Page 1


VOL. 53, NO. 1

September 22, 2017


MSJ Infrastructure Improvements By Stephanie Dutra, Mallika Gupta, Richard Chenyu Zhou, Ian Hsu & Michael Ren A&E Editor, Editor-in-Chief, Centerspread Editor, and Staff Writers Over the summer, MSJ upgraded its facilities and infrastructure in various areas of the campus, such as its ethernet cabling and flooring. A new drop-off loop was also constructed to reduce traffic congestion on Mission Boulevard. In addition, upgrades to the swimming pool and expansions to the staff and student parking lot are scheduled to take place over the course of the 2017-18 school year and over the summer.

Flooring The library, career center, and 15 classrooms received new floor tiles over the summer. Before the summer of 2017, the flooring at MSJ had never been renovated, apart from replacing broken tiles. To determine which floors needed to be updated, EnviroScience, Inc. tested all the flooring to see if it was falling apart or if it contained asbestos, a product which causes cancer, in the glue or tiles. Contractors then replaced all of the flooring that had asbestos, as it could threaten the safety of students and staff if it became airborne. New carpeting in the libary lines aisles between bookselves.

Public Annoucements

New cables are attached to the wall of the N-Wing Ethernet room.

Wi-Fi/Ethernet MSJ’s Internet connectivity pipeline received major upgrades from Rotan Builders over the summer. New wireless access points were installed in every classroom and building, as well as some additional points throughout campus. Ethernet cabling was also upgraded across the school. Previously, ethernet upgrades at MSJ were not considered important — because all internet traffic from MSJ is first routed through FUSD, upgrades to MSJ’s portion of the pipeline are only effective when the school district makes similar upgrades along their own portion of the pipeline. Since FUSD has recently made upgrades to their own cabling, the new cabling at MSJ now takes full advantage of the faster speeds. These changes will be especially notable when many people use the Internet at once, as new cables were installed to prevent the overloading of networks. “There’s increased reliability. We understand that you guys had a hard time when it came to state testing, when computers would crash when everyone was on it. Now, that should be a thing of the past.” said FUSD Facilities and Construction Director John Chwastyk.

Drop-off loop construction nears completion.

Drop-off Loop Update Robson Homes and FUSD have finished construction of a new drop-off loop on Mission Boulevard behind the C-Wing. The loop will reduce rush hour traffic and increase student and staff safety. Construction for a detour through the staff parking lot was completed over spring break in April 2017, and trials for a dropoff loop were conducted in the horseshoe in May. The Mission Boulevard drop-off loop itself was paved over the summer, and was finished the day before school began. In addition, new sidewalks surrounding the Mission Boulevard loop were added. Drivers can now pull into the new loop and quickly drop off students without holding up traffic on Mission Boulevard. The loop can hold up to 40 cars and is designed to cycle 200 cars in 20 minutes. The new loop, in addition to the horseshoe and staff parking lot detour, will also help reduce illegal U-turns, curbside drop-offs on Palm Avenue, and cars in the bike lane. Administrators are currently looking for student volunteers to help safety patrol with ensuring that the new loop runs smoothly.

New telephones will be installed and upgrades are being made to the public announcement (PA) and bell systems in every classroom throughout the entire school. This will allow for more flexible announcements. “I could be in M-2 and know that we needed to make an announcement and I could make one from my phone. I wouldn’t have to come up [to the office] to the 1964 machine, press all these buttons, and make an announcement — we could be more in 2017,” said Principal Zack Larsen. The new telephones will use the Voice over Internet Protocol system, which uses the Internet as a means of transporting voice as opposed to traditional analog lines. As a result, the new telephones should have increased reliability and functionality. Installation for the technology is slated to finish in mid-September.

Current PA speakers sound morning announcements and call students and staff to the office.

Sources of Funding

Network cabinets contain newly installed ethernet cables.

The funding for the technology infrastructure and flooring upgrades came from the Measure E Bond. Measure E issues FUSD $650 million of bonds over a period of nine years for the purpose of updating technology, electrical wiring, roofs, plumbing, and other facilities for which updates may be warranted due to safety concerns. The bond was approved by Fremont voters in June 2014, and has since funded many upgrades across all FUSD schools. The bond allocated $2,143,260 to MSJ’s technology infrastructure and flooring upgrades. The Measure E Bond originally allocated $1,027,950 for the pool repair, but the General Fund and the Sale of Site Fund allocated an additional $3,134,953 to replace the pool in lieu of repairing it. Additionally, funding came from Mission Possible Parent Faculty Association which allowed new iMac computers and PCs to be installed in the library over the summer, as well as new computers with larger monitors which will be installed during the school year.

Future Improvements

More improvements are intended to come, with the drop-off loop receiving some final changes this year. The construction of a new 30 meter by 23 meter swimming pool is planned to begin November 1. A ramp to connect the parking lot to th e N-Wing as well as upgrades to the HVAC system will also be installed in future years. In addition, irrigation lines and erosion control measures will be installed next to the drop-off loop on Mission Boulevard. There are also plans to expand the staff and student parking lot by 50 spaces in the area surrounding the new loop. Ultimately, FUSD’s Measure E Bond Committee — composed of the superintendent, members of the facilities department, and parents — decides what other improvements MSJ will receive and when. “They look at the needs in the district, and then they make the priorities. But it’s mainly that health and safety come first,” said Larsen. According to Chwastyk, once the technology upgrades are finished, the safety requirements in the Measure E Bond will be satisfied.




Though the time slot for advisory has remained the same, the new system is otherwise heavily updated. If you are still confused about the new system, feel free to check out the story online!

On September 26, up-and-coming Bay Area artist Marteen will be visiting MSJ for a lunchtime concert. Keep an eye out for an article with more details!



2 News


The Smoke Signal

Friday, September 22, 2017

HVAC unit breaks down in the N-Wing HVAC unit spills hot water into Sartori’s room and leakage flows into Vierk’s room. By Cindy Yuan & Shivani Avasarala Sports Editor and Staff Writer The HVAC units in French Teacher Herveline Sartori’s room recently broke and spilled hot water into the classroom after school hours. The pipe bursts caused flooding primarily in Sartori’s classroom, but water leaked into World History Teacher Matthew Vierk’s neighboring classroom as well.. No pipe explosion occurred directly in Vierk’s classroom (N5), but leakage from Sartori’s classroom (N4) flowed into his classroom. “It leaked through the wall so I had a little bit of water in my classroom,” said Vierk, adding that it was a minor incon-

Furniture in Sartori’s room is relocated after the HVAC unit in the upper left corner spilled hot water.

venience compared to the water levels next door. The HVAC unit in Sartori’s classroom had been exhibiting signs of malfunction before the breakage. The conditions included the HVAC unit blowing out excessive cold air, and forming frost near the ventilation openings. The breakage of the HVAC unit caused water to spill onto Sartori’s desk, which was located under the HVAC unit, and leak through the walls and onto the floor. Due to Spanish Teacher Jill Evans’s previous experience with breakage of the HVAC unit in her classroom, Evans warned Sartori to keep important papers and projects away from the HVAC. Unfortunately, the spillage ultimately damaged many of the items still on her desk. After the incident, Sartori moved student tables farther away from the HVAC unit and relocated her desk to the opposite side of the classroom. Sartori said, “A couple days ago, [the French class] ended up in the library, because it was snowing ... I really hope we can fix things, for the safety of our students and teachers and our wellbeing. HVAC problems are not a new occurrence at MSJ. Prior to this incident several teachers reported leakage in their HVAC units and inability to control the temperature or turn the units on or off. Complaints vary from classroom to classroom, from aggressive winter air conditioning to rattling

The HVAC unit in Sartori’s room is opened after spilling hot water into her classroom.

heaters. Previously, the Smoke Signal ran an investigative report on the unreliability of air conditioning and heating systems in classrooms across the campus. In summer of 2014, FUSD Board members approved a proposed plan to allocate the Measure E Bond towards repairing school facilities. According to Principal Zack Larsen, money would be dedicated to improving the conditions of the HVAC units, which would also involve manipulating the infrastructure of the roofs. The plan was

to be enacted from 2015-2025, and further changes specified that rather than constructing a one-control HVAC system, each classroom would have access to an individual HVAC unit. The current phase of the plan involves processing the funding, and analyzing the state of the HVAC units and roof structure. Regarding the status of the situation, Larsen said, “It may start this year, with the assessment being done, but that actual new cold air blowing in? Not for a couple years, by the time it’s all done.” ▪ PHOTOS COURTESY FRENCH TEACHER HERVELINE SARTORI

FUSD hires new athletic trainer for MSJ MSJ will have its own athletic trainer after school for the next three years. By Cindy Yuan & Evie Sun Sports Editor and Staff Writer The FUSD Board of Education signed a threeyear, approximately $600,000 contract with Washington Healthcare System on June 28 to provide every Fremont high school with a part-time or fulltime athletic trainer. The role of an athletic trainer is comparable to that of a sports medic, serving primarily to help student athletes diagnose and treat their injuries. MSJ’s own athletic trainer, Darby Broger, is a graduate of the University of Utah and a former Division I soccer player. Broger will be at MSJ from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. every day after school, and athletes will be able to meet with her at any point to treat injuries, free of charge. Her office is in the previous area that was a storage closet inside the cardio room.

If necessary, Broger will refer students to doctors at Washington Hospital for further treatment. “Basically I’ll be with [the athlete] from start to finish,” said Broger, “Start of injury to back to play.” According to the East Bay Times, the school district must make budget cuts to account for a $23 million budget shortfall for the 2017-18 school year. The cuts will affect the district’s plan to hire 48 more teachers for the school year, as well as its arrangements to increase contributions to employees’ pension plans and cover negotiated salary raises. However, under pressure from athletic directors of each FUSD high school for consistent support of student athletes, the Board of Education agreed to provide athletic trainers to the five high schools. “[The Board of Education] knows that there can be potential for injuries or making decisions to play on something that’s sprained that could have an im-

Broger talks to students in the cardio room.

pact for the next two months of for the next two years, or for the rest of their life,” said Principal Zack Larsen. In 2011, Washington Hospital funded one parttime athletic trainer at Irvington High School, and subsequently expanded the program to American High School and Washington High School. However, Kennedy High School and MSJ did not receive trainers for their campuses at the time because the hospital focused their attention on funding a trainer for athletes at Irvington. They studied data gathered from the pilot program before choosing to expand the project. Dr. Russ Nord — the medical director of the Washington Hospital sports medicine program — also offered his perspective on the benefits of the district’s decision to hire athletic directors for its five high schools. “What I’m going to notice is fewer cases of someone having a more severe injury due to continuing to train on an injured limb, and that’s good because the less injured someone is, the more quickly and reliably we can fix them up- that’s what we want,” said Nord. Having an athletic trainer at a high school decreases the likelihood that an athlete will push through a serious injury, as they will be able to make the distinction between usual soreness and an injury. Nord also discussed the communication between the athletic trainer and the doctors at the hospital. He said, “Let’s say that someone is getting back from an injury — rather than staying in my office every couple of days, we’re going to have

Broger helps Junior Thao Luong cope with her knee injury.

someone who can be watching daily and seeing how they’re doing.” By hiring Broger for MSJ, the administration and the doctors at Washington Hospital hope to decrease the amount of serious injuries that will have future consequences for student athletes. “Anything we can do as a school and a school district to support our athletes and give them the best trained medical experts to advise them and their families, it will make the rest of their life hopefully injury free, is a good use, in my opinion,” says Larsen. ▪ PHOTOS BY STAFF WRITER EVIE SUN



Compiled by Ian Hsu, Michael Ren, & Maggie Zhao Staff Writers




Pharmaceutical companies are now required to inform health insurers of large price hikes.

