Taipei American School | 800 Chung Shan North Road, Section 6, Taipei, Taiwan | blueandgoldonline.org | VOLUME XXIII, ISS. 05 | May 11, 2017
the blue & gold may 11 , 2017
TAS Robotics advances to FRC World quarter finals By Coco Lee In March 2017, the Taipei American School FRC robotics team “Raid Zero” earned first place in the First Robotics Competition Regionals (FRC) held in Hawaii. Due to their outstanding performance in the regionals, the TAS team gained the chance to compete in the FRC World Championships, held in St. Louis Missouri in May. In the World Championships, the team continued to compete vigorously with approximately 400 other teams and were able to get to the quarter finals in their division. The FRC is a robotics competition where teams are given a task for which they will need to build a robot. Each season, the teams have 6 weeks to build a robot that meet size and weight regulations. Prior to Hawaii, the team had to first show their capability in Australia at he South Pacific Regionals. The TAS robotics team earned second place in the South Pacific Regionals, which enabled the team to gain confidence for the Hawaii Regionals, and ultimately the FRC World Championships. For this year’s FRC, the theme was FIRST Streamworks. The goal for the competing
Raid Zero: TAS pose as champions at the FRC Hawaiian Regionals [TIFFANY MA]
robots was to deliver gear, shoot, and climb within the time of the competition. Katherine Chen (10), who was part of the team for the South Pacific Regionals,
says, “the TAS team’s robot focused on delivering gears. The robot had a pneumatic geardelivery system that pushed gears onto a piston.” Furthermore, the
robot was capable in climbing ropes, approximately 1.4 meters high, in five seconds and had a gear shift that allowed two speed modes. The two modes enabled
Prom 2017: a night of Grecian paradise
By Christine Lin (10) In an informal poll, The Blue & Gold asked upper school students at Taipei American School one question: “Do you know what Santorini is?” Out of the 30 people polled, only 12 people knew what Santorini is and subsequently described it as a Greek city. Out of the 18 people who answered “no,” one added, “I thought it was a perfume or something,” while a few others said, “It’s a place…?” The readers who know what Santorini is are probably excited for this year’s prom, which takes place on at the Westin Taipei.
Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., but the dance will officially start at 7 p.m. The early bird discounted ticket price was 1800 NT; tickets are still on sale now for 2000 NT. This year, the theme, as decided by the prom committee headed by Isabelle Sung (11) and Marina Chang (11), is set to be “Santorini,” inspired by the Greek isles of the same name. Compared to the more glamorous and night-centered settings from previous years, this upcoming dance emphasizes a clean and contemporary look. Isabelle noted the movie Mama Mia provided
inspiration because the two of them loved the iconic “bold blue color” on the houses off the Santorini coast. Some initial ideas the girls came up with included “Under the Sea” and “Hawaii,” but they decided to abandon these ideas after searching for decoration ideas online and discovering undesirable photos like “tacky blue photo booths.” Isabelle expresses their wish for a “simple and modern theme.” Marina also mentions the importance of spacial limitations as well: “We want [to do] something that we can recreate in a small space…
[and use] simple decorations that we can put up easily and quickly on the day [of prom].” Prom is going through a few changes this year. The prom committee decided to start prom at 7 p.m. rather than the traditional 8 p.m. so that people can enjoy their dinners earlier. Besides the classic prom talent show, this year’s prom further commemorates student talents by inviting two TAS seniors to DJ for the dance. Marina says, “This is very exciting because I think that prom is a night for seniors to celebrate everything they did throughout their years of high school and also a good night to make memories with friends. I hope that prom can be a night that people can remember for the rest of their lives. [I hope that attendees] can have a great night with friends, enjoy good music.” In less than two weeks, juniors and seniors are will attend the 2017 Prom. Marina adds with a sarcastic laugh that hopefully, it will be “a night that they will remember for the rest of their lives.”
the robot to travel in high speeds. This ability was especially crucial and efficient to the team as the robot needed to travel the entire length of the field, faster than the opponents during the competition. Katherine believes one of the strength of their robot is the strong base that allows it to be “really good at physical contact and defense.” The base of the robot was made of thick metal about 10 mm long that helped with the robot’s stability. Through this experience, the TAS FRC robotics team proved their teamwork and showed potential for TAS robotics. The team is especially thrilled about their accomplishments as they truly believe through everyone’s contribution, the team was able to be champions at Hawaii and perform at the FRC World Championships. Tiffany Ma (12), a programmer for the team, says she is very proud of how far they have come from the very first FRC team in TAS. She says, “[s] ix years ago, the first FRC team had 6 members, working at a library’s basement. Now, we have a robotics lab, with [more than] 40 members all contributing [with] ideas. I couldn’t be more proud of the growth of our team.”
the blue & gold may 11 , 2017
Julian vs. Julian: Snapstreaks
The cult of “busyness” By Vanessa Tsao “I’m busy,” you say, as your friend eagerly invites you to hang out. You then rattle off a lengthy to do list including extracurriculars from sports to volunteering, all on top of your mountainous pile of homework. Yet, somewhere along the way, the phrase “I’m busy” has evolved from an apology to a subtle mark of pride. The typical high school student easily falls victim to the “cult of busyness”: a mixture of intrinsic, parental, and peer pressure pushes us to pile on taxing commitments we do not enjoy out of perceived necessity. We compete ruthlessly to see who can take the most AP classes and participate in the most clubs; we lavish our admiration upon those who subject themselves to the busiest schedules.
We should not conflate busyness with success...busyness often decreases productivity.
Two-faced: Julian Lee argues both for and against the social value of Snapstreaks.
By Julian Lee Since its introduction, the Snapstreak has become an integral part of TAS students’ lives. For those who send mass Snaps to maintain their streaks as part of their daily morning routine, the loss of triple-digit streaks causes much weeping, grieving, and general anguish. When it comes down to it, however, is the massive role that Snapstreaks play in our lives for the better, or for the worse?
For: the modern icebreaker
Against: a colossal waste of time
In life, nothing is permanent. The takeaway? Even the longest Snapstreak will eventually fizzle out. But between the inception of a Snapstreak and its inevitable end, Snappers around the world undergo an exhilarating journey which brings them together as never before. Snapstreaks are an excellent medium for getting to know new people. Emily Tai (10) says, “If it’s with someone that you haven’t really talked to before, [starting a streak] can become a pathway to start talking to that person.” By exchanging ugly filtered Snaps daily, new friends can easily overcome the awkwardness of an in-person introduction, as they learn to laugh with—and at—each other. Streaks are useful for strengthening existing friendships as well: an extended streak with an old friend represents your mutual commitment. Like two parents raising a baby, Snap contacts connect over the shared responsibility of nurturing their very own streak and watching it grow before their eyes. Best of all, Snapstreaks provide a complete package of social connection while taking up minimal time. “Streaks keep up with the new modern age,” says McKenzie Engen (9). “Everything has to be fast and quick.”The simplicity of Snapstreaks is a blessing for busy TAS students, providing them with their link to other individuals while demanding very little of their precious, alreadyoverbooked time.
