Page 1


VOL. 54, NO. 7

March 29, 2019


BY THE NUMBERS: Student Volunteering By Anika Arora, Monisha Saxena, Sahana Sridhar & Sabrina Wu Staff Writers




Volunteering is a huge part of our community and also a requirement for high school graduation. With students participating in various volunteering activities, the Smoke Signal surveyed 193 students about their interest and involvement in the community. Additionally, the Smoke Signal conducted interviews with major service clubs to discuss their roles on campus. Of the MSJ students surveyed, 26.6 percent were freshman, 25 percent were sophomores, 22.9 percent were juniors, and 25.5 percent were seniors.

of students have attended a volunteering event through a school service club






of students’ volunteering is done mostly at one organization



MSJ Interact is part of a far-reaching system of Bay Area Interact chapters and districts. While the club encompasses typical monthly service events such as partnering with local shelters, it also provides opportunities for students to meet new people and find mentors in fellow members to learn from and grow. MSJ Interact Co-President Senior Jessica Wang said, “After four years, it has become more of a goal for me to inspire those under me, especially underclassmen, and allow them to see why it’s so important to do service ... It’s just being able to see other people share the same passions as I do and being able to inspire them to become the next leaders.”

of seniors who completed their service hours said they completed the majority of them in sophomore year Educational

KEY CLUB Although not as well-known in the Bay Area, Key Club is the world’s largest high school service organization. On campus, the club offers monthly service opportunities such as volunteering at creek cleanups, assisted homes, and more. MSJ Key Club President Senior Stephanie Dutra said, “[Volunteering] is about fulfilling yourself, and those experiences have touched me and shaped me a lot more than something else I could be doing in just a couple hours over the weekend. I hope that by attending volunteer events and helping out their communities, students will see the value in that and will continue to volunteer beyond just trying to fulfill a service hour requirement.”

“I hope that by attending volunteer events and helping out their communities, students will see the value in that and will continue to volunteer beyond just trying to fulfill a service hour requirement.” — MSJ Key Club President Senior Stephanie Dutra

RELAY FOR LIFE As a fundraising organization for the American Cancer society, Relay for Life (RFL) plays a large role in community involvement at MSJ. The organization was introduced to MSJ in 2012, but has grown a lot in the past seven years. Event Lead Senior Rhea Guliani said, “I think everyone is touched by cancer one way or another, so just through that passion everyone wants to give back to the cause, and RFL is a really good way do that… It’s a lot easier to make a difference in someone’s life than you think.”





Community service has always been integral to the MSJ environment, as can be seen by the hundreds of service forms L2 Adviser Ben Breazeale logs every month. As seriously as MSJ students take their commitment to service learning, Breazeale believes that the 40 hour cap on service hours placed a few years ago was necessary in preserving the quality of the community service experience. “[The staff] began to notice that students were turning in hundreds upon hundreds of service hours … the meaning in volunteering in the first place was getting … lost,” Breazeale said. In the future, he hopes to see MSJ students growing as individuals and maintaining an interest in helping the community.


3 4

As seriously as MSJ students take their commitment to service learning, Breazeale believes that the 40 hour cap on service hours placed a few years ago was necessary in preserving the quality of the community service experience.





LEO LEO Club is a youth branch of Lions Clubs International. MSJ LEO helps connect MSJ students to local service events every month, focusing on finding events from reputable non-profit organizations that are suitable for high school volunteers. MSJ LEO Co-President Senior Ethan Wong said, “We aim to serve in a way that helps both the community and the members of our club grow. We hope our members meet new friends, have a fun time, and learn through personal experiences the value of community service.”

“We aim to serve in a way that helps both the community and the members of our club grow.”

To help the community



1 2

19.3% 27.6%



4 5

— MSJ LEO Co-President Senior Ethan Wong




“After four years it has become more of a goal for me to inspire those under me, especially underclassmen, and allow them to see why it’s so important to do service.” — MSJ Interact Co-President Senior Jessica Wang



To fulfill the service requirement

To hang out with friends




23.9% 36.0%



To have fun












graphics by,,,,,,,



MSJ was named a 2019 CA Distinguished School under the CA Distinguished Schools Program. Read about what this award means and its implications for MSJ.

Freshman Iha Bharadwaj published her third book Trisha Nair and the Quest for Amrit last October. Find out more about her latest book and her journey as a young author.



2 News

The Smoke Signal

Friday, March 29, 2019

3Rs sexual education curriculum implemented this spring The new curriculum places a heavier focus on exploring LGBTQ+ identity By Mingjia Wang & Jessica Xu Staff Writers The FUSD Board of Education approved the Rights, Respect, Responsibility (3Rs) sexual education curriculum for fourth through ninth grade students on January 16, with the first implementation in the second semester of the 2018-19 school year. The curriculum discusses sexual orientation and gender identity, clarifies misconceptions about sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and encourages students to make healthy choices in relationships.

In May 2018, the FUSD Board of Education voted to abolish sexual education voted to abolish sexual education in the fourth and fifth grades after it was unable to reach a consensus on appropriate curriculum for those grade levels. The need for a new curriculum arose after the California Healthy Youth Act took effect in 2016. The act required public schools to include material on topics such as LGBTQ+ identity that were not taught in FUSD sexual education programs at the time. In May 2018, the FUSD Board of Education voted to abolish

sexual education in the fourth and fifth grades after it was unable to reach a consensus on appropriate curriculum for those grade levels.

Overall, the curriculum places a heavier focus on exploring LGBTQ+ identity. The FUSD Board of Education appointed the Comprehensive Health, Puberty, and Sexuality Education (CHPSE) Task Force on June 27, 2018 to review and recommend a new curriculum. It was composed of students, parents, teachers, local health professionals, and administrators. Meeting from July 2018 to January 2019, the CHPSE Task Force took into account guidelines set by the California Healthy Youth Act as well as feedback from people involved in discussions. Director of Curriculum & Instruction Kim Kelly said, “We would have some structured discussion and ... open-ended discussion. We had some discussions that we did in small groups ... we had other discussions that we did with the whole Task Force.” The new curriculum emphasizes every child’s right to learn and ask questions about their sexuality, appreciate gender and sexual diversity, and hold themselves accountable for their behaviors in their childhood and teen-

age years. The elementary program mainly discusses the effects of puberty and friendship and gender roles, while the middle school curriculum explores anatomy, sexual choices and safety, and communication in healthy relationships. The final year of sex education for ninth graders examines sexual responsibility, gender orientation, and human and sex trafficking. Overall, the curriculum places a heavier focus on exploring LGBTQ+ identity. Starting in fourth grade, students learn about gender identity and sexual orientation using a “gender snowperson” as a model. Kelly said, “The bottom snowball represents the anatomy someone’s born with, the middle snowball represents attraction, and the snowball at the top ... is how you identify.” The seventh through ninth grade curricula employ a “gender unicorn” model to explain the same concepts, but the model is not directly implemented in the course lessons. After last year’s proposed 3Rs curriculum received criticism from parents, the CHPSE Task Force worked to assuage previous concerns. Kelly said, “What caused more trouble last year were some of the ... additional videos, or ... additional information around gender spectrum kinds of conversations.” The new 3Rs program corrects those concerns by removing all extra activities, vid-

eos, and parent and teacher resources and including only information required by the law. After proposed mixed-gender instruction received heavy criticism last year, the Task Force also chose to continue separategender instruction for elementary schoolers.

After proposed mixed-gender instruction received heavy criticism last year, the Task Force also chose to continue separate-gender instruction for elementary schoolers. Students who opt out of the sexual education courses will receive an alternate set of curricula. A series of lessons about human anatomy and social awareness has been prepared for students in fourth to eighth grade. Ninth graders who opt out will be given individual assignments by their health teachers. Health Department Head Cate Ruebling declined to comment for this article. Freshman Alvin Wang expressed enthusiasm for the new curriculum. He said, “I’m hoping that this new curriculum builds off of the previous topics and goes more in depth on how students can be safe and learn more about how to be a mature adult.” ▪

SAVE raises domestic violence awareness on International Women’s Day Safe Alternatives to Violent Environments uses dance and poetry to connect women from the community By Samir Jain & Anisa Kundu Staff Writers On March 7, Safe Alternatives to Violent Environments (SAVE) hosted its annual International Women’s Day celebration at Chandni Restaurant in Newark, CA. Led by SAVE’s leadership team, the event commemorated victims of domestic abuse and brought light to issues that affect women around the world today.

Now, the organization’s SAVE Empowerment Center offers a safe space for individuals fighting domestic violence and resources for immediate inperson crises. To kick off the event, SAVE served food and refreshments catered from various local venues in the restaurant’s ballroom. During this time, patrons connected with one another and shared stories or bonded by decorating white t-shirts with SAVE’s message of domestic violence awareness and empowerment of women. Meanwhile, those who sat down to eat watched a slideshow that depicted the powerful stories of domestic abuse survivors along with stories of inspirational women, such as junior US Senator Kamala Harris. After initial introductions, talented young women from the local community performed, in-

cluding a Cantonese opera recital sung by Ohlone College Freshman Cathy Wong and a Kathak performance by American High School Senior Aarushi Solanki and Prospect High School Senior Snigdha Chatterjee. SAVE Director of Programs Kate Hart applauded these performances and said, “Art is one of the best ways to connect and find common ground. Often, an art form such as dance or poetry can allow someone to express feelings they may not be able to share in any other way.”

“I think the most important thing is for women to continue to find spaces where they feel empowered, and for us to realize that empowering women is essential for everyone in our community. ”

Artwork created by SAVE volunteers to show support for the International Women’s Day.

— Executive Director Yasi Safinya-Davies, Psy.D.

The event ended with spoken word poetry: survivors sharing original poems or poems they found compelling. These speakers were representatives of SAVE’s Project LIGHT (Leadership, Inspiration, Growth, Healing, Transformation), a leadership and advocate development program for survivors of domestic violence. Project LIGHT member Aziza Amani, who recited her poem “Grief,” detailing her struggles with mental health and a fierce child custody battle after leav-

ing a toxic relationship, said, “One thing about intimate partner violence is that the society still has a stigma in which they think you were stupid, it was your fault, or some other reason why it happened to you and couldn’t happen to them.” After SAVE’s founding in 1976 as a grassroots domestic violence organization, its members started off educating police officers and physicians about the issue. They also provided temporary shelters for survivors, and advocated for teen dating violence awareness in schools. Now, the organization’s SAVE Empowerment Center offers a safe space for individuals fighting domestic

violence and immediate in-person crisis resources. Executive Director Yasi Safinya-Davies, Psy.D., said, “I think the most important thing is for women to continue to find spaces where they feel empowered, and for us to realize that empowering women is essential for everyone in our community.” In addition to other smaller community events down the line, SAVE plans to have its annual fundraiser gala on September 21 to highlight SAVE’s work and accomplishments throughout the year and help individuals develop a deeper understanding of SAVE’s mission. ▪


for the February 22, 2019 issue News Pg. 1: Waterworld CA should be Hurricane Harbor. News Pg. 2: Ramesh Sambasivan is AlligatorZone Founder. News Pg. 2: Photo is of elementary and junior high school students. Opinion Pg. 3: Shutdown was 35 days. Opinion Pg. 3: Bipartisan budget was approved in Congress on February 13. Feature Pg. 6: Graphics by Graphics Editor Evangeline Chang. Feature Pg. 8: Sunol Regional Wilderness is located southeast of Fremont, and is 6,859 acres. Centerspread Pg. 10: 14 percent of students read for pleasure a few times per week. Centerspread Pg. 11: There are 10 branches in the Alameda County Library system. A&E Pg. 15: Tous les mêmes is misspelled. Sports Pg. 18: Boys Soccer record was 2-12. Sports Pg. 18: Wrestling photo is of Freshman Catherine Zheng. Sports Pg. 18: Girls Basketball record was 22-4.



photo courtesy city of fremont William “Rick” Singer founder of the Edge College & Career Network, departs federal court in Boston, MA. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks during a press conference with Police Minister Stuart Nash.

Fremont To Demolish Centerville Firehouse for New Apartments The Fremont City Council voted in a 4-3 split decision on March 19 to demolish an old firehouse in the Centerville district. The firehouse was built in 1954 but was decommissioned in 2008 after being declared unsafe. After being demolished, the area will be replaced with 26,000 square feet of apartments, retail stores, and Compiled by Anika Arora, Alisha townhouses. Among those who voted Chhangani & Carolyn Qian against decision were Mayor Lily Mei, Staff Writers Councilman Vinnie Bacon and Councilwoman Jenny Kassan.

Dozens Charged for Bribing to Gain Acceptance Into Prestigious Colleges On March 12, 50 people, including famous actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman were charged for the college entrance exam cheating scandal that totaled to $25 million in bribes. William Singer, CEO of the college admissions prep company The Key Worldwide Foundation, pleaded guilty to four charges. Singer bribed test administrators to modify students’ SAT or ACT results or provide accommodations for them. He also bribed college coaches and athletic recruiters to recommend students as potential recruits.

After the Christchurch Attacks, New Zealand to ban assault rifles New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the country will ban all types of semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles following the Christchurch attacks. The law will be put into effect starting April 11. Officials also announced that immediate action would be taken to prevent people from stockpiling weapons and officials will encourage gun owners to surrender their guns. Prime Minister Arden said, “On 15 March our history changed forever. Now, our laws will too.”

A rendering shows what a portion of a mixed-use development could look like if Fire Station 6 were to be demolished.

