Leadership class converges with executive council by
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY AUSTIN YU
Room 72, Choir. Room 73, Art. Room 74, Drama. The fine arts wing is welcoming a new member; say hello to the Flexible Lab, located in room 76. The Flex Lab provides a new and improved way for students to give speeches and presentations in class. Walk into the room and on the right you will see two new interactive, touch-screen projectors. Surrounding the room are three spacious whiteboards, and one large projector screen stands at the front of the room. The shiny movable desks sit on their wheels, and a door on the left wall opens into a room where the 36 new laptops are stored safely. In addition to these new technologies, the Flex Lab also implements Tidebreak, a new software program. Tidebreak
allows teachers to control both interactive projectors with one computer and lets students throw their desktop screens onto the projectors for the whole class to see. Then, students will easily be able to share their work with the rest of the class for deeper discussion. These special characteristics of Tidebreak make class discussions more interactive, which in turn can create a more energetic learning atmosphere. Often, class presentations can be a complicated mess because students forget to email themselves a copy of their work or leave their USB flash drives at home. On top of that, students frequently find that their files will not open on their teacher’s computer. Fortunately, the Flex Lab offers students equipment that help fix these problems.
see FLEX LAB pg 3
Night on the Quad revamped by
On October 1 from 5-8pm, Lynbrook will hold the annual Night on the Quad, where families will enjoy an evening of entertainment provided by Lynbrook students and a variety of cultural foods. Attendees will receive information on school organizations and have the opportunity to meet the staff. This year, the PTSA has made several changes to its entertainment and food in order to better accommodate all attendees and incorporate more of the school into the activities. Night on the Quad has experienced significant changes in entertainment. Many major school groups including the Cheer team and the Valkyries are planned to perform at Night on the Quad for the first time. “Because many of the parents at Back to School Night rush in just before it begins, the Marching Band
and Cheer team were not able to perform, so Night on the Quad will be a chance for them to see the groups perform,” says PTSA President Debbie Ward, “We also hope there will be a bigger and more relaxed audience at Night on the Quad.” As in previous years, different clubs will be advertising and providing information to families about their organizations, which will benefit students looking to join clubs on campus. “Last year, there were 24 clubs present,” says Ward, “But we hope that we will have over 30 at our event to make it even bigger than last year.” Additionally, there will be a silent auction with items including tickets to an Earthquake soccer game and a Lake Tahoe timeshare for spring break, which were provided by school clubs, families and staff. Although the deadline for order forms has already passed, dinner tickets can still be bought at the door for 20 dollars.
With great power comes great responsibility. For the group of about 40 students in Lynbrook’s leadership class, this famous aphorism becomes a reality every day during third period. As part of this year’s Leadership class at Lynbrook, these students make a large part of the decisions at Lynbrook regarding student life. However, this year’s Leadership class has merged with the Executive Council to expand into a class of approximately 40 students, more than double the size of previous years. Whether they are part of class officer teams or the separately chosen Executive Council, these individuals have proven themselves as responsible, friendly and open, not only to their peers, but also to their supervisors. Leadership advisor Tania Yang says, “The students in the class are there because they represent their school, and because they love it and want to be able to serve their peers and reach out to help their school and community.” The motivation behind this merge, says Yang, was because, “it gives us an identity, sense of unity, accountability, and feedback within our group.” Already, changes have been set in motion. Although the Activities Committee has been dissolved, its duties have been taken over by the entire class and activity point sheets have been delegated to the Elections Committee. Two new committees, Clubs and Community Link, have been formed to try and bring the school as close as possible to its clubs and the community. One example of the events they are coordinating is the voter registration drive, set to begin on Sept 20. Relating to the efficiency of the class, junior Carrina Dong says, “I think it works really well, making Executive Council into a class. Before we would only meet every other Wednesday and it would be kind of hard to communicate, but now we meet almost every day and we are much more productive.” ASB treasurer junior Kevin Tu says,“It gives more of a sense of unity, as committees are always helping other committees out!” However, he adds “whenever an old system, idea or structure is completely uprooted or thrown out, and a new one is instituted in its place. There are bound to be contradictions between ‘traditional’ and ‘new methods.’ But so far it’s been pretty smooth sailing.”With the merge of Executive Council and the ASB leadership into a class, the formation of two new committees, and more involvement in the community, Lynbrook’s Leadership class looks like it’s trying to reach out and make the 2010-11 year productive.
Joining forces: six new teachers add to the current Lynbrook faculty by
Lynbrookâ€™s new guidance counselor and field hockey coach Jenny Dumas worked as a guidance counselor in Dover, Delaware and coached field hockey at a Division Three college. She likes watching football and supporting her favorite baseball team, The Phillies.
Dokie Riani-Kashini, the Voyager programâ€™s new therapist, began her training in 2006 with 3,000 hours of internship and became a licensed therapist last April. She says, â€œI want to be approachable for kids, and think outside the box; [teaching] is not a â€˜one size fits allâ€™ job.â€?
Michael Kalb taught history for 26 years before coming to Lynbrook as the new Life Skills teacher. He says, â€œAs a regular teacher, you are responsible for teaching factual knowledge. Life skills requires different techniques. Teaching is just an art form; it depends how itâ€™s done.â€?
mrs. rynders-taylor mrs. estrella
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Rosemary Bulaich, the new College and Career Center advisor, worked as a guidance counselor for 21 years before coming to Lynbrook. She says, â€œMy job, to be part of this process, is not a chore but a pleasure. I get to help [students] finalize their dreams.â€? When she is not at work, Bulaich enjoys being a self-described â€œFood Network devoteeâ€? and spending time with her two grown children.
Neike Rynders-Taylor is the new Voyager program teacher. She moved from San Diego this July. She enjoys going to the beach, spending time with her two daughters and traveling. As for the year ahead, she says, â€œI want to get to know my students well and get to know some activities that go on at Lynbrook.â€? So far, her experience has been positive; students â€œseem to value the staff,â€? she says.
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World history teacher Angela Estrella aspires to take advantage of the new Flex Lab, immerse herself in Lynbrookâ€™s programs and run her first half marathon this year. She says she loves â€œbeing able to discuss how the past is relevant to the present and our future.â€? When not in the classroom, she is most likely at the park, mall or library with her four-year-old daughter.
Students reflect upon odd gaps in schedule by
Spikefest set to begin Ready. Set. Spike! The Spikefest tournament is back. This year, students can create their own teams and enter in a heated volleyball competition against other contestants. Fourteen teams are entered to compete this year. Winners of the matches will challenge the teachers on Friday, the last day of the tournament. These volleyball tournaments will take place Oct. 4-8 in the gym during lunch. Pool-deck Renovating for Extension The pool deck is being extended eight feet into the student parking lot for safety purposes. The school board awarded the renovation to Am Woo Construction at the cost of $37,500 on November 7th. Since the renovation area is fenced off, water sport practices and P.E. will be able to continue undisturbed; there will be no student access between the pool deck and bike cage. The main Lynbrook gate will be barred and the bike cage relocated. Calabazas Library Construction The local Calabazas Library has been closed as of August 15, 2009 for renovations. The library replacement is part of the San Jose Public Library (SJPL) Bond Project. A hefty $212 million was set aside by the Branch Library Bond Measure to construct six new libraries and to expand 14 others. The Calabazas branch plans to double its building size in square feet, double its number of computers and have roughly 45 or more parking spaces. It is expected to reopen on July 30, 2011.
