Some schools have posted notices about ways to counteract the widely reported problems. “Sometimes it logs me out or brings me to an error page while I am inputting my work, so I redo whatever I was doing by using a word document, then copy and paste all the work over. I still have to format it,” said senior Jay Aurora. On Oct. 18, the organization released a statement apologizing for being “too slow to respond” to the technical glitches and pledging to improve its service for the 800,000 users who had already registered at that time. “Seniors have a lot going on as it with applications, school, and extracurriculars. Putting application glitches on top of all that does not help,” added Gowen. According to the New York Times, “Problems became evident as soon as the application was released in August, including some confusing wording that was later changed. Students who thought they had finished the application found that it was incomplete because questions had been added after its release. As changes were made, some who had started their applications early found themselves locked out of the system.” While the new version of the Common Application was supposed to allow students with more freedom for expression and thus less stress in the application process, it did the exact opposite by causing a plethora of problems for students and admissions officers.

Free one hour consultation for Scots families!

Infographic by Karissa Tom

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Page 14

Lifestyle Bubble tea trend gaining popularity over coffee craze The Highlander

By Aria Frangos Staff Writer

Instead of dumping it by the boatload into Boston Harbor, Americans are developing a fondness for tea. There’s no denying the popularity of tea among high school students with the thriving presence of trends like Tpumps, Sharetea, and Quickly. Milk tea drinks, previously popular mainly in the Asian community, have boomed in widespread demand. There is always a line out the door and down the sidewalk outside Tpumps in San Mateo, proof of the obsession of many with the trend of milk tea. “I like their bubble tea, but Tpumps is really crowded,” said junior Calvin Tzeng. “That huge line isn’t worth the wait- I’d rather go to Quickly.” Sophomore Kevin Shu added that “the line is ridiculous, just not worth it. People are crazy, just getting with the trend because Tpumps is the new thing, apparently.” Shu continued to say, “I like ShareTea better than Tpumps; they’re actually from China and they keep it true.” Although Tpumps is widely known, there are many other bubble tea joints like Quickly and ShareTea. Many reviewers on agree with Tzeng and Shu that although Tpumps is big in popularity, Quickly and ShareTea surpass it in fast service and superior quality. All three of the stores have staunch supporters and individual high points, but a common feature is their beloved milk tea. Tpumps offers patrons a wide range of customizations, the many options allowing extreme personalization of milk tea drinks. The first choice is between black or green tea, followed by a combination of up to three of 17 flavors. The designer of the drink then chooses a level of sweetness and one of four types of boba. “There’s so many flavors, I don’t know how people can have a favorite,” said sophomore Sophia Haddad. “I’ve only been there once, but I liked what I had: peach mango strawberry.”

December 2013

Although some agree with Haddad’s opinion that there are many good flavors, others have their own definite regular orders. Sophomore Sierra Segal said, “Melon flavor is the best. I’d get Tpumps over Starbucks any day.” Coffee giant Starbucks has joined the influence of tea in America, buying the small chain Teavana in November 2012 and opening a new line of Teavana tea bars starting Oct. 24. in New York City. These sites are planned to be vastly different from Starbucks, based only on tea and a Zen, sit-down-and-linger atmosphere. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz says that the company plans “to do for tea what we’ve done for coffee.”

Tea’s niche in American society has grown majorly from many studies revealing the health benefits of the beverage. American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Katherine Tallmadge said, “There doesn’t seem to be a downside to tea. I think it’s a great alternative to coffee drinking.” Research has found that certain teas may help with preventing and treating cancer and heart disease, lowering cholesterol, controlling diabetes, and relieving stress. “It’s pretty well established that the compounds in tea – their flavonoids – are good for the heart and may reduce cancer,” said Tallmadge. The virtues of tea drinking for the health benefits have been extolled by shows like “Doctor Oz,” “Discovery Health,” and “The Doctors,” adding to the growing interest in tea overall. The question now is whether tea really can overtake coffee as a beverage preference. According to the Tea Association of the USA, every day over 158 million Americans drink tea. Globally, the only beverage that people drink more of than tea is water. Global retail sales for coffee in 2012 topped those of tea by $35 billion, but in the past 20 years tea sales have grown in the U.S. by about $8 billion. America is starting to catch on to the rest of the world’s preference for tea. When today’s teen thinks about getting a drink, the regular instinct for a Starbucks latte or macchiato may be challenged by the option of bubble tea.

The anatomy of Bubble Milk Tea Bubble Milk Tea, also known as pearl milk tea or boba milk tea, is a mix of tea, milk and ice. Black tapioca balls, the size of small marbles, sit on the bottom of the cup and are what makes this drink unique. This drink emphasizes the flavor of the tea, which should be strongly steeped. It’s not just a fad, its a trend. And it’s addictive.

Fat Straw for Boba

Milk Tea Milk tea is made of a mix of several types of black tea, often Pu Lei and a type of Ceylon tea), evaporated milk, and sugar. A variety uses condensed milk instead of milk and sugar, giving the tea a richer feel.

The key feature of milk tea is that a sackcloth bag is used to filter the tea leaves.To make the tea, water and tea are brought to a boil. The tea is usually put in a sackcloth bag before the water is added to the pot to filter it out. This process can be repeated several times, to intensify the flavor.

Tapioca Tapioca is a starch extracted from the cassava plant. These little bubbles have a consistency somewhat like Jell-O and bubble gum. Tapioca has lots of different flavors, ranging from honeydew, green tea to coconut and taro. Photo illustration by Isabella Paragas and Sabrina Leung

Uniqlo: helping the wardrobe and the world By Kimiko Okumura Staff Writer

For retail stores, the pressure to stand out to customers is a challenge. High quality clothing, welcoming atmosphere and excellent customer service are just some of the elements that make up a successful retail store. Japanese retail store Uniqlo has thrived off of these qualities and their attention toward innovation. In only 25 years, Uniqlo has climbed to the world’s fourth largest retail apparel company. After a successful opening of their flagship store in New York in 2012, they opened up an additional ten stores on the east and west coast of America in the last two months. Founded by Fast Retailing Companies’s CEO Tadashi Yanai in 1984, Uniqlo takes a different approach on clothing. “They have the basics that everyone needs. They offer pieces you can keep in your wardrobe for years. It’s very timeless,” said English teacher Jody Humes. Through technology, innovation, and attention to quality, Uniqlo has cultivated simple and long lasting apparel. Uniqlo offers staple items such as fleece, denim, and light down jackets. “All the clothing from Uniqlo is really good, but the jeans are my favorite. They’re really nice fitting,” said sophomore Alisa Murray. One example of Uniqlo’s hard work toward innovative and high quality clothing is their partnership with Toray Industries, Incorporated, a world class textile manufacturer. Through experiments, they created an original dying process specifically for their Heattech clothing line, due to the multifiber fabric that caused standard dye to appear uneven and faded.

This year, Uniqlo blended camellia oil into the Heattech fabric. Camellia oil is a popular cosmetic in Japan that nourishes the skin with omega-9 fatty acids, polyphenols, vitamin E, plant collagen and protein. The oil creates a fabric that feels softer on the skin. “Uniqlo’s clothing is not only basic but warm, light, and comfortable. It will look good on anyone,” said senior Iris Choi. The longevity of the clothing really sets Uniqlo apart from other retail stores. In 2000, they created the Takumi Team, artisans with over 30 years of experience in the Japanese textile industry. The Takumi Team provides consistent technical supervision at Uniqlo’s manufacturing companies in China. “I’ve had Uniqlo clothing that lasts for years, unlike some stores where shirts and jackets only last a couple months,” said Uniqlo Worker Mariam Malik. High quality clothing is not Uniqlo’s only focus. They are determined to change the world and create a brighter future. Two years ago, Uniqlo started the Feel the Warmth project. Every winter, they donate Heattech apparel to those who need it; farmers working in the cold, indoor workers that don’t have access to heat, and sports clubs. Anyone can apply to receive free Heattech clothing or suggest a friend who needs the warmth during the holiday season. “It’s nice for big companies to donate their profits to people in need. Normally big companies just want money,” said Murray. Through clothing, Uniqlo aims to change the world. They partnered with professional men’s world ranked tennis player Novak Djokovic and launched the Clothes for Smiles Project in 2012. It consists of eight separate worldwide projects targeting education deficiency and disadvantaged children. One of the eight projects is the Library Project. After 30 years of internal struggle, Cambodia has economically improved. However, there are still low educational standards, poverty and a high illiteracy rate.

Uniqlo partnered with Shanti Volunteer Association to build libraries in Cambodia. From Nov. to Dec. 2013, they have given picture books to the children, and plan to start construction of a community learning center and school library in 2014. In order to start all these projects, Uniqlo funded $10 million from the sale of Heattech apparel and Ultra Light Down products. $5 million will aid the project alliance with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). UNICEF also works toward a safe and healthy environment for every child. The other $5 million is for Uniqlo’s additional projects. “I think it’s good that Uniqlo thinks about helping children. It shows they’re conscious about what’s happening in the world,” said sophomore Andrew DeLamare. Uniqlo also puts in effort to help men and women worldwide. In 2006, they started the All-Product Recycling Initiative. Customers dropped off unused or unwanted clothing, to be recycled as material for a textile industry. Uniqlo realized a lot of the clothing was still wearable, so they sent the clothing around the world to individuals in need. Uniqlo has helped over 30 countries and regions all over the world. One of the countries is Zambia, located in South Africa, that received over 280,000 pieces of clothing to protect mothers and children after an outbreak of malaria. According to Uniqlo’s website, they have collected approximately 20 million articles of clothing, and donated 10 million of it as of Jan. 2012. Uniqlo donates the still wearable clothing; the rest is converted into fuel or industrial fiber. The majority of whom Uniqlo helps are refugees, disaster survivors, homeless people, pregnant women and single mothers in need. Clothing can impact the lives of everyone, whether it’s recovering from a natural disaster or following the latest trend. Clothes improves self confidence, protects the body from heat and cold, and provides a way of self expression. Malik said, “We want people to remember Uniqlo as more than a room with clothes. We want people to feel confident in our clothes. We want everyone to see Uniqlo as a comfort zone.”

