he Cardinals will have a companion in the air today, as the Blue Angels start Fleet Week over the city from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Keep your eyes on the sky during passing periods when you hike down to the T’s; you may spot a screeching, flipping jet hurtling across the firmament. No free mods to lie on your back on one of the school’s grassy knolls? Check out the Angels in their next performances at the same time on Saturday and Sunday in front of a bright blue sky. Be sure to cover your ears!
■ Homecoming rally postponed to mid-November ■ New English elective class announced for next semester, partly inspired by affectionate chicken
■ Dragonboat team brings home the gold at Treasure Island ■ Unique fitness trends keep workout routines fresh
■ Girl scoffs at threat of junior year after two weeks in wilderness
■ Teen welcomes big-box retailers to city, sees benefit of revitalizing economy
■ Get the skinny on the
most groovy skinny jeans from when your mom was a teenager.
Lowell High School, Red Edition, Vol. 216 No. 2, October 7, 2011, www.thelowell.org
In the news In the news
Fashion blast to the past
Muggles head to Hogwarts ■ The Lowell is not Xenophilius
Lovegood’s The Quibbler — you may need to read this issue right-side up.
Gas smell prompts school evacuation AMY CHAR
Classes disrupted for an hour, but no gas leak discovered
By Cooper Logan and Spencer Thirtyacre
he school was evacuated at around 10:55 a.m. on Oct. 3 due to multiple reports of a gas odor on campus, but after investigation, Pacific Gas and Electric and the fire department concluded there was not an ongoing problem, as they did not find the source. According to PG&E spokesman Joe Molica, the investigation was terminated due to a lack of evidence of a gas leak. “We used sophisticated natural gas leak detection equipment, but we couldn’t find evidence of gas escaping at the school or in the surrounding area, so we wrapped up the investigation,” Molica said. “We can’t speculate what was the cause of the smell. It could have been many reasons, like the sewer or water treatment plant.” The initial information was only that there was
a strong smell of gas and, some students feared the worst, with the 2010 San Bruno fire in mind. “I felt as if something really bad was happening,” sophomore Mitchell Szeto said. “I thought my school was going to blow up.” The administration began to receive reports from teachers at around 10:15 a.m. and principal Andrew Ishibashi called PG&E promptly. PG&E then arrived at 11:25. The fire department was called at around 10:50 a.m., and arrived at approximately 11 a.m. according to assistant principal of student support services Michael Yi. Ishibashi called for the evacuation of the building over the PA system after talking to the fire department and PG&E due to the possible danger. “I radioed security guards to make sure each floor was evacuated,” Ishibashi said. Most students were sent to the soccer field,
but some other classes were evacuated from Eucalyptus Drive to Rolph Nicol Playground. This varied from the normal fire drill evacuation procedure, which calls for students to evacuate to the far side of the fire access road and to the sidewalk in front of the school. Firefighters worked with Ishibashi to evaluate the situation. “The first thing the fire department did when they arrived was check the fire panel to assure themselves it wasn’t a fire,” Ishibashi said; a fire with a possible gas leak would have called for a different response. Ishibashi accompanied the firefighters and PG&E employees as they scoured the school. “The firemen smelled the gas as well, and we walked to where there was a strong smell,” Ishibashi said. However, they could not locate a source of the See EVACUATION on Page 8
Teachers brought classes to designated evacuation sites in sports areas at the back of the school and the Rolph Nicol Playground at the beginning of Mods 9-10 on Oct. 3 (top). A fire truck arrives at campus at the end of Mods 9-10 to inspect the school for the source of a propane smell (bottom left). Later, firefighters walk back from the football field after speaking with construction workers in their search for the source (bottom right).
Budget dependent on state revenues By Elijah Alperin
he budget for the 2011-2012 school year is similar than last year’s projection due to California Governor Jerry Brown’s May budget revisions that pledge more money to K-12 education, unless projected revenues do not emerge. The school’s budget for the current school year is very similar to the one enacted in the 2010-2011 school year, with a minor surplus of $6,803, which has been allotted for extra hours for the school security guards, according to School Site Council chair Tom
Chambers. No services or teaching positions have been cut since last spring, according to Chambers. Last year the school planned for a nine percent budget deficit by designing a worst-case budget plan as well as a better-case plan, according to Chambers. In anticipation of the worst-case scenario, the Parent Teacher Student Association and Alumni Association raised upwards of $400,000 to help cover projected shortfalls. Because the school was able to enact the better budget scenario after the May revision by the state government, the money raised will be
saved for next year, according to Chambers. However, there is concern that the best-case scenario is at risk. Originally, state education funding seemed to be on track when Brown’s proposal — to raise the minimum amount of funding guaranteed to education under Proposition 98 by three billion dollars — was passed in May. Proposition 98, enacted in 1988 in order to regulate education funding, requires that a certain percentage of the state budget be allocated to K-12 education and community colleges.
State politicians tried to keep schools funded by approving Brown’s proposal, hence the current amount of education funding is greater than what the legislature approved in last year’s state budget. This increase is based on some funds being fronted, with a contingency, due to greater revenue estimates. In May, non-partisan state analysts estimated that the recovering economy would provide the $4 billion windfall in revenue that was needed to balance the budget, according to the California Legislative Analysts See BUDGET on Page 5
October 7, 2011
Homecoming rally postponed
As a result of setbacks in renovating the football field’s turf, the date of the fall rally is postponed from Spirit Week in October to the new date, Nov. 18. The renovation’s completion date was delayed, first to early October from late September, and now tentatively to late October. Presently, the football field’s drainage problem has been resolved. The contractors started laying down the synthetic turf on Oct. 3, according to assistant principal of administration Ellen Reller (See “Football field renewal delayed by setbacks,” The Lowell, Sept. 2011). The school has yet to inform the SBC if they will be allowed to use the field for the rally. Reller is waiting for guidelines from the contractors on how the turf can be used. “We want to make sure we take care while using the Astroturf because it’s going to be a completely different use and care process than just grass or regular turf,” Reller said. — Adam Chac
Administration calls lockdown On Sept. 22, the principal issued a school-wide lockdown at the end of Mods 16-17, the purpose of which was to ensure the well-being of students and staff. Lockdowns can be called in the event of a security threat, hence there were a number of questions among the student body as to what may have precipitated the lockdown. The reason the lockdown was called, however, must remain confidential because it involved the privacy of a student, according to Ishibashi. However, there was no safety threat, according to principal Andrew Ishibashi. “There were no weapons involved and no arrests were made,” Ishibashi said. “I called the lockdown due to a matter that may have further disrupted the school day. It wasn’t because students were in danger. I didn’t want them to see because it might have been traumatic if the matter led to further incidents, but it didn’t.” When he announced the lockdown Ishibashi alluded to it being a drill, but had misspoken as it was not a practice, he clarified later. A San Francisco Police Department officer praised the well-executed effort by the school security team, according to Ishibashi. “The security staff cleared the halls, courtyard and front of the school,” Ishibashi said. “Students who had a free mod were moved to the cafeteria, auditorium and any room that was open and available.” Lockdowns are called to preserve the safety of the school, according to Ishibashi. “Some reasons include violence, campus unrest like riots; an event in the outside community that might spill in; extreme weather; and an event that I would not want students to see, or that could have affected them,” he said. — Deirdre Foley and Cooper Logan
Alumni enter bridge tourney
f o r t h e c o m p l e t e v e r s i o n s of stories, please visit
The Lowell on the Web
Author transports readers to Mars By Ian James
he acclaimed author of a best selling — summer reading — book visited the school on Sept. 27. During Mods 3-5, Mary Roach, a journalist, gave a presentation in the Carol Channing Auditorium on her most recent book, Packing for Mars. The book was both a 2011 summer reading selection for the school’s English junior and senior elective classes and the One City One Book choice for San Francisco this year. Packing for Mars describes the steps scientists go through to prepare humans for life in space. Roach interviewed many scientists and journalists in three countries prominent in the history of space exploration: Japan, Russia and the United States. She covered a variety of topics, from the astronaut selection to the design and use of zero gravity toilets, pointing out that astronauts have to deal with weightlessness. “In space everything needs to be learned again,” Roach said. Roach, whose first book came out in 2003, also shared the benefits of being a journalist. “I was inspired by curiosity,” Roach said during the reception in the Meyer Library Mods 6-7. “I love to travel and I had never been to Star City, the Russian cosmonaut center, before I wrote this book, but as a writer I can step into so many different worlds. It’s like having a key to every door in the world.” Roach’s others books are Stiff, concerning how corpses have been used in science; Bonk, which studies the relationship of sex and science; and finally Spook, which shows science tackling the afterlife. Laughter and applause filled the auditorium throughout her presentation. One of Roach’s stories was how NASA did not let her smell the interior of a space shuttle, in an anecdote about space hygiene. “It was a good experience to actually see the author who wrote our summer reading book,” senior William Chen said. “She sounded just like I had imagined she would after reading her book. Her tone was the same — she has a hint of humor in her voice.” After Roach finished speaking, students anonymously wrote down questions for her. One question concerned the difficul-
ties Roach encountered when she went abroad. She then told the crowd how she had to hire a “fixer” to help her organize an interview with Russian cosmonauts. Roach demonstrated composure when one note from a student asked, “How do you sleep at night, knowing you ruined all our summers?” “I sleep fine,” Roach said. She said that students and teachers came up afterward to apologize on behalf of the school. “I left feeling more impressed by Lowell’s student body, not less,” she said. According to English teacher Cathy Innis, who organized the assembly, the presentation overall was a success. Innis said students wrote questions down instead of calling them out because they are often hard to he ar. “ B e c a u s e i t’s anonymous, a student may not censor himself so you suppose a rude question might happen, but I do not think this was a proper representation of Lowell’s DANIEL GREEN great students,” Innis said. “We should give credit to the author for playing off it,” referring to Roach’s response. Afterwards Roach chatted with students and staff over cookies at the reception. She said she was excited to share her passion for science. “I want students to realize that science and science writing is not boring,” Roach said. “Taking harder science courses may not seem enjoyable, but hold on to your appreciation of science. Science is everything — your dog, your stomach, the grass. How could that possibly be boring?”
Teacher threads the world together By KT Kelly
ard Avedon and Chuck Close, and don’t off. The proceeds will go back to the nonprofit sponsors, who will use the money forget Laurie Anderson.” The project was co-sponsored by to continue to promote their message, the Committee of 100 for Tibet and according to Janssen. The Dalai Lama Foundation, as well All the artwork in the project was as other individual donors. The Dalai centered on the Dalai Lama and his teachings, accordLama Foundation ing to The Missing is a non-profit organization that adIt was as if we were Peace’s website. “He vocates peace, the is compassioncol lab or atively ate and has a lifeDalai Lama being the highest spiritual commitment j o i n i n g h a n d s long to peace,” Janssen leader in the Gelug branch of Budaround the world.” said. “Plus he has an incredible sense of dhism, and Committee of 100 for KRISTIN JANSSEN, humor and an infecTibet advocates for art teacher tious laugh.” For the project, the Tibetan people in their struggle for peace, Tibet being she created a sculpture to represent the Dalai Lama and his key principle a country northeast of the Himalayas. The tour is scheduled to end Dec. of respect. Her sculpture consisted of 14 with a final showcase at Santa Clara 14 cones of golden yellow thread on a University. After the tour finishes, the ledge. The first cone wound back and remaining artwork, which was on sale forth around each of the 13 remaining when it was displayed, will be auctioned cones. “The viewer would pull the thread hanging from the fourteenth cone and all the spools would spin like a prayer wheel,” Janssen said. “The viewer would measure one arm span and drop this measurement in thread to the floor. The pile would grow as the work was touched and people interacted with it. It was as if we were collaboratively joining hands around the world.” Janssen spent at least five months preparing for this project along with other artists, who were inspired by the concept of peace. “It took me one minute to conceive the concept of the artwork, five months to make it and a lifetime maintaining the interactive sculpture.” Janssen said. For this project, Janssen paid her own way to places as far as Tokyo. For the Chicago venue, she was funded by The Missing Peace. “People really related to the idea that there is a physical and invisible thread that binds courtesy of kristin janssen and connects us all,” she said. Janssen’s artwork is here displayed at the Brukenthal National Museum in Romania.
teacher participated in an art project that hopes to broaden appreciation for the Dalai Lama through masterful sculptures, photographs and paintings of his life. Advanced Placement Studio Art teacher Kirsten Janssen has contributed to The Missing Peace, a five-year art project that gathered artwork from approximately 90 sculptors and painters at eight venues ranging from Madrid, Spain to San Antonio, Texas, according to The Missing Peace’s website, (www.tmpp. org). The Missing Peace is a touring art gallery that showcases artists’ work to promote peace and respect for oneself and others. “Overall, it was a wonderful experience, keeping me in touch with all sorts of artists from all over the world,” Janssen said. “I felt proud and excited to be placed in the presence of so many artists I have admired. It is awesome to have your name wedged between Rich-
Last July, two alumni competed in a prestigious bridge tournament in Canada. Class of ‘11 alumni William Zhu and Chris Chen competed in the National Bridge Tournament held July 20-31 in Toronto, Canada. The partners finished third in the section for players with less than 200 master points. Master points are awarded by national bridge organizations to successful players in bridge competitions, according to social studies teacher and Bridge Club sponsor Jeff Reynolds. They finished with 62.05 percent, a high score, according to Reynolds. “Scoring in the 60s is very impressive,” Reynolds said. On April 9 and 10, Zhu and Chen participated in the Marin Spring Sectional and placed third in the “F” division and second in the “G” division. According to Reynolds, there were three beginning sections: E, F and G, of which G is the hardest. Zhu and Chen finished with 58.89 percent, slightly below the highest scorers of the section who achieved 64.72 percent. Zhu and Chen were the only participants from the school’s Bridge Club. The San Francisco Bridge Unit took a keen interest in Zhu and Chen after their performance at the Marin Spring sectional. After practicing over the summer, the boys were ready for the Summer National Tournament in Toronto. “The flight, room and board were paid for by the San Francisco Bridge Unit,” Reynolds said. — Henry Hammel
Lowell High School
October 7, 2011
Sophomores Sara Mon and Abby Neuschatz add a splash of milk to their tea during an English class tea party inspired by Henry James’ Washington Square (left) while Audrey Shawley and KT Kelly (also a reporter for The Lowell) enjoy some friendly Victorian tea time banter while indulging in cookies and biscuits (right).
Sophomores savor crumpets with classics for tea By Adriana Millar
t’s tea time! An English class clung on to the coattails nineteenth-century Americans during a tea party filled with treats and gossip. On Sept. 16, English teacher Lorna Galang’s Mods 6-7 and 11-12 10th Grade Honors English classes each held a tea party to simulate Victorian life as depicted in Henry James’ novel Washington Square. After thorough research to ensure historical accuracy, students formed “families” and prepared typical Victorian tea party food and drink. “Ms. Galang gave us a website with a sample Victorian menu,” sophomore Isabel Boutiette, who is also a Journalism 1 student, said. “My family brought mini quiches.” Students contributed various finger foods such as cookies, truffles and lemon poppy seed bread that might have been enjoyed in the mid-1800s. The party gave students a greater comprehension of how Victorians valued formal functions. “It was interesting to see how seriously they took social gatherings,” sophomore Ilya Verzhbinksy said. “Nowadays you just hang out with your friends, but then it was a lot more elaborate.” The tea party provided supplementary details to students’
The project also benefited from previous studies of the Victoknowledge of the time period. “There weren’t set facts to learn, but it gave me a deeper understanding of the book,” sophomore rian era from other classes. “There was already prior knowledge because of history and social sciences classes,” Galang said. “But Talor Wald said. “It was more informational and interactive.” Most students agreed that although they did not focus on I think this is more fun.” gaining insight into the characters of Washington Square, the During the tea party, students assumed the roles of members of Victorian society and used Victorian party was informative from a historical point phrases to socialize and spread gossip. of view. “It didn’t help me understand the Students can “We had to say things like, ‘I cherish you,’” story,” sophomore Kira Boden-Gologorsky said. “My group spread the rusaid. “But it helped explain things in the book learn not just the Boutiette that might be weird to us, like the dialogue.” mor that I was sleeping with a ‘ginger’ (a The tea party was the culmination of a literature aspect, red-haired person) just because my friend is a ginger, which was scandalous because weeklong study of Victorian times. The class but the characters it was my engagement party.” kicked off the activity by making calling The tea party was part of Galang’s cards, the Victorian version of exchanging and lifestyles.” plan to include one artistic project per phone numbers “because there wasn’t any semester into her curriculum, including texting,” pointed out Boden-Gologorsky. Students then wrote and sent tea party LORNA GALANG her American Literature and The Novel invitations to each other and made formal English teacher classes. “I’ve been knocking around the idea since I started teaching Victorian litpaper top-hats to dress up for the party. Galang covered the cost of the supplies out of her own erature, so students can learn not just the literature aspect, but pocket, so that the project could be an equal experience for the characters and lifestyles,” Galang said. She intends to hold a all students. “Some people can spend more money than oth- tea party again next year, and plans to develop the curriculum ers on things like this,” Galang said. “The hats put people on further.“Next time I want to add more of a formal component, equal ground.” more of a written response,” Galang said.
