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May 2009 (vol. 15, no. 8)


M o n t h l y

N e w s l e t t e r

est. 1893 • K-12 college prep

f r o m

t h e

Ha r k e r


S c h o o l

Students Sweep National Contest – Top Team Heads to Japan, Will Meet Royalty

Teacher Reviews Assessment Test ..................................9 US and MS Students Shine in The Music Man..................10 Soccer and Wrestling Teams Win GPA Awards................16

In only the second year that Harker has sent teams for all three levels, the Japanese program swept all three first-place team prizes at the National Japan Bowl in Washington, D.C., over spring break. The top-level team and their teacher were awarded a 10-day trip to Japan this summer where their itinerary includes the honor of meeting Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado. continued on pg. 23

Stunning Gr. 3 Math Results.............................17 Peace 2 Peace Sets Up to Help.................................21 Orchestra Returns from NY with Award........................23 Inserts in this issue: n H&S Connection n Fashion Show Flier

events MS Musical Into The Woods By Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine

Fri. & Sat. May 8-9, 7:30 p.m. More details on page 2!

LS Dance Concert ’09 Road Trip! Fri. & Sat. May 29-30, 7 p.m. Tickets available starting 5/18 from

More details on page 2!

Annual Ogres Delight Appreciative Audience The 13th annual Ogre Awards on March 26 were a typically fantastical affair, featuring Harker’s entire Gr. 2 class portraying characters and creatures from the folklore of cultures worldwide which students spent the year exploring with library director Enid Davis. continued on pg. 19

Harker Wins Big at Synopsys Fair The yearly Synopsys Silicon Valley Science and Technology Championship, held March 18 in downtown San Jose, was once again a big success for US and MS Harker students. Denzil Sikka, Gr. 12, was one of two Top Senior High Award winners from Harker, earning a Dr. Paul Callahan Technical Paper Award for having one of

the best technical papers shown at the fair dealing with physical and biological sciences. Her paper, titled “Aging is Predictable – Biomarkers of Aging: Age Prediction by Use of Mathematical Models of Biomarkers” also netted her a $100 prize. She also received a $200 cash prize for winning the Intel Excellence in Computer continued on pg. 11

editor’s note

important dates

annual giving

As the school year winds down, we’re gearing up for next year - of course! We continue to appreciate your participation in the various surveys we conduct. Your feedback is the most valuable tool we have as we modify and improve everything we do. Many thanks!

n Mon., May 25 – Memorial Day, No Classes K-Gr.12

Heartfelt Thanks!

Tues., May 5 Bellano’s Coffee

Heart to Heart: A Seminar On Growing Up for Parents and Kids at the Lucile Packard Hospital, Palo Alto. Classes are divided by gender. “For Girls Only” is for girls 10-12 years of age, and their mothers or other adult female resource person. “For Boys Only” is for boys 10-12 years of age, and their fathers or other adult male resource. There will be sessions for both groups in May and June. To register, go to the Harker Parent Portal and under Parent Resources, click on Seminars and Workshops.

Help us reach

n Fri. - Sat., May 8-9, 7:30 p.m. – MS Musical, “Into the Woods” Blackford Theater. See below for the details of this fair y tale-filled stor y! n Fri., May 1, 5 p.m. – Downbeat and Bel Canto Concert, Nichols Hall Auditorium

• 3985 Stevens Creek Blvd., Santa Clara

n Tues., May 5, 6:30 p.m. – LS Music Concert, Bucknall Gym

• (just a few blocks from the US campus)

n Fri., May 29, 7 p.m. – LS Dance Show, Bucknall Gym

• E-mail to register! This new event was launched this year to provide a more intimate opportunity for friends of Harker families to learn more

Participation is at 62%

Other Events ar


pastries & pals

Multiple dates, two-day events





–Pam Dickinson, Director Office of Communications


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

t Par t icipat


Into the Woods — Blackford Theater — Fri., May 8 & Sat., May 9 7:30 p.m.

“I nto The Woods,” a

about Harker, and for those wishing a “sneak preview” into the admission process for next year. One has already been held, and there’s one more this year - join us and bring a few friends. The coffee and pastries are on us!

notables Harker has not one, but two Presidential Scholar semifinalists this year: seniors Daniel Kim and Vikram Nathan. Samantha Fang ’06 was named a Scholar of the Arts and Senan Ebrahim ’08 was named a Presidential Scholar last spring (see Harker News, June 08, pg. 1). Final selections are announced in early May.


Broadway masterpiece by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, is a combination of Grimm Brothers’ tales woven together to get the most out of the quixotic positions people find themselves in. In this “junior” version, only the major events of the first act from the original musical are presented. It has all of the best moments from the Tony Awardwinning show, including “Giants in the Sky” and “Agony,” and all of the same characters. Watch your favorite fair y tale characters all in the same stor y: see what really happens to Jack after he comes down the beanstalk and the true reasons why Cinderella left her slipper behind! It’s a fast-paced, funny and magical show. Harker’s production of “Into the Woods” is double cast, meaning each night will feature a completely dif ferent company of actors. The “Sondheim” cast will per form on Fri., May 8, at 7:30 p.m. The “Lapine” cast will per form on Sat., May 9, at 7:30 p.m. Both shows are in the Blackford Theater.

events Dance Concert 2009

Road Trip! Who: 250 Gr. 1-5 student dancers & 21 faculty & staff dancers When: 7 p.m. Fri., May 29 & 7 p.m. Sat., May 30 Where: Bucknall Gym Tickets: $5 - Available Starting Monday, May 18 from Put on your boogie shoes and travel across the United States. The 250 Gr. 1-5 dancers will take you from Funky Town to Texas to Philadelphia and more. Side trips will be made along the way, including a stop at the zoo and beach. Put the pedal to the metal and go to the 2009 Dance Concert! The dancers are ready to groove, move and rock you down the U.S. highways!

Harker News — May 09



Our Cultural Diet is Changing, for Better or Worse When we hit the word “barium,” I knew I was reading a children’s book from a different era. Curious George had swallowed a puzzle piece which precipitated a trip to the hospital. To prepare George for the x-ray, the nurse not only gave him barium to drink, but explained to him, and therefore to my son and any other child reader, how drinking metal aids diagnosis. When George’s famous friend, the man with the yellow hat, leaves him for the evening, George cries the whole night before the operation. There is a picture of Curious George with actual monkey tears streaming down his cheeks. In the morning, Nurse Carol gives George a shot. The nurse warns, “It’s going to hurt, George, but only for a moment.” When George wakes up from the operation, he feels “sick and dizzy. His throat was hurting too. He was not even curious about the new book.” Curious George is not curious? Crying at night? Getting popped with needles? Swallowing puzzle pieces? Drinking barium? I thought to myself, what kind of children’s book is this? Then I looked at the copyright. Margaret and H.A. Rey’s “Curious George Goes to the Hospital” was published in 1966 in collaboration with the Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Boston. Our US librarian, Sue Smith, confirmed that “Curious George Goes to the Hospital” is still used to orient children to hospitals because of its realism. 1966 was not so long ago, but the book was clearly written during an era when the sharp edges of reality were not necessarily smoothed away for children. The earliest iteration of the Grimm’s fairy tale “Cinderella” is full of sharp edges – literally. At the end of the story, the two evil stepsisters, for their wickedness towards Cinderella, are treated with pigeons pecking out their eyeballs from their sockets. Also, both sisters, at the behest of their own mother, cut off a part of a foot – one the toe and the other the heel – to ensure their feet fit into the slipper to pass the prince’s test. It is blood on the slipper that tips off the prince to the evil sisters’ imposter status. We didn’t see this in the Disney movie. John Silber, president emeritus at Boston University, in his book “Straight

Shooting,” quotes aphorisms from the “New England Primer,” an early educational book used to teach the letters of the alphabet to children. For Q, the aphorism reads “Queens and Kings must lie in the dust.” For T, “Time cuts down all, the great and small.” For X, “Xerxes the Great shared the common fate.” Silber points out that children, even before they learned to read, were acquainted with death, the “common fate” of everyone regardless of circumstance.1 Trying to wean my son from Curious George, we veered into Mother Goose’s nursery rhymes, and I encountered this nice little ditty: Fee! Fie! Foe! Fum! I smell the blood of an Englishman. Be he ’live, or be he dead, I’ll grind his bones to make my bread. I am not suggesting that we have to present children with the rough edges of reality too early. In earlier generations, when young children assumed responsibility for the family much earlier and life expectancies were much shorter, acquainting children with reality was a point of survival. Not so today. We have the luxury of nurturing infancy until the age of 35. Adults may still be searching for their true path in life at 50. We live in the Age of Lake Wobegon, where “all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.” We still have some challenges that define our generation of parenting though. We have almost no hesitation about exposing our children to provocative or violent media and we pile on responsibilities of another sort, whether they are homework or piano lessons or saving small villages in Nicaragua. We may laugh a little scornfully at the politically incorrect nursery rhymes and aphorisms of yesteryear, but how will history view the cultural diet we feed our young today? The good news is that no generation gets it perfectly right and each can learn from the past.

1  Silber, John, Straight Shooting, Harper Collins, 1990.

Fourth Research Symposium Shows Off New Home and Impressive Work The Nichols Hall atrium was the setting for a confluence of art and science at Harker’s fourth annual science research symposium, New Frontiers, in mid-March. Over 300 attendees enjoyed breakfast, The Science of Art display in the upstairs gallery and music by the Harker String Quartet while viewing student presentations on site and streamed via the Internet.

answered questions from both guests and each other. Vikram Sundar, Gr. 7, sought out faculty mentor Rajasree Swaminathan, MS science teacher, and the Science Research Club to support his look at the use of capacitors to provide a steady current to charge solar lithium-ion batteries. “Research is a lot of fun,” Sundar said. “You can make it your own.”

All told, there were 37 MS and US presentations, 22 student papers, two alumni presenters from the class of 2004 and two keynote speakers.

“Kids argue logic and reasoning with one another, and challenge each other to do better and better,” said Huali G. Chai, mother of Siemens semifinalist Andrew Stanek, Gr. 12.

With enthusiasm and confidence, students presented their work and

Harker News — May 09

Papers were given on topics

ranging from a survey of insect pollinator biodiversity on plants in Costa Rica to the activation of two proteins by airborne particulates relative to lung damage. Emily Carr, Gr. 12, credited her faculty mentor, biology teacher Kate Schafer, with inspiring her to take Harker’s research class and develop her work on the effect of estrogens on sea urchins. “The class was terrific and Harker was very supportive,” Carr said. Intel finalist Denzil Sikka, Gr. 12, credited Harker’s research class with the opportunity and support to develop a new algorithm for aligning large data sets. “Harker

continued on pg. 28




2009 Harker Summer Swim Programs for All Ages – K through Life! Plan to spend part of your summer in the Harker pool with us this year! Programs are offered for pre-

schoolers through adults (yes, that means you!) to develop swimming strokes, improve endurance and have some aquatic fun. The Swim School will run from June 8 through July 31 at the new Singh Aquatic Center at Harker’s Saratoga campus. Whether enrolled in swim camp or taking les-

sons, swimmers will work with friendly, enthusiastic and experienced coaches to improve stroke technique, flexibility, coordination and overall per formance. Visit the Web site for details about swim camp and swim instruction for all ages!

Harker Summer

Soccer Clinic Harker Summer Soccer Clinics provide an environment where players ages 8-14 can learn fundamental techniques of soccer, improve skills and have fun with some of the best coaches in the Bay Area. Program benefits include: • 1-, 2- and 3-week options • players grouped by age, ability and gender • “Skill of the day” program • skill development with emphasis placed on a different skill each day • small-sided game play to develop basic decision-making skills • individual player evaluations provided at the end of each week • players receive a ball and T-shirt at the beginning of camp Coach Shaun Tsakiris and his team of well-trained, experienced coaches will work directly with the players throughout the summer clinics. Coach Tsakiris has appeared in four consecutive NCAA tournaments and a national championship in 1997, and earned UCLA’s MVP award in 2000. He played professionally for the Rochester Rhinos in the USL from 2002-06. Coach Tsakiris is varsity soccer coach here at Harker and also works with top club programs.


