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FUSD receives grant By Laura Chen Staff Writer With the help of a $277,000 grant from the Fremont Bank Foundation, FUSD completed a brand-new professional development center for the benefit of students, parents, and teachers districtwide. FUSD Superintendent James Morris began communicating with representatives at Fremont Bank in July of 2012 and presented the grant proposal in August. FUSD was awarded the grant on Dec. 21, 2012. In honor of FUSD’s generous grant donor, the center was named the Fremont Bank Foundation Professional Development Center. Work on the new facility began during Thanksgiving Break, and by the second week of January its construction was complete. The center will be open to the public midFebruary.

February 1, 2013


Located on the first floor of the FUSD office, the Fremont Bank Foundation Professional Development Center contains three different spaces. Principal meetings and staff development events will take place in a large meeting room installed with TV monitors, whiteboards, a drop-down display screen, and a ceiling projector. In the next room, a computer lab with 30 monitors can facilitate staff training as they learn how to use software like Excel. But the facility’s most fascinating area is a state-of-the-art television studio from which FUSD will broadcast district news with Community Conversations on Comcast channel 26. The first episode of the show was filmed on January 28 and will air on February 4 at 7:00 PM. The weekly program is designed to

See GRANT, NEWS Page 4

Investigative Report:

MSJ students participate in CBDA

Fremont Education Foundation By Vivian Jair, Aamir Rasheed, & Kerrie Wu Staff Writers The Fremont Education Foundation (FEF) is a non-profit public charity organization that was established in 1991. Its primary objective is raising funds for three major Fremont Unified School District (FUSD) programs: the After School Band, Innovative Education Grants, and the Guy Emanuele Sports Fund. FEF also has a separate discretionary fund that it occasionally uses for re-

quests relayed from FUSD through a special board designee. Nevertheless, FEF is an organization with its own budget and resources, entirely independent of FUSD. It is primarily run by a Board of Directors, which includes regular Board members, Associate Board members, and

See FEF, NEWS Page 2

staff writer tiffany huang

(From left to right) Dora Li (11), Savana Wang (9), Kevin Chen (9), Michael Liu (11), Dillon Peng (10), Emma Zhang (12), Sarah Au (12), Zachary Wang (9), Jeffrey Chen (11), Katherine Chang (11). Not Pictured: Khanh Nguyen (12).

By Tiffany Huang Staff Writer

source fremont education foundation financial statements (draft) 2012

January 31 February 2 MSJ Wrestling Invitational

February 15 Staff Development Day NO SCHOOL

Taking place in Fresno from Feb. 21-24 the California Band Director’s Association (CBDA) will host its 56th annual AllState Band Festival as part of the California All-State Music Education Conference (CASMEC). CBDA will feature the All-State Junior High and High School Honor bands at the convention, in which ten MSJ students, Seniors Sarah Au, Gar-

February 18 President’s Day NO SCHOOL

rett Chan, Khanh Nguyen, and Emma Zhang, Juniors Jeffrey Chen and Michael Liu, Sophomore Dillon Peng, and Freshmen Kevin Chen, Savana Wang, and Zachary Wang, have been chosen to participate in. Two students, Juniors Dora Li and Katherine Chang, have also been selected to perform as part of the All-State Honor Orchestra. Students selected to participate in the honor bands will take part in a weekend of activities and rigorous rehearsals, culminating in a concert on

February 24. In order to be a part of the Honor Bands, students were required to send in an audition tape of a concerto (a music piece with three movements) and the required scales. Students usually start practicing in the spring before the convention and record the required pieces under the supervision of Band Director Monica Kraft. Results of the audition

See BAND, NEWS Page 4

intel winners

ca receives f

Two MSJ Students placed as Intel Science Talent Search Semifinalists. Read more to find out who won this prestigious competition. News

California Receives F in Education Evaluation by the education advocacy group StudentsFirst. News

poetry slam

The annual Phoenix Poetry Slam is today, February 1st. Check out for more information. Feature

2 News

The Smoke Signal

Friday, February 1, 2013

News in Brief FEF | Deeper look into the operations of the Fremont Education Foundation continued from page 1

North Korea tries launch again According to the KCNA news agency, North Korea plans on conducting a third nuclear test after the UN condemned North Korea’s previous rocket launches and the Security Council expanded sanctions against Pyongyang following their launch in December. Among KCNA’s comments included a statement that says the US is the “arch-enemy” and target of any further rocket or nuclear tests. Neighbors of North Korea and the US have urged Pyongyang not to continue, despite previous warnings being ignored time after time.

North Korea tries to launch a third nuclear test despite international condemnation.

Pentagon lifts ban on women in combat Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has lifted the military’s ban on women in combat, opening up thousands of additional front-line and high-ranking jobs for the women. Panetta’s decision, which comes as Panetta prepares to leave office, overturns the 1994 Pentagon’s restrictions on women serving in the artillery or infantry. “Remove the combat exclusion policy. Then, we will be a fully integrated force. Being able to do the job should be the standard, not whether you are male or female,” said retired Chief Master Sgt. Cindy McNally. The changes may come into effect as early as May 2013.

The Pentagon has lifted the ban on women in combat, overturning the 1994 order.

Uniqlo and Muji to Expand in Bay Area While US based retailers such as Abercrombie & Fitch have been closing their US stores due to the economic recession of recent years, Japanese retailers Uniqlo and Muji plan to expand in the US. They hope to open several new stores in the Bay Area, and Uniqlo has already opened a store in San Francisco last fall. The retail giants, which specialize in casual-wear and home products, are noted for their trendy yet affordable products. Muji cited the emerging younger, well-educated population as their reason for the expansion. According to San Jose officials, the overseas interest will likely be welcomed by the Bay Area’s increasingly diverse population.

Japanese retailers Uniqlo and Muji are growing in the Bay Area, taking over as fashion icons. COMPILED BY STAFF WRITERS GENEVIEVE HUANG, TIFFANY HUANG, & PETER QIU

Honorary Board members. Regular Board members vote to approve funding requests at monthly meetings or the annual summer budget meeting. Prospective Board members must apply to join, and are approved in June for a three-year term. Since 2000, FEF has created and financed After School Band (ASB) programs for over 1,000 students in all 27 of Fremont’s elementary schools. The ASB program runs entirely on FEF funds and is not funded by public tax revenue. Annually, FEF provides around $100,000 for band teacher’s salaries, musical equipment, and other expenses. The main fundraiser for ASB is the annual music telethon, which broadcasts ASB performances on television. The 2012 telethon raised $75,000 in donations, pledges, and sponsorships. Teachers may apply for Innovative Education Grants, which awards winners up to $3,000 each to use for innovative classroom programs. Grant requests are reviewed by a committee of teachers, parents, administrators, FEF board members, and previous winners of grants. The application review process is blinded, preventing the committee from knowing which teacher or school is applying, to ensure unbiased meritbased awarding of grants. To pay for these grants, FEF holds the annual Excellence in Education Gala every February. “The more money raised at the Gala, the more money we can give in grants. We awarded $40,000 in Spring 2012 for 2012-13 grants,” said FEF Vice President Sherea

Westra, who is in charge of the Innovative Education Grants. AP Biology teacher Karrie Ware received $2,182 from an Innovative Education Grant this past summer. Ware used the grant to purchase spectrophotometers for biotechnology-related activities, such as protein purification, in her classroom. She said, “I like to give students the opportunity to use equipment that is laboratory-grade, but that equipment is very expensive, so the grant definitely helped being able to afford that.” Ethnic Studies teacher Risha Krishna was also granted $1064 in the 2007-08 school year for the Ethnic Studies Program. The purpose of the Guy Emanuele Sports Fund (GESF) is to increase participation in sports programs from students who are deterred by the costs, which has ramped up in recent years due to budget cuts at the state level. This program provides $300 to each elementary school basketball program, $1,500 to each FUSD junior high

school for their athletic programs, and need-based scholarships to individual high school athletes who successfully apply. FEF holds the annual GESF Fun Run, sponsored by Learning Bee, at Lake Elizabeth every October to raise money for the fund. In addition to program-specific fundraisers, FEF generates funds for the three programs through Foundation Sponsors, which are typically businesses that donate over $15,000 total (or over $5000 to each program). Toyota awarded FEF in 2011 with a $129,000 grant that was used to purchase SMART Boards (interactive electronic whiteboards), calculators, computers, books, and other student materials to support math in elementary schools and science in some secondary schools. In the same year, Wells Fargo donated $70,000 and Fremont Bank donated $10,000. According to FEF Treasurer Beth Rasler, the Wells Fargo donation was allocated to the three main programs after the Board of

Directors had a discussion and vote. FEF distributed and spent the Fremont Bank and Toyota donations according to the donors’ specifications. “Wells Fargo, Fremont Bank and its Foundation, and other Fremont businesses have been longtime supporters of the Foundation in this way,” said Westra. “Through strong ongoing relationships, we continue to get their support year after year.” According to Westra, any member of the community can bring up a funding request by approaching the FEF President Desrie Campbell and asking for it to be added onto the agenda for a meeting. This includes MSJ students, faculty, and parents. Previously granted requests by FEF include funding lighting at TAK Stadium during the soccer season, buying science kits for elementary schools, and paying for the Fremont Adult School. FEF also worked with parents on the Save Fremont Students campaign in 2010 during a time of drastic state budget cuts, raising and donating $598,802.70 to FUSD. The money was used for restoring three or four elementary specialty teacher positions and the remaining fund split between all secondary schools in the district. With the support of the community, Fremont Education Foundation works to enhance and advance education in Fremont through its three distinct programs. “Together, we all do what we can to raise needed funds for our three programs,” said Westra. ▪ For more information, visit www. .

SAVE and Peer against relationship abuse By Grace Wu Staff Writer MSJ’s Peer Resource recently partnered with Safe Alternatives to Violent Environments (SAVE), a non-profit organization located in Southern Alameda County targeted at ending domestic violence, to launch a t-shirt campaign. For the campaign, Peer Resource is handing out free t-shirts with the slogan “you are stronger than you think” to students at MSJ. The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness for relationship abuse through social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr and discussion around campus. According to the Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness, relationship abuse is the use of abusive actions to keep control over a previous or current partner. The campaign also coincides with Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month which is February. Peer Resource Advisor Jaime Richards says that the campaign promotes healthy relationships to prevent abusive ones in the future.

Junior Praveena Fernes, SAVE’s High School Engagement Coordinator and Peer Resource Co-President, spearheaded the campaign. It started when Fernes’ supervisor at SAVE, Erin Daly, wanted to launch a teen dating violence awareness campaign in a local high school. Daly says, “I think it’s very important for high schoolers to learn about domestic violence because it can start very early. I’ve met middle schoolers who have been in abusive relationships. Laying that groundwork about healthy and unhealthy relationships early on is the first step to preventing domestic violence.” Kaiser Permanente agreed to sponsor the t-shirt campaign so Fernes pitched the idea to Peer Resource. Peer Resource held a competition which allowed anyone to submit original t-shirt designs. MSJ Alumnae Diane Yang, the winner, came up with the slogan and the logo. When asked about her slogan choice, Diane told the Fremont Patch, “I wanted to use an inspirational quote to indirectly promote the cause.”

for the dec. 20 2012 issue News page 1: Centerspread Editor Rachel Choi took pictures for “Academics Challenge Again.” News page 2: Hairuo Guo’s name was misspelled. Feature page 8: Omar Choudhry’s name was misspelled. Sports page 17: Lindsay Kageyama’s name was misspelled. Sports page 19: Sophomore Roshni Iyer’s names was misspelled. Sports page 19: Garrett Chan’s name was misspelled. Photo page 20: Brian Chao is the left-most person in Interact’s Next Top Model. Photo page 20: Jelena Lee’s name was misspelled.

graphics editor angie wang

SAVE and Peer Resource are giving away shirts with the slogan “you are stronger then you think” as part of their t-shirt campaign.