Lockers slam and footsteps speed up as the second bell rings for fourth period. Students start filling up classrooms at their leisure, some faster and some slower. A minute, half an hour; an hour elapses, and senior Iris Wang is still lounging in the library. She has three “schedule holes”, during her second, fourth and sixth periods. The spaces between her classes are welcomed breaks when her classes overwhelm her, giving her time to catch up on homework or just relax. Wang says of her odd schedule, “It’s like a college experience—you get odd breaks in between.” Because many students drop classes in the beginning of the year, schedules result in empty periods. “We do the best we can to ‘collapse’ the schedules,” assistant principal Maria Jackson explains, “but sometimes the classes are just too full.” Students with schedule holes are granted hall passes for their empty periods or are given the option to be teacher assistants (T.A.), which can accumulate as elective credits. After dropping 3-D Art, sophomore Eileen Chien is an office assistant during third period. The atmosphere in the office is casual, much like that of a neighborhood, and she gets to know the ways of staff members more. Chien recalls, “Once, someone sneezed across the room, and everyone shouted, ‘Bless you!’ at the same time.”
Many students also end up having the teacher they T.A. for write their teacher recommendations for college or summer programs. Senior Gerald Fong, who assists Dr. Rocklin for his seventh period, clarifies, “The teachers [you T.A. for] end up getting to know you more, for better or worse.” Contrary to rumors, budget cuts have not affected the amount of schedule holes. Jackson reports that this year, there has been a total of 73 schedule holes, an increase from 58 holes last year. However, when schedules were released over summer, there were only 13 schedule holes; 37 more students dropped classes at the Change Mill in August, and once school had begun, 23 others had left their classes. “Students are given the option to fill or keep their holes,” Jackson says. Junior Frances Guo reasons, “Students at Lynbrook want less classes because they want to focus on tougher subjects and extracurricular activities, not because they’re slacking off.” Senior Kevin Xie has classes from first to fifth period. He says, “It would suck if I had a schedule hole—I’d rather go home early.” However at the same time, he adds that it is nice to have an extra period to study in. Amidst the hectic school hours, a one-hour gap may just be what high schoolers need—space to kick back, relax, and enjoy the show.
College Fair at Homestead High School This year’s Fremont Union High School District’s college fair will be held at the Homestead High School Gym from 6:30 pm to 8 pm on Sept. 29. All students and parents are recommended by the Guidance Department to attend. Representatives from 70 colleges, including those from the UCs, CSUs, and private universities, will be there to answer any questions students may have about their college or activities. A list of colleges participating this fair is available at the College and Career Center. Tech Museum Trash Island Challenge The heat of competition is on. The Tech Museum in downtown San Jose is initiating its annual Trash Challenge starting October. The objective for the 2011 challenge is to eliminate trash in the oceans without harming any marine life. Contestants will create and demonstrate their own devices, which will then be judged and scored. This challenge is open for student grades 5-12. Free Admission at the California Academy of Sciences The California Academy of Sciences is offering free admission to the public on Oct. 20th and every third Wednesday of the month through the generosity of The Bernard Osher Foundation. The California Academy of Sciences is one of the biggest natural history museums in the world with an indoor rainforest, coral reef, and a planetarium. Its latest exhibit, the “Extreme Mammals” exhibit, currently features extinct and living mammals of all sizes including the small but ferocious Tasmanian Devil. The museum is located at 55 Music Concourse Drive San Francisco. Admission is free from 9:30 am to 4 pm.
By Noorsher Ahmed, Jane Jun, and Lauren Tai
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY AUSTIN YU
FLEX LAB|Technological outreach available to teachers and students through new equipment continued from pg 1 However, the Flex Lab’s new environment may be a little difficult to adapt to. For example, some students may find the new facilities intimidating. “I was more nervous doing my presentation in the Flex Lab than I would be in a regular classroom,” says junior Emma Huang. Even teachers may have a hard time learning how to use Tidebreak and the other resources that the Flex Lab offers. Nonetheless, most issues with the Flex Lab can be cleared up through more experience and familiarity with the equipment. Also, classes can go back multiple times to finish a project, instead of mastering the technology in one day. “It’s been broken down into several days,” says Ene of her class’s assignment. English teacher Evyenia Ene recalls one time when her classes studied African-American poet Langston Hughes and made a trip over to the Flex Lab. The class split into several smaller groups and with the help of Tidebreak, the students were able to see the original poem projected on one screen and group analyses on the other. This kind of technology that complements collaborative group work is what Ene believes makes the Flex
lab such an “exciting” learning atmosphere. After several sessions in the lab, students and teachers should be able to understand how to maneuver around in order to have a successful experience. The Flex Lab is already available for use, so teachers and students can take advantage of the school’s generous new resources. As of now, students are not allowed to utilize the Flex Lab’s resources individually. “Teachers have to sign up,” says librarian Kimmie Marks. “The teacher and I will meet and talk about the lesson and tech needs. I’ll walk them through how to use it,” says Marks. Teachers and Marks work together to help familiarize the students with the Tidebreak software. Teachers can sign up so their classes can use the lab by filling out a Flex Lab Reservation Form at least one week before the day they need to use the Flex lab for their classes. Overall, Ene regards the Flex Lab visitis as positive and enjoyable as she says, “I love the challenge of presenting the lesson in a new way.” The experience offers her and other teachers creativity in the curriculum, and she adds that the technology “speaks to students...[it is] in the same language that they understand.”
Stop complaining, start listening by
Students should give Auto-Tune another chance
Do UC what I see? Ticking clocks, upcoming deadlines and fingers cramping from excessive typing: it’s college application season, folks. With the Common Application placing colorful and taunting shapes next to the status of each private college supplement and looming deadlines of Early Decision, Early Action I and II, Regular Decision and Rolling Admissions, it is too much for me to handle. But in the end it will be all worth it, right? At least that’s what President Obama says. He has
decided to increase the number of college graduates to create a more “potent workforce.” A meeting on Oct. 5, organized by Jill Biden, will bring together people from different fields: philanthropists, businessmen and teachers, to make sure that by 2020, America is the country with the greatest number of graduates, and this miraculous plan is only made possible by the two dreaded words: community colleges. In my mind, when I hear those words, I can hear my mom screaming, because for most Lynbrook students, community college is not in the top list for colleges. In my mom’s mind, community colleges are for summer classes, with libraries that close at 5 pm and science, sports and music courses that do not offer state of the art facilities. No matter how many lab classes and diverse courses De Anza College may have to offer to its students, the notion will remain the same: community college is not the way to go. President Obama’s plan of revamping the community college system would have no impact on many negative preconceptions regarding community colleges, so instead, this money would be better put into improving state schools. The point of a state school is that it should give an advantage to those who are from the same state, as redun-
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY CLAY SONG
