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Character Development Starts on Day One Fashion Show: Dreaming Big! New Eagle Buddies Program Takes Flight

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ON THE COVER: The upper school tug-of-war spirit contest has evolved into a Homecoming tradition. Each class fields a team of 30 warriors, half male, half female. Prior to the game, classes compete against each other to decide finalists – seniors against freshmen, juniors against sophomores. The final match is at halftime and the prize is a perpetual trophy with the winning class listed on it. This photo shows the sophomore team in full tug in the semifinals, with advisors Gary Blickenstaff and Jeffrey Draper fore and aft cheering the team on. See page 26 for the full story. From the Photographer: It was really dark at Homecoming but I wanted to make sure I got some great facial expressions, so I steadied myself to make sure their faces were in focus but you could see some movement with the pulling of the rope. It was most fun to watch how invested the teachers were with their students and how they cheered them on throughout each event! ~Ashley Batz


W I N T E R 2 010 / V o lU M E 2 · N U M B E R 2 Pam Dickinson Director William Cracraft Editor Catherine Snider Sally Wing Copy Editors Ashley Batz Photo Editor

AboutHarker F

rom its early beginnings in 1893 — when Stanford University leaders assisted in

Emily Chow ‘08 Kelly Espinosa Zach Jones Casey Near ’06 Catherine Snider Lynette Stapleton Mark Tantrum Terry Walsh David Woolsey ‘06 Winged Post / Talon Contributors Desiree Mitchell Distribution Blue Heron Design Group Triple J Design Rebecca McCartney Design Diamond Quality Printing Printing

its establishment — to its reputation today as a leading preparatory school with

students attending prestigious universities worldwide, Harker’s mission has remained constant: to create an environment that promotes academic excellence, inspires intellectual curiosity, expects personal accountability and forever instills a genuine passion for learning. Whether striving for academic achievement, raising funds for global concerns, performing on stage or scoring a goal, Harker students encourage and support one another and celebrate each other’s efforts and successes, at Harker and beyond. Harker is a dynamic, supportive, fun and nurturing community where kids and their families make friends for life.

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The Harker School is a K-12 independent, coed, college-prep school. K-Grade 5: 4300 Bucknall Rd., San Jose, CA 95130 Grade 6-8: 3800 Blackford Ave., San Jose, CA 95117 Grade 9-12: 500 Saratoga Ave., San Jose, CA 95129

A Harker First Varun Sivaram ’07, a senior at Stanford majoring in Photo supplied by Varun Sivaram

engineering, physics and international relations, has been

Published four times a year, the Harker Quarterly showcases some of the top news, leading programs, inspiring people and visionary plans of the greater Harker community. Produced by the Harker Office of Communication 500 Saratoga Ave., San Jose, CA 95129 · 408.345.9273

named a Rhodes Scholar for 2010. Only 32 scholarships are awarded in the U.S. each year out of about 80 worldwide. Sivaram, 21, who attended Harker through grade 8, is a

Next Edition: March 2011

Truman Scholar and has won Stanford prizes for excellence in humanities, political science and engineering. The Monte Sereno resident is also chair of the undergraduate senate and the undergraduate representative to the board of trustees. He has done research in Germany and at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory, and has two patents pending relating to solar energy design. Along with academic interests, he is captain of the Indian dance team. He plans to earn a doctorate in solar energy materials at Oxford. Sivaram will receive all expenses for up to three years of study. The award requires literary and scholastic attainment, athletic success, truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship. Additional criteria are moral force of character, leadership skills and taking an interest in one’s fellow beings.



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Harker News Online (HNO) was launched in April 2009 and reports timely news on the activities, programs and accomplishments of The Harker School and its students, faculty and alumni. You can subscribe to HNO via RSS feeds or a daily digest e-mail alert. Visit

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inside Eagle Buddies Program Between Grades 3 and 10 Soaring Leadership and Character Development Begin Early Fashion Show Production in Full Swing Entrepreneurial Spirit Drives Students New Student or New Campus: Ensuring Smooth Transitions for All 2010 Family & Alumni Picnic Right in the Groove Homecoming Fun Includes all Campuses

6 10 12 18 20 22 26

departments Research Symposium...................................9 Greater Good...............................................15 Green Report.............................................. 29 Campus Upgrades ......................................31 Performing Arts.......................................... 32 Milestones................................................... 35 Eagle Report............................................... 36 Alumni News ............................................. 40 Looking Ahead............................................47


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By Christopher Nikoloff, Head of School

Finding the Blind Spots


here are several national debates rumbling through education today. We are on a “race to nowhere” or other nations will take over the world if our children do not practice more math problems. We need to hold teachers accountable or we need to hold students accountable. We need more school choice or schools of choice need

more oversight. Education is prone to fads, the swoosh of mighty pendulum swings. Because education is in some ways about achieving balance, what Neil Postman called a thermostatic function, debates will always be a part of education. I think some of the current national dialogue on education stems from frustration with some of the built-in blind spots that schools necessarily have. Here are a few. One, as schools are future-oriented, they miss the present. The entire purpose of schooling is suffused with future. For almost two decades, we sit in classrooms and prepare for the future. We learn things because we might need them in the future. I think this is behind some of the angst of the “race to nowhere” movement. Parents sense they are raising a generation of children who are missing out on their present as they prepare for the future. As Eckhart Tolle points out in “The Power of Now,” the future never arrives. It is always Now. Parents recall their childhoods, and they don’t remember missing the present as much. Two, schools are systems designed to deliver knowledge. Knowledge is wonderful. I love learning. This is what schools are supposed to do, and we cannot fault them for doing so. But knowledge is not wisdom, and sometimes it isn’t even obviously useful. The American education system has a deep suspicion of academic content, following a long tradition of progressive theory going back to Rousseau and Dewey. Again, this may be behind some of today’s increasing calls for less homework, less breadth and more depth. We all shudder at the thought of youngsters memorizing stuff to pass a test only to forget it and reload for the next test. Finally, schools teach us to judge. We evaluate and measure everything in schools, even ourselves. We compare ourselves to others. We compare ourselves to ourselves from a different time. Judging is important in life. We sometimes have to judge ourselves or others to grow. But judging, especially when the metric is quantitative, withers the soul. How do you measure curiosity? Kindness? Insight? A wrong but thoughtful answer? All parents wants their children to do well on the SAT, but no parent wants a child defined by a multiple-choice test. Photo by Ashley Batz



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Headlines in Education Most religions attempt to counter these very blind spots that schools propagate: live in the present, see things as they are, do not judge. Children are naturally good at this. William Wordsworth famously captured children’s natural ability to see the beauty of the world and to live in the present:

THERE was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,

The earth, and every common sight,

To me did seem

Apparell’d in celestial light,

The glory and the freshness of a dream.

Children enter schools to learn from adults, but adults would do well to learn from children and not to undo what children already do well.

-Christopher Nikoloff

“Ode: Intimations of Immortality,” lines 1-5

Ironically, most religious traditions attempt to get us to be more childlike (not childish) in our approach to the world, what Zen calls “beginner’s mind.” Children enter schools to learn from adults, but adults would do well to learn from children and not to undo what children already do well. The “Tao Te Ching” says, “When you have institutions, know where their functions should end.” Schools are wonderful places. But like all institutions, they have blind spots. We cannot fault them for not doing what they are not designed to do. But we can be aware of their limitations and mitigate them as best we can. We cannot become children again, but we can, as T.S. Eliot describes in his “Four Quartets,” “arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” Sometimes if we are lucky, the most magical education will help us to see something as if for the first time. Sometimes if we are very lucky, that something will not only be the world, but ourselves, too.

Christopher Nikoloff, Head of School

MAKE YOUR ANNUAL GIVING GIFT IN THIS TAX YEAR We are grateful for your contributions to the Annual Giving Campaign, which help to fund programs like athletics, performing arts, library, technology, field trips and much more. All contributions are tax deductible. If you would like to make your gift in the 2010 tax year, please make sure checks are dated and postmarked no later than Dec. 31, 2010. Checks can be mailed to Harker Advancement Office, 3800 Blackford Ave., San Jose, CA 95117. Gifts made online by clicking “Support Harker” from the Harker home page may be made before midnight on Dec. 31, 2010, and fall into this tax year. Please contact Melinda Gonzales, director of development, at with any questions.


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Fosters Friendships Within Community By Emily Chow ’08


n Oct. 6, the Class of 2013 took a short field trip to the lower school campus and was welcomed with cheers and applause by the Class of 2021. It was an exciting day to celebrate in the Harker community as the students joined together for an afternoon of scavenger hunts, three-legged races and snacks.


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ley Batz


All photos by Ash

The sophomores’ visit to the lower school marked the official kickoff of the Eagle Buddies program, an initiative aiming to bridge the campus divide by pairing tenth graders with third graders. Inspired by his own children’s experience with similar buddy programs, Butch Keller, upper school head, suggested starting Eagle Buddies, which strives to foster an ongoing relationship that will continue until the Class of 2013 graduates and the lower school students matriculate into the middle school.

Each third grader has been paired with one or two big buddies, and prior to the October kickoff the sophomores spent time writing introductions to their new buddies and talking about the exciting events to come. Crayons and markers in hand, the older students spent one advisory period creating handwritten cards about their interests. Some invited their little buddies to come watch their upcoming performances. Others talked about what they did during the summer and asked their little buddies to share stories as well. “I’m very excited to meet you. I remember when I was in third grade,” Apricot Tang wrote to her counterpart Annie Ma. “I had a buddy. It was lots of fun. I know we’ll have fun as well.” “The goals for the program are to foster a K-12 sense of community and to promote responsibility, relationships and communication,” said Carol Zink, history teacher and one of the Eagle Buddies


coordinators. Both students and faculty alike are looking forward to forging friendships. “I am most looking forward to watching the students interact during the various

school. “I remember being a little kid in the lower grades, and influences from the ‘big kids at Saratoga’ were huge,” Lang-Ree said. “I’m excited and honored to be able to be a friend to one of these awesome kids.”

“The benefits to young and old alike in encouraging communication, promoting responsibility and building and managing relationships cannot be overestimated.” –Sarah Leonard, primary division head

activities we have planned for them at each campus,” Joe Connolly, lower school dean of students, said. “I am also looking forward to watching the relationships develop and seeing the positive benefits each student, young and old, will receive.”

Eagle Buddies events will continue to happen throughout the year. A special tailgate party was organized before the Homecoming game, allowing the buddies’ parents to meet one another and providing a chance for the buddies to watch a portion of the game against Valley Christian-Dublin.

For Liam Bakar, hanging out with his Big Buddy Robert Deng meant watching Deng, a junior varsity football player, play on the field; they were able to say hello after the game finished.

