Page 1

VOL. 49, NO. 3


November 22, 2013


Mock Convention returns to MSJ

By Katrina Cherk & Michael Hsiu Staff Writers


Government students gathered in C-120 on Wednesday, October 30, for the return of MSJ’s Mock Convention (MockCon). Organized by Government Teachers Roxanne Honeycutt and Tori Ha, the event served as a simulation of a national party convention, complete with politically-oriented debates, student delegations, and candidate elections. The main purpose of the conference was to nominate party candidates and allow students to adopt a party platform, offering students an opportunity to apply their knowledge of politics by experiencing government in an interactive manner. During the conference, students debated various issues prominent in American politics today, ranging from same-sex marriage to foreign policy. This year’s MockCon marked the return of the event, which had been discontinued in 2007 due to the size and organization process involved with the convention. To allow for its


staff writer katrina cherk

Clockwise from top: Senior Andy Lai presents his viewpoints during the discussion section of the convention, Candidate Senior Samie Azad sits with his committee, and students vote on one of the five topics for discussion.

AP Physics changes By Vivian Liu Staff Writer College Board is replacing the current Advanced Placement (AP) Physics B course with two new courses, AP Physics 1 and AP Physics 2, that MSJ will implement starting in the 201415 school year. “An in-depth study by the National Research Council concluded that AP Physics B is a very broad course that ‘encourages cursory treatment of very important topics in physics,” according to the College Board website. To combat this issue, College Board plans to divide the current curriculum into two years of material, with AP Physics 1 covering Newtonian mechanics, sound, and electrical circuits and AP Physics 2 covering fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism, optics, and atomic and nuclear physics. The AP Physics exams will be redesigned as well with fewer multiple-choice and free-response questions that will be geared towards increasing focus on scientific practices, inquiry-based investigations, and conceptual insight. In light of these changes, MSJ is preparing to replace AP Physics B with AP Physics 1. Students will continue to have the opportunity to take Physics beginning junior year with AP Physics 1 or CP Physics. Students will be able to move onto AP Physics C after completing AP


See MOCK NEWS Page 3

MSJ students place in Siemens Competition By Tiffany Huang & Melissa Peng Staff Writers The Siemens Foundation announced four MSJ students who placed as semifinalists and regional finalists in the Siemens Competition in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) on Oct. 18, 2013. Junior Kevin Zeng and Seniors Anna Zeng and David Ma are regional finalists, and Senior Genevieve Huang is a semifinalist. The nationwide competition acknowledges high school students for remarkable achievement and talent in STEM fields, offering national recognition and scholarships ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 for winning individuals or teams. The Siemens Competition is a nonprofit organization that provides scholarships and opportunities for higher education for students interested in STEM fields. Each year, thousands of students submit their research projects on topics ranging from computer science to biochemistry. One of the competition’s main goals is to encourage students to actively utilize creativity and human ingenuity to tackle global issues. MSJ’s regional finalists and semifinalists developed their research projects over the summer under the guidance of distinguished professors in universities around the nation. Ma worked as a summer intern with Associate Professor of Chemistry Yat Li at University of California, Santa Cruz. His research centered on improving the efficiency of solar cells by trying to design a more effective light-absorbing material. He ac-

staff writer tiffany huang

From left to right: Seniors David Ma and Anna Zeng, Junior Kevin Zeng, and Senior Genevieve Huang.

complished this through the use of TiO2 thin films and gold nanoparticles and nanorods. Ma hopes to develop cheaper, more effective solar cells which would result in cleaner, inexpensive energy that may be more accessible to the population. “It was rewarding to see how these graduate students apply the scientific process up close. It was a very enlightening experience,” says Ma. The Zengs, a brother-sister team, worked with Professor Ming Yu at the Nanotechnology Institute of the University of St. Louis. Through repeated computer simulations, they developed a model for the stiffness and strength of graphene, a form of graphite. Their model is more accurate and more widely applicable than previous models. Graphene is significant to electron-

ics and technology for its remarkable conductivity and stress-bearing abilities. Having shed light on graphene’s mechanical properties and limitations, the Zengs’ work has applications in smaller, more versatile computing. “This experience as a whole was incredibly rewarding, so I can’t really pin it down on one point, but I would say much of it was realizing that our work could aid in the development of a revolutionary technological advancement. The hard work was also rewarding, since it gave us an impression of what lengths one must go to in order to make a worthwhile contribution,” said Kevin Zeng. Huang, one of the competition’s semifinal-


photo courtesy park family, wallpaper from

2 News

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Smoke Signal

By Kevin Chen, Peter Chew, & Michael Hsiu Staff Writers

2012-13 MPPFA Technology Budget Allocation $6,000 on the Drama Department’s pur-

chase of a new soundboard, 10 new wireless microphones, and a digital keyboard

$5,000 on seed funding for a new computer lab

$20,000 to hire an onsite Information Technology (IT) consultant to address computer, network, repair, and other IT issues

$3,000 for the storage,

syncing, and charging of 30 of MSJ’s new iPads

Individual departments have been purchasing their own technology geared towards more specific applications. Though the iPads are mainly used for online research and access to apps that utilize online content at the moment, the Science Department is considering using them as a resource for virtual cat dissections, which have previously been done on the library’s Mac computers. As mentioned in the October issue of the Smoke Signal, English teacher Katherine Geers and History/Human Geography teacher Bill Jeffers have also purchased Smart TV’s using money from the Fremont Education Foundation grant that they recently received. New technology upgrades also include the installment of overhead LCD projectors in the school’s new 10-classroom P-Wing.

$600 for student copier use data from

2013-14 MPPFA Budget Plan $6,500 for subsidizing the

new school copier in the library for students and staff

$3,000 for online plagiarism $12,000


About for classroom technology (iPads and computers)


About for new cameras and equipment for MSJTV

$2,100 for library projection screen, computer equipment, and books

$2,000 for school website maintenance data from, layout by news editors nina krishnan and kerrie wu

for the oct. 25, 2013 issue

News page 1: Graphics Editor Shirby Wang took the Homecoming Court photo. News page 2: Jan Wren’s and Officer Pipp’s names were misspelled. A&E page 21: Liam Hemsworth’s name was misspelled. Sports page 27: eSports Layout by Sports Editor Ishan Goyal One of the pictures of the Warriors’ proposed waterfront stadium.­

Compiled by Staff Writers Katrina Cherk, Melissa Peng, and Anand Balaji.

Golden State Warriors submit design for new stadium The Warriors have submitted a third design to the City of San Francisco for approval. The height has been shortened from 135 feet to 125 feet to provide more public space around the arena, in response to criticism from the city. The Warriors want construction completed by 2017, but they face many obstacles, such as getting approval from the Bay Conservation and Development Commission. More than one-third of the U.S population now lives in a state or territory where same-sex marriage is legal.

Hawaii legalizes gay marriage Hawaii became the 15th state to legalize gay marriage on Nov. 13, when Governor Neil Abercrombie signed a State Senate bill into law, effective starting Dec. 2. With Hawaii’s decision, more than one-third of the U.S. population now lives in a state or territory where same-sex marriage is legal. The measure takes place around five months after the Supreme Court repealed the Defense of Marriage Act. Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, killing and injuring thousands.

Typhoon wreaks havoc on the Philippines On Nov. 8, category five Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, causing catastrophic destruction in the central islands. Haiyan, the second deadliest Philippine typhoon on record, is estimated to have destroyed about 70 to 80 percent of structures in its path, especially in the coastal provinces of Leyte and Samar. The typhoon affected nearly ten million people across the Philippines.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Smoke Signal

Peer Resource holds talent show MOCK| Convention continued from page 1

By Apoorva Rajanala Staff Writer MSJ’s Peer Resource is holding its first benefit talent show in which students can showcase their talents for the community to see. This year, the benefit show revolves around love, a theme which will be incorporated into all of the acts and performances. Students auditioned after school on November 1 and if chosen, were asked to attend rehearsals so they could practice for the show tonight from 7 to 10pm. MSJ students, families, and staff are invited to attend the show and support the performers. “[Peer] wanted to raise awareness about the StrongerTYT campaign and what it stands for—healthy and respectful relationships. This is the perfect way to convey our message through acts that are not only entertaining, but also relevant. Moreover, the MCs for the night will provide insightful knowledge and food for thought between acts that we hope will remain staff writer apoorva rajanala

Sophomores Olivia Zheng and Grace Dong run through their dance performance at rehearsal.

Senior Sohini Ghosh practices her musical number for the talent show.

with our audience long after the show,” says Harshita Gupta, one of the Reer Resource students. The campaign, Stronger Than You Think (StrongerTYT), was first created to help teenagers learn the crucial information about how to prevent and deal with relationship abuse. It has been promoted on campus through the shirts and stickers that have been handed out to students and staff. In order to emphasize the theme of love, some of the acts performing that night include acapella groups, hip hop dancers, lyrical pieces, solo singers, and many more. Peer Resource hopes to continue the StrongerTYT campaign in the years to come, and if it does continue, the benefit show is likely to be a part of it. MSJ’s Peer Resource hopes to see you at the Benefit Talent Show tonight! ▪

PHYSICS| Changes

SIEMENS| Finalists

continued from page 1

continued from page 1

Physics 1, bypassing AP Physics 2. AP Physics C will be unaffected by the changes. Though many students will skip AP Physics 2 and take AP Physics C, MSJ will ease the transition from AP Physics 1 to AP Physics C for students. Physics Teacher Peter Geschke said, “We can pluck a few topics from Physics 2 and enhance it slightly [for our Physics 1 curriculum].” Many students and faculty members welcome these new developments. Addressing the current pace of AP Physics B, Geschke said, “The way physics is taught now is that there are so many topics in physics that it becomes a race to get through all the objectives.” Senior Riyaz Merchant, who is currently taking AP Physics C, said, “The reality is that there is so much material to cover in Physics B, students are crammed and do not learn the material as well. If Physics [B] was split up, more labs could be done, more practice could be done, and a slower learning environment could be established.” Others are more neutral; Senior Krishna Bharathala said, “The split was created, with good intentions, because some schools cannot cover all of Physics B in a year. Unfortunately, at MSJ, this isn’t the case. We cover all the material, albeit at a quicker pace, in time for the AP test, and we perform successfully. The way the split is handled at MSJ is of more importance than the split itself.” ▪

ists, conducted research on the ear’s regenerative mechanisms for the past two summers at Stanford University’s Cheng Lab. Huang’s project focused on progenitor cells and the growth of hair cells in the inner ear, which are responsible for hearing. The project investigated the ability of animals and humans to regenerate lost hair cells in order to develop hearing loss treatments in the future. “Surrounding myself with so many talented people was just a really nice feeling. I came to realize that a lot of research is menial work. You come in thinking you’re going to be finding the next cure for a disease when working in these big white open labs,” says Huang. Although Huang will not be continuing onto the next level of competition, she hopes to continue her research in the future. MSJ’s regional finalists will continue to the regional finals to present their research projects to a panel of judges at a host university. Students will give a 12-minute oral presentation using a poster presentation of their project, followed by an intensive question-and-answer session. Projects will be evaluated based on a number of criteria, including creativity, comprehensiveness, interpretation, and scientific importance. Students who win their regional competition will receive a medal and go on to compete at the national level in Washington D.C. ▪

staff writer apoorva rajanala

return, adjustments were made to the event’s planning process, including the shortening of its preparation process to one quarter instead of the previously allocated semester-long timespan. “ had turned into this real big thing and it kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger. It almost was like a second Homecoming; that’s how much work people were putting into it,” said Honeycutt on MockCon’s history. Preparation for MockCon began at the beginning of the school year. Honeycutt and Ha served as the coordinators of the event, however, government students were required to be active and involved as members of their assigned delegations. Furthermore, they were expected to complete research on the political and economic nature of their assigned states and submit assessments based on their findings. Their research was later used during the convention itself as a basis for debate. In order to ensure the success of MockCon, six committees worked tirelessly in preparation. The Recording Secretary Committee reported attendance at the event and kept the official tally of the votes for each candidate. They were supported by the Rules Committee, which wrote the rules and guidelines for candidates, the convention itself, and the candidate debates, which were organized by the Debate Committee. Information for the event itself was distributed by the Publicity Committee. Furthermore, the Decoration Committee was in charge of decorating C-120 on the day of the event. The Steering Committee oversaw the other five committees and kept the debate subjects within a reasonable set of parameters. During the convention, nomination candidates Jerry Wu (Radical), Jordan Allred (Liberal), Samie Azad (Conservative), and Catherine Liu (Reactionary/Ultra-Conservative), representing the various views of the politi-

News 3

cal spectrum, ran for the MSJ Party. As candidates, Wu, Allred, Azad, and Liu organized their campaign by creating promotional videos and posters. They also worked with their advisory committees to distribute buttons and handbills to student voters. Moreover, each candidate was required to actively participate in candidate debates a week before the event and develop position papers describing their stance on various issues. The hard work of both the government

staff writer michael hsiu

Senior Flora Fang presents an argument during discussion.

