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SCHEDULING A NEW DAY BY KHAYA BHATIA ince the mid 90’s, Lynbrook has had the same bell schedule. This year, the Fremont Education Association (FEA) approved of a new bell schedule for the 20142015 school year. In September of this school year, department heads at Lynbrook began discussing changes in the bell schedule. By November, there was consensus among the departments that students would benefit from a new bell schedule (view graphic on the right). Throughout the school year there are six vacations on Mondays, which force students to follow an adapted schedule for the shortened week. This special schedule moves tutorial to Tuesday and odd block to Thursday, while keeping Wednesday as even block and Friday as a seven period day.  Many teachers find the special schedule hard to plan their lectures around since it changes the odd block to a Thursday. FEA Lynbrook Site President Rick Hanford


said, “Rather than have odd block jump around through the school year, we put [odd block] on Thursday instead and that way [students and teachers] will have more consistency over the semester to plan more easily.” By permanently moving tutorial from Monday to Friday, the teachers hope that students will be able to take advantage of a tutorial when they need it the most. Friday is a more convenient day for tutorials since most tests are scheduled on Friday, so students have an opportunity to talk to their teachers. “A lot of homework and tests are on Friday and I think this will help students because they’ll have time to talk to their teachers,” said sophomore Armin Hamadani. According to Principal John Dwyer, this seems to be the most beneficial part of the new bell schedule. He said, “For me, the positive outcome was to eliminate Monday as a tutorial day. We don’t normally have that many Fridays off but we have several Mondays off so that means students who need support get all of the available tutorials.” It’s important for schools within the FUHSD to have consistent bell schedules. For transfer students who want to change schools within the district, having a consistent schedule will help them plan their transition from schools. For teachers who work at more than one school, having consistent schedules would make to travel back and forth easier. Lastly, students who take classes at multiple schools within the district can also benefit from consistency. The impetus to change the bell schedule came from the school district’s desire for more uniform schedules throughout the five schools— Lynbrook, Monta Vista, Homestead, Cupertino, and Fremont.


Monday: Friday schedule Tuesday: Tutorial Wednesday: Even Block Thursday: Odd Block Friday: Tutorial To accomplish this, the teachers at Lynbrook conducted a meeting to evaluate the bell schedules from each school, discussing which classes on which days would be most beneficial to students. According to Rick Hanford, due to a time crunch, trying to plan and approve the schedule for the administration to implement it next school year and did not have the time to request student input. Some students, like senior Nishna Kommoju, believe that the administrators know what is best for us and trust that they will make the right decisions with the goal to benefit students in mind. “There tend to be a lot of decisions made without student input, but certain decisions don’t need student approval. Even though the students are the ones mainly affected, teachers are also affected and know what’s best,” said Kommoju. Some students, however, are concerned about adjusting to a new bell schedule. “I’ve been going by the same bell schedule for the past three years and I’ve gotten used to this new schedule so I’m not looking forward to changing.” said junior Ishani Dutta,”Monday will be harder for students to adjust because there is no more tutorial-students will have to get used to not having that time on Monday to get work done” Dwyer, however, believes that given time, adjusting won’t be an issue for students. He said, “I have worked through different bell schedule changes at a number of different schools in the past. I think provided the information gets out early enough to inform students and teachers of the changes, it will not be hard.”

NEWS IN BRIEF By Meera Krishnamoorthy

“I would like to attribute my success to the positive environment of Math Club and the continual support of Mrs. Korsunsky.”


Freshman Matthew Hase-Liu, who qualified for the USAJMO. The U.S.A. Junior Mathematical Olympiad (USAJMO) is a contest that around 230 students in the U.S. take after receiving qualifying scores on the AMC 10 and the AIME. Around 270 who receive qualifying scores on the AMC 12 and AIME take the U.S.A. Mathematical Olympiad (USAMO). Both tests are being administered on April 29 and 30.

Price per hour of charge for the first four hours at the new electric vehicle charging station; additional hours will be $5.00 each. These fees will help pay for district power usage costs and the station’s service and warranty extensions.

“I’ve always been interested in Japanese culture, but through [Japan Bowl], I’ve really grown to appreciate it.” Junior Kristin Chen on participating in this year’s Japan Bowl. On April 10, a team of Lynbrook students traveled to Maryland to compete in the 2014 National Japan Bowl, a multi-leveled competition that tests knowledge of the Japanese language and culture. Lynbrook placed first in Level 3 and third in Level 4.

#7 Lynbrook’s STEM education ranking out of California’s 2,026 high schools on US News. It is ranked #109 of the nation’s high schools, and #18 in California.

“When I was told I got the Best of Lynbrook award by Kruk I started dancing in the art room!” Stephanie Xu, junior, on winning the Best of Lynbrook award at the FUHSD Art Show, held from April 12 to 26 at the Sunnyvale Art Gallery. It showcases works of art made by various FUHSD students.



Sixteen weeks, three championships, two robots, and countless shots later, the robotics team reflects on their season this year­—a season of firsts on many levels— and the recent World Championships. Building a robot is like entering a sandwich contest. You carefully craft the sandwich with lettuce, tomatoes, sauces, making sure everything fits in nicely. At the end, you present your sandwich to others, waiting for approval and hoping for the best. If robots were sandwiches, Team 846’s Funk Cannon would be a delicious artisan creation in black and yellow. On April 26, the Lynbrook Robotics Team 846, the Funky Monkeys, finished in the semifinals in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) World Championship at St. Louis. Their win capped off an impressive season of success and record accomplishments, marked by the team’s first time winning a regional championship at the Cleveland Buckeye Regional, their first time reaching semi-finals at the Silicon Valley Regional in San Jose, and their first time receiving the FIRST Quality and Creativity Awards. The FRC World Championship is hosted by the non-profit organization For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) and draws hundreds of teams from over 17 countries to compete in 98 regional championships. Each team builds a robot to participate in the game, which varies every year. The robot must comply with stringent FIRST safety rules and technical requirements and be built within a build season of six weeks, starting on Jan. 5. After build season, each team disassembles its robot and takes it to compete in different regional competitions across the nation, with only the top teams, such as the Funky Monkeys, moving on to the World Championship. This year’s FRC game, Aerial Assist, involved two alliances of three teams each throwing large balls into different level slots. Teams received bonus points, often substantial enough to turn the table on a losing game, by passing the ball to each other before scoring. For co-president and senior Anurag Makineni, this year’s game was markedly different than last year’s game, Ultimate Ascent, which involved shooting frisbees into slots and

climbing a three level pyramid. “This year, the task the robot has to complete is relatively simple compared to last year, but the gameplay is different,” said Makineni. “Before you actually go compete in a match, you actually have to go collaborate with the different teams, figure out a strategy, and figure out which roles are best for each robot.” As last year’s game proved an enormous technical challenge, the team only managed to scrape by during build season and ended up taking an unfinished robot to their Boston Regional. With better preparation and a less technically challenging game, the team modified their work routine this year to build a stronger robot. “This year, with the game dynamic being completely changed, we decided to really identify the core robot attributes that we needed to focus on, and we built a robot that was the best at those tasks,” said co-president and senior Miles Chan. “The focus was different; instead of just trying to get the robot working before the event, this year it was ‘Oh, we have it working, let’s make it better.’” Their robot was most definitely better. In their first regional at Cleveland, four weeks after the end of build season, they blew away the competition with a robot both aesthetically pleasing and powerful. In their first match at the regional, their alliance won 141-10. The Funk Cannon had only missed a single shot. Reflecting on their success at that regional, Chan says that that first match was one of his proudest moments. “We basically made a statement that we’re one of the best teams here,” said Chan. “We were the first selection at the event for Buckeye, and the first seeded team picked us because they didn’t want to face us.” Being picked by the highest

ranked team at a regional is no small accomplishment. Building a robot with the fourth-highest offensive power rating (OPR) at a regional is not small either. Winning the regional and sweeping away the competition? Well, that’s up to you to judge. “We felt great, because people [in Cleveland] liked watching the Funk Cannon, the crazy yellow robot from California,” said Chan with a laugh. Their stunning success, Makineni explained, was attributed in large part to the modular design system they promoted this year. Last year, the robot had highly integrated subsystems, or individual working systems on the robot, which made it almost impossible to improve one area without harming another. “Let’s say one part of the design isn’t

Subsystem Leads Anurag Makineni: Shooter Miles Chan: Shooter Akshat Agrawal: Collector Eric Yeh: Collector Srinjoy Majumdar: Electrical Rahul Iyer: Drive Amrita Iyer: Drivetrain Lead Raphael Chang: Software Lead

finalized, and I’m part of another subsystem that’s waiting on that design to be finished,” said Makineni. I can’t keep going until I have more details, and this year we tried to minimize those dependencies.” Their modular design and work ethic, both of which aided them so much at Cleveland, faced stronger opponents in their Silicon Valley Regional (SVR). With a total of six other regional winners competing at SVR alongside them, the team knew the competition would be at a much higher level. Nevertheless, the team powered on until they were stopped at the semifinals.To keep the event in perspective, the regional winning alliance consisted of the teams from Mountain View High School, Bellarmine College Preparatory School, and a team from Davis. The Bellarmine and Mountain View teams generally dominate at the World Championships, so going up against them until the semifinals was quite an achievement. “The key takeaway is that we were up

more Rahul Iyer—vice-president and senior Akshat Agrawal believed that the team really deserved them. “We’re obviously very proud we’ve received these two awards: one of the distinguishing qualities of our robot is that we touch it up, and we make sure it has an over-

credited in part to a robot that “is just killer,” according to Makineni. While the team was justifiably nervous, compared to last year, they were in a stronger position to excel. And excel they did. Placed in the Newton Division at the World Championships and against several powerful teams, the Funky

A YEAR OF FIRSTS FIRST PLACE AT BUCKEYE REGIONAL first game involving collaboration FIRST TIME HAVING ALL GIRLS SUBSYSTEM first time designing electrical system on CAD FIRST TIME WINNING QUALITY AND CREATIVITY AWARD there, amongst the top tier in SVR,” said Makineni. “It was a marked difference [compared to] last year, when we were decidedly below that top tier. I was really happy about how far we had gotten.” In regards to the awards the team received during this build season—the Quality award at SVR, the Creativity award at Buckeye, and the Dean’s List award for sopho-

all clean and complete look,” said Agrawal. “Our team goes the extra mile to make sure it not only works but also looks really good.” In the end, however, it all came down to the World Championships in St. Louis. Going into the championship with better preparation than last year, the presidents believed that they had the potential to do very well,

Monkeys held their own, winning eight of their ten qualification matches and being drafted as the third selection during the elimination rounds, until their record-breaking season came to a close at the semifinals. While speaking about the team’s achievements at the prestigious championship, Chan spoke in a nonchalant manner, but the emo-

tion in his voice was unmistakable. “We were in the Newton Division, which was regarded as one of the toughest because the top end of the field had some of the highest scoring statistics in the competition,” said Chan. “We weren’t just playing at the world level; we were playing at something special.” Chan then brought up Mountain View High School’s Team 971, Spartan Robotics, as an example of how far the Funky Monkeys had come since last year, where they did not advance to the elimination matches after qualifications. “[Being the third selection] was a huge accomplishment [because we

were] picked over some really great teams like Mountain View’s which has won a World Championships before. Mountain View’s

team is based out of NASA AIMES and have

huge resources available to them, but we were picked before they were. In the end, Mountain View finally got their robot working, and when they’re working they are scary, and so it was no shame going out against them even though they are friends, it was a real honor going against them.” In the end, the World Championships closed off their season quite nicely. “We’re working out of a little portable here, come in after school and work real hard, and we finished straight up best offensive [power rating] on the field,” said Chan. “This is when we finally got into the big spotlight, and we’re just going to stay there.”




air, paper and bacteria: these are just three of the many original solutions competitors proposed during Women in Stem’s (WiSTEM) first-ever WiSTEM Bay Area Research Exposition (WiSTEM BARE). WiSTEM clubs from Lynbrook, Monta Vista and Saratoga High School worked together to bring WiSTEM BARE to GooglePlex on April 5 for Bay Area high schoolers and middle schoolers to partake in The Challenge, which requires competitors to propose a creative solution to clean up a 200 million gallon oil spill in the Pacific Ocean. Sponsored by Google, WiSTEM BARE aimed to give interested students a chance to show off their creativity and innovation in a STEM extravaganza. Intent on impressing judges and taking home the first prize, a total of around 15 teams, with two from Lynbrook, faced off on stage in front of more than 100 spectators and seven judges. “Considering that it was the first time the expo fully fleshed out after two or three years

of only mentioning the possibility of such an event, I feel like the expo turned out really well,” said vice president of WiSTEM, senior Jefferine Li. “I feel proud of our Lynbrook teams. They gave it their all!” After team presentations, competitors and spectators watched guest speakers from companies such as Google, Facebook and Mindflash recount their experiences in the STEM field. “I especially liked Ms. Rebecca Crabb’s and Ms. Elizabeth Morant’s speeches because they talked about their college experiences and about how they became interested in careers in STEM,” said Li. “We hoped that everyone simply took away the idea that they shouldn’t be afraid of doing something that seems so out-of-reach. If there’s a dream, there’s definitely a way.”