Students trade pencils in for beads with new club By Deidre Foley
teach the rest of the group. “We’re also going to make wallets and stuffed animals,” Elliott o you want to create something said. “What we do really depends on what the with your hands other than notes group wants to make. Once I’ve gotten a feel for class? There’s a club for that. The Maker’s Club, founded by senior Clare for the members’ skill sets, we can move on Elliott this semester, gives members the oppor- to making abalone jewelry and maybe even tunity to craft a variety of useful and unique ceramic beads.” Elliott asked health teacher Lisa Cole to projects, such as abalone jewelry and friendship bracelets. “I wanted to create a creative sponsor the club. “I think it’s a really good outlet for students,” Elliott said. “I’ve always idea because it gives people time to focus on enjoyed art — my mom was really supportive doing something they enjoy, not having to and signed me up for classes and everything — worry about school, homework, their personal life and other things,” Cole said. “You can use and I wanted to share that with others.” The idea for the club grew out of Elliott’s positive creativity to make something, and you can be proud of what discovery that her teacher, you made. It’s also a good science department head to be social and get Dacotah Swett, had a collecI’ve always en- place to know new people.” tion of abalone seashells. “I The club currently has was talking with my marine joyed art...and I no treasury. “I have a lot science teacher about how wanted to share of materials I can supply, cool it would be to have a I’m going to see if jewelry-making class,” Elliott that with others.” but members have supplies said. “Because of budget cuts that isn’t possible, but I said I CLARE ELLIOTT, and/or funds they can provide,” Elliott said. The could make a club for it and senior club’s sponsor may put out Ms. Swett said I could use the shells for club projects.” The club will make a message on School Loop asking if anyone abalone jewelry in a later meeting, according can provide supplies for the club, according to Elliott. to Elliott. At the first meeting of the club on Sept. 21, The members will also learn sewing, crocheting, knitting, the art of folding origami and Elliott brought handfuls of colorful embroiother craft skills. Although there are several dery thread for students to make friendship other art clubs — including the Visual Arts bracelets. Elliott and others that were more Club and the DIY (Do It Yourself) Club — experienced with the making of friendship the Maker’s Club is different. Elliott’s goal is bracelets taught newbies how to make them. The Maker’s Club provides a place for stufor the members to have a large say in what dents to relax and get their creative projects they will do, adding that juices flowing. “I went because I heard if individuals in the club already about it from my friend, and she said possess certain skills, they can
we were making cool jewelry,” sophomore Lina Anderson said. “We made friendship bracelets and that was fun because I’m good at it. I think it’s a relaxing way to relieve the stress of Lowell through crafts.” On Sept. 28, the second meeting, Elliott brought in felt, needles and thread for members to make cube-shaped stuffed animals. Elliott found the idea for the plushies on Etsy (www.etsy.com), a popular Web site for buying and selling vintage and handmade items. Members assisted others in threading
needles and sewing the edges of square-shaped felt pieces into a colorful cube. After the cubes are sewn, members will add on details such as ears, eyes and tails to transform them into tiny animals. The club also provides an opportunity for students make crafts with practical uses. “It gives you an opportunity to make things you can actually wear and customize to your taste,” senior Jayne Stewart said. Come to Room 260 at 3:45 p.m. every Wednesday to get your craft on.
Club president Clare Elliot (right) and other members of The Maker’s Club thread their needles as they begin their new project of homemade geometric stuffed animals.
October 7, 2011
Lowell High School
Immunization drive has successful return in spite of stragglers By Melinda Leung
A new ramp is being built so trash bins can be wheeled to reach a large garbage dumpster.
New ramp installed to ease custodial burden By KT Kelly and Audrey Yu
ramp is currently being built behind the math wing to assist in garbage disposal per a custodian request last semester. Many of the school custodians have found it difficult to lift and empty the recycling bins, according to custodian Dora Manjano. “Lifting the bins hurts my back,” Manjano said. “The ramp is a great help.” The San Francisco Unified School District requested to pay for the ramp in response to the custodians’ plea, according to assistant principal of student support services Michael Yi. “It doesn’t cost that much money to buy supplies,” Yi said. “The real cost is the manpower.” Yi does not know the exact cost of the ramp because the district is covering it. The ramp project will be welcomed by its prospective users, both custodians and members of the Recycling Club. “Having the ramp is beneficial to our club because on Friday after school, the smaller bins get filled easily so we have to ask the janitors to help us empty them into the bigger trash can,” senior Recycling Club president Jie Ying Lily Li said. Despite having to deal with heavy trash bins, the custodians enjoy their job. Manjano’s shift is from 2:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. and she is usually assigned to the art wing. Manjano also works at Guadalupe Elementary School, but enjoys working in a high school environment. “Students are more well-mannered and older,” she said. “They’re respectful. When they’re happy, I’m happy.” Manjano also appreciates the gratitude of the school. “One day, all the students in the art wing gave me a paper saying things like ‘I need you!’ and ‘Thank you, Dora, for all your work! Excelente!” Manjano said. “Everything is clean, I’m happy.” Transferring bags of trash is one of the many things a custodian has to do. On a daily routine,
custodian Kenneth “Kenny” Tsui arrives at the science building at 2:30 p.m. He begins by cleaning the classrooms that have no Mods 19-20 classes, and then gradually moves on to the other rooms that are vacated after the dismissal bell. He usually sweeps up scattered scraps of paper and dust balls, and he sometimes encounters sticky floors from spilled drinks. Tsui stated that he doesn’t mind the normal clean-up because he understands people make mistakes, but when people deliberately make a mess, like graffiti, it becomes a nuisance. Tsui has 12 years of experience as a custodian. He spent the first two years at Balboa High School, and now has worked at Lowell for ten years. He has worked in the bungalows and the main building, and is currently stationed in the science building. Most students do make an effort not to litter, but for a few that isn’t always the case, according to Tsui. “They don’t drop the garbage in the can. It’s near the can, but not in it,” Tsui said. Tsui thinks students should do their part to help keep the school clean. “If I see them drop something, I ask them to pick it up and they do it most of the time,” he said. “We need to educate everybody. This is our school, you know. Everybody should keep it looking good, good for everybody.” In addition to working during the school week, Tsui also works during weekends due to language classes held on Saturdays, and during the summer. “Lowell rents out the building to Chinese classes so I work sometimes if they need custodial services,” he said. “The hard part is working during the summer.” Tsui and the other custodians wax the floors and straighten out the furniture during the students’ summer vacation. “We need to make sure the whole school is clean,” he said. “We do all the major cleaning during spring, winter and summer break.” The amount of ground being covered doesn’t bother Tsui. “When I get the job done, the teachers, students, staff, they appreciate all that I do,” Tsui said.
PHTOTO COURTESY OF SAMUEL WILLIAMS
A version of this story first appeared on www.thelowell.org
Anti-abortion protesters give out pamphlets in front of the school By Elazar Chertow
A protester stands outside the faculty parking lot, handing out anti-abortion pamphlets to students while another displays a disturbing poster.
drive to vaccinate all students against pertussis, also known as whooping cough, this fall has been a success, according to school officials, even though ten students missed school because they did not submit their proof of immunization on time, with one student missing a whole week. A new law, Assembly Bill 354, required California students entering grades 7 through 12 in the 2011-2012 school year to show proof of a recent whooping cough booster shot before returning to school. The bill’s original August 15 deadline for proof of vaccination was extended to Sept. 15, allowing students an extra month to provide a doctor’s medical certificate that they had the shot. On August 15, approximately 30 Lowell students had not turned in their paper work, according to nurse Maryann Rainey, who organized the Tdap forms of the sophomores, juniors, and seniors. On Sept. 12, assistant principal of student support services Michael Yi held a meeting and notified the 22 students who had not yet provided proof of vaccination. He gave them a written notification saying that they had not met the requirement. Two days later, 12 of those students had turned in the proof. However, by Sept. 15, 10 still had not obtained proof and were not allowed to attend school. In fact, all of the school’s freshmen turned in the Tdap form before the deadline, according to counseling secretary Jennie Chu, who has been collecting the proof for freshmen. Rainey has connected students who had trouble finding a doctor to free clinics that provide the shots. “Some students had difficulty turning in the proof due to lack of parent cooperation,” Rainey said. “Some had been vaccinated, but had lost the record.” In the overall district, approximately 2,000 students, 10 percent of the student body, had not turned in the proof, according to district spokewoman Heidi Anderson in a Sept. 16 Washington Post article (www.washingtonpost.com). However, currently 95 percent of the district, which includes seventh to twelfth grades, are vaccinated, indicating that many late students eventually provided proof. Other schools had more students who missed the deadline than Lowell, according to Rainey. “In general, Lowell gets an “A” for meeting the deadline,” Rainey said. “I would have been really shocked if everyone turned in the Tdap proof on time.” Only one upperclassman has missed more than one day of school, and the student returned to school Sept. 22 with the proof. According to Rainey, the student had lost the immunization record and had to be vaccinated again at the free clinic to provide the proof. Of the students who were approved to attend school, two students requested and received a medical exemption, and ten others filed a personal belief exemption. The personal belief waiver is completed by a parent or guardian, acknowledging that the student might be at a risk of contracting this illness, and that in the event of a whooping cough breakout, they will be kept out of school. But a few students who signed the waiver ended up turning in the vaccination proof anyway. “I think it was because the parents didn’t want to feel rushed,” Rainey said. “In the end, it turns out the students had received the shot in past years.” The number of cases of pertussis in California has decreased since last year, when there had been a concern of an outbreak. Last year, over nine thousand cases were reported throughout California, according to the California Department of Public Health (www.cdph.gov). Assembly Bill 354 was passed in response to ten infant mortalities last year, according to Rainey. Similar laws have already been approved in the past several years in approximately 45 other states. So far this year, there have been 2,462 cases in California, which is still relatively high, according to the CDPH report, but indicates the push for vaccination is reducing the number of cases.
tudents arriving at school on the morning of Sept. 7 were met by several protesters handing out graphic anti-abortion pamphlets in front of the school. Before and during Mods 1-2, at least two demonstrators passed out a pamphlet titled “You Can Help Break Down the Wall of Injustice” on the front steps of the school and on Eucalyptus Drive near 25th Avenue at the entrance to the faculty parking lot.The Lowell was not able to contact the demonstrators directly. According to assistant principal of student services Michael Yi, the demonstrators were from Sacramento. The pamphlet warned on the first cover that it contained “Disturbing Photos of Injustice,” including pictures of aborted fetuses and World War II concentration camps, to imply a comparison between abortion and other historical examples of injustice including racism and anti-Semitism. One student said he was shocked at the pictures. “It added a bit of craziness to the day,” sophomore Noah Penick said. Social studies teacher Steve Schmidt saw the demonstrators. “Though I agreed with the demonstrators’ right to freedom of expression, I was sad to see people distributing disturbing literature containing graphic pictures of dead fetuses to our students at 7:15 in the morning,” Schmidt said in an email. The pamphlet provides the contact information of sources
where more information can be found, although it does not directly name the organization that produced it. “The pamphlet was essentially a clearinghouse for different pro-life view points, basically a way for several different websites to get publicity into one pamphlet,” dean Ray Cordoba said. The administration followed protocol and alerted the district office, who in turn notified the police as a precautionary measure. Yi received several complaints that the demonstrators were making some students uncomfortable. The demonstrators also disrupted traffic in front of the teachers’ parking lot, which made it more difficult for teachers to get to class. According to Cordoba, the police were notified that the demonstrators were blocking traffic. “Once their actions begin to interrupt traffic, then it becomes a legal issue,” Cordoba said. According to Cordoba, the police warned some protesters not to block traffic and others to not forcefully ask students to take pamphlets. The demonstrators left shortly after. Last November protesters from an anti-abortion group based in Riverside, California held a demonstration near the marquee. Cordoba said he believes that organizations target Lowell because of its size and reputation as one of the best schools in the state. “People show up like this out of the blue,” Cordoba said. “They’re just trying to gain influence among young people.” A version of this story first appeared on www.thelowell.org
October 7, 2011
School plans ahead School installs routers for worst-case budget for new campus-wide with alternate funds wireless Internet From BUDGET on Page 1 Office website (www.lao.ca.gov). However, this financial projection was acknowledged to be based on optimistic expectations, as there was a safeguard. Brown’s proposal was approved by the legislature in May under the condition that if state revenue calculations exacted this coming December are not congruent with last May’s projection, up to $1.5 billion in cuts to California education will be made to balance the budget. The school’s best-case budget scenario became shaky in July, when preliminary revenue calculations showed that the state is not presently on track to meet the revenue threshold, according to an August 10 Los Angeles Times article “California tax revenue plummets in July, raising fear of trigger cuts.” In some districts, the cuts could result in a reduction of the academic year by as many as seven days, according to the Los Angeles Times article. As the San Francisco Unified School District awaits the December revenue clarification to see if funding will be continued at the level approved in the May revision, it is planning ahead for the impact of possible cuts, as well as exploring external funding solutions. According to Chambers, if the state financial situation does not improve, the
first cuts will be towards the University of California and California State University schools and community colleges. If the budget is still not balanced, cuts will be made to K-12 education. “If the state revenue is insufficient, I can only hope that the cuts stay within the UC and CSU systems. If the cuts do make it to K-12 education, I hope our district has some way to protect our school year,” Chambers said. Presently, SFUSD has had four furlough days in each of the past two years to save money. If our school year is shortened further, the teaching days to be cut could be dispersed throughout the spring semester or eliminated at the end of the school year. If days are curtailed at the end of May, there could be scheduling conflicts between finals and Advanced Placement exams, according to assistant principal Michael Yi. This worst-case scenario may be alleviated through external funding sources. To bolster the state funding, SFUSD is exploring its eligibility for $8 million from the city Rainy Day fund, a reserve fund where excess tax revenue is deposited that can be contributed to district costs in times of need. Any withdrawal must be approved by Mayor Ed Lee and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, according to a May 16 newsletter from SFUSD superintendent Carlos Garcia.
By Adam Chac
he administration, the Parent Teacher Student Association, and the school’s tech committee are working to set up a free campus-wide Wi-Fi network that will enable access for everyone. This project aims “to provide all students and staff with internet access and more learning opportunities,” according to assistant principal of student support services Michael Yi. The routers will be installed sometime in October, but not configured, according to Yi. Students will only be able to access this Wi-Fi network as guest users, meaning that they will not be able to access their files on the school server or print documents. According to Yi, a contractor is still working on connecting the Wi-Fi routers. “The first phase of this project is installing and configuring approximately 36 wireless access points throughout the campus,” PTSA member Lisa Pollard said. “Once the first phase is complete, the wireless (network) will be analyzed for potential weak and dead spots. Once determined, we will gradually add more access points to broaden our coverage area.” All of the wireless access points will be installed inside the school building with some around the bungalows, but the PTSA and the tech committee hope to also have coverage in the front of the school and in outdoor courtyards next to buildings. Although many staff and students want cam-
pus-wide Wi-Fi, it was not previously installed because of a lack of funding. “The PTSA, Alumni Association, and the school have pooled enough money to move forward; the technology became more accessible and affordable,” Yi said. The routers that broadcast the Wi-Fi signal cost about $500 each, and the administration must pay an outside contractor an additional $60 - $300 per point to connect each point to an Internet source, according to Yi. The contractor can only connect the routers on the weekends or anytime when school is not in session in order to avoid classroom disruption. After that, an Information Technology person from the district must come and configure the wireless access points to make sure that all the points are connected to each other and to set up security. The total cost of the project is approximately $25,000, according to Yi. Three years ago, there was a Wi-Fi network set up, but the district never approved it so it was shut down. (See “School integrates wireless internet into campus,” The Lowell, Nov. 2008). In the library, this network “made a difference for those who had their own computers,” librarian Alison Shepard said. “They could just come into the library, enter a password, and get online.” Some staff believe that a Wi-Fi network is necessary at Lowell. “I think it’s extremely important for us to have it so that more people have access to the Internet,” Shepard said. “A lot more students have their own laptops and so it’ll make it more efficient for them to get online.”