Hurricane Irma becomes one of the largest Atlantic storms ever recorded.

People stand on a collapsed building’s rubble in Juchitan on Sept. 8.

Drug transparency bill passes State Assembly In 31-8 vote on September 13, the California State Senate approved Senate Bill 17 despite strong opposition from pharmaceutical companies. The bill would require pharmaceutical companies to be more transparent about drug prices, forcing them to notify health insurers of price hikes that are above 16 percent over a two year period 60 days prior to the increase. In addition, companies would have to explain their rationale behind the increases. Having already previously passed the California State Assembly, the bill now awaits final approval by Governor Jerry Brown.

Millions evacuate due to Hurricane Irma Category five Hurricane Irma recently broke records as one of the largest Atlantic storms ever recorded, with the second most powerful wind speed recorded at 185 mph. The first category five hurricane since Hurricane Hugo in 1989, Irma carved a path of destruction for 8.5 days and 3.25 days as a category five hurricane, generating an Accumulated Cyclone Energy score six times greater than Hurricane Harvey. More than 5,000 people were evacuated from the Bahamas while 6.3 million people were told to evacuate from Florida.

Strongest earthquake in century hits Mexico On September 7 at 9:49 p.m., the strongest earthquake to hit Mexico in a century, an 8.1 magnitude earthquake, struck in the Pacific Ocean just 74 miles off the coast. As of September 11, there are 96 dead, and 2.5 million people in lowincome communities are in need of shelter, food, water and other supplies. In the southern state of Chiapas, more than 2,100 houses have been destroyed or damaged. After the earthquake, the Mexican government also issued a tsunami warning, and small tsunami waves have since been detected.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Smoke Signal

The Smoke Signal Mission San Jose High School Est. 1964 Vol. 53, No. 1 | Sept. 22, 2017 41717 Palm Ave. Fremont, CA 94539 510-657-3600, ext. 37088 MISSION STATEMENT The Smoke Signal’s mission is to represent the voices of the MSJ community and serve the public by providing accurate, meaningful, and engaging information presented through print and digital mediums.

SCHOOL POPULATION 2016 students EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Carolyn Ge, Mallika Gupta NEWS Gloria Chang, Andrew Kan OPINION Amy Chen, Vicki Xu FEATURE Heather Gan, Helen Wang CENTERSPREAD Zen Thumparkkul, Richard Chenyu Zhou A&E Stephanie Dutra, Hana Sheikh SPORTS Hannah Chou, Cindy Yuan GRAPHICS Evangeline Chang, Victor Zhou WEB Ishika Chawla, Jonathan Ko TECH Julia Park, Michael Ren BUSINESS Ian Hsu CIRCULATION Anagha Mandayam ADVERTISING Shivani Avasarala, Katherine Guo EVENTS Evie Sun, Maggie Zhao SPECIAL PROJECTS Joelle Chuang WRITERS & PHOTOGRAPHERS Shiantel Chiang, Rishi Chillara, Riya Chopra, Christine Dong, Arpita Gaggar, Toshali Goel, Kikue Higuchi, Samir Jain, Anisa Kundu, Karen Li, Lucia Li, Ashni Mathuria, Praveen Nair, Sahana Sridhar, Shreya Sridhar, Shreya Srinivasan, Shray Vaidya, Tylor Wu, Jennifer Xiang, Kelly Yang ADVISER Sandra Cohen Send letters to the editor to Letters under 300 words may be considered for publication and must include a full name and school affiliation. The Smoke Signal reserves the right to edit for clarity and length. To advertise in the Smoke Signal, email ads@ Advertising that is included on the pages of, or carried within, the Smoke Signal, is paid advertising, and as such is independent of the news and feature content. The Smoke Signal’s right to freedom of speech and press is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution. All policies on distribution, corrections, and bylines can be found at

amy's approach


Opinion 3

Productivity isn’t everything

Language, heritage, and identity

By Amy Chen Opinion Editor

By Vicki Xu Opinion Editor

When I started my bullet journal, I decided to make all of my spreads colorful and aesthetic, like I had seen many others do on Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr. I spent almost twenty minutes on each spread, until I was satisfied with the result. However, doing this made me a target of many pointed questions, especially from my fellow students. Is that thing actually productive for you? Don’t you end up spending time decorating your bullet journal that you could use to do actual work? At first, I didn’t know how to respond. That isn’t to say my bullet journal was completely nonfunctional, but strictly speaking, all the time I spent writing fancy headers and taping down Polaroids was time I could be using towards something more technically productive. Even just writing my extensive to-do lists was a form of procrastination for the loads of work I actually had to do. To find justification for my so-called “unproductive” habits, I considered the motivations of the bullet journalists who inspired me to start in the first place. Many of these people are incredibly busy adults with kids, jobs, and bills to pay, whose task lists are filled to the brim with errands, business meetings, and deadlines. In fact, any time they have to take a break is most likely spent working on their bullet journal. And yet, like me, they do not consider it as a waste. By incorporating it into their daily routines, they deliberately allocate time out of their already packed schedules to find enjoyment in journaling. Similarly, bullet journaling for me is just a creative outlet where I can wind down and relax, even if it’s only a few

minutes every day. Before I started bullet journaling, my life consisted of studying, taking SAT practice tests, and browsing social media, which was just wasted time that I neither enjoyed nor disliked. My life felt bland and somewhat pointless. Decorating my bullet journal gives me a reason to sit down and create something separate from all the schoolwork I have to do and gives me something to look forward to doing every day. As students, our schedules are chock full of homework, studying, and extracurriculars, and many of us live by the idea that we always have to be productive and that we always have to be doing something, lest we fall behind our classmates. With all of this on our plates, it’s difficult to find time to do things that we truly love, but we should at least try. In fact, a big part of mental health and stability is finding something you enjoy doing and doing it. Realistically, many of us won’t be able to spend hours every week on these nonacademic pursuits, but even incorporating small, enjoyable habits into our daily routines can go a long way to improving our mental health. Reading a few chapters of a favorite book before sleeping, baking a snack after school, or going on a short bike ride right before dinner can be the difference between a life of monotony and one of balance and enjoyment. At the end of the day, productivity is important, but so is your mental health. So, this school year, try actively dedicating a bit of time out of your daily routine to doing something you love. ▪

The Opinion of the Smoke Signal Editorial Board

Practicing empathy: actions over reactions While social media can be crucial to shedding light on underreported events, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Jose are far from “underreported” — popular newspapers and television networks have been constantly analyzing their movements and the damage they cause, and social media sites host similar responses. Thus, instead of additional Facebook posts and tweets, natural disasters of this scale require action from the more fortunate. As a reaction to these impactful news events, people express shock about death tolls and wreckages on social media without acting on the problems presented. Certainly, posting on social media can open an issue to discussion, allowing users to consider certain issues. But more often than not, these dwell too much on the problems instead of the solutions, and become unproductive. Take the comment sections of any Wall Street Journal Facebook post, for instance. Commenters point fingers at each other, liberally throwing insults, but rarely offering solutions to the debt, economic crisis, international relations, and natural disaster responses discussed in the articles. We share news posts and videos to convey our dismay at topics such as the current weather events into discussions with others. While this may lead to greater awareness and new perspectives, we are still simply talking about issues at hand rather than searching for ways to fix them. For instance, trends like #PrayforParis have become viral partly because of new Facebook features such as profile picture filters. Because of these add-ons, however, people can feel like they’ve shown support to a cause, despite the lack of tangible aid for the victims. After losing fam-


ily members, homes, or entire life savings, the victims’ lives remain unchanged if we just offer sympathetic words through the Internet. Social media users who watch catastrophes unfold need to not only sympathize for problems, but also empathize and take action. Even though new Facebook add-ons may have negative impacts, they can also be powerful tools for garnering funds and other support. Organizations such as Disney’s Mickey Mouse Make-A-Wish movement, where posting a profile picture with Mickey Mouse ears and the Disney filter lead to a donation to the Make-A-Wish foundation, are ways using social media could help a cause. The fact is, we can utilize platforms to create influential humanitarian movements and campaigns. Students can raise money or hold drives with social media to directly impact the victims, an excellent way to make a difference and inspire the community to help more. While online publicity is important, it is critical to employ social media for substantial change. There are many additional ways students can directly impact the afflicted community. For the recent hurricanes, donations are appreciated in almost every organization aiding on site. If money is short, there are options to donate used clothes, canned food, school supplies, or even toys to various organizations as well. ▪

Up until the end of sophomore year, I hated beginning the weekend. Chinese school ate up three and a half hours of my Saturday mornings, hours I thought I could have used for more productive pursuits. I continued this train of thought until, at my job this summer, I remarked how glad I was to be rid of the burden that was Chinese school. My coworker looked at me and responded, “I wish you would be more appreciative.” Then, seeing my surprise, she continued, “I wish I was more appreciative of my own weekend Vietnamese classes. I wouldn’t be able to tell my kids about their ancestral culture because I don’t know myself.” I didn’t know what to say to that. I don’t miss staring at aged posters peeling off the walls, or memorizing lists of vocabulary just to forget them the day after, or sitting through my classmates’ hastily-prepared presentations. But of course Chinese school wasn’t intended for those purposes. Ideally it would be a place to learn about and appreciate Chinese language and culture. Yet I treated the classes as another chore I had to complete to please my parents and the universities, effectively squandering my opportunities to better understand a society I only had limited contact to in the US. In the MSJ area, I don’t feel like I have limited interactions with my Asian identity, nor do I feel restricted from doing so. After all, there are plenty of family-owned Chinese restaurants around, as well as other institutions where I can probably enter speaking Mandarin anytime. Moreover, the majority of our student population is comprised of ethnic minorities, and many families here celebrate unique cultural traditions brought from afar as well, such as Diwali, Hanukkah, Oktoberfest, and the Lunar New Year.

