Page 1

Dance Policy ASB and administration explain their reasoning for the implementation of the dance policy reinforced this year. BY KATHY JANG


n the works since last fall, Lynbrook’s new dance policy was finally implemented at the Welcome Back Bash on Aug. 23 in an effort to promote dance safety. It has been a work in progress since the Homecoming Dance last year when students and parents alike voiced concerns over student safety. The new dance policy, authored by ASB and the administration during the summer and beginning of the school year, bans:

body rolls, grinding, roaming hands and bending over in favor of: upright, vertical dancing, hands on waists and side to side swaying. “It wasn’t that difficult,” said ASB Social Manager senior Caitlin Lee about creating the policy. “The admin really wanted to find that middle ground and we really understood each [other’s needs].” The meeting heads took into account

evaluatory notes that arose in the past from dance attendees. The policy was also influenced by other schools in the district. “The purpose of the policy was to keep people safe emotionally and physically. A lot of kids have reported that [dances are] kind of a turn-off,” said Assistant Principal of Activities David Erwin, “I’d say about 20 to 30 kids have come to me personally since my time here to complain about

[dances] being ‘gross’.” Over the past few years, the name “freshman rape dance,” used to describe upperclassmen trying to dance with freshmen, has colloquially replaced the welcome back dance’s official title. Although primarily used by upperclassmen, the popularity of the phrase has spread to the rest of the student body and provoked a considerable amount of uncertainty about attending the dance. “I think all the freshmen knew about the term ‘freshman rape dance’“ said freshman Leanza Martin. “That’s why so many [were reluctant] to go.” Prior to the dance, the ASB Social Commissioners sent out an online survey to the Class of 2017 in order to gauge their interest in the Welcome Back Bash. According to ASB Social Commissioner and freshman Mira Thekdi, “Almost 60 percent of [freshmen] said they wouldn’t come to the dance out of concern for their safety.” dance As a result, safety became ASB’s primary and realconcern, and the Social Committee launched izing that ‘there’s kind of cool things hapa new advertising campaign to increase pening on the dance floor; I think I want awareness of the dance policy and to en- to dance,’”said Erwin, “It’s like going to a courage freshmen to attend. The policy was football game. You’re watching football, but intended to prevent upperclassmen from you’re also there for the band, the dance dancing as provocatively as they had in past team, the cheer team, and the whole atmoyears, and demonstrate to freshmen that sphere.” they would be safe and protected. The guideTaking into account the changes in policy lines were sent out via School Loop, shared and activities, ASB considered the dance a through Facebook, and posted at the dance. success in terms of attendance. An official Lynbrook dance policy has Trisal said, “There was huge freshman atalways existed, though the rules were not tendance, and they loved the other activities. publicized until recently. Aside from pub- And the upperclassmen actually asked them lishing this policy in the planner, neither the to dance instead of just grabbing them like administration nor ASB made much effort to they’d expected; they were pretty surprised advertise it, resulting in student confusion about that.” when these rules were sporadically enforced Responses to the dance policy and alterduring dances. nate activities varied from student to stu“It was always there. It was actually made dent, but attendance of the Welcome Back a long time ago,”said ASB Social Commis- Bash still matches last year’s in number. sioner Meera Trisal. “We just decided to step Revenue, however, does not. In ASB’s up this year and change it because of student effort to provide dance goers with alternasafety and for the staff volunteers.” tive activities, funds were spent on a Super Aside from alleviating freshman safety Smash Bros. Brawl tournament, air hockey, concerns, this year’s dance was designed arcade games, a photo booth, free cotton to be more activity-based and included ele- candy, free snow cones and various class ments aside from just dancing to, as Thekdi fundraisers, among others. Although the puts it, provide “something for everyone.” In Welcome Back dance has historically been fact, the name “Welcome Back Dance” was the cheapest of all school dances, this bash changed to “Welcome Back Bash” to empha- cost approximately $400 more than previsize this shift. ous years’ dances. “If you only look at one angle, you’re only “There was not as much profit as we serving one small portion of the population. could have had, but it was worth it in the If we don’t provide other activities, we’d be long run because with this dance we really losing out on a population that could experi- just wanted to set that tone [of safety],”said ence those other activities as well as seeing a Lee on the heightened expenses.



Not all students, however, look kindly toward the alternative activities, likening the Welcome Back Bash to Miller Middle School Corrals, resembling a social more than an actual dance. ASB tried not let the alternative activities take away from the actual dancing, but many students hold different opinions. “We go to school five days a week and get stressed by homework, tests, and projects,” said senior Eric Chuu. “Don’t interfere with the main event with strategically-placed elements to get people off the dance floor. Nobody gets ‘harmed’ at these dances. People aren’t wrenching you off the bench and forcing you to dance with them.” Based on student and administration responses to the Welcome Back Bash, no modifications will be made to the dance policy or inclusion of alternate activities. The Homecoming Dance, which will take place on Oct. 12, will still be subject to the same dance policy. As for the alternate activities, their presence will remain in the Homecoming Dance, at the very least. Although no specific spoilers can be given at this moment, Lee stated that activities will be of a similar type. Students can expect these activities to be separated more commodiously throughout the dance venue so as to not interfere with the dancing.





ast October, Gov. Jerry Brown signed California Assembly Bill 1575 (AB 1575) into law, which keeps all California public school classes and activities free to students by providing a uniform complaint procedure. “It’s really addressing the issue of equity for all students in education,” said Principal John Dwyer. “The law tries to make sure that regardless of . . . socioeconomic status, all students get the same access to education.”


Although this requirement of free public education for all is only now being seriously enforced, AB 1575 actually reiterates Article 9, Section 5 of the California Constitution, which has guaranteed a free public education for all children since 1879. AB 1575’s mandate that all core educational activities must be free for students has far-reaching implications for Lynbrook classrooms, athletic teams and clubs.


Breaking Down the Bill At the most basic level, Lynbrook must allow all students to partake in all core curricular and extracurricular activities, regardless of their ability to contribute financially. The school is still allowed to seek donations to help cover costs of enrichment or supplemental activities but must provide students with any services or materials that are deemed to be part of the core program. In the context of the classroom, the school must provide students with all required materials free of charge if they do not wish to purchase their own. “It comes down to what the school offers as its core program. Sports, for example, are an integral part of the school’s program. You can’t exclude somebody from competition, and you can’t exclude them by giving them a different uniform, if that’s what the school says is its offering for its program,” said Dwyer. “That pretty much goes for clubs as well.” Erwin stated that as a result of AB 1575, charging for the school’s core activities, but making scholarships available to those in fi-

nancial need, would not be permitted. “We don’t know who can and can’t afford something,” said Erwin. “By saying, ‘If you can’t afford it, don’t worry, we’ll pay for you,’ it puts them in a precarious situation.” Senior Attorney at Legal Advocates for Children and Youth Suzanne Yang also said that AB 1575 explicitly prohibits the use of fee waivers for these activities, which would allow students with demonstrated financial need to participate at a reduced or no charge. The new law does, however, does allow fees for activities not integral to the school’s curriculum, such as dances and football games. Organizations may also continue to charge for elements not integral to participation in their programs. “If you’re on the volleyball team, for example, you need a volleyball uniform, but you don’t necessarily need warm-ups, matching bags, or t-shirts,” said FUHSD Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services Graham Clark. “If students want to go and do that, they can. But that’s not a fee – it’s an optional thing.” Define “Extracurricular” Although some students question whether clubs fall under the umbrella of the school’s core curriculum, and thus whether they should be bound by AB 1575’s mandates, the definition is quite clear. “Any after school club or sport is extracurricular but also considered integral to the curriculum and to the idea of being a stu-

AB 1575


Facing the Consequences By and large, AB 1575 will force teachers, sports teams, and clubs alike to drop their fee mandates and request donations instead. Many, such as Robotics Club Co-President senior Miles Chan, have indicated concerns over how this may affect their clubs. “Students might lose the ability to make robot parts on campus because our machines will not be maintained,” said Chan. “We might not be able to build a robot of the same quality due to a lack of raw materials.” Chan also expressed worry that some students may take advantage of Robotics Club’s now-free resources. “If we want to go to an away regional and a student decides to demand that the team

gives him a free ride the entire team will lose the opportunity to attend that event if there aren’t enough funds to go around,” said Chan. If students or parents choose to take advantage of the new law, organizations will have little choice but to accommodate them. “You would hope there’s not going to be anybody who says ‘I want my kid to go and I’m not going to pay,’ but the law allows for that,” said Clark. “And that’s where the problem comes in.” In response to these concerns, Dwyer said, “We can discuss how, with some minor changes in their wording and expectations, they can ensure that we have access for as many people as possible.” Furthermore, teachers and organizations may still set requirements for students to participate in their activities, as long as meeting these requirements is not contingent on financial contributions.

Filing an Appeal If teachers or organizations do charge illegal fees, students can utilize AB 1575’s uniform complaint procedure to quickly resolve the issue. “The first appeal would go to the principal of the high school,” said Clark. “If the principal can’t resolve it, you would take it to the District Office. If you can’t resolve it there it goes to the county, and if you can’t resolve it there it goes to the state.” If it is determined that impermissible fees were levied, the organization will be responsible for refunding the fee to all who are charged, not just those who file the complaint. “The problem was that nobody had the resources to go to court every time there was a problem,” said Yang. “Technically, AB 1575 is not a new law, it’s just a way to enforce it. And it’s a statement that public education must be free.” To the Future and Beyond In order to avoid complaints and instances of inequity among students, the administration will be working with all organizations to make sure they comply with the rules. According to AB 1575, teachers and or-


dent at that school,” said Yang. Thus, school organizations will be required to cover all costs of member participation in their core activities, including travel and lodging for travel competitions. “If we have, for example, a Robotics club here as part of our program, and we have a supervisor who receives a stipend paid for by the district, and they’re using school classrooms at no cost to the club, then it’s part of our program,” said Dwyer. AB 1575 also specifies that schools may charge for class field trips, so long as students are not prevented from going because they can not pay. “If somebody can’t pay the fee, they still are entitled to go,” said Dwyer. “If we can’t make the total amount, then everyone goes, or no one goes.”

ganizations are allowed to solicit voluntary donations from students and parents. Erwin also suggested that clubs be as transparent as possible when raising funds to encourage more donations. “Itemize what the donations are going to be used for, because I do feel that people would be more comfortable writing a check to a club that states how the money is going to be used,” said Erwin. Beyond just soliciting donations, Erwin and Dwyer both said that teachers and clubs alike could look to the school’s many fundraising groups, such as the PTSA or Lynbrook Excellence in Education Foundation, for additional revenue. In spite of AB 1575, Dwyer is optimistic about the situation, even suggesting the possibility of increasing the activities available to students. “I’m hopeful that we’ll expand our opportunities,” said Dwyer. “We have a very generous, very supportive community, and we have great teachers who are looking for ways to expand what they’re doing in class and enrich the activities for kids.”

Iris Zhao takes the first steps to beat bullying BY JESSICA CAO


reshman Iris Zhao’s mother was going through the mail when she opened a standard FedEx envelope, read “$5000” on the enclosed letter, assumed a scam was involved, and made to toss the package away. Her daughter had in fact just won Epiduo*Gel, PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center and Seventeen magazine’s Banish Bullying contest, and the $5000 in prize money would be donated to Lynbrook. If Zhao had not curiously picked up the discarded mail, she may have been extremely confused upon reading Principal John Dwyer’s congratulatory email. “I was in denial until an hour after I read the letter,” said Zhao. “Actually, I’m still kind of in denial.” Her 150-word tip on banishing bullying will be printed in the December 2013/January 2014 issue of Seventeen. Zhao, who was bullied from second through

cool if her tip was posted on the website. “I just truthfully wrote about what I experienced and everything I’d learned over the years from teachers, friends and speakers at school, so it came pretty easily--I finished in about ten minutes,” Zhao said. “Then I just submitted it to the entry form on their website about two days before the contest ended.” Dana DiStefano, Senior Promotion Manager at Seventeen, said, “Seventeen received over 300 entries for the Banish Bullying contest but were drawn to Iris’s tip due to the heartfelt, genuine advice she provided along with the originality of her confidence-boosting plan to Banish Bullying in her social circles and networks.” Although a decision has not yet been made about spending the prize money, the official contest rules state that the money must “be used toward various initiatives, such as a new gym floor, new marching band uniforms, etc.” Dwyer suggested inviting an anti-bullying speaker to come to Lynbrook, since Zhao believed her experience with an anti-bullying speaker event held at Miller Middle School helped bring classmates together. Students who had been bullied were asked to share their experiences. “I really related to them, and I think the bullies understood better what they’d done to their victims,” said Zhao. “I haven’t experienced bullying [at Lynbrook] and everyone’s been pretty nice, but I think in many places it’s an underground issue that should be talked about.”