DATES n June 15-19, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. n July 6-10, 9 a.m.-12 p.m n August 3-7, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

COST $225 per week

Harker Soccer Clinic 500 Saratoga Ave, San Jose Questions: 408.553.0537 E-mail: Harker News — May 09



Your Participation in Annual Giving is Key We are all members of the Harker community and it is impor tant for us all to par ticipate by helping to fund the myriad of programs that benefit all students. Did your child per form in the dance show? Play soccer for Harker? Par ticipate in a lecture in one of our multimedia classrooms? Enjoy a class par ty? Check out a book from the librar y? These are just a few examples of student activities annual giving dollars fund.

want to add value rather than replace stakeholders’ par ticipation. In fact, last year our significant gain in parent par ticipation was the reason we received a $250,000 grant.

Having a high percentage of participation puts us in the best possible postiion to receive foundation and corporate grants.

This is the time of the year when we make our final push to secure the greatest percent of par ticipation in this year’s annual giving

campaign. Last year, 80 percent of parents made charitable contributions to the school and we are hoping to meet or exceed that

level this year. Having a high percentage of par ticipation puts us in the best possible position to receive foundation and corporate grants. These funding sources

We appeal to you to make your annual giving gift now for 2008-09 if you haven’t done so already. Your contribution will show your suppor t of our students and teachers, and you will help us improve our chances of receiving additional grants. Please contact Melinda Gonzales, director of development, at with any questions.

There are three easy ways you can make your gift: 1. Click on “Support Harker” from the Harker home page to make your gift online. 2. Mail a check to Harker Advancement Office, 3800 Blackford Ave., San Jose, CA 95117. 3. Drop off a check at the front office of any of our three campuses.

The Grandparents Are Coming! Grandparents…Shape our World May 8, 2009 Bucknall Campus Grandparents’ Day at The Harker School is a long-standing tradition. This is a day when students on the Bucknall campus have an opportunity to welcome grandparents or special grand friends to visit the school for a memorable afternoon in their honor.

PDC, Students Do Lunch In April, members of our Parent Development Council enjoyed lunch on campus with their children. This luncheon has become an annual event where students and school administrators show their appreciation to the parent volunteers who help raise money for annual giving.

Invitations for Grandparents’ Day were mailed in late March, so hopefully if you registered your grandparent or special grand friend they have received the invitation. Please make sure they RSVP to Denise Hayashi ( if they plan on attending. Thank you! Grandparents’ Day chairs this year are Kathy Richmond, Grace Thompson and Allison Vaughan.

Parents of LS students grabbed their trays and learned about the intricacies of the school salad bar. MS parents sampled the wide array of lunchtime offerings with their children, and parents of US students enjoyed the AP Studio Art Show as part of their luncheon. Harker News — May 09



picnic PICNIC IN THE PINES S’More Fun Than You Can Imagine !

We’re so excited about this year’s theme - it’s like a breath of fresh air! We have great plans for your enjoyment, like the Forest of Fun, Campfire Clearing, Auction Under the Stars (everybody needs a mountain cabin!), along with show-stopping numbers from our entertaining student campers, tons of family activities, lots of tasty treats for all, and more! And that’s what it’s all about...FAMILY FUN! We’re still gathering ideas for more family games, more family prizes and even more family outings up for bid at our silent auction. So please join our happy campers in preparation for the big day. There will be lots of volunteer opportunities for moms, dads, students, prop painters, ticket counters, prize sorters, auction enthusiasts, booth volunteers, and the list goes on. Be sure to be on the lookout for mailers and e-mails with news about how you can join in the fun. In the meantime, kick back, relax and enjoy the view! We can’t wait to have you packin’ with us. Thanks so much! — Lynette Stapleton and Kelly Espinosa

59th Annual Family & Alumni Picnic

Sun., Oct. 11 Get out your sunscreen and camping gear, Harker is heading to the Great Outdoors for Picnic 2009! Move over Tahoe, Bear Valley, Yosemite and all... you’ll find it all right here at Harker’s Picnic in the Pines!

Trip to Roudon-Smith a Special Treat

Committee Chairs ’09 Ken Azebu

Mark Peetz

Debbie Buss

Robyn Peetz

Candy Carr

Kim Pellissier

Fred Carr

Kathy Polzin

Becky Cox

Lori Saxon

Kelly Delepine

Alice Schwartz

Janie Fung

Janet Smith

Sandhya Jagadeesh

Shankari Sundar

Mary Malysz

Carol Underwood

Greg Martin

Jane Villadsen

Roopal Mayor


souvenir bottles of Cabernet. The food was “amazing,” thanks to Harker’s own culinary staff, and the wine, “the best!”

A featured auction sign-up at last fall’s Ye Olde Family Picnic, “the Roudon-Smith Tour is one of our most popular packages, and sells out in a hurry!” noted auction co-chair Becky Cox. Cox and her husband John were in attendance along with auction co-chair Lori Saxon and husband Ron, Kim and Pierre Pellissier, Pam Dickinson and John Near, Kathy and Steve Polzin, Jane and Butch Keller, Punita and Robert Bigler, Denise Broderson, Carol Underwood, Jianmei Piao and Haiping Jin.

“It was so much fun!” said long-time supporter and Harker Picnic auction enthusiast Kathy Polzin. “Great people, great wine, great food! We’re all looking forward to signing up again next year!”

The afternoon began outdoors with wine tasting and appetizer pairings.

Pam Dickinson - all photos


Winery owner and connoisseur Al Drewke hosted a memorable afternoon for ten lucky couples on March 21.

Next came the tour, the history… and then the rain, which made for a cozy and memorable afternoon. Tasting and lunch continued indoors in the bottling room, which was a special treat, as were the Harker News — May 09

Picnic Overnight a Blast!

Vanessa Bullman - all photos

The Harker Family and Alumni Picnic parties are coming fast! The final round of overnighters is taking place. Here are a few photos from the Gr. 5 overnighter held in March. Many thanks to all the parents, BEST staff and summer staff who help make these evenings so much fun for all!



Orchestras from All Campuses Unite for End-of-Year Extravaganza

The Bucknall orchestra bookended their set with George Frideric Handel’s “La Rejouissance” and “Hallelujah Chorus,” in addition to performing the third movement of Gustav Mahler’s “Symphony No. 1.” The Gr. 6 orchestra performed the first movement of Mozart’s “Jupiter Symphony” and “The Overture to Barber of Seville” by Gioachino Rossini. The entire MS orchestra then performed “Bartered Bride” by Bedrich Smetana, followed by the Harker News — May 09

Gr. 7 and Gr. 8 orchestra’s performances of pieces by Mozart, Edward Elgar, Antonin Dvorák and Johannes Brahms. Fresh off of their trip to New York to perform at Alice Tully Hall, the US orchestra performed their renditions of Edvard Grieg’s “Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46” and “Dance of the Tumblers” by Nikolay Rimsky Korsakoff, as well as pieces by Aaron Copland and Smetana that were performed in New York.

Neal Waters - all photos

The lower, middle and upper school orchestras came together for a special spring concert on April 10 in the Bucknall gym. It was a special night for each orchestra, being the final performance of the school year.




New and Improved: Changes to Summer Reading The librarians at Harker are striving to make the summer reading activity more fun and more flexible. We believe that leisure reading is one of life’s most engaging, relaxing and educational experiences. Here is a list of changes in the summer reading program in Gr. 1-12: In Gr. 1-8, students will still be required to read three books during the summer. Depending on the grade they are entering, there will be between zero to two specific titles they must read. The remaining books must be selected from the booklist for their grade. In order to earn a reading pin, students must read five books this summer. The five must include any required titles plus additional titles from the recommended book lists. This is a reduction of books required for a pin in the past. Please note that we are not reducing our standards. We wish to include more children in the pursuit of reading books for pleasure. To provide a wider selection of books, the booklists will list authors, not titles. In the younger grades, these authors will be tied to names of series, as so many of the early readers are published in this manner. Students may read as many titles from one series as they like. In the older grades, authors will be associated with genres, such as fantasy and mystery. This will guide them towards books they enjoy. Students may read any book written by the author on their list. Parents might want to guide their children in selecting a title for his or her reading level, as authors write for different audiences. In Gr. 9-12, the librarians have designed a program called ReCreate Reading. In addition to the reading required by the English department, a student’s leisure book can be the same title that will be discussed by several students or one that will be discussed in a multi-title group. Advisors will lead the discussions. Preparation for this program is in full swing and is generating a lot of excitement. More information will be on our Web site in early May. I know I’ll be ordering more reading pins this summer and I shall be delighted to do so. Enid Davis, Library Director P.S. Check out our new database BookBrowse for your leisure reading needs!

in the news n MercuryNews.Com – March 24, 2009 Congratulations to Kristina Bither, Gr. 12, for making the All-Mercur y News Honorable Mention list for girls soccer. n CBS 60 Minutes – March 22, 2009 Leslie Stahl of 60 Minutes filmed a segment on Mensa at last summer’s convention in Denver. Julian Wise, Gr. 10, appears about 4.5 minutes in to the segment.

n – March 18, 2009 Jason Martin ’07, son of Steve Martin, Harker’s executive chef, is mentioned in the game review post as starting off the two-game series with a three-run homer. n Gentry Magazine – Feb., 2009 Great feature with photos on the opening of Nichols Hall and promotion of the fashion show.

n – Feb. 15, 2009 Harker’s Nan Nielsen, admission director, was inter viewed for the article “Applications to South Bay Private Schools Shoot Up.”

A Little Culture in Our Food Food safety has been in the news a lot in the past few years, especially with the recent salmonella outbreak in peanut butter. This reminds us to practice safe food handling at home and school. Some reminders include: 1) Wash hands and wrists for 20 seconds before eating or prepping food. 2) Use a thermometer to ensure proper cooking temperature.* 3) Defrost meat, poultry and fish in the refrigerator (vs. sitting out on the kitchen counter). 4) Use separate cutting boards for raw meat and veggies. 5) Place leftover foods in the fridge within two hours of removing from the stove or oven. 6) Store hot foods in shallow containers, allowing them to cool down a bit before placing them in the fridge (otherwise a big pot of chili will take 24 hours to get to proper temperature allowing bacteria to grow in the chili and causing the interior temperature of the fridge to rise). Of course, sometimes germs can be our friends. Even our own intestines contain a generic E. coli that helps to digest our food. Foods such as sauerkraut, pickles, sourdough bread, cheese, buttermilk and yogurt contain bacteria or yeast. Sometimes you will note that yogurt may list “live cultures” on the container, usually referring to two bacteria: lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. Recently the big marketing push has been probiotics. In simple terms probiotics are friendly bacteria similar to those found in our intestines. The idea goes back to good vs. evil, meaning our health may be related to how many good bacteria are in our intestines vs. bad bacteria. Although there is promising evidence that shows probiotics can help with diarrhea, much of the research has been conducted on animals. Prebiotics, foods that contain fiber, may also show up on grocery shelves. This is one of those times, though, when it is important to state “buyer, beware,” as products may be way ahead of the science. Fortunately the National Institute of Health is very interested in the topic and over time we will see what is truth and what is fiction. Eventually we may be able to identify what each bacterium does and how much is needed. Right now there is no label law for probiotics. This would be helpful as some research has shown that live bacteria in the amounts of 5 to 10 billion are needed for beneficial results. It is important to note that fruit and veggies have natural prebiotics and do promote healthy germs, while decreasing animal protein intake can decrease the bad bacteria in our intestines. Even though research needs to continue, yogurt is still a great snack to enjoy, whether or not it contains live cultures. Select yogurt low in sugar and artificial ingredients. A great yogurt to enjoy is Greek-style yogurt. Make sure to select nonfat or lowfat yogurt. One brand, Fage, is zero percent fat and half a cup contains only 60 calories (and live cultures). It is very creamy and rich tasting. Kids may not like the sour taste but this is easy to mask with a little bit of honey and you can also add raisins. For a tasty dessert, bake blueberries or strawberries in the oven (add a little bit of sugar and mix). After the fruit bakes for about 10-15 minutes you’ll have a syrup-like mixture. Poor this over your Greek yogurt and enjoy. *For proper temperature guides go to: nutrition/a/foodtemp.htm Anne Kolker, MS, RD


