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An Independent Publication of Leigh High School

Volume 48 Issue No. 5 March 18, 2010

Pictured above: Singers at Café Français on Feb. 26 in the cafeteria

Mock Trial smashes its way to Quarterfinals Varija Yelagalawadi Staff Writer





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It was the night of Feb. 16, and the Santa Clara Superior Courtroom had fallen silent as the Defense made their opening statement. It was like any courtroom murder trial on Law and Order: formal suits, impeccable diction, and a constant air of high tension. Only a few key differences stood out; there were only three jurors in the jury box, and no one on either side was over 18. The Mock Trial Quarterfinals were well underway, and teams from Leigh and Prospect High Schools faced off for an opportunity to move on to the next round. Prospect beat Leigh by a small margin, but we had a great season, according to the team. The team was set for success by their consistent sense of motivation that came from a variety of sources. Though a common assumption is that anyone who takes part in Mock Trial must be aiming for a career in law, each team member has a different reason for joining. Liishi Durbin, Leigh’s Co-Captain, isn’t striving to become a lawyer. “Mock Trial is probably the best extracurricular activity I could have,” Durbin stated. “It [not only] teaches [us] about poise, professionalism, and the law, but it incorporates aspects of theater, debate and writing.” The 2009-2010 Mock Trial A and B Teams

Photos courtesy of Meredith Moseley

From right: seniors Mikey McFarlane, Tuananh Pham, junior Aaron Shuler, and freshman Chris Wyman after the Quarterfinals.

Durbin, usually an attorney, filled in as one of the prosecution’s expert witnesses for the Feb. 16 trial. Even though mock trial competitions are simply a simulation of courtroom trials, the anxiety and pressure are very real. “[It’s] challenging. It’s terrifying. It’s an intense amount of work and effort. But it’s all worth it, especially for the adrenaline rush,” said Vivian Le, Prospect’s defendant. The three jurors during the competitions were actual attorneys simply volunteering their time. When time came for their comments, each one agreed that the effort and presentation we put forward was “phenomenal” and that the entire trial consisted of “some of the best cross examination” they had ever seen. Though Leigh’s team will not be continuing to the finals, they are already thinking towards the next year. “It was awesome,” Mock Trial coach Ms. Moseley said of this season. “It’s sad, [that there are so many] seniors, and they’ll be leaving next year.” When it comes down to it, Mock Trial is much more than a simple game of dress up. It requires mental and emotional strength, determination, dedication and quick reflexes. Many countless hours are spent writing and rewriting, practicing and reviewing, but every minute is well worth it in the end. During the Quarterfinals on Feb 16, Leigh’s Mock Trial Leigh Mock Trial 2009-2010 Coteam put on a performance filled with proper poise, cross exami- Captains, seniors Emma McGhan nations that left Prospect cornered, and an air of professionalism (right) and Liishi Durbin bond at the team’s Welcome Potluck on that led to a very near win. Oct. 10.

First-ever student-run spring play begins rehearsals Unriddle the enigmas: Bay Area mysteries exposed ‘Rumors’ leadership and cast experience ups and downs of theater, prepare for April performances

Rain Stites Editor-in-Chief

ily of friends who get together—you know, some people go to clubs, we go here!” expressed Fox, who plays Ernie Cusack, a “badass therapist with Before hearing which Leigh High School a ditzy wife”. “We’re rehearsing with friends, and she’s our activity evoked the above sentiment, most people would expect that some kind of sport, or perhaps friend, and we’re at a dinner party with friends the traditionally-spirited Marching Band would in the play,” said junior Lauren Weber, who plays Claire Ganz, “a sarcastic, be described by the words. self-centered woman” marContrarily, the words ried to Lenny Ganz, the came out of the mouth of main character of the play. enthused “Rumors” cast Lenny Ganz will be pormember Trevor Fox when trayed by senior Wes Barasked about the show. tlett. Though the rehears “I play Lenny, al I viewed was only the and I’m kind of an imporgroup’s third, strong bonds tant guy,” explained Barof camaraderie were evident tlett. “I’m a friend of the in a relaxing environment Photo courtesy of Jordan Powell guy who’s hosting the party that radiated friendliness. we’re going to.” Led by Leigh’s first Senior cast members Marc Williams and Analisa Maurice rehearse. “Rumors” is the ever student director, senior Shannon Clark, the group sat in a circle for story of ten friends at a dinner party who soon Improv, a practice in which the actors talked in discover that their host has killed himself and that an impromptu unscripted conversation similar to his wife is missing. The play is about their struggle one in the actual script. Throughout the exercise, to figure out the truth about the incidents and to the actors laughed with each other as if they had create a story to tell the police when they’re investigated. all been longtime friends. “We’re like a family at this point. A fam- See Rumors, Page 04 Kelsey Gripenstraw Editor-in-Chief

See “Caffiene Dependency”, Page 13

The Bay Area plays host to its share of mysteries. From the backyards of San Jose and through the woods to Santa Cruz, myths and stories fly about amongst the locals. But which of these hold true? The Eleight investigates to discover which stories  are true and which we can leave for the campfire.   Hicks Road, San Jose Hicks Road: a beautiful mountain road linking the cities of San Jose and Almaden or a nesting ground for a colony of Albino people? “I believe in [albinos],” said junior Michelle Blacklock. Students from high schools all around our area drive the dark and windy road late at night and dare to discover whether or not this age old myth holds true. “It’s fun to ride up there with the windows down and dark…it’s creepy,” said junior Kelsey Bayer. Those who catch a glimpse of the secrets that lie within these hills swear to see glaring eyes amongst the trees, skin so white, you’d swear it was a ghost. Are these rare encounters made up

See “Oscars”, Page 15

stories, or is Hicks more than just a scenic route? Mystery Spot, Santa Cruz “Hello and welcome to the Mystery Spot.” Located in the mountains of Santa Cruz, The Mystery Spot draws skeptics and believers alike to discover the true mystery of a place of the unknown. Its visitors find it nearly impossible to explain the behavior of the land, proving it to be an unexplained phenomenan. Photo by Rain Stites “Not everything is what we expect at The Mystery Spot,” described tour guide Melissa. “If we knew what it was, we would have to call it The Solved Spot.” The Mystery Spot was discovered in 1939 when a man named George Prathers bought the land and began to notice some strange happenings to occur. He found that  it was impossible to stand up straight (since upright was a hard position to determine), and surfaces that proved to be scientifically level were, in fact, not—all of it strange behavior. Numerous scientists and other professionals have visited this 150 foot diameter of mystery, yet no one has bee able to solve the conundrum. See Bay Area Myths, Page 12

See “Olympics”, Page 19

a change for the better. Flyers advertising community service were also passed out to students encouraging them to get involved in the community. Wednesday, Feb. 25, was all about self-change, and the tables in the quad were filled with white balloons and speeches given by members in TOPS. Also, TOPS students could be found walking around with packs of Orbit gum, as a symbol for cleanliness, and flyers with a change challenge asking students to clean their mouths and get rid of all their trash talk. There was also a booth that was giving out Cuties to remind everyone that they are cute and beautiful -junior in their own unique way. “I thought the outcome was really creative and fun. I went on Wednesday and there were a lot of people,” said sophomore Taylor Buckelew. Thursday, Feb. 26, was about local change, and green balloons with inspirational messages written on them could be found floating in the sky and tied around TOPS members’ wrists. These sayings were there to motivate students to help out in their community by doing community service, such as volunteering at a soup kitchen or cleaning up a park. To motivate stu-

dents to clean up the campus, bags of popcorn were handed out to every student that filled up a bag of trash. Volunteer applications were handed out to those interested in helping out locally. Friday, Feb. 27, was a day to inspire students to change things globally. Due to the weather, the tables that were usually in the quad had been moved under the overhang in front of the cafeteria. Friday’s rally was all about changing the world and what you can do to make our Earth a better place. Peace around the world was a major inspiration to TOPS students, so they created ideas on how to support peace and make other students Chloe Elliott realize how much of a difference they make in our world. “I don’t know if it’s about the volume of the people that show up. It would be cool if we made this huge impact on campus, but even if we could impact one person that’s enough. Just making any difference is worth it,” said junior Chloe Elliott, a TOPS member. Altogether, the TOPS week reached out to the hearts and minds of Leigh students, encouraging them to change for the better; they feel that as soon as you change yourself, you’ll be able to change the world.

Even if we could impact one person, that’s enough. Just making any difference is worth it.

TOPS members Tony Santilli, Katie Werner, Stacey Steadman, Chloe Elliott and Elyse Eitel help out with individual, local and global change activities during the TOPS Week of Change. Shannon Keener Staff Writer We’ve all seen it: the balloons, the posters, the students with matching shirts all trying to draw you to decorative tables that are set up in the middle of the school. All of this exists because the TOPS (Teens Offering Peer Support) class has created a week of change

where students can first change themselves, then change things locally, and finally they can change things globally. “[We’re] taking a look at [students’] habits—healthy habits vs. unhealthy habits, and what things they could do to change that to better themselves as well as better their community and better their world,” said TOPS adviser and Health teacher Jenifer Taylor.

Photo by Tom Nelson

Students involved in TOPS work to help fellow students with any problems that they may have and try to make the world a better place. To make this happen, TOPS has given out Cuties (Mandarin oranges) and friendship bracelets to students, each with a different message telling you that you are a beautiful person and that there is always something you can do to make

moments of the month Photos of Café Français courtesy of Tuc Nguyen

1. Gleigh Club members come together on Fridays at lunch to practice. 2. Attendees at Café Français on Friday, Feb. 26 enjoy the atmosphere as they eat a four course meal. 3. Juniors Alan Prijatel and Victoria Nguyen perform a duet at Café Français. Photo by Tom Nelson

Rumors: continued from front page “It’s like ‘Clue’ with less whodunit and more comedy,” said Weber. While the actors seemed to acknowledge Clark as their superior, it was clear that the rehearsal was an atmosphere in which all input was welcomed; everyone in the circle was equal. The actors feel that this environment will reap definite benefits to the final product, especially considering this play’s subject matter. “All of them are my friends, and they’re not just my friends, they’re my best friends,” said Clark of the cast. “And they weren’t picked because of that—there are people in the class that I had never seen before. But everybody was picked because they were perfect for the part.” “Basically with Shannon we can say whatever we want, and she can go along with it,” said Bartlett. “I think if Mr. Ringsted were running it, it’d be different, because all of us are friends. We can be our characters who are really inappropriate in person.” “Mr. Ringsted’s cool, but he’s not a student, so there are parts [of the script] that would just be kind of awkward,” agreed Weber. “With Shannon, we all know her, and she’s at the same level as we are. It’s a little bit more relaxed,” said senior Caity Crooks, who depicts Cookie Cusack, the wife of Fox’s character. “[When we’re

Photo courtesy of Jordan Powell

Director Shannon Clark, senior, leads the cast in a read-through of the script at an after-school rehearsal. The cast rehearses after school every day of the school week except for Wednesdays.

told to] memorize six pages, we’re like, ‘Alright! That’ll be fun!’ You feel more motivated to do it, because somebody that you respect at your level is asking you to do it. You choose to do it; it’s not forced upon you.” Currently in Drama 4 Honors at Leigh, Clark has independently directed three projects and has assistant-directed three full-length productions. She aspires to pursue a career in directing film,

and plans to attend either Humboldt or San Francisco State University. “There have been some complications and there has been some drama, but I think for the most part it’s really brought us closer together,” said Clark. One of those complications, Clark explained, is maintaining the close-knit environment at rehearsals while still keeping a sense of authority, and though recent challenges have

Seniors get a chance to explore possible futures with a Career Day Keli Demertzis Staff Writer On Tuesday, April 27, Leigh High School will hold its first Career Day for seniors. The Career Day will feature individuals experienced in many different industries, who will answer questions and share stories of personal experience. Seniors were given a survey and were asked to select their top three career fields from a list of 15, some including Public Services, Fashion and Interior Design, and Finance and Business, to help the Career Day’s coordinators plan the event. While freshmen, sophomores, and juniors take the STAR test, seniors will be learning first-hand from people in their field of choice. Career Day will begin with a keynote speaker, and then students will join their group of choice. “There will be 40 to 50 adult volunteers from 15 different career fields helping us deliver these sessions at Leigh on April 27 and 28,” explained Vice Principal Jodi Edwards-Wright. “We’re proud to partner with Xilinx Corporation and Junior Achievement as well as the County Office of Education to help our seniors learn more about the career fields they will enter over the next five to ten years.” Tonette Slaviero, Work Experience teacher, and Alyssa Lynch, Career Technical Education Specialist at the Santa Clara County Office of Education, are the two main coordinators of this event. Lynch believes that this event will be beneficial to Leigh seniors, for those who are both sure and unsure of their future plans. “We want to get the seniors excited about their future as well as give them a realistic picture of what will be expected of them when pursuing their field of interest,” said Lynch. “In these economic times, we want to do everything we can to help prepare students for their next steps after they graduate. Career Day will help them learn more about specific career fields they might be interested in ex-

ploring after high school,” commented Edwards-Wright. Edwards-Wright started attending Career Technical Education conferences at the county level, where she learned of these types of events. She explained that parents would often inquire about whether Leigh would ever hold a Career Day. Slaviero, who has taught Marketing and Career Education classes for 23 years said, “ I feel that students will probably have a few different careers in their lifetime and some of those jobs may have little to do with their college major. Our recent state of the economy has shown us that many adults are going back to school to learn new skills and changing careers.” Slaviero’s Work Experience class will be serving as mini ambassadors for the event and will be walking around answering questions about the Industry Sectors. Those involved in coordinating this event are excited in the prospective success, and strive to make Career Day beneficial for all seniors. Leigh seniors also agreed that this event will be successful. “This is the time when seniors can reflect on what we want to do in

life and realize that we are graduating soon. We realize that this is the time when we need to figure out what to do for the rest of our lives, what our passions are, and how those passions can be our job,” said senior Javier Nino. “[The career field surveys had] enough variety, they were specific. I’m excited; I want to check it out. I have an idea of want I want to do [as a career] but I want to check others out as a backup. Plus I am happy we don’t have to take the STAR test,” agreed senior Analisa Maurice. The next day, students will be taught tips on interviewing and resume writing. “The Xilinx/Junior Achievement Day will help students build specific skills such as resume writing and interviewing skills they will need to land a job after high school,” said Edwards-Wright. On the final day of the three-part event, Activities Director Gina Nicoletta will guide the students through the senior end-of-the year activities. “Senior announcements, graduation tickets, possible guest speaker, caps and gowns, senior prom, and purchasing Grad Night tickets [will all be discussed]. The senior panoramic photo will be taken,” added Nicoletta.