teachers and the students culminated with MockCon. During the convention, students served as nomination candidates, the delegates of the 50 states, committee chairs who enforced the political agenda, and votecounters who tallied the states’ votes. They had the opportunity to apply their knowledge of government to a real-life political convention simulation, participate in discussion, and vote on five major issues: abortion, same-sex marriage, health care, gun control, and foreign policy. The convention concluded with a spontaneous student rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner” when Wu emerged as the winner of the nomination for the MSJ Party. “I thought the event went really well; it was a lot of fun, and we all learned a lot about the political process. The fact that I’m the winning candidate says just how awesome all of my supporters and workers are, and I am very grateful to all of them,” said Wu. Though long-term plans to continue MockCon in the future are still uncertain, Honeycutt plans to continue the event during the 2014-15 school year. ▪

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Friday, November 22, 2013


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Smoke Signal

The Cat’s Meow

Mission San Jose High School Est. 1964 Vol. 49, No. 3 | November 22, 2013

41717 Palm Ave. Fremont, CA 94539 (510) 657-3600 Editors-in-Chief Jin Peng, Grace Wu News Nina Krishnan, Kerrie Wu Opinion Sanjay Sreekumar, Catherine Wang

Feature Vivian Jair, Anjali Kanthilal Centerspread Tingting Bi, Lindy Zeng A&E Tammy Tseng, Peter Xu Sports Leah Feuerman, Ishan Goyal Graphics Shirby Wang, Anna Zeng Web Laura Chen, Supriya Yelimeli Tech Peter Chew, Peter Qiu Business Aamir Rasheed Circulation Hannah Shih Ads Genevieve Huang, Tiffany Huang Events Irisa Lee, Hairol Ma Writers & Photographers Anand Balaji, Jacinta Chang, Kevin Chen, Alice Cheng, Katrina Cherk, Grace Dong, Purvi Goel, Michael Hsiu, Vivian Liu, Arti Patankar, Melissa Peng, Iyesha Puri, Tanvi Raja, Apoorva Rajanala, Nithya Rajeev, Megan Ren, Katie Sun, Andrea Tam, Hanson Wang, Abigail Wong, Rebecca Wu, Lillian Zhao, Madeline Zheng

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

Sanjay Says

Ignorance Goes Both Ways

Participasian Points

By Catherine Wang Opinion Editor

In a late-night episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live that aired last month, talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel held a satirical “Kids’ Table” discussion on the US debt crisis. Basically, a bunch of kids sat around a table, sipped patriotically colored juice boxes, and brainstormed solutions for the US’ debt to China. Things escalated quickly when one of the six-year-olds proposed, “Shoot canons all the way over and kill everyone in China.” Kimmel replied, “Okay, that’s an interesting idea.” Funnily enough, the controversial segment initially received little coverage in mainstream American media, while Chinese news sources buzzed about it. The Asian American community had a right to be angry about Kimmel’s shenanigans. Kimmel and the ABC Channel had seriously crossed a line in allowing the child’s comment to air. However, seeing the incident in the news, I had to ask myself: besides responding to signs of racism, why do Asian Americans remain apathetic in other areas, like civil participation? The US Census Bureau reported that in the 2012 presidential elections, Asian Americans had the lowest voter turnout of any minority. It’s high time for the Asian American population to engage in more political discussion and exercise their voices in the public community. Otherwise, this minority (or majority, in the case of MSJ) will face weakening political power. The issue of civil apathy extends beyond the Asian American population to our nation at large. However, it’s especially apparent among Asian-Americans. According to Pew Research Center, in 2012 Asians became the fastest growing immigrant population

in the US, surpassing the Latino minority. On average, Asian Americans hold a higher place on the socioeconomic ladder than any other minority does. These trends contribute to the stereotyping of Asian Americans as the “Model Minority”. Yet despite all this, the Model Minority’s voter turnout sets a poor example. The specific reasons for such civil apathy are likely as complex as Asian cultures are diverse. But we do know that native-born Asian Americans participate politically more than Asian immigrants do. Citizens who feel well-assimilated have more reason to vote or contact political leaders, and differing cultural expectations are influential as well. Also, strong educational backgrounds don’t always translate into civil engagement. A 2012 Pew Research study, “The Rise of Asian-Americans”, showed that Vietnamese are the Asian American minority with the lowest educational and income averages, but they are also the most politically active. The Jimmy Kimmel controversy ended with public apologies from ABC and Kimmel, thanks to a White House petition that collected almost 80,000 signatures. Ultimately, Asian Americans and other minorities cannot expect to see lawmakers address their concerns unless citizens are vocal, and the problem right now is that we’re not vocal enough on issues beyond racism and discrimination. Political action includes not just voting, but also classroom discussions about politics and current events and a basic understanding of our rights. Being well-informed and open to discussion is a sure step towards empowering minority voices. Take Margaret Mead’s words: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” ▪

EDITORIAL: Opening Discussion about Alcohol The Opinion of the Smoke Signal Editorial Board As we pass through our four years at MSJ and into adulthood, it’s entirely possible that we will encounter alcohol at some point - according to the 2012 Monitoring the Future Report conducted by the University of Michigan, seven out of ten students will have consumed more than a few sips of alcohol by the end of high school. However, having grown up with educational curriculum and awareness programs that primarily emphasize avoidance, we’re only less prepared to navigate a future where alcohol will be increasingly difficult to avoid. Alcohol abstinence is effective, but this mindset can leave us vulnerable when we encounter situations out of our control. Just as students are taught in school about sexual abstinence along with ways to engage in safe intercourse should the situation arise, we could benefit from a more open and direct way of addressing alcohol. Though the health classes and drug and alcohol events at MSJ like Red Ribbon Week have been successful in promoting awareness, more emphasis should be placed on presenting alcohol with a “plan B” so that we can protect ourselves in case something unexpected occurs. While learning through experience can be extremely costly, students should be able to understand how to be safe if they fail to abstain, finding themselves past the point of denying alcohol. We know from sex education that abstinence is the only foolproof protection against pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. But we’ve also learned about alternative precautions - contraceptive methods like condoms and birth control pills. In fact, it was only after classrooms incorporated alternative options to abstinence in the 1960’s that teen pregnancy rates began declining. Like sex education, alcohol education needs to offer discussion on more realistic alternatives, be it instituting committed designated drivers or calling parents for a ride. Effective alcohol education should also be facilitated with open-minded conversation that includes input from both kids and adults so that parents and teachers can better understand student opinions and perceptions of alcohol. It should include conversation about the dangers as well as responsibilities that come with drinking. Parents and children can engage in open conversation to learn where

they stand on the matter - either discussing the benefits of abstinence or considering what they would do in the case of an unintended consequence of alcohol. In addition, keeping communication lines open builds trust and establishes that both parents and children support each other in their mutual effort to stay safe -- the last thing a teenager should be scared of is approaching his or her parents or guardians in times of trouble. At the same time, teenagers must be willing to cooperate with their parents and stop relying on what they think they “know”. The smaller the informational gap, the lower the risk of either group finding themselves without any options. For instance, when asked whether she had ever had alcohol, Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld, daughter of “Tiger Mother” Amy Chua, wrote on her blog, “Have I not told you guys the story about the day I got into college? My dad came home, sat me down, and poured me a tall brown drink. He said: ‘This is bourbon. This is what you will drink in college. When some disgusting frat boy offers you punch, this is what you will ask for instead. You will drink this because you can taste it, and you won’t go ripping ten shots of some fruity thing and end up dead in a basement. Now drink and learn.’ I learned.” While this is extreme, it exemplifies the kind of straightforward conversation that we would do well to incorporate in classrooms and homes alike. Similar to how classrooms became more progressive about safe sex conversation, stepping around alcohol culture and related issues in our lives is not the answer. Although we may not all encounter it, for many of us it’s a realistic possibility as we enter adulthood. The institutions we have already put in place should be altered to encourage conversations about alcohol instead of just suggesting rules to avoid it completely. MSJ and Mission Possible PFA’s “Parenting in Prevention” event was a good first step, but more steps need to be taken. It is only by confronting the problems we meet that we can ever hope to solve them, and likewise, it is only by opening conversation about alcohol that we can learn to handle it safely in the larger context of ourselves, our peers, and our families. ▪ Send letters to the editors to

Opinion 5

By Sanjay Sreekumar Opinion Editor What if I told you that in the 2012 presidential election, 80 percent of White Americans voted for candidate Mitt Romney? As an Indian-American, I would find this heavily underreported statistic appalling. Why would such a vast majority of Whites vote against President Barack Obama? Political pundits should cut the talk about the battle against racism being over in the 21st century. Why? Because the first sentence of this article was statistically incorrect. In reality, only 59 percent of White Americans voted for Mitt Romney while a stunning 80 percent of minorities voted for President Barack Obama. The outrage however, should still stay the same. Contrary to popular belief, ignorance can and does go both ways. Being racist is not just a “white” dilemma. If you are a minority and you inherently favor your racial background, you ought to be considered racist too. If a person voted for President Barack Obama because he was black, he or she is just as racist as the individual who voted for candidate Mitt Romney, because he was white. At MSJ, if I only made friends with Indians, I deserve to be called a racist, as much as a “white” individual would be called racist for refusing to make friends with anybody of color. Sadly very few people want to accept this fact, and instead want to apply a double standard that, for the first time in history, is actually benefiting

minorities. For example, it’s common to hear that people like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are ignorant, but rarely do you hear the same things said about pundits of a different race, even though sometimes their allegations are even worse. When Rob Parker, an analyst for ESPN, talked about Washington Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III (RG3) on the network’s program “First Take”, he questioned RG3’s “blackness” because he was engaged to his white fiancé. While Rob Parker eventually lost his job because of those statements, just imagine how much larger the level of outrage would have been if a white pundit had made those comments - or even worse - RG3 was a white quarterback engaged to a black woman. My parents have hilariously been victims of reverse racism when they became naturalized citizens in 2006. After they were officially proclaimed Americans through the annual U.S citizens’ convention, they were hounded by representatives of the California Democratic Party, who asked them to register as Democrats. As a naive 5th grader, I thought my parents were special because they were the ones getting all the attention. What I didn’t realize was that because they looked Indian, they were automatically considered obvious choices to be Democrats. Race should stop being such a huge issue in this country, and we need to acknowledge that “majority” racism is a real concept. Ignorance is not a white problem, a black problem, or an Asian problem; it’s an American problem. ▪

Letter to the Editors: Response to 10/25/13 News Article “Common Core Brings Changes” I read with some puzzlement, your article titled “Common Core Brings Changes”. The article states: “Mathematics classes will be transitioning to adapt (adopt?) new standards that will target focus, coherence and rigor in math classes”. By implication, I interpret this statement to say that prior to Common Core, math teachers were unfocused, incoherent and not rigorous. Really? I dread to think what Common Core really has to offer. Mehebub Karmali, Math Teacher

staff writer jacinta chang

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Friday, November 22, 2013

The Smoke Signal

Liberal Arts: A Worthwhile Venture By Anand Balaji & Genevieve Huang Staff Writers

In a school dominated by interests in engineering and technology, many MSJ students seem unwilling to even consider the possibility of pursuing liberal arts in college. This decision is largely fueled by a misguided belief of what a liberal arts education actually entails. Students must begin to recognize that the liberal arts provide a quality education that may better prepare them for life in the long run. The definition of liberal arts has evolved to become more holistic since the term was first created. The phrase “liberal arts” used to refer to the education of subjects such as history, language and literature. Since the medieval times, however, the definition of a liberal arts education has grown far beyond that; in modern context it now refers to disciplines taught in the School of Arts and Sciences (as opposed to disciplines taught in the School of Engineering or the School of Business). Contrary to common belief, liberal arts encompass the disciplines of not only English and social studies but those of core math and science as well. While an education in technology or business can no doubt be rewarding, the liberal arts give students an exposure to different subjects that are critical for survival in today’s society. Through studying different fields, students exercise their critical thinking abilities. They learn to think for themselves and to frequently ask tough questions, challenging the status quo. And it’s not always about solving a problem for the right answer, because the problems found in life don’t always have clear-cut solutions. The best way to prepare for these tough questions is to lay down a well-rounded foundation. After extensively studying a vast array of subjects, students can better examine the world around them, taking information and creating their own opinions and alternative solutions backed by the broad knowledge base they have acquired through liberal arts. Given all the benefits of improved critical thinking and sharper analytical skills, the question inevitably arises: Why

aren’t liberal arts more popular? The answer mainly stems from the misconception that a liberal arts major dooms one to a life of un-employability. The reality could not be more different. Liberal arts majors often perform better than their peers if they decide to pursue a master’s degree. Majors in Classics (studies involving history and philosophy of the Greco-Roman world) scored 2nd highest on the MCAT, the entrance exam for medical school, and 3rd highest on the LSAT, the entrance exam to law school, when compared to other majors. The myth of un-employability surrounding liberal arts is an unfortunate one and may discourage students from pursuing studies that would actually help their long-term job prospects. The National Association of Colleges and Employers reported in its 2013 Job Outlook that in a survey of employers, over 70 percent would hire an individual with a psychology degree, 50 percent for a political science degree, and 67.7 percent for a degree in mathematics. Liberal arts can also give you a better understanding of how different fields interact and make it easier for students to choose a profession once they enter the work force. Seeing the world from different perspectives promises a more holistic view: when presented with medicine, individuals can not only see the biology at work but also see how the subject interacts with the fields of mathematics, philosophy, and even public policy. The exposure to cross-discipline interaction that liberal arts emphasizes can help individuals find the specific profession or post-graduate degree that best fits their skills and passions. While a degree in liberal arts may certainly not be the right choice for everyone, not even considering the option of pursuing a subject in the area would be foolish. Not only does it aide one’s abilities of critical thinking and problem solving, it can also give students the essential tools that they need to succeed in the professional world. ▪