Sarah Leonard, primary division head, was impressed by how quickly the new relationships unfolded during that October morning. “For most, it was instantaneous,” she said. “The buddies clicked, and new friendships were born.” Jeffrey Draper, sophomore class dean, thought it was great to see the care and attention taken by sophomores while working with their little buddies that day. For Cecilia Lang-Ree, Eagle Buddies offers a chance to meet lower school students outside of her grade 4 sister’s circle of friends. Paired up with Fiona Wiesner, Lang-Ree looks forward to helping her through the rest of her years at the lower “He’s very nice,” Bakar said of Deng, “and I like a lot of things that he likes.” In a series of notes, Deng told Bakar his interests in candy and video games and asked Bakar how Halloween went. In response, Bakar wrote him a Thanksgiving card answering questions and sharing more about his own interests. “When I first heard about the program, I really liked it,” Bakar’s mother, Carla Hindie, said. “Liam is my oldest, and he doesn’t have an older brother. I thought it was great to match him up with somebody who would be able to explain to him stuff that kids might not like talking to their parents about.” Hindie hopes to organize more opportunities for the two grades to get together. “I’m very happy,” Hindie said. “It’s an amazing idea. All the parents understand that it’s a pilot, so I’m sure that every year there will be more and more great things added to the program.” H A R K E R Q U A R T E R LY

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In January, buddies will be participating in the lower school’s annual Pajama Day fundraiser, and little buddies will visit the upper school campus in the spring for the spring spirit rally. In between, sophomores will maintain correspondence through letters and invite their buddies to performances and sports events. “We are a K through 12 school, and watching the interaction that day at Bucknall, all our hopes for the program came true,” Keller said. “We saw hundreds

“Liam is my oldest, and he doesn’t have an older brother. I thought it was great to match him up with somebody who would be able to explain to him stuff that kids might not like talking to their parents about.” –Carla Hindie, Little Buddy parent

and hundreds of pictures – students throwing sponges, having a good time. When [the kickoff] was over and the upper school kids were on the bus coming back, it was incredible having the kids say, ‘Thanks. This was fun. Thanks for doing this.’” The only complaint about the new program is that it is limited to third graders and sophomores. Students from other grade levels wish to participate and get involved. “So that’s the good negative comment,” Keller said. “Other people see it, and they want to be involved in it.” Keller, Zink and Connolly do intend to expand the program. As the 2011-12 school year begins, the Class of 2014 will be paired with buddies from the class of 2022. With the exception of freshmen, who are still adjusting to the upper school, Keller hopes that three classes of buddies will be involved in the program at one time. “It is my hope that this is the beginning of a long, time-honored tradition,” Leonard said. “The benefits to young and old alike in encouraging communication, promoting responsibility and building and managing relationships cannot be overestimated.” For more information on Eagle Buddies, contact Joe Connolly at All photos by Ashley Batz



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Photos on left by Ashley Batz; photo above by Mark Tantrum

By Zach Jones

“A Call to Innovation” to Feature Sun's Scott McNealy


he Harker Research Symposium, providing a forum for Harker students to foster their passion for science since 2006, promises to offer more excitement for science enthusiasts in 2011. Scheduled to take place April 23, the next symposium, titled “A Call to Innovation,” will be a salute to the computer science and technology industries. Scott McNealy, founder of Sun Microsystems and a Harker parent, will be the afternoon keynote speaker, with a morning keynote to be announced pending finalization.

As always, students in grades 6-12 will play a key role in the symposium, with student poster displays and paper presentations remaining central to its purpose. The student organization WiSTEM (Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) will again have a large hand in planning and running the event.

“We’re trying to do a two-fold approach this year with our exhibitors,” said Anita Chetty, science department chair. “We want to salute the historical development of Silicon Valley.” The symposium will also take a look toward the future and showcase ideas in development that have yet to reach consumers. Chetty also hopes the symposium will stand as a tribute to Harker’s own contributions to the industry, as many of its graduates and parents have had successful careers in technological fields. To this end, Chetty has been working with a committee of parents to help gather exhibitors. The exhibitors, she says, will offer interactive displays for visitors to enjoy, in addition to the keynote speakers and student presentations that have become staple aspects of the symposium. Parents interested in helping to bring exhibitors to the research symposium are encouraged to contact Chetty by e-mailing H A R K E R Q U A R T E R LY

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Leadership and Character Development Begin Early H

By Zach Jones

arker’s reputation as an academically rigorous school sometimes outshines the breadth of other key elements of student life, such as its many clubs and after-school programs. Another overlooked but highly important aspect of the K-12 experience is the emphasis on character and leadership, which has been a value at Harker since the school’s founding.

Leadership comes in a variety of forms. I think the wealth of volunteer programs that our students and faculty create and participate in speaks to this fact.

“The concepts of character and leadership have always been intertwined in what it means to be a Harker graduate, going back to the days of the Palo Alto Military Academy and Miss Harker’s School for Girls,” said Kevin Williamson, upper school dean of students.

– Kevin Williamson, upper school dean of students

The lower school also runs service projects for each grade level every year. Grade 5 ran its annual food drive in November, for example, and grade 4 students collected toys for their annual toy drive in December. Character building is also a valued component of the lower school athletics program, where values of fairness and good sportsmanship are constantly reinforced. After-school programs such as Share, Care



Harker students are instilled with these values from their very first days at the school, and these values are reinforced through various programs for the entirety of their Harker careers. “Children begin learning right from wrong at a very early age, even before school begins,” said Joe Connolly, dean of students at the lower school. “The development of strong character is part of that process. Values learned at an early age tend to stay with the child throughout life.” Upon entering Harker, kindergartners are enrolled in a required character development class that they continue to attend until they complete grade 5. “They learn about respect, treating others like you would like to be treated, being kind and polite,” Connolly said. This year, the lower school is focusing on compassion as a theme. “It is a theme we choose to bring up whenever the opportunity presents itself. Compassion can be different things depending on the age level.”

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by Ma

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and Be Fair and Students Play and Learning All Together (SPLAT) teach students about good playground conduct and how to treat one another while at school.

Provided by Olivia Zhu

Upon entering the middle school, students build upon the groundwork laid during their time as lower school students. “Middle school students learn about character, leadership and academic integrity through the assembly and advisory programs,” said Lana Morrison, middle school dean of students. Throughout the year, outside speakers are invited to speak at assemblies on various topics. Students later discuss the topics brought up during the speaker’s appearance at advisory meetings. “Some students find the smaller setting easier to freely discuss how and what they are feeling,” Morrison said.

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b Photo

Middle school students also have access to several clubs and programs to strengthen character and leadership qualities. Recently, middle school students earned several regional awards from the eCYBERMISSION national competition, which challenges students to solve problems in their communities using science, math and technology. Several students also collaborate each year to create the middle school literary magazine “enlight’ning,” which this year received recognition from the National Scholastic Press Association, American Scholastic Press Association and the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. Jones

A recent development at the middle school is the KidLead program. Designed specifically for kids aged 10 to 13, KidLead is a program intended to develop the leadership skills of young students. The program consists of weekly 90-minute sessions that are run by certified instructors, during which students lead groups in various problem-solving activities. Although specially trained “Koaches” oversee each session, they are intentionally set up so that students are the ones designated to lead the activities.

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Photo by Ashley Batz



Greg Lawson, assistant head of school for student affairs and a certified KidLead instructor, said he believes the program has great potential for teaching valuable leadership skills. “All you need to do is look at the dozens of community service opportunities, sports teams, performing arts groups, extracurriculars in general, student government, along with all the team academics like robotics, Future Problem Solvers, etc., to know that these skills have the potential to augment the development of this next generation of Harker leaders,” he said. By the time students reach the upper school,

character and leadership values have ideally become a part of their everyday lives. The upper school’s myriad programs and clubs are designed to further reinforce and develop these values within students. “There is a lot of buzz about ‘leadership development’ programs these days,” Williamson said. “Leadership comes in a variety of forms. I think the wealth of volunteer programs that our students and faculty create and participate in speaks to this fact.” Although Harker’s upper school population numbers fewer than 700 students, the Saratoga campus surprisingly houses more than 46 student clubs and organizations. “Our students are very self-motivated, and there is a lot of positive student encouragement to have peers step up and develop their own unique leadership styles,” Williamson said. The Global Empowerment and Outreach (GEO) club, for example, runs an extensive program on international issues each year, while the Harker chapter of the Key Club focuses on community service in the South Bay area. Outside of clubs, students use the leadership qualities they’ve developed at events and classes such as the Research Symposium, Student-Directed Showcase and the many debate tournaments that students attend throughout the year. The Honor Council, established by students and faculty in 2001 to create standards for academic integrity, is an important outgrowth of Harker’s commitment to the primacy of building character in its students. The group established the Honor Code, which is a central facet of academic life at Harker, and the Honor Council works to remind the student body about the Honor Code in a variety of ways. For instance, the Honor Codes and Honor Councils forum will be hosted in February and will draw similar organizations from independent schools across the country. Leadership and character development principles are also a key part of the Living with Intention, Focus and Enthusiasm (LIFE) program, which teaches students about the value of maintaining good physical, mental and emotional well-being. “The freshmen will be using the book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens’ as a base, and they will spend two sessions working through the seven themes,” said Jane Keller, upper school mathematics teacher, who is running the program with Connolly and Jeffrey Draper, upper school dean and theater teacher, as well as a committee of students. “The beauty of this is that it will be an ongoing lesson for the next three years,” she said. Photo by Mark Tantrum


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Photos by Jessica Liu

By Catherine Snider


he eighth Harker Fashion Show is coming! This year brings some changes to this annual extravaganza, but what won’t be any different is the spectacular fashion show, the delicious lunch and dinner, the opportunity to bid on fabulous prizes, and of course the chance to “see and be seen” and mingle with the Harker community. The event is being held at the Santa Clara Convention Center for the first time and will feature an exciting online auction, live auction and gift wheel.

Behind the scenes is the phenomenal team of Sue Prutton, the fashion show liaison and director of the upper school’s volunteer programs, and Laura Lang-Ree, chair of the performing arts department and director of the show. Prutton is always looking for volunteers to help out before and on the big day, and information is constantly being updated on the website, so go to, search on "fashion show, and keep checking back! 12


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Harker is proud to celebrate the achievements of Diana Nichols by appointing her honorary chair of this year’s fashion show! Nichols was named a Harker Board of Trustees lifetime trustee in 2005 and became the Board’s chair in 2010. She came to Harker Academy in 1973, and from 1992 until her retirement in 2005 was Harker’s head of school. It was she and her husband, former school president Howard Nichols, who dreamed of expanding Harker to include grades 9-12 and guided the process through the upper school’s opening in 1998.

Photo by Lori Rose

This year’s theme, “When I Grow Up,” will focus our attention on the cornerstone of our community, our students. They start off so small, dreaming big, big dreams, and by the time they leave the upper school, many have already begun to walk their life’s path. Proceeds from the event provide financial aid to students and help fund the building of our new performing and visual arts center.

Live Auction Info Each year the live auction items are eagerly scanned ahead of time and paddles prepared. Damon Casatico of Charity Benefit Auctions will once again lead the proceedings, and we promise you’ll be tempted by the packages being offered! Here are some of the treats being offered at this year’s live auction: ■ a year of your child’s life documented in one-of-a-kind pictures by our own Harker photographers ■ a consultation with premier Bay Area designers, including Dennis Baldwin, Chelsea Court Designs and Tanvi Buch ■ a San Jose Police helicopter ride over Silicon Valley ■ a private party at Santana Row’s hottest wine bar ■ club-level seats and a Zamboni ride at a Sharks game ■ all-access VIP passes to Infineon Race Track in Sonoma ■ a trip to the 2011 Emmy Awards in Los Angeles ■ the chance to throw out the first pitch at an Oakland A’s game ■ a handmade quilt with the names and artwork from each student of Harker’s Class of 2023 And there’s more, including an encore of our spectacular vacation homes and our annual Harker packages of the VIP graduation experience and meals from the Harker kitchen. Get your paddle ready! Photo by Jessica Liu

Director Spotlight What does Laura Lang-Ree most look forward to this year, her fifth as the fashion show’s director? We asked her!