made this problem more prevalent, the cast is pushing through to master the script and overcome them, “Sometimes it gets really hard to work with your friends, because you don’t really want to tell them what to do, because you want to be at the same level with them. It’s so hard to tell this person what to do and then go sit next to them in English. But when you get the right people, you’re able to get that balance, when they respect you as a director, and also respect you as a friend. And I think I’ve found that.” The cast agreed with Clark’s description of her relationship to the class, and showed respect for her directing methods and abilities. “She’s obviously a student director, but she knows exactly what she’s

doing,” said Bartlett. “I’ve been in other things she’s produced, and she’s doing a great job. She knows exactly what she wants to get done, and she’ll get it done.” “She kind of puts faith in us that we’re going to do what we have to do to get it done. She expects us to memorize by the time we come, so we have to put less emphasis on some things in rehearsal because we have stuff to do outside of rehearsal too,” said Weber. The cast feels that their work will pay off, and that Leigh will enjoy watching the play as much as they enjoy creating it. “I think it’s gonna probably be the biggest play Leigh’s ever had,” said Bartlett. -Kelsey Gripenstraw, Editor-in-Chief

Budget cuts strike again As the year grows closer to an end, Leigh faces more budgets cut Varija Yelagalawadi Staff Writer

Newspapers and magazines everywhere are slathered with news about state deficits and budget cuts in education. Schools are being shut down, class sizes are being increased drastically, and some of the best teachers are being laid off. “I guess there’s nothing we can do but wait [until it hits us],” said junior Sasi Pasupuleti. But there isn’t much more waiting to do. Starting from as early as this summer, the impact of budget cuts on our district will be evident. Summer school, a program generally offered every year in the CUHSD, will not run (except for Special Education courses) in the summer of 2010. “This is [horrible]. I didn’t think it would hurt us too much…I failed a semester of math, now I can’t do that over summer,” said an anonymous sophomore. In the next year or so, the district will be preparing to reduce the number of guidance counselors in each school from three to two. Some teachers are also expected to be laid off, but it has not been made certain whether this will occur next year or in years to come. “We do not want to do this. If the government suddenly says they’ve found the [millions of ] dollars we need, we wouldn’t do this,” claimed a member of the Board during their meeting to discuss our financial situation. During the meeting, many students taking classes such as AVID and TOPS accompanied their teachers to make sure the programs would not be cut. The Board later stated that they had no intention of cutting either course, since they had shown tremen-

dous positive changes in students who took either class. Vince Nicoletta, the union president for the teacher’s association, was able to discuss this issue at length. “We basically look out for the best interest of teachers,” said Nicoletta. “We have to manage with less money.” The proposed reduction is for $3.6 million dollars, and a reduction of around 19 full time teachers. All staff should be expecting a 3 percent rollback in their salaries, staff given pink slips can hope to be rehired as the economy’s state improves. Statewide, 23,000 teachers have been laid off. Though money is hard to come by, especially in the state of our economy, our school is still adding a new elective for the 2010/2011 school year. “We [already have] less electives. We need to create variety, and we encourage [existing] teachers to create new and interesting courses,” said Nicoletta. After justifying the addition of Psychology as an elective option, Nicoletta tackled another touchy topic: cutting courses. Currently, which courses will be cut is not known, but it is fairly certain that sports will not be in danger. Home Economics courses (Foods, Child Development, etc.) are rumored to be at risk, though nothing can be truly certain at this time. Many teachers mention that the addition and cutting of classes from the school’s curriculum is a yearly occurrence, and is not related to the budget cuts as the school board decides which classes to keep based on student demand. The upcoming years will be difficult, at least until the economy rises out of the recession. But as Nicoletta stated, “This isn’t just a one time blip in the road. [It] will happen again. [We] just don’t want it to keep getting worse.”

Commercialism mars society and influences our decisions The Eleight, various students and a teacher speak out on the extent to which commercialism has taken over Beth Askins Staff Writer Valley of the Heart’s Delight. Before the invention of the computer, before the dawn of the microchip or even the birth of the famous Steve Jobs, this was the name of our valley. Flowers, trees, and orchards blanketed the county, and houses were only sparsely

scattered across a vast county of green. Obviously, the valley was well-named. Take this image and contrast it with one of the modern-day Silicon Valley. The names of some of our streets reflect the paradise that once was, but apart from that, virtually no remnants exist from the county’s past. Our downtown consists of metal and concrete; chain restaurants and stores coat the once-natural

landscape, and only one orchard remains in San Jose, an orchard which will soon be torn apart for the sake of a new Ikea. Some people like having a Starbucks on every corner. Some people mourn the loss of greenery and the vast growth of commercialism not only here, but everywhere. This trend is an inevitable one. Here’s how Leigh students feel about it.

Yeah, I think that society is becoming materialistic because people get judged on what they wear and their style. -junior Jason Manley

I think it’s based on that it can measure on how popular you are.

-freshman Ryan Thomas

Yes I do believe it is. I think part of it has to do with technology. The more advanced we become with technology, the more focused people become on those items that carry or promote technology. I think that unfortunately in society, material objects show the value of success. -Band director Suzanne Holden


Yes, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing because it just shows the evolution of our society, and if that’s the way society is meant to evolve, then why dispute it?

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-senior Keon Vafai

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Quotes compiled by Emalie Chandras

Pledge to say the pledge of allegiance Students no longer show respect toward the flag people. “If you’re not going to say that pledge, at least sit or stand respectfully. Every weekday at around 10:15 Don’t talk right through it, that’s just a.m., the announcements are drawn to disrespectful,” said junior Jacque Johna close as nearly everyone in class stands son. up for the Pledge of Allegiance. It has Many students, regardless of their become a habit for the majority of us to actual feelings towards the pledge, loudly rise and place our hand over our heart socialize with others during the twenty whenever we are asked seconds allotted. For to, but we cannot help It is not mandatory for some reason, they feel but notice that a few the compulsion to talk students to recite the about their weekend, of us do not. Generally, it is or that crazy pledge every morning, APUSH, not a matter that bothparty they attended ers us or the teacher, as it shouldn’t be, but it last night right at that and class carries on as specific moment, thus it always does. But on should still be given a insulting everyone occasion, teachers call who had the decency little respect. out students for not to respect our flag. saying the pledge or even force them to It is not mandatory for students stand up during it, an act considered il- to recite the pledge every morning, as it legal because it violates a student’s First shouldn’t be, but it should still be given Amendment rights. a little respect. However, the increasing number We may have our own reasons for of students refusing to say the pledge not pledging our allegiance to America, is not what bothers or concerns most but the fact of the matter is that we do Varija Yelagalawadi Staff Writer

currently reside in this country, and many have sacrificed so much just to make our lives better. We owe them, at the very least, a little respect by not interrupting the pledge.

Photo by Tom Nelson

Sophomore Colin Lefrancois doesn’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

An awkward dissertation on awkwardness New beginnings are always awkward. Bonds are tenuous, either one or both of the parties unsure. No matter how confident or naturally expert any of us may be, we’ve all been experiencing gawky new beginnings our whole lives. In the tender young era of infancy we clumsily greet the ability to walk - “Okay, alright, I’m doing it! Greetings, increased mobility! Yeah, left foot forward, right, left, right, le-heft! Oof! Well, hello there, theory of gravity. Bringing me down, buddy.” F r o m then on, our lives continue to be a series of introductions: “Hello, growth spurt. Whoa, new voice. Acne! Yeah? Screw you, too, pal! Let me introduce you to my friend benzoyl peroxide. Ah geez, what’s up, AP classes. Hmm? You have someone you’d like me to meet? Sleep deprivation... not pleased to make your acquaintance. Go away, shoo! Wait, not you, sleep. I said sleep deprivation! Wait, sleep, come back!” Well, you won’t see that fellow again until you make acquaintances with the inside of your coffin. Then, all too soon, the morn’ of your seventeenth birthday rears its bittersweet head. If you’re a muggle, you rejoice in the fact that in one year, you shall be legal! We wizards, however, come of age at seventeen. Lagging muggles. I jest, of course. But I digress! Seventeen. An age that is truly the in-between. Sixteen was still innocent and young - sweet sixteen it is for a reason. Eighteen bears more risque and adult connotations. So seventeen is the stepping stone year, really getting the momentum going for the transition from childhood to adulthood. Which means more awkward beginnings! But again, I digress. I am an awkward person, more so than most. If you’ve met me, you either think of me as one of the following three people: A) a very shy person who rarely speaks but is amiable in her laconic ways, B) a strong BAMF who is extremely outgoing, talkative, and capable of intimidating you when necessary, or C) a strange but amusing combination of the two, a la Jekyll and Hyde. If you’re on the badminton team, you know that I counter everything you say with comments about your mother’s flexibility, talk like an erudite sailor who peppers her oaths with Shakespeare, and can kick your derriere and won’t pansy about doing it if you deserve it.  If you’re in any of my classes, you know that I turn bright red and stay that way for 20 minutes, and sound not too unlike the Tin Man squeaking “oil can” when made to speak. I know that this is a situation that’s not altogether uncommon. Many of us have awkward personas, usually in class or in large groups of people.  Awkwardness takes its toll on one’s lifestyle. With friends, I am the one that you worry about the most. I am the crazy one, the loud one, the one that’s willing to take risks in the name of having fun. I make quips with inappropriate connotations, I enjoy innuendo-laden banter like no other. Yet in classes where I am not surrounded by a barrier of friends, I am the silent one. The quiet, nice girl who

keeps to herself. And being super awkward, I make other aspects of life awkward. Having gone on a semi-related tangent, I return to the subject of beginnings, and focus back on awkward beginnings. I have a boyfriend now. Yes, me. Unbelievable, ennit? Simply typing that sentence makes me feel strange. What business do I have being able to write that as a true statement? No w, most couples, especially those at this young age characterized by hormones that run high, 24/7, and well! They certainly don’t run away from each other, hide, or tentatively avoid each other. Quite the opposite, as I’m sure you’re well aware. I, on the other hand, am insufferably awkward around him. I am unsure of whether I should go up to him and say hi, find myself bursting to say something yet wholly at a loss of ability to say anything in his presence. I’ll be blasting and singing along to “I’m On a Boat” with my girlfriends, but as soon as he walks up, I find myself clamming up and instantly rendered a shy, blushing maiden. Where lies the relevance in this? Why is all I’ve said so far so disjointed? Where is the cohesiveness, you ask? Awkwardness. It’s awkward. Beginnings. They’re awkward. Writing about them is awkward. You can’t make a piece on these things flow well.  And why am I babbling about them? Because I’ve noticed in my seventeen years that all of us are awkward. No matter the GPA, the ability to execute a perfect dance routine, the confident bagging of a 2300 on the SAT, we’re all awkward in some way or another. I was partly inspired to write about this because in recent months, there have been several of you, both ladies and gentlemen, that have told me about how lucky I was to be “cutely awkward”, rather than “looking like a freakin’ idiot like me”. To which I must counter with a scoff and a reassurance - honey, I am very awkward. Not always “cutely” so, either. I must then relay the anecdote of how I couldn’t hold hands with my boyfriend until over a month into the relationship. People pestered us about the glacial pace at which we were moving. I even had two weeks of prepping, where I held a friend’s hand in each class I had, everyday. Lunch periods would be spent with a sandwich in one hand, my best friend’s hand in the other. Finally, one lunch period, he demanded that I replace my friend’s hands with his. I pleaded for another week of practicing, just another day, even! But at my friends’ insistence, I awkwardly stood up, awkwardly shuffled over to him, and awkwardly let him take my hands. Awkward, awkward, awkward. Luckily, he’s sweet enough to understand and be patient. So, dear reader, I have reached an awkward end to this awkward column. Doesn’t the word “awkward” look awkward now? My hope is that you derive some relief from this disjointed jumble of words. We’re all awkward. We all have clumsy beginnings. We are human, and to awkward is human, and to forgive and understand it, divine.

Compiled by Josh Vasquez and Rebekah Hassen

What’s in a name?

That which we call a university by any other name would educate students just as well es that may have proved too difficult at the previous school, just to name a few of the dozens of inconveniences and hurdles that students in the same Human nature dictates that we boat as Prijatel’s friends must face. gravitate for the best, regardless of “Don’t choose a school based on whether we deserve such or are right its title unless the school has a strong for the best of the thing in question. reputation for the major you are pas In the past few years, competisionate about,” cautioned Prijatel. tion for college entrance has explod Rather, students today need to ed, and the pressure to go to those calm down and shake schools which have off whatever the Jonstrong enough auras of eses’ children may be prestige to be deemed doing. Attempting to “good colleges” has keep up with them grown proportionally. will help with very Many seniors little, and may likely find themselves applybe detrimental instead ing to schools that are to your own future. not necessarily right Your mindset for them, but applying and confidence will because of the school’s be damaged if you alwell-known name. ways feel inferior and “I applied to believe that you must schools for that reason at least try to match [famous name and reptheir success. You may utation] before I had an look to the wrong idea of what I wanted major, thinking you to major in. I thought must be a doctor, and that since I was undebe miserable as you cided, I’d pick the best scrape through mediI could and hopefully cal school, graduate it would fit with my $100k plus in debt, major,” said Sabrina and spend the rest of Prijatel, class of ’09. your career being un When applying Visual by Viviane Ly happy, then find yourto the designer label Many students revere prestigious schools for the name and everything self wishing you had schools, like the Ivy that comes with that name, rather than the colleges’ actual worth. just followed your heart Leagues and top priwhen you were young rather than bevates, students admit that they are not curses in disguise. truly serious about being blessed with “Some friends I have went to a ing in this mid-life crisis now. This isn’t just for this year’s seadmission. Rather, it’s lucky shots good school but got there and figured in the dark that they’re attempting, out it wasn’t for them, and they de- niors, who are steadily receiving those ready to accept rejection, but hop- cided to leave after the first year,” said coveted fat packets of “Yes! You may attend our school!”. ing for the small chance that they do Prijatel. Juniors, sophomores, and even get accepted to a school that annually So not only must they find a gets ranked in Forbes Top 30 Schools new school, they must go through freshmen—I’ve heard those big brand in the Nation but not the right place the hassle of explaining to school offi- names being tossed around the halls for them. cials, friends, and family why they are as we talk about our futures. Don’t These schools may offer too rig- switching schools after their freshman skip over the college that is The One orous a program, and overwhelm the year, settling into a new environment for you simply because it’s not a wellstudent that somehow slips through where everyone else has already found known school, and instead attend a the elite gates of a top school. their circles of friends and know where better-known institution where you “Some of my friends applied to the buildings are, and retaking cours- don’t reach your full potential. Annie Jung Entertainment/In-Depth Editor

What do you think is the perfect teenage car? Something that would fit me and something with low gas mileage. Nothing fancy. -freshman Krystal Soltani A gas efficient [car] that I wouldn’t feel bad about accidentally crashing. -sophomore Sadie Williams

Jaguar SF. -junior Spencer Thresh

Chrysler 300. All black. -senior Cameron Ahmadian

Stanford hoping to get in. My friends said it was their parents’ money for the applications, anyways. But I don’t think it would have been worth the time,” said Lucas Phi, class of ‘08. Those who find themselves granted admission into the casually decided upon “reach school” that they applied to last-minute often quickly find that their blessings are actually

AP classes are worth all the headaches Tommy Alexander News/Sports Editor It’s 2:30 in the morning and I’m desperately fighting off that sweet temptress, sleep. I’m juggling my AP Spanish vocabulary list and my AP English notebook, and my bed is a distant oasis in the bleak desert that is my homework load. As I stumble on, three-fifths asleep, I ask myself: are these AP classes really worth it? Despite the late hour and the large magnitude of yet-to-be-completed work, I consistently come to the conclusion that when it comes to APs, the outcome is worth the tribulations; no pain, no gain, right? Granted, the vast majority of AP classes entail a great deal more work than your average honors or on-level course. If one succumbs to the cruel Lord Procrastination, then enrollment in AP courses tends to result in higher levels of stress as well as nights bereft of sufficient sleep. However, this downside can, with determination, be overcome by properly budgeting one’s time; the workload of AP classes may suck free time into a Bermuda Triangle of “Where’d all the hours go?”, but it’s certainly possible to take multiple APs and still arrive at school well-rested in the morning.

