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JUNE 2008 (vol. 14, no. 9) est. 1893 • K-12 college prep


M o n t h l y


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

Artists Bring Depth and Beauty to Harker and Beyond

Head of school’s graduation address speaks to realities...3 Performing arts efforts pay off splendidly........................8-11 Unembedded journalist speaks to rapt audience.................18 Statistics tell a story about student reading..................21 Student art to be displayed at Stanford Hospital...............26 Tamagawa details bring trip to life................................28 Graduation a poignant, joyous celebration....................36-39 Supplements in this issue: Alumni, Capital Campaign, Volunteer Thanks, vacation calendar, picnic flier.


Saveth the date! Sun., Oct. 12, 2008 The 58th Annual Family & Alumni Picnic Blackford Campus 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. See news and more details inside!

Cindy Liu

Jessica Shen

LS Art Award

MS Art Winner

Lower school artist Cindy Liu, Gr. 5, has already been noted in Harker News (see Harker News May ’08, page 18), but the story isn’t over! In April, she won the UN’s Environment Programme 17th International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment. Liu received an award in Washington D.C. then, traveled to New Zealand for the international award ceremony but, in between earned yet another award for a different, though similar project.

Jessica Shen Gr. 8, was named the best artist in the middle school for the second year in a row, based on all her work. Shen said her favorite medium is pencil, she would love to paint a portrait someday and plans to pursue her art development in high school.

In May, Liu was named one of only six California finalists in the Doodle 4 Google competition where K-12 students were invited to reinvent Google’s homepage logo. Liu’s drawing was, again, environmentally themed, showing eco-friendly energy generation systems, including water, solar and wind powered devices, all incorporated into the Google logo. We salute this talented young lady and will be watching for her wonderful art in the future!

“Jessica is truly talented and diligent,” said Elizabeth Saltos, art teacher. “She remains teachable in that she will take suggestions, yet, she has already developed a certain amount of style. “Jessica has her own personal vision which she strives to meet with each project. At the onset of every project she incorporates a wide scope of ideas, skills and creativity. She is an excellent craftsman and demands near perfection but she still has a sense of humor and great humility about her own talent and skill. She is very supportive of other students in the class and will help out any time she sees the need,” said Saltos.

Elizabeth Liu

Congressional Art Winner Elizabeth Liu, Gr. 11, took second place in the 2008 Congressional Art Contest. The contest was facilitated locally by Congressman Mike Honda’s office. Liu’s work, Model Study #5, earned her a gift certificate from University Arts in San Jose. Congressman Honda handed out certificates and prizes at a student appreciation reception in mid-May at Camden Community Center. This year, 34 participants from the 15th district submitted work to this congress-sponsored national event, including photography, acrylic, oil painting and charcoal. Congressman Honda’s spokesperson said, “A major thank you to all the teachers – it is through their guidance and motivation that young students are able to create such amazing work. Our participation continues to grow with the support of parents and art teachers, who motivate and encourage students to submit their work.”

Senan Ebrahim Named Harker’s Second Presidential Scholar For nearly 45 years, the U.S. Department of Education’s Presidential Scholars program has chosen one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to be named Presidential Scholars. An additional few are chosen from

U.S. families living abroad, and 15 students are chosen at large. Twenty more students are named Presidential Scholars in the Arts. According to the program’s press release, “A 29-member Commission on Presidential Scholars appointed by President Bush

selected the Scholars based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.” Continued on page 33

editor’s note

important dates

annual giving

As we go to press, we’re also launching our new Harker Parent Portal on the Web. Watch for e-mail, snail mail and Web updates, and have a great summer!

Visit our Web calendars for complete date information for the coming year!

Heartfelt Thanks!

Mon., Aug. 25 – US Matriculation and Orientations Tues., Aug. 26 – MS/US, 116th Academic Year Begins Thur., Aug 28 – K-Gr. 4, 116th Academic Year Begins Mon., Sept. 1 – Labor Day, No Classes K-Gr. 12


The annual giving logo appearing at the end of some of our stories indicates those activities or Participation reached 75% programs Help us reach funded by Anar e n 100% a t i o t Par t icip nual Giving.

outreach The City of San Jose sent a note of thanks for the use of several rooms at the Blackford campus for a community meeting and breakout sessions in late May of the Mayor’s Gang Task Force. Joe Mosley, community services supervisor, Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Service and organizer of the event for the city, said they rely on the use of neighborhood facilities throughout the city. “We cannot thank you, and your staff, enough for allowing us to meet at The Harker School. All the rooms were set up, just as we discussed, and everything ran like clock work.” Valuable input on the Mayor Reed’s Strategic Workplan was received from the approximately 100 attendees, and was also attended by a delegation from Arlington, Texas including their mayor and city manager. San Jose attendees included Mayor Chuck Reed, Police Chief Rob Davis; Debra Figone, city manager; Albert Balagso, director of parks recreation and neighborhood service; and Councilmember Pete Constant.

honor Harker is celebrating 10 years of educating high schoolers and 10 years at the Bucknall campus, this year, and two of California’s top politicians have sent congratulations, in response to a request from Winged Post representatives. Best wishes were received from Governor Arnold Schwartzanegger and from U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer. All Harker says Thanks!



–Pam Dickinson, Director Office of Communications

n n n n

awards Tooting Our Own Horn!

Ten Year Anniversary Comes to Close It’s been a wonderful year remembering the highlights of the opening of the upper school and of the new Bucknall campus. Here’s to another 10 great years! A decade’s worth of thanks to those who have been here the whole ten years since the high school opened! Pete Anderson, Michael Bassoni, Kim Benge, Paula Bither, Jaap Bongers, Linda Brearley, CJ Cali, Eric Chamlis, Diann Chung, Joe Chung, Kathy Clark, Marie Clifford, Tracey Clifford, Dan Coronado, Kim Coulter, Triona Coyne, Chris Daren, Enid Davis, JR Del Alto, Pam Dickinson, Lisa Diffenderfer, Chris Doll, Clare Elchert, Kerry Enzensperger, Kelly Espinosa, Kathleen Ferretti, Misael Fisico, Tani Gavron, Mark Gelineau, Pam Gelineau, Giresh Ghooray, Kristin Giammona, Donna Gilbert, Cindi Gonsalves, Fortino Gonzales, Martha Gonzales, Concepción Grande-Gonzalez, Lisa Hackwood, Andrew Hansen, Marilyn Hansen, John Hawley, Steven Hewitt, Dottie Hickey, Don Hodge, Eric Hoffman, Debra Horiuchi, Juan Jimenez, Vandana Kadam, Robert Keefer, Cindy Kerr, Laura Lang-Ree, Brian Larsen, Sarah Leonard, Lisa Machuca, Nicholas Manjoine, Rhonda Mann, Steve Martin, Jim McGovern, Melanie McKenna, Cyrus Merrill, Sharron Mittelstet, George Monack, Diana Moss, John Near, Kristin Neu, Nan Nielsen, Debra Nott, Abel Olivas, Shelley Orr, Sandy Padgett, Sharon Paik, Gail Palmer, Carol Parris, Heather Perrotta, Julie Pinzás, Cindy Proctor, Laura Rae, Marianne Rager, Vonda Reid, Mel Robinson, Dan Rohrer, Heidi Rosa, Joe Rosenthal, Howard Saltzman, Jenaro Sanchez, Ruby Santiago, Kelly Schlernitzauer, Michael Schmidt, Alice Schwartz, Elise Schwartz, Kate Shanahan, Janet Smith, Theresa Smith, Catherine Snider, Carol Sosnowski, Luanne Stanley, Lynette Stapleton, Karriem Stinson, Rita Stone, Anitra Sudderth, Ruth Tebo, Teresa Thomas, Julie Troop, Lori Villarreal, Khac Vu, Pat Walsh, Terry Walsh, Lar Washington, Patricia White, Stephanie Woolsey, John Zetterquist.

Corrections n In the May edition of Harker News, the student who won the right to conduct the Orchestra at their performance in mid-April (see Harker News, May ’08, page 13) was misidentified. The student who conducted the orchestra was Justin Young, Gr. 6. Harker News regrets the error. n In the May edition of Harker News we stated that Gr. 2 students attended the Ogre Awards, when, as everyone in the lower school knows, the second graders were the Ogre Awards show! In addition, Bob Benge, campus store manager, and Susan Nace, upper school music teacher, were presented with special awards by the Ogre Academy as a thank you for their work with the library department. Harker News regrets the errors.

The Office of Communications received four awards for 2007 from the prestigious MarCom Awards, which are administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals, an international organization of marketing, communication, advertising, public relations, media production and freelance professionals. Harker was named platinum winner in the Ads/Advertising Campaign category for our Harker image branding campaign; the Gold Winner in the Ads/Magazine category for our performing arts advertisements; Gold Winner in the Brochure/Fund Raising category for our capital campaign brochure; and Honorable Mention in the Marketing/Promotion Campaign category for the Harker branding campaign.

parent portal The new Harker Parent Portal will launch June 16, and all families will receive a username and password in the mail. This new section of the Web site will provide parents with lots of helpful links and information in one place, and we encourage you to explore it over the summer. Questions? Contact communications@

Harker News — June 08



Commencement Address Draws on Rock Lyric to Inspire

Editor’s Note: The following is the speech delivered at graduation by Chris Nikoloff, head of school. Good morning to all our esteemed guests: members of the Board of Trustees, administration, faculty and staff, alumni, families and guests, and to the actual guests of honor, the graduating class of 2008. I have the privilege of delivering the last Harker lecture you will ever hear. In other words, you are only one Harker lecture away from receiving your diploma, and you will not even be quizzed on that lecture. I will also continue the tradition of confining my remarks to one page of single-spaced, size twelve font. Of course, my margins are small, and I have selected the tiniest font possible. Mark Twain once said, “I would have written you a shorter letter but I didn’t have the time.”

same continuum; are cut from the same fabric; are two sides of the same coin, if I may mix as many metaphors as possible in a graduation speech. We

need both to find meaning, and without both our experiences will

Eugene Louie

lack depth. is partly about constructing truth, while life itself has a funny way of challenging that truth.

Since I traditionally hold the honor of delivering your last formal piece of Harker education, I feel that it is my duty to begin the process of deconstructing some of the education you have received while here at Harker. Don’t worry, most of your learning doesn’t require reversing. But education is partly about constructing truth, while life itself has a funny way of challenging that truth. The great Indian educator J. Krishnamurthi said that “Truth is a pathless land…” I can’t say I know what exactly that means, but it sure sounds good in speeches. Last year my message was “Dare to be wrong”; this year, I can summarize my message by quoting the great rock-and-roll philosopher, Mick Jagger from The Rolling Stones, who said, “You can’t always get what you want.”

...strangely enough, I believe the message ‘You can’t always get what you want’ is uplifting and even egalitarian, because it applies to everyone, even those who seemingly have everything they want.

Yes, I believe that some of the greatest wisdom comes from unexpected places: rock or country songs, the mouths of children, the rants and ramblings of grandparents or crazy aunts (my own crazy aunt used to say, “You know Christopher, hard work never killed anyone”), or even the human drama of Spanish soap operas. Wisdom can be found anywhere except the tangled and inscrutable sentences of professional philosophers. The Book of Tao says, “True words aren’t eloquent; eloquent words aren’t true.” Harker News — June 08

disappointment are part of the and sorrow, fulfillment and

But this is a strange message from Mr. Jagger indeed, particularly on graduation day. Graduation and school in general are places where students are reminded over and over again of all that they can accomplish and attain in life, and necessarily so; if we do not fill you with enthusiasm and idealism early on, you may not have the necessary inspiration and stamina to work towards truth, justice and kindness in the world. But strangely enough, I believe the message “You can’t always get what you want” is uplifting and even egalitarian, because it applies to everyone, even those who seemingly have everything they want. In fact, I am suspicious of anyone who says he has everything he has ever wanted. I want to visit upon that person some unspeakable calamity, or perhaps some small annoyance, but then I feel terribly guilty for having such thoughts. In fact, I would add that even if you do get what you want, you will be disappointed on some level. My point is that life itself must necessarily contain disappointment. I do not mean simply the traditional disappointment that results from unfulfilled wishes; there will be some of that, I know, but I hope not much. And minimizing this kind of disappointment may be how a Harker education can help you. Rather I mean, and I believe Mr. Jagger would agree, that joy and sorrow, fulfillment and disappointment are part of the same continuum; are cut from the same fabric; are two sides of the same coin, if I may mix as many metaphors as possible in a graduation speech. We need both to find meaning, and without both our experiences will lack depth. I believe this means that we shouldn’t work too hard to avoid disappointment given that it is part of the fabric of life. It is cliché to say that life will have its ups and downs, and it is easier to point this out during someone else’s downs, in fact during anyone’s downs, but our own. But the downs in life can have their beauty too, and they can nourish us. Mick Jagger said that “You can’t always get what you want.” This is true, even for members of one of the greatest rock bands of all time. He ended the chorus, however, with “but if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need.” We may be surprised to discover that we need the darkness to understand and enjoy the light. So, on behalf of the faculty and staff at The Harker School, I would like to congratulate the class of 2008 and wish them the ver y best in both darkness and light for what will certainly be a ver y bright future indeed. Thank you.

–Christopher Nikoloff, Head of School




! e y r a e H “ ” ! e y r a e H

he Harker kingdom is abuzz as the lords and ladies of the picnic committee labor earnestly in preparation for a spectacular day of ye ol’ family fun! Though October seems far, far, away, the magic doesn’t happen overnight and there is much to be done before the Blackford campus can be transformed into the magical medieval festival that has come to be known as the annual Harker Family and Alumni Picnic! Those familiar with this day of merriment will recognize their favorite picnic traditions and will marvel at the medieval twist our royal committee heads have concocted. With jesters jesting and jousters jousting there will be plenty of enchantment, excitement and entertainment for young and old alike! Those new to the picnic will be in awe of the majestic metamorphosis of the Blackford campus and the warm and

All who attend will be drawn to Silent Auction Castle, located just outside the Enchanted Sponsor Forest and across the square from the town tavern. Crossing the moat to enter the castle might reward you with a dance with the beautiful princess at the Grand Ball, or a chance to bid on fabulously regal packages including trips, adventures, art, wine, jewels and more!

With jesters jesting and jousters jousting there will be plenty of enchantment, excitement and entertainment for young and old alike!


captured by the legendary Harker Picnic spirit!

wonderful family feeling of this all-school event. As royal subjects happily dance to strolling minstrels, carefully slip by dangerous dragons and lend a hand to passing damsels in distress, all will be

Those with luck on their side could win $10,000 of treasure straight from the King’s coffers or one of the four other fabulous Grand Drawing prizes. Young friars and fair maidens will enjoy games of chance and contests in our tournament carnival grounds and can measure their bravery and skill by the number of stuffed prizes in their knapsacks at the end of the day! Truly a day of legend and lore not to be missed, we encourage one and all to “saveth the date” and plan to join your fellow frolickers at our kingdom’s most festive family event! –Lynette Stapleton and Kelly Espinosa, Event Coordinators

Top Picnic Ticket Sellers Rewarded with Fun Outings Over 50 students who sold more than 100 raffle tickets at our annual family picnic back in October enjoyed an afternoon of bounce house action, mini-golf and water slides in mid-May. The younger students went to Pump it Up, where “our K through second graders enjoyed jumping ‘til their hearts were content,” said recreation director Kim Coulter. “They slid down the giant slide and even got to go up against me and some of the other recreation staff on the obstacle. Fun was had by all.


Another picnic payoff took place in mid-April, when 40 students, each of whom had sold more than 120 raffle tickets for last fall’s family picnic, went a-bowling at Moonlite Lanes in Santa Clara. The half-day outing broke up the stretch between spring break and summer vacation, and each winner could bring a guest. “The students bowled, played video games and snacked on some good food,” reported Erin Clifford, recreation director, who set up the trip.

Kim Coulter - both photos

Erin Clifford

“Our third through fifth graders had a blast at Golfland,” added Coulter. “Temperatures reached near 100, so the water slides were the place to be. Many cooled off in the video arcade area, sat with friends and enjoyed a tasty treat or whipped through the water slides. It was a great day and everyone had a great time.”

Harker News — June 08


Hooray for Principal for a Day! Principle for a day Hasan Jamal, Gr. 1, had it good on his one day of (limited) power. As the winner of the high-profile auction item, escorted by Sarah Leonard, primary division head, Jamal read a Curious George story to kindergarteners, met with the senior administration team at Saratoga campus, got to sit at head of school Chris Nickoloff’s desk, visited his sister, Mahum, in Gr. 10, evaluated a teacher, went out for lunch at Fatima in Cupertino, turned down a pair of pay

raise requests and managed to down a couple of doughnuts to sustain him in his labors. Hooray for principle for a day!

Perfect Day: Lunch at Winery Thanks to Harker parent and winery owner Albert Drewke (Albert, Gr. 2), 10 lucky couples had the opportunity to spend an afternoon at the Roudon-Smith winery in Saratoga. The lucky bidders from last year’s Pioneer Picnic auction were treated to a gourmet lunch provided by Harker head chef Steve Martin and a winery tour and tasting hosted by the owner himself. Harker parent Lori Saxon (Kevin, Gr. 10) said the day was extra-special because of the beautiful setting and the wonderful company. “We really lucked out with a gorgeous day, and we all were able to relax, enjoy the wine and each other!” The couples learned much about wine and the process of winemaking, had the opportunity to taste six varieties made at Roudon-Smith and even left with a bottle of the exceptional cabernet. Harker hosts Butch Keller, upper school head, and his wife, Jane, US math teacher, said the day went off without a hitch and everyone had a great time. Thanks to all for their support of the Harker Family and Alumni Picnic!

Harker News — June 08


Harker ‘Pros’ Join Harker Parents for a Day of Golf Thanks to picnic auction donors Angie Krackeler (Joseph, Gr. 3; Margaret, Gr. 8), Tenuja Bali (Ashwin Bhardwaj, Gr. 5; Raghav Bhardwaj, Gr. 8) and Susan Zhang (Patricia Huang, Gr. 7; Sonya Huang, Gr. 10), Harker golf enthusiasts enjoyed the casual elegance of the prestigious Los Altos Golf and Country Club on Apr. 22. The golfers had signed up and bid at the Harker Family and Alumni Picnic, and were so glad they did! Harker “pros” Chris Nikoloff, Joe Rosenthal, Chris Colletti, Theresa (“Smitty”) Smith and John Zetterquist – all faculty or administrators – joined Harker parents Robert Blickenstaff, Doug and Linda Emery, Gary Gauba, Eric Gonzales, Jay Krackeler, Sanjay Minocha, John Montrym, Bob Schick, Riki Tomihiro, Indu Tyagi and Ingrid Wu, along with Harker grandparent Joe Krackeler, for a memorable day. They began with an outstanding buffet lunch in the main dining room, thanks to Angie Krackeler, who made all the arrangements. Pairings were announced, “goodie bags” were distributed, and the teams “strategized” as they anticipated an exciting day of golf. “The course itself was in pristine condition and we all managed to get around in three hours and 45 minutes... an excellent time!” said Schick, auction committee member extraordinaire. “There were plenty of good shots... as evidenced by the winning scramble score of 60 ... 11 birdies... and no doubt some poor ones, as the lakes, trees, bunkers and other assorted hazards can attest.” Lynette Stapleton - both photos


At the end of the day, thanks to the hospitality of Jay Krackeler, the group gathered at the “19th hole” sharing stories and planning to do this again! According to Schick, “Everyone is looking forward to an even bigger outing next year at Silver Creek Country Club where not only golfers but spouses will be included for dinner and wine and good fun, all for a great cause... raising money for Harker!”