“Offer a smile to let them know you care, a shoulder to lean or cry on if they ever need anything, and be their friend.” eighth grade about


her appearance, writes about teen issues such as depression and stress in her spare time. “People would always tell me how weird and gross I apparently looked,” Zhao said. “There was more importance placed on popularity at my old schools, and I wasn’t exactly at the top.” She saw a full-page ad in the August 2013 issue of Seventeen and thought submitting for the contest would be fun and that it would be

“Bashar al-Assad has been in power since 2000 after succeeding his father Hafez alAssad, during which he has exercised a complete dictatorship under the guise of “free elections.” After the Arab Spring took off in the spring of 2010, Syrian citizens decided to rise up and follow in the footsteps of Tunisia, Libya and Egypt among others, and oust al-Assad, who has been exacerbating the situation by committing human rights violations, including civilian rape, assaults and murders against his own people. The protests started mostly peacefully, but al-Assad ordered his army to fire upon the peaceful protesters. This outraged many civilians, which lead to the Free Syrian Army being assembled. This has led to multiple clashes with Assad’s forces which has escalated to a bloody civil war which has claimed over 100,000 lives. A messy internal aftermath without a clear leader and party to step up has ensued. In a crude way, it’s similar to what happened to America in the beginning years of democracy and it’s to be expected for the next couple years.”

30° W

COUNTER: Bashar al-Assad denies committing human rights atrocities, and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has ascertained that both sides are guilty of human rights violations. Many of the emerging political factions in the rebel government are accused of being Al Qaeda affiliates.



ver the past 30 months, the Middle Eastern nation of Syria has been entrenched in a bloody civil war, with over 100,000 deaths and counting. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been accused of using chemical warfare against his own people, and has resisted frequent calls for him to abdicate.

0° N

COUNTER: Erdogan, however, has had success with the Turkish economy, reducing inflation by 80 percent during his term,


30° W

“The people of Turkey have been upset with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan since early 2013 as a result of actions they disagree with. The first protests took place in Gezi Park, a historical Turkish landmark, on which Erdogan had constructed a mall. Eventually, thousands joined the protests; Gezi Park was just a trigger. Protesters are generally unhappy with Erdoğan’s string of broken promises. He got elected in 2003 by promising to the public that Turkey will finally be accepted into the EU, but 10 years later he has yet to come through. Additionally, six protesters have lost their lives during the Gezi Park protests because of police brutality, and Erdoğan has not condemned this. As first steps, Erdogan needs to put an end to police brutality, and fix the broken judicial system. However, unless he undergoes a transformation, the protests won’t end.”

and nearly repaying all of Turkey’s international debt. Furthermore, Turkey has not been accepted into the EU due to opposition from some EU members.



ince late May, Turkey has been subject to protesters irate with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s management of the country.


n wake of expensive international events, Brazil has been overwrought with protesters, demands ranging from lower bus fares to greater economic equality. “Large-scale demonstrations have occurred in Brazil throughout 2013, stunning the Brazilian government. Although the economy has grown rapidly, mass poverty and a wide class divide still exist. Protesters want money spent on infrastructure, public services and education rather than events that bolster Brazil’s ‘brand’; Brazil will host the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. This has left protesters feeling as if money is more important than they are. Brazil must first clean up the corruption in the government, and eventually, the government will initiate reforms to avoid further embarrassment.” COUNTER: The Brazilian government is largely credited with a booming economy, with domestic production and agriculture growing by 32.3

and 47 percent respectively.


he Egyptian people have experienced two consecutive revolutions, overthrowing long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak, as well as his replacement Mohamed Morsi two years later.

30° E



“The Egyptian youth have been trying to use their influence to establish a government that is representative of their beliefs. The recently elected Mohamed Morsi, who replaced Mubarak, adopted policies that failed to gain favor. The Egyptian public generally dislikes Morsi because as it was becoming more progressive, he was leaning toward traditionalism. Additionally, Morsi seems to have taken on dictator-like characteristics. For example, when criticized, he gave a dismissive speech that further created a divide. This is why we have witnessed two revolutions. Overall, the best thing to do is to let the Egyptian people figure out who their candidate is and draft a Constitution that accurately represents them. Only after that may Egypt come out of the turmoil.”



“All Greek parties have been attempting to satisfy voters by delivering various social benefits to workers. When the country was hit by the recession, the government lost its ability to pay off international debts, but continued borrowing money to come through on current obligations. By 2010 it became clear that the process was not sustainable, and Greece was forced to accept a bailout package from the International Monetary Fund, contingencies of which included severe austerity measures, meaning that the government could not be as generous toward its people as it used to be. Greek citizens, who were used to a good standard of living before, were suddenly asked to cut back on everything. The people were feeling entitled to maintain their existing standard of living and did not feel that they were in any way responsible for actions that resulted in financial insolvency even though they had benefited from them. This has resulted in protests all across the nation.”

COUNTER: As hard hit as it has been, the Greek economy is showing its first signs of life in years, as its GDP has virtually stopped contracting as of late. Optimistic economists believe that the nation has a solid chance of pulling out of the crisis.

0° N COUNTER: Drafting a Constitution may prove difficult, however, as the Egyptian public embodies a variety of groups with different agendas, ranging from pro-Westerners to Islamic militants.



30° E


reece was hit hard by the international financial collapse of 2008, forcing the government to cut back on services. This has angered many citizens who do not feel responsible for the collapse, resulting in a nationwide series of protests.




t the beginning of the school year, the Lynbrook administration put the diversity of clubs on campus at risk by enforcing a rule that requires an advisor or other FUHSD employee to be present at all club events. The policy change also provides that even if adults or other volunteers are certified by the district, they are not allowed to be the sole supervisors of club events if they are not paid district employees. he district policy behind this new rule is based off of the California Code of Regulations (5 CCR 5552), which states, “A school is liable if it fails to provide adequate supervision by certificated personnel if the school allows students on campus before or after school.” Although the policy has existed for at least eighteen years, the administration has not seriously enforced it until this year. “We started implementing the rule because many teachers were asking about advisors’ duties, and we wanted to ensure that students were properly supervised at all times,” said Assistant Principal David Erwin. “If clubs want to have events outside the classroom, advisors are responsible for finding an FUHSD employee to supervise them.” Although it is reasonable to expect that underage students should be supervised, most club events already have legal supervisors. Many administrators are present at events like Night on the Quad (NOTQ), and according to the CCR, these events are al-


ready properly supervised because administrators have been certified by the district. This rule has caused some teachers who wish to be anonymous to be upset about the extra time they have to spend on clubs. As a result, at least five clubs have lost their advisors. One of them, American Cancer Society (ACS), has had difficulty finding a new advisor. The Public Relations officer of ACS, junior Jamie Wong, asked around twenty teachers before finding a new advisor. “We asked all the teachers in the History, Art, and Music Departments,” said Wong. “Some of them flat out said no, and others said they were unable to handle attending the club events.” If this rule is not changed to allow any certified adult to be a supervisor, more clubs will be disbanded or start offering fewer events, causing students to have fewer chances to serve the community, meet people from other schools or build life-lasting connections with fellow club members. English teacher Rick Hanford, head of the Lynbrook Teacher Association, acknowledges that some teachers will have trouble abiding by this rule. Although the rule does not greatly affect Hanford and his involvement with Vertigo Literary Magazine, he recognizes that other club advisors will have to attend many events outside of official work hours. “I can’t see how any advisor could go to all the events and stay sane and healthy,” said Hanford. “No teacher has to agree to advising a club. Teachers aren’t going to volunteer to advise clubs if they physically can’t meet the requirements.”

If advisors were to oversee all club events, which could be as often as twice a week, in addition to their teacher duties, they would not have time left in their personal lives. “As a teacher, I need to allocate the hours I’m able to spend in a way that least affects my students’ overall learning,” said Kenny Iams, advisor of Photography Club. “Therefore, some of these club activities will be the first to go.” Already, Iams has had to let go of NOTQ to focus on what is most important to him: his class. To prevent the loss of more clubs, the administration should, as the CCR allows, permit any certified adult to be a supervisor, instead of requiring an FUHSD employee. To be certified, adults have to take a tuberculosis test and go through a background check. These adults are not district employees, they have gone through the extensive process of being certified and can devote their time in place of teachers. With some teachers already unable to meet these additional club requirements, the administration should modify its policies so that certified parents and non-FUHSD employees may supervise events independently. This provision would allow parents to split the time commitment of supervision and lighten the burden of teacher advisors. Although the new policy is an understandable attempt to ensure proper supervision and inform students and teachers of advisor duties, it is not effective, and must be appropriately adjusted so that students do not lose some of their most cherished clubs.


ntering this year, I knew I’d be in for a wild ride; after all, AP English Literature and Composition, notorious for its blasphemously long study guides and multifaceted curriculum, is highly advertised as one of Lynbrook’s most challenging courses. But I had no idea just how outrageously mind-baffling it would be. Not so long ago, my class began reading Oedipus Rex, and, to properly brace our class’ eager senior minds with befitting knowledge, we each received a handout on Greek tragedy—and it was tragic indeed. I gaped in mad incredulity at the handout before me and an ineffable tremor of dismay swelled through my body. Comic Sans. As I struggled to make it through the page, conflicting emotions struck me, and I lost all sense of right and wrong. The playful and fun curves of the font contrasted so strikingly with the topic at hand. After years of using Microsoft Word, I knew that Comic Sans was the premier party font, which meant that perhaps, just perhaps, tragedy wasn’t so tragic after all. Inner turmoil overcame my coherence, and I left class a perplexed glassy-eyed student with no sense of morality. After a good deal of exposure to good ole Cambria—and I cannot stress enough the overwhelming sense of relief that it induced—I gathered my bearings and came to the following conclusion: fonts are absolutely integral to the function of life, and play a sublimely central role in determining our individual livelihoods. Society is prone to complaint about the decline of class and the demise of propriety. The solution lies in choosing the correct fonts. There are two categories of fonts: serif and sans-serif fonts, or, more crudely put, fonts with and without the little lines attached to the stroke of each letter. Serif fonts are the basis of decency, so elegantly and intricately carved.  On the other side of the spectrum, the sans-serif fonts lie in audacious fervor, endorsing the #yoloswaglyfe. If we are a breed of animals drawn to beauty and art, then the written word is to expression what Beethoven’s 9th is to mu-

sic. Writing is the most common form of art. Therefore, adding onto every pitifully lacking Arial and Calibri letter in the world a meager little line would measurably force some degree of dignity back into the slums. Imagine driving through Compton, and seeing the graffiti spelled out in Times New Roman. Outstanding. Home prices are rising already! If vanity and beauty are not your area of expertise, let its impact on education sway you. Using the wrong font can potentially inhibit learning. Case in point: I personally find myself greatly limited by sans-serif fonts because I cannot tell the difference between I, l, and 1, no matter how hard I try to broaden my perceptions on detail. The ensuing headache really isn’t worth the effort. Aside from discerning between appearances, fonts are a telltale sign of character. I am more predisposed to serif-lovers than to Comic Sans and Wingdings-lovers (winds). While Times New Roman and Cambria are the eldest children in their families with degrees in business from Harvard and law from Yale, Comic Sans is the youngest failure of a child endowed with perpetual spaghetti sauce stains. It’s like the difference between that one kid with fifty Silly Bandz and everyone else. One is just infinitely better than the other. These stunning serif fonts have the potential to transform the world into a place of respectability. Perhaps, if society does put enough effort into eradicating Comic Sans and posse, the world will rid itself of the poor, confused students who associate tragedy with fun. Crime rates will steadily decrease, and the utopia which society is headed for will suffer no shortcoming in little lines attached to strokes. Next time, give some credit to these serif typefaces, so breathtakingly beautiful that Johannes Gutenberg himself is cheering from his grave (which is etched in Georgia, not Papyrus). Here’s a thought: come second semester, ask that special someone to prom with a poster in typed and printed Times New Roman; nothing, after all,  shouts “I’m romantic and a catch” quite as well as something typed by hand.


IMMIGRANTS: What their contributions mean to us and why we should learn about them BY PRACHI LAUD


ccording to the U.S. Census Bureau, 38.6 percent of the San Jose population is composed of foreign born persons: immigrants. Several students at Lynbrook can claim ancestry from at least one immigrant relative, and many are first generation immigrants themselves. American culture is made of interwoven customs, beliefs and values brought to the United States by these immigrants—they have always been, and remain today, major contributors to pivotal changes in American history. In order to truly respect the significance of immigrants in the United States, the contributions of immigrants should be made a substantial part of the U.S. History curriculum, both at state and national levels. Currently, immigration is not a major part of 11th grade U.S. History and AP U.S. History curriculums. The textbook approach to immigration is over generalized, merely providing an on the surface look at the integration and role of immigrants in America. “When I read my U.S. History book growing up, I noticed that there was a perspective of African-Americans and those with Caucasian backgrounds. However, AsianAmerican history seemed like a footnote, for it only said that Chinese immigrants worked on the railroads,” said U.S. and World History teacher Esther Lee.