But such appearances are deceptive. Just living in a country separate from that of my ancestry, my heritage comes to me in diluted form no matter what. I could have taken the chances to get to know my ancestral culture better in Chinese school, but I did not. I didn’t think of learning Chinese as a way to understand an essential part of my identity. Instead, through all those Saturday mornings, I only ever considered how much closer I was to finishing my language requirements, and I know many of my classmates felt this way as well. That’s not the right way to think, however. We should appreciate weekend language classes for the cultural literacy they provide, not just the additional credits they bring. We should listen in class for the new ideas and concepts, not just because we have to. In fact, we should treat language courses in general this way. On a basic level, the classes do fulfill graduation requirements, but they also serve to enrich our understanding of ourselves and others. Starting from scratch, learning different ways to construct sentences, trying to replicate a proper accent — all these are valuable exercises in perspective. We’re pushed out of our comfort zones and forced to think differently. And in the process, we pick up a lot about culture as well, both in vocabulary and through the curriculum. We are fortunate enough to have access to an abundance of societies through these language courses, and we should take advantage of the opportunity to truly learn about them. So the next time you go to class, try not to zone out during a fellow classmate’s presentation. Actively find chances to use your newly-acquired language skills. You’ll get so much more out of the experience, like I wish I did. ▪

By Evangeline Chang & Heather Gan Graphics Editor and Feature Editor




4 Opinion


The Smoke Signal

Friday, September 22, 2017

Bridging political divides through respect By Gloria Chang & Jonathan Ko News Editor and Web Editor

On August 12, a clash between protesters and counter-protesters at a Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA left one counterprotester dead and an entire nation in turmoil. Three days later, Allen Armentrout quietly walked into Emancipation Park and saluted a statue of General Robert E. Lee. With a Confederate flag on his shoulder and a soldier’s uniform on his back, Armentrout peacefully stood in silent reverence of the monument. Within minutes, Armentrout was surrounded by a throng of passersby who began to crowd him, denouncing him and his supposed beliefs. As the mob grew, he remained standing steadfastly even when agitators put their middle fingers in his face and screamed, “Terrorist, go home! Get the f— out of here!” Armentrout left the park as he came:

calm, cool, and collected. But when he left, he needed a police escort, as the authorities feared for his safety. After surviving a day full of hatred and exclusion, Armentrout would post on his Facebook the following message: “The Lord says we should love everybody.” In the modern political climate, it is imperative to tolerate contrary points of view without making assumptions about those we do not agree with. The violent hatred directed toward Armentrout and thousands of others every day stems from a natural tendency to reject ideas that make us feel uncomfortable. This attitude of political intolerance is on full display at MSJ, whether it is a teacher deriding Republicans or a student insulting Planned

In the modern political climate, it is imperative to tolerate contrary points of view without making assumptions about those we do not agree with.


Parenthood detractors. To understand the root cause of this widespread habit, we must return to Armentrout’s broad claim: that we should love everybody. “Everybody.” A word that is tossed around day in, day out, but rarely understood — everybody, indicative of all colors, shapes, sizes, genders, opinions. We love “everybody,” with caveats: everybody who talks like us, and acts like us, and thinks like us. And people who don’t respect the people we respect? Well,

We love "everybody," with caveats: everybody who talks like us, and acts like us, and thinks like us. they’re morally degenerate — they’re racists, extremists, and terrorists, especially if they are across the political aisle. We can take every last one of them and put them all in a box, slap a label on it, dehumanize the dissidents, and go to bed with a nice, simple worldview where we’re the good guys and they’re the bad guys. Because if the other side is composed of narrow-minded moral degenerates, why even try considering their point of view? This question is difficult to answer at face value because of a general misunderstanding of the very nature of tolerance. Tolerance does not involve agreement or even acceptance, as is commonly believed — all it means is that we should listen to and encourage people from all backgrounds to contribute to the broad public discourse, regardless of whether or not we agree. Our proud justifications for shutting down the other side do nothing to reconcile differences; instead, we raise taller walls in the way of progress. America has performed at its greatest capacity when liberals and conservatives united in response to some of the most threatening events in history, from World War II to the Great Recession. Across all of the

most iconic achievements of the US, there is only one constant: the willingness of both parties to tolerate and respect the other side’s point of view. Take Armentrout. He was treated as just another white supremacist perpetuating racial hatred, but the Daily Progress reports that Armentrout himself said, “It hurts my heart that people come out here and misappropriate Robert E. Lee and the Confederate flag for their personal agendas.” That’s right — Armentrout was not a Klansman. He was not a terrorist. He was just the great-greatgreat-great grandson of a man who fought in the Civil War, taking up a flag and a gun to stand up for the memory of his greatgreat-great-great grandfather. By extension, we cannot use the actions people take and the words people say to draw conclusions against them. People have rich backgrounds and histories that affect their behaviors, and it is not our place to judge them for factors we cannot understand. But just because we cannot understand everybody does not mean we cannot respect everybody. “Everybody” means everybody, even the people who disagree with our beliefs. The first step toward a truly productive public discourse is acknowledging that we stand on

People have rich backgrounds and histories that affect their behaviors, and it is not our place to judge them for factors we cannot understand. the same moral plane as people of different political views. Though we may struggle to tolerate the classmates we deeply disagree with, we must always stay on guard for the oppressive polarization that results from a suppression of free speech. ▪

News flash: democracy requires trusting media By Julia Park Staff Writer

What is fake news? From Kellyanne Conway’s infamous Bowling Green massacre gaffe to Fox News’ Sean Hannity reporting satire articles seriously, the phrase “fake news” was originally created to criticize the spread of blatantly untrue statements. Yet now, even The New York Times — as well as CNN, the Guardian, and numerous other left-leaning news publications — have been accused of spreading fake news by President Trump and his administration. They’re not accusing the media companies of blatantly spreading lies; instead, they take issue with the newspapers’ so-called “bias.” Plenty of past presidents such as Thomas Jefferson and Richard Nixon have complained about the press. Nonetheless, the Trump administration’s attack on media differs substantially from previous presidents’ because other presidents had qualified their criticism by saying that news was a necessary evil. Although Trump quotes Jefferson’s opinions that the press was a “polluted vehicle,” even Jefferson preferred “newspapers without a government” to a “government without newspapers.” Additionally, unlike other presidents, Trump directly attacks publications by name explicitly because they portray him in a negative light. Newspapers that are biased in favor of Trump are generally free from accusations of being fake news. In fact, in June Trump praised “Fox & Friends” for a segment that questioned James Comey’s testimony against the administration. It is true that political leanings in articles exist, even in mainstream reputable publications. Despite the variety of policies that publications usually follow in order to limit biased reporting — such as attempting to reach out to all parties involved in a news event for comment OPINION EDITOR VICKI XU — political tendencies are inevitable

for any piece of writing because of the necessary selection of facts and vocabulary. Editors must make judgment calls about what to publish because of limited space, revealing the political beliefs of the editorial board. While this can be construed as a bias, leanings are in fact unavoidable for all publications and are not as problematic as the Trump administration would like their supporters to believe. Despite having political tendencies, the press still has the capability to deliver useful information. A newspaper may portray a new law that the Trump administration passed in a mildly good or bad light; this coverage does not mean that the real facts presented in the articles are automatically false. While it is important to be cognizant of the writers’ leanings, we also cannot afford to be unaware of current events at all. A democracy can only succeed when the government does not have a monopoly on truth; citizens cannot protest or improve a government that falsely claims that it is already doing everything it can for its citizens.

The media may cover an issue positively more often than it does negatively, or vice versa. However, before we write them off as incorrigibly biased, we must examine why the coverage is not even. For example, in the case of climate change, there may simply be more pro-climate change coverage than coverage that denies its existence because there is in fact more evidence for the former; there is no reason to demand media to cover both sides of an issue equally when evidence dictates otherwise. Second, we must recognize the problems that ignoring the news, no matter how biased, may cause. A new Harvard study found that Trump was right in that the majority of news coverage — 80 percent, in fact — during his first hundred days was negative. However, we should think about Trump’s motives behind his recommendation to ignore the New York Times and CNN and how he would benefit from widespread ignorance; after all, the government has a bias too. ▪

Perceived Trustworthiness of News Stories Among US Adults (2017)

A large impact

55 44

51 The sources the story cites

Some impact

6 46 48 The news organization that publishes the story

No impact







My gut instinct about the story

The person, if any, who shares the story with me WWW.PEWRESEARCH.ORG

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Smoke Signal


Opinion 5

When memes turn from dank to dark While memes were originally defined by biologist Richard Dawkins as the cultural equivalent of a gene, the memes we know are typically pictures or GIFs with humorous text. Like DNA replication, the meme-crafting process normally goes well and creates a humorous viral meme. However, mutations can be harmful and result in memes that overstep the boundary between humorously cynical or acerbic wit and offensive behavior. Today’s meme groups must be careful in order to prevent abusive memes that cross the line. School and class meme groups are at the forefront of those who must exercise caution. While most meme groups genuinely intend to be humorous, school memes can incline towards pessimistic memes that make light of depression, anxiety, and drug abuse. Of course, it is natural for students to experience a healthy amount of stress during school. But because ironically overdramatic memes tend to become more viral, posters will describe their unhappy but neurotypical experiences as depression, anxiety, and suicide ideation, and trivialize such subjects. For example, memes that use the word “triggered” lightly as a punchline to what most might perceive as a definitely not-triggering situation dilutes the meaning of the word and makes it harder for people to articulate their mental health issues. Words that were created to describe serious mental health issues become associated with humorous, ironic, and cynical situations. As a result, mentally ill students have to continuously find new words that will accurately express the seriousness of their thoughts, but memers may eventually

take advantage of those words to create more melodramatic humor. Students’ inability to take mental health seriously can create an unsafe school environment for everyone. Another impact of meme groups is the proliferation of memes regarding specific individuals. In these cases, memes’ portrayal of students and teachers in a certain light can overshadow the individual themselves, leading to wildly inaccurate perceptions. Because memes are usually screengrabs or individual images, situations shown in memes are often oversimplified and taken out of the original context. When a derogatory or negative caption is added to someone’s photo without their consent, the meme becomes cyberbullying and the school district can take disciplinary action against the student who posted the meme. Furthermore, taking and posting any photo of a teacher or a student without their consent constitutes a violation of privacy that may result in a lawsuit. The Associated Press stylebook writes, “courts have ruled that ... if camera singles out [a private individual] out for no newsconnected reason” and posts the photo on a publication site, such as a meme group, then an invasion of privacy has occurred. On the other hand, many people struggling with mental health or with schoolrelated stress in general create and post memes about it in school meme pages, where they are widely shared not simply because of their humor but because of their relatability. It seems to be no accident that some of the most active meme groups form for the schools that are the most difficult, such as University of California — Berkeley, Princeton University, and Harvard University. For them, memes

Popular Facebook college meme groups, by the numbers

Thousands of Members

By Katherine Guo & Julia Park Staff Writers

UC Berkeley

are a way to cope through a difficult time with humor despite the constant expectation to take their studies seriously. It reminds students that sometimes, it is okay to not be okay and that there is no pressure to feel happy all the time. This kind of meme is different from the previous kinds of degrading memes despite its similar negative tone. There is a difference between a meme that expresses exasperation at the inadequate mental health services of a campus, the difficulties of socializing throughout the day, or the recent tuition hike, and a meme that seeks to portray mental illness as trivial or demonize a single person. Unoffensive, quality humor is more than possible with a little bit of understanding and empathy. Memers could be socially aware of the connotations that certain words or phrases may have; if they do not feel confident in their knowledge, they can always draw their meme inspiration from other less controversial sources. Furthermore, people should be aware that school meme groups are still a public fo-



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rum; complaints and concerns about individual people that may be warranted in a personal diary or in the school office should never be joked about as a meme in a school group. As a rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t relate the meme verbally to the people likely to be offended by it — whether it be the person featured in the photoset or someone affected by the issues joked about — then it is probably a better idea not to create the meme in the first place. Even if content was originally shared in a small group, memes are easy to share to a more public group by screenshotting and reposting. By being more conscientious about memes, posters can avoid serious harms for others as well as potential consequences for themselves. ▪ A MESSAGE FROM PRINCIPAL ZACK LARSEN:

“While there are some memes that some may find amusing, the creator of a meme cannot guarantee positive perception and therefore runs the risk of offending both recipients and the subject of the meme. Because of this I cannot recommend using memes as a benign method of communication.”