Harker News — May 09

Visitors Observe Harker Classrooms for Feedback on Software Use Three product planners from Luidia, Inc., the San Carlos company that makes eBeam, an interactive classroom presentation software used at Harker, dropped by in mid-April to observe their product in use in order to make functional changes. They visited a number of classrooms in the US and LS to observe and talk to users, and held one-on-one interviews with teachers to gain feedback. As a result Harker has received new eBeam calibration tips from the company, which, presumably, will be rolled out to other eBeam customers.

staff updates n Congratulations to Aarthi Ragupathy, application specialist for Harker, on the bir th of her second daughter! Arshia was born March 11, weighing in at 6 lbs., 20 inches. All are doing well. n Evan Barth, US math teacher, will be the US’s first dean of studies star ting in the 2009-10 school year. Bar th, who has been at Harker for nine years, will meet with all incoming US families to create and track a four-year academic plan. In addition, Bar th will lead effor ts on academic integrity education and conduct informational evenings for MS parents to acquaint them with the US curriculum. Bar th has ser ved on the Honor Council, is freshman class dean this year, and has ser ved as both a head varsity girls soccer coach and an assistant varsity girls volleyball coach.

n Chris Daren, Winged Post advisor, received a Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Key award at a special luncheon in late March at Columbia University. Gold Key recipients are recognized for excellence in teaching journalism and in advising student publications. Only eight Gold Keys were awarded this year.

n MS music teacher Susan Nace per formed with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus on April 19, singing songs inspired by poetr y from e.e. cummings, as well as Or ff’s famous “Carmina Burana.” n In March, MS English teacher Linda Felice par ticipated in reviewing tests for the ERB (Educational Records Bureau), which provides

Harker News — May 09

assessment tests for many schools. Reviewers came from all over the countr y. “It was extremely cool,” said Felice. Par ticipants were reminded to keep all materials secure and confidential and found the process includes writing questions, reviewing them, field tests, statistical reviews and operational tests. The tests Felice reviewed will be the first tests offered online. A good test question is clearly worded, grade-level appropriate and able to be answered correctly by students who have obtained the specific skill being measured, Felice was told. In addition, the question should assess comprehension of the skill, not the item, assess a range of achievement, offer only one correct answer and contain only plausible distractors, among other requirements. Test items must avoid stereotypes or reference to specific geographical, ethnic, socio-economic, religious or gender data, among other things. When the reviewing star ted in earnest, “we logged on, said hello, and set right to work,” said Felice. “At the end of both days, we were all totally exhausted. It was ver y, ver y intense.” Felice was happy about two things: having the oppor tunity to look behind the scenes at the creation process and seeing many of my own suggestions actually incorporated into the tests. The process was rewarding to Felice on a classroom level, too. “I was pleased to learn … that the skills I am currently teaching my students will enable them to per form well on the ERBs. I am happy to know that, without changing anything, I am already preparing my students for these standardized tests they will be taking in the future.”




“The Music Man” conned his way into the Blackford Theater in April in a spectacular production from the Harker Conser vator y. Director Laura Lang-Ree and musical director Catherine Snider guided a recordbreaking 52-member cast through this charming Broadway favorite by Meredith Willson. In another first, the cast included four Gr. 6 students, who more than held their own with their upper school counterpar ts. Katie O’Bryon created the energetic choreogra-


phy, Paul Vallerga designed the huge and beautiful set, Brian Larsen oversaw the technical aspects, Caela Fujii supplied the lovely period costumes, Joan Sommerfield supplied the band with its instruments and all the other props, and Natti PierceThomson lit the show beautifully. Excellent stage management was provided by Michael Prutton, Gr. 10, and the live band managed to sound like there were truly 76 trombones in the house. Congratulations!

Harker News — May 09

Harker Wins Big at Synopsys Fair,

continued from pg. 1

Science Award.

center, as well as a VIP visit to the NASA Ames facility and an honorable mention from the United States Coast Guard. Fellow seventh graders Allen Cheng and Daniel Pak also hauled in a second place award for their team project, which received an honorable mention from ASM International, formerly known as the American Society for Metals. Another seventh grader, Brian Tuan, received an honorable mention for Individual Project, as did Michaela Kastelman, Gr. 8, who also hauled in a $100 cash prize and earned a $100 donation to the MS science department from Trimble Navigation.

Harker’s second Top Senior High Award winner was Isaac Madan, Gr. 10, for his paper “The Impact of the Planar Cell Polarity Pathway Function on the Structure of the Cerebellum.” Madan took home the Grand Prize Alternate in biological sciences and earned a trip to the state science fair.

Ashvin Swaminathan, Gr. 8, was the winner of a first place award in the Individual Project area of Biochemistry/Microbiology, while Jennifer Dai, Gr. 7, and Suchita Nety, Gr. 8, received honorable mentions for Individual Project in the same category.

Lorna Claerbout

Madan and Haran Sivakumar, Gr. 11, who also earned a trip to the state science fair, both placed first in the Medicine/Health/Gerontology category. Rahul Ahuja, Gr. 12, earned a second place award in the Individual Project subcategory and received an honorable mention from the U.S. Army.

In Engineering, Varun Gudapati, Gr. 8, was the winner of a second place award for Individual Project and received the first place award from ASM International, which included a $100 cash prize. Vikram Sundar, Gr. 7, was another Engineering award recipient, receiving an honorable mention from ASM International and a HP35s scientific calculator from Hewlett-Packard. Ramakrishnan Menon and Benjamin Yang, both Gr. 8, received the second place award for Team Project in Environmental Sciences, and both also received a certificate of achievement from the American Meteorological Society.

Harker also had a number of winners in the competition’s Computers/ Mathematics category. Andrew Stanek, Gr. 12, took first place in the Individual Project subcategory, and received second place in the Technical Paper subcategory. Senior Dominique Dabija was given a second place award in both the Technical Paper and Individual Project subcategories.

In the Medicine/Health/Gerontology category, eighth grader Jacqueline Wang took a first place award for Individual Project, while Zina Jawadi, Gr. 7, received an honorable mention. Nikhil Baradwaj, Gr. 8, was given a Certificate of Merit from the American Psychological Association.

In the Biochemistry/Microbiology category, Elena Madan, Gr. 12, Alex Han, Gr. 11 and Peter Gao, Gr. 10, were all second place award winners for Individual Project. Madan also received a $200 cash prize from the Palo Alto chapter of the Association for Women in Science. Aaron Lin, Gr. 12, was awarded $100 and an Achievement Certificate from the Santa Clara County Biotech Education Partnership.

Elsewhere, Paulomi Bhattacharya, Gr. 8, received a first place award for Individual Project in Earth Space/Sciences. Bhattacharya was also invited to the State Science Fair and the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, and received a Special Award for Geoscience Excellence from the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the Association for Women Geoscientists.

Ramya Rangan and Kathryn Siegel, both Gr. 9, won an honorable mention for their team project in the Botany category, while Emily Carr, Gr. 12, was awarded a certificate and a medal from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for her project in the Environmental Sciences category.

For the school’s performance at the fair, Harker received an Outstanding School Award, and US biology teacher Kate Schafer won an Outstanding Teacher Award. Congratulations, obviously, are due all around!

Senior Anand Natarajan’s paper, “Spatial Control of Gene Expression using CT-guided Collimated X-rays to Modulate Transcription,” earned him a first place award in the Technical Paper category, with fellow senior Baladitya Yellapragada taking a second place award in the same category for the paper “Virtual Worlds for CPR.” Lastly, but not leastly, Jerry Sun, Gr. 10, earned a first place award for Technical Paper in Zoology for his work, “Cinnamomum Verum Bark Essential Oils Affect on the Movement of Ants.” On the MS side, students came up big in the Physics category. Vikas Bhetanabhotla, Gr. 7, took home a second place award in Individual Project, and also received a Certificate of Achievement from the NASA Ames Research

Four of six Harker teams advanced to the California Creativity State Finals for their stellar efforts at a Destination Imagination regional tournament on March 7 at Independence High School in San Jose. The advancing Harker LS teams were the “Spirits of Wisdom” (Eliot Gruzman, Kevin Ke, Elina Sendonaris, Michael Moncton, all Gr. 5 and Kavya Seth, Gr. 4), the cleverly named Gr. 3 “Starbucks Lovers” (Neeraj Sharma, Rishi Iyer, Matthew Lee, Kalen Frieberg and Michael Kwan) and the Gr. 3 “Creative Kings” (Rajiv Movva, Derek Yen and Rahul Bhethanabotla). Representing the MS at the state finals was the Gr. 6 team “Veni! Vidi! Vici!” comprising Sahiti Avula, Maya Nandakumar and Neha Sunil. Other teams competing at the March 7 event were the Gr. 3 “Fascinating Foxes” (Meena Gudapati, Aliesa Bahri, Vivian Huang, Catherine Lee, Sanjana Avula, Jerrica Liao and Makenzie Tomihiro) and the even more cleverly named “Flaming Tootsie Rolls from the Planet Pluto” (Maxwell Harker News — May 09

Diane Plauck - both photos

Teams Advance in Creativity Contest

Woehrmann, Albert Drewke, Kevin Xu, Sid Chari, Adrian Chu, Derek Kuo). Although these teams did not make the state finals, all students involved performed admirably. Each team was given a challenge that required teamwork and creative thinking. These challenges required extensive planning in advance of the competition and each dealt with a different topic, such as theater arts, design and construction.




Sam Robichaud

Devin Nguyen

Ice skating came to Harker in late March to the delight of young and old. About 100 US students came over for some fun, too. “There were tons of third graders at the upper school enjoying the rink before the high school kids had their social,” said teacher Elise Schwartz. “I sent out an e-mail to all my classes and met up with several of my third graders at the rink. We had a blast skating together – the kids were really cute!”

Sam Robichaud

Skating Rink Attracts All Ages

Harker Hosts Swiss Teens Harker welcomed a group of thirteen high school students and their chaperones from Fribourg, Switzerland’s College de Gambach during the week of April 6. The teens, who lived with Harker student host families, caught a glimpse of Harker life and saw some signature California landmarks along the way. The visitors spent a good portion of the week observing classes with their buddies, including a Shakespeare class where students participated in acting exercises by passing a bean bag to one another.

Merci beaucoup to all the host families who supported our guests during their visit: Gr. 9: Shivani Bigler, Neda Ghaffarian, Neha Kumar, Daniela Lapidous, Jay Reddy and Shreya Indukuri Gr. 10: Michael Patland, Jason Young, Michelle Vu, Amanda King and Margaux Nielsen. Gr. 11: Kendra Moss

Their week also included a couple of special field trips. Students were treated to a tour of the Google campus in Mountain View and got to visit the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, in addition to getting an up-close look at the Pacific Ocean. An appearance at the April 10 Multicultural Assembly and a farewell party in the Edge put the finishing touches on a memory-filled trip.


Harker News — May 09

JCL Convention Hosted by Harker

US students had many stand-out individual performances. Brandon Araki, Gr. 11, earned first in Vocabulary and second in Ancient Geography. Araki also took second in Certamen, as did classmates Monisha Dilip and Alex Han and senior Alex Hu. Han also finished first in Mottoes, Quotes and Abbreviations and Latin derivatives. Maggie Woods, Gr. 11, took first in Reading Comprehension and Pentathlon. Sophia Gilman, Gr. 12, finished second in Chess and fourth in Advanced Reading Comprehension, while Sohini Khan, Gr. 11, came in second in Advanced Grammar and fourth in Advanced Reading Comprehension. At HS Level Three, Harker swept Sight-Reading Latin Prose with freshmen Prag Batra, Jessica Lin, Ramya Rangan earning first, second and third, respectively. Similarly, Rangan, Alexander Hsu, Gr. 9 and April Luo, Gr. 10, swept Advanced Reading Comprehension. Batra also earned third in Dramatic Interpretation of Poetry. Lin took first in Roman Daily Life and fourth in Roman History and Latin Derivatives. Rangan earned third in Dramatic Interpretation of Prose and fourth in Advanced Grammar, Phillip Oung, Gr. 9, placed second in Mythology while Christophe Pellissier, Gr. 9, placed third in Mottoes, Quotes and Abbreviations. Eric Henshall, Gr. 9 and Daniel Nguyen, Gr. 12, took third and fourth places in High School Level One Mottoes, Quotes and Abbreviations, respectively. The MS also had a very successful weekend, taking first place overall, second in the Scrapbook contest and third in MS Advanced Certamen. Oishi Banerjee, Gr. 7, was the big winner, earning first place in all individual categories: Arts, Academic and Combined. Banerjee placed first in Original Poetry and Advanced Daily Life, second in Advanced Latin Oratory, Dramatic Interpretation and Mythology, and third in That’s Entertainment and Modern Myth. Banerjee even placed in the high-school level Vocal contest, taking third. Her team, which included classmates Kevin Duraiswamy and Brian Tuan, placed third in the MS Advanced Team Certamen.