Peer Resource students were also given two days of training in class by three volunteers from SAVE to recognize patterns and cycles of domestic violence. Peer Resource has started to distribute t-shirts to students who have already sparked social media conversation by posting pictures with their t-shirts and statuses with the hashtag #StrongerTYT. MSJ students have responded positively to the campaign. Junior Kristina Wong says, “I think it’s great what Peer Resource is doing in terms of how they campaign and what they’re trying to campaign! By giving out free shirts, people around the school have more access to awareness because it’s literally everywhere, and I like what they’re spreading awareness for. It’s different, and something we don’t hear or talk about very often in our lives.” Senior Mili Parikh

received a t-shirt and says, “The t-shirt campaign emphasized how important it is that we’re aware of this issue, both men and women alike, and that we stay strong and confident and reach out for help when we need it.” Peer Resource hosted “D-Day” on January 31 to distribute the majority of their over 700 t-shirts for free. After they distributed the t-shirts, Peer Resource encouraged everyone to wear their shirt today, February 1. Fernes says, “I feel like the campaign has been successful because as a peer counselor and generally a student on campus, more kids have opened up to me personally about their past abusive relationships and they commend us for doing the work that we are doing.” She hopes to continue the campaign next year and reach several different high schools in the Bay Area. ▪

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Smoke Signal

MSJ Math’s Journey By Hannah Shih Staff Writer

Last year, MSJ officially introduced a math organization to its student body, guided by Math Teacher Mr. Lau geared toward preparing students for rigorous mathematics contests. Though the team has existed unofficially and competed in competitions since 1982, lunch meetings began quite recently in 2009. During this last year, they have grown in number and in skill, performing commendably in difficult math competitions such as the Stanford Math Competition (SMT). The

members meet every Thursday at lunch to

3 practice various kinds of problems for the . AMC (American Math Competition), the AIME (American Invitational Math 1 Examination) which is for top scorers in 4 the AMC, the Math Olympiad competitions, the SMT (Stanford Math Com1 petiton), and the BMT (Berkeley Math 5 Tournament) among others. Meetings also occasionally feature lectures by club 9 members on topics such as incircles and 2 bijections. 6 T h e 5 SMT, or T h e the Stan3 B A M O ford Math 5 is the Bay Tournament, Area Math is a math con8 Olympiad, in test run by 9 which students Stanford stuare given four Feb. ‘12 7 dents that work hours to solve together with 9 approximately John Hopkins Unifive math 3 Feb. ‘12 versity, Iowa State problems University, Rice 2 involving University, and proofs. the University of 8 Overall: Iowa in order 4 1st place to challenge gifted stu6 dents from 2 around the country. 6 T h e BMT, or 4 Overall: Berkeley 5th place 3 Math Tournament, 3 is an onsite 8 math tournament held March ‘12 3 at Berkeley in 2 The MSMarch. MSJ JHSSBMsent three 7 TTPSTMT teams of six 9 or MSJHS people to S t a n ford/ the com5 B e r k eley petition. 0 Math TourOverall: nament Team 2 3rd place Placement/Se8 lection Test and Math Tournament 8 was established by T h e Dec. ‘12 4 Ray Hua Wu and CAML is Jonathan Chen in the Cali1 2012 as a school fornia Math 9 wide contest, League, and is used to a set of six 7 decide teams math tests re1 for both the leased annuBMT and the ally in the state 6 SMT in Febof California. The 9 ruary and tests are adminisYearMarch. tered throughout 3 the year, on a Tues- Round Results 9 day every month Pending from October to 9 March. With a 3 cumulative perfect score of 7 180, Mission 5 tied with three other 1 schools for 0 first place. 5 Overall:

s nt e m a n r ou T G N I M UPCO SMT

1st Place


8 2 Feb. ‘13 March ‘13 0 9

News 3

Parents push for CompSci By Genevieve Huang Staff Writer With preregistration looming ahead, students should note that two new classes, AP Computer Science and Project Lead the Way engineering courses, will appear on the MSJ course selection for the 2013-14 school year. On Thursday, January 31, at 7 PM as part of an ongoing effort to implement those classes into MSJ, a team of educators who teach AP Computer Science and Project Lead the Way classes at other schools will come to MSJ to answer questions and provide information regarding the program. The idea to start the AP Computer Science classes originated from Anu Bansal, parent of alumnus Shray Bansal ’12 and Junior Sahil Bansal. Both Shray and Sahil had wanted to take computer science classes at Ohlone College but were unable to due to budget cuts. “I sent an email to MSJ Talk,” says Anu Bansal, “And [I] asked why [we cannot] have a class in the school itself. Naturally, that email struck a chord with many parents.” Project Lead the Way, on the other hand, had been in the works for almost five years, and Principal Sandra Prairie cited timing and financial problems as a reason to hold off. Christina Broadwin, who facilitated and spearheaded the movement to initiate AP Computer Science and Project Lead the Way, was also concerned after hearing other parents like Bansal bring up the issue with Principal Sandra Prairie. Broadwin, who currently has both a son and a daughter at MSJ, realized that if no one made any progress on the front now, it would be too late for any of the classes to impact her children. “…With Mission being so closely located to Silicon Valley,” says Broadwin, “…there [is] a major disconnect between what skills will be needed by 21st century students…and what type of education they [are] receiving in high school.” Though Prairie did cite difficulties in only

being able to offer a set “pie”, or number of classes to students, MSJ has created new classes based on parent and student interest, citing the Japanese class as one example. Classes are determined based on student registration. “It’s

“With Mission being so closely located to Silicon Valley...there [is] a major disconnect between what skills will be needed by 21st century students… and what type of education they [are] receiving in high school.” -Christina Broadwin, Parent

a very democratic system,” says Prairie. Broadwin first proceeded to perform research on what was offered at other schools in the Bay Area before calling the first explanatory meeting with interested parents. To organize the movement, Broadwin needed buy-in from administrators, a “shared vision” among administrators that there was enough parental and student support of the change, transparency regarding consequences of having new classes, and a dedicated team to lead meetings, send out reminders and summaries afterward, and make sure all problems with hardware, software, and fundraising were dealt with. To ensure sufficient interest, she and her team followed up the first meeting with a full survey sent out on Back-to-School Night. With upfront communication and parent support, Broadwin and her team were also able to secure “buy-in” from the administration, and conducted several following meetings for discussion. Despite the progressive effort her team and other parents and administrators have put into the movement, an estimated $50,000 to fund a new computer lab and registration for the classes are still necessary to hold classes. A donation to support the new classes can be made at ▪

4 News

Election debate reformatted By Tammy Tseng Staff Writer This election season, MSJ is going digital with yet another school event – the annual ASB debate assembly. Instead of the hourlong assembly that students are accustomed to, debates between the ASB candidates in their finals round will be recorded outside of school hours and televised during read periods. Student feedback has shown that most people consider the debate assembly the least engaging one of the year, since it lacks the student-teacher activities that usually open each assembly and consists only of listening to candidates speak. “Although debates are still a good way for us to get to know who we’re voting for, they are not that effective because it is often very difficult to hear what the candidates are saying due to the acoustics of the gym,” says Junior Mason Qian. Likewise, short attention spans and talkative crowds make it difficult for the candidates’ words to get across. Teachers also agree that the assembly is too long and would like to see the number of assemblies in the year cut down, since the shorter class periods and altered bell schedule obstruct their curriculum. Math Teacher Freddy Saldana says, “Multiple students are always pulled out of my class for assemblies, and it’s especially frustrating when assemblies occur on test dates and lots of kids end up having to take the test late.”

“[The new debate format] allows the student body to clearly hear each response in a quiet classroom setting and gives them more time to ponder the candidate’s answers.”

-Monica Liu, ASB President

After hearing generally dissatisfied responses about the current way the debate assembly is run, the L2 Elections committee, made up of Seniors Megan Lee and Rahil Hudda, and ASB Vice President Nihar Parikh decided to change the format this year. By televising the debates, teachers will enjoy one less assembly day, and students will still be able to watch the candidates in action. Debates will be split up into two videos and each will be shown in a read period; the candidates’ campaign videos will also be shown during read the day after the debates have been presented. They will follow the same format, with candidates presenting an opening and closing speech and answering two questions in between, although the time allotted each person will be much shorter in order to fit the videos into twenty-minute read periods. “This allows the student body to clearly hear each response in a quiet classroom setting and gives them more time to ponder candidates’ answers,” says ASB President Monica Liu. “The debate itself is of the same caliber as years before in that candidates respond to questions in a timely manner, think on their feet, and receive no second chances.” None of the debates will be edited and candidates will not be allowed to redo their segments, so the videos will essentially replicate the live, unprompted feel of the debate assembly. Filming will take place after school and over the weekend before final voting, which means that candidates won’t be faced with the large crowds of people they normally would at an assembly. The only other people present at the filming will be the current ASB officers, the L2 Elections committee, and the videographers. The recorded debates will also be uploaded online, making it easy for students to watch any segments they missed in class on their own time. “The new debate format gives off a different perspective of the candidates to the student body,” says Lee. “I am looking forward to the outcome and the ways we can further improve for future elections.” ▪

The Smoke Signal

Friday, February 1, 2013

MSJ accepts the Challenge BAND | CBDA By Catherine Wang Staff Writer

staff writer genevieve huang

On Friday, January 18, the organization Rachel’s Challenge hosted an assembly at MSJ for the first time. The presentation spread a message of kindness by detailing the legacy of a Columbine shooting victim. The assembly featured Ali Nourbakhsh, who presented the Rachel’s Challenge message. Spotlighting the story of seventeen-yearold victim Rachel Joy Scott, the presentation depicted the tragic aftermath of the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School, Colorado, the deadliest high school shooting in US history. The assembly focused primarily on Rachel Scott’s quotes and anecdotes from her friends and family. The speaker detailed Scott’s commitment to kindness and her ambitions of reaching out to others, drawing from Scott’s family, her diaries, and her essay, “My Ethics, My Codes of Life.” Scott firmly believed in the power of words and actions, and made an effort to help new, bullied, and special needs students. Throughout his narration of the events at Columbine, the speaker also prompted the audience to reflect upon their own lives and note personal experiences of tragedy and benevolence. Activities Coordinator Ben Breazeale was introduced to the organization at a California Association of Directors of Activities (CADA) conference. Breazeale attended a Rachel’s Challenge presentation by Darrell Scott, Rachel Scott’s father. “The presentation was im-

GRANT| FUSD continued from page 1 educate the community about district news, and features FUSD students and staff in discussions and interviews. FUSD has allday access to broadcasting on channel 26, and MSJTV airs at 5:00 PM throughout the week. Students who wish to use the new television studio to broadcast programs can contact Community Conversations Host Walter Garcia. “I am really excited because we’ll have the capacity through Comcast channel 26 to get students involved in producing districtwide TV shows, doing student television production that we can broadcast out the community,” said Morris. Morris told the Fremont Bank Foundation that building a professional development center had been an FUSD priority, but was delayed due to budget cuts and economic uncertainty. The completion of the Fremont Bank Foundation Professional Development Center marks the creation of a rich resource for FUSD’s students and staff alike. “The Fremont Unified School District has exceptional leadership, dedicated teachers, and a remarkable record of student achievement and success. We are proud to be a partner in its work to strengthen our community through ongoing education,” said Fremont Bank Foundation President Hattie Hyman Hughes in a Fremont Bank press release. Thanks to the grant, FUSD teachers, administrators, and support staff can now experience technology upgrades and increased facility space in training programs. Prior to the center’s completion, FUSD did not have a comfortable and designated space for its professional development. Now, with the installation of the Fremont Bank Foundation Professional Development Center, FUSD’s students and staff alike will have access to a new resource that “meets a critical need and will help ensure that our local schools remain strong,” Morris told the Fremont Bank Foundation. ▪

pactful and emotional, with an underlining theme of Rachel’s kindness. I’m hoping to see the same effect on the student body that it had on me,” said Breazeale. Rachel’s Challenge affected MSJ students in a markedly different way than past assemblies this year. The presentation evoked an unexpectedly emotional response from many students, especially when the speaker encouraged students to think about impacting their own loved ones. “The assembly was incredibly uplifting, and I felt like doing something to change the world,” said sophomore Cara Castillou. Despite the effectiveness of the presentation, Breazeale does not plan on establishing it as a yearly assembly. He said, “I hope to have this about every four years so that each new cycle of students can get involved.” Meanwhile, Rachel’s Challenge is helping to establish a new organization at MSJ, the Friends of Rachel (FOR) Club. The initiation of FOR Club began with a training session on January 18. The program prepared L2 and Peer Resource students to train other students who want to participate in the club. MSJ faculty was also present, including counselors DeAnne Andrews, Merri Blum, and Lindsay Rotter, who will serve as advisors for FOR Club. At the training program, students shared personal stories about bullying and learned methods to spread “chain reactions” of positive influence through projects such as helping new students assimilate to MSJ, targeting acts of kindness around the school, and thanking underappreciated staff members. At FOR’s first meeting on January 22, students and faculty discussed leadership positions and continued developing project ideas. Through the narration of one victim of violence’s legacy, the assembly magnified awareness of anti-bullying efforts. The accompanying FOR Club further promotes student involvement in fostering safer school environments. ▪

continued from page 1

are then revealed in the first week of January. “Students interested in the All-State Honor Band or Honor Orchestra need to be highly motivated and very diligent in their individual practice,” says Kraft, “Students who get accepted usually are wellrounded players with good musicianship, good basics, and a focus on musical skills.” At the start of the convention, band and orchestra students participate in blind seating auditions, after which seating placements will be given and the band students are sorted into one of three bands based on skill level: Concert Band, Symphonic Band, and Wind Symphony. Each band is then led through rigorous rehearsals by distinguished conductors from professional backgrounds, such as Professor Scott Hagen of the University of Utah, who will be directing the Concert Band, and Professor Robert Ponto of the University of Oregon, who will be directing the Symphonic Band. “I’m really excited to play the music and meet new people,” says Sophomore Dillon Peng. Participants are virtuosos from across the state, and thus provide good opportunities for students to meet new people, learn from professionals, and engage in an environment where everybody strives to succeed. In addition to practicing with their own ensemble on the repertoire that will be performed at the concert on the last day of the conference, students will also attend concerts of other ensembles. “It’s a physically and mentally straining experience in that you are focusing for almost eight to twelve hours a day,” says Senior Khanh Nguyen, Baritone saxophone player, “It really pays off. It feels really good to play with good players. Everybody is working towards the shared goal of making good music.” ▪

Friday, February 1, 2013


Smoke Signal

Mission San Jose High School Est. 1964 Vol. 48, No. 5 | February 1, 2013

41717 Palm Ave. Fremont, CA 94539 (510) 657-3600 Editors-in-Chief Frank Chen, Allan Ko News Nihar Parikh, Aishwarya Thakur Opinion Kyle Qian, Sonali Toppur Feature Jin Peng, Jade Shi Centerspread Rachel Choi, Anusha

Rijhsinghani A&E Tanya Raja, Alekya Rajanala Sports Kenny Jacoby, Vishak Menon Graphics Angie Wang, Sherry Xiao

Web Jaynelle Gao, Jonathon Teng Tech Sai Chilakapati, Anna Zeng Business Vivian Jair Circulation Supriya Yelimeli Ads Grace Wu, Lindy Zeng Events Anjali Kanthilal, Kerrie Wu Writers & Photographers Anita Alem, Arushi Atluri, Tingting Bi, Jason Chen, Laura Chen, Leah Feuerman, Ishan Goyal, Catherine Ho, Genevieve Huang, Tiffany Huang, Nina Krishnan, Irisa Lee, Marisa Lenci, Hairol Ma, Peter Qiu, Aamir Rasheed, Hannah Shih, Sanjay Sreekumar, Tammy Tseng, Peter Xu, Angela Wang, Catherine Wang, Shirby Wang

Advisor Sandra Cohen Send letters to the editor to opinion@the Letters under 300 words

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To advertise in the Smoke Signal, e-mail 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.

