Page 1


VOL. 53 NO. 5

February 2, 2018


By the Numbers: Student Career Interests By Shiantel Chiang, Riya Chopra, Toshali Goel & Karen Li Staff Writers

What career field(s) are you interested in? Choose all that apply. (All Students)

Biological/Physical Sciences 37.1%

OVERVIEW With numerous career options available, it can be difficult for MSJ students to decide their career interests and how they will pursue them. To gather information about the career interests at MSJ, the Smoke Signal analyzed 213 total responses from a student survey via Facebook. Additionally, the Smoke Signal conducted interviews with MSJ alumni, school counselors, and Career and College Specialist Catherine Castillou to discuss how students can decide career interests and what resources they can utilize to pursue them.

Health/Medicine 32.9%

Social Work 6.6%

Business 25.8%

Government 7.5%

Education 12.7%

Undecided 9.4% Other 12.7%

Communications 11.7% Sports/Physical Training/Education 8% Environment 6.6%

Engineering/Computer Science 33.3%

Have you changed your career interest before?

YES: 50.7%

NO: 49.3%

On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not much and 10 being very... 3-4



Law/Public Policy 20.7% Arts/Entertainment 31.9%

Military Service 4.2%

Of the respondents, 135 were female, 75 were male, and three were non-binary. Additionally, 32 were freshmen, 61 were sophomores, 65 were juniors, and 55 were seniors.


Trades(plumbing, etc.) 1.4%

Only me

How much has your experience at MSJ influenced your career interests? 21.1%









How much do the classes you take support your career interests? 20.2%







What career field(s) are you interested in? Choose all that apply. (Top 4 by Grade)



Engineering/Computer Science 29.5% Biological/Physical Sciences 39.3%

Arts/Entertainment 28.1%

Health/Medicine 44.3%



Biological/Physical Sciences 25.4%

Arts/Entertainment 40.0% Engineering/Computer Science 32.3%

Business 29.0%

Biological/Physical Sciences 32.3%

Arts/Entertainment 29.0% Engineering/Computer Science 30.9%

Business 32.3%

Online media/pop culture

A job I worked in 58.7% 40.4%


10.8% 13.1%

What steps have you taken to develop your interest in your career interests? Choose all that apply.

“Take advantage of the opportunities you have at Mission or just in Fremont or in the Bay Area … these [opportunities] are not just going to be purely academic. They will give you a lot of practical skills. It’s going to teach you how to talk, it’s going to teach you how to do all these different things that a school can’t teach.” — MSJ Class of 2017 Alumnus Matthew Lee

My passion and genuine interest in a career is _______ the salary/income of the career.


Research about the field (66.7%) Took classes in school related to the field (59.6%)

STUDENT RESOURCES MSJ offers many resources for students their desired field of interest to gain handsto explore their student career interests. As on experience. MSJ Class of 2016 Alumna part of College Career Units, sophomores Grace Dong said that there are “people who and juniors spend three days in the Career have a non-traditional way of approaching

less important than

13.6% 33.3%

Took classes outside of school related to the field (49.8%)

just as important as


Spoke to a professional in the field (47.4%)

more important than

Center taking career assessment quizzes [technology] such as working in a non-profand exploring the options available to them it [organization] by using programming.” using the career-readiness software provider Naviance. College and Career Specialist Catherine Castillou recommended visiting the Bureau of Labor Statistics website at, which includes data and information detailing the projected pay and employment rates of specific careers. Students who have already decided to pursue a career can immerse themselves within their field of interest during high school. Castillou suggested that students

“We put so much emphasis on [finding a career path] beforehand, in high school, but really you’re not going to know what you want to do. It’s unfortunate that colleges ask you to declare a major before you are even on campus. For most students, unless you know exactly what you want to do, I think you have some flexibility. Once you go to college, you can maneuver around a little bit.” — Career and College Specialist Catherine Castillou

complete their service learning hours within


Arts/Entertainment 27.9%

Health/Medicine 37.5%



How likely do you think you are to change your career interest in the future?

Biological/Physical Sciences 28.0%

Engineering/Computer Science 27.4%

27.2% 11.8%

Arts/Entertainment 24.0%

Arts/Entertainment 35.0%



Business 24.0%

Health /Medicine 38.5%

Parents/other relatives


Health/Medicine 21.3%

Biological/Physical Sciences 42.0%

Engineering/Computer Science 59.4%

Counselors and teachers/mentors

How much does the environment at MSJ support your career interests?


Biological/Physical Sciences 59.4%

A program I participated in

Friends/classmates 19.7%



“It’s all about hands-on experience and seeing what clicks or gives each student that sparked interest. It’s really trial and error. Ruling in what you want and ruling out what you don’t.” — Counselor DeAnne Andrews

Who or what has inspired your career choices or interests? Choose all that apply.


What career field(s) are you interested in? Choose all that apply. (Top 4 by Gender) *non-binary data was inconclusive

The Smoke Signal has reviewed a multitude of restaurants over the years. In this interactive graphic, we summarized the last eight reviews in a single map.

Internship (25.8%) On a scale of 1-10, with 1 as no support at port, do around (i.e. by

all and you feel you for family,

10 as enthusiastic supsupported by the people your career interests? friends, teachers, etc.)

Other (19.7%) Job (10.3%) I have not taken any steps yet (8.9%) ONGOING: 2018 WINTER OLYMPICS COVERAGE

The PyeongChang Olympics will be taking place from February 9 to 25. Stay tuned for ongoing coverage, including athlete spotlights and expert review of figure skating events!





2 News


Friday, February 2, 2018

The Smoke Signal

DECA excels at annual regional conference More than 140 MSJ students attend the first DECA conference of the year By Arpita Gaggar & Samir Jain Staff Writers Students from MSJ DECA attended the Silicon Valley Career Development Conference (SVCDC) at the Santa Clara Marriott Hotel from January 5 to 7. As the first competitive regional conference of the year, SVCDC was an important first step for new


Juniors Natasha Rao and Sachi Tolani step forward to accept their award during the grand awards ceremony.

members and a refresher for returning members before the annual State Career Development Conference (SCDC) later this year. The three-day conference began with a testing session on January 5, where attendees took two-hour exams on marketing, business administration, hospitality, finance, and entrepreneurship, with test scores being incorporated into the competition scores for most events. The next day, students participated in the competition session, which consisted of roleplays — simulated events where students take on a position in a company and recite their game plan or strategy for success — and writtens — events in which students prepare a 30-page business plan for a chosen company to be presented to judges. The DECA Dance, a social gathering where students can meet participants from other schools, took place on the night of January 6, followed by the awards session on January 7. As a whole, MSJ students performed exceptionally, displaying a high degree of professionalism and working cooperatively with others. 143 MSJ students attended SVCDC, and of those, 140 placed within the top ten in at least one of their events. 54 competitors placed in Team Decision Making events, with 30 placing in Operations Research, involving a written event and presentation, and 23 in Individual Series, or single-person roleplay events. Junior Aarushi Gupta, who placed first in Sports and Entertainment Promo-

tion Plan with her partner Junior Shaheen Khatua, said, “SVCDC was a great learning experience and we’re happy that our hard work over the last few months paid off. At the same time, we plan to use the feedback we received for future competitions.” A prerequisite for attending the conference was taking a Career Technical Education class, offered as a seventh-period marketing class at MSJ. The course is designed to teach DECA students core marketing principles — skills that are especially useful for the roleplay events. Although SVCDC is not a direct qualifier for states, students were able to gain insight into their strengths and weaknesses based on comment sheets they received from judges for each of their events. When asked about his expectations of students at the conference, MSJ DECA Adviser Tyler Robinson said, “SV[CDC] is a practice round, so there isn’t any placement that is required for them. So if they don’t place, it doesn’t dictate whether they go to states or not. So just in general, that they’re staying safe, and they’re doing the best they can to perform.” Vice President of Finance Senior Wenhan Fang said, “This conference was a good way for returning members to reinforce their skills in public speaking, roleplay, and presentation, addressing a lot of the skills that people need in careers and business professions. I think it’s really good that [students] start to build these business acumen early,


Seniors Ciena Huang and Tiffany Wong accept their medals on a podium during the mini awards ceremony.

so that they can develop it in the four years of high school, develop it in college, and be adequately prepared for careers.” MSJ DECA students plan to compete at SCDC from March 2 to 5 in Anaheim, CA, with event qualifiers going on to compete at the International Career Development Conference from April 21 to 25 in Atlanta, Georgia. ▪

FUSD adopts new sexual education curriculum FUSD revised its sexual education curriculum to comply with the CA Healthy Youth Act By Rishi Chillara & Ashni Mathuria Staff Writers CA passed The CA Healthy Youth Act (CHYA), a new set of sexual education requirements, into law in January of 2016; recently, in November of 2017, FUSD began

to integrate these requirements into the sexual education curriculum. The CHYA aims to integrate HIV prevention, gender education, and sexual health education into health classes statewide. The act requires sexual health and HIV prevention education to be taught at least once in middle school and


FUSD’s Comprehensive Health, Puberty, and Sexuality Education Instructional Guide dislays a timeline of the California Healthy Youth Act and the California Health Education Framework.

high school and prohibits abstinence-only instruction. While the previous curriculum, Family Life and Sexual Health (FLASH) fulfilled most of these requirements, the new curriculum will also cover the gender spectrum, a topic previously unaddressed, and additional information about sexually transmitted diseases. CHYA, created by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, had to go through the state assembly before it was approved by CA Governor Jerry Brown in October 2015. The bill was then chaptered, or officialized and assigned a specific chapter number, by CA Secretary of State Alex Padilla and became a standing law. FUSD, in order to meet CHYA, integrated the three R’s (Rights, Respect, and Responsibility) in November 2017 into their existing curriculum, along with more information about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases and gender education. As a result of these changes, sexual education in California schools now aims to be more inclusive by promoting understanding of sexuality and gender. The previous system only required schools to teach HIV

prevention by law, but now, CHYA requires information about abortion, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. In comparison, the previous program, FLASH, was focused on preventing pregnancy, STDs and sexual violence. Sharla Smith, a consultant and a member of the California Department of Education since 2005 who oversees student sexual education, calls CHYA “the most robust sex education law in the country” according to Mother Jones, a non-profit newspaper in San Francisco. In order to learn the new material, teachers across CA will take professional development classes in February. The new curriculum will be taught for the first time during the upcoming semester, depending on when health teachers hold their sex education unit. Since the change is small, only adding additional information to the curriculum, it is not expected to affect the rest of the health curriculum. In an attempt to be transparent with the community, FUSD has shared the new instructional guide with parents and will host a parent night in February to share the new curriculum. ▪


for the Dec. 21, 2017 issue News Pg. 1: FUDTA stands for Fremont United District Teachers Association. Centerspread Pg. 11: NOAA is National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. A&E Pg. 13: Polyvinyl Records is misspelled. A&E Pg. 13: “Sky Walker” is misspelled. Graphics Pg. 20: Friday, December 22 should be Thursday, December 21.



MERCURYNEWS.COM Thousands of demonstrators take part in the Women’s March and rally at Civic Center in San Francisco, CA, on January 20.

Bay Area residents participate in the Women’s March People from around the Bay Area gathered in San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland on January 20 in a rally for women’s rights. Thousands across the nation marched to celebrate the spirit of resistance efforts over the past year, and empower residents to support human rights and equality. People of all ages, including students, carried homeCompiled by Christine Dong, Ar- made posters and banners in Civic Cenpita Gaggar & Shreya Srinivasan ter Plaza, in front of the San Jose City Staff Writers Hall, and at Lake Merritt Amphitheater in Oakland.

REUTERS.COM A sign announcing the closure of the Statue of Liberty, due to the US government shutdown, sits near a ferry dock in NY.

NPR.ORG North Korean hockey players arrive at the Inter-Korean Transit Office in Paju, South Korea on January 25.

Government shutdown affects workers The government shut down on January 19 after a bipartisan group of senators failed to compromise on immigration and spending. On January 22, the Senate voted 81-18 on a short term spending bill to reopen the government. However, since the vote came after the work week had already begun, numerous federal workers and agencies have already been affected, as they are unable to process visa or passport applications, receive payment, or go to work due to the shutdown. Many of these unpaid workers are legally obligated to stop working, which is called an unpaid furlough.

North Korea participating in PyeongChang 2018 Olympics The 2018 Winter Olympics are soon approaching, with this year’s host city being Pyeongchang, South Korea. Recent talks have revealed that both North and South Korea will be marching at the opening ceremony under a singular flag representing their unity. On January 20, the International Olympic Committee agreed to allow 12 North Korean female hockey players join South Korea’s 23-member team. The joint women’s hockey team will compete together on the same ice.