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October 7, 2011
Lowell High School
Students prep their forks, knives and minds for a food issues course By Cooper Logan
for Advanced Placement Environmental SciNEW ENGLISH COURSE with a ence, but this course will focus on the moral unique focus on food trends and and aesthetic questions, not the science,” ethics will be proposed to upper- Moffitt said. A few potential projects that will be asclassmen next semester and become a class signed during the course include a “group if enough students sign up. Ethics of Eating will be offered as a multimedia project on local farmers marLiterature and Philosophy course with a kets” and a final paper on “ the student’s own specific focus on organic food, genetically philosophical positions as food consumers,” modified organisms, and other hot-button according to the course outline sheet. Moffitt hopes the multimedia project will food issues. “If I had to boil it down, I would broaden her students’ perspectives by expossay I want students to consciously and focus on what they eat,” said English teacher Jen- ing them to a variety of farmers markets and nifer Moffitt, who will design and teach the the people who work there. “I want students to talk to farmers and learn what farming semester-long course. Literature and Philosophy is a one-se- life is like,” she said. “Each farmers market mester English elective, according to English in San Francisco has a different character, department head Bryan Ritter. “Lowell is one different sights and smells. When the groups of the few schools that offers thematic, one for the multimedia project present, the whole semester English classes like Literature and class can experience each without visiting Philosophy,” Ritter said. “The class uses a all of them.” The current focus in the Bay Area on food philosophical approach to analyze novels, controversies will supplement the course. essays, etc.” The new focus of the class is currently in “There’s a lot of great fiction and nonfiction the planning stages and still needs a mini- literature out right now, which we will use mum student signup and enough district as our prime focus,” Moffitt said. “I want support to be approved as a class, according to have guest speakers in the class because to assistant principal of curriculum Holly the Bay Area has a wealth of knowledgeable Giles. “When we put out the class on the people on the topic.” Moffitt’s inspiration for the course came course offering, we’ll see how many students are interested,” Giles said. “There is from one of the books that will serve as a a minimum of 30 students needed to fill a text for the course. “I was reading Jonathan class. If the class meets the requirement it Safran Foer’s Eating Animals, and I realmust be approved by the district to place the ized it was really a philosophy book,” she said. “For example, class on the A-G philosophers ask, list for colleges to ‘what seems to be require.” T h e opp orI used to be a chef and I in front of me and what is really in tunity to enroll grew up in farm country front of me?’ For in the class will that’s taste. be limited by the in Pennsylvania, so I feel food, If something tastes class choices algross, it’s because ready on a stuI have a closer relationof the associations dent’s transcript ship to the land than you have with that because students food.” who have already most people who grew Another inspitaken a Literature ration was her stay and Philosophy up in suburban areas.” on a farm over the class cannot take summer. “I met it again, accordJENNIFER MOFFITT, a chicken named ing to Moffitt. English teacher Rosie, and she had D e spite t he a real personality need for student approval, Moffitt has little doubt that there and was affectionate,” Moffitt said. Moffitt came up with the idea toward will be high student enthusiasm. “I feel confident that enough students will sign the end of the summer, and feels she is qualified to teach the subject because of her up,” Moffitt said. Some of the texts that will be studied dur- background. “I used to be a chef and I grew ing the class include: Laura Esquivel’s novel up in farm country in Pennsylvania, so I feel Like Water for Chocolate; Jonathan Safran I have a closer relationship to the land than Foer’s Eating Animals; Barbara Kingsolver’s most people who grew up in suburban areas Animal, Vegetable, Miracle; Ruth Ozeki’s and cities,” Moffitt said. Moffitt is not yet sure how she will coMy Year of Meats; and Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilema, according to the course ordinate food consumption in the class, but description sheet. Since Ozeki’s book was hopes to make it part of the curriculum. “I’m summer reading for upperclassmen a year open to the idea of eating in the class,” Moffitt ago, impacting current seniors, Moffitt has said. “I wish we had a kitchen that we could requested donations of the title to reuse in use here at school, but possibly students could bring in food.” her class. Junior Mari Galicer, a vegetarian, exWhile the class’s curriculum on food ethics could overlap with that of certain pressed interest in the class based on the science courses, it will differ in its holistic philosophy involved. “I feel like the class focus on food, according to Moffitt. “A lot will discuss a lot of the reasons I chose to be of the texts we will read are optional reading a vegetarian, and I love Ms. Moffitt,” she said.
SEPTEMBER 2011 CORRECTIONS BOX • For the article, “Class of ’15 one of largest classes” printed on the front page of the Sept. 9 issue of The Lowell, according to the headcount done on Aug. 31, there are 701 freshmen enrolled at the school, not 691. This year, a total of approximately 2,630 students are presently enrolled; along with the class of ’15, there are 663 sophomores, 621 juniors and 645 seniors. The master schedule required adjustments adding two Physical Education 1 and one Spanish 1 class, predominantly aimed for freshmen students, but not limited to them.
Violinist Frederick Lifsitz gave brief historical introductions and led discussions on the music between each piece performed in Sydney Recht’s AP Literature classes on Sept. 27.
World-class quartet harmonizes with Shakespeare class By Ian James
sic can relate to the class,” violinist Zakarias STRING QUARTET performed in Grafilo said. “In this case we saw how music two English classes, showing stu- relates to literature, especially in the time dents the overlap between literature period. We can do this for English, history, and even science.” and music. The quartet has toured five continents English teacher Sydney Recht invited the Alexander String Quartet to perform in and won numerous awards; it was the first her Mods 6-7 and 11-12 Advanced Place- American group to win the London Internament Literature and Composition classes on tional String Quartet Competition in 1985, Sept. 26. This cross-curricular activity was just four years after their formation in New York City, accorddesigned to suppleing to the quartet’s ment a reading of official website, Wi l l i a m S h a k e We try and see how (www.asq4.com). sp eare’s Hamlet. “The performance is music can relate to the Yet even after such achievements the not directly tied into class. In this case we musici ans st i l l Hamlet,” Recht said. a passion for “However, I would saw how music relates have the small stage, like my students to understand the relato literature, especially and often perform at schools for free. tions between music in the time period.” “We perform at and text.” high schools and Students were universities quite a ZAKARIAS GRAFILO, very impressed with lot — it never gets the quartet’s perforviolinist old,” cellist Sandy mance and presenWilson said. Recht tation style. “I liked it when they explained the music,” senior and violinist Fredrick Lifsitz, whose children Priscilla Ho said. “They asked us how we feel go to school together, organized the perforabout the music instead of just telling us their mance. The performance offered something views. It created a discussion instead of just having a presentation that would have not for everybody, even those not particularly involved in music, according to senior Max been as interesting.” The musicians related their music to the Pollard. “I liked the historical anecdotes, they classes they visited by providing history mini- were linked to the history we are studying lessons, along with anecdotes, between each and it was a fun learning experience,” he said. The quartet plans to build on this experipiece. For the presentation, the musicians performed excerpts of pieces composed ence at Lowell. “We hope to continue working during the Shakespearean era, including a with the school and come back next year,” Ludwig von Beethoven piece inspired by Wilson said. “There are no arrangements yet, Romeo and Juliet. “We try and see how mu- but we would like to continue.”
Lowell High School
October 7, 2011
October 7, 2011
Lowell High School
Carts increase response time
Gas source is a mystery
By Melinda Leung
HE SCHOOL PURCHASED a golf cart at the beginning of the year with miscellaneous funds saved from last school year to ease on-campus transportation for the administration. On Sept. 28, there was a small fire at the park near Stonestown around 1 p.m., started by a cigarette butt, according to security guard Jose Hernadez. Using the golf cart, Hernadez quickly arrived at the scene with principal Andrew Ishibashi. “After receiving a call on my radio, I was able to pick Ishibashi up from the gym and drive him there in a couple of seconds,” Hernadez said. “It would take a lot longer if we did not have the golf cart.” As one of the intended uses, the golf cart enables security to patrol the school, ensuring that students are safe. “In the case of the lockdown on Sept. 22, I was able to notify teachers about the emergency just as quickly as I was able to patrol the school,” security guard James Yu said. “Also, in the case of an emergency near the math wing parking lot, we can get there in 20 seconds from the bungalows, compared to 10 minutes running there.” Currently, the main function of the school’s golf cart is to transport injured students who have an injury or are on crutches around the school and to bus stops. “It is very difficult for disabled students to walk around the school,” Yu said. “It would be much easier if they were transported from destination A to destination B in a golf cart upon their request.” Additionally, the cart can be utilized to move materials from the main building to the bungalows, according to Yu. “In the
beginning of the year, books had to be transferred to the bungalows,” he said. “Without the golf cart, those helping made many trips back and forth.” The school is anticipating a second golf cart, according to physical education teacher Sascha Taylor-Ray. It will be used to maintain the football field, since the gardener will need a golf cart to help transport the gardening tools to maintain the synthetic field, according to assistant principal of administration Ellen Reller. The school will most likely receive the second golf cart when the football field is near completion in late October, according to Taylor-Ray.
This solution to the need for easy transport came from Ishibashi, according to assistant principal of student support services Michael Yi. The first golf cart cost approximately $7,100, according to Reller. Miscellaneous funds unspent by last year were pooled together to pay for the cart. “The principal thought it was a good idea to purchase a golf cart to patrol the school and transfer students around campus,” Yi said. Students find it useful for the security to ride the golf cart around the school. “After hearing about the incident with the fire, I am glad that the school decided to invest in the golf cart to ensure that students are safe,” sophomore Kimberly Yee said.
From EVACUATION on Page 1 gas. “The gas was not coming from the interior of the school,” Ishibashi said that the fire department told him. Science department teachers were initially concerned that there was a leak that was caused by a lab oversight. “My first thought was they were using the gas jets in the chem. lab, and that they forgot to turn them off, but when I talked to Dr. Marten and ascertained that they had indeed turned them off, I couldn’t imagine what it was other than a leak,” the head of the science department, Dakota Swett, said. As the odor diminished, the administration received permission during Mods 11-12 to allow students back into the buildings and continue the school day. “At 12:05, the fire chief gave the okay,” Ishibashi said. Many teachers expressed that the school was handling the situation safely. “I never really heard that much as to what the final word was, but the main thing is to get out of the building,” Spanish teacher David Lipman said. “It’s not really important that we know, we just need to be safe.” The fire department stated that the incident is presently closed. “Apparently whatever it was, there was no gas leak detected anywhere,” Public Information Officer of the San Francisco Fire Department Mindy Talmadge, said. When asked if there would be an investigation to come, Talmadge said, “No. They cleared the area, and that was it. If the odor appears again, then we just do it all over again.” The district is continuing with cautionary measures. “Our district building and grounds team is still checking to make sure it wasn’t coming from the school,” Ishibashi said.
Teacher advocates for less Weekly volunteer-led prestigious colleges as tours replace former ‘better fits’ for Lowellites shadowing program By Zoe Kaiser
TEACHER SENT OUT a presentation via the school’s website on Sept. 10 to juniors and seniors, encouraging students to look at lesser-known colleges. Physics teacher Scott Dickerman sent out the 54-slide PowerPoint presentation, which contained statistics and research that offered alternatives to popular colleges. “My goal in doing that particular presentation was to expose students to schools that offer something comparable to the liberal arts college experience, but is more attainable in terms of being admitted and more attainable financially,” Dickerman said. After teaching at the school for ten years, which entailed writing many letters of recommendation for seniors applying to private colleges, Dickerman concluded that students tend to focus on “name brand schools” that often may not recognize the talent of Lowell students. “I have developed a sort of hatred towards private schools, for the way some of them treat our students,” Dickerman said. “Our students have a lot of tremendous qualities but they don’t broadcast them 24/7.” In his presentation, Dickerman advised students not to set their hearts on the wellknown universities that range from Stanford to Northwestern to any Ivy League school. He recommended that students expand their lists and explore the option of going to school in Canada, or consider a number of other public schools he thinks compare positively to the private liberal arts experience. The slide show covers the ranking of California State Universities and goes in-depth on the less well-known schools outside of California. Dickerman also provides examples of engineering and applied science colleges. According to Dickerman, many prestigious elite schools aren’t interested in Lowell students and look for a different type of applicant. “Those schools don’t want you,” he stated in his presentation. “They want the students who will make their presence felt in the classroom every
day, not the quiet study-hounds. They want the students who project themselves as the ‘leaders of tomorrow,’ not the student who will merely be excellent at whatever it is that they will do.” Dickerman said he had not spoken in-depth with counselors regarding what schools students apply to or on whether they would share his view of elitist schools. Marilyn Scholze, who has worked as a volunteer counselor at the VICCI Center since 1998 and met many college representatives, agreed with Dickerman that some schools, especially the Ivies, do base their selection on different criteria. “They look more at the individual and may reject some Lowell students who are smart academically, but seem too ‘cookie-cutter’.” Some students were grateful to receive the presentation. “I think it’s really great that there is a teacher that cares about all the seniors at Lowell, even those he doesn’t know,” senior Kitania Folk said. “He gave us access to some really great resources.” Others were equally appreciative of the factual information, but expressed concern over Dickerman’s views. “The college PowerPoint presentation Dickerman sent out was very informative and helpful. I thought it was useful in exploring different options as senior deadlines are coming up,” senior Melinda Lem said. “However, he was quite harsh when he said that elite schools don’t want us and that we wouldn’t even get in. Most Lowell students work their butts off in hopes of going to an Ivy League or another prestigious school. It’s a little bit discouraging to hear a teacher say that we don’t stand a chance.” Junior Chelsea Andrews had a different perspective. “I feel like there is a lot of competition within Lowell itself,” she said. “I think if more students applied to less well-known schools it would lessen the pressure.”
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The Lowell on the Web
By Kai Matsumoto-Hines
HIS YEAR the administration replaced the shadowing program for potential incoming freshmen with a school touring program in order to reduce classroom distractions. The shadowing program, through which eighth grade students could follow students at Lowell to get a feel for the school, was terminated because so many students signed up to shadow in previous years that some teachers complained, according to assistant principal of student support services Michael Yi. “Last year we had about 600-700 students that came in and shadowed,” he said. “Sometimes there were not enough seats for the shadows in the classrooms, which caused a distraction for everyone.” In order to accommodate prospective students and their families’ desire to see Lowell in action, the school established a schedule for group tours. “The administration organizes the tours and student volunteers guide the tours,” Yi said. Yi explained that tours are more efficient because they can provide a large crowd of people a basic overview of the campus, rather than the one-on-one shadowing program, which allowed visits to a few classes. The tours occur every Wednesday, from 10 to 11 a.m. and will run from Sept. 21 until Dec. 14, allowing approximately 60-80 people to be guided around the school in groups of 20 to 30 visitors. “Unlike with the shadowing program, the grand tour program allows the student’s parents to get involved as well,” Yi said. All students are eligible to volunteer as tour guides after signing up with the secretary of the counseling office, Jennie Chu. “The volunteers pre-register with Chu, and they are trained to guide the tours,” Yi said. The training is intended to prepare the volunteers on what to cover. “We train the
students to be able to show parents around the school and answer basic questions,” Chu said. “If they are asked any specific questions, such as ‘What does it take to get into Lowell?’, we train the students to tell the parents to go to the Enrollment Placement Center downtown.” Junior Sabrina Quinonez, a volunteer, explained the responsibilities with being a tour guide. “I was told to talk about my personal experiences at Lowell, and also what goes on around the school,” she said. With all of the rumors going on about Lowell being an academically challenging school, tour guides must also be able to address the concerns of the visitors. “Most parents worry about the homework load at Lowell and how long their kids will be staying up to finish their homework,” Quinonez said. Math department head Tom Chambers did not mind having shadowing students in his class, as long as there were enough chairs. “In one of my statistics classes last year there were not enough seats for the shadows, so I told the students not to bring any shadows,” he said. Good communication was needed in order to make the shadow program flow. “One of the frustrating things was that sometimes I would not know there were shadows coming in until the day they came in,” English department head Bryan Ritter said. Ritter did support the value the shadowing program as a tool for students to decide whether Lowell was a good match for them. “To truly know what a campus is like, you have to sit in on a class,” Ritter said. Chu explained that ending the shadowing program will not affect interested families’ opportunities to get information about the school. “The tours will still allow people to see the school, if they would like to see more of what classes are like, then they can come to the eighth-grade night,” she said.
October 7, 2011
I’m with the band
Psychedelic riffs rock fans By Henry Hammel
anifesting the music scene through the rare sounds of psychedelic rock, the student band Comodo Complex has burst onto stages all over the Bay Area. The four seniors came together for the first time last winter in drummer Ben Fischer’s basement. “We ended up writing our first song that day,” Balboa High School bassist Ian Arnold said. Their first song, “Passerby,” captures feelings of watching a girl walk by and wondering what “might have been.” The songs are written by Spencer Owings, from Ruth Asawa School of the Arts. The four friends are Owings on guitar and vocals, Fischer on drums, Lucas also on guitar and Arnold on the bass. The band has had four shows so far, including one in Dolores Park and one at the Starry Plough nightclub in Berkeley. “Playing on stage is definitely very different than practicing,” Fischer said. “During practice there are certain points when I will play things that are not part of the song, and then the band will play off of it, and we create something new.” The band adopted their name after deciding to solely play psychedel-
ic rock. “Comodo Complex” is inspired by the Italian word comodo, referring to a music style of moderate tempo. Lured by its energy, the band sees their rock music as an art form and a distinguishing factor. “I enjoy psychedelic rock because for me, it is much more emotional, thought-provoking and metaphorical,” Fischer said. Because the members attend different schools, Comodo wComplex fans span the city. “Most of our fans are people that like new indie music,” Fischer said. The band alerts their fans of upcoming events on their Facebook page. Since its formation, Comodo Complex has made tremendous strides and is on the brink of debuting its first album. “On Oct. 22, we will release a six-song self-titled album,” Owings said. The album, composed of all original songs, was recorded at The Complex Recording Studio. “We will be selling it at our self titled album show on Oct. 26 at The Complex Recording Studio,” Owings said. Already getting exposure in the local scene, Comodo Complex hopes to invade the rest of the music world. “Having an ac-
tual album recorded in a studio will really help us with publicity,” Fischer said. Owings added that building an online fan base is in the works. “We are also considering iTunes and Amazon.” To produce high quality music, the band spent two months mixing their songs.“The first day was exciting because it was a new experience for me,” Fischer said. “I had never been in a professional studio before.” When a track is laid down in the studio, the song is recorded instrument by instrument. “First the drums were recorded, then the bass was added, then the background guitar, lead guitar, and finally vocals and effects,” Fischer said. Being in a band is more than just a hobby to the members. “I want playing with Comodo Complex to be my career,” Arnold said. “But even if we do not get enough fame for it to be our jobs, being in a band would still give us experience in the music business.” Though not sharing the level of The Beatles’ fame, these musicians enjoy the same camaraderie as that group’s early days. “I like playing shows and hanging out with the members,” Owings said. “Being in a psychedelic band gives a lot of creative freedom.”