Friday, March 29, 2019

The Smoke Signal

The Smoke Signal Mission San Jose High School Est. 1964 Vol. 54, No. 7 | March 29, 2019

toshali's take

The grand scheme of things

vic ki’s voice

Don't trick yourself with sorries

By Toshali Goel Opinion Editor

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

SCHOOL POPULATION 2043 students EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Amy Chen, Jonathan Ko NEWS Gloria Chang, Joelle Chuang OPINION Toshali Goel, Vicki Xu FEATURE Kikue Higuchi, Maggie Zhao CENTERSPREAD Karen Li, Kelly Yang A&E Stephanie Dutra, Shray Vaidya SPORTS Hannah Chou, Michael Ren GRAPHICS Evangeline Chang, Lucia Li WEB Rishi Chillara, Shiantel Chiang TECH Tylor Wu, Jennifer Xiang BUSINESS Ian Hsu CIRCULATION Jonathan Liu ADVERTISING Katherine Guo, Shreya Sridhar EVENTS Anisa Kundu, Sahana Sridhar SPECIAL PROJECTS Riya Chopra WRITERS & PHOTOGRAPHERS Anika Arora, Sabrina Cai, Thomas Chen, Josephine Chew, Alisha Chhangani, Sreetama Chowdhury, Christine Dong, Kimberly Huang, Samir Jain, Aria Lakhmani, Seong Jin (Ian) Park, Carolyn Qian, Gokul Ramapriyan, Yusuf Rasheed, Monisha Saxena, Meera Sehgal, Shreya Srinivasan, Mingjia Wang, Gregory Wu, Sabrina Wu, Jessica Xu, Selina Yang

ADVISER Sandra Cohen Send letters to the editor to opinion@ Letters under 300 words may be considered for publication and must include a full name and school affiliation. The Smoke Signal reserves the right to edit for clarity and length. To advertise in the Smoke Signal, email ads@ Advertising that is included on the pages of, or carried within, the Smoke Signal, is paid advertising, and as such is independent of the news and feature content. The Smoke Signal’s right to freedom of speech and press is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution. All policies on distribution, corrections, and bylines can be found at

We hear it around school all the time; we even say it ourselves. “Dude, did you finish the homework?” or “Can I see your notes? I forgot to take any,” are often met with the same flippant response: “MATTERS.” I’m equally guilty — I prioritize the classes and assignments that I know I’ll struggle with or that will require the most effort, and often take shortcuts to circumvent others. If we can still succeed with a minimal amount of effort put into our work, why bother doing any more? We even pride ourselves in our efficiency and ability to find sidestepping solutions. I used to console myself with the same philosophy I’d heard from friends and family alike countless times — in the grand scheme of things, it won’t matter. But what does matter, then, in the grand scheme of things? The faulty logic of this statement can be applied to any wrongdoing, no matter how major or minor, to find some way to deem it excusable. You didn’t do the homework one day — well, it doesn’t matter. You can still get the A. You skipped school because you didn’t study enough for the test — no matter. You can take the make-up, and in the grand scheme of things it won’t change anything. To some extent, these statements can be true. Looking back on your high school experience 20-something years later, it won’t really matter that you neglected to do a homework assignment because you had three

By Vicki Xu Opinion Editor tests the next day that took precedence. But using the grand scheme of things to justify inadequate effort or preparation is deluding ourselves. While it may not matter 20 years down the line, it matters today. Our actions carry weight, and they dictate the attitudes that we will take forward for the rest of our lives. Treating lower-priority tasks as unworthy of any effort will only feed our tendency to do the bare minimum. Constantly using the fact that it doesn’t “MATTER” to rationalize seriously offensive actions is a slippery slope. If slacking off doesn’t truly matter, then soon enough neither will neglecting work entirely, and cheating will follow soon after. Defining where things start to matter, in the grand scheme of things, is impossible. How far will this rationale take us — high school, college, or even beyond? This reasoning won’t sustain as we go through life, when standing out amongst hundreds of employees through true effort and going above and beyond becomes our main worry. So while it’s understandable to neglect some tasks in the favor of others, or to take restful days and not be able to put our 100 percent in at all times — it is still imperative that we remember things do matter. Maybe not in the grand scheme of it all, but it matters now and it will change how you define what matters tomorrow. ▪

The Opinion of the Smoke Signal Editorial Board

Ditch the "dipping" The Nintendo Switch isn’t the only system MSJ students have been known to game. Despite the best efforts of the administration and teachers, students constantly devise new ways to gain an unfair advantage in their classes. The most common method: call in faking sick. At MSJ, skipping the full school day or simply certain class periods, a practice colloquially termed as “dipping,” has become a glaringly prevalent problem over the past few years. By pretending to be sick and missing classes, students buy time to complete projects and homework, or worse, systematically avoid taking tests and quizzes to later receive information from peers who showed up to take them. When students “plug,” or give their friends test questions, they expect their friends to do the same for them in other classes. Hence, the widespread nature of this scheme creates a mutualistic symbiosis, where students plug and get plugged. When students miss tests, teachers must choose between giving make-up tests with the same questions or creating entirely new tests for the handful of absent students. In the first scenario, students who take the make-up gain a considerable advantage. Students who dipped could simply memorize the answers before the make-up test instead of genuinely learning the course material. This practice, relying on classmates to provide details of the test, is blatant academic dishonesty. Moreover, students that make the choice to plug face the additional consequence of violating the honor policy that all students sign. In response to this rampant exploitation, teachers have tried to disincentivize students from dipping test days by creating more dif-

Opinion 3

ficult make-up tests. Most commonly seen in math and science classes, teachers often publicly declare to have made the makeup test harder as a warning to students to not miss the test. However, all students bear the brunt of these punitive policies, especially those who happen to miss a test because they are genuinely sick. Faced with the prospect of a far more difficult make-up test, students often put their own health at risk by coming to school to take tests even when severely ill. Students who abuse the attendance system and parents who enable them have forced teachers to adopt strict punishments that harm all students. In the long run, those who use skipping school as an academic crutch justify any means to the end result of a higher GPA and only harm themselves. While it can certainly be stressful or overwhelming to study for multiple tests on the same day, relying on conveniently-timed absences prevents students from ever truly learning the curriculum or developing proper time management skills. These cop-outs ultimately leave students unprepared for life beyond high school. In college and other professional environments, skipping to avoid responsibilities results in strict consequences: immediate zeroes on tests or even termination from your job. While dipping might seem like a simple solution to your next math test, it is a short-sighted band-aid that ultimately impedes your learning and harms your peers. ▪

In elementary school, the easiest ticket out of trouble was “sorry.” Lost the crayons? Sorry. I kicked you in the shins? Sorry. Letting the class fish die of neglect and starvation? Sorry. Suppressing pride enough to muster up the apology could be difficult, but as long as the damage wasn’t too severe, “sorry” offered a neat patch for a hairy situation. Later on, just “sorry” became increasingly less effective — older age means greater expectations for maturity. And as we grow older, we develop responsibilities too weighty to be solved by a simple apology or an “I’ll do better next time.” Despite this, we still cling to the lip service, especially for the small things. I yelled at my sister again — well, sorry. I left the dishes in the sink again — oops. Each time I would remember and kick myself for not Making The Improvement, apologize, and then resolve into “Well ... I can fix it another day” and table the thought and never revisit it. To be honest, as long as you have some self-awareness, recognizing shortcomings really isn’t the hard part. Changing those habits is. In economics class we watched a TED Talk by Taiwanese technology executive Kai-Fu Lee, who neglected his family during his strenuous 72-hour work weeks in hopes of making his business take off. He achieved numerous successes, but later on was diagnosed with advanced lymphoma and realized he didn’t care as much about his

advances in industry as he did about being with his family. The takeaway was to spend more time with cherished ones instead of devoting all that energy to work — after all, how many people regret not advancing to a better position on their deathbeds? I went home excited to tell my family I appreciated them, and then found myself clicking away at my computer at dinnertime as usual, not joining for the family dinner. Acknowledging your shortcomings isn’t just about saying the right words (or thinking the appropriate apologetic thoughts) then putting the incidents behind you. Talk is cheap. Instead, recognizing problems within yourself must lead to active differences in behavior. Terrible at doing laundry? Focus on getting better at it, instead of just noticing, clocking yourself, and moving on. Amazing at not opening communications from others? Put more effort into those relationships. While tendencies are difficult to change, it’s unreasonable to use the habit’s existence to avoid changing something you know that you could improve about yourself. We’re counseled from childhood to develop good habits and behaviors early, but just because you haven’t doesn’t mean you never will. But developing those habits is contingent on you actively pushing yourself to do so in the first place. As my favorite freshman year PE teacher often said, “Don’t say sorry, just do better next time.” Show your progress through actions, not words. We all need to start applying this advice. ▪

By Christine Dong & Selina Yang Staff Writers

staff writer christine dong

staff writer selina yang

4 Advertisement

The Smoke Signal

Friday, March 29, 2019

Friday, March 29, 2019

The Smoke Signal

Opinion 5

What’s the deal with the Green New Deal? An overambitious Democratic ploy, or a necessary solution to an urgent problem? By Aria Lakhmani & Mingjia Wang Staff Writers The Green New Deal has captured the public’s attention in recent months. Lawmakers, 2020 presidential candidates, analysts, and voters have all weighed in on the clean energy proposal. The Green New Deal aims to tackle climate change by revamping US energy industries and restructuring social welfare programs. Though the Green New Deal is the ambitious effort that is necessary to prevent the impending climate crisis our world is facing, its use as a platform to advance political agendas counteracts what it set out to do.

For many on Capitol Hill, these additions make the Green New Deal seem like an omnibus bill using climate change to pass social welfare programs that Democrats have been advocating for. Although many have openly praised the deal, some legislators and politicians have not shied away from criticizing it. CA Senator Dianne Feinstein voices her opposition in a viral video: “There's reasons why I can't [vote for it], 'cause there's no way to pay for it. I don't agree with what the resolution says.” She’s not the only major politician who has adopted this stance. Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Maryland Senator John Delaney have also spoken out, deeming the Green New Deal a pipe dream. Their concerns primarily stem from the inclusion of promises to provide well-paying jobs and retirement plans for every citizen in the US, to strengthen labor unions, and to provide higher education and healthcare to every citizen in the bill. “I want to do some-

thing about fixing climate change tomorrow. I don’t want to tie it to fixing health care,” Delaney said. For many on Capitol Hill, these additions make the Green New Deal seem like an omnibus bill using climate change to pass social welfare programs that Democrats have been advocating for. Although the push for social welfare reforms is admirable, the thinking goes, it might prevent the bill from gaining full support from the Democratic party. This lack of support could deter the bill’s passing altogether, leaving the US completely unprepared to deal with climate change in the next few decades. A report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggests that failing to decarbonize the global economy in the next 12 years would lead to a “hotter, wetter and altogether more deadly future; the difference between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius of warming, scientists warn, is hundreds of thousands of lives and trillions of dollars.” The Green New Deal would force the US to pull its own weight. Information about the dangers of climate change has been made public by scientists since the 1950s, but the US has still been slow in taking action. The last major climate change legislation, a cap and trade bill designed to encourage limited greenhouse gas emissions, was passed a decade ago. The Republican Party has a history of sweeping climate change and environmental issues under the rug, so President Donald Trump’s mocking of the Green New Deal isn’t surprising, especially considering his previous comments against climate change (Trump famously declared global warming a hoax in 2012, and has maintained his stance

on Twitter in recent years). What is surprising is that the support of the Green New Deal isn’t a purely partisan issue, as proven by Pelosi’s and Feinstein’s wariness of the bill. The divisive nature of this bill demonstrates a split between new blood in the Democratic Party who seek to accurately represent newer generations and long-time Democratic legislators who seem to have preconceived notions of what passes in Congress and what doesn’t.

What the country needs is a simple and effective deal that tackles the pressing issue of climate change crisis that our country is facing. The only way that the Green New Deal can be accomplished is through compromise between long-time legislators and up and coming ones, a compromise that has to cut out propositions relating to social wel-

graphics editor evangeline chang

do you believe aps should be offered before sophomore year at msj? why or why not?

AP Courses

ike Ja




“Not before, but during. So AP Statistics used to be open to sophomores, and it was very successful. As long as they have the prerequisite, I'm all for it. I've seen the data, and sophomores in AP Stats did very well, and I think it actually reduces stress in the junior and senior because that's one less AP to take during the eleventh and twelve grade years.”


“I do believe APs should be offered before sophomore year at MSJ, because I believe the students should thi, 12 Se be able to realize and handle the stress, and they m should be able to understand that AP classes are not something that you just stack up. It's something that if you are up to the challenge, have to fit in with the time management, and either it works out or it doesn't, and if it doesn't work out then you're overwhelmed, and you learn from the experience, and I feel that students should be given the option. If the outcome is bad at least they will learn from it and become a better person from it.”

Shy a

Compu te



r Jan


“I think in general, students need to be more educated on what AP classes are all about and the values that colleges look at when it comes to signing up. Just for them to understand more of that. If they understood that, it would help them to take more classes or take less classes. Coming from experience, I've seen kids with zero AP classes get into UC Berkeley because of their GPA, and I've seen kids who have taken a lot of AP classes, do really bad, and not get into the university of their choice.”


c he ea

e yd

10 tak,

nce Te



ie Sc


t ha

"Perhaps have a review for each class given to you by students with a rating system of different categories like hardness, test material, and teachers attitude. Some other things I'd like to see implemented are availability to students, so students don't apply for an AP course that usually isn’t given to a lot of students. Then they have an alternate which is completely garbage so they feel like they wasted their time."


Tan is

“We could have a little bit more realistic time schedule for APs. We could have a practice work session before actually signing up for APs, like a test run for the class to see if we like them or not because a lot of times, looking at the AP work load or looking at a piece of paper that says a misleading 60 minutes.”


y Vaid a, 11


“I believe some APs should be available, seeing that they have filled their prerequisites. However, Amber Jia there definitely should be a limit on how many a sophomore can take. Freshman year is for the most part, pretty easy for everyone. Many students, caught up in the Mission spirit to push yourself academically, many end up assuming that sophomore year is the same way. Thus, at the end of freshman year they may end up signing up for more than they can handle. Still, AP classes in sophomore year opens up many interesting courses students can take to start exploring their interests.”

