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Lynbrook places third at IDC Fantastics due to a lack of support BY PRACHI LAUD & KASTURI PANTVAIDYA


UHSD held its second annual IDC Fantastics event on Friday Dec. 7 at Cupertino High School. Lynbrook placed third out of five schools, while Homestead won second and Monta Vista took first place. Twenty athletes from Lynbrook competed against students from four other FUHSD high schools in nine different events. There were also many performances representing each school. One participant, senior Anthony Huang, believed that there was much room for improvement; however, the performances were a great addition to the event. “If we hadn’t started practicing just 2 days before, we could have done so much better. I think it was because of the lack of Lynbrook supporters as well as practice,” he said. With a total of nine games, the competition was close between all the schools, considering that there were five schools competing. IDC Representatives prepared the athletes to the best of their abilities,, hosting practices to brief the athletes on each game they would be playing. “The competition was a lot of fun and was

put together really well, but was also slightly a disappointment because we won last year. I think we were all expecting a win; but overall, we worked well together,” said senior Shaelyn Silverman. This year’s IDC Fantastics was different from last year’s, modified to increase student participation and enthusiasm by including performances from each school, said Lynbrook IDC Representative junior Sarah Tang. Lynbrook sophomore Gautam Nair performed “Home” by Michael Buble. “I took IDC Fantastics as an opportunity to show [FUHSD] something new,” said Nair. The Monta Vista Bhangra team, a boys dance group from Cupertino, and the Homestead drum majors also performed. Part of the points awarded to each school were for enthusiasm and cheering. Each school was given fifteen seconds to cheer for their athletes at the end of the games, and was judged on their spirit. Due to a lack of supporters, Lynbrook settled for third place overall, but did well in several other games. “We’re trying to reach out to more people, not only getting people to participate as in playing in the games, but also people cheer-


HUMAN TABLE| Clockwise: Seniors James Otani, Shaelyn Silverman, Anthony Huang and Rebecca Yang try to keep the human table standing in order to win.

ing in the stands and overall representing the school so it’s not just a concentrated event for the athletes,” Tang said. FUHSD put more effort into increasing interest for IDC Fantastics this year after a disappointing show last year by adding new incentives like a trophy crafted by IDC Representatives Ophelia Ding and Akash Anavarathan from Cupertino High School “to have something to hold on to and create more school pride” after the games, said Tang. There were more also more student spectators that attended IDC Fantastics this year as opposed to last year . “A lot of people were unsure about what was going on because it was the first time,” said Tang, reflecting on the event attendance. This year, 80 students attended the event as spectators compared to 60 last year. This was a disadvantage for Lynbrook considering the fact that other schools brought close to 150 students, excluding participants. Part of the promotion effort at Lynbrook was publicity through the Lynbrook High School and IDC Fantastics Facebook groups. Many students learned about the event via the Facebook group, including participant

STUCK| From left to right: senior James Otani, sophomore Pranav Vaish, junior Gary Chen, freshman Joshua Otani and senior Anthony Huang the five-legged race.

junior Connor Wen. There has been debate over whether tryouts should be held for athletes wishing to participate next year. While other high schools in the district held tryouts to determine participants and performers, Lynbrook IDC representatives attempted to keep selection as fair as possible. “We don’t want to create it into another competition where you have to try out to represent your school,” Tang said. “Although its nice to win, I think spirit is much more important,” Wen agreed, “This can only be achieved if we give all students an equal opportunity to be an athlete.” “IDC Fantastics helps schools to bond because it gives the kids a chance to come together at once,” said senior Emily Fong, a participant from 2011 IDC Fantastics. “At this event, there’s easily a sense of community in your own school as well as your own district.” The purpose of IDC Fantastics was to increase school unity and healthy competition between the schools in the district, something that could definitely be seen as the various comical school mascots slow danced together during Nair’s musical rendition.

THIS IS WHY VICTOR LOST WEIGHT| Freshman Esther Ho and junior Connor Wen drag Victor the Viking across the court as they try to win the chariot race.

New school policy permits after-school use of athletic facilities BY KHAYA BHATIA & SHOUVIK MANI


he new Lynbrook athletic facilities, which includes the track and fields are now open to the community after the FUHSD Board of Trustees unanimously approved a change in the board policy on Sept. 18 to express gratitude towards the community for passing the $198 million Measure B bond in June 2008 to fund field renovations. Community use hours for the fields will be from sunrise until the first bell on school days and from sunrise to sunset on weekends and holidays. The athletic fields, however, will be unavailable when educational or athletic programs are in session. Even though the athletic facilities are open to the public now, club sport teams need to rent out the space in order to use them. This will help increase support towards Lynbrook sport teams, according to School Facilities Manager Steve Chamberlain.

“The main difference from before to now has been the fact that sports teams need to rent out the athletic fields through the district if they want to use them,” said ex-Athletic Director Linda Nichols. “Before, not many people wanted to use the fields but now because they are nicer and more modernized, the field use has definitely increased.” Because of this, Lynbrook was able to hold the field hockey playoffs for the first time ever in Lynbrook history. The district has also hired a company to open and close gates every weekend. Before, the gates were open throughout the weekend; they are now open from sunrise to sunset. In addition, only the gates to the tennis court and on Walbrook Way will be open to the public during weekends. “This will help to insure the fields are available to the neighborhood as much as possible,” Chamberlain said. “The basic policy objective is to make sure the new fields are

available to the public before and after school and on the weekends during daylight hours for non-organized sports use. Lynbrook’s field policy now resembles that of Prospect High School, which allows open access to its front field during non-school hours. Whereas the community used the fields less before this year due to the low quality of facilities, there has been an increase in the use of the athletic fields since renovations were completed in June. Members around the community have positively responded to this change with appreciation, especially those in the neighborhood who use the track and fields. Many students at Lynbrook are now able to use the fields on weekends. “I think it’s great that they opened up the fields because everyone can have the opportunity to play whenever they want to,” said junior Sebastian Ramirez, who uses the field to practice soccer on weekends.

Boys’ Soccer • pg. 13

Calabazas library awaiting funds M

embers of the San Jose City Council submitted a new budget for the 2013 fiscal year, which would allow the Calabazas Branch Library to reopen spring 2013. Construction on the library was completed May 2012, but the City’s General Fund does not have enough funding to hire new staff members and has also experienced difficulty calling back staff members previously laid off due to the construction. The grand re-opening had been scheduled for summer 2011, but the cost of opening and running the library exceeded the budget allotment for the 2012 to 2013 fiscal year. Library operations are funded primarily by the City’s General Fund, which supports the majority of city service such as park maintenance and police work. The library is also financed in part by a special parcel tax which was paid by San Jose property owners. This funding, however, was reserved specifically for construction. According to Councilmember Jerad Ferguson, it cannot be used for operating the library

without going through an extensive voting process in order to approve the redistribution of the allotted money. “San Jose voters approved a special bond measure in 2000 that funded construction of the new library branches in the City,” Ferguson said. “The City Council could not have made changes without going back and obtaining voter approval.” City Manager Debra Figone appraised San Jose’s overall budget deficit to be around $22 million in the next fiscal year, which begins on July 1, 2013. Despite the city’s overall budget deficit, it has been able to set aside a portion of the funding in order to counteract some of the consequences that city services might have to experience. Hours at existing branches of the San Jose Public Library have been cut back, and although hours at certain libraries have been restored, they are not quite at the level they used to be. The city has also begun a fiscal reform plan, which should create additional savings for the City’s General Fund. “I feel really frustrated that the library is still not open because I can see the books

inside, but I’m not allowed to use it,” senior Pranav Singh said. “I have to go a lot farther to access library resources. I’m really excited for it to open up again because it has been closed forever, and it’s at a really convenient location for me.” Once the new library is open, it will provide users with many new services unavailable at the previous library. The old library stood at 5,880 square feet, seated 42 people, and contained 11 computers for public use. The new library stands at approximately 10,000 square feet, seats approximately 60 people, and has 20 computers for public use. There will also be a large community room available for reservation, as well as a study room, a larger children’s book area and an internet café. “Councilmember Constant will be working closely with the San Jose Library Foundation in the next several months on fundraising prior to the re-opening of the library,” says Ferguson. “This additional funding will allow the new branch to offer even more new and exciting resources and services when the library opens, on top of what has already been planned.”




Letter from the editors For the last issue of 2012, the Epic conducted a school-wide poll and interviewed students in order to explore the types of motivation at Lynbrook. Check out our centerspread (pg. 8) to see what motivates Lynbrook students to study and how specific students have discovered their personal passions. Taking data from our surveys, we have classified the top factors that influence students’ motivation by class and gender and disclosed other percentages. Find out what exactly empowers Lynbrook students with the unrelenting drive that our school is famous for, and hear the discussion on whether this is something to be celebrated. Wondering what’s up with the new library? Our story on the Calabazas Library (pg. 2) delves into the circumstances surrounding its postponed opening. Flip several pages forward to the staff editorial (pg. 4) to read more on the topic and find out the staff’s opinion on the issue. Find out what’s happening on the oppo-

site side of the globe through two staffers’ debate on the Israel-Palestine con�lict (pg. 4). Here, we discuss the conflict from the perspectives of both sides and compare and contrast opposing views. Then, take a look at some student models (pg. 6) and learn about two seniors’ endeavors in starting their own apparel line. Feeling stressed for first semester finals? Flip to pg. 10 and learn about some anxiety disorders prevalent on campus and how different students suffer from paranoia and stress. Unsure of what to do during break? Be sure to check out our news briefs (pg. 3) for more details on other holiday activities planned in San Jose. From the staff of the Epic, we wish you a merry Christmas, a safe break as well as a happy New Year. Our staff is honored and glad to have provided you with issues of the Epic throughout this first semester. Furthermore, we’re excited to continue bringing professional and cutting-edge journalism to you for the remainder of the school year. We hope that you will enjoy this issue. Check in with our website,; our Twitter, @lynbrookepic; and our Tumblr, Please feel free to email us at enc.epic@ if you have any questions, comments or concerns. We are always happy to respond to our readers, and we hope to continue a strong relationship with students and staff alike as we enter a new year. Happy reading,

Shannon Chai, Irene Hsu & Sabrina Shie

International club passed for ELD students BY ANAND CHUKKA


nternational Club was unanimously passed by legislative council on Nov. 8 as the first organization on campus catering to immigrant students. Its mission is to create a better environment for English Language Development (ELD) students at Lynbrook. Of the 35 students in the ELD class, 33 were interested in becoming members of the club. Senior Ivy Wu and junior Rex Yun, copresidents of International Club, started the club to help ELD students integrate into the community after experiencing frustration, and loneliness as ELD students. Co-President Rex Yun said, “Us ELD students sit in the cafeteria, because we have nowhere else to sit during lunch, and it makes us feel lonely.” This new club attempts to overcome the feeling of being excluded due to language barriers. The officers are working to create a collaborative environment where ELD students can come together outside of class to improve on their English and socialize. “Many people get frustrated talking to us because it takes us so long to say stuff and we don’t speak very good English,” Wu said. “We realized that we can’t try to change all of Lynbrook to be more accepting of ELD students, so we are trying to make ourselves fit into Lynbrook,” said Yun. The club plans to use tutors to help translate the college application process, since most applications and standardized tests

must be completed in English, using tutors who would sign up after joining the club. The officers also plan to introduce college planning presentations, SAT vocabulary training sessions and internship opportunities to improve the club members’ English. They hope these activities will give the ELD students more self confidence and better English skills. They also hope to create a tutoring system, similar to the Students Tutors Tutees Achieving Results (STTAR) tutors, according to Wu. The program would involve students who are proficient in both English and the ELD student’s native language to help with difficult words in certain subjects, such as biology. “ELD Students are much more intelligent than people think, but we don’t get recognized because we can’t say what we really think,” said Yun. Additionally, International Club plans to emphasize the annual ELD speech contest held throughout the FUHSD. All ELD students must participate in the speech contest as part of their ELD curriculum. The officers ar e planning on hosting speech preparation nights, and holding seminars to improve ELD students’ speaking skills. Wu said, “We did really well on the speech contest, and we want to bring that success to all the ELD students and raise their self-confidence.” International Club will meet on Mondays during lunch in room 204 beginning second semester.