Bucknall PJ Party a Huge Success! Last March 14 the Bucknall gym was filled with more than 130 K-Gr. 5 students who were signed up for the annual Picnic PJ Party. Over the years this event has become a Bucknall favorite and this year was no exception. As always the evening started with a talk from Kelly Espinosa that dissolved of some of our “regular” school and home rules... all in the name of fun! Though she talked about all the things that are still rules, like being nice to each other and being safe, the students were most excited about rules that weren’t rules on this one-of-a-kind night! Some of their favorites? Eating in the gym is allowed. Pigging out on sweets is totally OK. Staying up late is almost required. And running around the campus at night is mandatory! The fun started with burgers and dogs,then, students participated in outdoor games and activities. Special, colorful and wacky toys and games added to the fun as they played giant capture the flag, decorated treat buckets, threw huge Frisbees and tossed crazy lightup balls! As the sun went down the outdoor fun ended for most with glow necklaces and s’mores in the twilight! K-Gr. 3 students headed to the gym for more games and treats and Gr. 4-5 students went outside for the annual scavenger hunt. Reserved for the older students, this year’s hunt was especially exciting because Vanessa Bullman introduced an all new skill-

based adventure! In addition to hunting for clues all over campus, students teamed up on a variety of skills: shooting baskets, drawing self-portraits, creating pipe cleaner sculptures, and more. It was a definite hit and the third graders are already looking forward to their opportunity to participate next year! This night would not be possible without the dedicated volunteers who give up their Friday night (and any chance of a good night’s sleep) to staff the event and make sure the children have a great time. Big thanks to Kelle Sloan, summer activity program director, and Espinosa, summer programs director; Lana Morrison, MS dean of students; Bucknall rec staff Ashley Scheibli, Philip Steele and Hillaray Tiopo; Lisa Diffenderfer, assistant director of technology, K-Gr. 5; teachers Eric Leonard, Diann Chung, Joe Chung, Keith Hirota, Mel Robinson and Tobias Wade; students Isaac Ball, Gr. 12 and Kelsey Chung, Gr. 10; summer staff Michael Leonard; P.E. swim assistant Tristan Perks, bus driver Heather Perrotta; summer counselors Mindy Hsieh, Trisha Huynh, Stephanie Janac and Troy Townzen. And special thanks to Bullman, assistant to the LS dean and summer director, for all the things she does to make this a really fun evening for all!

MS Overnight at Camp Kennolyn More than twenty middle schoolers and seven dedicated chaperones boarded the Harker bus and headed off to Kennolyn Camp on April 18 for their very own picnic overnight! Way too old for the confines of the Blackford campus, these adventurous picnic supporters left the valley and headed over the hill for a night of fun away from Harker and home.

The highlight of the night was the campfire in Kennolyn’s beautiful outdoor amphitheater. The kids took turns singing songs, doing skits, telling jokes and generally being silly around the roaring campfire. Once there were no more s’mores to be eaten and no more jokes to be told they headed back to the lodge for crafts, cards, movies and munchies, munchies, munchies! Sleep finally came to most of the group well after midnight…and the exhausted chaperones weren’t the only ones sorry to see the sun rise so early on Saturday morning. Refueling on donuts, bagels and leftover pizza, the kids played ping-pong, basketball and volleyball in the fresh morning air and were treated to a tour of the beautiful camp property. Some on the


Lana Morrison

After a stop for pizza in Soquel, everyone pitched in to unload the truck and get ready for a night filled with friends, fun and a few surprises. trip attended camp at Kennolyn, so it was extra special for them to share summer stories and memories with their Harker friends. By 10 a.m. everyone was back on the bus and headed home. Dirty, tired and in need of some vegetables, these middle schoolers pulled into Blackford after a wild 18 hours of picnic overnight fun! Big thanks go out to our friends at Kennolyn Camp who donate the night to our picnic auction, and to the unbelievable chaperones who give up their own Friday nights so our middle schoolers can party in the great outdoors. This year’s heroes were Vanessa Bullman, Tristan Perks, Heather Perotta, Joe Chung, Lana Morrison, Megan Chimera and Angel Pendleton. Can’t wait ‘til next year!

Harker News — June 08



Open Swim Day at New Aquatic Center Makes Big Splash Over 100 attended Harker Summer Programs first Open Swim Day to acquaint Harker families with our spectacular new Aquatic Center, and answer questions about our new swim instruction and camp offerings this summer. Visit the Web site for details, and we hope to see many of you at the pool this summer!

Harker Ray Gains Celebrity Status! Our summer mascot, Ray, spent some time at a spa this winter and returned healthier, happier and better than ever! He made his first appearance at Grandparents’ Day this year, and will make many more appearances this summer with our lucky campers. Ray says: “See you this summer!!”

ENGLISH LANGUAGE INSTITUTE (ELI) Each summer, Harker offers intensive academic programs for students - both locally and from around the world - who are interested in improving their English and writing skills to prepare them for enrollment in the nation’s best schools, as well as for American international schools abroad.

Limited spaces are still available for these programs, so spread the word to colleagues, neighbors, relatives and friends who may be seeking a top-quality language program for their children. Offerings include: n Advanced Classes (Ages 12-15/Levels 4-5) serve local and international students who qualify with the appropriate language skills and consist of The Harker School’s “regular” English curriculum. n ESL - English as a Second Language Classes (Ages 6-15/Levels 1-3) serves international students and offers a variety of language skill levels allowing for customization of each student’s coursework to maximize the learning experience. For more information about summer programs for international students, visit our Web site or contact

Harker News — June 08




Growing Music Department Shows Off Talent The combined lower school choir and orchestra performance in early May showcased the talents of a maturing music program. The show had over 100 performers in 12 groups, including the full-size Bucknall Orchestra, the Wind Ensemble and the beginning and intermediate string ensembles. All those groups are open to students in K-Gr. 5. The Bucknall Choir, Gr. 3-4, also performed, as did a series of groups from the beginning instrumental program. “This is our first annual Bucknall music department concert,” noted Louis Hoffman, director of instrumental studies K-Gr. 5. Both the choir and instrumental program were started last year, the choir run by Jennifer Cowgill and the instrumental program by Chris Florio and Hoffman. “Our program is quite eclectic, with offerings from Bach and Brahms to Homer Simpson’s ‘Spider Pig’ and the Harker school song, which featured all our performers together for the finale,” Hoffman said. “Our hope is that this will be an annual event and an opportunity to really show off all the extraordinar y talent of our wonder ful Bucknall students, their music coaches and the loving and patient parents whose support makes this kind of programming all possible,” Hoffman concluded.

US Choirs Wrap Up Year with Tour

MS Groups Perform at Awards, Game

Bel Canto, the US choir directed by Catherine Snider, had a very successful spring tour on May 10. The group visited three senior centers and gave a 35-minute concert of sacred music, Celtic and French folk songs and a

The Gr. 6 Choir performed at their grade’s final awards show and treated the audience to two numbers with choreography and part singing. The numbers were “Day-O” and “Swingin’ on a Star.”

Provided by Catherine Snider - both photos

High Voltage, the Gr. 7-8 all-boys dance group, made an unforgettable appearance at the San Jose Giants baseball game on May 14. Performing a strong, upbeat hip-hop combination during the eighth inning, the first-year group, directed by Karl Kuehn, pumped up the crowd with their funky footwork, break-dancing moves and back-flips. The members of High Voltage, Aneesh Chona, David Cutler, Karan Das-Grande, Shiva Empranthiri and Kevin Susai, all Gr. 7, and Rishi Bhandia, Mackenzie Porter and Jun Hee Lee, all Gr. 8, proudly represented the Harker dance program and greatly enjoyed this exciting performance opportunity. Also on hand, singing the national anthem, was Vivace. See story below.

Vivace Thrives In Last Tour, Sings at San Jose Giants Game medley of jazz standards. Performing solos from genres including blues, musical theater, pop, and American and Spanish folk, were John Ammatuna, Sonia Bhattacharya, Max Elisman, Vrinda Goel, Christina Li and Allika Walvekar, all Gr. 9, and Nicole Lindars, Elodie Nguyen, Anita Satish and Christine Trinh, all Gr. 10. Sharon Su, Gr. 12, accompanied the ensemble, which presented carnations to the women for Mother’s Day. Also on May 10, Cantilena performed at the CMEA Choral Festival, held at West Valley College in Saratoga. For the second year in a row, Cantilena earned a much coveted (and not often awarded) unanimous superior for their performance and sight reading. The festival is an adjudicated event with scores given for performance and sight reading. The adjudicators commented on Cantilena’s professionalism, saying, “Your group looks wonderful, very stately…. Excellent training going on here. Things are really happening at The Harker School!” Congratulations to the girls and to their director, Susan Nace. 8

Vivace, one of the the middle school choruses, had a final whirlwind tour in mid-May, visiting nursing homes, including Lytton Gardens in Palo Alto, and ending up at the San Jose Giants minor league game singing the national anthem. In addition, “I wanted to get a good recording of Vivace, which meant coming back to Harker to make the recording!” said Jennifer Cowgill, Vivace director and per forming arts teacher. The chorus has 23 members and sings at events throughout the year. Cowgill said the repertoire for nursing homes is traditional choral repertoire – a folk song from Spain called “Los Labradores,” an American folk song called “Shenandoah,” a modern composition called “Crimson, Ivor y, Aquamarine” that blends the musical styles of Native American singing and blues and jazz, a piece based on G.F. Handel’s “Water Music Suite,” and an uplifting piece called “Clap Your Hands.” “The students per formed for the senior citizens and then had the opportunity to speak with them individually,” said Cowgill. “For the Giants game, we, of course, sang the ‘Star Spangled Banner.’” Harker News — June 08

Buffalo Bill’s Show Rides Into Town Yee haw! Irving Berlin’s masterpiece of the American West, “Annie Get Your Gun,” rode into town in April and was a rip-roaring good time! The Conservatory’s annual spring musical was directed by Laura Lang-Ree, with musical direction by Catherine Snider and choreography by the department’s favorite import, Katie O’Bryon. Paul Vallerga built a set that was reminiscent of Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show, which was the setting for the action, and Brian Larsen oversaw the technical crew, which was ably looked after by stage manager Ben Englert, Gr. 12. “Annie Get Your Gun” is a fictionalized account of the true love affair between sharpshooters Annie Oakley and Frank Butler. The show contains some of Berlin’s most well-known tunes, which the ensemble sang with precision and gusto: “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “Anything You Can Do,” “Old Fashioned Wedding,” “You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun,” and “Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly,” to name only a few. Annie (Lauren Ammatuna, Gr. 12) and Frank (D.J. Blickenstaff, Gr. 11) were required to master some difficult technical moves; Ammatuna hung on a trapeze and was spun in circles, and they both, along with Buffalo

Spring Musical Receives Recognition In a rare honor, the cast of “Annie Get Your Gun” was asked to perform at the American Musical Theater of San Jose 2008 High School Musical Theatre Honors Ceremony at the end of May. The troupe was “selected to perform as a cast as recognition of the high caliber of our performance and program,” said Laura Lang-Ree, the show’s director and performing arts department chair K-Gr. 12. The ceremony took place at the fabulous Center for the Performing Arts in San Jose.

Newcomers Michelle Holt, James Seifert and Clara Blickenstaff, all Gr. 9, were delightful as Annie’s knowing little siblings, and Nilesh Murali, Gr. 9, gave humor to his Chief Sitting Bull. Alex Underwood, Gr. 12, Hassaan Ebrahim, Gr. 9 and David Mihai, Gr. 10, rounded out the principle actors. Snider’s professional band included Chris Florio, the Conservatory’s instrumental instructor, and costumes were beautifully designed by Caela Fujii, with invaluable assistance from Lizzie Cutler, Gr. 11. The acting, dancing and musical skills of the Conservatory’s students continues to dazzle audiences. A giant tip of the (cowboy) hat to Lang-Ree and her crew for another success!

Orchestra to Visit the Big Apple! Calling all experienced string players! Join the Upper School Orchestra in their quest to win the National Orchestra Cup next April at Lincoln Center in New York. “We’re looking for experienced violinists and cellists,” said Chris Florio, orchestra director. “There is also great need for motivated students who want to learn the oboe, bassoon or even the tuba!” Contact Florio for more information at Harker News — June 08

“The award has only been given to a high school three times in the last eight years, and we also received the first one,” she added. “In fact, the award was created for Harker and our production of ‘Oklahoma!’ Catherine Snider (musical director) and I believe very strongly that the strength of a show lies in how strong the entire team is, not just the leads, so this award is quite special to us.” The cast began re-rehearsing in mid-May when they heard the news, and performed “My Defenses are Down,” an all-male number. “The judges were really overwhelmed by the number of guys in our show and their talent level, which is why this number was selected. This was a great honor and the whole cast and crew should be very proud,” Lang-Ree said.

Showstoppers Join in Parade Showstoppers, the MS girls dance troupe directed by Amalia Vasconi, performed at the Mountain View Family Spring Parade at Pioneer Park in late April. It was a great event, and several other community groups performed. The Harker group did two routines from this year’s repertoire, one from the Harker Family Picnic and one from the faculty basketball game earlier this year.

Amalia Vasconi

Bill (Joe Hospodor, Gr. 11), had to work through some intricate timing sequences involving skeet shooting and rifles (fake, of course). Ariel Gaknoki, Gr. 12, was charming as the flirty Dolly, Frank’s assistant who’s in love with him, and Cailin Mackenzie, Gr. 11, and Shilpa Rajgopal, Gr. 12, shone as Tommy and Winnie, the young couple trying to marry in spite of Dolly’s objection that Tommy is half-Native American.

Awards are no longer given at the event; the honor comes from being asked to perform. “Out of 36 local high schools, only a handful of casts were asked to perform that night. This is a reflection of all our students’ hard work and certainly a reflection of the Outstanding Ensemble award we already received,” Lang-Ree said.




Groups Spring Forth with Final Show Conservatory Performers Graduate Cantilena and Guys’ Gig’s “Spring Forth” concert played to a full house on Thursday evening, May 1, with choral songs, solos and duets. Cantilena’s offerings spanned the centuries and continents with songs from late Renaissance and early Baroque master Monteverdi to contemporary arrangements of Asian folk songs. Guys’ Gig offered four songs, two arranged by Harker alumnus Vivek Saraswat, who attended the concert.

Whitney Huang, Gr. 12, directed Cantilena in a song setting of her grandfather’s poetry, while Nina Duong, Gr. 12 and Ida Gorshteyn, Gr. 11, sang songs from their Certificate portfolios. Other soloists with Cantilena were juniors Elena Madan, Hanh Dang and Natasha Jeswani, and senior Charisma Kaushik. New this year to the concerts were mixed duets. Samantha Lowe, Gr. 11 and Maxim Elisman, Gr. 9, sang the closing duet from the musical theater standard “The Fantasticks.” Amaresh Shukla, Gr. 11 and Marina Heinrich, Gr. 12, serenaded each other with the opening duet from Douglas Moore’s American opera, “The Ballad of Baby Doe.” The concert was overseen by Cantilena director and Guys’ Gig advisor Susan Nace.

For a handful of seniors, graduation comes early each spring. The Harker Conservatory graduated its 24 certificate candidates on April 25 in the Blackford Theater. These students have followed a four-year course of study in the performing arts, majoring in one of six specializations. To successfully complete the program, they’ve seen live performances and written critiques, taken workshops in all the performing arts, performed alone and at festivals and taken prescribed coursework in the

performing arts department. Senior Showcase is the grand finale, completing each student’s portfolio. The evening included monologues, dances, songs and instrumental pieces, and was teched by the technical theater graduates. Graduates were guided through their programs by their advisors: Jeffrey Draper, Chris Florio, Laura Lang-Ree, Brian

Songs Into Summer

Larsen, Susan Nace, Laura Rae and Catherine Snider. Congratulations to these wonderful artists, their advisors and their families for this impressive accomplishment in the performing arts. In an intimate concert for families and friends titled Songs Into Summer, US ensembles Bel Canto and Downbeat said goodbye to the school year. The concert gave directors Laura Lang-Ree and Catherine Snider a chance to honor their seniors and the supportive families of all the singers as another busy year of concerts, tours and festivals came to a close.


Dance: Emily Chow, Neha Deshmukh, Ayushi Gummadi, Laura Holford, Tiffany Lai, Ranjita Raghavan, Nitasha Ranganath, Shilpa Rajgopal, Natasha Wu; Instrumental Music: Denaly Chen, Stephanie Kim, Robert Oh, Jonathan Wang; Musical Theater: Lauren Ammatuna, Ariel Gaknoki, Kriti Lodha, Joshua Pinzás; Technical Theater: Ben Carpenter, Ben Englert, Brian McEuen; Theater: Grace Hudkins, Alex Underwood; Vocal Music: Nina Duong, Whitney Huang. Harker News — June 08

Princess Feels the Pea, Wins Prince On May 9-10, the MS performing arts department presented “Once Upon a Mattress,” a comedic twist on the classic fairy tale “The Princess and the Pea.” Full of chivalry and shenanigans, music and mischief, the show by Mary Rodgers (daughter to legendary Broadway composer Richard Rodgers) was a crowd pleaser. Poor Prince Dauntless (Alex Najibi, Gr. 8) wants a wife, but his overbearing mother, Queen Aggravain (Sonya Chalaka, Gr. 8) has high standards and insists upon a rigorous test for every potential princess. Prince Harry (Akshay Jagadeesh, Gr. 8) decides to venture afar in search of a suitable match because it is only after Dauntless is married that he can wed his true love, Lady Larken (Nina Sabharwal, Gr. 7). When Harry returns with the moat-swimming Winnifred the Woebegone (shared over the two nights by Eva Leung and Noel Witcosky, both Gr. 8), even the knights and ladies of the castle have their doubts. The Queen agrees to give her a test, though, and with the Wizard (Rachelle Koch, Gr. 8), concocts a plan to put a pea under twenty mattresses to test her for sensitivity, the sign of a true princess. Miraculously, “Fred” passes the test, thanks to some help from the mischievous Jester (Kirsten Herr, Gr. 8), Minstrel (shared by John Patrick Doherty and Matt Hong, both Gr. 7), and the King (Neel Salukhe, Gr. 8). The Queen is speechless, and the kingdom rejoices at having found a genuine princess. Paul Vallerga designed the set and Brian Larsen was the production manager. Harker’s favorite contractors were on hand, including lighting designer Natti Pierce-Thomson, propsmistress Caela Fujii, and costume designers Remy LaPenia and Magdalena Ricca. With fantastic musical numbers staged by Alex Acevedo, stunning musical direction by R. Roxann Hagemeyer and larger-than-life characters directed by Monica Colletti, this story of a “shy” young princess left its audiences satisfied with a “Happily Ever After” ending.

Spring Sing Goes from Bach to Rock! The third annual Spring Sing occurred on May 23 in the Blackford Theater. As always the enthusiastic audience was standing room only and out the door. The Spring Sing is an annual concert which features the entire sixth grade and the Gr. 6 Choir. Numbers included in the program were a ’50s medley called “Shake, Rattle and Rock,” giving the audience a glimpse of Elvis and other famous rock and roll numbers from that decade; an African-American spiritual favorite, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”; a patriotic partner song called “Fly High, You Grand Old Flag”; a number saluting America’s favorite pastime called “Baseball Fever”; and a classic ’40s number, “Chattanooga Choo Choo.” In addition, Vikram Sundar performed a piano solo titled “Italian Concerto” by Johann Sebastian Bach. In all, seventeen songs were performed to a very enthusiastic crowd, and featured over 70 individual sixth graders.