Acoustics group blends classical instruments with novel melodies Daniel Green
By Daffany Chan
n an era of synthetic and electric sound, this ensemble breaks the trend. With self-arranged covers of OneRepublic’s and AJ Rafael’s songs already on their repertoire, this new group has been transforming popular music hits into pure, acoustic tunes for the public to enjoy. The collaboration began when seniors Calvin Hu and Kenny Leung spontaneously decided to meet up one auspicious summer day to do what they love — play music. They notified their many friends, and to their surprise four other musicians showed up, according to guitarist and lead vocalist Leung. “We decided to just have a huge jam session,” he said. Among the unexpected guests were several seniors: violinist Samuel Hong, cellist Nick Tam, harmonizers Arnrow Domingo and Tenny Zeng, and even sound editor Chris Lee, who came equipped with professional recording devices and is also the photo editor of the newspaper. The group of friends quickly became a six-member ensemble. All the members have extensive music experience: Hong and Tam play for the school’s Symphonic Orchestra; both Domingo and Zeng sing in Advanced Choir; Leung plays the piano and guitar. Hu, who is both in choir and Symphonic Orchestra, uses his perfect pitch, ability to identify notes, and music theory training to compose the cover scores. Arranging and playing music comes naturally for the ensemble. Combining the instrumental sounds to convey a feeling is “like writing an essay,” according to Hu. “Our music generally has the lighter, acoustic feel we like to cover,” Hu said. “But if we wanted to go for more intense, heavy music, we’d just bring in some bass and beats.” Their playing appears effortless, but the recording process is long and grueling. “It’s definitely no walk in the park,” Lee said, who had never recorded music in a professional setting before. Each vocal and instrumental track must first be recorded individually using a studio microphone, then compiled using Garageband to sync and edit. Within a day,
the recordings are ready to be shared online. Now, almost two months in, the ensemble still has regular jam sessions. The first cover, “Secrets” by OneRepublic, was uploaded on Facebook and garnered raves. Though the group was originally intended to be a summer hobby, friends and listeners wanted to hear more. Drawing musical inspiration from none other than Youtube-based singer-songwriter AJ Rafael, whom Zeng and Leung met at a concert, the group aspires to one day also go viral. Their music is currently based on the music-sharing site SoundCloud, but they see Youtube as an outlet to more listeners. Besides the recordings, the group wants to perform live. “We’re looking forward to hopefully playing in the talent show,” Hu said. Although the musicians are excited to see what the future holds, they currently focus on covering more songs. Experimenting with diverse genres of music, they will even introduce rappers into future covers. “It’s a truly rewarding process to work with other talented musicians,” Leung said. Pleased with the results and positive responses to their hard work, the group often reflects on how a spontaneous collaboration has turned into something so much more, according to Hu. “We will always just be friends who do what we love,” Zeng said.
Band seizes the moment with eclectic playlist Photo courtesy of Seize the sound
By Kai Matsumoto-Hines
hat started as a two-man band has rocked its way to what is now known as Seize the Sound. When sophomore guitarist James Uejio and sophomore bass player Walter Cardillo met in middle school, they realized they had something in common: their passion for music. The two decided to combine their talents to form a band in 2008. “We just started playing songs together, most of which were from our favorite band at the time, Blink 182,” Uejio said. As the dynamic duo rocked tunes such as “All the Small Things,” three new members, guitarist Tano Brock and lead singer Shane Bannon and drummer Alejandro Santana gradually joined, thus solidifying the group into a formal band. “I was over at Walter’s house one day and James came over and we all started playing together from then on,” sophomore guitarist Tano Brock from Lick-Wilmerding High School said. Networking around the Bay, the band was invitied to play at events from school shows to local fairs. “Our first gig was at Woodside International High School back in 2009,” Uejio said. “My friend was hosting the benefit concert and wanted us to perform.” The boys expanded beyond school settings to share their music, securing a spot at the Portola Street Fair about a year ago and performing at the Inverness fair in northern Marin on April 12. While playing music in front of people, the fun started to outweigh the fear. “Of course we were nervous, or at least I was,” Cardillo said. “Performances are always exciting, especially when you know that you’re playing your original material.” However, people sometimes do not recognize the full potential of a young band, and some venues are exclusive. “There aren’t many opportunities for teenagers to get gigs,” Uejio said. “There are many bars to perform at, but unfortunately we are underage.” The band’s music has evolved and expanded. “We started playing Blink 182 songs because their songs are really easy to learn,” Uejio said. Now the band’s main songwriters, Uejio and Brock, draw influence from a variety of songs and musicians, thus broadening their playlist. “Anything we listen to will affect what type of music we write,” Brock said. From the soft piano tunes of “Going on” to their upbeat “With you,” the band has a wide range of music to offer. “Unlike most bands that have songs that sound similar to each other, our songs have different tempos that make each song sound unique,” Uejio said. “We currently have about 15 to 20 original songs.” Once again, the band is experimenting with a new name. “At first we came up with ‘carpe diem,’ the Latin phrase for ‘seize the day,’” Uejio said. “We then decided to change our name to Seize the Sound.” However, the name does not appeal to all members of the band, so it is still under discussion. “When we thought about it, the name doesn’t really sound like it would be good on an album cover,” Brock pointed out. The boys believe that the band would not be where it is today if not for parental support. “The reason I got into music is probably because of my parents,” Brock said. “If my parents weren’t musicians I probably wouldn’t be this into music.” Being in a band with five good friends gives them a special connection. “I’ve known these guys for almost five years,” Brock said. “I can be myself and not have to worry about embarrassing myself.” If you have not had the opportunity to see the band live, there may be a chance coming up soon. “I’ve been talking to the band teacher, Mr. Wagner, and he said he would let us play at the Jazz Pops concert,” Uejio said. To check out Seize the Sound, you can go home and “like” the boys on their own Facebook page, which at this point has approximately 150 followers.
FASHION FLASHB ACK
Give Prints a Chance
Going to go mimic the 80s flower chil d and 90s girl-next-door with crop tops, flow ers, and long flowing skirts? Leave your sens e of urgency and alarm clock behind and hum “giv e peace a chance” while pondering why Full Hou se was cancelled.
What ever happened to your mother’s flowered blouses sharpened with shoulder pads? Often any favorite pieces of a parent are shoved way back in a drawer, but the flowers don’t need to disappear as well. Floral prints add texture and grace to an outfit. When juxtaposed with a DANIEL GREEN solid color, they are classic without being too blatantly fem inine.
Hi gh-Wais ted Sk irts
The Retro Badass
If you’re planning on hanging out south of Market with a fake ID, there are certain style rules to followed to make your appearance perfect. Remember the T-Birds strutting down the halls and checking out the Pink Ladies in Grease? If you weren’t exactly paying attention during their fierce rendezvous, you can still see remnants of 50s style today.
Leather jackets remain the most bodacious clothing statement there is for both women and men. Paired with anything from jeans to skirts, the leather jacket is back in black (or brown or gray) so you can show your inner John Travolta or Olivia NewtonJohn. Want to be fierce without killing a cow? In our modern all illustrations by vivian tong era, many jackets are made of faux leather but look just as “born to be bad” as their live animal counterpart. k Bernic
URPRISINGLY, AS SOON AS fash ion trends are forgotten by older generat ions, they come around full circle, turning into the hot buys for youngsters of the new generation. Although teens aren’t para ding down the street in southern belle gow ns, they are bringing the sexy back in everythi ng from greaser to hippie to hipster. In 2011 teens are piling their closets — or floor — with an accumulation of favorable fashion tren ds of the 20th century.
By Eva Morgenstein and Campbell
From poodle skirt s to hippie dresse s, fashion of the 20 popularity of flora th century remains l prints, jean jacke present in today’s ts, loafers and pa popular styles. Wi rtly-shaved hair, 70 th the sudden s and 80s trends have surfaced to the top of the cycle .
C h a n n e l i n g L a d y G ag a’ s r e d l ac e If
you’re planning on hanging out in Lovejoy’s for high tea while you write poetry, hit up your grandparents’ wardrobe for 1920s lace, chunky sweaters and classic leather shoes. When buying into the lace trend, it is important that you don’t end up looking like a doily or a tacky 80s bride. Once worn as a classy cover-up at the turn of the century, lace ironically turned revealing during the 80s. The fad has infiltrated everything — think vintage meets tank tops, even inspiring leggings solely made of lace. Although lace isn’t made into parasols and veils as it often as it was during the Victorian era, it adds a delicate, feminine and seethrough touch to any outfit.
Boat Shoes and Loafers Add a bit of preppy to today’s more ragged trends. Although pricier than your average Converse, boat shoes and loaf ers feel comfy, and, for some reason, look more and more stylish as they get worn. You may feel like a yacht owner or a professional polo player while wearing them, but when paired with denim and more casual articles (as opposed to slacks and a cashmere cardigan), they add a classic attitude to the mix. As for guys, cardigans and plaid collared shirts make the perfect grandpa-chic outfit when accompanied with these Mad Men shoes. Don’t worry, guys, the styles of boat shoes and loafers were originally intended for men, so all sexes can pull off wearing a pair of Sperry’s.
nick a Ber
Dr. Marten’s Paisley print versions of this skirt dom inated rural prairie clothing during the 180 If you’re already wearing a leather jack 0s, whereas et, ruffled and lace styles were trendy duri vintage florals and button-up shirts can ng the be a cute early 1900s. Recently, the hippie-love-c match — but, Dr. Marten’s add a new level of hild version of the flowing high-waisted bad ass to any outfit. Once worn by sold skirt became iers in popular again in the 70s. Today, this World War II, the clunky combat boo style ts stomped serves as a comfortable and more con their way into the wardrobes of punks servative and now alternative to curve-hugging bandag are strolling into the shopping bags of teen e skirts and s leggings. Whether in basic colors or looking for cool vintage designer bran pleated ds. If basic textures, the modern maxi can be perf black doesn’t cut it for you, the re-envis ect for ioned all seasons. In winter, this fad can be Dr. Marten’s offer an array of colors belted and patterns with a knit sweater and, if like neon and metallic, fit for any guy the sun or gal with Chunky Sweaters ever comes out in an edge. It’s time to raid your grandparents’ Elena Bernick the city, these skirts closets and dust the mothballs off ove Funky Hair rsized with tucked-in sweaters. Whether you wear a patterne Wh d knit en 80s sing er Cyn di Lauper rocked a half- one with tank tops or tee’s leggings or tight skinny jeans, heavy shav ed head , loud and expressionistic hairstyles are the perfect sweaters are the perfect way to stay were mostly sported by angst-filled warm in the combination. musicians ever -present San Francisco fog. and rebellious members of the punk movement. Guys — feeling a little bit lost? Lots Ditch the leather jacket, fishnets and of these Crop Tops feathered tren ds (with the exception of skirts, crop ban gs tops that used to acco mpany this hairstyle — The classic 90s and, perhaps, lace) are meant for you call as ed wel the l. und ercu t — and let this bold hairstyle Bulky card sitcom hosted many a igans and worn leather shoes look flau nt itsel f. Sha ved hair designs have changed young woman wearing fabulous on most, and topped with a drastically since striped patterns wer cool head a t-shirt that looked like a e buzzed shav ed design are reminiscent of the styl into the ish side s of mul lets á la Billy Ray Cyrus. serious case of shrinkage. Crop San Francisco homeboy. Make sure Tod the ay, desi any gn one with stea dy hands, hair clippers, tops have returned — hopefully is clear; you don’t want your mother and thin a risk king y taste in fash ion can shave words, to stay — with their midriffyou’ve gotten a gang sign shaved onto patterns and shapes into long and shor your baring splendor. When paired with t hair head ! alik e. Don ’t be shy — part something waist high, these fluttery your hair to one side Just as history often repeats itself, so tops and shave the other half off. Or, hav does make for a cute throw-on outfit. Fee e the name fash ion: from your great-grandmother’s ling more of you hom r favo e rite spor ts team daring? Lower your waistline to bare , striped designs, on the prairie to the woolen oversized that new or even purp the le Gol den Gat e Bridge temporarily belly button piercing. sweater your mother wore when she inscribed onto the artistic canvas of met your your head. dad, classic fashions can beat the cloc k.
the lowell spotlight october 7, 2011
Student opinion on recent fan-related violence. Page 14 Reporter explores new and quirky fitness trends. Page 15
Lowell High School October 7, 2011 Page 11
Athlete of the Month:
By Jeffrey Wong
game, he started soccer as a toddler when he was three, and over the years competed on several club teams, such as the Argonauts and the Destroyers. But Basaing has not been playing soccer for these many years simply for the exercise. He finds soccer motivating, as he has a sense of control over the success of the team, which he does not get out of anything else. “I love to show intensity on the field and work hard to get my team more goals,” BaSaing said. “Right now, several teams are gunning for us, but I love the feeling of remaining undefeated.” Playing on varsity with a solid core of teammates since his freshman year, BaSaing has developed in not only speed and skill, but also contributed to the brotherhood of his team. According n to senior left midree g iel Dan fielder Camilo Grabowski, BaSaing’s comical and encouraging personality strengthens the team’s unity and chemistry. “He can lighten the mood with a joke whenever the team i s d o w n ,” Grabowski said. “He has been my mentor on and of f Height: 5’11” the field, and I’ve learned everything Years on varsity: 4 from him. He’s like a Position: Center Forward brother to me.”
E SPRINTS to the ball with maximum intensity, challenging his opponents to kick it first. As he takes control of the ball, he jukes the defenders and dribbles down the field. The goalie can only brace himself for the onslaught as senior forward Cameron Basaing slams the ball into the top right corner — yet another goal for the Cardinals. BaSaing, also a reporter for The Lowell, has reaped great rewards from the hard work he has put into the sport. Currently the number one scorer in the Academic Athletic Association with 1.8 goals per
Senior wingback Toby Kuang tries to sneak past the Eagles’s defense at the Battle of the Birds with sophomore tight end Zach Rowson and junior defensive end Julian Manuel providing strong defense.
Cardinals’ comeback falls short to the Wash Eagles By Spencer Thirtyacre
OMING OFF of a tough loss to rival Washington Eagles, the Cardinals look ahead towards the young season. The varsity football team fell short to the Eagles 23-8 on Sept. 30 at the Battle of the Birds. Early on, the Cardinals played sloppy offense, resulting in 3 fumbles, one of which lead to a Washington touchdown. The strong Washington defense kept the Cardinals scoreless until the last five minutes, when Lowell rallied with a touchdown by junior linebacker Will Kim, following a 38-yard pass from junior quarterback Will Frankel. The Cardinals then made the 2-point conversion, followed by a successful onside kick to regain possession. This
last-minute comeback could not be completed, however, as the clock ran out before Lowell could build on their turnaround. Despite this bump in the road, the Cardinals are looking forward to the season to come. “We’re going to work on our fundamentals,” head coach Danny Chan said. Assistant coach Al Gamboa added plaudits to senior co-captain and tight end Will Zolan as one of the players who worked especially hard throughout the entirety of the game. “I play every game and every practice like that, but I need to push everyone else to play as hard as I do,” Zolan said. Following their defeat to the Eagles, Lowell is strongly preparing to maul the see FOOTBALL on Page 14
Boys’ boat nabs gold for first time in six years
By Ashley Louie
ITH HEARTS POUNDING and ears ringing from encouragement, the dragon boat crews begin settling into their boats. They submerge their paddles into the water and within seconds hear the much anticipated call of the horn. On Sept.18, the Cardinals participated in the Kaiser Permanente International Dragon Boat Festival at Treasure Island. The teams’ three mixed gender crews: the Lowell Crewzers (Boat A), Red Tide (Boat B), and Big Red C (Boat C), competed at the race, along with the female gender crew, the Lowellitas, and the male boat, the Lowell Riders. Four of the teams’ boats took first place: the Lowellites, Riders, Crewzers, and Big Red C. The Red Tide placed fourth in the B Division. This was the first time in seven years that the Lowell Riders won the gold. The Lowell Riders grasped their win with more than a second-long lead over Lincoln High Gold. Last September,
the Riders were only 0.24 seconds away from a win in the same race. Coach Brian Danforth said that junior steerer Tony Lin led a great finish. “We were pretty sure we would need a long efficient finish to have a chance, and as it turned out, the strategy worked perfectly,” Danforth said. Senior Rider Gordon Deng expressed his joy in the teams’ achievements. “This years’ race at Treasure Island was nothing short of amazing,” he said. “Every year the competition gets tighter and tighter. I am extremely proud of Lowell Dragon Boat.” According to coach Danforth, the Lowell riders had won gold in 2001; however, the Riders had to borrow two paddlers from Crystal Springs Uplands School to fill in for two spots on the boat, so solely Cardinal paddlers did not achieve the win. In 2004, the Cardinals also won the male championship, but Danforth said that the team was not able to compete against Lincoln, considered a top team, due to a limited numbers of spots; therefore their win was
not a true representation of Lowell’s abilities in the male gender division. Senior Group Leader Jimmy Yang was glad to have been able to compete against Lincoln this year. “It was great day to be out in the sun competing against the best of the best,” he said. The victories of the Lowellitas and Crewzers were their second wins in two years. “I am totally proud of my teammates and all of our crews. We worked really hard,” junior Lowellita Vicky Guan said. Sunday was an extraordinary race day. Lowell’s C Boat, mainly comprised of freshmen and sophomores, also dominated its race. The Boat beat the Washington Grays by a whole seven seconds. “The intensity of a single race was a lot, but with the whole team cheering you on it’s really fun, exciting and awesome,” freshman Big Red C paddler Alec Fong said. Group leader Elizabeth Kim expressed her satisfaction see DRAGONBOAT on Page 13
Lowell High School
October 7, 2011
Seniors opposite Bailey Armstrong and middle Danielle Menikheim close the block against a Los Altos hitter (left). Defensive specialist junior Erica Lei sets up the play (right).
