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FEBRuary 2009 ((VOL. 15, NO. 5)





est. 1893 • K-12 college prep





Harker Sets West Coast Record for Intel Semifinalists

Then and Now.........................3 Holiday Wrap........................6-7 Tamagawa Teacher Visits.......14 MS/US Collaborations......16-17 Exploratorium Visit Delights....18 Debate Team Heats Up..........19 Inserts in this issue: n Nichols Supplement n Fashion Show n H&S Connection (K–Gr. 8 only) n Summer Tuition Relief flyer


Tickets Now On Sale! Fri., Feb. 20, 2009 See pages 4-5 for details.

The results of Harker’s science program development have come home to roost. After two straight years with three semifinalists in the Intel Science Talent Search, this year Harker takes top honors in California and is seventh in the nation with six semifinalists in 2009, more than any other California school has provided – ever.

called up the sixth researcher. In the end, there was an impressive array of students sporting oversized $1,000 checks and an equally impressive line up of photographers as local news, Intel and Harker photographers gathered images for posterity. The Harker School also won, receiving $1,000 for each semifinalist.

Intel spokesperson Mark Pettinger teased the audience in a special assembly in mid-January as he called up the first three winners, then slowly added the fourth and fifth semifinalists, and murmurs of surprise and appreciation rose from the student body as he

The six students, Dominique Dabija, Daniel Kim, Elena Madan, Anand Natarajan, Vikram Nathan and Denzil Sikka, all seniors, spent untold hours researching and painstakingly documenting their research and, for that effort, each is now $1,000 richer and has a shot

In Memory of Howard Nichols It is with a profound sense of loss that we mourn the Dec. 31 passing of Harker luminary Howard Nichols.. The memorial held Jan. 16 in Nichols Hall looked back at his life and contributions to creating The Harker School, and brought back the joy this tremendous man brought to so many individuals and families. See page 3 of this issue for Head of School Chris Nikoloff’s observations and other school observances, and the Nichols Memorial supplement sent with this month’s Harker News for complete coverage of the Jan. 16 memorial event. If you did not receive a copy of the memorial supplement, contact for a copy.

at the grand prize of $100,000. There were only 25 semifinalists in California, out of 300 nationwide. Over 1,600 students submitted entries. Harker winners’ research covered a stunning array of subjects, from “Computational Methods for Identifying Functionally Important Residues Involved in Allosteric Communication Pathways” (Dabija’s) to “Novel Quantitative Models of Reaction Kinetics” (Nathan’s). Finalists were determined in late January, too late for publication. Harker graduate Yi Sun ’06 took second place, winning $75,000, in the 2006 contest.

All Campuses Celebrate Inauguration All three campuses held special assemblies so students could watch the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20. Students in the LS watched the video feed on a big-screen monitor in a darkened gym, cheering with the crowd in an experience they will be able to relate as they grow up. The assembly was optional, but virtually every class attended. The atmosphere at the MS was joyous and many students were dressed in red, white and blue. They watched with rapt attention as the Bay Area’s Senator Dianne Feinstein announced dignitaries, two world-class musical performances, the inauguration of Continued on page 11

editor’s note

important dates

annual giving

The passing of Howard Nichols on Dec. 31 unleashed a profound sadness in the community, along with a groundswell of memories, gratitude and respect for a leader - and a human being – whom we all loved so dearly.

n Mon., Feb. 9 – Presidents’ Week Break, no classes K-Gr. 12

Heartfelt Thanks!

So at this month’s annual fashion show, “Freeze Frame: That Was Then, This Is Now,” let’s look back at the school’s rich history, look ahead at the school’s bright future, and truly celebrate the man who made it happen!

UPCOMING SCHOOLWIDE EVENTS n Fri., Feb. 20, 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. – Freeze Frame Fashion Show 11 a.m. Lunch and Fashion Show; 5:30 p.m. Dinner Gala with Fashion Show. San Jose Convention Center. See pages 4-5 for details.

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

n March 6-7, 7 p.m. – Dance Jamz, Blackford Theater. Come enjoy this electric display of youthful exuberance by MS dancers. Movement and music galore!

n Tues., March 3, 7 p.m. Right on the Money: Teaching Kids Financial Responsibility with Nathan Dungan. St. Matthew’s Episcopal Day School, 16 Baldwin Ave., San Mateo; 650.342.5436. n Wed., March 4, 7 p.m. Castilleja School, 1310 Bryant St., Palo Alto; 650.328.3160.

Participation is at 56%

Help us reach ar





Common Ground Speaker Series


The news also galvanized the entire community in the common goal of honoring a man who touched so many lives. As Howard was known for inspiring greatness in all of us, it was natural that a multitude of hands were on deck to help the Nichols family, and each other, as we all joined together to celebrate his memory at the memorial January 16 (see Howard Nichols Memorial supplement included in this edition).

n Tues., Feb. 17 – Classes resume

t Pa r t icipat

n Thurs., March 5, 7 p.m. Saint Andrew’s School, 13601 Saratoga Ave., Saratoga; 408.867.3785.

travel to oz Find Yourself in the Australian Outback Deadline is Feb. 27 – see page 19 for details!

–Pam Dickinson, Director Office of Communications

cookies & K summer Enrollment now open for summer 2009! Visit the Web site and check out all the great offerings for: n K-8 Summer Programs n English Language Institute n Harker Tennis Program n Harker Swim School


March 21, 2009 Nichols Hall, Saratoga Campus After four years, our research program is thriving in its brand new facility. Harker students submitted 13 papers and six were named semifinalists in the Siemans Talent Search, double last year’s participation and qualifying rate, and Harker had six semifinalists in the Intel Talent Search, the most of any California school, ever (see story, pg. 1). The program has increased enrollment, a student-led research club and heightened enthusiasm among mentors. Our own showcase, the Harker Research Symposium, a gathering of student researchers, their peers and mentors, has a couple of basic goals. The symposium completes the research process for students in sharing research in a non-competitive setting and enables student researchers to interact with scientists and industry leaders in order to understand that scientific research drives the economy, careers and the quality of our lives. The fourth annual Harker Research Symposium, themed “New Frontiers,” will be held on Sat., March 21, and will showcase the biotechnology and pharmaceuticals industries. Last year, almost 500 parents and students attended the symposium; this year, the symposium will be held in our new state-of-theart science and technology center and the Harker science department invites everyone to attend! Watch the Harker Parent Portal and Harker News for more information on the symposium as it develops.

January always brings Cookies and Kindergarten events, where prospective parents get a chance to visit Harker during the week in a relaxed setting. The visits occurring before press time were very well attended and parents, administrators and teachers alike all enjoyed the event!

correction The photo of Isaac Madan and Ambrish Amaranathan in the January HN Kudos column was credited to Madan, but the photographer was his fencing coach, Aleksei Murugin. Harker News makes every effort to provide correct information and regrets the inaccuracy. Harker News — February 09


A Meditation on the Paradox of Leadership are leaders, after all – managers at least. Won’t the enterprise benefit from our poking? The Tao Te Ching captures paradoxes on many topics, leadership being one of them. “Those who know don’t talk. Those who talk don’t know.” Wait a minute. Aren’t we supposed to dispense wisdom when we are in leadership positions? Don’t those around us really want to hear us speak? But please remember what Grandma used to say – we have two ears and one mouth for a reason.

Leaders are few, and that is why they are valued so highly, loved so dearly. Yes, true leaders are valued highly mostly because they value ever yone around them. How do they do that, make ever yone feel valued? Perhaps by truly valuing them? The Beatles advised us here: “And in the end, the love

Leaders are few, and that is why they are valued so highly, loved so dearly. Yes, true leaders are valued highly mostly because they value everyone around them.

Leadership is a topic that fosters its fair share of quotes. These are usually uttered and responded to with an agreeing nod – yes, that is what good leaders do. Those who are in leadership positions could guide their careers with quotations from Peter Drucker alone, for instance. “Management is doing a thing right; leadership is doing the right things.” Yes, we all agree – a knowing nod. But who actually gets this right in real life?

We climb our way to the top, only to learn that there we answer to everyone. Another paradox. Service is the essence of leadership – not being served. Jim Collins, in “Good to Great,” talks about “level five leadership,” the highest form of leadership, which is characterized by fierce ambition for the organization, not oneself.

Another favorite of mine comes from the Tao Te Ching, the ancient Chinese text. “Governing a large country is like frying a small fish. You spoil it with too much poking.” Aren’t we supposed to poke? We

And with this comes a certain humility, a willingness to do any job, value all people, keep one’s ego in check. Harry Truman said, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”

Memorial Gifts Go to Nichols’ Dream of Solar Panels In keeping with Howard Nichols’ wish to place Nichols Hall and The Harker School on an environmentally sustainable footing for the future, the school and the Nichols family are requesting that memorial donations be made to the Nichols Hall Solar Fund for the purchase of solar panels for Nichols Hall, the new science and technology building on the Saratoga campus. Donations can be made payable to The Harker School, with Nichols Hall Solar Fund noted in the memo section. Mail to The Harker School Advancement Office, 3800 Blackford Ave., San Jose, CA 95117. Solar fund donations can also be made online at giving_form.php. When making your gift, please select the “Annual Giving Campaign Unrestricted” option and check off the box in memory of Howard Nichols for the Nichols Hall Solar Fund to ensure that your contribution is designated for Nichols Hall solar panels. Harker News — February 09

We are the leaders – we should get the credit, right? Yes, but only when things go badly. Once again, the Tao Te Ching: “Know honor, but keep humility.”

In Memory of Howard Nichols

you take is equal to the love you make.” (Sounds better, of course, when sung by John and Paul.) Perhaps leadership has more to do with love than power or anything else. We love our leaders because they teach us how to love, whatever the cause may be. By loving us, they allow us to love ourselves in ways we never thought possible before. And we are forever grateful.