“Blame it on the mic, blame it on the crew,” begins one especially popular parody of Jamie Foxx’s highly Auto-Tuned track, Blame It. Channeling the opinions are “ruined” by of many who believe that Auto-Tune is good only Auto-Tune, one for making perfectly talented artists sound like will find that these prorobots (and talentless singers sound like musical same scenarios testors are often the same prodigies), the lyrics continue, saying, “Blame have come from people who are more than it on the a-a-a-a-a-Auto-Tune.” changes in sports willing to attend an event The song obviously supports the case teams and govand actually dance to such against Auto-Tune, but people should be ernment offices song. rallying for an entirely different point of in addition to muHowever, at the root view. After all this time and effort spent sical trends, provof the problem, the battle protesting against the use of Auto-Tune, ing that at times, against Auto-Tune isn’t perhaps it is time for music lovers to many new fads are just about raw talent versus stop being so nitpicky about what goes not appreciated for technology, or musical prefthrough their earphones and give Autheir true values erences; it is about the very to-Tune another listen. until much later. nature of human beings. As Auto-Tune is a software program Auto-Tune should humans, we simply have no made to process audio and tweak be given this chance limits when it comes to satisaudio tracks so that they sound as well. faction. Whether it is finding more polished. Although some It is time for music a way to get the latest vermay claim that the program just lovers to accept that sion of a cell phone, saving makes T-Pain sound more like at least for now, Autoup for a laptop with all the Lil’ Wayne with a 102-degree Tune is here to stay. It toots and whistles a customer fever and a bulbous amphibseems that what Jay-Z could possibly ask for or begian caught in his throat, the hopes for isn’t relevant; ging our parents for a designer fact remains that many of true music fans should rebrand overcoat, people won’t today’s popular hits are alize that the “death of Autobe happy until their cravings also the ones which use Tune” is not an event that looks are satisfied. Unfortunately, the most Auto-Tune— as if it’ll be imminent in the futhese feelings of fulfillment anyone care for some tures of many artists, let alone the are often short-lived; it should Ke$ha? Owl City? Lady entire music business. Listeners come as no surprise, then, that Gaga? Imogen Heap? should soon realize that when complaints about Auto-Tune Auto-Tune may seem it comes to music, the saying, should arise so quickly after its like pop music’s way of “If you can’t beat ‘em, join initial release in the late 1990s cheating customers, but in re‘em,” applies as well; instead and still be prevalent even in ality, it should be looked upon of condemning its usage or this day and age. as more of an equal opportunity its users, it is time to try It seems that abrupt and new employer. When people dream of welcoming the much-fabled changes—such as rap lyrics, adbecoming artists, but are unable to Auto-Tune into our perditions to national sports teams do so for various reasons (whether it sonal music libraries—that and newly elected government be a handicap, lack of funds or simply is, if they haven’t secretly officials—will always be met a deficiency in the talent department), wormed their ways with controversy and criticism— Auto-Tune gives them another chance to in already. Auto-Tune is no exception. achieve their dreams and make it big. Hardcore rap, despite the pro“It all boils down to whether the listeners tests against it, gradually became like the beat [since] the artist probably realizes accepted by those who opthe risk he or she takes by using it,” says junior posed its existence Anika Dhamodharan. It seems, however, that in as time went the end, this so-called “risk” pays off; just one look on. The at a music chart will confirm how common it is for popular songs of today to incorporate Auto-Tune. In fact, while it is true that many despair over songs which
dant as that logic may be. The fact that UC Berkeley is increasing their acceptance rate of out-of-state (OOS) students in order to reap their OOS fee is a little ridiculous, even if two of the high ranking UC’s are in the top 25 colleges, according to US News. Instead, the Obama administration should take the money that it is going to use towards community colleges and put them into state schools, schools with a little more prestige. By doing this, they would be able to increase the number of classes available. Increasing the classes would decrease the number of students in each class, combatting the problem of a high student to teacher ratio in state schools. More money into state schools would equal lower tuition rates, another problem in colleges. In turn, more money would equal more acceptances, better facilities and smaller classes, all while still holding on to the “brand name” college experience that Lynbrook students want. It’s an effectand-effect cycle, each effect bettering the last one. So Obama, you want a larger workforce? Make sure that we can survive in that workforce, that students are able to graduate with more esteemed degrees and have that edge over others who attend community colleges. And make my mom happy.
Voice of the Epic
Dance policy trades decency for safety As most students discovered at the first Welcome-Back Dance of the year, there is a new dance policy that allows “freaking” at an acceptable level, as long as both bodies are upright. It prohibits break dancing and any form of dancing in which both hands are on the ground. While this policy does make new improvements from the previous policy, with careful consideration and compromise, it could be better. The new policy, drafted by leadership class instructor Tania Yang, Assistant Principal Ellen Reller and ASB members, was created largely in response to staff and administration concern over the rising number of incidents of inappropriate, and potentially dangerous, dancing. “I would say that there is too much going on at a school dance to be able to monitor students who are doing flips and head spins and putting themselves in positions where they could harm themselves and others,” says Reller. Reller is not the only one concerned with the safety of break dancers during school dances. Many teachers expressed reluctance in chaperoning student dances because of the refusal of students to adhere to appropriate dancing. While this new break-dance rule is non-applicable for some of the student body, those who are affected by the new policy believe that they are smart enough to look out for themselves. Senior Ryan Wen, a member of a local break dancing crew, MotionFX, and an officer in the break dancing club, says, “We’re obviously going to put our own health as our priority, so you have to consider the self-interest motive there.” Because the parents of the break dancers who are a part of the break dancing club
have already signed safety release forms, members of the club believe they are capable of dancing responsibly by themselves. However, it is not the break-dance club members that the administration is most concerned about. Dancers who strive to copy break dancers and who may not have sufficient practice and training are more liable to injure themselves. In response to the students, administration and staff believe student safety is top priority during school dances. Students who see dancing as a form of expression are encouraged to participate in the many school-sanctioned events which include dance acts throughout the year such as the Talent Show, Valkyries showcases, as well as brunch/lunch acts. While the new dance policy has allowed for less restrictive forms of dance, there is still room for improvement. Perhaps times could be set aside during dances for members from the break dance club to perform. This way, only members of the club, who have had sufficient training, would be able to break dance. Students who would like to break dance during dances would simply have to join the break dance club and go through proper training to perform at dances. Another feasible solution would be to give different colored wristbands to members of the break dance club to be able to catch, at-glance, students who are not part of the break dance club and who are still engaged in break dancing. While the new policy is improved from the last, it can be even better with these implemented solutions.
Stop practicing selective sympathy by
What with the declining financial health of the US economy, public interest these days has been centered on the stock market …and puppies. Public outcry against animal abuse has demonstrated a healthy aversion towards harming animals and a surprisingly desensitized opinion on harming humans. Although animal abuse is certainly a very large concern, people should not flip out over the death of six puppies when thousands of men and women are dying worldwide from cruelty and abuse. Recently, CNN reported on a video that surfaced showing a girl throwing six puppies into a river. The video ignited a firestorm of hate comments and even prompted Hollywood director Michael Bay to issue a $50,000 bounty for the arrest of the girl in the video. If Bay is willing to part with a miniscule portion of his assets to prevent animal cruelty, he should have no qualms about offering bounties to prevent human cruelty. Another troubling statistic shows the total cash donations to the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to be $32,242,134 for the 2009 fiscal year. However, the human rights group Amnesty International ended the 2009 fiscal year with a comparatively measly $3,367,059. Assuming the amount of donations is roughly directly correlated with the public’s belief in the importance of an issue, it appears that the public believes animal cruelty is a much more deserving cause than human cruelty. While it is true that the difference could be partially accounted
for by the fact that there is more than one human rights group and people might have donated to other groups besides Amnesty International, that doesn’t explain how PETA received nearly 10 times the amount in cash donations compared to what Amnesty International received. Events such as the 2008 news story and video about the US Marine who threw a puppy off a cliff have resulted in a backlash of anger. Yet there has never been as much anger over the 4,417 men and women who have died as of Sept. 7 since the beginning of the Iraq War. There have also been accounts where animal rights groups have gone too far. In the documentary The Cove, a film on the dolphin meat industry and the slaughter of dolphins, the film crew illegally trespasses on private property and practices invasion of privacy. For a nation built upon the equality of justice, it is curious that we choose to remain silent when the law is broken in the name of animal rights. And despite our public stance against terrorism, Whale Wars, a series on a group of animal rights activists who attack whaling ships, seems to glorify terrorism. Although animal cruelty is a large issue worldwide, so are human trafficking, oppression, classism and genocide, among others. As a nation, we need to put less emphasis on animal rights, and more on human rights. Preventing animal cruelty should still be high on our list of priorities; however, we need to reevaluate our priorities and put more emphasis on human rights. What good is protecting animals when we can’t even protect ourselves?
