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October 26, 2012


AP Biology first to change

Students in space

By Anna Zeng Staff Writer

By Peter Qiu Staff Writer

For the 2012-13 school year, the College Board has implemented a revised Advanced Placement (AP) Biology program focused on conceptual understanding and inquiry-based learning. The AP revision program, Advances in AP, aims to bring focus on concepts and analysis to other AP science programs in the future as well. “I’m jazzed about the changes,” says AP Biology Teacher Karrie Ware, “[In previous years,] AP Biology had become a class of memorization. Students were [just] not well-versed on how to talk about science. [But now,] labs are the core of the course. I see students taking ownership of what they do in class. I think this is the way to go.” The modifications of the AP Biology curriculum reflect the promotion of inquiry-based, conceptual learning and scientific practices. The scope of the course has been narrowed to allow for conceptual understanding and discourage rote memorization, which the conceptual guidelines clearly stated to be “beyond the score of the course and the AP exam.” The AP Biology revision committee places a strong emphasis on scientific methodology, as the critical thinking skills demanded by the use of such methodology are great indicators of mastery over the material and readiness to study more advanced topics. The old lab manual, with its twelve recommended experiments, has been replaced with a new lab manual aimed at enabling students to self-design their labs. The course also includes quantitative analysis in the form of statistical tests, yet another push towards scientific practices. The new AP Biology exam format has also been tweaked to better fit the curriculum’s new approach. To promote critical thinking rather than memorization, the exam now offers grid-in questions and fewer, longer multiple choice problems. Exam questions are now more scenario-based and will consequently take more time to solve; in response to this, the AP Biology revision committee decided to reduce the number of possible mul-

The Student Spaceflights Experiments Program (SSEP), known as Students in Space at MSJ, is a national Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) initiative aimed towards children and young adults from fifth grade through college, with a focus on students in middle school and high school. SSEP is a research competition founded by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) partnered with Nanoracks LLC. in 2010, and is designed to spark students’ interest in science by immersing them into the realm of micro-gravity. Only 24 schools across the nation were chosen to participate in this competition, and MSJ was lucky enough to have been among this group. Chosen schools form “communities” comprising of usually anywhere between 300 to 3200 students; communities are broken down by grade level, which are further broken down into individual student teams of roughly five members who first compete in a community-wide competition, with the finalists progressing to a national competition judged by a board of professional engineers and scientists. At MSJ, Math Teacher Charlie Brucker currently heads the program. SSEP is focused towards contrasting experimental results on Earth to those in a low-earth orbit, micro-gravitational, or near weightless environment. The competition is much more complex than it seems. In a microgravity environment, there is no convection, sedimentation, buoyancy, or stratification, so this will provide a truly unique set of challenges for the students. Competitors will design an experiment which can be conducted using an experimental Fluids Mixing Enclosure (FME), which is made of a large Teflon tube enclosure that holds two smaller glass ampoules, capsules similar to test tubes. Anywhere from one to three fluids can be placed in the ampoules or in the tube. There are very few limitations on what these substances can be, just as long as they aren’t harmful or hazardous. Students begin by working on a five page proposal describing

See BIO NEWS Page 2

See NASA NEWS Page 2

graphics editor angie wang

MSJHS Fall Play: Bull in a China Shop November 9, 10, 16, 17 at 7:00 PM Doors open at 6:30 PM Tickets: $10 General; $8 Child/UP.

A handsome detective moves in next door to four elderly woman, who try desperately and comically to catch his attention. Tickets are available online at You may also call (510) 668-6077 or email

world series

The highly anticipated World Series is quickly approaching. Which team will claim the title? Sports

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Find out what happened at a student-teacher forum discussing upcoming school board elections. News

casual vacancy

J.K. Rowling’s new adult book Casual Vacancy recently debuted. Was it a huge hit or a miss? A&E

2 News

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Friday, October 26, 2012

News in Brief BIO| Collegeboard makes changes NASA| Students explore space Producing petrol from air British engineers have revolutionized the energy needs of the world by developing technology that could produce petrol from air. A series of chemical reactions produce methanol from the air, which is then turned into petrol by passing it through a gasoline fuel reactor. The north-England-based company, Air Fuel Syndication, says it hopes to use this technology as a game changer in the fight against climate change. The petrol produced is also extremely cheap, and it is much cleaner than normal sources of petrol. The project is funded by a group of unnamed philanthropists, and with this latest advancement, seems poised for many important contributions to the global energy crisis.

Philanthropists take charge to take energy conservation to another level by funding the production of petrol from air.

No more print issues for Newsweek Newsweek, the American weekly current affairs magazine that has been heralded internationally, will publish its last print edition on Dec. 31, 2012. After 79 years in print, the magazine decided to go all-digital in response to the growing preference for tablet and mobile device usage in Newsweek readers around the world. Reports say that Newsweek’s transition to all-digital will result in job cuts and an estimated $40 million loss in revenue..

Newsweek, which has been in circulation for the past 79 years, will publish its last issue at the end of this year.

Fireball visible in the Bay Area On Wednesday, October 17, a meteor lit up the sky as it soared across the Bay Area. Entering the atmosphere faster than the speed of sound, the fireball created a sonic boom, quickly burning up and leaving behind a blazing trail of light. The meteor, a car-sized chunk of rock formed from a collision between two asteroids, broke apart as it flew northward. The dramatic trajectory was clearly visible from all over the Bay Area.

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tiple choice responses from five to four. Due to the addition of quantitative analysis into the curriculum, the AP Biology program, as written explicitly in the exam description, will now allow “simple fourfunction calculators (with square root) on the entire exam.” The exam will also include a formula sheet to aid students in data analysis. The roots of these monumental changes in AP Biology are meant to affect other science AP exams as well. The programs already announced to undergo revision are Chemistry and Physics B; both are poised to adopt inquiry-based learning, conceptual understanding, and scientific methodology. Chemistry’s revised program will be applied next year and will also include an inquiry-based lab manual. Physics B is currently under development, but the new program will go into effect for the 2014-15 school year. “This ‘Big Picture’ movement

their experiments from September 17 to November 9 for an Experiment Design Competition, hosted throughout the community. Up to two proposals can be submitted per community to Teachers in Space, a non-profit project led by the Space Frontier Foundation to spur student interest in STEM fields. The chosen proposals will be determined by a community-wide review board. A review panel from the Space Frontier Foundation will select the top three proposals from the 48 by November 19, and these three will move on to the NCESSE where the winning proposal will be selected by December 7. The student has a possibility of presenting their experiment at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Eventually, this experiment will be shipped to Houston, Texas, with shipping costs covered by the students. However, the $20,000 required for launching the rocket is completely paid for by Teachers in Space. The coming mission’s experiment is set to lift off in early spring of 2013. Astronauts will be at the ISS to follow further instructions, such as to shake or break the ampoules, given by the students who won the competition. After approximately six weeks in low-earth orbit on the ISS, the experiments will return on either a U.S. vehicle or a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Past experiments have flown on the space shuttle Atlantis and the recently retired space shuttle Endeavour, but future missions will most likely use rock-

staff writer hannah shih

isn’t happening just for College Board,” says Ware. “Non-AP classes in the district are also adopting inquiry-based teaching methods, and—yes, I do think this is the way to go.” The College Board’s AP revision cycle begins two years prior to implementation. Special committees, composed of college faculty and experienced AP teachers of the targeted subject, are assembled by the organization to redesign the course and exam. Once the core goals and exam format have been finalized, the future exam’s questions begin development and continue into the next year. The new, redesigned version of the AP curriculum framework is then released to the public in the spring, allowing half a year for teachers to adopt the new curriculum before teaching it in the fall. In the case of AP Biology, the updated lab manual was made available to purchase at that time as well. ▪

ets from private companies such as SpaceX. Once the capsule is on the ground, it is highly recommended that the students, under supervision of experts, investigate the effects of micro-gravity using a professional laboratory. Past analyses have included investigating the effects of microgravity on Tardigrades, inorganic crystal growth, fluid diffusion, and the physiology of microorganisms and their life cycles. General feedback regarding SSEP from math and science teachers at MSJ has been positive. “They got excited so I got excited,” says Brucker. The plan as of now is to compete in the current mission, aptly named Mission #3, but MSJ is still searching for more members to participate in this competition as part of their community, even reaching out to neighboring schools such as Irvington High School. Students who join SSEP will have a one-ofa-kind opportunity to explore science through a hands-on “freeform” program, on a final frontier that few have interacted with. ▪

Medcorps holds health and nutrition seminar By Tiffany Huang Staff Writer On Oct. 5, 2012, Medcorps, a health service club at MSJ, partnered with Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) to host a health and nutrition seminar. The presentation aimed to raise awareness of healthy nutrition habits and served as a reminder for students to stay on track for a healthy lifestyle. For Phase 1 of the two-phase plan, students were asked to fill out an online survey prior to the seminar, which consisted of questions about students’ health habits ranging from lifestyle practices to eating habits. At the Health and Nutrition Seminar on October 5, students received the results and an analysis of the first survey, as well as tips and fun facts which they could use to improve their health habits. The Health and Nutrition Seminar covered topics such as portion size, exercise, sleeping, drinking water, and eating breakfast. The concept of “normal eating” was also emphasized, as it was important for students to know that while eating healthy foods is important, it is also normal to indulge every so often. After the seminar, as part of Phase

Medcorps President Kathy Chang films the health and nutrition seminar video.

2, students once again were asked to fill out a second online survey with identical questions to the first. However, this time, feedback on the effectiveness of the seminar was also requested. This served as a follow-up to see if students were able to incorporate the information given at the seminar into their daily lives. “We want to see that there has been a change in people’s health habits from taking the information that they learned at the seminar and applying it to the rest of their lives,” says Medcorps President Kathy Chang. “Hopefully, people are being more aware that they should be doing some of these things.”

Many students feel that the seminar encouraged them to be more conscientious of making healthier choices. “The Medcorps Nutrition Seminar helped me open my eyes to the things that I need to do to improve my lifestyle,” said Senior Melody Fang. The idea for the Health and Nutrition Seminar originated from a wellness internship at PAMF, which both Chang and Vice President Calvin Lui participated in over the summer. The seminar was created for a project to reach out to the community. “We wanted to focus on nutrition because we feel like it’s one of the aspects of health that people can control,” says Chang.

staff writer catherine wang

Chang and Lui presented their project in the form of a video to their fellow interns and the Director of Health Education at PAMF on Oct. 20, 2012. The video, was a summary of the project as a whole in chronological order. Statistics from the surveys were incorporated into the video, as well as some of the information from the Nutrition Seminar. As a result of the seminar’s positive effect on the students of MSJ, Chang and Lui hope that the video may inspire PAMF to build upon their idea and expand it to other schools, in order to bettereducate and encourage students to maintain balanced healthy lifestyles. ▪

for the september 28, 2012 issue News page 2:Akila Nallappan’s name was misspelled.

News page 2: Graphics Editor Angie Wang wrote “MSJ Takes on Tech.” News page 3: Anu Natarajan’s name was misspelled.

Thousands in the Bay Area heard as well as saw this fireball shoot through the sky. COMPILED BY STAFF WRITERS TINGTING BI, LAURA CHEN, PETER QIU

News page 3: Graphics Editor Angie Wang took top right photo in “PTA’s host election...”

Feature page 12: James Nation has been teaching for 25 years, not 45 years. Feature page 12: Tanya Roundy teaches English 12.

Sports page 18: Girls’ Volleyball photo is courtesy Yearbook.

staff writer catherine wang

Medcorps President Kathy Chang (12) and Member Ram Sethi (11) discuss how the nutrition seminar imporoved their lifestyles.

Friday, October 26, 2012

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News 3

graphics by staff writer grace wu,

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5 News

Romney Republican nominee Mitt Romney, born in Detroit, is the son of former Michigan governor George Romney. Entrenched in the political life from an early age, Romney earned dual degrees from Harvard Law and Harvard business schools. He later formed Bain Capital, an investment firm that became highly profitable. Staying out of the political arena for most of his life, Romney switched gears when he ran against Democratic senator Tedd Kennedy in 1994. After losing the election, Romney came back to the public area when he helped run the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games. He ran for the Republican nomination for president in 2008 but lost to Senator John McCain. He ran again in 2012 and won the Republican nomination.

Health Care The republican platform on the topic has hinged on repealing Obamacare and its policy on federally mandated health care. Romney created a similar health care policy in Massachusetts when he was a governor but believes it is not appropriate on a national level. He instead wants to encourage individuals to purchase their own health insurance and allow states to make their own decisions on how to handle health care. Romney has repeatedly promised to repeal the bill if he gets elected into office. Romney’s policy on young adults hinges mainly on a state’s power to decide for itself whether or not young adults should stay on their parents plan. His party has been divided on the issue, as some want to include the law in a Republican plan for health care and others want to eliminate it entirely.

2012 Presidential Candidates to become the first African American to be President of the Harvard Law Review. While working with underprivileged communities in the city of Chicago, Illinois, Obama was elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996. Obama came onto the public spotlight when he won a seat in 2004 for the US senate and g a v e a highly publicized keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention the same year. He carried this momentum until he won the presidency in the fall of 2008.

Obama President Barack Obama was born in Hawaii and raised mainly by his grandmother after his parents divorced. He went on

Health Care Obama supports the Affordable Care Act (commonly called Obamacare) which was signed into law on March 23, 2010. The plan calls for federally mandated health care or to pay a penalty with a minimum of $685 every year instead. Obamacare also prevents insurers from de-

Changes to API scoring By Anita Alem Staff Writer On Aug. 30, 2012, California senators passed SB 1458, a bill that changes the process of calculating Academic Performance Index (API) scores, which are used to evaluate public schools across the state. These scores have been the reason that MSJ, with an API of 953 out of 1000, is considered one of the top high schools in the state. Senator Darrell Steinberg first proposed the bill in February. As stated in the bill, California legislature created the Academic Performance Index (API) in 1999 “to measure the progress of specified schools and to rank all public schools.” Results of the API also influence how much funding a particular school receives. Although the API was originally intended to factor in STAR testing results and graduation rates, the former currently constitutes at least, if not more than, 60 percent of the calculations. The proposed bill changes the calculation procedures so that STAR testing results form no more than 60 percent of the value of the index. Additionally, the API would include matriculation rates from junior high to high schools, graduation rates, CAHSEE scores, preparedness for post-secondary school and career, and mastery of science and social sciences.