Happy Birthday – to Us! This year’s annual dance concert was a “Bucknall Birthday Bash!” Two hundred and twenty-six dancers in Gr. 1-5 and 26 LS faculty and staff celebrated Bucknall’s

10th birthday by having a big dance party on stage, complete with clown, balloons, piñata, sleeping bag and musical chair dance. All different types of themed birthday parties made their way to the stage, including a conga line, a princess tea party, Disney party, sports party and the ever popular faculty pool party. The Bucknall campus has been a close community of faculty, staff and students over the last ten years, and they celebrated their bond with slides that preceded each dance and on stage during the finale, as all of the student and faculty dancers came together as one. Congratulations to director Gail Palmer and her assistants, choreographers Amalia Vasconi and Karl Kuehn, for giving the campus such a wonderful birthday party. Dance instructor Rachelle Ellis also choreographed; Danny Dunn was the technical director; alumnus Michael Leonard, who returns every year to work on this show, was the stage manager; and Naomi So, Gr. 9, provided backstage help. The dancers jumped, turned, grooved and smiled their way across stage with energy and enthusiasm. The LS truly is a wonderful, caring and supportive place to learn, play and dance! Happy 10th birthday, Bucknall!

The Gr. 6 Choir acted as hosts of the show and provided the audience with such favorites as “Day-O,” “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” “California Dreamin’.” and a cautionary tale about not studying in school called “Swingin’ on a Star.” Refreshments were provided by our tireless parent volunteers, and the whole evening was written, directed and choreographed by R. Roxann Hagemeyer, with help from Paul Vallerga on lighting and sound. A good time was had by all! Harker News — June 08




Annual Art Shows Exhibit Students’ Talents in Various Media n Art Teaches Skills for a Lifetime The LS art show, as usual, astounded viewers with the complexity and precision of the work. Many pieces will go on to display at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford (see related article page 26). Eric Hoffman, art department chair K-Gr. 5, noted that the basic skill, drawing, was noteworthy through-

out the LS. “I am truly amazed at the drawing skills of our students!” he said. “I think back to the beginning of the school year, to where our young artists started, and when I walk through the exhibition, I’m able to survey all of the growth, skill development and accomplishments students achieved this year. All of us in the LS art department are very proud of our students,” he noted. “One of my favorite projects is the



Gr. 5 painting project based upon the French artist Henri Rousseau,” said Hoffman. “This is where it all culminates; this is their final test. This project integrates all of the skills they have learned: drawing, composition, color theory and color mixing skills, elements of design, mastery of painting techniques and related skills, and self expression and creativity. This is also my report card. Their success is also my success as artist and teacher,”

Hoffman noted. “Our goal is to build a solid foundation under our students from the very beginning, starting in kindergarten. Each year we explore new approaches, techniques and media to teach the building blocks of art. This keeps it fresh and gives us the flexibility to change with the spirit of the time,” Hoffman noted. Not all students are natural artists, or are even attracted to art, but art


Harker News — June 08

can lead to an interesting career outside the field. “The best example that I cite to my students is of an art college friend who received a degree in sculpture,” said Hoffman. “He first worked for an amusement park, then for a company that designed amusement park rides, then a company that developed stealth aircraft technology. “From there he moved on to building cutting-edge prototypes for a medical instrument company. Today, Steve has over 15 patents for surgical instruments used in

cutting-edge heart surgeries. His instruments have helped save many lives. Art helped him develop creative and critical thinking skills, in other words to think smart and out of the box. It helps to build selfconfidence and self-esteem and, simply, to believe in oneself and one’s abilities,” said Hoffman.

n MS Artists Show Off Wood and Drawing Projects The MS art show brought out those budding artists who were finding their range and beginning to revel


in the creative process on a more mature level. “The strongest works in the show are, I feel, the wood constructions,” said Elizabeth Saltos, art teacher. “It is clear every student, whether they have artistic aspirations or not, loves to handle tools. They enjoy learning how to use a screw gun, electric engraving tool and hand tools. They loved building solid structures from two-dimensional ideas,” she said. “The favorite pieces in the exhibit revolve around Tim Culbertson’s (computer science teacher) orchids,” said Saltos. “We did three stages of drawing using these beautiful, living models: contour line, pencil wash, and pen and ink. There is undeniable clarity that comes from sitting and looking at the complex design of an orchid and rendering it as realistically as possible,” Saltos said. “Every student in seventh and eighth grade was very successful with these orchid drawings. They are all artists in the way of learning to draw what they see and not what they think they see. It’s a right brain versus left brain success story,” she noted. Next year, the MS will offer glass fusion as an art medium, and pottery wheels for hand thrown ceramics.

n US Art Student Show Diversity in Department’s First Juried Exhibit The US art department hosted its inaugural Juried Art Exhibition in the Shah Hall Gallery on Apr. 30. Over 100 student artists featured 244 original creations in six competitive categories: drawing; painting; sculpture; ceramics; digital photography and graphic design; and printmaking, collage and mixed media. “We had double the amount of classes this year,” said teacher Pilar Agüera-Esparza, who reflected on the expansion of the Study of Visual Art class to freshmen and sophomores this year. The growth, she added, resulted in “more variety in the types of projects created.”   When asked about the benefits such an event brings to Harker, AgüeraEsparza quoted Stanford professor and artist Elliot Eisner: “Not everything has a practical utility, but maybe it’s experientially valuable. Learning through the arts promotes the idea that there is more than one solution to a problem, or more than one answer to a question.”   Harker News — June 08

Harker students and faculty experienced the exhibits while munching pizza and cake and enjoying a performance by the US Jazz Band, with vocalist Frankie Nagle, Gr. 9, and conducted by Chris Florio. Artist, educator and retired member of the Harker faculty, Don Maxwell, served as judge. Best of Show award went to freshman Susan Tu and sophomores Jeanette Chin and Jackie Ho for their mixed media creation “Plank Mask.” Ho, who displayed nine works, also won the award for Most Exhibited Artist.

Categorical awards included: Drawing – First Place: “Light Study: Chairs and Stools,” charcoal and pastel by Jackie Ho, Gr. 10. Drawing – Honorable Mention: “Paper Light Study,” charcoal by Winny Huang, Gr. 11. Painting – First Place: “Commotion,” acrylic on canvas by Eugenia Sorotokin, Gr. 12. Painting – Honorable Mention: “Grass,” oil on canvas by Heidi Wang, Gr. 12. Sculpture – First Place: “Untitled,” alabaster stone by Jami Woolsey, Gr. 12. Sculpture – Honorable Mention: “Untitled,” alabaster stone by Kyle Drummer, Gr. 10. Photo/Digital – First place: “Cliffs,” digital illustration by Melissa Chen, Gr. 12. Photo/Digital – Honorable Mention: “Self-Portrait,” digital illustration by Katrina Kao, Gr. 10. Ceramics – First Place: “Yellow/Orange Vessel,” ceramics by Julian Stahl, Gr. 11. Ceramics – Honorable Mention: “Ochre & White Vessel,” ceramics by Lauren Moser, Gr. 11. Printmaking/Collage/Mixed Media – First Place: “I love love,” collage by Tiffany Lai, Gr. 12. Printmaking/Collage/Mixed Media – Honorable Mention: “Inspired by Social Realism,” by Niti Shahi, Gr. 10.



Options for Summer Fitness There are two great opportunities to stay in shape over the summer for Harker athletes and all other students. Eagle Iron: June 16-July 30, Mon., Wed., Fri., 9 a.m.-noon. Davis Field. These are drop-in weight and field conditioning sessions to help continuing and prospective Harker athletes become faster, quicker and more agile. Open Gym (volleyball): June 16 - July 30, Mon. & Wed., 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Blackford gym.

Volleyball Says Goodbye with a Bang In a last hurrah, the girls varsity volleyball team officially unveiled their State Finalists banner in the Blackford gym in April. The team had a meteoric season and the unveiling was a joyous and teary celebration of friendship and nostalgia as team members looked back on what was for several their last year at Harker.

Harker’s Tie to the Olympics Harker strives for the very best in all teaching positions and in athletics, there is nothing like a coach who has extensive Olympic-level training assisted by an Olympian to bring verve to a program. Barton Wells, Harker’s head swim coach, still thinks about training for Olympic trials, but would have to give up his day job – at Harker! “I’ve been to three Olympic trials in the past, almost made the ’84 Olympic team at the age of 17, been on other national teams and been on three NCAA championship teams while at Stanford, so I guess I decided I’ve had my fill,” said Wells, when asked about his Olympic plans. “I don’t want to be one of those athletes who just lives in the past with his old accomplishments, so I do still train pretty hard and I am thinking of going to the USA Swimming National Championships this summer, swimming the 10km Open Water swim. “Open Water is a fairly new part of swimming that is going to be in the Olympics this year for the first time and something I’ve had some success with at a lower level over the past few years. But to be honest, at this point in my life, it is hard to know if everything will work out with my job and other responsibilities, and whether everything will work out with my body. “At 41 your body doesn’t always act like you expect. I try to never use age as an excuse because that’s 14

a very slippery slope, but it is a factor. I cannot swim like I could when I was 17, but perhaps I’m a bit wiser, which certainly helps in the open water swimming.” In any case, Wells brings many years of high-level competition to Harker’s program and we’re lucky to have both him and Linda Marinos, assistant swim coach, who represented The Netherlands in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Marinos started swimming at age 6, but didn’t especially like the cold. She came to the United States at 18, and planned to spend a year in Seattle to learn the language and culture, but she got recruited by the University of Minnesota and given a scholarship. In her native country, Marinos hadn’t felt like a particularly strong or fast swimmer. Her sister won medals at European and world championships and members of her home swim team competed in three Olympics. “The U.S. was good for me in the sense that I was on my own! After I won at Big Tens and placed fourth at NCAAs in 400 I.M., I realized my times were close to qualifying times for Olympics. But that meant I had to start training meters. “In 1992 I took a year off to prepare for the Olympics. I lived in a suburb of Barcelona and trained with a Dutch coach and Spanish national swimmers. I recently told Bart Wells how close I came to quitting. We trained at high altitude in the Alps. I was in pain, training nine hours a day, and stopped caring about the

New League for Athletes Parents received a letter in May on the inaugural launch of the West Bay Athletic League (WABL) for lower and middle schools for the 2008-09 school year. US athletes already compete in the WBAL. “The athletic directors have been meeting monthly since September to prepare, and we’re all very excited about the opportunity to begin this league at the ground level,” noted Theresa Smith, athletic director for Gr. 4-8. “The expanded opportunities that this new league provides for our student athletes are many.” League sports include, for lower and middle schools, flag football, softball, swimming, baseball, basketball and soccer, and in MS only, cross country, wrestling, tennis, volleyball, coed water polo and one league track meet. Schools participating include virtually all schools Harker usually competes against, a full list of which will be available on the WBAL Web site that will be launched before the start of the school year and linked from the Harker site. That site will include team schedules, directions, standings and information on the league’s philosophy and mission statement. “The WBAL athletic directors look forward to a great year for your children in athletics!” said Smith.

kudos Coach Theresa (“Smitty”) Smith, whom we know merely as the coach of the US varsity girls (champion!) volleyball team, LS and MS athletic director and Gr. 6 P.E. teacher, is now, officially, a Positive Coaching Alliance Double-Goal Coach. Smith received her award at Stanford in April. See the Harker News April 2008 edition for more details.

Provided by Theresa Smith


Olympics. I wanted to go home!

coach the women’s swim team.

“I guess every athlete gets to that point and you just have to get out of it. Some honest talks with my coach and changing the workouts a bit got me motivated to keep going. I thought I needed more speed to get where I wanted to go (and to keep me motivated).

“In 1998 I moved to California, coached at Santa Clara Swim Club, and taught private lessons. I am the mother of three, ages 12, 3 and 2, coaching the eldest one. I don’t swim anymore myself, other than getting in with my kids to teach and play.

“What I learned has helped me as a coach. You really need a balance and not too much of one thing or the other. And this depends on every swimmer’s needs. When you get to a high level, coaches really need to specify. My taper wasn’t the best but I reached my biggest accomplishment (not my highest potential, which I think lots of athletes deal with; somehow I always thought I could have gone faster!) and of which I am most proud – I placed 12th in world rankings in 400 I.M. and 17th in 200 I.M.

“I never regret having put so much time and energy into swimming. At times it may have seemed easier just to quit, but I’m glad I stuck to it. By coming to the United States I completely saw a different opportunity for young adults where one can combine athletics with academics and where everyone in general is very positive and optimistic.

“I swam one more year at the U of M and stayed one more semester to get my B.A. degree and to help

“Swimming let me travel and see different places in the world and I feel lucky to be able to work with and help new swimmers every day,” Marinos finished. Between Wells and Marinos, Harker has a great swim team coaching staff! Harker News — June 08

LS Sports

MS Sports

US Sports

Because the spring sports were all intramural for the lower school, there are no scores to report. However, the baseball coaches gave summaries of their seasons.

n Tennis

n Academic Honors for US sports teams

n Gr. 5 Baseball The Gr. 5 boys baseball team had a very successful season. Led by Steven Wang, the team improved tremendously as the season progressed. Competing in an intramural program predominantly within the fifth grade and having an occasional scrimmage with the Gr. 4 team, the boys and both coaches, Walid Fahmy and Rob Regan, enjoyed the season. The highlight of the season was the final scrimmage of the year with Gr. 4 boys, which included the coaches as players. According to Fahmy, “Both kids and coaches had a blast!”

The tennis players finished with a strong 8-3 record and made it to the second round of the

league playoffs before losing to Jordan MS. Key players this year were Jenny Chen, Gr. 7, Nikhil Narayen, Gr. 8 and Simar Mangat, Gr. 7.

n Gr. 4 Baseball The fourth graders enthusiastically practiced, learned and participated in many intramural baseball games during this season. The boys enjoyed the challenge of some additional games with fifth graders as well. Coach Jim McGovern reported, “While there was improvement by many, standout performances were made by Ryan Hayden, Nicholas LaBruna, Suraj Jagadeesh, Kevin Wang and Jonathan Yiu.”

n Baseball The baseball team, with strong performances by eighth graders David

team placed in the Harker tournament, finishing second. With the strong skills of seventh graders David Cutler, David Lindars, Eric Swenson and Michael Amick, the team had a season record of 7-3.

n Varsity A Girls Volleyball Led by veteran eighth grade players Sandy Fung and Veronica Bither, the varsity girls had a strong season, finishing with a 4-1 record. The team was also helped by the play of Tiphaine Delepine, Gr. 7 and Aura Dave, Gr. 8.

n Varsity B Girls Volleyball Varsity B volleyball finished the season 4-2, led by Sonia Gupta, Gr. 7 and eighth graders Maya Gattupalli and Lucy Xu.

n JV A Girls Volleyball The JV A volleyball team was undefeated this year! They finished the season 4-0 thanks in large part of the work of sixth graders Mercedes Chien, Michelle Pagnon and Helena Huang. Dominguez, Noah Levy and Jeremy Wallin, finished the season with a 0-4 record.

n Varsity A Boys Volleyball Led by eighth graders Sean Pagnon, Angad Randhawa, Ananth Subramaniam, the boys varsity volleyball team finished their season 9-5-1, taking third place in the St. Chris Tournament and third place in the Harker Tournament.

Many of the spring teams won the CCS scholastic championship, “which means that out of every school in CCS, these programs have the highest cumulative GPA during the third quarter,” explained Dan Molin, athletic director. This is a remarkable accomplishment! Athletes were honored in a brief ceremony prior to a CCS finals event. Baseball, boys golf, girls lacrosse and softball teams all won their CCS scholastic championships. The lacrosse team also was announced as the Academic State Champion for the California Interscholastic Federation, with the highest GPA in the state for any girls lacrosse team. Congratulations to all these excellent student-athletes!

n Swimming Coach Bart Wells was excited to report that our swimmers had a successful season. At the CCS meet,

our girls finished 12th with 58 points (the previous highest placement was 35th with five points last year) and our boys finished eighth with 100 points (highest previous score was a tie for 19th with 30 points last year). Talk about turning some heads! Many Harker records were broken at the CCS event. In the 200 Medley Relay, the girls team of Jessica Khojasteh, Gr. 9, Tina Ma, Gr. 10, Vivian Wong, Gr. 10 and Dominique Dabija, Gr. 11, took 13th place with a time of 1:55.20 (1:54.46 in the prelims, which is a Harker record). Khojasteh also placed third in the 50-Free with a time of 23.97. This is a Harker record, and qualifies for All-American consideration. In the

n Varsity B Boys Volleyball For the first time ever, a Harker B Harker News — June 08



sports in prelims, another Harker record). Finally, in the 400 Free Relay the team of Excel Que, Gr. 12, Paseman, Darren Syu, Gr. 10 and Stefan Schwartz, Gr. 10, earned 35th place in 3:32.26.

and 6-4 in league play. Stephanie Kim, Gr. 12, and Shelby Drabman, Gr. 11, made first team all league this year, the first time Harker softball players have done so.

n Baseball The varsity baseball team had a terrific season, finishing 10-4 in league (second place) and 14-9 overall. The team made it to the CCS playoffs for the first time in school history, but fell to the first seed team, Santa Cruz High School. Coach C. J. Cali reported that Harker was lead by team MVP Greg Plauck, Gr. 10 and Eagle winner Barrett Glasauer, Gr. 11. All-League players Stephan Eckhardt, Gr. 10, and juniors Taylor Martin, Evan Maynard and

100 Free, Khojasteh took fourth in 51.40, an Automatic All-American time, which broke another Harker record. In the 200 IM, Wong took 19th in 2:13.33; Sabrina Paseman, Gr. 11, took seventh place in girls 1-meter diving with an All-American score of 389.55. In the 200 Free Relay, Khojasteh, Ma, Wong and Dabija took 20th in 1:45.03, breaking another Harker record in the process. Ma also took 26th in the 100 Breast in 1:11.08, where Wong placed 10th in 1:07.42, breaking a Harker record. In the 400 Free Relay, Jeanette Chin, Gr. 10, Dabija, Ma and Kaytee Comee, Gr. 11, took 35th in 4:11.13. Way to go, girls!

in the 200 Free Relay in a Harker record time of 1:29:32. In the 200 Free, Ebrahim placed 34th in 1:48.58, breaking another Harker record. Chin qualified for All-American consideration for his Harker record-breaking time of 1:55:53 in the 200 IM. Record-breaking times were also earned by Davis in his sixth place finish in the 50 Free in 21.47 where he qualified for All-American consideration; by Chin in the second place finish in the 100 Fly in 50.58, an Automatic All-American time; and by Ebrahim in his 4:58.47 time for a 32nd place finish in the 500 Free. Davis finished 11th in the 100 Free in 47.83 (he swam the event in 47.71 16

n Tennis

Mark Maynard

In the boys 200 Medley Relay, the team of Cole Davis, Gr. 10, Andrew Chin, Gr. 11, Senan Ebrahim, Gr. 12, and Raymond Paseman, Gr. 12, took seventh place with a time of 1:40.98. Their time of 1:40.92 in the prelims was a Harker record. The same four boys placed sixth

experience for all. “Led by captains Whitney Huang, Gr. 12, Michelle Lin, Gr. 11 and Jami Woolsey, Gr. 12, the team worked hard to improve their skills and knowledge of the game while gaining valuable experience playing against more seasoned teams in the PAL league. Our leading scorers were Huang, Clara Lyashevsky, Gr. 11 and Lin.” Clark added, “We look forward to competing in the WBAL league next year.”