The difficult task of balancing assignments is made significantly more demanding when one chooses to take more than one AP course. “I always have trouble deciding how much effort to put into each class,” said junior Alex Kosintsev. “Like I might decide to do homework for one class and study a lot more when my grade in that class starts falling, and in the process I let another class grade fall.” Another downside of taking AP courses is that they tend to produce a tunnel-vision effect in which students focus only upon their grade and not upon the education; APs can be time-consuming and stress-inducing, and it’s easy to see the tangible outcome of earning an A while missing out on the personal benefits of the

knowledge gleaned from the class. “APs can be very stressful, especially if you take many,” said junior Andrew Lau, who is taking three

APs this year. “Sometimes it’s not to understand something, but just to memorize it so that you can regurgitate it back onto paper for a test so that you’ll pass, which really defeats the purpose of higher learning; it also

gobbles up time for extra-curriculars and sports.” The looming AP Exam in May is undoubtedly important. According to the College Board, more than 3,600 universities annually receive AP Exam scores; in the same vein, over 90 percent of U.S. four-year colleges provide credit and even advanced placement for high scores on the exam. Given this, it’s obvious that APs can be a boon to any high school student’s resume.    The other immed i a t e l y - a p p a re n t academic benefit of AP courses is the fact that an extra GPA point is added on one’s transcript; students rejoice as their Cs become Bs and their Bs become As. “The great thing about taking APs is the challenge you overcome by taking a college-level course,” said Lau. “It also benefits by raising your

GPA and making yourself stand out to colleges.” Although passing the AP Exam with flying colors is the aspiration of every AP student, the true beauty of these classes is the greater degree of knowledge that they impart. The rigorous coursework can be daunting and even overwhelming at times, but at the end of the day, taking AP courses enriches the high school experience in that doing so provides an opportunity for a deeper exploration of one’s academic interests. While choosing classes, keep in mind that you should only take APs in subjects that you enjoy or excel in. It is ill-advised to drop AP courses after signing up for them, and it is a terrible fate indeed to be stuck working hard for an entire year in a subject that you aren’t at least somewhat passionate about; the moral of the story is that you should think carefully about your decision. For those who have not yet had the AP experience, the prospect of such classes may seem daunting; however, the obligatory commitment and hard work should not be reason to deprive oneself of such a rewarding experience. Take AP classes, but exercise moderation in your course selections; there’s only so much time in the day.

Strong performance on “Break time” the STAR test helps you is “Best Time” Kelsey Gripenstraw Editor-in-Chief

The STAR (Standardized Testing and Reporting) test is a fact of the lives of California public school students for about one week every year, spanning the comparably long period between first grade and junior year. As grueling as the test is, students need to realize the true benefits to doing as well as they can on it—it’s not just about improving the image of Leigh. Your performance on the STAR test affects you and your chances at gaining admittance to college. After students reach the high school age, the student population generally tends to split into two groups: students who care about their schoolwork, who work hard with the intentions of increasing their chances of getting into a prestigious college, or merely for the sake of trying their best; and students who do not see the importance of applying themselves in school.            There are plausible reasons for both groups of students to ignore the significance of the STAR test. The students who care about school recognize that there is no way it can affect their Grade Point Average, and also recognize the types of questions it asks as commonly more simplistic than what they study in the more challenging classes.            “Although I understand that our scores on the STAR test are really important for the school, I have a hard time taking them seriously,” said sophomore Marissa Rodriguez. “There is really no direct benefit for me doing well on them. Colleges don’t see the

scores, and they don’t count towards my grade. I’d rather spend my time studying for the SATs or something.” Why exert actual effort on something that just makes our school look good? When our school looks good, we reap the benefits; benefits that we currently enjoy yet take for granted. Vice Principal Jodi EdwardsWright explicated that Leigh is allowed to have such a large elective program, as well a short school day, because we are a high-performing school; our API score is over 800. “Students don’t know that at Leigh, we’re on a much shorter day than the state actually requires, which is 64,000 minutes of instruction a year. So the state could come in and say, ‘Change your bell schedule,’” said Wright. “I don’t think students understand the collective value of doing well on the test, [and] what it does for the school.” With the added hours that may result from stooping to the Lowperforming status might come added classes, but only in English and Math.            Wright explained that this would mean our elective program would be severely cut. Our expansive Music, Drama, and Art programs would have to be minimized or eliminated completely in favor of opening up room in students’ schedules for “multiple periods of English and Math” for all students. “You don’t want the state coming in; it’s like a hostile takeover. You want the state to bless you and sanction you and say, ‘You’re doing a good job,’” said Wright.             According to an education data website for K-12 California public

schools, California public school districts received their first API scores in 2003 in order to display results of the No Child Left Behind policy. It is calculated by combining the results of the STAR test and the CAHSEE (California High School Exit Exam).           Leigh’s 2008 API score was 805, but last year it dropped four points to 801, which is dangerously close to slipping us into the low-performing status. That status would put us at risk for losing the privileges like a short school day and elective classes. The second Leigh falls below 800 is when the state imposes stricter measures, so all freshmen, sophomores and juniors at Leigh could very possibly experience the negative changes. Also, the fact that Leigh is high-performing bears important positives for those applying to college next year; Wright mentioned that if a high school is low-performing, college admissions officers immediately view the students’ transcripts with less value. You look better if your school does. Because long multiple choice tests can grow tedious, Leigh has worked hard to come up with an effective testing schedule that the staff hopes will make the STAR testing experience less of a groan for students—students will only be testing in two-hour periods for three days. All Leigh asks of you is six hours of applying your knowledge from the school year to the STAR test, and you will be rewarded with keeping our current 2:05 release time and our abundant elective catalog, and a better appearance to colleges. It’s not too tall of an order.

Pain and woe: users experience pain of anonymity cause it is anonymous, they can express hate towards someone and they think its ok.” Curious to know what your peers Because the location and IP adthink of you, you create an account on dress of posts remain completely The next day, eager known, unless the dispatcher chooses to see and answer all the interesting to reveal him or herself, the operators questions, you quickly of have open your inbox and no way of monitoring your jaw drops. There or regulating harassis maybe one valid ment, and thus no way question and the rest to put a stop to it. just a blur of four-letter “If an anonymous words, horrid nameuser is harassing you, calling, and detailed lies turn off anonymous about what some anonquestions. If you are beymous person did with ing harassed by a regisyour mom last night. tered user, block them,” If you have an inbox dictated Formspring. on like me in their abuse polithis, there is one bit of cies. “If you continue consolation—you aren’t to be harassed, we sugthe only one. gest discontinuing use of or Photo by Brianna Chrisman is a popular website “I did have a Formspring, but it got to the point where all I was getting was negative creating a new account things about me and my among high school body. I had to cancel it because it was bringing me down,” said senior Hilary Ascensao. and only sharing it students that allows people to publish to become public. with your friends.” anonymous questions for the account “Anytime a teenager is allowed to Many people who are being owner to publicly post answers to. hide behind a keyboard and computer bullied are reluctant to turn off the However, what was intended to be a screen they are going to be a lot more anonymous setting that they created fun version of the “question game” has open and vulgar about their feelings their for in the first quickly turned in to something much because they obviously aren’t going to place and even more hesitant to disable less innocent. be held accountable for what they say,” their accounts altogether. So, instead “I have a Formspring because I explained Hawkins. of discontinuing, some always wonder what people actually Even some Leigh students have Leigh students are forced to use alterthink about me,” said junior Samantha been victims of the teenage cruelty that nate techniques to get through. Hawkins. “The fact that you get to ask occurs over “I got harassed and bullied in the people you don’t necessarily know stuff “I definitely think Formspring first week of Formspring,” recalled juwith out them knowing is creepy but can be used as a tool to hurt people,” nior Jun Cha, “But you just have to call cool. However, I don’t think that they said freshman Makena Volzing. “I have those anonymous questioners out and thought through the anonymity part of it.” been harassed a few times on Form- they’ll stop showing up on your page.” The downsides of the “anonym- spring. [People] think that just be- While Cha prefers to stand up to Brianna Chrisman Staff Writer

ity part” Hawkins mentioned occur when people start using Formspring. me as an outlet for verbal abuse and online bullying. It’s not uncommon that students call one another vulgar names, make vicious accusations, and expose secrets that were never intended

I always found breaks to be the best parts of the school year. As a child, I always took these breaks for granted. I hated staying home for weeks at a time. There was nothing to do, nothing to eat, and nothing on T.V…ever. “The Price is Right”, re-runs of the “Drew Carey Show” and two bags of ramen later, and I’m bored out of my mind. I remember being around seven years old and flipping through T.V. channels during a summer. I watched TLC’s entire baby related show selection while waiting for the Discovery Kid’s channel to air its best show, Croc Files (With good ol’ Steve Irwin. Crikey). I thought that was the best break of my life. But everyone at the end of a break usually thinks, “Man, that was the best break ever.” Fast-forward several years. I’m 16, going on 17, and on a trip to Las Vegas with my family (being my little sister, my parents, and my grandma). This is an annual trip we take, to do some family bonding. Why we chose to do our family bonding in “Sin City” I don’t know, but that’s where we bond. It’s the one week of absolute [controlled] insanity, where my family walks miles and miles in malls and in the sun for no reason whatsoever, but to work off the calories eaten in a buffet the previous night. I’ve been doing this for more than two-thirds of my life so far, but I never tire of it. Later that summer, I went on tandem trips to Santa Cruz with a friend. It was the best experience because I was getting away. I learned to appreciate many things by going to Santa Cruz: 1) Appreciate the person willingly driving highway 17 for you. 2) Appreciate the nature that surrounds you because that won’t be there for long. 3) Appreciate Red Hot Chili Peppers, for they make excellent driving music. 5) Appreciate dry clothing, for in the summer, you shall chafe. 6) Appreciate cheap food, for maybe you lost your wallet while doing cartwheels on the beach. These trips to Santa Cruz got me thinking; maybe I need to spend more time with my friends this year before we all go our separate ways. This sat in the back of my head for a while. I never really liked to hang out with people during the year,

thinking “I’ll just see them at school,” but nearing the end of my years here at Leigh, I feel like I need to bond with people more. During the last break I went to Santa Cruz again, just to enjoy the atmosphere of the ever so foggy city of banana slugs. I went with my friend Russell and fellow Eleight columnist, Annie Jung. W e walked around, looking for things to buy and take artsy pictures of. Then we drove several miles to the beach. We blasted various songs and dare I say it, sang along [obnoxiously] to Taylor Swift’s song “You Belong With Me” because that is the only song I like of hers. We arrived at the beach after yelling our heads of. Annie and Russell enjoyed the hiking up and down hills to reach the shore, while I did not. You don’t know this, but I hate the beach. “I hate the sand. I hate the bugs. I hate the ocean. I hate the beach,” I chanted, over and over again, each time we had to haul-ass up or down a hill. Several pictures, a bit of frantic running, and another chant later, we were back in the car on our way to eat falafel. It’s these kinds of tandem adventure that I enjoy the most. If it weren’t for Annie having said, “We should try falafel,” in the car at some point during our trip, we wouldn’t have tried something new. Being a senior means that every break I’ve had this year was my last actual break. From Kindergarten until now, we’ve been given multiple breaks in the year. I wish I paid more attention to them and let the “I’m on break” feeling sink in more. Starting next year, I won’t be able to spend my breaks being lazy and doing nothing the entire time. Since college is essentially “the real world” (only you’re paying way too much for it), we’d all have some kind of responsibility. I could have a job at Starbucks, making coffee for the people. I could be doing an internship at some fancy place for college credits. Maybe I could be at a lab doing research for my major, who knows. For these four school years, I never really appreciated the meaning of “free time”. I always thought, “well, maybe next time” when it came to something I regretted at the end of break, but now there isn’t much of a “next time”.

his tormentors, other students such as freshman Daniel Stromfeld manage to endure the maltreatment thanks to a strong sense of humor. “People write such crap on my Formspring,” revealed Stromfeld. “I’ve gotten ‘Are you gay?’ about fifteen times. But I think it’s really funny and I don’t take it to heart.” Still, not everyone is able to handle the harassment and bullying as well as Cha and Stromfeld do. There is even a group on Facebook named “Formspring Is Gonna Cause the Suicide of Teenagers Everywhere”. “Some people can be really selfconscious, especially in high school

and some cowards can be really cruel on Formspring,” explained Cha. “Put those two together and you might get a sad scenario like that.” was made as a method for asking questions, not as a way to anonymously make another person feel threatened or insulted. The online bullying and harassment has gone too far and something must be done to stop this show of immaturity and malice. “People really need to know ways to vent their disliking to someone other than spreading hate on Formspring,” explained Volzing. “It causes more damage than they may be aware of.”