We also asked Lang-Ree if she could give us a sneak peek at some surprises in store. She wouldn’t give too much away, but did hint at the possibility of some cameo appearances from alumni or maybe some interesting revelations from teachers about their dreams when they were growing up.

Have you ever dreamed about hobnobbing with your favorite celebrities at an awards ceremony? Anisha and Neeraj Gupta (Riya, grade 4) were able to do just that after their winning bid on last year’s live auction package, The Emmys: An Evening with the Stars. The Guptas and their good friends from Texas arrived at the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards at the NOKIA Theatre L.A. Live in a chauffeured limousine and had up-close encounters with Tom Hanks, Susan Sarandon, Ray Romano, Keri Russell, Steve Carell, Heidi Klum and January Jones, among others. “It was an unforgettable experience!” said Anisha Gupta. “We didn’t realize how amazing this event would be until we stepped out of the limo onto the red carpet and felt the excitement in the air! It was

unbelievable. The women looked beautiful in their glamorous gowns, and the men looked so handsome in their finely tailored suits.” The Guptas and their friends filled out their trip with shopping and dining and were very grateful to Bob Schick and his family and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for donating this wonderful prize. Said Anisha Gupta, “Bob, thanks for providing Harker with the tickets and giving us the opportunity to attend such a glamorous event. We are all hoping that we can make it to the Oscars or the Grammys next!" LY HHAARRKKEERR QQUUAARRTTEERRLY



Photos provided by Anisha Gupta

“I love that it’s centered not only around our kids, but the whole community. I’d like to think we are all young at heart, always looking to grow and challenge ourselves. When I see an amazing woman in her seventies or eighties doing great things, I always think, ‘I want to be her when I grow up!’ Life is full of possibilities, and this show reminds us of that.”

Night at the Emmys Winner



Photos by Jessica Liu ‘04

New and Returning Features Returning fashion show attendees will see a familiar feature out in the lobby before the lunch and dinner shows. Gift and wine wheels, like roulette wheels, will be providing a way to win some prizes even before you take your seat! Tickets for the wheels will not be presold and will be available only in the lobby at the show.


Chandani Family and Anthem – E Home and Loan

Ravi Panja, Usha Panja, Atul Dhablania and Incha Kim Robert and Lisa Sipko, Amanda Kalb, Evan Dorrian UPAYA – The Solution IN-KIND SPONSORS Blue Heron Design Group Diamond Quality Printing* James Craig Haircolor & Design*

*Eight-year sponsors to whom we are especially grateful!

Cybil and Mike Armstrong – Tico Construction

New this year is the online auction which will run during the lead-up to the event itself and will offer unique items including premium wines and gift packages from Santana Row. The online auction will provide an opportunity for everyone to participate in this fun event, even if you can’t attend; look for more details in January.

Contacts Volunteering Sue Prutton – Sponsorships Ram Duraiswamy – Usha Panja – Program Advertising Jeanette Hajjar – Tina Najibi – Live and Online Auction Kavita Tankha –



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Reserve Your Table This must-do event is on Fri., Feb. 18 at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Ticket sales will be online starting on Wed., Jan. 5 at 10 a.m. You and your friends may want to start organizing your tables so you can all sit together for the fun. Reserve early ( to get the best tables! Ticket prices are $85/lunch and $175/dinner.

By William Cracraft


Food, Clothing and Personal Efforts Aid Local, National and International Recipients Lower School Food Drive

Upper School Food Drive

The grade 5 food drive, captained by Pat Walsh, math teacher, went into high gear in late October. With help from teachers Diane Plauck and Shelby Guarino in making the food drive bulletin board, and Ann Smitherman and Tobias Wade as coordinators for K-2 and grades 3-5, respectively, Walsh and crew canvassed the school for food donations from all grades.

The upper school food drive for Second Harvest was driven by a friendly competition. The overall effort was spearheaded by parent Nina Yeats (Robert, grade 10) and coordinated with campus librarian Lauri Vaughan, but Lori Berenberg, grade 10 and Jeffrey Draper, sophomore class dean, took the drive to a new level, challenging other classes to beat the Class of 2013’s efforts. The collection of

Photos by Ashley Batz

The drive culminated in the delivery

nonperishable food items began Nov. 15. Support was bolstered when Steve Martin, executive chef, approved placards advertising the effort to be placed in dining areas. Mike Bassoni, facility manager, provided a pair of bins for use near student drop-off areas to remind parents of the effort and make it easy to donate goods straight from the car. By press time in early December, collection barrels were filling up, so the combination of efforts bodes well for Second Harvest!

of nearly 328 bags of food and $3,200 to St. Justin’s Community Ministry in mid-November, just in time for Thanksgiving. As always, the food and money were delivered personally by students and parents, who also took a tour of the facility and learned how their donations will be used to help families in need during the holiday season.

Candy-Grams for Kiva A Halloween-related effort took place before and after the orange and black holiday. The middle school’s Service Club arranged for the delivery of Halloween “candygrams” as a fundraiser for Kiva, the microloan organization that has been supported by Harker students in a number of ways. The proceeds from


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GreaterGood the fundraiser, $125, will be used to start an account with Kiva (www. The effort was guided by Steven Hewitt, middle school English teacher, with assistance from C.J. Cali, P.E. teacher, and Melinda Gonzales of the advancement office. “Many thanks to all who helped with this, whether in the form of purchasing, selling or encouraging others to take part in the effort,” said Hewitt.

After collection, the confections were sent to Operation: Gratitude for inclusion in care packages sent to military service personnel. Students were also encouraged to write letters of thanks to military personnel which were also forwarded. For more information on the national effort go to www.

“One kid told me he was going to read every book that was there! There were lots of smiles, big-eyed excitement and chatter, as they fidgeted in their seats. A couple times Barb had to tell them to calm down. As I left they were all saying ‘thank you’ in unison and waving goodbye. Thanks again. The stuff will be put to good use,” wrote Espinosa to his daughter.

Classroom Supplies for San Jose

Toiletries for Travis Center

Photo by Heather Russell

Kelly Espinosa, summer programs director, asked the community to help out George Shirakawa Elementary school with any classroom supplies no longer needed at Harker and was rewarded with several hand trucks full of books and supplies. Espinosa was alerted to the

I got a lump in my throat when I realized how much our donation meant to these families. I wish all of our students had an opportunity to experience that moment. - Joe Connolly, dean of students

Operation: Gratitude The lower school put forth another charitable effort in October, signing on to help national organization Operation: Gratitude, supplying treats to U.S. military personnel overseas. Coordinated by Heather Russell, lower school language arts and math teacher, students collected candy from Nov. 2-5, long enough after Halloween for students to get their fill, but soon enough for there to be substantial donations to the project. Harker’s contribution was more than 1,000 pounds, Russell said.



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This fall, Pat White, middle school history and social sciences teacher, fired up her annual collection of travel toiletries to go to the Georgia Travis Center for homeless women and children. “Hotel-sized toiletries are ideal for families who are staying at the Center,” noted White. “My new grade 6 advisory did its first sorting of toiletries in mid-October. We send an average of about a dozen printer-paper boxes a year to the Travis Center located in north San Jose.” White was preparing the first load to be delivered at press time.

Chef Helps at Correctional Cooking Event

Norm Espinosa reported in: “Barb (his friend) and her kids, 34 fifth graders, say, ‘Thank you!’

In August, inmates transformed San Mateo Women’s Correctional Center’s kitchen into a bustling culinary scene when four teams of former and current inmates, JobTrain students and celebrity chefs whipped up delectable dishes for a panel of judges, including Harker’s Danae McLaughlin, assistant to the executive chef.

“I took the stuff over and stacked it right in the classroom while the kids were still there. Well, when I brought in the first stack with my dolly, they all oohed and ahhed and said thank you. I explained that there was more. Then I kept bringing in more and more, and they were shocked.

To give back to the community and provide skills that can aid offenders after release, chef Elihu Kittell, who runs the kitchen at the jail, started the program in 2006 with chef Adam Weiner. Weiner works for JobTrain, a nonprofit educational and training institution that provides courses, job

need by her father, Norm Espinosa, who has a friend teaching grade 5 at the school.

GreaterGood training and additional assistance for all ages. McLaughlin, who has won a number of awards for her cooking, and Steve Martin, Harker’s executive chef, previously judged one of JobTrain’s competitions and then began hiring JobTrain students as interns in the Harker kitchen. In this event, McLaughlin served as a kitchen judge and tasting judge, commenting on the teamwork as well as the salads, salmon, jambalaya and pecan pie placed before her. She also chatted with the inmates about her experiences as a woman in a kitchen and the process of becoming a certified executive chef.

in the poorer areas of the Appalachian Mountains. A friend of Connolly’s who is an assistant head of school in Knoxville put him in touch with that organization.

Most of the clothing was slated to stay in San Jose and surrounding towns through Sacred Heart Community Services, but some clothing, including those items with a Harker logo, went to a charity that serves children in impoverished areas of Appalachia. Connolly asked parents to involve their children in the process of collecting and sorting the items, while teachers discussed the project in classrooms.

Connolly sends a special thank you to all of the families who donated clothing, to the many students and faculty who helped with the project and to parents Grace Thompson (Courtni, grade 2; Trevor, grade 4; Jordan, grade 6), Marcie Arena (Nicole, grade 1; Haley, grade 3), Mary Jo Townzen (Samantha, grade 5) and Nina Smith (Grant, grade 2) for their hard work sorting and packing on the last day of school.

With only two hours left on the last day of school before summer vacation, more than 35 lower school students, under the direction of four helpful parents, sorted and packed the last of over 5,000 pieces of donated clothing. A few days later, Connolly delivered

McLaughlin joined a galaxy of public officials including judges Sheriff Greg Munks, Supervisor Adrienne Tissier and Assistant Sheriff Trisha Sanchez in congratulating everyone for their effort.

Clothing Donations Help Locally and in Appalachia In May, Joe Connolly, lower school dean of students, put out the call to donate unneeded uniform clothing as a lower school service project. With the recent change in uniform policy a number of items, including pants, sweaters and jumpers, are no longer needed by students, so Connolly named his effort “Change for Good” and aimed to get the clothing to organizations that serve underprivileged children, many of whom need uniform-type clothing for school.

the bulk of the donations, almost 3,000 items, including khaki pants, white shirts and plaid jumpers, to Sacred Heart Community Services in San Jose. After unloading, Connolly watched as over a dozen SHCS volunteers filled requests from local families who were looking for school clothes for their children. “I got a lump in my throat when I realized how much our donation meant to these families. I wish all of our students had an opportunity to experience that moment,” said Connolly. The remaining 2,000-plus pieces of clothing with Harker logos were donated to a Salvation Army in Knoxville, Tenn., that serves families

Photos by Joe Connolly

“It was really a great feeling that I could actually be a role model for them!” McLaughlin said. “This event gave all these women something to look forward to and something to work towards. In the end, it was the look of accomplishment and empowerment that I saw on all their faces that was the best thing about being involved.”