The Smoke Signal

perSonali speaking Cyber Lovin’ By Sonali Toppur Opinion Editor

With the barrage of coverage on Manti Te’o and his “perhaps-sheexisted” girlfriend, many people seem to be torn between deciding what to believe. I find that I’m struggling with a different question. Rather than wonder if Manti Te’o is lying about his girlfriend’s existence and if this was a huge publicity scam, I think the bigger question here is: are we, as a cyber generation, being gullible and taken advantage of online? According to statistics from the Washington Post, around 40 million Americans use an online dating service, which is about 40 percent of the adult American single population. With so many of our daily interactions taking place over texts and Facebook messages, the number of face-toface exchanges we have has severely decreased. Unfortunately along with the ease of access that comes with online communication, comes a certain amount of warranted caution and necessary weariness. Let’s be honest, at the end of the day, we hear what we want to hear when we read texts, and we read way too much into the meaning behind an exclamation mark or a smiley at the end of a sentence. Admit it, you don’t really “laugh out loud” every time you type “lol” and you aren’t always smiling when you type a friendly “:)”. But more importantly, it’s so much easier to think about what you can say that can present you in a good light. If Te’o was honestly taken advantage of online, he’s definitely not alone there.

You can pretty much be anyone you want online. Granted that sometimes after reading comments on an article online I feel that some people should choose to be smarter than they make themselves out to be, but that’s another discussion entirely. I find it disturbing how many younger people are taken advantage of online, as we can see from the recent #cutforbeiber scam perpetuated by 4chan. They targeted young girls and played off the celebrity idolatry movement that is gaining momentum day by day. Where does the responsibility for this lie, and with whom? How do we look out for ourselves as we move forward in a world where cyber interaction is here to stay for a long time and will probably grow even more? There’s the basic and generic safety advice that we usually can expect when we ask this question. This is a start; it shouldn’t be where we stop. It’s the mentality that has to change now. Until people believe for themselves that they deserve more than a couple texts and messages, we are not going to get anywhere. In a completely online relationship you may have fallen in love with the idea of someone, but not the real person. A picture isn’t nearly worth a thousand words spoken in person. From Te’o we can take away that while online relationships can be a start, they shouldn’t be all there is. ▪ Send letters to the editors to

Opinion 5

right on Q

Lin-equality By Kyle Qian Opinion Editor

I’m young, I’m Chinese, and I watch basketball. I must like Jeremy Lin, right? Well of course I do, and don’t you forget that. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Lin is definitely not an All-star, at least not yet, and it bothers me how close he was to getting voted in. For those who don’t know who Jeremy Lin is, I can’t do much about the enormous rock you must live under. For those who do know about Lin but don’t follow the NBA, let me explain. Each year, during the middle of the season, the NBA hosts a weekend of entertainment with a variety of events. The highlight of this weekend is a basketball game featuring the best players from around the league. Players are voted on in two waves--first by fans, who select the starters, and by head coaches, who select the reserves. The All-star game itself carries no real significance other than fan enjoyment, but being voted to be an All-star is considered a rather exclusive accolade. With that said, I wasn’t exactly thrilled to see Lin nearly secure a starting spot for the West. At the end of fan voting, he trailed Chris Paul by just 45,000 votes and led James Harden (who was selected to be a reserve) by nearly 400,000, which is absurd. The fan vote also placed Lin ahead of other All-star familiars such as Russell Westbrook, Steve Nash, and Tony Parker, each by even greater margins. Believe me; I’d like nothing better than for Lin to continue his success. If he had actually managed to keep up his “Linsan-

ity” from last year, I’d be shocked that he didn’t make the team. Unfortunately, his season so far has been above average at best. Everyone knows how Lin got so many fan votes. Yes, I agree that Lin deserves media attention, because he and his race are important. I believe that the Rockets are wholly justified in offering him a $25 million contract, and that the NBA ought to take advantage of the opportunity to expand viewership. What I don’t believe, however, is that his race should garner him anything that’s supposed to be based on his performance on the court. All-star voting is also open to fans overseas, including fans in China, and the same phenomenon occurred when Yao Ming was in the NBA. Yao himself was an undisputed All-star, but there were seasons in which he was voted in despite not even playing due to injury. International fans also voted for some of Yao’s teammates who otherwise wouldn’t have even cracked the top 10. Jeremy Lin deserves all the respect in the world for what he’s accomplished, and the only way to show that respect is by making him continue to work for it. Lin’s race was undoubtedly part of why previous college and NBA teams passed him up, but it would have been equally unfair for us to give him an unearned All-star nod for the same reason. ▪ Send letters to the editors to

EDITORIAL: For the Sake of Science The Opinion of the Smoke Signal Editorial Board Say you’ve decided to conduct a science experiment for the local science fair. Your first step would be to do some background research on the topic you are studying; scientific discovery and innovation, after all, are always built on the work of those before you. So you enter a few keywords into Google, which returns a couple thousand articles from reputable scientific journals. Great! You click on one, and find out that in order to view the full paper, you will need to obtain access with a fee or special access code. Such access codes are often provided by universities and research institutions to their faculty and students, but not to the general public. This dilemma, a universal problem for student researchers, is one that Internet activist and Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz worked to address, by breaking into the MIT computer network to download more than four million academic articles from the online journal database JSTOR with the apparent intention of providing them, free of charge, to the public Internet. Swartz’s suicide last month, attributed by many to the charges of wire and computer fraud brought against him by Massachusetts prosecutors (potentially resulting in a draconian 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine), draws special attention to the continued struggle for “open access” to such academic articles. We in no way condone piracy, but we do support the widespread availability of educational research papers. Open access does not take away the original researchers’ credit; rather, it allows the world to review, study, learn from, and build on their work. The current practice of limiting access to academic publications directly contradicts a basic tenet of scientific research;

that is, that scientists build on each others’ work in together pursuing the betterment of society and a more complete understanding of the universe we live in. It only makes sense to make current knowledge accessible to anyone who wants or needs it, for their own edification or research pursuits. The more people there are contributing to the current knowledge base, the faster it will grow, to the benefit of all. Moreover, the availability of these articles to college students is somewhat arbitrary in that it creates a meaningless age or education requirement for access. These are not confidential documents that, if released, could pose threats to national security. Open access would inspire and enable young people to pursue self-directed, high-level learning via the Internet--an idea that is certainly not new, given the recent explosion of free online college-level courses. It is the students and non-professionals who lack funding and resources that open access to academic papers could help most. We recognize that these academic databases and journals do have maintenance costs, and that charging fees for access helps alleviate these costs. Nevertheless, these fees lend databases an exclusivity that is contradictory to the spirit of academic research and educational pursuit. To ensure these articles are accessible to all, we strongly suggest that the federal government assume responsibility for the distribution of all academic material. The ultimate goal is free access to all academic research on the web; in other words, the library-like Internet Swartz envisioned. ▪

feature editor jade shi

Send letters to the editors to staff writer ishan goyal

6 Opinion

A Shot at the Gun Debate By Nina Krishnan Staff Writer

Guns have long been considered a symbol of freedom and selfempowerment in our country, but in the wake of recent gun-related tragedies such as the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut and the Century theater mass-shooting in Aurora, Colorado, a major question must be asked- why are there so many gun-related deaths in the US and why do these keep occurring? From a global standpoint, the US has more gun-related deaths than any other developed country as well as the highest gun ownership rates; US citizens own 270 million of the world’s 875 million known firearms, according to the Small Arms Survey 2007. Although correlation does not prove causation, it certainly is a good indicator. The answer to curbing gun related violence lies in addressing three key issues. The first: availability. Often, purchasing a gun is a lunchtime affair: simply go to a local gun store, pick a gun of your preference, show photo identification, fill out a background check form (which is usually immediately approved), and become a gun owning citizen. If purchasing a gun from a store is this simple, imagine how easy it is to get one online from a private seller who

doesn’t require a background check. To me, this is alarming, because almost anyone can get a gun- no questions asked, including people with a history of mental instability. Another problem with current gun laws is that they vary across the US, meaning some states have more lenient laws than others, making it easier to purchase a gun without proper regulations. A man with a history of violence may be denied ownership of a gun in California, a state with strict gun restrictions. However, in California’s gun-friendly neighbor Arizona, a state notorious for its lenient gun restrictions, he will be able to purchase a gun. A second factor is the sharp divide between gun control advocates and proponents. Both sides are stubborn and refuse to consider other viewpoints, leaving little room for compromise. A major proposal is arming teachers with guns (with the District’s permission). How would you feel knowing that your history teacher was carrying a concealed handgun? Personally, it would make me feel queasy rather than comforted. Answering gun violence by providing more guns is not the answer, and will give students the impression that guns are the answer to conflicts. Obviously there are many economic and social implications to consider with each of these proposals, and as with all proposals there is room for adjustment as legislation begins to pass.

A Truly “Common” Application By Arushi Atluri Staff Writer

Fifty years ago, one computer filled up an entire room and the Internet as we know it was yet to be created. Even back then though, high school seniors had to go through the nerve-wracking struggle of applying to college. Students had to research their dream schools without our best friend Google, then hand-write essays addressed to each college, fill out dozens of required forms, and personally sign and address everything before walking to the post office to send their applications out. Although the entire process was time-consuming, students had the satisfaction of personalizing their applications, and colleges could get a sense of students’ personality and dedication. After all, applying wasn’t as easy as pressing a submit button. Today, many no longer have to deal with the cramped hands that came with applying to college thanks to the online Common Application. After creating an account, applicants may apply to any college that uses the Common App by filling out some general information and choosing one of the Common App’s essay prompts to answer. The Common App’s mission is to encourage “holistic admission”; however, recently, representatives from the Common Application announced that in August 2013, they are going to remove the “topic of your choice” essay option and strictly enforce the 250-500 word limit for the Common App essay. As a senior, the Common App has practically been my life for the last couple of months, and it does a decent job of allowing students to show who they are outside of academic accomplishments. With the “topic of your choice” option, we had the freedom to write about literally any experience, making the essay-writing more enjoyable. The new requirements would hurt creativity on a student’s part, and would be boring for admissions officers reading each essay. What’s more, some ideas or experiences cannot be fully expressed in a set number of words;

brevity or descriptive sensory details can add to the story and allow it to flow smoothly. By strongly adhering to a word limit, Common App would again hinder student creativity and motivation to write an inspiring piece. Some may argue that each school’s supplements are tailored in such a way that a student may still show an all-around view of themselves. More often than not though, supplements ask questions more related to the college than to the student; for example, a typical supplement will ask “how will you pursue your academic interests here?” or “why do you want to go here?” To answer these, students often glorify the college and/or restate information present elsewhere in the supplement. Although some colleges do ask thought-invoking questions (like University of Chicago’s “Where is Waldo really?”), most rely on test scores and a few academic-related questions to allow students to show who they are. The Common App has turned the slow, long-winded process of applying to college into the simple click of a button. However, now students must deal with a new problem: is the ease that Common App brings worth jeopardizing individuality? Students going through the application process want to know that they will be considered as individuals, not just a statistic. With its new conditions, the Common App is moving toward standardization and superficiality, living up to its name and making everyone “common” after all. ▪

The Smoke Signal

The third factor is prioritization; previously the gun control battle has taken a backseat to supposedly more paramount issues such as spending and the budget deficit. But if gun control issues are not addressed immediately, there will be no end to the violence that has plagued America in the past two years. President Barack Obama has vowed to push gun control to the top of his domestic agenda for the first time and pledged to put the full weight of his presidency behind the issue. “My starting point is to focus on what makes sense...what should we be

Friday, February 1, 2013

doing to make sure that our children are safe and that we’re reducing the incidents of gun violence. And I think we can do that in a sensible way that comports with the Second Amendment” said Obama during a Cabinet policy meeting at the White House on Monday. The continued, mindless massacres have left America bloodstained and divided. In hindsight, legislative action should have been taken years ago. But hindsight is always 20/20. The gap that is splitting our country will hinder our ability to find a pragmatic solution to curbing gun violence. What was that saying our country was founded on? Oh, yes – united we conquer, divided we fall. ▪