Modern day immigration—from the 1980s to the present—especially is largely excluded from the curriculum. Learning about the history behind immigration helps students comprehend their cultural identities as Americans of multicultural descent. “I think it’s really important for Lynbrook students to know where they came from,” said Lee. “I don’t think you can fully grasp your racial identity until you know your racial history.” Oftentimes, the motivation for immigration is the same in the past and the present. By learning about immigrants of the past, students with immigrant families are more capable of comprehending the factors that went into their families’ immigration and how it affects their lives today. “It puts them in context, like, why am I here?” said Social Studies Department Chair and U.S. History teacher Mike Williams. Students benefit from learning about immigrants from all walks of life because the comprehension of these people’s histories helps them answer questions such as “Where do I come from? Who am I? Where am I going?” said Lee. “You really can’t get a sense of who are you are until you understand that you’re part of other people’s stories.” By developing a more comprehensive understanding of immigration in the United States and the diverse prejudices and reactions surrounding it, students will be exposed to a completely different view of immigrants than they have known. While they may be isolated from these views now in the Bay Area, such bigotry and negative reactions are factors they will have to contend with in many parts of the country after high school. Such factors were recently brought into the national limelight after the 2013 Miss America Pageant in which the crowning of Indian-American Nina Davuluri as Miss America ignited racist reactions throughout the country. Many of these reactions took the form of attacks on Twitter. Tweets called Davuluri an Arab as a slur, suggested that she was affiliated with terrorist groups, and expressed shock that an Indian-American could win Miss America because “this is America.” “I find it an outrage that these people have the nerve to be racist, let alone on a social networking page,” said junior Aditi Phadke. The amalgamation of racism and ignorance which fuels such reactions accentuates the need to include studies of immigration in the 11th grade history curriculum. “It would benefit students across the country to study about other ethnic groups, in an attempt to curb racism,” said Phadke. Across America, knowledge of immigra-

tion and its history are also essential for students to become better-informed citizens. “If you’re ignorant about whole groups of people, then you won’t function very well in society,” said junior Sabiq Khan. Immigrants come from all over the world, and while the Bay Area is largely comprised of Asian immigrants, there are other groups of immigrants whose contributions have been equally important and as necessary to learn about. From the arrival of the French Huguenots to the mass Asian immigration toward the end of the twentieth century, immigrants have played integral roles in the advancement of American society and economy. According to articles published on The White House Blog, 18 percent of small businesses in America are immigrant-owned, expanding the private sector and creating jobs. Furthermore, contrary to popular belief that immigrants are exacerbating high unemployment rates, immigrants are more likely to create their own jobs, with a 7.5 percent rate of self-employment compared to 6.6 percent self-employment among native-born Americans. By acquiring knowledge beyond the current textbook curriculum, students will be better rounded and better prepared for the situations and diversity they will face after high school. “The majority of the population gets the impression that immigrants are just these people who come, take our jobs, increase the crime rates, live off our welfare money,” said Khan. “It’s very important to talk about what contributions immigrants have made to society so that people don’t get the impression that immigration is a bad thing.” These stereotypes are largely associated with Mexican immigrants, said Khan, who also constitute a large part of the population. In reality however, Mexican immigrants are a crucial part of the workforce in California. Since the advent of the 1990s, immigrants have also played a crucial role in the expansion of the technology and innovation sector in America. “Immigrants are our engineers, scientists and innovators,” The White House Blog stated. The intellectual capital that immigrants have brought to the United States has played a pivotal role in economic development. “Silicon Valley would not have happened without immigrants, and I don’t think that their contributions are established or known,” added Lee. “Modern electronics and computer in

PepsiCo CEO since 2006 Immigrated from India to the US in 1978 to attend Yale for her Master’s Named President and CFO in 2001 Under her leadership, net profits more than doubled Ranked in World’s 100 Most Powerful Women

immigrants have brought to the United States has played a pivotal role in economic development. “Silicon Valley would not have happened without immigrants, and I don’t think that their contributions are established or known,” added Lee. “Modern electronics and computer industry has been built by immigrants. Intel, Google, Sun Microsystems, etc. were founded by the first generation of immigrants,” said Sandeep Pandya, father of junior Ruchi Pandya. Many Lynbrook immigrant parents are the ones actively making these contributions, including Pandya. He founded several start ups, the most prominent of which is the Lynbrook Excellence Foundation. Lynbrook Excellence has raised over $350 thousand over the past two and a half years, said Pandya. “The funds have gone to buy lab equipment and infrastructure improvements with provide a rich education to the students at LHS.” Similarly, junior Aditi Phadke’s father Sandeep Phadke began multiple start-ups in the Bay Area in the late 1990s. “He brought a lot of jobs to the area, and being an immigrant himself, he welcomed people of all races, which contributed to the diversity of Silicon Valley employees,” said Phadke. Phadke’s father, like many other adroit immigrants, became an indispensable part of American welfare and history, teaching her to be proud of her heritage. “It is very unlikely that I will forget my roots,” said Phadke. Immigrants bring with them a host of new ideas and cultures, exposing Americans to different beliefs, and thus creating a more tolerant society. These tremendous changes that have been wrought by immigrants deserve their place in history books. This is an opinion shared by a youth political organization, Vision New America. As a part of their 2013 project, Vision New America began a petition to the California Department of Education, demanding that the immigrants’ contributions to American history should be made a larger, mandatory part of the California 11th grade history curriculum. Many Lynbrook students, such as junior Sidney Li, have been involved with this organization. “Immigration is a pretty big issue right now, locally because we live in a state with a high population of immigrants, and nationally as well,” said Li, referring to the ongoing national debate over illegal immigration from Mexico. “There’s a lot of discrimination and so-


cial stigma associated with immigrants because of that,” said Li. “It’s only by showing people how important immigration is in our country that we can eradicate it.” The petition is a way of showing the Department of Education “that it was the voice of the people asking for immigration in education,” said Li. It is by supporting such organizations that students can further the movement to place greater importance on immigrant contributions, and make a statement about student attitudes toward immigration. While Lynbrook has not completely reached the stage desired by the petition yet, the History Department is making every effort to broaden its curriculum. The current Lynbrook curriculum puts substantial focus on immigration, “especially once you hit the latter part of the nineteenth century,” said Williams. “The teachers in the U.S. History department especially try to emphasize it a lot.” The area of modern immigration, the personal struggles of immigrants and resulting current socioeconomic change can be expanded, however. The main issue that teachers face is time constraint. “It’s not that we don’t want to do it; it’s trying to teach the existing curriculum and get to the modern era in the limited amount of time we have,” said Williams. A method of incorporating immigration as a larger part of the curriculum would be to make connections between studies of immigration in the deeper past and immigration in the present. “One way to approach it is that you’re looking at a period of history and you’re making that modern connection all the time,” said Williams. Another method of integrating immigration into the history curriculum is by reading extracurricular text. Lee’s US History class will be reading excerpts from the book A Different Mirror by Ronald Takaki on the subject of immigration. Takaki is an acclaimed historian who has also written the book Strangers from a Different Shore. “[The book] was really profound because the premise of the book was that ‘Will Asian immigrants always be strangers from a different shore regardless of how much we work hard? Will people always perceive us differently because we don’t look the majority, and thus, treat Asian Americans as if they don’t belong?’” said Lee. These questions have been pondered for decades. By taking the pivotal step of incorporating immigration as a larger part of the 11th grade history curriculum, we can get closer to finding the answers.





SB acted commendably in restructuring the dance policy and activities to alleviate the concerns of freshmen, but it overcompensated and subsequently neglected the desires of upperclassmen. The dance policy was developed over the past year to combat inappropriate dancing, and the strategy was produced in response to a poll that revealed about 60 percent of freshmen were not interested in attending the Aug. 23 Welcome Back Bash. Assuming that ASB and the administration have no plans to revise the new dance policy, and that the purpose of dances is to provide an entertaining environment for all students, ASB’s blueprint to entice students to attend must change accordingly. The plan as currently constituted appeals primarily to underclassmen and is not economically self-sustaining. To spark interest in the dance among underclassmen and freshmen in particular, ASB created an entirely new dance experience. According to ASB, alternate entertainment such as a video game tournament and an air-hockey table was put into place specifically for the younger contingent of attendees. No activities were implemented, however, with the interests of upperclassmen in mind. This, compounded with the stricter policy on dancing, caused attendance among upperclassmen to drop. The efforts made by ASB to increase turnout at the Welcome Back Bash did not actually result in a significant rise in the overall number of dance-goers, but instead exchanged one group’s interests for another’s. Furthermore, the new dance approach may not be economically feasible. The new aspects of the bash

caused expenses to grow $400 compared to last year’s Welcome Back Dance while only increasing attendance by 30 students. This means that it cost over $13 to attract each new participant, despite growing participation by only 7 percent. Additionally, ASB lowered the ticket price to $5. If this financial trend continues, income gains will not be able to keep up with expenses, and the dance system will need more external funding to stay afloat. Despite the one-sided nature of the dance strategy as it currently exists, measures can be taken to ensure that future dances attract attendees from all segments of the student body. Distributing a school-wide survey to gauge what activities students would like at dances would be an important first step in this process. An expansion of the ASB social committee into a group which contains at least one representative from each grade level would amplify the voice of the students as well. An equal allocation of funding for both upperclassmen and underclassmen-oriented activities would safeguard the balance of their interests--and achieve the goal of creating a social environment appealing to all students. After each dance, the members of the new social committee should collect reviews from students within their grade, both to facilitate continuous improvement and keep ASB in touch with the desires of students from each grade. Faced with the issue of low freshmen attendance at the Welcome Back Bash, ASB overhauled its methods of attracting this demographic. While successful in increasing participation among underclassmen, the new strategy in tandem with the revamped dance policy stripped upperclassmen of reason to attend. In order to achieve its goal of making a setting enjoyable for all students, ASB needs to continue its search for a suitable compromise.

Academic pressure: weighing options BY SANA SHARFUDDIN


early every incoming junior and senior has heard it: “How many APs are you taking this year?” Higher numbers generally come increasing hints of pride and competitive spirit, perpetuating the notion that AP and Honors courseloads correspond to a student’s intellect and success. Although advanced classes are only one factor in the broad scheme of a student’s academic journey, students often misuse them as indicators to quickly pass judgement on others’ intellectual capacities and motivations. The fear of peer judgment often places an unwarranted amount of stress on students, compelling them to take on more AP classes than they can handle. Despite this bias in the status quo, students in regular or lower level courses should not yield to peer pressure and consider taking advanced classes simply to fit in. Instead, they should select courses most appropriate to their interests, while leaving time to pursue their extracurricular interests, which may be more beneficial in developing important life skills. The pressure to fit a certain Lynbrook standard of high academic achievement is not just in students’ heads. According to sophomore Sierra Lee Chen, who speaks from personal experience, students in lower math classes often face insulting comments and judgmental looks from their peers. “Some people at Lynbrook ask about math classes and once you tell them, they make faces and rude comments,” said Chen. “It isn’t fair because some students need a little more help with math, but still hold the potential to do well in other subjects.” Many will go to great lengths just to fit


in academically, giving up their summers to take supplemental math classes instead of volunteering or pursuing internships. Chen has been told that other students considered her “smart”until her lower level of math came to light. After experiencing this disdain, Chen considered devoting her summer to a math course in order to jump ahead to a “moderate” level. “I really wanted the judgment and comments to stop,” explained Chen, “and I wanted to fit in at Lynbrook by taking a higher level math class because a majority of the students are in that category.” Chen, however, spent her summer volunteering at a preschool, knowing that she would benefit from the experience of teaching younger students while gaining community service hours. For those taking advanced classes simply for their supposed benefit in college admissions, pursuing their own interests outside of the classroom has proven to be as important as enrolling in rigorous courses. While a supplemental summer math class may boost a student’s math level, taking on an internship, volunteer position, or even part-time job may demonstrate more valuable qualities a student possesses. This strategy worked for class of ‘09 alumna Alice Wu, who still recalls how challenging courses drained the happiness from her classmates. “Junior year felt like going to school with a bunch of miserable people who carried their AP Biology books around like their life depended on it. Sometimes that stress from APs carried on into other activities in their life too, making them unhappy people to be

around,” said Wu. Valuing her own happiness over fitting in with her unhappy peers, Wu chose to pursue her passion for the arts. With confidence that she would become successful regardless of how many advanced classes she took, Wu journeyed through her four years without taking a single AP course. After graduating Lynbrook, she attended California College of the Arts in Oakland and San Francisco for one year before transferring to the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn to study industrial design. Though she felt the pressure to take advanced classes from her peers, Wu said she “knew that [she] genuinely wasn’t interested in this stuff at the time. Not to mention, I was in a bunch of extracurriculars so I wouldn’t have been able to handle it anyway.” Wu’s journey is proof that using one’s time to pursue their interests through extracurricular activities provides numerous benefits compared to simply giving in to the judgment of others. When the prospects of better college admissions chances or increased peer respect, come at the price of personal happiness, students should reevaluate their academic planning decisions. By doing so, they can gain both experience and opportunities in areas that truly interest them. To be successful in life, one needs more than a genius’ knowledge of calculus or English: dedication and a love for one’s work is also key. Instead of giving into the pressure to take strenuous highlevel courses, students with other interests should rise above and let their true dreams soar.

WHY CHOOSE THE IVY ADVISOR?  Dr. William Jiang has four Master’s Degrees: M. Phil. and Ph.D. from Columbia University  SJSU Professor with 30 Years in U.S. Higher Education  Has profound knowledge and extensive experience in the college application and education counseling.  With 10+ years’ experience in research on SAT, Dr. Jiang has formulated a UNIQUE and MAGIC way of improving students’ SAT score by an average of 200-300 points.

