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DECEMBER 2008 (vol. 15, no. 3) est. 1893 • K-12 college prep


M o n t h l y

inside Courtesy Shows Strength........3 Fashion Show Energy Builds!..4-6 Lab Assists Students.............20 Middle Schoolers Tour U.S.....21 Dragons Featured in Fall Play..22 Famous Drummer Visits........24 Pig Kissing Raises Funds.......25 Halloween Lab Entices...........27 Inserts in this issue: Dec. Home & School Connection, Open House Dates, Summer Forensics Institute

events Winter Concert

N e w s l e t t e r

f r o m

t h e

Ha r k e r

S c h o o l

Youth Doesn’t Keep Students from Exercising Vote Harker students were swept along in the torrent of recent election activities. Mock elections were held in the lower and middle schools, while upper school students had a variety of election and political activities to choose from.

MS Students Vote in Mock Election Students at Blackford took part in a mock election on Nov. 4 to decide who they would prefer to see elected president and vice president of the United States. The democratic ticket of senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden won by a landslide, collecting 293 votes to garner 67 percent of the popular vote among MS students.

US Students Make Their Voices Heard On Nov. 4, US students gathered at lunch to let their voices be heard in a mock election. A total of 244 students voted electronically, using computers set up to record the votes, declaring Democratic Party candidate Barack Obama the clear winner with 73.4 percent of the vote. Republican senator John McCain was a distant second behind Obama with 15.2 percent of the vote. Libertarian Bob Barr garnered 6.1 percent and Ralph Nader of the Peace and Freedom Party took 5.3 percent.

Our Youngest Electorates Practice for the Real Thing Gr. 1 students held a mock election, “because it’s never too early to start learning about how our government works, and just how important it is that everyone participates,” said teacher Cindy Proctor. “In all four homerooms, students discussed and listened to stories about the election process,” she noted. “Ballot items included cereal preference, whether red or green grapes were most popular, and favorite literar y character.” Stories and political activity continued on pages 10-11

Homecoming Happenings Save the date! Fri., Jan. 16, 2009 Blackford Theater 6 p.m. Featuring LS, MS, US orchestras, Jazz Band and Bel Canto E-mail to purchase tickets

Schools all over the country welcome fall with the revered tradition of Homecoming and Harker is no different! After a frenzied week of spirit activities on each campus, the entire community gathered at Foothill College to cheer on our football team as they squared off against Emery High School. The fun and games started off with a tug-of-war to determine the winning class in the spirit competition. After the four classes faced off before the game, a final round was won by the seniors at halftime, earning them bragging rights for the rest of the year. The combined choirs of all campuses sang the Harker anthem and our national anthem, led by Catherine Snider. Chris Florio’s US Jazz Band was on hand to rev up the crowd. Photos on page 15

n Varsity Cross Country Teams Win League See page 13 for full story n Math and Computer Accolades Accrue See page 24 for full story

editor’s note

important dates

annual giving

I had the pleasure of working with a group of our US students recently who had volunteered to help me at a fundraising dinner for the Wellness Community Silicon Valley (watch the next edition for a recap of that). Dozens of attendees and committee members commented on how poised, responsible, hardworking and helpful our students are. I couldn’t agree more!

n Mon., Dec. 22 – Winter Break Begins

Heartfelt Thanks!

Have a wonderful holiday season! –Pam Dickinson, Director Office of Communications

n Mon., Jan. 5 – Winter Break Ends, Classes Resume

UPCOMING SCHOOLWIDE EVENTS n Fri., Dec. 5, 9 p.m., San Jose Fairmont – Downbeat’s Holiday Tour ends every year in the lounge at the Fairmont Hotel. Come enjoy a cookie and some hot cocoa while you listen! n Tues., Dec. 16, 3 p.m. BKN Gym – Gr. 1 Holiday Show n Thurs., Dec, 18, 6:30 p.m. BKN Gym – Grades 2-3 Holiday Show With only two days to go before winter break the audience can count on a spirited performance! Singing, dancing and narration are featured in this endearing show, so don’t miss it!

Record Number of Siemens Semifinalists

awards Communication Office Scores a Trio of Awards The Office of Communications received two gold awards for fundraising projects and an award of distinction for our Web site. The gold awards were for the Nichols Hall gala video, found under Support Harker on the Capital Campaign page, and for the Philanthropy at Harker brochure. The awards were made by MarCom Awards, an international competition recognizing outstanding achievements by marketing and advertising professionals. The award of distinction was made by the Communicator Awards under the Education category for the new Harker Web site, www.harker. org. The Communicator Awards are sanctioned by the International Academy of the Visual Arts (


The annual giving logo appearing at the end of some of our stories indicates those activities or programs funded by Annual Giving.

The Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology has announced its 200809 semifinalists, and Harker has its highest number yet with a total of six. Congratulations to Rahul Ahuja, Dominique Dabija, Elena Madan, Vikram Nathan, Nikhil Raghuram and Andrew Stanek, all Gr. 12. Harker had the highest percentage of semifinalists from among all the schools in California, with twice the number per class size as the second and third schools. Continued on page 24

March 21, 2009 Nichols Hall, Saratoga Campus Registration Deadline: Dec. 5 Attention all MS and US student researchers! If you conducted research during an internship or for a class project, we would like you to share your findings in a paper or poster presentation at the fourth annual Harker Research Symposium. This year’s symposium, titled “New Frontiers,” will showcase the impact and implications of biotechnology research and will be attended by academic and industry representatives as well as our own Harker community. US students should contact science department chair Anita Chetty for registration information. MS students can discuss their involvement with their science teachers.

traffic Be Neighborly Just another reminder that parents dropping off and picking up their students must avoid using Rebecca Drive as a shortcut. Neighbors have complained about Harker traffic on this street, so please be neighborly and use Blackford Avenue instead.

corrections n The November edition of Harker News, in the article titled “DVD Assists Japanese Travelers,” noted two DVDs were produced in preparation for the trip to Tamagawa, but only one DVD (“A Day in the Life of a Harker Third Grader”) has been sent and third graders do not travel to Tamagawa. The goal of the DVDs is to provide cultural exchanges for Gr. 2 and 3, not to prepare for the spring visit to Japan. Finally, one of the classes shown in the DVD was misidentified as Kathleen Ferretti’s math class, when in fact the class shown was Stephanie Woolsey’s math class in which Ferretti was helping students review a homework assignment. Harker News regrets the errors. n The November Harker News stated that the Gr. 2 swim party was at the Saratoga pool, when it was actually at the Bucknall pool, and we omitted mentioning all the hard work that Carol Whitman (Alyssa) put in together with Tina Mayer (Pumpkin) in organizing this wonderful event! Harker News regrets the error and makes every attempt to publish correct information. Harker News — December 08



A Brief Note on Courtesy and What We Can Learn from our Students

Just the other day I was walking down the hall when I encountered a longtime employee putting boxes away in cupboards. I said hello – wasn’t that nice of me? – and she responded with a pleasant hello in return. A student, however, was also walking by, and said something to the employee herself. (The employee was not a teacher, by the way, and does not work with the students on a regular basis.) “Excuse me,” I said – she must have been talking to me, right? Tanya Schmidt ‘08 and Nikoloff at Homecoming

“Oh, I was talking to Ms. Y.” Hmmm. This nice young lady actually knew the employee’s name. “Ms. Y, do you need any help with those boxes? They look heavy.”

I rightfully felt like a heel. I didn’t offer help, and I was walking by. Oh, perhaps I was too busy – off to some important meeting, you know. And besides, she didn’t ask for help, right? I did say hello, didn’t I? When Buddha’s disciples asked him what makes him different, he replied, “I am awake.” I am not necessarily saying the young lady is Buddhalike, but she clearly was more awake – more aware of others in her surroundings – than I was.

I am proud of the daily humanity we show each other just because each of us has a stake in what kind of community we are.

In a school with Siemens semifinalists, AP scholars, state volleyball champions and J8 representatives, sometimes small victories go unnoticed. Don’t get me wrong, I cherish the large victories – they bring honor to the entire community, and the collective efforts to achieve them are enormous. But I can’t help thinking about the thousand daily acts of courtesy, kindness, civility and thoughtfulness that happen without any press coverage, administrative notice, or even receipt of a grade.

I don’t know exactly when it happens, but there is a point when we stop learning from the young people around us. We are the educators after all, aren’t we? I am very proud of the great accomplishments of our students, teachers and staff, and families. But I am also proud of the daily humanity we show each other just because each of us has a stake in what kind of community we are. I could have stopped the young lady, gotten her name and commended her. I could have helped Ms. Y anyway. No doubt I was in too much of a hurry for all that. It only hit me later how kind, sincere and thoughtful that young lady was during a brief transaction away from the glare of publicity or college entrance examinations.

“OK,” said the student, who went on her way.

The etymology of “courtesy” will tell you that the word relates to the behavior expected in the royal courts of monarchies. Courtesy can be taught and learned. Apparently it can be unlearned, too, when we are too busy to notice those around us. Thankfully there are teachers everywhere, of all ages, who are patient with slow learners like me who are moving way too fast.

Well, perhaps I am making too much of the exchange, but I thought it was remarkable. Not only did the student know the employee’s name, but she took it upon herself to notice the employee’s work and offer help while on her way to her next class.

–Christopher Nikoloff, Head of School

“No thank you,” responded Ms. Y. “They aren’t as heavy as they look, and I do this all the time.”

Junior Mentoring Program Rewards Students and Mentors Harker’s Junior Mentoring program is a unique opportunity for students to begin meeting adults in the business world. For the past several years, professionals have contributed their time, coming to campus and meeting students at their workplaces, to help orient juniors both to specific professions and to workplaces in general.

Mentors gain from the interchange, as well. B.V. Jagadeesh, of the Application Networking Group in San Jose, said, “I was even more impressed by how each student articulated what they want to learn in different aspects of the business. I am having great fun and I look forward to the next two sessions.”

From psychologists to engineering professionals, mentors have contributed to the perspective of juniors as they reach decision-making time in their high school years. In return, professionals are exposed to the curiosity of young people, have an opportunity to talk about their professions to a fresh audience and maybe influence a student’s future.

James Kastelman, M.D. (Michaela, Gr. 8 and David, Gr. 12) summed up his experience as a mentor: “I was very impressed with the energy and enthusiasm of the students and their interest in discussing their experiences after the session. Great kids!”

Past participants speak highly of the program. “The mentoring session was a fantastic opportunity to get an inside look at a future career,” said Senan Ebrahim ’08. “I shadowed a doctor who allowed me to watch the diagnoses of several patients. I learned that a huge part of the medical field was interacting with patients as diverse as an 80year-old woman with lung cancer and a talkative young businessman with back problems.” Ruchi Srivastava ’08 said meeting with his mentor “stirred my interest in psychology/psychiatry further. Overall, it was definitely a good experience.”

Harker News — December 08

The Harker Junior Mentoring Program seeks Harker parents and alumni as mentors. Professionals work with juniors interested in their fields in a day-long session, including a same-day workplace visit. Then, in the spring, mentors join students for a lunch at Harker. If you would like to volunteer, please contact Danielle Wood-Hammond, director of mentoring & alumni volunteers, at 408.345.9264 or e-mail her at




11 a.m. Luncheon Fashion Show with Showcase Drawing n 5:30 p.m. Dinner Gala with Fashion Show, Live Auction, Showcase Drawing and Dancing


Proceeds from Freeze Frame benefit the Harker Scholarship Fund, faculty professional development, and the Capital Improvement Fund for the construction of the new library at the upper school campus.

fashions by


Framing the Runway for 2009!



Davis Family* Lon & Mary Allan Club Auto Sport Santana Row* Air Systems Inc.* Marcia & Chris Riedel – Hunter Labs* Sutardja Family Krish & Nina Panu Tushar & Reshma Davé Heritage Bank of Commerce* Sathaye Family Foundation* Jaja Hsuan Jones – Triple J Design C. Denise Brodersen, CFP® – UBS Financial Ser vices, Inc. Rector Porsche – Audi HAIR DESIGN & MAKEUP

James Craig Hair Color & Design PHOTOGRAPHY

Genesis Photography * Six-year sponsors, to whom we are most grateful! Sponsorship opportunities are still available; visit the Freeze Frame Web site to learn more about sponsor benefits!


Freeze Frame model hopefuls turned out in full force for tryouts. On Nov. 9 the MS MPR was filled with excitement as students, alumni and parents took a turn down the “catwalk.” Many thanks to our independent panel of judges: Sandy Baker won the national aerobics championship in 1998, and is now an artistic judge for aerobic gymnastics and a Junior League fashion show model. Harumi Rodriguez played a major role in Japan’s premier production of “Grease.” She modeled with her son in the Bellarmine fashion show and has worked the past three Harker fashion shows and many other high school fashion shows. Kristie Driscoll is a sustaining member of the Junior League of San Jose and is a model for the Junior League, Macy’s and Azadeh. She was also a co-chair of the Junior League 2002 fashion show event sponsored by Nordstrom.

Craig Stanley is a co-owner of James Craig Haircolor & Design, which has been named “Best Haircolor Salon in Silicon Valley” for the last five years by San Jose Magazine’s Readers Survey contest. Stanley (along with co-owner Robert James) recently opened Academy for Salon Professionals, Northern California’s premiere training center for cosmetology and esthetics.