The API system was originally created in accordance with the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act. The bill requires schools to set standards to meet Adequate Yearly Progress and states to have a second method of measurement. California implanted API to meet the latter standard. The bill states that the current API has been “limited… by an overreliance on the Standardized Testing and Reporting Program as the chief indicator of a school’s performance.” The main complaint regarding the API scores is that they are not an accurate representation of whether students are prepared to move to the next step in their career, whether it is more schooling or employment. The new bill hopes to rectify this oversight and create a more accurate API index. The change in the calculation process could have a significant impact on MSJ. With high graduation rates, CAHSEE scores, and extremely strong science courses and scores, MSJ may see further improvement in how it ranks. Government Teacher Tori Ha says of the proposed bill, “Basing [the API] on more than just state tests will be beneficial….It would give a more well-rounded perspective.” Some, however, are worried that the API index could become more subjective, as the method of calculating preparedness for post-secondary education and career, as well as emphasis on math and science, is not numerically measurable. Senior Leah Dickstein says, “There is no proposition on how this will be carried out effectively… the new approach makes API scores more vague and less useful.” The California Superintendent of Public Instruction must report to the legislature within a year regarding methods of emphasizing and measuring the success of science and social science in public schools. SB 1458 will go into effect on January 1, 2013. ▪

The Smoke Signal Education Mitt Romney’s plans include merit pay and further transparency by mandating public report cards for school performance. Romney also wants to give low income and special need students the ability to choose which school to attend, by making the funds tied to the student portable. He wishes to build upon the success of charter schools, which offer alternatives for families who want their children to go to a better school. For higher education, Romney seeks to simplify the financial aid system and to welcome private sector participation in education.

Friday, October 26, 2012

marriage and equal work- place rights for gay people. On the topic of abortion, Romney is against Roe vs. Wade, asserting that states should be allowed to ban abortion.

Social Issues Romney opposes same-sex marriage, believing that marriage is between one man and one women. He supports a federal amendment to define By Sanjay Sreekumar Staff Writer nying medical coverage due to preexisting conditions. Under the plan, young adults can stay on their parents’ plan until they are 26. This provision took effect immediately after Obamacare passed and a record number of young Americans are currently insured because of it. Education Barack Obama has lessened certain restrictions placed on schools from George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind policy. His “Race to the Top” program pits states against each other in order to earn funds for their schools. States need to promote reform, implement rigorous standards, and design data systems that makes information more widely available in order to win the money. Critics have argued that money should go to schools based on need rather than competition and

that his plan overemphasizes the importance of test scores. His policies have also put pressure on teacher unions and he has publically advocated for merit pay and charter schools. Finally, Obama has pledged to lessen student debt and to increase scholarship opportunities, which he did by increasing the maximum Pell Grant award to $5,500. Social Issues Obama became the first president to publically announce his support of gay marriage while in office on March 9, 2012. He also repealed the military’s policy on gay servicemen known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” on July 11, 2011. Regarding abortion, Obama supports Roe vs. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case that legalized abortion and overturned state laws banning first trimester abortions. ▪

Mixed reviews from online donations By Anna Zeng Staff Writer

During the 2012-13 school year, MSJ implemented the Paperless Maze Day system, allowing for all forms and donation letters to be moved to the website, thus allowing for teachers to limit the amount of donation letters that were printed. Although this change was not the same throughout all the departments, many did feel that Paperless Maze Day contributed to a significant dip in funds. Beginning this year, donation requests were available online, leading to mixed results. Head of Social Studies department Jeff Evans said, “This year we actually noticed an increase in donations. Many parents donated online and our department benefited from this.” Other departments did not have the same results. Head of Science Department Nathania Chaney-Aiello said, “We have noticed a significant decrease [from last year] in the amount of donations we received. Only a few students donated online and because of Paperless Maze Day, we did not stress in-class donations.” Head of English department Jennifer Moore also agreed, saying, “From what I have seen so far, the donations in the English Department have fallen considerably. Although I can’t say for sure just yet, there are many teachers who used to receive 20 to 30 checks per class but have received about eight this year.” The Paperless Maze Day system also posed the problem of security when considering that large amounts of money were to be transacted online. Mission Possible Secretary Christina

Broadwin said, ”I think the change created just enough confusion that parents didn’t want to hassle with donating online or felt uncomfortable donating online.” Overall, the donations from last year went down by 25 percent. Although last year was a record year with donations and corporate matching reaching $162,381, Mission Possible had expected this year to surpass it. After creating a proposed draft budget of $122,040, Mission Possible only received $94,094 in the three months before the 2012-13 school year. Broadwin said, “Many funding requests from teachers were turned down completely or only funded partially because we just didn’t have the funds to take care of all the requests.” Although Paperless Maze Day did contribute to decreased donations, for a variety of reasons it cannot be assumed that it is a detrimental system. The departments also varied in the way they wrote their letters, creating some discrepancies between classrooms. The economy has also been affecting donations overall for the past few years, but with its improvement, increased funding can also be expected. Broadwin said, “I don’t know if Paperless Maze Day will continue. I suspect it will as it is probably the way of the future and I can’t see us investing all the time it took to get it going and then going backwards…but I think part of the messaging will change and hopefully some of the timing of the requests (classroom donations should be done after school starts).” ▪

6 Opinion


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Smoke Signal perSonali speaking

Mission San Jose High School Est. 1964 Vol. 48, No. 2 | October 26, 2012

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

Rijhsinghani A&E Tanya Raja, Alekya Rajanala Sports Kenny Jacoby, Vishak Menon Graphics Angie Wang, Sherry Xiao Web Jaynelle Gao, Jonathon Teng Tech Sai Chilakapati, Anna Zeng Business Vivian Jair Circulation Supriya Yelimeli Ads Grace Wu, Lindy Zeng Events Anjali Kanthilal, Kerrie Wu

Writers & Photographers Anita Alem, Arushi Atluri, Tingting Bi, Jason Chen, Laura Chen, Leah Feuerman, Ishan Goyal, Catherine Ho, Genevieve Huang, Tiffany Huang, Nina Krishnan, Irisa Lee, Marisa Lenci, Hairol Ma, Peter Qiu, Aamir Rasheed, Hannah Shih, Sanjay Sreekumar, Tammy Tseng, Peter Xu, Angela Wang, Catherine Wang, Shirby Wang

Advisor Sandra Cohen Send letters to the editor to opinion@the Letters under 300 words 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, e-mail Advertising that is included on the pages of, or carried within, the Smoke Signal, is paid advertising, and as such is independent of the news and feature content. The Smoke Signal’s right to freedom of speech and press is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution.

College Bias

Let’s be honest, at MSJ the words “community college” have a strong negative connotation. The notion that attending a community college does not provide a proper and respectable education is simply wrong, and is a stigma that needs to be corrected. Community colleges by definition are simply junior colleges that don’t have residential facilities that are sponsored by the government. They have reduced costs for general tuition, as students save thousands simply from not having to pay for dorms or an apartment. Most community colleges are easily accessible by public transport and located in the hearts of big cities and which makes it easy for students to later seek out part time jobs, or even seek a career while still finishing up their schooling. Given the current state of the economy, community colleges are definitely appearing as a smarter choice for students that are looking to invest in higher education. Not only is community college more cost efficient, but nowdays it seems that people get more one-on-one time with their professors and smaller class sizes due to limited enrollment. According to the UC website, “Taking 12 units a semester, considered fulltime at a California community college, costs about $600 per year. A full-time UC undergraduate pays at least $10,302 per year in fees.”

right on Q

By Sonali Toppur Opinion Editor

Friday, October 26, 2012

Context is Not Enough By Kyle Qian Opinion Editor

However, the best advantage that community colleges can provide to their students is that they have varied course credits that are easily transferred. Almost all universities and colleges, both public and private accept community college credits. Therefore, smart students finish off their core and basic preparatory classes at community college in around a two-year period, and then transfer to another brandname university. This way, the student saves thousands of dollars on their first two years of college, and transfers to a larger well-known college that carries prestige and weight for practically half the price. The University of California’s website also states that “Currently seven UC campuses (Davis, Irvine, Merced, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz) offer guaranteed admission to California community college students who meet specific requirements.” College is a personal choice; a college that works for one student, may be a bad fit for another. I’m not saying that everyone should go to community colleges, or that Ivy League schools are a bad idea. However, we should keep in mind that community colleges have a lot to offer, and that they might be the right decision and a good investment. ▪ Send letters to the editors to

I have two particular words in mind: they both formerly referred to members of a disadvantaged minority and they both have taken on new colloquial meanings with negative connotations. You’ve seen these words on the Internet and have heard them on television, and you’ve all probably used them disparagingly at one point or another. In fact, you and your friends probably toss these words around like they’re nothing; heck, your teachers probably do too. Surprisingly, the two words are “dumb”, which formerly referred to people who were mute, and “lame”, which referred to people who were crippled. These words have clearly changed over time. Given the context, calling someone “lame” (although a stinging insult back in the groovy 70s) is quite harmless, even obsolete. Ironically, one could make the case that a man who still says “lame” is in fact lame himself. As comedian Chris Rock puts it, “it’s not the word! It’s the context in which the word is being said!” This evolution of language, however, is not always so simple. In particular, phrases like “that’s so gay,” which has been brought under renewed scrutiny by the zero-tolerance bullying policies at

FUSD, is more problematic and complex than meets the eye. For instance, if we’re just looking at context, there are plenty of instances in which “that’s so gay” does not directly refer to homosexuality. This is true, but in this case context alone does not explain the big picture, and consequently it does not justify usage of the phrase. The difference-maker here is that the word “gay” is still most commonly used as a neutral synonym for “homosexual” (e.g. gay pride, gay community). As long as this is the case, any parallel usage of the term, even in a casual reference, can and will have real consequences. Malicious intent is not an essential component of a slur; in other words, you don’t get to decide whether or not something is offensive to someone else. Word associations can be incredibly powerful and zero-tolerance policy or not, there’s no need to further instigate the conflict by offending others. When it comes to such a hot-button issue, a sincere bit of sensitivity can go a long way. ▪ Send letters to the editors at

EDITORIAL : Education Equality The Opinion of the Smoke Signal Editorial Board Two weeks ago, the students of MSJ stood in anticipation of Homecoming Week. Halfway across the world, on the same day, the 15-year-old political activist Malala Yousafzai underwent emergency medical treatment, in the form of a decompressive craniectomy, after an assassination attempt by the Taliban. No older than a typical high school sophomore, Yousafzai has blogged under a pseudonym for the BBC since she was in the seventh grade. Her courage in the face of oppression has provided a harrowing, but necessary look into the lives of women in the Swat Valley of Pakistan. On October 9, as Yousafzai came home from school, her bus was stopped by a masked Taliban gunman who demanded she identify herself or all her classmates would be shot. She was pointed out and the gunman then shot Yousafzai twice, once in the head and once in the shoulder. Two other girls on the bus were wounded; they were stabilized and later, and were capable of talking to reporters about the attack. Yousafzai was rushed to a Peshwar hospital where doctors gave her a 70 percent chance of survival. Following the attack, Ehsanullah Ehsan, the chief spokesperson for the Pakistani Taliban, stated that they took full responsibility for the shooting, labeling Yousafzai as “the symbol of the infidels and obscenity”. He also added that if she survived the attack they would

target her again. Therefore on October 15, Yousafzai was transported to the United Kingdom for further treatment in an attempt to get some distance between her and the Taliban and to receive the specialized treatment she will need. Yousafzai has come to stand for the basic right to education for young girls all across the world. In an oppressive environment she appeared on TV to advocate female education as early as December 2009. Amid death threats published in newspapers and notes slipped under the door of her house, she remained resilient in the face of adversity. When asked what she would envision a confrontation with the Taliban to be like, Yousafzai said, “I think of it often and imagine the scene clearly. Even if they come to kill me, I will tell them what they are trying to do is wrong, that education is our basic right.” Yousafzai’s story should make us think. Here at MSJ, anyone, regardless of color or gender, can receive a worldclass education without having to worry about his or her safety on a daily basis. The heights we can reach are limitless. If we don’t squander our educational opportunities, Malala Yousafzai’s fight will not be in vain. ▪

news editor aishwarya thakur & staff writer jaynelle gao

Send letters to the editors to centerspread editor anusha rijhsinghani

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Smoke Signal

Critical Reading

Opinion 7

College Board: Overcharging?

By Ishan Goyal Staff Writer

Directions: For each question in this section, select the best answer from among the choices given and fill in the corresponding circle on the answer sheet. Example: Which of the following is true? A) More students in the Class of 2012 took the ACT than the SAT I. B) College Board is a non-profit organi- zation. C) Several colleges boycotted the SAT in 2005. D) All of the above. E) None of the above. A high SAT score is almost required at MSJ. Students get stigmatized or categorized depending on this score and it acts like a status symbol. By the time October or June comes around, the campus is full of students studying material and unconsciously reciting their vocabulary. The unanswered question is: where exactly is the money students pay for the SAT and AP tests actually going? College Board’s mission, as stated on their website, is to “[provide] students a path to college opportunities.” They also classify themselves as a non-profit membership organization. Strangely, students have to pay about