 Has the reputation of being the most passionate, committed and responsible teacher in the Bay area. Testimonial: Dr. Jiang has successfully guided many students into their dream colleges. His son went to Harvard and his daughter to Cornell University

Essential English (Grade 6-7) Advanced English (Grade 8-10) Advanced English (Grade 8-10)

English Classes: 8/31-12/14 8/30-12/13 8/31-12/14

Saturday Friday Saturday

SAT I Test Prep Classes:

SAT Critical Reading & Writing SAT Writing Only SAT Critical Reading & Writing SAT Critical Reading & Writing SAT Critical Reading & Writing College Application:

Full Package Service Admission Essay Only

8/31-10/26 11/2-11/23 10/27-12/22 12/16-1/4 12/16-1/4

Saturday Saturday Sunday Holiday Break Am Holiday Break PM

3:30pm - 5:30pm 7pm - 9pm 6:30pm - 8:30pm

9am - 1pm 9am - 1pm 1pm - 5pm 9am - 1pm 2:30pm - 6:30pm

By Appointment By Appointment

Education Seminar Free: When: 11/29/13, Black Friday, 10am-12pm,

4675 Stevens Creek Blvd., Suite 120, Santa Clara, CA 95051


Intel CEO: Brian krzanich


Intel CEO and alumnus Brian Krzanich shares about his life at Lynbrook and beyond

Q: How was your experience at Lynbrook? A: My experience at Lynbrook was more centered around sports. I played basketball at Lynbrook. It wasn’t centered around school work, and it wasn’t as competitively structured. It was a good school, but it was the kids who went to Bellarmine or Mitty who really studied hard, but I know now Lynbrook is massively more around education. I think our community has changed too. I have two daughters. My oldest daughter is fifteen, she just started at St. Francis as a freshman. I would say there’s not a high level of Asian population there or anything, it’s pretty diverse, but her scholastic focus is so different than mine was. My younger daughter is in the sixth grade, and just the amount of homework they have, their focus on school, and grades, it is just so different. I mean, the only thing you thought about when I graduated from high school was if you could get over 1300 or something on your SAT. Because back then the SAT was out of 1600, and if you got a 1300-1400, you were set. You were going to go to college. Q: Describe your college years. Why did you leave UC Berkeley? A: I wanted to get my hands dirty, and I was thinking that college was just getting in my way of getting into the industry. But I also knew that if I didn’t have my college degree, I’d be stuck in the lower rungs. The difference between De Anza and Berkeley was the size of the classes and the amount of handson. When you went into the lab [at De Anza] you got to do everything yourself: you could fuddy up with the professors, maintain the equipment and do fun stuff. But at Berkeley, every class you walked into was two, three, four hundred people. Often, you never even talked to the professor. You never touched the lab equipment. You handed your sample to a lab technician who ran it for you. I remember getting my first test back, and I think I got an 18 out of a 100. I had the highest grade in the class. Yes, there was a curve, but that’s not learning. That’s just pummeling. And that was my experience at Berkeley. I did learn, but I felt like I was just getting through the process, trying to graduate, and beat all the guys around me versus really learn. I finished the quarter, semester, or whatever it was and then I was like, ‘I’m out of here.’ But I always knew that I’d be okay. I knew that I loved what I was doing, and I knew that would get me to someplace at the end of the day. So I just didn’t worry about it.

Q: When did you realize what you loved to do? A: Well I kind of flipped, so my high school years were all about sports. I really enjoyed it and it was fun. I took math and science but I wasn’t in the AP classes. They didn’t have that many AP classes back then. I was just a good student, not the best or anything. And then you go to college and you realize, “Well wait a second, I’m not that good at sports. This is gonna end.” And so that’s when I really focused on my studies, and I got lucky. For me, I know there’s that old classic thing about do what you love, and I actually found I just loved chemistry. Q: If you were interviewing someone for a job at Intel, what would you look for in them? A: We look for people with broad, strong educations in material science, chemical engineering, chemistry, electrical engineering. We look for people especially with masters degrees. Q: Do you think Moore’s law can be sustained 10 years into the future? A: I know it can. The physics is actually always solvable. If you read the paper that Gordon Moore wrote, it’s not a science paper. It’s actually an economics paper. And what it’s really saying is that Moore’s law is not about shrinking the transistor in half. It’s about reducing the cost and making electronics available to everybody.

Q: What is your advice to high school students? A: My advice to high school students today is math is the language of science, and just like in society, if you can’t speak, you can’t function, so if you don’t know math, no matter what you want to do in science, you’re not going to function.. Actually, early in your math career, you can start doing word problems, where you have to translate events and phrases into equations. And that’s what engineers do, I always do that, and in my job here, I’m always trying to figure out how to translate a problem in a simple, good way. Math. It’s all about math. No matter what you want to do.

By (Insert-Name-Here)

Two esteemed student authors share their love for creative writing BY CHRISTINA LIU & MICHELLE SU



e don’t often stop to wonder how our favorite authors became interested in writing. Like many worldrenowned authors who started writing in their teenage years, some students have also taken interest in writing at a young age. Whether it be through publishing their own books, entering in competitions, or constantly writing at home, students have found ways to express their passion for creative writing. In the summer of his freshman year, senior Arnav Mishra began writing a story while visiting relatives in India. “I was bored with nothing else to do; I had a laptop, and I just started writing. Eventually, it turned out to be much longer than I expected, and then it became this book,” said Mishra. Set in a fantasy world of elves, dwarves, and humans, Mishra’s fantasy novel, titled “Genocide: The War of Four Species” depicts the conflicts that arise when dragons destroy the peace among the three existing species. After Mishra started his sophomore year, he set aside the story to focus on schoolwork, and it was not until earlier this year that he decided to pick the book back up and publish it. “When my family and some of my family friends found out about it, they were like ‘Oh, we would love to see the book in a real copy,’ and I thought, ‘Well, I guess that could happen,’” said Mishra. Motivated by the encouraging words of his friends and family, Mishra decided to publish his book. Instead of finding an agent to contact a publisher for him, Mishra self-published his book through a company he found. “To work with an agent to find a publishing company, you have to first sell yourself to the agent, but that’s a lot of work and costs a lot of money. It also takes a long time for an experienced adult author to go

through that process, so as a teenager, it’d be extremely hard to find an agent who’d be willing to work with you,” said Mishra. The publishing company, Outskirts Press, worked with Mishra every step of the way. Mishra got his book published and eventually put it for sale on Amazon on Aug. 9. “It was definitely an excellent experience getting to hold my book for the first time,” said Mishra. “In my view, one of the goals of humans in general is to leave their mark on society, and by getting a real copy of my first book published, I have begun doing just that.” Junior Marian Park takes a different route to express herself, writing creative pieces for Vertigo and submitting stories in writing competitions. Park first began creative writing as an experiment. She said, “I really liked reading, but I never really tried writing any stories, and I thought it would be cool if I could try imitating my favorite author Betty Smith’s style.” She entered her first competition, the PTA Reflections Program, in 7th grade, composing a story which won in the Literature category at the school level. After winning an award from the PTA Reflections Program, Park was pleasantly surprised, sensing an interest and potential in creative writing. In 9th grade, she branched out with her writing and entered in the high school level category of the national Jack London Foundation Writing Contest, enjoying the freedom it gave her to write about anything she wanted. “Jack London is known for his stories that follow themes on nature, so I decided to write a piece like that. There was a tsunami in Japan that year, so I decided to write a story on natural calamities,” said Park. Her story, inspired by a news story about a young girl who was separated from her father during the disaster, was successful, receiving an honorable mention.




Every day, thousands of people create new Instagram accounts and join over 100 million others in sharing photos and videos of their lives. But what exactly, from posts to general profile decisions, tends to garner the largest number of followers? Staffers Khaya Bhatia (above left) and Ashwin Ravi (above right) set out to shed some light on the answer.

After having an instagram before, I learned everything I could about this app, or at least I thought I did. For my prior personal Instagram, I never tried to find followers - I just linked my Instagram to my Facebook account so all my Facebook friends could follow me. Not having this ability for the challenge, however, created a bit of a problem - I had to find followers in other ways. For the first day, I decided to start gaining the most followers possible by following as many pages and people as I possibly could and after gaining a total of 9 followers and feeling proud, I called it a night. For Day 2, I started making my Instagram personal by posting photos of the parts of my life I love. So, I posted my first photo of field hockey sticks and hashtagged common sayings such as #love and #mylife. This way, anyone who was looking through those tags would see my photo and potentially follow me. This seemed to work because I gained two more followers that day. For Day 3, I posted a photo of a common interest among students at Lynbrook - food. Though this post may have caused more laughter for my followers, the word spread and I had up to 15 followers that day. Being new to this particular social network, I suffered immensely throughout the first day of the challenge. I ended up asking many people for instructions and largely did not know what I was doing. By the time the second day arrived, I felt a slightly more confident and, I was able to upload photos, view profiles, and perform key functions such as liking and following, quite smoothly. I am planning on uploading a more unique profile picture in order to provide a better first insta-pression. (sorry that was terrible). My overall goal is to maintain a balanced follower/following ratio, which essentially shows that I have not simply followed a countless number of people in the hopes that they will follow back out of courtesy. Continuing on, as Day 3 passed I uploaded a photo of my little sister with her dessert at Red Robin, in the hopes that the “cute younger sibling” touch would extract multiple “awhs”  from my followers. On Day 4, I decided to sit back and give my two posts some time to soak up all the likes they could. I resumed posting on Day 5, this time with an image displaying the feet of myself and a fellow staffer, Yonaton Zemylak. This photo managed to accumulate five likes. By the time Day 6 arrived, I had amassed a total of 15 followers, while only following 16, just nearly pushing my ratio over 1. To read the rest of this story, go to page 26

AWED WHILE ABRO Three students share their experiences being overseas during the summer

] a c i s s e J [ A N GHA

rorning to afte lessly from m re re ti fo d be ke s or on w ss ang hing the le is n fi , G of ay EN d es y ZH p of each BY AUDREY Silicon Valle noon in ho e. At the end that “burst the av ip tr s le d a to ts ho te un et ou m s co lture ng re hing m it was ti en exposed to cu Junior Jessica Jia various teac logy. in.” Not having be ould go over po g w ro in s met. e th liv as sh an en cl l r ra be e ltu he bubble I’v next time interest in cu e I an th n d t he pe what litlo ou “W ve . y id de tr ng to em during much with hile,” Jiang sa w so a side the U.S., Jia r ed fo n t ying with th ar ou la t le p ge y r to he be g “T .” tin em ity an m opportun itive outlooks id. “I re “I’ve been w d of had,” she sa given the perfect had such pos ai y as e ey w th he I th , me T ht m e s. ug tl ra ile so og ) eir sm have taught teens (CCS found this pr and seeing th Ghana, My students . l Solutions for in ks rs ra s me ea m ti ltu ke br e oo Cu or sr s on w as os s cl rd Cr g’ The e such ha to help guide with.” Jian e er of ag w em at of th ey th s t th ar ay en ye p he d an 17 ever re environm firmed r students 15 to r group con what I could n an entirely new he to ow an t gr in th ap ve e ad ild ha or to s ch m d an derived from s Americ e smallest Africa. Jiang ha ly have to be everyday luxurie ction with th on of ra of ot s te n rm in id te d in s fered little that kindnes yellow observation king for could give me a at th ic to depend on. in cl a d she was as d ly an fin al y to re d y gr h. m n ha lt I y d hu ea bu w really e had to d someone “My parents an tle girl was ication. Then w her so I aske e, ed lit iv lp m at s he ia iti hi ar in to rl “T r al d m he d te on g. “I wan ned firm , the little gi fever vaccine an my surprise od,” said Jian said. Jiang remai brate, e fo le To e sh ce to r. m t,” To e ke he so a. m tic an to d r Gh ai ante expensive kers to give e rural city of ought she w in the th birthday in th for some crac ck to me. I th appy Birthday” words, she ba o “H r tw ge he g and spent her 16 In ka r. sin ac p to he e st to th be r ck ei ed ba d th n it d di ha e because handed Jiang’s students It shocked m , so I did and od . it it go p . ly ve ra al ew ha re w kn a to un d ey e di es. They e in a day than anted m little English th y eaten mor rs were all nativ e that she w s,” said bl be m ed ba em ne ld m r ro f to p ou af e st to S g I’v “The CC small and lture and tendin ell, took she looked so us in African cu ught her m the village w fro er job immersing at eek.” w w k ience has ta a an r er in dr p fo en ng ex d ev Jia k , ha d ay e ee an st w f, sh r s to revisit on hersel r threeJiang. During he ckets of water g. She plan ite feels that he n bu sp g vi ld de gi an t co Ji Ye d g s. in an ee ur s kn who have so kindnes reached her showers by po h the people made ue worth of it ed tr ore a dress that w in w e e ga er it th e th un sh ea s re w g on swelterin future and at the life less Ghana in the Jiang insisted th . the conditions, ted her world g. ac in p es seem trifl hugely im from 9 to 12, Jinc ie ed en ng nv ra co es in ag r he se of students who As an instructor