Both photos from Global Grooves 2008




Karl Kuehn, K-Gr. 8 dance teacher, provided a great opportunity for prospective models to get a head start by giving helpful tips during the Model Workshop on Nov. 2. Informative and fun, a good time was had by all.

Robin Pendergraft is a community volunteer with various organizations, including the Junior League of San Jose, March of Dimes, San Jose Ballet and the past president of a women’s investment club. She’s been a model for Macy’s, Junior League of San Jose and couture fashions by Azadeh. The Freeze Frame co-chairs and models committee members extend a warm “thank you” to everyone who tried out. Here is the list of models selected for this year’s show: LS Models: Julia Amick, Nicole Chang, Siddharth Chari, Priyanka Chilukuri, Eesha Chona, Helena Dworak, Remi Edvalson, Ashley Gauba, Mahika Halepete, Jennifer Hayashi, Alexandra Janssen, Devin Keller, Haley Keller, Sasha Kipnis, Jai Mehra, Anooshree Sengupta, Grant Smith, Kayvon Solaimanpour, Jin Jin Tuan

VOLUNTEERING: Sue Prutton – PROGRAM AD SALES: Trish Tobin – SPONSORSHIPS: Naren Nayak – DONATIONS: Showcases - Susan Ellenberg – Live Auction - Chris King – WEB SITE: – see Fashion Show under “Support Harker” tab INFO LINE: 408.345.0115 • E-MAIL:

MS Models: Alyssa Amick, Michael Amick, Christina Andrus, Nisha Bhikha, Nathan Boone, Anika Gupta, Jacqueline Jordan, Michaela Continued on next page Harker News — December 08

Kastelman, Izabella Kipnis, Jennifer LaBruna, Connie Li, David Lindars, Maneesha Panja, Nikhil Panu, Vedant Thyagaraj, Sheridan Tobin, Molly Wolfe, Stanley Xie US Models: Priya Banerjee, Priya Bhikha, Clara Blickenstaff, Emily Carr, Tiffany Chang, Anteneh Daniel, Kwhaab Dave, Shubha Guha, Anshul Gupta, Daniel Hsu, Winny Huang, Justin Iso, Mahum Jamal, Margaret Krackeler, Avanika Krishnaswamy, Nicole Lindars, Clara Lyashevsky, Sean Martin, Alisha Mayor, Michelle Moss, Tara Panu, Michael Prutton, Rishi Ravuri, Amaresh Shukla, Denzil Sikka, Naomi So, Michelle Vu, Kevin Wang, Amanda Wong, Noel Witcosky, Rebecca Yanovsky Faculty and Staff Models: Enni Chen, Joe Connolly, Kim Coulter, Keiko Irino, Terence Jackson, Karl Kuehn, Greg Lawson, Jim McGovern, Andrea Milius, Dan Molin, Katie Molin

Freeze the Opportunity … Become an Advertiser! The Freeze Frame program guide is a cost-effective method of reaching a valuable demographic – the Harker community! Harker families love to support businesses that support Harker, so place your ad and let the Harker community know about your business and services. Ads aren’t just for businesses! The Freeze Frame program guide is a fun way to thank teachers and staff, congratulate your child for special achievements (or for just being a great kid), recognize sports teams or specialty groups, and more! Advertising forms and details can be found at the fashion show Web site at Support Harker>Fashion Show>Forms, or contact Trish Tobin at

n A heartfelt THANKS to our newest group of advertisers: Mary Allan, Alain Pinel Realtors; Executive Homes Realty; CH Premier Jewelers; Seema’s Tutoring Center; Alan Everett, D.D.S., Inc.; Rabello’s Custom Cabinets; Nishimura Dental Group; Craig Creasman, M.D.; David Constant, D.D.S.; Jespersen & Jespersen, D.D.S., Inc.; Susanne Bohl, Realtor – Coldwell Banker; Involuntarily Committed Forever (ICF) Book Club; DeMattei Construction; The Travel Shoppe – Margie Weidert.

n Send us your leads! If you have some good contacts but would rather not do the asking, let us know! Send us the names and contact information for businesses you use on a regular basis and someone from the program advertising committee will call to see if they might be interested in advertising. Harker News — December 08

Simon Heslop

Parent and Alumni Models: Roger Bhikha, Cynthia D’Agosta, Paul Lindars, Andrea Nott, Kavitha Prabhu, Abha Shukla, Karunakar (SK) Singamreddy, Nina Smith, Roni Wolfe

Going Once, Going Twice… Gone in a FLASH! The Live Auction is always a fun part of the annual fashion show’s evening dinner gala. We’ll be adding more items soon, so watch for an auction update in next month’s Harker News! Do you have a beach vacation home or other fun getaway place? How about a private jet that you can offer for a weekend vacation? If so, please consider making a donation to the Live Auction. We are looking for packages to make the Live Auction more exciting than ever! If you would like to make a donation, or if you would like to help with procurement, please contact Chris King at

Strike a Pose at Freeze Frame: n Be a Host or Hostess! Juniors and seniors can get into the Freeze Frame of mind by volunteering to serve as hosts and hostesses at this year’s show. Selling showcase tickets in style, hosts and hostesses play a key (and elegant!) role in the success of the fashion show. If you’re interested in participating, please contact Ambreen Lakhani at

n Call for Table Captains Organize the Freeze Frame reservations of two tables (20 friends or grade/club groupings) and you’ll be entered into a special drawing for Table Captains! Rounding up groups of fun folks is easy – and you’ll avoid table-seating roulette! Contact Mary Malysz for more information at




Supplied by Christine Davis

Live Auction Flashback from Cabo San Lucas!

n Showcases: Something for Everyone The Freeze Frame showcases are coming together in spectacular style. We’re thrilled to have Santana Row once again provide a fantastic shopping showcase featuring the best of The Row. The Picture Perfect Adult Getaway will feature outrageous weekend wheels from The Silicon Valley Auto Group teamed with some upscale R&R opportunities. This showcase will be designed by Dennis Baldwin Interiors, marking the fourth year he has lent his considerable design talents to the Harker Fashion Show. More showcase details will be coming your way soon.

n Reserve Your Seat! It’s shaping up to be another tremendous show you won’t want to miss. Look for this year’s fashion show invitations in the mail by early January. You can make your reservations online for lunch and dinner tables on Jan. 5, 2009 at

Having already experienced the amazing vacation once, Lisa Dorrian (Evan, Gr. 4) was determined to be the winning bidder again last year when she saw the Davis family’s (John, Christine and Cole, Gr. 11) donation of a week at their stunning vacation home in Cabo San Lucas. Dorrian put it simply: “The Davis’ elegant, one-of-a-kind home offered more than any fivestar hotel. With every luxury and amenity at our fingertips, and a social yet private oceanfront location boasting a magnificent view of Cabo’s famous ‘Land’s End’ – we just couldn’t have asked for more.” Dorrian’s family enjoyed activities such as jet skiing, horseback riding, snorkeling and parasailing as well as dining at a variety of wonderful restaurants. “Christine was a joy to work with,” said Dorrian. “She was responsive, flexible and thorough – even making sure we had a local contact to help with anything we needed during our trip. She truly cared that our trip exceeded our expectations.” You won’t want to miss what exciting packages are on the auction block this year at Freeze Frame.

n Slide Show Review A slide show recap of Harker’s 2008 fashion show can now be viewed at, for those who wish to relive last year’s memories or ready themselves for the upcoming fashion show on Feb. 20, 2009. To see the slide show, simply find the “Support Harker” button on the top menu bar on the home page and click “Fashion Show 2009” on the drop-down menu.


Join the Freeze Frame team! There’s still time to become part of the Freeze Frame team – join us at our Dec. 11 meeting or visit the Freeze Frame Web site for more information. Executive Team: Betsy Lindars Sponsorship & Finance

Next meeting: Thurs., Dec. 11, 2008

Jennifer McClenon
 Promotion & Showcase

n n n n n

Tamra Amick Event Production

Blackford MPR, 8 a.m. social; 8:30 a.m. start

Committee Information Sponsorships Program Advertising Showcase Donation Drawing and more!


Many Thanks to All for Making “Ye Olde Family Picnic” the Best One Yet! Committee Volunteers: Michelle Anderson, Fanny Armstrong, Kenji Armstrong, Gia Audebert, Fran Axelrad, Anne-Marie Baz, Connie Beck, Tina Benitez, Padmasri Bhetananbhotla, Vanessa Bullman, Christine Camara, Maneesha Chandra, Yu-Tze Chang, Faustina Chen, May Chen, Marie Cheng, Chi-Pei Cherny, Heekyung Cho, Diann Chung, Joe Chung, Jyoti Dalal, Debbie Dellar, Indira Dhore, Laura Dominguez, Chris Douglas, Suneetha Durgumahanathi, Sara Fitzgerald, Melinda Gonzales, Jeanette Hajjar, Deepali Halepete, Ellen Harris, Denise Hayashi, Rutger Heymann, Deb Hirota, Keith Hirota, Mary Holaday, Joan Howard, Peiling Hsieh, Min Hui, Deepa Iyenger, Kalapana Jain, Rachana Jain, Shalini Jain, Lei Jin, Anupama Kalidindi, Grover Kam, Vidya Kamat, Takako Khojasteh, Jean Kieling Roter, Incha Kim, Chris King, Yulia Korobko, Annie Ku, Celeste Kumar, Lalitha Kumar, Jean Kung, Vidya Lakshmi, Agnes Lam, Cindy Liu, Lisa Lu, Tong Luo, Ken Manaster, Ashley Martin, Michelle Maxey, Jennifer McClenon, Krishna Meka, Juana Mendiola, Ruth Mohanram, Katie Molin, Gita Monda, Tina Najibi, Rekha Nandkumar, Arati Navar, Ann Nguyen, Maria Nguyen, Simona Nistor, Angela Nolan, Vickie Pagnon, Sima Patel, Yelena Piskun, Steve Polzin, Simon Prutton, Madhu Raghupatruni, Kathy Richmond, Emilie Robb, Jean Roter, Ron Saxon, Bob Schick, Joanne Schwartz, Robert Schwartz, Ingrid Semenza, Malathy Sethuraman, Mona Shah, May Sheng, Abha Shukla, Carmela Sidrauski, Choolye Sim, Grace So, Farah Subedar, Jenny Sun, Michael Swanson, Tricia Swanson, Yvonne Szu, Jonie Takatsuji, Kavita Tankha, Grace Thompson, Yuko Tiernan, Neshi Tiwari, Sevhi Torunoglu, Laura van den Dries, Allison Vaughan, Heather Wardenburg, Paulina Wegrowicz, Aimei Wei, Marcos Woehrman, Roni Wolfe, Regina Wong, Danielle Wood-Hammond, Toni Woodruff, Ingrid Wu, Bella Yanovsky, Marianna Yanovsky, Janet Yohannan, Jordan Yohannan, Mei-Chen Yu, Jin Zhou, Julianne Zhu, Vicki Zou. Student Volunteers: Jeremiah Anderson, Emily Carr, Guillaume Delepine, Maike Greve, Samuel Gurevich, Savi Joshi, Allison Kiang, Jason Peetz, Jordan Peetz, Christophe Pellissier, Stephan Pellissier, Shanna Polzin, Michael Prutton, Reena Sandhu, Kevin Saxon, Scott Underwood, Zoe Woehrman, Darius Yohannan. 6

Harker News — December 08



Summer is Simmering – Watch for More! New US 2009 Summer Forensics The summer office is busy finishing up details on this summer’s offerings, Institute Announced so watch for more in the coming months. Some news of note: n New Summer Forensics Institute – see this page. n Swim Program – New! We’re adding classes for age 3-5 and adult! n New Summer Recap e-newsletter – see the Web site for recaps of some of last year’s programs! n 2009 Summer Program enrollment begins Jan. 26. Also, keep checking the Web site for fun games for the kids, and news and updates about programs. Plan to have a Harker summer!

National Guard Sends Thanks to Campers

A High School Forensics Institute will be held this summer, from July 27 to August 7. Open to any student currently enrolled in high school, the institute will offer eight courses with limited enrollment. “We are able to promise a ratio of one staff member to six students regardless of event or experience level,” said US debate and public speaking teacher Carol Green. Green said the new program was conceived to give students a local alternative to other debate camps. “There was a demand both at Harker and within the local community for a summer program that would prepare students for academic and competitive communication success,” she said. “Many programs are located out of state or are expensive or require students to be away from home for a long period of time.” The program is also scheduled to ensure that students will be able to devote enough time to their other Harker summer courses. Additionally, nationallevel coaches and previous debate competitors will be included in the staff.

Harker’s Summer Camp organizers received a Certificate of Appreciation from the California National Guard Child and Youth Program for their “We want to provide a fun, informal learning environment where students participation in the 2008 California National Guard can advance their skills while making friends with other competitors in the Summer Campership Program. The community,” Green said. Watch for more details, and we expect this to fill program is run by the National Military up early, so plan to register Jan. 26 when registration opens! Family Association, Inc., in Alexandria, Va., and while any child who is a military dependent child can apply, priority is given to those who have a parent/ guardian or family household member overseas. Camps are held around California, and two children attended Harker camps. The certificate finishes, “Thank you for making a difference in the lives of our National Guard children and their families.” In return, the Harker community says, “You’re welcome, and thank you to all our men and women in uniform.”