$50 for an SAT reasoning test, $23 as a base price for the subject tests, and about $90 for each AP exam. To top these pricey tests off, there are ridiculous additional fees that are imposed for things like being late, asking for refunds or score reports, and even asking to take a listening test. These costs are an even bigger concern to low-income families, who are already struggling to cope with their regular bills. Studies by the New York Times have shown that family income directly correlates with SAT score, meaning if a family is rich, their student’s score is likely to be higher than that of a student from a poor family. The SAT is thus being unfair with its fees because of the advantage it gives to students from a richer background. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of College Board, Gaston Caperton, has a salary of around one million dollars, while that of Barack Obama is $400,000. Caperton claimed in an interview with the New York Times that a majority of the fees went towards paying for proctors, location, and staff. In 2009 however, Americans for Education Reform reported that 8.6 percent of College Board’s total revenue was profit, a value that should be closer to zero to stay true to the spirit of any organization that asserts itself as non-profit. In a recent Bloomberg article, previous dean of admissions

help your counselor help you devote quality time to 740 students? But it seems that MSJ seniors themselves may not actually be taking full advantage of the Staff Writer resources that counselors have provided. MSJ counselors believe that if October – that time of the year again, when seniors are busy finishing those the students have participated in the essays, sending their transcripts, and numerous workshops and info sessions, securing last-minute recommendation such as College Night, and have personally letters. The fall months are a period of visited them, then they truly have taken stress for seniors, parents, and counselors. advantage of most resources. But there is Because the counselors write letters and still something that most seniors aren’t process the paperwork, it’s undeniably doing: “I think most students are not crucial for seniors to build a good doing enough research,” says Counselor relationship with them. Some may not Merri Blum when referring to the process be able to take advantage of the myriad of selecting schools. “Some students are resources that MSJ’s counselors provide. applying to schools that are just not a good Some may complain that counselors fit.” One of the most important things to aren’t taking care of them – after all, how can one overworked counselor keep in mind when applying for colleges is to find a place where someone is a good fit and has a fair chance of getting in. Everyone’s got different interests, passions, and personal preferences – so what’s the point of applying to the same schools with big, prestigious names and admission rates of five or six percent just because everyone else is doing it? Why are MSJ students every year pushing themselves to apply to a school that’s somewhat arbitrarily ranked high on the US News & World Report with a one-size-fitsall-attitude and without a drews an ne an de more compelling reason to er, and lindsay rott merri blum, counselors apply, aside from its name? Students should research other schools that may not By Genevieve Huang

of The University of Chicago, Ted O’Neill, states in response to this statistic that “The College Board is more interested in marketing and selling things than it is in its primary responsibility of promoting equity and educational opportunity.” This company is supposedly helping students explore college options and providing them with useful resources, but it is also making a hefty sum of profit. College Board isn’t the only culprit of this scandal. Joining them, American College Testing (ACT) and the Educational Testing Service (ETS) also pay their executives large salaries. The legal definition of the term non-profit only applies to an organization that uses its surplus revenues to achieve its goals rather than distributing them as profits. The College Board, ACT, and ETS violate these requirements yet they continue to slip by and are also receiving tax breaks for their non-profit status. There are two ways of dealing with this outrage. The first is to classify these organizations as corporations that would be taxed and whose profits could be paid to the shareholders and executives. The second is to boycott the use of these standardized tests, which occurred in 2005 when several colleges threatened to drop the SAT as a qualification unless a writing section was added. Dean Zerbe, a

have as big a name but are better suited, whether it’s because of their environment or because of a few special niche programs. Often, a student won’t know what he or she wants, asking a counselor for help and applying to a school that’s billed as the “best.” Lacking any personal experience and justified reason to apply, students will be shooting in the dark, and counselors will be confused on how to write the secondary school report and recommendation letter, making the process extremely inefficient. “Students have to be proactive and take some responsibility,” says Counselor Deanne Andrews. “It’s not fair for students to expect an insightful letter without actually having personal reasons as to why they would like to go somewhere.” So how can students help the counselors help them? For the students who don’t know what they want, it’s their responsibility to obtain real world experience in everything they can and figure out what they like. For those who know what they would like to see themselves doing 10 years ahead, using Naviance, the program teachers briefly introduced to sophomores during the Career Unit, may be the solution. With assessments, MSJ admission data, and statistics like the average SAT score of a school’s admittees, Naviance is a great, yet underused, 24/7 tool for anything related to colleges. Some upperclassmen may have forgotten about Naviance because completing its quizzes isn’t worth points, but they are losing out on an extremely useful guide. More than that, Naviance boasts an “advanced search” capability that allows students to select the certain qualities they desire in schools

former senior on the tax counsel for the Senate Finance Committee, said to the Bloomberg News that “Congress should take a hard eye at these taxexempt testing companies that pay big-time salaries and seem to want to shake every dollar possible out of the pockets of students applying to college.” Students probably wouldn’t mind if colleges dropped this test as a requirement and instead focused on grades and extracurricular activities. These measures must be taken to prevent College Board and ACT from monopolizing the market of students who are trying to get into college. Even the public has joined in on criticizing College Board who recently received a “D” grade from the US Better Business Bureau. They professed that the company didn’t even meet its nonprofit requirements and needed to be changed. MSJ students should not be forced to pay exorbitant prices just to improve their chances of getting into college. College Board promises to help students succeed and inspire them before they reach college. Perhaps they could do this job better by adhering to the spirit of being a nonprofit company. ▪

STOP HERE and pulls up the corresponding list of universities that offer those features. By doing some research on Naviance, students can proactively narrow down the schools that they like and believe will be an appropriate fit. The work that students can do without counselors is much more comprehensive than what can be done in a half-hour meeting filled with openended questions like “Where should I go to college?” and can make the following meetings more focused, streamlined, and efficient. Taking responsibility and finding out which schools are the right choices shows maturity, which both high school counselors and college admission representatives like to see. Being prepared and knowing what one’s wishes and options are smoothens the application process and helps alleviate the stress involved. ▪

photo by staff writer supriya yelimeli,,,

8 Opinion

By Grace Wu

The Smoke Signal

Friday, October 26, 2012

An Epidemic of Voter Apathy

Staff Writer

Your parents receive a general election information packet and sample ballot in the mail, but what do they do with it? Some may throw the packets away with no interest in the elections. Others may leave it in an obscure place thinking that it may be of use later but never touch it again. Only a select few read the 100-plus pages of text which contain crucial information concerning propositions that may have a significant impact on their lives. Many people think that one missed vote out of millions cannot possibly have even a minute effect on the election. With this prevalent mentality, our democratic system and the values of our American government are undermined. Voter apathy, a lack of interest in local or national elections, has been a controversial issue in the past few months due to noticeable drops in election interest and voter turnout. Many say that voter apathy does not significantly affect our government; however, voter apathy has become such a widespread epidemic that it is a significant problem and a threat to our democratic government. Don’t think one vote can affect an election? Well, how about a few million? The widespread epidemic of voter apathy has been backed up by some alarming statistics. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, more than one-fourth of California’s 23.5 million voting-age citizens are not registered to vote. Even in Sacramento County, where the state capitol is located and political interest should be high, the voter turnout hit a 75 year low for the June presidential primaries according to the Huff ington Post. The

voter turnout throughout California is estimated to have been a mere 35 percent for the June primary, making it the lowest rate in decades. Much of this problem with voter apathy has been centered around the “apathetic youth.” According to the 2012 Millennial Values Survey, about 61 percent of collegeage Millennials, the generation characterized by being born in the late 1980s to early 1990s, claim they are registered to vote, but only 46 percent say they are absolutely certain they will vote in the presidential election in November. Young voters played a significant role in the 2008 presidential election but interest among the youth voters has waned drastically.

New law outlaws gay therapy By Catherine Wang Staff Writer

On September 30, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the Senate Bill 1172, which prohibits licensed mental health professionals from employing homosexual conversion therapy on patients less than 18 years of age. Citing reports from the American Psychological Association (APA), the Legislature found that conversion therapy can harm the mental health of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning) individuals. The most obvious drawback of conversion therapy is its scientifically unproven approach. There are no scientific publications that support the effectiveness of this therapeutic method, which draws largely from unverified developmental theories. “These practices have no basis in science or medicine, and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery,” said Brown after signing the bill. In addition, research has repeatedly proven the harmful effects of conversion therapy. According to the APA, “It seems likely that the promotion of change therapies reinforces stereotypes and contributes to a negative climate for lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons.” The treatment often leaves youth with a hazardous sense of self-hatred and hopelessness, which can eventually lead to social withdrawal, depression, and even suicide. In a study conducted at San Francisco State University, unaccepted LGBTQ youth are more than eight times as likely to have attempted suicide. These consequences draw patients further away from their search for acceptance and support. At its roots, change therapy is a fundamentally immoral practice. Psychotherapists who use change methods rely upon

the idea that homosexuality is a disorder which deserves a cure of some sort. However, being LGBTQ is neither a disease nor a choice. “All major professional mental health organizations have gone on record to affirm that homosexuality is not a mental disorder,” states the American Psychiatric Association. The new law recognizes this fact. Also, some therapists advocate conversion therapy for abuse victims, claiming that sexual abuse can cause homosexuality. Yet this statement also lacks scientific validity, and as of now there are no clear explanations as to what induces same-sex attraction. Even after the governor approved SB 1172, many continued to criticize the law. In a press release, Christian legal group Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) protested the ban on gay therapy, saying “PJI attorneys attended all of the bill’s policy committee hearings and warned legislators that it was an unconstitutional restriction on the First Amendment, privacy, and parental rights.” However, since psychological therapy of any kind counts as medical aid, it must be scientifically legitimate and approved by the medical community. Though parents and guardians of gay youth have the right to take responsibility for helping their children, it is unjust for medical institutions to advertise methods that may harm patients. Sarah Thomsen, an intern at Equality California, an LGBTQ rights advocacy group, says, “The legislature believed, however, as do I, that government has a duty to protect the children of California.” The success of the conversion therapy bill is a major step forward for the LGBTQ community in securing rights for people of all sexual orientations. California is the first state to implement such a law and it will be an influential model for the future. ▪

Many have been speculating about the reasons, ranging from dissatisfaction with the political system to California’s long history of being majority Democratic. California has a long reputation of being a Democratic state in both state and national elections. On a national level, the last time California voted for a Republican candidate in the presidential election was in 1988, 24 years ago, when the electoral votes were given to 41st President George H.W. Bush. On a state level, the California State Legislature is majority Democratic. In fact the California State Senate, a house in California’s bicameral system, has been a Democratic majority since 1970. This assumption that California will al-

ways be a Democratic state has been discouraging to voters because of the seemingly insignificant change their vote could bring. Students at MSJ also have different theories as to why voter apathy is so high. Junior Youngjin Yun says, “People may feel that whatever the candidates are squabbling about don’t affect their personal lives and thus is not worth their time and energy to drive to a polling place and vote.” Sophomore Lesley Liu says, “Many people lack knowledge and interest in politics. Others may believe that that their single vote won’t affect the election’s outcome.” Whatever the reason is for this phenomenon, it does not change that voter apathy completely undermines America’s democratic government. Democracy requires the participation of all people to run efficiently. Voting and being an active member of society are the citizens’ most important responsibilities. To not vote is to shirk the duties of being a US citizen. In fact, it is completely irrational not to take advantage of one of America’s proudest and most notable privileges: to vote without the threat of corruption and bribery. Millions of Americans have sacrificed themselves to defend this right, so not taking advantage of it would undermine the efforts of these brave Americans. It is our duty to take full advantage of our constitutional right to vote without any fear of corruption, a right that citizens of some other countries around the world could only dream of. ▪

graphics by staff writer anita alem,

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Smoke Signal


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Princess Edition


10 Feature

The Smoke Signal

Friday, October 26, 2012

After Disney princesses were introduced, we all know that females have secretly dreamed of meeting the same fate: being rescued from some terrible destiny by a knight in shining armor with the help of some nature-friendly critters. Fear not! Learn how to rule MSJ with your hidden princess prowess. Step 1: Beggarly Style To keep up with your new princess regime, it is essential to first appear as a poor subject to your kingdom in order to initiate the transformation to MSJ royalty. Thus, don rags for a week. Suggested rag-worthy materials include, but may not be limited to, patched Scotch-Brite dish wipes, newspapers (this one is a good choice), and plastic bags. The rags must be worn every day throughout the week to show your diligence and clear this level. It also helps to recruit some tiny friends. The squawking birds in the M-Wing are highly recommended for employment. With your wit and charm, summon these critters at will to poop on potential threats. They serve as wonderful accessories when perched angelically on both shoulders.

Step 3: Get your Princess on Now that your true princess identity is revealed, it is safe to rid yourself of rags and don frilly bejeweled gowns. To show your compassion and mercy for the fallen, employ your evil stepsisters/ nemeses to hold the train of your dress and carry handheld fans near your exquisite locks to give the appearance of a constant shampoo commercial. Now, what are you waiting for? Go and conquer MSJ! ▪

Step 2: Prince Charming After a week, your knight in shining armor should have made a move. However, you must have the initiative to coax him out of hiding. This is where wicked stepsisters (or some long-standing nemeses) may come in handy. Have your bird friends wreak havoc upon the stepsisters’ effortlessly cute curled hair that actually took over an hour to style. When the evil stepsisters come stampeding towards you for revenge as they sight the assailants upon your shoulders, this will jolt your Prince Charming out of his shell. While he jumps courageously in front of you to shield off the inevitable poo-infested catfight, faint (but make sure you are lying down first). After heroically shielding off the poo-infested attack, he may bestow the kiss of revival, enabling you to possess key to your kingdom. Your subjects will rejoice over the elimination of Anastasia and Drizella and willingly hand over the crown to MSJ.

By Hairol Ma Staff Writer

graphics by staff writer tiffany huang

Daniel Do By Peter Xu Staff Writer

Daniel Do is more than just the average textbook-dragging, four-AP-taking junior. While he is all of that, he is also one extremely talented musician and composer. The Smoke Signal had the chance to sit down with Daniel Do and see how important music is to him, as well as how it plays into his future aspirations. Smoke Signal: What instruments do you play, and how long have you played them? Daniel Do: I mainly play piano. I’ve done it for a total of six years. I started when I was seven, played for two years, and then quit because I hated it. Then, when I was twelve, I really started to develop a deep interest in music and decided to give it another go; I’ve been playing ever since and I’ve also achieved the highest level of Certificate of Merit, Advanced Panel. I can also play a little bit of guitar and drums, but I’m pretty horrible at both. SS: How long have you been composing music? DD: I started composing in 8th grade, during my middle school years. SS: What would you call your musical style? DD: I don’t like to put labels on music. The way I see it, there’s no limit to how many ways you can mix different colors. But if I had to describe my style, it’d be a melting pot of new age, jazz, rock, electronic, and piano music. Most people would call it new age or experimental. SS: How do you start writing a song; does a tune just come out of the blue or do you think about it for a long time? DD: I really don’t have to think about it. I just sit down at the piano and play whatever comes to mind. It’s spontaneous; the music just kind of flows from the tips of my fingers. And if I like what I’m hearing, I’ll make a song out of it. SS: What programs do you use to

put your music together, and why do you prefer it/them to other programs? DD: I use Adobe Audition for editing and mastering because it’s easy to use. SS: Do you have any future aspirations for a music-related career? DD: Yeah, really anything that involves music. Anything from a being a producer, writing for movies, forming a band, become a touring musician or anything where I can be involved in the creative process. SS: Where can I hear your music, do you have a website, blog, or YouTube channel? DD: Yeah, you can find my music at www. or www.soundcloud. com/dodanielmusic. SS: Any upcoming projects? DD: Yeah, I’m releasing my debut album, Spectrum, in a month. I’m thinking about collaborating with singers at our school and maybe making some pop tracks. I’m also composing music for MSJ: The Musical, which, as of now, is mainly a student-driven project though we’re hoping to get the school band involved. SS: Have you achieved any recognition for your work? DD: I’ve been recognized by Yanni, a world famous new age composer. He shared my cover of one of his songs on his Facebook page; that was pretty cool. Also, three of my compositions have recently been selected for the FUSD: Excellence CD Project and that’s coming out pretty soon, so be sure to get a copy. ▪

Kyle Lam By Jin Peng Feature Editor

With electronic music growing in popularity, the Smoke Signal had the chance to sit down with Kyle Lam, one of MSJ’s burgeoning electronic music artists. Nicknamed “Khrossfire,” Kyle gave us an inside look on his musical process and inspirations, as well as his future pursuits and upcoming projects. Smoke Signal: What instruments do you play, and how long have you played them? Kyle Lam: I’ve been playing flute and piano for about 10 years know. I’ve yet to incorporate my instruments into my music though! SS: How long have you been composing music? KL: I’ve been composing for about a year now. SS: What would you call your musical style? KL: I compose electronic dance music, or EDM. My style is different from traditional EDM though, since most of the time I try to incorporate a multitude of chords and melodies that usually are not present in typical EDM. I guess you could call it melodic EDM! SS: How do you start writing a song; does a tune just come out of the blue or do you think about it for a long time? KL: Usually, I’ll be doing work totally unrelated to music and then suddenly I’ll just be singing or humming a tune out of nowhere. I end up making these tunes into a track because they sound really cool – at the time, at least. Sometimes I have a melody that I’ll write down and refine it over and over, but usually I just randomly write my songs out of thin air. SS: What programs do you use to put your music together, and why do you prefer it/them to other programs? KL: I use FL Studio 10. I prefer it to others mainly because it’s so much more intuitive and powerful for me than more popular software like Ableton, Reason, Avid, Logic, etc. Also, they have free lifetime updates, so I only pay once!

