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The Nueva Current

Vol. 1 Issue 3


Inside track and field Practice and perseverance behind the growing program BY ISABEL C.

page 16

READY, SET, GO! Vienna G. (9) prepares to sprint the 400m race at the Firebird Relays. Photo by Maya C..


Behind the scenes of Cabaret BY JORDAN M. With performances in May quickly approaching, the Nueva musical team is rushing to perfect their fifth annual musical. As the 14 performers practice their songs and dance routines, the stomping, music, and laughter can be heard throughout the hallway at Bay Meadows. From dismissal to 7:00 p.m. every day after school,

the crew is working hard in the multi-purpose rooms to perfect the performance as much as possible. This year, director Lisa ShareSapolsky has chosen Cabaret for the annual musical. Cabaret is a musical about two romances set in 1930s Berlin, when the city is on the brink of Nazi fervor. As a classic in musical theater history, Cabaret has become known as “an indictment of the

consequences of political apathy,” said Lisa. She selected Cabaret as the musical for many reasons, but the students were the central determinant. “The biggest factor is having the right cast for a given show, [and] selecting a show that will highlight and celebrate the strengths of that particular group of actors,” Lisa said. For this year’s cast, there is a significantly higher number of female than male performers, which is why Cabaret was an option. “It’s the question of what musical will work best for letting

everyone in the cast shine as much as possible,” Lisa said. For performers, rehearsal often consists of rehearsing songs, dances, and various scenes of the musical. One of their favorite numbers to run is “Money,” which features the entire cast. In this scene, all the actors arrange themselves into a single-file line and create what Lisa calls “the peacock,” where they fan out their hands and create the illusion of one person with many hands. CONTINUED, PAGE 4

INSIDE Studying Abroad Ina L. (10) shares her story about studying abroad in France. PAGE 8

News.......................................2 Culture...................................4 Features.................................7 Opinion....................................13 Sports......................................16 Entertainment.......................19

Page 2 • News

The Nueva Current • May 8, 2018


Nationwide walkout to remember victims of the Parkland shooting LEFT: A short biography is posted for each victim in the shooting. Students wonder how they can help, as well as protect themselves and their loved ones. RIGHT: The entrance on E 28th Ave. was used a memorial to remember those who died during the shooting in Parkland.

On March 14, the Nueva community gathered outside the school building for 17 minutes in silence, each minute dedicated to one of the 17 victims.

ABOVE: A banner created by Nueva students to be sent to Stoneman Douglas High. BELOW: Students sign the banner with their thoughts and prayers for the families and friends of the victims, along with messages of support for their movement.

ABOVE: Three representatives from Social Justice League—seniors Nina G. and Adrianna D., and sophomore Noah H.—stand in front of the school to give a speech about the walkout. BELOW: Seniors Adrianna D. and Nina G. are the leaders of Social Justice League (formerly known as “Diversity Club”).

Three different buttons were designed for students and faculty to wear during the walkout.

ABOVE: Students and faculty gather in the area outside the entrance on E 28th Ave. right before Nina G. (12) announces the names and ages of the victims. BELOW: Students and faculty walk through Bay Meadows Park in 17 minutes of silence, each minute dedicated to a victim of the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High. A collection of messages handwritten on the banner for Stoneman Douglas High.

The Nueva Current • May 8, 2018

News • Page 3

Candidate Briefing

Equity & Inclusion Noah H. (10)

“I believe that under my leadership, Nueva can create a enviroment that allows all students to feel comfortable being open about their identities and beliefs.”

Students running for Student Council will deliver their speeches May 2­–9. Here are their candidate statements. School-Wide Lead

Gitika P. (11) “My time on Student Council has taught me that the most crucial aspect of successful governing is maintaining constant, meaningful communication with both the student body and school leadership.”

Eton S. (11) “I will focus on making Nueva a less stressful and more loving community. I will maintain the seriousness and efficacy of the previous Student Council as well as provide an easy way for students to express their wishes and concerns.”

10th Grade Rep

Arun J. (11)

“Making Student Council effective requires transparency, responsibility, and accountability. As grade representative, I rewrote the handbook, reformed the grading system, and developed productive discourse with administration. If elected lead, I can leverage that discourse to make real progress on dress code, Quest, and open-campus reform.”

Maddie M. (11) “I’ll work to make Student Council more transparent and more so to redefine what it means to be Student Council. We are all Nuevans; we can do more together than we can divided.”

Valerie B. (9) “My goal is to represent the 10th grade and make their voices heard. I want 10th grade to be a fun year, and will support my peers in any way to have their needs and interests—whether academic or extracurricular—addressed...”

12th Grade Rep

Beatrice S. (11) “Senior year is an important year, and I want to help make it as fun and memorable as possible. I will have weekly meetings with our dean to ensure that the administration stays informed about what students want. I’m hard-working and tenacious and will do everything I can to make sure we can have a great senior year.”

Luca F. (11) “Since I joined the Nueva Upper School I have been passionate about this grade and the opportunities that being at Nueva represent. As your grade rep, the most important thing to me would be providing a voice representative of our entire grade.”

Kevin W. (9) “After being a grade rep for the past 1½ semesters, I’ve worked hard to identify areas in which this community improve in and help make a better community for our grade. It’s been a truly rewarding experience.”

11th Grade Rep

10th Grade Rep

Amanda W. (9) “I would love to be the sophomore class representative because I enjoy helping my peers. There are always certain things that my classmates want to change, and I feel like I can represent them well and bring change.”

Willow C.Y. (9) “I want to be grade rep because I can and I want to make things happen and get things done. I have a lot of ideas for activities and events to break up the stresses of the school year.”

Noah T. (10)

“I’m running to make a change. I’m running on a promise. I, Noah T., do solemnly swear to enact at least 2 changes (i.e. make debate and robotics sports and keep the gym open).”

Nico L. (10) “The representation of our student body is definitely important in improving and developing our school. As our school and community grows, it is essential that the bridge between the students and the administration stays intact. I am determined in doing this...”

Service Learning Rep

Stephanie S. (9)

“I want to create more opportunities for us to come together as a student body and give back to those nearby and around the world. My goal is to keep activities fun, flexible, and frequent!”

Eliot C. (10) “I want to give every Nueva student the opportunity to see how surprisingly fun it is, coming together with old friends and new, to build a home in East Palo Alto, a classroom in New Orleans, a chicken coop in Cambodia, or a medical clinic in Ghana.”

Matthew S. (9)

“As your grade representative, I will make sure that every single one of your ideas is represented in STUCO. Having been treasurer of the middle school in 8th grade, I am very experienced in bringing students’ ideas to weekly meetings and implementing them for the future.”

Clubs Rep

Pranav R. (10) “I believe my persistency, strong voice, and natural leadership mentality will allow me to serve my grade with passion and commitment. I also believe in the importance of attainable goals —setting these goals and following through on them is one of my strengths.”

Aleeha B. (10)

“I am running to represent our grade as I believe that my experience and commitment give me the tools to enact change and create positive experiences. If elected, I will work hard to make sure that our wants and needs are addressed and that 11th grade is productive and fun.”

Athletics Rep

Jeremy D. (10) “As head of the Nueva Basketball Club, I have worked hard this year at increasing school spirit and keeping the gym open... [A]s your athletics rep, I would make it my number TWO priority (academics come first) to promote ALL Nueva sports teams as well as to continue my efforts this past year. Go Mavericks!”

Ben C. (11) “I do soccer and track at Nueva, and have played club soccer for 10 years, so I have substantial experience with life as a student athlete. As I know how difficult it is to balance sports and studies, as the athletics rep, I would work to create the best possible environment for students to succeed in both.”

Ethan K. (11)

“As the incumbent candidate, I have learned a lot throughout the year on working with fellow members of student council and the administration, and through this experience, am well prepared to continuing to advance the clubs system at Nueva.”

Spirit & Social

Audrey C. (11)

“I have been part of Spirit and Social for 3 years now and continue to feel passionate about planning and running events. I have already experienced this leadership position and hope to continue creating Nueva traditions that will carry past my graduation year.”

Page 4 • Culture

The Nueva Current • May 8, 2018 Showtimes for Cabaret (Bay Meadows Campus)

May 11

9 p.m.

May 12

2 p.m. 8 p.m.

May 13

2 p.m.

*Prizes are handed out to the first 25 people May 11 @ 9 p.m. — wearing pajamas May 12 @ 2 p.m. — German Oktoberfest dress 8 p.m. — dressing in 1920s attire May 13 @ 2 p.m. — mothers **Hot chocolate and latté cart for the special evening performance on May 11 at 9 p.m.

LEFT: The cast rehearses the showstopping peacock formation from the hit number from Cabaret, “Money.” CENTER: Set pieces and props were initially housed in the Multi-Purpose Room, where rehearsals were held. The cast had its first dress rehearsal onstage one month before opening night. RIGHT: The cast rehearses a dance routine from the musical. (Photos by Jordan M.)

Behind the Scenes of Cabaret, A Nueva Rendition Exploring conversations and rehearsals with the cast of the Nueva musical CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

The other important part of rehearsals is the line drill, in which the actors involved in a scene run through their lines and perform their actions. This exercise is used to help actors memorize their lines and connect them with actions. Beside the table topped with Skittles and other assorted snacks, props and set pieces lie against the walls and in corners of the room where they can be easily accessed and avoid creating a safety hazard for anyone who might fall or hit something while dancing. Catherine C. (9), who plays Sally Bowles in Cabaret, has performed before with other musical theater companies, where she has gained experience and received training. Reflecting on her experience so far at her first Nueva musical compared to her previous experiences, Catherine said, “We spend more time [at Nueva] working on details and making things cleaner, and there is more discussion behind character motivations. Other theater companies don’t have time to meet individually so you have to figure things out for yourself.” She added, “When we have long days and we’re really crazy—that’s when the

“Every moment is an opportunity to learn and have fun.”

bonding happens because we’re spending time with people who have seen you at your best and your worst.” One of the challenges Lisa and the casts have been tackling is an “interpretive one.” “Cabaret is about some very troubled people in a troubled time—Germany during the rise of the Nazis—yet it is upbeat, with some funny parts and some really fun numbers,” Lisa said. She consistently asks the performer giving their line, “Why does your charac-

ter do this?” The musical has two layers to it: the first being about real people in a real time period, and the second being a metaphor for the larger issues at the time. Lisa explained that overcoming this interpretive challenge requires everyone think long and hard about their characters, scenes, backstories, subtext, and more. Last year’s musical was Urinetown, a satirical comedy. Cabaret is drastically different from this musical, in terms of setting, themes, and characters. “Urinetown is one of the nuttiest, strangest satires in all of musical theatre, with characters who are so eccentric that you can’t really get engaged with them as real,” said Lisa. “Characters in Cabaret are immensely real in their major ups and downs, and you feel for them intensely.” The setting of Urinetown is a drought-stricken town with all toilets being public and paid, whereas Cabaret is set amid Berlin right before the Nazi occupation. These major differences are what make each play unique and distinct from the other. Each year as Lisa directs rehearsals and the final performances, she watches with excitement and delight. She is always living for the moments where she


is “wandering around the building, and hear[s] people singing some excerpt from [the musical].” “That’s the best—that’s when you know a musical is getting under people’s skin,” Lisa said. She described one rehearsal where two actors were practicing a very emotional scene, and she saw another cast member in tears. Mariya V. (9), who portrays Fraulein Kost, said, “Every moment is an opportunity to learn and have fun. Cabaret is very out there, very showy, and has a lot of fun dances.” For Mariya, this is what she is drawn to and enjoys the most about rehearsals. She described how the laughter in the room at the ridiculous scenes makes the musical more fun to watch, yet it makes them seem so much more real. Lisa said, “In terms of the most exciting part—I think it’s seeing when some of the really high-energy dance numbers come together, and you realize how great the cast is going to be in it, and how much of a true ensemble they’ve become.”