Evan Spiegel, Snapchat CEO, declares that the goal of Snapchat is “to help [users] communicate with friends in whatever way makes them happiest.” Unfortunately, Snapstreaking has become so absurd that it can hardly be considered communication. There is no issue with a 100-day streak if it represents 100 days of genuine conversation; however, the problem arises when students consider the streak an end in itself. In order to preserve the meaningless fire emoji next to a contact’s name, many force themselves to engage in day after day of repetitive Snap exchanges. Samantha Koo (10) attests to the senselessness of many Snaps, saying that “a lot...are just black screens captioned with the word ‘streak’.” No matter how many days the streak extends, such a pointless “communication” will never help build a true relationship between two contacts, unless you are that exceptional type of person who can understand a peer by viewing pictures of their wall for 300 straight days. Snapstreaks thus waste a colossal amount of students’ time. It may only take a minute to maintain your streaks each day, but multiplied over a three hundred-day streak, those minutes add up to five hours wasted keeping up with an empty trend. Big numbers, an impression of social acceptance, and sheer inertia can easily feed streak addictions, but even an hour of meaningful conversation has far greater social worth than an entire year of inane Snapstreaking.
However, we should not conflate busyness with success. Research shows that busyness often decreases productivity. When our plates are full to the point of nearly overflowing, we are prone to procrastinate and multitask. Multitasking causes a bottleneck in the brain that prevents us from concentrating on more than one thing at once. Though some may succumb to the cult of busyness to boost their college applications, counselors have stressed that “passion is really hard to fake” and admission officers are “keenly sensitive to these attempts to deceive.” As stress frequently causes high rates of depression and other mental illnesses in teenagers, it is wise to reduce one’s commitments just to make time to breathe. Sometimes, less is more. We should accept and encourage cutting down on loaded schedules to focus on areas we actually find interesting. As Socrates once said, “Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”
Open letter to the senior class: this world we inherit By Aaron Kuo We are on the brink of some of the best and worst times the world has and will experienced. The best, because of the rapid spread of knowledge and the global interconnectedness caused by the information age; the worst, because of the backlash isolationism, the threat of war, and the dwindling resources of our planet. The next generation of leaders will have to tackle the hardest problems with the most resources available.
Many societies have a rite of passage or coming of age that marks a person’s transition from childhood to adulthood. Considering that our education is meant to prepare us for being an adult, the graduation ceremony is our modern equivalent of a coming of age. Graduation marks the next phase of our life, when we choose to attend college, enlist in military service, or get a job. In making this choice and moving onto the next part
of life, we are taking responsibility for ourselves. But it is also time to take responsibility for what goes on in the world. Young children often say, “When I grow up I want to…” These aspirations change over time as children mature and gain a better understanding of what is happening. Everyone has something they wish to change in the world, such as ending the Syrian refugee crisis or stopping global
warming. However, children rarely have a chance to make a difference. Although we are still young, we have gradually gained the abilities to enact the change we have sought for the last 18 years. Already, active student leaders organize events like Walk for Syria and Earth Day to make the difference they choose. There will come an inevitable point when we are in charge, when we can improve society as we desire. Graduation celebrates
our achievements and encourages us to begin moving towards that point. See this not as an obligation, but a natural next step in the progression of history and a chance to steer the world, however slightly, onto a brighter path. The time for change is now, because whether we ignore it or embrace it, it is undeniably now our awesome burden, our terrible privilege to shape the future of this world we inherit.
the blue & gold may 11, 2017
Pride & PERIODS
By Julian Lee & Christine Lin (10) [KEVIN LEE]
Without menstruation, civilization as we know it would not exist. Yet, the very society that is built on female periods often shames this vital part of the reproductive cycle in innumerable ways. Here, The Blue & Gold’s Christine Lin and Julian Lee share female and male perspectives on the social stigma surrounding periods.
Before we decided to tackle this article, I found out that Mayo Clinic’s symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) include mood swings, anxiety, depressed mood, social withdrawal crying spells, food cravings, and poor concentration. Though these are listed as symptoms that women experience on days leading up to their periods, I can attest that this description sounds like every teenager at TAS during exam week.
...or, you know, during a regular week. I mean, “food cravings” and “crying spells” sum it up pretty well for most students.
Exactly. Guys and girls alike experience these symptoms, period or no. Oftentimes, however, when a girl specifically gets angry, some people would ask with a snide tone, “Are you on your period?” This question is incredibly bigoted as it belittles the girl’s emotions and makes her issues seem invalid, even when she’s perfectly justified in complaining about something. One situation that helps to illustrate the insensitivity of asking this question is a story that Charlene Tsai (10) told me. A male friend was poking her repeatedly, so she was naturally irritated and said,
“Don’t touch me.” The friend then sneered, “Are you on your period?” She was not. Anyone would be annoyed with persistently being touched, and this question only aggravated her even more.
One way to think about this is that even if a guy acts moody, society tends to respect his concerns more instead of dismissing them as a period hormone-induced tantrum. There is a sexist perception that girls are less able to control their emotions than guys, and many immature boys use this as an excuse for immature behavior. They do things that are unacceptable and then when the girl, like Charlene, rightfully complains, they blame her for “overreacting.” Girls are not always overreacting, nor are they constantly being controlled by their period mood swings. Rather, they can consciously choose to be angry, and it is important to respect that. Like Rose Hsu (11) says, we should all support women in expressing anger and aggression when such strong emotions are justified.
To be honest, I’m not sure how to differentiate within myself between heightened hormones and regular anger or sadness. Since it is scientifically proven that PMS actually occurs in the days preceding a girl’s period (not, as commonly thought, during the period itself ), you can’t really tell when a girl’s emotion is all voluntary. I know from experience that sometimes, some girls do cry for no significant reason at all when they are on their periods. For example, Vanessa Su (10) says that she once cried because her sister stole the front seat of the car from her.
That’s true: obviously, there are cases of girls on their period lashing out over completely innocuous things, but boys can’t use these few cases and the effects of PMS as a blanket excuse to be rude. It’s common among many guys when girls get angry at them to think, “Well, she’s just crazy because of her period,” without even considering the possibility that they might be in the wrong.
This type of mentality sadly lasts past high school, as many adults still practice period-shaming (see Trump, Donald). In August 2015, the president attacked Fox News reporter Megyn Kelly’s professionalism by blaming all the “blood coming out of her wherever” for her aggressive remarks towards him.
Trump missed the point that Kelly was attacking him not because she was PMS-ing, but because he was being ignorant. But so far we’ve been focusing on the male side of this topic. Is there a difference between a girl asking about periods, and a guy doing so?