SS: Do you have any future aspirations for a music-related career? KL: It would truly be a dream come true if I could make music for a living. It’s not really a realistic dream though, since the music industry comes and goes and to be successful you have to really stick out. I don’t place any hope on a future entirely dependent on music but I’ll never stop composing. SS: Where can we hear your music? Do you have a website, blog, or channel? KL: My soundcloud at www.soundcloud. com/khrossfire has all my recent works in progress! SS: Any upcoming projects? KL: I have an experimental heavy-dubstep track coming up soon. It’s right off the drawing board currently, but I expect a good listenable version around November! In addition, I’m in a huge collaboration with an amazing rapper and singer whose name I cannot mention at the moment because we want it to be a surprise. The album will contain genres like R&B and hip-hop, styles very different from what I usually make. I’m getting a lot of influence from Nujabes and DJ Okawari, and we’re also going to have bootlegs and remixes of some really nice existing tracks. It’ll be a huge release so stay tuned! SS: Have you achieved any recognition for your work? KL: I have a webpage on Newgrounds where many people have voted and reviewed my music. It’s not much compared to other bigger artists, but I truly appreciate any feedback I get. It’s what us artists live for! ▪

photos by staff writers grace wu and anna zeng

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Smoke Signal

Trick or Treater Greeters

Feature 11

By Vivian Jair and Aamir Rasheed Staff Writers

Are you sick of answering Trick-or-Treaters with the same old boring methods year after year? Do you look forward to throwing a twist into the classic door-opening, candy-giving ritual? Look no further! The Smoke Signal has developed 10 ingeniously creative ideas to guarantee an entertaining Halloween, even for the door-answerers. *Disclaimer: The Smoke Signal is not responsible for any heart attacks, strange looks, or screaming children. Please use with your own discretion.

Bombastic Burglary:

Practice your British accent before attempting this act. Wear a tuxedo, monocle, and top hat, and carry a cane. When the trick-or-treaters arrive, open the door and exclaim, “Hello sir! Very good sir, my jolly good sir, won’t you please have tea with me, sir?” in your most professional British accent. While they’re distracted by your bloody good looks and impeccable sprezzatura, surreptitiously lift some candy from their bags. When your guests become sick of listening to your ramblings, present their own candy back to them and wish them a jolly good evening. Alternatively, act as an English butler and allow your patrons to choose their candy from a fancy menu, complete with pictures of delectable luxury candies. Serve their desired confections upon a golden platter and don a proper British mustache for extra points.

The Great Pumpkin:

Place a crown upon a jack-o-lantern on a pedestal next to your door and light a candle inside of it. Add smaller, lesser pumpkin peasants around His Great Rotundity to demonstrate his kingliness. Insist that every single trick-or-treater bow before the majestic behemoth before giving them candy. If you’re feeling particularly overzealous, ask them to pay respects to the Great Round One. After they have reluctantly placed their candy in the offering tray, pompously knock the Great Pumpkin off its pedestal, take all the candy, yell “I AIN’T A PART OF THE SYSTEM,” and march proudly inside.

Your Generation is Worthless:

Dress up as an old woman. Barrage those young whipper-snappers with a diatribe of the shortcomings of their generation, specifically mentioning how disgusting it is that they think that they are entitled to taking candies from poor old women without paying for them. Set aside your conscience; cease your invective only after each youngster is reduced to a blubbering river of tears and apologies.

Just Another One of You:

Dress up as another trick-or-treater. Walk up to your door with them and ring the doorbell, all the while conversing as if they were your childhood compadres. Wait for precisely 10 seconds before proceeding to empty the contents of your trick-or-treat bag into theirs, dividing the spoils equally among them. Open your door and walk inside.

Do Not Read - TOP SECRET:

Dress up in black CIA-style shades and a business suit. Upon opening the door to your solicitors, look around dramatically. Shush the trick-or-treaters when they try to speak and furtively ask them “What’s the password?” If they say “Trick-or-Treat,” proceed to hand them a candy-filled bag labeled “TOP SECRET” as their prize. If they fail to guess the password correctly, take out a slingshot and fling candies at them. Gloomily say, “You have failed me, young Padawan,” and disappointedly close the door.

A True Scrooge:


Dress up as a mad scientist, complete with the frizzy hair, lab suit, and graphing calculator. Try out all of the following: • Set up an “operating table” and prepare to experiment on grotesque stuffed animals. Feel free to give them away to horrified onlookers after the experiment. • Place a classic baking soda and vinegar volcano right in front of the door, and initiate the reaction just as the trick-or-treaters arrive. You can also place mentos in Diet Coke and spray them at particularly whiny guests. • Pretend that your meter stick is a sword and fight off anyone who dares approach your precious pile of candy.

For the lulz :

When the bell is rung, answer the door wearing a Trollface mask and gleefully shout in a Russian accent, “At my house, you don’t trick-ortreat me, I trick-or-treat you!” With an act of deftness, reach out and swipe their candy from the nearest bag—but not too much. Slam the door in their astonished faces.

Slenderman Style:

Pretend to not understand the tradition of Halloween. When they ring the doorbell, stall. Repeatedly question their identities and intentions before finally giving in. When you open the door at last, feign indignation as they ask for candy. “Fine,” you say. “You can have some. But it will take its toll on you.” Dig out a bit of candy and begrudgingly give it to them. Before they leave, however, pull out a paper billing them for the loot. “Here’s the toll,” you gleefully say.

For this gig, you’ll need two brave souls, two morphsuits, two tuxedos, a lot of volume, and a stupendous amount of courage. Don the clothing and set up at least 14 speakers behind your door.* Have one person lie on his or her stomach, facing the door, and have the other stand over him or her, with his feet placed on both sides. When the doorbell rings, begin blasting “Gangnam Style” by PSY at maximum volume. Slowly pushing the door open, proceed to imitate the exact movements from the infamous elevator scene. Giggle silently as you behold the various expressions of joy, shock, or utter confusion on your solicitors’ faces as they watch two Slendermen “Slendermanstyling” before them. Open and close the door, repeating the scene as many times as needed to drive them away. *It is highly suggested to wear earplugs or risk the permanent ringing of “HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEYYYY SEXY LAY-DAY” in your ears.

The Great Treasure Quest:

For this scheme, you will need to first cooperate with a friend. Prior to Halloween, create a treasure map that shows a path from your house to his. That night, give copies of the map to all trick-or-treaters who come to your door and have them set out on the quest for the treasure of candy! After they follow the trail and arrive at your friend’s house, give the little adventurers goodie-bags overflowing with candy as a reward for their diligence. ▪ graphics by staff writer anna zeng,

12 Feature

The Smoke Signal

Friday, October 26, 2012

Social Butterfly

Now you won’t have to leave behind your beloved social networks when you attend Halloween festivities. The best part? This costume only requires three supplies-white poster board, glue, and markers. Decide which sites you want to feature, and then divide the poster board up accordingly, and allot each section to a site. For example, if you choose Instagram, paste pictures of food in that section. If you choose to include Facebook, unleash your inner Mark Zuckerberg: include status updates, notifications, and pictures. Cut out a square in the middle of the poster. When you walk around, place your face in the square and ta-da! You now have a “profile picture”. Adorn a pair of angel wings (these can be found in your local Halloween supply store). To really make it a party, get your friends involved! After all, social media couldn’t be what it is without your friends. Each friend can represent a specific networking site of their choice. This costume is easy on your budget and personalization of the sites is endless making them an inexpensive way to express the things on the Internet that you like the most.

Zombify It!

Already bought and planned your costume? You can still make it distinctive by Zombifying it! Zombies are a quintessential scary part of Halloween (zombie apocalypses don’t exist for nothing) and Zombifying your costume is an easy way to amp up the horror aspects of your costume. Going to be a princess? Zombie princess! Going to be a pirate? Zombie pirate! Zombies offer endless costume inspiration depending on how many different ways you can imagine your zombie persona dying. The costume make-up needed can be easily found in make-up kits at Halloween stores, (Party City sells make-up kits priced from around $3 to $10) to produce an amazing effect but it might be time consuming.

No Face No Face is the lonely spirit in the film Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazaki who tries to befriend the main character Chihiro. Admittedly, No Face doesn’t turn out to be very scary. But when we first see him in Spirited Away, he is eerie and chillingly haunting: a good impression to have on Halloween. This costume won’t give you the power to create gold, but it is inexpensive to create, provided you have black clothes, black gloves, dark cloth, and the mask. (Tip: A template for making the mask through paper craft can be found at tektonten.

“Terror”ific Costumes By Nina Krishnan and Irisa Ma Staff Writers

It’s the week before Halloween, and between studying and extracurricular activities, you completely forgot to buy a costume! Not to worry, the Smoke Signal is here to help. We have compiled costumes that are budget- friendly, creative, and will ensure that you are the center of attention. These costumes are spookily easy to make, even for the artistically challenged.

The Devil’s Advocate Evil corporations are big companies that favor profits over ethics (totally unheard of in today’s society). Pull out that suit you wore once to your cousin’s wedding last year and add a pair of devil horns (you can get these at Walmart or any local Halloween supply store). Borrow your dad’s old briefcase and you’re good to go.

Hipster Disney Princess

Nowadays, being a princess for Halloween is far too mainstream. The solution? A hipster Disney princess. Simply wear a princess costume of your choice and add 3D glasses with the lenses popped Your Evil Twin out. Accessorize with a shining crown and glittery heels, and carry around a cup of Starbucks. This costume requires the least amount of work and effort. In fact, you might already be in character for the costume. To pull off being your evil twin you need to look like yourself but act cruelly and evil all day. No artistic talent needed, except maybe in the acting department, and no budget needed. Although, before you go about being your costume for the day, you might want to announce you are your evil twin before everyone proceeds to hate you forever because they don’t know you’re just pretending to be evil (you are just pretending, right?).

graphics by staff writers nina krishnan and irisa ma,

Friday, October 26, 2012

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au yL

ra Chen and Jaynelle G a Staff Writers


“I liked their skit where they incorporated each classes’s freshmen theme. It was really cool and creative.”

Centerspread 13

Deco: 4th Airbands: 4th Skit: 4th Behavior: 3rd

Overall: 4th

On Monday, October 15, excitement swept the school in anticipation for this year’s homecoming week. The class of 2016 showed off their freshman pride with Madeline Zheng, 10 the majority of the class decked out in blue. Although their decorations were sparce in certain areas, kudos to the freshmen for covering the maximum area that they could with balloons, streamers, slogan posters, character cut-outs, and neatly-painted street signs. By the time the lunch bell rang, the railings aroung the amphitheatre were covered with substantially more balloons. Though the 2016 cut-outs on the slope next to the library were inconspicuous, the hanging “Fantastic Four” running from the amphitheatre to the N-Wing did impress. The Fantastic Freshmen performance began with an impressive jazz trio whose enthusiasm was contagious and raised everyone’s expectations. Unfortunately, the skit, which conveyed a story of a freshman’s adventures in saving his companions from Kennedy rivals, had transitions in the plot that were often so long that they were overtaken by cheering from other classes. Nevertheless, the freshman character brought nostalgia to the audience as he traveled through the freshman theme of the past classes. Throughout the story, the MSJ characters engaged in thrilling martial arts face-offs with the Kennedy Titans, but after this occurred repeatedly for long durations of time, the crowd began to lose interest. In addition, some of the costumes fell flat, especially those of the four main characters. Certain outfits, however, including Alice’s and the Mad Hatter’s, were exceptional. The freshmen airbands features plenty of talent across various dance styles, including Bollywood, hip-hop, and jazz. In many performances, however, transitions between songs were awkward and choppy. Despite this, the dancers moved energetically and inspired cheering from all of the classes. The airband performers wore matching attire, but their dances were not always in sync and many lacked a sense of finality when they ended. It took a while for the freshmen to warm up their cheering voices, but by the time the three girls singing “We are Young” concluded their performance, the entire class of 2016 was on its feet. Everyone on stage took a unified bow, concluding homecoming week’s first performance. The Fantastic Freshmen definitely delivered and we are expecting an even greater performance from them next year.

“The freshmen did a really good job. They showed a lot of character in their airbands and skits.” Dillon Cho, 12

“The airbands were really good for Freshmen. I look forward to seeing them in future years.” Stephanie Chin, 11 Photos by Staff Writers catherine wang, hairol ma, & irisa lee, Layout by Centerspread Editor anusha rijhsinghani

14 Centerspread

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Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Smoke Signal

Centerspread 15

Deco: 1st Airbands: 2nd Skit: 3rd Behavior: 2nd

Deco: 3rd Airbands: 3rd Skit: 2nd Behavior: 1st

Overall: 1st

St an aff d W C rit a e rs th e

r in

eH o

Overall: 3rd




t in



On Wednesday, October 17, the Ocean’s 14 Juniors transformed MSJ into Vegas with a flood of black. With dice hanging overhead and poker chips planted on the grass, students walked down the towering Vegas strip. Due to wind difficulties at the last minute, however, the MGM Grand cutout had to be taken down and replaced with festive black flags. Kudos to the junior class officers for thinking of that solution! The majority of their decorations were captivating and impressive. The backdrop displayed a detailed painting of the attractions in Vegas. By lunch, the spirit of the juniors had risen to deafening levels as they chanted “2-0-1-4” with pride. The skit blasted off with singers to pump up the rest of the classes, shortly followed by impressive Tae Kwon Do stunts. As Danny Ocean and his friends searched for a stolen playbook on a trip to Vegas, they at first jeopardized their mission by arguing over petty details and blaming others, but later discovered the importance of unity. The beginning of the skit was very successful, but many pauses between transitions led to rowdy crowds. The juniors, however, used this opportunity to pump up their spirit. The skit was straightforward and easily understandable, with many opportunities for the juniors to shine. However, they focused very little on the other grades, giving them little chance to root for their classes. Funny costumes and amusing scenes contributed to the engagement of the audience, including the scene where the freshman donned a short dress to attract the security guard at the casino. Dispersed throughout the skit, the airbands showed great variety, including Tae Kwon Do, gymnastics, ballroom dancing, ballet, and hip hop. The juniors performed difficult ballroom dance moves with twirls and spins that instantly awed the crowd. Equally impressive, the gymnastics crew featured both juniors and seniors who drew large cheers from the upperclassmen. The hip hop dances were energetically executed and well synchronized, showing the great effort and time spent on preparation. Most notable was the outstanding baton performance by Andrea Brandle. Her twirls and flips drew gasps of surprise from the audience as everyone cheered her on. The spirit of the Juniors was contagious throughout the performances. Dressed completely in black, the Juniors constantly rose to cheer and support their class. The dice hanging overhead held special surprises for the audience members as all the junior performers united on stage towards the end of the skit. Money exploded from above and fluttered to the ground. This unique decoration was never seen before in MSJ Homecoming, proving once again how creative the junior class is. From decoration to airband to skit, the junior class clearly demonstrated their talents and spirit. Their impressive performances were well played and unity between classes was incorporated. The Class of 2014 is sure to set the stage next year “The skit flowed as seniors.