At the end of the expo, first, second and third place awards were given to other competing schools. Although neither Lynbrook teams won awards, both feel that the knowledge earned through WiSTEM BARE was the award in itself.

Seniors Aishwarya Nene and Jefferine Li, president and vice president of WiSTEM





here is no typical 7th period class in room 305. Depending on the occasion, students may be independently working on their science projects, hearing a lecture, or conducting their own research outside of class. Throughout the period, however, and even after school, these independent student scientists all gravitate back toward one central force-- the nucleus that keeps them functioning. Science teacher and STEM Research Coordinator Amanda Alonzo had always been somewhat interested in the sciences, but it wasn’t until college that she developed a stronger passion for the subject. Inspired by her Biology professor, who was the first female science teacher she ever had, Alonzo began to dream of creating an all-girls charter school, specifically in STEM. In her 12 years teaching at Lynbrook, Alonzo has spearheaded multiple science researchrelated programs, like the 7th period STEM class. Now, with the entire STEM program running smoothly, Alonzo has taken up an offer to teach at Nueva Upper School in Hillsborough, CA starting next year. For the past 3 years, Alonzo has worked with the Nueva School in various ways, such as helping start a public charter school in Chicago. The Nueva School is a private institution with grades pre-k-4 and 5-8 on one

“Varun and I have stayed for two hours after class just talking to [Alonzo] about random stuff, and we’ve had some really interesting conversations with her. It’s just really nice that she’s so approachable on a personal level.” —Nisarg Shah, freshman

“She’s really helped all of us individually, and . . . she spends a lot of time with each student not just on science fair projects but also on writing recommendations for summer camps and trying to help everyone find summer research opportunities.” —Pranav Lalgudi, freshman

“Being in the STEM class has helped me figure out that science is what I’m interested in. Mrs. Alonzo is a great teacher but even more of a counselor or a mentor, and being able to talk to a teacher like that really helps in making these kinds of decisions.” --Varun Venka, freshman

campus in Hillsborough, and starting next year, a campus for grades 9-12 located in the San Mateo area. “After working with the Nueva School, they told me that they were starting a high school the following year,” said Alonzo. “It kind of intrigued me because in my dreams, I think about starting my own charter school for girls in science one day.” The Nueva School also emphasizes Social Emotional Learning, where students are taught to deal with their emotions and relationships with others in a work environment. As she transitions to their high school, Alonzo can expand on her personal goals and philosophies in teaching. “One of my beliefs is that all students should master the subject they are in, and that all students should be encouraging of their peers to get As and be great at what they do, since I know that they all have that capability,” said Alonzo. “I like that Nueva is a school where competition is not really encouraged, and they make it so students are not competing with each other.” Starting with a small freshman class, she will have even more creative freedom as the only biologist there to contribute to the curriculum. Furthermore, teaching at Nueva will allow for a shorter commute, giving her more time to spend with her family, as her daughter is starting kindergarten next year. “I’m really excited for Mrs. Alonzo,” said junior Somya Khare. “It was a big shock to me when she told me she would be leaving, and it’s sad to think about, but I’m also excited for her, because I know this is something she wants to do.” While teaching at Nueva Upper School will be a new experience for the longtime science teacher, leaving our school was not an easy decision for Alonzo to make. “After I got the job offer, I cried every night thinking about leaving Lynbrook and all the kids here- even the ones not in the STEM program,” she said. In her years of teaching Biology, Physiology and STEM and coordinating the Synopsys Science Fair, Alonzo has worked

extensively with students on various research projects. For them, Alonzo’s absence will be especially impactful. Khare, who was in Alonzo’s freshman Biology class and currently helps out in the STEM class, has worked with Alonzo to develop her science fair projects every year. Through her experiences with the STEM Research Coordinator, Khare has gotten behind-thescenes glimpses of what Alonzo does for the school. She said, “This year, being sort of a TA for [Alonzo’s] STEM class has allowed me to see all the time she puts into helping students with their research projects. If people are stuck, she’ll always get them thinking, and she puts so much effort into helping them out.” Since creating the STEM program at Lynbrook in 2003 when a student approached her about the subject, Alonzo has nurtured the program to having a full 7th period STEM class, which started in 2011, and over 90 students participating in various STEM research opportunities at school. Among all the science fair students Alonzo has mentored, Raman Nelakanti, a 2010 graduate, is one who still keeps in touch with her. “One event I remember in particular was when the fair results had come out freshman year and I hadn’t placed,” said Nelakanti. “I was dejected, but in the science fair meeting the following day, Mrs. Alonzo still gave me her own made-up award for ‘Smelliest Project’ for my work with worm composting.” Alonzo’s continued support inspired Nelakanti to work harder in the following years. He was later named an Intel Science Talent Search Finalist and is now finishing up his Bioengineering major as a senior at Stanford University. Commenting on Alonzo’s impact on him, he said, “Mrs. Alonzo’s strategy of asking scientific questions by drawing from real world applications is essentially the spirit of engineering, which is why I was drawn to Bioengineering more than pure sciences. I did research all four years at Stanford, which was definitely the result of my preparation doing research in high school with Mrs. Alonzo.” As the new head of the STEM program starting next year, science teacher Jason Lee also recognizes Alonzo’s contributions and dedication to the program. “The STEM program really start-

ed from nothing into something that puts Lynbrook on the map for STEM, and all the awards in the past 5 years speak to the fact that this was all her nurturing,” said Lee. “This is pretty much like her baby that she just grew and developed into what it is now.” This year, Lee has observed the STEM class on various occasions to better understand class dynamics and his future role as their adviser. He said, “Taking over next year, I am a little nervous, but I think anyone who really sees the magnitude and success of this program needs to be a little nervous. But I am also very excited.” For Alonzo, leaving behind Lynbrook also means leaving behind the STEM program and the students she fostered in her past 12 years here. Though she is reluctant to leave the Lynbrook community, Alonzo is confident that the STEM program will succeed. “I feel like this year, the program is finally at a more stable place, and I trust that the students know what is expected out of them and that [Lee] can guide them well,” said Alonzo. “I’ll definitely still keep in touch with a lot of my students and colleagues, and I’m excited to see the Lynbrook STEM program continue to grow.”


The brainchild of three Lynbrook students, Invenio provides an opportunity for high school students in the Bay Area to share their research to the world.


he end of May will mark the first web release of the Invenio STEM Journal, a new publication on campus dedicated to publishing original scientific research done by Bay Area students. Founded by junior Marian Park, junior Gauri Patil, senior Maitreyee Joshi, and with STEM Research Coordinator Amanda Alonzo as advisor, the Invenio STEM Journal was created with the goal to foster interest in student research in the Lynbrook community through both print and web mediums. “Invenio gives students the opportunity to share and spread research with a larger community,” said Park, Co-Editor-in-Chief of Invenio. “We hope to spread enthusiasm and interest in the innovative ideas and projects high school students think of at Lynbrook and around the Bay Area.” Invenio also allows students to have their research recognized beyond the competitions that they participate in. “Over 100 students from Lynbrook alone participate in science fair competitions, such as Intel STS, Siemens, and Synopsys Championship, or do other types of independent research every year. However, after these competitions are over, all the research done by these students is simply filed away and never gets the recognition it deserves,” said Joshi, Co-Editor in Chief of Invenio. To accommodate the large amount of potential material for the publication, the founders of Invenio plan to publish on their website to supplement their annual print issue. “We believe that since each individual has put in the hard work of

conducting research, they should all be given the opportunity to share their work,” said Patil, an editor for Invenio. “The online copy will present everyone’s work, while the hardcopy will have a few selected students share theirs. The hardcopy students will have their work evaluated on factual accuracy and worldliness.” or the research they feature, the founders of Invenio plan to include the components usually found in a scientific research paper, such as the abstract, hypothesis and conclusion. To supplement this, the founders are also planning to use upload video clips of students explaining their research and the lab techniques that they used to their website. To further the goals of Invenio, the founders hope to attract involvement from all areas of the STEM community, not those limited to Lynbrook, reaching out to students involved in STEM from other schools within the Bay Area to publish their work through Invenio as well as professors from local universities and labs to help with editing the publication.

Scan the QR code below for more information about Invenio.

Grad Booklet Blues A

BY NIKITA DHESIKAN t Lynbrook’s annual graduation ceremony, spectators are provided with booklets listing every graduate’s name. While they consist of just a few pieces of paper, these graduation booklets serve several purposes: to the graduating class, they are often kept forever as a memento of the day; to the parents, they are a symbol of pride of their child’s accomplishment; to other attendees, they serve as an easy tool to help identify individual graduates. In addition to listing out the name of every graduate, Lynbrook’s graduation booklets include a system of dashes. Students gets a dash next their name if they are valedictorians, members of California Scholarship Federation (CSF) or members of National Honor Society (NHS). While the origin of those specific recognition categories is unknown since the current administration simply inherited it from the previous one, according to Assistant Principal Dave Erwin, its purpose is to “distinguish students.” While the dash system achieves its goal of distinguishing students for their hard work, it does so unfairly. Compared to several other

activities students can be involved in--sports, publications and other clubs that are arguably more serious to name a few--NHS and CSF do not require any extra level of skill, hard work or dedication. “Honestly, I think it is really hard for someone to say that one person deserves to be honored more than another person. No matter what club you are in, it is impossible for the administration to say that one club is better than the other,” said senior Niki Konstantinides. It can be argued that because NHS and CSF are honor societies whose membership criteria include an application and a certain GPA, they are more deserving of recognition. But there are eight honor societies on campus and consequently, if two of them are going to be recognized, all of them should be. In addition, giving students recognition directly on the pamphlet next to their names singles out certain students on a day on which all should be commemorated. Students who receive no dashes may falsely appear uninvolved and less accomplished than their peers who have one, two, or all three, especially to outsiders who are unfamiliar

with the range of extracurricular activities available at Lynbrook. “I can imagine parents looking at the pamphlet, wondering why their kid’s name doesn’t have any dashes, then lecturing them on why they didn’t join, and the kid having to explain to them that they don’t qualify. It might take away from the ‘graduation moment’ for the student,” said senior Rochelle Gatus. In reality, students who have no dashes have merely chosen to get involved in other ways. Since recognizing all clubs on the graduation booklet is impractical, the best remedy of the situation is to recognize none at all. Active club members already receive recognition through the cord system (see an Epic staffer’s opinion on this in Volume 48, Issue 9 on, so having overlaps with the booklet is redundant. “Graduation is a time to celebrate everyone, and people should take this opportunity to forget the differences between them and come together as a class. It’d be quite difficult to do so with people being marked for certain things,” said senior Vishnu Murthy.