Si “There are definitely some really offensive memes isha ngh, out there and people might need to take them with Tv a grain of salt; some don't realize how bad they actually are. And through the process of repetition, that just gets worse and worse. For benefit, there are so many nice and wholesome memes. They’re funny, they bring people together. I strengthen my friendship with a lot of people over memes.”

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“I actually formed new relationships with other people through memes. Like biology puns allowed me to bond a lot with my lab partners. Memes are also a really good way to express oneself ... Memes that target one’s religions or culture are obviously in bad taste and don’t qualify to be labeled as memes, in my opinion. But besides those, I think that memes are an integral part of a school community.”


“I think memes have an overall negative impact. We already have a huge communication problem in the US, as evidenced by our past election ... Therefore all memes do is they convert thought into simple sound bites; we do not need simple sound bites in our political process or social media, we need better thought.”

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“I think [school meme groups have] positive [impacts]. Especially here, there are a lot of people struggling to keep up with academics, so [school meme groups] provide a sense of, ‘Oh wow, there’s other people going through the same thing that I am.’ It is quite reassuring.”

“Memes can ... be a time killer where you’re looking at memes, and you only intend to look at them for five minutes, but end up spending 50 minutes. But that’s not really different from anything else that is entertainment because you’re having fun. It’s the natural thing to do when you don’t want to go back to your work.”


“I’m conflicted on whether or not meme groups have a positive or negative, or both, impact. Because on the one hand it can be a conduit for lighthearted and humorous discourse. On the other hand, it seems to also romanticize and trivialize the impacts of mental illness.” u

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“The impact of these meme groups is, I think, a greater sense of community. It has mostly a positive effect since it allows students to see the problems that everyone is facing and joke about them together.”




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In what scenarIos mIght memes benefIt or harm the student body or an IndIvIdual?

what are the Impacts of meme groups on a school communIty? why?




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l Xie, 10 “I think that people contribute or view posts in meme groups to take away a bit of the huge amounts of stress that students face, or even to make humor out of it. I think meme or joke groups that exist have an overall positive effect on students as they, one, help cope with students’ stress and two, they're probably not too harmful since they take generally small amounts of time to make and look at.” PHOTOS BY OPINION EDITORS AMY CHEN & VICKI XU

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The Smoke Signal

Friday, September 22, 2017

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Smoke Signal


Dear Diary: Back to School Season


Aug. 31, 2017 Dear Diary, I wasn’t sure how early I should arrive on my first day of high school, so I thought I would be safe and arrive a full hour before classes started. I thought it would give me ample time to find my locker and my first period. I mean, I found the location of all my classes on Maze Day, but I just wanted to make sure I hadn’t forgotten. I wish I had woken up later. I’m afraid I didn’t sleep well last night. I was so anxious to be starting high school, but I eventually fell asleep while softly chanting my schedule under my breath, memorizing the order of my classes, my teachers, and their room numbers.

Sept. 3, 2017 Dear Diary, My calves feel like they’re on fire. Upperclassmen told me that I wouldn’t have to run cross countries in PE anymore, but they didn’t tell me I would have such a short passing period to scramble to my locker and then race across campus to my classes. How does every-

Sept. 5, 2017 Dear Diary, A few days ago, it was just my calves. Today, it’s also my shoulders and my entire back. My backpack feels like it’s dragging me into the ground with the weight of my school materials. Is a binder full of paper, a notebook, and a folder for each class a little bit overboard? I’m beginning to think so. Maybe

Alumni Spotlight: Jacinta Chang


Jacinta Chang, an MSJ alumna from the Class of 2016, is a well-rounded student who set an example for others to follow. While in high school, Chang found she was different from the typical MSJ student, since she was not interested in STEM subjects. Instead, she was passionate about her several extracurricular activities, where she could learn through a more hands-on method. “At MSJ, I learned to focus on activities that would help me grow as a person, and encouraged myself to join clubs and extracurriculars which fit me, not my peers,” she said. Overall, Chang enjoyed her experience at MSJ since it allowed her to find activities she was truly interested in. Chang was involved in two main extracurricular activities that really shaped her — DECA and the Smoke Signal. It was through DECA that Chang got the opportunity to dig deeper into the field of hospitality. She excelled in DECA and made it all the way to the international level. “I was involved on the school, regional, state, and even international level, and I believe that being so involved in the organization gave me a sense of leadership and control over my growth and development,” Chang said. Chang’s high school experience led her to pursue an unusual, yet unique career path. She is currently studying Hotel Administration at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. The Hotel Adminstration path at Cornell University looks at the business side of hospitality by teaching students about marketing, finance, real estate, and operations. Chang recently fin-

Senior Aug. 31, 2017 Dear Diary, I almost made it to school on time for the first day, but I forgot my cup of coffee so I drove back home to get my thermos. It sounds excessive but it would’ve been a wasted day without my daily caffeine kick anyway. Here’s a summary of the important information I gathered today: Periods one and two: Chill. Periods three and six: Not chill at all. Periods four and five: Food allowed.

Sept. 3, 2017 Deary Diary, I wonder if I should buy some school supplies for this year. So far I’ve survived on my only pen, but I suppose at some point I’ll run out of ink. Today, I was making casual conversation with a classmate I hadn’t seen since last school year, when suddenly, they asked me which colleges I was applying to. I had almost gone twelve whole hours without having to think about college, but thanks to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, college apps are back to hovering over me like a soul-sucking dementor.

Sept. 5, 2017 Deary Diary, There are exactly 177 days until graduation. It’s beginning to hit me: I’m a senior. While I’ve been looking forward to chanting “Hoo hah! You wish you were a senior!” for years, I’m already feeling a little nostalgic at the thought that there’s only one last year with the friends that I’ve made over the last three years. Time to start checking items off my high school bucket list. ▪ GRAPHICS BY PIXABAY.COM, WORDPRESS.COM

Student Spotlight:

Mich Song

By Anagha Mandayam Staff Writer

Alumna Jacinta Chang

By Maggie Zhao Staff Writer

I don’t need to bring a heavy duty three hole punch or that bottle of industrial glue either. Anyway, I’ve heard some pretty harsh rumors about MSJ, but I don’t know why no one told me about cool events like Homecoming or Multicultural Week. I guess I’m pretty excited to see what this year will be like.

one else make it to class on time? They only have six fleeting minutes. Seriously, how do you find people on this campus? They could be anywhere!

ished her first year at Cornell University and landed an exciting internship opportunity. This past summer, she interned at the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, known for being the most luxurious hotel in the world. Located on a man-made island in Dubai, the hotel has a private beach, several high-ranked dining venues, and an extravagant indoor spa. Chang said “The hotel I worked at was unreal — featured in movies such as Fast & Furious and Mission Impossible, this hotel boasts thousands of square feet of 24K gold all over the interior of the building. Getting to work in a place as luxurious as the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah and as cultured as the Middle East was truly life-changing, and has helped me to grow immensely as a person.” Chang was once a high school student unsure about what career path to pursue. However, she has now found her niche in Hotel Management, and urges students to explore and find what they are meant to do as well. “Just because the odds, statistics, or rankings are stacked against you doesn’t mean that you can’t do your best to achieve your dreams. Don’t be frightened by the fact that those who came before you failed at something — because you could be the first to succeed. Navigate your own path, seek your own opportunities, and mold your own future,” she said. She believes whatever one wants to accomplish is completely up to oneself. “The future is truly in your hands, and it is up to you to determine what kinds of experiences and memories you want to create,” Chang said. ▪


Jacinta Chang interns at Burj Al Arab Jumeirah.

Feature 7

Senior Mich Song recently competed in the 2017 International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) as one of five students representing the US Physics tTeam in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, from July 1624. Song won a silver medal, and the US placed eighth overall. Song’s journey to the IPhO began by taking the multiple-choice “F=ma” qualifying exam in January at MSJ. Song passed, one of the top 15% of the nation who passed the test. After taking the USA Physics Olympiad test in April, which consists of much more difficult problems, Song emerged as one of the top 20 individuals in the nation. These top finishers were selected to attend a training camp from late May to early June at the University of Maryland. Then, five students were selected to the traveling team based on multiple considerations: exam and lab performances, prior commitments, and grade level. Song was selected as a rising senior, alongside a rising junior and three high school graduates. Prior to the competition, the US Team flew to Bangkok, Thailand, acclimating to the time zone for five days while training with the Thai physics team. “It didn’t really sink in to me that I was going to the IPhO until I boarded the plane to Thailand for the week of training,” said Song. “I was a bit scared for a few days, but after I touched down in Indonesia, suddenly I wasn’t scared at all anymore. It was pretty magical.” In Yogyakarta, students completed two portions of an exam: theoretical and practical. The theoretical portion gave five hours to complete three problems, while the practical gave five hours to carry out two labs. These problems cover topics that are barely touched upon in a standard physics class. “Often, you’re given a physics phenomenon … you’re given something like the trajectory of a planet or a spaceship, or the trajectory of an electron, or some observation that was made several decades ago to explain. You’re supposed to use your physics knowledge to solve these novel problems using creative solving approaches,” said Song. The US Physics Team hasn’t finished below silver for the past six years of competition. “When I got into the training camp, there was a decent amount of pressure from everyone”, said

By Cindy Yuan Sports Editor

Song. “And at that point I was like, ‘I don’t think I’m that good at physics, I’m just going to fail now.’” But at the competition, Song found that the most important part was not the medals — it was the experience. The most memorable time in this trip was when the contest was undergoing technical difficulties, and students from all over the world mingled together while waiting. Song fondly reminisces, “We spent several hours chatting with other countries, united in a global display of rage against the contest organizers.” Surprisingly, on a world stage, teenagers were still teenagers. With the exception of a few uptight countries, “A lot of [students] were more typical teenagers than, for example, the people I met at the US Physics training camp” said Song. “It’s kind of refreshing realizing that you could be this really smart kid in physics or anything, and you don’t have to be a sheltered Silicon Valley kid to accomplish that.” With a silver medal in hand and a place among the top physics brains in the world, Song looks forward to another season of competitive physics in senior year. But beyond the prestige, Song firmly credits the experience of competition as life-changing, not the results. “I know that if I had gotten a bronze I’d still have done my uttmost best to enjoy hanging out with all of my new friends from different countries, and talking trash about the contest organizers,” said Song. As for advice to future IPhO hopefuls, or students in general? “The important thing is to not get hung up on the result,” said Song. “If you practice enough, even if you mess up, as long as you are at a certain level, it can’t terribly go wrong.” ▪

Senior Mich Song


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The Smoke Signal

Friday, September 22, 2017

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Friday, September 22, 2017

The Smoke Signal




Feature 9

As the TV show American Ninja Warrior continues to rise in popularity, parkour brings people of all ages to ninja warrior facilities to refine their parkour skills. Traditional parkour is the act of overcoming obstacles to move from one point to another. New styles of parkour have risen in recent years which focus on acrobatic movements as well as the grace emphasized in traditional parkour. Find out how the Smoke Signal fared with this intense sport at Bay Area Movement.