63 24

48 11

How many times a week do you gossip? *out of 221 students polled

173 Have you fallen prey to a rumor?

Gossip at L do your words defin

It seems that for most high schoolers, gossip an everyday occurence than a bad habit. Not changed during lectures, passing periods and whispered behind secret and news-bearing ha and accusing stares are given throughout the vestigates just how often students at Leigh fal ticipate in gossip, and how it has impacted L

3. Someone else is taking your crush to Winter Ball. How do you react? A. Think, “I am so much better than that guy/girl, my crush should have asked me!” 1. You see a guy in the hallway with bizarre looking B. Make your crush realize that the two are in different ballparks. clothing. You… C. Spread a nasty rumor about the person who is taking A. Look back and think, “Ew, what a gross looking dude.” your crush to the dance. B. Call him a weirdo under your breath and move on. D. Be nice to his or her face but plan to ruin his or her C. Stare and walk by quickly. By Rachel Robell, Staff Writer time at the dance to make your crush wished that he D. Don’t even notice. or she had asked you. E. Think, “Wow, what great creativity!” E. Talk to your crush about how you truly feel about him or her, and let him or her make the 2. You hear an attractive girl is dating a decision. undesirable guy. How do you feel about

By Kelsey Gripens Hassen, Rachel Robell Josh Vasquez, and Annie

“G ways true, it can right to judge others ly Kim “It’s inevitable.” just trashing someone for this? 4. You hear a rumor about one of you eases. It’s an epidemic.” -seni A. Feel that the girl is really lowering her closest friends. What do you do? omore Sadie Williams “I th standards. -junior Hiroki Kamihata “It’s A. Ignore it. B. A prep with a freak? Impossible. “People gossip because they think B. Call the person who said it an idiot and C. Make fun of them to everyone Katie Revilla “I gossip because move on. you talk to. “Gossip is most likely untrue.” -so C. Tell your friend and then plot revenge D. Tell them you are happy for spread because it’s not positive. I don on the person who started the rumor. them, but talk smack behind their say?” -freshman Shayda Muttlaib “W D. Tell the whole school about it and add juicy little tips backs. self.” -sophomore Saida Muttlaib “M to spice up the rumor. E. As long as they are both Adam Kirby “It’s amazing.” -sophE. Tell the person that is not true, and stop the rumor in its know... but I heard a lot of goshappy, who cares? tracks! Ballesdy Guerrero “I kinda it’s not fun.” -sophomore everywhere; get used to it. -sophomore Caitlin KanMostly Cs: Targeter because there is not reThough you do not attack the student body as a whole, you tend about. Unless school, but to target individuals. Focus on mending relationships with certain always talk about school. people instead of of gossiping behind others backs. Mostly As: Player about yourself constantly, I You may have a tendency to look at others’ bodies ing to continue a conversaMostly Ds: Two-Faced Friend and think, “Oh damn!” or “That’s gross!” Try to look at what it’s juicy.” -senior Andrea You have no interest in partonizing people you hardly know (or be hurtful depending what people have to offer on the inside as opposed to what their mere people you don’t care about). Instead, you focus on talking about always hurtful; sometimes it appearences tell you. the people closest to you: your friends. Weather it is an ongoing is interesting.” -junior Megan fued or you are jealous of them, you are a two-faced friend. Make hurtful by twisting the truth about Mostly Bs: Labeler an effort to maintain your integrity by being a good friend 24/7. purposefully hurtful way.”-junior Jamie You tend to put people in categories, such as “loose”, “preppy”, tend gossip doesn’t affect them, but in realit “goth”, “jock”, etc. whether you are conscious of it or not. Try to just can’t dismiss what people day about yo Mostly Es: Sealed Lips realize that people can be a mix of each category, and confining hurts.” -senior Kathryn Pasion “Gossip can You generally do not care about gossip, or what others think. You them to one classification taints your perception of them. people will always talk no matter if it’s good can keep a secret and you are a great friend. vent anyone from saying anything they want t happen.” -senior Bianca Saldana “I don’t stopped. A lot of gossip is often meant to be hur body feel bad. When used in a way like that, related to stopping the sun from rising and setti Fini “Gossip can be stopped by not being in sip; then gossip can be stopped.” -junior Mic “Gossip can’t be stopped because it is how in around.” -senior Prisca Toh “Ther when my friend supposedly did felt awkward around him. Gossip Satisfy your need to hear gossip by reading about the personal lives of celebrities in tabloids awkward.” -junior Raymond Ho “ it’s hard not to especially with your or on the internet. knows it’s not right, but we do it anyw If you catch yourself about to talk about someone, think about whether you would Stein “I think that its pointless becaus want someone to say it about you. If you would not, then keep it to yourself. lies then obviously there is no truth behind Gossip is used to humiliate or embarrass a If your gossiping habit is exceptionally bad, invent fictional characters with scandalous lives do it?” -freshman Arnela Colic “I’ll liste leave it at that. I wouldn’t go around spreadin to gossip about with your friends. then I’d probably tell the person they were wro

Leigh: ne you?

How is the way guys gossip different from how girls gossip? Girls try to bring each other down and guys try to intimidate each other. What are some of your gossiping topics? How fat someone is, how hot some girls are, and how stupid people are.

has become more of tes and texts are exd lunch. Words are ands, and interested day. The Eleight inll victim to and parLeigh students’ lives.

How are guys affected by gossip as opposed to how girls are affected? Personally, I don’t really care what people say about me, but that’s just me.

yo u’re tin e Kw an

straw, Rebekah l, Lauren Tanaka, Jessica Li, e Jung le

High school isn’t the only place where gossip is shown at its grotesque peak; gossip can be widely be found among the media. In the year 2007, the entertainment world took gossip’s drama to a new level filled with romance, broken hearts, lies, scandals, and frenemies on the CW network show: “Gossip Girl”, which is based on the book series written by Cecily von Ziegesar. “Gossip Girl” revolves around a group of privileged Upper East Side high school friends. “Gossip Girl” takes gossip’s consequences to the extreme and demonstrates how gossip controls the drama in the lives of the friends. Whenever the gossip intensifies, so does the drama. “I think it shows [gossip] realistically through their friendships, but not everyone will instantly get [the gossip] on their phones. Gossip would gradually happen,” said junior Megan Pappas. While this TV show probably has a considerable amount of influence on the habits of the teens who watch it, gossip journalism centering around the lives of celebrities could also have a significant impact on the way teens spread rumors. Seeing countless unsubstanstiated rumors posed by gossip magazines such as “OK!” “Us Weekly” has the potential to lead teens to start scandalous talk of their own. -Lauren Tanaka, Staff Writer


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stand is that whi Gossip isn’t aln d er tu ul.” -sophomore hurt others, and no one has the hurtf ty before they know them.” -senior Kel” -sophomore Nick Tompkins “Gossip is no reason. It’s rumors. It spreads fast as disior Kasra Mehrabi “Gossip is hurtful.” -sophhink people gossip because they don’t have a life.” ’s for attention.” -sophomore Madison DeMarquez ol, ho c s k it’s juicy.” junior Ray Wang “It’s dumb.” sophomore h g a ife in hi h-t r’s l i ing s it’s fun. Who doesn’t [gossip]?” -junior Anna Pham k l ge a t y l b ion.” -senior Jack oba t r a p t ophomore Kayla Pavlicevich “Gossip should not be s n’t understand why people do it, just for something to When you hear gossip, you should keep it to yourMeh, it’s a natural part of people talking.” -senior s it doe e n o omore James Eokes “I don’t ery “People gossip because Ev sip this week.” -sophomore “I t k its hi n there is not really anything think it’s ridiculous, and g os ng a sipi else to talk about. Unless Jessica Spink “It’s the school, but nobody really nd a [ , e u r t e It’s part of teenage wants to always talk life.” e ar ur io chanda “People about school. Plus, if gossip bv o s you talk about allyjust anything else to talk it’ gossip at all, t yourself constantly, ’ nobody really wants to n Guthmann I doubtif people are talk re Plus, you just going to continue doubt people are goD a conversation with re tion with you, unless re.” -sophomo u t a you, unless it’s juicy.” Daniel Stromfeld explains his experiences with gossip “I hear st nn MoodyAndrea “Gossip can –senior Moody h it is about. It’s not “To anyone w “Gossip can be is just information that I have never heard a word that makes me feel [as] gloomy, livid, and It a li hurtful depending ze it or not. Pappas “Gossip can be nauseous, [as] the word “gossip”. Of course, I have been a main victim whatinto it is about. It’sor someone a demeaning of gossip, being as different and flamboyant as I am; however I honestly always Zaplitny not “Most peoplehurtful; like to predo not care. I feel as though I have become immune to gossip. Now you may label me as a ty that’s probably what affects them the most. You sometimes it is just hypocrite, as I too, have gossiped; however I deem that [everyone] has gossiped at one time ou – and most of the time information it that is or another. When I was in middle school, there was a boy who constantly made fun of me n never be stopped because interesting.” for being Jewish. He sent me threatening messages on Myspace, and my mom saw them and or bad. No one can precalled the police. In a nutshell, the kid got suspended and never talked to me again. After this to say; it just will always incident, a rumor started that I was suing this boy. Rumor had it that I had won the lawsuit believe gossip can be and he lost his house, was living on the street and I was supposedly using their house for sex. rtful and make someThis guy was popular, so a lot of people were mad at me for “suing him”. One person actually stopping it can be picked me up, and put me in a trash can! A lot of people seemed to hate me after this rumor, ing.” -junior Tony but it soon died down. I don’t know where this weird, twisted rumor came from; however, I nterested in goschelle Blacklock find it funny in a juvenile way. nformation gets re’s this one time The Eleight consulted TOPS something and I adviser Jenifer Taylor on the p made the situation origins and effects of gossip “Well people do it, and Why do you think teenagers gossip? closest friends. Everyone One is a feeling of being in the know, and a feeling of being powerful, a feeling like ways.” -freshman Rebekah you have something to say. se if you spread rumors and d them so what is their point? Why should gossip stop? a person so why would anyone It perpetuates lies, and it can be extremely hurtful. I think if people challenged themen to it and then probably just selves not to talk about other people they’d find better things to talk about. [Gossip] ng it and if I knew it wasn’t true also creates boundaries with people and makes people distrusting of one another. ong.” -sophomore Jackie Jensen

Cracking the St. Patricks’ Day myths The truth behind green clothing, getting pinched, and the man who started it all Beth Askins Sttaff Writer It’s early morning on a Wednesday. As the newly-risen sun filters through your blinds, you catch a glimpse of your calendar and realize it’s not just any Wednesday. It’s March 17—St. Patrick’s Day. Oh yeah, you think, recalling what the occasion entails: you rush to your closet, rummaging to find something green. Upon finding a suitable

green shirt, you smile to yourself. You’re not getting pinched today! Never once in the course of this yearly ritual do you stop to ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” It’s just a tradition you accept and have accepted since you were old enough to know how to dress yourself, a Hallmark Holiday you celebrate probably just because everyone else does. “I don’t know the real reason [we have to wear green],” said senior Heather Audyski, “I just don’t want to

From typewriters to iPods: Explaining the common technological generation gap “How do you play this thing?” my friend asked me a few days ago as she struggled to connect her iPod to my car adapter. “You push the big white button with the sideways triangle on it,” I joked, being too lazy to give her real instructions. Everyone in the car chuckled a bit at my lame comment, but at that moment I realized just how much technology has changed our lives. Thirty years ago, my sideways triangle description would not have been an unhelpful, obvious answer at all. The markings that we now call “universal symbols” – the play/ pause buttons on iPods, the green phone icons on “send” buttons, the fast forward symbols on television remotes – were hardly known when our parents were teens, and did not exist at all for our grandparents’ generation. It’s no wonder anyone born before 1980 seems tech retarded! My dad once told me about what he considered to be the biggest tech craze of his childhood: the electric typewriter. Perhaps the equivalent of today’s MacBook, these devices seemed to be the hot gadget of the 1970’s. Owning one had some definite perks; you could delete any mistake three letters back or less, you didn’t have to worry about scrolling and adjusting your paper manually, and of course, you didn’t have to push the buttons with as much force as the traditional typewriters. What a revolution! I laughed to myself when I first heard of the “amazing” things an electric typewriter could do, and there is a reason why I did. The humor in the situation is derived from the sheer amount of change that the world has seen from his childhood to mine; what was once unbelievable technology now seems to have walked straight out of the Triassic period. There is a name for big changes like these that set old time apart from modern time: a generation gap. The generation gap that is currently evolving around us is probably the biggest since the 1920’s coupling of the automobile and radio. The explosion of technology at the beginning of this century led to the formation of an entirely new language and an entirely new culture. If you had told your boyfriend “ILY” ten years ago, he would have thought you were talking about verb tenses. The phrase “social network-

ing” didn’t even exist back then! The digital age has completely changed the way that we communicate and act in social situations, and it has left our elders with a bit of nostalgia for the past, perhaps rightfully so. Take my mom, for example. The last day of February break found her driving a SUV-full of my friends home from Tahoe. We were pretty disgruntled seeing as there was a four-hour drive ahead and no comfort to be found; suitcases were in our foot space and ski poles were in our head space. Naturally, we cranked up our iPods to try to pass time. My mom, however, sat in seclusion at the wheel. She told us of a time when car rides meant hours of family bonding and good conversation and she complained of our anti-social behavior (but we didn’t really hear her because we had headphones in our ears). She cursed the death of this entrancing Apple Company, wishing to return to a simpler time. My mother actually does own an iPod. It wasn’t her decision; she got it as a Christmas present last year from the family. It’s a fourth generation, hot pink “Nano” with a built in video camera and an 8 GB memory. The minute it came out the box it began collecting dust in our home office. My little brother stole the headphones that came with it because he had broken his own in a mishap with our chew-happy puppy. Eventually I snatched the iPod itself from the desk and synced it to my own computer; I could not let it sit there unused while I had to deal with my 3-year-old relic of a music-playing device. It doesn’t really bother me that my mother refuses to use her iPod (actually it doesn’t bother me at all because now its mine!), or that my father needs to read the instruction manual to understand the buttons on our DVR remote. I have realized that it is not because they are dumb and it is not because they are clueless; they need help simply because they are on the older end of an especially deep generation gap. I suppose the world changes too quickly for the stubborn human nature to adapt in time. And although our youth puts our generation on top of the world right now, I suspect that twenty years from now we will find ourselves in our parents’ position; we will be longing for the simple times when you could fit the whole world in your back-pocket in the form of that half-inch thick gadget called a “phone”.

get pinched!” But like all holidays, St. Patrick’s Day is much more than the commercial façade of four-leafed clovers, shirts that invite onlookers to “kiss me, I’m Irish”, and cutesy little men sporting ginger beards and dressed in buckled shoes and hats. All the traditions came from Ireland, to be sure, but the man who started it all was neither a leprechaun nor a T-shirt wearer. St. Patrick, AKA Maewyn Succat (his birth name), was actually not even Irish. No one knows for sure his exact birthplace and time, but most scholars agree that he was probably born in Scotland around 375 AD, to relatively wealthy parents. March 17, the day we celebrate, is not actually the day he was born, but thought to be the day he died.