Harker News — December 08




PDC Gathers for Annual Lunch In November, Head of School Chris Nikoloff welcomed members of the Parent Development Council in the rotunda of Nichols Hall for their annual holiday luncheon. The council members met to discuss the results of the September Phone-a-thon and to hear plans for the remainder of the school year.



Nan Nielsen, Director of Admission and Financial Aid Q. How did you discover your passion for education? One of my favorite teachers told me while I was in high school that he thought I would make a good teacher. I always loved learning, myself, and I enjoyed school. I like to talk, and, considering my teacher’s comments, I decided I wanted to teach. Once I was in the classroom, I realized that teaching was exactly what I wanted to do. There is a tremendous amount of satisfaction for me in guiding students to understand and master new things. Q. Most important thing you learned from your parents? To care about others’ ideas and feelings. To give of myself – to help others. Q. Fondest childhood memory? Horseback riding lessons…crunchy fall apples with a good book…my grandma and her cookie jar.


We are so grateful to our families for supporting Harker via the Annual Giving Campaign. We realize that we are in uncertain economic times, and the fact that our families are making Harker their philanthropic priority means a lot to us. The education of our students is, if anything, more important than ever in our rapidly changing world. We are educating future leaders who will be prepared to deal with ever more complex issues, and the contributions of our families are helping to sustain an exceptional educational experience.

Thank you for your support!

Q. Most special to you about Harker? The people – my friends and colleagues. I’ve worked here for over 26 years, and the people who have been part of my life over those years, some for a short time, some for all 26 years, have enriched my life beyond measure. Q. What’s still on your list of things to do in your lifetime? Do a “century” bicycle ride, do a bike tour of New England in the fall and see more of the U.S., Canada and Europe.

Supplied by Nan Nielsen


Q. Most memorable moment working with students? That “ah-ha!” moment when you see a student suddenly “get” something – that moment of understanding that turns a light on inside the student.

Q. Favorite spare time activity? Reading and biking. Q. Next dream vacation spot? Canadian Rockies and Hawaii. Q. Book you’re currently reading? Re-reading Tom Clancy’s “Patriot Games.” Q. Favorite TV show? “Ghost Whisperer.” Q. Favorite splurge? Dinner in a nice restaurant. Q. Favorite road trip music? Country. Q. Share a little known fact about yourself. I organized a horseback riding program for P.E. credit at my college. Harker News — December 08



Staff Updates

Volunteer for the Harker Archives

n Welcome to Tyeshia Brown, the new

We are looking for several parent volunteers who love both history and Harker and would like to help us enhance the archives program.

administrative assistant for student affairs. Brown started in late October. If you have not already met her, please stop by the Shah office if you are passing through and introduce yourself!

Responsibility for the school archives resides in the library department. Susan Smith, the US campus librarian, supervises our part-time professional archivist, Alex Lux. In addition, Pam Dickinson, director of the Office of Communications and Terry Walsh, director of alumni, are heavily involved with the archives as well.

the Bucknall kitchen, and wife, Maritza, were married Sept. 20 in San Jose. Best wishes from all three campuses!

At our last archive meeting, we discussed the need for more hands to help with current projects. Realizing that the hands we need would have to be attached to unpaid (but highly regarded) volunteers, we set out to create a new volunteer opportunity for our history-loving parents.

n We’re delighted to an-

Our goal is to collect a group of people who would be interested in taking on a specific task and working with the department responsible for that task. The Friends of the Harker School Archives proudly offers volunteer opportunities in the following areas:

nounce that Rebecca McCartney joined the Harker Office of Communications this fall to fill our part-time designer opening. McCartney has a B.A. in design and an M.A. in museum studies, worked as an exhibit graphic designer at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the California Academy of Sciences, and volunteers with Wildlife Conservation Network (

n Work with the library department: interview selected alumni and other important people; troll search engines for Harker memorabilia; “Fetch” said memorabilia, investigating authenticity, cost, etc.; copy documents onto archival paper; verify archival arrangement that agrees with the Finding Aids (inventory); and investigate intra-Harker donated materials (“What’s the story behind the giant tennis balls?”).

n Mandy Barber will join the MS faculty to teach expository writing for the remainder of the second quarter. Barber has a B.A. in English and has taught since 1969. She is familiar with the campus, having both substituted in regular classes and taught in Harker’s summer program. Please join us in warmly welcoming her back to our campus!

n Work with the alumni program: Photo sort and identify students’ names and years at Harker; and sort publications for class binders and discard extra copies.

n Work with the Office of Communications: scan and electronically tag

n Newly-arrived basketball coach-in-residence

(preferably in Photoshop) photos with pertinent information.

Supplied by The Harker School Archives

Andreas Barthel came to Harker from Germany in late October to assist the girls’ and boys’ basketball teams during the winter. An avid basketball player since the age of 13, Barthel has played professional basketball in Germany and has coached three men’s teams from ages 18 to 20. Also a physiotherapist, he will be helping with the stretching and conditioning portions of the girls’ practices. Welcome!

Harker Hosts Web Site Conference In early November Harker hosted more than 50 representatives from schools throughout the state for an all-day Finalsite University West conference to share ideas and best practices, and learn about the latest updates in educational software and technology. The event, organized by the Office of Communications, was held in Nichols Hall on the US campus and included presentations, breakout sessions and roundtable discussions. Finalsite, a Web design and software provider for independent schools and organizations, including Harker, currently serves nearly 700 schools and educational organizations of all types worldwide.

Rob DiMartino

Supplied by Carlos Madrigal

n Carlos Madrigal, of

Harker News — December 08

If you have any interest in one of these described activities, please e-mail these contacts: library department: Susan Smith,; Office of Communications: Theresa Halol,; alumni: Terry Walsh, Our school’s founding parents, Catherine Harker and Frank Cramer, would be most pleased were you to join us in maintaining and expanding what is known as the history of The Harker School. –Enid Davis, Library Director

BrainPop Service Upgraded for All Due to popular demand, Harker recently upgraded its subscription to BrainPop, an online service that features animated shorts and activities on a wide variety of topics. The service caters to students in K-Gr. 12 and serves thousands of schools worldwide, and also contains tips and best practices for teachers. BrainPop movies featured during the last month centered on themes such as the general election, which spotlighted movies about presidential elections, caucuses, voting and political parties. Hispanic heritage was also a featured theme, showing movies about Latin music, the Mexican Revolution and the Mexican-American War. MS students can access BrainPop independently during school hours by logging in at LS students may use the library to access BrainPop on their own free time under school supervision. Students can acquire the login and password by asking their teachers.




Charged Atmosphere at Annual Election Night Event The annual Pizza and Politics night sponsored by the Junior State of America (JSA) Harker chapter was a bit more charged than usual, given the importance of the presidential election. Dan Hudkins, JSA advisor, oversaw activities in the fresh décor of the Bistro. JSA member Vinay Kumar, Gr. 11, noted, “Pizza and Politics has always been a big event for the Harker JSA chapter. This year’s event had a great turnout as many students came to watch the election results live. Mr. Hudkins helped foster some insightful discussion about the election and the students passionately cheered as various results were announced for Senator Obama and Senator McCain.“

Student Holds Statewide Role in Political Convention

“My job consists of working with the hotel while managing and ensuring that the convention operates smoothly,” Kumar said in an interview before the event. “I work in the convention department along with Erica Woolsey, Gr. 10, and assist the convention coordinator. Approximately one thousand students from all over Northern California attend these conventions and I regulate the rooms and movement of the students throughout the convention.” This is Kumar’s third year in JSA and the project is a logical next step in his path of responsibility. “I have had situations in the past where a large number of people have counted on me, but not to the extent of this convention.” Fortunately, “the JSA cabinet really works as a team,” he added. There have been challenges. “Working with the hotel to determine the movement of the students has been difficult,” he said. “The size of the group poses a challenge and the transformation of some rooms is somewhat difficult. However, I think that the most demanding part of this job will be on the day of the convention as I will be moving around and directing various people while trying to make sure that the convention is running on schedule.”

The most rewarding part of this job is seeing other students become interested in politics after coming to the convention.

Kumar said the stress was well worth the effort. “I’ve learned so much through working with the convention department and think that all the time and effort that is put in by students is truly demonstrated at the convention itself,” he noted. “The fact that the state cabinet members are close and help each other makes the project easier and more fun.” Along with managing the convention experience for a thousand visitors, Kumar is in the trenches regularly. “Everyone in the JSA state cabinet has to work outside of their job titles to keep the organization running,“ said Kumar. “I’ve been designing the covers of the agendas for various conventions and making flyers distributed by the Northern California JSA. I also help with the expansion program by making calls to developing JSA chapters in the Northern California region.” In the long run, the payoff is there for Kumar. “The most rewarding part of this job is seeing other students become interested in politics after coming to the convention,” said Kumar. “It is a great feeling when you see students who previously had no interest in politics become active participants in the various debates and thought talks at the convention.” 10

Junior Politicians Debate Electoral College Value Harker sent four JSA members to Berkeley for a one-day Bay Area convention, including chapter president Mahum Jamal, Gr. 11. Jamal reported that Christopher Eckardt, Gr. 11, debated ‘con’ on the resolution: Resolved, that the Electoral College be abolished. Erica Woolsey, Gr. 10, was involved in managing some aspects of the event with the statewide organizers. Jamal made two subsequent speeches which were “essentially mini-arguments that students can interject during a debate,” she noted.

Generally, at these one-day conventions we attend debates and discussions that cover a range of topics, in this case, all pertaining to the upcoming election.

JSA held their Fall State 2008 convention, “From Promises to Policy: Making the Next Move,” at the Santa Clara Marriott at the end of November, and Vinay Kumar, Gr. 11, was instrumental in making the event happen. His job? Director of logistics for the Northern California JSA.

“Generally at these one-day conventions, we attend debates and discussions that cover a range of topics, in this case, all pertaining to the upcoming election,” explained Jamal. “This time, we had a ver y exciting opportunity to speak with a media panel. The panel consisted of a reporter from the Chronicle, a gentleman from KPIX and another fellow from a TV station. They answered questions posed by the PR director of JSA (a student herself) about how media plays a role in politics, and similar questions. “We were also given the opportunity to listen to Maria Echaveste, co-founder of a strategic and policy consulting group and a former senior White House and U.S. Department of Labor official, currently a corporate attorney and a community leader; and chairman of the California Republican Party, Ron Behring,” noted Jamal. JSA is one of the most active groups on campus. “The majority of members of our club enjoy the overnight conventions (and) we always have a great turnout for our Pizza and Politics event on election day,” finished Jamal. Harker News — December 08



Youngest Electorates continued from page 1 Teacher Rita Stone reported that, “In order to have informed voters, students had the opportunity to taste both cereal and grapes, voter registration cards were completed, voting procedures were reviewed, and then students cast their ballots.” Henry Cunningham, also a Gr. 1 teacher, said he likes elections “because it’s a fair way to choose,” and his student Jatin Kohli likes voting “because you can keep your vote secret and you don’t have to tell anyone.” The results: red grapes over green grapes, 46 to 29; cereal was a tight race, but Fruit Loops prevailed, 40 to 39; and, in a landslide, Mrs. Frizzle was picked as the favorite character with 46 votes. Runners up were Amelia with 26 votes and Arthur with eight. About Mrs. Frizzle’s landslide victory, Rohan Arora said, “I feel pretty good because I voted for her.” Devin Keller’s post election analysis was

MS Students Vote continued from page 1 The republican ticket of Senator John McCain and Alaska’s Governor Sarah Palin finished a distant second with 77 votes, or 18 percent of the popular vote.

succinct and personal: “I like that the red grapes won because they tasted good.”

Cindy Proctor

Gr. 3 students held mock elections period by period in their California History classes, and each group voted resoundingly for President-elect Obama. The Democratic ticket got 81 votes to 16 Republican.

Also on the ballot were a number of options outside the two-party system, including Libertarian candidate Bob Barr, the Green Party’s Cynthia McKinney, Ralph Nader of the Peace and Freedom party and independent candidate Alan Keyes. The election was conducted during the advisory period, which was done to “ensure almost 100 percent participation,” said MS librarian Bernie Morrissey. A total of 438 students voted in the election, comparable to the number of students who voted in the mock primary election in February. Voting was carried out via paper ballots that contained the candidates’ names and political parties. Morrissey and MS history teacher Patricia White chose this method over an electronic or online process because it left a paper trail, and because they felt it was fairer to students who did not yet have laptops. Morrissey said students spent time learning about the candidates before the election. “Many history teachers discussed the election and assigned students to watch the debates and read news articles,” he said. “Many advisories also had spirited discussions prior to [the Nov. 4] vote.”