There is something exciting about having a little dash by your name; it gives you recognition, but I understand people may feel a little sad if they don’t have at least one dash next to their name.”


I think valedictorians deserve it because they worked hard all four years but I don’t think the other two should get it because it’s not fair to the other clubs at Lynbrook.”


Senior’s perspectives on the graduation handbook

I can imagine my parents looking at the pamphlet and lecturing me on why I didn’t join. This might take away from the ‘graduation moment’ for the student.”

I don’t think any of the 3 dashes are necessary. In the end, any club can give a person the personal and intellectual growth they need.”



identify as a movie-holic, meaning I eat up whatever is out there to satisfy my needs. My palate does include movie series but there are so many that my taste buds have desensitized and I’m craving something else. In the past, first-rate, legendary movie series like Pirates of the Caribbean and Indiana Jones have turned into a ghastly four- or five-parts that suck out their ingenuity and charm. Fast-forward to today and Hollywood still hasn’t taken the hint that perpetually regurgitating brutal follow-ups and movie clones isn’t acceptable in the slightest. Tiresome movie series have effortlessly pushed their way up to some of the greatest gear-grinders of all time, at least in my books. Upcoming sequels this year include but are not limited to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Amazing Spiderman 2, Rio 2, A Haunted House 2, X-men: Days of Future Past, Transformers 4, and The Purge: Anarchy. I like following up on my favorite movie characters, but come on Hollywood, isn’t this overkill? The sequels and triquels, and I’m not even sure what to call X-men’s newest movie, abound, leaving little space to breath. If this is what is considered a movie series these days, then the BBC Sherlock TV mini series might as well join in on the fun with their hourlong shows. The most revolting aspect of enduring a movie series is when the audience can predict the plot, not even when watching the movie, but before the movie is released. I’m going to make a prediction about the upcoming Spiderman movie, no tea leaves or tarot cards needed, just the reliance on Hollywood’s predictability. Peter Parker and his adam’s apple swoop around in asphyxiatingly tight red and blue, occasionally making sweet PG-13 love to Emma Stone. A bunch of science, a Dr. Frankenstein and his unruly monster, and a secret family past make for explosive CGI-animated action sequences. Someone will probably die, something about young love and family, and, if we’re lucky, the audience is left with a cliffhanger for another similar movie. If you think this is offensive or just sad, don’t get me started on the Transformers. Just don’t. I have nothing against the golden Spiderman story, but the movie series remake doesn’t rejuvenate the plot nor does it necessarily top the original Spiderman movie series. It’s almost as if this new Spiderman series was made to summon the wallets and purses of all Marvel and wannabe-Marvel fans. Spiderman isn’t the only cul-

prit either since a bucketload of upcoming movie plots offer the same kind of monotony. It’s not that the concept of movie series as a whole is a dank stain on humanity. For instance, I wet my pants just thinking about the upcoming production of the Incredibles 2, because, really, who isn’t wetting their pants? It’s the fact that movie directors fail to take creative license and stick to what’s expected of them in order to safely rake in the greens. What makes a movie great and what really creates the pools of money Hollywood likes to wade in are those movies that make a statement in one’s memory, something to fall back on or feed off of when in need of inspiration, awe or motivation. Although it sounds cliche, a fantastic movie makes viewers cry, laugh, scream, and think. In essence, a great movie is fleshed out and well-rounded, a full-course big-screen meal. Unless the upcoming movie series are undoubtedly original and respectable, I fall on my knees and beg Hollywood for something groundbreaking. Although movie series are queued and ready to go for this year, there is still some hope for new content. As one of millions of movie-goers, I can’t make much of a scratch on the way Hollywood runs. I can only turn my head from senseless films, save my money for some T-pumps and hope that the rest of my people do the same.


ithout question, clubs play a vital role in enriching students’ learning experiences and broadening their educational opportunities. Perhaps one of the most valuable prospects for an individual’s growth that a club on campus can provide, however, is the chance to gain leadership experience in an officer role with the support of students and teacher advisors. But because these opportunities to lead are limited and highly coveted among students for resumes and college applications, many club officer elections and appointments often devolve into contentious battles where nominations out of friendship or favor come before those that consider merit and the desires of the club membership. Most recently, conflicts stemming from an FBLA election which consisted of weighted votes and allegedly undemocratic processes brought to the administration’s attention the many exclusive and often unfair practices which pervade Lynbrook clubs’ officer selection processes. It has become clear that ASB must create more effective enforcement and regulation policies in order to realize the administration’s goal

of fully inclusive officer elections and appointments. In response to these findings, Principal John Dwyer created two fundamental guidelines for officer selection which have already officially been enacted and are being implemented by Assistant Principal of Activities David Erwin along with the ASB. According to these new guidelines, clubs may select their officers through elections, appointments, or a mix of the two as long as the club advisor is involved and elections are either democratic in which each member holds one unweighted vote, or the club collectively creates a transparent process for each appointment with clearly defined criteria. According to Dwyer, the purpose of these new guidelines is to ensure that clubs function fairly and inclusively. “My job has been to step in and address the issue of inequity and exclusivity that has prevented kids from being involved in the area of elections,” said Dwyer. Dwyer acknowledged that the adherence to these new guidelines in each club would depend largely on the club advisor, stating “I

recommended to the advisors that the club as a whole is involved and I’m trusting that the advisors will follow through with that. Ideally there would be a discussion with the club as a whole to review elections and the bylaws.” At the same time both Dwyer and Erwin believe that clubs should have complete autonomy. They wish to intervene as little as possible and allow the clubs to determine what methods are most appropriate for their goals and conducive to their success. They believe that determining which officer selection structure is most appropriate should be left entirely up to the club’s advisor, leaders, and members. The administration shares this view with the Editorial Board as this will allow for transparency and achieve the desired fairness and equality within clubs. “As long as the body made appointment decisions in a fair and equitable way, then that’s their voice,” said Erwin. While the Editorial Board applauds the administration for attempting to ensure that all officer selections are fair and inclusive and for allowing clubs to retain their own prerogative in creating their selection processes, it is imperative that ASB take the initiative to

establish a protocol to implement the new guidelines set forth by administration. Because unfair practices have been upheld for years by the student leaders of clubs—who themselves may have benefitted from them--it is foolish to assume that club officers alone will suddenly change their clubs’ bylaws to align with the new guidelines. In fact, many club officers may be unaware of the changes because they are being communicated directly only to club advisors, not student leaders. But in order for advisors to have a direct stimulus for a club, ASB must better utilize them as a medium of communication between itself and the clubs. While the role of advisors as outlined in the Clubs Handbook entails that they “Supervise all meetings and events (on and off campus),” and “Attend officer meetings and give input about activities / field trips they are considering,” a club’s stability often depends on the advisor going above and beyond basic duties. As it stands right now, most solely sign off on club activities and serve as points of contact for the club. The scarce to nonexistent level of advisor engagement in most clubs is sure to undermine the administration’s efforts to implement new officer election and appointment guidelines. In a recent, optional meeting held by Dwyer and Erwin to discuss the upcoming changes to the Clubs Handbook, only one advisor and two club presidents attended, which reflects poorly on club advisors in executing their duties for their club. Granted, other advisors may not have had questions or may have communicated with the administration outside of this meeting, but the

dismal attendance speaks volumes regarding interest in proactively changing their bylaws to meet new guidelines. Successful implementation of the new guidelines and creation of equitable selection policies also requires that club members take the initiative to discuss what the club’s new bylaws will contain. Historical precedent, however, proves that these discussions are unlikely to garner much interest. “When we amended the ASB constitution 1,850 students didn’t show up to have a discussion; a handful of students showed up. There were ASB class [students] and non ASB class [students]. I’m thinking like five or six people showed up,” said Erwin. “The checks and balances was that anybody who wanted to be a part of the discussion to come and be a part of it.” On top of insufficient advisor participation, administration and ASB’s club commissioners are allowing clubs that lack bylaws to continue to meet and conduct activities even though the Clubs Handbook clearly states that a club must submit its bylaws to commissioners and the Vice Principal of School Activities for review prior to the club’s first meeting. During an interview, Erwin stated that there was a club on campus that had been in place for three years but did not yet submit its bylaws. And despite unsuccessfully asking for the bylaws repeatedly, Erwin and the club commissioners allowed the club

to meet and hold activities. Thus, while the administration’s goal to ensure officer and election fairness is certainly a noble one, it is unlikely to gain much traction given the current circumstances. The only current impetus for change is Erwin’s promise to withhold official club status from a club until it turns in its bylaws. Even if a club follows through on this, however, it is unlikely that the bylaws will truly reflect a consensus on fair election processes made by the its membership. While the future of clubs on campus remains hazy, the need for change could not be more clear. Officer decisions, advisor responsibilities and roles of administration and ASB need to be reevaluated to ensure that they work collectively, efficiently and effectively to achieve success for all clubs on campus and to allow members to attain maximum benefit from clubs. GRAPHIC ILLUSTRATION BY OPINION SECTION



pproximately eight hours of school, two hours of extracurricular activities, four hours of homework, and five to eight hours of sleep. With days packed with activities, students constantly complain about being too busy. At Lynbrook, a student’s level of activity has become a way of measuring his or her success and accomplishments. There is, however, a difference between having a filled schedule and a fulfilled life. By packing their days with various activities that they sometimes don’t even enjoy, students experience stress, frustration at not being able to do everything and a lack of relaxation and free time. In light of this constant complaint of busyness, it is important for students to consider the type of busyness they are experiencing. Is it an effective or pointless busyness? Busyness is sometimes even considered to be a virtue, but students need to recognize that having their plate full does not always make them effective, and it is necessary to allot some free time. Unfortunately, due to people’s desire to be busy in order to show status, there is a rising cultural epidemic of busyness. “We place a lot of value on what other people do,” said school psychologist Brittany Stevens. “The idea of being busy and having something to do is how we tend to value ourselves, so people feel accomplished when they have many activities going on. It’s a way of feeling in control. People use busyness as a complaint or a weird sort of humble bragging.” Many students agree that people tend to judge one another based on how busy they are. “Telling others you’re busy makes it seem like you can handle more, which usually means that you’re better at things,” said junior Irena Feng. The value placed on busyness also leads students to judge others’ intelligence based on the amount of AP’s that they’re taking, and thus, the amount of work that they have to do. “During course selection, people often look over at their friend’s course selection papers to see how many APs they’re taking,” said junior Sidney Li. “People assume that the number of AP’s you’re taking determines how smart you are.” Due to the belief that students’ busyness reflects their effectiveness, students sometimes even exaggerate how busy they are in order to make themselves look better. “I tend to exaggerate how busy I am,” said Feng. “I’ve told some people that I was working really hard when in reality, I was on the Internet.” This practice of exaggeration, however, is ridiculous because the amount of work one has to do is not always directly related to how successful one is. “I think there has to be a balance between being busy and being able to handle that busyness,” said sophomore Hazel Shen. “People are only effective when they’re able to excel despite the busyness.” Being busy has become so important to students that