Friday, February 2, 2018

The Smoke Signal


3. What is the Bill of Rights? A. the first ten amendments that protect our basic rights B. the last ten amendments that protect our basic rights C. a bill not part of the constitution D. an article in the constitution E. first 20 of the amendments that protect our basic rights 4. What is the highest level of our judiciary branch? A. Local Courts B. Supreme Court Judge C. Supreme Court D. State Courts E. The President 5. How many amendments are in the Constitution? ___ 6. Who becomes president if both the President and Vice President can no longer serve? A. Secretary of War

7. What is the legislative branch of our federal government made up of? What is it called as a whole? A. President, Vice President; Cabinet B. State Court, Local Court; Supreme Court C. Mayor, Governor; state government D. Senate, House of Representatives; Congress E. Secretary of War, Secretary of State, Cabinet 8. What is the length of a term for a President? Congressman? Senator? A. President: 4; Congressman: 6; Senator: 6 B. President: 4; Congressman: 6; Senator: 2 C. President: 4; Congressman: 2; Senator: 6 D. President: 4; Congressman: 2; Senator: 2 E. President: 4; Congressman: 4; Senator: 4


2. How many articles are there in the Constitution? A. 5 B. 7 C. 9 D. 11 E. 13

B. Secretary of State C. Speaker of the House D. Secretary of Treasury E. Speaker of the Senate

1. Answers vary 2. B 3. A 4. C 5. 27 6. C 7. D 8. C

1. On a scale of 1-5, 1 being least and 5 being most, how well do you think you know the Constitution? ___

Opinion 3


How well do MSJ students know their government? By Anisa Kundu Staff Writer

With our government constantly in the process of approving impactful legislation, it is important for future generations of voters to be familiar with their rights. To gauge student knowledge of the Constitution, the Smoke Signal created a multiple choice survey that was sent into eight History/ Social Studies or English classrooms of all grade levels on Tuesday, January 16. The results are depicted below. â–Ş C (6.6%)

B (18.4%)

1 30.8%

A (79.7%)

D (29.7%)


A (8.0%)



E (8.0%) D (0.9%) C (7.7%) B (3.8%)


8.7% 4.8%

NOT 27 (74.4%) E (37.4%)

B (15.6%)

27 (25.3%)

C (80.2%)

A (0.5%)

E (3.3%) B (6.1%)

B (48.1%)

A (10.1%)


D (0.5%)


C (2.8%) D (73.6%)

A (16.0%)

E (1.4%)


E (4.8%) D (9.8%)

6 E (6.7%)

D (3.4%)

C (31.7%)

C (48.8%)


A (14.4%) B (23.0%)

4 News


The Smoke Signal

Friday, February 2, 2018

Students beautify Fremont with boxART! Students paint local traffic control box as part of Fremont beautification program By Anagha Mandayam & Evie Sun Staff Writers The MSJ Visual Arts and Music for Society (VAMS) club designed and painted a traffic signal control box located at the intersection of Old Warm Springs Blvd. and Fremont Blvd. Painting began over Winter Break on December 24 and took place over the course of two weeks, with final touches added on January 7. “We were given a limited period of time to prime, sketch, and paint the design on the traffic control box. It took about 2 days to prime and sketch, and we spent the remaining time painting,” said President Senior Allison Xu. The boxART! Program encourages members of the Fremont community to submit designs to paint traffic control boxes throughout the city. The program aims to beautify Fremont and encourage civic engagement within the community. The boxART! program was started in October 2014 as part of Fremont’s Make a Difference

Day, which allows the community to get involved in ongoing projects in Fremont and celebrate with acts of helping each other. Since its inception, the program has grown to produce more than 50 painted traffic control boxes. The boxART! program was first introduced to MSJ in 2015 when Program Manager Susan Longini visited Art Teacher Edie Christensen’s art classes to give presentations about the program. Class of 2017 Alumna YC Xing, who was the VAMS Public Relations officer during 2014-15 school year, took the initiative to collaborate with the art classes and make the boxART! project a combined student effort. Over the years, the program has expanded to include various phases, with each phase is centered around a different theme This year, the boxART! Program was on Phase 4, the most current phase of the project. The theme for the traffic control box paintings was the idea of “Agriculture - Past/Present.” The design, created by Xu, is centered

Freshmen Bernice Yin, Serena Mao, Seniors Brandon Do, Catherine Huang, and Allison Xu, and Junior Bruce Fan pose for a picture by the painted traffic control box.

Junior Bruce Fan paints the tracks of the Bay Area Rapid Transit on the traffic control box.

around the Patterson House, a Victorian-era mansion located in the Ardenwood Historic Farm. Xu was inspired to center her design around the Patterson house as she remembers taking field trips to the pumpkin patch there as a child. The design also features Mission Peak, a Bay Area Rapid Transit(BART) train, and a charging station with leafy details, these aspects alluding to the “Present” in this year’s theme. “We thought about how Fremont’s agricultural past has impacted the city today, sparking our ideas to illustrate the prevalence of clean energy with the electric car charger and public transportation with BART. Through these various aspects of Fremont, the city continues to pursue green options,” said Xu. The design proposal was submitted to the City of Fremont’s Art Review Board in June 2016 and was approved the next school year in December 2017. Once the design was approved, MSJ VAMS advertised through so-

cial media for volunteers to help paint the control box. The ten students who signed up were Freshmen Stella Cheng, Serena Mao, and Bernice Yin, Sophomore Josephine Chew, Junior Bruce Fan, and Seniors Brandon Do, Catherine Huang, Shvethaa Jaykumar, Aditi Nukala, and Allison Xu. These painters spent around four hours each day during Winter Break to complete the project, adding up to a total of 70 hours spent to execute the design. The MSJ VAMS’ submission was one of the first design submissions from MSJ to be submitted to the Fremont Education Foundation. “Overall, the experience was fun and fulfilling. Being able to take a design on letter paper and turning it into a publicly displayed artwork to promote environmental awareness is gratifying, knowing that the box is not only the product of our efforts but also that it conveys an important message to live green.” said Xu. ▪ PHOTOS BY STAFF WRITER EVIE SUN

Zero Robotics Team Reaches International Round Students participate in a Massachusetts Institute of Technology-hosted coding competition By Shivani Avasarala and Jennifer Xiang teams from different countries form alliances Staff Writers and test their code on functional SPHERES in the ISS. This year’s challenge involved codMSJ Robotics Team Singularity attended ing a program that prompted simulated rothe Zero Robotics Finals at the Massachu- bots to study the status of life on a moon setts Institute of Technology (MIT) on Janu- of Saturn by gathering ice samples without ary 11. As one of the international finalists, releasing pressurized gases and swerving offthe team participated in preliminary matches course. before their elimination from the tournament in the first round. Schools form teams of five to Created in 2009 by the MIT Space Sys20 members to create autontems Laboratory and Astronaut Gregory omous programs for “satelChamitoff, the Zero Robotics High School lite assistant” robots, know as Tournament is an international competition SPHERES, to solve an annual that provides a platform for students to conchallenge. duct research with applications in the International Space Station (ISS). Schools form MSJ Zero Robotics has participated in teams of five to 20 members to create au- the competition since 2014 and reached the tonomous programs for “satellite assistant” international round in 2016. In September robots, known as SPHERES, to solve an an- 2017, the team, which is mentored by Biolnual challenge. Teams must successfully pass ogy Teacher Gabriele Estabrook, held an apseveral virtual 2D and 3D simulations before plication process to accrue members, creating proceeding to the final rounds, in which a 17-person team across all grade levels that

A simulation generated from the team’s code that directs a probe to mine materials from an uneven surface.

Seniors David Wang, Max Wu, Richard Chenyu Zhou, Adam Chang, Victor Zhou, and Brent Xiao pose with AstronautSteve Swanson.

was then divided into sub-teams with specific jobs. “It took a lot of time to get everyone integrated,” said captain Senior Max Wu. The team continuously worked on improving their 2D and 3D simulation code to rise in the competition leaderboards, which determined their draft position in the Alliance round. Singularity was drafted sixth into an Alliance with Italian team House of Coders and Australian team Mosman High School. “The time zones made it so that there were very few times we could actually meet,” said Wu. Despite the challenges, the team’s Alliance placed fifth in the round, thus qualifying them for the international round. A select few members of the team then flew to MIT to participate in the international round, where the team’s code competed against others teams’. However, the team encountered problems switching from a simulation format to using actual robots on the ISS. “Our code failed to account for a few things, which is fine during simulation, but during

“Our code failed to account for a few things, which is fine during simulation, but during the actual round on the ISS, our robot started spinning out of control.”


the actual round on the ISS, our robot started spinning out of control,” Wu said, “[These issues] are a problem every year.” The Alliance lost both of its matches and was eliminated in the first round of the international competition at MIT, similar to the team’s performance in the same competition in 2016. Wu hopes that the team can work through its communication problems in the future and is proud that the team decided to approach the challenge with a different strategy, despite it not working in the international round. Wu said, “It was interesting that we were able to bring a unique strategy to the competition and do well.” ▪ COURTESY MAX WU

Friday, February 2, 2018

The Smoke Signal


amy's approach

The Smoke Signal Mission San Jose High School Est. 1964 Vol. 53, No. 5 | Feb. 2, 2018


Stop complaining about fakeness

A touch of positivity

By Vicki Xu Opinion Editor

By Amy Chen Opinion Editor

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

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

“Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m possible.’” “Don’t call it a dream. Call it a plan.” As a strict realist, I have always found these types of optimistic and motivational phrases a little too rainbows-andsunshine for my taste. From my own analysis, I had decided that many of them are grossly exaggerated, and others are entirely untrue. Evidently, I took these phrases too literally until a recent event showed me how motivational phrases aren’t necessarily something to look down on. This winter, I encountered a particularly icy and intimidating ski slope. There was just something about the little colorful figures tumbling down the crisp white snow that kept me from skiing down as well. A few minutes of trepidation turned into a few hours, so I called my mom who reminded me of a platitude: “The beginning is always the hardest.” In that moment, there was nowhere else to go but down, so for once, I decided to take her cheesy words to heart and started skiing. To my horror, the hardest part was not, in fact, starting. Even though I made it to the bottom unscathed, the icy experience was horrifying and seemingly endless as I lost control of my skis and skidded down the slippery slope, desperately trying to regain balance. It felt like a standing roller coaster ride without seatbelts, and I never wanted to do it again. By the time I reached the bottom, I had determined that inspirational sayings were, as I believed, deceiving and overly optimistic. Technically, this was true. In my case,

starting was nowhere near the hardest part of my journey. However, even though the phrase wasn’t objectively true, it served its purpose to give me the motivation to start. Once I did, I had no choice but to continue. After I got down the slope, it didn’t matter that the quote itself wasn’t true. What mattered was what it stood for and what it accomplished, getting me down the slope. Motivational quotes aren’t meant to be taken literally. Obviously there are certain things that are “impossible,” but that shouldn’t matter. These quotes lend people the confidence they need to aspire and to achieve. Besides inspirational quotes, this experience forced me to reevaluate my views on optimism in general. In the past, I saw positivity as an inability to face reality. I simply didn’t understand why would anyone force themselves to be happy when they’re clearly in a difficult, stressful position. Having had a taste of it myself, it makes more sense now. Even if “inaccurate” nuggets of positivity seem naive and somewhat ignorant, there’s little to lose and a lot to gain from them. Of course, there’s a balance that must be struck between positivity and stupidity, but it’s clear that positivity generally does more good than harm, especially when we’re facing adversity. While I’m nowhere near becoming your local positivity preacher, I now know better than to entirely reject blind optimism. Sometimes, to keep moving forward, it’s okay to let go of our purely rational selves and give in to a cheesy quote or two. ▪

We crave human connection and a sense of authenticity: YouTube vloggers earn billions of dollars in ad revenue for displaying glimpses of their daily lives. Ad campaigns reveal heartfelt personal stories to forge a genuine-feeling connection with consumers. Celebrities cultivate gigantic social-media followings by posting more personal, unfiltered updates. Hand-in-hand with this love for genuineness is an aversion to duplicity. Tweets that provide insight on being real become Twitter-viral. And at MSJ, “the people at this school are so fake” is a constant refrain. There are multiple layers of fakeness. The term applies to any situation from backstabbing to behind-your-back discussions to mistrustful actions, all behind a friendly face. In my experience, however, “fake” is most often (and most liberally) used to label the way behaviors seem to radically change in different situations. Some people seem like strangers the moment they walk into a different group. Some people switch masks as easily as they change clothes. Of course, finding that your classmate changes into a gushing, sunny sweetheart while speaking to the club president is unnerving and does feel false. And seeing your friend routinely dodge your questions about homework concepts, even when they clearly understand the material themselves, is a little annoying; it’s as if they don’t wish the best for you, as friends normally should. In many ways, accusations of fakeness come down to our quest for honesty and truth. We expect to get what we see. We’d like to safely believe that our friends are wholeheartedly appreciative and that the positive comments we get are genuine.