The young and the rec-less Lynbrook is in need of a new teacher recommendation system by
Guido see, Guido do Lately, upon turning on the television, I am greeted by a bombardment of outrageous stunts, vicious catfights and dramatic breakups. These intense scenes are not out of a high profile Hollywood movie, but of a typical reality TV show—promos of the shows that are meant to mirror the lives of us poor ordinary citizens. While I myself occasionally indulge in a nail-scratching, catty episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, these reality shows mostly fail to accurately depict the life of an average person and they have a negative effect on teens, blurring the line between reality and fantasy, right and wrong. One popular show among teens is MTV’s Jersey Shore, on which cameras follow the lives of eight “guidos and guidettes,” or young Italian Americans who, during the first season, shared a house and partied it up on, you guessed it, the Jersey shore. Boozing and hitting up the clubs are as much a staple as the orange-hued cast members themselves. Perhaps Mike “the Situation” Sorrentino’s famous “GTL” (gym, tanning, laundry) motto should be expanded to include those other pastimes as well. US Magazine even reported truckloads of condoms, gym memberships, self-tanner, and vodka being shipped to the shore house. After all, what better way to be tone, tan, fit and ready, all while having a nice alcohol buzz? Aside from the fun and games, however, the reality is this: many viewers, particularly teens, are highly susceptible to influence by idols through the media. The catfights and hookups are fun to watch, but these undoubtedly sketchy morals can cajole teens into regarding these “fundamentals” as acceptable within society today. Even residents of the Jersey shore community and the Italian-American community are complaining about unfair representation of their respective populations. If the two groups that supposedly define the cast members (Jersey Shore party animals and Italian-American “guidos”) are crying foul, then the show obviously does not have much of a basis in reality, and should not be treated as such. Keeping Up With The Kardashians is another “reality show” airing on E!. To start, the living rooms of most average American families contain a television, couch, and the likes. Not the Kardashians! Instead, they have a— wait for it—stripper pole. Judging from Kim Kardashian’s stint in, errr, alternative media, this isn’t a surprise to anyone. And of course, when the pole is not in use, mom Kardashian is busy getting drunk with her daughter of legal age, while the youngsters mix drinks for them all. What a nice, happy family. But this thought is precisely what is wrong with teenagers today. An environment influenced by designer clothes, Playboy photo shoots and alcohol is not an ideal, or realistic, situation in society today. I assure you that however much fun Snooki may have getting arrested drunk on the beach, that is not the way to go. The nonchalant attitude with which we embrace this less-thansatisfactory behavior is incredibly alarming and the attention given to the so-called “reality stars” only feeds the hullabaloo. I’m not saying that reality TV should get rid of the excitement of dramatic stunts; after all, that is what we all enjoy watching. I just plead with you to not get too caught up in keeping up with the boisterous lifestyle and questionable conduct of the Kardashians, and those of the Shore.
A group of more than twenty students arrived on Lynbrook’s campus as early as midnight on the night before school and started to line up for a recommendation letter from AP Calculus BC teacher Rita Korsunsky. Some even brought their own blankets and sleeping bags. As college application season rolls around, Lynbrook seniors are feeling increased pressure to succeed, while scurrying to piece together the different parts of their applications. One of these parts is the teacher recommendation. Students are so competitive when it comes to obtaining a teacher recommendation that teachers resort to using a first-come, first-serve basis and denying certain students who approach them about a recommendation letter too late. For some teachers who are known to write good recommendation letters, students line up fast. Korsunsky, for example, is one such teacher who fills up her spots quickly. Anyone who came to school after 6 am on the first day of school didn’t get a spot on the exclusive list of students who were receiving recommendation letters. This first-come, first-serve approach is not fair for those who may know the teacher better but did not break the rules and arrive at school at midnight. Instead, teachers should use a system in which there are staggered sign-up times for different class periods, giving students more time to request a recommendation letter and the teacher more time to complete said requests. In the current system, teachers must write recommendations on their own time. Instead of having teachers volunteer to write these recommendations, they should be compensated for their hard work outside of class. Paid work days can be implemented to give teachers time and resources to work on helping students. Also, students can help teachers by asking earlier in order to give their teachers more time, like before their junior year ends. Students should also remember to be grateful and thank their teachers; teachers are doing students a favor by taking personal time to write them recommendation letters. A little competition is healthy and natural, but resorting to a “you snooze you lose” policy promotes negative rivalry. The current process for obtaining a recommendation letter should be altered to give those who deserve a better recommendation the chance to obtain one. NOORSHER AHMED—EPIC
Lynbrook should develop a creativityoriented curriculum by
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY NOORSHER AHMED & CLAY SONG
In most respects, Lynbrook is a school that breeds success. Students are motivated; many maintain 4.0 or higher GPAs. However, it is falling behind in the one aspect of schooling that may turn out to be the most important to students’ futures: creativity. If Lynbrook is to remain a school that raises successful students, it needs to think outside of the box. The federallyenforced, standardized-test-padlocked box. For those who want to succeed in life, these standards are not enough. More and more, companies from all across the board— engineering, science, entertainment and any other sector that plans to evolve to fit the times—are searching for people who can approach problems from different angles. But promoting creativity is not about rejecting the current public education model; instead, it is about working around the box. In June, Newsweek published an article on creativity, describing an example of an alternate educational model practiced by a public middle school in Akron, Ohio. Students were asked to find a way to muffle the noise coming from the library windows; in doing so,
they learned all the necessary state standards. Fortunately, Lynbrook’s staff is more than ready for the challenge of promoting creativity, as a recent staff development meeting focused on creativity shows. Even more importantly, says art teacher Lee Akamichi, “Teachers at Lynbrook are most concerned about making the education of each student as vital and inspired a process as possible. They’ll do whatever it takes to do that for all their students.” Fostering creativity cannot be done by teachers alone. Students also need to learn to think outside of conventional limitations. Instead of passively absorbing and regurgitating information, they need to spend time doing something other than following instructions. Setting out without much guidance or a concrete idea of what constitutes a new approach to education is daunting. But, as Akamichi says, “The first step to thinking creatively is to admit that you can’t think of anything. From there, you can take off.” It is time for Lynbrook to take the next step into the realm of inspiration. It is time for Lynbrook to catch up with the reality that waits outside of the box. It’s time for creativity to shine.
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY NANCY NAN
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Imagine the elaborate dance scenes pictured in Step Up 3-D, or the intense routines on hit reality show America’s Best Dance Crew. It may be hard to picture a small Japanese girl busting out those hard-hitting hip hop moves, but that’s exactly what senior Emiri Sakurai does. As co-captain of the Valkyries dance team, Sakurai is very passionate about dance. Though the Valkyries are known mostly for their contemporary and jazz routines, Sakurai takes a special interest in hip hop. Although still a minor, she is currently in an 18-and-up dance crew, VIP San Jose (VIPSJ). She made the team this summer after four intense weeks of learning and practicing choreography, and participating in a recorded performance as the final stage of the audition. In its two years together, the team has already placed second in two World of Dance competitions, the largest U.S. urban dance competition. Sakurai began doing hip hop in the fifth grade, but she “never really took it seriously until junior year,” she says. She was inspired by Jessica “Jeka” Kalotkin, a member of professional performance company Funkanometry SF and a hip hop instructor at the local Studio 10 Dance. “I love her totally unique style,” Sakurai says. Other sources of inspiration for Sakurai were her dance friends from Studio 10, who had auditioned for a hip hop crew and been accepted. Sakurai felt she had missed many opportunities because she hadn’t thought to try out, too. That was when she decided to take hip hop seriously and take extra classes even if it meant driving farther or going to classes in which she didn’t know anyone. Over the summer, Sakurai trained with members of multiple different dance crews from San Jose, including Yuppie Joints and A-Youngin’. “It was definitely a good wake-up call,” she says about going to train with them in East San Jose. “Over here, I felt confident about myself because fewer people dance seriously, and in classes it was easy to think that I was already pretty good. But when I went to the east side, there were so many amazing dancers and it made me realize that I really have to work hard to improve. So I started taking a lot more classes and workshops, even if I didn’t know anyone in those classes, and just trained as much as I could.” “The environment there is completely different; everyone is Filipino or Latino, as opposed to in this area.” Sakurai finds training in a different environment an asset to her dancing, and causes her to step outside of her comfort zone. “Practices are tough,” Sakurai admits. “I’m new and my technique is rusty, but [the team members] treat me just like they would another member.” However, Sakurai sees the challenge in a positive light. “Everyone’s still so helpful and friendly even though I’m younger than them, and they all inspire me to push myself more,” she says. Sakurai, along with the other members, has been putting extra effort into the team to reach their goal this year—to find more opportunities in the industry, and go beyond only local competitions. The hard work at practices paid off recently when VIPSJ placed first at Six Flags’ Filipino Fest competition on Sept.19, for which they received a $1000 prize. Not only was the event was a great chance for Sakurai to compete with the team, but also the first time she really bonded with the other members. Sakurai hopes she will still be able to pursue dance beyond high school and be able to travel while performing. “I would love to be able to dance and inspire other kids like my role models have inspired me,” she says. “But I’m still looking for opportunities to keep training, because there’s always room to get better.” Sakurai will be competing with VIP San Jose in the World of Dance Bay Area on Nov. 13 at the Solano County Fairgrounds in Vallejo.