Jeff Mandell were solid contributors this year. Pitcher Sean Mandell, Gr. 11, had an excellent season behind the plate, and Amir Mortazavi, Kevin Sweeney and Greg Cox played well as freshmen. “The coaching staff was proud of the way all the players performed this year,” said Cali.

n Lacrosse Coach Dawn Clark summarized the Harker girls lacrosse team’s first year at varsity as a learning

The boys tennis team finished second in the league after a second round loss to Bellarmine in the CCS finals. They ended the season 175. Seniors Rajiv Ragu and Rohan Mehra were selected to represent Harker in the CCS Individual Tennis Tournament. They were seeded fourth for the doubles draw, but lost to Leigh 5-7, 6-0, 3-6. It was the first time in The Harker School boys tennis history that someone was seeded in the CCS Individual Tournament. Congratulations for making the draw!

n Boys Volleyball According to Dan Molin, who coached the boys volleyball team, “The boys had another banner year, winning their third consecutive league or co-league championship with a 10-0 mark and 28-7 overall record. Highlights include winning the Aptos High Tournament, placing second in the Harker Tournament, and making it to the CCS semifinals. Congratulations to three time league MVP Brian McEuen, Gr. 12, and first team all-leaguers Matt Gehm, Gr. 11, Joey Shapiro, Gr. 12, Eugene Huang, Gr. 10 and Chad Gordon, Gr. 10. Daniel Tien, Gr. 11, made Honorable Mention. Congratulations on a great season!

n Softball Softball defeated Mercy-San Francisco 5-1 on their senior day to end their season 12-13 overall

Andrea Thomas, Gr. 11 made second team all league as well. Coach Raul Rios summarized, “The team ended with a strong finish and we hope to carry that momentum right into next year. We will be losing five seniors this year: Kim, Grace Liang, Anjali Naskar, Denaly Chen and Grace Hudkins. The team and coaches wish them well.“

n Golf The golf team went 5-1 in league play, placing second behind undefeated Sacred Heart Cathedral. Individually, James Feng, Gr. 10, was named First Team All-League and qualified to play in the CCS Championships, where he scored an 89. Kyle Hall, Gr. 11 and Yash Khandwala, Gr. 10, were named Second Team All-League. Aaron Lin, Gr. 11, Jeremy Whang, Gr. 10, Vinay Kumar, Gr. 10, Ram Seeni, Gr. 9 and Sean Doherty, Gr. 11, both participated in league matches.

n Boys Track and Field In their league championships, Vladimir Sepetov, Gr. 9, took fifth place in the 800m run; Richard Ly, Gr. 11, placed sixth in the long jump and third in triple jump.

n Girls Track and Field Sophomore Tiffany Kyi is the WBAL track and field champion in the triple jump. In addition to numerous all-league recipients for spring sports, Brian McEuen, Gr. 12, for boys volleyball and Jessica Khojasteh, Gr. 9, for girls swimming were named league MVPs. Good job! Harker News — June 08



Capital Campaign Team Gathers for Lunch and Update In late April, the capital campaign team gathered with Chris Nikoloff, head of school, and Joe Rosenthal, executive director of advancement, to report on their progress in this final stage of the campaign for the new Science & Technology Center, athletic field and Aquatics Center. This spring, over 4,500 families will be contacted so that ever y member of the Harker family will have the chance to take part in this transformational project for our students and teachers. For more information contact

Each graduating class leaves a legacy, a gift, for those that follow. This year’s Senior Parents Appreciation Gift from the Class of 2008, a redwood grove and a redwood deck between Shah and Manzanita, augments last year’s gift of a water feature to create a peaceful, shady oasis near the center of activity. Class president Senan Ebrahim spoke at the dedication, reflecting on the seniors’ time at Harker. A plaque will be installed naming seniors whose families participated in the gift. In addition, 19 senior bricks were installed in thanks for generous donations.

We would like to thank our many donors who contributed to Annual Giving in 2007-08. This year we achieved a parent participation percentage of 75 percent and dollar total of $1.5 million dollars (20 percent over our goal of $1.25 million). Both of these figures are record highs for The Harker School!  Over the years we have developed a meaningful community of philanthropy at our school, and we are grateful that our parents are showing such strong support for our students. Contributions to Annual Giving continue to help fund programs like performing arts, athletics, library, technology, and much more. We look forward to another great year in 2008-09.

Participation reached 75%

Help us reach ar


Harker News — June 08

Donors Set Record for Annual Giving





Class Gifts Redwood Grove and Deck

t Pa r t icipat




Students Shine at Science Fairs

After School Program is BEST!

Harker students scored locally, nationally and internationally this year. At the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Atlanta in May, senior Sushant Sundaresh won the Special Award--United States Air Force First Award of $3,000 and the Second Award in Plant Sciences of $1,500 for his study, “Towards Nitrogen-Fixing Symbioses without Mutual Consent: The Impact of Carbon Limitation on Endophytic Infection of Maize.”

Gone is the Harker Recreation Program, welcome to the Harker Enrichment and Supervision Team, but before you ask why, listen to Greg Lawson, assistant head of school student affairs:

At the California State Science Fair also held in May, junior Sabrina Paseman earned an Honorable Mention for her study, “The Ferrometer: a Device to Detect Iron Deficient Anemia via Non-Invasive Optical Measurement of Zinc Protoporphyrin.” Harker students won a number of awards at the 2008 Synopsys Silicon Valley Science and Technology Championship held in early March (see Harker News, May 2008, page 1) but Harker News omitted to mention that Suchita Nety, Gr. 7, earned the Grand Prize Student Award, the Isabelle Stone Award for Best Biological Science and First Place in Category for her project, “Impact of Nanoparticles on Human Analogs.” The study tried to understand how organisms with characteristics of human cells would behave in the presence of low and high densities of nanoparticles. Nety presented her project at the California State Science Fair in May, as well.

“After some in-depth and thoughtful examination and planning, the program currently known as Recreation is undergoing some structural changes and a name change as well. The new title will be the Enrichment and Supervision Team to better reflect the breadth of the contribution to student life. “It is always a challenge to introduce a name change to a program that has existed for many years, but we will be striving to gain everyone’s acceptance and usage of the new title,” he said. Anyone else wishing to find out more details about the restructuring of the program should contact Kim Coulter, LS recreation director or Joe Connolly, dean of students K-Gr. 5, at Bucknall, or Erin Clifford, MS recreation director or Lana Morrison, MS dean of students at Blackford.

War Journalist Spellbinds Audience in Speaker Series The second event in the Harker Speaker Series took place on May 16 at the Blackford campus with an engaged audience of parents, students and faculty in attendance to hear Dahr Jamail recount his experiences as one of only a very few unembedded journalists in war-torn Iraq. was the response of the students, in particular, that gave him the most hope, saying that the intelligent comments and questions made his work that much more worthwhile.

Jamail, whose work now regularly appears in leading newspapers and magazines mostly in Europe and Asia, described how his outrage with the mainstream media led him to leave a comfortable life in Alaska to travel to Baghdad in the early months of the war in 2003.

Once in Iraq, Jamail was able to talk directly to the people most affected by the conflict, both citizens and soldiers. Jamail explained how this immediacy, along with his ability to bypass military censorship, enabled him to report on events that went either unseen or were falsely reported by mainstream observers offering, for example, a firsthand account of the actual events inside Fallujah following the now-famous siege. Jamail spoke directly to the dozen or more middle school and younger children present when he stressed that the most important precept of journalism was to simply get out and tell the story. Following the 45-minute presentation, the audience enthusiastically engaged Jamail with detailed questions, some of the most enlightening coming from the students. Jamail noted afterwards that it was the response of the students, in particular, that gave him the most hope, saying that the intelligent comments and questions made his work that much more worthwhile. Jamail’s upcoming work focuses on a quiet resistance movement that has been gradually spreading amongst deployed soldiers, and its impact on the war. –John Jerney, parent (John Nicolas, Gr. 4; Cristina, Gr. 7)

Equipped with only an inexpensive laptop computer, a small digital camera, meager savings and the e-mail addresses of 130 friends and acquaintances back in Alaska, Jamail described how a fortuitous combination of Internet research and an early string of opportune encounters not only got him into Baghdad safely, but also helped him secure his first driver and interpreter.


Harker News — June 08

Future Problem Solvers Rack Up Awards, Have Fun at International Event Harker’s Future Problem Solver Senior division team (high school) came in first overall in the ultimate presentation of their solution/action plan at the FPS International conference in Lansing, Mich. All of our 14 competitors and both teams finished in the top 20 of their respective categories and divisions.

Gupta, Gr. 7; Alternate team, fourth place, Jacqueline Wang, Gr. 7.

potential solutions to this main problem,” said Merrill.

The state finals in late April set the stage for the international competition when Harker qualified 14 students. Only 36 teams from three divisions are invited to the state bowl and Harker sent 10 teams, this year.

Competitors had to solve a future crisis involving the international exploitation of child workers in Cambodia and Southeast Asia. This is the second year in a row several of these Harker students finished as the international champions. We were the only school at the international finals with teams that qualified in two different age divisions. 

“This is the eighth year in a row that Harker has been the state champion in one or more divisions and the fifth year in a row that a team has qualified for the international finals,” said Merrill. “We are

Full results are listed below, but Merrill expressly commended the remarkable achievement of seventh graders finishing so high in a division that includes ninth graders, and noted this is the third time in a row two individuals have made it to international finals: Namrata Anand, and Zhu. Finally, Tim Chou, Gr. 9, received special recognition for winning a design competition for the 2008 FPS logo and T-shirt.

This is the second year in a row several of these Harker students finished as the international champions. We were the only school at the international finals with teams that qualified in two different age divisions.

Action Plan Presentation: They were the overall champions! Olivia Zhu, Gr. 9, Namrata Anand, Han, Chin, Sarah Wang, Dominique Dabija, Gr. 11 and Ananya Anand, Gr. 11. Middle Division (Gr. 7-9): Our middle division team did very well too, placing in the top 20 of teams from throughout the world; Scenario Writing, Individual, second place: Zhu; Written Solution, Team: Top 20 finisher: Justine Liu, Christine Chien, Monisha Appalaraju, Sheridan Jones, all Gr. 9; Written Solution, Individual, eighth place, Connie Cheng, Gr. 7; Alternate team, second place; Sonia Harker News — June 08

Provided by Monisha Appalaraju

Senior Division (Gr. 10-12) Written Solution: This senior team placed in the top 20 teams in the country/ world: Namrata Anand, Alex Han, Jeanette Chin, Sarah Wang, all Gr. 10.

We were also one of only a couple of schools that had state champions in more than one of the four Future Problem Solving categories of competition. Finally, we were the only school to have finalists in three different categories. “We are becoming quite a powerhouse as a school in Future Problem Solving!” said MS history teacher Cyrus Merrill, FPS advisor  “Our students were competing with teams from most states in the U.S. as well as with teams from Canada, Singapore, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Korea and other countries.” On a final note, Merrill placed second in the adult/coaches division and Doug Knight (in his first year as an FPS coach) finished in fifth place.

Finally, “many of the kids were on

also the only California school, and one of few if any in the nation, to have more than one team or individual qualify for the international competition. Our problem solvers compete as teams of four, individuals, or as future scene scenario writers, something we have never done before this year.” The scenario students had to solve involved a crisis involving a Canadian multinational mining corporation and its financial involvement in Guyana. “It is amazing that in two hours the students brainstorm 16 challenges regarding this future crisis and then come up with an underlying problem and 16

television in the San Diego area on the evening news the day of the competition,” said Merrill. “Not surprisingly, the kids told me that was one of their favorite parts, being interviewed by the media and then seeing themselves on TV that night at the hotel.” In other FPS news, partly as a result of his success as a coach in Future Problem Solving, Merrill was reelected to the office of president for the nonprofit board that governs Future Problem Solving in California. “I want to thank co-coach Doug Knight and all of the parents and chaperones who support this program at Harker,”

Merrill said. “I have learned a lot of skills in governing and working with a diverse group of passionate individuals and about some of the rules and management issues involved in a nonprofit,” noted Merrill. “We have added new competitive divisions, received a grant to fund our executive director and worked to expand our number of participants.” In the future, “I am hoping to establish a development board for FPS so parents and others can share ideas on how to raise funds in order to guarantee that the program survives and can continue to expand,” Merrill noted. State Results: Harker had one junior division (Gr. 4-6) team which placed second in the state in the presentation of their action plan: Rahul Sridhar, Saachi Jain, Andrew Wang, Sachin Vadodaria, Vikas Bhetanabhotla and Arjun Goyal, all Gr. 6. Harker had five teams in the top eight in the middle division (Gr. 7-9). In fourth place: Sonia Gupta, Pooja Shah, Emily Wang and Rohit Agarwal, all Gr. 7; third place: Jackie Jin, Jennie Xu, Ananth Subramaniam, and Daanish Jamal, all Gr. 8; second place (and qualifying for internationals): Monisha Appalaraju, Sheridan Jones, Christine Chien and Justine Liu, all Gr. 9. The freshman team, with the addition of Jacqueline Wang, Gr. 7, also finished first in the presentation of their action plan.  Individuals: first place, Connie Cheng (who was invited to attend the international finals), Gr. 7; second place, Olivia Zhu; third place was a tie between Jacqueline Wang and Shelby Rorabaugh, both Gr. 7.  Scenario Writers: First place, Zhu (who was invited to attend international finals); second place, Jacqueline Wang; third place, Peter Gao, Gr. 9. Harker had three of the four top teams in the senior division (Gr. 10-12). The sophomore team of Jeanette Chin, Namrata Anand, Monisha Dilip and Sarah Wang are state champions for the second year in a row, and this team, for the first time in Harker history, qualified as a senior team for the international finals. 19



Not Just a Haircut for Many Charitable Students Provided by Amanda King

Harker students have made some impressive donations, but one is very personal – the gift of hair. In the past four years, at least 25 members of the Harker community have donated hair to organizations that make wigs for people who have lost their hair from disease or illness. This donor group includes faculty, staff and former students; however, the largest group of contributors has been students.

l Locks of Love provides wigs for financially disadvantaged children:

l Wigs for Kids, l Pantene Beautiful Lengths, the only organization that provides wigs to adults,

l Childhood Leukemia Foundation provides wigs for children, www.

l Children With Hair Loss, another organization providing wigs to finan-

Some students have decided to donate after a parent or relative had cancer. Both Hannah Prutton, Gr. 7, and Michelle Vu, Gr. 9, donated after their mothers survived breast cancer. Others have donated because they wanted to share their long hair with someone who needed it. Senior Natasha Wu has grown, cut and donated her hair three separate times. According to her mother, “Natasha has only cut her hair three times, and each time she was able to donate…. We just thought we should do something meaningful, and she was happy to know that she can donate it to make wigs for kids with cancer. What a great way to teach her to be grateful and not take anything for granted, and be compassionate and help those in need.” Other repeat donations have come from Caroline Howells, Gr. 5, and Silpa Karipineni, Gr. 6.

Provided by Desiree Mitchell

Research carefully to determine if the organization can use your hair before donating! See their Web sites for specific details.

Amanda King, Gr. 9, survived a major burn, and has many friends who are also burn survivors. She recently cut off 12 inches of her hair and convinced her mother, cheer coach Chris King, to donate 14 inches of hair a few years ago. Teachers who have donated hair and explained the program to their students have inspired some students. Third graders Maile Chung and Lyndsey Mitchell, who cut their hair this year, and Vu, who donated several years ago, mentioned that lower school teachers Gail Palmer and Stephanie Woolsey encouraged their donations. Upper school seniors Emily Chow, Janise Chan and Heidi Wang decided to cut their hair together. Chow explains, “Frankly, my hair was just way too long and cutting it without a purpose seemed useless. I wanted a big change, and choosing to donate my hair really pushed me to keep to that. Plus, it’s nice to know that my hair can actually help someone else.” Many other students echoed this sentiment of helping others. To make one wig, it takes 12-25 ponytails. Hair is collected by the organization and dyed, so donated hair cannot be chemically treated. The major investment for a hair donor is in time, since the minimum length required for any of the organizations that take donated hair is eight inches. Some organizations require at least twelve inches. When you consider that after the hair is cut, the donor still needs enough hair for a style of his or her own, people who donate usually make quite a noticeable change in the length of their hair. For many of the students who have donated hair, contributing to the community is a regular part of their lives. As Violet Boyle, mother of Alyssa Boyle, Gr. 11, explained, for Alyssa, donating her hair was just “part of the package.”

cially disadvantaged children,

in the news n Mercury News, June 7 This story about senior pranks include a few words on Harker’s 2008 senior prank and comments by Butch Keller, US head.

n Mercury News, May 29 This article lauded Kartik Venkatraman, a Harker junior, who created a tribute video for a World War II Veteran.

n Mercury News, May 23 Columnist Sal Pizarro noted that US computer science teacher Dave Feinberg, who went to school with the creators of the film “Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay,” wrote a poem recited by one of the title characters called “The Square Root of Three.”

n San Jose Magazine, May Issue Harker’s Global Grooves Fashion Show was featured in the monthly “RSVP” event recap section. The magazine also featured Jonathan “Jonny” Wang in its annual “Whiz Kids” section, which showcases outstanding high school students. Finally, the magazine quoted Harker Parent Trish Tobin (Sheridan, Gr. 5; Brendan, Gr. 3) in its “Perfect Match” article about choosing a private school.

n Mercury News, April 24 and The West San Jose Resident, May 2 Cindy Liu, Gr. 5, winner of the United Nations Environment Programme, was noted. Liu attended ceremonies in Washington, D.C., and Wellington, New Zealand. See page 1 for story.

n The Almaden Resident, April 17 and the Mercury News on May 1 Alex Chien, Gr. 4, was the focus of an article noting his many accomplishments as an extraordinary pianist.

n Mercury News, Mar. 4 The Merc announced that Harker’s varsity women’s volleyball coach, Theresa “Smitty” Smith was recognized for receiving the Positive Coaching Alliances Double-Gold Coach Award. The ar ticle also noted Smith had been selected as the Mercur y News girls volleyball coach of the year.