Vars volleyball ready to regain AAA control By Cameron BaSaing
ebounding from a tough season last year, the girls’ varsity volleyball team is springing back into their former 13-peat spirit. With a 9-4 preseason record, the Cardinals are ready for their upcoming AAA competition. After the three-set loss to Sacred Heart on Sept. 22 in their first meet this year, the team regrouped and began to take down teams in their league. The girls annihilated ISA in three sets on Sept. 27 (25-4, 25-3. 258), as well as easily defeating June Jordan on Sept. 23 (25-4, 25-6, 25-8). Between the matches, the Cardinals also dominated the Carmichael Invitational on Sept. 24, remaining undefeated throughout all six games. “Tournament games are only two out of three sets, rather than three out of five, so they were quick,” senior libero Vivian Lei said. “Winning each game helped us carry our momentum into the following games and continue winning.” The momentum is strong now, but the Cardinals built it on a lesson learned from a preseason match against Sacred Heart. The girls went down to the Fighting Irish, though they fought
valiantly through three brutal sets (25-20, 25-16, 25-18). The post-game analysis of the breakdown this early in the season helped the team plan for improvement. “We didn’t give our 100% effort the whole time,” senior middle Danielle Menikheim said. “We could’ve played much better, but Sacred Heart got into our heads.” The Cardinals understand the benefits of challenging games, trying to learn from both victories and defeats throughout the season. “It’s games like these that test our strength and chemistry,” Menikheim added. “A loss like this only brings us together and makes us into a better team.” The loss may have appeared disheartening, but their record now shows otherwise; the girls will take the experience gained from each difficult match to fuel the fire needed for a championship-winning streak. One of the important games is taking place today, Oct. 7, against Balboa. The Buccaneers will give the girls a run for their money, as Balboa is notorious for their scrappy defense and hard hitters. The team, however, isn’t likely to back down from a tough opponent, and the game is expected to be intense. “Playing good and bad teams help prepare us for the big prize at the end of the season – the
Tennis jumps off strong preseason By Elena Berwick and Isabel Boutiette
T THE GIRLS’ VARSITY tennis game on Sept. 26, a crowd of parents and teammates looked on as seniors Jessica Lee and Kiyomi Kuroda swung at the ball in a rally that seemed never-ending. The seniors were opposite two Urban Blues players, and after a tense battle, Lee and Kuroda proved victorious and claimed the point. This wasn’t the first or the last victory for the Cardinals. Launching into the regular season, the Cardinals beat rival Washington Eagles 4-3 in their first season game on Sept. 14, followed by a game on Sept. 28 against Galileo which they won 7-0. “I played the Washington game,” senior Melinda Lem said. “That was a game where our coach rearranged us. We were placed out of our comfort zones — the Washington game was definitely a challenge.” The girls had jump-started their season with a series of preseason wins; in both the University game on Sept. 16 and Convent game on Sept. 21, the Cardinals prevailed Jeremy Varon with final scores of 5-2. In their preseason games against Freshman Sabrina On returns a serve against Urban. Urban Blues on Sept. 26, they won 6-1. On Sept. 20, the Lowellites were ready to face the larger team has worked out. Junior Verna Chan approves awaited match against the Drew Dragons, but had a of the ample number of players on the team. “I think you letdown. Unfortunately, Drew had its schedule double- learn from each other,” Chan said. booked. “[Cancellation] hasn’t happened since I’ve been at The large team size doesn’t mean that these girls Lowell — and I’ve been here for a year,” head coach Bryan aren’t close. “Everyone is really encouraging ... we’re Lee said. Though the lack of competition was a disappoint- like a big family,” freshman Ashley Duong said. ment to the girls’ tennis team, they ran practice as usual, Throughout the season, Lee has several plans for the imexemplifying their drive for improvement. According to provement of the team. “I try to teach them hard work and Lee, the preseason match against Drew will not be made discipline, which most of them are pretty good at,” he said. up because their schedule is already full. Specifically, the coach is working towards doubles players Forty girls, freshmen through seniors, tried out for the being more aggressive at the net and for single players varsity team on Aug. 29, as due to a lack of funding tennis does going more strongly after the balls. “I give instruction to not have a JV team, resulting in a large overall girls’ varsity everyone and work with the kids individually,” Lee said. team. None of the perspective members were cut. “As long Lee has made a point of teaching the idea that the as they were here, they would be a part of the team. I don’t scoreboard counts less than the team’s effort, although think it’s fair to cut people if they’re trying hard,” Lee said. victories are nice. “The result isn’t as important as the way According to Lee, scheduling and concentrating on indi- they compete,” Lee said. “They have to focus on things that vidual matches would be less complex with separate JV and they have control over like moving their feet, concentrating varsity teams. “I want to be able to watch all the matches,” on their swing and ball watching.” Lee said, “but that’s just not possible.” Players agree that while they are encouraged by their Because most private schools split their JV and varsity phenomenal success in games, they know it is not all about teams, Lee often has to make accommodations, such as the scores. “I think we started off really well,” Duong said. temporarily dividing his team in order to compete fairly. “Win or lose we’re proud of each other.” “There are no public schools that have JV teams,” Lee said. Trek to Dolores Park at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 12 to watch In ways other than scheduling, the players believe that the the Cardinals rally against the Mission Bears.
championship,” senior outside hitter Reilly Fitzpatrick said. “Balboa is one of the better teams we face and playing them progresses our teamwork.” The team is playing once again at the high bar set by previous years, back when the had a 13-sean champioship streak two years ago. With the prospect of concluding the season with the championship trophy, the girls expect to bring ferocity to the league. “We play with the same intensity at practice as we do in our toughest games,” coach Steven Wesley said. “Practice doesn’t make perfect, because no one is perfect, but practice brings us towards ‘perfect’.” These practices and preceding games are framing the upcoming Battle of the Birds when the Cardinals take on Washington on Oct. 14. “I set up a challenging preseason to prepare us for our tough regular season match-ups, like this week’s matches against Balboa and Lincoln back-to-back, hoping they’ll help us get to another championship,” Wesley said. The fans’ exuberance helps a team’s momentum during the season, so cheer on the girls at every opportunity. The Cardinals’ next game is at 4 p.m. today, Oct. 7, at the Neff Gymnasium as they face the Balboa Buccaneers.
Girls’ golf assimilates with new coach, tames Lions and Bulldogs
By Michelle Hwang and Carmen Lin
hoosh, the small, barely visible golf ball soared through the air and plopped on the green, soft grass. Whether the point is a eagle, birdie, bogey or double bogey, the player who hit it still gives their team a chance to do well in a match; regardless of whether, in the end, they achieve a victory. On Sept. 28 the girls’ varsity golf team emerged victorious against the Galileo Lions 223-246, with junior Paulina Kang achieving the low score of 40, according to coach and athletics director Robert Ray. On Sept. 20, the Cardinals had a narrow loss to the Lincoln Mustangs 231-205, though on Sept. 6 the Cardinals had swept the Wallenberg Bulldogs 249-277. For both games, the cohesiveness of the team contributed to the match. “Everybody scored and it was a team game,” coach and athletics director Robert Ray said. “In order to beat Lincoln in playoffs, we need a whole team effort.” With a new coach and no veterans, the new teammates need to practice harder if they want to defeat their rivals. “There are almost no returning players, and although we have a few seniors who have played on their own, the team is still quite inexperienced. But they will get better as the year goes along,” Ray said. Bolstered by the early win, the team, including three senior teammates Christie Yeh, Michelle Lee and Selena Tsang, expects to have a great season. Each senior is clear on personal goals for the golf team, “practice harder;” “learn the sport’;” “make it to playoffs.” After the previous golf coach, band teacher Mitchell Wagner, left from the coach position, Ray took over as the current coach. Wagner expressed appreciation of his time with the team. “Unfortunately I have other responsibilities and commitments and don’t have extra time to coach the team,” Wagner said. “I miss coaching the golf teams and teaching the great game of golf.” A month into his new slot, Ray also expressed his enjoyment of working with the golf team. “It’s more relaxing to coach than basketball,” Ray said with a smile. After she joined the team, Tsang found that she agreed with the coach on the sport’s hidden benefits. “Before, I thought golf was boring. Now it has given me a different form of relaxation,” Tsang said. Their favorite aspect of golf has varied from player to player. “Golf is something you have control over. If you’re messing up, then you’ll know it’s you and you get to improve,” junior Josephine Cormier said. Come cheer on the girls’ golf team at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 12 at Golden Gate Park as they take on the Burton Pumas.
October 7, 2011
X-Country trains to improve speed, optimistic of season
By Samantha Wilcox HE STARTING GUN popped, signaling hundreds of numbered jerseys to set off. Feet thudded against the grassy meadow as the Cardinals began another season. With hearts racing, blood pumping and legs aching, the crosscountry team makes its way into what it hopes will be another thrilling season. Fresh off its epic 2010 season, when it reigned undefeated and took its 31st consecutive All-City title, the team is charging into the 2011 season training for two to two-and-ahalf hours per day. The team has a balanced mix of veterans and new runners. “The veterans are very nice during practice, and if they pass you, they’ll say ‘good job.’ It’s not really divided into age, but more one team,” freshman runner Leah Siegel said. Why fix something that isn’t broken? Well, the same applies to a winning team, according to Coach Michael Prutz. “We’re not changing a lot of our basic training strategies this year, however, we are going to focus more on speed work,” Prutz, the team’s coach of five years said. “The team is more motivated, and they began their own workouts before school even started. We are training more hills and sprints to focus on speed training as our main goal. We have many stars on the team but depth is key to winning.” However, the Cardinals are prepared for any shifts in competition. “Lincoln has beat us in the past, but I have heard that they are not as strong this year. However, the Mission Bears have apparently improved, so that is an exciting addition for the season,” Prutz said. The 39th annual San Francisco Cross-Country Invitational on Sept. 17, which was hosted for the 33rd consecutive year by Lowell, was a successful meet for the Cardinals. The course was lined with teammates and alumni guiding the runners along the 3.43 kilometer and 4.71 kilometer courses, shouting out encouragement. Racing against teams from 49 Bay Area schools, freshmen Isaiah Abeyta and Jack Hinson ran in the Frosh/Soph Boys 3.43 kilometer race, both snagging places in the top 30. Abeyta, placing 9th, and Hinson, placing 26th, were the first Cardinals to earn medals this season. Overall, the meet was a good start for Lowell and a satisfying challenge for the racers, with the Cardinal team placing in the top ten in five out of thirteen races. “I ran track at A.P. Giannini, and I joined the Cardinals because I love to run,” Hinson said while icing his sore feet after a race. The sophomore boys’ team placed 4th in the 3.93 km race out of a l l s cho ols. S ophomore Br ian Nguyen
Standings As of October 3, 2011
standing: 1st place next game: 3:45 p.m. 10/11 at Home vs. Burton GAVIN LI
Varisty juniors Chris Chow and Raymond Lang battle steep hills as they compete in the Ram Invitational.
snagged 15th place with a time of 12:42, with Donald Chen close behind, placing 16th with a time of 12:45. Eight runners placed in the top 100 of all 153 finishers. The Frosh/Soph girls’ team, which placed 6th in the meet, included sophomores Patricia Nguy (15:56) and Kathleen Kanaley (16:03), who placed within the top 25 in the 3.93 km race. For the JV boys’ team, which placed 7th overall out of all participating schools, junior Brian Shaw placed 23rd with a time of 18:23, with six runners in the top 100 of 128 finishers of the 4.71 km race. Varsity girls’ and boys’ both placed 9th overall, with junior Emma Keenan-Grice taking 25th place on a time of 20:04. For the varsity girls, six runners placed within the top 100 of all 133 participants. Come cheer on the Cardinals at 8 a.m. on Oct. 8th, at Belmont for the Crystal Springs Invite.
Danforth said. At the moment, the team has seventy-seven members, according to Coach Danforth. “Dragon boat is growing fast, and there are so many people, the new and the old, enthusiastic about paddling and getting better,” senior Rider KEVIN TRAN Gordon Deng said. Lowell’s next race junior will be held in April at Lake Merced, time and date have yet to be confirmed.
“ Our rivals will be
immensely hungry to defeat us next year.”
against Wash the entire time, and we can keep up our intensity, we will continue to win.” The team lost 28-0 in the first preseason game they played on Sept. 17 against the towering Redwood High School Giants. Head coach Jesse Raskin stated that the first game served as a learning experience and wake-up call for the team. “At this point, gaining experience is more important than anything else,” Raskin said. According to assist ant coach Ronald Ng, the isJESSE RASKIN sues with recruithead coach ing are atypical of the JV team. With just 22 players this season, as opposed to last year’s approximately 34 players, the team is severely undermanned, according to Raskin. “We haven’t had prob-
At this point, gaining experience is more important than anything.”
standing: 1st place next meet: 8 a.m. 10/8 at Belmont Crystal Springs Invite
standing: 1st place next game: 3:45 p.m. Today at Lowell vs. Balboa
standing: 1st place next game: 3:30 p.m. 10/12 at Dolores Park vs. Mission standing: 1st place next game: 11 a.m. 10/8 at SOTA vs. Burton
standing: next meet: 3:30 p.m. 10/12 at Golden Gate Park vs. Burton
Eagles plummet, JV Cardinals take it all home
standing: 1st place next game: 4 p.m. Today at Lowell vs. Balboa
With Lincoln and Mission also fighting for the gold, junior Kevin Tran said, “Our rivals will be immensely hungry to defeat us next year.” Until the next season in mid-February, dragon boaters are conditioning under group leaders three days a week. “The challenge is to stay hungry, and to keep training hard,”
By Cooper Logan ESPITE DIFFICULTIES recruiting members for the flock, the Cardinals plan to have a high-flying season this year. The JV football team is facing challenges with too few players this year, but still plans to swoop to the finish for the Academic Athletic Association title. The Cardinals clawed the Eagles out of the air in the much-anticipated Battle of the Birds 24-21 on Sept. 29. The JV team played a strong game, but still has to work on endurance as the game progresses. “Everyone played together as a team, and we pretty much outplayed Washington,” sophomore quarterback and tight end Josef Mueller said. “If we play like we played in the first half
standing: 2nd place next game: 3 p.m. Today at Burton vs. Burton
Dragonboat overjoyed about win from DRAGONBOAT on page 11 that the younger team strived for winning. “We are so proud of the newbies, too,” Kim said. Despite the Lowellites’ victory at Treasure Island, nothing in the succeeding season in guaranteed. “We can have personnel changes, you don’t know what’s going to happen.” Danforth said. “A fifth mix title would be nice, but no one can predict [it] at this point.” Moreover, in addition to Lincoln, the school’s nemesis, Mission is also an up-an-coming team, placing third overall in the mix and male gender divisions, along with second in the female division at Treasure Island.
lems recruiting for the JV for as long as I can remember,” Ng said. “I have no idea why there are so few players this year.” The issues with the size of the team brought changes to the instruction style of the coaching staff, head coach Jesse Raskin and assistant coaches Ronald Ng and Javes Rivera, the same staff as last year. The co-captains are junior fullback and linebacker Frank Chu, sophomore quarterback Kenny Li, sophomore runningback and linebacker Jeffrey Liu, sophomore quarterback and tight end Josef Mueller and sophomore tight end and defensive end Noah Shaw. The delay with the reconstruction of the football field has forced the team to practice on the soccer field alongside the varsity football and soccer teams. “The field is really cramped, and it’s hard to hear with all the other teams practicing nearby,” Ng said. Some players agree with the limiting nature of the field space issues. “We only have about fifty yards to practice on, and we can’t use
the dry area because there have been several injuries there already,” Liu said. Although numbers are low now, the coaches and players hope for new recruits. “It’s a pretty young team, and we are just trying to keep the players healthy,” Ng said. “Right now, we can barely field a team, so anyone who is interested is welcome to join.” The Cardinals hope to beat last season’s record of 4 wins and 2 losses, and are particularly preparing for the games against Washington and Galileo, this year’s major opponents. “A lot of the other schools get lots of players with speed and size,” Raskin said. “We have to counter that with discipline, teamwork and a team-oriented philosophy on defense and offense.” Despite the need for players, Li believes the Cardinals have the makings of a dominant team. “Even though a few sophomores moved up to varsity, we still have a strong core of sophomores, and this is going to be a good year for the team,” Li said.