they feel empty or useless whenever they have idle time. “Whenever I have idle time, I feel like I should be doing something, but I don’t have anything to do,” said Li. “So to fill the time, I go to the library or go out for walks. I don’t like being idle. I think that if you’re idle, there’s a problem, especially in junior year.” Busyness has become so important to students at Lynbrook that having nothing to do has become uncomfortable. “It’s really hard for people in our fast-paced culture to be comfortable with idleness,” said Stevens. “We put such value on accomplishment and productivity that the idea of having empty, unstructured time is uncomfortable. People tend to fill idle times with unnecessary activities to make it look like they’re busy.” Not having idle time, however, can be unhealthy and cause students stress. “It’s a lot healthier to have idle time and not have your brain be constantly focusing on many things and just relax a little bit before having to do something else,” said Stevens. Idle time is essential to fueling creativity and allowing students to be well rested for their next activities. A lack of rest or idle time inhibits students’ abilities to think and be creative. Therefore, it is important for students to let go of the notion that busyness will make them more effective people and start allowing themselves some free time. Some students, such as Shen, have realized the importance of free time and allow themselves to relax once in a while. “Even though it’s rare for me to have free time, I try to make the most of it. I’ll go on Tumblr, watch TV, or sleep, but I don’t try to do things that make me feel busy,” said Shen. “Even though it feels weird to have free time, I really enjoy it.” If students are to be busy, however, they should find a form of effective busyness. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a Hungarian American psychologist, has done extensive research on the concept of flow, a state of concentration in which the person is so completely immersed in an activity that nothing else seems to matter. People in a state of flow are busy, but it is a rewarding form of busyness. They are motivated to complete the task at hand and enjoy performing the activity; thus, they never complain about being too busy. Students should strive to reach this state of flow instead of trying to be busy only to appear accomplished and successful to their peers. The form of busyness students experience is not rewarding or effective in any way if the activities they are participating in are not enjoyable and are merely time fillers. “People should not be involved in activities that make them feel annoyed,” said Stevens. “If they’re constantly telling others that they’re busy with an air of complaint, stress, disgust, or poutiness, then they should stop and think about whether or not they’re appropriately busy.” In order to become less stressed and annoyed with activities, students need to realize the importance of having free time and stop placing so much importance on busyness.


A critique on the new trend in using busyness as a virtue




thing you can learn from a textbook,” said Romanovsky. “When I first started, I couldn’t even make my figures walk. It was only this year, my junior year, when I figured out the whole process to build the puppets so they can stand.” In addition, an inevitable problem presents itself: money. On a tight budget, Romanovsky makes the most of common and abundant objects such as planks, popsicle sticks, small toys, and more. Junior Jason Wong, who occasionally works with Romanovsky on his stop motion sets, said, “For instance, the dolly we currently use (which is supposed to move the camera without any shaking) is essentially just a wood plank with rails and wheels from a sliding closet door. Obviously it’s not a perfect replication, but we have to work with what we have.” After school every day, Romanovsky spends most of his time animating film and often does not start his homework until eight o’clock. In general, to film just four seconds of footage requires six or more hours of intense work. “With stop motion, you have to make sure you have everything planned out every single detail,” said Romanovsky. “Especially in something like animation, you don’t have time to go back and reanimate because then it elongates the process more.” Some of his hard work has already paid off. Just last year, Romanovsky had one of his films screened at the San Jose International Short Film Festival in Santana Row. He credits much of his success to his parents. “My dad is a physics major and helps me design the puppets so that they move and everything,” said Romanovsky. “He has his own company so I get to use his equipment and precisely measure all my materials. That’s part of the reason I make really functional puppets.” Despite his many accomplishments, however, Romanovsky has experienced highs and lows through-

out his initial stop motion developmental stages. “There were a few times that I wanted to give up and go into film because I thought it was easier,” said Romanovsky. “But I realized stop motion is what separates me from the crowd because not many people have the patience to do it.” Other than learning valuable life lessons such as persistence and dedication, stop motion has taught Romanovsky a thing or two about procrastination. “You can’t wait for somebody to tell you how to do [stop motion animation]. You have to start somewhere and then from there, spend a lot of time on it.” Romanovsky has expressed his interest in pursuing stop motion animation in college and, eventually, as a career. And that, he says, is only the beginning. “With films like ParaNorman and Coraline, stop motion is going to a place where we don’t have to build anything physically, we just print out the puppets in 3-D printing,” said Romanovsky. “I really want to be a part of that process--I want to be one of those people that help save stop motion and bring it back to its prosperous days.” They say the key to life is doing what you love and loving what you do, and if that is the case, then Romanovsky may have unlocked ahead of him a journey full of happiness and success. “This is the part of the day I look forward to. I can’t wait to get home and play around with stop motion animation and learn new things.”


ittle gray figures are propped against a colorful backdrop scene on a table. The room is dark, save for the spotlight shining on the animation set. His hand, taut and steady, moves a clay object a centimeter to the right, then stops. Click. A soft shutter sound from the overhead camera, and the silence lingers on. He continues to move the objects ever so slightly, framing a delicate woven story in a series of various snapshots. Two thousand photos later, he will string them all together to produce what is commonly known as stop motion animation. He is junior Alexander Romanovsky and he has been working with stop motion animation since 7th grade. “I make films and tell stories,” said Romanovsky. “I’ve always thought stop motion was more real than something like Pixar and it’s able to tell the story better. Because that’s really all it is. A story.” Every hobby has to start somewhere, and Romanovsky’s interest in stop motion film making was kindled by his early love of hands-on activities and creations. “I’ve always liked toys - it’s just something I never really grew out of,” said Romanovsky. “You still might find me playing around with Legos and Play-Doh and stuff like that.” It was when his sister accepted a job at DreamWorks and he went to see the premiere of the movie Megamind that Romanovsky realized the extent and the potential of his passion. Romanovsky said, “I was able to see all the animators and all the backstage details and I really liked the hype and the environment. So I asked myself, ‘How can I merge this and my hobby for toys into a career?’ And I realized the answer was stop motion animation.” Aside from the basic tangible elements of this field of animation, there is more to stop motion behind the scenes. “You need to understand the human body, you need to understand how physics work and how objects move because sometimes you’ll have reference material but other times you won’t.” said Romanovsky. “Stop motion isn’t just an art, it’s a science within itself.” And it is a science like no other. While standard school subjects require an immense amount of reading, studying, and note-taking  in order to master the concepts, the same does not apply to stop motion animation. “[Stop motion animation] isn’t some-



If you’ve ever had the pleasure of stumbling upon the likes of the Yahoo! or BuzzFeed front page, you probably already know the Internet is chock-full with “7 simple ways to lose fat now!”, “24 ways to reduce anxiety”, and “22 mouthwatering

90 minute sleep cycles

Foot-in-the-door phenomenon

If you’ve ever heard of your friends setting their alarm clocks for some exact multiple of 90 minutes later, this life hack is the reason. One of the more well known and better scientifically substantiated hacks, this simple tweak involves aligning your sleep schedule with your body’s natural 90 minute sleep cycle. Waking up at the end of a cycle supposedly leaves you more rested than if you wake up in the middle of one.

desserts improved by bacon”. But can a few small tweaks actually improve your life that significantly or do they amount to nothing more than placebo and pseudoscience? To find out, I scoured the web for “life hacks”, from the well-known to the

My verdict: Sleep yourself to success, 90 minutes at a time. I was skeptical as to whether there would really be any difference seeing as I’ve already spent 17 years sleeping and waking as I so please. After testing it out, however, I can only say that I wish I knew about this life hack before starting AP Lit this year. You sleep less, yet you feel more attentive and energetic and don’t have any trouble getting out of bed. It’s almost too good to be true.

According to some psychologists and social scientists, people are more likely to agree to help you with a task if they agree to helping you with something simpler first. Put simply, agreeing to the first request makes the helper believe they either like you, enjoy the subject, and is thus more inclined to answer your future requests for help. Understand basic psychology and rule those around you.

Discover your true BFFLs

utterly obscure, and put them to the test. Keep in mind, my conclusions are based on my personal experiences and your mileage may vary. Try these out on your own and figure out if they work for you!

This one is courtesy of Reddit and I wasn’t able to find theexact science behind it, so believe what you will. Supposedly, “When a group of people laugh, people will instinctively look at the person they feel closest to in that group.”

My verdict: I didn’t have the courage to risk learning that my friends aren’t actually that close, nor do I want to be responsible for the end of your friendships, so I’ll leave this up to you. Go out and laugh, but tread carefully.

My verdict: Don’t count on getting your foot in the door. It’s hard to judge whether people would’ve helped me if I had asked for a simpler favor first, but in most cases I’m sure that the other person’s mood, closeness, and general helpfulness makes a more significant difference. If you ever need a huge favor from someone you don’t know, it won’t hurt to try this life hack. Otherwise, you’re better off making close friends who’ll lend a hand regardless.

Have you ever tried to glean information from someone but gotten nothing more than a few bland details? According to this life hack, if you receive a Get people to partial or unsatkeep talking isfactory answer to a question and want more information, simply remain silent and continue to look your respondee in the eye. In most cases, the person will keep talking and provide more information than initially disclosed.

My verdict: This life hack is a reporter’s best friend. Staring at people until they talk is a classic reporter’s technique, and I can speak from experience that this life hack gets the job done. If you’re going to use it, just make sure you’re not up against anybody extremely secretive and you know when the topic has been exhausted. Otherwise you’ll just find yourself in an awkward staring contest.

Plump pillows courtesy of the sun

Without a doubt, one of the best things about rooming in hotels is the abundance of wellfluffed pillows. If you hate going to bed to find flat pillows every night, there’s supposedly a very quick fix. Just leave your pillow out in the sun for a few hours to absorb moisture and plump the pillow back up. If you ever do the laundry at home, this is essentially the same as throwing your pillow in the dryer but it’s better for the enironment!

Avoid awkward hallway shuffles

My verdict: This life hack works like a charm and provides plenty of sweet dreams. You don’t even have to leave your pillow outside if you’re expecting rain or vicious animals. Just open a window and leave your pillow in direct sunlight. Come back in a few hours to retrieve your pillow or pick it up on the way to bed. Sometimes I get too lazy to move my pillow from my bed to my window, but when I’m not it’s definitely well worth the effort.

We’ve all been in that situation where we walk right into a stranger’s path and neither of us can decide whether to shuffle right or left. Unless you’re extremely affable and look forward to awkward encounters with strangers, this life hack might be for you. Gaze over an oncoming person’s shoulder as you walk, or in between people’s heads in a group, to show them your intended path and get them to make room for you.

My verdict: Never get stuck in a sidewalk shuffle again—depending on where you’re walking. This life hack obviously requires the other party to see where you’re looking, so it quickly loses its use when everyone around you is too busy chatting with friends to look straight ahead. If the person ahead of you is paying attention, however, this trick is a great way to walk on with ease. Keep your head up and walk on, my friend!