The Opinion of the Smoke Signal Editorial Board

The rat race reconsidered To gain even the slightest advantage in the college admissions rat race, many of us conform to the traditional mold of high school success. We take AP and Honors classes on subjects we dislike, participate in activities we aren’t fully invested in, and choose our college solely based on prestige. While the traditional mold benefits some, we should acknowledge that there are alternative ways of achieving our goals. Thinking that only the standard path can lead to success, we are pressured to follow the Mission culture by taking on more than we would prefer. We want to remain competitive with our peers by seeking to check off as many boxes as possible from the perfect student checklist, even when the fit isn’t right for us. While doing so can help undecided students discover their passion through trial and error, it is a waste to spend our time on activities we are not remotely interested in, even if it works towards that admissions letter dream. This mentality also confines our viewpoint of ways to succeed because we assume that a specific formula will guarantee our goals. Staying confined to this path doesn’t allow for freedom, exploration, or room for making mistakes, which are critical to growth. This one-size-fits-all mindset carries through to the college decisions process. We idealize certain schools, such as the Ivy Leagues, when these schools don’t necessarily fulfill our needs or aspirations. US News college rankings or parental pressure should not be how seniors make the decision to decide where they will live for the next four years. Instead, practical factors, such as the cultural environment, financial ease, specific majors, distance from home, and clubs or teams available on campus,

should hold more weight than the school’s general prestige. While prestige may seem better on paper, it is not a guarantee for a more fulfilling and enjoyable college experience. Additionally, we should not impose judgements on others for their admission choices based on a school’s brand name without regarding personal criteria. Instead, we should understand that they made their decision based on personal factors or ask the individual why they made their choice instead of speculating. There are many ways to find our own high school track, whether it be focusing on our unique hobbies or selecting the college that fits our ideals. Finding the courage to step outside of the norm may be frightening, but the support and motivation from friends, family, mentors, or counselors can help you pursue the activities you genuinely enjoy. Similarly, focus on your personal ambitions when researching, visiting, and deciding on colleges because it will be easier to achieve your goals at the place that feels most comfortable. Following the one-size-fits-all mindset during high school will only gear us towards conformity when making college decisions and in life beyond high school. We should instead prioritize our own needs and interests through deciding which extracurriculars we truly want to pursue, which classes we are interested in, and picking a college that most aligns with our standards. We do not have to follow the standard path of success to lead a successful path of our own. ▪

Opinion 5

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, and our immediate reaction is to call out the “fakeness.” But “fake” is a strange, and a tad hypocritical, accusation to make. We’re all guilty of it at one point or another even if we don’t realize. For instance, in response to a question like “what do I look like today,” “the Grinch” could be acceptable when directed toward a close friend but awfully rude toward a distant classmate. The distant classmate may indeed look like the Grinch today, like your friend, but that doesn’t mean pointing the fact out is necessary. So you don’t. In a sense, we’re all less genuine toward people we don’t know as well. This does feel strange to close friends who are used to our truer selves, but treating everyone with the same honesty is impossible because relationships vary from person to person. And as for the fakeness we find in dear friends — our actions are also dependent on environment and what we hope to achieve. Of course, the extent to which we modify our behaviors can become distasteful; groveling is not recommended. But it’s important to recognize that everyone does this behavior-modification process, and the boundaries of fakeness are exceedingly vague. We don’t need to continually sling “fake” around for every situation, and we shouldn’t. We should remember that situations where the label “fake” is tossed around are often complex and not always bad. Human interactions are messy. Sometimes differing behaviors are necessary in maintaining relationships. People have multiple faces and that’s natural; in this sense, treating different people differently isn’t fakeness. It’s just a different side of truth. ▪

By Karen Li & Shreya Sridhar Staff Writers




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Friday, February 2, 2018

Friday, February 2, 2018

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Opinion 7

By Ian Hsu, Sahana Sridhar, & Kelly Yang Staff Writers


From Native American reserves to hiking trails and waterfalls, our nation’s natural parks not only add to the planet’s natural beauty but house thousands of different plants and animals. However, after the Trump administration’s recent decision to remove more than two million acres of land from Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument, the controversy behind nature preservation has only intensified. In this coverage, the Smoke Signal presents a timeline of America's national park development and weighs in on the importance of protecting the country’s reserves.

1836 Ralph Waldo Emerson publishes Nature, one of the first writings on the inherent value of wildlife beyond sustenance and profit.





President Ulysses S. Grant establishes the first national park at Yellowstone, originally with 3,348 square miles.

Congress passes the Forest Reserve Act and creates the nation’s first federal forest reserve. Congress creates the National Park Service.



Rachel Carson publishes Silent Spring, documenting the potentially harmful impacts of pesticides on wildlife. By some accounts this book launched the modern environmental movement. President Lyndon Johnson signs the Wilderness Act into law.



President Bush establishes three marine national monuments, which protect nearly 200,000 square miles of the Pacific Ocean.

Status of National Park Service Under Trump The National Park Service under President Trump will face some large changes in the 2018 fiscal year. The proposed budget would increase funding for energy development on public lands. The Trump administration plans to reduce the US Department of Interior’s budget by 12 percent, which will cut roughly 1,200 National Park Service jobs.


Ironwood Forest National Monument Pima County and Pinal County, AZ

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park Kanab, Utah

Bears Ears National Monument San Juan County, Utah


PERSPECTIVE Our country is home to a vast spectrum of natural phenomena, from trickling waterfalls hidden in the crevices of jagged cliffs to trees that almost touch the sun. Today, many such spectacles can only be found tucked away in the safety of national parks and monuments. These reserves serve as the homes for many of the nation’s last jewels, and preserving them is an obligation that every person should bear. Under the new presidential administration, multiple land reserves have experienced cuts via executive order. This erases the traces of Native American culture present within these parks. Many tribes have remained on this land for generations, making it personally significant and representative of their growth. After the reduction, the Hopi, Zuni, Ute Mountain Ute, Ute Indian, and the Navajo Nation tribes have filed a lawsuit against Trump and several Trump administration officials. In doing so, they established the land as both ecologically and culturally beneficial. Although some might argue that the land allocated for national parks would be better used for new factories and mines, it is important to realize that the natural land itself is a valuable resource. Many national parks, such as Grand StaircaseEscalante National Park, are biological hotspots that contain rare and diverse species, and the beauty held by many of these parks deserves to stay preserved for future generations to enjoy; to remove this land from national parks would be subjecting the many species in it to danger. Many might agree with national park reduction due to the cost of maintaining the land. However, the money that the monuments generate gives way to an extremely lucrative enterprise, the tourism industry. In many remote cities, tourists may be the local community’s primary source of income. For example, the small town of Skagway, Alaska makes most of its income during the summer when a wave of tourists come to visit the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. Without visitors, the economy of this area would certainly be less vibrant. In 2015, tourism in US national parks generated $32 billion, which combined with travel, makes up 2.7 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. Moreover, this industry supports nearly 300,000 jobs, a reflection of the major impact that these reserves have on the economy. Whether we fight to preserve America’s national parks to bask in their beauty and cultural significance or to preserve the possibility of potential scientific discoveries, it is in our best interest to do so. National monuments add to the vibrancy of our country, from economic benefits to opportunities for leisure. ▪


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The Smoke Signal

Friday, February 2, 2018

Hollywood cannot bridge years of presidential expertise By Rishi Chillara & Samir Jain Staff Writers

In December 2017, Dwayne Johnson mentioned in an interview on Ellen’s Show Me More Show that he was considering running for president. Even though he later retracted the remark, this attracted much speculation and media attention. Similarly, Oprah Winfrey’s Golden Globe Awards speech prompted many to advocate for her candidacy in the upcoming 2020 presidential election. While these non-political public figures may have enviable rapport with voters, the strength, intellect, and instinct needed to command the most powerful country in the world is not necessarily something that Hollywood can provide. Upcoming “non-political politicians” are able to appeal to the public with the idea that they are one of them. These potential candidates cite corruption and secrecy in Washington, D.C., using the American public’s

distrust in their traditional representatives to their favor. As the country expands its diplomatic relations and interactions with other nations, presidency has begun to require a deeper understanding of the nuances of effective diplomacy within the political game, something that celebrity-turned-politicians do not have. Celebrities who run for president have little to no understanding of compromise, diplomacy, and foreign policy. Without prior experience in public office, they will not be well equipped to make tough decisions and negotiate with third parties. Countless politicians in American history have fallen short on these essential elements. For instance, while renowned actor Ronald Reagan was largely popular during his presidency, he made a number of crucial miscalculations that, in retrospect, did not help maintain the international peace and stability that he campaigned for. He expended American resources to arm Saddam Hussein’s army in Iraq,

Dwayne Johnson had seriously considered running for president in 2020.


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which worsened the humanitarian crisis there and gave in to the demands of terrorists in the 1982 Lebanon War. While these decisions may have seemed cogent at the time, they ultimately perpetuated a cycle of violence and bloodshed rather than preventing future

childish stance towards North Korea, deciding to add fuel to the fire rather than begin peace talks. Trump’s background as a powerhungry businessman could, as many fear, impel him to make the first strike on North Korea, leading to dire geopolitical consequences for the US. This impulsive drive is more likely Allowing a non-political politician to be qualmed by a longer career in politics significant control of national poli- that hampers any tendency towards recklesstics is ... a gamble with the future of ness. American citizens as a whole. Even so, celebrities have captured the eye of the American public for the 2020 presidenterrorist attacks. Individuals who are cau- tial elections due to the influence of popular tious, deliberate, and sensible from years of media and the entertainment industry. Howmistakes in office are more likely to commit fewer of these irreversible fallacies through Celebrities who run have little to no effectively analyzing the multifaceted issues understanding of compromise, dithey have easily faced for years before acting. plomacy, and foreign policy. Without A less successful non-political politician is experience in public office, they are former CA governor Arnold Schwarzeneg- unable to make tough decisions. ger, who entered office as a pro-business conservative and a supporter of the death ever, they do not have the same grasp of subpenalty. He vowed to free the Californian tle tactics, decision making, and negotiation populace from rampant fiscal disarray and as seasoned politicians who have extensive make the government more accountable and experience and a firm understanding of govorganized. However, he ended up tripling the ernmental responsibilities. Even those who existing debt and switching sides on referen- achieved political excellence had undeniable dums to save his own skin and further his po- shortcomings rooted in their inexperience and litical motives, ending with one of the lowest impertinence. No amount of clout that celebapproval ratings in CA’s history. Furthermore, rities have with voters should replace years of politicians often feint certain viewpoints in expertise. The rise of non-political politicians an effort to connect with the common popu- could also lead American citizens to vote for lation. This is something seasoned politicians potentially unfavorable and detrimental bills are less likely to do, as they are dedicated to simply due to the overpowering pathos of points of view that represent their own po- the celebrity supporting a certain approach. litical ideologies over several years in office. Allowing a non-political politician significant Celebrities’ lack of understanding of the control of national politics is a gamble with country's domestic and foreign relations the future of American citizens as a whole. translates to inadequate problem solving and The mistakes of past and current members of indecision in times of crisis. A prime exam- government should clearly reveal who not to ple can be seen in President Donald Trump’s vote for in the coming presidential elections. ▪

Friday, February 2, 2018

The Smoke Signal



DIEHARD TRYHARDS try League of Legends KELLY I spent much of my childhood gazing longingly over my brother’s shoulder as he dazzled me with his gaming skills. One of these tableaus is of his fingers tapping madly away as an intense League of Legends sequence plays out before us. I remember dreaming wistfully of the day that I would begin my own quest in this legendary game. Although a complete video game novice, I sincerely hope that my history of watching my brother’s skillful virtual battles, combined with the many hours a day I spend gazing at my Classcraft profile, will bring me glory as I finally fulfill the dreams of my youth.


By Cindy Yuan, Praveen Nair, Shray Vaidya & Kelly Yang Sports Editor and Staff Writers

Since its debut in 2009, the online multiplayer video game League of Legends has only risen in popularity, with millions of players from around the world congregating in the virtual battle arena. Inspired by MSJ’s newly formed eSports Club, four unseasoned Diehard Tryhards decided to battle it out on the big screen.


Going into this challenge, I’m actually pretty confident about my gaming abilities. I played League of Legends almost three years ago, and I’m hoping that my experience will help me pull through. While I wouldn’t say I’m in a different league than my competitors, given that I am quite rusty, I do think I’ll be the one laughing out loud in the end. I’ve also watched plenty of my friends play intense matches, so maybe their skill has passed to me through observing. And, if all else fails, there’s always the random button smashing that has gotten me through plenty of video games before.

I’ve wasted too much of my life on video games to say that I have no relevant experience. But I never played League of Legends before, and frankly, it intimidates me. Everyone I’ve heard talk about the game uses a flurry of complex terminology in a way that I can’t begin to understand, and whenever I see videos of gameplay, I see a jumbled mess of information and characters. So I can’t imagine that my first League of Legends experience would go much better than if I closed my eyes and mashed the keyboard wildly, which might actually be my best shot to win this match.

While the others made their way through the tutorial, I sat, twiddling my thumbs, waiting for the action to begin. Once we had eased our way into our first game, I was excited and ready to get to battling. When Cindy and Praveen were busy trying to figure out what was going on, I used my prior experience to jump in and grab an opportunity to attack. Most of the time this worked, but there were a few occasions where I may have gotten a tad overwhelmed, like when I missed an easy shot and Cindy escaped with barely a sliver of health.

As I began the tutorial, I slowly gained confidence in my abilities, learning the basics quickly. Then I started the actual game. From there, I utilized the strategy professional League of Legends players refer to as “run away as quickly as possible.” It’s no surprise that I died far more than everyone else. The mere sight of Shray’s character bearing down upon me began to strike fear into my heart, and it usually ended badly for my champion, Ashe. The worst parts were the long waits after each death which left me to wallow in my own incompetence as I hoped Cindy could fend off the other team.