Senior Bar ber my wh bara Jackso ole life.” close famil n attended y friend ju th The weddin e w edding of st outside g was only venue, Jack a of Paris, Fra the way. N son said, “T one stop al nce. Of the ext, Jackso ong he weddin old church n took a ro g was in th from France that had al ad trip is l of these o to German re really beau al ly ld painting y. When h ily spent a tiful settin er fams. It was a day in the g.” The rece chateau th Netherland ption took w at guests w as su rp s, Jackson rised by an place in a ere allowed the night. unexpected to explore The 400 g “The Nether experience thro uests were d’oeuvres, lands is so . able to snac ughout a mewhere th socialize an re al ly co k o l o at I’d never d place.” said n hors dance. The son’s favori think was Jackson, “b small town wedding w te part of h ut we stay and in the as Jacker Europea was unlike ed in a real morning th n vacation fa anything sh ir an d ly th ere was th because it ere were al e had ever She said, “T is huge stre l of these p experience really cool he weddin et eo d p . b le selling th ecause you g was almo Downton A ings. It was got to feel st like a scen bbey or Pri Jackson lear the culture de and Pre e from gorgeous ca n ed a a lot.” lo t about the judice! Ther having to p stle with g different cu ay to use th e was a reen fields fountain in lture, such e restroom and trees, bottled wat the middle as s, and only and a large er, instead of the court band and a being able of water fr yard. There more than ton of peo to g et o m w k th ful for the as a live ple I’ve kn e tap. She sa was an am things we own my w She also ap azing exper id, “I am have in the hole life. It preciated h ience to be love, danci United Sta o w w ith so man se ng, eating g fr as ie . tes.” n S d h ly most peo e said, “No y people I reat food an geous coun one really ple were o d experien people I m try. Other in ve th re ci et in the Net U.S. is as fr n weddings one weddin iendly as th had been fu g a gorherlands.” g had all th O ve ra e ll n , , Ja but not ese elemen ckson feels they did in ts come to Europe, an she learned this weddin gether like d hopes to a g. It is som lo t from her see more o ething I wil She said, “I trip to verseas trav l remem’m d el in her fu abroad, even efinitely more open ture. to the idea if it’s not in of st Europe; it co uld be anyw udying here.”

] a y a M [ D N A L I A H T

s, Kapiadventure l a im n a cuisine. n her ng Asian Other tha ri lo d p x e d tnam joye iland I ha levich en as in Tha then in Vie ian w d I n A n . u e d o h o c o “W g, “As t so g end a She said, HURWITZ it was jus od,” addin tant to sp c y, fo a b lu e d s jo re e ry r y e e m ll v a h e BY KELSEY itia from in Asia.” l Vietn pad thai he was in nd typica sian food p tion away a a u A c o d a ple to h e v p d d Though s r n d e re e a a umm omp many peo evich I just h s of her s aya Kapil faca sucks c bout how M d ri rld a e r n o t a m io -w lo r n A e d e ple week a s ir in th d food learne rily a th her bro structor, a h o s in s it ls e a re w c lt im e e e h h n ic sw m e w t as a ue ti t was It’s no Kapilev U.S.” Sh fe n and uniq nd. She said, “Tha She said, ch as the s . fu e ri le a w v s p o li g a h t m d in o e n v te n e a a a h ely to s hail saw in Thail “You get ’re definit r trip to T went and d g, saying, y, but they ther on he urist-y things. We alking an n tr li w ort of hum n b s f u o o m ’s c t u It h lo . s e a a to v s li w a re n d e w o o c rl s c n m a o e ew nd h a I did , there ailand the experi r side of th about how my frie ient cities favorite day in Th e c n th e a o d e e ri t th th n and and their lepha plain vich’s people on over there terest, and an e hen I com ut Kapile o le B w g p .” e u s g m o u e y in a T c n ik r e b It’s in Tige d the bling b ngalows. an me an a visit to st like bu sisted of er Temple r house th ju ig e py.” . g T e p v a le ig d a h g b e h n o ll s a le ju e e c e peop they’re t m nch of u o u s b b , , through th “I went to a plac in her fus a le e s tt ’s u ho ve so li ees a trip a . There s h e h rs y e ic th e g v h ti e re T il e She said, . d p , Ka e probably traine here w ing to see , ing to Asia s in Asia a lot, so w ey have er pets. T ig g rn b ti tu y e d re v ferent a a r e h where th lr fo As d work en to a dif it a were a nd they a a o d th h e y re c w e e la “M rs w th , p e s vis said ame , and monk e baby tig ture. She ult tigers ot to the s l be able to rs, and th time she’l nd the ad k, and if n h.” a c t it a x , e b w rs baby tige n o e y t g g a la l ti p il w es th d to enager .” She hop really we wante and the te art of Asia China. “it was a hich kind p , w e s e u s a o c y o e ll h in rea part b got to c were also panda farm r favorite e tigers] h [t It was he d n a , xperience unique e playful.” cute and GRAPHIC ILLUSTRATION BY MEERA KRISHNAMOORTHY


QICUHJLXFDQJUDYXKWZIKHJRRFK. To most of us, it is an incomprehensible jumble of letters. To sophomore Ryan Eckert, it is an enigma exercise that he must decode using the given clues. In the summer of 2012, Eckert developed an interest in cryptology, the study of using logic to read encrypted text. While searching for courses to take through the Center for Talented Youth (CTY), cryptology caught his eye. “Cryptology stuck out as being unique, so I took the course,” said Eckert. He took CTY’s Advanced Cryptology this summer as a follow-up to the initial class. As he advanced, calcula-

tions became more complex. “Cryptology requires a lot of thinking out of the box,” said Eckert. “It can also be very tedious due to calculating every possibility.” To Eckert, cryptology is like a logic puzzle. To come up with the answer, he must use the clues he is given, and most importantly, his brain. “Cryptology is about the ‘ah-ha!’ moments,” said Eckert. “At first, it seems daunting. But as you start learning, the facts and observations line up.” Eckert finds a sense of accomplishment in doing something unique and carries his cryptology notebook with pride. “The most notable one is the Enigma,” he said, flipping through the pages. “So for the

continued from page 23...

Fortunately, Day 4 was #mancrushmonday. I took advantage of this and posted a picture of the attractive Louis Tomlinson from One Direction. This worked to my advantage, as I earned 4 more followers. Day 6, was #womencrushwednesday - I didn’t want to give anyone the wrong message, but I posted a photo of Megan Fox and earned 3 male followers. By the end, I feel as if I’m an expert of Instagram. I won the challenge with a total of 20 followers and following 33 people. It was a great game, Ashwin.

By Day 6, I had 15 followers while only following 16, just nearly pushing my ratio over 1. In the end, I had gained a total of 18 followers and 18 following with three posts. Although I finished with fewer followers, my follower/following ratio was higher. I feel rather accomplished with this application. I gained more experiece as the days passed, and I think with more time I might have even been able to overtake my opponent. As of today, however, I shall humbly admit defeat. Job well done Khaya.

Enigma, once you have the rotors…” His book is filled with numbers upon numbers, but he is too caught up in his tale to explain. Learning cryptology has left an impact on Eckert, teaching him to look at things in an analytical way. “Cryptology has made me think more in-depth, and to mentally reverse-engineer many things that occur in our daily lives,” said Eckert. Although there are opportunities for working in the field, a career in cryptology is more of a back-up plan. Eckert said, “I plan to continue my skills until I get to college. As for now, I’m just going to have some fun.”


Sophomore Ryan Eckert shares his unique interest for deciphering codes with reporter Urmila Venkataramani


early everyone these days has a smartphone. They’re all Snapchatting, Instagramming, Vine-ing (is that even a thing??) while I stare stupidly at my LG Cosmos from 2010 and ponder how behind the times I am. Overall, It’s a pretty sad existence if you ask me. Not that my phone looks like it belongs to an eighth grader, but because I feel out of the loop. You know how when people are in public, it’s easy to make themselves look busy by simply popping out their smartphone and begin scrolling away? Yeah, that doesn’t quite work if you have a phone that: a) lacks a touchscreen and b) only has two functions, calling and texting. So when people around me are somewhat focused on what’s happening on their smartphone, I have to resort to twiddling my thumbs. ‘Cause pulling out my brick of a phone (to look through my text

messages for the third time) is pretty much a sacrifice of dignity more than anything else. And the dilemma is that if I do decide to buy a new phone, I’ll have to wait two whole years before I’m eligible for an upgrade, so I’ve resolved to stick it out with this thing until college comes around and I can finally get a smartphone. In the meantime, I’m gonna have to resort to finding more ways to compensate for the awkwardness I go through when my friends are scrolling away on their phones while I’m gawking at the wall. There’s this eerie silence that is difficult for me to tolerate when this happens, except I don’t do anything about it, since I’m too afraid that I’ll interrupt whatever it is they’re doing on their phones. For those of you who are in the same situation as I am, I’m sure you understand what I’m talking about here. I also feel like I’m missing out on a whole ‘nother realm of social activity at times. The

only feature my phone has that is even remotely similar to Instagram is that it can send and receive picture messages—which is quite remarkable for this thing, with its 2” x 1” (more or less) screen. And even then, it takes a good 15 seconds for it to receive or send these messages, while I pray frantically that it musters the power to do so. So the one upside (an exaggeration to call it that) of the phone is really a miracle when it works. Also, I have to run around like an idiot to areas with better service, while waving my phone in the air. Regardless of all these things, however, I take pride in being one of the remaining few people to not own a smartphone…Ha… Who am I kidding, I hate my phone. You really thought I was serious there, though, huh. Anyways, I hope this brought you some laughter, or at the very least my lamentations made you feel better about yourself.


Lynbrook graduates reunite after 2003 Reunion


or over thirty years, Lynbrook graduates have built distinct lives diverging from the ones they had in high school. For over thirty years, they have been unaware of the events and changes Lynbrook has undergone. This separation ended on Aug. 10, the day that the Lynbrook High School Mega Reunion Committee held a gala at the San Jose Hilton Double Tree Hotel for Lynbrook alumni from the graduating classes of 1968 through 1979. After over thirty years of being apart, the Lynbrook alumni were finally able to reconnect with each other. The gala had a successful turnout, with over 600 alumni present. Entertaining 600 people is quite the challenge -- one that the Mega Reunion Committee did not take lightly. This project, according to Deborah Luck ‘77 and Mega Reunion gala coordinator, had been two years in the making. The effort was necessary because the committee understood the alumni’s need for a reunion. High school is filled with transient friendships; underclassmen often form strong bonds with upperclassmen, only to them broken once those upperclassmen graduate. The reunion provided a perfect opportunity for the alumni to connect with friends they made through their high school career. “At Lynbrook, [you were friends with] students three years ahead of you, and three years behind you; the gala is an opportunity to try to be with all of them,” said Luck. Though Luck and the rest of the Mega


Reunion Committee were responsible for the organization of the gala, the alumni themselves were equally vital because they financed the event. Any profit made from the gala will be donated to Lynbrook High School from the alumni. “The costs of the gala were extensive but were covered by ticket sales and sponsorships. We were operating on a zero budget but managed to make it happen through the support of fellow alumni who came through as sponsors of the event,” said Luck. While the main attraction at the gala was the alumni themselves, the Mega Reunion Committee organized a slew of other activities. The Joe Sharino band played from 8 to 11 p.m., giving the alumni three hours to hit the dancefloor with their former classmates. “Joe Sharino was the ‘It’ band when we were in high school, so having him play brought back many memories for all of us,” said Luck ‘77. The alumni were able to reminisce one-on-one, and as a group, through various speeches given by Lynbrook graduates as well as other gala attendees. For the alumni who spoke, these speeches allowed them to share their gratitude with the Mega Reunion committee for organizing the gala, as well as discuss their most treasured Lynbrook memories with all of the gala attendees. “I really enjoyed listening to the speeches that the alumni made,” said Principal John Dwyer, one of the attendees at the gala. “I mostly enjoyed hearing them talk about how special Lynbrook is as a place, and everyone, regardless of the class they graduate, feel like this is a place that they can come back.” Dwyer also had an opportunity to deliver a speech at the gala; he talked about Lynbrook’s consistently excellent reputation among other schools and how proud he is to be the principal. Dwyer was not the only non-alumni to perform at the Mega Reunion. Former Lynbrook cheerleaders were delighted when the Lynbrook cheer team arrived at the gala and performed a series of routines for the alumni. “We were approached by many people who had

GALA||From top: Alumni gather in the ballroom, organizer Deborah Luck before the event, friends are reunited, and the Joe Sharino band plays.