Teachers Perform Well at Trivia Challenge On Nov. 7, four Harker teachers made it to the final round at the inaugural Silicon Valley Trivia Challenge, held at the Tech Museum in San Jose. “The Harker School Right-Brainers,” as they were called, were US music teacher Catherine Snider, MS English teacher Linda Felice, performing arts technical director Brian Larsen and US history and government teacher John Near. Over a dozen Harker fans attended to cheer on the team. Teams participating in the contest (30 of them total) came from various areas and businesses of San Jose, including Britannia Arms, Ernst & Young and the Hopkins & Carley law firm. Questions at the contest covered topics such as science, geography, history, pop culture and (as the event’s program put it) “totally meaningless facts.” Mike Inouye of NBC 11 acted as master of ceremonies, reading the questions and entertaining the crowd with his upbeat personality. The team got its name from the idea that the right side of the brain focuses on the more creative aspects of human thinking, such as art, literature and music. It seemed an obvious choice given the subjects

Harker News — December 08

the team members teach. Although they did not score enough points to win any of the cash prizes, the team nevertheless did very well, making their way to the final round with eight other teams, who had among them former “Jeopardy” contestants and even one person who took home $1 million on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” The contest was held as a fundraiser for the Junior League of San Jose, an organization made up of female volunteers committed to community involvement. Over the past 41 years, the Junior League has given more than $4.5 million to community causes.




Getting to the Root of the Season Despite some wonderful, warm days last October we all know it is fall. The days are shorter, the air is crisper and the holidays are around the corner. Fall is also a time to enjoy some great vegetables. Root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips and turnips are great for soups and stews during the cold months. Carrots have a long history, dating back 5,000 years, originating in the Middle East. Parsnips, a cousin of the carrot, were brought to America in the 16th century by Europeans. Parsnips have a sweet, nutty taste and are often ignored in favor of potatoes. Make sure to select the small- to medium-sized parsnips as the larger ones tend to have a tougher, bitter core. Parsnips, which are high in fiber, can be enjoyed raw (grate them on top of a salad) or baked – see recipe below. For a tasty side dish make mashed parsnips instead of mashed potatoes this Thanksgiving. Similarly, you can liven up your mashed potatoes by adding turnips, which have a mild peppery flavor. If you would prefer a sweeter taste use a rutabaga instead of a turnip. Unlike the white flesh of the turnip, rutabagas have yellow flesh and are high in beta carotene. Beta carotene is a provitamin (meaning that our bodies can convert it to vitamin A) as well as an antioxidant. Besides enjoying these root vegetables at your table this fall you may want to consider planting some fall veggies. Besides turnips and parsnips, this is the time to plant kale, spinach, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower and leeks. You may be thinking that your family will be too busy to add this to your “to do” list. Keep in mind, though, that fall gardening can be less time consuming than summer gardening. You’ll have fewer weeds to pull and less worry about destructive insects. Go to your local nursery and choose from a wide variety of young plants. Get the whole family involved – you may be surprised at the home-grown veggies you’ll enjoy. –Anne Kolker, MS, RD

Roasted Carrots and Parsnips

in the news n San Jose Mercury News – Nov. 4, 2008 An article about multicultural kids from Silicon Valley adjusting to life in India mentions former Harker students Tara and Sandya Kola. Tara discusses her experiences in the article, and Sandya appears in a photo playing the violin during Harker’s summer orchestra program. Orchestra director Chris Florio is visible in the photo’s background.

n – Nov. 2, 2008 Jason Martin ’07 was mentioned in the online recap of the San Jose State University baseball team vs. Spartan Alumni, Nov. 2. The story noted, “Offensively, sophomore centerfielder Jason Martin reached base in all five of his plate appearances from the leadoff position, finishing 2-for-3 with two hit-by-pitches, his trademark. He also reached (base) on one of six Alumni errors, in the third inning. The San Jose native scored three times and (drove) in a pair. His final hit was a two-run triple in the big eighth inning, with Martin coming all the way around to score on a throwing miscue.” For the whole story, go to the Athletics page at and click on the link in our article, located in the “Recent News” section.

n Gentry magazine – Nov. 2008 Nichols Hall was showcased in the magazine’s “Current Talk” section, which mentions some of the new building’s key features, such as its laboratories, research areas, conference rooms and cyber lounge.


Preheat oven to 425°F

• 6 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch-long sticks each about 1/4 inch thick • 6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch-long sticks each about 1/4 inch thick • 3 tablespoons olive oil (heart healthy oil) • Garnish: carrot tops


Divide parsnips and carrots between two shallow baking pans and toss each pan of vegetables with 1 1/2 tablespoons oil. Spread vegetables in one layer and season with salt and pepper. Roast vegetables in oven, switching positions of pans halfway through baking and stirring occasionally, about 20 to 25 minutes, or until browned and crisp. Garnish with carrot tops. 12

n American City Business Journals – Oct. 2008 The previously-reported story about Nichols Hall’s LEED-certified green features (which first appeared in the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal) has been picked up by the Dallas Business Journal, Business First (Louisville, Ky.) and The Business Review (Albany, N.Y.).

n – Oct. 28, 2008 Candace Silva-Martin, Gr. 12, is mentioned in the “Highlight Reel” for her performance against Castilleja, scoring 19 kills, 23 digs and two aces.

Harker News — December 08



Lower and Middle School Athletes Wrap Up Fall, Start Winter Sports The LS and MS sports teams finished their fall seasons in late October. At this writing, winter sports are well underway.

Varsity A Football The Varsity A football team finished their season with a 12-7-1 overall record, 4-4-1 in the WBAL. They took second place at both the Harker and St. Joseph’s of Sacred Heart tournaments!

Varsity B Football The Varsity B football team finished their season with an 11-4 overall record. They finished 5-2 in the WBAL and took third place after defeating the Menlo Gr. 8 team at the Harker tournament.

Junior Varsity A Football The JV A football team ended the season with an overall record of 6-5 and a WBAL record of 3-5.

Junior Varsity B Football The JV B football team finished the season with a WBAL and overall

record of 2-4.

Varsity A Softball Varsity A softball finished the season with an overall record of 4-8, and a WBAL record of 4-6. According to Coach Raul Rios, “The girls were very competitive in every game. We had a lot of girls who had never played before and by the end of the season they knew the game and were able to hit 55 mph off the pitching machine. Also they were all able to catch fly balls and throw from base to base, which at the beginning of season they were not able to do.” In a game against Pinewood, Ashley Del Alto, Gr. 8, Safia Khouja, Gr. 6 and Nithya Vemireddy, Gr. 7, all hit home runs. Rios credited pitcher Del Alto for keeping the team close in every game. Rios added, “They learned a lot and had fun while learning this year.”

Junior Varsity B Softball The JV B softball team finished with an overall and WBAL record of 2-4, but they have been competing

against Gr. 5-6 students with mostly fourth graders all season! Coach Michelle Hopkins summed up the experience of the season, saying, “It is not about winning or losing; it is about learning to love the game. We accomplished that this season.”

LS and MS Swimming Coach Mel Robinson reported, “In our first year in the WBAL league our swimmers did very well, participating in four swim meets throughout the season.” Standout athletes are Namitha Vellian, Valerie Wang and Shannon O’Shea, all Gr. 5 and Amie Chien, Kiran Arimilli and Amy Johnson, all Gr. 8. Robinson added, “Thanks for a great season, swimmers!”

MS Cross Country At the Oct 15 Harker meet, Isabelle Connell and Michael Amick, both Gr. 8, both took first place and set new course records. Amick set a new course record, 8:07, by beating his own record-setting 2007 time by five seconds. Connell set a course record

for girls at 9:20, three seconds faster than the previous record, set in 2006. For the girls, Ragini Bhattacharya, Gr. 8, took second place; Claudia Tischler, Gr. 7, came in fourth; Alyssa Amick, Gr. 6, was fifth. Sumit Minocha took third place and Tyler Yeats was fourth for the boys. At the Oct. 10 Harker meet, in which there were races by grade level, Amick came in first for the Gr. 6 girls, and Bhattacharya took first place for the Gr. 8 girls. She was followed by Nikka van den Dries in second place and Adrienne Mendel in third place. For the Gr. 6 boys, Vikram Chari took second place, Arjun Goyal took third place for the Gr. 7 boys, and for the Gr. 8 boys, Amick, Minocha and Yeats had the top three finishes. The runners ended the season at Bayfront Park, where boys Amick and Yeats took first and sixth places; Connell took first for the girls, followed by Bhattacharya in second place and Amick in eighth place. We look forward to a promising future with these strong runners! Sports continued on pg. 16

Both Varsity Teams, Plus Girls JV, Take League Championships! It was a banner day in early November when both boys and girls cross countr y teams won league championships! The day started with JV teams leading the way. Girls JV won the JV league championship with Sarah Teplitsky, Gr. 11, coming in first place overall. The JV boys placed second, and then it was time for the main events. Varsity girls took the league championship with

Harker News — December 08

Kelsey Hilbrich, Gr. 11, placing first out of a field of 80 runners and 12 teams. Not to be outdone, varsity boys earned their second league title in a row in a field of 55 runners and eight teams. Sam Levine, Gr. 12, led all runners with a first-place time of 17:05 on the 2.9 mile course. Both boys and girls teams qualified for the CCS meet in mid-November in Salinas, but results were too late for publication. Go Eagles!




Senior Nights Honor Athletes

Rally Builds Excitement at US

Harker shows its appreciation for our senior athletes with a series of Senior Nights, on-field celebrations for those who are playing their last games for the school. Congratulations and thank you to all these students who have worked so hard as Harker athletes! Cross Country: Samuel Levine, Steven Silver, Kevin Xu, Elena Madan, Jane Yuan, Sarah Yuan; Football: Jasper Liao, Arman Gupta, Barrett Glasauer, Julian Stahl, Kevin Laymoun, Brian Dandelet, Omar Haque, Anthony Chen, Anteneh Daniel, Kevin Kim, Paul Paik, Raghav Aggarwal, David Belogolovsky, Harrison Schwartz; Golf: Tiffany Chang, Rachel Wang, Andrea Kim; Tennis: Silvia Cernea, Dominique Dabija, Stephanie Guo, Elizabeth Liu, Lauren Moser, Tara Panu, Sarah Christiano; Volleyball: Kristina Bither, Christine Emery, Shirley Galbiati, Candace Silva-Martin, Eileen Wu; Water Polo: Angeli Agrawal, Jenna Glasa, Rebecca Yanovsky, Alexander He, Evan Maynard, Andrew Stanek.

This year’s US homecoming rally at Davis Field on Oct. 17 provided plenty of amusement and spirit, including a per formance by the Varsity Dance Troupe, athletic recognitions, cheerleaders and a series of humorous skits put on by each class. One of the crowning events was a complex relay race in which students ran, fell, crawled and even had buckets of water dumped on them. Another event pitted the classes against each other in a contest that measured in decibels how loudly each class could yell. The sophomores won the day with a reading of 103.4 decibels.

Synchronized Swim Extravaganza US students arrived in droves to the Aquatic Center in October to see students and teachers from each class put their coordination to the test in a synchronized swimming contest.


Harker Archives


Each class had a planned and practiced routine that was set to a song from the Disney movie each class represented. Highlights included the junior class swimmers forming the number 10, an attempt at a human pyramid going awry and US drama teacher Jeffrey Draper’s comedic turn as Hades from the film “Hercules.” Many of the student spectators arrived in garb appropriate to the class they represented. Several seniors wore togas and adorned their heads with artificial olive branches. Juniors, who represented “Mulan,” were spotted wearing kimonos and karate uniforms.

Student, Faculty Archers Test Skills A US spirit event held on Oct. 14 put students’ archery skills to the test. Four hay bales with targets were set up on the field adjacent to Nichols Hall, each one displaying a character from a well-known Disney movie. The freshman class was represented by “The Incredibles,” sophomores by “Peter Pan,” juniors by “Mulan,” and the seniors by “Hercules.” Hitting a target added spirit points to the point total of the class represented by the target.

As the Harker archive project ripens, Harker News plans to publish a pair of photographs, Then and Now, when space permits. This month features cheerleaders from the 1972 MS squad and the 2008 US varsity squad.


Students received five points for hitting the hay bales, and 10 for hitting the piece of paper on which the characters were painted. Hitting the character would earn a would-be archer 50 points. Each target had also circles attached to it for big point bonuses. Hitting a small, medium or large circle was worth 500, 200 or 100 points, respectively. Congratulations to the sophomore class, who demonstrated the best marksmanship. Harker News — December 08

Harker News — December 08




US Fall Sports Wind Down, Winter Sports Rev Up At press time, fall sports teams were finishing their seasons, with many teams heading to the playoffs.

of the Mercur y News for her 25 kills against Sacred Hear t Prep. Coach Smith and Coach Jason Reid are ver y proud of the team for competing at the top level of volleyball in Nor thern California, despite not having a single player over 5’9” tall. They’ve been a great team to watch all season, excelling defensively and riding the rocket arms of Silva-Mar tin and Kristina Bither. On to CCS!

Football In the last two away games, varsity football suffered a couple of losses. They lost to a tough Berean Christian team, 46-22, and to St. Elizabeth 18-8 in a rain-drenched mud bowl in Oakland. They dropped to 3-4 for the season.