My misgivings about this challenge began before we even started playing. As all my fellow Diehard Tryhards swept through the tutorials with ease, I was left struggling to complete the training session, finally managing to finish long after the others. During the challenge, I had almost no clue as to what was going on, so my only option was to run behind Shray’s warrior and attempt to assist him as he demonstrated his far superior League of Legend skills. However, the most nerve-racking part of this challenge was the terror that came whenever Cindy’s character would come within striking distance and wreak havoc upon all those unfortunate enough to be in range. Even with my blind attacks and nervous retreats, League of Legends turned out to be much more entertaining than I had previously anticipated. Although my extensive experience with Classcraft and many hours of watching my brother play did not aid me in this challenge, the exciting atmosphere full of screams and laughter, as well as the slow-mode replays of our games, made our losses more humorous than sad. I don't think I'll continue playing League of Legends in the future, but if I'm ever in need of a little comic relief, I can always log back on and relive my abysmal gaming skills.


All things considered, I would definitely consider my re-entrance into League of Legends a success. Even though Kelly and I lost both games, I still did the best in terms of kills, deaths, and assists. There were plenty of memorable moments, including when I managed to kill Cindy and Praveen a grand total of 17 times in the second game. The experience was also heightened by the fact that we were all in the same room, yelling orders to our teammates and laughing whenever a particularly ridiculous play went down. I definitely had fun, too, so much so in fact that I might even consider getting back into the rhythm of playing League of Legends regularly.

Despite my profound lack of skill, I enjoyed my first foray into the confusing world of League of Legends. In hindsight, I’m surprised by how quickly I became emotionally invested in the match, as I excitedly cheered on Cindy and myself during the many intense skirmishes. At the same time, there are still many layers to the game that I haven’t scratched the surface of. There’s also a big difference between playing in a room with friends, playing against anonymous online players, and watching professionals. I don’t think I’d enjoy the latter two, but there are tens of millions of League of Legends fans who would disagree.


Feature 9


I’ve never played League of Legends, but I do constantly wield the powerful abbreviation “lol” when engaging in meaningful discourse with my peers. From the original “lol” to dabbling in “LOL” and even “lololol”, I certainly consider myself an expert ready to take on the next “LoL”: League of Legends. As a downright horrible gamer, I’ve never tried to play. But as a regular Diehard Tryhards challenger, I will once again rely on my competitive nature and athletic reflexes to edge past the competition with superior keyboard smashing. And if I fail, I’m still pretty good at sending “lol” to my friends.

Learning how to play was very overwhelming. There was so much information at once, and I was supposed to be able to handle everything while playing. During our match, I selected a shortrange character for direct confrontation. In hindsight, it was a good choice, as I was reduced to a sobbing keyboard masher throughout the game. Kelly and Shray seemed to be calm and collected while Praveen and I were flailing and screaming. I had very little grasp of what was going on, besides the fact that I seemed to be doing a good job of plowing into our opponents and sometimes coming out alive. Looking back, our team was definitely not supposed to win in terms of skill. However, through frantic screaming and insane luck, we managed to stage grandiose comebacks. Somehow, my erratic, unprofessional style created golden moments. On one occasion, I barely escaped death with 1 percent of my health remaining. On another, I somehow caused Shray to instantly combust, depleting half his health. After each match, it took me several minutes to recover from the terror and adrenaline of playing League of Legends. For a poor gamer, I consider this venture a great success. I might even dedicate more time to figuring out how to really play in the future.


10 Feature


The Smoke Signal

Alumni Spotlight: Grace Wu


by Officer Kelly Robinson

By Anisa Kundu Staff Writer

Alumna Grace Wu graduated from MSJ in 2014 and is now a senior at Stanford University majoring in Computer Science. She studied abroad for a semester in Florence, Italy, and she has interned in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) field for Google, at both its London and Mountain View offices. Although Wu did not know that she would be pursuing a Computer Science major when she was at MSJ, she still learned a lot from high school that helped her in her transition into Stanford’s academics. At MSJ, she joined many extracurricular activities such as Band, the Smoke Signal, and the Alameda County Junior Commission on the Status of Women. Her extracurriculars at MSJ may have not reflected her current major, but they did express her other interests. She said, “My primary interests in high school were writing and community service. They allowed me to explore my more creative side on top of my schoolwork.” At Stanford, she continues to engage in a diverse range of extracurricular organizations such as Sigma Psi Zeta,

Class of 2014 Alumna Grace Wu


Wu in Florence, Italy for Stanford's study abroad program.

which is Stanford’s Asian American sorority, Women in Computer Science Club, and SAILORS (Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory Outreach Summer Program), which is focused on high school students interested in the AI field. When she was at MSJ, the AP Computer Science class had just been established, so she was never able to take the class. She only gained a real interest in Computer Science after spending the summer of her freshman year at Stanford doing computer science research for Computer Science Professor Fei-Fei Li. Li encouraged females to enter the computer science industry and showed her students that computer science had the ability to make a difference in a wide range of industries. When Wu got a chance to study abroad through a Stanford study abroad program, she chose Florence, Italy. Although she knew close to nothing about the country, she wanted to learn important life skills of traveling on her own and adapting to a new culture and environment quickly. This experience led her to study abroad another semester in London, where she received an opportunity to intern at Google. Wu had two internships at Google at two

Friday, February 2, 2018

different locations: one focused on Google Search Ads and another focused on Google My Business. Both experiences were focused on the AI field within computer science. Although she will not be pursuing any more jobs in the AI field, she said the experience was amazing. She said, “Working at Google was the first time my code went into production and made a real impact. It was exciting to learn how to write production-quality code and inspiring to be part of the innovative, open culture at Google.” After stepping outside of the "Mission Bubble", Wu learned many life skills as part of her college experience. She said, “I think the greatest lesson I’ve learned from college is how truly diverse the world is.” Giving advice to current MSJ students, she said, “Never be afraid to seek and make your own opportunities … Almost all of the opportunities I’ve gotten are because of people I’ve connected with so don’t be afraid to reach out.” Nearing her graduation from Stanford, Wu looks forward to joining the workforce as a computer scientist focused on improving human-computer interactions. ▪ COURTESY GRACE WU

Around the MSJ campus and also throughout the City of Fremont, theft occurs whether we like it or not. It is each of our jobs to ensure we keep our valuables locked away in a secure place or on our person. Leaving such items in plain view in your vehicle is never good idea, nor is leaving them unattended on our campus. If you hear of or see anything suspicious, such as possible theft on campus, report it immediately to school staff or myself. Have a happy February! Thanks, Officer Robinson

Ask Dr. Valentines ~ Q: My friend and I like the same girl. What should I do? A: What a sticky situation! First of all, you have to evaluate how much you value your friendship with your friend because liking the same girl can make it awkward between you two. You and your friend should talk it out and make sure that neither one is hurt about confessing. If you feel that your friendship isn’t jeopardized, then both you and your friend can pursue the same girl. If the girl ends up choosing one of you, the other should respect that and support the relationship. However, the girl might choose neither, and you and your friend should respect that too. Q: Hi Dr. Valentines, I am struggling with one thing now, and I need your advice. I have a crush on a senior, and I’m afraid to confess. If I do it before he graduates, I will either get a long-distance relationship or lose a good friend, but if I never confess, I will lose my chance of being with him. Should I tell him or not?


By Dr. Valentines Love Advisers

A: It’s great that you recognize the possible pros and cons of asking him out. The best advice I can give you is to look into your own feelings for him before deciding. Talking to your friends is always a good way to make sense of how you feel, and it may help here as well. Are you willing to commit to a long-distance relationship if that happens? There are also ways to confess without having to lose a friend. If you emphasize that you want to stay friends, the dynamics of the friendship will change. However, if you confess, you will not regret telling him your true feelings.

Q: Hello Dr. Valentines, I am in a toxic relationship and I don’t know what to do. Do you have advice? A: Please seek help if you were abused in any way. We have counselors on campus that you can talk to. You can also call the domestic abuse hotline at 1-800799-7233. Recognizing that you’re in a toxic relationship is the first step to breaking that cycle. I would advise that you talk to them about your feelings and how you think they have hurt you. If they continue their behavior, it is best to end the relationship. Although it is extremely hard to do so, it will improve your mental well-being and happiness. Again, please talk to counselors if you need any guidance along the way. Q: Hey Dr. Valentines! I have feelings for a girl I've been friends with for a while, and I don't think she sees me as anything more than a friend. Should I actively pursue this friend of mine? A: You have to consider how much you value your friendship with her because pursuing her may jeopardize your friendship. If you are okay with risking your friendship, then go for it and pursue her. Balancing work and emotions is always a challenge, but try finding some hobbies to keep your schedule busy so you will always be doing something and won’t get caught

up in your emotions. Life might suck right now, but it does get better. Hang in there! Q: How can you tell if someone you have a crush on likes you back? Are there specific details that indicatesthat person likes me back? Thanks! A: There are often cues that reveal if someone has a crush on you. Actions such as increased physical contact, prolonged eye contact, and the mirroring of your actions usually indicate attraction. However, the most straightforward way to find out is to ask. While this may seem intimidating, it is the only way to know for sure if your feelings are reciprocated. Q: I like someone, but I don’t know their sexuality. How can I find out without coming across as rude? A: While the only way to know is to ask, there is a chance that that someone is not out yet or is still unsure. The first step to asking is having a comfortable environment for them to answer. This includes making sure they know you’re accepting of whatever answer they may give. When you ask what sexuality they are and they answer, don’t act surprised or say anything along the lines of “I knew it.” If they are not sure, try to withdraw the question gently. You should also apologize if you made them feel uncomfortable in any way. ▪ GRAPHICS BY NECCO.COM, NORMANLOVECONFECTIONS.COM, PIXABAY.COM

Friday, February 2, 2018

The Smoke Signal


THE MOON iS FAKE One of the most far-fetched conspiracy theories in existence is the theory that the moon is not real. Some believe that it is a holographic projection, while others believe it is a human-created satellite. To refute the fact that the moon’s existence has been well documented by early civilizations long before such technology was available, conspiracy theorists believe that the moon began as a shared hallucination or as an exceptionally bright star. As humanity progressed, the people in charge of convincing humans that the moon was real came up with more and more elaborate moons. While it might be a stretch to call champions of this theory lunatics, it’s certainly no doubt that a theory as bizarre as this one only comes once in a blue moon.

Feature 11

Conspiracy Theories Hilarious, wacky, and occasionally disturbing, conspiracy theories bend around all the evidence in their path to produce entertaining results. From the most far-fetched to the suspiciously believable, the Smoke Signal has compiled some of the more eccentric theories.

By Christine Dong, Katherine Guo & Ashni Mathuria Staff Writers


One of the most common conspiracy theories floating around is that aliens are indeed real and that the state governments of the world are hiding their existence from citizens. This is supported by a video released by The New York Times in December that shows a bean shaped unidentified flying object (UFO) flying on the West Coast as members of the US Navy watch on. The US government also seemingly admitted to having dedicated a program to studying “Advanced Aviation Threat Identification” before disbanding in the mid-2000s. Common areas for alleged UFO identification include Roswell Area 51, the Midwest, mountainous areas, and coastal areas. Famed incidents of alleged alien spottings include the Men in Black case and the Roswell cases in the mid-1950s.

Government Spying on us through webcams In light of Congress’ recent renewal of a bill that would allow the National Security Agency warrantless searches, conspiracy theorists have revived the idea that the government may be keeping constant surveillance on citizens through computer webcams. In the past, the government has conceded that they have the ability to remotely turn on computer webcams without activating the viewing light by the webcam. This theory is only supplanted by the fact that James Comey, the ex-Federal Bureau of Investigation Director, had once said at a conference that he too put tape over his personal webcam cameras. Despite the outrageous nature of other conspiracy theories, this one may have a grain or two of truth in it.

Phantom Time

Fake Paul Many Beatles fans allege that bass guitarist, singer, and composer Paul McCartney was killed in a car crash in 1966 and was replaced with a lookalike, nicknamed “Faul” (Fake Paul). They believe that the song "Revolution 9" played backwards reveals the hidden lyric, “Turn me on, dead man.” In addition, the cover photo for the Beatles album Abbey Road is interpreted as another clue to McCartney’s death: in the photo, McCartney appears to be out of step with the other musicians, and he is the only one who is barefoot and closing his eyes.

The Phantom Time Hypothesis is one of the more esoteric conspiracy theories. First created by German historian Heribert Illig in 1986, the theory hypothesizes that years 614 A.D. to 911 A.D. were fabricated or lost in historical documents. The basis for this is that there is supposed to be suspiciously little history that occurred during those years, and the significant events, such as Charlemagne’s rule, were too spectacular to be real. One offshoot of this hypothesis alleges that Holy Roman Emperor Otto III and Pope Sylvester II moved the calendar up 300 years in order to claim that they had ruled in the year 1000 A.D.


Lizard Politicians

The Order of the Illuminati was once a Bavarian secret society for intellectuals, founded in 1776 as a place for people to oppose religious influence and abuse of power. In modern times, the organization has transformed into a mysterious group of powerful individuals who control everything from money to government to religion. The current popularity of the conspiracies surrounding the Illuminati owes its origins to The Illuminatus! Trilogy, a series of books by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson. Due to the trilogy, the Illuminati began appearing in songs, films, books, and jokes, often with heavy links to Satanism, cults, and aliens which the original Bavarian Illuminati had nothing to do with.