, ng

are there any changes that you would like to see implemented in the ap registration process? hq

fare and solely focus on climate change. Legislation like the Green New Deal is absolutely necessary and a step in the right direction, but the bill currently does have flaws. The deal, in its current state, is wellintentioned, but by bundling in protections for family and medical leave, paid vacations, retirement security, health care, and a host of other issues that don’t directly relate to climate change, the bill starts to seem less about climate change and more of a cover for other legislation that lawmakers have been trying to pass for years, which is detracting many in Congress from supporting it. What the country needs is a simple and effective deal that tackles the pressing issue of climate change crisis that our country is facing. We can’t allow such an important bill to become bloated and overly-ambitious. Lawmakers need to take a step back, re-examine their goals, and take the time to write a straightforward bill that gets the job done. ▪

photos by staff writers kimberly huang & sreetama chowdhury

6 Opinion

The Smoke Signal

Friday, March 29, 2019

A look into public vs. private colleges Which schools prove to be more worth it in the long run? By Kimberly Huang, Gregory Wu & Jennifer Xiang Staff Writers Each year, high school seniors across the nation experience the grueling process of college admissions and ultimately must decide where they want to spend the next few years of their lives. In the process, they consider a slew of factors: cost, future income, environment, and countless more. However, they may also consider another variable — the college's name. Private colleges like Harvard, Stanford, and MIT are regarded as bastions of academic excellence and prestige. Because of this, students often associate such institutions with respect from peers and success in careers, regardless of the actual impact of these institutions on their lives. When committing to colleges, students should lay down their bias toward acclaimed private schools and also consider more cost-effective public schools.

When committing to colleges, students should lay down their bias toward acclaimed private schools and also consider more cost-effective public schools.

graduates earn, on average, 10 percent more than their public school counterparts. Furthermore, according to a report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the sixyear graduation rate (which accounts for students who take extra time to earn their degree) of students from private schools was seven percent higher than that of public school students. While these statistics may look pretty on paper, they don't necessarily speak to the relative effectiveness of private institutions. Even if the significantly higher starting income seems to bode well for the future, the loans students may need to cover the costs of private school actually outweigh the income disparity between the graduates. The Lexington Law study also shows that despite the slightly higher salary of private school graduates, most are set back an average of at least four years by debt. Moreover, the higher graduation rate of private colleges is generally the product of the possible higher admission standards of some private schools and not of what the private college itself has to offer.

Furthermore, private colleges may not even live up to their prestige in comparison to some public schools. For example, the Ussniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was ranked by the US News & World Report to have a better undergraduate business program than esteemed private colleges like Princeton and Harvard. Regardless of their name, reputation, or history, private schools aren't necessarily the golden standard of education.

Regardless of the benefits that private schools boast for future graduates or the respect their name may earn from friends, they simply don’t hold an edge over their more cost-efficient public counterparts. On the other hand, public schools hold major advantages based on their affordability. According to the NCES, private universities cost an average of $41,468 per year — more than double the average price of an in-state public

Public and private schools mainly differ on their means of funding and operation. Public institutions are either funded or directly operated by their state governments. On the other hand, private schools are privately owned and operated, and must be funded by tuition, endowments, and donations. Private colleges can be further split into for-profit private schools and nonprofit private schools, the major difference being that forprofit school funds ultimately go to individuals, while nonprofit school funds are solely devoted to education. Undeniably, these private schools do offer quite a few benefits for students. According to a study by Lexington Law in 2015, private school

graphics editor lucia li

college at $19,488. This translates to lower student loans and loan rates; a study by Pew Research Center shows that 10 percent fewer public school students depend on loans to finance their education. Furthermore, loans taken by public college students are, on average, $4,448 less than those of private school students. UC students in particular graduate with $11,808 less debt, while California State University students graduate with $13,848 less. Another added perk for star athletes is that far more public schools than private schools offer National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I sports programs, meaning that they offer more money in athletic scholarships and more opportunities to play against top athletes at the collegiate level. However, these metrics are meaningless without one final factor — happiness. While happiness is undeniably difficult to measure, a study by the Pew Research Center quantified the life satisfaction of public and nonprofit private school graduates over three aspects: family life, financial situation, and job satisfaction. In the end, the happiness of both types of graduates averaged about the same. The only exception to this metric is the work engagement and general well-being of for-profit private school graduates, who averaged significantly lower than students who attended either nonprofit option. Regardless of the benefits that private schools boast for future graduates or the respect their name may earn from friends, they simply don’t hold an edge over their more cost-efficient public counterparts. In most cases, cost-benefit analysis shows that the best choice for a student is a public university. Rather than focus on what other people will think of their college choices, students ought to turn their attention to which institution will help them pursue their goals. ▪

Insight Education

College Counseling & Test Prep SAT Summer Classes SAT Summer Session 1: June 14 - July 10 (11 day) Mon / Wed/ Fri

Times Vary SAT Summer Boot Camp: June 15 - Aug 17 (10 day) Every Saturday

9:00am - 6:15pm

SAT August Boot Camp: Aug 5 - Aug 16 (10 day) Monday - Friday

9:00am - 6:15pm

ACT Summer Classes

High School & College Admissions Counseling High School & College Admissions Planning & Research: For High School Students in grades 9 through 12 College Admissions Insight for Seniors: Applications, Common Application Essays, Supplement Essays, Interviews, Scholarships, Recommendation Letters & Financial Aid

ACT Summer Session 1: June 18 - July 25 (11 day) Tuesday / Thursday

9:00am - 6:00pm

ACT Summer Boot Camp: July 6 - Sept 7 (10 day) Every Saturday

9:00am - 6:00pm

ACT Fall Epress Boot Camp: Aug 10 - Sept 7 (5 day) Every Saturday

9:00am - 6:00pm

Extracurricular Activities & Volunteering: Choose, Prioritize & Stand out on the college application

More classes available on our website! | (408)-252-5050 |

Friday, March 29, 2019

The Smoke Signal

Feature 7

THE NAP YOU'VE BEEN DREAMING OF... By Thomas Chen, Ian Park & Tylor Wu Staff Writers

Everyone has tossed and turned in their beds waiting for the sweet release of sleep, and sometimes we get so exhausted that we fall asleep at the most inconvenient times, like in class. Don’t worry, the dream team (the Smoke Signal of course) is here to offer some dreamy advice to help you experience the ideal nap!

BENEFITS Naps restore alertness and enhance performance. A study at NASA on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 26-minute nap improved performance by 34 percent and alertness by 100 percent. A short 20-30 minute nap can boost your short term alertness without leaving you feeling drowsy or affecting your sleeping schedule. If you’re feeling drowsy while driving, the National Sleep Foundation recommends you pull over and drink a caffeinated beverage to wake yourself up before deciding to take a 20 minute nap.

Drawbacks Don’t doze off just yet, though. Napping too long can leave you with sleep inertia, a groggy state generally lasting 15-30 minutes. Sleep occurs in approximately hour and a half long cycles called REM cycles, with 5 different stages each cycle. Sleep inertia is at its severest when one wakes up from a deep sleep, defined as stage 3 sleep. Symptoms may include varying degrees of grogginess and drowsiness. So limit your sleep to stages 1 and 2 by napping no longer than 30 minutes. Also, try to nap in the early afternoon to avoid negatively affecting your nighttime sleep.

The Nap Store : If you really want to invest in taking your nap game to the next level, consider purchasing some of these affordable and nifty naptime gadgets. White noise machines purposefully mask sound from the environment with artificial sound, such as waves or crickets. They help to block out distracting sounds when sleeping. Eye masks can be helpful for mid-day naps as they help to filter out or block light. Everyone’s feet get coldest when they’re sleeping, especially when the sofa is too small or the blanket doesn’t cover oneself completely. Foot warmers will keep your little toes nice and toasty!

Sleeping Environments:

Types of Naps:

In order to maximize the effectiveness of your nap, make sure to create the perfect napping environment. Keep the noise level consistent because sudden bursts of noise can disrupt your slumber. Although you might feel drowsy in a warm room, consider turning down the thermostat to sleep. The best temperature to take your nap at is between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit — just below room temperature. Sweep cell phones and other screens aside before your nap as well since exposure to blue light tends to disrupt sleep. If you really want to up your sleeping setting, try adding lavender oil into a diffuser. It could help you sleep sounder and wake up faster.

Consider what your goals are as a napper. If you’re looking to recharge your batteries in a short amount of time, try power napping. These short 1520 minute naps can have positive effects on your short term alertness and motor skills. Coffee lovers can combine their caffeine with their sleep. It takes around 15-45 minutes for caffeine to reach its peak levels — take a nap during this time for a double dose of refreshment. Artists might consider longer 60-90 minute naps which can enhance memory and creativity. Sleeping for longer periods causes the body to enter REM, or rapid eye movement sleep, where the brain is most active. Be careful with this type of napping, though, or else you may wake up feeling groggy. graphics by

8 Advertisement

The Smoke Signal

Holographic Augmented Reality

Friday, March 29, 2019

Leap to the Future What would you like to do next in the future? Interested in creating a Holographic AR portfolio that shows up your creativity to stand out in your college admission? Holographic AR is a new kind of media and provides students great opportunity to pioneer in AI, 3D movies, 3D game design, digital art/Comic, and interactive news reporting, etc. Join the #1 AR camp to turn your ideas into creative designs. Kickstart your dream career now!

Summer Camp

Receive Best Education and Be Successful We guarantee small staff/student ratio (1:8) to ensure optimum attention toward you. The curriculum is designed to provide a personalized learning experience. Each student will learn at their own pace. We enable every student to program, design, and innovate with Holographic AR technology. All instructors are professionally trained and certified in Holographic AR programming with strong backgrounds in science, engineering, art, design, movie creation, communication, journalism, or other related areas.

Invest In Your Future Program, Design, and Innovate with Future Tech What You Will Learn:


Course Lists: -Intelligent Holographic AR Design with AI -Interactive Holographic AR Movie with 3D -Holographic AR Adventure -Interactive Holographic AR 3D Game Design -Interactive Holographic AR Comic Creation -3D Holographic AR Adventure -Broadcasting with Holographic AR

-Holographic AR Programming -Creative Thinking -Design Thinking -UI/UX -Interactive Storytelling -Design Art -Computer Animation

NBC Quote: “ Holographic AR is 2019 Top High School Summer Camp Choice at Bay Area”

-Logic -Public Speaking -Visual Communication -Game Design -Movie Creation -News Reporting -Broadcasting Engineering -Innovation Artificial Intelligence (AI) -Empathy -STEAM

ABC Quote: “ Holographic AR is a new kind of media that provides students great opportunity to be a pioneer in AI, Movie, Game design, digital art, and news reporting, etc. ” CBS Quote: “ Learning the Holographic AR technology enables high school students to innovate and pioneer in their interested fields, which are key for their future

(Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math)

-Computer Skills -Internet Skills

“I liked the way the software was introduced to us, starting with simple projects and gradually becoming more complicated. I felt like I really understood after only a few days of experience. I would definitely be interested in creating more projects such as games in the future. I think the ability to make interactive games has a lot of potential, and I am interested in experimenting further.”

Student Used Holographic AR to Create Video Resume to Stand Out in Her College Application Lee struggled academically in her early years of high school and was even held back a grade but striving to gain academic success. Given the opportunity, she created a Holographic AR video resume to tell admission officers how she had failed, struggled, fought, and risen. A high-quality video resume would have cost her $50,000 or more, but with Holographic AR it cost next to nothing in time and money. She was admitted to the Univ. of California, Berkeley. It was her fighting spirit, hard work and dedication as well as her later academic achievements that won the hearts of the admission officers. And Holographic AR made it possible for her to engage with admission officers emotionally and helped them empathize with what she had gone through in her life.


Register Now: Space is Limited Only 8 Students Per Class

For Mission San Jose Students Only: Save:

$60 /Week

Use Code: MSJ19 Exp: 04/15

Friday, March 29, 2019

The Smoke Signal

Feature 9

Student Spotlight: Laura Savio By Jonathan Liu, Monishaa Saxena & Shreya Sridhar Staff Writers

Senior Laura Savio will be inducted into the 26th annual Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame. Along with 13 other women, she will be honored at the organization's annual luncheon and ceremony on March 30. Savio has been an active community member throughout her high school career and has overcome great obstacles to become a champion for domestic violence survivors and a mental health advocate. Savio has been outspoken on these topics through her involvement with MSJ Key Club, Team Stronger than You Think, Global Glimpse, and the MSJ Mental Health Committee.

Savio attributes much of her inspiration for her activism to personal experiences and has been very vocal about them. Despite family difficulties, Savio was determined to not let her past define her future. Savio said, “My biggest goal is to prevent ... and help people get through [family issues] because I know that I have a unique experience, and I can either let it negatively impact me or learn from it and use the knowledge that I’ve gained to help other people.” She is also motivated to destigmatize mental health in Asian-American communities because her mother, an Asian immigrant, struggles with mental health issues. Savio said, “You don’t talk about [mental health and domestic violence], especially in Asian communities, so for me, it’s about bringing awareness to those issues because I lost my mom from it.”

Savio’s contributions to MSJ Key Club, Stronger than You Think, Global Glimpse, and the MSJ Mental Health Committee encompass her extensive experience in youth empowerment and social service. Savio is the Co-Vice President of MSJ Key Club, an international service club that revolves around leadership, character building, caring, and inclusiveness, and has been a member since her sophomore year. Savio said, “I really like how our club reaches so many people from all walks of life.” At the start of her junior year, Savio joined Stronger than You Think, a youth empowerment group from the domestic violence prevention agency Safe Alternatives to Violent Environments (SAVE). She helped host Fremont’s first youth empowerment summit, called Symbiosis, which was comprised of workshops exploring youth activism, healthy relationships, mental health, and LGBTQ+ history. During the summer of her junior year, she spent two weeks in Ecuador representing Global Glimpse, a program that nominates youth activists and leaders to travel to developing countries and participate in community service. There, Savio taught English to children and helped paint a mural for a family. According to Savio, the Mental Health Committee was her most memorable youth activist experience. “I think speaking [on the panel] during my junior year and planning it during my senior year was really impactful ... As a member of the team, I was able to support the speakers and make them feel as empowered as possible,” Savio said.