When Succat was 16-years-old, pirates kidnapped him and sold him as a slave to a chieftan named Milchu, who oversaw a large territory in Ireland. While he worked at tending Milchu’s sheep on a hilltop, Succat started praying to God and turned from pagan to Catholic. This was a turning point in Succat’s life. After six years of toil, Succat escaped and traveled to France to become a Catholic priest, where he changed his name to Patrick. Setting off to Ireland once again, he undertook the task of converting the country to Christianity. After 40 years of building churches and preaching to thousands, Patrick succeeded in his mission. Today, Ireland is still considered a largely Catholic country. Oh, and that four-leafed clover tradition? That was started by Patrick. Except… it actually wasn’t a fourleafed clover. During his preaching, he often used a clover with three leaves to show the people how the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit could be one being in God.

Wearing green and pinching: In the early 1700’s, when the holiday first became popular in America, people believed that wearing green clothing actually hid a person from the mischievous eyes of leprechauns, who would pinch a human if they saw one. To warn ignorant folk against the harmful effects of not wearing green, people started pinching those who didn’t wear green, too. Leprechauns: Their relationship with this holiday has more to do with the dawning of spring, when the Irish believed leprechauns to be most active. Leprechauns were said to be greedy creatures as well as tricksters, who could often be found steal-

As patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick is a very important icon in the Catholic faith (for more details on St. Patrick’s life, you can look online at the Catholic Encyclopedia). Throughout the years, the commemoration of the man who changed Ireland’s official religion has dwindled down to the celebration of leprechauns and pots of gold at the end of the rainbow. But there is a way to keep St. Patrick alive. Next time you see a child’s menu around St. Patrick’s Day, a gift card with a four-leafed clover on it, or a shirt emblazoned with “kiss me, I’m Irish”, instead of thinking “aww, how cute”, take a moment to remember whose day everyone is celebrating. Remember the man who single-handedly converted the Irish to Christianity. Remember a man who dedicated his life to his faith, perhaps the only man whose life ultimately improved after being kidnapped by pirates. Remember the name behind the holiday. Remember St. Patrick.

ing gold out of the pot at the end of the rainbow. Various stories have been told of leprechauns who tricked Irish folk into trading their own gold for leprechaun gold, which was said to disappear overnight. You’d think they’d learn. Pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: According to the Irish belief, wherever a rainbow appeared, a person could find a giant pot of gold at the end of it. Thus, seeing a rainbow was considered good luck. Unless, of course, a leprechaun had gotten to it first. Blarney Stone: Found in Blarney Castle in Ireland, the stone is said to give a person who kisses it the gift of flattery. Today, the word “blarney” is also used in Ireland to dismiss a person’s flattery, eg. “Blarney! My hair doesn’t look any more amazing today than it usually does.” Illustration by Beth Askins and Kylie Brown

Bay Area Myths: continued from front page Outside of the marked boundary, everything checks to be normal. Upon entering the sphere of mystery, you can instantly feel its force. With a sense of dizziness and slight nausea, the forces of The Spot affect your entirety. Not only do you notice the physical changes, but small mental changes as well. “My body is confused,” described senior Hannah Stone as she cautiously, but easily, walked up “the staircase”, which was in fact a Photo by Rain Stites wall. While most visitors are believers to begin with, skeptics are proven wrong. Gaurav, an engineer and visitor on the tour, attempted to find an explanation for The Mystery Spot. “I was a little skeptical at first and I thought there could be answers, and I couldn’t figure it out. It’s scary,” he said. Plenty of theories are assumed about this place of the unknown, however, none have yet to prove true. Is The Mystery Spot just another optical illu-

sion, or will it forever remain an unsolved mystery? You decide. To y s - R - Us , Photo by Rain Stites Sunnyvale: “We call him Johnny,” said Rick, current Toys-R-Us employee, of the spirit that employees believe to roam the halls. Built in 1970, this toy store is home to more than just dolls and bicycles. Before construction of the building, the land was John Murphy’s Farm, an apple orchard of the 1800s. Legend says Johnny Johnson, a woodsman who worked on the orchard, fell in love with Murphy’s daughter. While chopping down wood one day alone, Johnny’s axe missed, striking his leg. His pleas and cries for help were left unheard, and he bled to his death. According to locals, Johnny now roams the back aisles, the women’s restroom, and the upstairs of this haunted ToysR-Us. “It’s just creepy,” described current employee Jenna of the upstairs storage room. According to employees, the up-

stairs storage room during closing is the most eerie of all. Boxes will mysteriously move and noises will be made throughout the room, although no one appears to be around. “[When] no one is back [in the storage] you’ll say ‘Hey, how [are] you doing? Anybody back here?’ [and no one will answer],” Jenna continued. “[The spirit is] just kind of like, it’s just there, you know?” Surveillance footage has also revealed Johnny to other employees of the store. Rick described numerous occasions during which footage revealed skateboards and bicycles rolling up and down aisles while no one is around. Also, the store’s sliding electric doors violently slid open at around 3 a.m. a few months back, Photo by Rain Stites resulting in the arrival of the police. Cameras also show the store to be completely empty at the time of the incident. Are all of these accounts just stories, or is Johnny still seeking his long lost love from many years ago? -Rain Stites, Editor-in-Chief

Language: our outlet for self-expression Emma McGhan Staff Writer There are thousands of cultures spread throughout the world with different customs that create barriers. However, there’s one aspect binding every civilization on Earth: language. Words give people the power to express themselves, to create works of literature, and to inspire. But, where do these words come from and how is their meaning derived? Languages like Spanish, French and Italian are considered “Romantic” languages, which means most of their words come from Latin. While English shares many cognates with our cousins

across the pond, our speech is a culmination of many different languages from all over. The Germans, Vikings, and Anglo-Saxons all played a hand in creating the words used to produce Shakespeare, Dickens, Hemmingway, and our Facebook statuses. With anything that wants to survive multiple generations, our words have grown and adapted with time. This was probably most evident as we struggled through “Romeo and Juliet” our freshman year, barely recognizing our own language. When we separated from our Motherland to become our own independent nation, our English took on a

life of its own, and became an English dialect, an English 2.0. While great American orators throughout history like Lincoln, Kennedy, and King never would have imagined us expressing ourselves with words like “dude”, “lol”, and “hella”, they showed us how to use words with dignity and integrity. While you are more likely to hear “Omg, did you hear about...? She was so totally…” walking down the halls as opposed to “The lady doth protest too much…”, language is important to our country, as evident through our first amendment, the freedom of speech. And whether we use this right to move the masses or to update our friends on our daily lives, words move us forward.

Nutrition’s secret weapons in improving health Keli Demertzis Staff Writer The old adage “you are what you eat” isn’t far from the truth. The average American consumes over 150 pounds of sugar each year, and according to the USDA, it’s easy to see the correlation between one’s body and a sack of the sweet stuff. Aside from obesity, heart diseases and diabetes that come along with making poor food choices, our bodies are affected in different ways than you may think. Scientists now have proven that what you eat can determine your mood. Unless you enjoy how a saturated fat laden meal makes you feel, try incorporating these elements to give you a feel good boost. Protein: Proteins are made of amino acids building blocks. One type of amino acid, tyrosine, helps to make the three neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine, which can increase your energy and awareness levels. Poultry,

eggs and fish are high in protein. So if you feel a nap coming on, try eating some protein to give you a boost. Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates have been given a bad reputation, but in reality, eating them may relax you and calm your stress. A carbohydrate signals the release of insulin into your blood, then tells all the other amino acids to leave. The lone amino acid that stays is tryptophan. Tryptophan eventually gets turned into serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that can give a sense of calm to the body. In moderation, tryptophan is a stress-reliever, so eat whole grain carbohydrates such as pasta when you feel the pressures of school take over. Folic Acid: Studies have shown the lack of folic acid has a connection to depression because the lack of this acid causes the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin to decrease in levels. Small amounts of this can make all the difference, so be like Popeye and try some spinach or some orange juice to put some bounce in your step.

Selenium: If you are in a bad mood, you may need a selenium boost. According to Your Total Health, “Individuals suffering from a lack of selenium have been shown to be more anxious, irritable, hostile, and depressed than their non-lacking counterparts.” When you start not feeling like yourself, try grabbing foods such as sunflower seeds or tuna. Choline: When you are prepping for a big test and you find yourself spacing out, try eating some eggs. Eggs contain choline, a complex vitamin linked to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter is connected to memory. Also helping you focus is a nutrient named nasunin, which is found in eggplant , which promotes brain development and function. The food you eat may do more than just silence your grumbling stomach, so try thinking of your mood next time you reach for a snack.

Caffeine dependency increases amongst teens Jessica Li Staff Writer Coffee, tea, sodas, energy drinkscaffeine is everywhere. As high school students, many of us seem to depend on it to get through the day. Some drink it to survive their zero period, some to handle all-nighters, and some just like the taste. “I’ve got to be honest, I always drank a cup of coffee during zero period last year,” admitted an anonymous junior. “I couldn’t last through the class without it. Waking up that early everyday just wasn’t something my body could get used to.” Although caffeine can be helpful for those tiring days and for those who always seem to fall asleep during class, it can also lead to addiction. According to Roland Griffiths, a professor in the departments of psychiatry and neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, caffeine alters mood, behavior, and can lead to

physical dependence. “I work here a lot on school days, and middle school students usually come buy coffee after school is over,” said Starbucks barista Emily Adams. “I guess it’s good for business, but it’s so bad for their health.” Even some of your everyday foods and drinks have a bit of caffeine in them and consuming enough in one go can actually kill you. According to  and based off of an average teenage weight of 125lbs., “Gulp down 203.12 bottles of Glaceau Vitaminwater Energy Citrus and you’re history [and] after 53.32 cans of Monster [or Rockstar], you’d be pushing up daisies.”  What can you do to prevent dependency, addiction, or death? Try limiting how much caffeine you consume everyday. Some signs of caffeine withdrawal include headaches, lethargy, nausea, vomiting, and muscle pain. “I used to drink caffeine daily,”

said Leland junior, Ashley Carter. “With all the stress [of ] AP classes, sports, and just life [as a] student in general, it [was] hard for me [to] always be upbeat and awake. But around the beginning of second semester, I noticed that [I] could barely go [a] day without drinking a coffee [or] soda. It took a while to [get] used to not drinking or eating anything [caffeinated] that often, but [I took] it slowly, and now [I] just drink maybe one, two cups a week.” It’s not very hard to prevent caffeine dependency- just watch how much you intake. Manage your time and don’t procrastinate on your work so you don’t have to stay up late unless truly necessary. If you’re tired, go to sleep or take a nap (just make sure you set your alarm so you don’t oversleep!). Sure, caffeine is useful, and there’s no need to completely cut it out of your life; but pay attention to how much you consume.

Vitamins Vs. Vegetables: Which of the two is more beneficial in creating a healthy lifestyle?

Let’s face it: most of us don’t eat like rabbits, so getting all our vitamins is a pretty tall order. So are popping pills really the answer? They’re quick and provide everything you need in a day. Or should we solely rely on vegetables, which have all natural nutrients? -Christine Benik, Staff Writer What our community has to say “Both; vegetables are better for you, since they’re all natural. However, the amount of vegetables you need to eat to get your recommended dosage of vitamins is unrealistic for peoples’ busy lifestyles.” -Whole Foods Vitamin Consultant Melanie Barker “Technically your better buy comes in the form of a pill; however, vitamins are called supplements for a reason; they make up for some nutrition you may be missing, but that is all they do. There are some things vitamins provide that are absolutely essential to healthy development, such as calcium to prevent osteoporosis. If you are not able to get your full 2-3 cups of vegetables and fruits in a day for whatever reason, then a supplement is definitely a good idea. So which do I think is better? Of course natural sources of nutrients should be a first choice for any one, but rarely any one actually gets the recommended amounts of nutrients by nature alone, so a supplement is a good choice too. Ultimately

it is not one or the other, but choosing a careful balance and talking to your doctor or nutritionist about what is right for you.” -Leigh Alumnus Victoria Arcus Hilton RN What Longhorns have to say “Veggies, delicious, and nutritious.” sophmore Zoe Demertzis “I think they’re both fine but probably pills since they’re purely the thing you need.” senior Trevor Hunt “Vegetables, because they are natural and contain everything your body needs where vitamins are artificial and not natural which is not the best way to retrieve the daily dose.” -senior Kimberly Hamilton   “Vegetables, of course; the natural way is obviously better for your body.” -junior Matt Nestle “Vegetables! Crunchy yet satisfying, they are refreshing, tasty, healthy, and filling. What more can you ask of food?” senior Vincent Perez “Honestly, pills. They’re just easier.” -senior Coby Crider

So I praise You, in awe of your slimy paste, In you I place my heartfelt trust; Because, in spite of my slight distaste Without You I’d likely crumble to dust.


Carl Fischer– Translator for the Chil- laborate on demanding projects” and “make public presentations”. ean Presidency A college friend California native Carl Fisuties to take in the h is d si g eventually concher used his excellence in the k from hts a .. nected Fischer Spanish language to land a a bre to the Chiljob in one of the highest ean Presioffices in the world. dency. “My official job “A girl title is translator in in one the Unit of Direct of my Communications, classes at which is a unit of Stanford the press office of put me in the Presidency of the touch with Republic of Chile,” a translator said Fischer. “I work in Chile and with two journalists and a that translator secretary, and we are in charge happened to be one of of the website of the Presidency of the people that my future office called Chile.” With this job, Fischer works in a when they were looking for recompalace, and as the only native English mendations,” explained Fischer. Dedication to the Spanish lanspeaker around, he often finds himself guage and culture, Fischer admits, is giving tours to foreign delegates. “I got to see a lot of cool visitors the main reason he scored this job. He when they came to the palace, like Bill advises all those with an interest in govClinton, Shakira, Condolezza Rice, ernment translating to “take as many Evo Morales, and Jacques Chirac,” re- opportunities as possible to travel and learn the language you want to transcalled Fischer.             However, this lifestyle did not late”. “Future employers, I think, really consume Fischer overnight; he studied for eight years at Occidental College value it if you can show that you’re reand Stanford. He says that his educa- ally familiar with other languages and tion helped develop the skills to “col- cultures,” added Fischer. ki n

O Aloe! Your touch soothes most sensation Of agony: burning, itching, peeling; For thirty-five minutes per application, You drown out my sense of painful feeling.

r ta

Hunger for life, my deadly vice, Obscures the memory of Your icy embrace… For my distraction I pay the price, Raw and aggrieved without Your grace.

sh e

Swimming, eyes wide, sun-drenched and content, It seems I’ve completely forgotten The delightful plop of Your mighty descent Unto my palm. How long it’s been!