Seniors Angeli Agrawal, Jenna Glasa and Yanovsky have led the team, with juniors Ma and Estrada helping with the success. At season’s end, the girls were excited for the league tournament and were looking for ward to overcoming some of the higher seeds. JV’s first victor y was 7-5 against Santa Clara.

Boys Water Polo The boys water polo team lost in the championship match of the

Sonya Huang, Gr. 12, competed in the CCS championship tournament in Carmel. Huang qualified by shooting an 88 at Poplar Creek. This is her second year in a row qualifying for CCS.

Cross Country Theresa Smith commented, “They have left our school a legacy of great volleyball memories that will last for years to come.” These great seniors have been suppor ted all season by freshman

Barrett Glasauer, Gr. 12, scored on a touchdown reception from Arman Gupta, Gr. 12. The JV team lost 48-12 to Berean Christian, but was victorious 16-0 against St. Elizabeth as they improved to 3-4. Sophomore Chris McCallaCreary scored two touchdowns for the Eagles. Their final game was played at home on Davis Field against the California School for the Deaf.

Volleyball This season, the varsity volleyball team battled its way through the WBAL, taking the San Jose Mercury News #2 ranked team, Menlo, to five sets. With a record of 1711 after a brutal preseason and tournament schedule, the team was gearing up for their automatic berth into the Division IV CCS tournament. They were second place in league after an impressive win over Sacred Heart. On Senior Night vs. Notre Dame, the girls won in three games. Seniors Kristina Bither, Christy Emery, Shirley Galbiati, Candace Silva-Martin and Eileen Wu finished up amazing volleyball careers at Harker that started back in the four th grade. Coach


Veronica Bither, sophomores Christine Chien, Shireen Moshkelani and Henna Mishra, and juniors Danielle Buis and Amy Rorabaugh. Silva-Mar tin was mentioned in the Mercur y News “Highlight Reel” section for her per formance against Castilleja, where the girls won 25-17, 20-25, 25-16 and 25-23. Kristina Bither had 28 kills in the victor y. Bither was also featured in the “Highlights” section

Cross countr y won their league championship meet at Cr ystal Springs in early November. See pg. 13 for the whole stor y. In their first WBAL meet, the varsity boys won, led by Sam Levine, Gr. 12 and Aadithya Prakash, Gr. 11. The varsity girls also won, led by Kelsey Hilbrich, Gr. 11, Kristie Sanchez, Gr. 10 and Elena Madan, Gr. 12. JV boys were third, and the JV girls won. In the second WBAL meet, the varsity boys also won, led by Prakash and Levine who took first and second places. Varsity girls took second, led by Sanchez and Hilbrich. The JV boys were second, and the JV girls were first. In both the Chieftain and Lowell Invitational meets, both boys and girls varsity were among the top two small schools and beat many Division 1, 2 and 3 programs (much bigger schools). Our JV girls have dominated ever y race they’ve been in. The girls also received their first all-division CCS ranking (10th) by the San Jose Mercur y News.

Girls Water Polo With a 14-7 win against Fremont, Beckie Yanovsky, Gr. 12, scored five goals; juniors Tina Ma and Sarahjane Estrada each scored four goals. They beat Santa Clara 22-2. The team ended their season 6-6 in league play, with many close losses. On this highscoring team, all members of the team scored a goal this season.

Sequoia Tournament going 2-1 overall. They defeated host Sequoia and Mt. Pleasant, but lost to Gunn in the finals. Against Santa Clara in our Aquatic Center, the boys won 11-9. Michael Clifford, Gr. 11, scored seven goals, Stefan Schwartz, Gr. 11, scored two, and Evan Maynard, Gr. 12 and Chris Ng, Gr. 10, each scored one.

Tennis As varsity tennis was winding down, the team had their eyes set on making the CCS tournament. At press time, the team’s record was 12-5, which was third place in the WBAL. This included a 1-6 loss against state power Menlo and a 4-3 win against Pinewood, and a 6-1 defeat of Notre Dame. According to Coach Craig Pasqua, “Junior Kelly Chen has had a remarkable season. She is the only undefeated singles player in the league, going 8-0 in the WBAL.” At the WBAL coaches meeting, Chen and junior Brittany Chu were seeded second in the WBAL league tournament, which was held November 5-6 at Menlo School. Harker News — December 08



iChats Bring Japan Closer

Teacher Returns from Tamagawa

A new facet of the Harker relationship with our sister school in Japan, the Tamagawa Gakuen School, has been added: videoconferencing with the Harker teacher on exchange in Japan. Gr. 1 teacher Cindy Proctor returned from Japan in late October, but each Gr. 1 homeroom had a videoconference with her while she was overseas.

Cindy Proctor, Gr. 1 teacher, recently returned from Japan where she spent two weeks teaching second graders at Tamagawa Gakuen School. “My time visiting Japan was an amazing experience!” she said.

Students took the opportunity to question Proctor about similarities and differences between themselves and their Tamagawa counterparts in the conferences. Proctor took a Harker laptop with a built-in webcam on the trip and Lisa Diffenderfer, computer science department chair K-Gr. 8, set up the conferences using iChat.

Her lessons focused on teaching the students about Halloween. She discovered that they really liked the idea of coming to school in a costume and eating lots of candy! Proctor used materials made by Harker first graders to help with lessons. Her language arts students wrote and illustrated a class ABC Halloween book to share with Tamagawa students. Proctor’s

“The format of the videoconference was simple,” said Diffenderfer. “Cindy began by telling the kids about some of her experiences in Japan. Our students were interested to hear that Tamagawa students didn’t celebrate Halloween, but they really wanted to go trick-or-treating” after Proctor explained what it was.

The videoconferences were held in teacher Diann Chung’s room because it is a multimedia room, with a wall-mounted LCD projector with speaker system, noted Diffenderfer. “I set up a video camera so that I could fit all of the students in the video. Cindy used her computer’s built-in webcam to videoconference from her hotel room in Japan. It was 6 a.m. Cindy’s time and 2 p.m. Harker time and conferences were held over several days.”

kudos ■ A new book, “Dear Takuya: Letters from a Sikh boy,” written by Jessi Kaur (published by the International Institute of Gurmat Studies, 2008), features three Harker students (Nirban Bhatia, and twins Elizabeth and Bobby Schick, all Gr. 3) as models for the book’s illustrations. This fictional book contains information about the Sikh religion, revealed through letters that Simar, the main character, writes to his Japanese pen pal, Takuya. One main message of the book is tolerance for everyone, not just people who are Sikhs. A copy of the book is in the LS library – check it out! ■ Fencer Eric Pei, Gr. 4, cut through 17 opponents, boy and girls, to take the gold medal in a recent Bay Cup saber event. The tournament was for youths 10 and under, and Pei had to fence five pool bouts, and then win all four elimination bouts to take first. Pei is currently in second place out of 23 fencers in the Y-10 mixed (boys and girls) category for the Bay Cup series, and ninth out of 20 in the Y12 boys category. Pei began fencing at California Fencing Academy in San Jose in the second grade and is currently ranked fifth in the U.S. in the Y10 category. Harker News — December 08

Supplied by Cindy Proctor

“Before she left on the trip students had asked her to investigate specific things about Japan, so she gave them the answers to their questions,” said Diffenderfer. “Once Cindy was done talking, the students asked her questions about Japan, the Tamagawa School and her trip, including: What do the Tamagawa students eat for lunch? How did Cindy get to Tamagawa School in the morning? Do the Tamagawa students have after-school activities? and How fast does the bullet train travel?”

homeroom students colored a Halloween bingo board and attached a picture of themselves on the back of each board. Harker students also drew a picture of themselves in costume and wrote what they were going to be for Halloween. While in Japan, Proctor was able to videoconference each week with her homeroom class and answer questions about her trip. She also videoconferenced with each of the other three Gr. 1 homeroom classes. When asked to share their thoughts on the videoconferences, Matthew Jiang said, “I learned that when it was night here, it was day there.” Jeffrey Yang explained, “I liked it because we got to talk on the computer with (Proctor).” Many of them also followed her adventures in Japan by visiting a Web site she kept current with photos of her experiences. When not enjoying time at Tamagawa, Proctor explored the city of Machida, rode the train into Tokyo and spent a weekend in beautiful Kyoto. “One of the reasons this trip was so amazing was because it was a combination of so many things I love – teaching, traveling and learning new things,” she said. “It was an incredible trip that I will never forget!”

PJs Aren’t Just for Sleeping Last year, a LS donation drive organized by Rishi Narain, Gr. 5, provided the Pajama Program with its largest donation to date. This year, the hope is to beat the record by supplying at least 500 pairs of pajamas and 750 books. The Pajama Program is a nonprofit organization that provides new pajamas and books to needy children. “Many of the children who receive the pajamas and books are currently living in homeless shelters or adoption agencies in San Jose,” said Joe Connolly, dean of students K-Gr. 5. Students involved in the donation drive will assist their parents in buying the new pajamas and books, which will then be brought to school. In January, the students will help present the books and pajamas to the local Pajama Program representatives. A Pajama Day will also be held in January, and all of the students will be allowed to wear their pajamas to school. During the event, Chris Nikoloff, head of school, will read to the children at an assembly.




Halloween Parade Defies Weather

Neighborhood Pumpkin Delivery

This year’s LS Halloween parade went off without a hitch despite early concerns that bad weather would move the event indoors. The onlooking crowd of parents, faculty and staff gathered around the Bucknall blacktop court, where each class sat waiting for their turn to walk. The classes went in order from lowest to highest grade, as Halloween-appropriate music such as “Monster Mash” and the theme from “Ghostbusters” boomed through the speakers.

One of the year’s sweeter activities took place in October when second graders painted and delivered pumpkins to neighbors around the Bucknall campus. The activity serves as a hello to neighbors and as the Gr. 2 service project. Students took care of the painting during P.E. classes and delivered the gaudy gourds, along with a signed card, to doorsteps just prior to Halloween.

The audience was treated to a brief dance performance at the conclusion of the parade, capping off a successful (and raindrop-free) afternoon.

Picnic Winner Brings BEST Experience

Vanessa Bullman

Diane Plauck

Back for her third year in the position, Gracean Linthacum-Janker, Gr. 3, was acting BEST director for a day, this year choosing Halloween for her day of glor y. The Harker Family Picnic prizewinner made the executive decision to hold the annual Halloween Parade outside, despite threatening skies and helped out with the arrangements. Linthacum-Janker even deigned to dress up as Queen of the Nile, Cleopatra.

Carol Yiu

Grammar Correction Effort Last spring, Gr. 4 English teacher Colin Goodwin’s classes sent a letter to Nature’s Path (HN, June ’08) requesting that they make a grammatical change on their cereal box. The students were thrilled that the company actually agreed and made the change. As a follow up, Carol Yiu, (Jonathan, Gr. 5), in appreciation, put together a poster with the old and new cereal boxes, students’ signatures and notes to Goodwin. The poster was presented to Goodwin in a surprise meeting after school at the end of October. The students, now in Gr. 5, crowded the hallway before the presentation, eagerly waiting to show him this showcase of their accomplishment. “I think all teachers have big jobs and are always undervalued,” said Yiu. “They have such a great influence on our children and I really appreciate everything the teachers do. Mr. Goodwin made learning so much fun for them. I think the correction of grammar on the cereal box was a great accomplishment and it teaches our kids that they can and do make a difference!” David Guan (Grace, Gr. 5) suggested that the poster be titled “Us did it” instead of “We did it” to mimic the original grammatical error – the “us” being on a sticker that Goodwin quickly removed when the poster was presented.


“She is always a joy to work with, and I’ve asked her each year, ‘How do I do it without you each day?’” said Kim Coulter, the regular BEST director. “She kept me on my toes throughout the day and even helped emcee the parade. It was a lot of fun working with her!” Although the ersatz Egyptian was able to skip classes, she did find time to attend the student Halloween party prior to the end of the school day. Well done!

kid talk Continuing our student descriptions of the four pillars of Harker, first graders recently shared their explanations of service. Jatin Kohli said, “Ser vice is like when you get help and they do something for you.” An example of ser vice is “when the teacher says to do something and the students do it.” Vance Hirota says ser vice is “giving stuff to people, like second graders.” Devin Keller says you should “help other people and be nice.” Examples of ser vice are “cleaning up, at school and at home.” Carissa Nelson said, “I think it’s good to do ser vice most of the time. If someone is being nice to you should be nice back to them. If they are being mean to you, you shouldn’t be nice back to them. If somebody’s hurt you can help them.” Naviya Kapadia explained, “I think ser vice is good ’cause other people get help.” You can provide ser vice by “helping your mom doing the dishes. You can help your dad put out the garbage. The best time to do ser vice is when someone really needs you.” Lauren Beede added, “You can help people when they need a little bit of help and you could help the teacher with something.” Mahika Halepete thinks, “Ser vice is a good thing because you can help others and you get help back when you need it, and when people help others it makes them feel happy.” Harker News — December 08

Ready, Set, Research! Kicks Off

Children’s Discovery Museum Trip

Editor’s Note: Thanks to LS librarian Kathy Clark for her contributions to this article.

