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VOL. 53, NO. 8

May 4, 2018


Art students design and paint two new murals on C-120 Students paint murals depicting diversity within MSJ

The design of the first mural to be painted.

By Joelle Chuang & Toshali Goel Staff Writers Two murals, designed in January by Art 3 students Sophomore Shreya Chidambaram and Senior Hannah Scherer, are currently being painted on the back walls of C-120. Chidambaram, Scherer, and other Art 2 and Art 3 students are assisting in painting the murals, which they hope to finish by the end of the school year. Art students and interested staff members voted for their favorite designs out of all the murals designed by Art 2 and Art 3 students. Commenting on the chosen designs, Art Teacher Edie Christensen said, “We also tried to make sure that they were somewhat complementary, in that they both have very strong geometric shapes.” Both Chidambaram and Scherer’s murals focus on the diverse aspects of MSJ. Using bright colors and defined shapes, their murals feature the music and art program, sports, and academic departments. Their inspiration came from observing the school and the daily lives of students; as Chidambaram said, “I just looked around me.” The murals, which are each 27 feet by 4 feet, are larger than any artistic endeavors that Chidambaram and Scherer have ever taken on.

Senior Hannah Scherer paints a mural on the wall of C-120.

Chidambaram said, “I think [size] was the most challenging aspect because usually I’m used to drawing and painting on smaller canvases.” Additionally, Scherer added, “[My mural] had a lot of different colors of green, and having to mix all of those and coordinate where the colors go was probably the hardest part.” Despite these challenges, the two artists are proud to see their designs come to life. Christensen commented on the designs, saying, “I think they are both very strong and positive in their approach, and I think it makes the room much more vivid, bright, and cheery. Christensen aims to have the students finish the painting process by May 9, after which her AP Art students may assist in its completion if it

is not yet done. While Art 2 and Art 3 students are often the ones responsible for painting murals, other MSJ organizations such as National Art Honors Society also occasionally conduct mural painting projects. Various school departments as well as Principal Zack Larsen have donated to the funding for murals, which generally costs around $200 for paint and supplies. Any students interested in painting or designing murals can get involved through NAHS or the boxART! Program. Most mural painting and designing opportunities are confined to art students at MSJ. As Christensen said, however, “There is room in our community to do artwork.” ▪

The design of the second mural to be painted.


Ohlone Newark hosts series Science Olympiad places 9th of STEM workshops at NorCal States Ohlone teaches students hands-on STEM applications By Rishi Chillara & Shreya Sridhar Staff Writers Ohlone College Newark Center for Health Sciences and Technology held its first Ohlone Makes maker workshop on April 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. With an attendance of around 30 high school students from Fremont, Newark, Dublin, Milpitas, and Pleasanton, Ohlone held a series of nine STEM workshops. Each event was taught by Ohlone professors and staff. Ohlone Makes was held to help open the eyes of high schoolers to STEM careers and give them a hands-on opportunities with technology not normally accessible students. Ohlone College Dean and Co-organizer Lesley Buehler began planning the event last November and after contacting individual

departments, recruiting volunteers, and signing vendors, finished preparations in January. Funding for the event came from Ohlone’s computer science department and Strong Workforce program grant, a grant from CA’s legislature to spur career technical education in CA’s community colleges. The first and most popular event, held from 10:15 to 11:45 a.m., was a workshop designed to teach students how to program and build LED light shows. The first half of the workshop was an interactive lecture on the uses of LED lights, including concerts, banquets, and building exteriors. The second half was designed for students to work in



From April 21 to 22, MSJ hosted its sixth annual Relay for Life event to raise awareness and funds for the American Cancer Society. Go online for more coverage!

Science Olympiad has several medalists at annual tournament By Samir Jain and Praveen Nair Staff Writers Students from MSJ Science Olympiad competed in the NorCal Science Olympiad State Finals at CA State University, Stanislaus in Turlock on April 14. The team placed ninth in the competition but did not qualify for the 2018 Science Olympiad National Tournament. Science Olympiad is a team science competition divided into Division A for elementary school, Division B for middle school and a Division C for high school, with more than 20 events that students compete in within each division. Each of the 15 students on a team competes in three to four events, with two or three different students per event. Science Olympiad events fall into three main categories: study, lab, and build. In study events,


Indie-pop band Echosmith started their 23-concert tour in San Francisco, and the Smoke Signal sent two staff writers to cover the event. Read on for more details!

teams take a test, usually at the college level, in areas ranging from astronomy to ecology. Lab events require teams to perform an experiment and often create a write-up in 50 minutes. Competitors in build events create devices such as helicopters, mousetrap vehicles, and hovercrafts, refining their crafts months before the event. At a tournament, each team receives a ranking in each event, which factors into the team score that determines whether a team as a whole advances to the next state or national level. MSJ Science Olympiad, coached by Physics Teacher Peter Geschke, has historically done very well, with its ‘A’ team placing 3rd in




2 News


The Smoke Signal

OHLONE | Makeathon

SCIENCE | Olympiad

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teams and build their own LED light fixtures by making lights change color and pulsate. At the end of the workshop, the teams were given time to make their own creations and showcase them to the entire room. Another event held for students was a hologram workshop. In this event, held twice throughout the day, students built their own holographic dance partner using recycled CD cases and their phones. They constructed a pyramidal apparatus using trapeziums with the help of Ohlone Associate Professor of Engineering Rose-Margaret Itua. Students could also make their own electronic dance mats using recyclable items. “The trigger [for designing this event] was to showcase engineering for the community to see that it’s a very good career option,” said Itua, “It’s fun. Anything to make students inspired to pursue engineering because engineers shape the world.”

Friday, May 4, 2018

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Students also had the opportunity to learn about biology in the Build A Protein workshop which was held twice in the day as well. Attendees worked hands-on with lab materials and learned to analyze an example enzyme and could take home their own protein model. The last workshop of the day allowed students to create their own camera system using a Raspberry Pi Zero, a small computing system, and motion trackers. At the end of the workshop, one student was able to take home their system after winning the raffle. In the future, Buehler hopes to make the workshop an annual tradition to continue to introduce students to STEM fields. “I hope students [who attended this event] can take away that STEM career pathways can be fun,” said Buehler, “It is not all about math and science; it’s about being creative and artistic as well.” ▪


An Ohlone professor shows students how to build LEDs.


Physics Teacher Peter Geschke and MSJ Science Olympiad competitors pose for a picture at the Regional tournament.

this year’s Bay Area Regional Science Olympiad (BARSO) on March 10 that serves as the qualifier for the NorCal Science Olympiad State Finals, and placing first or second at each Regional tournament for the past five years. In 2015, MSJ’s two teams placed both first and second at the Bay Area tournament; however, Science Olympiad bylaws only allow one team per school to advance. MSJ’s best overall showing was a 2007 second-place state level finish, nearly matched by a more recent fourth-place showing at the 2016 state tournament. However, as only one team per state advances to the National Tournament, MSJ’s team did not move forward. At this year’s NorCal tournament, MSJ won medals in six events: four fifth-place medals in Experimental Design, Remote Sensing, Chemistry Lab, and Thermodynamics, a fourthplace finish in Hovercrafts, and a third-place finish in Materials Science. MSJ’s total score, computed by adding rankings in every event

(the lower the better), was 250. The Division C champions, Sacramento’s Mira Loma High School, finished with a score of 81; Mira Loma has won the last four State titles and 11 of the last 12. “Based on our expectations for how we would perform this year, our state tournament was definitely a success. Coming into regionals, there was a lot of uncertainty about whether we would even qualify for States … so getting among the top 10 out of teams from all around Northern CA was definitely great,” said Captain Senior Anna Wadhwa. Going forward, Wadhwa says MSJ Science Olympiad is hoping to improve underclassman involvement through a partnership with the Hopkins Junior High Science Olympiad team, as well as prioritizing performances in pre-season invitationals such as the Golden Gate Science Olympiad tournament hosted by UC Berkeley to better prepare for Regional and State tournaments. ▪

Elements show provides MSJ with eco-friendly lights Sophomore Shreeya Indap co-hosts dance show to raise money for MSJ By Anisa Kundu Staff Writer Sophomore Shreeya Indap collaborated with Dandilyonn to host Elements, a dance show, at Pleasanton’s Firehouse Theater on Sunday, April 1. The show raised money to shift MSJ towards using eco-friendly LED lights across the campus. Different types of dance performances during the show reflected the story of the earth and the importance of respecting it. Indap started her own non-profit organization, Dandilyonn, in 2015 with her friend Notre Dame High School Freshman Ojaswee Chaudhary in order to address the issue of climate change. Indap said, “I read this book in seventh grade — Be a Change Maker: How to Start Something that Matters. After that, it became obvious that I would make my non-profit about climate change, since I’d always been passionate about helping the Earth.” Dandilyonn hosts events annually called art shows in the Bay Area through which they raise money for different causes. In this case, Indap chose to fund eco-friendly lights after speaking to Principal Zack Larsen. They discussed helping the school switch to more eco-

friendly energy sources without the use of expensive solar panels on the school. Dandilyonn teamed up with Small Steps Foundation because their 501(c)(3) status of a non-profit would help legitimize the event and attract a larger audience. Indap and Chaudhary worked behind the scenes to gather performers, book the theater, and sell tickets. One difficulty they faced while organizing the event was the inconvenient date of the show. Indap said, “When we made the reservation for the theater, we didn’t really think to check the date to make sure it wasn’t Easter Sunday. As a result, a lot of our performers had to drop out at the last minute which put us in a stressful situation.” However, with the help of family friends and MSJ students, they ran a successful, sold-out show on Easter Sunday. Indap and Chaudhary even stepped in to lead some of the dance groups to make up for the lack of performers, but each dance still told a unique part of Earth’s history. To demonstrate the value of Earth through art forms, dance groups performed their routines with beautiful pictures of scenery from the Earth in the background representing one of the elements of the Earth such as air or fire and cos-


(Left to right) Sophomore Sanskiriti Bebortha, Berkeley High School student Deepa Biswokarma, and Sophomore Sarika Pradhan dance odissi.

tumes that matched the colors of the element. The story portion was intended to inspire the audience to become more respectful of their environment and work harder towards protecting it. Because of its intricate dance numbers and its meaningful aim of protecting the environment, the Dandilyonn Elements Show was completely sold out and seated the room’s full capacity of 210 people. Instead of just raising the $1000 necessary for helping MSJ switch to eco-friendly lights, Dandilyonn raised about $5,000 and do-

nated $4,000 to MSJ, which bought 19 lights, and $1,000 to Notre Dame High School for LED lights as well. Although Dandilyonn may not specifically work with SSF again, Indap and Chaudhary plan to continue having big annual fundraisers like this to increase awareness and raise money for different causes. Dandilyonn also will continue to host annual art parties to teach children about climate change to encourage support for environmental protection. ▪


for the MAR. 29 , 2018 issue News Pg. 1: lululemon athletica is misspelled. News Pg. 2: Facebook Developer Conference is misspelled. Feature Pg. 9: 42 teams qualified for FTC World Championship. A&E Pg. 12: Mint & Basil is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays. A&E Pg. 14: Staff Writer Anisa Kundu wrote the A Wrinkle in Time movie review. A&E Pg. 14: Meg Murry is misspelled. A&E Pg. 14: Red Sparrow is misspelled. Sports Pg. 17: Freddy Saldaña is misspelled. Photo Pg. 20: Bruce Bai is a sophomore.



Compiled by Praveen Nair, Kikue Higuchi & Shray Vaidya Staff Writers

CNN.COM Police officers respond to YouTube HQ campus after receiving a call of a shooting.

CNN.COM Herron High School Student President Eugena King speaks out to students.

ABCNEWS.COM President Donald Trump and South Korea President Moon Jae-in discuss North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s decision.

YouTube HQ shooting injures four A woman with a handgun injured four people before killing herself in a shooting at YouTube headquarters in San Bruno, CA. The attacker, identified as Nasim Aghdam, was angry at the video-sharing website for demonetizing her videos after recent ad policy changes. Aghdam’s videos had focused on veganism, animal rights, and Persian culture, some of which YouTube deemed inappropriate for younger audiences. Google CEO Sundar Pichai said, “I am especially thankful to the first responders and our own security team who acted so quickly to keep people safe.”

Students continue gun violence protests For the second time in two months, students across the nation walked out in protest against gun violence on Friday, April 20, which also marked the 19th anniversary of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting. The walkouts lasted the whole school day. Students left their classes at 10 a.m., observed 13 seconds of silence for 13 Columbine victims, and most went on to continue their protests. Some marched to local lawmaker’s offices while others held voter registration drives and organized speeches.

North Korea suspends nuclear testing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un announced on April 21 that the nation would suspend testing its intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. The country will also be shutting down its Poongye-ri test site, where six tests have taken place. Both the US and South Korea have approved of the move, and President Donald Trump has tweeted “This is very good news for North Korea and the World – big progress!”

Friday, May 4, 2018

The Smoke Signal



Opinion 3

Immigration has been a thorny issue for almost all of US history. This is especially true for CA, which has long been viewed as a sort of American Eden. In this informational spread, the Smoke Signal presents the history of immigrants in CA as well as current immigration-related issues that CA leadership and residents face today.