Interested in donating? The following organizations accept hair donations. 20

Harker News — June 08

n Lower School Since younger students have more free time to pursue recreational reading, one can see what they check out, both fiction and nonfiction, which is not related to the school curriculum. The following is in order of the most popularity: sports and riddles; aircraft and cars; drawing, crafts and comics; poetry; animals, insects and cold-blooded vertebrates; and folk tales. Fiction, picture books and easy-to-read books are also very popular, comprising 53 percent of the books circulated at Bucknall. Alphabetically speaking, the best-circulated writers of chapter books are David Adler (“Cam Jansen” series), Roald Dahl, Mary Osborne Pope (“Magic Tree House” series), Barbara Park (“Junie B.” series), Tamora Pierce (author of several series) and J.K. Rowling (“Harry Potter” series).

n Middle School Some recreational popular nonfiction titles are “Guinness World Records,” “Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul” and Calvin and Hobbes books. A few popular nonfiction subjects include books on women’s rights and teenage girls, World War II, biographies of United States presidents, and civil rights for African-Americans. Fiction is popular in the middle school as well: 30 percent of circulated items at Blackford are fiction. Several of the most popular books are the “Clique” series by Lisi Harrison; Meg Cabot’s “Princess Diaries” series; the “Twilight Saga” series by Stephenie Meyer and ”Inkheart” by Cornelia Funke (from the “Inkheart Trilogy” series).

n Upper School Novels comprise 24 percent of our upper school circulation. Several of the most popular titles this year are: from the “Twilight Saga” series by Stephenie Meyer, “Twilight, Eclipse, and New Moon,” “Black Swan Green” by David Mitchell, “Artemis Fowl: Lost Colony” by Eoin Colfer (“Artemis Fowl” series), “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy, “The Scarlett Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne and “The Shamer’s Signet” by Lene Kaaberbol (from “The Shamer Chronicles” series). I wish you all a summer of sports and riddles, magic tree houses, chicken soup, new moons and peace. –Enid Davis, Library Director

Harker News — June 08

n Natalie Rose Barth arrived May 3 at 10:43 p.m., 7 lbs., 6 oz., and 21 inches long. Congratulations to Evan (US math teacher), mom Tia and big sister and brother, Ashley and Ryan!

Provided by Evan Barth

As a former English literature major, I tend to prefer words over numbers – except in the case of statistics, wherein numbers can actually tell me some very interesting stories. For example, the circulation statistics from our library’s online catalog allow me to see what the students are checking out to read for fun. Their interests range from jets to jokes, from humor to horror, and from titles in a series to the stand alone “War and Peace” (long enough to be its own series).

staff updates n Congratulations to Matt Harley (US biology teacher) and his wife, Amy, on the arrival of their daughter, Lucy Elizabeth Harley, born at 12:25 p.m., May 12, at 8 lbs, 2 oz. and 19 inches long. Best wishes from all of us at Harker!

Provided by Matt Harley

Checked-Out Titles and Genres Show Student Library Trends

n More good news. Brennan James Williams joined the Harker team on April 8, at 10 a.m., weighing in at 9 lbs., 1 oz. Both mother Rebecca (MS English teacher) and son are doing well!

n Congratulations to faculty and staff who have completed another five years at Harker! These employees received service pins in early June as a token of appreciation for their service and dedication to Harker. 30 Years: Kelly Espinosa, John Near, Howard Saltzman; 25 Years: Chris Doll; 20 Years: Kim Coulter, Fortino Gonzales; 15 Years: Enid Davis, Julie Pinzás, Alice Schwartz, Melanie McKenna; 10 Years: Sharon Paik, Lisa Diffenderfer, Kim Benge, Luanne Stanley, Vandana Kadam, Julie Troop, Kathleen Ferretti, Eric Chamlis, Cindi Gonsalves, Ruby Santiago, Clare Elchert, Teresa Thomas, Jaap Bongers, Donna Gilbert, Conception Grande, John Hawley, Eric Hoffman, Nicholas Manjoine, Abel Olivas, Sandy Padgett, Cindy Proctor, Kate Shanahan, Catherine Snider, Rita Stone, Mr. Vu, Martha Gonzalez, Lori Villarreal, Rhonda Mann; Five Years: Jeannette Bhatia, Jose Carrillo, Tammy Coia, James Gavron, Dan Hudkins, Mark Mitchell, Eric Nelson, Mai Lien Nguyen, Robert Regan, Anthony Silk, Danny Sommer, Paul Vallerga, Laura Navarro, Tyrone Lockett, Mary Holaday, Ben Spencer-Cooke.

n Christine Howkins, Webmaster, is retiring at the end of this school year after eight years at Harker. During her tenure – which includes the last four years in Harker’s Office of Communications (O of C) – she’s been involved in four Web redesigns. “Christine’s contributions have been immense, and my secret hope is that she finds gardening and writing her first novel just boring enough to give us a little help now and then,” she laughed. Assuming Howkins Web responsibilities will be O of C staff member Nick Gassmann who’s been promoted to Web site manager from the part-time multimedia position he’s held in the department since 2004. Some of you may also know Gassmann from his earlier days as a coach and recreation staff member. We warmly welcome him to his new role!

n Beloved LS counselor Linda Heyes is retiring and Pauline Warren, who has been replacing the middle school counselor, Melinda Gonzales, while she has been on maternity leave, will move into Heyes’ position as counselor for the primary division. Warren is a graduate of CSU Long Beach, has a master’s degree in counseling psychology from JFK University and was a counselor in the Cupertino Union School District prior to coming to Harker.




Grade 5 students got a chance to become videographers during the last two months of school. In computer science classes,

month of May, students could often be seen in small groups around the Bucknall campus, cameras in hand. Unlike earlier multimedia projects,

in which students were the actors in projects created by teachers, these projects were entirely student-created.

Wallin said she learned many things from the project, including “how to work well with people who may not be your friends.” As for the project itself, she felt that, “Making an iMovie is better than writing a report because it’s not as boring. What I mean by that is instead of thinking of what to write in the report, you can act it out. Also, it’s better to get visual images of what the person doing the project is trying to explain, and the movie shows what you’re trying to say and at the same time it’s fun to watch.”

One five-minute video, “France,” by Nathan Boone, Andrew Zhang and Gillian Wallin, included one of the most succinct representations of the French revolution in history, embellished by the prolonged death throes of the monarchy represented by Zhang and Boone fighting (see photo), while Wallin recorded.

In addition to teamwork, Zhang stated that he “also learned about the history, population density, culture and things like that. This project was a great chance to work together while learning and having fun. I hope that fifth graders in the future also do this awesome project,” he noted.

the month of May, students could often “beThroughout seen in small groups around the Bucknall campus, cameras in hand. ” taught by teachers Joe Chung and Eric Leonard, and Lisa Diffenderfer, K-Gr. 5 assistant director of technology, students were put in groups of three or four to research six different elements of a country of their choosing. Students then chose three of those elements to present, and wrote scripts, filmed and acted out their presentations, and edited the final projects. Throughout the

The Magic Flute Works Its Magic on Campus Students were treated to a marvelous production of “The Magic Flute” at the end of April, thanks to the generous gift of Michaelyn Shelley-David, grandmother of Nicole Selvaggio, Gr. 1. The opera, written by W. A. Mozart and performed by members of the renowned San Jose Opera Company, came to Harker as a result of the gift. Grade 1 teacher Rita Stone said, “It was rewarding to see our students behave so beautifully, while at the same time, enjoy such a wonderful performance. They laughed and they cheered.” Selvaggio said she liked “the padlock on one of the performer’s mouths.” Christopher Gong, Gr. 1, was impressed by the “test of fire” while classmate Timothy Chang “really liked the girls’ high voices.” Priya Bhanot, Gr. 1, liked “the end of the opera when all the singers were together. It sounded beautiful.” Stone noted, “This gift truly was enriching. It may have created a whole new generation of opera buffs.”


Gillian Wallin

Classroom Videos Teach Teamwork and History

Nathan Boone, Andrew Zhang

Boone concurred that the project was fun. He found it “very interesting to see how your project ends up when you watch it in the end.” Although these students learned many technical aspects of making videos, including uploading films and music, creating storyboards and scripts, making voiceovers and how to use a camera on a tripod, Boone found the group aspect of the project, like many artistic endeavors, a challenge. “To make a good movie, you have to work well with all the members of your group.”

Students Study Heavenly Bodies Third graders visited the stars in May – at De Anza College’s Fujitsu Planetarium – for an hour-long display of celestial majesty. The facility has a new, state-of-the-art projector and a recently remodeled full dome digital projection system. The visit complemented their astronomy unit. “Students raved about ‘The Planets’ show, a production of The National Space Center,” said teacher Katy Sommer.

Here are some student reviews: “I loved seeing the imagery of Neptune and The Great Dark Spot,” said Aditya Dhar. Misha Tseitlin was impressed by the experience: “I liked the whole planet descriptions because they looked so high tech.” “They were stunned by the imagery of the new Infinium S star projector,” noted Sommer. Student Kedar Gupta said, “The projector was so realistic!” Classmate Anuva Mittal added, “I loved seeing the constellations.” Harker News — June 08

Gold Country Trip Teaches Hard Work, Conservation The fourth graders’ annual trip to Coloma at the beginning of May was an event-packed outing for the 102 students and 15 chaperones. The first day was spent along the American River learning about how the miners of the Gold Rush survived, said Kristin Giammona, elementary division head and chaperone. The students made homemade cornbread in Dutch ovens over open fires. One student, Simmi Bansal, reveled in creating a food from scratch then eating it, observing, “It was delicious.”

Kristin Giammona - all photos

With food comes work, and students washed bandanas on wash-

boards, giving them a taste of the old ways. Next, students teamed up to build shelters out of tarps, rocks and wood. Later that evening, the students had a hoedown and built a campfire. The second day was spent in the state park and included a hike up Monroe Ridge. The students went on a scavenger hunt and also enjoyed solo hikes. Surya Solanki said, “I liked the solo hike because you could see everything nicely and take your time and not rush.” The second evening began with a dinner of spaghetti and ended with a guest Native American speaker

The event kicked off at 1 p.m. with snacks and a welcome from Chris Nikoloff, head of school.

The assembly included songs and skits celebrating grandparents, along with the Dance Fusion performance. Grandparents’ Day co-chairs Maria Gong (Christopher, Gr. 1; Catherine, Gr. 5); Kalpana Jain (Ashli, Gr. 1) and Ambreen Jamal (Hasan, Gr. 1; Daanish, Gr. 8; Mahum, Gr. 10), were introduced, then everyone had time in the students’ classrooms. A good time was had by all.

kid talk Editor’s note: Gr. 2 students recently discussed the importance of character to daily life, the latest in student thoughts on the words of the Harker crest, Praestantia, Scientia, Constantia, Beneficium (Excellence, Knowledge, Character and Service).

who shared stories. The final day was a wrap-up where students brainstormed ways to care for the environment. Making the whole trip possible, along with Giammona, were chaperones Joe Connolly, Heather Perrotta, Nancy Tomlitz, Rob Regan, Eileen Schick, Eric Leonard, Jared Ramsey, Jennifer Cowgill, Tobias Wade, Katie Molin, Giresh Ghooray, Lisa Hackwood, Priscilla Chan and Jim McGovern.

Back to School Day – for Grandparents! Grandparents’ Day brings some of Harker’s most treasured family members to campus. Grandparents visited classrooms, attended an assembly featuring Dance Fusion, the Gr. 4-6 dance troupe, and even took part in a scavenger hunt to help familiarize them with our campus.

Thanks to all the wonderful volunteers who made this a highlight of the school year!

Rajiv Movva said it’s good to have character because you “get a lot of friends.” It makes him feel happy when someone shows good character. He added, “You can show good character by being honest and taking responsibilities.” Zachary FitzGerald says character is “the way you act. Being nice to someone. It makes me feel good when I show good character.” Michael Auvil thinks character is good. “Being rude is not showing good character. It makes me feel bad.” Joshua Broweleit thinks character is a good thing to have. He shows it at home to his brothers and sister “by respecting them.” Meena Gudapati says, “being fair is showing good character. You should show it all the time. If it wasn’t there, it would be a weird world. My brother always takes the most and he never gives any to me. That makes me feel angry. If someone shows good character to me, it makes me feel good.” Rishi Iyer thinks character “is a really good thing. Your teachers always help you with it. Without good character, people get hurt with their feelings, and they can also get sad and angry. Not everyone shows good character outside of school. Like some people keep on calling other people a cheater or a liar and they boss other people around.” Maxwell Woerhmann says,”If we didn’t have good character, people would get hurt and nobody would really care, and people would be discluded.” He shows good character in wallball by going out of the game when he is out.

Harker News — June 08



school In just one of the many eco-friendly efforts around campus, teacher Colleen Lindsay’s kindergartners created robots from recycled materials for Earth Day. Each student also included a robot profile explaining what materials were used, how long it took to build, what ecological benefit the robot provided and what the robot’s name was. Colleen Lindsay

Thirty-five Gr. 4-5 students in the ser vice club took turns collecting bottles and cans for recycling during morning drop. The students organized and prepared the bottles and cans to be turned in, and raised $30. In addition, as a goodwill gesture, the club held a car wash for the Harker community. The car wash was free but donations were collected for the sur vivors of the earthquake in China, and the group raised $400. The money from the two events will be put together and donated to the Red Cross’ efforts in China. Other activities have included organizing a reading club for kindergarten and first grade students and entertaining seniors at a senior center.

Earth Day Inspires Robot Project

“The children did an amazing job!” said Lindsay. “Several robots were able to move or light up due to old slot car or train parts. One of them could talk (with the use of an MP3 player)! One student used his former training wheels to make his robot mobile. “We also celebrated by creating the world on cookies with green and blue icing and many sweet and sour patch kid candies, and we ended our Earth Day celebration with a song the children have come to love called ‘Save the Planet!’” Lindsay said.

Young Poets Receive Honors Poets start young at Harker and several Gr. 5 students had their work chosen for publication in a poetry competition called “A Celebration of Young Poets.” All seven students who entered had poems that were chosen to appear in an anthology, and Tiara Bhatacharya was selected as a top 10 winner in the country, earning a $50 savings bond. The other entrants were: Aadyot Bhatnagar, Ethan Cutler, Allen Huang, Archana Podury, Alexandra Walker and Kelly Wang.

Play Syncs up with Classwork The entire second grade class took a midday break to attend the “The Emperor and the Nightingale” at the Sunnyvale Theater in mid-May. The group attended as part of their language arts classes. “It’s a tie-in to enjoying literature in a different medium, and it goes beautifully with the fairy tale curriculum in their library classes,” said Judi Beil, Gr. 2 teacher.

Much Made of Mismatched Monday Mismatched Maniac Monday was the theme for a spirit day in late April, as students looked toward the last six weeks of class. Along with students, faculty and staff were encouraged to participate, and a goodly bunch did. Guidelines ran from top hat and shorts to striped hair, leaving plenty of latitude for creativity.


Tree Planting

Kate Shanahan

Heekyung Cho

Earthquake Triggers Fundraising

In an annual rite of spring, kindergartners were children gardeners for an hour in late may, when they planted a sycamore tree about five feet off the walkway in the lawn at the west end of the gym building. “The tree planting tradition began and has continued so the children could have something they could take ownership of and return to in the future,” noted Sarah Leonard, primary division head. “When the children come back to Harker to visit, they can find their tree and, hopefully, be inundated with warm memories of the time spent in kindergarten and at the lower school. “Also, the tree planting provides us with the perfect opportunity to discuss the many uses and importance of trees while weaving in some environmental considerations, thereby planting the seeds for responsible decision-making as the children grow and mature. Finally, the tree planting contributes to the beauty and well-being of the campus,” she said. In the end, it was sunny morn, and all the furor and excitement resulted in one tree going into the ground, placed to shade the office of Joe Connolly, dean of students K-Gr. 5.

Elections Bring New Faces Election season was in full swing, this spring, and the following students, all Gr. 4, will take their offices as lower school officers in the fall: Johnathon Keller, president; Kristen Park, vice president; Ankita Sharma, recording secretary; Natasha Mayor, spirit and service coordinator. Lead on! Harker News — June 08

Show Spotlighted Our Favorite Pets

Annual Carnival Provides Games, Fun

The spring kindergarten musical, “Cats & Dogs,” was a panorama of whiskered students who came together to celebrate the similarities and differences of the species. The production was supported by Danny Dunn in her role as performing arts technical director, music teacher Louis Hoffman and a backstage crew of fourth and fifth graders.

In keeping with tradition, the annual Kiddie Carnival was held to celebrate the last day of school for the K-Gr. 3 students. This year was the 27th year of this event, in which the younger Bucknall students played various games at carnival booths, and enjoyed snacks and hanging out with friends and teachers in an informal setting. Since the 2008 theme was the Harker Olympics, the festivities began with an exciting grade-level torch relay, in which students ran the length of the blacktop to the front field, where the event was staged. Students were encouraged to come dressed to support the theme, representing their favorite Olympic sport or the country of their choice. As usual, the jump house was a popular event, and students enjoyed the cotton candy and snow cones. Some of the more exciting games were the long jump, a torch toss, and a shark shoot out. Teachers of K-Gr. 3 students ran the booths, and everyone enjoyed the day.

Fifth Graders Move Onward and Upward Fifth Graders paraded in style in early June as they lined up for awards and kudos. Those being promoted received awards for citizenship and effort. Many students already sported multiple medals or stars on their Harker uniform sweaters.

Good grammar does pay. When Colin Goodwin’s Gr. 4 English class notice a grammatical error, they notified the maker and are reaping the rewards of their effort. Students in the class noted that the back of a Nature’s Path Gorilla Munch cereal box quoted the endangered gorillas as saying, “Us gorillas need help.” Students wrote to the company pointing out the caption should read, “We gorillas need help!” “The company responded to our letters,” said Goodwin, “and they are going to fix the error on the back of the box. In addition, they are throwing my class a cereal party. They mailed me boxes of cereal for all of the kids and a bunch of other products from their company for the party.” The group celebrated its first victory over corporate America the last week of school, the party being a fitting reward for an intellectual exercise.

watched the ceremony. In the end, a new group of middle schoolers was made, all of whom have a whole summer to think over their new positions – Congratulations!

Teachers and Parents Appreciated Teacher appreciation days are more than a chance to sample dishes from around the world – they give parents a chance to say “thank you” for the care teachers take in educating students. There are a number of celebrations throughout the month, starting with Harker’s teacher appreciation day, and continuing with a series of luncheons by class on the front field. May 6, National Teacher Appreciation Day, was a chance for Harker to acknowledge teachers who make the school one of the finest of its kind in the country. “Without your dedication, hard work and the sincere interest you take in all your students, we would not be able to achieve all that we do,” said Sarah Leonard, primary division head, and Kristin Giammona, elementary division head, in their invitation. The day started with breakfast, 10 drawings for gift cards, and, to close the day, a chocolate extravaganza. Later in the month parents had their chance, serving up delicious dishes at lunches, two classes at a time, for teachers. The kind of contact teachers and parents have at these warm events is hard to duplicate and everyone basked in the enjoyment of being well fed and in congenial company.

DI Teams Report from Tennessee! Destination ImagiNation Global Finals, held in Knoxville, Tenn, May 21-24, was the one of the largest celebrations and competitions for creativity in the world. It was a positive event where creativity, innovation and results were the norm. Although there were 1,031 teams competing from around the World, they bonded and created a lifelong friendship in the spirit of DI. The Switching Sixers, Vikram Vasan, Elisabeth Siegel, Sadhika Malladi, Vineet Kosaraju, Grace Guan and Jonathan Dai, all Gr. 4, assisted by manager Revathi Vasan and assistant Padmaja Malladi, were proud and elated to be part of this grand event and to present their amazing solution. They placed 11th out of the 70 teams in the Elementary division from all across the globe. The Creative Winners, Ankita Uppugunduri, Aneesh Samineni, Alexander Lam, Chetana Kalidindi, Priyanka Chilukuri and Sneha Bhetanabhotla, led by co-managers Padmasri Bhetanabhotla and Gina Lam, also did well, tying for 10th place with a team from China, out of a total of 72 teams in their challenge at the Elementary level. There were a total of 1,038 teams participating in this event from all over the world in different challenges and approximately 18,000 people attended the opening and closing ceremonies. Pin Trading was one of the main highlights, where pins were shared, new friends made, and people learned about themselves and others. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the team and we had a wonderful time,” commented team manager Vasan.