News In Brief

InDesign holds makeup tutorial

Winter Formal The theme is “Till the World Ends.” The dance will be held Dec. 20 from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Decathalon Club in Santa Clara. Tickets will be pre-sold for $50 per person all week. Professional photography will be available for purchase. There will be a ping pong table, air hockey table and a movie screening in the lounge during the event. Winter Concert

The Lynbrook Music Department will be hosting its annual Winter Concert on Dec. 12 and 13 from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the auditorium. The bands, choirs and orchestra will be performing. Tickets will be sold for $8 at the top of the quad starting Dec. 10. There will be a short intermission during which snacks will be sold. PTSA WOW

The Lynbrook PTSA is forming a WOW Project Team to develop creative campus enhancement projects that will benefit the school in the future. The team is currently accepting project suggestions and will present the top three projects for a vote at an upcoming PTSA general meeting. Suggestions or requests for a formal presentation opportunity should be sent to Kim Silverman at Piano Club Concert

Piano Club will be holding a winter concert on Dec. 14 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the auditorium. Admission is free and snacks will be provided. This was previously an annual concert, but Piano Club is now aiming to hold at least one concert per semester. By Rani Mavram and Henry Shangguan


FACES IN FOCUS| Student volunteers from left: junior Sandra Chang, senior Silvia Signore, sophomore Faline Tram



nDesign club recently held a makeup tutorial on Dec. 5 in which college students from the Academy for Salon Professionals taught makeup application. “Especially since Winter Formal is coming up, it seemed like a perfect opportunity for free make up lessons,” said sophomore Rachel Tu, special chair InDesign officer. The event was open to everyone, and became an outlet for any questions pertaining to makeup. “Seeing as we are a small club, attendance was pretty good,” said Tu. Roughly 21 people came to the event, compared to the 37 people who expressed interest on the Facebook page. The Academy for Salon Professionals is a beauty school located in Santa Clara and Los Angeles. The school is known for its cosmetology and aesthetic programs. To graduate from these programs students need to complete over 600 hours of training outside of the academy. The interns fulfilled part of their task by demonstrating their work at the tutorial. Director of Education Jennifer Flandez led the discussion by explaining each of the three looks covered in the tutorial: the Everyday, the Classic 1920s and the Smokey Eye. The looks focused on using simple makeup that could last throughout the whole day. Three of her aesthetic students ap-

plied the makeup onto three volunteers, while attendees had the opportunity to ask questions and take notes. The focus of most of the questions pertained to skin care, since students were afraid of damaging their skin by using makeup products. Many people were also interested in the different styles of makeup application including changes between double and single eyelids. Flandez explained that although eyes may look different, techniques used on them are similar. “I compared their application style to the way I do my own makeup,” said sophomore Meagan Benensohn,“I was impressed with their ability to work with any face type. There was diversity among the girls modeling it so we could imitate it at home” Sophomore Faline Tram modeled for the Classic 1920s look and was impressed with the finished product. “I liked what they did as it was very simple and easy to apply,” said Tram, “It was more than I would do on a daily basis, but I still liked the look.” Though she did not get the opportunity to see other looks applied, she managed to learn a lot from her artist. “I learned good techniques and how to prep my face better beforehand. I was told not to put on makeup too quickly because it does not look good that way,” said Tram. This tutorial served as a preview for the annual InDesign fashion show, for which student interns from the academy will be doing both hair and makeup for the participants in the upcoming show.

LIGHT DUSTING| Professional makeup artists carefully apply makeup to senior Silvia Signore’s face.

REFLECTION| Sophomore Faline Tram looks at her face in a mirror, viewing the makeup artists’ work.

A debate about the Israel-Gaza conflict BY ANAND CHUKKA AND YONI ZEMYLAK 1. Why do you support the side that you support? Anand Chukka: Having been an advocate of human rights for all my life, I support Palestine because I believe they are being unjustly and violently targeted by a conflict that never even involved them. The real conflict is between the Israeli government and the Hamas terrorist organization. Palestinians have been arrested, raped and killed by the thousands since the beginning of the conflict. They are innocent victims in this whole situation. Yoni Zemlyak: I support Israel because I support peace. I have had firsthand experience in this conflict and have seen the fundamental

difference between the two sides. Israel targets Hamas terrorist leaders, but Palestinians plant bombs in buses and malls, trying to murder as many civilians as possible. During a family vacation four years ago in Israel, I had an encounter with Hamas’s inhumane tactics; my parents were planning a family trip to a mall but we luckily didn’t go-a bomb exploded in that very mall, killing three people and injuring dozens.

2. Is each side justi�ied in the actions they have taken so far? AC: Israel has claimed this action in the name of “defense,” but how is occupying land Palestinians owned and removing them from their territory an issue of defense? This is an act of aggression. Under the protocols of the

Geneva Conventions, people under a foreign occupation the right to use armed forces to fight and resist these regimes. However, Israel initiated the conflict and refuses to use humane tactics to achieve their demands. What is happening currently with the settlements in West Bank is comparable to the German occupation of Poland. MIT professor and political activist Noam Chomsky said it best: “You can’t defend yourself when you’re militarily occupying someone else’s land.” YZ: Israel’s actions are justified because they were in self-defense. Israel is unfairly viewed as the aggressor because its civilian casualties are not as high as those of Palestine. This is largely due to the Iron Dome, a mechanism which Israel deploys to dislodge oncoming missiles. According to a study

An Introduction to the Conflict

Yoni Zemlyak is from Israel and grew up in a Jewish family. He has experienced the conflict firsthand.

In 1948, the United Nations granted land to the Israelis, displacing the Palestinians, who moved onto the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. In 1967, a war broke out between the Israelis, Syrians, and Jordanians. The result was a decisive Israeli victory, as Israel captured West Bank, the Sinai Peninsula, and the Golan Heights. In 2007 a new political party called Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip and launched an anti-Israeli campaign. Israel retaliated by launching a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip in 2008. Recently, Israel assassinated a Hamas leader, Ahmed Jabari. Hamas responded by launching more and more rockets into Israel. This led to a full eight-day conflict.

done at Harvard, the ratio of Palestinian civilians to militants killed is one civilian for every thirty militants. This is taking into consideration the fact that Hamas utilizes and encourages the use of human shields, hiding their militants behind elementary-school children, making it virtually impossible to hit the militant without of harming the child.


3. Should Palestine become a state? Why or why not? AC: I believe Palestine should become a state. Hamas’s main goal right now is to achieve Palestinian statehood along the 1967 borders; if Palestine becomes a state, these goals will be achieved. Palestine becoming a separate state is in the best interest of both countries because it would stop the fighting, encourage peace talks and suppress Hamas’s power. YZ: Not right now. At some point in future, Palestine should become a state. Israel was recognized as a state in 1948 because they were able to prove they could function independent-

dull and lifeless building has been lying across the street from Calabazas Park for three years and harbors no signs of completion. This is the Calabazas Library. Despite its projected opening in the summer of 2011, the library is still a good six to seven months from opening due to a lack of funding to support utility costs and new staff. Although the renovation attempts are commendable, the planning and execution of the project was poor. The Calabazas Library was often a goto place for Lynbrook students to work on projects and homework. “The Calabazas Library pre-renovation served its purpose well: small size, local library and a convenient alternative to the Santa Clara Library,” said junior Michael Sheng. To enhance the experience of the library members, the City of San Jose decided to renovate the library to include new technology and create a modern feel for its members. In November 2000, voters approved a $212 million library bond measure that would reconstruct 14 library branches and build six new branches for under-served neighborhoods. At a community meeting, members decided to reconstruct the Calabazas library; renovations were estimated to cost $7.4 million. The operating costs of

ly. Palestine, however, is nowhere near where Israel was when it was declared a state. If the Palestinians were to somehow get rid of Hamas, which is governing half their country, then Palestinians could start making rational decisions. The fact that the President of the Palestinian National Authority Mahmoud Abbas is not even allowed in half of his own country (Gaza), is reason enough to show that Palestine must first solve its internal conflicts before it can be recognized as a nation. 4. What are some mistakes that you think they have made? AC: Through talks with my grandfather about his involvement in the nonviolence movement in India against the British colo-

Calabazas library opening delay preventable with greater voter awareness of the city’s budget the library, however, come out of the City’s General Fund, which also funds most of the city’s services. Over the past decade, the City of San Jose has been forced to trim budgets. The budget cuts did not affect the building of the library, but they greatly impact the operating costs due to insufficient money in the city’s General Fund. “That is why there has been a reduction in library hours, although some have been restored. Besides reducing hours, one strategy to save money was to delay the opening of certain newly completed branches—Calabazas being one of them,” said aide to San Jose City Councilmember Pete Constant, Jerad Ferguson. When budget cuts on the General Fund were imposed, construction had already begun; the city could not stop remodeling when the budget cuts hit because of voter approval from a decade earlier.