“I thought that the Junior deco was really good. The dice were really cool. You can tell they put a lot of effort and planning into their homecoming.” -Rebecca Wu, 10

“Honestly, I think they did great. This was the best sophomore performance I’ve seen ever.” -Gurubala Kotta, 12

By Leah

Feuerma n

and Jason

Staff Write


Walking into the amphitheater on Tuesday morning, the sophomores’ energy was obvious. A large group of sophomores had gathered to cultivate class spirit in preparation for the performance later that day. The decorations in the amphitheater were generally solid. The effort was immediately apparent in the subway they had built covering the walkway, and the cardboard cut-outs of taxis scattered along the hallways. The backdrop showed their theme well, and was aesthetically pleasing. But there was room for improvement. For example, there could have been more balloons and decoration on the hill was almost nonexistent. Overall, the skit was enjoyable as it was easy to follow and did an effective job of conveying the theme and the plot. There were little awkward pauses, and the pacing was brisk and wellkept. The acting was great, and the voices were clear with some well-done accents. However, the sophomore play lacked humor in some parts. In addition, the costumes were wellmade but could have been more unique to the characters. The sophomores did a very impressive job


with their airbands. The energy was positive, and they were able to get the crowd involved throughout the performance. Particularly notable was the last airband, a girls’ hip-hop performance that electrified the crowd and demonstrated a creative use of chalk. However, the airbands could have had more variety; the majority of the dances were hip-hop or contemporary and there was only one singing airband. The sophomores’ spirit was evident throughout the performance as well. The majority of the class was dressed in vibrant yellow, and large flags and vuvuzuelas were noticeably prevalent among the sophomore section. There were also almost no technical difficulties throughout the whole performance, so kudos to the team that put the show together. Overall, the sophomores put on an impressive performance that demonstrated attention to detail and incredible class spirit. From the decorations, to the skit, to the electrifying airbands, the sophomores showed true spirit for the second day of Homecoming Week. Despite the short performance, the sophomores

“I think their dances were pretty good. If they were more in sync that would have been better.” -Monica Chen, 11

“I thought the subway deco was really cool!” - Saniti Vemula, 9

Photos by Staff Writers Shirby Wang, Aamir Rasheed, & Arushi Atluri, Layout by Centerspread Editor Rachel Choi

well and the airbands were really entertaining!” -Shivam Patel, 9

“Their skit was easy to follow and their backdrop was really nice! They put a lot of work into their performance!” -Lindsey Kageyama, 12

Photos by Graphics Editor Angie wang, Staff Writers Laura Chen & Tiffany Huang, Layout by Centerspread Editor Rachel Choi

16 Centerspread

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Friday, October 26, 2012

Deco: 2nd Airbands: 1st Skit: 1st Behavior: 4th

Overall: 2nd

“Amazing performance and great spirit! Even though they got cut off, I think Senior day was fun for everyone.” Raquel Crites, 9 A s soon as students entered the school, it became evident to everyone that the seniors were ready to take on new challenges and raise the bar for future classes. The horseshoe and amphitheater were heavily coated in upbeat red, using a rockand-roll motif with memories of the Class of 2013’s previous homecomings. Seniors were even able to leave their personal messages on their red carpet which stretched to the N-wing. Aside from decorations, the spirit of the Seniors was contagious. The morning flash mob was unique and exciting, effectively prepping the school for the lunchtime performance to come. The seniors started off with a bang, immediately drawing the crowd’s attention. The opening act featured an alumni band and showcased “Scott’s” immense energy, making the band act all the more believable. Right from the start the seniors set a healthy pace for the rest of the show, filling up long transitions with a lively Jeopardy! tune and some beat-boxing. The plot was easy to follow, partly owing to the fact that the voiceovers were in- sync with the energetic actors. Moreover, the seniors did a fantastic job uniting all of the classes together, giving each class generous opportunities for cheering. The well-written script smoothly tied in the Class of 2013’s previous themes in the characters’ every adventure. Emotions, gestures, and varying accents also contributed to the liveliness of the show. As another bonus, the costumes added a special flair to the performance, complete with customized uniforms and red accents. Each airband had their own unique costumes that fit the message of the dance. Most airbands were cohesively incorporated into the skit, but there were a few deficiencies. While the Bollywood dance was outof-sync at times and parts of the Tahitian dance were somewhat repetitive, the choreography and selection of music was phenomenal; the show boasted powerful moves and a medley of different genres of songs. Though the hip-hop airbands became redundant toward the end when familiar faces repeatedly appeared in similarly-themed alternate dances, what stood out most in all of the airbands was the sheer number of seniors involved; the entire class was unified by the large number of participants in every performance. Energized for their last homecoming, the seniors undeniably poured their hearts out cheering for their class, giving standing By G ene ovations to the boys’ Haka and the final viev hip-hop airband among others. The eH uan Class of 2013 passionately Staff g and expressed their support for Anj Wri ters ali K both their fellow class memanth “After today, hoo haa I ilal bers and the entire school as a whole, and kept the energy wish I was a senior!” high throughout the entire show. Milan Goyal, 11 Though the show was regrettably cut short, it was unmistakable that the performance would have concluded on the same note that it started on, full of energy, spirit, and dedication. The Class of 2013’s palpable effort in their homecoming more than paid off; they delivered an astounding performance that hit all the parts, amazing the crowd with humor, wit, and talent, making unforgettable memories for everyone.

“Seniors were able to pump up the entire crowd and motivate everyone!” Arthur Lin, 10

Photos by Staff Writers leah feuerman, anita alem, & nina krishnan, Layout by Centerspread Editor anusha rijhsinghani

Friday, October 26, 2012

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Photo 17

photos by graphics editors angie wang and sherry xiao, staff writers anita alem, nina krishnan, aamir rasheed & hannah shih

Photo 18

The Smoke Signal

Friday, October 26, 2012

photos by staff writers anita alem, peter qiu, sanjay sreekumar & shirby wang

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Smoke Signal

Feature 19

s r a e y e h t h g u o r h t hc By Laura Chen and Leah Feuerman Staff Writers

Since its inception in the early twentieth century, Homecoming has provided an opportunity for high school and college students alike to celebrate their return to school with rallies, dress-up days, a football game, a Homecoming Dance, and in many schools, a parade. What began in the Midwest a century ago as a parade and spirit rally centered around a university football game soon evolved into an all-American welcome-back tradition for alumni and returning students of schools across the nation. Homecoming originated as a weeklong series of festivities to celebrate school spirit and support the football team. The Spirit Week usually features special dress-up days leading up to the game. One or two nights before the game, the school customarily engages in a pep rally, in which the Homecoming Court is announced and students participate in skits, games, and other festivities. Traditionally, students have also held bonfires to conclude the Homecoming game.

MSJ HC FUN FACTS • In the 1970s there would traditionally be a group of guys who dressed up as cheerleaders for Homecoming Week. • In the mid-1970s MSJ won its Homecoming Games against Logan with a score of 72-0. • In the late 70s, students dressed up in suits and gowns for the Homecoming game. • One year during the 80s in act of vandalism someone set fire to all of the Homecoming floats. • The Freshman Class of 1981 historically won the Spirit Week Trophy with the theme of “Martians”. • In 1993 an additional theme day was added in the middle of Homecoming in which the whole school dressed up anti-Kennedy. Ouch.

Unlike Homecoming in college, high school homecoming incorporates not only school wide spirit and unity, but also competition between the classes. At many high schools, friendly rivalry between the classes includes powderpuff (all-female) football games, decorations, and fundraisers. Since its happy beginnings, Homecoming has evolved into unique traditions and memories that vary from school to school. Nevertheless, as high school and colleges throughout the nation conclude their first couple of months of the school year, students continue to enjoy what has expanded to become one of the most distinctive high school and college events of American culture.

A N ationa l History

n o i t di

Homecoming at MSJ has traditionally been one of the craziest and most exciting times of the school year. It is a time when all of MSJ’s school spirit, creativity, and ingenuity are channeled into one massive compilation of decorations, performances, and noise. But how did Homecoming at MSJ become what it is today? Since the founding of the school in 1964, Homecoming has undergone an incredible evolution to become the celebration we all now know and love.

Homecomings at MSJ have seen many changes over the years. In 1967, when MSJ was only three-years-old, Homecoming courts were elected differently than they are today. Students voted on a Varsity Princess and Frosh-Soph Princess along with the Homecoming Queen. There was also Homecoming King, but instead a “Mr. Mission”, who was crowned alongside the Queen during the Coronation Ball.

ra T J

S M n


During the late 1970s Homecoming developed into a week-long celebration with rallies from each of the individual classes, including an All-Class Spirit Rally at the end of the week. These were headed by the cheerleaders, but, according to PE Teacher Jack Marden, an MSJ alumnus, they weren’t alone. There were also song girls, letter-holders, yell-leaders, majorettes (baton twirlers), and countless other groups dedicated to promoting spirit in MSJ during Spirit Week. Floats used to be a major feature of Homecoming decorations. They were often paraded around the horseshoe, and were driven out to be displayed during the Homecoming game. The floats were often reflective of the individual class themes at the time. Homecoming at MSJ in the 1980s became an even larger event. Students tried to outdo each other by wearing Halloween costumes during Homecoming Week, and a “Spirit Week Trophy” was awarded to the most spirited class at the end of Homecoming. By the 1990s, Homecoming became an all-out competition between classes. Fundraising was a big part of this competition. Points were awarded to classes for how much money they were able to raise for charities such as homeless shelters and the Food Bank. Homecoming skits and airbands were also more spectacular. As Math Teacher Jan Frydendahl and graduate from MSJ recalls, “One of the best skits I’ve seen was the Class of 98’ Seniors. Their theme was ‘Back to the Future’, and they brought out an actual DeLorean to do the skit.” However, rivalries between classes also grew, and pranks became more popular amongst the students and some resulted in vandalism to the school. This was around when the school introduced Green and White Day to maintain the idea of unity at MSJ. 2010 saw many new rules from the administration regarding what students could do during Homecoming Week. These included restricting all decorations solely to the amphitheater, and designating specific times students could not be on campus the night before. There was also a crack-down on student pranks, which had become extremely popular between rival classes and had begun to go a little too far. However, these regulations hardly prevented students from showing their class spirit. Homecoming is a culture that has never stopped thriving at MSJ, and will continue to live on as a memorable MSJ tradition for years to come.

yearbook archives,

By Anita Alem Staff Writer

On Oct. 14, 2012, teachers and students from all over Fremont participated in the fifth annual Run 4 Education at Lake Elizabeth. The fundraiser supports the Guy Emanuele sports fund, which, as a part of the Fremont Education Foundation, provides athletes with grants and scholarships to help them afford equipment for afterschool sports and cheerleading. MSJ staff who participated in the event include Vice Principal Zack Larsen, Government Teacher Nancy Benton, and US History Teacher Jeff Evans. London Olympics torch bearer and Class of 2010 ASB President Kylan Nieh was a speaker at the event. The Fremont Run 4 Education included

run 4 education

adult’s 5K and 10K runs, and a children’s half-mile run. Participants could win awards for run times as well as in more fun categories, such as best costume. Typically, 250 to 350 people participate each year, and in the past seven years, the event has raised more than $100,000 in support for young athletes around FUSD. The run also featured entertainment, face painting, and photo booths. “I hope this will become a year-round initiative of which we will have ongoing sponsorships and smaller events throughout the year that can be made into a ‘Family Fair’ for the Fremont community,” said event organizer Grace Wong. Her company Learning Bee was the primary sponsor. MSJ staff was looking forward to the event immensely, as it was the first time any of them were participating. Benton trained six weeks

US History Teacher Jeff Evans, Vice Principal Zack Larsen, and Government and World History Teacher Nancy Benton participated at Run 4 Education.