By Rishi Chillara, Arpita Gaggar, Katherine Guo, & Shreya Srinivasan Staff Writers

1848 Discovery of gold in CA brings a huge influx of people into the territory, including a large number of imGOLD RUSH

migrants from China, Mexico, and Europe.

1882 The passing of the Chinese Exclusion Act isolates and alienates both Chinese and other Asian com-




There is no official definition of what sanctuary munities. Moreover, it leaves hopeful immigrants stranded until its repeal in 1943. cities are, but they refer to jurisdictions with laws, regulations, and policies that limit Angel Island starts operation, continuing to be used until 1940. During that time, it oversees cooperation with federal immithe interrogation of more than one million immigrants. Both Angel Island and Ellis Island act gration enforcement and protect as immigration screening stations, but Angel Island practices more long-term detention. immigrants from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency so innocent undocumented immigrants can avoid deportation. CA has a total of 20 The CA Alien Land Law passes. The law prohibits immigrants who are unable to attain sanctuary cities and counties, including Alcitizenship from owning or holding long-term leases over land. This affects mainly ameda County. CA’s status as a sanctuary state Asian immigrants with agricultural aspirations. makes it a primary target of the Trump administration. In March, Attorney General Jeff Sessions filed a lawsuit against the state over the three sanctuary The US deports more than one million people in a historic crackdown on laws CA passed in 2017. These laws limit the governillegal immigration, focusing on CA, Texas, and other states along the USment officials’ ability to assist federal immigration agents Mexico border. and give CA the power to review conditions in immigrant detainment facilities. The Department of Justice is trying to use financial pressure against CA by ordering subpoenas and threatening to cut off federal law enforcement grants.









San Francisco passes the first-ever official sanctuary city law in the US, which blocks city funds from being used to help federal immigration officers.

2011 Following a five-year legislative process, the CA DREAM Act CA DREAM ACT


Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) is a directive issued by former President Barack Obama in June 2012. Under DACA, the Department of Homeland Security can practice deferral of the deportation of DREAMers, a name for undocumented immigrant youth derived from the proposed 2001 DREAM Act. However, not all DREAMers are automatically eligible for DACA, since the application also contains certain educational and residential requirements. As of October 2017, nearly 700,000 DREAMers are DACA recipients. HowLAWSUITS BETWEEN STATES AND THE ever, in September 2017, President Donald Trump announced that DACA permits would begin expiring in March 2018. In response, the Supreme Court ruled in February FEDERAL GOVERNMENT 2018 to extend the program until at least October 2018. Meanwhile, multiple bipartisan immigration bills have been proposed in recent months to settle the fate of the DACA proJust before the deadline for finalizing questions on the gram, but all have failed to gather enough support to pass through the Senate. Overall, the 2020 decennial census, a question about the citizenship future of DACA recipients is still currently unknown. status of residents was included on the request of the Justice Department to enforce the Voting Rights Act. A citizenship question has not been included in the census questionnaire since 1950, and its inclusion has been greeted by large backlash from immigrant groups and Democratic lawmakers. On April 3, 2018, 17 states and Total illegal immigrant apprehensions have declined substantially throughout the last 12 years, from more the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit than 12 million under President Clinton to 5.2 million under President Obama. However, the number of deagainst the Federal Government to portees has steadily increased, reaching a high of just more than 3 million under President Obama, earning block the inclusion of the question. In him the nickname — the “Deporter-in-Chief.” According to the Migration Policy Institute, much of this increase announcing the lawsuit, New York can be attributed to a policy change in the ICE Agency that has prioritized legal action to formally deport illegal District Attorney Eric T. Schneiimmigrants. The policy also caused a decreased number of “returns,” an offer where a person voluntarily agrees derman said “This move directly to return to their country of origin to avoid legal action. Throughout the Obama administration, apprehensions were targets states [with] large, largely focused on convicted illegal immigrant criminals and people crossing the border. The Trump administration thriving immigrant populahas expanded the bounds prioritized groups to anyone who improperly uses public benefits, such as improper welfare tions — threatening bilbenefits, or committed actions that could be considered criminal. This greatly increases the number of illegal immigrants lions of dollars in federal at risk for deportation. funding … as well as fair representation in Congress.”

passes. Based off the proposed national DREAM Act, the laws allow certain undocumented immigrants access to financial aid.


CA INDIVIDUALLY SUES TRUMP ADMINISTRATION FOR ENDING DACA In September 2017, CA Attorney General Xavier Becerra formally announced CA’s lawsuit against the Trump administration for canceling the DACA program. Shortly after his inauguration, Trump declared he would rescind DACA but didn’t specify as to when. The lawsuit states that Trump’s abrupt decision to end the program is illegal, violating a federal law which requires public notice and comment before taking significant actions. Becerra also said in a press conference that Trump’s decision violates a legal principle preventing the government from offering a benefit people rely on and then revoking it. CA is home to more than 800,000 DACA recipients, and the discontinuation of DACA would make businesses and local governments face greater economic expenses. In addition, it would lead to the obstruction of local law enforcement that depends on cooperation from immigration families. Attorneys from 15 other states are also jointly suing the Trump administration for ending DACA, but CA chooses to remain independent because the high number of DACA beneficiaries merits a separate lawsuit.

4 Opinion


The Smoke Signal

Friday, May 4, 2018

Mediating a capitalist media By Christine Dong & Michael Ren Staff Writers News media are trusted with providing people with accurate, relevant information and thus have an obligation to the public interest because their coverage has the power to tell Americans which problems they should know and care about. Despite the importance of this responsibility, news outlets today too often choose insubstantial, repetitive stories over more pertinent topics for financial gain. The press often focuses on issues around those who are already rich and powerful like politicians or celebrities. However, most Americans don’t belong to that top one percent, and they, including those falling below the poverty line, receive markedly less attention. A June 2014 study by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting showed that major newscasts such as ABC World News Tonight

What results is a self-perpetuating cycle: as readers become less connected to the issues of today, they read more and more easily acessible articles packed with superficial drama ... or CBS Evening News spent, on average, 2.7 seconds per 22-minute nightly news program on segments where poverty was mentioned over a 14 month period. In comparison, “network news shows aired almost four times as many stories, 82, that included the term ‘billionaire.’” News outlets are the vehicle by which people get information and by failing to give poverty, a serious issue affecting millions of Americans a proportional level of coverage, the media misrepresent its

gravity and reach, providing viewers an incomplete picture of the magnitude and reality of poverty in the US. Insufficient coverage has had a major negative impact on the citizens of Flint, MI who are still not out of their water crisis. While Flint residents began expressing concern over water quality in 2014, there was little news coverage on it outside of local press for another year until 2015. Despite the complaints filed, the protests

Instead of publishing more important stories that Americans should care ... the media are turning more and more to stories they can financially benefit from. organized, and the many groups formed in opposition to using the contaminated water, the crisis did not receive much national public attention. Although 2015 testing conducted by Virginia Tech University in August and September revealed the water to have corrosive properties and lead levels dramatically exceeding the allowed amount established by the Environmental Protection Agency, most major newspapers only started to report on it in earnest in January 2016, a full month after the situation was declared a state of emergency by the mayor of Flint, according to Media Matters for America. The media failed to report on a serious danger to one of the nation’s poorest cities, one that caused disease outbreak, lead poisoning, and a spike in fetal deaths. Had the public been alerted to Flint’s condition, then relief could have come sooner as an increased amount of coverage on a national level would’ve raised awareness for Flint and its water pollution. Instead of publishing more on impor-

tant stories that Americans should care about such as Flint, the media are turning more and more to stories they can financially benefit from. Whether it is about celebrities or politicians, coverage on notorious persons coupled with provocative headlines tend to capture readers’ attentions, thus generating more views and better ratings. These stories attract readers as they provide an entertaining distraction from the often unsettling issues in the world today. What results is a selfperpetuating cycle: as readers become less connected to the issues of today, they read more and more easily accessible articles packed with superficial drama, which, in turn, provide more incentive to news sources to publish these types of articles. Coverage of President Trump’s tweets remains a prominent example of this. Shortly after a likely accidental tweet from the president which read “Despite the constant negative press covfefe,” multiple news outlets — including the Washington Post, New York Times, ABC News — pounced on the tweet and had stories published mere hours later. This spread the tweet and many people also flocked to social media to poke fun at the baffling word. Such an incident is just one of many more cases where media diligently report on Trump’s latest words, despite how insignificant or incomprehensible they might be. This essentially gives Trump vast control over the focus of the American people; he can draw or divert attention to topics just by selectively tweeting about them and furthering his own agenda. While this has always been a common practice among politicians, in the age of the Internet that profits off attention, Trump truly stands out for the amount of coverage he can draw. Left un-

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checked, media’s current practices lead to a system that rewards sensationalism over humanity or intellect. Compound any private media outlet’s desire to generate the maximum amount of revenue with their need to constantly publish around the clock, and it’s clear that clickbait is here to stay. However, news outlets can still be faithful to the public interest while continuing to publish the same articles by reorganizing both website homepages and the front pages of printed media to feature more substantive stories. While such practices may initially reduce profits for news outlets, in the long run having a reliable reputation can continue to keep the corporation afloat. Proven exam-

Left unchecked, media's current practices lead to a system that rewards sensationalism over humanity or intellect. ples of this include The Economist and The Wall Street Journal, who keep their front pages and headlines clean while still publishing their fair share of clickbait. In a 2014 survey conducted by Pew Research Center, these two news outlets were found to be among the most trusted by Americans. Finally, it is important to remember that we, the readers, also hold power in determining what kind of stories we see and want to see in the news. News outlets choose insubstantial stories for the monetary payoff. If we continue to listen to, read, or watch such coverage, then we perpetuate the cycle of profit and shallow coverage. As consumers of media, we should strive to seek out more significant news and as we do so, force news media to work towards uncovering and reporting on areas that truly deserve our attention. ▪

Friday, May 4, 2018

The Smoke Signal

The Smoke Signal Mission San Jose High School Est. 1964 Vol. 53, No. 8 | May 4, 2018

amy's approach

Not knowing is okay, too



Pick one: humanities or STEM?

By Amy Chen Opinion Editor

41717 Palm Ave. Fremont, CA 94539 510-657-3600, ext. 37088 MISSION STATEMENT The Smoke Signal’s mission is to represent the voices of the MSJ community and serve the public by providing accurate, meaningful, and engaging information presented through print and digital mediums.

SCHOOL POPULATION 2020 students EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Carolyn Ge, Mallika Gupta NEWS Gloria Chang, Andrew Kan OPINION Amy Chen, Vicki Xu FEATURE Heather Gan, Helen Wang CENTERSPREAD Zen Thumparkkul, Richard Chenyu Zhou A&E Stephanie Dutra, Hana Sheikh SPORTS Hannah Chou, Cindy Yuan GRAPHICS Evangeline Chang, Victor Zhou WEB Ishika Chawla, Jonathan Ko TECH Julia Park, Michael Ren BUSINESS Ian Hsu CIRCULATION Anagha Mandayam ADVERTISING Shivani Avasarala, Katherine Guo EVENTS Evie Sun, Maggie Zhao SPECIAL PROJECTS Joelle Chuang WRITERS & PHOTOGRAPHERS Shiantel Chiang, Rishi Chillara, Riya Chopra, Christine Dong, Arpita Gaggar, Toshali Goel, Kikue Higuchi, Samir Jain, Anisa Kundu, Karen Li, Lucia Li, Ashni Mathuria, Praveen Nair, Sahana Sridhar, Shreya Sridhar, Shreya Srinivasan, Shray Vaidya, Tylor Wu, Jennifer Xiang, Kelly Yang ADVISER Sandra Cohen Send letters to the editor to opinion@ Letters under 300 words may be considered for publication and must include a full name and school affiliation. The Smoke Signal reserves the right to edit for clarity and length. To advertise in the Smoke Signal, email ads@ Advertising that is included on the pages of, or carried within, the Smoke Signal, is paid advertising, and as such is independent of the news and feature content. The Smoke Signal’s right to freedom of speech and press is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution. All policies on distribution, corrections, and bylines can be found at