The Highlander


Page 15 December 2013

Delving into the ‘white girl’ phenomena

By Claire Porter Staff Writer

During the cold weather season, Instagram explodes with pictures of young women and their friends holding Starbucks holiday cups and wearing matching outfits consisting of a North Face jacket, Lululemon yoga pants, and Ugg boots. Hashtags accompany these pictures promoting the ideology of “common white girl.” At this point, it seems expected each year. Results from a recent poll show that 81 percent of students at Carlmont are familiar with the new ideology of white girl culture. According to, a common white girl is defined as, “Any white girl in America who is obsessed with any of the following: Leggings, Uggs, Starbucks, Autumn, iPhones, Instagram, Twitter, Selfies, or the movie Mean Girls.” Junior Teo Vargo explained that this cultural practice isn’t just materialistic. It consists of “types of things that suburban teenage girls wear, the way they talk, the things they eat, and the types of social media they use.” The ideology of the phenomenon is paradoxical. Though “white girls” have implications of a high maintenance attitude, the stereotypical attire, though expensive (Lululemon pants can be up to $108), are considered to be relaxed and comfortable. For example, a tweet by @CommonWhiteGirl on Nov. 10 said, “I wear leggings everyday and I really could care less what anyone thinks about it because they’re comfy and they go with everything.” However, being comfortable doesn’t imply a frumpy appearance. Nor does it imply low social standings. According to senior Maylon Robinson, “The white girls that make up this culture


Photo illustration by Isabella Paragas

may be closely associated with a certain crowd, such as the party girls. They are very opportunistic and sociable people.” Though Urban Dictionary’s definition is straightforward and simple, students at Carlmont notice the implications of conformity in the culture. Some students at Carlmont have mixed feelings about how significant these implications are. Senior Ethan Wallace believes it to be quite influential. Wallace, thinking outside of the high school realm, realized that it has profound effects on other generations. “Younger ages are starting to have more

access the media, which portrays ditzy blonde women with stupidity, unintelligence, and gross materialistic ideals that could unfortunately be perceived as a desirable trait for the young, naive kids that watch the show,” Wallace said. Senior Lauren Naismith originally said, “White girl culture is simply a stereotype for white girls.” However, Naismith later explained the significance this ideology had on her as a freshman. She explained that the culture, “Comes off as a sort of status. You are not considered a ‘typical girl’ if you don’t conform.”

Senior Laila Rafi agrees that this cultural phenomenon stems out of the pressures of conformity. “I sincerely doubt any of the girls who use Lululemon bags couldn’t just as easily use any other lunch bag, but we see it so often because it has been perceived as a trend, and we love to fit in.” Rafi said, “As a society, we stereotype any group that is distinct from another. I don’t see why white girls are any different. We expect them to fall in line with it, and if they don’t, they’re abnormal. But then we mock the idea of it and them.” But with a race-defining stereotype, does this cultural practice really draw lines on the color of one’s skin? With similar views on the culture as Vargo, Robinson said, “White girl culture is more associated with a certain attitude, thus ‘white girl culture’ can apply to pretty much any race.” Regarding its glorification or criticism, students feel differently. “The values in white girl cultures are so shallow and stupid,” said junior Neeshae Wain. Indeed, due to the price of compliance, it can appear to be a shallow effort to yield to the ideology. Vargo has little regard for the new ideology and sees scant significance in the hype. He said, “Really, there is no reason to mock it. People are always conforming to things whether you are a ‘white girl’ or not.” Senior Bailee Roces looks at the culture from both perspectives, “It is glorified by those who are in it and is mocked by those who are not.” Though evidence points toward the presence of the pressure to conform to the mentality and materialistic facets of this ideology, Rafi doesn’t believe this is harmful. “If the ‘white girls’ in question want to act a certain way and it doesn’t harm anyone else, let the white girls do as they wish.”

Short hair cuts off women’s identity By Isabella Paragas Staff Writer When sophomore Natalie Cambron told her mother that she wanted to cut her hair short, her mother said, “as long as it’s stylish and doesn’t make you look like a dyke (a derogatory name for a lesbian).” She decided to cut her hair short because she thought her long hair was inconvenient. Cambron isn’t the only female who has been looking for a change. Breeze past any fashion magazine and one may see that female celebrities are chopping off their locks by the dozens. A new trend, like all other modern fashions, has emerged among some celebrities, from Beyonce, Miley Cyrus to Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Watson, and is now permeating into the general public. The pixie cut. There are several reasons why some girls choose to cut their hair to such lengths. One reason it is much easier and cheaper to care for, and can be more practical at times. With short hair, girls can spend little to no time fixing their hair in the morning, and can spend less on hair products. Additionally, some girls are drawn to the many different styles of pixie cuts. If they do not like their hair cut, they can just wait for their hair to grow out to change styles or allow it to grow back to its original length. Despite these benefits, however, when a girl cuts her hair that short today, some people assume one, many, or all of the following (and more): one is a lesbian, a feminist trying to make a statement, or one does not care much about her physical appearance. In some instances, the hairstyle can be a marker of sexual orientation. Today, some women are judged and defined by their bodies, and hair can be an important part of what

defines a cultural notion of femininity. Some she turns maybe 60 or maybe 50,” and to “[g]ive men fear this defiance of what they consider to the lesbians their haircut back.” Another thread be “feminine,” in part because it defies a long- said, “unfortunately, a majority of short-haired standing societal expectation. As a result, some girls are these artsy, usually liberal, ‘progressive’ of these people have faced backlash or been mis- girls who think everything is sexist or racist or judged and labeled after a first impression. And promoting inequality.” Others commented that teenagers seem to be no exceptions. they like short hair on women, “if it’s done One of the most well-known women that fit right,” or that “pixie cuts are fine by me.” the first assumption is Ellen DeGeneres. Since Not all the commenters who agreed with the her show, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” first writer were male. One female said that “95% of aired in 2003 and has thus been widely popular us would look like absolute [explicit] dogs with among viewers, the haircut she dons has come a pixie cut” and so she “always discourage[s] to be closely associated with being a lesbian. [her] friends when they ask [her] if they should With so many different opinions about this cut their hair short” because “it’s not feminine trend and whether it is stylish or not, and it looks awful.” it has caused some to fail to unCocco has had experience with such derstand that there are lesbians comments and said, “People are like, who have long hair, as well as ‘You know, honey, boys don’t like heterosexual women who have girls with short hair’ or ‘No one short hair. will find you attractive.’ Well, ex“I’m queer, but I’m not lescuse me, but ever thought about bian,” short-haired senior, the fact that I do not care whether Simonetta Cocco said. “Your men find me attractive or not, haircut doesn’t define your and maybe I cut sexuality.” my hair because In RogerSterlingJr’s (the I feel confident writer’s screen name) article with it?” “Why Girls Should Not Cut The pixie cut Their Hair Short,” is not a new hairposted on a webstyle, as it has been site for fraternity around since the students, Rog1950s when actress Audrey Hepburn erSterlingJr said wore it in the film that when a girl “Roman Holiday,” cut’s her hair Photo illustration by Isabella Paragas but very few women short it only highlights “[a]ll of those odd insecurities you have have been seen with it. This style can be described about your looks” and with short hair, “you’re as a “boy-short” cut, or a length of hair that is putting it front and center. Even if you don’t typically pictured on a boy rather than a girl. have a glaring flaw, there’s one thing of which These women went against the normal expectations of a “girl’s” hair cut. In the 1920s, young I’m sure: your face is going to look fat.” In one of the comments on the article, a per- flapper women cut their hair as a mark of inson said that the pixie cut is “ugly,” that “[n]o dependence and departure from gender norms. Hair, much like other parts of the body, has female alive looks better with short hair until

been historically outside a woman’s domain of control. Complicated hairstyles that required assistance to maintain meant that a woman could not live alone while these styles were in fashion. French women who were accused of collaboration horizontale during WWII were shaved and humiliated as a desecration of beauty and femininity. Some believe that short hair may be associated with feminism. However, senior and President of the Feminist Club at Carlmont Samantha Samuelsen said, “a woman cutting her hair short does not necessarily mean she is making a feminist statement.” Samuelsen added that if she were, the statement she would be making would be “one that promotes gender equality and equal opportunity for all men and women.” Similarly, Senior Christin Wong, commented that “‘feminist’ is a group, not a type of hairstyle.” Cambron added that she “always hated have long hair” and that she “never cared enough to do anything.” Instead, she chooses to focus on other aspects of her look, such as her clothes, since her hair “is easy [to take care of ] and it looks good on its own.” Her boyfriend, Daniel Saatman, described her hair as “cute and fun to mess with.” Some girls may not care about the length of one’s hair or think it is bothersome, but others have an emotional attachment and therefore are not as willing to part with it. Samuelsen said, “I love the way [my hair] frames my face and the way it looks when it’s braided - I see my hair as a part of me.” While not everyone can possess the confidence of having short hair, Samuelsen stated that it is ultimately a decision that one makes to represent who they are. She said, “Hair is hair. We should all first remind ourselves and others that what really matters is the head underneath the hair.”