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Smoke Signal

Opinion 7


By Aamir Rasheed Staff Writer

Early this January, pictures of Justin Bieber holding what appeared to be a marijuana blunt were leaked to celebrity news site A rallying cry went up from millions of girls around the world. They couldn’t bear to see their role model degrade himself with drugs. They had no choice: to stop Bieber from smoking marijuana again, they cut their wrists in protest and posted pictures of these acts on Twitter, declaring that they would not stop until Bieber promised to renounce marijuana for good. Or at least, that’s what scheming users from, an imageboard website, wanted people all around the Internet to think. Posted on 4chan message boards hours before their plan went into motion was: “[Let’s] See if we can get some little girls to cut themselves.” By using fake Twitter accounts, these malicious users intended to attract major internet attention to teenage girls supposedly harming themselves to influence a celebrity figure. It is safe to say that they were largely successful (#cutforbieber was the most trending hashtag on Twitter that day), but not in the way they intended. Fiery rants lambasting the fact that these girls were indirectly glorifying self-harm popped up all over Twitter, often with the #cutforbieberhashtag. The fact that these 4chan users engineered this type of hoax “for the lulz” is macabre and perhaps points to a darker side of our human nature; it is imperative that we as the real victims of the hoax step back and see this picture as a whole. There are two things we can learn from this incident. First, we must be more skeptical. This is not the first time that the Internet has been tricked into believing a celebrity hoax. Last October, users from the 4chan sent out fake information suggesting Bieber had contracted cancer so that fans would shave their heads to support him. Similarly, many

celebrities such as Rihanna, Morgan Freeman, and Adam Sandler were the targets of fake “death stories” throughout 2012. The Internet is the least-restrictive, farthestreaching form of communication in our modern world. Though this freedom can be and is used in many positive ways, we as users of the Internet must constantly be aware of its negative possibilities as well. We cannot fall so easily for hoaxes machinated by trolls on 4chan. We cannot allow our thirst for celebrity sensationalism to override hard facts and solid rationale. Take, for example, @brittanyscrapma, a Twitter account created on January 7, the day the hoax became viral. One of her tweets reads: “#cuttingforbieber you stop using drugs and we’ll stop cutting” with an attached picture of a slit, bleeding wrist. Other, similar, posts were published on her Twitter profile. With a little logic and research, it becomes clear that Brittany Scrapman is not a real girl. Had the Internet checked its facts before making the assumption that girls were cutting themselves to stop Justin Bieber from smoking marijuana, much unnecessary attention focused on the issue of self-harm and on Bieber’s private life could have been avoided. Whenever we use the internet, we can always apply this principle of skepticism. Don’t take every Tweet or status update you see at face value. Check facts on reputable sites before evaluating their veracity. This way, we can discourage others from using the Internet negatively, turning it to a positive and reliable environment for people who are just looking for the truth. Now let’s step back even further. The Justin Bieber hoax took place on January 7, a few days after a very important piece of legislation had just made its way through Congress that, according to an analysis by the Tax Policy Center,


39% 61 %

of total correct

84 students surveyed

Pop News

would increase taxes for 77 percent of the US population. Yes, there’s a reason that the 4chan users tweeted with “#cutforbieber” and not “#cutforthefiscalcliff.” They know that the Internet, and in fact society in general, is disproportionately attuned to unimportant, sensationalistic news such as Justin Bieber smoking marijuana, Taylor Swift breaking up with Harry Styles, or Kim Kardashian having a baby with Kanye West. These events have no impact on us or on the world society in general. What does have an impact on us are Congressional decisions regarding the fiscal cliff, which, as things stand right now, will plunge the US $4 trillion further into its national debt over the coming years and increase taxes for most Americans. What does have an impact on the world was the desperate hostage situation in Algeria, which threatened to tear apart relations between many nations around the world. So let’s put down The Cosmopolitan and pick up the San Jose Mercury News. Let’s start expending time and effort catching up with important local, national, and world issues instead of the private lives of celebrities. This is not to say that we must stop following our favorite bands or getting hyped up for the summer release of Despicable Me 2, but we must become cognizant of the things that affect us. By being more aware of the world around us, we will have a broader perspective that will positively influence us, whether we’re voting for the next president, engaging in intellectual discussions at dinner parties, or writing an opinion article about an internet hoax. And on our quest for knowledge, we must, as George Bernard Shaw put it, “Beware of false knowledge, [as] it is more dangerous than ignorance.” In other words, be skeptical, yet open. ▪

of students correctly answered that Kanye West is the father of Kim Kardashian’s baby.


of students correctly answered that a #cutforbieber movement was started in response to his alleged drug use.

of students correctly answered that Algeria is in the news due to the hostage situation.

of students correctly answered that the fiscal cliff meant the end of the fiscal year and the Bush era tax cuts.

of students correctly answered that Taylor Swift’s latest breakup was with Harry Styles.

Politics/World News

18% 30%



of students correctly answered that Obama’s inauguration was on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

31 % 69%

of total correct

84 students surveyed,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

8 Feature

The Smoke Signal

Friday, February 1, 2013

You’re rushing to plan out your summer. Summer program and job applications are out, but with all the requesting recommendation letters and references, answering short response questions, filling out forms, and ordering transcripts, you are suddenly struck a doubt: what if I don’t get in? Have no fear, here are some plan Bs, Cs, Ds, and Zs to nurse your poor soul. After all, summer break is only a four-and-a-half-month long semester away.

GO ON A TRIP Your backyard is a perfect place to go, with a balance of adventure and convenience. It is far enough away to keep your computer from distracting you, but close enough to check Facebook every five seconds on your smartphone, even if you don’t have a data plan. Close proximity to a Wi-Fi source also allows you to post photos of the excitement you are experiencing in your backyard to show off the fact that you are doing something interesting, because stopping to post a photo when you see something amazing is a part of the modern experience. When the beautiful sunset comes around, take the time to find, unlock, and take a photo with your phone—while the sunset lasts only a few minutes, a photo lasts forever and is solid evidence that you are enjoying nature! By the end of your trip, all your friends will be secretly admiring your eventful adventure, increasing your coolness factor tenfold. CONDUCT A RESEARCH PROJECT To apply to a summer research program, writing a statement of interest is unavoidable. How sad that the path to an intellectually stimulating summer must be preceded by hours of mind-numbing essay editing. Who needs a high-tech university lab to do research? All you need is yourself, at home. Research the behavioral changes of an adolescent homo sapiens in its natural environment over a summer. Observe its changes in sleep patterns, including sleeping position, snoring volume, and natural wake-up time after exercising (see “Stay in Shape”) all day. With any luck, you’ll make a groundbreaking discovery about teenage productivity, no prior knowledge needed.

PREPARE FOR AN EARTHQUAKE Surviving an earthquake is difficult, but it is even more difficult at school, where the size and design of the desks effectively eradicate your chances. Unfortunately, you also spend a significant part of your day at school. Recreate this situation at home by making a small desk with an inconveniently attached chair and depositing a significant amount of chewing gum on the bottom. Make sure to use a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes to accurately represent MSJ’s desks. Practice squeezing yourself under the desk so that you will not die of falling objects, but of suffocating by accidentally breathing in the fresh gum dangling down from the bottom of your desk. At least it’s minty down there.

STAY IN SHAPE Without having to lug your backpack and textbooks around school, your biceps and shoulder muscles will waste away in the summer. More importantly, since you won’t have to write, your forearm, wrist, and finger muscles will wither away and make your first in class essay or exam in the next school year a painful workout. Your rear end might even lose its ability to endure long hours of intense sitting. To combat this, develop a strict regimen of playing video games, channel surfing, and clicking “refresh” incessantly. Practice maintaining your balance in rickety plastic chairs to work your core. Go to your friends’ timelines and see how many posts you can “like” in one minute, while minimizing your clicking errors. As a final challenge, try to reach the bottom of your news feed as quickly as possible.

THINK Sometimes we need to stop trying to do productive things and just think. Set aside an indefinite amount of time for thinking about doing something productive, and you will increase your speed when you actually do something productive. This is especially true of tasks with deadlines. graphics by staff writer shirby wang,


Friday, February 1, 2013

The Smoke Signal

Feature 9

LOVE IS LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES By Peter Qiu, Anna Zeng & Lindy Zeng Staff Writers

Carefully analyze the behavior of the special someone to make an educated estimate of the average sugar intake he/she consumes every day.

Think you'll be forever alone on Valentine's Day? Maybe got your eye on a crush but still not sure? Don't you fret: the Smoke Signal can help! We've crafted a cocoa-licious personality test just for you to help you discover your one true sweetie.

Just one box of 20 chocolates.

Buy a bit of every type. Close your eyes and point to a bag of chocolate on a random shelf.


Buy some. It comes prewrapped! With a few balloons too. Make it yourself. It’s the thought that counts!

Give it to him/her anyway and let him/her eat it for a few years. No, I will be green and save paper. Yes, I always keep paper records. Run out to the store and buy a more suitable roll of paper.

Just use the gift wrap; as long as it serves its purpose, all will be fine.

Share it between you two for a few months.

Just give the box as it is. Scrounge up some blank poster paper and make your own. Hire a moving company to transport it to his/her house while you distract him/her.

Show up at their house armed with the chocolate, chicken soup, and Vitamin C. Wait until he/she returns to give a belated gift. After all, he/ she wouldn’t want you to catch the sickness as well!

Invite him/her to your house on Valentine’s Day. Scribble your name in its full test-rush glory. Sign your name in fancy cursive with your finest gold-tipped calligraphy quill.

You’ve got so much swag that you probably even have a personal fan club. You can’t back down from a challenge, but that doesn’t matter. You’re probably thundering down the Thames River to catch a lunch with Queen Victoria after thwarting Raoul Silva’s plans... again. But sometimes, you wonder if love can be won in that same epic action-movie style. Thing is, love isn’t a game - well, sort of, and it’s sort of hard to explain - but there’s nothing like meeting your dream Fruitie to show you what we mean.

You, sir, are way too hipster for pop culture. You’ve got a tangy bite to your humor, spiced with a clear, realistic outlook on life and society. The Internet is one of your best buddies. You probably didn’t think that you’d be thinking about falling in love when you picked up this issue of the Smoke Signal, but some of that positive feedback would definitely make your days brighter and livelier than ever before. If you’re not into love for the gushy, cheesy love scenes, consider the numerous health benefits of finding that one true Care-mel in your life.

You sparkle with humor under that invisible spotlight. You stand out effortlessly with your suppressed giggles, as you speak in a language of clever remarks and ironic questions. To you, the most amusing individuals are those who don’t get it and just gape at your punchlines, only to blushingly nod in mute understanding later on. And maybe laugh heartily and awkwardly hours after the fact. This is your lucky year! These Intense Cacaos are super fun to be around, so don’t wait for them to pass on by!

You take things seriously - so seriously that you might even be the gullible one in your circle of friends. Everyone teases you because they love you for your sense of humor, intended or not. You might feel a tad embarrassed about taking this quiz, but don’t worry - even the best of us fall in love sometimes. What you need in your life is someone who knows how to have a good time and put you off guard sometimes. With the Nutty Buddy’s laid-back attitude and dynamic personality, every day will be an adventure.

You are the monarch of gifts and ruler of giftwrap, and you’re eccentric to share and remix and blend anything and everything that ever touches your fingertips. Your hugs are famous around the world, but you’re looking for the ultimate teddy bear in your life. Nobody’s ever claimed to be the best of the best, except Spearmint. Let your fluffy hugs soften his/ her biting tongue. Once you find your Sarcastic Spearmint, you’ll never let him/her go.

You are the cow that jumped over the moon. Or at least attempted to. You are imaginative and rather unorthodox in thinking. You always strive to set goals, but your dreamy personality and larger-than-life ambitions prevent you from getting much done. Your best partner is xthe Tabasco Sauce Boss, who adds spice to your life, and together, you will be the most powerful twoperson team on campus.

graphics by staff writer anna zeng

10 Feature

The Smoke Signal

Friday, February 1, 2013

The non-profit organization Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is coming our way in the 2013-14 school year. MSJ will be offering a new hands-on engineering class designed by PLTW. With over 4,200 schools in all fifty states already teaching PLTW classes, the organization is the nation’s foremost provider of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. PLTW has a four-year curriculum designed by MIT professors to get students interested in engineering and to develop their skills in the field. The new class at MSJ is the Principles of Engineering class (PoE), the second course in the program. PoE is an ROP class and an approved A-G elective. The project-based class will cover topics such as mechanisms and energy and will allow students to work with physical systems such as pulleys AP Comand gears. In the class, students will be presented with a problem and puter Scimust design a solution. This gives students valuable real world expeence A is a rience and hones their problem-solving abilities. The emphasis is By Sanjay Sreekumar & Peter Xu new class that placed on projects and not on homework, a benefit for students will be the first Staff Writers who want a break from a typical class structure. computer programThis class is intended to be for incoming sophomores, but ming class ever to be will be open to both incoming freshmen and sophomores taught at MSJ. The class Next this year. Mission Valley ROP will select and train a new came to be mainly due to school year, teacher for the class and an advisory board composed of strong student and parent MSJ will be addLam Research, San Jose State University, and Ohlone demand for a course that aling two new classes to College will oversee the class’s development. Should lowed students to experience its repertoire. AP Computer PoE prove to be popular at MSJ, more PLTW classes the world of computer science. Science A and Principles of Engimay be offered in the future. AP Computer Science A emphaneering will give students interested As of now, there will be two classes of PoE, sizes object-oriented programming in science and engineering a chance to learn depending on enrollment. Interested stuand algorithmic development, servmore about these subjects. AP Computer Science dents must have completed Algebra 1 to ing as the equivalent of a first-semester A will teach students the foundations of computer sciapply. PoE requires students have access college computer science course per the ence and prepare them for the AP test. Principles to computers, so in addition to new College Board standards. To take the class, of Engineering will provide students with the classes, MSJ will have a fully operationstudents need to complete Algebra 2/Trig by technical skills necessary for careers in al computer lab in E-7 next school the end of this year. The class will be taught in engineering. Both these classes year. Both PoE and AP Computer E7, which will soon be revamped into a brand will be on the pre-registraScience will be taught in the new computer lab for students to use. The main tion forms that come new computer lab. Too often, programming language used in the AP Computer in February. students may have an idea of Science A test is Java, but the course previously used what they wish to pursue, the languages Pascal and C++. Java is currently run but don’t have any expeon more than one billion electronic devices worldwide, rience in that field. PoE and powers software ranging from online games to large offers the chance for supercomputers. The course will also be taught by a teacher students interested with math credentials, which will either be a current MSJ math in engineering teacher or a new one. to gain valuAP Computer Science A not only serves as a great way to learn able hands-on more about the field of computer science, but also as an opportuexperience nity to earn college credit for students who want to pursue a related with the major. The curriculum can also work hand-in-hand with the new Project subject. Lead the Way program at MSJ, helping students gain both the hands-on experience and computer fluency needed to get be successful in a STEM related field. The class should be even more enticing given the importance of computers and computer software in the 21st century workforce. For anyone who wants to learn more about computer programming and about computers in general, MSJ’s AP Computer Science A class is an opportunity that should not be missed.