From a young age, we’ve been encouraged to do what we’re passionate about. First grade classroom posters told me to find my dream and chase it. Teachers told us we could be astronauts, actors, or the president. While knowing exactly what you want in life may seem ideal, this mindset creates unnecessary pressure for us to know what we’re passionate about at a young age. As a junior with college applications quickly approaching, I’m continually asked about what colleges I plan to apply to, what majors I’m interested in, and what I want to be when I grow up. Each time, I feel compelled to provide a concrete answer. After all, everyone around me seems to know exactly where they’re headed. At the very least, they know what majors they plan to pursue. So I tell people that I’m planning on majoring in applied mathematics, and then I’m going to law school so I can practice immigration or family law. In reality, I don’t know if that’s what I actually want to do. I certainly like mathematics, and I’d love to pursue immigration law, but do I want to do these for the rest of my life? I have so many interests, so how do I know that this one is the one? In a society where the dream is finding a passion and pursuing it, not knowing exactly what that is is stressful at best. At worst, it often makes me lose my confidence and sense of identity. There’s nothing wrong with encouraging children to do what they love. In fact, it’s still the best case scenario; finding jobs and lifestyles we enjoy should ultimately be our end goal. At this point,

they shouldn’t need to know exactly what that is. Of course, there are high schoolers who know exactly what they want to do, but for the rest of us, not knowing is also okay. Most of us haven’t had the opportunity to try all of our potential passions, and for some, our dream job might not even exist yet. Most importantly, in college, or even after we graduate, we can still discover and adjust what we want to do. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 80 percent of students in the US change their major at least once throughout their undergraduate education. Even after graduating, we still have time to rediscover our passions, explore new interests, and turn our lives around. Italian singer Andrea Bocelli was a defense attorney until the age of 34 before he began pursuing singing as a full time career. Beat movement poet Allen Ginsberg was a dishwasher before gaining fame for his moving works in his late 20s and early 30s. While I probably won’t turn out to be a renowned singer or poet, their stories show that I could pursue a career change well into my 30s and still succeed in something I’m passionate about. Of course, doing so gets harder the older we get, but as high schoolers, we are still decades away from true midlife crises. At the very least, it isn’t something we should be worrying about now. Rather than worry about a future we know little about, we can focus on our current interests and remember that we still have plenty of time to figure out what we plan to do with our lives. ▪

The Opinion of the Smoke Signal Editorial Board

The rise of vaping There lies a hidden but ever-present reality at MSJ: substance abuse. The problem itself is nothing new among adolescents, but the rise in popularity of electronic cigarettes has once again brought drug use to the forefront to our attention. According to the 2017 National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Monitoring the Future survey, 36.5 percent of middle and high school students have used drugs such as marijuana, sedatives, and cigarettes. The rise in vaping, or the use of devices such as electronic cigarettes, mods, and Juuls, to inhale often-flavored aerosols, is even more concerning, with nearly one in four US high school students reporting to have used vaping products, according to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2015. Peer pressure plays a major role in our evolving drug problem. A popular misconception is that vaping is safe when using juices that do not contain the addictive chemical nicotine. Moreover, with attractive flavors targeted towards youth such as bubblegum and vape tricks becoming increasingly popular, students can find saying no difficult. Students may receive the false notion that they are invincible to addiction, especially when it is accompanied with, “Come on, it’s not bad for you, just once can’t hurt!” Even if students avoid use themselves, peer pressure discourages reporting users, thereby promoting an attitude of indifference among students. Jokes such as “What have you been smoking?” and making fun of administration policies for school events can make it difficult to distinguish anecdote from accusation. Normalizing drug references in everyday language turns drug use into everyday slang, which decreases our

sense of caution and consideration towards the problem at hand. On top of this, it is clear that the old method of “Just say no” does not work. Many students still give in to peer pressure, and some bring drugs to school to satisfy their addiction. Rote repetition of the phrase leads to disillusionment, especially when students see and hear about others using drugs without consequences. New methods, such as FUSD’s Tobacco Use Prevention Education program, should incorporate interpersonal skills and student involvement in a variety of relatable and relevant situations. Our first step is to raise awareness of the drug problems, for students and parents alike. Although students may fear that parents would completely misunderstand the situation, bridging the gap between parents and their children can help them reach an understanding of the reasons behind their child’s drug use, helping them find solutions to curb their child’s addiction. Additionally, drug education, especially on newer forms like vaping, should start at an earlier age. Early exposure to the dangers of drugs can make people more aware of their negative impacts, and partnered with continued, active practice in abstaining from drug use can lower the incentive to try drugs in the first place. The entire MSJ community should take action against the drug problem to ensure we stay safe and informed about these substances. ▪

Opinion 5

By Vicki Xu Opinion Editor “Dude, history’s not even a real class. If you’re a real STEM kid then you’ll load up on the sciences.” “Well, I think physics is stupid and I hate it.” After entering high school I gradually became aware of the apparent division between STEM and humanities. Kids broadly classify themselves and each other into one or the other. Confusion often greets a step out of these categories: “Aren’t you a STEM kid? Why are you doing x?” “Aren’t you a humanities kid? Why are you doing y?” This isn’t confined to school; my parents are the most eager classifiers of them all. Every April, their WeChat groups explode with college gossip. “That girl who’s a UC Berkeley Regents Scholar? She’s STEM.” “Wow, a humanities kid off to Harvard.” Then they’d tell me, “Make sure you pick STEM.” This was a dilemma to my fresh out of eighth-grade self as I scrambled to find a place in high school. I didn’t find STEM any more attractive than humanities. Supposedly I would click with an area, and that would be the end of it. I was often told that I was a STEM kid, but I didn’t like being labeled as such — it implied I had to make a binding choice. But why not both? I struggled with these thoughts over freshman and sophomore year. As I near the three-quarters mark of my high school career, however, I realize this isn’t the way to think. We’re each too complex to label ourselves into

such general groups. Maybe a handful of people fit comfortably into a particular camp, but most of us have a blend of interests. In this sense STEM and humanities should be viewed as part of a broader spectrum, not as two separate entities. Important to realize is that by labeling and making assumptions, we limit ourselves to an image that we don’t necessarily fit. As a result, we exclude ourselves from participating in many activities that can enrich our understanding of our surroundings. “I’m a humanities kid, so I can’t participate in Science Olympiad. I don’t have the background.” “I’m a STEM kid, so I can’t help produce a magazine. I don’t have the ability.” Of course, the other half can be daunting even when it’s also interesting. Staying on a self-defined turf definitely feels comfortable and safe. The MSJ community is partially at fault for such a narrow mindset; we don’t stress interests, hobbies, and niches nearly as much as success. A common rule of thumb is to pick an area quickly and stick to it forever — excellence comes faster that way. And perhaps it does, but identity does not. This way of thinking needs to change if we want more students who are happier and more well-rounded. We must recognize that categories don’t define us and thus strongly encourage disregarding them. As adolescents developing personal identities, it’s better to approach the world as broadly as possible and keep our options open. So, I don’t know if I’m STEM or humanities, but I don’t need to care. You don’t either. ▪

By Karen Li & Lucia Li Staff Writers




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Opinion & Feature 7

have you encountered vaping on campus? explain.


“Yeah I have, I see it almost every day. People will just do it in class. I see it in a lot of classes where the teachers don’t care or don’t pay attention. I see it a lot in the parking lot too. I also see people just whip it out in the halls, take a quick hit, and put it back in their backpacks.” — Junior

do you think this is a problem? why or why not?

“Not personally, but I’ve heard all about it. I mean, I do see it being passed from hand to hand but I’ve never seen people actually smoking.” — Freshman “I have encountered vaping in the student parking lot when I'm heading home and honestly it's quite scary and at times when there's a large group of people and I can see what they're doing I have to move my path and take the long way just to avoid it.” — Sophomore

why do you think vaping has gained popularity lately? “It’s easier to hide, people rarely get caught. I think in comparison to cigarettes and other drugs, it’s relatively cheap. But I think it’s mostly because everybody else is doing it. With all that peer pressure, it’s hard to not start doing it too.” — Junior "It's because everyone wants to try a newer alternative to tobacco and vaping is especially marketed towards teens with different flavors like bubblegum which appeals more. And since it uses water vapor, people will probably think it's safer while not realizing that vaping can still have harmful effects." — Sophomore

"For our school specifically, I think that because a lot of people are stressed, they may turn to vaping as a way to destress. Smoking is a common destresser, but since vaping seems to have less health detriments, I believe that it is becoming more popular. Additionally, I think that a lot of hip hop icons have vaped, and that also increases the popularity." — Senior

“I'm still undecided. Obviously there are risks that go along with smoking in general, like increased risk of asthma but I think it depends on the device. There are devices that just have flavored water but then there are devices that are designed to give the same nicotine kick of cigarettes; then there are devices that have tobacco so the danger is the same as cigarettes.” — Junior “This is a big problem because as far as we know, e-cigs are almost the same as cigarettes; they both have the same 7000+ deadly chemicals like methanol in rocket fuel and formaldehyde which is used to preserve dead bodies. People might think it’s safe but it’s essentially the same as smoking a cigarette, just [with] a new name. There is still so much we need to find out about e-cigs — for all we know they can be even deadlier than regular cigarettes. In the end, they both have deathly consequences and should be avoided.” — Freshman

"Not really. People know what they're getting into, and if they're fine with that, then it's their choice." — Sophomore "I think that vaping is only a problem when it changes a person's behavior for the worse. I personally may not be clear on the addictivity and harms of vape, but I'm quite confident that inhaling substances is never good for your lungs, and especially not for children at such a young age. In addition, while the vape itself may not be a gateway to other drugs, the behaviors gained that students become accustomed to, hiding vape pens, meeting other students, and going to specific dealers, will help normalize the use of harder substances in the future." — Junior

Student Spotlight: Kris Yuan

By Lucia Li Staff Writer

Junior Kris Yuan will be attending the University of Southern California (USC) next year as a part of the resident honors program. As an art and media major, they will be missing their senior year to further explore media, tech, and how art can be applied to them in USC’s School of Cinematic Arts — widely regarded as one of the best film schools in the world. The residents honors program allows high school juniors to apply to college one year early and get a head start. Around 15 to 20 high school juniors are selected every year to attend this program, and applicants are encouraged to have a prominent record of success, leadership experience, and community participation in high school. Participants enter college one year earlier than their peers and complete a typical four-year college career, and are able to declare any of the undergraduate programs that USC has to offer. Yuan

Digital drawing by Yuan

Junior Kris Yuan

chose to apply to this program because they believe that having the freedom to choose your own courses is much more beneficial to a student, as it breeds creativity by giving them a chance to have fun. Ever since childhood, Yuan has participated in art classes and found a particular fascination with storytelling. They especially enjoy writing stories and expressing these messages in their art as well. Much of their inspiration comes from fantasy and sci-fi novels, webcomics, and indie games. “A lot of the time for me, reading is a form of escapism,” they said. Dungeons & Dragons is also a particular favorite, and Yuan often plays it with friends, citing the freedom to build a storyline from scratch as a major component of their enjoyment of the game. In regards to art, Yuan focuses more on the meaning portrayed by the artwork as opposed to merely the visual aesthetic appeal that many other artists emphasize. They feel that storytelling and the portrayal of unique ideas are vastly more essential and lend further meaning to art. “I feel like people always think that art is just some-

thing that you look at. Whereas, I think it can be applied in so many different ways,” said Yuan. They aren’t tied down to a single type of art; currently, they like to combine a wide variety of artistic genres and enjoy making animations, music videos, and themes on Tumblr. They have won several Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for design and photography. Additionally, Yuan also has performed in Carnegie Hall with the MSJ Synocopasians and is an active member of MSJ’s K-Pop Club. In the future, Yuan hopes to experiment with many different classes and to branch out from more conventional artistic pursuits. “There’s a lot of different classes, and within the School of Cinematic Arts, every degree program is very flexible,” Yuan said. “There’s a huge variety of classes, so I’m interested in going out of drawing kind of art, like illustration and maybe going into film or

photography.” Yuan also wishes to experiment more with merging different genres of art with technology and media. In regards to their many artistic pursuits, Yuan said, “I think I just want to do more of that, and then find a way to do them all at once, in the same thing.” Media has a large untapped potential in today’s world, Yuan expressed, and video games can be used to express messages and carry purposes far beyond just entertainment. To those considering deviating from a conventional four-year high school path, Yuan said, “Go for it. I think the main thing is don’t be afraid, because I was really worried about what it would mean.” While they will be missing some classic high school experiences like senior ball by entering the USC resident honors program, Yuan expresses that students also “have to see for yourself what you really want to do with your life.” ▪


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By Katherine Guo, Anisa Kundu, Anagha Mandayam & Shreya Sridhar Staff Writers

Karaoke has gained immense popularity throughout the world, especially in Asian countries. In karaoke, amateur singers take turns singing popular songs to pre-recorded backing tracks. Four diehard singers, some experienced and some inexperienced, took on the singing challenge at Pure Karaoke, located at 1297 E. Calaveras Blvd, Milpitas, CA 95035.


I have an absolutely atrocious voice; I hit every wrong note and definitely don’t have perfect pitch, yet my love for music has never faltered. In theory, I should have some level of singing skills due to the fact that I’ve played the piano for the last 10 years, but I am miraculously still tone deaf. However, I’ve explored many genres from rap, pop, R&B, and even classical music, and therefore am positive karaoke will be a new and fun experience! I can bust out lyrics and am familiar with songs across decades as well. Although I’m slightly shy on stage, once I get in the zone, there’s no stopping me.

Although I have had no classical vocal training whatsoever, I do have the perfect skill set to be a karaoke star: no inhibition and a theatrical personality. My voice may not sound as divine as a chorus of angels, but I have a stage presence that compensates for my singing. Anyone who knows me would say that I have an array of facial expressions which would display the emotions of any song. Being that one person who says all the lines of the movie along with the characters on screen, I am sure that I can nail any impression of any singer in karaoke.