Opinion 7

“My first boss was a huge person in the database world who would bill $250 an hour for shaving seconds off stock market transactions. He majored in philosophy.Your undergraduate degree has little to do with your future employability and while a liberal arts degree could lessen your immediate job prospects, it gives you a complex understanding of the world that will greatly help you later in life.” - Brian Rath, English Teacher

“A liberal arts education can be both enlightening and scary because you deal with the complexity and ambiguity of the world.” - Cherylle Lindsey, English Teacher

“Do I think that students should have a broad education? Absolutely yes. For Mission, there is an overemphasis in math & science electives. From the students’ perspective, it would be helpful to them to have more of a world view, not one that’s strictly focused on math and science.” - Peter Geschke, Physics Teacher

“In this world , the people who are successful are those with a well-rounded education.” - Jack Fendell, Physics Teacher

“The separation of math and science from the liberal arts is a poor investment. Having a healthy combination of the two is important to create a happy, fulfilled, and more employable generation.” - Tony Bellotti, U.S History Teacher,, layout by opinion editor sanjay sreekumar

BanksY From finger-painting to twenty-feet tall sculptures, art can come in different sizes, shapes, and styles. So does art mean matching colors and precise outlines? Does “real” art have to be exhibited in a gallery or created by a famous figure? Not necessarily. Art is a vehicle for people to express themselves and impact others, creating a way to influence the world while using their unique ideas. Art is not the perfect acrylic brushstrokes across a canvas or the exact tones in a sketch. Real art originates from a message, an idea, or something that inspires the audience. Well-known works are the ones that deviate from the norm and leave a strong impression. Perhaps the most unique example of true art is best portrayed by a mysterious graffiti artist from the United Kingdom who goes by the pseudonym Banksy. His works of “art” can be seen plastered on sidewalks, walls, and bridges all around the world. Banksy doesn’t produce works for the fun of vandalizing public property; rather, he wants to impact the world and spread social awareness. For instance, Banksy painted nine pieces with positive, paradise-seeking themes on the Israeli West Bank Barrier during 2005, a time

: Beyond the Paint

of political conflict. He illustrated holes in the wall with views of paradise in the background, providing Israel with a sense of hope. In regards to his social commentary, he said, “Sometimes I feel so sick at the state of the world, I can’t even finish my second apple pie.” It’s clear that the term “art” has evolved to refer to a work of creativity with an idea or message that impacts the audience and leaves them thinking. Whether it’s a simple statement of the truth or vivid images spanning across the street, each of Banksy’s works conveys some social commentary on societal and political problems such as greed, poverty, and alienation. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy expands, “something is a work of art if and only if it has a subject about which it projects some attitude or point of view (has a style).” The difference between true art and meaningless clutter is exemplified in Banksy’s recent works

on the streets of New York City. Over the past month of October, Banksy has been on an “artist’s residency”, showcasing a piece of sculpture, painting, video, or graffiti each day in the city. Perhaps it is his mysterious visage as the “elusive” street artist or his controversial pieces of work that have earned much attention, but it is his recent endeavors on the streets of New York City that have unveiled a new question. In the past month, Banksy painted and sculpted on streets, garages, walls, and cars without permission from owners. Why is it that these pieces of so-called street “clutter” are regarded as artistic masterpieces? The answer is simple: the transparency of Banksy’s intent. Any true artist’s intentions are obvious, revealed in the subject matter, symbols, or colors of the piece of art. Banksy is no different. Banksy’s intentions are displayed in his works all over the walls of New York City as he shares his sentimental yet satirical view of the world. He is extremely clear with his personal messages and has no hidden agenda. His painting of a man, sponging away at his self-endorsed proverb, “What we do in life echoes in our Eternity,” clearly expresses his personal determination to live a meaningful life. A work of art doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone agrees with the intent behind each message. For instance, just because Banksy’s intent is clear to art enthusiasts around the world doesn’t mean his perspectives on sensitive subject matters aren’t controversial. His painting of the Twin Towers with a bright

By Alice Cheng & Abigail Wong Staff Writers

flower to illustrate the glowing explosion, and his rant against the design of New York’s One World Trade Building in which he said, “so clearly proclaims the terrorists have won,” have sparked national outcry. But again, it is not about what he does, but why. Art is an intimate interaction between individualism, innovation, and vision. But when the ambition that drives the creation of

public visuals and words is slanderous and serves no meaningful purpose, the fundamental quality of art is obliterated. True artists, like Banksy, create masterpieces to express themselves and to leave behind a legacy. Whether it is through language, arts, sciences, or math, true expression lies within the ideas, passion, and purpose behind each action a person takes. ▪,,,, layout by opinion editor catherine wang

8 Ad

The Smoke Signal

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Smoke Signal

Feature 9


A Cafeteria Staff member

To find out what the job of the school cafeteria workers entailed, the Smoke Signal went behind the scenes and spoke with kitchen staff member Matteo Leon Valencia to learn what an average day of work was like. Matteo is the kitchen baker, and one of the head staff members in charge of cooking all of the food.

7:00am We work on preparing food for the elementary and junior high schools from 6 to 9am and move onto the high school from 9am to 12pm. Every day I bake 160 cookies, about eight to ten pizzas, and 30 pounds of potato wedges. I would say that the busiest time of the day is between 8am and 9:30am when we are preparing for the elementary schools; everything has to be in the cart by 9am, and no later than 9:30am We have a driver who comes by every day and delivers to all six schools. He drops the carts off, picks them up, and brings them back to us at the end of the day.

Kitchen staff member Matteo Leon Valencia.

6:00am The first thing I do in the morning is turn on the ovens and pull out the food menu items from the refrigerator. I go over the numbers for the day to make sure that I prepare enough food for each school, and after all the food is warmed up, we distribute it onto each hot cart. Our kitchen caters to a total of six schools, including two private contract schools and one junior high school. Each cart has a school name, and after the carts are done loading they get sent out.

Freshly baked cookies sit in their trays.

Mission Possible Funding By Hairol Ma Staff Writer

Mission Possible (PFA) serves as a nonprofit organization that provides funding and support for projects and activities that benefit MSJ as a whole. Ranging from providing funds for new technology for classrooms to coordinating safety patrol, Mission Possible supports MSJ in every way and makes life on campus the exceptional experience we have grown accustomed to. Mission Possible aims to use donations from each year during the same school year, so that the students can immediately benefit from the donations. This year, Mission Possible is offering financial support for many new projects for the 2013-2014 school year. Requests for funding occurred before school started during the Back to School Teacher Breakfast organized by PFA Hospitality Chairs Roshini Kingsley and Nivi Gupta. They were submitted to the Mission Possible Treasurer. Request forms were then processed and sent to the budget committee.

Express lunch pails contain soy beans, baby carrots, cheese sticks, raisins, and graham crackers.

8:00am Today in the morning I made croutons for all the elementary schools, and I’m making cinnamon rolls for today’s brunch (about a dozen cinnamon rolls every Wednesday). We introduced a new lunch item called express lunch pails at the beginning of this school year for the elementary schools. Each one consists of soy beans, baby carrots, cheese sticks, raisins, and graham crackers. We’re trying to get kids to eat healthier. We’ve introduced more salads and other foods with higher nutritional value for the high schools as well. 9:00am In the kitchen, I have my own station where I work along with six ovens and two mixers, which are these giant machines that are used to make the dough and batter. Every day, the main lunch entree will change. The district website has a menu that has everything we ofIn late September, the committee decided which requests to accept according to the available funds and information given regarding the proposed project. Funding may also be requested during the school year. “Mission Possible PFA hopes to provide grants to the school annually or biannually, however, the sum total of the grant this is entirely dependent on the parent and community donations,” said Roshini Kingsley. “The annual fundraising by Mission Possible PFA is done with the intent to enhance student learning at MSJ via investment in cutting edge technology, adequate student storage facilities, a welcoming campus, and suitable resources for the teachers to empower them to provide world class education.” This year, Mission Possible plans to fund four major projects. Plans include to replace the last two rows of lockers in the Girls locker room, to renovate storage area to a work area for eight computers for the Smoke Signal, and to fund six recycling stations. Mission Possible is also funding Project Lead the Way Engineering. “The future plans for these grants depend on the funding request put forth by stakeholders,” said Kingsley. Mission Possible also plans to provide additional funding for new books for English classrooms, library projection screens, electronic balances and a refrigerator for the Science department, new cameras and equipment for MSJTV, new bike racks, the plagiarism tool on and website maintenance, Peer Resource counseling classes, kiln repair and ceramic supplies this year, to name a few. With its constant support, Mission Possible provides a comfortable backdrop for MSJ students to pursue both their academic and social endeavors. The time and effort that Mission Possible contributes to MSJ truly shows in the improved facilities that we enjoy. ■

Landscaping by the N-Wing was done with funds from Mission Possible PFA.


By Rebecca Wu Staff Writer

fer along with its nutritional information, although prices will vary between schools. The pizza, spicy chicken sandwich, and cheeseburger are three menu items that always remain on the menu however, and either potato wedges or sweet potato fries are sold each day.

10:00am My break is between 10am and 11am. This is when I go out to eat lunch or run errands (we’re allowed to leave). We can buy the school food if we want to. 11:00am By this time, all of the high school food is cooked and packaged and gets sent out to either the C7 speed line, the kitchen snack bar, or the food cart that goes out. Each food vending area at Mission offers the same items; the difference is not in the food, just the location. My advice for students would be to just go to whichever one has the shortest line. If one place doesn’t have what they’re looking for, they can always check the other two locations. For example, the snack bar might not have Hot Cheetos or something, but the students can always go to the speed line in C7 or the cart to check as well.

If they like it, then I know to put it back on the menu, and if they don’t like it, then we’ll steer away from it for a little bit and find something else. We’re constantly looking for new items to put on the menu. The new items being introduced in November are: super nachos, beef and cheese soft tacos, chicken salad on a pita bread sandwich, smoked herb and cheese turkey sausage wraps, chicken marsala with brown rice, turkey club sandwich, grilled BBQ chicken burger, and personal pan cheese and pepperoni pizzas. 1:00pm When we come back, dishes are washed, stations are sanitized, food gets prepared for the next day, and everything gets put away and locked up. I go home at 1:30pm.

Valencia holds out a tray of baked cookies.

Valencia serves students (left) and makes cinnamon rolls (right).

11:30am I supervise the speed line in C7 until the end of lunch. When I’m out supervising, I do speak with a few students and ask them for their input when we have new food items.

Most of my days are pretty much the same. I come every Monday through Friday. Baking is a passion of mine though, so when I got the job, it was something that I liked to do. It still is something that I like to do. Whenever I have to bake something or make something from scratch, it’s always enjoyable. I’m the baker; the cook and I are the two leaders. We cook all of the food items for the high school and elementary schools. And although everybody has a different responsibility, in the end, we all work together to reach for the same thing. ■ PHOTOS BY STAFF WRITER REBECCA WU, SVTECHTALK.COM