One of the most notorious and strangest conspiracy theories is the theory that many, if not all, politicians and A-list celebrities are alien reptilians disguised as people and bent on world domination. Famous British conspiracy theorist David Icke claims that lizard people have been interfering with humanity since ancient times by manipulating human genetics and have left behind descendants such as George Washington and Queen Elizabeth to rule over humans. Some alleged signs of being a reptilian include unexplained scars, low blood pressure, a love of space or science, and red hair. Although the theory sounds absurd, it has gained a surprising amount of supporters. According to a 2013 poll by Public Policy Polling, about 12 million voting Americans believe the theory rings true.


Student Spotlight: Kiran patel By Sahana Sridhar Staff Writer

Freshman Kiran Patel started his journey in the art field three years ago and has since expanded both his experience as well as the variety of art he shares. Patel’s art generally focuses on people, and he hopes to get back into drawing animals to expand his area of expertise. Although graphite is his medium of preference with his sketches and character animations, Patel said he sometimes uses acrylic paint or colored pencil. He draws inspiration from cartoons he watches, as well as from fellow artists at MSJ and online; Patel looks up to creators on Youtube who built their channels and subsequent careers by sharing their art. Freshman Kiran Patel

Patel's black and white hand study using charcoal

Although he originally started sharing his art on, Patel now prefers Instagram. He says he’s gained a fair amount of exposure from www., which has later set him up to be better equipped to share his work. He started his account to “get [his] art out there and let people see it, and to join a community.” Patel says that using helped him get used to sharing his work and learn to “get in the flow” of online sharing platforms. He uses his Instagram account @trashyscribbles to display drawings of characters he’s created or cartoon-like renditions of his friends. Today, boasting more than 600 followers on the social media app, he continues to grow and leave a mark on the online art community. Art serves as not only a hobby for Patel, but also a form of solace. He said he’s constantly doodling and drawing, even when he’s upset. It’s his way of channeling and processing his emotion so much so, that it has become integrated into his daily life. Patel said, “I was even drawing in class right before [this interview].” Art has shaped him into who he is today in that it’s made him more creative and open-minded. Since he began spreading his work, he’s become more receptive to critiques and hopes to improve on his art as his style develops. Patel said he especially hopes to improve on anatomy and proportions when

Graphite character drawing by Patel

working with drawings of people and even explore more mediums. He said, “I’ve never been good at watercolor, so that’d be fun to work with.” He added that he would also like to make his art more realistic and diverse, focusing on subjects other than people. Patel even hopes to venture into the subfield of digital art, as it is terrain that he is not currently experienced with. He wishes to branch out from his current Instagram usage as well and create a website with which he’d display his online portfolio. As for what’s in store in the future, Patel hopes to pursue a career in art. He wants to become an illustrator or a cartoon animator for TV shows, or even explore the field of video game character design. Just like his pencil, his dreams aren’t intimidated by boundaries; Patel aims to work for renowned companies like Disney or DreamWorks. With his skill and dedication, it’s entirely possible that his name might one day be listed in the credits of a blockbuster film.▪ PHOTO BY STAFF WRITER SAHANA SRIDHAR, GRAPHICS COURTESY KIRAN PATEL

12 Centerspread


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Friday, February 2, 2018

Students in the

Friday, February 2, 2018

How many hours do you work per week?

33.3% % 49.0

% 8 1.3

7 hours



1-2 hours

A way to earn extra money Recommended for the job Wanted experience in workforce Liked the job

By Shivani Avasarala, Karen Li, Shreya Sridhar & Shray Vaidya Staff Writers

With the increasing popularity of paid jobs and internships — ranging from tutoring to retail — more students are looking to obtain experience in the workforce. This issue, the Smoke Signal explores working as a student as well as resources and advice helpful to students beginning their job search. Student data was obtained through an online survey form released via Facebook on January 12. 96 MSJ student workers responded, of which 5 were freshmen, 16 were sophomores, 30 were juniors, and 45 were seniors.

Why a job?




Balancing a job and school work is no easy feat; it is important to consider that jobs can potentially increase stress and serve as distractions from academics. However, having a job can also bring great benefits for students. A student can accumulate crucial life skills, such as communicating efficiently and adapting to challenging situations. Keeping up with work demands and school studies polishes time management abilities, while developing work ethic and responsibility. In addition, students gain experience in entering the workforce and start to familiarize themselves with finance and budgets. Since a job allows students to be more financially independent, they will become more prepared for the adult life that they must manage after high school or college. Student workers can also put current job experiences on future resumes.


2.1% < $10 / hr

$21-25 / hr

$10-15 / hr

$26-30 / hr

$16-20 / hr

> $30 / hr

Joining the workforce as a high school student involves cultivating the maturity and responsibility necessary to advance in an unfamiliar, professional environment, and gaining a sense of financial independence. While looking for a job and finding out if you are ready, it is crucial to assess the prerequisites and nature of the job you will work on. For example, working as an intern at a technology start-up company might involve prior programming knowledge and familiarity with advanced computing, while working as a tutor will require interpersonal skills and a collaborative mindset. Holistically, employers will look for general skills students may not have fully developed yet, including reliability, time management, communication, and customer service. Students do not have to be perfectly qualified before starting their job, but they should expect and be prepared to perform under pressure and maintain emotional stability, while learning to utilize problem solving and adaptability.

Network: Let everyone know you are seeking work. Jobs can come from many sources including friends & family, posted notices on businesses & at the College & Career Center, and so forth. Look for jobs close to home: Will you be driving yourself? Asking for a ride? Keep an open mind: You're going to learn a lot about yourself while looking for work.

PREPARING FOR A JOB SEARCH Where to start? Before you can apply for a job, you need to first locate and research attainable opportunities — what pay you’ll get, how long shifts are, and the tasks you’ll be doing. There are multiple resources that can help you with your search, both online and in person. Job search engines like let you type in a few keywords along with your location to come up with a list of open job listings. You should also be sure to tell everyone you know, including friends and family, when starting your search, since there’s a good chance that they might know of a job opening. It’s also imperative that you keep an open mind — the job market for high schoolers is small, and you should consider working in fields outside of your comfort zone.

Apply broadly: Many applications will have greater odds than waiting for the one that means so much to you.

Dress for Success: Appearances do matter. Always dress nicely, even when just popping in to drop off an application ... think business or business casual. Visit the lunchtime table events in the [Bell Tower] Quad and local job fairs.

School Resources

Although preparation for a job may seem like a daunting process, there are many resources that the school provides for students wishing to join the workforce. Students can visit the “College & Career Center” page at and locate the tab titled, “Career & Job Information.” Here, the school provides students with helpful links to sites regarding student jobs, including a handbook with regulations. They also provide a link to, an organization which helps students understand which jobs to consider as well as tailoring their job search according to specific requirements. For instance, they provide career tests in which students receive a list of ideal jobs based on their personality test., students can also find a printable work permit form, which you can fill out and turn in to College and Career Specialist Catherine Castillou in the Career Center. Students may also direct any general career concerns or questions to Castillou while specific concerns pertaining to their needs can be addressed to the grade counselor as they can help customize one’s job search.

Important Documents In order to apply for a job, students under 18 must have the following required documents.

JOB APPLICATION & RESUME For the job application, it is important to list all relevant past experiences or qualifications in your resume and include relevant achievements that highlight your skills. Be sure to focus on personal traits listed in the job description to strengthen the application. The resume can also have work samples from previous jobs.

Which industry do you work in? 36.5%




Reception 3




10.4% 7.3% 6.3% 4.2% 7.2% 5.2% 2.1% Retail 3.1%

Food Service



‘‘ ’’ Coaching


Social Media


Voicesfrom the


Do you feel that working part/full time in high school has rewarded you?

88.5 %


4.2% 5.2%

by College and Career Specialist Catherine Castillou

3-4 hours

On a scale of 1 41.7% (least) to 5 (most), how 26% much do 22.9% you enjoy your job?

tips to keep in mind

what a job requires

5-6 hours


How much do you work for?


feel that having a job helped them gain worthwhile experience and life skills

more than



Why did you decide to take on a job?

Centerspread 13


The Smoke Signal



This form can be obtained from the Career Center at MSJ, and must be signed by the student, employee, and parent or guardian after obtaining the job. The primary purpose of the permit is to ensure that the student does not work overtime because school should be prioritized over the job. The permit must be turned in to the Career Center for processing. Afterwards, make sure to return a copy to your employer. The student must maintain a 2.0 GPA to keep a valid permit.

Students should obtain a legal certificate that confirms their age, such as a birth certificate, passport, state ID, or driver’s license. The employer needs to know that the student is working at an appropriate age. Students under 18, may bring a school transcript or hospital record as a substitute.

"Working at the rink is a lot of fun, because I get to put a big smile on [the skaters'] faces!" — Malia Santo, 10 | Part-timer at ice rink

“It helped me understand what a work environment is like, which I know will definitely be helpful in the future.” — Carolyn Qian, 10 | Previously worked at MT Learning Center

“I feel that working has rewarded me. It taught me a type of punctuality and work ethic that I just wasn't able to learn in high school. For example, if I am late to class, big deal. But if I am late to work, I will be reprimanded. The [swim] class can't start without me, and the parents will be very unhappy if I am not on time.” — Viplav Dodeja, 12 | Swim instructor, previously a graphic design intern at AppGrooves

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to get a job in high school? “Never assume that you’re too good for a job. Be ready to learn whatever you need to for the job you have.” — Social Studies Teacher Nancy Benton

“Prepare for an interview by doing a practice interview with a parent or a classmate, and research on the internet different questions that might be asked about the job.” — Social Studies Teacher Spenser Petersen

"I would tell them to not be discouraged when looking for a job. Some people give up if the first few jobs they apply to don’t accept them. There will be a place where your talents are needed and [the] benefits of finding a job with a positive environment that suits you is definitely worth the wait." — Emily Chen, 11 | Part-timer at milk tea shop

"Don't think that you have to do something that you think is related to your major. Working a job is a good life experience, and feel free to do it over the summer if you can't during the year." — Shayan Panjwani, 11 | Previously worked at Subway

“I highly suggest you ensure that the job is something you're genuinely interested in. As they say, choose a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” — Karen Zhu, 12 | Previously worked at Kumon

“Find a job somewhere your friends don't work, so you can't run to them for every little thing. Try being uncomfortable, because a job is supposed to help you mature, which can only happen if you step out of your comfort zone.” — Emily Chang, 12 | Cashier and food prepper

“If you don't have to, don't do it. Enjoy your free time.” — Math Teacher Freddy Saldaña


14 Arts & Entertainment


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Friday, February 2, 2018

"'4(.+4 1-4 By Joelle Chuang, Ashni Mathuria & Shreya Srinivasan Staff Writers

Struggling to find your next read? The Smoke Signal has created an interactive flowchart for readers to navigate their way through and find a new book to enjoy. Happy reading!









This honest memoir written by a Hollywood actress sheds light on the truth about the misogyny and sexism that exists in the highprofile, multibillion-dollar entertainment industry. McGowan describes her raw experiences to empower her readers to bravely take action against these powerful institutions.


The Wife Between Us Author: Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen Difficulty: Medium Genre: Fiction, thriller A fast-paced domestic suspense novel, The Wife Between Us is a story about a seeming paragon of a man and his jealous ex-wife. However, though the premise may seem like a typical angsty romance novel, readers beware: nothing in this story is what it seems. Its sudden twists and turns keep readers riveted and constantly on their toes.





Sleeping Beauties Author: Stephen King and Owen King Difficulty: Hard Genre: Fiction, horror Sleeping Beauties tells the story of a dystopian world where women are wrapped in gauze in their sleep and transported to another place, and those that wake them risk their transformation into feral monsters. Champion of Horror Stephen King, joined by his son Owen King, return to the literary stage with a thrilling new fantasy for their audiences.

Author: Rose McGowan Difficulty: Medium Genre: Autobiography


In the Midst of Winter Author: Isabel Allende Difficulty: Medium Genre: Young adult, fiction, romance The fictional story addresses the difficulties faced by immigrants and refugees. A young Guatemalan immigrant turns up at the home of the 60-year-old professor she had been in a minor car accident with, and their lives, along with the professor’s landlady’s, become wrapped around each others’ in ways they did not expect.

The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story Author: Douglas Preston Difficulty: Medium Genre: Historical nonfiction In this heart-pounding, eyewitness account, a group of scientists explore an uncharted, wild Honduran rainforest to uncover the truth about an ancient “cursed” civilization. Preston tells a thrilling story of how the group faces and overcomes deadly obstacles like disease and wild animals.


Norse Mythology Author: Neil Gaiman Difficulty: Easy Genre: Fiction This vivid retelling of classic Norse mythology tales provides all the drama and suspense of the legends without including the blood and gore, making it an ideal story for audiences of all ages. Award winning author Neil Gaiman, whose most notable works include The Sandman and Coraline, weaves together the well-loved stories of the gods Odin, Loki, and Thor. In all, the book follows the protagonists in a chronological novelistic arc, allowing readers to seamlessly slip from one story to the next.