Bhentanabhotla Padmasri

A near-capacity crowd of parents, grandparents, siblings and others

Harker News — June 08

Students Find Cereal Box Typo




Harker Student Art to be Displayed at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital After the lower school art exhibition closed with the school year, many pieces were selected to move on for display at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital (LPCH) at Stanford University. The arrangement came about when art teacher Eric Hoffman, intent on getting a public showing, asked his

Vanessa Tyagi

students for suggestions on where they could exhibit. Said Hoffman, “One of my students, Matthew Ho, Gr. 5, suggested a hospital and I thought, ‘what a great idea!’ Since we already have an association with Stanford it seemed only natural to ask them if they were interested. “I think our students do great work and something I have always wanted to do is get the work out

into the public, so that people can see how great our children are and certainly to promote the school and our programs. That is just a really positive thing to do,” Hoffman said. “My students are ver y excited about it.”

going through graduate school,” said Hoffman. “He designs exhibitions for a number of museums and galleries in the area and across the United States as well. It was ver y nice to know he was in charge.”

Hoffman made his first inquir y before Christmas, and the process was nearly completed in May. “We had an initial meeting, where we went to visit the hospital,” said Hoffman. “We met with their staff and talked about the possibility of having an exhibition there. We had also taken a collection of work, paintings, drawings, prints and collages that had already been completed. After the initial meeting, I invited them to come to Bucknall and view the art around campus. I had chef Dave Hendricks prepare a special lunch for them which was quite wonder ful,” Hoffman noted.

In the end, a deal was struck and about 50 pieces will go on display, hopefully in June. Hoffman and Cohen will decide on the pieces to be used. Three-dimensional art will go in the hospital art display cases on the ground floor of the hospital and there will be framed art across the street in the outpatient clinic in waiting rooms and corridors. The exhibition should be in place by the end of June, said Susan Gray, administrative project manager at the hospital.

“They brought in their specialist, Ted Cohen, one of the leading exhibition designers in the countr y and somebody I had met when I was

“The goal is simply to make another connection to our community and share the talents of other children with our patients and families,” Gray said. “The level of talent, color, imaginative design, whimsy and nature themes all resonated with us and our art committee’s goals.” The display will rotate pieces after about six months, Hoffman said. Although the initial plan is to run the exhibition for a year, “we are hoping for a long-lasting association.”

Talent Show Draws All Kinds of Acts, Enjoyed by All! This year’s lower school talent shows included the widest range of acts in the seven year histor y of the event. The Gr. 4-5 show opened the festivities, followed by the Gr. 3 show. Students per formed on the gym stage for faculty, staff, and classmates, and acts included several piano per formances, student-choreographed dances, an acapella singer, magic


tricks, lip syncs, guitar and flute playing. A special treat this year was the fencing demonstration by Amrita Misha, Gr.3. Misha has been fencing for four years, and taught classmates Meilan Steimle and Ishani Thakur some basic

moves for this demonstration. The third graders enjoyed watching this unique sport. After the show, teacher Howard Saltzman commented “I’m continually amazed by the talent of our students!”

Olivia Long

“As Sue Bass (art teacher), Jamie Fung (art assistant) and I toured the LPCH facility, you could really see how the artwork brightened people’s lives. It is a stressful time for a lot of families, especially at a children’s hospital. The artwork helps put a little smile on their faces, somehow,” Hoffman said. “We really felt that it was a good thing to do. It is about cheering up somebody’s life, and for our students it is, number one, a great way for them to give back to the community.”

kudos ■ Pianist Alex Chien, Gr. 4, plays for the glory of Northern California in June when he performs at the 2008 Music Teachers Association of California (MTAC) annual convention. Chien will play Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1. He won the right to represent his division at the 2008 MTAC Piano Concerto and Solo Northern California Regional Auditions at Santa Clara University in mid-April.

Harker News — June 08



Second Annual Walk for Cancer is a Community Effort The annual walk for cancer based at the middle school, a benefit for Camp Okizu, is “our attempt to take a somber affair and put a positive twist on it,” said teacher Michael Schmidt, who does much of the planning for the event. “By celebrating life we can help some people, children in this case, face some major obstacles that cancer has imposed upon them,” he said.

would be something the kids would appreciate.”

just to them,” Schmidt said. “I’ve found them to be an outstanding organization where people give of themselves for nothing in return except the smiles that the campers share with them.”

“Camp Okizu is a camp specifically for cancer patients and their families. Since cancer never sleeps, Camp Okizu has its own clinic prepared to provide therapy for each camper. And since entire families feel the torment of cancer, certain weeks of the summer are devoted

Cindy Ellis, middle school division head, noted, “Camp Okizu provides a camp setting for children who also need the appropriate care and attention to their cancer treatments. Along with top notch care, they get to go swimming, boating, shoot archery, play basketball, do arts and crafts, and play on a ropes course. Specially organized events include a baseball lunch, barbecue dinner and a dance. We at Blackford would like to support this important program by helping them purchase more equipment to make their jobs that much easier.”

“I lost my mother to cancer in January of 2006, and felt a need to make her life meaningful, so I asked Harker if I could start the cancer walk. And since we were asking our kids to support this cause, we felt that providing the money to children with cancer

The walk, which started with

speeches and a cutting of the ceremonial ribbon, featured a bake sale and posters and other decorations, supplied by students, along with a simple trek around the campus, where walkers enjoyed the sunny morning. Walkers were given a free ribbon or Oakland A’s pin and carried flags which could be placed in the ground. There was a music and announcement booth to keep walkers amused and informed, and along with baked goods were T-shirts and bracelets for purchase. The walk ended mid-morning, leaving everyone with a sense that the day had already been well spent.

The French class finished up the year in style, going to Crêpe Danielle in Saratoga for déjeuner and telling fortunes in French. The “French only” rule was suspended for the restaurant outing, noted French teacher Carol Parris. “Both Anglais and Français could be heard – a bit of Franglais!” she said. After lunch, students’ favorite dessert was bananas, almonds and chocolate, and the addition of ice cream made it better! Who knew banana splits were a French dessert? Harker News — June 08

Another crowd pleaser was the serving of crêpe Suzette, “when they flamed it with Grand Marnier,” said Parris. “Of course the brave souls who had the escargots thought they were great,” she added. There were 23 students on the trip, and math department chair Vandana Kadam had the tough job of chaperoning with Parris. To finish the year off, the class had a fortune-telling faire a few days later, all in French. “The fortunetellers did research about their ‘clients’ and told things about their past and then made predictions about the future,” said Parris, who is foreign language department chair, K-Gr. 8. “Many came with props like crystal balls and tarot cards, and wore unique costume pieces.”

The Advanced Spanish class had its annual outing, in mid-May, to La Habana Cuba restaurant, renowned for its authentic, home-style Cuban cuisine. Students were able to savor lechón (marinated pork), pollo al ajillo (garlic-

Julie Pinzas

Devin Nguyen

French Restaurant Outing – Bon Appétit! Spanish Outing a Tasty Break

flavored chicken) and tamal vegatariano as well as taste the staples of arroz con frijol negro (black beans and rice) and plátano frito (fried plantains). Everyone left with a full stomach and a smile on their faces!

Honor Escorts, a Grad Tradition Students from Gr. 7 with strong academics, demonstrated leadership qualities and high behavioral standards acted as the honor escort at the 2008 graduation ceremonies. Escorts hold garlands during the ceremony and follow graduates out at the end to represent those who will follow. Honor escorts this year were Niharika Bedekar, Neel Bhoopalam, Josh Bollar, Jenny Chen, Vlad Feinberg. Jacob Hoffman, Samantha Hoffman, Amy Johnson, Bobby Kahlon, Na Yeon (Veronica) Kim, Simar Mangat, Sumit Minocha, Tara Rezvani, Alan Soetikno, Hansa Srinivasan and Indica Sur.




Sixth Graders Cover a Lot of Ground, Absorb Culture, on Tamagawa Sojourn Editor’s note: Students headed off on the annual pilgrimage to Japan in early May, spending two weeks seeing the sights, connecting with their correspondents and learning about Japanese culture. Harker News is indebted to Jennifer Gargano, assistant head of school for academic affairs, who accompanied the group, for her report. The group was greeted at the airport by our tour company and a Tamagawa teacher, who took us to our hotel. Despite the long day, the students are still very excited and have been just wonderful. On our first full day in Japan, students could not have asked for a more beautiful day for their field trip with Tamagawa sixth graders. On the field trip, Harker and Tamagawa students had to find teachers who had puzzles, games, trivia questions, etc., for them to complete. Students saw horses and cows, viewed the beautiful trees that surround the park and went down giant slides. The field trip ended with a picnic, and students went on to a bus tour through Tokyo and dinner at a Japanese restaurant. The students were tired but excited to begin home stays. The next day, after a wonderful welcome event beginning with the middle school orchestra playing classic American tunes, Harker students made us proud by successfully delivering their speeches in Japanese. The most exciting part of the event for many of the students, however, was pounding steamed rice to make the delicious, chilled Japanese treat, mochi.

English, history, math, science, art or music classes. There was a special lunch as each sixth grader’s parent brought a Japanese dish. After lunch, the group went to the upper school computer lab where students wrote e-mails home, ending the day with a calligraphy class where they produced a nice piece of friendship art. The following day, Harker’s Dance Jamz performed and the head of the middle school gave a speech, in which he told our students that their Japanese speeches were the best he had heard since he has been involved with this program, so thank you to Keith Hirota (social studies teacher) and Etsuko Tischler (Claudia, Gr. 6; Edward, Gr. 3) for working with the students on their speeches. We are definitely proud of how well our students have been representing Harker. The students shadowed for the remainder of the day and some Harker students presented on various environmental issues during history class. The last day at the school began at the lower school, Gr. 1-4. The group attended the morning meeting which was broadcast throughout the school; fourth graders led the songs and announcements and operated the TV cameras – quite a sight to see! At this meeting, Hark-

Next day, students attended classes following buddies to Japanese,

Keith Hirota - all photos

er students presented carp kites second graders had made in honor of Children’s Day, celebrated a week previously. The day ended with a farewell ceremony in each


of the Gr. 6 homerooms. Tamagawa students sang for us and extended their gratitude for our friendship. Harker visitors sang their school song and thanked buddies and host families, then took pictures and exchanged gifts. Before departing Tamagawa many tears were shed, not only from our students and their buddies but also from the parents and siblings of our students’ buddies who got attached to our Harker students and were sad to see them leave. That evening, the group took time to sit in a circle and share insights about the home stay. Each student told of one fun thing they did and one cultural aspect that surprised them, before going off to prepare for the next adventure, a bullet train ride to Kyoto.  In Kyoto, the group viewed Kiyomizu temple, but the real highlight of the day was visiting the Kinkaku-ji, or Golden Pavilion. They were met at the temple by an alumnus of the Tamagawa School whose ancestors were one of the twenty original suporters of the temple, and he arranged a private tour and a meeting with a Buddhist monk who spoke to us about the training and commitment involved in becoming a monk. The students asked some thoughtful questions and felt privileged to tour the temple, usually off limits to the

public. The group spent the night at the Kyoto Rihga Royal hotel, resting up for a final outing to Hiroshima. The last day started early with a ferry trip to Miyajima Island and a visit to a Shinto shrine. Numerous deer were spotted roaming freely throughout the island, as they are considered sacred in the Shinto religion. After lunch, the group took a ferry boat to Hiroshima where, dressed in their assembly uniforms, the students approached the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park with appropriately serious demeanors. They visited the A-Bomb Dome and the Children’s Peace Monument, where Darian Edvalson and Anna Levine hung 1,000 green and white cranes the students created in honor of Sadako, a little girl who died of leukemia after exposure to the A-bomb when she was only two years old. Students then visited the Peace Memorial Museum to get a better sense of the enormity of the event 63 years ago. When we spoke to the students about visiting the museum, they expressed amazement at the number of people affected by the atomic bomb and of how one event had such long lasting physical and emotional effects.  On the last day, the group visited the Amida Temple and Nijo Castle, then headed for the airport. Students remained in great spirits the entire trip! Thanks to all the teachers who accompanied and made the trip possible: Kathy Ferretti, Chrissy Chang, Joe Chung, Keith Hirota and Colin Goodwin. Harker News — June 08

Cal Math League Results

IBM Speaker: Engineering is Cool

All MS students participated in the 40-problem California Math League contest in late February and, following official tabulation, CMAL reports Harker ranks among the top schools in California. In Gr. 6, Harker placed second in Santa Clara County and fifth in the state; in Gr. 7, second in Santa Clara County and second in the state; in Gr. 8, second in Santa Clara County and second in the state. The Gr. 8 team placed third in the Santa Clara County and sixth in the state.

Harker students learned about the complex and fascinating world outside the campus when science teacher Raji Swaminathan invited Dr. Don Chamberlain, a computer scientist at the IBM Almaden Research Center, to address her Gr. 7 science classes.

The Gr. 7 team score was 194, with the top scorers being Ashvin Swaminathan with a perfect score of 40, Connie Cheng, Sierra Lincoln and Wilbur Yang all with 39, Michael Cheng and Tyler Yeats with 37, Piyush Prasad, Vladimir Feinberg, Paulomi Bhattacharya, Simar Mangat, Jenny Chen, Kyle Roter and Eric Swenson all with 36 points. Harker’s team placed second in the Santa Clara County and second in the state, missing first place by only two points! The Gr. 8 team score was 197, with top scorers being Michelle Deng and Daryl Neubieser with perfect scores of 40, Lucy Cheng, Revanth Kosaraju, Kathryn Siegel, Albert Wu and Patrick Yang all with 39, Frederic Enea and Ramya Rangan with 38, and Antong Liu and Cindy Tay each with 37 points.

Totem Art Explores Symbolism Symbolism, as interpreted by Gr. 7-8 students, was the theme for creating personal totem poles displayed in the gardens at Blackford. Each student made a list of ideas, feelings, objects, people and goals – anything the student felt represented her- or himself. Students listed families, games and even careers, and then, based on a study of Marc Chagall’s use of symbolism, created a symbol for each word on their lists. Students then fabricated the symbols from wood and assembled them to make relief sculptures that symbolically represent each individual. These wonder ful, color ful, self-portraying contemporar y totems were then posted for all to see!

Relief for Victims of Quake and Cyclone Harker students have yet again stepped up to help others who most need it. Starting in late May, the MS started collecting funds to support relief efforts in China and Myanmar. All funds (the amount was not available at press time) collected were donated to the International Red Cross. These two tragic disasters have affected countless families around the globe and the school provided some moral support to our Chinese sister school, the Shanghai World Foreign Language Middle School, sending a card of sympathy for those who have families in the affected areas. Harker News — June 08

Chamberlain always brings a brain teaser to Harker, and this year was no exception. He introduced the class to the hobby of geo-catching, involving a global positioning system (GPS). “First, he explained how a GPS works,” noted Swaminathan. “He hid in advance a sheet of paper (with S on it for science) somewhere on the campus. Students used the GPS to navigate to it and find it.” Students really enjoyed the visit, had great fun and, at the same time, learned the importance of science and math in the curriculum, Swaminathan noted.

Student Council Sets Example Gr. 7 and 8 student council members showed their mettle when they set out to beautify Vasona Park in April. The half dozen students were participating in a beautification day at the Los Gatos park and spent their time raking leaves, pulling weeds and cleaning bulletin boards. These stalwarts, we salute!

Lana Morrison

The Gr. 6 team score was 181, with the top scorer being Vikram Sundar with a score of 38. Other top scorers were Alex Pei with 37, Anika Ayyar and Nathan Wong each with 36 points, and Ben Huchley and Andrew Wang each with 34 points. Harker’s Gr. 6 team placed first in the Santa Clara County and sixth in the state!

Raji Swaminathan

Many students had outstanding scores. Scores of 15 points or higher are commendable and scores of 30 points or higher are exceptional.

Chamberlain, on his third visit to the campus, drew the students in with a discussion of what is ‘cool’ and ‘not cool’ about being an engineer. He then discussed with class members some of the major problems we all face today, such as global warming, alternate energy, a cure for cancer, AIDS and other infectious diseases, world hunger, pollution and water scarcity, noting how engineers can contribute to the solutions. Chamberlain followed with a list of the best engineering schools in the country and emphasized the importance of taking math and science classes.

kudos ■ Angela Ma, Gr. 6, has been cast by Ballet San Jose as the child Snow White in its production “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” The cast is made up of students from the ballet’s award-winning Ballet San Jose School. ■ TJ Casner, Gr. 8, was invited to the under-14 boys soccer National Team training camp in Carson, Calif. The camp, which ran May 3-10, like the U.S. Y-14 program, is intended to give the best young players the chance train at the highest level and in an international setting. The Sunnyvale resident plays for the De Anza Force.




Public Speaking Comes Easy for Trio Myth Exam Takers Merit Medals Results of the National Myth Exam are in!

Carol Green

Nearly 100 students from 15 schools gathered at Peter Burnett Academy in San Jose in mid-May to compete at Silicon Valley’s first middle school speech and debate invitational. Sixth graders Anika Ayyar, Stephanie Lu and Maya Madhavan (not pictured) all chose to test their skills and face their fears against peers from grades 6-8. And after three rounds of competition, the top five students were recognized in each of the events. In Autobiographical Narrative, Ayyar beat all of the other speakers to take first place in the event. Lu earned third place in Oral Interpretation. Madhavan also participated in Oral Interpretation and did a fabulous job. “I am very proud of all three of these students,” said teacher Carol Green, who advises the group. “Public speaking is one of America’s top fears and Anika, Stephanie, and Maya all challenged this fear and won!”

Silver Medalists: Oishi Banerjee, Richard Min, Helena Huang, all Gr. 6; Jenny Chen, David Cutler, Jonathan Tayro Cho, Shannon Su, Pranav Sharma, Eric Zhang, all Gr. 7; Alexander Hsu, Kaitlin Halloran, Phillip Oung, Jessica Lin, Jason Kuan, Christophe Pellissier, Robert Maxton, Paul West, all Gr. 8. Bronze Medalists: Andrew Wang, Arthur Shau, Tiffany Chu, Charles Manchester, Anika Ayyar, Christina Wong, Kevin Duraiswamy, Sarika Bajaj, Allison Chang, Saachi Jain, Shenel Ekici, all Gr. 6; Ravi Tadinada, Nik Datuashvili, Nisha Bhikha, Sean Fernandes, Niharika Bedekar, Nikhil Baradwaj, Cristina Jerney, Daphne Millard, Suchita Nety, Richard Fan, Simon Orr, Michael Cheng, Ashvin Swaminathan, all Gr. 7; Nathaniel Hoffman, Vivian Li, Ramya Rangan, Ila Dwivedi, Daryl Neubieser, Ananth Subramaniam, all Gr. 8. Congratulations to all!

Teacher Appreciation Day at the Blackford campus on May 8 gave everyone a chance to say thank you to those dedicated to shepherding children down the path of enlightenment.

Final Competition for House Teams

Cindy Ellis, middle school division head, said, “Why a day and not a century? Believe me, a millennium is insufficient for me to express my gratitude and appreciation for all (the teachers’) efforts. Our students are very lucky to have such impassioned educators at their side.” Lunch was a whole-middle school event with approximately 100 teachers and staff attending. Parents from all three grades brought outstanding entrees, succulent salads and delectable desserts.