“The bond measure was passed ahead of the budget deficits and at a time where the outlook for the city was good,” said Ferguson. But this is not an excuse for the fact that the city should have conducted extensive research to determine whether there would be budget cuts later on down the line. The voters who approved the renovation may not have voted the same way had they known of the likelihood of insufficient funds prior to their decision. As the reconstruction continued, the budget deficits began to hurt the library. Throughout the Lynbrook community, frustrations arose from the lack of updates on the status of the library. Junior James Ma said, “[The Calabazas Library] was so convenient before it closed down, but now I have to go all the way to Cupertino or Saratoga to find reading material.” At this point, the city should have gotten

Anand Chukka is an active pro-Palestine supporter. He reads literature and follows news about the conflict.

nists, I have learned the importance of resolving conflict with diplomacy. Palestine has made many mistakes due to its failure to resolve the conflict through diplomatic discussions. The best way to fight is through words. In addition, Hamas has failed to recognize Israel as a peaceful state; their shortsightedness comes at the expense of peace and cooperation between Israel and Palestine. YZ: There have been war crimes committed on both sides, so pinning all of them on one side and completely neglecting the other is ignorant, wrong and stupid. On the case of the Israelis’ mistakes, I personally do not agree with the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. I do not want to say that it is illegal, but it is an obstruction to peace and should be removed. voter approval to temporarily suspend the project until the General Fund was stabilized. Since it had become apparent that the General Fund was not likely to be stabilized, the city should have called on residents to vote on an additional fund, in the form of a parcel tax. This would cover the operating costs of the library and would also provide a safety net if some part of the reconstruction went wrong. Even though the budget cuts happened after the passage of the renovation, the city still should have had a contingency plan. Such a plan could have included temporarily shutting down construction and restarting once funds were secured. Had the general public known about the insufficient funds earlier, some community members could have donated money to support the renovation of the library. The library could also implement a small library card fee to cover the costs of staffing and operating hours; this money could have facilitated an earlier grand opening of the library. As the library continues to remain closed due to lack of funds and poor execution of remodeling plans, many students who have relied on Calabazas library for years will be detrimentally affected.

Prevent auto crashes by providing proper classes Upon reaching the legal driving age, the majority of Lynbrook students spend one to four weeks completing an online driver’s education course that teaches basic driving knowledge. Not only is this course necessary for students to be eligible for a permit in California, but it is also vital for students to learn the rules of the road. Even though it is possible to learn about traffic rules through an online course, taking a class that teaches the material is more beneficial to students because it makes them more attentive and determined to learn about driving. Lynbrook should implement a driver’s education course to teach students the fundamentals of driving and prepare them for the permit test. All students at Saratoga High School (SHS) are required to take a driver’s ed course for one semester during their freshman year. Students are educated on safety, traffic rules and the consequences of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The class is given workbooks that accompany the information found in the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) handbook, and teachers check their students’ comprehension of the various lessons through weekly tests. The main point of the course is to turn students with no driving experience into teenagers who fully understand the rules of the road. Lynbrook also needs to have a class that teaches students about driving. Since the course would be an elective class, students’ grades count toward their overall GPA and would be recorded high school transcripts, which inevitably encourages them to be more focused. Taking a fivemonth class compared to a one-month online course allows students to fully understand the material, and regular tests help students remember the concepts for a long time. “If I had learnt how to drive, I probably would have known how to deal with the situation when I crashed my friend’s car. A driver’s ed class will certainly help the people that are hands-on and visual classroom learners,” said sophomore Savannah Pumphrey. In a classroom driver’s ed course held at Cupertino City Hall by Economic Driving

School, students watched a video of teenage victims of accidents caused by driving under the influence. This documentary showed stduents the consequences of driving illegally, instead of just a warning on a computer screen. An online course does address drunk driving, but only with broad facts. Full-length, impactful documentaries are rarely required by these web courses. Also, an in-class driver’s ed program would allow teachers to decide which components of the material they want to focus on teaching. But on an online course, the lessons are standardized, and there is very little room for creative license. Taking a driver’s ed course online is less valuable to students because it is easier for them to skip through important information by rapidly filling out online workbook pages with incorrect answers. Many students only want to finish driver’s ed to be able to take their permit test— they immediately forget the information after passing the test. “I think the students from SHS have more knowledge compared to students from other high schools with traffic rules because they had to take it as a class,” said SHS sophomore Varsha Jammula. However, adding a driver’s ed course to our already set curriculum would cost additional money, which Lynbrook does not want to spend. Lynbrook students can rectify this problem through a fundraiser with a community center. Each time a student takes a course at a community center, a certain amount of funds is donated towards a drivers ed course at Lynbrook. In the past, classes have already held these types of fundraisers, but through online courses which have benefited students. “I deal with a lot of teen accidents.

Come one, come all Or, just be yourself

Driving training only gains the limited experience of doing it for a few days which isn’t enough, especially for teenagers to understand how to drive. If high schools offer a course, it’s a good idea because students will have a better understanding of how to drive,” said Deputy Matt Damiano from the Santa Clara County Sherriff’s Office. It is crucial that students are taught and tested on how to drive and the safety risks of impaired driving. Taking an organized class rather than an online course would be more beneficial to students because they would better understand the rules of the road. It is important for the Lynbrook community to create a safe environment, and that is exactly what a driver’s education class would do.




n today’s world, we regard a collectiveminded society as the epitome of human social achievement. Creating a cohesive unit where we adapt our actions and thoughts so that they mirror others’; this is the virtue of having a collective mindset. At Lynbrook, we expect people to conform to the norms that everyone else follows. As a result of centuries of accumulation of this idea, we are losing the value of the individual, giving more value to the collective mindset, an idea that has been pervading at an alarming rate among Lynbrook students. But we must realize that being individualist does not mean being selfish. Rather, I have come to realize, the best way to live a successful, satisfied life is by adopting author Ayn Rand’s philosophy, objectivism; the belief that individualism is a means of helping us reach our full potential, whereas the collective mind merely takes away satisfaction in ourselves. Looking at Lynbrook students every day, we see countless examples of the collective mind at work. All of our actions, right down to our clothing, are the product of hours of contemplation of what other people will think. Like the pitiable plight of my wannabe friends, if you wear tennis shoes instead of the boots your entire Vogue-worshipper friend circle wears, you are officially the social outcast of the day. Should a few people begin taking SAT classes, there is mad rush for everyone else to start taking them. I should know. I joined the mob. But when I took the classes, I didn’t think about whether or not they would benefit me: I took them only to follow the herd. Is that what we’ve become? A herd of mindless, indifferent creatures, blending together into a flavorless society? In adhering to this collective mindset, everyone is forced to sacrifice their own desires and fulfill what they presume are the desires of others. There is no point left in carefully selecting what we wear or taking random SAT classes because we don’t do it for ourselves, but rather to meet the prerequisites of society. If we continue to behave like obedient cattle, we will lose the quality of uniqueness in every individual that distinguishes humanity and makes it brilliant. In order for our actions to truly hold meaning and benefit us, we need to let go of the constant nagging phrase, “What will other people think?” and accept our individual desires. Individualism is self-respect, not narcissism. Instead of believing that our strength is in numbers and that we must live according to what others desire, it is important to realize that the individual can accomplish a lot by himself or herself. By being individualists, students give themselves a chance to realize their full potential by believing that they have the ability to fulfill their dreams. I spent a lifetime doubting myself, but when I finally stopped setting my standards by other people’s performance, I began to truly believe that I can accomplish as much as anyone else. When we look back and ask ourselves why we missed opportunities, the answer is almost always because we were afraid of veering from the public opinion, because others did not approve. Me, my parents and my grandparents: it’s practically family history. This fear to be original is the biggest obstacle to individual development. Individualism frees us from this restraint and helps us find pride in ourselves as individuals for our unique talents, thoughts and wants. To retain the rarity that is free thought and feeling and break away from the chains of a collective minded society, we need to adopt objectivism and the belief that if we believe in ourselves, we really can reach the stars.








or junior Imani Behrens, modeling runs in the family. Behrens’s mother, an ex-model, taught her proper runway technique and has been incredibly supportive. “She always would say ‘just put your heart into it’ and she supports it one hundred percent. She’s taught me that modelling brings out the inner you in a way and I mean there’s nothing negative about that,” said Behrens. Behrens’s first major experience in the modeling world occurred when she went on a cruise in Turkey and was asked to model for the company’s advertisements. She enjoys modeling in occasional freelance jobs, but does not think she is ready to make modeling a top priority. “What I love about modeling is the fact that you can show off your personality without talking. You get to have fun and meet new people, but school comes first,” said Behrens, “I’m also just not ready to see my picture plastered everywhere.” She believes that modeling should be more of a hobby than a career, and while it is rewarding for the model, its main purpose should be to showcase the talents of the designers. “It’s not for your own self, it’s to appreciate the designer and show off their abilities.”



enior Silvia Signore has modeled for the annual Indesign fashion show since her freshman year, but this January she will begin her professional modeling career as a model for Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister. “I got interested in pursuing it when I started doing the fashion show at school. I kept that up and I’ve taken pictures with different photographers to work up a portfolio in case I want to pursue in later. But then I got approached to try out for A&F and Hollister and so that was really exciting because I didn’t even have to reach out too much,” said Signore. When she was first recruited, her initial reaction was shock and appreciation. Signore felt that modeling would be a positive experience and could potentially help her in the future, so she decided there was no harm in pursuing it as a part-time job. Signore is most excited about having a part-time job, because modeling will be her first job. She is eager to try on a variety of clothes that she would normally not be presented with the opportunity to pose in, as well as being able to interact with many different people. Signore plans on working about 15 hours a week, and is eager to experience having a modeling job. “I am not that nervous in general, but I guess getting used to just working is my biggest concern.”



enior Emily Novakovich’s talent for modeling was first recognized when she participated in the InDesign fashion show during her freshmen year.t “My mom’s friend works at a little boutique in downtown Willow Glen, so when she saw that I had modeled for Lynbrook’s fashion show on Facebook, she asked me to do their yearly fashion show for Bella James in April,” said Novakovich. While the fashion show for Indesign wasn’t too much of a committment, modeling for Bella James was time consuming. Novakovich attended practice for the show three days in a row from 5-9pm, but the time commitment would have been even greater if she chose to pursue a career as a professional model. “I am not planning to do modeling as a profession in the future, but the agency said that it is a huge time commitment,” says Novakovich. “All other extra-curricular activities would not be important anymore and modeling would become a top priority.” While she is not ready to become a full time model, Novakovich still enjoys participating in runway shows. “You get your hair and makeup done for free, and in most of the modeling jobs I have done I have received free clothes or gift cards, so that’s always a plus!”