Page 16 The Highlander


December 2013

Bullying on social media

Junior Tori Hall and senior Jeeyna Wozniak demonstrate the existence of bullying on social media.

By Arianna Bayangos News & Opinion Editor “On Tumblr a few years ago, I got anonymous hate messages, saying that I was a bitch, stupid and ugly,” said the female Carlmont junior. She added, “At one point, it started to get aggressive. I got messages saying, ‘Wow, why are you still alive?,’ and ‘The world would be better off without you.’” She tried to brush off these anonymous messages, but couldn’t help wonder why she was a victim of cyberbullying. “I had no idea why I was getting hate, or who was sending it or if there had been anything to cause it,” she said. After a while, she got tired of dealing with drama online and ended up deactivating her account for a few months. Teenagers often see social media as a place to broadcast their opinions on anything, whether it is offensive or not. Recently, in Florida, 12-year-old Rebecca Ann Sedwick committed suicide because she was bullied by two other girls on Facebook. According to the article in the New York Times, “Felony Counts for 2 in Suicide of Bullied 12-Year-Old,” the two girls sent Sedwick messages telling her to kill herself on After her suicide, one of them posted on Facebook that she knew it was her fault and that she didn’t care about the suicide. Carlmont senior Kevin Liu said that people probably do

not deactivate their social media accounts when they are bullied because they “want to show that they are strong enough to deal with bullies. They want to show the bullies that they aren’t bothered by them and they won’t win.” Some websites allow people to send anonymous questions and comments to others. In 2009, the site Formspring launched. According to Ade Olonoh, the founder of Formspring, he intended the site to be a place where different people could have unique conversations about everything and open up new points of view. In 2010, a site called gained popularity around the world. As of this year, has 80 million registered users. According to the article “Latvian Website at center of cyberbullying inquiry” in the Baltic Times, was created as a rival site to Formspring. Like Formspring, allows users to follow their friends, respond to questions with pictures and videos, and remove the anonymous feature on their account. Senior Ethan Wallace said, “ is so popular because people are able to express themselves without repercussions. People make accounts because everyone wants to know what everyone else thinks of them.” “It’s fun for people on to hear about other people’s personal life and to make themselves feel better if they hear about other people’s problems,” said Allison Granet, a freshman.

However, sites like Formspring and turned into a platform of cyberbullying. Since people have the opportunity to send anonymous questions, they take advantage of the anonymity feature and bully their victims easily. “On the sites like and Formspring, nobody knows who you are and you can say anything you want to without fear or reprimand,” commented Liu. A Carlmont sophomore who asked for her name to be withheld said, “I don’t really send mean hate that people would get hurt about, but sometimes you just send hate to people you don’t like because you dislike them. You wouldn’t say it to their face.” With this anonymous feature, some people feel defenseless against the bullying and feel that they have no power to stop the bullying. Photo by Veronika Dvorakova Junior Mariah Tao said, “When you don't know who is sending you the hate, it makes it a lot worse because you don't know who to trust.” The anonymity of sites like and Formspring often makes the bully feel that he or she can get away with it easily in comparison to targetting the victim in person. However, these bullies don’t realize the possible punishments. According to the Sequoia Union High School District Board Anti-Bullying Policy, the administration prohibits any written conduct “that is so severe or pervasive that it creates an intimidating, threatening, and hostile, or offensive educational environment.” At Carlmont, the administration has the power to step in and enforce any punishments like expulsion or suspension regardless of the fact that the bullying is not happening on campus. In addition to school intervention, states that punishments for cyberbullying can range from jail time to felonies. With this power of self expression on social media, some teenagers take it for granted and don’t realize the consequences of their actions, especially the possibility of their victim taking his or her own life. Kalina Wasman, a sophomore said, “I deactivated my Ask. fm account because it’s not worth getting hate; it’s pointless. Why would you do that to yourself? Why would you let some anonymous person ruin your day if it does get to you?”

Redefining what a friend really is

Facebook’s impact on the meaning of friendship By Kat Savin Staff Writer

Who are your real friends? With over 1 billion active users and a majority of Carlmont students using it, Facebook is the most popular social networking site. The point of Facebook is to be able to connect and share one’s life with their friends via the Internet. Adding and accepting friend requests allows a person to view one’s posts, pictures, videos and more. But are the people you are accepting your real friends? “I used to just add whoever I saw in the hallways,” said junior Carlos Rama. “Even the people who are in my classes who I am not really friends with.” Adding mutual friends is one of the most popular ways of gaining friends on Facebook. “Usually I have heard of the people I accept,” said sophomore Mia Firpo. “I click on their profile to see what school they go to and who else they know and if they have over 50 mutual friends with me I will add them.” A mutual friend is someone who is friends with a person you are friends with. On Face-

book, when viewing someone’s profile, it will state the number of mutual friends you have with that person. This number is what convinces most people to accept or add another user. “I will mostly add people or accept their requests when we have a lot of mutual friends and I have heard of them or seen them at school,” said junior Gigi Vlahos. After accepting someone on Facebook, the website asks you a yes or no question on whether or not you actually know the person in real life. This question has been administered because of the security problems dealing with adding strangers or dangerous people. Once you add another user, they are now allowed to see

what you post about and where you are posting from. Along with the fact that many students are adding complete strangers on Facebook, they are also using Facebook to talk to people on chat whom they wouldn’t talk to in person. “I message people I do not know because it is easier to hide the nervousness of talking to someone for the first time and it makes faceto-face conversation easier the first time you talk in real life,” said Vlahos. The meaning of “friend” has evolved into Picture by CreoleInDC a whole new thing due to the influence of the Internet. Friendship went from meeting someone in person, to meeting them online. “I have

met someone over Facebook and ended up meeting them in real life,” said senior Brandon Moyle. “We actually become really good friends.” Facebook is becoming a tool to meet new people and make new friends. Being able to hide behind the monitor is an alternate way to avoid the awkwardness of meeting someone for the first time. A user has more time to reply and has the chance to put more thought into their responses. It is a way of masking emotions making people more comfortable with talking to others. “I see how chatting someone you are Facebook friends with because you have a lot of mutual friends could be tempting because it makes it easier to talk without having to be nervous about anything,” said junior Andrew Wach. Overall, Facebook has changed the meaning of friend. It has gone from knowing that person in real life to meeting them online. The difference between a “friend” and a “Facebook friend” is quite apparent now. “I will always say something like ‘Oh yeah I'm friends with them on Facebook,’ or ‘Yeah we are Facebook friends,’” said Wach.


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Page 17 December 2013

Disney Channel is not the same

By Athena Duran Staff Writer

Claiming the number one spot as TVs most viewed network, Disney Channel continues to cater to millions of viewers around the world. However, it has also accumulated more complaints from parents and students alike than ever before. The ‘90s and early 2000s of television defined the childhood of most Carlmont students. Disney Channel was “like my life,” said senior Esther Kim. In the last three years Disney Channel fell five percent in it’s daily viewers. Though she still watches the channel sometimes, her “favorite old DC show has got to be ‘That’s So Raven’ because it promoted good moral lessons.” Sophomore Annie Klups said that she only “likes ‘Austin and Ally,’ but besides that, the quality of Disney Channel has definitely gone down. The older shows featured powerful characters that I could look up to. In an episode of ‘That’s So Raven,’ I learned to love myself for who I am, as the main character stood up for herself and her body. Television shows and movies currently aired on the channel contain shallow characters that seem really fake. They used to have more relatable characters,” said Klups. “That’s So Raven” was the first show on Disney Channel to reach 100 episodes. In 2005, it earned the highest earned ratings of any other show aired on Disney Channel. While on air, the show had episodes that brought attention to body image, shoplifting and racism. It was

Collage by Karissa Tom Images from Disney

praised by both parents and students for its ability to emphasize important moral issues on a c h i l d r e n’s programs. The holiday season typically is the cue for Disney Channel to replay old movies. Senior Guada Herrera recalled seeing a tweet that said, “PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Halloweentown is on tonight at 8.” “It is a shame that Disney Channel does not produce quality movies like that anymore,” said Herrera. During the week of Oct. 18, 2013, the channel saw a spike in its amount of viewers. That weekend, all four Halloweentown movies (originally aired between the years 1998 and 2006) were played in honor of the upcom-

ing holiday. “The show has gotten less about promoting a good message and more about trying to be funny,” said freshman Issei Mills. “Though there are attempts to give a good message, it is frequently overpowered by the bad jokes.” Early in 1986, the musical sitcom

Kids Incorporated premiered on the channel. The series was centered around a preteen group of friends who formed a pop group, mixing their everyday situations with variety show and music video-style performances. It became a hit for Disney Channel, spawning many future stars in both the music and acting worlds. This popular trend continues to make its mark on the channel. The newest premiered show Liv and Maddie features two twin teenage girls, one being seemingly normal, while the other is a sensationalized movie actress. All of the shows currently aired seem to “have a similar plot, while the old Disney Channel had a more diverse range in genre” said Klups. In today’s DC “there is

a definite focus on making it in the entertainment business.” If one were to audition for a spot on a DC show, it is highly recommended that the child has a mediocre ability to sing or dance. Almost every show has one cast member that also begins a career in music. Zendaya, an actress on Disney Channel’s Shake it Up has recently launched her music debut. In their mission statement, Disney Channel expressed its intention to stream entertainment television for children with original series and movies. Despite their original goal, the shift towards sensationalizing teens has parents on the fence. Parents have expressed their concern on Common Sense Media, a site that is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information in a media-focused society. When Shake it Up first aired on Disney Channel, it received comments that spoke of the lack of message within the program. “The materialistic norm that has enveloped the channel is inappropriate for children,” said a frequent participant on the website. “The future of Disney Channel will be crap. The movies and television shows just aren’t good anymore” said Mills. A poll conducted at Carlmont showed that 91 percent of students feel that the quality of Disney Channel shows and movies have, and continue to get worse. Similarly, Kim said that“the content will become more inappropriate, and the channel will gear its focus toward an older crowd, it won’t be for kids anymore.”