Happy Lemon: Boba in two countries


Taste-testing boba in its birthplace against its popular Bay Area version

It’s been 25 years since boba first made its way across the Pacific to the Bay Area in the mid1990s. Since then, it has grown from an obscure Asian beverage to a hipster’s delight. Perhaps that’s due to its sugar content, the chewiness of the tapioca balls, or just the fact that every new wave of teenagers is getting hooked on this drink. Whatever reason, this trend is looking less like a fad and more like a staple, becoming as common as iced coffee. My trip to Taiwan over spring break was the perfect opportunity to taste-test boba in its birthplace and compare it to its American counterpart. Are they different? Is one better? As someone who prides herself on drinking boba way too much and way too often, I’ve experienced quite a few remarkable (and horrific) boba offerings in my time. Although I am determinedly and decidedly not finicky about anything gastronomical, boba is the sole exception—that is to say, I find it monumentally difficult to be completely satisfied in this field. Boba, also known as bubble tea or pearl milk tea, is essentially a tea-based beverage mixed with

fruit or milk, and featuring chewy, starchy tapioca balls. There are hundreds of varieties, but for the purposes of my review, I ordered the classic: one plain milk tea with boba. Happy Lemon opened in Burlingame just over half a year ago (the next closest location is in Foster City)—however, largely due to how the shop added its own twist, by garnishing the tea with “Salted Cheese” cream on top, its reputation has grown among longtime boba fans and newcomers. So I had great expectations the first time I walked into the little shop, which was bursting at its glass seams with humans in line. At $4.45, Happy Lemon’s boba looked like any other. But the actual tea and boba was far from average. I can’t describe how many boba tea shops make tea that doesn’t taste like tea, but Happy Lemon was one of those enlightened few who do make milk tea that is completely recognizably tea with milk instead of milk with tea. The green tea flavor, though strong, was by no means bitter or overwhelming and was pleasantly

Happy Lemon’s boba tea in Burlingame.

Happy Lemon’s boba tea at its Taipei, Taiwan shop outsizes the American version.

balanced with the milk and sugar. And of course, the boba. The tapioca balls in question were solidly fine—solid in two senses of the word: solid as in steadfast but also solid as in a little hard. Each pearl was a just tad hard and brittle in the middle, as is oft the case when pearls are not freshly made, which may signify that the tapioca that I got was possibly a day old. Not especially an issue in terms of flavor (or health concerns), but it did impact my overall enjoyment. Happy Lemon is one of the best boba places in the Bay Area. But overseas, in the origin land of the drink, how does the same company measure up? I found out over spring break. If I thought Happy Lemon’s boba was unbeatable in the United States, I was sorely mistaken. I regret to inform that my pickiness for boba has intensified now that I’ve tried Taiwanese boba tea. The first thing I noticed about Taiwan’s Happy Lemon boba was its size. With only one size for cold milk tea, it easily outsized its Bay Area counter-

part, though the cup seemed to contain more ice. The tea was slightly darker than that of the American milk tea. The darker shade of the tea did translate to a more bitter, more strongly tea-flavored drink that could have been remedied by a dash more milk. It was a bit overpowering for my tastes, but that may simply be due to my American-tea-trained taste buds. Otherwise, the tea was phenomenal. After just one sip, I realized that one thing I hadn’t accounted for was the texture of the tea— it was smoother and softer. In comparison, the Happy Lemon on Burlingame Avenue had no game but instead graininess. And the sweetness was just right. And the boba, oh, the boba. I will not hesitate to say that this boba was infinitely better than that of the boba in the US. It was soft, chewy, sweet—quite literally everything tapioca should be, short of being freshly made seconds before. And its price of 65 NT (New Taiwan)—which converts to $2.23—is amazing. At half the price of American Happy Lemon tea, you can get boba that is well over twice as delicious.

The Nueva Current • May 8, 2018

Culture • Page 5

Interview with producer David Fialkow Adaptability behind how the Academy Award-winning documentary came to be. BY AIDEN H.

Filmmaker and avid cyclist Bryan Fogel is doping. He is doing it to prove the anti-doping systems in place for a cycling race can be cheated. In fact, he is chronicling his experience as the focal point of his current documentary. Working with him is Grigory Rodchenkov, the head of the Russian anti-doping laboratory. Over the course of several months, Fogel will be guided through an intensive doping process by Rodchenkov, with whom he has developed a close friendship. The Russian begins to share information about how the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), is questioning him about his work. Eventually, he reveals the existence of an extensive Russian doping program in place to cheat the Olympics. This information pivots the entire film Fogel has been working on, shifting it from a film about how easy it is to cheat a cycling race, to a documentary, titled Icarus, about a major nation cheating the largest sporting event in the world. The transformation Icarus went through is evident from watching the film. It is clear that when Fogel, producer David Fialkow, and the rest of the Icarus crew started out, they were making a completely different film from the one they ended up making, a film that would eventually win an Oscar for Best Documentary in March 2018. Fialkow illustrated for me the entire process of pivoting the film. “We had a failed movie on our hands,” Fialkow said, referring to Fogel’s initial experiment. Fogel’s goal was to compete in the Haute Route, a prestigious amateur cycling race, and place higher than he had one year prior, after undergoing several months of taking performance-enhancing drugs. By successfully entering the race and placing higher, using doping methods Rodchenkov had tailored to be undetectable, Fogel would prove that the current methods of testing for doping were insufficient. This, the original premise for the film, fell through when Fogel was plagued by issues and bike malfunctions, and failed to place higher than his previous, clean attempt. Suddenly, Fogel could not prove what he wanted to prove. He had done no better doping than he had done without doping. But the film had one thing working in its favor: Rodchenkov. His rap-

TOP LEFT: Director Bryan Fogel originally set out to create a film about how easy it would be for him to cheat the drug tests put in place by the organizations governing cycling races. (Photo courtesy of Netflix) TOP RIGHT: Grigory Rodchenkov was the director of Russia’s national anti-doping laboratory, the Anti-Doping Center. He ultimately revealed to filmmaker Bryan Fogel that his role was to help facilitate Russia’s state-sponsored doping program. (Photo courtesy of Netflix) BOTTOM: Icarus was honored with an Academy Award for Best Documentary on March 4, 2018, for its diligent and in-depth coverage of a massive scandal, one whose relevance remained ever-present even as the envelope was opened.

“One of the hardest things is to teach people how to work through failure.” —DAVID FIALKOW

port with Fogel ultimately led him to share those revelations about Russia’s state-sponsored doping program. Two things took place shortly after: First, Fogel helped arrange for Rodchenkov to be interviewed by the New York Times. And second, as soon as those allegations became known, the filmmakers realized their project had changed drastically. Rodchenkov’s direct involvement in the program allowed Fogel to conduct interviews and learn the ins and outs of what Russia had done during the Olympics. “The morph was really epic,” Fialkow summarized. His role as a producer immediately shifted, and he kicked into high gear. “Putin is a huge believer that sports are a critical element of showing Russia’s power as a country,” Fialkow explained. With Rodchenkov having turned into a whistleblower, Fialkow and the filmmaking team believed that the Russian’s life was in danger. Fialkow coordinated with intelligence agencies and the American witness protection program in an effort to protect Rodchenkov. The crew rebounded quickly. Fialkow cited luck as a “key element,” acknowledging their good fortune in stumbling onto a far more impactful story in the immediate wake of their failed first attempt. But to chalk up this film’s success to just luck is to understate the creative problem-solving and flexibility the filmmakers demonstrated. The professionalism and passion that Fialkow, Fogel, and the rest of the crew exhibited is clear, as the film deftly balances an unflinching exposure of Russia’s doping program with the experience Rodchenkov goes through as a whistleblower. “One of the hardest things is to teach people how to work through failure,” said Fialkow. The crushing feeling of failure is visible onscreen in the wake of Fogel’s failed experiment. Fogel looks and feels defeated after placing lower in the cycling race, as the entire premise of his film has just come crashing down. However, this is swiftly contrasted with the thriller-esque energy that fuels the latter half of the film as everyone dives into unraveling the intricacies of Russia’s program. The final product of Icarus is a gripping testament to the team’s adaptability and pursuit of uncovering the truth.

Page 6 • Culture

The Nueva Current • May 8, 2018


Children of Blood and Bone Tomi Adeyemi—March 6

2018 in Young Adult Novels BY ELIZABETH B. P.

Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War Reviewed BY AIDEN H.

Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War culminates years of buildup, going all the way back to the original Avengers, released in 2012. The mere concept of Infinity War is gargantuan, bringing together characters from countless separate films and fulfilling

One of the best books in 2018 so far, Children of Blood and Bone is a high fantasy novel set in a fictional society inspired by West African legend, with all the magic, good characterization, and interesting plot one could hope for. The cast of characters—Zélie, Inan, Tzain, and Amari— are all great, distinct characters, a far cry from many modern teen fiction or fantasy books that follow tropes like a bland main character, a funny or generally more active best friend, a boring love interest with little to no life of their own, and a fourth, dull character, often the love interest’s best friend (who ends up with the main character’s BFF, regardless of personality). In Children of Blood and Bone, however, the characters break refreshingly from that standard. In addition, the book tackles important topics such as colorism from the eyes of all the characters, providing perspective to a real-world issue from the eyes of people within a fantasy universe.

six years of pent-up hype and teasers, such that it has been split into two movies. (The second film, currently untitled, will be released in 2019.) The end result? A surprisingly effective piece of storytelling. Infinity War delivers a film that refuses to be anything other than what it’s been built up to be. That is, the massive convergence of a comic book superhero mega franchise. Right from the get-go, Infinity War picks up where Thor: Ragnarok left off, blending Marvel’s previous films with new elements deeply rooted in the comics. We are introduced to both our villain and his followers within the first minutes, and get to reconnect with characters from the previous film in the same timeframe. As always, the integration of these elements, including the larger-than-life villain Thanos, his fanatical followers, and his fearsome infinity gauntlet, carries that cinematic flair that makes the films live up to the comics they sprang from. The opening of the film is unflinching in the action and pacing, which is a broader indicator of the film as a whole: it gets things done with its

Truly Devious Maureen Johnson—Jan. 16

What Truly Devious lacks in characterization, it makes up for in plot and fast-paced storylines, serving as an intricate setup for the next two novels in the trilogy. Nueva readers might find a special place in their hearts (and possibly their senses of humor) for Truly Devious, a murder mystery set at a school for academically talented kids. The setting is Ellingham Academy, a famous private school in Vermont “for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists.” Its founder wanted to make “a place where learning is a game.” Readers will love the school as much as the characters. This is a great murder mystery for readers hoping for a more plot-oriented story than a character-driven one, and it provides a nice respite from dystopian fantasy Chosen One plotlines. This one is more appealing for younger audiences of suspense-based thrillers, though it’s a bit heavier on the teen angst than some might enjoy.

“The movie brings many of Marvel’s beloved characters to the brink, the consequences of which you will have to see for yourself.”

Legendary (Caraval #2) Stephanie Garber—May 29

Kingdom of Ash (ToG #7) Sarah J. Maas—Oct. 23

160-minute runtime. That is to say, the movie doesn’t waste its time. The filmmakers don’t feel the need to stop and explain something through unneeded exposition, or fill in time with some fluffy side plot. Everything is focused and deliberate. And in such a big movie, that consistency is perhaps the greatest achievement. As a Marvel movie in general, Infinity War delivers Marvel’s darkest and most serious storyline yet. Without mentioning spoilers, the movie brings many of Marvel’s beloved characters to the brink, the consequences of which you will have to see for yourself. It juggles the arcs of its many characters successfully, which is impressive given its outsized

cast. Characters like T’Challa feel smoothly integrated from their previous films, as if the filmmakers put countless hours into making sure continuity was at the forefront. To the casual viewer who missed one or two Marvel movies, much of Infinity War may be confusing or noisy. But if you have the knowledge of the rest of the cinematic universe at your disposal, watching this should be no problem. It is certainly the best way to watch the film, even if it’s a hopeless task to capture the tone and style of each and every preceding Marvel movie. Otherwise, Infinity War delivers impressive visuals and ambitious setpieces, with quality action to back it up. The character-based moments that smaller films can thrive on are occasionally lost in the tsunami of story and events that ultimately define Infinity War, but it has 18 other movies that already provided that background. Infinity War is a smart, pure continuation of Marvel’s past films, delivering the ultimate experience for fans of the MCU, while compelling more casual viewers with prime action, performances, and visuals. Get your tickets today.