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI CRIME COVER UPS

Author: David Grann Difficulty: Medium Genre: Historical nonfiction Written by a New Yorker journalist, this riveting narrative reveals the merciless slaughter of the entire Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma after oil was discovered on their land. Grann masterfully weaves a combination of evidence, research, and emotional storytelling to expose the disturbing conspiracy. GRAPHICS BY GOODREADS.COM, HARPERCOLLINS.COM, MOZIRU.COM, NPR.ORG, SIMONANDSCHUSTER.COM

Friday, February 2, 2018

The Smoke Signal


Arts & Entertainment 15

By Riya Chopra & Ian Hsu Staff Writers

The Smoke Signal reviewed Nature’s Microcreamery and Soul Cafe, located at 37597 Niles Blvd., Fremont, CA 94536. The cafe is is open seven days a week and features a wide variety of unique foods and drinks made in-house. Overall rating : 4.5/5

Ambiance: 5/5 The cafe is well-situated on a street corner with medium level foot traffic, allowing for an ideal number of customers in the space available. The interior of the cafe itself is simply decorated with wide stripes of paint adorning one wall, clear glass windows on two other walls, and the service counter on the fourth wall, creating an artistically playful and abstract vibe. The dining area is comprised of polished wooden booths, bars, and tables, complete with Instagram-worthy mini bonsai trees and succulents to spice up your meal. This cafe is suitable for all purposes, whether you are there to work, study, or socialize.



The menu provides a couple variations of paninis and toasts, a collection of smoothies and coffees, and several unique ice cream flavors. Every item on the menu was presented aesthetically. The avocado toast looks distinctive but the spread and boiled eggs taste quite bland and standard. The caprese panini offers a thin and crunchy bread that compliments the warm and gooey mozzarella inside. The smoothie claims to have a variety of fruits but the banana is the only evident flavor and the consistency is a little too watery. The ice creams are definitely the stars of the show. The honey lavender ice cream presents a sweet and subtle flavor and the key lime is a perfect blend of sour lime and sweet graham cracker. Their famous basil ice cream has a simple, vanilla base that impeccably compliments the unique basil after-taste.


Price: 4/5


The cost of a single ice cream scoop is $3.49, but each successive scoop costs significantly less at $4.99 for two scoops and $5.99 for three scoops, placing the ice cream within a medium price range. The paninis and toasts cost $7.99 and $5.99 respectively, putting them on the pricier side. The drinks range from $2.99 for simpler teas to $5.49 for drinks such as freshly blended smoothies. If you are looking for freshly-made food at a reasonable price, this cafe is just the place for you.


All of the employees showcased great courtesy and were extremely patient, showing no resistance in allowing customers to sample the ice cream flavors. They were also quite accommodating when making alterations to ingredients in orders. The cashier willingly answered questions from customers about quality, ingredients, and preferences. When there were a lot of customers, the employees were a little rushed, but they always kept a smile on their faces when taking orders, giving samples, and serving food. PHOTOS BY STAFF WRITER RIYA CHOPRA, IAN HSU. GRAPHICS BY CLIPARTIX.COM

Media’s Misrepresentation by Age In the recently released Pitch Perfect 3, members of the Barden Bellas acapella group are fresh out of college, ready to take on their next competition. Yet despite the characters having just graduated, most of the actors in the cast were older than 30 years old. The film isn’t unique in doing this; in fact, the practice of casting actors in much younger roles is widespread in the entertainment industry. From films such as Mean Girls to TV shows such as Riverdale, teenagers are more often than not misrepresented in media. The problem can be traced back to 1978, when a 24-year-old John Travolta played the role of 18-year-old Danny Zuko in the classic movie Grease. Since then, the practice of casting adults as teenagers has become so widespread that its often referred to as “Dawson Casting,” in reference to the 1998 TV show Dawson’s Creek, which featured multiple adults in the roles of teens. The issue has certainly persisted to current day, with some of the most popular movies and TV series in recent years being guilty of the phenomenon. For instance, Rachel McAdams was 25 when she played the iconic Regina George in Mean Girls, and only one actor out of the entire cast of Riverdale was under 20 when the pilot aired. There are various reasons why direc-

Saved By the Bell casted actors realistically by age.

By Evie Sun & Shray Vaidya Staff Writers tors choose to cast adults rather than actual teenagers, and the most commonly cited of these are legal complications. Minors are required to have a guardian on set with them and can only work a limited number of hours a day to avoid any interference with their education. Moreover, it is oftentimes simply cheaper to hire adults, as insurance for minors can be expensive. But a large part of the rationale behind choosing adults is cosmetic. It is impossible to predict how minors will age, which is especially key when casting for a continuing series. Adults, on the other hand, do not have their appearances change as much since they have already matured.

But a large part of the rationale behind choosing adults is cosmetic. It is impossible to predict how minors will age, which is especially key when casting for a continuing series. The repercussions of casting adults as teenagers go much further than simply inaccurate representation, however. Barbara Greenberg, PhD and clinical psychologist, said that seeing adults in their 20s play teens gives “the message that they’re supposed to look good all the time,” since adults have stable appearances, whereas teenagers have pimples and bad hair days on a daily basis. On top of injuring their body image, repetitive viewing of attractive, collected adults can lower selfesteem. As a byproduct of puberty and hormones, adolescents are clumsy and awkward — entirely normal traits for their age. When “teenagers” on screen don’t reflect this, viewers can’t help but compare themselves and ask why they too aren’t so poised and proper. It would be easy to say that directors can simply solve this issue by casting actors who represent their characters more accurately age-wise. As mentioned before, however, this isn’t always feasible for a number of rea-

Riverdale features high school characters played by older actors.

sons, financial and otherwise. Therefore, movie producers could instead work to shed light on and de-stigmatize the issues that are swept under the rug by media, including eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses often faced by teen viewers. One of the main causes of body dysmorphia and eating disorders is the idealization of unattainable body types. Hollywood culture tends to push these ideals onto viewers through the quintessential image of the teenager. Such a mindset is often accompanied by self-consciousness and social comparison, which leads them to engage in unhealthy techniques to change their appearance. All this comes to a head when paired with the negative effects from repeatedly seeing adults as teens, and culminates in serious mental health problems. Viewers can take a stand in changing this phenomenon by refraining from placing a heavy emphasis on body image. The first step in accepting themselves is to recognize that a number on a scale, a clothing size, or one’s appearance does not determine self-worth. The issue of misrepresentation of age in the media is so widespread that is has been, for

the most part, accepted as the norm. For this reason, true-to-change casting gives a different feel in shows and films. In the past, Saved By the Bell casting director Robin Lippin recruited cast members between the ages of 12 and 17. She said, “My producer wanted our show to be realistic, so kids watching could relate and identify to all the situations and grow with the actors playing them.” Similarly, on shows such as The Good Wife and Parenthood, the teenage characters were also portrayed by actors under 18.

Viewers can take a stand in changing this phenomenon by refraining from placing a heavy emphasis on body image. Evidently, the continual perpetuation of the issue of misrepresentation of age in media is of great import, with lasting effects on teenage viewers. However, if directors work to bring to light the darker side of teen life and viewers reject Hollywood culture pushed onto them, then the negative impacts of the problem can be overcome. ▪ PHOTOS BY IMDB.COM

16 Arts & Entertainment


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Friday, February 2, 2018

Friday, February 2, 2018

The Smoke Signal


Arts & Entertainment 17

C R I T I C S’ C O R N E R MusiC: willow smith, B Ø rns | Film: The post, proud mary

Under the radar

Music review

the post is f r o n tpa g e ma t e ri al


willow smith By Kikue Higuchi Staff Writer Aspiring alternative singer and songwriter Willow Smith rocked the world with her iconic, upbeat single “Whip My Hair,” which had preteens dancing their way through 2010. Now, after four years of silence, Smith has returned to music with a completely new aesthetic, replacing her bright colors and pop style with soothing tones and an interstellar frame of mind. Smith released her first EP, titled 3, in 2014 under JAY-Z’s record label Roc Nation LLC. Shortly after, in 2015, she released her debut album ARDIPITHECUS. Smith is the sole songwriter of all 11 songs on the album and produced 10 of them. ARDIPITHECUS is distinctly alternative with magnetic beats and storylike lyrics. The album is eclectic, describing Smith’s views on everything and anything. It even includes two songs about Marceline, a character from the popular TV show Adventure Time. Since Smith’s return to the music industry, she has collaborated with a variety of artists. Her single “9” features R&B singer SZA and the soundcloud artist Jabs is featured in her songs “Not So Different” and “Star.” In 2016, Smith provided crooning and melancholy vocals for the track “PCH” on Jaden Smith’s album CTV2. Smith released her second album, The 1st, on her 17th birthday. This album places an emphasis on more organic sounds and passionate vocals. The lyrics of this album have a strong focus on maturity, selfrealization, love, and womanhood. After the release of The 1st, Smith spent the remaining months of 2017 on tour across North America with Jhené Aiko. Smith’s abrupt change in aesthetic is definitely here to stay. However her music style continues to mature as she collaborates with more artists and finds her sound. ▪


By Michael Ren Staff Writer Director Steven Spielberg’s new movie The Post is a historical thriller that closely follows the actions of The Washington Post during a period of major challenges for the paper. Beautiful shots, compelling dialogue, and a thematically relevant soundtrack all culminate to make for a brilliant movie. Amid a number of controversies, The Post depicts the events ultimately leading up to the paper’s coverage of highly controversial classified Vietnam War documents, the Pentagon Papers, and the ensuing court case against the US. The Washington Post Publisher Katherine “Kay” Graham (Meryl Streep), having just been promoted to her leadership position, faces a number of challenges — whether or not to cover the Vietnam coverup, taking the Post public on the stock market, and, eclipsing it all, the tumultuous nature of her position of leadership as a female in a male dominated profession. Meanwhile, Benjamin “Ben” Bradlee (Tom Hanks) is the energetic executive editor of the Post, who will do anything to help the paper garner a national following and emphatically supports covering the Pentagon Papers.

Playing their respective roles, Hanks and Streep both nail their parts as Hanks perfectly captures the driven executive editor. Streep too fully conveys the hardships that her character faces as she steps into a new role, essentially a coming-of-age story in and of itself. Excellent dialogue and acting combine to clearly depict Graham’s indecisiveness and Bradlee’s resolve throughout the movie. The cinematography and soundtrack of The Post are more of the movie’s outstanding features. Scenes filled with action are filmed in a haphazard yet easy-to-follow manner which accentuates the energy of the moment. In stark contrast, slow pans across multiple characters’ faces add susepense to the conflict each character feels. Masterful use of light and shadow plays a similar role as well. Finally, the score, composed by John Williams, truly brings out the raw emotion of the shot. Especially at one point which shows the entire process of printing and distributing the newspaper, the flowing shots as the papers pass from one machine to the next combine with exciting music for a truly moving scene. Although The Post certainly dramatizes many aspects of the event it is modeled after, it still stays true to

the overall line of action. However, where The Post really shines in this regard is its synthesis of multiple plotlines into one fluid film. In no way does the movie present the scandal in a vacuum like a documentary; instead, the issue is balanced in conjunction with many others, such as the newspaper’s competition with The New York Times, its decision to go public on the stock market, and the personal lives of Graham and Bradlee. Spielberg masterfully weaves each of these issues into the main plotline of the movie, resulting in a complete retelling that explains each character’s decisions and even more so, the difficulty of making such decisions. As a result, the movie itself is free of any plot holes or awkward moments. Every action is highly motivated and interconnected with every other action. The only downfall to this is that the story starts off quite slow due to the amount of background that must be explained. However, it quickly gains steam and propels itself across the finish line at full speed in a blur of action. Overall, The Post combines beautiful shots with an excellent screenplay and casting to make for an engaging retelling of the Pentagon Papers scandal. ▪ Rating: A

only henson should be proud of proud mary

local events By Stephanie Dutra & Hana Sheikh Arts and Entertainment Editors SF IndieFest — February 1-15 The 20th San Francisco Independent Film Festival will take place at three separate screening venues: Roxie Theater, Victoria Theater, and 518 Valencia Pop Up Theater. The festival features the best independent and alternative movies by national and international directors every night. Dua Lipa: The Self-Titled Tour — Tuesday, February 13 Dua Lipa will perform at The Masonic in San Francisco on February 13 at 8 p.m. for her tour of her selftitled debut album, Dua Lipa. San Jose Jazz Winter Fest — February 15-28 The San Jose Jazz Winter Fest will take place over the course of two weeks, with a variety of jazz artists and musicians performing at multiple venues around Downtown San Jose. Lunar New Year Street Festival — Saturday, February 24 Celebrate Lunar New Year at the Newpark Mall on February 24 from 2 - 9 p.m. Sing your heart out in karaoke, feast on multicultural foods, test your creativity in an interactive art space, and watch the LED lion dance at the street festival. Santa Cruz Clam Chowder CookOff — Saturday, February 24 Sunday, February 25 Head to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk to taste test clam chowder from amaetur and professional chefs at the largest and oldest clam chowder competition in the country. ▪