October 7, 2011
Lowell High School
Varsity stumbles in game against Eagles
from VARSITY FOOTBALL on page 11
Burton Pumas. The team is excited to make a comeback after playing their worst season since 1989 – winning only one game. With new additions of players and coaches, they are ready to bounce back and return to the winning years. The team is focused on making key changes on offense and defense in anticipation of a more successful season. Confident in themselves and the players, the coaching staff is ready to go. Gamboa has been coaching at Lowell since 1997 and is aiming to challenge his team to make them tough to beat. “My goal is to develop a true work ethic and dedication to the team,” Gamboa said. Newly appointed assistant coach Matt Jew, a class of ’08 quarterback for the school, expressed his excitement to “mentor the offense and walk them through offensive tactics.” Chan has high hopes for the upcoming year. “We’re always looking to play on Turkey Day (the championship game); there’s no excuse for not aiming high,” Chan said. His new squad shows talent, from incoming rookie starters, such as sophomore linebacker Raymond Phelps and sophomore tight end Zach Rowson, to the veteran co-captains: senior wingback Reggie Webb and Zolan. The team has a leadership system where the seniors are in charge of the team, juniors follow suit and the sophomores take it all in. Last year, the seniors fell victim to “senioritis,” as Chan puts it. “They just weren’t too keen to grind out the yards,” Chan said. “If the seniors don’t lead the team, then all the weight of managing the sophomores falls on the juniors.” This year’s enthusiastic team is pumped for the new season and, after an initial setback
in the season, will stop at nothing to win the gold. “Commitment has been much better this year; they sacrifice,” Chan said. “We inspire them to go all out, if we ran it any other way it wouldn’t work.” The Cardinals face a disadvantage before the season had even started, as senior defensive back Aiden Judge tore his anterior cruciate
ligament when he was tackled by an opposing player. His injury occurred during a
preseason game on August 27 against the Bret Harte Bullfrogs, which the Cardinals won, 2120. “It really brought us down; we’re going to have to pick up the slack,” Zolan said. Coaches Chan and Gamboa expect Judge to be sidelined for the rest of the season. “I’ll be at the games for moral support,” Judge said. Judge’s injury was a blow to the team, due to his defensive skills and inspirational leadership, which became apparent after the game following his injury — a 48-6 preseason loss against the Redwood Giants on Sept. 16. While the loss of any player is unfortunate, Chan is not too discouraged. “Nothing to cry about, it’s life,” Chan said. The Cardinals will need their determination, as their practices and home games have been bumped from the school’s football field to School of the Arts due to construction delays on the returfing of the field. This also forces the team to practice on the soccer field, sharing it with the soccer players as well as the JV football team. Additionally, players must miss extra class time to travel to the SOTA field in time for their scheduled preseason home games. Sophomore tight end Alvin Norman pointed out that it is not just a matter of lost time. “It’s frustrating because we normally get hyped up in the locker room before games, and since we have to take the bus to SOTA, we can’t get
Washington defense tackles senior wingback Toby Kuang at the annual Battle of the Birds game at Kezar Stadium.
pumped in the same way,” Norman said. The team was hoping the renovations would be finished in time for their last home game on Oct. 20. However, the vice principal of administration and activities, Ellen Reller,
expects otherwise. “It will be finished in late October, best case scenario,” Reller said. Come out today at 3 p.m. to Burton High School to cheer on the varsity football team to victory against the Burton Pumas.
Sports organizations need to step up to the plate
sources, such as abcnews.go.com and foxnews.com, are alcohol and inadequate security, which have been associated with fan violence in past years. Sports fans’ safety suffers under a double whammy — not only the national climate of attacking “the enemy,” but also the failure of the sports industry to effectively address the complex underpinnings of excessive drinking and improve its policies towards crowd control. As recognized by our laws regulating use, alcohol impacts people in varying ways. In some cases, alcohol can trigger a fan’s to act out his or her aggression. According to Daniel Wann, a psychology professor at Murray State University in Oklahoma who researches fan behavior, disruptive fans both revel in drinking for a greater fan experience and behave more aggressively. “Part of what they [the fans] like about a sporting event is the confrontation and the trash-talking and vulgarities,” Wann said in a Aug. 30 usatoday.com article by Robert Klemko. As a result, the arena’s administration has had to end fun activities that innocent fans — who monitor both their consumption and risky behavior — have enjoyed; the recent fan violence led to the cancellation of 49ers-Raiders exhibition matches, ending a long-held tradition between the two cities. While the sports industry has attempted to address the alcoholic issues of fans, it has not taken sufficient action to ensure public safety, in all likelihood because of profit. According to the same USA Today article, NFL teams’ alcoMARC GANIS hol revenue is about $1 million president of SportsCorp a season, and parking revenue — benefited by the tailgate parties where alcohol consumption mostly takes place — maxes to around $500,000, according to Marc Ganis, president of Chicago-based SportsCorp, a sports business consulting firm. “In baseball, alcohol is a major slice of the revenue pie due to summer heat and the number and length of games,” Ganis stated in the same article. Recently, the 49ers and the New York Giants have cut alcohol sales when games run late in order to maintain a safe environment. But this is inadequate, as proven by the recent violent acts. Because of the over-priced alcohol sold in stadiums — a single beer can cost $8.75 according to the Aug. 4, 2009 blog, “It’s time for the Giants to lower beer prices,” (www. bayareasportsguy.com) — fans have learned that consuming higher levels of alcohol outside the park (tailgating or not) is far cheaper. When rowdy sports drunks who have eluded the industry’s safety effort confront each other, brawls and verbal stand-offs are only inevitable. However, what industries can control is whom they deem appropriate to enter the park in
In baseball, alcohol is a major slice of the revenue pie due to the summer heat and the number and length of games.”
terms of safety issues; by preventing those too drunk from entering and limiting the alcoholic consumption within the whole venue, including parking lots, stadium managers can better stabilize the crowds. While people may suggest that an increased security force may help, several videos from Uncoverage, a website that provides alternative news coverage (www.uncoverage.net), show passive security guards failing to stop fights amongst rival fans. It may be that the security guards in the video felt outnumbered, and worse, were not sufficiently trained in crowd management, but nonetheless, would a blind increase in the member of untrained guards stop the fan violence? California legislators have been trying to pass a law that would encourage vigilant fans to identify people who start the fights with monetary incentives, according to the Alaska Dispatch, an online-only news website (www.alaskadispatch.com). With a greater culture of watchfulness among citizens, rowdy fans would be more wary of their actions because they would lose their anonymity, thus creating a disincentive to participate in violence. Additionally, because it would be against the law to start brawls, stiffer sentences for people convicted of fighting would provide a deterrent. The attack mode started with politicians, but its up to the sports industries to stop it. Fans have always expressed their opinions — “Hey! Ump! Throw da bum out!” — in sports, but only now has this aggression escalated. While industries cannot change the effects caused by harsh political rhetoric, they can improve their effectiveness in regulating alcohol consumption and improve the quality of security. Alcohol is a strong revenue source and a game tradition, but industries must forsake their economic needs for fan safety; after all, what is the price of the life of Bryan Stow, a father of two? The enjoyment of sports needs to return to its essence, beating rivals through winning scores, not settling scores between fans. Sports are meant to be a place where stresses from the “real life” outside the diamond or field do not exist; and a place with a healthy outlet for the crowd’s emotions — the love for their team and the pure excitement of the game, as fans cheer or groan their team on. But more importantly, rebuilding the fans’ camaraderie can serve a greater purpose than simply in the realm of sports — a model for politicians on cooperation versus conflict.
By Jeffrey Wong PORTS HAVE always been an outlet for fans to release tension and stress, expressing support for their team against jeering rivals. But this year, violence from rival supporters has escalated to the point of bringing Bay Area fans to the emergency room. Why are some sports lovers reacting to their rival team supporters with hatred and, recently, even causing physical harm? The national climate of using “attack and destroy” tactics to gain political advantage, initiated mainly by our elected officials, has trickled down and affected the behavior of all citizens. The political parties’ use of violent images may induce people to act with more violence in general. Sport fans, who are notoriously rowdy, have been influenced by this new national climate, believing it is okay to express their frustrations with violence. Earlier this year, many members of the legislation and media bashed Republican politician Sarah Palin for displaying an online map that used crosshairs (cross signs used to focus on game when hunting) to target several Democratic House members up for reelection. Palin’s graphics and tone — her motto: “Don’t retreat. Instead, reload” — were criticized as associating politics with war, yet Palin did not “retreat” until after the near-assassination of Democratic House member Gabrielle Giffords. Politicians’ use of violent rhetoric has been on the rise on both sides of the aisle, as when Obama stated in a speech that a Republican majority in Congress would mean “hand-to-hand combat,” according to an Oct. 7, 2010 Los Angeles Times article. The trickle-down effect of this inflammatory rhetoric influences citizens, such as sports fans, to be more aggressive. As New York Times columnist Paul Krugman stated in his 2011 opinion following Giffords’ tragedy, “The vast majority of those who listen to that toxic rhetoric stop short of actual violence, but some, inevitably, cross that line.” Played out on a national level, politician partisanship has denigrated to the level of using violent words to attack, paralleling sports fans who then believe that they should literally attack rival fans. On Aug. 20, two 49ers fans were shot and one 26-year-old fan severely beaten by Raiders fans in a parking lot behind Candlestick Park following a game. Last April, Dodger fans put local Giants fan Bryan Stow in San Francisco General Hospital after a Giants’ loss, simply for being a Giants fan. The sports corporations cannot influence the negative national climate, but they can make local changes for fan safety. The often-cited causes of these violent acts, based on several
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October 7, 2011
Lowell High School
FITNESS TRENDS Choose how you’d like to exercise: A. Lift five-pound weights, working up to ten. B. Push the buttons on your television remote five times every minute, working up to ten. C. Dance wildly to a Caribbean beat. D. Carry a Lowell backpack. If you chose C and wish to “jazzercise” your workout routine, check out these unique fitness trends that are innovative alternatives to the traditional gym workout.
P90X: Extreme Home Fitness
umba: was created in 1986 by accident when Columbia-born Alberto “Beto” Perez forgot to bring his usual music to the aerobics class he taught. He went through his bag of tapes and decided to play a mix of salsa and meringue music that he personally enjoyed. The energy generated by the fast beat was an immediate success in his class, and a newborn dance-based exercise soon spread all over Colombia. After the initial success in Colombia, in 1999 Perez took the class to the United States. Zumba is considered “exercise in disguise,” and claims to burn between 500 and 1000 calories in a typical class. Zumba exercises include a wide variety of music with either fast or slow rhythms, ranging from classic Spanish genres such as salsa, merengue, mambo, chachacha, tango and soca, to the world music of belly dancing, bhangra, hip hop music, axé music and reggaeton, as well as resistance training for weight loss and fitness. Stonestown YMCA, 24 Hour Fitness on Ocean Ave and Fitness USA at Stonestown are the nearest locations to the school that offer Zumba classes. For locations near your home, visit the Zumba website (www.zumba.com) and type in your zip code. “I started doing Zumba because soccer season was over, so I was at the Y looking for classes. I passed by the Zumba class and heard sick music so I joined the class,” senior Taryn Estébez said, who currently takes Zumba classes at Stonestown YMCA. Varied teachers teach this class and, as a result, each class focuses on different aspects. “Zumba isn’t extremely intense, but it definitely helped my coordination,” Estébez said.
igital Fitness Games, also known as “exergaming,” are video games that are also a form of exercise. Exergaming uses technology that tracks the body’s movement using motion sensors. This fitness trend has been credited with changing the stereotype from computer nerds sitting at a monitor in a sedentary lifestyle to fitness afficionados having fun. Exergames have been evolving as technology improves, and can be traced back to the 1980s, when games such as HighCycle and Power Pad were introduced. HighCycle was an exercise bike that the user would pedal through a virtual landscape, and Power Pad was similar to a primitive version of Dance Dance Revolution. In recent years, video games have advanced technologically, with programs such as Wii Fit and Konami’s Dance Dance Revolution that have made exergaming more popular than ever. Dance Dance Revolution was released in 1998 in Japan, and is recognized as the pioneering series of the rhythm and dance genre in video games. Players stand on a “dance platform” or stage and hit colored arrows with their feet to musical and visual cues, then the game awards points based on how well participants timed their moves to the patterns presented. As a reward, dancers are allowed to choose songs from an unlocked selection of music. Junior Susan Park first found out about DDR through TV commercials. “I was really into it when I first got it, and it made me sweat and was a pretty good workout,” Park said. “However, it got boring after awhile.” Wii Fit is an exercise video game consisting of a variety of sports activities. This game requires the player to remain standing on the Wii Balance Board, an accessory similar to a household weight scale, while trying exercises such as yoga, strength training, aerobics, and balance games. As the user attempts each exercise, virtual trainers criticize or praise the participant depending on how well he or she is doing. “Some people may find it more fun than running on a treadmill, but it’s not a super intense workout and won’t get you as fit as other workout programs would,” sophomore Vishaal Patel said.
Digital Fitness Games
90X, or Power 90 Extreme, is a 90-day home-exercise program created by Beachbody Limited Liability Company (LLC) that combines a variety of exercise techniques such as strength training, cardio, yoga, plyometrics and stretching. There are twelve DVD workouts, each targeting different skills and muscle groups. P90X emphasizes “muscle confusion,” a method of training that switches the order of exercises and incorporates new movements in order to prevent the body from adapting to same old exercises. The majority of the workouts are less than an hour, and the P90X program cycle lasts 13 weeks, six days a week. A series of DVD videos featuring instructor Tony Horton and his crew of workout buddies, a nutrition guide, fitness plan and calendar are all included with this program. Some Lowell students have used P90X to motivate them to exercise more regularly. “It’s a new way to work out and it’s made me a lot stronger. I went from being able to do only a few pull-ups in a single workout, to doing like fifty,” senior Max Lewin said, who first heard about P90X after his brother went through the program. As for any downsides of P90X, Lewin added, “P90X requires you to do the exercises every day, which can be annoying, especially if you don’t have the time for it on some days.” The nutrition plan is made up of three different phases. The first 30 days focuses on a diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates, such as egg whites or chicken breast. On the second phase, the percentage of carbohydrates is increased, then in the third phase, it becomes a high-carbohydrate “athlete’s” diet. Insanity is another home exercise program similar to P90X, also created by Beachbody LLC. It claims to improve fitness in 60 days through “max interval training,” which is a method of exercising in which one works out strenuously for 3-4 minutes and then has a “cool down” period for about 30 seconds before starting the whole process over again. Similar to P90X, Insanity also includes a nutrition guide, fitness plan, calendar and a series of DVD videos with instructor Shaun Thompson. Sophomore Max Read did Insanity for four weeks as a freshman in Physical Education teacher Sasha Taylor-Ray’s class. “We did Insanity because it got people in shape for the fitness test,” Read said. “It really worked for me and improved my fitness test score.”
October 7, 2011
Lowell High School
Girl ditches deodorant to dig the great outdoors By Jenna Rose Fiorello
o showers. Sierra wilderness. Fourteen days. I told each of my friends of my impending deprivation and secretly enjoyed their bewildered response every time. I felt like I was bragging, honestly, because a backpacking trip for two weeks away from computers, cars and people was, to me, a luxury, not a sacrifice. After about Day Five, however, my lack of a bath smelled anything but luxurious. So why would a sixteen-year-old girl volunteer a chunk of her summer to lug around a 50-pound backpack, dig a hole for a toilet and sleep on the ground? I temporarily adopted this outdoorextremist lifestyle simply because it seemed so foreign to my city girl self. Sure I love hiking in Muir Woods and running across the Golden Gate Bridge, but little did I know that my scholarship with Outward Bound Bay Area Youth Leadership Corps would be the ultimate test of that love. How much did I love pink Alpine mountain peaks and fresh snowmelt to drink? After a seven-hour drive to the Sierra Nevada mountains, I was about to find out. For the next fourteen days, six Bay Area high school students and I camped, climbed and hiked on the granite slabs known as California’s Sierra. Each day, we woke up earlier than I did for school, only to face a physical challenge more demanding than any P.E. class. One time I spent an entire hour in the crevice of a cliff, inching my butt up and gritting my teeth in an effort to reach the top. Despite my friends’ cheers of “Keep going, Jenna! You can do this!” my exhaustion and frustration forced me to give up and return back to earth. Disappointed and overwhelmed, I surprised everyone — especially myself — when my feet hit the ground and I started crying. One friend had blisters on her hands from holding the rope for so long.
Others had hoarse throats from yelling words of encouragement for an hour straight. My first real rock climbing experience was one of the hardest things I’ve ever attempted, and I discovered a determination I had never tested before. After spending a total of 321 straight hours with the same six teens, we became a close-knit team. Together we covered 12.5 kilometers of rocky terrain in one day, filled the lonely Sierra valleys with songs, cheers and chants and swatted more mosquitoes than the number of freshmen at Lowell. Our teamwork impressed our adult instructors, too, who were inspired to further challenge us by stranding us on an island on Day Nine. As we rolled up our pants and obediently waded with them to a tiny outpost in the middle of a lake, we thought, “Forreal?” Equipped with only four sleeping bags, a tarp, a compass, a first aid kit, a stove, water bottles, tortilla wrappers, a stick of salami and a block of cheese, whether or not we survived the next 15 hours was entirely up to us. Meant to replicate the “shipwrecked” experience Outward Bound students of the 40s endured while training for WWII survival, we spent the night barefoot, cold and swearing like sailors. With no knife, we sliced cheese with the edge of a compass and cut salami with medical scissors. For entertainment, we played “Ten Fingers” as our contagious laughs and the sun’s setting rays bounced of the lake’s surface. We were all in the same boat, making our ridiculous bonding experience a memory to keep. Back at home, I admit I daydream about cannon balling into a river when I should be doing precalculus homework. Sometimes I miss sleeping under the stars, even when I’m huddled in my warm bed on a foggy night. Most teens would argue that two
weeks spent with strangers in the wilderness sounds terrifying. Yet I found that, despite being a small group in “the middle of nowhere,” having each other was all we needed to face the wild. We ate the same food (Grape-Nuts and powdered milk with hot water for breakfast), shared the same pain (blisters, sunburns and mosquito bites) and tackled the same challenges (“Make a raft out of logs, sleeping mats and string to cross this river!”). Braving the elements taught me to never underestimate myself. After climbing to a 12,000 foot mountain peak, junior year will be a stroll through Golden Gate Park.