10 Feature

The Smoke Signal

Friday, November 22, 2013

Smoke Signal sos: advice column

Dear Awkward Penguin, It may be that you believe going to an out of state school is the best choice for your future. But remember By Peter Chew, Vivian Jair, & Grace Wu that if your parents are paying for your tuition, you really Staff Writer, Feature Editor and Editor-in-Chief should spend the time to discuss it with them. Recognize that your parents may have valid reasons for wanting Dear Smoke Signal, you to stay close to home such as cost, travel, and most My friend seems kinda spoiled and doesn’t take Dear Smoke Signal, So I like this guy and he only thinks of me as a friend. importantly, your safety. On the other hand, make sure Dear Cold Alpaca, school very seriously. She always asks people what We suggest you trim off some of your alpaca fleece the homework is, rushes to finish it during break, and I’m not sure if he’s even single but I’m way too afraid to let your parents understand that this is not about them; and knit it into trendy gloves and scarves to wear. Better even goes home just to avoid tests or deadlines. She was to ask or find out. I want him to like me, but I’m a noob where you go to college ultimately affects you. Work to compromise between what you desire in your future and yet, become an onion: wear layer upon layers of clothes complaining about her low SAT score but spent all her with relationships! What should I do? what your parents are willing to provide for. This is one and fashionably remove your seemingly-endless supply time playing League instead of studying for her retake; Wallflower of the biggest decisions you’ll make in life, and it’s a of shirts as the day gets warmer, shocking your friends. yet she looks down on people who attend community Taking the long routes to class may also increase blood college. Hypocrite much? I know she has potential, but good idea to make it together with your family. circulation, as you walk more. Having a thermos with I don’t know how to confront her about this without ru- Best of luck, a warm drink may also be helpful. If you’re feeling ining our friendship. How can I help her without being Smoke Signal particularly adventurous (though not recommended), too obtrusive? Dear Smoke Signal, borrow a Bunsen Burner from chemistry class or rub Concerned Friend I have a group project assignment, and my group wooden pencils together until they light. is really not cooperating. They always say they are not Warm wishes, Dear Concerned Friend, Smoking Hot Signal There is a fine line between being a parent and a available for meetings, and during class work time, they friend. As a friend, it is important to be supportive, but are completely off task. They seem to expect me to just honest at the same time. So pull her aside for a talk and carry the whole group and do all the work for them. How express your feelings in a helpful way, rather than tak- do I solve this problem? ing a condescending tone. Rebuking her will only hurt Ancillary Armadillo your relationship and she will not be open to listening Dear Ancillary Armadillo, to your feelings. However, also keep in mind that she Dear Wallflower, Friendship is a great way to start any relationship, This sounds like a very serious case of group loaf is her own person. Ultimately, she makes her own deci sions and what you view as “hypocritical” may not seem but you must be careful to steer clear of the treacherous ing. Unfortunately, if no action is taken the result is the waters of the infamous friendzone. If you’re determined inevitable project failure slapped on everyone in the to be to her. to take this relationship to the next level, it’s time to be group. You can go about this in at least two ways. First, Regards, daring and bold. Make excuses to talk to him more fre- if you have hope that your group members can be reSmoke Signal quently. “Accidentally” bump into him during passing deemed, you can attempt to rally them. Take the lead Dear Smoke Signal, period and strike up conversations. “So, how ‘bout them and start coordinating your team members, even if it Do you have any tips on how to not procrastinate? I Dear Smoke Signal, find myself just staring into space or lying on my bed I’m a junior, and since we’ve recently taken the ACT, Knicks?” If he asks you why you’re so out of breath, means demanding they participate (with a smile). Make because I just don’t want to study. I end up feeling ex- SAT, and PSAT, there’s a lot of score-sharing going on. just say that you like to get your daily exercise in be- them recognize the fact that no work will be done if no tremely stressed from procrastinating later, and then the Many of my friends are asking for my respective scores, tween passing periods to be efficient. You were totally one is willing to do it. If those pieces of toast simply laze cycle repeats, making me even more demotivated. I’m but I don’t really want to share them because I don’t not running all the way from the N-Wing to meet him in further and you are running out of time, there is no other so done with school. want to be defined by a number. How should I respond front of his C-wing class. It would also be the perfect recourse than to report this to the teacher or request a time to indirectly ask about his girlfriend: “Are you do- group change. But remember, you may be exasperated Another Lazy Mission Student to them without sounding cold? ing No Shave November? Does your girlfriend like your with your teammates, but losing your temper will only Davy Crockett goatee?” If he is single, try to organize activities that make you look bad. Remain in control and express conDear Another Lazy Mission Student, involve only you and him, such as two-person study ses- cern, but never anger. You may want to set up a reward system to motivate Dear Mr. Crockett, yourself to work. Promise yourself food after completAlthough you may at times feel the pressure from sions, and get closer to him. If you can’t organize this May the Force guide you, ing an assignment—warning, it may lead to a great in- your friends to share your test scores, remember this in- in real life, you can do it online, through chat or voice Smoke Signal crease in body mass—and larger rewards like a day out formation is strictly personal. Students must recognize calls. Over time, the two of you will get to know each with friends for finishing big projects early. Alterna- this and show a measure of respect. Indiscriminately other better and hopefully develop a relationship. But tively, create a music playlist set for a specific amount asking others about their test scores is both insensitive when it comes to getting out of the friendzone, it’s no of time, and don’t stop studying until you finish listen- and a breach of etiquette. If there is the slightest chance a risk, no reward. ing to all the songs. For larger assignments, don’t feel person may hesitate to share their scores with you, don’t You Only Live Once, obligated to have everything perfect or all completed in just ask straight away! If you are approached by another Smoke Signal one go--splitting tasks up into revisions and sections is inquiring about test scores and you are uncomfortable both easier and less stressful. Finally, if the above all sharing, don’t lose your cool. Drop a hint by politely Dear Smoke Signal, My parents want me to stay close for college, but I fail, there’s nothing like making your intentions public giving a vague rating of your performance to acknowlwith trustworthy friends that will spur you into work. edge the question, and then change the subject. Junior might want to go out of state. How do I work this out Have courage, year has its fair share of madness, but keep your chin up with them without causing a fight? Awkward Penguin Smoke Signal and your eyes forward and you’ll make it through fine. Keep calm and carry on, Smoke Signal graphics by staff writer lillian zhao Dear Smoke Signal, Winter is coming, and I’ll probably freeze to death on this cold campus. How can I keep warm, especially as teachers sometimes can’t even control the thermostat? Cold Alpaca

Dear Diaries: DIARY OF A Shopaholic Thursday, Nov. 28, 6:00pm Dear Diary, It’s time. Every year I live for this day: Judgment Day. I mentally shuffle through all of the deals and discounts that I’ve extensively researched for my ultimate test of the year. I’ve dutifully practiced my daily sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups, sprints, and bloodcurdling war cries—I need to be in tip-top shape for Black Friday. I’m now camped out in front of Best Fry Tarmart, shooting lethal glares at the one hooligan who has managed to arrive before me.

By Madeline Zheng Staff Writer

telescopes…and they were empty. I have been blankly staring at them for ten precious seconds, painfully aware of the void in my heart as I gawk at the dreadful emptiness of these shelves.

Friday, Nov. 29, 1:00am Dear Diary, I’ve decided to take a stand and fight for my rights as a citizen of this country. I storm into the face of a Best Fry Tarmart employee prowling the aisles and demand justice. I try to explain patiently that that telescope was on sale—1% off!—and that it is constitutionally unjust that I, the lordliest shopper of all—in fact, a Thursday, Nov. 28, 10:00pm professional Black Friday shopper— Dear Diary, The wait is excruciating. It is must live without it. I also try to slowly killing me. I cannot sleep or minimize the frenzied froth that is talk or eat or even properly breathe. forming at the corner of my mouth. I must shop. I must shop right away. Friday, Nov. 29, 1:20am Dear Diary, Thursday, Nov. 28, 11:59pm I must say I regret what I’ve done Dear Diary, The countdown is on—60 to that poor employee. I plead the seconds until the doors open! Fifth—I refuse to describe the horrific Adrenaline rushes through me as incident. However, I’ll be sure to send I position myself in the optimal him my top recommendations for location, planning to launch myself PTSD therapists when I get home. I into the store like a buffalo the very did not get the telescope. second those front doors open. Friday, Nov. 29, 7:00am Dear Diary, Friday, Nov. 29, 12:00am Best Fry Tarmart has cheated Dear Diary, me, but being a merciful soul, I have CHAAAAARGE it! decided to forgive it. I now sit at home with my 54 new electronic gadgets laid Friday, Nov. 29, 12:15am out in front of me. They are my babies. Dear Diary, I am in a life-threatening situation I love them. I’m home for a fiveright now, and tears are pouring minute break, and then I shall once down my face as I write. I don’t again seek fresh shopping adventures. understand what happened, but Oh Black Friday, oh Happy Day! ■ after I managed to seize a new LED flat screen TV, three touchscreen laptops, two professional cameras, 10 of the hottest new video games, a smartphone that also functions as a toaster, and three tablets among other treasures, I flew to the shelves that should have been stacked full of

Black Friday Edition Diary of a Salesperson Thursday, Nov. 28, 9:00pm Dear Diary, In just three hours, my life will be put on the line. Sadly, my life is in danger every year on the exact same day, the day which all salespeople dread. Black Friday approaches. Thursday, Nov. 28, 11:03pm Dear Diary, I’m sitting in my car, looking up at the tauntingly blaring logo of the mega-department store Best Fry Tarmart. My nerves feel as if injected with poison, and I’m breaking out in a cold sweat. This is my third year as a salesperson here, and I swear each Black Friday only gets worse. Thursday, Nov. 28, 11:32pm Dear Diary, The head manager just assigned me to the worst department–the electronics. Being a first-timer in this department, I can’t help but shudder at the rumors I’ve heard: screens shattering, sparks flying, employees trampled. Could the customers really be worse than the dress-ripping, package-tearing monsters of the apparel department I’ve encountered in years past? Thursday, Nov. 28, 11:59pm Dear Diary, People are jammed at the front doors, hanging onto shopping carts like racecars. I can’t even describe the looks on their faces, for they seem more evil than determined. To think that these people were happily giving thanks around a warmly-lit dinner table just a few hours before!

By Jacinta Chang Staff Writer

This is one of those times when I question whether or not my life is worth the meager $9/hour I earn. Friday, Nov. 29, 12:00am Dear Diary, A H H H H H H H H H H H H H ! Friday, Nov. 29, 12:15am Dear Diary, I’m huddled in an employee bathroom stall, and all I can hear are screams and cries from beyond this thin wall. I fear that at any moment they will pounce on me, and gobble every last bone in my body. Uh oh. My manager’s here. Friday, Nov. 29, 12:30am Dear Diary, I was forced out of my safe haven, though I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to throw someone into a pit of savages. I should’ve actually read The Lord of the Flies instead of using Sparknotes; maybe then I’d have some notion of how to deal with these monstrous barbarians they call shoppers. Friday, Nov. 29, 1:30am Dear Diary, As I walked past countless chaotic aisles, I was knocked off my feet by a ruthless woman pushing a cart of millions of items. (Talk about being materialistic.) And as if that weren’t enough, she tried blackmailing me into getting her an obscure telescope. I mean, they’re only 1% off. Really? Friday, Nov. 29, 2:14am Dear Diary, My weary bones are still strong enough to carry my aching body out of Best Fry Tarmart. The automatic doors creak, sliding closed behind me, creating a barrier between that zoo of customers and my tired soul. This experience has been utterly traumatizing, but certainly memorable. It’s not every day that you get a plasma screen TV hurled at you. My eyesight seems to be failing me, and everything flashes black. So this is what Black Friday has come to? ■

graphics by staff writer jacinta chang & graphics editor shirby wang,, layout by feature editor vivian jair

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Smoke Signal

Feature 11

MSJ NANoWriMo By Irisa Lee & Arti Patankar Staff Writers

“[My] first [Nanowrimo novel] was a fantasy about peasants who revolt against magic-using nobles, second was a loosely connected novel with a common theme of being nicer to people … it's about people who see too many problems and become kinder by accepting these problems. This year’s novel is a loosely connected novel taking a new perspective on the biased symbolism of light and a largely-flawed world reflecting that symbolism.”

T h i s year’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), an annual international writing event, kicked off at exactly 12:00am, Friday, Nov 1. Participants have until 11:59pm Nov 30 to write 50,000 words. Within this time period, participants plan, write, and submit their novel via the NaNoWriMo website. Despite the stressful challenge, NaNoWriMo has become enormously popular so far. NaNoWriMo was created in 1999 and over the following fourteen years, attracted the attention of thousands of curious novelists. Since then, more than 250 submitted NaNoWriMo novels have been published at large traditional publishing houses, and hundreds more have been self-published or published at smaller presses. This year, a projected 500,000 writers from seven continents and over 500 regions will take part in this phenomenon. To begin preparing, prospective participants first sign up for an account on the website. Throughout the month, they continuously update their word count on their profiles to track their progress, and NaNoWriMo staff set up events with writers and authors for motivation. At the end of the month, a word count validator is used to ensure that the novel meets the required length, and if so, the writer becomes an official winner. Winners of the NaNoWriMo challenge receive two free paperback copies of their book from the publishing company CreateSpace. Several MSJ students and alumni have also been among the thousands who joined the NaNoWriMo craze. Seniors Kushal Chatterjee, Alex Hancock, Darren Li, and Junior Alex Chen

Junior Alex Chen

“My first NaNoWriMo novel was a science fiction work about space commandos getting trapped on a planet ruled by a primordial being called Sandman. But I consider my first work to be my novel I wrote from Dec. 2012 to April 2013, a bildungsroman about a bored young man who drops out of college in pursuit of adventure. He drives around the country, meeting people and having absurd conversations. It reads like a confessional journal by a semi-literate adolescent who’s overdosed on Nietzsche and Faulkner.”

Senior Kushal Chatterjee

“I’m basically rewriting and continuing a story that I started in junior high with a group of friends. It was a role-playing fantasy with a jumbled medieval setting, but the characters and personalities were distinct because different people wrote each part. Last year’s was using that old story as the legends of a modern-day fantasy. This year I’m continuing the story, because a lot of last year was trying to follow the legends and connect them to the modern characters. I’ve thought about going back and finishing the legends, but it’s interesting to leave them be.”

as well as MSJ alumnae Leena Yin and Lucy Shen have participated in past years. Junior Medha Raman and returning veterans Chen, Hancock, Li, and Shen will be participating this year. MSJ students have found the event to be challenging and time consuming. Hancock, who participated in 2011, says he was introduced to the challenge in April and had six months to prepare his story. However, he said, “I’d think ‘Oh, wouldn’t it be cool if this happened?’ And I would write with that idea and develop it until I would write myself into a corner. If I was in a corner, all of my time spent away from the computer was devoted to figuring out a feasible way to get my characters out of it.” During their novel writing, several of the writers used short-term planning and improvisation. Chatterjee describes his process as “comparable to that of a jazz musician’s composition process. I know what I want to do, I know how to do it, but I’ll make up the details as I go on.” But despite the challenges, the writers feel that the experience is rewarding. Similarly, Li said, “The hardest part really has to be coming up with plot when I’m not really as inspired. It’s also the best part, because seeing how I can connect all the snippets and stories is oddly satisfying.” Although daunting, NaNoWriMo provides writers with the time, tips, and tools they need to begin writing as novelists. So take the challenge to become an author or to support your friends! Visit for more details, and go online to www. to check out more about these MSJ novelists’ writing processes.