Since I have been singing for many years now, I am curious to see how skillfully I can adapt my vocal technique to the art of karaoke. Although I don't suffer from stage fright, the versatility required from a singer during karaoke is beyond my comprehension, since I am used to singing ballads only. Karaoke involves wide audience involvement, and my awkward hand gestures combined with my constipated belting face may not serve as a great device for captivating the crowd. However, I am confident (or at least hopeful) that my advanced vocal technique will make up for my many unfortunate shortcomings.

With my voice, I knew I was bound to come in last place, so I decided to go with a sixth grade classic and poured my heart out to “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen. I knew the lyrics by heart and was able to belt out every line without a single mistake. Although I was slightly pitchy, to say the least, I made my way through the whole song, with tons of laughter mixed in. I was also able to accompany Shreya for “HUMBLE.” by Kendrick Lamar and bobbed my head while rapping the lyrics to the ever iconic and upbeat song.

Obviously, if I want a shot at placing in the top two, it would be best not to choose a song that required the vocal range of an opera singer. I decided to go with a couple of hit songs that I had perfected the lyrics to: “HUMBLE.” by Kendrick Lamar, “Anaconda” by Nicki Minaj, and “Hotline Bling” by Drake. With my cringey yet amusing stanky leg and uber fast rapping, I knew I would be guaranteed a spot in the top two. The key to karaoke is to leave all your inhibitions at the door and just sing your heart out.

Taking on the song “Marvin Gaye” by Charlie Puth and Meghan Trainor, I decided to gain the upper hand by singing before my fellow writers. Although the song was easily in my range, I was slightly uncomfortable with the lyrics, but with a little help from the other writers with the words, I felt like a pop star. While all of us struggled here and there while singing alone, I think we all meshed together better as a band than as solo singers, as proven by our slightly off-key and offbeat but extremely energetic versions of other songs.


Given my history with cello, my love for music cannot be put into mere words. However, my singing skills can be encompassed by a few phrases: “amazing lack of rhythm,” “near tone deaf,” and “is that a dying cat?” all coined by my older brother of course. Despite over 10 years of singing and dancing in the shower, I’m not quite sure if I have the stage presence or voice to pull this off. Naturally, I will prepare for this endeavor by watching the Walmart yodeling boy video and contorting my face in the mirror.


THOUGHTS AFTER With my absolutely atrocious voice, it was only expected that I would get last place. However, this karaoke experience was never about the prize or about who was the best singer. In that one hour, the four of us were able to blend our musical tastes and put our voices together to sing each song to our hearts content. Anisa provided the main melody, and we all accompanied her in the background and had fun while doing it.

Feature 9

As expected, I finished in second place, but who’s counting? I learned that the experience is more important than the outcome, and my fellow "smokies" made the entire hour seem to fly by in 10 minutes. From singing and laughing at “Super Bass” by Nicki Minaj to cringing at each other’s awkward pausing between lyrics, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and encourage everyone to get out of their comfort zone and perform in front of an audience, even if it’s just your friends. I was skeptical about how enjoyable it would actually be, but after laughter-filled duets with Anagha and Anisa, I would definitely go karaoke again.

oming in first place may have gone to my head since for a moment, I seriously considered going into the karaoke business. However, I still have audience involvement to work on before becoming a pop star. ore importantly, I think karaoke taught me that the excitement really comes from singing with others, rather than belting out notes as a lone star. It s much easier to excel at karaoke when the audience is singing with you rather than staring intently at your constipated face while you’re belting. In the future, I can definitely see my fellow writers and I forming a successful band and becoming stars together

The second I heard Anisa’s singing voice, I knew I was done for. I attempted to hold my own with “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” by Meghan Trainor ft. John Legend, but I overestimated my range and wowed the other writers with some truly glorious voice cracks, dissonant harmonizing, and off-key screeches. I would say that I was slightly better at rap, but I fumbled with the rhythm and sounded as if I were speaking in monotone. Clearly, my future in singing is as bright as a broken lightbulb. However, as I laughed and cringed along to Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda,” I truly enjoyed myself.

The entire hour quickly flew by, and, soon enough, the results were clear. The four of us joined in duets, trios, and quartets to create a truly singular experience. Given my lack of tonality, I am not surprised with my third place finish. Now that I know my diminutive vocal range, I can estimate that there are approximately 10 songs or so that I can sing without heading into a falsetto. Despite the terror I felt when singing, this may have started a new interest in singing. World, fear my voice!





10 Feature


The Smoke Signal

Spotlight: Teacher's Union: FUDtA By Evie Sun & Maggie Zhao Staff Writers The Fremont Unified District Teachers Association (FUDTA), chartered in 1965, is the official union for FUSD teachers. In the last few months, FUDTA has been negotiating with FUSD for an increase in salary. At the March 28 Board of Education meeting, FUSD held a public hearing on the reopening of Article 24 of the FUDTA / FUSD contract, which deals with salaries for the 2018-19 school year. The issue is currently at an impasse, but is undergoing mediation, in which a mutually selected third party will make suggestions to help the district and FUDTA come to a resolution. Previous disputes between FUDTA and FUSD over salary have appeared in the past. In February 2011, FUDTA fought against a proposed $11 million funding cut. A settlement of the issue was reached in June 2011, in which FUSD and FUDTA agreed to a decrease in class sizes and a one-time bonus of $750, which is added once to the teachers’ salaries. Right now, FUSD has offered a onetime bonus, but FUDTA is advocating for an ongoing pay raise for all teachers. FUDTA member Special Education Teacher Jess McCauley said, “Our goal is simple: If we have anything on a salary schedule, we will probably be more apt to accepting it. We’re talking as low as a half of a percentage — then we would be more accepting than the [1.6 percent one-time offer] that they have given.” According to FUDTA member Math Teacher Kim Mathis, an ongoing pay raise is more effective for the district in the long run, as a competitive salary will help retain teachers in the district. Since teachers in FUSD need to pay for their own medical insurance, the union believes that an ongoing increase will help offset rising medical costs. In addi-

Friday, May 4, 2018


by Officer Kelly Robinson

Dis tra cte d Drivers

Fremont Unified District Teachers Association is the official union for FUSD teachers.

tion, FUDTA member Social Studies Teacher Stephanie Kearns said, “When people retire, we have to replace them. [The raise] attracts what we believe to be better teachers [to FUSD] because we can be competitive in what we offer them in terms of compensation — salary, medical, etc.” If the issue continues to remain unresolved, the situation could escalate. Mathis said, “The next step . . . will come to more drastic things, like the whole district will ‘work to rule,’ and it could eventually lead to a striking situation, which no one wants.” Work to rule refers to a tactic in which teachers will only work their paid-for contractual hours, which excludes the hours they spend advising clubs, writing letters of recommendation, grading at home, or meeting with students before and after school. This would in turn affect students and their education in a number of ways. If teachers leave to work in districts where they are paid better, FUSD will suffer a shortage of teachers. MSJ could potentially have unstaffed classrooms, which would result in far larger class sizes. With this, students would lack individualized instruction, or they could potentially have a series of substitutes teaching their classes. The union’s negotiation for a fair salary


raise emphasizes the value of the teachers’ contributions beyond their official obligations. Kearns said, “[The lack of an agreement] makes me feel devalued as a professional — that my profession doesn’t matter in the world, that it makes no difference whether I’m here or not. Then going the extra mile becomes more difficult.” McCauley said, “Getting parents to write letters to the school board to say that teachers are working really hard and they need to be compensated would be huge from keeping this [sic] from happening. The strike is something we all want to avoid, so it would be best if we had a little more parent support and community support.” FUDTA hopes to work towards a compromise that benefits both teachers and students. Kearns said, “I would hope that the union is always working towards a contract that is more healthy for all of our students, healthy for the teachers and our families, and it is working towards being the best district we can be. We want to attract families, teachers. We want a cooperative environment, so I would hope that they would be working towards a contract that reflects that.” ▪ GRAPHICS COURTESY FUDTA.ORG

Over the past month, law enforcement worked to bring extra attention to the dangers of distracted driving. The definition of distracted driving is anything that takes your focus, as a driver, away from the road. Examples include: using your cell phone while driving, playing loud music, or even being distracted by a friend in the passenger seat. These can all lead to accidents on the roadway. Remember, while operating a motor vehicle, it is illegal to use a cell phone in any way. Hands-free devices can be used only by drivers ages 18 and above. Stay safe and enjoy the spring weather!

Thanks, Officer Robinson

Friday, May 4, 2018

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Feature 11

Guide to Self-Care By Shiantel Chiang, Julia Park, Sahana Sridhar & Shreya Srinivasan Staff Writers


When feeling tired or unmotivated to do any work, a cluttered room and unorganized workspace may be the biggest problem. Spending time organizing loose papers into folders, shelving away books and materials from your work area, or making your bed in the morning all result in a comfortable atmosphere that can make you feel more relaxed and happier. Cleaning out your backpack and school materials can put you in a calmer state of mind during school hours as well. It is also worthwhile to declutter the house by donating or storing away unused items. Remember to avoid purchasing useless items that will only pile up at home.

With AP season upon us, many of us may encounter emotional stress or academic pressure and forget how important it is to establish healthy living habits that encourage self-care. The Smoke Signal compiled a few tips and strategies that can help relieve stress and boost physical and mental health.

exerciseprovessymtptormsatofeinsgomienias Exercising can im derate physical ac— around 30 minutes of mo before going to bed tivity in the late afternoon or nting consistent exhelps you fall asleep. Impleme not be that simple, ercise into your schedule may ek to take a walk but finding a couple days a we ves physical health outside around nature impro meditation, boostand puts the brain in a state of axation. Although ing positive emotions and rel m more strenuous intense physical activity may see ses such as jumping than relaxing, moderate exerci bicycling at slow rope, sit-ups and push-ups, or mental alertness. speeds will increase stamina and

time management

ditation yoga and me are known to relax the

Both yoga and meditation an inner conmind and body and help you build cult to comnection with yourself. It is often diffi d period of mit to a spiritual activity for an extende lts are hard time, especially when such abstract resu allot a short to achieve; the best way to start is to meditation to amount of time every day to yoga or itual self-care. train yourself into the habit of spir accessible on Techniques for these two activities are gs, but as you many online yoga and meditation blo relaxation, you gradually experiment with spiritual ion routines can develop your own yoga or meditat catered to your personal well-being.

Putting an assignment off or studying for a test last minute can result in an accumulation of work that can be overwhelming and lower quality of work overall. Writing out goals for the day and preparing a schedule with adjustable time restrictions to factor in any unexpected situations are good ways to be on top of things. This includes getting into the habit of writing tasks down as the day proceeds and breaking down large tasks into smaller ones. Planning ahead can lessen the overwhelming feeling that there is not enough time in the day.

planning meals

Stress-eating and unhealthy eating habits are common results of emotional stress from excessive schoolwork. Consuming too much unhealthy food may provide temporary relief but will eventually make the body more tired and result in low motivation. Planning out daily or weekly meals can prevent eating excessive junk food when you are tempted to stress eat or when there is not enough time to prepare a healthy, thought-out meal. You can also avoid resorting to junk food by preparing healthy snacks to eat throughout the day along with your main meals.

king sleep trexeac rcise, getting enough

Along with nutrition and s of health. Apps such sleep is one of the three pillar ck sleep duration and as Pillow or Sleep Better can tra whether they are obquality, so users can analyze aren’t getting enough taining enough rest. When you ile keeping in mind sleep, planning out the day wh y help you maximize how much sleep you need ma l completing all your number of sleep hours while stil y from person to pertasks. Sleep techniques may var with tactics like power son, but you can experiment work rather than going napping or waking up early to t for you. to sleep late to see what is bes


14 Centerspread


The Smoke Signal


Friday, May 4, 2018

"Usually people wear these pants under Kurthi, so I just switched it up and wore a tank top on top of the pants. It's inspired by Churidars, an Indian style of dress." –– Raasi Bommu, 11



Social Studies Teacher Karl Hui

“Performing in Multicultural Week means gaining more understanding and exposure to other cultures I may not know that well about, as well as participating in a big school event with our community. It's about learning, having fun, and celebrating the similarities and differences across different cultures.” –– Cherin Koh, 12


BHANGRA “Performing in Multicultural Week is an amazing experience because we get to share our love of dance and introduce the individuality of ballet.” –– Kelly Yang, 10



“The most rewarding part [of Bollywood] is when you lock eyes with your friends and see them cheering for you ... it feels amazing because you know they’re enjoying it and supporting you no matter what. That gives you a feeling like no other. Every art form is beautiful and they inspire me to learn more about the world around me.” –– Shreya Hegde, 12

“Not going to lie, [hip hop] preparation for Mullticultural Week is tough! … It’s a lot of practice early in the morning before school, during lunch, in the evenings, and over the weekend. However, we all still love it because it is so rewarding to perform for everyone.” –– Sabrina Shih, 12

“You really can't cheat your way to a good performance, and so it's rewarding to work hard on a dance and watch it come together. I am just so happy to have a chance to share a part of my heritage with other people, especially because we all take diversity for granted here!” –– Emily Chang, 12


“Wushu is a very diverse martial art with many styles and divisions that contain historical and cultural roots ... performing in Multicultural Week allows me to share my passion of Wushu with the audience in its purest artistic form. The performance may only by four minutes long, but the gratification that comes with hearing the crowd cheer after a difficult jump or transition makes all the hours of practice and hard work worth it.” –– Jasmine Syu, 12

“Senior Bhangra is one of my favorite traditions and I'm really happy that I got to be the one to make it happen for the Class of 2018. I am also Punjabi, so Bhangra is my native dance. It means a lot that I get to share a part of my culture with the rest of my team and the entire school. ” –– Sonia Tasser, 12


“The most rewarding part of leading [Raas] has to be seeing the choreography come to life ... performing in Multicultural Week means being able to share my culture with the rest of our school and honestly just having a really good time doing it.” –– Tulsi Patel, 12

Anna Wu, 11 MSJ Interact’s Musubi

Nathan Lin, 10 MSJ VAMS’ Beef Rice Noodles


“The most rewarding part of [performing for the Multicultural assembly] was getting all the new girls to come together and learn a new dance. Supporting women with our dance was really fun.” –– Maya Bernstein, 12

Food is without a doubt a cornerstone of the Multicultural Week experience. Over the course of the week, 46 clubs and organizations catered an array of delicacies to the MSJ community. Below are a few classics that were available during the week.