On Nov. 6, second graders took a trip to the Children’s Discover y Museum in San Jose. The wide variety of exhibits provided a meaningful learning experience for the students. “The children learned about science through concrete interactions: touching, exploring, manipulating and experimenting,” said Gr. 2 science teacher Michael Bourquin. Students learned about the proper ties of water, optical illusions, levers and pulleys and even made cornhusk dolls. “They loved the Water Ways exhibit where they learned about the power of water flowing and played with water tornadoes,” Bourquin said. He noted his favorite par t of the trip was “watching the children enjoy science so much. This should build a lifelong desire to learn more.”

This year’s Ready, Set, Research! program kicked off in October to help LS students build and further improve their research skills.

You can’t use a source if you don’t know it exists.

Currently, RSR is played by Gr. 3-5 students. In past years, questions were geared toward different grade levels. This year, due to a consistently lowered interest level from the fourth and fifth grades, we have one question for all grades to answer. These questions reinforce basic research skills, utilizing the librar y’s online catalog and reference sources such as encyclopedias and almanacs. “You can’t use a source if you don’t know it exists,” said LS librarian Kathy Clark. “Therefore, I create questions that mimic typical queries from students and highlight the range of sources available in our librar y.” There are three rounds of RSR throughout the year; each round consists of 12 questions, posted three times a week for four weeks. At the end of each round, students may earn a blue star, silver star or gold star cer tificate, depending on the number of correct answers they have submitted. At the end of the school year, the student at each grade level with the highest number of correct answers (a minimum is required) receives a “Top Researcher” plaque at the Special Activities and Fine Ar ts awards ceremony. “Students who play RSR consistently gain a knowledge of the wide variety of reference sources and become more skilled in locating information within those sources,” Clark said. “These skills directly translate into the Harker philosophy of becoming lifelong lovers of learning.”

Food Drive Challenge – Stay Tuned! Our Gr. 5 class sponsored the annual Harker Thanksgiving food drive to gather food for St. Justin’s Church in Santa Clara, which provides nonperishable groceries and hot meals to anybody in need all year long. The whole school got behind the ef for t with teacher Tobias Wade’s homeroom challenging the rest of the school to donate more than they. The winner was to be determined Nov. 21, and the grand prize was doughnuts for the winning homeroom. Food was dropped of f at the gym lobby, and although the drive ran past Harker News’ deadline, over 1,000 food items and $700 in donations had been collected at press time. Watch for the recap in the Januar y Harker News! Harker News — December 08

Mike Bourquin

“I began Ready, Set, Research! when I started Harker in the 1993-94 school year. It was originally opened to students in grades 2-8,” said Enid Davis, library director. “There were several goals to the program: 1) teach and reinforce information literacy skills; 2) offer another reason for students to come into the library on their free time; 3) get to know the students on an individual basis; 4) create an exciting librar y environment.”

Parents Treat Students to Diwali Party Kindergartners and first graders got a good look into Indian culture during the Diwali celebrations in late October and early November. Diwali is a Hindu celebration that is celebrated in India by people of all religions. It is marked by a five-day celebration, and also marks the new year on the lunar Hindu calendar. On Nov. 3, students in kindergarten teacher Grace Wallace’s class were treated to a short stor y reading, and participated in a dance session with music from Indian musical movies, known as “Bollywood” films. Students also decorated diyas – small earthen lamps that are lit during the Diwali celebration. Students feasted on a variety of Indian treats, including kalakand, “a milk-based solid dessert that looks like large sugar cubes,” said Tanvi Buch, volunteer and mother of kindergartner Anoushka Buch. Also enjoyed was halwa, a sweet confection made from semolina. The children washed the treats down with mango lassi, a sweet drink made from yogurt and flavored with mango. In keeping with the celebration, students were dressed up in traditional Indian garb, which they were allowed to keep as Diwali keepsakes. On Oct. 28, students in Rita Stone’s Gr. 1 homeroom were treated to a special Diwali celebration. “Parents did a fantastic job of bringing the holiday to the classroom,” said Stone. “The students had the chance to decorate and glitter, our parents brought ver y tasty treats, there were even festive clothes for the class to tr y on, and we heard the interesting stor y of the origins of Diwali.” The party was organized by parents Deepali Halepete (Mahika), Anu Gade (Sruthi), Bala Vegesna (Ramanand), with enormous help from Yvonne Wong (Brendan), Ravi Kohli (Jatin) and Rajat Aggarwal (Chandan). “It is always so rewarding when our diverse community comes into the classroom in such a meaningful way,” added Stone. “Sharing holidays and festivals is an important way all students have the opportunity to touch all cultures.”




Storyteller’s Tale Fascinates

Drop-in Lab Offers Great Resource

On the morning of Oct. 23, LS students were once again treated to a visit by storyteller Jim Cogan, who used his unique method to teach life lessons through tall tales.

The drop-in computer lab at the Bucknall campus is proving to be a valuable resource for LS teachers. Teachers frequently use the lab to conduct classes and special exercises.

The day’s story was a tale about a mischievous mosquito, whose seemingly innocent little white lie sets off a chain of events, resulting in the jungle’s mother owl refusing to call the sun so that the day could begin.

Shelby Guarino’s Gr. 5 advanced core English students use the lab each trimester to compose and edit their essay assignments. Gr. 3 language arts teacher Elise Schwartz uses the lab to administer vocabulary tests in Athena, Harker’s learning management system. “It’s a great tool because it gives the students instant feedback so they are learning from their mistakes immediately,” Schwartz said.

Cogan wove the story using his trademark animated style of storytelling, marked by amusing facial expressions, wild body movements and a wide variety of voices to bring a unique personality to each of the characters. Cogan’s method kept kids and adults alike in constant fascination, eliciting smiles and laughter for the duration of his visit.

“I like to use the lab for days when I am introducing a concept that can be visualized best with computer generated simulations,” said Diane Plauck, teacher of Gr. 4 core math and Gr. 5 advanced core math. “For example, I bring my classes in there when we are studying placement of fractions and decimals on a number line, or using a virtual protractor to develop the concept of measuring angles.” Every week, LS science teacher Tamara Kley-Contini’s Gr. 3 science students use the lab’s Web access for research, view educational cartoons via the BrainPop service and participate in virtual labs through ExploreLearning, an online teaching resource that provides a wide variety of simulations.

After the story was finished, Cogan selected students from the audience to take part in the next story. Each student played one member of a family of spiders, whose overconfident father, Anansi, finds himself in a series of predicaments. Anansi’s children (each voiced by a student, repeating lines told to them by Cogan) work together to help their father through his troubles, teaching the lesson that teamwork can overcome huge obstacles.

The lab’s computers each contain Web access with bookmarks to subscription services such as Athena, BrainPop, Education City and ExploreLearning. Software on the machines includes Microsoft Office and specialized educational software such as Accelerated Reader, Kidspiration and KidPix.

Cogan finished the morning off by telling a story about a hurricane in New Jersey that tossed a large number of starfish onto the shores, and one girl’s commendable attempt to save the starfish by throwing them back into the water one by one. When told by an old man that she couldn’t make a difference, she simply threw another starfish back in the water and replied, “I sure made a difference to that one!”

Pam Dickinson

Grade 5 students acted as guides at the LS Open House Nov. 2, and MS students assisted as ambassadors (watch for those names in the next edition). Many thanks to our LS guides this year:: Aashika Balaji, Alex Chien, Gillian Chu, Jacob Diaz, Grace Guan, Ryan Hayden, Maya Jeyendran, Sandhana Kannan, Alec Kiang, Sadhika Malladi, Natasha Mayor, Shivali Minocha, Mary Najibi, Kristen Park, Hunter Riedel, Elizabeth Siegel, Ankita Sharma, Lauren Speckman, Madison Tomohiro, Vikram Vasan, Namitha Vellian, Allison Wang and Jonathan Yiu.


Gardens have a special place in Japanese culture and second graders had a chance to see a classic Japanese garden on their visit to Hakone Gardens in Saratoga in late October. “The purpose of the trip was to explore the Japanese culture and traditions as part of our social studies unit on Japan,” said Kimberly Sandoval, Gr. 2 teacher.

Kimberly Sandoval - both photos

Thanks to Open House Guides

Hakone Trip a Taste of Japan

“The students first took a walking tour of the lovely gardens made to replicate the tranquil gardens that can be found in Japan,” she said, and “participated in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, where they were able to see the women, dressed in beautiful kimonos, go through the ritual of serving tea. The

students were able to try the traditional green tea as well as some sweets from their servers.” One traditional facet held students’ attention the most, though. “I think the highlight of the day was the wonderfully blue pond filled with bright orange and yellow Japanese Koi fish and the large population of turtles,” said Sandoval. “The students were able to view the entire pond from the arching Moon Bridge.” Harker News — December 08



Students Get an Eyeful of Nature, Take Grueling Hike on National Parks Trip Seventh graders took in the grandeur of nature and visited one of nature’s greatest wonders on a trip through several national parks in October.

Jennifer Gargano - all photos

The students first arrived in Arizona on Oct. 20, where they took tours of Sedona while riding in jeeps. “The rocky ride was exciting and fun for the students and they learned quite a bit along the way,” said Jennifer Gargano, assistant head

boundary for the amusement of the rest of the group. The next day the group traveled to Monument Valley in Utah, where they climbed two rock formations. They traveled through Mystery Valley (where they also enjoyed a cookout) and headed on to a Native American reservation, where they visited the homes of the Navajo tribe and learned about how they built their homes (called “hogans”). “The Holaday family prepared a day just for our seventh graders; an experience they provide just for The Harker School out of a desire to educate students about their culture in the hopes that the students will pass on their understanding and new knowledge to others,” Gargano reported. The Holadays also demonstrated how to make blankets from sheep’s wool and gifted each student with a bracelet that the Holadays had made themselves. In a closing ceremony, the patriarch of the Holaday family blessed the

of school for academic affairs. “We learned about the vegetation that is natural to this area of Arizona and how Sedona got its name; the students also enjoyed seeing some cattle graze from afar.” One of the highlights, Gargano noted, was seeing a tarantula from the comfort of the jeep, “a photo opportunity those students could not pass up or stop talking about with their friends,” she said. The next day, the group headed to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. “The highlight of the hike was seeing a family of mountain goats grazing on a ledge of the canyon,” Gargano said. “Our ranger mentioned that she has never observed this in all her travels to the Grand Canyon; as such, this truly was a unique sighting.” Students then took part in a park ranger program to learn about rocks and rock formations. “The rangers were definitely impressed by our students’ geological knowledge,” Gargano said. The program was made more fun when students were told to act out a tectonic plate Harker News — December 08

group with safety on their way back to California. Students traveled back to Arizona the following day, this time to the town of Page, where they went rafting on the Colorado River. The trip made two stops, once to see an ancient array of petroglyphs, and another to eat lunch. “They truly enjoyed the scenery as they floated along the river as well as learning about the Glen Canyon dam from the rangers,” Gargano said. “However, they were most excited about speeding up and seeing if their boat could pass the one ahead of them.” After rafting, the students took a hike up Horseshoe Bend, where students could see the Colorado River hundreds of feet below. Two groups of students then went to watch and participate in a Wild

West skit. “[MS Dean of Students] Lana Morrison and the chaperones for those two buses reported that those students enjoyed themselves tremendously,” Gargano said. “Moreover, it provided a wonderful opportunity to compare Hollywood’s portrayal of the Native American culture with what we experienced with the Holaday family a day earlier.” On the second-to-last day, the group visited Bryce Canyon in southwestern Utah. “Every student and chaperone I spoke with agreed that Bryce Canyon is the most beautiful site we have been to thus far,” Gargano reported. “The students would also agree that it was our most rigorous hike as well. Over the course of the day with a few stops and lunch along the way, we hiked over three miles with an elevation increase of 800 feet.”

many students feel comfortable performing in front of their peers,” Gargano said. Each group of students worked on a skit or cheer for the show. “While each bus group worked extremely hard at their performances and each was so unique and creative, bus number four won the competition with their synchronized, comedic interpretation of Harker students heeding the variety of rules and suggestions we put in place this week to ensure a safe and successful trip for all,” Gargano recalled. The final day of the trip saw the students head to Zion National Park near Springdale, Utah, home of many fantastic rock formations and Zion Canyon. With spirits high and memories galore, the students boarded their planes and were back home on Oct. 24.

Following the trip, the second and third group of students had the chance to participate in the Wild West show that the first two groups were in just the previous day. According to Gargano, the evening’s highlight was the talent show. “The students were impressed that the marquee for the theater in which the talent show was located said, ‘Fourth Annual Harker Talent Show – Sold Out.’” During the show, students performed song and dance numbers, comedy skits and piano recitals. “It was heartening to see so


Daniel Sommer



Lava Lamp Demos Convection

Students Verify Drop Rate

A favorite distraction of 1960s psychedelic enthusiasts, the lava lamp is now being used as an educational tool by Gr. 6 science teacher Danny Sommer. “I use the lava lamp to introduce the students to the convection current,” Sommer said. “Once they make basic observations, we build their understanding of convection currents based on their understanding of thermal expansion, contraction and density.”