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Drives Students By Emily Chow ‘08


ccording to the dictionary, an

Kadam, requires teams to use math, science

interviewed company officials to hear their

entrepreneur organizes, manages

and technology to present a solution to a

side of the story.

and assumes risk. That definition

community issue. One of last year’s teams,

clearly highlights ways that extracurricular

The Dust Busters, spent all year researching

activities at Harker offer great opportunities

a community controversy two students

for entrepreneurial thinking. In a number of Harker organizations,

to the coffers of their club or charitable organizations, while others develop the spirit of entrepreneurship through acquisition and effective use of materials

initially read about in the town newspaper

lower school where the lower school student council, advised by Kristin Giammona, elementary school head, gathers feedback and suggestions from its peers, then discusses solutions and ideas to address the concerns of the community. “It’s always [the students] saying, ‘Hey, we need to do something,’” Giammona said. “It’s always their idea. They definitely want to respond and help.”

related to mercury dust emissions from Lehigh Hanson Cement Plant.

campus, the lower school student council also supports the grade 4 toy drive and

regulations, the mercury level in water near the quarry was significantly higher than mercury levels in other bodies of

Before submitting their project online in

water in the area. The students took their

February, the quartet spent five months

findings to the Cupertino City Council and

collecting samples from four different

created a pamphlet that was distributed

bodies of water, testing for emissions in

door to door to residents.

the lab and compiling data to research ways to educate the residents about the pollution and possible health

In addition to improving things on

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

manages and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise –Merriam-Webster Online

organizational goals, many of which add

Entrepreneurship is clearly alive at the

while the plant was not in violation of

Entrepreneur: one who organizes,

students develop creative paths to achieve

and research.

The Dust Busters discovered that,

issues. They also

grade 5 food drive, bagging, loading and

The entrepreneurial aspects of eCYBERMISSION projects stand out. A good project “needs students who have good research skills,

organizing the donated goods before shipment. Last year, the student council organized a bake sale to raise money for

In the middle school, the eCYBERMISSION program, led by science teacher Vandana



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Photo by Ashley Batz

Haiti’s earthquake victims.

Photo by Ashley Batz

“There are years where we‘go public’ and are off to the championships and then there are years where we go Chapter 11.” – Eric Nelson, robotics advisor

“and the details evolved as they tried to get the various parts to work,” Nelson said. “In preparation for start of the robotics competition season which runs from January to April, the students must build up strategic partnerships with other teams, suppliers and machine shops in order to ensure we have access to the resources we are likely to need,” he added.

Photo by Eric Nelson

The efforts at all three schools embrace most, if not all, the elements of entrepreneurship, including risk: like adult entrepreneurs, students risk failure and risk spending their limited time on projects outside of required classroom work. The payoffs are there, however, in personal

The robotics team created a laser gun game for the Harker Family & Alumni Picnic (full picnic story on page 22).

growth, whether failing or succeeding, and

writing skills, data collection and analysis,

advisor. “Each year the team receives

and public relations skills to help them

‘seed funding’ through the school via the

interview experts in the field that they are

advancement office. The team learns early

working on,” said Kadam.

on that they must live within their funding

Peace-2-Peace is one of many serviceoriented groups on the middle school

limits, so all members are made aware of the need to plan and report.”

substantial cash prizes: Harker’s two regional winning teams, seven students in all, earned $18,000 in prize money last year, and one team traveled to Baltimore to present to the U.S Army organizers, an invaluable experience.

campus using entrepreneurship to

Elected officers appoint the corporate

advance its goals. Two years ago members

equivalent of vice presidents to oversee

organized a garage sale to raise money

every aspect of the team, including team

for an orphanage in India. Last year they

image (promotion, logos, recruiting, spirit,

sold Halloween “candy-grams” to start

etc.), business development (business plan

an account with Kiva, an organization

and sponsorships) and finance (purchasing,

which provides microloans to people in

vendor relationships and budget planning).

underdeveloped regions so they can start

in some contests, like eCYBERMISSION,

Of course, at Harker, the focus is on the lessons learned, not on results above all. In the robotics program, students learn a great deal more than just how to run a robot. They learn something about how to build and run an engineering company,


In an example of spontaneous

said Nelson. “There are years where we ‘go

entrepreneurship, for this year’s Harker

public’ and are off to the championships,

The single most obvious entrepreneurial

Family & Alumni Picnic, robotics students

and then there are years where we go

effort takes place in the hardware-filled

designed and built a laser gun game that

Chapter 11. In both cases the students

robotics laboratory. “I model my program

allowed picnic goers to fire lasers instead

learn volumes about not only engineering

after a Silicon Valley start-up,” said Eric

of water to fill and pop balloons. The idea

but also team work, leadership and

Nelson, physics teacher and robotics

was a product of a brainstorming session,

organization,” he noted.


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New Student or New Campus: Ensuring Smooth Transitions for All By Zach Jones As the school year began, many families were faced with the task of adjusting to Harker life, and they found ample support from Harker faculty and staff to assist with the transition.

year by helping them find classrooms, answering their questions and providing other general assistance.

Mary Hyver also received advice from other Harker parents, who discussed their routines and shared their experiences in dealing with homework and academic expectations. She was also able to find assistance when encountering bumps in the road. “Making friends and managing homework with after-school sports were particularly difficult,” she said. “The staff communicated regularly with my children and us and worked “Everyone has been very cooperatively, assisting my children gracious. Many [teachers with time management and social and administrative staff] interactions on the playground and in have inquired about how the the classroom.”

Kindergartners Sabrina and Sally Zhu attended a play-based preschool before joining Harker in the fall. When asked by their mother, Hong Wei, where they would like to go to school, both said Harker “because they can learn more from Harker in many areas.” They have found the balance between academics and fun to be refreshing. “Harker is fun because you learn, and it’s really even with playing and learning,” Sabrina said.

experience is going thus

Andrew Pluzhnikov, another Emma Hyver said the new approach to far. We appreciate that.” kindergartner, said Harker’s approach testing was one of the major changes – Lisa Chapman, mother of Julia Fink, grade 9 to teaching math was different from the she had to get used to. “After practicing method at his pre-school. His teachers, a couple of times, I am used to tests,” he said, helped him get used to the new method “with numbers and she said. “Similar to tests, changing classes just took practice.” projects about numbers, like making a number line.” Support from teachers has been proven helpful for Ben Hyver. “They Scott and Mary Hyver, parents of Ben, grade 5 and Emma, grade know that I’m not used to this because I was home-schooled,” he 3, brought their children to Harker after home-schooling them said. Their help has enabled him to become accustomed to student for a number of years. Prior to the start of the year, she and her life and make more friends. children attended a buddy party hosted by Harker, during which her children were paired with buddies and learned more about New student Kai-Siang Ang, grade 6, had to adjust the school. The buddies have helped new students during the to Harker’s academic emphasis after transferring

Welcome to some of the newest members of the Harker community!



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from a public school. He found that the orientation on his first day of school helped him get accustomed to the new experience, “because it got me comfortable with the campus and teachers.” He has also had fellow students assist him in using online student resources and attended a party hosted by the McNealy family (Scout, grade 4; Colt, grade 6; Dakota, grade 7; Maverick, grade 10), where he was introduced to other students. Though he initially found the experience “a little stressful,” he said that has now gotten settled in and is enjoying life as a Harker student. “Here we have a lot more courses I can take and I’m learning more on a daily basis.” Irene Bashar, grade 6, also had to deal with a new workload and responsibilities after moving on from the lower school. She appreciated that the teachers “explained all the class material clearly so that you can understand it when you get back home,” and that “they try hard not to give you way too much homework” despite the new academic requirements.

“As a teacher, it’s really fun to figure out who’s new, and work to have them feel like that’s not going to be a big deal as fast as possible.” —Jeffrey Draper, upper school drama teacher and the dean of the Class of 2014

Adjustment to a markedly different academic environment is something other parents have noted. “Harker is substantially more dialed in to the specific needs, social and academic, of our child,” said Lisa Chapman, mother of Julia Fink, grade 9, who started Harker in the fall. “There is a lot more accountability with respect to curriculum, status of her progress and her sense of inclusion.”

“Everybody here was really welcoming, and everybody was really helpful,” Fink recalled of her experience upon joining Harker this year. As an example, she mentioned that English teacher Erin Redfern frequently checks up on her progress and makes sure she is not causing herself too much stress. Chapman said she found it refreshing that Harker faculty and staff were proactive in making sure that experience has been comfortable. “Everyone has been very gracious. Many [teachers and administrative staff] have inquired about how the experience is going thus far,” she said. “We appreciate that.” Other parents advised Chapman to “get involved early. We attended events over the summer and met families, and converted that into get-togethers with our daughter and other kids. Those kids have become her good friends.” “Harker can be a big shock to a lot of students from public schools in particular,” said Jeffrey Draper, upper school drama teacher and the dean of the Class of 2014. “As a teacher, it’s really fun to figure out who’s new, and work to have them feel like that’s not going to be a big deal as fast as possible.” It’s not only academics that require adjustment. Students from other schools also have to deal with being new among students who have been attending Harker together for several years. “When there are so many Harker ‘lifers’ around them … once in a while those students have to fit in socially and find out where they are and acclimate themselves, in addition to their academics,” Draper said. Pairing up new students with those who have been at Harker for much longer, he said, is one way he accomplishes this goal. “There’s a lot of new stuff they have to deal with. Helping with that transition is one of the fun things I get to do.”

Photos by Ashley Batz

In addition to students from other schools, Harker students transitioning to a different campus also have certain responsibilities to learn and adopt. Freshmen moving to the upper school from middle school, for example, “get a lot more freedom … more than they’re used to, and sometimes they don’t know how to use that freedom,” Draper said. “But they figure it out pretty quickly.” Students are reminded to sleep and eat well, and are coached on how to make smart choices for themselves. The structure of the K-12 program also provides ample preparation for the switch from middle school to upper school. “We just seem to do that well,” Draper said.


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60th Annual

PICNIC On a Warm Wonderful Day!

By William Cracraft


n October 10, the 60th Harker Family & Alumni Picnic, Peace Love Picnic, unfolded on a beautiful and warm afternoon, the sound of Harker choirs and bands blending with the chatter of young and old enjoying a perfect fall day on the ’60s-themed middle school campus. This year the picnic featured special theme activities and areas to celebrate the 60th birthday of this one-of-a-kind event. Happy Birthday Boulevard, Past and Present Plaza, K-BID Sound of the ’60s Auction and Groovy Grove all provided birthday themed fun for young and old. And, for the first time, the lower school choir and combination lower and middle school jazz band took to the stage to entertain picnickers. All three campuses’ performing arts groups, along with a magician and storyteller, kept the stage hopping the whole day.

All photos by Ashley Bat




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New Harker parents Scott and Mary Hyver, with Ben, grade 5 and Emma, grade 3, enjoyed the picnic for the first time with two smaller children. The family was anticipating watching Ben perform with the lower and middle school jazz band later, and in the meantime, Mary Hyver said, “there is plenty to do for the kids.”


"I’m just here to be with my friends, just hang. My brother is over there, and he’s in kindergarten, so he came for all the games and rides and he’s having a really good time.”