Actually, oftentimes, many girls are not at all ashamed of talking about their periods: in fact, they often ask each other this question to bond. I know that in more private settings– the girls’ locker room especially–many girls complain together and compare symptoms. I suppose that it’s just not socially acceptable to talk about it in public since there is a fear that guys would be apprehensive.
Yes, and I do think that there is an unspoken stigma against periods, in Asian culture and in TAS. Ashley Chen (10) said that “although there is a word for period (月經), many Taiwanese girls just refer to it as “那個,” translating loosely to “that thing”–local girls apparently treat periods like Voldemort and refuse to say the real name. In TAS as well, this prejudice against periods begins as early as elementary school. A girl whose body is perhaps developing earlier than most of her peers first experiences this stigma when she hears the whispers “Ew, she’s on her period.” From third-grader boys, these comments are understandable, but from high schoolers who have taken sex education, these assumptions just seem ignorant and childish. Because of the fear of judgmental looks and ridicule from high school boys, many girls have become experts at hiding their pads and tampons. They slip them in jacket pockets and the waistbands of
their leggings, stuff them into zipped up bags, and generally do anything they can to avoid the “embarrassment” of exposing their hygiene products in public.
However, it’s not all gloom and doom–some TAS guys do show real maturity in addressing period-shaming. When we presented Benjamin Loo (11) and Lucien Chiu (10) with a tampon, they were both quite comfortable with it, and neither showed any signs of disgust or shock. When asked their thoughts, Benjamin said: “I won’t judge–we should just let them be,” while Lucien said “I think it’s fine.” True, nobody would dare say anything explicitly period-shaming on record, but still, I think their attitudes indicate that a part of the TAS community is more encouraging and accepting towards the topic of menstruation. So, girls, there is no reason to feel embarrassed about a natural process which goes on in your body. If you want to complain, complain. Those who ask annoying questions are either uninformed or insensitive; besides, you might find that the community is more accepting than you think.
Originally, I didn’t want to write this piece: it was my sister who came up with this article idea during our brainstorming session for this issue and practically forced me into doing this. But I’m glad that she did, because through this process, I’ve had to educate myself about periods through discussing with Christine and other girls like Kayleigh Chen (11) and Becky Roffler (11). So to guys, try asking girls for their perspectives on this topic, and sharing your own as well: you’d be surprised at how much you can learn. To everyone: don’t make the assumption that a girl is on her period as soon as you see signs of grumpiness. She might be–but it’s not up to you to decide what is making her act this way.
MENSTRUAL PRODUCTS THAT SOAK UP BLOOD, NOT MALE AWKWARDNESS Formoonsa Cup: Taiwanese Reusable menstrual cups.
Thinx: Absorbant, antimicrobial panties to replace pads and tampons.
Bloody Mary Panties: Women can bleed on the politician of their choice.
LoonCup: A “smart” menstrual cup that tracks “fluid volume and color.” Sea Sponge Tampons: A natural alternative to cotton tampons.
Next Gen Jane: Harvard designed tampon that diagnoses STIs.
the blue & gold may 11, 2017
ON OR OFF:
TAS athletes in the offseason By Daniel Wang
With the conclusion of season 3 IASAS sports, the offseason for every Taipei American School sports team has officially begun. For some, this period of time means finally taking time off to rest, but calling it “the offseason” may be misleading for others as it signifies one thing: even more training. Although training has never been an expectation for TAS student-athletes, Athletics Director Ms. Kawamoto says that, “I don’t expect our athletes to train because it is an individual responsibility. If you want to improve, the offseason is the most important time for that.”
Eugene Kao: golf
Benjamin Kao: volleyball
fter winning a second consecutive IASAS gold medal at home, the boys’ volleyball team hopes to continue their winning streak next year. Benjamin Kao (10) believes that “as a team, we need to work harder this offseason because we’re losing three crucial players.” With the team losing its three senior co-captains, Benjamin understands that the team needs to work even harder to compensate for the losses. He plays volleyball about three
[PHOTOS BY DANIEL WANG]
times a week, but instead of viewing training as a burden, he sees it as a time to take risks, make mistakes, and to improve on his libero skills before the actual season. Although some may believe that winning a gold medal would put more pressure on the team to win a gold medal the next year, Benjamin believes otherwise: “I actually don’t think there is more pressure... Instead, our focus should be on improving the chemistry and familiarity of our new team this offseason.”
Cheyenne Hsieh: basketball
eaving Manila undefeated, the girls’ basketball team has won its first gold medal since 2008 this year. After winning her first gold medal, first time all-tournament selection Cheyenne Hsieh (10) had a change in mindset on the offseason: “I think the offseason is pretty tough because I have to find the motivation to train, but after winning my first gold medal, there is even more pressure for next year because everyone will be training to try to be better than you.” Although
she feels a greater pressure to practice basketball, Cheyenne also welcomes the stronger incentive to train. She currently plays basketball two to three times a week with a local coach, along with her teammates, while also doing strength and conditioning training at the Fitness Center frequently. Over the summer she hopes to perfect her shooting form at IMG Academy, a boarding and sports training school located in Bradenton, Florida, with her teammate, Anya Lai (10).
he TAS boys’ and girls ‘golf teams have each won three gold medals since IASAS golf ’s introduction in 2013. Both teams hope to secure a fourth gold medal next year because TAS will host IASAS. Surprisingly, two time alltournament winner, Eugene Kao (11) says matter-of-factly, “I don’t really train.” While he currently is not concerned about training, Eugene will have four tournaments starting from June to December. “Leading up to these tournaments, I play golf
every other day, but other than that, I really don’t train that often.” As for the pressures faced by gold medal winning teams, Eugene’s viewpoint is different from that of Benjamin Kao’s: “I think there definitely is more pressure to win gold next year, but it is mostly because TAS is hosting IASAS golf. But even though there’s an added pressure for us to win next year, I still don’t think I need to train that hard in the offseason because I’m confident that our team will win.”
Stephanie Loo: badminton
Garett Huang: cross country
Rose Hsu: touch rugby
fter improving from fifth place last year to fourth place at the TAS hosted IASAS tournament this year, the boys’ cross country team is working hard to continue improving. With two years of IASAS cross country under his belt, Garett Huang (11) understands the necessity of offseason training: “I think the key to offseason training is running at least 5 to 6 times a week, having a maximum weekly distance of 90 kilometers.” He does three easy long runs (10
to 16 kilometers), double runs (morning and afternoon runs) twice a week, and one tempo run (5 miles at 6:30 mile pace) every week. Since Garett also believes that core strengthening is important during the offseason, he goes to the Fitness Center at least twice a week to train his core. After failing to medal in the past two years, he believes that “there is definitely a bigger drive for me to work harder after falling short last year. However, because cross country is a team sport, I need all my boys to train hard with me!”