The Sunshine Fund Marks Nichols’ Passing Howard and Diana Nichols promoted Sunshine, the employee-based suppor t and celebration group, for years, with Mr. Nichols maintaining an oversight role. Cindy Ellis, MS division head and former administrator of Sunshine, sent out this expressive message upon hearing the news of Mr. Nichols’ passing: “Sunshine has made a donation to the Nichols Hall Solar Fund in honor of Howard, a man whose life was spent sowing the seeds of compassion and integrity at Harker and in life. The heartfelt sympathies of the entire Harker community are extended to Diana, his daughters, Elizabeth and Stephanie, and his entire family.” “The best portion of a good man’s life is the little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love.” – William Wordsworth

–Christopher Nikoloff, Head of School

then and now Howard and Diana Nichols are pictured here with an electric car used in Harker

Harker Archives


science classes from about 1989-1994. That modest look forward has led directly to LEEDS-compliant Nichols Hall with its impressive array of solar electricity panels.




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

fashions by

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




Davis Family* Lon & Mary Allan Club Auto Sport Santana Row*

Sutardja Family Krish & Nina Panu

Rachel Meltzer ’04, a successful professional make-up artist, will be bringing her talents back to Harker as she generously donates her time and talents for the fashion show hostesses. After receiving her B.A. in psychology at Washington University, Meltzer took an interest in stage and screen and learned special effects make-up artistry from three Emmy-nominated makeup artists at American Make-Up and Effects in Los Angeles.

Air Systems, Inc.* Citti’s Florist, Inc. Rector Porsche – Audi Sathaye Family Foundation*

James Craig Hair Color & Design PHOTOGRAPHY

Genesis Photography * Six-year sponsors, to whom we are most grateful!



Jaja Hsuan Jones – Triple J Design

Joseph George Wines

SENIORS: Shelby Drabman, Noel Duan, Ida Gorshteyn, Dominic Shamblen

Déjà vu for Harker Alumna!

Heritage Bank of Commerce*


JUNIORS: Alex Creasman, Sarah Jane Estrada, Tara Hansen, Jackie Ho, Eugene Huang, Vinay Kumar, Adam Perelman, Darren Syu

Vikram Chari, Gr. 6; Stephanie Chen, Arjun Kumar, Avinash Nayak, Nicky Semenza, Christina Wong, Gr. 7; Pranav Bheda, Michelle Douglas, Cecilia Lang-Ree, Hannah Prutton, Renee Tam, Shannon Su, Albert Yeh, Gr. 8.

Diamond Quality Printing*

C. Denise Brodersen, CFP® – UBS Financial Ser vices, Inc.


Some of the first faces you’ll see at this year’s Freeze Frame will be our wonderful team of greeters. They’ll ensure you know just where to go, handing out table assignments and pointing you to all the action that awaits! We thank the following students for setting the tone for the evening in their important greeter role:

Tushar & Reshma Davé

Marcia & Chris Riedel – Hunter Labs*


Practicing a broad range of make-up artistry, including body painting and air brushing, Meltzer’s work has been featured on the VOLUNTEERING: Sue Prutton – cover of the Riverfront Times, PROGRAM AD SALES: Trish Tobin – a popular St. Louis publicaSPONSORSHIPS: Naren Nayak – tion. A hostess at Harker’s DONATIONS: Showcases - Susan Ellenberg – first fashion show, Meltzer is Live Auction - Chris King – thrilled to participate in the WEB SITE: – see Fashion Show under “Support Harker” tab Freeze Frame Fashion Show INFO LINE: 408.345.0115 • E-MAIL: and be involved with the host and hostess program again. Harker News — February 09


While it may all look glamorous as finely attired hosts and hostesses glide through the lobby enticing guests to purchase showcase donation drawing tickets, the responsibility of these juniors and seniors is far greater. Tasked with a considerable revenue-generating role, fashion show hosts and hostesses are a vital part of the show’s success. This year’s hosts and hostesses will receive a valuable sales training session from top former sales and marketing executives: from Apple, Debbie Hutchings (Doug, Gr. 10) and from Tiffany’s, Heather Wardenburg (Amy, Gr. 8). Be on the lookout for the polished professionals selling Showcase tickets in the convention center lobby.

Hosts and Ho




ur Yo


Hosts, Hostesses and Greeters: More Than Just Pretty Faces!




Live Auction Winner: An Unforgettable Going Once, Going Twice… VIP Graduation Package! Gone in a FLASH! Carol Underwood had a clear plan for her son’s graduation last year, and her winning bid on the live auction’s VIP Graduation Package made it happen! The Live Auction VIP Graduation Package guaranteed: l l l l

six front-row seats for the graduation ceremony premium reserved parking a brick in the Upper School Graduates Grove with her son’s name and year a portrait sitting with a professional photographer

With parking and front-row seats covered, Underwood could focus on her graduate (Alex ’08) and the pre- and post-graduation activities. “And you can imagine the spectacular pictures I was able to get!” she said. If you like the sounds of this VIP graduation experience, don’t miss your chance to make it yours by bidding on the returning VIP Graduation Package at Freeze Frame’s live auction.

Look for Freeze Frame coverage in Gentry Magazine While we are sorry to see San Jose Magazine discontinue publication, we are delighted that Gentry Magazine will be running a four-page spread on The Harker School and our fashion show models. Look for this special issue to hit the stands in February.

A Heartfelt THANKS to Our Newest Group of Advertisers: BaySport, Inc.; Berliner Cohen; Brian S. Nettleman, D.D.S.; California Bathroom & Kitchen Remodelers; Capers Loft; Chelsea Court Design; Daniel Hall, D.D.S, M.S.D; Derek Deaton – Alain Pinel Realtors; Event Production Committee; Harker JV & Varsity Football; Harker US Swimming Team; Heda Koh, D.D.S; Kennolyn Camps; Mar y Jo Townzen – Intero Realtors; Matthew Leek – Ameriprise Financial; Merr y Mart; Niru’s Tennis Academy; Parents of Downbeat; Parents of Eaglets; Parents of Guys’ Gig; Parents of High Voltage; Parents of K-Gr. 5 Models; Parents of MS Cross Countr y; Parents of MS Models; Parents of Showstoppers; Park Victoria Dental; Past Fashion Show Chairs; Randy Ligh, D.D.S.; Rector Motor Car Co.; RJ Dailey Construction Co.; Royal Coach Tours; Sue Prutton; The Harris Family; The Jackson Family; The Wooden Horse Toy Store; Williams Party Rentals.

Make a Night of It at the Marriott! After dancing the night away after the show, wouldn’t you rather take the elevator to your room than drive all the way home? The San Jose Marriott Hotels and Resorts is offering Harker a discounted price of $105 per night for Feb. 19 and 20. l

By phone: Reserve via phone 408.280.1300 or 800.228.9290 and tell them you’re with Harker.


Reserve online: Click the “San Jose Marriott” link at> Support Harker>Fashion Show>Reservations & Hotel. You will be directed to the Marriott home page with the code pre-entered in the appropriate field.

Call for Table Captains Organize the Freeze Frame reservations of two tables (20 friends or grade/club groupings) and you’ll be entered into a special drawing for Table Captains! It’s a great way to round up groups of fun folks and avoid tableseating roulette! Contact Mary Malysz at Harker News — February 09

Be sure to check out the enclosed flier for the live auction items that will be on the block.

Showcase Tickets: Turn in to Win! By now you should have received your showcase tickets in the mail. Have you decided yet in which of the three showcases they should go? Remember to turn in your completed tickets with payment by Feb. 17 to any campus front office to take advantage of the discounted pre-show price of $20 for 10 tickets.

n Picture Perfect Getaways: Stylin’ weekend wheels, swank events, wine and dining, spa and hotel relaxation – this showcase beckons those in need of escape! Designed by Dennis Baldwin, Dennis Baldwin Interiors.

n Classic Fun: Combining cool electronics, awesome games, toys and fun surprises for the whole family, this is the perfect showcase for students of all ages! Designed by Kren Rasmussen, Bloomster’s.

n Do the Row: From high fashion to fine foods to spa pampering, the best of Santana Row is once again stylishly wrapped up for one lucky winner in this popular showcase! Designed by Priya Vij (Sarina, Gr. 8; Sameer, Gr. 7). Refer to your showcase ticket mailing for more detailed information. Once you turn in your tickets, they’ll be placed into the showcases of your choice. But don’t worry, showcase tickets will also be sold at the fashion show (10 for $25) for you to place yourself. Once you see the fabulous showcase prizes in person, you’ll want to increase your odds of winning! One lucky Classic Fun Showcase winner will be drawn at lunch, with the other two showcase winners drawn at the dinner gala.

Reserve Your Seat! Make sure to get your seats for the lunch show or dinner gala because seating for Harker’s social event of the season is going fast. The deadline for reser vations is Feb. 13. Online reser vations are available at>Support Harker>Fashion Show>Reser vations & Hotel.

Help the Freeze Frame team! Please see the included flier for volunteers. We still would like help on the days before, of and after the fashion show. Visit the Freeze Frame Web site for more information:>Support Harker>Fashion Show. We greatly appreciate any time you can devote to the final hours of making this show a success!

EXECUTIVE TEAM: Betsy Lindars, Sponsorship & Finance; Jennifer McClenon, Promotion & Showcase; Tamra Amick, Event Production




Students Provide Gifts From the Heart Students Assist at Ballet Fundraiser US students had the opportunity to schmooze with community leaders, magazine executives and top culinary talents while volunteering at a Ballet San Jose fundraiser at downtown San Jose’s Sainte Claire Hotel on Dec. 11. The students arrived at the Sainte Claire at 4:45 p.m. for training, and offered many a helping hand by selling raffle tickets for donated prizes, keeping watch over silent auction items and handing out boxes of chocolate at the end of the event. Others assisted by collecting decorations and centerpieces after the event was over. Helpers at the event were seniors Emily Carr, Jenna Glasa and Dominic Shamblen; juniors Guadalupe Briseno and Jacob Schwartz; and freshmen Daniela Lapidous and Laura Yau.