Middle schoolers were there to see and be seen. Selin Ekici, grade 7, has been attending Harker since grade 3 and attends picnics regularly. “It has just always been really fun,” she said. Plenty of upper school students were evident. Sean Knudsen, grade 9, at the picnic to perform with Bel Canto and wearing his football jersey (the team was in the midst of a record setting seven-game winning streak), was wandering the picnic area with a friend, just checking things out. A full contingent of jersey-wearers were trying out the hammer-and-bell trial of strength with some success. Others

-Apurva Gorti, grade 9 This year, with her children on stage in the choir, “we ate and we watched their performance, which was really cool – this was the first time they have performed in it.” At the picnic, the stage is never empty for long and at 3:30 the ’60s Dance Party started to wind up the day. The crowd was still going strong at 4 p.m. when the $10,000 grand prize was drawn (see winners on page 25), and the evening was still warm as the last picnickers trundled off, sated with food, entertainment and memories.

This year the picnic fell on the birthday of former school president Howard Nichols, who passed away in late 2008. The charismatic and visionary leader was honored with a moving talk by his wife, Diana Nichols, chair of Harker's Board of Trustees, and his grandchildren, who assembled to cut a ceremonial cake.

were there to watch friends and family perform. “I’m here to support my cousin,” said Apurva Gorti, grade 9. “He’s singing.” Otherwise, she said, “I’m just here to be with my friends, just hang. My brother is over there, and he’s in kindergarten, so he came for all the games and rides and

he’s having a really good time.” As an alumna and now a mom, Preete Bhanot ’88, attending with her two children (Keshav, grade 2; Priya, grade 4), has a few picnics behind her. “I love it!” she said of the picnic. “I have been bringing [the children] since Priya was in kindergarten – we come every year.”


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♥ Volunteers with Heart ♥ By Lynette Stapleton


ou might wonder how the Harker Family & Alumni Picnic became such a time-honored tradition at Harker, celebrating sixty years and still so much fun. Well, the reason is simple. It’s the people! There are so many individuals to thank, who genuinely love the picnic – the hard-working, talented, dedicated, fun-loving people who support this event year after year. At its core, the picnic is nurtured by a group of parent volunteer committee chairs who give it their all to create a unique and fun-filled day for the entire Harker community. With a team like this you just can’t miss!

Peace and Lots of Love to our 2010 Committee: Ken Azebu, artfully and skillfully producing our colorful picnic publications and printed materials; Debbie Buss, tirelessly coordinating and creating amazing picnic décor (especially in the auction area); Fred Carr, serving for many years as master builder and booth setup king; and Nancy Claunch, acting as picnic historian and photo coordinator extraordinaire, along with making cameo appearances as one of the original Curbside Crazies;

"It’s so gratifying to be able to come together year after year as a truly dynamic community. We can’t thank you enough!”

again that creativity is alive and well -Lynette Stapleton at Harker as she adds her special magic to décor and costumed Curbside Crazy appearances;

Mark Peetz, offering his many artistic talents as our resident painter extraordinaire; Robyn Peetz, coordinating setup and cleanup duties in addition to the awesome Child’s Wheel of Fortune display and cheerfully assisting with anything and everything related to event setup; Kim Pellissier, tirelessly helping with everything imaginable, organizing T-shirt sales, assisting with general event setup, coordinating sponsor check-in and seating, and more; and Janet Rohrer, serving as our fearless team meeting manager with wit and wisdom and offering guidance and help with anything and everything, including Adult Wheel of Fortune setup; Lori and Ron Saxon, graciously returning to lend their expertise to auction setup; Alice Schwartz, displaying her amazing creative talents wherever needed; Ingrid Semenza, enjoying and excelling at being a first-time Teen Wheel coordinator; and Carol Underwood, happily assisting with the creative setup of our favorite MPR Bar;

Becky Cox, leading us to new heights in sponsor recruitment while offering her expertise in auction setup; Kelly Delepine, kindly stocking and creating the plant booth display along with all the table centerpieces throughout the picnic; Sandhya Jagadeesh, singlehandedly and remarkably handling all pre-picnic admission ticket sales; and Shalini Jain, taking on the coordination of the Adult Wheel of Fortune display with style and grace;

Shankari Sundar and Jane Villadsen, serving as our silent heroes of the picnic, as they graciously organize a huge team of volunteers to tally thousands of raffle tickets and distribute a wealth of student incentive prizes, even working tirelessly throughout picnic Sunday.

Lalitha Kumar, happily co-chairing T-shirt sales and offering invaluable assistance with raffle ticket accounting; Mary Malysz, serving as our super positive and innovative “wine wizard” as she acquires donated wine and sets up our wine game year after year; Greg Martin, again creatively and efficiently taking charge of the ever popular MPR Bar (what fun!); and Melody Moyer, proving once

We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to the nearly 700 loyal parent volunteers who worked the booths and served on committees, along with our amazing administrators, faculty, staff, students and alumni. Your help as sponsors and donors is deeply appreciated, too! It’s so gratifying to be able to come together year after year as a truly dynamic community. We can’t thank you enough!



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These are the people who make it happen, with the help of many, many more!

Super Cool Sponsors Outta Sight Supporters Paramitas Foundation / Winston Chen and Phyllis Huang

Picnic raffle ticket top sellers: first place – Avi Gulati, grade 3; second place – Emma Gurleroglu, grade 1; third place – Sum Yue Guan, grade 4.

Picnic Top Ticket Sellers By Kelly Espinosa

work and super ticket-selling skills!

ig thanks to all who bought or sold Grand Drawing tickets for this year’s Peace Love Picnic! We sold over 40,000 tickets with the help of students, parents, teachers and staff.

In the middle school race, top sellers were all from grade 7: Shannon Richardson sold 711 tickets; Eesha Chona, 671; and Emma Doherty, 566. By class, the Class of 2016 (grade 7) won with 4,807 tickets sold; the Class of 2017 (grade 6) sold 3,883 and the Class of 2018 (grade 8) sold 1,774. This is the second year the Class of 2016 has earned the class trophy, having won last year as sixth graders, which makes us all wonder about next year: can you say three-peat? Accepting the trophy for the Class of 2016 was Doherty, who was our third-place ticket seller in the middle school. It was a tight race, and Doherty really contributed to the grade 7 cause. Congratulations to all!


The Grand Drawing is a long-standing picnic tradition that allows everyone to pitch in and contribute to the fundraising efforts. From kindergarten students to upper school kitchen staff, everyone can get involved in the selling and the spirit and the fun. In the lower school race, top sellers were: Avi Gulati, grade 3, who sold 1,406 tickets; Emma Gurleroglu, grade 1, with 1,110; Sum Yue Guan, grade 4, with 1,040. These students received their trophies and prize money at school assemblies in early November, and we thank them for their hard

We think you are terrific and we really appreciate your support of Harker and the Family & Alumni Picnic.

Far Out Funders Communicart Graphics & Printing / Ken Azebu • The Costello Family • Gary and Pooja Gauba • Kalakoti and Indira Reddy • The Stapleton Family • The Wardenburg Family / Merrill Lynch Groovy Givers • Event Decor • Shahram and Neda Gholami • The Pellissier Family Dy-no-mite Donors Baysport, Inc. • The Chen Family • Aditya and Shalini Jain • Carl Liu and Mei Tang • The Riedel Family • Fermi and Aida Wang • Zhiyuan Yining Foundation Cool Contributors Karishma and Deepak Chandani Anthem / E Home and Loan • The Bammi Family • Cupertino Bakery • Friend of Harker • The Ghosh Dastidar Family • The Hardaway Martin Family • Interior Plant Design • The Ivey Family • Haiping and Jianmei Jin • Lion Market Deli • Jit and Illa Patel • Mustafa Gurleroglu Insurance Agency Happenin’ Helpers Balloonatics • Tony and Grace Chu • The Jamal Family • En Soon Ki and Chang Kim • Lagunitas Brewing Company • The Ma Family • Chester Rivera • Round Table Pizza • Vintage Wine Merchant • Walia • X and Y Yang

Grand Prize Winner


n the $10,000 grand prize drawing, the winner is … Debbie Hutchings, a parent who has been buying picnic drawing tickets every year since her son Doug, now a senior, started selling tickets at Harker in grade 1. There’s no better way to celebrate our 60th picnic than with a devoted Harker family winning our top prize!


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Homecoming By David Woolsey '06


ith activities beginning weeks prior to the main event, this year’s Homecoming on Nov. 12 was exciting and action-packed. As a close-knit K-12 community, Harker has a Homecoming celebration like no other. Students and faculty on all three campuses participated in spirit activities and competitions the week before the game, ensuring a fever pitch of excitement by game time. Lower school students had dress-up days, culminating in green-and-white day on the Friday before the game, when the football players and cheerleaders visited the lower school for a huge rally. Middle school students had costume and spirit competitions to get students excited. An assembly featuring upper school students helped to kick off Homecoming week.

All photos by Ashley Batz

"There was really good school spirit overall. Everyone really brought their A-game.” – Vladimir Sepetov, grade 12



At the upper school, spirit week included the traditional campus decorations, dress-up days and events at the pool. Each class competed to gain points by showing off their spirit, dressing up and helping decorate the campus according to this year’s theme of “imaginary places.” The freshmen chose the Land of Oz; sophomores, Mount Olympus; juniors, Treasure Island; and seniors, Hogwarts, from the “Harry Potter” series. In preparation for game day, additional bleachers were erected to accommodate the crowd, public address equipment was checked and re-checked, placement for observers and the many participants on and near the field – alumni, cheerleaders, Eaglets, the Harker Jazz Band – was allocated. Students, faculty and staff vacated the parking lot right after classes ended, and tailgaters moved in alongside John and Christine Davis’ (Cole ’10) motor home to set up for the pre-game festivities.

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A large and enthusiastic crowd of students, parents, staff and friends enjoyed the junior varsity game despite the 34-26 loss. Tailgate parties and traditional pre-game events, including a performance by the upper school Varsity Dance Troupe, the singing of the Harker anthem and national anthem by all combined choirs, and the upper school’s spirit competition tug-of-war semifinals, warmed up the crowd for the varsity game. Tailgate parties allowed special groups like alumni, seniors and Eagle Buddies (see page 18) to congregate during the lulls in the on-field action. Joe Connolly, lower school dean of students, was proud of one activity that was new this year. As a part of the new Eagle Buddies program, “The third grade students were invited to a combined tailgate with their tenth grade buddy families,” said Connolly. This event, sure to become tradition, gave the Harker community yet another way to get closer together. Third grader Matthew Jin said his two favorite parts of Homecoming were, “going to the jump house and the slide and seeing my tenth grade buddy.” Another popular spot was the alumni pavilion set up by Christina Yan, director of alumni relations. The alumni area included snacks as well as reserved bleacher seating. A wide range of alumni, from recent graduates to those who brought families of their own to the game, attended. Like last year, the BEST staff from Bucknall and Blackford once again oversaw the bounce house and bounce slide on Rosenthal Field, giving the young and the young-at-heart alike some physical activity. The Harker Jazz Band, directed by Chris Florio, played throughout the evening, using songs like “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath to pump up the crowd. The Varsity Dance Troupe, directed by Laura Rae, were transformed into Mad Hatters from the “Alice in Wonderland” movie during their pregame dance routine while the Eaglets and the junior cheerleaders joined the varsity cheer squad in rousing the fans throughout the game. The upper school class spirit competitions continued with the pre-game tug-of-war. The seniors defeated the sophomores, and the juniors beat the freshmen, setting the stage for a showdown between the two oldest classes at halftime. Amid the excitement, bright lights and fun, the Eagle football team prepared to face league opponent Valley Christian-Dublin. The home team came into the game missing several key starters who were sidelined by injuries. Nevertheless, the team hoped to add one more win to their 7-2 season, already a school record.