Look forward to Legendary, the sequel to last year’s Caraval! Admittedly, the first book was not heavy on originality when it comes to teen fantasy plots; it relies on a number of common tropes in teen fiction nowadays. To name a few: teenagers saving the world, a glamorous dystopia, arranged marriage that the main character detests, and, of course, handsome and vaguely dangerous boys. Often, just a couple of these would be warnings enough for me to leave this duology off a list of recommendations, but Caraval—and hopefully Legendary, which will be out in roughly a month—has a number of features to recommend it. The setting is interesting and sets up good plot. The characters are also well written, and overall it’s a good sick-day read: nice, set in an interesting universe, but in the end not quite deep enough to call for a second read. However, Legendary may offer more depth to the universe, so here’s hoping!

While the first half of the series was heavy on the familiar Chosen One, self-insertstyle content and was sometimes hard to push through reading, the conclusion to the Throne of Glass series is something to watch for if you can get through the first three in the series. The next three books improved (probably because the writer had a decade to improve her craft). The protagonist, Aelin, has become a deeper character over six books. Still, characterization throughout the series has remained focused on making Aelin overly powerful than making her anything else. However, Sarah J. Maas is an expert on plot and twist endings by now, so there’s truly a high bar in terms of storyline for the seventh book in her series! All the beloved characters will face their ultimate trials, and the book is sure to be action-packed and emotional. While the series started out on a low note, the seventh is really something to look for!

The Nueva Current • May 8, 2018

Features • Page 7

Juuling: America’s new teenage pastime


Why is it so popular among teens, and what are we doing about it? When you visit juulvapor.com, the online store for the massively successful Juul Labs e-cigarette, a little white window pops up. Against the backdrop of white and among the carefully vertically-aligned blue words drift buttons presenting two options, in all capital letters: “I am +21 and agree to be age verified,” and “I am not +21.” As a legal minor, I felt obligated to press the truthful, teal-colored button, which took me to teen.smokefree.gov. At the top: a banner featuring the smiling faces of undoubtedly unaddicted teenagers awashed in sunlight, staged in front of clean school buildings. I returned to juulvapor.com and pressed the top button, wondering what age verification they would put me through. The moment I clicked, the site came into focus. No more age verification than typing in your birthday when setting up an Instagram account. The lax security toughens up in the actual checkout section, but a minor’s ability to access, browse, and add products to the online cart can do sufficient damage—the exposure alone proven to increase the probability of buying in the future. A type of vape, juuls have made local and national news recently due to the massive increase in sales in 2016 (700 percent growth, or $322 million, according to ABC News). The fastest-growing vape company as of 2017, Juul Labs now makes up 33% of the entire e-cig market. Juul Labs is not an advocate for teen smokers, not according to their website and their statements to me. The company was founded by two former smokers who wanted to create a “switching product” for adult smokers looking to quit. Its slogan, “A satisfying alternative to cigarettes,” emphasizes this; the sidebar features testimonials of former-smokers-turned-juulers; their website dedicates an entire section to underage use and the actions they’re taking to prevent it. (In a list of initiatives Juul provided me, they mentioned “deploying a secret shopper program to monitor age verification of retailers.”) And the design, they say, is not meant to look like something a teen would enjoy, but rather to look drastically different than the shape and size of a cigarette, the appearance of the latter a major concern for addicted adult smokers, according to their website. What does it look like and does it encourage teen smokers? The juul is a sleek, two-part nicotine vaporizer, chargeable in the USB port on a laptop or computer. It resembles a USB flash drive. It looks like any other piece of slick new technology. This familiarity makes it look innocuous and friendly, less dangerous, the matte metal and clean design boasting Silicon Valley technology and advancements. It also makes it easier to hide it from parents, teachers, counselors—anyone who might be concerned about use. Juul’s marketing has drawn criticism for targeting minors or being too teen-friendly; certainly, the fact that its flavor pods offer choices like “Fruit Medley” and “Crème Bruleé” doesn’t help the company’s statements that they “are incredibly focused on combating underage use.” Other criticism has pointed to the colorful decals that can be purcahsed for a juul (although not from Juul Labs). The size of the exhaled smoke plume is smaller than that of a cigarette or a typical vape. The smoke itself doesn’t taint clothing with the incriminating smell of cigarettes, making it easier for minors to keep their smoking discreet and undetected. “It’s relatively odorless unless you’re right next to it when it’s happening,” said Ken Peralta, who has had to deal with underage juuling as an administra-

tor at Junipero Serra High School in San smoke detectors, and other close calls Mateo. circulate through mainstream media From Peralta’s observations, a lot of and among students. An article by NBC the juuling is the result of social incenNews interviewed one teen who said tives originating from pop culture that after taking a hit in the middle and peer pressure. He pointed of class, students would blow the to its ubiquitous presence in smoke into their sweaters or social media and YouTube, backpacks. (Another way of and the popularity of dealing with the smoke that minors documenting the article didn’t mention their juuling or using but that students shared drug-related products is swallowing the entire on social media; “a puff, or “ghosting.”) couple kids” had Peralta said that it been discovered was a problem at his through compromishigh school as well. ing photos posted “It’s prevalent, unforto social media or tunately.” In his first stored on phones. year at Serra, they “Among affluent Mike Peller, have already dealt teenagers in and Nueva’s Dean with a number of around Manhattan, of Student Life students using in the Upper juuls. According to particularly those in School, turned Peralta, many of the private school more to the these students obworld...Juul began psychological. tained their juuls He said that through an older to find its foothold students who sibling or friend. about a year ago.” “are taking risks The growth in in other areas, underage usage is “Cool-Looking and Sweet, Juul Is a like intellectual not only anecdotVice Teens Can’t Resist,” New York risks, or like al. The year that Times, February 2018. athletic risks or Juul Labs came musical risks, onto the market in meet their need 2015, the Nationto do, otherwise, al Youth Tobacco social risks.” For Survey noted others, he says, that 11.3 percent the desire to get of high schoolers the “reward-kick,” and 4.3 percent of as he calls it, can middle schoolers be satisfied with smoked e-cigarettes. taking the social At almost 2 million risk of doing someminors—an already thing illicit like juulhigh number—the ing or smoking statistic may, in rewhen the ality, be much more academic than that: Truth or physical Initiative found opportunities that around aren’t avail25 percent of able. adult and teenOne potenage juulers tial turn-off do not refer for minors is the to “juuling” price. Starter as “vaping” kits, which or “smoking,” include one indicating that rechargeable this demographic juul, one USB may consider a charger, and juul to be unequal four flavored to a vape or e-cigpods, are priced at arette, thus under$49.99. This may be reporting the real one reason juuling number of underamong teens has age vapers. The year become more popuafter, in 2016, twice lar in affluent areas as many minors like Silicon Valley vaped as smoked, and Los Angeles. Juul compared to pre-Juul Labs acknowledges this in when three times as a statement sent to The New many minors smoked as York Times, describing one of its vaped. initiatives to stop underage use as Of course, “launching educational pilot programs schools are in high schools in California.” Addinot simtionally, California school districts have ply sitting begun changing existing school rules idly and statewide laws on general drug by paraphernalia use to combat juuls and as their e-cigarettes more specifically, such as charges juul clarifying that e-cigarettes are a tobacco on school grounds product, broadening the definition of and during school these materials, and raising the vaping hours; many schools in age to 21 (Public Health Law Center). San Mateo and Bay Area in But regardless of the new laws particular include e-cigarettes against teen smoking, vaping commuand vapes in student and parent nities in high schools aren’t uber-secret. handbooks. These paragraphs often One student, who chose to remain anoninclude phrases like “drug-related paraymous, says she doesn’t vape herself and phernalia” (Aragon Student and Parent that she’s seen flyers around her school Handbook) and “dangerous substances” with pictures of lost juuls, “but people (Hillsdale Student and Parent Handcall them flash drives.” Stories of vaping book). Indeed, in our own Nueva Student in class or in the bathrooms, setting off and Family Handbook, there lies a sec-

tion on the thirtieth page of the PDF file called “Policy Against Tobacco, Alcohol, and Illegal Drugs” in bold, periwinkle blue font. None of the handbooks explicitly mention juuls. Handbooks, however, are not the most accurate nor the most detailed gauge of active protection against drug paraphernalia. As a result, I talked to a couple of school administrators from this area: Burlingame High School, Aragon High School, Junipero Serra, and, of course, our Nueva School. Peralta, of Junipero Serra High School, said that “we have to add” juuling specifically into the handbook in addition to the already-explicit mentions of vape pens and e-cigarettes, all under the category of nicotine and tobacco products. “You know right now at our school, nicotine [has] that attention. The penalties are there.” And the penalties were not entirely empty threats either. Peralta already had taken a few juuls from high schoolers and had handled a few cases. However, he said that in addition to school rules, another Catholic school in the same league, Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory, was implementing a new technology to catch juulers and vapers in the bathrooms. “They have sensors in their bathrooms where they can literally detect if something’s being smoked in the bathroom and it sends an alarm or an alert to [a] dean’s [or] administrator’s office.” This device is called Fresh Air—not the podcast, but “the only technology available to detect and monitor smoking in real time,” as it says on its website. Using Wi-Fi and email, the outlet-powered plug-in notifies the buyer the time when smoke was detected; and since both Sacred Heart and Junipero Serra have cameras near the bathrooms, administrators would be able to identify who came and went during the timeframe of the triggered smoke alarm. Although Serra is not currently using this technology, Peralta says, “[SHC is] demoing for us, so if they feel it’s really positive then we might install it here.” At Nueva, Peller said that when the first class of ninth graders entered, “[they] were adamant that we would not be a school where kids used drugs and alcohol.” And to their credit, Peller said that although he cannot tell me whether or not he has been approached about juuling by a faculty member, parent, or student and that he “would be naïve to think that kids are not juuling,” he was unaware that juuling was a major issue at Nueva. But if juuling was a problem, the “obvious thing [would be] more education—more talking about it and spending time to understand why kids want to do this. So then, if a kid is juuling, they know of the negative health impacts.” And there are negative health concerns. Although e-cigarettes are supposed to be “safer” alternatives to smoking cigarettes, a new study at N.Y.U., released in February 2018, suggests otherwise. The study exposed lab mice to nicotine vapor for 12 weeks (the dose and duration of nicotine exposure was equivalent to 10 years of light e-cigarette smoking in humans). At the end of this period, the researchers found evidence that e-cigarettes can cause DNA damage. Their conclusion links e-cigarette smoking to increased risk of cancer and heart disease.