Savio plans to ma jor in social work in college and later attend graduate school for either marriage and family therapy or clinical social work. She would like to continue her non-profit work throughout college, especially SAVE Savio hopes to inspire others to accept and care about their peers. Savio said, “My mantra in life is, ‘If it doesn’t hurt anyone, and it makes you happy, just go on and do it’ ... I just want people to learn to accept and care about other people, regardless of their background, and if what they’re doing isn’t hurting anyone, why not let someone be happy?”

The Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame annually honors women who have contributed to the community with outstanding achievements. The women are chosen from an application pool with 13 categories for inductees, including education and philanthropy; Savio has been inducted in the youth category. Savio said, “I feel really grateful to be nominated. Being recognized is a reminder that the work I do is meaningful, impactful, and important.” The organization hosts annual luncheons to honor the inductees and raise money for the Mary V. King Leading the Way Youth Scholarship Fund and local community organizations which support women and families. County Administrator and Co-Chair of the Women’s Hall of Fame Susan S. Muranishi said, “Celebrating the inspiring achievements of this outstanding group of Women’s Hall of Fame inductees will be the perfect way to recognize National Women’s History Month in March.” photos courtesy laura savio

10 Feature

www www..thesmokesignal org

march horoscopes

Horoscopes are astrological charts that use star signs and planetary alignments to divine details about a person’s future relating to love, work, health and more. Though many consider horoscopes frivolous and inaccurate, readers sometimes find them closely relatable. The Smoke Signal puts a satirical spin on the monthly predictions written in the stars.

By Alisha Chhangani, Christine Dong & Shreya Srinivasan Staff Writers




CancerScorpio Pisces


Oct 23 - Nov 21 The flu is going to hit you bad this season. We would suggest you stock up on Kleenex. Your communication skills vastly improve, but alas, no one can understand you with that stuffy nose. You crave a deeper understanding of your romantic partner and your relationship, which is a little difficult when your illness keeps them ten feet away from you at all times.



Libra Sep 23 - Oct 22 Aquarius Libra You’re bored of all your usual drinks: lattes and the normal frappuccino. So you should decide to try the new Cloud Macchiato releasing soon. Your creScorpio Pisces ative juices are flowing this month. There are DIY projects aplenty in your near future. We wonder what you’ll do with all those birdhouses.



Virgo Aug 23 - Sep 22 Virgo This month it is veryTaurus likely you will lose something very dear to you. The stars would suggest you keep your pencil pouch close because it is in danger. Your energy is up leaps and bounds from last month. The changing of seasons means it’s time to break out the spring wardrobe and wear your funkiest pieces. You can do no wrong in the eyes of the fashion elite.

Aquarius Jan 20 - Feb 18 With Venus in Aquarius, Gemini Aquarius Libra your life might get cluttered up with thoughts of romance and happiness. You might think now is the time to ask out your long-time crush. However, it’s not cuffing Cancer Pisces sea- Scorpio son anymore, so forget all about that and focus on scoring an extra trig quiz pass or acing that multiple choice test. Now’s the time for your mind, not your heart, to shine.






Friday, May29, 4, 2018 Friday, March 2019



Cancer Jun 21 - Jul 22 Watch your outward ac- Cancer tions. So long as you pay excessive attention to how you portray yourself this month, everything will go stunningly. Studying for APs? Your reputation is more important. If things start to go wrong, take the opportunity to withdraw from society entirely. Burrow in bed with that extra pack of cookies; might as well indulge yourself.






Gemini May 21 - Jun 20 You’re suddenly the main lead of a soap opera — you Cancer seem to be miscommunicating with everybody. It would do you well to avoid your crush, your friend, your family, and probably everyone else while you’re at it. If you’re charged with a driving infraction, possibly due to time spent with a Taurus, the planets divine your charming personality will largely reduce your fine.

Aries Mar 21 - Apr 19 Your fiery passion leads you to be the best at what you do. That AP Chemistry test? You set the curve. Watch out, though. Uranus’ influence has ended, so your violent instincts are amplified. Try not to overreact when the other Chemistry students glare at you with envy.











Pisces Feb 19 - Mar 20 Pisces If you find yourself Cancer zoning out in the middle of history class, don’t be alarmed! That’s just your mind’s eye opening up to the possibilities of the universe this month. Be warned, though: someone will make you cry. Multiple someones will make you cry. Be especially wary of Aries’ temper. After all, Aries season is coming up soon. Mercury is in retrograde, so nothing that happens is ever your fault.




Leo Jul 23 - Aug 22 A teacher is likely to not follow the test date guidelines Taurus Virgo according to your star positions. Prepare for 5 tests on exactly April 1st. Yes, it is a Monday, and yes, it is an odd-numbered day. No, this isn’t an April Fools joke. We suggest you get working. Oh, and you’ve been granted excellent health this month — good luck getting out of taking those tests.

Sagittarius Nov 22 - Dec 21Leo ARIES Sagittarius Keep up the energy, but keep an eye out for snakes looking to take advantage of you. There might be a group test or quiz in the future Taurus Capricorn Virgo where you’ll unfortunately end up carrying. If you drive, then the planets say that your friends will try to use you as their personal chauffeur. Turn them down and be like a bee — don’t let anyone or anything hold you back, not even all the known laws of aviation.


Capricorn Dec 22- Jan 19 Capricorn Virgo The planets Taurus have a message for you, and they’re saying you’ll have to put in double the effort if you want to get an A on that project you’ve been working on. Is that another all-nighter written in the stars for you? Academic troubles aside, your love life this month will go great. The odds are high that your celebrity crush will drop by your least favorite class to sweep you off your feet.


Taurus 20 - May 20 Capricorn Money is slow this month, so hold off on the daily boba runs and don’t offer to pay for that forgetful friend. Impulses take precedent over your better judgment; your friends will admire your daring spirit, but be careful not to get caught if you decide on a night time excursion. It’s not so admirable to be discovered in the process of sneaking out.



The Smoke Signal The Smoke Signal




graphics by


Friday, March 29, 2019

The Smoke Signal

Arts & Entertainment 11

C R I T I C S’ C O R N E R Under the radar

MusiC: taliwhoah, hozier | Film: captain marvel, climax

Captain marvel soars but doesn’t quite land

Music review



By Anika Arora Staff Writer London-born Taliwhoah brings a unique sound to modern day pop music. An artful fusion of jazz, R&B, and reggae styles, her sound encompasses her real-life struggles, including her experiences as a bisexual woman of color in the music industry. From relaxing vocals to uptempo electronic beats, Taliwhoah’s music encompasses a versatile range unlike any other artist in the industry. Raised in London under the heavy artistic influence of her family, Taliwhoah spent her youth immersed in music. After moving to Seattle at the age of 13, she graduated from high school early and relocated to Los Angeles. Rough conditions left her living on the streets of LA, where songwriting turned into a “survival tactic.” While she was homeless, Taliwhoah’s friend offered to let her to stay in a studio, where she helped during songwriting sessions and fell back in love with music. Able to overcome homelessness through writing music, she returned to London in 2014 and launched the start of her career with her self-produced EP Melodies of Madness. Over the years, Taliwhoah has evolved as an artist, from the fast-paced beats and subtle melodies of her first EP to a more varied style in her recent releases. In 2017, she signed with record label Rostrum Records in LA and released a new EP, New Wave Order, Vol. 1, in 2018. Each track embraces her struggles with depression, LGBTQ rights, and homelessness through pure vocals and strong rhythmic instrumentals. Though her style is unlike any other musician, Taliwhoah’s songs most closely resemble those of R&B singers Kehlani and H.E.R. With the planned release of her fourth EP, 2019 will be a breakthrough year for the up and coming artist. ▪

By Sreetama Chowdhury Staff Writer Five years after his soulful debut album, Hozier returns to the music scene with an armful of love songs for the end of the world. The Irish singer-songwriter released his second album Wasteland, Baby! on March 1, 2019; it debuted at No. 1 spot on Billboard 200. An eclectic album, it references everything and everyone from Greco-Roman mythical figures to contemporary artists. After the release of his first album Hozier and an EP in 2018, Hozier — real name Andrew Hozier-Byrne — all but disappeared off the face of the earth. His recent music exhibits a newfound sound, as if Hozier is attempting to compete against his prior work. Unlike Hozier, an album characterized by the darkness of the songs on it, Wasteland, Baby! introduces a more optimistic tone. The album retains Hozier’s characteristically poetic songwriting, with a glut of extended metaphors creating breathtaking imagery in each song to discuss nihilistic ways of thinking. However, he breaks away from that mold to explore more light-hearted concepts — compare the somber narrative of “NFWMB,” for example, with “Dinner & Diatribes,” which is essentially four minutes of griping about the tedium of social interaction — but the album is held back by a failure to fully commit to a new sound. While Wasteland, Baby! does contain more upbeat, disco-esque numbers, such as the cheerful bop “No Plan,” many of the album’s songs feel almost familiar. Over and over, Hozier repeats the formula he used to create his groundbreaking 2013 song “Take Me To Church,” as if by emulating its sound he hopes to recreate its success. Instead, he only creates a blurring effect between his cookie-cutter songs. Hozier’s lyricism is, as always, stunning. The increase in the singer’s use of profanity is notable; several of the songs on the album contain explicit lyrics, as opposed to the singer’s previously squeaky-clean repertoire. With references to drugs and seduction, Wasteland, Baby! is considerably more mature in content than listeners have come to expect. He alternates between songs that are lush and poetic, such as “Wasteland, Baby!,” and more upbeat flirtations. At fourteen songs long, Wasteland, Baby! isn’t a short album, but still suffers from abrupt transitions in mood. For example, the swelling, choir-backed “To Noise Making (Sing)” is followed immediately by the dark, earthy “As It Was,” a whiplash-inducing change of pace. Similarly jarring is the transition from “Shrike,” a tender and profound declaration of love, to “Talk,” a slyly seductive number directly afterward. These rapid shifts in tone leave the listener reeling; while each song is individually enjoyable, the combination they’re arranged in doesn’t make sense. Overall, Wasteland, Baby! is a triumph of an album, seamlessly combining intricate lyrics and Hozier’s admirable baritone. It skillfully showcases a great deal of growth as a songwriter, successfully branching out into different themes yet still maintaining the qualities listeners love about Hozier. Rather than wallowing in the darkness of its predecessor, Wasteland, Baby! takes a more positive approach, ultimately ending on an optimistic note. ▪


By Jennifer Xiang Staff Writer The announcement of Marvel Studios’ first movie centered around a female character was met, as expected, with both fanfare and critcism. Captain Marvel doesn’t hide from this designation — it holds its titular superheroine Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) and her origin story up, declaring her as a bastion of empowerment for women young and old everywhere. Yet holding this up gets tiring at some point along the movie’s runtime, as some metaphors get mixed and a little too heavy-handed. A disorienting beginning sees Danvers waking up from a nightmare without memories of her past. She is established as a sworn soldier for the Kree alien species, in the middle of a massive war with the Skrulls, another alien species. Though the movie rightfully assumes that most of its diehard fans already have a passing familiarity with these concepts, developed over the twenty-orso Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies released in the last decade, anyone who hasn’t brushed up on this movie chronology can get easily lost. Her struggle seems high-stakes, with all of the high production value one has come to expect of a su-

perhero blockbuster. But without any real reason to care about her story or the war, it remains a drag. It isn’t until Danvers crashlands into 1990s southern California with memories to remember and mission orders to ignore that the movie truly gets started. Without a past to further define her, Larson delivers a clipped yet relatable performance that is nonetheless unremarkable. She bumps into familiar characters from former films, including a young Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who joins her mission to stop the Skrulls and helps her remember her past. All the while, they deliver welcome comic relief in a film, making it pass enjoyably and with relative ease. The film, being a prequel to most other movies in the MCU, has the burden of preserving a very specific continuity while still having the appropriate twists and turns. It pulls this off rather well, answering a few mysteries about beloved characters and events while letting the few unknown ones drive the plot. Captain Marvel finds its heart in Danvers’ drive to recover and reconnect with her past, leading the characters to her grieving Air Force buddy Maria (Lashana Lynch) and Maria’s daughter. The friendship between the two drives the middle third of the film, as

Danvers’ world is turned upside down. It’s a welcome human grounding in a film more concerned with concepts, including a heavy-handed imperialist and refugee commentary that’s hardly radical. Politics can work well in superhero films, but with on-thenose and unsubtle current-events references, it lessens its power. Much is the same in the last third of the film, which pairs Danvers’ fight against newfound villains to montages of the character, in various stages of her life, refusing to give up in the face of misogyny. This montage is undoubtedly powerful and beautifully made, yet matching it up to a fight against a character played by Annette Bening — a woman — is a bit confusing. Every moment of Danvers’ resilience and power is enjoyable and fresh for a film studio so long focused on men, but by the time the climactic fight sequence is set to No Doubt’s “Just a Girl,” it becomes clear that Captain Marvel doesn’t have much to say about feminism or empowerment beyond that girls can do anything boys can do. They can join the Air Force, fight against imperialist aliens, and even make good-but-not-great superhero movies. ▪ Rating: B-

Climax never reaches peak potential

By Yusuf Rasheed Staff Writer

2019 Spring Open Studios: Choose Your Own Art Tour When: April 7 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Where: Various Studios Price: Free Art Explosion Studios will be hosting the 10th annual Spring Open Studios, where attendees can come see more than 100 artists — from painters to sculptors to fashion designers — and their work. A Boogie wit da Hoodie Concert When: April 4 8:00 p.m. Where: The Fillmore Price: $5 Rapper A Boogie Wit da Hoodie is holding a concert at San Francisco in The Fillmore. He will be mainly performing songs from his latest album, Hoodie SZN, which he released on December 21, 2018. Chocolate Salon When: March 30 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Where: San Francisco County Fair Building, Hall of Flowers Price: $20 The 13th annual San Francisco International Chocolate Salon will be featuring a wide variety of activities, from chocolate tasting to demonstrations to chef and author talks. Attendees will also be able to see master chocolatiers and other culinary artists. Grilled Cheese Festival When: April 13-14 12:00 p.m.. to 5:00 p.m. Where: SoMa StrEat Food Park Price: $36 With April being National Grilled Cheese Month, San Francisco is celebrating one of the most irresistible food creations of all time. Participants will get lost in a cheesy web of deliciousness where they can eat at more than 10 specialty grilled cheese vendors while listening to live music from local rock band The Stu Tails. ▪

By Ian Park Staff Writer Argentinian-French director Gaspar Noé’s R-rated fifth feature film, Climax, debuted at and won the Art Cinema Award at the Cannes Film Festival. As with all of Noé’s previous productions, his filmmaking mantra is to provoke, disgust, and garner as much hate as possible. Unfortunately for both viewers and Noé, Climax fails to live up to the notoriety of Noé’s other films. The movie is over before it even begins, with the “opening” scene being the end scene, followed by the credits. One pitfall of the movie is painfully obvious foreshadowing. With plenty of references to drug use, brutal fights, and incredibly obvious lines by characters, such as “I smashed a head once,” and “This is not a good place for a kid,” any viewer with any clue of how horror movies work will cringe. The foreshadowing allows viewers to immediately begin formulating what will happen to which character, detracting from the element of surprise every good horror movie should have.