During the holiday season, MS math teacher Peggy Crisler organized a group of Gr. 8 students to participate in the Gifts From the Heart program, which is run by the nonprofit organization Kidango. “The Gifts From the Heart Program was started so that these children and their families would receive something for Christmas,” Crisler said. Children were asked what they would like to get for Christmas, and teachers wrote their requests down on heart-shaped sheets of paper that contained each child’s name, age and shoe size. Each of these hearts (84 in all) was assigned to an eighth grader, who then fulfilled the child’s request. Crisler was very impressed with this year’s participation in the program. “For the Harker students to be involved in something like this, it is more than I can explain in words,” she said. “They really got behind it and knew how very important it was to follow through.” It also served as a useful reminder of why the holiday season is celebrated. “I do hope we can continue this giving every year,” Crisler said. “Helping to make all the ‘bad’ go away for just a little while, seeing a smile on a little one’s face, even if just for a little while, this is what the season is truly all about.”

Holiday Party Gets MS in the Spirit Holiday cheer was in the air Dec. 4 at the MS campus holiday party, where Saint Nick (aka Chris Nikoloff, head of school, in full Santa garb) gave candy and good tidings to the students before

Holiday Concerts Bring Cheer Much fun was had by students and parents alike during the LS holiday shows that were staged in December at the Bucknall campus during the week before winter break. The Gr. 1 Holiday Concert on Dec. 16 treated an afternoon audience to a cheerful collection of holiday song and dance numbers, including “Merry Christmas Time” and “My Red Sled.” The Gr. 1 dance featured choreography by LS/MS dance teacher Amalia Vasconi, set to country singer George Strait’s “Christmas Cookies.” The second and third graders took the stage on Dec. 18. Gr. 2 sang renditions of holiday tunes such as “There’s Someone in the Chimney” and “Santa is My Buddy” before the Gr. 3 dancers performed a routine to the Christmastime standard “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” The third grade singers then performed, throwing in some ethnic tinges with their versions of the Israeli folk song “Shalom Chaverim” and the Spanish Christmas ode “Paz en Navidad.” For the finale, both classes got together to perform “North Pole Rock ‘n’ Roll” and “Earthlings Unite!”, bringing the show to a rousing close.

Gift-Wrapping Service and ‘Relay for Life’ Raises Cancer Awareness seeing them off for the winter break. Students also enjoyed a special holiday meal and sipped hot chocolate to commemorate the spirit of the season.


In December, MS math teacher Scott Graham’s Gr. 7 advisory decorated a batch of holiday wreaths to be presented as gifts to the residents of the Saratoga Retirement Community. Graham personally brought the wreaths to the gladdened recipients on Dec. 13.

Scott Graham

Lana Morrison

Decorated Wreaths Provide Happy Holiday Cheer

Harker’s Relay for Life team, made up of BEST and other staffers, organized a gift-wrapping ser vice from Dec. 17 to Dec. 22 to help raise cancer awareness and generate donations for cancer research. Their first race as a team will take place May 16-17, a 24-hour event starting at 10 a.m. at Townsend Field in Santa Clara. The team is made up of Kim Coulter, Arwen Lange, Lucia Yeung, Tristan Perks, Vanessa Bullman, Megan Chimenti, Amanda Crook, Helena Curtis, Ashely Scheibli, Eric Kallbrier, Hillary Tiopo, Rebecca Charlton, Annie Kallbrier, Phil Steele, Andi Spampinato, Tim Callahan, Shellena Mangiore and Darrell Drummer. Harker News — February 09

Showstoppers Wows Mall Shoppers with Pre-Holiday Performance

Bucknall Toy Drive Shatters Donation Record

Marguerite Paseman

“The people at Sacred Heart Community Services did a phenomenal job of showing our students the behind-the-scenes operations of the center,” said Kristin Giammona, elementary division head. “The children also learned more about the toy distribution.” Students in the Showstoppers dance troupe treated the shoppers at the Westgate mall in San Jose to a special holiday dance performance on Dec. 13. An all-female dance group made up of Gr. 7-8 students, Showstoppers specializes in jazz, hip hop and lyrical dance styles. Showstoppers features Mercedes Chien, Jennifer Dai, Angela Ma, Katherine Paseman and Michelle Pagnon, all Gr. 7; and Keri Clifford, Isabelle Connell, Ria Desai, Tiphaine Delepine, Michelle Douglas, Patricia Huang, Michaela Kastelman, Hannah Prutton and Renee Tam, Gr. 8. In their training for the group, the students worked on developing such techniques as leaps, kicks and pirouettes. “They also work on precision dancing, formation changes and roll-offs, which make their routines dynamic,” said MS dance instructor Amalia Vasconi, who directs the group.

Joe Connolly

The Bucknall toy drive was a spectacular success, bringing in 1,363 toys and far surpassing the goal of 1,000. The toys were personally delivered to Sacred Heart Community Service in San Jose on Dec. 17. During the trip, students got to meet some of the needy families who received gifts through the toy drive.

To celebrate the milestone, students shared their experiences delivering the toys at an assembly on Dec. 19. A representative from Sacred Heart appeared to personally thank the students for their tremendous effort.

Providing Gifts to Needy Children US students visited the Scott Lane Extended Day child care center on Dec. 23 to deliver gifts to underprivileged kids. Students had the opportunity to see the surprise and delight on the childrens’ faces as they received their presents, a great way to spend a day of the holiday break!

Students who audition for the group are required to maintain good citizenship and academic standing. “They must act as role models as they represent Harker dance at events outside of our community as well,” Vasconi said. Members must also take two dance classes during the year, and participate in the Dance Jamz show, which takes place in March and features all Gr. 6-8 dancers. Vasconi said students enjoy performing as a group, and that the students develop close bonds during rehearsals. As a teacher, Vasconi said she relishes the opportunity to pass her adoration for dance onto others: “I love being able to share with the students at Harker…my passion and love for dance. I hope they all enjoy it as well!”

Coat Drive Surpasses Previous Total This year’s used coat drive at the MS campus brought in more than 250 warm coat donations for impoverished and homeless families through the InnVision organization, surpassing last year’s total. Great work on the part of all who helped!

Kerry Enzensperger - all photos

Fun, Games and Football at Party On Dec. 21, Gr. 4 -5 teachers and staff headed to the home of Eileen Schick, K-Gr. 5 assistant math chair, for her yearly holiday party. There were about 30 people in attendance, including the teachers’ and staff members’ spouses and children. “We simply enjoyed each other’s company, ate good food and many of the men enjoyed the NFL Giants vs. Panthers overtime thriller,” Schick said. Guests also engaged in an exciting round of the board game Taboo, after which the festivities ended as the guests departed to celebrate the remainder of the holiday season. Harker News — February 09




Winter Concert Continues Dedication Theme The annual winter concert featuring K-Gr. 12 instrumental ensembles was especially meaningful this year, occurring only an hour or so after the conclusion of the memorial service for Howard Nichols. Audience members, many of whom attended both events, were treated to performances by orchestras from all three campuses, the US Jazz Band and Bel Canto, an US vocal ensemble. Catherine Snider, director of Bel Canto, began the evening with a dedication to Nichols, explaining the gratitude performing artists feel to be working in an educational environment so supportive of the arts. She cited Nichols, who loved the arts, as the one who set this precedent at Harker. In honor of Nichols all the performers wore ribbons of maroon, Nichols’ favorite color. And then the music began!

house with a Tito Puente number and two pieces by George Gershwin, featuring vocalist Frankie Nagle, Gr. 10. Bel Canto followed close behind, showing off their versatility with the pop classic “What a Wonderful World,” a Latin liturgical piece and an AfricanAmerican spiritual that got the audience stomping. The evening culminated in the US Orchestra’s mammoth undertaking of Dvorák’s “Symphony No. 8,” performed in its entirety. This four˘ movement piece, lasting about 30 minutes, demonstrated the increasing skill of this fine ensemble and the high standard Florio is setting for them. The US performers travel to New York next month to participate in an orchestra contest at Lincoln Center.

Louis Hoffman’s Bucknall Orchestra impressed the crowd with their classical repertoire, which included Mozart, Haydn, Tchaikovsky and Liszt. Chris Florio followed with his Gr. 6 Orchestra, Combined MS Orchestra and Gr. 7/8 Orchestra, who continued the theme of the great Romantic composers with Beethoven, Bizet and the ambitious “Overture 1812” by Tchaikovsky (sans cannons, however). After a brief intermission, the Jazz Band took the stage and rocked the


Visit the Web site and the Harker Parent Portal for details and updates. And ask about the Harker Family “Thank You” rate!

Where you belong! 8

Harker News — February 09



Visiting Foreign Student Reflects on Time at Harker Friends said goodbye in a studentorganized going away party in mid-January for visiting student Eden Dorrington, Gr. 11. He has returned to his native Australia to continue classes at St. Stephen’s College in Brisbane. Jennifer Abraham, global education director, quizzed Dorrington on his impressions of Harker and the U.S. vs. St. Stephen’s and Australia and here are his responses. What is your best memory or experience at Harker? Well, it is always hard to say what the best experience from a place is. The people at Harker are awesome and really friendly, the food is great and the classes are really interesting and engaging. How is Harker different than St. Stephen’s? Although Harker and St. Stephen’s are similar in many ways, they differ on several key factors. At SSC they don’t feed you, that’s up to you to take care of. The homework load is also a lot less and there is a more laid back approach to learning. Also, at SSC, sports are integrated into the school week and there are no free periods unless you give up an elective class. What are some of the cultural differences between the U.S. and Australia? Things here in California are a lot more politically correct then they are back home. This is reflected in the ‘taboo’ language. Also the relationship between teachers and students is a little more formal than they are back home. What have you learned while staying here? Apart from the obvious academic benefits of my stay in Harker, I feel that I have learned to understand others in a more complete way, and this has helped me to develop my tolerance and acceptance of others around me. What do you miss the most from home? Other then my friends and family, of course, I think that one of the things I miss about home the most is the food. Stuff like meat-pies, Tim-Tams (according to Wikipedia, a Tim-Tam is two layers of chocolate biscuit with a light chocolate cream filling, all coated in chocolate) and big hunks of steak! Nothing beats coming home for dinner to a hunk of meat the size of your hand! Is there anything else you’d like to mention? My stay at Harker has been an amazing experience that has helped me to build my understanding of other cultures and peoples. My father always said that we are the Global Generation, and that we live in a global environment, and I think that my time at Harker has helped me to understand and appreciate that all the more. Go Eagles!