lthough the girls’ touch rugby team dropped to fifth place at IASAS this year, the team still improved from sixth place last year to fifth this year. After her second year as an IASAS touch rugby player, Rose Hsu (11) hopes to improve in time for next year’s tournament at home: “When I have the time, I play touch rugby once a week with the Taipei Touch Association at the Bailing Rugby Fields in Shilin on Saturdays, but I plan on going regularly once school
starts again in August.” Time management has always been a struggle for student-athletes at TAS, and Rose is definitely not an exception. “With my duties as the new student government president, involvement in dance, and college applications coming up, along with my studies, it is pretty hard to consistently train for touch rugby sometimes.” Although Rose does not get as much time to play touch rugby as she would like, she enjoys the offseason because it allows her to do the core exercises that she likes.
oming off their 14th consecutive gold medal, the girls’ badminton team is continuing the IASAS dynasty that began in 2003. In her first year in TAS, Stephanie Loo (10) has already procured the top singles position and an all-tournament selection. However, leading this historic run is not without its pressure: “it would be terrible and heartbreaking if we were the ones to end up breaking the 14-year streak,” she says. “Because of this, I definitely feel the pressure of having to
train in order to maintain the streak.” Immediately following IASAS, Stephanie decided to take a break from badminton: “I think it’s pretty important to take a break during the offseason to rest my body while also spending more time on my studies and friends.” However, she plans on playing badminton once a week for two hours with a local coach in a few weeks; unlike Cheyenne, Stephanie says, “I don’t think the offseason is tough or tiring because I don’t train as often compared to during the season.”
MAPPING memori By Coco Lee, Charlotte Lee, and Catherine Lin
Karen Dalton: a fall on the waterfall When Karen Dalton (10) was in second grade, she and her friend Ella had what they thought was the best idea ever: a game of waterfall tag. “We were running around on the rocks and I slipped on one of them. The next thing I knew my face was dunked in the water, and when I stood up a few second later, everyone was shocked.” A friend quickly overcame her surprise, ran to the bathroom, grabbed paper towels, and walked Karen to the nurse’s office. “That was when I realized that my face was 70%
blood,” says Karen. Though her face healed, she initially looked strange. Karen says, “It happened to be Spring Fair the next weekend, and then when I went everyone asked me if I was okay because my face was scabbing.” Despite the pain of her second grade injury, Karen still looks back upon the event fondly. “Although I had a bad experience, it made for a great story to tell in the future,” says Karen. “To this day every time I walk past the waterfall I have flashbacks.”
Katie Wang: alternative biology Katie Wang (10) says that one of her best memories from lower school is a memory from science class in fourth grade. While taking her preliminary science test before her environmental unit, one of the questions asked her, “What happens to animals when they die in the forest?” The question left many of her classmates puzzled. Katie remembers Mr. Boepple, her fourth grade homeroom teacher, reading out students’ answers on the question out loud.
One creative classmate wrote down, “The tree sucks the animal up by its roots.” Another wrote the animals simply turned into rocks.
One creative classmate wrote down, “The tree sucks up the animal by its roots.” Katie says, “Their hilarious responses made me realize how far we’ve come in our understanding of the world.”
Matthew Chen: post-soccer strangle Matthew Chen (11) vaguely remembers attempting to choke his friend, Julian Lee (11), after they got into an argument caused by an intense soccer match. According to
said that his friendship with Julian still remains strong. He joked, “it was slightly abusive, [but] it’s a great friendship.”
The Blue & Gold asks students to reflect on the funni cringe-worthy, and most emotional memories they Taipei American School.
Keanne Chang: a sec Where the Tiger Lily, a wooden boat, now stands in the playground, there used to be a treehouse where students often played hide-and-seek. Keanne Chang (10) remembers, “I was a hider and Maggie [Lee (10)] was the seeker. I hid under the treehouse waiting for her to come find me, but apparently she gave up after five minutes, so I just sat in the dirt waiting for her to find me for the rest of recess.” However, Keanne’s favorite memory is not of a particular event. She is most nostalgic about having
a homeroom. “In Lower homeroom felt like a secon but in high school you aren’t same people every day, so build the same strong rela with your classmates,” says K Keanne and Maggie h best friends since they kindergarten, a testament to homerooms can create. Kea “Our friendship is so deep that her mom talks about going to be the maid of hon wedding. It sounds cheesy bu seems like we were meant to
Tingjen Hsieh: domin Tingjen Hsieh (9) recalls a random, funny moment in fifth grade, when lining up was the customary method of walking from one place to another. Tingjen says, “We were tired and exhausted. All of a sudden, the guy in the front fell onto the person behind him, and [one by one] we all toppled over onto each other.” This comical domino effect proceeded until Tingjen face planted onto the floor. “I couldn’t get up because I had the weight of the entire class on me. Then, our teacher, Ms. Shim, came out and asked us what we
The guy in front fell the person behind h and one by one we a toppled over onto e other.
were doing,” remembers “I laughed because she thou my fault, which didn’t m because I was the one on the
Lloyd Ciceron: a worm About ten years ago, the Taipei American School upper field was a baseball field with real grass and red sand. Lloyd Ciceron (10) remembers his Lower School days,
carry them to the kids who w and watch them run around sc Lloyd says.
get the most out of your summer vacation The Blue & Gold spoke to six students pursuing personal projects and learning experiences over the break. Here are their thoughts. PHOTOS BY SHEREEN LEE
SELENE KUNg & APRIL TSAi: SHUHEI OMI: PART-TIME Real-Life #FriendshipGoals PROFESSIONAL JOURNALIST
By Shereen Lee Selene Kung (10) and April Tsai (10) will spend ther summer as teaching assistants at the Model United Nations (MUN) Summer Academy course: earlier in the spring, the program instructor, Middle School instructor Ms. Rowe, accepted their request to join the program. Their job this summer will be to instruct middle school students in international relations, with the help of two other teaching assistants, Jaden Yuen (9) and Emily Hsu (9). “After mentoring students in school for MUN, I felt very fulﬁlled from watching my mentees improve and succeed,” says Selene. “I wanted to continue doing that, and take the initiative to learn more about
What we'll READ Bored? Sunburned? Here are four awesome reads for you to pass time this summer. By Daniel Wang and Kelly Phil
how to serve other students.” A part of the reason why the two believe it is so important to teach the next generation of debaters is because they want to “pay it forward”, a concept heavily emphasized in the MUN community. “I started doing debate and MUN in seventh grade, and my own mentors really inﬂuenced my skills in thinking, global knowledge, writing, and public speaking,” says April. “The Summer Academy is a great opportunity to help the next generation grow as leaders and debaters, just like I did three years ago.” Three years later, they largely act as chairs, or debate moderators, where they interact with debaters and try to move them out of their comfort zones.
“I’m glad that I’ll be able to spend the classroom in a learning environment, even though my role isn’t exactly a traditional one,” says Selene. “It’s important to learn as much as possible about international relations theory so I can best serve the Model UN community as a chair and a mentor.” Selene does not think that she’ll pursue teaching as a career, but hopes that the skills she learns as a teaching assistant will help her obtain leadership skills for the future. Meanwhile, April is considering pursuing a career in global politics. “MUN changed my life in many good ways,” she says. “Spending my future on the same things I do today for fun would make me so happy.”