Sarah Liao, 11 Mission Korean Music’s Japchae


“Before I auditioned, I hadn't played my guzheng in a while, so it was fun trying to get back in the groove of it. I feel like this year's Multicultural performances are even more diverse and I'm glad to be a part of it!” –– Alyssa Zhu, 12

Centerspread 15

Serena Huang, 10 Youth Alive’s Mexican Soda

"I am wearing western-influenced traditional clothing. It's called Anarkali, and it's supposed to be like a gown ... In India, this would be something you wear outside when you're trying to be extra." –– Satabdiya Roy, 11

To close off Multicultural Week, 18 airbands showcased their talents on Friday, April 27. Students, teachers, and staff gathered in the gym to enjoy a multitude of unique performances, from a capella singing to dancing.



“My outfit is called circular-collar robe, which is one type of Hanfu. The circular-collar robe became prevalent after the Sui dynasty, and people in later generations wore this type of clothing in formal occasion and festivals." –– Bruce Fan, 11

By Samir Jain, Karen Li, Lucia Li, Kelly Yang & Maggie Zhao Staff Writers



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From kimonos to saris, every culture’s fashion has a unique style. During Multicultural Week, students modeled diverse attire representing countries from around the world, showing widespread appreciation for diversity on campus.

"It's a type of traditional Chinese dress called ‘Hanfu.’ This type of Hanfu is from the Han Dynasty." –– Karen Deng, 11


Friday, May 4, 2018

“[The most rewarding part] was probably listening to people cheer when they heard us, since it shows that they actually enjoy what we do. It’s really cool to also watch the other performers, since they all have talent too, and it’s great to watch them show that.” –– Sreetama Chowdhury, 10


“We had a lot of fun coming up with [Bollywood] songs we thought students would love the most and had a lot of freedom to experiment, since it is the first year we’re doing this airband. ” –– Lahari Vuppaladhadiam, 12


“The Multicultural assembly has always been one of our most important performances of the year, and getting to share with the rest of the school music that's not so mainstream is a huge opportunity I'm really excited about.” –– Felisha Li, 12


“We have two sides, and watching the other side do what they do, yelling at the top of their lungs, it’s just so rewarding to see everyone doing the same thing and being so into the performance.” –– Dylan King, 12



“I began dancing back in freshman year when I auditioned for the Multicultural K-pop group and made the cut. Performing in Multicultural Week this year as a leader now is a daunting yet exciting experience that I'm sure I can learn many things from.” –– Jonas Koh, 11


“We wanted to make sure we topped our performance from last year, and one of the best parts of preparation this year was trying out new kicks and tricks. I love showing the audience different things each year and being able to express different cultures with my group.” –– Jared Pingue, 12

“The best part is when someone is struggling with a certain part … and the person finally does the choreo perfectly. Performing in Multicultural Week means that we can show our school a small but impactful aspect of the Korean culture through K-Pop.” –– Jessica Kim, 12 PHOTOS BY CENTERSPREAD EDITOR RICHARD CHENYU ZHOU, STAFF WRITERS SAMIR JAIN, KAREN LI, LUCIA LI, KELLY YANG & MAGGIE ZHAO. GRAPHICS BY COLORBOX.COM & SPECKYBOY.COM

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Arts & Entertainment 19


Under the radar the miracle season s e r v e s a l e t do w n MIKExANGEL By Riya Chopra Staff Writer MIKExANGEL is an R&B and soul singer whose dulcet vocals and fluid melodies have amused the ears of his devoted fans. Although his instrumentals are rhythmic and strong, his vocals bring a gentle yet rich feel to his music, resembling the same style of artists such as Chris Brown. All of MIKExANGEL’s tracks offer a blend of mainstream pop lyrics and upbeat background music with a more laid-back and groovy tone of voice. MIKExANGEL was born in Virginia and began singing at age 3. He created his stage name with inspiration from his church, where all the pastors and choir members told him he had the voice of an angel. MIKExANGEL struggled to find opportunities in the music industry during the early stages of his career until he met Mu, the older brother and manager of Trey Songz. Songz asked to feature MIKExANGEL in his next album, and they have done several collaborations since. Songz’s Anticipation 3 album featured MIKExANGEL on eight different tracks, and MIKExANGEL was also on tour with him as the opening act. Mu and Songz then signed MIKExANGEL to their label, 300 Entertainment, and MIKExANGEL’s first debut album, NOTHiN 2 SOMETHiN, came out in June 2017. The album includes 11 songs. His most popular ones are “Complicated” and “Never Enough,” which is one of Songz’ tracks featuring MIKExANGEL. The majority of his songs follow a common theme about romance and relationships and incorporate steady beats with dynamic voice fluctuations. ▪


By Ashni Mathuria Staff Writer Volleyball hasn’t had an iconic sports movie the way basketball, football, and hockey have. And for a movie to follow a female sports team is practically unheard of. The Miracle Season, directed by Sean McNamara, attempts to challenge both of these norms but doesn’t quite meet its mark. The film follows the season of the Iowa City West High School’s girls’ varsity volleyball team after their captain and setter Caroline “Line” Found (Danika Yarosh) passes away in a moped accident. After the accident, the distraught team rallies together under the guidance of their coach Kathy “Brez” Bresnahan (Helen Hunt) to attempt to win the State Championships, which will be no small feat considering that the team would have to win every game they play. From the beginning, the movie is jam-packed with emotion. Found’s mother Ellyn Found (Jillian Fargey) is revealed to have terminal cancer, which makes Found’s death all the more poignant. But despite the sniffles it draws, the movie’s lackluster storytelling and clichéd, one-dimensional characters give it little substance, making it difficult for audiences to take away the empowering message behind it.

The plot is disorganized and arbitrary, making what could have been a powerful story of a team’s perseverance seem cheesy and shallow. For example, the film introduces the post-accident captain Kelley Fliehler (Erin Moriarty)’s love interest once at the outset of the movie in an attempt to provide a subplot, then seems to forget about him completely until there’s an opportunity for feel-good moments. By the end of the movie, the audience likely doesn’t even remember his name. Similarly, the rest of the characters are just as flat. Frankly, the only character with a non-cardboard cutout personality is Found, whose reckless and impulsive characteristics help the audience understand how she struggles to cope with her mother’s illness — but of course, she’s barely in a quarter of the movie. There are attempts at character development, such as Coach Brez’s struggle to overcome her prickly personality and introversion to connect with her grieving team, but these are largely overshadowed by the artificial sentimental moments that drown out the film’s empowering message to “Live Like Line.” The volleyball in the movie is mostly realistic, overlooking Fliehler’s blatantly poor setting technique — which is excusable as Moriarty was taught to play volleyball only after

being cast. However, the immense persistence and drive that the team required in order to win so many games was made to seem superficial through rushed montages of the girls in the weight room and on the court. The manner in which the girls won game after game with seeming ease was frankly unrealistic. Also detracting from the drama and suspense of the games was the music, oddly placed during practices and games. Rather than serving to ramp up the tension, the typically upbeat songs distracted the audience from the immense pressure that the girls were under to win. Real-life Kathy Bresnahan, who wrote the book The Miracle Season discussing her experience with that team, worked closely with the cast. Her ambition for the movie was two-fold: to create the first classic sports movie for volleyball, and to tell an empowering story of young women working together to achieve a goal against all odds. However, due to the poorly executed plot, shallow character development, and unrealistic volleyball action, The Miracle Season failed to meet the hopes of its crew and the expectations of its audience. ▪ Rating: C-

Rampage brings a lot of fight, but not much else

B AY A R E A EVENTS By Tylor Wu Staff Writer CAAMFest 2018: May 10 to 24 CAAMFest is a film festival hosted by the Center for Asian American Media at multiple theaters throughout San Francisco and Oakland (AMC Kabuki 8, Asian Art Museum, Black Cat, Castro Theater, Curran Theater, Herbst Theatre). The festival features independent films centered around Asian and AsianAmerican culture. Japantown Immersive: May 12 San Jose’s Japantown will be offering a range of hands-on activities such as learning to play Japanese card games and making fans. There will also be a set of performances from Japantown-based musicians. Oakland VegFest: May 19 VegFest is a vegan food festival in Oakland at Lake Merritt Amphitheater with free admission and free food samples. There will also be speakers and local restaurants and businesses with stalls to present products centered around vegan and vegetarian diets and animal rights. Sacramento County Fair: May 24 to 28 The county fair will feature fair foods, rides, and exhibits centered around agriculture. Admission to the fair costs $6, an unlimited ride wristband costs $35. ▪


By Michael Ren Staff Writer Rampage, starring Dwayne Johnson, is an action-packed thriller centering around the havoc caused by genetically-mutated animals rampaging through Chicago. Despite a subpar plot and woeful character development, high quality computer-generated imagery (CGI) and intense fighting make this movie a must-watch for anyone looking for constant suspense and action. Loosely based on the 1986 video game series of the same name, Rampage depicts the story of primatologist Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson) and George the gorilla (Jason Liles). In the wake of a rogue genetic experiment gone wrong, George, along with other animals, become infected with a pathogen that causes them to grow in strength, size, and aggressiveness. After the pathogen’s developer, Energyne, emit a radio signal to attract all three animals to Chicago, the newly mutated monsters wreak havoc on the city as Okoye attempts to both save George from the pathogen as

well as the entire city from the monsters. To put it bluntly, Rampage is lacking in many aspects for a movie. The plot is extremely weak, as the reason for Energyne developing such a pathogen in the first place goes largely unexplained. The movie is also wholly unrealistic at times, especially in its explanation of the monster’s genetic mutations — think of any superpower trait, multiply that effect by a hundred times, and that’s just about what the genetically mutated monsters possess. Character development is lackluster too. Okoye frequently expresses that he feels more comfortable among animals than humans, so one would expect him to be slightly closed off to the people around him — yet he is anything but. Other characters are also excessively one-dimensional, often being associated with only one goal. Black and white is very clearly defined for everyone, and ultimately this movie boils down to the frequently used good versus evil type of story with no frills of any kind. So, does this make Rampage not a

worthwhile movie to watch? No, not at all. The beauty in Rampage is that it recognizes that this movie won’t be winning any Oscars soon. Instead, Rampage embraces its identity as an action-packed fighting movie. And in that regard, it absolutely delivers. Perhaps the most impressive part of the entire film is the spectacular CGI that lead to the creation of wonderfully detailed and aesthetic monsters. Fighting scenes are also a sure crowdpleaser with cars, humans, and planes alike being tossed around with impunity by the giant monsters. All of this is on full display in one scene where the mutant wolf is first introduced and wipes out an entire troop of soldiers who are ordered to neutralize it. Overall, the fast paced and explosive battles are definitely the main draw of the movie. Although Rampage has its flaws, it more than makes up for it with its beautifully animated action scenes. To anyone who enjoys watching dramatic battles and fighting, this movie is a must-watch. ▪ Rating: B-