UNBROKEN BY PRACHI LAUD In 1943, a new record was set for the longest survival at sea: 47 days. Nobody recognized or celebrated this accomplishment—it slipped quietly into history without so much as a ripple. This record wasn’t set by an adventuring sailor or a luckless boater; it was set by two starved American soldiers. One of those soldiers was Air Force Captain Louis Zamperini. Zamperini rose to fame during the 1930s for his Olympic career as a runner, but he was more than just an Olympian. He was a soldier, a prisoner, an orator; he was and still is one of the bravest men alive. Put into words in author Laura Hillenbrand’s book Unbroken, Zamperini’s story is a series of life lessons learned along his journey. They are his gift to the young, eager to learn, and the old, desperate for empathy. Unbroken is more than a biography, however; it is a tribute to every single soldier, every single unsung hero of World War II. And this December, director Angelina Jolie has taken the responsibility of showing their story to the world through film. While the trailer indicates a promising screenplay, in order to truly do Unbroken justice Jolie’s movie must also convey the life lessons that make Hillenbrand’s book so powerful, and convey Zamperini’s ultimate message: where there’s still life, there’s still hope.

Lesson 1 Zamperini’s--or ‘Louie,’ as he is referred to in the novel--story begins with a childhood in California characterized not by ice cream and snowmen, but by the occasional bouts of juvenile delinquency. He is the epitome of the innocent arrogance and unconquerability of childhood. Even in his darkest hour, Louie retains part of his youthful self, the mischievous optimism that gets him through. If there’s one thing to be learned from Louie’s childhood, it is that youthful defiance may not be such a bad thing after all. And from that we derive Lesson #1: Indulge in immaturity-it’s an advantage. Lesson 2 But as children grow out of their protected, nonchalant world, they realize that anything worth doing in the world requires effort. His Olympic career marks Louie’s gift for resilience and dedication,

“the determination to come out first; to come out alive.” It was Louis Zamperini the athlete who cultivated the persistent attitude that carried Louis Zamperini the soldier through life. From his mantra--the favorite quote of Unbroken’s cinematic trailer--comes Lesson # 2: “If I can take it, I can make it.”

Lesson 3 On Cloud Nine in the excitement of his Olympic success (even stealing Hitler’s personal flag at the 1936 Berlin Olympics), it was not until 1941 that Louie entered the war and faced the reality of the world that was collapsing around him. One year into his service, Louie’s plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean, leaving him and two others as the only survivors. Aboard a small yellow raft for 47 days and forced to eat wraw fish for food, Louie realizes just what the human will really is. It is his will to fight, his will to hope and his will to live that keeps him alive. Lesson #3: No matter how trite it is, when there is a will, there is a way.

Lesson 4 After his rescue and subsequent capture by Japanese forces, Louie’s life as a prisoner of war became one long, seemingly endless night. Reading of the brutality and sadism he faces at the hands of his guards--his tormentors--is like looking into the cruel mirror of human nature. In the sheltered world of the Silicon Valley, Louie’s accounts sound at first like fiction from the twisted imagination of horror movie makers. But it is not a story; this is real. Stripped of dignity and pushed to the brink, to Louie, evil becomes a whole lot more believable. It is the hardest lesson to be learned--Lesson #4: “The world doesn’t love you like your

family loves you.” Tread carefully.

Lesson 5 The trauma that veterans undergo is not the only thing that haunts them, however. Their lives become one big question mark of what they should do, how they can go on, how they can escape their pain. For POWs, the answer to that question seems to be revenge on their tormentors. After his liberation at the end of the war, the desire for vengeance takes Louie to dark places. He slips further and further away until he experiences a Christian revival, a turning point in his life. He heals through the support of religion, family and most of all, forgiveness. For Louie, it is learning to forgive that releases him from the haunting memories of his past and frees him to reach for the future. Lesson #5: “The hardest thing in life is to forgive. Hate is self destructive. It’s a healing, it’s a real healing...forgiveness.”

Unbroken is a story of all these things-childhood, perseverance, resolve, evil and forgiveness--but most of all it is the story of how to keep hoping, and to push on, day after day. After reading the book at first, the story seems sorrowful. But really, it is an inspiration. It inspired Angelina Jolie to take on the endeavor of making a movie and it inspired me to always finish my races, like Louie always finished his. Louis Zamperini is one of the rare people who inspires us not just by his actions, but by who he is: a great man with the incredible human capacity for hope and the unbroken will to obstinately pursue happiness. “Don’t give up, don’t give in--there’s always an answer to everything.” -Louis Zamperini



ontrary to popular belief, John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars is not just a love story. It cannot be retold in Tumblr gifs with “Some infinities are greater than other infinities” plastered on a star studded sky. If that’s what the film adaptation (in theaters on June 5) comprises, I will be furious. This book is not just another addition to the terrible romance genre. It’s a tale about cancer. A disease so fatal that it is considered the second leading cause of death in America. A disease so feared that in the 1950s, the New York Times was unwilling to print the word “cancer.” And while we’ve come a long way since those days, we still know very little about the lives of cancer patients. Drawing from his experience as a chaplain in a children’s hospital, Green uses The Fault in Our Stars to show how cancer patients cope with their illness in the real world. The narrator, Hazel Grace Lancaster, is one of my favorite protagonists. She’s the average teenager: funny, self-deprecating, and loves watching Project Runway. There’s only one slight discrepancy: she was diagnosed with lung cancer at age 13, has been fighting ever since, and the doctors are not optimistic about her recovery. Though she has much to be angry about, she doesn’t allow her disease to take over her life -she takes classes at a community college and keeps


up with old school friends, I had some issues, however, with her love interest, Augustus Waters. Augustus’s arrogance and the fact that he smokes cigarettes because it’s a “metaphor” are not endearing, but he eventually wormed his way into my heart, as he did into Hazel’s. His deep, philosophical comments and his bravery despite dealing with his osteoporosis outweigh his flaws. My high hopes from this movie stem from my love for the characters and the overall story. Sure, The Fault in Our Stars was filled with overly sentimental dialogue, and the fact that Hazel calls Augustus “hot” almost as many times as Green writes the word “the” is pretty annoying, the overall message was able to shine through: that those with cancer, though confronted with extraordinary circumstances, can make friendships, fall in love, go to Amsterdam and yell at their favorite authors, and just live normal lives. That, I hope, is the same message conveyed throughout the movie. John Green’s detailed vlogs of being on the movie set give me hope -- if he was that involved, the film adaptation should stay true to the book. The trailer is appropriately adorable, without giving away too many heart-breaking details. My advice for the premiere? Either leave your heart at home, or come prepared with several boxes of tissues.


n 1994, Lois Lowry’s The Giver was honored with the Newberry Award. Its merit, however, is lost on much of the public; the book has been challenged by elementary and middle schools alike, with shocked parents deeming the book “lewd” and “twisted.” For the film adaptation, releasing on August 15, to inspire as much love and hate as the novel did, director Philip Noyce and his star-studded cast have their work cut out for them. On first glance, the world Lowry creates is a utopia: no disease, no racism, and most notably, no choices. We soon realize the drawbacks of this world when Jonas, a young resident of the community, is asked to acquire a series of memories from “The Giver” about the world of his ancestors, where having choices was a God-given right. As Jonas remembers the good and the bad of past times, he must evaluate whether the sacrifices his community has made to be “perfect” have been worth it. I will not be satisfied if Noyce does not perfectly depict the world in The Giver. To achieve this, Noyce must portray the fact that Jonas does not see color until he starts receiving memories. His world is “colorless,” reflecting the community leader’s desire for society to conform. After seeing color in his ancestor’s world, Jonas begins to notice hues in his own world, starting with the red in

apples he eats. Lowry interviewed blind artist Carl Nelson to help her portray a colorless world-- her effort deserves to be mirrored perfectly on screen. Mostly, however, I hope that Noyce understands that The Giver is special because it’s layered. You can come back to it a year, five years, maybe even twenty, and find something new among the pages. Displaying all the details in a two hour frame will be next to impossible, but I cannot think of anything that Noyce can throw away. Another aspect that will be difficult to recreate is the ending. Though most readers are initially distraught by the lack of closure, The Giver would not be so perfect with any more details. Watching the cast discuss the movie in press tours, I’m definitely worried. Jonas is twelve in the novel, but is sixteen in the movie, which could change certain aspects of the storyline. The fleeting feelings Jonas has for his friend Fiona in the book is apparently a fullblown love affair in the movie, an addition which might cause the deletion of other, more important, scenes. Though the cast has great Jeff Bridges and the incomparable Meryl Streep, I worry that they won’t get it right. There is one perk, however, to the movie being terrible, because it will give millions of One Direction fans another reason to hate the most surprising addition to the cast: Taylor Swift.


he phrase “second semester senior” (we’ll call it SSS for short) has become an ingrained part of high school culture that every student dreams of—that is, until they experience the painful reality that second semester actually is. Yes, we surely suffer from the famed senioritis, but we can’t really pull any Ferris Bueller acts and blow off all work and chill out every day. Since the storied #secondsemesterseniorlyfe has been under way for a few months now, I feel that I should shed light on the popularized myth that SSS has become. If this puts a dagger into all the plans you had to screw around and ride out into the sunset once you finish your college applications, I apologize; however, hopefully this prevents you from getting crapped on by a bucket of bricks (aka getting rescinded) when you decide to get straight C’s as a second semester senior. Because I honestly can’t think of anything worse that could happen to you once you commit to that dream school of yours. So with that, to save all you underclassmen (and others who may be reading this out of interest) some time, I’ve made a list of reasons why the typical slacking second semester senior is nothing but a sorry RUSE: The workload remains the same I don’t think that I can stress this enough. Just because you’ve finished your college applications and couldn’t give a hoot about school doesn’t mean that your teachers will decide to stop caring, too. Trust me, finding the motivation to do work when being productive is the last thing you’re capable of is one of the most painful parts of sec-

ond semester life. I suppose that it’s best to keep the possibility of getting rescinded in the back of your head to push through. Plus, think about the awesome summer you’ll have, since it will probably be the most carefree period of your life.

AP Lit (if you take it, that is) Before I say anything else, I am in no way suggesting that you do not take this class. While there’s been a noticeably higher number of complaints about the workload this year, I personally think it’s a great learning experience. As intellectually enriching as this class is, however, I can’t think of how many times I’ve been awake at 1:30 a.m. working on a study guide this semester when I could be sleeping instead. And trust me, the last thing you want to be doing as a second semester senior is analyzing literary works—even when you end up BS’ing a good portion of your answers anyway. It’s just a painful ordeal when (let’s face it) you’d rather be doing absolutely nothing. Graduation can never come faster When I finally submitted the rest of my college applications I thought that it was going to be smooth cruising till graduation. I couldn’t have been more wrong and the reality served as a hard slap in the face. What I failed to realize is that there’s a dreadfully long five months of torturous school left until we are finally able to get outta here. Admittedly, it has been quite difficult to stay motivated. That’s why I pretty much have to re-motivate myself everyday, usually with sleep, in order to

get simple things like homework done. Otherwise, I might resort to watching Game of Thrones, and for all of you who watch that show know just how addicting it is. If you’re able to work through all of this, however, there are definitely some perks to being a SSS. Perhaps my favorite part of it is being able to make fun of juniors and underclassmen who are still working their tails off and constantly worrying about SATs, AP testing, and all that other nonsense as they prepare for the rat race that is the college application process. Personally, I’d rather have the only music on my iPod consist of Justin Bieber and One Direction than go through that process again, and I honestly don’t think it would be a stretch to say that other graduating seniors would share this sentiment. And while deep down we know that we care just a little bit about school, we can always pride ourselves in being able to say that we simply don’t care anymore and proceeding to depart on an impromptu trip to the beach and blowing off work for a day. Since the SSS stereotype exists, we might as well try to embrace it in whatever way we can—even though we know that it’s false in so many ways.