By Shereen Lee Shuhei Omi (11) will spend his summer working as a contributor to the news organization The News Lens International, a growing publication covering events from Asia and around the world. This will be his second year working for the organization: Shuhei was recruited into the job after The News Lens’s business director, Joey Chung, came to TAS to speak about life in journalism. Last summer, Shuhei wrote over 40 articles on current events and politics. “Working at the News Lens gave me a broader view of Taiwan’s relationship with the rest of the world,” says Shuhei. “I learned how to write news that was important and
eye-catching to our audience, while also making sure that my work had all of the facts.” He hopes to expand his role as a writer through undertaking more complex and in-depth projects. Shuhei particularly hopes that he will be able to cover issues on queer and student movements in Taiwan, some of the most controversial events in the country. “These topics are very important to me, as an activist and a student,” Shuhei says. Shuhei hopes that through his work in this program, he will be able to impact the lives of readers through something he is passionate about. “The News Lens is a unique organization because it serves such a wide range of people, in so many diﬀerent
ways,” says Shuhei. “People from English language learners to business professionals will hopefully be reading my work.” While a daunting task, Shuhei’s mission for this summer—and the rest of his life—is ultimately to inform and engage people in discourse about politics and the world. In fact, he ﬁnds reading reader comments and other types of engagement with his articles as the most rewarding aspect of his work. “If I make just one person more informed about the world through writing or conversation, it’ll be worth it,” he says. Read work from Shuhei and other writers on the News Lens International website: international.thenewslens.com
Upper School Required Reading When I was told to write this article, I honestly had no idea what next year’s summer reading was going to be about. Of Beetles and Angels by Mawi Asgedom: Was it about beetles, or angels, or both? Turns out, it’s not really about either. Instead, the book is an autobiography covering Asgedom’s journey from war-torn Ethiopia to Harvard University. Prepare to laugh and cry while reading this book, which captures the spirit of diﬀerent communities around the world. An inspirational story about overcoming obstacles and determination, this book is a lesson for all on what it means to be human.
Elif Batuman’s The Idiot is one of the funniest books you’ll read all year round. Ever since its release in March, the book has received high praise from the New York Times, GQ, and other authors. And it’s not very hard to see why it gained so much success. The novel is a light-hearted account of self-discovery through the eyes of a student at Harvard University. The book begins in 1995 and, Selin, the daughter of Turkish immigrants, arrives at Harvard University to begin her studies. The rest of the book follows a ﬁrst hand account of the people Selin meets and the allure of foreign adventure she is exposed to.
12th gRAders talk summer plans, Pre-senioritis By Shereen Lee and Anya Lai After taking introductory research classes at TAS, Michael Wen (12) was able to put his new laboratory skills to work by interning at the National Yang-Ming University Institute for Brain Science during the summers of his junior and senior years to further explore his interest in science. There, he learned lab techniques and types experiments such as culturing diﬀerent types of cells, Western blotting, immunostaining, and using advanced light microscopy. “Being in a lab is very diﬀerent from many of the other internships that students are going through,” says Michael. “There’s a lot of work that you have to do, but you can walk away knowing that what you’re doing could help someone’s life.” He also enjoyed the friendships he was able
to make in the lab. “I was able to bond with people throughout the process and the hard work,” he says. Michael decided to continue his research career this year after summer ended through taking the Advanced Scientiﬁc Research II class at school, a course which allowed him to pursue his own personal projects in biology. From his experiences both during the summer and at school, Michael has realized that he wants to pursue a career in the sciences. He is currently planning on studying biology with a concentration in biochemistry, with hopes of becoming a doctor or a research scientist in the future. “Although research is not a requirement in college, it will be something I will heavily pursue later in life,” he says. “I enjoy being in the lab, meeting and working with new people.”
Last year, Angela Wu (12) attended an internship at the tax department of the international auditing group KPMG, through TAS’s Summer Academy internship program. There, she performed various tasks for the company, from researching various topics to providing translations for legal documents. Toward the end of her internship, Angela had the opportunity to give a presentation on Southeast Asian taxes to other individuals working in KPMG.
Surprisingly enough, working at KPMG crossed out accounting as a future career for me.
She also was able to get to know how the company and its employees worked. “I learned a lot about diﬀerent topics in accounting, ranging from how taxes relate to national happiness to how illegal drug dealers pay taxes,” she says. “Most of these things aren’t learned at school.” Throughout her internship, she became fascinated with the business aspect of work at KPMG and is now planning on going into business as a career. However, she also learned that the speciﬁc jobs she was carrying out at the company didn’t suit her. “Surprisingly enough, working at KPMG crossed out accounting for me,” she says. “I learned a lot, though, especially since I was able to see what the business industry was like and explore diﬀerent areas of business. It was a great experience for me to have during my junior year.”
Five lessons from starting at a startup By Oliver Feuerhahn Interning at most companis may seem like a constant stream of coﬀee runs, copying pages, and fetching documents. That won’t happen at a startup. The entrepreneurs I worked for at my internships were already adjusted to inconsistent work hours and irregular workloads. If you choose to work at a startup in the future, you’ll have a newfound appreciation for the work that goes into the products you use every day. Additionally, you’ll have adapted to the working conditions and will soon see the work you’ve done in action. It’s safe to say, your work will be far more important than coﬀee. Here are ﬁve of the most important things I learned from starting out at a startup. 1. People genuinely want to help you: Many of the people I met at my internship weren’t hesitant to share trade secrets and resources. This isn’t to say they will be holding your hand through the process. However, important people will be taking time out of their busy day to teach you important lessons which will be applicable in whatever ﬁeld of life you choose to move in.
If you’ve watched The Big Bang Theory on TV or want something light-hearted but thought-provoking to read, The Rosie Project is the perfect book for you. This 2013 novel has garnered enough attention to land a movie deal with Sony Pictures. The Rosie Project tells the story of Don Tillman, an Australian genetics professor, who will do whatever it takes to ﬁnd love. After failing time and time again however, Don meets Rosie. The two than go on to try to ﬁnd the identity of Rosie’s father, a project they dubbed the “Father Project”. The story has a healthy balance of humor and cliche, functioning as a light and entertaining summer read.
2. Just-in-time learning: Lower school students now have a larger, more eﬃcient access to resources than world leaders in technology had just half a century ago. Startups are some of the ﬁrst companies to acknowledge this and embrace it in the workplace. No longer does a company need to hire a video editor, for example, every time you need to create a video: instead, interns might be expected to learn the basics of some of these skills through a 15 minute YouTube video. So be ready to learn unexpected skills on the ﬂy. 3. The work doesn’t stop once you leave: Nor should it. The best thing about a startup is that there is always something to do, and work is always appreciated. I was compelled to get back in the oﬃce every break I got. The skills I you acquired were, of course, used again. And most importantly, the connections I made will opened me up to new opportunities. 4. Time management: But probably in a diﬀerent way than you might think. Hours at most startups are ﬂexible. That meant that I came in the oﬃce sometime before lunch, and went home when your
work is done. Because of this, I gained a better awareness of what I could complete in a day. I went home every day with a sense of accomplishment, no matter how small the activity. Chances are you’ll be balancing the internship with classes and extracurriculars, but as long as you know how much work you can do eﬀectively, things will turn out just ﬁne. In the end, most stress, when channeled correctly, is positive stress.