Computer Educators at Harker Harker will host a meeting of the Silicon Valley Computer-Using Educators (SVCUE), the local affiliate for San Mateo and Santa Clara counties of Computer-Using Educators, in late February. As the name suggests, the group works to share ways to best use computers in education. Watch the April edition of Harker News for details on the conference. Harker News — February 09

Love that Book! It’s always fun to look at The Harker School best seller list for the past 30 days to see which books are hotter than a Hallmark Valentine’s Day card. Here is a list of these titles by division for the last thirty days, one month ago. It’s no surprise to Kathy Clark, LS librarian, and me that the two new Anansi books were snapped up by fans of this folk tale spider. J.K. Rowling has a spot on each division’s list. We prove again that you are never too old for fairy tales: “The Big Over Easy: a Nursery Crime” by Jasper Fforde is a hilarious adult book about the mysterious death of Humpty Dumpty.

n Lower School Fiction: “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” by J.K. Rowling; “The Adventures of Captain Underpants” by Dav Pilkey; “Eragon” by Christopher Paolini; “The Hobbit, Or, There and Back Again” by J. R. R. Tolkien Folklore: “Anansi’s Party Time” by Eric Kimmel; “Anansi and the Pot of Beans” by Bobby Norfolk Nonfiction: “Guinness World Records”

n Middle School Fiction: “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” by J.K. Rowling; “The Last Universe” by William Sleator; “Animal Farm” by George Orwell; “Ark Angel” by Anthony Horowitz; “Best Friends for Never: a Clique Novel” by Lisi Harrison, and “Calling on Dragons” by Patricia Wrede Nonfiction: “Animal Talk: Breaking the Codes of Animal Language” by Tim Friend; “Artemis Fowl: the Graphic Novel” by Eoin Colfer; “Big Beefy Book of Bart Simpson” by Matt Groening

n Upper School Fiction: “Eclipse” by Stephanie Meyer; “Haunted: A Tale of the Mediator” by Meg Cabot; “Artemis Fowl: the Time Paradox” by Eoin Colfer; “Geek Magnet: A Novel in Five Acts” by Kieran Scott; “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” by J.K. Rowling; “The Actual Real Reality of Jennifer James” by Gillian Shields; “Airhead” by Meg Cabot; and “The Big Over Easy: A Nursery Crime” by Jasper Fforde Nonfiction: “Afghanistan” by Jann Einfeld; and “Blankets: An Illustrated Novel” by Craig Thompson –Enid Davis, Library Director

Annual Giving Helps Language Dept. Annual Giving funds contribute heavily to the quality of learning throughout Harker. One impact is on the modern and classical languages program. Just a few of the items and activities Annual Giving covered for the Latin program this year include Advanced Placement materials, trips to national and state conventions and costs for the Junior Classical League and related materials. “The MCL department funds have given all Latin students the opportunity to take the National Latin Exam on which students have received many awards including perfect papers, gold and silver medals and eligibility for NJCL college scholarships,” said John Hawley, Latin teacher. “Funds were also used for study materials for the Certamen competition and Latin Quiz Bowl.” In addition, AG funding to clubs helped pay for alumni to chaperone at events through the Latin Club. Other programs benefitted as well, of course. Among other things, the French program got video and audio tapes, and contest and national exam costs were covered. The Spanish department received books and subscriptions, entry fees for poetry contests and videos and audiotapes. The Chinese program got books, videos and audiotapes and the Japanese program got everything from calligraphy tools to DVDs, and participation in the Japan Bowl was covered.



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Next time you are at the grocery store take a second to actually check out food labels. This is a great way to find out what is really in the food you are serving. For example, when selecting a breakfast cereal, read the ingredient list (usually at the bottom of the label). Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. So if the cereal states sugar as the first ingredient, you know it contains a lot of sugar. According to guidelines from the World Health Organization, sugar should account for no more than 10 percent of daily calories. For the average teenager this would be about eight teaspoons of sugar per day. “Sugar” comes in other forms so look for these words as well: cane juice, sugar cane syrup, rice syrup, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, glucose, powdered sugar and beet sugar.

A product may even state that it is sugar-free; this just means the food manufacturer has not added any sugar to the product, but it still may contain natural sugar. Other sugar-free products may add mannitol or sorbitol; these are sugar substitutes containing fewer calories than sugar. You may be surprised how many of your favorite foods contain sugar. You can also look for carbohydrates on labels. Carbohydrates are an important part of our diet, providing energy for our bodies and brain. Under the word “carbohydrates,” sugar and dietary fiber will be listed. Find a cereal with less than 10 grams of sugar and at least five grams of fiber to start off your day. If your teen is an athlete you may be concerned with protein intake. Protein is needed to build muscle but proteins are also the building blocks of enzymes and hormones in our bodies. Protein is found in many foods such as dairy products (cheese, low-fat yogurt and milk), eggs, nuts, seeds, beans, meat, fish and poultry (chicken, turkey, etc.). Even foods like

crackers, bread and energy bars contain protein. A teen athlete consuming 3,000 calories a day may need 75 grams of protein per day. You can use food labels and Web sites ( to help you figure out how much you are consuming. Usually protein intake from the typical diet is more than adequate and thus supplementing with protein powders is unnecessary and a waste of money. In fact, adequate amounts of healthy carbohydrates are more important for highest performance. Healthy carbohydrates include fruits, vegetables and whole grains. You can read food ingredients to find products with whole grains. Whole grains include three parts: bran, germ and endosperm. This means you get a lot of nutrients including essential fatty acids, vitamin E, magnesium and zinc. Plus, the fiber in whole grains keeps you feeling full, preventing you from overeating. Whole grains include: barley, brown rice, wild rice, bulgur, oatmeal, popcorn, whole wheat bread and whole wheat pasta. When grains are processed or refined the bran and germ are removed. Often, you will find bread and cereals stating that these items have been “enriched.” This just means that vitamins and minerals have been added; however, the fiber may be missing. A high sugar cereal may advertise that it contains whole grains but it may not contain a large amount. Look for cereals with whole grain ingredients and that have high fiber content per serving. Fortunately, the Whole Grains Council has been adding their yellow and black colored stamp of approval since 2006 to make it easier for consumers to find good sources of whole grains. See if you can find it on certain food products. The “100% Whole Grain” stamp indicates that all of the grain ingredients are whole grains. Specifically, this means there are at least 16 grams of whole grains per serving. The basic stamp is given to foods that contain at least eight grams of whole grain but may also contain some refined grain. Ideally, aim for 48 grams of whole grains per day. You can easily reach this goal by eating a half-cup of oatmeal, half-cup of brown rice, and a slice of 100 percent whole grain bread. For more information, go to www. The food label also lists other nutritional information including serving size, calories, fat, cholesterol, vitamins and minerals. Use it to compare products and choose healthy items. It is a great tool to become a savvy and healthy food consumer and to teach good habits to your children! –Anne Kolker, MS, RD

Staff Update

in the news n San Jose Magazine – Dec., 2008 Pam Dickinson, director of the Office of Communications, was one of five women interviewed for the Red Couch Diaries feature on family holiday traditions.

n Image Magazine – Holiday Edition 2008 The magazine featured a full page on the Nichols Hall gala celebrating the completion and opening of the new science and technology building.

n Palo Alto Weekly News – Dec. 5, 2008 Michael Clifford, Gr. 11, was listed in the 2008 All-Central Coast Section water polo awards with an honorable mention in Boys Division II.


kudos n Robotics Team Awards

Meiying Forney

Abbey Lile-Taylor has joined Harker as assistant director to BEST. She has worked as an arts enrichment/program coordinator for the Franklin-McKinley School District, was a director at Children’s Musical Theater of San Jose and production manager at Valley Christian High School’s theater department. BEST director Kim Coulter said, “We are very excited to have Abbey on our team, so please take a moment to introduce yourself and help her feel at home.”

On Dec. 13, Jonathan Dai, Gr. 5, Sophia Shatas, Gr. 6 and their teammates earned the Champion’s Award and took first place in Robot Design in a regional qualifying robotics tournament for the FIRST Lego League at Valley Christian School in San Jose. The team, dubbed RoboSAJEs, will go on to compete in the Northern California State Championship on Jan. 25. The following day, Rishab Gargeya, Eric Pei, Edmond Wu and Peter Wu, all Gr. 4, and Alex Pei, Gr. 7, collectively known as CarbonDestructor, took first place in Robot Design at another FLL qualifying tournament at California High School in San Ramon.

Hema Gargeya


Harker News — February 09



All Campuses Celebrate Inauguration continued from page 1 Vice President Joe Biden and, finally, the inauguration of the United States’ first African-American president, Barack Obama. “Students gathered excitedly for the inauguration, an opportunity

to witness another step in the development and ongoing evolution of our nation,” said Cindy Ellis, MS division head. “Our assembly ended with the entire group standing to sing the anthem along with the gathering in Washington, D.C. The students broke out in applause throughout President Obama’s inaugural speech.” Atmosphere at the US was celebratory as students brought closure to a long election year by watching the event live on TV. Exuberant students packed the Bistro, chuckling over the glitches in Obama’s recitation of the oath of office and applauding freely during both the oath and the President’s inaugural speech. “Experiencing the inauguration with the students in the packed Bistro was a real moment for me,” said Pam Dickinson, director of the Office of Communications. “Between the rapt attention, laughter and


bursts of applause, there was so much hope and excitement. Our students will be the change,” she said. The Junior States of America sponsored a replay of the inauguration that afternoon and held a postinaugural discussion the next day in Nichols Auditorium, to which all were invited.

live feed to each assembly. The MS library set up a screen and invited staff to cut down on bandwidth use, and the MS suspended homework for the day so students could drink in the full effect of the new president taking office.