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Game time under the Davis Field lights: Harker won the toss and Valley Christian took the kickoff. On their first play, Valley Christian ran for their first touchdown, adding two more touchdowns before the end of the first quarter. Harker senior Chris McCallaCreary scored, and classmate Greg Cox ran in the two-point conversion to put Harker on the board, but that was the end of Harker’s offensive success. Though the Eagles ended up losing the game, the boys put on a good show and can hold their heads high after their record-breaking season. Speaking about the whole season, head coach Karriem Stinson said, “I am really proud of what this team has done. They are the tightest group I’ve ever been around, and I’m really proud to have coached them.” His remarks were echoed by Jason Mendel, grade 12, who said that he “enjoyed the team’s 6-0 start and bonding with his teammates the most.” Halftime brought the traditional presentation of the Homecoming court: freshmen Andrew Wang and Claudia Tischler; sophomores Rohit Agarwal and Tiphaine Delepine; juniors Jason Kuan and German exchange student Julia Lambertz; and seniors Amanda King, Brianna Tran, Ben Tien and Santosh Swaminathan. Seniors Greg Cox and Anisha Agarwal were crowned king and queen. Of his time with the court Swaminathan remarked that his favorite experience came before the Homecoming dance. “I really enjoyed our dinner at Left Bank and the banana split at Ben and Jerry’s afterwards. Life is good when you’re a prince.” In the tug-of-war finals, the juniors squared off against the seniors in what was to be a battle of epic proportions. While the juniors were declared the winners at the time, controversy later arose about the number of students on the juniors’ end of the rope and, at press time, negotiations on how to resolve the winner were continuing! “Overall, school spirit was amazing!” said Kerry Enzensperger, student activities coordinator. “Classes took it upon themselves to decorate Shah, Dobbins and Main Hall; I would like to thank the class spirit officers for all their hard work!” Vladimir Sepetov, grade 12, felt the same, saying, “Homecoming was awesome this year … I think there was good school spirit overall. Everyone really brought their A-game.” Ultimately, Homecoming is about coming together as a community and celebrating the school. While the game may not have turned out as we would have liked (56-8 for Valley Christian), the whole community had a great time together and is surely looking forward to next year!




By Zach Jones

GreenReport “The students were excited to be helping the environment ...” –Katie Molin, Spirit Club advisor

Green Efforts Online and On the Coast Energy Dashboard Goes Live

Harker’s energy manager dashboard is now live online at The tool displays the energy consumption measured by the smart meters installed at the upper and lower school campuses and gives detailed readouts on the day-to-day energy usage of each building on both campuses. It also shows how each building ranks according to the amount of energy consumed. The smart meters were installed in 2009 using grant money received by grade 11 students Shreya Indukuri and Daniela Lapidous from the Alliance for Climate Education.

Students Join Coastal Cleanup In late September, 50 members of the Harker community, including students, parents and teachers, got involved with California Coastal Cleanup Day by picking up litter scattered about Pillar Point and Pilarcitos Creek in Half Moon Bay. The effort was

kick-started by parent Kelly Lewis Brezoczky (Emma, grade 5; Charlotte, grade 3; Katherine, grade 1), who believed it to be a good fit for the lower school’s theme of compassion. Brezoczky received help from service and Spirit Club advisor Katie Molin and Redwood City’s Marine Science Institute to coordinate the event. “The students were excited to be helping the environment by collecting candy wrappers and other paper trash, as well as by finding an old tent and two shopping carts in the creek,” Molin said. Her daughter, Naomi, grade 7, received a T-shirt as a reward for discovering the most bizarre item of debris, a plastic net.


Photos by Katie Molin

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Advancement By William Cracraft

New Near Resource Center an Inspiring Space

The center, located in Shah Hall, adjacent to Near’s former classroom, reflects the late teacher’s love of American history. Near taught at Harker's middle and upper schools for 31 years prior to his passing in 2009. His legacy includes many hundreds

of students left with a love of learning and history and, now, the John Near Excellence in History Education Endowment Fund. The Near endowment, the first of its kind at Harker, funds robust online research databases for students and provides grants to students or teachers each year for research on history projects of their choice. The first three recipients of John Near Scholar Grants have already received their funding and are listed in a display alongside photos of Near and a plaque commemorating both his contribution to Harker and his philosophy for the fund’s use. As only interest from the endowment will be spent, and none has yet accumulated, the center, the first grant recipients and initial databases were funded by special 30


contributions from the Class of 2010 (with 100 percent participation!), a John Near Fun Run, a benefit poker game and special contributions from alumni. Those attending the reception included history department faculty members, administrators, advancement office staff, longtime employees, John’s wife, Pam Dickinson, director of Harker’s office of communication, and daughter Casey Near ’06. Key members of the John Near Resource

Center planning committee were also present, including Jennifer Gargano, assistant head of school for academic affairs; Donna Gilbert, history department chair; Susan Smith, head librarian; Mike Bassoni, facility manager; and Sarah Covey ’91, a former student of Near’s and interior designer who donated her expertise to the project. All were instrumental in making the room come to life. Once the gathering was underway, Dickinson acknowledged John’s parents, Jim and Pat Near, who established the endowment fund in their son’s honor – and based on John’s own wishes – just months before he passed away. She also recognized the special role so many


Photos by Ashley Batz


he official opening of the John Near Resource Center took place in early November, attended by a score or more family, students, staff, alumni and friends.

played in achieving the final outcome. “We all agreed this space needed to be inspirational, warm and comfortable,” she said. “Each person involved just intuitively knew the right thing to do and did it. It’s an amazing space, and John would have loved both the space and the process.” The room features media and periodical libraries that will each expand over time, a flat screen and DVD/VHS player, a collaborative work table, comfortable sofa seating and bookcases of Near’s books from his personal library. Postersized, framed black and white photos decorate the walls – from singer Billie Holiday to President John F. Kennedy – each representing iconic facets of American history and culture that had resonated with Near. Gilbert noted that the room has already been used by both students and teachers in various ways and has become a bit of a sanctuary for teachers to enjoy a few moments away from the bustle of the hallways. Each year the room will also host a reception for the John Near grant scholars when they receive their awards, but from day to day, Near’s scholarly soul, represented by the photos and books he loved, fills the room, providing a lasting memory of one of Harker’s finest teachers.

By Emily Chow ’08

Improvements and Upgrades Happen On All Three Campuses


lance around the Saratoga campus and you will notice significant upgrades – a 3,803-square-foot library, a 40-car parking lot with two adjoining sport courts, and a 1,600-square-foot deck off Shah Hall. But the renovations don’t stop there, according to Mike Bassoni, Harker’s facility manager. Beginning last year and continuing through the summer, all three campuses have received cosmetic and technological upgrades. At the middle school campus, new modular air conditioning units were installed in all academic classrooms, and landscape planters now line the asphalt outside of building P. The dark red trim of all Blackford buildings has been painted dark forest green, “to give the campus a fresher, more modern look and tie the campus into the school colors,” Bassoni said.

The addition of new parking spaces near the main office allows for more spaces for students, faculty and visitors. For studying between classes, students now have access to indoor charging stations around campus to provide additional electric circuits. “One of these sites has lockers so that laptops can be left unattended while charging,” Bassoni said, referring to the charging stations in Main Hall. All in all, Harker aims to maintain state-of-the-art facilities to enhance the learning environment and address the community’s needs.

Photos by Ashley Batz

The lower school campus now has synthetic turf in the kindergarten playground and a new, more efficient filtration system for the pool. To accommodate the expanding instrumental music program, Harker has installed a 960-square-foot modular building.

In addition to the new library, outfitted with eBeam technology, expanded study tables and enhanced wireless connectivity, there are several other expansions and upgrades at the upper school campus. More photovoltaic cells were installed on the roof of Nichols Hall, pushing the total output of the system to 20 kilowatts. Inside Nichols Hall, there is an extensive indoor plant collection to “enhance the quiet environment of the Nichols Hall atrium,” explained Bassoni. On the other side of campus, a new 2,000-square-foot sun deck extends out of the Shah Hall patio, offering more seating and outdoor lounging areas for students.

Harker aims to maintain state-ofthe-art facilities to enhance the learning environment and address the community’s needs. H A R K E R Q U A R T E R LY

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PerformingArts “Much Ado About Nothing” Receives 21st-Century Makeover

Photos by Ashley Batz



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Audiences filled the seats at the Blackford Theater in late October to catch the upper school’s production of William Shakespeare’s much-beloved comedy “Much Ado About Nothing.” Directed by upper school drama teacher Jeffrey Draper, this take on the Bard’s hilarious tale of unrequited love shifted the setting to a U.S. Navy base just after the close of World War II. The set design by Paul Vallerga was, as usual, imaginative and complex, incorporating a large facsimile of a battleship into its background. Actors wore time period-appropriate garb (courtesy of costume designer Caela Fujii) consisting of naval officer uniforms, modern dresses and loud, tropical shirts. The play itself, famous for its skillful wielding of timehonored comedic devices such as malapropism and mistaken identity, was well-acted by the large and diverse cast, who splendidly recreated the unique and

By Zach Jones

clashing personalities that have made it a favorite of Shakespeare enthusiasts. Leads Aditya Parige, grade 12, as Benedick and Christina Li, also grade 12, as Beatrice filled their performances with the kind of swagger and sarcasm that has made the romantic tension between the two characters a pleasure to watch for centuries. The production was made all the better by the offbeat interpretations of several key characters, including senior Julian Wise’s portrayal of the constable Dogberry as an overly self-assured disciplinarian with a heavily affected Southern accent. He and his troupe of inept guards were a crowd favorite, never failing to incite cascades of laughter with their blend of absurdity and slapstick.


School Life Dramatized in “Lockers”

Paul Vallerga created another of his convincing, elaborate sets for the play, convincingly recreating the familiar environment of an American middle school. Danny Dunn, technical director, once again designed and operated the lighting to give each scene the right dramatic effect. The production staff received generous help from students Jeremy Binkley, Jeffery Hsu, Mohannad Khadr, all grade 8, and Shilpa Repakula, grade 7.

Photos by Ashley Batz

The middle school production of Jeremy Kruse’s play “Lockers” gave audiences unique insight into the lives of middle school and early high school students. Directed by Monica Colletti, middle school performing arts teacher, the somewhat unconventionally structured play mostly told several smaller stories instead of including an overarching plot line. Each vignette was a self-contained tale about various facets of the often difficult nature of student life, including peer pressure, academic anxiety, dating, cheating, name-calling and just feeling different. The various themes were tied together by monologues delivered at the beginning, middle and end of the play by the character Nick, a troubled student played by Ramzi Jahshan, grade 8.

gave students the chance to show off their wide range of acting talents by portraying various types of characters.

The structure of the play served the production well, allowing actors to play multiple roles without having to resort to complicated costuming. It also H A R K E R Q U A R T E R LY

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PerformingArts Cultures Meet at “Songs of the Americas”

Will, Brother John” by John Sacco.

North American music took center stage at the “Songs of the Americas” vocal concert on Nov. 18, featuring the voices of upper school singing groups Cantilena, Camerata and Guys’ Gig, and directed by Susan Nace.