Page 8 • Features

The Nueva Current • May 8, 2018 Meals bring Ina a sense of closeness with her host family. (Photo courtesy of CIEE)

Semester abroad Tenth grader Ina L. spent her fall semester in the South of France BY ALIYA G. In the fall semester, Ina L. (10) studied abroad in Toulouse. Though it is the fourth largest city in France, often called “the pink city,” it maintains itself as a lively and quaint city packed with students in southern France. Although she had lived in France for a year previously, going back was a truly eye-opening experience for her. During her time there, Ina’s eyes were opened to the strong cultural differences. The French “value time taken and time spent,” giving an hour every day to coffee and social time. Her school kept similar hours to American high schools, but lunch was “an hour and a half minimum, by law.” Over the course of the semester, Ina observed many instances of French people’s “attention to Old World beauty and values.” “I knew it was further in the past, but I thought about it jokingly. The more nuanced stuff went completely over my head when I lived there,” Ina admitted. Ina attended Lycee Priveé Sainte-Marie des Champs, a school founded in 1662. There was a chalkboard in every classroom along wooden chairs and desks. In her view, school there was antiquated, with systems that hadn’t been touched

Ina spends a night out on the plaza with a friend. (Photo courtesy of CIEE)

“since the French Revolution,” and with a noticeable lag in technology as well. Everything was done by hand; there was one computer room that classes visited every trimester. There was a bigger emphasis on memorization, and many students took three languages. One of the more “bothersome” aspects of the French culture for Ina were the parts that, to her, seemed to be stuck in the past. She occasionally heard and was frustrated by insensitive comments about race or religion that “you would get slapped for saying here, yet there you are supposed to take it all with a grain of salt.” “At first they are much more reserved, but after closer interaction when they decide ‘ah yes this is someone I want to be friends with,’ they become the most loyal, faithful, and close friends that you can have,” Ina said of her experience meeting people and growing new relationships. She described the social interactions as a contrast to American friendships, where “there is a lot more immediate hospitality and friendship and a greater aspect of being friends with everyone.”

The friends Ina met in France, as well as her host family, were the most memorable part of her stay. They were all incredibly welcoming to her, and being raised by European parents, she found that they shared many of the same values, giving a sense of home and belonging. Ina said that everyone she met there was “fascinating.” Her host father, who came from an old Toulousain family, had an apiary and made 13 kilos of honey to give

She spent her days immersing herself in the opportunities afforded by living in France; she travelled around with friends and attempted to do everything there that can’t be done here. This included visits to London and Paris, as well as the coastal town of Port Vendres. She also visited Carcassonne, a historic fortified town with a medieval fortress and a World Heritage Site, about an hour away from Toulouse. Ina found independent travel to be

Ina enjoyed getting to attend a different school, but she missed the Nueva campus. (Photo courtesy of CIEE)

to his friends. “You couldn’t get more French, he was just a living, walking, breathing stereotype,” Ina said.

much easier in France than in the US. “There’s a greater independence culture, which has to do with the scale of the social

scene and how well connected everything is geographically and practically, since Europe was made to be lived in without highways and cars,” Ina explained. Aside from gaining a deep understanding of cultural differences, Ina became fluent in more just than the language, which she could speak going into her trip. “There is a level of word fluency and then there is cultural fluency, where you are at ease with the people and the customs and what is normal for them. It is how you would structure sentences and what makes French French that you can only get from being there,” Ina said. Over the four and a half months in France, she learned much more about herself and her interests. She discovered that she is passionate about languages and literature, and she gained the confidence to one day go into an obscure, small field of French lit. Being away from home made her more independent and mature. “I honed my sense of self,” Ina said.


Faculty Appreciation For Kindness Week, which took place February 12–16, the Kindness Club worked with Alegria Barclay and Jen Paull to organize a massive appreciationsharing for every member of the upper school community. People could write a note of appreciation on a slip of paper and tuck it into envelopes for recipients. Here are four appreciations, shared in honor of Faculty/Staff Appreciation Week.

“I think we were talking about the Islamicate, and he was very excited about this particular word. He was so excited, he jumped out of his Birkenstocks. They were like, on the other side of the room.” —Ana I., on appreciating Brian Cropper’s enthusiasm for the subject

“Amrit has been there for me and [has been] supporting me since freshman year when I was on the basketball team [...] She’s just very solid and consistent and I know she’s always there if I need to go talk with her about a variety of things; I can talk to her about what my dog ate for breakfast or about deep emotional things that are happening in my life. She’s got some support, smart words, and a big heart [...] I love her a lot.” —Sophie H., on what she loves about Amrit Chima

“Julietta always has such a positive outlook, and she’s always really thoughtful in her interactions, being sure to give the best of herself and getting the best out of others. I aspire to have that positivity, and I admire that.” —Danielle Dell, on how Julietta Bekker inspires her

“The first class I had with Patrick was really challenging [...] but Patrick really pushed me, and he made it fascinating and funny. I fell in love with economics because of him. It just made me feel so much more motivated in the rest of my classes and [...] like I was thriving at Nueva. After three semesters with Patrick, I did not want to have a semester without having a Patrick class because I was worried that without having him as a teacher, the whole world would seem less interesting.” —Anna S., on having Patrick Berger as a teacher

Features • Page 9

The Nueva Current • May 8, 2018 Q&A: Conversations in STEM

Conversations in STEM is a column that aims to explore through interviews the latest scientific research across a variety of disciplines, including but not limited to medicine, neuroscience, engineering, physics, and mathematics. The purpose of this column is threefold: 1) to trigger students’ interest in science and scientific research, 2) to inform students about cutting-edge developments in scientific research that are usually confined to scholarly circles and journals, and 3) to provide students with valuable, practical information relating to common problems seen in both individuals and the community.

Talking Homelessness with Dr. Kushel BY ANNA K.

Dr. Margot Kushel is a professor of medicine at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center. Her research is focused on understanding the causes of homelessness and its overall effects on health. She has devoted her career to solving and preventing this enormous problem. Her most acclaimed published research was titled HOPE-HOME and examined the health outcomes in people experiencing homelessness in older middle age. This study followed a cohort of 350 older homeless adults in Oakland, California, over the course of five years. The long-term goal of this study was to determine the prevalence, severity, trajectory, and consequences of geriatric conditions in homeless adults age 50 and older, in order to guide prevention, healthcare, social service, and housing interventions. You are the principal investigator of the HOPEHOME Study. Could you please describe this research project and some of its highlights so far?

One thing we found is that among people who are homeless 50 or older, 44%—almost half—have never once been homeless before they were in their, at least, 50s. And that population really, I think, broke some of the stereotypes that people have of what it means to be homeless. Most of those people were people who were working, maybe even still working, when they lost their homes, or had just lost their jobs. They were really just people who were affected by poverty, high housing costs, and low wages. Another big finding was that even though the median age was 57, people’s health looked a lot more more like people in their 70s or 80s. Which really helped us know that being poor and being homeless takes a big toll on your health.

You stated that you have worked at the local, state, and federal levels. Has a specific level allowed for better policy implementation?

In my mind, the best way for affordable housing has to come from the federal level because a lot of the big funding decisions related to affordable housing actually happen at this level. A lot of the work on homelessness is done at the local level, but a lot of us that are in this field feel that it will get very hard for a local government to solve this problem, without state and more honest, federal involvement. [Because attempting to solve homelessness] is very, very expensive, in a way that it is hard for local governments to fund on their own.

What do these policies look like on the ground?

Housing First was a big policy shift. [Before Housing First] the thought was that homeless people will just stay in shelters and if they behaved very well and did everything right, they would earn the right to get a long term shelter, and then they would earn the right to stay in a place for 2 years, and then they would earn the right to get a house. And what this policy looked like in reality was that about 5 — 10% of people made it

through and got the housing, and everybody else had to stay on the street. So what Housing First did was it said, “You know, maybe it’s hard for people to follow all the rules and take the medicines when they are living on the street.” It allowed a bunch of people who, before Housing First was a policy, had to live on the streets, to actually live into housing, and as a doctor you could see how people got so much better: their health got better, they were happier, they caused less problems, and it turned out that once they had housing, then they took their medicines and then they followed all the rules.

“The U.S. right now has a worse homeless problem than most other wealthy/developed nations, in part because most other nations have a stronger social safety net."

How do the U.S.’ homeless programs compare to those of other nations?

The U.S. right now has a worse homeless problem than most other wealthy/developed nations, in part because most other nations have a stronger social safety net, a stronger support for things like affordable housing, and healthcare, and things like that. I have been talking to colleagues a lot in western Europe, where in certain places they are starting to see problems like the U.S. Australia is starting to see problems like the U.S., probably not as bad as the U.S. A lot of the problem has to do with how much inequality there is in a society, and the U.S. is really rich, really high on inequality, and really poor on social safety net. We are worse than all of the other countries. I had the opportunity to be in Scandinavia—there are a few people who are homeless, but very few, and it’s mostly people who have a lot of health and mental health problems. But most people there are able to af-

ford a home. If you go to a place like England or U.K. right now, it’s not as bad as the United States, but it is getting there.

In your opinion, what is the best way for a simple citizen to help with homelessness? The first, most important thing, is to vote, and demand that elective officials fund affordable housing through our tax dollars and through other ways. When you are a kid, you cannot vote, but you still can do a lot: write letters to elected officials, make appointments to meet with them, talk to a grown-up and educate them. You might know in the last election nobody was really talking about affordable housing as a problem. Partly, the most important thing that we all can do is to be very, very involved in every level of government, at the local, state, and federal government—that we make it clear that this is a priority even if it doesn’t affect us, even if we are not going to wind up being homeless. We also need to remember to treat people who are experiencing homelessness with dignity and respect. Perhaps, through a church, mosque, or synagogue, people can put together programs to deliver food or warm clothing or just not ignore people, instead smile at them to say “hello” and “have a good day.” It helps to know that people care about them.

Do you have any advice for a young scientist starting a career today?

Read, read, read, which is kind of funny, because you would think you if you wanted to be a scientist you should be in a lab or whatever, but I think all of the good scientists I know are people who are really curious about the world and they ask a lot of questions, and they read, and they try to come to answers. So I would say if you want to be a scientist, read a lot, write a lot, because these are things that actually help you with your science, and ask a lot of questions. Practice using the scientific method to get at your answers. Even if the question is “Are girls are shorter than boys?” you should practice using the scientific method all the time.

Page 10 • Features

The Nueva Current • May 4, 2018


children and teens die from gun violence EVERY DAY.

is the lightweight semiautomatic rifle, similar to the military’s M16, that SOARED in popularity after a 10-year federal ban on assault weapons expired in 2004. Variants have been used to kill 17 people in Parkland, Fla.; 26 people in Sutherland Springs, Tex.; 58 in Las Vegas; 27 in Newton, Conn.


MARCH FOR OUR LIVES Crowds hit the streets on March 24, 2018, in a student-led demonstration for tighter gun control laws. Turnout has been estimated to be around 1.2 million people in the United States, making it one of the largest protests in American history. (Photo by Willow C.Y.)

The Nueva Current • May 8, 2018

Features • Page 11

America, Under the Gun


A wave of student-driven activism has forced the gun reform issue to the forefront of national debate. It’s time. Nineteen years have passed since the school shooting at Columbine High School in Columbine, CO. It was the largest school shooting in American history at the time. In the years since, school shootings have become more commonplace and unsurprising. Twenty weeks into 2018, there have already been 20 school shootings (defined here as shootings on school campuses in which someone was injured or killed)—one shooting a week on average. These shootings followed a familiar script: Initial shock, then outrage, then calls to action for tighter gun control met by resistance led by the National Rifle Association (NRA) decrying these efforts to abolish the second amendment...until the tragedy subsides with time and distance. Then the next mass shooting takes place and the script spins up again. Repeat 2x. Repeat 5x. Repeat 10x. Until Parkland. The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14 was the 208th school shooting since Columbine. Seventeen people lost their lives. The teenage survivors of the shooting have successfully launched Americans into actually discussing one of the country’s most controversial political issues. Their unflagging efforts have made this conversation an omnipresent political debate on gun violence and legislation. This debate has brought the safety and security of school environments into question and emphasizes the accessibility of purchasing and carrying firearms. With this surge of gun violence, particularly in school environments, children are being taught from a young age how to protect themselves in the event of an attack. They are told to barricade the doors with tables and chairs, to turn off all lights, close all blinds, hide in closets or under tables, and sit or stand in silence. These rehearsed drills have become a normal and expected part of the school experience. Recently, however, students have come together to argue that this should not be part of the norm. Students nationwide protested gun violence on March 14, one month after Parkland, and April 20, the anniversary of the Columbine shooting, as part of the #NationalSchoolWalkout movement, which asked students to partake in the demonstration for gun control change. At many schools, students maintained a contemplative silence for 17 minutes in remembrance of the 17 students killed at the Parkland school


How California’s gun laws differ from the federal laws

Federal law

California law

Who can legally sell firearms?