By Hannah Chou, Andrew Kan, Richard Chenyu Zhou & Joelle Chuang Sports Editor, News Editor, Centerspread Editor, and Staff Writer

JOELLE With five years of gymnastics experience under my belt, I will outshine my fellow competitors in parkour and become the next Jason Bourne. To be honest, however, I actually quit gymnastics in sixth grade and haven’t visited a gym since then, so my stressed-out, stiff, and aging junior body is probably not ready for this challenge. Nonetheless, I’m excited to turn on my competitive mode and climb, jump, and swing all my stress away. Who knows, maybe those countless visits to the local playground swinging on the kid-sized monkey bars can finally be put to good use!

None of the parkour videos I watched prepared me for the intensity of the workout that day. On that 104 degree afternoon, I was sweaty and out of breath after just doing the warm-up. The innate MSJ competitiveness kicked in during the obstacle course — the four of us constantly tried to one-up each other. When Andrew attempted a particularly challenging stunt of climbing along the wall, I decided to promptly follow suit. I ended up hanging onto the wall for dear life, thankful for the many years of swinging on monkey bars back in elementary school.



I was introduced to the world of parkour at a sixth grade summer program when a counselor suggested it as an activity. I didn’t complain though. The next afternoon, the counselor taught my friends and I how to jump off small hills, roll on the grass, and vault off of rails. Now that I’ve gotten another chance to try it, this time with a trained professional, I can’t wait. Though my stamina and flexibility are nowhere near the level of my sixth grade self, my enthusiasm for the activity hasn’t changed at all.

My earliest parkour memories involve trying to run up walls with some disastrous results. I expect my dreams of weaving through obstacles to be crushed as soon as I step in the gym. Although my parkour experience is limited to watching videos of more experienced traceurs turning the world into their personal jungle gyms, I rock climb, which hopefully can give me the coordination and balance not to fall flat on my face. I might not be able to make it over a barrier on my first few tries, but that sure won’t stop me from giving it my all.

From the beginning, parkour was just as fun as I remembered it. Even though we mostly practiced the basics such as tap outs, cons, and lazy vaults, I could feel the adrenaline starting to course through my veins and my competitive side wanting to move faster and jump higher. Unfortunately, my body wasn’t as fit as I thought it was, and I quickly became tired. After a couple of near-slips and falls, I decided to flow, moving without pauses, through the courses rather than powering straight through them.

Although I only arrived for half the warm up, the triple-digit weather left me panting and winded. We soon started with the basics of parkour, learning how to fall without hurting ourselves and vault foam obstacles. As my speed and technique slowly increased, I realized why this sport is so addictive. The feeling of freedom and expression and being one with my body seemed to carry me through each movement. It took some getting used to, but soon I was able to clear even the highest of barriers.


THOUGHTS AFTER The rankings turned out to be directly proportional to height — it was definitely easier leaping over barriers if you were taller. Regardless of the results, it was an exhilarating experience to attempt those rigorous stunts, and my aching body reminded me of muscles that I had never known existed. The four of us built camaraderie through parkour; we went through a lot of laughter, sweat, and water breaks in the process. I’m proud to say that at the end of the lesson, our instructor told us that we were all naturals at parkour!

Though my arm strength proved to be lacking, my legs were able to carry me to victory. Aside from the competition results, I was amazed at how even though we were all beginners, we already had distinctive styles of moving. During our practice runs, Hannah and Joelle scaled a wall, Richard smoothly vaulted over the end obstacle, and I tried kicking off some walls. I ended up being the fastest, but I can’t say I was the coolest. With so many tricks, styles, and routes to learn and try out, parkour is an activity I will never get bored of.

The obstacle course we set up definitely skewed the results towards those with longer legs, but competing was exhilarating nonetheless. Besides a few shaky steps leading to the final wall, I ended up completing the course much more smoothly than I expected. While I wasn’t the fastest, I am confident I looked the smoothest, which is a victory in my book. I ended up asking fellow traceurs to teach me how to roll and front flip during open gym, and had a blast. This might be my first time trying parkour, but it will be far from my last.

HANNAH I have absolutely zero experience with parkour. Frankly, the only time I have seen anything related to parkour was watching YouTuber Ryan Higa’s video “The Ultimate Parkour,” which showcased hilariously exaggerated attempts at the activity. Nevertheless, the prospect of jumping over obstacles, vaulting off walls, and impressing my friends still excites me, and I will not let my inexperience bring me down. With the strength and stamina gained from my intense varsity volleyball practices, I have no doubt that I can become the next ninja warrior.

Even after all the running and weight training I did for volleyball, it was not enough to prepare me for the rigor of parkour. I was dripping with sweat and panting after warm-ups, and the stifling heat wave that engulfed the Bay Area only added to my fatigue. However, many of the parkour tricks were challenging but exhilarating, and my excitement prevailed over my weariness as the instructor continuously introduced new skills. Although there were a few aspects of technique I struggled with, I was still able to experience the thrill of performing these street tricks. Okay, before you beat me up for losing at a physically-intense activity as Sports Editor, hear me out. The course was designed for taller people, and as I currently stand at a proud height of 5 feet and 2 inches, my legs fell short of many of the blocks that I was required to jump on. Nevertheless, I did not let my height determine my fate. Although my ranking does not reflect my efforts, I do not regret the experience. I may be far from becoming the next Ninja Warrior, but I am sure that I will try parkour again sometime in the future!





10 Centerspread

The Smoke Signal


Katie Fauria English Student Teacher Katie Fauria grew up in Fremont and received a degree in English, with minors in dance and education, from Santa Clara University. Currently, she is pursuing her master’s degree in teaching from University of San Francisco. Fauria hopes to bring her love and enthusiasm for reading into the teaching environment in Ms. LaRosa’s classes by making English more relevant and interesting to students. She appreciates the motivated learners at MSJ and is looking forward to gaining hands-on experiences in teaching through the new students she meets.

Friday, September 22, 2017



C6 Bell Tower


Elyse Rynhoud


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Secretary Catherine Keebaugh grew up in Manila, Philippines. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in computer science in the Philippines and continued her studies in the US. Keebaugh later received an associate’s degree in computer science to work in wildlife management. Previously, Keebaugh was a secretary in the New Haven Unified School District in Union City, CA and served as a substitute teacher in FUSD. As a secretary at MSJ, her roles largely involve processing administration requests and school board orders. She admires the passion and drive of MSJ’s student body, and hopes to learn the entire administrative system and familiarize herself with the school over the next school year.




Catherine Keebaugh

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Centerspread 11

Digital Photography and Digital Imaging Teacher Paul Taglianetti grew up in Boston and attended Emerson College, a prestigious film and communications school before studying at Quinnipiac University for his graduate degree in digital media. Taglianetti first moved to CA to work in film production and has taken part in more than 30 feature films. He also taught at Idyllwild Arts Academy in Idyllwild, CA as a film teacher. In his classes, Taglianetti hopes to integrate new aspects of photography into the curriculum. He teaches four periods of Digital Photography and two periods of Digital Imaging.

Paul Taglianetti



Special Education and Counseling Enrichment Teacher Robert Toegemann teaches math, english, science, social studies, and a study skills class. He grew up in Providence, Rhode Island, and had several careers, such as a stockbroker and a consumer service technician. He first began as a paraeducator. After deciding to become a teacher, he studied for a teaching degree at California State University, East Bay. Toegemann previously taught at a continuation high school, where he learned the empathy and compassion necessary for teaching. In the next year, he hopes to grow as a teacher and receive his administrative credentials. He also aspires to remain a devoted teacher like his wife, who has taught for more than 39 years.


As the school year begins, the Smoke Signal welcomes new faculty to MSJ.


Introduction to C++ and Discrete Math Teacher Jim Hoffman is from North Central Wisconsin and attended St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. He worked as a computer programmer before teaching full time in Indiana for six years and part time at Ohlone College. At Ohlone, he learned about the opportunity to teach at MSJ. Now that he teaches two periods, he appreciates the classroom environment and his students’ evident focus. Hoffman is planning on making the class more interactive as the course progresses and looks forward to having a successful school year.

Toby Remmers

Specia l Day Class Teacher Elyse Rynhoud grew up in New York and attended Dominican University of California. Later on, she studied at California State University, East Bay where she received her master’s degree in education technology. This degree has been especially useful in incorporating technology, such as iPads and computers, into the classroom. She teaches five periods a day and loves helping children and working with them on hands-on projects. She plans to incorporate math, writing, and science into the curriculum as well as several field trips throughout the year.

The Smoke Signal

Jim Hoffman

World History and US History Teacher Toby Remmers grew up in Wisconsin, but moved to CA to study at San Diego State University. He first majored in international business for one semester and kinesiology for three years before earning a bachelor’s degree in political science. Before becoming a teacher, Remmers was a social worker for families, the elderly, inmates in institutions, and the homeless. To jumpstart his teaching career, he taught US History at a middle school in San Diego and World History in National City, CA. He continues to teach these subjects because he feels it is important to consider historical questions in light of how they affect our lives today. Remmers looks forward to getting to know his students and helping them achieve their goals. He will be teaching two periods of US History and two periods of World History.