Many teachers, administrators and staff members also took a few minutes to watch the event. Full credit goes to the technology departments at each campus for getting a


Winter Sports Ramp Up Across the Campuses LS/MS Sports Boys Basketball

however, as many of the wins were by large margins (37-13 against Priory and 44-20 against St. Matt’s), and several losses were in close games (a 35-36 loss to King’s Academy; 42-43 against Pinewood, and 39-41 to St. Joseph’s Sacred Heart). Hopefully we’ll be seeing many of the boys on this team next year as they move to the US.

results next month. The JV A (Gr. 7) team ended the season with a 5-6 overall record; their league record was 3-3. Although they lost early in the season to Menlo 3-21, in the WBAL tournament they came much closer, losing by just two points in a 23-25 game that went into overtime. They finished the season with two

impressive wins at the WBAL tournament, 41-2 against St. Matt’s, and 40-11 against Pinewood. The JV B1 boys were league champs with a 6-0 league record. They won their WBAL tournament, ending with an overall record of 7-0. Congratulations to their coach, Walid Fahmy, and the boys!

Varsity B basketball was undefeated as we went to press, with impressive wins against all opponents. The boys had beaten all rivals by a minimum of 15 points! In their last two December games, they beat Pinewood 44-9 and crushed Crystal Springs Uplands 37-8. Varsity B2 basketball had a 3-3 record as of the first week of January, and the B3 team had yet to win a game, but these boys put forth a good effort throughout the season. At press time, varsity A (Gr. 8) basketball had a league record of 5-4. The season record doesn’t truly describe the talents of this team, Harker News — January 09

All four of the varsity boys basketball teams still had the WBAL tournament to play in the second week of January, so look for those


HARKER LS/MS Sports continued The JV B6 team ended their season with a three-way tie for league champs with a 6-2 season. Their overall record was 8-3 after earning third place in the WBAL tournament. JV B2 had a tough season, ending the season 0-9 overall and 0-7 in league. JV C also faced some tough opponents, and ended with a 1-7 league record. They beat St. Matt’s at the end of the season 25-24, after losing to them early in the season 13-14, making that victory especially sweet.

Girls Soccer The varsity A team ended with a 5-3 record, demonstrating their growth this year by winning the last three games of the season against Pinewood (5-0), Girls Middle School (5-0) and Crystal Springs Uplands (3-0). Varsity B soccer had a 2-4-1 League record, JV A soccer went 2-2-2, and JV B ended 4-1-1, winning their last two games against St. Joseph’s Sacred Heart (2-0) and Castilleja (4-3). Late winter sports (girls basketball and boys soccer) were just beginning practice in early January. Game results will be reported next month, so watch this space!

US Sports Boys Basketball Boys basketball started the season strong, winning their season opener against San Jose High School 5741, with 17 points from junior Ryan Cali. They also won the San Jose High Bulldog Invitational tournament, easily beating Anzar 56-18 in the first round. Alex Abarca, Gr. 12, had 14 points and Rohan Shah, Gr. 11, added 11 in the win. They defeated Evergreen in the semifinals, and beat Gunderson High 67-50 in the championship game. Abarca put in 26 points in the final game. Over the break, the boys continued their success by placing second in their tournament in Phoenix, going 2-1. In a close loss of 56-57 to North Mason of Washington state, Abarca and junior Greg Plauck both scored 16 points. Four of Plauck’s points were three-pointers.

sports (1-5) and Fremont (2-3). However, the girls finished their December play by earning a victory over Pacific Collegiate, 1-0.

Girls basketball went 2-1 in the Pescadero Tournament, losing in the championship game to The Bay School 41-33. Kacie Kaneyuki, Gr. 11, made the all-tournament team and Tara Panu, Gr. 12, had an outstanding tournament. Both JV and varsity defeated Live Oak. The JV team won 22-20 while the varsity played one of their best games of the season, defeating the Acorns 43-27 to improve to 4-7.

Junior Esther Belogolovsky scored for the Eagles, assisted by senior Kristina Bither.

Wrestling Our JV wrestlers brought nine athletes to the Harbor Tournament and recorded an impressive five finalists, achieving three golds, two silvers and one bronze. Chris McCallaCreary, Gr. 10, did not give up a single point the entire tournament on his way to gold. At the Lynbrook Tournament, held over the winter break, Ian Hoffman, Gr. 12, Jason Mendel, Gr. 10 and McCallaCreary all finished in first place. Shirley Galbiati, Gr. 12 and Mark Roh, Gr. 11, placed second with David Wu, Gr. 10, placing third. In the Cupertino Second Man Tournament, McCallaCreary was voted Most Outstanding Wrestler as he placed first.

Boys Soccer

Fall Sports Honors

Patel, Gr. 9, had all three goals (a hat trick) in the 3-0 JV victory. Against Menlo, the boys controlled the entire first half before ultimately losing 2-4. Sean Mandell, Gr. 12 and Costa scored in that loss for the Eagles. In the last game before winter break, the boys beat Pinewood 5-0.

Girls Soccer

The Mercury News announced their fall sports all-stars and Harker was represented in both boys water polo and volleyball. Michael Clifford, Gr. 11, was awarded an honorable mention for the Mercury News boys water polo team. This is in addition to his earlier-announced recognition as MVP of the El Camino Division. Recognized with honorable mentions for the Mercury News girls volleyball team were senior outside hitters Candace Silva-Martin and Kristina Bither.

Girls soccer had a tough December, with several losses in a row against Lynbrook (0-1), Mercy-Burlingame

Boys soccer began their season with a challenging nonleague schedule as they went 1-3 in the prestigious Winter Classic. Julian Stahl, Gr. 12, scored in the 1-2 loss against Granada. Both JV and varsity soccer opened league play with victories over Priory. Varsity won 3-1 behind two goals from Jose Costa, Gr. 11 and one from TJ Casner, Gr. 9; Barrett Glasauer, Gr. 12, had two assists. Avinash

Athletes Have High GPAs, Too! In the North Coast Section Scholastic Championship Team Awards Harker took first in its division for highest grade point average for the team. In Division IV, Harker edged out Berean Christian High School of Walnut Creek 3.46 to 3.44 and, incidentally, posted the highest average GPA in all divisions for football.

Girls Basketball 12

Harker News — January 09



Students Have Fun Learning to “Share, Care and be Fair!” “Telling is not tattling.” That was the message for students in Gr. 1-3 at a recent special assembly put on by Joe Connolly, LS dean of students, and the Bucknall campus BEST staff. The annual SPLAT assembly, held in the gym in early January, helps direct student activity along positive lines when conflicts arise.

Shanghai Visitors Teach Traditional Crafts

The assembly began with Connolly asking the students for attention by calling out “Three, two, one,” and holding up his quiet coyote sign of his thumb holding two middle fingers, and raised outside pinkie and pointer finger.

A score of visiting students from the Shanghai World Foreign Language Middle School split up into different classrooms to show Harker students how to make a ceremonial banner. Each group of students made a drawing which was then folded and clipped into squares, according to tradition. The several results were joined to complete the banner. Each year the MS exchanges students with our Shanghai sister school via Harker’s Global Education program.

He then complimented the students for sitting quietly, having their eyes on him and listening well. He explained that they were all showing respect, which was part of the topic at the assembly.

Second Graders Learn Safety

Three members of the BEST staff performed skits that depicted situations in which a student might feel bullied, including not being allowed to play with other students and being laughed at by another student when one of the participants fell down while playing. In each situation, Connolly had the actors freeze while the situation and alternative behaviors were discussed, including saying “no” and talking to an adult. Students were reminded that bystanders should not “do nothing,” but should help, if possible, and tell an adult. In the third skit, the actors demonstrated appropriate lunchtime behavior, including encouraging another student to join their table. Students were actively engaged in watching the assembly, and enjoyed answering Connolly’s questions on appropriate behaviors. Finally, the presentation concluded with a reminder of three ways to deal with conflict: talk about the problem, walk away or Rochambeau (rock-paper-scissors). Above all, Connolly reminded the students, “Share, care and be fair!” The assembly ended with two games to demonstrate playing well together. The first game was a relay race in which representatives from each homeroom participated while the audience was encouraged to cheer on the participants, and the second was a game of “Simon Says.” Arwen Lange, assistant BEST director, complimented the students on their positive attitudes and encouragement of their classmates during the relay race. Prior to directing the children in “Simon Says,” Abbey Lile-Taylor, newly appointed assistant director to BEST, encouraged the children to demonstrate honesty and integrity during the game and sit down if they didn’t

The presentation concluded with a reminder of three ways to deal with conflict: talk about the problem, walk away or Rochambeau (rock-paper-scissors). Above all, Connolly reminded the students, ‘Share, care and be fair!’

correctly follow only directions preceded by “Simon Says.” Concluding the assembly, Connolly praised the students for their honesty and sitting out of the game “even if no one saw you” following improper directions. Throughout the assembly, Connolly, the teachers and the BEST staff demonstrated their care and concern for Harker students. This was a great demonstration of Students Playing (and) Learning All Together (SPLAT)! Harker News — January 09

Harker welcomed speakers from the YWCA Child Abuse Prevention Program (CAPP) in mid-Januar y. Coordinated by Pauline Warren, LS counselor, the workshops, aimed at Gr. 2 students, address situations involving a bully, a stranger and a known adult. The process provides students with strategies to help them make decisions that will keep them safe. CAPP is a community-based, multicultural program, ser ving parents, school staff and students.

kid talk In commenting on the Harker motto, Gr. 5 students recently discussed why students need knowledge. Kristin Park said, “Knowledge is being smart. Harker helps you gain knowledge by teaching you more things. This helps you get into college so then you’ll be successful in life.” Panny Shan explained, “You get knowledge from Harker because the teachers teach you many things in different ways and it just seems more fun when instead of just listening to a boring lecture, you can actually participate. Once you get a really good grade, and if you get a good degree in college, you can find many jobs and you can make a really good living.” Celine Liang further elaborated on the benefits of knowledge. “Knowledge is good for you because it helps you learn. Then when you grow up you can get a job and earn money for a living and then when you retire you have enough money to take care of yourself and your parents. It’s easier to make money if you go to a good university and get a diploma.” Aparna Yellapragada agreed. “Knowledge is good for you because then when you grow up you’ll be really successful and you can take care of your parents and everything. Then you’ll get into a good college.” Gillian Chu added, “Knowledge is good because it helps with your life later on when you grow up. To learn stuff, you connect the platens in your brain. That’s why repetition is important, that’s what I learned in science. Once you travel on that path a lot, then you remember how to get there, so you remember stuff. Connections are important.“




Good Traffic Habits Keep You Safe

Students View Classic Ballet

It is sometimes easy for us to revert to old habits regarding traffic and parking, so please take a few minutes to read this and help keep everybody safe at Harker!