Pre-reg Prep

New Classes 2013-14

Dear Diary:

Groundhog Edition

By Hairol Ma Staff Writer Thursday, January 10 every day. Alas, fate is cruel, for my gaze has not settled Dearest Diary, upon my beloved. I have used the time to think up The feeling is desperate. It must be done. I know I names for our future children and plan our wedding, have to, but I don’t know if I have the strength. It shall which shall be under this very bush. It shall be a lavish be a true test of courage. and grand event, just to honor my beloved Rosie. Friday, January 11 Friday, January 25 Dearest Diary, Dearest Diary, The need is dire. I must do it. Perhaps I shall stay Alas, why is fate so cruel? All I have asked for is my another day to summon up my courage. Rosie. My will to live is sapped. My beloved Rosie, my beautiful Rosie, who has yet to show. Saturday, January 12 Dearest Diary, Friday, February 1 I have overcome one of the hardest obstacles of my Dearest Diary, life: I crawled out of my burrow into the icy 50-degree Peculiar things are happening. The Earth-men are weather and relieved myself. I have done the ultimate stirring. Today, while I faithfully stood sentinel below manly act, and the evidence shall be etched in snow the scarlet monkey flower, I heard the hideous rovforever with pale yellow tinges. Alas, the weather ing of the monsters the Earth-men ride on across our was cold and harsh and un-hibernating excruciat- gentle plains. However, the village elder has assured ing, but worth it. For my dearest Diary, I have truly us that the Earth-men always come around this time met the love of my life. While I did my business be- of year. They shall bring with them heavy black conhind swathes of scarlet monkey flowers like a modest traptions that resemble huge black spiders and blind gentleman, I glimpsed the long, curled whiskers and us with flashing lights that is always posthumous to a sparkling black eyes of what could only be a female menacing clicking noise. We have been forbidden to groundhog on the other side of the blossoms. Di- leave our burrows tomorrow, but I refuse. I shall meet ary, it must be fate that I should encounter one who my Rosie at all costs. exudes such pulchritude under the scarlet monkey flower, which blooms only under the fragrance of love Saturday, February 2 flourishing in the air. The mere scent of her sent me Dearest Diary, reeling, Diary, as she coyly turned and the aroma of a Today was a nightmare. On my daily walk to the freshly dug burrow and pine nuts wafted under my bush, I was ambushed by the Earth-men, who had nose. As she scurried away at the call of her name, her heavy black contraptions that resemble huge black shadow cast an inexplicable devotion upon me. Oh, spiders and blinded me with flashing lights that was Rosie. Beautiful Rosie Groundell. It is a name that I posthumous to a menacing clicking noise. There were shall remember forever. Today is a day that will live in squeals of delight that reached to about 10,000 decinot infamy, but passion. I shall commemorate Janu- bels, but the worst was yet to come. ary 12, 2013 for the rest of my life. My Rosie finally appeared. However, my dear friend, she is a squirrel. Sunday, January 20 Dearest Diary, I have been dragging myself from the warmth of my burrow every day at exactly 8:16 pm and waiting by the scarlet monkey flower for exactly three hours graphic by staff writer catherine wang,

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Smoke Signal

Feature 11

The Smoke Signal presents the MSJ Icon Pop Quiz, which will keep you guessing on all aspects of our school, icon style! Modeled after the popular app, Icon Pop Quiz, this brings you the same challenge and fun by seeing how well you know your school. These representations can be cleverly symbolic, or downright punny. Can you guess all the icons? The link to an online form will be posted at www. Submit your answers online by 11:59 PM Sunday, February 3 for a chance to win a prize! The first three submissions will receive Chipotle gift cards and all submissions will be entered in a raffle for the chance to win an additional prize. Answers to the quiz will be posted on our website on Monday, February 4.

12 Centerspread

Mr. Fendell’s Demonstrations Whether he’s spinning around holding a sewage pipe to demonstrate the Doppler effect, or setting a helium balloon on fire to display its instability as an element, Physics Teacher Jack Fendell fully commits to hands-on learning. Keep an eye out for the “shoot-themonkey” experiment, complete with a firing cannon and a stuffed animal.

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By Anita Alem, Tiffany Huang, Irisa Lee & Supriya Yelimeli Staff Writers

In addition to being reputable for our strong academics, MSJHS has many unique trends that our students and faculty have established over the years. From new fashion trends to major online distractions, MSJHS has many hidden quirks that make our school special.

Most Chemistry Classes: The Ice Cream Lab You remember that rule saying no eating at the lab tables? Forget about it. For one hour; you get to use chemistry to make your own ice cream, in a flavor of your choice. Yes, there’s the salt being added to lower the freezing point, etc. The point is, chemistry never tasted this good!

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A. Dyed hair Dyed hair has become an increasingly popular trend at MSJ for both boys and girls. Dying hair with various shades of color ranging from light blonde to dark red creates a fashion statement and brings a pop of color to one’s outfit. Dip-dyed hair and ombre hair are particularly in style for girls. C

B. Combat boots Combat boots, or military-style boots, are also dominating fashion at MSJ. These sturdy boots are becoming increasingly well-liked for their durability and comfort during long periods of wear. These lace-up or zippered boots are often distressed, or “worn-out,” giving the wearer an “edgier” feel. They are often paired with skinny jeans or tights.


C. Plain Color hoodies Plain color hoodies have exploded at MSJ, largely due to their comfort and affordability. These hoodies come in all the colors of the rainbow and give off an “effortlessly chill” and laid-back vibe, all with great price and style.

Mr. Karmali’s Lectures Calculus Teacher Mehebub Karmali is known for having one of the hardest classes on campus, but it’s also one of the funniest. Random homework checks are “chicken runs”, complete with a rubber chicken. Graphing calculators are nerdboxes, and easy math questions are “Algebra 0.0.” AP Biology’s Carolina Biological Company The ever-popular AP Bio wouldn’t be complete without these videos and the Southern drawl of the woman conducting the labs. While we can all agree that they are, by far, the most boring academic videos known to man, they definitely help when it comes to the labs. Pay attention to the spinach leaf lab -- the woman gets her “hyper science mode” on.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Friday, February 1, 2013

D. Asymmetrical clothing Asymmetrical clothing was first popularized last year when dresses started featuring high-low hemlines. However, the idea has expanded to asymmetrical sweaters where the sweater is cut diagonally or cut longer in the back than in the front. Asymmetrical clothing is not only great for layering, but can also be used to “balance figures,” drawing attention towards or away from certain aspects of one’s figure.




A. Reddit Although at first look this website seems to be plain and difficult to navigate, it’s incredibly easy to find yourself scrolling in the same position three hours later. Reddit allows users to vote on the quality of all material, ensuring that you will be exposed to only the finest of the internet. The self-named “front page of the Internet”, Reddit is a definite contender for top distraction at MSJ.

B. Tumblr An endless scrolling chasm, Tumblr allows you to publish text, videos, and photos on a blog that you can make completely your own. Follow and unfollow blogs to fill your dashboard, personalizing it to suit your taste. Tumblr has been known to capture many unsuspecting MSJ students with its entertaining gifs and memes, but be aware of its G.P.A-dipping side effects.

E. Northface and other cold-weather jackets Popular for both boys and girls, these functional jackets have made their way into MSJ culture, and for good reason too. These jackets are not only effortlessly cool and stylish, but are also extremely warm and C. League of Legends versatile. Despite being on the pricier end, they serve as the This massive multiplayer game gained popularity beginning in 2009. This game has been deemed addictive by perfect combination of both function and design. MSJ victims because it is a strategy game that allows you to experience an alternate environment. For some, it’s also an interesting method of social interaction that allows the best of both worlds, dominance and the great indoors. C D. Twitter When given the chance to supply grateful listeners with every thought that enters your mind, who wouldn’t take it? Twitter has been a huge success with celebrities, politicians, Voldemort, and more, but MSJ students now find themselves locked in a desperate battle between good and tweeting.


Biology: Vertebrate Dissections Scalpel, scissors, pins, tray. It sounds pretty cool at first -- until the formaldehyde smell kicks in and all you can do is wonder why you ate lunch before this. Eventually, you get used to it, and can finally appreciate the intricate workings of living organisms. For most MSJ students, this is the first year of legitimate dissections in high school, the lead-in to minks, pigs, sheep hearts. Freshmen, if you botched the cutting, don’t worry, practice really does make perfect.


The Ashland Trip As one of the few class field trips at MSJ, the trip to Ashland is the light at the end of the tunnel for many seniors in AP English. As agonized thoughts of “why did I take this class” run through a senior’s brain as he/she reads the 459th page of The Iliad, a hopeful voice whispers “Ashland.” Students have an opportunity to watch various celebrated plays, which includes Shakespeare’s Hamlet this year.




E. Instagram A picture sharing app for phones, this networking site has in the last few years exploded among MSJ students. Whether it be the temptation to refresh your feed just one more time, or the delight at choosing a filter that makes your Starbucks look that much more desirable, Instagram definitely ranks as one of the top ten distraction culprits. F. Snapchat This mobile app has recently gained popularity with MSJ students because of its quick messaging platform. Snapchat allows users to send picture messages with an adjustable time limit for viewing. Perfect for updating friends with pictures of your most recent meal and a wonderful opportunity for glamorous self shots that can’t be used against you.

A. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (12th E grade) If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be inside the head of a Russian sociopath and murderer, you will find out in Crime and Punishment. It is an account of a Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov’s murder of two people and the ensuing investigation and complications. Author Fyodor Dostoevsky is a renowned literary psychologist, so be prepared to see what you’ve learned in AP Psychology in (fictional) action.

The Holocaust Survivor Visit MSJ students have the privilege of hearing a Holocaust survivor speak about his or her experiences as a part of the sophomore English curriculum. Not only is it a unique honor – it’s also a real, raw reminder B. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (9th grade) of why we should strive to be upstanders every Of Mice and Men is the tragic tale of George Milton and Lennie Small, two migrant day. Most teachers are open to allowing sturanch workers in California. Dreams, loneliness, and loyalty are all addressed in their story, dents to attend this event every year. It’s not which only adds to the heartbreak in the end. (Note: You may never think of rabbits without one to be missed. thinking of this book ever again.) C. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (10th grade) Things Fall Apart is one of the few global novels that is taught in English classes and certainly does not fail to portray the culture of the Umuofia clan. If you do not think colonization was a bad business, this book will convince you otherwise. Things Fall Apart effectively breaks the stereotypes at the time that Africa was a simple and uncivilized land and can teach you a few Umuofian proverbs in between.,,,,, the,,,,,

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Friday, February 1, 2013

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16 Arts & Entertainment

Under the Radar: Sublime with Rome

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‘Dark Thirty’ lights up box office

Don’t C ‘Hansel and Gretel’ By Tingting Bi Staff Writer

By Marisa Lenci Staff Writer

Singer, songwriter, and musician Rome Ramirez was born in 1988, raised in Fremont, and attended American High School. His musical infatuation began in childhood, as he grew up in an eclectic atmosphere of music, ranging from reggae to rock to jazz. He began playing the guitar when he was 11, and from there, held the reins as he tackled drums, bass, and piano. Throughout the beginning of his musical career, he described his love for music as his outlet. Rome was discovered by the former band Sublime in 2009 met the co-founder of the band, and bassist, Eric Wilson. Soon after, Wilson and drummer Bub Gaugh decided to recreate the band Sublime and work with Rome as the lead singer, after the death of former lead singer Bradley Nowell. The new band, Sublime with Rome, released their first and only album so far in 2011, entitled Yours Truly. This album features many different song styles, their hit being “Panic.” Rome has begun performing on his own since then, and released his hit single “Dedication,” in May 2012, which was featured on the Rolling Stone website. As a slower paced track, “Dedication” is a simple tune with a catchy, calming melody. It didn’t waste any time as it raced to the top 10 on radio station 105.3, and even finished as number one a few weeks in a row. Rome, as a local artist, was brought to fame throughout the Bay Area by local radio station LIVE 105.3, while they featured his single and endorsed his performances. Rome is an alternative artist, and his music genre is classified as a clash mix of punk rock, reggae, ska, and dub. The range of styles that Sublime with Rome has to offer is capturing, as all of their songs are very different. His success story as a local artist is inspirational. Although the band Sublime will never be what it once was with Nowell, Rome has contributed to an entirely new band, and with that he creates his own beginning. ▪ Rating: A