Gr. 7 students in Raji Swaminathan’s science classes worked through a picket fence free-fall lab, measuring the acceleration of a free-falling object near the surface of the earth. They have learned in class that the fall rate is about 9.8 meters per second per second (m/s/s). In this fun lab, students dropped a piece of clear plastic with evenly spaced bars on it, called a picket fence, through a photogate. A computer with LoggerPro software measures the time from the leading edge of one bar blocking the beam until the leading edge of the next bar blocks the beam. This continues for all eight bars on the picket fence. From these times, the program calculates the velocities and accelerations for this motion. This is an interesting lab for the kids since they learn that 9.8 m/s/s is not just an invented number for free-fall acceleration on the earth.

This knowledge is then applied to movement in the Earth’s mantle and the rising and falling of air in the atmosphere. Sommer said students are fascinated by the hypnotic motion of the lava lamp’s liquid blobs. “My students were so excited about observing my giant lava lamp that I got out my camera and snapped this pic,” he said (see photo).

Sixth Graders Trek Around Yosemite

Erin Clifford

Harker sixth graders traveled to Yosemite National Parks in October to see and explore the grandeur of one of the world’s most treasured natural attractions. They also got the chance to meet up with some new friends from overseas. The students met with their buddies from Tamagawa Gakuen in Tokyo, who were also visiting Yosemite on a trip of their own. After the meeting and introductions, the two groups headed off on their separate ways, to be reunited later during the annual Tamagawa visit to Harker. Greg Lawson, assistant head of school for student affairs, traveled with the students as they saw the sights of Yosemite and learned about the area’s native plants and wildlife. The group took frequent nature hikes, enjoying the beautiful scenery, inviting weather and invigorating fresh air.

Princesses and Dragon Enthrall Mischievous fairies combine with a worrisome royal family, three unruly princesses and their stuffy governesses in a recipe for a fairy tale spoof that pleased audiences of all ages. Add to the mix a dragon whose only dream in life is to make a rock video and princes who would rather be detectives than knights and the result was a feast of fun! In early November, seventeen MS actors delighted friends and family with the fractured fairy tale “A Dragon in the Mix.” This is the second year director Monica Colletti has headed up the fall drama performance. “We saw that we had a need in the middle school for students who wanted to perform but didn’t necessarily want to sing. The fall play is a fantastic opportunity for students who want to participate in a nonmusical production,” says Colletti. The actors auditioned the second week of school and have been rehearsing ever since. On the day before the public performance, the production was performed for an assembly at the LS. Colletti remarked, “It’s good experience for the actors to have a chance to perform for as many different audiences as possible. Plus, it’s a great way to show the fourth and fifth graders what they have to look forward to in middle school. “I’m so happy that we’ve added the fall play to our performing arts program,” continued Colletti, who also directs the spring musical. “It’s great training for the kids, and we laugh a lot! I hope the program will continue to grow in the future.” Visit the Harker photo galleries for more photos!


Harker News — December 08

Students Explore Nation’s Capital

Keith Hirota

In October, Gr. 8 students took a trip to Washington, D.C., to see the sights and learn the histor y of the nation’s capital. Cindy Ellis, MS division head, was happy to report that the weather in D.C. was “beautiful” for the duration of the trip, allowing the students to make the most of their visit. The students visited such historic areas as the Jamestown Settlement (located near the site of the first permanent English settlement in North America) and took a tour of Colonial Williamsburg. Students later visited the Civil War Historical Museum at Pamplin Park, where they took part in a Civil War reenactment.

Tamagawa Visits to Share Friendship, Culture Fresh off of their retreat to Yosemite, Harker sixth graders gathered with their Tamagawa buddies at the Blackford campus to give them a warm welcome to the school. At the welcome brunch event on Oct. 25, the Tamagawa students were treated to a special dance performance and made scary poses with their Harker friends in front of a Grim Reaper statue to commemorate Halloween. Following the brunch, the Tamagawa kids departed to stay with their host families for the weekend. The next week, Tamagawa students accompanied their Harker hosts to their classes and shadowed them to learn about what daily life is like as a Harker student. Tamagawa students also visited the LS campus, reading stories to students and helping them make origami

At Arlington National Cemeter y in Arlington, Va., students visited the famous Marine Corps War Memorial and laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns during a 21-gun salute. Then it was off to Pennsylvania to take a tour of the Gettysburg Battlefield and visit the Dobbin House, the oldest standing structure in Gettysburg, which ser ved as a field hospital during the Civil War’s pivotal Battle of Gettysburg. In Philadelphia, students visited the Civil War and Underground Railroad Museums before heading off to the Vietnam and Korean War memorials. More excitement was in store on the second-to-last day of the trip, as the students trekked to the Pentagon Memorial (which opened in Arlington on Sept. 11) and took a much-anticipated tour of the White House. Students then visited the Smithsonian Museum and enjoyed a dinner cruise on the Potomac River. On the final day, the students visited the Holocaust Museum, the National Archives and the American Indian Museum before heading to the Kennedy Center to take in a per formance of the off-Broadway play “Shear Madness,” a murder myster y in which the audience participates in catching the killer.

Creepy Tales Seen Live On Oct. 28, a group of eighth graders went to Chabot College in Hayward to see a play featuring adaptations of five well-known short stories. Produced by the Boston-based Chamber Theatre Productions, the “Encore!!” two-act play featured stage interpretations of “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving, “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs, “The Necklace” by French author Guy de Maupassant and “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” one of Mark Twain’s most famous and beloved yarns.

sculptures. A series of special arts classes was held, with the kids visiting Gail Palmer’s dance class, Elizabeth Saltos’ art class and a drama class taught by Monica Colletti. The students, however, didn’t get to have all the fun. Three teachers from Tamagawa were treated to a tour of the area surrounding Harker. Social studies teacher Hideo Domoto, and Gr. 5 English teachers Ryoko Kitahara and Duncan McMillan went sightseeing around San Francisco, visiting such landmarks as Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39. They also visited Santana Row and some local wineries. “Ryoko wanted to try artichokes as she has never tried them before, so we got her some,” said Jennifer Abraham, director of global education. “She thought they tasted odd and wondered why so many people love them.” During the visit to Harker, Domoto gave a presentation on life as a Tamagawa student, showing pictures of the special theme days that students enjoy, such as Sports Day. “They were impressed with Harker’s hospitality,” Abraham said. “They felt our students did a wonderful job hosting their students.” A light breakfast was enjoyed on Oct. 30 to see the Tamagawa students and faculty off and wish them safe travels back to Japan. Until next year!

Gr. 8 English teacher Stacie Newman planned the outing to further deepen the students’ understanding and interpretation of stories they had read in Gr. 7 and 8. With the exception of “Sleepy Hollow,” all of the stories presented in “Encore!!” were assigned reading for the class. “Follow-up discussions allowed the kids to see ways the adaptations had changed the stories, and to infer reasons for those changes,” Newman said. “Overall, the students seemed to like the way the stories were brought to life.” Nevertheless, the class did notice a snag during the retelling of Poe’s classic tale. “Kids said that they didn’t like the staging of ‘The Telltale Heart,’ which was on the same set as ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,’ and for that reason was awkwardly set up at times,” Newman said. “However, overall the comments were very positive, and the kids LOVED ‘The Monkey’s Paw,’ a truly spooky story.” Harker News — December 08




Third Eye Blind Drummer Drops in

Math Students Earn Certifications

Third Eye Blind drummer Brad Hargreaves came to Harker in October to share his knowledge of drumming with the Harker jazz band, directed by US music teacher Chris Florio.

Senior Andy Fang racked up honors in early November when he qualified for the Gold division of the USA Computing Olympiad (USACO) and received a software certification. Fang’s perfect score in the Silver division propelled him to the Gold division which had fewer than two dozen U.S. competitors in the November competition. He is now eligible to qualify for the U.S. Invitational Computing Olympiad in June where the 15 best U.S. competitors vie for slots on the international traveling team.

Hargreaves achieved success in the 1990s with Third Eye Blind when their single “Semi-Charmed Life” reached the #4 position on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In addition to his work with the popular rock band, Hargreaves has become a seasoned jazz drummer, performing with jazz artists Vijay Iyer and Liberty Ellman before hitting it big with Third Eye Blind. The drummer took a break from recording the new Third Eye Blind album (expected to be released in February 2009) to listen to the Harker jazz band and offer his suggestions on how to improve. After hearing the band’s rendition of the John Coltrane standard “Blue Train,” Hargreaves asked the class if any of them owned Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue” album. He felt that having the students immerse themselves in jazz music would help them better understand what they were playing. He demonstrated his understanding by taking over on drums as the band played parts of the song. “If you want to understand how to play this music, you have to be able to listen to it,” he told the class. Hargreaves also listened to the band as they performed Otis Redding’s “Respect” (made famous by Aretha Franklin), and offered his own perspective on how to translate the beats from sheet music into actual sound. Hargreaves also sat in on drums as the jazz band played their version of the Third Eye Blind hit “Jumper,” giving Harker students the rare opportunity to jam with a bona fide rock star. While admitting his bias as a drummer, Hargreaves offered his thoughts on what makes a great musician. “I think 75 percent of the difference between a good musician and a great musician is rhythm and timing,” he said, encouraging the band to practice with a metronome and open their minds to different styles of music.

In addition, Fang has passed the Mathematica Student Certification Test and is now certified at the Mathematica Advanced Foundations Level. Four other Harker students have received certification and several others are in line or training for it. “I am somewhat requesting (read ‘requiring’) my current Honors Linear Algebra students to get this Mathematica certification,” said Misael Fisico, math teacher. “By the second week of December, I should have about nine students taking this certification.” To date, seniors Barrett Glassauer and Nick Hyman and freshman Ramya Rangan have also earned the certification, which is recognition of the students’ skills using Mathematica software. Students can add the certification status to college applications and resumes.

Harker Ranks in Nat’l Math Tests A team of Harker mathematicians placed 12th in the nation overall in the 2008 Fall Startup Event administered by National Assessment & Testing (http://www., which offers mathematics competitions for math teams and honor societies over a wide range of topics and difficulty levels. Coached by US math teacher Misael-Jose Fisico, all three of Harker’s freshmen competitors had strong showings. Albert Wu placed seventh in the competition among individual competitors, Ramya Rangan placed 11th and Lucy Cheng placed 14th. Their cumulative scores earned Harker 12th place. The Fall Startup Event is a timed event in which students must answer 100 problems in just 30 minutes. The challenge is not only to get the correct answers, but also to decide which problems should be worked on and which should be skipped. Harker also participated in National Assessment & Testing’s Team Scramble on Nov. 6, although results were not available as of press time. Like the Fall Startup Event, the Team Scramble also contains 100 problems to be answered in 30 minutes, but involves an entire team working to complete a single answer sheet. On Dec. 11, Harker will participate in the Ciphering Time Trials, a contest in which individual students must solve three problems (varying in difficulty) in three minutes, over a period of 10 rounds. Tests are delivered by postal and electronic mail and are administered by the team’s coach on the date announced by National Assessment & Testing.

kudos ■ Senior Andrea Thomas performed with the Future Shock San Jose dance troupe at the World of Dance Tour competition on Sept. 27 at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton. Future Shock is the youth branch of the professional dance troupe, Culture Shock Oakland. Culture Shock is a professional hip-hop dance organization with locations in major cities throughout the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom. ■ Rishi Bhandia, Gr. 9, attended the prestigious Keiretsu Forum, a gathering of venture capitalists, in late September. Bhandia earned the invitation at Camp BizSmart during the summer, where he was CEO of his team. Camp BizSmart is a two-week entrepreneurial and leadership camp for students in Gr. 7-9 held at the Krause Center for Innovation at Foothill College.


Siemens Competition, continued from pg. 2 Biology teacher Kate Schafer noted that being named a semifinalist is “a very prestigious honor (with) lots of bragging rights. They put in a tremendous number of hours in preparation for this competition,” she noted. The Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology is designed to recognize talent early on and foster individual growth through science research. It is administered by The College Board and funded by the Siemens Foundation. Student projects are judged on creativity, field knowledge, comprehensiveness, interpretation, literature review (source citation), scientific importance, future work (follow-up or applications), clarity of expression and presentation. About 300 projects nationwide were chosen as semifinalists. After that, up to thirty students and thirty teams are chosen to compete at six regional competitions. Harker began submitting projects to this competition in 200506, and had one semifinalist that inaugural year. In both 2006-07 and 200708, Harker fielded four semifinalists. Harker News — December 08

Raising Money to Fight Poverty Makes Kissing a Pig Serious Business The newly formed Global Empowerment and Outreach (GEO) club had a week of fundraising activities in mid-November, winding up the week with – you guessed it – a faculty member kissing a pig.

Friday before with a talk by Kim Plewes, California youth programming manager for Free the

The group spent the week educating students on conditions in China; students

Children, an organization assisting families around the world to escape poverty by harnessing the energy of North American youths.

hope to alleviate some of the worst by providing pigs to help farmers climb above the poverty level. The kick-off began the

Funds will go to Gansu province in China where alternative income efforts provide pigs and training to farmers on keeping them. That extra income often allows the children to go to school along with reducing hunger and improving living conditions.