By Julia Park Staff Writer Proud Mary features a lead character not often seen in Hollywood movies: a black woman over the age of forty. The rising star Taraji P. Henson, known for the role Katherine Johnson in Hidden Figures, now plays the hitwoman Mary. In a fit of rage and compassion, Mary kills orphan Danny’s (Jahi Di’Allo Winston) abuser, crime family boss Uncle (Xander Berkeley), because she feels guilty for killing his father. Unfortunately, Uncle is the rival of Mary’s employer Benny (Danny Glover). The tension between the two drug cartels’ ensuing war and Mary’s developing relationship with Danny drives the movie’s drama. With such a promising premise, it was surprising to find nearly empty theaters; Sony Pictures seems to have gone out of its way to hide the film directed by Babak Najafi, releasing only one official trailer, refusing advance screening for critics, and neglecting the traditional international press tour. Henson, who is also the movie’s executive producer, believes that the lack of publicity is due to the industry’s refusal to grant black female

leads a chance and hopes that Proud Mary will be able to prove otherwise. Henson by herself exceeds this goal. Her character develops from a ruthless, all-business agent to a human struggling with the morality of her father figure Benny. The juxtaposition of her tough love and soft expression shows her maternal love for Danny before she even says it out loud. Mary herself is an incredibly compelling, emotionally complex character. Benny is a hidden gem as well. His deep, slow baritone never changes but is believably both friendly and dangerous, a suitable portrayal of a crime boss who keeps his family close. Still, Proud Mary as an action movie fails to deliver truly engaging cinematography. While the trailer presented the movie as an homage to the 70s era of black action films, the only reference to this age was the colorful credit typeface (originally used in Foxy Brown) and the beginning’s dynamic closeups of Mary working out, applying makeup, and choosing a gun; it is a cinematic masterpiece compared to the following scenes. There are numerous uncreative, mundane shots of Mary driving her car — some look similar enough to be the same clip —

that the movie occasionally feels like a car commercial with bland music in the background. The movie asks viewers to suspend their belief in reality too much when almost 50 bullets riddle an ordinary car, leave behind perfectly round black holes, and never reach the passenger. With the exception of a the final action scene featuring the title song “Proud Mary” by Tina Turner, the action sequences are not thrilling and don’t show off the agents’ physical and intellectual prowess. For the most part, the movie suffers from trying to be a human story and a thriller at the same time. Scenes involving emotionally difficult revelations are quickly wrapped up so that characters can move on to the next fight scene, while fight sequences are cut off with dramatic tension and exposition. Henson’s wonderful performance and the unique human perspective on the hitman genre makes the movie bearable. But viewers who expect coherent aesthetics, strong story, or badass fight scenes will be sorely disappointed. ▪ Rating: C+

By Katherine Guo Staff Writer BØRNS, also known as 26-yearold singer-songwriter Garrett Borns, released his sophomore album, Blue Madonna, on January 12. Blue Madonna follows the 2012 release of A Dream Between and 2015 release of Dopamine, continuing their typical electropop and indie melodies. As an indie singer in an age where hip-hop and pop music dominate, BØRNS’ music is an unexpected throwback to the late 60’ and 70s. The first track, “God Save Our Young Blood” featuring Lana Del Rey, immediately showcases BØRNS’ androgynous vocals, though they are largely masked by unnecessary synth and downplayed by monotonous repetition of “God save, God save our young blood.” The two verses lend little meaning and only leave the listener wondering if BØRNS had put any thought into the lyrics. Even the presence of well-established indie singer Lana Del Rey fails to elevate the song much and rather contributes to the stagnant pace. BØRNS’ lyrics focus on superficial messages of young love that fail to keep the listener’s interest for long, as seen in “I Don’t Want U Back,” “We Don’t Care,” and “Blue Madonna.” While attempting to embody the laissez-faire mindset most often seen in young adults, BØRNS’ crooning quickly confuses the listener with lyrics such as “Who’s playing the harlequin bass line/Dancing the dance like we’re seasick dominos” from “We Don’t Care.” Without any meaningful lyrical context provided, BØRNS provides an example of psychedelic music gone wrong. His ephemeral falsetto fails to add the conviction needed to give his chorus solid grounding, and the addition of an electric guitar lends a jarring juxtaposition to the track that does not sit quite right. Mixed into an album of borderline filler songs, “Faded Heart” and “Byebye Darling” are passably memorable tracks. “Faded Heart” strikes a relatable chord by matching the chorus of “But it feels like I’m just falling all the time/High as a pretty star/Don’t you break my faded heart” with a solid bass and drum line that lends meat to his singing. However, “Bye-bye Darling” gives the album an ending that it finally deserves by adding context to the reminiscent quality of the album. With the lyrics “We had a good run darling don’t you cry/I know it’s just gonna be fine/bye-bye darling,” he gives closure to the listener and utilizes his famed falsetto to lend the song a dreamy quality. BØRNS’ stellar vocals are sorely underused: instead of capitalizing on his commendable range, he relies on his falsetto far too much, diminishing the album from what could have been a refreshing departure from generic pop into a psychedelic blur for listeners. Straying from past indie artists such as Bon Iver and Prince, BØRNS forgoes the stripped-down vocals in favor of relying on background vocals and instruments. The mindlessly placed songs are solely tied together by a recurring naïvete that only comes with teenage love. Combined with lack of development, both through the tracks and from his previous albums, BØRNS’ sophomore album falls short of expectations. ▪ Rating: D+



18 Arts & Entertainment


The Smoke Signal

Friday, February 2, 2018

Friday, February 2, 2018

The Smoke Signal


Girls’ Basketball falls short 52-63 Varsity Girls’ Basketball competed against James Logan High School, the current first place team in the league, on January 16 at their home court. The Warriors were unable to continue their strong first quarter start, and after a few lapses in the second half, they lost the game with a score of 52-63. Both teams started out full of energy in the evenly matched first quarter, with few mistakes and accurate shots from both teams. MSJ scored the first basket of the game, but Logan responded with a basket of their own. The pattern of trading baskets continued for much of the quarter. The first quarter ended with a tight score of 12-13 and Logan in the lead. MSJ saw a slower second quarter, with a sharp decrease in shot accuracy, especially for their outside shots. Both teams strengthened their defense, and MSJ secured their defensive rebounds. Logan’s defense pressured MSJ’s offense, forcing MSJ to take and miss many difficult shots as the shot clock ran down. While Logan consistently racked up three-pointers and layups throughout the quarter, MSJ had difficulty making their shots. However, Junior Erin Zhu’s layup ended the streak of missed shots. Senior Shannon Chau made a three-point buzzer beater to bring the half time score to 19-25. MSJ picked up the pace of the third quarter with clean passes and skillful steals by Sophomores Meghna Nair and Starla Murillo. Nair adeptly scored both of her free throw shots after a foul on Logan. Halfway through the third quarter, Zhu made an easy layup after receiving a beautiful cross-court pass, tying the score at 27-27. Both teams had a number of hiccups — Logan had a hard time keeping possession of the ball while MSJ made several defensive mistakes that gave their opponents some easy baskets. Late in the quarter, Captain Senior Michelle Lin broke through the Logan defense with deft inside passes from her teammates and executed

Sports 19

By Joelle Chuang Staff Writer


#5 Senior Shannon Chau jumps up to shoot a 3-pointer.

two consecutive layups. However, Logan pulled back ahead and ended the quarter with a 7-point lead, with a score of 32-39. Logan pulled further away from MSJ in the final quarter. MSJ continued to miss their shots and were unable to get their offensive rebounds. The bench players came on towards the end of the game, and they energized the court with increased movement and several exciting shots. However, unable to catch up and close the gap, MSJ lost with a final score of 52-63.

Girls’ Basketball Coach Doug Sakamoto said that although “the girls did a nice job of following the game plan defensively, [they] had a few lapses in the fourth quarter and Logan took advantage of it to hit a couple of three-pointers.” He noted, “This team is one of the better shooting teams that I’ve had, but we sometimes rely on the three-pointer too much.” However, despite their loss, Lin believes that the team still performed well. She said, “we did a really good job on defensive rebounds ... also, we played the game at

a slower tempo so that Logan couldn’t push the ball as much.” She added, “The veteran players have good chemistry and play well together, but there is a gap between the new and old players because we haven’t played together as long.” One of her goals is for the players to get to know each other better in order to improve rapport. Since the team has already qualified for NCS, they hope to win as many games as possible in league and excel at NCS. Girls’ Basketball’s next home game will be on Tuesday, February 6 against Newark Memorial High School.▪

Club Spotlight: eSports By Christine Dong and Tylor Wu Staff Writers MSJ eSports was created in October 2017 to bring the MSJ community together through competitive video games. Their mission is to use these games as a medium to bring out the best in people and build lasting communities. “It’s a place to learn new games, find new friends, and have fun,” said Public Relations Officer Senior Sumeet Chaudhari. “eSports,” short for electronic sports, is a general name for all types of competitive gam-

ing. Like traditional sports, eSports have their own official leagues and tournaments where professionals can play against each other. Although they lack the physicality of traditional sports, eSports still serve to fascinate and entertain people. “It’s sort of similar to why people follow traditional sports teams. It’s fun to follow your favorite players and favorite personalities. It’s fun to watch your team versus other teams,” said President Senior Andrew Kan.

The formation of the eSports club was inspired by a similar club that had existed previously in the 2014-15 school year, which had disbanded due to club renewal issues. Since gaming can be more enjoyable with others, the current officer team formed the club in order to provide a community where students could enjoy gaming together and meet others with similar passions at MSJ. “I think eSports is a great way for friends to bond.


MSJ eSports club officers (left to right): Junior Vice Secretary Mingjia Wang and Seniors Activities Coordinator Adam Chang, President Andrew Kan, Vice President Robert Lin, and Secretary Jacob Wang. Not pictured: Seniors Public Relations Officer Sumeet Chaudhari.

Personally, I met a lot of my closest friends by watching eSports tournaments and playing video games with them competitively, and it’s a shared interest that can help people meet new friends and just feel passionate about something,” said Vice President Senior Robert Lin. MSJ eSports hosts weekly meetings every Friday in B17. During their meetings, they go over various types of games or replays to expose the MSJ community to a variety of different games. Outside of their meetings, the club also hosts eSports tournaments. Over Thanksgiving Break, MSJ eSports hosted a League of Legends tournament to great reception, with about 90 people signing up in 16 teams of five or more. Since then, the club has also hosted Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Overwatch tournaments in addition to a second League of Legends tournament that was open to other schools around the Bay Area. “I want to continue holding more tournaments for different types of games, so maybe like tournaments for smaller games or viewing parties of competitive games,” said Kan. The club is also looking to create teams for the High School Star League, a national high school eSports community and tournament league, for the upcoming semester so that eSports teams can compete against teams from high schools all around the nation. For the moment, the club’s main goals are to increase in size, continue connecting members of the MSJ community through competitive gaming, and to organize more tournaments and meetings in the future. “We’re still a new club so it’s been pretty rough trying to organize tournaments by ourselves, but we want to continue learning from the events we hold and try to hold bigger and bigger events,” said Kan. Students interested in joining eSports can find more information by contacting or joining the MSJ eSports Facebook group. The club meets bi-weekly on Fridays in B17. ▪





20 Sports

Friday, February 2, 2018

The Smoke Signal

Statistics don’t make the sports By Michael Ren Staff Writer

Ever since sports analytics were first popularized in Major League Baseball in 1951, statistics and analytics have become an important part of professional sports. For professional sports teams, information gained from statistics can help teams pinpoint what they need to do to improve. Statistics are also important to the viewer because they provide an informative and quantitative summary of player skill. However, statistics cannot be fully relied upon to tell the full story of a player’s contributions. Although statistics provide an accessible way of measuring performance in sports, the limits and capabilities of the statistic must also be understood. Consider the example of batting average in baseball. Batting average is a ratio of the number of hits a batter has to the number of times the batter is at bat. As a result, a natural conclusion would be that batters with a higher batting average are better than those with a lower batting average. While this might generally be true, multiple factors can greatly affect this statistic. For example, the skill level of the opposing pitcher is not taken into account. If two players of equal skill each encountered pitchers of varying skills, then their batting averages would also vary. Additionally, batting volume is also not considered; batters who are not at bat often will have a higher chance of having an inflated or deflated batting average which is not representative of their actual batting average. Overall, the relative simplicity of the statistic means that it is very vulnerable to changes caused by factors not accounted for within the statistic itself. As a result, a natural next step would be to use a statistic that combines a player’s performance on both the offensive and defensive ends. One such example is basketball’s player plus-minus (+/-) rating. For any given player, +/- is the difference in score differential that occurs when that player is on the court. So, if the Golden State Warriors scored

10 points more than the opposing team while Stephen Curry was on the court, than Curry’s +/- would be +10. By tracking points scored as well as points given up, +/- thus provides a metric that evaluates both offensive and defensive performance. However, this metric is still flawed in its own right. For one, it doesn’t take into account the skill of the player’s teammates. Having better teammates on the floor next to them will naturally inflate a player’s individual +/-. The skill of the opposing team is also an issue here; if the player faces a relatively worse team, then their +/- will be similarly inflated. With these nuances in mind, even more advanced metrics have arisen that attempt to quantify all parts of a player’s performance into one number. The Corsi number in hockey is one such statistic. Win share in basketball is another example. In short, these metrics attempt to combine multiple statistics into one number that directly correlates with a player’s contribution to winning. Yet, this is still flawed, as we then have to ask how each of these statistics should be weighted relative to the other statistics that go into this final metric. Overall, metrics like this can be extremely difficult to interpret. In the end, no matter how simple or complex a statistic is, there will always be some parts of player performance that cannot be quantitatively rated. Examples might include a player’s impact on team morale, as well as the player’s contribution in directing their teammates in what to do. Such actions are hard to express numerically, and thus statistics will never be the final solution to performance ranking. So how can we ultimately determine the validity of a statistic? At the end of the day, we must rise above the numbers and watch the game itself in order to accomplish this. Player skill can qualitatively be observed through watching the game; if a metric quantitatively ranks players in a way that closely matches the qualitative opinion of the viewer,


then the metric can be considered reliable. While statistics are certainly an important part of modern sports, being able to interpret statistics is essential to drawing the correct conclusions with them. In

a vacuum, individual statistics hold almost no meaning; only by considering statistics hand in hand with our qualitative observations of the sport can we understand them. ▪

Friday, Febraury 2, 2018

The Smoke Signal


investigative report: By Rishi Chillara, Kikue Higuchi, Lucia Li & Maggie Zhao Staff Writers

MSJ is currently undergoing an extensive modernization project using Measure E funds, with upgrades to the HVAC system, the parking lot, and the replacement of the floors. The Smoke Signal investigated the use of these funds for repairing or renovating any sports facilities, along with the current condition of the major sports facilities at MSJ as well as the tentative long range plans in store. Writers sat down with FUSD’s Assistant Superintendent Raul Parungao, Deputy Project Director Aaron Kael, and Project Manager Paul Cristilli to obtain information, and reached out to MSJ coaches and student athletes for their perspectives. Student feedback on the facilities was gathered through a survey that was sent to eight English and Social Studies classes of all grade levels, which are depicted in the graphs below. A total of 215 students were surveyed.