The movie begins with a brilliant and vibrant celebratory dance scene in front of a huge French tricolor flag that was filmed in only 16 takes by Noé himself. The camera pans up and down to provide both a birds-eye and frontal view of the choreographed formations. Noé’s cinematography changes with every different shot, but is surprisingly consistent and familiar with viewers. With so many electrifying and mind-blowing acrobatical performances, this dance number is surely one of Climax’s few highlights. For the time being, the party seems normal, albeit boring, with bland and repetitive gossip that drags on for 15 minutes. However, the mood turns sour as the LSD in the sangria wine starts to kick in. The troupe leader Selva (Sofia Boutella) clutches her head and turns to blame Emmanuelle (Claude-Emmanuelle Gajan-Maull), who brought the sangria. As the party descends into chaos, the soundtrack, produced by Steve Bouyer and Pascal Mayer, intensifies to incessant throbbing electronic dance music blasting from a boombox. And of course, no horror movie would be complete without screams — except

in Climax, viewers become numb to the shrieks because the screaming literally never stops. The lights are switched off and eerie red emergency lights dimly illuminate the entire dance floor, where the entire troupe has congregated, some writhing on the floor, a couple shamelessly having sex, and others simply dancing. Furthermore, at this point in the movie, the camera (Benoît Debie) starts shooting shaky shots upside down, and zips across the floor too quickly to process what is going on, contributing to the dizzying and chaotic scene. While the constituent elements of discord and frenzied action do inject a taste of thrill, it’s too little, too late. If you’re looking for a movie that keeps you breathless the entire runtime, with a meaningful plot, message, or at the very least, some jumpscares and gory violence, Climax is not for you. The acting was mediocre, with many members of the cast being dancers, not actors. Climax closes with the line “Death is an extraordinary experience.” Unfortunately, Climax isn’t. ▪ Rating: D+

Rating: A-

12 Centerspread

The Smoke Signal

Friday, March 29, 2019

Friday, March 29, 2019

By Sreetama Chowdhury, Kimberly Huang, Meera Sehgal & Sabrina Wu

Staff Writers

Evolution of Women’s Roles What is feminism?

In recent history, there has been a lot of confusion about what the term feminism means. Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines feminism as “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” Common misconceptions of feminism being anti-male or anti-feminine have disoriented the movement, but at its core, feminism advocates for women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.

At the birth of the tech industry, underrepresented women faced frequent discrimination and harassment because of their gender. While this notion of male superiority has faded somewhat over time, the disparity certainly hasn’t — in fact, it’s widened. Despite changes in traditional views and improved accessibility to resources, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of women in technology has dropped from 31 percent in 1995 to 25 percent in 2015. The gender gap is less pronounced in education, where, in a historical first, women are more represented than men. A 2012 study from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that 56 percent of all American college students are women. It also states that 59 percent of female high school freshmen and only 53 percent of male freshmen said they expected to complete a bachelor’s degree.


HeForShe was first introduced in 2014 as a social movement campaign to recognize men and boys as agents of change for women’s rights and gender equality. This inclusive approach invites all genders to take action for equality. With the help of its committers, the movement focuses on accelerating women’s economic empowerment, supporting women’s role in peace and security processes, advancing women’s political participation and leadership, and eliminating gender-based violence. Since its creation, HeForShe has amassed more than 2 billion commitments including the likes of former President Barack Obama and Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia.

Planned Parenthood

The Women’s March, an organization aiming to promote feminist activism through peaceful protest, was founded in 2017 in response to the election of current President Donald Trump. In its first year, it inspired the largest single-day protest in U.S. history, drawing close to 5 million people to Washington, D.C. and sparking similar demonstrations around the world. The organization was founded on “Unity Principles,” intersectional platforms that connect feminism and other social movements to stress that “women’s rights are human rights.” Since its founding, Women’s March has held an annual march to instigate social change.

National Organization for Women

An institution of more than 100 years, Planned Parenthood was founded on the idea that women should have access to sexual and reproductive health care and education to lead healthy lives. With a century’s worth of work to promote women’s health, the organization is the largest provider of comprehensive sex education in the nation. It hopes to empower all people to make informed choices and lead healthy lives. More than 600 health centers offer all people high-quality, affordable medical services such as unintended pregnancy prevention through contraception, sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, and screenings for cervical and other cancers. Planned Parenthood has helped women gain control over their own bodies and in that, their lives.

As a grassroots branch of the women’s empowerment movement, the National Organization for Women (NOW), founded in 1966, champions feminism, societal change, and equal rights for women and girls in social, political, and economic life. With more than 500,000 members across the nation, NOW works holistically to push for social change through extensive electoral and lobbying work. NOW’s 2004 March for Women’s Lives brought a then-record 1.15 million activists to Washington, D.C. to advocate for women’s reproductive health options, making it one of the largest protests in US history.


Girl Up is a United Nations organization working to empower young female leaders and improve the status of women in developing countries by supporting opportunity equality. The MSJ branch of Girl Up was founded in 2014 by Alumna Lavanya Singh and raises awareness about gender inequality through its annual Girl Up talk. The panel features students and teachers discussing gender equality to start conversation about and expose the student body to feminism. Given more time, MSJ Girl Up hopes to increase its club activity and hold fundraisers to raise money for underprivileged women.

— Kirsten Trinh, 9





“I think changes can only happen if people of both genders come to agreements. If men don't play a role in advocating, the movement would become a debate about men vs. women, which isn't the goal. Men support the rallies, protests, and legislation that make the feminist movement so powerful.” — Ganesh Murugappan, 11

Exit Zine is a feminist publication on campus that works to provide MSJ with knowledge behind what feminism is and to separate the word “feminist” from its current negative connotation. Each issue of the magazine discusses a specific topic, such as women in the workplace or the #MeToo movement. The organization encourages people to fight against the patriarchy. Within the MSJ community, the organization, which meets to edit their semesterly issues, tries to destigmatize the concept of feminism. Founded in 2015, the organization was created to educate all genders about feminism through writing and to encourage people to appreciate activism. In the future, Exit Zine hopes to increase the number of people on its staff in order to increase its influence on campus.

— Alicia Tee, 10


Founded by Reshma Saujani in 2013, Girls Who Code is a nationwide organization with one mission: to eliminate the gender disparity in tech. Girls Who Code offers learning opportunities to women and girls who are new to coding or don’t feel confident in their abilities. The MSJ branch of Girls Who Code works to help girls who don’t have the resources to begin learning to code or don’t know where to start. Members form close bonds and have created a community. Not only does Girls Who Code try to expose girls to coding languages, it also helps them explore various technological fields and potential career paths. In the future, the club hopes to acquire resources from the larger organization and use those to fund field trips, Raspberry Pi computers, and more.

“The feminist movement has not really affected my view of society or everyday experiences because to be honest I have lived in the Bay Area bubble for a majority of my life, and when I wasn't in the Bay Area bubble, I was in the urban/liberal bubble, making me always have the belief that women and men deserve equal opportunities, etc., and that there are many areas where women and men are getting equal opportunities, etc. Not perfect of course, but still by far better than what the feminist movement and its waves have been fighting for. I think what really affected me in regards to all of this would probably be the #MeToo movement a little more, specifically in that it has kind of opened me to understanding that there are many women and even men who have been victims of abuse and could not really speak out on it (not really anything about the general feminist movement I guess, but I feel #MeToo is definitely part of that feminist movement).” — Anirudh Kesanapally, 11

“We want to shed light on the fact that [feminism] is something that we need ... to progress toward a more equal and just society.” — Exit Zine President Anika Chakrabarty, 12


"The feminist movement has made my working conditions better because most of my co-workers are female. Being in the teachers' union, when we go and have meetings with all of our unit members, I noticed that something like 70 percent of the unit is female, and they advocate not only for their working conditions but mine." — Math Teacher Jan Frydendahl


Equal Pay Act

Roe v. Wade

The landmark Roe v. Wade 1973 US Supreme Court case, which ruled that extreme state regulation of abortion is unconstitutional, was a huge milestone in the fight for reproductive rights. The case established the constitutional right to privacy, which encompasses the right to a safe, legal abortion. While the case has been contested several times, Roe v. Wade has yet to be overturned.

"I think men need to recognize their privilege, whatever privilege they have, and that they are the people who are also responsible for lifting up women, giving them more equal opportunities, and changing their actions too."

"If you try to make men sort of leaders in this movement, it's just continuing on the patriarchal status quo. So, I think the important thing is for men to be able to take a supporting role to promote women where possible, to listen to women, to take leadership from women, and that's the best way to contribute to it. I don't think that's something that we [as men] can take a leadership role in.” — English Teacher John Boegman

MSJ is home to the only Women’s Studies class in FUSD. The course is dedicated to studying women's past and current role in the world and normalizing the conversation around the issues and challenges women face. The class allows students to broaden their understanding of the world and find their voices in topics of sex, gender, and health legislation. Women’s Studies Teacher Stephanie Kearns stated that Women’s Studies is not only about women, but that it’s about humanity. She said, “There’s a lot of work to be done around equality for all students at MSJ ... there’s also a lot of resistance to feminism on campus that sometimes has appeared in vandalism.“ Kearns continued by saying that although the resistance is disheartening, it reinforces the necessity of having the Women’s Studies course on campus.

* rights extended to African American women in 1965

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act, to remedy the wage gap between men and women. The act forbids employers from giving men and women different wages or benefits for doing the same job. As one of the first federal laws that focused on workplace equality, it is symbolic of the equal pay fight that continues today.

"I think feminism is part of a larger movement in which people are fighting for equality and an opportunity to do whatever they want in life. I would define it as women having equal opportunities as those of any other gender." — Jihoon Park, 11

“As an Indian girl, I feel that I have the unique advantage of viewing feminism and gender roles through the lens of my culture. Women in India face violence and discrimination and as a result don't have nearly the amount of freedom that men have. I'm glad women are gaining larger prevalence in the media and the discussion around feminism is growing larger, but until we can reach true equality everywhere in the world, I think the feminist movement is vital and necessary." — Ashni Mathuria, 12

19th Amendment

Ratified by Congress on Aug. 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution granted white* women the right to vote. Women had organized and petitioned for suffrage since the 1800s, but it took decades for any real change to take place. Suffragettes and supporters faced harsh criticism and abuse, but they banded together to campaign for a national amendment. With their success, they changed the face of politics nationwide.

WHAT DOES FEMINISM MEAN TO YOU? "Feminism is gender equality for all of the genders in the spectrum. Not women ‘throwing a fit’ like so many narrow minded people believe to be. No matter what people want to think it is in the end, it is the fight for all gender equality."



Womenʼs March




Centerspread 13


WOMENʼS HISTORY MONTH March, officially Women’s History Month, honors women’s contributions to American history and prompts numerous marches and celebrations nationwide. In celebration of women’s history, the Smoke Signal has compiled this informative spread on both national and local feminist organizations, the history of women’s rights, and female icons in industry.

The Smoke Signal

Ban on Women in Military Overturned

Among the most recent advancements in women’s rights history is the Pentagon’s 2013 lift of the ban on women in combat. The military policy banning women from numerous combat roles had been implemented since 1994, despite the constant presence of women on the front lines of Afghanistan and Iraq. The decision opened up thousands of front line positions and, for the first time, allowed women to assume all branches of combat roles in the army.

14 Arts & Entertainment

LOCAL BAKERIES By Christine Dong & Sahana Sridhar Staff Writers Nothing says after school cram session to an MSJ student like a large Starbucks coffee or a milk tea. Walk inside any coffee shop or boba place after 3 p.m. on a weekday, and you’ll see. In an effort to help MSJ diversify its taste buds, the Smoke Signal compiled a list of local bakeries that deserve the same degree of attention as over-frequented chains. From Turkish baklava to German pretzels, Fremont’s culturally diverse food scene has much more to offer than we give it credit for.

la farfalla Bakery

Often overshadowed by the nearby grocery store and Starbucks, La Farfalla Bakery is located at 39947 Mission Blvd, only seven minutes away from MSJ. The pastel cake stands and lace table cloths on the windowsills give the small shop a high-end feel, but the Parisian-themed bakery sells delicate pastries and carefully crafted macarons at an affordable price range. Known surprisingly for its in-house boba, the European decor is purely a facade, as La Farfalla Bakery’s menu is catered to the milktea fueled tastes of Bay Area residents.