If you’re contemplating an internship, my only advice for you would be, “Go.” 5. You’re in need of an attitude adjustment: Once again, probably in a diﬀerent way than you might think. Interns usually acknowledge the idea that their work is more of a learning experience than work that will actually be used. However, this counterintuitive mindset sends you into a never-ending cycle resulting in work you won’t be too
John Darnielle’s Universal Harvester will go down as one of the most intense and yet truly daring works of writing I have read. Darnielle captivates the reader’s attention from the very beginning of the novel with a sense of danger and urgency that not many authors would be able to do eﬀectively. The story takes place in the 1990s before DVDs came into being. These were the days of Video Huts and other ancient devices. The reader is ﬁrst introduced to Jeremy, an employee at a Video Hut in a small town. The novel progresses into an eerie undertone when a customer returns with a complaint in her copy of
proud of. Instead, I adjusted that mindset to embrace the changes a startup presents, work towards fulﬁlling my full potential. Because most startups don’t have extra time and resources to let interns do busywork, most, if not all, of the work you do, will be used. Everyone’s experience with interning will be diﬀerent. As I delve deeper into a complicated world of entrepreneurship it continues to become clear that each experience will be diﬀerent. My internship at a Kickstarter-funded company in Taipei was far diﬀerent from the venture capital backed reinvented education ﬁrm in Hong Kong. However, I found that both experiences taught me these ﬁve lessons. If you’re contemplating an internship the only piece of advice I can give for would be, “Go.” No article, book, or YouTube video can give you the same experience an internship can. Ultimately, the experience will teach you everything you’re willing to learn. Read this article and more from Oliver at his blog, oliverfeuerhahn.wordpress.com.
Targets. She leaves without saying what the problem actually was, leaving Jeremy by saying “There’s something in it.” When Jeremy watches the tapes himself, in the middle of She’s All That, the screen blanks and starts showing images of contorted bodies tied up. From there on, Universal Harvester tells diﬀerent stories in diﬀerent sequential orders detailing the eﬀect on the community. For Darnielle’s second novel, the book was extremely well written and I would strongly recommend it to make your summer reading haul this year.
the blue & gold may 11, 2017
Mr. Dezieck: teacher, coach, volunteer By Barron Tsai As a chemistry teacher, Mr. Alex Dezieck stimulates students’ minds with fervor and passion. As a soccer coach, he mentors and inspires his players. Mr. Dezieck is adding another title to his name: volunteer. This summer, as a volunteer science teacher and soccer coach, he wants to help Syrian refugee children maximize and enjoy their summers. He is visiting Istanbul, Turkey, as a volunteer for Small Projects Istanbul. According to their website, “Small Projects is a grass-roots NGO…. support[ing] those displaced by the conflict in the Middle East and North Africa regions. SPI runs a Community Education center where local families and individuals come to participate in a variety of weekly programs designed to help them settle into their new lives and access the best opportunities possible to pave the way for a brighter future.” Small Projects Istanbul provides women’s skills training, education and kids activities, community building, and a back to school program for displaced Syrian refugees. Mr. Dezieck chose Turkey because he wanted to get involved in and do his part to help in the Syrian refugee crisis, and Turkey is one of the safer countries with a large volume of refugees. According to a
report published in August 2016, there are over 500,000 Syrian refugees in Istanbul, the highest in all of Turkey, which in itself has the highest number of Syrian refugees. Syrian refugees face a massive amount of difficulties integrating into their new home country, including their inability to speak Turkish, discrimination and lack of empathy from locals, difficulties on the labor market, and difficulties getting access to public facilities. “Most refugees who leave their country don’t end up returning,” he says. Working with Small Projects Istanbul allows him to help refugees acclimate to their new home. He will spend the month of July in Istanbul. Mr. Dezieck wants to impact and improve refugee lives through the best ways he knows how. Just as he does at TAS, Mr. Dezieck aspires to bring his experience and knowledge with chemistry to further young minds. Furthermore, he will also be coaching soccer, a passion of his, and he hopes that soccer will “give [Syrian refugee] kids an outlet” from all the stress displacement surely entails. “Soccer,” he says, “isn’t something that’s exclusive to Syrian kids, it’s something that’s shared cross-culturally. It’ll help them integrate into the community.” This is not the first year Mr. Dezieck has gone out
Cheerfully giving: Mr. Dezieck participates in Walk for Syria. [BARRON TSAI]
of his way to do some good. He has also spent previous summers in the Philippines and rural China as part of a long tradition of volunteering. In the Philippines, he worked at a halfway house for high school boys who had been involved in criminal activities. Most of the time, the boys at the halfway house were interacting with social workers and security guards, so he provided some much-needed teaching, coaching, and mentoring. In China, he taught English to middle-schoolers in Yunnan province. Yunnan is a province
where minorities who face poverty and persecution live. The organization Mr. Dezieck was with helped identify highperforming middle-schoolers who couldn’t afford high school, in order to sponsor them and encourage them to continue to seek an education. When asked why he volunteers, Mr. Dezieck says that being able to “help people grow and learn” is something that he values, not only as a volunteer but also as a teacher. While volunteering does not lead to material happiness, he gains personal satisfaction and
growth from volunteering. Mr. Dezieck says, “I get happy when I see other people happy.” He believes that TAS students too, can enhance their life through volunteerism. “The first time you do it, you see how grateful [people] are,” he says. “Everyone wants to be happy, [volunteering] is just an easier route to that happiness.” He also believes students shouldn’t be afraid to step outside their comfort zone. “You see all the cultural differences, [but you also see] similarities.” There’s an intrinsic degree of relatability with all humans, and empathy
is key. In addition, while safety is a concern, he believes that adequate preparation keeps volunteers safe. “You shouldn’t avoid places if you really [want to] help people.” His family’s unwavering support also sustains him. He’s very grateful that his family knows that helping people is important to him, and that his family is able to support his decisions. And so, as temperatures reach soaring highs in July, Mr. Dezieck will embark on his quest to give and find happiness in Istanbul.
Bon voyage to Ms. Kao, Ms. Chambers, and Mr. Pierce By Shereen Lee
From left to right: current Upper School teachers Ms. Kao, Ms. Chambers, and Mr. Pierce are relocating to Harvard University, Deerfield Academy, and Khan Lab Schools, respectively.