Music review KALI UCHIS

By Shray Vaidya Staff Writer Most people hadn’t heard of Kali Uchis before she was featured on Daniel Caesar’s hit song “Get You.” Now, after racking up experience from touring with Lana Del Rey and working with artists like Tyler, the Creator and Gorillaz, Uchis presents her debut album Isolation. In it, Uchis seeks to define her music style and establish a foothold in the competitive R&B industry. And she certainly has. Isolation is bubbling with a unique blend of reggae, soul, jazz, and classic R&B tunes that one would be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. It’s a perfect follow up to her 2015 EP Por Vida, where the same bedroom pop and laid-back vibes that irradiate Isolation can be found. The introductory track, “Body Language,” is a surreal trip to Rio de Janeiro with its Brazilian jazz background music, accompanied by Uchis’ lilting vocals as she softly sings about her lover. It invokes an image of a lazy beach day, and it’s a relaxing way to kick off the album. This easygoing atmosphere can be felt throughout Isolation, especially on songs like “Tomorrow” where Uchis croons about putting off problems until later, or “Flight 22,” in which Uchis spins a story of taking a vacation with her significant other. Uchis is a Colombian-American, and her Latin American roots certainly come into play on this album. “Nuestro Planeta” features Colombian singer Reykon, and despite being sung entirely in Spanish, it surprisingly does not disrupt the flow of the album. It’s not the only time Uchis interjects Spanish into a song either: “Tyrant,” one of Isolation’s lead singles, has a few Spanish verses sprinkled throughout as she and Jorja Smith sing about being hopelessly in love and letting a lover past their defenses. Many of Isolation’s 15 tracks have features, contributions, or productions from other artists, but there is no doubt that Uchis is the star of the show. Her commendable range is used to its fullest extent here, which is a clear improvement from Por Vida, where oftentimes tracks would blend together with no real vocal defining factor. While that problem does sometimes reemerge on Isolation, it is for a different reason; ultimately, many of the beats and basslines used on the record tend to blur together. On its own, it isn’t a big deal, but when listening to the entire album at a stretch, it can lead to a somewhat repetitive experience. Still, Uchis’ vocals, the exceptional use of synths, and the stellar features throughout the album more than make up for any lost charm . Lyrically, Isolation does not stand out much, save for a few exceptional moments. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Uchis’ music lacks meaning; rather, she relies more on delivery and passion to convey emotion. It’s a risky move that has paid off well for Uchis. Her frustrated tone in “Dead To Me” makes a listener understand the struggles of dealing with a clingy ex, and the hazy, dreamlike quality of her voice in “In My Dreams” reveals her desire for an idyllic lifestyle. Isolation pushes the boundaries of traditional R&B, creating a listening experience that transports an audience directly into the mindset of Uchis herself and leaves one wanting more. On “Miami,” Uchis sings the line “Live fast and never die, I’m moving at the speed of light,” and she truly is, rocketing her way to the top of the list of up-and-coming artists. ▪ Rating: A-


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Friday, May 4, 2018

Vance Joy’s concert Proves he’s More Than a One Hit Wonder Vance Joy, an Australian indie pop singer and songwriter, performed at UC Berkeley’s Hearst Greek Theatre on April 13. The show was the beginning of his Nation of Two World Tour promoting his new album of the same name, released on February 23. The artist, born James Keogh, is best known for his singles “Riptide” and “Saturday Sun.” The Hearst Greek Theatre features an outdoor stone-made stadium-like seating with a large pit at the center positioned in front of the stage. This allowed for easy access to seats, naturally amplified acoustics, and a casual, picnic atmosphere. Los Angeles based alternative band lovelytheband opened the concert with a set containing a cover of Bob Marley’s “Is this Love” that the crowd clearly loved. After a few lively and spirited songs played to an audience still filing in, the band closed their set with their popular single “broken,” with some of the crowd singing along. Joy himself stepped on stage accompanied by vibrant red and yellow lights from a custom light rig behind him that pulsated with the beat and his signature acoustic guitar. He opened with “Call If You Need Me,” from his new album, alone before his band joined him. Beyond the usual instruments of keyboard, bass guitar, and drums, Joy’s live band also featured a trumpet and trombone player, and a ukulele played by the artist himself. He bantered with the audience considerably, introducing the backing band, regaling the story behind certain songs, and laughing together with the audience when

By Samir Jain & Jennifer Xiang Staff Writers

Vance Joy performs at UC Berkeley’s Hearst Greek Theatre on April 13 for his Nation of Two World Tour.

he forgot the lyrics. The band switched to a stripped-down acoustic setup for his songs “Little Boy” and “Bonnie & Clyde.” Afterwards, Joy performed a cover medley that included “Sorry” by Justin Bieber, an addition that surprised and excited the audience. Visuals based on the cover art of Nation of Two, a self-contained couple lying on the ground, played in various colors on screens between the aforementioned lights during songs from the album. Though the setup of the lighting rig, which consisted of ten white panels with lights throughout, was certainly unique, the colors and pulsations occasionally

created an atmosphere better suited for an EDM show than a folksy singer-songwriter’s performance. Most of the time, however, the lighting favorably accentuated Joy’s habit of mostly standing still while performing, working especially well in the calm of heartfelt ballads. Joy’s music, seemingly unknown to the majority of the audience save for his singles, featured lyrically beautiful love ballads alternating with deftly written love anthems. The venue’s acoustics made the former songs seem intensely intimate and the latter impactful. Joy opted out of the traditional encore, instead ending his eclectic set directly

with his three most popular songs. The audience’s cheers reverberated throughout the venue from the first chord of “Riptide.” Next, he played “Lay It On Me,” and ended his show with “Saturday Sun,” which even the furthest-away spectators sang along to. With his heart-wrenchingly personal vocals accompanying his trademark acoustic guitar style, Joy ended the night on a high note, proving that his songs are here to stay for good. ▪


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PRICE 2.5/5 A single smoothie with a water base costs $6.95 while changing the base to either coconut water or almond milk adds an extra $0.75. The average cost of a 12 ounce smoothie at other smoothie bars is around $4.50, placing RawASF’s smoothies on the steep end. The other selections offered are smoothie bowls, which cost $11.95 each, making them another expensive choice. Although the food is pricey compared to most snack bars, all smoothies are organic, made of 100 percent natural ingredients, dairyfree, GMO-free, and don’t contain any artificial preservatives or flavoring. The ingredients used in their food are more expensive when bought separately, making the prices worth the cost for quality. RawASF is the perfect place for you to get an occasional healthy snack or drink.

By Rishi Chillara & Shreya Sridhar Staff Writers

The Smoke Signal reviewed the newest health food restaurant in the bay, Raw and Super Foods (RawASF) located at 102 Dixon Road, Milpitas, CA 95035. RawASF, a self-titled “superfoods bar,” provides customers with a unique selection of healthy smoothies and fruit açaí bowls.


RawASF seating area features couches andaesthetic decorations.

AMBIANCE 5/5 Although the street view of RawASF is nothing out of the ordinary, the interior is anything but. With nature-themed decor, the walls, tabletops, and chairs are all made of wood, with a terrarium placed on each tabletop. One wall features an illuminated “RawASF” sign made out of shrubury, perfect for customers to take pictures under. Another wall has a huge mural, further adding to the artsy and relaxing vibe. There are cushioned chairs with tables similar to those at coffee shops, making it the ideal place to work or study. To help with decluttering, the restaurant’s tables and booths are spread out in the large room. All the countertops and tables are very clean, with the waiters cleaning up right after you finish your food.


An açaí fruit bowl, one of RawASF’s products.


RawASF’s Green Skinny Mango ingredients.

Arts & Entertainment 21

The staff were one of the most enjoyable aspects of the visit, helping customers choose drinks and explaining the menu to anyone who was confused. The cashier explained the difference between their types of smoothies, such as Energizer + Focus, which has natural caffeine from its ingredients, and Skin Health, which uses antioxidants and micronutrients to nourish the skin. Patrons won’t need to wait long in line to order, as the superfoods bar is relatively uncrowded. After ordering, the staff creates the smoothies and bowls surprisingly fast and delivers them directly to the table, allowing customers to relax and enjoy their drinks.

While RawASF is primarily known for their smoothies, they also offer smoothie bowls, filled with either a base of fruit açaí or sorbet and toppings ranging from banana chips to hemp granola. They self-categorized their drinks into a variety of groups, all aimed at improving a particular part of the body. Despite the smoothies having a variety of contrasting ingredients, one ingredient’s flavor overpowers the rest in every drink, allowing for only a onedimensional taste. The smoothies are smooth in texture and perfectly chilled, making them a pleasure to drink. The bowls have a more complex flavor, combining the smoothness of the base with the crunchiness of the toppings. PHOTOS BY STAFF WRITERS RISHI CHILLARA & SHREYA SRIDHAR, RAWASF.COM

By Shiantel Chiang & Kikue Higuchi Staff Writers

Live action and emotion, well-developed characters, beautifully designed sets, and complex plots encompass the unique and cathartic experience of watching a theater production. The Smoke Signal compiled a list of local theaters and production companies around the Bay Area that uphold the breathtaking artistry of live theater.

StarStruck Theatre is the only year-round, nonprofit, all-youth theater program in the Tri-City area. Their main focus is providing educational opportunities and experience to aspiring young actors. Their next production, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” will begin in August of 2018.

The budding Utopia Theatre Project aims to promote artist-produced theater to connect with audiences and build a sense of community. Utopia produces shows written by local playwrights featuring Bay Area actors. The small theater addresses social issues in many of its plays; their recent production of “Stories from Silence: #metoo” was a response to sexual assault scandals surfacing at the time. They also reproduce traditional theater with modern twists, such as their adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s play “The Seagull.”

The Berkeley Playhouse focuses on productions that promote community, diversity, inclusion, and empowerment. The theater has a professional division (the Playhouse) and youth division (the Conservatory). The Conservatory puts on all-youth productions that run alongside the Playhouse’s professional productions. They also offer classes on acting, singing, dancing, and technical theater. Their 2017-18 season is ending with “James and the Giant Peach,” which closes on May 6, and “Grease,” which opens on June 22.

Shorenstein Hays Nederlander (SHN) Orpheum Theatre brings Broadway to the Bay Area. Past productions include “Aladdin” and “The Lion King,” which received positive reviews from many critics, including the Smoke Signal. “The Color Purple,” a musical revival based on the novel of the same name by Alice Walker, opened on May 1.

Broadway West Theatre Company has been performing for the Fremont community for the past 21 years, producing 133 full-length productions and six variety shows. Their shows exhibit a wide variety of genres including comedy thrillers and mysteries, as well as the memorable adaptation of “Antigone” that concluded in April. The theater will close after the end of this year and be replaced by Made-Up Theatre. Although this year is their final season, Broadway West will hold four more shows including their upcoming comedy production, “All in the Timing,” starting May 11.

Centered in the San Francisco area, Landmark Musical Theatre brings different historical eras into their musical productions. The company earned popularity when they decided to bring their production of “Tomfoolery” to a bigger city after its success at Santa Clara Players, a performing arts theater in Santa Clara. Past shows include their 2017 rock musical “HAiR,” which captured the social and sexual revolution of the 1960s, and their 2016 pop-genre musical “Every Christmas Story Ever Told.” Their next season begins on May 12 at Shelton Theater near Union Square, presenting the famous musical romance “The Fantasticks.” GRAPHICS BY SWEETCLIPART.COM, CLIPARTMAG.COM

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Alternate Exercises By Shivani Avasarala, Arpita Gaggar, Ian Hsu & Kelly Yang Staff Writers

Tai Chi

Tai chi is a Chinese martial art that exercises both the body and mind. Although originally practiced as a form of self-defense, tai chi has evolved into a low-impact exercise that is often called “meditation in motion.” In tai chi, the practitioner performs a series of slow, gentle movements that require mental focus and relaxation. This exercise is said to circulate the body’s chi, a person’s life energy, and both reduces stress and improves physical health. Body & Brain Tai Chi in Fremont and Tai Chi Kung Fu in Milpitas are two local studios that offer classes with certified instructors.

Meditation Meditation is a practice that utilizes the practitioner’s mental focus to achieve a calm and clear mind. While meditating, the individual either focuses on an idea or object or allows their thoughts to wander freely. During guided meditation, students respond to a trainer’s guidance to bring inner peace to themselves. Meditation yields various benefits, including deeper relaxation and emotional serenity. Art of Living Foundation and Sahaja Yoga Meditation are two studios in Fremont that provide guided meditation sessions.

Yoga Yoga is a physical, mental, and emotional discipline that improves both bodily and spiritual health. Through simple meditation, breathing techniques, and a variety of stretches and postures, yoga practitioners can improve their flexibility and relax their minds. By coordinating breath control with physical movements, yoga is known to not only improve people’s physical health but also reduce their stress. Nadis Yoga and Bikram Hot Yoga in Fremont supply guided classes for both yoga beginners and veterans.

As summer approaches, more and more people are seen out jogging, lifting weights, and swimming. While these mainstream exercises are beneficial to health, there are many lesser-known exercises and workouts that are just as rewarding. In order to shed light on some of these practices, the Smoke Signal compiled a few alternate exercises to help everyone tone their bodies and minds.


Pilates is a physical fitness routine composed of controlled movements using apparatus, breathing techniques, and mental concentration. During this exercise, all movements should be connected and performed at a constant, flowing pace. Many Pilates trainers refer to the center of the body, the abdomen, as the source of power, and all movement should stem from this group of muscles. Unlike other exercises, Pilates both relaxes and tones numerous muscles within the body. When practiced consistently, Pilates improves flexibility, muscle tone, and balance. IMX Pilates & Fitness and Club Pilates in Fremont both offer classes that work to strengthen and tone one’s body.