The Smoke Signal


TWO MICE BAKERY A dream of bringing the unique taste of German baked goods to the Bay Area actualized as Two Mice Bakery, an on-demand bakery that delivers all over the Bay. Their affordable menu features baked goods ranging from Steinofen Brot, a wheat bread, to classic, soft German pretzels, to sweet and airy Nutella-filled buns. The low prices, freshness and quality, and the convenience of delivery make it possible to enjoy such treats without ever leaving the house.

sweet home cafe

Tucked away in a bustling shopping complex at 6068 Stevenson Blvd, about twenty minutes away from MSJ, Sweet Home Cafe’s relaxed yet trendy ambiance is furthered by its accent brick wall and mid-century modern bookshelves. The quaint cafe’s menu features all sorts of Asian delicacies and fast foods, its specialties being inhouse baked egg puffs and uji ice cream cones. Its low price range, proximity to MSJ, and welcoming ambiance make it the perfect hangout or study spot.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Orders through email, Instagram, and Facebook have allowed local pie business Pie Dreams to grow into a Bay Area-wide venture. Owner and Fremont native Ricky D. began baking pies at home and delivering them all over the Bay Area in 2012, an initiative that became the roots of his business. Pie Dreams’ trademark is its unique menu, featuring flavors ranging from his daring bestseller Cheeseburger pie to Thanksgiving special Hennesy Pecan. As Pie Dreams establishes itself in the restaurant scene, it simultaneously defies the norm and surprises taste buds.

dash coffee and bakery The perfect place to find Middle Eastern desserts is located a six-minute drive away from MSJ on 44047 Osgood Road Suite 210. Dash Coffee and Bakery offers sweets such as baklava and kunafa as well as Turkish delight in flavors like pomegranate and rosewater. They also sell fair trade coffee and tea with a diverse menu including earthy Ismir Turkish Coffee and smooth Cancun Vanilla Bean frapuccinos. The establishment works with local dairy suppliers and bakeries to ensure the freshness and quality of their products. photos by

Friday, March 29, 2019

The Smoke Signal

VON'S CHICKEN By Katherine Guo & Gregory Wu Staff Writers

Arts & Entertainment 15

Vons Chicken, a Bay Area restaurant chain, held its Fremont grand opening on January 30. Located at 5010 Mowry Ave., Fremont, CA 94538, the restaurant specializes in Korean food, with variations of Korean fried chicken featured prominently throughout their menu. Despite the attentive service and menu variety, the restaurant was ultimately a letdown, in both taste and value.


TASTE: 3/5

The coleslaw and pickled radish, served as complimentary small side dishes, were well-made and had a good balance between sweet and sour, setting up the meal for a good start. Other sides, especially the fries, were well-seasoned. However, the chicken dishes, the focus of their menu, fell short. While moist, they were only seasoned on the outside, leaving the inside meat bland. The Vons Special Sauce Chicken, featuring a sweet and spicy glaze, was a disappointment. As with the other dishes, the flavor stopped with the glaze, which became gelatinous as it cooled.


SERVICE: 4.5/5 The Vons Chicken staff was generally welcoming and attentive, making sure to greet all customers upon entering the restaurant. Although there weren’t many customers that Friday afternoon, business started to pick up towards the evening and the staff was just as accommodating. Two small plates of coleslaw and radish were given directly after ordering, and the fries and crispy fried chicken were delivered within 15 minutes. However, the kimchi fried rice appeared nearly 30 minutes after ordering, separate from the rest of the meal. As appetizers should come before the fried chicken, this made for an awkward last dish. Otherwise, the staff was helpful and was the bright spot of the meal.

VALUE: 2/5

Although the staff makes the environment of the restaurant more welcoming, the ambiance still leaves much to be desired. The restaurant is relatively small and boxy, with most tables only seating two people. It is clearly oriented as a take-out restaurant, as large parties would have trouble being comfortable in the space. Although there are three TVs, two of them are permanently set to display menu items, and the dim lighting fixtures make the restaurant feel more secluded. Finally, the use of styrofoam to box up the leftovers is a major disappointment, and hopefully will be changed to be environmentally friendly in the future.

Compared to other Korean fried chicken locations in the area, Vons Chicken’s menu is grossly overpriced. Half a chicken combination, comprised of four wings and four drums, costs $13.99. Combined with the poor quality and small cuts of meat, the chicken dishes easily leave customers unsatisfied. The same is true of their sides, save for the fries, which come in a heaping basket. Nevertheless, the portion and quality of the fries were unable to make up for lost value of other dishes. photos by staff writer gregory wu

Alumni Spotlight: Jessica Mao By Josephine Chew Staff Writer

With more than 15 years of piano experience and a longtime love for musical composition, Jessica Mao is currently in her third year as a Technology and Applied Composition (TAC) major at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM). Mao first ventured into composition while practicing piano as a child. She said, “When I was little, I’d be practicing piano and occasionally be unhappy with how a piece ended, so I made my own.” In fourth grade, she took the next step of physically writing out a composition for the Fremont Young Composer Contest, which she was one of the seven winners of. Later on, she entered the National Young Composers Challenge and engaged in a four-week summer composition intensive at SFCM, where she hand-wrote two-to-three-minute pieces every night of the first week. While cultivating her musical abilities, she picked up flute and piccolo, competed in various piano competitions, and played in the Jenny Lin Foundation music program and

Mao plays a composition at the studio.

FUSD Summer Band/Orchestra Program. As time went on, Mao’s homework increased and began to eat into her piano practice time. Undaunted, she played in three bands throughout middle school and high school, devoted her lunchtimes to practicing piano in the band room, and spent hours composing in her head. When she discovered notation software, she started to swiftly jot down musical sketches that would eventually evolve into full-fledged pieces. At some point during junior year, Mao realized that she wanted a career in composition. Describing her decision, she said, “It just clicked — this was what I wanted to do.” Even so, she still felt apprehensive about majoring in music. Mao said, “Every MSJ student that I or my parents knew was very academically strong, and those who graduated all went to study something in STEM — even those in band or orchestra. I was warned that becoming a music major, or anything in the arts for that matter, was a bad idea. They said I wouldn’t have a financially stable life. But I continued to be stubborn.”

Mao jots down notes on the score of one of her compositions.

Determined to achieve her goal, Mao dedicated a tremendous amount of time and effort toward composition. After dozens of sleepless nights, she finally compiled a portfolio and applied to several universities and conservatories. Her tenacity paid off, and she was accepted to SFCM as a TAC major in 2016. That same year, her composition “Fera Phantasia” premiered with FUSD Summer Band/Orchestra Program Advanced Band. Concert band composers like Frank Ticheli, John Mackey, and Eric Whitacre, along with a dream she had one night, inspired the song’s rippling harmonies. Mao chose to major in TAC rather than traditional composition because she loved and wanted to score for video games and films, which constitute a huge sector of the entertainment industry. As a TAC major, she composes and works with music technology like digital audio workstations, microphones, and recording hardware and software. She also collaborates with people outside her department and school on projects like a recent documentary covering a homeless, Juilliard-trained

singer. Additionally, TAC majors visit the Sony Interactive Entertainment San Mateo Studio every semester to work on the Sony Project, in which they write music for fictional games and experience live recording sessions. Mao’s favorite original composition at the moment is “Black Swan,” a dark, edgy character theme song she wrote for last semester’s Sony Project. Listeners can find “Black Swan” and other works on her website and SoundCloud profile. To high school students aspiring towards a musical career, Mao said, “If you think all it takes to be a musician is to understand music theory and be able to play [Franz] Liszt’s ‘La Campanella,’ which I definitely can’t, think again. English writing skills are important. To a certain degree, even math and computer science are important. Don’t let others discourage or belittle you in your journey. Ask questions whenever you need an answer. Make friends — a huge part of being a musician is developing relationships. And most importantly, always make time for music, whether it be making some or simply listening to some.” ▪ photos courtesy jessica mao

16 Sports

The Smoke Signal

Friday, March 29, 2019

Sports Graphics By Anisa Kundu & Yusuf Rasheed Staff Writers

graphics by staff writer anisa kundu

graphics by staff writer anisa kundu

IvyBoost Education College Counseling


Boost your chances of getting into top colleges

“My counselor encouraged me to explore and find my own unique path, because IvyBoost principal is to provide each

4 in-depth assessments

6 Planning modules

90 Ivy Class colleges recommended

a result of this intimate and high-efficiency environment of

10 steps college applications

IvyBoost, I was able to see tremendous growth in myself not

student with customized counseling and guidance without expecting them to adopt a one-size-fits-all counseling plan. As

only academically but also as a person over the past 4 years.”


— C.H.

Courses and rigor choice

Extra-curriculum and volunteer activities

Summer programs and internships

Standard tests plans

43301 Mission Blvd 1580 W El Camino Real

Career plans

Fremont, CA 94539

Mt. View, CA 94040

Colleges list and major choices

(510) 656-6800

(650) 282-5588

early application or regular application

Essay brainstorming and editing

 

Financial aid and scholarship Interviews and more

“I was admitted to Yale, Dartmouth, Duke, and John


Silicon Valley Center



In 1 of their


Top 3 Choices


Hopkins with scholarships from $35000 to $56000 per year. Thanks to IvyBoost for its great counseling service guiding me through each milestone.”

— H.L.

“My counselor is very organized at every meeting and knows what he is doing. Tips on how to write my essay were invaluable and the essay book recommended to me was great and very helpful;. The IvyBoost staff is very helpful and supportive.”

Professional Affiliations: · WACAC · HECA · IECA · NACAC


Friday, March 29, 2019

The Smoke Signal

Track and Field at Dan Gabor Invitational

By Katherine Guo, Jonathan Liu & Carolyn Qian Staff Writers

Sports 17

On March 2, MSJ Track and Field attended its second meet of the season, the Dan Gabor Sprint & Distance Invitational at Amador Valley High School. Despite inclement weather throughout the invitational, MSJ competitors across all events excelled.

Sprints 100 Meter Dash

In the 100 meter dash, MSJ Track and Field had 15 runners across both men’s Rachel Lau, 11 and women’s events, with each of the 15 runners achieving a personal record at the invitational. While this was the first invitational for some runners, this is still a tremendous feat, and many have since broken their records at later invitationals. Highlights included Sophomore Asavari Gowda’s performance in the women’s 100 meter dash, where she placed 14th out of 202 runners with a 13.60 second run and Junior Jason Yun’s 71st place finish in the men’s 100 meter dash with a 12.44 second run, which had 299 runners. Additionally, despite falling during the race, Freshman Isha Kasanagottu achieved a personal best in the women’s 100 meter dash. Sprints Coach Brian Singleton said, “[My favorite moment] was just to see a lot of season’s best times. A lot of athletes are putting their race game plans into action.”

Jumps Junior Jason Yun was the sole MSJ competitor of all field events, competing in the Boys Long Jump event and placing 21st among 36 competitors at 17 feet and 9.25 inches. To attend the event, competitors had to have placed at the top 36 among all 62 long jump registrants. According to Yun, the change in the MSJ team’s focus on training had contributed to his success: rather than extensively focusing on technique as it did last year, the team had focused on conditioning instead. Yun said, “I think that helped a lot because once you get the initial technique down, fine-tuning your technique is something that happens more over time and can’t be rushed, so I think that going to the weight room helped a lot.” He is optimistic for this season, especially regarding its underclassmen, who make up the majority of the team.

Looking Forward

Track and Field hopes to carry their success onward to future meets. According to Bolds, returning members have already outdone their performances from the previous year, and many new freshmen members shone during the invitational as well. Overall, the team valued the experience that members, both new and returning, gained from this invitational for the upcoming season, notably in preparation for MVAL meets. Singleton said, “It’s an indicator, it’s kind of a starting point ... [invitationals are] more about giving our athletes an opportunity to perform at a high level with good competition.”

400 Meter Dash

Despite the relatively low number of runners, with one girl and three boys competing in the 400 meter dash, three out of the four runners achieved personal records at the race. In particular, Junior Ansh Singh’s 53.30 second run placed 11th out of 243 runners in the men’s 400 meter dash but was also a personal record. Sophomore Farrah Lin, the only runner from MSJ in the women’s 400 meter dash, finished 53rd out of 144 runners with a 69.22 second time. Singh said, “[Dan Gabor] helped us bond together as a team and gave us a challenge to show our hard work.”


Sophomores Liem Nguyen, Nathan Pan, and Mohammed Aldrubi competed in the 300 meter hurdles event, placing 48th with a time of 53.18 seconds, 50th with a 53.78 second time, and 55th with a 58.17 second time, among 58 competitors, respectively. The team is primarily composed of new members, especially freshmen. According to Nguyen, the three performed well since they are all first-year hurdlers. Regarding Nguyen’s personal experience, he said, “Honestly, it was my first official 300 meter race, so I was hoping to see what time I would get, and that’s the time I would go with moving on in the season.”

Long Distance 24 boys and 12 girls competed in the 1600 meter distance race. Despite having to run in the rain during the late afternoon, a number of runners had stellar performances. Junior Arnav Arora earned a time of 4:23.88 minutes, earning him eighth place out of 325 competitors and improving on his previous time at Skyline Invitational. Freshman Elyes Serghine was the team’s first freshman to break five minutes for the mile with a time of 4:59.65 minutes, and Freshman Marianne Chuang ranked 70th out of 184 with a time of 5:59.14 minutes. For Distance Coach Jahdai Bolds, “Seeing them put together everything from their last race [and] learning from what they did at Skyline ... was definitely exciting.” In the 3200 meter distance race, MSJ Track and Field’s top runner in the men’s division was sophomore Yusuf Rasheed, who placed fourth out of 37 with a time of 10:05.75 minutes. Freshman Aneri Sheth was the top MSJ runner in the women’s division, placing 17th out of 36 competitors with her time of 12:51.34 minutes.