Licensed dealers, infrequent unlicensed dealers, unlicensed hobbyists.

How long is the waiting period for purchasing a gun?

There is no waiting period federal mandate.

A buyer must wait 10 days before possessing a purchased firearm.

What are the purchase limits on gun sales?

There is no restriction on successive gun purchases.

California allows a maximum of one handgun purchase every 30 days.

What are the restrictions on buying assault weapons?

Federal law has no such ban or restriction.

shooting. At Nueva, the entire Upper School participated in the first walkout of the #NationalSchoolWalkout movement. Organized by seniors Nina G. and Adrianna D., students walked around the Bay Meadows Park in silence for 17 minutes. After the march, Nina and Adrianna read out the names and ages of each of the victims and invited students to read posters that provided a brief biography of each person. “We were interested in bringing a human face to the victims of the shooting,” Nina said. “It’s easy to hear numbers in the news, but being forced to confront the age and engage with the personality of each victim can help people realize the true impact of this

Licensed dealers.

Guns defined by state law as assault weapons are banned, though guns purchased prior to 1989 are legal.

senseless violence.” Nina feels that the U.S. could find a balance between a lack of guns and a lack of gun control. Instead of abolishing or preventing gun sales, she advocates for mental health checks prior to firearm purchases, as well as tightened restrictions on the age when someone can legally purchase a gun. “Young people shouldn’t have such easy access to guns,” Nina said. Many students participated in the March for Our Lives protest on Saturday, March 24. Ethan L.(12) marched down Market Street in San Francisco with a group of students from other San Mateo schools. He believes that the rest of the nation should adopt many of California’s

gun laws if they wish to see the same drop in gun homicide. In particular, he felt that ten-day waiting periods, background checks, and the ability for law enforcement to temporarily remove guns from threatening persons were crucial laws for adequate gun control. However, Ethan L. also said that guns are not the only problem and that school shootings “certainly get excessive coverage in the media.” “Consider investing in mental health,” Ethan L. said. “And stop putting names and faces of shooters on television as it [encourages] others to follow in the shooter’s footsteps.” Other students also shared the feeling that mental health was a big part of the issue. “You still have a nation full of people who would be willing to shoot up their work or school if you get rid of the guns,” said Ethan W.(12). “The issue is our lack of proper mental health programs, lack of opportunities, and a barbaric education system.” Ethan W. said that gun reform would treat what he referred to as a symptom of a “disease” that the U.S. has rather than treating the disease itself. “Background checks will just lead to discrimination against minority groups given the history of our legal system,” he said. “If it was to be more restrictive, I believe in taking guns away from the police and governmental entities as well.” He said that students should research the Black Panther Party and Killer Mike in an attempt to diversify their view on the issue rather than just dismissing an opinion that seems to be pro-gun. Ashley R.(12), like Ethan W., supports gun reform but doesn’t think the movement can achieve anything if it continues to fight the way it is fighting. She said the movement “doesn’t have a well-outlined plan to achieve its goals” and should look to nations such as Japan and Australia for guidance on successful gun control. However, like the other students, Ashley attributed part of America’s gun problem to American culture itself. “At the end of the day, no other country seems to be weaned on AK47s, dreaming of a prince in a camo flak jacket who will sweep us off our feet to go shopping for matching bumpstocks at the nearest Big Five,” Ashley said to drive the point home. “America needs to take a deep long look at itself and change.”

Page 12 • Features

The Nueva Current • May 8, 2018

The Culmination of YearLong Quest Projects BY ANNA C. & ELIZABETH B. P.

1. Gus W.(9) displays his remote control plane. This year, he explored his longheld interest in aviation. “When I was really little, I was excited whenever I saw a picture of a plane or anything that could fly,” Gus said. “However my love for aviation has really taken off since I started learning how to fly last year.” He originally planned on making and designing the plane from scratch, but after a few weeks of working he realized this was an unrealistic goal and his mentor suggested he make one from a kit. He intends to take the plane out for its first test flight—after the Quest showcase.

Every year, students, parents, and teachers fill the school to observe the culmination of impressive yearlong projects at Nueva’s Quest night. Students choose a passion to pursue and dedicate more than 40 hours of their year, building, writing, learning, exploring, coding, cooking, recording. These projects are presented throughout Bay Meadows in a showcase of diverse student interest and curiosity. This year’s Quest Night took place on April 5. Before families and friends started arriving at 5:30 pm, students scrambled to put the finishing touches on their displays.



3 3. James T.(9) shows off his BOOM sneakers: shoes that have bluetooth speakers and Arduino-powered lights that flash to the music. His project sprang from an initial idea of “shoes having the potential to be really unique and fun.” He started from scratch but worked his way up with help from his mentors. He ran into problems with his chip and all the electronics that didn’t work, but in the end was proud of what he presented and that he finished everything on time.


5 5. Casey G.(9) shows her cosplay of Zer0 from Borderlands 2, recreating the outfit and sword—the helmet is still in process. This was a continuation from her middle school Recital project. “I really love playing video games, and I enjoy cosplaying characters I have an emotional bond with or relate to, and those I feel deserve appreciation,” Casey said. Her passion has also lead her to making homemade Halloween costumes, as she has been cosplaying for years. When she was building the sword, she ran into problems with leverage because the blade (being made out of acrylic) was too long and heavy, and it would be difficult building a hilt for it. She says she eventually ended up working with the I-Lab to come up with an innovative solution, ultimately forging the handle out of steel.

7 6

6. Liam D. (9) holds the formerly “old and broken” bike that he has refurbished as his Quest project. After a year’s worth of engineering work, he showcased the refurbished bike, tools, and rags used in the process.

2. Andrew Z. (12) showcases his wearable exoskeleton, a wearable machine that strengthens his carrying and lifting ability by more than 90 pounds. He built the automaton out of 3D-printed pieces and, as he puts it, “easily-assembled components,” making it more useful to those seeking to experiment and create with engineering-based DIY and opensource hardware. Over the course of this Quest cycle, Andrew utilized advanced engineering skills to complete his project.

4. Sean C.(9) presents his handmade robot arm—the trial arms and the final creation—to a curious crowd. Sean’s interest in robots began with J.A.R.V.I.S., the advanced computerized helper in Iron Man, as well as other industrial robots, from which he took direction before he began drafting. He explained how challenging learning to code his robot was, considering he had little prior experience and that his servo kept frying. He eventually got through it with “lots of debugging and praying.” In the future he plans to strengthen the arm and increase its efficacy.

7. Lauren H. (11) spent the past year hiking and exploring the Bay Area’s natural environments. She says that she decided upon this project to find and appreciate native species, as well as to connect more with her loved ones. Her Quest presentation highlighted the detailed documentation of her many hikes, ranging all over the Bay Area.

Features • Page 13

The Nueva Current • May 8, 2018 TRIPS & TRAVEL

Ten days of travel

Each year, Nueva students participate in week-long immersive learning trips during the second semester. This year, the ninth and tenth grades went to Peru and Costa Rica, respesctively, while the eleventh and twelfth grades went on smaller interest-based trips around the United States.

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA 37°48′16″N 122°16′15″W Seniors Adrianna D., Megan W., Maddie W., Emily W., and Natalie L. spray paint a goldfish in Oakland during the Urban Studies trip. Students were able to work with the Dragon School, a nonprofit in Oakland’s Chinatown that works to spread positive street art in order to prevent graffiti tagging.

BIG SKY, MONTANA 45°16′12″N 111°17′59″W

As part of American Studies, eleventh graders visited the Jack Creek Preserve Foundation and toured part of the 4,500 acre preserve. They listened to the co-founder, Dottie Fossel, speak to them about the preserve, land protection, and local wildlife. They also saw wildlife up close; at one point, they had to carefully ease their van around and throuhg a herd of bison.


SELVA VERDE LODGE, COSTA RICA 10°45′N -84°06′W Katya P. examines a pepper at a local produce store on the way to the Selva Verde reserve. The large group made a pit stop for fresh fruit on the way towards their lodging in Sarapiqui, Costa Rica, a canton northeast of the capital of San José. The students spent the week researching the biodiversity of native tropical frogs in the forest with guides and researchers from the reserve.

MACHU PICCHU, PERU 13.1631° S, 72.5450° W A few of the chaperones and students of Group 4: Architecture—Hillary Freeman, Zubin Mobedshahi, Stephanie S., and Tomo G.— make their way down to Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate, a point at the top of Machu Picchu Mountain where the ancient city is visible in front of Waychu Macchu at the end of the group’s six-hour-long hike.

After a meeting with the Charleston Regional Development Alliance—an organization that works to attract businesses to Charleston—eleventh-grade students discuss the negative impacts resulting from beautification of the neighborhood, most prominently a rise in housing prices resulting from the gentrification.

Page 14 • Opinion

The Nueva Current • May 8, 2018

Building a College Portfolio, Solo

The opening page of my portfolio. I focused on my theatrical background, using photos, script pages, and various notes.

The college process is a trying time for any senior. Building a portfolio shouldn’t make it worse. BY JULIANNA G.

JULIANNA GARBER Direction, Tech, and Stage Management Portfolio

I thought I knew it all going into my college applications. I took my time deciding what I wanted to major in, met with Paul all the time (ask him, I’m sure I was a pain in the butt), took the ACT in May, finished my Common App essay in September, and submitted all my applications by Halloween. Given all of this, all of the work I front-loaded, and all the thought I had put into how I wanted this year to be, I thought senior year would be filled with excitement, new freedoms, more time to follow my passion, and I was right—mostly. While College Counseling was incredibly active in helping me with all elements of my academic applications, I found myself building my artistic portfolio alone. I’m a theater kid, have been my whole life, and thus I have a lot of resources open to me. Mentors, teachers, friends already in school, the list goes on. All of these people I knew I could reach out to for assistance in the artistic application process. In the end, I worked with an old mentor of mine who has trained many theater students for their college applications. Because of my personal connection to him, I was lucky enough to have someone to take me through the cultivation of my applications. But I’m not one to ignore how rare a resource like this is, and this year I have seen so many of my friends thrown in to the post-secondary process, with no direction from anyone— students who did not know what to do in their process, how to navigate the system, and what to prepare for within these more specialized majors. Upon reflection, my experience was remarkably smooth (in a way I barely believe), and seeing my friends rough their way through the process motivated me to share my experience and tips. What is a portfolio? Applying to study art generally require a separate section of an application (entitled a portfolio), but this vague expectation and ominous name can mean so many things to various majors, and generally without post-secondary training, students don’t know what to include in a portfolio. What goes into a portfolio? Depending on the intended major/ focus, a portfolio will have different requirements. For example, in a theatrical/design portfolio, they will often request concept sketches and notes on intent, process, and such. In a photographic/digital/fine art portfolio, a school will likely request images of the art, as well as titles and conceptual descriptions. In general, schools want to see what you do and why you do it a certain way. Schools also generally are open to a section in the back of any portfolio (or interspersed throughout) dedicated to works outside of the

Start planning/reaching out The sooner you get started, the smoother the process will be. Now, I don’t mean that you should be stressing about college in your sophomore or even junior year, but the more aware you are in the time before your senior year, the easier this job will be. On that note, at the end of your junior year, you should begin reaching out to the people available to help you. Courtney helps students photograph their art for portfolios every year, and there are any number of other mentors in each field who can help you demonstrate your work. Keep a journal/notebook as you work The developmental process is key to creating any good art, and iteration upon iteration of a project will build it into something greater than the initial concept. Having a notebook following your thoughts, ideas, and choices in making your works will allow schools to see into your head as you work and understand why your art is unique and important. If you can demonstrate not only talent, but process, you will definitely have a leg up against other students. Start early The earlier you begin keeping a stockpile of work, the more options you will have when it comes to creating your final portfolio. Works you make your freshman year may prove to have another meaning or value by the time you graduate. Keeping these around will give you more breadth and depth of style, vision, and overall ability, so be sure to keep the work you have done.