The Smoke Signal

Junior Taylor Jang, Senior Lindsey Dobyns, Senior Gurubala Kotta, and Junior Lindy Zeng run for the finish line.

in advance for her first 5K run. Others, such as Larsen, had already completed several competitions and enjoyed the relaxed nature of the Run 4 Education. Teachers were passionate about and motivated by the cause, with Larsen saying, “In these times of diminishing budget, it’s important to contribute to sports programs.” Benton not only competed successfully, but also won a $500 technology grant at the event, as a result of a raffle ticket lottery. The purpose of the grant is to improve technology in the classroom and enhance student learning. Benton currently has a few ideas on how to spend the money, and is debating between converting her whiteboard to an e-board and purchasing ink cartridges. Students who participated spoke positively about the experience. Government classes

provided credit for the event as “Civic Participation,” an assignment that requires seniors to be active citizens in their community. Senior Nicholi Reece was the DJ at the event and played music for five hours. Several athletes of MSJ’s Track and Field Team competed in the event, including Senior Lindsey Dobyns, who participated for the second time, and helped convince her teammates to join. “We ran the 10K with family and friends and it was really fun. It’s good training as well,” Dobyns commented. The Run 4 Education was a resounding success, with a significant increase in participants compared to previous years. MSJ students and teachers hope to participate in similar events and return next year to continue supporting athletics. ▪ photos by staff writer shirby wang


The Smith Center at OHLONE COLLEGE 43600 Mission Blvd., Fremont

Friday, October 26, 2012

By Vivian Jair and Aamir Rasheed Staff Writers

With Halloween just around the corner, now is the time to hone your candy recognition skills! Can you recognize these popular candies by their delectable insides? See how many you can identify below! ▪







7. 8. Answers: 1. Hershey’s Kisses 2. Twizzlers Licorice 3. M&M’s 4. Jelly Belly Jelly Beans 5. Whoppers 6. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup 7. Kit Kat 8. Butterfinger

20 Feature

Friday, October 26, 2012

Taylor Swift is ‘Red’-Hot

The Smoke Signal

Arts & Entertainment 21

Another Normal ‘Paranormal’

By Tingting Bi Staff Writer

“We fall in love till it hurts or bleeds or fades in time,” Taylor Swift croons in her fourth album, Red, released on October 22. Fans of Swift won’t be hurting or bleeding as they fall in love with Red, an album that’s guaranteed to stand the test of time. The opening track, “State of Grace,” sets high expectations for the rest of the album. The song begins with a driving drum beat that later blends beautifully with the guitar chords and Swift’s powerful vocals. With drawn out vowels that provide a feeling of slowly falling, “State of Grace” stands out from her numerous other songs as one of her finest works. The album quickly picks up afterwards, with “Red” and “I Knew You Were Trouble.” “Red,” a countrified tune describing all shades of love, is reminiscent of Swift’s earlier Fearless album, while “I Knew You Were Trouble” takes on a chaotic yet catchy dubstep tone. Funny and full of sarcasm,“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” enters mainstream pop music as an empowering breakup anthem. The brilliant lyrics are accompanied by an amusing conversation Swift incorporates in the song as she scoffs over the relationship. From country to rock, pop to dubstep, Red caters to a wide range of tastes as Swift embraces new genres of music. The album ends on a hopeful tone. In both “Everything Has Changed,” a duet with British artist Ed Sheeran, and “Begin Again,” strong melodies and sweet harmonies reflect Swift’s signature style. Laden with soft guitar chords, the songs describe not the usual breakups in relationships but instead the beginnings of a new love, ending the album on a refreshing and hopeful note. Taylor Swift has outdone herself in Red, whose themes, as the singer has said, revolve around “the ups and downs of the whole experience of falling in love and being let down and letting go and starting over.” With thoughtful lyrics and catchy tunes, Red will leave fans thirsting for more while they play the album on repeat. ▪ Rating: A

‘Glassheart’ Shatters Expectations By Angela Wang Staff Writer

By Sonali Toppur Opinion Editor

A year later, yet another Paranormal Activity hit theaters and once again delivered the scares. A demon-possessed Katie (Katie Featherston) disappears with her sister’s son Hunter, after having killed her boyfriend and family. The movie skips forward to five years after the murders, to an ordinary suburban family with a daughter Alex (Kathryn Newton) and son Wyatt (Aiden Lovecamp). Strange occurrences begin to happen around the house when the unnerving neighbor’s son, Robbie, comes to stay with them for a while.

Finally by the fourth movie, the directors have managed to make the film more modern and contemporary. The use of increasingly modern technology such as video chats and the infrared setting on the Kinect make the scares more believable. There are fewer “why would you record that?” moments, which were one of the main criticisms against the first few movies. The computer webcam was a very effective method of delivering jolts, as the movement of the screen is disorienting and the viewer doesn’t see the scare coming. Alex’s boyfriend Ben (Matt Shively) gives the film a comic edge and manages to make the tense

moments humorous, something the previous movies have not been able to do. However, something that is still frustratingly absent in this fourth installment is plot. Throughout the series there have been allusions to a symbol, as well as vague attempts to explain the strange events. Yet once again, the movie ends with another set of gaping plot holes and a confused audience. This installment of the Paranormal Activity saga meets its scare quota glowingly, yet the lack of a cohesive storyline after four movies is disappointing. If all you’re looking for is a wholesome scare, this is the movie for you. ▪ Rating: B

Here Comes the ‘B’-oom

By Tingting Bi Staff Writer

Here Comes the Boom is a comedic look at a school’s budget woes using martial arts as an unlikely solution. This entertaining film starred Kevin James as Scott Voss, a biology teacher in a run-down high school. Although he used to be an enthusiastic and exemplary teacher, over the years, he has fallen into the apathetic ways of an unmotivated instructor. He shows up late for work, reads the newspaper, and takes naps in class instead of teaching. This monotonous rhythm of daily life is turned around by the announcements of budget problems and the removal of the music program to save money. Scott Voss stands up and defends Marty (Henry Winkler),

the beloved music conductor and claims to be able to raise the $48,000 needed to save the music program. Thus begins this ordinary teacher’s journey into the world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and eventually to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). In addressing the topic of education and budget cuts, Here Comes the Boom discusses a major problem in society today and offers a creative but highly unlikely solution to the problem. In light of the vast amount of money being cut from schools today, Here Comes the Boom’s resolution to this problem is ridiculous and almost insulting. However, Here Comes the Boom provides plenty of hilarious and entertaining moments, ranging from Scott’s failed attempts to ask the school nurse Bella Flores (Salma

Hayek) out on a date to the interactions between Scott and his MMA trainer, Nico (Bas Rutten). With a crew of entertaining immigrants Scott attempts to teach in citizenship class and the clash of music tastes between Marty and Scott, there is never a scene without humor. These comical scenes make up for the predictable plot and add to the maturation Scott undergoes as the movie progresses. Kevin James portrays Scott and clearly displays the dedication and training he devoted to filming the combat scenes. By introducing every character’s troubling situations and following the resolutions to these problems, Here Comes the Boom is a cliché but satisfying movie for those looking for a feel-good type of story. ▪ Rating: B

Leona Lewis’s long-anticipated third studio album, Glassheart, marks a new chapter in Lewis’s musical career. No longer are her songs purely moderately paced ballads. They are now infused with pop music elements, including 80’s bubblegum pop, Dubstep and many more. This British X-Factor winner has stepped out of her comfort zone in this album and produced something completely new for her fans. “Trouble” starts off the album with a melancholy piano introduction that quickly turns into a faster paced song. “Lovebird” and “Stop the Clocks” seem to step back into Lewis’s usual style of singing conventional ballads, showing listeners that Lewis is comfortable both with old and new styles of music. Most notable out of the entire album is the next track, “Come Alive.” It is catchy and resonates strongly with the lyrics, through the use of background vocals, echoes, and heavy beats. This song is by far Lewis’s largest change in music style as she experiments with something completely different from anything she has produced before. “Glassheart” is yet another step out of the comfort zone for Lewis as she forays with Dubstep in her song, providing a completely different mood with it. There is a drastic change in both tempo and mood in the track, “Fireflies”, which focuses on a piano instrumental with infused beats and displays Lewis’s vast vocal range. The album closes with “Fingerprint,” a soothing song with a wistful tone that focuses mostly on Lewis’s voice, with little beats in the background. The central theme for this entire album seems to revolve around the angst of heartbreak and portrays a darker side of Lewis’s voice. She sings of the fears, wonders, and hurt that comes with love in her songs, providing real emotion for the chilling lyrics. With all these daring ventures into a variety of different music styles, Lewis shows that she is able to master, not just conventional ballads, but other music styles as well. Leona Lewis has managed to please the crowd once again with Glassheart. Fans will be pleasantly surprised when they hear all this album has to offer. ▪ Rating: A

22 Arts & Entertainment

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Friday, October 26, 2012

Restaurant Review: La Casita By Kenny Jacoby Sports Editor

A family-owned restaurant, La Casita has been serving Fremont for decades. It is one of the last remaining sit-down, traditional Mexican restaurants in the city, but that has not taken away from its popularity. La Casita’s consistently good food and top-notch service make it a premier dining destination. Ambiance La Casita is located on Fremont Blvd, not far from the five corners in the Irvington district. In Spanish, La Casita means “The Little House,” which is exactly what the restaurant is. It is an old house with the interior remodeled into a restaurant, but it still possesses a very homey atmosphere. There are historic Mexican murals on the walls, and two rooms

with traditional dining room seating. Rating: Price La Casita features a wide variety of entrees for a very reasonable price. Typical entrees range from $8-15, and they certainly don’t skimp on portion size. Any item on the menu will fill you up, and most dishes come with a generous helping of rice and beans on the side, giving you the most bang for your buck. Rating:

and are the perfect complement to the delicious salsa. Like the rest of the menu, the salsa is not very spicy, but what it lacks in spice, it makes up for in taste. For an appetizer, I started with the sampler. The nachos (with melted cheese, ground beef, beans, sour cream, and guacamole) and the cheese quesadilla were tasty but nothing special. I would recommend them for picky eaters and young children. The chimichanga—essentially a fried mini burrito—was also simple, but was the best of the items on the sampler. It contained shredded beef and refried beans, and was rolled in a fried, crispy golden tortilla. It was extremely flavorful, as were the albondigas, which I would recommend for the more liberal eater. The two meatballs were smothered in a unique Spanish tomato sauce, which was both sweet and spicy. The albondigas’ flavor contrasted the other items on the sampler, but they were certainly the most unique of the sampler items. For the main course, I ordered fish tacos and a pork super burrito. The fish was juicy and grilled to perfection, and was coated in a delicious mariscos sauce and served in a panfried tortilla with a side of rice and beans. The rice, a traditional Mexican-style, was very moist and flavorful. The beans were superb— refried and runny, and garnished with cheese. The super burrito (with meat, rice, beans,

and cheese inside and lettuce, sour cream, and guacamole on the side) was enormous— roughly the size of a small shoebox. It was a ridiculous amount of food for the price ($7.95), but wasn’t much different from just mixing the side of rice and beans from any given entrée and wrapping it in a tortilla. Rating: Overall The food was highly flavorful and came in huge proportions. Needless to say, I left the restaurant with two full to-go boxes and overfilled stomachs. All the dishes were tasty and hit the spot, but not all of them had a unique flavor. Nevertheless, the meal was simple and delicious, and to say it was not “refined” or “gourmet” is like eating a hamburger and complaining that it’s not a filet mignon—something it was never meant to be. With that said, I would recommend La Casita to all Mexican food lovers, and would rate it as one of the best Mexican restaurants in Fremont. ▪ Rating: La Casita Restaurant 41240 Fremont Blvd Fremont, CA 94538 (510) 657-8602

Food One of the best indicators of the quality of a Mexican restaurant is the chips and salsa. La Casita’s chips are warm, fresh, and crispy,

sports editor kenny jacoby,

Quotes Quiz: Music and Movie Style By Arushi Atluri and Anjali Kanthilal Staff Writers

Are you the ultimate fan of movies? Do you listen to a wide variety of music? Test your knowledge with this Quotes Quiz! Find answers online at!

MOVIES Easy 1. “I love how she makes me feel. Like anything’s possible, or like…I don’t know. Like life is worth it.” 2. “That’s why her hair is so big, it’s full of secrets.” 3. “Everything the light touches is our kingdom.” 4. “I shall call him Squishy and he shall be mine and he shall be my Squishy.” 5. “I waited for you for seven years. But now it's too late.”

Medium 1. “That is MAHOGANY!” 2. “I'll do it with minimal casualties to the indigenous. I'll drive 'em out with gas first. It'll be humane. More or less.” 3. “When did I get stabbed? That’s awesome!” 4. “The seed that we planted in this man's mind may change everything.” 5. “Well, I'm sorry... it's just that you guys talk about dancing like it's rocket science or something.”



1. “You'd need at least a dozen guys doing a combination of cons.”

1. “Loving him is like trying to change your mind, Once you’re already flying through the free fall”

2. “Let's try something new. You live your life, I'll live mine. Sound good?”

2. “I'll be by your side, you know I'll take your hand”

3. “In the end, it will be every man for himself...”

3. “There's a spark in between us, When we're dancing on the floor”

4. “I'd never given much thought to how I would die.” 5. “Do you have any idea how long it took me to get all the evil exes' contact information so I could form this stupid league? Like, two hours!”

4. “So why does your pride make you run and hide?”

Easy 1. “Funny, when you're dead how people start listening” 2. “If perfect’s what you’re searching for, then just stay the same” 3. “We could be starving, we could be homeless, we could be broke” 4. “You're gonna catch a cold, From the ice inside your soul” 5. “I just wanna rock all night long, And put you in the middle of my spotlight” 6. “If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself ”

5. “But baby there you go again, there you go again making me love you”

Hard 1. “Cause the walls burned up and our love fell down” 2. “Actions speak louder than words, you gotta show us something” 3. “I don't wanna be someone who walks away so easily” 4. “Finally made it through the lonely” 5. “Some people called it taking shelter She called it sweet revenge” ▪,

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Smoke Signal

Arts & Entertainment 23

Exclusive Interview: Beverly Hills Nannies’ Kristin Lancione

to be on the show. And everyone else made it very clear that I was no longer a producer; I was now the star of the show. So it was definitely not the experience I thought it was going to be. It wasn’t a horrible experience; I had a lot of fun doing it. It was very good to learn, and especially for me with my other projects, I’ve now been able to see the backend of it and the other side. I think it’ll help me be a better producer in the future dealing with everything that I had to deal with.

By Grace Wu Staff Writer

Recently the Smoke Signal sat down with Kristin Lancione, co-producer and star of Beverly Hills Nannies. Beverly Hills Nannies is a docu-series on ABC Family which follows the lives of eight nannies in an agency started by Kristin Lancione that caters to the rich and famous of Beverly Hills. Kristin has many ties to Fremont. She grew up in Fremont and graduated from Washington High School in 2003. Kristin is English Teacher Katherine Mattingly’s daughter. After graduating from high school, she moved to Los Angeles to attend fashion design school. While working as a fitness studio manager, moms started asking Kristin to be a nanny for their children, so she started working as a full time nanny. Eventually, Kristin developed the idea for a reality TV show about the nannies of affluent families in Beverly Hills. Kristin has a large fan base at MSJ and many students watch this popular summer show. Smoke Signal: How has being raised in Fremont affected you as a nanny and businesswoman or just your life in general? Kristin Lancione: I think I’m able to bring a different aspect of life to these kids in LA who grow up with a lot of money and with highpowered celebrities as parents. They grow up in a completely different world than I do. So it’s nice for me to say, “When I was growing up….”and they look at me like “Who could grow up like that?” I think I bring a little sense of normalcy to their lives. As a business woman, I don’t know. It’s really hard to give definitive answers because everything just happened and I still can’t believe it did. SS: What’s the most important thing you learned from being on national television?

graphics editor angie wang

KL: I think the most important thing I’ve learned is to really watch what I say when the cameras are around because that stuff will stick with you forever. And whether I did it for the TV show or I really did it for my own personal sake, no one else knows. I’m the only one that knows that someone else is telling me how to act. Let’s be honest, a lot of the fights that happened were either staged or got way out of hand because the producers were telling me to beef it up because we need some drama. I’m like, I’m the only one who’s going to do this because I’m also a producer. So I think I need to be a little more true to myself and not let everyone else get in my head about how I’m supposed to act. SS: That’s tough. So, how do you balance that? Being yourself versus what the other producers want? KL: It was hard. It was like this inner battle.