Gyrotronics Gyrotonics is a unique system of exercise that incorporates movement principles from yoga, dance, gymnastics, swimming, and tai chi, emphasizing rotational and spiraling movements. T h e gyrotonics workout addresses every single part of your body, stimulating the nervous system and clearing the energy pathways throughout the body. The constant spiraling, curling, arching, breathing, and overall fluid movement in gyrotonics help rid the body of excess lymph fluids and internal waste. It helps increase flexibility and strength, as well as improves spinal health and posture. Regular practice builds coordination, agility, balance, and core strength. Urban Body San Jose provides classes and equipment for those interested in trying out Gyrotonics.


24 Sports


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Friday, May 4, 2018

Baseball clutches victory over Independence, 6-5 By Rishi Chillara Staff Writer

Varsity Baseball faced Independence High School in a home game on Monday, April 9. In an extremely close match, MSJ emerged victorious by one run, winning 6-5 on a walk-off double. The first and second innings of the game were stagnant, with neither team able to score. Pitcher Sophomore Rishi Viswanathan consistently pitched two strikes before Independence batters were able to get on base, and the Warriors wrapped up the first half of the inning with a force out. In the bottom half of the first inning, MSJ was unable to get on base as all their hits were immediately caught by Independence’s tight defense. In the second inning, communication and teamwork between MSJ’s infield and outfield forced Independence to quickly get three outs, including one strikeout. Despite a great defensive half, through

the rest of the inning the Warriors were unable to escape their previous batting trend, with all three batters flying out. With both teams looking to gain any possible advantage, runners began attempting to steal bases. Quick throws between MSJ’s Third Baseman Junior Austin Chen and First Baseman Junior Michael Bettencourt allowed them to effectively counter ground balls to both sides of the field. By the fourth inning, the score was still tied at 0-0. Independence managed to gain the lead after MSJ overthrew to second base, allowing enough time for a runner on third base to tag home plate. In response, the Warriors quickly got the next two batters out but were unable to score in the bottom of the inning. Due to the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) pitch limit of 110 pitches a week per pitcher, Viswanathan was replaced

Pitcher Sophomore Rishi Viswanathan pitches the ball.

First Baseman Junior Michael Bettencourt bats the ball.

by Senior Teg Singh. At the beginning of the fifth inning, Independence was able to score the second run of the game, despite the efforts of Catcher Sophomore Brandyn Roberts, who collided with the runner at home plate before they were ultimately ruled safe. Now down 0-2 in the bottom of the fifth, MSJ tied the game by scoring two runs, the first by Chen and the second by Sophomore Andy Yang after Independence’s catcher dropped a pitch. MSJ continued this momentum through the sixth inning by quickly getting all Independence batters out and scoring another two runs. MSJ went into the seventh and last inning clutching a 4-2 lead. They quickly racked up two outs on Independence, but an overthrown pass to first and a walked batter, saw Independence scoring three more runs to take the lead, 5-4. Junior Apurv Prabhakar was called in as a relief pitcher for the rest of the game and

MSJ fielded a force out to finish the half. Down 4-5, the Warriors were able to get three runners on base, receiving two outs in the process. With bases loaded and palpable tension in the air, Captain Senior Clark Wey stepped up to bat. The audience and dugouts were silent as Wey assumed his position. He scored a walk-off double, a double that gives the home team the win in the bottom of the last inning, immediately ending the game and allowing MSJ to claim victory. The Warriors hope to continue refining their skills and to carry the momentum of this victory into future games. “We have some solid talent and a fighting chance in MVAL. We won our first league game against Moreau and if we continue this level of play, we’ll be winning a lot more,” said Prabhakar. “It’s been a few years since Mission Baseball has brought home some glory, but our guys this year are bent upon changing that.” ▪










Diversity, and the lack of it, in sports By Kikue Higuchi Staff Writer

Every day, athletes push their limits in order to compete against their peers and reach their goals. Although sports encourage competition, they also promote a sense of harmony between athletes, teams, and even countries. Sports teams build small communities, while major competitions, like the Olympics, can help bring together an entire nation by creating a common cause that everyone can support. However, despite the solidarity that sports are meant to promote, racial prejudice is still prevalent within all types of sports, preventing minorities and sports as a whole from reaching their full potential. Phrases like “table tennis is for Asians” and “African-Americans can’t swim” are thrown around and accepted as norms within the sports world. Comments like these along with other forms of explicit and implicit racism create a hostile environment for many minorities and can hinder their success. These prejudiced ideas are based on illusions of racial superiority that savors strongly of outdated logic that is contradicted every day. There are several minorities who have excelled at sports that are “not meant for them” or “unconventional.” Athletes like Simone Manuel, a four-time Olympic medalist in swimming, and Jeremy Lin, Brooklyn Nets point guard, are making waves in their respective sports, despite being minorities facing racial discrimination. While playing college level basketball, Lin faced blatant racism and discrimination from others. This discrimination even interfered with his game play and prevented him from performing well. In an interview with Randy Foye on Foye’s podcast Outside Shot, Lin said “The worst was at Cornell, when I was being called a chink … That game, I ended up playing terrible and get-

ting a couple of charges and doing real out-of-character stuff.” The discrimination Lin experienced was an obvious obstacle to his success and created a negative climate. Racial barriers exist on a more subtle level as well. When Manuel became known as “the African-American swimmer,” she responded on her blog for Essence, writing, “When I’m referred to as an Afri-

“When I’m referred to as an African-American Olympic swimmer, it makes it seem as though it’s not supposed to be done, which isn’t true.”


can-American Olympic swimmer, it makes it seem as though it’s not supposed to be done, which isn’t true. I work just as hard as anybody, I love the sport and I want to win just like everybody else.” Race shouldn’t be seen as an advantage or disadvantage in any sport — in fact, it shouldn’t even be seen as a factor in an athlete’s success. Racism, in any form, helps build up a detrimental environment for minorities and can discourage them from even attempting a sport. Because of stereotyping, minorities are prevented from unleashing their true potential, and competition within sports becomes stagnant. Diversity can only strengthen game play and bring all sports to a higher level of competition. If more people join a sport there are more ways to innovate and more skills to work with, which can only upgrade the game play. Furthermore, minorities are setting records and changing sports history for the better every day. For example, the Shibutani siblings became the first ice dancers of Asian descent to win an Olympic medal, and 2018 World


As an Asian-American basketball player, Jeremy Lin faced racial discrimination during college recruiting.

Champion figure skater Nathan Chen is currently the first, and only, figure skater performing with five different types of quadruple jumps. In addition, sports should always be used to bring different people together and promote a sense of solidarity and community, but this is impossible while racial divisions prevent minorities

from succeeding or simply participating. Although the racial barriers in the sports world are slowly being broken down, there is still a long way to go before the sports world becomes the inclusive community it needs to be. Homogeneity in sports should always be discouraged to create higher levels of competition and unlock hidden potential. ▪

Friday, May 4, 2018

The Smoke Signal


athlete hall of fame Ever wondered about the list of names bordering the interior of the gym quad walls? The Smoke Signal satisfies your curiosity with a flowchart on the process of induction, as well as voices from athletes and coaches featured on the Hall of Fame.

1. request for nominations Thomsen sends out a request for Hall of Fame nominations through social media, bulletins, and emails to try to reach out to as many generations of people as possible.

2. application sent out An application is sent out, which allows people to nominate athletes, coaches, or any other individuals who contributed in different ways to the MSJ athletics program. Athletes are nominated for their athletic achievements at MSJ, in college, or on national teams. Coaches, who serve as vital mentors for MSJ athletes, can be nominated as well. Meritorious award nominations go to passionate supporters of the athletic program and do not necessarily have to be coaches. For example, former teacher Jack Alberti was a regular supporter at MSJ sports games, and he even started a social dance class at MSJ. Former fine arts teacher and football coach Edward “Bud” Finley served as a mentor for countless student-athletes, and he even helped to produce trophies, awards, backdrops, and other items made in his woodshop class.

“There are so many great athletes who have gone through the school and to be able to be honored as one of them was a surprise ... It was interesting because a little bit after the induction I was walking with my kids and my dog through the school and I happened to see my name in the gym; it was really cool to have that as my mark on the school.” — Kevin Tan, Olympic bronze medalist and Class of 2000

Sports 25

By Joelle Chuang & Praveen Nair Staff Writers

background The MSJ Athletic Hall of Fame, established by PE Teacher Pete Vaz in 2003, showcases student athletes, coaches, and individuals who made significant contributions to the athletic program. This induction is the highest honor MSJ bestows upon athletes; as Athletic Director Tom Thomsen said, “... a lot of [them] gave a lot of time, commitment, and effort ... to be acknowledged for that is pretty cool.” Vaz said, “My goal was for people to be honored and [to] let their names live on.” According to Thomsen, the Hall of Fame is updated every two to four years. In the last ceremony, held in June 2015, 29 individuals were honored for their contributions to MSJ athletics, including 22 athletes spanning five decades, five coaches, and two meritorious award winners. For now, Thomsen is projecting the next Hall of Fame ceremony to take place in spring of 2019, with the nomination and induction process beginning at the start of the next school year.

“When I look at the names, what I like most about it is that I know a lot of those people. I also think it’s good for the kids to see it, because it keeps sports as a part of our tradition.” — Physical Education Teacher Jack Marden, Cross Country coach and former Track and Field coach, only individual to be inducted as both an athlete and coach

3. committee chooses inductees

4. informing inductees

5. hall of fame banquet Inductees are recognized at the Hall of Fame Banquet, which takes place at a local banquet hall. At the banquet, inductees are invited to give a short speech, and they are presented with commemorative items such as mugs or shirts. The inductees’ names are also painted onto the gym quad wall to become a part of the Hall of Fame history.

Thomsen contacts the inductees and invites them to the Hall of Fame banquet. On their reactions to getting nominated, Thomsen said “Some of them are taken back, like ‘Are you kidding me? This is the greatest thing in the world!’”

Thomsen organizes a committee to choose around 15 inductees out of all of the nominations. He said, “Most of people that are in the Hall of Fame have done things that are above and beyond just being a good athlete.” While some inductees continued their athletic careers after high school, others have gone on to pursue non-athletic careers, including serving in the military, taking on leadership roles in companies, and working in the medical field.

Boys’ Volleyball crushes Kennedy: 25-10, 25-18, 25-13 By Ashni Mathuria Staff Writer In a quick three sets on Wednesday, April 18, Boys’ Volleyball triumphed over Kennedy High School. MSJ won 25-10, 25-18, and 25-12 in their fourth win of the season. MSJ began the game with a lot of energy, communicating efficiently on the court and cheering loudly on the bench. Their energy propelled them to quickly gain a large lead over the Titans, prompting Kennedy to call a timeout at the score 13-4. While strong blockers such as Middle Blocker Freshman Shawn Hsu shut down the opponent’s offense, hitters such as Co-Captains Right Side Hitter Senior Eric Li and Outside Hitter Junior Austin Yu overpowered the Titans’ defense. Li’s excitement as he scored blocks, kills, and aces helped keep the team’s overall energy strong through the first set. While MSJ’s energy remained high through the beginning of the second set, in the middle of the second set, MSJ began to have issues with communication, creating an outlet for Kennedy to close the point gap. However, MSJ ran plays such as crosses — an offensive maneuver in which the middle blocker pretends to hit the ball but allows the outside hitter to spike it instead — to confuse the other team. Li, who replaced Hsu as middle blocker during the second set, helped execute these plays. Setter Freshman Robin Liu’s smart playcalling kept MSJ’s lead over Kennedy and helped guide MSJ to victory in the second set. Meanwhile, consistent passes from Libero Junior Wesley Hiroto kept MSJ’s defense strong throughout the second set. The team changed their lineup during the third set, switching their libero, a specialized defensive player who does not need to rotate, to Sophomore Shawn Gao and moving Hiroto to play outside hitter. Hsu returned to the court to play middle blocker along with Senior Oscar Wang and continued his blocking streak, boosting team morale. Liu served as the backbone of the team with his consistent sets and smart decisions. Twice he gained

Setter Freshman Robin Liu jump sets the ball for Middle Blocker Senior Nihaal Gill to hit.

impressive kills from pretending to set the ball but instead turning and spiking it with his left hand at the last moment. After the game, Li said, “Tonight [Liu] was a monster, directing the offense and controlling the defense.” While the hitters on the team scored outstanding kills and blocks, it was undoubtedly Liu’s keen sets that led the team to victory. Other players, such as Wang, whom Coach Thien Nguyen mentioned as a highlight of the match, kept the team’s energy high by stepping up to perform new roles. “Oscar is one of our middles, and he usually doesn’t serve, but he served today and got an ace,” he explained. Wang’s un-

expected ace incited resounding cheers from the team and the audience in the third set. Despite MSJ’s win, both Li and Nguyen agree that the team still has a long way to go. “Even though we won, [tonight] showed that we have a lot of flaws that we need to work on. We didn’t play as cleanly as we could have, and I think that... [the boys] have a lot of things they could do better,” said Nguyen. In the future, Nguyen wants the team to “play with a hundred percent focus all the time, [have] better consistency, and work hard for the points that they earn.” Similarly, Li believed that aspects of the game could have


gone better. He said that the team needs to work on “a lot of communication ... we don’t really connect with each other on the court.” As the team plays through MVAL and fights for a place in the NCS Championship Tournament, they expect to face a considerable amount of opposition from strong teams such as James Logan High School and Moreau Catholic High School. However, if Wednesday’s game against Kennedy is any indication, MSJ’s cohesion and energy will spur the team to success. ▪

26 Special


The Smoke Signal

Friday, May 4, 2018

Past surveys and analysis By Joelle Chuang, Christine Dong, Toshali Goel, Katherine Guo & Karen Li Staff Writers

Background info

Stanford Survey

Junior Kevin Chen has collaborated with a research group at UC Santa Cruz since December 2017 to “learn more about the decision making process behind academic cheating in order to better understand the student perspective.” He conducted anonymous interviews of 21 MSJ students to find out the thoughts and motivations behind their cheating behavior. Chen’s findings allowed him to learn more about MSJ students’ mindsets while engaging in cheating, which could provide important insight into how to help combat the cheating issue. Chen is still in the process of conducting interviews.