TV addiction increasing among teens Senior Jannah Perry watches over 20 hours of television per week. And she’s not alone. Over 60 percent of teenagers admit to watching 20 hours of TV per week, according to a 2008 study done by the American Heart Association. The LA Times reported in 2012 that teenage viewing hours are steadily increasing at a rate of 2.5 percent per year. The growing popularity of services like Netflix and Hulu make TV shows more accessible than ever, so it’s no wonder that these numbers are so high. AP Psychology Teacher Michelle Mckee said, “When you watch more than 20 hours of TV per week, you can become isolated. There’s

not a lot of social interaction [while watching TV], which can add to existing depression and anxiety problems,” she said. “It weakens social skills, probably more than anything else.” But that hasn’t been Perry’s experience. “I have a Twitter dedicated to Grey’s Anatomy,” Perry said. “On Twitter, everyone’s talking about the same thing, [and they are all] freaking out. It’s really fun.” Not everyone shares Perry’s enthusiasm for Live Tweeting, however. Junior Emily Costello said, “I watch shows when they premiere, but I don’t usually Live Tweet.” In any case, both students emphasized that watching TV is undoubtedly a fun activity. “I love shows that get me interested really quickly,” Perry said. Costello said she enjoys shows with “good

Photo by Dominic Gialdini

By Danielle Schneider Staff Writer

characters and a plot that’s suspenseful.” Perry and Costello have both established a deep emotional connection with the shows they watch. When Perry’s favorite character died (Mark Sloan from Grey’s Anatomy), she felt emotionally overwhelmed. “I was really upset,” she said. “My friends told me stop talking about Sloan’s death, but I was too attached to him. It was awful.” Costello talked about the death of Kyle Spencer from American Horror Story. “I got really upset because I thought another character should have died,” In the end, her feelings were reconciled when a trailer for the next episode revealed that Spencer was still alive. It’s not just scripted dramas and good acting that drives people to become connected to TV. Senior RJ Caslow watches five sports games per week, not including sports reporting shows, such as Sportscenter. “Watching sports did inspire me to play [on a team], even though I’m the most unathletic guy you could ever imagine,” he said. “Watching the games is what makes all the little kids want to play little league and football.” Caslow said that over the years, sports have become a measured facet of his personality. “I would say that watching sports is an important part of my life. [But] if something went wrong with my family, I wouldn’t take watching sports over that.” One might think that teenagers who tune in so often and for so long may ignore their homework in favor of watching shows. At least for some Carlmont students, that isn’t true. For Perry, it’s a balance. “I watch TV on Netflix while I’m doing homework, [but] Thursdays between the hours of 9 p.m. and 11 p.m., I don’t do schoolwork. I don’t do anything except watch TV,” she said.

For Costello, it isn’t an issue. “I usually do my homework and then watch TV before I go to bed,” she said. And for Caslow, it’s on an event-by-event basis. “I’ve ignored my homework because of the World Series, the Stanley Cup, or college football,” Caslow said. “If the Giants were competing in the World Series on Monday, I’d watch that over doing homework, because it only happens once in a lifetime, even if I was ignoring studying for an important test.” Once a student is hooked on a show, he or she may find it difficult to stop. Perry’s drive to continue watching some shows extends beyond the show’s content itself. “I’ve watched Grey’s Anatomy for nine seasons. I can’t just stop,” she said. “I will keep watching it until the day it’s over. I’m already starting to get bored with it, but I will keep watching because I’ve put so much time into it. I feel like I’m obligated to.” Caslow said that he’d stop watching Sportscenter “if they started talking about something completely irrelevant, or during the NBA season in general. All they do is talk about the Lakers and Celtics. They don’t cover [all the teams]. It’s silly. If you’re not going to cover my teams, I’m not going to watch your show.” Although various studies suggest that excessive TV viewing can cause health and behavioral problems, other media can be just as detrimental, according to McKee. “I’ve had students who have missed school when a new video game came out,” McKee said. “They stayed up all night playing the new game and were just not prepared to come to school the next day. So, I don’t think it’s TV that causes problems for students as much as it’s media in general.”


Page 18 The Highlander

December 2013

Not about the music anymore Staff Writer

Switch the radio to any top 40 channel and you’ll likely hear the music of just a few artists, such as Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. How did these artists become so popular? For Cyrus, it was twerking on national TV. For Bieber, it was sporting the sexiest haircut around. For Lady Gaga, it was the boundarypushing wardrobes. And for Perry, it was a scandalous music video about kissing other girls. With all these gimmicks leading to celebrity status among pop stars, you’d wonder how an artist used to sell records before social media could instantly publicize these stunts. Surprisingly enough, they gained popularity based on their music itself. If you look at some of the topselling artists from the 1960s, you’ll find artists such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. The music of these artists was groundbreaking. In fact, their songs were crafted so masterfully that today, 50 years later, the music is still recog-

nized around the world. Can you say with a straight face that you will remember the lyrics to Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” just ten years from now? So what’s their secret? How do today’s hottest artists achieve such popularity when their music doesn’t have the same heft? For one, artists achieve popularity based on their public profile and their outlandish behavior. The epitome of this phenomenon is Cyrus, who has 15 million followers on Twitter and 33 million likes on Facebook (only 4 million fewer than President Obama), allowing her to constantly promote her thoughts, antics, and songs to an extensive audience. She has also gained popularity through her bizarre behavior. Cyrus Picture from

By Josh Fagel

was one of the most hotly discussed topics for the week that followed the Video Music Awards performance where she wore close to nothing, twerked on Robin Thicke and made risque gestures with a foam finger. “She’s very confused,” remarked senior Nate Fischer. Carlmont students generally agree that today’s music is often secondary to the public profile of the performer. According to a school-wide poll, a mere 12 percent of students believe that Cyrus is famous primarily because of her music, whereas 60 percent believe she is famous primarily because of her controversial actions. “All I get from pop is a vague, empty, and commercial summary of the aspects of society that I care

the least about, a product not of an artist, but of an industry” said senior Aaron Goodwin. And today’s music itself is mediocre at best. Jeremy Toback, a professional musician who released several acclaimed alternative rock albums in the 1990s and currently plays in the children’s music duo Renee and Jeremy, said that “the mainstream of music is the most homogenized it has been in my lifetime. There is a lot of very well done, competent execution but a dearth of inspiration.” Comparing lyrics of today’s pop music to those of the 1960s also demonstrates the declining quality of the songs. “Hey Jude,” one of the Beatles’ best selling songs, has Paul McCartney comforting John Lennon’s sorrowful son: “Anytime you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain. Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders.” In contrast, today’s popular music fans can find comfort in Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop”: “And everyone in line in the bathroom. Trying to get a line in the bathroom. We all so turned up here. Getting turned up, yeah,

yeah.” However, not everyone agrees with the claim that pop music is going downhill. Stu Bergen, the International President of Warner Music, noted that popular music isn’t necessarily declining in quality, but rather that “every generation or period of time has its version of popular music and it is often influenced by social or economic conditions … Who is to say one is more valid than another on such a personal subject?” Bergen cited counterexamples such as Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars, who both write their own songs and have achieved fame based on the quality of their music. Nonetheless, it is hard to deny that popular music has evolved away from what should be making it popular: the music. There are incredible, talented musicians who go unnoticed because they have poorly played the social media game -- they don’t have thousands of Twitter followers or pose half-naked for magazines. All we can do is hope that our generation’s Beatles can find an audience without having to become controversial celebrities.

Electronic dance music in pop culture By John Russell Staff Writer

The Internet has thus far beaten convention and tradition out of every last art form, oftentimes at dizzying speeds. Genre is a signifier that will soon mean little to nothing. Music has become more grassroots than ever before. People are now making quality music in their bedrooms, with the cost of entry hurtling downwards with every passing day. This new breed of producer, of artist, is ushering in new genres and sounds. The area that has seen the most change is hip-hop. Since the ‘80s, by its very nature, hip-hop has been about reinvention, but with the advent of big data, reinvention has taken place on an unprecedented scale in the past five years. The turn of the decade saw the culmination of this building grassroots movement, a convergence of electronic music and rap music. The gamut of the resulting sounds are almost entirely free of geographic distinction. Whereas both coasts of the United States in the ‘80s

and ‘90s had distinct, sepaSince the late ‘90s and rate sounds, electronic muearly ‘00s, the walls have sic and rap now are made in been coming down around all methodologies in beda historically homogenous rooms everywhere, even insubculture. That process ternationally. was only jacked up into This sonic cross-pollihigh gear once the infranation, for a lack of a betstructure of blogs and onter term, has resulted in line services wove the entire subgenres and subcultures music industry together branching off from both hip came about. Suddenly, the hop and electronic dance aesthetic horizons of rapmusic (EDM). Trap music, pers and producers were the current poster child for blown wide open. Sources the post-internet genre, was for sampling, production the cross between Atlantatechniques, and other corstyled drums and electronic nerstones of the subculture Photo by Isabella Sziraczky production techniques. The were opened up to include resulting sound began as an experimental almost everything. The internet had turned avenue for producers, and metastasized into the avant-garde on its head, and a premium the largest and most potent post-internet genre was placed on experimentation. that was entirely its own thing. Senior Pasha Minkovsky said of this trend, The most interesting byproduct of this pro“Rap now is nothing like rap five years ago. cess, however, has been the effect on hip-hop as Someone like Lil B wouldn’t exist without a whole, not just sonically, but culturally.

the current rap climate, and he’s iconic now.