By Stephanie Dutra, Hana Sheikh, Helen Wang & Shivani Avasarala A&E Editors, Feature Editor, and Staff Writer

Friday, September 22, 2017

Robert Toegemann


Precal.. culus Teacher Umit Sahin grew up in Turkey and received a degree in mathematics from Bogazici University, one of Turkey's top universities. In high school, he had a passion for math and decided to pursue teaching because of his interest in communicating with students. After graduating, Sahin taught for three years in Turkey, followed by nine years in Oakland before arriving at MSJ. Sahin is looking forward to interacting with his students and giving them a proof-based mathematical approach. He said, “[My students] love learning; they are really into it. I think that is the unique part about MSJ.” Sahin will be teaching five periods of College Prep Precalculus.

Thuy Nhin Biology Student Teacher Thuy Nhin grew up in Vietnam before she moved to the US in 2004. She majored in general biology at UC San Diego. Following graduation, she worked as a chemistry and biology laboratory student assistant at De Anza College, where she participated in hands-on activities with other students and answered their questions in class. She now helps Honors Biology Teacher Lane Melcic with three periods, one of which she will teach in second semester. She looks forward to putting her lesson plans into action, seeing how students respond to her teaching, and receiving feedback from her students.


12 Arts & Entertainment


The Smoke Signal

Friday, September 22, 2017

By Amy Chen and Vicki Xu Opinion Editors

Bullet journaling, often referred to as BuJo, is an efficient way of categorizing your thoughts and tasks. Digital product designer Ryder Carroll came up with the system based on the idea of Rapid Logging, which involves using bullets and short sentences as a main form of logging information. Now, the bullet journal has evolved into an entirely customizable journal, sketchbook, planner, organizer, or whatever else you choose to make it. It can be simple and minimalistic or fancy and decked out. Its versatility has made it a popular analog system in the digital age.

Getting started in bullet journaling is simple and quick. All you need is: • Pen • Notebook (any works, but numbered pages and a dot grid are very helpful!) Optional items to have are: • Washi tape • Highlighters • Markers • Brush pens • Colored pens • Stickers •

Sticky notes

Rich, smooth-flowing ink, variety in color, and unique effects (such as the ombré finish obtained from Tombow brush pens) make these tools popular. •

Tombow Dual Brush Pens

Zebra Mildliners

Muji Gel Pens

Staedtler Fineliners

Use your bullet journal as a way to relax (if you choose to decorate it). Don’t stress about making everything perfect!

Try splitting up your deadlines and tasks into different columns so you can clearly see what you have to do and when you have to do it.

List out homework each day in your daily/weekly spreads. You don’t really need a daily spread unless you have a particularly busy schedule that day.

Try color coding deadlines by class in your monthly logs, so you can keep track of your responsibilities for each class!

Visit for more information.

Important spreads to include: These are all helpful and commonly used spreads, but just do what works for you. If you find that you aren’t using a spread, scrap it for the next month and try something different!

Future Log: A spread with months and dates written out in advance for about one year to log future events. An example could be a trip in November or a project deadline set a few months forward.

Table of Contents: This is where you list out page numbers and important spreads so you can reference them later.

Monthly, weekly, and daily spreads: This is where you organize your tasks, events, and plans based on specificity and scope. Monthly spreads give a general overview of projects to work on for the month, weekly spreads are more specific to each week, and daily spreads include tasks to do each day.

Trackers: In these spreads, you can track your habits, expenses, or even social media growth. Some interesting habits include how much water you drink, how often you exercise, or how often you do chores and homework.


Friday, September 22, 2017

The Smoke Signal


Arts & Entertainment 13

C R I T I C S’ C O R N E R M u si C: late n i g h t a l u mn i , ke sh a | F ilm s : LOgan luck y, it

Under the radar late night alumni

Logan lucky steals the show

By Shivani Avasarala Staff Writer Late Night Alumni is an American house music group that blends slow rhythms with softer, haunting tones. Characterized by main vocalist Becky Jean William’s enchanting vocals and the production skills of members Finn Bjarnson, John Hancock, and Ryan Raddon, the group successfully established its place in the underground music scene with its own unique sound. The group has also performed in music festivals across the country, and has had its music incorporated into several commercials and video compilations. Late Night Alumni debuted in 2003 as a collaboration between music producer Bjarnson and Williams. The group then released its internationally recognized classic on its debut album of the same name, “Empty Streets”, in 2005, followed by the release of its second album Of Birds, Bees, and Butterflies in 2009. Two songs off the album were also featured in the film Crazy, Stupid Love. Their most recent works include the 2017 singles “Love Song” and “Only for Tonight”. Both singles present a mellow vibe, which, paired with Williams’ ageless voice and bittersweet lyrics, hint at a nostalgic tone with an added, modern arrangement of individual tracks. The group stays true to its distinct sound as their members continue to release new music for their fans on Soundcloud, Spotify, Arkade, and their official website, With their more recent albums, Late Night Alumni has been striving to focus more on collaboration between individual members, improve their sound, and preserve their style. ▪

Book Bites


By Evie Sun Staff Writer Logan Lucky is the latest heist comedy film from Director Steven Soderbergh, who is famed for his Ocean’s Eleven heist trilogy, as well as Out of Sight and The Underneath. After a four-year hiatus since his last feature film released in 2013, Side Effects, Soderbergh jumps back into the film scene with a bang. Logan Lucky is thoughtfully planned, with a complex script and witty dialogue written by Rebecca Blunt. The film is set in West Virginia, and it follows the story of two brothers, Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) and Clyde Logan (Adam Driver). Jimmy, a former football star, is laid off from his job as a construction worker at the Charlotte Motor Speedway due to liability issues. Working with his brother, Clyde, and their sister Mellie (Riley Keough), Jimmy forms an elaborate plan to rob the Motor Speedway during an upcoming NASCAR Cup Series race. The also recruit Joe Bang

(Daniel Craig), a convicted explosives expert, as well as his two brothers (Jack Quaid and Brian Gleeson). Soderbergh weaves an elaborate plot embedded with subtle details. The heist plan veers through a number of twists and turns, and those scenes are often interrupted by cuts to jail scenes to provide more of Bang’s perspective on the heist. These frequent interruptions make the storyline hard to follow at times, as the focus is shifted away from the heist preparation. In addition, the complex plot follows the typical heist comedy formula, which typically involves an elaborate robbery with a number of plot twists and slapstick humor. As a result, the ending is easily predictable, causing the film to lose suspense. The film’s main driving points are its humor and its characters. Tatum’s performance as the goofy but equally vulnerable Jimmy Logan is a testament to his abilities as an actor, as he deviates from his usual macho personas in Magic Mike, Step Up, and 21 Jump Street. The film, while at times crude and ridiculous, tugs at

the heartstrings through the intimate relationship between Jimmy and his daughter, Sadie. Driver plays Clyde Logan, a war veteran who lost part of his arm in Iraq. Similarly, it seems that the film is set up to ridicule his character from the outset- however, as viewers delve deeper into the film, they discover that Clyde and his brother share a quiet dignity and strong fortitude. In fact, even the seemingly airy and foolish Joe Bang proves to be competent and diligent in carrying out the heist plan. These three-dimensional characters give the film a uniquely human element, as most standard heist comedy films include characters whose primary role is to act as comedy relief. Logan Lucky is carefully strung together to include humor, warmth, and suspense. Despite its many complex details that are often lost on the average moviegoer, the movie is clearly the creation of a seasoned heist film director. ▪ Rating: B+

It Creeps, it crawls, it eats you alive

Student Recommendations

Staff Recommendation

Title: Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis Author: J.D. Vance Rating: Medium Genre: Memoir, Nonfiction Vance discusses his upbringing and the lifestyle of many Americans in the Appalachian region in comparison to his life after leaving the poverty-stricken area. “With the current divide in the country, I feel it is important to learn about the experiences and cultures of this area, where the people feel as if they are underrepresented.” — Librarian Shelley Hulseman

kesha By Katherine Guo Staff Writer

By Anagha Mandayam Staff Writer Title: Things Fall Apart Author: Chinua Achebe Rating: Medium Genre: Fiction Okonkwo, who lives in Nigeria, Africa, works hard to be a good father and provide for his own son as much as possible during a time period when British rule influences their way of life. The book depicts their life and the hardships they overcome in a changing society. “While reading that book, I was really able to see Africa in a different light because in the book it describes the true African customs and beliefs in depth.” — Shulamite Cheng, 11 Title: The Undomestic Goddess Author: Sophie Kinsella Rating: Easy Genre: Romance Samantha Sweeting is a successful lawyer who has just made a mistake that could completely ruin her career. In a frenzy, she hops on a train and ends up in the English Countryside, where she takes on a new identity just as her old one begins to catch up with her. “It’s a well written book with a little bit of romance and suspense thrown in. Although I read it a while ago, I really enjoyed the book.” — Sonia Tasser,

Music review

By Maggie Zhao Staff Writer It, directed by Andrés Muschietti, and adapted from the 1986 Stephen King novel, follows the stories of seven young children who must face Pennywise the Clown (Bill Skarsgård), an evil shapeshifter who lurks in the sewers and devours children. The children not only band together to fight the evil being tearing apart their hometown of Derry, Maine, but resolve their own personal issues as well. Despite rearranging the timeline of the novel, the movie generally stays true to the storyline of King’s original book. While It is much less frightening than had been anticipated, It is still a horror movie, and features plenty of jump scares as well as psychological horror. In particular, the idyllic scenes of summer vacation and childhood joy, complete with bouncy, upbeat background tunes, make the film particularly unsettling as the audience knows that at any second, disaster might strike. Charming characterization is one of the movie’s unique strengths. Unlike many other horror movie protagonists, Muschietti’s characters are like-


able and even humorous. In particular, foul-mouthed Richie Tozier and highstrung Eddie Kaspbrak often provide comedic relief in otherwise intense scenes. The movie also shows the children dealing with abuse in their home lives, creating additional complexity in the plot and in the characters themselves. Bill Skarskgard’s performance of Pennywise the Clown is also commendable. Pennywise appears almost normal but simultaneously unhinged. In addition, the clown has a jarring, hysterical laugh that adds to the audience’s fear throughout the movie. Muschietti’s cinematography is also crucial to creating the horror in the film. When the gang is cleaning a bathroom completely drenched in blood, the strong red tint in the lighting makes the scene feel more eerie. While confronting Pennywise in Derry’s sewer system, the only vivid colors in the otherwise grayscale visual are the garish, clashing colors of Pennywise’s face: his sheet white skin, eerie red-lipped smile, and feral yellow eyes. As soon as the children emerge from the sewers, the scene shifts to a grassy green field, where the colors on screen are suddenly vivid and saturated again. In addition,

the film soundtrack is crucial to helping build the mood of a scene. The harsh screeching sound marks sudden shifts from summer vacation fun to the red balloons that signal the arrival of Pennywise the Clown. One of the shortcomings of the film is its lack of explanation of plot points. The film depicts Pennywise’s supernatural capabilities, yet never answers the question of what exactly Pennywise is and why he is capable of such things. Without these explanations, many of his actions become confusing instead of terrifying. The film briefly begins to explore Pennywise’s motives, but never carries through to give any kind of closure. On the other hand, It has been confirmed to have a sequel, so perhaps these questions will be resolved in the subsequent movie. While still not as frightening as expected, It delivers on its promise of hair-rising horror. The film’s spooky plotline, visual effects, and the actors’ skillful performances work together to bring an engaging take on the Stephen King classic. ▪