Senior Darren Li

“[My NaNoWriMo novel] was called “To Kill a Songbard”. It was about a mischievous traveling bard who would evade execution and an empire’s worth of guards for his own gain. (Who) eventually gets himself wrapped up in a small group of adventurers trying to save the world, and ruining his perfectly reasonable self-centered life.”

Senior Alex Hancock,,,,,,,, layout by feature editor anjali kanthilal

creative costumes

daring delicacies

Pienuts = Donuts + Pie: Materials: Fall colored tablecloth, knife, bowl, spoon, unstuffed donuts, pumpkin flavored filling or any other kinds of pie (suggestions: apple, mincemeat, sweet potato pie, pumpkin pie, pecan pie), bread donut filling. Donuts for breakfast? Pie for dessert? Put together a dish that can be eaten at any hour: pienuts! Get a dozen unstuffed donuts and fill them with your favorite pie flavor for a spectacular break fast and dessert in one. It’s all the deliciousness of pie filling and crust, but incredibly portable and sinfully easy to consume in large quantities.

Create a new version of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah and wow your guests with your inventive appearance! Using only a few around-the-house materials, you can turn yourself into a turkey Moses to embrace the Thanksgivukkah spirit. Quell the annoyances of cheek-pinching aunts, red-faced uncles, and intrusive personal questions with your mighty staff, majestic beard, and awe inspiring wings. Lead your guests on an exciting journey to freedom from the tried and true but nonetheless occasionally monotonous traditional holidays. Just make sure to stay away from hunters!


Your Guide to Thanksgivukkah By Apoorva Rajanala & Katie Sun Staff Writers

Materials: Safety pins or needle and thread, dark and light brown, red, and white cloth

Have you ever wanted to mash two holidays up for double the fun? On Nov. 28, 2013, for the first time in 79,000 years, the starting day of Hanukkah falls on the same day as Thanksgiving. The Smoke Signal has creative ideas ranging from foolproof to insanely off-the-wall to help everyone pass this crazy holiday, dubbed Thanksgivukkah!

eThankse t givukkah The

Disclaimer: The Smoke Signal is not responsible for any injuries that may occur, nor any potential food poisoning.

o Version of Everyv thing But the Kitchen Sink: e


Materials: Anything that’s Thanksgiving and Hanukkah related: turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, bread rolls, carrots, pies (apple, mincemeat, sweet potato, pumpkin, pecan), apple cider, doughnuts, latkes, kugel, pretzels, etc.


3D Crancakes:

a h e i

DFor those willing to make the arduous trek up the mountain to re-

ceive sage advice, we certainly won’t hold back! Create the ultimate mashup dinner with all the elements of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. Go all out by expressing your creativity in a food masterpiece that will be sure to become a legend and leave people talking until the next Thanksgivukkah. Mix everything in a giant bowl while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and eating chocolate gelt coins dipped in pie filling. Roast your turkey, and watch as your guests faint from sheer pleasure.

Grab a friend and create a physical version of crancakes! Using the cloth, have one partner embody the essence of a potato pancake to represent Hanukkah, while the other is a can of cranberry sauce, usually used to season Thanksgiving dinners. As you and your partner walk around showing off your delicious outfits, be careful not to be caught by hungry onlookers!


The Roasted Turkey:


Materials: Glue gun, brown cloth




Who cares if it isn’t Halloween? You can find any opportunity to make a fun costume. This one is optimally for babies or small children, but feel free to cram your siblings or even parents in it! Brandish your hot glue gun like a samurai warrior and get to gluing. First construct a giant roasted turkey, making sure that you poke holes out for the arms, legs, and head. If you really want to go that extra mile, stuff the rest of the turkey with Hanukkah gelt coins, so when the turkey is cut open- stuffing falls out! Glaze your turkey with blue and white, the Hanukkah theme colors.



Fantastic Fan

Fantastic Fan

Don’t have much time to prepare for your Thanksgiving and Hanukkah party? Throw together this simple and easy to make dish that includes both holidays! Add a basic twist to a classic breakfast and make crancakes! Use potatoes in your pancake mix, and use cranberry sauce instead of the typical maple syrup on top. Watch as guests fan over the crispy pancakes and tangy cranberries, admiring your zest for cooking.

Turkey Moses:

Materials: Hot glue gun, backpack, baseball cap, construction paper, cardboard, white cloth, fake feathers, safety pins

Appreciative Amateur

Appreciative Amateur

Crancakes = Potato Pancakes + Cranberry Sauce: Materials: Plates, potato pancakes, cranberry sauce

graphics by staff writer lillian zhao,,,,, layout by feature editor vivian jair & anjali kanthilal

12 Centerspread

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Smoke Signal

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Smoke Signal

Centerspread 13

finnick odair Hopefully you don’t cut yourself on your cheekbones. You are most like Finnick Odair, a lean, mean, fishing machine, often taking advantage of scores of lovers by persuading them to divulge their secrets. However, beneath your gorgeous exterior lies a woefully misunderstood sea of emotions. Past events have forced you into this life of deception, and you seek closure and retribution in the Games instead of fame and fortune.

which hunger games victor are you? By Peter Qiu, Megan Ren, Katie Sun, Andrea Tam & Lillian Zhao Staff Writers

The air deadens; you stop dead in your tracks. A slight hiss becomes audible over the pounding of your heart, and you look up to see a thick cloud of fog rapidly descending onto the arena. As the first wisps approach, realization breaks down into panic. Your eyes sting, your skin becomes a withered red mess, and your lungs itch and burn. You utter a cry of horror. What do you do?

Welcome to the Hunger Games, where perseverance and a touch of romance strike a wavering balance between death and destruction. Victors braved muttations and tracker jackers, fought their way through dense jungles, and skirted clouds of toxic gas to reach their hard fought victory. Ever wondered how you would react in the same situations? Would you fight to the death or run and hide? Would you become a lone wolf or hunt in a pack? Follow your instincts and may the odds be ever in your favor.

START Tomorrow is the Quarter Quell, and you have naught but two hours left until you must hop on the train to the Capitol. As you sit and think, you realize that this will most likely end with your death. What will you spend your last few moments doing?

Being a victor, you are no stranger to these gory games which people at the Capitol so morbidly enjoy. You’ve beaten the unbeatable and done the impossible, and now you’re back for a second round. Based on past experience, what are your survival strategies for this round?

A Spend your last few b Spend every last secmoments steeling your- ond with your family, asself and settling into the suring them that their fumentality of an unwilling ture will be comfortable, murderer. even if it lacks you.

A Stay calm and collected; it’s all about the brains.

At the harsh crash of the gong, you leap into the biting cold of the water. When, at last, you reach the sandy shore, will you dart for the safety of the woods, or will you dart towards the cruel allure of the Cornucopia, glittering under the sunlight with its wealth of weapons and supplies heaped up at its mouth? A Intent on averting danger, you sprint for cover in the woods to maximize distance between you and the gory bloodbath at the Cornucopia. The fiercest will dominate the horn, but the wisest, you reason, will hide and wait. b Why wait to confront your enemies? Why forgo the choice provisions and weapons that have been laid out for your taking? You sprint for the Cornucopia, weapon at the ready, eyes trained on the treasure. You do not flinch at the idea of cutting down anyone who stands in your path.

The Careers call out your name as you hide in a damp hole underground and fend off the claustrophobic panic that is edging in on your quick and calculated thoughts. They allegedly need your help to outwit and outmaneuver the other tributes. Do you decide to work independently and hope they don’t uncover you under the foliage or do you decide to accept their offer and risk falling for their ploys? A Decline, you function best as a one-man team and don’t need emotional ties to hold you back later.

A The pain is overwhelming, and you decide that you can’t take a second more of this agony. You immediately run out of the fog to soothe your festering body. After catching your breath, you decide to go around the fog.

haymitch abernathy

b My skills and a dash of luck are all I need to win.

You are reveling in the fact that a forest fire has ended and you’ve escaped unscathed, when suddenly you hear a low growl off to your right. You freeze and slowly turn your head to see five pairs of glowing red eyes in the shadows. The creatures are slowly approaching you and you can now see that they are five rabid wild dogs. What do you do? A Turn around and sprint as B Whip out your knife fast as you can towards the and face the dogs head thick underbrush in the dis- on. Ain’t nobody got time to run. tance. It will hopefully either offer a hiding spot or slow down the drooling fiends.

b Accept, you can watch your own back and deal with them later. In fact, you plan to turn on the group before they turn on you.

While weaving through the jungle, you spot twenty-four seemingly-innocent, insignificant parcels on the ground in a clearing. Claudius Templesmith announces that the packages contain just what each of you need. Time is ticking. Two fellow contenders have rushed out for the parcels; one has escaped to the trees while another has met a gruesome end. What is your choice - will you take your chances? A Weighing your options, you b You turn around and hightail it back decide that the reward out- into the woods before another victor weighs the risk. You lunge for- spots your location, hoping against all ward and grab the parcel. odds that there will be no other obstaend: katniss everdeen cles to contend with later on. end: johanna mason

b You say to yourself, “It can’t get any worse.” Through a bit of haphazard reasoning, you decide that it’s better to run through the fog and finish this painful ordeal as fast as possible.

After getting a few ugly gashes, thanks to the fangs of the muttations, you’re in desperate need of some medical aid. Despite your obvious signaling, no silver parachute is in sight. Your mentor is either short on money or disappointed with your performance thus far; you need to put on more of a show. What’s your strategy? A Play rough and tough. Put on a show of bravery as you valiantly endure the agony of your wounds and push forward. Sooner or later, they’ll reward you for your resilience.

b Try to engage the audience and get them on your side. Entertain them with some flashy moves with your weapon and keep on a dazzling smile. After all, there are cameras trained on you at all times. end: finnick odair

You are catching your breath in the shelter of a cave when a strangled cry cuts through the sluggish silence of the jungle. You can hear the sounds of a desperate struggle, the sound of a blade being unsheathed. It is time to act… or is it? A Scanning your surroundings, b You back silently towards the you see leaves, branches, stones, back of the cave and sit against its stone wall. You flinch when vines, the perfect materials to you hear the desperate cries of fashion a distraction, weapon, the hunted and the bloodthirsty or rescue device of some sort. Something, anything to save the snarls of the hunter. However, you know that is the way the desperate victim. end: haymitch abernathy game is played, and it would be foolhardy to intervene. end: peeta mellark

Under the guise of apathy and a touch of senility lies Haymitch Abernathy, who you seem to resemble uncannily. In order to accomplish your goals, you must weather the scorn of many others, but your experience with the bitter and unforgiving has changed you into a chaotic force for good.

peeta mellark You are a carbon copy of Peeta Mellark, down to the very last loaf of bread and as sweet as a cupcake. Compassion and empathy are rooted in your personality, but you also possess a serious set of acting chops. A bit of artistic talent won’t hurt for camouflage either. Though you are generally shy and reserved, you can work a crowd and instantly become a favorite if necessary.

johanna mason As sly as a fox, you are most like the inconspicuous Johanna Mason. You choose to bide your time and stay overlooked until opportunities present themselves. When you strike, you catch everyone by surprise through an impressive display of brute force. The last thing they’ll hear is your smug cry of victory.

katniss everdeen You are most like Katniss Everdeen, quick thinking and devoted to your cause. You place high value on family, and an ingrained sense of self-sacrifice and the greater good makes you one of the people’s favorites. However, a need to please everyone lands you in some romantic hot water. graphics from,,,, layout by centerspread editors tingting bi & lindy zeng




2012: England

2003: scotland

Students performed in London for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Band and orchestra performed at the Scottish National Assembly in Edinburgh.

2005: Spain

2009-2010: Italy

Band and orchestra travelled to Madrid and Barcelona, Spain to parade at Las Ramblas for the New Year.

Band and Orchestra once again traveled to Europe, this time visiting Italy.

W in d E


Concert Band


instrumental winter concert

Jackson Theater, Ohlone College Dec. 4, 7:30 PM


marching band

participation in outside music programs*

No 32.8%

Yes 67.2%



r Ma


*Data collected from Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, and Orchestra to avoid student overlap with Jazz Band and Marching Band.

Jay-Z - Magna Carta

Out of the Furnace

R 12/6/13 This thriller film, starring Christian Bale and Zoe Saldana, follows Russel Baze in his struggle to escape from the economically-depressed Rust Belt and seek justice for his brother, who is in prison.