Someone like Childish Gambino wouldn’t exist without the internet. Everything about rap changed once music moved primarily online. Not just how we access music but everything, the culture, the sound of it. Everything is a little bit of everything genre-wise nowadays.” Everything is a little bit of everything nowadays. This trend can be extrapolated to other genres: R&B has undergone a radical shift in terms of sound and image, EDM has moved out from clubs and into headphones, and even genres that didn’t previously exist now thrive online. Post- Internet, genre has become somewhat of a restrictive idea, unable to describe the scope of sonic influences across all forms of music. As in the last five years, the next five years will see even more change in our idea of musical genres, and what music can really be. We are living in the most exciting time for music as an art form right now. If you are still wary of independent, internet-based music that isn’t plastered on every advertising space of radio station by major labels, you are missing out.

Boy bands: love them or hate them By Sonia Paulo Staff Writer From the Beatles to One Direction, boys bands have always been the obsession among teenage girls. Each decade has its own set the makes the girls swoon and the boys envy. An important element of the boy band is obviously the music. Nsync’s “No Strings Attached” album sold 2.5 million copies in the United States after the first week of being released in 2000. These all time high sales are still increasing; current boy band One Direction sold close to 5 million copies of their first album, “Up All Night,” in the first month alone. In order for a band to be successful, the music has to be good. This catchy music, making the listener want to “twist and shout” makes boy bands seem to be ever present in pop culture. “The music is relatable just like they are.“ said junior Elizabeth Murphy, “its really fun to listen to.” Its not unfamiliar knowledge that teenage girls fall smitten for young, attractive males. With Paul McCartney of the Beatles, Justin Timberlake of Nsync, and Harry Styles of One Direction, good looks could be what gets teenage girls to go crazy in the first place. “People become fans because they think the band members are attractive,”

said junior Jenna Mourad. Back in the 1960s, Paul McCartney was loved because of his looks, and was often referred to as “the cute one.” Harry Styles from One Direction has actually won awards like “Choice Smile” and “Choice Hottie” at the 2013 Teen Choice Awards, simply for being attractive. However, it’s unfair to place a band’s popularity on one attractive member alone. Girls often love each of the boys for a specific reason, with each member adding a sense of character that wouldn’t make the band complete without it. “Having more members in the band makes it more interesting than just any other celebrity,” said Murphy, “Being in a group lets their individual personalities stand out more, which allows each fan find one she relates with.” In the Beatles, every member had a sort of role that they filled in the band. Paul McCartney was the cute one, Ringo Starr the funny one and so one. These trends are also found in the boy bands of today. “With every boy being different, we can see that they are just average boys and that makes us love them even more,” said sophomore Rayna Urbino. More so now than before, teenage girls are connected because of the fanbase. “They always remind you of where the

boys started,” said Mourad. Fans of the bands are able to connect and befriend each other over social networking, sharing the common bond of the boy band. “It’s cool having people to relate to.” said Urbino, “It’s not much fun if you liked them by yourself.” “As a fan base we can all feel the same emotion to things and are more unified than if we didn’t have each other,” said Murphy. Boy bands are often made fun of and looked down upon. “The music is really annoying!” said senior Joseph Hamdun, “And they can’t really sing.” “Boy bands, especially modern ones, can’t sing,” said junior Reid Withertington, “i’m jealous of the fame, but not of their overall look.” “Boy bands just aren’t original anymore,” said junior Maddy McGee, “They’re more superficial than about the music. They are so stereotypical.” Regardless of why people dislike boy bands, the phenomenon always seem to come back throughout the decades. “They’re young exciting and relatable,” said Murphy. With the Beatles of the ‘60s, Back Street Boys of the ‘90s and One Direction of today, boy bands are the craze that never seem to go away.


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Page 19 December 2013

Sexualization of women in media

Senior Kenzie Phillips poses as iconic Marilyn Monroe.


Ve ro







should accept that.” Even supermodels are critiqued and evaluated on what could be “improved” with their bodies. Many would say these are the most beautiful women in the industry, yet even they are expected to meet the public’s standards. In terms of sexy women, each generation is expected to top the one that came before it. It is an endless cycle that must be broken.


One does not have to look far to see that women are the focus of sexual objectification. This is most often displayed in magazines, television shows, movies and ads. The film industry is huge, and it is here that female bodies are exploited and used to gain the audience’s attention. Even in publicity for films, women are a prime selling tool. An example of this is the newly-released promotional poster for “Thor: The Dark World,” in which Natalie Portman leans against Chris Hemsworth’s chest. Symbolizing safety, the protective embrace portrays Portman as vulnerable, weak and incapable yet beautiful with windswept hair and an airbrushed complexion. Despite recent films featuring female leads (“Catching Fire,” “Gravity,” and “Carrie”), women are still under-utilized in the film industry. Male protagonists are often the center of films, many of which display men as superheroes fighting to save the day. In some cases, the main character is a woman, but the plot often revolves around the search for a “one true love.” According to Box Office Mojo, only 12 to 15 percent of top-grossing Hollywood films are women-centric. The statistic reflects the bias of our modernday media. This representation of women is prevalent not only in the film industry, but also in literature. A study by author Janice McCabe shows that the majority of characters in children’s books are males. Whether or not young minds should develop with these stories centered around boys and men is a controversial topic. Sophomore Sierra Segal said, “This male domination allows boys to think that it’s okay to view girls as inferior. They perceive males as superheroes and women as damsels in dis-

tress.” This sexualization is everywhere, especially in ads. Sex sells. Companies portray women as objects rather than subjects. An example of this is repeatedly shown in Playboy and other “men’s magazines.” Though Playboy claims to “celebrate women’s beauty,” it only portrays a minute portion of the female population. Diversity is not present. Segal said, “Human beings come in many shapes, sizes and colors, and that should be represented in the media. Everybody looks different, a n d people


By Ivy Nguyen and Naomi Asrir Staff Writers

Many people have become accustomed to the artificial portrayal of women in the media and expect them to mirror the false image. Junior Cody Campbell said, “Women aren’t really seen as people. They’re kind of just there. I don’t pay attention, really. I just go with it. It could change for better or worse, but it doesn’t affect me.” Sophomore Adam Stafford said, “Women are portrayed as too weak. They should be portrayed as equal to men, but our media is better than it was fifty years ago, so it’s good enough now.” Though it might affect some more than others, objectification hurts women every day. It perpetuates the belief that women must meet certain physical standards in order to be seen as attractive. Especially in developing girls, this can lead to eating disorders, body shame and low self-esteem. Sophomore Shant Narkizian said, “Many girls in their preteen and teenage years want to fit into this ‘perfect image’ that Hollywood makes up. It isn’t healthy.” However, there are parts of the media that do empower and represent women well. Television shows such as “Scandal” and “Orange is the New Black” both have casts that display diversity not only in gender, but also in race and sexuality. “Shows that represent females and people of color are a good step towards equal representation. Orange is the New Black is hilarious, serious, and diverse all at the same time,” said sophomore Vianka Adamovitch. A Women’s Media Center report noted that there is “a mountain of statistical and anecdotal evidence that women’s voices, with their breadth of expertise, diversity, experiences and humanity, are not being fully represented.” In the future, representing women will be one step closer to true equality in the media.

To tweet or not to tweet: why you should use Twitter By Graham Godwin Staff Writer

Shakespeare’s final tweet went like this: “Good friend for Jesus sake forbear, To dig the dust enclosed here! Blest be the man that spares these stones, And curst be he that moves my bones.” Actually, The Bard would need to shorten that a bit. It’s 147 characters, seven past the limit on Twitter, but Will being Will, I’m sure he could have cut or shortened it by a word or two. You can still find Shakespeare’s final tweet, it’s on his tombstone at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford, England. No one retweeted Shakespeare, no one followed Shakespeare and he certainly didn’t bother to follow anyone either. However, if Shakespeare were alive today I’m certain he’d choose as I do, to tweet. Detractors will tell you Twitter can be a blur of speed, news, and empty thoughts. You can quickly get washed up in the hype and tidal wave of energy. Let’s agree, much of it is trivial, banal, rude, crude and crass. It has become what the “flame email” once was, a way to tell off anyone and everyone for the wrongs you perceive. I’ll show you “@MrHollywoodActionFilmActor Your film Sucked!” “@MsAirlineFlightAttendant – I’ll neverFood fly your airContemporary American line again.” It’s a digital hand grenade for the frustrated, jealous and Stunning Bar Contemporary American Food

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and often the pathetic. If you look for the negatives in Twitter, you will find them, but it’s about being able to see past the trolls, flamers, and annoying celebrities. Like almost anything new in the digital age, it's critical that we immerse ourselves with a lense, to weedle out those who are obviously only on the internet to cause a strife. Tweeting matters to me, and it should matter to you. Intentionally or not, Twitter has become a tool so powerful that it can cripple dictatorships and empower the masses to fight for their rights. Twitter is the new reality of our modern world, it has enlivened journalism as we know it and introduced a medium so quick at delivering information that at times it’s hard to keep up. Before Twitter, major news conglomerates controlled the stories we saw and read about. We had Fox on one side, and MSNBC on the other, meaning very few stories covered, and certainly limited viewpoints. Now, all news outlets are forced to tweet to stay relevant. We no longer wait for a columnist to finish a story at the end of an event, we are with them at the scene, getting reports and updates as things change. And if the reporter isn’t keeping us abreast, every smartphone carrying tweeter is updating the world. A baseball game, a traffic jam, a city hall debate, a film

premier, a concert, a royal baby birth, nearly every event big or small, global or local, has tweets. Twitter gives everyone in the world a voice, and allows for an even playing field of opinions. Twitter is alive with instant analysis, sharing and commentary on the events of the day. Twitter allows the entire world to be more connected, to be able to read and share a diversity of opinions and insights from around the globe like never before. With a global and open platform will come the informative and the crazy, I can see beyond that quickly and choose not to read or follow to find what really matters to me. Twitter is forcing greater transparency and honesty from every aspect of my life. I love to hear from my favorite English soccer star giving his real opinions on the late penalty call in todays game. We are connecting and getting insights like never before. Through Twitter we are sharing and discovering must read articles I have likely never seen, music I may have never heard, video or news and adventures I’d have never seen before. Tweets can open my eyes, inspire me and make me aware of people places and ideas I might never have known otherwise. So I tweet, as the Bard would have tweeted, to share with friends and with those unknown. Often it is much ado about nothing, but the world has truly become a stage for us all. (I think I’ll tweet that).