“Much of [the field] is curled and easy to catch your leg. The gopher holes in the grass are pretty bad. They have caused leg injuries. We also do not have an outfield fence to fully contain our field. While I wish the field was in better shape, I am always thankful that we have a field for our team.” — Varsity Softball Player Hannah Scherer, 12

Sports facilities On a scale of 1-5, how would you rate the conditions of our sport facilites? 2.0% 9.5% 5 (Best)


4 3 2 1 (Worst)



The Problems According to a number of MSJ coaches and PE teachers, the common problems that exist for all the current facilities at MSJ are their size and age. Most major facilities were built in 1964 and have not been updated since. Regarding the most common complaints, Athletic Director Tom Thomsen said, “It’s mostly just unsafe facilities… The facilities are just so old, there’s only so much you can do.” These facilities were also built for a smaller number of students. As a result, the facilities at MSJ cannot accommodate the current size of the student body. PE Teacher Melissa Kaeo said, “It’s hard to plan around the rain… It can get kind of chaotic planning indoor activities and making sure everyone has enough space.” Many of the facilities are also unused or unusable for most of the year. The track, the sports facility that sees the greatest use, becomes unusable and even hazardous due to weather conditions.

“I always wanted a new gym. We wouldn’t have to split assemblies, it’s one of the major spots on campus that the most visitors see. It’s a reflection of your school for visitors. Our gym was built in the 60s. — PE Teacher Pete Vaz

What activities do you use sports facilities for?

PE only

Athletics only

Future Plans In 2014, after the Measure E Bond was passed, LPA Inc, an architectural firm, was hired by the district to examine all the schools in FUSD. LPA identified a number of needs throughout the schools and advised the district to keep these needs in mind when planning renovations and modernization projects. When examining MSJ, LPA recommended that the district build a number of new facilities such as: a three court gym, new locker rooms, a new pool, an all-weather track, and turf sports fields. Renovations to the gym and the replacement of the pool were classified as top priority. While the pool is currently being replaced, no plans have been made to renovate the gym.


Sports 21

History The gym, mini-gym, track, soccer fields, baseball fields, softball fields, and pool were built when MSJ was established in 1964. The gym floors have been re-sanded and re-varnished twice. The last renovation of the gym floor and bleachers was 10 years ago. The fields are simply maintained and kept safe for student use. The district regularly sends workers out to MSJ to eradicate the gophers to avoid gopher holes in the soccer fields, which are a potential hazard. Over the summer, the baseball field was repaired, and the fences around the baseball fields are currently being repaired. The pool is the only MSJ facility that has ever been considered for major repairs or replacement. The construction process for the pool began over Winter Break and the original pool has been demolished.

most major facilites were built in and have not been updated since


“When the track is wet, people slip. When the track is dry, the mud has hardened into holes, and we have quite a few injuries It’s unusable much of the year” — Cross Country Coach Jack Marden

Funding Sport teams receive their funding exclusively from student donations and fundraising events. The PE department receives most of their funding from student donations as well as parent run programs like Mission Possible and Boosters. The PE department also receives a portion of the district’s general fund, the FUSD fund for operating costs like new textbooks and teacher salaries. Most expenses, like new equipment or maintaining the fields, are funded by a combination of all these sources. Funding for major construction projects comes from bonds like Measure E. Bonds are passed through Fremont voters and the amount of money approved is pulled from property taxes. Funding for renovations can also come from Propositions passed by the state. Proposition 51, a 2016 ballot measure, set aside $9 billion for the improvement of CA public education facilities. FUSD has applied to receive a $3.9 million rebate for the construction of the P-Wing, but FUSD has not received that money yet.

According to LPA Inc, it would cost....

$300,000 $1 Million $1 Million

for general...landscape, [including] ... tennis courts and softball fields

for a track upgrade

for a synthetic football field

“For water polo, it was a pain to drive to further schools since our pool was not deep enough to practice in. Sometimes we couldn’t even hold a practice. I’m glad we finally started construction on our new pool. I’m looking forward to home meets and quality practice conditions.” — JV Girls’ Water Polo Player Charlotte Sayle, 9

22 Sports


The Smoke Signal

Friday, February 2, 2018

Sports facilities

investigative report: By Rishi Chillara, Kikue Higuchi, Lucia Li & Maggie Zhao Staff Writers

Baseball/Softball Fields (est. 1964) Used By: Baseball, Cross Country, Softball Issues: The grass is uneven and there are many gopher holes. Recent Updates: The grass on the infield has been replaced over the summer, and MSJ is currently repairing the fencing. Future Plans: The district recognized the need for upgrades to all fields; there is no funding for these upgrades.

Track (est. 1964)

Tennis Courts (Contract with FUSD since 2000)

Used By: Tennis Issues: The courts are owned by the City of Fremont and are not free. Additionally, the tennis courts face the problems of misuse and the sagging of nets. Recent Updates: The courts were resurfaced with slipsheet to prevent cracking. Regular Repairs: None Future Plans: None

Soccer Field (est. 1964)

Used By: Cross Country, Soccer Issues: It is unusable and muddy for much of the year. Gopher holes are hazardous to the athletes who use the field. Recent Updates: None Regular Repairs: Gophers are eradicated, but gopher holes persistently re-emerge. Future Plans: The district recognized the need for upgrades to all fields; there is no funding for these upgrades.

Used By: Cross Country, Track and Field Issues: Unusable and hazardous when muddy. Recent Updates: None Regular Repairs: Smoothing and filling sand Future Plans: The district recognized the need for upgrades to the track, but there is no funding for these upgrades.

Weight Room (est. 1964)

Used by: All sports History: The weight room replaced the woodshop classroom. Equipment is bought as the Athletics Department gets the money. Some equipment has never been replaced, as there is no way to upgrade them. As a result, much of the equpment is outdated, but maintenance for student safety is done frequently.

Cardio Room (est. 1964) Pool

Currently undergoing renovation!

Used by: All Sports History: The room began as a mat room, was converted into a dance room, and finally transformed into the cardio room. It is the most updated facility. Equipment is bought as the Athletics Department gets the money.

Main Gym (est. 1964)

Mini Gym (est. 1964)

Used By: Wrestling Issues: The Mini Gym is small, old, and not versatile enough for sports and activites besides wrestling. Recent Updates: None Regular Repairs: None Future Plans: Athletic Director Tom Thomsen and Assistant Principal Jeff Evans plan to buy new, lighter mats to make the mini-gym into a multi-purpose building.

Used By: Volleyball, Basketball, Badminton Issues: The Main Gym is too small and old for the number of students who use it. Recent Updates: Bleachers were made electronic 10 years ago. Regular Repairs: Floors are sanded and refinished. Future Plans: The district has recognized the need for a 3 court gym. However, there are no definite plans or funding. GRAPHICS BY GRAPHICS EDITOR EVANGELINE CHANG

Boys’ Basketball dominates Irvington, 64-50 Boys’ Basketball took on the Irvington High School Vikings on Thursday, January 11 at Irvington High School for the third game in their MVAL season. The two teams were neck-and-neck, until the third quarter when MSJ boosted their offense and began to pull away. Coming through with flying colors, the Warriors soundly beat the Vikings 64-50 in a hard-fought game. Despite the overwhelming cheers for the home team, MSJ took a small but steady lead early in the game. The audience, filled with Vikings fans, was riled up throughout the entire game, shouting and at the edge of their seats. In the first and second quarters, the lead kept bouncing between the two teams; by halftime, the score was very close, and it seemed as if the game could go either way. MSJ’s Warriors worked together and played great offense, scoring via layups while preventing Irvington from stealing the ball. Senior Akshay Aravindan and Sophomore Arnav Arora were key figures on the offense, racking up many assists. A highlight from the first half of the game was when Arora took control of the ball and sped across the court, outrunning every Viking to execute an open layup. In the third quarter, MSJ picked up their aggression, and Irvington was unable to keep up with the change in pace. Another highlight was when Senior Garrett Chao leaped after the ball over the baseline in the final quarter to keep the ball from going out of bounds. This not only helped maintain possession of the ball, but also increased their lead. Junior Sidarth Raman said, “In the 3rd quarter, we really took over, and that was the turning point in the game.” At the beginning

#23 Sophomore Arnav Arora jumps for a rebound.

#32 Senior Austin Chang drives the ball into Irvington’s key.

By Shreya Sridhar Staff Writer

of third quarter, the score was 33-30 in favor of MSJ, but with 9 seconds left on the clock before third quarter ended, the Warriors had a lead of 15 points with a score of 47-32. MSJ played with solid defense, preventing multiple Irvington rebounds, and consistently diverted the ball across the court. Team Captain Senior Alex Wu and Chao were instrumental in drawing foul shot opportunities, giving MSJ significant opportunities to score. Coach Mike Kenney was especially proud of his team’s performance and said, “Any win is a good game. The team played very hard. The seniors especially had a good game today.” Although the team as a whole had a great game, Kenney named Raman the best player of the game. Raman managed to dunk the ball three times throughout the course of the match, which is a tough skill for most high school players to execute. Raman said, “We just wanted to play hard, play good defense, execute on offense and play as a team overall… it was just another game where we worked really hard.” Moving forward, the team hopes to make it to the NCS Champion Tournament in March. In the future, they hope to defeat Irvington every time rather than have the wins be split between the two. The team thinks that they came together well as a team this past season, which heavily contributed to their improved chemistry on-court. Wu said, “We played very hard as a team and followed all of [our] coach’s directions. We have become like a family this season, like brothers now.” Boys’Basketball’s next home game will be on Tuesday, February 13 against John F. Kennedy High School.▪ PHOTOS BY STAFF WRITER SHREYA SRIDHAR




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The Smoke Signal looks back at the highlights of the winter season. Relive the most action-packed moments and read on about their prospects for the post-season.

Top Left: Girlsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Varsity Basketball has had a respectable season so far, winning against opponents like Irvington High School and American High School. The team narrowly lost a game against Newark Memorial High School on January 13, the score a very close 46-43. They hope to continue doing well and qualify for NCS. Top Right: Girlsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Varsity Soccer has had a solid season with a few wins and ties against teams from Tennyson High School and San Leandro High School. They hope to continue improving their playing in the future and to have a winning second half of the season. Not pictured: This year, the cheer team is small but staying strong. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve worked on incorporating gymnastics and higher skill levels in their routines. The team looks forward to increasing school spirit at sports games and rallies next year, and gaining new members.

Senior Jared Pingue tries to pin his opponent to the

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d ay Aravindan Senior Aksh


Senior Jonathan Nguyen dribbles past

Top: Wrestling has had a rough season, and was unable to accomplish nearly as much as they would have liked. However, in the future, the team hopes to make NCS dual, and bring some MSJ champions to MVALs.

his defender.

Left: Boysâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Varsity Basketball has had a relatively good season, with wins against top rivals, including Irvington High School, where MSJ won 64-50. They hope to qualify for NCS this year as well as consistently beat rivals in future years. Right: Boysâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Varsity Soccer has had a rough season, struggling against tough opponents such as Irvington High School and James Logan High School. For the remainder of the season, they hope to start winning more games and to improve their record.

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24 Photo

The Smoke Signal


By Shiantel Chiang & Jennifer Xiang Staff Writers

Friday, February 2, 2018

Manveen Anand, 11

Along with winter comes hot chocolate, cozy fireplaces, and — best of all — winter fashion. To explore MSJ’s exceptional style during chilly weather, the Smoke Signal scouted out unique looks around campus among the array of coats, jackets, sweaters, and other seasonal garments to feature.

Rishika Mundada, 9

Bryce Talavera, 9

Courtney Situ, 10

Em ily Zou, 10

Monica Manm adkar, 9

Vaidehi Gupta, 11


Volume LIII, No. 5  
Volume LIII, No. 5