Mintd Apparel and its fresh line of clothing BY LAUREN TAI


ut together two men, entrepreneurship, a love for fashion, and what do you get? Mintd Apparel, a clothing line created by seniors Marshall Cheng and Kevin Wu. The two paired up at the end of the last school year when Cheng came up with the idea of creating an affordable clothintg line for students. After much collaboration over the summer, the duo released their Facebook page and website and now have much in store for the future. The name “Mintd” was inspired by the word mint, meaning perfect condition. “We are devoted to offering the highest-quality tees and get our designs printed on American Apparel shirts,” said Cheng. Cheng handles most of the shirts once the orders come in, while Wu creates the designs. Wu sketches the basic silhouettes of potential designs, has Cheng look them over and then revises. “We go through three or four exchanges before finalizing the design and each design has its own story,” said Wu. Their first design, Bird of Song (modeled on Cheng, right), was adapted from one of Wu’s Facebook Graffiti Doodle drawings. The

second design, Blowfish Blows Gum (modeled on Wu, left), was a design Wu doodled in class on a notebook. Wu is always in the cycle of brainstorming and drawing up new concepts and incorporating Cheng’s suggestions. “We want to offer students unique designs they can’t find anywhere else,” added Wu. In the future, Cheng and Wu want to open up design suggestions to all students. They have already begun incorporating the wider community by having students model for their online store. Mintd Apparel functions as a nonprofit business, donating its profits to the international aid organization Wine To Water, which focuses on providing clean water to people globally. “We chose this organization because we wanted to donate to a well-known cause that is not as generic at school,” said Cheng. They are able to sell at $13 to $15 a shirt because they first invest profits into purchasing more shirts and then donate the rest, not focusing on a huge profit margin. Cheng and Wu plan on continually producing new products for as long as the student population is interested.








ushi is something of a delicacy and a tradition in my family. I don’t come from a Japanese background, so my sushi standards may not be too high, but boy do I love raw fish. The first thing I realized approaching Sushi Kuni, is that it is one of those places that I would’ve missed had I not been looking for it. It is a very small building just off of South De Anza Blvd., hedged between Radio Shack and another similar looking building. When I stepped inside Sushi Kuni, I noticed that the restaurant was completely empty. That wasn’t a good sign, but it wasn’t even 5:30 p.m., and thirty minutes later, every single seat was taken. Because I’m always looking for deals, I decided to go with a Special Dinner Box, which came with six tuna rolls, salmon sashimi, octopus, white tuna sushi, egg-omelet sushi and eel sushi. The set also came with a small serving of miso soup, a small plate of garden salad, six pieces of tempura and a bowl of rice. The entire box cost $19.50, a hefty price tag even for the large amount of food I received. I had ordered Dinner Boxes at other restaurants before, so I was curious to see if it would be any different from the others. The wait was relatively short, and I was kept entertained by seeing my food prepared right before my eyes, which assured me that the ingredients were as fresh as possible. I wasn’t thrust into the limbo-like madness of

guessing if the food the waiter was carrying was mine or not. When the food arrived, I had to take a moment to admire how expertly the food was laid out on the plate. It was so colorful and aesthetically pleasing that I didn’t want to touch it at all. Eventually, I decided to start. I wanted to eat my meal systematically. I started out conservatively, trying what I knew: the tuna rolls. They were standard, and easy to pop into my mouth after dipping them into soy sauce. Then, I moved on to the salmon sashimi, which melted in my mouth like butter; I can see why these are a fan-favorite. The white tuna was the first type of sushi I tried, and I found it to be just as good as the sashimi. It melted in my mouth the very same way and was a spectacular new experience, as I had never tried it before. I moved in a circle around my plate and soon found myself pitted against an egg-omelet on a block of rice. At first it didn’t click. I firmly believed that eggs and sushi are not to be mixed. They’re just two things that don’t belong on the same plate. After a thirty-second internal debate, I said hell-with-it and took a bite. And what a great decision it was. The omelet was unlike anything I had tried before, or at least unlike any omelet I had ever tried. Its sweetness perfectly complemented the bland rice under it, expanding my taste-palette. The next item was eel, but having eaten it and loved it before, I had no doubts. The eel managed to be sweet and tangy simultaneously, exciting

all the taste buds in my mouth. I am sad to say that I stayed away from the octopus. It looked terrible; a gooey substance of a light shade of purple. My taste buds screamed “Don’t!”, so I didn’t. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve heard stories of octopus suckers getting stuck on peoples’ tongues, and having the people bite them off. I’ve not eaten octopus since. Japanese food isn’t known for being particularly filling, so after the meal, I was still hungry. I decided to end the day with a plate of six Salmon Rolls ($3.95). These were also pretty standard, but satisfying in the way that they calmed down my taste buds, after the large assortment of foods I had just tasted. My favorite part of the entire experience was how quiet, calm, and home-like the restaurant was. Even when the restaurant was full, the atmosphere was peaceful. Maybe it was because I came in early, but I felt comfortable and relaxed while enjoying my food. What set the restaurant apart from other Japanese restaurants I’ve been to was the contrast between the exquisite food and the home-style atmosphere. Although it had a hefty price tag, $31.28 with tax, it was worth every penny. This isn’t the right place to go to if you want some quick Japanese food, but the next time your family wants to go to a great restaurant, and enjoy a delicious hour-long meal, tell them about Sushi Kuni—you won’t regret it.

How to become an expert at decoding “Girl Talk”


ave you ever walked away from a conversation with a female with absolutely no idea what just happened? With all that white noise of ear-grating giggling and random “OHMYGOD”s, the language is nearly impossible to decipher. What is said is never what is meant, that’s no secret. Talking to an estrogen express is no easy feat, but have no fear! After hours of painstaking research, I’ve come up with a guide for all your conversational needs, so you’ll always be prepared. As always, you’re welcome. What she says: OMG GIRL YOU LOOK SO CUUUUUTE HAAAAY What she means: Oh. It’s you.

What she says: Where’d you get that shirt?

What she means: Wow, I mean... I guess you look okay today. Wait, oh god, do you look better than me okay no way I always look great. What she says: She’s not even that pretty.

What she means: I’m so jealous and I wish I could be as pretty as her but I mean I’m pretty too so I guess it’s okay because of my radiant personality. What she says: Why can’t I be pretty like you?


TAKING A BITE OF SUSHI | A look at his meal from left to right: shrimp tempura, various rolls including unagi and hamachi, nigiri sushi and chicken teriyaki.

Piano prodigy forms a sibling duo BY HIMA RAJANA


en thousand hours. 416.667 days. 1.14 years. According to Malcolm Gladwell, author of acclaimed Outliers, that is how long it takes to become a master of somethin. Having played piano for almost 10 years, practicing three to four hours a day on average, sophomore Alice Zhu is making strides to achieve her dream of becoming a concert pianist. “One day, there was a concert pianist on TV, and I was really inspired by how delicately his fingers moved over the keys,


producing beautiful sounds, so I decided to try piano,” said Zhu, of her origins as a pianist. The story of being completely infatuated with an instrument, taking lessons, and quitting a few frustrating years later is common to many, but Zhu continues on because music is her way to “express feelings, and it calms [her] down.” “Music is my first priority,” said Zhu. “Sometimes, when I’m practicing, I lose track of time and don’t get up until my mom calls me for dinner.” This intense passion for piano is one of the factors that propels Zhu to compete in and win music competitions. Another big motivator for Zhu is her brother, 12 year-old Kevin Zhu. “Even though winning competitions motivates me, I’m inspired by my brother, especially after he won the Menuhin Violin Competition this year,” said Zhu. “I was a little jealous when everyone was congratulating him, but it kicked off my motivation again.” After the brother-sister duo

won the first prize in a competition sponsored by the Pacific Musical Society, they began to play joint concerts together. “When I play alongside my brother on stage, it’s a bonding experience because we can’t fight and argue with each other,” said Zhu. The siblings gave their first concert in early 2012. While Zhu is primarily a classical pianist, she is beginning to venture into the realm of instrumental covers. Over Thanksgiving break, she spent a few hours making a cover of the hit pop single “Gangnam Style,” posted it on Facebook and woke up to over 100 likes. “When I went on Facebook and saw all the likes and the positive comments, I was really surprised,” said Zhu. “I never expected that many people to watch it. I liked working on the video, and I think it would be fun to keep doing them when I have time.” Although she was overwhelmed by the response on Facebook, Zhu is no stranger to admiration from peers who are amazed at her dedication to piano. “People at school think of me as just the ‘piano girl,’ and talk about how I’m obsessed with piano, but I feel like I’m just a normal high school student,” said Zhu. While taking piano lessons is not a radical venture, taking lessons at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music is much more uncommon. “My dream is to become a concert pianist,” said Zhu. “Whenever I’m lacking in motivation, I listen to my favorite concert pianists. It’s really exhilarating, and I remember why I love piano all over again.”

What she means: I would cuuuut you if i had the chance, but for now I’ll settle for kissing up. Watch your back. One day your outfit/homework/car is going to be accidentally shredded, haha oops. What she says: You’re really funny. What she means: Not. At. All.

What she says: OMG that’s so cuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuute!

What she means: Nothing. This, according to my research, is just something we say when something we see is remotely interesting. What she says: Ew, untag me or take this photo down please.

What she means: I have to look perfect all the time. I am a goddess and deserve to be represented in all my soul-piercing, earthshattering beauty. Get on it, peasants. What she says: (Makes duck face in photo)

What she means: Haha I’m hilarious I have such a good personality. Please like me.

What she says: AHAHHAHAHAHHAHHAHA (some dude’s name) YOU’RE SO FUNNY HAHAHAH OMG What she means: Date meeeee. Or just shower me with attention, because really, what’s the difference?

And that’s it! Anything along these lines should be clearer now. Whenever you hear these lines in conversation, you’ll have no doubt as to what they really mean, so you’re welcome. Thank me later, Yunqing Chen



rom middle school to second semester junior year, senior Dennis Xing had no purpose, no sense of direction. He used “whatever means necessary” to get the A. He spent hours playing games and watching YouTube videos, finally starting on his homework at 9 p.m. Then came April 2012. He started with taking up running, ironically inspired by a 2010 YouTube video, former homeless man Eric Thomas’s “Secrets to Success.” And now, for the past few months, he has been waking up before school five days out of seven to run a mile or two. “I don’t run marathons, but it’s not just a jog,” he said. “When I make my run hard, after I start my day with pushing myself, I know that my day will get easier for me.” Things came together. Like a surge of adrenaline, he felt a surge of selfdiscipline and self-motivation. Nowadays, he is a changed man. He spends brunch in the school library reading anything from Kanye West’s biography to TIME. He rejected his old philosophy of getting the grade and now believes that there is “so much more to learn, and that even if your brain is just teeming with knowledge, it’s all about applying it.” Motivation is separated into two categories: extrinsic, motivated by an external goal or factor; and intrinsic, motivated by oneself. Incentive, fear, achievement, power and social-based motivation extrensic pushes for action; growth-based motivation, on the other hand, is intrinsic because it is done out of inner satisfaction. The difference is most clear in school when students are extrinsically motivated by the grade versus intrinsically motivated by the desire to learn. Students polled (see above infographic) were evenly divided between being driven by grades versus being driven by a genuine interest in expanding themselves and their knowledge. There is a drop, however, in the number of students motivated to learn among juniors. Whereas students from other years are divided more or less evenly, 38 percent of Lynbrook juniors preferred learning the material. Junior Emily Su dropped AP Chemistry, her third AP class, earlier this school year in order to better focus on her other classes. “It got to the point where I only did the work I could scrape by with and get a grade that was acceptable to me,” she said. “This year showed me that since in the end there’s only so much you’re going to use or like, narrowing things down is also really important.” Arguably the toughest year in high school, junior year is when students begin to look ahead for something—college, a goal more common today than ever before, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Especially in public schools such as Lynbrook where students come from more affluent, educated families, anxiety and stress “undermine the enjoyment for learning,” according to Professor at Stanford University’s School of Education Deborah Stipek. Almost three-quarters of top universities saw decreases in admission rates over the past year, according to a compilation by The New York Times of 76 admissions data. “More students aspire to a few universities that are extremely competitive, but colleges haven’t necessarily increased their slots,” she said. “The ranking of colleges is also very stressful and absurd. Whether the school is number one or 28 is so much less important than whether it’s the kind of