Shyam Sethi, 12

photos by the smoke signal archives, courtesy flora chang & samrat ghosh

photos by staff writers katherine guo, jonathan liu & carolyn qian. graphics by,

18 Advertisement

The Smoke Signal

Friday, March 29, 2019

Friday, March 29, 2019

BY THE NUMBERS: MSJ SPORTS FANS The Smoke Signal conducted an in-person survey of students’ viewing habits and opinions regarding sports. A total of 193 students from eight classes across all four grade levels responded to the survey. Read on to learn about how MSJ students spend their time watching sports and their preferences about what they watch.


of students surveyed watch the Super Bowl, making it the most popular sporting event to watch among students.


34.9% 35.7%


30 20

More than 8 Hours (1.6%)



3-6 Hours (7.4%) 0 None (52.1%)

1-3 Hours (36.8%)

By Anika Arora & Gokul Ramapriyan Staff Writers



Sports 19

The Smoke Signal




h AC

s ion






B er




e cc



a ion





S rld

o W



ad hM





r Ma AA




MSJ students overwhelmingly prefer watching professional sports instead of college sports.

2.4% 0.6%


53% 47.6%



Professional (59.7%)

full game

50 40 23.8%



19% 9.5%






t ke




t oo



c So



e as


College (9.1%)


checks final score

20 10


Neither (31.2%)




44.2% of students opt to watch highlights more often than full games. 19.9% only check the final score.

52.2% of students enjoy watching Bay Area teams more than non-local teams.

graphics by

Baseball suffers loss to Fremont Christian By Josephine Chew Staff Writer Varsity Baseball took on Fremont Christian School at an away game on Friday, March 8. Although MSJ persevered through all seven innings, Fremont Christian maintained the upper hand and emerged victorious with a score of 0-11. Their star player, Pitcher Senior Bubba Gomez, was part of what gave them an edge over MSJ. The first inning was uneventful, with neither team able to make it past the first couple bases. MSJ was at bat first but quickly acquired three outs and switched over to defense, where the opponent earned two walks but was also unable to make a run. During the second inning, however, Fremont Christian scored four home runs in rapid succession, establishing a solid lead. MSJ Pitcher Sophomore Matthew Okino threw several balls, giving the opponent their third and fourth walk. The next time Fremont Christian was up at bat, MSJ used a

swift play to stop one of their runners from sliding into first base. Nevertheless, Fremont Christian still managed to bring in three

“This game doesn’t show what type of team we are. We just didn’t execute anything that we were trying to execute.” —Baseball Coach Larry Price more runs and bump up the score to 0-7. Center Fielder Senior Austin Chen started out the fourth inning strong with a promising double, but Fremont Christian quickly broke that momentum and ended the inning, preventing MSJ from scoring any runs. Fremont Christian’s batters earned four more runs by the end of the fifth inning, wrapping up the score at 0-11. Neither team made any runs in the sixth and seventh innings, leaving Fremont Christian with an 11-point victory.

Left Fielder Freshman Harsh Patel swings his bat.

Third Baseman Freshman Frank Hao runs to the next base.

Utility Player Sophomore Neel Desai said, “I feel like we could’ve done better, a lot better. We haven’t seen a D1 [Division 1] pitcher before, so that’s something new.” Coach Larry Price agreed and said, “This game doesn’t show what type of team we are. We just didn’t execute anything that we were trying to execute.” As for the team’s goals going into the game, Price said, “A couple goals were to keep the leadoff guy off base. We were unable to do that consistently, resulting in a lot of run scoring ... but we gotta tip our cap to their pitcher, Bubba [Gomez], who’s a great pitcher and kept us off bounds, so credit goes to them as well. They were a good team, and they just beat us today.” With regards to what went well, Price said, “We showed up, but the competitiveness

wasn’t there, the toughness that we talked about wasn’t there, but we’ll come back ... Pitchers were okay, and Okino came in, Matthew Okino came in to shut the door for us.” The defeat brought the team’s win-loss ratio to 2-4 at time of writing. At practice, the team has been focusing on improving consistency. They also had a scouting report to see what each hitter was best at in preparation for the game. Going forward, Price remains hopeful for the rest of the season and said, “We got a really good team this year — this game doesn’t change anything with my beliefs. We got a really strong team, really young team, and it’s a really exciting time to be part of Mission San Jose Baseball. It really is.” ▪ photos by staff writer josephine chew

20 Sports


The Smoke Signal

Friday, March 29, 2019

NCAA: No More Risk Without Reward By Ian Park Staff Writer

Imagine a six-foot-eight, 285-pound, once-in-a-generation athlete averaging 21 points and eight rebounds even amongst talented peers who is forced to play at the collegiate level. Anybody who has watched the Duke University basketball team’s Forward Zion Williamson play will tell you that he is truly unique — the sold-out games and absurd up-to-$10,000 ticket prices surely support his case as a generational phenomenon capable of playing at a professional level. And yet, at the end of the day, Williamson and his teammates won’t see a cent of those earnings. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) exploits Division 1 student-athletes to bring in $11 billion for schools in ticket sales. In return, these athletes receive no compensation — they are not allowed to accept endorsements or find work while their sport is in season. In addition, due to the high intensity of collegiate-level practices and games, these athletes are subject to injuries that can possibly ruin their chances of entering the professional league. If instead, college athletes could sign endorsements or enter professional sports directly after high school, the impact of these issues would be lessened.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) exploits Division 1 (D1) student-athletes to bring in $11 billion for schools in ticket sales. In return, these athletes receive no compensation. There have been numerous shocking cases of college stars who never made it professionally because of debilitating injuries. Former NCAA college football player Inquoris “Inky” Johnson had been a projected firstround NFL draft pick and was only 10 games away from the league before his right arm was

paralyzed by a hard tackle. First-round defensive backs can land a $50 million contract. Unfortunately, Johnson had to play college football for the University of Tennessee before he was eligible to turn pro, putting his body and career on the line for draft eligibility.

According to a study by Drexel University and the National College Players Association, some surveyed athletes had to pay colleges scholarship shortfalls of as much as $17,000 out of their own pocket. Alongside increasing the risk of injuries, student-athletes do not receive pay for their contributions. While NCAA argues that offering student-athletes scholarships is equivalent to paying professional players, most student-athletes still pay a considerable portion of their college fees. According to a study by Drexel University and the National College Players Association, some surveyed athletes had to pay colleges scholarship shortfalls of as much as $17,000 out of their own pocket. The same study found that among NCAA Division 1-A Football schools, 82 percent of full-scholarship athletes who live on campus and 90 percent of full-scholarship athletes who live off campus are at or below the federal poverty level. These athletes put in countless hours training to represent their school. Especially with athletes who are capable of turning pro after high school, these athletes not only risk injury in college leagues but also lose out on potential money that can help alleviate their economic strain. The NCAA, on their part, claims that these guidelines are beneficial to the “student-athletes” — after all, one reason for these athletes to go to college is to receive an education while playing their sports. But

for such generational talents like Williamson, the NCAA rules fall completely flat. To players already projected to be top picks in professional league drafts, their time in college becomes nothing more than a formality.

To players already projected to be top picks in professional league drafts, their time in college becomes nothing more than a formality. For these athletes, the solution is simple: let them sign athletic endorsements, earn money for themselves, or — for star athletes — turn pro after high school. Many athletes have enjoyed successful professional careers straight out of high school. Five time NBA Champion Kobe Bryant said that entering the NBA after high school, when it was allowed, was his “best decision,” and Los Angeles Laker small forward LeBron James, who is fourth in all-time NBA scoring, also entered the league right after graduating

Duke University Basketball Team’s Forward Zion Williamson injures himself after his shoe breaks. photo by

Athlete Spotlights

cif wrestlers nikita dhaliwal and elias khamisy

By Kimberly Huang & Yusuf Rasheed Staff Writers


On February 16, MSJ wrestlers Nikita Dhaliwal and Elias Khamisy both qualified for the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) State Wrestling Championships in Bakersfield after placing 2nd in each of their weight divisions. The Smoke Signal interviewed the two athletes about their wrestling journey.

Nikita Dhaliwal Senior Nikita Dhaliwal began wrestling in her freshman year simply to keep in shape when she noticed that she was losing weight. However, after seeing her own improvement, she dedicated more time to wrestling in her sophomore year and began wrestling off season as well. Her hard work saw her through a grueling match at NCS, after which she attended CIF for her first time last year. Since then, she has come a long way. At this year’s CIF, Dhaliwal ranked second in her weight category. To stay in shape for wrestling, Dhaliwal holds constant practice as her highest priority. “Normally, I try to finish all of my homework in class, when we get class time. Then I have practice after school, then if I’m not tired I’ll go to the gym. Or if I have a project, I’ll skip the gym and do it right after practice,” she said. However, no matter what, attending practice is non-negotiable. “I wrestle all year long ... so I go to different camps and I wrestle club and go to offseason tournaments and train super hard at the gym and lift weights ... basically I never stop.” She also identified her aspirations early and planned her high school life appropriately. “Because I knew that I was going to wrestle in college ... I had a very balanced schedule, I didn’t overwhelm myself with hard classes because I knew that wrestling takes a lot of my time anyways,” Dhaliwal said. Among all the matches in her high school career, Dhaliwal considers her most memora-

from high school. James has even criticized the NCAA for corruption and emphasized the importance of being around professional mentors rather than playing in college. Back to Williamson — 33 seconds into February 20th’s Duke vs. the University of North Carolina game, Williamson injured his knee when his shoe burst. Immediately, tweets by Utah Jazz All-star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell and ESPN sports analyst Adam Schefter read, “Again let’s remember all the money that went into this game ... and these players get none of it” and “Here’s the knee injury that ended Zion Williamson’s night.” We shouldn’t look to Williamson as the tipping point for the NCAA to revise its compensation rules –– the debate has been going on for decades. While Williamson was fortunate enough to return from his injury and play an impressive game against Syracuse on March 15, others have and will continue to fall victim to the NCAA system. ▪

Senior Nikita Dhaliwal wrestles her opponent during a match.

Senior Elias Khamisy poses with his medal.

ble match to be her last year semifinals match at NCS. “Last year my goal was to make state, and when I won that match, it guaranteed me a spot at state,” she said. “I was really nervous about the match ... so after a hard fight, I pinned her in the second round.” Despite her high placement this season at CIF, where she won two matches out of four, Dhaliwal was disappointed with her overall performance. “I didn’t perform as well as I thought I should, because I put in a lot of work like always but I had a lot of bumps, specifically the first three or four tournaments I was doing. I wasn’t doing well at all and I was really discouraged,” she said. She was particularly frustrated at her narrow loss to current state champion Alia Abushi of Arroyo High School. However, with the support of her coach and teammates, she was able to make it through the season. “I was mentally really blocked and I guess talking to Coach Thomsen and my teammates all the time about how I felt helped me ... they motivated me to keep going,” she said. Dhaliwal recently signed with and is now committed to Menlo College for wrestling, which she plans to pursue throughout her time at college. To beginning wrestlers, she offers some advice: “Never give up, because

no matter what the outcome is or how your season turns out, even if it’s going horrible, if you stick with it, even if it’s not a wrestling benefit, you’ll get something out at the end.”

Elias Khamisy

Senior Elias Khamisy has had a tough athletic journey. After he dropped out of the wrestling team his freshman year, and after the football team was cut his sophomore year, Khamisy started to get out of shape both physically and mentally. Khamisy wishes he hadn’t dropped out of wrestling his freshman year. He said, “I couldn’t handle the stress, so I took the easy way out and quit. This is one of my biggest regrets.” After reflecting on his past two years, Khamisy decided to rejoin the wrestling team as a junior. He said, “It wasn’t easy, but it’s what I had to do in order for me to become a better person. The practice wasn’t fun, and I was on the verge of breaking several times, but I pushed through and fully committed myself to the sport.” Khamisy’s main motivation to improve in wrestling is his fear of failure. “I never want to go out on the mat and lose ... it’s the worst feeling, and I work hard every

day to make sure I win,” Khamisy said. In addition, Khamisy noted that Wrestling Coach Thomas Thomsen played a key role in improving his game. Khamisy said, “Coach Thomsen helped me a lot by bringing in other coaches, who were MSJ graduates, and they showed me a lot of techniques and wrestled with me during practice.” One of Khamisy’s most memorable matches is the NCS match where he qualified for states. In order to qualify for the CIF tournament, Khamisy needed to place in the top three at NCS despite being ranked fifth in his weight class. After winning five matches in a row, Khamisy advanced to the semi-final round. He said, “I was extremely nervous, but I just went out on the mat and did what I had been practicing for the past two years. I won 7-0 and hugged my coaches in celebration and started crying tears of joy.” Khamisy advanced to the CIF tournament, where he won three out of his five matches. However, Khamisy feels that he could have performed better. In his last match, Khamisy lost a point due to a technical violation, and this cost him the match and his chance to place in the top eight. He said, “I was broken because of this. I always strive to be the best, so I was devastated when I lost that match.” Despite his final loss, Khamisy still placed in the top 15 male wrestlers in his weight class. Looking ahead, Khamisy may join a wrestling team or club in college. He said, “My teammates and coaches are recommending me to wrestle in college, and I have been reached out to by many coaches, but right now I’m still thinking about it.” For young and upcoming wrestlers, Khamisy’s advice is to stay optimistic and continue to train hard. He said, “Never give up! It will get really hard at times, but you will only get better in the long run.” ▪ photos courtesy nikita dhaliwal & elias khamisy

Friday, March 29, 2019

The Smoke Signal



Special 21

Teenage substance use, a long-standing controversial issue, has recently become increasingly widespread at MSJ and across the nation. Analyzing this escalating trend, the Smoke Signal conducted extensive surveys to compare the perceptioms of substance use at MSJ to the national level. This special coverage is the first of a three-part series that will explore the statistics, reasons, and call to action behind substance use.