Reporting by Khaya Bhatia and Meera Krishnamoorthy. Layout by Jessica Cao

been previous cheerleaders and Pom/Song leaders before the performance and during the checkin process,” said varsity cheerleader junior Ayesha Godiwala. “They all were very excited at seeing the current cheerleaders and often times reminisced and shared stories of their times on the Spirit Squad. We got many positive remarks on our performance of the fight song as well.” With the numerous activities to look forward to, as well as the opportunity to reunite with several old friends, most of the alumni were eagerly anticipating the Mega Reunion gala. Some anxious alumni, however, approached the Gala apprehensively. “I dread reunions,” said Brian G. Derby ‘73. “I always forget names but I recognize faces.” Derby and the rest of the alumni, through dancing, eating, and reminiscing, were able to relive their carefree teenage years for one night -- an opportunity that they all greatly enjoyed. “The event was a tremendous success and we all had a fabulous time!” said Luck.


he Mega Reunion nostalgia carried over from the gala to the Family Day Picnic at Lynbrook on Aug. 11, giving the alumni an opportunity to see the campus where they spent their four years of high school. “It’s really nice to be able to come back to see all the places you’ve hung out in high school, ” said Ken Mowry ‘79. Marching Band performed a ten minute concert in the Quad, formerly known as the “rally court.” Its repertoire consisted of six songs, including the Lynbrook fight song, the Lynbrook Alma Mater and the Hawaii 5-0 theme song. The marching band’s quad performance was especially moving to former Lynbrook musicians, like Ted Kellesey, ‘76. “It brought back good memories seeing the band play the Hawaii 5-0 theme song because that’s what we used to play in high school,” said Kellesey. The classic car displays were another significant part of Family Day. According to coordinator Brian Guthrie, several alumni are car collectors, and relished the opportunity to share their classic pre-1973 cars with their family and old friends. “Like most collectors, us car collectors have a certain passion for our hobby that we share,” said Guthrie. “The spectrum of car types that were there was very impressive. I am glad that I had a chance to make a contribution to my old high school by overseeing the car display.” Other alumni were more interested in the displays in the Cove, especially the alumni memoriam and Lynbrook memorabilia. Among the memorabilia were seven photo albums displaying pictures of the alumni as they were in high school: photos of classes, rallies, dances, and even the Epic. “Some of the archive stuff was put together by other Lynbrook alumni,” said Erich Rabago ‘92, the memorabilia display coordinator. “Some of the stuff was kept by the school that we just borrowed.. The blown up pictures that were on the walls were taken from past yearbooks and we originally used them for the “Coming Home” event last year. Scott Rule ‘69 was one among several of the alumni that appreciated the efforts of Rabago and others working on the memorabilia display. “I remember taking this picture right here,” said Rule, pointing to a picture of himself and four other friends. “Looking at these photos is more meaningful than being at the school itself because it is pressed in a picture. It’s a special memory.” Though the various activities and the opportunity to view Lynbrook in its current glory were bonuses, alumni flocked to the Family Day event for the same reasons they came to the Mega Reunion gala: to meet with old friends. “People have the opportunity to reconnect and meet other people,” said Karen Russell, co-chair of the Mega Reunion Committee.“We are not the same people we were in high school and through these events, such as Family Day, the cliques and hostility we felt in high school evaporates.”

back in viking territory

”My favorite high school memory was cutting the cheese under the desk so by the afternoon the whole class had to be evacuated.”


rom the class of 1972, Timothy Tyson spent all four years of high school very involved in the track and field team. He described himself in high school as a “shy and athletic young kid”, with a special passion for track. He said, “My favorite high school memory was running track and cross country. My favorite races were the ones in the high deserts.” Tyson and his team spent many practices in high deserts, practicing in rough conditions to prepare for meets. His entire time at Lynbrook was devoted to running track; therefore, the only reason that Tyson attended the reunion was to reconnect with his old friends from track and cross country.


rom the class of 1979, Diane Dickey describes herself in high school as a shy girl with long, straight, dark hair. Her favorite part about high school was the Sadie Hawkins dance, where girls have the chance to ask any guy to a dance. She said, “It was fun to dress up and have a date, it was the one dance where you could ask your cute crush.” When she found out about the reunion, she was “intrigued,” but what ultimately pushed her to come was the opportunity to reconnect with her best friend from high school. For the first time since their high school graduation, Dickey and her old best friend were able to reconnect and talk about the past 34 years.

-Larry johnson ‘72 “We are not the same people we were in high school, it doesn’t matter who we were in highschool, it matters who we are. No matter where we go we will always be a viking, once a viking, always a viking.”

-Karen russell ‘72 “What I missed most about Lynbrook was learning. In adult life, I use a lot of what I learned in high school. It is important to value high school education because you will not be retaught it.”

-Donald Guerland ‘77 “It is nice to be able to come back [to Lynbrook], it is a trip to see all the places you have hung out in high school and it brings back good memories.”

-Ken moWRY ‘79 “I was shy and not as outgoing. High school was very cliquey and I remember there were lots of physical fights. It is different from high schools today,” said Sharon Johnson ‘79.

-Sharon Johnson ‘79


aura Matilla, from the graduating class of 1978, loved high school because it was “diverse and had lots of different people”. The most memorable part of high school for Matilla was her position as a KLIV correspondent for Lynbrook. KLIV was a radio station in San Jose that allowed one correspondent from each high school in the area to collect the week’s most popular song choices and activities from their school and chose what to be should be played on the station. As a new student, Mattila qualified for this position and took the opportunity to meet new people. She ended up loving it and was the first correspondent at Lynbrook from 1974 to 1978.


onald Guerland, from the class of 1973, recalled that he was a bit of a “geek” in high school. He was very involved in several school clubs, including band, school plays, the Boy Scouts, and CSF. He said one of his favorite memories from high school was the CSF Trip to San Francisco, which he described as the “height of happiness.” Another special memory for Guerland was visiting Baja, California with his oceanography class. When asked what he misses the most about Lynbrook, Guerland said, “I miss the learning. In adult life, I use a lot of what I learned in high school. It is important to value high school education because you will not be retaught it.”


rom the graduating class of 1974, Mary Renneke described her high school self as “loud, athletic and fun”. She claimed that high school was “the best years of my life, different, but the best”. She played field hockey, basketball, volleyball, softball and track and field for all four years of high school. For field hockey, she played with the legendary coach, Sandi Stober and never lost a game in four years. Renneke’s team won four championships in a row for women’s field hockey, and her class was therefore called the “best year for women’s athletics.” Renneke loves going to her class reunions because she “loves seeing how everyones changed and stayed the same; reunions take you back to high school”.

How It Works The intricate process behind class schedules BY KASTURI PANTVAIDYA


s Viking Day rolls around before the beginning of the school year, many students can be found excitedly comparing schedules and chatting about which teachers they have. Some, however, have doubts concerning their plans for the future after not receiving the classes they specifically asked for. Many students are unaware of how exactly classes are assigned and to whom priorities are given. “Creating schedules for every student is a very strenuous task,” said Lynbrook Assistant Principal Maria Jackson. “It’s somewhat like a puzzle.” Jackson, with help from the department chairpersons and other administrators, is in charge of creating the master schedule for the whole school. First, the administration reviews course offerings and diagnostic test dates with parents and students. The guidance team then informs Miller Middle School and McAuliffe Middle School of registration schedules, and readies all other registration materials for currently enrolled students. In March, the administrators must complete the course selection process for all students and send out course verifications. Jackson, along with the Lynbrook data technicians, then produce an estimate of how many students can be in each course, and distribute the numbers to each department. Jackson then takes teachers’ scheduling

preferences into consideration, but first priority always goes to students. In April, once students have verified their choices, course selections are updated and “LAST CHANCE” course verification forms are sent out. “Students change their minds all the time, and it’s important to give them multiple chances to do so,” said Jackson. At the end of this phase, some students still have schedule conflicts. Jackson will then take these issues and produce a conflict matrix. For example, assume that the leadership class and AP French are in the same period. If there are more than three or four students requesting both of those classes, Jackson must move one of those classes to another period so that those students may get the classes that they want. Next, Jackson constructs the master schedule by seat availability, teacher and student preferences, and the conflict matrix. While doing this, she must abide by the student to teacher ratios set by the teachers union. Different departments have different staffing ratios: English classes are 28:1; physical education and music are 40:1, Lit 1 and Algebra 1 are 23:1, and all other departments are 32.5:1. If there are more requests than seats in a course, some students will receive the

alternate elective choices that they listed on their course selection forms. Once all the student data has been entered, Jackson uses a computer program called Schedule Wizard to compile tentative schedules. Then, student schedules are

adjusted and previously undetected course selection issues are resolved. Often, class periods have to be changed so that students do not have holes in their schedules. Jackson continues to rearrange schedules until 95 percent of the conflicts are fixed; the remaining conflicts are then gradually taken care of. After 95 percent, the schedule program loses its effectiveness, and it is easier to manually

address the scheduling issues. In the final phase of the process, tentative schedules are mailed to all students. Then, final schedule adjustments begin. Administrators make changes based on summer school classes taken, math placement issues, and requests for dropping classes. Two days before Viking Days begin, official schedules are printed out and distributed. Jackson and the guidance team must keep working to consider requests for dropping classes and rearranging schedules, which is difficult considering that changing a student’s schedule may upset a previously balanced student to teacher ratio. “The most difficult part of the whole process is seeing students, or even teachers, displeased with their schedules,” said Jackson. “We work so hard to make them get what they want, which is why the most difficult part is the human aspect of it.” Though the administration team tries their best to give students the classes that they request, it is impossible to make everyone happy. This is due to all the different rules and regulations that they must follow. “If a student doesn’t get the class that they want, we hope that they are not discouraged,” said Jackson. “We always suggest that they request the class next year, since upperclassmen are given priority.”

Piecing it Together:

Delving into the world of special education students BY IZABELLA KIPNIS & KRISTEN WONG



he walls are covered with colorful posters and billboards. Small, round tables are scattered throughout the room, and the empty seats have been hastily pushed in. From the built-in kitchen, an aroma of macaroni and cheese fills the air; in one corner of the room, a washing machine churns slowly. Unknown to most of the school population, this is the classroom of special education students in the Academic Community Transition (ACT) Program. At Lynbrook and four other schools in the district, the ACT program has been implemented for special education students to flourish in a healthy, thriving environment. Each of these schools follow a standardized curriculum for special education with a common objective of fostering independence in order to prepare the students for jobs in the future. Comprised of teachers, therapists and psychologists, the ACT program helps develop goals for students that meet their educational needs. There are two ACT classes at Lynbrook: ACT 1 and ACT 2. “The difference between the two classes is the independence of the student and their academic level,” Anne Greene, head of the Special Education department, said. “We have ACT programs throughout the entire district and they’re all based on the progress of the student so he or she can get the best out of it.” Regardless of which special education class they are in, many ACT students have short attention spans and, consequently, a harder time focusing. To address these concerns, some classrooms have seats with medicine balls attached to the bottom with a soft, comfortable backrest, which helps support the students’ postures and helps them stay on task. Teachers also often work in a one to four ratio with their students; they use high-interest, accessible resources like magazines such as Time for Kids to keep their classes engaged. ACT program instructor Garry DeGuzman said, “What I try to do is relate the material to something they enjoy. For example, this week, I taught them about Thomas Edison and other important inventors. We tied this

into a current event like the movie ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,’ where the main character is an inventor, so there’s something in common with the subject they’re learning now.” In room 507, ACT instructor Jim Schussler’s students generally have some consistency through six regular classes: an elective, Community Math, Community Reading, Community Life Skills, Community Social Skills, and a Career/Pre-Vocational course. No day in the ACT program, however, is the same. Although students attend the same set of classes from Monday through Thursday, the activities done in those classes vary from day to day. All the classes are tailored toward one common goal: for the students to learn how to be independent. For example, Community Math stresses less on formulas and theories and more on applicable skills that the student would better benefit from in the long run. Greene said, “Their math classes are more about money and counting skills. So when they go out to a store, restaurant, even McDonald’s, they will be able to know how much change they’re supposed to get back.” Similarly, Community Reading embodies a goal not too different from Community Math. Through worksheets, handouts and small group activities, Community Reading targets basic comprehension skills that students need in everyday life. “Reading for us is learning how to read a map, how to read the bus schedule or learning how to read a menu,” said Schussler. “Most of these kids, when they go out with their families, their mom and dad will just order for them and the student never has a chance to order or pay for their meal on their own.” Additionally, a majority of ACT students begin their morning with an elective course that is either P.E., Art, or Culinary Education. In these courses, the students are mainstreamed into general education classes. “The elective classes help them get a broader picture of the real world,” Amy Jasper, an ACT program para-educator, said. Toward the end of the day, most spe-

cial education students go to a Career/PreVocational class where they practice application and resume writing along with other skills needed for a smooth transition into the workforce. “It’s kind of like a training program,” DeGuzman said. “So that eventually, once they’re out of school, they have the skills to help them get jobs of their own.” Outside the classroom, special education students operate miscellaneous tasks on campus such as working at a snack bar and taking out the recycling. Last year, they began to run their own student store in the back of the cafeteria. This year, the store will be moving the store to a room near the ASB den. This larger working space will allow for more volunteers and, instructors hope, will encourage a larger amount of students to enter the store. After sufficient preparation in the ACT program, older students are allowed to go off campus two or three days a week for some career experience. These students, typically sophomore and juniors, are able to find jobs through various organizations affiliated with the district. “We have students that work at Queen of Apostles elementary school in the cafeteria, students at Homestead high school’s smoothie shop, students at the district office working in a coffee shop called Perks Cafe and at Canine Crunchies, a local dog biscuit business,” said Schussler. To get to their jobs each day, students are trained to utilize public transportation. In this process, they receive a transit card from the Valley Transportation Authority. Betty Lee, an ACT program para-educator at Lynbrook, said, “First, they get their photo ID. Then, we take them out and walk them to the bus stop. We teach them the bus route and we take them to the job site. Later, they come back taking the bus. Eventually, they will be able to do it by themselves.” Although a long process, this kind of selfsufficiency is the focal point of the entire program. “Independence is ultimately our goal,” Greene said.