Laena Keyashian

The California Junior Classical League Convention came to Blackford in late March for a weekend of toga-clad competition. In the end, Harker students graced many top spots. US participants tied for first place overall and shared second place in the HS Advanced Certamen (Latin quiz bowl) category.

earned first in Dramatic Interpretation, third in Jewelry and MS 1 Reading Comprehension, and an Honorable Mention in MS 1 Mythology. Ashvin Swaminathan, Gr. 8, took first in HS Level 2 Latin Oratory, MS Advanced Vocabulary and Advanced Grammar. His team also earned second in HS Level 2 Team Certamen with Gr. 8 teammates Pranav Sharma (winner of the MS Advanced Pentathlon and second in HS Level 2 Latin Oratory) and Richard Fan, who earned second and third spots in MS Advanced Ancient Geography and Advanced History, respectively. Anika Ayyar, Gr. 7, won first in Dramatic Interpretation, third in the Team Certamen and Honorable Mentions in Daily Life and Mottoes, Quotes and Abbreviations. Molly Wolfe, Gr. 8, took first in the essay contest, second in dance and third in Advanced Vocabulary.

Jenny Chen, Gr. 8, took first in the Girls 400 and 100-meter track races, and tennis, tied for second Advanced Reading Comprehension and took second in Advanced Grammar.

Annirudh Ankola, Gr. 6, won first for Male Costume, second in Chess and third in Traditional Photography.

Kevin Duraiswamy, Gr. 7, took first in the small models contest, won second in Advanced Reading Comprehension and Mottoes, Quotes and Abbreviations, and third in Advanced Latin Oratory.

Angela Gu, Gr. 6, took first in MS Level 1 Mythology and Urvi Gupta, Gr. 7, placed first in Advanced Reading Comprehension. Her team took second in the Open Certamen.

Zina Jawadi, Gr. 7, earned first in Advanced Latin Oratory, second in MS 1 Sight Latin Reading, and third in the Girls 400 and 100-meter track races.

In addition to taking second place in HS Level 2 Team Certamen with Swaminathan, Fan and Pranav Sharma, eighth grader Anuj Sharma (no relation) finished first in MS Advanced Mottoes, Quotes and Abbreviations.

Laena Keyashian

Eighth grader Suchita Nety’s team won first in the Open Certamen, second in the Greeting Cards and Advanced Pentathlon, and third in Advanced Mottoes, Quotes and Abbreviations. Madhuri Nori, Gr. 6,

Harker News — May 09

Helena Huang, Gr. 7, took first in Piano and Rasika Raghavan, Gr. 6, placed first in Arts – Miscellaneous. Aadyot Bhatnagar, Gr. 6, earned first in Vocabulary and second in Derivatives. To add to his first place finish in Advanced Ancient Geography, Nik Datuashvilli, Gr. 8, took first in MS Open Certamen with teammates Suchita Nety, Gr. 8, and Nicky Semenza, Gr. 7. In Multimedia, Simran Singh, Gr. 6, took second and an Honorable Mention in Level 1 Reading Comprehension. Seventh grader Allison Chang took second in Individual Scrapbook, while Michael Cheng, Gr. 8, was third in Advanced Grammar. Eighth graders Eric Zhang earned second in Advanced History, and Shannon Su received an Honorable Mention for Advanced Grammar. Other Honorable Mentions went to Richard Min, Gr. 7, for Advanced Mythology, Laura Pedrotti, Gr. 8, for Advanced Derivatives, Sahana Rangarajan, Gr. 6, for Level 1 Derivatives and Sahithya Prakash, Gr. 7 for Level 1 Reading Comprehension.




Wrestling Team Shows Great Promise; Winter Sports Finish Strong The LS and MS late winter season came to a close and we have a lot of exciting sports news to share.

MS Girls Basketball According to coach Tang Kitporka, the Gr. 8 girls varsity A team had lots of fun this season, playing their best to a 3-7 overall record. Priscilla Auyeung, Jacqueline Jordan and Shreya Vemuri were

that the Gr. 4 girls of the junior varsity C team had a stellar season. They were undefeated for the majority of the season, beating most teams by 20 points. The girls finished 6-2 overall, losing only to Pinewood twice. Their last loss to Pinewood was by one basket in their final game of the season. Standout players included Joelle Anderson, Jordan Thompson and Lauren Trihy.

MS Boys Soccer

Coach Cyrus Merrill reported, ”The sixth grade boys junior varsity A team scored more total goals this year than in both prior seasons!” Nikhil Kishore scored three goals in just one game. The team also received strong play from the defensive midfield play of Rishabh Jain and the vocal leadership of sweeper Allen Huang. The boys really began incorporating their one-touch passing and foot skills, focal points of Merrill’s training, into their play, even eliciting a compliment from a

key players throughout the great season. The Gr. 7 girls of the varsity B team, coached by Loreen Talagtag and Joe Mentillo, went undefeated with a record of 10-0 this season. They took first place in the WBAL league season and won the WBAL tournament, defeating Woodland School in the finals! Standout players included Regina Chen, Nithya Vemireddy and Mercedes Chien.

referee who commented on their improvement in play from the beginning up until the end of the season. Merrill summarized, “Although they ended up with a losing record, they did defeat a traditionally strong team from up the peninsula and they scored three goals against perennial soccer power Menlo. Although they lost the game they put a considerable scare into the opposition!”

LS Girls Basketball

LS Soccer

Coach Tomas Thompson reported

The Gr. 5 junior varsity B boys, under the coaching of Walid

took first place in the WBAL league and even beat a tough St. Joseph’s Sacred Heart team, who has not lost a match in years, 1-0. Their combined scoring total was 47 goals to 12 for their opponents. The team was led by Andy Perez, Michael Amick, Baris Demirlioglu and Kiran Arimilli. The Gr. 7 varsity B boys, coached by Chris Fanara, had a respectable season at 4-4 overall. All of their games were close games and they did not lose any match by more than one goal. They finished the season with a convincing victory over non-league opponent San Jose Christian, 4-1. The team was led


Fahmy, went 2-1-3 in league. They finished with a tied score in their first three league matches against Keys, Pinewood and St. Joseph’s Sacred Hear t and then went on to beat Keys 3-2 and St. Joseph’s 5-4 by the end of the season. Standout players included Nathaniel Stearns, Ryan Fernandes and Nicholas LaBruna.

MS Wrestling Although wrestling is an early winter spor t, the shor t season finished too late for last month’s issue. Coaches Karriem Stinson and James Arballo are excited about the progress of this year’s wrestlers. In two back-toback weekends of impressive wrestling, the boys indicated the strong future of Harker wrestling. At the Mission Hills tournament Harker took fifth out of 16 teams with only 11 wrestlers. Baris Demirlioglu and Michael Chen, Gr. 8, and Koshu Takatsuji, Gr. 7, went undefeated at 5-0. At the New Brighton Classic, Harker had four second place finishers (Demirlioglu, Nikhil Baradwaj, Canaan Linder and Christian Lantzsch, all Gr. 8); Daniel Wang, both Gr. 8, took third place, with Corey Gonzales, Gr. 6 and Chen both placing fourth. Richard Hanke

The Gr. 8 varsity A soccer team, coached by Manny Martinez, ended their season undefeated with a record of 9-0-1 this season. They

by Kevin Mohanram, Jeffrey Hanke and Kevin Moss.

Go Eagles!

Coach Smitty Gets Her Own Logo US volleyball coach Theresa “Smitty” Smith can now let the world know she’s a Positive Coach Alliance Double-Goal Coach Award Winner. The logo is a great way to promote her accomplishment in marketing materials and on the Web. Smith received the award in 2008 for her commitment to using positive coaching to teach life lessons. Harker News — May 09

Lacrosse gets First Varsity Win, Tennis and Swimming Start Strong Boys Volleyball


Varsity had a 15-5 overall record as we went to press. In an early season tournament at Aptos, they won the silver division championship (fifth place out of 16 teams), with their only loss coming against eventual gold division champion Mountain View. In a repeat match when they opened league play against Mountain View, they won in an exciting victor y in four games. The team also hosted their four th-annual

At press time, the softball team was 5-6 overall and 3-4 in league. The girls are led by the strong pitching of senior Shelby Drabman and sophomore Tracey Chan, as well as by strong hitting from Drabman, Chan and senior

Burlingame and Castilleja, the team played ver y hard and kept the score respectable. Coach Raul Rios repor ts that the team goal this year is to make CCS for the first time in school histor y. He proudly states, “Our motto is, ‘In order to achieve you must believe.’” He is proud of the girls for bringing a “refuse to lose” attitude and for having the most energy of all the teams they have played against, win or lose. “The team is ver y suppor tive of one another, almost like a family atmosphere,” Rios explained.

Boys Golf The golf team is continuing to experience success, with its only two losses to Sacred Hear t Prep and Menlo, two of the top teams in the CCS. The golf team also set a school record with its score of 200 against Sacred Hear t. Juniors James Feng, Yash Khandwala and Jeremy Whang, along with seniors Kyle Hall, Aaron Lin and Sean Doherty and sophomore Ram Seeni are leading the team, with Feng ranked one of the top players in the league. They are coached by John Zetterquist.


12-team tournament and took second place, losing to Leigh High School in the finals, 29-27, in the third game. Chad Gordon, Gr. 11 and Matt Gehm, Gr. 12, made the all-tournament team.

Harker News — May 09

Sarah Christiano. Outstanding defensive players include shor tstop Andrea Thomas and catcher Candace Silva-Martin, both seniors. The girls have defeated Yerba Buena High 13-8, Menlo 13-5, Pinewood 13-5, and MercySan Francisco 8-5. Even in losses to Santa Catalina, King’s Academy, Mercy

The Harker lacrosse team recently won their first game since becoming a varsity program, defeating Woodside High School 15-9. Their league record stands at 1-3 and overall at 1-4. The team’s leading scorer is senior Clara Lyashevsky

with 11 goals, including six goals against Los Gatos. Players scoring in the Woodside game included seniors Lyashevsky, Priya Thumma, Michelle Lin and Alyssa Boyle; juniors Julia Shim and Manasa Reddy, and sophomores Monisha Appalaraju and Shreya Nathan.

Tennis Boys varsity tennis began with a 3-1 preseason, notching wins against CCS powerhouses Mitty and Aragon. They lost their first WBAL match to a stubborn Sacred Hear t Prep squad, and stood at 9-2 at the end of March. According to coach Craig Pasqua, “It will take some work, but look for them as they continue their quest for a record sixth-consecutive CCS appearance.” The team is led by Karthik Dhore, Gr. 10, Adarsh Ranganathan, Gr. 10, Harrison Schwartz, Gr. 12 and captain Aadithya Prakash, Gr. 11.

Baseball At the end of March, varsity baseball was 7-6 overall, with a 11 league record. The team has been led by the strong pitching of Greg Plauck, Gr. 11 and Barrett Glasauer, Gr. 12. Offensively,

continued on pg. 16 15



US Spring Sports, continued from pg. 15 the team has been led by Glasauer, Stefan Eckhardt, Gr. 11 and Jeff Mandell, Gr. 12. All three lead

plate and in the field for the team, reports coach C.J. Cali.