In August, English department head Ms. Kao will be returning to school: but not to the one she has taught in for eight years. Instead, she plans on relocating to Cambridge, Massachusetts to pursue a Ph.D. in education, with a focus on secondary school literacy. “When I started teaching at TAS, I became very interested in how high school students process information,” she says. “In general, there are a lot of professionals dedicated to cultivating basic literacy, but less of a focus on, for
example, how young adults can learn to digest Shakespeare.” She has only recently discovered her passsion for this new career path. “Honestly, I didn’t know until now that research was what I truly wanted to do,” says Ms. Kao. “Even you think you know something about yourself, sometimes it changes. And I was aimless for a long time.” After she receives her Ph.D., Ms. Kao hopes to pursue a career in academia, with a focus on research. “I enjoy how quantitative it is,” says Ms Kao. “In research, you’re always trying to make something.”
ext year, History teacher Ms. Chambers will be relocating to Deerfield Academy to serve as a teacher and swim coach. “I wanted to move there in order to be closer to my family, because most of them are located around the East Coast,” she says. Ms. Chambers spent three years working at TAS, and has quickly become legendary among her students for her animated PowerPoints and daily quizzes. “Even though I’ve only known her for a short period of
time, I’ve been able to become really comfortable with her,” says Iris Huang (10), a current student in her AP European History class. This year’s students, in particular, have spent so much time around Ms. Chambers that Associate Principal Mr. Vandenboom once joked that there was a herd of high schoolers living in her classroom. “Now, she gives me a Jeopardy question every morning so I can let her do her work, but I keep bothering her for the rest of the day anyway,” Iris says. “I’ll miss them.”
ext year, Upper School Math teacher Mr. Pierce will be relocating to the Khan Lab Schools as their lead math teacher. The school, founded by Sal Khan of the Internet-based educational platform Khan Academy, was founded in 2014 and emphasizes fully developing skills for students through eliminating grades. “I wanted to work somewhere that was experimental,” says Mr. Pierce. “This school doesn’t have grades, or classrooms, it’s really an open work space.” His work at TAS with higher-level math classes inspired Mr. Pierce to take
on a new type of education. “I’m excited to teach in a new way, using project-based learning where students get to go into as much depth on their work as they want,” he says. In TAS, Mr. Pierce has often emphasized personal interest and customized instruction. “In Advanced Topics in Mathematics, Mr. Pierce is always asking us: what do you want to learn?” says Avery Wang (12). Mr. Pierce’s partner, Upper School History teacher Ms. Sakamoto, will also be moving with Mr. Pierce to the San Francisco Bay Area next fall.
the blue & gold may 11, 2017
Lorde teeters between adulthood and adolescence
By Shereen Lee
From earnest underdog to Taylor Swift-squad-member, Ella Yelich-O’Connor, better known by her stage name, Lorde, is now totally removed from the aesthetic that catapulted her to the front pages four years ago. Several of her songs are so distant from her first studio album, Pure Heroine, they do not seem like they are even being written by the same person. Lorde’s signature introspective persona has been replaced with a bawdier and louder one, obsessed with all the themes a younger Lorde had sworn to avoid. The five songs released so far from Melodrama, her second studio album out June 16, heavily disappoint. Four of them devolve into mindnumbing repetitions of a few lyrics, ruining any residual appeal of already mediocre lines. “I’m waiting for it, that green light, I want it,” she sings over 15 times in her lead single, “Green Light.” Because of the song’s lackluster lyrics, its most
notable feature becomes its key and tempo changes. However, these experimental beats, like Lorde’s new flurry of conflicting personas, seem random and lost. Far from being a modern-day “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which seems to have been Lorde’s original goal, both the lyrics and the content are too unappealing to stand out in today’s charts, never mind as a song people will remember throughout history. In “Melodrama” and “Homemade Dynamite,” Lorde drops in motifs from her old works, with only a shadow of the clever lyrical connections crafted then. Making references to teeth and blood without grounding them in a fluid narrative soon makes the references stale and trite. While she fights for her place in the adult world, her lyrics seem more childish than ever, as she repeats lyrics like “we’re...blowing sh** up/like homemade dynamite” over and over again. Lorde seems to have lost hold of what made lyrics, even simple ones like “You buy
me orange juice” from “400 Lux,” so evocative. “Liability,” an emotionally evocative ballad about heartbreak, is the sole exception to these criticisms, but not because of any stylistic cohesion. Instead, “Liability” is so appealing because it maintains the strong emotional core so present in Lorde’s previous songs, as she sings lyrics like “the truth is / I am a toy that people enjoy / ‘til all of the tricks don’t work anymore.” Performed in a much more confessional style than her other songs, she sings for a newfound sense of isolation hinted at, but never fully exposed, in Melodrama’s other songs. The self-awareness and pain in “Liability” quietly stuns. This clearly broadcasts the most radical change in Lorde’s artistry yet: as she has moved quietly out of teenagerhood, Lorde has retreated into herself, losing the “us against the world” mentality that made songs like “Royals,” “Team,” and “400 Lux” so popular. Even as shadowy
individuals phase through her sophomore album, a sense of impermanence lingers at the edges of their endings, leaving Lorde more lost and adolescent than she seemed four years ago. The confusing mixture in her new songs between childish lyrics and adult themes seems to reflect inner turmoil in Lorde’s definition of herself, even as Lorde claims that she is more set in her personality than ever. “Even when I was little, I knew that teenagers sparkled,” Lorde once said. “I knew they knew something children didn’t know, and adults ended up forgetting.” At the edge of her adulthood, Lorde seems to already have forgotten the intangible qualities which once made her music so great. Instead, her most recent lyrics seem fixated on childish conceptions of adulthood, on drinking and partying until midnight. Although I’m still a teenager myself, I can’t help but get the feeling that Lorde has much more growing up to do.
TOASTED BREAD & DIP Chef Hide’s toasted garlic bread is the perfect match with these three pleasing and novel dips. I usually hate 香菜 but tasting this, I did not even notice its particular scent. The roasted red pepper sauce was the good balance between sweet and spicy. The roasted eggplant and beet sauce is creamy and nice.
SALMON YUKKE The crunchy seaweed and soft salmon in this dish melt in your mouth as soon as you take a bite. The salmon was greasy but solved with the cucumber on top. The amount of both the seaweed and the salmon is just right so that you would not feel very full after having the meal.
APPLE & FENNEL SALAD The fresh vegetables and saucy quinoa rice, combine nicely once you eat because the slight salty taste of quinoa rice’s sauce is covered by the juicy and refreshing vegetables. The vegetables were pretty big but overall, it was refreshing, and just the sauce on the rice dominated the dish.
NEW ENGLAND CLAM CHOWDER I found it odd that the soup came in the middle of the meal since they usually come right after the appetizer. The color looks like a pumpkin soup and the taste is unforgettable. A sip will make you forget the dishes you have eaten before. The sweet soup freshens up your mouth before you go on to another dish, so it is like the another start of the meal.