The student-run, all-male vocal group Guys’ Gig sang their own selection of tunes, turning in their renditions of “Up On the Roof” by Gerry Goffin and Carole King and a medley made up of songs by Toto, Cheb Khaled, One Republic and Eagle Eye Cherry. Their closing number was “Goodnight, Sweetheart,” composed by James Hudson and Calvin Carter.

Reflecting the diverse culture of America herself, the selection of songs covered a wide range, from American roots to Mexican folk songs to interpretations of modern rock. Camerata was the first to perform, singing “Alleluia” by William Billings, “Ching-A-Ring Chaw,” an adaptation by Aaron Copland, Stephen Foster’s “Beautiful Dreamer,” which featured a solo performance by soprano Alice Tsui, grade 10, and “Gloria” from Daniel Pinkham’s “Christmas Cantata.”



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Santana Row greeted the holidays in style the evening of Nov. 16, when its yearly tree lighting ceremony was graced with appearances by the middle school choir group Harmonics, the upper school Harker Jazz Band, the lower and middle school dance team Dance Fusion and the upper school show choir Downbeat. The show, directed by Harker’s own performing arts chair Laura Lang-Ree, also featured narration by actors from grades 4-6, with a special appearance by upper school drama teacher Jeffrey Draper.

Cantilena, Harker’s all-female classical group, sang a highly varied set, including “Watane,” a “soundscape” piece based on Iroquois music that featured percussion and sound effects, and the traditional Mexican song “Las Amarillas,” which contained some very rhythmically complex arrangements. The group also performed a reprise of their version of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “In Windsor Forest” from the Women’s Choral Festival, following up with a pair of traditional African American Spirituals, “Steal Away” and “Every Time I Feel the Spirit.” Cantilena closed the show with Abbe Betinis’ “Be Like the Bird.”

Photos by Ashley Batz

Following Camerata was a set of solo performances by students from various grade levels. Govinda Dasu, grade 11, performed Aaron Copland’s “’Tis the Gift to be Simple,” Vrinda Goel, grade 12, performed the Spanish song “¿Con qué la lavaré?” by Joaquin Rodrigo, and junior Sebastian Herscher sang “Brother

Performing Arts Groups Light Up Santana Row

Milestones Former Head Nichols Named Board of Trustees Chair By William Cracraft


Photo by Lori Rose

ifetime trustee and former head of school Diana Nichols has accepted the position of chair of the Harker Board of Trustees. Nichols was instrumental in building Harker into the world-class school it is today in tandem with her husband, the late Howard Nichols (1940-2008). “Diana brings to the position of chair a rich legacy at Harker and a unique perspective to guide the institution into the future,” said Chris Nikoloff, head of school. Nichols takes the helm at an exciting time for Harker as it moves into the next phase of the Saratoga campus upgrades, which will include a state-of-the-art performing arts center and new athletic facilities. Since her retirement from school administration, Nichols has remained a force in developing school resources, especially in promotion of the annual Harker Fashion Show (see page 12 for more on both the fashion show and Nichols' contribution to it).

Art Instructor Participates in Artist Residency Program By David Woolsey '06


his September upper school art instructor Pilar Aguero-Esparza participated in Zer01’s biennial project, “Out of the Garage.” This project offers artists from all over the country a chance to display their art for the public as it is in the process of being made. The display, which took place in the South Hall of the San Jose Convention Center, was part of a series of events occurring throughout the middle of September to highlight the completed residency projects.

Aguero-Esparza and Mendoza presented their new line of footwear at a fashion show at Works Gallery in San Jose.

For her residency, AgueroEsparza collaborated with fellow artist Dio Mendoza, a professor at California State Monterey, to learn “the entire process of designing and fabricating the traditional Mexican sandal – el huarache.” While their project was on display at the convention center, upper school students Photos by Ashley Batz taking AP Studio Art took a field trip to view all the art exhibits. For the “Out of the Garage” exhibition AgueroEsparza and Mendoza presented their new line of footwear at a fashion show at Works Gallery in San Jose.



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EagleReport Upper School

Catch up on Harker sports at Harker News Online ( Just search on “sports”!

Football The varsity football team made a habit of breaking records this past year. The team got off to the best start in school history, posting

receiving, while Eagles’ sophomore Michael Chen had 10 tackles. Bhatia was named the San Jose Mercury’s Male Athlete of the Week for his performance. Unfortunately, the undefeated streak wasn’t destined to last forever, and the team eventually fell to some tough league opponents. They ended the season 7-3, breaking the school record for best season.

Volleyball The varsity girls played well against some topnotch opponents this year. The girls started off their preseason play with an impressive eight-game winning streak. After league play commenced, the girls played against some of the toughest teams in the section, ending the season with a 15-11 overall record.

an impressive six wins in a row. Offensively the Eagles were led by senior Rishi Bhatia at quarterback and senior receivers Gautam Krishnamurthi and Greg Cox. Cox and Krishnamurthi were also essential on defense at linebacker and safety, respectively. The Eagles’ sixth game proved to be a great game for Bhatia, who played a role in all 27 of the Eagles’ points in their 27-6 victory over Capuchino High School. Bhatia played amazingly with 228 yards passing and 117 yards rushing. Krishnamurthi pulled in 150 yards 36


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by David Woolsey ‘06

That record earned them eighth seed in this year’s CCS tournament. Notre Dame-Salinas, the ninth seed, traveled to Blackford in mid-November to see who would advance to the quarterfinals. After losing the first two games the Eagles rallied and won the next two games, forcing a fifth and deciding game. While the game didn’t end up going the Eagles’ way, the girls played well. According to Theresa Smith, head coach, the team was led on the court by Julia Lambertz, grade 11, as well as senior leaders Shireen Moshkelani, Henna Mishra, Christine

Chien and Ava Rezvani. Several Eagles were honored by the West Bay Athletic League in which Harker competes. Both Lambertz and Moshkelani were selected for Second Team All League. Lambertz led the Eagles in kills with 304, second in league, and Moshkelani led the league in digs with 456, enough to earn her seventh position in CCS. The JV squad also had an impressive year finishing 19-14, including several strong showings at local tournaments. The team was led by Lucy Xu, grade 11 and Divya Kalidindi, and Helena Huang, both grade 9. The freshman team also put on a great show this year, finishing 4-4. Coach Smith said, “We’ve never had enough girls come out to have a freshman team before, and we were thrilled by the way they came together as a team and worked hard to get better every day.”

Cross Country The cross country team ran in a variety of tournaments this year and overall were very strong in their performance. Both the girls and boys teams placed fourth and earned spots in the CCS race. In the girls, race Ragini Bhattacharya, grade 10, who led the team throughout the regular season, placed 14th, missing the top ten by a matter of seconds. Freshman Claudia Tischler placed 33rd, and Anne West, grade 12, took 44th, which helped the team earn ninth place overall. The boys also did well this

Photos by Ashley Batz

EagleReport Photo provided by Winged Post/Talon

“They worked hard all season, and their dedication paid off.” – Loreen Talagtag, middle school cross country coach year with Proteek Biswas, grade 11, leading the team at the CCS race with his 41st place finish. Adarsh Ranganathan, grade 12, was close behind at 43rd. The boys also did well as a team, taking 10th place. earning eight victories. The team also earned a spot in the league tournament where they lost to tough teams from Fremont High and Mountain View. The Eagles were led by strong offensive play from Keri Clifford, grade 10 and Cynthia Shwe, grade 12.

Water Polo The boys water polo team competed well this year and finished 12-10 overall, a school record. The team was led by Chris Ng, grade 12, who consistently led the team in goals. The boys were seeded fourth in the league tournament and ended the day with a third place finish by defeating crosstown rival Sacred Heart 9-8.


Golf Finishing with a 7-4 overall record, the girls golf team had a great regular season. The team was led by Kristine Lin, grade 9 and Patricia Huang, grade 10, who both qualified for CCS. Both girls golfed well at the tournament with Lin placing 22th and Huang 26th out of approximately 100 golfers.

The tennis team’s 12-6 regular season showing earned them the number eight team seed in the CCS tournament. As such the Eagles were awarded a bye in the first round. In the second round the girls faced Sacred Heart Prep, and, while the match was close, Sacred Heart came out on top 4-2.

The girls worked hard this season,

In individual contests Jenny Chen, grade 10, qualified in singles, and the doubles team of Daria Karakoulka, grade 10 and Swetha Bharadwaj, grade 9, also qualified. With such a young talented squad the outlook for the future of the tennis team is bright.

Photo by Ashley Batz



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Photo by Ashok Krishnamurthi


Football The varsity A football squad played well against tough competition all year long and finished third in their league with a 5-4-1 record. Joe Mentillo coached the boys and was “impressed by their consistency and ability to rise above challenges.” Despite losing to some of the tougher teams in the league, the boys fought hard all year long and never gave up. The varsity B squad finished 6-1 this season with their only loss coming against King’s Academy, who ended the season as league champions. The team was led by the dual offensive power of Jonathan Keller and Nathanial “Noko” Sterns, both grade 7.



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The junior varsity A squad also played well this season, posting a 3-1-1 record and finishing second in their league. Alex Youn, grade 6, ran the offense from the quarterback position and contributed heavily on defense as well. Nicholas Bean, grade 6, was an asset on both sides of the ball, “stepping up and staying tough against bigger opponents,” according to coach Walid Fahmy.

The team started off the season well with five non-league races. In each of these races the Eagles had athletes finish in the top 10. The last race before league finals was hosted by Harker, and the team made great use of the home-field advantage. In the girls race, Harker had five athletes finish in the top 10, including second,

Cross Country The Eagle runners had a strong showing this year in multiple divisions. Standout boys included Corey Gonzales and Thomas Doyle, both grade 8. In the girls races, Diba Massihpour, grade 8, Alyssa Amick, grade 8 and Alexandra Deller, grade 7, all ran extremely well throughout the season.

Photo by Ashley Batz

Middle School

EagleReport third and fourth places. The boys also performed well with four racers finishing in the top 10.

Photos by Ashley Batz

At the league finals the Eagles continued their excellent showing winning the boys’ races and taking second place in the girls’ races. coach Loreen Talagtag said, “We are so proud of all our racers. They worked hard all season, and their dedication paid off.”

The girls’ only loss came to eventual league champion Crystal Springs Uplands in a toughly contested battle that ended with the Eagles losing 5-7. The girls rebounded with two more wins, finishing the season 7-1.

Lower School

The team was led largely by Marita Del Alto and Regen Heslop, both grade 7. These two athletes made key contributions to the team both pitching and at the plate. They were supported defensively by Gillian Wallin, grade 8 and Ankita Sharma, grade 7.

The littlest Eagles had a great season this year finishing first in their softball league with a 5-0-1 record. Coach Alisa Vinkour was very proud of her girls and said, “I was really struck by our girls’ strong work ethic. They really stuck with it, and as a result we played really well all season.”

Swim The swim team is one of the few sports where middle and lower school students compete together. The team practices at the lower school, and this year they competed in two meets. The team got strong performances from a variety of swimmers including Jeremy Binkley, grade 8, Mason Menaker, grade 5 and Swetha Tummala, grade 6.


Football The junior varsity B Eagles rounded out a great year for Harker football with their 3-1-1 record. The boys’ only loss came in a close game against crosstown rival Sacred Heart. The team’s performance was enough to earn them second in their league and help to prepare them for middle school football next year.