Ceremony Carries Students Forward On a sunny day, in a ceremony combining pomp, music, anticipation and a tinge of reflection, eighth grade students passed from middle school to high school. With the faculty standing to show their respect for graduates, students filed in. Head of school Christopher Nikoloff welcomed the assembly and incoming student body president Jenny Chen, Gr. 7, led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance. The Harmonics then sang “Circle of Life,” followed by a slide show and student awards. Dean fo students Cindy ellis closed the program with congratulations and good wishes. The graduates then rendered a spirited rendition of the school song and filed out to the same melody. The audience followed and the whole group shared refreshments. A hearty welcome from Saratoga Campus to the new high schoolers!

Student Election Results The votes have been counted and a new student council elected for next year. Next year’s president will be Jenny Chen; Sartajdeep “Bobby” Kahlon, vice president; Payal Modi, recording secretary; Ragini Bhattacharya, corresponding secretary; Simar Mangat, treasurer; and Amy Wardenburg, Simon Orr, and Nicholas Semenza, are spirit commissioners. All will be in Gr. 8 in September, except Semenza, who will be Gr. 6.


The Thunderdome Final House Competition in this inaugural year swept the whole school along in a furious spate of competitions one day in early May. “The brawl for it all,” said organizer Mark Gelineau. “It all (came) down to this.”

representing their House in that quest for ultimate glor y,” Gelineau orated. Held in the gym and run during a single assembly period, prospective competitions included the Hula Hoop Pass, something called the Balloon Booty Bust and standards like the bean bag toss and ruler carr y. There was also a Myster y Race, which will remain a myster y. Points were still being accumulated for the winner of top scoring house at press time!

The event was 11 relay-style races and competitions between advisories, “each

Chili’s Party Benefits Houses It was a happy mix of business and pleasure on a Friday night in April at Chili’s restaurant in Santana Row, at a House Night. An estimated 275 members of Harker families turned out and 10 percent of their final tabs was donated to the House system to purchase banners, flags, goodies, etc. In addition, Beneficium, the House with the largest population showing up that night, received house points and an ice cream party at school. A great time was had by all!

Lana Morrison

Teacher Appreciation Day Fills Hearts

Harker News — June 08


JSA Wins Chapter of the Year


Congratulations to Harker’s Junior States of America (JSA) for winning chapter of the year at the state convention! The group brought home a plaque, a $1,000 scholarship for a Harker student to any JSA summer program (Yale, Princeton, Stanford or Georgetown), a full scholarship for a Harker student to a JSA California symposium, and a free private room for a teacher/advisor for next year.

■ Tonia Sun, Gr. 12, has been named a winner in the 2008 Asian Pacific Islanders for Professional and Community Advancement (APCA) scholarship program. Of the 50 applicants, she shares the honor with six other students, who will split $4,500 in scholarship. The scholarship program is open to students of any ethnic background with a qualifying GPA, who are continuing their education. APCA is a nonprofit, educational organization focused on representation of Asian Pacific Islanders employed by AT&T, Inc., dedicated to creating alliances through educational and membership development.

In his acceptance speech for the award, chapter president Neil Shah, Gr. 12, noted the year’s activity had been accelerated by the charged politics of the times, and that, “throughout the year we pursued and centered our efforts around the theme of combating teen apathy in the political process.”

■ Out of 4,500 original entries, Kristi Lui, was named a California semifinalist in her age group in the annual Letters about Literature Contest. Lui is one of only 145 semifinalists statewide. The contest is sponsored in California by the California School Library Association, the California Teachers Association and the Children’s Literature Council of Southern California.

Shah noted group fundraising both brought home the value of having good people around one while working and highlighted the hard work necessary to effect JSA goals. “We have, throughout the entire year, held engaging and diverse chapter meetings to maintain and grow this interest in politics,” said Shah. “We had a session with the League of Women Voters … who helped us set up and learn how to register people to vote.” Along with outreach efforts at a local mall, “we registered almost every 18-year-old at our school to vote in the primaries,” said Shah. JSA also sponsored a mock election while primaries were going on in the rest of the country, to get those too young to vote, but old enough to care, involved.

■ Veronica Pugin, Gr. 12, has been awarded a Youth Hispanic Heritage Award Gold Medallion for the sports category by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation. She will receive a gold medal award and $3,000 from Subway. Pugin earned the award based on her application, grades and a letter of recommendation from her soccer coach Troy Thiele, US math teacher.

On Super Tuesday, JSA held their annual Pizza and Politics event, where about 40 students came to watch and discuss primary returns. Later in the spring, the group joined with other student organizations to host a gathering of concerned students, themed “Global Education and What Impedes It.” “The debates … focused on foreign policy and what forms of global initiative the U.S. should take to combat impediments to global education,” said Shah.

“All of our successes for this year stem from a dedicated and passionate chapter cabinet (and) Mr. (Dan) Hudkins, our teacher advisor, who has a unique capability of helping us but also being able to separate himself from one step back to give us the freedom to truly realize the student-run aspect of JSA,“ Shah added.

Helm Edition Shows Student Range The latest edition of HELM, the literary publication, is out and filled with work from the bottoms of student hearts. Essay and poem topics run from whimsical to personal and the artwork shows both expression and technical competence. One of the best pieces is “Peter,” by Sophi Newman, Gr. 11, written from the point of view of a middle-aged man; another is “Lucky,” by Lexi Ross, Gr. 11, which is the brief story of a man obsessed with a dancer. One photograph, by Pratusha Erraballi, Gr. 11, was remarkable for bringing life to a statue, while an abstract by sophomore Jackie Ho, in contrast with the realistic art elsewhere in the publication, gives pause, leading the eye through the piece to let the viewer find meaning. Harker News — June 08

Rudy Mui

The chapter supplied many of the officers to the state organization, including speaker of the assembly, chapter affairs director, assistant public relations director, keynote director and even six CIA agents, among other offices. Shah and the chapter had excellent attendance both at chapter meetings and conventions.

Jaime Salinas


■ New graduate Kyle Mui was honored by U.S. Representative Mike Honda at the Camden Center in San Jose in mid-May. Mui was awarded an appointment to Annapolis, the U.S. Naval Academy, by the congressman. The appointments are highly sought after as over 12,000 students apply each year to Annapolis with about 1,200 admitted and about 1,000 graduating. For Mui to receive the appointment, after the arduous admissions process, is a great honor. ■ Sophomore Jackie Ho had a unique experience working at the Olympic torch run in San Francisco in April, and, like most attendees, never saw the torch. Ho was at the event because she practices Tai Chi and her job, wearing the costume of one of the 2008 Olympic mascots, required someone small yet strong. Ho’s character was “Huan Huan,” which means “happy” in Chinese, and Ho worked hard to take diverse photos with the many visitors who requested her to pose. ■ Adam Perelman, Gr. 10, added to the efforts to assist those in need in the last week of May when he submitted to a group hairstyling, those participating pledging a donation for the privilege. Perelman earned $260 which was donated to Heifer International, a group devoted to funding animal purchases to help underdeveloped areas from the Ukraine to Tanzania become self-sustaining. Even this modest sum is enough to buy a sheep, a pig, and a flock of baby chicks for some entrepreneur.




Juniors Thank Mentors

College Admissions Symposium

Harker’s class of 2009 hosted a luncheon in late April to thank over 30 professional mentors representing professions from architecture, biotechnology, and law to performing arts and medicine. Mentors met with small groups of juniors on at least three occasions throughout the year to offer the students firsthand knowledge of their work.

Admission directors from Harvard College and the University of Pennsylvania visited Harker in late April and ran juniors through application processes using case studies to help them understand how admission decisions are made.

Quiz Whizzes Go National The Harker quiz bowl team traveled to Chicago over Memorial Day weekend to compete in the National Academic Quiz Tournament. The NAQT invitational hosts 176 teams from across the country and draws hundreds of the nation’s top high school students. The Harker team, juniors Alex Hu, Daniel Kim and Vikram Nathan, and sophomore Andrew Zhou, played exceptionally well and posted a 6-4 record in the preliminary rounds to earn a berth in the tournament playoffs. In a tough match against Bellaire High School from Houston, Texas, the Harker team was poised to upset the more experienced squad. However, late in the second half, Bellaire was able to outscore Harker and advance to the next bracket. It was a well-played match by both teams. This is the first year Harker qualified for advanced competition at this prestigious tournament. Based on their success at the national level, the quiz bowl team is excited about the upcoming 2008-09 season and plans to recruit new team members when classes resume in August. Any student interested in more information about the quiz bowl team should contact the advisor, mathematics department chair Bradley Stoll.

Exchange Kicks Off with Aussies In preparation for Harker’s first exchange with St. Stephen’s College in Brisbane, Australia, Headmaster Jamie Dorrington and family visited Harker upper and middle school campuses. The family was escorted around by Jennifer Abrahams, director of global education, and by Kevin Williamson, US dean of students. The Dorrington boys, Jed, Gr. 6, and Eden, Gr. 10, visited classes and their parents were joined by a dozen faculty and administration folk in a skybox luncheon. Harker students will travel to Australia in July to participate in their summer leadership program and the group of about a dozen students met with Dorrington to ask questions about the trip and Australian culture in general. A host family for a student from St. Stephen’s was being sought at press time.


The students worked in small committees to discuss the cases and help them realize what goes into the decision-making process from the perspective of admission staff. This helped inform students how best they could then tailor their college applications to achieve their goals. Admission decisions vary little from college to college; how decisions are made at Harvard or Penn is very similar to how decisions are made at all highly selective colleges like Brown, MIT, Pomona, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, Carnegie Mellon, Caltech, etc. Harker invited these particular speakers because they are unusually good at explaining the process and clarifying parents’ questions. “The college admission process is highly nuanced,” said Alistair Grant, college counselor. “We have invited these admission professionals to provide insight into the process, to reveal some of the nuances, to help students and parents understand how highly selective colleges evaluate their applicants. Given that so many of our students apply to highly selective colleges and universities, we feel like this is an important conversation. We hope that our students and parents walk away with a better sense of how this process works and how applications are read.”

JETS Wraps With National Rankings The final Junior Engineering Technical Society (JETS) competition results are in! Once again Harker has done well, notes Tony Silk, JETS advisor and mathematics teacher. At the varsity level, two teams placed nationally this year. The Varsity A (senior) team placed fourth nationally in our division and the Varsity B (junior) team placed ninth nationally. The fourth place ranking by the Varsity A team was the highest ranking of any varsity team in any division in California. At the junior varsity level, Harker’s Junior Varsity A (sophomore) team placed first nationally. This is the first time the JV team has taken home first place! Next year they will be competing at the varsity level. Congratulations to all the JETS participants.

Medusa Exam – Minus the Snakes The Medusa Mythology Exam results are in! This year’s topic was the Houses of Atreus and Cadmus. In the lower division (Gr. 9-10), Rachel Fang, Gr. 9, earned the Corona Laurea and Maggie Woods, Gr. 10, the Corona Olivae; in the upper division (Gr. 11-12), Aarathi Minisandram, Gr. 12, earned the Corona Laurea and Rachel Fong, Gr. 12, the Corona Olivae. Fong, who has taken the exam all four years, has received an award each year, including a Silver in 2007. Harker News — June 08

Language Societies Induction

Math Olympiad

Please congratulate the following students on their induction into foreign language honor societies! Each society has its own specific criteria set by the national office of the organization, but in general, all induct a very select group of students with high averages in their language courses.

Harker senior Paul Christiano has placed in the top 12 in the United States of America Mathematical Olympiad finals, and is in the running for one of six spots on the U.S. team! The test for team placement is in early June. The twelve top scoring USAMO students are invited to a two-day Olympiad Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the MAA, the Akamai Foundation, the Microsoft Corporation and the Matilda Wilson Foundation. Six of these twelve students will comprise the United States team that competes in July in the 49th annual International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), hosted this year by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science in Madrid, Spain. Prior to the IMO, those selected for the team, plus two alternates, will join other gifted high-school-aged mathematicians at the Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program (MOSP), a three- to fourweek, intensive training program in June, which will give all participants, including the six IMO team members and two alternates, extensive practice in solving mathematical problems which require deeper analysis than those solved by students in even the best American high schools.

French: Monisha Appalaraju, Maxim Elisman, Ashtyn Ka, Zachary Mank, Riya Parikh, Ava Rezvani, Swetha Repakula, Kiran Vodrahalli, Jason Young, all Gr. 9; Jaylyn Babitch, Lianna Luong, Elodie Nguyen, all Gr. 10; Marisa Cheng, Yasmin Fatemi, Jane Yuan, Siane Yuan, all Gr. 11. Latin: Rachel Fang Justine Liu, April Luo, Supraja Swamy, all Gr. 9; Christine Hsu, Vivian Huang, both Gr. 10; Stephanie Chong, Gr. 11. Japanese: Katrina Kao, Roslyn Li, Melinda Wang, Sarah Wang, all Gr. 10; Kelly Chen, Daniel Hsu, Samantha Ipser, Jia Jun Chia, Kevin Wang, all Gr. 11. Mandarin (new this year): Sophia Gilman, Stephanie Guo, Samantha Lowe, Mai Nguyen, all Gr. 11. Spanish: Ankur Ahuja, Namrata Anand, Priya Bhikha, Victor Chen, Virginia Chen, Jeanette Chin, Rohan Chopra, Samir Datta, James Feng, Anshul Gupta, Kelsey Hilbrich, Noriko Ishisoko, Curran Kaushik, Nalini Jain, Vishesh Jain, Carissa Jansen, Daisy Lin, Rachel Luo, Christina Ma, Arjun Mody, Kendra Moss, Arthi Padmanabhan, Rashmi Sharma, Haran Sivakumar, Elaine Song, Sarah Teplitsky, Suhas Thalapaneni, Christine Trinh, Andrew Zhou, all Gr. 10; Brian Chao, Richa Goya, Daniel Tien, Rebecca Yanovsky, all Gr. 11; Sumeet Sharma, Gr. 12.

Softball Team Takes on Faculty In scorching heat, faculty challengers from both Saratoga and Blackford clipped the mighty Lady Eagles varsity girls softball team 7-3. With temperatures hovering around 100 degrees, “we had only planned on playing a few innings,” said Coach Raul Rios. “We said if it was unbearable, we could stop and find some shade to hand out awards and have some food and drinks, but both sides came ready to play.” And play they did. “We battled for seven complete innings with the faculty coming out on top. This is our second annual game and both times the faculty team has won. It was a fun and exciting game. “After our game we all gathered around together to hand out team and league awards. It turned out to be a great game and end of the year party for the girls softball team. The girls are looking forward to their rematch next year,” Rios said.

(cont. from page 1)

Hard Problems, a documentary about the 2006 U.S. IMO team, has been released on CD and is available via The film features Yi Sun ’06, his father, and two Harker teachers – be sure to see it!

Elections Results Are In Harker voters have cast their ballots and elected upcoming senior Winny Huang as Associated Student Body president. She’ll be joined by three rising juniors and former sophomore class officers: Andy Fang, Eugene Huang and Jackie Ho in positions of vicepresident, secretary and treasurer, respectively. Voter turnout for class positions and judicial committee representatives was strong, averaging 75 percent among next year’s sophomores, juniors and seniors. Current junior Aditya Yellapragada as well as sophomores Alex Han and Arjun Mody were elected to the judicial committee. Members of the class of 2012, current eighth graders, will elect officers in September and join the following representatives: Senior class officers: Barrett Glasauer, president; David Kastelman, vicepresident; Jeff Mandell, secretary; Sean Mandell, treasurer. Junior class officers: Kevin Fu, president; Won Hee Lee, vice-president; Jackie Son, secretary; Sachin Mitra, treasurer. Sophomore class officers: Hassaan Ebrahim, president; Santosh Swaminathan, vice-president; James Seifert, secretary; Nilesh Murali, treasurer.

Presidential Scholar has science, athletic and performing arts skills

Between 2004 and 2007, Harker has had 15 students named candidates in this program. Of those 15, two became semifinalists and one of those, Samantha Fang ’06, went on to be named a Scholar of the Arts. Until this year. From the class of 2008, eight students were considered for the program: Paul F. Christiano, Senan Ebrahim, Aneesh Goel, W. Spencer Liang, Shrestha Singh, Tonia J. Sun, Neelaysh Vukkadala and Jonathan Harker News — June 08

R. Wang. Ebrahim went on to the semifinals, and, in a press release dated May 1, was officially named a 2008 Presidential Scholar. The release lists Ebrahim’s impressive accomplishments: “Ebrahim earned a per fect SAT score, was named Bausch & Lomb Top Science Scholar by his school’s faculty, placed as a semifinalist in the Intel and Siemens competitions, and won top

marks on nine AP exams. He also won a 2007 Stanford University competitive summer internship in Chemical Engineering. Senior class president, Science Bowl captain, and vice president of both the National and Science Honor Societies, his interests range from swimming and cross-countr y to theater, speech and debate. Ebrahim ser ves as a tutor, camp counselor, hospital volunteer and disaster relief fundraiser.”

Presidential Scholars are invited to attend a ceremony in their honor in Washington, D.C., in June. They are also asked to name his or her most inspiring and challenging teacher to accompanying the Scholar to the events. Ebrahim chose his history teacher, Ramsay Westgate. Congratulations to both Westgate and Ebrahim for this exclusive accomplishment!




National Latin Exam Results

J8’ers Select, Mentor Next Team

National Latin Exam results are in and Harker students earned a treasure trove of medals!

When they returned from representing the U.S. at the 2007 G8 Summit in Wismar, Germany, last year, the “Harker 8” were not done leaving their thumbprints on the world. Seniors Kelly O’Reilly, Rachel Peterson, Rohit Nalamasu, Kritika Kalaish, Kavitha Narra, Sudha Gollapudi and Aarathi Minisandram and junior David Kastelman have begun to pass their knowledge on to others. In addition to founding Friends Across Borders, a new student organization bent on improving global education, several former J8 team members were involved in the selection and training of this year’s winning team – a group of sophomores from Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton.

Latin 1 – Silver Medals: Jeremy Chung, Gr. 10 and Saloni Gupta, Gr. 9; Cum Laude Certificate: James Du, Gr. 9. Latin 2 – Gold Medals: April Luo, Max Lan, Justine Liu, Rachel Fang, all Gr. 9, Anita Satish, Vivian Huang, both Gr. 10; Silver Medals: Margaux Nielsen, Amritha Minisandram, Supraja Swamy, all Gr. 9, Andy Fang, Darren Syu, both Gr. 10; Magna Cum Laude Certificates: Shannon O’Reilly, Gr. 9, Scott Mohanram, Gr. 10. Latin 3 – Gold Medals: Sohini Khan, Monisha Dilip, both Gr. 10, Diana Lai, Gr. 11; Silver Medals: Alex Han, Anjali S. Menon, Govind Raghunath, Cole Davis, all Gr. 10, Alex Hu, Gr. 11; Magna Cum Laude Certificates: Justin Iso, Gr. 11, Sean Morgan and Colby Rapson, both Gr. 10. Cum Laude Certificates: Carina Fernandes, Kelsey Chung, Christine Hsu, all Gr. 10, Stephanie Chong and Winny Huang, both Gr. 11. Latin 4 – Gold Medals: Margaret (Maggie) Woods, Brandon Araki, both Gr. 10, Sachin Rangarajan, Nirupama Gadagottu, both Gr. 11; Silver Medals: David Kastelman, Michael Hong, Elizabeth Cutler, all Gr. 11, Janise Chan, Gr. 12; Magna Cum Laude: Pratusha Erraballi, Candace Silva-Martin, Nafeesa Laiwalla, all Gr. 11; Cum Laude: Nikhil Patel, Gr. 11, Stephanie Syu and Catherine Chiu, both Gr. 12. Latin 5 – Gold Medals: Kelly Rose O’Reilly, Kritika Kailash, Ruchi Srivastava, all Gr. 12. Latin 6 – Magna Cum Laude: Aarathi Minisandram, Gr. 12. In addition, three Harker students are receiving NLE book awards for four years of gold medals. Each student, O’Reilly, Kailash and Gadagottu, will receive an Oxford Classical Dictionary for their achievement. In addition, top student awards at each level were made to Gupta in Latin 1, Lan in Latin 2, Khan and Menon in Latin 3, Woods in Latin 4 and Srivastava in Advanced Latin.