I thought I knew it all going into my college applications...


Illustration by Alyssa L.

given major (i.e. photography by a sculptor). What does this mean for Nueva students? Should Nueva invest in having someone dedicated to helping students with this prep? Honestly, I don’t think so. I pounded my way through the process, and I made it through okay. Realistically, Nueva trains its students to be smart and pragmatic, and I really believe that with these lessons and willingness to reach out to the available resources, any Nueva student should be well prepared going into this process. Besides, if Nueva were going to pour money towards anything, I would so much prefer they build a stable and thriving arts department rather than more college prep.

Questions or comments? We welcome your voices. Please email Editor-in-Chief scobras@ nuevaschool.org or the Newspaper Adviser lyim@nuevaschool.org; corrections will be addressed on our website and published in the subsequent issue.

The opinions expressed in The Nueva Current belong solely to the writer and are not a reflection or representation of the opinions of the school or its administrators.

Should Nueva invest in hiring someone dedicated to helping students with this specific prep? Honestly, I don’t think so.

The Nueva Current Newspaper 131 E. 28th Ave. San Mateo, CA 94403 Press run is 1,000 copies by Folger Graphics.

Know what schools want Do your research. Different schools always have different requirements (though they do often overlap). Schools may have an in depth consideration of what they want, a vague list of requirements, or nothing at all. If a school tells you what they want, you should be sure to give it to them, but if they don’t, give them whatever you have to offer. Quality over quantity A solid portfolio should have an aim of 10—20 pieces (for me, these pieces were images from any given production I had mounted). If you include more than this, it becomes hard for auditors to digest, and less, they won’t get a good picture of who they are working with. Choosing this selection will allow them to see an array of works. Even if projects aren’t your best, there is value in challenge as well. Also consider that often (depending on the major and school) programs are looking for potential, not product. After all, if you knew everything about your art already, why would you be going to school for another four years? Use resources to help you Nueva resources including all of the art teachers, as well as College Counseling. The internet is, of course, also a wonderful tool to learn more about what should be included in your portfolio. And never forget, Nueva has built (and is still building) a wonderful network of alumni, people who have been in your shoes and are here to help you succeed.

STAFF Editor-in-Chief Scott B. Assistant Editor Willow C.Y. News Aliya G. Features Anam T. Opinion Elizabeth B. P.

Sports Aiden H. Culture Isabel C. Entertainment Anna C. Staff Julianna G., Jordan M. Adviser LiAnn Yim Special Thanks Bob Rosenberg

The Nueva Current • May 8, 2018

Opinon • Page 15

Breaking the Silence

If schools are places of learning, we need to learn about the realities of sexual assault BY ANAM T.

The #MeToo movement that unfolded publicly through media coverage has started a worldwide discussion on sexual miscondct. With each passing week, the conversation has grown larger and larger, with more people sharing their experience and adding their experiences to the ongoing dialogue surrounding sexual violence. (The term includes sexual assault, rape, abuse, and unwanted advances or harassment.) With each new voice added to #MeToo, we have seen the magnitude of the problem. As Science of Mind teacher Stephanie Snyder put it, “This national conversation and awareness has been really positive. There seems to be a cultural shift taking place.” Public attention has brought increased awareness and recognition of these prevalent issues while questioning the best methods for discussing and combatting this problem. Within schools, it is instrumental that students are being prepared to handle an assortment of new challenges that they may encounter. Traditionally, this would be thought of as providing them with the academic and professional skills they need to be successful in college, internships, and eventually jobs. But it is equally if not more important that students are equipped with the skills they need to navigate controversial issues such as sexual assault and harassment. By bringing these national discussions into classroom environments, students are able to gain insight and awareness, and develop skills to educate and protect themselves. Sexual assault leads as the most unreported crime, with just 10% of

occurrences recorded. But according to a study on sexual violence occurrences in high school by America Tonight, 58% of seventh-twelfth graders experience sexual harassment. In another study on college sexual violence by RAINN, the largest anti–sexual assault network organization in the nation, 11.2% of all undergraduate and graduate students experience sexual assault through physical force. High schools are often described as “bubbles”—safe places, isolated from many of the real-world concerns and issues. The transition to college—bigger, open campuses, sometimes in cities far away from home—can be a tough one to adjust to. Equipping students with the skills to navigate that transition is something that begins in Science of Mind classes. The ninth–twelfth grade Science of Mind classes teach students the skills they need to bridge social and emotional situations. Sexual violence and sexual violence awareness fall into these categories. Beginning in ninth grade, students familiarize themselves with the definition of consent, and by twelfth grade students have discussed in safe spaces the knowledge aimed specifically at protecting themselves from any acts of sexual violence or harassment on a college campus. Social and emotional education programs similar to the SOM classes at Nueva are becoming increasingly common, as educators strive to prepare their students to for a new chapter. It’s uncomfortable to talk about teenage sexuality, and many adults would

Illustration by Anam T.

prefer to deny or turn a blind eye to it. Historically, it has been even more uncomfortable to acknowledge sexual assault; it remains an issue that many communities are nervous or ashamed to acknowledge, stigmatizing the discussion. But all that this has done is make speaking up harder. In order to build a safe and secure community and educate others about what qualifies as sexual assault and how to prevent it, what consent means and what it looks like, these discussions are absolutely necessary. Moving forward as a school, it is crucial that the Nueva community challenge itself to continue leading further discussions and providing safe spaces in order to educate and prepare students for issues they may face at any given moment, and to confront myths and misconceptions regarding sexual assault. These misconceptions around the frequency and specifications of such

occurrences are common and have an extremely negative impact. They foster false senses of security that deny the existence and threat these issues pose. Statistics, studies, and the #MeToo stories have shown us the scale of sexual assault. Across the country, schools and systems of education are experimenting with different methods in an attempt to protect and prevent their students from ever having to experience sexual assault. Issues about sexual assault carry a lot of stigma, and they’re naturally hard to talk about. It is critical that schools ensure students are prepared and ready to handle the harsh reality. Are we doing everything we can? And are we doing this right? These are the questions that as a school, as a community, and as a family, must be answered together.


“Don’t Nap at 10 pm”


“Mistakes Have Been Made” BY ANNIE Z.


Interested in contributing to the The Nueva Current? The Current seeks to be a forum for student writing, art, and opinion. The opinions and staff editorials contained herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Head of School or the Board of Trustees of The Nueva School. Letters to the editor and guest columnists are encouraged but are subject

to editing for reasons of clarity, space, accuracy, and good taste. Please email letters and guest columns to Editor-inChief Scott B. at scobras@nuevaschool.org, or Opinions Editor Elizabeth B. P. at elibush@nuevaschool.org, or Advisor LiAnn Yim at lyim@nuevaschool.org. Letters can also be mailed to The Nueva Current, 131 E. 28th Ave., San Mateo,

CA 94403. If you are interested in providing editorial illustrations for The Current, please email Editor-in-Chief Scott B. at scobras@ nuevaschool.org, and you will be added to our contributors mailing list from which we may put out occasional calls for submission.

Page 16 • Sports

The Nueva Current • May 8, 2018

Joseph Q. (12) running in the relay race against various schools.

Runners from various schools competing in the relay race get ready to run for their lives. Ethan W. (12) is pictured above in Nueva’s men’s running gear, which comprises a blue singlet and a pair of blue running shorts. (Photos by Maya C.)

It’s a Thursday and the school day has come to a close. While most students start to file out of their classrooms to catch the train (or to get a scoop of ice cream), 46 students beeline to the school’s locker rooms. After a quick change of clothes, the students are off to the vans, piling in for the trip to the College of San Mateo’s track. They start as soon as they arrive at 3:45, and continue into the evening to 5:30 before heading home to tackle homework. This is what Mondays through Thursdays have looked like for the Nueva track team since February began. Nueva’s track and field team, now five years old, stretches its season from the start of February to the end of May. Led by Head Coach Terry Lee, Assistant Coach Jake Fauver, and outside Assistant Coach Greg Benally, the track team is continuously improving each year with new athletes joining and new events

Jenna L. (11) warms up before her race.

starting. A year ago we didn’t have have any field athletes, yet now we have a junior throwing shot put and discus, and a senior throwing shot put, a new for our team. While small compared to other local schools, the team is a strong one, reaching new personal bests over the past month, picking up wins for events, and really dedicating themselves to the sport. “I think we have a group of very committed runners; there’s a really positive team sort of aspect to it that [makes] people want to run better because others around them are running really well,” said Fauver, who ran in high school.

Inside Track and Field The importance of practice and the personal challenges within the sport BY ISABEL C.

“Track often is a means of how do you put your body through some of the highest levels of endurance or speed. It translates well to our student population here.” Over the course of the past and current season, the team has consistently excelled at the 2 mile, the mile, the 800-meter run, and the 400-meter run. Their record is truly reminiscent of the constant wins during the cross-country season of the fall semester. Sprinting, on the other hand, while strong as well, doesn’t have as much popularity on the team. Currently, the team has only 10 sprinters while the rest run long distance, setting Nueva far behind other schools runner-wise such as local rivals Crystal Springs Uplands, Sacred Heart Preparatory, and Menlo School. Fauver says that for sprinting “it’s just kind of a matter of growth and popularity.” Sprinting isn’t the only event that the team struggles with, though. Fauver says that the length of the season is the real challenge for the athletes. “It’s a long time to make sure that you are building and getting stronger, so avoiding injuries is a big challenge,” he said. While Fauver says this is an overall challenge of the team, Madeline P. (10) says that the challenges that the team struggles with really depend on the runner. Based off on her own challenges with determining how much time to invest in the sport, Madeline believes that each athlete has their own challenge both with running and commitment. “I think it depends on the person because there are a lot of people who [run] just for fun, then there are other people who want to run in college, who want to

really be competitive,” said Madeline. Yet competitiveness and a future in running don’t stem from winning, but practices instead. Four days a week, rain or shine, runners head to the field, either at Bay Meadows or CSM, to run for two hours. The starts of practices are typically the same; the coaches value the importance of routine and find that it makes it easier for the runners to get into the flow at meets. After stretches and jogging, the practice turns to more focused drills which vary from strength to speed to endurance to core work. Some groups of runners may work more on one group than another, but all of the drills combine together to help runners with their form. “People think that running is just moving quickly in a direction, but one can do it with good form or poor form and that greatly impacts the speed you go, so [it’s] a big focus of [ours],” Fauver said. Despite the uniformity within practice and competition, individuals have their personal goals and outlooks on the sport. Madeline, a runner on track since the 5th grade, enjoys the sport for the hard work. “Running is really fun because you get to see your hard work pay off and anyone can run,” Madeline said. As someone who wants to continue running into her college years, Madeline also feels that running in high school and watching herself grow is really eye-opening. “It’s cool to start something in high school you’ll know you’ll continue [into the future],” Park said. Jake V. (10), a runner since freshman year, finds the sport more of an individual activity

rather than a team one. “Your toughest competitor when you’re running is yourself. Track is very psychological and it’s about pushing your mind and your body to the breaking point.” Yet he also believes that that track for him is about “improving, it’s all about improving.” Both of them have had their setbacks, yet the two both have goals for the end of their high school careers. Jake hopes to run a 400-meter sprint in under 50 seconds, a true feat

as the current world record is 43.03 seconds, while Madeline hopes to achieve her ultimate goal of running 800 meters in under 2:20. Both of these goals are challenging, yet within the reach of Madeline and Jake. It’s 8:00 am on a Saturday and students from at least 20 different local high schools are milling around the track, stretching, tying shoelaces, finishing a snack, or socializing. The first race doesn’t start for at least another 45 minutes, but the runners know to warm up for at least an hour before to prevent injuries and to run at their best. Once their races come and go, they have a few hours until their next run, yet while this time could be spent relaxing, it’s spent cheering on teammates and friends, pushing them to run faster and supporting them the whole way through. Madeline believes this to be one of the main things you do during competition. “A lot of [the competition] is about cheering on your teammates.”