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AP credit versus College class From page 1

AP vs. Dual Enrollment: what’s the difference?

Earning college credit in high school is nothing new. Today, the two approaches, AP and dual credit, offer competing schools of thought on helping high school students earn college credits. The College Board-created program prepares students to pass an exam to prove their mastery of college-level curriculum. Colleges often grant placement and college course credit to students who obtain high scores on the examinations. Dual credit in effect enrolls students in college courses at a community college while they are still in high school, allowing them to earn credit for both. Thousands of students across the nation take the AP exams every May. But a few very selective colleges have resisted giving much credit for AP, as they claim that AP courses aren’t as good as the introductory courses on their campuses. Dartmouth University announced it will drop credit for AP next year. Other top institutions do not award credit towards AP classes unless one receives a four or five on all AP tests. Earning high scores can come with a sacrifice. Senior Katherine Stratton said that she found herself only getting several hours of sleep as a junior because of all the homework she had to complete for her three AP classes. She also discovered that although she passed her exams and earned good grades in the class, some of her scores weren’t high enough to count towards college credit. “I doubt in college they make you actually do so many outlines and assign so much homework. I think there’s more freedom,” said Stratton. However, some universities take commu-

For instance, Rice University will not give credit for any class that the student also used to fulfill a high school graduation credit.

nity college classes for credit, which meet no more than three hours, twice a week. A 2005 Which one is better? Western Interstate Commission of Higher With the two options, students and parents Education (WICHE) survey revealed that 90 wondering which approach produces the best percent of public institutions and 78 percent payoff are caught in the middle. As education of private institutions accept dual enrollment experts debate the quality of college credit credit. courses, the issue for parents and students is Senior Julio Medina, who has taken Sym- also controlling college costs. phonic Band and Chemistry 201 at Canada College counselors say both approaches College, said that he currently has 31 trans- can work. When done the right way, they say, ferrable credits. He added that community many students are able to lop off an entire college classes are much easier compared to year or more of college before they even get AP classes and are a good option students there. who are interested in a subject that is not of“It really depends on the individual stufered, or do not have dent’s circumstances. Both time to take it at dual credit and AP are “The main thing is school. good options,” said Col“The pace is really challenging yourself... lege and Guidance Counslow because there selor Connie Dominguez. take the most rigoris a wide variety of Community college students taking the ous classes available, classes may be easier and class, but not every- whether it’s at Carlrequire less work, but body is an AP-level admission departments student. Homework mont, or at a commu- continue to strongly adis all online and due nity college.” vise applicants to take AP every Sunday,” said classes. Because all AP ~Connie Dominguez~ Medina. courses are accountable to On the other the same expectations, colhand, Rebecca Medina said that AP classes lege admission counselors can be confident in are harder and cover more material compared the quality of instruction. With dual enrollto community college classes. “At Carlmont, ment courses, admissions professionals are classes meet every day, so students learn more left to make educated guesses about the rigor by being exposed to the information more of- and quality of specific programs with limited ten. If you compare it to the AP classes, the knowledge of the course material and no stanAP students get more homework, having a dardized exam. shorter time period to complete it. AP tests Admissions Counselor Majorie Betley at are also harder,” said Rebecca Medina. University of Chicago stated that it depends Nonetheless, there are pitfalls to both. on what classes are offered at the student’s While dual credit offers students a transcript, school. it may be a transcript some colleges do not “If a student is considering dual enrollaccept. Having credit accepted doesn’t mean ment, they need to keep in mind that not all it will help a student graduate earlier either.

December 2013

colleges have the same amount of rigor attached to those classes,” said Betley. A dean of admissions at University of Virginia noted that colleges are more concerned about a student’s consistent stellar performance in a rigorous high school curriculum. “A strong transcript is one the showcases a rigorous curriculum across the disciplines and above average performance in said classes. Grades and strong classes are more important than test scores,” said the dean, who declined to have his name included. In addition, some colleges receiving applications from across the country can’t afford to individually investigate every dual enrollment course they come across. Dual enrollment students are awarded fewer grade points, which means they can have a lower grade point average than someone who takes AP classes and may be at a disadvantage in the college admissions process. Dominguez said that a student has no advantage if they have dual enrollment courses when applying to the top-tier colleges. She does not recommend dual enrollment courses unless Carlmont does not offer the specific AP class, or one has scheduling conflicts. “To them, AP classes look more advanced because of the academic environment. But for the UCs and CSUs, college credit is more certain.” said Dominguez. With both having their pros and cons, admission officers noted that the best way to decide what classes to take is by asking one’s school counselor which is the most challenging academic experience. Students who know what college they want to attend should check the university website for a list of automatically transferred classes. “The main thing is challenging yourself,” said Dominguez. “I would emphasize taking the most rigorous classes available, whether it’s at Carlmont, or at a community college.”

The Highlander

Programs get cut From page 1

funds and staffs Carlmont for every single student to only take six classes. Inspite of that, about 20.5 percent of the school takes a seventh period class, therefore proving that the sections school offer are extremely popular among all students. An example of a very popular elective among students is an additional science class. “Over 120 Carlmont students are taking two science classes,” said Gleaton. “That’s four sections that I was not funded for, and with each section costing $22,000, that’s a lot of money.” While taking an extra science class can be beneficial for one’s college apps, the school has trouble funding all additional classes. According to Gleaton, there are only a few exceptions for funding extra classes and those exceptions are classes like AVID and support classes for freshmen and sophomores. Carmont offers eight AVID classes, two for each grade. This year, because of funding issues, the district only funded Carlmont for six of those eight avid classes, leaving the other two unfunded. Carlmont is currently facing funding issues leading to larger class sizes. For example, the sophomore history class

Extras classes range from about 38 to 39 students. The reason they are so large is because Carlmont don’t have enough money to have more of those specific classes in that subject. These issues come down to the fact that if Carlmont does not get the funding needed in order to offer extra classes, there is a possibility some could get cut. In order to avoid this problem and make all of these opportunities available for students in the future, new guidelines might have to be set. “There is no guideline on how many science classes you could take, but there is certainly a guideline for how many I’m funded for, and that’s one,” said Gleaton. “Maybe if you really want to take two science classes if you plan on majoring in science and want to have a really strong background as you’re applying to college, then maybe you can only do it junior or senior year. If we did that, we would have to do the same for people interested in humanities or fine arts, that way you could please everybody.” “I want all of our students to be able to take all the classes they want to take,” said Gleaton. “I want students to want to take Leadership and AP Psychology and Choir because that’s what would make them happy. I want anyone who wants that crazy schedule to have it. I am just trying to find a way to pay for those classes.”

Test skippers should beware From page 1

cause if you get your parent to excuse you there’s nothing I can really do because then I’m accusing your parent of lying.” One of Ramroth’s students, Bita Shahrvini, was also annoyed with the no-shows of Ramroth’s last test. “We had to study and we actually showed up. We took it seriously and they just ditched and they’ll try to get all the answers from us. It’s obnoxious.”

Ramroth’s lack of an extreme policy has been taken for granted by test skippers. Ramroth has realized that this is unfair to students who do show up the day of the test, as Shahrvini made clear. Ramroth said, “It’s just really rude to your classmates because they study and prepare and have less time to get the work done and you just get your parents to lie for you. That’s just not a good community member thing to do.” Instructional Vice-Principal Ralph Crame

Page 21 December 2013

Class bathroom restrictions From page 2

Some teachers may claim that, for the interest of the class, they must forbid children from freely going to the bathroom because if they allowed them to, it would be a distraction. But seriously, what's more distracting, letting someone walk across the room to leave for a few minutes and miss a small portion of a lecture or having somebody sitting in the middle of the room gyrating in the effort to hold the contents of their bladder in? The latter is detrimental to both the student needing to go as well as the surrounding students. Instead of missing a small portion of class, the student has checked out for the remainder of the period and all the nearby students can focus on is the writhing student. Contrary to popular belief, students don't stare down students who leave the room to go to the bathroom. Nor do they pass notes about said student for the remainder of class as if it were the scandal of the year. Students can afford to miss a little bit of class. It's not like they are performing a brain surgery. Nobody will die if they leave. Maybe a little bit of the teacher's ego, but that's all. Teachers who don't let their students go to

the bathroom are sadistic. Why do they keep their students from going to the bathroom? Because they can. Why can they do this? Because they can. That didn't really answer the question: why can they? Because they can. Wow, what a conclusive argument. Of course, there is one more motivation for teachers to not allow students to go to the bathroom -- because they are jealous. "Why should Billy be able to go to the bathroom when I can't?" Very mature. If you are so discontented with not being able to go to the bathroom, I have two suggestions for you. 1. Consider a new job where you can go to the bathroom whenever you want. 2. Realize that you are experiencing how thousands of kids feel each day. Be merciful and let them go to the bathroom. Now do I believe that we should combat teachers by staging a bathroom revolution? Of course not.But am I suggesting that you question the system? Of course. After all, what kind of a world would we live in if we didn't question authority? Who knows, maybe we would be chained to our seats in straight jackets, given a limited supply of air, told how often we can blink or, worst of all, told how to think.