A look into personas and the struggles of self-discovery BY FRINA REDOLOZA “‘Why am I doing this to myself?’ Junior Angela Tsai distinctly remembers asking herself this question in her sophomore year as she received another failing grade on a Chemistry Honors quiz. With a heavy heart and fatigued mind, Tsai questioned her passions, her ambitions and her personal values. Like many others, Tsai was going through what is commonly known as an identity crisis. Erik Erikson, a developmental psychologist, coined the term “identity crisis” back in 1968. In an article, “Reflections on the dissent of contemporary youth,” for the International Journal of Psychoanalysis, Erikson defines personal identity as “a unique unification of what is irreversibly given.” Building on Erikson’s theory of identity crisis and identity confusion, clinical and developmental psychologist James Marcia developed four identity statuses: identity diffusion--not searching for or committing to an identity; foreclosure--growing up with a certain identity and accepting it; moratorium--exploring various identities and beginning to commit to one; and identity achievement--having gone through an exploration of different identities and having made a commitment to one. According to Marcia’s studies, those who commit to an identity tend to have more confidence in themselves, independence and control. The extent to which Marcia’s statement is true can be seen in the real-life experiences of Lynbrook students and staff.

Identity Diffusion At times, the identity crisis has yet to make a dramatic appearance in a person’s life. Just finishing up her first year at Lynbrook, freshman Shivanee Arun does not worry too much about her identity. “I haven’t yet found a passion or something that I’d like to do in the future,” said Arun. “I guess I have ideas but really pulling

it down to one is something that I don’t think I want to do now.” Presently, Arun does not have the urge to explore different identities and instead prefers to enjoy her current life as it is. Although Arun is not particularly searching for puzzles to piece together an identity, she is starting to build a stronger sense of self. “I’m not really trying hard to find myself, but I do know the kind of person I want to be,” said Arun. “For example, I want to be honest, selfless, goal-minded, happy and optimistic.” Arun believes that solving the identity crisis does not require her to test out various types of identities to find her own. Unlike those in moratorium, she prefers to define

In foreclosure, a person may blindly follow beliefs that were instilled in them growing up. In other instances, a person may be in foreclosure after having been brought up with certain beliefs and accepting them based on personal experiences peppered throughout their adolescence. Chen devoted himself to Christianity because of experiences he had later in life, the most consequential being his first church mission trip. Regrettably, that was the first instance in nine years of missions in which many of the volunteers fell ill. Chen estimates that about a dozen were sick. After consistently praying, everyone recovered, even those on the brink of death. The close en-

her identity over time rather than actively searching for it. “I feel that because I’m still a freshman I’m not looking for my identity in the intensity that upperclassmen are,” said Arun. “For me, identity needs time not energy, and I think that experiencing life as it comes will be the key to understanding myself, my best option.”

counter affected Chen so much that it caused him to reexamine and truly accept Christianity for himself, not because it had been pushed onto him. “It was the first time in my life I saw God’s true power in my life,” said Chen. “The vacation Bible school program we did there to the Navajo kids was still a success, despite having so many members being unable to perform due to being too sick.” Currently, Chen stays faithful to his religious identity, which molds his personality and how he acted around others. “Generally, I try to do things in a way that would reflect my image as a Christian, especially around others,” said Chen. “I feel it’s important to find your religion, as what you believe can completely change the way you view the world, others and yourself.”

Foreclosure As a child, junior Victor Chen grew up in a household that molded the religious aspect of his identity. Raised by Christian parents, he went to church frequently and lived according to the rules set by his religion. “Before, I viewed going to church as a waste of time -- I never thought Christianity would be an important part of my identity,” said Chen.

Moratorium Although Tsai has not completely cracked her identity crisis, this period of her life has heavily affected how she sees herself and how much she considers other people’s opinions. Unknowningly, Tsai had lived her sophomore and junior year in moratorium. Tsai was uncertain of her own identity and made decisions based on the pressure of Lynbrook’s expectations. Because she had sufficient grades in her freshman math and science classes, Tsai brushed off any lingering doubts. So despite the warnings, Tsai signed up for the class and received results that she found devastating. “I was always really stressed out because I consistently got Ds and Fs on tests and quizzes. I didn’t even like the subject, and I kept thinking, ‘Why am I doing this to myself?’” said Tsai. “I felt inferior and stupid, so in addition to my stress I was always depressed and had a low self-esteem.” In Tsai’s moratorium, finding what she liked and what she was good at was her main focus since she realized that simply jumping on the bandwagon often clashed with her sense of identity. In truth, Tsai enjoyed her World Literature class despite its difficulty and spent hours in Homework Center, perfecting each essay with her teacher’s guidance. “I have to say English was a subject that appealed to me,” said Tsai. “I guess what really intrigued me about literature was that there was never a wrong answer, and I love interpreting.” The results of her journey showed that a science-centered identity was not compatible with her and caused Tsai to reevaluate her true interests by the end of her sophomore year. As a junior, Tsai pursued her newfound passion for literature through reading Oscar Wilde and Nathaniel Hawthorne in class and on her own. Tsai excelled in her American Literature class and was duly rewarded with a Red, White and Blue Award toward the end of the year. “This year I’m not stressing too much about grades because it’s just a fraction of my life,” said Tsai. “I feel like I have a better sense of who I am because I started to find out what truly made me happy instead of doing what would only please others.”

Identity Achievement Like the majority of adults, English teacher Rick Hanford has already passed moratorium in most of the aspects of his identity and currently has the identity achievement status. One aspect of his entire identity, his occupation, has developed over the years through his passions. When he was a student at Lynbrook, Hanford held a couple of odd jobs, with one job in particular relating more than the others to his future occupational identity. “Ever since I was young I liked instructing people. The first paying job I ever had was a teacher’s aide,” said Hanford. “Eventually I went to college and earned my teaching credentials, and I have never looked back.” Along with the desire to teach, however, Hanford also considered the prospect of writing for a living. Struggling with his passion for writing and his knowledge of the lifestyle it brings were what defined his identity crisis. “That doesn’t mean that I don’t keep writing. I guess when I was really young I said, ‘Oh yeah, I’ll be a famous writer one day.’ Well, it’s few and far between the amount of people who make their entire living solely writing,” said Hanford. In the end, Hanford was able to get the best of both worlds by teaching literature. Because he has found his ideal occupation, Hanford’s experiences as a teacher continue to influence his actions and character. “Being a teacher, there are at least thirty eyeballs on you almost every period ,” said Hanford. “Because of that I am making constant calculations about what I’m saying and what it is they’re seeing in me. We’re all human, of course; no one is going to be great all the time. But I always try to make sure that for the best of my ability I am putting forth the best character that I can.” The identity crisis is a stage in a person’s life that will be duly remembered and even missed. Going through an identity crisis may be grueling or effortless, but either way it becomes inextricable and should therefore be treated with care and caution. Those who have escaped this stage in life successfully are rewarded with a heightened sense of morale and purpose. For those who are still undergoing their inner crusade, look forward to this reward as light at the end of the tunnel.

BY STEPHANIE LU The Enneagram is a model of personalities based upon the original geometric figure of the enneagram, which is a nine-pointed polygon. Each point of the enneagram figure represents a personality type, resulting in a system of nine personalities. Though not commonly studied or taught in academic psychology, the Enneagram is one of many methods of self-exploration and insight into one’s identity. It is important to note, however, that the Enneagram is not the be-all and end-all of human personalities. As the Enneagram Institute says, “Individuals are understandable only up to a certain point, beyond which they remain mysterious and unpredictable.” For those who are interested in knowing more about the Enneagram and/or finding out their own Enneagram types, the Enneagram Institute offers both free and priced tests on their website. Scan the QR code below to take the test!


















Exploring the psychological effects of different kinds of praise BY URMILA VENKATARAMANI


raise influences all of us--many of the world’s greatest successes would not have been achieved had it not been for the praise and encouragement of others. Humans are wired to desire and accept praise. According to school psychologist Brittany Stevens, “External praise feels good to us because it mirrors the pride we have within ourselves.” At Lynbrook in particular, many students feel the need for praise in order to validate their success. For sophomore Elin Chee, the high-stress environment at school is one of the reasons that students need praise. “I feel like we need it a little bit more at Lynbrook than at other places partially because we might be insecure with all the pressure to succeed,” said Chee.

There are two main types of praise: person praise and process praise. Person praise is recognition of certain traits in a person, whereas process praise is recognition of the effort that went into achieving something. Person praise is something we are used to hearing, like the example at the top of the page, “You’re so smart!” This kind of praise is a categorization of a person by their traits--people are sorted as smart, pretty, fast, etc. Since many of these characteristics are determined by natural talent, the person who is given a specific label has little room for failure. According to a study done by Carol Dweck of Stanford University, person praise can lower self-esteem of people with already low self-esteem even further. Being praised specifically on their intelligence leads them to doubt themselves and whether they can live up to that expecta-

as well,” said Stevens on the parallel between talent versus effort and person versus process praise. Stevens’ hypothesis is that while person praise feels good externally, most people are internally proud of the effort, and hard work is what they want recognized. “Even a famous Hollywood actor, when interviewed, will talk mostly about all the time they spent researching the role,” she said. Praise can be beneficial until it is overdone. Too much of anything can render it worthless, and the same goes for praise. Since the recipient of the praise has received so much acknowledgement, he or she begins to

suspect an ulterior motive behind the praise giver’s reaction. “When I don’t run well at a meet, sometimes people still say, ‘Oh, you did super well,’ but I actually didn’t,” said Menon. “It’s kind of you to say that, but not very helpful, because I know and you know that I didn’t do well.” Whether it be person or process, praise is intended to have an effect on the recipient. Person praise, while seemingly not as genuine, is able to raise spirits, whereas process praise can more effectively motivate people. Whichever kind of praise is used, it will have an impact.


tion in the future. “When you praise someone, you’re labeling them,” said Stevens. “Being typed as smart or successful sets a standard that adds pressure, because people take labels seriously.” For Chee, praise that typecasts her as “the nice girl” might be well-meaning, but usually ends up lowering her confidence in herself. “When people tell me that I’m extremely kind, I find it easy to reject their praise. I start comparing myself to others and thinking about why I don’t deserve that praise because there are others who are much kinder,” said Chee. “When people praise how I do something, my self-esteem shoots way up because I can understand why they are praising me.” Likes on social media are another type of person praise. “I’ve definitely posted a picture and worried about how many likes I got before,” said senior Aruna Menon. “I think people do take social praise seriously because it makes them feel like other people care, like they matter.” Despite its negative effects on self-esteem, person praise still has value. “I think there’s value in [person praise] when it’s done with sincere goodness in our hearts. It feels good to be labeled positively,” Stevens said. “We categorize, we classify; it’s how we organize our world.” Sophomore Andy Zhang believes that person praise can be beneficial in some instances. “Person praise is a bit fake to me because it’s so easy to fling around, but it does build some self esteem and ego, which is good in controlled amounts,” said Zhang. The other type of praise, process praise, is the appreciation of work or effort. When praised on the effort that they put into a task, people gain a “growth mindset,” according to a Dweck’s study, meaning that they realize that their work was what got them the recognition. A growth mindset prepares people to overcome setbacks and develop further. Menon feels that process praise helps her the most when she runs. “I’m not naturally fast, but I like to train my hardest,” said Menon. “I have a very motivational running group, and when they say, ‘You’re hard work is going to pay off, eventually,’ it’s really motivational because maybe I’m not on top, but I can be proud of doing my best.” Person praise has long been used in the classroom. Process praise is a more recent movement, made popular in 2006 by Dweck when she authored the book Mindset, and currently being furthered by Josh Maisel, an FUHSD staff member who leads a seminar called the Skillful Teacher Seminar that, among other issues, addresses how teachers should implement process praise in their classrooms. “As a society, we obviously value success, but it’s important that we value hard work




BY FREYA LIU “I was obsessed with the idea of being skinny,” said sophomore Erica Wong*. When Wong flipped through the pages of the magazine Seventeen just a few years ago, it was the smiling faces of impossibly skinny girls being extolled as images of perfection that convinced her that being skinny was the only way to be beautiful. After being convinced to conform to society’s version of a “perfect body,” Wong lost interest in doing any activity other than starving herself. Even though society views Wong’s actions as “starvation”, at the time for Wong, she thought it was a step to “becoming beautiful.” Wong treated other activities as if “they were something to drain my energy, and not anything remotely interesting even if I used to love them.” The only activity she took obsessive interest in became reading various social media sites about the benefits and tips on how to be “pretty.”