FROM LEFT: Billy P. (10), head coach Terry Lee, Jake L. (Class of 2017), and Brian P. (9).



Peter E. (12) ran 1600 meters in 4:46.44, a personal best, and finished in 1st place

Kyle M. (11) threw discus 103’ 4, setting a personal record and coming in 2nd place

Santana S. (12) ran the 300-meter hurdles (30”) in 60.13, setting a personal record, and finished in 4th place

Alex L. (12) threw 12lb shot put 32’ 6.25, setting a personal record and coming in 4th place

Vienna G. (9) ran the 400 meters in 72.13, a personal best, and finished in 13th place

For current standings and records, visit https://www.athletic.net/

The Nueva Current • May 8, 2018

Sports • Page 17 Ryan G. (10) swims the butterfly. One year after its program start, the Nueva swim team can field swimmers in all four strokes. (Photos by Shalin Z.)

Making a Splash The Nueva swim team, while newer than many teams at Nueva, has kicked off its season with a huge splash. The member count nearly doubled this year, now including 12 members across all four grades and all types of strokes—remarkable for a team that was founded only last year. Ann McLaughlin, coach of the swimming and diving team, is very proud of how the team has started this season. She’s been with the team since the beginning and is a USA Masters swimmer. She also works with the Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics swim team, so she “spends most of [her] free time at pools.” “We’re only in our second year, so our team is still small, but we’re competitive with schools of comparable sizes and profiles,” McLaughlin said. “Our swim and dive team almost doubled in size since last year, and we have a strong group of incoming freshmen. It’s exciting to be able to enter more events and relays. We are also looking forward to swimming our first girls’ relays at the WBAL championship meet.” So far this year, both a swimmer and diver have qualified for the CCS championship meet,

and the team is hoping for more qualifiers. Coach McLaughlin described the small team as very self-driven. “The swimmers and diver on this team founded it. They made it happen and are excited to run and build it. We didn’t have official shirts last year, so the team laser-cut a stencil and spray-painted their own shirts,” McLaughlin said. “The Nueva swim and dive team reflects the passion of these student athletes. Our swimmers bring the same drive that brought them to Nueva to the pool, and I enjoy being part of that. It’s a great community, with the parents really engaged in supporting the team. Everyone chips in! The effort our swimmers put into their races is the one of the best traits of the team. One of my favorite experiences was a swimmer finishing a race totally spent, looking up and saying ‘That’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.’” Without pool space, the swimmers train at local pools or with their clubs. They want opportunities to train as a team, however, and McLaughlin is looking at ways to make that happen. “Our range of experience is quite varied—when we show up at meets, we are small but

BY ELIZABETH B. P. mighty. Everyone cheers for all of their teammates, and it’s a very supportive environment, so I think that’s fun for everyone,” McLaughlin said. “The students who started the team hope to look back in thirty years at a championship team and say ‘I helped start that!’” Clay A. (10) mentioned the team’s dynamic as a motivator in doing his best. “I always try to be positive and supportive to the other swimmers and they are too. We all like to cheer for each other, especially on the relays, to swim our fastest. I love seeing myself improve and seeing my times drop but also the community and hanging out with everyone on the teams,” said Clay, who has been a swimmer since he was 4. He joined the swim team last year, when it was first created. He has his eyes set on going to CCS for the 100 breaststroke, his best stroke, admitting that this would be a “long-term goal,” as he strives to shave 10 seconds off his current time. Captain Chris R. (11) has also been happy with how the season has been going. “The Nueva swim team has gotten bigger...and more committed. But I think that the important thing is that we have

maintained the aspect of fun from the first year, and we are building on our early successes. It has been particularly great to have enough girls for a relay. Nueva is different from the other programs that I have been a part of in that the team ethos is very nurturing and supportive. One example of this dynamic is that our swimmers actually critique each others’ swims and work together to improve. After most races, a couple of teammates will offer suggestions on the race, and it’s pretty much spot on most of the time.” He added that, “Probably my favorite moment was our 200 medley relay at the Small School Invite. I went first and got a little bit of a lead, and I remember getting out of the water and watching Clay hold that lead, and Afton and Ryan also having solid legs of the relay to bring it home. It was at that moment that I realized how much we as a team had grown as swimmers. It was also really exciting to see our relay holding its own against the bigger schools in our league.”

Afton L. (9) dives into the pool to start his section of a medley.

The swim and dive team grew from seven students its first year to 12 in its second.

Tennis team serves up a promising season


Positive attitude perseveres through rained-out practices

ABOVE: James T. (9) tossing the ball up as he prepares to serve in a tennis match. RIGHT: Nikhil S. (10) ready to serve the ball to the opponent. (Photos by Dylan J.)

Though they were prevented from practicing for nearly three weeks due to rain and other scheduling troubles, the boys’ tennis team never failed to bring an upbeat attitude to the courts. Facing difficult teams from Menlo and Crystal Springs, the boys’ and coaches’ main aspiration was to secure a season of improvement. After lots of hard work, their big victory story were the games against Priory, whom they beat both times, 7 to 0. The season officially began when they returned from spring break. Coach Mike Geffen and captain Neel G. (12) have led the varsity team of 11 players to a 2-6 season so far. Practicing four days a week at Cañada College, the team works hard to prepare for their next match. “Everyone gave one hundred percent effort into their games and practices,” Geffen said. “We played really high-quality

tennis.” Geffen has an impressive 40 years of combined playing and teaching experience under his belt; he played for the University of Washington before becoming an instructor himself. He said that while the team would lose a number of terrific senior players next year, he is is very excited about continuing to grow the team with the few freshmen on varsity and junior varsity. He also recently named the new captains for next year’s season: Alex Y. (11) and Nikhil S. (10). “Next year, I want to utilize our conditioning facilities more,” he added. Geffen has been very pleasantly surprised and impressed by the team’s flexibility in adjusting to the short time they had for practice. What has really stood out for him this season, he shared, was the positive attitude of the players. Director of Athletics Amrit

Chima said, “I’m proud because we’re still a relatively young program, and we have our first JV team this year, which is exciting. I’m also excited to see how much the program has grown over these four and a half years.” Chima stated that tennis is a tough league, and there are a lot of incredible teams. The best part of the season was watching games that were extremely close and seeing the team reach a new level of competitive play. Asked about a future girls’ tennis team, Chima said, “it takes numbers to make it happen,” and that they will be focusing on recruiting incoming freshman to the tennis team. With the CCS championships and qualifiers coming up, qualifying players are presented with the option of attending, though it would mean joining their classmates on the international trips a little later.

Page 18 • Sports

The Nueva Current • May 8, 2018

Madness of March: In the wake of scandal, how will the NCAA recover? Organization needs to do a better job enforcing rules governing recruiting BY MIRIELLE H. W.

Only a few weeks after the National Collegiate Athletics Association tournament, the college basketball world is moving on. Even though the next season will not start until November, the spotlight has already turned to potential NBA draft prospects, incoming recruits, and predictions about next year’s juggernaut teams. Of course, all of this buzz will lead to another round of March Madness, another reincarnation of 68 teams competing in single-elimination fashion to determine the national champion of college basketball. But at this crossroads, it’s important to look back at the significance of this past March Madness, the 2018 NCAA men’s basketball tournament—not just the buzzer beaters and overtime wins and Cinderellas, but the caliber and reputation of the programs that made up this year’s Final Four teams. This past year, the tournament was set against the backdrop of a year-long scandal, where many of the best, most storied, blue-blood college basketball programs were accused of colluding, illegal payments, bribery, and more in partnership with sports agents and shoe companies in order to bring talented basketball recruits to a select few schools. As March approached, a public relations disaster loomed. The specter of having four implicated blue bloods in the Final Four and the subsequent impact on the reputation of the sport was dreaded by the NCAA. In the end, the organization and college basketball world were extremely fortunate in the teams and coaches that ended up in the Final Four. On one side of the bracket, a semifinal between two number-one seeds included two head coaches seeking their second national championships. There was Villanova’s Jay Wright, who at 56 is younger than the head coaches of many of the blue-blood basketball schools, most of whom are in their 70s. As such, he has been cast as the face of the “next generation” of coaches to come up through the ranks. Wright would end up winning it all with a team considered one of the greatest ever to play in the tournament. At the end of the season, Villanova would end up ranked second all-time in adjusted offensive efficiency and fourth all-time in adjusted efficiency margin according to KenPom, one of the leading advanced analytics sites for college basketball. While Villanova coaches were listed in FBI reports as having met with Christian Dawkins, a corrupt sports agent currently being investigated by the FBI, nothing came of those meetings. On the other side of the court, Bill Self’s Kansas Jayhawks were the winners of a region where the top five seeds (Kansas, Duke, Michigan State, Auburn, and

Clemson) were all mentioned in FBI reports. Kansas is a perennial title contender with five overall national championships and 14 straight shares of the Big 12 championship, but their appearance in the FBI reports and the arrival of investigators on campus puts Bill Self and by extension his team in the center of the ongoing scandal. Unfortunately, with the way the NCAA tournament was seeded this year, it was inevitable that a team mentioned in the scandal would end up champion of the Midwest Region. The tournament’s other Final Four game, between Loyola-Chicago and Michigan, had a mid-major 11-seed Cinderella facing off against the third-seeded Big Ten Tournament champions. Porter Moser, Loyola’s head coach, at 49, is one of the youngest coaches of a mid-major program. Loyola-Chicago plays in the Missouri Valley conference and before this year last appeared in the NCAA tournament in 1985. Beyond being wild fun for college basketball fans without a team to root for, a 14-game win streak (snapped by Michigan) and a run to the Final Four is the perfect audition for Moser if he hopes to land a head coaching job at a major basketball school a few years down the road. From the NCAA perspective, it is fantastic to have an eleven seed playing in the Final Four for a multitude of reasons. Cinderella teams are a draw for fans whose teams have already lost. The other teams in the region who may have been involved in FBI investigations did not compete in the semifinals in San Antonio. Finally, of course, it is a perfect chance for the media to thrust the spotlight on a feelgood story instead of the same investigation that had haunted the regular season. Then there is the head coach at Michigan: John Beilein. Beilein is widely considered the “cleanest” of the high-major college basketball coaches.

(In a CBS Sports poll that asked head coaches who was the cleanest high-major coach, Beilein won overwhelmingly.) Over the course of the year, as more and more rumors surfaced about the corruption in college basketball, commentators and players have pointed to Beilein as the face of the way the game is supposed to be played. Stories about Beilein’s strict adherence to rules and details abound. Former assistant coaches report that he times each practice precisely—if practice took an hour and three minutes last time, he will set the timer to 57 minutes for the next. This is a coach that follows NCAA and federal rules down to the literal minute. Beilein’s program, like Wright’s, does not depend on bringing in incredible recruits. Instead, he develops players from under-recruited high schoolers to NCAA tournament stars. This development played out prominently this year, when Beilein reached his second Final Four with a team led by a two-star recruit and a Division III transfer. He trains them by re-teaching the very basics of basketball: how to pivot, how to pass, how to shoot. Beilein’s players love him, and the NCAA should, too. This is a coach who is doing things the right way, at a huge basketball program with the largest fan base in the country—living proof that clean coaches exist and can be fiercely competitive at the highest level. Ultimately, while the NCAA was fortunate to have stories like Jay Wright and John Beilein in the final game, they will need to take specific measures to clean up the sport and level the playing field. The future of the sport depends on the NCAA having the will to go after their top programs and legendary coaches and impose consequences for rule-breaking. Only time will tell if the NCAA is up to the challenge.