revealed Carlmont’s test policy when he said port them. We would work together to make “Unexcused absences would sure it doesn’t continue.” result in a student not being As Skrable, Pearlman, able to make up work. A teachand Ramroth have shown, er doesn’t have to do a makeup teachers must choose a test if it is an unexcused abpolicy that works for them sence.” to limit the number of test Test skippers haven’t been a skippers. However, just major issue for administration, because a teacher implebut if the problem continues ments a strict policy does in the future Crame said, “We Some teachers have explicit rules not mean that absentees would work with teachers to about test skipping protocol on test day will cease. find a policy that would supHiglander file photo

Page 22 The Highlander


December 2013

Can cheering for your team disrupt the game? By Kellan McDonough Sports Editor

Cheering is a popular part of sporting events, but there’s a fine line between cheering for your team and disrupting the game for the opposing players. Senior Charlotte Jackman said, “I think it’s important to cheer for your team. When I’m playing volleyball, I know I gain energy from my teammates, friends and family yelling and cheering me on.” The encouragement and energy that athletes get from a crowd have a psychological effect. Athletes are sometimes able to push their skills to new levels when they are performing for a large stand of fans. It is for this reason that cheering can make or break a game. With fans screaming in the stands, the players can feed off of that energy and find the strength to get the win. Negative energy and rude remarks are forms of bad sportsmanship that can seriously impact the level of play. Players can get nervous from derisive comments and mess up. “Bad sportsmanship works on the mental level, so it's not always easy to see its effects, but it can definitely disrupt even the best athletes and is unacceptable in a friendly and competitive sporting environment,” said senior Cross Country runner Franklin Rice. Some schools have a reputation for rowdy fans. Jackman said, “Menlo-Atherton had a group of students stand on the side during our volleyball game and when Carlmont messed up, they would cheer ‘the ball goes over the net.’” Even parents can disrupt the game for the players. Senior Melissa Wood said, “For soccer, whenever there is a foul and parents start yelling mean things at the players, it can get really intimidating and distracting. I think people should

only cheer in a positive way for their own team rather than a negative way toward the other team.” For techniquefocused sports, such as golf or tennis, the energy from a crowd, whether positive or negative, can throw off a player’s focus and timing. Junior Neeshae Wain said, “In tennis, people will try and cheer you on during a point and sometimes it can be really important. One time this season, we were playing a really important Evan McClain rallies the Screamin’ Scots. match and people's parents kept cheering. They were being pretty obnoxious and it was a match point, which was deciding who would win the entire game. Parents kept screaming in the middle of the point and we broke our focus. Fortunately, we still won the point.” The pressure to perform can give an athlete great anxiety. Add

in the comments of a screaming audience and it could mean unfavorable results. “Cheering really shouldn't disrupt the play of the game for the other team, except to give confidence to your team and take it away from the other,” continued Rice. When a game gets intense, the involvement of the fans can sway the outcome of a game. Is it possible that cheering can give a team an advantage? Photo by Sarah Klieves If abused, cheering can distract the opposing team, but it is also a great way to boost a player’s morale. Sometimes a player can perform at their very best with the knowledge that the crowd believes in them.

Local weather affects the holiday activities of students around the world

By Taran Sun Staff Writer

The holiday season is upon us, a chilly wind blows as the weather begins to make its seasonal transformation. The elation of Carlmont students is tangible in the air as many pull out winter gear, looking past finals to the days of freedom ahead. Holiday activities involving snow have been an enormous part of American culture over the years, from school snow days to whipping down the slopes of icy mountains on a trusted pair of skis. However, the city of Belmont has not received any significant snowfall since 1976, and doesn’t look to be receiving any this year. Carlmont students don’t let this seasonal opportunity slip away so easily, however. The lack of snow in Belmont leads them to seek snowy holiday spirit elsewhere. Freshman Liam Jocson said, “Snow is awesome! It doesn’t come often, you can only experience it once a year, so when it does come I love to go to places like Lake Tahoe to experience the snow and snowboard.” Areas in the Sierra Nevada mountain range are immensely popular during the holiday season, providing the joy of a place that people who don’t live in snowy regions can visit. According to many Carlmont students, there is no better place than Tahoe to wage war on each other with flurries of snowballs, or kick back and make sparkling snow angels.

Junior Andrew Wach said, “I like snow a lot because we don’t get any snow, that’s what makes it so awesome to see. When I do go to the snow, I love going to Tahoe.” Winter sports are also a highlight for students during the holidays. The whistle of the wind and cold bite of snowflakes as you shred down the slope of a perfectly groomed mountain creates a buzz unlike any other. The fever for holiday snow is shared by students from other countries as well. Julien Prévot, a sophomore who moved from France one year ago, said, “I skied a lot during the winter when I was in France; we have mountain ranges like the Pyrenees that we could go to.” Just like in Belmont, Prévot had to travel a little ways to reach the snow. “It doesn't snow a lot in the lower areas, but there is a lot of snow in the mountains.” While this frosty holiday theme remains constant throughout America and many other countries in the northern hemisphere, there are many places around the world that do not receive snow at all. The holiday pastimes in these countries are different from the skiing, snowboarding, and the other snowy traditions of America. Costa Rica is located in Central America, an area that doesn’t receive any snow. While citizens of Belmont need only to drive a couple of hours to catch a glimpse of snow, Costa Ricans never feel the pleasure of creating a cheery snowman in their

country due to the warmer climate. Australia is in a similar situation to Costa Rica, people there experience summer while residents in California enjoy winter. When summer takes place in December, a White Christmas exists only in daydreams. While many at Carlmont love the change in weather the holiday season brings, many prefer to stay in the Belmont area. Some students take a different outlook on the nearby snow that the holiday weather brings. Sophomore Glenn Smyth said, “I don’t really care too much about the snow, I feel like if I lived in an area where it snowed I would care more about it.” The change in weather that the holidays bring has a great influence on the holiday activities and traditions of people in the Belmont area, as well as around the world. Some embrace the opportunity that the change in weather brings, looking to carry on generations of much loved traditions, while some don’t pay attention to nearby weather changes at all, carrying on with their everyday lives. Winter adds a thrill of change to the lives of students in Belmont, creating the prospect of exciting snow related traditions within a couple hours’ drive. Whether the students of Carlmont decide to reach out to seize this seasonal opportunity is up to them.

Senior Brandon Moyle said, “We lost a good amount of talent last year but there is no doubt that we won’t be as successful this year.” The soccer program has historically been good at Carlmont, but recent years have only furthered the trend. Senior Theo Fedronic said, “We are starting the year the same way we have always, working on conditioning by usually running two miles or doing sprints to start every practice.” Even with the loss of both the strongest scorers, many team members are confident in the ability of this years team to score. Moyle said, “We will adapt, improvise or overcome any ob-

stacles.” The Scots will also be lead by top defender Ryan Freeman, who returns to varsity for his third year. Freeman played a major role in helping the team only allow 12 goals all last season before CCS. Fedronic said, “We are just sticking to what has worked in the past.” Many of the seniors also have experience, as some were called up to play varsity as sophomores. Similar to last year, many of the Scots look to take care of business in PAL first to gain a berth in CCS. As the fall sports conclude, many eyes turn to the soccer program as they look to repeat PAL championships.

Carlmont soccer looks to repeat championship By Conrad May Staff Writer

After a PAL championship last year, there are high hopes for the continuation of success for the Carlmont boys soccer. The Scots won the PAL championships outright, marking their first championship since 2001. As a second place seed, the Scots got a first round bye followed by a win over Salinas. The Scots then lost in a heartbreaker to Bellarmine, which capped the success of a senior based roster. With much talent lost, there are many positions that need to be filled in order to form a championship team.


The Highlander

Page 23 December 2013

Specialization: How it’s destroying sports By Reg Chatman Jr. Staff Writer

Specialization has uprooted the sports system in America and its effects are still growing. In October, SFGate released a series of articles all relating to an issue that has risen to precedence these last couple years. Specialization; the act of playing one sport exclusively year round to better oneself as a player. “[People specialize] so they can be the best at one [sport], and not just okay at more than one,” said senior soccer player Devon Maruyama Reed. “[For example] if I played all three sports I used to play right now, I wouldn’t be as good or competitive in soccer because I would focus on other things. Your focus needs to be on one to stay good.” AAU and CYSA are two club sports organizations that allow players to hone their skills year round to get them ready for the competitive and limited spots on high school teams. To have a more competitive alternative to playing recreationally, and to get players the visibility needed to impress college coaches. These organizations have drastically increased the amount of specialization as players can work on the same sport all year long. “The competition is so much higher than it used to be for college because that is every (athlete’s) goal: to play college sports. It’s so much harder now than it used to be. To even get into college is hard so that’s why kids are focusing on a sport to carry them into college,” said junior baseball player Aaron

Pleschner. For many, childhood was a time when one could participate in multiple sports and be able to excel and have fun while expanding the horizons of whom one interacted with. Years later, most athletes participate in a single sport, some playing year round, pressured to specialize in a sport out of fear to have their spot taken on a team roster. “With a club team, you get better every season you play because you have to go almost everyday and play in more games rather than just playing for the high school season,” said Maruyama Reed. “[If you don’t play] then everyone gets better while you’re not improving. You stay the same level.” “I have to put so much more time in one sport because it is so demanding. Because so many people play sports, if you ever want to play sports on a higher level you have to be better and play more often. You need to put more time into it,” said junior soccer player Veronica Pontis. Through club sports and the need to improve as a player year round, sports are beginning to become more elitist. To be the best, one needs to be apart of the best teams, have the best equipment, and have the best coaches around. How does one get these resources? Money, money and more money, which is something many people in this day and age don’t have the pleasure of having. To draw a parallel, the SAT is something one can study for but without the help of the materials, how can one fully equip oneself with the knowledge that one needs to succeed?