How to be the apple of every teacher’s eye by
Every year, students hear the same instruction. Get to know your teachers and your guidance counselors. Sure most students know the generic advice: go talk to them during tutorial; however, it is rare to see students popping in to talk to teachers and counselors unless it is the day before a pressing deadline or a unit test. Because of this disconnect, Guidance Counselor Malissa Goldstein, English teacher Maggie Welsh and Japanese teacher Jeremy Kitchen offer tips for forming better relationships with teachers. A typical myth students believe is that guidance counselors are only here to help with their schedules and classes. On the contrary, Goldstein says, “Students don’t have to have academic questions. We really want to know who you are besides [what class-
es you are taking.]” Even if students do not have a specific question, Goldstein encourages students to introduce themselves and simply have a conversation, no appointment required. That way, “I can ask the questions,” says Goldstein. From a teacher’s perspective, the process is slightly different. Welsh says, “The best way is not to force anything. Teachers will notice if you have a genuine interest for the subject.” Because many teachers are inundated with questions about homework and grades, it is significantly harder to have a personal conversation with them. Sometimes getting to know a teacher requires the student to be around physically and to provide a “helpful, light environment” rather than attempting to strike up a conversation every time. In other words, students can go to their former teachers’ rooms during tutorial and help answer questions that other students may have if it is clear that the teacher is overwhelmed with questions. Tutorial is only 35 minutes long, barely enough time for teachers to elucidate lastminute questions on test days. Thus, if students are especially strong in a particular subject, helping other students will lessen the burden on the teachers to explain concepts to an endless row of students in such a short time frame. In the rare times teachers are not too busy for a short chat, Welsh says that students can comment on the personal items that decorate the teach-
ers’ desk. These knick-knacks are up to invite students into a small window of their lives; seize the opportunity to talk about similar experiences or hobbies. Finally, Welsh says, “Be proactive, even if this just means saying hello to your teachers.” Kitchen offers similar advice for students. Being willing to seek out the teacher first is one of the most important ways for students to get to know their teachers outside of class. Taking initiative to talk to teachers during free time is the hardest step for many students. Echoing the words of Goldstein, Kitchen says he rarely hears students talking to him about “anything besides homework, grades or tests,” and emphasizes that topics to bring up with teachers during leisure time should be anything non-academic. Social aspects of students’ lives often make for fascinating conversations and give students the opportunity to ask about how the teachers are doing as well. Kitchen says that it is nice to know that students care about more than just grades and how they are doing in the class. With these tips, students should be able to form more meaningful relationships with their teachers and counselors. Just remember to use common sense and to show consideration for the teachers and guidance counselors when they are busy.
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY CHARU MEHRA & LAUREN TAI
To be honest, before I picked up Nicholas Sparks’ latest novel, Safe Haven, I did not have any idea of what to expect from another ubiquitous Sparks novel. All I knew was that he wrote hardcore romance and that the movies based on his novels excelled in putting me to sleep. Already, I was imagining sappy, touching scenes between forbidden lovers complete with a cliché plot that concluded with the lady in her rescuer’s arms. However, as I soon discovered, I could not have been more wrong with this novel. The plot is essentially a love story between a man and a woman. The main character in the book is 27-year-old Katie Feldman, a scarred wife who managed to escape (hopefully forever) from her abusive husband. She opens up to no one and keeps her feelings bottled up, save the widowed husband whom she buys her groceries from. His name is Alex Wheatley, a man with two young children, and he starts to become genuinely interested in the young woman who recently started to buy his groceries. After all this information was stored in my head, the rest is predictable: it’s pretty obvious the direction this story is going in. However, Safe Haven, is much more complex than that. Sparks adds in a third character, Kevin Tierney, the abusive husband Katie finally managed to run away from. Not only is he a competent detective, but he is also hellbent on bringing Katie back
home to be his wife again. He’s psychotic and insane and perfect material for livening up the plot of Safe Haven. That’s not to say that the romantic bits between Katie and Alex were not interesting. In fact, their lively conversations almost always succeeded in engaging my interest, something a lot of romance novels have difficulty achieving. Their interactions are believable, and the audience finds themselves rooting for Katie to accept Alex’s love. Yet still, behind every single moment Katie spends with Alex, Kevin, the unknown predator, constantly lurks in the background of all the action. With Kevin, Sparks creates a continuous sense of danger and heart-racing suspense throughout the novel that enamors the reader to see the story through to the finish. Not only that, but every single line Sparks writes contributes to creating a wholesome and credible image for the plotline. Be it Katie’s daring escape from Kevin, or just the way Alex comes to recognize his feelings for Katie, the audience can almost feel the emotions behind each action. And by the climax of the book, the audience will mentally, or maybe even literally, be jumping out of their seats to cheer on Katie and Alex’s love. Extra kudos to Sparks when he reveals a plot twist that completely gives the novel a whole different level of depth to the narration.
Getting the Girls
GRAPHIC ILLUSTRATION BY SHANNON CHAI
With the new school year rolling in, everyone’s slate has been wiped clean, and all the bachelors and bachelorettes are out looking for prospective significant others. With the help of our good friends over at Cosmopolitan, I have found the top five traits that women look for in their male counterparts. 1. He Knows What He Wants Clearly, this means that a woman wants a man who is sure of himself, and is bold in his pursuit. So whenever you are deciding what to do on a weekend, take charge, and don’t hesitate or pretend to care about what your girlfriend wants to do. Demand that the date is wherever you want: that action film that has absolutely no plot whatsoever, but has lots of bullets and gore, the midnight release of the next Call of Duty game or your ingenious plan to order 100 cheeseburgers at McDonald’s with your friends who have questionable judgment. It really doesn’t matter how “lame” she says your idea is, because deep down, she’s loving that you know what you want. 2. He Has a Sunny Outlook Being optimistic is a winner for winning over ladies, so make sure to take opportunities whenever possible, by responding with a “yes” and a big grin to every question or chance you get. Regardless of how ridiculous the idea may seem to you, seeing the glass as half full will win you the sweetheart, so agree to shave your head, carry her books and go shopping with her. While some call it being “whipped,” deep down you know that you’re just being positive. Don’t believe people who say that nice guys finish last, because Wong Fu advocates niceness. 3. He’s Open to Changing for You For some strange reason, it seems that women love change. Good news for us, because as chivalry dictates, we usually end up covering the bill for the ladies. However after the “courting” period is over, feel free to gradually shift the responsibility of paying to your companion. Nothing will attract her more than knowing that you’re open to letting her shell out the green ones. 4. He’s Still a Little Mysterious Women have always loved mystery, so revealing as little about yourself is key. Whenever you receive a phone call from your lady friend, do not disclose where you are, what you are doing, what you are going to do or what you did today. Do not tell her if you have plans on Friday night, Saturday night or any night. Also, it seems to be particularly effective when you reject her incoming calls with the busy tone, it always leaves her wondering what you are up to. 5. He’s Responsible with Money A personal favorite, women love nothing more than someone who knows how to handle his own money. Therefore, it only makes sense not to splurge on gifts for your damsel, and instead, just buy her one of the crude humor cards at Rite Aid that have old people in bikinis on the cover. After all, in the end it’s really the thought that counts, and I’m sure every female can agree that money doesn’t buy love! Then to really show your responsibility with money, indulge yourself with the Starcraft 2 Battlechest, or that new pair of Nike Airs you’ve had your eye on, to show her that you are capable of saving your money for an extravagant reward! I’m sure that with all these precautions, wooing the cute lady that sits next to you will be only a step away. For disbelievers, I would like to remind everyone that these five traits were taken straight from Cosmopolitan, the authorities on male-female relations. As for the ladies, you are truly welcome. I know it is difficult to instill good habits in your male counterparts. There is no need to thank me for my creation of this generation of superior charming men. xoxo gossip boy, The Jake Lu