Swimming The girls swim team is showing much strength this season, with a 6-0 league record at press time and two more league meets to go. CCS qualifiers so far are Vivian Wong, Gr. 11, Jessica Khojasteh, Gr. 10,

Record Number of Athletes Make College Commitments A select group of Harker athletes gathered in mid-April to celebrate their step up to college athletics as Kristina Bither signed her papers to compete in volleyball for Villanova University. Joining Bither were four others who have already committed: Andrew Chin, swimming at the University of Pennsylvania; Sabrina Paseman, diving at Cornell; Tara Panu, tennis at Pepperdine; and Ankita Shah, gymnastics at UC Berkeley.

Two Teams Win GPA Award

the team in batting average, hits, stolen bases and on-base percentage. Senior Taylor Martin has done an outstanding job on defense, pitching and being a team leader. The J.V. was 1-5, losing a tough game to Monta Vista 14-13 and Milpitas 2-4. The team has been led by sophomores Greg Cox and Amir Mortazavi, and freshman Noah Levy. Mortazavi leads the team in hits and batting average; Cox has the team’s only win, and Levy has done a good job at the plate, as well as behind it as the catcher. Ben Tien, Gr. 10, has also done a good job on the mound, at the


The boys swim team is 3-1 in league so far this season, and Wells is looking to win the league championship and place in the top five at CCS. At the first meet of the season, Kevin Khojasteh, Gr. 9, smashed the school record in the 100 backstroke with a time of 56.88. CCS qualifiers so far are Khojasteh, Andrew Chin, Gr. 12, Cole Davis, Gr. 11, Daryl Neubieser, Gr. 9 and Michael Clifford, Gr. 11.

Ted Casner

Katie Siegel, Gr. 9, Tina Ma, Gr. 11 and Tiffany Wong, Gr. 9. Coach Barton Wells looks for the girls be in the top five at CCS this year.

Two Harker teams have won 2009 winter scholastic championship team awards. These awards recognize the varsity team from each CCS sport with the highest collective GPA of all teams competing that season. Both boys soccer (average GPA 3.6520) and the Harker wrestling team (3.6080) came in first in their sports. Hearty congratulations to the brainy athletes!

Senior Swimmer Chin Celebrated Swimmer Andrew Chin, Gr. 12, was honored on his ver y own Senior Night in early April for his great par ticipation on Harker’s swim team. Chin, who will swim at the University of Pennsylvania next year, has shown dedication to the spor t and Harker honors his contribution!

Harker News — May 09



Top Results in Gr. 3 Math Contest For the second time, the Harker Gr. 3 team, made up of the highest six scorers for the grade level, is a regional winner in the annual Continental Mathematics League contest. Our region includes students from schools in 15 states and 12 countries. A record three students earned scores of 17 out of a possible 18 in the contest this year to push the team to the top with a total score of 103 out of a possible 108. “Worldwide, our total score was in the top three percent of the 481 schools that participated in the contest,” said Stephanie Woolsey, Gr. 3 math teacher and contest advisor. The test began after the winter break when all students in Gr. 3 math classes began completing a monthly math contest of six questions, earning one point per question. Griffin Ellis and Rishi Iyer, and Rose Guan, who is in Gr. 2 but is taking Gr. 3 math, all earned the almost-perfect scores this year. Each student earned a medal for his or her performance. In addition to the top three scoring students, two others, Adrian Chu and Rajiv Movva, earned total scores of 16, and earned a certificate of recognition. Amy Dunphy, Kaitlin Hsu, Anooshree Sengupta, Sahana Srinivasan and Justin Su were also strong competitors, and earned a total of 15 points each. “This is a difficult problem-solving contest in which students must read carefully and use their logical thinking and reasoning skills, with no rehearsal ahead of time,” reported Woolsey. “We have participated in this contest for at least five years, and only twice have we had students earn scores of 18. Having three students earn 17 points is impressive!” Woolsey said. Harker also had a record number of students earning scores of six on at least one contest this year, with fifteen different students, or 15 percent of the entire third grade, earning a perfect score on at least one contest. Congratulations to all the students for attempting these problems!

Students Help Humane Society

Cindy Proctor

Gr. 1 students spent nearly two weeks in March collecting money and necessities for the animals in the care of the Humane Society of Silicon Valley. More than $92 and 30 bags of goods such as pet food were gathered from March 16 to 27, which were stored in the Bucknall gym lobby alongside pictures of the Gr. 1 students and their pets. The donation was made just in time for the Human Society’s move to its new home in Milpitas.

Picture Day is a Moment in Time Every year on picture day, students spiff up, slick down or puff up their hair and try to stay neat until the photographer is done. These photos were too cute to pass up!

Harker News — May 09

Sneaky Pete Prompts a Hunt Gr. 3 English teacher Elise Schwartz’ homeroom students were treated to a special Easter celebration on April 10. Upon entering the classroom, the students learned that the conniving Easter Bunny Sneaky Pete had stashed various types of eggs throughout the room. Students were promptly dispatched to ferret out one type of each egg and discover the treats hidden inside. A list of clues was provided that hinted at the contents of each egg. For instance, an egg with a funny face would contain a pencil grip, and the student would be led to the egg with the clue, “Get a grip on your life with a funny face egg.” Because each student only got one of each type of egg, every student was assured to get the same number of eggs and prizes. To sweeten the morning, donuts and juice were also served after the kids had finished their hunt.

Luck of the Irish Rests on Bucknall St. Patrick’s Day was a fun-filled day for LS students, who got to share in the cheer with free dress. All over campus, students wore green clothing, hats, face paint and other celebratory decorations. Kindergarten teacher Gerry-louise Robinson’s homeroom students made special houses in which to house their personal leprechauns, which were actually photos of the students sticking their faces through a leprechaun cut-out. The kids also heard Irishthemed stories such as “Jamie O’Rourke & the Big Potato,” “Finn & the Fairy of Tara” and “The Night Before St. Patrick’s Day.” Colleen Lindsay, who also teaches kindergarten, had her homeroom students bring in various types of green gifts such as candy, coins and stickers. The night before St. Patrick’s Day, the kids made “leprechaun catchers” and set them out around campus, which by the next day had been pilfered of their “gold.”

Five Take Honors in Math Contest Harker students took five prizes in the 2009 Primary Math World Contest Team Tryouts. Cindy Liu, Gr. 6, David Zhu, Gr. 4 and Shaya Zarkesh, Gr. 3, all took first place in their grades; Aneesh Samineni, Gr. 4, took third place in his grade; and Rachel Wu, Gr. 6, took fourth place in her grade. Zhu, Wu and Liu all finished in the top 10 percent and have been invited to a 12-week training course to prepare them for the next level. “I especially would like to commend David Zhu who is the first fourth grader ever ranked in the top 10 (he was actually tied for first) in the history of this contest for the past five years,” said Ewa Garg of MathEdge, which hosted the event. “Given the highly competitive nature and difficulty of this contest, these students have my deepest congratulations!”




Student Commitment to Jump Rope for Heart Raises Thousands! Students from across the Bucknall campus took full advantage of the beautiful weather on March 19, which luckily coincided with the annual “Jump Rope For Heart” extravaganza. The kids had been collecting donation pledges for the American Heart Association since January, and spent the day on a variety of stations set up to celebrate their efforts. In the glow of the midday sun, stu-

dents jumped rope, shot hoops, limboed, navigated miniature obstacle courses and even enjoyed a run through sets of small hurdles. The Bucknall gym also provided some fun recreation, with more room set aside for jump rope activities. Some students got creative and set up a challenge in which students had to run back and forth under the twirling jump ropes.

Museum Trip Always Revealing The Gr. 3 class took a trip to the Oakland Museum on Feb. 18 as a special addendum to their lessons about California history. “The museum has always had a terrific California history display which brought history alive for the students,” said history teacher Howard Saltzman. Students viewed exhibits containing information about the Native American population in California, the mission system and the California gold rush. “I had quite a few students running up to me saying that the docents showed them artifacts and talked about what we had been learning in the classroom,” Saltzman noted. Gr. 3 science teacher Tamara Kley-Contini also had the students spend some time at the museum’s natural history section.

Students also had the option to take a quick break and enjoy some healthy snacks over by the lunch tables. Nearby was the “Heart Wall,” where students could attach small paper hearts adorned with spe-

cial messages for loved ones or others in need. Donations were still rolling in after the day ended. When all donations were accounted for, exactly $7,000 had been raised.

kid talk Students Show Their Knowledge of Knowledge Asked about knowledge, Gr. 3 students had some diverse opinions! Vanessa Tyagi defined knowledge as, “The smartness you have. You get it by studying and going to school.” Albert Drewke also says that knowledge is a good thing to have. “It helps you learn and helps you grow up into big strong people that know a lot.” Victor Shin added, “I use knowledge to help me study.”

Saltzman said the museum will be closed for approximately a year to complete renovations that have been ongoing for the previous two years. “We will all look forward to the completion of this renovation project,” Saltzman said.

Raveena Panja concurred, and further explained how one obtains knowledge. “Knowledge is something that’s in your brain. You get it by studying and doing lots of homework, and from your parents. Anybody you know can give you lots of knowledge. It’s a good thing to have because then you can think better!”

History Lives with Gold Rush Author

Kevin Xu reflected on the purpose of having knowledge. “I think knowledge is important because it educates people for the future. You get it from school, parents and sometimes summer camps.”

Bucknall received a special visit from author Debbie Yamada on March 18. Yamada is the author of “Striking it Rich: Treasures From Gold Mountain,” a historical fiction piece about the life of Chinese miners during the gold rush. The visit coincided with lessons about the Gold Rush in Gr. 3 and Gr. 4 history classes.


Krishna Bheda said that knowledge is, “What you know in your brain and you get it by going to school, by learning math and language arts and science and history. And when you go to college you take tests and when you get out of school you know a lot of stuff. When someone asks you something you’re supposed to know, you can tell it to them.” Mateusz Kranz sees value in knowledge. “Knowledge is good because it helps you be a teacher when you want to grow up and be a teacher. I don’t know what I want to be but knowledge helps me now. I know when to get to class on time and it helps me when I’m studying.” Harker News — May 09

Desiree Mitchell

Gr. 4 Treks to the Exploratorium

Ogres Grace the Stage, continued from pg. 1

A group of Gr. 4 students took a special trip to the Exploratorium in San Francisco on April 14, seeing a wide variety of exhibits to help them expand on their classroom science education.

Before the show got underway, MS librarian Bernie Morrissey and US librarian Susan Smith warmed up the crowd by singing “In Your Folk Attire,” a parody of the Irving Berlin song “Easter Parade,” one of many songs reenvisioned by Ogre Awards director Davis.

Students watched dry ice move around in water, which exemplified the ways comets move through space. They also got to make a six-foot-by-sixfoot soap film that, when light shone on it, made a variety of ever-changing color and wave patterns. “My group enjoyed blowing on the film and seeing the changing colors and waves,” said publications coordinator Desiree Mitchell (parent of Lyndsey, Gr. 4), who served as one of the chaperones on the trip.

Other faculty guest appearances included a singing cameo by Laura Lang-Ree, K-Gr. 12 performing arts chair; Brian Larsen, K-Gr. 12 production manager, appearing as the giant from “Jack and the Beanstalk”; and LS Spanish and creative writing teacher Anita Gilbert singing “Life is Just a Bowl of Porridge.” This year’s story relayed the plight of three princes, each in search of a wife. They discover their mates by firing an arrow from the castle and traveling to the location wherein it landed. The first two princes have no problem finding the ideal partner, but the third arrow happens upon a swamp, where the final prince finds a frog waiting for him.

The real attraction for the students, however, was the dissection of a cow’s eye. “The kids were lined up and waiting for the demonstration to begin,” Mitchell said. “They were very interested in the inner workings of the eye and asked many questions.”

Each of the potential wives is charged with three special tasks to impress the royal family, and the pure-hearted third prince allows the frog to carry them out. To his delight, the frog is more than able to meet his family’s expectations, and upon deciding to keep the frog as his wife, she magically transforms into a beautiful princess.

Annual Hat Parade Entrances There is nothing like a hat to bring out the sunny side of a child – or adult! The annual Hat Parade took place in April, giving all a chance to wear their finest headgear!