On Dec. 16, a group of Gr. 5 students took a trip to see a special performance of the classic Tchaikovsky ballet “The Nutcracker.” The performance was an hour-long event that was geared specifically toward younger audiences to educate them about the nuances of the art of ballet.

Cell phones: Please refrain from using your cell phone while driving on campus. There is no phone call that is more important than the safety of our children and staff. Please wait until you are off campus before using your

Students who saw the show remarked on its numerous qualities. “It was diverse and beautiful, and many things were happening at once,” said Abhinav Ketineni. Kristin Giammona, elementary division head, said the majority of the students most enjoyed the showdown between the Rat King and the ballet’s title character. Musing on the story’s moral, Caitlin Benge said, “People need to take care of things and maybe something amazing might happen.”

Drive slowly: Our children are small, difficult to see and can be unpredictable. You should be driving less than 5 mph while on campus.

Tamagawa Teacher Visits Bucknall The Bucknall campus received a visit from Miwa Meguriya, Gr. 2 teacher at Tamagawa Gakuen in Tokyo, for two weeks in January. Meguriya spent her first week observing classes and learning about how Harker teachers and students spend their days. She said the teacher-student relationship at Harker was similar to what she sees at Tamagawa.

phone. It is simply too dangerous, especially with so many children around. Follow the directions of staff: Our BEST staff and security officers are trained to keep the traffic moving efficiently and to keep your children and themselves safe. Please adhere to their requests when they are directing traffic. Drive slowly: Our children are small, difficult to see and can be unpredictable. Driving fast does not allow you enough time to react. You should be driving less than 5 mph while on campus.

Converse on the way to school, not in the loading zone: The drive to school can be a wonderful time to have conversations and remind students about afternoon activities and pick-up. Please do not have these conversations while in the loading zone. Once your child exits the car, please focus on the traffic ahead and leave the loading zone. Rolling down the window to wave goodbye or to speak with them causes delays. Driving along slowly beside them while they are walking to class is dangerous. Have backpacks in the car and ready: Please have your child’s backpack in the car and ready to go when you stop in the loading zone. Taking the time to retrieve the backpack from the trunk or to gather last minute papers delays the loading area for ever ybody else. Avoid parking and walking your child to class: Please avoid this whenever possible. Pulling into and backing out of spaces creates confusion, safety issues and delays when other cars are tr ying to enter and exit the loading zone. Teachers and staff are often forced to park blocks away in the neighborhood because your car, while only there for a few minutes, prevents them from finding a space to park. Afternoon pick-up reminders: The BEST staff is not available to call for your child between 4 and 5 p.m. Please use your student ID placards. Please be patient. Waving the placard makes it harder to read the card. Please remember it is up to your child to get to your car in a timely manner and to pick up your child no later than 6 p.m. Parking on and off campus: There are only 76 available parking spaces and more than 80 employees. When parking on campus please do not park in the faculty lot, which is well marked and located at the end of the bus circle. Help us keep good relations with our neighbors by not parking in front of driveways, fire hydrants, crosswalks or leaf piles. Thank you for helping us keep ever ybody safe while driving on campus. As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. —Joe Connolly, Dean of Students K-Gr. 5


Zach Jones

No left turns: Please do not make a left turn into the parking lots. The traffic is designed to flow in a clockwise manner around the campus. Making a left into the parking lots only serves to create backups on Rincon and Bucknall and angers the other parents who have been patiently waiting their turns to enter the parking lot. Also, please only turn right when exiting the school. Be a good example to your children by following the signs indicating Right Turn Only.

“Students are very honest,” she said. “And the teachers are so friendly and sweet.” She later added, “The system of school is different, but we have similar parts too. I think we have the same dream.” Meguriya also noticed some other key differences. For instance, Tamagawa lunches are typically eaten indoors, and everyone brings lunch from home. Tamagawa students also spend 25 minutes after lunch cleaning their classrooms, and are required to get to school on their own by walking or using public transportation such as buses and trains. She was impressed at the studiousness of the students she saw. “They study so hard and I’m very surprised at their concentration,” she said. During her second week, Meguriya taught a number of classes to students in Gr. 1, Gr. 2 and Gr. 5. One Gr. 2 teaching session involved teaching the students about how Japan celebrates the new year. For an activity, she taught the students the Japanese words for “eyebrow” (mayuge), “eye” (me), “mouth” (kuchi), “nose” (hana), “up” (ue), “down” (shita), “left” (hidari) and “right” (migi). She then blindfolded four students and had them play a variation of the party game Pin the Tail on the Donkey, with the blindfolded students tr ying to put the eyebrows, eyes, nose and mouth onto the correct spots while their classmates gave them hints using the Japanese words for “up,” “down,” “left” and “right.” Students then separated into groups to do the activity on their own. Meguriya said her trip was a “very good experience” and that she hopes to see the Harker students and teachers in Japan one day. Harker News — January 09



More Awards for Literary Magazine

ACE Club Game Explores Cultures

enlight’ning, the MS literary magazine, continues to rack up awards. Last spring, the editors were notified they had received a Crown Award from the Columbia School Press Association (CSPA) for the 2008 edition, and in the fall they were notified they had taken top honors in the American Scholastic Press Association (ASPA) awards for the same issue (see stories in Harker News, May 2008 and Jan. 2009). In late December, the school was notified by CSPA that the magazine was a Crown finalist and will receive either a Gold or Silver Crown award in March at the award dinner held at Columbia University in New York City! Watch for the final award decision in the May issue of Harker News.

The Academic Cultural Exchange (ACE) club has embarked on an exciting experience in cultural understanding using a game known as Bafa Bafa. In the game, students were divided into two distinct cultures. Each culture developed traditions, languages, habits, laws and codes of behavior. Then, an emissary was sent to the other culture to study their behavior. Some of the specific interactions of one culture included standing side by side with a conversation partner instead of facing him/her, and linking arms to greet each other. The emissaries then reported their observations to the entire group, including what it felt like to be surrounded by people of a different culture.

Math Test Nets High Numbers for Harker Students

For more information abut the ACE club, see Harker News, Nov., 2008, p. 21.

In November, 323 MS students took the AMC-8 contest in their math classes. The results are in and, needless to say, they are phenomenal! Thir ty-eight students scored 20 or higher on this contest, which is a 25-question multiple choice contest. Harker gets a Cer tificate of Honor, awarded to schools for getting a team score (the sum of the top three scores at the school) of 66 or higher. Any student in or below Gr. 8 is eligible to take this test, which is organized by the Mathematical Association of America. There were 12 students who scored 23 or higher. Ashvin

The results are in and, needless to

say, they are phenomenal!

All students with a score of 21 or higher have been invited to attend a math camp for gifted children this summer in Colorado Springs, Colo. Details are available at Congratulations to all the students who took the contest – Harker is right on top!

Gr. 6 students got together for a movie viewing on Dec. 12, a week before the winter break. The students watched the animated comedy “Kung-Fu Panda” in the Nichols Hall auditorium, and dined on pizza beforehand. The seated auditorium made the screening more convenient by eliminating the need for students to bring pillows, blankets and/or sleeping bags. A great way to prepare for the holiday season!

Harker kids are good citizens! History teacher Pat White’s Gr. 7 advisory did a major sort-and-bag of toiletries donated for the Gloria Travis Center in downtown San Jose. The center is a shelter for homeless women and children. Each sandwich bag contains soap, shampoo, lotion, and other things such as toothbrushes, toothpaste or other personal care items. White noted she delivered three milk crates full of toiletries to the center.

House Spirit Event Includes Password Game In one of its inimitable events, the MS Houses fired up a spirited game of Password to determine this month’s spirit winners. The event took place right at press time, so results were still being tabulated, but regardless of who won, the whole group had a blast!

Kavitha Jayachandran


Harker News — January 09

Movie Night with ‘Kung-Fu Panda’

Toiletry Essentials to Travis Center

Swaminathan, Gr. 8, got a per fect 25 while Travis Chen, Gr. 7, scored 24 points. Wilbur Yang, Gr. 8, also got 24 points. In addition, the following students scored 23 points: Angela Gu, Gr. 6; Albert Chu, Stephanie Chen, Benjamin Huchley, Vikram Sundar, Andrew Wang and Nathan Wong, all Gr. 7; Michael Cheng, Pranav Sharma and Tyler Yeats, Gr. 8. Celine Liang, Gr. 5, was remarkable with a score of 22 points.

■ Nikash Shankar, Gr. 6, competed in the 2008 Bay Area Roller Skating competitions in Monterey in October and San Jose in December. At the Monterey event, he won first place in the individual and team figure skating events, and placed second in the freestyle skating events. In San Jose, he earned second place in individual figure skating. This year Shankar will compete with other skaters from across the West Coast in the regional skating competition.

The students had a great time, and learned about spotting cultural distinctions. “The purpose of this activity is to help the students learn the effects culture has on our simplest of interactions,” said Jennifer Abraham, director of global education. “I feel the students left the activity with a deeper understanding of what a culture entails as well as a better understanding of our own culture.”