Fresh Perspectives Student immigrants talk about language, life and Lynbrook candyCHANG
“For education.” The words are matter-of-fact, but junior Karen Wong’s situation is far from mundane. A Hong Kong native, Wong came to the Bay Area last January, just in time to start her second semester of sophomore year at Lynbrook. She came from about 7,000 miles away— alone. Wong’s parents are still in Hong Kong, and she stays with her cousin; her older brother, who was in the same situation a few years earlier, now goes to UCSD. “For my father’s work.” The words are typical, but they do not describe the life that junior Akane Bessho leads. She moved with her family to the United States from Japan in 2007; years earlier, she had spent a small portion of her childhood in the Bay Area. Bessho’s impression of the place has not changed—the weather, she says, is still as good as ever. Wong and Bessho portray an often ignored portion of the Lynbrook population: students who recently emigrated from other countries. They come for all different kinds of reasons and situations, but with them they bring fresh perspectives to Lynbrook’s community. Language is perhaps the greatest barrier, and even Asian immigrants can only benefit so much from Lynbrook’s dominantely Asian demographics. “I couldn’t talk,” Wong says. “It took me two weeks to speak in a complete sentence.” Her English has improved dramatically, but Wong insists that she has a lot more to learn. She tries to make friends with mostly native English speakers, and doesn’t speak Cantonese or Chinese at school. Even at home, she rarely picks up a book written in her native language. Bessho has taken a different approach. She speaks Japanese at school and at home. Even now, she hesitates to speak English outside of her English Language Development (ELD) class. Her reasoning has to do with her wish to go back to Japan for college. To achieve that goal, Bessho continues to take Japanese outside of school twice a week. “Maybe I will be by myself, but I still want to go back.” At Lynbrook, Bessho and Wong are far from alone. There is a community of recent immigrants that Wong says has helped her adjust to life in America. “They’re more friendly because they understand what I’ve experienced,” says Wong. “But even if I have a group like that, I still have to make friends with English speakers, and learn the language, and go through all kinds of experiences.” Bessho also finds it considerably easier to make friends with those who speak her language.
Things have changed, however, since the end of middle school. “A lot of my friends are gone,” says Bessho. “They all moved back to Japan for high school.” Personal change is a slow but a sure process, and Wong is reminded of that every time she gets the opportunity to talk to her friends back in Hong Kong. “I don’t notice, but they do,” she says. “They say that I’m more American.” What is hard for Wong to explain is how she’s become more American. She thinks it’s little things—a change in the way she dresses, the fact that she’s come to like flip flops and dyed hair. “I just…know. There’s a big difference, but I can’t really explain it,” says Wong. “It’s a feeling you get from the way people act or talk. You can tell from the clothes they wear, or even their faces.” Bessho’s take on “American” is more of a mindset—she sees a clear distinction between how she thinks and how Japanese Americans think. Although Lynbrook has a similar culture due to its high percentage of Asians, she can still observe a difference in the way people express themselves. “Americans say what they want, and they are less reserved,” says Bessho. “I think I am a little more American now, because I changed my way of speaking. I show more emotion now.” From the outside, even the Lynbrook culture is seen differently. For some students, the academic atmosphere is stifling. But Wong finds the American school system liberating. In Hong Kong, students vie for the top in school-wide rankings, and finals decide students’ grades. “I have more freedom here,” Wong says. Bessho has found a different kind of freedom at Lynbrook. In Japan, the teachers move between classes; students remain with one classroom of peers for the whole year. “Here,” says Bessho, “It’s fun. I can make a lot of friends, not just from one class.” Different worldviews aside, there are some observations about Lynbrook that apparently stay the same no matter what country the observation comes from. Surprisingly, Lynbrook may fit its half-joking “Asian stereotype” of overachieving students even better than actual Asian schools. “Everyone at Lynbrook pushes themselves very hard,” says Wong. “I was in a top school in Hong Kong, but I think that [students at] Lynbrook [are] smarter.” Wong will stay in the United States to finish her education; Bessho will most likely return to Japan once she graduates from Lynbrook. If so, both will be away from their families—one far from home, one back in the land where she was born. And both will continue to represent the immigrants that have continued to arrive in America, their actions and observations containing the best of both worlds.
GRAPHIC BY ANTHONY DING
Students take advantage of ROP programs by
Similarly, Senior Maddi Holzworth takes advantage of the ROP courses offered by the district. Holzworth is taking Sports Medicine and drives to Fremont High School every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday to attend class. Students must make the commute to a different campus but get let out earlier on days to attend their third period class in time. After her experience in Sports Medicine, Holzworth now aspires to be a trainer or a physical therapist. “After I tore my ACL, I worked with the physical therapist and that was when I knew what I wanted to do; I wanted to help other people,” says Holzworth. Students in Sports Medicine learn about the anatomy of the body, the legal aspects of physical therapy, and what other fields and career possibilities there are in sports medicine. “At first I just kind of took it and I didn’t care what it was. Now I’m happy I got the opportunity to take a class in a subject I am actually interested in pursuing,” says Holzworth.
Engineering Technology may not sound like all fun and games, but Senior Jason Huang is having a blast. The actual class has no curriculum or textbook. Students tackle different aspects of engineering in units. In their first unit, Huang and his classmates constructed rockets from soda bottles. A typical day in the class consists of building rockets and, “doing a launch”. “Engineering Tech is pretty neat in that you get to do hands-on work. It’s a nice change from the typical Lynbrook style pencil-on-paper, fingers-on-calculator class. Think of it like this. In bio you get to dissect animals. That’s the hands-on part of bio. Engineering tech requires you to build, which is like the hands on part of math,” Huang explains. Though many students express interest in engineering, Huang acknowledges that there are few opportunities for high school students to experience the field. Huang is keeping an open mind. “I guess honestly I don’t have expectations, I’m open to anything Mr. Mosher has to teach,” he says.
GRAPHIC BY CLAY SONG
AdvancedVisual Communications, also known as Studio Art, is one of the most popular Regional Occupational Program (ROP) classes offered at Lynbrook. The class is taught by Lee Akamichi. Studio Art is not your typical art class. Junior Rachel Yung explains that students have to use their own ways of thinking to create a piece of art. The theme students are currently working with is “cell phones”. Some students have used cell phones to take photos, while others have incorporated cell phones into paintings and other works of art. Yung has taken traditional art classes before, and explains the differences Studio Art exhibits. “Studio Art is not as focused on techniques but more on who you are inside. Mr. Akamichi doesn’t just tell you ‘this is how you draw something’.” Instead, students are given time in class to work on their own ongoing, themed independent projects at their own pace. “[In Studio Art], there is more freedom, more self expression. As a result you are a more unique student. Nowadays, everyone can do art. We have to be creative to stand out,” Yung furthers. In the future, Yung would like to attend art school. Mr. Akamichi also helps aspiring students present their art by working with them to create their portfolios.
School is a great place; chances are given to students everyday to improve their performance and knowledge. However, motivation does not sit around waiting to be found, nor does it come find each person. Instead, it is created from each individual alone. A key to motivation is finding the right set of strategies that work. One strategy Dr. Brittany Stevens, school psychologist, encourages students to try is the “reward and capability” approach in which reaping rewards is not the only benefit, but students are also able to get a sense of realization that they can achieve more than before. Compensation after reaching a goal helps teenagers strive for what they want, bringing out the optimistic side of students. Junior Nina Kamath, FBLA national state officer, exercised the aptitude of reward and capability when preparing for a competitive evaluation exam.