school you will thrive in.” The focus of high school educa come a primarily extrinsic, perform comes more important than the ma look at, which is why the decrease o lematic and common,” according to “If performance is what they’re terial, it’s the only thing you’re mot in order to achieve that level,” Stipe Senior Irene Hong noticed this w High School in Los Angeles to Lynb ference between purposes of stude students at Van Nuys, education w had real-life problems other than e lence, family—these things took pri Because of this, Hong learned to felt was different from Lynbrook stu “Education should not be the en your passion,” she said. “A lot of stu But at Lynbrook, education beco crease in pressure to excel. “The idea of engaging in learni “The degree to focusing on perfor aspect in engaging with the subject Senior Raymond Yang said that others do not derive pleasure fro system has become so streamlined personal growth. “Instead of pursuing a life goal, w he said. “In most cases, unfortunate Especially for education, Amzall be to “get students moving from ext But there is limited time in a d the sake of learning on top of extra four to seven other classes. “When you have two hours of ho fastest way,” Amzallag said. “Studen this, so I have to go the easy way.’” Yang said he chose “the easy wa sacrifice” between learning and get “The people who do want to lea class,” he said. “When they don’t hav end up just not doing it at all, so the is that most ‘cheaters’ don’t want to A, while people who want to learn but might not get the A.” Yang hated biology. When he to had to learn exclusively for the gra ing weekend this year, he picked u learning to speed-read. Page after p through seven chapters. Now, he is



ation on acceptance into college has bemance-based motivation. The grade beaterial retained since it is what colleges of students’ intrinsic motivation is “probo Stipek focused on rather than learning the mativated by, so you do whatever you need ek said. when she moved from Van Nuys Senior brook in her sophomore year. On the difents from the two schools, she said, “For was somewhere in the list. But they also education to deal with—drug abuse, vioiority over education.” o value education more, but in a way she udents. nd goal, but it’s merely a means to follow udents here don’t realize that.” omes a focus on college, and thus an in-

ing gets lost in the shuffle,” Stipek said. rmance undermines their intention and t better.” this is precisely the reason why he and om high school education—the grading d that it has lost the ability to indicate

we try to pursue a letter of the alphabet,” ely, the letter is more important.” lag said that the goal of a teacher should ternal motivation to internal motivation.” day. Students may not be able to learn for acurricular activities and anywhere from

omework for each class, you’ll go for the nts say, ‘It’ll take me four hours to learn

ay” because he felt he needed to “make a tting the grade. arn will dedicate three to four hours to a ve enough time to do all their work, they ey might have a lower grade. The tragedy o spend time in the classroom but get the want to spend a lot of time in the class

ook the AP class in junior year, he felt he ade. But one afternoon over Thanksgivup the course textbook by chance when page went by—in six hours, he had read considering majoring in biochemistry.

“Once you get immersed in something that makes you realize that the classes you severely did not want to care about can actually be really interesting, you start to realize that you were wrong about the class,” he said. Stipek said that moments like these, when a student taps into the innate desire to learn and finds intrinsic motivation, are the best kind of education. “It’s when you forget you’re being graded, when you have arguments with friends, when you’re deeply engaged and forget that it’s work,” she said. “The best kind of learning experience is when it engages your emotional interest and you’re just jazzed about it.” In other words, Stipek is referring to having a passion. ASB Technician senior Austin Yu broke his family’s point-and-shoot camera freshman year and discovered his passion. This learning experience came from outside of school. To compensate for the broken camera, he had to buy another camera and teach his family how to use it. Then, he played around with the camera—and something in him clicked. His parents, though supportive, still needed some convincing. “Parents think that their children don’t have a passion, but every child does—parents just might selectively tone it out,” Yu said. “Passion ties a lot into motivation, and I feel like parents underestimate their kids when they pursue something the parents think is a dead end.” His parents were initially concerned about the career options for photography. After spending two years on the Epic and BAY Magazine, Yu shoots photos for Prep2Prep, which covers high school sports. He used this to show his parents that he could “actually go somewhere with photography.” “Every single tier I reach, there’s still so much more to achieve and I’m always asking myself, ‘What’s next?’” he said about photography. “It pushes me more and more, and I know there’s no end to it.” Through finding his passion, Yu realized he would need a strong sense of “general knowledge that would carry me into college.” The resilience he needs to overcome obstacles in photography are also applied to overcoming obstacles in school. The difference is that he needs extrinsic motivation for school, whereas his motivation for photography is more intrinsic. “I can stay up all night editing photos, but I can’t stay up all night reading a textbook,” he said. “I may be on two hours of sleep, but if I just finished a shoot, I can edit the photos all night long. On the other hand, I will be studying through midnight, and the only thing running through my head is, ‘I am so tired right now, I am so tired right now.’” This is where extrinsic motivation stops short. The most obvious byproduct of this is senioritis, which describes the sudden drop in motivation that seniors usually get after first semester. Even though seniors are close to graduating, they lose the desire to try hard in school because their focus had always been on college acceptances—beyond that was nothing. “It’s not the kids, it’s in the kind of educational environments we put them in,” Stipek said, pointing out how toddlers question everything. Xing recalls that as a child, he read anything from The Bible to Scientific American. In middle school, he stopped, subsiding to peer influence and believing that only tests mattered. After he realized in high school that it was “time to stop screwing around,” he began to immerse himself in text again. “It was like rekindling my childhood,” he said. The current grading system, endangers this intrinsic desire to learn.

“The kids who aren’t interested, their interest has been beaten out of them,” said Stipek. “They give up. Even high achieving students will describe school as boring because it’s all about the grade.” Because of this, Stipek describes letter grades as “useless.” Whereas they indicate how well the student understands the material, she believes that grades should mark a student’s improvement, on how well the student can think critically about the subject. “There are other kinds of skills of learning that are really important for success, none of which show up in rooms or test scores,” she said. “Systematic, standardized education instills the mindset that you’re doing everything for a grade.” When school is geared toward a constant qualification of qualities that cannot be quantified, it strips the students of the ability and desire to seek out their passions in ways that cannot be quantified through grades and scores. The concept of productivity becomes geared towards only things that can be checked off a to-do list, especially things that are directly related to school. Incidentally, Yang’s renewed interest in biology came as a byproduct of procrastination. He sees it as a form of self-growth and a chance to explore. “I wasn’t starting my UC app, I was watching videos, I was reading the most random things,” he said about rediscovering biology. “When you get the time to do something you love, you might find inspiration in a new subject. I mean, I found things that stole time away from schoolwork, but they’ve helped me grow as a person.” Senioritis is a “blessing from God,” Yang jokes. His bucket list for second semester senior year includes reading more books and picking up on guitar. Hong also wants to increase productivity for an internal passion. Her motivation comes from the desire to serve God, and as a result, her community. Since October 2011, she has been using the Pomodoro Technique, a method for time management (see left infographic), because she believes that self-discipline and motivation come “hand in hand.” The technique left her more time for volunteering or hanging out with friends. Last year as a junior, she managed to sleep before 12 a.m. every night through using the technique, despite having six classes, four of which were AP classes. Ironically, discovering intrinsic motivation might be through extrinsic means and motivation—Xing’s inspiration to turn over a new leaf through watching YouTube videos, Yu’s fear of consequences for breaking his family’s camera, Hong’s use of the Pomodoro Technique. “You need extrinsic motivation, you need that timer to keep going,” she said. “Everyone has that stage of procrastination but they need to go through that to see how much it sucks in order to rise out of it.” Ultimately, it isn’t just about the results, but the process, not just about realizing that there is a lack of motivation, but actively seeking intrinsic motivation. Whether or not the school system will change to help students find their passions, the desire to succeed must come from within. “You can’t just talk about it, you need to be about it. You can talk about change but you need to actually go out there and do it,” Xing said. As for himself: “My life is still in the works, but I still definitely have room to grow.” For the full version of this story, please visit

Emerging from the depths of anxiety Students open up about the difficulties of dealing with anxiety disorders BY YUNQING CHEN


er ears ring. Her heart begins to pound erratically, and a surge in adrenaline leaves her feeling breathless and tingly in her arms and legs. Hot and cold sensations run through her body as she breaks out in a clammy sweat. Suddenly, junior Katrina Goodwin* feels a light pop in her head and the ground comes up to meet her. Four hours later, Goodwin wakes to the news that she’s just had her first panic attack. When asked for the cause, her parents cite a stressful home and school environment, and malnourishment from not eating properly as a result of the stress. Though stress and anxiety are part of any environment, it is not uncommon for students at Lynbrook to experience symptoms of anxiety disorders. With a number of sources that contribute to mental stress—family situations, competitive academia, tight economic times—what used to be a healthy dose of stress has accumulated to a permanent state of mind, a perpetual state of worry. Some have had an anxiety-riddled mindset that they’ve had to deal much earlier, exacerbated by the expectations of a high-pressure setting and a lack of recovery options. While a controllable amount of stress is necessary to motivate students in any environment, crossing that threshold can have devastating effects. Most students who suffer from anxiety have General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), characterized by intense, irrational worry over what would not naturally cause such intense stress. According to school psychologist Dr. Stevens, anxiety is “rooted in the loss of self-control.” When the inability to cope with stress reaches its limit, students experience a mental crash. Senior Jalena Collins* first suffered from an anxiety attack when she was overwhelmed with work one night. “I was working incredibly hard to finish all my homework, but it was midnight and I still had so much to do,” she said. “I decided to take a shower, but for some reason after I was done, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and just collapsed. I started crying uncontrollably and hyperventilating and shaking.” The resulting explosion is so mentally and physically taxing that students will do anything to avoid a relapse. Collins began using drugs recreationally, resorting to self-harm and taking Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) drugs. “ADD drugs are the miracle of my life,” said Collins, “I’m no longer worried because they make me feel in control and I can handle the things I need to do.” Drugs such as Concerta and Vyvanse, which can be supplied by students who actually suffer from ADD, are now being used by students to alleviate the symptoms of debilitating panic attacks. The small tasks that used to inspire crippling attacks are now trivial with the help of medication, and Collins feels that taking them helps her even after the effect wears off; getting small things done “will set me up for success later on,” she said. School psychologist Dr. Stevens, however, warns against relying on medication without therapy. “When pursuing treatment for best results, there should be a combination of both cognitive behavioral therapy and anti-anxiety medication so that a student can come up with strategies to combat anxiety while also maintaining a stable state of mind to carry them out,” said Dr. Stevens. “Medication alone or therapy alone is not as effective as experimenting with some mixture of both that works for the patient, which helps build skills so they eventually don’t need them anymore.” What’s difficult is recognizing whether or not students