Smith Center Theatre, Ohlone College Dec. 3, 7:30 PM



Jazz ba

winter chorale concert

1st Drum Major 1st 1D Unit 2nd Band Class A cupertino band 2nd Baton Solo 2nd Flag review John Phillip Sousa 1st Band Class 5A Award - Highest 1st Drum Major Overall Music 2nd Colorguard Score 2nd Percussion




newark days parade

3rd Overall 5th Drum Major 3rd Colorguard

Symphonic Band

h e st r a

Or c



m bl e


foothill band review

Wind Ensemble


Co n ce


total students*

ch i ng band

Artist: Britney Spears 12/3/13 Britney Spear’s eighth studio album, Britney Jean, is scheduled to be released on December 3, 2013. The album’s lead single, “Work B*tch,” debuted at Number 12 on the Billboard 100.

The MSJ Marching Band consists of 207 members. Students in the Band program are required to participate in Marching Band as well, which is held during seventh period on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and occasionally Fridays. At school, they lend their musical accompaniment at assemblies as well as home football games. Outside of school, they typically attend four events: two parades and two band reviews. Students are given the opportunity to perform in an actual parade, marching down the street with spectators lining the sidewalks. The two band reviews give students the opportunity to compete as well as see other high school marching bands. At all four events, a panel of judges gives out scores, feedback, and awards to each competing band.

With a group the size of the MSJ Marching Band, a chain-ofcommand is required to keep members in order. At the top is Kraft herself, and right underneath are the Drum Majors. The Drum Majors hold a number of responsibilities, including leading over 200 members in parades or band reviews, helping run rehearsals smoothly, assisting in marching instruction, and most importantly, setting the standard for discipline and conduct for other members to follow. There are three Drum Majors this year: Senior Jonathan Chew and Juniors Kyle Liang and Madeline Zheng. In addition to the three Drum Majors, three Assistant Drum Majors, Sophomores Sara Tsai, Andy Zhang, and Emily Zhu, provide support for the group while in training.

average number of years playing music

n se

ban d rt

n pho ic B


by the numbers

Britney Jean

The MSJ Orchestra Program consists of a single class taught during third period, which consists of 55 students from all grades. Four instruments make up the group: the violin, viola, cello, and double bass. These instruments, which produce sound through the vibration of strings, are commonly known as string instruments. In the world of music, the term “orchestra” generally refers to a group of string instruments accompanied by a brass, woodwind, and percussion section. Groups at MSJ are called string orchestras to eliminate confusion.

awards & upcoming events

msj music around the world

Students performed in Australia during Spring Break.

Friday, November 22, 2013

drum majors

At the beginning of this year, Kraft introduced her students to SmartMusic, a piece of software specifically designed for music educators and their students. Available for download onto a computer or as an app in the Apple App Store, SmartMusic allows students to practice their pieces along with a digital copy of their music on screen and provides immediate feedback by highlighting missed notes. In addition, the software provides accompaniment for many of the songs in their database, allowing students to make practice a more pleasurable experience. The program also provides many benefits for Kraft as well, allowing her to track students’ progress through playing assignments as well as making sure they continue to practice.

2008: australia

The Smoke Signal

Jazz Band is a seventh period class that meets every Monday, Wednesday, and occasionally Friday. Instruments in the Jazz Band include clarinet, flute, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, percussion, and piano/keyboard. Unlike the other music classes, Jazz Band is a relatively small group with only 19 members. Music played in this class can be classified as “jazz,” which comprises an extremely vast array of songs. Kraft enjoys focusing on artists such as Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Duke Ellington, and Artie Shaw.

jazz band

Wind Ensemble is exclusively for juniors and seniors. It is taught during second period and contains 57 members this year.

wind ensemble

concert band

Concert Band is primarily composed of freshmen, as well as several sophomores. It is taught during fifth period and contains 77 members this year.

by kevin chen & iyesha puri staff writers

Sixth period Symphonic Band is composed of 68 sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Students who audition for Wind Ensemble at the end of the year either pass or remain in Symphonic Band.

The MSJ Instrumental Music Program, today under the direction of Music Director Monica Kraft, has been continuously growing and expanding since its origins in the 70’s. From an afterschool group of 20 students back in 1986, the program gradually evolved into the collection of over 200 members seen today. Kraft began teaching at MSJ in 1988 and is impressed with how far the program has come since then. “The program has really grown. In 1994, I was able to start the Orchestra Program again, and from then the band and orchestra just keep getting stronger and larger each year,” said Kraft.

The MSJ Band Program is split into three groups of increasing skill level: Concert Band, Symphonic Band, and Wind Ensemble. While each of the three groups have a specific name, in general they are referred to as concert bands. Concert bands are made up of a variety of instruments, which can be split into three main groups: percussion (snare drum, bass drum, tom-toms, cymbals, xylophone, marimba), brass (trumpet, French horn, trombone, tuba), and woodwinds (flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, saxophone).

symphonic band

the program


at MSJ


14 Arts & Entertainment

AE UPDATES BOX By Tiffany Huang Staff Writer

SAP Center, San Jose 12/11/13 Jay-Z’s world tour will feature songs from Magna Carta Holy Grail, which debuted at Number 1 on the Billboard Top 200. The set list includes songs such as “Beach Is Better” and “Empire State of Mind.”

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

PG-13 12/13/13 The sequel to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug continues the adventure of Bilbo Baggins and Thirteen Dwarves to Lonely Mountain and Smaug’s lair.

photos by staff writer kevin chen,,,,,,,, layout by arts & entertainment editors tammy tseng & peter xu

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Smoke Signal

Arts & Entertainment 15

Ender’s Game Over

Eminem Back on Top By Hanson Wang Staff Writer

On November 5, Marshall Mathers, commonly known as Eminem, officially released his long-awaited album The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (MMLP2), three years after his last album, and thirteen years after The Marshall Mathers LP. Although relatively long with twenty-one songs, MMLP2 upholds its reputation as one of the most anticipated albums of 2013. Long-time fans of Eminem will surely be hooked by the first song, “Bad Guy,” in which he raps from the point of view of Stan’s younger brother who plots to kill him as redemption for Stan’s suicide. Lines from “The Real Slim Shady” and “I’m Back” can be heard in “So Far...,” a comedic shout out to the role Eminem’s upbringing played in his popularity. However, relatively new fans will also enjoy MMLP 2 for its vinyl scratches and electronic guitar beats, which constitute Eminem’s homage to old school rap. His lyrics flow through twists and turns, and no Eminem song would be complete without his signature syllable-juggling, wordplays, and puns in almost every line, which both entice and pump up listeners. MMLP 2 seemingly reaches a climax at “Rap God,” where Eminem proclaims his return to the throne with six minutes of straight rhymes, but the best song of the album is “Love Game,” a lyrical, somewhat comedic back-and-forth between Eminem and Kendrick Lamar. “Love Game” stands out because of Eminem’s wordplay to describe his roller coaster love relationship with rap. Unfortunately, some of his jokes are simply rehashes from the past. For instance, in “The Monster,” the main motif is how Eminem deals with his inner demons, a familiar theme in all his albums. In “Beautiful Pain” and “Wicked Days,” Eminem talks about how he has dealt with his past drug and alcohol addicitions and the scars they left, how he fears his actions in the past will come back to haunt him, and how he is slowly spiraling into insanity by digging his own grave. All things considered, MMLP 2 has greatly exceeded expectations. Eminem stays true to himself by sticking to his unique style of catchy lyrics, adolescent swagger, and heart-pounding verses. Eminem may be considered old, outdated, or obsolete, but one thing’s for sure: All hail the return of the rap god. ▪ Rating: A-

Not Gaga for ARTPOP By Aamir Rasheed Staff Writer

By Hannah Shih Staff Writer

Ender’s Game was released on Nov. 1, 2013, after decades of failed attempts to film a movie adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s novel. Despite the boycott of the science-fiction movie due to the anti-gay stance of the author, Ender’s Game shot to first place at the box office, earning $27 million in its opening weekend. The movie, ironically, is a tale about anti-bullying and empathy. Andrew “Ender” Wiggins (Asa Butterfield) struggles to be accepted by his peers before being singled out by Colonel Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford) as a possible leader for the army. Though Ender thinks he’s in a simulation, humanity is actually preparing for the next battle with an insectoid alien race called the Formics. As Ender quickly progresses through battle school and into command school, he hones his leadership skills and undergoes rigorous,

training using battle simulations that test his offensive strategies and decision making. With stunning CGI and intricate zero gravity fight scenes, Ender’s Game is polished and futuristic, yet reminiscent enough of the present to be relatable and believable. With an ambitious plotline and shocking plot twists, the movie caters well to its target audience, though at times moves too quickly. Ender’s growing abilities as a leader and with military strategy in general are illustrated clearly, but his emotional state as he deals with the disrespect of his peers and the immense pressure laid upon him is shrouded by a higher focus on plot. Yet another aspect of the film that is concealed by its quick pace is the moral complexity Ender and his commanders struggle with throughout the movie. Children are trained in extreme physical conditions for

warfare. They are placed under very rigorous conditions both physically and academically, and are tasked with the astronomic duty of saving mankind. Even beyond the way children are raised as elite fighters, questions are raised about warfare and the tactics used. What is a “just war”, and how do we know what the enemy is thinking? Ender struggles between his empathy for the Formics and the training he has received to fight a ruthless battle to end all future wars. Hood’s Ender’s Game is an ambitious but cushioned take on Card’s novel. It is worth watching for fans but does not have the emotional impact of the novel itself. With that said, it is a scintillating science-fiction movie that hints at deeper, unexplored issues that are prevalent in society even today, 28 years after the novel was released. ▪ Rating: C+

Thor: ‘A’ Dark World,

By Tanvi Raja Staff Writer

The Marvel Cinematic Universe once again hammers out a hit with the widely anticipated sequel, Thor: The Dark World. Succeeding Thor, released in May 2011, the film continues the Marvel legacy. Watching the prequel is not required, but it may provide support to enjoy the movie. The movie begins with a backstory of the Dark Elf Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), who attempts to enclose the universe in eternal darkness with a weapon called the Aether before he is stopped and “destroyed” by Thor’s grandfather. The Aether is buried in a secret location with the intention of it never being found. In present day, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), son of the king of Asgard, ensures peace throughout all nine realms of the universe. Back on Earth, astro-

physicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is studying unusual gravitational behavior of random objects when she enters a portal to another realm and unintentionally releases the Aether, resulting in the return of Malekith. Thor: The Dark World is based on Marvel Comics along with Norse mythology. The film is well rounded, with an excellent script, and great cinematography, which is especially shown during the fight scenes. The dialogue is well written and incorporates action, humor, and romance in a perfect balance. Yet, the special effects do not stand out as being any different than the many recent superhero movies, despite the fact that there were nine different worlds to work with. However, the movie’s most outstanding aspect has to be the cast. Hemsworth acts as expected: marvelously without creating awkward

transitions from the serious to more humorous scenes of the movie. Tom Hiddleston shines bright throughout, giving a magnificent performance as Loki, Thor’s vengeful and internally conflicted brother with an unstable personality who brings many plot twists to the film. Many other supporting characters, notably Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings), play a key role in the movie also, helping to save the universe and providing comedic relief concurrently. Hemsworth and Portman display superb on-screen chemistry at appropriate times throughout the movie. A highly anticipated film, Thor: The Dark World definitely does not disappoint. Comic book enthusiasts and first-timers alike can enjoy and “marvel” at Thor: The Dark World, with its excellent acting and exciting plotline. ▪ Rating: A-

“I killed my former and/left her in the trunk on highway 10” are the very first words we hear in Lady Gaga’s recently released album ARTPOP. Less than 30 seconds later, she sings “Aura-a-a-a, Aura-a-a-a,” a syncopated pronunciation of single words seemingly derived from her 2009 hit single, “Bad Romance.” Lady Gaga is known for her pioneering expressiveness, but throughout the album, we continue to see a rehashing of musical elements either too characteristic of her previous works or too ubiquitous in contemporary music. However, the album does have its strong points, and does not fail to satisfy pop’s die-hard followers. The best song by far is a collaboration with R&B artist R. Kelly, “Do What U Want,” which is already making waves on radio stations around the nation. The beat and catchy melody reel us in right from the get-go, and by the end of the song, it is easy to identify it as hit song material. “ARTPOP,” a futuristic sounding song, and of course, energetic “Applause,” Gaga’s successful pre-released single, are other notable highlights of her album. As always, Gaga’s unique vocals are strong and expressive. Yet the album feels disjointed and redundant. We are not drawn in nor impressed. The cliché messages Gaga attempts to convey revolve largely around themes high-schoolers have been taught to avoid in health and self-management classes: sex (“Sexxx Dreams,” “G.U.Y.,” “MANiCURE,” “Do What U Want”), drugs (“Jewels n’ Drugs,” “Dope,” “Mary Jane Holland”) and excessive spending (“Jewels N’ Drugs,” “Fashion”). It feels less like an experience and more a list of separately crafted songs designed to be as “Gaga” as possible. ARTPOP can be likened to an overhyped and overpriced hot dog. Because of predetermined impressions derived from the hype and price, you go in thinking it’s going to be another new experience, but no, it’s just a regular old hot dog. However, die-hard hot dog lovers will defend, if nothing else, its unique yet familiar taste. Gaga intended ARTPOP to be a revolutionary intersection between art and pop, (assuming these were two mutually exclusive things to begin with), and though the album falls flat with the art, it scores with the pop. ▪ Rating: B-

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The Smoke Signal

Friday, November 22, 2013

Shaytards Vlog Brothers

Most of us have spent a few minutes, if not hours, on YouTube surfing through seas of cat videos and rap battles. But beyond the many viral videos and music videos are crowds of talented vloggers that collectively cover a wide range of topics. JennaMarbles, nigahiga, and Smosh are some of the most popular YouTube personalities, but there are quite a few gems that might be harder to find. We know YouTube is a vast expanse that is very easy to get lost in, so the Smoke Signal has compiled some mustwatch YouTubers for you.