Food trucks fulfill By Arushi Atluri Staff Writer

As the frozen yogurt and milk tea fads begin to slow down, Fremont is transitioning into its newest craze: food trucks. Throughout the city, “Street Eats” events with food trucks have been popping up everywhere. Some of these locations include the Mission Valley ROP Center (4:30-9:00 pm on Fridays till November 2), Washington High School (4:30-9:00 pm on Thursdays), and Niles Boulevard (5:00-9:00 pm on Wednesdays). Most Street Eats are hosted by the Food Truck Mafia, a business which hosts Food Truck Festivals to help fundraise for schools and other organizations. The Food Truck Mafia and each truck have their own Twitters and Facebook pages; following or “liking” them will let you know what trucks are at a Street Eats event, or where the trucks are when they aren’t at an event. From well-known trucks like Mogo BBQ to little-known treasures like Truckin’ Sweet, these food truck events have something to satisfy everyone’s palate. Here are a few of the best, yet lesser-known food trucks that settle down in Fremont. Bibigo Q If you enjoy the Mogo-esque combination of Korean and Mexican, then Bibigo Q is the truck for you. From their savory kimchee tacos to their best-selling chicken teriyaki, this truck offers a variety of mouth-watering Asian meets Mexican food. Their portions are a good size (just two tacos can fill a person up) and their meat is always cooked to perfection. Although it is a little on the pricey side, this truck is worth a try for people craving something a little different. Tacos de Los Altos Good traditional Mexican food on-the-go is hard to find, but Tacos de Los Altos manages to bring exactly that. With decent prices and sensational food, this little-known truck

Do I do this and become this person who everyone else thinks this is reality or do I help the show out for the ratings and kind of take one for the team? So now I’m telling everyone, listen, I already took one for the team, someone else can be the scapegoat. It’s hard; I had a lot people come up to me and say I hated you on the show and you were horrible and how can you say these things? And I’m like “Oh my gosh, it’s a TV show.” So, it’s definitely hard. SS: Did your perspective of reality TV change after you were actually on it? KL: Completely. It’s very manipulative. My mom will be the first to tell you that I’m very manipulative and I thought that I could outsmart the game. I’m telling you, nobody can outsmart the game. My idea was since I created it, I would have more power. That power was stripped the minute I signed my contract

SS: What advice would you give to students aspiring to be as successful as you are but still hope to remain passionate about what they do? KL: I think passion always has to come first and success is only kind of in your own head. To someone it could mean a lot of money. To someone else it could mean I followed my dreams and I’m broke but I’m living what I want to be living. I say just always have a goal. Following through is the most important thing because anybody can have an idea for a TV show, anybody can be just a nanny, but I put everything all together and I wouldn’t stop. I had a production company tell me no but I didn’t take no for an answer. I’m going to get this made. I know it’s going to be a good show. So just follow your dreams. SS: What are your plans for the future? Would you want to continue in the entertainment industry or focus on your agency? KL: I have to say I’m a lot more passionate about creating things whether its reality shows or other projects. I definitely want to go that route but I also know that if this nanny agency is set up properly, it could be my bread and butter and kind of work on its own. It’s kind of both because I love being busy. ▪

30% OFF


staff writer arushi atluri

easily matches up with the popular restaurant Super Taco. This truck is perfect for people looking for simple, non-greasy food that won’t eat up their wallets. That’s Sweet! Dessert Truck Craving dessert on-the-go? Then try catching That’s Sweet! Dessert Truck. This little-known delight specializes in gourmet cupcakes, but is also well known for its mini pies and whoopee pies. That’s Sweet! brings together traditional flavors like chocolate and salted caramel, but also goes out on a limb, like with their French Toast and Bacon cupcake. At $3 apiece, both their prices and their cupcakes are on-par with some of the best cupcakes in the Bay Area. The owner adds even more charm to this truck; his service is friendly and his suggestions should not be taken lightly. This truck is definitely a go-to for daring dessert lovers. Eventually, food trucks may join the milk tea and frozen yogurt crazes; however, right now, they are what Fremont is all about. “There’s a huge variety of food and you can be sure that the food will be really good,” said Senior Andrew Ren, a food truck fanatic, about this latest trend. So next time curiosity kicks in and you’re craving something new, hop in the car, go to a “Street Eats” event, and join the food truck fad. ▪

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The Smoke Signal

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Smoke Signal

Arts &Entertainment 25



Joseph Gordon-Levitt is only 31 years old—but with an impressive career length of 24 years and counting, it’s obvious that the world of acting and film is one that he was accustomed to from a very young age. Born in Los Angeles to a Jewish family, Gordon-Levitt’s first roles were at the age of six, in a peanut butter commercial, and as a guest star in several television series, including Family Ties, Murder, She Wrote, and Quantum Leap. Although he also worked steadily on small parts in feature films, such as A River Runs Through It (1992), for which he won a Young Artist Award for Best Actor Under 10 In a Motion Picture, Gordon-Levitt didn’t experience much notable success until nine years into his child acting career. His big break came when he was 15 and starring on the hit TV show 3rd Rock from the Sun, earning two Hollywood Reporter Young Star Awards. The show itself earned three Screen Actors Guild Award nominations, adding to Gordon-Levitt’s budding reputation and talent as an actor. Following his TV success, GordonLevitt took time off of acting in 2001 to attend Columbia University in New York majoring in French. In his sophomore year, he began making appearances in feature films again, including the voiceover of lead character Jim Hawkins in an animated version of Treasure Island. In 2004 with the alien abduction drama Mysterious Skin, Gordon-Levitt began veering away from the comedic supporting roles of the past to more serious, intense feature films—a path that has led him down a road of indie success, startJoseph Gordon Levitt is nomiing with nominations for the Independent Spirit Award and the Best Actor Golden Globe for nated for his first Golden Globe (500) Days of Summer in 2009, and now to career milestones by starring in mainstream films for Best Performance by an Actor in a such as Inception and The Dark Knight Rises. Gordon-Levitt is one of the few in this business Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical for who has successfully made the clean jump from child acting to adult acting. So many stars portraying a cancer patient in 50/50. have made a name for themselves as child actors, but then fizzled out or quit their career later in life as a young adult. On the other hand, Gordon-Levitt has only been on the rise.

Joseph GordonLevitt started out the year with a bang at the Golden Globes, where he was nominated for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical for his role as a cancer patient in 50/50. He did not win the award, but the nomination was A box- office hit, (500) Days of a testament to his rapidly growSummer catapults Joseph Gordon ing success and was indicative of Levitt to success, creating a solid name the wave of escalating praise and for him in Hollywood. triumph he would ride the rest of the year. Now, nearly nine months after that nomination, Gordon-Levitt is set to close out 2012 with four successful movies under his wing. The Dark Knight Rises, Premium Rush, Looper, and Lincoln (in theaters November 16) are hallmarks of Gordon-Levitt’s gradual rise from JGL attends Columbia University, By Tammy Tseng & Supriya Yelimeli childhood comedic television stints to his mid-career studying history, literature, and Staff Writers indie film breakout to recent stardom in mainstream French poetry. movies. His role as an upstart police officer in The Dark Knight Rises marked his transition from the lighthearted acting of (500) Days of Summer (released 2009) to the darker, more serious films of late, such as his part as Arthur in Inception (2010). Gordon-Levitt shines as the main character in many of his most recent films, namely Premium Rush and Looper, anAt 18, Levitt stars in his first big-budget film, 10 other step up from the string of supporting roles he has played Things I Hate About You. Based off Shakespeare’s work Taming of the Shrew, the film jumpstarted his throughout the years. In the short three-year period since (500) career along with Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles. Days of Summer, he has managed to separate himself from the indie crowd and snag a reputation as a solid mainstream leading actor. Gordon-Levitt has also recently branched out into another field of the film industry: behind-the-camera work. He directed, wrote, and starred in Don Jon’s Addiction, a dark comedy to be released in 2013, featuring other headline stars such as Scarlett By age 11, Levitt was already introduced to the Johansson and Julianne Moore. “I’m super proud of it,” said Gorsilver screen, starring in A River Runs Through It. don-Levitt in an interview at the 2012 Toronto Later in that year he stars as the orphan who can International Film Festival of his directosee angels in the Disney movie Angels in the Outfield. rial and scriptwriting debut. With a long career still ahead of him, he has plenty of opportunities to showcase his potential and talent and prove that he still has more to offer. ▪




19 92

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Joseph Gordon-LOVEitt

The release of Inception brings extreme popularity to Joseph Gordon Levitt, making him an A-list Hollywood star and a household name.


“I think there is something beautiful in reveling in sadness. The proof is how beautiful sad songs can be. So I don’t think being sad is to be avoided. It’s apathy and boredom you want to avoid. But feeling anything is good, I think. Maybe that’s sadistic of me.”

19 9


JGL enters the television scene in 1991 at the age of ten with his debut in Dark Shadows. He was soon cast as a regular, playing David Collins, the little boy next door.



Joseph Gordon Levitt first blesses this world with his appearance in Los Angeles, CA. He was born into an affluent family: his mother a congresswoman and his father a news director.

“The whole concept of celebrity pisses me off. While I’m not a celebrity, it’s such a weird concept that society has cooked up for us. Astronauts and teachers are much more amazing than actors.”,,,

26 Sports

By Kenny Jacoby & Vishak Menon Sports Editors

locked out Deadlocked. No negotiations are sched-

uled at this time. Talks may resume in a week or two. Updates like these have become commonplace in the lives of major league fans across the nation. In the last 18 months the National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA), and National Hockey League (NHL) have all been forced to enter lockouts which take months to resolve and put upcoming seasons in jeopardy. What is the cause of these lockouts and why are they happening all of a sudden? The answer should come as no surprise. Money is the root of most problems and the three leagues in question are rolling in it. The revenue from each of these leagues stretches into the billions and to the displeasure of players and fans, the owners want a bigger piece of the action. The trouble for the NBA began in July of 2011 when their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) ended and the players and owners entered a lockout over revenue distribution. The negotiations continued for more than five months until finally an agreement was reached in late November, and the lockout was officially lifted on Dec. 8. However the delayed talks resulted in a truncated, 66game season. A few months earlier the NFL was in a

similar situation when the CBA expired on March 11, 2011, and the players and owners entered a lockout. Quarterbacks Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning, along with others, entered the fray by filing an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL which was targeted against their unethical and unfair business practices. Although the suit temporarily invalidated the lockout, the ruling was over-

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Derek Fisher headed negotiations between the owners and players during the NBA lockout.

turned and the lockout continued while a new CBA was put in place. On July 21 a settlement was finally reached which included a new CBA that provided a revised free agency system, salary caps, rookie wages, minimum salaries, and franchise tags. Both the players and the owners felt that they had reached an equitable solution. But the drama was far from over for the NFL and the 2012 season brought with it a new dispute. However, this time it was not the players who were demanding a change, but the referees. NFL referees have a tough job and anyone who disagrees should try their

Captain’s Corner: Girls’ Golf

so excited. I hope to do better this year as an individual. I want to place in the top five and also to try to get a scholarship to play golf in college. Hopefully, we can make it as a team because this year we are just as good, if not better. SS: What role do you play on the team? MC: We’re a team, though golf is also a more individual sport. We do our best to score well so our overall score is good. In the end, we just play golf. MH: Well, we’re number one and two on the team, so we’re the leaders of the team. I’m the co-captain while Monica is the captain. SS: Do you have any plans regarding your future in golf? staff writer shirby wang MC: Yeah, I would like to Juniors Monica Chen (left) and Madison Hirsch (right) have been dominant on the Girls’ Golf team. play golf in college. I’ve been getJuniors Monica Chen and Meredith ting recruitment letters from various colleges Hirsch, captain and co-captain of the MSJ already, but I’m still deciding which school golf team, are top golfers who played vito go to. I’m hoping that over the summer tal roles in the team making it to the State I can play internationally or for Ivy League Championship last year for the first time in schools to check out their campuses and deour school’s history. This year, the Smoke Sigcide by next year. nal got a chance to interview them and get MH: I’ve also been receiving recruitment their take on the sport. letters but I haven’t decided which college to Smoke Signal: How has the golf season go to yet, either. I’m planning on deciding by been going so far? the end of junior year. Monica Chen: We’re playing pretty SS: What would you attribute your sucwell so far. We just won the Freedom High cess to? School tournament and almost beat our reMC: I think it’s definitely hard work, cord of 392, just short by four points. especially over the summer. Our summer is SS: What are your accomplishments? jam-packed with tournaments and practices, MC: During the summer I played in a which helps build experience. nation-wide tournament in Sunriver, OreMH: These are Coach Jason Cain’s words. gon for the America Junior Golf Association “We have a passion for the game, so we’re (AJGA) and broke my record and got under always aiming high and setting goals so we 68. I won the qualifier and finished in fourth can be our best.” place overall at the tournament. I also played SS: Any words of wisdom to aspiring in a Stockton Tournament and AJGA, and golfers? placed fifth, I believe. I’ve also won local MC: Work hard and play hard. And don’t tournaments that aren’t as significant. worry too much because not every day is the Meridith Hirsch: We got into State last same. year and it was a really big deal because our MH: Yeah, you should always try your school has never made it past NCS. And we best, and not every day is your best day. Some were one of the unexpected teams to make it days you’re extraordinary and some days that far. As an individual, I was just so happy you’re terrible. It still happens to us. ▪ on my finish. I tied for eighth and I was just By Shirby Wang Staff Writer

The Smoke Signal

hand at separating two 300 pound linebackers from pouncing on each other. But jokes aside, the referee lockout turned into the most painful of experiences as a football fan, as I watched the replacement officials blow one call after another, and unfairly shift the tide of several games. This outrage finally reached its height on Sept. 24, in the finals second of a game between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks. With the Packers winning 12-7, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw a “Hail Mary” pass into the endzone for the win. Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate blatantly shoved a Packers defensive back out of the way, but no offensive pass interference was called. Then, the Packers’ M.D. Jennings intercepted the ball, although Tate had a hand on it. One official overturned the call on the field of an interception, and signaled for a touchdown. After several reviews in the replay booth, it was clear that Jennings had possession of the ball first, but to the shock and dismay of everyone, the head referee announced that the ruling on the field was confirmed: touchdown Seahawks. In the end, due to a faulty judgment call, the Packers left Seattle without a win, but this controversy was the tipping point that led to the end of the lockout. The referees returned to action on September 29 with higher average salaries and more pension benefits, and are now locked into a contract that will last them until 2019. The coming weeks will decide what the NHL’s lockout has in store for owners, players, and fans alike. The dispute is largely over

Friday, October 26, 2012

the players’ current share of revenue, 57 percent, which the owners plan to bring down to 46 percent. Commissioner Gary Bettman announced on Oct. 4 that the lockout, which began on Sept. 16, is continuing, and that 82 games between Oct. 11-24 have officially been cancelled. The NHL is no stranger to lockouts—in 2004, the would-be 88th season was cancelled due to unresolved CBA issues. As of right now, big name players like Evgeni Malkin, last season’s MVP, as well as Washington Capital’s star and former MVP Alex Ovechkin have decided to sign with Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) while the negotiations proceed. This is by no means the last we will hear from the unfolding NHL dispute or from other leagues as their Collective Bargaining Agreements begin to expire. But for now, we can only watch and wait as “lockout season” continues to sweep across pro sports and ruin the passion of the fans. ▪

One replacement referee signals interception while the other calls touchdown in the controversial Packers vs. Seahawks game.

boys' cross country By Jason Chen Staff Writer

Building off of last year’s success, the

MSJ Boys’ Cross Country team enters the new season with renewed goals and expectations. Led by Coaches John Hotchkiss, Jack Marden, and Linda Addison, the team hopes to recapture the magic of last year’s squad that reached the North Coast Section (NCS) Championships. This year’s squad features many new faces since four varsity runners graduated last June. However, the team is undaunted by the gaping hole created by their departures and has set lofty goals for this season. According to Hotchkiss, “The frosh/soph, junior varsity, and varsity squad all expect to place top three in the league.” Despite such high expectations, the coaches are hopeful that the balanced mix of overachieving freshman and seasoned seniors will take MSJ cross-country to new heights. To get a head start on the competition, the team held a one-month long training camp that began in July. During camp, the runners participated in a combination of long runs, mile intervals, core work, and endurance drills. The runners did not just train during camp; they also received a unique lecture each day on topics such as nutrition and workout strategies. After training camp ended, the team did not stop preparing as their hard work and dedication carried over into the regular season. Cross-country practices daily for two hours during the regular season. Despite the strenuous schedule, nobody on the team is complaining as Hotchkiss calls practice the perfect opportunity to “release tension and have fun.”