Jenny Martin – Museum Director Jenny Martin, Director of Education for the Children’s Discovery Museum in San Jose, deals with everything from ancient mammoth bones to face paint catastrophes in a single workday. Martin heads one of the four major departments at the museum. She is in charge of supervising other staffers and planning new exhibits. “My job is to think about what would be fun and good for learning for kids,” Martin described. “One thing that’s great about it is that I always get to keep learning myself.” Martin never pictured herself directing at a museum; she claims to have just “fell into it”. For her undergraduate education, she attended a small liberal arts college and double majored in English and American Studies. She also broadened her horizons by studying abroad in England for two British semesters. Later on, Martin went to graduate school at Stanford and majored in Curriculum and Teacher’s Education. In her first job out of college, Martin worked with underprivileged kids through an after school club called “Girls Incorporated”. Through this job, Marin was introduced to the museum business. This passion for working with children and making a difference in their lives is, according to Martin, the real reason that she ended up with her current career. “I never knew I would work at a museum but I always knew I loved kids,” said Martin. “By following my interest, I ended up creating a career path for myself that is really great.”


Exploring the coral between boat and dock, It seems I’ve completely forgotten How quickly and artfully ill-applied sunblock Sizzles and scorches subjected skin.

arl Fischer. Carl F i

Your sheen upon my flaming flesh Resembles the slime of a thousand snails; Yet my mind the blaze of the sun does refresh, Reminding me what going without You entails.


O Aloe, Your beautiful sickly smell, Reminiscent of lotion-infused bile; When I envision Your by beth askins transparent gel My lips uplift in a reverent smile.

Eric Darnell – Feature Film Director Eric Darnell has directed four major films – including “Antz”, “Madagascar”, “Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa”, and the upcoming “Madagascar 3” – but he might as well be your next-door neighbor as a resident of San Jose . Darnell explained that directing a feature film is exactly what it sounds like. “I am in charge of the creative part of making a movie. I have picture in my head of what the story is and how to tell it. Without my direction, all the talented people [working on the movie] would come up with great stuff, but it would go in all different directions,” said Darnell, who has been with DreamWorks Animation Company for almost 15 years. Darnell always knew that he was interested in filmmaking, but he never imagined that he would end up directing multimillion dollar blockbusters. In fact, Darnell began his higher education as a Biology major at the University of Colorado. “I was thinking of becoming a doctor,” he explained. “But then I changed my mind and ended up graduating with a degree in broadcast journalism. Then I decided that I didn’t want to be a broadcast journalist either!” Visuals cortusey of             Beginning to make up his mind, Co-directors Eric Darnell (far left) and Tom Darnell attended graduate school at the McGrath with their characters from Madagascar. California Institute of Arts and got a degree in experimental animation.             Before becoming a director, Darnell got his start working on smaller projects such as an animated short film, “Gas Planet”, and a music video for R.E.M.’s song “Green”, from their album “Get Up”. He also worked for P.D.I., a small animation company that would eventually partner with DreamWorks.             Despite Darnell’s journey, his advice to aspiring filmmakers is quite simple: “make films”. He added, “That’s how you get better and get hired. A film speaks for itself; you don’t have to convince anybody.”


An Ode to Aloe Vera Gel

Your childhood dream jobs may have included Hollywood glamour or a grand princess palace. You probably realized by the time you hit puberty that life does not follow this kind of fairytale storybook, but the following three professionals prove that you can still come pretty close. Although each took a distinct journey, all found success doing what they are passionate about. Read their relatable stories; the same success may be possible for you.

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I’m writing to complain to you about your recent activities. You’ve been constantly hiding behind the clouds, for one thing. As much as I love gazing up into the sky making shapes out of them, it’s basically springtime in California, and as clothing stores here on Earth will agree, you can’t hide forever. But I also have an ardent request for you: that when you do decide to come out, please, please refrain from doing what you did to me in Hawaii. Let me explain. I hate getting sunburned (and by “hate”, I mean, “loathe with a burning, smoldering, ungodly passion”). Being a couple shades above albino status, your Sunburn finds me every year between the months of May and August, and after spending much quality time with its effects I’ve come to consider it essentially the bane of my existence. Whenever I neglect to slather on sunscreen, be it out of hope of getting a little color in my skin or due to sheer forgetfulness, I pay dearly. Sunburn has got to be by far the worst punishment you have ever devised for humankind. My reasons? First: one never sees it coming. How is that fair? Take cloudy days, for instance. Personally, when I look out the window and see clouds blanketing an otherwise blue sky, I don’t immediately embark on an in-house quest for the sunscreen. But according to Wikipedia, clouds filter out all of your good UV rays—the kind that bestow we humans with vitamins and nutrients—kindly leaving us with only the sort that burn the skin to a crackly crisp. It would be nice of you to give some more warning before striking. Second: your lovely invention tends to ruin any plans one has made for the following week. That includes wearing clothes that touch any part of the burn, and standing outside for longer than ten minutes without wincing. Of course, that one depends on the intensity of the burn. Which brings me to my third point: It hurts. A lot. Now, though residents of San Jose are already apt to feel your wrath during the summer, the poor folk living in Hawaii have to deal with a decidedly higher altitude, which puts them closer to you. Not having pre-

viously been armed with this information, throughout my entire week in paradise, I only applied sunscreen twice. Out of sheer frustration with your ruthlessness and my own forgetfulness, I’ve attached here a poem, which I call an “Ode to Aloe Vera Gel”. Note that it is not an ode to you. Respectfully yours, Beth


Dear Sun:

Maddy Kirsch Staff Writer



Unintentional jobs become dream jobs

Use this quiz to help determine what dream job would best suit you. Realistic or not, it’s still fun to dream. 1. You see an object on the ground, you decide to a) Listen to it b) See if it will make a nice hat c) Determine whether it’s edible 2. Your allowance is mainly spent on a) New music from itunes b) Clothing and accessories c) Food

3. When bored, you tend to a) Search for new bands to listen to b) Look at a magazine c) Eat If you chose... Mostly A’s; Your dream job is within the music industry as a producer or a scout. Mostly B’s; Whether dressed up or down, you belong in the fashion industry as stylist. Mostly C’s; With your love of food, you belong as a food scientist, discovering which recipes produce the tastiest results. Quiz by Emalie Chandras

Adult cartoons can get away with anything Viv Nguyen Opinion Editor “We’re playing house…” said Stewie apprehensively. “But the kid is all tied up!” exclaimed his mother, Lois, with a worried tone. “Roman Polanski’s house…” Stewie responds. Cartoons today, much like “Family Guy”, get away with almost everything. Since 1999, writer and voice actor Seth McFarlane has been able to take jabs at celebrities and take all of today’s issues and make the nation laugh. How far is too far when it comes to cartoons and their subject matter? “‘Family Guy’ and the newer ones do [go too far],” said junior Amanda Daly, “But the old classic ones like ‘The Simpsons’ aren’t that bad.” The content of these shows know no bounds. Shows like “Family Guy” have been criticized for their content before. In the beginning of “Family Guy”’s

run, the PTC (Parents Television Council) stated that “Family Guy” was an indecent show, being chosen as their “Worst T V

Photo courtesy of Family guy:

Shows of the Week” several times. This only resulted in the creators of “Family Guy” satirizing the complaints and woes of the PTC. Adult Swim premiered in 2001, being the late night network companion to Cartoon Network, harboring cult cartoons, Japanese anime, and syn-

dicated cartoons (such as Fox’s “Family Guy”). Adult Swim isn’t the only network under fire for inappropriate sorts of content. Comedy Central’s show “South Park” also receives flack. With more than a decade under its belt, “South Park” still gets constant criticism. Not only is “South Park” constantly under fire from critics, the celebrities it aims don’t appreciate their comedy either.

82nd Annual Academy Awards captivate audiences

Photo courtesy of Oscars pic

Kelsey Gripenstraw Editor-in-Chief Ending the 2009-2010 movie season on a high note, the 82nd Annual Academy Awards on Sunday, March 7 offered surprises as well as Oscar’s classic charm to make for an entertaining ceremony that just might lift the show out of its viewer rut. Improving by 14 percent in the Nielson ratings, the show drew 41.3 million people to their TV sets, achieving the highest ratings in five years. The changes started with the amount of nominations. For Best Picture, which is generally considered the most important award category of the Oscars, and always reveals its winner last, the usual five nominations were doubled to give a total of ten movies a closer shot at the top prize. The first 16 Academy Awards ceremonies also nominated 10 movies for Best Picture. After the classic “Cas-

Hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin looked to the front row A-listers for their comedic inspiration. ablanca” was named the greatest movie thing to do with the popularity as well. of 1943, Oscar began to allow just five [Also,] Neil Patrick Harris started the films a year the coveted BP nod. show brilliantly, and held the viewers’ “Having 10 Best Picture nomi- attention,” said junior Emily Ogle. nees is going to allow Academy voters Another change the show brought to recognize and include some of the was the first-ever Best Director win for fantastic movies that often show up in a woman, which went to Kathryn Bigthe other Oscar categories, but have elow for “The Hurt Locker”. been squeezed out of the race for the The Academy still has any plans top prize,” said Academy President Sid made for the 2011 Oscars under Ganis in a press release. wraps, but one can guess that it will The lengthened nominee list al- do its best to improve upon the success lowed movies that would normally slip of this year by repeating what worked through the cracks, missing the nod, with the March 7 show and introducget that extra recognition. 2010’s high- ing new tricks to attract audiences. light of these movies, particularly that of the more mainstream movies such as “Avatar”, “Up” and “The Blind Side”, was probably to blame for the extra viewers. “Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin [who hosted the show] are known comedians, so I suppose they had some-

Best Picture: “The Hurt Locker” Directing: Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker” Actor in a Leading Role: Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart” Actress in a Leading Role: Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side”

Hollywood recycles ideas Jenna Goeke Staff Writer Since the days of Alfred Hitchcock, Woody Allen, and John Hughes and their infinite classic movies, the genres and storylines of modern movies and television shows have begun to lose a great deal of originality and sparkle that Hollywood is so renowned for. In the past decade, many movies have been made based on comics, cartoons and even dolls. G.I. Joe, Transformers, Superman and Batman are just a few examples. Recently, the idea of using the iconic Stretch Armstrong doll for a movie became a reality. “Twilight” star Taylor Lautner will be playing the role of Stretch, according to Hollywood has resorted to using dolls for movie ideas. Aside from the fact that numerous movies are being based off of iconic dolls, there’s the fact that many comic-based movie series make too many sequels and tend to get out of hand after about three movies. “Spider-man 4” is set for a release date of May 6, 2011, according to Sony Pictures. Then there are remakes, evidence that ideas for movies are more and more scarce, forcing many producers to remake movies that are only a few years old. One example is the entire “Batman” series that began in 1989 and ended in 1997. Then in 2005, the most successful remake of “Batman” was released. “I think that it is a good idea, because Hollywood is making enjoyable movies that are almost exactly like the classic movies. Also, there are plenty of new movies every year, so

I don’t see a problem with recreating the classics,” remarked freshman Christopher Spear. Other new releases such as “The Stepfather”, “The Last House on the Left” and “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” are all remakes from older versions. Not to mention many classics that have been remade such as “Alice in Wonderland” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. “Out of all the movie remakes I can think of, ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ would have to be my favorite,” added Spear. “Although I do prefer the original version, this movie is very interesting and unique. I feel that it depends on how good a movie remake is made to say whether movie remakes are good or bad, because some remakes are fun to watch and some are terrible.” Hollywood is slowly running out of ideas. Characters and certain plot twists may always be different, but basic themes and storylines are becoming more and more alike. That genre-defining spark is dying as many ideas that could have been done have been made. No need to worry though, because it’s almost impossible that Hollywood would ever stop producing movies due to this loss of ideas. Movies are a main source of economic and monetary gain, and will therefore never go out of “style” for Hollywood stars and directors, especially when eager audiences are awaiting new ideas. Box office results show that over 1.4 billion tickets were sold in 2009 alone. With such a large audience and demand for new movies, Hollywood doesn’t have a chance of going down.

You won’t get We’re off to see the wizard away with this! The Wizard of Oz steals the show again after 71 years of magic

Junior Erfran Modir

Sophomore Juliet Havener 1.Badfish - Sublime 2. Not Good Enough for Truth in Cliche - Escape the Fate 3. Blueberry Yum Yum - Ludacris 4. Athems of Apocalypse - Winds of Plague 5. Blessing with a Curse - Miss May I

Photo by Josh Vasquez

1. Little Smirk - Theory of a Deadman 2. The Crow and the Butterfly Shinedown 3. Sweet Tooth Suicide - Shinedown 4. The Point of No Return - Immortal Technique 5. Seize the Day - Avenged Sevenfold

Photos by Kylie Brown

Kiki Clark Staff Writer Having conquered Broadway, “Wicked”, the world famous musical, sets off to conquer Hollywood. The musical has been picked up by Marc Platt’s production company, the same company that produced “Rachel Getting Married”. “Wicked” is the prequel to the “Wizard of Oz”, telling the story of how the wicked witch became wicked and how the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion found themselves lacking a brain, heart, and courage. S o far there is nothing specifically set pertaining to the movie, other than the actual production. Sources say that the movie will come out in 2010; however it is more likely to make its’ debut in 2012. As far as actors go, many would like to see Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenoweth reprise their roles from the original Wizard of Oz as Elphaba (Menzel) and Glinda (Chenoweth). Because the musical first came out about ten years ago, some are worried that Menzel and Chenoweth may be too old by the time the movie comes out. “I could see, definitely, me playing Madame Morrible at that point. But I hope they really do it soon, so that I’m young enough to play Glinda,” said Chenoweth about the movie. But age doesn’t prove to be a problem. Because it is a movie and not a live performance, tools are available to make Chenoweth and Menzel look the right age for the part. This would be the most desirable option for many. However, if Chenoweth and

Menzel are unable to perform these roles, popular second choices for the roles are expected to be Lea Michelle (Glee) for Elephaba and Amy Adams (Enchanted) for Glinda. No matter who plays the roles of Elephaba and Glinda, Wicked is expected to do well in theatres. With the right people on board and the right support system Wicked could easily take the box office, as well has a few awards. “Wicked” isn’t the only new “Wizard of Oz” movie on it’s way. “The wonderful Wizard of Oz”, the original novel by L. Frank Baum is being adapted to the Hollywood screen. Wo r k ing on the movie is Darren Lemke, writer of “Shrek Forever After” and who has already written a complete draft of a script. This Photo courtesy of LA Times movie is expected to open the doors to future movie adaptation of the other books Baum wrote in his serious about the magical Land of Oz. Another movie about the city of Oz on its way to theatres. According to the Huffington Post, the remake of this original classic will be “darker and more action-packed.” With young starlet, Dakota Fanning lined up to play Dorthy’s granddaughter, this movie will pick up where the original “Wizard of Oz” left off. Fanning will return to presentday Emerald City to fight evil, as modeled by the original. With “The Wizard of Oz’ being such a cherished classic in Hollywood, the city of stars is expected to open its arms to these newest projects with excitement.