Behind the backdrop: The journey through staff Homecoming



ince its inception in 2003, Staff Homecoming has served as a prelude to the class acts, and a way to key the Lynbrook campus into the Homecoming spirit that envelopes the school for a single week each year. Like class Homecoming productions, it is a large-scale, complex endeavor, with numerous issues and challenges of its own. Preparation for Staff Homecoming typically starts in May when the three main production coordinators, history teacher Jeffrey Bale, English teacher Fritz Torp and school psychologist Brittany Stevens and the backdrop coordinator, art teacher Paul

Willson, brainstorm ideas and decide on a the theme related to the school’s overall theme, based on possible script and aesthetic ideas. “We wait until all the classes have chosen their themes because we would never want to take a theme idea from a class. Then we meet to figure out what kind of theme would be good, what we can do from a design perspective, and we eventually select something,” said Stevens. Throughout the summer, Torp and Stevens work on drafting a script. Once the script is finalized in August, the entire staff is invited to a lunchtime reading of the script in Torp’s room, where staff members sign up for voice and acting roles. The

two groups of actors typically rehearse in the last three weeks before Homecoming. Simultaneously, decoration builds, staff dance and choir practices also take place. All the elements of the skit come together in a full rehearsal on the Wednesday preceding Homecoming week. Any Homecoming production is a large commitment, taking hours upon hours of combined effort. For the staff, however, which does not start rehearsing until the three weaks before Homecoming Week, compared to the students, who typically begin during the summer, it is an especially difficult process. Furthemore, lack of manpower and available time in comparison to the student classes also makes the process

even more difficult to organize and execute for the staff. “It’s a challenge, putting everything together quickly, understanding that we all have limited time,” Torp said. “The logistics are also a challenge; it’s very difficult to get all the teachers together to rehearse because they have their own duties and meetings to attend.” According to Torp, part of meeting the challenge and completing the production on time comes from the sheer dedication of the staff. “The beauty of it--what makes it work, is that so many people are willing to step up and take ownership of, be it the staff dances, choir, or costumes,” Torp said. “We have


CAMELOT| Both the voice and physical actors of the staff skit convene for a joint rehearsal during lunchtime in preparation for their Oct. 4 performance.

a lot of people working hard.” And despite their limited numbers, the staff have the advantage of experience; unlike each of the student classes, who will never be able to have more than a few experiences with Homecoming productions, the staff has gone through the process many times. “We’ve been doing it every year, for however many years it’s been since it started, and through that you learn what works and what doesn’t work, like how to distinguish who’s speaking in the skit and what makes effective humor,” Torp said. “And unlike the students, who have to set up their systems every year, we already have the systems in place. We already know who’s in charge of

what aspect.” Teachers have other advantages as well; unlike students, who may not always be comfortable performing in front of large crowds, teachers are already used to speaking in front of the student body because of what their jobs entail. “Teachers are used to being in front of students and sort of performing, so it’s not like this huge stretch,” said European Literature teacher Robert Richmond, who helps coordinate voice acting rehearsals with AP Language and Composition teacher Rick Hanford. Students have also traditionally played a role in helping with the staff production. For this years’ production, Art 1 students helped paint the backdrop, coordinated by art teacher Paul Willson; senior Nikita Dhesikan designed the staff Homecoming t-shirt; senior Amy Wei, captain of the Valkyries, helped choreograph the girls’ advanced dance number, headed by business teacher Andrea Badger. “There’s been a history of the staff Homecoming coordinators asking the captain of Valkyries to help choreograph the staff skit dance, so [Bale] asked me to work with Mrs. Badger,” said Wei. After getting the music from the teachers, Wei worked on the choreography at home and made a video for the dancers. Badger in turn taught the staff. Wei has previously worked on choreographing dances for her class’s Homecoming and the annual fashion show, which allowed her to quickly choreograph a dance simple enough to teach to the staff. “With such limited manpower, we really couldn’t put on the production we do without the support and help of students,” Bale said. “Without a doubt, it’s a team effort.” Once all the aspects are put together, the final product is completed and presented to the campus, and the staff is finally able to see the results of its work. And for many in the faculty, this is the most rewarding moment: seeing their work achieve its ultimate goal, to entertain. “The reason we do it is for that moment when we perform, and the kids laugh. They laugh so happily and loudly, it’s a great feeling for us,” Torp said. “It’s very rewarding, there’s nothing quite like it.” Further emphasizing the use of Homecoming to entertain, the staff has broadened the scope of entertainment throughout the years, with their increasingly unconventional skits. “One of the things that [Stevens] and [Torp] have been trying to do is to create skits that aren’t the usual abduction story




in which someone steals something and the characters spend the whole time recovering that lost item or finding that abducted person. What we’ve tried to do is create different ways of telling stories from just the usual,” said Richmond. Last year, the staff put a twist on their theme, “Honolulu, Hawaii,” by creating a storyline through four people watching television. Instead of going through a typical sequence of events, the characters jumped from place to place by integrating themselves in different television channels, each with a different theme. With each Homecoming, the staff looks to outdo their previous year’s unique performances by straying further from the traditional Homecoming formula. “The idea behind Homecoming is that it is twenty minutes of entertainment. You do not

have to have a skit, a dance, or anything, and one of these years, some class will do twenty minutes of magic and won’t know what’s coming but they’ll totally break the mold and Homecoming will be forever changed,” said Bale. “We’re hoping to push a little bit every year about changing up the traditional Homecoming.” According to Stevens, the fact that staff Homecoming lacks the competition that exists between classes has made it easier for staff Homecoming to achieve the goal of breaking the mold by giving the staff more liberty in the creative process in its production. “Because we don’t have the competition that the students do, it really gives us a lot more freedom to focus purely on entertainment, without being constrained by judging criteria. It’s a relief, really.”

The noncompetitive spirit of staff Homecoming allows staff members to use Homecoming preparations to have fun together. According to Torp, staff Homecoming also serves the purpose of providing a way for the staff to bond. “Almost always, when the staff gets together, we’re in a faculty meeting where there’s an agenda of serious stuff we have to get through,” Torp said. “Homecoming is really the only activity in the year when all of us get together purely to have fun. It’s great thing, for the staff to get together and not to talk about academics for once,” said Torp. Staff Homecoming also presents an opportunity for integrating new members of the staff and administration into the Lynbrook community. “It’s been a great way for new staff to get involved, to feel a part of the Lynbrook culture,” Bale said. “We’re working hard this year to get prominent roles for our incoming administrative members, both Mr. Dwyer and Mr. Wong. We also reached out to new teachers and staff members to try to get them involved, because staff Homecoming is a way for both students and others on staff to get to know them.” Staff members involved with Homecoming have felt lasting impressions from being a part of the production. For Torp, one of the most memorable years for Homecoming was the 2009 “Wild Wild West” theme, where the entire staff wore fake mustaches. In Stevens’s opinion, every Homecoming is memorable, though her favorite is the 2011 “Clue” theme, simply because she likes that particular board game. In contrast, Bale believes that each year’s Homecoming experience is better than those of the previous years, therefore he strives to make each successive year’s production his new favorite Homecoming experience. For the Lynbrook alumni on staff, staff Homecoming takes on an altogether unique experience: a chance to relive, and in a way, to recreate their favorite Homecoming memories from their years as high school students. “For last years’ production, I was dead set on having the giant Angry Bird prop that went over the backdrop, even though structurally it was difficult to build,” said Bale, who attended Lynbrook in the class of 2000. “It was a reference to something from way back in 1996, one of my favorite Homecoming memories, where we had something going over the backdrop. I wanted to bring that feeling back.” While memorable Homecoming productions vary from staff member to staff member, one thing can be agreed on: witnessing Homecoming at Lynbrook is no ordinary experience.

THE DIRECTION| AP Government and Economics teacher Jeffrey Bale offers his input to the phyiscal actors during a lunchtime staff skit rehearsal.

THE DANCE| Business Teacher Andrea Badger, the main staff dance coordinator, leads the advanced staff dancers in learning the choreography.

THE PERFORMANCE| Art Teacher Paul Willson, who also designed the staff backdrop, delivers his lines with great passion while acting his character..


THE BUILD| Print Techician John Hott, directs the the staff in constructing the props, which will include a giant dragon head.



he Lynbrook’s girls’ athletic department seems to have always been an important part of the school; from the long standing success of the girls’ field hockey team during the days of Sandi Stober to the recent successes of the girls’ basketball team at the NorCal Championship last year. There was a time, however, when this was not the case. This is the 42nd year since Title IX was put into effect, a piece of legislature part of the Education Amendments of 1972 that changed the way athletics departments across the nation have operated since. Title IX states, in part, that “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity.” This effectively stipulated that girls’ athletics should be given as much importance in schools as boys’ athletics, thus opening new opportunities for female athletes at Lynbrook when the legislation came into effect in 1976. One such athlete that was affected by the legislation was Deborah Luck, a Lynbrook alumna who graduated from the Class of 1977. Luck was involved extensively in Lynbrook’s athletics program, participating in gymnastics, field hockey, basketball and the cheer team. And having attended Lynbrook during the years immediately following the passage of Title IX, she was able to witness firsthand the effects of the legislation. According to Luck, before Title IX came into effect at Lynbrook, girls’ athletics were continually shunted aside in favor of boys’ teams. “Boys’ sports were the

moneymakers, and so girls’ sports often fell by the wayside,” said Luck. “For basketball, during my freshman and sophomore years, we weren’t allowed to practice in the gym or the weight rooms, even in inclement weather, and for field hockey, we practiced on a small field on the edge of the campus, the furthest you could get from the rest of the school. We didn’t get the luxuries that the boys had.” Co-Athletic Director Linda Nichols ‘72 recalled her experience of the inequality between the two athletic departments. “When it rained during basketball practice, we had to try to avoid dribbling on the spots of water on the ground. Everything we did, it had to be outside,” said Nichols. But when Title IX came into effect by Luck’s junior year, it did much to even the playing field for girls’ and boys’ sports; it resulted in policies enforcing equal funding, number of teams, and use of facilities. Title IX not only enforced equality within sports but in other aspects of school life as well, such as clubs. Though by 1977, most clubs were open to both sexes, Title IX removed bias from athletics-related clubs. In her senior year, Luck was among the first female members of the Varsity Letterman’s Club, a previously allmale club for players on varsity sports teams that was opened to females as a result of Title IX. “I was so happy to see it finally pass and to see people start to recognize that girls can be competitive in athletics,” Nichols said. “Sports are beneficial for everyone involved: they teach teamwork, commitment, responsibility, and skills that they can use throughout their lifetime. The players bond with each other and create friendships that they will remember long after high school.   Title IX allowed that to happen to the girls as well.” Despite the changing poli-

cies, however, the Title IX legislation was not strictly adhered to. Dredges of inequality remained at Lynbrook for many years to follow. “Even though girls had access to the athletic facilities, they were only able to practice at 5:30 in the morning. Practices had to be worked around

the boys’ teams,” Nichols said. “It still wasn’t equal.” Not all of this inequality was visible, though. According to Luck, even after Title IX mandate for equality passed, traditional sentiments toward girls’ athletics remained. “The guys didn’t want us in their weight room,” Luck said. “Even after we were allowed to use the room, I only went a handful of times to lift. It was very intimidating to go in there out because we could tell they didn’t want us in there. It just wasn’t the norm.” But over time, in an effort spearheaded by Sandi Stober, girls’ and boys’ athletics are closer than ever to being equal. “Over the years Lynbrook really has grown to become fair to everyone,” said Nichols. “The administration, the teachers, the staff, everybody is very supportive of female athletes. We’re all Lynbrook athletes now; the gender doesn’t matter.” And around the campus, from the recently rededicated Stober Field to the Spirit Bus

that rode with the girls’ basketball team to the Norcal Championships, the evidence of a shift towards equality can be seen, a shift that athletes like Luck could have hardly envisioned. “Back then, after Title IX passed, things were good,” Luck said. “But I don’t think I knew how much better they could have been. I don’t think I could have imagined that having that absolutely fabulous field hockey field, one I would have died for back in the day to play on, would have ever been a possibility.” Despite all these changes, however, an imbalance in popularity between the two departments still exists today. “When I talk to my friends, they comment on how girls’ sports aren’t very interesting to watch,” said junior Kimberly Zee. “I think its a widespread sentiment, that people prefer watching the guys’ sports way more.” According to Nichols, this sentiment is the result of traditional views towards athletics. “It’s just people’s perception of women in sports,” Nichols said. “It’s changed immensely, but sometimes, even today, its still perceived as a man’s world. With certain people, those perceptions take a while to change.” Though Title IX did not completely solve the gap between boys’ and girls’ sports, it was was the first giant step in the right direction. It began a change that took place over 40 years, pioneered by coaches like Sandi Stober and female athletes, themselves. A change that took girls’ sports from the time basketball teams had to practice out in the rain to now, where girls’ athletics are an integral part of Lynbrook.