By Anika Arora, Sabrina Cai, Josephine Chew, Aria Lakhmani, Jonathan Liu, Yusuf Rasheed, Gregory Wu & Jennifer Xiang

Staff Writers

_____________________________________ ________________________________________ ________________________________________ ________________________________________ ________________________________________ ________________________________________ ________________________________________ ________________________________________

“It’s not just an admin problem. This is a family and societal problem ... It’s a partnership with the city because the city of Fremont has a map with a pin on every location that sells these devices [in] almost 200 different places. Even the gas station right down the street from Hopkins on Driscoll [sells these devices]. One of our students went in and purchased a vape pen underage without ever being carded and the parents called me, upset ... A lot of this is a family issue and what the administration does is more of a courtesy notification to the family of what’s going on because we care about their health.”

______________________________ _________________________________ _________________________________ _________________________________ _________________________________ _________________________________ _________________________________ _________________________________ _________________________________ ________________________

“These are the best and smartest kids in the world — if they have the information, they’ll make the right decisions. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but eventually down the road they’re gonna make the right decisions.” “Nicotine has been a pretty rampant drug throughout CA and the nation as a result of easy access and advertisements marketed toward teens. People think that vaping is fairly innocuous because there isn’t tobacco in it, but they don’t know what those chemicals in vape juice actually are.”

— Assistant Principal Carli Kim

— Hopkins Junior High School Principal Corey Brown

— principal Zack Larsen “Try to reduce your vaping. Try to do something else if you are stressed out. Go running, talk to a friend, read a book, write a poem. Do something else that'll help relieve the stress. Also, get help. Talk to your counselor — we have resources. Talk to your administrator. There are resources at Fremont Youth & Family Services that can help young people kick the addiction.”

“When we used to catch kids smoking cigarettes or marijuana it was pretty easy because you could smell it from a mile away, but now kids are a little more bold to try these things and I think there’s also a lot of misinformation. Kids think that these are healthier, when they’re not healthy, so I think there’s some loose information going on and it’s just more readily available for them, it's easier to ... get away with.”

— Assistant Principal Jeff evans

— Assistant Principal Jeana Nightengale


data comparison

82.2% of seniors


Administrators and students were not in accord regarding perceptions of the extent of substance use at MSJ. Principal of MSJ students have seen a student Zack Larsen and Assistant Principals Carli Kim, Jeana Nightenillegally use a gale, and Jeff Evans rated substance use significance at MSJ substance on an average of 6.8 of 10, which was higher than 181 students’ campus rate of an average of 5.5. Even more distinct was the response to teenage accessibility to substances: the average student response was 5.6 of 10, while the average administrator response was 8.8. While administrators at MSJ believe that an average of 20 to 40 percent of students have tried illegal substances, Hopkins Junior High School Principal Corey Brown believes that only 5 to 20 percent of middle schoolers have.

currently have friends at MSJ who use illegal substances.

Regardless, Brown’s estimation raises concerns surrounding the extensiveness of substance use, which reaches beyond high school upperclassmen to students as young as 12 years old. A majority of MSJ students are in accord with Brown’s assessment, reflecting the prevalence of substance use among both middle school and high school. According to Brown, one factor contributing to the spread of illegal substance use is a lack of awareness concerning its effects, and he rated student awareness one of 10. With regards to preventing student substance use, Larsen believes that suspension is the least effective and education is the most effective. In a partnership with MSJ, Dr. Sonia Khan teaches students and parents about vape and the marketing ploys that e-cigarette companies use to target youth. Through School Loop, Larsen has sent images of vape devices to parents who might not otherwise recognize that their children possess substances. All freshmen learn about the effects of substance use in their health class, and the School Resource Officer and school counselors can put students in touch with youth and family services like the Tri-City Health Center.

22 Special


of freshmen

The Smoke Signal


41.8% 47.2% 75.6% of juniors of seniors

By Anika Arora, Jonathan Liu, Yusuf Rasheed, Gregory Wu & Jennifer Xiang Staff Writers


of sophomores

have seen another student illegally use a substance on campus.

Friday, March 29, 2019

There is a clear trend regarding substance use: while 25.5 percent of freshmen have seen another student illegally use a substance on campus, On average, MSJ 27.3% of sophomores students voted pop 75.6 percent of seniors have been witnesses as culture references as a of juniors 57.9% 4.7 on a scale from 1 well. In addition, of the 274 percent of MSJ to 10 indicating the students who have been offered illegal level of influence on of seniors 57.8% substance use. substances, 60.0 percent are seniors. The data know an msj student who has sets suggest a strong correlation between age overdosed on a substance and awareness. As students grow older, they tend to be more likely to use illegal substances. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the most commonly used substance among high According to the 2018 Nationwide Monitoring the Future school students is alcohol, with 58.5 yearly survey by the National Institute on Drug percent of seniors having tried it in their Abuse, 2015 survey by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lifetime. However, 71.6 percent of MSJ students believe that e-cigarettes are the most widely used substance, 39.0% 24.0% suggesting a significant new trend that of seniors have of high school used an illicit drug students reported in the past year. is mirrored across the US. In the same of high school they have used students reported electronic vape using marijuana 1 study from the National Institute on Drug products on at least or more times in one of the 30 days their life. before the survey Abuse, 37.3 percent of seniors reported that they had used vaping products in the past year, making it the second most commonly used substance. Furthermore, according to the National Center on Nationwide Back to School survey by the National Center on Addiction Addiction and Substance Abuse, 17.0 and Substance abuse on 1,003 students age 12-17 (2012) percent of high school students drink, smoke, and use drugs during students are aware of their classmates using 86.0% ofsubstances during the day. the school day, and 86.0 percent of students are aware of their 44.0% of students know a classmate who sells drugs. classmates participating in these public high school students say that drugs are 60.0% ofused, illicit activities. Similar to these kept, or sold on campus. students say digital peer pressure in the form of nationwide statistics, nearly 40.0 75.0% ofInternet images of peers partying with alcohol or percent of MSJ students believe marijuana encourages other teens to behave that five to 20.0 percent of the similarly. student body have tried substances, and 82.2 percent of seniors have friends at MSJ who use substances illegally. MSJ

13.5% of freshmen


67.9% of MSJ students believe that students primarily get drugs from a friend or sibling


of MSJ students believe that they get them from a dealer

10.6% 25.5% 19.4% 40.0% of of

of freshmen sophomores

of juniors


believe that over 40% of MSJ students have tried illicit substances.

9.6% 60.0% OF FRESHMEN

have been offered

On a scale of 1-10, where 1 is inaccessible and 10 is very accessible, how accessible do MSj students think substances are?

5.1 for freshmen 6.4 for sophomores 5.1 for juniors 7.0 for seniors


illegal substances.


of MSJ students believe that e-cigarettes are the most widely used substance among students.

MSJ students data comparison: nationwide

Friday, March 29, 2019

The Smoke Signal


Special 23

By Josephine Chew Staff Writer

Although the idea of e-cigarettes dates back to the 1920s, most people credit Herbert A. Gilbert of Pennsylvania with inventing the first device resembling the modern e-cigarette in 1963. He hoped that his smokeless, tobacco-free apparatus would provide a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes. With similar motives, Pharmacist Hon Lik introduced the first commercially successful e-cigarette to the Chinese market in 2004 with support from multiple investors. In the mid-2000s, e-cigarettes became popular in the US as well.

In recent years, e-cigarette companies have exploited social media to sell their devices. For example, Juul Labs employed social media influencers to promote its products and advertised extensively on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. In response to pressure from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as growing public concern about teenage vaping, Juul Labs ceased selling fruit flavored nicotine pods to stores and quit its Facebook and Instagram campaigns in November 2018.


of middle and high school students used e-cigarettes because “they are available in flavors, such as mint, candy, fruit, or chocolate.” — 2016 National Youth Tobacco Survey

Vape flavorings especially appeal to young users. According to the 2016 National Youth Tobacco Survey, 31 percent of middle and high school students used e-cigarettes because “they are available in flavors, such as mint, candy, fruit, or chocolate.” Vape trick accounts on Instagram and YouTube have further popularized vaping with mesmerizing videos of smoke rings and an endless assortment of vape devices. Vape liquid also seems healthier and tends to be cheaper than conventional cigarettes. However, according to the American Heart Association, “vaping is not a safe or healthy alternative.”

MSJ POLICIES Students caught vaping are punished and can choose one of two consequences: Assistant Principal Jeana Nightengale said, “They can be suspended [for] multiple days, or they can take a one-day suspension with an information session with Dr. Sonia Khan.” Dr. Khan is an expert on substance use and has agreed to give free monthly presentations during advisory at MSJ about the effects of vaping. Being under the influence of any controlled substance receives the same punishment. However, the consequences differ for being under the influence, possession, and distribution of substances, with the first two scenarios resulting in suspensions and the third resulting in expulsion and possible arrest.

HEALTH EFFECTS Drinks containing alcohol can alter the chemical composition of neurotransmitters in the brain. Alcohol amplifies the effect of the GABA neurotransmitters, which accounts for slurred speech and disorientation associated with drunkness. It also increases the levels of dopamine receptors, which creates short-term pleasure. The ethanol present in drinks causes hangovers and severe headaches afterwards. Over time, overstimulation of dopamine receptors can lead to damage to dopamine receptors. Overconsumption of alcohol is also linked to liver disease, high blood pressure, and higher risk of cancers such as colon cancer.

By Sabrina Cai & Yusuf Rasheed Staff Writers

STATE OF CA The punishment for marijuana possessed by minors is drug counseling and community service. Those over 18 receive a fine of up to $100. Possession of a vape pen or other tobacco product by someone under 21 is not punishable, but using it, if under 21, is considered a crime. Penalties for using a vape pen depend on the violation and history of the accused. Vaping in cars with other minors present is considered illegal.

CURRENT POLICIES Under the FDA regulations, minors are not allowed to buy e-cigarettes or vape pens in stores. Although district or state courts usually deal with cases regarding a minor’s usage of drugs, the FDA regulates the manufacturing side of these types of drugs such as importing, packaging, advertising, and distribution of e-cigarettes. However, legislation regarding drugs has been enacted at the federal level. One example is the Controlled Substances Act. Similar to the FDA, this act concerns penalties for misuse, possession of drugs, etc. However, these types of national policies typically apply to the general public and not just teens in particular.


By Aria Lakhmani Staff Writer

E-cigarettes contain a host of chemicals including propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and acrolein, which can severely affect the body. Since e-cigarettes are relatively new, scientists have yet to determine the long-term effects; however, high concentrations of the chemicals present in e-cigarettes prevent DNA from replicating properly and can lead to lung disease and even cancer.

inttes re e r a g i a s e-c erall eside and Add ers and b s nax isord ing tance subs cohol. Xa anxiety d ly. Accord .3 d e 0 l s t e nly u all, and a nt to trea respectiv Health, 2 the o m a r and ol in dde rder s me r com Othe Xanax, A edication tivity diso Drug Use king alcoh c e clud ription m it hypera rvey on rted drin u presc tion-defic ational S -olds repo n N a e e t 5 y r 1 at o 20e 20 to th nt of 12 t perce onth. m past

Other drugs such as Xanax, Adderall, and cold medicine are classified into two categories: stimulants and depressants. Stimulants, including drugs like cocaine and Adderall, increase dopamine levels. Short-term effects of stimulant drugs range from loss of appetite to hallucinations, and excess use of stimulants can lead to damage of blood vessels, damage of organs, stimulant-induced psychotic disorder, and even cardiac arrest. Depressants such as Xanax and cannabis lower neurotransmitter levels in the brain, resulting in lowered blood pressure and sluggishness. Overuse of depressants can lead to chronic fatigue, depression, and hallucinations. Both stimulants and depressants are highly

layout & coverage led by news editors gloria chang & joelle chuang & centerspread editors karen li & kelly yang. graphics by,

24 Photo

The Smoke Signal

Friday, March 29, 2019

collect over 750 lbs of fruit by Alisha Chhangani Staff Writer

On Saturday, March 9, Harvest Helpers collected fruits from the trees of two local homeowners and distributed the fruit to nearby food banks, churches, and soup kitchens. Club members and the special education staff harvested more than 750 lbs of oranges, grapefruits, and lemons from their locations. Special Education Teacher Stephanie Atwell created Harvest Helpers along with the California Teachers Association in hopes to supply fresh fruit to the community and provide students with both on and off campus service opportunities. Members of the harvest were responsible for contacting fruit tree owners, recording the amount harvested, and designing t-shirts and informative flyers for the club. “The students gained hands-on physical experience and learned better organization and communication skills,” Atwell said. The club’s goal is to collect at least 15,000 lbs of fruit in the next 14 months. To reach that, Harvest Helpers plan to harvest at least one Saturday each month. If students are interested in joining the team or are looking for harvest times and dates, they can contact Atwell through School Loop or her email satwell@ They can also visit her classroom at B-19. For other general information visit www. photos by staff writer alisha chhangani

cherry plum

japanese camellia

by Yusuf Rasheed, Meera Sehgal & Jennifer Xiang Staff Writers

With spring fast approaching, MSJ’s plants have begun to bloom, adding a layer of vibrant color to the campus. The Smoke Signal located, took photos of, and identified some of these beautiful flowers.



sag baby



chinese fringe

flower african cornflag

“Most of the areas around the school [used to be] covered in dirt … [we] weren’t sending a message to our students that we truly cared about their environment. We search for plants that are attractive, low maintenance, drought-tolerant, and also ones that are not going to induce allergies.” — Principal Zack Larsen photos by staff writers yusuf rasheed, meera sehgal & jennifer xiang, courtesy zack larsen

Millions discover their favorite reads on issuu every month.

Give your content the digital home it deserves. Get it to any device in seconds.