Kesha’s new album Rainbow caused a commotion following its August 11 release. As her third album, first release in four years, and first album following the aftermath of the Kesha v. Dr. Luke lawsuit, Rainbow marks a strict departure from her past discography with a mix of rock, crooning ballads, and country music. Rainbow’s constantly shifting style keeps it from being a truly cathartic and deep-seated project. With some outstanding tracks but greater numbers of questionably relevant songs, what should have been Kesha’s revival album leaves her barely alive. The first track, “Bastards,” gives Kesha an uneven start, mixing stellar vocals with a monotonous and cliched message of “Don’t let the bastards get you down/Don’t let the a**holes wear you out,” which quickly becomes repetitive over the four-minute song. The 70’s lethargic pace only serves to detract from the message, which in its own right has become pedantic and ultimately overused, both in culture and in Kesha’s album. Tracks such as “Boogie Feet,” “Godzilla,” and “Boots” pay homage to the tracks that made Kesha famous in 2009, but take away from the more mature approach she aims for with “Rainbow” and “Hymn.” While a Billboard interview with Kesha reveals that she added the more light-hearted tracks in an attempt to balance the tone, the juxtapositions fail and instead combine in an uncomfortable medley of superficial country tracks with “Hunt You Down,” vulnerable soul-baring tracks like “Praying,” and jarring rock tracks such as “Let ‘Em Talk.” By closing an album with profound tracks such as “Rainbow” with “I wish I could buy me a spaceship and fly past the sky, oh oh oh”, Kesha leaves her newfound maturity on a naive and childish note. Mixed into a salad of mediocrity and confusing contrasts, “Praying” and “Learn to Let Go” stand out as diamonds in the rough. The lengthy monologue at the beginning of “Praying” and the childhood montage of “Learn to Let Go” both serve memorable lessons that are seamlessly intertwined with the lyrics. In context of Kesha’s arduous four year journey to Rainbow, the tracks move from cliched and ephemeral to substantial works in their own right. Vocally, Rainbow clearly showcases Kesha’s encompassing range and tonality. In sharp contrast to the platitudes she tries to deliver through the majority of the album, Kesha’s own voice soars far above everything and is refreshingly her own, free from the heavy background music of her past albums. Combining her range with profound lyrics, Kesha packages a truly vivid experience for her listeners, though it is limited to a smattering of her tracks. Overall, Kesha’s album doesn’t quite reach the treasure at the end of the rainbow. By combining too many styles with too many messages and too many personas, Rainbow averages out as respectable, but nothing spectacular, save for a few jewels. ▪ Rating: C+


14 Arts & Entertainment


The Smoke Signal

Friday, September 22, 2017

By Hannah Chou & Jonathan Ko Sports Editor and Web Editor

The location is cozy, pristine, and spotlessly clean. In the background, music videos from the 80’s and 90’s play on a flat screen TV mounted above the cash register. Though the bleached colors and quiet atmosphere can lead to a sterile, hospital-like feeling, the white-and-pink color scheme is reminiscent of an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. At the back of the room, a wall with dozens of plastic donuts provides the perfect backdrop for a quick Instagram shot. In all, the shop is a great place to comfortably relax, although the music makes it difficult to study in.

The menu features a wide variety of donuts ranging from classic sugar donuts to the shop’s Sunday special Unicorn donuts. Most of the donuts are lightly sweetened, which is not typical of the overpowering sweetness that is found in other donuts. The more traditional cake and blueberry donuts have wholesome tastes and a more solid, satisfying consistency than most. However, the more adventurous items on the menu, such as the unicorn donut or the rainbow donut, sacrifice taste for an Instagrammable aesthetic.

Gonutz with Donuts is a donut shop that recently opened at 41093 Fremont Blvd #102, Fremont, CA 94538. Their menu features a wide variety of donuts that are known for its unique decorations and Instagrammable reputation. After its soft opening, the Smoke Signal decided to visit this not-so-typical donut joint to taste the food it has to offer.

The costs of the donuts range from $1.25 to $3.50, making them inexpensive and well-suited for a student budget. The simpler donuts tend to be cheaper, while store specials like the Rainbow donut cost much more. The taste is decent, but the real aspect that makes these donuts worth the price is the unique decoration. If you are looking for a cheap bite that comes with an aesthetic social media post, this joint is the right choice for you.

The employees are extremely accommodating and will promptly answer any question about their menu. Donut production is relatively fast, especially considering that many of the decorations are hand-crafted. Overall, the speediness and friendliness of the workers create a welcoming atmosphere that allows customers to quickly settle in and enjoy the wide range of foods it has to offer.


Friday, September 22, 2017

The Smoke Signal


Sports 15

Girls’ VolleyGirls’ Water Polo ball, with only four This year, there are approximately 115 students participathas the goal of making seniors, has a relatively young team ing in Cross-Country, making it one of the largest sports a comeback this year after getting this year. However, they still have teams at MSJ. According to Boys Varsity Captain Senior third place last year in MVALs and being aspirations for winning MVAL. AccordShrey Vasavada, the team hopes to win as many league unable to qualify for NCS. In order to achieve ing to Coach Donny Hui, “Every year I think we titles as possible and either send a team or a few individuthis goal, Senior Upasana Mustafi said, “Our focus in have a shot at winning league, but we did lose a als to the state championship, especially with the influx of terms of training are to work on speed and agility, as well lot of starters from last year... I think we are talented freshmen. The training this season is very rigorous with as work on thinking, communicating, and creatgoing to have a different style, a more overall mileage and training during the summer preparation. ing movement during games.” There lot more defensive oriented, and Vasavada said, “Kids are coming into the season in better shape than has also been an improvement in focus I think we will have a different ofever, and it’s going to really make an impact over the entire with the separation of JV and Varsity fensive system.” He also mentioned that course of the season.” practice at Ohlone College, with each the team is emphasizing ball control Cross Country team receiving more pool space and more and having players focus less attention from their coach. (Frosh/JV/V) on the result and more on improvement. Girls’ Volleyball

Girls’ Water Polo (JV/V)

(Frosh, JV, V) After staying undefeated for the past three years, Girls’ Tennis hopes to keep the streak this season. Former Head Coach Linda Campana has stepped down to assistant coach after moving to Pleasanton, and the team is now led by Coach Patricia Birks. With the addition of new but experienced players, Girls’ Tennis hopes to dominate at the Logan Tournament.

Fall Sports Preview By Ishika Chawla & Heather Gan Web Editor and Feature Editor

Fall sports season has just begun, so read what coaches and captains had to say about their teams and their goals for the upcoming months.

Girls’ Tennis (JV/V)

Gymnastics hopes to stand on the MVAL podium once again, just Gymnastics like they have since the (JV/V) formation of the team in the 1960s. The team utilizes Washington High School’s gymnastic facility, as well as a local gymnastics center, to practice their competition routines. With few high schools having a gymnastics team, Gymnastics has few opportunities to compete beyond MVAL, and the season consists of three regular meets and MVAL finals.

Boys’ Water Polo (JV/V)

Cheer (JV/V)

Girls’ Golf (V)

Although Boys’ Water Polo has a history of success and With new Head Coach Tai Cheer has a smaller team this achieved second place in MVALs last year. Chung leading the team, girls’ golf has set their season, the team is more experienced and This year, they hope to win the league championship while also putting an sights on not only setting personal records, will be focusing on developing higher level emphasis on making their team more like a family. Senior Captain Nathan but also winning MVAL. Coach Chung plans stunts. The team consists of a varsity Lau said, “We’re really focused on getting our players that just got on putting more emphasis on chipping and team, which attended a summer training moved up from JV to focus on defense… and for us players putting this season, as well as helping the team be more camp, and a training team, which people that have been playing off season, we’re focusing on relaxed in intense game situations. The team will be competing can join to practice cheer without commaking sure our offense executes well.” With the at several tournaments, including Poppy Ridge Invitational mitment and potentially move up to varsity next loss of their previous year’s head coach, the team and Moraga Country Club Invitational. season. Besides attending the Logan Regional Competition, is also adjusting to the addition of Coach Allison the team is looking to perform at local universities, including Lucarelli, the Girls’ Water Polo coach. UC Berkeley.


Volleyball falls short in league opener By Joelle Chuang Staff Writer Girls’ Volleyball faced off against Newark Memorial High School in their first league game on September 12. In an exhilarating match packed with formidable spikes, rallies, and blocks from both sides, the MSJ Warriors took an early 1-0 lead but was unable to maintain the momentum to take home an early-season victory. They lost the match in four sets with scores of 25-23, 14-25, 18-25, and 23-25. After starter introductions and spirited team cheers, the match took off with an exciting start. The two teams were very evenly matched in the first set, staying within one or two points of each other for most of the game. A powerful spike from Outside Hitter Senior Lucia Zhang closed the set, and the Warriors took the first game with a score of 25-23. MSJ saw a slow start in the second set, while the Newark Memorial Cougars pulled ahead with stronger offensive plays. Due to miscommunication and a series of unforced errors, the Warriors were quickly down by 1-12. Unable to catch up and close the gap, they conceded the second game with a score of 14-25, tying the match at one set each An action-packed third game saw MSJ hunker down defensively and amp up their offense. Opposite Hitter Senior Helen Wang and Floor Captain Senior Michelle Zhang made a number of impressive spikes. However, the Cougars took nine of the final 11 points, winning the third game 18-25 and leaving the Warriors down one set to two. MSJ started out full of energy in the fourth game, increasing the accuracy of their spikes and changing up attack strategies. One of the highlights was a back-row spike by Michelle Zhang for a spectacular kill. A number of skillful passes from Libe-


Senior Helen Wang jumps up for a spike.

ros Junior Selena Sui and Senior Tulsi Patel, accurate sets from Setters Junior Cindy Liu and Junior Hannah Chou, and powerful hits from all the hitters contributed to the intensity of the final game. They were on the verge of winning their fourth set and forcing a fifth, but Newark Memorial snatched the opportunity away from them once more, scoring five of the last seven points, finishing off the game and denying MSJ a victory. The team had a specific strategy for this game, which was to contain Newark Memorial’s key player, but they were unable to completely slow her down. Girls’

Volleyball Coach Donny Hui names lack of communication and teamwork as main factors that contributed to MSJ’s loss. “We lost six seniors last year, so we have a new group to work with,” says Hui. He hopes to “get [the players] into the habit of communicating, and to shift them more to a team-oriented focus during the game.” Hui adds, “Our goal is to do our best at all times, whether we win or lose.” As for some strengths of the team, Hui and Michelle Zhang both comment that the team has good positivity and chemistry, which should be applied to their per-

formance both on and off the court. For the future, Michelle Zhang says, “I want every single girl to believe that they are on this team for a reason, and when they are on the court, they have a job to do.” ▪