After the play, the year’s awards were eagerly handed out to characters hailing from various folk tales. The favorite was the Russian folktale “Czar Ivanovich and Grey Wolf.” Grey Wolf accepted the award on behalf of this stor y. This year’s Special Ogre Award was presented to Head of School Chris Nikoloff in recognition of his support of the K-Gr. 12 library program.

Harker News — May 09




Taiko Performers Drum Up Energy at Recent Assembly San Jose Taiko returned with their high-energy Japanese style drumming to the MS gym in early April. The group last performed at Harker in 2005. On this visit, students enjoyed the deep rhythms only a big drum can provide and learned the history behind the ritual performances, as well.

Laptops Used to Design Experiments

enlight’ning Garners Top Award

In early April, Gr. 6 students used their school laptops to work on experiments that they designed themselves. “This is the first year that the sixth grade has had laptop computers and they are an amazing resource for learning science by doing science,” said Daniel Sommer, who, along with colleague Ben Morgensen, is running the activities in their science classes. “The students have already completed seven computer-based labs this year, but this week they got to ask a scientific question and design an experiment to test their own hypothesis,” said Sommer.

The 2008 edition of enlight’ning continues to rack up awards. In late March, the literature magazine beat out two others for the Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s (CSPA) Gold Crown Award. This is the second year in a row the magazine has won the top award. Among other specific compliments paid the issue, the CSPA noted in its CD-ROM, “2009 Crown Winners,” the following enlight’ning strengths: “From cover to cover, staff branded this publication an exceptional literary journal, visually professional in appearance, format, use of color and illustration throughout. Purposeful choice of color palette and use of white space further distinguish this publication. The clean lines of this publication exemplify the fact that each visual and written piece was tightly edited. There is an acute attention to detail in the editorial process.”

“My students probably completed 30-plus different experiments today related to heat, heat transfer, magnetism, density, temperature of a chemical reaction, and basic physical proper ties of matter,” he added. “This was a great culminating activity for ever ything students have learned about experimental design, especially identifying their experimental variable and controlling variables.” “It also gave them an oppor tunity to demonstrate their ability to use the Logger Lite data collection software we have been using this year,” said Sommer. ”I am sure ‘design your own experiment’ week will be a highlight of the sixth grade science curriculum for many years to come.”

Of one page in particular, CSPA reviewers wrote: “The stark quality of the poem ‘Algebra’ is paired with the proportional design of ‘Quilt Squares’ – two works of art that do more than share space. Together, they provide a unique perspective.” “Needless to say we are really proud!” said teacher Stacie Newman, who, along with Michael Schmidt, advises the staff. “We owe a great debt to all the middle school students whose work was offered for the magazine; their contributions were outstanding, and without them we couldn’t create a winning publication!” she added.

kudos ■ Sierra Lincoln, Gr. 8, hauled in three awards at the VEX Robotics Championship of the Americas, held April 2-4 in Omaha, Neb. Lincoln won the Tournament Finalist Award, Second Place, in addition to being named the Programming Skills Champion and Robot Skills Champion.


Harker News — May 09

Harker Group Takes Third in DoE Bowl

Teacher Michael Schmidt was pleased but not surprised when approached by students who wanted to do a good deed.

A group of Gr. 7 boys, Andrew Zhu, Kevin Moss, Darian Edvalson, Nikhil Dilip and Adarsh Battu, competed in the Department of Energy Regional Science Bowl Competition at the National Hispanic University in early March. The team, organized by Harker parent Ian Edvalson, met every other weekend throughout fall to practice science questions – and to play! Many other teams practice twice a week, and, “that they were able to win third place with such relatively little practice is testament to the outstanding preparation students receive in our middle school science program!” said US Spanish teacher and mom Diana Moss. “Kudos to Ian Edvalson!”

“An amazing group of students came to me at the beginning of the year and asked if there was some way they could help another school,” said Schmidt. “They had a year’s worth of experience doing it as fifth graders when they and Miss (Shelby) Guarino raised funds for a school in Uganda. This year, they asked me to help them create a fundraiser for our sister school in Costa Rica, Cloud Forest School.

Michael Schmidt

Jeremy Binkley, Jeton Gutierrez-Bujari, Allison Kerkhoff, Glenn Reddy and Alex Thomas, all Gr. 6, and Zina Jawadi, Gr. 7, call themselves Peace 2 Peace and each of them made contributions in their own way, Schmidt noted. “But most importantly they showed the kind, giving nature that makes me proud to be a teacher here at Harker. “They asked their student body to offer donations of unwanted items that Peace 2 Peace could sell at a garage sale,” Schmidt said. The group made collection containers and placed them around campus. “Every day, for over three months, the kids would gather the items that had accumulated in the bins and store them in my room. Due to some amazing donations from students, faculty and parents, Peace 2 Peace was able to raise $1,200 for Cloud Forest School.” The benefits of the collection go beyond the money raised, though. “I love seeing such generosity extended towards our sister schools!” said Jennifer Abraham, director of global education. The students found the process rewarding. “You can’t replace the feeling of working together with your friends and teachers for a special cause,” said Gutierrez-Bujari. Binkley added, “It might have been a lot of work, but it was a lot of fun too.”

Supplied by Ian Edvalson

Peace 2 Peace Sets Up to Help

Advisory Gathers, Delivers Donations In late March, several bags of toiletries were donated to the Gloria Travis Shelter for Women and Children. MS histor y teacher Pat White organized the donation with 11 of her Gr. 7 advisor y students. The students collected items such as toothpaste, soap, shampoo and other items that were acquired by students, faculty and staff during the holiday break. White’s advisor y helped sor t and bag the items, three full shopping bags of which were donated during the week of March 30.

Spirit Week Brings Spring to School Spirit Week, that rite of spring and the bridge between spring break and Memorial Day, arrived after a week of wet weather, and students were ready to show their spirit! Each day had a special free dress-up theme as well as an activity for the advisories or Houses to compete in. The overall winning advisory – not available at press time – received an extra-abundant Black Ford (this is a custom-painted pedal car stuffed with goodies that resides in the winning advisory’s homeroom). Monday was sports day (no lacrosse sticks allowed), Tuesday was clashing clothes and crazy hair day, Wednesday was pajama day, Thursday was dress for the decade and Friday was rock star day. In keeping with the rock star theme, Friday culminated with a magnificent lip sync contest that got the whole school laughing!

The donation project continues throughout the year, and White expects that another donation will be made before the summer break.

Latin Alive and Winning at Harker Over fifty Harker MS students received awards at the National Latin Exam this year, including 11 gold medals and two perfect papers. The exam was taken by more than 135,000 students from the U.S. and 11 foreign countries. Introduction to Latin (Gr. 6 except where noted): Outstanding Achievement: Ben Montrym (perfect paper), Aadyot Bhatnagar, Tiara Bhatacharya, Sahana Rangarajan, Madhuri Nori, Simran Singh, Angela Gu, Christopher Sund, Gr. 8, Jackelyn Shen, Lydia Werthen, Gr. 8, Maya Nandakumar; Achievement: Divyahans Gupta, Eric Holt, Reena Sandhu, Neel Bedekar, Rasika Raghavan, Annirudh Ankola, Sahithya Prakash, Gr. 7 Latin I (Gr. 7 except where noted): Gold/Summa Cum Laude – Oishi Banerjee, Kevin Duraiswamy, Helena Huang, Pranav Batra; Silver/Maxima Cum Laude – Saachi Jain, Brian Tuan, Richard Min, Sarika Bajaj, Arthur Shau, Connie Li, Anika Ayyar; Magna Cum Laude – Andrew Wang, Shenel Ekici, Urvi Gupta, Nikhil Dilip; Cum Laude – Tiffany Chu, Allison Chang, Piyush Prasad Gr. 8, Charles Manchester, Simon Orr, Gr. 8 Latin 2 (Gr. 8): Gold/Summa Cum Laude – Pranav Sharma (perfect paper for the third year), Ashvin Swaminathan, Anuj Sharma, Jenny Chen, Niharika Bedekar, Shannon Su, Michael Cheng; Silver/Maxima Cum Laude – Richard Fan, Suchita Nety, Jonathan Cho, Nikhil Baradwaj, Rahul Desirazu, Eric Zhang, Sean Fernandes, Ravi Tadinada; Magna Cum Laude – Nisha Bhikha; Cum Laude – Jacob Hoffman, Laura Pedrotti

Harker News — May 09




Students Enjoy the Middle Kingdom on Annual Trip to China The Gr. 8 trek to China was once again a gratifying and memorable experience for all involved. After arriving in Shanghai, students had the opportunity to explore the

an acrobatic show that wowed those in attendance. “From hoops and trapeze to trampolines and motorcycles it was definitely a feast for the eyes!” said Jennifer Abraham,

to take pictures of the West Lake below,” Abraham said. The group continued to a tea plantation to sample and buy various types of tea, in addition to learning about the process of making tea leaves. After a quick visit to the Chinese Medicine Museum, the tired group headed home.

Photos supplied by Angela Neff

To celebrate their final day with the Shanghai students, the SWFLMS threw a farewell party that included singing, dancing, heartfelt speeches and poetry.

city, see the sights, sample local eateries and of course, shop. On Monday morning, the students went to Shanghai World Foreign Language Middle School (SWFLMS), whose own students treated them to a singing of their national anthem and school song. Harker students then got to learn about Chinese opera and play various instruments in the school’s Chinese music class. The next day, students observed lessons and picked up a few more phrases to add to their Mandarin repertoire. They also got to view some fabulous artifacts and works of art at the Shanghai Museum, and some even made attempts to barter with the locals! Tuesday’s real treat, however, was

global education director. The following day, the Harker group got to watch the SWFLMS students do their morning exercises. “It was quite a sight to see with hundreds of kids quickly, yet quietly, exiting the school and lining up on the sports field,” Abraham said. More class observations followed, with some Harker students sitting in on an English class session. “The kids have commented on several differences between our two schools,” Abraham noted. “The two things that apparently stand out the most are that the teachers change classrooms, and not the students, and that they have a full 10 minutes between classes.” Later that day, some students learned how to sing in Chinese during one of the language classes. “Surprisingly,” Abraham said, “the boys really got into singing!” On Thursday, the group visited Zhujiajiao, an ancient water town famous for its boat-filled canals and centuries-old bridges built during the Ming and Qing dynasties. During their stay, the students bought fish to let free in the river along with a wish, and took a boat ride through the town’s canals. Friday kicked off with a visit to the Wahaha bottled drinks factory. From there, it was off to the Six Harmonies Pagoda, originally constructed more than 1,000 years ago. “The kids raced to the top of the pagoda where they were able


The group began the following week in Beijing, with a visit to the famous Temple of Heaven. “Walking to the Temple was very entertaining!” Abraham reported. “We stopped to watch people dancing, with a few of our students giving it a try. We followed a long corridor passing older people playing cards, talking and generally just enjoying themselves.” Afterward, the group visited a family living in Beijing’s “hutongs,” narrow streets and alleys lined with courtyard homes. “We all packed into their living room and, through a translator, spent the next half hour asking all sorts of questions,” Abraham recalled. “The kids had great questions ranging from the one-child policy to experiencing the Cultural Revolution to Chinese perception of Americans. The man was very honest and interesting to talk to.”

As they left the hutongs on rickshaws, the drivers decided to have a little fun and race one another. “It was a sight to see, with 12 rickshaws racing through the very narrow alleys,” said Abraham. “We all had a good laugh and lots of fun.” The next two days yielded more amazing sights. Students visited the Great Wall of China and took in the fabulous views offered by the ancient fortification. They then took toboggans to the foot of the mountain, where they picked up some souvenirs before heading back to the city. The following day included a visit to Tiananmen Square and the Chinese imperial palace, also known as the Forbidden City. The group wound up their trip to Beijing with a brief visit to the Summer Palace before returning to prepare for the trip home.