are actually suffering from something permanent or from something that will wear off once the source of the stress itself wanes. “When my family was going through a difficult time, I had my first panic attack and thought I had some sort of disorder,” Goodwin said. After going to a doctor and leaving undiagnosed, she realized it was a one-time thing, but was unsure and afraid of a possible recurrence. As school psychologist Jack Neudorf said, “In order for something to receive a clinical diagnosis, it would have to meet the associated diagnostic criteria from the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual). Some of the anxiety disorders listed in the DSM have specific time frame requirements to meet the criteria.” Eventually, Goodwin was able to leave behind the cause that brought about her stress in the first place. “I left the hospital with a lot of uncertainty over how much this panic attack would affect me, but I know what I used to feel isn’t how I normally do,” Goodwin said. “For me, that’s the difference between having a permanent disorder and just experiencing a temporary dip in terms of feeling emotionally well.” Whether students have been formally diagnosed, students such as senior Amanda Lu are faced with others’ disbelief. “Every time I brought this up, I would receive replies along the lines of ‘You’re just spoiled and want attention’ or ‘Should I send you to a mental hospital?’” Lu said. Cons e q u e n t ly, those looking for support look to other avenues for help. Receiving treatment is made more difficult without the support of family members or sympathy for what those suffering experience. “People I tell this to just feel sorry for me,” was all Collins said about the reactions she’s gotten when opening up. Treatment isn’t as simple as only seeing a doctor. Though the first step is asking for help, applying it to life outside of a counseling session is often harder than dealing with anxiety itself. Though students can be act out advice that they get from professionals, like changing harmful habits or ridding themselves of the various stimuli that trigger them, there is a limit that can be controlled. The solution, according to Dr. Stevens, is planning. “If you can’t control the situation, then you can control how you react,” Stevens said. “Applying strategies is a way of not only taking proactive, but reactive measures in response to things you can’t control.” The process to recovery is often difficult for students who suffer and the people they open up to, if not for fear of rejection than for fear of an inability to know what to do without proper counseling. There is no definitive method for recovery; students are encouraged to talk to a professional and pursue that route if they deem it helpful. Some students use medication as a part of treatment, others do not. Stevens and Neudorf are available for students who want to successfully deal with stress and anxiety, as well as other school counselors who reach out to students in the hope that students will reach back. The common denominator for those who suffer from anxiety attacks is to seek help, however way works best for the student. *denotes anonymous source


Inside house party scandals



artying has always been part of the American high school experience, instilled by both tradition and culture depicted in pop culture. It seems that Lynbrook is no exception. But some students think that it is all worth it for a night of fun and that parties are opportunities to escape from everyday pressure and let loose for a night. Sophomore Rohit Joshi* said, “I don’t regret throwing the party even though I almost got caught up, because it was a good time.” In order to minimize the risks of house parties, there are some precautions hosts must take. Joshi, for example, bans hard drugs from his parties. He allows marijuana only in the garage and designates someone to air it out every few minutes. Also, hosts try to reduce risk by keeping an eye on the safety of their party. Party-goers make sure they have a designated driver, someone who is going to be sober the entire night, as well. Joshi said, “Before the party I always know who the designated drivers are, and I make sure that they are sober throughout the night, because safety is of utmost importance.” Hosts also usually try to keep the party inside the house to discourage unwanted attention. They divert scrutiny by

trying to keep people off the streets, parking cars at different locations or keeping the volume of the music low. Joshi said,“I always have one person regulating the weed smokers, one person making the drinks and observing who’s too drunk and shouldn’t have another, one person watching the front door if anyone comes in and one person in the back making sure that it doesn’t get too crazy out there.” The possibility of theft is also always a risk. Hosts try to reduce damage and risk of theft by hiding valuables, but even that may prove futile. “I gutted my house and put all my nice stuff away. I never really expected anyone to steal anything of mine,” said senior Melissa Suno*. “I provided free alcohol for everybody, and I let people I didn’t even know into my decently sized house, and even some so-called friends of mine stole things, which made me quite mad. Because of that, I’ll probably instead throw kickbacks in the future, instead of full blown parties, with actual friends I know.” Other risks include the involvement of law enforcement, in which case charges and large fines for underage drinking to underage sex can propagate worse legal fates, such as juvenile hall time and marks on one’s record. In regards to what the school can do, “There’s honestly very little the school administration can do about parties; no regulation, no control; it’s outside of our scope,” said Stu-

dent Conduct Specialist Jose Ramirez. “That is either the parents’ or police’s issue. Sometimes, issues spill over and if they come under [the school’s] jurisdiction , then [the school] will deal with it, especially when the issue interferes with the safety of the school’s environment.” Many students choose not to become involved in house parties because of risks such as alcohol poisoning, getting caught by law enforcement, theft and more. Additionally, some say the potential consequences of partying are too costly. For example, senior Andy Tsai decided against attending a party, due to the fear of losing the respect of his friends and the conviction to uphold his personal integrity. “I gave more thought to it, especially if my friends would have had more respect for me had I not gone,” said Tsai. “There is a philosophy that you should treat your body like a temple, and I’d like for my body to be clean,” Tsai added. “Even though I’d like to think that I would have the self control to stay clean, I just didn’t want to put myself in the situation where I might end up doing drugs. Anyways, I think that going to a party with a bunch of people is less meaningful than one with just a few close friends.”

“Seeing them with so many people that like their posts can make you feel lonely.” Because likes have become such an important part of Facebook, users have devised “like my status” posts, which are statuses that are meant to encourage likes from others. This offers a sense of achievement, especially when others have less likes in comparison. “It’s obviously better if you get more likes than others, I think almost everyone feels that way,” sophomore Gautam Nair said. “It’s human nature to care about how others think of you.” According to Stevens, this reason for this competition for likes and tags is rooted in human psychology. “People look for that data that tells them where they are in the world, how they compete,” Stevens said. “Think about how we love things like pageants and reality television; we want a winner, and that’s how we focus. Our society tells us that we’re the best if we win, we’re the best if the most people like us.” According to sophomore Harsha Bolisetty, because of the competition on Facebook, it is very possible that students start to feel that they don’t measure up to what they see on Facebook. “I notice that people often wish their lives were like what they see online,” Bolisetty said. “It’s easy for someone to want to have the popularity, looks, and belongings of others that they see on Facebook. According to Stevens, however, Facebook competition not only holds dangers for the ‘losers’ of the competition, those who are considered on the lower end of the Face-

book hierarchy, but also for those considered popular as well. “The attention seeking and competition can get to the point where people become reliant on external validation, where they think they’re not okay unless someone else says they are,” she said. “And that’s really a problem, since if you become too reliant on that external validation, you’re destined to be unhappy.”

*denotes anonymous source

The competitive nature of Facebook BY JEFFREY YANG AND YONI ZEMLYAK


hough Facebook is used as a tool to connect with others, the ease with which Facebook allows people to rate one another, such as through “liking” and “tagging” has allowed people to use it as a tool to seek attention. Competitive methods of attention-seeking may be causing feelings of inadequacy among those who do not consider themselves popular on Facebook, leading to a feeling of loneliness. According to School Psychologist Brittany Stevens, teenagers have a tendency to seek attention, a tendency often more pronounced in teenagers than in any other age. “It’s true that teenagers try to seek more attention, and it’s normal for them,” Stevens said. “As a teenager, your job is to develop from a child that did everything your parents said to someday separate from them and become your own person.” With profiles which others can scroll through and judge their peers, students often post in a way that makes them look better. “I do like having my pictures and posts getting liked, but I don’t post things just for that,” junior Christine Wang said. “It does, however, raise my self-esteem. It makes me feel like people can associate with me, and that we have things in common. It makes me feel a little more confident.” Accumulating more “likes,” “tags” and comments indicates approval from others, which gives students a sense of recognition and achievement. On the other hand, those who do not get as many likes or tags may be left feeling lesser. “I think it’s similar to the hierarchy we see at school: you know who’s popular, and you know who’s not,” Wang said.


Hitting the tracks and leaving home BY IZABELLA KIPNIS & JOEY LI


ophomore Melissa Patel* ran away from her house towards the end of eighth grade. Although she now understands that her strained relations with her mother contributed to her reasoning behind running away, at the time her thoughts were blurred. “Students run away typically due to high level of discord with their parents,” school therapist Dawn Bridges says. “[Such] dramatic actions can take a toll on relationships. Parents lose trust in their children and worry.” Far from being the children’s movie-esque occurrence that it is sometimes made out to be, running away from home can be a serious issue. The National Runaway Switchboard, which takes calls from children who are considering running away, reports that one in seven children up to 18 years old will run away from home at some point. Patel spent her first night at a friend’s house, and then spent the next night at Safeway. After that night outside, she decided to go back home. “I knew that they would call the police,” said Patel. “It was so cold at Safeway and that made me realize how thankful I should have been for the fact that I had a family looking and caring for me.” Returning home was not an easy decision; she did not know what to expect from her parents, who had called the police. Her father was furious, and after calling the police to notify them of her whereabouts, he lectured her severely. A police officer also visited to discuss the dangers and consequences of running away. Patel’s mother, on the other hand, reacted unexpectedly. Patel said that her mother had “wanted to break it down,” and understand why Patel ran away, which surprised Patel, given that her mother had been the initiator of the conflict. While running away did not directly resolve the conflict between Patel and her mother, her mother did try harder to see issues from Patel’s point of view. “After the fight we understood each other better,” said Patel. “She went easy on me at first, but after a week it all went back to normal. ” Senior

Hyun Kang offered a slightly more comical take from when he was 8 years old. He and his mom fought on the way back from clarinet lessons. “She took a phone call and told me to get out, which I misinterpreted as get out and leave,” Kang said. “I freaked out, bawling my eyes out, and hid in the adjacent neighborhood.” The police and his parents eventually took him home as he attempted to walk back from Menlo Park to San Jose, borrowing a phone at a grocery store to call his mother to be picked up. “My parents told me, ‘Every boy needs to run away at least once, but if you do it again we will break your legs’,” Kang said. He also learned more serious lessons, such as how “communication is key” after reflecting on how the misunderstandings between him and his mom escalated the conflict. “As children we all face certain aspects of life that we deem to be unfair. After running away, I realized that the world isn’t what it’s like in the movies,” he said. “In fact, running away made me learn not to run away again since it was so difficult for me to actually function in the ‘outside’ world.” “When conflict escalates, have everyone take a break,” Bridges said. “Try and calm down and come back to the problem after people have settled,” she said. “Make sure people listen respectfully to one another or people will say things that they will later regret.” *denotes anonymous source


Brother of a runaway


have never run away from home and probably never will. Even if I did, my parents probably

wouldn’t realize that it was intentional for a solid fortnight and a half. I wouldn’t even give the idea any thought by normal circumstances; folding and packing my dress shirts would be far too time consuming, and besides, I have APUSH to do. My older sister, now 22 years old, is another case. Probably my polar opposite, my sister has dared to go where I have not, including running away from home multiple times. Once, after a fight that bordered on civil war in the Li household between her and our parents, she spent a week (or so it seemed) at a friend’s house. Fighting was not an uncommon occurrence the years when my sister was in high

school. For a while it was something of a routine; I’d come home from school, do my 5th grade homework, listen to an argument over dinner and retreat back to my room while my parents and sister fought it out in the kitchen. When she first ran away from home, I honestly thought for a moment that she would never come back. My parents called the police and after a few days she came back to have a nice talk with the officer; I think we still have his card on the fridge—“In case she ever needs to have another talk,” the officer had said. After that things never really got better or worse I suppose; their relationship didn’t magically heal or snap, it was more of an im-

proving over time. The root of the issue, as far as I can remember, wasn’t quite a lack of communication or anything like that. Her running away, to me, was just the result of her past actions all piled on top of each other to the point that she wanted to escape it all. Now that I’m a grown ass man, I can see her logic behind running away. I could probably say something here about how it’s symbolic of running away from the stresses and responsibilities of growing up, or reflects one’s lack of ability to confront issues up front, but I won’t. Instead I leave you with this: just don’t give yourself a reason to want to run away in the first place.