“During the summer, I spent three weeks studying in my room every single hour of the day on this one topic, doing nothing else,” Kamath reflects upon how she got her title with a fulfilling smile, “And after I went there, and I did it, and I got the position, I came back and I was like, ‘whooh’, that’s the reward. The reward is also the end product of what you did after you accomplish it.” Kamath shows the effectiveness of setting a goal and accomplishing it through hard work. “I know I have the capability to a certain level,” she finishes. There was enough interest to explore motivation in students that a new program was created by lead mentor of the FUHSD, Josh Maisel, to enhance teaching methods. Now in its first year, Skillful Teacher is a voluntary program where teachers discuss techniques that motivate students to improve. Maisel sees the purpose as “improving teacher abilities to improve students.” When focusing on students, they have learned that “effective effort, which is commitment that you’re going to try something, putting in
time, focusing just on whatever you’re doing, using different strategies, resourcefulness and going outside yourself to find new strategies, and use of feedback” motivates each student. Teachers at Lynbrook are carrying out the knowledge gained from periodic six-week lessons to the classroom by initiating different ways to stimulate a positive mindset in the learning environments. History teacher Sarah Tiederman, one of the teachers involved in Maisel’s program, takes time to analyze each student and encourage them by giving new effective strategies they can benefit from. Tiederman motivates her students by saying, “It’s not just ‘you’re a good person’ or ‘I believe in you’, but [instead] here’s some concrete strategies you could use to help you to reach the goals that you set. That’s what I try to do today.” “There isn’t one thing that I know of that works for everyone,” guidance counselor Shana Howden says. Motivation varies per person, how people may use motivation is up to each individual.
GRAPHIC BY SPORTS SECTION
Girls’ tennis changes tracks to rebuild stronger foundation by
At 3:15 pm, the girls of the tennis team drop their rackets onto the muddy grass and begin to run. Their groans echo back as they start their two track laps and six sets of bleacher runs. Though the regimen sounds brutal, Varsity coach Albert Poon has his reasons. With nine new players on the team, he knows it will take a long time before anyone is ready for the rigor of matches. Poon says, “It’s tough because they have to adjust to the style of powerful tennis...they know they can only play at a slow rhythm, not the fast rhythm needed.” In addition to much physical training, the girls are also made to endure many remarks to motivate them to train harder and better. Despite the seemingly harsh criticism, Poon is beginning to see positive changes in the play of the girls. At the beginning of the season,
Poon said, “CCS is pretty much out of the question this year.” However, after seeing the girls win four out of five matches, he now feels that CCS is not entirely out of reach. In fact, he added a new match in order to meet the requirements for CCS qualifications. He says, “If we perform as we have the past two weeks, we will get a better chance at CCS as a whole team!” Unfortunately, the wins came with a price: junior Carrina Dong laments that the laughter and chatter that the girls were used to had to be cut short. Still, co-captain Tiffany Chang says that they are trying harder and hopes all the players will maintain the drive to win. Luckily, the lack of experience of the players is relieved by the warm team spirit. Chang says, “Unlike previous years, returning and new varsity players only occasionally interacted, all of the players are bonding more as a team this year...we constantly support each other through motivation and advice.”
Senior Aditi Chandra drives a forehand down the line.
The Karate Kid: Lynbrook Style Freshman Izumi Shimanouchi describes her experiences as a national karate competitor by
Bear scares help boost Hockey morale by
At the start of a new field hockey season, players get their game schedules, hear about team expectations and go over other sports formalities. They then receive bracelets with red, white and blue beads strung onto a leather band. These bracelets are called “bear scares”, and Lynbrook field hockey players have been receiving them each season for the past 30 years. Over time, bear scares have become a symbol of sisterhood that the team shares and a way to tie the present with the past. The tradition all started with Sandi Stober, who introduced field hockey to Lynbrook in 1970 and “brought in bear scares to, as she put it, keep evil spirits away, avoid injury, and have the Hockey Gods look over us,” says Linda Nichols (P.E department chair). The name “bear scare” comes from bracelets that were worn in Stober’s small town to keep away the stray bears. Each year players receive a new bracelet, with the bead colors set in a different order than the year before. The bear scares are tied on, and members of the team are required to wear them at all times, with the exception of official games. But these bracelets have become much more than just a cool accessory.“It makes me feel like I’m really part of the team,” says freshman Gaby Chan, JV
team member. “The other sports teams I’ve been on haven’t felt so much like a family.” This tradition allows all the hockey players to participate in something that Lynbrook Field Hockey has been doing for a very long time. “No matter what, no matter how a player is, they can still be participating at the same level as everyone else,” says senior Aliya Karimi. This year, an especially symbolic addition has been made to the leather bracelets. Next to the four red and white beads, there is now a single white heart bead. The white heart was also worn 10 years ago by Lynbrook’s Field Hockey team to support Sandi Stober during her fight against cancer. Nichols says, “She made it through that hockey season, and passed away in February.” The heart bead has been brought back this year in honor of Stober, who helped send Lynbrook to 10 CCS championships and coached for a total of 32 years. The bear scares are just another reminder that sports are more than just exercise. “It’s about the entire experience,” says Dumas. Junior Angela Hu echoes these sentiments as she says, “It’s like when you’re at practice running and everyone is cheering you on,” Hu says, “That’s kind of the way bear scares make me feel.” The Field Hockey team hopes to channel their teamwork into a successful season. Their next home game is tomorrow against Monta Vista.
The field hockey team raises their hands for a cheer, with their bear scares tied on their wrists.
orable moments. In El Salvador, where the Junior Pan American Championships took place, a coach approached her and said that he knew someone who owned a karate school with the same name as her. A few weeks after the championships, she received a mysterious package in the mail. Upon opening it, she pulled out a t-shirt that read, “Izumi Karate School.” Last month, she found an article regarding the Izumi Karate School in a Japanese karate magazine, which also included a picture of the school’s instructor. Izumi figured that the coach she met must have sent her the shirt. “I wear it occasionally, and I am always proud of wearing it. I’m planning to send the magazine to him soon,” she says. Unfortunately, at the moment, an ankle injury is temporarily preventing her from continuing her participation on the U.S. National team. However, her passion for martial arts and her devotion has undoubtedly played a major role in shaping who she is today. “Karate is like my shadow. Wherever I go and whatever I do, karate is always with me,” she concludes. PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY AUSTIN YU
While many students are diligently working to get an A on the next test, furiously typing to squeeze in that lastminute essay before the deadline, or planning on how to ask out that cute special someone, freshman Izumi Shimanouchi is hard at work preparing for the Junior World Championships for karate, balancing both her academic tasks and karate. It seems almost impossible to understand how a freshman can balance both keeping up with school work and other after school activities while busting out high energy moves. “Before going to high school, I went to karate class almost every day. However, due to a lot of homework and tests, it’s hard to spend as much time as before. So, I am currently trying to figure out how to balance my school work and karate training,” says Shimanouchi. That is athletic devotion at its epitome, keeping up with the intense training no matter what schedule conflicts occur and dealing with whatever sacrifices that have to be made. Her love for this martial art flourished from the very beginning, as soon as she turned five years old. At that time, Shimanouchi and her mother were undecided between her taking ballet classes or activities such as karate. However, Shimanouchi, being the active tomboy
that she was then, was glad to trade in ballet slippers for sparring equipment. After the first day at karate class, Shimanouchi was hooked. “The class was very fun, the teacher was really nice, and I was always excited to go to class every week,” she says. During the beginning classes, when Shimanouchi was first starting out, the overall training was mainly orientated around the basics: Kata (performance) and Kumite (sparring). Last year, she was placed on the United States National Team, and placed third in the Junior Pan American Championships for Kata. As a member of the U.S. National Team, there are things constantly on her mind, such as performing well and keeping up in school. “I did feel the pressure that I have to get a medal, for both me and the United States,” says Shimanouchi. But along the way, she is able to make friends from many foreign countries, such as those in South America, that she traveled to and broaden her horizons in many ways, karate and more. Traveling around the world of karate also has its mem-
LHS Football kicks off the new season to a great start by
The Lynbrook football team has a new reason to strut around the campus with their heads held high. The team started off the new season to a fantastic start with 3-0 record. They defeated Delmar 34-7 three weeks ago and James Lick high school 27-0 two weeks ago. At the time of the production of the Epic, the score of the game against Harker was not available. The two wins are a tremendous morale boost to the team, because it has struggled in the past. The football teammates believe that their undeniable chemistry and three to four years of experience have been a big part of the reason for their newly found success. “A lot of us are returning seniors [so] a lot of people have been playing for four years,” says senior Izzy Khalil, “Once you play with the same guys for four years, you build trust, and chemistry with each other.” This year’s team is composed of experienced athletes. All of the team is made up of juniors and seniors, therefore ensuring that most of them had at least three to four years of prior training and experience working with one another as well as the coaches. “We have many returning starters from last year‘s team, so we have a lot of experience and a lot of understanding of what we’re trying to do offensively and defensively,” explains Coach Ray Wright. This was a key contributing factor to their three recent wins because team members were able to showcase each other’s strengths without revealing any weaknesses. “Everyone’s a star player,” says Khalil. But some players really stood out. The football team’s offensive “weapons” are Wes Wang, with 147 yards per game, and Billy Zamagni, with 148 yards. Defensively, James Estrada stands out with 8.5 tackles per game. The football team has reason to be proud. In the past, Lynbrook’s football team was not taken seriously due to its poor records. But the football team is hoping to change that this year with their newly established bond and goals. “So far things have been going better than last year,” says Wright. For the football team which had seen losses as a regular occurrence, this is a big turnaround. But Wright believes that caution should be held, “We just have to be careful not to get overconfident, because that could spell bad things” he says. Although the last two games were wins, that trend is not guaranteed to last throughout the season. The team urges fans to come out and cheer, because it boosts the spirit, encouraging them to perform better. “Our real task is ahead, like Homecoming,” warns Khalil.