t’s 3:15 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon, and a familiarly long line of student athletes has formed near the boys’ locker room. Athletes walk in and out with tightly wrapped ice packs and taped ankles, while a few quickly make their way out carrying water, rushing to practice. In this small yet vital room nestled between the entrance to the locker room and the wrestling room, Sports Injury Prevention Specialist—or as many people call her: athletic trainer—Heather Bridges runs a solo operation. The Lynbrook athletics program has seen several changes recently, but one aspect that has remained constant is the quality of aid that Bridges provides. Bridges assists countless athletes on a daily basis, tending to a variety of situations, ranging from basic aches and pains, to more serious injuries. Because injuries are commonplace in most sports, Bridges plays an important role in the athletic department. Her main duties include “injury prevention and recognition for all athletes in current sports, and some rehabilitation if necessary.” Additionally, she organizes all the paperwork necessary for approximately 300 athletes to compete in their respective sports, every season. Part of Bridges’ daily routine consists of attending practices and talking with coaches to see if there are any players that need her attention. “I go out to practices so athletes can see my face and know where to find me and when to come to me,” said Bridges. By reaching out to athletes

and coaches alike, Bridges develops strong bonds to eliminate any qualms they may have in getting their injuries looked at. At the preseason meeting between coaches and athletic directors, Bridges explains to coaches how she operates, and her main goal of, “[having] all athletes playing and healthy.” “Whenever athletes have something they want me to check out, we have a conversation about it first and discuss how it happened before I take a look at it,” said Bridges. She is then able to create better bonds with students, who become more open with her when explaining their injuries. “Heather is very funny and you can joke around with her, which makes her fun to be around. Also, she’s eager to listen to athletes’ problems, and definitely knows her stuff,” said senior varsity football player Joseph Chang, who has had many injuries, and therefore has a close relationship with Bridges. Bridges attended California Lutheran University, where she majored in sports medicine and gained plenty of experience in being an athletic trainer. Her decision to major in sports medicine, however, did not come to her until after a lot of thought. “In my freshman year of college, I was not sure what I wanted to study. I knew I was interested in sports and medicine, but wasn’t looking for an intense medical education, and found out I could combine my love for sports and the human body in doing sports medicine,” said Bridges. Playing water polo exposed


Bridges to the responsibilities and importance of a trainer in a high school setting. “I had a few injuries when I played water polo, and the athletic trainer was always quite essential in helping me recover and continue to play, so I always had a lot of respect for and interest in what they did,” said Bridges. Even then, she was not aware that having such a job was possible when she entered college, admitting that, “I never realized it was something I could major in in college, but once I found out it was, I went with it, since it interested me the most.” Once Bridges did decide to pursue sports medicine, she had to meet specific requirements, such as completing 1500 internship hours. Before Bridges became the athletic trainer at Lynbrook two

years ago, however, she was unsure whether she wanted to pursue a career in sports medicine. In fact, her main motive to come to Lynbrook was to be a special education teacher. Prior to Bridges’ arrival, the injury prevention specialist job at Lynbrook had been a revolving door for years. When Bridges was looking to work as a special education teacher, the school desperately needed an injury prevention specialist, and Bridges fit the bill. She is currently working on a masters program for special education, and seeks to pursue that career, while also serving as an athletic trainer. For now, the minute hand has struck four, meaning that athletes have ten minutes to get to practice. The teams may be out of the locker room for now, but Bridges’ work has only just begun.



n a world where everything from friendship to honor hinges on a game, Lynbrook students are spending hours poring over statistics and expert analyses to emerge victorious. This is the world of fantasy sports, a world where rivalries stand tall, and those not left standing hang their heads in shame.



t is fact that most Lynbrook students will not grow up to become owners of sports teams. But fantasy sports, an increasingly popular activity around Lynbrook, allow students just that opportunity. From bragging rights to and inflated ego, fantasy sports are a sports wonk’s haven. With countless leagues springing up around campus, participants have been putting in the time to create the ultimate team. In essence, fantasy sports are a virtual reality, with big-name websites like, CBS. com and all offering free leagues. Starting a league and playing in one is free, a model similar to Facebook’s: because millions of people participate, domains can offer free leagues, supporting the business with the money they receive from advertisement traffic. Should somebody decide to play in a league, he or she has many options to choose from. If an organized group is not an option, a fantasy sports website can automatically place a user into a random league consisting of ten players. In that sense, fantasy sports are the ultimate connector, a link between millions of sports fans all over the globe. Fantasy sports provide an activity for participants to enjoy in addition to watching the games. Junior Daniel Vahabi said,“I play fantasy sports because I like to follow the sports I play.” Fantasy sports are becom-

ing more and more ubiquitous at Lynbrook, appearing in unexpected niches and encompassing a wide variety of purposes, from entertainment to education. Primarily, fantasy sports are a social outlet, with different groups of friends competing in leagues for various honors. Vahabi said, “I consider [fantasy sports] a good social activity because I play against people I don’t see every day; it’s a good way to keep in touch.” Junior Rahul Iyer’s tremendous experience has provided him with an opportunity to experience many forms of play. He said, “Usually the leagues I play in are with friends,” he said. “Playing with friends is fun because you can talk to them and you know who you are beating,

so you can brag. However, if you lose you may be ridiculed.” He has also participated in leagues with strangers. Iyer said, “With strangers, it’s a totally different mindset. They are fans from different cities, which leads to some very interesting draft strategies that you must adapt to. However, you won’t ever meet them or talk to them so there isn’t any tangible gain in that sense.” Because fantasy sports possess academic value, teachers have recently been utilizing them in their curriculums. Junior Rishabh Bhasin, who is a student in Bob Blaschke’s AP Statistics class, said, “Mr. Blaschke has set up a fantasy football league and tried to get most of the students to join in. We will be analyzing


the results of games and using the results to make predictions for the future.” Blaschke said, “Building camaraderie builds communication. If we can be quicker and stronger at communication we can practice our academic language. And we could use academic language to describe something that’s actually happening.” Bhasin believes that Blaschke’s use of fantasy sports to teach statistics is beneficial. “It’s a win-win situation, because it isn’t too complicated, yet it’s a great way to get people interested in statistics, given the ubiquity and popularity of football. The goal is for people to look and say ‘Oh wow, this is a statistical application that I can use for the real world!’”



t’s that time of year again. The time when bets are made, honor is won and vengeance brews in everyone’s heart. This is the beginning of a new year of fantasy football. Fantasy football is more than just a game; it is a way of life. Thus, one must be willing to eat, sleep and drink fantasy football for six months. This way of life is not easy. It will push you to your breaking point. But you will feel a sense of self-worth like nothing else if you have the fortitude to endure this six-month grind. Because I care about the wellbeing of all fantasy football team owners, I am taking it upon myself to establish a set of laws that govern the world of fantasy football. These laws will be highly effective for all team owners because they are written by me, a seasoned veteran of fantasy football and a jack of all trades when it comes to teambuilding and strategies. This guide applies not only to the inexperienced rookies, but also to the perennial under achievers who wish to clear the final hurdle to attain glory their leagues. Let’s start at the very beginning, at the fantasy draft. By this time of year, however, most of you league owners have completed your drafts. I hope you all drafted effectively because if you didn’t, there’s nothing you can do about it now. Evaluate your draft. Once you have drafted, evaluate your team’s strengths and weaknesses. A common mistake that team owners make is trading away their top players for an

elite QB. That is a typical rookie move. The last player you want to trade for is a QB because your starting QB is likely going to give you at least 220 points over the season. A strong fantasy team always builds their offense around their running backs and wide receivers. You must trade for these players. Propose trades early. You want to be able to address your needs before the season starts because once the players you want start racking up points, the other owners will turn a blind eye to your trade offers. Trust me, I know this from experience. That being said, when you trade, it is vital to know the needs of the owner you want to trade with. That way, you can save yourself the embarrassment of seeing a rejected trade offer in your email inbox. The bench is key. Remember when I said load up your bench to the best of your ability? Well if you did not, then prepare yourself for a last place finish and major ribbing from your fellow league members. The bench is your best friend during the dreaded ‘bye week.’ This is the week when your some of your players do not play because of a hole in their team’s schedule. And guess where you replace your starters when they have bye weeks? That’s right, the bench. For those of you who have seen the movie “Moneyball,” you know that the bench is roughly the equivalent of the Oakland A’s starting lineup during their 20-game win streak in 2002. It was an undervalued “island of misfit toys,” just like the

bench in fantasy football.The bench serves as your primary source for trade piece and a replacement source if a starter begins to underperform. Which reminds me, I really need to consider starting the Houston Texans’ Matt Schaub over Brady.

The all or nothing waiverwire. There is another way to address your weaknesses and survive the bye week. That would be the waiver-wire. The waiver-wire is essentially the junkyard of fantasy football. It has plenty of decent players but they are not exactly the most consistent, which is why they were not drafted. Use this to your advantage, but you will have to be willing to risk woefully low production. If you’re lucky, and pick the right player, he will pay dividends for your team. Take Miami Dolphins’ wide reciver Brian Hartline last year, for example. Hartline was written off early in the season, but his fantasy value boomed after consecutive 100-yard receiving performances. He was critical to the rise of a fellow league member in the stand-

ings. Conversely, my acquisition of Denver Broncos’ tight-end Jacob Tamme was a disaster as he caught fewer than three passes per game, thus producing fewer than five points per week. Picking these players is risky because they can make or break your season. Or as Kelsey Hurwitz says, “You have to risk it to get the biscuit.” How to find players. My fellow disciples, we have now reached perhaps the most important law of fantasy football, research. If you want to find that sleeper pick in the draft or an underrated player off of the waiverwire, you have to do your research. You could delve into the a specific player’s stats over the past few seasons to project his fantasy value, or, you could simply Google underrated fantasy football players. Just because your research or ESPN’s analyses say that some player might be a fantasy stud doesn’t mean he’ll perform like one. This is the point where you have to make a judgment call. This is where fantasy football winners and losers are made. More often than not professional football teams tend to scrap their game plans when games start to get out of hand. But as the saying goes: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” No matter how hard a season may turn out, never give up. You owe it not only to your league, but to yourself to strive for a legitimate victory week in and week out.


or the past five years, I have invested countless hours into a single sport. I’ve subjected my body to numerous floor burns, several twisted ankles, one concussion and myriad sore muscles. I’ve sacrificed weekends, foregone school dances, travelled across the country, missed school and squandered virtually all opportunities to experience a little thing known as “free time.” I have loved every minute of it and wouldn’t trade these memorable experiences for anything in the world, but this is not how I want to spend life after high school. Choosing not to play college volleyball was a difficult and lengthy decision. When I first started playing in 7th grade, I never dreamed of being able to compete at a collegiate level. I didn’t believe I would ever reach a point where becoming a prestigious collegiate athlete would actually be a feasible goal, and was content with just playing for fun. But as I got older, I started to realize that playing volleyball in college was not as unreasonable of a goal as I had once thought. I started playing for a competitive club team where nearly all my peers were on the path to becoming collegiate athletes, and was surrounded by intense competitors who would do whatever it took to get ahead. I began to believe that was the norm and thought that because all my friends were planning on playing volleyball in college, then that’s what I should want, too. It took me awhile to realize that my reasons for aspiring to

play collegiate volleyball had more to do with pleasing other people than with pleasing myself. The recruiting coordinator for my club told me that if I wanted to pursue a career in volleyball beyond high school, I would “absolutely be able to do so” and that “we will make it happen.” While it was reassuring to hear that my decision to play would be supported, it was also slightly terrifying to think about how my decision not to play would be received. I wanted to impress my teammates, coaches, friends, family and peers and worried that I would disappoint them if I concluded my volleyball career after high school. My fear of what others would think of me swayed me to believe that playing volleyball in college was the only acceptable option. I naively upheld this belief for about two years and responded to questions about my future athletic pursuits with plenty of vague, non-committal answers followed by a prompt change of subject. Eventually, my parents grew frustrated with my inclination towards avoidance, and one night my mom sat me down and made me to come to a definitive resolution. Either I had to choose to devote all my time and energy into volleyball, or admit to myself that I could be content without playing in college. After weighing the pros and cons of each option, my wise mother pointed out to me that if I was going to commit so much of my life to one sport, I should be truly passionate about it and shouldn’t have any

qualms over whether or not I was making the right decision. I’m not sure why this was so hard for me to see before, but that conversation with my mom really opened my eyes and lifted a huge weight off of my shoulders. Don’t get me wrong—there are lots of pros to playing sports in college, too. Volleyball has helped me grow as a person in so many ways; it has taught me the importance of discipline, teamwork, and determination, and it has majorly impacted the person I am today.

However, I’m ready to finally experience new things. I want to expand my horizons and seize new opportunities. I want to go to a school because I genuinely like it, not because it’s a fit for volleyball. I want to join a sorority, sign up for a bunch of different clubs, focus on my grades and finally have some of that free time that I’ve heard such great things about. And ever since I realized this, I have been able to enjoy playing volleyball a whole lot more because I finally feel like I can just play for fun.

Issue 1, 2013