Three eCybermission Teams Work to Educate Our Community get an idea of how much information the students had prior to the team’s presentation and how

Madhu Raghupatruni

The Gr. 8 eCybermission team, The Bio-Flippers – Paulomi Bhattacharya, Jenny Chen, Suchita

about the benefits of using food irradiation on leafy greens and other common food products. This project was inspired by an FDA decree allowing the use of food irradiation on leafy greens. Based on their research, the team has found that a majority of the population is reluctant to use food that has undergone irradiation, even though it kills nearly all germs present. The main reason for their lack of interest is the fear associated with the irradiation process. Through experiments and community education they hope to prove the benefits of food irradiation in leafy greens and increase the number of people in our community who use food irradiation for food safety. The second Gr. 9 team is called Under water Fish and comprises

Nety and Emily Wang – is working on a project which will help educate the community about carbon footprints and how this impacts global warming. As par t of their effor t they presented helpful information through a PowerPoint presentation to MS students in an assembly on Dec. 5. They are continuing their drive to help our community reduce carbon dioxide emissions by star ting Eco Days once a week at the MS. The first Eco Day was Jan. 13, and they will be held each Tuesday until the end of Februar y; the kitchen will ser ve healthy vegetarian options and students will be encouraged to use only reusable plates and cutler y during Eco Day lunches.

your carbon footprint you may use the quick calculator available on the Web site http://www.joinclimatesmar

To spread its message, the team plans to create bookmarks, fliers and brochures to distribute around the community. The Bio-Flippers has also conducted sur veys among a cross section of the MS student community to

There are two Gr. 9 teams working on eCybermission projects this year. The Freshmen in Black, comprising Rohan Bopardikar, Frederic Enea, Revanth Kosaraju and Indraneel Salukhe, are working on educating the community

the presentation helped raise their awareness regarding carbon footprints and its negative effects on global warming. In the next two months this team hopes to fur ther spread vital information on this issue, thereby helping the community make simple changes in lifestyle to reduce contribution of carbon footprints. To calculate

These teams have been working extremely hard and have taken their passion to help the community to a whole new level. All three teams are being advised by Vandana Kadam, K-Gr. 8 mathematics depar tment chair.

Future Problem Solvers Begin Journey to International Event Harker’s Future Problem Solvers are in the midst of researching space junk (discarded materials drifting in orbit around the earth), this year’s FPS state qualifying topic. They have already submitted solutions for potential future crises in the Olympics and on the topic of computers as tools of war. Teams of four students each will compete in February with hopes of qualifying for the state

Since FPS has been an event with

high school participation for several

years, they formalized it this year.

finals, which Harker will host this year on April 25. If they are one of the top teams in the state, they will compete to solve a problem relating to the impact of counterfeit products on the economy. They are hoping to follow in the footsteps of previous Harker state champions and qualify for the international finals which will be held May 28-31 in Lansing, Mich.

Vandana Kadam


Michelle Deng, Margaret Krackeler, Alisha Mayor and Lucy Xu. They are working on water conser vation. As has been the case in recent years, droughts have af fected California, significantly reducing our fresh water supply. By spreading water conser vation tips throughout the community and testing various methods of reducing ever yday water usage, the team hopes to increase awareness about the need not only to conser ve water but also reduce water consumption in the region.

In response to increased participation from high school students, the US now has its own Future Problem Solvers club for Gr. 9-12. “Since FPS has been an event with high school participation for several years, they formalized it this year,” said Cyrus Merrill, MS history teacher, who went on to share that Harker’s FPS program has become the largest in California. Some FPS students will also participate in the new Scenario Writing portion of the competition, in which they envision a future scenario based on one of the FPS Program’s given topics and compose a short story of 1,500 words or less.

Harker News — January 09

Center Pairs US Mentors with MS Writers in Person and Online

“The mentors are mostly juniors, but there are a couple of participating sophomores and seniors,” she said. The MS group is made up of Gr. 6, 7 and 8 students in Core, Advanced Core and Honors English. There are 20 students on the waiting list to be matched with a US student in the fourth quarter, she added. “The mentors are students who have been specially selected and trained to participate in this endeavor,” Lai Burrows said. The mentor provides support, encouragement and expertise regarding various aspects of writing. The mentor does not serve as a homework


Patricia Lai Burrows

Over a dozen US students are volunteering right here at Harker, mentoring MS writing students. This quarter, there are 14 mentors and 14 students participating, said Patricia Lai Burrows, the MS English teacher coordinating MS Writing Center.

helper but rather as someone from whom the MS student seeks advice on improving writing skills, she said. “There are two kinds of mentorships,” Lai Burrows explained. “Most of the mentorships involve face-to-face, one-on-one sessions. Sessions are one hour long, one day a week. Mentors and participants meet either in a classroom

a week. The first week, “I helped him decipher meter for his poetr y project, and we worked on grammar issues he had in his writing, such as subject-verb agreement and using action verbs to make his writing more vivid and imaginative,” she said.

“In addition to the one-on-one mentoring sessions, we also have two mentors functioning solely as online mentors. In this mentorship, the MS student is assigned a new assignment each week, and the mentor provides feedback via the Athena forums,” said Lai Burrows.

Her community ser vice requirement is finished and she is mentoring just because it is fun, so it is no surprise her favorite part of the program is working with students. “I feel this great sense of accomplishment when you help someone understand something, anything,” she said. ‘It’s like you’ve changed their life, and I feel great to have affected change in a really important part of his life.”

Senior Angeli Agrawal just started mentoring a sixth grader in early January and meets with him once

Agrawal, who is considering English as a major, added, “Tutoring is a great way for me to help students develop their writing skills and share my enthusiasm for English at the same time.”

school Student Revisits Exchange School

Online Book Reviews

“Despite the slow start, the novel quickly compensates with the building crises faced by the protagonist and her village of Stirwaters. Bunce’s first novel spins a captivating read that not only stuns with an unpredictable and unforeseen ending but also leaves the reader craving more of her work.” -- Denzil Sikka, Gr. 12, on “A Curse Dark as Gold” by Elizabeth C. Bunce “The breakneck pace of the novel, which revolves around a mechanical dysfunction on a TransPacific aircraft, is sure to keep you interested. Don’t miss out on this wonderful book.” -- Victor Chen, Gr. 11, on “Airframe” by Michael Crichton “The novel isn’t particularly exciting and I never felt particularly compelled to turn the page. It did, however, engage me enough to stick around to the (predictable) end.” -- Alex Hu, Gr. 12, on “Polaris” by Jack McDevitt “I picked this book up based on shock value and good reviews, but was slightly disappointed. While well-written, this book seems a bit short on plot. I was expecting something deep, but got a standard teen book.” -- Kaitlin Halloran, Gr. 9, on “Story of a Girl” by Sara Zarr “A classic romance novel, the feelings and issues the Bennet sisters have to go through still connect even with the jump in time period. It has a bit of a Romeo-Juliet romance and challenges the idea of first impressions. It’s a good read for those who love romance novels.” -- Melanie Herscher, Gr. 11, on “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

Supplied by Kendra Moss

Here’s what some students are saying about the various books available at the US library. Head online to the Harker Library Portal to read more student reviews!

Harker News — January 09

supervised by a teacher or in the library. These sessions are designed as writing workshops. The mentor provides an assignment each week, so when they meet, the mentor provides constructive feedback on the assignment.

Junior Kendra Moss spent two weeks visiting school friends she made when she spent her Gr. 8 year in Quillota, Chile, where her mother, Harker Spanish teacher Diana Moss, was on a Fulbright teaching exchange. Kendra traveled with Claire Bredenoord, a former Harker student, and met with former Harker teacher and Fulbright exchange teacher Luis Arcaya, as well as his wife, Junia, and several of her former Chilean teachers.

Alum Offer Advice, Share Lunch In one of the most enjoyable traditions of the winter holiday break, over 80 Harker alumni gathered on campus in early January to greet friends, chow down and pass on newly gained wisdom to seniors. A few alums first gathered in the morning to join the senior class in Nichols Hall auditorium for the College Life Panel. The panel, chaired by Casey Near ’06 (Scripps), brings alumni in to talk about life at college and answer questions from seniors. Along with Near, the other alums on the panel were Rupon Bose ’07 (USC), Meghana Dhar ’06 (UC Berkeley) and Shilpa Rajgopal ’08 (USC). The panel was followed by lunch for alums, seniors, faculty and staff in the Nichols Hall atrium.




A group of 127 AP Psychology students visited the Exploratorium in San Francisco on Jan. 7 to get a hands-on look at what they had learned in class. “The Exploratorium has a ton of exhibits that complement and supplement the AP Psych curriculum, including sensation and perception, motivation and emotion, memory, neurobiology and more,” said Naomi Schatz, AP Psychology teacher. “We were hoping to give

the students an opportunity to see first-hand many of the things we’ve read about and discussed in class.” “One of the more difficult units in AP Psychology focuses on our sense organs and how they can be deceived,” said Nicole VanderSal, AP Psychology and biology teacher. “We covered this unit in November, so this trip helped to reinforce some of these concepts.” Students visited the Ames room, which features perception exhibits, and experienced auditory illusions, “where you couldn’t tell what was being said until you clicked a button that wrote the word, and then it was suddenly so obvious,” VanderSal said. The teachers heard many positive remarks during the trip, indicating the students had a fun time brushing up on the concepts they had studied. “I only heard positive things about how ‘cool’ things were, how much fun they had, how ‘neat’ it was to see some of the things we’ve read about in the books up close and personal,” said Schatz. VanderSal also heard many students express their enjoyment of their experience at the Exploratorium: “Based on the many laughs and smiles that I saw and hearing students explain things to each other, it was a great success!”

Quiz Bowl Kids March On to Semis For the eighth straight year, Harker’s quiz bowl team is in the semifinals of Quiz Kids. In back-to-back matches one weekend in early January, the team of Anand Natarajan, Vikram Nathan and Alex Hu, all Gr. 12, finished Saturday seeded third; then on Sunday, in a victory over Bentley, “we avenged last year’s loss to the same team in the quarterfinals,” said advisor and math teacher Bradley Stoll. “Nothing like a little sweet revenge. This is quite an accomplishment, as we’ve won with many different players and teams.” Stoll hopes to keep the same team for the next match, to be held in late February or early March. Supporters are welcome, so watch for the announcement!


Kerry Enzensperger

Naomi Schatz - all photos

Field Trip Reinforces Psych Concepts Key Club Bowls for Dollars In December, members of the Harker Key Club, as well as Key Club members from other high schools in the area, attended a Bowl-a-Thon to raise money for students who need help paying for college. According to Harker Key Club president Richard Ly, Gr. 12, about 30 members of the Harker chapter hit the lanes and raised more than $1,000 for the cause. The Key Club is a community service organization made up of chapters located all over the world. In the coming semester, the Key Club will hold Harker’s first outdoor dance on Davis Field, and plans to raise money to help pay for eye surgeries in India or Vietnam. During the summer, the Key Club worked with the Red Cross to collect and donate clothes to earthquake victims in China, and during the fall semester raised money to donate to UNICEF, which was used for AIDS relief in rural Africa.