Bill Self, coach of the Kansas Jayhawks. (Photo courtesy of David J. Phillip/Associated Press)

Porter Moser, coach at Loyola University Chicago. (Photo courtesy of David J. Phillip/Associated Press)

Villanova coach Jay Wright. (Photo courtesy of David J. Phillip/Associated Press)

Michigan head coach John Beilein. (Photo courtesy of Tommy Martino/MISSOULIAN)

The Nueva Current • May 8, 2018

Entertainment • Page 19


What’s next on Netflix?


Air Date: January 5, 2018 Genre: Black comedy Episode Length: 20 minutes Seasons: One, potentially two TV Rating: TV-MA Bold, unapologetically dark, and twisty. This show is based on a graphic novel and tells the tale of two teenage criminals on a road trip: James is a 17-year-old self-diagnosed psychopath who stuck his hand in a deep fryer at age 9 because he “wanted to make [himself] feel something,” and kills animals in his free time. Alyssa, also 17, hates her friends, family—pretty much everything—and wants to get out of the town they both live in. After Alyssa decides to run away and James chooses her as his first human kill, the pair embark on a road trip filled with twists, turns, and broken laws. Filled with the height of teen rebellion and angst, this show is focused on some dark themes. This isn’t a cute teenage romance. Despite the harsh themes portrayed throughout the eight-episode show and the frequent use of expletives, End of the F***king World has drawn high ratings (it holds a remarkably high 98% on Rotten Tomatoes) and critical accolades that are a testament to the uniqueness of the show’s plotline. The show’s fresh story captivates the viewer through discussions of growing up in realistic and simplistic ways and the acting leaves them aching for more. The characters are compelling; Alyssa in particular is a standout as her drastic “teen” rebellion leaves viewers wanting to know what she does next. Be warned that this show can be gruesome and violent, so it’s not for the faint of heart. But if you take a chance on this show, you’ll be getting a dark comedy full of adventure, murder, and mayhem.

Air Date: February 16, 2018 Genre: Coming-of-age, Comedy Episode Length: 20—30 minutes Seasons: One TV Rating: TV-14

Everything Sucks! gleefully brings to life the look and feel of the 90s in this 10-episode coming-of-age comedy. The show centers around a group of three boys entering their freshman year and navigating their way through high school by joining the A/V club. Within the first three minutes of the pilot, sophomore Kate Messner (played by Peyton Kennedy) becomes the love interest for one of the boys, yet the daughter of the school principal is dealing with her own issues of defining herself and her sexuality, providing struggles for both sides of the spectrum. And that’s just one of the relationships playing out in the show: the teens and even their parents struggle with identity and decision-making in a very real way. The well-acted show is played by actual teens (unlike so many teen shows where the main cast is portrayed by actors in their twenties). Despite the use of some foul language and sexually explicit talk, the show uses these moments in a way to express the curiosity of children growing into adults and doesn’t glamorize them in a way that is gratuitous or unjustified. The cheerful music (90s bands like The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Tag Team, and Oasis star in the show’s soundtrack), colorful scenes, and high school humor give the show set almost 30 years ago a vibe of newness, inviting the viewer in and leaving them wanting more once the episode finishes. This is a show about misfits trying their best to make their way during a time that is fraught with drama. Watch this show for a nostalgic feel and welldone young adult relationships.

Air Date: December 1, 2017 Genre: Thriller, Horror Episode Length: 45—60 minutes Seasons: One, two in the making TV Rating: TV-MA The name of this show tells viewers what to expect: it is very, very dark. It is the first German-language Netflix Original, and it can be best described as a speculative horror story. (There is time travel through a wormhole in the cave system beneath the town’s local power plant.) Set in a fictitious sleepy town in Germany, the show focuses the town’s and the viewer’s attention on the disappearances of two children, and the mysteries that unfold in everyone’s attempt to recover the missing children. They quickly discover connections to the town’s history and previous years when the same occurence has happened. Each new clue reveals more about the past, present, and even future secrets of the community. The pilot episode is dark in both visual and auditory senses, with creepy music starting the episode, and the entire show in a greyish filter, which casts a horror-movie vibe. While the visuals set the tone for the rest of the episode, the content and scenes that we witness could potentially fall into the category of things that are much darker. Within the first five minutes of the episode, we witness a suicide and the revelation of an ongoing affair. The rest of the 51-minute episode is filled with issues from mental problems to drug usage, to scenes involving distressing images of corpses. Outstanding acting from an all-German cast, masterful pacing for maximum suspense, and a genuinely intriguing mystery are this show’s strengths. However, the disturbing scenes and traumatic events carry throughout the season, making this show heavier than most.

Up-and-Coming Shows in May, June

The Rain (May 1)

Siblings emerge from their bunker six years after a rain-carried virus wipes out almost everyone in Scandinavia; they join a group of survivors and set out on a quest searching for signs of life.

Safe (May 10)

A widowed father and pediatrician is in grief over the loss of his wife from cancer. After his oldest daughter goes missing, he ends up uncovering many disturbing secrets of the people close to him.





Stuck indoors scrolling through Netflix trying to find something new for binge-watching? Look no further: Here are four hidden gems and surprise hits that just might keep you glued to your screen.

Air Date: March 16, 2018 Genre: Coming-of-age Episode Length: 25—30 minutes Seasons: One, two in the making TV Rating: TV-14 A personal favorite, On My Block is filled with a diverse cast of teens that go through the struggles of high school as a group of friends in a mostly black and Hispanic neighborhood of south Los Angeles. It’s a rough neighborhood, and the four main characters are smart, funny, and streetwise—I really enjoyed watching all of them onscreen. Each of the friends go through and deal with their own struggles—with one being affiliated by blood to a large gang, and another trying to find her birth mother who left when she was young—yet in a way where you and other characters can relate and feel for them. The show’s cheerful upbeat music, colorful setting, and editing brings you closer to the young teens who are learning the toughness of keeping friendships close during high school, yet also reminds you of the curiosity the teens have as many scenes are shown of smoking, sexual innuendo, and underage drinking. The show’s main focus is how the teens maneuver their way through high school, friendships, and new, potentially treacherous experiences. The characters face deportation, poverty, racism, but the show doesn’t define them solely by those issues. Overall, On My Block is fun, upbeat, and meaningful. Also worth noting is how this show stars many young black and Latino actors in their first major roles, and the show has received critical praise for its diverse casting and storylines. It seems like Netflix is building a lineup of coming-of-age shows, and this is one viewers won’t want to miss.

Watched the shows above already? Keep a lookout for these shows both new and returning on Netflix in the coming months.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Season 4 (May 30)

Kimmy Schmidt continues her adventure in reclaiming her life after 15 years in a cult. She experiences modern New York City with wideeyed optimism and enthusiasm.

Glow, Season 2 (June 29)

The characters and gimmicks of the 1980s syndicated women’s professional wrestling circuit, the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (or GLOW), continue in season 2!

Page 20 • Entertainment

The Nueva Current • May 8, 2018

The great debate


Marvel and DC dominate the mega franchises. What makes each one great? Marvel and DC. The great superhero debate rages on. Decades ago, comics headlined this clash of two entertainment titans. Today, the cinematic catalogues are the forefront, with both studios having pumped out film after film to create their own mega franchises. Historically, Marvel has seen more critical success for its filmmaking, with DC’s efforts falling short, though both have been commercially competitive. But it’s not a simple matter of saying one is better than the other. Let’s break down the strengths and weaknesses of each. STRENGTHS On the surface, Marvel’s film catalogue is one of the most successful lines by any studio—ever. Going by Rotten Tomatoes, only two of Marvel’s 18 films are not “certified fresh” (over 70%, with a certain number of reviews and top critics reviewing it), and those two are still considered “fresh” (over 60%). While people may have movies they love and hate from their lineup, it is undeniable that each movie is at least doing a couple of things right. Marvel’s greatest success is consistency: they sure-handedly craft and churn out films with an expected level of entertainment value and cohesiveness. They’ve created a formula that works, with moviegoers paying to see their characters every time, and critics finding good elements every time. Marvel is also the pioneer of the modern superhero genre, innovating the industry with releases like Iron Man and putting out the first film to unite multiple movie-headlining characters in The Avengers. Marvel’s films have a sense of fun, and they create likeable charac-

ters while building a unique cinematic universe with surprising depth and abundance of personality to it. DC’s successes are subtler. While the DC extended universe (DCEU) discludes the Christopher Nolan-directed Dark Knight trilogy, it is worth mentioning those films as an example of how good superhero movies, specifically DC properties, can be. All action movies, not just superhero ones, should aim for the standards Nolan set with the Dark Knight trilogy. He proved there can be depth and complexity to a character like Batman, and proved the ceiling of DC characters and universes can be sky-high. Meanwhile, the DCEU is a bit of a mess, but it still holds plenty of merit. Tonally, it diverges from the standard tone of Marvel movies, opting for a darker, more nuanced route that is equally, if not more intriguing than the relatively simplistic tones of Marvel movies. DC also takes risks with casting choices that broaden and innovate characters, keeping things fresh (yes, I’m calling Jesse Eisenberg, Ben Affleck, and Jared Leto fresh). While Batman vs. Superman was muddled and incomplete, it showed flashes of movies far stronger than Marvel’s standard, with a bold new Batman depicted by Ben Affleck, and grappling with new ideas and themes seldom seen in the average Marvel movie. WEAKNESSES Marvel’s films are formulaic. Ever since the creation of their first film, Iron Man (2008), Marvel has established a cookie-cutter format to introducing new heroes, with each origin story hitting cer-




tain storytelling beats. Doctor Strange, Ant Man, Thor, and others, while not without their unique moments, ultimately do little to innovate the standard superhero movie formula Marvel has written for itself. While this pattern yields competent movies, they don’t stick with you in any meaningful way. This contributes to the overall monotony of Marvel’s style. Especially in its older films, Marvel’s action scenes are choppy and forgettable, with too many cuts in the editing for the viewer to properly focus. The visuals, while impressive at times, have also been equally muddled, overdone CGI with flat and dull colors. Overall, Marvel’s films have too often been good, not great. However, recent films like Thor: Ragnarok, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Black Panther have served to play with and reinvent Marvel’s visual style, and even some made tonal shifts to keep things fresh. There’s hope for future Marvel endeavors, even if it still suffers from a bloated catalogue of characters that can be difficult to follow. DC’s failures can be chalked up to be “bad movies.” Rotten Tomatoes puts the average DC movie at 48%, with almost all of them being “rotten.” DC’s cinematic universe has been an overall poor response to Marvel’s, with incoherent movies that have failed in the conventional sense. Suicide Squad was a tonal nightmare, Batman vs. Superman was overlong and overwritten, and Man of Steel is unlikeable and impersonal. From an overall filmmaking perspective, DC falls flat, largely due to poor narratives and unconvincing dialogue.

Crossword ACROSS: 1. “___, my name is Elder Price.” 4. HP’s secret group in the sixth year 6. Slide into the ___s 8. Wire-cutting on this is particularly dangerous 10. Truth’s counterpart 12. Either ___ 13. Unpleasant sight 15. “Fifty, ___, United States...” 16. Boat title 17. Camera memory holder ( ___ Card) DOWN: 1. ___ Garden 2. “___ and behold” 3. TV Show (Startrek: Deep Space 9) character portrayed by René Auberjonois 5. “Mi ___, mi corazón” 7. Answer to “I don’t know, can you?” 8. Personal ___ (plural) 9. Christ’s body 11. Blamed for bad calls 14. “___ vey”


DEADPOOL 2 May 18, 2018

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, Jack Kesy


December 21, 2018 Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson, Willem Dafoe, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Temuera Morrison, Dolph Lundgren, Nicole Kidman


Profile for The Nueva Current

The Nueva Current | May 2018  

Volume 1, Issue 3 of The Nueva Current. Inside: student activism in response to gun violence, the great Marvel vs. DC Comics debate, a revie...

The Nueva Current | May 2018  

Volume 1, Issue 3 of The Nueva Current. Inside: student activism in response to gun violence, the great Marvel vs. DC Comics debate, a revie...