16 Sports


The Smoke Signal


Show Jumping

Junior Aiza Gill competed in equestrian sport, at the Shoshow jumping, an Festival in Del Mar, CA fro wpark Summer m June 19 to 23 Showpark is considered a pre which is the highest ranked mier competition, tion, with about 500 com level in the naGill does not usually attendpetitors Although petitions, she was very proudsuch large comments this summer In the of her achievejunior division, she competed about four tim es a day, and placed in the top eight in alm ost all of her classes Gill has been riding for five years, and she considers her greate be establishing a strong bon st accomplishment to and herself “You’re in cha d between her horse lb animal what to do basrge of telling a 1000 ed on just your body movement It’s not an eas y takes a lot of skill, and it’s ver feat. It’s physical, it y technical,” she said

Water Polo




Aiza Gill, 11 Del Mar, CA



Friday, September 22, 2017




Seto the sporwt,ater er om c ew n A relative an Lau started playingerthenior Nath freshman year NevWater polo in his peted in the USA Counnge less, he com mpics in Oura competed ly O r io n u J o a Pol to 30 L s ty, July 22am made from playtier s c te le th a A h y it w ission Vallelified in the from the nM they qua d League, a ision after playing twro Bronze Div ts earlier in the yea , tournamenveral close matches After se finished first with a Nath an the team strong finalists San win over ores. Lau strongly e nc Diego Sh e importak, saying, “It’s th ed z si a or h emp and teamw know how to of cohesionme so if you don’tgoing to lose ” a team ga your team you’re play with












Travelling north to Lansing, Michigan, or Nidhi Kanchumarthi competed from July 7 to 9 Juni i n the y r t divie h c r A sion of the US Team Trials for WorldCade ery Youth Championship The first day comArch pri s ed 72 arrow-scoring qualification round, which de-a termined round robin competitors for the following day In addition to ranking fluctuations between each round, Kanchumarthi remarked that the weather’s unpredictability mad shooting an exciting challenge She explains,e “A lot of coaches say archery is 10 percent physical and 90 percent mental I learned had a very strong mental game, that I need-I ed to trust myself and be more confident in my shots ” Kanchumarthi is more than pleased with her performance this summer and is happy to have reunited with felKanchumarthi, 11 low members of the USA Archery Junior Dream Team through the competition





oun C e g Oran CA



Libero Junior Wesley oto dived east this summe to compete in the USAHirVol r National Championships, whleyball Boys’ Junior Vol le ich took y bal place July 1 to 8 in Colum l Hiroto’s team, East Bay bus, Ohio Academy, was one of the Volleyball of club teams invited to thehundreds tournament The four-year vol ley bal described his experience the l player tournament as full of “elationatand ner vousness at the same time last game, in particular, was drawn” His out to three sets His team, howeve sto le the last point in a long rally, subr,seq uen as champions of their ht tly rising two division “At a national level, it’sfligver y unlikely to always be in first place you have to take the losses, and youSohav e to celebrate the wins as well. 11 a great place to learn from other plaIt’s Wesley Hiroto, yer s as the y are the top tier of the country,” Hiroto shared Columbus, OH

Lau, 12




Lansing, MI


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Friday, September 22, 2017

The Smoke Signal



Sports 17

By Gloria Chang, Carolyn Ge, Zen Thumparkkul & Victor Zhou News Editor, Editor-in-Chief, Centerspread Editor, and Graphics Editor


MSJ athletes made the best of their summers by travelling out of state and even out of the country to play in various competitions. Their experiences brought back not only awards and medals, but also important lessons and perspectives. Read on to learn more about their exciting journeys!

ton n i m Bad

Golf has been playSenior Cindy Yuan r more than nine ing badminton foet in her ninth years and comp nioedr Championships Pan American Ju o, July 21 to 28 (PJAC) in Toront by winning Under Cindy After qualifying d Under 19 Mixed 19 Girls’ Doubles annior International Doubles at the Ju ners this spring, Yuan won Under Trials with her partand the Team Event for Team 19 Girls’ Doubles ent captain, Yuan was particuUSA As Team Ev the team’s cohesiveness during larly impressed bysaying, “We ate every single meal the tournament, days ” She also praised the high together for fourfrom every player “At PanAms, level of support help you work with your partner the cheers really en if you’re not winning at that and get excited evtables and come back,” said Yuan. time; to turn the Mixed Doubles and Under 19 Girls’ She won Under !9 Nationals Doubles in Junior

Junior Alan Chen played at the American Junior Golf Ass ocia tion (AJGA) Junior at Cente nnial in Medford, Oregon fro m Jun 26 to 29 He has bee pla e ying golf competitively since nthe age of nine and won severa ments in the past couple loftournaChen says that his greatestyears complishment at the AJGA acChen, 11 nior at Centennial was win Juning first in the qualifier, which allowed him to compete in the actual tourname played well on the first tw nt Although Chen o days of the tournament, he faltered on he played better than hetheinitlast day Nevertheless, ially expected. He said “I gained a lot of faith myself, to be honest I, didn’t really think I was in g to do that well, but winning the qualifier reallygoin boosted my confidence ”





Medford, OR

Yuan, 12

to, n o r To nada Ca









Badminton ys’ Junior competed at theneBo12 to 15, Junior Aaron Chen Ju as ns hip in Ka ois June 19 Amateur Champions Championship in Illinsh r nio Ju rn te ip in Vista, the Wes npio Cham to 22, and the AJGA to August 1, California July 30 7, placed 11th, /1 16 where he tied , respectively and won secondeig ht years of s Chen, who ha unde r his belt, golf experience ained extentr prepared and urnaments, sively for the etopr essure of th but did not let and focompetition get to him while me ga n ow cused on his on d ize as playing Chen emphan rpe d h ug pushing thro ing giv r ve ne d an g, severin tough up when things are

at Chen competed en Freshman Claire Ju Ch 28 to ly 23 PAJC in Toronto, JC through the Junior PA to ied alif qu o nt, als At the tournameUn International Trialsr. st n reak and wo she continued he les, and tied for third/ der 15 Mixed Doub17 Girls’ Doubles with fourth in Under e experience was repYu. Chen’s favorit try to the world and resenting her coun “After our games meeting new playetorsthe hotel and all our we would go backe other countries were friends from th really fun,” said Chen there and it wase there, Chen learned During her tim ce of a strong mental ation. about the importan hip, and team coopleser at ns ma ts or sp od go , me ga der 17 Girls’ Doub she placed third inalsUn th Yu wi o Junior Nationals,


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Claire Chen, 9

Tor Canoandto, a



Aaron Chen, 11

Andover, KS


ntdo,a o r o T na Ca




int on ng likeSophomore Jacqueline Zha ior InJun C PJA for wise qualified the for ally cific spe ls, Tria l iona nat ter C, PAJ the At nt eve mixed doubles also she 28, July to 23 July m fro 17 Mixed won third place for Under com peting, ore bef day The bles Dou ted poin rs age man m tea the coach and d, win re, atu per tem in ns atio erv obs out ng Zha ks. coc ttle shu and weight of Jacqueline ensaid, “Always prepare for a new because vironment. Adjust quickly y’re going to throw at the at whw kno er nev you it ” These moments of you You just have to face por t, and Zhang said, sup teamwork also created ers very well per“You may not know other t play m to win because the sonally, but you would wan ntry you do ” At Junior they represent the same couplace in Under 17 Girls’ Nationals, Zhang won firstUnder 17 Mixed Doubles Doubles and third place in


Sophomore Cassandra Yu, whoyeahas rs, played badminton for ten through l i Apr n i C PAJ for d e i qualif thus the Junior International Trials Yu23 to July from o ont Tor n i d compete from ers play best July 28, where the esent North and South America repr tively secu con has their countries Yu past the 10 n i , C Yu PJA ual ra ann r nd fou d ssa Ca attende ior Jun an c eri Am and said, “The Pan Toront I r yea the of t men rna tou e t ori o Cana , Championships is my fav a as r the toge e com e you da think it’s the most fun becaus of another sports club, team Differences, like being part a team representing the don’t matter We’re all together” as the PAJC, she finished At part U.S., and that’s the best earning a medal with Chen. third in Under 17 Girls’ Doubles,out of the situation If you best Yu reflected, “Make the rience Try to profit lose, at least make it a learning ioexpe , Yu placed fourth in nals Nat r o i from your losses ” At Jun rd in Under 17 Girls’ doubles Under 17 Girls’ Singles and thi











Zhang, 10






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The Smoke Signal

Friday, September 22, 2017

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“My counselor encouraged me to explore and find my own unique path, because IvyBoost’s principal is to provide each student with customized counseling and guidance without expecting them to adopt a one-size-fitsall counseling plan. As a result of this intimate and high-efficiency environment of IvyBoost, I was able to see tremendous growth in myself not only academically but also as a person over the past 4 years.” –C. H. “I was admitted to Yale, Dartmouth, Duke, and John Hopkins with scholarships from $35000 to $56000 per year. Thanks to IvyBoost for its great counseling service guiding me through each milestone.” –H. L.

“Prior to my classes at IvyBoost, my SAT score was being brought down by my lackluster SAT Writing score. With the help of Karen’s in-depth SAT writing classes, in one month, I was able to bring up my Writing score from a mediocre 660 to a perfect 800. Her perfect teaching method combined with a lot of her practice tests allowed me to reach my target score!”

–K. K.

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Website: Phone: 510-656-6800 Address: 43301 Mission Blvd., Fremont, CA 94539 Professional Affiliations: ·WACAC ·HECA ·IECA ·NACAC

Friday, September 22, 2017

Link Crew leaders give their group of Freshmen

The Smoke Signal


gh five each

icebreaker game

Photo 19



hi Freshmen

Freshmen play the


Name Tag with the

ir Link Crew group.


ers before

rew lead and Link C

During a game of Lifestory, Freshm an Erica Wooding shares stories ab out herself.

to groups.

they split in

Link Crew Leader

Junior Evelyn Yun

shows incoming fre

shmen around the


By Evangeline Chang & Victor Zhou Graphics Editors Before school even began, students had already been winding down their summers to prepare for the start of fall semester. Members of Link Crew prepared an eventful day for the incoming freshmen, with interactive activities and a tour of the school. Later in the week, various clubs and organizations promoted themselves through Maze Day. As a warm welcome back to students and faculty, the Smoke Signal highlights these events.

Rishabh Chittaranjan, 11

Kayal Rajkumar, 11

MSJ students sign up for Universal Performers.

Senior Mich Song introduces students and parents to their club MSJ Math. PHOTOS BY GRAPHICS EDITORS EVANGELINE CHANG & VICTOR ZHOU







Meet the Editors










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Volume LIII, No. 1  
Volume LIII, No. 1