Multimedia Room Ready to Roll The multimedia room in Nichols Hall has recently been made available for audio and video recording projects for both students and teachers. The room now contains high-quality video cameras, a teleprompter, an 88-key synthesizer, speakers, a ProTools audio recording system and multiple backdrops in addition to the green screen. These features make it an ideal place to record projects such as news broadcasts, panel discussions, and vocal and dance performances. Fred Triefenbach, assistant director of instructional technology, who maintains the facility, encourages students and faculty to contact him to schedule time. We’ll report more as the room goes into use!

Junior Mentoring Program Wows Each year all juniors are paired with a mentor, a professional, in order to orient them to the workplace and to the nuts and bolts of individual professions. Held in early January, the program was formally started with a breakfast in the Bistro, but some students were already on the job. Groups of students accompanied mentors to their jobs and discussed aspects of working in the profession. “I’ve enjoyed being a mentor at Harker for the last two years,” said Karla Callahan, founder, president and CEO of Vizyontech Imaging, Inc. “I am very enthusiastic about the fun, messy, rewarding process of mentoring. It is a great process of giving some ideas, information and tools, answering questions and planting some seeds.” Stefan Schwartz spent time with mentor Rodney Rapson (Taylor, Gr. 12, Colby, Gr. 11), an architect, and parent Kathy Goller said, “Stefan was so energized by the experience that he couldn’t stop talking about it. He really enjoyed talking with Rodney and got a lot of good information. He is very excited about the prospect of going into the field of architecture as a career.” Shanthi Rajagopalan spent time with mentor Officer Reid Biersdorf of the San Jose Police Department and said, “He was definitely a great mentor. In fact, before I was just considering law enforcement but now I think that is really what I want to do. I learned a lot about what I now need to do.” Harker News — January 09

Debate Team Heats Up Winter

Field Trip to NASA Ames

Continuing the success of the season and setting new records, Harker’s speech and debate team traveled to several tournaments in December and early January.

About a score of students visited the NASA Ames facility following an appearance at Harker by NASA’s Dr. Brad Bebout. Bebout spoke to students as part of the Nichols Hall Lecture Series, sponsored, as was the outing, by the Harker Research Club. “There was a great deal of interest in seeing his lab after hearing about his work, and he graciously agreed to let us come,” said biology teacher Kate Schafer.

In mid-December, senior Chetan Vakkalagadda traveled to snowy Sandy, Utah, to compete at the Alta National Invitational. With over 90 students from six states, Vakkalagadda defeated both the eventual champion and runner-up of the tournament, as well as the runner-up from last year’s tournament, in preliminary rounds. His victories continued until he made it to the top eight at the tournament, which earned him a bid to the LincolnDouglas Tournament of Champions (TOC). Starting off the new year with a bang, sophomores Appu Bhaskar and Benjamin Chen, as well as senior Kaavya Gowda and junior Kelsey Hilbrich, made Harker history at the Victory Briefs tournament in Los Angeles in early January. The two teams battled it out against over 40 teams, neither team losing a single round, to close out the tournament as co-champions of Public Forum Debate. Both teams earned a bid to the Public Forum Tournament of Champions in May. In mid-January, Harker saw success on both coasts. Freshmen Frederic Enea and Aakash Jagadeesh earned a spot at the California state qualifying tournament to be held in March by going undefeated at the league Public Forum tournament at Presentation High School. Enea and Jagadeesh earn the honor of being the first varsity team to go undefeated in league this academic year! On the East Coast, two Harker public forum teams represented the western half of the U.S. at the Laird Lewis National Invitational tournament as well as the Public Forum Challenge, both held in Charlotte, N.C. Seniors Mohit Bansal and Raghav Aggarwal, as well as Gowda and Hilbrich, were selected in late November as two of the top sixteen teams in the country to compete

The two teams battled it out against over 40 teams to close out the tournament as

co-champions of Public Forum Debate.

in January. More than 600 students from eleven states attended the Laird Lewis tournament Jan. 9-10. Bansal and Aggarwal wowed an auditorium and balcony filled with debaters from around the country as they made it to the final round of the competition, where they were defeated on a 4-1 decision. After finishing in the top 16 teams the day before, Gowda and Hilbrich debated through nine rounds of the challenge until they were one of the final four teams left where they were named semifinalists on a 2-1 decision.

Leadership Trip to Australia Last year, 10 Harker students joined peers from St. Stephen’s College of Brisbane, Australia, on their annual retreat, traveled about Australia and generally had a terrific time! This year, the group will travel to Sydney, Cairns (to see the Great Barrier Reef) and then to Brisbane. The group will again join students from St. Stephen’s on their leadership retreat in Bunya Mountains National Park. “This is a great retreat where you will participate in a variety of activities and learn a lot about yourself. After the retreat, you will spend five days in home stays with Australian teens and their families,” said Jennifer Abraham, director of global education. The deadline for applications, Feb. 27, is fast approaching. The trip runs July 6 -23, and the cost is $4,100, which includes everything except for a few meals, souvenirs and phone calls. If you have any questions, please contact Abraham at Applications are available from Kevin Williamson, dean of students, at

All US students were invited and the group toured the facilities as a whole, including space flight simulators, and also toured Bebout’s lab. Bebout’s field of expertise is microbial ecology, the ecology of microorganisms and how they survive in sometimes harsh environments, as well as how they affect the Earth’s environment.

All About Mushrooms The diversity of faculty interests adds to the array of knowledge channels students have access to – a long winded way of saying faculty hobbies carry over to their jobs. Nicole VanderSal, biology teacher, collects fungi and set up a display in mid-January of some samples in the research room in Nichols Hall. Her biology students were learning about bacteria, protists, plants and fungi at the time and this was a great way to bring the field to the classroom. “Mushroom hunting with my fiancé has been a hobby of ours for the past three years,” said VanderSal. “We both like hiking and being outside as much as possible, so this gets us out exploring local parks even when it is rainy. The best part, for me, is seeing and trying to identify so many different kinds of mushrooms. I never knew there were so many different kinds! Even if we go to the same parks and habitats we always seem to see something new and interesting. Finding tasty edibles like the king bolete and candy caps is also a nice benefit.” VanderSal said that for beginners, the best way to get up to speed is to join a local mycological club. They often go on outings and that is the best way to learn where to collect and how to identify mushrooms. One important word of advice: there are mushroom poisonings in the news regularly so, “if anyone is interested in mushroom collecting they need to be sure to know what species they have before eating it!” said VanderSal.

Computer Science Open House Nichols Hall played host to the Computer Science Open House on Jan. 14, where computer science students and faculty showed off the different facets of the program, and displayed some of the more fascinating projects that students in the program had created.

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

Harker News — January 09




Student Directors Put Their Final Exam on Display Student Directed Showcase whips up something new for audiences every year. The eclectic show, held in early January, featured four pieces: a funky, modern take on the Brothers Grimm, Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town,” “The Wise Men of Chelm” and the musical “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” All the directors are seniors who go through a rigorous selection process at the end of their junior year, and the showcase represents their final test in the class, taught by Laura Lang-Ree. The directors learned how to select a work, audition students, plan rehearsals, deal with budgets, work with designers and be friend, coach, psychologist and director to their casts. The casts rehearsed for a month

after being selected. D.J. Blickenstaff, director of “…Charlie Brown,” needed actors with good voices and tried to create a show that would take the audience back to their own childhoods. He also worked with a student musical director, Kartik Venkatraman, Gr. 12, who led an all-student band. Sophi Newman directed “Our Town,” a play written in the 1930s that deals with how humans interact. Lexi Ross chose the truth-in-humor production “The Wise Men of Chelm,” a play based on Jewish folk tales about a town inhabited by many unwise people, and Joe Hospodor produced the wacky “The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon,” by Don Zolidis, which zoomed through several familiar fairy tales, with no part of them immune to parody.

The Harker US Orchestra held a benefit concert at the Nichols Hall auditorium on Jan. 3 to help raise funds for their April trip to New York, where they will compete in the National Orchestra Cup at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. More than 100 people were in attendance to see the orchestra perform, and the concert raised more than $2,000 for the trip. Funds generated during the event will be used for charter bus fees, airline taxes and surcharges and any other unforeseen expenses that may be incurred. The money will also be put toward a special banquet dinner in New York. “Performing in the auditorium was a great experience,” said Chris Florio, MS and US orchestra director. “It had the feel of a formal recital hall and the acoustics were surprisingly good. I look forward to more chamber music concerts there in the future.” In addition to the orchestra musicians, the concert featured special alumnae appearances by violist Stephanie Kim ’08 and violinists

Jessica Liu - both photos

Concert Raises Funds for NY Trip

Catherine Chiu ’08 and Audrey Kwong ’07 (pictured). “The alumni were a huge part of the evening, both in performing and in attendance,” Florio said. In addition to performing, Kwong came up with the idea to hold the concert and organized it alongside Florio. “The night would not have been a success without Audrey and her parents’ help,” Florio added. Kwong’s parents, Larry and Dina, are the owners of The Printing Spot, which provided all the printed materials for the evening. Florio said the highlight of the evening came when the orchestra performed Felix Mendelssohn’s “String Octet in E-flat Major.” “The octet featured eight Harker string players, ranging from a current eighth grader to a college sophomore alumna,” he said. “The 14-minute performance was one of the top musical performances I have witnessed since arriving at Harker.”

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


The Harker News provides timely information, news and features about the Harker community to current and alumni Harker families. Editor: Pam Dickinson; Asst. Editor: William Cracraft; Copy Editors: Catherine Snider, Lauri Vaughan; Writer: Zach Jones; Production: Blue Heron Design Group, Triple J Design; Photos: Mark Tantrum, unless noted; Contributors: Stephanie Woolsey; Printing: Carol Sosnowski; Mailing Coordinator: Desiree Mitchell. Harker News — February 09

Profile for The Harker School

2009 February Harker News  

2009 February Harker News