Mathematicians Add Up Awards On Feb. 25, 35 MS students took the American Mathematics Competitions AMC-10B test. Some also participated in the AMC-10A contest held on Feb. 10. Sierra Lincoln, Pranav Sharma, Ashvin Swaminathan and Wilbur Yang, all Gr. 8, and Vikram Sundar and Alex Pei, both Gr. 7, each scored 120 or higher and were invited to take the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME) which was held on March 17. Results of the AIME were not available at Harker News press time. Angela Gu, Gr. 6, and seventh graders Travis Chen, Rahul Sridhar and Nathan Wong also had very high scores but missed the AIME qualification score by very few points. MS students also participated in the annual Santa Clara Valley Math Association contest on March 21. Students were competing with high schoolers in the area for the Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and Geometry contests. The team comprising Deniz Celik, Gr. 8 and Pei placed fourth in the Leap Frog contest. Wong placed fifth in the Algebra 2 contest and Chen placed twelfth in Geometry. Allison Wong, Gr. 5, placed 10th in the Algebra 1 contest. Harker MS placed third overall in this competition. Harker News — May 09



National Japan Bowl, continued from pg. 1

Three Qualify for Chemistry Olympiad

The Japan Bowl is an annual team competition for high school students across the U.S. studying Japanese as their foreign language. There are three levels of competition – II, III and IV, with level IV being the most challenging – and three students per team. The competition tests not only the students’ language skills but also their knowledge of histor y, geography, politics, current events, U.S.Japan relations and variety of cultural aspects such as ar ts, festivals, religions, pop culture, etiquette and gestures.

Three students have qualified for the United States Chemistry Olympiad in late April. Andrew Zhou, Gr. 11, scored 58 points out of 60 on a March 27 exam to earn a spot, while Kevin Xu, Gr. 12, scored 57. Because he moved beyond the national round in last year’s competition, Vikram Nathan, Gr. 12, will also compete for Harker, even though each school is typically allowed to enter only two students.

Orchestra Wins Special Award in NY The Harker Orchestra, led by director Chris Florio, traveled to New York in early April to compete in the National Orchestra Cup at Lincoln Center’s newly renovated Alice Tully Hall (see Harker News, Nov., 2008, page 1), where they earned a prestigious award and had a stellar time! “Our students had a spectacular performance that truly captivated the judges and audience,” said Florio. “Although we were not awarded grand champions, we were given the festival staff award (the Forte Award), which

“Although it is a ver y challenging competition, we have shown ver y steady improvement ever y year,” said Masako Onakado, Japanese teacher. “Last year, we earned second place in both level II and level III and four th place in level IV, which was our best record until then. Earning the first place in all levels in this 17-year-old competition this year was truly remarkable.”

Terry Walsh

Chris Nikoloff, head of school, also noted, “This is an amazing accomplishment. Congratulations to the students and thanks to Masako for all of her ef for ts on their behalf.” Student winners were: Level IV Sarah Wang, Gr. 11, team captain; Roslyn Li, Gr.11 and Kevin Wang, Gr. 12. Level III Kelly Chen, Gr. 11, team captain; Jerry Sun, Gr. 10 and Katie Liang, Gr. 10. Level II Nirupama Gadagottu, Gr. 12, team captain; Tiffany Jang, Gr. 9 and Victoria Liang, Gr. 10.

is ‘awarded for positive attitude and best exemplifying the spirit of America and performance excellence.’ The festival staff stated that this award is very close to their hearts and not one that is given out lightly.” Florio noted that another panel judge, who just happens to be a Saratoga High School graduate, “congratulated our orchestra on how high our performance level has become in such a short period of existence as an upper school. He was also very impressed that a high school orchestra could handle our difficult repertoire at such a high level.” Congrats to the 60+ members of the orchestra for an outstanding performance!

Spanish Poets Display Skills On March 23, Harker had several winners at the 27th annual Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer Spanish Poetr y Contest, held at Eastside College Preparator y High School in East Palo Alto. First place winners were Kirsten Herr, Gr. 9, for the Spanish 3 categor y and Rashmi Sharma, Gr. 11, for Spanish 4. Taking second place in Spanish 5 was senior Shubha Guha, with freshman Sharanya Haran earning the number two spot in Spanish 2. Lauren Pinzás, Gr. 9, finished third in the Native Speaker categor y, and fellow ninth grader Nicole Dalal took third in the Spanish 1 categor y.

Harker News — May 09

Congratulations to the “Talon” yearbook staff, whose work is featured in the Jostens “Gotcha Covered Look Book,” which recognizes top-flight yearbooks from schools around the country. In the book, alumna Emily Chow ’08 receives an Honorable Mention for one of her photos in the 2007-08 edition of the “Talon.” It is also featured in the book’s cover gallery.

Biology Students Collect Bugs

Supplied by Diana Moss

Students were required to memorize and present a dramatic interpretation of a poem of approximately 25 lines in Spanish. Their Spanish teachers Isabel García, Diana Moss and Abel Olivas accompanied them to the event, and outstanding presentations were given by all participants. ¡Felicidades!

Yearbook Staff Wins Recognition

US biology teacher Anita Chetty’s students had the opportunity to do some bona fide field work in late March, as they traveled to the San Francisco Zoo to see various species of wildlife and examine how they adapted to their surroundings. The students also went to the Windy Hill Open Space Preserve to retrieve plant life and bug specimens, which they then took back to the laboratory to examine and identify. At the lab, the students used powerful microscopes to examine their findings. The microscopes also have built-in digital cameras that allowed the students to take high-resolution photos of the specimens and examine them on their laptops.




Update Debate

Japanese Orchestra Wows Assembly

Representing Harker at the National Debate Coaches Association Tournament the weekend of April 11 were Kaavya Gowda, Gr. 12, Kelsey Hilbrich, Gr. 11, sophomores Appu Bhaskar, Benjamin Chen and Ziad Jawadi; and freshman Akshay Jagadeesh.

A special performance by Japan’s Okayama Gakugeikan High School Symphonic Band had the morning crowd cheering at a special US assembly on March 16.

The California State Tournament took place the weekend of April 18, with David Kastelman, Gr. 12 and Michael Tsai, Gr. 10, being the first Harker students to qualify in Student Congressional debate. Results of the tournaments were not available at Harker News press time. It is also a record-breaking year for Harker qualifiers to the Tournament of Champions (TOC), where students compete all year to earn qualifying legs. Harker has a fully-qualified policy team for the first time in several years, two public forum teams who automatically qualified based on last year’s successful run, Harker’s first ever doublesophomore team to qualify to the TOC and its ver y first freshman qualifier to the TOC. “To qualify as an underclassman is almost unheard of, let alone in your first year!” said US debate teacher Carol Green. Representing Harker as the largest delegation ever to attend from the school at the 2009 TOC will be seniors Mohit Bansal, Raghav Aggarwal and Gowda; juniors Kelsey Hilbrich, Arjun Mody, Adam Perelman and Christopher Eckardt; sophomores Justine Liu and James Seifert and freshman Sonya Chalaka. Harker attended the Grand National qualifier in Januar y. Attending this tournament over Memorial Day weekend will be juniors Perelman, Mody, Hilbrich and David Mihai; sophomores Liu, Seifer t, Tsai, Hassaan Ebrahim, Christine Chien and Aileen Wen; and freshman Jagadeesh. Finally, after going undefeated at the National Forensic League qualifier, the oldest national debate tournament, where they placed seventh in the nation last year, Gowda and Hilbrich will travel to Alabama in June to compete for a week at the final tournament of the 2008-09 season.

Key Club Attends Convention

Kerry Enzensperger

The Harker chapter of the Key Club took a special trip to Anaheim in early April, where they visited the quintessential Orange County landmark, Disneyland, and also attended the California-Nevada-Hawaii Key Club Convention at the Anaheim Convention Center. A spring break well-spent!

JETS Engineer Victory! The state rankings for JETS (Junior Engineering Technical Society) have just been released and Harker is at full power! Harker’s four varsity teams swept all four top spots out of 12 teams from across the state. All four teams advance to national scoring. In junior varsity, Harker sent three teams, placing first, second and fourth out of five teams. Only the first place team (the freshman team) will be advancing to national scoring. Harker has five of the 11 nationally qualified teams. Breaking news! At presstime we were told the Harker JETS have won the overall prize and are going to Disneyland!


Having recently placed in the top 10 of a national high school band competition in Japan, the 60-member orchestra came to Harker as part of an American tour that included San Francisco, Santa Clara University and New York City. Their performance at the assembly included works from a variety of genres, from classical mainstays such as Pachelbel to more contemporary fare, such as their rendition of “I Need to Be in Love” by the Carpenters. The band really got amped, however, during their cover of “The Sun Will Rise Again” by the Japanese pop group Aladdin. Musicians wrapped boa scarves around their necks and performed a choreographed dance routine during the number, complete with miniature Japanese and American flags. The crowd interaction hardly stopped there. On one song, the entire band (save for the rhythm section) ventured out into the audience, where they performed the duration of the piece. In all, a welcome treat and an inspiring display of musicianship from this talented young troupe!

Faculty Shoots for Universal Learning US faculty took to the court on March 25 for a basketball game. Playing for the red team were chemistry teacher Andrew Irvine, history teacher Mai Nguyen, coach Raul Rios, biology teacher Nicole VanderSal and biology teacher Matthew Harley. The green team comprised physics teacher Miriam Allersma, college counselor Martin Walsh, history teacher Ramsay Westgate, athletic director Dan Molin and Mandarin and ethics teacher Shaun Jahshan. Math teacher Victor Adler substituted for the green team and math teacher Evan Barth for the red team. US division head Butch Keller acted as referee during the game, which came down to the wire, with the red team winning by just two points, scoring 19 against the green team’s 17. Cheerleading duties were handled by Jennifer Gargano, assistant head of school for academic affairs, English teachers Erin Redfern and Jennifer Siraganian and history teacher Carol Zink. The game was one of several fundraisers held by the National Honor Society that week. Bins for each faculty member were set up just outside the Edge for donations. The 10 faculty members with the most money in their bins were chosen to play, while the runners-up went on to act as cheerleaders. In addition to the faculty basketball game, the NHS also raised money that week by holding a bake sale and selling teacher appreciation ‘grams, special student-written notes that were delivered to teachers along with a small bundle of chocolate. Funds were donated to a local underprivileged charter school. Harker News — May 09

Jazz Concert Plays Favorites in Finale The Harker Jazz Band treated an appreciative audience to “An Evening of Jazz” at the Blackford Theater on March 20. The concert was a bittersweet occasion for many of the student players, as it was the final show for the many graduating seniors in the band. Directed by US music teacher Chris Florio, the band played a wide variety of tunes from jazz greats such as Miles Davis’ “All Blues,” Dave Brubeck’s “Crescent City Stomp” and Duke Ellington’s “Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me.”

Five Qualify for Math Olympiad Five Harker students have qualified for the U.S. Mathematical Olympiad: senior Anand Natarajan and freshmen Michelle Deng, Ramya Rangan, Albert Wu and Patrick Yang. The students qualified after taking the American Invitational Mathematics Examination on March 17. A total of 992 California students took the exam, and Wu emerged as the top freshman, his score eclipsed by only two other students in the state, both of them sophomores. Also worthy of note is the stellar performance Deng put forth on the American Mathematics Contest 10A on Feb. 9, scoring a perfect score of 150.

kudos ■ In April, flutist Pavitra Rengarajan, Gr. 9, had the oppor tunity to per form a solo with the San Jose Wind Symphony at San Jose State University. Rengarajan was the first prize winner of the symphony’s annual Young Ar tist Solo Competition, and received a $500 prize in addition to being granted the honor of per forming with the seasoned musicians of the SJWS. No stranger to winning music competitions, Rengarajan has also taken first place in the International Areon Chamber Music Competition, Junior Division; the Flock of Flutes Competition, Junior Division; and the El Camino Youth Symphony Concer to competition. She is also the principal flutist for the El Camino Youth Symphony, the youngest member of the South Valley Symphony and the San Jose Youth Symphony Philharmonic Orchestra’s youngest flutist. ■ Harker News has been keeping tabs on Anteneh Daniel, Gr. 12, who was named a semifinalist and then a finalist in the National Achievement Scholarship Program’s (NASP) competition for outstanding Black American students. We have now been notified that Daniel has indeed won a prize. He will be awarded a $2,500 scholarship, an award supported by the not-for-profit National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which conducts the NASP. ■ Christina Ma, Gr. 11, recently won the “Essay” portion of the Asian Pacific Fund’s 2009 Growing Up Asian in America Art & Essay Contest. For the contest, entrants chose one thing they would change to make the world a better place as the basis for their work. For her efforts, Ma will receive a $2,000 savings bond.