By Grace Dong & Melissa Peng Staff Writers

The Smoke Signal

Community Channel

Friday, November 22, 2013

Arts & Entertainment 17

Shaytards, also known as “YouTube’s First Family,” is a vlogging channel that follows the lives of the Tards family. The channel is run by Shay Carl Butler, YouTube star Shaycarl, who began documenting his family’s daily lives in 2008 as a project to post a video every day for a year. Shaytards is now nearing their sixth year of vlogs, but their daily lives have yet to lose their hilarious sense of adventure.

Although best known for his best-selling novels, including The Fault in Our Stars, John Green is also a successful YouTube vlogger, running a channel with his brother Hank. Videos from the VlogBrothers have no set format, but always have smart commentary studded with intensely quirky humor. In their vlogs, John and Hank cover a wide spectrum of topics from silly to serious and from honey badgers to North Korea.

Zoe Sugg, better known as zoella280390 to many, is a popular beauty vlogger from London. She has garnered multiple awards and more than 2.5 million subscribers. She was voted the “Best Beauty Vlogger” in the 2012 Cosmopolitan Blog Awards, and in September 2013, BuzzFeed named her the number one YouTube beauty vlogger to watch. Zoella’s videos range from makeup and hair tutorials to comedic collaboration with other YouTubers. She maintains a continuous series where she vlogs about her favorite beauty products.

Natalie Tran, or as many of her viewers know her, Nat, is a comedy vlogger hailing from Sydney, Australia. Her signature Australian accent and keen eye for the subtle humor in everyday social situations sets her apart from an ever-growing crowd of YouTubers. The typical communitychannel video features a quick series of monologues and skits that together explore an aspect of her everyday life. The topics Nat covers are usually widely relatable. Communitychannel is a regular dose of humor that flocks of subscribers look forward to each week.,,,,, layout by arts & entertainment editor peter xu

Peter and the Starcatcher Shines By Melissa Peng Staff Writer

The spotlight falls on a cast of twelve, who introduce the play to the audience in a Romeo and Juliet-style prologue. The group urges theatergoers to exercise their imaginations instead of relying on realistic, literal special effects to enter the world of the play. Soon, audience members find themselves on an English dock on a foggy morning, just in time to see Megan Stern’s shrewd, independent Molly Aster and a trio of orphan boys set sail for a swashbuckling adventure. The play borrows its plot and characters from Ridley Pearson’s book Peter and the Starcatchers, itself a prequel to the classic Peter Pan. Molly and her newly discovered orphaned friends, including Joey deBettencourt’s Peter Pan, fight to protect a trunk of starstuff, a highly sought-after substance with tremendous supernatural powers. They fight pirates, tribesmen, and other villains at every turn, bolstering their friendship and discovering Peter’s identity. Peter and the Starcatcher is a light-hearted adventure kept playful with humor. At times the comedy is simple and even cheesy, with the cast dropping groan-inducing puns by the dozen. Other times the humor is more involved, repeatedly poking fun at British colonialism as well as breaking the fourth wall. Witty banter between characters is over-thetop, entertaining, and in no short supply. The play is silly and self-referential, although not funny enough to rely on comedy alone. What makes Starcatcher shine is its creative staging and narrative style. With only twelve cast members and little technology beyond lighting, Peter and the Starcatcher treasures every last drop of its humble resources. Actors triple as characters, narrators, as in the prologue, and even props. A wall of actors, backs turned to

the audience and cloaked in blue lighting, make up the roiling waves of the scenes that take place on the high seas. The staging is often inventive and clever, pushing the audience to use their imaginations to understand the plot, as it’s not always immediately obvious what’s being conveyed on stage. In Act II especially, the lighting is generous with its use of color, creating rich, vibrant forests and sunrises as well as dreamlike transitions. The result is a whimsical, playful performance that matches Peter and Molly’s lively adventures and personalities. Despite its impressive staging, effects, and genuinely funny moments, Peter and the Starcatcher struggles to keep the audience engrossed. The actors’ enunciation is at times muddy and unclear, making it a struggle to understand the plot. Additionally, characters are one-dimensional with minimal development throughout the two acts. The few brief musical scores simply aren’t memorable and seem to act more as a filler than anything else. Its shortcomings aside, Peter and the Starcatcher is a breath of fresh air. There’s something uniquely rewarding about willing yourself to believe in another world rather than having it thrust at you. It’s by pushing the audience to use their imaginations that the play encourages seeing magic and adventure through a child’s eyes. Watching Peter and the Starcatcher itself is an exercise in the wonder, creativity, and youth that Molly and Peter stand for. ▪ Rating: B+

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The Smoke Signal

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Smoke Signal

By Leah Feuerman & Ishan Goyal Sports Editors

Play for college? College application season is afoot, forc-

ing students to seriously ponder their lives beyond high school while juggling the academic intensity of their classes. Here at MSJ, seniors are plagued by questions like, “What’s the lowest grade I can get in physics without ruining my chances at college?” But for athletes, another question looms on the horizon that could play a major role in their newly budding college lives: Will I be playing a sport for my college?” For those lucky enough to receive full athletic scholarships to the college of their choice, the answer seems obvious. But for athletes with the potential to make division III college teams, the idea of playing for a higher level of competition can be intimidating. There are several factors that come into play when deciding whether or not to pursue competitive sports at the next level, but ultimately, the choice is a personal one. There are certainly many advantages to playing college sports. Like playing for high school, playing for a college team gives incoming freshmen a place to fit in, and a chance to form close new friendships in the frightening transitioning period of entering the college world. It is a source of exercise, stability, and release in an otherwise highly academic setting. For many athletes, the increase in the level of competition can also be considered a desirable stimulation. Higher

stakes allow athletes to challenge themselves to grow and improve in ways they could not in high school. Players often find themselves craving the kind of audience and pressure that comes from performing on the intercollegiate level, which can be offered even at the division III level. Besides, who wouldn’t want to have his or her name cheered by an audience of thousands of peers, and have his or

A record attendance is set at Michigan Stadium during a college football game.

her face put up on the big screen? In a recent study by the NCAA, figures showed that student-athletes who entered division I colleges in 2006 earned their degrees at a rate of 82%. The amount of participation in NCAA organized sports has steadily increased over the years, currently over 450,000 students are pursuing their athletic interests beyond the high school arena. A study by Gregory Wilson from the University of Evansville and Mary Pritchard from Boise State University showed that college athletes throughout divisions demonstrated less academic and social stress than their regular student counterparts. These figures support the

Game Coverage: Girls’ volleyball

By Hanson Wang Staff Writer Fans, friends, and family packed the stands of MSJ’s gym for the Mission San Jose Warriors Girls’ Volleyball senior night against the Moreau Catholic Mariners on Thursday, November 7. Before the match, MSJ players gave speeches, flowers, and gifts to their three senior teammates–Joanne Chin, Erin Cochran, and Miyako Vasquez. Despite racing out to an early lead, MSJ unfortunately lost three sets to one, 25-22, 20-25, 12-25, and 18-25.

Following the emotions of the pregame ceremony, MSJ started strong, winning six of the first seven points in the first set. Although the Mariners came back to lead 19-16, the Warriors finished off the set on a 9-3 run with help from the crowd’s intense cheering. The second set was a back-and-forth affair, with MSJ first taking a slim lead. After numerous lead changes, Moreau finally managed to pull out with the lead for good, tying the match at one set apiece. The second set served to demonstrate the overall pattern of the match: MSJ stormed out to an early lead, Moreau battled back, and MSJ faltered down the stretch, allowing Moreau to ultimately come out on top. MSJ ran into much more trouble in the third set. After winning the first three points, MSJ couldn’t find an answer for the multitude of powerful Moreau spikes, leading to

point after point for the Mariners. The third set ended in a 25-12 rout against the Warriors. In spite of the discouraging score of the previous set, MSJ continued to fight for the win, and the fourth set was much closer than the score might suggest. At one point, MSJ couldn’t be stopped, turning a 0-2 deficit into a 14-10 lead. But then the momentum drastically reversed on a single play. At first, the referees called a double touch on Moreau, which would have increased MSJ’s lead to five points, but upon further review, the refs overturned their original call and whistled for a replay of the previous point. MSJ’s morale dropped dramatically, and Moreau seized the opportunity to win the game on a 15-4 run, including a span of eight continuous points. Despite the disappointing loss, Coach Donny Hui was happy with the way his team played. “We came ready to play and had a chance to take the top team in MVAL (Mission Valley Athletic League) in five games, but we made a couple of mistakes that cost us the game,” Hui said. Additionally, he expressed optimism looking forward to the next season, especially with the development of the freshmen and sophomores on the varsity squad. Furthermore, Hui said, “We’ve developed a good culture throughout the year. The varsity team took good care of the JV and freshman teams.” Looking forward, there are definitely bright days ahead for the MSJ girls’ volleyball program. ▪

idea the intercollegiate athletics often helps students remain well-rounded and motivated both in the real world and in their academics. However, there are factors for students to consider before deciding to commit themselves to college sports. Higher competition often corresponds to a greater time commitment on the athlete’s part, something that can be difficult to handle with a new course load. Teams are also naturally more difficult to make purely through tryouts, as many athletes are often recruited by the schools into a specific sport. Lastly, playing at such a high intensity leaves the athlete prone to serious accidents, which could mar the rest of his or her career. If a student is passionate and has a desire to continue into NCAA, these fears should not completely discourage them. But it is still important to take into account all of the disadvantages when making a decision that will have such a significant impact. There are also many alternatives to playing for colleges. Many schools offer club or intramural teams in a variety of sports for athletes who want a less competitive environment while still continuing to do what they love. These teams offer a chance to make new friends and get plenty of exercise similar to college sports, but are often easier to make (in some cases there may not even be tryouts). Not that they lack competitive spirit. Club sports can often be just as intense as high school teams if not a step up, which allows space for the in-between athletes who feel they are not good enough for the official school team. And for the all-around athlete who just wants to participate in something,

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intramural sports can often include new sports not found in high schools, like ultimate frisbee, quidditch, and dodgeball. Overall, high school students should not be intimidated by the idea of college athletics. Every athlete’s situation is unique, and the key is simply to be informed and aware of the pros and cons when making a decision. It is also important to realize that college athletics are not all or nothing; there are many options to explore depending on the school and what programs it offers. So even if you think you’re not going to make it as a professional playing a sport, don’t hesitate to pursue your passion at the college level. ▪

Congratulations to Athlete of the Season Catherine Ha! (Girls’ Waterpolo) Also to the nominees: Edward Njoo (Boys’ Cross Country) Taylor Jang (Girls’ Cross Country) Ben Torrez (Football) Alex Hancock (Boys’ Waterpolo) Meredith Hirsch (Girls’ Golf) Emily Zheng (Girls’ Tennis) Vicki Petersen (Girls’ Volleyball) Maya Krishnan (Gymnastics)

MSJ Voices: What was your hardest workout? “For tennis we had to sprint 65 laps around a tennis court while bouncing a ball on our rackets.” -Abhinav Prasad, 12

“I have one workout from Mission Polo last year that killed me. We ran a mile, swam for an hour, did weights, sprinted again, pushing a tire across a field, hit the tire with a hammer, then went back to even more running.” -Katie Mei, 11 “I missed one club volleyball practice the whole year when I had a root canal and a 103 degree fever. As punishment (for nothing) my coach made me run six back-to-back timed 360 liners and then half an hour of conditioning...all after a three hour long practice. Needless to say, she was not my favorite coach.” -Megan Roche, 10 "During preseason, the Girls’ Waterpolo team went to Sky High which is basically a huge trampoline place. We took a class called AIRobics. It was pretty intense. One hour of jumping on trampolines is pretty painful. It was supposed to burn over 1000 calories. It was sweaty and gross, but it was fun. I would definitely do it again." -Ashley Oh, 10

photos by staff writer hanson wang,

photos by anand balaji, jacinta chang,

& peter chew,

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Friday,November 22, 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013

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Casual Sports Fashion By Jacinta Chang & Rebecca Wu Staff Writers

With several sports seasons coming into full swing, many athletes at MSJ are gearing up in their favorite casual athletic wear. Effortless, simple, but classy, these sporty pieces are ones whose style never grows old. But for all those who aren’t necessarily athletically-inclined -- do not fear! With some help from the Smoke Signal, you too will be able to sport these timeless trends!

For more school spirit and athletic wear options, visit A royalty from the purchases go to supporting MSJ!

Freshman Prathik Jogi sports pieces from popular name-brands, Nike and Adidas. To get this look, purchase the lightweight gray sweatshirt and shorts with light trim from Adidas (about $25 each). Mix and match Nike Elite socks ($15) and Nike shoes ($100) to finish off this bright and eye-popping athletic outfit.