Hyped up movies don’t always deserve the attention Josh Vasquez Staff Writer

At one point or another we have all been victims of overly hyped movies, movies with expectations so great that they could never live up to them. On the other hand, there are movies that deserve to be seen but receive little attention from viewers. So why is it that some movies succeed while others fail? Over the past few years, many box office records have been broken. The ‘Twilight Saga: New Moon’, for example, made $26.3 million on its midnight opening, the biggest in domestic history. Despite the film’s box office success, it received generally negative reviews. According to Rotten Tomatoes, only 28 percent of 199 critics reviewed the film favorably. ‘The Twilight Saga: New Moon’ takes the tepid achievement of ‘Twilight’, guts it, and leaves it for undead,” said critic Roger Ebert in his review. In January 2009, a movie titled “Moon” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was later given a limited theatrical release in parts of New York and Los Angeles. The film’s total domestic box office revenue was just over $5 million. The budget for the film was $5 million. 89 percent of 167 critics gave the film a positive review according to Rotten Tomatoes. “Moon” won 14 of its 21 award nominations including the BAFTA Film Award for Best Director Debut.

Other box office bombs are Sahara, Catwoman and Land of the Lost. Photo courtesy by

We have no way of knowing whether or not we will like a movie before it is released. Something has to spark our interest before we see it, whether it’s a trailer, a review or a plot synopsis. “When a movie looks so interesting in the trailers and looks like it’s going to be something new then that’s what really makes me want to see a movie,” said freshman Krystal Soltani. More often than not, advertising for movies is so overdone and over-hyped that when the movie is finally released, viewers are generally disappointed. These movies are given so much attention that people take the hype and excitement and can do whatever they want with it. “Someone told me that ‘Paranormal Activity’ was supposed to be the scariest movie of the last 30 years,” said junior Tyler Gable. “It wasn’t scary at all, it was just boring. I didn’t like it at all.” Paranormal Activity is a perfect example of a movie being over-hyped. The story and idea of it are original enough, especially in the horror genr but when it’s advertised as “the scariest movie of the last 30 years,” expectations are high and can’t possibly be met. Going into a movie, you have to keep an open mind. If you are being dragged against your will to see a chick flick with your girlfriend or going to the midnight premiere of a movie you’ve been waiting to see for months, know that your opinion of the movie before you see it could change by the end.


When one first glances at Falafel’s Drive-In, he or she might wonder, “Why am I at this hole-in-the-wall restaurant? Surely I can get something better at a McDonalds or something…” But don’t walk away so quickly. This falafel joint down the street from Valley Fair mall may look a bit shabby, but it’s been featured on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-In’s, and Dives,” and for a darn good reason. On their special menu, they have their signature combination. We tested the signature “Large Falafel and Banana Shake”. Their falafel was bring-youon-your-knees-and-weep-with-joy delicious. We were hesitant to try their signature banana shake at first because we thought the taste would completely clash with the taste of the falafel, but it was friggen delicious. Everything was fresh and prepared right before us. Not only was theirs the best falafel we’ve ever had in our lives, but it was the best food we’ve even eaten in our lives. - Vivian Nguyen and Annie Jung

Lauren Tanaka Staff Writer

In conclusion, “Incarceron” never slowed down for me. Finn and Claudia are both the central characters and they alternate chapters to tell their adventures. By formatting the novel this way, I felt that I was reading two books in one, and at the end, both of the stories became cohesive. Finn’s and Claudia adventure kept unfolding new twists in the plot keeping me constantly intrigued. Fisher captured my attention at the beginning of every chapter and kept me captivated for the chapters to come. She writes effortlessly, her words flowing like mercury: shiny and deadly. From page one, I was hooked and I am still hooked waiting for “Sapphique”, the sequel, to be unveiled in America so I can continue this whirlwind of adventure.

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Incarceron is a prison like no other. The Prison is alive and has a mind of its own. Author Catherine Fisher debuts her British novel “Incarceron” to the Americans, and it’s an adventure like no other. Incarceron is a unique sealed prison where fear conquers all, where all the inmates are under the constant watch of the Warden and the red eyes, and where there is absolutely no escape. Finn, a 17-year-old prisoner, believes that he was from the Outside of Incarceron, but has lost his childhood memories. His inmates don’t believe him that there is an Outside of Incarceron, but Finn proves them wrong as he tries to escape Incarceron to the Outside with the help of a crystal key and a girl named Claudia. Claudia lives Outside Incarceron and yet she

feels imprisoned. Her father, the Warden of Incarceron, is forcing her into an arranged marriage. Through her crystal key, she thinks that she can help Finn escape, but in return, Finn must help her as well. But Incarceron harbors deep secrets, making escape seem impossible. “Incarceron” starts off with a somewhat rough patch despite that the beginning chapter exploded in my face, grabbing my attention. The description of the situation is realistic in expressing Finn’s fear, but it was hard to visualize where this was all taking place. Fisher doesn’t provide enough visual information about Incarceron, and reveals more description about the Prison throughout Finn’s adventure and yet as a reader, I felt that I never had a solid image of Incarceron but just a fuzzy uncertain image. Countering this set back, Fisher does a good job staying true to her characters; she focuses on making her characters realistic. All characters haves a goal, a specific personality, problems that they must resolve and morals that the characters fight and struggle internally.

Photo courtesy of Sally McBurney

As our first falafel experience, Viv and I were tentatively excited about how the food would taste. When we walked into the establishment, though, we were hit with a delicious aroma and immediately agreed, “Whatever it is, it smells freakin’ good!” We peered curiously at other customers’ plates and speculated until our orders were ready. We took our first bites and... “Mmmmm!” The falafel was a pleasant texture, with the right amount of spice and vegetables in the wrap. Viv also ordered their baklava. She says it was quite delicious, though quite a bit oily. - Annie Jung and Vivian Nguyen From the decor, ambience, and food itself, the experience of Kabob Dot Com was one that was exceedingly disappointing. The service was unimpressive. The artwork that hung on the walls were of completely unrelated French haute cuisine restaurants. The place itself was rather dingy and very small, with absolutely no atmosphere to recommend it. And the actual falafel was extremely disappointing. It was more a burrito that had a few decent falafel balls on one side, and a wall of straight cilantro and greens on the other. I struggled to finish the wall of cilantro before rewarding myself with the falafel. - Annie Jung

two novels “Alice in Wonderland” is based on, it adds a newfound layer of meaning to a story everyone generally knows, but never understands. The Mad Hatter, which could be one of Johnny Depp’s most eccentric and literally colorful roles yet, is not simply mad in Burton’s remake, for instance. Instead of only being a maniacal tea party host, the Hatter becomes a sidekick to Alice, guiding her through the maze of Wonderland (which is actually named Underland) until she understands her mission. The Red Queen and White Queen’s battle for the crown also becomes more than just a raging war. As their history as siblings unfolds throughout the movie, the attitude of the Red Queen becomes a little more understood, as it is explained she is acting against the favoritism her parents placed on her younger sister, the White Queen. Besides the enjoyable tale the plot weaves by following Alice’s journey in Wonderland and the character development that makes the audience feel as if insanity is merely an extension of creativity and emotion, the attention to details paid in “Alice in Wonderland” eas-

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Generally, falling down has negative connotations. Imagine your reaction falling down and bumping your head, falling down into mud, falling down and breaking a leg. Falling down a rabbit hole, on the other hand, is a whole different story; one magnificently told in this case by Tim Burton and his all-star cast in “Alice in Wonderland”. What begins as a story revolving around an engagement party quickly turns into an imaginative adventure filled with vivid colors, as 19-year-old Alice, played by Mia Wasikowka, runs away from a man proposing to her in order to follow a frantic, white rabbit with a pocket watch. Thus begins a retelling of Disney’s first take on “Alice and Wonderland”, right? Not exactly. Alice’s mission in Burton’s remake is to kill the dragon-like Jabberwocky in order to end the reign of the Red Queen, played by Helena Bonham Carter, and return the crown to the White Queen, portrayed by Anne Hathaway. While this new story strays from the original plots of Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass” and “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”, the

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Throughout Tim Burton’s illustrious film career, he has had many recurring collaborations with actors and other artists. Probably the most longlasting of these collaborations is with composer Danny Elfman, who scored all but two of Burton’s films. Though Elfman has always seemed to capture the feel of these movies quite beautifully, the soundtrack for Burton’s re-imagining of “Alice in Wonderland” takes a completely different direction, without even one classical song featured. The soundtrack, titled “Almost Alice,” is composed of original songs inspired by the new film and covers of songs from the animated film by modern pop and rock acts. The genres range from pop to hard rock and everything in between including bands like Owl City, Wolfmother, 3OH!3 and a highly anticipated collaboration between Blink 182’s, Mark Hoppus and Fall Out Boy’s, Pete Wentz. Although the bands don’t seem to be a fitting choice for a Tim Burton movie soundtrack, most of the songs fit well with both each other and the feel of the movie. Songs like “Her Name is Alice” by Shinedown and “Welcome to Mystery” by Plain


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White T’s sound like they could be in the film as part of the score. Owl City’s “The Technicolor Phase” is exactly what you would expect from the artist with its unbelievably catchy and poppy chorus and electronic elements. The song from the animated film, “Very Good Advice,” is translated extremely well by The Cure vocalist, Robert Smith. As Burton took the animated movie and made it “real”, Smith took this song and did the same. Smith manages to deliver the most standout song on the soundtrack. All Time Low’s rendition of “Painting Flowers” pulls off the sound and feel that would fit the film, but mostly comes off as boring and uninspired. The Hoppus, Wentz’s song, “In Transit” is a good song but with a collaboration as big as this, most would probably expect more as the song doesn’t sound like both artists as much as just a Mark Hoppus song. The most forgettable song on the album is Kerli’s “Tea Party” which seems to be trying very hard to be crazy and over the top like pop stars like Lady Gaga or Ke$ha. This dance track feels very out of place on the soundtrack, as does 3OH!3’s “Follow Me Down.” Overall, most of the artists featured on the soundtrack draw inspiration from the movie to make great songs that fit the movie extremely well. On the other hand, the side of the album that was trying to reach the MTV demographic took over too much and threw the album off balance.

ily makes the money spent on a ticket to see this film worth while. The bright-multicolored mushrooms that grew spontaneously in Wonderland and the architecture of the Red Queen’s heart adorned castle make it clear that Burton paid attention to every single aspect of this film. Each scene had just as much creativity and unique design in the background as in the foreground, making the whole movie a constant stream of “Did you see that?” Even Alice’s dresses matched the atmosphere around her, as she was forced to changed wardrobes with each growth spurt (or growth loss) she had. With memorable characters, intricate design and wonderful performances from all of the actors, “Alice in Wonderland” is definitely a film not to be missed. Anything but an ordinary children’s story, “Alice in Wonderland” enchants and entrances, making the movie seem more like an amusement park ride than a two-hour film. So excellent job, Tim Burton. No one will be screaming, “Off with his head!” at you.

Is there sexism in cheering? Tradition may explain why cheerleaders only cheer at boys’ games Jordan Boomsliter Business Manager ` For as long as cheerleaders have waved pom-poms, underlying themes of sexism have been whispered about by spectators at sporting events; words such as “exploitation” have been associated with short skirts, phrases like “girl power” and “gender exclusive” applied to the squads’ sex. But now another gender-associated aspect of cheering has been added to the whispers: who the squad cheers for. At Leigh, and at schools across the country, it is a common practice for cheerleading teams to attend only the games of boys’ teams, and not the girls’. This policy is neither fair nor equal in the treatment and support of teenage athletes; if one gender is receiving some kind support from the school, the other should receive it as well. “We’ve never considered it before. It’s just something we do,” said Leigh cheer advisor Michelle Mayhew. While this is not a malicious or exclusionary action for the majority of the squads, it does have a negative effect on high school athletes as a whole. These effects are felt particularly by female athletes at Leigh. “It’s hard being a girl athlete and not having as much support from the school as the guys do. We work just as hard as they do,” said freshman Kendra Schultz. Other lady Longhorns share Schultz’s sentiments, and silently wish for support equal to their male peers;

support that, according to an important education amendment to the Constitution, is owed to them. Title IX, a section of the Educational Amendments put into effect in 1972, highlights the rights for students in school, both in academics and sports. The amendment states “No person in the U.S. shall, on the basis of sex be excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educa-

hundreds of cheer squads continue to cheer exclusively for boys’ teams, largely due to an overwhelming workload. “It would absolutely be too much for the same team to attend both games all the time,” said Jim Lord, Executive Director of the American Association for Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators (AACCA). However, in order to maintain fairness and equality amidst all sports programs, Schultz feels they should arrange to make time for both games. “Yes I think cheerleaders should cheer at girls’ games because it would encourage more people to come to the girls’ games and they deserve that,” she said. And while some maintain that they cannot fit the extra games into their schedule, other members of the Leigh squad are impartial. “It really doesn’t matter to me. I don’t have a problem with the extra games. It’s our job,” said freshman Photo by Shannon Keener Emilie Grochowski. Varsity Cheer team at the Nationals in “I’m always open to suggestions; Disneyland, where they won second we can figure something out,” said place. Mayhew. Lord offers a solution that bentional program or activity receiving efits both parties, and offers equal supfederal aid.” port to all athletes while not overwork This clause ensures that every ing the squads. student receives the same “benefits” in “I think you have to start with sports programs, and I would include the understanding that cheerleading is the encouragement of other teams or an ingrained part of the Friday Night school-related programs. Within this Lights football scene. Cheer has to be excerpt, I suggest, is the promise that there. But following that, there are cheerleaders should offer equal support some options that can make this situto girls and boys. ation work: Alternate weeks for basket Even with the enforcement of Ti- ball. Cheer boys this week, cheer girls tle IX and other state-wide regulations, the next,” said Lord. In the end, Lord concurs that the current policy does have its flaws, while doing the best it can to be fair to the cheerleaders and the athletes. “No, it’s not fair, but it’s also not just about boys’ and girls’ teams. It can’t be solved with a simple edict that cheerleaders will cheer at everything. It’s about fairness as well as what is best for all students including the cheerleaders themselves,” said Lord. Equality is in the mix, but we need to take a more decisive stance before the whispers in the bleachers are legitimized by open neglect of our ladies.