Fresh Choice for a GEO mealtime fundraiser. The most innovative fundraiser, however, was the kiss-the-pig challenge. A dozen or more faculty and staff volunteered to kiss a real pig brought to campus the Monday following GEO week for pledges, and, in a last-second tie, both junior class dean Naomi Schatz and senior class dean Jeffrey Draper were the lucky ones chosen! The spectacle of a dignified faculty member bussing a porcine partner to the serenade of students’ cheers was a unique and worthy moment in Harker history.

Debate Team Hits the Road

Debate Essay Best in Pacific Region

On Nov. 7-9, five Harker students traveled to the University of Southern California to par ticipate in the Trojan Championships. Seniors Praachi Sharma and Nafeesa Laiwalla made their way to the quar ter finals of varsity policy and earned a Tournament of Champions bid. Seniors Pratusha Erraballi and Kunal Modi finished in the top 32. Junior Ariel Fishman made it to octofinals in the junior varsity Lincoln-Douglas debate.

On Nov. 12, 18 Harker students were named the winners of the Best Case Award for the Pacific Region in an international debate contest sponsored by the Bickel & Brewer Foundation and New York University. The team has qualified for the single-elimination rounds of the 2008-09 Bickel & Brewer/ NYU National Public Policy Forum (NPPF), where they will have a shot at earning a trip to the NPPF finals at NYU on April 17-19. Harker’s team – juniors Virginia Chen, Monisha Dilip, Akum Gill, Connie Lu, Sachin Mitra, Ashish Mittal, Arjun Mody, Jyoti Narayanswami, Adam Perelman, Mark Roh, Niti Shahi, Kevin Zhang and Andrew Zhou; and seniors Pratusha Erraballi, Nafeesa Laiwalla, Aaron Lin, Kunal Modi and Prachi Sharma – submitted an essay on an international project to develop nuclear fusion technology. In the essay, they argued that the United States should take part in the project to find viable alternatives to current nuclear fission reactors and to reduce dependency on fossil fuels in order to curb global warming. Their essay was selected as the overall best entry in the Pacific region. Next, the team will compete against South Korea’s Cheongshim International Academy in an individual written debate contest to become one of the top 16 teams. If selected as one of the top four schools, Harker’s team will head to New York City in April for the chance to win a $10,000 grand prize.

In October, sophomore Santosh Swaminathan earned four th place in novice Dramatic Interpretation at the University of the Pacific.

Carol Green

The fundraising week started in earnest with a beverage and tote bag sale and students choosing to take a vow of silence (maximum of one day allowed!) for pledges. In addition, to raise awareness, the group held the Millennium Development Goal Scavenger Hunt, really a trivia contest on poverty and China, wherein students e-mailed answers to earn coupons for soft drinks. Special events took place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday: a Chinese lunch, a simulation of conditions in the region the group plans to assist and an arrangement with

Freshmen Rohan Bopardikar, Revanth Kosaraju, Aakash Jagadeesh and Akshay Jagadeesh went undefeated in junior varsity Public Forum debate at the Coast Forensics League meet in October. In other debate news, the recentlyannounced High School Debate Institute will be held in summer 2009, from July 27 to August 7. Open to any student currently enrolled in high school, the institute will offer eight courses with limited enrollment. “We are able to promise a ratio of one staff member to six students regardless of event or experience level,” said US debate and public speaking teacher Carol Green. See page 7 for more information. Harker News — December 08

In a press release sent Nov. 12, Bickel & Brewer partner and NPPF founder William A. Brewer III said, “Harker distinguished itself in these early rounds of competition. These students are now moving to the next stage of this contest – in a dynamic academic forum that is unlike any other taking place in debate today.” More than 100 schools from 14 countries and 32 states submitted essays for the qualifying round, in a competition that includes more than 700 students worldwide.




Theater Undergoes Astonishing Transformation for ‘Metamorphoses’ Fans of the Harker Conservatory (and who isn’t?) know that the group consistently produces plays and musicals that are far greater

than their venue – the Blackford gym. This fall’s play, however, directed by Jeff Draper and designed by Paul Vallerga, truly astounded in its imaginative use of the space. Appropriately for the play “Metamorphoses,” the gym was transformed into a single-set, minimalist stage with a huge pool in the center. Audience members sat on the existing gym stage, facing the kitchen, as well as around the sides. This fascinating play, written by Mary Zimmerman, is based on the myths of Ovid, and includes many stories and characters familiar to lovers of Greek mythology, including Midas, Orpheus and Eurydice, Phaeton, Eros and Psyche, and Philemon and Baucis. Alternating be-


tween an ancient feel (with actors draped in toga-like robes and laurel wreaths, chanting text in unison) and totally modern (Phaeton complaining about his dad – the Sun – to his therapist, while wearing a Pink Floyd T-shirt and accompanied by electric guitars) the show told nine stories, each centered around the concept of water as the agent for change. The actors stepped, drifted, played, “drowned,” rose from and stomped through the pool, which was filled with warm water and contained a hidden ledge

so actors could disappear from sight and reemerge, giving the impression they had been in the water the entire time. An ensemble piece, the actors wove in and out, some playing the same character through multiple stories, others taking on several roles in the morality tales. While Draper is known for com-

ing up with imaginative twists on the stories he tells, his vision for this play pushed the envelop, and attention was clearly paid to the smallest details. The few times the actors were in silhouette, their poses brought to mind the human poses on a Grecian urn. The comic relief was timed perfectly with the tragic moments, and the actors had no self-consciousness as they literally dove into their roles. In his director’s notes he writes, “We can control our attitude about challenges and gifts that fall into our path, and that is what ‘Metamorphoses’ is about.” Draper’s guiding hand was evident, and it was a steady one.

Lighting designer Natti PierceThomson took every advantage of the ripples and shadows cast by the water, and the green, blue and pink colors that washed over the stage were truly breathtaking. Kudos also to costume and prop designer Caela Fujii, choreographer Heidi Landgraf and production manager Brian Larsen, for leading a talented student crew through this technically challenging production. How lucky Harker is to have such talented artists on its staff, and how clear it was that the students blossomed under their direction. (More photos online.)

In another masterful stroke, Draper paid homage to the Greek tradition by using live musicians, and US music teacher Susan Nace composed a haunting, evocative score that drifted throughout the piece. As sound effect, as when finger cymbals rang each time Midas took a golden step, or as full accompaniment to song, as when a Greek “chorus” sang while mopping the stage, the music was consistently supportive and subtle at the same time. Nace used a rain stick, chimes, drums and vocalizations to add to the various moods, and all were played by students, with the exception of the harpist, Ruth Bonaparte Mohanram (Scott, Gr. 11 and Kevin, Gr. 7). Harker News — December 08

Freshmen Give Back to Community on Service Day in Various Ways

HEART Beautifying and Recycling The Harker Environmental and Recycling Team (HEART) stepped out in early October to beautify the Saratoga campus by planting daffodil and native plant bulbs alongside Davis Field and on the berm by the entry drive. About 10 members took part in the planting, which resulted in nearly three dozen plants going in the ground. “We are going to kick off our recycling program for the year in late October,” noted HEART president Raghav Aggrawal, Gr. 12. “We have a schedule that we are going to send all teachers letting them know when we will be collecting their recycling bins.”

Bradley Stoll - both photos

Freshman Service Day was held in mid-October and many good deeds were done. Students performed a variety of community service tasks for various organizations including Acterra (planting native plants); the Human Society Silicon Valley (caring for animals in the shelter); Sacred Heart Community Center (helping sort food and clothing for those who need them); and Oak Meadows Nursing Center (interacting with senior citizens).

Chem Teachers Show Their Wizardry Chemistry teachers Andrew Irvine and Smriti Koodanjeri organized a spectacular display of Halloween pyrotechnics in Irvine’s lab. Flames shot across a bench, wraiths of smoke drifted ceilingwards and the alchemist himself (Irvine), dressed and made up to enhance the effect, seemed to be having the most fun!

Robotics Team Optimistic, Busy After a disappointing showing at last year’s Cal Games robotics competition, the US robotics team bounced back. In March, the team finished as finalists at the UC Davis – Sacramento regional competition. The team was disqualified in the final match, “because a collision destroyed a large part of our electronics,” said Kyle Hall, Gr. 12, VP of marketing for Harker Robotics. In March of next year, the team will resume its competition schedule, and Hall is optimistic about the team’s ability to compete. “We have drastically reorganized the team structure and are very confident that we will be able to create an extremely strong offering for this year’s game,” he said. “We believe we will be able to win one of the regional events that we are participating in and perform strongly in the national event.” Hall said the biggest change the team has undergone has been a renewed commitment to improving leadership and training new members more effectively. “Through this policy, we hope to have a larger group involved in the actual build period, which will allow us to perform higher-quality work to create a superior offering,” Hall said.

Guides Make Open House Shine

In addition to competing and training new members, the robotics team has also been networking with other local teams. “Through our connections with local teams, we hope to be able to share resources and opportunities with them to increase the quality of work of ever yone in the area,” Hall said.

Pam Dickinson

So far this year, the team has redone the wiring on two of its previously owned robots, and has created a number of robots using the VEX Robotics kits, outfitting them with several different kinds of attachments. “We have also created a new test platform with a six-wheel drive, that we will be able to use to test sensors and new types of manipulators,” Hall said.

Special thanks go out to the following guides who helped make the US Open House in early November a success: Gr. 9: Aranshi Kumar, Aditi Ashok, Nicole Dalal, Maya Gattupalli, Stephanie Hao, Kristen Her, Lauren Pinzás, Tanya Piskun, Kristi Sun; Gr. 10: Jennifer Nguyen; Gr. 11: Guadalupe Briseno. Senior student speakers at the event were: Katee Comee, Shubha Guha, Stephanie Guo, Arman Gupta, Kartik Venkatraman and Beckie Yanovsky.

Harker News (USPS 023-761) is published Monthly except July, Aug., and Sept., by the The Harker School, Office of Communications, 500 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA 95129. Periodicals Postage Paid at San Jose, CA and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Harker News, 500 Saratoga Avenue, San Jose, CA 95129.

Harker News — December 08



series The Harker Speaker Series (HSS) is an exciting new program launched in 2007-08 to bring in leaders and visionaries from a wide variety of fields to share their expertise or unique experiences with the Harker community.

Harvard Professor and Author Speaks at Nichols Hall Harvard professor, author and leading scholar of Positive Psychology, Tal Ben Shahar, Ph.D. presented an HSS lecture titled “Learning to Be Happy: The Science of Happiness” at Nichols Hall on Oct. 16. Shahar’s appearance was part of the Common Ground Speaker Series, organized by a coalition of Bay Area schools to provide communities the opportunity to hear opinions from experts in the fields of education and parenting.

Shahar recommended taking breaks... ‘micro breaks’ lasting a few minutes to a few hours per day, ‘mezzo breaks’ that include getting the right amount of sleep per night and taking the occasional day off, and ‘macro breaks’ that consist of a week or more of time off.

Shahar segmented his talk into four topics. The first, “Giving Ourselves Permission to Be Human,” discussed how people are expected to be happy, and that happiness is equated to not having negative or painful feelings. Suppressing negative feelings, he said, also suppresses a person’s ability to have positive feelings. Feelings both positive and negative must be accepted in order to have more control and feel happier. He then talked about how people can deal with the stress, saying that people are often stressed from trying to accomplish too much. To deal with stress, Shahar recommended taking breaks, of which there are three kinds: “micro breaks” lasting a few minutes to a few hours per day, “mezzo breaks” that include getting the right amount of sleep per night and taking the occasional day off, and “macro breaks” that consist of a week or more of time off. Shahar championed the value of exercise, citing studies that indicate exercise could help the formation of new neurons in the brain, and improve memory and creativity. He also advocated the practice of meditation – focusing on a single thing to keep the mind from wandering, while breathing deeply and regularly. Studies have shown that “professional meditators” such as Buddhist monks are better able to deal with negative experiences. The final part of Shahar’s lecture, “Focusing on the Positive,” dealt with how people can learn to recognize the positive aspects of their lives. He offered the idea of making a “gratitude journal” in which people would write down five things that they are grateful for each day. A podcast of Shahar’s presentation is posted on the Harker Parent Portal.

The Harker School is a K-12 independent, coed, college-prep school. K-Grade 5: 4600 Bucknall Rd., San Jose CA 95130; Grades 6-8: 3800 Blackford Ave., San Jose CA 95117; Grades 9-12: 500 Saratoga Ave., San Jose CA 95129 Harker believes that all persons are entitled to equal employment opportunity and does not discriminate against its employees or applicants because of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), national origin, ancestry, age (over 40), marital status, political affiliations, physical or mental disability, medical condition, sexual orientation, or any other basis protected by state or federal laws, local law or ordinance.


The Harker News provides timely information, news and features about the Harker community to current and alumni Harker families. Editor: Pam Dickinson; Asst. Editor: William Cracraft; Copy Editor: Catherine Snider, Lauri Vaughan; Writer: Zach Jones; Production: Blue Heron Design Group, Triple J Design; Photos: Mark Tantrum, unless noted; Contributors: Stephanie Woolsey, Padma Bhetanabhotla; Printing: Carol Sosnowski; Mailing Coordinator: Desiree Mitchell. Harker News — December 08

Profile for The Harker School

2008 December Harker News  

2008 December Harker News