SPREADING THE FLOOR| Junior George Lu initiates an offensive set for the Vikings during the first quarter of their match-up against Harker in the Lynbrook Winter Hoops Classic. The Vikes were defeated by the Eagles.

Change at top tests boys’ basketball team BY JEFFREY YANG


or the upcoming season, the boys’ basketball team will have to face the challenges involving training under a new coach, which will mean a new way of training and a new approach to the game. This year’s coach is Miguel Alderete, previously the coach of the JV girls’ basketball team. A new coach will mean a different method of practice and play, something the team will have to overcome to be successful. One of the biggest problems that the team faces with Alderete’s introduction is that he was hired as coach relatively late. This means that the team will have fewer practices to work with him before the league season starts in January. “I was a late hire, so we didn’t get to have any time to work together in the summer,” said Alderete. “We didn’t have any open gyms so I had no idea what skill sets they had and how they worked together. We just had a late start in getting everything together.” The previous coach, Tim Kenworthy, was dismissed from his position as coach in late September when it was discovered that he required varsity players to participate in both regular team practices and play for his personal team in the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) league.

Because of this, players also acknowledge that they will have less time to prepare before league games begin. “Because Coach A was given a very short amount of time to prepare for being boys’ varsity basketball head coach, it’s taken awhile for the players and the coach to get used to each other,” said junior George Lu. Another change that Alderete is bringing to the team is a different set of plays unknown to the team under their previous coach, which the team will have to master in the upcoming season. Getting used to new plays is no easy task, requiring that the team not only learn the technical aspects of the play, but also learn to improvise within the play. “Running a play is more than just learning the specific actions you need to do in that play,” Alderete said. “You also need to learn what your options are outside what is immediately drawn up. And that takes time... and a lot of practice.” Alderete is also changing the way in which the team trains, which will also affect the way they play. “Training with Kenworthy had a lot of conditioning whereas Alderete places his focus on getting the technique right,” said senior Marshall Cheng. “With Kenworthy we focused on a lot of small group application, we’d play one-on-one and three-on-three in every practice, while Alderete focuses more on full scale practices.”

Adapting to a new coach, however, is not the only difficulty that the boys’ basketball team will have to face. The team also suffers from a shortage of upperclassmen. “It’s probably going to be a difficult season,” sophomore Brian Li said. “Most other schools have mostly junior and senior teams while we have more than a few sophomores. We don’t have size, strength and the amount of players to win every game like two years ago when we were in the A-league.” To combat these disadvantages, Alderete hopes to strengthen the bonds within his team through team activities and traditions. His goal is to bring individual players together to form a unified team. “A big thing is the family concept,” Alderete said. “I feel that once we really start bonding with each other, we know each other better, we play together better, and most of all, it makes the game more enjoyable.” As the previous coach of JV girls’ basketball, Alderete plans to bring several traditions from his former program to the team. Rituals include respecting the “L” in the center of the court by encouraging team members to avoid stepping on it during time-out huddles. However, Alderete is still optimistic that his team will have the ability to pull through difficult times despite the problems that they face. “They’re great players,” Alderete said. “They’re getting to know me, they’re getting to know what I want to do and I’m getting to know them. We’re building the process. We have talent, and we have players dedicated to the program. I think we’re doing a good job, but there’s still a long ways to go.

Boys’ soccer experiences youth movement BY KASTURI PANTVAIDYA


espite their disappointing season last year, the boys’ varsity soccer team has a new set of goals they aim to meet this season including building up new players, improving team dynamics and becoming one of the top five teams in their league. Because a large number of freshmen made the team, there are more people who are not very familiar with the speed of a varsity game. Sophomore Chaitanya Khoche said, “We have a lot more underclassmen that have to compete against bigger and stronger opponents. Lynbrook generally isn’t a physical team, so the upperclassmen now play a greater leadership role in order to help out the rookie players.” Due to the larger amount of less-experienced players, the team is also faced with a weak defense, which they see as a setback for at least the first couple of games. Still, some freshmen varsity players are optimistic about their goal for the season. “It’s a really big honor to be a freshman on varsity,” said freshman Lucas Nelson. “Everyone on the team is really talented, and I feel that we have what it takes to makes it to CCS playoffs this year.”

However, even with doubts about having such a small group of returning players, the team is determined to keep their heads up and meet their goals. Nelson said, “As the season progresses on, we’ll definitely be seeing some results. We want to earn better results this year because last season’s record was terrible, but judging from the roster I think we’re better off this year.” Co-captain junior Andrew Bae hopes that the returners can help hone the skills of the freshmen, talent on the field. “The upperclassmen are better as of now, so we’re just going to try to really practice with the newbies and understand how they play. We have more talent this year, and therefore, I believe we can place in the top five,” said Bae. Khoche stresses the importance of team dynamics as the key to success. He said, “If we can understand our team dynamics better, I think we can be a real threat to our opponents this season.” Because the team is young, they are not as experienced as some other teams, such as those of Monta Vista and Fremont. The returners believe that if they can learn each other’s playing styles, they’ll become a stronger team. The team is preparing for the last round of the Homestead Cup, which will take place on Dec. 15, as well as their first couple of league games, which will begin in January.


LEAVING THEM IN THE DUST| Junior Andrew Bae breezes past a Harker defender as he advances toward the goal. Bae, a co-captain, has supplied leadership for the team’s more inexperienced players.

Playing an undervalued sport with passion BY SHOUVIK MANI

Sports are sports, no matter what


restling. Basketball. Marching Band. All three require athletic ability, yet most people denounce marching band as not a sport because it supposedly does not require skill or physical prowess in a competitive environment. But last time I checked, the technique and stamina necessary for playing the trombone while running around a football field in a competition requires skill, physical prowess and is of a competitive nature. So why is marching band, as well as cheer, color guard and dance, not considered a sport when it meets all the criteria for being a sport? Sports are often characterized by season, with daily practices and some sort of weekly game schedule. Given these common perceptions of a sport, Valkyries dance team and Colorguard might seem like nonathletic activities. Even if football is characterized by bulky shoulder pads and constant tackling, it doesn’t mean that that’s all football is. The same goes for Valkyries and Colorguard. Though they don’t seem like sports, they require the same commitment that sports like basketball and volleyball do. I clap along to the cheer performances at rallies in amazement and wonder how exactly the Valkyries can get their legs that high above their heads. But still, people consider the varsity girls’ basketball team as more of a sport. Traditionally, people who are considered athletes are those who run really fast or those who can bench 300 lbs. By definition, being athletic is being physically fit, strong or active. However, people often fail to realize that this definition also applies to flexibility and grace. Since dance and marching band are the epitome of these two actions, they should be considered sports. Moreover, just as football, field hockey and other “traditional” sports have competitions with other schools, marching band, Colorguard, cheer and the Valkyries have competitions as well, though maybe not as frequently. But though Valkyries and basketball belong in the same category, they aren’t regarded as such. On the day of the Valkyries’ Winter Show, the JV girls’ practice was cut short so that there would be more time to set up for the show. In response, members on the basketball team mocked the girls by mock-pirouetting around the gym, as if in retaliation. While it was all in good fun, it’s obvious that both sports, though they’re demanding in their own ways, are not on the same level. “Look at me! I’ve been running for almost two hours and I’m still pirouetting!” our gleeful smiles seemed to say. Honestly, what’s the big accomplishment in that? Another time, when we were kicked out of the field house by the colorguard due to double scheduling, team members moaned and grumbled about having to move for the colorguard, because apparently we’re so much more important than them. We were on the receiving end of a dose of bad luck that time, and no one needed to make that big a deal of it. It’s just that we are basketball players. Makes a whole lot of sense, doesn’t it? Too many sports at Lynbrook are underappreciated and not recognized because of preconceived notions that they don’t require as much athletic prowess, and it is our responsibility to recognize marching band members and soccer players alike for the work they put into their sports and not scoff at people who participate in supposedly “unathletic” sports. No matter what sport you play, you are playing for Lynbrook. The goal is school spirit as a whole, not individual achievement. So Go Lynbrook Marching Band! Go Cheer! Rah Hockey! At the heart of it all, Go Vikes!


ooking at junior Vibhav Altekar doesn’t give one the impression that he plays for the United States Under-18 (U-18) national cricket team. But then again, most people don’t know that such a team exists. Even worse, some are unaware of the sport in its entirety. This is the condition of cricket, which remains a minority sport in the United States. Cricket is a bat-ball game, much like baseball, and involves two teams trying to score the greatest amount of runs while avoiding losing wickets. It is played primarily in the Indian subcontinent, Asia, Australia, and England. In July 2012, Altekar represented USA at the U-18 International Cricket Council (ICC) Americas Cup in Florida. Growing up in Auckland, New Zealand, Altekar had plenty of influences that fostered his enthusiasm for cricket. He lived close to a cricket stadium, and his father also founded a cricket academy there. “We lived right across Auckland Cricket Stadium so I witnessed a lot of cricket,” Altekar said. “I got really inspired in 2003 when India made it to the Cricket World Cup finals.” After moving to the United States at the age of nine, Altekar continued playing cricket and joined the California Cricket Academy (CCA). In 2008, he got the opportunity to travel to Ahmedabad, India to train with the players there. India, having won the Cricket World Cup in both 1983 and 2011, is famous for its cricket and has a history of producing world-class players. Altekar’s brief stay in Ahmedabad served as a lasting inspiration that helped him progress as a cricketer. He said, “After I went to India and saw how everyone there was really dedicated, I took it onto myself to do extremely well.” So far, Altekar has made three appearances for the national team, once in the U-15 division and twice in U-18. “I feel a sense of pride in representing USA which otherwise I wouldn’t have felt playing for a club or academy,” Altekar said. “In one particular game, Canada needed to score eight runs in six balls, and it was really tight. Suddenly, everyone started cheering and supporting us. At the end of the day, we lost it. But I learned that if you play with all your heart, it doesn’t matter whether you win or lose. It just matters that you are rep-


AT BAT| Junior Vibhav Altekar scored 48 runs off 51 balls against Canada in the U-15 ICC Americas Cup.

resenting the USA and giving it your best.” Amid periods of adversity, Altekar has won national accolades for his performance. He has won two Man-of-the-Match awards (US equivalent of MVP) from the CCA, and he also holds the world record for the most runs scored in a U-15 cricket match, having scored 202 runs off 105 balls at a tournament in Hartford, Connecticut in 2011. After graduating from high school, Altekar plans to go to either England or India to pursue cricket. His motivation comes from a particularly memorable experience during his visit to India. His team had scored 100 runs and given up nine wickets in the final inning of a match with only one wicket left. The two batsmen who were on the pitch had the fate of the game in their hands. Unfortunately, one of the batsmen knew only English, while the other only knew Marathi, a local Indian language. Despite these unimaginable circumstances, the duo ended up scoring 88 runs and won the match. “I was just astounded about how they did it without speaking to one another. Later, I understood that cricket was their language,” Altekar said, nodding his head. “Something like that can only happen in In-

dia. That’s why I want to go there.” Altekar accepts the stereotyping and ignorance that is commonly imposed upon the cricket playing community and believes that these are simply natural consequences that cricket will face being an unfamiliar sport among the American public. “Most of the time, cricket is labeled off as an Indian or Pakistani sport, but a lot of people don’t know that it is actually the national sport of England” Altekar said. “This is due to stereotyping. But it’s okay, because people have a hard time understanding something when it is new to them.” Nevertheless, Altekar persists that cricket has a lot of potential in the US. He points out that there are several pockets of cricketplaying communities all over the US such as the Bay Area in California. Plus, the advent of Twenty20 (T-20) cricket with its shorter, 4-hour matches makes the sport more suitable to the fast-paced American sporting culture. In February 2013, Altekar will be heading to Suriname to play in a qualifying tournament for the U-19 World Cup. The USA team will be facing Suriname, Argentina, Papa New Guinea, and Jamaica.