Friday, February 1, 2013

By Laura Chen Staff Writer

A film “based on first-hand accounts of actual events,” Zero Dark Thirty dramatizes the decade-long manhunt for Osama bin Laden, the founder of Al-Qaeda. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by Mark Boal, the film is, in one word, heavy. Although it isn’t a documentary, Zero Dark Thirty portrays the events leading up to bin Laden’s death to deliver a resounding and thought-provoking impact. The film opens with a black screen and audio playbacks of voice recordings from Sep. 11, 2001. When the voices end, the story begins: it is 2003, and Maya (Jessica Chastain), a recent high school graduate, observes a CIA field agent (Jason Clarke) while he interrogates an Al Qaeda operative (Reda Kateb) on a

CIA “black site” in Pakistan. The agent, Dan, tells his prisoner, “When you lie to me, I hurt you.” His “enhanced interrogation” includes disturbing torture methods and, along with later terrorist attack scenes, earns the film its “R” rating. But the movie does not advocate torture as a winning device. In fact, Dan and Maya obtain their first useful hint while dining with the prisoner. When they hear of a man who may be acting as courier to Osama bin Laden, Maya becomes bent on locating the courier to hunt down bin Laden himself. Maya’s character is based on an actual female agent in the CIA Although Zero Dark Thirty oversimplifies history by crediting most of the bin Laden operation to a single individual, we can’t help but admire Maya’s maturity, bluntness, and intelligence beyond her age. But despite the single-minded determination that

Maya applies to finding bin Laden, her mission is riddled with red herrings and terrorist attacks. Zero Dark Thirty may have condensed a 10-year search into a 160-minute movie, but we can still comprehend the frustration and inefficiency of the search. Overall, the balance between fictional entertainment and commitment to the truth was clearly a challenge to maintain for Bigelow and Boal, but they handled it well. Unlike a documentary, Zero Dark Thirty lets us relive the emotions and mindsets that CIA agents experienced during their search for bin Laden. The film’s five Oscar nominations and success in box office sales clearly can’t be credited to the typical characteristics of a high-profile Hollywood movie. Instead, Zero Dark Thirty sheds light on the action that our country took in response to 9/11, and leaves the rest open to our interpretation. ▪ Rating: A-

No Joy in ‘Wolf ’s Law’

By Angela Wang Staff Writer

Founded in 2007, Welsh alternative rock band The Joy Formidable is emerging as a group that seems to be taking both the UK and the US by storm. The use of symphonic elements in addition to the conventional guitars and drums sets them apart with Ritzy Bryan leading them with her sweet girlish voice. However, their recently released album, Wolf ’s Law, does not elicit quite the same response and is nothing but disappointing. The album begins with “This Ladder is Ours,” with the song opening with an epic violin symphonic piece that leads into a fast paced song. Once the riffing and booming

beats start to climb, the song never comes down, only ascending higher in pitch and intensity. It is followed by “Cholla,” a quick reprieve from the previous song that maintains the momentum with a more punk vibe. After a while, many of the songs blur into one and begin to start sounding extremely similar. The band continues to use an onslaught of strong and powerful guitar and drums that lends to the energypacked album. However, there are a few standouts such as “The Leopard and the Lung” and “The Hurdle” as it shows the band’s effective use of adding orchestral elements to add to the overall effect they are striving for. “The Hurdle” in particular emphasizes Bryan’s tuneful singing and

the string arrangement makes the listener concentrate on the melodic intricacies. Sadly, while the album did contain some exceptional songs, there were more bad ones than there were good. Bryan’s voice in “Bats” is not only distorted but its pop metal accents only serves to accentuate the disaster of the whole piece. More embarrassing is “Maw Maw Song,” which seems to imitate the metallic progressive style of Muse, but comes out sounding ridiculous with Bryan chanting “maw maw” in a distorted vocal effect. “The Turnaround” is comprised of a wide sweep of violins, deliberate drums, and Bryan’s crooning voice that fails to come to the emotional release the song tries to inspire. The lyrics of the album itself are centered around global politics and Native American mythology, but while these lyrical projects are creative, they are difficult to understand, only inciting more disinterest than curiosity. While Wolf ’s Law started off strong, it only worsened as the album continued. As The Joy Formidable tried to show their expertise in a wide array of elements, they only succeeded to make a mess of it all. Hopefully in the future, the band will make an album that is more reflective of their talents. ▪ Rating: C

With theaters crawling with unsuccessful revamped fairy tales, the resurgence of fairy tale movies leaves no rock unturned, and the classic story of Hansel and Gretel is not spared from becoming a butchered mess in Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. The movie, for the first twenty minutes, stays true to the storyline-a father abandons his children in the woods, where they stumble upon a cannibalistic witch and narrowly escape death. Now fast forward fifteen years, where Hansel ( Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) have matured into armed vigilantes who dedicate their lives to eradicating witches. As the siblings and their deadweight sidekick Ben (Thomas Mann) seek to exterminate the witches who are terrorizing a German town, they encounter an unexpected dilemma that forces Hansel and Gretel to face their past and the truth behind their parents’ betrayal. While the motto of the movie is “classic tale, new twist,” the movie is anything but surprising. The plot meanders from point of point, and the transitions between scenes are choppy and unclear, leading to minor confusion at times. The twist to the classic story is substantial, albeit predictable, for the foreshadowing reveals too much information. The time period is also indistinct. Saturated with anachronisms, the movie unsuccessfully attempts to weave modern dialogue into a medieval time period. Although the advanced artilleries create amazing explosion scenes, Hansel and Gretel wield an arsenal of weapons that seem to come from the twenty-second century. The graphics, however, are a delight. Director Tommy Wirkola takes full advantage of 3D effects. The movie is action packed with wild chases, seat-gripping fist fights, and gruesome bloody terrors. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters will appeal to fans of blood, gore, and Jeremy Renner. Sitting through almost ninety minutes of snarling witches, crushed skulls, and fierce fighting has etched an invaluable lesson in my mind: never go into a stranger’s house, even if their house is made of candy. ▪ Rating: C

Friday, February 1, 2013

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The Smoke Signal predicts...


The 55th Annual Grammy Awards will be gracing the venerated halls of the Los Angeles Staples Center on Sunday, February 10. Music’s biggest event and the highest rated award show of the season will celebrate many artists, with many tossups this year, unlike the predictable sweeps last year by Kanye West and Adele.

and Mumford & Son’s album has a folk-pop style that appeals to a wide audience, as shown by the 600,000 copies sold in its first week. This album alone stole six spots in the Billboard Hot 100, a success achieved before only by the Beatles.

Song of the Year: “We Are Young” by fun. Record of the Year: “Somebody That I Used to Know” Another tough call, our prediction for Song of the Year goes by Gotye feat. Kimbra to fun. for their indie pop ballad “We Are Young”, featuring Five time Aria Award winner and MTV EMA nominated artist Gotye hit Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, one of the first Australian or Belgian artists to ever do so. This catchy song experienced widespread popularity

from almost obscurity, and blasted other Gotye albums “Making Mirrors” and “Like Drawing Blood” to the limelight. However, the other nominations are also stellar options, making this a hard decision to make.

Album of the Year: Babel by Mumford & Sons Probably the clearest winner in this year’s batch of tough calls, Babel, is back to the Grammy’s after receiving the Best New Artist nomination two years ago and nominations for Record of the Year and Song of the Year last year with “The Cave.” The Album of the Year award is always one that displays a less adventurous choice,

Janelle Monae on their album “Some Nights.” It maintained number one on the Billboards Hot 100 list for six weeks straight and is the first song to get 300,000 digital sales for seven consecutive weeks. Though “Call Me Maybe” also reached a great degree of popularity, it is unlikely that Carly Rae Jepsen will receive the Grammy award, and though skilled, Miguel is still not well known enough to land as major an award as the Song of the Year. This leaves only “Strong (What Doesn’t Kill You)” as a true contestant for the title.

Best New Artist: Hunter Hayes The Best New Artist Award is the category the Grammy’s takes the biggest risk with, as shown with Bon Iver’s surprising victory last year. Hunter Hayes, a nineteen year old from Louisiana, has been pursuing music since age five, but it took until his 2011 album Hunter Hayes with Atlantic Records to catapult him into fame. He currently has three songs, “Wanted”, “Somebody’s Heartbreak”, and “Storm Warning” on the Billboards Hot 100, all of with he wrote, sung, and played all the instruments for himself. He has been opening shows for Taylor Swift lately as well as touring in smaller events as well since his recent demand.

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By Hannah Shih & Peter Xu Staff Writers


Best Picture: Lincoln

litionist character, which is simply awe-inspiring. The winner of the Best Picture Award will go down in history like the man it portrays. To the chagrin of some, Actress in a Supporting Role: Les Misérables this man is not Django, but Lincoln. The film, Lincoln, will Anne Hathaway’s acting prowess is unparalleled. Her march to victory as Sherman marched to the sea. ability to fit any role shines through as Fantine. Although appearing in less than half the film, Anne Hathaway still leaves a deep impression on viewers. For her moving performance, she will win the dream she dreams.

Directing: Lincoln Lincoln carries out its artistic vision with such skill and mastery that one would suspect that the man himself directed its production. Such praise falls upon Steven Spielberg, who has yet another success under his belt.

Music – Original Song: “Skyfall” Adele flawlessly executes the mission with “Skyfall,” the original song for Skyfall. An orchestral backdrop sets the scene for Adele’s distinct vocals that culminate in a song Actor in a Leading Role: Les Misérables Hugh Jackman will certainly not be looking down when befitting any secret agent. ▪ it comes to the award for leading actor. After an emotional performance in Les Misérables, Jackman will hear the people sing.

Actress in a Leading Role: Silver Linings Playbook There’s a silver lining to this cloud. Jennifer Lawrence from Silver Linings Playbook makes you want to laugh and cry at the same time.

Actor in a Supporting Role: Lincoln Tommy Lee Jones portrays Radical Republican Thaddeus Stevens with the very passion contained within his abo-

By Anjali Kanthilal Staff Writer

FAVORITE GENRE: R&B ”One More Night” by Maroon 5 S: E GENRE FAVORIT z z d Ja Rock an T: PLAYLIS Band y m r -Music fo in the Deep” “Rolling e” -Adele’s ga’s “Poker Fac a n G Bo fá -Lady usic: Luiz M e s e g “Manhã -Portu Maria’s io n tô n and A aval” de Carn

“Landslide” by PS22Chorus

“Wonder” by Natalie Merchant

“Viva la Vida” by Coldplay

FAVORITE BAND: The Expendables PLAYLIST: “Sacrifice” by The Expendables

Japane se music: Ogi No Man Biwa

FAVORIT E GENRE: 40s big band music,,

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Friday, February 1, 2013

Student Spotlight: Pragathi Guruprasad In the past year, Sophomore Pragathi Gur uprasad has dazzled international audiences with her singing and recording. She recently entered Airtel Super Singer Junior, a talent hunt competition in Chennai, India. After winning r unner up, Pragathi has recorded three songs and returned to MSJ to resume her sophomore year. She recently spoke with the Smoke Signal about her journey and success in her musical career. Smoke Signal: At what age did you first start singing? Pragathi Gur uprasad: I’ve been singing since I was 2 years old, but for mally began training when I was four. SS: What kind of music do you sing? PG: I’ve been trained in North Indian and south Indian classical music for the last 9-10 years, but this year (in India) I was singing Tamil film music, I also sing English music for fun and have done a few covers. SS: What inspired you to start singing?

By Catherine Ho Staff Writer

PG: That credit would definitely have to go to my sister Prithvi (MSJ Class of 2009) because when she started learning music, I began to as well. She has always been my role model and inspiration since I was extremely little. Before she went to college both of us sang and perfor med concerts together. We still love helping each other and jamming out together. SS: What competitions have you competed in? PG: All my life I have only competed in North and South Indian classical competitions but this past year when I was in India I competed in a reality music show just like American Idol called Airtel Super Singer Junior which was for Tamil

a huge role in my musical career. They always drove me to class whether it was at 5 in the morning on a school day or at 10 at night. They always encourage me to practice and have been extremely instr umental in ever y decision I make. The last 9 years of learning music has been so much fun and especially the last one year I spent in India has really been so memorable. It has been a wonderful learning platfor m and I’ve really grown as a perfor mer and singer over this last year. I’m looking forward to learning and expanding my knowledge even more.

film music. SS: Have you produced any music or albums? PG: I haven’t personally produced any albums but I have sung for a ver y popular Tamil movie that’s going to be released in Febr uar y called Paradesi. I got the opportunity to work with one of south India’s leading and national award winning directors and one of the most successful music directors for this film.