Although MSJ cross-country lost its top four runners from last year’s squad, this year’s team started off with a bang in their first meet against Moreau Catholic High School. Led by star runners Sophomore Nicholas Cai, Senior Nicholas Ha, and Junior Aamir Rasheed, MSJ cross country won all five races in their meet with Moreau. After winning all five races in their next meet against Kennedy High School, the team took a perfect record into their highly anticipated matchup with the defending league champion, American High School. All of the runners raced their hearts out, but MSJ fell just short as the team’s perfect record was snapped by a one-point loss in one of the races. Despite the heartbreaking defeat, MSJ was still able to win three out of the five races against arguably the best team in the Mission Valley Athletic League (MVAL). The runners have faced top-flight competition throughout the season, which is nearing its end. Up next on the schedule is Irvington High School on October 31. In spite of the challenges lying ahead, the coaches are extremely proud of the team’s performance and dedication this season. Hotchkiss said, “They are hard working, dedicated, self motivated, and a delight to work with.” ▪

courtesy john hotchkiss

Juniors Darren Li (right) and Edward Njoo (left) run in a recent meet against James Logan High School.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Smoke Signal

Sports 27

Valerie Saito: Model Coach By Hannah Shih Staff Writer

Valerie Saito, the coach of the MSJ Gym-

nastics team, is well known for her excellence in coaching. Her tactful coaching techniques and strong motivating skills have translated into enormous team success, and very happy individual players. The Smoke Signal sat down with Saito to find out more about the model coach’s ideals and practices, as well as the success of the gymnastics team. Smoke Signal: How long and where have you been coaching? Valerie Saito: This is my sixth year coaching for MSJ, and third year as the head coach. I started assistant coaching with the team in 2007. I have over 10 years of experience coaching all together. I started coaching as a part-time job in high school. SS: What gymnastics experience do you personally have? VS: I played in the sport of gymnastics for about seven years. I did recreational gymnastics and then competed for a private club for four years. I love the sport and coaching is a great way for me to stay involved in the sport. SS: What are your coaching strategies? VS: As a coach, I like to push my kids to achieve goals that they may think are out of their reach. I like to focus on personal bests and improving their skills rather than scores and placements at meets. One thing my assistant coach, Laurel Masatsugu, and I constantly remind our team about is to not get caught up on their scores. Scores can fluctuate from meet to meet since judging is subjective. We want our team to focus on making the corrections we’ve been giving them in practice and building upon that. You can only

do gymnastics for such a short time of your life. My hope is that there are things that my team will take with them after they graduate and stop doing gymnastics, things such as having a good work ethic, selfdiscipline, challenging yourself and never giving up. SS: How has your coaching philosophy changed over the years? VS: One thing that I’ve had to adapt to as a coach is the Gymnastics Coach Valerie Saito spots stand. different learning styles of my team. Some girls can make corrections just by me telling them something. Others need a visual to understand what I’m trying to say. Instead of getting frustrated when they aren’t understanding what I’m saying, I try to think of alternative ways to communicate what I’m trying to say. I have had to learn to adapt to different group’s needs. SS: How do you see yourself as a coach?

MSJ wins Elmer Brown Award By Vishak Menon Sports Editor

VS: I think I’m a tough but fair coach. I like to set the standard for my team high and expect a lot from my girls. While I have very high expectations, I like to think of myself as an encouraging coach that supports and cheers on her team. I like to get to know my team on an individual level as well. I want them to know that I care not only about their gymnastics but also about how courtesy melina robinson the rest of their Senior Melina Robinson during a hand- life is going too! One thing I’ve really enjoyed is getting to keep in touch with gymnasts that have graduated from Mission. I’ve been working so long with the team now that some girls have even graduated from college! It makes me feel like I’ve made a difference in their lives when they take the time to keep me updated with what’s going on in their life and the new adventures they’re embarking on. So many of our alumni still have a great affinity for the MSJ Gymnas-

Rock Climbers Ascend to New Heights By Aamir Rasheed Staff Writer When it comes to sports, humans love the x-axis. Soccer, basketball, football, swimming, running, and most other athletics tend to accommodate rather than fight gravity. Rock climbing, however, is one of the few sports that doesn’t fit that mold. MSJ Sophomores Spencer Whaley and Christiaan Wustenhoff travel up and down the y-axis almost 10 hours a week, and compete on a traveling rock climbing team. Whaley first stumbled upon rock climbing eight years ago at his brother’s birthday party, where he experienced his first artificial rock

staff writer jason chen

Athletic Director Tom Thomsen (left) and Principal Sandra Prairie (right) hold the Elmer Brown award banner, which will be displayed in the gym.

On Tuesday, Oct. 16 at the MSJ staff meeting, Gil Lemmon, the commissioner of the North Coast Section, came to present the Elmer Brown Award of Excellence in Academics and Athletics. This award, which was presented to MSJ for the second consecutive year, is given to the school with the most high school championships in combination with outstanding academic performance. Scholarship is important to NCS, and Lemmon stated that more pennants are given annually from NCS for academics than for athletics. This prestigious accolade is named after Elmer Brown, a former NCS commissioner and long time head coach at Santa Rosa High School. Brown was known to be

a strong advocate of combining passion for athletics with an equal fervor for education. With 169 high schools, NCS is the fourth largest conference in California and stretches from MSJ to the south to Del Norte High School in Crescent City to the north. NCS created this award to recognize one school whose performance embodied both athletic and academic excellence. Last year MSJ set a new record of 100 points which were tallied based on athletic championships and academic success. MSJ’s student athletes can stand proud as they continue to keep up the good work and remain serious contenders for next year’s award. ▪

tics team and have come back to visit us at practice or support us at meets. I think this shows how influential and impactful the MSJ Gymnastics team has been on different students’ lives. SS: What is a typical practice like for the MSJ Gymnastics team? VS: Our team practices two hours every day. We start practice in the middle of August and go until the first week of November. Some days, we work out at Washington, the only high school that has gymnastics equipment. And a couple days a week we have the privilege of working out at Bay Aerials, a local club gym. The girls always start with warming up and stretching. During a practice, we try and have the girls work in their groups ( JV, Varsity, Varsity Elite) and get practice time on at least two apparatuses. Practice makes perfect! We have the girls practice lots of skills and routines. We end practice with cardio (to help with endurance for floor routines) or strength conditioning. Sometimes if we have time we will play a game to just blow of some steam and have fun! SS: Has MSJ encountered much success in the gymnastics league? VS: Yes. Since I’ve been coaching with Mission, they have won MVAL’s every year except for one. Last year, one of our gymnasts, Ariel Cheng, won the AA at the MVAL championship meet. I am very proud of the team and all they have accomplished in the past few years. ▪

courtesy spencer whaley

Sophomores Christiaan Wustenhoff (left) and Spencer Whaley (right) are MSJ’s resident rock climbers.

climbing wall. Wustenhoff learned about rock climbing last year through a friend in his freshman P.E. class, who encouraged him to join the rock climbing team. Both Whaley

and Wustenhoff fell in love with the sport the first time they tried it and have been climbing ever since. But it wasn’t an easy beginning. “Kids and adults come into the climbing gym all the time who play football, baseball, and other sports,” said their rock climbing coach and climbing veteran, Jacob Padilla. “After they start climbing with us, they realize it’s a completely new experience that challenges their whole body and mind.” Since they have joined City Beach’s competitive team, Whaley and Wustenhoff have grown to be core members of the team. Wustenhoff placed 23rd at the American Bouldering Series (ABS) Youth Local, which covers the Bay Area. Whaley placed first at the ABS Youth Divisional, which covers the entire West Coast of the US. “There was this one route I could not climb,” said Whaley, describing a memorable experience at the competition. “So I decided to jump up past the hard part, and I ended up skipping the part of the route that was troubling me! It was probably the stupidest thing I’ve ever done, but it worked out.” Whaley and Wustenhoff ’s achievements in their rock climbing careers, however, are not the reason why they enjoy climbing so much. It’s the spiritual and emotional experiences, both on and off the wall, that keep them coming month after month to hard, grueling practices. “The team is smaller; there’s no ball to worry about,” says Wustenhoff, “I like rock climbing because there’s a sense of family when you’re on the team.” The duo plan to rock climb for as long as their bodies will allow it. As for now, they’re focusing on training for this year’s ABS competition. They work off each other during practices and have a cohesive bond that helps them become better climbers. “If we don’t succeed at a competition, but still support one another and have a good day, then that’s all I care about, honestly,” says Padilla. “It’s all about being a team and working together.” ▪

28 Sports

The Smoke Signal

Friday,October 26, 2012

Homecoming game 2012: MSj vs kennedy By Marisa Lenci Staff Writer

As the sun set and the fog rolled in onto the green turf at Tak Fudenna Stadium, the MSJ Varsity Football team took their first steps on the field for the long awaited Homecoming game. The bleachers were a blur of green as the crowds were filled from end to end with spirited fans, all ready to support their Warriors. The final seconds wound down before the start of the game, and the Warriors were anxious. “We just want to get it over with,” said Head Coach Samuel Baugh, “we expect something tonight.” Although the Warriors put up a valiant fight, the Kennedy Titans ( JFK) took the win, with a final score of 4119. To kick off the first quarter, JFK had possession, and drove into MSJ territory. On an attempted touchdown pass, Senior runningback Ismail Shafi grabbed an interception, and returned it for 20-yards for the turnover as the crowd went wild. After a 17-yard completion from Junior quarterback Tamim

Sarwary to Junior receiver Ryan Walleman, MSJ brought the ball up to their own 45yard line. Later in the drive, Shafi rushed the ball for 47-yards, but was stopped on JFK’s 1 yard line. Heartbreakingly, the JFK defense forced a Shafi fumble, recovered the ball, and thus gained possession on the turnover. JFK would turn the drive into a score on a five yard touchdown pass, making the score 7-0 Kennedy. MSJ’s next drive was promising, but ultimately ended in a turnover on downs on JFK’s 26-yard line. JFK took full advantage, as the quarterback launched a 53-yard pass for a touchdown, making the score 14-0 JFK. The next MSJ drive resulted in a punt, but on JFK’s subsequent drive, Walleman snagged a tipped ball for an interception on fouth down, and returned the ball 25-yards to their own 49-yard line. Following completions to Shafi and Senior Captain tight end James Gao, Shafi ran in for a 9-yard touchdown with 1:58 left in the first half, cutting the deficit

to 14-7. The score brought the entire crowd onto their feet, and filled the stadium with excitement and cheers. In celebration, MSJ’s student body began the “rollercoaster” cheer, and everyone in the stands buckled up and screamed as they swayed their arms back and forth. For the halftime show, MSJ’s own cheerleaders took the field as they performed their routine. Their synchronized dancing and flips through the air got the crowd pumped and ready to take on the Titans in the second half. After the cheerleaders had finished, Homecoming King and Queen nominees were escorted onto the track by a horse and carriage. After much suspense, the honors were awarded to Seniors Nathaniel Liu and Grace Lee. From all their hard work at MSJ over the last four years, the fans knew they deserved the crowns. MSJ took possession to start the third quarter, but lost it on a turnover on downs deep in their own territory. JFK capped off the short drive with a one yard touchdown run, putting them on top 21-7. After a failed onside kick by JFK, MSJ was ready to make a comeback as they recovered the ball on their own 42-yard line. MSJ drove into JFK territory on passes to Gao and Senior wide receiver Idris Gettani, and rushes from Shafi and Junior runningback Ben Torrez. Desperate on fourth down, Sarwary completed the touchdown pass to Gettani, setting the score at 21-13 and reinforcing the faith of the fans. Sadly, MSJ began to unravel after the score. JFK’s next drive extended into the fourth quarter, and resulted in a 19-yard touchdown pass. JFK carried their momentum over onto defense, as they shut down MSJ, forcing a punt. They then converted the defensive stop into a 25-yard touchdown run, putting MSJ down 13-34 with 8:21 left in the game. Yet another unsuccessful MSJ drive caused a change of possession, and JFK capitalized again with a touchdown pass. The score was now 41-13, and MSJ had a huge hole to climb out of. MSJ recovered

the kickoff on the 30-yard line, determined to finish strong. Sarwary threw a 12-yard pass to Gao for a first down, and then threw again to Walleman for another 12-yard gain. With 2:58 left in the game, Shafi rushed the ball for a 25-yard touchdown run, and the stands were again filled with incessant cheers. The score was now 41-19 with the momentum on MSJ’s side, but unfortunately it came too late. MSJ’s defense came through in the end as they stopped the JFK offense in the last plays of the game, but MSJ was unable to overcome the scoring gap, as they went down by a final score of 41-19. Although MSJ couldn’t pull off the win in the end, they still put up a great fight and there is lots of hope for the prospering new program that MSJ Football is introducing. For the following years to come, MSJ has set individual goals for each term, determined to turn around and start with a new beginning. Nevertheless, the perseverance of the players along with the confident support of their fans

will be an everlasting feeling throughout the years. ▪

photos by graphics editor angie wang, staff writers nina vasan

& aamir rasheed, courtesy yearbook

Vol. XLVIII, No. 2  

October 2012

Vol. XLVIII, No. 2  

October 2012