Girls’ waterpolo team receives scars, cuts and bruises from opposing teams by
Water splashing, legs kicking, hands grabbing other players, these water warriors battle each other in order to score the goals that will determine the victors. Girls’ water polo may sound like a safe sport, but in reality, it is not. These girls practice two hours a day, constantly swimming back and forth at full speed, while wrestling each other to fight for the ball. They learn how to be aggressive and control the pool by any means. These techniques used by Lynbrook’s girls’ water polo depend on speed and quick thinking. Water polo is a game of wit and physical fitness. Sophomore Emily Fong says, “The only way to win is to either outsmart them or to control them. When worst comes to worst, the latter is used in order to gain an advantage over the other team.” In order to gain the advantage girls will grab each other’s arms and legs, hair, and sometimes even suits. Junior Tiffani Lau recalls her experience, “This girl kept grabbing my suit and I felt it rip. But good thing I had two suits on!” The team hasn’t had many problems yet, but varsity player, senior Caroline Diehl, was injured when another girl kicked her hip, bruised it and kept her out of practice for a week. These fights during games often get violent but in order to protect the players, very strict rules are enforced by the referees. Many of the girls on the Lynbrook water polo team
have encountered countless injuries from the dangerous play associated with water polo, including sophomore Emily Fong. Fong was scratched so severely on her left forearm that two distinct scars from her games follow her everywhere she goes today. “Getting hurt makes me want to play harder and more aggressively. If girls are going to play dirty, we need to be ready,” Fong says. Although fights and violent acts are against the rules of water polo, it is very difficult to see what happens beneath the surface during games. JV sophomore Ashley Shak says that “girls play dirty when the referees aren’t looking. And sometimes we have horrible referees who don’t even call anything even though they see them. I dislike them.” The league of referees take turns alternating sports, which often leads to inexperienced referees. But for all crimes, there are punishments to follow. The cost of playing dirty is either being ejected from the game for 20 seconds, which leaves the team down one member, or if harsh enough, may result in being permanently kicked out of the game. “Ejections happen all the time so it isn’t uncommon for someone to get kicked out. It’s just rare to see someone gets [kicked out],” Lau says. The girls are off to a slow start due to their two previous losses, but they are determined to pick up the pace and bring back some victories. “Our team depends on speed, strategy, as well as endurance to win our games. We outswim other teams, but not all games are played fairly. That’s why it’s not fair and that’s why we need to work extra hard to even out the playing field,” Diehl says.
Sophomore Emily Fong displays her water polo scars on her left arm. In her experience, these scars are quite common, since many girls get away with foul play.
Money can’t buy you skills If I got a dollar for every time I heard somebody say that their child was Olympic bound, I would be on a yacht in the Bahamas partying with Jay-Z. Let me rephrase that: if I got a dollar for every time I saw a kid with an overly-enlarged ego in regards to his or her athletic ability, I would be able to afford club volleyball (which is 8,000 dollars a year by the way). One of the biggest flaws I see in American society is parents who believe that their kids are the best. I am not trying to be harsh, but they may have once been the best on their AYSO U-12 team or stood out in a well-funded and small club team, but in the big scheme of things, they are just another small fish in a really big pond. Recently my friends and I took a trip to Jaco, Costa Rica, a small beach town where the biggest concern of the day is how good the surf is. While on the beach we saw a 5-on-5 pick-up game of soccer. No expensive cleats, shin guards, uniforms or even goals for that matter, just 10 barefoot boys demonstrating pure skill for the game. These kids never had the opportunity for Olympic Development Program (ODP) or high-priced teams that tell you you’re good because they need your parents’ big bucks. On my own club field hockey team, I have seen too many girls with false dreams even bigger than their egos, all thanks to parents who pay thousands of dollars a year to see their daughters succeed in a few low-key tournaments. I could probably count on one hand the number of kids who get drafted into major leagues or Olympics from each expensive club team. What happens to the rest? After years and years of being told they would be on the cover of a Wheaties box, they end up being washed up jocks, the only memory they have of their glory days being their Cal-Hi “Sports Athlete of the Week” plaque. I think it is perfectly fine to play club just for the sake of improving, but that does not give anyone the right to an attitude fiercer than Tyra’s. People need to take a step back and consider the fact that they are not God’s gift to athletics. I guess I’m just trying to say that kids need to be thankful for what they have. They should realize that no amount of money will put them in the big leagues if they don’t put in the necessary hard work. Now, I’m not saying that every athlete is like this. There are plenty of kids at Lynbrook alone who deserve every bit of praise they receive for their athletic abilities. But when I look at the majority of athletes I come across, it is super easy for these kids to talk the talk, and sometimes even all the money in the world won’t help them walk the walk.
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Jumping on the (Silly) Bandwagon by
danielleLERNER and saumyaKUMAR
“What shape is yours?” This is the question in the back of the minds of kids all over the country. It refers to the popular “fashion accessory” known as Silly Bandz, stretchy, multi-colored rubber bands that are sold in different shapes (see flag). Lately, the fad once intended for small children has spread to teens across the United States as a way to express themselves while constantly trading with their peers. Dana Rothwein (10), top left, displays her bands while opening her locker at brunch. Some students, like Matthew Deng (11) at top right, choose to show off their collection more subtly by raising their hands
in class. Kaitlin Aquino (11), bottom left, also wears her Silly Bandz in class while completing a chemistry lab. After classes, the colorful bracelets also make their way into sports. At center, Annette Ma’s (9) various bands are on display as she winds up for a backhand at tennis practice. Kritika Sah (12), bottom right, displays her bracelets at the wheel as she prepares to leave campus after a long, tiring afternoon. As the day draws to a close, when students are ready to go home, their Silly Bandz go with them, providing a creative, fun, ever-changing way to accentuate their personalities.