Wong is not alone. According to Stanford University Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Dr. Kathleen Fitzpatrick, “Social media creates a demand for more extreme forms of beauty, and that makes girls put more effort into achieving those so-called standards. When all girls try to conform to these restricting standards, they are deprived of their unique self-identification.” The constant media coverage of objectified girls sends the message that being physically attractive is the only mark of a woman’s success and status, pushing young girls to aspire toward attaining an ideal body above all else. “I never felt perfect. I just wanted to be like those celebrities because they seemed to have everything in life: money, fame, a successful career,” said Wong. Her want for attention stopped her from seeing the disadvantages of starving herself. Though she began by just skimping on morsels, she eventually stopped eating some

meals entirely. “It’s like working out. You push yourself because you want the end result. Once I got the idea in my head that being skinnier was better, I set my mind to starving myself,” said Wong. “But even though I got skinnier, I still felt terrible. I was always in a bad mood and I just never felt happy.” Seeing the number on the scale go down encouraged Wong and convinced her that starving herself was an effective way to reach her goal of being skinny, which therefore persuaded her to continue depriving herself of food. “When I stepped on the scale and saw the weight I lost after the first couple days, I couldn’t stop there. I had to keep going.” Extreme starvation is the most wellknown symptom of the eating disorder anorexia-nervosa, called anorexia for short. A more debilitating yet overlooked symptom of anorexia is the inability to understand the severity of the disorder. Fitzpatrick character-

Because they emphasize the need for physical beauty, these sites send the message that girls should value their looks over personality because according to a pro-ana blog, “[the disorder] should be the center of your life.” Women are encouraged to conform to conventional standards of beauty, which sends the message that there is only one type of “beautiful.” “I would use pictures and tips from those sites to make myself believe I was so fat,” said Cho. “I would use them as a reminder to myself to be skinnier than a random model from online.” Junior Jessica Pai believes that Lynbrook students do tend to favor looks over personality. “Looks are the first thing you see in a person; people are always judgmental and personality isn’t always important to people who are just looking for a short term relationship.” Glorifying a certain body image encourages young girls to aspire to attain an idealized skinny body shape which is highly unrealistic for some, due to natural body shapes and genetic identities. Wong, who is not naturally skinny, struggled with her natural body shape and rather than accept it, she saw her inability to become skinnier as a sign that she was not starving herself enough. “I would constantly feel scared that people would judge me for gaining weight,” Wong said. Cho also felt pressured to fit into social media’s “stan-

dard of beauty.” As a participant in the performing arts, there were always eyes on her figure, and as a result, was constantly insecure about her physical appearance. “Being on stage and feeling everyone’s eyes on me made me really self-conscious, and every time someone in the audience would laugh, I would assume they were laughing about how I looked, just because that was the only thing I could think about,” Cho said. “I thought even if I wasn’t ‘smart’ I could at least look good.” For both Cho and Wong, once they started feeling insecure about their bodies, they started feeling insecure about all aspects of themselves, including their reputations at school. Small things such as the number of “likes” they received on social media factored into their beliefs that they weren’t popular


izes anorexia patients as “unlikely to see the long term effects, and not conscious of how they are harming themselves.” During her freshman year, junior Sarah Cho* also developed symptoms of an eating disorder. “I had a lot of free time, so I would go online and look through Tumblr. I saw these pictures and posts on Tumblr with phrases that made me feel like I belonged to a specific bulimic community, that I wasn’t alone, and that what I was doing was somehow ‘acceptable,’” said Cho. “They made me think I was too fat, and that my fatness was super unattractive.” Cho, unlike Wong, was medically diagnosed with bulimia. While seeing outrageously thin models and celebrities encouraged Cho to attempt to lose weight, seeing and reading websites online glorify starvation contributed to her insecurity. These websites, called “thinspiration” sites, typically contain pictures of slim women, usually celebrities, who range from healthy to sickly skinny. In addition, Cho was influenced by pro-bulimia or “pro-mia” bloggers: people who post in social networks to motivate others toward further weight loss through anorexia. The original intent of “thinspiration” sites was to raise awareness of eating disorders; ironically, bloggers and social media users have now distorted these sites to furtively promote eating disorders by complimenting the severely skinny and ridiculing the “fatter” people, rather than act as a support for those who suffer from eating disorders. The Red Bracelet Project is among one of the efforts the social media community has taken to raise awareness about eating disorders, but it has turned into an advocate for eating disorders. Its original intention was to serve as a subtle sign of solidarity among eating disorder survivors; however, social media—especially the blogosphere—has twisted the original intention behind the effort. A Tumblr blog dedicated to the promotion of these bracelets has the description “Beautiful. Dainty. Honest. Innocent. Small. Strong. Thin. Tiny. True.” as inspiration for girls struggling to be thin to remember “they’re not alone in the fight to be skinny.”

solely because of their weight. “I was always insecure, and I just felt alone. I wanted to be skinny really badly because I felt like everyone was, except me,” said Cho. “With everything combined, I became desperate.” The music ASB plays at the top of the quad on select brunches and lunches also affected Cho. Although only a small part of her day, the morbid lyrics of most songs “made me really depressed, but that was why I liked it.” Cho noticed that she forced herself to throw up only when she was feeling depressed, so she would purposely spend her time in the quad. “Throwing up at school next to all these skinny people made me feel better about doing it, even though I had a feeling deep down it was bad.” To the general public, suffering from an eating disorder seems like a conscious choice. However, Lynn Grefe, the CEO of the National Eating Disorders Associations, urges people to understand that an eating disorder is a mental illness, not a lifestyle choice. “I encourage people to take a step back and ask if they want to promote a life -threatening illness and promote death,” said Grefe. After three months of trying to get a normal diet back, Wong still had trouble forcing herself to eat. It was only after grueling weeks of forced feeding from her brother that she slowly returned to a healthy diet.

“I realized how big I am doesn’t matter unless I make a big deal out of it. I started reading blogs that motivated me to be healthy and not blogs that advised me how to stop eating food,” said Wong. Looking back on her period of starva-

tion, Wong learned an important distinction between staying in shape and being skinny. “Staying in shape is maintaining a healthy weight, and trying to be ridiculously skinny is unhealthy both physically and mentally.” Cho had to start seeing a therapist on a weekly basis to be strong enough to stop throwing up.

“When I go to the doctor’s office now, he doesn’t show me my current weight when I step on the scale, because he knows it makes me feel bad,” she said. “I don’t ask either, because it’s literally just a number at one point in time. It doesn’t matter.” Social media continues to act as a “Proeating disorder” instigator. But people can overcome this influence by choosing to ignore the harmful content, and being strong enough to appreciate their body types. Fitzpatrick believes that despite feeling ashamed of their bodies, people still have to “live with [themselves],” she said. “If we think losing five pounds will help then that means we view ourselves as nothing more than a cut of beef on display. We are so much more than our bodies, but our bodies are what move us, what give us joy, what conned us to others, which transmit pleasure and pain.” Dieting or forcibly puking is not so successful, and generally results in weight gain and not weight loss. Making a choice to forcibly diet or hurl is a poor way to “fix” things like not liking your body or wanting to “tone up,” and should not be considered an option. *Names changed to protect identity National Eating Disorders Association Confidential Helpline: 1-800-931-2237 Find a support group: Since 2002 R

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BIKER CHICK// Sophomore Anna Sussenguth takes a ride in the sun on her bright blue bike.


With summer just around the corner, the sunny weather and your newly acquired abundance of free time make it a great opportunity to get out and be active. So what are you waiting for? After reading this, get up off your couch, throw on some brightly colored running shoes, grab a couple of friends and enjoy the great outdoors. Whether you’re with friends or (bike) riding solo, there’s a summer sport out there for everyone.





t’s 90 degrees outside, you need to get from point A to point B and you want to do it in the most enjoyable way possible. Your best option? Hop on a bike. Prepare to take advantage of the summer heat, feeling the warm sun on your skin and the wind in your hair. For sophomore Anna Sussenguth’s family, no vacation is complete without a biking trip. They have biked trails in several places around the world, including Boston, Chicago, Germany and Italy. “We like to stay active during breaks, and my mom is a big fan of biking,” said Sussenguth. Biking is also a convenient way to


INTO THE WILD// Sophomore Gauri Jain partakes in one of her favorite outdoor activities: Hiking.



fter hiking four miles of hills at the Dish in Stanford, sophomore Gauri Jain stood and took in the view of the entire Stanford campus, with the ocean in the distance. The exposure to nature is just one of the benefits of going on an adventurous hike. You could take advantage of the long summer days by spending several hours getting lost in the wilderness, and several more finding your way out. “You are completely away from technology and cellphone service and grades and life problems and you can just enjoy the outside,” said Jain. “It seems like such a cliche thing to say, but the world is just a massive place where there is always more to explore and take in!” It’s summer and school’s out-

reach a summer travel destination without using a car, letting you get around efficiently without polluting the environment. Not to mention, it’s a pretty great excuse to wear your brightest neon clothing. Biking is something you can pick up at any stage in your exercise career, whether you’re steadily running eight miles a day or you’re still struggling to find a reason to get up off the couch. Even if you’re a novice, you’ll be able to cover at least twelve miles in an hour--and nothing beats bragging about how many miles you biked in the summer heat.

-the perfect time to have an adventure that’s more exciting than walking to the fridge. Hiking is an adventure in itself, bringing people together due to their mutual lack of cellular service. “I knew the girls at my summer camp, but we weren’t that close,” said Jain of her Stanford hike. “After the hike, it was like we had known each other for years.” Jain loves getting to know the people that she goes on hikes with. “[Going on a hike] forces you to talk to people and ask them questions. It lets you complain about how hot it is that day or how your hiking outfit doesn’t look good. It gives you something to sit and stare in awe at, and it creates memories you will remember forever.”

ummer Sports Ultimate Frisbee


he white frisbee flies toward a receiver streaking toward the endzone. He reaches out, but it’s too late. He can only watch helplessly as a player from the opposing team leaps up, crazily contorting his body like a professional gymnast before triumphantly intercepting the throw, sending it into your path. As the new holder of the frisbee, you waste no time, launching the projectile across the field as soon as you receive it. The throw isn’t your best-you have launched it much lower than you would have liked -- but your teammate bails you out, diving into the endzone before the frisbee can graze the grass. The teammate, now sprawled out on the ground, yells jubilantly. “Score!” Frisbee is one sport that really flourishes during the summer. Competitively and recreationally, many players take advan-

Beach Volleyball


n a radiant California summer day at the beach, volleyball games are extremely common. Many people, competitive or not, see the sport as a fun pastime for the warmest season of the year. Beach volleyball, much like ultimate frisbee, is an extremely fun summer sport in the sense that being able to dive on the sand safely instead of on a daunting indoor court adds another dimension to the game that’s virtually unattainable in the colder months of winter. Aside from this added benefit, playing beach volleyball in the summer can also potentially improve your indoor playing ability if you’re a competitive player, giving you extra practice even after the school team or club team season is over.

tage of the sunny conditions that are present during this time of the year. History teacher Jeffrey Bale, who usually plays once a week during the summer, loves the freedom that frisbee gives players in warmer months. With beach frisbee in particular, people can play with fewer restrictions. As opposed to playing on a grass field or concrete, sand enables players to worry less about injury, go all out and enjoy the game more overall. Bale, who plays recreational frisbee, believes the sport to be a relatively simple and user friendly game. Bale attests, “With frisbee pretty much any group of people can play together, because even players with the least experience can still catch and play short passes,” “There really is no level [of skill] required to play fluidly.” he concluded. In ultimate frisbee, it’s anyone’s game.