Muggle-born finds home in the house of “Duffers”
By Deidre Foley
fter taking a dozen online multiple-choice quizzes — from sorting hats, not Sparknotes — I kept getting mixed results for my Hogwarts house placement. The quizzes let me get a taste of Hufflepuff, Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, but the various sorting hats never settled on who, in essence, I was. But finally, after a rigorous sorting hat test identified me as a Hufflepuff (oh snap!), my sorting on Pottermore (see ‘Pottermore enchants muggles world’) officially confirmed my Hufflepuff status. As anyone who has followed Harry Potter’s school years knows, at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a young witch or wizard can be sorted into one of four houses: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Slytherin or Hufflepuff. Each house is stereotypically known for housing students with certain qualities. The brave belong to Gryffindor, the brainy to Ravenclaw, the cunning are sorted into Slytherin and the leftover “lame” students — lacking intrepid, intelligent or illicit characteristics — end up in Hufflepuff. When I first saw the results of the first personality test, I felt as angst-y as Harry feels when he returns to the Dursleys every sum-
mer. At the time, I believed that Hufflepuffs were “a lot ’o duffers,” as Hagrid calls them in the Philosopher’s Stone. As Draco Malfoy said in the Philosopher’s Stone, “Imagine being in Hufflepuff, I think I’d leave, wouldn’t you?” After the initial panic, I took the only logical course of action: renewed panic — but this time consulting my Harry Potter guru friend. Instant messaging her in ALL CAPS, I explained my situation, hoping for reassurance that I was surely a Gryffindor, or a Ravenclaw like herself; surely the sorting hat had a glitch. Instead of quickly reassuring me of the website’s mistake however, she told me Hufflepuffs were actually pretty cool. In the nicest way possible, she pointed out that I’m not exactly courageous or brave enough to be a Gryffindor and not at all cunning and vain enough to be a Slytherin. Most of all, she said that I just “seem a lot more like a Hufflepuff,” mostly because I try to be friendly all the time. Despite my friend’s reassurance, it took some time to adjust to my Hufflepuff status.
Sure, maybe it would be more boastworthy to be in the “brave” house or the “smart” house, but Hufflepuff can be cool, too. Right? I’m sure the “lame” reputation is just another false stereotype. After all, my trusted Harry Potter guru has read the series at least five times, so she knows what’s up. I looked up more about Hufflepuff and I saw that it actually fit me very well. Those in Hufflepuff are known for being especially friendly, loyal, impartial, patient and hard-working, all qualities I see in myself. When I meet someone new, I greet them with a smile and handshake. I always try to make things fair for others, whether it is by dividing some Beritie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans evenly between people or thinking of rules to increase the sportsmanship in a match of Quidditch. When I get interested in a project, I put all of my effort into it. I’m a bit shy — I don’t want to stand out or embark on either brave or shady deeds, or be brilliant all the time: being a trustworthy friend is more
important to me. Now I see that I fit the mold of a Hufflepuff perfectly; how could I possibly be in any other house? I’m also in the company of some pretty boss alumni. Nymphadora Tonks, one of the coolest characters in Harry Potter, was a Hufflepuff. Tonks was a metamorphmagus, which means she could change her physical appearance at will. She was just as witty as any Ravenclaw as well as being skilled at flying, dueling and other nifty magical skills. Tonks broke the stereotypes of a Hufflepuff by getting high marks on her N.E.W.T.S. and dynamically catching dark wizards as part of her job, as well as bravely fighting to the end in the Battle of Hogwarts. Others aren’t as easily swayed as me, though. A less accepting Facebook friend posted “I got sorted into Hufflepuff I’m sooo pissed >:( ” after her sorting on Pottermore, and many of my friends still snicker when I boast about my house. Loyalty and kindness aren’t as distinguishable as courage or wit, but Hufflepuffs are still just as nifty (if not niftier) than the more famous houses. As long as I know that Hufflepuffs are spiffy and I have my supportive Harry Potter guru to back me up, I’m proud to wear my black and yellow scarf and be a Hufflepuff honey badger.
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October 7, 2011
Glaring injustices in community mar city’s reputation for environmental awareness By Eva Morgenstein
N THE CITY of San Francisco, we pride ourselves on being eco-friendly. We are at the forefront of composting and recycling and we promote riding MUNI, BART or bicycles over driving. But no level of “green” will solve the problems in our industrial areas. According to multiple federal laws and work regulations, every person has the right to a clean, safe place to live and work. Despite our city’s commitment to progressive policies, environmental injustice occurs every day in specific pockets of the city, increasing health risks to citizens and decreasing the ability of our society to provide true equality and justice. Environmental justice, by its definition, is the equal treatment of all human beings concerning the development, implementation and enforcement of all environmental laws, regulations and policies. While we would like to believe that environmental injustice is no longer a problem, it is a class issue. Despite our hopes for equal access to a healthy lifestyle which disregards economic status, large companies take advantage of the poor’s lesser power in society to pollute their environments. In San Francisco, environmental justice largely targets people of minorities and low-income citizens. According to a Distribution of Environmental Burdens report regarding San Francisco, families with annual incomes of less than $25,000 are exposed to 2.59 times more toxic chemical releases than higher-income families. Also, the ratio of families living below poverty to families living above poverty who are exposed to toxic releases is 2.63. Bayview and Hunter’s Point are the most afflicted neighborhoods of environmental injustice in our city today. From 1929 to 2006, Pacific Gas and Electric’s Bayview-Hunter’s Point power plant annually spewed 600 tons of toxic chemicals and pollutants, according to Scorecard Less than a mile away from a congested residential area, the PG&E pollution included 321 tons of nitrogen oxides, 164 tons of carbon monoxide, 52 tons of particulate matter, 13 tons of ammonia, and 13 tons of volatile organic compounds, according to Green Action (www.greenaction.org), a nonprofit environmental protection organization. Our society takes advantage of low-income people who may be less empowered to fight against environmental injustices because of the necessitation of money for power in our society, and the slow legal processes of fighting back that take far too long. Yet the Bayview Hunter’s Point community responded in March 2005, when 100 people protested outside of the PG&E
plant, calling for its immediate closing, according to Green the closing down and cleaning up of those existing, including Action. The plant finally closed in 2006 because of the protest the naval shipyard. and publicity, after 77 years of pollution and health problems Senior Amiame Fanaika, whose aunt is a volunteer for Green for Bayview. But that in no terms makes up for the pollution Action, occasionally assists her aunt in protests which gain news brought onto San Francisco’s citizens and the injustice to come. coverage for environmental issues, such as the possible destrucThe plant still releases 29 pounds of toxic chemicals a year tion of Glen Cove Park in Vallejo to make way for a parking lot. through leftover airborne chemicals, according to Scorecard. “People don’t know what’s happening in our community unless Along with PG&E’s power plant, most of the city’s unwanted it’s in the news,” she said. She encourages others to be activpollutants and industrial factories are found in the Bayview ists and participate in community events. “Attend community District. Half the land in San Francisco dedicated to industrial meetings. In Bayview, they have meetings about what’s going usage is in Bayview and Hunter’s Point. According to the orga- on with environmental justice,” she said. “During the meetings, nization Literacy for Environmental Justice (www.lejyouth.org), they plan what to do about current issues and ask questions.” the Bayview District contains over 325 toxic sites, including the Rather than place dangerous toxic sites in the heart of Hunter’s Point Naval Shipyard Superfund site, which releases populated residential areas, we should put them in secluded 28,942 pounds of toxins a year. The residents in these neighbor- areas, far away from human beings, and work to find healthier hoods have an increased risk of developing diseases, including alternatives to the energy-producing methods that release heavy cancer, heart disease, diabetes and childhood asthma. The rate pollution. If we do not heavily protest against the companies of incidents of birth defects in the area is 44.3 per 1000, while that pour out chemical toxins and pollutants, we will have the rest of the Bay Area sees a rate of 33.1 out of 1000 births, accepted discrimination and inhumane practices in our own according to Green Action. The rates of hospitalization for city. If you are ready to fight back against the (literal) machine, diseases such as diabetes and emphyszema are more than three find out about volunteer opportunities and protests on Green times California’s average. What the city overall does not real- Action’s and Literacy for ize is that citizens of these areas are breathing pollution caused Environmental Justice’s by our industrialized society. We do not intend to contribute websites. When it comes to the illnesses and suffering of fellow humans, yet we benefit to environmental protecfrom the energy and goods tion, not fighting back is that these toxic industries as toxic as doing the produce. How is it justifiinitial deed. able to allow people to live in places that increase their risk of illness or death? We must pay attention and support citizens’ activism and cleanup efforts in order to produce a healthier environment for all of us. As a city-wide community we can take action by protesting the building of illustratio n by hoi leun more industrial sites in our city and demanding g
Retailers hit the Target with new urban locations By Samantha Wilcox
N THE 1960s, Sam Walton had a bright idea for a new store, one that “should reflect the values of its customers and support the vision they hold for their community.” Walmart opened in 1962 and the superstore revolution began. Since then, Americans have taken for granted the abundance of stores that carry anything and everything! We just go on a “Target run” and are done with our shopping for the week. The popularity of big box shopping is here to stay. But the benefit of their price breaks is offset, since the stores are in other cities. Walmart has many locations in Oakland and the East Bay, K-Mart has a location in San Leandro, while Target has two locations on opposite sides of Highway 280 in Colma and Serramonte. The nearest non-hardware megastore to San Francisco’s city center is 7.1
away, definitely a problem. Good news, the city has finally caught on to the trend. Big box stores are beginning to open within city limits, thanks to the efforts of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, an independent organization dedicated to improving living conditions in urban areas and facilitating economic development. Target is currently developing one of its first urban locations in the Metreon in downtown San Francisco, set to open its doors early next year. According to a July 29 San Francisco Chronicle article, the city’s Planning Commission granted Target approval to open another location at the Geary and Masonic mall. This means that
there will soon be not one, but two Targets in the city. The hardware superstore Lowe’s also opened its first San Francisco store in 2010 on Bayshore Blvd. in the Bayview District. San Francisco will greatly benefit from the chains that come to our city. The stores will provide hundreds of new jobs. According to an Oct. 30 article in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Lowe’s on Bayshore Blvd. hired more than 200 employees, most from within the Bayview area, to work at the new store. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 10 percent of all people who live in the Bayview district were unemployed. On Sept.16 the California Employment Development Department reported an unemployment rate of 8.8 percent in San Francisco. In this economic climate, the number of new jobs generated by superstores could greatly affect people’s lives for the better. Although critics argue that Targets and Walmarts would hurt local small businesses, these stores have the potential to revive neighborhoods. The new stores, by employing more local people, help more money flow into the area. The Bayview district did not previously attract many people from around the city, but now that there is a Lowe’s in the area, people come from all over San Francisco to shop there. Location does make a difference; the new stores will be
accessible to shoppers who previously had to venture out of the city to do their shopping and to new customers on public transportation. The same can be said for the Metreon mall, which contains little more than a movie theatre and a few restaurants. The addition of a Target store will revitalize this urban mall, making it a popular place for people to shop and promoting local businesses. According to a Feb. 24, 2006 article in the San Francisco Chronicle the Metreon has been struggling financially ever since it opened its doors in 1999. This newfound interest in big box stores is supported by the city’s aggressive attempts to attract and keep businesses that headquarter in the city. While high-profile retailers have only recently been allowed to develop in the city, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is begging million-dollar online companies to stay in the city. The Bay Citizen reported on April 22 that the Board of Supervisors approved a tax cut in late April that could save online companies based in San Francisco, such as Zynga, Twitter or Yelp, millions of dollars. This new tax break was approved to help shore up San Francisco’s reputation as a technology hub by offering an incentive to Internet firms to stay in the city. In January Twitter contemplated moving its headquarters out of San Francisco to Brisbane, but agreed to stay when offered the tax cut. Twitter is now moving to a location in Central Market, where the city hopes its presence will enhance the area. It is clear that bringing in established companies generally rejuvenates downtrodden areas of the city. Our country has gone through a commercial revolution. Since the 1960’s, the way we shop has been changed irrevocably. Now, San Franciscans will get their chance to save on both laundry detergent and gas — and enjoy a potential boom to their city’s economy.
October 7, 2011
Lowell High School
EDITORIALS Annual rankings offer superficial assessment of schools’ true merit
EPUTATION IS EVERYTHING in our “follow-the-leader” society. American culture is fixated on reputation, including when it comes to choosing a high school In this way, school rankings have become a dominant deciding factor in distinguishing the good from the merely adequate. For about a decade, Newsweek magazine has ranked the top 500 American public high schools in the United States, publishing an annual list in their magazine. Lowell has been consistently ranked in the top 100 schools; in 2010 we were ranked 49th by Newsweek. This year, however, “The Best High Schools in America,” list published on June 20, 2011, went Lowell-less. Our school has been regarded as academically superior for over 150 years, yet by some small error in processing, we have been misplaced. Lowell did not receive the survey required by Newsweek. “No one at Lowell knew how and when the marketing company hired by Newsweek sent out their ‘survey’ request, and to whom they sent it to,” assistant principal of student support services Michael Yi stated in an e-mail on Sept. 28, 2011. Surprisingly, our latest experience with Newsweek’s rankings had a side benefit. In investigating what went wrong, we began not only to scrutinize the way rankings are compiled, but also to question if these over-simplified — and over-amplified — lists are beneficial to the educational system at all. While we were proud of our status in Newsweek in previous years, our exclusion this year has prompted us to step back from our prideful position to reexamine the flaws in not only this ranking system, but both high school and college rankings in general. The fact that our school could not be considered this year calls into question the process by which Newsweek’s rankings and school rankings in general are determined. According Michael Yi, Newsweek stated it used a marketing company to send schools an informational survey that, if sent back, qualified them to be considered in the ranking. Our issue is in the numbers — do the math. To compile the 2011 list of the top high schools in America, the magazine reached out to administrators, guidance counselors and Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate coordinators at more than 10,000 public high schools across the country, according to Newsweek (www. thedailybeast.com/Newsweek). However, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (www.nces.ed.gov), there were 24,000-plus public high schools in the U.S. in the 2008-09 school year. Further reducing the likelihood of the summary pool being authentic, only 1,100 of the 10,000 schools invited by Newsweek to participate in the survey responded in 2011, even lower than the 1,600 in 2010. Clearly the number of schools considered for ranking is but a fraction of the actual number of public schools in the country. “It’s not possible to rank top high schools out of only a little more than 1,000,” Yi said. Though the list boasts the title “The Best High Schools in America,” only about 10 percent of schools actually responded to the survey and were therefore considered as a possible ‘best’. Furthermore, the survey pool cannot be regarded as legitimate if schools must self-select to respond, thereby promoting themselves. Many schools that are qualified to be ranked very highly, like Lowell, end up not being placed, either because of an error in the process of getting the required information to Newsweek, or because they simply refuse to participate in the flawed system. Even though we were initially surprised that Lowell was not included in this year’s rankings, when we learned how limited the criteria is by which schools are ranked, we further critiqued the magazine’s emphasis on statistics, both in its past practices and its new approach. In past years, Newsweek rankings were based solely on the total number
Editors-in-Chief Caitriona Smyth • Nancy Wu Yosha Huang • Natasha Khan
Web Editors-in-Chief Content Olivia Pollak Technology Aaron Pramana
News Amy Char, Yosha Huang, Natasha Khan, Caitriona Smyth Sports Joseph Fiorello, Nancy Wu Features Jenna Rose Fiorello Columns Adriana Millar, Grace Sun Opinions Olivia Pollak, Michelle Wan Reporters Elijah Alperin, Natalia Arguello-Inglis, Cameron BaSaing, Elena Bernick, Isabel Boutiette, Adam Chac, Daffany Chan, Elazar Chertow, Jenna Rose Fiorello, Deidre Foley, Campbell Gee, Henry Hammel, Michelle Hwang, Ian James, Zoe Kaiser, KT Kelly, Seric Kaekwon, Melinda Leung, Carmen Lin, Cooper Logan, Ashley Louie, Kai Matsumoto-Hines, Adriana Millar, Eva Morgenstein, Spencer Thirtyacre, Sean Wang, Samantha Wilcox, Jeffrey Wong, Mara Woods-Robinson Web Staff Elijah Alperin, Monica Castro, Nicholas Fong, Chris Lee, Gavin Li, Jason Lo
of AP tests administered at a school each year, divided by the number of graduating seniors. Additionally, this criterium did not even take into account whether or not students passed the tests. Perhaps a more fitting title for the list would be, “Highest AP Course load in America.” A school is much more than a factory for high AP scores, and school rankings should reflect that. Granted, this year Newsweek made an effort to expand its ranking criteria, a step in the right direction. According to the magazine’s website, for 2011, schools were judged based on their four-year on-time graduation rate (25 of judging criteria percent); college matriculation rate (25 percent); AP/IB/ICE tests given per graduate (now 25 percent; in the past this served as the sole criteria); average SAT and/or ACT score (10 percent); average AP/IB/AICE exam score (10 percent); and number of AP/IB/AICE courses offered per graduate (5 percent). We applaud Newsweek’s attempt to update their standards for top U.S. high schools, and find this formula more extensive than last year’s. However, it is still inadequate. A high school cannot be judged exclusively on test scores and statistics; the resources and environment of a school are equally important. Many argue that schools that focus more on building character and intelligence,
Photo Editor Chris Lee Photographers Daniel Green, Nicholas Fong, Gavin Li, Jeremy Varon Art Editor Vivian Tong Illustrator Hoi Leung Business Managers Martin Costa, Rachel Hsu, Sophie Solomon Accounting Grace Sun
Print Sharn Matusek Web Samuel Williams
Published every four weeks by the journalism classes of Lowell High School, Room S108, 1101 Eucalyptus Drive, San Francisco, CA 94132 Phone: (415) 7592730 Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.thelowell.org. All contents copyright Lowell High School journalism classes. All rights reserved. The Lowell and The Lowell on the Web strive to inform the public and to use their opinion sections as open forums for debate. All unsigned editorials are the opinions of the staff. The Lowell welcomes comments on school-related issues from students, faculty and community members. Send letters to email@example.com. Letters must be signed. Names will be withheld upon request. We reserve the right to edit letters before publication. 2011 NSPA Online Pacemaker 2009 NSPA First Class Honors 2007 NSPA All-American
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rather than only the latter, are more effective and deserve a higher rating. A Sept. 14, 2011 New York Times Magazine article titled “What if the Secret to Success is Failure?” suggests that character, rather than test scores or GPA, may be a more accurate predictor of whether a person will be successful in life. In perspective, happy, creative and resourceful students show a high school’s value more than miserable students, no matter how many AP’s they take. Schools should also be assessed on their efforts to cultivate healthy school environments. Lowell, for example, has a Wellness Center and offers electives and clubs that allow students to pursue activities beyond the academic. To provide a more well rounded school ranking, Newsweek’s criteria should include a “Quality of Life” ranking. Such a category could assess the ease of getting around campus, the friendliness of students, the amount of interaction between different types of students, the number of opportunities to pursue interests and build leadership skills, and the role of the school in its community. It is impossible to compare high schools based on a numerical ranking. “I believe that students can rank a school better than Newsweek ever will,” Yi said. A school’s purpose is to prepare students for life after graduation. Clearly, a scale of 1 to 10 cannot encompass your future.