Sophomore Erikka Linn dons classic Black Vans ($40) and jeans from Old Navy ($15). But the focus of this look is on her MSJ Letterman jacket ($400). Get a similar piece from stores such as Stussy (about $150) or Zumiez (about $50-$120). Layer it over a plain black sweatshirt ($11), to top off this style and tie the outfit together.

Athlete Spotlight: Cecilia Leng By Vivian Liu Staff Writer While it is hard enough for athletes to juggle just one sport with all the other commitments they have, Senior Cecilia Leng manages to train for competitive figure skating and competitive dance year round. Leng will be competing at the 2015 Nations Cup in Amiens, France as part of the San Francisco Ice Theater (SFIT) and the 2014 Spotlight Dance Cup Nationals in Los Angeles as a dancer from the Academy of Chinese Performing Arts (ACPA) and Mission Dance Performing Arts (MDPA). Leng’s beginnings in both dancing and figure skating trace back to when she was just three, when her parents first began dropping her off at Ice-O-Plex and ACPA for introductory lessons. “I didn’t really have a reason for why I started either sport other than my parents wanted me to be athletic,” said Leng. Since then, Leng has danced in the styles of contemporary, Chinese folk, jazz, hip hop, and ballet and come far as both a soloist and theater on ice figure skater. Her participation in both sports has transformed into a timeconsuming yet rewarding constant in her life. Leng regularly juggles her practices and academics, dedicating at least 18.5 hours of her week to either the rink or the studio. “Balancing school and extracurriculars leaves little time for anything else,” said Leng. On her weekends, she wakes up at 4 AM to figure skate for the SFIT in Belmont. As a 4th year skater on the troupe, she uses a medley of complex lifts, leaps, and choreography to bring plays to life on ice. On top of her figure skating, Leng also practices various styles of dance and builds upon her endurance and strength every week at the dance studio. Leng also heads to San Jose and Livermore for acrobatic coaches who tailor practices to further her flexibility and acrobatic skills. Acrobatics

is yet another sport she plans to compete in in the future. Currently, Leng is focused on preparing for her 2014 figure skating season. Just last year, the SFIT placed first in the Juniors division of a 2013 competition, qualifying the troupe for 2014 Nationals in Ohio and the 2015 Nations Cup. Now no longer a competitive soloist, Leng dedicates herself to training for both competitions. In dance, Leng is also anticipating her next season, hoping to add to the titles she has earned in the past. Some of her most recent titles include Spotlight title winner, KAR title first runner up, and Nexstar title second runner up. Leng anticipates competing in regional competitions and Nationals again as part of the competition teams of both studios. On what she hopes to see in her upcoming seasons in both sports, Leng said, “I hope to attend new competitions and meet different people as well as possibly learn some new tricks to try out by watching my competition. I also would like to travel to new places and place in overalls.” ▪

courtesy senior cecilia leng

Junior Akshay Sud is shown in a simple yet put-together look that is perfect for school. To achieve a similar look, you can purchase an Ecko Unlimited jacket ($30$40) to layer over any basic tee. Adidas shorts (around $30) give the outfit somewhat of an athletic feel, while Nike socks ($7) and Nike shoes (around $100) add the finishing touch.

Senior Cynthia Jiang is all cozied up in a classic black The North Face jacket ($75), which is perfect for the upcoming chilly weather. MSJ Sweatpants, which both shows spirit and gives warmth, can be purchased in the Student Store ($20), along with an array of other styles of school apparel. Finish the look off with a pair of classic black Adidas sneakers ($50) to create a timeless outfit that can be worn any time.

photos by staff writer rebecca wu,, layout by sports editor leah feuerman

Outrunning the Competition By Irisa Lee Staff Writer At this time last year, both teams of MSJ Cross Country were enjoying a successful season. At the end of the season, MSJ Girls’ Varsity lost to Logan in a dual meet and won against Washington in another and went on to MVALs. They beat Logan and lost to Washington, and ended up with a triple tie for the MVAL championship. This year, however, the Cross Country teams are not looking to tie. The Girls’ Varsity and JV went undefeated in season 6-0. The Boys’ JV and Varsity celebrated a win over American High on October 3rd, which has not happened in a while, and Boys’ Varsity ended with a record of 4-2 and Frosh-Soph with a record of 5-1. The teams, led by Head/Varsity coach Jack Marden, Girls’ JV and Varsity coach Linda

courtesy spencer whaley

Girls’ Varsity competed at Stanford Invitational on September 28.

Also, the coaches have encouraged the teams to drink chocolate milk this year. “I think a lot of the team is doing that every day after practice, but I don’t know if there’s an actual correlation,” said Senior Girls’ Cross Country captain Lindy Zeng. All the captains are proud of the success from the top runners in their teams. For a sport where the time gap between each runner is extremely important, Njoo said, “I think the guys are closer together this year, in both races and in general. Our top seven runners are all within a couple seconds of each other.” Girls’ Varsity also attributes its success to a strong top six runners on the Varsity team. The top three Girls’ runners this year include Seniors Taylor Jang and Lindy Zeng, and Sophomore Elizabeth Hu. The top three runners on the Boys’ teams are Seniors Dennis Liu and Edward Njoo, and Junior Clement Leung. During MVALs, Girls’ JV and Varsity defended their undefeated title to win league championships. Boys’ Varsity and FroshSoph placed 3rd in MVALs and their JV placed 2nd. Njoo said he believes that for NCS, the girls have a chance to make state. ▪

Addison, and Assistant/Frosh-Soph/Boys’ JV coach Jack Hotchkiss, have been overseeing changes to the teams this year. The workouts have become more intense than they were last year. In addition, the captains of both the Girls’ and Boys’ team report rising talent among the new freshmen and sophomores. “We lost most of our varsity runners but many talented younger runners came in to fill up the gaps,” said Senior Boys’ Cross Country captain Edward Njoo. The coaches have also been giving more lighthearted motivation for improvement. The coaches gave the Varsity runners socks this year (the girls’ socks had inchworms on From left to right, Senior Captain Lindy Zeng, Senior Captain EdNjoo, Senior Captain Taylor Jang, Girls’ Varsity/JV coach them and the guys had turkeys) as an incen- ward Linda Addison. tive for the other runners to make Varsity. photos courtesy coach john hotchkiss and junior luke wang,

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Friday,November 22, 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Smoke Signal

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Interviews with MSJ’s New Coaches Allison Lucarelli [[][][] Smoke Signal: What is the most rewarding part about being the Girls’ Waterpolo coach? Allison Lucarelli: It’s very rewarding to see… improvement from the beginning of the season [until] now; both collectively as a team and as an individual player…It was very nice to see that all the team traditions have lasted through the years, such as the Halloween candy bags and Jack O’ Lanterns that the parents make for the seniors. The girls were all surprised when I told them that my freshman year was the first year Mission had ever made it to NCS…Our second round fell on Halloween night, and that’s why there are those traditions. SS: Could you explain how being an alumna has affected your coaching career and how it has influenced your decision to coach at Mission? AL: Being an MSJ graduate was a big influence in my decision to comeback and really helped me in coaching the girls this year. I base the way I coach off of how I was coached by Joe Martinez; and he built some very strong athletes. When Kaala [my assistant coach] and I give the ladies a set to swim, a leg workout, or drills to run, we never give them something that we have never done before. Every workout pre-season till now, both Kaala and I can finish. SS: Did the rest of your family attend MSJ too? AL: Yes, my sister and I both attended MSJHS and played waterpolo and were on the Swim Team. Also a majority of my aunts and uncles from my dad’s side went to Mission back in the day, and ran Track and Field and Cross Country, so we’re a long line of Warriors. SS: What was your career/involvement in waterpolo before coming to MSJ? AL: Before coming to MSJ I was the 14u coach for Ohlone Club Team and I helped out with the 16u and 18u girls as well…Getting to coach them was amazing, because I was them just a few years ago. Along with coaching I played for the Ohlone Women’s Team. SS: Why did you decide to coach here? AL: I decided to coach at Mission because my friend Brittany Tan is the Swim Coach and she was telling me that the job was open and I should do it. At first I was hesitant, because it’s just a lot of pressure to do well, but in the end, a season is only…a few months so it has worked out.

By Katrina Cherk & Hairol Ma Staff Writers

Stephanie Randazzo Smoke Signal: What is the most rewarding part about being a coach? Stephanie Randazzo: The most rewarding part about being a coach is seeing athletes improve and gain a passion for running. SS: What are your future plans at MSJ as the new Track and Field coach?

photos by staff writers hairol ma and katrina cherk

From left to right, Track Coach Stephanie Randazzo and Cheerleading Coach Lori Cronland.

SR: I would love to continue coaching here, and my main goal is to build a strong MSJ running community. SS: What was your career/involvement in track before you came to MSJ? SR: I participated in USA Track and Field (USATF) cross country and track and field [competitions] for six years before high school, then went on to four years of Varsity cross country and track in high school. I also [was involved] in running clubs in college. SS: Why did you decide to coach here? SR: I decided to coach here to be more involved with the MSJ community. I am really looking forward to working with the track team this season!

Lori Cronland Smoke Signal: What is the most rewarding part about being a cheerleading coach? Lori Cronland: Well, I think the most rewarding part is to watch the girls grow and develop, to [foster] new skills, not only in cheerleading, but also in responsibility, time-management, and in those moments when you see the pride in their eyes because they know they’ve done a very good job. SS: What are your future plans at MSJ as a coach? LC: I’m taking it as a personal challenge to try and grow the cheer program. I got started very late last year, in fact, not until the beginning of June. So it has been very, very intense, and it has been a very steep learning curve for me. [Since we only have four returning girls] we need to start afresh. I would love to…not only [have] a Varsity squad, but enough girls to have a JV squad as well, so they can grow and develop. If the girls are interested, we can eventually move our skills forward and compete. SS: What was your career/involvement in cheer and spirit before you came to MSJ? LC: I cheered JV and Varsity in high school and that was almost forty years ago. We didn’t have stunting…It was very much about spirit then. Although I was in high tech and I have a college degree in computer science, I’ve done group exercise for over thirty years, I’ve been a personal trainer for over seventeen years, I dance, I was a gymnast, and I’ve been very involved in the school and in Girl Scouts, which has also taught me some good management skills. SS: Why did you decide to coach here? LC: It was because of my daughter, who is a senior this year. [The cheer squad] lost their coach and adviser. Many of the girls had been on the team, some of them for three to four years, and I just couldn’t watch it not happen for them in their senior year…So in order for them to have a team, I stepped up. Spirit…is very athletic, although people wouldn’t necessarily think so. The girls have to lift almost equal to their weight, as far as stunting…It takes a lot of strength and coordination to stunt well. When it looks good, people think it’s easy. [Cheerleading] also involves dance, movement, spirit, leadership… and being a good role model. ▪,,, layout by sports editor ishan goyal

Quidditch is a Keeper By Purvi Goel Staff Writer

“Muggle Quidditch,” loosely based on the insanely popular sport masterminded by author J. K. Rowling in the Harry Potter series, has taken the world of athletics to a new level. Search no longer for basketballs or tennis rackets; here, there are model broomsticks, yellowclad Snitches, and a great deal of fun. “Muggle Quidditch” was founded at Middlebury College in 2005 by Freshman Zander Manshel. Over the next few years, Quidditch burgeoned in popularity on the campus, eventually spearheading a movement to bring the sport to surrounding colleges. The sudden interest soon caught the attention of both MTV and USA Today who spurred Quidditch into international recognition. Scores of excited fans formed the International Quidditch Association in 2007, setting up more than 1000 teams and intercollegiate matches. By 2013, Quidditch was a televised and widely recognized sport. Thirteen countries, including the United States, Peru, France, and the United Kingdom are part of the IQA. In the Harry Potter books and movies, Quidditch is fast-paced and dangerous, with players on broomsticks soaring 50 feet in the air, throwing balls into hoops for points. “Muggle Quidditch,” as the IQA informally names the intercollegiate sport of the real world, unfortunately does not feature flying brooms. However, many of the rules are much the same. For example, both games include seven player teams. Three “Chasers” move a volleyball-sized ball, the Quaffle, down the field and attempt to get it past a “Keeper” into three goal hoops. Two “Beaters” serve to knock other players out with dodgeballs. The final member, the “Seeker” catches the “Snitch” or, in “Muggle Quidditch”, a “snitch runner” that wears a yellow uniform to end the game. While not at the same breakneck, death defying pace as its literary double, “Muggle Quidditch” has taken the sports world by storm. Notable colleges with Quidditch teams include Harvard University, Yale University, and Duke University. This is unsurprising: the Harry Potter franchise, worth well over $15 billion, is one of the most popular series in history. Studies show that the series spurred a generation to become bookworms, a statistic evident in that the series has sold over 450 million copies. Quidditch is a way for those a bit too old to receive their Hogwarts letters to reconnect with this childhood reverie. On opening day for the book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, sales reached over 100 units per second; this makes it clear enough that the Harry Potter generation is perfectly capable of doing the ridiculous and extraordinary. If anyone can translate a sport from pages to a playing field, it’s these fans. ▪,,,,,,, layout by sports editor leah feuerman

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The Smoke Signal

Friday, November 22, 2013


Volume XLIX, No. 3  

November 22, 2013