Veteran-heavy girls’ basketball team gears up for new season BY IZABELLA KIPNIS


fter a successful season last year, the girls’ basketball team is preparing to start this year off just as strongly. In 2011, the girls were undefeated during preseason, finished 6-6 in the league and made it to CCS semifinals, where they beat Presentation High School, but lost to Archbishop Mitty. Although proud of their past accomplishments, the team hopes to finish even better this year with several changes to the structure of the season. The team’s new coach, Cynthia Ting, was the assistant coach last year, so many girls are familiar with her. “We run more and it’s more serious and strict, but we get a lot more done,” said senior Jacqueline Hudepohl. “We are playing pretty well as a team and are pushing the ball and playing well in transition. We definitely need to work on our defense and our offensive execution, especially against a zone.” They had a preview of their success for this season during two scrimmages on Nov 22 and Nov 23. “We cleared the scoreboard every quarter against Santa Cruz, but we won every quarter we played. And we beat Scotts Valley 69-49,” said senior Emily Fong. A tribute to their success is the fact that the majority of the varsity team has been playing together for at least three years. Their knowledge of one another gives them the

chemistry they need to execute plays . From their successful scrimmages, they have gained confidence, but are aware that it will not be an easy season considering the challenging league that they are in. “I think the intensity during practices has helped to prepare us a little bit. Because we play at a fast pace during practice, new players are used to the game’s fast pace. It really helps that older members on the team are stepping up and leading the team,” says Fong. Although only beginning pre-season, “We have high hopes and goals and are excited for the season to start,” said Hudepohl. In addition to changes with the structure of the team, the format of the Sandi Stober Classic Tournament on Nov. 28 through Dec. 3 has changed. The team also played more challenging schools than they did before, yet still managed to beat all three high schools, including Independence, Westmont and Gunn. The Westmont game heated up towards the end, when Lynbrook was down by two points with four seconds left in the last quarter and scored to tie the game. The game went into overtime and the girls won after making a bucket off of an inbound play. Similarly, on Dec. 6 the team beat Fortuna High School 45-34. Fong said, “We went out hard and played together as a team, and I’m pretty hopeful for the rest of the season. We have to take it one step at a time, but it seems like it’s going to be a great season.”


DRIVING FORCE| Junior Paige Song drives to the hoop against Gunn in the Sandi Stober Classic final. The Lady Vikes won 45-32 to take the trophy.

Silvermans: the adrenaline never stops running BY YONI ZEMLYAK


eet senior Shaelyn and freshman Shawn Silverman. Shaelyn is an All-American runner who is now part of the All-American team, while Shawn Silverman was part of the varsity team as a freshman. They have both competed in track and field at Junior Olympics (JO) for the last two years, and last weekend, Shawn Silverman participated at JO in New Mexico. For Shawn and Shaelyn Silverman, participating in JO gives them a chance to travel across the nation. “My first year we went to Alabama, and the second year we went to South Carolina,” said Shawn. In order to qualify for JO, the Silvermans practice crosstraining, participate in muscle-building workouts, and swim during the off-season to stay in shape. Although running is commonly perceived as a tedious process, Shawn Silverman does not consider his training as long or drawn-out. “They are really intense, so it seems like [practice] is shorter than it is,” he said. This arduous amount of work helps him stay at his personal best, helping him break his personal records. Shawn Silverman’s love for running began at a young age, and although a large part of his success came from personal training, he always had his sister there for him. “When I was younger, [Shaelyn] used to train with me. She’s always been really supportive, and running with her is great training.” Like Shawn Silverman, Shaelyn Silverman feels her sibling has had a positive effect on her performance. “I know that from a young age Shawn has always looked up to me, and that serves as my main motivation: to perform well for him. I’ve pushed him for as long as I can remember, and he’s even a little faster than me now,” she said. Shaelyn Silverman competed in JO for the past few years, even receiving the title of All-American in 2011, placing in the top 25 out of hundreds of runners at Nationals in her division. This year, however, she did not attend JO due to time constraints. The supportive attitude the Silvermans possess during practice toward one another is something they bring to major competitions. “Basically, whenever we get an opportunity to


KEEPING A STEADY PACE| Senior Shaelyn Silverman, shown here participating in a cross country race, is an All-American runner.


RUN LIKE THE WIND| Freshman Shawn Silverman, shown here running in a race at the Junior Olympics, has high hopes for the future.

see the other run, we try to. Throughout the race, we’re constantly encouraging [each other],”said Shaelyn Silverman.“It’s like I’m right there with him running, and vice-versa.” Still, the two siblings’ camaraderie does not stop outside the track. Recalling his previous JO experiences with his sister, Shawn Silverman said, “In South Carolina, the night after the race, the entire team was excited that the race was over. There was a pool in our hotel that was connected to the ocean, because the hotel was right on the beach. Someone came up with a game where we would jump into the hot tub, and then sprint on the ice-cold ground and jump into the freezing ocean. We were all screaming because it was all so ridiculously cold! It was a lot of fun.” While many view running as a boring sport, both siblings believe the exact opposite. “It can be a very fun team sport. The team talks a lot during running and just makes it a ton of fun. I just love the whole experience.” His favorite part about running, however, is the sense of accomplishment associated with finishing a race. “I’ve loved running from a young age, and doing well has always made me feel really good about myself. It’s very athletic and very hard, and it requires a lot of self-motivation. But that’s a good thing to have, and I love it.” Shaelyn shares a similar opinion on the sport. “Running is really what you make of it. If you have no enthusiasm, then you probably won’t like it. If you are really into it, though, you can have a ton of fun, and a great experience! You just have to power through. In the end, the reward will be worth it each and every time.” Shawn has a persevering attitude, an attribute he shares with his sister. He explained, “When you give up during a race, after the race, you feel terrible, telling yourself ‘I shouldn’t have done that!’, but when you push through the pain, right after you’re done with the race, you feel really good about yourself, and how you ran that well.” Though both are only teenagers, the siblings have each qualified for national competitions. When asked whether either of them would pursue a spot in an Olympic team, Shawn said, “The Olympics are pretty far off, but right now, I believe there’s always more work to be done.”

Girls’ soccer team kicks off the season with high hopes of making CCS playoffs BY SABRINA JEN


lthough the season has just begun, the girls’ soccer team is already looking forward to it with a positive attitude because of the many favorable changes. Differences in their program this year include a new turf field and coach, along with a talented roster. Because soccer is a winter sport, the girls have experienced inconveniences during the rainy season in the past without turf, such as not being able to play when rain fell. However, with the help of the new and advanced fields, the team is now able to do so, since the turf will not be as dirty as grass, which gets muddy and unplayable in the rain. “The ball’s motion is more predictable, because it won’t just bounce unexpectedly or slow down when you don’t want it to,” said sophomore Sonia Raghuram. The addition of a more experienced coach is another one of the many changes which the girls are facing this year. Since last year’s varsity coach, Julie Williams, moved to Minnesota, the girls are now being coached by new varsity coach Mitch Basin. Basin has 15 years of experience, having coached a variety of players, including the Nevada State Olympic Development team. Since working with the players, Coach Basin said, “I have seen a lot of camaraderie and passion for the game,” qualities he values most in a team. Basin explains that

he plans to provide high-level training sessions and maintain high expectations. So far, Basin’s first season coaching has proven to be effective in achieving his goal. “Last year, the coaches weren’t as experienced, so nobody really felt like putting all their effort into it,” said senior Mackenzie Shimojima. “The new coach this year is a lot more experienced, so we’re more into it.” Besides sharing the goal of improving as a team by getting used to each others’ styles of playing, the girls also aim to make it to CCS playoffs this year. In past years, the team never considered attending CCS a reality since they did not believe that it was within their reach. However, they are confident that this year will be different with the beneficial changes, especially since “the team has strong players in all positions and all we have to do is work together and play off of each other,” said sophomore Sabrina Fan. “We have a very strong and experienced senior roster, and some talented underclassmen,” said junior Monica Ou. Like Ou and Fan, freshman Kristen Wong believes that the team has a lot of potential and that as long as they believe that they can achieve their goal of doing well, they will be able to do it. “All of us—the freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors— are in this together and whatever happens we will hold our heads high together as a team,” said Wong.


REARING BACK FOR A KICK| Junior Rebecca Hatton centers the ball in a game against Yerba Buena. The Lady Vikes cruised to an 11-0 win.

A formal request BY JOEY LI


t’s that time of year again, and with winter formal right around the corner, students are spending their brain cells thinking of creative ways to ask that special someone when they should probably be spending them on studying for finals instead.

From the top, junior Daniel Park approaches junior Pamela Tao bearing flowers and a poster during his asking at the top of the quad. Park recruited over 50 people to participate in his flash mob style asking in the quad during lunch, in which they danced to songs like Bruno Mars’ “Marry You” and One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful.” Below, senior Andy Tsai asks senior Stephanie Hahm with the help of his friends in a commonly used method involving a series of posters. Tsai put a twist on the Sound of Music classic “My Favorite Things,” changing the lyrics to fit his asking theme of his date’s favorite items.

Third from the top, junior Eric Wu hugs senior Rebecca Yang after his asking. Showcasing his vocal talent as a member of The Ritards, he sang an acoustic version of the popular song “We Could Happen” by AJ Rafael, on guitar accompanied by ukulele. Bottom, sophomore Roger Chen poses with sophomore Sonia Lee from Monta Vista High School. Chen travelled to the neighboring school for his asking, assisted by two other Monta Vista students. Be it for formal or free response questions, Lynbrook students can find a creative approach.

Issue 4, 2012  

Volume 48, Issue 4, December 10, 2012