Harker News — May 09




GEO Targets Global Education in Annual Week-Long Program Harker’s Global Empowerment Organization (GEO) wound up a week-long program to raise aware-

ness of global primary education in mid-April. The second of two programs about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) this year, this program included a speaker’s forum, a simulation exercise, a phone-in to

President Barack Obama’s office and a petition. The phone-in and petition urged lawmakers’ support of the Fast Track Initiative and the Education for All Act – two measures which target providing access to education for all children. Earlier this year, GEO targeted the MDG to eliminate poverty and raised $14,000 to build a school in rural China (Harker News, Dec. ’08, p. 25). “One of the novel parts of the week was the focus on activism,” said senior David Kastelman, GEO president. The club’s adoption of MDG 2

“fit particularly well with our plan to focus on education and activism in the spring, as there has been past legislation supporting universal primary education,” he explained. “And the message of students advocating for students resonates particularly well.” The speaker’s forum featured four experts with direct concerns to global education: Kim Plewes of Free the Children; John Tupper, a lobbyist who works to advance such issues in the U.S. Congress; Jennifer Getz, founder of the Africa-based eduWeavers, and Mark McKenna, associate director of San Jose State University’s Global Studies Program. Kastelman acted as host and facilitator of the presentation to the US student body. The Wednesday long lunch featured a simulation exercise on Rosenthal Field in which students moved from station to station and participated in brief activities which “ranged from throwing a coin in a ‘govern-

ment budget’ cup to being timed on an obstacle course that represented the transportation obstacles for students in foreign countries,” said junior Christine Trinh, GEO secretary. “They were competitive and offered a challenge, which are aspects that definitely drive Harker students.” “I loved the enthusiasm and spirit of the students who participated in the simulation,” said GEO member Josephine Chen, Gr. 10. “Many started competing with their friends to see who would win each of the activities.” Chef Steve Martin helped enhance participation in the simulation by serving lunch outdoors and approximately 70 students took part. The week culminated with a rousing Multicultural Assembly (see below). Kastelman, along with the GEO activism committee, met with U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren on April 16 and hand-delivered their petition -- signed by over 200 students and faculty.

Multicultural Assembly Opens Eyes and Hearts of Attendees, Organizers Cultures from all over the world were represented at the Multicultural Assembly on April 10. The assembly was a coordinated effort among GEO advisors Ramsay West-

before a series of performances got underway. Seniors Mai Nguyen and Amaresh Shukla served as emcees, providing amusing banter between acts. Up first were juniors Jackie Ho and Melinda Wang, who sang, danced and rapped in their native language of Chinese. Next, US math teacher Gabriele Stahl wowed the assembly crowd by tango dancing with a professional dance partner. Continuing the European excursion was the Cantilena choir group, led by US music teacher Susan Nace on piano. Their French song, “Ouvre ton coeur,” was very well-received.

gate, Mai Lien Nguyen, Carol Zink and Kevin Lum Lung, as well as Natasha Jeswani, Gr. 12, and Niti Shahi, Gr. 11, the assembly’s main student organizers. All around the Saratoga gym, booths were set up representing several countries from each continent. Many of the booths contained informational displays and samples of native foods. Students spent about 20 minutes learning about the various nations and enjoying their native treats,


Nidhi Gandhi, Gr. 10, then offered a glimpse of her culture by perform-

ing a classical Indian dance with crowd-pleasing grace and precision. It was then time for a brief trek to Germany, as US biology teacher Matthew Harley sang a tune in German, driven by a very familiar melody from Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.” Another Chinese song and dance number was up next, this time from singers Susan Wang, Gr. 12, and juniors Katrina Kao and Roslyn Li. Dancers Christine Yu, Gr. 12 and Adrienne Wong, Gr. 11, provided some splendid visual enhancement, while sophomore James Du accompanied the performance on piano. Although Harker’s student body houses many talents, several in attendance at the assembly were no doubt surprised to learn that the school even has its own Celtic harpist in Catherine Stiles, Gr. 10, who performed an otherworldly tune. Vrinda Goel, Gr. 10, then offered a show of her splendid vocal

prowess by singing an aria from Mozart’s “Requiem” in Latin, her voice traveling clearly and elegantly throughout the gym. To bring things to a rousing finish, Nguyen and the varsity dancers performed an exciting, well-choreographed and coordinated routine to a pair of upbeat Korean pop songs. Harker News — May 09

J8 Members Tackle Global Issues On March 19 and 20, students participating in this year’s J8 competition gathered with teachers and alumni to discuss two important problems facing the world’s population, and ways in which they can be remedied. The two roundtable discussions, held at the Bistro Café in Manzanita Hall, were held to help the students prepare their applications for the J8 competition. Harker has a high number of students participating this year – eight teams of four students each – and as such, US librarian Lauri Vaughan and US history teacher Carol Zink organized the meetings to give the students the opportunity to voice their ideas.

AP Art Graces Nichols Hall Student artwork was on display during the AP Studio Art reception, held at the Nichols Hall atrium on April 8. Students, faculty and staff arrived to view an impressive variety of twoand three-dimensional pieces, each communicating its own themes and ideas. For more on this story, see

The March 19 discussions dealt with infectious diseases, while the March 20 meeting addressed the problem of global warming and energy use. Teachers attended the meetings to facilitate discourse, thus helping students to come up with creative, well-rounded solutions. “Teachers generally played devil’s advocate and challenged kids to address the issue from several directions to test their viability,” Vaughan said. “Needless to say, it was fascinating stuff! I was thrilled to see faculty from such a variety of disciplines (history, science, ethics, math, literature) participate.” Faculty on hand for the infectious diseases meeting were Ramsay Westgate, John Heyes, Sue Smith and Dan Hudkins. Teachers present at the global warming discussion were Eric Nelson, Shaun Jahshan, Westgate, Smith and Victor Adler. Two of the eight winners of the 2007 J8 competition were also present: senior David Kastelman and alum Aarathi Minisandram ’08. The event was co-sponsored by Harker’s Junior States of America and Global Empowerment Organization.

Harker Students Help Perform Magic More than 40 Harker students lent helping hands to the Magic organization in mid-March, spending the day helping Mother Nature. Magic specializes in ecology-based volunteer work. Since their founding in 1979, Magic has planted tens of thousands of trees, written computer programs to forecast the economic and ecological effects of urban tree management and established the first ecological economics course at Stanford University. “Together we tagged, surveyed and mulched more than a hundred trees; planted eight native oaks; abated coyote bush that was encroaching on recently planted oaks; installed protective shelters on more than a dozen trees to prevent deer browse; laughed and learned and enjoyed a beautiful day in a lovely natural (mostly) environment,” said Magic representative Robin Bayer, who also mentioned that she hoped to work with Harker students on future projects. Students who embarked on the trip were: Gr. 9: Dwight Payne, Jason Kuan, David Dominguez, David Fang, Stephen Hughes, Nathan Hoffman, Daniel Mao, Ananth Subramaniam, Asia Howard, Alex Mabanta, Saagar Sarin, Saurabh Sharan, Vikrum Jain, David Brunfeld, Sebastian Herscher, Kirsten Herr, Devin Nguyen, Richard Lee, William Chang, Robert Maxton, Aditya Sastry, Lauren Pinzás and Kushal Ranjan. Gr. 10: Amir Mortazavi, Chris Ng, Daisy Mohrman, Katharine Forsberg, Justin Shamlou, Rishi Bhatia, Riya Parikh, Alex Kablanian, Michael Prutton, Ajit Punj, Baran Ozdemir, Jai Nagarajan, Howard Lio and Rishi Ravuri. Gr. 11: Melanie Herscher, Jackie Ho and Jonathan Lau.

The 9th Degree Presents Winning Idea Colby Rapson, Gr. 11, and teammates from various schools took first place at the Enterprise Leadership Conference March 11-13. The conference is a yearly event held by the San Jose Rotar y Club, in which students spend three days drafting and presenting a business plan for a product they create themselves. Students from each participating school are randomly distributed into different teams. Rapson’s company, The 9th Degree, came up with a product known as the WheelAwake. “It is a steering wheel mechanism that has sensors on it that collect heart rate and breathing rate data the first thirty seconds that a driver is in the car,” Rapson said. “The rest of the car ride, it senses for a threshold drop in heart or breathing rate. In order to prevent the driver from dozing off at the wheel, it sends vibrations through the steering wheel and sounds an alarm to the driver.” Rapson’s team planned to use the ser vices of an angel investor to get started. “Our business plan was extremely intricate, but our company, The 9th Degree, planned to start locally in the first year and extend to the entire nation by the third year,” said Rapson, who was chosen to be the CEO of her company. “Therefore, our profits would really start to come in by the third year. Once we started up, we planned on advertising our product through partnerships with schools, DMVs and insurance companies.” Although the members of Rapson’s group at first didn’t seem to have a lot of common ground, they quickly rallied behind their idea. “We all fell into our places and contributed a huge amount to the group progress,” she said. “Ever ything went really smoothly; we worked so cohesively that ever ything came together in the end and our final presentation showed the judges how seriously we took the competition.”

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Harker News — May 09




Research Symposium, continued from pg. 1 teachers are really open,” she said. “As long as you are willing to put in the work, they are willing to support you.” Senior Dominique Dabija found a summer internship at Stanford University to develop her program that makes it easier to visualize the way a signal travels in a protein, and its effect on amino acids. She is also a member of Harker’s

event also featured two keynote speakers. Nimet Maherali, Ph.D. candidate at Har vard University Center for Regenerative Medicine and Cancer, spoke about “Cellular Alchemy and the Making of a Research Scientist.” Dr. Andrew Chan, senior vice president of immunology and antibody engineering at Genentech, addressed guests regarding “Science, Biotechnology

The upper school resources are bet-

ter than most colleges and the year of college; to have such an experience as a high school student can make a huge difference.”

variety of science courses helped me broaden my horizons. Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (WiSTEM) club, conducted the symposium’s CSI: Harker workshop, and was an Intel and Siemens semifinalist. From afar, alumni Alfred Pokmeng See ’04, Johns Hopkins University,

and Medicine in the 21st Centur y.” Sponsors for this year’s event were Roche, Fortebio, Hunter Labs, Nanosyn, Pearl Therapeutics, Relypsa and Health Hero Network/Bosch. The symposium was established by Anita Chetty, science department chair, as an opportunity for students to enter research competitions and share their work prior to graduation, and for alumni and other research leaders to link lab work with real world applications and careers. Alumnus Deshmukh noted, “I think it’s fair to say that the majority of my peers in graduate school did not even know what research was until junior or senior

and Nikhil Deshmukh ’04, Princeton University, each led interactive videoconference sessions on their work with malignant brain tumors and neural activity in spatial navigation, respectively. This year’s

Cal Tech student Aarathi Minisandram ’08 credits Chetty with helping her solidify her interest in pre-med. “The symposium is amazing,” she said. “The upper school resources are better than most colleges and the variety of science courses helped me broaden my horizons.” Minisandram ser ved as WiSTEM co-president when at Harker. “You see companies here and they are really interested in our work,” said Minisandram.

Looking ahead, Chetty hopes to increase oppor tunities for students to find mentors, and expand the event to include students from schools across the countr y. She is also considering videoconferencing with sister schools in Australia and Switzerland. Next year’s symposium will be held on March 20, 2010.

Chetty expressed her delight in the completion of Nichols Hall, which brings together all the sciences in one location and promotes the sharing of knowledge. “Thank you for making my dreams come true,” Chetty said as she expressed appreciation to

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


the students, parents, mentors and faculty for their passion and patience, along with alumni who represent Harker and return to share. She also thanked the administration and lifetime trustee Diana Nichols for their suppor t.

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; Photos: Mark Tantrum or Jessica Liu, unless noted; Contributor: Stephanie Woolsey; Printing: Carol Sosnowski; Mailing Coordinator: Desiree Mitchell. Harker News — May 09

Profile for The Harker School

2009 May Harker News  

2009 May Harker News