Just like sports, it’s unfair to compare people equally when the tools and resources aren’t equal, but what can we do? Sadly, the world is moving into a direction that we won’t be able to recover from. Alarming rates of overuse injuries in kids that play a single sport year round are appearing nationwide according to a study by the Loyola University Health System in Chicago, Ill. The studies show that the injuries are caused by overexertion of the body with little rest. This means children are working their bodies at an adult rate, which is not good for their rapidly developing bodies. Specialization has also depleted the participation of sports that don’t have club seasons. This is especially prominent for sports like football. Although players can play Pop Warner football as a younger child, the league doesn’t continue year round. Many kids by high school have specialized to another sport, disallowing them to participate. Some argue that playing a single sport year round allows students to focus on school. “Sports are a good way to stay out of trouble because you have to get good grades to make the team,” said Maruyama Reed. “Freshman and sophomore year, it was difficult [to handle] my time management, but as a senior, it’s become easier to balance soccer and school. I think it helps because if you have a whole bunch of free time,then you might not always do all of your work. Sports disciplines you to do certain things.”

Athlete salaries are justified if they are compared to other entertainers By Sarah Boro Staff Writer

How much money is too much? Year after year, networks pay more to broadcast professional sports on television and radio. At the same time, sports fans willingly pay more to attend these events, not to mention purchase their sports apparel, over-priced food, drinks, and merchandise. The result is salaries that are disproportionate to 99 percent of all wage earners. Although salary ranges are different for each of the four major sports (baseball, basketball, football, and hockey), talented athletes all earn outsized incomes. To begin the conversation, let’s talk about Major League Baseball’s (MLB) top salary earner, Alex Rodriguez from the New York Yankees. Rodriguez’ take home pay was approximately $29 million this past season. According to Buster Olney, a Senior Baseball Analyst for ESPN, “It's not as if Alex Rodriguez ordered the Yankees to give him a 10-year, $275 million deal. They assessed what they thought his value would be to their television network, to their attendance, to their brand, to their marketability to sponsors, and they made him that offer.” The fact is that professional athletes get paid outrageous amounts of money to simply entertain us. However, it is also true that athletes get paid much more than most standard occupations. Sarah Clarke, an English teacher at Carl-

mont High School said, “I think life’s not fair and that’s just the way it is. Also, the average lifetime career is much shorter than a teacher.” Each sport works within their salary cap boundaries, or a limit on the amount of money that a sporting club can spend on player salaries. Salary caps can be either soft or hard. A hard cap represents a maximum amount that may not be exceeded for any reason. However, a soft cap represents an amount, that may be exceeded in limited circumstances. Exceeding the soft cap will trigger a penalty. Fines and luxury taxes are common penalties for exceeding a salary cap. The National Hockey League (NHL), the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the National Football League (NFL) each impose a salary cap floor, or a minimum amount that must be spent on the team as a whole. Olney said, “In a perfect world, I'd like each of the four major sports to have a floor and a ceiling on salaries. But because of the history of the labor relations and owner-to-owner relationships in each sport, looking for a balanced salary system for all sports and for all teams within each sport is like asking for peace around the globe: It's just not going to happen.” High team salaries don’t always reconcile with a team’s earning potential. The Houston Astros went 51 and 111 in 2013 and spent only $21.13 million on salaries. However, the Astros ownership grossed an estimated $99

million in operating income this season, which is more than any team in baseball history. In contrast, the Los Angeles Dodgers went 92 and 70 last season, spent $220.395 million in salaries, and earned only $3.2 million in operating income. Yet, the players still want more. In basketball, teams are also allowed flexibility to exceed their salary cap to resign their own stars. LeBron James had two signing options in 2010 due to free agency. The Cleveland Cavaliers in an effort to resign James, were allowed to offer six years for $128 million while the Heat could only offer James a five year deal for $99 million. In 2010, the NBA salary cap was $57.7 million, the total amount each team could spend to pay on its entire roster. Ultimately, James saw a better opportunity to win a championship with the Heat and left the money on the table. Every year, a team strives to win the championship, and in doing so they make several “mega-deals.” Securing the best roster is key to a team’s success. However, these “mega-deals” most often don’t work for anybody but the player. The Oakland Raiders signed JaMarcus Russell in 2007 for six years and $68 million. Russell was first pick in the 2007 draft and therefore, the Raiders signed Russell for an extraordinary amount of money, simply because he was expected to be a great addition to the team.

However, Russell delivered horribly for the short time that he played. Controversy like this led to changing the salary structure so that each team has the same total amount of money to spend, but now a smaller portion of that amount goes to new players, and a larger part goes to veteran players. Through it all, the exorbitant revenues and salaries do not eliminate the occasional player strike or owner lockout because each side wants a bigger piece of the pie. Olney said, “[Professional sports salaries depend on] supply and demand. Whether we like it or not, whether it seems skewed or not, the fact is that our society is shaped in a way that there is more interest in what David Ortiz does -- hit a baseball -- than what a great teacher does. If the demand is there, the salaries go up.” A very successful doctor’s income averages just over $500,000 per year. The highest paid astronauts make roughly $107,000 per year. On a national basis, a lawyer with 11 or more years of experience makes up to $170,000 per year. An above-average car salesman makes up to $70,000 per year. A median household income in the United States is approximately $54,000 per year. No matter how you look at it, a player earning $19 million to swing a bat is making more per game than the average American household makes in two years.

San Francisco lights up for the holidays Alyssa Espiritu Staff Writer San Francisco’s bright lights, colorful decor, extravagant trees, and music performances attract thousands of people during the festive and eventful holiday ceremonies that take place throughout the city. During this time of the year, students rush to the city with their friends and families and they look forward to taking in San Francisco’s Christmas spirit. The city prepares for the holidays with annual musical performances such as “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, and “A Season with the San Francisco Symphony” which performs at the Golden Gate Theatre, as well as at the Davies Symphony Hall. For a more formal ambiance and classical music, the San Francisco Symphony performs a wide range of Christmas songs. The Davies Symphony Hall presents “A Season with the San Francisco Symphony” to celebrate for the festive sounds of Christmas and the Holidays. The symphony celebrated their 100th anniversary in 2011, which attracted an audience of 20,000 people. Carlmont student and pianist, junior Andrew Yazhgur said, “The music of the symphony is so powerful. I can’t help but rise up from my seat to try to hear all the different sounds come together.” This year, the San Francisco Symphony continues their popular music and diverse sounds of the holiday season. Some programs include, “Deck the Halls,” “Colors of Christmas,” “T’was the Night,” and many more performances by the orchestra, symphonic bands, and choir. Aside from the symphony and its live instrumental performances, the San Francisco Ballet puts on their annual holiday show that students and families enjoy seeing. The most popular and oldest musical performance is “The Nutcracker” by the San Francisco Ballet which was first originated in Russia, and its music is composed by Peter Tchaikovsky. The first performance in the United States was held in the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House on Christmas Eve in 1944, and has continued its tradition every year. “I have gone to The Nutcracker every year since I was five years old and there is always a large audience. I like going because it gets me into the Christmas spirit. Although it is a little bit over-priced, I still like to go because the San Francisco Ballet Company is really good,” said sophomore and dancer Annie Klups. In addition to musical performances, San Francisco’s holiday attractions also include

lighting ceremonies all over different parts of the city with festive decorations, enormous Christmas trees, thousands of ornaments, and colorful wreaths. Some of these lighting ceremonies take place in Ghirardelli Square, Market Street, PIER 39, and Union Square.

San Francisco’s most popular lighting ceremony and tourist attraction takes place in Union Square. Hosted by Macy’s, the Great Tree Lighting presents its 24th annual ceremony. With a flick of a simple switch, lights illuminate an 83 foot tree in the center of Union Square with thousands of people to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season. This famous tree holds over 1,000 ornaments and stands right in front of Macy’s with its colorful windows and vibrant lights. “I love how festive San Francisco is during the holidays. I really like how you can hear Christmas music as you pass by Macy’s and the huge Christmas tree,” said junior Jasmin Riedel. Along with the extraordinary lights and decorations that attract the community, the festive music and Christmas carols create a fun environment where people can experience the holiday spirit. Well known areas to shop in San Francisco during the holidays include, Union Square, and Market Street where Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Westfield San Francisco Centre surround the ice rink, and tree. “I like how stores promote the holidays through their windows because it adds an overall holiday feeling all over the city,” said senior Bailee Roces. “Union Square has so many stores and restaurants that I enjoy going to. I also go the city more often during the holidays because of the sales and fun environment.” Another activity that students like to do in the city is ice skating. Every year, Alaska Airlines hosts the Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square, which is set up right next to the enormous Christmas tree. During the opening ceremony, a different host every year takes a hammer and smashes an ice sculpture as a symbol of officially opening the ice rink to the public.

December 2013  
December 2013