MSJ participated in the the Stanford Survey of Adolescent School Experiences at the end of the 2016-17 school year. Challenge Success, an organization that provides schools with research-based tools to create a balanced student life and a fulfilling learning environment, provided the survey. This was MSJ’s third time participating in the survey — the previous times were in 2007 and 2010. The survey aimed to provide staff and administration with concrete data to combat issues with student behavior. Past survey data was also collected from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges report MSJ submitted in March 2017.

prevalent forms 24% of students copied another’s homework 4 or more times


Students reported three significantly prevalent forms of cheating in the 2017 Stanford survey. 79 percent of students have worked on an assignment with others when the instructor asked for individual work; 60 percent of students have copied someone else’s homework; and 57 percent of students have received questions or answers from someone who had already taken the test. At least 20 percent of all students have engaged in each of these forms of cheating four or more times.


paraphrased a site without citation 4 or more times



of students have

of students have

help on a test

help on a test


The average student tends to “shortcut” assignments and depend on peers rather than external resources.

the sharpest declines paraphrasing without citation (more than once) has dropped from 53% to 25%

has dropped from 19% to 4%





of students have copied another student’s test without their knowledge

of students have copied another student’s test with their knowledge

The data shows that cheating has evolved over the years or that the incidence of self-reporting has decreased. Instead of using physical items to assist on exams, cheating has now shifted towards less physical forms such as copying from another student.

Cheat sheet use (more than once) 2007

UC Santa Cruz Survey


The data suggests that cheating once the test starts is often not a group activity; rather, it is more focused on individual success. Students are more likely to cheat off of another student without getting the other student’s permission than work with another student to cheat together.

64% of students thought their actions

were okay while in the act

37% of students thought their actions

were okay looking back

overall analysis

Students tend to depend more on peers rather than external sources, such as websites or reference books. This could be the result of several factors: an increase in the use of online anti-plagiarism tools and the subsequent risk of being caught, or the convenience of asking a friend for their assignment., a plagiarism-detection service launched in 1997, has surged in popularity since its creation, with teachers in more than 110 countries using the resource to encourage authentic work. Online plagiarism detectors eliminate options to claim existing work, sometimes causing students to turn to their peers for help. Additionally, when students complete work in classrooms, class rules regulating the use of technology prevents them from copying material from digital sources, which may also lead to peer dependency.


Overall, the incidence of self-admitted academic dishonesty as per the Stanford Survey results from 2007, 2010, and 2017 is declining. The only category with irregularity was “Using electronic/digital device as an unauthorized aid during a test or examination,” which increased from 8 percent to 10 percent in 2010 and fell down to 3 percent in 2017 in terms of people who claimed

they have used this method of cheating more than once. This could indicate that as technological devices grew more and more sophisticated, students were more likely to use their devices to assist them on tests — however, stricter regulations regarding technology in the classroom could have led to this method’s lack of prevalence in 2017.


Students are eager to avoid assignments that they feel will add little value to their learning experience, and classify them as “busywork.” In a 2012 interview with HuffPost, Challenge Success Co-founder Denise Pope, Ph.D., said, “Research shows that students cheat more when they believe that grades and performance are valued in their classrooms and less when they believe that

learning, deep understanding, and mastery are valued.” Assignments that they can complete without much thought or analysis tend to be more likely cheating targets for this reason. For such assignments, students view cheating and genuinely completing the assignment as equal in educational value, so they pick the option that’s more time-efficient.

teacher survey analysis Based on the results from an optional, emailed MSJ teacher survey from last month that received 26 responses, cheating has emerged as routine. The majority of the teachers who responded witness students cheating at least a few times each week. The majority of the responses are from English teachers, who note the constant increase of plagiarism issues. Even in non-academic classes such as physical education, teachers catch students trying to cut down the workload; cheaters often run only three-fourths of the laps needed per mile and plagiarize their written reports. As a result,

staff and faculty have generated different methods to combat cheating. Teachers create various test versions with different questions to ensure that students who received answers from peers in previous periods do not have an unfair advantage. In order to reduce cheating in the long run, teachers also provide as many resources as possible to help students, creating an empowering and positive classroom community to increase trust. From the perspective of faculty, the major reason for why students cheat is because of peer, parental, and personal expectations. LAYOUT AND COVERAGE LED BY NEWS EDITORS GLORIA CHANG & ANDREW KAN

Friday, May 4, 2018

The Smoke Signal

Special 27


National Comparisons

By Kikue Higuchi & Anisa Kundu Staff Writers

How does academic dishonesty at MSJ compare to the national average? The Smoke Signal drew from a range of accreditted national studies and surveys to compare and contrast MSJ students’ cheating habits to those of students nationwide.


95% said they participated in some form of cheating

*According to Rutgers University Professor Donald McCabe, Ph.D.,’s survey of more than 70,000 high school students in the United States.

This data leads back to an idea that is now becoming incredibly common amongst students in the nation, according to Open Education Database’s article on cheating statistics: those who engage in academic dishonesty are able to maintain a higher average GPA, nationally around 3.41, while those who do not suffer a significantly lower average GPA, nationally around 2.85. As a result of this significant difference, many students across the nation and at MSJ may continue to engage in academic dishonesty.



admitted to plagarism

of cheaters don’t get caught

*According to the Ad Council and Educational Testing Service


According to the 2017 Stanford survey, 60 percent of MSJ students admitted to copying another student’s homework at least once.

According to a 2010 survey of high school students conducted by the Center for Youth Ethics at the Josephson Institute,

admitted to cheating on a test

The Center for Youth Ethics at the Josephson Institute also found that:


of high school students admitted to cheating on a test during the last year

82% -VS- 60%/25% 25 percent of MSJ students admitted to copying off another student’s test at least once.

“copied another student’s work at least once in the past year.”

Percentage of general public vs. college officials that think cheating is a serious issue


admitted to cheating on a test more than two times during the last year

In an ABC News Primetime poll of 12-to-17-year-olds, 90 percent said that “cheaters will lose out in the long run” while only 56 percent of MSJ students make a similar statement saying that “cheating is never justifiable,” according to the Smoke Signal’s previous coverage in 2014. In addition, a common pattern observed through several national surveys is that cheaters often go unpunished. MSJ students seem to agree, with 34 percent believing that the cheating policies at MSJ should be more strict, according to the same survey.

General Public 41% College Officials 34%

College officials are 7% less concerned about cheating than the general public

*According to the Ad Council and Educational Testing Service

MSJ students’ self reported cheating behavior from 2007, 2010, and 2017 Stanford Surveys 2007 66%



Cheating trends at MSJ are varied, but they exhibit an overall declining trend.* Some reporting of behaviors has increased in frequency over the years while others have decreased, some differences are dramatic while others are slight. For example, self-reported copying from another student during a test with his or her knowledge went down by 10 percent from 2010 to 2017 while copying material and turning it in as one’s own work has increased by three percent from 2010 to 2017. However, despite the variations, getting questions or answers from someone who has already taken the test was the most frequent for all three years.

57% 53%

49% 41%

43% 36% 30% 27%


24% 21%

19% 16%



17% 14% 11%


13% 10%


11% 7%

Getting questions or answers from someone who has already taken the test.

Receiving unpermitted help on an assignment. *N/A for 2017

Helping someone else cheat on a test.

Turning in a paper copied from another student, whether or not the student is currently taking the course.

Copying from another student during a test without his or her knowledge.

Copying from another student during a test with his or her knowledge.

Using a false or forged excuse to obtain an extension on a due date or delay in taking an exam.

Copying material, almost word for word, from any source and turning it in as your own work.

8% 5%

Turning in work done by someone else.

10% 7%

Using electronic device as an unauthorized aid during a test or examination.

*Percentages based on students reporting they have done these behaviors once or more. These behaviors are self-reported: some students may not admit to cheating, possibly skewing results.


28 Special


The Smoke Signal

Friday, May 4, 2018

student and teacher voices Compiled By Michael Ren, Evie Sun & Shray Vaidya Staff Writers

From Students:

Responses were gathered from a Facebook-posted anonymous survey opened on April 14 and closed on April 22. The form received a total of 70 responses.

In what ways do students cheat? “Cheaters proactively talk to each other to help each other, bribe their friends to just give them their homework after they do it, hide notes in their calculators, hide their phones behind the person in front of them, and find answers during a test.” — Junior “When your friends are cheating, you feel like it’s okay to do it too because if so many people are doing it, it can’t be that bad, right? After all, you’re probably being graded on the same scale and with the same curve, so you might as well take every advantage you can get.” — Sophomore

Why might a student see cheating as acceptable?

“It’s an easy way to get the grades they want. The ends justify the means.” — Sophomore

“They’re desperate for good grades to reach their parents’ expectations or feel equal to their peers or friends who may have amazing grades. It’s just the whole environment here at Mission that’s pressuring for good grades. It’s how so many teachers never catch on or care if they see something suspicious. Some don’t even look at what the students turn in in the first place.” — Freshman “To be honest, I don’t feel like I am some moral compass or anything, so don’t follow me as an example. I feel that cheating may be acceptable to even the playing field when everyone else is cheating. You would be at an unfair disadvantage and to be honest who would like seeing an F on their exam despite putting all your effort into it when others who put in about the same or less effort and cheated got a better grade on the test.” — Sophomore “While understandable, it’s really difficult to determine when cheating is acceptable. For example, stealing is considered terrible, but people who steal meager rations to avoid starvation are often pitied. Cheating isn’t life or death, but students will put all their efforts into maintaining the 4.0, and cheating is just a last ditch effort for such students.” — Sophomore

When might a student see cheating as acceptable?

“If conditions become extremely unfair within a classroom, I think it would be, for the short term, acceptable to cheat if possible. However, the preference is to find a solution to said conditions. Otherwise, it is never actually acceptable to cheat on any schoolwork.” — Junior

“I think cheating on homework is much more excusable in classes where the work is unreasonably heavy, or when teachers deliberately give out solutions for students to check their answers; however, the impetus for learning rests heavily on the students and it is ultimately up to them to be responsible for understanding the material when using cheating as a shortcut.” — Senior

From Teachers:

Each of the following anonymous voices were selected from responses that were gathered from nine in-person interviews conducted during April with teachers from a variety of subjects.

What experiences shaped your personal opinion on cheating? The central thing to me is something that a professor told me once when I thought I was merely helping another student, which was this: “What happens when that student gets into the good school and you don’t because you worked hard at figuring it out and they didn’t?” — Anonymous

Do you think copying homework qualifies as cheating? Copying homework is cheating, but it’s mostly cheating themselves because they’re not learning how to do what they need to know how to do, they’re just getting credit for it. So it’s not good, definitely, but kids don’t see it as cheating in a way, they just see it as efficiency. — Anonymous

How have cheating methods and habits changed over the years? The moral standards have lessened over the years. And the pressure on students, every lesson they learn from the media is that it’s not criminal to cheat; it’s smart [to cheat]. Look who’s president. We have reached the point where success at any cost is rewarded and even if you get caught, in most cases that doesn’t ruin their career; they just go off and do something else. People admire them for thinking outside the box even; I think we do glorify cheating a lot in our society and that is bound to filter down to the students. — Anonymous I feel like cheating has always been around. I wouldn’t say it’s gotten worse or better, it’s just something that always exists. Take an analogy of people who speed on the roads; you know it happens. It doesn’t get better or worse, there are cops who pull people over if they see it, but people still speed. — Anonymous

Have you seen cheating methods and habits develop and change over the years? I’ve seen notes passed on erasers, on the sides of pencils. I’ve seen dropped cheat sheets left behind. All my tests are new, I don’t recycle tests anymore. So that’s more work, that’s a pain. I’d much rather be thinking of new content, new approaches. I mean, all of our tests exist in the tutoring centers. I’ve seen files, it’s amazing. — Anonymous LAYOUT BY NEWS EDITORS GLORIA CHANG & ANDREW KAN. COVERAGE LED BY WEB EDITORS ISHIKA CHAWLA & JONATHAN KO

Volume LIII, No. 8  
Volume LIII, No. 8