SS: What message does your music convey to its audience? PG: I wish to take it to heights where it could mean a lot more not in ter ms of just music but for me also as an artist. I began singing because of the love I had for it, and now millions of others love my music as well and I think that itself is a blessing. ▪

SS: Tell me about your musical journey. PG: It has been absolutely amazing. My parents have grown up with music and both of them sing so they were extremely supportive and also played photos courtesy pragathi guruprasad

Books We Want to See in Theaters By Vivian Jair Staff Writer

There has been a recent surge in popularity for novels adapted into movies, such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Life of Pi, and The Hunger Games. Here are the Smoke Signal’s top choices of novels that have yet to be acquired by film companies.

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Set in an alternate version of World War I where the Central Powers use technological war machines to battle the Entente Powers’ bio-engineered creatures, Leviathan is the first of a trilogy by Scott Westerfeld. The story features Prince Aleksandar, the fictional son of Austria’s Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and the tomboyish girl Deryn Sharp in their adventures during the war. Although the plotline is infused with plenty of action, the adventurous mood of the novel is hampered by the dry style of writing. A film adaption would bypass this problem entirely and better present the thrills of the plot. In addition, Leviathan has the giant advantage of being a steampunk novel starring stunning machines and monsters. The book provides beautifully detailed illustrations of scenes, characters, and creatures. As a movie, it would be able to showcase even more stunning scenes. The filmmakers can just design everything off the already-provided drawings. Overall, its artistic nature would provide a rare visual brilliance that is normally not present in movies based off books.

lege Brakebills and discovers that the fantasy land of Fillory is real. The Magicians is unique in its realistic attitude towards magic, illustrating it as tedious and dangerously costly. It focuses on the heartbreaking contrast between expectations and reality by illustrating that the fantasy world that we all dream of may not truly be what we’re looking for. Clearly, The Magicians possesses the magical action, unique themes, and appealing settings that are suited for a film. Additionally, The Magicians was originally picked up by Fox to become a TV show, but then was ultimately cancelled. Grossman wrote on his blog of his disappointment and hopes to pursue a film instead.

Gone by Michael Grant

The dystopian science-fiction Gone series by Michael Grant will undoubtedly become a big hit if promoted to a film. It features the struggles that ensue when everyone over the age of 15 in a town suddenly vanishes. The remaining residents, trapped within a circular barrier known as the FAYZ, soon develop superpowers and battle amongst themselves for control. Overall, the series possesses the heartwrenching suspense, action-packed confrontations, and supernatural visual effects that would be especially enjoyable on screen. Grant has expressed the concern that film companies may not accept it due to the lack of adults in the story, but many movies today center on teens rather than adults. Hence, Gone remains a strong candidate for a future film adaptation.▪

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Often called a blend of “Harry Potter and Chronicles of Narnia for adults” by critics, The Magicians by Lev Grossman is a highly cynical fantasy novel. It tells the story of Quentin Coldwater, who is accepted into the magic,

Friday, February 1, 2013

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dates despite having less impressive statistical careers, as they were each suspected of PED use but nothing was proven. Bagwell finished with 59.6 percent and Piazza with 57.8 percent of the vote. At the top of the class was first ballot Craig Biggio with 68.2 percent, but he was still 6.8 percent short of Hall of Fame honors. Biggio is one of three players with 3,000 hits who is not in the Hall of Fame, with the other two being Pete Rose—banned from baseball--and Palmeiro—failed drug test. As far as we know, Biggio never came near a PED throughout his career, but his accomplishments were still

The popular point of view is that to get in, players have to demonstrate certain amounts Vishak Menon of the intangibles—integrity, credibility, prepSports Editors aration—in order to reflect the history of the game in Cooperstown, rather than just dictate Hall of Shame their legacy. However, with the massive influx The 2013 Major League Baseball (MLB) of PEDs in baseball over the last two decades, Hall of Fame ballot votes are in. In one of the the line the Hall of Fame voters have drawn most prolific potential Hall of Fame classes for steroid abusers will without doubt become in history, no one, including Barry Bonds and increasingly more faded and smudged. Roger Clemens, was deemed “worthy” of inThe general notion is that when a player duction. reaches roughly 60 percent of the vote, he Thirty-seven of baseball’s finest names will have a good chance of being inducted in made the ballot this year, but none ballots to come in the near future. By eclipsed the 75 percent vote barrier this logic, only Biggio, Jack Morris— required for admittance. The only way who received 67.7 percent on his 14th we can explain the exclusion of the ballot—Bagwell, and Piazza have good many modern day baseball heroes chances of making it in. Recall though from Cooperstown this year is the that Bagwell and Piazza do have some overwhelming presence of perforassociation with steroids, even if the almance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in legations are false; we don’t know. The this year’s candidates. Bonds, all-time voters severely punished the players afhome run king (762), seven-time MVP, filiated with PEDs in 2013, to a point and 8-time gold glover, and Clemens, that it would seem unlikely that they seven-time Cy Young winner, and the could ever change the minds of half only player in MLB history to amass the voters for their induction. But if both 350 wins and 4,000 strikeouts, Bagwell and Piazza, who were thought have both been heavily scrutinized for to have used at one time, are in fact adalleged steroid use. Both players were mitted in upcoming years, then players on their first Hall of Fame ballots this The change in Barry Bonds’ body mass in size from his early (left) to late (right) like Bonds and Clemens have to get in. year, and neither came close to getting career. This would open the floodgate for all of in. Bonds received only 36.2 percent considered not enough. baseball’s asterisk-branded superstars of the vote while Clemens received 37.6. Much of the rationale for Biggio’s denial into the Hall of Fame. All in all, the voters Bonds and Clemens weren’t the only play- is that while he is worthy of induction to the have inadvertently placed themselves between ers on this ballot that received a proverbial slap Hall of Fame, he did not deserve to make it a rock and a very hard place. in the face in this year’s voting for their sus- on his first ballot. Many of the voters consider Players like Bonds and Clemens are among pected PED abuse. Sammy Sosa a first ballot, the first ballot to be reserved for A-list, top the greatest to have ever played the game, and Rafael Palmeiro, a third ballot, received shelf players only. Bonds and Clemens would hands down. Did they knowingly use ste12.5 and 8.8 percent of the votes respectively. undoubtedly be considered A-list had they not roids to get there? We can only assume yes, Mark McGwire was snubbed with 16.9 per- been in the crosshairs of steroid accusations. but only they know for sure. Regardless, they cent on his seventh ballot. Third ballot Jeff Reaching the MLB Hall of Fame is baseball’s without question deserve a plaque on the wall Bagwell and first ballot Mike Piazza received greatest honor; it is the ultimate achievement in Cooperstown because the MLB enabled significantly more support than other candi- for the greatest athletes to ever play the game. their success. The MLB looked the other way By Kenny Jacoby &

Ubuntu Club By Leah Feuerman Staff Writer given the tools to help teach their players how to make healthy lifestyle decisions. The Parikrma Humanity Foundation serves to provide education and nutrition to underprivileged children. So far Ubuntu Athletics has been able to raise a total of about $600 for those charities. Ubuntu Athletics became an official MSJ club in December 2012. They meet once a week staff writer leah feuerman and use the facilities From left to right, Juniors Sahil Bansal, Siddhant Ambulkar, and Guhan Sundar, hope to at Hopkins to run the spread their love of sports through Ubuntu Athletics. camps. There they have Outside of juggling school work with varsi- the children practice drills and later play scrimty soccer practice, Juniors Siddhant Ambulkar, mages incorporating what they learned into Sahil Bansal, and Guhan Sundar can also be the game. “The most rewarding experience is seen at Hopkins teaching sports fundamentals getting to coach the kids and seeing them imto younger kids in their free time. The three prove over time,” said Sundar, the president of of them teamed up to head MSJ’s new Ubuntu the club. He, Ambulkar—the vice president— Club, a student-organized club that runs sports and Bansal—the secretary—all help coach the kids in soccer and basketball, both of which camps for elementary school children. Ubuntu Club was an idea Ambulkar, Bansal, they have played for much of their lives. and Sundar had always wanted to try. They Ubuntu Club hopes to expand to include first applied for Ubuntu to be an official MSJ other sports as well. One of their goals is to club last year, but the quota for clubs at that include more tennis, badminton, swimming, time had already been filled. Undaunted, they and baseball into their program, so they can decided to start a non-profit organization over attract a larger group of kids to the camps. the summer called Ubuntu Athletics. Since “One of our biggest challenges is getting kids then the group has held a total of 15 camps to come,” said Sundar. “We handed out a lot that teach kids the techniques and skills of dif- of fliers at Back to School Nights at elementaferent sports, especially soccer and basketball. ry schools. Right now we have about 10 kids, The camps are free, but members are encour- but in the future we hope to have 20-30 comaged to donate to two charities: Soccer Saves ing out.” Ubuntu Club also hopes to one day raise and The Parikrma Humanity Foundation. Soccer Saves is a charity foundation dedicat- money to give scholarships to underprivileged ed to using the game of soccer to help spread athletes who wish to play sports at a higher knowledge about HIV/AIDS, nutrition, gen- level. One thing is for sure, this is a club that der equity, and reproductive health to disad- has big plans for the future combining volunvantaged youth. Coaches around the world are teering, charity, and athletics. ▪

Friday, February 1, 2013

when Barry Bonds nearly doubled in size, and though steroids have been banned since 1991, they took very few measures to enforce it. They let them play fully aware that they might have been juicing, and that is their fault. That being said, the Hall of Fame is now the one thing standing in the way of these baseball greats or possible cheaters and a get

Roger Clemens was acquitted on six counts of criminal federal charges after testifying that he did not use PEDs.

out of jail free card. If they are inducted, then the cheaters have officially beaten the system. And that is not right. What the Hall of Fame trustees can do is put the known PED information on the plaques of the players in the Hall of Fame, and an asterisk next to their name. In addition, the writing on their plaques should be able to change in light of new information discovered about their individual steroid abuse cases. While the Hall of Fame does represent honor and integrity, these players do have some of the most phenomenal resumes in MLB history, and that can’t be taken away from them. At the moment the MLB can’t accept that fact, but that’s just because they can’t admit that their failure to enforce the steroid ban is their fault too. ▪

Need For Speed By Jonathon Teng Staff Writer

courtesy david lin

Freshman David Lin has been speed skating competetively for almost seven years.

Speed skating is often regarded as a thrilling sport, with skaters traveling more than 40 mph on the rink. The Smoke Signal had the opportunity to sit down with Freshman David Lin and talk about his speed skating experiences inside and outside the rink. Smoke Signal: How did you get into speedskating? David Lin: Back in 2006, I was watching the Winter Olympics with my family when speed skating came on, and I told my parents that I just wanted to try it. Within a year, I was on the ice. I've been skating for about 6-7 years now. SS: What do you enjoy about it? DL: I enjoy how skating is unique and how not very many people do it. It’s a sport where I can get away from all the stresses from school, skate my heart out, and have fun. It definitely feels incredible to go fast and carve into the ice as you go around the corners at over twenty miles per hour (which is only half the speed of Olympic skaters). Additionally, I enjoy how the sport never ceases to astonish me since at high speeds, as everything seems physically impossible. At those speeds, the angles of our blades when going around the corner look unbelievable as they’re well below 45 degrees, and it’s extraordinary to be leaning that much without falling on only 1 mm thick blades. SS: How do you generally practice, prepare and warm up for competitions?

DL: On Saturday nights, I go to the Oakland Ice Center and skate with the Northern California Speed Skating Association, and on Sunday mornings, I skate with them in San Jose at Sharks Ice. SS: What do you think about before going into a competition? DL: When I go into a competition, first and foremost I think about crossing the finish line. I then begin strategizing whether or not I should start off fast and get to the front and lead the whole way or stay in back and save energy and wait for the right moment to pass. During the race, I often think about how I’ll pass and when I’ll do it, or after how many laps will I make my move? I often remind myself of everything that I have learned and tell myself to not forget those things while I race because it is easy to forget your techniques in a race. SS: Have you won any major events? DL: I compete in the club races and regular training races within the NCSSA and the California State Championships. The only time I've won a major race was in 2011 at the California State Championships, where I got second place. I will be competing in states this year, and I'm still unsure about going to nationals. SS: What different events do you compete in? DL: I normally compete in the 500m and 1000m distances. The 500m (4 and a half laps) is the short track sprint. It’s the shortest official distance in a race, and skaters go all out from the start to the finish, which is like the 100m of track and field. This distance is generally the most exciting race out of the other distances. The 1000m (9 laps) starts off slower than the 500m. In this race, it is important to save your energy as it’s a kilometer long, and because it’s not just a sprint to the finish line, strategy and tactics play more of a role. You have to skate smart and efficiently if you want to win this distance. SS: What are your aspirations as a speed skater in the future? DL: I would like to keep speed skating as a hobby rather than a living. Sure, the Olympics would be great, but I think I'll just stick with skating for fun. I will definitely still compete at races like states and nationals, though. ▪

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Smoke Signal

is the game worth the ticket price? By Jason Chen Staff Writer

Warriors have become significantly more expensive over the years and Warriors tickets today cost an average of $30. San Jose Sharks tickets are not that much cheaper as it is hard to find tickets under $40 in the upper level, and under $100 in the lower level. Most fans agree that the live experience of a game is unlike any one will ever experience watching the game on television. The television cannot recreate the 60,000 fans cheering at the same time. Television cannot the duplicate the experience of eating garlic fries at an Oakland Athletics game. One cannot experience the thunderous boom of a home run at home. Fans today need to decide whether the live experience outweighs a massive bill. Even though ticket prices, transportation costs, and convenience charges keep soaring for the foreseeable future, fans must still go out to the stadium and cheer on their favorite team. Not only can fans help their favorite team by cheering them to victory, the live sporting experience gives fans a new perspective of their favorite sport. ▪

A growing number of sports fans have opted to stay home to watch their favorite teams play instead of heading out to the stadium. Ticket prices across all sports are rising to an all-time high while high-definition television gives fans an even greater incentive to stay home. Ticket prices are especially discouraging to fans in the NFL. An average individual game ticket for the cheapest seats run anywhere from $80 to $150. When one factors in additional tickets for family members, parking, and food, the final bill can run upwards of $500. Let’s take a regular season, non-primetime San Francisco 49ers game for example. The cheapest available ticket on Stubhub will set you back $85. Parking is another $30 and the average person spends $10 on concessions. The cost for a single person to watch the game will cost $125; a family of four will cost nearly $500. After spending all that money, you might still be far from the field, it might be raining, and there are no replays. How many fans can stomach spending that amount for three hours of entertainment? In addition to the NFL, the National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB), and National Hockey League (NHL) have all had to raise ticket prices to supplant rising operational costs. San Francisco Giants ticket prices rank among the highest in MLB, with tickets running an average of $50 for a decent seat in the view Golden State Warriors tickets today average roughly $30 per ticket, and courtreserve section. Golden State side seats often cost upwards of $300 apiece.