SQUID CHIMICHURRI The most common concern that people have about squid dishes is that is it going to be soft or too chewy. Surprisingly, the squid melted right away without being either too soft or chewy. With cherry tomatoes, the squid’s flavor shines.
SMOKED DUCK FLATBREAD The best part about this dish is that it is not a traditional pizza. The dough is a soft flat bread with a garlic sauce melted inside. It was, however, incredibly salty compared to the rest of the meal.
GARLIC CLAM PASTA As a cream pasta lover, I enjoyed this meal quite a lot. Even though this dish was also a bit salty, the overall taste was pleasing because of the great combination of chewy noodles and soft clams.
KOREAN PORK BELLY TACOS Korean spicy sauce and slow cooked pork are always a perfect combination. However, the tacos’ dough is too thick and easily breaks. Apparently I could not even finish one taco.
Opaka: new Hawaiian tastes in Tianmu
By Grace Cho Address: 1F, #25, Alley 35, Taipei Zhongshan North Road Section 6, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan, 111. Reservation information: for a set menu meal, reservations are strongly recommended at least one day in advance. All dinners without reservation are welcome to eat at the bar. Open every day for dinner from 5:30-11:00pm. When you step into Opaka, it is as if you are with your family and all your relatives without the awkward moments. The owner, Chef Hide, explains that the restaurant is designed the
way that it is because he wants to be able to communicate with the customers in order create a more “chill vibe.” Although he wants the customers to leave without feeling too full, this writer could not finish all the dishes by herself! Opaka is quite pricey especially if you are on a student budget—the set menu starts at 1200 NTD—but anyone who goes to this restaurant will definitely leave feeling satisfied and well-fed.
By Anya Lai and Carolyn Wang
By Anya Lai and Carolyn Wang [ANYA LAI & UNSPLASH]
Amanda Huang Co-Editor-in-chief
Christine Lin Amanda Huang (12) epitomizes the word charismatic. She puts an immeasurable amount of effort into The Blue & Gold; she always prioritizes The Blue & Gold and is there for anyone who needs help. “At the beginning of the year, I didn’t really get all this ‘news’ format. However Amanda was always there to help and gave us all really good comments on all of our articles,” says, Anya Lai (10). “Whenever I need help, she is the first person I look for,.” No matter how tired she is, Amanda maintains a positive vibe that makes everyone smile and laugh, although sometimes she is the target of the laughter. Not only that, her music playlists also get everyone energized and ready to layout every Saturday. “I really love her music choices; they are really dank just like her personality,” says Christine Lin (10). Her easygoing personality and her leadership skills make her a great editor, making her someone the staff all trusts. Next fall, Amanda will be attending Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California to study economics.
Andrew Lin Opinions editor
Cherice Tsai Staff writer and designer
Andrew Lin (12) realized his passion for sports journalism and is looking to study the art of networking and writing about various athletes. Andrew is a reliable person often helping those in need. Barron Tsai (10) says, “When I first joined the class, he helped me a lot with layout. His mentorship was invaluable as I learned how to design on my own.” An avid Dallas Mavericks fan, he has written many sports articles, appealing to many sports fans with his articles such as the NBA season preview. Andrew says, “I’m interested in sports journalism because you get to do things like analyze, predict, give previews, and give information about teams, players and games.” Andrew joined The Blue & Gold last year because he wanted to try out something new and soon realized that he enjoyed the writing process. Everyone in the staff is glad that he chose this path. He will apply his experience writing for The Blue & Gold as he studies to become a sports journalist next year at the University of Southern California.
Cherice Tsai (12), a first time member of The Blue & Gold, signed up for this class because of a deal she made with Melissa Cho (12). What initially started as a pact between friends led these two students to become crucial staff members. She is often described as philosophical, her friend, Melissa, says, “She’s a very critical thinker. The way she writes is not how people would usually write. It’s unusual, but captivating.” The class will definitely miss her positive spirit and humorous puns. Cherice is a soft-spoken yet inspiring writer who portrays strong opinions in her articles. This year, she wrote “The post-truth phenomenon — Why It’s a Problem,” a piece that tackles how prevailing public opinions often become problematic in the political sphere. Cherice can write about any topic with rigor; her topics range from serious refugee articles to light hearted articles about memes. Cherice plans to travel and work in her free time until her studies in Australia starts in March of 2018.
Staff writer and designer
Rebecca Huang Chinagate Editor-in-chief
In the past four years, journalism student Christine Lin (12) has interviewed a criminal prosecutor, a Hollywood film insider, and a military programmer—all teachers at TAS. The diversity of people she has met through writing features articles is one aspect she most enjoys about The Blue & Gold. Christine says, “I get the chance to tell a story about a student or teacher that the rest of the school may not know about.” This year, her sister, Catherine Lin (10), also had a chance to work with her in The Blue & Gold. “Whenever I impulsively critique a piece, my sister will remind me, ‘Finish first, then speak.’ I’ll always have her to thank for inspiring me with her love of language and of journalism.” As a writer, editor, and layout designer, Christine gives advice to future journalists: be interested in what you are writing about, because “that’s what sets journalism class apart from any other class in school...you’re not doing something just because the teacher told you to, you’re doing it because you want to.” She will be attending Pomona College, she hopes to continue writing in Claremont, California.
Melissa Cho (12) is the joker of The Blue & Gold class. Her laid-back personality assuages the stress that members of this class go through during layout days, first draft edits, and final draft due dates. “Her quirkiness, down-to-earth, spirited personality inspires me to be who I am and not care about what others think,” says Carolyn Wang (10). As the resident theater girl, Melissa brought drama background to Arts and Culture articles on topics like the Oscars and drama previews. The effort and time each student in The Blue & Gold puts into newspaper will often leave staff members stressed; however Melissa is always here to lighten up the atmosphere. The class all miss her when she leaves for college as she “is one of the most bubbly [people we’ve] ever met. It’s amazing to have someone so talented in our class,” says Christine Lin (10). Melissa will continue to pursue her passion for journalism and art by majoring in a Broadcast Journalism and Documentary at the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University in Orange County, Calirofnia.
“Dear Rebecca, you are an inspiration to all,” says April Chu (12), on her impressions of Rebecca Huang, Editor-in-chief of The Chinagate. “Rebecca is the central pillar of the Yearbook team,” says Raymond Jiang, the Sports editor of yearbook. Last year she even finished the index of the Yearbook by herself the day before it was due to print, so the publisher personally went to her house to pick up the final spreads. The yearbook staff is very appreciative of the heart and passion she pours into creating the yearbook. Rebecca is a energized editor; her somewhat cringey puns and jokes make people giggle. “Her best qualities are her dedication and her kindness,” says Katrina Ho (10). Ms. Kao, the yearbook advisor, would like to send one final message to Rebecca: “All your creations are beautiful already and you just need to share your wonders with other people.” Rebecca will be attending Rutgers University to study neuroscience next fall.
Published on May 11, 2017