School spirit has gone above and beyond Outrageous styles showing up for school sports laughed Besar Madzar, another junior on the varsity soccer team. Boys soccer is not the only team Walking down the ashen hall- that likes to switch things up. Leigh’s ways of Leigh High School day by day, wrestlers have altered their ordinary aplife can get a bit monotonous. You see pearances as well. “The wrestling team bleached the same thing every time-- the same teacher rushing to her classroom, the their hair for our league finals, but I same group of people clustered along decided to dye my hair instead,” said the walls, and the same hustle and Martin Gonzalez, a junior on the varbustle that is essentially high school. sity wrestling team whose hair is now However, lucky for us, this is only part the lime green color of antifreeze. “I’d probably do any rally with my team if of our lives. Just before you succumb to your they all got involved,” he continued. Our lady longhorns show their ever-present boredom, think about spirit with what you are major fashmissing that ion stateis making ments. They your life so wear colormiserable. ful kneeThe answer high socks, is spirit, Marti-Gras something beads, huge that we all sunglasses, know our clown suits, athletic anything teams are you could not short imagine. of. Team “We try spirit is the to get the glue that school to binds team come watch members Photo by Zack Galou our games together. F o r Keenan Wolfe shows off his mohawk even by dressing e x a m p l e , after the team participated in their hair state- up. It’s rement and soccer practices were over. ally fun,” the boys explained soccer team sophomore is sporting a new and edgy hair cut, the mohawk. Danielle Koehne of the girls varsity They, along with a few other sports soccer team. The softball players also like to teams, accomplished a spot in a play- off tournament known as the Central change up their style on special occasions. Coast Section, or CCS. “We rally to get people pumped “We got mohawks for the CCS tournament…it gets the team pumped up for our games, including us. Doing up!” explained Randy Randazzo, a ju- it reminds us that we have a game that day. It’s pretty cool,” said Ciera Lindsay, nior on the varsity soccer team. Not only did it jazz up the soccer a junior on the varsity softball team. Sports tend to pull people toteam and the rest of the school, a few of the players mentioned that they liked gether because they involve a great deal of spirit. If you take a group of people their new hair style. “I kind of like my mohawk; I and add in spirit, you will probably end don’t know if I’m going to keep it too up with a team that sticks together no long after CCS, but I’m glad I got it,” matter what. Shayna James Staff Writer

CCS sends Leigh varsity basket ball and soccer teams to playoffs Competition brings both grim and uplifting results for schools Kylie Brown Staff Writer Beginning Feb. 23, our very own varsity boys and girls soccer and basketball teams went to the CCS playoffs. Leigh sports teams compete in Central Coast Section, CCS, against schools ranging from San Francisco to King City. On average, CCS lasts for two to three weeks. CCS is a highly esteemed competition, so it is an honor for a high school sports team to make it to the playoffs. Teams trying to qualify for CCS are required to either place higher than a set number of other teams or surpass a certain number of teams in their division in points, which are determined by the said team’s amount of wins and what teams they play. Despite the skill and devotion it takes to make it to CCS, Leigh’s sports teams put up a fight to get there. “Our athletes here at Leigh are typically very talented in what they do. For a public school of our size, it is very seldom that we have students

getting Division 1 scholarships, but with us, it happens every year. As far as us making the CCS playoffs, we fair well in that category too. Each year we typically send at least one team from each season (three seasons in a school

Our varsity boys soccer team made it the furthest, fighting their way to the semi-finals. year),” said Coach Chris Perry, Athletic Director of Leigh’s Physical Education Department. This year, Leigh’s varsity soccer and varsity basketball teams, both boys and girls, have qualified for CCS, as well as a handful of individual athletes from cross country and wrestling. One of our wrestlers, Sebastien Chene, is now heading to an even higher pla-

teau, the state competition. CCS holds playoffs for an eclectic group of sports, including badminton, water polo, and lacrosse. Full teams aren’t necessarily mandatory, however. “All sports can qualify for CCS, but some only have individuals or pairs that go,” added Perry. Unfortunately, all four of our varsity teams that went have fallen short of winning. Our varsity girls soccer team lost to Presentation at the Feb. 27 quarter-finals. Tragically, our varsity basketball teams were defeated after only the first round for girls, and the second round for boys. Our varsity boys soccer team made it the furthest, fighting their way to the semi-finals but losing to Saint Francis, who went on to win the final match and the CCS crown. In the years Leigh High has been a part of CCS, our softball team has twice won the CCS playoffs. Despite Leigh sports teams’ athletic prowess, our basketball and soccer teams have yet to win. Maybe with better luck and improved skill next year, we can make Leigh High history.

Winter Olympics 2010

U.S. takes the lead in medal race Zack Galou Staff Writer The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver proved to be exciting for the US with our number of gold medals won. This year, we acquired considerably more medals than we did in the 2006 Winter Olympics, and took first place. In 2006, the US finished in second place with 25 total medals: nine gold, nine silver, and seven bronze. In contrast, this year 37 were won: nine gold, fifteen silver, and thirteen bronze, surpassing Germany who took second place and won 30 total: ten gold, thir-

teen silver, and seven bronze. We were tied with Norway for third for the most gold medals won. Germany was following close to the US throughout the majority of the time in Vancouver, but dedicated enthusiasts at Leigh High School initially predicted we would prevail. “Germany might [have beat us], but [Germany] losing [to Norway] after an 11 medal lead is improbable,” said junior Elias Saba. The medals won have been the result of strong, dedicated work by our nation's best athletes. Our strongest have won events such as snowboard cross, ski cross, Nordic combined, figure skating, freestyle snowboarding

and skiing, and downhill. Although we have won this year, the fight for top spot is never over. Soon the US will compete in the London 2012 Summer Olympics, and the future only holds more events for us to fight in. But in the meantime, this year has instigated a euphoric optimism for the public in hopes of us winning in the future.

final medal count U.S. - 9G, 15S, 13B (37 total) Germany - 10G, 13S, 7B (30 total) Canada - 14G, 7S, 5B (26 total) Norway - 9G, 8S, 6B (23 total)

Vancouver Games begin with tragic luge crash



Graphics courtesy of

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1. Kim Yu-Na strikes a pose as she performs to the music of James Bond in her short program; the 19-year-old went on to win the gold medal. Kim is currently ranked first in the world by the Internationey team ock h al Skating Union (ISU). ice

en 2 . Sv Mem3. bers of the U.S. men’s ice hockey ,S team celou th K ebrate after orea 5. Evan beating CanLysacek crossada 5-3 in a es his fingers as he preliminar y waits for the scores of match. Their U k, his free skate program; victory created 5. Evan Lysace he defeated three-time quite an uproar, though et ra Olympic medalist Evgeni Canada ended up winning the gold Ma jdic, Slovenia Plushenko to become the medal. first American to win the men’s 3. Sven Kramer despairs after the men’s 10,000 meter figure skating gold medal since Bri- speed-skating event. He finished first in Olympic record time but was an Boitano in 1988. Plushenko’s disqualified because his coach, Gerald Kemkers, mistakenly yelled at snarky response: “I suppose Evan him to change lanes. needs a medal more than I do. 4. Petra Majdic is helped up onto the medal stand. After a nasty fall Maybe it’s because I’ve already got during training, Majdic skiied in the women’s cross-country skiing event one.” with four broken ribs and a damaged lung to win bronze. Na Yu 1. Kim

P 4.

The bobsledding team is speeding down the track at 90 miles per hour! They’re almost at the end of the track. Suddenly, blackness. What happened? A man on the TV is now telling me that the coverage is being switched to the United States vs. Canada hockey match. Hockey players are now flying across the screen with only two minutes left in the third period. This incident occurred nationwide on Feb. 21. It was one of many and happened because NBC, owning the rights to the Olympics, was not able to show both events at once with only one channel. “The good thing is they have replays, but I would rather watch it live,” explained freshman Stephanie Mcdowell, who also attended the winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. If NBC would simply allow other networks to broadcast the Olympics, they wouldn’t have had this problem. After all, it is an international event. Not only was there only one channel, but NBC would also air certain events hours after they actually happened to play them during primetime. Since the events were shared later to the west coast, people

would end up at Yahoo’s homepage and see the results of an Alpine skiing competition that was about to be aired. “It's kind of dumb, we’re in the same time zone as them, so it's like, 'why can't we see them live?’” said sophomore Frankie Hendriks. To avoid this problem NBC should simply air the events live and replay them later during primetime. That way they would at least still get the same number of viewers. “Record one and watch the other, or change the channels continuously or watch the more important one,” advised sophomore Paulius Jurevicius as a simple way to avoid missing an event. Others had contrasting feelings about this dilemma. “It’s kind of dumb, but I don’t really think it’s a problem. It’s all about having the most viewers, and if you played Olympics all day long, chances are, ratings are going to be low,” said Hendriks. If the Olympics were simply aired live for the west coast we would be able to see the events with the rest of the world and not have to wait and possibly find out from the internet. Now when you’re watching Apolo Ohno speeding his way past his opponent, enjoy it, because you never know when a snowboarder might just appear out of nowhere.

Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Games - The paralympic games started March 12 and will end on March 22. - Athletes from over 40 countries from around the world, including the U.S., will be participating. - Athletic events are alpine skiing, the biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice sledge hockey, and wheelchair curling. - Highlights from the Paralympic Games will be broadcast on TV throughout the duration of the games.

Photos courtesy of, Bruce Bennet, Getty Images, Mike Segar, -

Rachel Stein Staff Writer

pushed back. dent and its affect on the people of Many worried that the technical Georgia. difficulty of the course and a lack of Kumaritashvili’s death changed practice time the tone of would end up the Winter in one catasOlympics trophe after before it had another. even begun. "What The Gregorican I say? Our an team wore family is devblack bands astated,” said on their arms Kumaritashin rememvili’s father brance of David. their teamPhoto courtesy of “I re- Candles are lit at a memorial set up in mem- mate. One member when teammate ory of Nodar Kumaritashvili and located atop we first found was so disWhistler Peak, the site of his accident. out. My whole turbed by family cried. I had tears in my eyes. A the accident that he refused to com20-year-old who went there with his pete in the Winter Games. hopes and dreams lost his life,” said “If I made it to the Olympics, Ana Kovziridze from the Republic and worked [that] hard to get there, I of Georgia. Kovziridze traveled from would die for my sport,” said junior Georgia to talk about the fatal acci- Terra Steadman.

Kr am er, N etherlands

NBC’s selective coverage of Olympic events disappoints viewers

Though Kumaritahvili was in good hands, his fate had been decided, and at 21-years-old, he died at the trauma center. Officials concluded that the accident had not occurred from a technical error of Canada’s ten million dollar luge course, but an error from the conductor of the sled. "What I can say for sure, and the whole luge community around the globe is saying the same thing, is that if the track's fence had been higher, Nodar would be with us today," said Felix Kumaritashvili, Kumaritashvili’s coach and uncle. Still, safety measures were taken. Officials claimed they would raise the wall where Kumaritashvili flew off, they would modify the final turn where he crashed, and erect a wooden wall over the steel beams to protect the athletes from further injuries. Officials delayed the reopening of the track, which caused sessions to be

.S .A.

50 chance at a perfect turn with no difficulties. When Kumaritahvili reached his turn he lost control and slid diagonally, hitting a corner of the track feet-first. He was then knocked off his sled and flew into the opposite direction. The young Olympian hit head first on an unpadded support pole before reaching a stop on the metal walkway. His sled made it to the finish line, but he did not. Near the finish line, spectators watched with expressions of disbelief. The rescue team, by chance, had been very close by and was by his side in a matter of seconds.


Georgia’s Nodar Kumaritashvili died in a tragic accident on Feb. 12, a loss for the people of Georgia, his family and teammates. Georgia’s hopeful luger had finally made it to the Olympics. After hard training for hours on end, the dream seemed too close to be possible. But as Kumaritahvili trained on Vancouver’s Olympic luge track, he was about to near the finish line with his sixteenth practice turn of the course when his accident took place. This particular turn was called the “Thunderbird” due to fast speed, and tricky maneuvering. Many lugers consider this turn to be a 50-

Olympian dies at age 21, officials scramble to increase safety measures

2. U.S. m en ’s

Rachel Robell Staff Writer


sign of the month Learn how to say “Happy St. Patrick’s Day”

Test your musical knowledge and guess this song lyric! HINT: St. Patrick’s Day could be considered this band’s holiday.




lyric of the month

Creepin’ on teachers

I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies This is the dawning of the rest of our lives

Facebook Fanpages go a little too far Viv Nguyen Opinion Editor So you must’ve noticed the massive influx of fanned paged on the homepage of your Facebook. I know, I see it too, but a new type of fan page has sprung up on all of our home pages apart from the usual “I hate __” and “I love ___”: Fan pages for your teachers. According to every teacher’s favorite resource, Cliffnotes, during the late 1920s, students began to give teachers apples as a sign of respect and appreciation. Apple giving is still being done now through various sorts of media (such as TV and cartoons). Thanks to the Internet and all of the wonderful things it contains, students have stepped up their appreciation to a brand new level, eons in front of the apple-giving days.

Several students who have graduated or are still attending Leigh High School have made tributes to their favorite teachers on Facebook. As of 2007, both groups and fan pages have appeared on Facebook. The pioneers of these being two groups about two separate English teachers here on campus, Mike White and Rob Warren. “It was a joke,” said creator and Leigh alumnus Jenna Conway on the origins of Warren’s group. “[When Mr. Warren found out] fellow creator Marisa Gomez and I nearly vomited and then considered going into the witness protection program.” More recently, sophomore Tobias Bleisch made a fan page about history teacher David Smith titled “Waiting for Mr. Smith to say ‘Claaaaaaassss’....” “I made it because I wanted to

make an original group that only people from Mr. Smith’s previous class could join,” claimed Bleisch. “Everyone is always talking about how funny Mr. Smith’s quotes are.” The fan page reports the famous catchphrases that Smith utters every so often, often quoted by students past and present. All of this love and appreciation for teachers may come across as flattering, but has the potential be inappropriate as well. “That’s why I’m leery of it,” stated White. “It could undermine a teacher’s professional standing in the community.” “It’s nice to hear that students like me, but also there’s a certain line that shouldn’t be crossed,” said Warren. The internet itself harbors many things about teachers, but it’s not that

the strip

we can’t stop them, it’s just a matter of finding them. “The thing about the internet is you really don’t have much control about what goes on there,” stated Smith. With enough snooping, you can probably find something more humorous about a teacher at school. In some cases, online groups about teachers can also be classified as “cyber-bullying”. The New York Times reports that a student from a South Florida high school was suspended for making a Facebook Fanpage, with the school claiming that it was “cyber bullying”. “[The student] turned to Facebook to vent her frustration,” wrote Carmen Gentile of the New York Times. “Evans [the student] created a Facebook page titled ‘Ms. Sarah

Comic by Beth Askins, staff writer

Phelps is the worst teacher I’ve ever had’ and invited past and current students of Ms. Phelps to post their own comments,” resulting in her own suspension. With the student suing the school back for suppressing her rights to free speech, we see that with these fan pages come a different mix of emotions. The praise we give to our teachers isn’t giving apples and Starbucks gift cards anymore. We dedicate our time [to do homework] and effort [to study] for making webpages for them. “[Facebook] is just a virtual senior lawn,” claimed Smith. Students are always going to talk about teachers, but each generation will have a new way to show their appreciation.

The Eleight March 2010 edition  

Leigh high school newspaper

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