Sports 21

Girls’ Basketball Goyal By Ishan Staff Writer

like practice and training, making it near impossible to cope with homework and testing. The average student athlete GPA has been reported to be around 2.8, a number which the MSJ girls far exceed. The passion the girls have for the sport and their desire to excel in school are the main reasons for this phenomenon. Even though the team will be losing several seniors next year, their returning players will bring a new level of talent and leadership. Junior Leah staff writer ishan goyal Feuerman said “As a senior next year, The past few years, the Girls’ Basketball team has proven their skills on and off the court. I hope to improve myself as a player and be able to help my teammates be Maintaining academic and athletic excel- come better players as well.” With this kind of lence is a challenge most athletes struggle with. growth and excellence, the MSJ Girls’ BasketThey are forced to pick one career path over ball team is likely to be a force to reckon with the other, but the MSJ Girls’ Basketball team for years to come. has proven that it can balance both. With its Senior Grace Lee, a member of the team high levels of performance both on and off since her freshman year, reflects back, “While the court, the team is often winning awards I was being interviewed, I could feel myself beaming with pride for our school, for the athand acclaim. Six times in the past seven years, the team letics department, and most importantly, being has received a California Interscholastic Fed- a Girl’s Basketball player at Mission San Jose eration Scholarship Award, a merit where all High School. Throughout high school, I’ve alof its members have a GPA higher than 3.5. ways believed that one of the greatest things Historically, the girls also dominate their com- to be was to be well rounded and balanced, petition, qualifying for NCS two years in a row. and this was the epitome of it: a team that This outstanding reputation recently earned achieved greatly both in the classroom and on the team a spotlight from Cal-Hi Sports, an the court. I see our team growing closer and athletic program that recognizes high school stronger day by day, through all of the ups and teams throughout California. The week af- downs, and I know that I wouldn’t want to be ter winter break, several members from Cal- part of any other team. I’m looking forward Hi Sports filmed the girls as they progressed to where we’ll go and all of the things we will achieve together, because one thing I do know through their daily classes and at practice. MSJ is known for the academic rigor it plac- about this team is that we’re not here for the es upon its students, but this stress multiplies coaches, we’re not here for the crowd, we’re when the student is also involved in a sport. not here for the fame, we’re here to play for Their schedules are full of time commitments each other and to play the game.” ▪

22 Sports

The Smoke Signal

Friday, February 1, 2013

SUPERBOWL preview By Vishak Menon, Jason Chen, Sai Chilikapati, and Sanjay Sreekumar Sports Editor and Staff Writers

Superbowl XLVII is sure to be a matchup of epic proportions with the San Francisco 49ers going head to head with the Balitimore Ravens. Both teams feature outstanding coaching led by brothers Jim Harbaugh, Head Coach of the 49ers, and John Harbaugh, Head Coach of the Ravens. The battle is guaranteed to be a close one, so the Smoke Signal has compiled some information on both teams to keep in mind during the game.

49ers Offense: The 49ers are lead by a young, dynamic quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who will make just his 10th career starter in Super Bowl XLVII. Kaepernick followed his record setting performance against Green Bay, with an equally impressive showing in Atlanta. Throwing for 233 yards he established himself not just as a dangerous running quarterback, but also as a precision passer to targets like wide receiver Michael Crabtree and tight end Vernon Davis. The run game has also been instrumental in the postseason and is facilitated by the team’s offensive line, which has two Pro Bowlers, Mike Iupati and Joe Staley, and considered by many to be the best in the NFL.

Ravens Offense: The Ravens have found their key to success by trusting the ball in the hands of Joe Flacco. Flacco completed 21 of 36 passes and threw for three touchdowns in the second half to defeat the Patriots 28-13 in the AFC championship game. Now, against the 49ers, Flacco can prove that he is among the elite quarterbacks by performing at his prime against arguably the best defense in the NFL . He needs to squeeze the ball accurately into tight windows and pass to multiple recievers. The Ravens should also work to utilize star running back Ray Rice as a reciever. John Harbaugh and the offensive coordinating staff need to develop a comfortable balance between passing and running plays.

“49ers will win because their team is younger and the players are more athletic than the older guys on Baltimore.” - Abhinav Shah, 11 “The 49ers will win, because the Bay Area is the best!” - Spanish Teacher Jill Evans

49ers Defense: Defensively the 49ers have been a powerhouse all season long. They have weapons at almost every position including several Pro-Bowl linebackers. And with some of the hardest hitting safeties in the league like Donte Whitner and Dashon Goldson, opposing offenses are always wary of putting the ball farther downfield. In the NFC Championship game, the Niners defense fell short earlier on, allowing 27 first half points. Although they recovered and effectively shut down the Falcons in the second half, they must start strong against the Ravens and continue to put pressure on the quarterback and maintain coverage downfield if they want to come out victorious.

“I think the Ravens will win because they’re going to be more motivated than the Niners. It’s Ray Lewis’s last game, so they will play hard for him.” - Mudit Mittal, 10 Ravens Defense: Despite their 17th ranking, don’t sleep on the Raven’s defense, as the entire unit seems to be revitalized after the return of a healthy Ray Lewis into the lineup. After keeping the Patiots to only 13 points in the AFC title game, entering the Super Bowl, Baltimore’s defense has resumed playing physical, fundamentally sound football. Despite their improvements, San Francisco’s offensive scheme should concern the Ravens greatly. Besides Colin Kaepernick’s prolific duel-threat capabilities, the 49ers also feature a punishing running attack led by Frank Gore. Baltimore needs to make sure its defensive unit is fresh throughout the game. ▪,,, layout by sports editors kenny jacoby and vishak menon

Boys’ Basketball: MSJ Defeats Kennedy By Nina Krishnan Staff Writer

The 39th Annual

MSJ Invitational By Marisa Lenci Staff Writer

staff writer nina krishnan

The boys huddle together late in the game, hoping to seal their first victory of the season against the Titans.

On Friday, January 18, students, parents, and teachers packed MSJ’s gym to watch the MSJ Warriors face off against the Kennedy Titans for the second home game of the season. MSJ played with poise and confidence allowed them to dominate the game and finish with an 84-71 win over Kennedy. There was minimal scoring in the first quarter, as both teams put forth an aggressive offense and stifling defense. The Warriors finished the first quarter with a 13-8 lead over the Titans. The offensive struggle continued well into the second quarter, as both teams played relentlessly (and Kennedy slowly caught up to the Warriors. By halftime the lead had tightened to 29-27. MSJ bounced back from an offensively slow first half by setting up screens, recovering rebounds, and forcing turnovers. Thinking ahead and varying their offensive plays earned MSJ fast break points and put them in the lead. By the end of the third quarter the Warriors were up 52-44. As the fourth quarter ticked away and the score gap widened, Kennedy resorted to full court pressure resulting in numerous MSJ turnovers. But bad passes, risky shots, and aggressive fouls kept them from closing in on

the lead. Senior Captain Reid Marion was a force to be reckoned with; he made four free throws, eight rebounds, and five assists. His speed and shooting accuracy were apparent in his 18point contribution. Sophomore point guard Mark Sui was a standout player as well. His agility and skill helped him continuously penetrate Kennedy’s taut defense, and score a total of 13 points. “We played well as a team; our defense was stellar and our plays on offense gave us the opportunity for good shots- which we knocked down. We also scored 84 points, which is a lot more than we usually do,” said Sui after the game. Statistically speaking, Junior Ryan Henderson had the most impressive performance with his double-double; he made 18 points and ten rebounds, eight of which were defensive. The game was teeming with blatant fouls, turnovers, and rebounds that left the crowd on edge. “It was an exciting win; we usually don’t play such high scoring games. It was easily the best game so far in the season, and we had a great crowd,” said Head Coach Mike Kinney after the win. The next home game is on February 4 when the Warriors take on Newark Memorial. ▪

Each year, wrestlers from all around California, and a few out of state, come together to compete in the annual Mission San Jose Wrestling Invitational Tournament. In its 39th year and counting, this tournament has grown from a small single section tournament to an elite tournament for wrestlers throughout the state. In 1974, the first annual tournament was held at MSJ. It started as a small 16 team tournament, and mostly included wrestlers from the North Coast Section. As the years passed, it moved up in rankings and expanded to 24 teams, then 32, and now has grown to about 64 participating teams state-wide. For the past 30 years, the tournament has been run and directed by Athletic Director Coach Tom Thomsen. Currently, the sections competing in the tournament include five of the ten sections throughout California, San Joaquin, Central Coast, Central, North Coast, and Northern. The out-of-state participants include a few wrestlers from Oregon, Nevada, and Washington.

The elite tournament has gained popularity and recognition purely because of the level of competition. Each section brings only their best wrestlers to compete in the tournament, which make the whole tournament overall more successful. This invitational is seen as a predictor of how well each competitor will do in the post-season, including sectionals, states, and tournaments. As three-year returning champions of the tournament, Clovis High School will be the team to beat this year. They have also won the CIF State Championship 12 of the past 15 years. The other teams that have proved resilient in previous years are James Logan, De La Salle, Buchanan, and San Joaquin. Usually, the tournament features at least one or two state champions across various weight classes. In response to the reflection about the success of the tournament, Thomsen says “It’s two days of organized chaos. I wouldn’t be able to do it without the help of the coaching staff, parents, and support of the school and community.” The MSJ Invitational will be held from February 1-2 in the the main gym. ▪

The MSJ invitational has increased both in popularity and prestige over the years and now features some of the most elite wrestlers in California.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Smoke Signal

Photo 23

photos by staff writer nina krishnan

24 Photo

The Smoke Signal

Friday, February 1, 2013

By Anita Alem Staff Writer

On Friday, January 18, the organization Rachel’s Challenge hosted an assembly in MSJ’s gym, led by Speaker Ali. Leadership 2 organized the presentation in response to the Fremont Unified School District’s recent strict stance on bullying. The presentation instead encouraged kindness and compassion towards fellow students, taking a proactive approach towards improving the school environment. Through a combination of footage from the shootings and stories about Rachel’s life and belief that people can start a chain reaction of kindness, the speaker encouraged people to “start a chain reaction” of kindness.


By Irisa Lee Staff Writer On Friday, January 25 MSJ’s Universal Performers hosted their annual Variety Show in the Little Theater. As the name of the show implies, students performed a variety of acts, including singing, dancing, and instrumental performances. Daniel Zopfi, 11, opened the show singing his rendition of “Bad Moon Rising”. Soukhya Inamdar, 9, followed, singing Christina Aguilera’s “Hurt”. Shivani Ariathurai, 12, and Ciara Lunger, 12, sang “Shake it Out” and displayed their vocal skills as well later in the show.

There were two piano performances that night, one by Kelly Shi, 9, playing “Love Letter” by DJ Okawai and the other by Kenny Shen, 12, performing his original song “Flight”. The dances presented were all very different: Ahsas Sood, 10, performed an Indian Classical dance, Jennifer Huang, 9, danced a hiphop routine, and Allan Ko, 12, performed a tap dance routine. In addition, three instrumental groups played for the Variety Show. The first was the “Khanhsemble”, a duodecatet (a 12-person ensemble) headed by Khanh Nguyen, 12, which performed Serenade Op 44 by Antonin Dvorak. Khanh Nguyen later performed in the MSJ Sax Quartet, which also comprised of Peter Huang, 9, Timothy Wang, 11, and Daniel Yang, 12. The last act of the night was a strong rock performance of “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica on cellos by Vivian Dong, 12, Calvin Leung, 12, Richard Liang, 11, and Aimee Xu, 9. The MCs Arthi Rao, 12, and Nikita Thomas, 12, introduced each act of the show enthusiastically and ended the show by leading the audience in a happy birthday song for Ahsas Sood’s 16th birthday.

photos by graphics editor angie wang & staff writers genevieve huang, irisa lee, leah feuerman, & catherine wang

Vol. XLVIII, No. 5  

January 2013

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