Photo by Ashley Batz

The girls softball team had an excellent season this year playing tough defense and putting quite a few points on the board. In the first four games the girls outscored their opponents 40-12, and they rode this scoring wave to a 5-0 start.

Photo by Ashley Batz




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By William Cracraft

Alumni Enjoy the Party at Annual Picnic


he alumni turf was well-trod at the 60th annual Harker Family & Alumni Picnic in October. Over 175 people, including more than 80 alumni, came for the food – sausages, veggie burgers and more – and stayed for the company. The alumni area was set back from the blacktop under the shade trees and featured its own food supply and a peaceful lawn.

Joining alumni and their family and friends were faculty and former faculty including Cindy Ellis, Chris Daren, Howard Saltzman and Mena Lynch. Classmates mingled, renewed friendships and met each other’s kids. Alumni director Christina Yan ’93 noted many alumni were at their first picnic since graduating, and she heard at least one alumnus say how much he was looking forward to seeing the group again next year.

Over 175 people, including more than 80 alumni, came for the food – sausages, veggie burgers and more – and stayed for the company.

All photos by Ashley Batz



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Alumnus Usua Amanam Excels at Stanford easier [and now] I couldn’t imagine being at a better place.”

By David Woolsey '06


sua Amanam ’09 was not thinking about playing Division 1 college football while in middle school at Harker, but he learned a lot back then that is helping him to be successful today. Now he is a scholar athlete at Stanford University competing for time in the running back spot and majoring in energy resources engineering.

Amanam fondly remembers playing on Harker basketball teams and the friends he made while attending the school. He remarked that some of his best friends, with whom he still stays in touch, are those he met at Harker. Amanam also had a few pieces of advice for all the budding student athletes out there. He said that it is important to remember that not everything will come easily and that you have to work for every little bit. His dad taught him that you can

One of the most challenging aspects for student athletes at a school like Stanford is managing their time effectively. These students have not only the usual responsibilities of classes, homework and tests but additional practices, workouts, games and travel to manage. Amanam admits that time management is one of the more challenging aspects of his life right now but says that as an athlete, he gets lots of help from tutors, academic advisors and teammates who want him to be successful. Amanam said, “It took me a while to learn how to balance everything, especially my first year, but it has gotten

Photos provided by Usua Amanam ’09

“I’ve been blessed and I really appreciate everyone who helped me get to where I am.” –Usua Amanam ’09

never be satisfied and that constantly striving to improve is the key to success. Of his current situation Amanam said, “I’ve been blessed and I really appreciate everyone who helped me get to where I am … it has been a really humbling experience.”

Alumni Care Packages Assembled Ten parents recently joined Christina Yan, director of alumni relations, to put together care packages for alumni who are away at college. “We had a great time,” said Yan. “Lots of laughing and parents comparing stories of sending warm sweaters to kids in cold climes.” The group put goodies that the students can snack on during exams and a letter with faculty messages into the packages. They finished early and had time to enjoy coffee and conversation before touring the justopened John Near Resource Center (see page 30) as well as the new library, which opened in September.

Photos by Ashley Batz


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By Casey Near '06


Alumni Q & A Sehba (Zhumkhawala) Ali ’90 is the founder of the highly successful KIPP Heartwood Academy and serves as the chief academic officer for all KIPP Bay Area schools. After graduating from the University of California, Ali earned an M.Ed. from Stanford, where she first joined the KIPP program. She recently wrote an opinion piece for Newsweek about the state of education, and we were able to catch up with her about her early days at Harker and the beginning of her lifelong passion.

Photo by Ashley Batz

just as well. Over 90 percent of our students will be the first in their families to graduate from college. When I started the school, I believed it would take a generation of graduates from our schools graduating from college and coming back to their communities to change the expectations for kids in East San Jose. I was wrong. I am seeing that change in families’ expectations in ONE generation. Younger siblings of our students fully believe that they will do well in school, go to college and graduate from college. It is not a question for them of if they will go to college but where they will go. The rapid change of expectations amongst our families and the growth I see daily in my students inspire me to keep doing this work every day.

Sehba (Zhumkhawala) Ali '90


When you were at Harker, did you dream of doing what you do now?

A: In fifth grade at Harker, my

teacher Ms. [Mary] Tomassello had our class write letters to ourselves about what we wanted to do when we grew up. She mailed these letters back to us when we graduated from college. I have kept my letter in my desk drawer at work since I started KIPP Heartwood seven years ago. In my letter, I wrote about how I dreamed of being a teacher one day. While I never thought as far as starting a school or being a principal, I did want to be a teacher. Even now, I consider myself a teacher first.

Q: What do you find most exciting

about your career or current project?

A: I started a school because

I believe that kids from poor neighborhoods are just as smart as the kids I grew up with, and given the opportunity, they will perform

Q: What personal traits make you successful at what you’re doing?


Many of the traits that make me successful today are those that I learned at Harker and Castilleja. I learned to persevere through difficult challenges, stand up for what I believe, be courageous about thinking out of the box and being a trailblazer, look in the mirror and reflect often, serve my community, and finally, follow my passion.


What in your life so far took you the longest time to learn?

A: I’ve learned so many lessons, and I have so much more to learn. I think what’s been hard for me to digest is failure. I truly believe we learn most from failure, but it’s hard to reconcile that when I fail at something that is important to me.


What’s on the top of your personal and professional “lists” right now?


I have been blessed with two wonderful daughters and a loving husband. They are my top priority right now. Family is incredibly important to me. Professionally, I am really committed to training and coaching the school principals I manage so they can lead schools that are excellent and to which I would be proud to send my own kids.


Tell us something surprising about yourself.

A: I don’t think this is surprising to those who know me well, but at the end of my career, my dream is to go back and teach at a KIPP school.


What advice do you have for current Harker students?

A: Follow your passion and give

back as much as you can to your community. To me, life is not how much money I make but how much I do to improve the lives of those around me and bring change to the world.


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By David Woolsey '06

Alumni Q & A Jenny Ma ’07 graduated with a degree in general biology from the University of California, San Diego, in 2010. She went on to graduate school at the University of Southern California where she hopes to receive her master’s degree in teaching in 2011. She also completed her teaching certification at the University of Michigan. She currently resides in Detroit, where she works as a middle school English and science teacher in the Teach for America program.

Q: When you were

at Harker, did you dream of doing what you do now? Photo provided by Jenny Ma

A: While I was

attending Harker, becoming a teacher and pursuing the field of education never occurred to me. However, my fond memories of Jenny Ma '07 my experiences as a student at Harker gave me the strength and courage to stand up and fight for better educational opportunities for all students in this nation. I want to be the Mrs. Anand or Mr. Walsh to the children here in Detroit; I want to be like the teachers who inspired my passion for learning. Editor’s note: Nina Anand and Pat Walsh teach science and math, respectively, at the middle school.


What do you find most exciting about your career or current project?

A: I love being a teacher. Any

educator will tell you it’s a difficult job, but there is never a dull moment. What truly excites me about my career choice is that I am blessed with not only the opportunity to touch lives, but also to transform them.


What personal traits make you successful at what you’re doing?

A: Patience is definitely one of the

most important traits that make a good teacher. With patience, you aren’t afraid of struggles and challenges in the classroom because you know that you are ultimately helping your



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students, but you need the time to see that growth. Aside from patience, a teacher needs to have the undying faith and relentless pursuit of student success. I know that each and every one of my students, despite whatever extraneous difficulties he or she may face, is without a doubt capable of succeeding in life. It is that unwavering faith in my students that drives me to give them my 110 percent every day.

Q: What in your life so far took you the longest time to learn?

A: I know it took me most of my life so far to figure out what I wanted to do with it. Part of me wanted to be a pediatrician, another part wanted to run off and be a musician. I just knew that I wanted to give myself to the world and give something back. At the moment, I can proudly say I have officially figured out my career path, and whether it’s to be a teacher or an administrator, I know that I want to stay in education because there is so much left that needs our immediate attention. Not every child is as fortunate as I was to have gone to a school like Harker. The teachers are the ones that make Harker so incredible, and maybe I can bring a piece of Harker to my students all the way out here in Detroit.


What’s on the top of your personal and professional “lists” right now?


Currently my first and foremost priority is to be there for my students and inspire a passion and love for learning and reading. I want them to realize that I will never give up on

them. More specifically, [our program] wants to increase their literacy levels because that is so important in our modern world. I also am working towards my M.A. in teaching at USC and will be applying for my Ph.D. or Ed.D. in higher education administration next fall.


Tell us something surprising about yourself.

A: I was born in Sapporo, Japan,

and grew up in Northern California. I attended an international high school in Beijing, China, then moved to San Diego for undergraduate studies. I recently moved to Detroit to be part of Teach for America and help end educational inequality. I speak Japanese, Chinese and English fluently and speak conversational Spanish and ASL.


What advice do you have for current Harker students?

A: The one advice I would

give current Harker students is to appreciate your teachers. Until you become a teacher yourself, you will never know just how much work your teachers put into your education. More importantly, know that even though your teachers might criticize you for talking out of turn or scold you for not studying, deep down they truly love you and care about you. If they didn’t, they would not be coming in day after day to help you grow as a person. So today tell your teachers: “Thank you for everything,” because ten years down the line, that teacher will be the very reason for your success.

LookingAhead Coming Attractions Student Directed Showcase Jan. 6 & 7 Winter Concert Jan. 14




WinterSong Jan. 21 Gr. 5 Show Jan. 27-28 Be-A-Mused Jan. 28 & 29 Dance Jamz March 4 & 5 United Voices March 17 Evening of Jazz March 18 Contact

Community Event Sat., Jan. 8 | 10:30 a.m. ed ok

ully f s i t


Upper School Campus, Nichols Auditorium A community screening of this provocative new movie about our nation's teens and the pressure to perform.

en v e , y r admission fee, RSVP required SorNo


GROUND ❂❂❂❂❂

Speaker Series

Edward (Ned) Hallowell, M.D. “Crazy Busy, Overstretched, Overbooked and About to Snap”

Wed., Jan. 26, 7 p.m. Nichols Hall atrium Saratoga campus



Grades K-6

Summer Camp +

Grades 6-12

Summer Institute

Registration opens January 18

Harker Quarterly (USPS 023-761) is published four times per year (September, December, March and June) by The Harker School, Office of Communication, 500 Saratoga Ave., San Jose, CA 95129. Periodicals Postage Paid at San Jose, CA and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Harker Quarterly, 500 Saratoga Avenue, San Jose, CA 95129.


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Family Festival

This photo is from the May 1975 annual Family Festival, which included bicycles decorated and ridden in a drill pattern, a parade of the Cadet Corps and the traditional maypole. This is probably a physical education demonstration. Many thanks to our archivist, Terry Walsh, for the information. We are always glad to hear from alumni about our photos, so if you know more please e-mail us at!

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C a l i f o r n i a O of C: 12/10 (BHDG/JJJ/RM/DQP) 4931

The Harker Quarterly, Winter 2010  

Quarterly magazine for The Harker School, an independent K-Gr. 12 college-prep school in San Jose, CA

The Harker Quarterly, Winter 2010  

Quarterly magazine for The Harker School, an independent K-Gr. 12 college-prep school in San Jose, CA