Junior Numair Baseer plays beach volleyball mainly during the offseason of his club and school teams. He views the sport as an extremely enjoyable, and also beneficial summer recreational activity. According to Baseer, playing beach volleyball improves your jumping immensely because, “making angled leaps on sand instead of solid ground gives your muscles a much better workout.” “Beach volleyball is played with smaller teams as well, so you get the opportunity to improve the strategic aspect of your game,” he added about beach volleyball being a mental game, too. Whether you’re working to improve your game or improve your tan, beach volleyball is the perfect summer sport for beginners and veterans alike.

THE ULTIMATE// Jeffrey Bale soaks up the sun and throws a frisbee around on the field.


BUMP, SET, SPIKE// Junior Numair Baseer jumps into the air to nail a spike as he plays outdoor volleyball.


Seawater, ships, and sailors: Freshman Thomas Samuels and junior Tanmay Chordia’s journey to getting their sea legs BY STEPHANIE LU



s we waited for my computer to start up for the interview, I asked freshman Thomas Samuels how his week had been. “Oh,” he said. “I guess it was good.” “Yeah? Why?” “Um, well.” He smiled. “I went sailing.” Samuels’ father introduced him to sailing in Hong Kong at the age of nine. He’s consistently sailed since, even while moving from country to country in his elementary school years. His sailing partner, junior Tanmay Chordia, has been sailing since the summer of 2010. Chordia laughs loud and talks fast, a sharp contrast to the quieter Samuels. “My mom was like, you should do something over the summer! And I said sure, so she signed me up for a sailing class at Shoreline Park for two summers. “Then I became an intern at this sailing place for summer, and then I was like, wow, I kind of suck, I gotta get better--I had this friend, Craig, and he said, Oh yeah, I go sailing over the weekend at this place called PYSF, and that’s how I began sailing there.” Chordia and Samuels sail at the Peninsula Youth Sailing Foundation (PYSF) which is directed and coached by Molly O’Bryan Vandemoer, two-time racing world championships participant and

member of the 2012 US Olympic Team, where she came in fifth. Chordia has been missing practice due to his junior year workload, but Samuels still goes to Redwood City three times a week to sail. Before Samuels attended Lynbrook, they would partner with sailors from other schools, since no one else at their schools sailed. “It’s kind of annoying to have to sail with people from other schools,” said Samuels. “If you sail with people in your own school you can compete in more regattas, and there’s more opportunity for bonding time. When you sail with someone more often you start to sail faster, ‘cause you get more familiar with each other’s sailing style.” In fact, during one of the few times that they sailed together, Samuels and Chordia won the 2012 Stockton Regatta. A regatta is a series of boat races in which the winner is determined by totalling each boats’ places in every race; for example, a boat that finishes 1st, 2nd, then 13th has a total of 16. Whichever team has the smallest total is awarded first place, and so on. Regattas can last from a few hours to multiple days. Sailing, according to Chordia, is the farthest thing from an exact science, due largely in part to the variability of weather conditions. “The first time you take a kid out . . . they’re like, oh my God, we’re in a boat, how do I steer, how do I go against the wind?” said Chordia. “It’s really fun, though you have to use a lot of physical tactics and thinking to sail,” agreed Samuels. To sail, two people work together on the boat--skipper and crew. The skipper drives the boat and controls the main sail, and is usually

in charge of the boat. The skipper is also usually more experienced, and thus Samuels takes the position when they sail together. The crew--Chordia-controls a smaller sail called the jib, and constantly adjusts the lines for maximum sailing efficiency. As with any other sport, sailing comes with its own dangers. To keep the boat from falling over, for example, sailors must continually shift their positions to evenly distribute their weight around the boat’s center of mass. They must also watch out for the boom, a horizontal pole that swings from side to side when sailing. And, of course, there is always the risk of capsizing. “Once my friend and I went sailing at Santa Barbara, and it was 25 knots of winds and we were both 100 pounds--recommended weight was like 300 that time,” Chordia said, laughing. “It was crazy--big waves, big wind--and when we flipped we fell into the water, which was so freezing cold my hand turned blue after like ten minutes.” Then there’s trapezing, which Samuels described as feeling like “floating off the side of the boat.” Skippers trapeze by standing outside the hull on the side of the boat with a harness on, “The first time you do this, you’re scared out of your mind. You’re flipping out, ‘cause this boat, it’s trying to kill you,” said Chordia. “It’s rocking in every damn direction, and everything’s trying to hit you into a pole on the boat. You kind of get that shock--like oh crap, why am I doing this?” That being said, Samuels and Chordia emphasize the self-sufficiency of sailing. “You are in control while sailing. You’re the one who makes the mistakes,” said Chordia. In a comparison of football and sailing in terms of danger, Chordia said that “Football . . . is like a rollercoaster; it’s scary, but you’re trusting the system to keep you safe. It’s not in your hands. If a rollercoaster screws up, you’re dead. In sailing, if you screw up, it’s your thing.” As I ended my interview with Samuels, I asked him if there was anything else he wanted to say. “Yeah,” he said. “Could you say that any Lynbrook students who are interested in sailing should come talk to us?” “Will do.”



f school had started somewhere around 10 p.m. on April 14th, I would have showed up to my first class fuming, and nobody could have fathomed why. Twenty minutes earlier, my beloved Phoenix Suns (an NBA basketball team, non sports-fans) had been eliminated from playoff contention, removing all chances of them winning a title this season and me dyeing my hair bright orange and running around my house in a championship-induced euphoria. Granted, I’m rather used to this, seeing as in my seven years compulsively following their every move they’ve never even made it to the Finals. Even so, the pain is noticeable, and the incredulous basketball-centered part of my brain throbs painfully for about a month until I come to terms with the Suns’ absence from the playoffs. But there lies a cruel twist to my misery. Even if the Suns did make the playoffs - even if they did win a Championship - I would be celebrating...alone. I have yet to meet a single Suns fan in the entire Bay Area, and that doesn’t look to change anytime soon. My solitude is somewhat understandable: San Jose is over 700 miles away from Phoenix, and the Suns aren’t one of those big-name big-market teams (think Lakers). I’ve met people around here who follow teams other than the hometown Golden State (Oakland) Warriors, but those teams either enjoy rich histories chocked full of playoff success (Celtics) or a recent ascent to the top of the league (Thunder). This contrasts quite starkly with the Suns, who boast of a history saddled with blown calls and blown-out ACLs, and who have missed the playoffs four years and counting. I’ve tried long and hard to find another Suns fan by making sure the NBA is the primary topic of conversation every time I meet someone for the first time. Considering the number of sideways glances and hurried variations of ‘well I really must go it was very nice talking to you’ thrown my way, I have unequivocally deduced that my method is highly ineffective and should not be used. A Facebook search for ‘Bay Area Phoenix Suns Fans’ came up empty, so I tried Google, which came up empty as well. Whoever said you can find anything

on the Internet was clearly an egoist and did not account for me. So here I am, stuck nodding my head aimlessly while pretending to care about some “sick” 75-foot tripleovertime game-winner the backup shooting guard on some other team hit last night. A successful conclusion to my quest would vindicate me for several reasons. I would be able to talk about how my team fared that night, sparing me the neck pain inherent in chronic nodding. I would be able to share the misery of heart-wrenching losses and inexplicable front-office decisions. Most importantly, I would finally be able to laugh at the fans of some of those perennially-good teams without of finding myself immediately triple-teamed. But clearly, I haven’t found that special someone yet, so I’ve been forced to tap into some of my overabundant inner creativity to find ways to cope with

the pain. About a year ago, an opportunity presented itself in our very own hometown Golden State Warriors, who pulled off a surprising playoff run and captured the hearts of even the most casual basketball viewers (like my mom) with their reckless, thrilling style of play. Sensing a possible escape from my not-yet-over month-long period of acute basketball disillusionment (Phoenix had ended the season 2557, not at any point even sniffing at a playoff spot), I instantly willed myself onto the Warriors’ rapidly expanding bandwagon, and managed to spend three weeks floating high on a cloud of Steph Curry’s three-point rainbows and Kent Bazemore’s maniacal towel-waving. In retrospect, I felt the need to repent after indulging in that guilty pleasure, so I won’t be jumping on any more bandwagons anytime soon. But fortunately, it looks like I won’t have to again. This season, the Phoenix Suns were officially projected to win 15 games. With a rookie head coach, a starting lineup composed of backups and misfits, and a deprived and dejected fanbase, they won 48 games in a remarkably competitive Western Conference. That team exceeded even my unabashedly sunny predictions and reminded me that no matter how dark the circumstances, things can always turn out better than expected. But the Suns players didn’t win 48 games by sitting around; they scratched and clawed and hustled their way through a wild rollercoaster season. And though they ultimately fell short, their success inspired me to take action. So maybe I will start that ‘Bay Area Phoenix Suns Fans’ group on Facebook. Maybe I will find a better way to determine whether people follow the NBA. But right now, sitting and writing this column, all I can do is pray that the Suns gods send another fan my way.


op left: Senior Grace Ma works on a character sculpture featuring a creature of a fantasy forest. After realizing that she wanted to create her own stories for comics, Ma became interested in art and design. She admires the idea of forming characters from scratch and “living with them” as they develop. Ma believes that “when you aspire to become someone who creates, you live much longer through every soul that you bring to life with your hands.”

Bottom left: Junior Jennifer Lee shares her newest video game design. Lee enjoys digital art because she loves the way that she can create pieces without using traditional methods. Currently, she is working on designing a role-playing game for Markiplier, a well-known Youtube gamer.

In the future, Lee hopes to study game art and design in college. Bottom right: Sophomore Anjana Benny presents her latest drawing featuring singer Lana Del Rey. Benny has been drawing since the age of six, and has seen her talent and love for art gradually grow ever since.


op: Senior Rochelle Gatus works on creating a metal ring. Gatus became involved in jewelry-making in her sophomore year and took a liking to its detail-oriented nature. Gatus plans to attend the

Rhode Island School of Design and major in jewelry and metalsmithing while she works toward an MBA. Eventually, she aspires to start her own jewelry brand and source metal from her homeland, the Philippines, to make her country proud.


op right: Junior Nathan Cunningham presents his latest shirt design. Cunningham enjoys the way that his art allows him to develop his own ideas. In the future, he hopes to attend the Pacific Northwest College of Art and aspires to major in illustration and graphic design. Bottom left: Junior Rachel Tu works on her 3D design piece for her art portfolio. Tu is currently designing a dress made purely of skewers after being inspired by the versatility and structure that the angles can create. She plans to put her piece in the annual fashion show on May 23. Tu hopesto pursue graphic design in an art school, using her talent to create work that others can enjoy.

Issue 7 2014