School aims to use technology to enhance, not replace, learning
F WE CAN CONCLUDE one thing from Star Wars, it is that technology will play a major role in our lives. How should we prepare for this technological world towards which we are headed? Computer technology has become increasingly prevalent in classrooms as some educators have taken experimental leaps in incorporating technology-based programs into school curricula. Arizona’s Kyrene School District is one such district that has introduced new technologies into its schools, according to a Sept. 3 article, “In Classroom of Future, Stagnant Scores,” by Matt Richtel in The New York Times. “Classrooms are decked out with laptops, big interactive screens and software that drills students on every basic subject,” Richtel stated. “The digital push (in Kyrene) aims to go far beyond gadgets to transform the very nature of the classroom.” This raises the question: does revolutionizing education with new technology actually improve students’ ability to learn? Kyrene’s test scores have shown little
improvement since instituting $33 million in technological changes, despite the recent rise in test scores of other Arizona school districts. Some argue that test scores can’t measure the impact of technology on students, yet the hefty price tag raises expectations that have not been met by a noticeable improvement in many schools. But the integration of new technology into curricula is not necessarily fruitless, especially when a school has clear plans for its use that tie into teacher curriculum. Technology has taken an increasingly prominent role in our school as well. We have multiple computer labs, and SchoolLoop keep students up-to-date on assignments. Just this year, the Technology Committee purchased new Dukane multimedia carts (each includes a document camera, LCD projector, DVD/VCR player, sound system and outlets for laptops), Clickers (handheld electronic devices with buttons so students can answer multiple choice questions) and iPads. A campuswide Wi-Fi network is also in the works,
according to Technology Committee chair and chemistry teacher Bryan Marten. If used correctly, innovative technologies have the potential to benefit students, and the school’s teachers are already exploring the possibilities. For instance, the online textbooks and homework that have been implemented in Advanced Placement Calculus BC classes reduce the number of books students need to carry around. Additionally, the new multimedia carts are making it easier for teachers to integrate film clips and Internet sites into class activities. “The media carts allow for more material to be used in class, and the images are clearer,” senior Geneva Lovett said. “It makes classes a lot more fun.” However, while the use of advanced technology in classrooms can often make lessons more accessible, a computer cannot replace the personal connections teachers forge with students. We should always consider the importance of teachers and be wary before making drastic changes to our technological status quo. In Kyrene,
technological advancements have eroded such teacher-student relationships, “turning the teacher into a guide instead of a lecturer,” the New York Times article states. “Even as students are getting more access to computers (in Kyrene), they are getting less access to teachers.” But when technology is used to supplement rather than replace teacher instruction, it has the potential to greatly enhance students’ learning experience. The new iPads offer applications like iMovie, which give students access to video programs for class projects, and alphabet keyboards for world language classes, according to Marten. Such opportunities allow teachers to provide a more dynamic class experience by enhancing, not altering, the curricular vision. We look forward to taking advantage of the new technology, with its potential to improve students’ learning experience and increase tech-savviness. But entirely replacing the traditional role of the educator will degenerate students’ ability to learn.
October 7, 2011
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Teacher challenges student criticism of faculty vacation schedule Dear Editors, I was appalled by the letter by the anonymous senior in the September 9 issue of The Lowell [“Senior questions counselor vacation schedule”]. The student’s expectation that faculty members should be available at all times, including during a one-week vacation, is unrealistic and a bit degrading — we do have lives apart from our work; we are not your beasts of burden. The student’s assertion that a counselor’s one-week absence could leave students “at an unfavorable position in the eyes of [their] desired colleges” is, frankly, laughable. Generally, I have observed during my 14 years of experience at Lowell that last-minute “urgent matters” during the college admissions process result from students’ procrastination. I understand that such procrastination often speaks to the anxiety the admissions process creates rather than to work habits. But a student who cannot pull things together in a reasonable manner, given a warning at the beginning of school, will struggle with many of the tasks and deadlines that adult life will soon present. When I later discovered the actual details of this vacation, I was beyond appalled. This counselor’s one-week vacation is the third week of October, five weeks before UC apps are due and at least two months before regular private admissions apps are due. Furthermore, the counselor informed students at the end of last year! Clearly, if this entitled student is in an “unfavorable position,” it is a position that he has created for himself. — Jennifer Moffitt, English teacher
Student praises school site, urges more frequent use Dear Editors, SchoolLoop is one of the best investments SFUSD has made recently. It’s enormously helpful for remembering due dates, contacting teachers, and improving transparency in grading. When teachers use SchoolLoop, your grade on the report card is no longer quite so mysterious. You can see the grades you’ve gotten on all of your assignments, and how much they
are worth in terms of your overall grade. You can easily see where you need to improve your grades. This isn’t just a boon for students — teachers have a simple way to explain to parents why their precious little brilliant teenager got a B-. The issue at Lowell is that many teachers don’t use SchoolLoop at all. Currently, only half of my classes post homework and grades. I strongly urge all teachers to improve communication and clarity by using SchoolLoop. I hope there are appropriate resources to deal with the annoyances and technical glitches currently associated with it. — Mia Shackelford, Reg 1310
Teacher questions daily recitation of patriotic pledge Dear Editors, As a public education institution of academic excellence and rational thinking, we must object to Radio Lowell’s calling for students “to stand for ‘The Pledge Of Allegiance’” and then blaring it out throughout the school each morning. Rationally speaking, it confuses our role as a public school. What is learned — or more importantly IGNORED — from this nationalistic salute? We should all consider the historical fact that the original writer of “the Pledge” never intended to cite “God” as “on our side,” as if God cares about OUR country more than any other country. These are dangerous times, and the social and psychological consequences of this forced morning ritual make me very nervous. It is for these reasons that, in a public school, I find Radio Lowell’s “pledge ritual” offensive and thoughtless. The fact that we are ordered “to stand” is offensive enough, but to stand for a public prayer is most offensive of all. I call for each and all of us as stakeholders to reflect on these matters. Do we stand for academic excellence and rational thinking? A call to blindly to stand for what is essentially a public prayer conflicts with our most fundamental philosophy of public education. I welcome rational public comment on this matter. Meanwhile, let’s cease this disturbing ritual until we have a period of institutional reflection. — Patrick Fahey, math teacher
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Student frustrated by college guidance website Dear Editors, The new college guidance website, ConnectEdu, has done nothing to help a senior looking to use the website to her full advantage. Unfortunately, I have faced nothing but numerous problems with the website. For one, I had registered on the website as soon as my counselor notified me to but was later unable to access my account. Fearing I didn’t remember the correct password, I clicked the “Forgot login” link to retrieve my information but have not heard anything for the past four weeks. I went to my counselor countless times to find a way to get it but I always come up short. If the district is going to implement it in all the schools, can they please ensure those who actually want to use it can? — Shirley Ng, Reg 1215
Student questions value of security guards’ golf carts Dear Editors, As far as the school budget goes, one must admit that in these times, it’s being stretched pretty thin. Yet I walk around the Lowell campus and, lo and behold, there is a brand spanking new golf cart cruising around with a security guard in it. I find several things wrong with this scenario. First, shouldn’t we be spending money on things like books, chalk, and, I don’t know, maybe hand sanitizer? I would appreciate more hand sanitizer, but a golf cart? How do golf carts improve our education and how do they benefit the school? Secondly, if security guards can ride golf cart around campus, I think I should be able to ride my longboard down the firelane behind the school. If you think about it, the average Lowell student crosses our relatively small campus on foot five or more times a day. Don’t get me wrong, having security guards is great, and they definitely make me feel safer, but this whole golf cart thing is a bit ridiculous. — Kendra Kop, Reg 1316
Ways to Join Journalism: Next semester, choose between the following prerequesites: Journalism 1: Grades 9-12 10-2 Ethnic Lit: Writing for Publication Then the following semester help put out The Lowell in Journalism 2
THE LOWELL BACKPAGE October 7, 2011
Pottermore ENCHANTS MUGGLES’ E-WORLD By Rita Skeeter
(aka Mara Woods-Robinson)
RNICK Elena BE
Pottermore, a History
SENIOR MARA WOODS-ROBINSON CASTS LUMOS
The Sorting Hat
Are you a valiant Gryffindor or a clever Ravenclaw? A loyal Hufflepuff or an ambitious Slytherin? Upon arriving at the Great Hall in chapter seven, users take “The Sorting Hat” quiz to join the Hogwarts house that best suits their personalities. The quiz’s questions range from simple (“Heads or tails?”) to profound (“When you have died, what would you most like people to do when they hear your name?”), and were devised by Rowling to find people who particularly fit each house. “The Sorting was some of the best fun I’ve had on this project,” Rowling said in a June press conference about Pottermore, according to Potter fan site The Leaky Cauldron (www.the-leakycauldron.org). “I was writing the Potter books for sixteen years and during that time I had just had this real sense of where people belonged, in what house they belonged. It was something I was unconsciously doing a lot of the time when I met people.” Potter fans look forward to learning their house assignments. “I spent three and a half days making my own Gryffindor robe,” junior Marissa Choy said as she waited to get access to her Pottermore account. “If I don’t get sorted into Gryffindor, I might die.”
The House Cup
Once in their houses, users can compete in the “House Cup” tournament. Just as in the books, with Hermione often earning “ten points for Gryffindor” for her encyclopedic display of knowledge, users can accumulate house points by successfully casting spells and brewing potions in virtual mini-games, and for collecting hidden items.
Fans Talk Back
Doubling as a social networking site, users can “friend” other users and post comments in their house’s “common room” or in the “Great Hall” for all four houses to see. This system allows users to cheer for their houses in the House Cup competition — comments such as “Let’s go ‘Puffs!” and “Come on, lions!” are common. Additionally users can comment on their experiences at the end of each chapter, and fans with the beta version can offer advice for improvements.
The Boy Who Lived Lives On
Harry Potter’s world has traces scattered throughout the real world. References to the book have crept into everyday dialogue — the name “Dumbledore” is now recognized by Microsoft Word. Walk across a college campus, and you might see students playing a match of Quidditch or sporting red and gold Gryffindor scarves. Fans who long to live out the wizarding fantasy have made it into more than a story: it’s a way of life. Reading Harry Potter helped our generation grow up. “The series champions the underdog, showing that even a scrawny boy can triumph over the forces of evil,” senior Ravenclaw Kim Tran said. “It taught me that love and friendship always prevail, and that it doesn’t matter if you’re good or evil, as long as you know to do the right thing during your most trying times.” With the recent release of the final movie, fans must face the reality of a post-Potter world. Pottermore will help fans cope with wizarding withdrawal, but how can we know if Harry’s story will endure? Sophomore Cate Stern thinks it will. “It’s been a thrilling experience to grow up with such a monumental series,” Stern said. “Harry Potter has been in my life ever since I learned to read, and I plan to reading it to my children. I already read it to the kids I babysit, anyway.”
Ollivander’s Wand Shop
Mr. Ollivander always said, “The wand chooses the wizard,” and Pottermore stays true to this axiom. Users visit Ollivander’s shop and take a quiz similar to that of the Sorting Hat, which includes questions about eye color and phobias. After evaluation, one of 33,000 unique wand combinations of varying wood, core and length chooses each user, according to The Leaky Cauldron.
Despite the worldwide abundance of Harry Potter, this summer’s release of the final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, was the end of an era for fans who grew up alongside Harry. “My dad used to read every single Harry Potter book out loud to me,” junior Zoe Charter-Kuo explained. “It was a huge part of my childhood.” So, just when Potterheads began to panic, Rowling made her next move. In summer 2011, speculation on a new website called www.pottermore.com spread across the web like Fiendfyre, setting Tumblr, Twitter and Harry Potter forums alight with rumors and theories. On June 23, Rowling addressed fans in “J.K. Rowling Announces Pottermore,” a video featuring the author seated on a couch, describing Pottermore as an “online experience unlike any other.” But her explanation was vague, at best, and even the sharpest Potter fans were confunded by her cryptic parting words, “Simply follow the owl. Good luck.” Within a month, Rowling more specifically defined Pottermore as “an interactive, illustrated companion to the books.” Rowling would continue to write — the site promised over 18,000 words of previously unrevealed information about the epic. Aditionally, it would exclusively sell Harry Potter e-books and allow fans to participate in “Moments” from the stories, such as the “Sorting” of students — and now Pottermore participants — into the four Hogwarts houses. An early opportunity to access Pottermore began on July 31 — both Rowling and Harry Potter’s birthdays — although Pottermore will be released free to all Muggle-kind in October. The “Magical Quill Challenge” granted early registration to the first million fans who correctly answered one of seven daily trivia questions. In early September, weeks after the challenge ended, the first of the lucky million were finally allowed to access a beta — or trial — version of Pottermore. Needless to say, fans felt like young wizards receiving their owl-delivered Hogwarts acceptance letters when Pottermore finally emailed them their activation links.
E EPITOMIZES OUR generation. Ask a ten-year-old who Hamlet is and he probably won’t even know “To be or not to be,” but you can bet your broomstick he knows all about Harry Potter. Fans ranging from kindergarteners to grandparents recognize the story of the boy hero who, with the help of his friends and mentors, overcame all odds to defeat the Dark Lord and save the wizarding world. Though the Brit Joanne “J.K.” Rowling didn’t publish Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the United States) until 1997, Harry’s story really began in 1990 on a crowded train to London. As she gazed at the English countryside whizzing by her window, the image of a magically-endowed orphan with a lightning bolt scar on his forehead “apparated” into Rowling’s mind. As she told The Boston Globe in a 1999 interview, “I really don’t know where the idea came from. It started with Harry, then all these characters and situations came flooding into my head.” That initial idea grew into a wildly popular series of seven novels chronicling Harry’s adventures — and misadventures — at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Now, two decades and countless butterbeers later, the books have been translated into 67 languages, adapted into a $7 billion-grossing film series — surpassing Star Wars and James Bond to become the highest-grossing film franchise ever (www.imdb.com) — and even transformed into “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” an entire theme park within Universal Studios’ Orlando, Florida resort.
Pottermore enables fans to step into the stories and explore the halls of Hogwarts alongside Harry. The twisting, snakelike map on the home page (or “gateway”) divides the site into the seven novels, which are further subdivided into chapters. Each chapter contains colorful, slightly animated illustrations (think Hogwarts’s enchanted portraits) of important scenes, such as the driveway of number four Privet Drive and the zoo where Harry releases the boa constrictor. Within each scene lie hidden, clickable objects that, once uncovered, either become “items” to collect in your Trunk or serve as portkeys to new information worth Galleons from Rowling. Pottermore’s users may enjoy collecting Chocolate Frog cards of everyone from Albus Dumbledore to Salazar Slytherin, but Pottermore’s biggest treat lies in Rowling’s exclusive commentary and elaborations on the world of Harry Potter. “It’s nice to see some of the characters’ back stories that weren’t really included in the book,” sophomore Hufflepuff Lina Anderson reflected after learning such new details as Minerva McGonagall’s childhood in Scotland and Petunia and Vernon Dursley’s early relationship. “It lets you re-read the books again but see them differently. You get to see how Rowling pictured it.”
FRESHMAN JULIANNE VILLEGAS AND SOPHOMORE YU LING WU ENGAGE IN FRIENDLY WANDPLAY
PG. 16: Muggle-Born finds home in house of DUffers