Japan Bowl Nets Trophies and… Soy Sauce? Japan bowl entrants had another great year, says Japanese teacher Masako Onakado. “All three of our teams did very well,” she said.

“Level II and Level III teams were awarded trophies and plaques for the students and six packs of soy sauce for teachers!” said Onakado. ”I’m sure this is the only competition that gives out soy sauce as awards.”


Masako Onakado-both images

In Level IV the team of Erika Lee (team captain), Gr. 12, Alyssa Donovan, Gr. 11 and Mai Nguyen, Gr. 11, took fourth place. “The top three teams in Level IV won a free trip to Japan to take a tour and they were really close to getting it!” said Onakado. In Level III, the team of captain Sarah Wang, Gr. 10, Kevin Wang, Gr. 11 and Roslyn Li, Gr. 10, took second place and in Level II, the team of captain Kelly Chen, Gr. 10, Jerry Sun, Gr. 9 and Katie Liang, Gr. 9, took second place as well.

O’Reilly and Peterson participated in judging the final round of applications, including submissions from ten short-listed teams at the UNICEF offices in New York City in March. After the final decision was announced, Kalaish and Nalamasu traveled to Manhattan to participate in the intensive two-day training of their successors. Among a myriad of congratulations and encouragement, Kalaish emphasized the value of making personal connections at the G8 summit. In a letter addressed to the winners, O’Reilly recommended the students stay up on their research, then got down to basics, recommending “pack food” was useful during crunch time. “A few of us lived off of energy bars,” she noted.

Debate History Update For the first time in Harker debate history, four students cleared to elimination rounds at the Tournament of Champions in Lexington, Ky. The Tournament of Champions is the most competitive tournament in the nation to qualify for, with competitors having to earn qualifying legs throughout the year at invitational tournaments held nationwide. Congratulations to juniors Raghav Aggarwal, Mohit Bansal and Kaavya Gowda, all Gr. 11 and Kelsey Hilbrich, Gr. 10. The four students, who also earned the distinction of being the first Harker students to clear at the Tournament of Champions in Public Forum debate, fought their way to victory after victory and earned spots in the octofinal round of competition. Harker also earned the honor of being the only California school to be represented in elimination rounds of Public Forum. —Carol Green, Communication Studies

Trio Makes National History Finals For the third year in a row, Harker students are state finalists in the National History Day competition. Two out of the five projects submitted were named as finalists. Elaine Song, Gr. 10, was a finalist in the historical paper category while classmates Shefali Netke and Rashmi Sharma were finalists in the exhibit category. Students took on some tough subjects in their projects this year. In the visual presentation category, Netke and Sharma won for their project, “The Partition of India (1947)”; sisters Ananya Anand, Gr. 11 and Namrata Anand, Gr. 10, chose a similar topic, “Dividing a Nation: The Partition of India”; Connie Lu, Vishesh Jain, Alex Han, Andrew Zhou and Brandon Araki, all Gr. 10, collaborated to produce “Collateral Damage: Japanese Biological Weapons Abuse in WWII and its American Reprieve from International Condemnation”; while in the historical essay category, Song’s winning paper was “Dokdo: Maintaining Peace Between South Korea and Japan,” and Kelsey Hilbrich, Gr. 10, wrote “Conflict and the Failure of Compromise: The Dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima.” Hearty congratulations to these scholars for their thoughtful, complex projects and wins! “Thank you again to all of you for helping to foster in all our contestants the analytical and creative thinking, writing and speaking skills to make it this far!” said Mai Lien Nguyen, history teacher, who coordinated the effort. Harker News — June 08

US Spirit Week: Hilarious Fun!

Juniors Class Sailing Trip

Spirit week brought out the wild side on campus, with skits, funny dress (including Would-You-Still-be-My-Friend-If-I-Dressed-This-Way-Every-Day? Day), and the classic Duct Tape Regatta. The week gave students a chance to cut loose a bit before end-of-year assignments, AP exams and finals rose up to meet them, and faculty and administrators joined in the fun, too!

The junior class spent a day on the waves in their annual outing sailing on Monterey Bay. The outing brought individuals together to strengthen the class bond and helped teach them to rely on each other to accomplish tasks.

National Merit Scholarships The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) has announced the first two of three rounds of scholarship winners from among the approximately 15,000 finalists in the 2008 program. NMSC announces corporate and college scholarships in May and June, and more college scholarships in July, which we will report in the October 2008 Harker News. According to NMSC’s Web site, the finalists were evaluated on their “academic record, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from two standardized tests; contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay describing interests and goals; and the recommendation written by a high school official….By the conclusion of the 2008 program, about 8,200 finalists will earn the ‘Merit Scholar’ title and receive a total of more than $36 million in college scholarships.” Harker had 43 semifinalists in the class of ’08. Congratulations to these seniors who advanced to the finals and then won $2,500 scholarships in the first round: Catherine Chiu, Charisma Kaushik, Tanya Schmidt, Neil Shah and Ruchi Srivastava. Srivastava’s scholarship was underwritten by the Wm. Wrigley, Jr. Company, the world’s leading manufacturere of chewing gum. The other awards were sponsored entirely by NMSC. In the corporate category, Jay Shah was awarded a scholarship by Lockheed Martin, which supports Merit Scholarship awards for children of Lockheed Martin employees located throughout the world. In June, more college scholarships were announced. Congratulations to Neha Deshmukh (Scripps College), and Rachel Yuan, Ankur Sharma and Patrick Gendotti (all University of Southern California).

Roller Coaster Fun The freshmen class, along with a few upperclassmen, went to Great America for their annual math and physics day in mid-May. The trip was for any student enrolled in first-year Physics, Algebra I and Honors Physics, and the group was chaperoned by 10 faculty members. The focus of the trip (besides letting off some steam before finals and having a great time) was for students to analyze physics applications they had been learning all year in a “real life” situation. Before the trip, the students prepared with a two-day crash course in roller coaster physics. Once at the park, students had to complete a laboratory activity requiring a ride on one of several open roller coasters in the park. Those who chose not to ride could interview a rider for the assignment. Students were asked to note where they felt the heaviest and where they felt the lightest during the ride. Students analyzed, chaperones oversaw and all had a great time! Harker News — June 08




Class of 2008 College Enrollment Harker is very proud to announce another year of impressive college enrollments. The Class of 2008 will be attending the following colleges and universities in the fall. Numbers in parentheses indicate number of students attending, if more than one. Albion College Boston University University of British Columbia Brown University University of California at Berkeley (12) University of California at Davis (5) University of California at Irvine University of California at Los Angeles (5) University of California at Merced University of California at Riverside (3) University of California at San Diego (9) University of California at Santa Barbara University of California at Santa Cruz California Institute of Technology (5) Carnegie Mellon University (2) Case Western Reserve University University of Chicago (3) Claremont McKenna College Columbia University Cornell University (3) Duke University The George Washington University Georgetown University Harvard University (5) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2) Illinois Institute of Technology Lewis & Clark College Massachusetts Institute of Technology (4) University of Michigan Mount Holyoke College Northeastern University Northwestern University (2) Occidental College University of the Pacific University of Pennsylvania (5) Pomona College Princeton University Purdue University University of Redlands (3) Rice University (2) University of Rochester (2) Saint Louis University University of San Diego San Jose State University (4) Santa Clara University (8) Scripps College (2) Seattle University Sonoma State University University of Southern California (22) Stanford University (3) Tufts University Vanderbilt University Washington University in St. Louis (2) Wellesley College (3) Whitman College Williams College University of Wisconsin, Madison Worcester Polytechnic Institute Yale University University of Zurich


“Be patient – don’t rush life.” Seniors Pass Baton to Juniors at Baccalaureate Harker’s annual baccalaureate ceremony took place in a windy quad on May 22. The ceremony, which dates back to 1432 at Oxford University, represents a passing of the baton from the senior class to the juniors, and provides inspiration for the students leaving and those who are coming up behind. After lovely performances by Cantilena and the Harker String Ensemble, Jennifer Gargano, assistant head of school for academic affairs, welcomed the seniors by telling them, “Tonight is your evening. Enjoy it and appreciate it.” The class of 2008 seemed to do both, as they listened to words of advice from their selected speakers.

working too hard to that end. “You don’t have to make every minute count,” Near said, “because they already do count. Just learn to appreciate them all, even the boring ones.” The seniors then heard from two of their own, salutatorians Jay Shah and Frank Wang, who earned the honor by sharing the second highest grade point average in the class. With words of advice and encouragement to their peers, Shah and Wang closed the ceremony. Chris Nikoloff, head of school, gave a formal farewell, and another baccalaureate came to a close. Near’s speech also had a powerful closing. He passed along a favorite quote from Plato: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Words of inspiration, indeed.

College counselor Kevin Lum Lung, in a humorous and autobiographical talk, promised the graduates that “reality is even better or greater than you imagine,” and asked them to “be patient – don’t rush life.” John Near, US history teacher, spoke poignantly about what not to do with one’s life. Dedicating his speech to mentor Howard Nichols, who is currently fighting cancer, friend and US teacher Cheryl Cavanaugh, who passed away from cancer last year, and his wife and daughter, Pam Dickinson and Casey Near ’06, Near spoke candidly about his own illness and the things he has learned. “Don’t ‘make every minute count’,” because “make” implies

Harker News — June 08

Senior Moms Honored at Lunch Senior Moms’ Luncheon in May. Moms reconnected with friends, reminisced about their time at Harker, commiserated over emptying nests and took a break from hectic graduation planning to enjoy a delightful spring afternoon on the Saratoga campus.

Terry Walsh - all photos

This year, 65 mothers of graduating seniors gathered, along with nearly as many undergrad moms, at the

The Senior Moms’ Tribute Luncheon tradition began 10 years ago with Harker’s first graduating class when lowerclassmen mothers sought to honor those who blazed the trail for the other parents. The first seniors’ mothers set up many of the volunteer and social activities for parents and those that were to follow thought it was important to recognize their leadership, wisdom and support. The event has always been held at Harker and has been a pot luck prepared by the non-senior moms. The first couple of lunches were held in the Edge patio but the group outgrew the space and the luncheon has been held in the quad for the last three years. It is a wonderful tradition and a nice tribute

to be able to thank and honor such an important group in our school community. Speakers this year were Head of School Chris Nikoloff and Terry Walsh, alumni program director. A thousand thanks to the volunteers who made this gracious and enjoyable lunch possible: Violet Boyle (Stephen ’06; Alyssa, Gr. 11), Nora Comee (Katherine, Gr. 11), Chris King (Amanda, Gr. 9), Kathy Polzin (Amanda ’06; Shanna, Gr. 10) Sue Prutton (Michael, Gr. 9; Hannah, Gr. 7) Jane Villadsen (Diane, Gr. 9), Roni Wolfe (Ian, Gr. 9; Molly, Gr. 7) and Jin Zhou (Andrew Zhu, Gr. 10; Olivia Zhu, Gr. 9).

Cum Laude Society Holds Induction Ceremony • 30 seniors • 15 juniors • 5 faculty

Harker News — June 08

At this year’s induction to the Cum Laude Society, 18 members of the senior class were welcomed, bringing the class total to 30 (12 were inducted last year), and 15 members of the junior class were inducted, along with teachers Dave Feinberg, computer science; Donna Gilbert, history; and John Near, AP U.S. History. Samuel “Butch” Keller, US division head, was formally inducted and John Heyes, English teacher, already a member from a previous school, was added to the Harker membership role. Keller and Heather Blair, academic dean for K-Gr. 12, spoke at the ceremony, held in the FDR on the Saratoga campus. Congratulations to all!




At Harker for a Lifetime! Harker’s “lifers” were treated to a dinner in May, the third year of this celebration. Lifers are those students who started Harker in junior kindergarten or kindergarten and continued on through graduation. Two students have been at Harker for 14 years, Ariel Gaknoki and Andrew Law, and 14 students have been here since kindergarten: Lauren Ammatuna, Megan Azebu, Cayden Berkmoyer, Neha Deshmukh, Rachel Fong, Ayushi Gummadi, Whitney Huang, Paula Lauris, Sinthuja Nagalingam, Ankur Patel, Joshua Pinzás, Ranjita Raghavan, Amrit Sarathy and Sumita Sharma.


Senior Trip - Friends and Farewells

The senior class trip to Laguna Beach was the perfect outing to finish off four years of hard work. The group took advantage of their last time together to renew friendships, reminisce about their years at Harker and start unwinding for summer!

First Graduation on Campus Pleases All Cold wind and the threat of showers did nothing to dampen the spirits of the Class of 2008, their families and their teachers on graduation day 2008. The first graduation to be held on the Harker campus instead of the Mountain Winery in Saratoga was a huge success, from the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance” processional all the way to the handing of the final diploma. Davis Field was transformed, with beautiful screens, flowers and banners providing a stunning backdrop for the occasion. A covered stage for the faculty, board of trustees and speakers was surrounded by a set of risers for the 2008 Graduation Chorus and a stage for the Harker Orchestra. After a welcome by Butch Keller, upper school head, valedictorian Senan Ebrahim spoke, representing his class well; his speech focused on the words in the Harker crest, and he encouraged his classmates to focus on ser vice in their future lives.


2 0 0 8!


This year’s keynote address was delivered by the Honorable Dolores A. Carr, the district attorney for Santa Clara County. Carr shared a bit of her own American Dream story, and promised the students that they can achieve whatever they set out to do, as long as they remember to thank and

respect the people who helped get them there. After the outgoing and incoming presidents of the National Honor Society, Natalie So, Gr. 12 and Mohit Bansal, Gr. 11, exchanged the Lamp of Knowledge, Christopher Nikoloff, head of school, addressed the departing seniors. Using the lyrics to a Rolling Stones song as his inspiration, Nikoloff said that while, “You can’t always get what you want,” a full life consists of both light and darkness. (For the complete text of Nikoloff’s speech, see page 3.) Then it was time for the seniors to cross the stage and accept their diplomas, pausing for photos with Nikoloff and Jennifer Gargano, assistant head of school for academic affairs. Before they knew it, the ceremony was over. Chris Florio’s orchestra provided the processional and recessional music, Susan Nace led the chorus (comprising all US vocal ensembles) through the “Star Spangled Banner,” and Catherine Snider conducted the group in this year’s song, “Until We Sing Again,” which featured senior singers. In keeping with tradition, the faculty and board of trustees recessed ahead of the students and formed a tunnel, applauding all the while, for the new graduates to walk through. Many tears were shed, hugs were given and congratulations were shared.

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

Harker News — June 08

Photos by Eugene Louie and Mark Tantrum

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eCybermission Wrap-Up Harker’s young researcher-activists had another great year in the eCybermission competition. This year Harker had six teams, two each from Gr. 7-9, submitting eCybermission projects intended to benefit the community at large. Two teams took top honors, earning the right to compete in the finals The Funkadelic Four in Washington, D.C., in June; three other teams earned criteria awards. Eighth graders Kaitlin Halloran, Daniela Lapidous, Ramya Rangan and Katie Siegel make up the The Funkadelic Four, whose project, “Minimizing the Risk of Developing an MRSA Infection” won first place for their grade in the Southwest Pacific region. Team advisor is teacher Vandana Kadam, K-Gr. 8 mathematics department chair.

Aqua Ducks

The ninth graders of team Aqua Ducks are Tiffany Chien, Shreya Nathan, Supraja Swamy and Allika Walvekar, and their project, “Effective Ways to Manage Oil Spills in Oceans,” also took first place in their grade. Kadam also advises this group. The Home Helpers Prag Batra, Vishesh Gupta, Arihant Jain and Revanth Kosaraju, all Gr. 8, earned a criteria award for application of science, math and technology for their project, “Helping to Make Homes More Energy Efficient.” Lorna Claerbout, science department chair, K-Gr. 8, is the team advisor. Babies-R-Us, Christine Chien, Sheridan Jones, Justine Liu and Kristi Lui, all Gr. 9, earned a criteria award for collaboration and communication on their project, “Strategies to Reduce Infant Deaths Related to Parental Carelessness or Irresponsibility.” Kadam is the team advisor. The eGlobal Denigmas, Jenny Chen, Connie Cheng, Suchita Nety and Ashvin Swaminathan, all Gr. 7, took home a criteria award for team collaboration and communication on their project, “Effect of Lifestyle and Environmental Factors on Human Health.” Team advisor is science teacher Raji Swaminathan. Congratulations to all the eCybermission teams for a great year so far, and good luck in Washington!

Club Receives Kudos for Filling Campus Tires The Harker Environmental and Animal Rights Team (HEART) was awarded a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition May 18 as winners of Representative Mike Honda’s Go Green Contest. The competition, which was sponsored by Honda’s Student Advisory Council and engaged area high schools, prompted students to reduce their school’s carbon footprint. At Harker, this took form as “the PSI effort”: a team of students checked and corrected the tire pressure of about 50 vehicles on the Harker campuses. “The project helped reinforce that as simple a thing as keeping a car’s tire pressure right can save us money, gas and carbon emissions in the environment,” said junior Raghav Aggarwal, who estimates the effort offset 3,232.83 kg of carbon entering the atmosphere – equivalent to having planted 147 trees. Representative Honda called the initiative “truly groundbreaking and innovative.” Other Harker students involved in the effort included senior Tonia Son, juniors Chris Berglund, Winny Huang and Amaresh Shukla, sophomores Brittany Chu, Anjali Menon, Shefali Netke and Adam Perelman, and freshmen Akshay Aggarwal, Josephine Chen, Rex Chen, Sheridan Jones, Gautam Krishnamurthy, Kristi Lui, Rohan Mahajan and Nilesh Murali. Science teacher Jeff Sutton advises HEART.

A special thanks goes out to the Gr. 7 “snack sales” team. They were a big hit at the lower school dance, this year! See page 11 for the performance review.

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Each student on a first place team receives a savings bond for $3,000 and each student with a criteria award receives a savings bond for $2,000. Kadam noted, “It is just a delight to see the work the students do and the projects they have completed. It is also highly encouraging to see these students engrossed in the application of science, math and technology developing solutions beneficial to the community. They truly deserve these awards.” eCybermission is a competition sponsored by the U.S. Army to promote the application of math, science and technology among students in grades 6 to 9.

The Harker School is a K-12 independent, co ed, 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 Editors: Catherine Snider; Production: Blue Heron Design Group, Triple J Design; Photos: Mark Tantrum, unless noted; Contributors: Christine Howkins, Lauri Vaughan, Stephanie Woolsey; Printing: Carol Sosnowski; Mailing Coordinator: Desiree Mitchell. Harker News — June 08

Profile for The Harker School

2008 June Harker News  

2008 June Harker News